10 December 2014

more randomness...

My first Thanksgiving hosting turned out wonderfully.  The turkey was delicious and everyone loved all the food.  My mum kept talking about how well organized I had everything and how it was all done "on time" and went so well.  I think I've been designated the official Thanksgiving cook.  

I have an admission to make, I'm a bit of an Instagram addict.  I find myself reaching for my phone and Instagram app instead of my camera.  When I started looking for photos for this post, I had a hard time finding what I wanted to share.  

The bird bath has been full lately and I seem to get a lot of little visitors.  When I go to the door to take a picture, they fly away.  I was able to sneak photos of this guy at his bath.  So cute.

My cactus is blooming!  The last time it bloomed was in 2008.  I'd say it approves of our new home.  Looking at those blossoms makes me want more flowering houseplants. 

Baking and making is going on here this week.  I'm having some family over on Saturday for a visit and to see my new home.  We're having snacks instead of a sit down meal so it should be pretty easy.

I saw my new Endo on Monday.  My A1c had jumped quite a bit since the end of May and now I'm back on meds.  He's also prescribed a new med and it is not pleasant.  The tiny little pill is fine, except that it smells funny.  However, the side effects are ugh... disrupted sleep, no appetite at all, tremors (which is really bad when I want to paint or sketch), and my head hurts more than usual.  I could stand all the others, but that last one...living with a constant on the pain scale at 9 or 10 is one thing, but having the pain almost doubled, is miserable.  I go back in two months, so I'll see if I can tolerate it.  

I keep thinking of posts that I want to make that are concise and have themes, but I just keep rambling.  Oh well...

I hope you are all having a wonderful week.

27 November 2014


Happy Thanksgiving

26 November 2014

lots of little things...


It's the eve of a holiday here in the US and I'm looking forward to staying in for the next few days to prepare for my family dinner.  To make things easier on my brother and s-i-l we have our gathering on a separate day.  They don't feel so rushed and stuffed that way.  And it gives us more time together as they don't have to rush off to, or come rushing in from, somewhere else.

I'm hosting this year.  It is the first year I've really had enough room for everyone to be comfortable and have felt like doing all the work.  I'm pretty excited and starting to get a wee bit nervous.  We'll gather on Saturday so I have Thursday and Friday to do prep work and figure out my plan.

This past weekend was kind of a blah time for me.  I didn't feel well, at all - more than the usual aches and pains.  I spent it resting with a bit of crochet (I'm learning via YouTube videos) and watching sports and shows on Netflix.  I'm still working my way through the second season of The Following and have just discovered Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.  The only thing I really did was to start a batch of vanilla extract.  The bottle I brought back from Cancun is almost empty and it is the best vanilla I've ever had.  I've heard that it is very easy to make, so I'm trying.  I hope my current bottle will last for two more months. 

Monday was a soak in the sun with a cup of tea day, planning menus and making grocer and errand lists, and general piddling around the house.

Tuesday was errand day.  Mum and I went to a warehouse shop to pick up bulk items for our three households.  After a late start, we were starving just after finishing that shop so she treated me to lunch.  

We headed off to a few more shops after lunch and then a visit with a friend who lives in her neighborhood.  I'd forgotten to take my earplugs with me and all that noise from the shops, traffic and restaurant was just horrid.  After that, I still had the grocer to get through - it took two hours.  Yes, the grocer was so packed it took two hours for me to get everything and get checked out.  I was so happy to get home to the quiet!

This morning I headed to the farmer's market to pick up my turkey (you can see part of him in the last photo).  I also found some pansies (to replace my poor fading mum at the front door), sweet potatoes, granny smith and pink lady(?) mountain apples.  I also treated myself to a nosegay.  I just love those.

A quick stop to visit with a friend and my two favorite littles, who aren't so little anymore! Then another run to the grocers for broccoli, since the farmer's market didn't have any.  And now I'm home.  I hope to not have to leave again until Sunday.

I've been functioning today on less than two hours sleep. Every time I'd start to doze off, I'd hear someone call my name loud and clear as if they were right by my ear.  My eyes would pop open and I would be wide awake.  I never did see or sense anyone nearby and heard nothing else.  I was up and down, surfing on the net, or reading.  After my second round of lying there for over an hour trying to fall asleep, I got up and worked in the studio for a while.  Even that didn't stop the name calling.

It was very cold and rainy when I left this morning and throughout my errands.  About an hour after I made it home, the sun broke through the clouds.  I've become a bit obsessed with the sky here.  At the cottage, there were so many trees around that I could really only see sky just over the cottage and the back garden.  There are so few trees here and all of them on the fringes of the complex so there is lots of open sky to view.  My instagram addiction is in full force and lots of sky shots show up there.  Anyway, while the sun was out I went out back to take a few pictures, just playing around.  I heard the strangest sound coming from the pond area.  Peeking between my fence slats I found the strangest looking bird.  I tried to get a few photos of it through the fence but couldn't tell what it was.  So I opened my back gate just a bit (so as not to startle it off) and found that bird in the third photo.  Then I saw the bird in the fourth photo.  I was pretty sure the second bird was a crane or a heron, but that first one was a complete mystery.  Thanks to google, I found that the blue bird is a Belted Kingfisher and the second bird is a Great Blue Heron.  I just love the wildlife around here.  Now if I could just spot some deer, I'd be thrilled!  Though, I think there are too many people and dogs around for the deer to pass through here.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be a long post, but there you have it.  This is what my week has been like since my last post.

I hope those of you who celebrate the US Thanksgiving will have a wonderful holiday tomorrow.  And those of you who don't, have a wonderful regular day.  :-)

I think it might be time for a nap.


21 November 2014

yet another ramble...

I've been wanting to get here for several days, but haven't been able to find the words I wanted to share.  I compose so many posts in my head, yet when I sit down to type one up, all the words disappear.  A wonderful friend from RTR suggested one of those recording programs for the computer.  I'm seriously considering it.  Whenever I think about them or see them advertised, I think about Adama from Battlestar Galactica (the original) and how he would talk into a device and it showed up on his computer screen.  I thought that was just the neatest thing back then.  

I've been very busy, playing in my studio or around the house.  Mostly working in the studio on cleaning out tubs of possessions.  I found some wonderful photos that I'd forgotten about; lots of yarn; old and worn clothes that I had set aside to turn into something else; even two old smocks and an apron that had belonged to my Grandmother.  The smocks are too small for me, but I can and will wear the apron.  I'm playing hostess quite a lot over the coming months and I will feel her with me as I work.

I cast on a hat to give as a gift this year.  I'd made The Vermonter once before, last year I think it was, my first hat.  It went so smoothly this time and only took about six hours total.  I'm sure many people could have done it much faster, but I'm a slow knitter.  I'm finding myself unable to just sit and relax.  I seem to constantly need to be doing something with my hands.  So I've pulled out the knitting needles again.  If I'm not knitting, I'm playing in my sketch book.

Double chocolate chip cookies, frozen dough.  They were okay.  I miss homemade and will have to work it in somehow to make some cookies soon.

The art is a mixed media piece I finished.  I haven't figured out a name for it yet.  But I am pretty happy with it.  I have started two more and have also been working on some pieces I'd started over a year ago and just left undone.  I am so enjoying letting my creativity come out.

Well, I'll be off to the studio now, with a quick stop in the kitchen for some breakfast.  I hope you have a wonderful day!


ps...I'm trying this new format of photos first then writing. What do you think?  Do you like it better with the pictures interspersed with the words or separate? 


12 November 2014

this and that...

I've really meant to post sooner than this, but life has been taking me for a spin and I'm just now feeling up to sitting down and typing.  Everything has felt so different for me, since I went to the Red Thread Retreat last month.  I am living so much, instead of just existing and I am so enjoying it.  

Since my last post, I've been to a local consignment shop hunt and found a wonderful piece for my studio.  On their FB page I'd seen a hutch that I thought would do nicely for my studio to house supplies and knickknack type things (of which I have many).  It was big, but seemed well made and very inexpensive and I thought I could slap some paint on it and it would be lovely.  When I arrived to the shop, it had already sold, but the lovely lady pointed me to another area in the shop and there it was!  This lovely old secretary was waiting just for me and was so much more "me" than the other piece.

Isn't she wonderful?!?  Behind the desk shelf is nine cubbyholes and three drawers.  I was able to get her home on Saturday and spent all day cleaning her up and letting her air out.  Sunday I put the shelves and drawers back in and started loading her up with things.  

My studio space at dusk.  I'm planning to add shelving in that corner over the workspace for more storage.  But now I have lots of play space on my table and still have my "toys" for inspiration.  :-)

When I went back Saturday to pick up the secretary I decided to treat myself to a new friend.  They were having a sale on all their Halloween items and I just couldn't resist!

Meet my new friend Eloisa!  I don't know what name her creator gave her, but we went through a list of names (old fashioned, as she doesn't seem too much of a modern girl to me) and we both thought Eloisa suited her. 

I met up with a friend from RTR (who lives close by) for lunch early this week.  It is so nice to make new friends.  I've never been very good at it, but maybe I'm just out of practice?  

This morning I met an old friend for coffee and a trip to the Farmer's Market.  I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year (first time ever! eek!) and I want to have as natural/healthy a meal as I can.  I ordered my turkey from a local farm and I won't mention how much this could end up costing.  Let's just say I could eat for maybe two weeks for the cost of this turkey.  Now I've to read up on how to brine the bird and such.  

That arctic cold front that is sweeping the country is headed our way in the next few days.  Today it was up to 73 degrees.  I'm personally looking forward to the cold.  I always prefer to be cool rather than hot.  

Last week we had a nice frosty morning and I was up early enough to get out and snap a few pictures. 


This one is my favorite.  A bit of water left in the birdbath overnight had frozen over and well...
I'm not sure if you can click on the picture to make it larger, but it looks even better that way.

We've had some marvelous sunsets lately.  

I've adopted this idea to try to find something beautiful in my life every single day and to take a picture of it.  I'd been posting a lot of my photos on FB.  My sweet friend Rachel from Blue Finch suggested I get on Instagram.  I'd been thinking about it for a while, but just hadn't done it.  But, now I have! I've added a button in the right hand sidebar if you wanna check it out.  I'm doing my #beautyeveryday pictures there as I know I just don't have it in me to blog every day.  Maybe at some point, I will but for now, I'm just getting back into this blogging thing, s l o w l y...

The paints, pens and such have been making an appearance lately.  I'm having so much fun making things and have SO MANY ideas.  I'm hoping to pull out some clay soon or maybe do some more paper-mache.   

I think I've rambled enough for today.  I hope you are having a wonderful week. 

What beauty did you find today?


06 November 2014

food and treasures...

Yesterday I took a road trip with my mum and one of our friends.  We were headed to a small town about a half hour from home to peruse their antique and collectibles place.  

Before we headed out of town, we stopped in at my favorite Farmers Market to see my sweet flower friend.  She had promised to bring a couple of her french pumpkins in for me to pick up.  I get at least one from her every year.  They are just so pretty!

The picture really doesn't do the pumpkin justice as the color is off badly. It is that lovely green/grey color, and I love it!  I'll use it for decoration for a bit and then cook it up.  They are very tasty.  I also picked up a couple dozen eggs and two sweet potatoes.  As we were leaving my flower friend motioned me back to ask if I liked peppers.  Yes, of course!  She sent me off with a bag of peppers (those in this picture) for free!  So kind!
After getting my goodies, we headed off to explore.  The antique shop is housed in an old textile mill and is quite large.  We probably walked around there for almost two hours.  I find in places like that I have to go slowly and take my time as the energy of the place seems to drain me completely.  If I try to go through too quickly or spend too long in such a place, I become quite disoriented and dizzy.  

I brought home a few things that I just couldn't leave without.  A glass canister with Fleur-d-lies.  A circular table top candle stand (I can't think of the right word) that I will paint and decorate.  And a framed picture that I just could not leave behind.  From the moment I saw it just after entering I heard it calling my name.  I walked the entire shop and went to checkout before I went back to ask about price for it.  It was quite reasonable and the very kind lady even offered me a small discount.  I could not say no.

I've already picked out exactly where I want to hang the picture and will do that this afternoon.  I could look at it all day if I let myself.  There is just something about it that calls to me.

The moon last night was covered in hazy clouds.  We've had rain today and it has been cloudy and the temperature has been dropping. 

 I was so exhausted from our trip yesterday that I ended up going to bed before 8pm.  I felt much better this morning and spent it in the kitchen.  I had to do something with all those peppers, so I washed, seeded and chopped and now have three bags in the freezer.  Each bag has about what I use when I make chili.  
As I was chopping peppers, I realized that I was out of prepped salad.  At RTR, a salad was served with each lunch and dinner.  When I came home it occurred to me how much I'd enjoyed having salad at each meal and how much less of the other foods I'd eaten.  Fixing a small salad just is such a pain that I won't do it for each meal.  But...I remembered the ziplock.  We always had salad left and it went into a ziplock and was brought out again to use later if we wanted.  

Instead of using a ziplock bag I'm using a big 2.5 quart storage container.  I mix up my lettuces (romaine, spring mix and baby spinach), toss in some chopped peppers, onions, broccoli and tomatoes.  When I want a salad, I just pull it out, pop some into a small bowl or plate, add a little shredded cheese and dressing and voila!  Easy healthy eating!  :-)

While fixing up the salad, I found I had mushrooms that needed something done with as well as a lot of broccoli left from last weeks farmers market.  I sauteed the mushrooms with brandy (for use in spaghetti or to top a baked potato) and steamed the broccoli.  And all the tomatoes I had left from the tomato pie I made earlier, were chopped and put into the freezer for chili or soup additions.  

It feels so good to clean up my refrigerator and not let all that food go to waste.  That is a big issue for me.  I can't do the run to the grocer every day for just what I need for a day or two.  And since I'm only feeding me, it takes a while to get through the fresh stuff.  So, I've made a promise to myself to be much more conscious of what I do with what I buy and to not let anything go to waste. 

I think I've rambled on enough for today.  Hope you're having a lovely day.  I'm going to go hang that picture now.

Have you been playing in your kitchen lately?  What are you making?


04 November 2014

the red thread...

A few weeks ago I dragged myself out of my hermit-y ways and headed to Maryland to the Blue Mountain Retreat Center for the annual Red Thread Retreat.  This was my second time attending the retreat, so I knew I would be in for a weekend of fun, laughter, delicious healthy food and lots of art making.

The first retreat I went to was in October 2012 - when superstorm Sandy put a quick end to our fun.  This year a lot of the attendees were women I had met at the first retreat.  

I mentioned in my last post how over the summer/after my move I had fallen into a rabbit hole of depression and despair.  Well, spending time with these talented, fabulous women was just what I needed to pick me up out of the depths.

There is so much magic in the air when people come together for a common purpose and I think that magic relit the magic in me.

It had everything I needed.  Peace, quiet and open air; to be surrounded by nature.  Woods and fields to walk. A chance to explore not just art, but myself as well.  There was fantastic, healthy, delicious food.  An opportunity for a wonderful massage, which I took advantage of, and so much laughter and sharing with friends.

  Beautiful skies...

Fairie cups on trees...
 A chance to learn new techniques and to spend hours creating in a safe, encouraging environment

 We made several books and learning how easy it is to make the different styles was so fabulous.  One project was on found word poetry.  We were given old books to search through and told to cut out the words that spoke to us and make them into poems.  I was a bit intimidated but was pleased with my poems.

 Above, three of the books we made and the box that we painted and TAP'd "Grace Notes" onto.  *Grace Notes was the theme of the course this year at RTR.  If you haven't done TAP (transfer artist paper) before, I highly recommend it.  It is quite fun!

 I crossed the Potomac twice and drove beside the Shenandoah, I think, as well.

 I visited with this sweet little girl for a bit as her brothers and sisters headed for the woods and weren't up for saying hello.

 The view from the road was quite lovely.  I spent half my time holding my camera up and just snapping pictures.  If I stopped on the side of the road every time I saw something that I wanted to capture in photos, I'd never get anywhere!  (above is the road coming home - below is the road headed to the retreat)

If you are looking for an adventure, one where you can create things, make friends, enjoy gorgeous views and fantastic food...head to the Red Thread Retreat.  

Hope you are having a wonderful start to your week.  I'm heading down the road a ways tomorrow to the farmer's market and an antique shop.  I'll see if I can't find some photos to share.


01 November 2014

back again...

No, I'm not dead.  Although it has seemed that way for the last several months. I think this move was harder for me than expected on a mental, emotional and spiritual level, anyway.  

So I stayed away from blogland.  I stayed away from people in general.  I became pretty much a hermit.  I would only go out to get the mail or take the trash out maybe once a week and only once it was dark out.  I just didn't want to see anyone or anyone to see me.  

I don't really know why.

I'm really sad to say that it became so bad that the day before I was supposed to leave to go to Maryland for the Red Thread Retreat, I typed up an email to the host/instructor to say I wasn't coming.

But I didn't send it.  I sat staring at it for a while.  Then I hit delete and made myself get dressed and go to the store to get the few things I needed to pick up to take with me.  I came home, packed and left the next morning.

It was the BEST decision I have made in a very, very long time.

I really think it saved my life.


Things changed when I hit that delete key.  They changed even more when I arrived at the retreat center.

The support, encouragement, inspiration, confidence, laughter and love that is shared at this retreat is just amazing.

And, I can't state this enough, it saved my life.

They saved my life.  Those ladies, those sweet, caring wonderful women.

I came home renewed and excited.  I've cleaned up the studio for workspace and more.  I've pulled out the camera again.  I've been making art.  I'm happy with the art I'm making.  I have ideas again of things I want to make.  I'm eating healthy again.  I care about living again.

Well, I guess that is what I felt I needed to say my first time back here in blogland.  I spent a few days catching up on the blogs I follow and feel like it's time to return to sharing.

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween/Samhain.  I kept my ancestor altar lit all day and past midnight.  I'll keep it lit through All Soul's Day as well.  I did a reading last night and as I shuffled, the cards said they wanted a wheel of the year (as it is the witches' new year) instead of my usual celtic cross.  Half way through, an overwhelming need to "use the facilities" hit me and I  found that my nose had started to bleed.  A sign for certain.  I was pleased with the reading but not with how hard it was for me to remember certain aspects of the cards.  I think more work with the cards is called for.

I also spent some time sending out a hello and general call to the spirit world.  Ever since I moved it has been unusually quiet on that front.  In fact the only spirit I had any contact with since moving was a little friend on my trip.  I must say I miss my spirit friends, two in particular.

I did have a response to my hello and felt a few spirits nearby.  Maybe I had unconsciously turned my shingle to closed over the last months.  No matter now.  I have made the decision to turn to open, and open it will stay.  

An interesting (to me anyway) side note to this is that I could feel the pressure in my head building all day, the constant pressure and pain that is always high on the pain scale was heading way above the top.  Once I 'opened' up to the spirits, the pressure eased off a bit and I felt some relief. (Although the pain stayed at the top of the Doctor approved scale as it always does.)  I find this interesting due to having repeatedly been informed by doctors that they can find no physical cause for the constant severe headaches I've lived with for 8+ years.  Anywho... 

I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year.  Eeek!  So planning for the meal and "entertainment" has already begun.  We're planning for the Sunday after Thanksgiving so we can watch the Steelers game too.  But, if the game isn't on TV then we will meet on Saturday for our meal and then go to the restaurant where we meet with the local Steelers Fan Club for game time on Sunday.  :-)

Well,  I believe I've rambled enough.  I'm off to piddle around the house and maybe see what I can get up to in the studio.  I'm painting a shelf that I need to hang and need to get that done so I can have my space back for making art.


ps...I'll post more about the retreat another day.  It deserves a post all on it's own. 

19 July 2014

the new neighborhood...

I think I am all Tea Partied out!  It took me several days to get through all the parties and I tried to reply to each comment but I'm not sure if I did or not.  If you commented and didn't get a message from me, I want to say Thank You for visiting and for commenting.  I was overwhelmed with all the lovely comments in such a good way.

I'm still settling in to my new place.  I need to hang pictures, set up altars and finish un-boxing the studio, but I'm taking my time and going through every item to put in it's proper place or decide if it needs to be donated.  I can't begin to tell you how many books I have donated.  In fact I have two boxes ready to take.  
Since the house isn't really photo ready, I thought I'd show you a little of my outdoor neighborhood.  

This is what is on the other side of my fence.  When I open my gate, I get to see this little pond.

These guys hang out in the pond a lot, as well as turtles and frogs. 

Oh my,  the frogs!  I've never seen so many frogs!  And those little suckers are fast.  I keep trying to get a good photo of them, but so far no go.  I'll keep working on it though.  

I had no idea the sound they make.  They start up at sunset and sounds very much like a bunch of little dogs dying.  It has taken a little getting used to.  I was sitting on the patio last night and saw at least 6 frogs climbing the walls and downspouts.  

This is my new sky.  It is so pretty.  I can see the moon and the sun come up.  No close trees to block the view but on the other hand, no close trees for shade either. 
And this guy...
 ...and his cousins are everywhere!  I've even had a few sneak in the house!
The super moon snuck up on me last Friday night while I was working on my MTP post.  I happened to glance out the window as I was going to get a glass of water and there she was.  

I think that is all for today.  Just wanted to share a little of my new world.  I went on a bit of an adventure today and I will share about that next time.

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and I'll see you soon.


12 July 2014

A Mad Tea, Indeed!

It's here!  It's here!  It's time for the Mad Tea Party!  Please come in and visit for a bit.  We have loads of treats and scrumptious tea. 

Tea time is around the coffee table today.  It seems most of the guests found the shrinking potion a bit early. 

Time for our audience with the Queen.  She brought her own special blend of tea and a mask for some reason.  Maybe she felt we should have a masquerade?

The Queen's jester came along for tea as well.  Oh the stories he tells!  He'll have us in stitches in no time.

 I think perhaps I should hold on to that key?!?  Wouldn't want to lose my only way to open the doors to Wonderland.

 A nice cup of tea and a few treats should be lovely right about now. 

 Perhaps an apple danish, molasses cookie, or a mini cupcake?  It all looks and smells so yummy!

Maybe just a bit of sugar for my tea...

 Oh, well, that's not quite the type of sugar I was thinking of...

 I see the Hatter is hiding out around the tea pot and the ladybug cake.  A good place I think.

 And there is Alice!  She seems to be carrying on quite the conversation with the ladybug. 

 Time to fill my teacup and have a seat.  Tea time is much better when one is sitting.  Trying to balance a cup of tea and a plate of treats is difficult but especially so when you must entertain a shrunken Queen.

 A little more fruit perhaps...

 Alice and the Hatter are heading through the looking glass.  I suppose that means tea time is over.  I really should get back on the hunt for my muchness.  I will find it...eventually!

 One more cup of tea and then I'm off on the hunt.  Mmm...lovely tea, but I seem to be feeling a bit...woozy.  Maybe I'll continue the search after a bit of a nap.

Thank you so very much for stopping in for Tea.  I do so hope you had a lovely time.  

Come back again and we can share another cup of tea.


ps... I'd like to give a huge hug and Thanks to our lovely hostess, Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist for not only hosting this lovely day for the 7th time, but also for being such a marvelously fantabulous inspiration!  Be sure to pop over to her blog and enjoy her party, plus the list of other parties.