Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Crafty Life

Another thing that brings me joy is crafting. I have done some sort of crafts for years. I remember my Nana trying to teach me to crochet (an epic fail - I still can't!) and learning to cross stitch at school. I took up cross stitching a little more seriously when I was about seventeen and haven't really stopped since. There were periods when I didn't do a lot of it, but I've always had some sort of stitching around. I started doing some scrapbooking when my children were younger and that has evolved into other papercrafting. I have (sort of) learned how to knit and I can do the basics of quilting (not my favourite though). I think crafting of some sort is a great creative outlet. There is nothing quite like seeing something come together or making someone a gift and seeing their smiles when they receive it. 

My latest cross stitch that I'm working on. It's a pattern from a magazine that I've had a long time. It will be a bunny dressed in a Christmas outfit. I thought it would be something fun for my Mum. I'm hoping she'll like it. 

More mini-albums. I really need to start filling these!

It's lovely to finally be able to have my own room where I can create things. I must admit to be a little bit messy in the creative process and my room really needs a sort and a tidy. I plan on doing that once the weather cools down a bit as it's still quite hot upstairs and I can't stay up there for too long!

Do you do lots of crafts? Is there one in particular you really like? How long have you been doing it?

I can't remember a time when my Mum wasn't creative.  She would knit us lots of different things and when we outgrew them she would take them apart and wind up the wool into balls. When she retired to took some quilting lessons at the local college and has made lots of lovely quilts. My Nana was accomplished at crochet and she used to sew the gussets on thick leather gloves to make extra money. I remember her doing it when she was (seemingly to me) quite old. Mum says she had done it for years to make some extra household money as her husband was a little tightfisted. It's lovely to know that I've continued on (in some sort of way) in the crafty arts. When I pick up a needle I often think of Mum or Nana. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Say Cheese!

Today's thing that makes me happy and brings me joy is photography. I've always enjoyed taking photos but it's only in the last four/five years that I've actually learned how to use my camera properly. Before this I was using the automatic feature on my camera. I am happy to say that I rarely if ever use that function now. If you do and you're happy with it then that's okay. I really wanted to learn what all the buttons were used for and what they all meant but never had the time (or perhaps too many other hobbies to give it a good try!). However I decided that I was going to try to get to grips with my camera (hubby had bought me a really good one). It took a lot of work, a lot of frustration (still sometimes) but I'm really getting the hang of it. I really enjoy taking photos. When I'm out there with my camera I tend to forget about everything else and just see what I can see. My Mum says that now I see things that she wouldn't even think twice about. I think photography has made me more observant. 

In the last few months it has really kept me sane. It's given me time to forget about all that's going on in the world and try to see the beauty all around me. Speaking of which, I don't like Winter in Michigan but getting out with my camera and trying to see the beauty around me has really made me learn to appreciate a part of winter. I'm still learning - seems like there is always something new to learn. There are still so many things I want to learn. When I first started getting out taking photos I was a little weary of taking my camera with me. I felt kind of silly. Now I rarely go anywhere without it. At least in that part of my life I don't care what people think of me. I don't care if they think of me as the crazy lady who is always carrying her camera with her. In fact, I'm pretty sure some people that I see on my walk each day think that of me. 

If you find something that makes you happy, make it a point to get out there and do it.

Me and my camera today on my daily walk, looking for birds and bunnies (of which there were lots!).

I prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it. This is one I did take of myself. I was holding one of my camera while the other was on a tripod taking a photo of me. I jazzed it up in Photoshop - something I am working on getting to grips with as I like the idea of photography and art. This was certainly a challenge!

Thanks for everyone reading and commenting. Check out Jacky's blog as she's posting what makes her happy too. Dicky Bird's Nest

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Day 3 - Today's Happy

I had another post planned for today, but daughter called me today and sent me a couple of photos and I realised just how happy seeing photos of her dogs made me smile. I miss them. They really are such characters. I've told daughter to send me some more photos when she gets the chance as they really make me smile.

When daughter first decided to get her husky I wasn't quite sure what to think. I knew they were pretty dogs to look at but they are also big. I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about such a big dog. Would it be scary? Would it jump up on me? Would it bark a lot? Howl? The reality was completely different and such a lovely surprise. Shasta, daughter's rescue dog, is such a beauty. She is big (even for a husky she's a little...well, husky) but she's also very gentle. As she's a rescue we're not sure of her background but I have the feeling that, at one point, she was very loved. She has always sat so nicely when children have asked to pet/stroke her. The same when it is older people. It's as though she senses when people need her to be really gentle. Even though she used to get really excited when she was taken for a walk and pulled a bit if it was icy out and you told her to go slow she would. She absolutely adores daughter. Today while daughter and I were talking Shasta decided she wanted to be a lap dog!

Daughter was trying to take a photo while Shasta was sitting on her lap!

When daughter met her boyfriend through some husky friends another two huskies were added to the mix. The dogs all get along so well. Shasta is the oldest so she has old lady status. The youngest is a little hyper but she seems to bring out the puppy in Shasta sometimes. The middle one doesn't have a lot to do with Shasta, but they do like one another. If the younger one is trying to get Shasta to play too much the middle one will play instead as though she's trying to protect Shasta. They make a lovely family together.

Shasta and the younger one. Daughter says they didn't stay put together for long lol.

This is the middle one. I like to call her Princess as she does like her home comforts. She's the one sitting on a pillow in the living room. She's quite gentle and sweet. She did take a little time to warm up to everyone when we first met but now she loves attention just like the others.

Just thinking about them really makes me smile. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to be able to live with them all the time, but I suppose, like a Nana to children, it's nice visiting or having them visit and knowing someone else has to take care of them. I love getting photos and hearing about their antics but I'm glad it's not me!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Happy Walking...Walking...Happy Walk

I feel I got a little bit more accomplished today. I did my regular jobs and did some more sorting. I actually got a few things listed on Ebay too. I am really ready (I think) to get rid of some of this stuff. It's not going to be easy to sort through things I especially like, but I feel the need to lighten myself of some of the things. I would really like to get the house decluttered and feel as though I have some space. At some point (I never thought I'd say this) but I would really like to move. If anything this six months spending more time at home has proved it is that this is not where I would like to end up living. Perhaps it's just a dream, but if it helps in getting things sorted through that's a good thing and, if this is where we end up, it will be with a cleaner and more breathable living space.

Okay - on to day two and the title of this post. What do I enjoy doing? I enjoy walking. It is something that has kept me sane the last six months. Just being able to get out in nature and look around, see the different animals, birds and the changing of the fields as I've walked through them has given me something to look forward to each day. It was a little dicey there for a while. The place I really enjoy walking and is closest to where I live was, for a while, one of a very few spaces open for walking in our city as all the rest were closed. It got very crowded, more trash was left and more dogs off leashes, but things have settled down a little now. During this time I did enjoy seeing people walking with their children who were enjoying nature and looking for frogs, ducks and such. 

My walking boots see a lot of action. They also keep my feet nice and dry!

Some of the lovely wildflowers I see on my walk. Things seem to change so much from week to week. There are flowers that die off and new ones that always seem to be popping up. The change of colours is amazing to watch. I love walking through the field and feeling as though I'm a million miles away from the city when I am in fact in the city. 

How about you? What is it that you enjoy doing? What has helped keep you sane in the last few months? 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Week of Things That Make Me Happy

I've decided to take a week to look for/share things that make me happy. I'm trying to look on the bright side and cheer myself up a little. I'll try to share each day but we know how good I am at that lol.

I've done a couple things that I've been meaning to do. I ordered Magnesium and will start taking tomorrow to see if it helps with the leg cramps. Getting good sleep certainly would help my mood a bit I think. I have also ordered some dress tape - you know, the stuff that holds down fabric so you don't flash anything. No. I've not ordered a fancy dress to go somewhere lovely. I read on one of my photography groups that one of the ladies uses this tape to tape down her mask to her nose so that her glasses don't fog up when she's taking photos. I'm hoping this will help with the panicking of wearing the mask which leads to fogged up glasses, which then starts this whole heavy breathing and panicking thing.

The first thing on my list and was really easy to choose is books. They make me happy. I love to read. I always have. I can't remember a time when I didn't love to read. Books have been my companions through tough times, happy times and sad times. Reading a book takes you to places and times that you can only dream of.  A good story can make you happy, sad, can make you laugh and cry. I've been reading a lot recently. I'm certainly making a dent in the numerous books I have in the house.

I don't like shopping much but give me a good bookshop and I can spend ages in there. There used to be a lovely used bookshop in town. It wasn't very big but you could get lost in the bookshelves and all the books piled from ceiling to floor (and on the floor!). I was quite sad when it closed down. I remember the one in Ipswich when I was growing up. It was a shop that sold new books but there was so many. It was housed in a place called The Ancient House which, as it sounds is a very old building (laughs). It was built in the 15th century. When I was a child it was a bookshop with lots of little rooms with glorious windows and beamed ceilings and doorways. I found a photo (not mine) and have posted below.

Sadly it's no longer a bookshop but is a Lakeland shop that sells (apparently) kitchenware. I can't bring myself to go inside though I probably should on one visit.

Anyway, you can see why it would be a lovely place to spend a bit of time with a book. I remember sitting on the floor in the small room that housed the young adult fiction. It wasn't a very big room as I think it was still a new genre.

So books - yes, they make me happy. Even writing this brings a smile to my face. What makes you happy? I know we can all use a reminder of looking for good things even when we're feeling down.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Where did the Week Go?

First let me say thanks for the comments. I have been reading, lax in replying. I admit that this week has gotten away from me. I've been struggling a bit mentally with everything. I seem to be letting it get me down. I also think it's a mixture of the time of month/pre-menopause/covid/heat related stress. I've really been trying not to let things get me down but sometimes it's a bit of a struggle. I've just been trying to do things that make me happy and help me get through the day. I think it's wearing on us all. I'm hoping next week will be better.

Photo today - a little wren singing loudly in the field where I walk

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

What Day is it?

Earlier I thought it was Wednesday and when I was getting ready to write this I was just about to title it Monday...Another Beginning. Sigh. I feel as though I'm going crazy!

A moan - I don't moderate my comments, but I'm really tempted. Today there were at least ten spam comments, all the same comment, same person on my page and another two from someone else. Sigh. UPDATE ON THIS - I have turned on moderation as I received more spam comments.

Another week plodding along. Can't say I've been up to much. Walking. Reading. Crafting. House stuff. Some days I just feel like a hamster running on a wheel - round and round and round. We didn't go far Sunday as the weather was lousy. It was cooler but with it came the rain. We did go out for a drive and a quick walk along the beach, but not to the wildlife place we were going to go.

I have - finally - been sorting through a pile of magazines and books that I needed to go through. I was a bit more brutal with the magazines this time. Some I am donating but a lot got a project ripped out and then were put in the recycle. Some of the clutter has been getting on my nerves again which is the perfect motivation for sorting through it. There isn't any point hanging onto some of this stuff so I determined to be a little selective on what I keep.

I have also started a new cross stitch project (out of one of the magazines I sorted through). I need something to keep me awake. I'm having an awful time with sleep right now. I feel so sleepy sometimes in the afternoon. I think it has something to do with pre-menopause as I went through something like this a few months ago. I just need to get over the fact that I feel guilty if I sleep during the daytime and just do what my body demands.

Photo of the day - American Goldfinch. I love watching these birds in the field where I walk in the morning. There are so many wildflowers growing back there. I am trying to take photos of them, find out what they are and make myself a little book.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Too Hot Saturday

Yuck. It's very hot and humid today. We're under a heat advisory. Our Saturday walk this morning was early and fairly short. We made sure to take water with us and we were glad of it! Phone photo below.

I Skyped with Mum. We connected really quickly. Poor Mum got a sunburn. She went out yesterday to the seaside with my sister and though she wore sun cream she still got burned on her face! She said it was quite windy down by the sea so I'm sure that was part of it. Also she hasn't spent as much time outside this year as she usually does.

This afternoon I did some more crafting. I have been using up a pack of cards and envelopes that I must have picked up at a sale or something to make some more albums. They are smaller than the ones I originally used to make the last album but it gives me the chance to use up some smaller pieces of paper too. I am really enjoying making these and using up some supplies. This is one of the ones I made.

I have had this paper hanging around forever. I think I'm going to use this one as some sort of nature journal. I think the paper works really well for that.

I hope everyone has a good weekend. May the sun shine and it be nice out but not too hot! Stay safe.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Treat, anyone?

I tried to go for a walk today but it was very drizzly. I ended up giving up. It did mean I was up in the craft room, finished another mini album and got some jobs done around the house. It was actually nice to have a break from the walking, but staying in does make the day seem very long. 

Son came up in the afternoon. He desperately wanted a haircut but didn't feel up to going somewhere to get one. He actually had my husband do it! Middle son usually has a particular style and is quite fussy about it. I think it actually turned out well. Husband did a good job! Son also bought doughnuts. There is a place in town that does different flavour ones. These are not the same thing as doughnuts in England (which I admittedly prefer). Son got himself a Maple Bacon (yuck!) one. Not sure about that one lol. 

He stayed to eat and then headed back. It was nice to see him for a bit. 

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a little brighter and I can take a walk. I have some clothes washing to do tomorrow but the rest of the jobs got done today. I am also hoping to get up into the craft room again. I'm on a roll with the mini-albums. At some point I shall have to fill them, but for now I am enjoying making them and using up all my extra paper!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


It's heating up again. The air conditioner was working overtime today. I am not doing well in the heat. I did go for a walk but when it started to heat up and the sun was beating down I started to feel quite sick. It's been that way for a while when it's been hot. I don't think I'm coming down with anything. I think it's just the heat. Sigh. Once I got home I didn't sit outside. I decided to just stay out of the heat and do some crafty things. My son finished a box of cereal and saved the box for me. There's no cute face on the front but I can use the box for a cover for a mini album.

Here's what's on my craft desk.

On my walks I have been really enjoying seeing the wildflowers. There are so many of them. I am a little saddened that I haven't seen that many bees or butterflies around. It seems there used to be a lot more of them.

This is one of my favourite wildflowers. It is Chicory. The flowers are a lovely blue colour.

From Wikipedia 

Common chicory is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family Asteraceae, usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons, or roots, which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive. 

I have been taking lots of photos of the flowers I do see and though I don't always know what they are I plan to look them up and perhaps put the photos and a description in a mini album. I do have a Michigan wildflower book but I find it quite difficult to use as some of the photos in it aren't the best and some of the flowers look the same! I took photos of some leaves the other day and found out they were Poison Ivy. I had an idea as my husband always tell me 'Leaves of Three, Let it Be'. I didn't get close enough to touch lol.  

I took this one with my phone and shall keep it on there for reference when I'm out walking. There was a lot of it around!

I hope your week is going well. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Week Beginning

Thanks for all the support on the last post.

I didn't end up getting much crafty done on Saturday. I got started reading the book below and ended up getting hooked. I suppose there are worse things that I could have been doing lol. I love this series of books. I meant to put it down and do something else but before I knew it most of the afternoon had gone. I think that's definitely the sign of a good book. I actually ended up finishing it this morning as yesterday I only read for a little while at night.

My finished cross stitch is ready to be washed, pressed and (when I find one) framed.

Finally here's the little mini-album I finished. It uses 6 blank cards and envelopes. I've already started on another one as they are so fun and fairly easy to make and (bonus!) they use up a lot of paper.

The YouTube channel is Lyric Lover Crafts and this is the link for the tutorial. mini album tutorial

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Wrapping up Another Week

Well another week over. Feeling a little down today. I should have been on a flight on my way to see my Mum for six weeks. I would have been arriving tomorrow. I haven't cancelled the trip. I rescheduled for next month, but that probably won't happen either. I know I can talk to her, Skype her, but it's not the same. I only see Mum once a year. She'll be 84 in September. If it was just a holiday I would be disappointed but I would be okay with it. I must admit that a little part of me is afraid that I won't see her again. I know there are people in worst spots than me but it still hurts and makes me more than a little sad. I'm trying not to dwell on it.

Deep Breath.

This week has been a hot one! I was actually relieved today when I woke up and it was raining. It made things a little cooler. It's still very humid but it was nice to have some relief. I didn't go for a walk. I didn't go anywhere. I had plans to get up into the craft room but the window air conditioner upstairs packed up a couple of days ago and nowhere in town had a new one (that we could find) so I ordered one from Best Buy to be delivered today. It has arrived and is installed, so maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get up and do some crafting. I did manage to finish the cross stitch meant for my sister. I am really pleased with it! I am hoping Mum likes it. I shall show it to her tomorrow when we Skype.

I also did some messing around with Photoshop. I really want to get the hang of it but it seems so complicated. Although I haven't played with it for a while I did manage to remember how to do some layers and textures (the bare minimum). I ended up with this. It was originally a photo taken on my morning walk.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Another Day...

Still hot. Still humid. Ugh. I wish there was a little relief, but no. I have been out for an early morning walk, but even that is hot. Other than that I've been staying close to home. I haven't even been sitting out watching the birds (too hot lol). We have a couple of window air conditioners that have been running like crazy. I have been turning the downstairs one off at night. I dread to think what the electric bill will be like, but it's too uncomfortable to sit here without it. As someone said, I think the humidity is worse than the heat.

I have made a start on the cross stitch for my sister. It's coming along nicely. This is my progress so far - before I started stitching today. It's a really nice design I purchased on Etsy. It's pretty simple, modern, but colourful too. It will be my sister's 40th Wedding Anniversary. I struggled to find a design for that many years so was pleased that I found this one.

I did make another mini album. This one was using 6 blank envelopes and cards. I really like the way it turned out. I shall share photos and a link to the tutorial (not by me)  next time. At least I feel as though I'm being productive craft ways!

I also finally got around to taking my library books back. I was dressed in house (comfy) clothes, but I drove down (the long way round as the road is closed), didn't get out of my car and the books are now off my dining room table! They have sat there since just before this Covid thing started. I didn't dare move them in case I forgot where I put them lol.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Hot Hot...and Noisy!

 Happy 4th July to American readers.

It's been hot, hot, hot here in Michigan with no relief in the foreseeable future. Ug. Sounds lovely in theory to be nice and hot, but it's not. Even outside for a little bit makes me feel all sticky and sweaty. I shall take quick walks, but probably not my usual long ones. The mosquitoes are out in force too and I have bites up and down my legs despite using bug spray. Well, they could be bites from deer flies as they have ended up quite big. They are definitely itchy.

As I write this fireworks are going off all around. Quite noisy and rather annoying to be honest. Must be getting old lol. I hope all the noise means that people are staying close to home rather than being out in large crowds. Sigh. I shan't get all political as I stay away from things like that on my blog. Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts.

I am really loving the wildflowers on my walks. They are popping up all over the field I walk through. It's amazing to see one lot come to fade just as another seems to bloom. I wish I knew the names a little better. I do have a Michigan wildflower book but it's quite hard to navigate and decide what the flower actually is. I think the Inaturalist App I have on my phone might work for flowers too. The only flowers I have in my garden are big wild daisies and another kind of flower. My poor coneflowers have not come up and I think I have worked out why (see culprit below)

This young fella (yup, he's a guy despite not having antlers - husband says he's a yearling - he has got the bits lol) has been visiting the garden. I caught him munching where my flowers should have been just this afternoon. Another sigh.

Tomorrow we usually go for a long walk, but shan't because of the heat. We're going to go to the wildlife area we stopped at last Sunday and have a longer look round. It looked like a fun place to walk and it's fairly close to home. We will walk early, take water, and not stay long. The rest of the day I'll probably do some crafty stuff.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Stay safe.