Hello September!

Oh how I love Autumn, so when September rolls around I am always energized and excited! It means the beginning of cooler weather, the smell of wood smoke in the air, beautiful jewel toned forests, paths strewn with crunchy with leaves, cool soothing rains, and the beginning of the holiday season. Although the days are still hot around here, in the early morning you can feel the change in that air!

I have been ever so busy doing a bit of this and that. Still painting bits and pieces, plus candle and salve making, along with harvesting a very small garden bounty. I finally got around to painting my table top. It looks so much brighter!

I found two cute little cabinet/drawer pieces while thrifting and decided the one would make the cutest ever mug holder on my coffee bar. It does have a glass piece for the door which I have not yet put back on. It is just the cutest and has so many possible uses. For now it will stay right here.

The other little drawer piece is just perfect to hold my oils that I use most often in my diffuser.

I have been hooked on the Oui French style yogurt. The maple flavor is amazing and these little containers….oh my. I felt they were just the thing for soy candles. So down that rabbit hole I jumped with both feet. The first ones I used essential oils, but they take so much and the smell is just a hint. So I decided to order essential fragrances in fall scents and made up a batch of pumpkin spice. It smells lovely. The candles are just the right size to add bits of mood lighting here and there. I ordered the supplies off Amazon and opted for soy over wax. I prefer the way it burns and the clean-up is so much easier when pouring the wax. I just love placing these all over the house to create a cozy warm ambiance.

The salves were so fun to make up. I used beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter then added frankincense and cinnamon. It made up a lovely rich and wonderful smelling cute little bar. I just love the bee mold and think it just adds the perfect touch. I also made up some chest rub with eucalyptus and peppermint. Such a fun and easy project it is to make up salves and the scent combinations are endless! BTW: isn’t this hand just the cats meow? I found it out thrifting one day and just had to bring it home.

As usual the zucchini crop was larger than could be easily used so I whipped up my sister Sue’s recipe for pineapple zucchini bread. The addition of pineapple just adds so much moisture and taste. It so yummy.

Before the month of August drew to an end we did manage to get out and do some berry picking. The blackberries grow wild and sweet all over and just there for the taking. They are a bit smaller this year but oh so sweet. I froze most of them and will make up a batch of jam when the mood strikes.

I did a tiny bit of rearranging, I moved my desk into the spare room. I really like it in there and like that it opens up the bay window area to create this cozy little sitting area and I love how I can display Grandma’s lovely lamp along with one of my mom’s baskets in that area. When I was growing up, this lamp was always on a round table and generally in the window as it is once again. Is there anything more enjoyable than moving things around and creating cozy corners? I have been slowing paring down to just the things that I truly love and bring me joy as I look upon them.

On one of my yard sale excursions, I happened upon some frames. I turned a few into bulletin and chalk boards, but just loved the effect I was able to create with these by framing these sweet little prints that I adore.

This little honey pot was another little bit I found. I just love toast with jam and there is just something special about serving it from such a cute little pot. Currently it holds my home made raspberry and strawberry/rhubarb. Just so yummy! Add this to my homemade bread, a strong cup of coffee, and it is just the perfect morning start!

Our St. Vinnies finally reopened and I made a quick visit and found this beautiful cross stitch Christmas piece. It was under $5 and I think it will be darling layered on my mantle with my Christmas villages. The colors are just so soft and sweet. I also picked up Martha Stewarts Christmas Cookbook for $1. It will make its way to Ireland I am sure.

I also found a few cute stools. I need to refinish but they are cute just stacked in a corner for now. The sweet vase on top was gifted to me and I think she is precious. I keep it filled with all my crystals and pretty rocks.

Oh my, I know fall is here when this appears on my grocer shelves! I am not a big imbiber of alcoholic beverages, but I love these pumpkin ales. I love dark stout and the coffee one is just the bomb. This brand is by far my favorite! YUMMM!!

And now I am off to do a bit of repotting and moving of my plants. Now that the veggies are nearly done, I am moving my herbs to the front beds. I also have a myriad of hollyhocks to get put into the front cottage bed. I am forever moving plants around to find just the right spot. I often will initially put them in large pots until I can decide for sure exactly where I want them. I love the versatility that pots allow me in rearranging and finding just the perfect spot. It helps that I have managed to find some of the jumbo sized pots ($30-$50 full priced) second hand for $5 and less!!

Take care all, keep safe, wear your mask, and generate love and goodwill wherever you may go!

Feelin those fall vibes!

Patricia

Busy as a Bee

With the hot weather driving me inside, I have been a whirlwind of busy busy. Painting the table and chairs ivory really set me off on a painting frenzy. The ivory just made such a difference and opened up the area making it appear brighter and larger. Sooo I just couldn’t take the duck egg blue for a minute longer and did this…

So much nicer! Of course then I was off to go through and organize about everything in the house. I have made a great amount of headway and several trips to the charity shop. Oh and I am still so in love with my Sunny spin bike. It am slowly increasing in intensity and distance and just enjoy it so much.

Remember the coffee bar that I only just completed? Well I just couldn’t live with that either. I didn’t really care for the style and, although I love that color, I am just liking everything ivory. So when I was clearing out the spare room to paint it, I came upon this shelf and with a bit of paint it became this…

I love how I can display some of my treasures and recent finds on this shelf. Eventually I will find just the right cabinet for this space, but for now I am happy with this set up.

I also did a few small projects and have more lined up. This frame was a dark brown and just ugly. A bit of paint brightened it right up!

I found this little cutie at the thrift shop and it was the most awful beige. I love how it turned out and just stuck a favorite quote in until I find just the right picture.

I will post pictures of the guest room next post. It was the most awful dark tan color and is now ivory. I put my desk in that room and added my collection of large antique frames on the wall for a simple yet elegant look. I had been wanting to get my desk out of the front room for a bit as it is always so very cluttered and I prefer to be able to close the door on the clutter and mess.

In all my sorting and clearing out, I also decided it was time to organize my huge button collection. My mom gave me a ton of buttons before she passed away and I have just left them sitting in a tote as I couldn’t bear to go through them. Well I finally got them out and spread all over the dining table as I sort through them. It is bittersweet, as so many we bought together years ago when my girls were little. Oh the fun we had with all our sewing and crafting. One memory so dear is when Erica my second was born and mother came to stay as she did with each of my babies. We decided to organize all our lace and wind it on cards we made from cardboard. I still have so much of that lace and still on those cardboard spools. Oh how I miss her and those days…..

My plan with so many many buttons is to make up button tins for my girls and sisters. I spent many hours as a child playing in mother’s button tin; sorting by like kind, color, or size.

In all my sorting, painting, and clearing out, I have gotten in a small bit of sewing. Christina, my eldest in Ireland, had asked if I would make them masks. So I watched youtubes and hunted down the best possible pattern. I did my first one for the hubby using an old cotton bandana at his request. I used the Jesse pattern, designed by an engineer and custom fit to your face size and shape. It will be a fun way to use of some of the wonderful novelty fabrics I have been collecting.

I have also been very slowly working on naughty bags for the Stitches Plus Purls etsy shop. I have been quite the snail in getting around to finishing the bags. But I did get quite burned out with making so many, so had determined to just work on them as the mood hit. I do adore this naughty fabric from Spoonflower. I am making us some bags with just the fabric and then used the leftovers to cut out saying and combine them with the ghastlies by Alexander Henry (the ghastlies with naughty sayings is the trademark of our bags).

I am a huge fan of numerous IG decorating accounts and YouTube channels. I just find so many amazing ideas and inspirations for my own home and crafty ideas. One of my favorite that I discovered quite some time ago is Shaye Elliot and The Elliot Homestead. I even have a few of her books. Well she just shared a way to preserve all those extra herbs (besides drying) and that is making herb salts. So I was off down that rabbit hole…

It is such a simple project and what a great way to add some additional favor to your meals. I made up a batch with sea salt and sage, rosemary, thyme, majoram, chives, garlic, and bay. Then I made a batch with just basil and garlic in pink himalyan salt. The house has smelled glorious while the salts have been drying. To make this you simply put salt into your food processor and then add your fresh herbs and garlic. Blend, let dry, and put into containers. I will be sharing these with all the girls.

I have a bit of a rant……I mail a lot of packages. I am a huge fan of sending care packages and don’t mind the postage, even to send off to Ireland. I feel the value of the care package is priceless. I have been collecting things for Becca’s first new home they recently purchased and with covid knew there would be not trips so packed it all up. Well it was 5 large boxes. I decided it would be easier to send UPS instead of dragging it all into my local PO. Now I only use the USPS as it is cheaper and trustworthy. But I decided to give UPS a try. NEVER AGAIN! The boxes arrived in short time but with 4 broken items. Now mind you I ship to Ireland as well as different areas of the USA and never ever has my USPS broken a thing. In fact I have often been a bit sloppy with my packing of fragile stuff and still no breakage. After this experience and sharing it, I heard that UPS is notorious for breakage and rough handling of boxes. Although the USPS is having a bit of a rough time right now with that new dasterdly head (please just kick him to the curb ASAP) and mail is slower, I still trust them. They are less expensive and a can trust my items (if I pack them correctly) will arrive in one piece not pieces! Just my little rant. I was so disappointed when she opened the boxes and not just one but 4 items were broken!! One was even a heavy candlestick. That box had to have been thrown or dropped from high. UPS you will not be getting my business again!!

Since my last PhD class on spirituality and health, I have really been looking for ways to expand spirituality into my daily life and live a life in which all things are sacred, especially the mundane, as after all that is what life is made up of. When the girls were young we celebrated all the holy days and seasonal changes. I wanted to incorporate that back into my life and ordered several books to that purpose. The one that I absolutely love and use daily is this book…

The author breaks the year into months and highlights all the days to celebrate and ideas for celebrations. But what I absolutely love is the prayers she has written for each month. They are so very beautiful and I say them outloud daily as they are like music in their beauty!

Each day focuses on a different thing. This particular Friday is Cherishing, but it can be water, harvest, thanksgiving etc. I just love this book and can’t say enough praise about it! That along with daily meditation, walking, using my spin bike, and reading other edifying books has honestly been a game changer. And boy howdy have I needed that as my youngest, Becca, and her family are battling the covid…. So far away, so sick, and it is just so scary and worrisome. Two weeks in and most are recovered except my daughter. I would sure appreciate prayers!! It is some scary stuff for sure that dastardly covid!

On the topic of spirituality, I have been finding feathers on so many of my walks. Feathers are a symbol of angels being near and a sign to know you are not alone. Look at these beauties! All so different.

I just love birds and do all I can to attract them into my yard. The last few times I have been sewing the tree outside my window has held a baby Robin just learning to try its wings and a hummingbird just hanging out. The are deep in the tree but I have the perfect view out the window and yet it does not disturb them. Such a joy and treat to watch!

And now, being Friday I must ready to head out and stalk the yard sales. But first to share one of my little finds that I kept for myself. Isn’t old shoe shine kit this just the cutest to hold my gardening implements right by my front door? The antique doll bed was also a find that was being tossed and just given to me!

And now off to have some great fun!

Happy August!

Patricia

Sweet Summer Days

Summer has hit swiftly with the temps soaring into the 90s and above. Walks now must take place in the early dawn to avoid the heat. Being a morning person, I do not mind heading out before much of the world is awake. I like the quiet stillness that surrounds the neighborhood.

With the heat here driving me inside, I have just been busy as ever as I continue to clear out, rearrange, and refurb the house. The biggest project this week was making a sweet little coffee bar. I happened upon this old microwave cart for pennies and thought it would do just fine. Although I do eventually want to find a little chippy cabinet. The color I chose was curry. Ever since I saw a You Tube tutorial on chalk paint in which the color curry was used, I have been dreaming of painting a coffee bar in that tone. I was a bit unsure, and still think perhaps I will evenutally go ivory, but I am enjoying the pop of color. I still need to find knobs for the doors. But overall, I am happy with it. It is nice having a dedicated space just for my coffee fixins. Plus the cupboard area provides extra storage.

Oh those darn tiles with the white grout….yet again I was down on my hands and knees with a scrub brush cleaning them. With two dogs and the traffic in and out the back, the grout just gets nasty. So periodically I have to get down and go at it. But when it is done it just seems to brighten up the entire space. I am pretty much finished with the kitchen breakfast nook clearing out, cleaning up, refurb. The last chore is to touch up the paint on the cabinets and respray the pulls and knobs. Yet, I am sure when that is done I will find more bits to change around.

When shopping I happened to see fresh rhubarb so grabbed a few stalks and came home to whip up some strawberry rhubarb jam. It is so yummy! I had left over rhubarb so also made up a batch of my sisters wonderful rhubarb bars! Oh how I love those and have not made them in years. It made quite a large batch, but I am confident we can eat them all…

I have been out and doing quite a bit of thrifting and yard sales. I am always scouting for items for the girls houses, and of course for the grands. I made quite the haul of decor for Becca’s new home. I did find a few treasures for myself as well.

My mom had these salt and pepper and we used them forever. So when I saw them I just could not resist grabbing them. Although since I use kosher salt these actually won’t work, but I bet my sister would love them also!

My older sister has the sweetest traditional old farm house filled with antique and vintage treasures. When I see things she would like I can’t resist getting them to add to her collections. She especially loves old cookbooks, so when I saw this I knew she had to have it.

Now isn’t that just so clever and cute? It hangs on the wall and is that lovely depression era greeen. I think it is just the cutest thing ever!

I have been resisting adding anything to my own collections, but at .10 I had to add this darling red transferware piece. I use it as a yarn bowl.

I also found the perfect frame of a piece of needlepoint I picked up quite some time back. I just love needlepoint and pick up little bits whenever I find them.

I so enjoy finding little treasures for myself and others. I know my girls just love that I am such a dedicated thrifter. Many times through the years they have shopped my house to decorate their own as they set up their own homes or changed decor. Now my eldest granddaughter is doing the same as she sets up her first college apartment. It does give me such joy. I also send regular care packages and this is one way of adding thoughtful little gifts to brighten their days and shorten the miles between us.

I did receive several happy mail packages this week! The first is from my sweet granddaughter Emmy. She asked her mom for an envelope and stamp and this is what I received! Never mind that the money was her brother’s toothfairy money… That Emmy is something else. But it is all so very very sweet and I love it all!

When I lasted visited Erica I had purchased some soap by the Indigo Wild company. Their Zum bars are honestly the best soap I have ever used and the Frankincense and Myrrh bars are beyond yummy. Mine was used up a bit ago and I finally sat down and ordered up some new bars. Imagine my surprise when the box arrived filled with free goodies! OMG!! And the lovely lovely smell, it has my entire house smelling delightful! I am so excited to try the laundry soap! And look at the two sample bags/boxes of all their soaps! OH I am in soapy heaven!! What I love about this soap is that it lathers up amazingly and then leave you squeaky clean but not dried out. It is such a lovely product!! It has given my entire house a lovely smell.

I also rather gave up on trying to keep up with knitting enough dishcloths as they wear out so quickly (we are famous for cutting into them when cleaning knives). I had been reading so much about Swedish dish clothes and ordered some up. Oh they are lovely and look at these darling designs! I am a total convert. I love how absorbent they are.

The gardens are all doing very well and I have a nice little harvest. The tomatoes are slowly coming on and are so very delicious. The flowers are all abloom and filled with busy bees. I will make many changes in my veg beds next year however. I didn’t stake my beans right and they overshadowed my other plants. I also just didn’t put in enough lettuce, spinach, and chard. But gardens are always a work in progress. I love the way my little cottage garden is shaping up and I think nasturtiums may just be my newest favorite annual. They make great ground coverage while you are slowly building up your perennials.

And now I must off to get the gardens watered before our heat hits. I am not a hot weather gal and prefer to stay in the nice cool house until the heat of summer passes into fall.

Stay Cool!

Patricia

Summer has arrived

Our lovely cool days finally came to an end as summer has officially arrived with temps in the 80s to 90s. Honestly, I’d rather not and just remain in the 70s all summer long. But alas it is what it is and one must adjust. This means walks in the early morning and more indoor activities. I just do not do the hot weather at all!

With the heat, I was hoping for a nice haul of cherries to can. Out to the produce stands to find just bits of scraggly cherries here and there and at exorbitant prices. And not even local to boot! It just so happened I was doing my grocery shopping and found gorgeous sweet cherries from Hood River for waaaay less than the fruit stand pickings. So I just grabbed quite a few pounds and canned them up. When I lived in eastern Washington I got so spoiled by all the local farms that sold their home grown goods. I am finding that here it is just stands that sell others goods and often not even local. I’m not giving up yet as I am sure there are some actual local farms that sell their produce, I’ll just keep looking..

Hopefully I can get at least a few dozen…

Still busy painting, sorting, organizing, moving things around and all. I finally finished the table and chairs and am just so happy with them. Such a huge improvement! When your house is dark, you need to bring in all the light that you can!

I do certainly need some window treatments, I have just never bothered as I rarely have the shades closed. I like as much light as possible!

While the painting bug was biting, I also painted this cute stand. I like it so much better!

I also moved it to a different location and added a few more of my little Auntie Lena collection. One of my favorite things is this darling little cast iron stove! It was my grandma’s and I think it is just the cutest thing ever. The little black hearth is made from Welsh coal. I picked it up on the great European tour I took with my girls when they were younger.

I also painted this sweet little sewing box that I recently found on FB marketplace. It is just perfect for my knitting projects.

All this time being inside just got me into the mood to move everything around. I had already completed the family room (as I posted last time) and I love it so much more. It is just so much cozier and inviting! This time I tackled the front room. I had been thinking of moving (or even eventually eliminating my desk). This room is most certainly the most cluttered looking in my house as it is where most of my favorite treasures and collections reside. I will live with the clutter, as I enjoy the lovely pieces that I have inherited and collected over the years.

I am much happier with it all. I have been contemplating painting my desk. But with that gold metal trim on each side, I am just hesitant to try it. Perhaps I will just pass it on to one of the girls. It is a lovely vintage Drexel Heritage piece.

I also moved a few of the art pieces around a bit more.

I did find a few treasures the last few weeks. Many will be finding homes in my daughters homes. I love the hunt, but with wanting to downsize, I can now find the lovely items to decorate their homes. They get amazing items and I get the joy of the hunt…win/win.

I actually got two jade plants. One will go to another home. That is the result of my treasure hunt for the past few weeks. All lovely items and at amazing prices.

However my favorite new gift to myself is this:

My Sunny spin bike! It just arrived and we sat it up today and I immediately joined a YouTube spin class. It runs like a dream….oh the joy of having a gym quality spin cycle in my own home! I love cycling, absolutely love it. But since moving to Salem my poor Blue Bliss Giant road bike has been stored in the garage. The traffic and drivers here are just too dangerous to even want to go out and try to share the roads with them! When I happened across an article on home spin type bikes, I was smitten. I did a lot of research and the Sunny products are always in the top 2-3 bikes in the ratings. Which is awesome given that they start at $200! This is just like what I am used to in spin classes at the gym, it is such a smooth ride, is totally adjustable, and offers a great range of resistance. And….YouTube is full of spin classes that you can just tune right into and it is just like being in a class….LOVE IT!!

The outside is still growing up a storm and everything is looking so beautiful. I am doing a bit of harvesting here and there with peas, zucchini, tomatoes, berries, and lots of herbs. But with the heat, I must turn my attention to indoors. And now I must off to see to some bag sewing.

Happy Summer!

Patricia

A Visit with the Sibs and some serious rearranging

Several months back I shared about the genetic disease that recently raised its ugly head in my family. Amyloidosis is an ugly and unforgiving genetic mutation that strikes hard. In the testing, 3 of the 8 siblings came out positive, with one of my brothers bearing the major brunt of the disease. My sisters planned a get together at our parents house to commemorate mother’s birthday and just be together. It was lovely as all the sibs showed up and we had a great time remembering our childhood on the farm and crazy shenanigans. It was so nice to spend time together and such a blessing that everyone could be there. But, oh my, we are getting so very grey! It is so hard to believe so much time has passed and we are now the elders. Lots of laughs, lots of good food, and lots of wonderful memories!

I arrived home to extreme temperatures and my AC deciding to go kaput! Oh dear, 90 degrees with no AC has shown me just what a whimp I have become. Thankfully, the PNW is not long with heat and after a few days it dipped back down into the low 70s. The nights are always cool also, so that helps considerably when the heat does strike. I did get a repairman out a week later for repairs. But it has not been needed as we have remained below 75 degrees with occasional rain showers.  Oh how I love this type of weather.  I just cannot cannot do extreme temps, either hot or cold.

Well, I have been busy, I got the bug to do some deep cleaning and clearing out. Of course for the majority of the work, I picked the second hottest day when the AC was down…good grief. But I am really liking the changes and the paring down of stuff. I moved all the artwork around and left a space above the TV as the bigger TV takes up so much space so need to see where to place a pic… These are for the most part all original water colors or pen and ink pieces that I have found at yard and estate sales. I just love them! I have added a few more plants in the corner since the picture, I like them grouped in that manner. I really love how much cozier this room now appears. It seems to be my new favorite room to hang out in.

I took some bits and pieces of clutter out of the breakfast nook and threw this awesome quilt (that I recently grabbed at a yard sale for $1!!!) on the table. I just started to repaint the chairs a nice chippy ivory. The black was just too much. Notice the pictures of Christ. The large one in the garden of Gethsemane hung on the wall in our hall when I was growing up. I just love it. The small one is an amazing exquisite cross stitch done for me by Christina. It is beyond lovely. All these hung in the hallway, but I wanted them out to be seen and enjoyed!

I love this little shelf. It holds what I refer to as my Auntie Lena collection and the little model stove she passed on to me. I love this water color as well.

I did a bit in the front room as well, but since I am still working on that I will add those pictures to another blog. But I will share a gorgeous afghan I got for $4 at a yard sale. It is esquisite. I just cannot pass up beautifly hand crafted items! BTW the dog cover on my couch is the best. I got them off Amazon for the two loveseats as boxers are absolute slobber machines! I have already washed them and they are indestructable!

I don’t know about you, but I get such joy from moving things around and discovering new ways to display my collections. I am working toward slowly downsizing. I honestly do not need one more thing…. 

Well except plants…all the plants all the time. I do haunt the Walmart for the discounted plants (it is the only time I will ever shop there if I can help it….). I found my Foxgloves there, oh how I love Foxgloves! I chanced upon a close out of shrubs and ornamental trees and got gorgeous several beauties. I did not get a picture of the Spirea or Gardenia yet. All these beauties were $10 and under. It is so exciting to see everything growing and I have already been harvesting greens, peas, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. So exciting. Growing things just makes my heart sing!

My goal is to gradually turn this area into a cottage garden.  I am acquiring plants to do so bit by bit.  I have to always remember the importance of placement with height and size factors considered.  I just want it full of my favorites; hollyhocks (I have some in pots still doing great but not yet transplanted, foxglove, bee balm, daisy varieties, lupines, nasturtiums, gosh just so many I can’t think of them all right now.  But the old-fashion flowers that would be found in my grandmothers gardens.

The new bed we developed out back is doing great.  The dogs did break the top of the cute bird bath though….sigh… But I had the top from a cement one and I am using that so that works just fine.  I just added the broken bits of the other one to my stone border to give a splash of color.  

Classes finally ended for summer term and the break is always nice. But I really enjoyed this course and had a great deal of personal spiritual growth during those 8 weeks. One of the things I love about Saybrook is that it focuses on personal growth along with intellectual growth. Of course one would expect that in Mind Body Medicine and Psychology, but sadly other universities don’t follow this practice. We delved into so many areas; radical transmissions, near death experiences, consciousness and the connection to health and spirituality…just on and on. I will be taking the next course from this professor in the fall and look forward to that! I did drop to part time studies as they extended the semesters and taking two courses simultaneously is just not where I want to be right now. It put out my graduation date by a year 2022. But that’s doable. To me this is all about savouring the learning process while growing, stretching, reaching new heights in my intellectual, spiritual, physical, and emotional growth….you know mind, body, spirit!

While busy engaging in so many other projects and business, my knitting has rather taken a bit of a vacation. However, I am on the last border of my crocheted afghan. I am not happy with how the last border is looking so keep ripping it out….irritating.. It does not show in this picture but is a picot edging in that dark rose color. I am still not sure I am sold on this color scheme and will pass this along to one of my girls or grands.

And now it is time to head out for my daily doggie walk. I am not sure who enjoys this more, the doggies or myself. So my dears, I close and I wish peace and joy during this crazy upside down time.

Patricia

Books and Blooms

Retirement and time spent in my home sweet home has given me lots of opportunity to catch up on reading. I have always had a huge collection of books. When the girls were young we always kept a library room, or if we didn’t have an extra room, lined the hallways with book cases. Being that we were all avid readers, those books were dear to us. As I made several moves in the past decade, books were one of the items pared down. But over the past few years I have started growing my library once more. My taste are eclectic, with a mix of fiction and nonfiction and myriad genres. Here is a peek at some of my shelves. I also have a mishmash of a few shelves of assorted fiction and stacks here and there of my current reads.

Much of my taste runs to authors long since passed. I adored all the back to the land books from the 30s to 50s. Of all the authors of that genre, I would say that my favorite is Gladys Taber. Gladys Taber shares the story of her move from NYC to Connecticut and the purchase of a 100 year old ramshackle house that she brings back to life. She shares her wisdom and wit as she writes about daily life. Betty MacDonald, of the Miss Piggle Wiggle children books, has written a series of books about her life and struggles. As suggested by the titles, The Egg and I, The Plague and I, you can only imagine her wit. Such joyful reading. Shirley Jackson (everyone absolutely must read her trilogy of adventures raising her children. With titles like Raising Demons and Savages Among Us, you can imagine the belly laughs she brings. Oh I just just discovered the wit and charm of Beverly Nichols when I stumbled upon his books at an estate sale. I am savoring every bit of the Merry Hall trilogy. What a delightful read, it is part gardening, part philosophy, part gossip, and sheer fun. I also love books of simpler times (although they really weren’t simpler now were they?). Miss Read and her lovely English village series, Lillian Beckwith and the stories of the Hebrides Islands, oh how both bring me such joy and take me away to far away lands. And one must not forget D.E. Stevenson and Elizabeth Goudge. The Pilgrims Inn trilogy is among my favorite reads. I have my modern favorites too as you can see. Kate Morton, Bill Bryson, Jan Karon, Debbie MacComber (the Blossom Street Series is the only ones I have read), Rosamunde Pilcher, Mauve Binchy….on and on the list goes as I find new treasures! I know I have forgotten so many, but these are the ones I keep in my own library to read over and over.

I have gotten a few new book acquisitions. My latest Saybrook course has been a deep dive into spirituality and the role it plays in wellbeing. One of the areas we are exploring is rituals. This took me back to my Catholic upbringing and the rich beautiful rituals that are practiced. I love celebrations and I believe that it is in the mundane daily living that we find the sacred. For every season in life and in nature there is a celebrating of that change/passage. I had wonderful discussion with my granddaughter in Ireland who is truly an old soul. We were discussing the Celtic traditions and she shared with me the wheel of the year which I just had to explore further!

Besides books, I have been out in the yard and so busy. We seem to have days of rain followed by days of sun or days with rain and sun alternately. Such is the PNW. I had the area in the back where there was no grass as we had the raised beds there. I had been slowly coming to the realization that it was best not to fight against all that shade, but rather to embrace it and fill the area with shade loving plants. A trip to the nursery and a haul of discounted plants led to creating this

There is still the need to plant a bit of grass, but I just love the little island and it will grow to become so lovely as the years pass.

I also added a little fire pit. My next big job is to surround this area with pea gravel….

I love to find discounted plants and scout the nursery centers for the outcasts that are past their blooms or a looking a bit down on their luck. Here are a few of the treasures, now abloom, that I grabbed off the Walmart discount shelf.

And that is just the blooms, I have also gotten numerous bushes, peonies, hostas, and a tree. It does pay to scout for the discounts. The best time to go is after some searing hot weather when the plants have drooped and lost blooms. They are promptly placed on the discount rack!

Remember the ginger rhizome I planted? Well we have some little shoots peaking through. This plant will stay inside until summer proper arrives and the temps remain above the 60s. My poor turmeric has done nothing but that rhizome had only one eye and a very sad one at that…

As Oregon has begun to open up again, I have not been able to resist the urge to go thrifting. I wear my mask as I do not want this virus for sure! But once our Goodwills opened, well I decided to pay the two closest a visit. I was not disappointed and found two enormous pots, a pillar, and these wonderful door things that I will turn into a screen (I LOVE these!)

And I found a salt lamp to replace the one I gave to my granddaughter for her college apartment.

Jackson, just love the hunt as much as I do and he has scored many games, nerf guns, and little treasures for his siblings and mom.

As I have shared, I just love podcasts and any TV time is generally spent on youtube watching my favorites and scouting for new delights. One of my favorites has been Elliot Homestead. I just couldn’t resist adding a few of her books to my library which then led to needing a cast iron skillet (why oh why did I ever give mine away??). I did my research and order one by Victoria. Well, it says it comes preseasons, but I am on my second seasoning and so we will see. The first seasoning did not result in a pan that “eggs just slide right out.” In fact I was scrubbing stuck on egg which was like glue! So we shall see…. But the books are indeed lovely and full of stories of setting up their homestead.

In all this gardening and reading I have still found time to get in some handiwork. I finished up the last of the dishtowels I had been working on and since I have become obsessed with crocheting, have nearly completed the current afghan I started a few weeks back. Crocheting just seems to go so quickly and is easy to rip back if there is a mistake. But I still love the look of knitting for garments. I have done a few rows on socks and am planning on casting on another shawl design by Joji Locatelli.

Well dears, that about covers my little bit of busyness in this corner of the world. I do try to keep busy and productive and live each day with extreme gratitude for all my blessings. This current condition shall pass and it is my prayer that we come out wiser, kinder, and better humans for it.

Keep blooming where you are planted as you sow kindness and love!

Patricia

Nesting and Creating

As is expected in the lovely Pacific Northwest, we have had lots of rainy days mixed in with bits of sunshine and cooler weather. Fortunately we have been able to get out for daily walks in between the showers. My plants are loving this rain and beginning to show some real growth. But we are coming into some warmer days and that is exciting as then the plants will really pop. Oh plants….. I have rather an obsession with plants (like yarn, fabric, books, thrifting….well you get the idea). I love experimenting with a variety of different shrubs, flowers, veggies. Some do amazing while some are a disaster. But if you spend but bits on them it is not such a tragedy. I am the queen of discounted and “free range” plants. I stalk the plants discount racks and bring home a myriad of beauties. Currently I grabbed two lovely jasmine and two amazing peonies for only $5 each! Considering I had only recently nearly popped $50 for one larger jasmine, this was especially thrilling! I don’t know about you, but to me there is something so satisfying in watching shoots emerge from the ground, a flower burst into a beautiful bloom, and picking that first sun warm ripe tomato and popping it directly into your mouth. Pure and utter delight!!

The work in the yard continues on and on as I am constantly moving things about and again and again. In the back I have added the two jasmines against the back fence and did bit of rearranging. The fire pit mess is going away as I just grabbed a bunch of shade loving shrubs and tree and will be making a nice little arrangement in that area. I mean, why not make mounds and fill them with shade loving plants?

The herbs are growing nicely and I keep moving pots and plants around. I was going to take them off the patio, but I rather like them there. Oh that patio needs a major redo though!

Out front I have made several changes, and am sure I will continue to do so. I purchased a few peonies (again on a great clearance) and put them and a bevy of iris rhizomes in the space bordering the neighbors that was a huge weed bed. It just needs the bark chips. I love peonies and Iris, so this will be delightful next year when they all come into bloom.

This little area by the house is quite the work in progress and will continue to be so. I love my little wheelbarrow and it will stay. But I added quite a few plantings and this fountain. The fountain is a thrifting find that didn’t have a working pump so was pretty much given to me. The hubby added a pump and we fixed it up just fine and I think it is lovely. When I finish with all the plants how I want them I will add the bark chips to this area and call it good…..well at least for this year. Those little green bits in the front will grow up into huge flowering bunches as bee balm and the lupines should also put on quite a show. My little nasturtiums should provide some color to my salads as well at the flower beds! The large coreopsis provides a gorgeous yellow dye which I use to dye wool.

The hubby has been busy trimming bushes and trees and has found a few abandoned nests. We made sure they were old unused nest from the best we could tell. I thought they were so sweet placed just by the door.

Speaking of birds, with all the bird houses, feeders, and baths the back and front yard have just filled up with so many lovely birds. My favorite have always been the little chickadees in so many colors. I love to sit at my desk by the window and watch them!

I have become addicted to gardening podcast and my knowledge has grown exponentially. I think my favorite is Epic Gardener. I learned from him that I can plant and grow turmeric and ginger! I currently have both potted and just waiting to see the first shoots emerge. It takes a few weeks. But OMG having my own fresh ginger and turmeric is an absolute game changer! You simply take the rhizomes that you purchase at the store to be consumed at home, stick them into a pot with just a light covering of soil, keep them moist and at 70 degrees, and just let them grow. Pick rhizomes that have numerous little buds (or heads) and they will bloom away for you. The important thing to remember is that they are a tropical plant so need warm moist environment. When it warms up in July I will place them outside. For now they are in front of a sunny window area indoors.

I did get in a bit of my thrifting monster fed the other day. Just down the street was an amazing yard sale. Donned my mask and headed out. She had so many lovely things and I purchased numerous country type decor for my youngest as she is in the process of buying her first home. I also got this darling antique crib for FREE! It needed a bit of repair, but it is just too cute. I have debated putting it out doors with plants, but it wouldn’t last more than a season, so instead my teddies have a new home.

As the temps heated up, I turned my attention to indoors. I had been thinking for a bit that I wanted to move the large white hutch out of the living room and move my large glass hutch into that space. That meant packing up most all my milk glass but bits and bobs and favorite pieces. The milk glass will be going to my youngest soon anyway as she buys a new home. The large white hutch is now in the hallway. I am still working on what will be placed inside and atop it.

My lovely basket collection is now center stage in my living room where I can fully enjoy them. I may play around a bit more with placement of the baskets and lovelies as well as the pictures on the walls surrounding it.

Well moving the hutches also gave me the inspiration to paint this little sweetie. I chose a color to set off my favorite hand painted Fenton milk glass pieces. It is quite chippy and the pink was almost too much, but I wanted to highlight the colors in the milk glass. I am quite delighted in the results.

Next up is a revamp of the bedroom. I have huge furniture that weighs a ton and with the bedroom being so dark, it looked like a deep dark hole. We took off the head and foot boards and just that simple act opened up the room so much. This meant moving the huge dresser and just doing an overall clearing out. When it is all done, I will share pictures. It is still a messy work in progress!!

And that is how I have been filling my days, busy nesting and creating, sowing and harvesting and what could be any lovelier than that when one must stay home and stay safe.

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Quiet Days and a First Harvest

Dear me but if I didn’t go and put my back completely out.  It had been hurting pretty badly for a week, but I was sure I could just walk it out and continue along with the yard work and such, until I lifted a huge pot.  Ouch, that did it and was cause for a trip to the urgent care….during Covid that is not something that I wanted to do!  But I must say Kaiser was so organized and there was absolutely no contact with anyone but the md and rn.  Muscle relaxers and a stern lecture to give it time to heal and I was back home and didn’t need to be told twice to give it a rest!  So I had a good 4 days of being unable to do much of anything due to the pain level.  Today was the first day I finally felt I was able to start doing some modified activity and even get out for a walk!  Good Grief I hope I never do that again!!

Mother’s Day was spent quietly at home.  I took a lovely walk and putter about in the yard moving a few things here and there.  I then settled down to watch the mystery series Lochness on Acorn TV while working on my crochet afghan.  I must say I am hooked on the ease and simplicity of crocheting.  It is almost instant gratification as projects seem to go so quickly.  I am 2 rows short of 1/2 through this afghan.  At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the color scheme, but now that it is further along I am finding it lovely.

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While convalescing I was able to get the buttons on Mimi’s sweater and block my latest pair of completed socks.

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I love this golden yellow yarn.  It is some of my botanical hand dyed.  I used coreopsis and marigolds.  I love the flecks of colors throughout.  I reminds me of the wheat fields back home on the farm.

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Having my hubby home full time has been wonderful for completing so many things that we just never got around to.  He has gotten several jobs that had been neglected completed and we have little by little been transforming the yard.  We have gotten most of the bark chips spread and will be getting delivery of pea gravel next to finish up the back.  I have put in so many lovely herbs and veggies.

My little strawberry bed is coming right along! Jackson and Jimmy put a nice rock border around it.

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I love this bird house.  Every year we have a little family of birds move in and make nests. I absolutely adore having a myriad of birds visiting my gardens.  I have several bird feeders out front where I can watch the birds out my window at my desk and just today I saw one using one of the two bird baths I put out.  I especially love the little chickadees.

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I was delighted to find a bay plant.  It is one of the herbs I had been hoping to add so was delighted to find it at my local nursery.  Until I decide where I want to plant it, the pot and basket will be home.  Now if I could find some Borage.

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My raspberries have never looked so good.  We did place a little gate going in as silly old Koda decided that it was the only place he preferred to poop….good grief..

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I’ve been playing around with the hodge podge of yard decor I have collected over the years.  It is all from thrifting.  I love all the faces and have several more I need to get put out.

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We also had our first harvest.  Some lovely radishes and cilantro.  It is so delightful to finally have things growing.  That shady back yard just didn’t cut it at all.

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The doggies enjoy nothing more that hanging outside with us and basking in the sun while we work away.

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It was so delightful to finally get out for a walk again after 4 days trying to heal.  As we walk through this little nature area we often see Blue Herons, but we can never get a picture.  However, this guy was totally chill with us and gave us the perfect photo opportunity!  They are just so beautiful!

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I finally got around to getting my last batch of naughty knitting bags uploaded to Stitches Plus Purls Etsy and they were all sold out excepting 3 in a matter of hours.  Now that I can move again I must get busy on another batch.  Speaking of bags, I found this naughty naughty fabric on Spoonflower a month ago and ordered numerous pieces.  I waited a month for it to finally arrive.  This will become bags for the shop.  Very naughty but oh so fun.

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Summer courses have began and I am taking Spirituality and Health.  I really have enjoyed pursuing my PhD at this stage in my life.  One of the beauties of Saybrook is that each class is not only geared to learning the knowledge to go out and practice your trade, but also focused on helping you dig deep and grow as an individual.  This course is no exception and comes at a perfect time as the world grapples with a pandemic and the personal impact on my own little world and self.  I have grown so much in knowledge in the three years since I started the program.  I have loved the learning process and each class has been like opening a rare and beautiful gift.  Well there have been a few courses that just didn’t excite me, but I still learned a great deal. This fall I will need to begin the long journey of writing my dissertation…oh my!  The biggest problem is I have no idea whatsoever what to do my research on.  It has to be a passion as a dissertation is so extensive and a full 2 years of work so you must have a great and sustainable desire for the research project.  Well I will figure something out I am sure.  My focus has not been on the end goal, but instead on each course and the joy and enrichment they have provided.

Well dears, the gardening is calling me out to enjoy her beauty and see the newest little seedling popping up out of the earth.  I wish you all a lovely Mother’s Day and a heart filled with contentment and peace.

Patricia

Never too old..

I have been wanting a Ukulele for quite some time, but just never took the leap and purchased one. I used to play the guitar, but it has been 30 years or more since I played.  My granddaughter, Doodle bug, was face timing with me and we were discussing this as she had been thinking about getting a guitar.  We had a lovely discussion and was I ever surprised when a few days later this arrived in the post:

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My very own ukulele!  What a fun and very thoughtful gift.  I am having a lot of fun with it, but boy are my finger getting sore.  I need to get those callouses built up!  Then Erica called to say she had also bought a Ukulele and Doodle, of course, bought her  guitar.  So we are having fun learning our new instruments.  You are never too old to learn new things and this old dog is practicing some new tricks!

I have to say I have been enjoying working on this crochet throw very much.  It is so quick and easy and if a mistake is made it is easy to frog back, unlike knitting that takes skill to pick the stitches back up. This is especially true when using small needles and near impossible when working on lace!  While I am not quite as happy with the colors as I thought I would be, I think I will like them better as I get further along.

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I discovered a bag of assorted yarn while cleaning the storage above the garage.  Mostly baby yarn, but this little skein of sock yarn was in it as well.  I thought well that might just make a very fun pair of ankle socks.  I couldn’t resist another cast on and I always like to have a pair of socks on the needles.  This is a rather small skein, but I will use a coordinating color on the toe and heel and if I do ankle length, I think I will have enough.

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On Friday we put on our masks, gloved up, and ventured out to the local nursery.  We went right as it opened and had the entire place to ourselves up until we checked out.  I was able to get some nice spots of color, a bay plant, more blueberries and a few other items I was missing.

I always grab old wheelbarrows when I see them as I think they make the cutest accent pieces.  The hubby put some holes in the bottom of this rusted out barrow so I could use it to create a nice little spot of color.  I have sprinkled a myriad of flower seeds all around this bed and already little sprouts are popping up.

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We also ordered up a couple yards of bark chips.  The hubby and Jackson spent Sunday working on the back area until we ran out of landscaping fabric.  But already it is looking so much better!

This area is quite empty.  It is partial sun and I am thinking a star jasmine would be lovely growing against the fence.

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Due to having a male boxer we put up this little fence to keep Koda from peeing all over the blueberries!  Need to do the same for the raspberries.  All the decor in the back are bits and bobs collected at estate and yard sales. I always have a family of birds nesting in the tall bird house.

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It is coming right along and I am pleased with what we have done so far.  Lots more to do, but all the time to do it. I also added fairy lights to my cabana and am thinking of spray painting the dark wicker furniture a nice bright color.  Anything to bring yet more cheer!

While out on our walk the other day we came across this

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We have huge families of turkeys that walk the neighborhood on a regular basis, but this one was alone and we were able to get quite close to her.  Such lovely majestic birds!  I like that we have these turkey families roaming our streets.  But I really enjoy birds and have my feeders placed all around my yard to attract them.  I especially like the little chickadees.

Well dears, that is about all my “doins” as my grandma would say.  I hope you are all healthy and finding peace during this trying time.

Strummin away,

Patricia

Slow Sunny Days

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Sunny days mean lots of outdoor time; long walks, gardening, taking my knitting or latest project out to the patio so I can enjoy the lovely weather.  It is nice having lots of green open spaces just a few minutes walk away.  It is such a joy to watch at spring unfurls in all her splendor.  For beauty, you can’t beat the PNW!

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I love this bush, it reminds me of the Bible story of Moses and the Burning Bush.

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In my little garden spaces I have sprouts shooting up daily it seems.  I find such silly delight in seeing the new growth.  I finally got in myriad flower seeds and hope to see a nice riot of color as time progresses.  I would love to add more perennials, but well that can wait until next year.  Also got my raspberries bushes staked and cleaned up.  Every year I extend the bed a bit further.  And got in a few more strawberry plants.  I was wanting a few basil plants and it seemed every online source was sold out.  But I found a set of three on amazon for only 19.99.  They arrived in great shape and the seller had even thrown in a free cilantro plant.

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Look at all the little shoots just sprouting up!

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These are the stackable planters I purchased.  They will hold beans and the bottoms have cucumbers and zucchini as it can trail all over this area freely.

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Since I cannot get to the nursery I scattered a myriad of flower seeds in this bed and will hope for the best.

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Well I fell down a new crafty rabbit hole…as if I needed to do that!  I found these blocks a few years ago in a charity shop and they floated around my sewing room in a bag, at one point I almost donated them back.  The with the desire to crochet an Attic 24 style throw, I decided to start by joining these and finishing up this throw.  I just love how it turned out!  I have not done much crochet so this is a new craft for me.  I prefer the look of knitting for anything but throws.  I have a zillion threads to run in and this will head off to my granddaughter for her college apartment.  Being made of acrylic the likes of Red Heart, it will be indestructible!

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After completing this I was ready to tackle the throw that I had acquired the yarn stash that I shared last blog.  Aren’t these just the yummiest colors?

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I am making the same pattern as the throw in the background.  I treasure that throw, Becca made it for me and it is huge and so absolutely gorgeous!

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Today we decided to revisit a path we had not walked for several years.  It was always one of my favorites and I loved taking the grands along this path.  I love an overgrown path deep in the forest, where it seems any minute a wee fairy or one of the little people may peep out at any moment.

 

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Such a lovely path and one that I won’t again wait years to visit!

Our sunny days are filled with a lot of back yard time with bonfires and BBQ. Jackson enjoys shooting his sling shot but it finally bit the dust from overwear.  I surprised him with a new one along with darts for his dart board.  I like to see him spending days outdoors instead of in front of any electronic devices!  He also built the fire pit.  I like to burn all the paper items instead of tossing in the garbage and that is his job.

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On these sunny days it is hard to believe the world had descended into sorrow.  But I never want to forget my blessings and make a point to offer up my prayers and healing energy for all those afflicted and effected.

Blessings,

Patricia