Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Early Americans...

~ Welcome Dear Friends ~

I know that it has been a month since my last blog post...
so I thought I'd better get on here and let you know I'm still kicking. Since I last wrote, we have begun school, taken Katie back to college, gotten our floors redone with laminate hardwood flooring, I've fall cleaned and redecorated after that was done and of course in our spare time we've been travelling all over the state following our Cross Country Boy in his final year of running and the every present daily finishing that I do. Busy!

Today...
being I'm over halfway through, I'd like to share with you my "Early Americans" progress to date. I've been sharing nearly every day on Instagram my stitching for a long time, just because I use it as sort of a personal "stitch diary" of what I do stitching-wise, every day. So that at the end of the month I can go back over what I have accomplished. I've forged many wonderful friendships there as well, and gotten to know other friends a lot better. Life in pictures...you learn a lot about people.

So without further ado...
let me share with you my people...our people... of the United States - "The Early American Series" by Little House Needleworks:

Betsy Ross
Betsy's Block


John Hancock
Betsy and John

Martha Washington
Betsy_John_Martha

Nathan Hale
Betsy_John_Martha_Nathan


Now then...
the center block, I did not use what was charted. . . NOT because I didn't like it. . . rather the entire time I have been stitching this, I have been reciting in my head the preamble to the United States Constitution..."We the People of the United states in order to form a more perfect Union..." 
I learned that preamble in school as a young girl and the entire time while stitching this piece I've been reciting it silently in my head. (I know I'm weird, but I own it!) 
So since that has been running through my head, I HAD to have it on my piece. I thought about trying to make it fit on the bottom somehow...but charting the whole thing...yowza! So long before I the middle block was even released, I had made up my mind that my center block would be the "We the People..." block. Here is my piece as it stands today:We The People

The center block...
is simply Diane's "America" design that you can see HERE: Little House Needleworks AMERICA

I had thought about doing the whole "America" Piece (slightly altered) over one tread to fit inside the block, since I LOVE that design...but that would have looked dumb...so I used the flag and the vine from the "America" design pattern and charted my own font with the preamble beginning...then I added a large star and bingo bango! CENTER BLOCK. I love it! And that block incorporates ME and what was running through my head as I stitched on this piece.

That my friends...
is what I like to do. I'm certain you have noticed that I change things up a lot. Why? Because I want my pieces to stand for ME, and what I was thinking/feeling/living during that time I was stitching it. Stitching...it defines ME. 

Someday soon...
I'll be back with a tour of my home...
I'm so stinkin' proud of all my fall cleaning, our new floors and how my home looks. Finally after 21 years of marriage and saving our p's and q's I've got the house looking like I want it to look. We've grown up a lot since we took our vows :) 
Don't we all?!

Until next time...
REMEMBER:
I love you all...
Keep a smile on your face,
and one in your heart...
remember we don't know the baggage a neighbor carries,
so treat kindly...
be respectful...
turn someone's frown upside down by doing the unexpected...
You do all of this, you can't go wrong!
Love in Stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Monday, August 07, 2017

All About Ellie....

~ Welcome Back Friends ~
I hope you all realize, I wasn't being narcissistic not showing Ellie's entries...it was an honest mistake, I share her work on Facebook and Instagram and sometimes I don't know if I shared here or not (and I'm too lazy to look - no lazy isn't the word...too harried, too busy, not enough me time) and another thing I always worry about is: over sharing since I've been called on that many times.

Here is Ellie's 2017 4H Fair Entries:
any parent that has had children involved in 4H knows how busy, how much work goes into creating these projects. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of time....
2017 Fair Entries


Here are her entries up close:
Colored Pencil
(this is a character of a book series she read - and how she saw her in her mind while reading)
colored pencil water


Watercolor
Title: The Traveler
The Traveler water


Pencil
Title: Contemplation
Ellie_Pencil Fair entry_2017

Copic Alcohol Marker
Title: Excalibur
Ellie_Marker Fair entry_2017

India Ink
Title: Love is the Answer
Ellie_Fair Entry_Ink 2017

Yes, she created the Electric III project herself - build an extension cord using all new parts...

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Tuning in her Foods III entry Chocolate Zucchini Cake 
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Here she is riding the Fair Chicken
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RESULTS:
Electric III - First Place
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Creative Writing: 
The Veteran - First Place
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Here is "The Veteran" a poem written by Ellie Eileen Pfeiffer

Once born…
We walk the road of life, holding onto our parent’s hands.
Eventually we let go…
To find new faces, new loves, stability on our own limbs.
Then it comes…
Out of the bursting color of life, our new world turns gray.
A letter…
That dreaded entity that calls us to the next destiny.
 Sinking…
The precipice of doubt and doom is knocking at the door.
Fighting…
That fork in the road, that endless battle.
An ideal…
Ancestors believed and defended unto death.
Planted…
In the heart of those that defend the colors.
Respect…
Those colors bring light anew, an ideal, a way of life.
The flag…
The field of blue with scattered stars, the stripes of white and steaks of crimson.
Won…
By the blood, shed of martyrs.
Stands firm…
Because of those who fought to defend land, heritage, rights.
Home…
Safely secure in the land of the free and of the brave.
Bended knee…
Pray for those who defend our country.
Veterans…
Men and women, filled with courage and strength.
Honor and valor…
Forever in our hearts, shall we be thankful to you.
One Nation, under God…
Liberty and justice poured out for all.

I'm certain that the judge thought she didn't write it (The judge, who seemed very cranky turn in night...and NOT wanting to be there at all...and appeared was judging Scrapbooking and Creative Writing (?) I was watching her as we had to stand in line for Fine Arts entry and it almost made me want to cry as she hurriedly flipped through scrapbooks and then writing down the ribbon without really looking (like I said just hurriedly flipping through pages) all the work that goes into some of these entries....you'd think 5 minutes versus 2 seconds would be adequate)  However, she did write it and won the Veteran's Day writing contest at her school last fall (4H parents...watch those folders coming home, writing assignments from school VERY easy to have an entry into the fair!) Ellie has a HUGE vocabulary. She speaks like she is 30 years old. She reads constantly, thus her vocabulary. A First place Blue Ribbon is great...but after reading the titles and seeing what won Champion/Grand Champion...I question. That's all...but one thing I've learned over the years of being judged...It's ALL SUBJECTIVE and a large portion dependent on what the judge LIKES and what appeals to THEM.


Watercolor - Reserve Champion
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Alcohol Marker: Reserve Champion
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India Ink: Honor
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Pencil - Honor
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Color Pencil- First Place
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Achievement Record Book - GRAND CHAMPION
(she stays in 4H until graduating from HS...this book is turned into National 4H for Scholarships!!! That's why we are doing it - that book contains everything about her 4H career from projects she's done each year and their results, to leadership opportunities, club information, etc)
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Foods III - Chocolate Zucchini Cake - Honor Untitled
RECIPE contains NO Fats (that was the challenge this year):
1 cup applesauce
1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated zucchini
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS
Blend applesauce and sugar.
Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and beat well.
Add sifted dry ingredients.
Stir in zucchini.
Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.


Here we are on Opening Day of the Fair
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All of Ellie's Ribbons
2017 Fair Ribbons Ellie

Ellie turned 12 years old this past Saturday, August 5:
(you can see that she asked for Male and Female Artist Models- and with her talent we got Art S. Buck ones...which I understand are used/required in Art Schools) Her brothers have been "posing" them all over the house. Each day we wake up to a new pose by the mannequins. It is sort of funny really :)
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Here is Miss Ellie being funny on Snap Chat...she's my little sweetie. Just as sweet in demeanor as she looks in this photo. 
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Thank you for sharing my joy of Ellie's wins with me.
All of my children are good, honest, hard working persons...
Each Unique...
Blessings from God...

Ellie has definitely been gifted a God-given talent and she does not squander it. She draws every day for HOURS. So much so that her Doctor makes her wear braces on both of her wrists each night when she sleeps and she's been doing that for the past year. She doesn't have real issues yet, but he says the way she draws and uses her hands constantly that she needs to protect them to prolong any surgery intervention (she was complaining about her wrists hurting so we took her in last year). 

Until Next time...
Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Ellie and Vonna's Ribbons...Home from the Fair

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~
to all my friends!

I want to thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for all your kind comments on my previous post celebrating my Grand Champion of Needle Arts win!

Yes, I am still walking on air!

You all expressed interest on the results of my decorated cookies and here is the results for me:
Champion of Cookie Class!
There were three and two were eaten in the judging. The comments on my comment card were:
"You have created a wonderful cookie - texture perfect, flavoring perfect, superior taste, moist and delicate. Best tasting decorated cookie I have ever consumed. Icing/decorating superior. DARLING! Expert technique!"

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I'm glad I participated in the Foods Division this year. The only drawback is: The sticker ribbon on my name plaque there...IS the ribbon...you don't get a real ribbon :(
That's sort of disappointing.


Many of you have asked about Ellie's 4H results and she did spectacular this year as well. Here is her haul:
2017 Fair Ribbons Ellie

GRAND CHAMPION: Achievement Record Book
Reserve Champion: Fine Arts Alcohol Marker
Reserve Champion: Fine Arts Watercolor
Honor: Fine Arts Pencil
Honor: Fine Arts India Ink
Honor: Foods III Chocolate Zucchini Cake
First Place: Fine Arts Colored Pencil
First Place: Creative Writing
First Place: Electricity III

We frame our most special ribbons...and here is Ellie's 2017 Best Ribbon: GRAND CHAMPION

GC 2017 Ellie


and here of course is mine...They gave me my name plaque too :) Had to save that for memories...I've fretted so many years over wanting it so badly!

GC 2017 watermark

Here is my ribbon haul....
I had a doggone GREAT year:
Grand Champion Needle Arts (!!!)
5 Champion Ribbons
1 Reserve Champion
2 Honor Ribbons
1 First Place Ribbon
2017 Fair Ribbons watermark

Ellie and I both have special boxes that we keep our ribbons in and each year we add to them. I always love to see how my collection grows each year...

Now to get stitching for next year. I've been in a stitching slump so...
I need to get OUT of that!

Until next time...
I will be smiling and laughing and loving and doing only the best, good deeds I can....
life is short...join me!
Love in Stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Monday, July 31, 2017

"They like me. They really like me..."

~ Greetings dear Friends ~
A cheery, sunny, summer HELLO THERE! to all of you :)

I had my Susan Lucci moment yesterday afternoon when I walked into the Open Class Building and spied with my little eye THIS:

Vonna Pfeiffer
GRAND CHAMPION 
NEEDLE ARTS
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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Here is a better quality photo showing the whole piece:
Carriage House Samplings
Primitive Stocking
Stitched 1 over 2 on 40 ct. Golden Harvest linen using DMC
entered in Counted Cross Stitch Other Items Class ~ Stocking EntryCarriage House Samplings  - A Primitive Stocking

How do I feel?!



My other 8 Cross Stitch entries did very well also...

~ CHAMPION ~

Country Cottage Needleworks
Paris
stitched on 32 ct. Star Sapphire 2 over 2 using called for Classic Colorworks and DMC
entered into Framed Pictures Class ~ Medium Entry

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~ RESERVE CHAMPION ~

Little House Needleworks
ABC Sampler Series
stitched on 32 Vintage Light Examplar 2 over 2 called for Classic Colorworks and DMC
Entered into: Framed Cross Stitch ~ Samplers Entry

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*Champion and Reserve Champion in Framed Cross Stitch Class! That means I was #1 and #2 top entries!!! 
:)

~ CHAMPION ~ 

Mary Gary's Christmas Pinkeep Ornament
stitched on 32 ct. random linen using Classic Colorworks 2 over 2
Entered in: Christmas Needlework ~ Ornament Entry
*Champion means I was #1 top of Christmas Needlework Class Entries! 

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~ CHAMPION ~
Blackbird Designs
Hats Off to Uncle Sam
Entered into: Creative Items Class ~ Holiday Other than Christmas
*Champion means I won the class

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~ HONOR ~

With Thy Needle and Thread
Flag Day in the Potting Shed
Entered into: Cross Stitch Other Items Class - Non Traditional Finishing
*Honor means I was #3 overall in class
(my Prim Stocking was #1 over all in this class! and then went on and competed with the other #1's of all the Needle Arts Classes and won Grand Champion of Needle Arts)

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Our County Fair also has: Holidays At the Fair Division and in this division I entered and received:

~ CHAMPION ~

Little House Needleworks
Happy Hearts
Entered into: Ornaments Class ~ Single Ornament
*Champion means I won the class

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~ HONOR ~

Plum Street Samplers
Betsy's Tart
Entered into: Decorator Items Class ~ Single Piece entry
*Honor means I was #3 over all in this Class

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~ FIRST PLACE ~

Notforgotten Farm
The Flagmaker
Entered into Decorator Items Class: Fourth of July Figures

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THAT, my friends....
was a VERY successful Fair Showing. VERY successful. I am really quite amazed, shocked, speechless, really. Its all sort of surreal, to be honest. This is my 11th consecutive year of showing at the fair and as my long-time followers/readers know...I've taken my lumps and hard-knocks over the years. But you know what?! those lumps and hard-knocks did everything to instill in me that I needed to practice, practice, practice to become the BEST stitcher I could be. Now that I have won Grand Champion...my ultimate dream, finally came true...I know with great affirmation of my heart...I STILL am not the accomplished stitcher I want to be. I have room for more growth, more perfection. And this year's success just instills in my heart a greater thirst, a greater yearning to practice MORE and try, try again next year!

One thing I'd like to say....
overall, this year's entries into my county fair were a bit more scanty than they've been in previous years. All over the fair, not just Needle Arts. IF you are a crafter (of any kind) I highly, highly, highly recommend that you look into your area and the shows/fairs/places you may enter your work - whatever that may be. Share your love of arts! Share it for the next generations to view and want to learn more about it! The arts are dying. No matter what that handwork is: painting, drawing, photography, baking, crochet, knitting, sewing, quilting, vegetable growing, flowers, whatever...it's not being done like it was when I was a child! And when I talk to people my own age, what do I hear? I don't have time for that. You're silly to devote that much time to those sorts of things. What will people do with that once you are gone? THAT in my opinion is silly to think of creating in that way. What do I get out of my cross stitching? I get satisfaction of knowing what my two hands create beautifies my home, makes it homey, warm, lived in. I know that my children, will cherish my cross stitch and if after they are gone it is what it is. Entering into my local fair has been one of the best things in my life. Sure, it hurt my feelings at times to read comments left for my pieces. Think about it....it's your baby. You took care of it, fed it, dressed it all up and took it to the fair and when you hear your baby isn't the prettiest baby there and in fact some of your baby is not right...well...that hurts! But in the end...it will put in your heart the desire to grow another baby and this may be THE baby that wins the contest.

I was so stinkin' proud of my baby yesterday!
And one day I hope to have the experience again! Because let's face...feeling this proud about something makes you want to feel it again!


My 10th entry was just entered this morning, bright and early at 9 a.m. and is being judge right now as I type. I went out on a ledge and entered:


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We will go see how they do tonight :)

Until next time folks...
keep reaching for the stars...
SMILE because God loves you and so do I!
Spread kindness - the more you spread, the bigger the ripple effect!
Take a deep breath before you speak and choose words wisely (that's a hard one for all of us! let's practice together!)

Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

It's a Grand Old Flag...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~
to all my sweet friends and blog readers!

I want to wish my fellow countrymen a very hearty Happy Independence Day!
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy from the top of my head to the tips of my toes...
I wasn't born on the 4th of July but doggone close to it at 5 a.m. on July 5th!
Growing up my family chose to celebrate my birthday on the 4th, since all was together for the holiday, and really as an adult it still sort of gets celebrated on the 4th. . . really we sort of celebrate my birthday all week long ;) HA HA! I'll take it!

I had a very productive Patriotic Stitching Month during June. I'd like to recap what I stitched...as well as share with you a couple of new finishes:

"Betsy's Tart"
by Plum Street Samplers
I stitched this 3 strands over 2 on 25 ct. Vintage Country Mocha
the frame is a clock from Hobby Lobby that was gutted and painted.
Plum Street Samplers - Betsy's tart

I heavily converted the design to my own colors using Classic Colorworks and DMC.
I even placed them differently than the pattern called for. I sort of wanted Betsy and the flag to pop off the fabric and all the rest to sort of be the background of it. I think I achieved it. 
The colors I used were:
Classic Colorworks
Bandana
Wavy Navy
Toasted Marshmallow
Black Coffee

DMC
642
822
318
414

So how I placed these were:
Bandana: Flag Stripes, one balloon, outer loops of the side swag and scattered inside the quaker stars
Black Coffee: Shirtwaist, main skirt color, shoes, hair, flag pole and 1776
Wavy Navy: Overskirt, field of blue on flag, scattered inside quaker stars, smallest loop in side swag and one balloon.
Toasted Marshmallow:   accent on Betsy's Skirt, throat lace on Betsy, Betsy's hat, stripes on flag, middle stripe on side swag and one balloon
642: horizontal stripes on skirt, outside of quaker stars
822: vertical stripes on skirt and balloon dots 
414: one balloon and Let Freedom Ring wording
318: one balloon

This totally doesn't follow as charted...but I'm very pleased with how it turned out. 

Here's a recap on my June Patriotic Stitching and my June Patriotic Finishing for ME!

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I'm so freaking proud of myself! Someday, in the next year...ha ha ha! I'm going to show for "reals" my Patriotic Room. It's gonna knock your socks off! There are still a few projects though that I want to do before I show it!


I hope I have as successful of "Christmas in July" stitching as my "Patriotic June" stitching turned out to be :)

Until next time...
SMILE real big because God loves you and so do I
Pat someone on the back...you never know what they are dealing with, your pat may be just the thing they need to make it through the day!
Be kind...because kindness matters.
Love your neighbor as yourself...its hard, but worth the effort.
Hugs and love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Security...

I just want to bring to the attention of my readers that this blog is encrypted and has been for the past year. When coming to my blog the address is     https://   indicating my secure, encrypted status, which covers all links and content on this blog.

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ALSO for your browsing safety, you will note in your address browser a padlock icon which indicates Blogger and my Blog,as encrypted and secure as well.


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Just an FYI after some questions received this evening on the security of the content found on my blog. All links, all ads, simply everything on my blog is encrypted, password protected and supported by Blogger who is also encrypted and protected. My blog is a safe web address.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Early Americans...calling Martha!


~ Welcome Friends ~
Warm Welcome to each of you!
and also...
A big thank you for coming back to my little slice of the world here on Blogger.

:)

Today I have to share...
my progress on my "Early Americans" sampler by Little House Needleworks.
Martha is in the HOUSE!
LHN Early Americans _ add Martha

You know...
when I started on this journey, I was so excited about this series...and it is so satisfying to me when I see a firm foundation laid (and I figure one row done and stitched is a firm foundation) and I can actually see that what I visualized in my head was perfect. I LOVE my border.
 I'm sorry, I'm not bragging on myself (well I guess in reality, I am) ~ I really didn't know if it would look good.
Would it be too busy? 
That was my primary worry, but when I finished Martha and I stood back and took this photo and I looked at my handiwork... and I thought...nope...not too busy. Rather, it frames it and gives it some intrigue, some dimension, some character. I am so in love with this piece. I truly am. 
Between this piece that is growing and my ABC Samplers that I finished earlier this year...I am finding these monthly series to be wonderful! I adore them! And when you are all done and the last piece is done and dusted...you have a big, large wonderful finish that is spectacular and a real show stopper!

What else have I been up to? Well...
my family is on their summer High Adventures with Daddy trip! This year the girls even went, typically just the boys go, but this year, with Ellie getting bigger and since we aren't taking an extended family vacation everyone went. We think it important that our kids have Daddy-alone time - just Daddy, no Mom. So we started incorporating these vacations/getaways into our summers about 10 years ago. It builds good relationships with their Dad and it gives them memories to reflect on once they are grown. Here's some photos that I received via text last night. They are in West Virginia white water rafting on the New River.

Jake...
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Keith and Ian...
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Ellie and Katie...
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So...that leaves Mom home OFF DUTY (!) and crafting her heart out! 
I finished this With Thy Needle and Thread Exclusive ~ "Flag Day at the Potting Shed"
WTNT up close

WTNT_Flag Day at the Potting Shed 
Isn't that darling?! 
You all know that I have a goal focus for this year, and it is to "trick out" my Patriotic Room in my home. Yes, all patriotic, all year long. This cloche will be darling in there!

And last night... during my Staycation it was Craft and Booze night ~ A couple of margaritas and some crafting until 1 a.m. turned out this cutie, Blackbird Designs ~ "Hats Off to Uncle Sam"

BBD Hats off to Uncle Sam 

BBD Hats off HAT

BBD Hats off inside

What can I say?
Maybe I need to take a Craft and Booze night a couple of times a month ;)

I am so pleased with my finishes I've shared with you here. It's the simple things in life

Until next time...
Smile...because it can change someone's day.
Be kind...because kindness matters.
Love hard...because love makes the world go 'round and changes lives.

Hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx