Tuesday, December 23, 2008

THE GIFT

May we all remember...the GIFT.  
Here are the words, but please watch/listen to the video (below): A poor orphan girl named Maria Was walking to market one day She stopped for a rest by the roadside Where a bird with a broken wing lay A few moments passed till she saw it For its feathers were covered with sand But soon clean and wrapped it was traveling In the warmth of Maria's small hand She happily gave her last peso On a cage made of rushes and twine She fed it loose corn from the market And watched it grow stronger with time Now the gift giving service was coming And the church shone with tinsel and light And all of the townfolks brought presents To lay by the manger that night There were diamonds and incense and perfumes In packages fit for a king But for one ragged bird in a small cage Maria had nothing to bring She waited 'til just before midnight So no one would see her go in And crying she knelt by the manger For her gift was unworthy of Him Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness "Maria, what brings you to me? If the bird in the cage is your offering, Open the door and let me see." Though she trembled, she did as He asked her And out of the cage the bird flew Soaring up into the rafters On a wing that had healed good as new Just then the midnight bells rang out And the little bird started to sing A song that no words could recapture Whose beauty was fit for a king Now Maria felt blessed just to listen To that cascade of notes sweet and long As her offerings was lifted to heaven By the very first nightingale's song  
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS! !

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tagged, Ticked and a Tutorial

     Here's something I didn't previously share with you:  A picture of what a deer will do to a Lincoln Navigator traveling at 75mph:
and a pic of what a Lincoln Navigator traveling at 75 mph will do to a deer:
Nope, not our Navigator (it used to be a nice vehicle).  This happened when we were traveling to my son's house for Thanksgiving.  We were behind the Navigator when this happened and saw the whole thing.  Okay, my hubby saw the whole thing.  I was sound asleep, abruptly awakened.  We stopped to make sure the passengers in the Navigator were okay.  
They were fine but the deer, or buck if you want to be more specific, had hopefully had better days.  The opposite antler and the rest of the one in this picture went opposite directions.
Kathy at KATCOLLECTS tagged me to list 15 things that I'm not afraid to admit and SIX miscellaneous things about myself.  
Since I'm pretty much an open book and have you already know quite a bit about me, I'll try to not repeat myself.  First the 15 things I'm not afraid to admit:
     1.  I grew up Catholic but preferred Lutheran churches when I became an adult.  Now, I don't tag myself as being any certain religion.  I am a Christian and love the Lord but don't label myself. 
     2.  I love cheese.  Give me a grilled cheese sandwich, cheese over my broccoli, in my chili - and I'm a happy girl.
     3.  Speaking of being a happy gal, I'm a giggler.
     4.  I like driving a straight shift, although both our vehicles have automatic transmissions.
     5.  I have terrible vision.  I'm a -10, which basically means that taking a step in an unfamiliar area without wearing glasses or contacts could be dangerous for people and things around me as well as myself.
     6.  The last time I was timed speed typing, it was 110 words per minute on an electric typewriter.
     7.  I learned to type in high school on a manual typewriter.
     8.  I prefer cooler weather to hot but love the look of tan skin.
     9.  I'm extremely "low maintenance".
    10. Snakes all look alike to me so I consider them all poisonous.  
    11.  I don't want to take the time to know them (see #10).
    12.  I once broke up with a guy because he gave me a hickey.  (He knew I think they make a person look "cheap" and hate them with a vengeance . He thought it was funny to pin me down and give me one in an obvious spot on my neck.  His actions told me he had no respect for my standards and, although we had dated for over a year, I haven't talked to him since.)
    13. I STILL hate hickies and believe they make people look not only cheap but ignorant. 
    14. Loreal Feria is a very good friend of mine.
    15. When we were separated, I used to fantasize about what I would wear to and how good I would look at my ex-husband's funeral.
     Yaaay, I did it!  And now for the other six things:
1.  I'm not a primper; I rarely wear makeup at home and usually brush my hair only a couple times during the day.
      2.  I'm frustrated by lazy people.
3.  I still see people and objects when looking at clouds.
        4.  One of my most favorite sounds is a baby's laugh.
        5.  I want to some day visit Alaska.
        6.  I think "Happy Birthday" is difficult to sing.
Okay, now to tag six people to do the same!  Hmmm, who to choose...
        Mary at Mary's Meanderings
        Michelle at Country Vintage
        Janet at Janet's Art Journal
and YOU!  Let me know when you've posted your items!
Now, take a look at the above picture.  Okay, I'm not truly ticked at this, per se but it does ANNOY me that the price of groceries keep going UP as the quantity of product and the size of the product go DOWN!  Have you noticed that when you buy a pound of bacon, it's not truly a pound but 12 ounces?  (I still buy the full pound, just for sake of principle.)  And I remember when a slice of cheese used to actually hang over a slice of bread.  That's all for my soapbox today.
And now, a tutorial!  I found this while surfing the other day:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Fake_Cupcakes/
and thought you might like to play with it.  I tried it and here's my finished product:
I used this for the "cupcake":  
It was the cheapest stuff at the hardware store.  If you use a more expensive brand, you'll probably end up with more than the approximate 2 dozen that I ended up with.  Here is a picture of the cupcakes as they were drying.  
A couple things I discovered:  They set up better if you keep them in the cupcake tins; however, it takes them longer to dry.  If you "ice" them before they're completely dry, you'll end up with cupcake seeping out from under the icing.  
I tried making them in the foil cupcake things but that was pretty much a mess.  A failure.  Flop. They wouldn't hold their form and kept falling over to one side.  I also added some scent to the icing for a nice smell.  Good luck with them!  

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little of This plus a Little of That equals a LOT

      Have you been working on your "To Do" list?  It's a looong one at this time of year!  A little of this and a little of that makes for a lot of stuff to do!
     And that's what I've been doing - a little of this, a little of that and I am no longer wondering if it will all get done before Christmas because I know it won't.
      We're having Hubby's family here for a before-Christmas get-together Saturday night.  No gift exchange - we haven't done that for several years.  We now just buy for our individual families.  Sometimes, however, we do all put a nominal amount of cash into a pot - $5 or $10 each - and one of the children draws a name.  The winner gets the pot!
     I've been doing some baking, trying to work ahead a little for this Saturday night but mainly getting goody plates together for my neighbors before they all scatter off for their holiday travels.  Above is a peek at the corner of one I took to a neighbor yesterday:  Cupcake-sized cherry cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, apricot cookies and the first kind of cookies I made in grade school home economics class.  I'm sure you've had them - oatmeal, peanut butter, baking chocolate - you mix 'em on the stove and let them dry on waxed paper.
     Anyway, all our neighbors get a plate of these goodies, plus a little stocking ornament made by yours truly.  The above picture is classic chocolate chip cookies and the apricot cookies.  Did I mention that the icing on the apricot cookies is made from powdered sugar and Amaretto?  Mmmm, soo good!
I've mentioned before that I always gave my kids a special ornament each year for the tree.  When grandkids started coming along, I continued the tradition.  This year, I opted for a simple touch - they'll each get a tiny stocking decorated for their individual personalities.
They look really cute on gifts and they are super simple to make.  If you make them from felt, you don't have to worry about edges raveling.  I just cut them in the shapes I wanted them (a pattern really isn't necessary) and sew a stitch around the edge.  Embellish them with lace, buttons, bells, whatever.  I did these while I was watching SURVIVOR last night.  (Congratulations to Bob - though I was kind of hoping that Sugar would get it.  She didn't get a single vote; I thought that surely Matty would have voted for her.)
     And now, I'm off to my Rheumatologist for my 3-month appointment.  Like I said, a little of this, a little of that...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Watch Dog the Wuss

     Is your dog a scaredy cat?  Seriously, I'd like to know if anyone else has a dog who behaves like mine.
     I've had Frankie since he was five weeks old.  Okay, four weeks old if you count the fact that I pulled him out of the crawl space under the house next door (at the time), took him home and pulled about 30 ticks off him, bathed him in flea dip (I know you're not supposed to flea dip puppies that young but you can only imagine the fleas) and ended up taking him back to his mama in the middle of the night because he whimpered so bad.
     Still, the next day, he waddled out from under the house to greet me when I took dog food to his skinny Lassie-lookalike Mama.  After waiting another week to once again take him home and repeat the tick removing process and another flea bath, he's been with me since.
     This is Frankie now, enjoying a bone.  His Daddy looked like a Chow and Frankie has that same purple Chow tongue.  But his tongue isn't what I wanted to tell you about.  It's his not-s0-Chow personality.  
     I love my dog and will admit that I may have coddled him some when he was a puppy.  He used to stay with me indoors until my hubby and I got married.  Grinnin Grampa would have none of that.  So, for the last ten years, Frankie has been an outside dog.  It didn't take long to discover certain, um, little traits he has that you wouldn't expect of a someone who is part Collie, part Chow, part whatever.  (Note that I did refer to him as "someone" instead of "dog".  He doesn't know any better.)
     For example, Frankie is afraid of the dark.  The sun would go down and Frankie would bark at any shadow that would move, like a falling leaf.  He wouldn't eat after dark so the first year our now outside dog experienced a time change that would force his dinner time to be after sundown, my sweet hubby installed a timer light in his doghouse.  It is set for ten minutes, plenty of time for Frankie to see what he is eating.
     Other special arrangements had to be made for him, too.  For example, his house sits upon blocks so it's off the ground and better ventilated for him.  And then, there's the carpet that was installed to make the floor more comfy.  Of course, there is insulation behind the walls...and his heated water dish to prevent his water from freezing in the winter.  But those things are pretty much common sense.  Okay, maybe not common sense, but common for us to do for Frankie.
     His house is located under a couple pine trees that keep him shaded in the summer and block the wind in the winter.  They also help to keep the snow and rain away from him.  Hubby put a sheet of clear flexible plastic (to serve as a "door") up for him one year to help keep the inside of his doghouse dry and to give him additional insulation.  But Frankie wouldn't go inside.  He was afraid of the plastic.
     The weather guy predicted that the temps would get down into the teens the other n ight.  We were concerned that Frankie would be too cold so Hubby took a couple blankets and some old throw rugs up to him.  We just knew he would appreciate being able to snuggle up in those blankets. 
     Instead, when we checked on him before midnight, he was still outside his house.  He was afraid of the rugs and blankets.  Sooo, at 12:15 the other morning, we traipsed up to his dog lot and physically wrestled our 60-something pound dog into his doghouse, blocking the door until he stopped trembling.  Once he laid down and we were satisfied he knew the blankets were his friend, we traipsed back down to our house and went to bed.
     He seems to have now adapted.  
     Just to show you we've done a few things around here to get ready for Christmas (remember, we started getting the shop ready in October so we've already had over two months of it), here's our outdoor Nativity:
Sweet Hubby made the "stable" a few years ago.
And, we finally put up our living room Christmas tree!  Instead of the big green tree we usually laden down with a couple hundred ornaments, we opted to instead use our skinny white tree and put just a few select things on it.  It's really different for us.
     
It's more of a shabby chic look.  I couldn't get a good picture of the entire tree, so I just took individual shots of a few of my favorite ornaments.
      
The white tree is pretty, but I kinda miss all the ornies.  Don't be surprised if I end up using the green tree in the den...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A WINNER and BABIES of my BABIES

My two babies!  (When did they become BABES???)
And here are their babies (including the one wiggling around in my DIL's tummy!)  The two sitting on the ends of the loveseat are my daughter's daughters.  The boy, the two girls in the middle and the one hidden under the pink sweatshirt are my son's children.
My eldest granddaughter is now taller than me!       She is now 15, soon to be 16.  I've told her several times that she's not allowed to grow up.  But, just like a kid, obviously has never listened.  Here are all the grownups, as my grandkids called us:  DIL Dana, son Brad, daughter Cindy, me, GrinninGrampa, SIL Tim.
The three youngest granddaughters and I made cookies together.All the kids were supposed to participate but the ones at the opposite end of the grandkid-age-category (eldest granddaughter and grandson, who is currently the youngest) bailed on us.  They did help a little, however, with the decorating and helped a lot with the eating. 
      
     I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours!
     What's that?  You say enough of the family pictures and let's get on with the monthly Giftaway?  Oh.  Okay.
    But first, didn't you notice that I never posted the pictures of all the prizes?  You saw the picture of the Christmas cup and saucer and I said that I might give away another vintage apron.  
     Well, I've changed my mind about giving away one of my aprons.  I've decided to give away TWO of them.  (It IS the month for giving, you know...)
     The winner will also receive a couple of my handmade ornies (ornaments).  I just need to know whether this person prefers primitive or cottage-style.  And of course, there are always the surprises that I like to include.
     So, who is the winner?  The name that was drawn this month is:  Judy of Brocante and Etc. 
      Congratulations, Judy!  Please email me at Miller.sher@yahoo.com with your snail addy and preference.
     And now it's time for me to get to work on this month's Giftaway!  Leave a comment to qualify.  Everyone who left comments before this post (December commenters only ;) ) already have their names in the proverbial pot!  Good luck!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Here we are, in Indiana, having a wonderful time with my children and their families! From our family to yours, have a wonderful day of THANKSGIVING! Love, Sher

Friday, November 21, 2008

Forensics (con't), Friday Fleas and Flurries

Just a quick update on our exciting forensics file (okay, sometimes a girl has to put some drama in her blog):  Our neighbor has been reimbursed for his mailbox!  Although we haven't been in touch with the other property owners, I have to presume that the driver of the truck is or has taken care of their damage. My entry was actually meant to be typical Grinnin Gramma humor, at least the parts with the forensics evidence.  Since, except for maybe the pride of the driver, nobody was injured I really thought the fact that the truck was wound up like a top in barbed wire but the sheriffs department still needed an eye witness, was kinda funny.
 Before we went to bed last night, I opened the door to cast a final check on our property.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this:  Our immediate world was covered in snow!
I snapped a couple pictures, believing it would all be melted by morning.  Instead, this is what was happening outside at 7:00 this morning:    Here's the view from my kitchen window:    We're even under a severe weather watch and it's almost 1:00 PM as I write this!  A scene like this isn't at all unusual for Indiana (which is where we'll be heading tomorrow - yaaaaaay!) but it is totally atypical for NE Tennessee.
Click on the polka-dotted logo for Friday Flea Market vendors!  Many thanks to Polly (Counting Your Blessings) for putting this together for us!
Last but not least, my offerings for Friday Flea Market are a few of my handmade Christmas stockings:
Additional pictures are on my Webshots album.  Just click the picture!
 
Primitive stocking with charm - $12.00 plus postage
Shabby chic, lightly aged with teastain - $13.99 + postage
Large shabby chic stocking with lace inset - $15.99 + postage
I'll be in Indiana for this next week, grateful to my neighbors for watching our house, dog and parrots while we're gone.  Therefore, you can email me at Miller.sher@yahoo.com if you have any questions about my flea market items (last week's are still available, too!) but they won't be mailed until a week from Monday.
Have a great Thanksgiving!  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Contentment and a Forensics Puzzle (Sorta)

Contentment and Forensics?  What do these two have in common, you ask.  My answer:  Aw, you know me.  Absolutely nothing, except for the fact I have a little of both in today's blog entry.
First, contentment.  I earlier signed up with MeGardenGal to participate in her 30 days of contentment therapy.   I haven't done a very good job staying on topic.  It's not because I'm discontented.  It's because I am contented.  
Yes, during times of unrest and financial distress, I remain somehow somewhat contented.  Of course, I have my days.  Yesterday was one.  Nothing seemed to go the way it was "supposed" to.  I couldn't find important information we needed and I became very frustrated and irritated.  It threw me into a mad document-filing frenzy (that still isn't finished as of today) but I am now content with the knowledge that so many unnecessary papers are no longer in the way (Thank Goodness one of the banks today sponsored a paper shredding event!).  Keeping things filed properly and in their place helps keep me content.  I happen to be married to a man who could seemingly care less and this household has, of recent years, somehow edged its way over to that dark side.  
Yet still, I remain content until something happens (such as yesterday) when I explode off my proverbial rocker and do my level best to put things together again in a (for me) more liveable situation.  Ah, contentment!
Now, turning to forensics:  No, I'm not a real forensics scientist, although I watch a lot of actors who portray them on TV.
That was the disclaimer.  Now for the description of this real-life incident!
It was the other night.  Dinner was in the oven, not quite finished.  I was sitting here at my computer.  Hubby was in the living room, stretched out on the couch watching television when suddenly, the still was interrupted by a couple THUDs, a few sounds of CLOP-CLOP and sounds of a car engine revving.  I heard Hubby go out the front door, return into the house via the back door, then he was quickly gone again.  Hmm. That was unusual in itself.  He never leaves the house without letting me know nor kissing me goodbye.  
I waited a few minutes, listening for his return.  Curiosity got the better of me and I slipped on some shoes and went outside where several of our neighbors had gathered next to our house.
They gave me the Readers Digest Condensed Version of what happened.  Some guy in a black or dark colored truck was speeding down the road, lost control and went off the road, shattering two mail boxes, a couple newspaper tubes and taking down about a hundred feet of barbed wire fence before landing in the creek.   (This picture was taken after the mailboxes were replaced)(Said creek runs along part of our front yard but the damage was done in the front of the cow pasture next to us.)  
The 4-wheel drive vehicle had almost turned upside down in the creek.  My Hubby advised the driver that he would never get out of that slippery, muddy creek area, as did our neighbor.  The driver thought otherwise and continued to shift his vehicle from low to reverse, rocking back and forth, before managing to get the vehicle to thrust itself up from its would-be tomb back onto the road, almost running over our neighbor in the process.
He then turned the truck around and disappeared down the road.  This is the point where Hubby and Neighbor jumped into our truck and proceeded to "track" the culprit.  How did they track this truck?
It was wrapped up in almost 100 feet of barbed wire, dragging huge pieces of metal behind it, leaving scratches and scuffs in the road.  (Aren't forensics wonderful?)   Sure enough, they followed the truck to a house not far from here where they sat outside and called the sheriff, who had already been called by the neighbors they left behind back at our place.  
Okay, long story less long - everyone ended up reconvening back at the creek with the missing fence and broken mail boxes area.  The sheriffs asked Hubby and neighbors if they could identify the guy who had confessed already confessed to being the driver who had also confessed to being scared and leaving the scene, running back home.   Everyone was honest.  No, they said.  It was too dark.   Nobody could positively identify him.   Do you agree these colors show up really pretty at night?  It was, however, difficult to not be able to say that the dark truck in his driveway that was wrapped up in about 100 feet of rusty barbed wire  was definitely the truck that everyone (except me) saw in the ditch.
Since nobody could positively identify the fence/mail box assailant, he would not be ticketed.  However, he was verbally advised that he would need to pay for damages.
Isn't this an exciting blog?  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday FLEA MARKET (& more)

For today's FLEA MARKET, how about a Gun Digest?
It's a collector's item in itself, as this is the 25th Anniversary copy, published in 1971.
A look at the contents:
It's obviously been used but is in good condition.  Want it?  You can have it for $8.50, including shipping!
And, for the Autograph Collector, here's the Standard Guide to Collecting Autographs, published in 1999:
A little peek on the inside:
Also in good condition, also $8.50, including shipping!
P.S.  I have been known to deal prices...
Thank you, POLLY, for putting together the Friday Flea Market!  Click the logo 
to see the other participating bloggers!
MORE LATER...