Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Too Much Stuff or House Not Big Enough?

Either I have too much stuff or my house is not big enough. I'm afraid it is probably the first. The number of people living in our house has gone down but there seems to be a lack of space. I, I know, it's me. I have a problem with books, magazines and crafty stuff.

I'm not sure why I feel the need to have as many physical books as I do. I accumulate a lot because, for some reason, I seem to think that if I don't get it when I see it I might not get it at all. Most of the books are used. I don't buy many brand new. Most are bargains (maybe that's part of the problem too). Some I even have on my Kindle, yet I still have the actual book too. There's something wrong with that! I can't seem to rid myself of the 'need' to actually have real books.

Regarding the crafty stuff - now that I have my own room it is out of the way, but I was looking today and I have so much yarn and cross stitch stuff that I'll never be able to use the whole lot. I've had myself on a no-new-cross-stitch ban for a while but I'm adding yarn to that - no matter how good the bargain, or how lovely it looks. Paper pads - the same. No new paper pads!

I can do this. I'm going to give myself a number of books to get rid of for the month and stick to it.  For now, on the crafty stuff I'm going  to put myself on a limited buying ban. A limited ban as there are things such as glue and tape I'll need to complete Christmas gifts. Crafty magazines I'm going to sort through, re-organise, donate, sell or recycle.

Surely I'm not the only one? That's the end of my whinge for the day!

On a good note - we got the first phase of our new windows done. We got the living room and one of the dining room windows done. We're getting done as the budget allows. The two large picture windows (one in dining room & one in kitchen) and the smaller kitchen window will be done in the Spring. I'm so excited to have them done! Our old windows were REALLY old and oddly styled. The new windows are a cleaner, simpler style and it's lovely sitting here looking out.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Drying Out

The weather people said we ended up with almost 6 inches of rain on Saturday. I think it was more. My bucket in the garden is completely full. I thought it would never stop! Sunday brought high winds. We'd spent all day Saturday in so we decided to go out even though it was still raining and very windy. We didn't walk far but decided to go look at a couple of (sort of) nearby lighthouses. The waves at the lakeshore were wild!

There was definitely no walking along the walkway! It was covered with water and waves. It's amazing to think this is a lake and not the sea!

At the other lighthouse there were people trying to surf! They could barely get up on their boards before either the wind or the waves knocked them off again!

Monday dawned cloudy but I put my boots on and went for a walk anyway.

The water was a lot higher at the place where I usually walk. I can usually walk past that plant - now it is in the lake! I've never seen it so high.

I was hoping to get some crafting done, but I've got to clean up a bit - we're having some of our windows replaced tomorrow so things need to be tidied and moved.

Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Will It Ever Stop Raining?

It has rained all day today. Not just little showers, but huge downpours complete with thunderstorms and loud bangs. It hasn't stopped all day. Not an exaggeration. It has rained so much there are flooded streets in town and the American football game at the local university has been cancelled as the pitch is under water! So far we've had more rain today than we got the whole of last month. Sigh. I hope it stops. I was hoping to go for a walk this morning, but it wasn't to be. Tomorrow doesn't look a lot better either.

I did venture out to pick up middle son's dry cleaning that I'd dropped off earlier in the week and to visit a new grocery shop that had opened in town. Trader Joe's. It wasn't too bad. I managed to find some crumpets which - to be honest - was the whole reason for the visit! They do seem to have some more vegetarian frozen food though I'm trying to stay away from too much frozen food.

The rest of the day has been spent Skyping Mum, chatting to daughter, reading, working on my album and doing a bit of knitting. I find it difficult to get up much energy on a day like this. Thankfully it isn't too cold! I hope everyone else is having a drier day than mine!

I'll be dreaming of sunny Autumn days!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Great Storm of 1987

It's coming up to the 30th anniversary of The Great Storm of 1987. At least that's what they were talking about on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning. Anyone remember it? I can. My Mum and I both woke up, but my brother slept right through it. I remember going outside in the morning and seeing all the trees down. I walked a little way, but couldn't get very far. I also remember going to see Rendlesham Forest after and the devastation was terrible. I don't remember being scared, but just kind of shell-shocked in the morning to see the mess outside. Ah memories! Giving away my age here, but I was seventeen then. Yikes.

Today dawned cloudy and dull, but surprisingly mild. I took a nice quiet walk and got some household stuff done before going upstairs and working on my albums. I managed to get the cover of another one done. I also completed the pages and covered them all, and the tags fitting in. I haven't sorted out photos yet. That seems to be the hardest part. Sigh. I did have to capture three stink bugs while I was up in my room.

Nice reflection on the lake this morning as the sun was beginning to break through the clouds.

I don't think I'll get much crafting in this weekend - usually I don't - though it is supposed to rain so maybe that will be the excuse needed to do some.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Looking a lot like Autumn...

It's beginning to look and feel like Autumn! It rained all day yesterday - yuck - and was rather chilly. I ended up closing the one window I had open. Today the rain cleared but no sunshine so still feeling a little chilly. I actually got out my cardigan yesterday!

The woods are even starting to look seasonal!

After our walk on Sunday we stopped by a farm shop. I love seeing all the pumpkins and gourds. They are all so very colourful!

Now that the cooler weather is coming (and so is Christmas!) I got up in my craft room and started off on the album I want to make hubby for Christmas.

I've got the covers and the binding done. The basic pages are ready to be mounted. I've got to pick out what finishing papers will go on the pages. It did feel good to get back creating something again. I think when I've got the basic book done I'll work on putting the one for my Mum together. I don't have many children's papers so either I'll have to go get some or maybe just use brightly coloured blank colours. I'll give it some thought! At least I've got started!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Rolling Around AGAIN!

I can't believe it's Monday again! I feel like time is just getting away from me. The weekend wasn't too bad - Saturday started off raining but that was it. Friday night we had storms. Half of our neighbourhood lost power (not us) when a tree fell on an ice cream van! There were a couple of people in the van - I hope they were okay! We did our walk on Sunday, a nice walk in the woods. There were still bees and butterflies around! Because of the warmer weather we're also getting stink bugs again (yuck) and this morning I see hoards of flying beetle-like things on the garage door (shudder). I'm hoping for a cold snap just to get rid of them! I don't want them in the house. I see one and then I can't stop thinking about it until someone gets rid of it.

From yesterday's walk.

Today when I went for a walk the moon was still high in the sky! I'd been hoping to practise night moon photography the last few nights but it's been too cloudy. It wasn't too cloudy this morning!

It's a gorgeous day today. Still a lot of green in the trees - the autumn colours are coming late this year.

You can barely see the moon up in the sky on the left, but it was large and bright considering it was ten in the morning!

Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cornwall - Five on Friday

It's been a while since I joined in with Five on Friday with Tricky over at Family Attempting to Survive the Times. It's been a busy summer here and things are finally settling down again. I was in England for six weeks (from end of July to beginning week of September), then a camping trip and then a weekend away up in the north of Michigan. I'm trying to back into the groove of things but it doesn't seem to be happening. Sigh.

Anyway, for this week's Five on Friday I'm going to share five photos from my holiday to Cornwall. While I was over visiting Mum (she's in Ipswich) we took an 8 day holiday to Cornwall. It is really such a beautiful place. It was a little steep for Mum in places. She turned 81 (September) while I was there and, although she gets around really well, some places where a little steep.

It's another of those places I'd love to live or maybe at least go visit again. I've always wanted to go there. When I was a child I read stories of smugglers and the ragged coastline. There are just so many nooks and crannies, such a great place to explore!

Land's End. It has become very commercialised. There is a big shopping/restaurant place, but if you go past that and walk along the front it is really quite beautiful. Lots of beautiful coastline and walks. I really enjoyed going there.

Pendennis Point. This was an unexpected pleasure.  We ended up taking one of those tourist buses where you can hop on and off and this was one of the spots we hopped off. Gorgeous! It had a lovely lighthouse to view too.

Carbis Bay. This is actually where we stayed. The beach was beautiful. Unfortunately there was quite a steep hill that led from our hotel to the beach. Mum went down once and managed to get back up but it was a struggle. I ended up going down a couple of times just to get photos.

St. Ives was only a five minute train ride from our hotel. It's a beautiful harbour town with some lovely beaches. We had a lovely walk along the front. The streets are quite windy and have lots of tourist shops, but the front is beautiful and well worth a walk.

Porthleven. I LOVED this place! So ragged looking and wild. It was like something out of a Gothic novel. The clouds were heavy with clouds, but luckily the rain stayed away. I could almost imagine this in winter at high tide with wild winds lashing against the coast and the waves crashing up the rocks near the church. Sigh.

Thanks so much for visiting! Happy Five on Friday and I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Back to Normal

We're back from our mini-break, so it's a matter of trying to get back into normal. It will be the last weekend away for a little while. We have to replenish our holiday fund - ha, ha. It was a lovely weekend of sunrises, sunsets, waterfalls, two great lakes and lighthouses. Phew! It was quite a packed weekend - lots of driving and looking. Wonderful. I really enjoyed it.

I'll have to do a lighthouse post as some point. We got to see two more we've never seen and one was a repeat though we'd only seen it at a distance. We know there are places we want to go see - lots more lighthouses and beautiful nature places. I LOVE the U.P of Michigan. It is so peaceful up there - so many places where you won't bump into a soul.

I've got some checking up to do on blogs, washing to do and general catching up. Still, nothing that won't go away unless I do it lol. Hope everyone is enjoying their Tuesday.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lovely Weekend Away

We've home up to the upper peninsula of Michigan for the weekend. It is so beautiful up here, a wonderful plans to recharge your batteries and realise what's important in life. Hubby and I are having a fun time. We're looking around places we love - some old and some new. We're enjoying sunsets sunrises (long story as I am not a morning person). The weather is gorgeous too.

Photo taken on phone so not the best quality.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Really Good Book

I read a lot. I don't often post about it. I have a sidebar from Goodreads of the books I've read in the current month. I get my love of reading from my Mum. She reads as much as I do. It was funny how quiet things were when I was there and we were both reading a book.

I read a lot of different genres. Most of the time it depends on my mood. The book I've just finished I would class as a family story. It is called What Makes a Family and is by Colleen Faulkner. She's an American author.

I won't give much away. I'm not really that good at book reviews. I end up tending to want to give the plot away! I'll just say that it was a book about several generations of women from the same family. They are gathered at the bedside of the matriarch Mama Brodie who is nearing the end of her life. It is the story of Mama Brodie, her daughter-in-law Birdie, Birdie's daughters Celeste and Abby and Abby's daughter Sarah. It is told through each of their points of view.

It's a really lovely story of secrets, hopes and dreams. It really got me thinking about my own family. I have two sisters, both older than me. It made me wonder how they see me and how my Mum sees us all. We are all quite different women. We get along well with each other, but not overly close. We don't share secrets - at least I don't share with them. As I am so far away from them I don't get to see them very often. They have their own relationship - seeing each other weekly.  I wish I was closer to them so I could see them more. Sometimes I just wonder whether it is Mum keeping us together and in touch. I admit to being a little jealous of them - parts of their personalities. My oldest sister is very bubbly. She has a really infectious smile. I know she gets down but most of the time she appears really cheerful. My middle sister is very organised and super-busy. She seems to have everything together and is very family orientated. I think I'm the odd one out. I've always sort of felt like that. I'm a bit of a dreamer. I know I have traits of Mum and Nana - crafts, reading etc. I wonder what my sisters think when they think of me.  I wonder if it is like this with all sisters.

If you do get a chance, give the book a read. It is well worth the time!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday Already! Cooler

A front came through this morning and things are a little cooler - still warmish but not really hot. I am actually enjoying a lovely  breeze coming in the window.

The days seem to be just flying by. I keep meaning to do crafting but with the weather so nice I've been out and about walking and enjoying the sunshine. There will be plenty of time for crafting once the winter comes. I certainly won't be out walking so much then!

I woke up early yesterday morning as it was really too hot to sleep. We don't have air in the bedroom and it can get quite hot. I decided to go for an early, early morning walk hoping to catch the sunrise. In the summer I don't get to see too many of them, but now that Autumn has come it is darker until later.

Someone had built a cairn down at one access to the lake. It's always lovely to see these and see someone leaving a gentle mark.

It cast a beautiful reflection in the lake. It was so calm and peaceful there that early in the morning. I was the only person around. I stood and listened to all the birds and the chipmunks. I even got to see a family of raccoons come out of the brush near the water and play for a little while. I wish I had taken a seat just to sit!

I am coming along on my shawl that I was making. It's the eight hour one that has certainly taken more than eight hours! I'm almost on my second ball of yarn. I'm still waiting for my photos to come from Shutterfly so I can start on some holiday gifts.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Summer or September?

Another hot one yesterday. I didn't fancy going up hills and such in the heat but we did get out and about for a walk along the beach. There were so many people about. It looked rather like mid-summer than late September! I rather like it a little quieter. It is supposed to cool down mid-week.

We stopped by a couple of lighthouses. One of them is in the middle of construction. They are replacing the stone walkway out to the lighthouses. Construction was supposed to be finished but it's not done. I think it's both a matter of money and the fact that Lake Michigan has been quite high that the boardwalk has been partially covered that it hasn't been completed. It's a beautiful landmark. I hope it gets finished soon!

The seagulls are starting to use it as a place to sit and watch the beach-goers.

This is the other one we visited - Big Red. Apparently it is one of the most photographed of the Michigan lighthouses. Have to say it isn't my favourite, but is another nice looking one.

Look at that blue sky! I think I caught the sun just walking as I noticed I was a little red when I got home. We didn't stay too long - I don't like sitting out in the sun and husband just turns as red as a beetroot - and we had to get back for son's get-together at my MILs.

I think after eating this I need to take an extra walk this morning!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Quiet Saturday

It is my middle son's birthday today. He turns 26. Ouch. Where did the years go? I'm not so sure anymore. We did presents and then he and his older brother went out to a friend's house. Tomorrow we're doing a bbq over at my mother-in-laws. Nothing too exciting. I remember back when they were little birthdays were a big production. A part of me misses those days and a part of me is glad they are over. Really proud of him, how far he's come and of the man he's become.

On a side note I think I'm going to give in and buy a new dryer. I had hopes of not getting one but with winter coming it's just not a reality. Our clothes would literally freeze if I put them outside and I really don't fancy trying to dry heavy work clothes/winter wear inside. It's really the wrong time of year for it to break. I hate to spend the money.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. Hopefully this heat won't last much longer. I could do with a break from the air conditioning bills.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Three Broken Things - Done

Mum always said broken things come in threes. I hope she's right. I don't need to break anything else!

Yesterday - toaster
Today - mug I bought for daughter arrived broken, tumble dryer broke

Sigh. Oh well, it could be worse!

At least the walk this morning was pretty - hot, but pretty.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 hot!

Who knew that late in September I'd be complaining that it was too hot? I am. Good thing hubby didn't take out the window air conditioner - we had it on most of the day yesterday and I've turned it on early this morning. It's not even 11am and it is 25c (77c) and will get up to 32c (90f). Yikes! It's supposed to be a hot few days - up to 91 tomorrow! I thought this was supposed to be September. I was actually looking forward to cooler temperatures. I'm having to rethink the whole menu as I was looking forward to turning the oven on and cooking some hot dinners. I am going to try to blow a little of the hot air in Mum's direction as she said it's been chilly and she's already had her heat on!

It is actually looking a little like Autumn in the woods. Some of the trees are changing colour and leaves are falling.

The other day I was talking about Christmas and gift giving. I have actually started buying some gifts. Shock! Horror! An early start especially for me. Daughter has a couple of games on her list that she swears and going to be hard-to-find so I picked those up. I'm also been giving some thought to homemade gifts. I think several of them are going to be photo gifts. I have a couple ideas for Mum, one for hubby and perhaps daughter. I have a bunch of prints on the way so hopefully I won't be making these gifts on Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rainy Day

I woke up this morning and it was raining so no walk today. It's a little cooler too so I decided to turn the oven on and make some sausage rolls for tea tonight. I thought about going up in my craft room but nothing catches my eye right now - still on a holiday hangover - so picked up the knitting I was doing before leaving for England. I had the patterns row memorised before I left but it's taking a little to get going again. I'm hoping the knitting kick starts the creative juices. I really need to work out the Christmas craft gift thing.

Changing leaves adorned with raindrops.

Sausage rolls fresh from the oven - I cheated on the puff pastry.

Knitting still on the needles waiting to be worked on.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beautiful Weekend - Camping

We were so lucky to have a wonderful weekend for our last camping trip. The day was positively hot and even the night was warm enough to be comfortable. We had a lovely couple of days. We got in several walks and got to spend the evening watching the sunset over Lake Michigan - a truly wonderful sight.

We camped at a state park. It was quite busy - there are four sets of sites on the park and most of the spots were full. There were lots of people out there for the day too. We saw quite a few people on our walks on Saturdays. It was a little too busy for me but once the evening came things settled down a little and there weren't too many people around.

Our camp site was fairly quiet. The spot we had reserved had woods behind it and to one side there were woods so we were fairly isolated. The spot was quite large compared to some of them. We had gone in the Spring and picked out a few sites we wouldn't mind staying at. All-in-all it was a really good weekend. A nice end to the camping season.

Can't wait to do more camping next year! For this year our next trip is a long weekend up in the UP of Michigan (hopefully) to see some of the Autumn colours. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Easing into the Weekend

It's supposed to be a nice weekend here in Michigan. Good thing as we are going on our last camping trip of the year. I was a little apprehensive as it has been quite chilly in the morning. I booked it six months ago though so we have to go. It's at a lovely state park that has a lighthouse and several nice walks. I'm looking forward to it.

Summer is definitely winding down and Autumn is in the air. We're planning a weekend away in a couple of weeks to travel up north and hopefully catch some of the wonderful Autumn colours. I just hope we pick the right time - too early and there is too much green, too late and all the leaves are gone! It's a matter of timing.

Yesterday morning was quite foggy. I got out early for my walk and was glad I did. I manage to capture a few snaps before the sun burned away the fog. It was lovely, almost as though someone had waved a wand over all the webs.

It was really wonderful to see. It's becoming quieter where I walk. Because of the chilly mornings not too many people are out and about early. It's lovely and quiet.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Crafty Books - Christmas??!

I've been sorting through my things a bit today. I must admit I brought back far more than I thought when I packed it. When it was all unloaded - yikes! I do admit to going a little crazy. One of my favourite places to shop when back in England is The Works. There are so many great books at really good prices, both fiction and non-fiction. The one in Ipswich also carries quite a few crafty goodies. There were so many books I could have picked up. I know they are a little heavy though so tried to be good and not bring too many back. I wish there was somewhere like it here in the US.

These are the craft books I ended up buying.

There were so many more I COULD have bought. These were priced between one and three pounds! Now that I'm back I have to put them to some use.

It's still fairly early - though this year is whizzing by - but I'm starting to think of Christmas. I know I need to think about what I'm going to make. Christmas cards are a given, but what about crafty gifts? I don't tend to make a lot of them, usually only for people who I know will appreciate them. I'd be interested in finding out what others make for the holidays - if anything. Are you already thinking of the holidays? Or, like me, do you tend to be last minute?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Travel Journal

I wrote a post early on in my England visit about the travel journal I was planning to make. I usually keep all manner of souvenirs - postcards, ticket stubs, brochures etc - and usually they end up in a big where I decide later (or not) what to with them. This year I took a journal with me - something cheap that I've had for ages - and some tape to stick bits down. I am happy to report that I kept it throughout my trip. I did have to buy an additional book and have a few bits from my flight home to put in that one, but I thought I'd share some of how it ended up. It's not perfect or pretty. It's not meant to be. I kept it so I could keep track of where Mum and I went hopefully to make it easier to put photos together at a later point.

I am very pleased with this! I usually struggle to keep track of things and document anything. It is something I will definitely do again!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ouch My Back!

I think a combination of sitting too long travelling, lifting cases and bending about has done my back in! I bent down yesterday and OUCH! It's not good today either. Sigh. Got lots to do and now it hurts when I move. Oh well. I suppose things will still be waiting to be done when back is better. I don't want to mess it around too much as we're supposed to go camping overnight next weekend and I can't imagine crawling into a sleeping bag with a bad back.

Enough moaning.

Hubby hasn't done any walking since I've been gone and the weather was nice this morning, so despite the bad back, we headed out for a little walk along the beach. We had been planning a hike but I don't think I could manage climbing up sand dunes.

What a difference a few weeks makes! There were more seagulls on the beach than people.

Now I'm sitting in my chair with a heating pad on. Gives me a chance to sort through some photos and read some blogs that I've missed!