Wednesday, November 28, 2012

… little treats

Who would think that such simple little things 
could make me so giddy. . .

 But, while at church on Sunday, 
I told a friend about my upcoming trip to Minneapolis
& she told me about these little gloves that she got at Target.

They are 'smart' gloves!
. . .Well, at least the pointer fingers & thumbs are.
You can use those two fingertips while using a cellphone with a touch screen.
A regular  'mittened' or 'gloved' finger won't work - 
but for some reason these two 'special' fingertips will!
(. . . & for 3 dollars - I couldn't refuse!)
(. . . & yes, I did have to pull out my iPhone at Target - 
just to be sure & give them a 'test drive'!)

I'm very excited about my trip to Minneapolis later this week.
(The last time I went this time of year - they had just had a blizzard!)
The weather looks like it will be very nice,
(not too cold - but cold enough - it is winter after all!)
I know they have gotten a little snow 
& I just hope that some of it is still around. (sigh)

I realized that I will be out of the studio/office for a few days after 
the website sale (Counting My Blessings) was scheduled to end - so I will
be extending the sale until December 4th. . . 
(25% or more off all patterns & books!)

. . . & speaking of little treats. . .

. . . my dear friend, Jacquelynne Steves, 
the incredibly talented designer behind The Noble Wife,
is looking for some feedback & your opinion & is doing a giveaway 
as a thank you to those who respond.
If you would like to participate - you find the blog post here!

Before I get out my suitcase - I've got to give Bailey a bath. . .
He is having a very special friend (Nubin!) . . .
. . . well okay. . . his *girlfriend* (see here!)
come & stay with him while I'm gone. . .
. . . & he want's to look (& smell!) his best!

Hope you have a wonderful week!

♥ Bren

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

… Giving Tuesday

Did you know that today is. . .


It's new this year,

. . . but I love this!

. . . this gives me hope!

I'll share in a future post why this means so much to me,
but I do know that for me, I'm going to be spending some time on this website.
(Andrea is my cousin's daughter . . . 
& I just love what she & her husband are doing!
. . . especially check out the Sewing Association projects!)

But I know that there are groups & organizations that tug on your heart. . .

(also did you know that if you are wondering what to 'get' someone - that you can 'give' in their name?. . . Check this out
(it's where I've done quite a bit of my 'shopping'!)

So. . . if you've been waiting (for some reason). . .

. . . Today's the day!!!
(of many more I hope!)

I wish for you a day filled with the blessing 
that only giving from the heart can give.
(there's nothing better!)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

… house projects. . . getting done!

Autumn is coming. . . if oh so subtly here.
The pyracantha bushes that cover much of our backyard walls
 turned a perfect orangy-pumkiny color. . . making up for the lack of autumn leaves.
(Actually, these photos were taken a little over a week ago, 
& the berries are already turning red. . . perfect for Christmas!

I've been doing a lot of subbing (substitute teaching) the past few weeks -
so I apologize for the lack of posting.

So this week . . . I have been working on some projects around the house
 that I've been wanting to do - for some time.

A few weeks ago, we replaced the carpet in the master suite (Dad's bedroom) 
with the same Pergo (cherry plank) that we have in the living-dining rooms, 
kitchen & my studio. It looks wonderful. 

So yesterday, I cleaned the carpets in the remaining 3 rooms (bedrooms) that still have the cut berber carpet that I picked out when the house was brand new. It's a good carpet, but I'm ready for a change. (Plus, it's so light - it now shows everything.)
I've never cleaned them myself - but it wasn't too bad! 
I borrowed the machine (a Bissell) from a friend & I think that if I was installing 
new carpets - I would get my own carpet cleaner. I really like the idea of being able to get them cleaner than just vacuuming.

It was also a good workout!

I also cleaned the small braided area rug & runner that I have, & I thought that I was
so clever to put them outside - on the grass - in the sun so that they would dry quickly (& flat). But I was so tired last evening that I forgot to bring them in & of course, this morning was when the sprinklers were scheduled to come on.
 Yep. . . they got a really good rinse! (. . . & I learned how heavy they are when really wet!)
I draped them over outdoor chairs today.  . .
 & I remembered to pull them onto the back-porch before the sun set.
I'm just hoping they dry out by tomorrow.

Another thing that has been on my 'to-do' list for quite awhile 
is to hang some drapery on the living-dining room picture windows, as well as to replace the vertical blinds that have been on the two sliding doors. 
Those were installed when I moved in. . . & although they are the nice fabric kind 
-  they were meant to be a short-term treatment. . . (that was 12 years ago!)

I got all of the drapery panels at Pottery Barn & have had them for almost a year. . . 
I just couldn't find the rods that I wanted.
. . . Until a few ago. (thank you Target for updating your drapery rod selection!)
So, . . . since Dad is in San Diego (with his Granddaughters & great-grandkids) 
for Thanksgiving. . . I'm taking advantage of the time to clean out the bedrooms (for cleaning the carpets) as well as hanging the rods & drapes. . . without him wanting to get up on the ladder. . . (!)

I'm not putting anything back into the bedrooms (one is my office) 
without sorting through everything. 
It's amazing to see everything out of the room. . . & I've found things I didn't remember I still had! (They can so easily get tucked away in a corner!) 
 I've already taken some things over to the school (paper, supplies that I never used & probably won't ever) & I even found a  Moda BOM (Piece & Plenty) that I had purchased from Fat Quarter Shop. . . that I never even started. I love it. . . but I know that I'll never get it started now. So. . . you guessed it - it's now on the 'tag sale' page on the website! (As well as a 'Dear Jane' book & ruler set.) I had the best on intentions - but I would rather they go to someone who will actually use them!

So, tomorrow is going to be a work day for me. . . but one that I'm so thankful to have!
I got a couple of very sweet invites for Thanksgiving dinner. . . 
but, my ideal Thanksgiving day this year will be getting the vertical blinds down, the draperies hung while the 'Macy's Thanksgiving Parade' is one, 
& then the National Dog Show. . . & whatever Christmas movies 
that I find on the Hallmark channel. 

The evening before all the carpet cleaning started. . .

. . . Bailey 'guarding' my bedroom doorway.
(the carpet cleaner was sitting across the hall, in a bedroom doorway.)

. . . my hero.

(. . . see that little black thing on the floor - by the door?. . . 
that's the 'hoof' of one of Bailey's stuffed animals. . . 
More on that - in another post.)

To my American readers, I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
. . . & to all of us - may we continue to remember to count our blessings!


(. . . don't forget that the 'Counting My Blessings' sale is still happening on the website!)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

… a post filled with gratitude


As I think about it. . .
 there is nothing I can say to encompass my gratitude.

But, I know that, "thank you" means more than we comprehend.

I've been substitute teaching quite a bit (at the private school I taught at), 
& on this past Friday, they had a special assembly 
- in honor of Veterans Day & to honor veterans.

It was incredible being among the kids, from the ages of 12 through 18,
singing the Star Spangled Banner - with their hands over their hearts. . .
. . . & then the school choir singing the oft forgotten last stanza of the song, 
a cappella.
. . . the kids still stood - with their hands over their hearts, & you could have heard a pin drop.

One of the things that all the middle school students do
 - is to memorize the Gettysburg Address,
& two of the students, one in sixth grade & one in ninth, 
recited it (in suits & ties!) with the passion & earnest-ness 
that would make President Lincoln, himself, proud. (& all of us teachers teary-eyed!)

Then the principle (himself a veteran), acknowledged the veterans in the crowd. . .
. . . some family members of students (parents & grandparents),
& then he acknowledged the former students who are currently serving.

I have to say - it took my breath away a little.
I remember these kids when they were little freshmen - just entering high school.
I remember hugging them good-bye on the last day of their senior year. . .

. . . I also remembered the first time one of them came back to visit,
. . . in his uniform, & I cried when I saw him. 
I was so proud.

I also remember -  as clear as if it were this past year, 
the morning of September 11, 2001,
. . . & because the department (art) TV was 'housed' in my classroom,
. . . & because there was so much unknown - we (my junior & senior journalism classes) spent much of the first few class periods of the day 
watching the news transpire.
As the yearbook advisor, I pulled out one of the camera's 
& took some photos of the classroom,
. . . kids sitting on the tables (& all the chairs - another class had come in too) 
watching so intently.
I will never forget, one senior boy. . . tearing his eyes away from the TV
. . . turning to look at me & ask,
"Do you think this means that we will be at war?"

It struck me hard, that if so, it would be young men, like him, most likely to go.

. . . & yes, he is that same young man, who seemed so much bigger to me. . .
. . . who stood so much taller, that came back, in uniform, to visit me 
in the spring of the next school year.

Next in the assembly, the principle acknowledged the speaker from last year,
a gentleman, now in his late eighties - early nineties, who served in WWII.
The kids erupted in applause - as they remembered him & let him know it!
I wish I could share with you his smile (accompanied by a tear as well) 
at their show of admiration.

I have chosen a video to share with you in honor all veterans, 
& also in honor of the speakers that spoke at this year's assembly.
One was a former Air Force pilot that flew over 5000 hours in missions 
in WWII, & in the Korean War.
The other speaker was the father of two current students at the school. He is also serving in the Air Force, currently serving from the Air Force base in Tucson, 
- Davis Monthan.

Both men were so wonderful with how they encouraged the kids,
 & taught then what it meant to be a veteran.
Both men also shared the love they have of flying,
 & both shared the admiration they have 
for the Air Force C-130 cargo plane - as both have flown 'her', 
& both refer to the plane as, "the queen of the skies".

This video is one of the reasons she is so loved.

. . . & a reminder of how much we have been given, by so many.
May we all remember, & I pray we all get the chance to personally say 'thank you' to a veteran this week. (. . . or any time at all!)

Thank you seems so small. . .
. . . but we mean it so.

Friday, November 2, 2012

… blessings & thankfulness

. . .'first-ly', Bailey would like me to thank all of you who have been asking about him & mentioned how much you like hearing about him.
(. . . he thinks you are very nice. . . (& very smart)!)

We have been enjoying the efforts of autumn trying to arrive here. . .
From one year to another - we can never really tell what November will be like.
Whether we will be warmer or cooler (what we are rooting for), there will be no complaints from here. 
In the light of watching the weather stories from other parts of the country - I have come to realize how much we are a bit spoiled here in Arizona.
. . . Sure we have some hot days in the summer. . . but we simply do things earlier in the day & then we celebrate the air-conditioning! Also, when the heat gets to be a bit much, that often starts the 'monsoon' season - where we get afternoon rains that cool everything off.
So really. . . I must admit that I realize that although there are many other places in our country that I think are great. . . I really love calling where I am - 'home'.

. . .  & 'second-ly',  as I've recently been doing a lot of 'counting my blessings' with the mildness of the  area that I'm blessed to live in, &/or if you have followed my blog 
(&/or business) for more than a year - then you realize that all November long is a month that I love to celebrate the blessing of getting to do what I do, & the blessing that my customers are to me!

So, yep. . . it's starting. . . !

. . . all patterns & books are at least 25% off (. . . & some more!)
(. . . Also, I have a little surprise for each order. . . a little way for each of us to share a little something with someone else!)

I hope that, as we head into this season of celebration - we will also keep those who have been through so much this year - whether they be close family or friends, or the folks on the northeast coast that are dealing with such devastation,  close to our hearts & in our prayers.

So, with that spirit - I want for all to know that for all orders received on November 2 & 3, all proceeds will be donated to Samaritan's Purse & World Vision.

. . . thank you for all the blessings you have brought to my life,
& I look forward to the blessings that we can bring to many others!