Friday, May 26, 2017

THE END OF THE ROAD

I've known this day was coming. It's been evident with my infrequent posts. Though I loved blogging and sharing stories, pictures, and recipes, I have to admit that my heart is no longer in doing that. I've appreciated all of you who stopped by to read, copy a recipe, or share a remembrance through the last few years, but I fear I've lost most of my followers. That happens when one doesn't keep up with posting, so it's not a surprise. It's life. It happens when we have many other things calling to us and we let our blog posting fall by the wayside, as I have been guilty of doing. I also stopped visiting other peoples' blogs, though it was something I had loved to do. I know my life changed when my mother entered an assisted living facility, then it further changed when she died and  I found myself lacking initiative to tell stories and share recipes. Actually, I lacked enthusiasm for life in general. In looking back, I can see I was dealing with a bit of depression - not so much at Mom's passing, as with all the things that fell to me to oversee during that time. Mom had reached a point where she was not able to recover from the challenges of having broken some bones in a fall at the assisted living facility, so her passing gave her peace and my family and I had been prepared for that. Moving her earthly possessions out of our childhood home was very difficult though. It not only took much longer than I'd anticipated, it was more of an emotional trip than I'd expected it would be. I blogged about some of those challenges but felt my posts had become rather negative and I didn't want that to continue.

When I first ventured into the "blogosphere", as I've heard it called, it was exciting and I had so much I wanted to share. I've rarely been at a loss for words and I liked sharing cat photos and stories as well as the ups and downs of life, such as having my mother in decline with Alzheimer's. In retrospect, I think Mom's diagnosis and entrance into an assisted living facility was the beginning of the end of my blogging journey. When Mom was in residence and I was visiting her almost daily, it was very tiring and sometimes frustrating. I'd take her some of her favorite things on most days, but end up spending way too much time trying to make her room and clothes closet tidy again after she'd dismantled them. I took her to weekly sessions with a vascular specialist for over five months, always making sure she had a McDonald's ice cream cone at the end of each session. She loved that. Then there were the dental appointments, doctors visits, and time spent at the heart specialist's office. There were numerous calls I'd receive in the middle of the night, letting me know Mom had been taken to the ER for dangerously low potassium levels. One of those calls came while I was with a close friend who was in the hospital ER himself. That was the only time I wasn't able to be there for her since my friend was in the hospital in another town. I took Mom for car rides through the country and brought her here to my old country home a few times. She wasn't particularly found of animals in general, but she seemed to like being with the cats. I know I'd do it all again if she was here and needed me. I posted blog entries about some of the more humorous aspects of her situation as well as some of the things that brought emotional pain, but I suspected that might have caused some to feel ill-at-ease while reading, and I decided to stop posting about those experiences.

When Mom was first moved into the assisted living facility after suffering numerous strokes, I envisioned she and I would eventually be able to spend a lot of time together here in my home - sewing lap robes, having Sunday dinners, and celebrating the holidays. It was soon evident that having her here wasn't the best idea. Not only was she no longer interested in making lap robes, nor did she remember how to do it, she would balk and sometimes flatly refuse to be taken to her room when returned to the facility. She even became belligerent on occasion. The staff gently told us we might do better to just visit with her there in her room or in the family visiting areas, so that's what we did for the rest of her time there. How strangely sad it was to celebrate Christmas Day - which was also her birthday - there at the facility instead of in a warm cozy home, but it was how things were and we had to adapt.

So....having expressed all of that - and I still grow teary-eyed thinking about it - I realize I am no longer enjoying the blogging experience. I could become adventurous and pick back up at sometime in the future, but for now, I'm done.

Please know I valued your comments and your friendship. I appreciated your stopping by to read and I hope you've been entertained and at times amused. I wish all of you the very best life has to offer. We need to do our best to enjoy every single day we're given. 

Love and best wishes......

Kady


Monday, March 6, 2017

I LOVE VINTAGE

We've lived here in the country, in this old house, for five years. It was built in 1919 and in addition to a parlor, a family room with a brick fireplace, a sunroom, and many updates, this house also has two quaint upstairs rooms that are perfect for sewing and displaying some of the toys I had as a child. The one thing that was missing from my vintage toy room was an old iron bed. The space is small, so I wanted a single or daybed, something that would fit the scale of the room.


A few weeks ago, I was visiting one of my favorite shops - Talmadge Rd. Mercantile, in Clayton, OH
https://www.facebook.com/TalmadgeRoadMercantileLlc/ - and there was the bed I wanted. The price was reasonable, the look was vintage, and the size was perfect. I was glad I had driven the truck that day. I bought the bed and brought it home, wondering all the way if I would be able to get all the parts of it to my upstairs room without asking for help, since my spouse was out of town that day. The stairway here is original to the house, so it's a bit narrow and the stairs are a fairly steep. It was a challenge, but I did it. After putting the bed together, I decided I should search for some mattresses and bedding. I did that the next week. I found a twin mattress set and bought red ticking sheets, mattress and pillow protectors, and a bed skirt for the old vintage bed. I already had a quilt I thought would be perfect, so I was all set.


I took the truck to pick up the mattress set and again wondered if I could get the mattresses out of the truck, into the house, and up the steep stairs by myself. Some days, I think it just takes an attitude of determination to accomplish something I ordinarily wouldn't tackle by myself. This is something I wanted to do on my own, but I knew if I needed help, my spouse would lend a hand when he arrived home. I just didn't want to have to ask for the help. I'm stubborn sometimes.


So I now have a sweet vintage bed in my quaint little toy room and I'm very happy with how it looks up there. I will continue to do some tweaking and re-arranging I'm sure, but I'm glad to have the bed and linens in place. In fact, I took a short nap on my new/old bed last week. It felt very cozy and somehow reassuring to look around the room and see so many things that reminded me of a simpler time in my life.


Monday, February 20, 2017

MONDAY - MAKE-UP-YOUR-MIND DAY

I love Mondays. Some people hate them, but not me. I like the idea that it's a new week and I have a (relatively) clean slate. This morning I listed what I want to accomplish today - one load of laundry, try a new cookie recipe I found online, start Spring cleaning the cat rooms in the barn, re-arrange some things in the cabin, iron and hang new curtain valances in the upstairs rooms (which will first require cleaning the windows and sills), continue working on some crochet projects for a special order, and make a decision about whether to participate in a local Spring craft fair or not. I'm tempted to cross off some of the bigger tasks and just do what is most feasible for this afternoon, since I've already frittered away part of the day. Some might call that procrastination, but I'm going to call it prioritizing.

I've often had trouble making up my mind. It didn't matter whether the choices seemed fairly simple or more complicated. I tend to list so many things I need to do, that many times I've ended up accomplishing very little because I could not decide which task to tackle first. Indecision can be very debilitating. I did take a first step and extract new curtain valances from their packages. They had been sitting on my upstairs steps for a few months - yes, a few months. I'm not proud of that, but I'm the only one who goes upstairs and since I've spent little time up there through the winter months, it was another of those out-of-sight-out-of-mind things. But they are out of the plastic wrappings now and nearly ready to hang. I took them out of the dryer last night and realized I'd have to iron them before I could hang them. There was my "stopper". I didn't feel like getting out the iron and taking it upstairs. I will do that today though. I'm trying to envision how nice the valances will look when in place. That should be incentive to get it done. The reality is, even with wiping down windows and sills, the whole process will likely only take about 30 minutes or so. Sometimes the thought of doing a task is worse than the task itself.

Laundry is in the works and butter is on the counter to soften before cookie baking, so next I should decide whether or not to participate in a local Spring craft fair. I had long ago sworn off craft shows, after having participated in them for over 30 years. I'm not as young as I was once was - who of us is? - and I was tired of carrying tables, crates, and totes full of merchandise in and out of venues, then sitting or standing for hours talking to people who were only there to see what ideas they could glean from crafters' displays. I also had little tolerance for shoppers who thought crafters should attach garage-sale prices to their handmade wares. I told myself if I heard the phrase, "Oh I can make that", one more time, I'd boldly confront the person who said it and tell her exactly how much was involved in making quality things to sell, then invite her to try it herself. (I guess it's a good thing I didn't have the chance to follow through on that threat.)  Thinking about that reminds me of how weary of it I had become before I "retired" from the craft show circuit. The idea of selling things I make still appeals to me, but I'm not as enthused about sewing as I once was. That's just a fact of my life right now. I still enjoy frequenting primitive and vintage shops and I support local artists when I see things I can use for my home - even when I think, "I can make that", I don't ever say it out loud and I do buy items for my own use these days, since I am very aware of how much time, effort, and funds go into making them, and I'm fairly sure I will  not be making them for myself. Well, I think I've made my decision about the craft fair. I'm honestly not interested in getting back into that mode. While there would be many more customers than I could attract to my cabin in the country, the pressure of getting ready and the actual work of getting it set up are more than I want to deal with right now. There, that wasn't so difficult. Decision made. 

What's next?  I'll bake those cookies before going to the barn to clean up after cats, but I'll go upstairs and put up those valances before I bake the cookies. As for the special-order crochet projects - that kind of handwork lends itself well to the evenings when I can put up my feet and watch a little TV, so I will definitely work on those projects tonight. I'll go to the cabin and spend some time either before or after I've been to the barn, so I think I have my to-do list covered for now. The dryer is buzzing so my play time is over for this afternoon. Off to work I go, but my heart is lighter since I was able to actually make a decision. Some days I just need to make up my mind!  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Christmas is now a pleasant memory and the weather here in Southwest Ohio has been Spring-like the past two days. The temperature reached the mid 60's yesterday. I suppose we'll have some more cold days and maybe a bit of snow before winter finally subsides, but I'm one of those crazy people who will miss the winter weather. Everybody seems to love Spring, but it's not my favorite time of the year. That might be due, in part, to the fact that Spring seems to be when my allergies flare and I can start out the day in winter duds but then become so hot that I need to change mid-day. Apparently I don't adjust well to Ohio weather changes, especially when they are so erratic.

When I was a child and would express a wish for the school year to be done or for Christmas to come sooner, my mother often admonished me to not wish away my days. She told me that as I grew older, the days would seem to pass more quickly so I should not wish for them to go faster than they were meant to go. I can remember thinking that was silly, but now that I'm much older, I understand why she said those things. The days and weeks DO seem to go by faster now and instead of wishing my days away, I'm wishing time would slow down and allow me to at least catch up a bit. What's that adage - "So much to do, but so little time in which to do it"? That's how I feel these days. My January to-do list did not get done and here we are half-way through February already.   

So here comes another Valentine's Day. I've seen Valentine's hearts in the stores since just before Christmas. For me, that's too soon and seems to be rushing the season. Once again, I did not sew the fabric hearts I thought I'd make as decorations for my home. It's as if I finally put Christmas behind me but turned around and Valentine's Day was knocking at the door. I surely don't need more fabric hearts but I thought it would be fun to make some. I'm seeing Spring items in the shops now, but I haven't even gotten ready for Valentine's Day, and after attending a local shop-hop this past week, I now feel I'm behind in getting ready for Spring and Easter. The problem is, I don't know how to get myself in the mood to make things or even unearth my bunnies, eggs, and Spring florals so I can use those things for decorating. I think I have a mindset that it's sometimes too much trouble to get everything out, only to put it all back after a few weeks. I never thought I'd feel that way about seasonal decorating. But there it is. I admit it. 

Oh well....as with all the other seasons and holidays, Spring and Easter will be here before we know it, but for right now, I'll just enjoy looking at some Valentine hearts and I might even decide to make some tomorrow.




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

READY OR NOT - HERE COMES THE NEW YEAR


Here we are, a few days into the New Year, and I'm still wondering how time passed so quickly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As much as I love the holidays, I almost always feel a bit tired after the celebrations. We made some great memories over the holidays though.

Our daughter and her family gave us the most amazing gift of a weekend in a secluded log cabin in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. We were there from Christmas Eve day until the day after Christmas. Glenn and I arrived at the cabin around 3pm on the 24th. He started a fire in the fireplace while I fixed a simple supper. We unloaded the car and set about making the cabin our own for the weekend. I took along a small tree, candles, and white lights - for a bit of decoration - as well as sandwich-makings, cocoa, spiced cider, a CD player with Holiday CDs, Christmas movies, popcorn, games, and homemade goodies to share with family members when they joined us on Christmas Day.




LAZY DOG CABIN - HOCKING HILLS, OHIO - 2016
We were kept a bit in the dark about the cabin and directions until close to the day of our trip, since our daughter wished for it to be a great surprise, which it was. I didn't know what to expect or what accessories the cabin management might provide, so I packed everything I thought we might need for a weekend. That proved to be more than enough, perhaps too much, but I was happy to have more than we needed, instead of wishing I'd brought more with us. Even the family dogs, Mandy and Cooper, were allowed to come along for the weekend.




LAZY DOG CABIN FIREPLACE WITH TREE AND CANDLES

Glenn and I spent a quiet relaxing Christmas Eve watching Polar Express, taking in the beauty of the cabin, and sipping hot cocoa by the fire while munching on Christmas cookies. It felt as if we'd stepped inside the cover of a Norman Rockwell Christmas card - you know the kind that when it's first opened, you're gazing at a glittery window that allows a peek inside a cozy room with a roaring fire in the fireplace, a tree glowing with lights, and where mugs of steaming hot cocoa are being consumed by mom and dad. The little ones are sneaking down the stairs to see if Santa has come and there is a plate of Christmas cookies prepared for the jolly old elf. Have you not always exclaimed (as I have), "Oh, I could just live there"?  That was the exact feeling and it was wonderful.

Christmas Day, our daughter and family arrived at 9am, ready to make a delicious breakfast for all of us. That was another part of our gift - Christmas breakfast cooked to perfection. After breakfast, the grandkids opened their gifts and then we played games and listened to Christmas music the rest of the morning and afternoon. Our daughter prepared a wonderful supper for us and then we all relaxed by the fire and watched movies and shared stories for the rest of the evening.  

The morning after Christmas, even though we were sad to be leaving the cabin, we knew we'd be taking the memories with us. Packing for the trip home might have been chaotic if not for everybody pitching in to help - and the fact my daughter is more organized than I am. Leftovers were given to our grandson who was heading back to college and happy to have them. Our granddaughter had to hurry back to a new job, but most of us stopped at a restaurant in Lancaster, Ohio to enjoy a great breakfast and one last visit before being swept back into reality. It was a wonderful weekend, and for possibly the very first time, I didn't feel the least bit depressed when it ended. I was simply grateful we'd had the experience and thrilled that our daughter and her family had given us such a fantastic gift.

I hope all of you had memory-making times with family and friends this holiday season, and that you will have a New Year filled with Peace, Love, and Joy. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

IS EVERYBODY READY FOR CHRISTMAS?






Every year, this season seems to sneak up on me, no matter how much I try to plan ahead for it. I make lists, check items off one-by-one, but still never seem to accomplish all the things on my lists, done exactly as I want them to be done. The key phrase is, "as I want them to be done". This year I've take some shortcuts and made a few compromises. Although I'd love to accomplish all of the things on my lists, I understand that isn't always reasonable nor  is it necessary in order to experience a joyous Christmas season. In my last post I shared about simplifying Christmas decorating around the house. My desire was to have a little bit of Christmas displayed in every room, but I also wanted a simpler holiday season and inner peace. The compromise was to put up one tree (instead of 5), display a few favorite snowmen, santas, and holiday items, bake some traditional holiday cookies, and make two batches of fudge - Chocolate Rocky Road and Peanut Butter. During the Christmas season, I always intend to  try some new recipes, some of which I've found on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com) but the reality is, when time is in short supply, I often return to the old favorites. While it's not as much of a baking adventure to use the tried-and-true recipes, it does seem to be a bit easier. I really should try out some of the newer ones before the next holiday season arrives. My traditional favorites are:  Spritz, Russian Teacakes, and Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. This year I added Reese's Cup Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Crinkles, and Saltine Toffee. Those recipes can be found on Pinterest, in my "Christmas Kitchen" board.
Today I'm checking my lists and realizing I actually do have most things done. During this season, besides setting aside time to put up the tree and lights, we needed to make time for two veterinary visits for a cat with an ear infection, an appointment for the dog who needed dental cleaning, and the weekly trips to the doctor for allergy shots. All of those things took up precious time. Then there was gift shopping and wrapping, grocery shopping, meal planning, card sending, and numerous other things that always need to be done, like laundry, house cleaning, and cat care. Most everyone has to juggle time and errands during the holidays, and we are not exceptions. While I may never be able to claim I've done everything well, I'm content that what I've accomplished will be just fine. I think we often spend time worrying about finding just the right gifts, wishing our homes looked like something from a magazine, and striving for that perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas. But those are not the things that matter most. Love, peace, and serenity are what we truly value. If we can achieve those, we will have succeeded.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!





Sunday, December 18, 2016

SIMPLY CHRISTMAS

Every year I seem to struggle over how much (or how little) to decorate for Christmas. For the first few years living here in this old house, I wanted Christmas in every room. Glenn would put up two larger trees that we decorated together, and I'd put up three smaller ones, which I decorated with vintage kitchen items and handmade ornaments. I'd also unpack Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and other adornments I'd collected through the years and place them on the trees and around the house. It looked so festive when I hosted the family gatherings, but it was a lot of work. It wasn't that I didn't like doing it, but it was very time consuming and I'd never enjoyed the process of "un-decorating".

This year, I didn't want to tackle the "Christmas closet", as I'd already done that once, while I was searching for something I wanted to have in the cabin during the home show. I put back everything because I didn't want boxes and totes full of decorations left all over the place, in case some of my visitors might want to come inside the house. After the show, I suggested to Glenn that we put up the tree that was the easiest to reach, add lights and vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, which I store in easily accessed old suitcases, and then we could enjoy the tree decorating instead of dreading it. One should never dread putting up a Christmas tree.  So that's what we did. I did not dig into the closet to look for all those old boxed Hallmark ornaments we have, nor did I pull out the figurines or the quilted table runners, the fabric tree skirt, or even the old stockings I'd made years ago. I found a few cherished pieces and displayed them in the family room, along with fragrant candles that have cinnamon and pine aromas. I added a string of white lights to the ceramic houses which are in alignment on the mantle and placed some pinecones, greenery, and a handmade primitive bear in the dough bowl on the dining room table. I filled a round wooden bowl with a scented candle and the vintage ornaments that didn't make it to the tree, and took an old red and white quilt from the sunroom and used it for a tree skirt.    

There are times I love to have every room in the house filled with holiday decorations but this year I'm perfectly content with a scaled-down version of Christmas. It wasn't stressful this year to put up a tree and add lights and ornaments to it. We even added lights to the outside of the house, but just along the fence, on the side porch, and around the railing of the deck - nothing elaborate, but still festive-looking. In fact, I can see the deck lights from my bedroom and it's fun to look at them as I drift off to sleep.  

My niece, her 4-year-old daughter, and I had a cookie baking session last Sunday and what fun that was. We listened to Christmas music while we baked and enjoyed the lights from the mantle, the tree, and the candles. We stored the cookies in tins and my niece shared them with all of us who attended her daughter's birthday party tonight. 

I'm happy for a less stressful holiday season and my house still looks like Christmas even without
some of the old traditional decorations I always thought I had to use. I've been finding Christmas in simple things like cookie baking with family members, colorful lights and ornaments from times past, and Christmas music that lifts my spirit. I've been more focused on what the spirit of Christmas actually means, instead of worrying about which decorations go in what spaces. 

I wish everyone a Joyous and stress-free Holiday Season.  







BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE!

Some of my cats would be happy to stay in the outdoor cat enclosure all year long. Since it's getting colder, I want them to be in the barn in their heated, carpeted cat rooms. Most of the cats went in on their own accord, but I had a holdout last night. My beautiful, sweet (most of the time), but stubborn calico, Annie, was snuggled cozily in her blanket-lined box and had no intention of leaving it and going inside to the cat room last night. I don't shy away from a cat challenge, so when Glenn asked if he needed to go out with me to help usher her indoors, I declined the offer. I felt sure I could accomplish the job by myself - which I actually did - the first time. I made sure the other cats in the room did not present challenges to Annie and I lifted her from her box and gently placed her through the cat door and into the smaller cat room. I blocked the cat door until I could get back inside the barn and place the sliding door over the opening. By the time I was back in the barn, Annie had pushed her way to freedom and was again outside in the enclosure. So....I recruited Glenn and together we entered the enclosure and found TWO cats had escaped from the cat room. I left him in the enclosure to round up the escapees, while I went into the cat rooms to keep the others from escaping as he worked to get Annie and Riley back inside. It wasn't the easiest of jobs, and though Annie did finally give up, I kept asking Glenn to find Riley. He overturned boxes and an Igloo "cat house" but didn't see Riley. She hadn't come in while I'd been standing there at the cat door, but must have sneaked back inside before I'd gotten there. I was glad both cats were then safe and warm. I had brought the box Annie loves inside as well. I cuddled Annie and placed her back in her box and that is where I left her - cozy, warm, and safe. I hope she was contented as well, but that remains to be seen.

I'm sharing Annie's kitten photo and her most recent one. I took the kitten photo the day I rescued her at Der Dutchman restaurant in Waynesville, Ohio. A friend had called and told me about a calico kitten hiding under bushes at the restaurant. For some unknown reason, my friend had not tried to help the kitten, even though she and her family had eaten there the night before she called me. Of course, she knew I'd drop everything and travel the 45 minutes to Waynesville and somehow get the kitten. After I'd followed the kitten around the outside of the restaurant for about 30 minutes, some well-meaning "helpers" decided to assist in the rescue. Despite my warnings that they should not try to grab the frightened kitten, they did so anyway and were bitten, scratched, and required some basic first aid. That set my rescuing back a few paces, but I applied first aid, then thanked the helpers and sent them home so I could catch the kitten in my own way, with a quieter, more gentle approach. I placed canned cat food inside a carrier and stood back from it. The kitten walked into the carrier and I closed the door behind her. In the end, it was as simple as that. Another friend found a family for Annie, and she had a happy home for six years. Then something happened and the people who had loved her decided they didn't want her anymore. They put her outside in the middle of a cold winter two years ago and I was asked to come and "rescue" her again. So now she's mine and she'll have a home here for the rest of her life. I honestly wish I'd kept her in the first place, but I was attempting to keep my cat population at a manageable level. Who was I kidding?
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

CHRISTMAS EXPRESS

Thanksgiving has passed and I followed through with my Christmas-in-the-Cabin Home Show - held last Saturday. I'm feeling a bit relieved right now, and not yet stressed about Christmas being so close at hand. My hope is to not feel stressed at all this holiday season. I had enough of that while getting ready for our Thanksgiving family gathering. Maybe if I kept up better with dusting and de-cluttering around here, I'd not have so much do to when it's time to entertain company. Imagine that.

Thanksgiving was celebrated here on the Saturday after the "real" day, which was just fine and very enjoyable. We had some overnight guests and that was enjoyable as well. Sunday was a leisurely day spent with my niece and her daughter. When Monday came, I was ready to dig in and make final preparations for Christmas-in-the-Cabin. I wasn't expecting to take out almost everything with which I decorate, in order to only display those things I was willing to sell, but I did what was needed. It has happened during previous home shows that visitors wanted to buy the things I used for display. It never ceases to amaze me that they will ask to buy the crates on which I place my for-sale items, or want to purchase the baskets and boxes in which I display ornaments and such. When I go to a show, I assume those kinds of things are display pieces and not available for sale, unless there are price tags on them. Oh well.  

At any rate, with my spouse's help, I was able to remove the items I was not willing to sell, and replace them with all the sale-able items. While there was no crowd standing in line at the door waiting to come inside on the day of the show, there was a steady stream of visitors and neighbors who came, chatted, and made purchases. They seemed to enjoy the cookies and peanut butter fudge, the Christmas music, and the warmth of the cabin. I was generally pleased with how it went but will once again need to decide whether or not I will do this again. It's a lot of work and I never know if the fliers and posters I distribute, or the ads on social media, will be enough to let folks know I'm hosting a Christmas show in my cabin. The best thing of all, is that I now have a cozy cabin decorated for the holidays. I'll have it open it every Friday and weekend from now until Christmas. My spouse made a sign to place out by the road and if I receive visitors, that will be great. If I don't, that's ok too. What I know is this: If I saw a little cabin decorated with white lights and a sign that declared, "Christmas in the Cabin - Open Today", I'd surely want to stop,  go inside, and investigate. Maybe others will too.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WE'VE BEGUN THE SKID INTO HOLIDAY SEASON

The skid into Holiday Season seems all downhill, and it gains momentum as time passes. Why is it that the hot summer months seem so long but come Fall, it's two or three weeks, and then we're starting to think about winter? Then Thanksgiving and Christmas hit us head-on.

I did find some pumpkins and decorative gourds early this Fall and though I apparently waited too long before searching for some colorful mums for my porch, I was able to find some large pumpkins for either side of the front door. I'm happy with those. If not for expecting Thanksgiving company, I wouldn't have bothered with the extra pumpkins, but I want the porch to look Fall-ish and the nursery manager offered a deal I couldn't refuse. She said, "2 for $5" and the pumpkins came home with me.

Fall is my favorite season, with winter a close second. As is often my dilemma, I've been pondering whether to host a home show or not. I missed my self-imposed deadline for a Fall show, but it wasn't all due to procrastination. October was a busy month. I was invited to Michigan for my niece's baby shower which was held in the early part of the month. Since it's a 5-hour drive one-way, my daughter, granddaughter, and I traveled there, visited with extended family, and spent one night. It was well worth the travel time and good to see relatives and share in the excitement of the expected little one. Once home, I used the next few days catching up with laundry and sleep. I had little energy or incentive to work on a home show, especially since two days after the baby shower, I became sick and whatever "bug" I had, lasted for over two weeks. So....

The opportunity for a Fall show passed right by me, but I recently decided I could certainly host a holiday home show the first weekend in December. Though I'd rather have scheduled it earlier, Thanksgiving is upon us and I will have a houseful of company and some overnighters. That's all well and good, but it does limit the time I can spend getting ready for a show when I have a house to spruce up, clean linens to prepare, and a menu to plan and execute.

Preparing for a holiday home show shouldn't be overwhelming. I will need to finish arranging my cabin displays, put up a few decorations and white lights, and make sure my handcrafted and vintage items are priced and displayed. Those things are fun to do. A few days prior to the show, I'll make a few cookies and some peanut butter fudge for visitors to sample, but other than that, it shouldn't take too much extra planning. I have enough to offer for sale and it's not as if I haven't hosted shows before. It's rather that I procrastinate and talk myself out of doing them. I'm really very tired of changing my mind, so I'm doing it!  It will be held one day - Saturday, December 3rd - and after that, I'll concentrate on decorating the inside of my house.

CHRISTMAS IN THE CABIN at LIBERTY HOMESTEAD                                            
8593 Hemple Rd. - Germantown, Ohio 45327
Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 10am-5pm
Handcrafted Holiday Decorations and Gifts - Goose Creek Jar Candles (Made in the USA)
Vintage Tin Items, Cookie Cutters, Rolling Pins, Baskets, Cookbooks, and other Kitchen Accessories


If I have time to make a few more items, I will do that, but if I don't make another thing, I'll still have more than enough to display. My hope is to sell what's already made - or a good portion of it - then to begin again in January to create handmade items using fabrics and patterns I have on hand. Every time I think of retiring from sewing and shows, I relent. I know I still want to do this.  

I've posted my holiday day home show date to for intention's sake. Sometimes I really have to set a deadline so I will follow through. I'd rather impose a deadline than to whine later about not taking the opportunity available to me. So, here goes.....





Monday, September 19, 2016

FALL IS NEARLY HERE




Fall is my favorite time of year. There only thing I dislike about it is that it's entirely too brief. Here in southwest Ohio, Fall weather doesn't actually arrive until early October (though I think it should begin to be cooler as soon as we turn the calendars to September). 

We've endured another long hot season and my wish would be for Fall to last as long as Summer does. More often than not, after Fall arrives, we are able to enjoy about two or three weeks of beautiful weather and colorful leaves. Then somewhere around the end of October, usually at Halloween time, we experience a cold rain which knocks most of the leaves off the trees and brings chilling temperatures. Perhaps my memory is faulty, but when I was a child, it seemed to me the seasons were better defined and each year we actually had a Fall season.

At this point, after all the heat and humidity, I'll take any cooler weather that comes my way. I  realize it's not "officially" Fall yet, but this year, I'm going to be ready for it. Last weekend I traveled to Arcanum, Ohio and visited Suttons, a local grocery store. I love shopping there since they often have fresh fruits and vegetables set up in farmers-market-style outdoor bins. When I inquired, I was told the store managers purchase as much produce as they can from local farmers. I was able to chose from reasonably priced pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn with which to decorate the cabin porch and the side porch of the house. Come on Fall......I'm ready.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

WAITING

I suppose this is an old song I sing - the waiting game. It's not about waiting in traffic or being frustrated while standing in line at the grocery store. It is about waiting until the life's road I travel is steady, smooth, and without bumps, before I do the things my mind says I want or need to do. Now, in my saner moments, I do understand how unrealistic it is to think my life should be completely free of challenges. Everyone has challenges and I'm not exempt. What I don't understand is why I think I must have a clear road ahead before I work on sewing projects or take on household tasks that will take some time. I have never fully mastered the art of making use of those snippets of time given to us throughout a day. If  I have 20 minutes between finishing cat care and fixing supper, I will most assuredly choose to play on the computer rather than sew a small project, clear the kitchen counter, or fold laundry. Sometimes I'm sure I have a skewed sense of time, since I often convince myself I cannot possible complete any single project in just a few minutes. That happens to not be factual, but it's still what I tell myself. I need to change that tape that plays in my head.  

My deepest desire is to have a full day once in awhile where I'm not responsible for anything and do not experience unwelcomed interruptions. I want to be able to do whatever projects I choose, without the need to break away for meal preparation, trips to the hardware store with my spouse, or house keeping chores. Is that asking too much? Apparently it is. I've yet to experience one of those days. I've come close, but those times I've had "free" days, something has always inserted itself into my personal time. Perhaps I'm the one who inserted it, but there it was. Whatever the reason, there always seems to be something that requires my attention when I attempt to "do my own thing".  So, what would be the solution? How will I ever succeed in securing the time I crave? A better question might be, how will I learn to more efficiently use the time I do have?

Life presents us with varied opportunities every single day. Today my spouse and a friend have gone to a county fair and I've had a bit of time to myself. I was asked to go along, but declined the invitation. What did I do with the free time this morning?  I chose to cook myself breakfast, pay some bills online, check email, visit Facebook, and work on my blog. Those were my choices, but now that I'm in the mood to work on crafting projects, it's nearly time for my spouse to return. To be clear, he does not attempt to prohibit me from sewing or crafting. I simply find it difficult to retreat to my sewing room when he is here. I was about to suggest that I don't know why, but the truth is, I do know. It's because I anticipate interruptions, and that feeling comes from experience. Perhaps I have to push through and do what I want to do, regardless of what's going on around me - within reason, that is. I won't ignore legitimate needs of my family members, friends, or pets, and I accept that there will always be some interruptions and bumps in the road. But it occurs to me I need to better budget my time and adjust to the detours along the way. As with a detour, once I return to the familiar road, I need to keep going until I reach my destination. If I can stitch a small pillow or ornament in ten minutes, I need to do that, if it's what I truly want to do. I resolve to work on that and strive to keep my waiting to a minimum. I don't want to run out of time.


Friday, July 22, 2016

CREATIVITY REVISITED

I can't count the times I've wished my desire to create with fabric or fiber would return. I've been in a slump. Though I have most anything I'd need to make items to use or to sell, fabric remains stacked on shelves or neatly folded in storage containers, and yarn has been tucked into drawers and baskets. I wish I had a good excuse as to why I haven't been creating. I've had a few very busy weeks, but I've also had time to make items, but had chosen to not do so. That changed two weeks ago.

While browsing online one day, I happened onto a cat rescue site that gave information for knitting or crocheting small cat blankets to comfort kitties waiting to be adopted. I remembered having two large plastic bags filled with yarn remnants I'd brought home from my mom's house after she died. My sisters and I had the task of clearing out our family home and my sisters did not want the yarn. Mom had used it to tuft flannel lap robes she made for homebound people and in her memory, I wanted to make something from her leftover yarn. I printed the cat blanket instructions and found those bags of yarn and located a few favorite crochet hooks. I started crocheting my first cat blanket that same night. I'm now working on my 8th one and feel more creative with each one I complete. I've also used those two full bags of remnants and have started using yarn from my "reserve" stash. 

It feels good to be back in the habit of reaching for a crochet hook and yarn when I sit down in the evening after household tasks have been finished. I'd forgotten how relaxing it is to crochet and how rewarding it is to finish a project. I plan to donate the blankets to my local animal adoption center.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

SOLITUDE

One afternoon last week, I took the long and winding country roads home after spending time in the Germantown Reserve. I needed to collect my thoughts, embrace a bit of solitude, and think about what my reactions should be to all the tragic circumstances in this nation. Though I was saddened and the tears flowed freely that day, I wasn't filled with rage or hate for anyone. I knew that wouldn't  solve one thing. I admit to having felt helpless though. I prayed for all victims of violence. I also prayed for the families of the ones who inflicted violence on unsuspecting people. Those families were victims too. They were not responsible for what their family members did, but they will carry the scars. I pondered what one individual can do about the violence in this land. The pervasive thoughts that came during moments of solitude were these: Although we can't solve all the problems in this world, we can make sure we do not contribute to them. We can promote peace where we live and work - in our families, in our cities and towns, and in our own states. We can denounce hate, racism, and violent rhetoric, whether it comes from a family member, a neighbor, a friend, or political candidate. We not only can do that, we must do that if we ever expect these violent acts to end. I don't want to feel helpless, sad, or live without hope. I happen to believe this situation is not hopeless. I believe in the spirits of love and acceptance. I believe in the spirits of peace and understanding. I believe in the resilient spirits of the American people. We've rebounded from tragedies before and we will again, but let this be a turning point, right here, right now. Let us stand for peace. Let us stand for love of our fellow human beings. Let us stand for what America is and will always be, the land in which the bell of freedom rings for ALL people.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

THINGS I WISH I KNEW

Today I traveled to West Milton, Ohio to pick up a sign I had commissioned Nancy, from The Black Crow Creations, to make. As I walked past the shops in the quaint town, I pondered the week's events and attempted to push the "cobwebs" from my mind. That's my term for those thoughts that do little besides clog my thinking and block my creativity. I wish I knew how to stop the mind-clogging from happening, but the walk was good, the weather was sunny and warm, and I succeeded in clearing my mind.

This week has been a rather sad one. Yesterday I learned the former owner of this, my old country home, had died. She loved this home and lived here for 62 years, but it had become more than she could handle. When my spouse and I met her after we had signed the contract to purchase this house, we instantly became friends. She said she was happy and relieved that someone who loved the house was going to be living here and caring for it. I wish I knew why we sometimes have to leave the things we love.


As the saying goes, "my get up and go, got up and went". That describes how I've felt lately. I'm not sure why I've lost enthusiasm for life, but perhaps in part, it's due to the negative things going on in this world and a long political election cycle. I do wish I knew how to stay informed yet not allow what I hear and read dissuade me from doing the things I've always loved doing.


                         The AMERICA sign was painted by Nancy, at Black Crow Creations.
     It's exactly what I wanted for that space. This is the back of my cabin.      

 This is one side of my cabin. I found the shutters, window, and chair at a vintage show in
Circleville, Ohio a few weeks ago. The setting will be complete as soon as I find my watering can.