Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year...actually  the start of a new decade...tomorrow will be 1,1,11......scary!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Sheriff's Lockout and a Happy New Year

Thanks for all the kind comments about my was fun making it...I'm going to check out Michaels for some of the tiny clothes pins when I get the car....yesterday, we had a full day of locksmithing...4 houses and then had to pick up lock boxes from two others for a realtor....didn't get back until dark....did this all in the pouring rain....and it was a cold windy rain....on the way home, I started feeling sick and am still under the weather today..tummy issues....our younger sons girlfriend just recovered from the stomach flu so it may be that....

Alan is out at a sheriff's "lock out" this morning...these usually are not as bad as it sounds...most people leave and not put themselves through any drama before the scheduled day...The sheriff goes to the front door first and knocks, announcing who he is..when he gets no answer, he motions the locksmith to come over and pick the lock...then the locksmith backs off, the sheriff goes into the house, again, announcing who he is....and checks out the house..if no one is there, he okays the realtor and locksmith that it's safe to go inside. Of course, the home owner has been giving a either 30 day or 18 day court notice so its not a surprise...9 times out of 10, they've already moved out......Alan is not fond of these as sometimes the locks are difficult to pick, and the sheriff gets inpatient...pacing back and forth.....

This last rain storm was a really cold one...below freezing with lots of snow in the mountains.....I'll get out and take some photos when I'm feeling a bit better...the mountains are covered and looks so beautiful....
I thought I'd post a few vintage New Years postcards in the coming days, just for fun..wishing  you a happy and healthy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clothes Pin Wreath

I spent today doing more cleaning up and taking down the Christmas decorations...the tree will stay up until New Years but much of the other decor is back to is the clothes pin wreath..this will go in our laundry room after the repair work is done...I used a large old embroidery hoop for the base.

I think it would look better if I can find some tiny wooden clothes pins...and trim not only the clothes line but the raffia bow know me, always got to be making something....

They finished the soda blasting yesterday....guess the insurance wouldn't go for the dry ice...but it sure left a mess....the workers cleaned up but there is still soda everywhere....especially on the side of the house where we had stored a few things...our big screen TV was covered with dust, even though we had put a tarp over it....
Alan has been working steadily yesterday and today...and has 4 jobs tomorrow in San Diego county so I might tag along.....its supposed to rain  and be cold, below freezing tonight so we brought our son's dog into the garage for the night, and gave him a old sleeping bag to snuggle up into. He looks so cute with just his head sticking out of it and it keeps him really warm.

Monday, December 27, 2010

That's What I Call "Whittling"

My dear friend Kay sent me these photos in an email....this artist whittles these miniature creations from pencil leads..amazing, huh? can only imagine the time it takes....
We had a very nice Christmas and today's been a bit of a let know how that prepare and plan, poof! the day is over and nothing left to do but clean up...easing back to normal....
The good news is that we've gotten alot of calls today and business is picking up got a check in the mail....that's the way this business is..up and down..the lot of most of small business, many struggles.

I made an interesting wreath today...made with clothes pins....great for the laundry room..I don't have it quite finished but when I do, will post a photo. Also ordered more vaccumed and did a little cleaning....we had a houseful of young people today on and off..most of the Christmas goodies have been eaten, including all the candies and nuts my brother was all enjoyed a day or so they'll be looking for more, I'm sure....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hallelujah chorus from Quinhagak, Alaska

Merry Christmas from and good wishes....

(video supplied by Sarah Palin)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a very wonderful Christmas.....I won't be posting again next week..going to take more time getting ready and with our family.....thank you for prayers...(we started getting calls again....amazing how the Lord works)
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace"
Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


This amazing group uses no musical instruments...hope you enjoy them...

Its been pouring rain here for a week...lots of roads closed and some flooding..we hear sirens going by constantly as some people try to get through the barricades and get stuck....our backyard is a small pond now which delights our duck immensely....she loves the rain and finds so many duck goodies to eat..worms, snails, etc. There are only about two ways to get out of town right now that are clear.....our son who picks up his fiancee from work..has to drive about 5 miles further to her job in a round about town over from us has only one way to get in and out....

This hasn't been a good month for us financially.....and we haven't been able to even pay our mortgage or get many presents or send out our usual cards...we are owed some money which hasn't come yet.....two days before Christmas...others are worse off, I know so please pray for all of us who are struggling...last Saturday, Alan had to be at a lock out for a foreclosed sad..the owner,a lady in her 50s.,..said she had lived in the house since she was 6 years old....over 43 years..and had no place to live, no family or friends....

I've been praying for her this week with all the rain..wonder if she's living in her car.....I know others that are in similar circumstances. There will be more foreclosures this next year..the banks have a moratorium until Jan. 3....

We've been thinking of a second business to supplement our income..when the garage gets done, Alan is going to be building shelves, wooden toys and other goodies....
and also do more photography....our son brought home this darling little ironing board and iron that someone had made which gave him the idea..its just raw wood but we would stain or paint ours..great for a little child ..and having the wooden iron tied to the board is a good idea so little Sally couldn't knock her baby brother in the head with it..LOL   We will also be building other children's small furniture..doll beds, puzzles, etc. so much better than the cheap plastic Chinese toys that can contain lead....Alan has grown a beard  so now the kids refer to him as Santa..

I also finished the set of 7 redwork towels and have them listed in my selling blog, Sweet Home Stitchery..they turned out really nice......and I am working on some nice embroidered bookmarks for the new year too.....and other goodies......

Monday, December 20, 2010

The True Story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Did you know the origin of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?  My aunt sent me this story..I'd never heard it before. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!!

A guy named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his draftypartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter,Barbara, sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bobs wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer. Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dads eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears.
Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob. Being small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too
little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.
Bob struggled to give hope to his child,for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift.. But if he couldn' tbuy a gift, he was determined a make one - a storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal'sstory to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there. The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book. In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter.

But the story doesn't end there either. Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks,made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas." The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad.
In fact, being different can be a blessing!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Handkerchief Mouse....

If you have grandchildren, nieces and nephews or other children visiting for the holidays..the above video would be a darling idea to entertain them.....the manufactured toys have nothing next to this simple and entertaining mouse....and all done with a handkerchief!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I made a pan of pumpkin bars the other day.....really good..and so easy to make.....thought I'd share the recipe ...this is from the cookbook "101 Things to Do with a Cake Mix" by Stephanie Ashcraft...

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Bottom Layer:
1 can (29 oz) pumpkin
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt

Top Layer:
1 yellow cake mix
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the bottom layer. Spread mixture in a glass 9 x 13 inch pan.
Pat yellow cake mix over bottom layer, just sprinkle it evenly across top and make sure all bottom layer is covered. Spread walnuts over dry mix. Cover dry mix with melted butter.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. This is very good...having made it, I recommend the longer cooking time.....the entire cookbook is very good..lots and lots of good and easy recipes...I like such recipes...guess I'm not much of a "gourmet" cook...there is so much you can do with cake mixes and we can get them for less than a dollar a box during sales....I try to stock up. As some are predicting, inflation is coming so we've been stocking up on basics...flour has been rather cheap right now so I've got some 5 lb. bags in the deep freeze.....want to get more...we have canned goods too and when the garage is finished...we are going to have some cabinets out there for storage....
I am also doing some stitching for the spring now....and will be stocking my stitchery shop right after the holidays......

Our weather has been very rainy...the contractors haven't been here for a day or two...just too wet, I guess..we are expecting a big storm..supposed to be 3 to 6 inches in the mountains and valleys...and we are in the valley so time will worries though as our house isn't on the river or flood plain...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Water!

YES! The plumber got finished yesterday and we now have hot water..and our gas stove back..I popped corn yesterday and strung two garlands for the tree while watching our Inspector Lewis don't appreciate basic necessities until you lose them, huh? I feel for Amrita in India as she says their electricity goes out on a daily basis....I took a nice needed shower this morning and feel alot better.....

The building inspector showed up yesterday  and the contractor got to work finishing the roofing...they came again early this morning and got all the plywood down, and papered it..the weather is cloudy and looks like it will rain any minute, so they worked was discussed yesterday about cleaning the inside with something called
Dry Ice Blasting...its really amazing....previously the contractor had used soda blasting which is very messy..the soda has to be cleaned up afterward...dry ice blasting is clean...this video is one I found online that explains it well.....I am not advertising the specific company just the blasting even cleans delicate books.....I hope they do this in our garage...thinking of asking them to clean our stove grills too! LOL, don't know if that would be sure would be nice to have clean grills though...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Blessing and 12 Days of Christmas

A big box came yesterday with TONs of new Christmas tree decorations...a dear dear friend sent them to us ..little Victorian dolls, snowflakes, and sparkly and pretty..thank you so much, Sandi! I still haven't popped corn for the garland as the stove doesn't work yet but the plumbers are here today to restore gas to us.....can't wait to take a shower! and pop corn, make cookies and other good brother also sent us a large box of Hawaii coffee, macadamia nuts, and we are truly blessed....of course, I put the box away until Christmas weekend....
after the past year, with the shadow of the fire haunting us...struggles with the insurance company, and all, we feel like we've been through a battle of sorts....these gifts have brightened and encouraged us more than you can know....its not the material but the thoughts and love that came with them...thank you so much...
I wanted to share this fun video with you've all heard of the 12 Days of Christmas..well, this takes a new spin on it.....enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010


We have spent the entire weekend with no gas...the construction guys had  problems last week..a comedy of errors, none their fault..first the compressor they were using to soda blast the charred wood wouldn't work, calls back to the rental company went unanswered until late in the that was a day wasted..then Friday, the trusses were delivered, a crane came and put them on the roof, only to discover they were the wrong we are starting over today...I hear work being done so its onward and upward for this week...hopefully....

I heated up water in the microwave to wash dishes which was awkward but not bad...and we've not done much cooking, no baking this weekend....mostly cold sandwiches, grilled hamburgers and some fast food....sure will be happy when the gas is back as I'm itching to make some Christmas cookies, pumpkin bread, etc....can't believe it's already the 13th....

Our  youngest son and his girlfriend made a gingerbread house over the weekend..Wilton has kits already premade. They had alot of fun putting it together and decorating you can see, its already being nibbled on..don't know if it will last until Christmas! .I wanted to let you know about a giveaway....check out Oh My! Sugar High..they are giving away 3 Gingerbread kits, one for a house, gingerbread ornaments, and Gingerpop cookies......I have an additional link on my left side bar.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Angel Food Ministries, Garage Sales, Garage Construction, oh my!

We have most of our decorating done..its a little chaotic here with the workers pounding, using a compressor, and talking some of the things we had stored in the garage are in our hallways and bedrooms..the weather has just been too wet at times to leave them outside.....Alan got a large tarp and covered up his shelving on the side of the house, away from the noise and construction.

I have kept the living room area free of clutter so we have a peaceful place to relax. No gas right now as the gas lines go through the garage so no stove, or hot water but that's very should be restored today. The contractor suggested for us to go to a motel but after  60 days in one, we declined..I'd rather camp out as we are doing....we have the microwave, electric grill, a small electric oven so we are good to go....its gotten warmer so we haven't needed the furnace on...

Yesterday, we went to garage sales...I found a wonderful new bread machine! We'd be looking for one at various stores but they are really expensive, well over $100....I found one for only $25.00, it was new. The older gentleman who was selling it said he "had" to have it but then never used even have all the recipe books in it...I was so delighted, went home and made a loaf of bread! We've made our own bread for years and I've gone through (worn out) two machines so this makes our third one...Alan has had a hard time finding store brand breads that are sugar free...we also found some DVDs we'd been eyeing...Inspector Morse mysteries. for only $4.00 for each season...and some other BBC mysteries that we like.....I feel like we already had our Christmas, huh?

If you've never heard of Angel Food ministries....I wanted to mention it...many people are suffering this holiday season, what with loss of jobs, loss of  homes, etc....or struggling like we are at times financially...anyway..this ministry is wonderful, its non-profit and you can order good wholesome food at low cost....each month there are several choices to pick from with the boxes ranging from about $21 to $41. You pick them up at various churches and organizations and order them embarrassing questions or income requirements..its on the honor system. You can also donate to help suffering  military families and they've started a ministry to help hungry children....I can't think of a more worthy charity this year. So if you are reading this, please check out the site....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Local Color, Saying Good Bye to a Friend and Fire News

Yesterday, after work, we stopped by our bank..while I was waiting for Alan, I snapped these photos of the trees in the parking lot...they were just beautiful after all the cold weather we've had..normally, it doesn't get cold enough for any color here.....trees throughout our town are either red or gold right now and so pretty....

We had a sad thing oldest son's cat had to be put down as the urinary tract problem he had wasn't getting better..the vet said it would cost 1,000s and there were no promises of a cure so he decided Smoky didn't need to suffer any more..poor guy...Alan built a little box for Smokie and we buried him underneath the fig tree...Don feels really badly. Smokie was the cat that was part Siamese and so clever...he will be missed..male cats seem to have this problem alot as this is the second cat we've lost from the same illness.

On the positive side, the insurance company has released all the funds and the restoration people have returned! They are taking down the old garage so there is lots of noise. They were able to save most of the tiles on the roof. They are concrete tiles and old, it would be hard to match the color.We will get an entire new garage roof, joists, etc, new electrical and gas lines, new insulation and dry wall, new garage door and opener, virtually a new garage with new cabinets and should be done before Christmas.

About two blocks from us, another garage caught fire two weeks ago but the owners were not home and it went into the living room and kitchen before the fire department was called. We felt for them. I don't know if these houses (tract housing) have defects but its been so many years since they were built..not much can be done...
This has been a very hard year, some I've posted about, some I haven't but as the scripture says
"Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:
in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" Romans 34-37

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Northern California Photos, Our Tree, New Redwork Towels

This is the cove where our neighbor is going to build his retirement home on one of the cliffs looking down into this beach area...

Old logging wagon

one of several old bridges..Matt was really impressed with all the wonderful colors of plants

the 3 guys really had fun hiking on these trails that over looked the cove..I would have too...just wonderful....

Back to reality...
we did some tweeking on the tree we bought...and it looks better now but we aren't done yet...planning on getting the young people together to string some popcorn for garlands and add a topper of some kind..
I added some of my tags to the tree also

here is the first of the new set of redwork flour sack towels I will be pattern from Aunt Martha's...

I did alot of stitching yesterday afternoon, fighting this head cold...later in the afternoon, it poured down rain..we had quite a storm..and its soggy today much for a dry winter,  huh?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Northern Coastal California Photos

Here are a few of the 1600 photos Matt took..Alan did a little editing and I think they are lovely....most of these were taken around Trinidad, Ca....the top 3  as well as the one above are from the Redwoods....that is their car going through the on the photo is even better......
We are still fighting head colds and taking it easy today...we did more decorating on our Christmas tree and I'll have a photo in a day or so....I also started some new redwork towels...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Traveler Returns

Just a short post today...our traveler came home early early this morning...they had driven all night to get home..he called around 7 p.m. and they were almost 200 miles north of San Fransisco....I didn't hear him come in but did hear a racket on the patio...this morning, I found about 10 lbs of beach rocks he had collected, LOL...and some drift wood....he's sacked out now so all is good.....he said he absolutely loves Northern California ..and was very impressed with the Redwoods..I am so happy he went and was able to enjoy the sites.

As  kids, we went through the Northern part of the state while traveling to Spokane, Wa to visit family...lots of good memories both in the summer and winter....we went every year. Most of my cousins live in Oregon and Washington and I have one aunt that lives near San Francisco.
no photos today but I'm sure to have many when I get the camera back...didn't want to disturb him right now to find it.....thanks for the travel prayers.....

Friday, December 3, 2010


Dec. 1, 1973

Thank you for all the nice comments...yes, 37 years together and we hope for many more as the Lord grace continues....we had a wonderful meal at the Olive Garden..our meal was delicious and we had enough for lunch the next day.....I was a good girl and ordered low carb everything...Olive Garden is one place where low carb meals are offered...had a big salad, skipped the bread sticks (was very tempted though, they are wonderful) and had Ventian Grilled chicken with a peach sauce over grilled asparagus and steamed broccoli.. Alan is supposed to be on low carb too but he splurged and got  Chicken Alfredo
I haven't mentioned low carb before. This year, I've lost about 15 lbs and hope to lose another 15-20 next year..slow but sure.....its hard sometimes as I love my bread and baked goods..noodles and good stuff like that.

Our boy isn't back yet....I guess the neighbor is working on getting a job up there and has been delayed....everything is ok ...he is enjoying seeing Northern California and now southern Oregon..beautiful country....says he's got about 1,000 photos!...
We are all fighting head colds today....and our older son's cat had to go to the vet.....urinary blockage, its a good thing he's working now! Smoky came back yesterday from an overnight stay with the vet, and special food....he didn't have an infection which we are thankful for but crystals in his bladder which caused blockage.
We all agreed we need to get some pet insurance with 4 cats.....anyone have pet insurance?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Since I can't take any photos, (the camera went with Matt)  thought I'd share one I took last week, Mrs. Quack has outdone herself..she made a nest under our African Sumac tree and just look at the eggs! They're not fertile of course, but she doesn't know....she sits on them every night...I am slowly take them away but its cute to watch her..normally she isn't very maternal, Pekin ducks are not great mothers...

Today its a bit warmer here..... it got down to 35 last night and has warmed  up to 70..I even have the patio door open today to get some sunshine and air....actually washed windows today too......

Today is our 37th anniversary! Alan had some jobs but called me to invite me out to dinner this favorite place, The Olive Garden. We haven't gone out to a nice restaurant in several years so it will be a real treat.......