Monday, May 7, 2018

...harrowing times...and a little bit of silly


Meet "Agnes"...my birthday present this year. She is circa 1840 and has the loveliest expression...not quite a smile...more a look of serenity.


I had her hanging for several weeks as purchased..she came unframed. I finally decided she deserved a little gold surrounding her pretty face. Even though it is not a period frame, I think it was needed to do her justice. She is in fine shape for all her hundred and seventy some years...very little damage. I adore her cameo and lace! 

Welcome to the House of Mugwump, dear Agnes!

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We've had a crazy ride here the last few weeks. We lost all power for a good while when our towering pine tree gobbled up our lines. All of our power lines, etc. are underground. This is the second time this has happened in the last few years so a major job is on the books to replace our old wiring. Not looking forward to no power while they tear up the yard. 

We also had a flood. I was making hotel reservations on the phone. The bathtub was left filling...someone went back to their room and got distracted...it wasn't pretty. Wood floors in adjacent bedroom and closet were involved. Just one of those days when husband arrives home to find melting down wife on her hands and knees ,using every towel in the house to wipe up water, with the contents of the closet in a pile in the bedroom, and a very remorseful child looking for a place to hide. We all survived.

I was waiting for the pestilence. Didn't take them long. Annie was hit with a wicked bug that lasted more than a week shortly after the flood. 

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Did a little stitching on "Sparrow". I had a big scare when my extremely sharp embroidery scissors somehow sliced into the linen. I don't even know how it happened, but I watched in horror as the slit grew. I remembered Marly (Samplers & Santas) had addressed a similar situation on her blog. I went to work trying to minimize the damage...pulled thread from outer edge and began to weave the threads together to close the gap. It worked. I have a not so attractive glob of thread on the linen, but when all is finished I think it will fade into the background. In all honesty, I had a wave of sheer panic when all this was going on. I considered just tossing the whole thing! Those old teacher instincts kicked in...keep calm and fix it. And that's what the old teacher did. 

Thanks, Marly, for always sharing your tips and knowledge with us out here in blogland.

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My husband's legal assistant is having surgery soon. Annie found these cuddly owls at Target so we bought one for her to send to Miss S and she kept one for herself. They text back and forth...Fudge  (Annie's owl) and  Boots (Miss S's owl) to keep spirits up. Little things give Annie such pleasure. She loves sending Miss S encouraging thoughts and lots of love...and reports about what Fudge is up to. Just a simple thing to make smiles all around.

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Yesterday, we attended a special presentation at the St. Petersburg Holocaust Museum. It included a traveling display of many of the artifacts that were pertinent to the tracking down of Adolf Eichmann and his eventual trial. The museum actually has a rail car, from Poland, that was used to transport Jews to the death camps. The displays are incredibly heart wrenching. Annie snoozed in her buggy as we entered the part of the tour that was the most difficult. How lucky she is to not know of the horrendous acts of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. 

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So...that's what is going on at our house. Fighting power, floods and pestilence...pulling a needle when I can...having fun being silly with Annie. Fixing things that I can fix. And being grateful that  all these trivial inconveniences are nothing but that...inconvenient. Hope you are all well. 


Annie and I have all sorts of things going on here in preparation for the coming summer. We'll be back soon to share. In the meantime...

Enjoy the day,
Robyn


Friday, March 16, 2018

His Eye is on the Sparrow


Good Morning, friends. I've been on a stitching sabbatical for the last few months. I purchased His Eye is on the Sparrow by Beth Twist last year...but did not begin to stitch in earnest until this year. I have tried to stitch a bit here and there since mid-February. 


This is a lovely pattern. The colors are magnificent. 


I have started several rugs over the last few years and have been unable to stick with them. Last fall I did a small cross stitch pattern and it was a lightbulb moment...I enjoyed stitching again....stitching it would be. So, out came "Sparrow" and I was off!

Being a full time mother, in her sixties, I have to pace myself. I stitch in the morning while Annie is sleeping. I stitch when I can find time. 

This is an ambitious project. Twelve pages of pattern. I've completed one and am currently half way through the second. I am really enjoying this beauty. Taking my time, I have not given myself any finish date to work toward. Trying to stitch a bit every day, but not always able to do so, I inch ahead, one stitch at a time. 

My husband always reminds me, when I've had a challenging day as the parent of a special needs young adult, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We take this journey one step, one day at a time. Always cognizant of the future, but in no big hurry to get there...eager to "enjoy the day".

Sparrow has become my stitch marathon. A refuge...a place I can go to escape into the colors and the threads. And, as time passes, I see stitches become horses and flowers and birds. Real progress appears on my linen in each completed motif.  It is a slow process. But, I'm use to slow. I'm comfortable with slow. I like slow. It is the best way to accomplish anything...slow and steady.

There are only so many hours in each day, and only so much energy in this old mom. I have been staying off the computer to stitch and mother. I hope you all are well and keeping busy...and warm. Spring is on the way. We've had robins in the yard every day for some time. Our trees are spring green and the days are gorgeous. Hang in there.

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March 21 is National Down Syndrome Day. If you have any questions about D.S. that I am able to answer, I was thinking maybe I'd answer your questions right here. I will try to be forthright, but not too personal. I don't even know if anyone is interested in D.S. but I know that as time goes on, there will most likely be less people with D.S. in the world. They call that science...progress?

 I like to get the word out that people with D.S....well, they are special.

Enjoy the day, 
Robyn





Saturday, January 20, 2018

The thaw...

Schneeman bird...Punch needle Red Birds by Lori Rippey

Uncle...there, I've said it. I've had it with cold. The outfits I've donned in an effort to stay warm are, alone, sufficient evidence of "cabin fever". I've run the heat more in this one month than in the last two decades we've lived here. It has even run at night...we never turn the heat on at night! 

For those of you suffering through wicked low temps, I don't know how you do it. I guess I've been down here so long I have forgotten what real cold feels like. Bear in mind, Florida homes are, for the most part, built with cinder blocks...with no insulation. That's right...they slap the drywall on wood strips right on top of the blocks. Plus, my wood floors are right on top of the cement slab. That's why it takes days for my house to warm up.That's why the damp cold is bone chilling. That's why we've been wearing hats inside for three weeks.

But...the end is in sight. Going up to the 60's and 70's this coming week. No more frost on the roof! No more hats, two pairs of socks and three sweaters. I will, however, continue to don a wool shawl over my jammies...and sip lots of tea...that's the part I like.


Hope you all are staying warm...and healthy. I'm worried about the flu this year. A nice fellow in Whole Foods last weekend coughed all over me. I actually held my nose and covered my mouth right in front of him. I got away from him and his infected cereal aisle as fast as possible. If I go down, Annie will soon follow...and vice versa. We always share. 


Loving all the red!


Stay safe...stay warm...stay healthy, my friends. 

Enjoy the day,
Robyn








Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!


It's even cold in the Sunshine State...and we have seen very little sun in the last four days!

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas. We had a nice quiet day...we love a day spent reading all our new books!


I can always spot my gift...my detailed oriented husband...when it comes to wrapping...not so much.  In all fairness...it's a lovely addition to my Shooner collection...beautiful! He and Annie have a Christmas Eve routine. Door closed, lots of giggling and silliness...and then they emerge with Mommy''s present...always the best part of my gift!


This is my New Year's Eve attire...I'm still in it. Annie and I didn't even make it to midnight!


Christmas is put away and we are coasting into a brand new year.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy 2018!

Enjoy the day,
Robyn


Friday, December 22, 2017

A Christmas Thought



With Christmas in the wings...only a few short days away...and a new year right behind it...I always start my end of the year inventory. I go through the litany of things I wanted to accomplish and was able to, projects started and abandoned, efforts to better the lives of my family and friends. Just how did I fill those three hundred and sixty five precious days?

When I sit and think...as we all do...I sometimes feel woefully lacking in accomplishments. But then I remember. I remember when I was young my father built me a playhouse in our backyard. That little house was the jewel of the neighborhood. It was my space...all mine...rain or shine...summer, winter, spring and fall. I decorated, cleaned glass windows and swept wooden floors, welcomed my friends inside. My friends and I played school under it's shingled roof.


These days when I sit thinking, it often occurs to me that my life has come full circle. I'm once again in my little house...decorating, cleaning windows and floors, and welcoming friends. I've had my teaching career, as well. My childhood dream has followed me all these years. And, as I sit and gaze out these very windows, I feel blessed...and content.  

Of course, I've added a couple of occupants to this little house. My hard working...long running...husband. And our beautiful Annie, who makes us smile every day. My accomplishments...I've kept them fed and in clean clothes these many years and...hopefully...happy... happy in our little house.


 I hope in the coming days you all will be spending time with those you love and hold dear...making memories and enjoying the day. 

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! 

Enjoy the day!

The Family Mugwump


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bits of Christmas 2017


Hello, friends...here are this year's Bits of Christmas....just some random shots around the House of Mugwump. Through the years, I've amassed a sweet little collection of red children's socks and mittens. Along with greens and my favorite pepper berries, these simple items add color and whimsy to our Christmas.

I hope you enjoy these Bits of Christmas at our house.



...a new German Belsnickle


...socks and Shooner Redware


...an early tartan seed pouch...and socks


...tiny red wool mittens


New this year is this early German cow pull toy with his folk art painted base. 


...socks and strawberries


I added an antique Santa to my early German feather tree...the fellow at the top...he's a clip-on.



...more socks


...another pair


I've had this wonderful early tin cookie cutter for a few years and decided he would be perfect in this old red carrier.


He is a handsome fellow...and has quite a presence about him.


I have been gathering early spun cotton ornaments for a few years and now have enough for this old feather tree. This tree is in our sunroom where we spend most of our time. It is the first time I've ever put a tree up in this room. When we are in this room we can see the real tree in the living room and Annie's Owl Tree in the family room...and now this sweet small tree, too.


...early spun cotton and cotton batting ornaments.



 

Many years ago I had photos of Annie turned into these stand ups. They enlarged the photo and backed it with hard plastic so it could be put in the stand. They made great gifts! This is Annie on Christmas morning when she was two and a half. She had just started walking and she would walk a little and then sit down and give you this very look..."I did it!"...so pleased with herself...even her hands are happy!


...and those little red long johns are still a part of Christmas at our house.


Hope you enjoyed these Bits of Christmas. I've tried to keep it simple these past few years...some greens, socks and mittens sprinkled in with redware and a couple of small trees...and, 

of course...


Annie's Owl Tree

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the day,
Robyn









Monday, December 11, 2017

Amelia Island....brrrrrr


Good Morning...brrrrr...baby it's cold outside! 

Still having issues with my camera. We were in Amelia Island last week and my pics from the trip are not to my liking. They are fuzzy and I don't know why.

It was very cold in Amelia Island...cold for Florida. It was rainy and windy so we stayed in the hotel and visited with friends, read books and drank tea by the fireplace. 

On Saturday, before heading home, we went to the Dickens Stroll in Fernandina Beach which is on the island and just below Georgia. It was in the low forties and rainy so we bundled up and joined the fun.

Fernandina Beach is a wonderful little town that began as a vacation destination for northerners in the late 1880's. There are many Victorian mansions that have been restored and are beautiful...especially at Christmas. The downtown is full of old brick buildings that are now funky, fun stores. It is very similar to Franklin, Tennessee or Thomasville, Georgia...quaint and full of new merchants and eateries.


The entire town was decked out for a Dickens Christmas. I didn't take a lot of pics...too busy trying to stay warm and enjoying the sites. There was a dog parade that featured many dogs in various costumes...lots of dogs in their pj's.


The bookstore where I took these pictures was wonderful. The trees and skirts were made entirely of pages from books.


They were wonderful...true works of art. The sales ladies were in Victorian dress, as were many other shopkeepers and of course, strolling carolers.


It was a fun way to spend the morning...but the raw, damp cold...and the rain was wicked. I have so many layers on in this picture...two turtlenecks, a big puffy down vest under the heavy sweater jacket, a wool scarf and gloves. I look a bit "stuffed". When it's cold in Florida it is a damp cold that penetrates your bones! Annie was bundled up and toasty warm. Mr. MW, he has on shorts...and no jacket...he grew up in Connecticut, what can I say?

I'll try to get some Bits of Christmas pics today. I'm trying, Marly...I really am. Our board trip in December always throws me off schedule! See you later in week.

Enjoy the day,
Robyn


p.s. Annie delivered her gifts to her friends on the Board of Governors last week. This year she gave them a photo of herself with each of them...the photos were magnets I made through Shutterfly. The name tags for each gift were retro flashcards with the name of each recipient. We also tucked a chocolate Santa into each bag. Annie loves sharing Christmas!