Saturday, December 31, 2011

In this New Year

May your heart know joy

May each day hold laughter

May doors open to great possibility

Wishing you abundant blessings in 2012!

Reflecting upon this past year, it has been a difficult year for me.
One might think that previous years, filled with illness, surgeries and uncertainties, would have posed more difficulties.
I am not sure that I could ever explain to others why this year has been more difficult.
It just was.
So, for those of you who continued to visit when posts were few,
thank you for the visits, comments and support.
I look forward to sharing more in this new year.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Have Iron, Will Travel

Last week, I received a package from a sewing friend.
Upon first glance, I thought it was a very cute tote.
Then, I realized it had a specific purpose.

It is an iron caddy!
You know all those times that you need to take an iron to a sewing class, stitching retreat or
guild workshop?

Your iron fits safely inside the padded tote, when buttoned.
As each side is unbuttoned,

it becomes your own portable ironing pad!
The inside features silver heat resistant fabric.
Pretty darn nifty!

She used the pattern found here, which can also be ordered in sizes to accommodate smaller craft and travel irons. 

If your sewing area and iron share space in multi-purpose rooms, it would also be a great place to keep your iron safely tucked away. 
I think my friend may have known the colors of my sewing room, as this one coordinates so well.  I may let my iron live in it, even when not traveling!

The sweet ladybug buttons hold a special meaning to our friendship.
Sewing friends and surprises are such a blessing!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Wishes

The past few weeks, blogs, Pinterest and FaceBook have been filled with images of the perfect Christmas. 

 Maybe those really do exist in some lives, but not necessarily in mine or those of many friends.

If there is an empty chair at your family dinner table this year, and you are missing someone special,
you have known the gift of love.

If the stockings and the tree are a little more bare than previous years,
you have known the gift of prosperity and security --
something many will never experience.

If you no longer hear the pitter patter of little feet
and grown children spend the holidays with in-laws and others,
you know the gift of sharing.

If you can see the twinkling lights, hear the glorious music, and smell the fresh pines,
you have the gift of life and health --
even if some days are easier than others.

If you believe that next year will be better and brighter,
you have the gifts of hope and faith.

Love, joy, peace, hope and faith
are the true gifts of the season.
I wish you these and so much more.
A very merry and blessed Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season,
may you also find a few still moments
to reflect upon the beauty and true meaning of Christmas.

Still, Still, Still

Still, still, still
Let all the earth be still
For Mary in her arms enfolding
Hope of all the world is holding
Still, still, still
Let all the earth be still.

Sing, sing, sing
Sweet angel voices sing
While Jesus lies in manger dreaming
Seraph choirs from heav'n are streaming
Sing, sing, sing
Sweet angel voices sing.

Light, light, light
Let all the earth be light
The holy star its news a-blazing
Sign of hope for nations raising
Light, light, light
Let all the earth be light.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blessings - This Christmastide

I first heard this carol on a recording by the Lindenwood Christian Church Choir in Memphis, Tennessee.  It quickly became one of my favorites.
The words are so simple; the melody so sweet, the message so powerful.
I hope you enjoy this version by soprano, Jessye Norman.

This Christmas Tide
(Jessye's Carol)

Green and silver, red and gold
And a story born of old.

Truth and love and hope abide,
This Christmastide, this Christmastide.

Holly, ivy, mistletoe
And the gently falling snow.

Truth and love and hope abide,
This Christmastide, this Christmastide.

From a simple ox's stall
Came the greatest gift of all.

Truth and love and hope abide,
This Christmastide, this Christmastide.

Children sing of peace and joy
At the birth of one small boy.

Truth and love and hope abide,
This Christmastide, this Christmastide.

Let the bells ring loud and clear,
Ring out now for all to hear.

Truth and love and hope abide,
This Christmastide, this Christmastide.

Trumpets sound and voices raise
In an endless stream of praise.

Truth and love and hope abide,
This Christmastide, this Christmastide.

Green and silver, red and gold
And a story born of old.
~Words:  Jane McCulloch    /    Music:  Donald Fraser~

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Season of Advent

Christmas is more than a time of music, merriment and mirth;
it is a season of meditation, mangers and miracles.

Christmas is more than a time of gaiety, greenery and gifts;
it is a season of wonder, worship and wisemen.

Christmas is more than a time of tinsel, trees and toys;
it is a season of preparation, prayers and peace.

Christmas is more than a time of festivities, family and friends;
it is a season of generosity, gladness and gratitude.

Christmas is more than a time of carols, cards and candy;
it is a season of dedication, direction and decision.

Christmas is more than Santa, stocking and surprises;
it is Christ, care and concern.
~William Arthur Ward~

Blessings of joy and hope to each of you, as we enter this season of Advent.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the hay and the corn and wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song, and the harvest brought home.

Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the working man's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought.

Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with the purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea to sea,
The land that is known as the "Land of the Free".

Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving!
~Author Unknown~

Wishing all of you an abundance of joy and bountiful blessings on this Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comfort Food - Biscuits

Sometimes we all need something to comfort us on gloomy days.
The gloom may be in the form of chilly or rainy weather.
It may be a case of sniffles that you just cannot shake.
It may be missing family and friends as holidays grow near.
It may be the ache in your heart when a friend loses her battle against cancer.
My comfort food is warm buttered bread, and lately I have needed a lot of it.

The recipe for 7-Up Biscuits has been popping up all over blogs and Pinterest lately.
Having all the ingredients, I decided to give them a try.
Now, some of you may cringe since the ingredients include Bisquick.
Just bear with the rest of us who often rely on quick and easy!
I used the recipe found here.
The ingredients were things already stocked in my pantry or refrigerator.
I was halfway to soothing my soul!

I find baking helps soothe the soul.  The house seems a little warmer.  The air fills with delicious aromas.  The world slows just a little.

As the recipe states, this is a sticky dough. 
On the initial try, it was a really, really sticky dough!
My first attempt resulted in more drop, than cut, biscuits.
They were still hot, yummy and comforting.

On the second attempt, I added a few more spoonfuls of Bisquick to the dough.
Instead of just dusting my pastry mat, I coated it with a substantial layer of the mix.
That allowed me to scrape the dough from the bowl, more easily turn it a couple of times on the mat, then cut the biscuits.

The addition of sour cream makes these very moist, and the 7-Up adds to the fluffiness.
With the butter in the bottom of the baking dish, there is really no need for additional butter.
Although, who can ever resist adding just a bit?


Sunday, November 20, 2011


Dallas Arboretum, Autumn 2011

I thank thee, God, that I have lived
In this great world and known its many joys;
The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay
And the cooling breezes in the secret dusk,
The flaming sunsets at the close of day,
Hills, and the lonely, heather-covered moors,
Music at night, and moonlight on the sea,
The heat of waves upon the rocky shore
And wild, white spray, flung high in ecstasy;
The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,
The love of kin and fellowship of friends,
And all that makes life dear and beautiful.

I thank Thee, too, that there has come to me
A little heartache and the loneliness
That comes with parting, and the word, "Goodbye,"
Dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain,
When I discoverd that night's gloom must yield
And morning light break through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
Unasked upon my wondering head,
Because I know that there is yet to come
An even richer and more glorious life,
And most of all, because Thine only Son
Once sacrificed life's loveliness for me --
I thank Thee, God, that I have lived.
~Elizabeth Craven~

As we enter this week of Thanksgiving,
I am grateful for friends made here;
for those of you who still come to visit even though I have fallen off
the blogging wagon of late.
I hope to be more present in days to come.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


When you're criticizing others,
And are finding, here and there,
A fault or two to speak of,
Or a weakness you can't bear;
When you're blaming someone's weakness,
Or accusing some of pelf --
It's time that you went out
To walk around yourself.

There are lots of human failures
In the average of us all;
And lots of grave shortcomings
In the short ones and the tall;
But when we think of evils
Men should lay upon the shelves,
It's time we all went out
To take a walk around ourselves.

We need so often in this life
This balancing of scales;
This seeing how much in us wins
And how much in us fails;
But before you judge another
Just to lay him on the shelf --
It would be a spendid plan
To take a walk around yourself.
~Author Unknown~

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering in appreciation

Remembering and thanking all Veterans,
past and present;
especially my father.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Suddenly I realized that the missing ingredient in my prayers
had been "with thanksgiving".
So I put down my Bible and spent time worshiping Him
for who He is and what He is.
This covers more territory than any one mortal can comprehend.
~Ruth Bell Graham~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

It's back:
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake.
Heaven in a cup!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Imaginary Sewing

This is a peek at my current sewing project:
a version of Rose, the latest pattern from Children's Corner.
I selected a large size gingham in hunter green, accented with red piping and buttons.
It is approximately three-fourths constructed, but a cold has zapped me of sewing energy.
I also discovered that sneezing and watery eyes do not help with sewing straight seams!
So, we will do a little imaginary sewing while waiting for the medicine to kick in and the sneezing fits to pass.

While I still love the traditional Christmas colors of red, green and white, it is also fun to play with some of the more trendy color schemes.  Turquoise and red have always been a favorite combination of mine, and they are showing up more and more in holiday decorations and fashion.
This turquoise houndstooth in a brushed cotton would be cozy and warm for the winter months.  I can definitely see it smocked, embroidered or appliqued with jolly red Santas!

To extend the wear beyond the holidays, a winter themed smocking plate is perfect!
The snow and evergreen trees in this design by Little Memories lend a bit of holiday feel, but could easily be worn well beyond the holidays.  Turquoise and pink or always a fun combination!

Another idea for turquoise and pink, and another fun winter themed smocking design from Little Memories!  Who can resist mittens and snowmen?

We cannot forget the boys, either!
I think turquoise can be a fun color for little guys, too.
Think of brother and sister outifts with these precious penquins!
The plate on the left is by Junebug Designs, and on the right, another plate by Little Memories.
By changing the floss colors from pink and lavender to deeper and more "manly" colors, you can achieve a completely different look.

I hope sudden winter storms and colds have not sidelined too many of you.
I plan to be back at my machine and visiting here more often, once I quit reaching for a tissue every few minutes. Thanks for joining me in some imaginary sewing in the meantime!

All fabric,smocking plates, floss and trim available at BessieMary.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


God is more interested in developing our character
than He is in manipulating our circumstances
to make us happy.
~Cynthia Heald~

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Texas to Tennessee, and back!

We took a trip!
We were gone for five days, crossed four states, and traveled over 1500 miles.
I never took one photograph.

So, does that mean we did not have fun or there was nothing beautiful, delicious or interesting to photograph?
 Quite the opposite.
I guess I was just having too much fun, enjoying too much delicious food and company, and too busy to take the time and capture it in photographs.
Instead, there are memories and images etched upon my heart that will last forever.
Unfortunately, that doesn't provide much for me to share here.

We visted a dear elderly friend.  The kind of visit your mind knows may be your last.  Your heart hopes there will be many more.
We shared meals with family members, and caught up on their latest news.
My husband reconnected with law school classmates.
We ditched diets and dined at fabulous restaurants, enjoying every delicious morsel.
We hugged our son, and hugged him some more!
We familiarized ourselves with his new surroundings.
I recognized happiness and excitement in his face and voice, beneath the signs of too little sleep from the fast pace of first year law school.

We returned home.
Those of you who know me well, also know I would have preferred to stay there.
This Texas girl would gladly become a Tennessee gal.
Except, I am very proud of and excited for our Texas Rangers!
That is where I will be tonight -- cheering them on and hoping for a World Series win!

Next trip, I really will try to take photographs!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One More Year!

Another year older;
not much wiser;
maybe a pound or two heavier!
A warm pear buckle with fig compote and homemade vanilla ice cream was the perfect ending to dinner, with my sweet husband, at Jasper's.
Unfortunately, phone cameras and dim restaurant lighting do not make for delightful photos!
Thank you to each of you for being a special part of my life --
each and every day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Life is a race.  Don't whimper if the track is rough and the goal is distant.
One day you shall reach it.

Life is a voyage.  Don't complain if the storms batter the hull or the winds
tatter to shreds the sails. 
One day you shall come to your haven.

Life is growth.  Don't find fault if the seed lies smothered and submerged
in the dark earth before it blooms and blossoms.
One day you shall have your harvest.

Life is a pilgrimage.  Don't falter on the road through self-pity because stones cut
your feet and leave your blood on the trail.
One day you will come to Immanuel's land.

The God who through the boundless sky guides the flight of the sparrow,
who builds the blind bird's nest,
will see to it that in his good time
you shall arrive.
~Joseph R. Sizoo~

Monday, October 10, 2011

The dress that was not,

is not, and may not be made!
I had a plan.
I had the fabric, smocking plate and trim.
I was not completely committed to a pattern, but was narrowing it down.
With a little tweaking of floss colors, I was envisioning a cute little brown and white polka dot
back-to-school dress.  It would be smocked with an apple design and trimmed with lime green rick rack or piping.
I blinked, school had started and we were headed toward October.

Thus, Plan B was born!
So many cute Autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving designs from which to choose!
Replace that apple with a happy pumpkin, plump turkey or silly scarecrow.
Substitute orange for the lime green, and it was full steam ahead.
Except, I ended up cleaning out closets and a zillion other things.
Knowing my slow pace of picture smocking, I may not squeeze this one out by the time the menu calls for turkey and pumpkin pie.

I may be headed back to a twist on the original color scheme.
Brown is the color of reindeer, and at least one has a very shiny red nose!  A great color combination!
Lime green has become a very popular replacement for the traditional Christmas green.
Several holiday plates could easily be tweaked to incorporate it.
Not to mention, the brown polka dots remind me of snowflakes falling, and there are also plates with winter themes and winter animals - polar bears, penguins and more!

I am not saying this version will come any closer to completion.  At least now, you know I do think about sewing and smocking even if I am not writing about it!

Not sure whether I hope to hear I am in good company, or sad to think we are all too busy to sit and stitch.

All fabric, smocking designs and trim from BessieMary.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Give the best you have received from the past
to the  best that you may come to know in the future.
Accept life daily not as a cup to be drained
but as a chalice to be filled
with whatsoever things are honest, pure, lovely and of good report.
Making a living is best undertaken as a part
of the more important business of making a life.
Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands --
a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream.
There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all,
the assurance that you are not alone in the world.
~Sidney Lovett~

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not Your Usual Candy Corn

Candy Corn.
You either love it, or hate it!
This year, I spied Blackberry Cobbler Candy Corn on the grocery store aisle.  As a lover of real blackberry cobbler, I have to admit this doesn't taste anything like it.  But, it is kind of tasty in its own sweet and sugary way.

Then there were these:  Pumpkin Face Licorice Taffy.
The tiny faces made me smile.
Except for a small taste test, the treats were purchased to tuck into some little gifts.
Hope they bring a giggle to someone else, too!

Wishing each of you a sweet Saturday, filled with smiles and a giggle or two!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Canstruction Again

Some of you may remember this post from last year, when I shared photos of Canstruction, the most unique food drive in the world.  The local competition is sponsored by the Society for Design Admininstration, and is currently on exhibit at NorthPark Center.

Recently, I was in the area on business, and took a few minutes to tour this year's event.

Dallas architects and engineers come together to build sculptures, using only cans, boxes and bags of non-perishable food.

At the close of the exhibit, all cans, boxes and bags of food will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank.
Once again, I was reminded how fortunate I am there are cans sitting on my pantry shelves, and fresh food waiting in my refrigerator.

There were 24 entries this year, so this is only a small sampling.
Sports were a popular theme -- and especially nods to Dallas pro teams.
This is a replica of the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy won this year by the Dallas Mavericks.

Social media was also represented, as seen in this two-sided FaceBook entry.

An eery coincidence were entries depicting iPods, iPads and iPhones.  There is no way the creators of those sculptures could have predicted the recent passing of Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. 
Designing of the sculptures began months ago, with build-out and installation occurring a week prior to his untimely death.  Unfortunately, those sculptures were in locations difficult to photograph due to sunlight and other mall activities.

It took me awhile to figure out exactly what this sculpture represented.
Can you guess?
The title was E-luminating.  Even with that hint, I was a little puzzled!
It depicts an energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Can you tell I still prefer the old-fashioned type? 

So, that's a quick tour of this year's Canstruction!
Sorry for a few blurry pictures.  I truly was zipping through the mall.  Fast and furious seems to be the theme of my life lately.  The days are flying past.  I am busy, but that to-do-list does not seem to disappear!  Moments to sew have been few and far between.
This weekend, we will be attending a memorial service for a sweet friend.  Monday will bring another funeral service for an elderly family member.  It makes me want to hang onto each day a little longer, and squeeze as much as possible into each one.
May your weekend be filled with joyful moments, crisp autumn smells and flavors, and victory for your favorite football --and baseball -- teams!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


As you visualize the glorious world our Lord created,
may you be reminded that His greatest and most beloved creation is
~Brenda Nixon~

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cleaning Closets

I have been a woman on a mission of late.
I admit that my kitchen has always had one drawer dedicated to odds and ends.  By the end of the week, the island usually sports a stack of unsorted mail and unread newspapers.

I also have to admit that I really fell behind the last few years, with some of my normal housekeeping and seasonal routines.  Opening and owning a store, undergoing and recovering from several major surgeries, and a few other assorted life happenings took priority.

Turning our son's room into a work space for me, recently led to other clearing, cleaning and reorganizing throughout the entire house.  We have taken loads to a recycling center, made donations to non-profit groups, participated in a community-wide garage sale, and consigned items.  It left little time for blogging, reading blogs, or stitching.

It felt good to clean and clear out some items.
Others were a little more difficult.
These are pretty holes in a favorite sweater.

These are not pretty holes in the same favorite sweater.

As the weather cooled and we began to pull out warmer clothing, we discovered some unwelcome guests evidently shared our good taste in clothing.
Fortunately, the damage seems contained only to our master bedroom closet.
Unfortunately, much of it occurred in a small cedar closet built inside our large walk-in closet.
I am also wondering why I even bother to pay for very expensive quarterly visits from the exterminator.

During the emptying and cleaning of the entire contents of our master closet, I did determine one thing.  If I live to be 100, I need never buy another black or white t-shirt.  That applies to both long sleeved and short sleeved versions, as well as v-neck and crew neck.  However, I bet next time I want to wear one, I still won't be able to find one.  They seem to have a knack of disappearing only when I want to wear one.

Due to the great closet clean out, I am now behind on many other tasks.  There are still other areas in need of cleaning and reorganizing.
Hope to be back to normal routines soon.  I mostly hope that all of your favorite sweaters are intact this fall!

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