Thursday, January 4, 2018


In all you do, in all you aspire to, I wish you well.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The. Best. Cornbread. Ever.

On Thanksgiving I was given the delightful treat of homemade cornbread. 
Now I'd had cornbread several times in my childhood.  I don't recall it being a common occurrence; I don't recall anyone in my family particularly fond of it.  I was only interested in any type of honey butter (with my sweet addiction)....and was always disappointed that the bread (which suspiciously resembled a yellow cake when baked) proved to be nonsweet.

Imagine my surprise when I bit into this cornbread.....I never knew cornbread could have REAL CORN in it.  I absolutely love corn but seldom have it, knowing it processes as a sugar.

Still, I will be making this for my birthday instead of cake.  It is THAT good!
Deb gave me the recipe but you can see it is rather skeletal. 

1 can whole corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 Jiffy box  corn muffin mix
1/2 stick butter
1 cup sour cream
350 degrees oven
Mix all, bake 45 minutes, last five minutes add shredded cheese, melt, serve!
I'm going to try mine in a 9x9 glass pan, buttered.
Deb doubles this recipe for family gatherings or potlucks.  She gets requests for it all the time.   

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Two Decades

Happy Birthday, Dear Daughter.
Many happy returns of the day----I wish you well.

Monday, December 4, 2017

To a Safe Place

     I am flying high------after an amazing morning.  I did a ton of errands and was on my way to the hospital (lab tests).  I needed to get gas first so went to my credit union for the ATM.
     As I was putting in my code I heard a "whoosh" sort of like the sound of a waterfall...then looked up and saw that my engine was smokin' something fierce.  I turned the car off and tried to end the transaction----in my panic I think I determined that wasn't possible so I finished the transaction and noticed a vehicle behind me.
     I turned the car back on and drove about 20 feet to the back of the parking lot.  I turned it off and fought tears...pretty much, without fail, I have had car trouble in safe places.  I realized I was fifteen minutes away from having been on a state road in the middle of nowhere. 
     I called my mechanic from my cellphone and left a message.  I then took everything with me that I was going to take to the hospital and went into the credit union.  A lovely perk of a small town is that I know a lot of people in businesses; the manager drove me the mile home.  By the time I got into the apartment I was downright giddy.  If I could have, I would have fallen to the floor and kissed the carpet (ewww).  I was so happy to be in my own home, happy dog to greet me, my bills in the mail and safe and snug.
     I often think about how far-reaching God's love is.  I am more than content with how protective of my safety He is...and will rest there.

My mechanic and his wife went to the credit union, IN A LIGHTNING STORM, and checked out the car.  When they'd come to my place first I gave him some cash for antifreeze, which is what I lost in the ATM line.
When they returned with my car the wife handed me the change----"just a hose that came loose, all it needed was antifreeze....."
So I wanted to kiss the carpet again.  The God I serve-----is amazing!!

I spoke with my friend (mechanic's wife) the next morning, thanking them again for their incredible help. She chuckled and said, "well I have a story that made my family's hair stand on end.  When I went to give you the change back, and you said keep it,
when I got back in the car I counted it.
Earlier in the week my husband and I found some great deals on little things for the girls for Christmas.  We are leaving for a trip as a family, and I told the Lord that I was dipping into the travel money to buy these little things, and that I would have to rely on Him to replace the money.
When I counted the cash you gave me it was the same amount I had spend."

God is the ultimate economist.  Yowza.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Starting Over

     I've just ripped out half a knitted sock.  It was a very hard decision for me; I know the hours it took to knit as far as I did.  However, it became clear that the sock would be looser than I like.  So I took a deep breath and ripped it out.
     Now I am happy; I've started over and feel like I set things aright. In my early decades this would have been torture for me.  In my perfectionism I would have groused and grumbled until I was passed the point from which I had to  originally rip out. 
    I am content with starting over, knowing that the choice to fix it was good.  Not worrying that the original choice had been off.
    I wish I'd learned this earlier in life in regards to relationships.  The chance to start over in any area of life, profound or inconsequential, is a gift indeed.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Post Thanksgiving

Again I find myself so busy that I am neglecting my writing.  Poor blog.

Recurring health issues have made this a hard autumn; I am blown away by the sustaining power of God.  Even during this time I have been creating, socks again though at first stitch with kicking and (silent) screaming.  As with all things craftsy, I am not motivated UNTIL I am motivated....once I got the second fuschia sock done I was in full swing again!  Here are my latest two pair, though another pair slipped itself in there and was sent off to Minnie.  :)

This is Judy Decker's Cast On.  YouTube has several vids on this but I use only the one from Judy herself.  It makes for no seam at the toe which feels heavenly when cozied around the foot.

Increases until the alloted stitches to go around the foot comfortably.

First fuchsia sock done.....Stroll Merino Sock yarn from KnitPicks.

Cat Bordhi's Smooth as Tomato heel---of course YouTube-----most of my sock pattern creation came from Cat's eBook on socks.....the heel is not the normal short-row technique.  I've had to watch it a dozen times before I could do it without referring to it.  Much of that is because I'm on a sock-frenzy and do it a few times a week now.  :)

Opal Sock yarn----this was a love/hate relationship the whole way.  I love the colors, I hated how scratchy it felt.  It was counter-intuitive for me to plod through the knitting-----I am a very tactile person----but surprisingly enough I've found that they are not really scratchy on my feet.  WooHoo!  Maybe there is more Opal in my future!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Finished room, chair pads, Jesus, knitted doll,and Dear Daughter's quilt

I have been a busy bee the last while.  Finally have the Civil War quilt done and on the bed.  Didn't want it fullsize because I want to be able to launder it in my own washer.
I am really happy with it; it completed my themed room to my liking.

I came across a plastic tool I purchased several years ago from a local (and now gone) quilt shop.  It's the end of a toothbrush with a hole in it, with the other end tapered.  It looks like a giant needle which in essence it is.
If you do a Google or YouTube search for "toothbrush rag rugs" you will find instructions.  I made four chair pads in a week.
I did say addicting, didn't I?

I am thrilled to have done these pads in the same Civil War repro fabrics as the quilt.  I think they help finish the room.  Yes, my chair pads are playing musical chairs.  I move things around all the time.

Here is the finished look, sort of.....have other items on wall to balance out the height of the piece on the far right.  That one was done by my gr grandmother or my gr aunt.
No one knows for sure. It is hardanger, and my mother framed it and hung it in her home for many years.
There are many sentimental items in this photo; the room makes me happy and is so peaceful.  Mission accomplished.

I have a dear friend in CA, my former hair stylist, with whom I've remained in close contact.  We go back about 25 years.  Her birthday was in October and I found this charted pattern online.  It has over 20,000 stitches in it.  I started at the nose and really enjoyed watching Christ's face emerge.  It was a really pleasant piece to work on.
She knows it's coming.

I found this style of doll on Pinterest about a year ago.  I wrote out a pattern and made one for Brook for her birthday (Dec. 3) and asked her, in May, if she wanted it early.  Send it on! was her cry.  Off to CA it went.
Imagine our chagrin when the little doll never showed up.  As far as we can tell it WAS delivered but was probably pinched from Brook's porch. Ugh.  What a lot of work the doll was.  I didn't have the heart to make another one...until last week.  I played around with the idea and before I could stop myself, there I was knitting another one.  I love her shoes (which are crocheted then sewn on) because her feet are covered and the shoes can't get lost.

When Dear Daughter was seven, she sewed the squares inside this little beauty by hand.  I marked the seams at 1/4" and she diligently tackled it----and expertly, I might add---and then I put it away "to be quilted some day."
Okay, that day came a dozen years later------this is just smaller than crib size, and is put away with other items that have been saved for her "someday."

Final note for this post....I saw this on a church marque this week:
The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let go.
Hear, hear.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Milkshake after wisdom teeth removal

I came across this and thought it was really precious. Yes, the teen is hysterical-----comedically as well as dramatically----but her timing is impeccable, even with anesthesia withdrawal.

Dear Daughter had 8 teeth pulled at one appointment in 2013 but I don't remember any conversation on the way home.  Strong, silent type, she.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Suffering Faith

I don't know if she is really suffering much, but her human-mom is suffering for her.

Faith had surgery on two aggressive cysts on Monday.  The one on her tail was especially problematic in surgery since she has little extra skin to suture.  She needs to be seen a few more times by vet to change her bandage but she is faring pretty well.

She spends most of the day out of the collar (as long as I have an eagle eye on her).

Thank you, dear friend, for making this surgery possible.  You know who you are.

Right after we got home----zombie sweetie

She doesn't protest but she is not fond of the collar

Last week Miss Cheeky jumped up on my belly and wouldn't look me in the eye---she knew better...

Middle of the night several weeks ago----she loves to sleep on her back.  She is the Queen of "play dead" dogs...

She knows she is supposed to sleep in her bed (on my bed) but she sneaks out.  Again, she refuses to look at me when she is naughty.  Diva, diva, diva.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wool Strawberries and Mona Lisa

     I asked Brook if she had any spare wool fabric in pinks and reds.  She graciously sent me several pieces, the results shown here.  Man, these are really addicting, especially putting in all of the little floss stitches.....I plan to make more but they really hurt my thumbs.  HOWEVER----NOTHING stuffs like wool.  It really is a dream.

Michele sent me a glasses case she bought at the Louvre in Paris.  She told me to hold it up to my face and take a picture.  Normally I am the goober, but I couldn't get what she wanted me to do.
The minute I walked into the bathroom I "got it"....and here are the results. She is a goober after my own heart.
One of my gr. nieces fanning herself with Mona L.


Stitchery in my absence...ancestry

VERY hard to believe that it has been almost two months since I posted last.

No reason for it except busy, busy hands and mind!  I will attempt to show and briefly explain my doings...

Michele and her family went to Europe for several weeks this summer.

We had been talking about quilts and I decided to surprise myself and see if I could prepare a top piece before her return.  Here is the result, made from Civil War repro fabrics.  I've been collecting CW fabrics for 20+ years.  This will make a good coverlet for my bed.
I love the "double pinks" (which I believe during the era meant dyed twice)
Well this really got my creative juices flowing.  I have always been enamored with the 1850-1870 period, and wondered what I could do to make my bedroom look more like that time period.  Mind you, I have had no theme in my bedroom for over ten years....since we moved here.  So "designing" my room, on an exceptionally tight budget, became my summer/autumn goal.
First, I found about 18 frames at a local thrift store.  I then designed the stitcheries to fit the frames.  That saved a ton of money.  Ten years ago someone gave me a sweater box of DMC floss; again, a huge savings there.

Several years ago I designed a cross-stitch sampler with my father's gr grandmother's name on it.  I decided to go through the genealogy papers my mom had given me (go Mom!!) and came up with many  names and dates.  So far I can only go back with certainty to 1833.  It is my desire to get back to the 1700s if at all possible.
Here is the first sampler I designed...

Unfortunately, Eliza (which is probably short for Elizabeth)
wasn't listed in a census with her maiden name----this is her married name.
Time takes it's toll on everyone----I find I need reading glasses to do 28 ct. evenweave work.  I stitch over two threads; so the end result is about the same as 14 ct.  I don't need the OTT light if I am working in the daylight.
Here is the second stitchery.  What makes this one especially nice is that I have a newspaper clipping with her picture from her 80s.
First, I did the stitchery on ivory evenweave (HobbyLobby).  Next, I placed it on parchment paper and spritzed it with coffee----weak at first but then I continued to add coffee to the spray bottle.  In all honesty I think it is too dark, but it does give an interesting look. 
Coffee dyeing drying 

Caroline died in the influenza circa 1918; my grandmother (Emma) was only12 at the time and had a 2 year old sister, Louise.  I don't know how old Emma was when her father (Mr. Bingham?) died.
Emma and Louise went with Mr.Zane (Louise's father) to Morris St. in Philly to live with Caroline's family. When Emma married my grandfather, Louise went to live with them until her marriage. Emma named her firstborn Louise, after her sister.  Louise is my mother. (Go Mom!!)
Stina Jonson Karnell is oddly enough buried 15 miles from me along with her husband (Albert) and children.  Albert was a pastor in a local church.  I've been able to locate the family plot as well as the church.  The church is an abandoned building in a scary part of that town.  I am fortunate to have Stina's maiden name.
Their son Almer was a pastor in Philadelphia (and also New Jersey--possibly Conneticut?).  He was married to Minnie Mathisen,who I'm stitching now.  She was an amazing woman. More about her when her stitchery is done.... 
Emma Nissen is Caroline's mother.  We believe her married name is Schmid, though census' list her as Schmidt and Schmid.  My mother remembers the family and the house on Morris St.
Mary Burns Cotney is my mother's grandmother on her father's side
I think it goes like this:
Mary Hiller Smith
had Anna(Annie)
who had Mary
who had John (and Anna, and Francis)
who had Louise
who had me, Mary Ann
I was named after Mary Burns Cotney and her daughter Anna
So it was
(skip a generation)
Mary Ann
Doesn't mean much to anyone else but me. :) 
Ellen Flanagan Cotney shares the same birthday as one of my brothers...her mother was Ellen Flanagan married to Joseph Flanagan. 

Still on the lookout for era-specific items, I found this at a local yard sale.
It is crystal and weighs about 7 lbs....and cost $5.

I try to stay ahead of designing patterns so that I always have another one ready to start...I am continuing on in my research so I can continue designing.  Once the quilting is done, then I will show my "WORK IN PROGRESS" finished bedroom.

This is what I often do when designing a pattern---I split my screen so I can watch a YouTube or a DVD, cuz I work better with sound in the I'm on a Sherlock Holmes audio book kick------about 40 hours of listening!  I did these 6 stitcheries in four weeks-----about 6-8 hours a day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Regrets of Hindsight

   It is unlikely that given a chance to do it over, I would be able to change my tendencies....but oh, how I would take into account all I have learned in these latter years....this article sums it up.

Just sayin'.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Faith Got Buzzed

I'm so happy with my girl's hairtrim....more aptly, buzz.....she has been sassy since it was cut this morning------she loves it!  Some pics are lighter and more washed-out cuz she is so dark it is hard to get her face to show up, so I fiddled with the lighting setting on my camera.....
Ya gotta love the tongue...

I make no apologies for all this fawning over my dog.  I wanted to do it with Dear Daughter but she likes her privacy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wishful Thinking 1

I was in the grocer's this evening and went down an aisle where something caught my eye.

It was a whoopy cushion.

I wish I'd have purchased whoopy cushions every time I saw one when Dear Daughter was young.  She seemed to love them.  The one I saw today was grand; not one of the flimsy ones but one that perhaps would weather many uses on unsuspecting victims.

I have had many wishes the past two years.  Today's made me smile.  My mind's eye can just picture the fun she would have with this one.  Unfortunately, mostly at my expense. (And I don't mean monetarily.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Faith's First

Tonight is Faith's first 4th of July with me.

For several days random fireworks have troubled her....she's been tearing through the place, looking for the solo demon sounds that threatened her domain.

Nothing I could say stopped her frenzy, until an hour ago when I took her in my arms and let her settle in the crook of my right arm.  That is her definitive safe place.
As I write this paragraph, the town's annual fireworks display is beginning its grand finale.  How satisfying to find her still cuddling in my arm, oblivious to the care she had previously assigned herself to said demons.

If I could just learn to keep myself resting in God's arm.  Oh, the comfort of exhaled, complete trust-rest.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Life-saving Hopeful---THIS IS GRAPHIC in description

     Sometimes I am slow. I mean SLOW.

It can take me years to have an "aha" moment, a moment that can be life-changing yet has been there in plain sight all along.

For me, this one took exactly one year and a day.

    It is uber-obvious that I have been toying with my comments regarding my time at the Cancer Center.  I do so like my privacy.

A few minutes ago it occurred to me that I have the opportunity to possibly save a woman's (or women's) life.  So, open window. Toss out privacy.

     On June 27, 2016, I had a total hysterectomy...a daVinci  procedure.  (The rest of this tale is pretty graphic.)  My uterus, ovaries, and cervix were removed, fortunately vaginally (though I had five incisions for the hysterectomy and 4 others for various reasons).  I had endometrial uterine cancer.  There are many different types of uterine cancer. The most common type starts in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus.

Here is the reason for my tossing privacy out the window....I was pretty suspicious for TWO YEARS that I had cancer. 

    Years ago I was subbing and met a retired teacher who was also subbing.  We were at the school at which she had spent her teaching career.  She was quite venerated.
     The talk around the lunchroom was that she had had "female" cancer.  I talked with her in the hall about it and she explained it to me.  She had recently recovered from her hysterectomy.
     I asked her if she had any signs that she might be ill or that something was amiss.
She said words that would haunt me for those two years.....she said she was sloughing (passing) pinkish tissue.  She had gone through menopause, but she has begun to shed this tissue so she went to her gynecologist and lo, cancer was the diagnosis. 

     The crazy thing is, I had been shedding pinkish tissue for two years prior to 2016.  I'd even talked with people about it.  So why did I let myself go unchecked for those two years?
     Having moved back to the Midwest we lost our health insurance.  I had previously had irregular pap smear results which ended up requiring more tests, but had always proved "nothing serious."  Mind you, I KNEW the pink shedding was serious, due to that teacher-conversation years prior....but I kept thinking of the $$$, and couldn't grasp what that would mean.  I had also begun to wonder if I hadn't hit menopause age 58!  I went TEN YEARS without seeing a GYN.  I was afraid I would fall into a medical-financial abyss.

     I believe God took it out of my hands the night of April 29, 2016, when I began to bleed so severely that I can only call it hemorrhaging.  I have never been in such pain in my life.  I ended up calling 911 because I was so sick, bleeding so much, and ready to vomit a river.  It was an expensive call, but I must add that the EMTs gave me a medication to stop the nausea....said med. also tends to help with pain.  The ER experience (NOT the same hospital that did my surgery) was horrific and nothing was determined except that I should get a biopsy.
Two weeks later I had the biopsy results and it was cancer (told on the phone, I was home alone. Bummer.)  Two weeks after that I was in the surgeon's office at the Cancer Care Center.  The doctor was hopeful and said he felt I would not need chemo nor radiation.  This was good as I am not a chemo candidate, having had the massive heart attack in 2011.
     My surgery was June 27, 2016.  Within a week I had the results-----the surgeon had gotten all the cancer (as shown by the removed lymph nodes) and no chemo nor radiation was needed.  I have finished my follow-up appts. and now only have to go in yearly.

     So why do I tell you this now?  If you, or a woman you know, has these symptoms then by all means available get to a GYN for a biopsy.  Offer to help inquire about financial assistance if necessary.  Though I still have no insurance, I am not overburdened by medical bills.  I have received assistance and can also pay a small amount each month.

     I must also say that I can't believe how much better I felt after the surgery.  I had felt----and been----one sick lady for a very, very long time.

     You now have the corroborating story of two women with the same symptom AND the same diagnosis.  Please, don't hesitate to get help or get help for someone you know who confides in you the same symptom.

I am a slow learner.  Hopefully I am not too late to help someone.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hodge Podge Posts

     These posts are a bit like summer cleaning----you find stuff where there doesn't seem to be a rhyme nor reason.  Still, it is fun to find it all!
I came across the picture on the top today.  It was taken half my life ago-----I think exactly 30 years ago, give or take a week.
The picture on the bottom is within the last year.  My hair was disheveled due to a nap but I kind of thought it suited how I was feeling about life that day....sort of carefree and wild, after a long season of heavy burden.  It is obvious that 30 years came and went. ha ha

Now on to other things.
I went back to the Amish Bird Guy and asked a few questions about birdhouses.
It is so wonderful to be able to talk to knowledgeable people when you are trying to gain information. 
I asked him about house finch birdhouses.  No such thing, as house finches tend to nest on ledges, or in open sort of boxes.
Then I asked him about the cute wren houses he had (quite cheap).  Not a problem....but they won't eat my birdseed.  (They eat bugs.)
It seems the house finches I can feed, but not house.
The wrens I can house but not feed.
I found this sublimely humorous.
I left with a wren house (pictured below) and am hoping I am not too late in the season for them to nest.  BTW, the purple martins are in jeopardy tonight-----it was a cool day and they can only handle cool temps. for about 24 hrs. before the baby birds freeze to death (as well as adults?).  So I'm hoping for a warm evening!
I also made a second bed for Faith as her other bed stays on my bed.  I think it a tad small but she doesn't seem to mind.

Repurposed wood/plastic, the kind they make patio furniture from....
cleanable wren box, to clean out when they all leave for the winter.
Wish I could join them. :(

Faith is snuggling down in her new bed.  I have since put it in a pillowcase (dedicated to the dog) to help keep the bed clean-ish.  Of course it is washable. 

All set, Mom....what're we doin' next??