Thursday, January 22, 2015

Longing for Long Island...


Bonjour mes amis!

Everybody's doing these throwback Thursday things these days.  I really don't know where this started, but I often see friends putting old family photos, etc. on Facebook.

This morning, I got a jolt of a throwback...and it's Thursday, so why not?

I was born on Long New York...

My parents were born there...

All my growing up (once we moved away), we regularly went back to Long Island to visit our Grandparents...

A little over a week ago, a very dear man from Long Island was called to be with the Lord.  I knew him all my growing up.  He was such a kind and fun man, a dedicated man (worked for the Fire Department for 60 years), and definitely a Family Man.  He and his wife were married for many years, and they had a big family together.  His children were so blessed.  He cared about each one of them so.  He was so dedicated to his wife also, always looking out for her every need.  We called him "Uncle" Tommy.

"Uncle" Tommy was my Mom's cousin and a dear friend to my Dad.  It turns out that he really was responsible for my parents getting together.  My parents went to Long Island this past week to honor and remember him, and it's been so nice to hear all about their visit, and how loved "Uncle" Tommy was.

Flashing to so-called "Flashback Thursday"...It's a dreary day today, here in Texas.  I made a cup of Tea this morning.  I had to open a new box of Tea.  As I put the tea bag in my mug, I had a vivid memory of my Grandparents (my Dad's parents) who also lived on Long Island.  They were big-time Tea drinkers.  The tea bags were always out, and they had a lazy susan on the kitchen table that never moved.  It was stocked with sugar and tea bags and a cup of tea was always at the ready.  Growing up, I thought that's all they did, was sit at the table and drink tea.  If someone came to the back door (which, of course, is where all guests enter), they were invited in for a cup of tea, even when we were there for a visit.  They were hospitable people.

As I made my cup of tea this morning, complete with two sugar cubes, I grabbed an iced tea spoon from the drawer to stir my tea.  I had grabbed one that my mother gave me years ago, since she didn't use the iced tea spoons anymore. More flashback...the stainless we had all my growing up.

It's a good day to reminisce...and enjoy the rain!

I hope you are blessed with some good memories today!

Have a "Jewel" of a Day!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Just in time for warmer weather!


Bonjour mes amis!

How did gift-giving go for you this Christmas?  Did you have returns to make?  Did everything fit right?

I always try to really think hard about things I think people will like in my gift-giving, and this year, I ended up making two things for Dr. J that I thought might be meaningful for him.

First off, I took a great deal of time to go through all of our photos from our time in Europe, while we lived in France in 2012 and 2013.  Dr. J LOVES Stained-Glass Windows.  I know I mentioned it frequently in past posts, but I'm telling you, it was like a moth being drawn to flame!  If Dr. J saw an old Church or Cathedral that just might have stained-glass windows, we had to go check it out.

So, I put together an Album for him of all the best photos that we took of stained-glass windows, and labeled the Album,
Une année de Vitraux!
(Translated, A year of Stained-Glass Windows!)

All in all, I came up with about 200 photos.  I got the photos printed up and arranged them in an Album, and then pain-stakingly went through and labeled them, where the photo was taken and when.

Dr. J was touched, although, it has meant more and more to him as he looks through and remembers all those visits, and studies the photos for detail.  His favorite window is this one...

Don't you love how the guy is holding his own head?  We saw a number of windows like this in France.  Personally, my favorites were the fleur-de-lis shaped ones, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise you.

I gave Dr. J a second gift that I made for him too, however, I had to give it to him unfinished...

Dr. J has an afghan that his Grandma (now deceased) made for him many years ago.  He treasures that thing.  He wraps up in it every night while he's reading in bed, and is always mindful to take good care of it.

SO, I thought he should have something from me that I crocheted.  I found an excellent free pattern for a thermal scarf made with wool yarn through Lion Brand Yarn Company (because you know we need thermal scarves in Texas)!  I just thought the pattern looked like the most masculine scarf, and that then he'd have something from me to wrap around himself too.  (I also thought that the pattern had a bit of a window-like look, and would be a fitting gift to give with the Stained-glass Photo Album...a bit of a stretch I guess, but with me here!)

I bought two balls of yarn like the instructions said, and got started.  After completely using up the two balls, I realized that I was really only about half way through the length I should have had.  I headed back to the store to try to get more yarn, but couldn't match the dye-lot, so I took my chances and just bought two more skeins.

By this time though, Dr. J was home every night, and there was NO WAY I could complete it in time for Christmas, without him seeing me working on it.

So, I wrapped up the scarf, and still gave it to him on Christmas, promising to finish it soon!

I did get the scarf finished a few days later, and proudly handed him the completed project.

He put it around his neck, and then took it off and folded it in half length-wise and tried it on again,
and that's when my heart sunk...
I could tell he wasn't going to be too happy about wearing this.  He said he liked it, but right away I knew it would never get used.  It needed to be skinnier.  The scarf made up kind of stiff because of the yarn, but...


I almost got angry.
He asked if it could be a little skinnier?
And I said, "not unless I start it all over"!

Sweet man that he is...he didn't want me to have to do that.  But goodness!  All that hard work, and for him not to wear it EVER?

I didn't want that, so...

I remade the whole thing, at about half the width it was, and now it's ready for him to wear.  When I gave it to him again, he kept it around his neck the whole rest of the evening to show me he liked it.  I was so pleased, since now I do believe he will wear it!


Ugh!  Who knows?  Maybe we'll have another little cold snap...

I'll have to have a little talk with the Groundhog in the next couple weeks!

I hope you had better luck with your gift giving this year!

Have a "Jewel" of a weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm back...and loving the wintry whites!


Bonjour mes amis!

Happy New Year to All!

I know it's been some time since I have visited with you on my blog...

I have been visiting a number of other blogs, but haven't been taking the time to do anything about my own.  And I've really missed being here.

Now granted, I did have a very busy Summer, Fall and Winter...

There was much travel this Summer.

I told you about my return trip to France!

I also stood up in a Wedding, gave a Bridal Shower, moved a daughter out of her apartment, helped pack up another daughter to move away, and took my Son to his New Student Conference for the University.  Whew!

Then, on to Fall, I took a trip with my hubby where he was being honored at a Conference, and then, I helped decorate for a friend's daughter's Wedding.  That was fun, and perhaps I'll share a few photos from that here on my blog another time.

A sweet homemade Christmas gift from my daughter!

Following the Wedding, it was on to our Ladies Christmas Tea at our Church.  That was a lot of work for me, but many hands came together to make that a huge success!

After the Christmas Tea, I got busy with my own Christmas preparations, because this was the first year that we stayed in Texas for Christmas after years of going to Chicago to be with family.  I really wanted to make things special with good food, and good decorations, and establishing some new traditions, as well as reminding my husband and children of all the traditions we already had established with our extended family.

And now, here I am...

My son has not returned to the University yet from his Winter Break, but next week he will, and Dr. J and I will be back to being Empty Nesters.  I've had a  bit of a cold this week, so the downtime got me thinking about getting back to my blog...

I still have my huge fondness for all things France, so I would still like to share much of my time in France with you, as well as my love of decorating and having fun in Texas.

Wow!  Now that I'm looking back at some of these photos from my home, I'm realizing that I did a little bit more than travel this year.
I painted our guest bedroom,
painted my kitchen,
and I refinished this table in our entryway!
I'm kind of loving this sparse look right now with pinecones and greens.

I hope you will continue this journey with me.  I'd love to have you along...

A bientôt!
Have a "Jewel" of a day!

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