Saturday, August 30, 2014

Always Close...

Microsoft desktop picture
Yesterday afternoon, towards the end of another long week at work, my desktop wallpaper changed to this picture.  I thought "what a great pic to end my week...".   A rainbow is a sign of better things to come and after the stressful and extra hours over the past two weeks, I needed that reminder.

Well the "better things" started with a 3 day weekend.  Can I get AMEN?!

This morning I was able to work on the log cabin quilt.  It was nice to be able to do so after not working on it for two weeks.

One of the best things so far this weekend is the opportunity I had this afternoon to spend time with family members I don't get to see very often.  Some of my aunts and uncles from Alabama and Louisiana are up to visit this weekend.  One of my uncles, my uncle Harold, I haven't seen since I was a young teenager.  Listening to him talk today, the sound and inflection of his voice, reminded me of my grandpa.

Growing up, due to my dad's occupation, we were on the move every three years or so and were not in close proximity to most of our family.  I wonder sometimes what it must be like to be near most of your family all your life?  What is it like to be there for them through hard times like heart break or grief, to help them through it so that they don't make choices that could harm them or they regret later?  Or to be there for them in the happiest of times, like the birth of a child or the addition of a new family member through marriage, or even to celebrate an accomplishment they've had no matter how big or small?

Though I don't get to spend a lot of time with most of my family, I cherish those times I do get to see them, because I don't know when I will see them again.  I have been blessed with a loving family on both sides and I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world.  My family is always close to me in my heart and thoughts and are continually in my prayers.

I took quite a few pictures today and plan to put them in a scrapbook.  I found a scrapbook yesterday at a local flea market and it has all the decorative pages in it.  The theme is "Family & Friends".  So the pics I took today will be perfect for it.

My first day off for the Labor Day weekend has been a good day.  I trust your weekend has started out good too.

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What's Up With That?

Lately there have been things that just make me say "hmm..." and make me wonder about them.  For example...

On the way to visit with family today, we met a police car on the highway driving towards us.  The car was moving slower than normal and as it got closer to us it moved to the yellow line, and after it was past us it swerved over the yellow line.  What's up with that?

Then there is a spot in the road on one of the highways I drive that has a sign that states "BUMP", indicating a bump is ahead in the road.   Well it is not a bump, it is a dip.  I know they have signs that state "DIP" to indicate a dip in the road.   Were they striving for a bump and just did not accomplish their goal?  What's up with that?

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I guess that's all I have for now.

Until next time, enjoy your weekend!

Hugs,
Sonia


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Focus

I was finally able to work in my sewing room this weekend.  I haven't been in it at all this past week due to my work schedule.

At the end of my week I had in 60.61 hours.  My long week caught up with me Friday afternoon and I fought off falling asleep as hard as I possible could, but I felt that my coworkers would hear a loud thump as my head hit the desk.  So I had a strong cup of coffee hoping it would help. Though I have to admit the afternoon drowsiness is something I battle frequently with this current job.  Some are days are just worse than others.

I've been thinking of what I need to get done in the next sixteen weeks.
  • Finish the log cabin quilt
  • Make small love quilt
  • Make Christmas stocking for exchange
  • Make wall hanging/place mat from last year's fat quarter from guild's Christmas party
  • Other gifts I want to make for family and friends
Hopefully things will begin to level out and I will have time to work these projects.

At the beginning of the week I decided to focus on blessings instead of the frustrations and long hours the week promised.

  • Monday: after a long day I saw a beautiful rainbow on the way home and a beautiful starry sky at night.
  • Tuesday: stepped out of the house to a cool morning, a nice change from the hot muggy ones. 
  • Wednesday: coconut cream pie - it's been a very long time since I last tasted coconut cream pie, this was a yummy blessing.  It was also a day of good song's going through my mind.  Songs like "it's alright, have a good time cause it's alright yeah it's alright" and "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me". 
  • Thursday: a favorite sweater of mine was returned to me.  I didn't realize it was missing, I thought that it was in the clothes hamper waiting to be washed.   One of the local churches catered our lunch today and the oatmeal raisin cookies were the best I have ever tasted.  
  • Friday:  enjoyed a phone call with my son.  He is doing well and starting school and teaching next week.  He is going to be very busy.   I also got to leave work earlier today than the rest of the week.

By focusing on blessings, it helped my week go better.  I was tired and wore out by the end of the week but I was not frustrated or stressed to the max and that is essentially the best blessing of the week.  :)

So if you feel discouragement coming on... start focusing on blessings that come your way.

Hugs,
Sonia

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Near panic...

We are going through a conversion at work and are going live with a new system on Monday.  So we are having to get everything from the old system taken care of this weekend before the new system goes on line.

I have to say today went pretty smoothly.  We are on call tomorrow in case there are last minute things that need to be taken care of before Monday.

There have been inspirational sayings going around to keep everyone positive.  Sayings like
"Remember: TEAM, Together Everyone Achieves More!" 
and
 "Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure".  
We even have inspirational M&Ms.

Come Monday, it is indeed going to be a new adventure at work.  Hopefully the transition will continue to go smoothly.

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Someone told me the other day we have 4 months until Christmas.  I nearly went into panic mode.

So I have added a Christmas countdown to help keep me on track.


Christmas Countdown



Until next time...
Have a great weekend!
Sonia


Friday, August 15, 2014

Put me in the mind of...

I stepped outside this morning to cool air and was greeted with a good morning song by frogs, birds, and crickets.  There was a light fog this morning and as I topped a hill that overlooks a valley, the fog was like gossamer fabric draped over the meadows and trees below.  The sun was just coming up and the sunbeams that broke through the fog made the dew on the grasses glisten.  It was truly a beautiful morning as I drove to work.  The cooler temperature put me in the frame of mind for Autumn, my favorite season of the year.

 Hugs,
Sonia

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Confectioners Bliss

At work we are going through a conversion and needless to say there is a lot of tension and stress in the air.

The mother of one of the ladies I work with knew things were getting stressful and decided to cook up a batch of peanut butter fudge for us.  I believe she is of the society who knows "stressed spelled backwards is desserts".  The fudge was delicious and it did make that moment in time, when you savor the rich peanut butter taste, less stressful.

Here's the recipe.

Peanut Butter Fudge
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter (your choice of chunky or smooth)
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the sugar, milk and peanut butter together in a pan and cook to the soft ball stage and remove from heat.  Then add the stick of butter and vanilla.
Mix with an electric mixer until it loses its shine and starts to thicken up.  As soon as it starts thickening up, pour out onto a buttered plate or pan.  Let it cool down completely and then cut into pieces.


It's the little things that happen, to let you forget if only for a moment that it's really not that bad, that make all the difference.  The peanut butter fudge didn't take the stress away, but it sure did make it taste a little sweeter.


Thanks to the kind lady who took time our of her daily schedule to bring us a moment of confectioners bliss.


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GOOD NEWS
The last blog, or the one before it, I mentioned a medical test that came back abnormal.  I went back to the doctor, a biopsy was sent off, but the good news is it came back benign. 


Thanks to everyone who kept me in prayer.  I believe it is the power of prayers being answered for my good test result.


Until next time...


Hugs,
Sonia


Monday, August 11, 2014

like sparkling crystals

Yesterday afternoon I laid down for a nap.  As I closed my eyes I could see the sunlight from the window through my eyelids.  I decided to try to relax and knew that I would soon fall asleep and the light would fade.
Just at the point of dropping off to sleep, the room got dark and the fan stopped running.  A storm blew in and we lost electricity.  I knew without the "white" noise of the fan, I would not be able to sleep.  So I got up and went to the living room.

My husband and I opened a couple of windows across from each other to let air flow through the house. Then I sat down on the couch and closed my eyes.  I began to listen to the sound of the falling rain.  Hearing rain fall and the sound of thunder rolling in the distance has always been soothing to me.

 There's something melodic about it and it speaks to my soul.  It's music from the Almighty Creator.

Even the birds were singing their praises as the rain fell.

 The wind blew and the small wind chime I have hanging out front sang out until the wind tangled it up.



After the rain stopped I went out took pictures of some of the plants.  In the sunlight the raindrops looked like sparking crystals on the plants.  My pictures didn't capture the sparkle but I think they turned out pretty anyway.


It turned out to be a pretty afternoon.  It has been so muggy of late and the rain cooled the day down.

I stepped out in the early evening hours and took this picture of the moon.  



I know a few young ladies who are very close to or past their due dates and I've heard the old wives tale about a full moon putting a woman into labor.  I know at this point each one is ready to have her precious baby.  

I looked back and saw that my son was born during a new moon phase and my daughter was born in during the last quarter phase.  So as to the old wives tale, I say if the baby is ready to be born during a full moon phase then he/she will be.   I got to thinking about old wives tales and realized they have been around for a very long time.  The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:7 "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness."

So I will pray for these young ladies and their babies to have a safe delivery in their due time.  If you know a young lady who is ready to deliver, please lift her and her baby up in prayer.

Here's wishing you a wonderful week!

Hugs,
Sonia

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Always there...

There are times when I need to spend a few hours alone... Just me and God.  Today was one of those days.  When I have that kind of day, if I'm staying home, I wait until everyone leaves the house.  I remove all distractions, books, projects, phone, t.v., radio - anything that might distract me from my quiet time with God.   This time alone is more than my daily time I spend, this time is for deeper communication, healing and restoring of spirit.

This past Thursday I found out a test, that was run at my previous doctor's appointment, came back abnormal and I am scheduled to go back this week for a talk with my doctor and have another examination.  You can imagine, the worst scenario goes through your mind when you receive a call like that and it did.  I prayed and asked God to give me peace and He has.  I have been able to sleep with out it weighing on my mind, but deep down it was still there. So, I knew I had to do something today... spend some time alone with my Heavenly Father.

In times like these I am often drawn to the book of Psalms. Today's scriptures that helped me and answered some questions, were as follows.

Psalm 33: 18-22  Who can help me?

Psalm 138:7-8  Who is there when I walk through troubled times?

Then I came upon scriptures that have helped me in the past.

Psalm 116:1-2 Who hears me when I cry?

Psalm 118:24 Who is in control of the day?

Psalm 103:1-4 lest I forget all His benefits.

At the end of my time alone with the Lord, I am ready to face what ever comes my way this week.

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Remember in my last blog I mentioned a magnetic board I was making out of an old baking pan?  Well here it is finished and hanging up in my sewing room.

This week there were some new blooms in the flower pots.

Moss Rose

Angle Wing Begonia loaded down

Coleus bloomed - didn't know they would.

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Some of our dishcloths need replaced, so I crocheted a couple last night.   I plan to do a few more.  

I like the smaller one the best and plan to make more of that size.  The way the smaller one is crocheted gives it ridges to help with the cleaning.


So through times of trial, times of productivity and times of enjoying the beauty of God creations remember HE is always there, you are never alone. 

Have a great week!
Hugs, 
Sonia

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Finally done...

I'm happy to report I'm finally done with setting up my sewing/craft room.

This room use to be my son's bedroom. He left a couple of tables and a dresser behind.  He has moved out and what to do with an empty room?

I've been needing a sewing/craft room, thus his room became just that.

I couldn't quite make it completely all my room, so there are some remnants of Josh's stuff (stuff he left behind) in the room.  I'm very proud of him and am glad he is on his own journey of life, but I miss him and having some of his old stuff in the room just feels right.  Now understand he did not leave very much of his personal belonging behind, but I did find a few things. So as you enter the room, there is a small wall dedicated to him. :)


As you go on in, this is what you see.

The white cabinet holds the fabric and batting.

The dresser holds all yarns and the blue bin tower next to the dresser holds miscellaneous items needed, like chenille pipe cleaners, freezer paper, interfacing, oil for the sewing machines, etc.

Then as you pan to the right you will find my sewing/cutting table. The cutting portion of the table lifts up out of the way and locks to the wall when not needed.  The closet holds my ironing board, my serger, tote bags, totes of felt and holiday decorations and bags.

Pan back to the left of the white cabinet and dresser and you find my craft area.  This is where I will do writing, scrap booking, bead work or crafts other than sewing and quilting.  All of my patterns and books are here as well.  On the top shelf the two book ends for the writing books are football cups Josh donated, that are weighted down.  They work good as book ends.  :)

Over the years I have somehow collected bird houses.  Not sure how that got started but they go perfect in this corner.  I won the large wall hanging  in a drawing last year.  The neat thing is, the log cabin type bird houses have shelves and drawers.  So I am storing scented waxes for my candle warmer in the tall one.

I have realized during the process of setting the room up and doing some sewing in the past two weeks that the dark green carpet is going to be a chore to keep clean with all the threads, fabric and such.  So in the future, when I can afford it, I plan to replace the carpet with a hard surface, so that clean up will be easier.  For now though, it will work just fine... I will just have to vacuum more frequently.  :)

In the picture of the craft area, you will notice a white pan on the table.  It is an old cake pan I am recycling into a magnetic board to post ideas and such.  Today David helped me by sanding the pan and drilling holes into it for a ribbon I will use to hang it by.  Then we took turns spray painting it white.  It was one of those things... I would put a coat of paint on it then get busy and forget about it and he would go out and put a coat of paint on it.  In a day or two, I will finish decorating it and share it with you.  

It was nice to put the finishing touches on the room today, now I can get busy with what I enjoy doing.  My hobbies.

Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Hugs, 
Sonia

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just catching up...

Hi, thought I'd write to catch you up on what's been going on.

Tonight, is the closing night of my vacation.  I sadly bid it adieu, as I prepare to go back to work tomorrow.

I have been able to accomplish quite a bit this past week and hope to have pictures to show you of the work I've done towards a sewing room.

I was able to catch up on sewing/quilting too and am happy to report I accomplished quite a bit on the Log Cabin quilt I have been working on.

Here's a pic to remind you what it looks like. It was laid out to be sewn into 7 sections.  I sewed all the sections and am happy to say I now have all the sections sewn together into one complete piece and am ready to add borders and finish the back.  Remember this is a "quilt as you go" quilt.


I also made curtains this week.  I made them for under $10.00.

How?

By using twin flat sheets.

I made measurements of the windows I needed to cover.  I used the top border of the sheets as the hems for the curtains.  I then took the bottom of the sheets and folded them 19" over the sheet.  Then marked 3" from the fold and sewed across the width of the sheet, this made a hem to above the curtain pocket.  Then I measure 4" from the sewn seam and sewed across the width of the sheet.  This created the pocket for the curtain rod to go through.  The remaining 12" of the sheet created the valance.  It is a very easy way to make curtains and on a budget too.  :)


Another thing I had time to do this week, was bead work.  Now understand I'm new at beading but I decided to make a bracelet as a gift for someone.   Here is how it turned out.


Then to round the week off nicely, I enjoyed the love and laughter of family.  The best part of my entire week though was talking to my son on the phone.  He is doing well, getting settled in at his new home, and sounds good.

That's it for now. Here's wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

Hugs,
Sonia



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Milestone

It was a cool morning, but had a sticky feel in the air, so I knew today was going to be a humid day.

It was also a milestone in a parent's life for me and David and for our son.  Joshua moved out today.  He moved out in a big way, like around 350 miles away, kind of way.  I know that many parents have survived this particular milestone but until you experience it, it truly doesn't hit home.  As I talked to my son and helped him get some last minute items boxed up, this morning, I told him it was probably the first time in my 29 years of "work life" that I woke up without an alarm and was ready for work with plenty of time, and I mean plenty of time to spare.  We chuckled about it and he told me I was just "antsy" because of the day, and he was right.

I'm excited for him and am very proud of the young man he has become.  I know that he will do well and am trusting God to watch over him, since I can't anymore.  

So it began around 6:00 a.m.  He and a friend of his who helped him move drove away with their cars loaded down and packed to the seams.

6 hours and 52 minutes later I received a text saying he made it safely and was moved in.

The worst part for me is in the moments where I am alone with my thoughts, like at work.  I know you are probably thinking "at work?", but when you have job that is rather mundane, it is easy for your mind to dwell on others things as you accomplish your work.  So when the sadness over my son moving out would try to creep in I made a conscious effort to stop, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and try to think of something else.  That doesn't mean my eyes stayed dry all day; I would be lying if I told you they did.  I had some tears of worry and sadness at first, then some tears of relief and joy when I knew he was safe.  I was able to hold it together for the most part and want to thank my family and friends who prayed for Joshua's safety while traveling and who prayed for me to be able to cope with it today.  I honestly believe the power of those prayers helped me get through the day.

I mentioned at the top of this blog the stickiness in the air this morning... well I got a taste of the fruits of that humidity on my lunch break today.  A storm moved in.  It wasn't too bad when I left for lunch, but it got heavier and darker as my lunch hour progressed.  I stayed out in my car for most of my lunch and as I sat there it got to where it was raining so hard I couldn't see out my car windows and my car was being buffeted by the wind.  When it let up a little, I grabbed my handbag and my umbrella and made a mad dash to the office.  Needless to say with the wind blowing and rain coming down like it was, my umbrella didn't help much.  I was soggy when I got in and the gray hairs I have been blessed with were having a dance party on my head.

I have next week off and I'm very ready for it.  I'm hope to get some sewing done.

Well, that's if for now.  Hope all is going well for you and yours.
Hugs, 
Sonia

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Yummy for the Tummy...

Thought I'd share a couple of recipes with you I tried this weekend.

The first recipe is a breakfast casserole I threw together.   My bunch really liked it and to be honest I think it may have been the best "thrown together" breakfast I've ever made.  :)

Sonia's Breakfast Casserole
1/2 bag of tator tots
1/4 - 1/2 green pepper chopped
8 oz. chopped cooked ham
5 eggs
Greek seasoning, to taste (or your favorite spice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of shredded cheese

In a large bowl, combine the tator tots, peppers, and ham, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Crack the five eggs into a separate bowl and add the Greek season and whisk as for scrambled eggs.  Add the eggs to the tator tot mixture, add the shredded cheese and mix all together.  Pour into a oiled casserole dish and back at 425° F for 20 - 25 minutes until set and golden brown.

This second recipe is a basic yellow cake recipe I used to make cupcakes. It came from my Taste of Home cookbook and recipe was submitted by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. I have adjusted the bake time to accommodate for cupcakes.
Yellow Layer Cake
2/3 cups softened butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar, add the eggs and mix until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the flour mixture and milk to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well.  
Grease two "12 muffin" tins or line the cups with cupcake liners.  Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter.  Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until tests clean with toothpick in centers. Makes 24 cupcakes
Ice with your favorite icing.  I used a cream cheese icing. 1 package softened cream cheese, 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/8 tsp salt, 3 cups confectioner sugar.  Mix all together until creamy.  To color the icing, separate it into portions and add food coloring.

Have a great week!

Hugs,
Sonia


Friday, July 4, 2014

Make some Noise!

Back in 1776, a man wrote his wife a letter and he wrote about Independence Day.

July 3, 1776  Independence day "ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever."

Who was this man?  The second US President, John Adams.


I trust you will thank God for your freedom. Now get out there and have a good time with your friends and family and make some noise!



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I love you too...

It has recently been brought to my attention, that often times we say "I love you" to God without even thinking He loved us first.

That hit me right in the heart.  I tell God I love Him every day, as if I'm waiting for Him to love me back.  As if I do my best for Him and say it just right... He will love me too - forgetting that He loved me first.

How can I forget that?

Especially when I look back and see what He has brought me out of and that He loved me so much He reached down into the miry pit I was in and picked me up.

Can you relate to what I mean?

So today, I tried saying "I love you too".  I thought about how much God loves me and said "I love You too".

Try it.

You can't help but get a little choked up and smile.

From now on I'm going to try my best to always remember He loved me first.

1 John 4:9-11 In this the love of God has made manifest among us, that God send his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.


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Thought I'd share some pics I took this evening after I got home from church.

A beautiful sunset set the western sky ablaze this evening.



And I have some new flowers and plants that are showing off their beauty.



That's it for now.

Have a great rest of the week!  :)
Hugs,
Sonia

Friday, June 13, 2014

Quilts, Quilts and more Quilts...

Hi, it's been quite a while, by my thoughts, since I last wrote.   I've been going through some things that have had an effect on me physically and emotionally.  I have lost the motivation and energy I normally have, thus I haven't done much in regard to quilting, writing, crocheting... you know the things I like to do.  I have a doctor's appointment on the 26th and hopefully the doctor will be able to help me out.

I still have enough motivation and energy to spend time with the Lord each day in bible study and prayer.  I tend to get a little low about not feeling well, but my time in prayer and study has helped me not to cave and let the whole thing get me down.

Though I have lost motivation, etc... I still enjoy a good quilt show.  Last weekend, Kathy, Judy, Susan, and I went to the Tulsa Quilt show.  We had a good time meeting new people and seeing all the items the vendors had for quilting.

I found a way upstairs and took these two overhead shots.










 As you can see, there were a lot of quilts, vendors, and people.



I took a bunch of pictures but will only show the different types of quilts instead of all the quilts I took pictures of.

There were Modern quilts                                                       There were Traditional quilts


                                                       

 There were Patriotic quilts                                                             There were Artistic quilts


 There were Big Block quilts






                  
                         
                                                  and their were Wooden quilts
                 









It was beautiful day and on the way back to Arkansas, I captured this picture of our beautiful flag.

I plan to visit a new quilt shop in Magazine, AR tomorrow morning.  I didn't know it was there until a friend told me about this week.

I hope all is going well with you and yours and wish you a beautiful weekend.

Hugs,
Sonia


P.S.  the 10 p.m. news is on and just mentioned the full moon on Friday 13th.  Evidently this is a rare occurrence.  So I went outside and captured this picture just a few minutes ago.