Friday, February 27, 2009


I know I just posted, but this just came to my attention. I've made many new friends through this blogging business, and one who is very dear to my heart is Mildred of Nalley Valley. If you've never read her blog, it really is worth a visit. First, she has the cutest dog on the planet - see Harriet, at left. Second, she is always upbeat and always has something fascinating to talk about. Third, I truly believe that Mildred is one of the most generous and caring people in the blogosphere, and I wouldn't say that without cause, although I won't embarrass Mildred by giving specifics.

I stole Harriet's photo because I knew you wouldn't be able to resist her cute little face. You can't, can you? I knew it! So, here's my request: Mildred and her beloved husband need our prayers right now. Mildred's husband has had some health challenges recently, and tests indicate that he may be facing more challenges. We need to pray that these results are either wrong or that they represent something benign. Please join me in sending good wishes and support to Mildred and her husband. Mildred, we love you!

Saturday Call

I have weekend call this week (and, as it turns out, every weekend in March until the last one), which means an extended workweek and less time to recuperate (and blog). Add to that the mini-drama going on around here and you may see a bit less of me for a few days. Still, I can't complain - February was a good month, and at least March will go quickly! And each month that goes by puts me one more month toward graduation.

I potted some new rosemary starts yesterday. They've been growing for a month or more in the kitchen window and were ready for a new home. I started some lavendar in their place, and we'll see how that goes. We started with one rosemary plant that Melissa bought a couple of years ago, and we've turned it into literally dozens of plants all over the farm. We use rosemary on an almost daily basis, and it is such a lovely plant. It's evergreen, so it gives some interest to the winter garden, and it tolerates benign neglect very well, which makes it the perfect plant for me!

And now I've got to get some studying done. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Child Who Does Everything

Okay, now I am in a better mood (amazing what a little sleep will do for your outlook, isn't it?) and can now laugh about all the drama here over the past couple of days. The funniest exchange, though, is played out below.

Me: "I don't think moving out is a good idea right now, seeing as how you don't have a driver's license and don't have a job. Nor do you have any money. "

Child: "You are so selfish! You just want me to stay here because I do everything!"

Yes, that's it - it's because he does everything. Everything like sleeping until noon, and keeping a room that really ought to be an EPA superfund site, and doing the bare minimum on any chore he is asked to complete. And that's why I think he shouldn't move out yet. Has nothing to do with maturity level OR the ability to support himself... it's because he keeps the house running.

And, no, I didn't strangle him, but I did take away his Internet access until he successfully obtains that driver's license and a job. 'Cause I'm selfish like that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We've had some minor issues here at Clay Hill Farm over the weekend. I won't get into too many details, but let's just say that a certain young man is lucky that I haven't strangled him, and no, I am NOT exaggerating, and I am exhausted. Hope everybody's having a good week. I'm going to bed!

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Yard

If you have a yard of fabric (plus a couple of scraps), and a Princess, you can have these:
The Princess stopped by the other day, and was feeling rather bereft because she didn't have an apron. So, we went through the stash and found a yard of fabric that she liked. Then, we headed for the sewing machine.

The apron is an adaptation of the one from Diamonds, Fur & Laundry; except I used 1/2 yard of the fabric plus a couple of brown selvage ends left over from my apron giveaway. I also added pleats to the waistline before sewing it to the waistband, just because I like pleats. Oh, and I folded the bottom of the apron up and sewed it into pockets, effectively making it a harvest apron, like mine.

The bag is this one: With Love Tote, although I used just under 1/2 yard of fabric (which made a perfect Princess-sized bag). By the way, a fat quarter done up into the same tote makes an adorable little bag, and Joanne's had fat quarters for $1 each this week. Think of all the cute little bags you could have!

The final strip of fabric was sewn (I know, I know - passive voice - bad! But you all know who sewed it!) into a tube with wrong sides together, then turned right side out and pressed. And then I stitched up the ends, and it made a headband that would double as a belt, or a leash for a stuffed toy - whatever you might want to use it for! It's amazing what you can make with just over a yard of fabric and a little time!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Garden Daydreams

It's really cold here today, and I was feeling a bit of a slump, when it hit me - it's almost time to start the seedlings for my garden! So, I've been going through seed packets, deciding what worked last year and what didn't. And some seeds are our own - they came from our own plants, here on the farm. That makes me feel good, and I hope to save even more in the coming year.

Last year I spent a considerable amount of money on annuals for the flowerbed, as well. I didn't spend a lot at any one time, but over the course of the season, $5-15 at a time adds up. This year, I'm going to try to start most of the flowers for the beds from seed, as well.

I know we'll use almost as many tomatoes as we can produce. Likewise, cucumbers, bell peppers and any greens we manage to grow. So, I almost can't overplant those items. Even if I did, nobody ever turns down fresh produce, so it wouldn't go to waste. Corn didn't do well last year, and I'm not sure we're going to try it again this year, given the fact that my garden time will be so limited by school.

Potatoes in barrels, as seen here:, are definitely a repeat player in our garden, as are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are ridiculously easy to grow:, and they're attractive enough to be used in the flowerbeds.

Even if you don't have a lot of space, or aren't able to handle physical labor, you can raise enough food to supplement your diet AND see a savings on your grocery bill. Here's a site that describes a very easy (yet successful) method of raising some of your own food:

Raising your own food (or supporting local farmers by shopping at your Farmer's Market) is good for you, good for your family and good for the environment. Here at Clay Hill we do both - I raise what I can, but nothing beats Saturday morning browsing the Farmer's Market - I just wish our local markets were bigger! Maybe next year (after I've finished school!), we'll put in an extra bed or two for the market - that way we'll contribute to making the market more successful and I'll get my Farmer's Market fix!

If you're a fellow gardener, are you planning your plantings yet? And, if you're not a gardener, maybe this is your year to change that. Consider planting a tomato or two in a container, if nothing else. Our local nursery sold tomato plants last year at the bargain rate of $1.50 for a pack of six - those plants could potentially supply a family with all of their salad and slicing tomatoes for the summer. One bite of a sun-ripened tomato, and I guarantee you'll be hooked on gardening!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My New Obsession

I think it's the cold, or too much studying, but I have become obsessed with cute little handbags. And cute big handbags. And totes. They're quick to make, so you get instant gratification. They make great gifts, because they're like shoes - you really can't have too many. And, when you make your own, it's definitely one of a kind... I have a great Coach purse, but I see women carrying that exact purse on a pretty regular basis.

I can be reasonably certain that there will never be anyone else (except The Yarn Princess, because I gave it to her!) carrying this exact bag, because I made it out of three fat quarters, one of which was a discontinued line. Like it? Want to make your own?

The tutorial is a free download from You Can Make This!. It's the "Debut" handbag and it really is easy - pretty much straight-line sewing all the way through. It took about three hours, start to finish, but it was the first one I'd made, so I imagine I could do another in about two hours. Two hours and three fat quarters (and a couple of notions) and you have the perfect gift.

Oh, and the buttons? The bag cried out for matching buttons, so I found this great fabric-covered button tutorial on Craft Pudding and made my own! You can't see very well in the photo, but the buttons match the dark brown polka-dotted fabric. I am really pleased with the way the whole thing turned out - there are definitely more "Debut" handbags in my future! (And maybe in yours - I have a giveaway coming up!)

However, this post needs a disclaimer - after you make this cute little bag, you will have an inflated sense of your own abilities. This might lead to shopping at fabric stores and buying fabric and patterns (like, say, for a corded jacket with darts & buttons!) that you can't possibly manage in the time you have available. So you will then be reduced to making tote bags out of the jacket material, like so:

And your sons will call the tote hopelessly old-fashioned, and even though you've made one for yourself and for somebody else, you will question the wisdom of giving the tote to the person...

And, then, you'll say, "What the heck!" and give them the tote anyway, and they'll be happy, because, like shoes and purses, you can't have too many cute totes. And you'll be relieved, and glad you didn't listen to those silly boys. Hypothetically, I mean!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Apron Book Giveaway!

Julia, the Chief Apron Goddess and Grand Poobah of All Things Apron, is hosting a fabulous apron pattern book giveaway! The book contains 20 adorable vintage apron patterns, and if you sew I think it's a must-have! Even if you don't sew, wouldn't it be great to add to a vintage kitchen collection? It would also make a great gift for a friend or relative who does sew, and hey - maybe you'd get an apron out of the deal, right? :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Using My New Space

So, since I posted about the new sewing space yesterday, I guess I should post a couple of the projects I've made in the new space.

First, I wanted a full apron. I didn't use a pattern for this - I just kind of cobbled it together. If I were going to make another one, I'd add more fullness to the skirt - otherwise, I'm pretty pleased with it. It will serve its purpose, anyway - and anyone who's ever cooked with me (Melissa!) can attest to the fact that I really need an apron. In fact, I probably need a body tent, but an apron will have to do!

Achilles is out of the dog house thanks to some of your skunk remedy suggestions, and he is very grateful for that! He's back in his favorite spot, as you can see!

This is a re-usable shopping bag tote. I needed something to keep all of our reusable bags in. I could have put all of them in one of the reusable bags, but those bags aren't very attractive, so I wanted something different. This one isn't that attractive, either, but it is marginally more so than the shopping bags I have. And it whipped up in about an hour, so that's another plus. Also, it's made from bargain-bin fabric from my stash, so it cost less than $1.50 to make. I love frugal crafting!

Finally, I really wanted to update my kitchen curtains. There were curtains in my kitchen, but they were leftovers from another house, so they didn't really fit.

Plus, Melissa has asked for help sewing curtains for the new house - gulp! I tried to get out of this - I pleaded my schedule, I offered to loan her my sewing machine, but she replied that she wanted to borrow it AND me!

So, I felt like I needed a little practice, and since the kitchen needed curtains that weren't hand-me-downs, I took this opportunity to play a little. I wanted a beachy, spring-like feel without shells or lighthouses or any of the stuff you usually associate with the beach. I think I succeeded in that part, and I'm pleased with the lighter feel they give to the kitchen.

And after making these curtains for my kitchen, and getting an up-close view of my own sewing skills, I am convinced that Melissa is making a huge mistake. Melissa, you don't want me anywhere near your curtains! Run, run away!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sewing Space

I really enjoy sewing. I love to sit down at my machine when I've got a few minutes and throw together something useful. Now, I'm not a great seamstress, by any means, but I can generally come up with something workable, given enough time and some extra fabric to cobble together my mistakes.

But, getting the machine out and commandeering the dining room table was an ordeal. I usually have free time in the evenings, and that's the time when we're trying to pull together dinner and it's just a mess. Leaving the machine out for longer than a day was really difficult, because it tied up the dining area.

So, I did some 'net searching and looked at a lot of sewing room plans and photos, and came to the conclusion that our guest room had extra, unused space that just might make a nice sewing area. First, we moved the furniture along one wall. Then, I pulled out an old card table and traded the entryway table for something a little more modern.

And the Princess and I (with a little help from a curious chihuahua) put together a permanent sewing area.

I used the card table as a cutting/ironing table, with a couple of shelves for fabric storage tucked underneath and out of the way.

And I added a design board above the sewing table, for inspiration as well as for putting together quilt blocks. I just stuck some random fabric up to see if it worked (it does), but at some point I'll start a quilt and I'll be able to use the design board to plan out my block placement.

And, now, if I want to work on a project over several days (or even weeks), I can do that without disrupting everyone's routine. The best part, though, is that both tables fold away and there's ample room in the guest closet for all of the mess if we're having guests. This way they don't have to feel like the "guest" part of the room is an afterthought, nor do they have to tiptoe around my mess. I can leave one table and chair out as a writing desk and whisk everything else into the closet. And I have a sewing space of my own, finally!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!

I love, love, love Grosgrain. I'm sure I've said that on this blog before, and if I haven't, well, shame on me! Kathleen's work is amazing. She makes me want to have another baby (a girl, this time!) just so I can dress her in those fabulous handmade toddler clothes. When I grow up, I want to be able to sew just like that!

If you like to sew, it's worth spending a few minutes looking at Kathleen's archives - the Marie Therese costume is just gorgeous. And the Bo-Peep costume makes ME want to play dress up! And the little skirts and tops, all modeled by her beautiful daughter - if you have a toddler in your life, it really is worth a look.

The best part for me (since I don't have a toddler anymore) is, that Kathleen has started doing a little bit of sewing for adults. And, she's having giveaways - like this lovely spring coat -The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!. I am certain that I need this coat, and I will give you three reasons why.

First, I am always cold - always. The only time I am truly warm is in the summer, when I first get into a parked car, and then some party pooper insists on turning on the air conditioner and ruining it. Except Melissa. Melissa just opens a window and lets me enjoy the warm air for a little longer! :)

Second, I lack any fashion sense whatsoever. Really! I was either born without one OR some nefarious person surgically amputated mine shortly after birth, because I can't put an outfit together to save my life. That's why this coat is PERFECT - it would simply cover my poor fashion choices and make me look stylish in spite of them!

Third, I am short. Really short. As such, I am at constant risk of being stepped on by the tall people around me. How is this pertinent, you ask? Well, notice the color of the coat in question - it's RED! What color in the spectrum do humans see first? I'm pretty sure red's up there, so this coat will make me safer. I'll be hard to miss, in my adorable red coat!

So, check out the fabulousness that is Grosgrain, but don't go winning my coat! :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Achilles and the Funny-Looking Cat

Achilles loves cats. He likes to play with them, and cuddle with them. He would never chase them to be mean, but he is certain that they like to play tag. Tag, that, naturally, involves him running toward the cat first.

He's never been aggressive toward a cat, so he's completely puzzled as to why the sight of a 70+ pound slobbering boxer rushing at them makes cats that don't know Achilles hiss and claw and, finally, run. Once a cat has figured out that Achilles is harmless, they tend to ignore him, so from his perspective, a strange cat is way more fun than the farm cats that don't want to play very often.

This is why Achilles was very excited to learn that there was another sort of cat on the farm. This cat doesn't tend to run when you try to play with it - it tends to turn its rear toward you. And then, if you continue to try to play, it sprays you, and Achilles is not bothered by that perfume one bit. In fact, I think he likes it, because 10 p.m. last night marked the fourth time he has played with this wonderfully perfumed cat.

And this time, the funny-looking cat met Achilles right at the corner of the house, so the wonderful aroma lingers this morning, in spite of the fact that Achilles had a bath last night. The only thing I have to be thankful for, I think, is that it's cold outside, so the smell isn't overly intense.

And, this morning, since I am out of school for a few days, I am searching the 'net for polecat repellants. Because, evidently, the skunk's usual repellant has no effect on Achilles at all, so perhaps it's time to make Clay Hill a bit less attractive to the skunk. Fox urine granules seem to be the best solution, although I am certain that this product comes from foxes raised for the fur trade, and I am vehemently opposed to supporting the fur industry.

And I should clarify that last bit - I am not opposed to raising animals for food, and I am not opposed to raising animals for feathers/hide/hair/etc... but I am opposed to gratuitous cruelty and the fur industry seems saturated with it. (For that matter, so does the egg industry - hence our little henhouse outside!). And I'd rather find an option that doesn't support cruel practices.

So, if anybody has any ideas, please pass them along. In the meantime, I have every scented candle in the house burning and I can still smell the faint undertone of skunk. Don't you wish you had some of that perfume???

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Six Months

Six months. That's officially (as of today) how long I have left in anesthesia school. That's how long it will be before I can work for pay again. That's how long it will be before I can really feel rested again. That's how long it will be before I can read a regular book without feeling guilty for doing so.

When I started this thing, more than two years ago, I went from the top of my game as a critical care nurse and nursing supervisor to the bottom of the ladder, starting all over again. And it's tough to go back to being a student - it's tough to go from being the resource person for everyone in the hospital to being the least knowedgeable person in the room. It's stressful to move out of your comfort zone and to start a new career path, and it's stressful to take on a massive challenge like this when I could have been reaping the benefits of my first degree. And now I'm just six months from the finish line.

Six months... it seems like an eternity. And yet, I know that the time will pass, probably faster than I think it will. There is light at the end of this tunnel. At this point, though, I can't convince myself that that light isn't a TRAIN! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Things I've Done

Here's a list if things I stole from Wolfie's blog. You're supposed to highlight the things on the list you've done. However, I'm a bloggy technophobe, and I can't figure out how to do that. Therefore, I'm simply going to indicate the things I've done by writing yes or no - hey, it's low tech, but it works!

Started your own blog - yep, you're reading it.
Slept under the stars - yep.
Played in a band - nope - not a speck of musical talent.
Visited Hawaii - yep - Melissa was stationed there, and we visited her.
Watched a meteor shower - yep, more than once.
Given more than you can afford to charity - yep, because I'm a softie.
Been to Disneyland/world - lived in Florida for a time, so yes.
Climbed a mountain - well, hiked a mountain. Does that count?
Held a praying mantis - yes.
Sang a solo - yes, but not by choice!
Bungee jumped - Nope - never, never, never.
Visited Paris - not yet, but someday.
Watched a lightning storm at sea - just off the coast, but yes.
Taught yourself an art from scratch - yes.
Adopted a child - no, but maybe someday.
Had food poisoning - yes, sadly!
Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - no, but someday!
Seen the Mona Lisa in France - see Paris! Someday!
Slept on an overnight train - no, but wouldn't that be fun!
Had a pillow fight - yes.
Hitchhiked - yes.
Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - no, I'd feel too guilty over this one.
Built a snow fort - yes!
Held a lamb - yes. And a baby goat!
Gone skinny dipping - well, yes. And, no, I won't share the details! But I think I was eight...
Been to a Broadway show in NY - no, but someday!
Ran a Marathon - yes, with Melissa.
Been in three states at once - I'm not sure about this one.
Ridden in a gondola in Venice - nope, but wouldn't that be fun!
Seen a total eclipse - yes.
Watched a sunrise or sunset - yes!
Hit a home run - yes, but do family games count?
Been on a Cruise - no, but this one's also on the to-do list!
Seen Niagara Falls in Person - no, but see above.
Visited the birthplace of your Ancestors - no - they're such a motley lot, I wouldn't know where to start!
Seen an Amish community - no.
Taught yourself a new language - no.
Had enough money to be truly satisfied - yes, but it doesn't take much!
Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - no, but it's definitely on the list!
Gone rock climbing - yes, but not very high!
Seen Michelangelo’s David - someday!
Sung karaoke - yes, and I'm awful at it.
Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - yes, and it was cold.
Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant - no, but this one's a good idea.
Visited Africa - no, but someday.
Walked on a beach by moonlight - yes, and the beach is lovely any time of the day or night.
Been transported in an ambulance - yes, and this wasn't fun!
Had your portrait painted - no, and probably never will.
Gone deep sea fishing - yes, a couple of times. Great fun!
Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - nope.
Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - nope. But both are on the list.
Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - yes, and it's lovely.
Kissed in the rain - yes.
Played in the mud - yes.
Been to Grace Kelley’s grave in Monaco - nope.
Gone to a drive-in - yes.
Been in a movie - nope.
Visited the Great Wall of China - nope.
Started a business - nope.
Taken a martial arts class - nope.
Swam in the Mediterranean Sea - nope.
Visited Russia - nope.
Served at a soup kitchen - yes.
Sold Girl Scout cookies - yes.
Gone whale watching - yes.
Gotten flowers for no reason - yes.
Donated blood, platelets or plasma - yes.
Gone sky diving - this is also on the NEVER list!
Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp - no.
Bounced a check - no.
Saved a favorite childhood toy - no.
Visited the Lincoln Memorial - yes.
Eaten Caviar - yes.
Pieced a quilt - yes.
Stood in Times Square - no.
Toured the Everglades - well, been to the Everglades, anyway!
Been fired from a job - no, but I'm in a job that's chronically short.
Seen the Changing of the Guards in London - no, but wouldn't that be fun!
Been on a speeding motorcycle - no.
Seen the Grand Canyon in person - no.
Published a book - no, but would love to someday.
Visited the Vatican - no.
Bought a brand new car - yes, and recently! :)
Walked in Jerusalem - no.
Had your picture in the newspaper - no.
Read the entire Bible - yes, when I was younger.
Visited the White House - no. When we were in DC they weren't doing tours.
Killed and prepared my own meat - yes. Naughty roosters become Sunday dinner around here.
Had chickenpox - yes.
Saved someone’s life - yes.
Sat on a jury - no.
Met someone famous - yes.
Joined a book club - yes.
Lost a loved one - yes.
Had a baby - yes.
Seen the Alamo in person - yes.
Swam in the Great Salt Lake - no.
Been involved in a law suit - no.
Owned a cell phone - yes.
Been stung by a bee - yes.

If you want to play along, copy the list for your own blog and highlight the ones that apply to you. :) And let me know, if you do, because I'd love to see your answers!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Valentine's Day is tomorrow - can you believe we're already half way through February? I'm not complaining, mind you. Oh, no - February can sneak on out as far as I'm concerned and I won't even miss it.

But, I like to do something special for the man of the house (and the boys of the house) on Valentine's Day, so this year I'm making Chocolate Covered Strawberries for everybody on Thistledew Farm. And, they look so easy, and the strawberries were so fresh, that I thought I'd share the link. You can find the recipe here: and make chocolate-covered strawberries for somebody you love! Or, just eat them all yourself. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Australian Bushfires

I really don't know much about Australia. I've never been there, but I've always wanted to visit. I read a few blogs by Australian bloggers, such as Threads of Friendship. I even (briefly) entertained the idea of a travel nursing job in Australia, but chickened out because I was afraid we'd get the family over there and find we couldn't afford to come home. I'm a bit of a worrier like that!

Still, the terrible stories about the bushfires make my heart hurt. If you don't know anything about it, you can learn more here: Victorian Bushfires. All of those people, wounded or dead. All those animals. All the pain and misery. Hearing that some of the fires were started deliberately makes the whole thing worse. I almost can't stand it.

I know you'll all join me in praying for our Australian counterparts as they deal with the process of cleaning up, rebuilding and healing from this terrible tragedy. And I know we're dealing with a bad economy, and bad weather, and our own issues, but if you're in a position to help, you can contact the Australian Red Cross here.

And if you're in Australia right now, please know that you are in our prayers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stormy Weather

We had a very short, very severe chain of storms come through this afternoon, just as I was driving home from the hospital. Those who know me well know I really don't like driving, and I like it even less when the weather is bad. And, boy, was this weather bad!

We had tornadoes in the area, driving rain, wind gusts up to 70 MPH and hail. Luckily, I missed the worst of the weather by listening to the radio and skirting around the areas that were hit. I was a bit white-knuckled during the worst of it, but I just kept a steady, sensible pace. And I made it home in one piece. And the storms have moved east, and we have clear skies again.

So, if you're east of Tennessee - look out - the storms are headed your way! Keep an eye out and stay safe out there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February Winner!

It's time to announce the winner of my giveaway, but first, I just want to thank everybody who entered this giveaway, and thank you to all my regular visitors who keep me going! I had a test today, by the way, and for the life of me I couldn't remember a couple of the answers to a couple of questions. :( Oh, well - enough of my whining - on to the good stuff!

The winner of February's Starbucks giveaway is Ikkinlala! Ikkinlala is a student, and as a student myself I can attest to the need for caffiene and chocolate on a near-daily basis! Ikkinlala lives in Canada, and she doesn't have a blog but I hope there's a Starbucks nearby. :)Congratulations, Ikkinlala, and I'm getting in touch with you to get that out to you!

I'm already planning the March giveaway, because this really does give me something to look forward to AND it takes my mind off of school for a bit, which is definitely a good thing. So, check back in a couple of weeks and see what I come up with!

In the meantime, have a great week, everyone and think spring!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday, Monday

Mondays are not my favorite day. I just struggle with the motivation to get moving, and I think it's because I'm getting a little burned out. So, when I came home today I just want to tell you all what a lift I got to see ALL THOSE COMMENTS on my giveaway post!

Of course, half the fun of all those comments is checking out the bloggers who've left them, so of course I found another neat giveaway - this one is a box full of useful little items from Teresa, at Slowing Down A Bit - a fellow Tennessee resident who shares my first name! My kids well tell you that I really need the key finder, so if you win this goody box, please consider sending it to me!! Okay?? Of course, I'd probably lose it, so maybe you'd better keep it!

Thanks again to everyone who has entered - I appreciate the support. And a special thanks to all my regular visitors, as well - you guys really do help me keep going, and it means a lot! 186 days and counting.... :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February Giveaway

February is a short, cold month. And we're a week into it, which means just three weeks to go, and March means spring is definitely on the way. I know I keep saying that - I'm trying to convince myself that it's true! Work with me, here!

Once in awhile, I have to have a treat. And, as most of us know, this isn't exactly the economic climate that lends itself to buying a new bag or a new dress, or taking a weekend trip somewhere. But, I can generally scrape together enough change to have a coffee at the local Starbucks once a week or so (usually on Fridays, as a reward for surviving another week!). And it really does feel indulgent and special.

So, in honor of the shortest, coldest (at least in my mind!) month, and so that one of you can have a bit of something special and indulgent, I am going to give away a $25 Starbucks gift card. I know, I know - it's a bit of a cop-out not to make something, but my schedule's kind of tight these days!

I'll also throw in a few more goodies that strike my fancy - they won't be handmade, though. I'm talking about goodies of the chocolate variety! But those will be a surprise for the winner!

To enter, comment on this post by 8 p.m. EST, Feb 10th, telling me how you treat yourself when you need a reward. And if you don't ever reward yourself, you can say that, but I highly encourage you to start giving yourself treats if you don't already do so!

To get an extra entry, pop over to Melissa's blog and tell her you miss her! You can leave the comment on the most recent post. She'll be back blogging soon - they're just on crunch time with building the house. She needs your good thoughts and prayers as they try to finish!

Finally, if you post on your blog linking to this post, you'll get three extra entries. I'll draw the winner at 8:30 p.m. EST Feb 10th, and put the package in the mail on Feb 11th, and it might get to you in time for Valentine's Day! We'll hope, anyway!

Good luck to all!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Craigslist Ad of the Month

Okay, it always cracks me up when people upload the wrong photo to their Craigslist ad, so here's another one:

Decorative Pub Pitcher - $12

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2009-02-05, 6:59PM EST

This brass pitcher has an embossed pub scene. It is 8" tall at the top of the pitcher lip & base is ~ 4" diameter. Stamped England on the bottom. I "bought" this with S & H Green Stamps in 1965 or 1966. Very good condition. No dents.

I have that exact measuring cup in my cupboard, and I'll let you have it for a mere $10! :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Feeling Better and An Award

Whew! Finally I'm feeling better. It seemed to take forever to get over that virus, and I promise I won't take feeling good for granted anymore! Actually, I promise that every time I get sick, and then I feel better for several months to a year, and I forget, and I start taking it for granted, and WHAM! Another bug. Keeps me humble!

Anyway, thanks to everybody for all your kindness and patience - you all are fabulous! And thanks to Daisy at Dancing With Daisy for giving me a fabulous award!
This is the Lemonade Stand Attitude/Gratitude award, and there are rules that go along with it. Rebel that I am, though, I have to break them. Rules can't bring me down, man - I'm free as a bird. Or something like that.

Anyway, I'm passing this award on to all of you - my blog friends, because I am grateful for each and every one of you, and when I have a bad attitude, reading your blogs helps me straighten it out!

And I'm making up my own rules for this one. There ARE no rules. Take the photo for your blog if you want, pass the love along if you want, make up your own rules if you want to and don't if you don't and know that I think the world of all of you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sick and Tired...

of being sick and tired! I STILL have this awful head/chest cold. I know it's a virus, I know how to treat it (time, fluids, rest), I know antibiotics won't help but part of me just wants to go get something to make me feel better!

I called in sick today. I try not to do that, but with residual ice on the roads from yesterday (the main roads are fine, but secondary ones are said to be icy) and the sneezing and hacking and blowing of the nose every few minutes, I just think that discretion might be the better part of valor today. So I'm snuggling up with a rice cozy and some hot tea and then I'm going back to bed.

Have a great day, everyone!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Clay Hill (& Thistledew) in the Snow

We're having snow today - enough snow that I was allowed to leave the hospital early. Enough snow that they closed schools at noon, and enough snow to turn an ugly clay mess into a winter wonderland.

Here's the happy little garage, with its hay bale out front and the chicken coop off to the right.
Even the chickens were surprised at the amount of snow we have!
If it stays like this, I am taking a vacation day tomorrow and staying home - the roads were turning slushy and icy on the way home this afternoon, and if the temperature drops overnight, it'll be ice, ice, baby! And that will go over as well as the rap song of the same name, so I don't want to be driving in it if I can help it.

So, how's the weather at YOUR house?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Apron Winner!

The winner of the apron, by random drawing, is Kim of Simple Needs! Congratulations, Kim! Thanks to everyone who entered - you guys are great! By the way, folks, if you haven't visited Kim's blog before, I highly recommend it. She has great ideas for projects, decorating and saving money, and she posts the best recipes!

So, Kim, when you get a chance let me know what your preferences are - color, stitching, and pockets at the base or not... and I'll whip that up and get it out to you! It will probably be this coming weekend, because right now if I worked on it it would be inoculated with cold viruses! Yuck! So I'll keep those to myself and wait 'til I'm over this before I get started! :)

Check back later in the week for another giveaway for February, because, as I said - this is getting addictive!