Monday, December 22, 2014


I really did mean to have a post ready for yesterday, but my weekend didn't exactly turn out the way I planned and so I just never got the chance to write my Monday post.

My dog Molly is 11 and a half years old.  She is a healthy, active dog, very rarely is she ill, she never ever is cross or temperamental.
Molly went blind very suddenly this fall, which really shook us all to our bones - but in true Molly fashion she seems to have taken it in her stride, and she is dealing with it, sometimes better than us humans.

About 3 weeks ago she started drinking a lot of water, and having little peeing accidents on carpets and on her beds.  She hated this and was pretty crushed every time it happened.  It was getting to be such a problem that I had to remove all the area rugs on the main floor of the house.  We didn't think much of it except that perhaps she was reacting to the blindness, or maybe it was just age creeping up on her.

Then last Thursday she started vomiting, and then diarrhea, she stopped eating, and she stopped drinking and well it appeared as if we might lose our best friend.

She absolutely would not touch her dog food, so I made her a bland diet of boiled hamburger and rice.  She devoured it immediately, so for the past few days I have been feeding her small amounts of this and she seems to be feeling a bit better.  The diarrhea has stopped, she is drinking normal amounts of water again, and the piddling has stopped.

Yesterday my husband went on some forums to research food.  The first one he went to was the food she has been eating ( and loving) for the past few years.  What he read was shocking.  The food we were feeding our dog has made hundreds of dogs ill with exactly the same symptoms as Molly.  Some have died, some have been left with permanent liver and kidney damage.

I think we might have been lucky, but what of the millions of other people who are feeding this food to their beloved pet, unaware of the danger to their family member.

It makes me sick to think we were inadvertently harming our beautiful Molly.  I could cry - and I did!

I am seriously going to research making her food from now on.  I need to do a lot of reading to make sure this is what is best for her.  In the meantime, pet owners please go on the sites of the foods you feed your animals - read the forums, the responses, the complaints.  This food was recommended to us from a pet food store owner we have known and trusted for years...

And you can bet that I am going to be looking into this pet food company as well.

In the meantime, Molly is getting lost of special treatment.  I hope she is going to be okay, I am cautiously optimistic.  I just can't and don't want to imagine life without my Molly girl in it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I can't tell you how happy I am to be writing my blog again.  I have not written much, if anything in so long, that I forgot what pleasure it brings me to just sit and write.

Writing is a solitary activity, and for me it does not always happen when I am sitting in front of the computer.  In fact usually long before that happens, I have already written whatever I am going to type in my head - or the majority of it anyway.

That part is the real curse.  Having stories and ideas chasing each other around in your head all the time when you are supposed to be concentrating on something else entirely can be so frustrating.  Rarely do really great ideas for a story happen at a convenient time.  I loose track of time, I loose whole parts of conversations because I am thinking about something that I want to write.  I have composed whole poems on a short walk from one hospital to another at my work... well not lately - but definitely in the past.

I have only been back to writing on here for a little over a week, and already I am thinking about my future.  I have four novels written, one was published a few years ago but the publishing contract is now over.  These novels sit on a shelf in my craft room in big brown envelopes, and I completely forget about them until I am cleaning in that room.  The most I have done on any of those stories in the past ten years is move them from one pile to another.  I have several others started and in various stages of completion - I am not even sure where these ones are at the moment.

I had a long conversation with my eldest brother a few weeks ago, and I was  whining to him about how much I really want to retire, but how I actually feared not going out to work every morning.  Strange isn't it - I don't want to go out to work every morning, but I am fearful of not going out to work every morning.  Am I alone in this?  For 40 years this has been my norm - I don't know anything else, so I guess it is understandable.

My brother is seldom warm and fuzzy - he tells it like he sees it, and he pretty much told me to get over myself and take a plunge.  He softened it somewhat by saying how much talent I possessed, and what a great opportunity I could make for myself if I used my talents and abilities and did something for myself for a change, instead of working so hard and futilely for someone else.

That was nice -

I have been thinking.  I have been asking for a sign, I have been praying, and maybe the answer is right in front of me.... Maybe it starts right here somehow.  Maybe the answer is linked to my decision to start back writing my daily blog after being dormant for so long.

Sounds like a lot of maybes to me, but two weeks ago those maybes were nowhere in my thoughts.  Maybe that is progress...

Talk to you next week....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pray for Peace - People Everywhere!

Is Peace Possible?

Peace On Earth - Goodwill To Men.  Let There Be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me....  We hear songs like this so often at this time of year...  on the radio, TV, The Internet - in Churches, schools, workplaces... but is Peace really in our hearts?

You have to really wonder about that when you read news about terror such as what happened in Sydney, and other such happenings around the world.

Have you ever felt Peace?  I don't mean contentment, I mean true Peace. 

I have, but only once, and at a time in my life where it should have been impossible to feel it.

It was several years ago, and I was lying outside an operating theater waiting to have my breast cancer surgery.  I was scared beyond scared.  I lay there imagining every wrong thing that could happen to me in that operating room and wondering if I would ever open my eyes and be normal again.

Then my surgeon stopped at my side, and spoke quietly to me as he started to wheel my stretcher into the operating room.  I remember feeling like I was suffocating.  My heart was pounding, and I felt more than a little sick to my stomach.

The operating room staff lifted me from the stretcher to the narrow table that I was to lay on for the next 4 hours or so.  All I saw was kind eyes regarding me above green face masks... little words were spoken.

One nurse placed a leather strap across my legs, while another covered me with several heated blankets.  They were positioning my arms for the surgery - one was to be over my head and the other close by my side.  There was activity all around me, and I remember thinking that really - I wasn't ready for this at all.

And then it came.  I was lying there thinking negative thoughts, and then all of a sudden I felt Peace.  I can't explain it... it just happened.  I felt like everyone in the room had stopped moving, all was calm, warm, soft... I had no fear, no thoughts really, and I was happy.  I felt Peace... perfect Peace!  I didn't expect it -  and I have never forgotten it.

I believe in Peace, but I also believe there will never be Peace on Earth - at least not on the Earth as we know it now.  Things have to change, major things have to happen, people have to change... we all have to Believe that Peace IS possible.

Pray for Peace - People Everywhere.... Let There be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with ME!

Monday, December 15, 2014

To Bake or Not to Bake - IS THIS THE QUESTION?

I whipped up 2 dozen of those Cranberry-Orange muffins last night - OMG  they are so good!

I haven't done any Christmas baking yet.  I keep thinking I should  - because I always have... but really - do we need all that lying in the freezer tempting us to indulge, when we know we shouldn't?

In years past my Christmas baking much resembled my Mother's Christmas baking.  I guess this is pretty normal of Mother's and Daughters.  I would make Anise cookies - which was the Swiss tradition of my Paternal grandmother and my Mom would always bake these on the eve prior to Christmas Eve... so I did too.

Mince-meat tarts... a favourite of mine and my Dad.  Mom's were the large ones, made in a large muffin tin - and so are mine!

Refrigerator Cookies - the ones with the tiny pieces of candied fruit in them.  These were the cookies that always were left over long after Christmas - I guess because they were the least appreciated.  Funny - same thing happens at my house - although I do love them.

Mom always made two kinds of fruit cake - dark and light.  Personally I love the dark one.  The white one, which also was Grandma Fischer's recipe was made mostly for my Dad.  I made the dark fruit cake for several years, but no one in my family likes it, so that left me to eat the whole thing myself... not good.  And with the price of the ingredients for fruit cake being as rich as the cake - well, it has been taken off my list altogether!

Mom never made Shortbread - but I usually do - everyone in my family loves it.  Same with Sugar cookies and ginger cookies  - they are favourites in my house.

I have tried various other cookies - date pinwheels - yeah - these weren't well received.  Anything with Coconut - not so much!  My son doesn't like nuts - so where does that leave me?

No wonder I don't have the urge to bake.

So - I have made a decision as I have been typing this - I am not going to do any Christmas baking... nope - for sure, I am not!

But I do have an idea I want to try for Dessert Christmas Day.


I saw one in a magazine recently and it looks so beautiful, simple and festive that I decided right then and there, it would be my Christmas Yum!

What could be better after a heavy meal than crumbled Red Velvet Cake layered with fresh strawberries, Raspberries, red currant jam, frozen whipped topping, maybe a few crushed candy canes for extra special holiday flavour?

Pinterest has dozens of recipes for this  - some even with chocolate added, blueberries..

What I like about this dessert is the way it can be served.  Individual servings in wine classes or crystal water goblets would be so pretty and festive.

So there you have it - my baking dilemma has been solved.  Too bad I already bought a 10 lb bag of flour, and 3 lbs of butter.

Maybe I will make some home made bread - I have Mom's recipe for that too - and it is awesome!

Happy Baking!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tune In Why Don't You!

I am the firm believer in the power of music to calm, soothe, sometimes stimulate, but always always always bring a certain kind of joy that nothing else can even come close to.

As a small child of 4, all I wanted was a piano.  My parents didn't have a lot of money, so they bought me a cord organ and as the story is often told by my family, I was pretty much permanently attached to the bench day in and day out, playing and singing and swinging my feet.

I did get that piano when I was about 10.  I had been taking piano and voice lessons from the man across the street who was a choir director at a large church in the city.  I practiced on another neighbour's piano every day after school... until I finally got my own piano.

I kept taking my voice training from the man across the street but because I was such an avid student he suggested to my parents that I take my piano lessons from a teacher registered with the Royal Conservatory of Music - and so the following year I began doing that.  I took piano and theory and reached Grade IX in the Royal Conservatory of Music by the time I was a teenager.

Things changed, but not my love of music.  I learned the Cello and played with an orchestra for 6 yrs.  I also learned the guitar, accordion and the organ.  I would have loved to learn the harp - that was to be my next conquest but alas I ran out of years.  By then I was working as a Registered Nurse, then married with a family, and mastering new instruments was forgotten.

Music is still so much a part of my life.  My husband is an organist and plays his pipe organ in the basement every evening after dinner.  I have my old 1929 Irish Piano, that I wouldn't  trade for anything.  I have my Dad's accordion, which I play as well.  I have always wanted a Cello of my own, but I just can't justify the cost of purchasing one at my age.

Every evening I spend one hour before bedtime with the music I love.  Until this spring it was listening to selections of my own CD collections that I would load on my ipod.  My son bought me super expensive headphones, and so for the last hour of every day I zone out in my own enjoyable way.

But then my son introduced me to TUNE IN radio.  If you haven't already discovered this wonderful piece of technology, and you love music - any music - you must pay attention.

If you have a ipod, ipad or iphone you can download the free app to Tunein Radio.  If you want to use your computer you can get it by going to  You do  need an Internet connection to use this app, however you choose to use it.

I get the station I want to listen to on my ipod and then I doc my ipod on my stereo and so I can listen wherever I am in the house.

When you go in to Tunein, you will be able to search for whatever you want to listen too.  Select "Music" and then have fun searching the stations.   There are thousands of music stations of every genre available for you to listen too.

You can save favourite stations as Favourites and then you don't have to re-search every time.

I have some terrific Christmas stations saved.  Here are a few you might enjoy:

KING FM Classical Christmas - beautiful classical and traditional music of Christmas.  Really good instrumentals and choral pieces.

181. FM Christmas Standards - Christmas music from such performers as Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and all the soft jazz-type performers of that era... really good stuff.

Christmas Carols Radio  - this is my favourite because it is Traditional Carols sung by some of the best Choirs in the UK.... Kings College, lots of John Rutter, John Scott's choir, and arrangements that I have sung in our own choir at St. Luke's Anglican here in Winnipeg.  I find myself singing along with the Contralto line almost every song that is played.

There are stations from every country in the world and for every type of music you want to hear.

So Tunein, and enjoy the music of the season...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chrismtas Marx Tin Litho tour - the rest!

Are you ready to tour the rest of the Marx house?  Hope you have your coffee and Orange-Cranberry muffin close at hand.

The first room I will show you today is the kitchen.  I actually have done the least here of all the rooms.  I would eventually like to add some accent pieces here like shelves or maybe even cupboards.  A really nice cluttered kitchen is what I aim to do, but for now it is simply a plain little room.  There is a sheet of cookies fresh out of the oven sitting on the top of the stove, but don't think that is visible in this picture.  The light hanging down from the ceiling is actually a LED light that really works... I bought it at Toad Hall( a great independent toy store) here in Winnipeg.  Oh and that's a little kitten lying on the rug...

Next is the master bedroom.  This room was missing a wall like I said in my other post.  I made the bed from cardboard, foam and material.   It actually is much larger than a bed from the era of this home would have been - but I decided that  King sized bed would be in order for this room, mainly because I had very little furniture to fill the room.  The lady of the house is a quilter, so her  machine is ready for use, and she has decorated her mantle with boughs of holly just as you will see in the living room below.
The little red easy chair is actually the only original "Marx Furniture" piece I have.  I bought it for a couple of dollars at the Miniature show and sale here in October.  I find this bedroom, restive, and peaceful... a good place to have a nap!

I have saved the last room for the end of the tour, because it is the best.  I wanted a lighted tree for this room - this was always my focus.   Years ago I had decorated a tiny tree with decorations that would have fit perfectly in this room, but when I began searching my inventory for it, all I found were the decorations that at one time were glued on the tree.  So the search for the right tree began.  Every little tree I saw was either too large or not the shape or colour I wanted.  Until one morning a co-worker brought in a dollar store ornament to work.  It was an oval base with three glittery threes attached to it.  On top of each tree was a star.  I knew the moment I saw it that the smallest tree would be perfect for my house, so to the dollar store I went.  In the end I went to many dollar stores and all they had left of this particular ornament were red, silver and gold versions of the green one I really wanted.
In the meantime I had been to Michael's and found the tiniest set of LED tree lights that really worked.  I had the word out to everyone I knew to keep an eye out for the green trees decoration, and just last week it was delivered to my desk by the same co-worker who had pretty much spent her entire weekend hunting down my little green trees.
I was in business!  I decorated the tree and lit it up - and wow - I even managed to impress myself!
I got busy and made the sofa, and afghan, wrapped some presents for under the tree, decorated the mantle and hung the stockings.  I added a little roll-top desk for writing those Christmas Cards and another LED floor lamp that will be much more functional once the tree is no longer in the room.  Next year I think I will decorate the stair case as well!

My future ideas for this room include a coffee table, end tables and perhaps a couple of wing chairs.  Maybe even a shelf of books, or a television... All of which I hope to make myself over the winter months.

The only area left to show you is the roof-top patio.  I imagine this area will look very different in the summer - perhaps a picnic table, an outdoor swing, some loungers, some potted plants a BBQ, but at the moment it is where the children go to have some fun in the snow. The little reindeer I bought at Target, he was in the ornaments just sitting there looking so cute.  I made the snowman from some of the snow that is all over the house... remember this house is in Winnipeg - and at the moment it has more snow than we have on the ground!

Oh - and not to be forgotten.... Santa has just arrived!

You might wonder where the family is?  I wonder that as well - perhaps they went to Aunt Bessie's in Florida for the Christmas Vacation... Yeah, that's it - definitely!

Have a great weekend, see you on Monday!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Bloggers Perception!

I wish I knew the time of day my readers read my blog.  I often imagine the scenerio.  In my imagination it goes something like this....

You turn your computer or tablet on, then head to the kitchen to start the coffee.  There are some dishes lying around the counter and sink from someone's late night visit to the kitchen so you rinse those and put them in the dishwasher.  You wipe the counter and  - well the coffee is done.

You pour yourself a cup in your favorite mug, grab a freshly made muffin from a plate on the table ( you were up at 4: 30am  baking) and head back to the cozy little nook where your computer is waiting.

It is a beautiful bright morning, the sun is just coming over the trees, there is a cardinal sitting on the fir tree right out your window, and the air is filled with sparkly ice crystals.

But you are warm.  You have your sweats, heavy wool socks, and a blazing fire near-by.

You check your emails first - please always do that.  You never know who might have contacted you... a family member who is hurting - a friend you haven't communicated with in a long time, but really really have been missing in your life... Your Mom, Your Dad - brother or sister - neighbor!

You hit Facebook next - that's okay - I do it too.... and then you come here.

Okay - too romantic... how about this?

You turn your laptop or tablet on, only to realize the battery is dead, so you tear the house upside down for the charging cord.  You finally find it, under the dog's bed in the hallway.  You plug your device in and head for the kitchen.

You really want coffee - but you are out of filters.  Hummm somewhere on the internet you saw some genious make one out of a paper towel... must have been Pinterest or one of those places.  How hard could it be?  You rip off a piece of towel from the roll, cut an almost round circle about the right size and stuff it in the drip cup.

Your favourite cup with the chip on the top is in the dishwasher so you pull the first clean one out of the cupboard that your hand touches.  You smile... it is the cup you had made of your Son's visit with Santa in 1992.  What a sweet child he was - sigh - he looks so cute on this picture - sigh - where has the time gone?

You wipe a tear from your eye as the memories flood your heart.  So much has happened in your life since this cup came to be...
The coffee is ready - the home made filter worked just fine - good to know...  Surely by now there must be enough battery to boot up, so you unplug your laptop and with coffee in one hand and the laptop under your arm you head for your lazyboy rocker-recliner!

You get halfway there and you run into the dog.  She wants out.  You set the laptop on the piano, and the coffee on the pony- wall and head to the back door - dog in tow.

Geeze it's cold out there, you think as you scrape the frost off the window on the outside door.  What is taking her so long out there anyway?  You open the door look down the yard and yes -there she is in position - you close the door so not to let too much cold air in and wrap your arms around your body clad only in your summer pjammas.

That done you walk through the kitchen and think you really should clean up the dishes in the sink first, but the laptop is waiting, the coffee is getting cold, and you really want to see if there has been any response to your FB post the night before.

You log on - and head to FB first.... not much happening - same posts as last night before you went to bed.  You check Pinterest - not much new there either, although if you took the time to type something in the search box, you know you would be lost for hours.  You check your emails - nothing there either, except a newsletter from Annie's Attic.  You open it, and see a couple of cute projects that perhaps you might be interested in trying.

You head to erndalesnmore to read Dale's blog.... there she goes blabbing on an on about dolls again... Gee I wish she would get some new material...

How is that for accuracy?

However you make your way here, I just want you to know that I am so very thankful you do.  Please stop by whenever you can.  Become a follower of my blog, leave a comment, let me know you are here... I'd really love to hear from you.

Oh and there is a really good Cranberry Orange muffin recipie in my list to the left of this page - Make a batch to go along with tomorrow morning's coffee and blog...  we are going to be going on a tour of the rest of the Christmas Marx tin Litho House...

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Open House - Marx Tin Litho Tour #1

If you know me at all, you will know that I am very attracted to "Little" things.  Maybe that's why I love dolls so much - to me they are like little people.  I believe they have expressions and personalities of their very own!

Don't send the paddy wagon for me yet - this post isn't about dolls!  But is is about dollhouses... or one particular doll house, to be exact.

Some time ago I purchased a 1950's Marx Tin litho doll house from a Antique store here in town.  I only paid 35.00 for it and I can remember at the time thinking that 35.00 might even be too much for an old piece of tin.  It was, however in really good shape.  No rust anywhere and just just missing a wall between the master bedroom and the bathroom, and an outside dormer... or so I thought.  It is a large colonial home, with a rooftop patio, but I have since discovered that something is missing from the opposite side of the house - perhaps a garage, or maybe even a fall-out shelter - seriously some early models of these large colonials did indeed have fall-out shelters, believe it or not!  I am now pretty sure that my house had awnings over the windows at one time, as well, as there are little holes above the windows as if something used to be attached there.

The house sat in the closet of my craft room for a long time without me even thinking about it, and then one day this past summer I was looking for something else in there and I re-discovered it.

I wasn't in a very stable place health-wise, and maybe even head-wise at the time, but seeing the empty house sparked an interest in something that I had long forgotten I once liked.

I brought it out, set it up in my craft room and decided it might be a nice past-time to work on it once in awhile.

The first thing I did was look for furniture.  The rooms in this old house were bare, and after spending hours online it became pretty clear that acquiring original-type furnishings for this home would be not only expensive, but difficult as well.   My mind started creating ideas, and the next thing I knew I was looking forward to a project again. I wanted to fix, furnish and decorate it in time for Christmas...

The nursery came first.  I had acquired a few pieces of furniture from a doll friend of mine.  One of the pieces was a little child-sized bed.  I started there - crocheted a cover for the bed and a rug for the floor.   I had a stash of miniatures from my egg-making and miniature making days and in that stash I found many things I could use in that room.  I have mixed the scale a bit in this room, but even so, I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.  See the little holes on top of the window?  On the outside that would be the perfect position for a awning over the window.  I still need to make curtains for this broken window as well.

Next came the bathroom.  There was a wall missing between the master bedroom and the bathroom, so I cut a wall from a piece of tin I found in the basement shoved behind the furnace, and instead of painting it, I covered it with a yellow material on the side of the bathroom, and pink on the side of the bedroom.  The tub and the sink were acquired from my friend, and everything else I made... except the goose sitting on the tub.  The bathroom is minus a potty - this family is going to have to use outdoors accommodations for while, until I can locate a toilet!

This family even has toothbrushes and soap....

Then it was on to the dining room.  My major problem here was that I had absolutely no dining room furniture.  So I decided to turn it into a music room instead.  Who needs a dining room anyway when you have a perfectly good kitchen to share a meal in?

I found a Chrysnbon Kit to make a pump organ on Ebay, and I was so excited because I had had one exactly like it in a house I had made in the 1970's... and so my music room was born.  I will eventually make a spinet or a harpsichord for that room, but in the meantime, I ripped a harp off my own Christmas tree (again not the correct scale) and put a HiFi  in the corner.  A saxophone sits on the bureau.  I made the lamp from some beads, and knit the rug on the floor.  This room is not exactly how I would want to keep it, but for now, it will do.  Did you notice the candles on the organ... made simply from pieces of toothpicks, some artificial flower stamens, and a simple jewelry finding.

The best is yet to come... Master bedroom, kitchen and living room all decorated for Christmas.  Check back tomorrow - you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


The past few summers my gardens have been visited with by a growing number of Bumble Bees.  For such a long time they were pretty much absent, but now it seems they have returned.    This fall as I was cleaning up my flower beds I noticed swarms of them buzzing around a old birdhouse that I have sitting on a post in my garden.

As birdhouses goes, it is not much to look at, but it has some sentimental value to me because it was made by my son when he was about 9 yrs old, and it is made from re-claimed boards taken from my grandparents original homestead house.

I watched them circle the house for hours, and then I noticed that they were actually going in and out of the bird house as well.

Just last week I was finally reading my 2014 edition of The Prairie Gardener, and low and behold there was a lengthy article about bees.  How to attract them to your garden, good bees vs bad bees - where they come from, where they live…

I was fascinated.  As I read the article my mind kept returning to my Bumble Bees.  What really made me sit up straight was the information about Bumble Bees nesting habits.  The Queen overwinters and nests in the ground, or in mice nests, and even sometimes, but rarely, in abandoned bird houses!

Imagine my excitement!  A couple of years ago there were a pair of finches making a nest in my birdhouse, but a neighbourhood cat became rather interested, so they moved on.  I did not clean out the house, I just left the nest inside.

How brilliant!  My laziness might just have created the perfect spot for a Queen to overwinter and restart her colony in the spring.

You wanna bet, I am going to be watching my birdhouse very carefully come spring.

In the meantime, I decided to dress up the house for her for Christmas.  A little green garland, a little stocking and some pretty coloured lights at night… all fit for a Queen.

Rest well my little Bumble - if indeed you are in there….

Friday, December 5, 2014

Today and Beyond

It has been such a long time since I have been here, that I even forgot my login and password to this site.  Lucky for me, I keep a little black book in my purse with all my logins and passwords... frustrating as it is to have to carry such book around - this time, I was glad of it.

It has been an interesting ten months, since last I was here.  In February I lost my job of 17 yrs due to outsourcing.  The first four months of my forced "Retirement" were spent quite pleasantly at home.  I got to experience a bit of what retirement might feel like, when it finally becomes a reality for me. 

It was nice to spend a lot of quality time with my husband.  We found ourselves acting like we were retired - going to McDonalds for coffee and a muffin every morning; Mingling with the seniors who gather there early every morning.  I even let the color grow out if my hair, so I felt like I fit in perfectly in that crowd.

The winter continued to be brutal, so I kept myself busy making and selling sweater sets for my doll groups.  My doll friends were a blessing - they kept me so busy creating that I didn't have time to dwell on the fact that I had been ousted from my job of 17 yrs.

Before we knew it, spring was upon us, and I was making plans to spend a lot of quality time in my gardens.  I had great plans to re-do a lot of my plants which have become less-productive over the years.  I was going to try new varieties and it was in my mind to really get a proper herb garden to make teas  - maybe even a sustainable, profitable retirement venture for the future?

By the end of May, I was beginning to feel the pressure.  We still have a mortgage, loans, car payments... retirement really had not been considered an option for us - so I started job hunting, and I did find a job in my field, and was working again by June.

The job is a blessing in that it is a paycheck, but I find I cannot put my heart and soul in it like I had my previous one.  Resentment, sadness, fear, all seem to have a play in my attitude when it comes to my new job.  But like I always do - I will persevere.

The new plan has become to do all we can to make retirement a reality in less than 5 years.  I hope we are successful, because I keep thinking about that 4 months spent at home, and I realize that after a lifetime of working full time - I am pretty much done with the idea of working at a job.  I have a lot of ideas I would like to try, avenues I would like to persue, and skills I would like to utilize. 

In the meantime, I want to blog.  I missed writing and sharing with my readers.  I have some new things to show you, new stories to tell, new recipies for you to make, and some new fun for us all to have together, so please, come and visit me often... bring your friends along with you (suggest my blog to them).  As usual my topics will be life lived (everyday stuff); creativity (crafting, writing); collections (dolls and now dollhouses as well); beauty(gardening, music, nature, photography); and everything in between...

See you next week!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crazy for Quilting!

Yesterday I was talking about projects and I thought I would share another very special project I am soon starting.

I have always loved the look of Crazy Quilting, so when my cousin called one day last summer and asked if I would like a quilt that my Aunt's mother had started years ago, I said yes.

What I received was several pieces of Crazy Quilting, none large enough for an actual quilt, but perfect for smaller projects, such as a wall hanging, pillow, table topper etc.

The largest is made up of 4 Quilt squares done in velvets... and the original quilter has done quite a bit of the embroidery on it that makes Crazy Quilting so special.

I would like to further embellish this one with beads and lace and such and turn it into a wall hanging for our bedroom.

The second piece is smaller, and it looks like it is made from men's ties.  This one has a bit of embroidery done, but not much.  I love the fan in the corner.  This one I think I would complete as a table topper (not to be eaten on, of course)

The third piece is a small scrap of a piece that I think I could perhaps add to with more fancy fabric and turn into a doll quit, or a pillow..

And the fourth piece is pretty much a blank canvas...

I consider myself so blessed to have received these old patches from years gone by - I plan to treasure them for years to come...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Projects Galore!

Since winter doesn't seem to want to leave us alone, and spring and gardening seem so far away still, I decided I needed a project.

In true Dale fashion, somehow I have ended up with quite a few projects.

I haven't cross-stitched in years, and I have several unfinished pieces sitting in totes waiting for some "time" to complete them.  Do I dig those out?  Not on your life!  Instead I buy new canvas and bump up my floss stash and start a brand new piece;  Norman Rockwell's "The Doctor and the Doll".  I bought the pattern quite a few years ago, and sort of stumbled upon it before Christmas.

In the meantime, I decided I should perhaps get to some of those forgot places in my house... perhaps to clean?  

File cabinets, came first - and there are still papers lying about that I really don't know what I should do - if anything.

My craft room closet - now there's a project and a half... I was afraid if I climbed up there, I would never be seen again - but it wasn't overly bad - quite organized actually, and I escaped completely unharmed.

But that little escapade led to yet another project... I unearthed several large boxes of photos.  I have thousands of photos, from every one's lives, including my own - and there they sit in boxes.  So I decided to sort and separate and organize, and while I was doing that I decided it was time so start returning photos to the givers, or their families.  So now I have several large envelopes of photos to get ready to mail away.  I hope the recipient's will be happy to receive them, and not think I am shooing them out of my life - nothing could be further from my mind, but there comes a time when this needs to be done.

Now it's time for a break, I see the sun is shining on my chair - I think I'll grab the canvas and take advantage of the natural light and do some stitching - unless of course the sun lures me to sleep  - which is always quite possible...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Simple Pleasures.

My neighbour's husband passed away last May, and though her transition has been very difficult she has done remarkably well these past few months.  We have always been friends, but since her husband has been gone, we have formed an even closer bond, certainly as neighbours, but also now as close friends.

While I was working full time, I tried to get next door for a visit at least once a week, and I tried to email several times a week, just to remind her that she is not alone.

She has rewarded me by returning the favour ten-fold this past week, and I find my attitude brightening much faster, thanks to her loving care and friendship.

When I went over to tell her my plight last Monday, she asked if I had an hour.  When I said yes, she popped a DVD into her player, turned on the TV and introduced me to a fascinating series produced by the BBC on Tudor Farming.

We both love gardening, and there is much about gardening in this series, but really it is about farming in early England.  This series has captured my interest, entertained my spirit, and fed my mind with knowledge about many things farming that I did not know.

Imagine a morning such as this...

It is cold and the snow is swirling outside against the picture window.
Inside, two women casually dressed, sit in reclining chairs, each with a cat curled sleeping on their lap.  Cups of hot coffee or tea, and fresh baked scones out of the oven are on the table between them.   Add an hour-long (sometimes 2) program devoted to farming, gardening spinning etc ... Simple Pleasures indeed!

Brings to mind a sampler I stitched many years ago...

So very true.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What a Difference A Day Makes - 24 little hours!

What a difference a day makes!  The song tells how 24 little hours can make a difference between grey skies and sunshine, the blues and happiness, no love, and love.... how true those lyrics are!  And for the record, I love Dinah Washington's rendition of this song best of all...

Last Monday was really a day that made a difference in my life.  I got up as usual at 5:30, got ready and walked into work at 7:00 AM,  to find my manager and a professionally dressed man waiting for me outside my office door.  They followed me into my office, closed the door and proceeded to inform me that I was being terminated immediately - my job was being outsourced to another company, and I was to vacate the premises immediately.  I was walked to the main floor entrance where I waited alone for my husband to come and pick me up and take me home.

Sixteen years - gone - in a blink of an eye!

I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to any of my long term co-workers, who have been my friends and family for 16 years; I did not get to collect my personal belongings... I ceased to exist.

Well that was a week ago, and in the week that has passed I have experienced emotions that are very foreign to me.

Anger comes to mind first.  I have never been an angry person - I loathe anger of any kind - there is no place for it in my life - or there wasn't until last week... now it seeps in to everything I do - and I hate it.

Shame.  What have I got to feel shamed about?  Absolutely nothing - but the mere act of being treated like someone who did wrong, has put the notion that perhaps I am not a good person firmly in my mind.

Fear.  Lots and lots of fear.  I am closer to 59 yrs than 58 - where am I going to be able to find another job at my age, that will help me sustain my mortgage, family... my life as it was last Monday?

Sorrow.  When will I be able to tell my friends face to face about my weekend, about my bad haircut experience, about my dog's latest silliness?

I know some of my co-workers will read this, so I am adding the last part for them.

My friends;

Thank you for all you have been to me.  You were the sisters I never had.  You laughed with me, you cried with me, you held my hand and my heart and walked with me when I had breast cancer and when my husband was going blind.  You were my cheering section, when I lost 70 lbs.  You have been my family, and I love you all.   God Bless You All...   Stay safe, be happy, and I hope we meet again...

That's the difference a day makes....

Take it Away, Dinah!

Friday, January 31, 2014

It's a small World After All!

It was late Friday afternoon, about 20 minutes before it was time to finish work for the day.  I had spent the better part of the past two weeks balancing accounts in four companies for the 20 some specialists I work for.  There were three accounts that were giving me fits for about three days running, and finally I was able to balance them and so complete the year-end balancing portion of  the year end procedures.

I cleaned off my desk and organized the piles of papers on my desk so I could start again the following Monday morning.  My brain was mush - but there was still a few minutes left so I logged on to Kijji to see what, if anything was new in the doll section.

I hadn't been there in a couple of months - and there were a few new dolls, but none that called to me overmuch.  I was just about to log off and head home when I spotted this...

Wow! A co-worker and myself had just been talking about tin doll houses a couple of weeks ago.  I did not have one of these as a child, but she had, and she wanted to find one again.  I forwarded the add to my co-worker and went home.

The next day being Saturday I decided to check out the local thrift store (I had not been there since before Christmas and I was in need of some books to read).  My husband was anxious to head to Future shop to buy me a case for my new Samsung tablet, which he informed me would be my Valentine's Day gift - which was fine with me.  But since he mentioned Valentine's Day, I decided to show him the Kijji add  - well  - just because!

Off we went in -30's temps, I was dropped off at ValueVillage, and hubby and son went on to Future Shop.

I happily did the store in leisure, nick-knacks isle first, followed by books (I got one) and then the toy section.  I was not really looking for a doll but there was a fairly sizable pile of naked bodies, and one particularly large pair of feet could be seen smack dab in the middle.  I walked away!

Yeah right!

I pulled on the big feet and out came a large 1950's Dee & Cee Boy Doll!  He was filthy dirty and had a bit of a wonky left eye - but otherwise in perfect shape.  I tucked him under my arm and headed to the cash register!  Here he is all clean and fixed up, wearing a hand knit baseball suit and Jon's first ever sneakers and a "Little Slugger" cap Jon wore as a toddler.    This big guy know lives in the "Man Cave " downstairs where all the baseball stuff seems to be popping up!
Back to last Saturday:
The guys picked me up from the thrift store and announced we were going for lunch.  I asked to see the case for the Samsung, and hubby told me he had changed his mind.  He thought perhaps I would rather have a doll house for Valentine's Day than a tablet case.  

Off to lunch we went and then we headed to Brian's Antique shop to look at the doll house.  By now you might have guessed that doll house is mine... but there is more.  Jonathan was in a mood to shop.  He loves anything Batman and already has a nice collection of stuff (wonder where he gets that from).  He found a couple of things at Brian's and then suggested we go to Thrifty's Flea market just down the road for more.

Thrifty's is a car collector's dream.  Sad to say no dolls, but I wandered around anyway and saw more than a few things that I already have in my house.  When I finally found my guys again hubby was smiling from ear to ear.  In his hand was a brand new still in the box case for a Samsung tablet -  $40 cheaper than he would have paid at Future Shop.  My Valentine's Day gift after all... or not!

Any way you look at it - It was my day.  A Doll, A doll house and a tablet case... 

Of course I could have held out for diamonds, flowers or chocolates, but then again, Valentine's day is still a couple of weeks away!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I was going to continue with my Kijji story today, but something much more important happened yesterday, and I really need to write about it today.

Yesterday we learned that our niece's child has been diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma.  This is rare and dangerous form of cancer and the news that young Sean has it has made everyone who knows him and his family heart-sick.

It is bad enough when cancer strikes us as adults, but it seems so cruel and wrong when it happens to a child.  Human nature is to ask why.  Of course we ask that question, everyone does, but truthfully there is no answer for that question, so we have to leave it behind forever, and instead ask... What can I do?

At this moment in time, there is very little for us to do.  The physicians, surgeons, oncologists are the only ones who can physically do something right now - the rest of us can think positive thoughts, give hugs, give encouragement, give love, and best of all ... pray.  Perhaps down the road there will be more we can do - but right now, we can only assist in the unseen part of Sean's treatment.  This we can do, for Sean, and his parents and family.

And we can be happy - because happiness promotes positive outcomes.  Doom and gloom have no place in cancer  treatment - I know this for a fact, but if you don't believe me go and visit a chemo floor in a cancer center.  You won't see tears there.   What you will see is smiles, and love, and more smiles and love. Sean will need our smiles, our happy thoughts, our goofy moments much more than he will need our tears.

Please keep Sean and his family in your thoughts as you go about your day today, and tomorrow, and the days after that...

And Sean - You are my new HERO!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We'll try this again!

Good thing I didn't specify which Monday I would be back - and here it is Tuesday!  Seems to be how my life goes, these days... full of great intentions that never get off the ground!

So happy Tuesday everyone - we are almost at the end of another month - but sadly winter just keeps on howling around these parts.  We have been the unhappy recipients of almost two solid months of extreme cold weather.  We have a day warm up every couple of weeks and then right back down into the frigid temps we go again.  For instance yesterday morning it was -31 with the windchill -45.  Today not much different -32 and -43 with the windchill.  Very hard to get motivated to get out of bed in the morning and get off to work... but we do.  Nothing closes here for the cold weather - kids trudge off to school, parents trudge off to work, retirees trudge off to Tim Horton's for their morning coffee and visit... You have to be sick in bed with the flu to escape it...

And that's where I have been for part of my time away since the New Year started.  I've been fighting the same virus for about 3 weeks now.  No matter what I do, or what I take I just can't seem to shake it.  I missed some time off work, which was not great because it is our yea-end, which is always a panic and a stressful time at work, but we are getting through it slowly and hope to be done soon.

January has been an odd month for me.  I have been feeling somewhat blah about so many things - maybe because I have been sick, maybe because work has been stressful - but the blahs have hit hard and lasted much longer than what is normal for me.  I seemed to loose interest in everything I have been doing.  Didn't care about the dolls, or quilting, or crocheting, or house cleaning, or cooking or baking or even music.  A pretty complete BLAH - if you ask me.

And then I was happened to go on Kijji for just a moment last Friday....

To be continued...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

I really can't believe it's been three months since I posted here on my blog.  I was going to take a little "rest"  - and I did - of sorts.

I hope everyone has stayed healthy and I hope we have all survived the Christmas and New Years Season with renewed energy, positive thoughts and love all around us.  The older I get the more convinced I become that those are the keys to having a happy and fulfilled life.  Energy, positive thoughts, and knowing you are loved and loving others.  Pretty basic stuff - but perhaps the most important of all.

The only other thing we need in our lives is Faith.  If we don't have Faith in something well I do believe we are truly and totally lost.  Sometimes you have to believe in something that you cannot touch, or see... just because we cannot see it or touch it, does not mean it does not exist.  In our world of spiraling technology where we see so much and do so much at random we often forget to feel or believe or have Faith in something...  That something is up to you - it's an individual thing - but it is so important to a happy life.

So now we get a fresh start to a New Year.  I have heard so many people say that 2014 is going to be the best year for them - talk about a leap of Faith - it's wonderful!  That is the perfect way to start off the New Year.

I think I would like to jump on that wagon and shout the same thing.  2014 is going to be a Great Year!

So with that thought in mind - I wish you all a great weekend... I'm back - talk to you on Monday!