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!