Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday rolling around again

I can't believe another week has passed and it is already Wednesday! Time seems to be flying by. I should be off doing other things but can't resist joining in with Julia and the gang over at Stamping Ground for another What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. There was a big get together over on that side of the pond and Lunch Lady Jan posted lots of pictures. Wow, it looks like they had a great lot of fun!

My poor desk is a big mess. First on the agenda before I craft on Wednesday will be cleaning up. The mess is making me feel quite claustrophobic again. I have been busy working on Mum's calendar, more cards and a birthday card that needs to be finished today! Yikes, talk about leaving it until the last minute!

It seems I've been spending more time on phone with daughter than crafting these days. Her last day at work is Friday and she has to move out of her apartment and back here (75miles) for a month before moving 900 miles to Minnesota. Yikes. She has a new job that far away. Her background check came back good so she is officially hired. She's been calling around checking on apartments and conferring with me. Still hasn't made up her mind. It isn't easy when you have no clue what the area is like or what the apartments look like. As we don't like that close to one another everything is being done between us by phone. I think she might be getting a little stressed out - I know that I am!

I'll leave you with a couple of cards I did manage to get finished.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I learned to cook when I was in school. This was back in the days of Home Economics when you basically learned to cook for your husband. Don't know if anyone remembers the little book you learned from but I remember mine - you learned about the different types of meals men who worked different jobs would need. I didn't mind the lessons though I probably would have liked them more if the teacher I had would have remembered my name. She had taught my older sister (who is ten years older than me) and I always got called by my sister's name.

For a while I lost the enjoyment of cooking. I liked baking - cakes, brownies and cookies, yum. Real food, dinner food,  was basically a way of feeding our family of five on not a lot of money while trying to include the food groups. When I started working full time that added another component to the mix. I'm not superwoman and I wasn't good at juggling everything.

Now that I've taken a breather from work and there aren't so many of us in the house I am rediscovering my enjoyment of cooking meals. I have been cooking from scratch. I don't like fussy things with lots of ingredients that I'll never use again but I do like cooking simple food and trying out new recipes.

This was tonight's dinner. Middle son came up to eat and requested them. Sausage Lasagna Roll-Ups. I did beef because I had it leftover. For mine I left out the meat. These are so yummy. I used to buy prepared lasagne and it always seem to upset my stomach. I don't eat meat and a lot of the prepared foods over here in the US contain meat products even if it isn't a meat-based dish. Cooking my own food means I know what goes into it. My stomach certainly appreciates the extra effort!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

One Holiday Down....

Thanksgiving is over. The turkey was stuffed and so are we! The fridge is filled with leftovers. My dear MIL always says she is cutting down but the food is...well, there is a LOT of it! I don't eat meat so she made me my own stuffing (packaged stuffing in America tends to have Chicken fat in it no matter what flavour it is!) and a mushroom pie. I really do appreciate it but could do without the pie as it is a lot of work for her and as I'm the only one that eats it, a lot of pie for me. She made five dessert pies by hand. There are only nine of us that came for dinner. Yup a lot of food.

The food didn't all fit on the table. There is more on the kitchen counter. My middle son had to work - no rest at the newspaper and daughter had to work from 5am to 1.30pm for all those crazy 'Black Friday' (even though it was Thursday) sales. It takes about an hour and a quarter to drive from hers to Grandma's so it was a late dinner. Nice, but late.

Now that Thanksgiving is over the Christmas shopping season in the US begins with frenzy. Dear daughter had to work early again Friday so I went back with her Thursday to dog sit. I just got back home. She works for a large supermarket chain (shop has food, toys, clothes etc) in loss prevention. Somebody did try to 'accidentally' walk out with two television sets they hadn't paid for but that was about it.

This is how I left daughter and dog. Daughter catching up on sleep, enjoying the rest of her day off before her last week of work and a lot of packing ahead!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Time to join up with Julia and the gang over at Stamping Ground for What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

This was my desk Tuesday when I left it. I spent all my Tuesday crafting time working on my Mum's calendar. I managed to fill in all the dates and months, laid paper for the background of each page and started putting a couple of photos down. It's time consuming but Mum really loves getting this each year. I've been making one for her more years than I care to remember. Getting harder as my 'kids' are no longer little and photos seem to be fewer each year.

Next to the album you can see a template for the cracker boxes I like to make. This is a wonderful (and easy) template I found watching a very talented lady Dawn's Inspirations. When I first started watching youtube and tutorials hers were some of the first I see.

I did get some other projects done this week. The photos aren't the best as I did them quickly on my phone.

More of those lovely little cracker boxes.

Two more shaker cards. I like how these turned out.

Not sure how much more crafting I will get done this week. Thanksgiving is tomorrow so I'm off to my MILs. My middle son and daughter are working though daughter might be able to come down after work as she will be starting at 5am in the morning. Middle son has a later shift (he works at a newspaper putting together stories and pages) but he does have the weekend off so is coming to visit then. Oldest son will be able to make it.

Hope Americans have a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoy the time they get to spend with families.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

More Adventures in Knitting

Well, since the last knitting updated I have finished my first scarf! I took care of the ends and added a fringe. I am quite pleased with the finished project. Certainly need it with the cold weather coming!

I thought after that I would practise following a pattern doing different stitches.

This one was supposed to be basketweave. The pattern turned out really nicely but it was really loose! I worked out why - I used the wrong size needles! I was looking at mm size and not the number size. Yikes. Guess that's a lesson learned. It was a dishcloth pattern and will be used as such. I have learned my lesson and will look more carefully as needle size.

Hard to see but this is a stockinette stitch with garter edge. Another attempt to follow pattern. I should have added more rows than it said as not square, more of a rectangle. Another lesson learned.

I am doing another scarf. This one in a basketweave pattern knitted with correct needle size! I will get the hang of this. After this scarf I am going to practise some increasing/decreasing stitches.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Walk

As cold as it is we know it will only get colder still. So we bundled up and headed out just to the local nature area by us. It wasn't a long walk, a little over an hour, but it was out and about and a little exercise. There was still a touch of snow on the ground. So pretty.

A touch of ice on the branches.

A peaceful meander through snow-covered trees though the path is still clear.

A touch of colour still present in the new bareness of the trees.

And a few berries still on the bushes.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
Lewis Carroll 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ah Michigan....

Yesterday it was 70F (about 21C), today it is snowing. Ah, Michigan!

I don't like snow but even I admit that the first snow is kind of magical. Going to Skype with Mum and then I will cuddle up and spend the day reading or trying to knit!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Good News...and a little sad

My dear daughter, youngest child, graduated university last Christmas. She had gone away for university (75miles away) and after graduating decided to stay in the town she had been living in. She had a job there (one she'd had while in Uni) and a boyfriend. She rented her own place to live. She split with her boyfriend in September, her lease is up at the beginning of December and she really wants to move on from the job she's in. The people upstairs from her are terrible. Very noisy. Her job She has been applying to jobs in her field but was becoming discouraged as she hadn't heard from many of them.

She made the decision not to renew her lease, pack in her job (take a couple of lower-paid, out-of-her-field jobs if necessary) and move back home. I must admit I was looking forward to this as we are close but she's lived away for a while.

Last week she heard from a job she had applied to. It is in her field, a foot-in-the-door and good pay. She had two interviews and was told on Wednesday that she has the job. She will start in the New Year.

Sadly it is in another state - over 900 miles away. A great big adventure for her. I am happy for her. It isn't in another country (I moved countries!) and not too far away. A 9-hour drive. It is a great boost for her as she was feeling down. We will be moving her at the beginning of next month from her town to ours where she will stay for a month before leaving in the New Year. We will get to spend the holiday together.

I am so proud of her. Just a little sad too.

On a happy note this is a picture of Shasta my daughter sent today. They were at the pet store and she tried on some reindeer ears. Poor Shasta! It was my funny for the day.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. We were quite warm today - my window was open at one point - and I made the most of it. Good thing too as our temperature is supposed to DROP by 18c tomorrow and we are forecast snow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Big Mess - Workdesk Wednesday

A big mess - that's what I have to show for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday as I join in with Julia and the gang over at Stamping Ground.

Christmas is rearing it's head on my desk this week. It has suddenly come upon me that Christmas will soon be here so I pulled out all the stamps and papers and have been working on cards and gift boxes. I am purposefully not showing you the floor where most of the said stamps and papers are. I groan just seeing it. I couldn't bring myself to take a picture!

These are the two mini boxes I've made up. They will be filled with sweets (good ol' Cadbury for my American friends - they cost a fortune over here but yum!) and tied with curly ribbon and gift tags with names on. I have a few more to make.

These are my first two attempts at shaker cards. There is another on my desk - a window view. It's not quite finished and I'm trying to decide between two sentiments.

Another Christmas card. This one has an embossed image. I'm not sure whether to do something to the image to make it stand out more. Picture was taken last night so forgive the shadow.

Well, that's it for now. I feel a little more in control of cards as I have a few made now and some more in the works. I'm going to start gathering 'kid' pictures so I can start on Mum's calendar. The pages are completely blank - I have to fill in dates and months and decorate each page by hand. I've been doing it for years. It's not as easy now the 'kids' are all in their twenties, but Mum really enjoys it so I've got to dig up photos I've taken all year.

I'm off to look around other desks. Thanks for all the visits and comments!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Adventures in Knitting -- part three

I am still plodding along on my scarf. I will have it finished in time to wear it. It is quite long but I like a nice long scarf so I'm going to continue for a while and then - gasp! horror! - I'm going to learn how to cast off. Youtube here I come.

I love the colours of this!

Now that I'm coming to the end of this I'm trying to decide what to do next. I found this terrific book at the library.

I'm thinking of asking for it for Christmas. I am going to try some of the squares to get an idea of different stitches used before tackling patterns.

I've been watching some knitting/crafting podcasts. There are so many great ones with lovely things they have made. I know it will be a long time before I can tackle something even close to what they make, but it is interesting to see what can be knitted.

I enjoyed watching Toad Hollow. These ladies are sisters and I found their podcast quirky and fun.

Crafternoon Treats is another one I've enjoyed. There is so much talent out there! I was looking for general craft podcasts but I couldn't seem to find any. Can anyone recommend something they enjoy? Just for fun. Nothing too serious. I needed a break from listening to the radio with all the news on.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday walk

I doubt there will be many more of these. It was bloody chilly this morning. BUT it was bright and sunny so we decided to talk a walk anyway. Winter will be coming and we won't be able to get out and about so much in the snow.

Today we decided to head to Saugatuck Dunes State Park. I should have known when there is 'dune' in the title that there would be hills. On our way up there we stopped at a little roadside park we'd passed before.

The bridge looks pretty dodgy. It is no longer in use, but once-upon-a-time was a railway bridge.

Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and are making a soft, yet slippery carpet on the ground.

Up and down until we reached the dip down to Lake Michigan. Only problem going down is that you have to come back up again!

Waves plentiful as the wind was certainly blowing.

Playing peek-a-boo through a hole in the tree.

A walk wouldn't be complete without some fungus!

On the way home we took a 'detour' and stopped at South Haven to take a look at the lighthouse.

A brave, brave soul wind surfing - or trying to!

It was extremely windy! We didn't walk all the way out to the lighthouse - waves coming up over the walkway. Beautiful though, really beautiful!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Armistice Day/Veteran's Day

This was going to be a Five on Friday post with Amy over at  Love Made My Home but things aren't going too well with her and her family right now so no Five on Friday. Sending hugs her way. I'm still going to do my post.

I thought that as it is Armistice Day in England and Veteran's Day in the US that I would share with you some wonderful memorials.

Last year about this time my daughter was spending her last semester (term) studying in Washington D.C. We were lucky enough to go visit her for a few days - someone had to pick her up at the end up it! I've never been to a big city over here. To be truthful, I'm not a fan of really big cities. Everyone seems in too much of a hurry. But I knew that it would (probably) be my only opportunity to visit Washington D.C.

I'm glad to say I really enjoyed going there. There is so much to see and most of it is free! The museums and memorials are free, as was seeing the Christmas Tree at the White House and the Botanical Gardens. I really would like to go back again. There are some fantastic war memorials there.


The Vietnam War Memorial Wall. This was simply quite stunning and very moving.  There are 58,272 names on the wall. Almost 1200 of those are listed as missing. I have wanted to see this memorial for a long time. It is truly humbling.

Along with this, The Women's Vietnam Memorial.

These are stunning pieces of art as well as very fitting tributes.

Korean War Memorial.

And the World War II memorial.

In my hometown of Ipswich a lovely, fitting tribute in the beautiful Christchurch Park.

Beautiful floral tribute on the anniversary of World War One at Colchester Castle.

On this day I would like to say thanks to all who gave their lives. Also thanking those who serve including my dear husband who was in the American Air Force for ten years.

Lest We Forget.