I liken my life to a crazy quilt. You never know what size or color the next block will be, what print or fabric it will be made from or which stitch, ribbon or charm it will be adorned with.

Welcome to my crazy-quilt life. Hopefully my blog is a reflection of that & me!

Enjoy your visit.

Check out my farm blog too! http://serenitysheepfarmstay.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Words cannot completely describe my day yesterday. I did something I've always wanted to do and that is open our home to anyone who might like to share our meal. Traditionally my mom hosted T-day and when my step dad passed away, she passed the torch to Juliana. With Juliana and Johnathan now in Portland, I really wasn't looking forward to this Thanksgiving.
My plan was hatched at the last winter farmer's market. I purchased items from my friends who sell there to have for our meal. At least then a little bit of them would be at my table too. My desire grew to have the most local meal I could possibly provide. Then I realized it would just be us. Chris, Kelly, Mom, Ray and myself. I am fortunate because I see these people frequently, if not every day, but let's face it, we're a little boring.
I posted an invite here on my face book page and invited anyone! Our table seats 10 comfortably and we had 10 at the table! It was really meant to be.
It was such a great joy to share all of the local harvest with everyone here and to know our kids in Portland were in kind and loving hands with good friends.
The conversations were interesting and lively, the laughter was abundant and soothed my soul. The new faces at our table were a blessing. My heart is full!

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Day Simplicity Training for Women

I joined the gym! Yup! I saw an ad in the local paper for a 30-day Simplicity Training for Women and it happened to be in Manhattan, which is closer for me than actually going to Bozeman. There are gyms in Belgrade, but the ad appealed to me for many reasons. Thirty days. I can take 30 days for ME and do something really positive.
So I am at the end of week one. We meet just 2 evenings a week and we're given "homework" for 3 more. I decided I wanted to write down some of my thoughts during this process so that if just one person reads it and finds inspiration, maybe my words will help.
Day 1 was interesting. We warmed up and then our workout was just 12 minutes long. It's a modified version of cross fit training. Day 2 I was sort of sore and day 3, look out! Sitting down and getting back up again REALLY hurt. I developed this pain in my back below my left shoulder that hurt like mad when I tried to roll over in bed or breathe deeply. I think it's actually just a muscle that is coming back to life after years of little use. I am right -handed and I guess I didn't realize just how much I don't use my left side.

I want to touch on a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my head. It's awkward to let other people see you work out when you're out of shape. I absolutely HATE the fact that I know so many people at the gym. Manhattan is a small town and I know A LOT of people. I am having a hard time coming to terms with this aspect of it. I think it's because of conversations I've had with other people on the subject. "I could never join a gym! I don't want people looking at me" they'd say. Well, what I have found is that they're all there to work out, not to look at you!

There are 5 ladies in the group. Only one is under 50, so that makes it nice. The trainer is super nice and very gentle on us. He's got a helper who watches to make sure we're in position properly too. The exercises of today are not the same we did in gym class! Chin ups, sit ups, push ups are all different. They all still hurt! lol I've done "planks" and "kettle bells", words I've only heard before. This is all new to me!

Oct. 29
I know I am sleeping better with these workouts, that's for sure.
Yesterday I had to go to Manhattan, so I stopped off at the gym to put in 30 minutes. I wound up staying for almost an hour and rode the bike 10 miles. I am still in awe that I could go that far. It's encouraging.
It was really difficult walking into that place alone, knowing my class mates were not there. As it turned out, the trainer was there and he was encouraging. Yes, I knew 90% of the people there! It's very awkward for me.

Oct. 31
Finished up week 2. What a difference a week makes. Robin, the youngest in the class, promised us last week that this week would be better. She's been at it a week longer than the rest of us. Tonight the gym was practically empty, which I like. Well, with the exception of a couple of guys who were apparently weigh-lifting or something. I honestly think they were there to either look at themselves in the mirror or to be seen or both. It was odd. I was about to ask the trainer what was up with the loiterers!
I sweated more tonight and was out of breath for a bit. It was a tough workout for me, but I got through!
We have homework too! On the days we don't work out, the trainer gives us homework. We can go to the gym if we want or do it at home. Today I did laps around the outside of the shop. lol We get the weekends off! YAY!

Here it is Nov. 15. Our 30 day-training has ended. I feel much stronger in a lot of areas and I am glad I did this. It's amazing what a little bit of weights can do, especially if you have someone show you the proper way to use them.

Last night I actually took note of my confidence walking in the gym. I didn't care who was in there! I have formed friendships with my class mates and trainers and it has been a fun thing. Of course I had to sprinkle in my own brand of fun in the class too! For Halloween I gave them each a treat bag with a tea bag inside. "Good Mood Tea"! :-) And on Thursday of last week when the trainer was gone, I brought a hula hoop for his assistant and we threatened him with a hula hoop work out if he was too hard on us. It was all in fun and he did very well! He even did chin ups while twirling the hoop on one leg! Impressive! So I brought it back Tuesday for the trainer and we had more fun!

I really have only kept track of my feelings here so I could go back and see progress. If this inspires anyone to try the gym, all the better. I never thought I would be one of those "gym people", but it helps to keep you focused and on track. I will continue. The program now goes to 3 nights a week (or 5:30 am....no thank you!). I will continue with class 2 nights, but right now I can't work at the mill on Wednesdays and go directly to the gym. I am not physically there. We'll see what the future brings!

December 18 update!
Last week I was really discouraged that I still hurt so bad after workouts. It's not right after or even the day after. It's the second day after, which is the same day we work out again. This week I am MUCH improved! It does get better. It just takes time. I am feeling so much stronger, my range of motion is better and I have more stamina at the gym. I am lucky to have a great bunch to work out with. I think that really does matter!
And...I am working at the mill AND going to the gym on Wednesdays! I can do it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More "Me" time, part 2!

Florence is an amazing and talented person. She's obviously had many interests in her life. There are many paintings hanging in her home that she painted! This one is in her front entry.

She had Karen take me upstairs and show me some dolls that her mother had collected. This was after I talked about Annabelle and all of her little accessories. They are Nisbet Dolls with beautiful costumes.

He mother's spirit is still in the home. Little touches of her English heritage. The most spectacular thing I saw was this decoupaged screen. It is an assemblage of many things on BOTH sides of four panels! Completely amazing and gorgeous!

And lastly, this is for my fly fishing friend! Wouldn't you love to live on

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some "Me" Time

I have this good friend who recommended I do something just for me. I sort of chuckled and wondered what the heck that might be?! Massage maybe? Weekend at a spa? Oh, that sounds like heaven! Well then along came a lady whom I know from the winter market and her MIL had purchased a yarn CSA from me and shared it with her. She invited me to their once a month knitting gathering. It's a bit of a drive, but a lovely one and you can never be certain about the weather and roads, but this month was my second visit and I am having fun! There are just 3 other women who meet and share projects and discuss gauge and things like that. If you know me, you know gauge and I aren't friends, so that part is funny to me!
I wanted to share a bit here so my good friend can see what I am up to for some "me" time.
This was my view on the trip over. Who can be crabby with a view like that?

This is a cute old mining town. I am unsure of the population, but it still has a little post office....a new one, I might add, and lots of old houses that have so much charm and character. I like to drive the streets and imagine what life was like when it was a bustling community.

Florence told me today that the school hasn't been used since WWII. Sad to see such fabulous old buildings just sitting, but there are barely enough kids to keep the school open in the town down the road.

Florence's home is the one on the left. It's a beautiful old Victorian that has been very well kept. It has a large, wrap-around porch on the front. There are so many details. One could spend the day just observing them all!

Take note of the round window up top! That whole level is her studio. I think I counted 5 looms, a spinning wheel, and this. I had never seen anything like this before. As it turns out, it is for plying yarn and was made by the Hutterites.

She designed and made this stained-glass window and the one on the front door. Someone gave her the panel in the center and she designed the window to fit her door. The round one is the one I mentioned before.

Here's the front door bell! I love it.

She had a large family and I learned today that her mother lived with them for a time. Karen's son always had tea with her in her room promptly at 4:00, if he was visiting!
I had prepared a pop-up tea for us and brought along a tea pot and 4 cups. Lillie had to leave early and didn't join us for tea or lunch, but I set a cup out in honor of Florence's mother. My Tasha Tudor friends were there in spirit. I talked about her and my trip there. I talked about the Valentine tea Linda put on for us and I talked about Clarice's rosemary/lavender tea since that is what I had taken to serve! I also talked about Angie because I had to take my tea cozy along to use and for show and tell! And I talked about Kristen who made the Annabelle dolls and joined us for the Valentine tea all the way from the Boston area!

I got to see many works in progress! These are wingspan shawls made by Karen.

This is a shawl Lillie had on. It's such a pretty pattern and color. It was gorgeous with the deep fuschia top she had on.

This is the sweater Florence had on. She made it of course, but she chose the grays (there are 3 or 4 different shades of gray) to represent stone and then dyed the yellow with lichens and also dyed the burnt orange. Those are her favorite colors and are repeated throughout her home. She wanted her sweater to look like a lichen-cover stone and I think she did a lovely job of it.

I shall finish up tomorrow. I had so much fun today that I just can't get it all down!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Exchange

My goodness. It's been so long since I've blogged, I am not sure I remember how! I will give it a shot!

One of the yahoo groups I belong to did a Fall exchange and Robin had my name and I had hers! Our history goes back several years, mostly on the internet as Tasha Tudor fans. I met Robin once at Jane's house in Olympia. We all had tea together. Jane put on a lovely spread. I was visiting Linda and it was once of our "field trips". So fun to meet other Tasha fans, known as the "Tashettes" in the West! On another field trip just this Spring, Linda and I went to Robin's home and visited her. We had a blast. Then Robin and her husband were able to stay in the wagon this summer on their trip to Montana!

Robin and I have a lot of things in common. We both live on farms and have sheep. As with most Tashettes, we love old things, handmade things and homemade. I apologize if my pictures are lacking. It's a very gray day here, so poor lighting and the inside of my head matches the weather! Cloudy! I've been nursing a headache.

The first two photos show all of the goodies she sent. So much fun! She included a little bit of everything I love. I spy bees, chickens, sheep and even a book about a nut head doll! She knows me too well! I love the Halloween socks too!

She sent along a jar of her pepper jelly with instructions to serve it over cream cheese with crackers! YUM! I can't wait to do that!
I love the little pumpkin wall hanging and there's a package of sticky notes like I've never seen before. It has little ones in there too, like tabs! Fun! I think the dragonfly and flower are coasters. I am not sure how much of it she made, but it's all fun and I love it.

Fallen leaves and a pumpkin, a scarf and a little towel. There's even a snowflake in there for good measure! Here's the scarf. Such pretty fall colors!

This is a little towel that looks like a dress. Her note said it's not a dress for a baby! It's meant to hang over your oven door to dry your hands! I love the potato motif! It reminds me of my time on the potato farm!

Here it is on my stove!

What a fun exchange!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Cycle

I have been doing a bit of reflecting of late. I lost a cousin who was too young to go. Only 60, but diabetes got the best of him. His death has helped to put some things in perspective, things I already knew, but just seem clearer now.
I have no control over how people feel about me. I do the best I can, love me or leave me. Some long-time friends have done the latter. It's difficult to conjure up reasons why, but I have to let all of that go. I am thankful for the friends I have and cherish them. Your best friends are your real family in life.
Gary was an only child. He made a promise to his mother on his death bed that he would take care of his dad. That he did. It was always Jack & Gary, one in the same. After Jack died in 2001, it was just Gary. Hard to say without the Jack part.
There were almost 100 people at Gary's funeral. Co-workers and friends. He was well-respected. He had no family left in Butte, but he had his friends and they were his family.
Hold close those you love. Don't put off loving them and letting them know it. Life is short and we never know when our time will come.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Flea Market Fun

Flea markets are nothing new, but they are not very common in this area. A lot of them are held outside and with out freezing temps, that is not possible unless it's held inside. If you have it they will come, right? Well someone has started an indoor flea market on the first Sunday of each month. We went as shoppers last month to check it out and I decided that it would be something I'd like to give a try.
I had Chris back the horse trailer up to the garage and I started sorting, cleaning and pricing. It's a 4-horse trailer, so I had plenty of room to work. At the same time I was sorting fleeces and selling them off, so I was able to organize them in there as well. The weather has been unseasonable warm until today, so that was a big help! I have a box in the house by the door and keep price tags in it so when I run across something in the house that I no longer want, I price it right away and put it in the box. I had at least 2 fruit boxes, and possibly 3, full of stuff from the house. Of course I have so much stuff that no one can really tell but me!
I started to get really excited Saturday evening thinking of setting it all up. I really love to display the stuff and make it look good. I also made a few things for the booth. It's fun to kind of get back in the saddle, so to speak.
I don't miss the shop, but I love buying and selling and collecting, so this is a good fit for right now. I do miss the customers and so I had a great time selling yesterday with bartering and trading with other vendors, I had a blast. Even did a bit of gift shopping there! Fun!

I'm not pleased with a lot of my pics, but here's an idea of my space and things.

Here's a fun planter I put together. I am always amazed at people. No one thought the flowers were real! They are!

Here are some of my pincushions and a few other things I made. The cup and saucer with the spoon on it in front is a bird feeder. It's on a rod and pokes in the ground. The little child's guitar in the back I made into a bird house. It had a big hole in the side, which I covered and put a little dowel for a perch out in front. It says, Home on the Range on the front of it. It didn't sell.

And here's a little display piece I made from a curved-glass cabinet door. There was no glass, so I white-washed it and added chicken wire that I gave a light coat of white spray paint. It was perfect for Juliana's antique button earrings and an apron I had purchased on etsy and used as a little curtain for a while. I hung it off of a glass knob I attached to it. There's a little bird feeder gardening angel to the left with a tea cup head I made too.

Loads of fun!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Walking in the Footsteps of Tasha Tudor

How many years ago was it ladies? I flew across the nation and met 7 or 8 of you I only knew from the internet! Was it almost 8 years ago already? Linda will know!
Anyway, I will never forget the day we spent 40 or 45 minutes walking in the footsteps of Tasha Tudor in her own garden! What wonderful memories and friendships!
Here are 2 prints I purchased at the Rookery that day. I FINALLY had them framed!

They will go in my "doll room". (That's what Juliana's old bedroom has become!) Sorry about the angle of the pictures. I was trying hard not to get my reflection in the photo too. Not too successful.

Here's another sweet print I found in a thrift store and had it framed along with the 2 Tasha prints. She is carrying a Raggedy Ann doll. I think they will all look sweet together. I still have a T.T. poster to frame as well. I have the frame, just need to do it!

Nuthead Birthday

It's no secret that I love nuthead dolls. I think what I love most about them is that someone could take the simplest of things, a nut, and create an entire doll around it! Some are very detailed and the workmanship is amazing. Tiny stitches, fine fabrics, well thought-out accessories, shoes, hair, etc. Totally fascinating to me! I've been collecting them for several years now, picking them up here and there, tossed aside, unwanted. They can come home with me!
It should not have come as a surprise that BOTH of my children would give me nuthead dolls for my birthday, but it was! A welcome surprise at that!
First came this little cotton-picker from Johnathan and Juliana. His details are amazing. I love the fabric his clothes are made out of. A burlap cotton bag filled with cotton and even his hand stitched against the side!

Here he is from the front. His thin little cane is made of 2 wires wrapped in some kind of paper or tape. It's very thin.

And here he is from the back! Look at the patches on his behind! What a hard worker.

His head is a walnut painted black. He is aging, you can tell by his gray beard. He also sports a neckerchief and wool hat. Just awesome!

Next is this lovely couple! I think their heads are Brazil nuts. The little point is their nose! These were given to me by Kelly! I love her little nut basket and pocket with a hanky and his pipe and beard! Again, the fabrics are amazing.

Their boots are hand-stitched leather.

It was a nuthead birthday for sure! I love them all!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

An Online Diary

I am not really sure why I even blog anymore. I've been wondering that for a while now. It's like an online diary you're opening up for the world to see. I guess that's a good thing? I am just not sure where my head is with that.
Today I had an online conversation with a friend I only know on face book. He stated that he started a post and then deleted it because he didn't want to start a controversy. I told him that sometimes it's good to just write it down, even if you never send it. I've always felt that writing is very therapeutic. I used to write long, drawn out letters to no one and then rip the pages out of my notebook and shred it to pieces. Very cathartic. I guess that's why I still blog. Who cares if anyone is looking!?!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Are you sick of Valentine's yet?

I am sorry if you are, but I'm not! I truly enjoyed Valentine's this year. I found a couple of cute little Valentines I had to add to my collection. I don't collect them, but have so many from past exchanges with my Tasha Tudor friends. It's fun to go back through them!
Here are the two I found last week. One is so sweet with the little hanky. It was to his teacher!

And this one I had to have because of our name! I like the unusual shape and the way it stands up too.

My friend Linda is always the best when it comes to giving. She is probably thee most giving person I know or have ever known. She sent me a lovely little package and here's what was inside.

I absolutely LOVE the mouse! Linda found her in the Christmas stuff over the holidays and redid her for a little Valentine. I just can't get over her attention to detail, forethought and her follow-through. Everyone should be half as thoughtful and organized as this woman and the world would be much better off.
She knew my kids were coming home from Portland to clean out the shop behind their house and finalize their move. She sent some goodies for us to enjoy. We ate the heart-shaped pasta on the 15th. I made shrimp alfredo with it. What a hit that was!

Here's a close up of Miss Mouse and the candies Linda made for her friends. She actually painted the white candy on first and then poured the pink in. Cameo candies are SOOOO Linda! You can't imagine how many little packages she sends out too! I know the postal service loves her!

And what a beautiful, hand-made Valentine to match!

Her thoughtfulness is not lost on me. I appreciate the effort she puts in to make me feel special and her gift is that she makes A LOT of people feel special. No wonder she's my best friend in the whole world!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentines Continued

Here's a small sample of the Valentines I made at Karen's. Very simple. Some others I purchased and have ready to mail pictured on the left. Just the process of laying them all out with my little list of people to send to and choosing the right one for the right person was pure enjoyment for me. I love to make them with that person in mind as well! Addressing with a red pen, making the perfect Valentine return address label and the heart postage stamps completed it! Just fun for me and especially so this year! It seems that some of the most fun things in my life always go back to Tasha Tudor. If you don't know about her, please google the name and check out some books about her life and art. It's worth pursuing. I have said it many times before and will say it many more times, I am sure, that the best gift she gave me (unknowingly, of course) was the gift of friendship. I have met so many wonderful, life-long kindred spirits because of her and the internet. On one list I belong to I suggested a Valentine Exchange. We decided to keep it to a $10 minimum. What fun I had shopping the thrift stores and going through my own little stashes to come up with a box of goodies for my exchange person. Through luck of the draw, I had Morgan and she had me. Here's some pictures of my goodies. I love how she incorporated my favorite color, blue, into the whole thing. She didn't even know it was my favorite color either. It just happens to be hers as well! My Annabelle doll has inherited the 2 Tasha Tudor items! We love them!