Hello February

I was early this year completing my Valentines and getting them off in the mail.  Being home allows me that luxury of staying ahead of holidays and birthdays so that everything arrives on time.  When mailing across the ocean one needs to be ahead of schedule!  I have always love the Valentine Day holiday.  I believe it stems from my love of crafts and loving all colors in the pinky/red/burgandy/mauve color range.  Was there anything more enjoyable than decorating those shoe boxes with hearts, lace, ribbon, and bows to hold our Valentines?  I never cared about the receiving of the cards, but love the making of them.  To me the holiday has never been about romance, but about the joy of creating.  After all who wouldn’t love a holiday that is all about hearts, lace, pinky colors, and candy?!

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After non stop rain we have starting have a few clear and beautiful days here and there.  I jump on this days to be outside pottering in the yard.  This year is a yard redo and I am pulling out things and moving around.  I have thrown in the towel on the shady backyard and am moving to the front.  I have never been a huge proponent of grass as it is not sustainable in most areas and just a huge waste of water (although in the PNW we can leave it without water all year and it returns as we have so much rainfall).  I have long admired the yards around the area that have utilized their front yards to grow veggies, so this year so it shall be.  Mind you my raised beds aren’t the most attractive, but all in due time I can replace them.  For now I shall use what I have.  It has been a job and I only have 3 beds at this point, but that is plenty to get started.  Along with adding veggies, I also tore out a number of the plantings in the front beds and will fill them with nice bright pops of color.  The herbs I am keeping in the back in my one sunny spot on the patio.

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Looks like one huge mess at this point!  But all in time it shall take shape.

I love getting out my gardening books and plotting and planning what I want to plant. At one point I had given all my gardening books away, but with thrifting I have been able to replace them and now have a nice collection that serves my needs perfectly.

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In the world of crafting, I have finished up the first set of days of the week dishtowels and started on the second.  I am now doing a set of the most darling elephants doing household chores. I will photo as I get a few completed.  I have been busy making bags for an Etsy shop update.  I always enjoy doing this as long as I don’t let it overtake me and think I have to do dozen upon dozen monthly.  I have settled upon 15 a month which is a nice enjoyable amount.  Sewing and embroidery have taken center stage at this time, I am still doing a bit of knitting here and there, a row on this and a few rows on that, but nothing steady.  What is so wonderful about crafting is that you always have something to occupy your time and if your mojo on one wanes, you can just pick up another and go on.

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Alexander Henry is always coming out with new Ghastly fabric and I have to say this group is by far some of my favorites!  The ghastly at the sewing machine is just way to fun!

I am amazed at the amount of baking and cooking I have been doing.  I had not enjoyed either for years as work was exhausting and who wants to spend their few hours of leisure in the kitchen….certainly not me!!  But since being home, I have been baking bread regularly and cinnamon rolls, cookies, puddings weekly.  It has been very enjoyable. I finished up with the last of the Hello Fresh meals and, although they are a win/win in taste, they just had too much dairy.  Lots of sauces and such.  I received my first vegan Green Chef order but as yet have not made up a meal.  I have noticed that Green Chef is more expensive than Hello Fresh.  Green Chef does use much less packaging than Hello Fresh.  So we shall see how they compare after making up this weeks meals.

I did get out to an estate sale on the final half off day.  I have not been going thrifting or to sales as I am trying to be quite budget conscious.  I will go out when yard sales commence however!  But let me tell you I am glad I hit this sell!!  I hit the jackpot on Watcombe Torquay England pottery.  I blogged about a piece I had some time ago.  A small cup that I keep on my desk and that has the saying “Time and Tide wait for no man.”  I have treasured that cup and never found any other pieces.  Well just look at what I found and with half off I got the lot for under $15!!

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Absolutely love these pieces!  Although I absolutely DO NOT NEED another collectable…but what is one to do?!

I also found a few other treasures:

Cutest little chicken pincushion EVER! At .50 I just had to bring her home!

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This hand made wallhanging size rug was too adorable and at $1 I could not resist.

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A nice assortment of books.  There were all the reprints of Beverly Nichols and I chose these few.  I love Lovejoy’s gardening books so was delighted to find this like new copy!

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Oh boy, now won’t the grands just love getting letters they have to put together?!  We are a family of puzzle doers so this is just the thing!  .25!!

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Everyone knows I am a sucker for needlepoint.  This little door sign was just calling my name and at .50 who could resist?

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It is not usual to find such reasonable prices at estate sales, even on the final day.  I was quite pleased with my treasures and it was enjoyable to get out and engage in an activity that I love!!

We are into February and I have kept to the commitments I made for the new year.  One was to move more daily, I have done this by walking at minimum 5-6 days per week and doing a bit of yoga.  I absolutely love my walks.  It is my time to really zone out and just be.  I trade off between just enjoying the sounds around me, listening to my favorite pandora station, or listening to a book on tape.  I find when I am listening to a book I walk faster and much further.  It helps that there are green spaces tucked away in various corners of my town and this one is in my own backyard.

 

Another commitment I made was to start regular written correspondence with all my grands.  I have always been big on sending care packages, but was reminiscing on how much I loved the letters my grandmothers sent to me when I was younger and thought, why I must do that too.  Since all my grands are so far away I felt it would be a way for them to know they are always and forever in my thoughts.  I did not expect the joy it would bring me to do this small simple act.  Mind you I have 15 letters to send out, so it does take time, but oh the joy of setting down and composing a letter to each child.  I have gathered up a nice little assortment of cards and papers (I was amazed at how difficult it is to find stationery!!) and enjoy the process of picking out just what card or paper I will use for each letter.  The grands look so forward to the letters.  I have ordered up some prints of pictures and will be enclosing those in some of the letters.  The letter writing is one activity I enjoy most and the added sweetness was to receive letters back!!

Another idea I decided I just had to do is to start a Christmas tradition of an advent gift box for each of my girls (I can’t possible do this for the grands as I have toooo many, although I would love too).  I would see all the advent packages from the yarn and tea companies and just thought, now wouldn’t that be just the thing to do for the girls?  For them to have one little package every day from the first of December on?!  So I have started up a box for just that.  They are just little things, things that I have made, things I have found.  I am delighted how quickly the box is filling up! Being a mother and a grandmother really is the joy and fulfillment of my life.  I remember so dearly how hard it was to be a young mother. All the special things my parents did for me, and the care my mother took in always making me feel loved when I was so far from home myself.  This is what I want to pass on to my own children and grands.

And lastly I want to share a pic of the sweet little ring that Jackson made for me. He loves to watch the YouTube videos of crafty things and hacks.  Isn’t this ring just the sweetest?

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And now it is off to potter away my own day in happy pursuits!

Be Joyful,

Patricia

Sunshine!!

After what felt like innumerable days of rain and grey skies we have finally had some sunshine!!  Oh happy day!  I have never minded the PNW grey dark days until this year.  I believe it is definitely connected to the loss of my sweet Piggy boy.  My heart was so heavy with dark sadness and the dark dreary weather just compounded it.  Seeing sunshine and being able to get outside was heavenly.  I have been walking daily, even in the rain.  But when gifted with a sunny day those walks extend beyond my usual distance.  It was such a lovely week end last of sunshine and just perfect to take Jackson out to explore Minto Brown park. He on his scooter and me with Misha in tow.  We explored several different paths and just enjoyed being out in the fresh air and feeling a bit of sun upon our faces!  One thing I enjoy doing when I am walking alone is listening to audio books.  I am currently listening to another book by Atul Gawande.  I loved Being Mortal so much I listened to it twice.  I am currently listening to Complications.  Atul is a surgeon and offers his perspective on the ethics involved in medicine and the medical field.  He is both an excellent author and amazing human!

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With the sunshine I also have been doing a bit of this and that in the yard.  After years of failed garden plots in the back, I finally am giving in and declaring the shade has won (this even after paying out the nose to have two trees cut way back).  So I am moving my raised beds to the front yard and my herb pots will reside on the back patio where there is just enough sunlight to sustain them.  I am also moving around and ditching some poorly placed plantings and concentrating on putting in plants for food in every square inch that has adequate sunshine.  A bit of pottering about here and there is slowly showing results.  This looks like such a mess but it is on its way!

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Oh how absolutely lovely this being at home is!  I am baking and cooking regularly once again.  While I enjoyed Hello Fresh I canceled my subscription this week.  The vegetarian options were far to heavy on dairy and included too many pastas.  I am not a huge pasta fan and prefer to avoid dairy.  So I am giving Green Chef a go, my first box will arrive next Thursday.  I have had some fun baking bread, cookies, and cake.  I freeze bread and cookies and they will go into care packages to be sent off.  I made a lovely spice cake that I have been enjoying with my afternoon tea.  I used homemade applesauce in place of oil and it is so wonderfully moist and delicious.  I find that for baking I still refer to the good old Better Homes and Gardens checkered cookbook just like my mother and grandmothers always used.  I find it is easy to just substitute nut milks and applesauce for milks and butter.  On a blustery wet and grey day I whipped up a batch of my mom’s chocolate pudding and found such comfort eating it warm right off the stove.  She always let me do that with a topping of whipped cream.  It is, to me, the ultimate comfort food.  With all this food, I need those daily romps!!  But it is a joy to be back in the kitchen baking again.

With the holidays over and life back to routine, I once again started up my bag making for the Etsy store that is run by Becca.  I enjoy making them and it is a nice way to make a bit of extra fun money.  I am thinking of adding a line of bags for essential oils, but need to make up a prototype and do a bit of playing around.  Please excuse the bad words….yes they do sell and quite quickly!

I also finished up the darling Valentines pockets, got them stuffed with goodies and out into the mail.  They were an easy and fun project that took absolutely no time at all to complete; a nice afternoon project.  Now to find a fun and easy Easter project… Here is a link to the pattern for the Valentine pockets.   http://thehappyzombie.com/pdf/penniepocket.pdf

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I am currently hooked on embroidery and finding these dish towels absolutely addicting.  To add a bit of pop I used crayons and colored in the figures then outlined and highlighted them with the stitching.  I set the color in with a hot iron.  I intend for these towels to get a lot of usage and not languish away in a drawer.  I just love these whimsical pots and pans.  Notice my lovely Cadbury Roses tin?  That was a Christmas gift from Christina and once I enjoyed all the lovely chocolates, it is just the perfect size for my floss, needles, and scissors!

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Popping out to my mailbox the other day and what a delight to find letters from my sweet grands in Ireland!  Oh the joy!!  Included were a few crystals that Charlotte had gathered from the beach.  I savored the letters and placed the crystals on my desk where I can hold them each morning during my journaling and meditation.  Oh how dearly I miss the grands and these letters just made my heart sing!  There is just something special about a letter that calls, text, and emails cannot capture.  I have thoroughly enjoyed sending letters to all the grands several times per month.  Taking that time to sit down and focus on each child as I compose a letter, makes me feel so much closer to them even though they are all far away.

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While embroidering and knitting I like to watch tv programs.  I have completed numerous Brit series and while browsing youtube after viewing my favorite podcast, Voolenvine, I came across The Elliot Homestead.  I was hooked and have thoroughly enjoyed binging away on this podcast.  From there I discovered The Fairytale Cottage and The Parisian Farmgirl and my new favorite Girl in Calico who is vegan and shares the best ever recipes.  The sky is the limit and there is so much to explore on youtube!  I have learned so many things just watching lovely podcasts!

lWell after a huge kerfuffle I finally have a working range!  What a fiasco this was.  See I purchased a lovely Frigidaire range from Home Depot as the current one in the house no longer had a working oven.  What should have been an easy process turned into hiring an electrician and a plumber only to then realize the cut out for the stove was too narrow. So after some makeshift carpenter work finally had it in and hooked up only to realize…..the oven didn’t work…..aaarrrggghhhh (well it works but first it shuts off and beeps for 5 minutes after preheating.  It can then be reset after 10 minutes and will work)!  Called Home Depot and what a run around.  No they would not just pick it up and replace it, they sent out a repair man who said it was a factory malfunction but still they would not just replace it. In the interim I found that we do have an appliance store!!  I had no idea or I would have never chosen Home Depot to purchase an appliance.  Long story short had Home Depot refund me the money and called my local appliance store.  They delivered and installed with no hassle!  Crazy but the old one is still sitting in my doorway waiting for Home Depot to schedule a pick up.  It has been 3 weeks since we purchased the original range….  But oh oh oh the beauty of this range.  With the convection feature it can air fry in the oven.  I already purchased the rack and basket to do just that!  So all’s well that ends well and so it is.

And now little Misha and I must off for our daily walk.

Basking in the bits of sunshine,

Patricia

 

Yet another year comes..

So hard to believe that is it 2020.  I still remember 2000 like it was yesterday.  Where did 20 years go?!

Still missing my big boy Piggy Pooh so very very much!  He was my shadow and him being gone leaves a deafening silence in my life.  He was forever in my face and in my business and followed me from room to room.  Oh how my heart hurts…. The rain has been steady with little respite.  I generally enjoy these wet rainy days, but with the grief of losing my sweet Bruno I feel the cold, damp, grey just reinforces my sadness.  So I must find small joys in every day and know that he is without pain now and waiting over the rainbow bridge with all my loved ones, both fur and human, for the day that I will join them.fullsizeoutput_1ee2

I always have my sweet babies come home and will some day find a final resting place for them.  Oh how cruel that our furbabies have such short lifespans…

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Little Misha is also grieving and we are doing as we can to help her.  She is such an independent little thing and prefers her solitary ways.  It is always a treat when she comes and curls up beside me.  Silly little girl.

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Haven’t felt like doing much of anything.   But did complete my puzzle.  This was the hardest puzzle ever, but such a fun challenge!  I have so enjoyed working on the jigsaws again.

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I did get all my Christmas down while the Christmas break was still on and have been working my way through drawers, closets, and cabinets cleaning and sorting.  I discovered the best ever facebook site that is neighborhood specific and you just list what you have to give or what you are looking for.  It is all free.  I have gotten a few things (dresser, toaster oven, bread machine, puzzles) and have given a lot of things.  I like that idea so much better than a goodwill trip. It’s nice to know it is going to someone who needs it.

I have been having fun playing with little vignettes here and there in the house.  With all the dreary dreary rain and cold, I wanted a nice pick me up and I think this pink does the trick.  It is so dark inside that I have been playing with my camera settings to try and get my pictures to be lighter and brighter.  Lots of shadows in this picture due to the darkness and having to put on all the lights.  This little arrangement has my grandmothers lamp and two baskets from my mom.  The teddy was my brothers and the cross stitch was a gift hand made by Christina so many many years ago.  Lovely things with many lovely memories.

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I had been exploring the food delivery systems and after much research decided to give Hello Fresh a go.  The food, so far, has been delicious, the recipes so easy and user friendly, and the packaging really simple and easy to recycle or burn except the foil lining.  I am disappointed in the dairy used in their vegetable selection, but then they do not offer vegan.  I will give it a few more weeks and then try out one of the companies that offer plant based vegan.

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Of course right as I get this meal plan, I realize I need an oven.  Mine has not worked for sometime.  So off I go to purchase a new gas stove/oven unit.  Well what should have been a simple task turned into a mess.  When the installers came we realized that my current one was hardwired in.  So I called an electrician who found it wasn’t hardwired but not grounded and was just a mess of cords and boxes laying under the stove.  He also alerted me to the fact that the gas attachment sticks up 5 inches and is in the front so the new unit will never fit…aaarrrggghhh…so next I call a plumber to come out and move the gas line attachment.  I will never ever understand why on earth the builders would have installed such a frecking mess.  So add another nice tidy sum on top of the unit.  I was absolutely not happy about all this extra and the additional days before we can have a working range!  Then just when we got the electric and gas sorted….the range would not fit into the space….lord love a duck…so it was sand and cut and wiggle and push and it was in.  Good grief what a fiasco.  But now I have an oven, and one that even has an air fryer!  So today being the first day it is operational, I will do some bread baking and fix another Hello Fresh meal.

Now that I have so much wonderful lovely time, I have been able to do more needlework and sewing.  I decided it would be nice to make the grands all these darling little pockets for Valentine goodies.  They are so simple and whip right up. I found the pattern on Moda Bake Shop.  They are just the sweetest!

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I have really been enjoying doing embroidery once again so decided I would like to use some of the vintage transfers that belonged to my dear Auntie Lena.  I just loved these days of the week pots and pans.  I added some simple coloring with a crayon to enhance the design.  I actually did a bit of research to find the dish towels for these.  They are Harringdons from London.  The quality is lovely and they are larger than the standard dish cloth.  They come in three colors; the orange/reds, blues, and greens.  I ordered enough to make three days of the week sets and some additional for other designs I have.  So that will keep me busy for some time.

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And now it is off to work on the next jigsaw puzzle and play yet another game of checkers with Jackson.  He is quite good at it and often as not can win!

Seek joy and peace,

Patricia

Saying Goodbye…

My sweet sweet baby boy crossed the rainbow bridge yesterday.  He was my shadow, my heart…there are just no words and my heart is broken.  Godspeed my sweet sweet piggy boy until we meet again….

Bruno

June 7-2014 (adopted) – Jan. 5, 2020

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My Sweet Bruno aka Booger aka Piggy…

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Before I had left to go visit Nevada to welcome baby Mimi, my sweet Piggy Boy had started limping on his front leg.  A visit to the vet and the thought that it was arthritis and so meds to help with that.  Upon my return he was so much worse and would not even use the leg.  Another vet trip with X-rays and the vet saying no idea go see a specialist.  The specialist was booked out 3 weeks so I jumped on the NWBR site and asked for recommendations for local vet.  I also began to consult Dr. Google and did not like what I saw.  We were given the worst diagnosis possible, osteosarcoma.  An aggressive and nasty bone cancer.  The vet got him set up on a pain protocol and we will just take one day at a time.  I have been doing more research and will reach out to my vet again and see if it could possibly be a fungal infection in the bone….prayers prayers!!  I would have no other breed but a boxer, but oh the heartbreak as so many get cancer by age 9!  However, the joy that a crazy, silly, goofy boxer gives far outweighs the grief that always comes in the end.  I am so heartbroken over this and have cried buckets.  But I am so very very grateful that I am able to be home with him full-time.  There are lots of cuddles and hugs and yes I admit I have slept beside him on the floor a few times….dog lovers understand this all too well.  So I will spoil him and coddle him and savor every minute until he lets me know it is time to say goodby.  I pray it is an infection and if not, that I have numerous more months to love on him.

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With all the at home time, I am enjoying knitting and stitching to my hearts content.    I am trying to finish up a bunch of UFOs and clean out my knitting and stitchery baskets.  And of course, I am busy organizing and going through everything once, twice, three times…ever the perpetual organizer I am.  A few of the projects I finished up this past week…

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With a 10 year old boy in the house there is also a great deal of playing cards and games. Between Jackson and Bruno, I really have learned to slow down and relax.  I have also managed to get in time to watch my favorite Brit TV.  I am currently binging on Vera.  Love love it! For those who are Vera fans, were you aware that Brenda Blethyn is 73!  She is definitely an amazing role model for those of us in the over 60 crowd!  To be doing a full-time detective series and most all her own stunts is just so inspiring.  I do love my Brit TV for so many many reasons; 1) the characters are human not carved up look alike Barbie dolls, 2) there may be death and mayhem but they do not feel the need to film the gruesome gory details of the murder with blood and unnecessary violence, 3) who doesn’t love looking at all the gorgeous green countryside and dream of living in such lovely locations, 4) the humor is spot on, 5) oh those accents those lovely accents, 6) where else can you find such amazing period drama with clothing that is amazing, oh I could go on and on.  It is my guilty pleasure to scout out a new series and bing watch while I knit or stitch.

Comes the day and it is the New Year.  However, I have just always registered the new year as beginning in September.  That is when the summer ends and nature begins her rest to renew in the spring.  September is back to school and refreshing cool weather after the long heat of summer.  However, the calendar does not agree with me, nor does the yearly diary.  I took advantage of the day to begin some serious decluttering.  I picked the sewing room and managed to fill a large box with quilting and knitting books, patterns, and magazines I will not use.  It offered up space to better organized my closet and allow me to have everything I need in easy reach.  I am not a huge one for resolutions, but I do like to take stock of the past year and plan the new.  That is why I love Susannah Conway’s Unravel the Year workbook that I shared a few post ago.  One new thing that I do plan on adding this year however, is card writing.  Now that I am retired I fully have the time to sit and do some handwritten letters.  I already send a lot of care packages to my girls and grands, but I think a monthly handwritten card or letter would just be tops.  I remember so fondly writing to my grandmothers and how I looked forward to their letters all through my teen years and into adult and motherhood.  I have so many of them tucked away and they are treasures dear to my heart.

And now it is off to attend to my sweet Bruno and give him all the loves that I can while I am still blessed to have him here with me.

Patricia

And then it was Christmas..

Once again Christmas time is here.  This year I enjoyed the process so very much.  I had all my gift giving done and shipped before December was even upon me,  I was able to visit two of my three daughters and their children, and I have been home to just totally enjoy the process.  This year, since I knew it would be my last year working, I went a bit overboard for Christmas for the grands.  Next year will be a belt tightening again as with retirement comes prudence.  But oh what joy it brought me!

On Saturday, the hubby and Jackson took off to do some shopping which left me to do some sorting in the sewing room.  After a bit of sorting, I  decided to go check out one of the fun vendor malls here.  I am fortunate to have two large malls filled with amazing vendors just down the street.  They are both just packed and go on forever it seems.  I was delighted to find a few treasures and all were on sale so that was just the icing!

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Just all way too cute!  But I must stop with the holiday stuff…..

I ordered myself an early Christmas gift.  I have been looking at all the posts in my oily groups of these wonderful shelves.  I finally succumbed to this lovely.  It is so nice to have my oils out and accessible!  I have challenged myself to use my oils in new ways daily.  Is far I have been adding them to my bath with or without Epsom’s salts, I added one of my favorite scents, wintergreen, to my unscented body butter, and I used copaiba on a nasty burn I got from unknowingly microwaving a cheap ceramic cup and sustaining some nasty blisters.  I was amazed at how quickly the copaiba cleared up the burn and blisters!  Now that I can see the oils, I need to make a point to use them!!

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Oh the stitching and knitting that I can do now is so wonderful!  I finished up the dishtowel I was working on and started on this project that Becca had begun years ago.  I had forgotten the joy and relaxation that stitching brings.  I am also still knitting away on the little smock dress.  I do need to pick up stitches on the cardigan….  I find that when I come to a technique that I am either not comfortable with or just suck at, I have a tendency to just put the project to the side and leave it languishing away.  As for stitching projects, I love to stitch the projects, but turning the stitchery into a pillow, project, or framing it…not so much…so I have piles of lovely stitched pieces languishing in a drawer.  Now that I have time I may just have to complete those projects or donate them to someone who will!

When my mother passed last year, my sister suggested we purchase a new nativity for the community park.  The old one had been vandalized and destroyed as it was so aged.  It arrived and they put it up.  It is just so lovely and my parents would have loved it!

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A nativity is an essential part of the Christmas tradition.  I love the creche that she had commissioned by a local carpenter.  It is all just perfect!

Comes the day and it is Christmas Eve!  I was so excited to open the box that traveled all the way from Ireland!  Oh what delights!!

I adore how the grands art was made into Christmas cards!  So darn cute!!

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Look at this!  Harrods lovelies!  It is all just so wonderful!  Every single thing is so special and I love it!!

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And there was a Christmas pudding…which has already been eaten on!!

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It was nice having a child in the house.  Jackson was excited about his goodies and up early Christmas morning to see what ole St Nick had delivered!

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One of his favorite gifts was a survival kit.  It had a fire starter so off he want to burn all the Christmas wrap and any extra boxes or papers that I could manage to find…

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I also had these wonderful tarot cards arrive in the mail.

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Jackson loves puzzling with his grandma, but when we started this darn puzzle we had no idea what we were in for!  It is dang hard and we only manage to do a bit at a time!!  I am so happy that he enjoys working on a puzzle just like his mom, aunts, and his older siblings and cousins.

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And then another Christmas had come and gone.  Another year of festivities and making memories.  And now we are on to yet another new year and more adventures to come!

 

Freedom and Joy!!

Oh yessss that is exactly how I feel…FREE!  I am done, finished, over it, not gonna go back… I am now officially retired.  OMG I have been planning this and waiting for this and it is here!  The last few years of work were seriously misery!  The joy of being home, of being free to just be, to pursue my own dreams, to just live a life filled with peace and calm; it is heaven!  Each day as I realize this is my new life, I feel a tingle of joy running up my spine!!

But not all is quiet around my sweet cottage, as I have a new visitor who has come to stay.  Jackson, my 10 year old grandson will be living with me for a bit.  He is as excited as I am!  As I raised all girls it will be interesting to have a boy around the house.  We have is room all set up an he is enrolled in the neighborhood school.  It is an adjustment, but all is good and it is nice to have a child in the house again.

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His first week end and he was off to the coast with the hubby so I could get some much needed stuff done.  Misha has taken right to him and is thrilled I brought her a boy for Christmas, silly doggie.  They are best buds and loved exploring together.

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With the house quiet (I did not realize how noisy one boy can be) I got busy and got the latest Etsy sales processed and ready for the mail.  With retirement I will once again start  bag making on a regular schedule.  I enjoy the process and it gives me a nice little bit of extra spending money!

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With all this wonderful time I am busy knitting and stitching.  I have been catching up with all my favorite podcast and this year’s vlogmas by my fav podcasters, as well. It is so lovely to sit and do my own handiwork while watching podcasts by other kindred crafting spirits!  In my knitting time I finished up the sleeve on Mimi’s sweater and just have to do the front ribbing.  I also cut out a cute kitty dress to match the sweater.  I am making everything quite large so it will fit this spring.

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I have been collecting kits and fun projects for some time.  Pulled out this fun project by Moda fabrics as it was just fitting for the season.

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Since I committed to spend less time on my electronic devices I have so much more time.  In place of puzzles on the devices, I have been working my way through my puzzle stash.  I had forgotten how dearly I loved to puzzle.  I imagine I will now be rediscovering many things that I used to love!!  Jackson loves to work on the puzzles with my and is very good at finding those hard to find pieces.

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On Saturday I got some happy mail!  These adorable dog collar covers, treats, and ornament are from dear Louella who always sends me the cutest ever ornaments.  I have a special tree just for those ornaments!

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I also received this darling cross stitched ornament from another dear friend.  It is just so sweet!  Oh how I love all the handmade cuties!!

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Well it is time once again to begin my yearly review of the previous year and choosing a word/theme for the upcoming year.  I discovered Susannah Conway’s free tools for doing just that about 3 years ago and fell in love!  I have been choosing a word off and on since 2012, I think it was.  It is just an enjoyable exercise in digging a bit deeper into your self and where you currently are and where you are headed.  I so thoroughly enjoy working my way through each Unravel Your Year workbook and looking back at past ones (I keep them all neatly in a binder of course).  These can be found at https://www.susannahconway.com/unravel/.

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One of the most wonderful things about not working is that I now have time to explore my local area.  Imagine my delight when I happened upon this amazing store!!  I went to the Willamette Heritage Center as they have a myriad of darling shops along with a museum with one being a yarn shop.  I found my yarn but also this amazing new shop.  Oh look at all the wonders!  I have only dabbled a bit in working with wool but do have many supplies and patterns.  New rabbit hole to jump down for sure!!

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This was the actual reason I went to the center.  I have been wanting to knit this smocked dress by Debbie Bliss and with Mimi I now have an excuse.  I found this lovely aqua blue and it will be just the thing!

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I love how it is knitting up!  I am forcing myself to knit continental on this project.  I have always thrown my yarn and you just cannot do that if you want to do color work. I figure this is a perfect project to learn on as it is a lot of stockinette stitch.  I have the knit down pretty well, but struggling still with purling.  It just all feels so awkward when I am so used to throwing the yarn.  But I will persevere and not give up!

While out and about I also stopped by the thrift shop to find some books for Jackson.  I found so many wonderful volumes for him and for myself as well!  I absolutely loved home schooling my daughters so looked for some books on fun learning activities.  I found some treasures and will incorporate learning and experiments into our after school activities.  I think that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children (and now grands) is the great joy of learning.  It is all about finding our interests and running with them with lots of hands on activities.  I also scored a bread machine off a local free site as Jackson enjoys cooking so it will be fun to experiment with different types of breads.

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Today Jackson brought home a home made ornament.  Oh how I loved the handmade gifts from the girls!  It immediately took pride of place on the tree!!

And so I embrace all the blessing and changes that have become a part of my journey.  I revel in my new found freedom and face each day with gratitude for this blessing!

Oh happy days, indeed!

Patricia

Welcome Mimi

Oh just so very much to share since I have been away!  Three weeks ago I headed down to Nevada to be there when baby Maryellen was welcomed into the world!  She is named after my mom, who would be so excited to have seen, held, rocked, and love her.  Her siblings have been calling her Mimi since they found out their mom was having a baby, so Mimi is it for her nick name.  She is just the most beautiful and sweet baby ever!  She loves to be cuddled and I love that!

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Big sister Isabel was so very excited to be having a baby sister and was even able to attend the birth!  Mimi will just love having such a wonderful big sister!!

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This hospital was just the best!  They gave us all bracelets, I even had a grandma one!  The care that they provide and the staff was exceptional!  We should know, Becca was there 3 days waiting to have her, and then back another 2 to actually deliver!!

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Of course, Nevada in winter means snow, and we got lots of it!  Bella just loved it.

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One of the things that I have done pretty much all my life and a loved I have passed on to my girls and now the grands is doing jigsaw puzzles.  I took one and we blazed right through it and got several more.  Emmy seems to have taken after her grandma and is able to spot that elusive piece and fit it right in…..amazing for her age.  Bella was my main puzzle buddy.  We also played lots of Christmas trivia and we totally reorganized her room!

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After a few weeks in Nevada, it was up to Washington to see these munchkins!  I was only able to stay a short stop there, but we got in lots of loving.  They are all growing so darn fast!  Jayse has just grown into a young man overnight!!

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Violet had her school concert, it was so cute.  She had the role of pink panther in one of the songs and was absolutely adorable!  She is so strong and confident and will certainly go far!!

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While helping Erica with Christmas shopping, I found a Christmas game.  Oh how fun it was.  We are a competitive bunch and when Erica and Mils faced off, it made for lots of laughs and steep competition!!

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Once again so many wonderful memories made and stored away.  But oh how I miss my Ireland bunch!  Life is all about family and being with those we love, especially during the holidays.

All too soon it was back home to my doggies!  Oh how I miss them when I am gone.  My poor Booger is still limping and quite crippled up.  I had taken him to the vet prior to the journey and he was now worse.  It was off to the vet again and he is now on a series of medications.  He has somehow injured his front legs or has arthritis, but x-rays looked good.  He may need the ACL surgery if things do not improve!!  Poor Pig, it is awful to see him like this!

On this return, I brought a special package home with me!  I will be keeping my grandson, Jackson, for a bit.  Upon or arrival, we fixed up his room, got him enrolled in school, and then sent him and the hubby out to get a tree.  I had already done all the other decorating before I left for Nevada.  It will be nice to have a child in the house again!!  He has kept busy exploring and is so very helpful!

I think they did an amazing job on choosing the tree!!  It is just perfect!!

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One must always put up the Nativity.  As a child I love our nativity set and would play with it.  Over the years the chalky characters began to show wear from so many children playing with them.  I wanted one just like it as an adult, and although  I could not find one like it, I did find one by Home Interiors way back when Christina was a baby.

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This little hutch was just perfect for my collection of Santas.

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This tree is filled with all the home made ornaments that I have been gifted and have been made by my grandma, mom, or myself.  It holds so many dear memories!

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In past years I put my Christmas villages on the mantel, but this year I thought they would be quite cute under my vintage tree.

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I just love a festive house and with Christmas music playing, holiday scents in my diffuser, and a Christmas puzzle on the table, the mood is just perfect!!

I have so very much more to share, but that will be for another blog!

Merry Christmas all!

Patricia

A Perfect Day…

You know how you sometimes are blessed with those perfect days that just warm your heart and soul?  They are the ones that help us truly feel God’s blessing and leave us with inner peace and happiness?  With me they always center around family or my doggies. Well last Saturday was one of those days.  The day was spent in the lovely little town of Coburg.  Coburg turns all out for Christmas, transforming into the sweetest Christmas village filled with antique shops, little boutiques, and eateries.  My sister was visiting my nephew there, so the hubby and I jumped in the car and headed over to spend the day.  The weather was perfect and we had the best time wandering in and out of the shops, visiting, gossiping, and just catching up.

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My sister found this purse and was loving on it and I sneakily got the tag off and purchased it while she was unaware.  I had been wanting to plan a little surprise for her and this was just the ticket.  She is always the one who cares for everyone else and constantly treat others.  It was so delightful to “trick” her and let her be the one being treated!

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In our ramblings, I found a few items for myself as well.  This hand painted milk glass candy dish is quite large at around 10 inches high.  It is exquisitely hand painted and so lovely.

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One of the shops was filled with hand made lovelies and had an array of little snowmen atop old bottles and salt and pepper shakers.  I fell in love and just had to add this little sweetie to my Christmas collection.

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Such a happy and joy filled day!

Back home and realized my Christmas cactus was filled with lovely buds just bursting to bloom.  I have another cactus with pink blooms but it is not yet in bloom.  Just love these plants and the blooms are so beautiful!

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The other day while I was browsing marketplace I happened upon this Fenton basket.  The seller was asking peanuts and I just had to bring it home.  It took a few days, as I ended up sick as ever and missed a few work days so each planned meet up kept being cancelled.  But finally the basket was home….isn’t it a beauty?

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In my quest to spend less time on electronic devices, I have been puzzling once again.  I just love the Charles Wysocki puzzles as they are certainly challenging enough to keep me busy for a bit, yet fun to assemble.  As I finish each puzzle, I am bagging the best ones up and cutting the picture from the box and will be sending them off to Ireland.  All the girls are puzzlers and Christina has the perfect place in her sitting room right at the window facing out to the sea!!

Oh the joy of aging, this week was my pleasure once again to have the lovely colonoscopy procedure.  The prep is as usual awful, but the procedure is painless and fast.  I did find it quite fascinating that they now keep you sedated but awake during the procedure so you actually have front row seats of the procedure on the big screen.  While some may find that a bit much, with all my research and learning about the human anatomy, and most recently the gut and microbiome, I was most fascinated.  Unfortunately being so heavily sedated I cannot remember much but as a dream.  I got a clean bill of health and can put that procedure behind me for hopefully another 7-10 years!  I do credit colon health with a WFPB diet.  Speaking of WFPB, I am doing the 21 day UC Davis challenge.  Every year they come out with a new cookbook of amazing plant based foods and offer a 21 day challenge.  It is great for both beginners stepping into a WFPB diet and those already following one.  The recipes are amazing and there are daily educational videos.

Oh my but this was another lovely week end.  Is it getting older that makes us savor each minute so dearly and treasure each day?  I am not sure, but I know for me, I try to recognize blessings in each day and live with a spirit of gratitude.  But onto the week-end..  The local Scottish Rite center was holding a doll show Saturday.  Be still my heart!  The center was filled with dolls of every age and size!

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I have wanted a Chatty Cathy forever as I had one as a child.  But at $125 I was going to pass!

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I did however, bring home this sweet baby!  It is Madame Alexander’s Pussy Cat.  I thought at first she was Puddin, as I have been looking for Puddin and they are very much alike.  Isn’t she just the cutest?  I imagine this baby will end up with a new layette and wardrobe and go to little Mimi.  When my girls were little, my mom bought them all Madame Alexander baby dolls.  They loved them to tatters!

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After the doll show I found a few estate sales.  I did make a huge haul on clothing at one of them and some Christmas puzzles!  I also found an amazing deal on some Hummels! Look at these sweeties!

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I have wanted these Valentine ones forever, and the sweet little birthday girl.

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I spent the rest of the week end playing in my oils and mixing up some blends.  I also started the task of wrapping the Christmas gifts.  I just have a few more things to buy and I will be finished.  I have enjoyed the process so very much this year and now I am enjoying wrapping it all up in pretty paper and bright ribbons!

Yes it has been a most lovely few weeks!  Next week I will be getting out my Christmas decor and decking the halls!!

Tis the Season,

Patricia

By the lovely seaside…

Two weeks into the new job and it was off to Cannon Beach for a meeting.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  The trip there and back was a wonderland of gorgeous fall color and foliage.  We chose back roads to better enjoy the glory and splendor of the beautiful PNW.  It was certainly worth it!

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The resort was right on the beach and was just a stairway and small path to the beach.  You all know how much I love green overgrown paths!

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Cannon Beach is not our usual beach, as it is a bit further afield.  But I do think it is by far my favorite beach!  I love the impressive iconic Haystack Rock.  It is a beach made for long leisurely walks and I managed to get several in while there.

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The doggies absolutely love the beach!  Misha goes crazy with the zoomies and spinning round and round.  I love to see the pure joy that both of them experience when on the beach.

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I did manage to check out the community.  What a darling town with lots of little alley ways and hidden treasures to discover!

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One of the hidden treasures discovered was a lovely walking path through a wooded area.  It was just the perfect way to end the day; a lovely long hike deep into wooded wonderland.

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All too soon it was over and time to return home and back to the regular routine.

Unfortunately upon my return I was taken quite ill with one monster cold/flu, resulting in a sinus infection.  I have always taken my strong immune system for granted, but as my 40 something MD likes to remind me, I am not that young anymore…..  This cold/flu thing really took hold.  I never miss work, but ended up going home in the morning on Tuesday and still home on Thursday!  Good grief!! I love being home, but not when I am so sick all I can manage is the couch and binge watching Brit mysteries as I doze in and out of sleep.  But today I am beginning to feel human again and tomorrow is another day!

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And now it is Halloween and the end of yet another month.  I love this season of holidays and the cool crisp air and rich splendor of colors that Autumn delivers.  I did not get out my Halloween decor this year, what with starting another job and all, I will just go big for Christmas mid November!  And yes, I am still listening to my lovely Christmas music on Pandora!  This year I have been very organized with my Christmas shopping and am quite proud of myself.  I have nearly all the gifts bought and will begin wrapping this week end.  With some of my loves across the sea, I must get those packages off quite soon!  I have enjoyed the process of finding just the right gifts this year so very much!

And now off to work on that baby sweater, I am just finishing up the sleeves and ribbing.  It is cute as can be and I will post a pic next blog.  Baby Mimi is close to making her debut  so knit I must!  As I knit I have started watching Vera on Acorn.  I cannot believe I just now discovered that series!!

Happy Haunting!

Patricia