Tuesday, February 28, 2017


On this last day of February - I have to recount our many blessings.

On the night of February 7th - a quiet Tuesday evening - we were sitting in our sun room watching TV and I noticed on the radar that a storm front was about to hit us.  It was long stretching from north to south but moving in from the west.

I mentioned to my DH that he better go and get the flashlight because if it even rains hard sometimes our lights go out.  BOOM !  we were in the dark before he could even think about moving from his chair.

Another second later - something hit us with the force of a freight train - then there was all this sound and crashing of trees hitting our roof.  I honestly thought our house was falling in and my husband was trying to grab me and I was trying to grab my phone in the dark.  I leave it in the same spot all the time, maybe for times like this.  The crashing and noise seemed to go on forever but it was actually probably just a minute or two.  We just stood in the kitchen area clutching each other not knowing where to run.  We have huge 60-70ft Laurel oak trees in our yard and some live oaks too but it's the Laurel oaks that scare us the most.  They are aging out and falling during violent storms.  You may recall we had a near miss of our house during Hurricane Matthew of the same type of oak.

It sounded like a train was rolling over our roof but we knew it was a tree - we just didn't know which tree and where it hit.  Once the sounds stopped - we got the flashlight and started moving thru our darkened house looking up at the many glass walls and panels we have in our bedrooms and it was then apparent that a forked tree on the front corner of our house must have fallen - we had no idea how bad things were because the lightning was furious.  We were certainly petrified that we'd have another tree come down so we just rejoiced in the fact that we didn't have any gapping holes in our roof and not one panel of glass was broken.  After a while - we could see a fire truck cruising our street, I put on my raincoat and went out.  Then I could see - OMG -  this huge 1/2 a tree cracked off and apparently hit our roof and rolled across it and landed in our side yard.

The fireman came inside our house and looked around and wanted to see the panel box - he pulled our main breaker for us.  Good thing because I had not thought of that.  What we couldn't see that night was the tree had just rolled over our masthead and sheared it off.  It caused an arc in the panel box and all the wiring shorted out and burned up.  The electrician said if we didn't have a brick exterior - our home would have probably caught on fire.  Blessings again.

 Here is the tree where the tornado snapped it off.  It skipped over our next door neighbors house and brought down a very similar tree onto the 3rd house on the block.  Our whole area looked like a warzone - nothing like poor Albany Ga. but still many many trees down on houses and some houses are a total loss.
 Here is where part of the tree landed and took out our neighbors fence and narrowly missed their house.  Blessed again!  All in all we are so blessed to be spared and we are able to live in our house while it is being fixed.  There is extensive structural damage to the front corner.  A crack running from floor to ceiling in that guest room.  The windows are bowed and the main support beam was cracked off with the eave system and what's remaining has a huge crack about 5 ft.  So that will have to be removed and replaced - a big job indeed.  We have a contractor that will handle all the work that has to be done.  Blessed again.    We are safe and no one was hurt or killed.  Biggest blessing of all !
It took about a week to come out of the fog.  We were out of power for 2.5 days - we lost all our food. The electricians worked for a day and a 1/2 as hard as they could go to rebuild our electrical service on that side of the house.  We were out 4 days with Matthew but I was never so glad to see the electrical company come driving up late in the day to reconnect our house to the pole.  The following week was filled with worry about the insurance adjuster and how we would handle things like a huge deductible and a $3000 tree bill.  God provides - blessed again.
I had an email about cheap tickets to see STYX lead singer Dennis De Young with the Jacksonville Rock Symphony at the historic Florida Theatre.  HUmmmm - sounds interesting and the price was right and I thought we needed a lift and something to look forward to. 
OMG - they were so amazing.  I couldn't believe Dennis De Young just turned 70 - he was always a showman and still is and his voice was amazing.  He did all the greatest and best STYX songs including the seldom heard Sweet Madam Blue, Castle Walls and of course Grand Illusion, Come Sail away and many more.  He played two long sets with an intermission and our "cheapy" seats were fantastic !

Here he is with his hired guns - a great guitar duo.  The young guy August was from Alaska and you could tell he spent his youth in a basement pounding out the STYX songs - he was amazing and did all Tommy Shaw's parts including amazing dueling lead guitars.  We've seen STYX several times in the last decade and the last time was at the St Augustine Amphitheatre  a favorite venue of ours.  They were horrible !  Their sound was messed up and no one did anything about it.  That was the last time I spend money to see STYX but if EVER you get a chance to see Dennis De Young - RUN to get those tickets.  What a highlight to an otherwise frightful month.
 Sorry there isn't much needlework to show.  I am close to having a finish on a cross stitch piece but it's been slow getting back in the groove after my 10 days of fog.  I bought this gorgeous yarn before the tree disaster.  It is Blue Sky Fibers Metallico from the local Yarn Cow.  This is for yet another Janina Kallio design called Winter Solace.  these are two different colors but very very close.  Had I realized it wasn't going to show up that well - I would have picked a slightly darker shade or two grays instead of the cream.  Oh well ! 

Hope all my friends in blog land have had a super February - many have had snow and typical winter weather - sadly we have had HEAT and storms which were not welcome in the least.  Hopefully March roared in February and we'll be having spring lamb weather to come. 

Monday, February 06, 2017


Yes February has been fickle in many ways.  The weather has definitely been fickle.  We are expecting another record high day tomorrow.  Snowbirds and vacationers in our fair state love this type of thing, however this fickle fair weather friend likes the weather to be correct to the season.  Oh yes we've had a little cold weather this year but NOT much !  I'd say we have about another month of opportunities for cold weather so I'm still praying for some freezes.

Most of this post will be pertaining to Off the Ocean rug camp which I attended almost a month ago - A MONTH AGO !  it was my 18th consecutive rug camp and my teacher Diane Stoffel has also been there all 18 years.  Only one other attendee Annie T has been there all 18 years so it's become a select group.

I came back to Diane's class again this year with a rug I started with her over 10 years ago.  Why do rugs get shoved back in the archives - well in my case - It had to do with a move and the fact that I lost, misplaced, got stolen or whatever happened to the wool for this rug.  It's a big rug, I don't remember the exact measurements.  The original color plan was developed to be a companion piece to my beloved Mermaid rug that Diane also color planned for me.  So once I decided to do this rug at camp this year - I looked high and low for that wool.  I looked in every closet, I looked everywhere in my wool room, under beds, in bins and bags - never did find that dang wool SOOOOOO.........
Diane had to try and piece together a color plan on a rug that was already started.  Of course she did a marvelous job with the challenge and it was just the best rug camp I can remember in many years.  Not just because I was so happy with her ability to piece together a cohesive color plan but I was sitting with a group of dear friends, just lots of things came together.  This photo of the Oliver Cromwell by Edyth O'Neill was taken on about day 3 of camp.  I did get something hooked into every paisley wave segment. 

Here is a close up to show some of the colors.  One amazing thing - I have hooked on this rug twice since camp - I can say that I have NEVER done that before.  When I get home from camp - I promptly put away the camp project and go back to other WIP's.  I have since finished Sail 2 and I also have to admit that the ship hull was completely hooked 10+ years ago - thank goodness because there was no matching issue on the ship.  So the Oliver sails again !  thanks to Diane - I am so thrilled to have this rug going again after such a long period of time.  Never thought it would sail again.

 Next is rugs being worked in my class or in Kris Miller of Spruce Ridge Studios who was teaching next to me and some of my friends were in this class.  I have to say - I enjoyed meeting Kris so very much, what a doll and such a sweet person.  This rug is one from her design catalog. 

Another from Kris' class - a Not Forgotten Farm canvas.
DF Karen's Rev Squashbottom - also in Kris' class.  She had a lot more done on it by the time class was over.  I just love her color choices!

This rug was being worked in my class and yes it was all done in class.

 I think this rug was an original design and no it was not started in class.
Another beautiful rug from my class.  This was a Susan Quicksall pattern.

This was a finish from another class - Sheila Arborgast was here teaching - her first time teaching at OTO.  Some of my friends were in this class too. 

Sheila specializes in these 3 D animals - look at this darling reindeer and goat which was completely finished in class by dear Eleanor, this was her first time at OTO and we hope we see her again.
 Here are a few rugs from the rug exhibit.  No I didn't have a single finish in 2016 to put in the show!
This beauty is a Blackbird Design rug by DF Donna.  We were in class together many years ago, obviously Donna finished hers and I didn't ever finish mine.  It was lovely!
Friend Robin was working on this rug in my class with Diane last year.  Glad to see it finished and in the exhibit.  It was a special beach location in NJ thru the seasons.

 another Blackbird design turned into a rug.  Very cool rendition of this design - I LOVE IT !
 DF Suzy is so creative !  Look at her precious kitty kat!  she is just the sweetest thing on earth, both the kitty and Suzy!
I'm not sure whose rug this was.

 Ladye from St Simons Island did this rug.  What an awesome job on the piper.
This is the rug that won Best In Show - this gal was in my class.  I heard her say this is her house.
the photo doesn't show but this rug was huge.  About 4 x 4 I would say.

This is another magnificent rug hooked by Sybil Osika.  It was truly breathtaking.

 A prim pretty by DF Susan.  bigger than it looks and all blues and creams.
 loved this rug - it reminded me of a Susan Gervais With Thy Needle design but not sure - it could be a commercial rug pattern.  Love the proddy flowers in the cart.

Another beautiful sailing ship. 
 DF Karen Ulysses - what a cute guy!  another Not Forgotten Farm design.
There were many more rugs in the exhibit.  It was in a long narrow hallway and very hard to get photos.  If I missed your rug - I apologize.  I didnt' have the time or energy to photograph every lovely entry in the show.  It is meant to be a small glimpse of what fun we had at Off the Ocean 2017.  If you are a rug hooker, save your pennies and come to Florida next winter.  It's the least expensive camp I know of and we have a great time.
I'll try to get back for another visit before Feb. flies away.  Thanks as always for visiting and commenting on my blog.  I appreciate and read every one !