Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Memory

A few weeks ago I dug out my Christmas CD's and started loading my ipod with tunes of the season.  There I was sitting in my rocking chair with my head phones on one evening, I had just been singing along with Andy Williams and the next song to come on was actually not a song, but a recitation.

It is a recording made in 1964, and when I heard it, I turned up the volume, closed my eyes and listened to the artist's smooth voice telling a story about a little girl who didn't believe in Santa Claus.

It is a different version of the famous piece published in the New York Sun in 1897... and in my opinion much better - softer somehow.

Maybe it's how the artist calls the young girl - littleun, or maybe because he speaks with such conviction when addressing the issue of Santa Claus - or maybe it's simply the fact that the first time I heard this recording was in 1965, and I was 10 yrs old, and I felt just like the artist was speaking directly to me, and me alone.

My older readers will know that I am referring to Jimmy Dean's "Yes Patricia, there is a Santa Claus.

It's a timeless piece of Christmas tradition, that I believe should be played to young children all over the world.  The message is still appropriate even after all these years, and ten times ten thousand years from now, it will still be appropriate.

So here he is

Jimmy Dean in "Yes Patricia, there is a Santa Claus.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And what have you been doing?

I am sorry I have been absent from here for a few weeks.  I have been sick since November 24th and while I have been home I really have not been on the computer much at all.

My brain seems to have gone on a vacation, and the few times I felt up to composing a post for here, I sat and stared at the screen for much too long, and in the end gave up and shut the computer off.

Thankfully these times come and go... and in my case I'm happy to see it go.  This time of the year, who has time to while away the hours being sick doing nothing constructive, but being sick?

So now I find myself back in the land of the living and Christmas only two weeks away.  Geeze Louise, this is not a good situation.  I did manage to struggle with some Christmas decorating - somewhat.  I usually go whole hog, but this year I just did the essentials - tree, wise men, Jon's nutcracker collection, and a big snowman with a couple of warmly dressed dolls in attendance.  Truth be said, it's more than enough in my little house anyway.

I put the tree up in the dining room this year, and it is so pretty sitting in there every evening, eating beside the tree.  Does wonders for a simple dinner of Chicken nuggets and noodles!

Yesterday I finally accomplished some Christmas baking.  I made mincemeat tarts, shortbread cookies, and rolled my Anis cookies which has been a family tradition all of my life.  I will bake them today, and the house will smell like Christmas ( or like Christmas' past) for a short time while the scent of licorice hangs in the air.

Last week in a moment of extreme boredom, I went digging in my studio closet - I think I was looking for Christmas wrap or something.  Instead I found a huge stash of yarn, left over from many many projects, and some given to me by people who actually clean their closets on a regular basis!  I was so excited with my find, and then remembered a little book I had bought quite a few years ago called 200 Knitted Blocks - by Jan Eaton... so I went looking for this too.

I hadn't looked in this book since I bought it so I grabbed the book, some needles and some yarn and started at block #1.

The book is full of basic knitting stitches used in traditional and contemporary designs to mix and match patterns and colors for making afghans and blankets.  What a delight; and what a load of fun I am having   progressing through the 200 blocks and through the huge stash of yarn.

I will be able to make quite a few blankets by the time I am finished.  Some I will donate to the homeless shelters and some I will give away to whomever wants one.  But I think I have found the perfect winter project to keep me occupied and at the same time free up some storage space in my closet for who knows what?

As I write this my husband has announced that it is -30... I'm thinking I have the best project possible - what better to do than knit and cover ones self with warm woollies for the long winter ahead.

Keep warm everyone...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A very Special Christmas Message






















This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas. 
The following is his request I think it is reasonable

PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favour of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to all of the service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. 
Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.  Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24 Days Till Christmas!

How did December 1st sneak up on us so quickly?  For that matter what the heck happened to the past couple of weeks of my life?

Sickness, that's what happened.  I've been off work for a week already and I don't think I will be returning to week until next week.  But I am getting slowly better so I won't complain... too much!

I might have been out of commission for the past week - but the world around me has not...

American Thanksgiving, came and went - and because I was home sick, I was able to watch the Macy's Parade for the first time in 24 yrs... how awesome it was!

We had a lot of snowfall here (which I did wish for some time back), so it looks and feels like it should for this time of the year!

My second oldest brother, Mervyn  had a birthday - Happy Birthday Merv - hope you had a great day yesterday!

My friend Gordon, who has been hospitalized for a month has turned a positive corner, and may be able to be home in a week or two.

And I think finally, I just might be ready for my Craft sale on Sunday!
You'll be thinking that my sick time off might have been a great time to catch up on my sale stuff - a natural thought - I had it too - but it didn't actually happen!  But in spite of everything I think I will be ready for my first sale in years, come Sunday.

My crafting friends in the USA have told me that their selling season has not been the greatest due to their economy.  It's frustrating after putting so much time and effort into a sale, and then not even making enough to pay for your table, but with this kind of business anything is possible, and most crafters go into it knowing that the results can vary greatly from year to year.

I will be glad when my sale is behind me, because the "Christmas Spirit" has not had an opportunity to hit me yet.  I have no tree up, no gifts made or bought, no lists made, no cards written, no baking done, I haven't even strung my outside lights yet - while many on my street are already lit up each night.

Well I do have 24 days left to find the spirit.... perhaps I'll have to make another trip to the library and spend some real time in the Christmas section... Soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old dogs!

It is pretty cold out there this morning.  The old north wind is blowing pretty hard, so I bundled up extra warm for my bus trek to work this am.  I was still kind of cold when I stood out at the stop waiting for the bus, but once I got on it, and settled my wide rear into the seat I was toasty warm. 

I think I felt somewhat like what a child in a snowsuit must feel like.  I had my parka zipped to my nose - my wool gloves (real ones from New Zealand) on my hands, and my ipod was playing a Christmas Harp album.  The bus was crowded and very warm and lumbered along in the dark morning and yup - I fell asleep.  Good God, I hope I didn't snore.. or slobber!!!

The next thing I know some kindly old gal who volunteers at our hospital was pulling at my sleeve, asking me if I was getting off at the regular stop.  I almost swatted her - that's how comfortable and cozy I was!  The bus stopped and I sprang off the bench seat and almost tripped in my haste to leave the bus... talk about embarrassing moments!

How on earth will I get on that same bus with those same people again tomorrow???

Then as I was walking into office I had a thought - (my mind had finally awakened).  I must be comfortable with riding the bus now!  Well I'll be!!  Never thought the day would come when I could say such a thing, but I do believe it's true....

See.... you can teach an old dog, new tricks!

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Reading

Have you ever spent time in the Christmas section of your local library?  It it one of the best places (for me) to waste time, dream, plot, and plan... and yeah - waste time! 

I go to 2 local libraries regularly, and they both have a bunch of wonderful things in the Christmas section.

On Saturday I stopped in to return some doll clothes books I had renewed 5 times, and couldn't renew again.  They were overdue by 1 day so I had to pay my .80 fine as well.  While I was there I decided to see if there was anything new in the Christmas section... hubby was right on my heels.

I wasn't disappointed.  There were several new Christmas editions of craft magazines, cooking magazines and decorating magazines.  Lots of new Christmas CDs - which hubby grabbed and wouldn't let go of - and many new Christmas novels and books.

I so wanted to take out a stack of stuff... a little of each  - but darn it all - I have only 3 weeks till my sale, and I really can't afford to get side-tracked.  Still - I did snatch a few of the magazines - those I can thumb through quickly without actually reading!!!

I did find some post sale reading material which I fully intend to pick up the day after the sale - I can't wait!

Here are some terrific "Christmas reads".

If you have a library close by and wish to read something in season, check out these great reads.

THE CHRISTMAS BOX.  by Richard Paul Evans.  This tiny first novel from Richard is a quick read, but worth the effort in every way.

THE GIFT by Richard Paul Evans  This one, a more popular novel is centered around a man who witness a series of miracles performed by a terminally ill boy... it is filled with lessons in love, giving and forgiveness... have your box of tissues handy, if you intend to read this one.

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL CHRISTMAS by Jack Canfield. - like all the Chicken Soup books, this one focuses on genuine stories - this time of hope and kindness and the true meaning of Christmas.

This is a must  read for anyone who loves the Christmas Season... it is full of hilarious events, history and magic - and if you don't believe in Santa by the end of this book... well then there is no hope for you....

Jeff Guinn has also written  HOW MRS. CLAUS SAVED CHRISTMAS and THE GREAT SANTA SEARCH.  I have not yet read these - but they are on my post-sale list of reading for this Christmas season.

So there you have some inspiration for the Christmas Season... hope you get the chance to do some reading in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas Thinking

How can time be flying by so quickly?  Here we are into the second week of November already, and my brain is still thinking it's September.  I think I will blame the lovely weather - fall has extended itself way beyond what is normal for us for this time of year, and while everyone truly is enjoying the warm temperatures and the absence of snow - folks like me, who rely on the "normal" progression of fall to winter are procrastinating big time.

I happened to be in one of the larger shopping malls on the weekend, and it was wall to wall people.  I kept thinking, "Why are all these people here?"  Well I guess they would be Christmas Shopping already?  Keeners!!!

I am thinking about Christmas - well sort of - I'm thinking about my Christmas Sale - and I'm thinking about how to rearrange my living room so I can put up my tree - eventually  - I'm even thinking about decorating the outside of the house with lights and such - but that is pretty much the extent of my Christmas "Thinking"!

So as nice as it's been - we now need some cooler temps, and a little skiff of snow.... then my brain can get in the right gear for Christmas Thinking!

On a totally different subject...

I need to share something wonderful, heartwarming and just plain awesome with you.  This came to me this morning, and I know you are going to enjoy it.

The little girl in this video, is spectacular...

Give this a listen - you will be in awe of this little 5 yr old.

Stay Calm Dad

Friday, November 5, 2010


Happy Friday, everyone!  Glad the week is over and nice weather is predicted for the entire weekend.  I plan to get my outside Christmas lights and swags put up over the weekend, work on some more sale items, clean my house, do my laundry, make some meals - and by the time that is all done, it will be Monday and time to return back to work!  But - next week  my work week in only 3 days long, so all is good!

I spent some time taking some photos of finished projects last night, but when I actually loaded them on the computer, didn't like the finished product of most of them, so I will try and remedy that this weekend.

I did manage to get a few good ones so here are a few more of my finished bears.  The novice skier - like I promised yesterday, a ballerina, and a skater... hope you like them.  I also am posting one of my Victorian ladies hats, will post the Man's hat in the next batch.

So here they are... 


Novice Skier
Have a great weekend Everyone!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New colors, new bears, and a good friend...

I hope you like the new colors on my blog - I find it nice and restful on the eyes...

I am trying to add some new pictures of my items as I complete them.  This past week I have been concentrating on finishing all the bears I have started as well I have crocheted some little soldiers.  I usually only did these in white/ivory or ecru, but this year decided to color them up.  So I have one for Breast Cancer (2 colors of pink); one in red and navy; one in traditional Christmas red/green... and one in blue and gold.  I won't make too many of these, but it's nice to have something to sell that is suitable for men or boys.

This year I have paid particular attention to that... I have tried to make more bears that could be given to men or boys... so I have done some extra sports bears than I usually do.  They have turned out really good, and tomorrow I will post a picture of the not-so-great skier.  I had some fun trying to glue all the bear parts together to make the bear look like it had fallen to the ground - and I think I just might have pulled it off... I'll let you be my first critics....

On a different note, I'd like to take a minute to tell you about a very special man... his name is Gordon, and he is a cancer survivor.  A couple of years ago Gordon was diagnosed with Colon cancer.  He received chemo and radiation, and then had surgery which resulted in a permanent colostomy.   He had more chemo and radiation again after the colon surgery... and then about a year and a half when he went for a follow-up screening CT they found some tumors on his lungs - so this past January he went in for surgery on his lungs to remove this cancer. 

Recently he had another follow-up CT which found more tumors - again on his lungs, so this past Tuesday he returned to the hospital to have yet another surgery.  He is an amazing survivor - even jokes that they should probably put a zipper in him, so they can just get in there do what they have to do, and then zip him up again.

If you are the praying sort - could you please say a special prayer for Gordon... as he recuperates yet again from a disease that just does not want to let go of him.... we don't either.... so the fight is on.

Thank you, my friends...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How many dolls have you crocheted?

This was sent to me this morning in an email from my sister-in-law.... Obviously my sister-in-law knows me much much too well...

I thought it was quite funny, and yes, okay it does sort of sound like me.... in a way....

But I must say, if I were counting on my Gary's ability to make me angry in order to crochet - I would almost never crochet!  aaaaawwwwweeeeee..............

So here you go... this is funny!  And yes - I am still crocheting like crazy for my sale....

Pictures coming soon.... I promise!

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. 'When we were to be married,' she said, ' my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue.   She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.   The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. 'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?'

'Oh,' she said, 'that's the money I made from selling the dolls!'

A Prayer.......
Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods;
Because Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I'll beat him to death, because I don't know how to crochet!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my father's 90th birthday!  It's a hard concept to wrap one's head around, especially when for the past 20 some years, I have only seen my Dad maybe a half a dozen times.  .. which is a whole different story, that won't ever be shared on my blog.  It goes too deep, hurts too much, and no amount of wishing it so, can change the final outcome, anyway.

But it is his birthday, and I do love him, and today he does turn 90 yrs old.

Once was a time he was surrounded by a loving family... he came from a very large family - he lost his mother when he was 12 yrs old, and being the third eldest of 11 children, grew up helping his father and his 14 yr old sister and 13 yr old brother, run the family farm, and raise his 8 younger siblings - one of which was a newborn.

I think he must have had a tough childhood - although I can't recall him ever really complaining about it much, I do believe his childhood made him a worked, a doer, a go-getter, and he has many talents that I believe he learned from necessity at a very young age.

His biggest joy in life has always been fishing... he would still rather be sitting in a boat with a fishing pole in hand than just about anything else.

Dad lives on his own, in a small apartment, and the only family he has living near is a brother who lives about 20 miles away.  All his children live in different parts of the country,  his grandchildren are scattered all over, so basically he is alone.  Most of that is of his choosing, yet, one cannot help but feel bad that a man his age, that once was surrounded by family, now spends a pretty lonely life.

Last I heard, Dad was planning on spending his 90th birthday on a trip to a Casino somewhere in the USA with his brother.  I hope they have a great time, and although I don't think Dad is really about money -  I hope he wins enough to make his life more comfortable.

I wish him continued good health, the love of family and friends, and many many more great fishing trips!

Happy 90th Birthday Dad... I love you.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I am not sure if I mentioned it here, or not, but recently I have started taking a city bus to and from work.  It has been well over 30 years since I took a bus regularly and I have decided that riding the bus daily is not for the fickle-hearted or for sissies.

I had no idea how much bus travel had changed in all these years - and that's not even taking into consideration the people who are taking the bus every morning and evening.

To begin with - bus drivers no longer wear hats.... did you know that?  But the one who drives my 6:45 am bus wears shorts - even when it is -5C!

And then there are the buses them selves.  The new buses are much smaller, and are designed for every type of passenger.  The front of the bus lowers to curb level to allow wheel chairs and strollers easy access... and the long bench seats usually located at the front of the bus, flip up to allow space for these strollers and wheelchairs.

So along comes me - my first day on the bus, I have travelled to work sitting on the front bench seat of both buses I have been on - and now I am on the bus returning home - again on the front bench seat.  I like this seat for several reasons - the most important one being that I can see the stops and might actually be able to figure out where to get off the darn bus when the time comes... the second reason is the floor to ceiling pole that I think I need to pull my butt off the seat as the bus is careening down the street at 70 km an hour!

So there I sit - I have my ipod on, my buds in my ears ( I am not going to look like I don't belong).  I am relaxing after a long day at work, thinking ahead to my crafting evening, and I have not really even realized that the bus has stopped.  But all of a sudden there is a ballet occurring across from where I am sitting.  Two people who had been sitting on the bench seat across from me have shot out of their seats and moved down several rows, another person from several rows down has run to the front bench and flipped it up... Cripes... I didn't even know you could do that!  Coming on the bus is a man in a wheelchair, and a lady pushing a stroller, someone is yelling at ME to move, and actually pulling at my jacket.  That was lesson one of bus etiquette.

Then there was the morning earlier this week, when it was freezing rain and 90 km winds - I got on the bus, anxious to do so to warm up, and I swear everyone on it had overdosed on Garlic the night before!

Do you know they don't have hand sanitizers on the bus?  Now, wouldn't that be a great idea?

And yesterday - well, don't you know, there I am again, on my way home and a fight breaks out between the person sitting in front of me, and the one sitting beside me... The "F" bomb is flying low, there is pushing and shoving and my shoulders are as flat against the bus as they could possibly be - but still the person beside me has managed to elbow me a time or two in his anger... do I want off.... OH Yeah!  Do I get off... NO!

I sit quietly, think about bears and angels and Nat King Cole... and ride on home.

As I get off the bus at the end of my journey, I turn and thank the driver, and he smiles and says back...."Thank you too... today is my first day on the job."

Poor guy - I think I would be planning a career change, if I were sitting in his seat!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Well, I am a day late on my promise to share some of my production pictures.  But better late than never...

I have been concentrating on bears the past week or so.  Each bear is made from 9 crochet pieces, each starched individually and then glued together.  Once the bear is together, I add the nose tip and the eyes, and the bears seem to get a personality.

arms and legs drying
I have enough dowels to starch 12 bears at a time, and because it is a messy business, I tend to spend a whole evening starching so I can have the mess all at one time.

I love to work in miniature, so each bear is holding something - and most of what they hold I make from Bread Dough.

If you have never tried this, it is so much fun.  It can be used for all kinds of projects, but I use it for things like pizza's and cookies for my Baker Bears - flowers for my bride and grooms, and other miniatures, that I cannot buy.

There are a lot of recipes on the Internet for the bread dough, but I use the same one I have used for years.

3 slices white bread
3 tablespoons white glue
1/2 teaspoon glycerine.

The bread is best when it is several days old.  Remove the crusts and shred the bread, add the glue and gycerine and mix it with my hands.  The mix starts out to be very sticky, but the more you work it, the smoother it becomes.... don't give up on it, just keep working it and soon you will have a nice dough.  I colour my dough with acrylic paint at this stage instead of painting the finished product.  I find the finished product much better and very close to china when it dries.   I make several colors of dough at one time, and put them in sandwich bags and then in a margarine container, and they keep for months and months.  When you need to make something, all you do is take it out of the fridge, roll it around in your hand for a few minutes and then have fun creating.

glued bears without eyes and not much personality

I have done a few mice too... these are not as much work as the bears, but great little guys too.
So this is what I have been doing.  I want to have 60-100 bears for my sale in December, as well as mice, soldiers, hats, snowflakes and of course angels.  I also am adding some bridal purses this year  as well.

So now when I don't show up here for a few days, you will know what I am doing!

Happy Crafting!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm back... did you miss me?

Maybe you have been wondering what has happened to me as I haven't been posting for awhile?  I have been finding it very difficult to divide my time between work, crafting for an upcoming show and sale, and trying to spend a little bit of time with my family.

I feel I have been falling flat on all accounts.  I haven't been to work in a week, as I somehow managed to get an inner ear abscess, that pretty much had me down and out for a few days and left me deaf in the affected ear. It seems every spare minute I have, I've been working on my craft show and sale stuff, and yet when I look at my inventory, it seems like I have done very little.  My house is a disaster, the cookie jar is empty and my guys are complaining that I never have time for them anymore.

So it seems I am not accomplishing much.

As I started to feel a bit better last week I decided to put the crochet hook down and do some house cleaning... wow... my house really needed it, so that was one improvement.  When I went grocery shopping I deliberately stayed away from the fast-meal preparation areas and went for the more wholesome choices... which also actually require some cooking time!  And then on Sunday I started starching some of my sale items.

So now I feel like I am back on track - somewhat.  Although I have yet to fill the cookie jar, I have a clean house - even re potted some plants, I have stew cooking in the crock pot and bread rising in the oven, and I have starched and glued together, 39 bears, 4 mice, several hats, soldiers, and dressed 9 angels....

And staying off the computer definitely helped me accomplish these tasks.

Tomorrow I hope to share some pictures of my productive few days... stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Splendid Sparky Speaks

Sparky was a splendid cat,
Refined, mature and wise.
He’d been around the world a time or two,
You could see it in his eyes.
He’d hunted rabbits in the wild,
When New Zealand was his home;
He’d been all around the globe,
Except perhaps, to Rome.
His humans were a caring sort,
And sought a friend for him,
The cat they bought to give him joy
Believed the house a gym.

She was a very active gal,
Naughty, more to truth;
It could have been her nature,
But he thought it was her youth.

Mishaps became the normal day,
He had to struggle through.
She listened to no cat advice,
No, not a single mew.
Soon he became complacent,
Or maybe he was bored;
For after all his humans knew
That really, he was Lord.

A tune up was what he’d suggest,
If ever they would ask;
He could even offer them,
Assistance to the task.
Ah, Sparky was a splendid cat,
Refined mature and wise;
Yup, he’d sure welcome any chance,
To cut her down to size.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Katie, Sweet Katie.


Hurricane Katie was a street cat,
Splendid Sparky, was not.
She spent her days doing much
Of what she shouldn’t have ought.

Sparky was so refined and sweet,
He merely wished to please;
Katie, on the other hand,
Just thrived on ways to tease.

While he would nap, she’d plot her play;
He’d snore and she would plan.
Could she make a fuss and somehow
Get to blame it on the man?

Poor, poor unsuspecting lout,
Ha, he would never know.
Mom’s china cups a-flying high
Would make a pretty show.

Or maybe she could rig a trick,
To look like Sparky’s paw -
Was instrumental in the ruination
Of one of Daddy’s saws!

But first she’d sit and be so cute,
No one would guess she’s bad.
Old Sparky could forget that he
Was thought the best they’d ever had.

Hurricane Katie was a street cat,
Splendid Sparky, was not.
She spent her days doing much
Of what she shouldn’t have ought!


Dale Graumann

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An awesome Day, for sure!

What an awesome day yesterday was!  33 miners were rescued to safety.  Did you watch it on TV or the Internet?   I couldn't seem to stop watching it for some reason.  For once, something very good came from something very bad... only 1 comment bothered me, coming from some unthinking stupid young reporter comparing it to a Reality Show on TV!!!  Someone needs to stick him down a mine for 69 days and then say that about his experience!!

It was also my birthday, and I was truly blessed with so many birthday greetings that I was almost embarrassed.  I realize that Face book prompts it's users about friend's birthdays, but that doesn't mean that those friends actually have to act on that prompt.  25 people wished me a Happy Birthday there yesterday, and I cannot begin to tell you what that meant to me... thank you all for your lovely comments and best wishes...

I spent some extra time with my adopted cat-kids as well yesterday.  They have been alone now since the end of September, and for 2 cats who are used to having their humans near all the time, they are doing very well. 

I have learned a great deal about cats these past 2 weeks, and I do believe they are really beginning to like me - either that or I really am only a meal ticket to them.  Whatever it is, they seem want to spend time with me.  So, after they have eaten I sit down and we play or talk and yesterday I sang for them... they liked my selection quite well...

So here are Katie and Sparky...  my cat - kids!

This is Hurricane Katie

And this is Splendid Sparky

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Angels among us?

Day 2 of bus ridership went well this morning.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this... told you I was a Princess!

I have been having a devil of a time finding ceramic angel heads and hands.  It has been very frustrating because my angels have become popular and sell very well.  When I first started making them I made them for Christmas... you know tree top or table top angels.  Then I made a breast cancer angel for a friend of mine, and then I got an idea to make memory angels.

These have really done well.  Upon request I will create an angel specifically in memory of someone or something.  For instance, my SIL's father passed away last year, and she wanted one in memory of her Dad, so I did a "Walter angel" for her.  The angel's colors reflected his love of blue, and she held a tiny photograph of Walter and his wife in her hand.  She also has a tiny little silver  W hanging from a necklace around her neck.

Another lady wanted one in memory of her beloved dog, so I made one holding a small Shepherd. 

It was all going fine, until I got to the end of my stash of heads.  I thought I could just go to Michael's and get some more... nadda!  When we were down in the states, I scoured the hobby and craft stores there, and found none.  Recently I saw some on Gale's wholesale site, so on the weekend I headed down there, only to be told, that they don't carry them any longer - but they did have cases and cases of Santa heads if I wanted them!

My next option was to order online from the US, but they wanted 30.00 to ship 5 heads from Ohio!  Can you imagine what a large order would have been?  We are talking little 3" heads.... 30.00!  I think not.

Yesterday in desperation I emailed a doll making site, I explained my dilemma, and sent her a picture of my angels.... I pretty much begged, and really didn't expect to get a response, but I did.  A wonderful lady by the name of Brenda emailed me back within the hour and said she had 2 in her store, and would order as many for me as I would need.  She was happy to help me. If you are ever in need of doll parts, please check out her site.

Thank You God of angel makers!!!! I'm in business again!  Or I will be when I get the heads! 

That solved the large head problem, but I also started making small angels - same problem here, no heads to be found.  After striking out at Gales, I made a quick stop at the dollar store for something, and decided to cruise down the Christmas section that was being put up.  There hanging on a peg were the ugliest little angles with beautiful ceramic heads and hands.... I grabbed a basket and started filling it.  When I went to cash out the gal there looked at me like I had lost my mind.  A basket full of poorly made ugly little angels, I could see her wondering what on earth I thought was so terrific about them that I'd want so many...

So now I'm happily crocheting angel dresses and so happy to be able to do it...

Doesn't take much to make me a happy Angel maker!

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh Poor Me!

I was dreading this morning all weekend.  Why, you ask?  Well because I am a spoiled little princess who doesn't like change, that's why!

The reason I was dreading the morning was that for the first time in about 30 years I had to take the bus to work.  In actual fact I will be taking the bus back and forth to work for an undetermined time... I know - poor me.

Truth to tell - I stressed for nothing.  After waking every hour through the night, because I thought I wouldn't be able to get up 45 minutes earlier, I shot out of bed when the alarm sounded this morning, and hit the floor running.... I exaggerate... walking briskly... well okay - walking!  I had intended to leave the house at 6:55 in order to catch the 7:05 bus, but I was ready to leave by 6:40 - so out I went into the dark morning, I walked 3 minutes to the bus stop, and don't you know there was the bus.  I arrived at work at 7:07.  Okay well, that is a bit early, so tomorrow I will not hit the floor running... Ha!!

There was almost no one on the buses I took, the drivers were very cheerful, and it was kind of relaxing to slouch in the seat with my ipod , listening to George singing "Hello Darlin" in my ear, knowing someone else was having the joy of dealing with the stupid drivers in our city!

And if after all this I was still tempted to feel sorry for myself, I thought of the reason I was now taking the bus to work.  That would be my wonderful husband Gary.

Gary's vision has deteriorated to the point where he can no longer drive, and I know it killed him to see me walk out the door this morning to catch a bus. Being a 1 car family, our normal morning routine would have been I drive me to work, he takes the car home, and at the end of the work day, he drove to get me, and I drove home.  He can't do even this little bit of driving any longer.

He should be the one feeling sorry for himself, after all he now is truly house-bound.  His day will be spent in and around the house, aside from a dog walk or two each day.  But Gary doesn't do self-pity well - in fact he doesn't do it at all.  He takes a deep breath, and moves forward.  His life is ever changing, and not for the better, and yet he finds ways to turn it positive.

So, I will not feel sorry for myself, and I won't feel sorry for him either, because he won't let me..

And who knows, taking the bus may become just another routine part of my work day, like it is for so many people in the world.  I do know that it will get me walking more, because on nice days I intend to walk home from my transfer site, which is about a mile from home.  After all - who can resist George singing "Hello Darlin" in your ear several times a day....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Are we Thankful?

On January 31st, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed...

"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

And Thanksgiving as we know it today, began...

It is celebrated in churches, and also celebrated in a secular manner.  The actual Thanksgiving holiday is Monday, but Canadians eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of the three-day weekend, Sunday and Monday being the most common.  Usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways( the last of the season).  It's the weekend to clean up the yard, close up the cottage, and generally get ready for the long cold winter ahead. It's the last weekend to wash windows - My mother was a stickler for washing her windows on Thanksgiving weekend... I did not inherit that gene!

Are we giving thanks for the close of the harvest season?  Are we giving thanks for our bountiful harvest?  Are we giving thanks for anything at all?

I doubt it.

Most are having an extra long weekend, packing it full of things to do, and maybe even complaining about all the extra work in cooking a larger than normal meal, without even giving thought to the "Thankful" part.  Maybe some of us are even wondering if we have all that much to be Thankful for".

It takes some thought... actually lots and lots of thought, to getting around to being "Thankful".  I think nowadays our society tends to focus more on the negative than the positive, so Thankful is difficult.

But we can do it, and we should do it a lot more than we do... and not only on the weekend that is set aside for it.

Being Thankful is something we all need to work on every day of our lives.  Good things come from being Thankful; happiness comes from being Thankful; contentment comes from being Thankful.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians.  Be Thankful of your bountiful harvest, whatever it should be - be happy - be content - and enjoy your weekend...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Christmas is coming... are you wishing to be creative?

As I sat and worked on my sale items last night, I couldn't help think of Christmas approaching at a pretty brisk clip.  The months seem to be picking up speed towards the season of giving, and if you are anything like me, you will need to have your gift projects selected and already in progress in order to actually complete them before Christmas.

In case you were needing some inspiration, I thought I would share some of my favorite links here on the net.
All these links have free patterns, some very good ones too.  Many of the yarn sites have tutorials and stitch instructions.  Some sites have multiple crafts, some are specific to one or two types.  Hope you see something useful in these links.... and happy crafting!
Not many free patterns here, but patterns are very reasonable, and can be downloaded for just about any craft you want to try....
My favorite free crochet pattern source on the net... you won't believe the patterns here.
My favorite free knitting pattern source on the net...
Free patterns for a wide range of crafts and levels of crafting... great site.
Free knitting and crocheting patterns...
Some free knitting and crocheting patterns.
Have a really great free patterns section, as well as patterns to purchase... nice sweater section
Love this site, tons of free stuff and stuff to purchase.... some pretty neat contests too.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Speaking out!

I admit that I live in a bubble.  I seldom read the newspaper, or watch the news on the TV - and it's deliberate.  I dislike political discussions, and I keep my religious beliefs to myself for the most part.  I guess you could say I am a private person in many respects.  That is why I find it odd that I am compelled to write my blog today on a very "controversial subject".

Until this past weekend I had not even been aware of a Exhibition called "BODIES".  I was made aware of it being in our city at a downtown location until January 2011, by my son, when he told me that he and a friend were going to "check it out".  So I googled it to see what it was all about.... and there started this blog....

If, like me, you are not aware of this Exhibition, just type in the word Bodies in your search engine, and I'm sure you will get all the information you need or want on this exhibition.  But just in case you don't want to do that - I'm here to tell you what I know about it.

Bodies is an Exhibition on tour through North America, Europe, Asia, and pretty much the world.  It has been at many cities across Canada already, and I'm sure in other parts of the world as well.  It is an exhibition of bodies - just like it says - interesting displays of the human body in various ways and forms - but the bodies you see are actual Human Cadavers.

According to the Press release the Full body specimens are persons who lived in China and died from Natural causes.  After the bodies were unclaimed at death, pursuant to Chinese law, they were ultimately delivered to a medical school for education and research... so the people who's bodies you are seeing did not actually donate their bodies to science, in any way shape or form...

In actual fact,  the practice of polymer preservation (of human bodies) has been around since the 70's.  This has been done for medical schools and universities for years - but the bodies used have been donated by the person for this purpose - and for the purpose of furthering research of human disease conditions.  There is a benefit to this type of preservation, and I fully support this.

BODIES, the exhibition is different.  You are charged a 23.95 + tax admission to view bodies that have been given without consent.  I want to know who benefits from this admission?  Does the money get tuned over to medical research?  Does it get donated to schools of medicines, universities, third world countries... I doubt it.

The money from this exhibit lines the pockets of Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions INC.  a leading provider of museum quality exhibitions around the world including the Titanic!  And of course the facilities that host this event make money as well... lots and lots of money, if the attendance of this event is as well-attended around the world as it has been here!  Do these organizations filter that money on to medical research?

This venue is billed as entertainment.  In what way is this entertaining I wonder?  If you are that interested in the human body to need such graphic detail - perhaps you should attend medical school.  If like the press release says, the organizers aim is to "educate the public" then do it with models... you can not tell me that in this day and age realistic models cannot be made.

I find it very ironic that the same folks who kick up a ruckus over animal rights/ tree rights, and every other kind of human rights find it quite okay to visit an exhibit of human bodies such as this.

This exhibit, is just another way for someone to get rich on someone else's  misfortune - and we allow it to happen.  I ask you... would this many people be flocking to see an exhibition of  MODELS  of the human body?  I somehow doubt it... the attraction here is that these were real people, and that is just plain sick!

And that - is my opinion!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday it is!

Happy Monday, Everyone!  Hope everyone had a enjoyable weekend.

It was another glorious fall weekend here in Manitoba.  Saturday was the perfect fall day.  The sun was shinning, there was little or no wind and the temps were warm.  All the leaves have left the big Elm trees so it was raking and bagging the boulevards, only to have the wind pick up on Sunday and blow the leaves from across the street back on the the very site we had cleaned!  So it will be start from scratch again this week.

We are house-sitting for our friends, and they have a yard full of leaves to be raked too, so we should have some nice muscles by the time this is all done.

Our friends have 2 cats that we are looking after as well.  Well, I should say, I am looking after, because Gary is allergic to cats.  I have to tell you, I know next to nothing about cats, but I am learning.  They are quite the pair.  Sparky is old, and very refined.  Katy is a hurricane.  You have to take Katy into the bathroom and feed her there, quick slip out the door while she is eating, go and feed Sparky in the kitchen as he is on a special diet.  I have barely put his food down and Katy is kicking up a ruckus in the bathroom... she wants out.  In the meantime, old Sparky, is taking his time, savoring every bite, and every once in awhile stops and looks at me and makes a comment, then slowly goes back to eating... it seems food time, is a social time to him.

By the time he is finally finished, Katy is in a lather, I open the bathroom door and she is airborne (almost). 

Then it's bath time... they both sit and clean their feet.  Now why do cats do that after they eat... they haven't used their paws for anything!!

I sit and visit with them for a few minutes, you know tell them about my day, and they tell me about theirs... especially Katy - she has lots to say, and then I'm out the door until suppertime, when I do it all over again.

Now that I have the routine down pat, I can actually enjoy my time spent with these two little felines... it's going to be fun looking after them for the next 3 weeks.

So on with Monday... hope it's a good one, wherever you are!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October is My Month!

Happy first day of October everyone! 

I love October - it is my month.  I was born in October, and I was married in October.  We celebrate Thanksgiving in October!  How much better could it be?

In addition to the most family birthdays of any month, October now has a new special meaning to me to add to the rest... October is BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.  How wonderful that they would designate a whole month to one cancer.  It just goes to show how hard some folks have been working over the years to stop this killer disease.  Thank you everyone who has brought this effort this far, and  thank you to those that continue to do so every day of the year!

This weekend is our annual CIBC RUN FOR THE CURE.  My oncologist, who is in his 60's runs in this event every year - for his breast cancer patients... How wonderful it is to have such a dedicated caring man, helping me survive this disease, and at the same time doing everything he can to support continued research to stop Breast Cancer.  God Bless You, Dr. Lezack!

Also this month retailers will be promoting "Pink" items.  You will see them everywhere... a portion of every sale of these items goes directly to Breast cancer Research - so shop "Pink", when you can, and know that you are helping support a worthy cause.

It's Friday, and a the weather is beautiful... I for one can't wait for the work day to be over so I can get outside and do some more yard work.  The leaves are down, and there is a lot of raking to do.

Have a great weekend, all... and Happy October!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Will you look at that!

A week ago I took my camera outside and took a bunch of photo's of the fall colors around my house.  We live in an older area of the city, most of the homes are well over a 100 yrs old, and thankfully, we still have many big old Elm trees around us. 

I love the Elms, mainly because the song birds love to sit high on the branches and sing their little hearts out, both early in the morning and again at dusk.  This time of year I love to look out  of my sun room window and see the beautiful golden leaves, but they don't usually last long.  I don't know if it's all Elm trees or just the ones in my neighbourhood, but I have noticed through the years, that the week the leaves change color, is usually the week they fall.  Needless to say, once again the same cycle has occurred.  Last week there was glorious color, and this morning all that color is on the ground and the trees are bare.

I have heard rumors that we are to have an early winter, if my Grandfather were still here, I'd ask him.  He watched nature - the trees and the birds and he could predict when winter would start and what kind of a winter we would have - and he was almost always right. 

I think the trees are saying winter is coming... but then we already know that.  Or maybe they are saying, get off your butt and get outside and do some exercise.  Rake!  That's probably how I should read it!

Whatever it is, it is beautiful and while the temperatures are still pleasant, I plan to be out enjoying it as much as I can.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meet my Hope Baby!

I'd like to introduce my readers to a very special child in my life.  Meet Thomas.

Thomas is my hope baby. 

He was born when I had my mastectomy 4 yrs ago, and he was the main focus I clung to all through my recuperation. Thomas had a birthday on Sunday... Happy Birthday Thomas -  and I had yet another
anniversary of my Breast Cancer ordeal (Surgery #2).

Thomas is my great-nephew, and he is special to me.
  I love each and every one of my nieces and nephews and their children, but there is something about Thomas that touches my heart in a special way.  I can't describe to you how a child can change your outlook on life, but he happened to arrive at a time when I really needed something to believe in.  When I was at my lowest and ready to feel sorry for myself, along would come a new batch of pictures of Thomas, and his sweet chubby little face and his wonderful facial expressions, always gave me a lift, just when I so desperately needed it.

I have not yet even met this little guy, because his family live in British Columbia, but some day (soon I hope) I will meet him, and his brother and sister, and his two little cousins... until then I enjoy each and every picture of him and the other little ones that I have yet to meet.

Which brings me to the second part of this post.  Pictures.

My niece, Alanna (Thomas' Mom) is the photographer behind the Thomas pictures.  She is an amazing talent as you'll see if you check out her web site.  She does amazing Children's photography and Wedding Photography and lately has really blossomed into Scenery.  Some of my favorite work of hers is with animals... she has a gift with a camera that surpasses many.

She's a talented photographer, wonderful wife and Mom, and a Dental Hygienist.  Where she finds the time with three young children and two careers, I'll never know, but I do know this... I am very proud of her.

Take a few moments, and give yourself a beautiful treat...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Busy? Or Foolish!

I apologize for not being on here daily like I was before.  I find myself being pulled in many directions these days, and often I am frustrated with the lack of "time" I have to do the things I have to do.

First there is the house... will it ever be properly cleaned again??  Sure I manage to do the surface stuff, you know, the bathrooms, dishes, laundry, half of the vacuuming, but seriously that doesn't seem to be near enough given that 3 people, a hair-shedding dog, and a feather shedding cockatiel all inhabit one small little house.

Then there is work - well truthfully we never really get caught up at work, even though lately we have been very close.

My pathetic weed infested garden - not my fault... to wet to weed!
Then there is the garden - which I usually do for relaxation.... Huh!!  This year it has been very relaxing - I just plain have never got in there to do it.  Every time I tried - it rained.  Should I be thankful?  Well at least I have an excuse.  But good grief - you should see it now... what a mess... it now will take quite a few days to right the wrongs of the summer season.

 Just getting started - this is 20 bears and a few other things - I need about 100 bears
Then there is the upcoming craft sale  - did I really need the extra stress of this endeavour?
Well I really thought I did.  It's been a few years since I did a sale, I missed the money!!  But it's not really the sale that has me stressed - it's the picture I have in my mind of my sale table - full, and I mean full of wonderful things for sale - things that keep getting added to the list of unmade articles - things I know I will never have enough time to make no matter how many sleepless nights I spend working.  I am my own worse enemy, after all!

Ah - then there is the other stuff... the things I really WANT to do, but feel I should not, because there is so much  I HAVE to do.  I want to knit a sweater (or two).  Work on my dolls and their new outfits.
Naked dolls everywhere!
  I want to play the piano for hours and hours; practice with Gary for our piano/organ duo Christmas concert.  Play with the dog; play with the bird.  Bake.  Write letters, write a book, write a with Scott, visit friends on numerous sites I belong to, sew, quilt, clean up my itunes files - watch movies with my family, spend time with my family, read a book, listen to music - well this one I do anyway - nothing is gonna stop me from ending my day with my headphones and ipod... it's just what I do... for me.

Whew I'm tired!

And my point?

There is none, except that we make life too darn hectic for ourselves...

And why is that, exactly?

Friday, September 24, 2010

We are gonna miss you...

I have been working full time since 1976.  Except for nine months off when I had my son, and 3 months off when I was treated for Breast Cancer, my career in the medical profession has been a large part of my life.  I started my career as a RN, and as things in my life changed so did my career options.  I have been fortunate to always have a job, and I have done many different things, but it has always been in the medical  profession.   I have been extremely blessed to have worked with wonderful people, no matter what my position.

The past 11 years I have worked at the hospital in a Women's Gyne clinic.  Except for male doctors and medical students, all my co-workers are female.  I work with nurses, clerks, secretaries, Physicians and aides, there are about 12 of us there everyday, and as amazing as it may sound... 12 women really can get along all the time.  Well maybe there is the odd time there will be a squabble or two, but we also seem to be able to rise above it and carry on.

One of my co-workers - a little nurse by the name of Caroline retires today.  Caroline has been a solid fixture in our unit for many years, and I do not say this lightly... the place will not be the same without her.

Caroline is one of those rare people that can spread herself so thin, that you have to wonder how she manages to do all she does.  She is our party planner, our cake baker, our event and celebration decorator, our drug order er, our shoulder to cry on, our source of immense entertainment when she has a story to share, our sale flyer provider, our friend, our Mom, our sister... and soon she is going to be a little baby boy's grandmother.

That is one of the reasons she has chosen to leave us.  Her first grandchild is about to be born, an event that Caroline has been dreaming about since before forever.  And she will be an amazing Grandma, just like she is an amazing everything else.

To say we will miss her, doesn't even come close.   I am sure that the end of this day will see a few tears, many many hugs, some long faces, some smiles, but everyone will be thinking... gosh... we are going to miss her!

Caroline, it's been an honour to know you, to work with you, and to call you friend.  Best wishes in your new career as a Grandmother, please stop by from time to time so we catch up...

I wrote a little poem for her retirement book ...

That's our Caroline

Five foot nothing bundle of joy,
That's our Caroline.
Saving lives one day at a time,
That's our Caroline.

Party planner, cake decorator,
That's our Caroline.
Treats and sweets and one point deals;
That's our Caroline.

Laughter, love, fun and hugs,
That's our Caroline.
Dedicated, loyal, proud and fine,
That's our Caroline.

Soon to be retired and gone,
That's our Caroline.
CPU's loss, her grandson's gain;
That's our Caroline.

Long from now, of her we'll speak,
And praise our Caroline.
We'll miss her sure, but first let's hear - 
Three cheers for Caroline!

Retirement date September 24, 2010.

Be happy dear friend; we love you!