30 September 2015

the joiner...

I've never really been a joiner.  Being socially awkward makes it kinda difficult to join in conversations.  The last few years, since I started going to The Red Thread Retreats, I've become a little better about joining things.  I've participated in lots of online classes, mostly art related.  And, of course, there are the blog parties.  

Now I've decided to try joining a knit along or KAL.  I learned about the scoreboard kal here from Vicki of knitorious.  I've been going back and forth about whether or not I should try it.  I commented on her last post where she showed us progress and she was sweet enough to get in touch and encourage me to try it.  So....

Yep, I'm joining in.  I'm a little late (it's week four for pro) but that's okay.
Reasons for joining: 
 1-it would make a great birthday or xmas gift for my Steelers obsessed brother, or I may keep it for myself!  Either way he'll get it next year since the season won't be over until after the holidays.  
 2-learning something new
 3-knitting is fun!
 4 (the biggest reason) - I need something to knit while I watch the games and I can't work on my shrug because it is purple.  I know, I know...crazy talk.  That's okay, SteelerNation will understand.  :-)

So, I've joined into that.  Then I thought, hey, what about the Heels?  I could make one for them too!  Yep, when I go in, I go ALL IN.  I'll also be knitting a UNC Tarheels scoreboard.  (Hopefully!)  I have the materials and I've already set up a project for it on Ravelry.  It would also make a great gift for my brother or my mum.  

Back to joining.  So, earlier today I saw on Instagram about this thing called Inktober. It's a month long challenge to draw (in ink!) something every day.  Well, I'm pretty sure I'm going to participate in this too.  I'd like to work on drawing and this sounds like a good thing.  I don't know if I'll post about that here or on Instagram.  

There are also lots of blog parties/challenges happening but I haven't joined any of those.  I'm saving up my Halloween ideas for a special party. (I hope it is happening this year as I wasn't able to participate last year.)  

So, yeah, I guess you could say I'm a joiner now.  haha!

Hope you're having a great week.  We have the sun peeking out today.  Haven't seen it in a week and there is more and more rain coming our way starting tonight.

I'm off to start my scoreboard.  Are you joining any fun challenges/parties/projects in October?  I'd love to hear about them. 

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

ps...the first photo up top shows my yarns for the scoreboard projects, the second is my progress on my shrug, and the last is what my crazy crochet blanket looks like right now. xo

27 September 2015

rainy sunday...

Rainy.  That's been our weather for several days now.  I'm not complaining.  We need the rain, not as badly as others, but I'll take it.  Falling asleep with cool air blowing through the windows and the sound of raindrops.  Autumn goodness.

There's been apple desert.  I'm not sure if it should be considered a crumble, a pie or a whatchamacallit.  I used the failed biscuits as the bottom "crust".  Then filled the pan with my Grandmother's Apple Pie filling.  The topping is a sort of crumble.  It is really good, when warmed.

I made the soup that I mentioned two posts ago.  Oh. My. Goodness!  So very delicious!  I didn't have chorizo, so I used a local sausage.  I cut the recipe in half since it's just me.  It is wonderfully delicious and I highly recommend it.  The only thing I will do differently next time (and there will be many next times) is to cut back on the crushed red peppers.  

During a break in the rain this morning, I went out with my camera for a little macro play.  I love getting shots like that.  Seeing those tiny details brought out.  I'm thinking of taking a basic photography class.  With my social anxiety issues, I don't know if it is something I can do, but maybe I can gain the courage to try.

Today is the first day in eight days that I've not taken a walk.  Not a stroll, but a fast paced walk.  Some days when I walk, it is very hard to move and very hard to breathe.  Some days it is better.  I'm proud of myself for going when I get back and feel good that I'm making the effort.  But today...well, I may still make it out there today, but I'm feeling so icky that I just don't know.  Which leads to my feeling bad about myself.  Sort of.  

I've been doing this every day for a few weeks now.  I discovered it via Aine's blog.  It feels good when I say this.  It feels good when I think about it.  And on days like today, when I just can't do something I know I should, I don't feel so bad about myself as I would have in the past.  I don't beat myself up about things like this.  Which is a very good thing.

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

ps...don't forget to take a peek at tonight's full blood moon & eclipse!  I'm hoping the clouds will part here so I can see it. xo

24 September 2015

I've got mail...

Actually, this mail came at the beginning of the month and I just realized I never shared here.  

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that one of my favorite people in the world is Vanessa of A Fanciful Twist.  I love everything about her blog and her work and have wanted to order something from her shop for a long time.  With Halloween approaching and the possibility of some Halloween Tea Parties, I decided to order a set of her labels. 

Actually, I ordered several different sets.  :-)

So, on a dreary and overcast Saturday my package arrived at my door.  I was sooo excited I can't even tell you.  I opened it right away and found this little note included.

 I must admit I was very curious and even more excited (if that is possible!).  So, I flipped over the big pack and found this!
I don't think I can describe the squeal that erupted from me.  I think it might have only been heard by dogs it was so loud and so high!  I started jumping up and down and dancing around.  When I finally stopped, I realized I had tears on my cheeks.  Yes, I was crying.

I've loved this drawing she did for ages and had wanted to order a print.  My all time favorite house, drawn by my all time favorite artist and favorite person!

So why was I crying, you ask?  Honestly, because I think this is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.  I was so touched that Vanessa would think so kindly of me to send this to me.  It's just one more example of how wonderful a person she is.  

They were happy tears, I promise.  

If you've never visited her blog, click on that link up there and do it.  It is magical!  And be sure to check our her Etsy shop.  She has so many neat things to see.

I emailed her to thank her as soon as I calmed down.  But I just wanted to share here and say another great big Thank You, Vanessa!  I ♥ you!

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

23 September 2015

Blessed Mabon

Hello Autumn, I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you are all having a wonderful Equinox, be it Autumn here or Spring for those on the other side of world.  I'm so glad that Autumn is here and I can enjoy spending time out of doors.  The heat of summer has said goodbye, mostly, and everything is turning up pumpkins!  :-)

I appreciate your comments on yesterdays post.  It means a lot to me.  I intend to keep coming here and sharing and hopefully you'll keep coming back.  

Since there was nothing to harvest in my own little garden, I went to two farmer's markets today.  First stop was the little one in the town I used to live in, my favorite.  I wasn't planning to purchase anything but ended up with a nice bunch of green beans and those four cute little white pumpkins on my mantle (first photo).  At the second market I found a couple of small pretty mums, and some pansies, plus more pumpkins.  If you hadn't noticed, I'm a bit of a pumpkin nut.  I tried growing my own a few years ago and but it was a big bust.  I've only grown one pumpkin successfully in all my growing years.  But that's okay.  So long as someone out there is growing them, I'll be buying them.  

Tonight's sunset was just stunning.  I really wish my photos were better.  It started out orange-y and turned sort of cotton candy pink. So pretty!

I haven't worked on my shrug in a few days, but I'm quite pleased with my progress.  I had to frog it twice.  The first time I realized that I'd somehow knit up the edging incorrectly.  Once I fixed that and was starting on the main part, I discovered somewhere at the beginning I'd added an extra stitch. So, rip, rip, rip again.  Now I've got the hang of it though and am moving along.  The next four days call for cold and rain, weather-wise, so knitting may be just the thing.  And soup.  I'm going to try this one that I've seen both Alicia and Amanda talk about.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?  Is autumn making an appearance?

thanks for stopping by, 

22 September 2015

on writing...

I tend to want to come here and write more often than every four or five days, but I just can't seem to get here.  When I'm busy with washing dishes, painting, knitting or pulling weeds in the garden, I compose wonderful blog posts in my head.  Yet when I sit down at the computer, it's just crickets.

It's not as if I lead an exciting life, jetting off to here and there, or doing daring feats of amazement.  I'm just little old me, spending a lot of time piddling around with this or that and trying to live each day as fully as I can.  

Writing my blog has always been about writing for me, mostly.  I've always looked at those who come and read my words as, well, a bonus really.  That someone out there in the big, wide world would take a part of their day to read what I've written is a wonderful thing.  I always feel I have such little to offer that I get a little giddy when I realize someone out there is reading.  

Sometimes I feel I should be writing more for the lovely people who come here to visit with me and writing less for me.  But then I get so worried.  How is my grammar?  Did I spell that correctly?  Have I used this word too much?  Can't I think of a better word than that?

It becomes an endless stream of anxiety and that is very, very bad. 

So, I'll keep coming here when I can.  I'll keep finding words to share, whether they matter or not.  Sometimes, when I don't have words, I'll just post a photo.  I guess the most important thing for me to remember is that I like being here.  It makes me happy, and that is really the point.

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

ps...this is not the post I came here to write.  it happens to me a lot, I'll start writing something and get carried off to another tangent completely.  oh well, i guess it needed saying.  :-)  xo 

18 September 2015

baking overload...


I think I mentioned before that I've been working an Amish Friendship Bread Start for a few weeks.  Last week I was able to giveaway all but one of the extra starters.  I had planned on baking with it the next day and never did.  Because of that I've been working two starters.  The past few days I've baked my fingers to the bone.  Well, it feels that way.  

I've made biscuits (top photo before baking, second photo...fail).  I don't know what I did wrong, but for some reason they didn't rise.  They taste okay, but...

I've made lemon bread but forgot to take a photo.

I've made double chocolate muffins (third photo).

And I've made peanut butter cup bread and muffins (last two photos, before and after).

I'm pretty much baked out.  

Want to know the saddest part?  I've only tasted the biscuits.

Next on my list was white chocolate pumpkin and I may still get to it, but it won't be anytime soon.  I've put the rest of my "starter" in the freezer and will pull it out eventually and make something until I've used it all.  I just can't bear to throw it out.  One good thing is that this bread freezes really well, so I've used this baking to help prepare for some upcoming fun.

You can probably figure it out if you look closely at that last photo.  :-)

What have you been up to this week?  Any autumn plans?  

thanks for stopping by!
love & blessings

ps... I should never, ever, ever be left to my own devices in a craft store...
I went in there this morning looking for two specific things and with a gift card I'd not used.  I left with all that... and forgot until about 5 minutes ago that I even had a gift card.  Seriously people, I need a keeper!  :-)  xo

14 September 2015

my day in pictures...

I cast on tonight for this shrug.  The book I ordered and talked about the other day is very intimidating, so I found something a bit easier to build up my confidence.  This will the the first thing I've knitted for myself that isn't a hat or scarf.  

I spent another hour in the garden today, pulling up weeds.  I am so entranced by those tiny morning glory blooms.  So, so lovely.  They are like little fairie blooms.

My veggie patch: four collard plants, the san marzano that still has fruit and blooms, a romaine lettuce and rosemary.  I have two more romaine plants in a big pot.  I've never grown lettuce so this is an experiment.  I should probably move those potted ones to the ground before frost.  Does lettuce overwinter like collards do?  I'd best get out my gardening books and do some research.

Lastly, a mixed media piece I've been working on for months.  It speaks to me a little at a time and so that is how I work on it.  I think I've just about figured out where it wants to go, so I've been working on that and other studio projects in between waiting for paint to dry.

A day filled with little things that make me happy.  I hope you have had a wonderful day.  What little things make you happy during your day?

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

ps...I just want to say a big Thank You to those who commented on my last post.  Your words mean so very much! xo

12 September 2015

the rainbow

A storm came through, in the early evening of Thursday.  I listened to the wind roar and thick heavy raindrops plop down to earth.  Shortly after it passed, I went out to my little patio garden to check on my tomato plant and see if it was still standing.  The first thing I noticed was the light shining on the tree tops.  That late summer/early autumn type of light that you only get at sunset.

Of course I went back in for my camera and came out to a beautiful rainbow.  When I looked closer, I saw it wasn't just a rainbow, but a double rainbow.  I stayed out for a while, taking photos and watching the clouds. 

That rainbow though.  

It came on a day I'd been feeling particularly down.  Wondering what my life was for, why I was still alive.  People tell me all the time how lucky I am, all the things I've lived through.  Most times I don't feel lucky.  Most times I feel sad and left behind.  Mostly I feel worthless and useless.  I'd always known what I wanted my life to be, how I wanted to live, what I wanted to do.  Can I tell you, that not one single thing that I dreamed my life would be has happened.  

No matter how hard I try to "stay positive", "be grateful for what you do have", I just don't see it often.  Yes, it's been over ten years since my ovarian cancer diagnosis and I'm still here.  Yes, I have a pretty nice roof over my head and am able to pay all my bills each month comfortably.  Yes, I have health insurance that is pretty decent so my medical expenses are not insane (based on the amount of doctors I see, tests that are run and prescriptions I have to take).  Those are definitely things to be grateful for, and I am.  

I am also lonely, living a life I never wanted to live.  Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be living my life alone.  I never imagined that I would be estranged from most of my relatives and basically cut off from my father.  I never imagined that I would be childless, that I wouldn't have nieces or nephews to spoil and love.  I never imagined I would be living in the city, in a town home of all things.  I never imagined any of this.   

I always knew I would be a mother, an aunt, a wife.  I knew I would live in the country with bountiful gardens, tenderly caring for the land, the animals and my family.  I knew I would teach my children, my nieces and nephews, my grandchildren the magic of the earth, the moon, the water, the sun.  I knew I would spend my days caring for my family, my nights sheltered in my husbands arms.  I just knew.

Joseph Campbell said, "We must be willing to let go of the life we've planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us."  

I found that quote after my diagnosis and printed it out once.  I kept it on my wall at work among other photos and words.  I would look at it and think, there is something better than what I dreamed and it is coming.  Am I still waiting or is this it?

Is this the life that was waiting for me?  Is this the life I'm supposed to live for the rest of my days?  A life of loneliness and constant physical pain.  Each day filled a little more with sadness and despair.  Am I to be one of those old folks who gets tucked away into a nursing home because I can't care for myself and have no one who will care for me.  

That rainbow though...

I looked up, watching the storm clouds float off to the east and the rainbow hold steady in the sky overhead.  I watched as it slowly faded as twilight moved into night.  I watched and thought maybe, just maybe, there is a better life coming soon.

love & blessings

09 September 2015

little bits of happy...

I made my first batch of roasted tomatoes and peppers today.  My house smelled so good and they are delicious.  I know I'll make more.  (I also made another batch of banana bread so as not to let my bananas go bad).  I'm trying very hard to not waste food.  I don't like to let even one little bit go to waste.  It seems like a very frivolous thing to do.

The sky today has put on quite a show.  Sun, clouds, even thunder.  Watching the storm clouds move in was a bright spot in my day.  

The morning glory vines are blooming and have the tiniest little flowers.  I do not recall ever having seen them so small.

More time spent in the studio today.  More playing in the kitchen.  Little spurts of time outside.  Glitter, paint, clay, scraps of paper.  These are things that mean happy to me.

I hope you have had spots of happy in your day.

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

08 September 2015

having a goal...

I'm finding that I really enjoy doing something creative every day.  Even if I only spend a few minutes doodling in my sketchbook, it makes me happy.  

Being happy is my goal in life.  It might seems like an odd goal to have.  To most, being happy is probably quite normal.  Well, I've never claimed to be anywhere near normal.  

One of yesterdays projects was a bust and I've glass to try to clean up so I can try another method.  I don't mind.  That is half the fun, isn't?  Experimenting, trying something new.  I could probably look on google and find out how to do what I'm trying to do and maybe I will but it was still fun to give it a whirl.

I've several projects going in the studio.  I find I work better that way, so while paint or glue or what-have-you, dries on one, I can be working on another.  That makes sense doesn't it?

About the photos: the first, a new doll I found today at a bargain shop.  I'd never heard of the Ever After dolls and this is Madeline Hatter, daughter of the Mad Hatter.  She was just so cute and made me giggle so I bought her.  She'll fit right in with Draculaura, Lily Munster and Jade J'Adore.  :-)

The second photo is a work in progress.  It is a mixed media piece I did back in early 2013 and was just horrible.  I finally gesso'd it and am just letting it guide me to what it wants to be.  I've been working on it for a few months, a little at a time, and I'm happy while I move my brush against the canvas.  

It's all about finding my happy.  That is my goal and it is good.

What goal are you working on lately?  I'd love to hear.

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

PS...I've noticed that blogger is not sending me all the comments.  Normally I get an email of any comments posted to my blog, but some of them are not coming through.  I try to reply to you, if I can, because it means so much that you leave me a comment.  So, if you don't hear from me, please don't think that I don't appreciate your comment.  I really do! 

07 September 2015

my day


Another night of extreme dreaming and another day of feeling like death.  I was supposed to meet my family for lunch this afternoon and about an hour before leaving I received a call that we had to postpone.  I was so happy as I hadn't even made it out of bed yet.  I lay down for another half hour before getting up and trying to move through my day.  

It led me me outside to water and tend my little garden. Then to the studio, where I played with paint and glitter.  And lastly to the kitchen where I had an Amish Friendship Bread starter to tend. It was day 10 (or maybe 11) so I needed to bake with it today.  I made four small loaves and had enough batter left for four muffins.  I made the basic recipe (without the pudding) but at the link above you can find many recipes to use your starter.  I've already printed off a few to try, but as I'm now out of milk and sugar, I'll have to wait.  I ended up with five more cups of starter.  I've frozen one for use at another time, and I plan to give two to my mum (even though she only asked for one!).  I'll probably bake up the last two with different recipes.  The breads freeze really well, so that helps.

I am so tired now, but the Isner/Federer US Open match just got underway and I really want to watch it.  I'm going to try to tough it out. 

I hope you have had a wonderful day today and were able to do something fun.  

Anyone have any favorite bread recipes to share?  I'm loving spending time in the kitchen lately.  How about you?

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

06 September 2015

the merry-go-round

It has been one of those days.  One that makes me want to pull the covers over my head and let it pass until the next day.  My sleep is plagued with vivid, odd dreams.  Ones I feel are important and yet by the time I can pick up the pencil and pad that I keep on my nightstand, they have floated away.  By the time I arise, it is late in the morning and the heat of the day has already kicked in.  I struggle to get my poor little patio garden watered and am so relieved when it is done, that I lie back down in my bed.  

The blinds stay drawn, the lights off and the tv (if I turn it on at all) on mute.  I don't want to hear anything, see anything, talk to anyone.  I just want everything to come to a halt.  I want to start over.  This is what I call a bad head day.  When the pain from the migraine is just too much to move past.

But, today I got up, watered the plants, watched a bit of tennis (on a very low volume), worked on my crazy crochet blanket and even managed to work in my studio for a bit.  It is needing rearranging as I can't easily access some of my materials, so I worked on that a little.  I've scrolled through blogs and had leftovers for lunch.  

I've made it through another ride on the merry go round.  Now I'll head to bed shortly and hope that tomorrow is a decent head day.  There is no good head day for me.  Not once in the last 8 years.

I hope you have had a relaxing day.

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

05 September 2015

just a regular ol' saturday...

I love September!  The cool air first thing in the morning, the way the light changes so very quickly, yarn, pumpkins...what's not to love?  I took a page from Mary and tried the little acorns.  They are so cute and yummy.  Click on her name and it will take you to the post in which they are referenced.  She has the most lovely displays that she does and the recipes are great.

A couple of days ago I was hunting through Ravelry for something to knit.  I'm wanting a very light weight shrug to wear as so many of the clothes out now just don't have enough sleeve for me.  I came across a pattern that I fell in love with and ended up ordering the book it was in.  It arrived today and I'll be hunkering down with it soon to decide what to knit first.  Everything in it is so pretty and cozy.  I looked at the pattern for the shrug and thought, oh my word...what was I thinking?  

Well, just like with anything else...practice, practice, practice.  This is something I find I am reminding myself of constantly.  No one is perfect at something the very first time.  Well, maybe a very few are, but I'm not one of them.  So, I'll keep doing things that make me happy and working on things over and over until I get them right.  

My neighbor was getting rid of her giant snake plant she'd had for thirty odd years.  She let me take what I wanted from it so I potted up a couple of the bulbs.  I've never had a snake plant so will need to do some research into how to care for it.  I'd been wanting something to put in that planter that my granddaddy made and now I have it.  Hopefully the plant will like it there.  For some reason I want to call her Marge.  I have NO idea why...

I am off to start dinner.  I'm cooking a pork tenderloin and making some rice, then I'm mixing some together with a few spices and stuffing one of those giant peppers I bought at the farmers market yesterday.  

I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday.  US Open and college football for me.  Are you doing anything special for the labor day weekend?  

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings


04 September 2015

the lake

Early evening yesterday, I went on a tiny adventure to the big lake near by.  I hadn't been there in over twenty years.  It is all so different now.  It seems a nice place to take in a little sun, maybe drop a line into the water or duck and people watch.  There is no swimming aloud at this lake and I know they have a big fishing contest each year.  This weekend the lake park is hosting a jazz/blues festival.  I had hoped to catch the sun set over the water, but it was so hot and I was very tired and arrived a little too early.  Maybe another time.

Do you have a favorite swimming hole? 

thanks for stopping by, 
love & blessings

03 September 2015

family time


Today was my first official game day.  It was just my mum and I, but I still had fun.  Growing up our extended family spent most of our time together watching sports, fishing, or playing some kind of game.  We mostly played card games such as Manipulation, Bridge (which I have never gotten the hang of) and Liverpool Rummey.  Nerf darts, tennis and shuffleboard were also big hits. 

During the past months of awakening, I've realized how much I missed doing things like that.  I really don't have a social circle anyone so any socializing is really done with family.  So my mum agreed we could do just that and after much discussion of her busy social schedule today was the day.  My uncle was passing through town so we met up with him for lunch and then spent the afternoon playing cards and watching tennis.  It was just like old times.  Neither of us could remember how to play liverpool, so I went to google and refreshed my memory.  Of course we played it a little differently.  But by the time we'd finished two games, it had all come back to me.  

We laughed about how Granddaddy would fuss if we weren't paying close attention.  He always threatened to turn off the tv so we could concentrate, but he was the one who wanted it on to keep up with the scores.  And how Grandmother would get so mad when I would beat her and say she just wasn't going to play with me anymore.  She always called the second to last hand of the game her "Waterloo", except she (and my mum) pronounce water as warter.  So we laughed about Warterloo.

I came home with a new large basket, a beautiful little shelf and a fleur-de-lie hook rack.  All items gifted to mum from a neighbor or two and items she won't use.  

I think tomorrow will be a trip to the big farmers market and the grocer.  Hopefully a post as well.
Isn't the little fella below just so adorable?  I found him clinging to my scraggly portulaca potted plant when I went out to water this morning.   
Are there any family fun times that you still enjoy?  Are game days with friends?  I'd love to hear.

thanks for visiting, 
love & blessings

ps...all the photos (except mr frog) are from my mum's garden taken today