Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Memories and Traditions

Remembering an old tradition .....

When the children were young, we lived in a neighborhood that encouraged all homes to put out candles in small brown paper bags on Christmas Eve. The dads of each young family would faithfully fill the bags with a couple inches of sand, add a candle, light it and place the bags at intervals along the curb. We would line the streets, lighting a continuous way through the neighborhood with glowing candles.  The streets flickered with softly burning candles from sunset until sometime during the darkness before sunrise.  This was to light the way for Christ to come to each of our homes.  It was beautiful.  A very special tradition that continued for several years.

I was remembering and thinking about those past Christmas traditions.  I decided to try something similar.  This year I put small votive candles in glass jars, adding a few inches of kitty litter to the bottom of each jar.  The driveway was lined with them leading from the sidewalk to the front door.  It was my first attempt, and I learned some things I will change for next year. I will buy thicker candles of several inches in height, as the ones I used did not stay burning more than about three hours.  I will begin stashing empty cleaned peanut butter and small glass jam, pickle and jelly jars so there are more than twelve to use next year.  

Wally and I hope you have precious Christmas memories and are looking forward to a Happy and Joyous New Year.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas almost here!!!!

With the temperatures in the 50's and the skies sunny, the grass green, and people running around in SWEATERS instead of bundled up to the hilt in snow jackets, scarves covering faces, mittens and gloves, boots, knitted caps,   how can it be three days until Christmas?  We all feel blessed and happy and smug in the warmth, but some of us have a nagging fear lurking in the dark side of our brains warning us that the winter will soon be here with a vengeance and we will have to PAY for this!  The shoe (or do we mean snow boot) will soon fall!!!  I personally don't want to believe the 'pay for it' part and want to think the winter ahead will be mild and relatively easy.  Anyway, it IS almost Christmas, and I want to share some of the fun of decorating the house. 

First the tree in front of the window, where the lights sparkle and reflect and make the room look magical.  I love to just walk through the room and stare at the tree.  The ornaments are mostly things the children made through the years ... with some treasured memory ornaments that were gifts added from friends and family.  They all remind me of special times, or events, and the sweet people who gave them to me.  The little decorations made by the children make me smile and mean the most, I think.  The shrink art drawings, the marshmallow snowmen glued together and calcified with age, the construction paper with glitter, the toothless photos glued onto paper.  Those are the best.

The mantle is simple.  Just greenery, holly, some white poinsettias and the Holy Family in the middle .... all amidst tiny white lights.  

I was so fearful Wally would decide to climb the tree or 'redecorate' it by batting at the ornaments, removing them, and playing with them throughout the house.  However, he seems to think that under the tree, on the old lace tablecloth is his new napping spot.  He has made himself a nest there. When he isn't fast asleep, he gazes out the window (his large screen TV) at the birds flitting around the feeders. Only occasionally will an ornament get batted so it swings back and forth, but so far, no breakage!

I put a sprig of poinsettia garland across the top of Grandma Holton's portrait that my sweet little sister found as she was cleaning and reorganizing.  It is a lovely charcoal rendering of Grandma done in the early 60's we think.  I had it framed at a local frame shop.  Will show you the work in progress on another blog.

The Monday night sewing group decided for our party we would all bring appetizers.  Oh what a feast.  There are only five of us, but we managed to put out a spread quite delicious.  There was a cranberry cheese ball and delectable crackers, little sausage links wrapped in bacon with brown sugar, a sausage mixture in crescent rolls baked in the oven, tiny dough cups filled with chicken salad, spinach mini-quiches, and a cool grape salad to round it out.  Wonderful assortment.  We enjoyed each other, and exchanged gifts thoughtfully purchased or carefully made by hand .... all cherished and just right for each of us.

I will close with a last picture of Wally Kitty.   



Monday, November 16, 2015


The Secret Life of Walter Kitty .... and all the many things this little Wally gets into.  Oh my.  

Before I share some photos with you, I have to tell you that I was in a slight mini-panic and thought a call would have to be made to the Geek Squad!  The messages kept coming on my PC for a free upgrade to Windows 10, and after hearing from a clerk at the frame shop that it was smooth as silk and a great upgrade, I went ahead and submitted.  Just seemed I should keep up and not fall behind on the latest and greatest!!!! Well, the upgrade went fairly smoothly UNTIL I decided to try to upload (or is it download?)  my photos from the camera to the computer. There were several to share and I wanted to do another blog entry on this comical little kitten. But .. NOTHING.  It would not upload (download?) any photographs.  I tried to upgrade the camera app .... Nada.  Nothing.  Zero. Zilch.  Waited another day and tried again.  Zip.  Just about to make a call for some much needed help and mentioned the problem to the Monday night quilter/sewer/crafters.  Constantly Joyous mentioned the fix was just to undo the upgrade.  What?  You can UNDO an upgrade???? She casually shared that there should be a place to click to just undo the whole mess and return to Windows 7.  After a trip back to the room with the computer, she played around with a few clicks here and there until she found the redo button ..... YAY!  Wallah!  Done.  Back to Windows 7 and the camera nicely uploaded all the photos.  We are back in business again.  Nutz to that silly Windows 10 stuff!!!  What is it about these little seemingly simple technical glitches that just throw me for a loop?  I get all in a quandary and feel all frozen up and stuck until it gets put back in order.  It feels like a huge dump truck of worries just slid off my back!  I am in business again!

So .... here is Walter Kitty as he just has to be in the middle of a quilt spread out on the floor for examination.

Wonderfully Kind had been given this quilt to finish constructing.  It was very old and had been stored in a box in someone's attic or garage, smelled a bit musty, but was made with charming, colorful old fabrics.  We think these fabrics are from the 30's or 40's .... very warm, bright, almost enchanting.  Wonderfully Kind turns out quilts practically like a factory and has even completed quilts that people have started but abandoned.  This particular one did nothing for her, however, and she just couldn't get motivated to complete it. Seeing it in pieces, our Little Miss Witty was charmed and entranced.  "It has such happy cottagy colors" she remarked and began spreading it out on the floor, carefully putting the pattern and pieces together.  Wally was right in the middle!!!!!

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Then a few days later when I was making up one of the beds, Walter Kitty had to jump in and help.  What is it about cats and making a bed?  Why are they all of a sudden right in the middle of it?  Suddenly they appear from the other end of the house and jump all over the bed and between the sheets and blankets and cavort all over the place.  Here Wally is snuggled down under the blankets and quilt!!!!  A lump in the middle of a nice bed.

Well, after he crawled out, he simply hopped over to the other bed and snuggled himself down among the pillows for a comfortable rest!!!

Isn't he just the cutest????

Speaking of quilts, this amazing mini-quilt was one of the winners at a quilt show here at the local high school.  It was all hand stitched and done in the tiniest, most precise little stitches.  You can see how small and perfect these stitches are in the photograph with the pencil.

Can you imagine cutting out those tiny pieces and sewing each together in such precision?  Wonderful work - a real masterpiece.

Well, I am just so thankful for the ability to download photos again - and am grateful for friends, for sisters, daughters, sons, grandchildren .... for my funny entertaining little Wally Kitty too!!!



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tuxedo Kitten, Quilts, Bunnies, and Flowers!!!!

It has been over two months since I blogged.  My apologies.  So much has happened I have just ignored the blog.  No excuse.  I kept thinking I would download photos and type up an entry .... then the day would go by and I was tired and ready to go to bed - no blog was done.  Then I was feeling so guilty about it I didn't even want to think about it.  So much has happened and with this new funny little scampering kitten, I couldn't resist any longer and just sat down and downloaded almost 60 pictures.  Here we are.

It is a cold night with a freeze predicted.  The cat is cuddled next to me on the chair .... a good night to do the blog and talk to you .... and share the pictures.  Hope you are safe and keeping warm ... and enjoying this brisk fall weather.  Soup weather - fire-in-the-fireplace weather - sweaters and warm socks and cuddle-in-a-quilt weather.  One of my favorite times of the year.

A new and very precious kitty has come and taken residence in my heart and my home.  What a cute, soft, funny little rascal he is.  Born May 15, 2015, he was rescued by a local animal rescue service called From the Heart.  They work with Pet Smart here locally; the veterinarian had suggested I look at the kittens there to help fill the emptiness and end the loneliness after Sandy died.  So on September 1, I brought this little guy home.

He came with the name Wally, and it seems to fit him.  Here he is the third day living with me, already owning the house and reclining on the back of the couch.  He reminds me of a swaggering teenager with his arm hanging out the window of his car!  One of my grandsons says, "It's Wally's Senior picture!"  This little kitty is feeling pretty hot - pretty sure of himself and on top of the world.

Not even as big as the window pane, but already hopping onto the windowsill to watch the chipmunks, birds, and squirrels.

Isn't he just the cutest thing, though?  Look at his little pink nose with that tiny black spot on the end!!!  And his fuzzy little feet!  Those eyes!!!!

 Can't you imagine him saying ... oh oh a leaf .... I think that leaf is for me .... oh my and see that bug!  A bug!  Oh boy a BUG!  A BIRD!!!

Oh so much to see!  All for me!

Goodness, such adventure!!  Take a look at those funny little hind legs.  Doesn't that make you want to laugh???

These two pictures above in the chair were taken yesterday, October 16, after living here a month and a half.  He is looking handsome and settled.  A very nice kitty - purrs like a giant motor boat .... plays fetch with his mouse, and comes and cuddles with me at night and when I sit down to read.  A real companion.

*  * * *
Below are pictures of two exquisitely made quilts, carefully pieced by Wonderfully Kind, one of the Monday night sewers/quilters/crafters.  She churns quilts out so quickly my head spins.  The first few pictures are close ups of the piecing and quilting.

These last two show the overall quilts.  Aren't they beautiful?  I would imagine three out of every four quilts she makes is given away to someone as a gift.  This lady is incredibly thoughtful and kind and always doing something for someone else.  A treasure.  I am blessed with very fine friends.

* * * * * * * * *

Along with all the other gardeners here in Central Indiana, I was scrambling to cut blossoms and bring in tender plants last night with the onslaught of our first frost.  Tonight we are to get a real freeze with the temps plunging to 30 degrees.  I hauled pots and picked tomatoes and tried my best to save what could be gleaned and gathered.

* * * * * 
  I will close this blog with some photos of a lovely bouquet of flowers brought to me by an even lovelier little niece.  The tag she wrote on the flowers tells the botanical name for each blossom as well as the meaning of each blossom.  Chosen carefully and written out by her.  I find this a most endearing and magical little bouquet.  I think I want to do this with every bouquet I give to someone.  Another blessing in my life.

Blessings and love to each of you.


Monday, August 10, 2015

A Weekend in Kentucky

Just returned from a delightful, busy, but very relaxing, weekend with a friend at her family's Kentucky farm home.  The only sounds from the open window were serenades of birds, songs of crickets, the lowing of cattle in the next field ... the soft rustle of leaves.  No drone of traffic, no horns or sirens wailing, no neighbors talking or doors slamming closed.  Quiet .... natural soothing quiet.

I  awoke to the plaintive murmurs of cattle and the song of birds.  The open window revealed a light fog snuggled in the trees.  After a few minutes of just drowsing and stretching and savoring the feel of line dried sheets against my cheek, I detected the gentle sound of voices wafting up from the kitchen and the tinkle of silver, the clink of glassware.  Breakfast time.  

Below are some photos of the morning fog .... the vibrant garden flowers growing along the walkway, the bouquet sitting on the breakfast table.

The day's plans included a trip over hills and hollers, ridges and valleys to the Amish bulk food store and produce stand.  On the way we passed the old water plant building.  Out came the camera.  I was charmed - peeling paint, broken shards for windows, ancient brick.  THIS is what a real water plant building should look like, don't you think?  Note the name of the road on which it stood!!!!

After a lunch of fresh off-the-vine tomatoes and a pasta salad with garden herbs and fresh vegetables, we were treated to a real live technicolor butterfly show.  Now this is what I call a stunning BUTTERFLY GARDEN if ever there was one!

I was beginning to feel that I was in the middle of a 1940's Walt Disney movie and that maybe, just maybe a plump blue bird was going to land on my shoulder or tie a bow in my hair or something.  It was absolutely magical.  Butterflies flitting around us, swooping, fluttering, landing, taking off.  Stunning.

When I was about eight years old, I was a real brat and I begged, whined, cajoled, nagged, cried, and begged some more for a black cocker spaniel.  I dreamed of that little dog, imagined it was running along beside me when I rode my bike, pretended to pet it.  I WANTED a little black cocker ... oh please, please, please.  One of my favorite uncles was a veterinarian in another town in New York and he told my parents he was sure he could get one for me.  The answer was NO ... it was not to be.  Well, one of the neighbors in Kentucky the past weekend stopped by for a chat and entertained us with hilarious stories of recent escapades.  She was accompanied by her dogs, one of which was a darling black cocker spaniel, the exact doggie I begged for almost seventy years ago. The dog of those long-ago dreams. Look at those eyes!!!!

There are no adequate words to properly thank my friend and her family for an absolutely unforgettable, extremely enjoyable weekend in Kentucky.  Enjoyed every moment.

Thank you!