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KNOTTYNEEDLE



Writing, photography, digital and fiber arts and a whole lot of other things thrown in.



Updated: 2018-01-20T06:00:26.409-07:00

 



Saturday Reads - January 20

2018-01-20T05:00:23.547-07:00

This has been a fun week of reading mainly because of this book.I was first 'introduced' to Eddie Izzard via his HBO Special in the late 1990's - 'Dressed to Kill'. From there the girls and I binged on Eddie Izzard - to the point we would drive around and be quoting whole sections of his stand-up routines. His book reads like watching one of his shows - somewhat rambling, tangents, and lots of fun. While I knew some bits and pieces of his background, this book fills in the holes, concentrating mainly on his childhood and how he got to where he is today.One thing I like about it is he doesn't come across 'oh, pity me, I'm dyslexic', but rather talks about how it had an impact on his life and how he has learned to work with it and around it to achieve his goals.It also covers the issues with coming out and the issues he had to deal with because of it.Great read on someone who I really like to watch. One day I'll be able to see him in person hopefully.The next two books make me realize I would love to see a book like 'Idiot's Guide to Orchids'.A Reader's Digest book, Orchids for Every Home is mainly pictures of different orchids - pretty, but not what I am looking for.More of what I was looking for, but still not it. Understanding Orchids gave me a bit more information along with pictures.What I think I really want is a book that shows me pictures of the orchid and goes...'this is the root. this is the flower spike starting. this is a keiki starting.' Oh well, at least the pictures in both books were pretty and I now am more aware of the benign neglect with which I grow my orchids.Another bit of a disappointment is Rocco's Healthy + Delicious, but it's not the book's fault. It made me realize how much 'junk' I do eat and how I need to redo recipes to be more healthy. Of course, this book would make Savvy happy as there is a whole section on avocado recipes. For my creative side - Lots of very clear instructions with pictures and would be great for someone with a business which utilizes a chalkboard. Makes me want to get more involved with calligraphy.Tons of books still on my to-read shelf (floor) and hopefully will get through more of them. But I have 3 movies to watch I got from the library, so there go about 6 hours of reading time. However, I can crochet or cross stitch while watch them.[...]



Friday Fibers and Fabrics - January 19

2018-01-18T21:07:09.982-07:00

Friday Fibers and Fabrics will be all about what is under my needle, on my needles, being 'hooked' - basically, anything crafty involving the fiber arts.Last Saturday, avoiding cleaning my desk, I pulled out this little kit I had purchased several months ago for Texter. From Thread Follower, it was a fox kit.Normally I don't do dolls or stuffed things. Mainly because the pieces are generally tiny and I don't get them as precise as you need to. However, this was is all hand sewn, so I figured I could do it and get it off my 'to-do' list before the move.First, the materials in the kit were top quality and seemed to have plenty for the project.The directions were simple, yet detailed. Illustrations accompanied each step and made it easy to make progress on my Lady Fox.They even included the pipe cleaners for the legs and arms. And I love how they had you do the limbs! Made it so easy.Texter claims it looks somewhat like a mouse in the face. Personally, I'm not caring what it looks like. It's done! Crossed off the list.On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt? Sigh... I think my problem is I have lost my drive to work on it. There are hundreds of little pieces to sew together, trim and then sew to something else. So I decided to treat it like 'eating an elephant' - one bite at a time. It's getting there. I have 5 blocks ready to finish sewing together.  Once they are together I have enough blocks to then start putting it together and have a corner done.  It's a damn big elephant though.I have one block of the Charlotte Dreams afghan completed.I have also started on the second block, just swapping the placing of the colors. With three colors I can make 6 different blocks, moving where the colors are used. While the pattern uses a 'smaller' yarn and hook, I am making this in worsted weight yarn and should only have to make 6 blocks to make a nice lap sized afghan. I am enjoying the fact since I have made this block once already, the second one is 'easier' and taking less time. I am not having to look up how to do certain stitches or techniques. Which really makes me happy since it lets me binge-watch 'Grace and Frankie' while working on it. The color changes make it so interesting to see how the same pattern looks with just swapping out the colors.The only other thing I am working on is a piece of needlework. I'm back to cross stitching and working on an intense piece. Solid, tiny stitches. And I only have a tiny, tiny corner started of the background - so not much to show right now.Slowly eating that herd of elephants![...]



Positive Focus Thursday - January 18

2018-01-18T05:00:18.191-07:00

Today will be a long day at school for Texter. Not only does she have a class today, but it's also the last orientation session she is going to be involved with. In her 3 years at Helena College, she has done 5 semesters of orientation sessions. They are going to miss her.Which brings me to the purpose of my Thursday posts - Being a 'bit cynical' (please hold your laughter), I am trying this year to look for the positive in everyday life.Which brings me to my massage I had Wednesday a week ago.Several months ago I was given a gift certificate to Ocean Spirit and set up an appointment for Texter and I to get a massage. And it went downhill from there. It was a terrible experience, with yelling and bad reviews.Fast forward to right after the first of the year.I received a call from the owner, who left a message on my phone. I showed it to Texter, laughing. I was just going to ignore it, not wanting to get sucked back into the bad feelings of the earlier experience. However, Texter called her back.First, I have to say I was really impressed with Texter's conduct on the phone with her. To the extent they were laughing and chatting like old friends. And a 're-do' of our massage experience.I went, mainly for Texter's sake. I was still a bit sceptical about what would happen when we got there. But it was really pleasant. We both had 30 minutes in the massage chair (which we want now), pariffin wax on our hands and feet, aromatherapy oil rubbed into hands and feet. Basically, what we had hoped for our first time around.It goes to show I need to not shut my mind down when it comes to certain situations and/or people. After all, we all deserve a second chance.And while I am looking for the 'good' rather than 'bad', I am loving this flower. At over 2 feet tall, it acted like an amaryllis should, although not in time for Christmas. It's buddy acted weird and didn't do what it was suppose to do. As temperatures plunge down and creep up, only to drop again, it's lovely to have it there, being cheerful and bright.But for now, I'm not taking the moments of sunshine through the window in the afternoon for granted. I really like Texter moving my sewing table over in front of the window. Makes my 'own little corner' and I have my amaryllis and an orchid sitting there. Makes for a pleasant focus on cold, snowy days.[...]



Writing Wednesday - January 17

2018-01-17T05:00:12.796-07:00

Wednesdays will be an update on what I am writing. Which will hopefully get me more motivated to actually put pen to paper, or fingers on the computer keyboard.To that end, I am also keeping a log of weekly word count to help me stay on track.But this post will be about the different planners and notebooks I am keeping this year.  I do have notebooks set up for about 3 different writing projects which I won't show. Mainly because I haven't taken a picture of them!First and formost is my Hobonichi Cousin which is my daily, go-to planner. The above is what my 2017 Hobonichi Cousin looked like at the end of the year. My 2018 planner is already on it's way to the nice chunky, well-used state.My second-in-command is my Hobonichi Techo, slightly smaller than the Cousin. I love its green goodness!I use this one for tracking the two jobs I do from home. I track my daily times and notes on what I have do to for the jobs. Portable, it goes in the car with me to record what I need to record.With this stack I have (from left to right), my 2018 journal, a notebook I keep beside me on the desk for making notes, and my Hobonichi Weeks for recording shopping lists and spending.And to round out my Hobonichi orders this year is the new 5-year Techo.This is a daily 5-year planner with two pages per day. It's enough room for me to write a note or two about what went on that day and to paste in a picture or ticket stub as a reminder. I got Texter one for Christmas. Now I want to make a cover for it rather than the canvas bag it currently is protected in.Probably next in importance is this planner.The binder on the left is my 'move' binder. I am throwing in 'to-do's' and lists, notes and reminders, all to do with the move back to North Carolina. I have broken things down by month so that I am (hopefully) not rushing at the last minute to get things done.The pink ARC notebook holds paper where I make notes and plans. These two notebooks live on my sewing table. The top one is a list of the projects I am working on or have already completed. I write down the project, put in samples of the fabric or fibers, notes on progress and dates when I start and finish the project.The composition notebook is my 'planning' book where I draw out sketches of what I want to do. I also have my Gypsy Wife pattern by Jen Kingwell peeking out because I really want to start it! I have two chunky notebooks in my pile. The purple one is my 'ideas' notebook. This is where I capture ideas for the home and garden and wish list items.Nothing formal, this is where I paste and jot down items that catch my fancy.The green notebook underneath is where I do my Morning Pages. Maybe. Not getting back into the groove of my morning pages.There is also another journal(s) I want to set up, but haven't yet. I can't decide how I actually want my  'Spirit' journal to be set up. I want to record things on aromatherapy, crystals, plants and the like and how they fit into my life.I know it seems like a lot of planner and notebooks for one person to use. But believe me I am definitely not 'over-doing-it' compared to some people out there. Oh, I didn't mention my Moleskine-like notebook on my World of Warcraft activities. I think that would be overkill![...]



Tuesday Sundries - January 16

2018-01-16T05:58:28.722-07:00

Tuesday Sundries will be a catch-all post. It will be those things which are going on in my life which don't fit into a specific topic for the rest of the week. Top of the list is the cleaning, or 'reorganizing', as I like to call it. This is my desk and sewing area. Texter did relocate my sewing table from the wall in the living room to the window area, beside my desk. I like the set-up as it makes an "L" out of my working area, where I spend most of my time.One of the problems with my desk/sewing area is that it is out in the open. Which means EVERYONE drops EVERYTHING on them. I have to remind people I am not the depository for their crap.And this is just the top of the desks. We won't talk about the 'organizing' I have going on under the desks.But...And my desk and filing?So it is a little bit more disciplined - at the present time. While I do dream of my own room where I can close the door and have my own sewing/office territory, there is a big benefit of being out in the open like this - Lady K.You see, she also plays in the living room. And I get to listen to her 'stories' she concocts while she is playing with her Shopkins (anyone getting McDonalds' Happy Meals with the Shopkins can send them to us). Or singing and dancing to YouTube videos.And speaking of YouTube videos, they are a big part of my crafting process. By that I mean I watch them while I sew or knit or crochet or...well, you get the idea.Some of my favorite channels currently are...Rick Cheadle (and others) on Acrylic Pouring which I want to do when we get our new house to create artwork for our wallsMiss Orchid Girl - I think that's self-explanatory on why I am watching her channelSockmatician - who is a male knitter in LondonSelf Sufficient Me - a gardener in AustraliaAnd tons of others which pop-up on my feed with YouTube. For the most part I can listen with one ear, take occasional notes or move on to the next one in my 'Watch Later' list.My latest 'binge' watching is "Grace and Frankie" on Netflix. Funny, but not comic funny. I am really enjoying it while I stitch and crochet. Of course, seeing Jane Fonda looking like a million is not always a good thing!With both surfaces cleared off, I feel recharged and remotivated to get things finished up and on to the next project. Let's see how long they remain 'clean'!SaveSave[...]



Mandala Monday

2018-01-15T05:00:05.112-07:00






Week In Review - January 7 - 13

2018-01-14T07:23:00.589-07:00

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you have seen this picture in various stages of progress. I saw this afghan a couple of weeks ago and started drooling. And since it's called Charlotte Dreams I had to make it. I don't know why I was surprised I loved the design since it's by Dedri of Sophie's Universe which was started and consumed by the Temple of Fire.Texter had a prep session for orientation at Helena College this past week, so I took my yarn and pattern, sitting in the student center, waiting for her to finish up. She can't wait for this semester to start and has been going nuts at home. There are two orientation sessions for new students she is leading and it's a bit bittersweet as this is her last semester. Next week it all starts again!I have also hit a wall mentally over meal planning. I sit here thinking about what to plan and it's like I haven't cooked in my life. Lately, it's been a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches which suits Lady K just fine. I did make Tuscan White Bean, Sausage and Kale Soup using Gimme Some Oven's recipe. Quick, easy and delicious. If you haven't discovered Ali yet, do so. She has fantastic recipes (most of them pretty healthy). Ignore the fact she's as cute as she can be, has a cute husband and just moved to Spain to live. As Savvy reminded me, 'green doesn't look good on me'.I did do a little 'reorganizing' on my sewing table.  My desk is next.I pulled out a project and started it when I got bored with 'reorganizing' my desk. When in doubt, avoid doing what needs to be done!Otherwise this week...Finished 7 books!Wrote 5 postsHad a 30-minute massage (more on that later)Did a TON of laundry and got it put away with Texter's helpFor the coming week...Finish cleaning my desk areaFinish up my soup bowls holders and dog pillowPackage the above for shipping to friendsClean up my room (which is shared with Lady K's toys)Do some updating on my journalComplete 5 more blocks of the On Ringo Lake quiltComplete 1 block of Charlotte DreamsAttend a Yoga of Healthy Aging workshop at the libraryTake books back to the library!Gulch Distillers class on Brunch Cocktails (must to Savvy's disappoint as she is working that day)Finish reading a couple of books I need to reviewBut in the meantime, I need more coffee![...]



Weekend Reads - Plus Some Changes

2018-01-13T10:59:02.386-07:00

One of the things I have in mind for 2018 is to redo my website. However, I don't want to do it all at once - mainly because I am being lazy.I do have this idea to spur me to write more is to have a daily blog post. And I want to have a theme for each day. This will accomplish a couple of different things - (1) it gives me a focus for the post for that day and (2) some of them I can at least start in advance and not have to write it on the day it is posted, but can write and schedule in advance. Win-win.My line-up will be as follows (and always subject to tweaking)...Monday - Mandala MondayTuesday - Miscellaneous StuffWednesday - Writing Wrap-upThursday - Positive FocusFriday - Fabric and FiberSaturday - ReadingSunday - Week In ReviewThat's the plan....as of this moment in time.So...Since it is Saturday, let's go through what I have read this week I am currently reading and in love with Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman.I am LOVING this book! First off, it really isn't about being a 'witch' as you typically think of being a witch. It is more about empowering yourself. As the authors define witchcraft as "...the kind of mundane pursuits that might once have resulted in accusation: enjoying sex, controlling reproductive health, hanging out with other women, not caring what men think, disagreeing, and just knowing stuff."They are also very much in offering their thoughts to everyone, regardless of gender identification. They are very open to people being themselves and being strong in however they choose to identify. Don't get me wrong, there are still 'rituals' with candles or tarot cards or spells to break negative patterns. However, the book is more about being strong in yourself and not how society tells you how to think and behave and believe.I think this will be one which will be on my 'to buy' list.Another book on my 'to buy' list is this one - Making Winter: A Hygge-Inspired Guide to Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell.I am one of those people who are solar-powered and dread winter with the shorter days. I tend to wake with the sunrise and go to bed with sunset. Filled with recipes and crafts and beautiful pictures, Making Winter is all about giving yourself permission to be creative during the winter to help with all the depression which can happen if you just sit around and do nothing. With sections like "The Grayest Days", "Craft Night", and "Nature as Nurture", I found myself going I want to do that, and that, and that...well, basically the whole book. I need this on my shelf, even though I am leaving the snowbound months here in Montana this year.Next was more of a flip-though rather than a read.Where To Drink Coffee by Liz Clayton and Avidan Ross is subtitled The Experts' Guide to the Best Coffee in the World.When I grabbed this off the shelf at the library I was hoping there would be some 'how-to's' included in the book - but no. It is strictly lists of the best places to get a cup of coffee in just about every country in the world. It has listings of the coffee shops, their hours, specialty and reviews. If you are a big traveler or planning on traveling somewhere, this might be interesting to see where to go when you arrive at your destination.A fiction finish this past week is a fun read, How To Find Love In A Bookshop by Veronica Henry.Emilia's father passes away unexpectedly and she is drawn back to Peasebrook and running Nightingale Books. Does she close the store or keep it going? The people who were influenced by her father and the bookstore are all woven in together in this wonderful read. This is a book to curl up with on a grey day and enjoy with a cup of tea.Now for a disappointment. Or rather I should say, at the present moment I just couldn't get into the story, which really upsets me because I love Gregory Maguire.What better to read a[...]



2018 Is Blooming (Almost)

2018-01-09T05:00:17.348-07:00

The great thing about orchids is when they bloom, they last for several weeks. The bad thing about orchids is they take FOREVER to bloom! Kind of like watching a pot boil.So I thought I would do an update on what's going on in my very cramped bay window where all the plants are gathered for the winter. I have omitted my turmeric plant, the many jade plants and the succulents saved from a wedding Texter attended last year. I have also omitted several orchids which are (1) currently in bloom (one) or (2) just finished blooming (one) or (3) just sitting there.I will also admit up front my orchid care will make most orchid growers scream in horror. I practice benign neglect. Of course, my set-up is less than it should be. And I am already dreading the move in May. Hopefully, watering them like crazy, wrapping them in newspaper and carefully setting them in a couple of boxes will allow them to make it in 7-10 days to North Carolina. My goal, once there, is to switch them over to using clay balls rather than orchid bark/mulch once they have 'destressed' from the move. But on with the show...This is my Brassavola which I purchased in early 2017. I did have two flower spikes, but accidentally knocked one off when I was fiddling with it.However, I recently noticed I have two more flower spikes forming. I can't wait to see this one in bloom as I have never seen a flowering Brassavola in real life. Plus, it is supposed to smell really great at night.This is my Dendrobrium Kingianum “Merlin” I got at a recent Great Divide Orchid Society meeting. It has a kiki (I think) started and also a flower spike (hopefully).This is my Epidendrum Max Valley I picked up at another Great Divide Orchid Society meeting back in July. It has also produced a kiki and way down on the bottom right of the picture, is another growth. Another kiki? Don't think it's a root. I know I could remove the kiki, but don't know if I should or not since it will only have 4 or 5 months to get established before I stress it with the move.  I will have to get advice from the Society.A better view of the new growth.The rest of my orchids are my 'rescued orchids' from Walmart and Lowes. If all goes well, I will have four Phal's in bloom shortly.What color these are going to be I have no idea.Then I have two spikes coming off one plant.And number 3 Phal with a spike and some new roots.See Phals are easy to grow, even if you seem to be set on killing them!Another rescue Phal and while I did repot it, it never seemed to catch on like the others. Since it didn't seem to be getting the water it needed (limp, leathery leaves), I took it out of the orchid potting medium and am trying growing it in water. It has only been in there for about a week, but it seems to be liking it. Hopefully, it won't hurt the flower spike, as it would be number four in bloom.This is a Cattleya I got as a gift and it has this new growth on it. But it doesn't seem 'fat' enough to also have a flower spike it in. But I am trying to remain hopeful it will flower at some point in time...sooner than later.And last, but not least, is this African Violet I picked up a Herb & Garden in Downtown Helena. It started blooming and has been covered in blooms for about two months now and doesn't seem to show any slowing down.So that's my 'blooming life' right now. That and flipping through seed catalogs (Lady K wants colored carrots, by the way).[...]



Mandala Monday

2018-01-08T05:00:06.932-07:00




Week In Review - December 31 - January 6

2018-01-07T08:55:22.889-07:00

The week started the new year out with a full moon and some great sunrises and sunsets - once the clouds and the inversion moved out. It's been cold, snowy and did I mention cold all week. And this morning, stepping outside with the dogs, it was practically balmy! Which means it will be a slushy week.The first week of the year started out with retiring last year's planner...all nicely chunky and full. Now in a new Hobonichi planner for 2018.The first project finish of the year. It started out as a scrap afghan which was supposed to be lap size. I had wrapped it around Lady K one night and she turned it over to her mother to use on her bed. It actually covers a double bed and is nicely heavy. The "On Ringo Lake" Mystery Quilt was revealed and I am waaaayyyyy behind (the last 3 weeks were sped up). It has tons of little parts which I need to put together into one big quilt. And it's boring to have to trim 200 pieces or so for each part.I think my plan will be to trim and put together blocks to make the big blocks a little at a time. Trim, connect, and do it again. Maybe.  But I have one block done.And I am using the scraps from making these blocks to do some 'funky blocks' as I go along.I'll make them as I go along and one day turn them into a scrap quilt.I also found a line of fabric I fell for, "Blushing Peonies". I initially bought a 1/2 yard of the gray floral and a charm pack and have been making 'square in a square' style blocks.I have a 'plan' for the layout, using the different colorways of the floral as full blocks and everything set on point. After laying it out, I need a sashing between the blocks to make them stand out. I think I will be using one of the greens as my sashing for the blocks. But it's my 'when I have a couple of dollars to buy some more fabric' quilt.One thing I noticed is while I haven't ever been drawn to 'orange' in any of it's shades and tones, the two things I am sewing on now is, well, orange!And....(drumroll please)I have infected Texter with the cross stitch craze.My first love, and something I haven't done in quite some time, is needlework, primarily cross stitch. In talking to a friend back in North Carolina, Ms. C, I had the bug to pick up cross stitch again. And then I found this...First, it's the artist whose tarot cards I have and absolutely love. Second, there are foxes on it. Third, it happened to be my 'card of the week' I had drawn and it had a female figure and 2 foxes on it. It fit so well with me, Texter and Kayden in where we are currently. So I bought the pattern and Texter bought the supplies and I am stitching this jewel. Did I mention that everything you see in the picture is a solid cross stitch. It's all cross stitched.But then Texter decided she wanted to give cross stitch a try and now is halfway through her first little piece - of a fox, of course. She is finding it relaxing and is loving it. She will finish hers long before I finish my piece.Otherwise this week...Finished 1 bookWrote 4 postsTexter picked up her books for her last semesterwon a pattern at The Sewing Palace Winter CarnivalThe coming week will be the last week of Texter's break before she starts her last semester. She is excited, dreading it, tons of emotions all wrapped up together.For myself...Pull out a knitting or crochet WIP to finish upWrite up several posts I have planned oncurrent projectscurrent plannerscouple of book reviewsUpdate my list of fiber and fabric projectsStart work on my spirit journal30 minute massage on WednesdayBut in the meantime, more coffee, sausage and biscuits for breakfast and more sewing.[...]



First Finish of 2018

2018-01-04T05:00:11.104-07:00

I started this Corner-to-Corner afghan out of scrap yarn a couple of months ago, working on it now and then. And it grew. 

And grew.


I realized when I started most of the C2C afghans were done in either fingerling or DK weight yarn, not worsted weight. But I had all this 'extra' yarn and wanted to use it up. In fact, I was going to make this and send it to a friend.


But by the time I was 'finished', it measured 93" x 93" and weighs a ton. It fits on top of a queen size bed nicely. 

It also acts as a 'weighted blanket' for Lady K, as she walks off with it and takes it to bed with her.

So now I know. 'One more row does not mean, one more row!'

But on these below zero days, it is nice and toasty in the recliner. All over the recliner. Several skeins of yarn have been successfully used up. And I have the first completed project for 2018 on day 3 of the year. Not too shabby.

Now onto the next finish!



Mandala Monday - Two for the Price of One!

2017-12-31T09:09:01.262-07:00


I debated and debated about a mandala or...


another bit of digital art.

So I went with both!

May your 2018 be all you want it to be!








Note: I only noticed this once I finished up with the mandala. But if you look at the center, you see a light green chin and lips. I feel like I have captured a picture on the Green Man!



Week In Review - December 24 - 30

2017-12-31T08:03:29.208-07:00

This is my reality this week! Along with the sore muscles, stuck car and just being plain tired of all the white!Part of my dissatisfaction with the snow is the fact I have to park on the street. Our 'driveway' is about 2 feet long and CJ's car is the only vehicle which can fit in the tiny garage.So, yep, when it's up to the door....well, f*** it!Unfortunately, on Saturday we (1) needed out of the house and (2) needed milk and toilet paper.So Texter and I shoveled and dug and tried to figure out where to put the snow we were digging and shoveling. Then CJ had to be dragged out to help us get 'unstuck'. Along with three sets of strangers who stopped when they saw we were having issues...twice. Part of the problem was my tires. I had replacing tires on my 'to-do' list for March, prior to our 2300 mile drive. Unfortunately, between burning a lot of rubber trying to get unstuck and their condition anyway, that timeframe moved up a couple of months.But new tires do make a difference. However, there will be a bit of shoveling and clearing today as there were another 2-3 inches overnight. Sigh...Don't get me wrong, the snow is beautiful. And if could last a day or two and then go away I would be well pleased. But it doesn't. It will be here for quite some time.However, I have been making new friends...When we ventured out on Saturday, I restocked my bird seed. With the heavy snow over the past couple of days, I have a host of feathered friends I feel responsible for. To the point I have laid out a big piece of cardboard to scatter seeds on for all the sparrows and doves which prefer ground eating. And the '-' in front of the temperature? That's not indicating it's 'below zero'. It's indicating an upraised middle finger as far as I am concerned.Other than the snow, we stopped on Wednesday night to try out Pizza Ranch and their arcade. They have fried chicken and pizza! And an arcade! And for someone who is sssooooo wanting to visit Chucky Cheese, we thought it might please.Lady K has some sensitivity issues, so restaurants which are busy and noisy pose some issues of overwhelming her.  But their set-up worked and she had a ball, winning enough tickets to get a crown and some slime.Another bonus is the food is actually good. The price is very reasonable and the staff is very attentive and pleasant. We will be visiting a lot more over the next few months, especially since it is only a few blocks away from us.But despite the white outside, there is a bit of color inside. And I have several more orchids getting ready to flower. I will be doing a couple of updates in the coming days about what is ready to bloom and what they look like in bloom. One good thing about orchids is, once they bloom, they stay for several weeks.Otherwise this week...Celebrated Christmas with some great gifts and snacking all dayQuiet birthday for Savvy with a spaghetti dinner and an Italian Cheese Cream Cake Decided on my 'Word of the Year"Finished 5 booksWrote 7 postsAlmost finished up my Corner 2 Corner afghanBit of sewing on the On Ringo Lake Mystery QuiltShoveled a ton of snowFor the coming week...Move into my 2018 Hobonichi planner(s)Lots of planning for 2018 and scheduling in my planner (more on all of that)Trip to the movies (hopefully) "Winter Carnival" at The Sewing Palace to showcase their coming classesBuying books for Texter's last semesterSewing and crochetingAnd lots of reviewing the past year and planning the coming yearBut for now, another cup of coffee and putting the cinnamon rolls in the oven for breakfast.[...]



Word of the Year for 2018

2017-12-29T05:00:40.111-07:00

Actually I am going to cheat a bit. My word of the year is actually two words.At first I was just going to go with 'FOCUS'. That's what has been on my mind for several months now. I need to 'focus' on what is in front of me and not get sidetracked by shiny objects.Case in point.I have a TON of fiber/fabric projects, all in various stages of completion. I run into the quilting store to get some more fabric for a current project and come home with fabric for yet another project and want to work on that instead. Not a good thing.Then I read an article about positive living and thinking (don't ask me when or where, but I did). The idea of focusing on the positive around me hit a chord. Believe me, in this day and age it is so easy to get caught up in the negative and let it overwhelm you.Now anyone who knows me I have a thread of sarcasm in me. Okay, it's a huge rope of sarcasm. No one will every accuse me of being a Pollyanna and constantly viewing life through rose colored glasses. But I know from years of experience, looking at the positive or looking for the positive, is much healthier, mentally and physically, then dwelling on how bad everything is.And it's the little things which can make the difference. Take these bulbs for example.I love hyacinths, especially when I force them indoors in the winter. They add color and scent to any room. However, I am currently maxed out on plant room. And Lady K was interested in watching their development from bulb to roots to sprouting. So I gave them to the daycare. The kids have been watching their progress and how they go from one day being nothing, to the next day the flowers peeking through. Lady K loves it because the way I taught her to remember the name of them is to wave and go "Hi-acinth".Yes, I don't have them in the house where I can see them all the time. But I see them when I take her to school. And they bring the kids and teachers joy. So that's 'focusing on the positive'.Another thing my 'word of the year' will hopefully make me do, is to take that extra couple of seconds (and normally that's all it takes) and just 'be nice'. How much of an effort is it to tell the checkout clerk "have a good day"? Or stop and stand by the door at the daycare to open it in the freezing, early morning hour, to let a dad, with twin boys, one in each arm, into the building. Yes, I had to wait a bit because he was just getting out of his car. Wow, all of 2 or 3 seconds! He didn't have to put one of them down to open the door and it made his day a bit easier. Now I'm not trying to pat myself on the back and tell you what a 'nice person' I am. Believe me, you want to see Medusa in action, follow me around. My head can spin and my eyes cross, prior to ripping your head off in a heartbeat. I get a lot of "now, Momma" from the girls. So the coming year will be taking a step back. Focusing on what needs to be done. Putting new ideas and plans on paper and setting it aside until current projects are completed. And most of all, being positive. Focus on the positive in the world. Even if you have to 'battle' evil, you can still surround yourself with positive - people, ideas, actions. I will be a force for change - one tiny, positive action at a time.[...]



It's Her Birthday!

2017-12-28T05:00:59.023-07:00

Yes, another year has past! And Savvy is discovering a couple of grey hairs.And who can blame her? It's been a trying year and she has kept her spirits up.From helping a new friend have a great wedding day...Hanging out at home on her days off...To being my 'study buddy' in class...It's been an exciting year. And 2018 will only be more exciting - moving back to North Carolina and all her friends she misses so much there.It is fun to see what a wonderful woman she has grown into.[...]



Christmas Wrap-Up

2017-12-27T05:00:18.593-07:00

All the presents have been unwrapped and I am trying to figure out what to do with all the leftover boxes and spent paper. Some of the boxes will be saved for packing and some of the paper will be used in my journal, but for the most part, it's all said and done.It was a super simple Christmas, mainly because we didn't have room and we wanted simple as we are already in the 'move' mode.Christmas Day was fun. Lady K now has about a million Shopkins. And if you aren't familiar with them, they are tiny plastic figures and she loves playing with them. I love listening to the stories she comes up with while playing with them.They have been to Africa, to the hospital, to school - wherever her imagination takes them.We were all together, all healthy, and enjoyed the day.Texter and I went in together and bought ourselves a Sprocket. We can now print out 2 x 3 pictures from our phones. I wanted one to use in my planner and journaling. It's so much fun.Then Savvy and CJ got me a "Mother Tree" necklace. The stones are for Savvy, Texter and Lady K. Loving it. It has a double meaning for me in that I am drawn to "Trees of Life" or "Tree of Knowledge" and have wanted a mother's ring or something. The necklace is one and probably won't come off (well, it will when I get a slightly longer chain).Breakfast was biscuits and 'imported' country ham. The rest of the day we snacked as we wanted. It was so much easier than coming up with a lunch or dinner, especially since we don't have anywhere to sit down at a table really.But Christmas is over and the New Year is looming on the horizon. [...]



Feed The Birds

2017-12-26T05:00:00.347-07:00


I love feeding the birds (and squirrels), especially in the winter. With a hedge which runs around the house and a huge spruce tree in the yard, we get plenty of feathered visitors.

We run the sparrows and chickadees, to Asian Collared Doves (they aren't Mourning doves), woodpecker (we have suet too), crows, seagulls, Northern Flicker and a hawk or two.

With the snow on the ground, the scene reminds me of my favorite "Mary Poppins" song, "Feed the Birds".

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It's not the happiest song in the movie, but it has always been my favorite.

Now to go scatter more feed on the ground. The sparrows prefer it that way and I can feed more that way than letting them take turns at the feeder with the squirrel.




Merry Mandala Monday

2017-12-25T05:00:46.850-07:00




Week In Review - December 17 - 23

2017-12-24T08:46:17.564-07:00

This is how the majority of the week has gone - cold and snowy. Cold as in there is a '-' in front of the temperature at times. Nope, not loving it.Granted it is pretty. Very much so, but after a certain amount of time it is just cold and bothersome. But on a brief outing this past week with Texter (I needed fabric), this was the scene...And Downtown Helena looks lovely despite the snow.In the meantime, I am staying inside and doing some 'pre-planning'.Otherwise this week...Christmas program at 'school' for Lady KCut out the fabric for week 5 of the On Ringo Lake Mystery QuiltFinished 2 books. Only 3 books away from my goal of 175 for the year!Planned Christmas Day foods - snacking all day rather than a big mealWith the fabric I bought, I now have a new quilt idea sketched outSavvy and CJ are awaiting final signoff on a new house in NC. Now for Texter and I to find one. For the coming week...Christmas Day! Finish 3 books!Lots of planning for the new yearFinish up some sewing projectsCouple of letters out to friendsAnd more snow on Christmas Day!But for now, off to start breakfast and more coffee. [...]



Turning the Corner

2017-12-21T08:29:22.921-07:00

Today is the Winter Solstice. A time when the darkness gives way to light.It's been a long year, full of rebuilding and regrouping. I like to think we, as a family and as individuals, have come out the better for it and are stronger than ever.Some of the things I have learned from this experience...There is a WHOLE LOT OF GOOD out there. Despite all the headlines of doom and gloom, strife and conflict, there is a lot of good in people out there. We are a strong family, pulling together and coming out the other side better than ever."Things" aren't as important as you think they are. You quickly learn what brings you joy and what are just 'stuff'.Don't take things and people for granted. They can be gone in an instance.I have more empathy now for people in crisis than I did in the past. Sometimes it takes a bit of 'waking up' to make you look past yourself.We have learned to rely more on each other and to laugh more. Even in a lot of snow! (Of course, it does help to know this time next year we will be back in North Carolina and snow for months won't be an issue.)Texter is one semester away from finishing her schooling and will be beginning her work life. Savvy and CJ have been approved for a house and will be leaving in about 3 months. We will follow in mid-May and hopefully, we too will have a house waiting for us. (One we own, not renting.)The next few months will be filled, for me, with sorting, packing and dealing with the details of the move. It will also be filled with finishing up fiber and fabric projects.Today is dawning bright and clear, just like our future.[...]



Mandala Monday

2017-12-18T05:00:25.651-07:00


This is one of my two amaryllises I have growing. It's less than a foot tall, which is odd, and has two blooms on it with another flower spike almost ready to open. The other one, planted at the same time, only has a couple of leaves coming up and one flower spike just starting to show. 

Normally, they grow about 2 feet tall and then open their flowers. 

Well, it's been an odd year!



Week In Review - December 10 - 16

2017-12-17T08:22:00.985-07:00

Hectic weeks, well at least to me they have been hectic. Finals for Texter are over for the semester and she is realizing she only has one semester left. We have realized we are only 5 months away from moving and will have to find a place to rent in Charlotte and a job for Texter. Packing, purging, and all of 'that stuff'. On one hand we are all excited. On the other, sad we are leaving.However, lots going on in the meantime.We checked out a couple of reindeer yesterday. I have to say I thought reindeer where larger. Maybe I'm confusing them with caribou. We also drove out after dark to view the Vukonich Family Lights.It's about 30 minutes of lights and music and really, really fun. Lady K enjoyed it as we parked in front of the house and watched the lights.And a pre-Christmas treat which we are stretching out...Country Ham!I couldn't stand it any longer and ordered a gift box from Goodnight Brothers in North Carolina.  Needless to say, there was a lot of moaning and groaning in pleasure as we have chowed down on one and a half of the four packages of ham. One will be used on Christmas morning for breakfast!Since we are now under 5 months until our departure from Montana (and based on the state of my desk area), I decided Saturday morning, instead of sewing, I would clean up my desk area and file boxes.This is what it looked like as I started...Piles to keep...Down to one file box, instead of two and a half (not finished putting files back in box yet in that picture).And the state of my desk as all of this was going on!I found a stash of NaNoWriMo postcards, bookmarks, and stickers which I sent out to members of a Facebook group I belong to. There is a stack of construction paper and drawing paper going to daycare for their art projects.I still have some more sorting and purging to go, but it has been pared down quite a bit already. Next will be the closet in my bedroom. It's not big, but things have just been stored in there over the past year and it needs some cleaning out.Lady K has an 'advent calendar of gifts' she has been opening. They are all a pair of socks and some Shopkins. In case you don't know, Shopkins are tiny figures coming in everything from vegetables to pets to everyday objects.Lady K loves them! And plays for hours with them, sorting and talking to them and making up stories with them. However, when she saw the sewing machine she gave them to me because 'Grandma, you like to sew'. They are now taking up a place of honor with Buddha on top of the fish tank.Otherwise this week...Attended the Helena Symphony 'Christmas in the Cathedral' to hear Handel's Messiah...magnificent!Another craft day at daycare - popsicle stick Christmas trees with plenty of glitter glue and stick on jewelsCut out Clue 4 on the On Ringo Lake Mystery QuiltFinished 4 booksStarted working on my 2018 'planning and goal setting'The coming week...Pick up ornaments from Free Ceramics (we forget to get them Saturday)Finish up desk areaSew on Mystery Quilt clues for Weeks 3 and 4 and trim 2 - 4 blocksAttend the Christmas Program at daycareLast craft day at daycareWork on 2018 plans and goalsFinish up Corner-2-Corner afghan while binge watching TVAnd staying warm! Temperatures are set to drop here in the coming week into the single digits as a high.But for now, off for more coffee.[...]



Mandala Monday

2017-12-11T05:00:07.072-07:00




Week in Reivew - December 3 - 9

2017-12-10T10:36:22.593-07:00

Ok....take two!I had this about halfway written, when someone (cough, cough) sat a cup on my keyboard and erased my post! Will teach me to save as I write and not to let Lady K get near my computer!Anyway...Yesterday was a busy day. First, we had the annual Breakfast with Santa in Downtown Helena sponsored by Bert & Ernies. Each year they have two seatings for a free breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes and bacon for families and a chance to take pictures with Santa.While their decor is eclectic everyday, the additional Christmas lights make it really festive.Lady K chowed down on bacon, but didn't wish to have her picture made with Santa. Too many people for her liking.We then had about an hour to spend before we went up the street to make decorations, so we strolled over to the next block for some hot chocolate at General Mercantile.  I have to say they have the best hot chocolate going.Besides the two huge koi swimming around, there are tons of little stocking stuffers for every taste. Then we moved up the hill a couple of blocks to Free Ceramics for the Christmas Ornament event. Texter and I wanted to go because we saw their posting on Facebook and they had a Montana and a USA ornament in the picture. We wanted to make these as mementos of our time here in Montana.Ok, so my 'writing' on one isn't the best, but Lady K and I had fun. I can't wait until next week when we get them back.I love what Free Ceramics has done with their space. I have watched it change over the past couple of years. My quilting friend, Ms. Montana, has her studio downstairs in their building. It's only getting better and better.Otherwise, this week, I was fortunate enough to win a gift certificate from Downtown Helena and selected one from Herb and Garden. And selected a couple of 'new-to-me' orchids which are in bloom!I set them in the window with my amaryllis. The weird growing amaryllis. The ones, which even though they were planted at the same time are growing at vastly different rates. In fact, the one of the left I didn't think was going to grow at all. The one on the right is actually growing a second flower spike and and more leaves. So it should be really up and pretty by Christmas. Lefty will be my New Year bloom!Otherwise this week...5 books finishedCraft day at the 'school'Clue 3 pieces cut out for the Mystery QuiltCouple of book reviews writtenThe coming week... Monday night, Christmas at the Cathedral for Handel's Messiah!Another craft dayAwaiting my order of country ham!Finish up Clue 3 and start Clue 4 for the Mystery Quilt Movie night with hiking buddiesBut for now....off to make cookies and coffee cake![...]