Monday, April 29, 2013

A Month's Worth of Layouts

 I'm finally getting around to scrapbooking about our trip to England in the fall of 2011. I realized a long time ago that I do not want to scrapbook an entire album about each trip we take---especially since Butch is retired and we are traveling so much. Instead, I do one double-page spread that is a fold out.
 By opening up, it gives me 6 pages to work with. I use a "timeline" format. It's just how my organized mind thinks. I used a zig zag stitch straight across the pages to make the line.
 Mindy goes to NOLA every year for Mardi Gras. This layout will go in to her album.

 This page is in honor of my dad who died at the age of 36 from a heart attack. On the right side, is a page out of the family phone log. I picked this page because my dad was writing a statement for a radio program that he appeared on. I'm happy to have this sampling of his handwriting.
 Morgan and her Nathional Honor Society induction.

 "Get away Girls" about our Eads family retreat that we have every year. The flower on the left is a great way to use bits from scraps that you just can't bear to throw away.
 "Some Things Will Never Change" is a layout about---no matter what changes come in the future, the trees will continue to change. I purposely showed some gorgeous trees amidst some power lines. Most likely, the power lines will disappear, but those trees will keep changing colors.

 I did a little close-up here so you could see that I used a dimensional paint on top of the die cut letters to make them stand out a bit more.

 Here's another double page fold-out about our trip through New England. I had so many photos, that I used them to cut the title "Meandering Through New England."
 Here's that page opened up.
 On this layout, I used scraps and punched squares. I then rounded the corners and sewed them down. I did that at the farm. I'm ashamed to admit that my bobbin thread ran out last fall. I haven't taken the time to get out the book to figure out how to refill it. Can you tell that I don't really know how to sew?
This is my layout for AYM. I used old phone book pages, tore them in to strips, pleated them and sewed them with a red zig zag stitch.

I have the rest of the AYM layouts posted on the AYM Blog.

Gettin' my bloom on

I took these pictures before our trip. I plan to take a stroll through the garden again to see what's new. A lot happens pretty quickly here in the spring. I have some blooms I haven't seen in years. If you blink, you miss them. 

It's raining today and you know what they say about April showers. I love this time of year. Everything is so green. That doesn't last long. We still manage to keep our lawn partially green during the heat of summer due to our sprinkler system and the huge water bills to go with it. 
 I always look forward to the "creeping phlox." It provides such a cheery sight from the kitchen window.
'Hellebores'---lenten rose---is one of my first bloomers. I love their droopy nature.
I have white 'dicentra'---bleeding hearts in my white garden. This is a shady area, so white flowers really brighten up the space.
And, of course, I have to have the pink ones in the shade garden.
The hostas are popping up in front of the Virginia blue bells.
I don't remember the name of this fern amidst the bluebells.
This isn't even all the "babies" I have. I'm tellin' ya'---you need to come get some. They are beautiful.

The ostrich ferns spread a lot, but they are also easy to control. Either pull out the babies or give them away. I'd rather give them away.

The pond definitely needs cleaning, but I'm happy to see that our fish have survived. These are just a few of them. I hope the herons don't spot them again this year. We've had problems for the last two years, but never the 16 years before. I hope that doesn't mean they have memories. Our fish are about 3 inches long now. The grow about an inch a year.

When I get a chance to take another walk through the yard, I'll send an update. I know the lilacs are in bloom.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

There's Been Some Talk...

on some of the blogs I follow about eReaders. Many voracious readers---of whom I count myself among---are resistant to give them a try. They really don't know what they are missing. Here's my story:

I was on the fence about the Kindle for a couple of years. I felt like I would miss the tactile experience of a real book---plus I have a huge library at home. Butch gave me a Kindle, a nice surprise for Christmas two years ago and I cannot turn back. I even have the cheapest one---nothing fancy, only black and white and no backlight (my booklight clips on just fine).

There are several features that I absolutely love:
---the built in dictionary (I'm obsessive about looking up words).
---you can create categories for you books just like a library.
---I created a category called "Books Read in 2013"---It's really fun to know how many books I've read in a year (I'm already at 15 for 2013 and half way through book 16).
---And best of all---I have the Kindle app on my iPhone. It syncs both devices. Now, I am NEVER without my book---and am always at the exact place I left off. That's HUGE for me.
---Oh, and did I mention FREE books? There are thousands. It's easy to get carried away. I limit myself to only those that have been rated 4.5 stars or above.
---The books are cheaper--about $10-$12 per book---many are a lot less. Way cheaper than a $25. hard back (my preferred book choice).
---I only have to charge it about once a month (without all the fancy stuff and internet access, it doesn't eat up the battery life).
This gives you an idea of my categories. "Books read in 2012" is a little misleading. I actually read 33 books. 2 of them were trilogies which was cheaper to download together. As a result, the trilogy is contained in one book. Stephanie gave me the French design "skin" to cover my Kindle.
Butch got me this pink cover when he gave me the Kindle. It fits nicely in my purse. It stays on all the time, so, just like opening a book, it's ready to go. You can see the charging cord on the bottom. I takes about an hour to completely recharge it.

Now for the downside:
---I often cannot remember the title or author of the book I'm reading because I don't see it constantly when I pick up the "book."
---Plus, without seeing the cover of the book all the time, I do not have a point of reference for it. If I had my way, when the Kindle's in "sleep" mode, the cover of the book I am reading would be the screensaver rather than some random book that they want you to buy.
---you have to turn them off on airplanes---leaving me without it for about 40 minutes---bummer. Still those are minor inconveniences compared to the upside.

A problem:
A friend from bridge loaned me this book. I didn't ask for it. I didn't want it. She just brought it. She said it's really good and wants to discuss it with me. Okay, so now I have an obligation to read this book. I told her that it would be a while. Actually, I'll go ahead and start it next. I'm tempted to just download it on my Kindle, read it and then give this one back after. She would never know the difference. But what a waste of money. I'll go ahead and read it. This will be the first "real" book I've picked up in 18 months. I guess it will be good to see if I've missed "real" books. But I doubt it. Plus, how do I add another book to my "Books read in 2013?" I'll just have to remember to add one to the count every time I look at that. Now we're talking math. Oh, woe is me.

I gave my brother, Ronnie a Kindle for his 60th birthday. I got him just the basic one like I have because, really, it's perfect. I don't need to read my email or access the internet. I just want to read on it. Plus, it was 60 bucks---sort of the perfect idea for a 60 yr. old's gift. I don't know whether he likes it or not. He's retired now, so he has more time for reading.

I'll never forget the year that I got mine, I found out that 5 of the little nieces and nephews on one side of the family ages ranging from 6-11 got Kindle Fires for Christmas. Here they were, little kids with the fancy schmancy ones. They play games and watch videos on theirs. I wasn't about to mention that I had the cheapie (although it wasn't quite that cheap back then). I just want to read on mine.

So, the bottom line is this:
---if you want to give it a try and your basic motivation is reading, then just get the cheapie. That's really all you need. Plus, if you decide you don't like it, you haven't invested a fortune.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What's Happenin'?

Outside my window: Spring has definitely sprung. When we arrived home on Wednesday, I noticed that my lilacs are in bloom. I need to get some pictures, but it's raining today. I took these photos before our trip:
This ornamental cherry tree is a welcome greeting when you pull in to the driveway. I always say I'm going to cut some branches and bring it inside, but I never do. Either I forget, or I'm heading out-of-town again.
 This is one of my favorite views from the kitchen window. The creeping phlox surrounds the pool---draping gently over the wall.
You can see all of my "baby" ostrich ferns greeting you to the shade garden on the front of the house. They are ready to dig if anyone needs some.

I am thinking: What a busy day I have. I always seem to say that. But really, it's all fun. I'm meeting Stephanie, Merrill and Karolyn for a little business. Then I'm off to lunch with Mindy to Bricktops before meeting "Mike" from American Pickers at the bookstore. Mass after that, then a relaxing evening in front of the tv with my stitching. Connie's way ahead of me, I better get moving!

I am thankful for: The fact that I had just a few hives on my trip---but required no prednisone. That means there's no excuse to NOT get this weight off!

From the kitchen: I'm not cooking today since we went out to dinner last night to celebrate Stephanie and Nicky's engagement and Mindy's promotion. We went to Park Cafe---excellent---except for the duck confit with gnocchi's and foie gras. Stephanie, Nicky and Mindy have friends who work there. They sent out at least $100 worth of appetizers---fried oysters, goat cheese, tapinade, calimari---and then that duck confit all around. Too much. We were full from all of that, but you can hardly NOT order dinner after you got so much "free" stuff. 

For tonight, I have leftover spaghetti in the fridge.

I am wearing: Still in my robe. It's early. 

I am hoping: to finish my class kits today.

I am reading: The Beggar King---a free book on my Kindle and so far, it's really good. Takes place in the 1260's. I actually read two books on my trip too. At the moment I can't really remember them.

I am busy creating: Since I got home, I haven't had any time to create. I'm working on class kits. I'm behind on Project Life and The History Project---although I did some of the HP on my trip. I think I'm about 3 weeks behind.

I'm bummed: 
These phlox should be draping over this wall too, but my lawn "guys" got a little too carried away with their weed eater and cut it off last year! It hasn't had a chance to grow back yet. Bummed!

I am hearing: Christina Perri---love her. She did the song for the last Twilight movie.

Around the house and garden: I think I've adequately covered the garden. As for the house--always a lot to do. But right now, I have to concentrate on birthdays, First Communion, and graduation.

In other news: Jordan got a new job! She's going to be working in the produce department at Kroger's. That's pretty funny. She doesn't know anything about produce. I can't wait to see her in her hair net---advising people about fruits and vegetables. She's in training this week, so I'm sure she'll have a thing or two to teach me. The best part is if she wants to work while she's in college, she can work at a Kroger's in Knoxville. Plus, they'll save her job here for when she's home at Christmas break and summer.

One of my favorite things right now: Our Direct TV---tape 5 shows at a time and watch them from any tv. The downside---I have more taped than I can possibly watch.

I appreciate: Teenagers that like to spend time with us.

I remember: How to "add a row" in Excel. That's HUGE. I don't do spreadsheets often enough, so when I do, I have to learn it all over again.

I forgot: how many pages I have to put in to scrapbooks.

I regret - that I didn't buy that rug in Turkey. Yes, it's still haunting me.

How the weekend is shaping up: Butch leaves for Birmingham tomorrow, so another day I don't have to cook! I just might get to "create" something. I have a bunch of pictures to take of layouts I've made in the last month (from out farm crop). I'll post those in a couple of days.

I hope your weekend is shaping up just the way you want it to.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Now I'm just going to be obnoxious. It's 7:30 a.m. I went to bed at 8 p.m. and got up at 4:30 a.m. I feel great and am on warp speed.

I've done all the laundry, completely unpacked, made my bed and have even uploaded and ordered  my photos from Walgreen's. They have a good deal going on---10 cent prints for 75 or more (email me if you want me to forward the promo). I'll pick them up this morning after I stop by the liquor store to buy some of the wine we enjoyed on the cruise. I want to have a Mediterranean "happy hour" with the family tomorrow and show off our pictures at the same time. Picking out just 77 was pretty hard. Still, that's pretty many for one trip.

 Here are the souvenirs I brought home---most are gifts. I'm having "non-buyers" regret---I should have splurged and bought that rug in Kusadasi. Bummer.
 I hate that it looks like I'm going to have to get out the iron. I hope it still works since it's been about 18 years. Not really, but maybe.
 Here are my trip envelopes. All memorabilia for each day is tucked inside with trip notes on the outside. This is going to make my scrapbooking really easy (plus the reports on my blog).
I'm going to miss waking up to this every day. Back to the real world!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


And after 23 1/2 hours on the road, it feels good! We got home about 5:30. By 6 p.m. I had taken a shower, unpacked my big suitcase and started a load of laundry. I hate unpacking, so I do it right away when I get home. I mean RIGHT away! If I don't, I can procrastinate for a week!

Anyway, it was a fabulous trip, but it sure is nice to be home! I haven't slept much today, so I'm hoping that when I go to bed tonight, I'll wake up tomorrow and not have any jet lag. We'll see...

I'm happy for high speed internet.

Oh, and by the way---I didn't make my bed the whole time!!

Istanbul, Turkey

This is it, our last day. We were very excited to be in Istanbul and had big plans. Of course, it's just our luck that it is a holiday here. Everyone is off work and ALL the museums, palaces and monuments are FREE to the locals---making everything impossibly crowded. Plus the best palace of all---Tokapi Palace is closed. Are you kidding me? The traffic is horrendous---prohibiting Karolyn and I to go to the Grand Bazaar after our tour. Real bummer!!! By the time Butch and Bruce got there from their tour, they only had a few minutes to look around. Still, we made the most of it. It's a beautiful city and we both enjoyed our tours.
 Our view from the ship as we sailed into Istanbul---the European side. Istanbul is the only city that lies in two continents.
Butch and I with Istanbul in the background. It's not really all that cold, just really breezy on top of the ship. We could hear the chanting from the ship. I thought it seemed pretty eerie. Almost surreal---more like wailing. Kind of creepy.
 This is the palace that Karolyn and I visited. It was incredible with so many crystal chandeliers. I've already forgotten the name (or at least I can't pronounce it). It begins with a "B" and I'm much too tired to go back and look it up. I'm trying to get a few pictures downloaded before I go to bed. It's nearly 10:30 and I have to get up at 2 a.m. to leave for the airport. I'm in a rush.
The gardens were gorgeous. There were many trees I had never seen before.

These have been the most beautiful gardens of the entire trip.

 After our tour, we had the most wonderful Turkish tea. We went to a palace that is now a hotel---the Cigaron. They started us off with champagne. Then came the tea---I liked it just fine.
 While we were on our tour and at tea, the "boys" went across this bridge to Asia to a different palace. It was the summer palace to the one we saw.
They got to go to the grand bazaar. Can you see how crowded it was? They said it wasn't that much fun.
This is the palace that they toured. They got to hear all the chanting at 5 p.m. We girls missed it because we were inside. 

After we all met back on the ship, we had a final cocktail and then dinner. It's over, done. We're packed and our bags are outside our door waiting to be picked up. Now comes the long ride home. Tomorrow will be a very long day. You may not hear back from me for a few days. It will be good to get home.

Where ever I wander, where ever I roam, one thing's for sure, there's no place like home---or something like that!!