STATE FAIR

Recently, Hubs and I spent a day at the Maryland State Fair. It was a day of perfection as far as the weather was concerned.

Our travel mugs were full, an audio book babbled over the traffic noises and a stop at an exotic wood store made the travel time worthwhile.

As always, we enjoyed our fair date.

As we have grown past the teens of yesteryear, we no longer hit the rides, but instead are content to grab a jug of iced tea and stroll the exhibit aisles.

I especially enjoyed seeing the beautiful hooked rugs displayed by guild members. I am in awe at the workmanship in each piece. It is great to see the ribboned pieces finished and hanging, after so many months of watching fellow hookers labor intensively over them.  Maybe one day, I will even enter one of my own.

Hubs, a photography hobbyist, loved  seeing the photos.  Such a variety of  subjects. Farm animals, puppies playing, fuzzy lambs, bashful babies, delicate flowers and magnificent sunsets graced the framework.  I am glad I was not a judge. With so much talent, I would have run out of ribbons if I had to choose!

Isn’t it amazing to see a carefully preserved snowflake, enlarged to show its uniqueness? How about the emotion provoked by the image of a tiny newborn? Can’t you almost taste the saltiness of the ocean when you gaze into the waves?  There is such artistry behind the lens.

Move with us down rows of long-labored-over creations. These pieces hold so much history in their carefully crafted stitches. Hours upon hours were required to turn simple threads and linens into delicate needleworks.  Afghans showed neat rows of rhythmic stitches and lacy tatting edged fine cotton. Feel the love and hope knitted into small booties and blankets for swaddling.

Do you smell the cedar, see the grain of butternut and feel the smoothness of the polished walnut? Imagine the skilled hands that carefully carved, sawed and sanded the wooden objects that line the shelves? Shorebirds carved to perch on branches, hinged boxes awaiting treasures, and sturdy furniture pieces were exhibited  by master woodcrafters.

Next comes the culinary artists display. Hear the laughter of children as they helped mom turn dough into shaped and iced cookies. Touch the cool silk of flour as experienced fingers work on latticed pies. Can you smell the dill and vinegar when you see the stately pickles jarred ? And look at the size of the pumpkins harvested along with ruby tomatoes, husky corn cobs and prize-winning melons! Can you feel the warm sun and soft mounds of dirt underfoot as you admire the shelves of produce?

Amazing quilts, florals  skillfully arranged, paintings… so much to see!

Next, we headed out to meet the animals, all groomed and tethered, waiting to be shown. Goats, chicks, sheep, pigs, bunnies, alpacas, cows–waited patiently for us to camera them.

I wonder if they realized these portraits would become subjects for future projects, adorning rugs, felted into shapes and carved into figurines?

I will have to say the highlight this year was getting to witness the birth of a baby calf. As we happened by a large crowd, we slipped in to see what was drawing the focus of so many people. A beautiful example of motherhood, a mama labored over bringing her baby into a world of onlookers. She swayed restlessly, obvious concern for her baby’s safe entrance slowing her progress, and finally required support from the compassionate veterinary staff.  As the mother bathed her newborn with her long tongue strokes, the hushed crowd slipped away to let her nurture the new babe. What a sweet reminder of God’s gift of life and  His creation. True Perfection!!!

Of course, a late afternoon lunch was next on the agenda. Fair food, who can resist it?  Shying away from such luxuries as funnel cake, cotton candy, deep fried concoctions and kettle corn, we opted for samplings of shaved lamb and smoked pork to accompany sides of fried green tomatoes and Maryland’s sweet corn. We were not disappointed. Yum !!!

Tummy’s full and feet ready to brake, we spent the next few hours volunteering in the guild’s booth where we distributed information and demonstrated the art of hooking rugs.  It is always so much fun to see the enthusiasm  as beginners pulled loops for the first time.  Children were especially eager to attempt it and a few adults tested their skills, also.  Hooks and kits were sold to the ambitious ones. I hope to see their finished pieces someday displayed, too.

The day was full. The sounds of laughter, the  aromas of food, hay and barnyard life, witnessing new life, all made a happy memory.

Actually, the whole day was perfect.

Are you one who loves an annual trip to a county or state fair? What is your favorite part? Do you love the thrill of the rides, the unique menus, the celebration of winning exhibits and well groomed animals? Do the happy sounds, lights and motions against an evening sky thrill you ? Comment below and tell me what you enjoy most.

Until later,

Blessings,

Pamela

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COFFEE BECAUSE

CoffeeJavaMochaCuppa Joe LatteCappuccinoEspresso… anyway you brew it,  I love it!

Can’t help but treat myself to more than one cup a day. It’s funny,  because I never was a coffee drinker in the past. But even then, as a non-consumer, I  delighted in the smell of those richly roasted beans.

Now, there is something good, even vital, about starting the day with a favorite mug full of this steamy liquid. And often, I will admit, afternoons are highlighted by an extra cup. Occasionally, The Hubs and I might indulge in a dessert coffee, powdering our brew with dark cocoa, spooning in a bit of whipped cream, and  garnishing peaks with dark chocolate chips.

I recently won a bag of some of my favorite coffee in the whole world! I was so excited to hear that I not only would receive  a bag of beans, but was also selected to have a large burlap bag bearing their label.

I am talking about Nicaraguan coffee, specifically, CALLING NATIONS COFFEE!!!

When we heard from our young friend, Pastor Joe, that we had won, we ordered a couple of extra bags so we would be able to share it with our friends and not run out too soon.

What a treat when we opened our box and the aroma of that first sample hit our noses!!!

It took me back to my first visit to the country of Nicaragua in the fall of 2013.

A small group of ladies from my home church began planning a trip to teach at a Women’s Bible Study Retreat and asked me to fly back to Arkansas and join them on this adventure. What an unforgettable privilege to be a part of that journey!!!

We started each of our days in Nicaragua with special moments of fellowship over cups of this warm, sweet brew.  It was a joy to sit with dear ones and drink it in and talk of the precious people we met and came to love there.

Pastor Joe has joined with Cafe’ Diego in Matagalpa, Nicaragua to be a part of CALLING NATIONS COFFEE to bring this fine arabica coffee to the US and benefit the people of Nicaragua and Central America.

Through the efforts of coffee grower, Diego Chavarria and his farmers, profits from this coffee has planted over 30 churches in the northern mountains of Nicaragua, as well as helped in ministering to the needs of pastors, missionaries, and the people of this area.

Most recently, CALLING NATIONS MINISTRIES has added  STRONG TOWER COFFEE to their product line. This direct trade coffee benefits the STRONG TOWER CHILDREN’S HOME in El Salvador.  The proceeds from these sales help the children and ministries there to be self supported.

Both CALLING NATIONS COFFEE and STRONG TOWER COFFEE  are brought to the states, roasted fresh, and distributed from Texas to their customers.

I urge you to read their stories, peruse the websites, and support the efforts of the hardworking coffee producers, missionaries, pastors, and children’s home staff members as they reach out to the needy of the nations.

And I guarantee you will enjoy your coffee even more!

Calling Nations Coffee Video

Visit them and learn their stories, meet Diego, and fall in love with the special people and their land, and of course, order the delicious coffee here:

https://www.callingnationscoffee.com

(*as a note, I filled my suitcase with bags of this delicious coffee on my visit there. I did receive a bag of beans as a gift in a drawing, along with the bag last month, but I wanted to write this and lend my support to Joe and other missionary friends and the people of Nicaragua).

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Shadow Play

I have always loved quilts, have grown up with them, in fact.  My youngest memories include piled stacks of quilts over cousins, asleep with a fan in our faces, us buried deep within their warmth and weight.  Cold winter nights included their cottony presence.

Picnics included an old quilt at a favorite campground and a good book.

A wedding quilt showcased my love for the horses of my youth, folded neatly.

My nursery included a tiny version, complete with animals embroidered lovingly, and another hung over the crib.

On a recent visit to my parents’ home, mom spread the quilts of our heritage across the bed and filled our arms and my suitcase with the treasures of our past.

So naturally, when we reached for our “What to do in Hawaii” guide, my hubs was the first to notice the quilt demo and classes the very first morning of our stay. He insisted that my girls, (meaning my crafty friends, new and old), would want to see this. So off we went after an amazing breakfast–dare I mention as a side note how amazing the pineapple boat was after a long walk there ?

I was surprised by the great number of fabric and quilt shops in this small area and the several gatherings of local guilds.

The tiniest of stitches were rhythmically pierced into delicate layers, while a lovely stitcher told us the history of her craft.

A beautifully made story quilt depicted the missionary’s wife teaching Polynesian wives to make the earliest of these works of art.

As she worked delicately around the curved lines of applique, she told us of early fabrics, reaching into her bag to pull out samples sleeved for protection.

Continuing to show her small group of fascinated onlookers,  she relayed the way native quilters sat under great trees and mimicked what they had been taught.

Leaves on the trees, along with branches and flowers cast great shadows upon the surfaces of their work.

The repeating designs of these quilts were a result of the play of sunlight and nature as they worked.  Symbols of the flora and sea provide endless patterns.

To mark our visit, Hubs purchased one of the pineapple pillow shams and a few fabric remnants as I flipped through stacks of pattern books.

Of course, I don’t know if I will ever attempt a quilt, but appreciating the graceful lines and curves, I have already incorporated some of the blocks into my current fiber art project, a wall design with highlight motifs of our trip.

I will always remember this experience and share it with the many quilters and artists that will appreciate the delicate work of Hawaii’s quilts.

Are you a quilter, fabric collector, or just a lover of vintage ? Feel free to share tips in the comments, email me or post on my Facebook page. We love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Pamela

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Aloha Y’all !

Some dreams do come true!

Last week The Hubs and I enjoyed one of those dreams-come-true experiences.

Our holiday season was rather hectic , but then whose wasn’t ? With a family wedding, work, travel, etc., we didn’t have the time or energy to properly celebrate our wedding anniversary or Christmas as a couple, with the kids and grands scattered.  (It was a lovely wedding and we enjoyed seeing all of our kiddos and babies and extended family, but more on that later).

Combining an approaching birthday, Valentines Day and probably every other celebratory occasion in the upcoming future, The Hubs, being the great spouse that he is, shuttled us off to Paradise.

For those of you who have been, I am sure you will agree, it is even more breathtaking than the television shows,

and if you haven’t had the pleasure, put it on your bucket list.

I am certain to post many stories and photos from our Hawaii week.

But for now, due to a pile of sandy laundry, photos scattered between phones and a camera in need of a battery charge, and jet-lag overload,

I will pop in a few now to tease your appetite with  a promise of more to come.

With 20 hours of travel, and a time change rolling back the clock, we made it in time for our first sunset!!!

We feel truly blessed to have seen this handiwork of a great Creator.

Love to travel? Ever been to Hawaii?  We love to hear your travel tips, fun places to visit, best vacations ever… just comment below or leave us an email or post of Facebook. We love to learn from fellow travelers.

Blessings,

Pamela

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Get Packed!

I am so excited to begin this journey with you and I cannot wait to see what we will discover together!  As with every trip worthwhile, planning is a must. I have been in the planning stage for way too long, so now it is finally time to get going. I am gathering up a few supplies and getting ready.

I hope you will come along with me and see where adventures take us. Just as every day is different, I hope every step will be an eclectic mix of something you will enjoy.

I am blessed to be in the middle of the road, sketching maps for those that will follow, and running to keep up with great leaders just ahead on this life quest.  I am passionate about people, and with that passion burns a deep conviction. I am convinced that I should leave a mark, a legacy, if you will, for the ones who will catch up, and most likely surpass me, and live well and sincere before them. Also, I should strive daily-humble-attentive-to soak in the wisdom of the ages from those well-traveled.

We have so much to learn!!!!

My backpack is stuffed full, an overflow from my studio upstairs. Brushes, paints, sketchpads, rug hooks, dyed wool, knitting needles, yummy balls of yarn, a cookbook, my favorite mug, for sure my bible, journal, a good writing pen, –camera, check, map, check, a few tunes on my phone, and of course, photos of the grands……

I am of a lover of many things, so expect never to tarry long in one spot.

Come on, Hubs, Chloe! Let’s go!

I hope you will travel along with me as I explore… travel…cook…create…live an artful life.

Oh and before I forget, be sure and share our blog, sign up to receive updates, grab our free gift, chat with us in the comments, meet us on our Facebook page, because we love to hear from you !!

Blessings,

Pamela

 

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