Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Gratitudes

Small, daily gifts I love the most. I have many “large” gifts to be thankful for but the small ones hit the hardest, in my heart, daily. 

I walk out to my backyard in the wee hours of the morning and hear a hummingbird hanging out in the neighbor’s weeping willow… search out and find her (him) … I feel so grateful I have had that moment. Or when I watch a flock of noisy Pine Siskins scavenge through the yard after I had put out some suet. I feel so grateful that I had the money to buy the suet to feed the birds so we could see and enjoy them frolicking in the yard. 

I watch the dogs run after a squirrel (stealing suet) and see everyone’s exuberance. … the squirrel safely on the fence and the dogs thinking they are protecting their territory … I feel a moment of joy. Nature is fun and all are safe.

When I look out of my family room window and see the sun setting behind the Olympic Mountains, lighting up the Puget Sound in majestic reds … I think, I can’t be luckier than I am in this moment. Then there is the dusk winter blue light, that is the most beautiful light. It makes me want to light a fire, make a hot cup of tea, pour a glass of wine and just keep looking out my window until dark has taken over. I always feel thankful. 

I smell early morning air, and think, “God, it can’t be better than that!” I wave at my much-beloved neighbors of 22 years and think, “God, it can’t get much better than this.” I wave at people at the grocery store that I have known forever and think, “I feel so lucky to have such a boring, enriched life”. 

Most of you know, I love my flowers from the moment they bloom until they go to seed. Watching the process makes me so thankful that I have a yard in which to discover these miracles. And I love that I can photograph them and discover all kinds of secrets. When I see my 13+ hydrangeas blooming, I think to myself, “How could I be so lucky?” 

The last 4 years have held many nervous moments. Not life-threatening like my sister’s breast cancer (I can happily say she is doing fine) or Heather Von St. James' brush with death before the birth of her daughter. 

Losing a job can be life altering, scary, but not insurmountable. I had my crying fits of fear and questioned what my life’s calling really was. I had my family in my corner behind every tearful fear and knew they were cheering me to my next goal, whatever that might be.

I was thankful I had freelance work so we could keep our house and pay all our bills. But I was really thankful I had the extra time off to spend with my mom when she was really sick and we were spending every other day in ICU. I’m so glad I could be here with her when she was at her worst. I have said many times, God gives you what you need and I needed some extra time to spend with my mom.

Then my son and his fiancĂ©e decided to move back home to pay us rent, help us out while I was unemployed and give up their temporary, yet expensive independence. Before we all knew it, we were all expecting a grandchild. I was in shock at first, because they were so young. My husband was the most positive of all the adults in the house. He looked at me and said, “many have gotten through this and so will we”. Of course, he was right. Being much older parents than most, we might not have experienced being grandparents. But here we are, and we have had the pleasure of holding, loving, changing diapers of our own granddaughter. From two people who found each other so late in life, that thought we would not be married or ever have kids … I think that is a big reason to be really, really grateful.

We were so happy to welcome our granddaughter, Mason, into this world in October 2013. So here we are, seeing in 2014 before we can even digest the events of 2013.

Maybe that comes from being “old” … it all goes so fast. Four generations are living in one house, experiencing all of life’s “ups and downs” together. Giving each other comfort in love, humor and support.

Life can’t get much better than it is right now. Or more confusing, messy, congested. And we will cope in gratitude.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We have the most precious present here tonight. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! 

 And Sophie really misses being the first baby!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Smell of the woods

I know it has been too long since I posted anything interesting. Been busy with my new job, our new granddaughter and trying to prepare for Christmas. And not doing too good at that. I managed to get the trees up, with lights and stopped there. Maybe next year, we will appreciate the trimmings more since we will not put them up this year.

My new job is challenging and takes up much of my brain power. 

I have been watching a new channel, Esquire TV. Well, not just watching, addicted to a couple of shows. Very masculine and full of stylish stuff. How I Rock It and Matt Hranek's Alternative Route

Matt Hranek has a blog called The William Brown Project where he explores his passions of hunting, vintage cars and food.

This is where I discovered some new fragrances for men that I would love to purchase for David.

Floris sounds amazing. "Floris No. 89: Orange and bergamot blended with lavender and neroli give No.89 its classical cologne aspect. Warmed with a touch of spicy nutmeg, the floral heart is underscored by the dominant woody accord of sandalwood, cedarwood and vetiver in this quintessentially English gentleman’s fragrance."

I did find some on a discount fragrance site a little more affordable. More history about Floris on a wonderful blog - Bond Lifestyle. 

This Wood cologne (handsome notes of cedar, with hints of lime, vetiver grass, spruce, and aromatic hiba wood) from Portland General Store.

Also been listening to Gregorian Chants at work, to get me in the holiday spirit. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Super Super cell

Massive Supercell in North Texas (1:55) On June 3, 2013 near Booker, Texas, photographer Mike Olbinski pulled his car to the side of the road to capture one of nature's most amazing sights

Monday, November 11, 2013

For my brother!

I might have posted this previously, but I want to put this one up for my brother. I love you. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I am a MasterChef (Junior) wanna be

I have been obsessed with MasterChef Junior. I binged-watch many Saturdays ago, episode after episode, after I discovered it. Thinking, Jeez, if those 10-year-olds can cook like that, so can I. They have challenged me in so many ways. So I did venture into the kitchen to make a couple of soups, desserts, but have not attempted Beef Wellington yet. I am so excited to get in the kitchen and see if I can cook like a 13-year-old!

This morning, (ON DEMAND) I waited anxiously to see if Alexander or Dara would win the big prize. Gosh, I wish they could have awarded two of them the award! It was all inspiring.

Italian Food Network TV. 

Also, sooooo many great Thanksgiving ideas on Pinterest. And like I have not eaten enough Halloween candy, there is this board, Pumpkin pie!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Bad Blogger, but great art found

I know I have been a bad, beleaguered blogger lately. Too much going on. 

So much in fact, that I hardly have time to check my email but every couple of days. So unlike me. 

It does not mean I still don't see amazing things I want to blog about. NO! I just don't have time to blog it, note it or email it to myself! 

Like this art by Japanese artist, Jung Jung ... which I have blogged about before. Crochet taken to another level! Jung Jung creates these incredibly delicate flowers and vegetables. I really, really love them. It looks like she also includes the pattern of the creations. I think I am in love with the pattern graphics as much as the finished product! Amazing talent. You can see more here on Pinterest.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Mason in da house

We have a new baby, born October 29. I wondered today why I felt so completely exhausted and thought, "Yeah, we just had a baby! I have been completely overwhelmed with my new job. My husband has been working 7 days a week for months. My mom is very ill. I still have freelance jobs out there that I am neglecting. And a completely filthy house (which makes me tired to just think about)".

So, maybe, I have a reason to be tired. That is what my husband and mom keep reminding me. The kids have taken Mason to her folks to meet, aunts and and great-grandmothers, etc. I took the opportunity to clean the rooms where they hang out. 

Yesterday, feeling a little tired and sick, I left work a couple of hours early. Got home to realized it was not raining as predicted, so mowed, cut grape vines from my neighbors yard, and cut some clematis that make it impossible for my neighbors to close their gate, cut down my old lilies and filled up the back of my truck. Then I really did feel exhausted. Came in and held Mason for an hour. Just watched her face, her smiles, her yawns, her stretches. All adorable and affirming. 

We are having such a great time just watching her every move, and even more fun, watching Matt and Bri watching Mason's every move. She such an easy baby. "Titty-baby". As long as she can eat, and sleep, she is perfectly content. She reminds me of Matt and Bri's mom says she reminds her of Bri, so, right now, we have the easiest baby in the world. She is handed over from person to person in the house, rocking and cooing and loving her. It is all very, very wonderful. Even the dogs are already protective of her. If and when she decided to cry, they all run to her defense.

Feeling pretty blessed right now in my personal life. Not quite so convinced about my career right now, but I know I will figure it all out. So am not stressing over it too much.

Bri is a terrific mom, which makes being a grandmother so much easier. Watching Matt so in love with Mason, becoming a terrific dad, is another completely satisfying vision.

My only, and supremely wonderful sister told me a couple of days ago she has breast cancer. So if you have a prayer group, or have an upstairs connection yourself, I would be so thankful. Her name is Lisa. She is the best of our family. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Baby watch

We have been on baby watch all week. Due date this weekend. ;0 Are we ready? I guess we are. 

I have not even received my second paycheck and it feels as if I have been at my new job for 2 years. Lots of work going on! Fun, but stressful.

Have not been in my yard in awhile. Found a few violas still blooming. And lots of stuff that needs to be trimmed and cut down. I put it on my list! Changing bed linens today and trying to power through the dirty clothes taking over the bedroom. 

Here is the last my sweet violas. See again next spring?


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Magic New Mexico

I love what my sister-in-law sees!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

I have a little shadow, he goes in and out with me

I have never known a cat so in love with a human as Ivy is with Matt. Wherever Matt is, Ivy is there. If Ivy can jump up on a table or cabinet to be closer to his face, he will. The closer to the better. Ivy jumps to Matt's shoulders all the time to be close to his face. My friend Faith calls this 'pussy whipped". I agree.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cchhh, ccchhh, ccchhh --- changes!

The weather went from summer to fall in one night! 

I thought my new job would allow me a little mental downtime. But with all learning new things, I still feel like I am a step behind. No time for fun blog stuff! I saw these on the way home and thought I would shoot it if I still had some light when I got home. 

I know I have not been blogging much but that does not mean I don't still have lots to share. I think about it but when I get home, life gets in the way. I think you all know that we are going to have a granddaughter, Mason, here with us next month. So lots of planning, cleaning and such for that miracle. 

So on the bright side, Robin's book, hoop: the american dream (the summer trip I took last year) was released yesterday. I have been checking her blog to make sure everything is working ... and then Tuesday, she had a segment on King 5 Evening Magazine. I am sooo excited. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Elvis Robertson

Elvis Robertson's cutwork is something made for windows. The pieces are hand cut from a single sheet of suede and hand stitched onto a sheer fabric. With the sun shining through from outside, these pieces then create shadows across the interior. During the day they seem opaque and subtle from the outside, whilst more graphic inside. Check out more at the blog, Lovely Textiles

Isn't that fantastic?

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Lil' Red

Found this wonderful Short created by Cale Atkinson on Children's Book Illustration
Lil' Red from cale atkinson on Vimeo.

New hair-dos

So many things to love!

It is the holiday weekend. The weather is so perfectly wonderful, sunny, blue skies, cool. Hint of fall in the air.

Mom and I had an outing yesterday, haircuts and Half-Price book adventure to pick up something to entertain mom. We rented lots of movies at Blockbuster (yes, they are still in business). 

I had a great second week at work. A couple of freelance things I need to wrap up in the next couple of days.

There are so many things I want to do, embroidery being top of the list. Calligraphy, second and quilt --- third or shares a second with calligraphy.

Anyhoo ...
Just found Michele Carragher's site and am completely blown away. It is so beautiful, it make me want to weep!!!

Michele Carragher is a London-based Hand Embroiderer and Illustrator who has been working in costume on film and television productions for over 15 years. She studied Fashion Design at The London College of Fashion.

Her site is full of photographic galleries of her most recent embroidery work on HBO's costume award-winning television series Game of Thrones, along with examples of her other work including Channel 4/HBO's television mini-series Elizabeth 1 and much, much more. 

She also offers to show the process!

Get your hanky out because there is going to be some drooling going on...

Too much, right? The best? Did I lie? Would I lie to you? ;)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My worship place

Been too long since I wandered around my backyard! 

The week in blur

It is terrible. But we forgot to take any photos at the baby shower last weekend. We managed a couple of silly "pink mustache" ones after the affair, all of us exhausted. Tried to take one photo of the paper lantern decoration ... blurry. That pretty much sums up the week. ;)

Bri younger sister and I decorated the gift bags with leaves. She had fun coming up with words. It is great to have a project like this for kids to do. They simply can't mess it up, and even if they do, there are plenty of leaves where those came from. I think they turned out completely adorable. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Follow the bouncing ball

Sometimes I feel like the bouncing ball that never comes to rest. 

 In the last two weeks, I gave resigned from my wonderful job at Microsoft Office as an icon artist. And from The Everett Herald (very sad face). I was offered and accepted a great full-time opportunity at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and I am so terribly excited! 

In my week between jobs, we have been very busy in the Carney-Miller household. Painting rooms, moving my mom upstairs, kids downstairs, getting my sewing room turned into a baby room. Now cleaning up this mess is on top of my list ... baby shower with 25 guest this weekend. And my best buddy's big 50th birthday party the same night.

We finished staining and replacing old wood on the deck, so it is time to put that all back together.

David spent some time back in Kansas helping his mom and step-dad pack up the house to move to a smaller place. We have about 4 boxes of stuff from Kansas ... my M-I-L is a extraordinary quilt-maker, so I am the recipient of some excellent fabric (where to put?)

David is this minute staining and building a chest of drawers for mom's new room. And I am going embark on putting and combining makeup and toiletry items in our bathroom.

Everything is topsy-turvy right now in my life. With some really hard work and concentration, am hoping to set that straight in the next couple of days.

The cherry on my on cake this week is a piece in the Seattle Times Sunday Market section about Brantlers. So next on my list, make more! Thank you, Claire!!!!

Also, finished up Robin's hoop: the american dream™ site and she also is selling her poster! I still can not believe that was a year ago. And I am featured on the first couple of entries of her blog (my arrival in New York).

And if not for happy hour with Rick, talking about his new animations for his site. I might lose my mind. So I am off. Hope I can find some time to blog about flowers and art sometime very soon! xoxoxox

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Birthday to my lovely mom!

I can't remember when I did not have time for blogging ... but that time has come. 

My new freelance gig (and commute) is kicking my butt. And I am also still working at the Everett Herald very part-time. I have my freelance gig until October ...  I can do anything for 3 more months.

Today is my mom's birthday. We (Matt, Bri and I) spent it painting what was once my sewing room, will now be the "baby" room. Maybe I have not made that announcement? Matt and Bri are having a baby. We are trying to move everyone around, move bedrooms, get all settled before October. 


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Robin Layton's dream comes true

I remember when Robin posed the question to me last year ... "do you want to drive across the United States with me?" ... and a month, 9,000 miles, she had shot a book. 

I had no doubt that Robin would find a publisher, and she did ... powerHouse

Her book 'hoop: the american dream™' is available for preorder now on Amazon and Barnes&Noble, the website is up and running. She has started her blog about the adventure. It is a dream come true.

I look at each photo today and it feels like we just standing there shooting it! 


Monday, July 01, 2013

De Grisogono

I have saved these rings from De Grisogono forever. I have not blogged about my fave subject in awhile. You know how happy big, diamond rings make me.