Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tap, Tap, Tap... Y'all Still Here?

Oh my... more than 6 months... so much has happened... and there is more to come!

Just a quick update from last August.

We released our dog from her misery... hardest thing we have done... ever.  We are truly an empty nest for the first time in our lives.  And just thinking about it now makes me want to cry again... and believe me when I say we both cried buckets full for several weeks - and then a few more.

My in-laws house: I got it cleaned. I got it cleaned out.  I sent all the stuff off with with an auction house... and they sent my MIL a check.  Could not have been easier - well easier than a tag sale! Then we got the inside painted and the carpet cleaned and then it was put on the market the end of October.  It sold and we closed the beginning of March.  Glad that is done!

Late October I joined my daughter in Germany for 6 weeks while she had surgery!  We enjoyed our visit together and took advantage of our being in Europe and made a side trip to Paris!  I would quickly go back to Germany... I loved it there!

The holiday's were very quiet as I had just returned home... and had no energy for anything else.  Those couple weeks of rest and quiet were more important that I knew.

The new year brought a new job for my husband (standard for a contractor to change jobs every 1.5 to 2 years).  This will be a longer term job and because of that we began looking for a change of address to position us closer to his work.

Which has led us to today... just a few days away from closing on a new (to us) house.

My brain is at best... scrambled eggs!

Fortunately we can have some overlap between the two houses... which will allow us to move out of this one and into that one and then get this one cleaned up and fixed up and put on the market.  I feel like all I've done over the past year is clean, organize, pack and move.

Just another month or two and I hope to be back here on a more regular basis... if anyone is still here listening to me talk out loud!

One picture to share... I bought a hat while in Paris!  What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New and Improved…

Well OK… not improved… but new none the less.

Hmmmm…. ?

When I started Live Writer just now to write a post it said there was a problem the last time it shut down and I could recover what I had lost…? OK…

So the New and Improved title was there as well as that first sentence…

I have no earthly idea where I was going with that.  Truly not a clue what I was referring to…

Today I also picked up a small bottle of spray (unlabeled) and couldn’t remember what or why I had mixed it up… again not a clue.  I vaguely remember putting the bottle there with a mental note to label it.  I guess I should have used a Sharpie for that mental note.  I know I was making up a bunch of other stuff (that I promptly labeled) but this bottle… nope.  I can smell that it’s got some Lavender in it – but I have a Lavender Spray I use upstairs so I wouldn’t need another.  But it has more than Lavender in it… I’m just not sure what…

As I’m sitting here pondering… I don’t remember mixing anything and yet this bottle has stuff in it… I wonder… let me check something…

OK – I’m not crazy (well - yeah I know that’s debatable).  It’s some of the First Aid Spray I made up… has Lavender, Cypress, and Melaleuca alternifolia.  I wanted a bottle for down here in the kitchen.  OK - y’all are in charge of remembering that… LOL  At least until I get a label made.

Things have been busy here…

I’ve been working (not nearly hard enough I think) at getting my in-laws house cleared out and ready to sell.  A decision has to be made on the furniture – and as much as I hate garage sales (I’d rather run naked up the highway) it might just be the best way to move what little they have.  Nothing special, nothing name brand, but the couch is new and the rest of it is gently used.  She also has one of those riding mobility carts that she never rode.  It’s a heavy duty one for outdoors – my FIL got it for my MIL so she could go out and get the mail – but she was afraid of it and never… NEVER used it.  Still has tags hanging off it.  Maybe I should check out Craigs List?  I’ve just never done that kinda stuff before… so ughhh!  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

I did get most everything boxed up and sorted at the house… I had someone come out to clean the windows that hadn’t been opened in probably 20 years! The landscaping has been done and looks great – I just have to go around and kill the Canadian Thistle that keeps popping up.  A new dishwasher was installed and other plumbing fixed.  We have someone scheduled to come out to topcoat the driveway.  And I have someone all set to paint when we are ready… it’s kinda like moving… but not.

Kara and the kids came… and went all too quickly!  Wonderful visit with her and the kids.  We mostly hung out here at the house but the kids did get to go to a friends house and ride a horse.  Great adventure – even the little guy got to ride.  They also spent some time out in the shop with Pops doing some simple woodworking which they enjoyed, and we did some cooking together in the kitchen.

Trip to Lauras (1)

Here is a silly picture I took while we were waiting for the train for their trip home.  They booked a sleeper for the ride home – left out of Wilmington just after 5 pm and got into Charleston, SC right around 5 AM.  Love the train! 

Train station (1)

Our dog has been suffering from some sort of Kidney failure… not sure what kicked it off at the beginning of the summer but after a 2 night stay in the hospital getting fluids, special dog food, many checkup trips to the Vets,  essential oils to support kidney function, and lots of love and attention… she still has problems with her kidneys.  No we never did the $$$ ultrasound – because what ever it would show she’s 16… and has lived a good long life, a fairly healthy long life until now. 


After her 2 days at the hospital getting fluids and a second round of antibiotics she was starving again – I had to mix a can of green beans in with her can of KD dog food and for several weeks that was spectacular.  Then she decided she didn’t like the green beans so we stopped those… and she was eating less again.  Then she didn’t like that food (WHAT – I still have a case and a half) and now she doesn’t like the ‘best sounding with the most natural ingredients in it’ dog food we had been giving her as a little treat to supplement.  The old cookie bones are of no interest… so we picked up new cookie bones and yesterday I cooked up some hamburger & potatoes that she’s liking so far.  But she won’t take any of her pills (She has been on Glucosamine & Chondroitin for about 10 years and that has kept her mobile with no aches and pains.) and that means all her old age aches and pains are starting to bother her – her back legs gave out earlier today.  We have fluids to give her under the skin – but the last time we did that it didn’t seem to improve her much… so… I made an appointment for Thursday – you know… that ‘last appointment’.  I’ve been waffling today – called and changed the appointment to next Tuesday and when I walked in to check on her she I found that she had thrown up on her bed.  So I called back – apologized for being crazy and reset my appointment for Thursday… tomorrow.  I know it is the right thing to do.

I haven’t been doing any sewing since the retreat… but I have swap blocks to make so it’s on my agenda.  My daughter did ask where I was on Keanu’s quilt.  ‘The beginning’ I told her… but then she wanted to see… so I had to explain that I meant the beginning as in I hadn’t started yet.  So there is that to do.  He’s 3… I need to get it done! started!

I’ve been researching and using Essential Oils for us here at home.  I’ve been very intrigued and have found that I can spend hours reading over things.  We’ve got a few things that have significantly helped my husband with his aches and pains, and a few things that I use to help with sleep, my knee, my mood, and to motivate me on those days I’d just as well sit and do nothing.  I am even considering getting certified in Aromatherapy… but that would happen down the road because I just don’t have the 240+ hours it would take right now.  In the mean time I’m enjoying learning and starting to share what I’ve learned.  Another time I’ll tell y’all what we are doing and how it has helped… but right now… I need to end this rambling, never ending babble and get some other things done… like make a label. LOL

Friday, August 1, 2014

Look Who’s Riding the Train…

And coming to visit Granny and Pop’s!


I pick them up in Wilmington tonight!

Last minute decision (Tuesday) for them to come up for a week to visit before school starts for them.  So it’s been a busy couple days to get organized for them to be here – good thing they are coming right after my Mini-Retreat… the house is already mostly clean and organized! LOL  Just a few kid proofing/prepping things to do and we are all set.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Doesn’t Get Any Better…

A gathering of friends… quilting friends… over several days – it just doesn’t get any better than that!

My annual (6 years now!) summer mini retreat has come and gone all too quickly – but the memories remain and I know I am looking forward to next year for many reasons.

I think we have a nice mix of people – Some of us have been friends for more than a decade… (gosh now I’m starting to feel old) and some for just a few years… but when we come together it’s all about sharing our knowledge, talents, and friendships. 

Group photo 2014 (1)

HoeDown 2012


Our best intentions never seem to remind us to get a group photo until after someone has left… so I cropped a picture of her out of a group photo from another year!

Our Challenge this year was to use a color – shading of that color – to show shape or movement in their project.  We set a 36” minimum size and here are our entries.  Although everyone seemed to have a busy year we had a good showing – many projects completed at the very last minute!

This was a stunning entry – inspired from a photograph of the splash-down of a flamingo in a pond… complete with beads for the water splash.  The second photo shows the birds head partially submerged.

Flamingo (5)

Flamingo (2)

A landscape to ponder…

Cheryl (1)

Someone worked outside the box…

George (1) 

by showing the inside of the box.

George (2)

I want to see the light at the end of this tunnel…

May (1)

Love the pop of color with some hand painted work in the center.

Melissa (2)

Lovely light table cloth with the shading in the prairie points that surround it.

Neen (1)

Pictures don’t do this justice… she dyed her own fabrics for the shading of the reds.

Sue (1)

And last but not least – the winning entry this year! Beautiful undulating work here… and the quilting lines enhance the flow.

Bev (1)Bev (2)

I could use the words lovely, beautiful, stunning in describing all of these quilts – I love what my friends create…. such a talented bunch!

I am always amazed at how quickly our days together go by.  Most folks who travel arrive on Wednesday and leave again on Monday… we sew Thursday through Sunday.  There are always a few trips out to this, that, or the other store… and we have even discussed starting a day or two earlier so that they can fit in some more shopping trips around the area.

Our weather was spectacular!  I live in an old stone house that doesn’t have central air – so we have to rely on individual room units when it’s hot.  Some years it’s been miserable – but this year – no AC’s!! It was cool overnight and dry… DRY in July!  And the temps only in the 80’s during the day.  I couldn’t have planned better weather… if I could plan such a thing.

My only regret was not having everyone bring a 5 gallon bucket… so that they could pull weeds to take home… sounds like a good idea huh? LOL

Monday after everyone left I ran a couple errands and then took a 2 hour nap.  Then Tuesday my handyman helper showed up… so I’ve been out ‘helping’ him pull weeds.  I ordered 3 yards of mulch which we will be spreading as soon as the weeds are all out (ha, ha, ha… that’s optimistic huh?)  Anyway – he’s out there right now and I’m sitting here… so I’ve gotta go… pull weeds…

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Q & A

So where have you been?

Oh I’ve been right here mostly.  Although we did make a trip down to SC to visit the Grandkids in April.

A road trip?

No actually as much as I love to drive we went by train this time.  We decided to travel on work days for The Engineer so that he could work while we traveled. The train has WiFi and he was able to get a full day of work in as the miles flew by.  We left behind brown grass and bare trees and 11 hours later arrived to green grass, flowers and shady trees!

April 14 Vac (21)April 14 Vac (22)

Wasn’t that boring for you?

No actually it wasn’t.  I did try to knit but that wasn’t entirely successful so I settled into (re)watching the entire Season 4 of The Walking Dead during the 2 travel days (down & back).

And how are the Grandkids?

They are doing great!  Everyone has had a wonderful school or daycare experience this year and are looking forward to summer!  We really enjoyed our visit during Spring Break.

April 14 Vac (3)

April 14 Vac (4)

So much fun to see the different personalities developing!  The youngest boy will be 3 this summer, the older boy was 5 in November and Miss K just celebrated her 10th birthday!  We went to the pool a couple times (before cooler weather moved back in),visited the aquarium, shopped the markets in Charleston, ate lots of good food, and just enjoyed watching the kids play!

You’ve been gone from the blog a long time… you must have made quilts, finished lots of knitting, gotten your spring cleaning done and your garden planted by now!

Ummm… Not so much… I wish I could say all those things are done.  I’ve done a little knitting – but didn’t finish anything.  WAIT – I did finish those stupid curtains for our bedroom – no sewing otherwise.  For the record I hate sewing lined curtains – 10 panels for 5 windows – augh I am glad that is done. I started getting the gardens in shape - in between the rain – but the WEEDS just may be my undoing!  Just this week I bought flowers to put in the raised beds – not much vegetable gardening in my future.  And Spring Cleaning… I’ll make a list for next year I think.

What? No vegetables?

I will put in a few tomato plants, a cucumber plant or two for sharing with my neighbor and my strawberry bed is looking good.  Nothing else.  Our Organic CSA starts this week and I found that last year we had more than enough wonderful veggies all summer for the 2 of us… and I didn’t have to water or weed!

So you must have been spending all your free time at the gym?

Ha!  No… and I am certainly paying for it – in more than one way.  Apparently (and I have the research to support this) just paying for a gym membership is not enough to maintain your weight.  Only thing I’ve been loosing is money.  And my knee is starting to complain.

OK… are you just sitting on the couch and eating bon-bons?

Ha… again no!  I have been doing a lot of research the past couple months.  As part of our trek towards a healthy life style (ignoring the fact I haven’t gone to the gym) we have been looking into the use of Essential Oils.  I had done a bit of research back in the late 90’s but mostly to use as an additive for bath oils, soaps, etc.  Now I am looking into their use as an alternative to the chemical soup of the “over the counter” drug store products available to us and for supporting our ever maturing bodies!  I am not one to jump into things willy nilly… so it’s been a slow cautious journey.  I have a pain cream recipe that is doing great things for The Engineers back and we are sleeping better with some different oils applied topically and diffused.  We have also had great results fighting seasonal allergies.  And I am playing with topical and diffusing blends that are uplifting and energizing.  We used a most excellent blend to keep the bugs in SC at bay.  I am seriously considering an online course in Aromatherapy… but that will require more research and I’ve really wasted enough time run out of time to just sit and read… so that would be something I consider again in the fall.

Last question today… Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Yes!  I’ve done my research – see question 3 above! And when that time comes… this is the person I will be with.  He goes nowhere without his sword! 

April 14 Vac (8)April 14 Vac (9)

He wakes up and asks “where’s my sword”?  Pick him up from daycare… “where’s my sword”?  Finish with dinner… “where’s my sword”?  He often also has a gun tucked into his belt… or pocket… or the waist of his pants and maybe even a saw from the tool box.  If his brother has the gun then he makes his own out of Legos (nice to be an armaments master!)

April 14 Vac (7)April 14 Vac (10)

If the lego gun breaks he can quickly re-fashion it.  In the best of situations he will have his Power Ranger suit with the built in muscles… he loves his suit!  The Easter Egg Hunt in the park had someone making balloon animals for the kids… one got a dog…

April 14 Vac (1)

the other a machine gun!

April 14 Vac (13)

And when he broke his machine gun – he went and got a balloon sword!

So when the Zombie Apocalypse comes… I’m with the little guy!

Friday, May 9, 2014

In All This Time…

You would think I would have my house clean, the garden and yard in order, some quilting done, some knitting finished…

And you would be wrong!

But since it’s What’s on The Needles Friday I figured I would show you what I had started a couple weeks ago on our trip to Charleston, SC to visit my daughter and grandkids!

We took the train… and you know knitting on a train isn’t the easiest thing to do because they move around a lot more than a car or airplane would.  Not that I would knit in a car because I always drive…

So I knit a little bit on the way down and pulled it back out for my trip home but this is what happened.

This is exactly what it looked like with the sunlight filtering through the trees along the tracks… I am guessing this is what ACID was like back in the 60’s/70’s.

Needless to say I didn’t get any more knitting done on that trip (or since).  That was another Leftie Shawl using a pretty brown I picked up at Knit Picks and the same little leaf colored yarn I had used before.  The Leftie Shawl is available in Ravelry.

We had a great visit with the kids, still can’t believe we sat by the pool two days while we were there – and no it wasn’t warm enough for this lady to consider getting wet. Ha!

2 little indians

The boys were chilly after their baths one night so Granny wrapped them up like little Indians.

Keao Desmond

And this little one – I can’t believe Miss K is going to be 10 this May!

I’ll be back soon with some more of what I’ve been up to… although it’s not all that exciting!

Almost forgot – remember to go check out what others are knitting this week

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The dictionary defines Shun as: persistently avoid, ignore, or reject (someone or something) through antipathy or caution

I am afraid I have reached that point.  The point of no return.  The point where you decided in your mind that you have had enough of a situation and you decide to take ACTION.

I’m done…

These boots… are shunned…

shunned (4)

Yes these Muckmaster boots have served me well… in fact - too well this year.  Keeping my feet warm and comfortable outside in the ‘freezing hiney’ cold for 2, 3 or 4 hours at a time.  Snow storm after snow storm after snow storm…

And these Jobber boots also from the Muck Boot Company… they are shunned too!

shunned (5)

While out running errands they have provided sure footing on the slush, packed snow and ice… day after day after day…but I’ve had enough of them as well.

The various wool hats and gloves… shunned as well…

shunned (1)

Yes, yes, yes I know – the warmth has been splendid – especially in the face of those single digit winds… I am however so over you too!

And so… un-ceremoniously I deposit you in the shoe bin…

shunned (2)

…and I say to all of this ‘unending winter’ apparell –  it’s official… I’m done with you… dismissed, hidden away, shunned…

Just as soon as this (hopefully last) nor’easter goes by…

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Knitting Oooops! 2/28/14

I’ll be linking up with July L’s Patchwork Times blog again this week.  I had had high hope to show you what progress I made on my socks that were started at least a year ago… maybe more?  Actually I looked and it’s just a year.  Anyway for inspiration please go look at what other are successfully knitting this week.

As I said me… not so much inspiration… more like “don’t try this at home”.

Lesson:  If something doesn’t feel right – STOP right there and figure out why.

2 Up Socks 4

So these socks have been sitting patiently waiting.  I had gotten the foot part done and set it aside until I could concentrate on doing the gussett… Yes Please Laugh Right Out Loud Here!

I was working them 2 at a time on circular needles and had apparently started the increases for the gussets as there were more stitches on one side than the other. OK so I continued increasing… but after a while it was getting kinda snug so I split the increase side onto 2 double pointed needles on each sock.  Kept working but decided I really didn’t like the way the increase edges were looking… and then as I neared the last row I took a good look at the directions to make sure I understood what was going to happen next… moving stitches and placing markers and the such.  And then I saw it… What I had been working on – the increases – were suppose to alternate with a knit row… A ROW OF PLAIN KNITTING!  I hadn’t been doing that row of plain knitting – I had been (and I won’t yell this time but I want to) increasing every row… which is why it was so snug and icky looking.  So I had to unknit all those rows.  I thought about just pulling the stitches out and trying to pick them up… “trying” being the key word in that phrase.  I separated the socks, removed the wrong stitches and have one back to the beginning of the gusset and have started correctly from there.  I’ll unknit or “TINK” the other one later.  TINK is knit backwards… makes sense huh?! LOL  I’ll work on each sock individually until I get the heel done and start the leg then I’ll put them back together on the 2 double pointed needles.

I don’t so much mind being lazy and sitting around knitting… but I sure hate it when I realize I’ve even wasted my lazy time!

Enough knitting mistakes…

My approach to listening to the weather over the past week goes something like this… I stick my fingers in my ears and go “la,la,la,la,la!”. 

On Thursday when I looked out and saw BIG fluffy flakes from the passing snow shower… I thought to myself “If I have to get the shovel out I am just going to cry!”  Fortunately it was indeed a passing snow shower and I didn’t have to get the shovel out or cry.  I even went out later to run some errands in the sunshine!  Goodness it’s cold again – but it’s cold everywhere these days!  Anyway someone the other day said something in passing about the “storm on Monday”.  Since I’ve been sticking my fingers in my ears I did not know about the possibility of snow on Monday, hummm??  Then yesterday as I drove through town I went past an intersection where a front end loader was scooping up the snow on the corner and moving it back… way back off the corner.  Now we’ve had a few 40 & 50 degree days (just enough to tease us before dropping back to freezing hiney cold again) and there’s been a good amount of melting and compacting of the snow during that time - but it is far from gone.  That front end loader moving snow was a bad sign… I sat at that intersection and wanted to cry knew I needed to take my fingers outta my ears.  Sure enough another storm is on its way… with any kind of luck it will be a couple inches (insert laugh here) or based on the national news report this morning anywhere from 12 to 24 inches.

This would have been a really good year to have taken up hibernation as a hobby…

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bluebird of Happiness…

Yes and a Cardinal too…

If you need a little bit of bright cute color in your life right now you should try knitting up one or a half dozen of these cute little birds.

Bluebird of Happiness (4)

Bluebird of Happiness is a free Ravelry pattern that knits up so very quickly – you will certainly want to make more than one.

Bluebird (2)

Here is a picture of one stuffed, a flat finished and a new one in the works.

Bluebird (3)

It’s knit in 2 sections… you start at the neck and stitch towards the tail and then you pick up stitches at the neck and stitch to the beak.  The method of M1 the pattern uses (which is the easiest M1 I’ve used to date) makes the wing line **I miss stated that – the wraps and short rows in the body section make the wing lines** and the wraps in shaping the head makes the eyes… they are just too cute!

I will make a canary next and will get a good measure on the amount of yarn needed.  It’s somewhere between 12 and 15 yards of yarn total.

I didn’t post last week because The Engineer was off work and at 8:30 in the morning we were back outside to YET AGAIN clear off the driveway.  OK – we aren’t talking snow anymore… well except this… the snow came off the porch roof yesterday while I was out picking up groceries.  So I had to climb over the 2 foot snow bank to get to the shovel so that I could clear the walk and bring groceries in. 

roof snow 2-20 (3)

The pond is half full of snow… I’ve only seen one of the fish so I’m hoping the others are OK… I didn’t see anybody laying out in the driveway so they weren’t washed out when the avalanche happened.

roof snow 2-20 (1)

Back to knitting… My girl sent me this pic yesterday. Styling the Leftie Shawl which is available thru Ravely but is not free… well worth the money though!

Leftie styling

Please go over to Judy L’s Patchwork Times and check out what others are knitting on today.  Always good ideas there!

Under the Food Category… Something new arrived yesterday… my package from Cinnamon Hill that contained 2 types of stick cinnamon and a nifty cinnamon grater and cup.  I’ve always loved cinnamon and we have been using more of it because of it’s health benefits.  I’ll have to let you know another time what we think of it as all I did last night was open the box and take some pictures!

cinnamon hill (3) 

Under the “I’ve been a SLUG” category… I am trying to not be a slug – really!  Remember my word for the New Year… Move.  So far the Fit Bit Force has been tracking my activities so that I can get a gauge of just when I am active and in-active.  I seem to have no problems hitting the 10,000 steps mark… on those days where we have to go out and clear snow from the long driveway and many sidewalks.  LOL  so I have had a few of those 10,000 step days.  I’ll admit to running in place on a few occasions to tip the count over a certain mark… but otherwise I haven’t yet set any goals for myself.  I did set the alarm to go off at 9:00 am… a little reminder to myself to get off my hiney if I’m still sitting in the kitchen poking around the internet – which I have been known to do on occasion.  I think my plan is to look at the inactive days to see just what the pattern is and then see what I can do to modify those days to pick it up.  Of course going to the gym would make a big difference… as I have determined that paying for the gym has absolutely no positive effect on my health. 

On that note… I need to get my hiney in gear before the 9 am alarm goes off… LOL

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Completely Missed My Anniversary…

No not that one…

It’s been 3 years since I broke my knee… and I didn’t even think about it this year!

Not on the 7th (date of fall) or the 15th (surgery date)… not until today did it occur to me that it’s been 3 years.

I will say that all in all my knee is great… no limp, able to walk right up and down the stairs.  It still gets cranky when I’m on it a lot and has been a bit swollen the past couple weeks because of all the shoveling snow.  Seems that being right handed and throwing snow to the left… I put weight on that leg with each throw.  The Engineer uses the tractor with a snow thrower attachment and I have 2 walk behind snow throwers that I can use for the sidewalks or on the driveway if I’m doing that also.

Week 6-52

Here is a panoramic picture I took last Friday after we had finished clearing the driveway and sidewalks for the 2nd time in 2 days – oh and I cleared another 3 inches yesterday too!  I’m standing in the middle of my driveway (which is straight by the way). 

Have I said recently that I’m sick of the snow?  I am… how about you?  Yeah that’s what I thought…