Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In the English sunshine

No pictures as I haven't worked out how to do that from my Fire tablet. I am happily in England, over (mostly) my jetlag and enjoying visiting with my mum and family. It's been lovely so far. I even managed to burn my feet in the sunshine. I keep them covered up while out and about walking or gardening in Sun so they aren't used to seeing the light of day. I did use cream but actually took a paddle in the sea at Clacton so probably could have used some more! I went to  Felixstowe and ate my lovely fish and chips. Very yummy!!!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Flying Today - Five on Friday

I'm joining with Amy over at Love Made My Home   for Five on Friday. It will be a fairly quick one today as I should be packing. I am flying out later today to visit Mum in England. So excited. We usually Skype on Saturdays - this week I'll be able to give her a real hug! It's going to be a hot one here today. It's going to be about 34c when I leave but with the humidity it is going to feel around 40c. We are under a heat advisory. I will be glad to be leaving it behind!

1. Packing - what to bring, what not to bring? I don't pack a lot of toiletries. I'm staying with Mum and she usually keeps some on hand. Clothes, I guess it is a hit and miss with weather. I guess if I really 'need' something and I haven't packed then I can buy it. Right? That's what I tell myself, anyway.

2. Kindles. All charged and loaded with plenty of books. I still prefer paper books but kindles come in handy as I can load up on books and pick and choose depending on my mood. I have my Fire for Internet access (when I do hook up which won't be often) and my paperwhite for actual reading as the battery lasts a lot longer.

3. Camera. Charged up and lenses ready to go. I have a couple of SD cards as I plan on taking a LOT of pictures. I will remember to take the charger lol. Convertor plug already at Mum's.

4. Crafty stuff - do I want to take some or maybe get a kit when I get there? Haven't made my mind up yet. I might take some photos and Project Life pages and go from there. I have a few hours to make up  my mind!

5. Mum's card. It is finished. I tried my hand at the exploding box card. I have purchased a harder box to transport it in. I hope it makes it in one piece! I really like the way it turned out. I put a lot of love in this card and hope it shows.

I'll be popping around to visit some Five on Fridays before I leave. See you in September!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Away Awhile - What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

Yes, it's Wednesday rolling around like a bad penny. It's time to join Julia (YEAH!) over at Stamping Ground for another WOYWW. Jan has been a great host these past weeks so THANK YOU Jan! It's nice to see Julia well enough to host again.

This will actually be my last WOYWW post for a while. I am off to visit Mum in England on Friday and I won't be back until the middle of September. I might pop over to visit on a Wednesday but I won't have my phone with me and internet will be when I can get to it. Not sure how crafty I'll be while I'm away but I plan on taking a ton of pics so will have plenty to share, and work with, when I get back.

As of this afternoon I am still working on my card. It is getting there and will be done by the time I leave. I will try to remember to take a picture when assembled. I found a great website that you could add words and it would make them into any shape. I put some words to describe Mum and put them in a heart shape. That's what you see on the desk.

I've been working on putting some of Mum's genealogy into a booklet of some kind that can easily be understood. I have been handwriting it at night while watching telly instead of the stitching (that is framed and ready to go!). I am so excited to be able to show her what I have managed to get together and I think she'll be excited. My husband's aunt directed me where to find some great charts so I could put it all together.

I will be getting around to as many desks as I can in between trying to decide what clothes to take with me. It's been hot in Ipswich the last couple of days (not as hot as here!) and (cringe sorry!) hope it at least gets a little cooler as I really want a little break from the heat. Sunshine will be accepted and wanted! It's been so hot here in Kalamazoo sleeping the past few nights. Between the heat and the anxious-getting-ready-to-go-and-things-running-through-my-mind-while-trying-to-sleep I haven't been getting a lot of sleep!

Enough rambling! See everyone in September!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Grrrrr Deer...

I like deer. So cute. I take pictures when they are sitting in my garden. Last year we had trouble with one and/or rabbit eating lettuce. Planted no lettuce this year. My garden has grown lovely.

My tomatoes are all gone except two. The tops of the plants have been eaten. There are no flowers left. We'll have to work out something different for next year. I'm trying to keep the garden organic. Maybe we'll have to look into a temporary greenhouse. The deer seems to have won. Again.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Looking Up - Five on Friday

Can't believe Friday has rolled around again. Yikes. I am running out of crafty time. I have my Mum's stitching finished, matted and am still deciding whether to buy a frame before I leave or wait until I get there. I am leaning towards buying before I leave and carry it in my carry-on. I still haven't got her card done - I'm getting really frustrated with it and time is running out. Next Friday I will be flying over to England to visit Mum and family and have some good ol' food (and chocolate, yum). I'll be there for seven weeks so have got to start planning soon. I'm more of a procrastinator so I probably will be washing and packing on Thursday. Decisions, decisions. It's quite a while to be there and Mum says it has rained a lot - so what to pack?

Anyway, on to the point of this post. It is Friday and it is time to join with Amy over at Love Made my Home. I might waffle on a bit so please forgive me or ignore me! I hope this post somewhat makes sense.

This week I'm going to share some things I've been seeing when I look up. I started doing this last year when I was visiting Mum. I think sometimes we concentrate on what we see at eye level or below and we don't always look up to see what's going on above us (sort of like my hubby when he cleans - sparkly at eye level, above not so much!).

I can't remember exactly where we were - it was some seaside place - when I saw a whole flock of birds flying above us. They moved all together from one lot of roof tops to another and settled on these chimneys. It was quite a sight to see.

I have visited Norwich lots of times - more than I can count - but I had never seen these carvings on the gate to the cathedral. Last year Norwich had loads of dragon displays around the city. I was in a lovely little shop called Inanna's Festival (great shop!) and the lady behind the counter told me about the dragon on the cathedral gate. I should have looked up sooner!

And another dragon I spotted when looking up!

The above wer my absolute favourite finds looking up last year. There is such character in the faces. So beautiful. All the years I lived there and visited and I never knew they were there! It's really quite sad in a way. All the things I must have missed over the years!

 Spot the Lion on top of The Golden Lion Hotel on the Cornhill in Ipswich. English Heritage thinks the hotel was constructed in the 1700s but apparently prior to that there was a pub and hotel on the site called The White Lion since 1570. Sadly this has now closed. It is a Grade II listed building so hopefully not too much change. While looking into the history of this place I found out that when renovations were done around 2000 the mummified remains of a cat under the floorboards - apparently placed there for luck!

The next time you're out and about take a look up at the buildings. There are such wonderful details above us. Our lives now are so busy that we seem to hurry along without taking time to relax, look around us and look up!

Thanks for reading my Five!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday - July 13th

It's another Wednesday rolling around and time to join Julia and the gang for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. We are still with Jan who is gracious enough to host while Julia is recuperating. It is really good to see her posting again. Jan is HERE and Julia is HERE.

I am starting to panic. Time has crept up on me and I'm running out! Can someone add a couple of extra crafty hours to each day?

I have been working on my Mum's card. I'm stuck. Not sure what I'm going to put in the middle. I've made a cake, a teacup and now wondering pot of flowers. I know I want balloons. I'm made those already. I've got the pictures ready to go. Still thinking of words. It will be finished. Soon. Well, probably next Thursday - day before I fly out!

Cake in progress - is finished now. I had to play around with the dimensions. Grrrr....

 Balloons in progress - these are finished and put 'together'

This is my desk - a mess of papers, test cakes and, well, a mess.

I have, however, finished my cross stitch. I have to mount it and decide if I want to frame before leaving (it will be 11" x 14") or get a frame when I arrive.

Thank you so much for all the encouragement as I worked on this. I really appreciated it!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Another Scenic Sunday

Another beautiful day here in Michigan so we got ourselves off and started early before the roads got too busy. We'd actually missed a lighthouse we thought we'd done so we took a trip to it. Little Sable Lighthouse. There is a Big Sable Lighthouse that we have visited on May 31st. We went to that one with some friends and walked up to the top.

I'm not sure why this was called Little Sable Lighthouse. I'm not sure why. When we talked to one of the tour guides he told us Little Sable was actually a little taller than Big Sable.

It's lovely as it came into view. There are a couple of large sand dunes in front of it. We were not foolish enough to walk up the really big hill you see but we did walk up one leading to the lighthouse not realising there was a flat concrete path a little further up!

There are 139 steps up to the top of this one and, yes, we did climb them!

There are a couple of hatches you have to duck through to get out to the top.

I wouldn't recommend looking down the steps!

The views are just spectacular. It was well worth the climb.

I love these little signs they had - especially this one about the shoes!
Seeing the actual light up close was great to see!

The walk down was a little easier than the one up, thank goodness. You receive a little sticker when you've done the climb up!

It's a really beautiful lighthouse. Originally there was a lightkeeper's house attached but it was sadly torn down and, as you can see from the sign, it originally had a different name too.

I am really enjoying visiting these lighthouses. This will be the last for a while though.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer Reading

I read a lot but don't usually post about books except my Goodreads widget at the side that I am terrible about keeping up to date. I thought I'd share a recommendation for a couple of books that I've recently read including one I just finished.

The one I have just finished is When We Were Sisters by Emile Richards. I borrowed this book from my local library. I have not read any of her books before. I am so glad that I picked this one up. The story is about Cecelia and Robin who grew up as foster sisters in the system together. Cecelia is now a successful singer/actress while Robin, who used to be a photojournalist, has put her career on hold to raise a young family. Cecelia decides that her next project is going to be about her life growing up in foster care. She persuades Robin to work as a photographer on the project. Robin's husband is an attorney at a high-powered firm. She juggles all their home life while he works long hours. He doesn't want her to leave.

This is a story of their journey. You follow Cecelia and Robin as they confront their past, how it leaks into their adult lives and how their past has shaped their relationships with others. It's a beautiful story. There a lot of relationships in the book but it is told through Cecelia, Robin and Kris' eyes. My heart really broke for all that the girls went through as children and how strong and successful they  become as women. Through it all they were there for one another - true sisters not through blood but through heart. I admit I cried at this one. It's a really beautiful story!

Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany. I have read books by this author before and enjoyed them. This is another one about sisters. Natalie and Brooke are blood sisters. They haven't seen one another since Brooke was four and Natalie was just a baby. Natalie was adopted. Brooke grew up in the foster care system. Natalie remembers nothing of her life before adoption and she's never asked as she didn't want to upset her adoptive mother. It is only when her daughter has to do a family tree for school that she starts to ask questions. This is a story of their journey, of them reconnecting and forming a new relationship. It's a really beautiful book about relationships and how the past can shape the future. This is another tearjerker.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Finished Cross Stitch

If I wasn't sore from weeding I'd be happy dancing all over the living room.

I have finished the cross stitch for my Mum. It is washed and ironed and ready to be framed. I will going tomorrow to find framing supplies. I am so excited to have this done in plenty of time to take with me. The backstitching was hard going but it is done.

This is the piece before backstitch. For those who don't know backstitch is a stitch that outlines details on the piece. It makes things clean and pop. It can be tedious and detailed but some designs really need it.

This is the finished piece. I am really pleased with it! I hope Mum will like it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Garden Update & Five on Friday

It's Friday again. The week has flown by as hubby didn't go back to work until Tuesday. I've been off a day all week. I'm joining with Amy over at Love Made my Home for Five on Friday. I only have two Fridays left until I leave to visit Mum for seven weeks. I am such a procrastinator that I won't even begin packing until a day or so before.

This Friday I'm posting about five things I've been thinking about this week.

It's coming along nicely. Sadly I don't think I'm going to get to enjoy any of the produce. Maybe a tomato or two. I am so excited that things are growing. It is in need of some serious weeding. I will get to that soon!

Flowers are beginning on my pumpkins!

Some nice green tomatoes


And I still have some flowers growing in my wildflower garden. So pleased.


I have too many of them, but I can't seem to get rid of any. They are like good friends. The ones I have read seem to draw me back again and again. Yes, there are some I haven't read yet. I don't buy new very much anymore. We have a fantastic little bookshop at our library and I seem to have great luck finding new releases there for only a dollar or so. They have some great crafty books sometimes too.

Sadly, this is not all the collection. I WILL do some serious sorting when I get back in September and I will not bring many books back with me. I usually find some great books in the charity shops. Sigh.


Yes, I'm still thinking about it! I had a lot better time than I imagined I would. We were in a tent and though we got a little wet one morning when we were packing up and I got a little chilly one night, I had a lot of fun. There is just something about being outside in the evening sitting around the camp fire and enjoying the peace and quiet. I miss it.


Very random, I know, but my son was over tonight and he was showing me a picture that he'd taken of the sunset over Lake Michigan close to where he lives. I don't have a clear view of Sunset here. I love looking at them. There can be many different kinds, different colours, but there is a peacefulness about them that just warms my insides.

I can't help thinking about it. I usually end up getting homesick about the year mark of not visiting. There's a lot I miss - especially Mum. We are taking coach holidays to Devon and to Scotland while I am over. I haven't been to either place before so am so excited. I know Mum is looking forward to getting away too. I can't wait to have some Fish & Chips at Felixstowe and sit and eat them while looking out at the sea, a cream cake (there is absolutely nothing like an English cake!), a cheese & onion pasty and (yup) some good ol' chocolate. I'm looking forward to sitting on the beach (hopefully the weather will cooperate), walking around the park and visiting some of our favourite places. 

So there it is, some of the random things that have crossed my mind this week.  I haven't been very crafty this week. I did finish the basics of a mini album and I have been working on my stitching. I am hoping to post a finished picture on Saturday! The backstitch is driving me crazy!!!