Sunday, February 7, 2016


Glenn came out to the cat rooms in the barn last night to see why it was taking me so long to finish the nightly cat care. I didn't realize I'd been out there any longer than usual. I was cuddling cats and giving piggy back rides. Yes, I have cats who love to jump on my back as I make the rounds from feeding bowl to feeding bowl and litter box to litter box. My little crooked cat, Buddy, was especially needy last night for some reason, but I hold and cuddle every cat that will allow it. I think it's good for the cats, and good for me as well.
The cat in the photo below the text is Buddy. He came to me three years ago from the corn field beside our barn, where I assume he had been abandoned. I had just finished caring for the cats and was about to go back inside the house when I heard chilling cries and turned to see this little tiger cat stumbling toward me as fast as he could run. He would run a few steps and fall, get up and run a few more steps, then fall again - plaintively crying all the while. I had no idea what was wrong with him, but he was definitely begging for my help. When I scooped him up in my arms and examined him, I found no visible wounds nor broken bones, but there was definitely something terribly wrong. I placed him in a clean cage in the barn, but outside the main cat room. I provided him with a blanket, food, water, and litter box. Once inside the house, I emailed my vet and a member of her office staff called the next morning to tell me I could take him in first thing. The poor little guy had a raging inner ear infection, thus the unsteady gait. I was relieved it was something treatable. After two weeks of intense antibiotic therapy, neutering, and vaccinations, he was much better but he now has a permanent head-tilt from favoring the side with the infection. I wonder to this day how long his infection was ignored. It's most likely a chronic problem and will always need to be watched, so adoption is out of the question (in my mind, anyway). He's here for the rest of his life and he shows me every day how grateful he is for having been rescued. He's definitely my little buddy.
Karen Schultz Danner's photo.

Friday, January 22, 2016


So much has happened in the last year that I hardly know where to begin. Perhaps I'll start with something near and dear to my heart - my new cabin. Four years ago, when we moved to this house in the country, we left my backyard cabin behind for the new owners of our former home. I had agreed with that since I thought the cabin my spouse had constructed would be a nice selling feature for the property, also, the prospect of moving the cabin was a daunting one. My spouse promised a new cabin and assured it would be bigger and better than the last one.

Promises are fine, and those who make them are basically well-intentioned, but after living here nearly four years, I began to question if I was ever going to have that new cabin. I approached the issue gingerly, since I knew my newly retired spouse had many other projects in the works, and.....I sensed that he really didn't want to take on such a big project, though he wouldn't admit it. It had been over ten years since he'd built the last one, so I could understand that. Neither of us was getting any younger. Still, I longed for a space to call my own. 

After a few unsuccessful attempts to open a "cabin dialog", I made one last effort and to my great surprise, my spouse suggested we go look at a building that could be constructed on our property, and whose interior he could finish in his own time. So we did that, and though my new cabin is basically the same size as the last one, minus the loft, it is a place I love. It has become my very own small version of a mercantile shop. It sits in the side yard, which makes it very handy to view the house and see what the cats are doing in their outdoor enclosure. There is also easy access to the driveway. 

My spouse did a wonderful job of finishing the interior, and just before Christmas of 2015, I began arranging old farm tables, vintage crates, and other display items out there. I'm sure I'll continue to tweak the settings, but I'm very happy with the results. In fact, it's still Christmas in my cabin. Come take a peek . . .


Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I'm still in a quandary over whether to host a Spring home show or not. If I'm going to do it, I'd surely better set a date and get busy making things. I've taken a big break from sewing because Christmas, as much as I enjoyed it, took the wind out of my sails. Recently, I've only sewn catnip toys to sell at the Vet Clinic, so I have very few items made to offer for sale at a show.  I'm inclined to not  host a Spring show this year, but rather concentrate on making items for Fall and Christmas home shows.

In the meantime, I retrieved my Spring decorations and displayed them here in the room where my home shows are held - the room I lovingly refer to as my "shop".  I suppose I thought that would give me some inspiration and spark my desire to create, but it didn't. I like decorating and I like hosting home shows but right now I'm just not in a sewing mood. There are times when we must follow our hearts and this may be one of those times for me.

Since my spouse retired, I've not been able to maintain housework routines but I've found I rather enjoy setting a relaxed and cozy mood in the evenings and viewing a movie or our DVDs of Downton Abbey. Perhaps I've become accustomed to the lack of routines, but I've not been in much of a productive mode lately. Right now it's more fun to light some candles, brew some tea, fire up the Buck stove, and settle into a relaxing evening.  There's nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, there is a lot right about it. Spouse and I have reconnected in a way, and we have more conversation now, which is good. I'll eventually want to sew again and I have many ideas for projects. Apparently this is just not the time for starting them. When Spring finally arrives, I'm fairly sure I'll be ready to get going again.     

I've added photos of my Spring decorations to my sidebar. Watch for a give-away to commemorate my 1000th post. I've had some lapses between postings, but I think I'm ready to resume sharing my cats and my stories. I hope you'll bear with me.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Today I was driving to an antique mall in Eaton, Ohio, and passed a house that was decorated with Christmas wreaths and red bows - though it's almost March - and the tall pine tree in the front yard was still adorned with colorful ornaments. Seeing those decorations triggered some memories for me. I don't know why that happened, but I thought I'd share them and perhaps let other "people pleasers" know they are not alone.

Long ago, I embraced the fact I'd been "blessed" (or cursed) with the pleaser gene. I do indeed like to help others, but I don't like to be taken for granted. For most of my life, I've had a difficult time finding a comfortable balance between the two. Today, my memory was jogged into focusing on a former church friend whose misfortune it was to lose her family's farmhouse in a fire, set by someone who rented a room from her. My friend, Ann, had grown up in that house and was devastated at the loss of not only her childhood home, but also a cherished elderly dog. The morning of the fire, I received a call from our church pastor who told me the sad news and asked if I'd meet him at Ann's farm and give her some needed support. I gladly did as he asked and that began a very long and sometimes intense, friendship with Ann, who I'd previously known only casually from church. 

When I arrived at the farm, I was saddened to see such destruction and I hugged Ann and cried with her. I'd visited her and cared for her animals from time to time and to see her home in ashes was unbearable. I was more than happy to lend a hand in any way I could. Ann was a single woman, never married, with no children and no close relatives. Her parents had died many years prior, and she had retired from teaching. Her animals were her world. 

After many people had stopped to ask if they might help, and her insurance agent had paid a visit, I took Ann to a number of places she requested to go, and then to my house for some needed rest and a meal. She stayed with my spouse and me for a couple days and we did what we could to help her through the trauma. She had lost nearly all her clothes, keepsakes, and home furnishings,  but we were all thankful the fire had not spread to her barns. Her horses, other dogs, rabbits, and cats were safe. 

Ann eventually rebuilt and began to restart her life. The church and its members did a lot to help her and she seemed to rely on all of us more and more, to the extent it became difficult to meet all her needs or fulfill all her desires. The church pastor was offering Ann counseling, but he was also becoming weary of how much Ann "needed".  She began to expect us to donate anything she asked for and actually expected some of the men in the congregation to paint her barns and mend her fences for her - on their own time and free of charge. I will add, neither her barns nor her fences had been damaged by the fire. She simply wanted those things "spruced up", and apparently thought people should be willing to continue to help.

During this time, my spouse and I did feel empathy toward Ann. We knew she had no immediate family to offer her emotional support, so we took her under wing and provided what we could. Ann often reminded us that she had no family to acknowledge her birthday, Christmas, or Easter and she told me numerous times about how sad it was to wake up on Christmas morning and find no gifts under her tree. Now here is where the memories came flooding back to me today - we decided (or I decided and Spouse went along with it) to be Ann's Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and Birthday Fairy. Every year. for longer than I can actually recall, we made sure Ann was remembered with gifts and cards on those special days. Every Christmas Eve, immediately after the early evening church service, Spouse and I would make a "Santa run" to Ann's house, and deposit a big shopping bag filled with gifts and home-baked goods, plus some special treats and toys for the dogs. We knew she would be headed to church for the midnight service, so we were fairly sure we'd not be discovered. At first, it was fun to look for special items throughout the year, then wrap them and pile them in the shopping bag for delivery on Christmas Eve, but one year, Ann ruined it for me. She didn't realize that she did, but nevertheless, it was just not a joy anymore after what I considered a very unkind and ungracious comment.

One year, and one year only, I was not able to get Ann's gifts delivered on Christmas Eve. My family and I had planned a huge surprise for my mother's 75th birthday (which falls on Christmas) and we needed to gather with out-of-town relatives. I had the brunt of the planning to do, so I delivered Ann's gifts a few days later and she was not happy. She let me know how disappointed she was that her gifts were not at her door on Christmas Eve and she never let me forget it. Ann was always outspoken and often fairly blunt, but what she said to me was very hurtful.  I know what I should have said, but what I actually did was apologize and explain over and over about the responsibilities I had for my mother's birthday celebration, but all that fell on deaf ears. I realize now that I wasn't under any obligation to apologize nor explain, but that's how a pleaser's mind works. If someone is not happy, the pleaser absorbs the guilt.  

That whole situation was a wake-up call for me, but apparently I didn't learn my lesson well, because I continued to provide Christmas Eve Santa runs to Ann for years afterward - until we moved to this house. I hadn't known how to let go of the self-imposed responsibility without hurting Ann's feelings, or worse, disappointing her again, or incurring her anger. Yet, I mustered some courage and sent her a Christmas card three years ago, explaining that we had retired and felt it necessary to trim our gift-giving budget. I expressed that, as much as we'd enjoyed it through the years, we'd no longer be doing Santa runs on Christmas Eve. To my relief, Ann didn't tell me how terribly disappointed she was, in fact, she said nothing. Perhaps it's best that our friendship (if it could actually be called that) has waned. I could tell many stories of helping Ann with her animals through the years - from helping deliver a colt in a dark muddy field at midnight one stormy evening, to helping get 12 rambunctious Airdale puppies to the vet to be vaccinated, to doing round-the-clock feedings for newborn kittens whose mothers abandoned them, to taking care of Ann's horses, dogs, cats, and rabbits when she was away, to receiving calls from her at all hours of the day or night, pleading with me to come and save kittens, that she let go too long until they could not be saved.  I often bottle-fed the abandoned kittens because Ann preferred to sleep until noon instead of caring for them . . . and of course, knowing how much I cared for cats, she counted on me being there for them - and I was. Lest anyone think I'm complaining, I do accept full responsibility for allowing myself to be taken advantage of and yes, I finally did stop going to the farm. Ann would not, after all my years of pleading, urging, and offering to pay for it myself, have her cats spayed and neutered. So I knew there would be more and more kittens, she'd want more of my time, and more kittens would be lost. It became too emotionally painful to be there.

So there's my story . . . long and boring for some, but maybe a bit enlightening for others. Any of you who are pleasers like myself, please know you absolutely can extricate yourself from oppressive situations, but it takes courage and resolve. Love yourself enough to do what you need to for your own mental health and well-being. These days I call it self-preservation, and there is no guilt nor shame in looking out for oneself. I finally learned that lesson, though I'll freely admit, Ann was not the last person I allowed to take advantage of my "good nature", as my spouse and daughter have often said. I hope all of you find balance in your lives. Balance is a good thing and I continue to strive for it.     

Saturday, February 14, 2015


It's cold and snowy here in southwest Ohio and while my plans for shop-hopping are now on hold, it's a good day for staying inside and baking. I have dough in the refrigerator waiting to be rolled and cut into Valentine cookies. A short time ago, I took peanut butter cookies out of the oven, and I'll be baking Cream Cheese Blueberry Pound Cake later this afternoon. I hope everything will turn out well so I can delivery some homemade goodies to the neighbors this Valentine's Day.

Hubby and I went to the Olive Garden restaurant for lunch yesterday and that will serve as our Valentine celebration. Dining out was truly more than I expected. For more years than I care to remember, I was disappointed on Valentine's Day. I'm finally admitting it and I've recently learned I'm not alone. Each time February 14th would roll around, I'd anxiously await Hubby's arrival from work. If he was later than usual, I would assume (wrongly) he'd stopped to shop for a card or a bouquet of flowers - Heaven forbid I ever receive a box of chocolates, though I bought him many boxes of his favorite, Esther Price, through the years.  I don't know how many times I actually mentioned that a local Kroger grocery store and even the Walmart store, carry nice bouquets for around $7, so the price shouldn't have been the problem. By this time in our married life, he surely knows I'm not difficult to please. No, the problem is that my spouse, though he can be kind in other ways, simply refuses to observe Valentine's Day. I honestly don't know why, but it's true.  I've asked him about it but never actually received an answer. I used to bake him a heart-shaped cake or cookies, prepare a candlelit dinner, buy a romantic card, and even had flowers sent to his workplace a few times - which I thought were very nice gestures, but he claimed receiving flowers at work was embarrassing. Really? He did say some of the other men in the office were envious, yet my guy is just embarrassed. One thing my dear spouse can do well, is rain on my parade. Again, I know I'm not alone there. 

So, after many disappointing Valentine's Days, I finally stopped observing it too. It wasn't what I wanted to do, because I love hearts, flowers, and expressions of love, but for too many years, I'd been fighting a losing battle and I was weary of being disappointed. Since I wanted to celebrate the day of love and he didn't, I began to do a little shopping for myself.  I'm not sure why I didn't "wise up" sooner. I'd visit a favorite primitive shop or an antique mall, and enjoy browsing through all the treasures. It's one of the few times I'd indulge in the pleasure of purchasing something I wouldn't ordinarily buy for myself.  While I never bought anything extravagant or expensive, I did often find some little thing that turned my head and made me feel happy. 

These days, I'm no longer disappointed when no flowers, candy, nor cards show up on Valentine's Day. I've finally embraced the fact they're never going to appear - at least not from my spouse. That's why I was hoping to do a little primitive shopping today, especially since most of the shops in this area are participating in a "shop hop".  As my luck would have it, today is not a good day to be out on the roads, but I've learned to "regroup". I'm enjoying the snow and I've been content baking cookies and browsing online. The idea of sharing home-baked goods with others is pleasing to me and if my spouse doesn't quite appreciate them, I know the neighbors will - they've always been very affirming. 

However you choose to celebrate this day, do so with love in your heart. Make your own fun. Share your love with others. That's really what this day is all about anyway. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!         

Friday, January 23, 2015


After finally getting my holiday decorations safely stored in the Christmas closet, I decided to reward myself for the effort I'd expended. One of my favorite things to do is browse thrift shops and though I truly needed nothing, I spent time yesterday wandering the many aisles of the Antique Mall close to me and then took a walk through the thrift shop across the road from the Mall. I hadn't thought to take along my phone or watch so I wasn't paying attention to the time. I was probably there for a few hours and I must have walked miles! No doubt, I needed the exercise, but every aisle held all sorts of treasures - most of which stayed at the shop. The ones I couldn't resist came home with me.  Recently I'd begun to let go of things I wasn't using, so by bringing my small treasures home, I wasn't actually adding to a stockpile. As I will tell my spouse, I was being rather selective in my choices. Much of what I found will be used as display pieces for my next home show. (That's as good an excuse as any, right?) From time to time I remind my spouse of how lucky he is that I'm so very "low maintenance". I can honestly say I'm happier with a few well-chosen treasures from the thrift store or antique mall, than I would be with expensive things from an upscale department store. I love the items I found yesterday and will soon be busy finding just the right spots for them here in my "shop". You can view the photo of my stash on the sidebar to the right. Don't you love that little red chair? I think I have the perfect handmade doll for it, or maybe I'll make another doll. Hmmm, more projects.     

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Today I finally finished putting away ALL the Christmas and holiday decorations. Yes, I procrastinated. I admit it. I've been having some relaxing days since Christmas and haven't yet gotten back into routines. I might explain that my routines, as such, haven't actually been the same since my spouse retired. I will just say it's been a huge adjustment for us both and we've not completely settled into this new way of life. Anyway, we left trees up and lights glowing long after Christmas because we were enjoying them, but all good things must eventually come to an end, so we began to "undecorate" and tuck everything into our little Christmas closet. It's filled to the brim again, but everything is tidy and all boxes are labeled.

Why did it take me so long to get everything sorted and put back into storage? I had so much more to do this year than in previous years. I had handcrafted items and lots of garlands and small trees displayed here in my front room, which doubled as my "shop" during home shows. All of that had to be packed away, along with table coverings and collections of vintage toys and bears which graced the area beneath my primitive tree. For the last two weeks I've been dealing with a small amount each day but I finally realized I needed to spend more time packing up my items if I was ever going to see the end of the task. Yesterday and today were the appointed days and I worked at it until it was done. Whew! It surely is more fun to pull things out and display them, than it is to put them back into storage.

So . . . what's next? I had a fleeting thought of hosting a home show before Valentine's Day so I could make lots of primitive hearts to sell. When I checked the calendar to see how much time I'd have before an early February show, I decided to aim for the Spring and Easter season instead. I'll have to overlook Valentine's Day this year.  I'm trying to find incentive to sew again. Rummaging through patterns and decorating magazines is helping in that endeavor. A call this morning from the local veterinarian's office jarred me into reality and I now have dozens of catnip toys in the works. The vet knows I have rescued cats and she consented to selling my handmade cat toys in her clinic, to help with the costs of spaying, neutering, and vaccinating the cats.  The clinic is completely out of catnip toys! So there's some incentive to get me started.  After I finish the cat toy order, I'll decide which Spring and Easter items I'll make and how to display them.

Maybe my routines will take care of themselves.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Where to begin? How did I let Christmas and New Year's Day slip past me? I suppose it was because I hosted three separate family Christmas gatherings and was allowing myself some down-time afterward. Time goes by so quickly for me these days that I've barely finished one week's tasks before another week is upon me. I could scarcely believe the date of my last post - December 14, 2014. I was so sure I'd posted on or around Christmas Day. As I recall though, our internet connection was lost for a few days around that time. I'll just say I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas. We're still enjoying our decorations and outdoor lights. We'd decided to take them down on Jan. 6th but it's turned very cold and is now snowing, so we may leave them up for awhile yet. That would suit me fine. I love Christmas lights and decorations and am always sad when it's time to store them away for another year.  

The New Year brought a new interest for my spouse and me. I purchased a set of Downton Abbey DVDs and gave them to Spouse for Christmas. We're now hooked on that series, though I admit to not having understood all the hoopla about it during the last couple of years.  Now I do understand and can't wait until chores and dinner are done in the evening so we can settle into a night of viewing. That, and putting together puzzles seem to be our new pastimes. Spouse stokes the fire and turns down the lights, then we grab our warm coverlets and stay cozy as we watch the shows. I can't think of a better way to spend a winter evening.

I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore - haven't for some time. My personal feeling is that doing so sets us up for failure, then we feel guilty. Life hands us more than enough guilt and feelings of self-doubt, so no more resolutions for me, but rather a striving to do better each day, and a resolve to take one day at a time. We have a "clean slate" so let's take this opportunity to start new projects, let go of the past, and move forward. I wish all of you a New Year filled with joy, peace, and cozy winter evenings.     

Sunday, December 14, 2014


This time every year I start feeling the pressure of getting everything done on time. It's very much like preparing a big meal for a family gathering. Everything needs to be coordinated so each aspect of the meal can be presented at the right time and temperature.

I still have a little bit of decorating to finish, though my Christmas trees are up and (mostly) decorated. I decided to forego putting up my whole collection of lighted ceramic houses. I'm planning to choose 3 or 4 that hold special meanings, then let the rest go. It won't be easy but I truly need to purge my decorations and keep only the things I love and use.

Perhaps I need to take some lessons from my daughter. She has downsized her decorating a bit this year by choosing a smaller tree - one that is pre-lit. Daughter has worked in retail for large departments stores and loved helping with the displays of seasonal decorations. She learned how to wrap strands of lights around each individual branch on a tree, and did that for her own Christmas trees for many years. She decided to not take the time to do that this year. It generally takes two days to complete the lights, and her tree always looks gorgeous, but she says she could be doing other things in those two days. She has three ceramic lighted houses displayed on a side table, a few yummy smelling holiday candles, and her pretty RED pre-lit tree. Though I love all things vintage and like having "stuff" around me at holiday time, I do love the simplicity of my daughter's décor. 

This year, I put my tall primitive tree in my gathering room, which doubles as my "shop" when I host home shows. I held back some of my own handmade ornaments from the home shows and decorated the prim tree with those. I also put old toys under and around the tree and I'm having fun playing with the displays. My red tabletop vintage tree is in my dining room with red and white potholder dresses and old play utensils displayed on it.  I took the primitive brown tree from the gathering room and set it in the guest room. My "shop" remains set up for Christmas and I can't wait for my nieces and nephews to come and see all the old toys and decorations. I'm planning to hide little treats around the tree so they can find them and be surprised.
One of my favorite treasures this year is a Little Chef toy stove very much like the one I had as a child. I felt very lucky to find it at a vintage/antique shop. It's under my tree along with Raggedy Ann and Andy, and a sock monkey I made for my mother for her Christmas birthday some years ago. Next to the tree, my old childhood panda bear sits in a vintage suitcase along with handmade wool bears, an old book (The Three Christmas Eves), a few small patchwork stars and a larger star made from a time-worn quilt. All in all, I like how things have turned out, though I had no real plan.
If I can complete gift wrapping this weekend and put the final touches on decorating, I'll be ready to plan the Christmas Day meal and bake some of my favorite Christmas cookies. I'll post some recipes soon.
I added a few photos to the sidebar . . .       

Thursday, December 4, 2014


It just occurred to me it's been exactly one week since Thanksgiving. Why do the days and weeks leading up to the winter holidays seem to pass so quickly? I wish these very feelings of anticipation and intention could last for about six weeks. Would I be ready for Christmas then? I doubt it. I've been so wrapped up in home show preparations that I've scarcely begun making lists for Christmas. Every year I express a desire to simplify decorations and spending, yet those things seem to spiral out of control. I have so many decorations I love that I can't bear to leave them packed away when they could be adorning my Christmas trees or fireplace mantle. Shopping for family gifts is enjoyable to me and though I do search for great sales, I often find a few extra things I think someone will enjoy, so my "budget", such that it is, goes out the window.  

My cats received early Christmas gifts again this year. They're not as grand as last year's cat trees, but they're being enjoyed just as much. About two weeks ago, I stopped at a festive store called "The Christmas Tree Shop". Among all the lights and ornaments, I found some cat gifts. I bought my furry ones a bunch of new scratching toys and three square boxes in which they can hide and play. Actually, the canvas boxes were for storing office supplies and such, but they looked like the perfect play areas for my cats. I think I'll go back and purchase a few more tomorrow. Right now, the cats have to stand in line to play with them. I should have thought of that. I've yet to take photos of them playing in their boxes, because when I go out to the cat rooms, I keep forgetting my camera. I do have some recent cat pictures though, and will post them on my sidebar. I don't know when BlogSpot is going to fix whatever is wrong with its photo posting option. I've contacted the administrators numerous times and have yet to receive one reply. Perhaps I need to be grateful the sidebar posting option is still available.

I'm off to browse through some cookie recipes and make a list of gift ideas for family members. Time is marching onward.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


"Christmas in the Country" home show went very well. Not only was it fun, but I reconnected with some friends I hadn't seen for years. The show was profitable as well, but profit is never my main goal. Seeing old friends and receiving positive comments about the handmade items I offered, was worth more than any sales I made, though sales were very nice, to be sure. I'm already starting to think about hosting a Spring show. I've been sorting some supplies and fabrics and realize I have lots of bunny patterns I've never used. I plan to start my Spring sewing in January. 

Can you believe we've arrived at the end of November? Today is Thanksgiving and my spouse and I have been invited to our daughter's house for dinner. Then on Friday, extended family will be coming here for dinner, .so I don't really get out of cooking, it's just postponed for a day. I can't believe I'm not stressing over getting everything done. I'll cook the turkey and dressing, and fix a layered salad, while relatives fill in with vegetable dishes and desserts. It should be a nice day for visiting with family. 

I intended to leave all my pumpkins, gourds, and straw bales displayed on my front porch through Thanksgiving, but the freezing temperatures ruined them last week. My spouse took the pumpkins and gourds to the far corner of our property and deposited them. If things work out as they have the past two years, we'll have "volunteers" come next Fall. Most of this year's gourds and a few small pumpkins came from that little corner and it was fun searching for them. After the end of this week, we move on to Christmas. It's about this time of the year I begin to ponder all the things my family and I have experienced - some good things and some not so good - and I give thanks for my spouse, my family, my home, and my country. None is perfect, but all are loved and appreciated. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to count your blessings.       

Thursday, November 20, 2014


One would think it was December here in southern Ohio. We have about five inches of snow on the ground, but I'm not complaining. I know many states have much more than that. I love the snow, love to look at it and feel it crunch under my feet, but it's a little bit early for this much of it. That's all.

Well, the weeks have sped past me and this Saturday is my CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY home show. I'm almost ready, though I admit to missing my self-imposed deadline of having all items completed by Wednesday - which was yesterday. As so often happens, there were many interruptions to my crafting routines and once I'd been in pause mode, it was hard to get started again. Still, my displays are ready and I've made Blonde Brownies, Rocky Road Fudge, White Chocolate Pecan Fudge, and Peanut Butter Fudge - and some dog treats, which are baking as I type - for the bake sale area of my show. I have a few kinds of cookies on my list yet to make and I need to add some finishing touches on wool cats I've sewn. Anything else will have to wait for another show. I'm done, well, nearly done. I do still have clean-up to do and that's the only part I dislike about sewing and baking. I make such a mess! If only there was a cleaning fairy. Tomorrow will be my cleaning day and Saturday I'll host the show here at Liberty Homestead - 8593 Hemple Rd. - Germantown, Ohio 45327. The hours are from 10am to 5pm for any of you in my little neck of the woods. 

I'll post a few more photos on my sideline. I think I'm pretty much finished tweaking the displays. I'm just being picky now when I move things around, but my goal is to present and eye-pleasing assortment of handmade goods for sale. I guess I'll find out on Saturday if I succeeded. Have a good weekend everyone, and please wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


As usual, I'm wondering where my time has gone.  It's already been three weeks since my fall show. During the week I was waiting for people to come and browse, I took time off from my sewing, and that was a mistake, but I didn't want fabric and supplies all over the place if I had company. You see, I'm a very messy crafter. I can't keep my areas neat and tidy and still be creative. I feel the need to strew jars of old buttons and rusty bells, fabric, patterns, scissors, needles, and thread wherever I land for the evening.  I generally cut out patterns and sew items during the day so I can stuff them and add finishing touches and do the hand sewing while I relax and watch a little TV with my spouse at night. At any rate, this week finds me playing "catch up" and I've been burning the midnight oil. It's a good thing I'm such a night owl!  

In reality, I probably already have enough to sell at my Christmas show, but one never knows. There are still some things on my list that I've not had time to make, so I'm striving to get those items done before next Wednesday which is my self-imposed time limit for making items to sell.  That means I have exactly one week to finish the projects I've either started or simply dreamt of making. If I continue to be as productive as I've been the last few days, I'll do just fine. I just finished 6 large ginger men and 6 snowmen last night. My ultimate goal is to enjoy sewing and not feel pressured or stressed by it. That being said, I need to get busy here. I think I'll make some primitive stockings tonight. I have my pattern out and a stack of fabric ready to go.

I posted a few new photos on the sidebar. This is what I have done so far, along with a smaller area for Thanksgiving pumpkins, which you've already seen. Keep in mind I arrange and re-arrange the room every time I add some items. I have no doubt it will all be ready by November 22nd.    

Saturday, November 1, 2014


As Winnie the Pooh would say, it's a blustery day today. There's a chill in the air and the wind is trying to blow away anything that isn't tied down. The sun has yet to appear and the sky is gray and not at all friendly-looking. Gee, I was just getting used to Fall weather, though last week we had a couple days where the temperatures reached the low 80's. That's not Fall, that's summer. Fall has always been my  favorite time of the year, but to my dismay, it also seems to be the shortest season. 

Today I'd planned to visit a small craft cabin not far from here but I've decided to postpone that excursion and stay home and tucked inside - except for trips to the barn to tend cats.  I'll also keep working on projects for my "Christmas in the Country" Home Show.  I'm a bit behind my self-imposed schedule and have been dreading to pull out Christmas trees and lighted garlands. All of those things are wedged into my quaint little Christmas closet and though I tried to make sure I could get to everything I might need if the occasion arose, I didn't do a good job of that, so I'll need to pull most everything out in order to access the items I want. That wasn't good planning on my part, but when the Christmas decorations were put away last January,  I wasn't sure I'd be hosting any home shows this year.

This is the earliest I've ever decorated for Christmas, but I won't be putting up trees in the rest of the house, just here, in my gathering room, which doubles as my computer/office when I'm not hosting shows.  For the Harvest Gathering, I had my spouse hide the computer and printer under this desk. I covered the desk with a pretty Fall tablecloth and displayed baked goods on it.  No one was the wiser. I'm learning when hosting a home show, I need to work around the furniture I have and use it to my advantage. I don't have any place to store it, so it becomes part of my set-up.

Today would be a good day to tackle the job of unloading the Christmas closet and deciding which trees I want to use. I'll probably find some table coverings and other things which might also be used for display. I'm having a difficult time, though, budgeting the hours in my days.  I really WANT to sew, but I NEED to get this room decorated and show-ready. I truly NEED to do some laundry and housework, but I WANT to play at decorating and sewing. Though I brought in plastic totes that had been stored in the barn since we moved here, I've yet to organize the fabric and craft supplies I found inside them, so that's another thing I need to do.  I guess all I can realistically do, is work at each thing a little at a time, and keep at it until all is accomplished. That is my cue to get busy and stop procrastinating. I'll post some photos as I go along. There are three whole weeks until the next home show, and if I my use time wisely, that should be enough.

As always, of late, I'll post photos on the sidebar. The most recent ones will be at the top. I'll be happy when the administrators fix the glitch that prevents me from posting photos here. Thanks for your patience.   

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Well, I've managed to fritter away a whole week since my home show. Honestly, I sometimes don't know how time gets away from me. This week I'd planned to put up Christmas trees and start decorating here my gathering room in preparation for the November show.  I hesitated to do that because I thought more people were coming to shop this week. They hadn't exactly promised to come, but seemed very interested and asked if they might bring some friends along. I wanted things to look as nice as they had last Saturday, so I didn't take anything down. I waited all week, but no one came. When will I ever learn to do what is right for me and not worry so much about what others might think or do? I didn't sew a single thing this week because I didn't want to get all my fabrics and notions out and make a big mess if I had someone coming to the house. I know I should go ahead and do whatever I want or need to do, but it's often easier said than done.  

The week wasn't completely a lost cause though. I did catch up on loads and loads of laundry and I browsed many of my crafting idea books and patterns. In fact, they're still stacked on my coffee table in the family room. I've made lists of things I hope to accomplish before the next home show and I already have some projects ready, except for the pricing. My daughter has again volunteered to make treats for a baked goods table and I have fliers printed and ready to be delivered in a couple weeks.  I guess that's a good start. I'm just not as far along as I'd hoped to be at this point. 

I have a lot of work ahead of me in the next few weeks so I best be getting to it. The upstairs sewing room needs to be straightened before I make an even bigger mess, and I need to take inventory of fabric and supplies before I jump in and begin again. Ok, I'm taking a deep breath here . . . I vow to work on that room tomorrow, take inventory, and complete at least 5 things. I'm actually anxious to get some holiday items sewn and I'll post some photos as I get things done. Wish me luck!

(Apparently, I still cannot upload photos to the text of this blog post so I'll add something to the sidebar.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014


The Harvest Gathering Home Show is now history and I'm calling it moderately successful. We didn't have crowds, but we did have a rather steady stream of one, two, or three people at time until about 4pm. I was amazed that everybody who came purchased something. I was happy with the number who attended, and with sales, though selling wasn't my primary reason for hosting the show. My reasons were: to rekindle my passion for sewing and creating, and to prove to myself that I could host a small home show and live to tell about it. I feel as if I succeeded on both counts.

Some who attended asked if I was planning to "keep this up", meaning to have Fall items displayed for awhile. Affirmative. Others wanted to know if I was going to host a Christmas show - why, yes I am! Some even asked if they could come back and bring friends to see what was available. 

As far as what sold......all sizes of fabric pumpkins went well, patchwork pillows sold, but not the Americana ones I thought would go first. I guess it wasn't the season for them, but I thought some people might decorate with a red, white, and blue theme, as I do in my sunroom. Oh well. Catnip toys sold, along with large and small wool cats, and I sold all my vintage kitchen utensils. The baked goods were a hit, and I appreciated my daughter and granddaughter taking time to bake everything. I had only a few bake goods left, but many Fall handcrafted items remain here in my gathering room.

I thought I'd be starting to put up Christmas decorations this week, but I'm waiting to see if the people who asked to return, will do that. I have some Christmas ornaments finished and am working on fabric gingerbread men right now. The list of things I want to sew is growing, but I probably won't be able to finish everything by the next show, which is November 22, from 10am to 5pm. That's ok though. It's always better to have more to do than hours in the day will allow. That makes life interesting.

New photos are posted on the sidebar. For whatever reason, I still cannot upload photos to the text of the post. The new photos are under, "Harvest Gathering Home Show Day". Thanks for viewing!     

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Wednesday was my self-imposed deadline to have all my items finished, priced, and displayed for Saturday's Home Show. I made it! Of course, there are always a few things on my "to-do" list that aren't going to get done, but over all, I feel good about what I was able to accomplish in a few weeks' time. Had I not hesitated for so long, I might have been able to make more items, but it was rather nice the other night to hear my spouse say, "Gee! You have a LOT of stuff to sell!", and yes, that was the goal - but it was good to have him recognize that I truly had been working hard at getting things done. My last items were catnip toys, which I package 3 to a bag. My goal was to make 20 sets of 3. I actually made 60 toys today and packaged them this evening, just before the stroke of midnight. How's that for working right up to the last minute? I could continue to sew for the next two days if I chose to, but at some point, I really need to clean up my messes and straighten the house. Having supplies strewn about drives me a little bit crazy. I've kept up with dishes, laundry, and cat care, but oh my, how the dust bunnies have multiplied! 

Two nights ago, I spent a lot of time rearranging here in my gathering room. I re-did some lighting and moved a few things around since I thought I had too many items just piled into baskets. I think I like how it looks now. I keep telling myself if sales are low, I'll have lots of things to use for my own Fall decorating, and that's not a bad thing. I'm being cautiously optimistic about what might happen on Saturday. Whatever comes, I've had a great time putting this together and re-visiting my sewing. I'll post the most recent photos on my sidebar. I'm still unable to upload photos to add to the text of my post.

Thank you to those of you who've posted kind comments. I'm glad to be back to blogging and I appreciate that you've not forgotten about me.