Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Preparing For Three Weeks Away

I leave tomorrow for Spokane for a three week stay.  My newest grandchild is due any day and I'm going to be there to help in any way I can.  I'll be taking care of Riley (now 15 months old),  cooking, cleaning,  fixing up a new nursery, and anything else that I can do.   I also found out today that Brandon is getting his wisdom teeth pulled next week and thought it would be a good time because as he told Diana, "My mom will be here to take care of me".   I'm looking forward to it all.  The hardest part for me is being away from my own home for that long.  I love to be in my home.  I have a feeling, though, that after three weeks with my son and his family it will feel like home there.  My Bob will come out to us on September 11 and then we'll fly back together on the 15th.

Tomorrow we actually just drive to Pittsburgh to the airport.  We live 2-1/2 hours from the airport and since I leave at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Bob and I like to go down the night before to have a nice dinner and a good sleep at the Holiday Inn.  It also will break up the drive for Bob, instead of five hours in one day.

I've been very busy getting ready to leave.  As with any trip no matter how far or how long, I have to clean my house before I leave.  Being gone for this long, there is no way it is going to stay clean until I get back, but I have to leave it as best I can.

Last weekend, my older son, Austin, and his two dogs spent the weekend with us.  His wife and three children were in New York visiting her family, so it was very nice to spend some time with Austin without the interruption and distraction of the kids. 
Isn't he cute?  It's been a long time since we've spent time with just him.  I so enjoyed it!

Next weekend, Bob is going to Cincinnati to pick up his 23 year old nephew to stay with us for a month or so.  He needs some big time help and guidance in making a decent life for himself.  His home life has not been great and I give him credit for at least realizing there is a better life for him out there.  Bob is going to try to help him get into the military, but we'll see what happens with that.  The selfish me is not looking forward to raising a 23 year old for an indefinite period of time.  The caring and nurturing me really wants to show him what a good home and life and job can be like. 

So, I needed to clean the guest room for Kyle, not that he'll know the difference, but I will.  Of course, I'm laundering every sheet, towel and piece of clothing in the house.  I have two more shirts of Bob's to iron so he has at least a couple of weeks without having to launder or iron his own.

Yesterday we had new carpeting installed in our bedroom.  It looks so nice, but that sure makes a lot of work.  While all the furniture was still out of the room, I gave it a good cleaning from top to bottom.  Then I did a slight re-arrange and junk clean up.  Very slight, but enough so that it feels like a brand new room.  We also got a new bench for the foot of the bed.  I've been looking for a bench for quite a while and we found this one in a small furniture store on sale last week.   This is it with my suitcase on top as I have been packing all day today.

I'm only taking one carry on suitcase and a carry on duffel bag.  I don't need to take anything other than T-shirts, shorts, some sweats and a pair of jeans.  If I need anything else I'll get it there.  Now I just need to throw in about three different colors of flip flops and I'm ready to go.

I finally finished sewing the second curtain for Riley's bedroom.  I'm ironing it right now.

This matches the first curtain and the quilt I made for her nursery. 

Then about three days ago, I decided I needed a bag/tote/purse that would be easier and more convenient for traveling.  I wanted a cross-over bag with lots of pockets that would work double duty as a purse and would also hold a small knitting project and a book.  I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to look, so I dug through my stash of fabrics and found an old pattern that I altered to my specifications and Voila!, here's my new  bag.

Perfect!  Don't you just love my artistic manequin?  My artistic son, Austin, gave it to me.  It's come in very handy in taking pictures of scarves, neckwarmers, etc. for my Etsy shop.
Here's a closer-up of the bag.

It has four pockets on the outside with velcro closures, and four pockets on the inside.  Then, of course, I had to embellish with lace, buttons, ribbon and charms.

This is the cell phone pocket. 

OK, my break is over and I need to finish my ironing and packing.  I'll be three weeks away from my computer and the break from high level communication probably isn't such a bad thing.  I did get a new cell phone, though, that I can e-mail and facebook from if I can figure it out! 

I'll be back in about three weeks with plenty new baby pictures!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Stuff of Mine

I've been busy knitting.  Some for myself, some for my grandbabies, and maybe one or two new items for my Etsy shop:  http://charmingbynina.etsy.com/   I go in phases with the things I  make because I tend to get tired of doing the same thing for too long.  So more quilts, miniature quilts, and pincushions will be coming when I get in the mood.  In fact, I'm starting to feel a mini quilt urge coming on as soon as I have the time. 
Knitting works well for me when I'm busier because it's so portable.  I can pick it up easily and knit a few rows or take it with me in the car if someone else is driving, of course.  And it's great to take to a hair appointment or to sit and wait in a dentist or doctor's office.

I just listed this cable knit purse for my Etsy shop.
It's lined with a cotton fabric and then I crocheted and felted the flower on the front.  The yarn is Baby Alpaca.  I know my things are maybe a little more expensive than others you may find on Etsy, but I use very expensive luxury quality yarn.  You can really tell the difference once you start working with the better yarn.

I made this little baby set a while back for my granddaughter, Riley.  I'm now almost finished with another set just like it that my dog groomer ordered from me for her granddaughter.  She ordered a size 3 mos., but it looks awfully small to me.  If I have to make her a larger size that's fine because I'll give the one I'm making to my newest granddaughter, Leanna. 

 I made this little hat and bootie set for Leanna
 This set I just finished for my newest grandson that's due on September 6. 
Side note:  I leave for Spokane next Thursday to be there for the new baby.  I'll be staying three weeks.

This set I made for a girlfriend of my DIL's as she had a baby girl 3 weeks ago.  She saw the set I made for Leanna and asked if I could make a set for her baby.  She loved it and actually had professional newborn pictures taken of her baby wearing this. 

I finished this sweater for myself a few months ago and I love it.  It's perfect to throw over a tank top if it cools down at night or to go into a freezing grocery store or restaurant. 

Oh, and this is my new "natural" hair color and my new pink and purple glasses.  I'm embracing  a much more Bohemian look ever since I retired from the insurance business and don't have to look conservative anymore. 

And since I finally figured out how to set the self timer on my camera I thought I'd show the necklace my kids got me on Mother's Day.  It has become one of my favorite things.  It's Brighton, and the two charms on the left are the birthstones of my two sons next to a charm that says "mother" and the four birthstones on the right are my grandchildren with a "grandmother" charm.  One more will be added very soon.  It's actually becoming quite heavy, but isn't it beautiful!  I just love it!

As you've probably noticed, my blog background and header is also new, but I don't know if I'm satisfied with it.  It may change a few more times in the near future before I find something to stick with for a while.  I enjoy making the changes when I have the time to fool with it.  I've also updated  "My Charming Creations" page (click on the tab at the top).  I've sort of neglected that page for a while, so take a look if you'd like.

That's it for now.  More to come.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Cozy Little Sewing Room

Today is Monday, which means it's time to show off your cottage.  This is hosted by Cielo at The house in the roses.  Follow this link to see all the beautiful rooms and cottages:

This is the door to my cozy little sewing room.  This picture I found in an antique store just reminded me of how I feel in my room.  Like a little girl playing with her toys!

This is where you will find me almost every night, sitting in my favorite chair with knitting or sewing in my hands.  I had this chair and ottoman made a few years ago.  I had been wanting this chair with these fabrics I picked out for a long time.  I also ordered extra fabric and was able to make some throw pillows to match.  The pillow on the left is one I made doing a faux chenille sewing technique made of flannel.  And if you can notice the crocheted doily on the back of the chair, that was made many years ago by my great grandfather.

My dogs hang out on the couch as long as I'm in that room.  The couch is quite old.  It was my grandmother's and my boys used to take naps on it at her house when they were little boys.  It's in excellent condition and has so many memories for me and I also like the small size of it.  I had a white slipcover on it but I just got tired of messing with it.  The quilt on the back was the very first full size quilt that I ever made about ten years ago, and a few more throw pillows that I made for the dogs to cozy up with.  The little end table was found at Cracker Barrel by my mother about five years ago.  I should have taken a close up picture of it because it has the prettiest roses and ribbons decorating it. 

My little TV sits on top of a repurposed old sewing machine bottom made into a stand.  The top was brown but I painted it white, as I did with every piece of furniture and trim in the room.  The scarf under the TV is a gift from Germany given to me by my mother when she was living there for a while.  The table under the mirror was a credenza in my old dining room and it was also a light oak wood.  My husband put the legs on for me to make it the right height for me to stand at and cut fabric and iron.  Again, I painted with a white wash, then stenciled lace on the drawers and glued on cloth covered buttons and hearts.  This little room is so jam packed that it's hard to even point out every little thing in there.  I made most of the wall hangings, the collection of pin cushions on the TV stand, and the framed mini quilt on top of the TV.  All the baskets on the floor are filled with either yarn or fabric.  The closet is also filled, but I won't even go there!  I try to keep it as organized as I can, but this is all stuff I need.  And I love just sitting there amongst it all.  Uh Oh! does this sound like a hoarding issue?

The sewing machine is from 1970 and was my grandmother's.  It also started out brown, sort of Early American style and came with a Singer sewing machine.  I used this old machine of hers until just a few years ago when I finally got a new Janome.  Here's the original owner's manual that came with the cabinet and machine and this is exactly what it looked like.

And you guessed it!  I painted it white with pink and green trim.  Then I sanded spots to give it a more shabby look.  The cover on the chair came from Sure-Fit slipcovers.

I just didn't know when to stop and stenciled the roses on top of the cabinet. 

I made the curtain, but they did not originally start out at curtains.  It was a quilt top that I had never made into a quilt and I needed curtains, so I cut the quilt in half, sewed a backing to them, made a rod pocket and they worked out perfect.  But then after I hung them I thought they didn't quite look frilly enough, so I hung lace behind them that hangs down beneath.  
Everything on the little white shelf is stuff I've made.  More pincushions and miniature pillows.  I also made that mini little quilt hanging under the clock.  It's a quilt of a sewing machine.  Oh, and notice the lamp shade on the right.  I made that, too.

These are some miniature quilts that I have made.  I  have thought about selling them, but I would have to ask so much for them that I doubt anyone would buy.  Besides that, they take me so long to make that I hate the though of parting with them.  I'll have to show more on these in a different post.

My mother and I also do counted cross stitching and she made this for me.  Isn't it just perfect?

I made this wreath many years ago, incorporating things I like into it.  It's maybe a little cheesy, but I love how I feel when I look at it.

So that's my cozy little sewing room.  It's not very big, and there's a lot crammed in there, but when I'm in there I just feel like I'm wrapped up in one big comfy quilt.  I hope you enjoyed seeing it as much as I enjoy being in it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Elvis Was in the Building!

I'm sorry this isn't a better picture.  The lighting was terrible in our old lodge where Elvis was performing last night.  His name is Bill Barnhart.  He is an Elvis impersonator, of course, and he actually was pretty good. 
At the Lakeview Lodge, which is right across the little lake where we live, they had a dinner and a show with "Elvis" as the headliner.  What really made it fun was the audience.  We live in a very small community and so we knew just about everyone there.  The show started out a little slow, but after the crowd had a few drinks in them, especially the women, the audience participation and dancing was fun to watch on its own. We went with my parents and the majority of the people there were closer to my parents' age than my husband and mine, but those women, now in their 70's, got up there and danced like they were on American Bandstand.  Old Elvis just took them right back to their teen years.  It really was more fun than I was expecting.  I wish now I had my picture taken with Elvis.  Darn! too late.  Elvis has left the building!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Trying To Do It All

I just can't get it all done!  Too much to do, so little time!  I know, I say it all the time.  Most of us say it all the time.  Why?  How does this happen?  What to do about it?  It's not just the "Have" to do, there is also the long list of "Want" to do's.  Then comes in the issues of prioritizing, organizing and scheduling.  A big problem I have is feeling guilty if I put a "Want to" ahead of "Have to".  I feel like I can't do something I want to do until I have everything on my "have to do" list finished first.   At almost 53 years old, should I still be feeling like this? 
Now, sometimes the "want to's" and the "have to's" are on the same list.  Such as cleaning the house, which I really do sort of like to to, and cooking, which I like to do if I'm not rushed.  Outside work and gardening I like to do, but it is very time consuming and by this time of year I'm really almost tired of this job.  By the way, the last couple of days here have almost felt a little Autumn like and it feels good.  I think I'm almost ready for it.
If I could have a whole day of "wants", I would do a half hour of yoga or some sort of exercise in the morning, have my yogurt and coffee, then sit on the deck for a while and knit, then start a new miniature quilt that I've been wanting to do, have a quick and easy bite of a small dinner, watch the television shows that I like to watch while I knit some more.  All of this without an interruption or a request being made of me.  Dream on!! 
When the grandkids come to visit, both lists are pretty much set aside.  Some of the "have to's" still get done to a very limited degree.  And now with almost five grandchildren, the time spent with them is priority whenever possible.  Last weekend we took the two grandsons to the county fair.  We had just as much fun as they did.

The following day was Logan's 6th birthday party.  Bob and I and the GG's (my parents, the Great Grandparents) travelled the one and a half hours to my son and DIL's house for his little party.  It was a fun time and it also gave me the opportunity to hold my new little Leanna, now 6 weeks old.

Here's Little GG (my mother) holding Leanna. 

Anyway, I got a little off my topic there, but I just had to share about the grandkids. 
This week, the kids weren't around since they are in New York with their mother visiting her family.  I also spent a whole day catching up on the computer bookkeeping for our business.  I mean, a whole day!  I sat at this computer from 9 am until 5 pm.  My butt was sore.  I shouldn't let it get so behind like that in the first place. 
So now where does all that leave my knitting, sewing and blogging?  Yep, way down on the list. 
Here's the problem with a husband that works out of the house with a wife that works for him part time and also has a lot of other interests.  This is what I constantly hear all day long:  "What are you doing now?  What are you doing that for?  Shouldn't you be doing this, that or the other?  That's not necessary!  Do that later!"
You get the idea.  Don't get me wrong.  I love him dearly and I need and want to carry my end of the load, but every so often I need some alone time! 
So now on this beautiful summer/fall like day I'm going to take the dogs for a walk and ponder my "have to's", "want to's", and priorities and make some mental notes of adjustments that need to be made.  Then this evening my home alone son, my parents, Bob and I are going to see "Elvis".  Yep, that's right!  I'll take pictures.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Health and Fitness for Real Housewives - Part 3

Do you love ice cream in the summer?  I do.  And I try to limit myself in ways that I don't feel deprived, but still get a taste of it.  A couple of tips to not feel too, too guilty about having some ice cream:  First - don't buy it at the grocery store and keep it in your freezer.  If its there, and it's hot out, it's too tempting.  Disclaimer - I do buy ice cream for special events at my house such as birthdays or Thanksgiving, when there are going to be lots of family here to eat it all.   Second - when you go to buy a dish or a cone at your favorite Dairy Queen, ask for a baby cone.  You still get your craving satisfied without eating too much.  Third - frozen yogurt is a good alternative.   Fourth - Try this wonderful recipe from Kraft.  This tastes just as good as any ice cream and even my grandchildren loved it.

Raspberry Summer Sensation

What You Need
1 pt. (2 cups) raspberry sorbet, softened
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
1 cup Raspberries

 Make It
LINE 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil. Spoon sorbet into prepared pan; freeze 10 min.

BEAT milk and pudding mix in large bowl with whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in COOL WHIP; spread over sorbet in pan.

FREEZE 3 hours or until firm. To unmold, invert pan onto plate; remove foil. Let stand 10 to 15 min. to soften slightly before slicing to serve. Serve topped with the raspberries. Store leftovers in freezer.

I also followed these Healthy Living tips for this recipe.
Kraft Kitchens TipsHealthy Living

Save 1.5 grams of fat per serving by preparing with fat-free milk and COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping.

How to Soften Sorbet

Spoon measured amount of sorbet into microwaveable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM (50%) 10 to 15 sec. or until slightly softened.

nutritional information per serving :

Calories 140 Total fat 4 g Saturated fat 4 g Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 130 mg Carbohydrate 26 g Dietary fiber 1 g Sugars 18 g Protein 1 g Vitamin A 0 %DV Vitamin C 10 %DV Calcium 2 %DV Iron 0 %DV K:520 v0:52767

I kept this in the freezer for about a week, just keeping it covered in the loaf pan.  Then whenever you have that craving, just cut off a thin slice, top with some fresh raspberries, and it truly is delicious. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PA Wilds and Elk Country

After our day on Saturday, I was just going to putz around the house on Sunday and catch up with my knitting, sewing, cleaning and re-organizing my sewing room and put up some listings on my Etsy site.  Well, My Bob decided he wanted to take a Sunday drive up north of here about an hour.  I tried to talk him out of this because I had my day all set in my head, but I'm glad he persuaded me.  We had a wonderful day and saw some beautiful parts of Western Pennsylvania. 
We've lived in Pennsylvania thirty years now and I think I have only been up into Northern Elk and Cambria Counties about twice.  And I had never seen parts of the counties we saw on Sunday.  Like I said, it's only about an hour drive but there really is no other reason to go there except to site see.  And the sites really are few except for the scenery itself.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Trees, forest and just land.  Very few buildings, people or cars.  The weather enhanced this as it was a gorgeous sunny day. 
Bob's initial desire for driving up there was to locate a grape orchard that he was told was up that way.  The Orchard where the winery we visited on Saturday gets their grapes.  We never did find it, but we came across the Elk Viewing Area that we have heard about for 30 years where people go to see Elk roaming and grazing.  I don't know why we never went.  I think because we see deer in our backyard daily, to the point of annoyance, so why do we want to see more of that.  Well, now I know.  First of all, the view is breathtaking.

There weren't any Elk out there and we found out from the young man (Game Warden, maybe) on duty that the elk's mating season is late September and early October and that is when people are flocking up there to see.  Can you imagine the view at that time of year with the colored leaves?  We've already decided that we're going back up on some nice Fall weekend.
Now, I have never seen an elk before and like I said, I'm picturing in my head a deer look alike with huge antlers, as in the first board above.  Even though I've lived here for 30 years, I'm not very knowledgeable in wildlife.  Well, Bob explained that only the males have the antlers.  The second board shows a female elk.  Duh!  I just never thought about it!
So as we continued just driving around, we were just noticing and commenting on how rural it really is up there and how "rough" the people seem to live.  And as we were just driving down a back road (more back than the "main" road) I pointed out to Bob that those people in that little cabin sure had some funny looking horses in their yard.  Bob immediately got a little excited and corrected me as he laughed that those weren't horses, they were female elk. 

So that's what they look like!?
A little further down the road, behind another old cabin, some more were just taking an afternoon nap.

The pictures can't give you the same feeling as seeing them in person.  Now I know.  I'm looking forward to going back in the fall.  Heck, it's only an hour away! 
It goes to show that there is so much to see in our own backyards.  We just don't take the time to look. 
On our way back home we decided to stop in a little pass through of a town called Medix Run and have something to eat at the Medix Hotel.  We were there once many years ago in the winter.  It's actually a real hot spot.  It's one of those dives that has really good food.  It's mainly a bar with a tiny little dining room, if you want to call it that, with peanuts all over the floor.  I think the sign said, "established in 1894".  And believe me, it has not been updated except for electrical appliances since.  It's a place that motorcycle riders gather in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter.
We sat outside on the deck and the wrap sandwiches were delicious.  They are especially known for their wings.  Then right across the street was a relatively new, and I say relatively because it was probably at least 50 years old, country store and gift shop.  We browsed in there for a few minutes and bought some home made apple butter.
It was like a day spent transported back in time.  You feel like you're back in the Old Frontier Days. 
Such fun!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Flea Market and More

I'm having a very nice weekend with My Bob.  It's rare anymore that just the two of us spend time together without family and grandchildren.  This weekend is turning out to be one of those rare weekends and I'm loving it.  Now don't misunderstand, I love my family and love being with them, but this alone time was very enjoyable.
Yesterday was the first Saturday before the first Sunday of the month, which means Flea Market Weekend.  Mom and I usually go together, but she was tired, so Bob agreed to go with me.  It's definitely not an activity that I would enjoy doing by myself.  We didn't get out the door until noon, which is late for Flea Market day.  It was such a beautiful day and I just was going to enjoy walking outside.  I actually found a few things.  (I usually do).
The first thing Bob and I came across were sunglasses.  He hates spending a lot of money on sunglasses and feels like the $5.00 pairs are the same exact thing at the $150.00 pairs, just with a lower price sticker attached.  I tend to agree with him.  So he got a new pair.  And I have trouble with sunglasses since I wear prescription glasses and I don't want to spend the money on prescription sunglasses.  I also found a pair of clip on ones that actually look good.  I don't feel too much like an old lady wearing them!
Then I found some pink depression glass cups and saucers.  I have been looking for a set for quite a while and the price on these have become so high.  I found these four sets for $5.00 a set.
The pattern is "Coronation" with a banded rib.  I really wanted the "Cottage Rose" pattern, but the lowest price I have ever seen on that pattern is $24.00 each.
These were in excellent condition and they will do just fine.
They look so pretty with my "Virginia Rose" dishes that were my great grandmothers, which I have added to over the years when I see a good price at antique shops or the flea market.  I  noticed that the prices have really increased on these lately, too.

About a year ago, I found these English Rose Ironstone dishes at an antique store that was going out of business and I got all the dishes of this pattern that she had for about $10 total.  I love them.

One of these days I'm going to have a tea or luncheon for a few of my girlfriends and bring out all the pink stuff.  Otherwise all these pretty dishes sit in my china cupboard.  I sure like buying it and looking at it, though!
 On the way home from the Flea Market, we decided to stop at the Farm Market and I got some fresh peaches that I want to cut up for either peach cobbler or peach shortcake.  I think that will be on Monday's dinner menu.  We left there and Bob turned off a road that led to a local winery that we hadn't been to in a long time.  We had a small wine tasting and left there with two bottles of wine. 

Can you tell the "Mountain Mist" on the left is empty already?  When we got home, Mom and Dad came over with Subway sandwiches.  We took the sandwiches and the bottle of wine out on the boat for a little picnic dinner. 


After the boat ride we had homemade strawberry shortcake that Mom had made and brought with her.
It couldn't have been a more perfect summer day. 


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Stumble Upon