Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Well, here's the deal...

I'm not much of a history or war book fan... so it took me a little bit of reading / scanning through this book before I WAS HOOKED. 
[Medal of Honor recipient, Gary Beikirch's story as told by is Marcus Brotherton] 
is a good book. 
I was relatively young during the Vietnam years, but while I was reading, I just kept thinking of a cousin who was in the service during that time...
 [I wish I had asked him more ...] 
As I finished this book I couldn't help but think about how awesome our God is... 
and how He can direct us to many things [a cave?!] as He's leading us to Him...
He is everywhere... in scripture, of course, 
but also in nature when we learn to see God everywhere...
and so many times I have to be like Gary and say, 
"Okay God, if we're going to get through this, then we need to do it together.
 The only by giving everything to You. Whatever you want, God - 
that's what I want to." 
Sometimes a hard prayer to pray... 
but oh what peace comes with this complete surrender. 
Note: I was given a copy of this book from the publisher [Revell Publishing] for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Annie Lee the Argosy Update No. 007

Let's pretty up, y'all!
 Here's the thing [and I know I say this A LOT] -
I can sew, but I don't necessarily like to sew -  
I've been known to get so frustrated with it that I cut the entire piece up to bits. 
[Where'd THAT temper come from, sister?!] 
But I'm happy to say that in my old age I've learned to just WALK AWAY for a bit. ha. 
I've shared earlier that we had finally settled on a color scheme of greys, greens, and dark yellows... This is actually the fabric that I bought for the [Buttercup] Shasta we'd bought to re-do, but she's for sale now that we have #AnnieLeetheArgosy 
And I love this fabric, so I am happy to use it!
Where to start?
The couch is actually two pieces [seat and back] that are sewn together so that when it folds out into a bed there's no space to fall I took it out [well Craig did] and cleaned it well then used newspaper to make a pattern. 
I measured and measured AND MEASURED before cutting.
[Brought my sewing machine down to the dining room table so I'd have plenty of room -]
Then I sewed a little and fitted it on, using pins to secure it tightly
[inside out, of course.]
I wanted a good tight fit.
The fabric is actually quilted comforters from Walmart that were on sale. 
I just don't think I could have found fabric for this same price. 
It took some time, and it was cumbersome sewing something THAT BIG - 
[so much different than the Raggedy Anne clothes I made when I first learned to sew!] 
I used sticky velcro to close up the backs... 
I sewed it down securely - this is good and bad -  
Good, because it stayed where I needed it to without having to pin it - 
Bad, because it made the sewing machine needle so sticky and gunky that I had to clean it every three minutes or so... But I got 'er done. lol
A little before... 
during ...
[just keeping it real, folks]
and after..
You can see that the section across the front and the arm section to the right is upholstered as well - Craig helped me stretch the fabric around and we used a staple gun to hold it tight.
I have a piece to tuck in just above the drawers so that it looks a little more like a real sofa during open house - 
 After the sofa was complete it was time to turn my attention to the curtains.
And, honestly? These scared me a bit.
I've been reading stories for the last six months about how hard it was to find new hook / fasteners / sliders due to the originals being broken. And I sooo wanted ours to fit snugly in the tracks on both top and bottom...
So let's see... I had thought I might use the origianls as a sort of backing for the new curtains, but after Craig helped me get the originals off the track [had to take some rivets out to do this -] I realized this just couldn't work. 
2. I'm pretty sure they are fiberglass and I will never, ever wash fiberglass curtains due to an unfortunate incident I had when my mother put some of my clothes in the wash with [unknown to her] fiberglass curtains when I was six years old.
So I measured them and made my own.
I love that our dining table has these grooves that easily work to help me cut the fabric straight! [You can see the nasty old curtain to the left...
Next I measured and pinned each pleat in place...
then stitched them down... what seemed like about 300 hundred [both top and bottom] by the time I was finished. [I might be exaggerating by 75 or so - ha.] 
See? Still pleating...
 I've never made a pleat before and I kept thinking how I would LOVE to share this with my mama because she was an excellent seamstress... 
Funny how grief can just punch you out of no where, isn't it?

Next, it was time to sew the little tabs on with bits of elastic...
I cut the tabs off the old curtains [see them in the bowl by the elastic pieces.
They all seem to be in good shape!

One tab went between each pleat...
Again, this was a much bigger project than I'm used to doing...
Those curtains on the front are only two [HUGE] pieces...
They will slide open on either end of the couch so you can see out those gorgeous wrap around windows. And they are thick enough to give some privacy.
I love the campy feel of the 'arrow' pattern of this green fabric... and I REALLY love how it contrasts with the dark yellows and greys...
But I mostly love that it's all clean and no longer covered in 47 years of someone else's dirt. Ha. We're going to love camping in #AnnieLeetheArgsoy !

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ahhh... Gatlinburg...

We love our Tennessee Mountains!
And we've had the opportunity to enjoy some time up that way 
a few times in the last year - 
Y'all remember us going to Jingle in July...
such a fun event / gathering of vintage trailers all decorated for Christmas!
It was held in Pigeon Forge / Sevierville this past year and we didn't take the time to drive into Gatlinburg... but still enjoyed the mountain views...
There's a reason they're called the Smoky Mountains!
 We always love visiting...
Oops - this is across into North Carolina when 
I went to the Becoming Conference in late July -  
[We stay on the go - and love life!]
In September we were back up that way 
with Craig's mother for a wedding -  
Seriously... to see the love these two share was the sweetest thing.
I made the frame for the photo-op...
And I think everyone enjoyed it... 
but I won't share all 37 photos with you today, lol. 
While in the area, we took a little time to enjoy 
Gatlinburg all decked out for fall..
Always fun to see a bear or two  - ha
This is the aquarium, right across from our hotel.
 They play music ALL THE TIME so it always reminds me of Disney when we hear it... While in the area, we took some time to walk through some of the crafty shopping areas outside of town... 
And seriously, one of the things I love best about Gatlinburg is that NATURE is within a 5 minute drive of all the hustle and bustle of the touristy areas.
Most recently, we were up that way in January - 
We went up for a quick weekend to attend Kanye West's Sunday Service 
[I'll share more on that soon -]
and since we've been lucky enough to get reservations at Elkmont for late May / June [synchronous fireflies, anyone?] we drove in the back way so we could do a quick drive-through and see our spot... But, alas, [Magic] Mildred [our navigator] took us on a detour due to a fallen tree... and we kept seeing TURN AROUND signs if you're towing a camper [we weren't.] Those were some of the skinniest mountain roads I've ever been on... and it did make us think twice about how we're going to navigate with #AnnieLeetheArgosy...
[Craig's thought is that at least we can back up - 
which we could not do towing a vehicle behind our little motor home...]
Still it was beautiful to be in nature
and see the mountain streams, even in winter...
And we stayed in a creek side room.
A favorite of mine... because... even when the aquarium is playing its music constantly, if you're on this side of the hotel and open your door... 
all you hear is nature... it's pretty neat.
So. What do you think of when you think of Gatlinburg?
[Or any touristy mountain spot?]
Caramel apples and fudge / candy shops of course. Ha.
And there just happens to be one within walking distance of our favorite hotel.
I'm not even sure we bought one during this trip...
But they look [and smell] delicious!
We did grab a quick bit to eat at the Sunliner Diner in Pigeon Forge before the service. They let us do a quick photo op in the car... 
But it was so crowded that we had to grab a seat at the bar...
And we shared this giant milkshake, burger, and fries...
and onion rings...
[I think they'd just opened that week...]
It was all delicious - and such a fun place!
After the service we had dinner at a [very good] Italian place off the beaten path before heading back to our room. And yes. It was COLD.
But we sat out on the patio for a bit to just enjoy our time there..
The Margarettaville resort across the way had an open fire pit going 
[but there were no visitors to it that evening.]
And it snowed on us before we left - 
always a treat!
As I write this during the pandemic... I'm wondering how things will be at the end of May and if we'll be able to see those fireflies afterall...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Well, this is a fun book!

It's a lighthearted read that was a fun escape from the world right now...
  Here's the thing, we love vintage camping!! 
We've renovated a 71 Scotty (#LottieScotty) [who was just as cute as Rose] and we're currently working on our 73 #AnnieLeetheArgosy, so
I really enjoyed reading about Dillon creating her own space in her own little camper. And I loved reading about how she found her space in this life too, despite having such an unconventional relationship with her mother...
I think y'all would love this fun little escape from the world... 
if only for a little while...
Note: I was given a copy of this book for review purposes from the editor [Revell Publishing]; all opinions are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Can y’all tell I’m catching up on blog posts?

Well - I have a little more time at night since our 
social calendar has been cut-back some. [ha]
As in - 
We. Are. Home. Every. Night.
Seriously - so glad for technology and all the ways we can stay in touch with those we love during these social distancing days - 
Back in the day [when I first started blogging – waaaay back in 2007] I tried to do three posts a week. Yes. Crazy – but it was partly to share with my mama who was in a new phase of life after our dad passed away – and partly for me, on a new path of life as well as I was in the midst of emptying the nest… 
[a HARD transition for those who haven’t done it.]
But these days? Y’all know we’re all about living life – and I’m doing good to get one post out a week. But still, I find myself wanting to document things in a little more detail than FB or insta can provide… so I’m catching up and we’ll see where it goes from here –
 In the midst of all that is going on in our world… let’s look back at different time… a time when we could get together in large crowds - [sometimes too large for me – think: the Chinese New Year’s parade in NYC back in 2019 – yikes!] 
But, back in October [2019] we took #LottieScotty to Ft. Wilderness [swung by Weeki Wachi on the way, remember?] and had a wonderful time, with a no-hurried kind of trip through the World called Disney – 
Although, I have shared that it’s lost a bit of it’s magic for me – 
and I’ll try not to dwell on that as I share today – 
[This may be a loooong post...]
Y’all know we enjoy getting an early start when we’re at the world – 
So it was extra fun to see some deer grazing near the bus stop as we started our day with a Disney Princess breakfast in Norway before the parks opened. 
ALL the princesses were there. [And I hate to admit that I still don't know all of their names - ha.] The breakfast was good with a self-serve bar for fruits and yogurt, then meat, eggs, 
and of course waffles! were brought to your table. 
After breakfast we were quickly in line for the new new [to us] ride, Frozen –  
So fun! 
We also took our time strolling around Norway..
It was kind of neat to be in Epcot while it was almost completely empty -
Our plan was to use the new tram, oops, SKYLINER, to ferry back and forth from the Studios to Epcot [back entrance to avoid all the horrid construction out front - but I'm trying to not talk about that -] 
but , alas, the trams had had an accident just the night before 
and it was closed all week. Shucks.
So, let's hit some highlights from each park -  
It was a rainy day as we took the boat from the campground to the Magic Kingdom - what am I saying? It was a rainy almost every day that week. ha.
Y'all know we love the people mover best so we started over in Tomorrowland with that then meandered around Fantasyland into Adventureland because
I had to have a strawberry whip 
[they moved the dole whip to another spot, but we found it!]
I've gotta say - I think I love the strawberry best! 
We met up with friends 
and enjoyed some time visiting with Tigger and Pooh...
Always fun... and goodness, we've been meeting up at Disney since 1999!!
Twenty years!
Where has the time gone?!
We enjoyed the fireworks 
[although Disney has REALLY disturbed me for charging for seats 
in some of the best spots!] 
I may have to start watching from the Contemporary again!
And ended the night trying to get one of those hocus pocus cupcakes - but, goodness. The bakery was closed by the time we got there.  
On a day that we didn't go into the parks we had tickets to 
Mickey's Not so Very Scary Halloween Party
[or whatever they're calling it now - ] 
So we took the boat back over to the Magic Kingdom
[we can never do that without thinking of Jordan losing his mask in the water on our way to the party back in the day... 
I wonder if it's a memory that stands out in his mind?]
I love seeing Disney decorated for Halloween!
And they did a GREAT job letting the party guests take a backstage entrance that was set up just for us with photo-ops 
 and character statues all themed towards Halloween!
So fun!
[My light-up skirt came from Target -]
 We finally got  a Hocus Pocus cupcake to share [it was HUGE!] while we were watching the Halloween fireworks.
And I enjoyed the teacups over and over - 
it always makes me think of riding them in DisneyLAND when I was 7 years old. 
So fun! 
[Do you think I'm a little sunburned?' ha]
All 'round it was a great night, 
even if it was bit more crowded than we've ever seen it -
and despite ending up in a candy line while thinking we were in a ride line, 
it was still fun doing Halloween at Disney!
 Even though I couldn't pick up one of those hitch hikin' ghosts!
 We had decided earlier that we probably wouldn’t spend a lot of time in 
Animal Kingdom during this trip. 
So instead, we planned a relaxing morning...
then showed Lottie to a potential buyer that afternoon.
After that, we decided at the last minute to go over for dinner at a favorite counter service spot - Satu'li Canteen in Animal Kingdom -- it is so very good and the blueberry cream cheese mousse with passion fruit curd is 
almost too pretty to eat!
Pandora at night is one of my favorite places to be - 
I just think it soooo magical!!
These photos don't do it justice ---
I'm glad we took the time to enjoy it, if only for a little while. 
[And while we had one day - one park tickets {a first for us!} we still felt like we had plenty of time to do all the things we wanted to do.]
On another day we were up so CRAZY EARLY because Hollywood Studios opened at 6 a.m. – so, even though you can't see it here, 
we joined about 6,000 other crazies to get in – ha.
Slinky Dog was our focus and we headed straight to Toy Story Land! 
But isn't he ADORABLE?!
[As I'm writing this in the midst of the pandemic, I'm nostalgic, and I wonder what Disney will be like in the aftermath...]
It was a blast - and I don't even LIKE coasters!
[My phone was set to take multiple shots and I didn't even realize I was taking these - but I love them!]
And truthfully, I might not ride it again -   
but I still think he is cute as can be!
Afterwards we grabbed some breakfast - 
hello, 'homemade' pop tarts!
Then we headed over for Craig to ride The TOWER [of Terror] 
before the lines became too long -
He loves it!
We met up with friends again, and despite the crazy scheduling mishap we enjoyed a visit while reminiscing about so many other Disney times together!
We also enjoyed seeing the new Star Wars area - 
and if you're a big Star Wars fan [we're not] - 
You. Will. Love. It.
It was kinda fun to have a guided tour from Chewy himself.
Not kidding.
 - but it was fun to pretend to be his friend, if only for a moment. ha.
And, of course, a trip to the Studios is not complete without visiting the Sci-Fi Theater. We didn't eat there this time - just took time for a photo-op. 
One afternoon - the days are all mixed up to me - 
we ended the day with dinner a Artist’s Point @ Wilderness Lodge
- Storybook Dining with Snow White - 
Who are we kidding? 
Snow White is fun, but we were there to see Dopey and Grumpy!
And despite having some non-photographers take our photos we finally succeeded in getting a few decent ones. lol.
In addition to these fun characters we had the opportunity 
to meet The Evil Queen! 
And the meal was delicious! 
We will definitely make reservations when we go to Disney again. 
It's a new favorite!
On the way to our boat we joined in a group to make our own tie-dyed Mickey T-shirts. Kinda cool to have all the supplies ready and waiting on us -
They wrapped them up securely for travel and we couldn't open them for three weeks so the colors would 'set.'
ON our last day we enjoyed breakfast at The Land in Epcot - our reservations were before the park opened and it was just the best – 
 even if I was feeling a little under the weather 
[I think that dye inthe Hocus Pocus Cupcake 
got to me innards somehow... TMI, I know...]
These are some of our favorite characters, and I don't think we'll ever get too old to enjoy time with Mickey [above], 
and Chip
[See his nose looks like a chocolate chip -?]
After eating our fill we managed a quick trip 
[no lines due to getting in early for our breakfast reservation!] 
to Soarin’ which we love!
[I still like the original one better - just sayin' ]

At the end of the week we hitched up Lottie and took her to her new home –
kind of bitter sweet – but I’m glad she sold so quickly 
[and we got what we wanted for her!] 
We are sooooo looking forward to camping in #AnnieLeetheArgosy with a bit more room for us [and our different sleep patterns!]
We have really enjoyed our time with #LottieScotty - she's helped us get back into the camping groove and this last trip with her was oh so very nice - 
Despite a couple of EARLY morning outings, 
we honestly just enjoyed relaxing at our campsite a lot –
 having a few meals outside... 
[with our camping fan that kept us cool and the bugs away...]
having time to go to the pool - 
Even if it did rain on us most of the time -  
And renting a golf cart for a couple of days - 
THAT was nice - and saves A LOT of time since you can go directly to the main bus and skip the inner-campground buses...
Plus. It's just fun!
We loved riding around and seeing all the campers decorated for Halloween!
This was a favorite - some people go ALL OUT for everything!
And we enjoyed relaxing outside each evening before calling it a night –
Although the sign directly behind our campsite was a little disconcerting - ha
Lucky for us - all we saw were lizards, turkeys [!] , deer, and turkey vultures 
[on the day went to the Halloween party - neat!]
One of the things I'll miss most about Lottie are the windows up above the dining table. I loved looking out at the moon when I would wake up during the night.
But AnnieLee has windows that almost wrap around the entire trailer so we're going to enjoy those wide open views from her for sure!
I wonder when she'll be headed down to Ft. Wildness?
And maybe this pandemic too!