Wednesday, December 23, 2015



It's not the glow you feel
When snow appears

It's not the Christmas Card
You've sent for years

Not the joyful sound
When sleigh bells ring
or the merry songs
Children sing

The little gift you send
On Christmas day

Will not bring back the friend
You've turned away

So may I suggest
The secret of Christmas

It's not the things you do at Christmas time

But the Christmas things you do
All year through...

Van Heusen, Jimmy / Cahn, Sammy

 I have been listening to a radio station on Tune In called Christmas Standards.  Young people would say it's old people music - I would say it is classics from 1940, 1950 and 1960.  Artists like Joe Stafford, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Jimmie Rogers, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald...well you get my drift.

They play such a great variety that I am hearing songs that I have not heard for years and some that I have never heard.

During the last few weeks, I have heard several renditions of the song, The Secret of Christmas.  Every one is beautiful, because the words and the music of this song are beautiful...but my favourite of this one remains performed by Ella Fitzgerald.

This song is so true, and so beautifully done that is should be played for young and old alike.

Here is the Secret of Christmas.

I want to take a moment to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas!  I know some of you will have a wonderful family celebration, and some of you will be alone.

I hope we all reach out to one another and share the true message of Christmas - the one of Love for one another no matter where we are from, what our beliefs are, or how we live.

May we all be Blessed with the Secret of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015


I have not been in a large mall or a major retail store in over 5 months - have I missed it?  Not in the slightest - especially not at this time of year.  I have no idea what the hot toy of the year is, I have no idea what they are pushing for Christmas gifts for men - for women...

Sigh.... how refreshing to not have to be bothered with that aspect of Christmas.  I never was a mall crazed woman, or a shopaholic, I have always been the person that had a list, walked in the store, bought what I needed and walked out.  I don't do browsing ( unless it is a craft or yarn shop, and maybe an antique store or a thrift shop).  Major retailers would go broke if they depended upon people like me to make their yearly sales soar at Christmas time.

Maybe she's cheap, you say!  I don't believe so - I have never had a lot of extra money to throw away on things that were not needed and in the same sense I have never considered that one had to spend hundreds of dollars on a gift to make someone happy.

That is why yesterday afternoon when I was killing time on Face Book, frowning at all the Christmas nonsense that takes over Face Book at this time of year - I was so happy to find this post.

This is the best thing I have read this Christmas Season.  This was written by someone other by myself - and I re-post it here with the utmost respect and appreciation for the writer's story.  The message here is just to powerful not to share it with my readers.  Thank You Nancy W. Gavin for your beautiful story.

Christmas Story:
For the Man Who Hated Christmas
By Nancy W. Gavin
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids—all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.
Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children—ignoring their new toys—would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.
The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.


I don't know about you, but I am very happy to finally have reached the shortest day of the Year.  Winter Solstice is finally here, and power of suggestion being what it is,  I could have sworn that yesterday the early evening was a bit longer.

We live  quite a bit further north than we used to and last summer and fall we noticed that the days were indeed somewhat extended.  Power of suggestion aside - I have noticed the last week that the days were a bit longer...even during the cloudy days that we seem to have so much of lately.

Anyway you look at it - Winter Solstice can only be a good thing.  Yes winter in officially one day away, but also we have turned the corner and now have a straight path all the way to spring.

My weekend was spent organizing the basement.  I have really done nothing in the family room since we just kind of dumped everything when we moved in.  With Gary moving all the TV stuff and some furniture into his home theater, I decided it was time to give the family room a bit of attention.

I rearranged furniture, gave a good clean, found some things I had forgotten I had, and now that room is a nice area to entertain quests especially with the TV gone.

My next project is going to be the very large cold room in the basement that I have only ventured into maybe 4 times since we have moved here.  I forget we have this large room.  I did go in there on the weekend, and it is cold to be sure.  It is going to be a very useful room when I have canned and have fresh vegetables to store.  At the moment it sits empty except for a couple of dormant bulbs that I am trying to save until spring.

The biggest event on my weekend was hubby's announcement that he wanted me to have his computer so I could edit my photography better.  He has a big iMac and I just have a small laptop - so we switched computers.

I never wanted an desktop computer - but I have so say the large screen is wonderful for working with my photos.  Photography is taking me down another new road and now I have the proper tools to expand this wonderful hobby.

My nephew, Scott has inspired me to pursue night photography.  It is a total learning experience for me, and quite the challenge to learn new aspects of my camera and put them to use.

The ultimate goal here is to catch the night sky.  Aurora, stars, comets, the moon... all difficult objects for the amateur photographer to capture with a lens.

I am starting with some normal night shots - lights (perfect timing with it being Christmas and all the houses decorated with lights).  In particular I want to get acquainted with a certain Moose across the lane.  He is going to be my first real subject.

In the meantime, I fooled with some settings and took a bunch of indoor shots.  No flash, just different settings and adjustments to make the camera do it's work.

Here are a couple of images I captured at dusk the other night.  It was dark enough for all the lights to be on in the house and the street lights on outside, as you can see in the last photo, that fleshy haze behind the glass reindeer is actually the reflection of the street light outside.

I am going to have to be very careful in the future - I can see photography becoming a very serious threat to my love of crafting.

For now, it is pure JOY!

Friday, December 18, 2015


It's Friday!  One week before Christmas 2015.  I sit here at my desk and wonder how it is that we are here already.  I know I have said before that time seems to fly by faster than it used to - but really - How did we get here already?

I am finally getting around to baking those cinnamon buns - the dough is rising in the oven as I write this.  I haven't really done any Christmas baking, but I did buy a jar of mincemeat yesterday, so at some point there will be tarts.

The sun is shinning - it seems forever since we have seen the sun.  My sun room and living room are so bright that I seriously thought I might pull the blinds a bit - but I won't!  I don't want to shut out the sun or the heat that comes with it.  It has turned pretty cold, and the north wind still is blowing so we can use the extra rays of heat.

I have it on good authority that this weekend, beginning tonight there will be some awesome borealis aurora storms happening.  They are supposed to last through the weekend, so my advisor has given me some great guidelines for getting out there and hopefully successfully capturing some awesome pictures.  His will be awesome - I already know that for sure!

I still struggle with night photography, and certainly with night photography with movement.  It is not an area I really pursued before, but the gentle little nudges coming from my nephew, Scott - are making me want to learn and conquer!

Gary has finished painting and is now busy setting up his home theater  - I hear a lot of hammering going on down there so he must be getting close to the big reveal.

In the meantime, our son Jon has been redecorating in our old house.  He has turned my craft/doll room into a gaming room for his vintage systems and games.  I can't believe it is the same room... have a look....  this is the same corner of the room when it was mine, and now that it is his - I do believe I like his better... it certainly is much cleaner looking!

Last but certainly not least I want to say and very special Happy Birthday to my oldest niece, Cheri.  Cheri is celebrating her 50th birthday today.  Happy Birthday Cheri, Have a Wonderful Day!

Also a belated Happy Birthday to my cousin and good friend, Debra who celebrated a birthday yesterday.

So that is Friday in a nut shell, as they say.

Whatever your plans are for this weekend before Christmas, don't forget to stop and enjoy the season with some beautiful music, some Christmas sights, and the company of good friends or family.  If you are in Winnipeg on Sunday and are looking for a Christmas experience, consider attending this traditional Christmas Service of beautiful Christmas readings and choral music performed by one of the best choirs in Winnipeg.  I sang with this group and they are a rare treat indeed.

Talk to you next week!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Today was all about music.  It was a day that was filled with music...mother natures in the form of wind...mine in the form of piano music, and others in the form of singing.

Today was my first solo appearance at the nursing home here in town to play Christmas music on the piano for the residents who live there.  My turn to entertain was to follow the United Church Service.

When I arrived, the service was still in progress...the leaders and the resudents were singing a few Christmas hymns accapala., so while I unwound my scarf, removed my boots, mitts and coat...I sang along.  I really was just doing my own thing, not really looking at anyone, just singing and removing outerwear when the singing stopped and someone said... Who is that singing like that?

All eyes were on me.

I smiled, gave a little wave, and continued my task of hanging up my stuff and setting my gear out of the way, when someone said... "You sing beautiful". Then one of the leaders said... "She was singing harmony".

I hadn't realized that I had... It's just a natural thing for me to sing the alto line when it comes to most Hymns...Christmas or not... Thanks to my time spent singing with the wonderful St. Luke's Choir.

The service was over so I made my way to the silent piano, turned it on, organized my music put on my glasses, and started to play.

I really can't say if anyone listened or not.. I was lost in my own little world, as often happens when musicians start to play.  I just sat and played and didn't notice much, until I played Hark the Herald .  Where every song was played to a mostly quiet audience, this one was immediately joined by one male voice.  A good voice too.  I looked up and a gentleman sitting in a Gerri chair against the wall with his head lowered, was singing a beautiful solo of the first verse.

So I played another verse...and another.  I stopped at three and so did he.  He looked up at me when I stopped and the smile he gave me went straight to my heart.

He never sang again after that.  Others did, some hummed along with the tunes, some sang some words, others just sat and smiled.

About  30 minutes went by, and I noticed a Christmas orange being placed on the piano, someone softly telling me "for later".

I stopped and asked how I was doing, and everyone said..."Great...keep playing".  So I did.

When I was done I started to get ready for my cold walk home.  A female resident in a wheel chair beckoned me to come close.  She couldn't form a sentence, but I did hear the word ...nice.

I thanked her for coming to hear me and told her I would be back next week.

She grabbed my hand and held it close.

As I walked away I heard a staff member address her.

The lady who had held my hand is the lady who used to own the house we now live in.   It touched me somehow....

The whole afternoon touched me, and as I walked home with tears in my eyes, and a heart full of joy, I once again was thankful that somehow we were directed to this wonderful little snowy town  in rural Manitoba.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Welcome to Wednesday - it is a snowy day here, we are sitting on the tail end of the big snowstorm that is hitting Winnipeg.  We are not expecting to get near as much as they are, but we will get some.

At the moment it is warm out there, only about -5C and it has started to snow, but luckily without any wind to push it.

I didn't get my Cinnamon buns made yesterday, so I am going to try again today.

Yesterday I got sort of side tracked with my embroidery floss.

I was looking for some colours for the new little project I am starting (Joyful Judy) and my floss containers were so mixed up, the numbers not in any sort of order, so I tipped them out and started organizing.  It took most of the morning to get it done.  Now I will be able to find the right colours quickly.

Are you wondering what the Celtic Cow is?  If you are facebook, you will already have seen her.  I have made the cutest little Celtic Cow ever.  It is not my pattern, but one I found in a 2001 issue of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments.

I have hundreds, maybe thousands of patterns of many different crafts in my pattern library.  Some are in magazines such as this one, others are original vintage publications handed down to me from family members and friends, some I have purchased off the Internet and some were free copies off the Internet.

 Until a couple of months ago, I didn't even realize I had several years of issues of this particular magazine... what a treat to find such great patterns by such creative designers right in my own pattern library!

This Cow ornament was just called a Christmas Cow ornament - I renamed her the Celtic Cow!

In the magazine, the ornament is stitched and made into to a small pillow-like ornament with braid to hang it.  Mine is not going to end up that way.  I intend to find some old strips of wood somewhere, and make a small plaque that I will adhere my piece too.  I will fringe out the edges of the canvas to give it a more unfinished edge, and then the Celtic Cow is going to hang on a wall in my kitchen.

There are also some cute patterns in this magazine, of other animals, which I might make as well - there are several sheep, a raccoon... all good animals to make their home in my country kitchen.

Here she is:  My Celtic Cow, complete with a cowbell...


For some reason I have two copies of this particular magazine.   There are 75 ornaments in it, and every one is a really special.  Here are some of the projects you will find in this book.


I am giving away this spare copy of this wonderful pattern magazine.  To enter, please leave a comment on this thread or send me an email.   Remember you must be a follower of this blog in order to leave a comment, so it you haven't signed up for that yet, now is the time to do it.  It is easy to do just click on the tab on my page and it will walk you through the steps.

A great small project to keep or give as a gift!

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Painting and a Yummy Comfort Breakfast Bake

Once again there is some decorating going on in our new home.  The last time we did anything inside was when I painted the kitchen.  I have wanted to continue painting my way through the house, but have been side-lined by a very painful flare up of Heel Spurs and Plantar Fascists, which has been plaguing me since October.

It is getting better, but it is a slow process and excessive standing in one place to do anything is a NO - NO!

This time it's not me who has the itch to decorate - it's Gary.  He had set up and office for himself in one of the basement bedrooms and seemed quite settled in there until last week.  He came up from the basement one day and announced that he really didn't need an office space anymore, but he has always wanted a little home theater.

So out came the office furniture, and painting began.  The room is very bright - it faces southeast and gets a lot of sun during the day... and the walls, like every wall in this house have been painted stark white.  To the hardware store he went, returning with a gallon of what I would call Cranberry Red paint. 

let the painting begin....

It's not going well - the paint is not covering as we think it should, and so back to the hardware store for gallon #2.  This better do the trick.

The colour, when it decides to cover will be gorgeous, and perfect for the look he is hoping to achieve.

In the meantime, I have been thinking of items he needs in there (besides the TV and sound system) to decorate his theater.   He already has quite a collection of Movie stuff... He has a vintage screen and an older than vintage movie projector.  He has canisters of film.  He will need to be on the lookout for some large reels he can hang on the walls - some theater masks, maybe a couple of movie posters... let the fun begin!

Lucky for us, the Uniques and Antiques store is reopening here in February - I am sure over time we can pick up quite a few things for his theater room.  

In the meantime we have to get those walls finished... well he will - I can't stand that long.

Too bad too - because now that he has started painting down there, I have the itch to redecorate the spare bedroom and the family room, and the living room and sun room on the main floor and the spare bedroom on the main floor - and the bathroom.

On a totally different note - there have been some totally amazing recipes showing up on Face book and other sites I frequent.  For those of you hosting a Christmas Morning breakfast or brunch - check this out... Pam... this is for you, my dear.

My friend Pam recently became a Grandma for the first time - her Christmas this year is going to be extra special.

And here is the recipe...

Now I am off to make some Cinnamon Buns...

Comfort Breakfast Bake (recipe from Rocking Lion)
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
16 oz refrigerated breakfast biscuits (I used the Pillsbury flakey kind) ***DO NOT COOK FIRST!!!***
4 scallions (green onions, spring onions, whatever you prefer to call them)
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
If you’re into the meats – cooked center cut bacon or cooked sausage
11×17 pan, sprayed with cooking spray (Note: I think a 9×13 works better, but it might need to bake a little longer)
1. Mix your eggs and milk in a large bowl. Cut each biscuit (I’m all about scissors in the kitchen) into fours and add it to the bowl. I like to do this before I cook the bacon or cut up the scallions – give the biscuits some time to really soak in the eggs.
2. Cut up your scallions, shred your cheese, cook and break up your bacon (or sausage). Add everything to the bowl.
3. Mix it all up and pour into your pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes .. closer to 30 so it isn't runny 

smile emoticon

Sunday, December 13, 2015


The world sure looks different under 6 inches of snow.  Not that it looked bad before, but gosh there is nothing prettier than fresh white snow, and trees, fences and even little coach lights hanging from the garage topped with a dollop of snow.

Some were thinking we would have a brown Christmas -I was hoping that we would not.  I love snow and to me this is what it should look like at Christmas time in Manitoba.

 If you don't love snow in December, then what in the heck are you doing living here?  Right?


The snow has helped brighten me up, but there is a dark spot in my heart this Christmas.  It will be the first year that we will not be celebrating Christmas with our son.

I grew up in a family where elder siblings lived far away and couldn't always come home for Christmas.  I knew how it affected my Mom the years that it turned out that way - but I was a kid and her sorrow never lingered overly long in my mind at this time of year.

Now, I know how she felt, and I wish I could tell her how selfish I was back then.  She wouldn't have agreed with me at all - but just the same that is how I feel.

We are only three hours away from our son - but it might as well be 30 hours away.  We are tied down with an old blind dog who cannot travel, and even if there was a place to board her - I wouldn't do that to her at this stage of her life.  Perhaps I shouldn't call it being tied down - we are her caregivers and she has reached the stage in her life where she requires 24 hr care.  There will be a day when we won't have her with us, but for now we do, so we have to honour our commitment to her, even if it means limiting our travelling away from home for more than four hours at a time.

My son doesn't drive, and his partner doesn't want to drive in case there is a storm and she can't get back to work following the holidays.  All perfectly understandable - if I wasn't a Mom!

We have decorated inside and out - but that means very little without family to share it.  I am thankful I have my spouse - there are mothers out there that don't have their children near by and their spouse has passed on... I am much luckier than them, but still I have the nerve to feel sorry for myself.

What does she expect, you say to yourself - They are the ones that decided to move out to the country.

All true, and yes there are times when we feel the sacrifice of that as well - but only where our son is concerned.  We wish he was closer, he wishes the same.

I guess the thing we have to remember, that this is just the first year.  We won't always have the beloved commitment we have now, and maybe next year we will all have become more accustomed to being apart.

But today - right now - it's not happening.

I am thankful we live in a world of skype, facetime and texting.  It makes it so much easier to connect with our loved ones... and so this is the way we will be together this year.  We will Skype Christmas morning - we can even open our gifts together, we can see one another, we can talk, we can laugh, we can share our day.

For now - this will have to do.

And the Mother that I am - will just have to deal with it!

Friday, December 11, 2015


Wow I am really on a roll this week  - this has been a much better week for me to write, it seems!

 I had to go and see my my new doctor this week.  While I was there I gave her the little surgeon bear I made for her, she was so excited and happy to get it.  Her receptionist got one of the little sledders - they both loved them so much.

After my appointment I walked next door to talk to the lady who runs the activities in the nursing home.  I mentioned that I wanted to come in and play the piano once a week for the residents, and she wanted me to sit down and start playing right there and then!  I didn't have my music along, or I would have - but I will be returning next week to start my weekly recitals.  I hope they like my playing - hope they don't throw bedpans at me!

The next few weeks I will be playing Christmas music so that is easy for me... after the new year I will try and give them some really old songs of their era and maybe throw in some newer ones for the staff.

They have a full size electric piano there, the exact same one I used to have in the basement, before we sold it.  It is not my beautiful old slightly out of tune 1929 Hart and Churchill, that I am used to playing on - but it will do nicely for entertaining the residents.  I am still looking for a tuner for my piano, I am thinking of getting the gear and learning to do it myself... I am not very trusting of piano tuners, especially with my old girl... but I have a new name now - so maybe soon!

I am looking forward to giving back, even though I am new to this community, it already feels so much like home that I want to do something for others who live here.  It might just be some music played on a piano, but hopefully it will bring joy to some people.

So - How about that recipe I promised you...

You will not believe how easy this one is... even I can make this type of fudge!

So here it is - Enjoy - and let me know what you think of this fudge, if you try it!


1 teaspoon butter
1 package (10-12 oz) white baking chips
1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 drops red food colouring
2 tablespoons crushed peppermint candies ( candy canes work well)

Line a 9 in square pan with foil and grease the foil with butter - set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt chips. stir until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the frosting and extract.  Spread into prepared pan.  Randomly place drops of red food coloring over fudge - cut through fudge with a knife to swirl.  Sprinkle with candies.

Refrigerate for 1 hour our until set.

Using foil lift fudge out of pan, gently peel off foil and cut fudge in 1 in squares.  Store in a airtight container.

Makes 1-1/2 pounds of fudge.

 . . .

I whipped up 5 more snowflakes to put in cards for some new friends we have met here in town, and this time I remembered to snap pictures of them before I sealed the envelopes.

And we finally got some snow - the heavy wet stuff that is perfect for snowball fights or better yet making snowmen.

Snowflakes are really only snowmen unassembled - so get out there and start assembling...

Have a great weekend everyone

Stay Safe!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Since I published one Christmas Poem here this week, I thought I would add another one I wrote a couple of years ago.  Perhaps more sceptical sounding than the last one, but I was thinking of a sceptical person when I wrote it.

Not everyone believes the Christmas Story - I get that, and maybe even understand it on a certain level - but I believe it did happen, and in my heart it IS the Greatest Story Ever Told!


Forgotten is the little babe,

Born so long ago;

And the story that surrounds his birth,
Is one some folks don’t know.

The story says some angels came,

To tell about the child;

I guess to our rich cyber world,
This tale appears quite wild.

Three wise men came, or were they kings?

And did they travel far?

How come they walked alone at night,
And followed some bright star?

About that star that shone so bright;

How did it know just where,

The tiny newborn kid would lay;
And who’d it think would care?

Upon a pile of hay it’s told,

The baby’s crib was made.

With animals there, enclosed within,
A barn is where they stayed.

A virgin Mom, a dirt-poor Dad,

And yet they had a King.

They say he came to earth for me;
Whoever heard of such a thing?

I wasn’t even here as yet,

Nor was my family tree.

How’d he know we’d come in time,
How’d he know about me?

They tell me that he loved me then,

And that he loves me still;

Baby Jesus came to fill my heart,
I pray he always will.

However you believe this story goes,

Its one tale always told;

By those with truth and faith and love,
In wondrous pageant bold.

Repeated new each year that comes,

Great story; same great end.

The greatest story ever told,
The greatest story penned.

Dale Graumann


I am trying to find an early Poem of mine about a snowflake... it was done long before the days of computers and hard drives, and is in a three ring binder somewhere in this house.  I still have boxes that are unpacked in one of my spare closets - what do you want to bet it is in there? Hopefully I will find it soon.

In the meantime, remember the Christmas Swap I participated in with my Craft Buddies on the Internet?  Well my dear friend and fellow fibre artist, spinner, weaver... Charlotte got my name in the draw.  She made me this gorgeous warm woven scarf done on her Cricket loom. 

The theme of the swap was anything Winter or Christmas related, the choice was ours to make.  I got my friend Sue's name.  Sue is a painter and she also does a lot of Crochet and other crafts as well.  I decided I wanted to make her something that I knew she would never make herself - so I made her Little Snowflake.

Snowflake was really hard to photograph, she really sparkles and glimmers., but you can't really see it in this picture.

We also had to include a recipe along with our swap item.  Mine was for Peppermint fudge.

Come back tomorrow and I will have this very easy and quick fudge recipe here for you...

Till then....

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Yesterday I received some very sad news.  My sister-in-law, Valda who has been battling cancer for a very long time passed away.

I talked to Valda last week, she called me from her hospice bed and we reminisced about days gone by, the happy times we had shared, the joys, the sorrows.  I knew she was saying goodbye, but not a minute of that call was sad or difficult.  That is because of Valda.

Valda had the knack of meeting her challenges, whatever they were head on... and she did so with grace, a smile and always a kind word.  I am not saying she was a saint... you couldn't know her and say that... but she had more class in her tiny little pinkie, than most people have in their entire body.

That was Valda.

She will be so missed by her two beautiful daughters, whom through this long journey, never left their mother's side for a moment.  Their children will miss their Grandma...they were close to her...she made sure of that.  Her family and friends will miss her, because she was ever present in their lives, even when she lived far away from them... I know this because I count myself in that group.

Valda was ready for death, she told me so and I believed her, for she had suffered a very long time.  For that reason we can push our sorrow aside and celebrate her passing.... She made sure of that as well! 

I shall remember her forever, and love her even longer still...

Rest In Peace, Sister...

Monday, December 7, 2015


I don't know if you have noticed but my blog is getting very close to having had 50,000 views.  I can't tell you how excited and happy this makes me.

The idea of writing is one thing - for me it's like breathing, it's something I love doing, and it sometimes is something I have to do.  The idea of writing for someone else to read my work, is entirely another thing.  It is inspiring, it is horrifying at times but always it is humbling.

When my brother was here visiting last week one of the first things he asked me about my retirement was if I was writing.  I answered him by saying that Yes, for sure - I was writing my blog - not as often as I had hoped, but still - I was writing.

He wasn't satisfied with my answer.  His comment to me was "Dale, I have read both your books, and loved them both, not because I am your brother but because you are a very good writer.  Don't waste your talent - get writing again!"

I do have intentions of doing that.  My problem is that I do a lot of things well.   It is a gift, I know that - but it can be a curse as well.  It is very hard sometimes for creative people to focus on just one thing - most of us want to do it all - yesterday!  I admit that since I started writing this blog in April 2010, that I have convinced myself that writing for my blog was enough for me.  That is not quite true.  With this post I have written 575 posts that I have published to the blog, and there are at least 30 still sitting in my draft folder that I have never published for one reason or another.

If it were enough - I would quit writing.  I am not going to do that.

I am going to dig out the 4 unfinished manuscripts that are in the bottom drawer of my desk.  I am going to read them and then load the files back on my computer and get to work... Not today, but soon.

But right now, I am going to bring forward a Poem that I wrote a few years ago.  This poem was published in a Special Christmas Edition of the Country Woman Magazine.  I have posted it here before, but that might have been a couple of years ago so for those who are new to my blog... here is CHRISTMAS IS.


A frosty night, a home so warm, with loved ones gathered near;
Christmas everywhere we look; will Santa soon be here?
Mom is baking one last time; the tree is trimmed so bright;
Daddy tells us all the tale, of Jesus born this night.

Children rush with cheeks so red, and eyes lit from within;
They wait expectant for the gifts, that only come “from him”.
Grandma smiles -  remembering, another year long past;
Her little ones, her special ones; how could they grow so fast?

The meal is done, the kitchen’s clean, we gather round the tree;
Amid the laughter, smiles and tears; our hearts now full of glee.
One by one we share our gifts, no soul is left behind;
Excitement spills around the room, in wondering what we’ll find.

It’s love that makes us gather here; not food, nor gifts, nor wine;
Young and old, wise and not; together for a time.
Love for one and all we meet, will make this Christmas right;
Just like that one, so long ago; on yet, another night.

Dale Graumann