This part of my blog is all about the things I collect or the things I make myself. I love so many things, I paint and draw and want to learn oils and pastels. I knit and crochet but want to learn tatting. I embroider and can turn my hand to most things given a chance. So much still to learn and do. I live in hope of some day reading all my books, learning all I want to learn and now I am learning to blog. You will often find my original poems, poor as they are I offer them here. I also appreciate other people art and will feature things I find that I have enjoyed. That includes pictures of fairies and fantasy or maybe just anything beautiful.
I try to use my own photo's as much as possible, sometimes I borrow from the web. If I inadvertently use your picture without giving credit, please do let me know and I will either credit or remove it, I hope you will do the same with mine.
If you wish to leave comments on my blog you can do that by joining google if you do not have a blog yourself, please comment if you can I appreciate that.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Front Porch Update..........................

I have been trying to get the front porch updated for Spring. Once the snow left I waited for Gerry to get the vines down. At some point this year he hopes to work on the roof and porch. When the snow falls down onto the porch roof it is doing some damage and that has to be fixed. So with that in mind we decided to take down the vines. Now we won't have birds nesting. That would be sad except that now we have cats, I don't like the stress. Plus Mrs Robin got in a huff last year when I was working out ther and left. Why do I get the cranky ones. So now, it's all gone.
Meanwhile, Laura and I were out the other day and stopped in at the Thrift Store in Lake Leelanau. It's a nice one. Only trouble is they only take cash or cheques. So I was limited to what I could buy. I was out of cheques (so ordered some) and had very little cash. I found two bunnies at 2 dollars each and a basket for one dollar. I only had 4 dollars and 60cents. She let me have it so next time we stop I will make up the difference.
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That one looks like Spring so I figure she can stay on the porch for awhile.
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That one is a boy, he can also stay there for the summer. I also dragged out an old bunny that the poodles had been playing with, tidied her up and sat her on the rocker
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I had folded a really old quilt on the bench and another thrown over. At some point I need to paint the bench, rocker and table as well as the little table that I use to get the mail. For now nothing is arranged too well I am just getting stuff out there. I put out some plastic greens in a hand made basket (by me) to give a little life out there. The big fake tree will be good when I put some rocks in the basket to stop it blowing over haha.
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This afternoon I sat and made some cushion covers for some cushions for the bench. I just grabbed some fabric that I would probably never use and did a very quick job.
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The basket that I got for a dollar will be used for flowers as soon as I find them.Last year I had the flowers in a basket on the bench but not sure how it will all end up this year
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I need to get into the shed/garage to find all my summer stuff. I did get the garden chairs out and need to wash them all but for now they are out.
The side table has an embroidered table cloth on it. It's really too nice for outside but better than sitting in a drawer I guess.
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I found this Butterfly last year at some craft place. It is made from spark plugs. Isn't it cool.
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I still have to find a wreath for the wall or the picture I hung out there last year. Now I don't have the vines to contend with I am thinking of hanging a couple of old windows with some broken glass designs on them. Or stained glass. Or maybe some glass balls. Not sure yet.................this is still a work in progress.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thrifting with Edna..........

It was Edna's birthday on Tuesday and that is when we had the skunk incident. That by the way is becoming more tolerable by the day. Either that or we are getting used to it. I got in the shower this morning and when I wrapped my hair in the towel it smelt like skunk. I could not believe that. So grabbing new towels I finished my shower. Edna had to take her car in for an oil change so she got here just after 10am. The first things we did was to head out to "our" thrift shop. I found a couple of things. Better luck than the last few times anyway. This adorable little cup
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I had one quite similar but it is a different pattern and shape
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I was not really looking for any more cups and saucers but this one was irresistible. The prices in this Goodwill has really gone up. They have lovely things and it is small, cozy and neat, tidy and clean. Pleasant to go there. However, I am not going to keep going and paying prices like I would going to a regular store. Especially as I do not need any of this stuff and I do not sell it for profit.
I collect things, or should I say choose things with Violets on and so I picked up this cute picture frame.
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One good deal was this plant that I got for the front porch. 4.99 for that. When I take care of it and "plant" it in a better pot it will look really cool.
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This tile is going to be useful for putting hot pots on and was 1.99
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While I was at it I picked up a pair of gloves for next year at 1.79. I had found this winter when I wanted to go skiing I had no gloves. I thought these would work well. I never wear gloves but these may be handy. I was going to get a hat too but decided to knit some.
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Oh and this little tin angel for the garden.
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Next we went to Quality farm and fleet. Edna wanted bird seed or something. I got caught up watching the baby chicks. I ALMOST got some. I didn't though because I am not prepared. They would have to be in the house and I don't have the right place to put them. Then there is the cats, yeh...........better be prepared first.
On the way to lunch we stopped at a nice used furniture store because I knew they had knick knacks. Not that I wanted any but Edna decided to look. I found some small glass ash trays for 6.99, there were 3 of them and they would be nice to put our very small blue stones in. Not much of a loss if I didn't keep them.
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The other side of the road was the big Good Will, the Mother store. Going in there and checking prices against our little Boutique..........yeh, they have really hiked up the prices over there. That's not good. I mean to say, I like to "give" to a good cause and get a bargain but for example, a glass dish was around 2 bucks and at their boutique its more like 5.99. Some things I can almost get in the regular store for not much more.
Then we went to lunch at The Chinese Buffet at Edna's request. I bought her lunch and it was good. After that we remembered that Ben Franklin's was going out of business
so that was our next stop. Again, I did not need a thing and was very good. Edna found some bleached muslin for quilt backs. The prices otherwise were not yet really good at only 20% off so I resisted. Edna did get a good deal on the fabric as at least a yard at the end was all wrinkled and they gave her that much free and the rest 20% off and she said it was enough for two quilts. So a great deal there. I got some diffuser oils and wafers to put in the oils.
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I figured that may help with the skunk smell haha.
So that was our day we had a nice day on a rather gloomy gray day. Sort of sprinkled with rain turning to snow but nothing much. It may be worse tomorrow. Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be nice though and then I hope to work in the garden. I was hoping to go out tomorrow with Laura but if its still like this I will do some sewing. I am working on a patchwork quilt.
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If I stay home tomorrow then I can get more done on that. I have a blue for the borders I think, but not sure yet, may do a pale yellow instead. Anyway, Edna remembered that she had some casserole dishes in her car that her son gave her. She had no use for them and well, I could not resist. I have no idea what I can do with them but I love the colours and may swap out something else and keep these
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They will make some nice serving dishes at Thanksgiving time. I will have a struggle to decide what I will take out of the cupboard to make room for them. Hey, they were free how can I resist. Pyrex, the old sort. Only one had a lid though, but as I seldom ever use the lids anyway, I will probably be able to pick some up at garage sales or thrifts.
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I think we had a pretty successful day all in all. I am very happy with the dishes because I love the colours. The big green one has a pouring spout and will be a great mixing bowl. Great day.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Skunked.........so I made chicken soup...................

Oh boy, there I was drifting back to sleep. Gerry had got up at 6.30, letting the poodles out as usual. Well Bijou came bouncing back to bed after and that is unusual. Then the smell. It smelled at first like electrical wires burning. I hopped out of bed and unplugged the diffuser that I had by the side of the bed, that's all I could think of. Then I noticed Brea had come upstairs as well and was under the bed. Oh boy, the smell the smell. Where was it coming from. I rushed downstairs. Gerry was just getting ready to lay back down on the couch. Then it hit me..............skunk. Yep, the girls got skunked.
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Now normally skunks do not bother me. The smell when they spray outside is not so terrible, yes it's stinky but well, I have smelled worse. Try a field of rotting cabbage for example. This though, well it had to be a direct hit. Both of them had oily patches on their faces. Bijou being white was obvious because there was a yellow patch on her face. So, here we were washing the victims at 6.30am. They were not happy but neither was I.
Later in the morning I went to Pet Smart. I got some skunk stuff and some body wipes and bought them each a dress. I figure it would keep the good smell in and stop them wiping anything on the furniture that was now stripped of everything. Using some of the skunk stuff on a cloth I wiped down all surfaces and washed all blankets and pillows.
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Both girls got another bath first, then they went outside for a bit. Feeling much better no doubt.
I polished the tables in the living room. I cleaned the windows on the doors. I vacuumed and dusted while I was at it. I stripped our bed and washed everything opening up the windows and put on the fan. I had done all I could I think. The house still smells. Not too bad though. Bearable

The girls looked so cute in their new dresses.
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Bijou's was a bit big, I must hem it as she keeps stepping on the hem.
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After doing all I could,( it took all day to complete the laundry)...........I put on some soup, I figured that I may as well make the kitchen smell good.
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I was not expecting much, just chicken soup/stew..............but, it was awesome and so I will include my recipe. If no one else sees it at least I will have it on record.
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Oh my, it was so good I had another bowl. That's really not the way to go.
When I went to the doctor on Monday he finally diagnosed me with Diabetes. Well, it's just over the border into type 2 diabetes now, but he gave me some pills. Supposed to take twice a day. I will only take one a day for now with the evening meal. We will see how that goes. My plan is to cut back on salt. Sugar is not my downfall it's starches. So no potatoes, no rice, no pasta and no bread (oh how I will miss bread and potatoes) I did it last summer and lost weight and got my sugar numbers down. I did well until Thanksgiving and winter meals kicked in. Then put back what I had lost. So.............now to get serious. I hate it if I eat one piece of candy my feet feel like they are on fire. Same with wine. Just can not do it. So the dinner tonight was basically chicken and veggies but came out tasting really great. Here is the recipe.
Chicken stew.

3 chicken breasts. No skin.
I - 8oz can of diced tomatoes
I - large box of chicken broth
1 - can of cream of chicken soup.
1 - 8 oz can mixed vegetables
2 - table spoons of Minced garlic
1 - tablespoon Basil
1 1/2- tablespoons of Rosemary
2 - large Bay leaves
1- teaspoon of salt (or to taste I always taste first)
Couple of sticks of chopped fresh celery
added a handful of baby carrots
When almost done I added 1/2 a head of cabbage.

I set the crock pot on high and cooked all day (my chicken was frozen)
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This made my kitchen smell so good after washing the girls it was divine. It tasted so good when I tested I just could not wait to sample it. As I said, I ate two bowls. I had decided to begin on portion control today but that went out the window.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More recipes................

Well there is not a lot going on, bring on Spring. Snow snow snow. What to write about when there is nothing going on. Could not go out this week because Reina has the flu so Laura is staying close to home. I sure can't afford to get it anyway so staying inside. I can't say I am bored, I have too much to do to be bored but..........I really want to be outside. Supposed to warm up a bit. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice so maybe I can do a tidy up outside.
Meanwhile, I am really enjoying my veggie shredder. I had some zucchini in the fridge and wanted to make Shrimp for supper. So this is what I did.
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This time I shredded the zucchini and did not cook it so long. I cooked it in butter and added Dill and Parsley to it. It was wonderful.
Anyway, that was to be the base for the shrimp scampi. I bought that at Sams. Why try to improve on something that you love right. The shrimp are large and meaty, tender and I love the sauce.
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When it was done I added a 1/2 can of corn. This was awesome
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That was a quick and easy dinner and one of my favourites. LOTS of shrimp each.
So today I used the Crock pot and made homemade Baked Beans. I used to do it with bacon but do not eat that any more. So, I bought some chicken sausage that had Basil and Sun dried tomato in them. I fried those before adding them at the end of the day.
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I love Baked Beans. Especially home made ones. They are not normally this soupy but these I made that way on purpose. To prevent that I would just use less sauce.
So to make them, without a recipe I do not have measurements because more often than not I made them by taste.
What I use.....
I large jar of white beans (comes in a jar, and I get them at Sams club)
I large can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sause or use tomato paste if you want it less juicy. If using paste just add 1/2 the can until you taste it. Add more if needed.
Brown sugar. A palm full
Molasses.......to taste careful with this, if you add too much just add more brown sugar to sweeten things up.
Salt to taste
Pepper just a dash.
Dash of onion powder
Palm of dried parsley.
To this I add chopped celary and one large onion.
I cook it all day and at the end I add my cooked sausage or hot dogs or brats or whatever you want.
Make sure to taste the beans and that they are the consistency that you want.

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If you want the proper recipe and measurements I can give them if you let me know.
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This was so good, I had two bowls.I can't believe I ate that much.
So the other morning I made some breakfast muffins. That did not go so well. I will try them again because I have an idea what went wrong.
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That is the recipe. It should not have been so complicated. It says to spray with vegetable spray to make them easy to get out. Well I think that made the bottoms soggy, It was horrible.
They really looked good
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Then when I took them out, I tried one.
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Actually I ate two because I had to pull off the bottoms.
I threw the rest away and the squirrels and birds, especially the Starlings really enjoyed them.
This is what the bottom looked like. Yeuk!!!! I can only assume it was the cooking spray. They were also just a tad dry so I would cook on minute less next time. I have to try again before I give up.
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I have been buying fresh eggs straight from the chickens so the eggs are good. The spray is all I can think it was. So I will try them again, it was a non stick pan. Or maybe butter the bottoms, that should work. Determined to succeed.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cats I have known..........................

I am not a Cat person. I am a Poodle person. I adore Poodles.
There have been some memorable and maybe not so memorable cats in my life though. Well, I suppose I should not say that really because I do remember every one.
When I was a baby and toddler we lived with my Grandparents, Seabrook. They had two cats, Tiny and Tarzan.
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Tiny (above) I don't remember but have a picture of me with her and I do seem to remember that day because of the photo.
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Tarzan (above) I remember well, and he had to be quite old when he died of cat flu.I remember my Nan being very upset, he had been with her awhile. He was named Tarzan because he liked to swing from Nan's curtains. He was probably the first cat I really liked.
We got a cat when we moved to Bidwell Hill. Mum seemed to think that it was more in line with what she wanted than the big dog Jerry who got banished back to St Omere wth Granddad Burt. That cat didn't last long. It came home injured one day and had to be put down. I don't remember it's name and apparently had not had it long enough to become attached, but I buried it under the apple tree with all ceremony. That was the last cat we had and Mum soon got a Poodle who became my constant companion and set me up for life for loving Poodles.
When I got married and we lived in Bedford we took in a cat from a person who was going home to the States and could not take the cat with him. A big orange cat named Tom. Tom didn't like us and moved in down the road where he was apparently more appreciated.I was not that fond of him but was worried when he didn't come home. Then one day walking to the shops, there he was laying in the sunshine in someones window. I left it at that and was happy he found a good home.
So eventually we came here to Traverse City, we got a dog from the pound and named her Lady, and we got a grey cat that I named Pussy. I didn't know better OK. So when Pussy went missing my husband refused to go looking for her and calling her name. No idea what happened to her and for a very long time we got no more cats.
I say I am not a cat person. I don't adore cats, I don't like their nature and do not really find them amusing. I am an animal lover though and so cats have become a part of my life as an adult.
When I had my horse there was a barn cat that I loved no end. Her name was Rolo. I loved that cat and the cat loved me. She was always hanging out at the barn or off in the woods doing cat things, but when she heard our car, she would come running. You could hear her coming across the fields yowling and would hang out for as long as we were there. There were other barn cats and they were OK but not memorable. I loved Rolo and would have had her myself but she loved the barn life. I have a picture of her on my wall upstairs.
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To more modern times several cats have come to me. Laura has always had cats and when one had kittens I took a little black pile of naughty fluff and called her Buffy.
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I loved Buffy (the mouse slayer) She was adorable. She would run for toy mice and retrieve them bringing them back and placing them in a hand to be thrown again. One day she was on the table and her tail caught fire from a candle. She moved so quick it blew out and I have not had candles again with a cat in the house. Her tail was her pride and joy, very fluffy, it was only singed.
One winter night there was a tap on the window by my seat. An orange and white cat was asking to come in. My husband said NO, in no uncertain terms. He is not fond of cats. Well, I took out food, a bed and blanket and hoped that would see her through till morning. Nope, that cat wanted inside. Eventually I went back to the door and she waltzed right in made herself comfortable and stayed with us. Buffy was not thrilled but she accepted her even though they were never friends. We named her Beatrice. She was a wonderful cat. They would both hunt mice, of which we had a few. They didn't kill them though. So I would catch the mouse once it was out of breath and put them outside. Perfect. Bea Bea (Beatrice) gave us some good laughs, she got in a plastic grocery bag one time and when done she got out. The handle caught around her neck and she was flying around the house with it billowing like a parachute behind her. We were laughing so hard and it was impossible to catch her until she was out of breath and laying under the table. Poor thing. Yes good times with both of those cats.
Beatrice with Alexandra
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When they were gone I had no intent on getting anymore. I liked Sam and Toby, two of Laura's cats and got my cat fix often enough when we were over at her house. They also lived with us for a time, and Toby always remembered me. Toby, a fat cat in a small basket.
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Sam Mr Blue Eyes, loved by so many small children and so patient.
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I could have lived with either of those two and I think boy cats are better with other cats than the females. I always ended up with females. I never chose a cat, they always chose me.
We now have two cats. Boots was a stray that we took in, we got her fixed and she became and indoor/outdoor cat. She has been inside all of this winter not liking the snow. She is an odd cat, does not play like the others did.
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She loves a lap but ours is usually taken so when someone visits she makes the most of it. She settles in on any empty lap. She would be the perfect lap cat. She hangs out in the garden, sleeps on the garden chairs and watches the fish in the pond. Ideal cat for me.
Then along came another stray. Laura brought her over on her way to work one day, found her going through her garbage. She was supposed to find a home for her but here she still is. I figure if I take them to the vet, get them fixed and then they can do as they choose after that. Well Bessie is Tristen's cat. She actually likes him now he does not live here. She goes to him when he visits. She is also an outdoor/indoor cat. Bessie wanders and one day came home with a note attached. She likes people and visits and receives food gifts from the neighbourhood. She has her territory.
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Like Boots she has stayed inside all winter and not ventured forth. All the cats I have had have got along well with the poodles.Picture below of Beatrice hugging Bambi after Buttons died.
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Beatrice thought she was a Poodle and hung out with Bambi our white Poodle at the time.
Boots is like that and she likes Bijou our current white Poodle.
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In fact Boots shares Bijou's supper in the evening, she never tries to eat any one else's but her and Bijou are a team.
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I can't say I want another cat, but like all animals I can't resist taking them in. Saving a life is saving a life. The two we have now, both Boots and Bessie would like more human contact but do not like each other. If they were more like Toby and Sam they would have more companionship.
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Beatrice used to lay with the Poodles but these do not although Bessie trys to sleep on the bed with us. She is a fidget though and soon takes off to wreak havoc during the night.
Cats, got to love them...............