Category Archives: Christmas

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Hello and welcome! I hope you all had a nice Christmas. We did. It was a blessing that the storm that wreaked havoc across much of the country did not disrupt our Christmas plans.

One of the gifts I made this year were these gnome towel toppers. The free crochet pattern can be found here. I made several of these as they worked up pretty quick and were budget friendly to make. I didn’t make them in red in green as the original pattern calls for because I wanted the recipients to use them throughout the year not just around Christmas time. I knew when I started making these that one of them would be for my next-door neighbor, Karen. Like me she is a cook and a crafter, and she and I like to exchange homemade gifts.

These gnome towel toppers have a ring crocheted inside them to hold the towel so the towel can be removed and washed. The gnome hat loops down and buttons so it can be hung, usually on the oven handle.

On the Tuesday before Christmas, I took Karens gift over to her. As I handed her the gift she said, “Oh, I have something for you,” then handed me a gift bag. We opened our gifts at the same time and then had a good laugh.

Karens gift to me were the two towels, with toppers, pictured below. The first one I saw was the Gnome for the Holidays one.

The strange thing is that she and I had never even spoke about Gnomes before, we just thought they would be a good gift each other.

Thanks for visiting.

Not In the Mood

I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I’m not sure why but it’s certainly not due to a lack of things to write about. In fact, here are some of the topics that I have either began writing about or thought about writing about.

EGGS
I began writing about our hens who are not laying this time of year and the difference between the eggs that our hens lay and the eggs that we have been buying either from other farmers or the grocery store.

Our eggs have a yolk that is darker in color, thicker in texture and more flavorful than any of the eggs we have bought. I assume it is the difference between hens that are fed primarily commercial chicken feed and those who roam and forage for their food – the later providing the superior egg.

I deleted the original draft of this post as it made me sound like an egg snob. I am not an egg snob. I am truly grateful for the eggs we have been able to buy.

RUBY

I started writing an update on Ruby since she has been with us for just over 6 months now.

I’m not going to go into all the details today, but I will say that we have all fallen head -over-heals in love with her. “All” being defined as my husband and myself, Ranger, our daughters who were here for Thanksgiving, (Tina informed me that when they get a bigger house she is going to steal Ruby.) our grandkids, and even Peanut the cat.

Our prayer for the perfect (for us) dog was answered and Ruby has found her furever home.

Christmas Preparation

Regular readers will likely remember that at this time of year that I am usually busy making Christmas gifts. This year is no different. My sewing machine and crochet hooks have been in my employ for the past several weeks and will likely work some overtime this week. 🙂

Also like in previous years our Christmas tree came from our farm this year. It is a lovely little Norway spruce that we planted as a seedling (twig) in 2012.

KEEPING THE HOME FIRES BURNING

A couple of weeks ago, on Thursday evening, our furnace went out. Since it was after 5pm and not an emergency we waited until Friday morning to call the repair company. It was not an emergency because once I realized that the furnace wasn’t working, I built a fire in the fireplace and warmed up the main part of the house. We ran an electric space heater in the bathroom to keep that area warm and added an extra blanket to the bed that night.

We were thankful that the repair service was able to get to us on Friday and repair the ignitor that had gone bad in our 25-year-old furnace. Having to go the whole weekend without the furnace would have been quite the nuisance and having to replace the furnace would have been even worse.

Do you have a backup plan if your furnace goes out?

A Lesson in Patience

The next week, again on Thursday evening, my computer crashed. I was doing some reading when suddenly the screen went blank, then this message showed up: “No bootable device detected.” I received the same message after shutting it down and restarting it, so I got my book and went to bed to read. Books never crash!

The next morning my husband took my computer to the Cybernerd (repair man) and since I had no hope of getting my computer back before the weekend, if at all, I obtained a backup computer – an extra that my dad had sitting around. It was an antiquated Dell laptop business computer, specifically designed to run Windows 98, but it had been updated with Windows 10.

The substitute computer did what I needed it to do. I could access my email and WordPress accounts and do a little reading, but man, was it slow. It also spent a lot of time updating apparently because it hadn’t been used for a long time and had missed a lot of updates. Rather than let it frustrate me I spent little time on my computer and more time working on making gifts.

On Monday my husband spoke to the Cybernerd and learned that my computer could be repaired, and he could save all of my files. He would have it ready on Tuesday or Wednesday. I was so happy! Wednesday came and went and then Thursday. My husband’s calls to the Cybernerd went unanswered. Finally on Friday he got word that it was ready, and My husband brought my computer home to me.

One really good thing good came out of me using my dad’s old computer – I discovered a bunch of old family photos. He had told me there were some picture files and music files on the computer and I could delete them if I wanted to. After browsing through the pictures and taking a precious trip back in time, I decided rather than delete the files I needed have them saved and backed up so that I could share them with my husband, kids and sisters (and perhaps even you). I now have them saved on a flash drive.

Left to right – Kathy, Aunt Shirley, Jamie, Ruth (me) Front: Erin

I don’t remember what year the above picture, of me with my sisters and Aunt Shirley, was taken but I’m guessing I was in my mid-twenties.

OOPS

A funny thing happened when my husband and I were grocery shopping. Quite by accident I toppled a cardboard display stand of batteries and sent several dozen packages of AA batteries crashing to the floor. My husband and I both watched helplessly as it was falling and my first thought as I looked at the mess was of Steve Urkel in the whiney, irritating voice “did I do that?”. I appreciated by my husband’s reaction; he didn’t roll his eyes, he didn’t shake his head, nor did he walk away and pretend he didn’t know me. Instead, he graciously asked me if I wanted to unload our two carts full of groceries or clean up the mess I just made. I let him reset the display while I unloaded the shopping carts. The thing is even if it was a complete stranger he would have jumped in to lend a hand. It’s one of the things I love most about him. Yes! he’s a keeper!

Looking Ahead

With just a few days before Christmas the National Weather Service has sent out a message that a winter storm, which I think they should name “Grinch” or “Ebenezer”, is threating to steal Christmas.

Winter Storm Watch

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac MI
348 AM EST Wed Dec 21 2022

MIZ047>049-053>055-060>063-068>070-075-076-082-083-212115-
/O.NEW.KDTX.WS.A.0003.221223T0300Z-221225T0300Z/
Midland-Bay-Huron-Saginaw-Tuscola-Sanilac-Shiawassee-Genesee-
Lapeer-St. Clair-Livingston-Oakland-Macomb-Washtenaw-Wayne-
Lenawee-Monroe-
Including the cities of Midland, Bay City, Bad Axe, Saginaw,
Caro, Sandusky, Owosso, Flint, Lapeer, Port Huron, Howell,
Pontiac, Warren, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Adrian, and Monroe
348 AM EST Wed Dec 21 2022

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH
SATURDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Blizzard conditions possible. Wind gusts in excess of 50
  mph possible. Potential exists for snowfall totals in excess of
  6 inches for some areas.

* WHERE...Portions of southeast Michigan.

* WHEN...From Thursday evening through Saturday evening.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible.
  Widespread blowing snow may significantly reduce visibilities
  to near zero yielding whiteout conditions. Drifting snow could
  hamper snow removal operations. The hazardous conditions may
  impact the morning and evening commutes Friday while posing
  great risk to holiday weekend travel. Strong winds may bring
  down tree branches and cause scattered to widespread power
  outages.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...A rapid changeover from rain to snow is
  expected late Thursday evening into Friday morning. Wind chill
  values drop some 5 to 15 degrees below zero at times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Prepare for possible blizzard conditions. If you must travel,
have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay
with your vehicle.

Continue to monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this
situation.

We’ve been watching the forecast for several days and checking off items on our preparedness list.

  • shopping done
  • vehicles fueled up
  • firewood stocked, oil lamps, flashlights ready
  • generator, snow blower, tractor fueled up
  • bucket of water for flushing in case water goes out, bottled water for drinking

I still have a couple of errands to run today including a visit to my dad to take him a few things, but I think we are as ready as we can be to face this storm.

I am also aware that power outages or poor travel conditions may change our plans to have family over to celebrate Christmas, but I’m sure that the best gift would be to have everyone do what it takes to be safe and well.

If you are in the path of this major winter storm I hope you too will do what it takes to be safe and well.

Merry Christmas

Even though I haven’t felt much like writing lately I did want to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas and will take the opportunity to do that now in case this “Grinch” of a storm decides to cut off our power.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

2021 Our Homemade Christmas

Hello and Welcome!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did!

Before we move into the new year let’s take a look back at what kept me busy throughout the month of December.

You may remember this post back in October back in when my daughter, Lindell, saw me wearing one of the shirts, a hoodie, that I had made and decided I should make one for her. I told her “Christmas is coming”. Then when I asked my other daughters, they all decided they would like one. Each of the girls told me what color they would like, except Tina, who said “anything but pink”. Before I went fabric shopping, I decided to give them the option of having me make them a cardigan instead of the hoodie. Kara was the only one who took me up on this offer.

I also asked Tina what I should make for Jackson and Addie and she gave me some ideas.

It was toward the end of October, when I had my materials list ready, that I grabbed my sister and dragged her to the fabric store. LOL! Just kidding. If you know my sister, you’ll know she was more than happy to go to the fabric store with me. It’s one of our favorite places to spend time together.

I will say that I took some creative liberties with choosing fabrics for the girls. I didn’t want to make shirts that were just one solid color; I wanted to design one-of-a-kind garments that I thought would suit their individual style(s).

Hanna’s color choice was black, so I selected the snakeskin fabric then trimmed it in solid black.

Lindell asked for this army green, so I selected this tied dye green and white for trim.

I chose this blue print for Tina and the solid blue trim is actually sprinkled with glitter.

This shimmery stretch corduroy for Kara’s cardigan was so beautiful that I decided to use it for the entire garment.

Making these garments for the girls went pretty smoothly since I had previously made the hoodie pattern three times for myself, and I had made the cardigan pattern once before.

Then it was time to learn something new. The patterns that I selected for Jackson and Addie were both new to me and both posed some new challenges. While all of the garments were made with TLP (Tender Love and Prayer) there was probably more prayer that went into these.

For Addie, who loves to dress up, I made this dress with color blocked sleeves and a double layer skirt.

For Jackson I made this dragon hoodie.

I was so excited when Christmas finally arrived, and I could give the girls their gifts. Kara and Lindell had both told me that they were excited about getting them.

Christmas was a wonderful day – the house was filled with life, laughter and love (and food). After brunch (breakfast food for lunch) we opened gifts.

Below are a few pictures of everyone modeling my handiwork.

Beautiful Addie!

I was thrilled to see that Addie’s dress was a perfect fit. Actually, I was amazed as I watched each recipient open their gift and slip it on, that they all seemed to fit just right – answered prayers.

Jackson showing off his dragon wings.

After seeing Jackson’s dragon hoodie my daughters asked when I was going to make them each one. HaHa!

The sister picture. (Ranger photo bombed this one. LOL!)

Each time I get together with all four daughters I try to get a sister picture with the four of them together. It doesn’t happen very often nowadays. The last time we were all together was over a year ago.

Here’s a challenge for readers who don’t know our family personally: can you put the girls in order of age from left to right?

I also try to get a picture of me with the girls. This time around we were able to get Aunt Donna, my mom’s sister, in the picture and my granddaughter Addie. Four generations.

My husband doesn’t mind me saying that he is not a very good photographer. He needs to work on focusing and staging because while I wanted this picture to highlight their new Christmas clothes, I can’t help looking at those feet. LOL.

In the meantime, at least I can edit/crop the pictures to change the focus – the beauty in digital photography. No more crazy feet.

Well maybe one more look. LOL!

Thanks for visiting.

As 2021 comes to an end, we wish you a Happy New Year and a blessed year ahead. May God’s light guide your way in 2022.

Christmas Tree Round 2 and Other Strange Happenings

Hello and Welcome.

On Saturday we discovered that our Christmas tree that had only been up for two weeks was dying. STRANGE. It was losing needles quickly and if we brushed or bumped a branch the needles rained down completely coving the tree skirt. At that rate it would soon be naked. I have never seen a Christmas tree die so quickly. In fact, the tree we had last year still had needles on it this spring, even though it was taken out of the house shortly after Christmas and left at the farm to die.

On Sunday we undecorated our Christmas tree and my husband went to the farm to cut a replacement tree. We brought the new tree in and set it in the stand but decided it was best to let the snow melt off the branches before we decorated it. On Monday afternoon I put the lights, ornaments and candy canes on the new tree.

My husband added the angel when he got home. This tree, that seems perfect in every other way, is missing a tall center branch on top that typically holds the angel, so our angel is in the center on top of the tree but nestled in amongst the outward reaching top branches. A unique Christmas tree indeed.

The dying Christmas tree is not the strangest thing that has happened though. That would have to be the forsythia bushes that blossomed at the farm about three weeks ago. There were two of them in full bloom. (I didn’t get a picture.) That is not supposed to happen this time of year. Our forsythias always blossom in May. STRANGE.

We also had bulbs, likely daffodils, sprouting in the prayer garden last week. That too should not happen until spring. STRANGE.

The other thing that is different this year than in past years is the chickens. Normally they stop laying when they molt in the fall or at least begin producing less eggs sometime in November. We get fewer and fewer eggs through December until we hit a low. After that it’s usually sometime in February, or around the time the sap begins flowing, that the hens begin laying more eggs again.

This year the flock began to molt in October and by November there were feathers everywhere and I was getting only one egg every other day. I expected this to last until February but about two weeks ago we began getting more eggs on some days and it has gradually increased until we were getting three eggs each day this week and then today, we got five eggs. STRANGE. (I wonder if the sap is flowing)

Even though I find this to be weird I’m not complaining – in fact I’m thrilled, especially since during our dearth my husband was buying eggs from a neighboring farm for $4.00 a dozen.

I don’t think it’s strange that I finished making Christmas gifts for my kids and grandkids last weekend though usually I’m not done quite so early. Since I had some time to spare, I decided to make myself a Christmas present. No, I didn’t wrap it and put it under the tree.

I put it on yesterday evening and my husband is now calling me Candy Cane. It’s made with flannel and I’m quite happy with the way it turned out and how it looks on me.

I finished up wrapping gifts today and tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I will spend cleaning and getting an early start on cooking for our family brunch on Christmas day. I am so looking forward to having the kids and grandkids here for the day.

Thank you for visiting and from our home to home and from our hearts to your heart we wish you a

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Alive and Kicking

Hello and welcome!

It’s been over three weeks since I my last post. This has been the longest period in between posts since I started this blog in May of 2015. Even though I am still dealing with pain and numbness in my right arm, due to a pinched nerve, I think it’s time to start writing again or at least let readers know I’m still alive and kicking (click the link for the idiom reference).

Here’s some bits and pieces from the last three weeks.

Managing

To address my pinched nerve I have continued to receive chiropractic adjustments twice a week, I have been doing daily exercises or stretches and taking some supplements to help relieve the pain. I have been able to maintain most of my regular activities. Sitting at my computer is still the most painful activity. In fact, right now my computer has literally become a laptop and I am sitting in my recliner while I tap away at the keys. Sleeping has also been difficult. I can usually find one position that is comfortable but when I need to change positions it usually takes a while to find another comfortable position. The other activity that I’ve not been doing is crocheting – thankfully I I was not planning on crocheting Christmas gifts this year.

I have come to accept that this condition is probably the result of decades of bad posture, and it is going to take some time to correct. There is NO quick fix. Meanwhile I’m managing.

Weather Report

Our weather has been like a roller coaster ride. We have had days that are warm and sunny, some that are rainy, on a couple of days we have gotten 2-3 inches of snow that has melted over the next day or two. We even had a windstorm that knocked out our electricity for about 15 hours on Saturday/Sunday.

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas is just over a week away and I’m getting really excited. I have been spending a great deal of my time making Christmas gifts. It’s a good thing that most of the recipients don’t live with me because I would probably just give them out as I finished each one (like I did with my husband) then have nothing to give on Christmas.

I made my husband these boxer shorts, and when I had them finished I couldn’t wait to give them to him. I was so happy to find out that they fit perfectly, and he loves them.

The rest of my homemade gifts this year are also things that I have sewn. At the time of this writing, besides the boxers, I have 7 items that I have completed and only one more to do. Of course, I won’t be posting pictures of those projects until after Christmas because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for those who will receive them.

It was a warm day in the first week of December when we went to the farm to pick out our Christmas tree. We walked the perimeter of the back field then up the west property line toward the front, the two areas where most of our spruce trees are planted. We examined each tree, looking at things like its size and shape, as well as how straight its trunk was, and did it have a lot of dry needles.

The Norway spruce that we selected was one of the last ones we looked at. One of my favorite things about this tree is how its branches reach upward as if in joy or praise. I think it is a quite cheery tree.

I’m also getting excited about the New Year. Normally I don’t get very excited about the New Year – it’s just something that happens but last weekend my husband and I were doing some shopping and I spotted this 2022 wall calendar with my verse on it.

I couldn’t resist buying it and am now looking forward to hanging it in my kitchen.

Thanks for visiting.

What have you been up to? Are you looking forward to Christmas?