Thursday, November 21, 2013

Somewhere Between Fall and Winter

It's the time of the year when Fall is ending and Winter is just beginning. Some of the trees are still in full bloom while others have completely lost their leaves, ready for the cold air to invade our area.

This is the view from the window in the family room. Like the leaves on the trees, I feel I have a foot in both seasons in so many ways. I have been doing craft fairs the last 3 weeks. Some call themselves "Fall Festivals" while others are labeled as "Holiday Fairs."

The stores, of course, have holiday decorations up, as do most of the cities and towns in the area. The weather changes on a daily basis. I've put the shorts and flip-flops away (always a sad thing) and yet can't completely get behind bundling up. When I can get away with capris, I still do, and sleeveless shirts still work with light sweaters over them.

In my mind, I am preparing for the cold months ahead. Looking forward to snow, yet dreading the icy cold wind and rain. They say it should be a harsh winter in terms of snow. I like snow days when I have nowhere to go ~ when I can look out the windows and everything is white ~ a real winter wonderland. On days like this, the family is all home, safe and sound. We can put on a movie, pop some popcorn. Hot chocolate is most definitely called for. Soups and stews for dinner are delicious.

I need to stop and appreciate the beautiful colors of fall and the crisp air. Appreciate the now while it is here. Live in the present and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

It was a quick Halloween here ~ I think mostly cause it was drizzling outside. We normally have tons of trick or treaters here. Tonight we had just under 50. They started right at dark around 5:30 and we were done by 8:00.

And also in the quick category we didn't put the decorations up until about 4:00 this afternoon

They looked pretty good in the dark. We used several little plastic pumpkin buckets and put tea lights in them. Definitely will do that again next year. It was a big hit.

And speaking of looking good, check out our neighbors' window decoration

Nate decided not to go out this year but Julz and her friends all went as cowgirls. I wasn't able to get a pic of them together but here's Julz

Sadie is still in her cone of shame ~ when anyone asked (she hung out on the porch with us) we said she was dressed up as the dog from "Up!"

But the good thing for Julz is that the kids that did go out got TONS of candy. Her bag of candy weighed in at 7 lbs!

Hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween! I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Merida's Adventures in Annapolis

So for Charlie's birthday last year, which was a Disney's "Brave" themed party, I got Charlie a Merida doll.  I also made Merida a few outfits.  I mean a girl has to have options, right?  It turned out to be a great gift for her and she loves dressing Merida up and I have continued to make her outfits throughout the year.

Well the family was meeting up in Annapolis, Md for the day, which is just about half way between Jen and I.  Of course Merida needed an appropriate outfit to wear for the outing so I made this (modeled here by Merida's friend Snow White)
Well, we had a great time in Annapolis.  Unfortunately some of us had a bit too much fun.  At first Merida was doing really well, stopping to smell the roses 
She loved climbing the trees 
She even made a new friend (who am I to judge her "friends")
But then we made a stop here... 
And maybe it wasn't such a good idea to let her have this...
But it was harmless enough  and kinda funny when she started doing stuff like this
Better watch your backside there.
But then when we weren't looking guess she was helping herself to this...
 And the next thing you know THIS is happening
 Now that can't be too safe, especially in her condition. And then she went really overboard with this little stunt
Fortunately the Annapolis police are very understanding... I think we should just let her sleep it off, don't you?
I think next time we take Merida on an outing we'll be watching her a little more closely.  You should take note however, she did not once loose her Tiarra.  Girls gotta have her priorities, right.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Anybody Still Out There?

So yes, I fell off the face of the earth. I can't believe it's been over a year. I have missed writing. I have also missed reading your blogs. I have no excuse. Life has been busy, but not any more than usual. So many times I have thought about writing. Made up great posts in my mind. Even took the pics to go with them. I had good intentions really.

So to catch you up a bit...

Richard and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Still as much in love as ever!

Nate (16) and Julz (14) are now both in high school. How in the world did that happen already?

Jen got her Ph.D ~ Congrats Dr. Cox!

Jeremy was offered and accepted a full time job at the Daily Times, Salisbury's newspaper.

Charlie (aka Smooshy) is now 3 1/2 and more adorable if that's even possible. She goes to school or as she calls it, "Charlie work," full time and is doing great.

Richard is still at the same job only it has been bought out by Dell so that's been a plus. And yes, that's an Apple computer.  That'll never change!

Me, I'm still sewing.   Still have the Etsy shop and getting ready for the upcoming craft show season. I have 4 shows booked this year. Two in Ashburn, one in Chantilly and one in Annandale.

Well that brings you up to date on our life ... I would love to hear about what's happening in yours.

I've got some great new ideas for posts so keep checking in. As Jack would say "I'M BAAACK!"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In a Teeny Tiny Town

So last week I actually did "take the road less traveled." I was on my way home from my favorite quilt store "Web Fabrics" in Purcellville and decided to take the smaller backroads instead of the highway I usually take.
I was a beautiful day for a drive and nestled in between Purcellville and Historic Leesburg is the tiny town of Hamilton, VA.

 Hamilton has a population of 528 and is a total of 192 acres ~ told you it was small. But it is not without merit.
Here's what I found in the Teeny Tiny Town....

 I found this great purple house all decked out for Halloween Here is a closer look at the sign   And speaking of signs, I saw this one outside the local real estate office Words to live by, doncha think?
 I also found this old Mason Lodge from 1873 It's empty now. It used to be Hamilton Lodge #37 back when Hamilton was a booming city, actually the second largest city in Loundoun county.

 Even more importantly I found more of the osage oranges I wrote about here and here. Although we no longer have spider crickets occupying the basement, I took more home just in case.
 And just so you know, it's definitely fall in Hamilton

So if this is what I find when I take the alternative route, I should do it more often and hopefully I'll always have my camera and note pad with me cause I never know what I'll find.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Experiment in Happiness

So I decided to try a little experiment on Friday.
Thursday I was watching "Katie" ie. Katie Couric show and it was about trying to find happiness or being happy. One of the things they talked about was how giving rather than getting can make you happy.
 Now I've always believed this to be true and I could always use a little happiness in my life so.... I went to my local Starbucks and bought a $20 gift card. I explained to the cashier that I would like her to use my card to pay for the next few people that came in to get coffee... But not to tell them it was me, just that someone wanted to "pay it forward."

 I sat nearby looking like I was busy working on my iPad but really listening and taking notes on what happened. I was not sure how this experiment would go. People here in north Virginia are for the most part privileged and seem to feel entitled so I was eager to see what would happen.

I went just before 11:00 am so that it wouldn't be too busy. The first couple of people that came in were all women in their 50's and 60's. It took each of them a minute to understand what was happening and it seemed to brighten their day a bit. One of them did ask "So should I do the same thing?" At first it sounded like she felt obligated but she genuinely seemed pleased.

 After them a young girl walked in. I guess she was either in her late teens or early 20's. She ordered a hot chocolate. When the cashier told her it had already been paid for she just shrugged her shoulders, took her hot chocolate and left. Ah youth! This was what I was afraid would happen.

 The next people made up for it though. It was two women (60's?)together and once they got over their disbelief they were just tickled. Immediately after them a couple came in ~ man and women maybe late 60's. They were just amazed and then asked the two previous women if they were they ones who had paid. They said "no" but the four of them stood there chatting very animatedly. From their conversation I got the idea they were thinking of doing the same thing in the future.

 So, that was my experiment. Did it make me happy? Not exactly. I would say I was pleased with the outcome. Did it make the people receiving the free coffee happy? Maybe a little. I'll tell you who it made happy .... Angela, the cashier at Starbucks. Every time she got to tell someone their order was already paid for she broke out in a tremendous grin. I think she was basically a happy person to begin with but this seemed to really make her day. So now that I think of it, making her happy did make me happy so I'd have to say my experiment was a success.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Date with FLOTUS

Okay ~ so just in case you didn't know FLOTUS is the  First Lady of the United States!

 Yes, I got to see Michelle Obama. This is not a political blog, nor will I make it one but whatever your affiliation, seeing someone in such a position I believe is always a plus.

 I subscribe to Ashburn Patch. It's a great little on line news source and I receive an email each day telling me what's going on in my community.

 Well last week, Thursday I think they posted saying that the First Lady would be speaking here in Loudoun County.

I have always admired Michelle Obama ~ and even more so after her speech at the Democratic National Convention. It was a great speech and made me like her even more

 The chance to see her speak in person was one I didn't want to pass up. Saturday I went over to the Obama campaign headquarters here in Leesburg and picked up two tickets. One for me and one for Julianne. Not only is she a fan but she is in civics this year and studying the election. A great reason, if there ever was one, to miss a couple hours of school.

Anyway... I picked Julz up from school at 1:15 and after a stop to grab a bite to eat headed to the fairgrounds arriving at 2:00. Doors opened at 2:45

There was quite a line and we waited and chatted and made friends while waiting. It was a beautiful day. Cool but not cold so hanging around was actually rather pleasant. They even handed out water bottles while you wait.
We were also lucky enough to snag some VIP tickets so once we got through security we were escorted around the large crowd right up to the front of the stage. We had a couple of people in front of us but still had a great view.
 Actually, once the speeches started the lovely couple in front of us put Julz in front of them so she really was right up front.
 Michelle was AMAZING. To hear her speak is something I will always remember. She is so passionate and so engaging. I really felt I was in the presence of someone great.
 I took tons of pics. I've only posted a few here because her face is so animated when she speaks, many of the pictures were not very flattering and trust me, she is a beautiful woman and I would not want to post anything less than flattering.
That was the good part. The bad part was that we (I and 1499 others) were crowded into a fairgrounds building with no windows and no air ~ not even fans. It got really hot and the air was really stale.
We waited almost 3 hours to hear her speak. That's 3 hrs in very crowded and way too warm conditions. Shortly after she started to speak the first person went down ~ fainted right in front of her. She did stop her speech to make sure they were okay. She spoke for almost an hour after which she started at one end of the center and went around shaking hands and meeting the people. Julz was in perfect position to be able to meet her.
See the woman in purple with blondish hair? That is Julz standing next to her. You can just see the top of her head.Michelle Obama is just a couple of people away from them. See the next pic? You can still see the woman in purple and she is next in line to meet Mrs. Obama. Now look at the next pic. You can still see her purple shirt but she is passing out, right on Julianne. Michelle Obama is right in front of her.
That's the secret service man who has now shoved my daughter out of the way ~ moving her so that Michelle Obama, after making sure the fainted woman is okay has now moved on to the person on the other side of Julianne, making NO CONTACT with my daughter.

 While we were concerned for the woman, Julz and I were so upset. She was inches from shaking her hand, and now it would not happen. Actually right after this another woman to my left also passed out (I told you it was hot and stale in there!) and this time the secret service men started shoving through the crowd, pushing my new friend Gina right into my chest (I think she may have gotten to 2nd base!) and then shoving me (very roughly I might add) out of the way. I know they are just doing their job but they are very rough and not considerate at all.

 At this point I have now lost site of Julianne and can't get to where I think she might be. Fortunately Gina found her and was able to grab her and pull her back to us. We then had to wait for Mrs. Obama to leave the fair grounds before they would let us out of the building ~ so now we have 1500 trying to push towards the doors... we did get out fairly quickly and the fresh air felt amazing. All in all it was a really good day. We also got to see Ann Holton — wife of Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine. She seems like such a nice person and while I need to do a bit more research on her husband it's likely he's got my vote as well.

 Another impressive candidate we actually got to meet was Kristin Cabral, Democratic candidate for Congress. I came to her attention because of the screen bag I made and brought with me just for this event. Yes, I have Obama fabric! Was there ever a doubt? Anyway we had a great chat about women in small businesses and I liked what she had to say about how she could help people just like me. You know she'll have my vote for sure. She also asked about buying one of my bags. COOL! I didn't think to get a pic of her but you can go to to see her and read all about her. If you are in Loudoun County definitely check her out!

I know Julianne and I will never forget this day!