Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year's Eve

On the cusp of a New Year and a new decade I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year. Thank you SO much for reading my blog and commenting. I really appreciate your support. I enjoy the virtual friendships I've made through the blog community. 

I  just got off the phone with my Mum and have seen in the New Year with her. The rest of the evening here will be a quiet one. Husband says he doesn't know if he is staying up. I probably shall as midnight is when I usually go to bed. It was snowy here today so I didn't go out, but tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and we are off for an early walk. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Start of a New Week

Aaargh...I accidentally signed out of my blog account, couldn't remember my password so I had to reset it and now it's acting all strange. Every time I try to look something up it says something about signing in but I'm already signed in. Even when I'm writing this post it keeps telling me to sign in. Grrrr. It's driving me crazy.

That's the rant for the day.

It's blustery here today and the temperature is dropping. We are expecting snow tomorrow. I am all prepared. If I can't go out for a walk tomorrow I shall be staying in and crafting. I have been watching videos to make journals and there's one I'm going to give a try. A while back I bought a Cinch binding machine and (hanging my head) I never ended up using it. I got it out today and tried it. I shall be using it. I think 2020 might have to be the year where I use something/read something or get rid of it.

I did some crafting yesterday and today. I am pleased to say that I have managed to keep up with my December Daily -- one day to go (yah me!). I am also pleased to say that I completed the 30 Day Seasonal Photo Challenge in my online camera club that I am a part of. It might not sound much to others, but I am really pleased as I struggle to complete things like this.

I've been thinking a lot about things I'd like to accomplish next year and my word of the year. I haven't really come up with either. I have a few things tossing about in my head. Perhaps I will write them down and see if I can make head or tails of the thoughts or what direction they are taking.

Anybody else thinking of ideas for the New Year?

Saturday, December 28, 2019

After the Holidays

It feels really weird this week. I don't think it helps that Christmas Day was on a Wednesday. It seemed like it was neither here nor there - not at one weekend or the other. I didn't join in the other Christmas madness shopping. There wasn't really anything I needed or wanted. I bought wrapping paper at the dollar shop this year - it was Hallmark paper which is quite a good make and it had grid lines on the back lol - and used it all up. I have bought some in the after-Christmas sales and always seems to end up forgetting where I put it so I don't bother anymore.

We did get up early on Boxing Day (26th) and headed out for a walk. There is a lighthouse I like to go to but it's quite the drive so we started up early and got there early enough that we were the only car in the car park! It's a 1.8 mile hike to the lighthouse and the same back but we had the lighthouse (the actually is closed for the season) to ourselves. The winds in October and November have really done some damage. From the debris it looked as though the water almost came up to the lighthouse! It came up and over the barrier you can see in the photo and carved a sort of stream in the sand. I've never seen it that high.

As you can see it was a beautiful sunny day and not too cold at all. The sand dunes around the lighthouse were still somewhat frozen so we were able to take a walk in the dunes where we haven't been before (it's a lot easier to walk on frozen sand than regular fine sand). By the time we got back to the car park there were plenty of cars there and quite a few people on the beach. It was a wonderful way to spend the day!

Hubby went back to work Friday and the clouds had returned so I didn't take a walk - we'd done almost five miles on Boxing Day so I thought I could do without as the weather was horrible. I did a bit of tidying and got a few Christmas bits put aside ready to be packed away. When I got up this morning  husband had already taken the tree down and packed everything away! It was cloudy again this morning but we went for a quick walk before I Skyped with Mum.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain all day long. We have already decided not to go for our usual walk. Husband is going to do something with son in the morning. I am classing it as a totally 'free' day - no cleaning or sorting - so I shall read a book and do some crafting.

Hope everyone had a good holiday and is recovering nicely.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Christmas

Hope everyone has a happy and peaceful Christmas. It can be both a happy time of year and rather sad. I always miss Mum and family in England at this time of year especially when people are talking about all their family being together. I'm missing daughter too. I think it's difficult for her too. She sounded a little down. I know exactly how she feels as I'm sort of stuck on both sides - away from daughter and away from Mum. I shall see daughter again in a few weeks so that's what we're trying to keep sight of and look forward to.

I had a lovely day - too much food and lots of gifts. I was very lucky to receive a new lens for my camera from husband and son. It was a lovely surprise. It is a wider angle lens for landscape photography. I am itching to get out tomorrow and see what sort of pics I can take. Husband took the day off work - here in America Christmas is only one day but we always try to do something special on Boxing Day. Now that the kids are all grown it's usually a walk. I'm hoping the sun will be shining tomorrow so we can get out.

Monday, December 23, 2019

T'was the Night Before the Night Before...

I'm feeling a little more relaxed about things. I think it is now to the point where if it hasn't happen or been bought it won't be.

Joy - I did get caught up with my daily book. It felt good to be caught up. I have rather enjoyed it though it didn't quite happen as I planned. Do things ever? I am happy that I have kept going with it as sticking to projects is something I am not good at.

I spent today putting finishing touches on items. I am looking forward to doing more crafting once the holidays are over. It seems to me that the time leading up to the holidays is so crazy and then suddenly it's all over and there seems to be lots of spare time. While I'm in the mood to craft I'm going to take advantage and start on some projects. I got lots of goodies from daughter for presents when we went to visit so I want to make sure to use them and show her the projects I've used them for.

I finally took a few phone photos of some easy projects.

These are lovely little treat boxes that hold a few little sweets. They are fairly easy to make  - that being said it's been a while since I made them and I messed the first one up completely!

And a couple of quick shaker cards from a kit I bought at Tuesday Morning (a discount shop). The kits are fairly cheap and are really easy to make - nice to keep on hand for quick homemade cards.

I also wanted to share some lovely makes from my MIL. She is such a talented craftswoman. She can do just about anything - knitting, crocheting, beading, sewing, cross stitching - really a very talented woman. I absolutely love these birds.

She always does some sort of ornament at Christmas and every year they seem to be better!

Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Happy Winter Solstice!

I am always excited by the winter solstice. I know there is still a long, cold and snowy winter to go, but knowing that the darkest day is done and the days will only start getting longer is a comfort somehow. It was actually quite a nice day today. The sun was shining quite brightly when we went out. We took a quick drive to the lakeshore and managed a few photos of the melting ice. It was actually quite quiet out walking. I think most people were shopping. I avoided shopping today. I've done a lot of holiday all week and wanted one day just to relax and enjoy.

I Skyped with my Mum. She is all prepared for the Christmas holiday. She received the calendars and cards that I sent as well as the GC I ordered from W.H Smith (bookshop in England). They are always really prompt about shipping. Mum loves watching out for the 1/2 price books they have on offer. My sister was at Mum's flat when the postman rang the doorbell which was good as sometimes Mum doesn't always hear it too well as she has an upstairs flat (it does have it's own door leading outside). I ordered her a couple of books from Amazon UK that will arrive at her post office on Monday - it's easier for Mum to pick them up as the post office is quite close to her house. I shall talk to her again on Christmas Eve.

This afternoon I did some crafting. I have fallen a little behind on my December daily so worked on that for a while as I am all done with anything else Christmas-y. I do have to put away all the holiday in my craft room but that's for another day.

I might try to see if I can see anything of the moon tonight. Or I might not. I am currently toasty warm as I've had a lovely bath and am in my PJs so might not venture outside lol.

Today's photo - a lovely snowy walk in the woods. This was taken yesterday before the snow started to melt. I might not like driving in the snow, but there is something lovely and peaceful about it.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Today is my daughter's birthday. She turned 26. Wow, I'm not sure where the years went. We chatted for a while today. She had work but this evening her boyfriend is taking her out to dinner. She said she went out to lunch with friends from work so not a bad day. I'm so proud of the woman she's become. She must have a bit of adventurer in her as she struck out on her own and moved hundreds of miles away, knowing absolutely nobody just so she could have a good job. Although she is far away she has made a life for herself there, made some good friends and met her boyfriend. I have hopes that maybe one day she'll move back but otherwise I'll have a place to go visit. Minnesota is a beautiful state - very cold though!

It was bitterly cold this morning, but I did go for a walk. I didn't realise just how cold it was! The sun was shining though and I felt as though I had to get out. The roads were a lot clearer so I managed to get most of what I wanted done today. I think I do have to go out tomorrow. I am itching to get back into my craft room. I didn't do any today. I wrapped some more presents. It's driving me crazy. I absolutely hate wrapping. Thankfully it's almost done.

Today's photo - a visitor to the snowy garden. Poor squirrel needed some food!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Easing Back into the Week

I  managed to get some errands done yesterday - though I forgot to make a list and forgot two of the things I needed to get done, so ended up having to go back out again! Grrrr… I was going to leave the running around until today but yesterday our area popped up with a Winter Weather Advisory due to a snow storm and I hate driving in the snow so decided to go on Tuesday. Today when I woke I was glad that I did go yesterday! It was horrible out first thing - snowy and grey - the hill outside my house didn't look great. I ended up wrapping up some gifts and cleaning up some more before calling mum. We hadn't talked for a week so it was really good to chat with her. After I hung I saw that things had cleared up a little outside so I decided to wrap up warmly and go for a quick walk. Some days I feel really cooped up in the house and a walk always helps. The sun was actually shining a little! I think the birds were stocking up on food. They were out in droves when I put out food.

This little bird pinched a peanut off the porch railing. The peanut was almost as big as the bird!

While we were in Minnesota I did manage to persuade the others to stop at the gardens in St. Cloud. I was so glad to be able to see them in July while things were at full bloom. I was interested in getting another look at them. It was quite eerie walking along. I was the only one walking the cleared path. It wasn't possible to get in many of the gardens - I can't imagine there's much call for everything to be ploughed during winter. With the white, undisturbed snow some of the features seemed to stand alone - including the one below.

If the roads are cleared tomorrow I hope to finish my shopping and then come home and finish the wrapping. Admittedly I shall be glad when it is all finished!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Busy Week

Wow! I can't believe it's been a week since I wrote! It was a busy week. I was trying to finish up my mum's calendar and overseas cards so I could get all those in the post and finish shopping for daughter and boyfriend, wrap all their presents and get ready to go! We went away for a long weekend to visit daughter in Minnesota. It is quite a drive to their place from ours so we left early Friday morning - takes about 9/10 hours with minimal toilet breaks -  spent a full day with them Saturday and Sunday and then drove back on Monday. It's quite a tiring trip especially for so little time spent there, but we wanted to do our Christmas together and celebrate daughter's birthday (which will be on the 19th). We were pretty lucky with the drive back, but on the way there we hit a snow storm in Minnesota and it took more than an hour extra to drive! It was a really cold weekend so not a lot of time outside, but we got to spend some fun time together and watched a lot of Christmas films. It wasn't easy saying goodbye but I am planning a trip at the end of January so it will only be a little over a month before I see her again.

On our way back we saw this sign just in time for Christmas - there was a different one on the way down, but I wasn't quick enough to snap it!

I did manage a few photos so I'll try to sort and post some tomorrow. As I said it was quite cold and quite snowy so I wanted to try to at least get a few shots. We did stop on the way back at Minnehaha Falls. Husband hasn't seen it before and I wanted him to see it in winter as it is so beautiful. It wasn't all the way frozen, but there was lots of ice build up. He was really impressed!

I hope everyone had a good week. I have some catching up to do later this evening when things have quietened down. We exchanged gifts so I have things to put away and clothes to wash!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Snowy Day

It rained all day yesterday so I didn't go for a walk. It was supposed to be dry today - a little dusting of snow overnight - so I was ready to go for a walk today. Nope. I woke up and there were already a couple of inches outside. Obviously this was one of the 'miss' days for the weather forecast. It didn't stop snowing most of the day! I don't like driving in the snow BUT I have a new-to-me car that has all wheel drive so I thought I'd give it a go and just go down to the park for a walk. I managed to get there and back all right but then I stayed home. No more going out for me! Middle son called and said he was on his way to our place. I wasn't sure he would come because of the snow, but apparently he did only get a dusting where he was! Once he got here he couldn't believe how much we got - I think he thought I was joking!

Because I was indoors I did manage to get my Mum's calendar finished and I made two more gnomes to take with me to daughter - one for her and one for her boyfriend's mum.

I think because of the snow the birds were going crazy out in the garden. We're going to have another cold snap - as I write this it is -7C/19F. Poor daughter is -24C/-11F (and it feels even colder than that!). I'm hoping they warm up a bit by the weekend when we visit. Anyway I'm pretty sure that the birds can tell when bad weather is coming as they tend to stock up. I put out bird seed a couple of times today.

Here's a couple of photos from today out in the garden.

Hopefully the snow has ended for now and maybe I can go out a little longer tomorrow - as long as I have my long undies on!

Monday, December 9, 2019

And So Another Week Begins....

I did manage to get the tea I wanted on Saturday. I got it on sale and because I was a member (free) I got an extra 10% off! I did end up buying other things there. It's a shop that sells different things from around the world and when I went in there holiday chocolates and goodies were 40% off (plus the extra 10%) and they had some British chocolates so I got some for Christmas. When I was a child Mum always put out food goodies at Christmas. They would be on our sideboard and we'd be able to eat the treats we couldn't the rest of the year. I still try to do that each year. Of course when I was child (makes me sound really old!) we didn't have sweets every day, they really were a rare treat.

Husband didn't work Sunday so we did go out. The weather wasn't great, but it wasn't raining or snowing so we decided to go out for a bit. When I looked at my phone to see when the next sunshine would be it said December 17th! Yikes, I hope they are wrong.

On our travels we went to the lakeshore. We had another lot of strong winds in the week so we thought we'd check out another couple beaches and see how they had faired. It didn't look good. We saw several lots of steps that, at one time, must have gone from property down to the beach, but have been washed away.

We also thought we'd stop by and see how this house was faring. We visited last winter and thought it was a precarious place to build a house even then! I don't think it's been sold. I certainly wouldn't buy a house perched right on the edge.

You can see where they have tried to build a wall of stones from the house down to the lake and even in the lake. The fence you see is on the public beach area to stop winds/snow. Unfortunately there is no way to get down on the beach as after that fence there is a shear drop (quite large) down into the lake. There was caution tape up to warn people.

Perhaps the saddest thing we saw was this poor little tree. Once upon a time it was safely on the shore, but the lake waves were lapping over the base and I can't imagine it will be around much longer.

It's a horrible wet and grey dull day here today. I am off out to get a few bits and then shall - happily - spend the day inside tidying up and crafting. Hope everyone has a good Monday!

Friday, December 6, 2019

End of Week

I can't believe another week is done. Husband and oldest son have to work tomorrow so the house will be quiet. I am going off for a walk somewhere and I *might* do some shopping. I hate going shopping on Saturdays but I've just found out that somewhere has a sale on the tea middle son likes so am thinking of getting him some for a present.

I've finally got the photos for my Mum's calendar so I shall be working on that. Long story short - the place I ordered the photos from messed up. I'm not at all happy as they weren't very helpful and didn't feel the need to rectify the situation. I had to reorder at a higher price so I could get them to do the project. I decided to take a piece of advice from Jacky (and Elsa) and let it go. The photos are now in my hands and some are even on the project! I do have all the cards made that I need to make. So that's a plus. Anything else now is just extra. 

I'm not doing so well on the gift shopping. I don't like shopping. Well, I enjoy shopping for books, but that's about it. Unfortunately I can't just get everyone books. It would be so much easier! I have to at least have daughter's birthday and Christmas presents as well as her boyfriend's by Thursday as we are leaving next Friday for a weekend visit. It's a long way to drive for the weekend - hopefully no snowy roads - but I really want to see her before Christmas and her birthday. 

Pleased about :-

* I am keeping up with my December Daily!

* The washing machine didn't eat any socks this week - they all matched up! Oh how easily pleased I can be.

* My photographic projects seem to be coming together.

Today's photo - this is a snapshot of some of the animal cards I have managed this year. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Still Cloudy - Sigh

I managed to get the table cleaned off - for a day - before there was stuff on it again. The only difference now is that it does have a couple of seasonal bits on it to cheer me up. I played around a little with some indoor photography too as the weather has been so...dull. That also cheered me up a little.

I've managed to get all my cards made so I can cross that off the list. I haven't done any more shopping for presents but I'm going to do some more armchair shopping today. I do want to support local business' but I do so hate the crowds (grumble grumble). Even earlier in the mornings it seems to be so busy.

I have been working on a photography project. I belong to an online Camera Club and at the beginning of the year we resolved to do a Big Project. I decided on two that I'd like to do - one was more Black & White photography and the other to do a set of animal cards. Any sort of long term project is a struggle for me as I find it hard to stay on track but I am pleased to say that I have a large amount of Black & White photos. I have been sorting through them and have put together a couple of groups of them. It may not seem like much but I am very proud to have done them! I find that I really like Black & White photography and before starting the project I was of the mind that it was simply a matter of changing the colour. Now when I look to take a photo to convert to Black & White I am thinking of tones and textures. I am certainly going to do more. I think I'm going to put them in an album.

Today is going to be another cloudy day. I woke early and got up after oldest son had left for work. As I write this it is still early and dark out. I might go for a walk when it lightens up. I also have a couple of errands to run. I might actually get some crafting in today! I have continued on with the monthly journal so I shall do that.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable day!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

December Already

I feel as though December has come too soon. I don't particularly like the month - the days are some of the darkest of the year, the weather is mostly grey and dismal and people are rushing around with such urgency. I do look forward to the Solstice, knowing that - even though it doesn't seem like it - the darkest day of the year has passed and things will only get lighter. I find the month difficult too as everyone is talking about family, being together, going home for the holidays and I'm so far away from my Mum and sisters - and now - my daughter. I understand people have it a lot worse, with loved ones not around at all anymore. This year I've decided that I'm going to (try!) to do some sort of daily journal. It might be a little of everything though hopefully bright and happy more than sad.

This is day one

I don't do much for decorations about the house, but I might get some colourful, seasonal flowers to put in the house. I like the thought of brightening things up a bit. Perhaps that's why some people really enjoy decorating for Christmas. I do need to get the table cleaned off again - it seems to be a magnet for 'stuff' and - although it was clean for a while - things have slowly found their way there again.

Job for tomorrow - clean off the table, light a seasonal candle (I do love those!) and maybe get some flowers or put my gnomes out to cheer things up!

Hope for tomorrow - sunshine, just a little.