Are we at peak yet?

Dears, during these days do you find yourself so often holding your breath?  I certainly do.  Then I must stop and breathe deep and find a way to recenter.  If I spend too much time on social media I find my breathing is so shallow and my body will instintively take a deep breath to remind me to breathe!  How are you holding up?  Are you practicing lots of self care?  The other day I read a quote (I cannot remember who it is attributed to) that said “There is no way but through.”  Oh how true that is, and through we will go.

My daily walks pass this creek and I always stop and look at this rock.  It makes me think of the saying that a rolling stone gathers no moss, and right now I certainly feel like this rock all covered in moss.  Although my mind and hands are anything but still as I continue to pursue my PhD and keep busy cooking, gardening, stitching, knitting, sewing etc.  Or perhaps I identify with this rock as since growing older and now in retirement I have found a sense of calm even while the water swirls around me pushing and shoving.   Whatever the reason, this view is very calming to me.

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I fill my days with simple pleasures; baking, daily walks, puttering in the garden, bits of handiwork here and there.  The days have found their own rhythm.  I am busy working on a paper for the latest course in my PhD program.  But mostly if seems like a time of waiting, waiting for life to resume what….what will the new normal be? And mostly waiting to see my dear loved ones again!!

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I got into my sewing room and did some reorganizing.  Since I have been spending most of my days in the living room and the doggies insist upon being where ever I am, I needed to get both love seats back in that room.  So I put a small chair in the sewing room which turned into moving shelves which turned into moving the cutting board which meant cleaning out and reorganizing and on it goes….  Here is a little tour of my sewing room.

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My bins are from 31 bags as my niece sells them and they are just perfect for my shelves.  When I got the shelves I had wanted white, but since all Walmart has was the wood look, well I took what I could get.  They have made such a difference!  I can easily see and grab what I need.

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The cutting table was purchased decades ago when I had a quilting shop, Sunshine and Stitches, in Northern California.  It had been in my mom’s sewing room until a year ago when she was ill and told me to pack it up and take it home.  I keep two of the collapsible shelves under it for all my books.

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My wonderful fabric collection. Most of this has come from IG destashes and I do use it in my bag making.  The top is filled with numerous treasures I have collected.  I have picked up the mini sewing machines at various estate and yard sales.  The dolls as well, except a few from Christina’s collection and my childhood. And then of course jars and jars of buttons collected over the years.

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Little bears and a a few toys I bought in London on my first trip at 18..  Notice the detail on that gorgeous chair.  This was a gift from my dear bestie Mia.

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Somebody is peeking at the door.  Koda is most certainly my shadow…

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Christina cross stitched this lovely piece for me many many years ago!  I still treasure it.  I do however, think it needs a different frame…

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I created both of my bulletin boards from old frames.  I just love them.

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I must admit I love that room.  I love the color that I chose to paint the walls and how happy the space is!  It is a great space to design and work in.

My doggies are happy to have the two love seats back in the living room where they can hang with their mommy.  Unfortunately I have to keep them covered and well the red doesn’t fare well with my decor…but must needs..

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The garden is really coming right along.  We have cleared out all the beds and are putting food where once grew a hodgepodge of shrubs and this and that.  I have most all my plants and seeds in now.  I did order a tall stackable planter type thing after seeing such an amazing contraption on a gardening youtube and wondering to myself where have I been all these years that I did not even know such a thing existed!  I will fill it with bush beans and lettuce I think…..  I did keep the bed by the house for flowers and have yet to get those seeds in the ground.  I am upset I did not get an order placed with Burpee for live plants as now all are out and they are not even currently taking orders.  There seems to have been a rush on seeds and plants and in hesitating I now may be waiting a bit.  But I got all I needed for the most part at the local nursery.  Perhaps I will suit up in my mask and gloves and make a nursery trip in a few weeks…. I am so adverse to venturing out near anybody at this point!!

I did get a few acquisitions.  From a detash I grabbed this yarn set from the blankets by Lucy at  Attic 24.  It is beyond gorgeous.  Being it is British I was stoked to have found it on destash in US dollars.   This first kit will most likely find its away to Ireland when we ever get over this virus!!

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But when I showed it to Becca within an hour she promptly called me and said she found a US resource for the yarn.  Ok well never ever tell a hoarder such news.  There was a substantial sell going on and being it was acrylic it was already below $2 per skein.  So I went to Attic 24 website and picked out my two favorite color stories and well here we go…. Did I ever think I would use acrylic yarn again???  But for a blanket it only makes sense….

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If you are not familiar with Lucy at Attic 24 OMG you are missing out on one of the best blogs ever!  Check it out https://attic24.typepad.com. She has a myriad of free tutorials and patterns.  She uses StyleCraft yarn and the color palette is beyond yummy.  I bought these at https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/   Here are the color stories I got:

From destash I got the Woodland set

Hydrangea set was what both Becca and I picked out

I also added Cozy

Now to start one of these projects.  I am still undecided if I will crochet (I am not really big fan of crocheting) or knit a fan stitch blanket.  But aren’t those colors just beyond lovely?!

Well my lovelies that about covers what is going on here in my little corner of the world. Staying safe and utilizing my time as best possible.

Wishing all health, economic wellbeing, and security during this trying time,

Patricia

Sheltering in Place

Oh my, but we are learning an entirely new vocabulary as this current madness continues to impact our lives.  I pray this finds all of you safe and well.  Does your heart just hurt from the pain and suffering?  As an empath, the pain is often unbearable and I find that tears come unexpectedly at any moment.  Yet I take comfort in knowing that this too shall pass and that God is always in charge no matter how out of control life appears.  But oh how my heart hurts for humanity….

So many changes as we face this.  I started by doing grocery pick up but now do only delivery service (instacart allows you to add a tip right into the purchase…please everyone tip very generously as these are the people who are keeping us safe!). Imagine my delight when I got a full grocery order after weeks of bits of this and that!  It was like Christmas!  Silly thing to be excited over food and drives home how extremely blessed we are…let’s never ever forget that!!  It feels so very very selfish to delight in these things when so many many are going without or losing loved ones and my heart battles with all my own blessings while others are not so fortunate.

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It is so important now to be mindful of how very blessed we are and express our gratitude by doing good and being kind.  I am so excited to see the increase in kindness and sharing through the on line neighborhood groups.  If a need is shared, so many come forward to help out.  I honestly believe most people are good and decent.  We are certainly seeing the best and sadly but less often the worst in others in this crisis!

As I count my blessings, of course my dear family is always first.  My children and grands, my spouse, my siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and on that close list goes.  I pray for their safety and good health.  It is so hard knowing we will be unable to visit for an extended period.  But we have such marvelous technology today that allows me to be right in the living room in Ireland visiting with my loves, or down in Nevada, or in California.  Isn’t it a marvel and isn’t it such a wonderful blessing!

Here on the home front we are doing well.  Sheltered in and staying safe.  The hubby is on extended leave until his organization gets their shiit together and puts protocols in place for safety.  The doggies love all this home time with us!  Sweet Koda has found his place in the pack and fits in so easily.  He is such a sweet cuddle bug and is all boxer with the beaning and boxing!  Like my sweet piggy, he never leaves my side and just follows me around the house.

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My little Misha is like a cat.  She dictates when she wants attention and is very independent.  But what a sweet gentle soul she is.  I couldn’t love her more!

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With this time on hand, we got busy preparing the garden beds.  Unfortunately nothing will grow out back with all the shade…..gggrrrrrr!  So pretty or not, the beds came round to the front.  I had already done this before the virus hit, and now I can just claim it is my victory garden.  Short on looks, but long on value and purpose!  I did put a few seeds into some growing soil and my little baby basil are popping up.

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After a good start, on came the endless weeks of rain.  The PNW is green for a reason and that is lots and lots of rain!  I got in a goodly amount of herbs into pots before the rains hit so that was good!

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She may be unsightly, but she is practical and in the coming year we can improve the beds and make it proper and attractive.  Oh just look at that dreary weather…

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I have been doing all I can to boost our immune systems and keep us healthy.  I am running my diffusers and keeping the doors open as much as possible.  I am huge on fresh air for health.

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Remember the art pieces I shared last time from Elizabeth and Charlotte sent all the way from Ireland? Well I just happened to have perfect fitting frames.  Sometimes it pays to be a packrat and serious thrifter.  Just look how lovely they both look all framed and displayed!

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I will eventually get a different frame for the avocado, but I wanted to get it on the wall so for now it is in a rather frilly frame.

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The clock above is one identical to the one my grandma stitched and is still hanging out at the ranch house where I grew up.  When I found an identical one I knew it had to come home with me.  My grandma was a prolific needleworker and also did a fair amount of crochet.  My maternal grandma was a truly gifted seamstress and knitter who often designed her own patterns and my mom was all of these!  How blessed was I to come from a long line of talented women!

Being tucked away at home (I never like to stay stuck at home as that doesn’t acknowledge how blessed and fortunate I am to have a home and to be able to shelter safely in place) I have turned my mind to all my lovely collections.  It is amazing how many many lovely items I have been able to collect over the years.  It is rare that I pay over $10 or $20 for anything.  Look at all these lovelies.  I enjoy my collections and I think that is so very important.  To me they are beauty to the eye and food for my soul.  They all bring back memories as many are passed down or gifted to me and many others remind me of loved ones or my childhood.

Join me as I take you on a little tour of a some of my collections.

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The Blue Boy and Pinky are needle point that I found at a yard sale.  They remind me of my childhood home as mom had a framed set hanging on the front room wall. I used to love looking at them and it was the beginning of my love for the great masters and museums. They bring back those memories and make me happy just glancing at them.

This Pulaski hutch has a story too.  I was following it on the FB market place and the price was coming down so I grabbed it.  I had no idea of the size until I went to pick it up.  I just barely fit into the backend of my Atlas…and that sucker is huge.  But we got it in and oh do I love it.  I often light it in the evenings while relaxing in the front room.  It is glorious and so beautiful!

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Tucked on the bottom is a blue button can that I got from my mom years and years ago.  It is still filled with some treasured sewing items that she had in it when she gave it to me.  It may only be an old tin candy container, but to me it is filled with so many many childhood memories.  The pink fluted bowl was a wedding gift to my parents.  Many of the baskets belonged to my mom.  She cherished her baskets and how we all delighted in adding to her collection!

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Oh sweet sweet Hummels!  This was a collection by chance.  See my daughters will tell you, “never tell mom that you collect something as she will find you the mother of all collections”. LOL.  Well that is so very true.  Erica my middle had a few Hummels she collected on her trips to Germany way back when she was barely an adult.  She loved the darling little figurines and, well I found my first two by chance at an estate sale.  Then she came visiting and we found a few more and she let slip how much she loved them….uuuhhhh ohhhh….and the race was on.  Maybe I have taken it a bit too far?  But oh I have also fallen in love with the sweet little faces and since they are basically giving them away anymore….well what can one do but take them home.  This entire collection will eventually find its way to her home in California.  Until then, I do really enjoy the darling little figurines. They capture such innocence and joy.  I have so many favorites in the collection I cannot possibly chose a favorite!

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Sweet Koda boy just had to be in the picture.  He is my little shadow….

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The little tea set was a gift from Erica from one of her trips to Germany.  Aren’t the little Friars just too much?!  I spy a little Koda eye….

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Teacups and other lovelies.  There are some pieces from moms wedding and cups and saucers from my both my grandmas.  I have many more tea cups, but I did narrow down this collection and started using some of the others.  This hutch…oh this hutch…be still my heart.  This was the beauty that I got over a year ago at an estate sale for peanuts.  It has a drop down drawer with a desk with little slots.  It is magnificent!

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And lastly my milk glass.  Now this is one collection that I do have too much of.  I have more boxes packed away including plates, cups, pitcher, vases…crazy huh?  This another collection that just rather evolved.  My Grandma collected milk glass and I always admired it when I went to her house.  When she moved to a retirement community I was too young to have thought to ask for a piece and it was all given away.  Unknown to me, I was pregnant with my youngest when my beloved Grandma passed away.  Forward to said daughter was 8 and at a yard sale and she saw her first piece of milk glass and fell in love.  So we started collecting pieces.  Mind you this daughter reminds me of her great grandma, she has the same exact laugh and mannerisms.  How fitting that she would love milk glass.  And again this collection is housed with me until her children are older and she is in a home large enough for this hutch and the collection.  My favorites are the hand painted Fenton pieces.  I have a few pieces of the yellow vaseline colored milk glass as well.  Again these pieces were all mostly $5 or less.

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I hope you have enjoying seeing some of my collections as much as I have enjoyed sharing them.  I also have a lovely collection of kaleidoscopes and my sweet teddies that are perched aound my front room.

I have also been keeping busy with jigsaw puzzles. I read that they are having a run on puzzles during the stay at home orders.  Luckily I have a huge stock of used puzzles I have collected!  My favorites are still the Wysocki ones!  I also do my handiwork; knitting, stitching, sewing.  And now the studies are keeping me occupied once again.  The days flow gently one into another.  When I feel the fear rising I reach for my rosary or practice one of the positive psychological interventions that are so very helpful.  Let me share as perhaps they can be helpful to you as well.

Savoring experiences can help one grow in positivity.  According to research by Bryant and Veroff savoring consist of three time-orientations and four savoring processes.  Below is a chart that shows these with prompts and examples

Time orientation Definition Prompt Example
The past reminiscing Think of a time when you felt total happiness. Reflecting on a time in the past and reliving the positive emotions of that time.
The present savoring the moment How are you feeling right now at this moment. Being mindful in the moment and pausing to savor those feelings.
The future anticipating What is something that you are looking forward to with great joy and anticipation. The positive emotions that come with the anticipation of an event in the future.

 

Savoring processes Definition Example
Thanksgiving gratitude Understanding blessings that are bestowed daily by others and the universe.
Basking pride Acknowledging a job well done or excelling at a task.
Marvelling awe Realizing the wonder of the moment, realizing how infinate the world is and the sheer beauty of nature.
Luxuriating physical pleasure Feeling deep feelings of joy, pleasure, happiness.

How this works is you use a prompt from the time-orientation and allow yourself to really engage deeply in the experience.  An example is a time when I felt completely secure and loved.  As a child several of my siblings and I came down with the mumps simutaneously.  My mom fashioned rather a hospital ward in the living room and we all laid sick a bed while she was like a mother hen attending to our physical needs while comforting us with a cool hand on our brow, fluffed up pillows, and words of comfort.  I remember lying in that fever induced state hearing her humming as she tended to the chores of farm wife with a family of 8. My father would come in at the end of the day and tease each of us about our chipmunk faces while lying a tender yet weather hand on our brows.  The feelings of love, of safety, and of believing that the universe consisted only of my siblings, my father, and my adoring mother were complete.  My mother, her cool hand on my brow and the sound of her joyful humming as she went about her work are still etched deeply in my soul.

How this memory relates to the four savoring process is that it brings feelings of gratitude and physical pleasure.  In recreating this memory I internalize these positive feelings and my positivity grows.  I am savoring these feelings and that savoring last for hours as I go about my day to day duties and chores.

And now dears, I must off and work on a paper that unfortunately isn’t going to write itself…

Sending many hugs and blessings!

Patricia

 

Holding loved ones close…

I certainly could never imagine that the month of my 62nd birthday would bring such world upheaval as we navigate these frightening and unsure times we are facing.  I admit I am a bit unnerved and afraid, but it is the unknown that causes this.  I have always found knowledge is power, and I fear we are not getting transparency or knowledge in our current battle with the Covid19.  However, I am following all the protocols that are recommended for my age.  I have sheltered in and am a disinfecting fool since my husband works at a prison.  I did pull Jackson out of school a week before they shut down the schools.  We are homeschooling and it is going quite well.  Are days are peaceful and we have a nice routine.

Before the world here turned crazy, we made a trip to Eugene to add another family member.  We had been discussing getting another boxer, but with just Misha life was so much easier.  But a call from the rescue group and I was too easily persuaded.  So welcome to Koda.  He is a sweet boy and same age as Misha.  But he is much more hyper active and we have had to work on keeping him less rough around Misha.

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But seriously, who could resist that face?  He looks a lot like my sweet Frassy.  He is still busy finding his place in the pack and we are (hopefully) guiding him well.

Jackson and I include walks in our daily routine.  While walking the other day, I noticed this cute little clay pot “man.” Isn’t he too cute?  I would like to make one such little man!

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Fresh air and nature are vital to my own mental health and wellbeing.  Thankfully we have many green spaces close by.  Jackson enjoyed finding fun hiding places in all the lush green spaces.

I have still been doing a bit of finishing work in hopes of getting all the odd WIPs out of my basket.  I started these fingerless mitts I thing over a year ago.  These are from my own hand dyed yarn.  I did add some length to them as I wanted them to be able to be tucked into the coat sleeves. Last night I did the final cast off and ran in the ends.

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I like to have a pair of socks always on the needles.  This pair is from my own botanically dyed yarn using marigolds and coreopsis.  I am making a simple rolled ankle pair.  I use my own pattern and just adjust the length.  I use size 1 needles, cast on 64, determine what ribbing I want and do such and then just knit the length I desire and use the fish lips kiss heel turn, then down the foot and finish off with a decrease at the beginning and ending of every row on alternate rows.  Simple and basic.

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After seeing this amazing wool piece in our darling little wool store here I was obsessed with finding it.  The store had no pattern, just the finished piece displayed.  A quick online search and found it in an Etsy shop.  It has sat in my cart for a good month and after much debate grabbed it.  Can’t wait to get it started!

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Before all the awareness of the virus and on one of my last trip to thrift I found these cross stitch books.  I haven’t done cross stitch in forever and not sure if my eyesight is up to it, but I am anxious to give it a try again.

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Be still my heart!  For my birthday letters and a lovely package arrived in the mail from Ireland.  Look at all the sweet treasures!  Every single item is just precious!  Plus there was also some delicious chocolate bars!

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My grandson, Frank, bought this rosary for me when his class visited the shrine at Knock!  It is beyond lovely.  I find saying the rosary so comforting and meditative.  This one, I discovered, glows in the dark as the inner beads hold in the light.  What a special and precious gift!

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Along with the gifts were some amazing artwork by the girls.  Charlotte is such a gifted artist and photographer as she has the gifted artist eye.  She did the avocado in oil crayons.  I found a matte for it and can’t wait to get it framed and hung.  The impressionist piece by Elizabeth is so full of energy, yet peaceful.  I can’t wait to get them both hung so I can enjoy seeing them daily!

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I believe as we face these crazy and unprecedented times, it is important to focus on the small daily joys.  There are so many of us that have our families scattered all over the world in a time when we want them all near and under our wings.  I am grateful for technology that allows me to keep in touch and offers the ability to see each other in real time.  It is frightening and I must be careful that I do not let fear overcome me.  Let’s all be kind, thoughtful, selfless, and look to the common good as we travel this journey together.

Holding steady,

Patricia

Unexpected travels..

Oh my but what a whirlwind week of last.  My middle, Erica, had landed an amazing career opportunity in Northern Cali and I made the trip down with her to set up house.  She chose a beautiful bedroom community in the San Joaquin valley.  The house is lovely and just perfect for her and the kids.  Added bonus was my brother Jim (who has my kidney) drove the Uhaul so I got to spend time with him as well!  Oh my the work we all did to set up house, but the end results were absolutely lovely!  I stayed on the week and helped get it all sorted and together.  I was able to walk around her new neighborhood and it all is just lovely.  The weather was unbelievable and perfect!  She has the loveliest backyard with citrus trees and the kids were busy eating oranges.  We put up a clothesline and oh how I love clothes air dried! It was a perfect week!

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Erica is very much into her gym time and brought her home gym with her.  The front entry was the perfect area to become a gym room.  Plenty of room to set everything up and still look nice.

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This TV stand was blue and Erica wanted some orange so we ran out and got some paint and I redid it while there.  I am really loving the orange.  She got some Dr. Suess prints to decorate the upstairs alcove where this is placed.

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When the time came to head back, I took the train home.  I absolutely love train travel.  My kids think I am crazy, but I have no issues being on a train for hours or even days.  It beats air travel all to heck as so spacious, roomy, and one can walk all around. This was a bit longer trip, an over nighter.  Now it is a challenge so sleep well without a sleeper, but it is possible.  I did a fair bit of stitching and knitting while the lovely landscapes flew by.  This was Jacksons first ever train ride and he did amazing!  Considering he had quite the cold…poor thing!

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The yellow socks now have the heel turned and are made from some of my botanical dyed yarn.  I used marigolds and coreopsis.  I’ll get a better photo as the color variations are absolutely lovely!  The Burgundy is a fingerless mitt and also my own hand dyed but a chemical dye.

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Back home and off the train to hail and a bitter cold wind….aarrgghh.  But the next morning it was sunny and the week turned out to be gorgeous.  My sweet Misha had missed me so very much and was happy to once again be out on our daily walks.  We saw many signs of spring!  Oh how we both love those walks.

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I have all these great plans for the yard, but I was a bit spent this week catching up from last week.  So I filled my time with lots of knitting and stitching.  I finished up the silly pot dish towels and started this adorable elephant set.  I will color them in when they are all stitched.  I think they are just the cutest ever!

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After being buried under other projects, I finally got out little Mimi’s sweater and stated the last bit, the front ribbing.  I have to admit that I had chucked it to the side as I just was not confident in picking up stitches, but one youtube and I felt like such a silly dolt.  So easy and it looks so nice.  This was such an easy pattern and knit up so very fast.  It is the Anker’s Jacket by Petite Knit and the yarn is by Knitted Wit from my stash.

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Does anyone else just bury or chuck to the side projects when they come to a technique you either don’t know or feel confident with? I have an adult sweater sitting to the side because I have never done cables.  Silly huh?

I did find a few new acquisitions.  Jackson enjoys visiting the thrift shops with me so we make occasional forays.  Also there is an amazing FB group where all items are free and then of course FB market place.  Yes always treasures to be found.  Here are mine.

This yarn bowl was basically free as there is a blemish where the glaze ran.  It is clearly a beauty!

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Oh books!  Can one ever have too many?!  I found these lovelies at a thrift shop.

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Oh be still my heart!  I found the Mary Poppins from my childhood on marketplace.  Just look at her.  And her complete wardrobe even with the extra shoes.  Oh that carpet bag!  I have her, but mine is in the roughest shape as she was well played with and her clothes are all missing for decades.  When the movie was first released my mom and a neighbor took myself and her daughter to Portland to Lloyd Center Cinema to watch the movie.  Then she bought me the doll and a book!  I still have both.  But this mint condition beauty is just too much to pass by.  How I wish mom was alive so I could show her this and talk about that trip….sigh….

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Isn’t this just the cutest?  Erica brought this to me. It is just perfect as my doggies have most certainly always been my doorbell!!  And a loud one at that!!

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Still stuck on podcasts and discovering new ones as I scroll through the huge selection that is offered.  Imagine my delight when I was checking out IG and discovered that one of my favorite IG gals had started a podcast!  Stitchedbymrsd.  Paula is so real and makes me chuckle watching her podcast.  She is such a breath of fresh air.  Her lovely brit accent certainly adds to the charm as well.  Her house is just the loveliest ever!  You must check out her IG and podcast!  I am also still busy watching all back podcasts of Fairyland Cottage.  You know I don’t know what her name is.  But it is lovely podcast from Ireland about simple and sustainable living.  It is a treat to watch.  I also catch every new podcast from Shay at The Elliot Homestead and of course never miss Kristin of Voolenvine yarns.  I just love the use of technology to bring us these lovely podcasts.  If you have a favorite be sure and leave it in the comments as I am always game for more!

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After some time off, I begin classes for my PhD again on Monday.  I am taking Positive Psychology in Coaching.  It looks to be a very informative and interesting course and it will be nice to be back applying myself to studying once again.

And now I must out with Misha for our daily walkabout.  The sun is shinning and it is looks to be lovely out.

Happy (almost) Spring,

Patricia

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!