Friday, December 30, 2011

Could Have Been Bad

New pictures from Boat fire rescue on Fort Myers Beach

My niece Carla (wearing the blue jacket) and her husband and dog were on his family boat when it caught fire yesterday. Thank goodness they were anchored in the bay and not out in the ocean somewhere. It's a miracle the boat didn't blow up before it sank. They were so very lucky and we are so blessed they are all safe.

Quick Post

Just wanted to let you all know I'm fine and well.  I've been sequestered in my bedroom for the past four days trying to get a grip on the mess that is of my own making.  Neglect for the last several years - yes, several - has led me to this point in time where I can no longer function as a normal human being.  If I'm brave enough I'll share the before and after pictures later today, once I've put everything back in its proper place and I can finally rest easy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday.  So much craziness at my Mom's apartment.  It gets unbelievably loud with 28 people there.  My Dad would have been popping the Xanax and Ativan if he were still alive.

We got all of the grandkids and great-grandkids together for a group photo.  This is the best shot that I took.

I told you yesterday it would be crowded in the kitchen and I was right!  Here's a shot of my Mom,sisters Carol, Denise, me, and sister Renee.

The big news of the day was that my niece Carla and her husband Jeff, who were married in July, are expecting their first baby next July!  Woohoo.  They don't want to know the baby's sex ahead of time so I'm going to have to whip up some unisex gifts again.

Denver got some help opening his gifts, which included this beautifully hand-crafted truck from my brother-in-law Mike:

Denver got a little overheated with all the people crammed into the apartment, so he needed to shed some clothes.  All the commotion just knocked him out!
But then he woke up:

And then he was out again:

And a cute family shot before they headed off to see Mike's parents: 

Denver is growing like a weed.  Today I tracked down Holly's baby books when I attempted to clean out my closet.  Ugh.  So much stuff -- I feel like a hoarder sometimes.  I just hate to get rid of things.  Right now there's only a footpath from my doorway to my bed so I've got to either find a new home for things or trash 'em.  Enough is enough!  Even I have a limit.  I.  Must.  Be.  Strong.  Now where did I put those big girl pants???

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merrrrrry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas today!  Last year I was moping around, out of a job, but this year things are much better.  I'm working again, I'm a first time grandma of the most wonderful boy in the world -- life is GREAT!  I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying the day, remembering why we're celebrating with friends and family.

I'm in charge of the ham for our family dinner today.  28 people should be attending but baby Denver won't be eating any ham this year.  I bought two hams at Costco since they didn't have a single one over 10 pounds.  Thank goodness leftovers freeze well.  To make things easier at my Mom's I'll cook the ham here, cut it off the bone and then place it in a serving dish, so there's little mess in her tiny apartment kitchen.  You should see us -- 5 to 8 women working in a 5 x 8 kitchen -- it's a wonder we don't kill each other!

My Chicken friend Joyce sent me the most perfect card this year:
Don't you just love it?!!  It's from Heifer International and I'm definitely going to donate to them next year.  Maybe it would be a goodwill project for our knitting guild???

Besides the card at the beginning of this post, I sent out this one that cracked me up when I saw it at Write Impressions in Royal Oak:

I can't wait to give out my gifts this year.  I've had such fun picking out just the right thing for everyone.  Which brings me to this:  I've got to get going and sew a lumbar pillow for my brother in law Mike!

Hope you have a peaceful day.  I'll have lots of pictures coming up soon, no doubt.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Finishing Up

Gotta love UPS, despite those wretched videos from the last couple of days.  I've seen them scooting along my street, two men on a truck, dropping packages off left and right.

Today they brought the last of my gifts for baby Denver.  I ordered a bunch of clothes from Macy's on Wednesday and can you believe it -- they arrived today.  Sure beats the heck out of hitting the mall.  While I love all of the clothes I HATE how the bulk of them were made in China.  Why, why, why.  Next year I'll take my time and make better choices but for now I'm just glad to be done with my shopping.

Tomorrow morning I'm heading over to Natalie's Bakery in Madison Heights again.  I've got to get a loaf of their Christmas Bread.  No wait, it's a loaf of Stollen.  Never mind -- maybe both!

From there I'll be off to the Market Fresh grocery store in Beverly Hills to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army from 10 am until 2 pm.  This is my only stint as a bell ringer this year so I hope it's fruitful.  If you're any where near the northwest corner of Southfield Rd and 13 Mile Rd -- come and see me.  I'd love some company.

Provided I don't need too much thawing out, I'll be running next door to Premier Pet Supply, my favorite place to shop for gifts for all of my four legged friends.  Could be some new treats in Maggie's future....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shop Till You Drop

I finished most of my Christmas shopping tonight -- phew!!  I picked up the last of my gifts for Denver.  Not.  Going.  To.  Buy.  Anything.  Else.  Really!
I stopped at the Doll Hospital & Toy Soldier Shop in Berkley last night.  I love buying local  and I used to buy gifts for Holly there.  While there were loads of made in China junk things I persevered and found several toys that were made in the U.S.A.  I'm actually thrilled with the toys I found in the Green Toys line.

What a joy to find a company that is conscientious -- they recycle milk jugs into children's toys.  In the U.S.A. -- what a great concept!!  Nothing toxic and they have minimal packing, too.  There are no zip ties, twist ties, or plastic things holding these toys in their recyclable boxes.  Holly & Mike will love them and I know Denver will have hours of fun playing with them too.  There are more toys in older age ranges so I'll be picking up more over the years.  I'm starting with the blocks, stacker and tugboat.

I also got an Italian duck push toy and Sophie the Giraffe from France.  I had heard great things about Sophie but today I found there had been a recall several years ago so I hope those issues were resolved.

Denver will be getting his own camouflage fleece throw:

And this cute onesie I got at the Mt Bruce Sheep Station show:

With any luck all of the clothes I ordered from Macy's yesterday will get here by Saturday.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

I wrapped all of my gifts tonight -- probably a record for me.  Usually I'm taking care of that task on Christmas Eve -- practically a tradition.  I feel so much better that it's done.  Now on to the last minute sewing projects.......

Need a Quick Gift Idea?

Thanks to my friends at I learned about a great blog with a host of ideas for quick, handmade gifts.  I checked out several of the links and know I'll be back to view them all.  Try and I know you'll find something you can use too!!
If your tree is looking a bit bare try
And if you want 'green' ideas try this link and you're bound to find a project or two to do.
Be sure to subscribe to so you don't miss any of her future posts!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chicken Christmas

Sunday was our annual Chicken Christmas Brunch.  My friend Joyce hosted us and did all the food, which was fantastic.  Usually we all bring a dish to pass but this year Joyce insisted on doing all the work.  We chatted for hours, much of the time about all of our grandchildren.  There was a gift exchange that required a $10 purchase from Home Goods.  Being on my ABC kick I found an egg carton with soap shaped like eggs that came from New Zealand, to use for my exchange item.  Lots of fun and beautiful things were swapped.  I got a pair of Champagne flutes from Diane.  Mary got my 'eggs'.
Standing are Diane, Kathy, Carol, Debby, Pat, Joyce, and me.  Seated are Mary and Sue.  Missing on Sunday were Jackie and Judy.  Kathy had a photo book printed for Carol of the photos that Debby had taken when Carol presented her quilt trunk show to the guild earlier this year.

Several of the gals are doing a Shoo Fly block exchange.  Here are the blocks that Kathy received that day:

Debby and Kathy were dressed like twins, unintentionally!

And here are the two mothers-in-law, Joyce and Carol:

After five hours of eating, drinking, and gabbing we all went our separate ways.  It's such a fun group we hate to part!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

I hope you don't think that I haven't had anything to say since last Friday's post.  Quite the opposite is true!

Saturday was a great day and I got a good chunk of my shopping done for Christmas.  I tried a new bakery, Natalie's Bakery, in Madison Heights on the recommendation of my friend Sue.  It was fantastic.  The aroma was magnificent and I wanted to buy one of everything they had to sell!  I bought their New York Rye and a loaf of Olive Oil Italian.  They offered me a sample of their Stollen and while I was tempted I held off.  But I assure you it was temporary as I fully intend to go back and snatch up a loaf.  It was fresh and fruity, not rock hard like I'm used to.

You might remember that I'm on an ABC kick for Christmas -- Anywhere But China.  I'm making a very concerted effort to choose gifts that were not manufactured in China, trying for the USA but going with other countries who trade fairly.  Even more so, I'm shopping in small shops in my local area, keeping my hard earned dollars in my community and supporting people who really appreciate my business.  Besides Natalie's Bakery, I spent a lot of time choosing the right gifts for Holly & Mike at American Apparel.  It's a small shop in Royal Oak that primarily sells clothing manufactured in Los Angeles.  I found a super cute knit pencil skirt and a pair of winter leggings for Holly and for Mike I chose a pair of fleece lounge pants and a pair of rubber boots (made in Canada but that's sooooo close, plus I am 1/2 French Canadian!).  I love spending my money locally -- the shop employees are so friendly and genuinely want to help you select the right item.

Friday, December 16, 2011


This weekend will fly by and I have so much I want to do.  A thousand different crafty things are spinning around in my head.  Ok, maybe only a few dozen but still -- I can't decide what to do first.  I've got errands to run tomorrow, including a dreaded trip to Costco to get the Christmas ham.  Do you have ANY idea how crazy it will be there on Saturday???  I'm going to have to get there early and get out as quickly as possible.

I washed the two pieces of fleece that I'll use to make a throw for baby Denver for Christmas.  Then I have to decide on my Secret Santa gift for work.  Let's just say there'll be something crafty included.

Sunday is our Christmas luncheon for the Chicken group.  I've got my $10 gift from Home Goods ready to go. Someone's going to cackle over this one!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Puffy Eyes

Tonight after work I walked Maggie quickly, changed clothes and headed over to the funeral home.  My dear friend Sue's mother passed away on Sunday.  I only knew Margaret for a few years but she's the kind of person I wish I'd known all my life.

A true Irish lass, she always had a twinkle in her eyes.  Kind as they come, she even commented on the good qualities she saw in my roommate.  Margaret was a creature of habit.  She always got her hair done at the local beauty school.  When she drove she only made right hand turns to get where she was going.  And she loved coneflowers, a cup of tea, and an occasional glass of Sangria.

Her family has endured so much this past year.  Sue's youngest sister battled breast cancer.  Her other sister Jennifer died suddenly from a heart attack in January.  Sue's father-in-law, a paraplegic, died in August, and now her mother is gone.  Too much for one family.  Never ask -- 'what else?!'

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Done Done Diddley Done

Tonight I picked up my Christmas cards at Write Impressions in Royal Oak.  I had forgotten how much I LOVE this store.  I need to stop in more frequently.  My mission tonight was to find cards that weren't made in CHINA.  Not hard, they had a lot to choose from that were made in USA, even some cards made by my friend Kate's husband's employer.

I got all of my cards addressed and those that need to be mailed will be dropped off at the post office in the morning.  Phew!  Probably the earliest I've gotten this task done in many years.  

Stay tuned until 12/25 when I reveal my favorite card........

Monday, December 12, 2011

BSKG Meeting

Tomorrow is the December meeting for the Black Sheep Knitting Guild.  Together with my friend Sue, I need to bring some items for our door prize drawings.  Let's just say there'll be some interesting fiber, books, and a special OOAK sheepy item......

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lemon Drop Bag

I have a customer who requests commissioned pieces from time to time.  He ordered a second bag for his sister who lives in England.  The first bag was an Apple Green Bag:

I used Malabrigo Wool in their Apple Green shade and it shrank so much I had to buy more yarn and re-knit the bag, making it MUCH bigger than the first attempt.  I found a ceramic pin at the Potters' Market that worked perfectly on the bag.  My customer was pleased and his sister was thrilled.  Hence the order for a new bag.

This time I used Brown Sheep Bulky in a shade called Lemon Drop -- just what the customer ordered!  Again I knit the bag quite large, probably around 18" plus the flap.  After felting it was about 14" high and I made two pockets to go inside.  I had found two pins I liked and left it to the customer to make the decision.

Here's the bag, inside out, showing the smartphone pocket:

And here's the bag, right side out, showing the magnetic closures:

My sister Denise liked this dog pin but in the end, it did not win out:

Gerald liked the artsy heart pin instead:

Here's a close up of the winning pin:

I was very glad to finish the bag on time and send it off with Gerald, who picked it up at last weekend's Birmingham Winter Markt.  He was very pleased and eager to surprise his sister for Christmas.  Since she lives in England he was going to have to wrap it up pronto and get it in the mail to her so she'd receive it on time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Doodle Bug Yarn

I added a new button on the right side of my blog.  I hope you'll take the time to click on it and check out Doodle Bug Yarn.  They have a super selection of yarn -- lots of great indie yarn makers -- and oodles of other fun things for knitting.  Best of all, you can save $5 on an order of $25 or more, simply by typing LoveMyFiber for the coupon code on the order form!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

GLHQ Meeting Tonight

Tonight is one of my favorite guild meetings.  We're having a potluck dinner and Holiday Bazaar.  I sure hope there are lots of great things to bid on for the silent auction.  I expect to donate a few items myself, which will hopefully add to the money collected for programs, etc.  Bid high, bid often!

I'm actually working on a couple of things for the auction today -- nothing like waiting until the last moment!  I'll have to bring all sorts of 20th Anniversary logo items to try to sell, too.  I haven't unloaded my car from last weekend's show yet so it will be kinda crowded with all I have to bring with me tonight.

This weekend I should be able to get everything back in order.  My roommate is having a tough time at his new job.  I told him they'd be challenging him but I don't think he believed me.  He usually thinks I'm overstating things.  He has a lot to learn.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sad Day

My nephew's wife teaches at the elementary school I went to as a child.  A small world, right?  Last week her friend, one of the 1st grade teachers, died unexpectedly.  She was only 33 years old and 32 weeks along in her pregnancy when something went terribly wrong.  The baby girl died too.  Her husband is also a teacher at that school and I can only imagine how sad it is for everyone.

I'm sure all of the students were eagerly anticipating the birth of this beloved teacher's baby.  Now everyone has to try to be brave and help the widower through his grief, made even more sad with the coming holidays. 

I don't know either one of these teachers but my heart goes out to them and their families.  Maybe it's the joy I have in my heart for my grandson that makes a story like this feel like it hits close to home even though I don't know them.  It's just so very sad.

Monday, December 5, 2011

PTO Day -- Yeah!

Slept in, showered, tidied up a bit, had a massage, shopped at Costco, ripped out a sweater I'd been knitting.  Not my typical day off work but it was fine, although I think I'm a bit tender from the massage.

Kevin had a good first day of work at his new job.  He has a lot to learn, in more ways than one.  Getting up early and coming home late is going to be the norm for him from now on.  His biggest concern is what to do about taking a lunch.  At least, he thinks that's his biggest problem.  Navigating around downtown Detroit is a challenge for him too.  He'll figure it out.  I hope.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Show's Over!

I'm happy to say that my craft shows for the year are complete -- phew!!  This past weekend's show was grueling and the weather today was bleh!  Sales were 1/2 what they were last year and this is the show's second year.  Could be that there were twice as many vendors as last year and that spread the money around a bit more.  Not sure.  I sold all eight of the brimmed hats I felted at my Mom's last Wednesday.  I definitely need to focus on making more of those next year.  I'm disappointed that I only sold one of my woven scarves.  I thought for sure those would go over well at this show, where a lot of well-to-do shoppers strolled around.  Hmm......

I had bought three new tablecloths and the cut-out ornaments to make the booth look uniform and festive.  You can see my 'hot seat' in the back -- that heated throw from Costco and the Presto radiant heat dish served me well as I doubt anyone else at the show was as comfortable as I was.

I'm looking forward to my day off of work tomorrow.  Funny thing is, it's my roommate's first day on his new job.  I hope everything goes well for him.  I'm sure he'll have a lot to tell me tomorrow evening.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I bet there have been times in your life when you couldn't wait to get to sleep.  That's me tonight.  My hands are numb from too much knitting and the minute my head hits the pillow, I'll be out like a light.  I've finished 8 felted hats, some of which are still drying.  If they don't dry by tomorrow I'll use the hair dryer on 'em!

Tonight I met my sister Denise and her sister-in-law Sue at the  Potters' Market in Madison Heights.  Such a wonderful show -- it's impossible to walk out of there without purchasing many things.  Or at least I thought so.  I had several items in my basket but when I got home and put my items away I discovered something AWFUL -- they forgot to include the beautiful chalice I had carefully selected.  Darn, darn, darn.

Because I have the Birmingham Winter Markt this weekend, I won't be able to go back for my chalice.  Damn!  Maybe I'll find something at the Winter Markt that I'll love just as much, or maybe I'll just have to wait for next year's Potters' Market.