Friday, November 30, 2012

"The Best Gift..."

the best gift...
I'm afraid that I'm behind again... in my my reading and writing blogs. But we've been a bit focused on the arrival of our new grand daughter. She was due around Thanksgiving, but didn't arrive until this week. And there were a few complications that had everyone anxious.  But she's here now and perfect! So we are all thankful beyond belief. She has blue eyes and red hair - looks like a tiny Christmas elf.

There was a holiday song that Barbra Streisand sang years ago... called 'The Best Gift'. The lyrics have been running through my head all week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

as the pottery wheel turns...

clay bowl created

clay bowl drawing by Picasa

Thought this was 'interesting'.  Made a clay bowl at the studio and when I was playing with the photo I took, discovered that Picasa has a drawing tool.  Why I thought it was so interesting is because most of the time I sketch things out before I make them in clay.  This was the opposite... seemed odd.

More large mugs getting ready to be fired...

I'm better at making mugs... can now make them bigger, but am still struggling with pulling handles

Here are more birdhouse ornaments and large mugs on the greenware shelf waiting to go into the kiln.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to start getting the house ready for Christmas guests.  But maybe a day or two to rest first would not be too out of order.  I really need a nap...

Friday, November 23, 2012

the day is done... (Thanksgiving that is)

rose from our garden

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  This photo was taken of a rose that DH brought in from the garden a few days ago.  He brought it in as a bud, but when it opened, it was huge and really beautiful... a deep pink with red highlights. Don't know the name. We used to have lots of rose bushes (and knew all the names), but as time went by, we've not had as many or paid as much attention.  But this one caught our eye!

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I cooked for 3 days.  DH smokes the turkey, I made Bourbon Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow topping, my mom's Oyster Stuffing,  a new Green Bean Casserole (all fresh - no canned - but similar to the traditional recipe), a Hatch Chili stuffing (for the Vegetarians at the table), cranberry sauce, and cheese biscuits... also a traditional pudding recipe that has a cookie base (boys HAVE to have this) and an apple pie.

We ate, we laughed, we discussed the new baby who was sitting at the table with her mom and has not yet decided to grace us with her presence (she is due to make her appearance anytime). Then we all adjoined to the den so those who were inclined could continue watching the football games while others of us could either knit or sleep... until it was time for more coffee and dessert!  My daughter and her family (who live in the hill country and weren't with us for dinner this year) kept texting us and her brothers as to what was going on at her house.  The boys kept sending her pictures of mom's food.

All in all, it was a nice day. The cats enjoyed it too.  They laid around in baskets and on the sofa with the family... except for Molly who decided to sit on the bench next to DIL during dinner.  Mostly the cats are not allowed near the table while we're eating and they're pretty good about it. But Molly is 19, so when she joined us, no one was offended.  She just sat there and listened to the conversation. The weather was beautiful. This morning it's a bit cooler - 59 or 60 I believe.  

quilt we saw at shop in Celeste, TX

 Took this picture of a quilt my friend and I saw at this little shop in Celeste last week. I fell in love with it. My friend is the quilter, not me. I have one that I did start and it is almost finished except for the last bit... but as it turns out, when I have time on my hands, I'd rather work on the wheel or knit (and so it has sat unfinished in my closet for about a year). Truth is, I LOVE quilts! Just not making them myself. So we bought the material and she is going to make it for me.  She is one of those people that has quilts started and finished everywhere in her house. But, as I told her, there is no hurry on my part. I'm just excited to have found one that I really like. There are so many designs and materials out there that it makes my head spin. Some are gorgeous... just not my house style. This one is perfect.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

memories of Christmas past...

This picture was taken at my daughter's house either last Christmas or the one before.  For whatever reason, I really like it.  It looks so cozy.  They won't be with us this Thanksgiving, but we do hope to see them during the Christmas holidays.  When the grand kids were little, we always had Christmas at our house for everyone (actually we had all the holidays at our house).  Now that they are older and don't all live close by, it's a little harder to arrange.

But it was the same for us when our kids were young. We tried to get them to New Orleans to spend Christmas with their Grandparents each year... but as they got older, it was difficult to take bikes and dollhouses, etc. with us and then there were get-togethers with their friends that they would miss, etc. So going home for Christmas wasn't every year anymore.

This is another favorite photo.  It is Ghost under the Christmas tree.  The cats LOVE the Christmas tree ! We get a huge live tree and hang unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches so they can be swatted at by hidden paws.  There are consequences to this  -  we do find a large amount of ornaments spread about the den and under the furniture in the mornings. And occasionally one of them will get entangled in the lights and take half the strings off, but these things are only minor inconveniences.

And this one was taken of Julie as she sat inside a Christmas basket that had a bird lantern.  It's not especially good... but again, I like it.

Have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a surprise gift...

a gift

Good Morning!  It's 7:30 Tuesday morning and I'm up and about -  drinking my coffee and reading blogs. Life is good.  The cats and I had a early morning 'get together' by the Aga at about 3 am. Occasionally I awake around this time (must be age?) and if I can't go back to sleep, I head for the Aga and a cup of warm milk or tea. The cats are always sleeping on the small rag rug there (my DIL crochets these),  so I just join them.  With a cup of something hot in my hands, a warm stove at my back, and purring cats lying across and beside me, I am content.

My son brought me an unexpectant gift yesterday. Aren't they the best kind?  I had mentioned that I liked and owned a few Annalee dolls - mostly small Christmas and holiday elves.  Apparently he remembered this and thus, the picture above. Wasn't that sweet?

New grandbaby is due anytime. We're all waiting expectantly! Other grandkids are 14, 11, and 5... so, it's been a while since we've had a new baby around. We know it's a little girl, and we know her name is Aoife (pronounced EEf-fa - long E).  I'm told the name is Gaelic and means 'princess warrior'.

PS: Today the check spelling part of my blogger isn't working???

Sunday, November 11, 2012

the calm after the storm...

the lake behind my BIL's house

Wow! I feel like I've missed more than just 4 days.  Having my computer die on Election Day made me wonder what was up? But after the storm of election rhetoric, everything seems so calm now...

... unless you go to FaceBook where there's a lot of 'ranting' going on.  Don't go there. It's counterproductive. People need to 'try' to separate personal and political, which is difficult because the issues are personal.  But like the country, if you don't make this separation, families and friends become alienated. And people have a right to their own opinion. It may not seem reasonable or rational or even valid, but that's not anyone's call. Name calling is immature. Throwing 'facts' in people's faces doesn't change anything. Everyone have their own set of facts. People believe what they want to believe and they trust who they want to trust. Nothing will change that.  Enough said.

Now... where was I?  My computer just plain wouldn't come up on Tuesday morning. Apparently there was nothing major wrong, just a combination of something that had to do with  registration issues (?) and malicious software (?).  I asked if I did something to cause the problem. They said no and that it is hard to avoid totally. We have a good Virus Protection program. They did say that a lot of the malicious software comes in on 'games'. I don't play games. But my grandson does... did... (not anymore). He has an X-box and several other game systems, so he won't be hurting if my computer becomes 'off limits'.

Anyway, we're up and running again. This computer is a bit old. We still have 'vista'.  But as long as it works, we'll keep it. If we do have to get another at some point, we'll probably get a laptop. Being retired does change our perspective a little. We're more cautious with our spending... probably should be even more so, but we do think twice about most things.

In class, we're still working on finishing those 25 piece clay projects... and I will post some pics when they're completed.  At the moment I'm working on some small birdhouse ornaments for the Christmas tree. Here are a few that I've done so far.

And also remember today is Veteran's Day!  I keep a poem that someone had written taped up here by my computer because a long time ago when I read it, it moved me.  This is it:

Dear Lord, lest I continue
my complacent way,
help me to remember
somehow out there
a man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?  (W. H. Auden)

Monday, November 5, 2012


I have this card...
DH and I have this card.  We bought it a while back... too funny.  Seemed fitting sentiment for a Monday morning... and a busy week ahead.  Also reminds me of the song I have on my iPhone by the Irish Rovers called "The Unicorn"  (in the song, it's the unicorns that miss the boat).

Thanks for the photo editing advice some of you sent. I will be checking out some of the programs in the next few weeks. Don't think I'll have time this week with pottery deadlines and doctor's appointments. 

The weekend was fairly uneventful. I'm reading three books at once, "The Racketeer" by Grisham, and two cozy mysteries, one of the Midnight Louie series and a Pie Shop mystery.  I keep the Racketeer by the sofa and the 2 cozies by my bedside. This way I'm ready for long commercials or reruns in the evening (in the den)  and always read after I get into bed at night.  We don't have a TV in the bedroom. Tried it once years ago and decided that we definitely didn't like it. Oh, DH did make a huge pot of red beans and rice Sunday... it was great!!

books I'm reading

BTW, I still can't change my font style or size within blogger.  I'm sure it's something I did that caused this. But I went to tools at the top of my windows and enlarged it a bit.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween pumpkins...

Halloween pumpkins... can you see the serpent's tongue?

Happy Halloween everyone!  Actually we didn't get many trick or treaters last night.  The numbers have been dwindling the last few years.  Can't say that I'm upset about it.  I don't care for people ringing doorbells after dark... and don't think kids should be out on the street after dark either. But I do love to see the little ones in their costumes.  I guess the trend has gone to Halloween parties at churches and other places.  Perhaps this is safest for all.  For a while we had truck-loads of kids (literally hauled in on hay trucks, etc.) from other areas. Apparently this has stopped also.   I'd be curious to know if you had many trick or treaters in your areas? 

I did make a pumpkin pie!  I'm not a big pumpkin pie fan, but I make a 'adapted' version... mainly a custard pie to which I add one cup of fresh cooked pumpkin and plenty of cinnamon and sugar.    We like it!

This morning I've already been to Yoga class, stopped by the pottery studio for a few minutes to get a few more things into the kiln, then home for lunch by 2.  Now there might be just enough time to take a short nap with the cats before having to think about supper...  ;)

a few of the cups/mugs I'm working on at the studio...