Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New Life

This is my daddy and I'm keeping him.
By Angie Quantrell Angie Quantrell

startled gasp for breath
mama's trimphant labor
wrapping up daddy
Haiku by Angie Quantrell

Welcome, Autumn Nahara.
Born April 26 at 10:08 AM.

Another piece of Nana's heart...

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Plank - 10 Steps to Success

My idea of a perfectly-formed plank.
By Angie Quantrell

No. Not that kind. The exercise kind. Planks are hard to do.

I don't like them.

Does anyone really like them? This is what it looks like when I try to do a plank.

1. Gear up. Avoid doing planks following a recent meal.

2. Collapse to floor level.

3. Set timer. Otherwise, I will be positive that 15 seconds is a full complete minute.

4. Start timer.

5. Assume position. Elbows and forearms on floor. Toes on floor. Nothing else on floor.

6. Tighten stomach, back, and buttock muscles.

7. Immediately begin to breathe harder. At 5 seconds in, notice trembling limbs.

8. Sweat.

9. Fight the feeling of giving up or falling on my face.

10. At 30 seconds, convince self to keep going. Or pause for a rest (I like that one better).

1 minute? DONE.

What a workout!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences these physical manifestations of pain when doing a plank. I mean really, shouldn't a 53 year-old be able to handle this?

True, I haven't even done a sit-up since, well, I don't know when. Maybe shortly after my last baby was born. She's 25. Years-old. Wanna know an embarassing fact? When I started this new build-core-strength-workout-program I could NOT do one sit-up. Not one, folks.

But I digress.

Planks are not fun, easy, or pleasant. But I have to admit to a certain joy in knowing that I can hang in there and do a minute. On most days.

Care to join me? On to sit-ups.

What is your most hated, feared, or dreaded exercise? Let's commiserate.

Planks AND flowers.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

Blossoms in the spring
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Happy Earth Day, Earth!

What a wonderful world we live in - beautiful, fascinating, safe, peaceful, dangerous, harsh, mysterious, vast, surprising, and awe-inspiring.

I'm glad I live here.

In honor of Earth Day, I think it appropriate to give a gift.

So I will do something good for the Earth today. Maybe several somethings.

My gifts shall be:

- picking up any trash I see
- making sure I water only what needs water, not the sidewalk, gutter, or driveway
- turning off electrical devices I am not actually using
- planting something pretty (or tasty)
- giving thanks to God for such an amazing place to live

Tulips opened to catch the sun

Earth Day Haiku
Earth home, designed gift
fashioned by God's mighty hand
habitat for us

Fruit trees in bloom
What will your gift be?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Unexpected Gift Perfectly Suits

A purrfect gift. @AngieQuantrell
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell 

We were recently given a handmade gift that perfectly suited our family.

As we served an appreciation luncheon for co-workers, a certain woman, well-known for her hospitality and kindness, walked up to me and delivered a gift.

Since this luncheon was for them, I was not expecting a gift. We were doing the giving. But in her thoughtfulness, she remembered us with a hostess treasure.

When time allowed, I dug into the package and discovered a large, white hand-embroidered dish towel. Beautiful!

The homemade varieties are the best sort, are they not?

I quickly went to her table to thank her for the thoughtful gift. That was when I discovered four reasons the unexpected gift perfectly suited our family.

1. We are facing a shortage of decent dish towels. I prefer to use them until they are rags. We are breathing down the neck of the rag stage.

2. The embroidery neatley featured a cat. We love cats and have two terrorist cats of our own.

3. The embroidered cat was gray. Aha! Both of our monsters are affectionately called the Gray Girls.

4. The towel design included a cat clock of the old fashioned sort. We have a cat clock, of the new fashioned type.

I decided to use the dish towel as a mini-tablecloth. For now. @AngieQuantrell
A simple dish towel delivered true joy and pleasure for the one who was trying to give appreciation.

Have you ever received a perfect, unexpected gift?

Monday, April 18, 2016

National Haiku Poetry Day

Monet in the garden

by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

National Haiku Poetry Day was on Sunday. I love wrangling words to create a 17 syllable story poem.

Cat in the garden
Ladybug is mine, Mine. MINE.
I can't have it? Fine. I'm gone.

Fine. You won't let me have it, I'm outta here.
Cat, photos, and Haiku are mine. Happy Haiku Holiday.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

How We First Met

The fridge, our friend
 By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

I remember the day I first saw you. I mean really saw you.

It was on Halloween, October 31, 2009.

That was the day we moved out of the spare bedroom of my in-laws' home and into our own space. Such a beautiful day.

I opened you, ready to put cold items in for storage. Oh, look! They forgot a lovely crystal glass bowl.

So I carefully washed the bowl and put it away.

The next day, you surprised us with a shelf and trays full of water.

THAT was why the bowl was left behind. For the leak. From the ice maker. Which leaked pretty much non-stop.

The picture became even clearer the more we got to know each other. We discovered that you really loved to have a dish towel beneath the bowl, just in case you spilled over the edges. And those spaces under the veggie bins? That was your favorite spot for letting water pool and become a lovely icky tan.
The bowl and dish towel
This went on, the emtpying of the bowl of ice and water, replacing the dish towel, and starting the cycle again and again, for years. Until finally, we couldn't keep up.

So we had to turn off the ice maker. It must have made you sad, but we couldn't keep up with the water.

Ah. Now we wouldn't need the bowl. We could use the entire inside of the fridge for our food.

Not true. From somewhere, deep within your beige walls, you had the capacity and urge to leak. Still. Even without a water connection.

Back went the towel and the bowl. It became a game of sorts. Some days there were no drips at all. We thought we might be able to dispose of both bowl and towel. But others days, a deluge of water filled the bowl and the bottom of the veggie drawers. Even with no water connection.

The end came, at last, when even the second shelf was often filled with standing water. One dish towel became two, then three. It was too much.

Good-bye, my leaky beige-y drippy friend. It has been good. Interesting. Confusing. Frustrating.

But you have been faithful. Our food stayed cold, even frozen.

Thank you for your service. I will always have fond memories of our time together, the good times and the bad.

The new fridge - without bowl and dish towel
Hello, beautiful. I remember the day I first saw you. It was April 15, 2016. Tax day.

Here's to a long, drip-free relationship. Without the bowl and the dish towel.

Thanks for stopping by.
I would love to hear your tales of appliances gone bad.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Inaugural Run

The inaugrual clothesline run. Success!
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

It was a successful inaugural run...for my brand new recycled clothesline.

Until now, several factors have discouraged this celebratory occasion.

We have a tiny backyard.
The project resisted efforts towards completion.
Time kept on slipping, slipping, slipping.
Do you know how hard it is to find poles for clotheslines?

Today, may I introduce you to my tiny yard, brand new, recycled clothesline?

Pleased to meet you.

Our son had an old clothesline pole hanging out on their property. This treasure came complete with a cross bar (which my husband dropped on his head; his next gift is going to be a safety helmet - and I am not kidding) and rings for the lines.

We had to anchor the opposite side of the clothesline to the garage which required us to angle the entire clothesline. Do you now how hard it was to make it NOT square and straight? Using the garage as the second pole was due to lack of a second clothesline pole and a lack of space.

Our one available section of yard is only about 6 feet wide. It hides behind the garden shed and is almost beneath, gasp, the powerlines. Where the birds sit.

In spite of the challenges and possible necessity of rewashing bird-soiled items, I am so pleased and excited to use the clothesline.

Hurray for fresh air, crunchy clothes, and a lower gas bill.

Our angled clothesline connected between a pole and the garage.

Do you have a clothesline? What are your tricks for getting the cleanest and softest clothes?

Monday, April 11, 2016

National Pet Day

Baby pictures - Monet & Mabel
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Today is National Pet Day.

Here are our two highly energetic and trouble-seeking felines, Mabel and Monet.

The sisters are camera shy and any attempt to take photos results in instant movement, waltzing away from the scene, aloof attitudes, or disdainful staring away from the camera. Loving eye shots are not allowed. No. Not at all.

Mabel of the gorgeous eyes

Our cats love to:

- climb the walls (literally)

- chase, capture, and bring in wildlife (birds, worms, mice, rats)

- pretend they live at the home of neighbors (your choice; we see them regularly lazing in the yards or coming home from 5 different yards - none of which are ours)

- leave hair everywhere

- recline on the kitchen table

- claim any unfurred piece of furniture until it is redecorated in white, gray, and tan fur

- play catch the lazer (or string, or cord, or feathers, or toes...)

- steal rubberbands

- eat daddy-long-legs

- try and potty in the garden beds

- tease the neighborhood bully cat with friendship, and then turn about squawling as if ripped limb from limb (this also results in the male boy spraying regularly on several key locations, house included)

- race loudly and wildly through the house

- be wherever we are

- sleep on fuzzy blankets

Monet with the striped tail
Oh, there is more. They are cats. You get the idea. We are not allowed cat fur free clothing, bird feeders, or litter free carpets.

But we love them. Entertainment, affection, company, lap warmers, snugglers. I guess we'll keep them.

Monet depositing hair and cat litter
 Do you need some great ideas of things to do on National Pet Day? I found a Web site that shared several suggestions. Just click this link. National Pet Day

What kind of pets do you have? I'd love to see and hear about them.

Mabel claiming the center of the bed
Happy National Pet Day!

Friday, April 8, 2016

National Garden Week - The 2nd Week in April

You have no idea how happy I am to see this many blooms on the blueberry bush! The weight of winter snow broke off at least half of the plant.
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell
Next week is National Garden Week -
the 2nd week of April.
Fading beauty. I'm so sad to see my tulip season conclude.
I am so onboard for this celebration. It's time to plant my garden!

The strawberries are looking future-tasty.
Actually, I cheated. I've already started to plant seeds, since we are expecting highs in the mid to upper 80's today, it may be past time for new sprouts. But I think that is a freak of too-hot-too-early weather and it should drop back to the 60-70's.

Half planted beds. Waiting for seeds.
Here are some National Garden Week photos from my yard.

Garlic, parsley, and sage - all repeat visitors from last year. Plus a cat tail of one who wanted to be featured.
Oh, each new bud, flower, and sprout is so exciting.

We even planted a tree trunk for the cats to scratch and climb. It won't grow...but it is part of our garden.
I'm already dreaming about tasty blueberries, sweet-tart strawberries, exquisite raspberries, and savory herbs and vegetables.
Dabbling to pretty-up a very hot corner of the yard.
Join me. Let's celebrate our gardens.

The dogwood is just beginning to burst into bloom.
I would love to see photos of your garden.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Meet My New Sewing Machine ~ Old Reliable

Meet my new Singer Slant-o-Matic 500
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Meet my new (old) sewing machine.

My old (old) machine, one I've had since the early days of our marriage, has finally bit the dust. Kicked the bucket. Is kicking up daisies.

At a loss, and with pressing sewing needs, I borrowed my daughter-in-laws' machine. It worked great except for one thing. It wasn't mine and I had to return it.

Back to no-sewing-machine.

And then I remembered the old Singer in the cabinet that we had stored in the garage. At the time of my mother-in-law's move to a nursing facility, I couldn't bear to part with it. So there it sat.

Hmmm. Could it be? Would it work or even turn on?

Yes, yes, and yes!

May I introduce you to my Singer Slant-o-Matic 500? Heavy as an elephant and sturdy as rock, this baby can stitch with the best of them.

After a quick online search, the terms antique and vintage were both used. According to the copyright date in one booklet, the latest year of print was 1941. Which would make this machine vintage.

And, oh what a pretty sight, the vision of that vintage Singer Slant-o-Matic 500 whipping through my stitching to beat the band.

Thank you, mom and Singer. Quality lasts.

What make of sewing machine do you have? Have you ever used a Singer?

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Martha/HGTV Moment - Tulips in a Wagon

Happy tulips hanging out in an old beat up red wagon.
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Normally, this floral objet d'art would not occur in my yard. Once the bulbs are nestled in, that's where they stay.

But due to the removal of giant, old, space and light-hogging arborvitae, the tulips had to be moved to save their pretty little lives.
Zoomin' in on brilliant color.
Aha! (Insert light bulb hanging over my head.) I will put them in a wagon, just until after they bloom. And then we shall find a new bed for them.

Success! Even with my careful removal, accidents happened. But those sturdy beauties just hung in there and are now blooming like crazy!

I love spring. Tulip season is my favorite season in the yard.

I think I will plant kale next in the wagon. Do you think the aphids will find it there? At least the slugs/snails will have to work harder.

No bumping up and down in my little red wagon for these pretty spring tulips.
What kind of container gardens do you have in your yard?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Just Because

Just because I appreciate you.
By Angie Quantrell @angiequantrell

Happy April!

for friends, family, and like
thank you, dear heart true
~ Angie Quantrell
Thank you for reading, commenting, and following this blog. I appreciate each one of you. Invite your friends and family to join the fun. Thanks!
Have a beautiful first day of April. Just because.

Just Because cards by Angie Quantrell

Note: Here is a list of materials I used when making these greeting cards: cardstock, old fashioned library cards, brads, washi tape, glitter tape and glue, rubber stamps, ink pads, watercolor resevoir paint brush

You can see more card creations and cards I love on my Pinterest Rubber Stamping board. The link will take you right to my board. @AngieQuantrell