Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Sun Still Shines

 A amazing sunrise...

 When you can see the glow from a closed blind, you know it's gonna be beautiful.

 The Sun still shines on us.  We have been blessed with 3 full days of sunshine.  Just sitting in the window was good for my cabin fever.

 The sun on the snow and the day a little longer gives me energy.

 Still the only things moving outdoors are the birds and occasional cat sunning itself on our deck.

The roads are still icy but we walked in the cold and it felt good.

Just wanted to share these special edition teas from Bigelow for Valentine's Day.  Such a neat idea.
Great as a little gift, or to have on hand for sweethearts right here at home.

I've got some company coming, the small kind I love the best.  They feed my soul like the sun...all warm and bright and full of life.

Take care my friends,  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Update, Crazy Cold Edition

Look where we went this weekend...That's my sweetest at the Brooklyn Bridge! Sadly, we were not in Brooklyn visiting our sweet babygrand, but at Ikea...walking the store just to get out on a Friday night. Sad perhaps, but safer than walking in the neighborhood. 

Snowdrifts, ice and wind have made venturing outside a hazardous affair.

Call the Guinness Book of World Records...all I bought were some sandwich

cookies that have a heart on them.  I couldn't resist.

We got in a good walk with all hips intact.

I was sitting on a gift card from Target from my dearest of SIL's Elizabeth.  So I shopped some of my favorites, Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena candles and Dr. Bronner's castile soap on sale!  I plan on making my own pump soap from the lavender soap.  You start putting things you need into the cart, the detergent, dishwasher tabs, I'll take this, we need that and you get to the checkout and gasp.  How did I spend so much?  The amount seemed high but out to the car I went.  Back in the car and protected from the Arctic blast, I checked my receipt.  They charged me 8 times for my bar of soap!  So not only going back out into the wind, but lugging everything I bought back to the store to prove that I bought eight one dollar Valentine chocolates, and only one bar of soap.  Oh Target, why to you keep doing me wrong!  They were very nice and apologetic.

I hear my dear Mom in my head, "You have to watch!"

I made a batch of hand cream.  It's a simple recipe I found on pinterest...Hand cream, coconut oil and vitamin E cream.  I used Aveno cream and Vitamin E oil with the coconut oil.  It is the best hand cream I've ever used.  I used it on my nose when I was sick and it kept my face from becoming raw from the constant wiping.  (I used 5 full boxes of kleenex!)  I just made 2 jars before Christmas.  Elizabeth took one.  She is a floral designer and her hands get really bad in the winter.  She loves this cream and uses it at night with cotton socks on her hands.  

A few scores at the local thrift.  Four mason jars for one dollar. YES!  Must make more cozies! ;-)

Honey walked this tool trug over to me and asked, do you want it?...Heck yeah!

I also found this great wooden bowl.

Filled it with projects...hearts and such.

A little color!  These cuttings I took for Melanie before the first frost.  They are surviving on neglect, but I took them down from their perch on the windowsill.  Even with double paned windows it was too cold to leave them right next to the window.  Mel are you still interested?

Speaking of perches...I am sad to inform you, at this late date, of the passing of my parakeet Blue, aka Blueberry Pie.  She actually died right after the new year.  I miss waking her up each morning and covering her at night.  She was beautiful and gave us many hours of pleasure.  Abandoned in a apartment with her friend, Mr. Dilbert Pickles, I reluctantly took them in many years ago.  When Dill died, Blue was seemingly unaffected, but I felt sorry for her loss.  In lieu of flowers, feed the birds ;-)  My friend Jean actually sent a sympathy card!  That's the kind of sweetness I am blessed with.  No more pets...really mean it this time Kristen!

Son Mike is still suffering from strep.  He was back to the doctor, this time for a shot of penicillin and a new prescription.  Without getting too graphic, he was in so much pain and could hardly swallow.  I'm hovering, but like his father, he would sleep continuously...forgetting his meds, or to eat or drink. Moms worry, no matter that he is a grown man, he is still and will always be my baby boy!  (Sorry Mike.)

I started to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's book The Long Winter again.  If you haven't read her books, or haven't read them since you were a child, pick one up again.  I first read them with daughter Kristen. The harsh life the pioneers endured is unimaginable.  We are so fortunate today.  Central heating, hot showers, polar fleece, food in abundance.  Really put my reality in perspective. No more crankiness! So with a new attitude I start this week.  Hope all is well with you my friends. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

Love, Penny

Friday, January 24, 2014

Shoveling, doctor visit, babysitting, oh my!

Getting in the mood for Valentine romance!

It's winter and I have to admit, it's even getting me down. The constant snow, icy surfaces have kept me inside. More snow this weekend!  Everyone is sick... or just getting over something...the latest being son Mike who has strep. Went to the eye doctor and having my eyes dilated made me car sick. They forgot to remind me to sit quietly and not try to read or crochet. 

on the Red Heart website

This is a pattern I have been working on. Heart coasters. Seems crochet is all I'm doing.

Every jar has a cozy! 

 Watched my little sweethearts and had some great snuggles.  Our router died leaving us back in the middle ages.  While my dearest worked from his hot spot, I braved the savage winds to get to the nearest Best Buy.

So to recap...I need bifocals, Mike's on antibiotics, the computers are back up and all my canning jars are safe and warm.

Thanks to dear Melanie for checking up on me, and for her friend Pat who also asked why I was MFB...Missing From Blogland!

P.S. Thanks to my IT team for fixing another problem I've been having with blogger for a very long time.  You know how the cobbler's wife has no shoes? Ha ;-)...well a sincere... thanks honey!

Have a great weekend and enjoy this beautiful day!

Love, Penny

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Update, Lucky Junk Edition

Thanks to my dear friend Jean, who sent me a clipping from our local paper, my dearest and I went to a grand opening of a local store Lucky Junk.

At 405 South Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Lucky Junk is filled with amazing vintage treasures. The windows were decorated with hand cut snowflakes made from newsprint. So cool! We were warmly greeted and immediately impressed with the great dispays.

I never looked at the price of these cubbies...why break a girl's heart...

The checkout...I signed up for the mailing list. There will be classes and other events!

The great displays! I love crochet thread, and have filled a few cloches with my own abundant stash.

What to do with piano player about amour? At one of the thrifts I visit they had dozens of these rolls. What a great original idea!

What did I buy? ...These cool ivory colored handled knives. ( ivory, Bakelite, plastic?...I don't know...) I've always wanted some to display with my vintage silverware. I met the owner of Lucky Junk, named Janet, when I asked for permission to photograph some of the vintage treasures for my blog. She was friendly and kind, and by the looks of her shop a kindred spirit. Everything in the shop I wanted or already had one of my own! This is an occasional shop so check her blog for the dates of her sales and events.

We did a little shopping on Saturday, until the weather took a bad turn. Funny but three inches of snow didn't seem to stop anyone on Sunday when the sun came out. I'll show you a couple of my thrifted treasures later this week.
Another trip up Route14 and another eagle sighting! This time I saw a photographer aiming his camera up into the trees. Then I saw the eagle, perched high in a sturdy branch. It is cool to see these magnificent birds up close!

January is flying by and Valentine's Day is on my mind. Working on a few projects I hope to share in the days ahead. Thanks for stopping by, enjoy this beautiful day.

Love, Penny

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Close Encounter of the Eagle Kind

First off, this is not my photo, (photo credit, but something I picked off the web. It is just perfect to add to my post today, something I can't believe I didn't mention in my weekend update because, it was awesome!

We were driving in Crystal Lake (a neighboring community) last Saturday. We were stopped at a light, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a bird, with white tail feathers. It was perched on a pole right at the intersection. My dearest saw it too. Before we realized what we were seeing across a wide intersection, the bird opened it's wings. It was huge, 7 to 8 feet across. It swooped down into traffic, and we were spellbound! A bald eagle, closer than we've ever seen one! It was not flying straight, but kind of darted between traffic. We looked at each other in amazement. Did we really just see a bald eagle in Crystal Lake? This was right on Route 14, a very busy and frequently traveled road.

We watched "Sam" (of course the eagle had a name...) until he was out of sight, and the light changed. I looked over to see a woman in the car next to us with her mouth open, shocked by what we all witnessed.

When I got home, I had to find out if seeing this eagle was something reported locally.
It appears that several eagles nest in our area, along the Fox River. We travel to Starved Rock State Park, an hour and a half away, every year to see the eagles return. Who knew we just had to take a ride up Route 14 for a dramatic show we'll never forget... though I did forget to post about it!

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Love, Penny

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chalkboard Technique Valentines

I have been away from card making and stamping for a while,
until I saw this technique all over stamping sites and YouTube.
I love chalkboard art, and have used stencils, tracing and a
projector to get the look you see on chalkboards everywhere from the coffee shop to
...every store in North America!
This technique is so simple and easy and fun to do.

I've been making Valentines. Just small cards.
This one I rubbed the edges with the white stamp ink
on a small scrap of paper towel.

Here I filled in the back with pencil.

With everything in black and white things seem to go
together well.

Couldn't fit the whole cartouche...

All you need is a white stamp pad or a versamark pad, embossing powder in white,
rubber stamps and a white colored pencil.
You stamp with the white or versamark pad (I stamped on black cardstock) and then immediately cover with embossing powder.
If you are not familiar with embossing powder,
it is powder that when heated with a heat gun, iron or even a toaster,
causes the powder to melt, and it becomes a raised
embossed stationary.

I added lines with the white pencil and filled in some parts with the pencil too.
I used the stamps that I had, but there are so many great graphic stamps
with the chalkboard look out there.
 I'm going to make some larger examples to frame.

It couldn't be any gloomier, dirty snow, gray skies.  Another snowfall is coming this afternoon.  A great day for crafting. 

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your kind comments.  Enjoy this beautiful day!

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Update

I seriously have nothing to report...
That makes for a very uninteresting blog post.
So, here's some fluff.
I am back among the living.  Have you ever felt so bad that
you didn't know how bad it was until you started to feel better?
I can smell again.  That is a big deal to me.
My head has been so clogged and my sinuses so sore that
it hurt to go out into the cold.
Last night we took a walk, and I felt like a parolee.
The sky was so a welcome
back to the living gift!

It was like the sky had been painted, stroke by stroke.

I've done small things like clean our bedroom of all the accumulated Christmas stuff...  Emptied waste baskets filled with Kleenex.  Sent out my thank you notes, restocked my refrigerator and pantry. 
Taking it easy as I don't want to go back to where I was.

My mind is swimming with ideas, a good sign, and my pinning finger was not unused during my convalescence. I am still a dweeb when it comes to pinterest.  I know how to pin and make new boards but cannot change the comments.  If something I want to pin says something stupid, I won't pin it.  Lazy, right?

OK, if you are still reading, a friend o mine you must be.  Thanks for stopping by and for all your kind comments.  Enjoy this beautiful day...Is that spring I smell? 

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

And a box of bears...

In the mail I received a box from my dear friend Lynne, from Irish Garden House. Inside the box were these two handmade bears. (along with other Christmas treasures) The white bear is fully jointed, even it's head rotates 360 degrees. The smaller bear was made from an old coat, he is beautifully frayed and has the sweetest face. Lynne saw my bears on the stairs and thought I would enjoy these two! I do collect bears, but I don't know if I ever shared that I am also a bear maker. I am so impressed with the workmanship and love put into the making of these bears. The artist was a friend of Lynne's, and made her several other very special bears from clothing and a coat. I started making bears while working at a fabric store part time when my kids were young. I've made dozens, from bears to represent my whole family, to bears for craft shows and special gifts.

Lynne is sorting all of her Christmas decorations, and I am sure that this was not the only box she shared. Lynne is sharing these bears with me, and I am so very glad to add them to my collection. Lynne is one in a million. She is generous and thoughtful but also very intuitive. These bears coming to me, in fact every thing she has ever gifted me with, comes from a deep and special place in this sweet girl's heart. She has shared a precious paper cutting that was made by her Mom long ago. She did not know that I also cut scherinschnitte, but knew I would appreciate it. I mentioned my love for Tasha Tudor on my blog and a beautiful Christmas volume showed up at my door. I display it every Christmas, along with the card that also touched my heart.
Lynne has blessed my life. Lynne not only shares special things, but her heart. Her friendship, though we are miles apart means so much to me. I also want to thank you Barb, for generously sharing your friend with me. To think I have these wonderful friends because of a post I did on pierogi! ;-) Thank you Lynne for being so kind, so generous, so special! I am truly blessed.

The sunrise this morning...

A project, "a chalkboard look card." Tell you more about this crafty project soon.

The furnace repair guy, I swear he was 12 years old, just left and we once again have heat. Just a couple of hours without, but I was shaking in my boots to know how much this was gonna cost. Thank goodness, not too much.

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy this beautiful day.

Love, Penny

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When the house looks sad...

Doesn't the house look sad when all the holiday decorations come down? It's so hard to know what to do to cheer things up. It's still, in fact winter, and it is here in a big way. The temperature is still in the minus column, the two feet of snow won't be going anywhere any time soon. These are the hardest days of the year as far as I'm concerned. Failure to launch...into the new year!

All I have to show is cozy canning jars. Little projects is all I have the attention span for.

A gift from my hubby, the four seasons of Beekman 1802 soaps. They came with a handwritten card and Josh and Brent's signatures. The coolest packaging, beautiful wooden box with a screen door lid. Thanks honey!

I used this wrapping paper on all my gifts, and wrapped these two dictionaries as risers for my lamp. They are going to stay.

So was everyone watching Downton Abbey on Sunday night? Our local PBS station played the last episode leading up to the new episodes. Watching that episode was so painful, knowing how it would end. I love a beautifully made series, such as Downton Abbey. I will be watching and hoping for some happier times for the characters there.

One week into the new year. Seems from years past it takes a while for the new year to take hold. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Thanks for stopping by and all your kind comments. Enjoy this beautiful day.


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