Tuesday, March 31, 2015

MacGyver Time

Are many of us struggling for ideas today? Why even foogle is celebrating the 126th anniversary of the opening of the Eiffel Tower. Really? 126? You don't say.
 

My post is a lot like that and similar to last time. By the end, you'll be saying "Really? You don't say." 


This is my favorite series of photos from Palm Sunday. I could explain it, but it'll become obvious.






Always remember to smile when you see your favorite peeps!

Yes, he was fresh home from church with a palm in his hand. I like to keep the palm until next year. After Easter, I'll dry it out and shape it into a cross, if I can keep the cat from eating it. Fioré just seems to love it. 




Several times, we have found the palm frond in the sink after hearing a mysterious thud. Do you know what your cat gets up to when you're not looking? I just hope that the palm isn't poisonous.

Fioré enjoys watching tv. This is a photo from last Saturday evening when my daughter came for a visit bringing supper and a gift...more on that in just a bit. After supper, while Laurel and I were Pinterest Visiting side by side on the sofa, she stopped to take this photo of Fioré


seated in the cat bird seat! LOL! 

Moving right along, I know your time is valuable. This is the wee gift I received...


this cute little blue bunny. She wouldn't tell me where she got him, but relented when I said that you might like to know — Wal*Mart. ☺ The daffodil drawing is a gift, too, from Lorrie last year. I don't know if we'll see daffodils this year. Mine are still buried in snow. I don't think we had any last year either as this 
winter-hanging-on thing has been going on for several years now.



Last up, trying to get a table large enough to seat 7. Our table seats 6. The grands had put us on notice that they did not appreciate being seated at the little table. This is what John and I came up with yesterday: a slab of plywood on the table with protection placed between and a card table at one end with cookie tins to keep the floppy end of plywood stable. Hopefully, with enough padding, I can disguise this mess and make it look like something. I am paying careful attention to tablescapes this year.


Well that's it for today... I must move on to cleaning and shopping and preparing. Such a fun time when it's my turn to host Easter dinner. Do you have enough room for your guests? Do you have to pull MacGyver maneuvers? Is your menu planned? Feel free to tell me all about it!


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Odds and Ends 3272015

It feels as if I have done that many "odds and ends" posts. Poor you!


First up, this morning's view...



and that after a night of heavy rain! I practically leapt from my bed this morning hoping to see it all gone. Guess the joke is on me.


The rain did not work nearly as well as this did a couple of weeks ago...


~and away those bankings go~


Last night as I was putting slathering my lotion on, I noticed a cricket on the windowsill. He was on his back, poor fellow, and flailing. Oh my. He seemed to have been half-eaten. 




Know anything about that, Fioré? Hmmm... 


Anyway, I grabbed a bit of tissue, dispatched said cricket, and tossed him into the waste basket. I climbed into bed and very soon the air seemed to be filled with the pungent aroma of cricket juice. Let's just say that I spent my night dreaming strange dreams; the story lines of which would rival any of those created for The Twilight Zone


Recently, I found a little book of James Whitcomb Riley rhymes. One perfectly reminded me of a little snowball eater I love.




Jakob has never met a chunk of snow that he didn't like. (Just look at his expression!) And, oh yes, he is often reminded of choosing wisely. ☺ 




The text came with its own perfectly sweet illustration, I just had one of my own.


Lastly, in the odds and ends department, is a simple envelope pillow I made for my niece's birthday from one of her old t-shirts. She had been on a tour of western Europe in high school. I thought she might find it meaningful and a map makes a great graphic!



She does like it.


Thus ends #3272015...have a happy one!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Wee Mystery

Do you enjoy a good mystery? I do. Personally, I best enjoy the ones that I can't figure out from the chapters or the introduction. And I also prefer a cozy kind of mystery — mostly tea and crumpets without the blood and gore. Thank you.


Like this one...




on PBS Sunday evening at 7 
or this one...




last Saturday around noon.


I was pushing laundry in the basement when I heard a bit of  driveway noise, but dismissed it as being my neighbors. I listened for a knock and didn't hear one. (When I am in the dungeon basement, I stays in the basement. No up and down stairs any more than I must.)


The next time I opened the outside door, there on my stoop were these little gifts. Furtively, I looked right and left suspecting my neighbors again. Didn't seem likely.


 For the next two days, John and I played the Whodunit game. I suspected my niece, my daughter or a local church who loves to bless our town with little gifts and has done so on more than one occasion. Who could it be?!
 

Finally, I received an email with the heading: Did They Blow Away?


Ah ha! It was my sister. I should have known. She says she knocked. She says her daughter didn't answer her door either. I suggested that my niece may have been in the basement pushing laundry.


Now this has given me a few ideas. Oh yes it has!




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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Loving the Home you Have

Do you remember the first comment you ever received on your blog? I sure 
do. (Not yours, mine! ☺) Melissa @ The Inspired Room was the first to comment here. (Others appear to have commented on posts ahead of her because those comments came in on older posts long after those posts were written.)


***
 
Now it is true that I had been stalking her blog for some time. (That's before I knew that it isn't cool to comment on every single post.) In fact, it was *The Inspired Room* that inspired me to begin blogging myself. As I recall, I had foogled boys' bedroom decor and Melissa had written a post on that very thing. Shortly thereafter, I left my former online site because some at that site began to complain about my "blog-like" posts. Ha!  That's all water under the bridge and is neither here nor there.




Where was I? Oh, yes, Melissa! Truth is that she's  endured my comments through the years, including the ones where I simply didn't understand her problem with the wall color in her new home. It looked just fine to me! =D I also remember my begging her to tell people to get their wall art displayed lower on their walls. It remains one of my pet peeves to this day: some folks hang a painting way too high. However, rules are not what Melissa offers — either on her blog or in her new book — what she offers are lots of tips and ideas.




Recently, I heard from Melissa's publisher offering a free copy of her first book Love the Home you Have. It was a gift with no strings attached. Well the book arrived last week and I have been reading and laughing and learning. Those many thought-provoking questions that she asks really do provide direction. She also is honest to share her own journey, which I appreciated. (She sounds like you and me.) The book ends with a 31-Day Love Your Home Challenge. I adore specifics.




Oh sure, you might find many of these topics covered elsewhere (right at The Inspired Room for starters), still Melissa has done a masterful job of gathering these concepts in a readable, concise, highly enjoyable way. Love the art work! Two thumbs up!


***

So while I may not always "love" the home I have, I am grateful for the home I have and I love that my husband was the one who built much of it and who lovingly tends to it shoveling roofs and drives and whatever else needs doing. I enjoy puttering about my home and I am working on having a "purpose" in mind. Melissa's is very clearly given. I'd steal it, but it's taken.  I know this, at the end of a long day, John often sinks into his chair with an "it's good to be home." 


***


All the following photos are in response to something I read in Melissa's book. One thing is true: homes are always a work in progress.










(It is so nice having the Easter cactus blooming at Easter time...a first!) Once John asked why I keep "stuff" on the window sills. Good question! I have a good answer: Fioré the cat. I keep two windows in the room cleared for her, the rest are mine because I don't enjoy cleaning windows of kitty *not daily.


***

Time to quit. I'm just wandering in circles now. Have a good day!


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Bit of This and a Titch of That

Did you know that Easter is a mere two weeks from this coming Sunday? I didn't until I checked just before starting this post. Time to get moving!

 
I am currently in a no-buy zone. It has lasted about six years actually. Well, be that as it may, I like to have something "new" for Easter. Since it is not going to be a new suit of clothes, I was looking for something cute meaningful for the house. I found it on my Easter Pinterest board. The link will be provided at the end. (Can't have you scooting off before you have a chance to visit.)


Yes, you've seen this corner many times with the aprons, the photo, the bunny and even the eggs (minus the lettering).





So if you're looking for more meaning for those Easter eggs, here's the simplest little project.

 
1. finished project
2. PicMonkey font selection (or anywhere really) I chose "Playfair Display"
3. gathering of needed items: an elongated dish, Easter eggs, floral moss or anything suitable for nesting, pencil for first tracing of letter, Sharpie for final lettering 
4. ready to assemble 
5. pin cushion 
6. a pin stuck in the bottom helps prevent the egg from rolling off the dish 
7. & 8. close-ups

When I was at Hobby Lobby using my birthday gift card, I also purchased a strand of small white silk flowers. I wrapped it around the Easter wreath and will get it on the front door today, even if it looks totally ridiculous there with all the snow we still have—mounds and mounds of it!


 

I'll change this photo out once it's on the door. Being the front door, I guess I'll have to get dressed first. =/


***

  ~Thank you, Karen!~


My dear friend Karen at *Life is Good~Smile* sent me an unexpected gift. A beautiful scarf knitted in one of my favorite color combinations—blue and yellow.  She also sent some Chocolate Chippers cookies she mentions quite often. They were a gift for John and he did eat most of them; I was able to squirrel these two away. Hmmmmm...good! They are not the usual chocolate chip cookie recipe. They seem paler...no brown sugar? egg whites only? I am not quite sure and Karen says only that it must be her magic touch! ☺






Pardon the lack of color, Karen. I had been out shoveling snow and was as red as a beet. Ugh. And not only that those two Chocolate Chippers have made me fluffy! LOL!



***

A wonderful day to you and a great weekend. See you next time!


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J-e-s-u-s on Easter Eggs Source

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Old Costumes

Sometimes I think this here blog is to bring all the loose ends of my life together. ☺

Recently, I was digging about in the old boxes, of which there is no end, when out tumbled my ballet costume and my tap dance costume circa 1960 something. I first showed a photo of my tap dancing troupe back *here* if you'd be interested to see it.

I carefully laundered both outfits; one did much better than the other. They're now hanging in my sewing room.




***

Three posts in one week. Hmmm... don't want that to become a habit. Have you found a good schedule for posting yet? I used to be an every day poster; now I just admire those who are. When posts become as lame as this one, a gal knows that it is time to slow down. 

Have a blessed weekend! See you next week.


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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dream a Little Dream


*Want to Win the Lovell Inn?*

I should not whine about winter weather so much because I don't believe that there'll be many takers for this one. ☺ Nevertheless, someone is going to win The Lovell Inn for a mere $125 entry fee. The inn is worth nearly a million dollars. The current owner won it herself twenty years ago. Visiting the site will tell you how and provide a link to a photo gallery. It's a lovely place. I know because we pass by on our way to the Fryeburg Fair. I even notified my Fryeburg Aunt and Uncle who let me know that they may act crazy, but they are not. Ha!

~this photo may or may not be it~


About twenty years ago, my sister and I began to do some serious research on purchasing a B&B. We were friends with a successful B&B owner who was willing to teach us a few things and we felt that we were perfectly suited to such an enterprise. In those days, I cleaned compulsively and Sis has always been a friendly, sociable gal. We even found a home that we felt would work well with gardens and paths through the woods, and a landing on the river. We were charmed by the idea of guests using kayaks to explore the river. After all, my sister and I kayaked on the river several times a week loving every minute. It was ultimately that landing on the river that did us in. The cost of insurance would have been astronomical.

Well, it was a lovely dream while it lasted. Ever have one of those?

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Monday, March 9, 2015

I May Have Said THAT

I have a story to tell you today that will ruin both John's and my reputation. I am placing it at the end allowing those who wish to avert their eyes the ability to do so. 

First, though, I have some tidying up to do as I had been saving lost some photos of happy mail. Happy mail is the very best kind! *Vickie of Sand Flat Farm* sent me a cookbook and a giving plate and a box of candy.


Cooking Through Rose-Colored Glasses is a delight because, as one of Vickie's favorites, it has her notations throughout on all the recipes she has tried: chicken fried steak, her dad's favorite birthday cake, biscuits, and oodles of others. Thank you so much, Vickie!

Another, more recent package arrived with a thud on my deck. Wowzer! It was from *Abby at Little Birdie Blessings* who knows how much I enjoy fabrics and notions and homemade things.



What a precious assortment from books to dryer balls! What fun I am going to have now that I have some thread. More on that in the next portion. Thank you, Abby!

**


Moving right along...

Boy, were we ever cranky. It was embarrassing. John was cranky because he is not feeling so great. If this winter doesn't quit soon, it'll be winter 1 and John zip. I was feeling cranky because I am not feeling so great either and when John gets cranky, I catch it. (Maybe that's the other way around.) Add in the fact that his vision and his hearing are bothering him. Yup, it's official: We are older.

So we had gift certificates from our respective birthdays awhile back. We decided that Friday would be the day to use them. JCPenney was first up. It has now been several years since I last visited the store so it was interesting to see the changes. John was shopping for t-shirts and a dress shirt. Next thing I know, he's tossing his t-shirts on the counter with a fair amount of attitude.

I: Whatsa matter with you?
He: I can't see you and I can't hear you!
I: Why not?
He: Because that big window is over your head and there's too much light shining on you. 
I: Well pardon me for not bringing my parasol. (No, I just thought of that as I was writing this up, but I wish that I had said it.)

We finally got through the one register in the entire store (not that it was busy...is JCPenney dying?) and headed for my stop—Hobby Lobby.

Just one look and I knew that I should not have brought He-Who-is-Not-Feeling-So-Great along. Ohhhh...soooo much to see...great bargains. Well, I needed thread so, alas, the sewing aisles were the only ones I saw.
 
As John dutifully followed me manning the cart, we made our way to the registers where we found the first two young-chick clerks deep in what appeared to be a meaningful conversation. We continued on to the next register where the "old" clerk was just finishing up with a customer. The old clerk seemed shocked that we were in her aisle when there were two perfectly good registers before and suggested we return to those registers. Are you kidding me, lady? Did you see how this poor husband of mine limped up here?! No, I didn't say that. I said something worse, "I might have done except that they were busy talking."
 
Would you believe that at that moment young-chick clerk called over and said that she could help us now? I should have stayed right.where.we.were. No, I made my poor, long-suffering husband limp back over there.

 Young-Chick clerk was very efficient and quite a little piqued. (I had seen "old" clerk give her the stink eye.) Well I was feeling more than a little piqued, too. When my order did not total the amount of the card, I added another item. Big sigh from clerk. Still not enough; I added another item; Another big sigh from clerk. I started to grin because I was enjoying it way too much. I need to repent. Have I been watching too much Downton Abbey? Probably!

We're putting ourselves back on house arrest as it is obvious, to me anyway, that we are not fit to be out in polite society.

Did I shock you?


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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Downton Abbey Season Five Thoughts


Earlier in the week, I had promised my sparkling and witty observations on Downton Abbey Season 5 and am now quite shocked to discover I don't have any. What a bummer!

Yes, I'm often running behind these days. (Unlike Violet, I am not able to claim that the last time I was late was the day I was born.)  

No synopsis here. Just some random willy-nilly thoughts and some photos snitched from ITV dot com and such places.  There are a few screen captures from rewatching at Masterpiece through the PBS site. Okay, now that that's out of the way...off we go.

Overall, I liked Season 5, though I had my doubts when Lady Mary was busily trying to "test" Lord Gillingham. Is there a delicate way to say this?  Such "testing" is unnecessary because the plumbing is so rarely the problem. Relationships are the problem and relationship does not require testing the equipment. (Oh dear, this is excruciating...don't mean to make anyone cringe.) And even with Violet's advice, "In my day a Lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction, until she had been instructed to do so by her Mama."  
Yes, well, apparently, not.

Because this season also included that back story about Violet's affair/near affair with Kuragin.  I can not imagine what drew her to him. He's definitely a moody Russian, but then life has been hard on him and perhaps he's become more and more depressed over time never having begun that way. Wonderful to hear the "details" of the story when Isobel and Violet were having their heart to heart. Being "snatched back from the abyss" by the Princess Kuragin proved to be one of Violet's greatest life lessons—family is more important than any affair with a moody Russian.

One thing I would have liked is if the producers had included an actor of Violet's age. The actor who plays Kuragin is 12 years younger than Maggie Smith. It made for confusion when one is into timelines as much as I am.  It would have made that storyline more believable for me. You can find some excellent Downton Abbey timelines online, if you get confused by ages and events. For example, I was shocked to discover how old Lady Mary is.

 Season Five Theme : Family is more important than any grubby old affair.

I'm going to leave poor Cora alone, but just so you know: I did not find her behavior blameless with that stupid art dealer, yet I am glad that, ultimately, she and Lord Grantham are closer now. I once described that couple as the glue that holds the show together and I still feel that way.

The little filler stories didn't excite me much — the conflicts below stairs and the ongoing saga of Violet's battling staff. I know that I am not alone with wishing that Mr. and Mrs. Bates be allowed to move on to a happy future with no more of that bothersome story line.

Joanne Froggatt is just amazing in her role. I enjoy watching those intense emotions flit across her face.

~Blast! They're arresting me!~



~Resolved or nearly...close enough!~

Mary's finest moment this season probably came with being willing to visit her maid in prison. I loved that about her. I did not love that she is so cruel and cutting to Edith. I agree with her Granny's assessment: My dear, a lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears. And how unobservant Mary is to not recognize that Marigold is Edith's child. She's the last one at Downton Abbey who hasn't a clue. 



I find this ironic given her powers of observation. After all, she praises Henry Talbot for asking good questions, even as she tells him that she won't answer. I hope that these two are in each other's future. Really, I just hope that anyone, except Tom, is in Mary's.

Sinderby's affair story line annoyed me. Refer to Season Five's theme. Though I am always happy when a snooty butler is reminded of his station by an even snootier butler. Ha!

~snooty butler/s~snooty Lord Sinderby bookends~

Because Rose was never a favorite character of mine, I am glad that she is married off and "redeemed" and heading for New York with Atticus and all in record speed, even by Downton Abbey standards.


The scenes at Brancaster Castle were wonderful...the story not as much.


Perhaps it was just a chance for Alnwick Castle as Brancaster Castle to shine. Do you feel, as I do, that these grand homes are characters, too?

Mrs. Drewe...ewww...not happy with this portrayal. I wanted real tears! After all, she considered herself Marigold's mother. And why did the producers see fit to deny us the scene between Mrs. Drewe and Cora when Mrs. Drewe snitched on Edith to her mother? I wanted to see that!


Speaking of whacked story lines, why in the world does Mrs. Hughes need a demented sister? I'm just glad that Carson loves her and doesn't care that there's an odd sister floating about or that Mrs. Hughes is a pauper. Hope that we get to see the wedding! Just one thing, she touched him on the arm when she accepted the old booby's proposal. Really? That's all? At least last year, we saw some hand-holding.


It seems that every episode brought some conversation about the changing times and how life could not go on as it always had done. Foreshadowing at its finest. Though I can not find a source (other than Susan Branch), I think next season will be the last. The characters are growing older and the actors can't age that quickly without serious time in the make-up chair. Think of the costs! ☺

Isobel is so smart. I am glad that she gave Lord Merton the boot as his sons were insufferable. She and Violet will be wonderful companions in their continued old age.

Loved the closing Christmas scenes...

 ~actors waiting for their scenes...such fun to see!~



This is my fond hope for next season:

~torn between two sisters~
 
~not this one~

~this one!~

What are you saying, Vee?! That's right: I want Tom to marry Edith and have more children and live a long and happy life. Mary can have anyone. No Boston for Tom! Tom, trust me, Boston can be the puds.

That's the extent of it...almost.

~RIP Isis~



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