Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Time Flies....

I know, I know....I've been away.  Last time I posted, in December, I was recovering from hand surgery.  I'm all done with my occupational therapy and I still have no pain, thank goodness.  I do still have some mobility issues with that hand - I can't make a good fist and I drop things sometimes and the middle finger doesn't work exactly right.  But I have no pain so I'm glad I did it.

Before I got through with the OT my back issues flared up again and I've been in Physical Therapy for that!  It's better now but the up side of that was that I had time to sit in my stitching chair and do some cross stitch.  I've even started a Youtube channel and have posted several videos of my cross stitching - please stop by if you're interested.  stitchinbythelake or Marlene Bush either should find me.

Not all of the things below are new pieces, but many of them are.

I've also been on a couple of quick trips - one to Canton, Texas with our kids to the big flea market there (my children gave me that trip for my 70th birthday last October and we just now got a time when we could all go at once!) and a trip with my sister to see her daughter in Austin.  Lucky for us we went right through Waco, Texas and for those of you who are fans of JoAnna and Chip of Fixer Upper fame, yes we did stop!'s spring in Arkansas!  Everything is blooming - forsythia, tulip trees, japonica, daffodils, carolina jasmine.  All of it.  And tonight it's supposed to be 30 and a snowy/icy night.  :(  I'm hoping our newest residents weather this.

No, I can't see them either but I think they're there hiding down in the bottom.  Wrens, maybe?

So....that's what I've been doing.  What about you?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stuff and Nonsense

Did you think I was never coming back?  I was beginning to!  When I last posted I told you I had surgery on my right hand.  At that point I was looking l like this:

When that came off I looked like this (warning - might be a bit graphic):

Actually, I thought it looked pretty good!  You can see that on the finger the surgeon made a V cut so that the scar tissue wouldn't hamper movement.  That finger got a plastic joint.  The thumb, though, got a ligament from my wrist rolled up and put between the bones to form a cushion.

All the redness is gone now and the scars are already white and fading.  I have no pain in those joints any more but unfortunately my grip is not up to par yet.  I couldn't make a fist before and still can't make a good one now but it's better than before for sure.  I'm even able to open some jars now if they aren't too stuck.  :)

Of course this limited my stitching so I've done what I could - which oddly enough was more cross stitching than anything else.

On the sewing front I've made about 20 of these project bags - several of which I have given as gifts to my stitching friends:

They are pretty large - about 12 x 14 - and the tutorial is from Vonna Pfeiffer, The Twisted Stitcher.  These are perfect for holding everything I need for a wool applique or cross stitch project.  And speaking of wool applique, we were weren't we?, my sister sent me this pattern from The Buttermilk Basin that I've been wanting!  I can't wait to get this one ready for stitching!

It's just beautiful when you see it all stitched.

I also finished a couple of cross stitch ornaments:

This one is Roly Poly Santa by Robin Laukhuf of Olde Willow Stitchery Threads and was in the 2016 Christmas-Winter Magazine.

And this one is Eve of St. Nicholas by Lori Markovic of La-D-Da and is in the 2015 Christmas Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher Magazine.  I've done a couple of others too but they are either on the tree or in some decoration I've done!

I also took a short trip with my sister to see her daughter, my niece, in Austin, TX.  Our path took us through Waco, TX so we made a little side trip to see:

The Magnolia Market - the shop you've seen on Fixer Upper on HGTV,  designed and built by Chip & Joanna Gaines.  If you don't watch HGTV you won't understand this.  :)  We went on a Saturday, which I will never do again because there were literally hundreds of people!  But she sure had some pretty stuff.

And one last cross stitch piece you might enjoy:

Santa's Workshop is by Bonny Woomer of The Nebby Needle and this one was also in the 2015 magazine I mentioned above.  It took some searching but I finally found an old rusty skeleton key to add to it and this is probably my favorite piece I've stitched this year.

And here's wishing you the key to Santa's Workshop and lots of love and laughter during this season.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

An Eventful Month

It started with this...

I had surgery on my right hand on September 6.  Arthritis has taken a toll on my joints and I was down to bone on bone in a joint at the base of my thumb and in my middle finger.  Add in bone spurs and a cyst in one of the joints and the pain was awful.  Worse than that, I couldn't sew.

The surgeon replaced the joint in the middle finger with a plastic joint.  For the thumb joint he took a cartilage out of my arm that he said I didn't need, rolled it into a ball, and put it between the bones as a cushion.  It should last about ten years.

Prior to surgery he said he would bandage the hand for two weeks before putting on splints.  Ya'll, that's no bandage under that's a cast!  I was not prepared....

At two weeks I graduated to this...

I get to take it off three times a day for hygiene and exercise.  And I have PT three times a week.  I have affectionately renamed it.  Instead of Physical Therapy I call it Pain and Torture.

I have a couple of more weeks in the wrist splint, but longer in the finger one.  The finger hasn't healed as quickly as we hoped.

On another note, today is my birthday.  I'm 70 years old, which is officially old.  Now don't go telling me I'm only as old as I feel.  Take a look at that hand and guess how old I feel.  In honor of the day I tried to take a selfie to mark the day.  After deleting 17 blurry pictures of my chest, my ear, and the wall hanging behind me I finally got one.  It agrees with my 70 being old observation.

Observations on being 70:
1.  My hair has gotten a little curly.  After wondering for 50+ years how my daughters both ended up with curly hair, now I know.
2.  I'm really just now getting wrinkles.  Genetics matter.
3.  Never feel smug about not having hot flashes.  Eventually they come to us all.
4.  Eat cake first has a lot to be said for it.
5.  I rest a lot more these days.  I take mini naps.  I don't mind either of those things.

And, after me praying for a good while and them resisting, my grandson and his wife brought me this a couple of days ago...

Great-grandmother.  That's me.  Well, at the end of April that's me.  A new adventure!

I did some stitching before my surgery but nothing is finished so in a couple of weeks I'll be back to show those.  This two finger pecking to type is not fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Zucchini Relish Anyone?

Last week my friend and neighbor cooked supper for Jerry and I - she brought pinto beans and rice and cornbread, a real southern meal!  She also brought some zucchini relish to put on our beans.  Her aunt had made it and given her a jar so she shared with me.  It was so good I requested the recipe and made it today.  It would be delicious on anything you use sweet relish for.  Would you like the recipe?

12 cups diced zucchini (she used a food processor but I used a Vidalia Onion Chopper)
              ( I used 6 pretty large zucchini, which ended up being just over 12 cups)
4 cups diced onion
2 green and/or red peppers, diced

Mix this together and stir in 5 Tablespoons canning salt.  Mix well and let stand overnight.  (I left mine about 4 hours).  Drain and rinse well in a colander.  Add this to a pan containing:

2 1/2 cups vinegar
4 cups sugar (you could add more but it's really sweet with just 4)
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 Teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 Teaspoons celery seed
1/2 Teaspoon black pepper

Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  I water bath canned this for 15 minutes for my altitude.  It made about 72 ounces.  You can use pint jars but I chose the 4 oz jars because we don't eat that much at one time and I thought these would be a good size to give away.  I also added a teaspoon of diced jalapeno pepper to some of the jars (after I marked the lid!) for my husband.  He loves a little heat but I don't.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rain, More Rain, and Rainy Day Activities

It's been raining here since noon Sunday and, according to the weather channel, it will continue to rain through next Sunday.  Since we live on a small lake we watch that pretty closely.  Our water is up but not dangerously so.  I find it hard to get motivated to complete my chores on rainy days - I'd much rather sit and read a good book.  But some things don't wait for me to get motivated!

A local grocery store had bananas on sale so I'm dehydrating 4 trays of them.

Yes those are really bananas and yes, they are really white, aren't they?  I put them in a citric acid solution as I cut them up so that they won't turn brown but these have stayed especially white.  I'll store these in mason jars and will seal the jars with my Food Saver.  Later I'll be able to rehydrate them and use them to make banana bread, or we'll eat the "banana chips" as snacks.

I've canned peaches today too.

These were really beautiful peaches that I found at the grocery store.  The sign said $1.48 a pound but at checkout they rang at $.88 a pound....wish I'd bought more!  They were quite large and had no blemishes so 20 peaches made 8 pints.  These will make great cobblers this winter.

And I finished another patriotic pillow this week too.

I love patriotic patterns and have made several now, but I still have more I want to stitch.  I'm doing a collection I guess...I'll probably put them in a basket in my sun room when I have enough to fill it up.

And finally, school has started here in Arkansas.  Out of my 8 grandchildren I have one who is a junior in college this year, 2 who are seniors in high school, one tenth grader, one fifth grader and one second grader.  Two of my grandchildren are already out of school and working, and one of them, if I have my way, will sometime in the next year or two be starting a family.  I'm ready for a great-grandbaby.  :)  Of course, that grandson hasn't yet agreed to the whole baby thing but he's been married for three years now so I'm sure he'll be ready soon!

What do you do on rainy days?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Boiling Eggs

I bought a dozen eggs yesterday.  Well, actually, I bought 4 dozen because Walgreens has them this week for 69 cents a dozen and they let me buy 4 dozen.  They aren't organic, or cage free, which I usually buy, but for 69 cents I just couldn't pass it up.  Today I boiled a dozen.  That's right...I bought them yesterday and boiled them today.  Everyone knows fresh eggs don't peel well so I rarely ever do that.  But just look at these!

Every single one of them peeled perfectly.  Every.  Single.  One.  How did I do it?  Here's how:

You'll  need an electric pressure cooker, one cup of water, and the eggs you want to boil.  Put the water in the pressure cooker.  Put a rack in the bottom and the eggs on the rack.  Pressure on fish/vegetables/steam for six minutes.  That's it.  I will never boil eggs again!

These will become deviled eggs later today.....who knew I could get so excited over boiling eggs!