Monday, January 27, 2020


 "Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself." 
  -Francis de Sales

I love the way the sun glints off the icy crust of the snow.  We've had some winter, snow falling, slush forming, turning back to ice. Shoveling and salting.  Walking in the street, since it's the only safe place.  I do well in the cold, I prefer it to heat and humidity.  Where humidity and hot weather make you sluggish, the cold revitalizes.  Properly bundled, I enjoy my winter walks.

 "I could not have made it this far had there not been angels along the way." -Della Reese

 My sweet baby grand.  She had me all to herself this weekend.  We had breakfast at our favorite place and a short walk, since all the paths were treacherous. A quiet Sunday with a big pot of soup,
(I have 5 containers in the refrigerator ready for the freezer.  I don't know how to cook a small pot of anything.) music through the afternoon. The Grammy's in the evening.  The babies were with Mom and Dad, but we were able to Facetime a couple of times.  Those girls are tremendous!

When tulips are under $4 a bunch they come home with me.

The shadows near sunset.

The candlelight warms up an otherwise chilly day.
I'm not sneaking him in, he's in everything I do.

All the curtain are thrown open to catch the
 little bit of light on our mostly cloudy days.

Found this old photo, wow, we were crazy in love.
Damn, he took my breath away.  Always did.

More Valentine trinkets.  That wire heart was a quarter.  I bought it because...
I still love love.

In the basement looking for ...what did I come down here for?
Saw this tiny photo and had to bring it upstairs to smile at it.
Yes, a six foot three inch Raggedy Ann.  I made our costumes and we had the best time.
I even made him bloomers! 
Also looking for something else, I found this silver dish.  Cleaned it and scattered the heart ornaments.  The dish is plain silver but the reflection makes it look pink. Just pretty.

You gotta have heart.
All you really need is heart... 

I've been sewing and mostly making a mess.  These flour sack towels were appliqued with some vintage flowers cut out of  some thrifted fabric from long ago.  

This is called a crafttastrophe.  You throw everything on the table and you see what sticks.
In the process you mostly make a mess... but sometimes. something inspires you.  You get out of your head, into some music and create.  

This is the rest of the quote from Francis de Sales...

"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, 
but instantly set about remedying them --
every day begin the task anew."

I am trying, every day.  

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind and encouraging comments. 
 They really help, and I am so grateful.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, January 20, 2020

Learning Curve

 I sewed this case for a new camera I just purchased.  I have been blogging ten years and have used the same camera, actually two of the same cameras.  I started with my own and was very happy with it until I started to take photos with my IPhone.  The difference in quality was clear, even to my not quite young eyes. 
(That was a understatement!)

 I saw a artist on facebook posting pictures of the Moon, showing craters!  All this with a point and shoot camera.  Call it what you will, Catholic frugality, being cheap, or just not a priority, I put it off for months.  Then a trip to the Best Buy for something else... I am now the proud owner of a new camera. I hope to gain some skills, but right now, I point and shoot.  

 A walk around the house on the gloomy days we've been having, looking for something to photograph. The curtains are towels I got at Crate and Barrel with a gift card from my sweet nephew Greg. I also purchased a cast iron Lodge skillet.  Now I have to work out so I can lift it!

I have Ikea wire with clips strung across the window.  I use tea towels as curtains.
You look at towels in a whole new way.
 Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays.  So with a heavy heart this year, I still want the grands to see and remember how I mark the day.

 Just a few touches.

 You know where my heart will be this year.  Wrapped up in memories, warmed by a love that still sustains me. 

 The hearts in the window from Christmas stay.  Mikey's baby quilt comes out.  The feather filled heart pillow is one of my best copies.  I saw one at a swanky gallery in Galena, came home and made my own with a couple of dollars of thrift store finds.  Hopelessly romantic.

 The library table holds seasonal reading material.  Tyke's canes still stand ready at the door.

 A Christmas gift from Kris and family.  A fox has recently been hanging around the neighborhood.  One night the kids came in really excited to have seen "The Fox" right on our block/  A beautiful work of art from a friend of Kris'.

 This is another artisan creation from Mike and Amanda.  They know what I like.

 A prayer plant from Kristen's friends.  It is thriving on neglect.  A constant reminder of the beautiful kindness we were recipients of after losing Tyke.

 Boy, I need to dust!  Even the plants are dusty.

 My totally neglected but perpetually cheerful Norfolk Island Pine.  My very first gift from Tyke was a little NI pine, but not this one... This one grows in spite of it's corner location, I guess it feels the love and nostalgia I feel for this species.

 I did sew some.  These are for a gentleman who faces a heart transplant. Wishing Quentin comfort and strength in the days and weeks ahead.    

 Who waiting for Grandma?  We have battened down the hatches, the girls are 100% mobile.  Crawling and standing up on everything.  They are pure love.  Said it before, they give me hope that happiness didn't forever leave me.  Part of Tyke is in these girls, mostly the loving and silly parts!

...and in this one who says she will never forget her Grandpa.
Oh the love I feel for these girls!

Martin Luther King Day and Penny was schooling me on Dr. King and Rosa Parks.
Penny is so bright with a memory like a trap.  She is amazing. 
She is learning about Dr. King and Black history in school. 
So proud of this one. 

Thanks for stopping by and for all your kind comments.
I appreciate your care and concern.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, January 13, 2020

More Bad Weather on the Way

  A snowstorm was brewing but never really delivered.  We had some snow, plenty of wind and ice.  I was sure that I would spend the weekend alone, but then the granddaughters came.

First, I want to share this amazing cross stitch worked beautifully by a talented gentleman!  Patience, it's name is Tom, of the power couple of Jean and Tom fame.   Made for their new granddaughter.  I was able to help (Finally, they do so much for me and did for my dearest.) by finishing the stocking backing and lining.  This stocking is a work of love and a work of art.  Who has a stocking made by their grandpa?  Emily!

 This week I went down memory lane to celebrate the birthday of my late cousin Diana.   I found this photo and posted it to Facebook tagging her children and brother.  I remember how itchy that dress was with those crinoline slips.  Yes, that's me, the flower girl.  The ring bearer is my cousin Mark.  The wedding was at a hotel in downtown Chicago, and Mark and I were the only kids.  We ran and danced and went to a newsstand and bought cough drops!  A heady experience for a six year old girl, and Mark would remind me that he was even younger. We lost Diana last year.  She was a beautiful and talented woman, the first born to our family.  She was the flower girl at my parents wedding, and a forever presence in my life.  

Back to the baby grands... My arms are full of love.  

 News Flash, Irene is standing around the furniture. Here she is encouraging Stevie to try.  Stevie is perfectly happy watching Irene, and laughs and claps for her.   Look at that proud face. They will be ten months this week.

Stevie kissed me, spontaneously.  It was a moment of pure joy and happiness.  This is me ugga muggaing her goodbye.   Irene and Stevie are so sweet and so smart and along with their spectacular cousin Penny fill my heart. When they leave, the house is never emptier. I miss the talks after Tyke and I were alone, the hugs at the door...
So wish he could be here to enjoy these rascals.

"Most like an arch - two weaknesses that lean into a strength.
Two fallings become firm." 

-John Ciardi, On Marriage

I miss the other half of my arch, the part that made me whole. Still, I am here.
Tyke still holds me up, 
the connection is so deep and so everlasting. 

"The trouble with life is that
 there are so many beautiful moments 
and so little time."

-John Barrymore

Thank you or stopping by and for your kind comments.

Enjoy this beautiful day. 
Love, Penny

Monday, January 6, 2020

Something Waits Beneath It...

 These first days of January have been some of the hardest days, the loneliest days.

 I took down of all the Christmas decorations while binge watching Schitt's Creek.  It is a comedy I tried watching before but lost interest in.  Last week I saw a photo of the Beekman 1802 store in Sharon Springs, New York, and they had changed their facade to look like Rose Apothecary, a tie in to the show.  My kids have been telling me to watch, so while taking down the Christmas tree, a depressing job on a good day, it was a welcome distraction.  Tyke and I were big Second City TV fans back in the day, so seeing Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara is always a treat.  Just finished season one, put way all the boxes and bags of the holidays...

 Earlier in the week I stopped by the thrift where all the Christmas was 75% off, and bought this angel for a buck.  She is so well made and quirky that I fell in love.  She was signed by the artist, so I looked her up on facebook and saw we had a mutual friend.  I would not like to tell her that I bought her angel and all the beautiful work involved for a dollar.  I guess I just like to rescue hand made things that maybe were not appreciated in a previous life. 

 We had a small snowfall, enough that I had to shovel the driveway and clean off the car.  It felt so good to be out there.  I love snow, but I am glad that we didn't have a white Christmas.  It would have broken my heart, for loving a snowy day was something my sweetie and I looked forward to.  A pot of soup on the stove, something in the oven and a cozy nap.  It was heaven.

 The flowers I bought myself for Christmas are still lovely two weeks later.

 I made more of the pizza rolls that Penny and I also made on New Years Eve. I made pizza rolls every year for New Year's Eve, so the kids always ask me to save them some.  Jon brought the babies by and Kris, Doug and Penny came by to visit. (Really they come to snuggle babies!)  My little granddaughters are crawling everywhere, pulling themselves up on the furniture.  Irene talks and talks, Stevie observes, and they both love to laugh.  Penny is back on schedule, school, cooking class, swim lessons, scouts and Harry Potter.  Love having them here so often.

Left to right Sue, Tyke, Me, Ron on guitar, Connie and my brother Larry.
Don't remember who was on the other guitar.
 I post this photo because of my longtime BFF Sue, and a single photo she sent me this weekend.  It was a photo of a trash can filled with shredded paper...she asked, guess what this is?  I knew immediately, Sue had shredded our youth!  Sue was the keeper of our youth, by keeping a diary.  For years she wrote every night about what happened, or didn't happen.  We were young lonely girls who couldn't get a date.  We were unlucky in love but had so many great times, happy times and a friendship that has lasted over 50 years. I could call her and ask, what happen on May 25th in 1974 and she would tell me how we were at a party at Marci's and there was this new guy who showed up.  He danced with Penny and then kissed her, I mean really laid on one her...Penny's in love, I think she's crazy.  She'll never see him again, or something like that. (That really happened and that guy was Tyke.)  I texted Sue,  NOOOOOOO, not the diary!  I then called her and we talked, and talked and laughed and cried. Sue is that friend that you can pick up right where you left off.  She knows my life, my family, we shared eighth grade through HS, even worked at the same law firm and she was there the day I met Tyke and I was there the day she met her hubby Laury.   Sue was embarrassed and did not want her kids someday reading all the silly stuff girls write.  I, on the other hand want my kids to know everything, though they really don't want to know.  Anyway, it sent me to my archives, a plastic storage container in the basement and found some treasures of my own.  The photo above is one of them.  A sweet way to spend the evening, reliving so many happy memories. 

"I prefer winter and fall,
when you feel the bone
structure of the landscape--
the loneliness of it; the dead
feeling of winter.  Something
waits beneath it, the whole
story doesn't show.

Andrew Wyeth

 Thanks for stopping by and for your kind and comforting comments.
They mean so very much to me.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Christmas Without

Christmas came and we had a sweet holiday.  On Christmas Eve we were all  together and the babies came. Penny was so excited with her gifts and with the babies.  Three of my brothers and my SIL Mindy and nephews and one niece.  It was a small group, but so comforting to have them with us.  We had a early dinner and the crazy lottery we play each year.   Later in the evening it was just us, my beautiful family.  I was so happy to have everyone close.  We laughed and enjoyed each others company.  I cooked and baked and puttered for days, but my heart was not in it.
I got through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day just fine.  Busy with our babies and taking care of everything that needs attending to for my guests.  Then, they all went home and I cried, and cried and was lonelier than I have ever been.    

The kindness of dear friends.  My dearest, always my shining star, has a star named for him.
Once again Jean and Tom, so kind, caring, generous and true blue friends.

 A amazing quote from The Little Prince.

 Thank you Jean and Tom for keeping Tyke's memory alive.

On the laundry room door, my little tribute to my dearest.  
 Tyke is everywhere for me.  Life will never be the same, but there is happiness, so much happiness.

The sweetest little elves.  They actually cheer for me, and laugh at my jokes and tricks.  They are pure love.  So much fun, and work!  They are priceless treasures.  Balm for my heart and soul.

Penny, my special girl.  Grandpa's best friend is now the most comforting and loving child to her Grandma.  His side of the bed is now her side of the bed.  She just brought a stuffed kitty I must keep on the bed to keep me company when she's not with me.  What a treasure Penny is to me, and always was to her silly Grandpa.

 Here,  my sweethearts that joined me at the New Years Bonfire.  

 The Phoenix rises, a metaphor perhaps?

 With my SIL Doug.  Flashing his baby blues. 

 I told Penny that the Moon was my favorite of all the figures that are carried into the woods before the fire.  She said she wanted to carry it, and I told her to ask the volunteers if she could, and they said yes.  We had made a tribute to Grandpa, a cardinal flying on a stick for her to carry.  Doug carried the cardinal and walked with Penny behind the Piper, (Yes OUR piper Marty) My darling daughter Kristen and I walked together holding hands through the woods to the fire.

I avoided talking to Marty, not wanting to share sad news at a happy occasion.  Fate had other plans.  As we walked out of the woods, Marty was following us playing the bagpipes.  He kept getting closer and closer until I turned around and said, I love you Marty.  We had a hug and I shared what he had already surmised.  I reminded him of the special memory we have because of his kindness.  

Alfred Lord Tennyson said,
"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'it will be happier.'"
From your mouth Lord Tennyson, to God's ear.

Wishing you all peace and good health, happiness and love in the new year.
Enjoy this beautiful day, 
Love, Penny