Sunday, December 31, 2017

Slow Stitching

I almost titled this Slow Stitching Progress.  But then I didn't because I don't really think of this stitching as having an "end".  I enjoy everything about it from selecting the fabric for the patches, to selecting the thread, to deciding what direction to lay the stitches.  I love the way the stitching is changing this jacket from an item I hated to an item I embrace.

I'm linking this post to Kathy's Quilts: Slow Stitching.  (I forgot to do that the last time I posted a picture of this jacket).

Today I am grateful to have "Me Time" to stitch guilt free.

Happy New Year.  Be safe.
xx, Carol

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

I want to wish all of my friends a very happy holiday.

You all make me so happy to have your friendships I am hugging myself as I think of you all.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you JOY.
xx, Carol

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Little Story

I know that you recognize this Logo. But this is not a story about shoes.  Let me back up a bit.

My best friend in my adult life was more than 20 years older than me.  She used to tell me stories about how this are was when she was little.  I was really interested in hearing about riding on dirt roads that lead from Elkhart Indiana to South Bend.  I have always loved knowing about the history of this area including the Indians that camped along the St. Joseph River and the ambitious men that built this area east of Chicago into a manufacturing hub.

I was raised in Michigan City located on Lake Michigan just east of Gary.  My father worked at US Steel South Chicago Works and commuted to work each day on the South Shore Railroad.  My aunt and uncle owned a home on US 421 just off the Michigan City Toll Road exit.  The front of their home was a restaurant with a HUGE dining room and lunch counter.  The kitchen was their personal kitchen.  You could do things like that back then.  I remember when the toll road was BUILT.  My brother worked at the construction site. That brought the restaurant a lot more business.  One of her customers was Dr. Scholl.

Dr. Scholl was born on a dairy farm in Laporte County Indiana.  He invented arch supports for shoes and advertised himself right into a major company.  The company headquarters was built in Chicago.  He bought a mansion on Lake Michigan in the little "town" of Long Beach.  He visited my aunt's restaurant often.  She mentioned to him that the daily work of the restaurant was becoming too much and she was thinking of closing it and moving into town and opening a catering service.  Dr. Scholl offered her a job of house keeping for his mansion on the lake.  She jumped at the chance because she would be well paid to visit the mansion once a week to do light house cleaning.  Since he didn't live there and visited sporadically it really involved dusting and vacuuming.  The other part of her job was to cater any dinner parties he might have while he was at the lake.

I remember visiting the mansion with her.  I played at the beach while she did her tasks.  I remember being in awe of the bathroom faucets that were gold.  There was what I called the African room that was totally decorated with African masks, animal heads and other art.  There was a HUGE bathroom/dressing area as you came into the home from the beach with several sink areas and changing rooms.  There was an exercise room down there too.  The kitchen was the most amazing one I had ever seen, the kind you might imagine seeing in magazines now.  Very State of the Art.  That is all I remember about the house, but I'm sure I saw most of it.

Al Capone had a mansion in Long Beach too, but his was not on the lake side of the road that runs along the lake shore.  His was surrounded by a tall iron fence.  I never saw the inside of HIS retreat, lol.

My other aunt worked at Arno Tape, which made adhesives for Dr. Scholl products.

I go back home pretty often since it's only about a 25 minute drive.  Of course the town has changed so much it's almost sad to go there.  There is a Casino, an Outlet Mall and a nice antique shop.  If you don't live in Michigan City you have to pay to go to the park at the lake.  So I am just lost in my thoughts about going to the amusement park that was there, visiting the zoo, spending every single minute I could at the beach and of course parking at the Lover's Lane called Fedder's Alley.

I love local history and lore. Is there something really interesting about the town where you were raised?

Grateful:  to still have my memory.

xx, Carol

Monday, December 4, 2017

Barbie Dog and a Big Bird

 Like everyone, I had a busy November.  Nope, I didn't have to prepare one thing for Thanksgiving.  Alyssa took it all over.  Corey and Alyssa work well together.  She cooked everything with little help from me.  Corey took over setting up tables and all the lifting and reaching that Terry usually does.  They invited a longtime friend, his girlfriend and their son.  My grandson Kyle came and it was actually a riotous time after dinner when the kids related stories of when they lived near each other and went to school together.

We did NOT do any Black Friday shopping, however I did buy a few things on line.  On line shopping has become my way to go, except I do like to shop for fabric in person.

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning, I glanced out the kitchen window at the pond on my way to get a cup of coffee.  I did a double take and the first thing that went through my mind was to wonder why we left a yard ornament out when we put the rest away.

 It was a fleeting thought when I realized that was actually a live bird at the pond.  He zeroed in on a fish swimming under the ice.  I was thinking I had to chase him off when I blinked my eye and he was gone.

We live really close to the river and a Blue Heron will occasionally visit looking for a snack.  I wonder how often one visits that I don't see.

On Halloween during the Trick or Treat hours we had two deer visit, but I couldn't get their picture before they ran off.  I was pretty surprised they were where they could be seen with all the people and traffic in our neighborhood.  It was certainly MY treat to see them.
Boscoe and Harley are BFFs.  I love this picture because it shows the difference in their size.  Boscoe weighs about 110 pounds and Harley weighs about 15.  They are together constantly and always playing. 

Tyson rarely plays with Harley.  They do run together but do not play dog games.  I call Harley Boscoe's Barbie Dog.  Their personalities are very much the same.  Corey has told me that he will leave Harley with us when they move and so far he may take Tyson, but I really doubt it.

As you might guess, our house is a circus and it keeps us constantly laughing.

Grateful:  Today I am grateful that Corey, Alyssa and Nic cleared the leaves from our yard this fall.  I have been having a bout of sciatic pain that has been going on since about a week before Thanksgiving and Terry has the Shingles.  This is the second time he has had them.  Don't let anyone tell you that you only get them once.

Tell me something funny.  Tell me a funny story about something that happened this fall or a joke.
We all need to laugh more.
xx, Carol

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's Slow Stitching

When I was young, I did a LOT of stitching.  Making clothes, embroidery on clothes, cross stitching on clothes with waste canvas were second nature to me.

When I went to work full time when Laurie was in 1st Grade, being a full time working mom with a husband who was an over-the-road truck driver, canning and gardening took more time than I actually had.  Hand and machine sewing were put on the back burner.

I have always loved old Crazy Quilts, but not the frau frau pieces with laces and silk ribbon.  I loved the pioneer crazy quilts that were stitched and embellished with beautifully hand stitched seams and motifs.

I never understood the Slow Stitching Movement until now.  That's me...intrigued with hand stitched inchies 10 years after their fad.  Loving the look of Boro stitched fabrics long after "everyone" was talking about it.

I Googled the definition of Slow Stitching and found a few blog posts about it.  It is referred to as stitching a slow project by hand, whether it is cross stitched, quilted, embroidered or appliqued.  It is taking the time to reflect on what you are sewing.  That makes sense to me right now.  Add FOCUS and RESTFUL to the description. Reserving time for me without a break to let the dogs out or do anything for anyone else but ME.  I have much been lacking that in my life, especially now with my grandson's family living with us for the next several months.

So I will not refer to Boro stitching the patches on this jacket anymore.  It is Slow Stitching and it's restful.  Now I will have to find time to machine sew.  Finding quiet time for THAT is more difficult.

I am linking this post to Kathy's Quilts who encourages Sunday Slow Stitching.

Grateful:  Today I am grateful for quiet time used think deep thoughts to better understand myself and others.

Are you able to dedicate quiet time to just think about whatever pops in your mind?  Looking out the window is good for that too!
xx, Carol

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ok, It's NOT Boro But It's ME!

I was bound and determined to get this Cupcake quilt done.  I didn't bother to see when I started it.  It's the first quilt I ever made and was meant to be for my daughter.  I wanted to hand quilt it and I wanted to hand stitch a cupcake in the center of each block.  I really didn't procrastinate working on  it.  But if you have been around here for a while, you know that my daughter and I have a tempestuous relationship that I refer to The Crazy Train or liken it to a roller coaster ride.  Every time there was a pump in the track, I put the quilt aside.  Our last episode involved everyone in the house and will probably not be rectified for a very long time..if ever.  So I finished the stitching.  I do have to bind it, but I'll do that the next time I get out my cutter and mat.  I'm not in a hurry to finish it totally.  I really loved stitching these blocks, but as I went along I was concerned how the stitching would line up on the back.  Truly I didn't worry about it after I started because what the heck, they were pretty darned close.  I figured the first quilt was a learning experience and that my first quilt should definitely be for my daughter.
 Here is a picture of the blocks on the back.  I used a few of left over blocks from the front and the rest are of the brown and pink cupcake fabric.  The picture looks a little wonky, but when you see the whole back, the stitching along the seams line up pretty well.

My blog friend Cathy nudged me to show some stitching on this blog so thank you Cathy.  I really AM stitching again.  Besides almost finishing the quilt, I have been doing some hand stitching to mend/reattach embellishments  on a few pieces of clothes for Alyssa. 

Then there is my desire to boro stitch.  Partner that with an unwillingness to dye fabrics for the patches, I determined that I would use scraps of fabrics I like, doing my OWN take on this kind of handwork.  I really didn't know where to start, but took the advice of another of my blog friends, Jenclair who advised me to just start pinning and then stitch.

Here is the start to the pinning.  The patches ARE straight, though the jacket is hanging and was not flat for the picture.  Yes, I was in a hurry to get a picture taken.  I am not going to leave any frayed edges on the pieces.  I am not agonizing over placement or theme too much.  But I can tell you that when I am done, I'm going to love this jacket.

I received the first prompt for the block I will make for The Endeavourers Group.  NATURE.  Now I know that you think...Nature...Birds...pond etc and you are pretty sure you know where I will go with it.  You will be surprised as I was.  I even started a Notebook with a thought plan.  THAT was another surprise for me.  I  AM  GOING  TO  HAVE  A  PLAN!!  In the past I have stitched thoughts on the fly and never thought it out.  Thank you Renee for a post you did some time ago about designing a Crazy Quilt Block.

Grateful:  Today I am so very grateful for Corey and Alyssa.  Earlier in the fall I made a list of all things that needed to be done around the yard and house to winterize for the coming cold.  When I went out to cut back a few plants, there they were, covering chairs, taking in landscape decor, picking up hoses, etc. etc. etc. and asking if there was anything else beside the list that they could do.   It was such a tremendous help and they got it done in about an hour.  I can't imagine how long it would have taken Terry and I.

What thing are YOU thankful today?  What are your stitching plans?  Do you have a project you are excited about?

xx, Carol

Saturday, October 21, 2017

October Leads to Leaves

I love this poem.

All my life I have resented Autumn.  I hate to leave behind the warm summer days and glorious sun beating hot on my face. As I grew older I began to wear a hat to protect my head from the heat, and a bandanna on my forehead to catch the sweat.

I still hate to leave summer behind.  But I must confess that I don't hate Autumn so much anymore. The days will grow cooler next week. (We are still above normal temps.)  "they" even say we may see a flurry or two, though it won't stick.  Just little bits of snow blowing in the wind.

I have already started to focus on what stitching will occupy my time when it's too cold to be outside.  Today will be the last warm day for a while and I have one more project to do outside, then I'm done with it.  I'm not even going to blow leaves this year.  Terry plans to mow them out to the street letting the John Deere create a long pile along the road for the leaf picker uppers to collect and cart them off.

I hesitated to add the following paragraph.  It is really my inner thoughts on how to keep my piece of mind.  Forever I have been the caregiver.  I continue that roll with Terry.  For all else...I am free.
I turned 66 the other day.  Somehow my mind did an instant adjustment:
Eliminate people and things that cause stress instead of reducing it.
Focus on what I want to do, that does not include raking.
Snow will be plowed shoveling here ANYMORE except a path to my bird feeders.
Catch up on TV watching that I have been avoiding.
Continue to do what I can to resist the direction this country is taking.
Stitch more.
Speak more...bite my tongue where that used to be a hard thing to do.

Most of my blog friends don't talk about their real inner thoughts.  Keep the conversation light.  No controversy.  Perhaps this place is our escape.  I am in the Autumn of my life.  I embrace it and hope Winter is a long way off.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do You Slow Stitch

Remember this cupcake quilt?  Yes, I know, I probably started it a year ago.  The first quilt I pieced.  An embroidered cupcake in the center of each block.  Each block seam is hand stitched in three rows of stitching.  Or it will be when I am done.  I am close. It sits in a laundry basket by my recliner.

So what is the hold up? What's taking me so long.  Why in the heck isn't it done by now.

The simple answer is the Crazy Train.  If you have been visiting her long, you know that is my reference to the times when my daughter brings drama to my life.

When things are going smoothly in our relationship, I stitch.  When things are not so good, I set it aside and lose interest.  You might guess this has been a pretty rocky year based on my slow progress.  However, even though the Crazy Train is yet again visiting my spirit, I am for the first time working on it.  You might say I am focused on getting it done and out of sight.  Gifted to be kept, or not.  Her choice.

The part of this project that I really...REALLY liked was the slow stitching of the hand quilting.  Even though I have always liked the look of Boro Stitching, I have never tried it.  All those lovely patches stitched on a base with close stitching, perhaps in different color threads.

I HATE this jacket.  Why would I buy a Army Green jacket?  Not me at all.  It must have been on sale DIRT CHEAP.  I DO that sometimes.  I have even took the TAGS off.

So I have a plan.  I am going to slow stitch lovely patches to cover it entirely.  I suspect it will take forever.  But that's ok.  It'll be my Gummy Drop Deterrent.  And I will not buy one thing to complete this project, except perhaps dye. I will stitch at my own pace.  It is a totally ME project.  A reminder to me amid the Crazy Train visit that I am worthy of a ME focus.

If you do this kind of Boro stitching, please let me know and perhaps share picture of your work.  Share any tips you may have, as I have not been able to find any references to applying the patches.  However I have not yet searched U-tube.

Grateful:  That I maintain my sense of self and sanity.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Took A Day Trip

September 30, 2017

We started the day piling Corey, Alyssa, Laurie, Kyle, Nic, Terry and me into a Nissan Pathfinder, rented for the day so we could all travel to Chicago together.  Destination: Lincoln Park Zoo.

There was a plan.

First stop was a great Cuban restaurant.  I love locally owned restaurants in Chicago.  They have a special ambiance that I am sure is unique to Chicago.  The food was better than OK but not superb.  But it was a great start to the day.  I have leaned to absolutely love Cuban food since Alyssa has introduced us to it.  She is an excellent cook...from scratch too!

We wandered through the zoo enjoying the exhibits until we came to the entrance along Lake Shore Drive where the Lion Statue greets visitors at the entrance.

That's when the plan hatched.

A total surprise for Alyssa.


They have talked about getting married and made plans on where they want to live and a business they want to start.  But the ring was a total surprise on this day.

Corey has a high school friend that is a jeweler.  Together they designed this exquisite ring with a deep amethyst focal with large diamonds on the side and smaller diamonds on the band.

The significance of amethyst is that purple is Alyssa's absolute favorite color.

This is the new family.

Nic and Corey get along well.  Alyssa and Nic fit very well into our family and we all could not be more happy that they are a part of it.

We topped the day off with stuffed pizza at Nancy's, another favorite spot that Corey found on Broadway, I think.

Corey has my love of my hometown.  He has explored it on foot the perfect way to see it all, finding the great places that tourists don't go.

Grateful:  Corey found the girl I always told him he would find when he least expected it.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Stitching Idea for Tast

I absolutely love anything Sugar Skull or Day of the Dead.  Heck, anything skeleton can jump into my cart!  When I was in our local Meijer store, I saw this tote on the shelf from about 5 aisles away and made a B-line to it and of course it JUMPED into my cart.

I am looking forward to the next stage of TAST.  I forget which name was selected to title it, but the stitches will be issued in Family Groups.  I'm thinking that I will use the Sugar Skull as the pattern to work the stitches on.  Perhaps I'll use a few blocks.  How many stitch families are there anyway?  I'll have to check in my reference books.

I can see that I will use this pattern for a lot of things.  I see purses, totes and pillows as possibilities.

Today when I went to edit my photo using Pic Monkey, the program would not let me save the edited picture unless I paid an annual 3.99 fee.  Well, that's worth it, but not if I could find a different free service.  I found the BeFunky Photo Editing Program and was free and easy to use so it's my new Go To program.

Grateful:  for free photo editing programs.

OK, so what else can I do with this Sugar Skull pattern?

What photo editing program do YOU use?

Are you planning to participate in TAST next year?
If you don't know about TAST, you can find out about it HERE
You can also look for TAST, or Take A Stitch Tuesday on Facebook

Have a great weekend.
xx, Carol

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A New Inspiration and A Nudge

Well, I can't post without a picture so here is Nic.  Such a ham!

I have a blog friend, Janine.  I love visits to her blog and the emails that usually follow.  She has been part of a group that create an art quilt every quarter that they design from a prompt.  The group will disband at the end of the year, so Janine and another member of the group are starting a new group..The Endeavourers.  If you think you might be interested, please go here to read about it, and sign up!

I am TERRIBLE with sewing dead lines, so I will strive to create my piece as soon as I get the prompt without procrastination. I'll be working on two issues I have at the same time.  Making time for myself to sew and my tendency to procrastinate.

Even if you are not interested in participating, please feel free to share a link to Janine's post.  The more the merrier.

Today, I am grateful for my ability to remain mobile as I get older.  And Coffee.  Lots of Coffee.

Let me know if you are interested in the group.  Do you drink coffee or tea?
xx, Carol

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Not So Empty Nest

A few posts ago, I teased you with a picture of a new pup.  Well, honestly, he is not MY pup.  He belongs to Corey and his girlfriend.  He is Harley..yes..not to originally named for the bike they own.  He is a Min-Pin which is short for Miniature Doberman Pinscher.  He weighs about 10 pounds and Boscoe has taken charge of him.  I call him Boscoe's Barbie.  Tyson likes him, but does not PLAY with him much.  Boscoe and Harley go non stop, with Harley making sounds that I say sound like the Tasmanian Devil.  He loves to go to the pond area and explore.  The big dogs are not allowed there, but Harley can fit through the slats in the gate so he takes great pride in going in and out.  Harley likes to sleep on our bed with his head on Terry.  We have never in our life had a small dog except for puppies that grew into BIG...VERY big dogs.

Here is a picture of Harley laying next to Boscoe so you can get an idea of the difference in their size.  They are both Alpha dogs and their personalities are so much alike.  It's hard to believe that Boscoe, who has always ruled Tyson, defers to the little dog.  They have learned to play together and Boscoe never gets too rough with the pup.  Their favorite game it...Harley steal the toy and run behind the chair and peek out to see if Boscoe followed then come out on the other side of the chair.  ALL DAY LONG.  It's pure entertainment and keeps us laughing.

This is Corey and his girlfriend Alyssa.  We thought that Corey was going to move to Idaho.  I guess it was one of those "nice place to visit, but don't want to live there" places.

Corey should live in a more liberal state. It has been reported that Indiana is THE most conservative state in the USA.  I'm telling you, if he moves west, we are ready to go to.  Plus, Terry and Corey miss each other too much when they are apart.

And THIS is Nic, Alyssa's son.

He is a great kid with a lot of personality and energy.  He just started school and these pics are from his first day and the first day he rode the bus.  He's a ham and reminds me of how Kyle was when he was young...always cutting up for the camera.  I've heard him say "Take my picture" several times, lol.

Anyway, for the time being the nest is not empty anymore, and I can truly say that we are happy about that.  I've always told Corey that when he least expected it, he would meet a girl that would appreciate him and love him the way he deserves. I just might be RIGHT!!

Today I am grateful for Nic and Alyssa, who make Corey, Terry and me Happy.  AND I am grateful for Harley who makes Boscoe happy!!

I can't close without asking you to say another prayer for those in Florida, Texas and the west where storms are reeking havoc and fires are disastrous as well.  Alyssa is of Cuban decent and all of her family is in Miami or Cuba which compels us even more to watch these horrendous disasters.

Do you have an empty nest?  If so, are you lonely, or relieved?  Do you have family in the disaster zones? Are they safe.  Alyssa's didn't evacuate.  Do you know someone that didn't?

Be safe.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Great Place To Visit In Mishawaka Indiana

 Mishawaka is a city that borders South Bend.  When I moved to this area it was a busy manufacturing area, full of union shops.  One factory, Ball Band,  was located on the St. Joseph River.  It made rubber things including tennis shoes similar if not the same, Keds.  I'm not sure when the factory opened, or when it closed, but it sat empty and unused for many years.  Sometime along the way, the cities near here paid high bucks for a study on how they could make this area a more desirable place to live.  All reports advised that the cities should make the most of their access to the river that runs through South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart and more towns along it's path from where it starts in Michigan.  Long before the study, in 1981 Mishawaka started a fish hatchery to supply baby trout and salmon to the River.  All along the river path fish ladders were built and the St. Joseph River is one of the best places to fish for Salmon.

Mishawaka made good use of the advice given in the study.  They took down the Ball Band plant.  The implosion and resounding booms were heard all up and down the river.  It was a pretty impressive event.  The city built a really nice park where the factory once stood.  They created a river walk on both sides of the river all through most of the city.  You can now walk along the river all the way to down town South Bend.  The pictures above show one of the fish ladders.  The third picture is not of a rock, but a Mallard Duck who apparently can't read the sign that says "No Fishing Within 100 Feet of the Fish Ladder".  The 4th pic shows a well used fishing spot.

The area includes tennis courts, a wonderful children's playground, and  clean restrooms.  There are many talented wood carvers in our area, both by hand and by chain saw.  I'm not sure which artist created these totems from tree trunks, but you can see their work through out our local towns.

Belgian and Italian flags fly throughout the park honoring the rich heritage of the immigrants that settled here and helped to build the towns into what they are today.

Recently a couple of large condo/apartment complexes have been build in this area and another developer has expressed interest in building another.  Apparently there is a huge Millennial interest in living here and the River Walk and park area was mentioned as one of the reasons the area is so appealing.  Though the area is not so hugely dependent on manufacturing as it once was, there are many national corporate offices here.  We have excellent medical facilities and several colleges including Notre Dame supply many jobs.

Terry and I had never been to the River Walk area, though our grand kids go their often.  we needed to take our car in for service to a shop located a few blocks from the Riverwalk.  Though the work would take about 3 hours, we decided to leave the car and walk to a little cafe for breakfast.  OMGosh, they had a TV on with Gunsmoke playing.  Terry was right at home.  When we left, we walked over to see the River Walk and sauntered through about 8 blocks of it.  Terry spent a lot of time mentioning a building that used to be here or there.  It was such an enjoyable morning.  But by the time we got back to the repair shop, Terry was totally beat and glad to have a seat on the seat the shop owner had made from a bench front seat from an old car.

Here is Terry, it was a windy day and his hair is a mess. Gosh, I LOVE this guy!
Today, I am grateful for Terry and a Great Mechanic!!

Have you recently discovered a place you knew about, but never visited?  Were you as impressed as I was?

Have a great holiday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bridal Shower "EVENT"

What do you think about this?

When my brother-in-law's grandchildren and step grandchildren have gotten married, they have hand carried shower and wedding and graduation invitations to us.  I find that to be nice.  Not only do we get the invitation, but we get to have a nice visit with them.

But I guess there is a new trend happening with today's youth.  About two weeks ago I received a message on FB messenger from my niece Crystal. (She is BIL Jerry's daughter)  It was a picture of a digital wedding invitation for HER niece. (BIL Larry's step granddaughter).  This gets complicated.   Anyway, the caption of the Messenger Message was an RSVP.  the message was send to everyone in the family.  The method of the delivery did not determine if we would go or not go.  But I did think that if this was their way of inviting people to an informal wedding, then surely we should have received an individual "message" invite.

The other day when I opened my Facebook page I had a notification that I was invited to an "EVENT".  I get a lot of these for civic events etc.  THIS one invited me to the wedding shower for the couple I just wrote about.  I mentioned it to my grandson's girlfriend and she said this is pretty common now.  I find this entire situation very impersonal.

Tell me what you think?  Have you ever received invitations via social media? Are you wondering if etiquette is becoming passe?

If you need an AWWWW moment, I leave you with this picture and wondering just WHO this guy IS.

xx, Carol

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lazy Days

I looked out the kitchen window and didn't immediately realize something was weird on the pond island.  There were two rocks on it where there should be one.  I went out to check it out and I was pretty surprised to see this TOAD sitting there.  His markings were really pretty.  He didn't look like the toads I see in the yard.  His skin was more textured and his skin was kind of tan under the nubby black skin texture.  When I went inside to get my phone to take his picture, I looked out the window and there sitting next to the toad was this tiny frog.  He is between the size of a half dollar and a quarter.  By the time I got back outside, he had jumped back in the water.  The other picture is one of him on a lily pad.  He kept jumping up next to the toad and then back off.  You can see the water marks he left next to the toad.

We are totally focused on maintaining the landscape around the pond.  Last year we didn't spend much time out there except relaxing and watching fish as we went through the grieving process when Terry's dad died.   We spend as much time working around it as we can now, but hot and humid days and rainy days limit us.  Then when the sun comes back out and the humidity subsides we find the weeds have taken over again.  It a cycle, but adding mulch has helped to keep it down some.

If you have been a blog friend  you might remember  that I suffer from depression.  Though I take medication, sometimes it overpowers the meds.  I don't get despondent, but I do withdraw.  That is what I have been going through recently.  While I was recuperating from foot surgery, I did't spend ANY time in my "room".  Dust collected.  Since my home office and sewing room share space, filing accumulated as well.  So self medication for my recent depression has sent me to my room to take it back over.  I've been purging unnecessary paper files and records.  It is so liberating to have a clear counter to work at.

I'll be posting more now.  I may not have much to show as far as stitching goes right now, but since my blog is kind of my journal, I do have things to say.  I really wish I could write in a paper journal, but no matter how many times I try to start one, I just can't make it happen.

What I am Grateful for at the moment:  Doctors, Dogs and Dolls.  More on THAT in a future post.

Tell me something today.  Do you keep a journal?  My friend Timaree keeps a WONDERFUL art journal.   How has your weather been?  Has it been hot and humid where you live?  What are you sewing or stitching? Inquiring minds, you know!
xx, Carol

Monday, July 3, 2017

Where Did It Go?

Ok, bet you are saying "Where did WHAT go?"

Well.  The time.  I slowed down for just a minute and had to flip the calendar to July.  All my life I have felt like when the 4th of July came, the summer was half over.

We got off to a kind of slow summer start here in Northern Indiana.  It seemed like the warm weather held off too long and the rain would not go away.

But, on the nice days that there are no doctor appointments or funerals we have been getting a lot done outside.

On one spring trip to Menards I spotted this Arbor.  We have had our bird feeders and suets hung from several shepherd hooks off the front deck.  I was kind of unsightly, not to mention the birds pooped far to much on the deck railing.  When I spotted this Arbor I thought it would be nice to hang the feeders from.  It worked perfectly, though I do still have one shepherd hook for the hummer and oriole feeders.  At first, it confused the squirrels, but they are crafty critters and found a way to get to the suet, though they can't eeat from the seed feeders.  We have redomiciled the chipmunks to the county park.  We were getting over run with them.  They are cute to watch, but I think they can pack 1/2 suet cake in their jaws at one time.  I can't believe that we have caught 7 of them in just a week in our live trap.

Remember last summer when I posted about the maple in the back yard that came down in a storm and broke almost all of the privacy fence?  Well we bought 25 sections to replace it.  One day Corey and a friend came by and replaced 1/2 of it.  Kyle usually comes over one day a week to help Terry do whatever needs to be done so we replaced the rest of it when he came last week.  I still need to spray water protector on it.

We have been working around the pond getting landscaping done that we lost speed on last summer when Terry's dad became sick and then passed.  We just never got our interest focused there.  The pond area will NEVER be done because I always find something more I want to do.  We have perfected the walk way around it and have added solar lights that I be we bought 6 years ago and never put them out.  Maybe it was longer than that because the price on them said $1 and I see them at Walmart now for $3 each.  We bought bug zapper lights to put out.  We'll do that the next time Ky comes to work.

Grateful:  We have some health issues going on that I'm going to mention sometime soon.  Most days it's hard to focus on one thing to be grateful for...I can't seem to get past Life with Terry which we will be celebrating Year 46 pretty darned soon.  For sure I'll be saying....Where Did It Go.  You know,  TIME!

Wishing you a happy and safe 4th.
xx, Carol

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Where Do Ducks Go?

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is look out at the pond.  The other morning, there they were.  Two Mallards that frequently visit and have to be chased away.  I hurried outside to clap my hands, which usually does the trick.  Clap, clap.  WHAT?  All they did was swim to the furthest end and look at me.  Even when I opened the gate to go into the pond area to get closer to them, they just floated there.  When I waved my arms to scare them off, up they flew.  I thought they were going in the direction of the river, but nope.  There they landed right up there on the roof.  No amount of noise or arm flapping could scare them away.

There they sat, patiently waiting until they felt safe enough to return to the water.  Long enough for me to go back into the house and get several pictures.  They looked down at me as if to say they could wait longer than I could.  I went back in to get a cup of coffee, but when I returned, they were gone.

I don't so much mind the ducks in the pond, but I have read different theories about whether they will eat my fish or frogs so I am taking NO chances.  AND they leave horrible "droppings".

We have been spending as much time outside as we can.  It seems that we are only good for about two hours of yard work before we MUST sit in the swing and relax by the pond.  We have watched the Blue Birds select which house they will use for their next brood.  We had a Catbird nest in the Honeysuckle.  Watched a Cardinal pair raise a Cowbird  baby whose egg was left in the Cardinal nest.  Of course the Robin made a nest in an awkward place on the pole that holds the gate to the carport.

Our To Do list this week is to begin putting pea gravel on the walk way around the pond, more weeding, and weather permitting we'll begin to re-fence the side of the yard where the tree destroyed the present fence.  We used to do all that in a day or two.  Now we'll be lucking to have it done in a WEEK or two.

Grateful:  For just so many things, but for reasons I'll probably talk about in the be sharing these days with Terry.  Oh, I know I said when I started listing things I am grateful for that I would not include the obvious, but it's just how I have been feeling lately.

Have you noticed something of Nature lately and taken the time to enjoy it?  I love to hear about it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What The Heck Is THAT!?!

What the Heck Is THIS?  Well, I'll tell you in a minute.

First, thank you for sticking with me as I have been absent for about a month.  Hopefully I will get back in the groove of posting on a more regular basis.  I had a really good routine going.  I would get up each day at about 5 AM to be sure my grandson got up for work, do all my computer stuff like reading and writing blogs, paying bills and catching up on the news.  Then my grandson moved out.  My routine crashed into sleeping until about 8AM.  Then Terry would get up a short time later.  He does that when the dogs wake him up to eat.  For some reason they think they can't eat before he gets up.  Silly dogs.  Then I hate to leave him alone so I do all that computer stuff on the laptop.  I HATE the laptop.  It's Win 10 and does not cooperate with Android apps so posting on he blog is a pain because for some reason I can't move pics around or put the cursor where I want it to be.  So that's my excuse for being gone for a while.

Ok, Now to the story.  One morning about a month ago we went out to the pond.  There in the water was something we have never seen before and we have had a pond for at LEAST 40 years.  It was some tubular looking something that almost looked like Nature's fibrous rope with black specks inside.  So, of course I took a picture after I surmised it must be frog eggs.  OMGosh, yes it was.  About a billion of them that are now all small tadpoles.  Last year we had so many, but they died.  I investigated and found that tadpoles eat algae.  Every year Terry treats the pond to kill leaf debris and algae. This year we never got over to the supplier to buy the treatment so we have decided to find out what will happen when all these frogs grow legs.  I wonder if there is a market for frogs, lol.

There are other things going on around this house and I'll let you know all about them.  Hope you come back to see what's up.  

Today I am grateful for all things nature, especially for my frogs.  I share a lot of time with them.

What's new with you?  Have you ever watched frogs grow?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

We Used To Have Block Parties

Here is the newest visitor to my neighborhood.  We have NEVER had a Red Headed Woodpecker visit our feeders...ever.  Now I hear him in the trees somewhere and he comes to visit all day long.  Now I proudly feed a variety of woodpeckers including Woody, Downy, Red Breasted and Read Headed.  Every visitor is a Blessing from Mother Nature.

One of my blog friends Dawn  posted this morning about one of her neighbors.  We moved in our house in 1976.  The neighborhood is 3 blocks by 3 blocks and most of Terry's family lives within the nine blocks.  Children of those that lived here when we moved in tend to find a house in the neighborhood when they leave the nest. At one time, my daughter fulfilled her dream of buying the house next door to us.

Back when we first moved in, we already knew some of the people that lived here.  Most were our age, but we did have some neighbors that were the older generation.  We used to have Block Parties a couple of times a month.  Really, someone had a party and most of the neighborhood came.  It was always Bring You Own Bottle, liquor or pop, and something for the grill or a dish to share.  Those parties happened for about 7 years.  We were a really close group of friends.  I don't know why the parties ever stopped.  I suppose some of our friends moved on.

This is still a pretty good neighborhood.  Some of the kids Laurie grew up with still live here.  Even some of THEIR kids stayed in the neighborhood when they flew the nest.  Here and there a house has gone to rental and the tenants lack concern for others that live here.  Loud cars and loud music.  We've even had a meth lab that was busted.  It is a different world today and I do miss the neighborhood as it was back in '76.

My grandson moved out last week.  New truck and new apartment.  If it weren't for the dogs we'd be empty nesters, lol.  I am enjoying a slower pace...a lot.

Today I am grateful that my grandson is able to earn a living that is sufficient to support himself.

What kind of neighborhood do you live in?  Are you friendly with your neighbors of just wavers?

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Witch Lives Here

This home is located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in South Bend Indiana.  I have visited many times.  I don't know when it was built, but I would guess around the turn of the last century.  The inside is what you might imagine it would be if someone told you a witch lives there.  For the most part, it's dark.  There is an office that looks like you walked into an antique shop decked out for Halloween.  The parlor is magnificent AND it has a coffin as part of the decor.  The rest of the house is pretty much what you would expect.  The rooms upstairs are bedrooms and decorated in Victorian style.  There ARE creaking doors that open and close for no reason.  If ever there was a house to draw unseen visitors, this is the one!

Barbara is a Gray Witch and if you want to know what that means, you can find out on Google.  She's not a bad witch.  She has led an interesting life.  It would surprise you to know that she was born Amish.  It would NOT surprise you to know that she was shunned.

Barbara is 74 and has been reading tarot cards for 50 years.  She has a dog that actually DOES say "I love you".  She remembers that the first time she met my grandson she gave him a hamster.  I don't know all that Barbara does, but I know she believes in what she does.  She has made a good living reading tarot cards and has been "entertaining" at various conventions and other events that would surprise you.  For about 8 years she had a spot on the local radio station.  Silly people would call in asking questions and think they were getting Psychic advise.  To my ears, all I heard was common sense answers.  The kind smart parents would give their kids and probably do, but somehow it sounds smarter from someone they think has the inside scoop.

Our family loves her. She is straight forward.  She can entertain you for hours with stories about things she has done and people she has met.  Well known people in this town come to her for readings.  She will relate their story, but NEVER tell you who they are.  We would NEVER prod her to do so.  She has given many volunteer hours to various causes in town and is very well thought of.

The first time I met Barbara she wanted to do a reading for me.  I said ok on a whim.  She knew nothing about  me..there was no way for her to.  But she told me 3 things about me that NO ONE could possibly know.  Not Terry..Not anyone...Nada.  Not future...past.  HOW?  Doesn't matter.  She's Barbara.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's Entertainment - kinda

Lots of my friends have been mentioning that I haven't posted in a while and want to know how things are going with my foot.  With that in mind, I thought I should post, but honestly, about what?

Well, there just is not much to talk about.  I don't need to keep my foot elevated, but I do still have to wear the boot and can't put weight on it yet so I still have the scooter to move around the house and use when I go out.  Honestly, I don't go out much and I do keep my foot elevated because unless I do, there is still a certain amount of pain...small though it is.  My choice of pain reliever is Ibuprofin, but because it is an anti-inflammatory, I am unable to use it, as it would prohibit the fusion. Tylenol is what I am able to use but it has side effects for me that I just don't want to deal with.

So, I spend a lot of time looking out the window at my feeders which Terry has graciously kept filled.  I never tire of watching the action out there.

I have been doing a little reading.  A very little FB.  A small amount of cooking.  Of course, I am still stitching cupcakes on the quilt.

Then, there's the TV.  Terry has a routine of shows he watches and I listen along while he watches.  I don't have much interest on daytime TV, but I do have a few shows I watch at night.  I can't get him to switch over to Netflix, but I'm working on that.

I go back to the Doc on the 22nd.  I expect him to allow me to walk using my own shows as long as they don't put pressure on the fusing joint.  I have read that it takes about 6 months to actually fuse and that you can have the plate removed in the future.  I'll ask him about that.

The xray of my foot shows that when I thought I broke my foot about 8 years ago and didn't go to the doctor, I really DID break it.  It shows the break pretty clearly.  Now, it only have pains me when the weather changes.  I'm thinking that's not bad if I had gone to the ER, had a cast and went through THIS.

Thankful:  Today, there are so many things to be grateful for.  At the moment, I'm happy that when I turned 65, I took the time to look into an insurance policy.  It's NOT a supplementation policy. It's a policy you buy and use instead of Medicare.  The cost is the Medicare premium plus $39 a month,  So far I have paid very little for Doctor appointments, lab work, xrays and this surgery.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cupcake Quilt Update

Hi Friends.  This is what I have been doing to keep my sanity while I have to keep my foot propped up.  I don't really have to KEEP it propped, but it's the most comfortable way to sit until it heals a little more. (It's ugly, black and blue and still swelled a bit.)

  This is Laurie's cupcake quilt.  I am stab stitching a cupcake on each block.  So far I only have a few blocks done.  It took me about 2-1/2 weeks after surgery to gather any creative energy to work on it.  I had a couple of false starts on the stitching.  I wanted the threads to be kind of prominent so I "tested" a couple of different weights.  Robbie Porter suggested #5 perle cotton and it was perfect.

One thing I miss a real lot during this recovery is playing with my dogs.  I'm pretty sure they are missing it to.  The weather here has be unseasonably warm, like a lot of the country which makes it hard not to be outside checking out the pond.  But it has thawed and I can see the fish through the window.  I always hold my breath until the ice melts to see if they survived the winter.  Blue Birds and Sparrows are vying for the bird houses. Means an early Spring to me!!  So that's what I have been up to.   How's the weather where you are?

Thankful:  I am so thankful that the winter was mild and my fish survived it.  A couple of years ago we had a harsh winter and lost them all.  The fish we have now are the ones that we bought to replace them.  Funny how even a fish can become special to you.  My favorite is a big blue calico Shebunkin.  By the time my foot is healed I'll be looking for my frogs.

Be well.  Love life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

An Update on my SIL.. and thank you

See how mad Snoopy is?  That's how I am feeling about several things right now.  I have been mentioning My SIL Marcella on my blog.  A lot has happened since I last posted about her just a week or so ago.  Remember she went to IU Medical Center for a second opinion on her cancer treatment.  Let me back up here just a little.

The doctor that WAS treating her is the same one that treated my FIL.  Terry and I never agreed with the treatment he recommended, as other family members did or didn't.  It was not our decision, it was my FIL's.  When Marcella was first diagnosed, she went under the care of that same doctor.  He owns a cancer treatment center here in South Bend.  Chemo, Radiation and meds are all received through his Center.  Somehow that does not seem correct to me....but I'll move on with this story.  The Center removed a cancerous spot and lymph node...oh, so she thought!  She went on to receive radiation.

When she went to IUMC for the second opinion, she had tests and saw a Doc who told her they would be able to give her medication to keep her comfortable.  They found sources to pay for the treatment.  That doc took Marcella's case to their board after so they could review the tests etc they had taken.  There are several things that are still in review.  Let me tell you...the first doctor did not remove the cancerous lymph node and it was broadcasting cancerous cells to other parts of her body.  The Chemo doc didn't catch that and he SHOULD have.  What a fiasco.  She is so joyous I didn't talk to her about if there were something legal they should be doing about THAT.  Anyway, she is going to have surgery as soon as it is scheduled.  I'm not sure what exactly they will remove.  She is on medication that will encircle the spots that won't be removed but will keep them from growing and should reduce their size.  We have always heard that IU was one of the best places to go for cancer treatment.  Our hospital in Goshen's cancer treatment is affiliated with IU.  We wanted her to go there from the beginning, but she had faith in Dad's doc.  She went through a lot of pain and suffering both physical and mental only to find out she was not getting proper care.

I have no further comment about what I shared with you above....frankly I don't know what to say or how I should be feeling about it.

Now, for the thank you!!  I am using our laptop to type this post.  It drives me crazy.  Sometimes I don't touch anything and the curser jumps somewhere I don't want it to be.  It is so annoying.  Not sure if it's to do with windows 10 or the laptop.  I have received and read every one of your past comments.  I usually like to respond to each one.  That is so easy when I receive a notification of your comment in my gmail.  But when I have to read them from the comments section of my dashboard, I would have to go back to gmail to type the email to you and this danged laptop does not cooperate too well.  So THANK YOU so much for all your comments and well wishes.  If you didn't receive a personal response, it was NOT because I didn't care.  I appreciate all that read my posts, whether you comment or not.

Be well.

Thankful....well so many things, but today I am especially grateful for my two doctors...Dr. James Reidy and Dr. James Flynn.  I love those guys!!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Day 4 and I Got Wheels!

This is the fouth day afer surgery.  To say I am bored and tired is the truth.  My foot must be elevated and I have to keep this boot on until I see the Doc in a couple of weeks.  I have a choice of putting ice on my leg...20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.  Or I can keep ice on the boot 24/7 which is my choice.  I do not do well with narcotic pain pills and the ice keeps the pain down and allows me to go without meds so it is an easy choice for me.

Before I had surgery I practiced walking using crutches and thought I had that down until I came home and almost fell twice.  Then I figured I could put my leg on a stool and scootch around and that worked ok.  Since I thought I would be ok with crutches I opted to get a scooter after the two weeks that I am not supposed to get up except to use the bathroom.

That lasted less than 24 hours and off Terr went to pic it up the next morning.

This scooter is a blessing and makes moving around so much easier.  My insurance did not cover it, but a $68 per month rental I don't know why I hesitated to get it.  I am really antsy to stitch something.  Maybe tomorrow I'll try to stitch cupcakes on Laurie's quilt.

Lots to be thankful for today:
Modern medicine, Terry's wonderful nursing skills, Corey who is helping Terry take care of the house, my scooter and my DOGS who come to visit me and check to see that I'm OK.  I guess my laptop too which I am using to post this, and my blog friends.

Be well, be happy, stay healthy.
xx, Carol

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Crud and Other Stuff

Oh Geez.  Corey brought it in the house.  You know, that BUG.  The one that sneaks down your throat and makes your throat feel like it's been slit with a razor.  Then it moves on up to your sinuses and makes your head and face feel like it's stuffed with cotton.  I won't even mention what it does to your LUNGS!

Thank you Corey.  Luckily your Papa put some kind of shield around him...or maybe that's garlic around his neck!!

So before I got this visitor, I sandwiched Laurie's quilt.  I made a stencil of a cupcake.  I'm going to try to stitch a cupcake on each block.  We'll see how that goes. I didn't feel like taking a pic of the backing I stitched.  It is blocks the same size as the top.  I used a few of the leftovers from the top and cut more from the pink cupcake material.  I also have that material in brown so I cut blocks from it as well.  I'm not sure when I will commence the quilting, but probably while I am recuperating from surgery.

This week I have several appointments.  I haven't mentioned that I will have surgery on the "Giant" toe on my right foot.  That's what they call your big toe when they order xrays.

Basically I am having a lot of pain in the joint of my big toe.  If you have seen a bunion, what I have looks like a bunion growing on TOP of that joint AND between the 1st and 2nd joint.  There are also two little bones on the bottom of that joint that have arthritis and are causing pain and my toe to grow to the right.  It is a hereditary thing and usually only effects one foot. The pain causes me to walk on the side of my foot which is causing even more pain in my ankle and knee.  So next Tuesday I am having surgery to remove the growth on the bones and to make the joint immobile which will keep the toe from growing totally to the right.  My sister has this condition.  I'll tell you it's painful and darned right painful to look at too. After surgery I will have to keep my foot elevated higher than my heart for two weeks to control swelling that could break open stitches.  Then I will be on crutches for another 4 weeks.

Today I am thankful that I have insurance and am able to have this surgery.  My SIL who has cancer was told my her insurance company that they will NOT cover the medication that her doctor has prescribed to keep her cancer in check.

Monday, January 9, 2017


There is a fad going on right now that you may have heard of.  Mannequining.   Here is a pic of our joke about it in our house.  My dogs love to do the Mannequin! They do this daily, same pose, most often this spot.  Anyway, I can't post without a picture so I chose my mutts.

We like to support the Habitat for Humanity Restore and often discover some really cool things there.  If not cool we get really good deals.  Like the leather garden gloves I found for only $4 a pair.  During a recent trip I found a floor embroidery frame for less than $20 which was a pretty good deal.  It's a place to shop and to donate home items as well.

I'm pretty sure that I will be doing hand quilting in the future.  Since I received a rather nice cash gift at Christmas, off I went to Joann's with a 60% off coupon in hand to buy a PVC floor quilting frame. After the coupon was applied the price was only $44.  I'm pretty sure I would have paid more than that to make it myself.

It's been a difficult year for me.  Losing my father-in-law has been hard on both Terry and I.  We received more sad news from my sister-in-law.  She went through cancer treatment during last fall only to have it return in full force as soon as the chemo left her system.  Stage IV.  We are having a hard time grasping the fact that there is no cure.

My vocabulary and spelling is pretty good.  I take pride in it really.  My daughter and then my grandsons used to ask me why I "know so much" and spell so well.  I always tell them that I have always loved to read and when I saw a word that I didn't know the meaning of I always looked it up in the dictionary.  I am happy to say that my grandsons also love to read.  However, they don't really read books, but find many useful and interesting things to read on the internet.  The other day when I was looking up a word on an on-line site, I was offered the opportunity to have a word and definition sent to my e-mail each day so I signed right up for it.  The site also offers word games.  Here's a link if you'd like to check it out.  Dictionary

Have you tried the new Oreo Thins?  Even if you don't like Oreo cookies, you may want to give them a try.  They are the BEST NEW THING!!

If you are looking for an interesting read, you may want to check out these two links.

A Good Read

Another Good Read

Thankful:  Good reads.  A good book.  An interesting article.  The newspaper.  Today I am thankful that I can read well.

Do you hand quilt and if so do you have any tips for me?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Tenacious.  I LOVE that word.  In some regards it describes me well, but in others not so much.

This picture was our diversion of the afternoon yesterday.  The temp was below freezing.  Something moving outside in front of the patio door caught Terry's eye.  Low and behold it was a spider moving up and down a web with the wind blowing about 15 MPH.  The questions abound.  What kind of spider was it? mid sized with red on it (not a black widow).  How low can the temperature go before spider's freeze in Northern Indiana?  THIS spider eventually disappeared into the eves above the door.  This is info I found on Google about outdoor spiders...and yes..there are indoor spiders and outdoor spiders.

"Spiders are cold-blooded and not attracted to warmth.  They don't shiver or get uncomfortable when it's cold, they just become less active and eventually, dormant.  Most temperate zone spiders have enough "antifreeze" in their bodies that they won't freeze at any temperature down to -5 degrees C.:  some can get colder.  The few typical outdoor spiders that do end up indoors, die or at least don't reproduce."

The watching and research was a welcome diversion from the Gunsmoke episode that Terry was watching for about the millionth time.  So you would think that I am thankful for the diversion, which I am.  But I am more thankful for the tenacity in my personality to be interested in watching a spider, wondering, and wanting to find out the answers to questions that arose from the watching.  Tenacity.

How about you?  Have you recently found something that interested you so much that you wanted to find out more about it?