Colorful Tin Cover ~

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Tin of Yarn

How many times have you discarded, (hopefully recycled) a tuna or chicken tin? If you eat a lot of tuna then probably a lot of them.  Hold on to the next one and dress it up a bit.  These little things are the best for sorting little whatnots that you have lying around in a cluttered drawer.  The tin itself can be used plain as it is or you can make it prettier!

This makes a wonderful craft for you and your children. For yours and your children’s safety, please follow the first six steps completely then have a go at whatever type of decoration you feel inclined to give it.

  1. Empty the contents of the tin.
  2. Wash the tin with warm soapy water, rinse and dry.
  3. Important: Ensure that the cut edge has no hanging pieces of metal. Any remnants of the top of the can from where it was cut off, can cut your fingers and cause serious issues. I would not recommend running your bare finger along the inside rim.
  4. Take a paper towel, napkin, Q tip, cotton ball or other fiber source and gently wipe along the inside of the rim; going both ways around. If the cotton doesn’t catch anywhere on the can then you have probably removed the hanging edge. For good measure, take a double look anyway.
  5. If you see any hanging remnants, take your can opener and remove the metal piece or mash it flat.
  6. *No Pull Top cans as this sharp edge cannot be removed.
  7. Decorate the tin and have some fun!

I have painted the tin with paints.  I have glued cloth material or paper to them. You can wrap them with twine, gluing a little as you go but my favourite way to decorate is with a crocheted tin cover. If working with a small tin then it takes very little yarn and is a great stash buster!

There are very detailed step by step instructions on one of my favourite UK  blogs Attic 24 as Lucy shows you exactly how to make one.  She is so good about her instructions and always informs the reader / crocheter the difference between her UK stitches and what the US stitch conversion is.

The crochet tin covers are quick to whip together and can be embellished with buttons, beads and flowers.  I crocheted a small round disc for the inside of my tin as it is for paperclips and I didn’t want to hear them clanking around every time I placed one in or took one out. It makes a great buffer as well if you are using the can to hold something you don’t want scratched and of course the are wonderful for little stashes of left over yarn!

Any type of metal can may be used as long as it is not a “pull top” can, it just might take a little more medium to cover.  I especially like bean cans that have the pretty white enamel coating on the inside.

Make a project of it or just a fun thing to do with the kiddies on a rainy day. I would love to see some of your finished designs!

Pinkie~

Britt’s Donuts~

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Today  is the day, Bailey is extremely excited! He woke up this morning with sugar on his mind already planning his after school activities.  Being Friday is great all to itself but add the season opening of Britt’s Donuts in Carolina Beach and you have something to really look forward to.

When we moved to this seaside community my daughter and her friend introduced us to a new kind of doughnut and it came in a white paper sack instead of a green and white box. On the Carolina Beach Boardwalk is a little locally owned shop that sells plain ole doughnuts that are anything but plain! These sugary confections melt in your mouth.  The line can stretch all the way down and around the other shops as tourists and locals alike wait for their turn.

You can purchase just one but you won’t want to.  All along the boardwalk people walk around with white paper sacks and in them are dozens by dozens of the famous Britt’s Donuts!

Last year after waiting our turn and finally enjoying the white bag goodie a seagull swooped down and stole Olivia’s Britt’s Donut right out of her hand, while she was in process of eating it!  You see they’re too good to feed to the gulls!

And TODAY is the day, the grand season opening of Britt’s.  While I am working away, Dave and Bay will surely have their place in line to taste those goodies, and if I’m lucky they will save one for me!

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk and walk to shops come to life during the spring and are hopping all summer long so if you’re in our neck of the woods stop by and enjoy some Britt’s!

Pinkie ~

Yoga Socks ~

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Crochet is a huge part of who I am and a daily part of the little things in life that make me happy.  I crochet every single day.  Maybe only a few stitches, or a few rows but my crochet bag just like my camera bag is never far from my side.  I find in today’s busy life, mine anyway, that I have batches of down time when I am waiting on something.  During those times I crochet to pass time and keep my hands busy.

I will crochet anywhere the mood strikes and no longer worry that people will say, “What in the world is she doing?” Now they just say, “Oh, there’s that crazy crocheting lady.” Laughing to myself, but it is good for one’s sole to have a hobby, something to do for themselves that makes them “happy”!  And crochet definitely makes me a happy girl!

I love to find new and different things to crochet, glancing through the written pattern to see if it will be a good fit for a new project, and I do have baskets of WIP’s (works in progress) that I work on at all different times.  I have been a soccer mom for 16 years and that is a lot of waiting time. Waiting at practices, waiting for games to start, long long drives to distant cities and towns for away games and tournaments. If I am the passenger rather than the driver, I crochet along the way.

My most recent finished project was new, something that I had never attempted: YOGA SOCKS!  A co-worker picked this Raverly pattern by Codi Booher and purchased her choice of yarn and I got to stitching. The pattern was very simple to read and it only took me three tries to get it right.  Remember, I had never attempted this before so I am pleased with the number of go’s it took. The finished product was two pair of multicolored Yoga Socks.  I followed the originator’s wishes to not use the pattern for profit and happily gave the two pair as a birthday gift to SJ.

It is a sense of accomplishment to begin and actually finish a project whether it is crochet or something else and have your Ta-Dah moment.

How many WIP’s do you currently have? Pick one and set a goal to finish it within a reasonable time frame.  You will be thrilled with your accomplishment I just know it!

Pinkie~

Heavenly Birthday ~

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Happy Birthday to my Little Mamaw in Heaven as it is the first one she is spending there.  This means the first birthday that I have not been with her to give her a big kiss on her wrinkly cheek, receive one of her heartfelt hugs and tell her I love her.

She was an amazing woman, the strongest and wisest woman, at least in my eyes.  There are many sayings about and for what a grandmother is and I suppose she filled the bill for them all or for none of them, not quite sure.  She was strong rooted in family and her faith.  Her family meant everything to her.  She prided herself on being strong-minded and willed, on her honesty, and in her love for God and her family.  She had more quirky little sayings that would make you laugh out loud and wonder where in the world that came from. Things just popped off her head and when you would ask her where she heard that the response was always the same, “Oh, that is just something Mama always said.” By Mama she was referring to Mommie Wilcox. 

Thelma Virginia Wilcox Williams was born on the side of a mountain in a little house, we always have known as the Fannie Fillmore house.  It was a little shack of a house with gray asbestos siding and a little flat front porch just a few feet off the ground.  It stood as the first real house on the Left Fork of Beech Creek Road.  I couldn’t possibly count the number of times she said, “In the old Fannie Fillmore house.”  Now, I don’t know if Ms. Fannie Fillmore owned this house before my great-grandparents lived there or after, but that is the name Little Mamaw gave it.

To the left side of the yard, very small yard, as the front porch was only a few feet from the gravel road and the back porch stoop backed up to the mountain side, but to the left side of little gray house was a barn crib or tobacco crib that my great-grandfather stick built by hand.  The last time I was in my Beech Creek it was still standing, but I do not know as of today. Little Mamaw was very proud of that tobacco crib mostly because she was so proud of her daddy.

I’ve always been enamored with my great-grandfather’s name probably because it fit the era so well; Porter Madison Wilcox, sounds stately I think.  Porter Madison.  Yes, I love it but only have a few images of him in my mind, all from photographs and not that many of them.  He died at a very young age leaving my great-grandmother, Mommie Wilcox to raise and tend to their six children; Little Mamaw being the oldest. I do not know what drew Little Mamaw to her daddy so, more so than to her Mama, but she was drawn to him; to an untarnished image and memory of a man whom was the center of her being. Every time I ever heard her mention him she always seemed to be so far away in thought as if she was remembering a specific time she spent with him.  I even thought of giving his name or at least the Madison part to one of my children, but she didn’t like that idea because she said her daddy never liked his middle name and that would not be honoring someone by giving one of their great-great grandchildren a name that wasn’t liked very much by the first.  I just said okay and chose a different name.

Getting lost in thought, my apologies.  Little Mamaw was born when the snow and frost was still on the ground in March of 1929 to Porter Madison and Lillie Rebecca Grindstaff Wilcox.  Yes, you’ve heard me talk about my Grindstaff Stinger and now you know which side of the family it came from. Our Grindstaff stingers are not a bad thing as far as Little Mamaw saw it; it was more of an honor to have been blessed with one.  In the early part of the 1900’s one had to stand up for themselves and their family if they were to survive and that is basically what the Grindstaff Stinger is; a means of survival; standing up for oneself and sometimes telling people just what you thought of them or their ways and not giving two cents who heard you.

Little Mamaw never claimed the Grindstaff Stinger, but believe you me (as she would say), she had one.  She mostly referred to it when speaking of her Mama, but I never really saw Mommie Wilcox’s stinger, I guess by the time I was born she had pretty good control of it.

Hardworking, well I’ve never met a woman to this day who could pull a day’s labor like my Little Mamaw could and be proud as punch (another one of her sayings) of the tiredness that settled in her bones. She would be up at the crack of dawn, e v e r y d a y, make lunches for herself and for Papaw, which included two Thermos of coffee and usually an egg sandwich with some type of canned meat;sometimes it was Spam sometimes it was Potted Meat (the one with the little red devil on the white wrapper) and sometimes it was whatever was leftover from supper the night before; but everyday they had a homemade lunch.

This lunch accompanied her (them both) to the textile mill where she (they both) worked.  Here you would see employee dedication like you have never seen before.  Every single day she went to work, day after day she labored and toiled in this loud cotton mill.  She had a separate hairbrush and a separate pocket-book and a separate jacket for when she went to work because everything became covered with lint. The workers would, as she would say “blow off” with the air hose when their shift ended but she still came home covered in cotton fibers.

There was no sitting unless you visited the canteen on you short break so she stood all day long completing her tasks whether it be winding or filling barrels almost chest high with long fluffy and wide strands of cotton. She not only had to stand on concrete all day in a loud environment with the air full of cotton particles filling barrels, but she also had to move those barrels from here to there and there to here.  How did she do it, with her legs. She would scoot the extremely heavy stuffed bins and barrels to where they needed to be by pushing on them with her legs.  I have seen her to it. This maneuvering process didn’t bode well for her back or her legs with her multiple varicose veins sometimes so enlarged with blood clots that she would have to have partial or whole veins stripped out of her legs. Still she worked.

Back to the, “I have seen it” part.  In my life I spent a great amount of time with both of my grandparents.  They worked different shifts, and being that Little Mamaw was never late for work or church; sometimes I had to ride with Papaw to the mill to wait for Little Mamaw’s shift to end.  The most punctual individual to my recollection was my Papaw. Being on time meant being twenty minutes early, so from time to time while being tended to we had to get to the mill before his shift started.

Where did this leave me? It left me sitting on a little stoop which was actually two wooden steps that were meant as a step stool which resided underneath the Safety / Medicine cabinet.  I was supposed to be very quiet as to not be noticed, but with the loud roaring of the machines and the large metal elevator pull doors and the buzzers and horns going off no one would have noticed me by sound anyway.  I wasn’t really supposed to be there but I had to be somewhere and it was only for the five or ten minutes before Little Mamaw’s shift ended.  I was placed on the little stoop steps under the white cabinet and given a yellow pad of paper and a red pen so I could scribble or draw.  I was told only once not to move and to be very quiet. I did exactly as I was told.  It was such a large place a little scary and I liked it when the horn blew because that meant Little Mamaw and I could go home. During some of those forbidden visits to the mill as I sat on the wooden stoop I could see Little Mamaw pushing and pulling those barrels of cotton.  Sometimes her friend Ruby would help and sometimes Ms. Ruby had her own barrels to lug around.

This was just to give you a slight glimpse of what Little Mamaw’s daily work life was like.  She went when it snowed, she went when she was sick, she went every day, for 38 years. And this was just her day job not her only job.  She was tired when she came home at 2 o’clock and not the kind of tired you and I are after a day at work. She would use her lint brush first thing to get as much of the cotton out of her hair as she could.  Sometimes we ran to the drug store, which had a toy and candy section and a real druggist who knew her by name, sometimes we had to run errands to the bank or the grocery store and depending upon the time of year sometimes she would change out of her work clothes and into her Garden Clothes.

The vegetable  garden that she tended to and worked out with my Papaw was not an industrial garden by any means but it was big enough to grow enough food to be canned, stored and put up to feed our family for an entire year. Now that’s a pretty big garden.  Little Mamaw passed away in November of last year and she worked her garden through last summer.  Even through all of the hard work that went into the garden, secretly, I think it was her happy place! They both loved their garden and I know this because they fussed over and with it year after year.

Little Mamaw believed in the Signs, you know the signs of the stars and moon and all the ones you find in the Almanac. She definitely planted and pruned by the Signs.  It means something if the Sign is in the heart or the foot or somewhere else.  I never learned the signs but I still have time.

So year followed year one not much different from the one before for Little Mamaw.  She worked in a cotton mill 200 miles from that little Fannie Fillmore house she was born in on the side of Beech Creek.  She tended to her garden and her family, and she tended to me.

The weekends were not much different, she tended a garden on the weekends too, but her second garden was way back up in the mountains where we would go almost every weekend. Depending upon the hurry that Papaw was in we might leave on Friday afternoon once Mamaw’s shift ended or if she was just too tuckered out we would leave on Saturday morning, bright and early while it was still dark outside.  We had our bacon and egg sandwiches wrapped in her own special way in waxed paper and their thermos of coffee and we would hit the road.  The quicker we could get there the better because there was always so much work to be done when we got there, to Beech Creek, and we were never gone past Sunday night because there was work and school on Monday.  The times and the roads have changed since those days when I was a little girl and over the years the time it took to drive the 200 miles into the mountains shortened.  Every other year or two we were able to shave off a small town that we no longer had to drive through to get there.  By the time the path was perfected Papaw could drive it in about 3.5 hours and that was with only one quick stop for gas and a bathroom in Canton.

Once we finally arrived it was so good to stretch our legs.  Very shortly after arriving the first thing to do was to cut on the water as it was always turned off upon departure in the event a pipe would freeze and bust (burst). The truck was unloaded, a pick up truck, a burnt orangish-brown GMC with a white camper top covering the bed. When I say bed that is exactly what I mean as there was a blue and white stripped mattress inside the bed of the truck covered with the white camper top.  It was neat! The camper cover had little windows on each side and there was always plenty of room for me or my cousins to sit or lay on the long trek up the mountain. You see in those days, children could ride in the back of trucks, even for 200 miles!  If there was room in the back amongst all of the items that were being hauled up for the weekend stay we could ride in the back.

Once the truck was unloaded and the water turned on, the key was retrieved, I think there was only one, from over the door jamb. The only entrance to the three room house that sat on the side of Beech Creek on the right side of the left fork of Beech Creek Road was the screen door on the front porch.  This little house, road, town, mountain, it was all cumulatively known as Beech Creek.  If someone said Beech Creek you knew where they were talking about and if someone said they were “going in” or going to the mountains they meant they were going to Beech Creek.

It all smelled musty, the porch and the sofa and chairs that resided on it and the house in general smelled musty; the way something would smell if it had been closed up for a few weeks way up in the mountains where a gentle rain would pelt the authentic silver tin roof on a daily basis at sometime during the day. But what a wonderful smell it was, when I smelled that smell I knew where I was.  I was free to have the most fun a little girl could have in a two-day span.  I was in Beech Creek and I was with the two people who I looked up to as if the sun rose and set in their eyes.

There would always be an unspoken agenda of things to be done that first day and throughout the stay.  Beds to be changed, mowin’ (mowing) to be done and not just with a push mower.  The mowing had to be done sometimes with a tractor and sometimes with a sickle and then just the part around the little house got mowed with the push mower.  Mamaw and I would start in on the cleaning that needed to be done, usually I watched or handed her whatever she asked for, she did the work part. Once everything was set to her satisfaction and was fit for livin’ (living) in for a few days we were off to town, yes all the way into Robbinsville – for several reasons.  The first being to call my ever so patient Momma to let her know we had arrived safely and weren’t a layin’ (laying) on the side of the road in some ditch, and the second was to purchase goods to eat while we were there.  The phone call was necessary because there never has been a phone in the Beech Creek house.  Well, once there was for a short time, but it’s cost didn’t match the need so it was un-installed.

We usually only bought food that would spoil such as milk and eggs and bacon and things like that because there was enough canned goods in the little house to feed an army at any given time.  We didn’t stay gone too long as the truck would be needed for the visits.  These were short little trips to the Right Fork of Beech Creek Road in which we would travel to see Papa. Papa Williams was Papaw’s daddy.  The right fork curved higher than the left and it was longer with more people living on it.  We would throw up our hands and wave to various farmers and neighbors along the way up to see Papa, sometimes stopping at brother Weaver’s or at Marvin’s mother’s house but our destination was to see Papa.  The visit wasn’t long but just enough to let Papa know we were “in” for the weekend and that we would be back with one of Little Mamaw’s special banana puddins’ (pudding) before we left to head home.

Back to our side of the mountain, down the winding road past brother Weaver’s trailer and some hand throws to some other older folks that I did not know as we had work to do! Little Mamaw and Papaw worked their whole lives but that was in their blood, instilled in them from the day they were born.  It is what their parents did and their parents before them. You worked to survive or you died; so they worked.  With all that working I would probably be a goner but to complain wasn’t in their vocabulary.  It was who they were and I loved them with all my little heartstrings!

I think back to Little Mamaw on her birthday and I can’t be selfish that she is gone, we will all go I suppose.  The above little story of different remembrances of her life, stories she told me and times I spent with her would only fill the first page of a book if I were to write one.  With that many memories of someone how could I be sad that she is no longer here?  Well, being saddened is human nature, but I am so very happy that I had such an inspiration in my life and was blessed with her to tell me those stories and to make memories that really do keep you going sometimes and do last a lifetime.

Pinkie~

Post Script: I will add photographs for this story just as soon as I pick the perfect ones ~

Oompa Loompa Style~

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IMG_4750What an amazing pre-birthday weekend I had. It started on Saturday with a successful little vintage outing. I came home with just a few things that brought a simple smile to my face; a tiny greenish-brownish dish made in Japan just perfect for holding some earrings and itsy objects, a mug for my morning coffee, a 1954 printing of Heidi, a VHS (yes tape, I do still have a VCR) of Doris Day’s “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”, some old crochet and knitting hooks and had a lovely conversation with Ms. Laurie at the vintage shop about the usefulness of all things old.

On Sunday we decided to go fishing!  Fishing not catching. We always have trouble with the catching part of our fishing excursions.  Probably using the wrong bait, going at the wrong time of the day, not crossing our fingers the right way, and we have even had a gentleman tell us that it is all in the way you hold your toes!

Regardless of what we don’t catch, we go for the adventure, not for the fish~ We always have a blast getting out into Nature, cutting up and feeding the seagulls the left over bait and writing in the sand.

Our first funny was when I realized that Bailey was wearing two different shoes. As soon as he shucked them off he stepped on a clam shell slicing the heel of his foot.  With the amount of blood that was streaming, I thought we would catch a Great White for sure.  A hankie and a few minutes of pressure stopped the bleeding, mismatched shoes went back on and we baited the hooks.  The boys used bait fish, I used yarn; they fish while I crochet!

WIP Ripple Blanket    Mamaw's Red Fleece

I used the time to pull out the faithful camera and catch up on my ripple blanket. It is slowly coming along. I love being with the boys but Sunday was cold and even though I was wrapped in Little Mamaw’s lovely red plaid blanket I was still shivering.

Snow's Cut

The water was low at Snow’s Cut and the scenery was picturesque.

     

Hubby smiled… and disappeared…only to return with what can only be described as a combination of a decontamination / Oompa Loompa suit! Really, you just pulled this out of the truck? I thought, “There is absolutely NO way I am putting that thing on,” but I did anyway.  It was warmer and held in the body heat so I left it on and just acted crazy. 

       

Bailey and I looked like an Oompa Loompa and the skinny scarecrow.  We had such fun!

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We headed home for some lunch before we were to try our hand surf fishing on the beach. This time Noah jumped in on the action tried on the white suit. He looked like an Oompa Loompa too! Inflated, deflated and shrunk, and best of all an Oompa Loompa with an iPhone!

When we finally got to the beach it was miraculously warm, so much warmer than at the channel.  There were colorful sights and a lot more people than I expected, but it was getting warmer.  Good thing I left the white suit at home!  Bay and I searched for shells with a few great finds.

So pretty and excited that Noah and Clem joined us for round 2 of just fishing, not catching.

IMG_4855I did another row or two before the sun slipped behind the beach houses and we knew it was time to head home.  I love making these memories with my family~

Hodgepodge Dishes~

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Cereal will be different tomorrow because this bowl will not be apart of it.  Yes, I am a sentimentalist and I do hang on to certain things, if they have meaning and continue to provide enjoyment and usefulness.

Big deal I know, but as I sit here smiling with all the memories of this little dish it is a big deal to me. This vintage SCIO oatmeal bowl belonged to my great grandmother, Mommie Wilcox.  She lived on this earth with us until she was 92 years old and was the oldest matriarch of my family that was alive during my lifetime.  I had an amazing thirty-three years with her.  She has been gone for just over 9 years and that is exactly how long I have used her little bowl.

It is significant for me and my family that we are able to have the memories of her; thoughts that put special meaning in something as trivial as a ceramic cereal bowl.  It makes me fulfilled that she was here long enough to have time with each of my children too.

In the generations that my great-grandmother (1912) and her daughter, my grandmother (1929) were born,  food was the most integral part of their lives and it didn’t come from anywhere else other than their own gardens and their own kitchens.

An enormous part of their lives was dedicated to food.  The growing, canning, preparing, and cooking of food was as much a part of their life as raising a family – without the food and their relentless efforts to always have it, there would be no family.

I am proud of Mommie Wilcox’s hodgepodge dishes for the simple reason that when we use them I am reminded of how fortunate I have always been.  I am not sad that this bowl is gone I am only blessed with the reflection it brought to my life.

Momma & Mommie Wilcox 1996~

Just 5 Things~

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Well maybe a few more than 5.  The first thing that I thought of when this title popped into my mind was the Pick Up 5 Game that I do so often, but it usually also turns into maybe a few more because I can’t just pick up 5.

In a nut shell, this is a little cleaning game originally introduced to me as the Pick Up 10 “game” (thank you Momma) which isn’t a game at all but it does accomplish the task.  It is a way to motivate your children into helping pick up their toys but, it also works for grown-ups too.

Part of being OCD is that I do a lot of counting, heck I count everything!  Without even thinking about it as I move around the house straightening, cleaning and organizing the numbers of the items I have picked up are just automatically ticked off in my head: 1,2,3,4,5, etc.  You get the idea. It is a great little pick me up to do while the coffee is brewing, or just before you walk out the door for work, and right before going to bed.  Pretty soon those 5 or 10 items add up and you will have less to do later on. Give the Pick up 5 or 10 a try, it is very addictive, especially if you are as OCD as I am.

What I originally wanted to talk about was 5 reasons I am happy with my new job; however, that turned into more than 5 as well.  No luck with sticking to my numbers tonight.

Most of the folks that I know have to have a job for obvious reasons; they have life expenses with no trust fund.  In order to pay for the necessities of life and the fun things too we have to work.  For the last 16 years I had a job that allowed me the flexibility of working many of those years from home 4 to 5 days a week.  Had it made, but not really.  While the ease of a WFH occupation most definitely afforded me the luxury of a more flexible schedule, there were also side effects that I didn’t realize were occurring.  I became a very reclusive individual because I never saw anyone.  The adult interaction (social life) was zip.  The longer I worked that way, the longer I liked it, or so I thought.

It was great to take my children to school, and pick them up and be available if they were sick.  Very nice that getting off work meant just logging off of the computer.  No commute, no parking fees, no driving expenses just log off and move right on into the kitchen to start dinner.  Absolutely there was time saved, but also a person lost over the years.

Over the past two weeks of working outside of the house I have noticed something about myself.  I have a MYSELF~ Several things have changed for me with this transition and I think I may like them. My short list of 5 things grew a little the more I really thought about them and they are listed below.  Some you may laugh at, but some you will completely understand.

  1. I am grateful that I am getting up so early and going to bed at a decent regular time. I do not like to sleep, but I love to sleep.  Does that make sense?  I will look for and find every reason in the world not to go to bed but once I finally do crawl under the covers I am glad I am there. So my body is now on a better schedule which is good.
  2. When you work from home, guess what, no one sees you! So the little processes of dressing nice and doing your hair, face and nails, well they sort of fall to the side a bit. Now that I am in a better routine, I enjoy leaving the house every morning dressed for success.  Guess what else, it makes you feel good about yourself!
  3. I smile more~ This is because I am out and about and see more people.  I can’t look at them and frown, so I smile and when I do, I feel amazing!
  4. I meet new people, not only new co-workers, but people everywhere and you guessed it, I am actually talking to them and initiating conversations.
  5. Me time~ Commuting to and from work means time in the car with no one else.  I remember from years ago that my daily drive was my “me time” and I enjoyed having it to clear my head or organize my thoughts.  I still do.
  6. Part of # 5 is also time for singing with the radio music, sometimes really loud and unfortunately off-key a bit, but singing along with a song that moves you is a definite positive reinforcement of your well-being.
  7. I have a dedicated lunch time, a whole hour and it has been a while.  Working from home I had breaks, but I didn’t get up and go out to lunch.  It was just more recluse time. Now, even though I take my lunch I still leave the building to eat it and enjoy a little more me time.
  8. Being away from my family during the day has also allowed me to see that I miss them quite much during the day so I am even happier to get home from work to have family time, see their smiles and love them. I am not quite as snippy about the little things that I used to be snippy about, another very good thing.

There are probably even more reasons to be grateful for the recent changes in my life, but I am happy to stop with 8, which is of course more than 5. (I sound as if I am reciting a Shel Silverstein poem.)

Are you grateful? Even for one small thing? Take a few minutes for yourself and think about a situation in your life, recent or past, that you have up until now looked at as a not so positive event.

Now, pick out one thing from that event – just one, that you can identify with that is a good thing.

If we take life situations and really make an effort – you have to be open to trying, and look for a positive or good thing more times than not your one positive will turn into a chain of positives.  After a while, you will begin to feel better about the event and even yourself too!

Buttered Toast~

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Certain foods and smells trigger memories you may have long forgotten but when they resurface, the rush of “feel goods” can be so sweet.

We eat toast, quite often but this time it wasn’t just the hunger in my tummy that was being quelled it was a little trip down memory lane.

Instantly I was standing in my Little Mamaw’s kitchen watching her make buttered toast.  She always used a small toaster oven that had a pleasing single ding when the toast was ready.  She liked her toast a lot browner than I did so I would watch it through the glass and tell her when it was just right for me.  But, taking it out early meant that I didn’t get the ding.

Little Mamaw also always used margarine rather than real butter as the margarine was easier to spread and had a longer shelf life if left out of the fridge.  She had a heavy hand with the margarine and sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was having buttered toast or toasted butter.  Lord love her!

As I ate my “real buttered” toast tonight she was on my mind as she so often is.  I am thankful for comfort foods and for the memories and feelings they evoke, and for little dinging toasters!

What are your favorite comfort foods of choice and what special memories do they bring to light? Who are you reminded of when you enjoy them?

Therapy, Mugs & Ripples~

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What an awesome week with a new job, new friends made and new relationships to nurture.  A cold and dry one day, warm and rainy the next kind of week, but awesome just the same.

I have been looking for months for just the right massage therapist and this week I found her, so exciting! We met her at the fabulous New Year’s Eve party I was telling you about here. She made the appointment for the very next day.Even though the appointment wasn’t for me she made me feel so welcome. Her shop was so relaxing.  As soon as I walked in she handed me a cup of freshly brewed herbal tea and a book she thought I might enjoy reading while I waited. Dave found the session very therapeutic and relaxing. Thank you Becca!

This week I have also discovered my love for ripples! A crocheted chevron pattern or ripple is so very fun to make. I started a ripple blanket, see the header on the blog? It will be a project to keep me busy for quite a while and I will show my progress as it moves slowly along but while while waiting for the boys at the barber shop I started an over-sized ripple dishcloth or finger towel.  I am rippling all around town!

This cotton yarn in three colors makes a perfect chevron design. The base pattern I use is from my favorite Attic 24 ripple pattern and using her guidelines I can make the project as long or short as I want.  I just have to carefully follow the directions. The last three ripples I tested with didn’t come out so well and ended up being pulled out to start yet again.  I was just determined to master this thing and now I feel that I have.  It just all of a sudden clicked! If you crochet and have never tried a ripple pattern or project, please try one, you will love it.

I can remember my Mommie Wilcox crocheting ripple afghan’s when I would spend the days with her.  I never knew how she made the little ups and downs or also known as hills and valleys of the blankets, but they were mesmerizing and now I finally know too!

I did treat myself this week to a new set of vintage mugs which are absolutely delightful for my coffee addiction.  The simple design and little speckles and flecks throughout the mug just pulled me in.

Stepping out of my comfort spot a little I did manage to make it through the entire first week of my new job. I am excited about this new chapter and about meeting so many new and different people. Keep your fingers crossed that I have continued success with it. Thank you! Change is good so I will step up to the new challenge with a positive outlook and be thankful for the opportunity to learn something new.

What have you done recently that was new and challenging and had you standing at the edge of your comfort zone? Was it the thought of change or the change itself that was most moving for you? Did you find it nerve-racking or exhilarating?  I would love to know.

Happy January ~

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Dear January, May I welcome you with open thoughts and request that you don’t fly by? Sincerely, Me

You know how it goes, every year, we start out with the whole year ahead and like a flash it will be March, then July and before we know it we will be carving pumpkins again.

Without time travel and worm holes, and short of making the ideas of L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), Crichton (Time Line) and Wells (The Time Machine) come to life we are destined to believe that time doesn’t stand still and wait for us, nor can we change it; or can we?

In the words of Principal Jake Hord, “Take time to smell the flowers.” I heard that every day of elementary school, but to a child, it was just part of the morning announcements.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood what he was embedding into our minds. So I really do have high hopes of changing each of my days with simple happy thoughts and taking time to smell the flowers.

Now, I can’t really extend the number of hours in a day, but each day I can do things that are pleasing and memorable which will extend the thought of that day and thus, I won’t feel as if time is just slipping away.  I believe that we feel we lose time because we can’t remember the special things we do during them, or maybe we aren’t doing enough of those special things for ourselves.

Special is relative to each person and doesn’t have to be big or expensive.  It is merely something that brings you happiness and makes you smile.  The key is to be consistent so you can continue to feel in control of your time.  It is called making time for yourself.

I have a short list of the things I need for my life during this new year and was so excited about them, I thought I would share. Right on top is, HAPPINESS.  Happiness is found within and sometimes we just have to dig in our heels and maybe even get a bigger shovel~

Happiness I believe to be one of the most complex thought processes imaginable and it holds three questions: Where is it? How do we find it? And, how do we keep it?

Since we have such a short time on this earth why do we as people fill so much of our time with worry and despair instead of with happiness?  If we could find it and keep it flowing through our hearts and minds consistently each day wouldn’t we be so much better for ourselves and the ones we associate with? I do believe so!

Some of us may have more happiness than others but there is happiness to be found everywhere, and kept, and shared.  It could be that we are setting our sights too high, yes, too high.

We are socially taught that we have to have specific tangible things to be happy and if what we have doesn’t measure up, then we cannot be happy. Look a little closer at the small things in life. What makes you smile, really smile? I’ll bet more times than not it is simple and small.

When we are able to personally be happy within ourselves then and only then are we able to share it with others.  Before you know it you’re spreading happiness around like raindrops. A drop of happiness here and a dollop over there~

I don’t expect to run around all over town with a Joker’s grin on my face but it couldn’t hurt to sing a little louder and smile a little more!

So there are the first three things on my need list: HAPPINESS, SINGING and  SMILING. Have I lost you yet? Hope not. And there’s the fourth item. HOPE.

You see without hope, the first three are much harder to achieve; but with hope, the happiness, singing and smiling fall right into place. So maybe I should move Hope to the top of the list. Yes, it should read Hope, Happiness, Singing and Smiling.

In no special order I have four passions and I plan to work on each of these more, which will also increase my happiness level. Doing more of the things you love to do cannot be a bad thing!

Crocheting: I do so love to crochet beautifully colored yarns into little pretties.  My crocheting inspiration comes from so many people but mostly from my UK friend Ms. Lucy at Attic24.

Organizing: Truly, truly I hope to do much more of this in 2014 than I accomplished last year and am greatly inspired by Michele Connolly down under in Australia at Get Organized Wizard.

Photographing: I do get lazy and leave my camera at home more than I used to because my phone has a camera, but it is just not the same.  I enjoy my real camera and miss the feel of it in my hands so I shall remember it more on my outings.

Reading: Since my move early last year I have struggled with unpacking my 50 boxes of books and feel that part of me is packed away downstairs.  I love the way they feel and look and how I feel when I am reading them.  Not listing a specific goal but I will unpack more of them and find nooks and crannies in the house for them to live.

What do you want out of the coming year? Changes for yourself or your loved ones? You don’t have to set (that dreaded word) resolutions and you don’t even need a written list.  Just take a few minutes and ponder some of the things you need in your life and then think of a way to achieve it.  Small steps are best and if you’re already thinking about it then you have taken that first step.

I do wish for all of my readers more hope, more happiness, more singing and many, many smiles!

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