Saturday, December 30, 2017

Farewell 2017...Welcome 2018...

Saying farewell to 2017 is easy even though I feel like time is speeding faster than I can keep up.  Mr. C and I chose "Discover" as our word for 2017 and it did not disappoint us.  We discovered much in the past 12 months.  More on this as I post.  I managed to make Martha Stewart's Egg Nog Caramels. Click this link for her recipe.   It was almost a soupy disaster however I managed to cut and roll them into little bite-sized bits of yumminess.  Wrapped in parchment paper and bundled to give as gifts they were successful after all.

Having our home listed for seven months with the first broker and then 5 months with the second broker was a huge discovery for us.  We spent a ransom in upgrading everything from the landscaping to re-painting the exterior trim from blue to white and lots of indoor paint and carpet based on each broker's suggestions.  Well! We had only seven people actually tour in person and we had ZERO offers.  Not even an insultingly too low of an offer.  We became exhausted living in a fish bowl 24/7...just in case of a showing.  We also became very discouraged with the lack of effort put forth by the brokers.  December we removed our home from MLS.  As you can see in the photo above, we are not done spending time and money on trying to find a buyer who wants this beautiful peaceful serene home.

Our powder room will be current and hopefully appeal to the finicky buyers there are nowadays.  Mr. C is a very hard worker and he very much deserves to have this home sold.  He is so ready to move out of our native state.  We took a road trip recently to confirm how much our chosen destination tugs at our heartstrings.  Yes, Yes, Yes!!!  Now we merely have to overcome our rapidly declining purse strings and move on...PLEASE!!!
I have no witty year end post.  I do have some thoughts on how I would like 2018 to be kind to us.  I am not going to select a word as I have done in so many past years.  Instead I am going to be much more MINDFUL of how I spend my time and talents. I am in charge of my Creative Bliss...she says while stamping her feet!
I would like to share this quote by Sally Berger which I recently saw on a Mary Englebright image:
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."  How very fitting for me due to my always waiting for the right time or the right knowledge or the perfect situation.  "If not now...when?"
I have been so grateful for you, my faithful followers, as you share your time and talents with blogland and other social media forums.  I am inspired and humbled.
Blessings for Peace, Love, Bliss and lots more Creativity for all of 2018...xo <3

Friday, December 15, 2017

Harry & David Pears...

Thank you Tom and Joanne for the lovely Harry and David Pears.  Thankfully I opened the box and discovered the pears are ripe and need to be eaten right now!  I believe the instructions inside the box should be on the outside.  Who knew the pears would ripen faster in the gift box left on the kitchen counter for two days.  Well there is no way two of us can eat nine pears right now. So...

I got busy washing and cutting and prepping to save the pears.  Even Mr. C was shocked to see so many pans on the stove.  I made 8 cups of simple sugar syrup.  Then boiled both the syrup and pear slices together for two minutes.

Now my pear slices are cooling. These slices are no longer crisp but rather mushy.  The will have to be eaten like sautéed fruit.  I will be searching Google and Food sites for interesting ways to use these.  I do love a crumble coffee cake or cobbler.

Here is my resulting mason jar and two quart baggies of "preserved" Harry and David Pears.  Do you have any favorite ways of eating "mushy" pear slices? I would love to have you share your recipes.  Thank you very much. 
I have been handwriting my Christmas cards.  Yes, I do prefer to handwrite the envelope address and a personal message inside each card.  Sometimes this is the only time of year we connect with past friends or family and I want everyone to know I am thinking of them with each pen stroke.
Staying busy this time of year is a must, yet we also must take time for ourselves to eat right and get enough sleep and not stress over everything.  Do only what you can do and others will understand.
Merry Christmas Blessings...xo

Monday, December 11, 2017

Needle Tatted Wreaths...

My desire to blog more often is strong yet my failing to do so is stronger.  Life keeps interrupting my desires.  I have managed to be a tiny bit creative and productive.  A simple ball of crochet thread in size 10, a long tatting needle in size 5 and some inexpensive beads in size 6.0 are allowing me to make some small Christmas Wreath ornaments. 

I can pack these supplies in a small tote and keep them ready for any spare time I might have.  Of course I must also have excellent daylight or lamp light to see so that leaves out any evening TV time when Mr. C must have complete darkness. 

The beads get strung onto the thread before any tatting begins.  The beads don't always fit over the needle eye so I use a dental flosser loop for stringing which makes it so much faster and easier.

Here is the process of tatting.  Chains and rings and nothing more.  This link to Rusti Kate might be helpful.  Her YouTube how to videos are very easy to follow.  Thank you Rusti Kate.  So while life stays busy my fingers also stay busy.
Our weather is unseasonably warm and sunny. California is on fire and my prayers are for everyone affected by these horrific fires.  Thankfully Mr. C and I are safe and our children and grandchildren are far. 
I continue to enJOY each of your blogs and holiday decorations.  Thank you for sharing.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night...xo

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pocket Letter Fail...

For those of you who follow me on FaceBook you already got my opinion of my local Post Office.  I was so proud of myself for completing 17 Pocket Letters for my International mail recipients.  I had taken one to my local Post Office and confirmed with the clerk that my International postage was sufficient to send my envelope on its way.  So I came home and completed all 17.  I mailed them.  Two days later I collected my mail in the pouring rain and there were all 17 of my envelopes.  I have no photo here but I did on my FB post.  They were wet and soggy and the imbecile at the post office had rubber banded them all together with a note.  It said these must mail as a parcel and I would need to add an additional $12.35 postage to each one!  Excuse Me!!!  I am not wealthy and therefore that cannot happen.  To put it mildly, I was incensed!!!  I have had lots of issues with my mail being delayed and returned by the idiots at the Post Office but this tops them all. I am sad and angry and feel the worst for my recipients.  I had to switch up my plans...

In the meantime I was able to sew 10 Origami Coin Purses using fun Mahjong themed fabrics.  I found this on Sew4Home and here is the link.  I love these coin purses and they have lots of uses.  I won't divulge the purpose for this group so as not to spoil any holiday gift idea.  I may need to sew a few more.  I enjoy being able to sew these. The first ones I made, I hand sewed metal snaps and it took lots of time and work.  Then my friend Donna of Brynwood Needleworks introduced me to Kam Snaps.  WOW!  So much easier and quicker.  Thank You Donna.  Check out the links and you will find the pattern so you can make some for your gift giving.
On our Home front, Mr. C and I have removed our home from being listed.  We kept at it for an entire year and had NO Buyer and NO offers.  Only a handful of showings and nothing positive.  After meeting with our broker and the VP of Sales and Marketing for Coldwell Banker Grass Valley, we heard nothing new to encourage us to stay listed.  They stressed the importance of us being "STRATEGIC" with our marketing...that is there job and what we are paying them for!  They also stressed we must be "STRATEGIC" in our pricing...which meant they wanted us to drop the sales price another $50,000 and include an additional $2500 for the Buyer's agent commission.  My very wise husband said, "Anyone can sell dollar bills for 50 cents." 
Weather wise we have had some very good soaking rain the past couple of weeks.  The mountain ski resorts have gotten good snow and are open for the season.  Looks like we will not be having a drought this year.  Autumn has shown her colors and now the trees are barren.  Winter is just around the corner.  Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Americans and Safe Travels to all...
Blessings to each of you around the world and may you take time to enjoy the Magic of the Season... 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sewing and Pocket Letters...

Hello November.  You are beginning the month in a most productive manner.  Thank You.
I thought I was done sewing Dresses for Girls Around the World...until my local ladies invited me to join them.  I have just completed six dresses and here they are shown on the sewing room love seat.  I was able to unpack enough of my sewing supplies and machine in order to sew these.  Now I have renewed zest and will continue to sew.

Yesterday, today and the rest of this week I decided to make a mess on my studio work table which is 4' x 9' and such a joy to work on.  It is high enough that I don't have to lean over and kill my back.  This is also where I do all my sewing fabric cutting.  With the holidays coming all too quickly, I decided I better get busy.  I gathered supplies and got to work...actually this is pleasure for me.

I am creating some Pocket Letters for Christmas mailings.  Due to the cost of postage, I am keeping them very simple. Just a few stickers and some chocolate and a little surprise charm.

I decided to use one of my many 2018 calendars I buy from multiple charity organizations.   This little fox just melts my heart. I will have lots of variety when I am finished.  The post office is already getting busy.  We have November birthdays to celebrate. My Granddaughter Amy and Mr. C's Sister along with some friends.  Happy Birthday to each of you. 
We are getting rain and the Fall leaves are blanketing the ground. Winter is near and I feel the chill in the air.  I shall try my very best to Embrace Winter this it is not my favorite season. 
November Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to those in our United States of America.  Bliss and JOY...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Goodbye Omaha & October...

Mr. C and I took the Amtrak Train to Omaha Nebraska specifically to see my baby sister and her family.  I had not seen her in almost 25 years.  No photo of our initial hug but I can assure you it was the deepest hug ever!  This is Wendy and her husband Harold.  They live a simple life in a very small town and yet they are happy and surrounded by family.

We had our reunion at the local park.  It was a dreary rainy day but we felt warm with layers of love.

Wendy and I sat together at one table so we could catch up while we were eating.  Wendy raised five Daughters and now has lots of Grandchildren.  They all sat at other tables and visited together.  The little bit of rain and cold didn't stop the kids from playing and running all over.  Everyone but us brought food and it was all very good.  Thank you everyone for driving and gathering and feeding us.

This is Candice, fourth daughter and Auntie to all her nieces and nephews. Here is a photo of a gift Candice made and mailed to me in 1999 right after we moved to Northern California. It is her image right down to the glasses.  Everyone, including Candice, was very surprised I have saved it all these years.  I will save it forever because she made it just for me.

Here is a group photo Mr. C took of all of us.  We kept our visit shorter due to the complete exhaustion from our train trip and no sleep and due to the cold wet weather.  My sister's town doesn't even have a motel so we still had to drive 25 miles to our night of sleep.
I am forever grateful for the wonderful visit and time we shared together.  The next morning we took Wendy and Harold to breakfast at the local diner and we got to visit for another couple hours before it was time for us to hit the road to Arkansas.  That might be the next post.
October has come and is leaving.  Leaves continue to Fall.  We expect rain here and snow in the mountains this weekend. Winter is not far away. Mr. C and I are hunkering in for another Winter here.  No offers and No Buyer.  We are most depressed at our continued living in LIMBO!!!
Happy Halloween and may you receive No Tricks and only TREATS...xo

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Train Trip to Omaha...

Mr. C and I recently took a train trip from Colfax California to Omaha Nebraska.  Just because we could and Mr. C (Wayne) wanted an adventure.  Our SNOW train to Reno in January wasn't enough for him so off we went.  Here is the link to that post 

It was 2 nights so we had a "Roomette".  I think this is a misnomer Amtrak.

This is our Roomette and it is an economy of scale. My elbows touch both sides of our room.  Of course I neglected to take a photo of our bunk beds made up for nighttime. The grey slanted top is the bunk that folds down.  Mr. C had the top and it was very claustrophobic with NO room to even turn over.  There is not to be any sleeping on the train due to the herky jerky motions and the bumpy noisy ride.  We were beyond exhausted when we arrived in Omaha.

What the train is excellent for is the scenery you get to enjoy along the way. This is the Truckee River heading to Reno.  Sitting back and relaxing and watching the miles go by is wonderful.

There were miles and miles of these flattop ranges...somewhere in Utah I believe. We got to sit in the observation car and look out the windows.  We also met lots of interesting folks having their train adventures.  Train travel is not cheap nor is it quick.  Amtrak shares the rail lines that belong to the big boys like Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. Freight trains rule and have priority at all times.  If you travel on Amtrak just be aware that there are no SET schedules...merely "suggested" schedules.  We ran late at all stops.

We followed the Colorado River for 235 miles which is amazing!  My photography through windows and smudges and blotches is not very good but my memories are quite clear.

The Colorado Rockies were spectacular!  We did see Fall colors even though they had not had their necessary cold snap yet so the colors were coming slowly.

Relaxing and enjoying the scenery was pure Bliss!  We just needed sleep.  We arrived in Omaha almost three hours late. There was no one in the building to help us.  There were no taxis to take us to the airport where the only auto rentals are. There was no cell service for Mr. C and therefore no Uber app or way to call them.  I was able to call my sister and family and let them know we are late to the reunion.  No worries...
I will share that adventure next time.
So glad to be home and enjoy our gorgeous Fall colors.  Our house sitter was a gem and took excellent care while we were gone.  Still no offers...
Beautiful days to each of you and I will be visiting y'all very soon.  Grateful Blessings...xo

Friday, October 6, 2017

Autumn CQ ATC...

I am challenging myself with doing a CQ (Crazy Quilting) ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap put on by Pam Kellogg of Kitty and Me Designs.   I am new to CQ and yet it has charmed me and I want to pursue doing more of it.  Please check out Pam's blog for the swap details and you may want to participate also.  Pam you and your Crazy Quilting magazine are sew much inspiration and I am truly grateful.

My blog friend Renee of Hand Stitched Treasure blog helped with a three part tutorial on how to create the foundation and then how to do seam treatments and also how to finish the ATC for swapping.  You can check out Renee's blog and see for yourself.  Thank you very much Renee.  In this photo I used some hand dyed thread gifted to me by my friend Theresa (no blog) to needle tat an embellishment.  Thank you sew much Theresa.

Here is the back of my ATC all ready for swapping.  This template is from Pam to use in the swap.

This is the little envelope for holding the ATC during mailing in a stamped envelope.  Pam provides the instructions and templates.  I have also received lots of inspiration and techniques from Mary Anne of Magpies Mumblings.  She does amazing CQ work and her blog banner displays one of her Autumn designs. Thank you sew very much Mary Anne for all of your guidance and inspiration.

So this is my little 2.5" x 3.5" ATC for swapping.  I welcome constructive criticism and know I have lots to learn.  I did take a Basic Crazy Quilting online class from Kathy Shaw and it was wonderful to introduce me to CQ and give me lots of techniques.  Thank you Kathy for your free classes.
Autumn is here and the weather is cooler.  The colors are happening and the grey squirrels are extra busy gathering their Winter harvest of acorns and pinecones.
Happy Halloween and Fall decorating my friends...<3
My heart is heavy and my prayers are lifted for all in the Las Vegas tragedy.  Healing Energy Please!

Friday, September 29, 2017

September Fades Away...

I realize my photos have absolutely nothing to do with my blog title.  The days are passing so quickly and I am not keeping up with my desire to post more often.  The calendar is showing me another month is quickly fading away.  Just like the greens of Summer which are now turning golden, and sunset and crimson we are Falling into Autumn.  It will be time for Mr. C and I to take our annual Cruise in Clara (our trusty vintage Rambler) to view the gorgeous Fall Foliage colors. 
However, I have been busy with keeping my house and outdoor chores current.  We actually had a showing this week and remain hopeful that our "one buyer" will find us soon.  In the meantime we are preparing for another Winter here. 
I asked Mr. C to help me draw a circle with twelve spokes because I was having great difficulty doing so on my own.  Math and Engineering are not even in my realm of knowledge...Mr. C is the double Engineer and therefore I knew he could do it.  Oh Dear!  He took me to his "white board" and it became lesson time.  Yikes!  After a while of me trying to listen and really show interest he brought out his "tools of the trade" from his high school and college years.  I LOVE these tools and begged him to never get rid of them.  The white handles are ivory...SWOON!

After a couple hours Mr. C did in fact draw me a proper circle with twelve spokes and I was elated.  Before I could snatch the paper he did exactly what I knew he would do.  Yes!  He ripped it up and told me I could use his tools to draw my own.  Gulp!  Thank goodness I did pay attention and it was very fresh in my mind.  He left the room and I was able to actually produce the proper 1" circle and the required twelve spokes I needed.  I was more than proud of my accomplishment and showed my teacher.  "Well done!"  I thanked him for showing me how and letting me use his treasured tools.
You will have to wait until another post to see what I needed this for.  Can anyone venture a guess?  P.S.  The image in the lower left is the hand drawn one I did before lessons and you can see it is way off center.  Bad!
Our weather has been cooler and lovely.  The Fall colors are happening all over town. I would welcome some rain. Until then I shall hand water more of the lawn as it is still dry even with our nightly drip watering.  The new sod really gets thirsty!
I am enjoying seeing what everyone is creating and decorating.  There will be no decorating here while we are listed.  The brokers do not want anyone offended.  Our world is complicated!
Blissfully Falling into Autumn...<3  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CQ ATC Swap Challenge...

I haven't been very creative of late.  The season changing and days getting darker earlier and cooler temperatures all have me feeling like I should be preparing for hibernation.  Summer really is my favorite time of year and now it is over.  So...I decided to take on a challenge!  Pam of Kitty and Me Designs is offering a CQ (Crazy Quilt) ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap.  Well I adore ATCs so that is a non decision.  And I did take an online CQ course from Kathy Shaw of to learn the basics of CQ.  I also follow Renee and her CQ treasures.  Renee is offering how to's on her blog here.
And I also follow Mary Anne of Magpies Mumblings who does amazing CQ.  So I begin...

With most of my sewing supplies either packed and put away or donated away I gathered some fabrics my daughter recently mailed to me.  I have no idea where she acquired them because she doesn't sew.  And I did find a few very small scraps in another bin of mine.  Well, I never said I am organized...completely.  LOL

Thank you Renee for your wonderful tutorials on how to piece such a small venue.  ATCs are only 2.5" x 3.5" when finished.

Here I am beginning my sewing.  Thank you Mr. C for unpacking my machine and cabinet.

I must admit without Renee's tutorial and my trusty iPad set up I would still be trying to manage with my fabrics and piecing them.  I am feeling "challenged" already!

I made three different foundations just to be certain I have one that will work.  I admit I made a miscalculation and have no way to hoop these.  Well I suppose I could sew them to a larger muslin.
Maybe that is what I should do so I have a tight tension on my seams when I embellish them.

Now I must find my muslin to sew a larger fabric that will fit my hoop.  I have one more foundation but Mr. C's laptop I must use to blog with photos somehow ate that photo.  See...I am already challenged and I have barely begun my CQ ATC journey.
As I have mentioned our weather is chilly.  I am already cold and we are not even close to freezing which comes with Winter. Brrr...
We met with our Broker and had an interesting conversation.  The Real Estate market here continues to be depressed and there are no buyers for our home.  Yes, we could still get lucky however that is a very long shot.  So we remain listed and hopeful.  Mr. C is absolutely gutted.  His dream is to move.
I am truly enjoying seeing your wonderfully creative projects and Fall decorating.  Our home remains devoid of any decorations so as not to offend anyone who "might" come to view our property.
Falling into Autumn (Spring down under) and Creative Bliss sweet friends...<3

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Creative Snippets Happening...

In all my downsizing and sorting and purging and rearranging I am finding clever uses for some of my things. I had this wonderful canvas tote sitting in a cupboard filled with stuff.  I donated most of that stuff and repurposed this fabulous tote.  I emptied a desk drawer that was overflowing with all my Random Acts of Mail cards, stickers etcetera and my Love Notes postcards etcetera.  I also now have easy access to my mailing supplies and fun pens and markers.  I can now carry this upstairs or downstairs or in fact to a class if I were taking one.  This is so much nicer than digging through an overstuffed drawer.

Another day recently I decided to get ahead on some little gifts I like to give.  Now even though my bead drawers are packed away and my bead podium is gone I still have access to my beads.  Not too easy but doable.  I decided to concentrate only on Millifiore glass heart beads.  I made lots of earrings and charms for my gift cupboard.

Here they all are ready for gifting. I use simple place cards for keeping them ready to personalize and gift to someone. I was feeling quite accomplished.  Just a small "mess" on my large table and one that I could quickly hide away if need be.

Next up were some very easy ribbon bookmarks I created.  I was invited to join a group of very talented and creative ladies and I was not going empty handed.  Shopping from my supplies I came up with fun buttons and stitched them onto some fun grosgrain ribbon and the plaid ribbon.  The ladies were thrilled (my word not theirs) and I must say bats were way more popular than the spiders.  This button on ribbon bookmark is an easy and quick gift anytime of year or occasion. The buttons vary so much and so does ribbon.  Have fun with making these.  If you don't hand sew you can always glue the button to the ribbon.
Mr. C and I finished the garage and it looks amazing.  He painted the entire ceiling and it took two gallons of high gloss white.  I tried but my arms just weren't strong enough so I was the ultimate Schlepper!  Bring on our "one" special buyer...Please!  Due to the economy here in small town America Mr. C and I are preparing to hunker in for yet another Winter.
Prayers and continued Healing Energy for everyone affected by storms...Fire or Water!  Mother Nature is NOT happy with us at all and we need to do something to get her happy once again.
Creative Bliss my friends...<3

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

We Labored Weekend...

America just finished Labor Day Weekend.  So Mr. C and I decided to LABOR!!!  We emptied most everything out of the double car garage. This garage is large and completely drywalled.

Mr. C had to do some prep work and that was two days.  This large wall had a boo-boo from the time I drove in and was trying to park my truck.  Oops...I hit a wooden shelving unit that sat against the wall and had lots of wood mouldings and pieces on it.  Well, the shelving unit got stuck into the drywall and made a long hole.  As you can see here Mr. C worked his magic and now the wall is good as brand new.  This is only the primer spread on.  Thank you Mr. C for fixing my boo-boo.

We worked all four days of the holiday weekend and it was HOT!  Not only HOT but not a spec of breeze and at times very smokey from the fires in CA and humid from Storm Lydia coming up from Baja.  I think Mr. C lost a few pounds and that is a good thing.

He stayed well hydrated with water and Peach Snapple he likes.  Wine had to wait for the evenings.  Did I mention this garage is large? Very large.  Two gallons of paint just for the side walls and the garage door wall. We will need another two gallons of paint to finish the back wall and the ceiling.  No we didn't finish the garage and hope to do so this weekend coming up. 

We are painting gloss white and it has totally brightened up the garage.  Of course it is fresh and clean also.  None of the Real Estate people we interviewed ever said a word about this garage but we believe it is going to help with a sale.  When Mr. C and I are out searching for our next home, the garages are a top priority and we want large and finished and clean.  After all Mr. C and I both love cars and vehicles and take pride in what we own and drive.  Mr. C's garages are very important!!
Enough about this.
September is rushing along just as quickly as the previous months of this year.  I might even try to make a list of what I need to accomplish this month.  I am not very good at list making however I feel it might help me "discover" (my 2017 word) the priorities of what I want to actually get done.
I missed getting my new box of Crayola crayons or anything else related to Back to School.  I seem to do less shopping and hoarding since the reality of downsizing and purging entered into my routine.
I believe you all are busy creating and decorating for Fall and Halloween.  I love seeing what y'all are making and decorating. 
Prayers for all of Hurricane Harvey victims and now for Irma that is happening.  <3