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!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Jet Lag - Back in US again, Wide Awake

I am back in America again all safe and sound and wide awake. I got in at 9pm US time (2am UK time). Made for a really long day as I started out on the coach to the airport at 5.45 am UK time (12.45am US time) on Thursday. The flight was a little bumpy but pretty quiet. There weren't too many people on the plane so I had a couple of seats by the window to myself. I tumbled into bed pretty much when I got back but at 3am I was wide awake and unable to sleep. Darn Jet Lag. I always find it harder coming back. My bad ankle is swollen but I don't plan on doing too much today so it will soon go down.

Today is playing a lot of catch up, unpacking and doing washing. Really hard to say goodbye to Mum. She turned 81 on Sept 4th. We had a lovely meal out and she got lots of presents. Really thankful to be able to spend another birthday with her. I had a lovely time. We did lots of things so I have a lot of photos to sort through. We made some lovely memories.

Last views of England as the plane took off. I love watching as we go through the clouds, such a glorious sight!

I have a lot of catching up to do with blogs. Thank you all for the wonderful comments. I haven't replied a lot. Mum is on a limited budget and keeps most of her things turned off when not using so I wasn't on the Internet a lot - besides I wanted to enjoy time with her and not play online.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Finished Cross Stitch

I finished the cross stitch just in time for mum's birthday!

The backstitch in the hair took forever! Mum really liked it. We're off out for a meal with my sisters to celebrate mum's special day.