Saturday, April 15, 2017

SHORT POST B I G BIRTHDAY!

April is 1/2 over today - 1 day past a milestone birthday.  Many of my friends sent FB wishes and I thank you all ! I wanted to show you a couple of pretty photos of a lovely luncheon my mom and our dear friend Brenda hosted for my birthday.

The table is set for 12 using my mom's collection of pink depression glass.  She had 4 boxes full and it took her 2 weeks to wash and pack it up for safe transport.  Our DF Brenda also brought serving pieces in pink depression glass that were inherited from great aunts and grandmothers.  It was a special day and will be treasured always.

 It was so wonderful to have 9 special friends attend my birthday luncheon.  I should have taken a photo of the lovely tea fare and all my friends having such a great time.  We had finger sandwiches, chilled asparagus soup served in the cream soup bowls, cheese tarts, strawberry , chocolate and lemon cake balls, coconut macaroons, meringue cookies, mimosas, curried fruit in my nanny's bowl, chocolate Dove eggs, Gallons of hot tea - stitching, laughing oh my what a day !

Here is a photo of my mom and I yesterday in the garden at Club Continental.  it's always a treat to go there for a special occasion.  Right near my home on the banks of the St Johns River - this grand old estate home turned into a private club is mostly used for weddings and functions.  Just one more for the memory books - my birthday is gone but the celebrating and gifts will live on.  Thanks to everyone who made it so special.
Another fun blast from the past concert - Little River Band.  They rocked the house at the historic Florida Theatre last Friday night.

 I wanted to put this on FB and my DH wouldn't let me soooooo - here it is immortalized on my blog which he doesn't read LOL !
Hope all my dear blog friends are having a blessed Holy Week and enjoy Easter with family and friends tomorrow.  Hope to be back again before May to report on our trip to the Sun Region EGA retreat next week.  Hoppy Easter to you all !

Thursday, March 30, 2017

MARCH MADNESS

I'm quite sure March Madness means basketball playoffs to most people but to me it means an incredibly insanely busy month which is now almost gone !

I just can't believe Saturday is April 1st .  however put on your seatbelt - summer is coming, blink your eyes and it will be Christmas again!

Many people have asked about our home repairs - NOTHING has been even started yet.  I see tons of tarps in our area so I guess we aren't alone.  We are dry and safe and we are OK.  I think maybe they will be starting in April, soon it will be 2 mos.

On to the fun stuff !

This is the 1st Snow Place like Home piece stitched on PTP Crystal linen in Pink Sorbet.  It was suggested by Cathy - owner of Inspired Needle.  She has awesome taste and helps me change out suggested linens and I always love what she picks.  Her model stitcher has already finished this series by Country Cottage Needleworks on the same linen - we shared the piece.  I'm SO jealous!
It was a fun stitch but I have to move on.  There are many things to stitch on my EGA chapter's challenge this year.
 Very little rug hooking going on at my house but I am determined to finish the A&E cube stool cover this year!  Here is a good shot of Adam AKA Bon Jovi under the tree of life that took my whole life to hook.  Each leaf is outlined in a 3 cut and filled with a 4.  I'm about to skip up to a 5 cut on that background.  that is all I have left - the background and zig zag border at the bottom.
 Here is lovely Eve, grabbing for that apple.  This rug was adapted for me by Katie Puckett of KISS rug hooking studio.  She adapted it from an antique sampler and of course updated A&E and the whole feel of the rug.  She did some of the dyeing for me but a lot of the wool is from my stash.
 Had lots of fun in an embellishment class down at Needle Orts with Julia Snyder.  There was also a really wonderful and fun beading workshop.  I chose two small Whimsey and Grace ornaments for the class from her newly released William Morris collection.  I'm sure you can recognize the Strawberry Thief.  Too bad you can't really see my wonderful beaded strawberries and stacked lazy daisies.  I needed a closer shot but you'll be seeing more of this guy.  Debbie at Needle Orts has walls of threads - tons!  so it was easy for Julia to find neat things to use.  She pulled a lot of her new fiber called Fine Kid which is YEP - you guessed it a 100% kid mohair.  I'm using it on both the birds - the other canvas is similar but has a different color bird.  Being the "woolwoman" - the more "wooley" goodness , the better for me.  I will also get to use more of my new found beading knowledge on this canvas.  What a great weekend in Altamonte Springs.
 And there was basketmaking with duClay Chapter EGA.  DF Suzy led this basket making experience.  Let's just say Suzy did a lot of hand holding thru this project.  She was awesome.  I love my little basket but I think this will be my one and only foray into basketmaking.  I have too many irons in the fire anyway to branch out into something else.  I will always treasure it and the great times we have with our friends in EGA.  Our chapter does a lot of things just to experience them in "taste of " workshops.  Some things you love and want more and some things UMMMM - not so much!  it's a good way to try things out like Crewel and not have to take an expensive class.
Speaking of EGA - we are having a class with a great teacher in April.  Janeann Sleeman is teaching this darling Blue Bunny canvas by Melissa Prince Designs.  Janeann designed the stitch guide just for us.  Gotta love that ! We feel very special. However the stitch guide will be available from MPD thru your LNS.  The kit supplies were carefully collected by our friend Cathy at Inspired Needle.  We can't wait to see what the Easter Bunny is bringing us.

Not much knitting going on at my house.  Can't say why - guess I'm saving myself for Camp Loopy 2017 which will begin on June 1st.  This is Winter Solace - I showed the lovely Blue Sky yarn in my previous post.  It is two colors but so faint a difference it looks like a shadow but there is a silver gray and an ecru.  Wish now I'd have gotten more distinct colors but oh well - it really is pretty in person.

I could have shown market purchases like so many other bloggers did.  I really didn't buy a lot and not many "specials" or limited items.  I kept my promise and didn't buy any large samplers not that there weren't plenty of lovely ones out there.  There is just not enough time or dedication in my world for me to get them done.  I really think I am lucky to get the small stuff accomplished these days.
 
I knew I better hurry and put together a post or March would be hopping away.  I've done a whole post and not complained about the weather but here goes,  IT"S HOT !  upper 80's all week this week - WAY too hot for spring.  Easter is late this year and by the time mid April comes along I guess it will be cracking 90 in the deep south. 
 
I hope you are all enjoying Spring in your own sweet way.  I love hearing your comments, thanks for
popping in and saying Hi !

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

FRIGHTFUL FEBRUARY

On this last day of February - I have to recount our many blessings.

On the night of February 7th - a quiet Tuesday evening - we were sitting in our sun room watching TV and I noticed on the radar that a storm front was about to hit us.  It was long stretching from north to south but moving in from the west.

I mentioned to my DH that he better go and get the flashlight because if it even rains hard sometimes our lights go out.  BOOM !  we were in the dark before he could even think about moving from his chair.

Another second later - something hit us with the force of a freight train - then there was all this sound and crashing of trees hitting our roof.  I honestly thought our house was falling in and my husband was trying to grab me and I was trying to grab my phone in the dark.  I leave it in the same spot all the time, maybe for times like this.  The crashing and noise seemed to go on forever but it was actually probably just a minute or two.  We just stood in the kitchen area clutching each other not knowing where to run.  We have huge 60-70ft Laurel oak trees in our yard and some live oaks too but it's the Laurel oaks that scare us the most.  They are aging out and falling during violent storms.  You may recall we had a near miss of our house during Hurricane Matthew of the same type of oak.

It sounded like a train was rolling over our roof but we knew it was a tree - we just didn't know which tree and where it hit.  Once the sounds stopped - we got the flashlight and started moving thru our darkened house looking up at the many glass walls and panels we have in our bedrooms and it was then apparent that a forked tree on the front corner of our house must have fallen - we had no idea how bad things were because the lightning was furious.  We were certainly petrified that we'd have another tree come down so we just rejoiced in the fact that we didn't have any gapping holes in our roof and not one panel of glass was broken.  After a while - we could see a fire truck cruising our street, I put on my raincoat and went out.  Then I could see - OMG -  this huge 1/2 a tree cracked off and apparently hit our roof and rolled across it and landed in our side yard.

The fireman came inside our house and looked around and wanted to see the panel box - he pulled our main breaker for us.  Good thing because I had not thought of that.  What we couldn't see that night was the tree had just rolled over our masthead and sheared it off.  It caused an arc in the panel box and all the wiring shorted out and burned up.  The electrician said if we didn't have a brick exterior - our home would have probably caught on fire.  Blessings again.

 Here is the tree where the tornado snapped it off.  It skipped over our next door neighbors house and brought down a very similar tree onto the 3rd house on the block.  Our whole area looked like a warzone - nothing like poor Albany Ga. but still many many trees down on houses and some houses are a total loss.
 Here is where part of the tree landed and took out our neighbors fence and narrowly missed their house.  Blessed again!  All in all we are so blessed to be spared and we are able to live in our house while it is being fixed.  There is extensive structural damage to the front corner.  A crack running from floor to ceiling in that guest room.  The windows are bowed and the main support beam was cracked off with the eave system and what's remaining has a huge crack about 5 ft.  So that will have to be removed and replaced - a big job indeed.  We have a contractor that will handle all the work that has to be done.  Blessed again.    We are safe and no one was hurt or killed.  Biggest blessing of all !
It took about a week to come out of the fog.  We were out of power for 2.5 days - we lost all our food. The electricians worked for a day and a 1/2 as hard as they could go to rebuild our electrical service on that side of the house.  We were out 4 days with Matthew but I was never so glad to see the electrical company come driving up late in the day to reconnect our house to the pole.  The following week was filled with worry about the insurance adjuster and how we would handle things like a huge deductible and a $3000 tree bill.  God provides - blessed again.
 
I had an email about cheap tickets to see STYX lead singer Dennis De Young with the Jacksonville Rock Symphony at the historic Florida Theatre.  HUmmmm - sounds interesting and the price was right and I thought we needed a lift and something to look forward to. 
 
OMG - they were so amazing.  I couldn't believe Dennis De Young just turned 70 - he was always a showman and still is and his voice was amazing.  He did all the greatest and best STYX songs including the seldom heard Sweet Madam Blue, Castle Walls and of course Grand Illusion, Come Sail away and many more.  He played two long sets with an intermission and our "cheapy" seats were fantastic !


Here he is with his hired guns - a great guitar duo.  The young guy August was from Alaska and you could tell he spent his youth in a basement pounding out the STYX songs - he was amazing and did all Tommy Shaw's parts including amazing dueling lead guitars.  We've seen STYX several times in the last decade and the last time was at the St Augustine Amphitheatre  a favorite venue of ours.  They were horrible !  Their sound was messed up and no one did anything about it.  That was the last time I spend money to see STYX but if EVER you get a chance to see Dennis De Young - RUN to get those tickets.  What a highlight to an otherwise frightful month.
 Sorry there isn't much needlework to show.  I am close to having a finish on a cross stitch piece but it's been slow getting back in the groove after my 10 days of fog.  I bought this gorgeous yarn before the tree disaster.  It is Blue Sky Fibers Metallico from the local Yarn Cow.  This is for yet another Janina Kallio design called Winter Solace.  these are two different colors but very very close.  Had I realized it wasn't going to show up that well - I would have picked a slightly darker shade or two grays instead of the cream.  Oh well ! 

Hope all my friends in blog land have had a super February - many have had snow and typical winter weather - sadly we have had HEAT and storms which were not welcome in the least.  Hopefully March roared in February and we'll be having spring lamb weather to come. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

FICKLE FEBRUARY!

Yes February has been fickle in many ways.  The weather has definitely been fickle.  We are expecting another record high day tomorrow.  Snowbirds and vacationers in our fair state love this type of thing, however this fickle fair weather friend likes the weather to be correct to the season.  Oh yes we've had a little cold weather this year but NOT much !  I'd say we have about another month of opportunities for cold weather so I'm still praying for some freezes.

Most of this post will be pertaining to Off the Ocean rug camp which I attended almost a month ago - A MONTH AGO !  it was my 18th consecutive rug camp and my teacher Diane Stoffel has also been there all 18 years.  Only one other attendee Annie T has been there all 18 years so it's become a select group.

I came back to Diane's class again this year with a rug I started with her over 10 years ago.  Why do rugs get shoved back in the archives - well in my case - It had to do with a move and the fact that I lost, misplaced, got stolen or whatever happened to the wool for this rug.  It's a big rug, I don't remember the exact measurements.  The original color plan was developed to be a companion piece to my beloved Mermaid rug that Diane also color planned for me.  So once I decided to do this rug at camp this year - I looked high and low for that wool.  I looked in every closet, I looked everywhere in my wool room, under beds, in bins and bags - never did find that dang wool SOOOOOO.........
Diane had to try and piece together a color plan on a rug that was already started.  Of course she did a marvelous job with the challenge and it was just the best rug camp I can remember in many years.  Not just because I was so happy with her ability to piece together a cohesive color plan but I was sitting with a group of dear friends, just lots of things came together.  This photo of the Oliver Cromwell by Edyth O'Neill was taken on about day 3 of camp.  I did get something hooked into every paisley wave segment. 

Here is a close up to show some of the colors.  One amazing thing - I have hooked on this rug twice since camp - I can say that I have NEVER done that before.  When I get home from camp - I promptly put away the camp project and go back to other WIP's.  I have since finished Sail 2 and I also have to admit that the ship hull was completely hooked 10+ years ago - thank goodness because there was no matching issue on the ship.  So the Oliver sails again !  thanks to Diane - I am so thrilled to have this rug going again after such a long period of time.  Never thought it would sail again.

 Next is rugs being worked in my class or in Kris Miller of Spruce Ridge Studios who was teaching next to me and some of my friends were in this class.  I have to say - I enjoyed meeting Kris so very much, what a doll and such a sweet person.  This rug is one from her design catalog. 

Another from Kris' class - a Not Forgotten Farm canvas.
DF Karen's Rev Squashbottom - also in Kris' class.  She had a lot more done on it by the time class was over.  I just love her color choices!

This rug was being worked in my class and yes it was all done in class.

 I think this rug was an original design and no it was not started in class.
Another beautiful rug from my class.  This was a Susan Quicksall pattern.

This was a finish from another class - Sheila Arborgast was here teaching - her first time teaching at OTO.  Some of my friends were in this class too. 


Sheila specializes in these 3 D animals - look at this darling reindeer and goat which was completely finished in class by dear Eleanor, this was her first time at OTO and we hope we see her again.
 Here are a few rugs from the rug exhibit.  No I didn't have a single finish in 2016 to put in the show!
This beauty is a Blackbird Design rug by DF Donna.  We were in class together many years ago, obviously Donna finished hers and I didn't ever finish mine.  It was lovely!
Friend Robin was working on this rug in my class with Diane last year.  Glad to see it finished and in the exhibit.  It was a special beach location in NJ thru the seasons.

 another Blackbird design turned into a rug.  Very cool rendition of this design - I LOVE IT !
 DF Suzy is so creative !  Look at her precious kitty kat!  she is just the sweetest thing on earth, both the kitty and Suzy!
I'm not sure whose rug this was.

 Ladye from St Simons Island did this rug.  What an awesome job on the piper.
This is the rug that won Best In Show - this gal was in my class.  I heard her say this is her house.
the photo doesn't show but this rug was huge.  About 4 x 4 I would say.

This is another magnificent rug hooked by Sybil Osika.  It was truly breathtaking.

 A prim pretty by DF Susan.  bigger than it looks and all blues and creams.
 loved this rug - it reminded me of a Susan Gervais With Thy Needle design but not sure - it could be a commercial rug pattern.  Love the proddy flowers in the cart.

Another beautiful sailing ship. 
 DF Karen Ulysses - what a cute guy!  another Not Forgotten Farm design.
There were many more rugs in the exhibit.  It was in a long narrow hallway and very hard to get photos.  If I missed your rug - I apologize.  I didnt' have the time or energy to photograph every lovely entry in the show.  It is meant to be a small glimpse of what fun we had at Off the Ocean 2017.  If you are a rug hooker, save your pennies and come to Florida next winter.  It's the least expensive camp I know of and we have a great time.
 
I'll try to get back for another visit before Feb. flies away.  Thanks as always for visiting and commenting on my blog.  I appreciate and read every one !

Thursday, January 12, 2017

FIRST FINISHES OF 2017

New Years Greetings !

I'm just floating aimlessly into the new year in regards to my needlework projects.  I've done some stitching, knitting and NO hooking but that is about to change.

Tomorrow starts my annual outing to Off the Ocean rug hooking workshop.  This will be my 18th consecutive year of attending this rug camp.  My teacher this time is the incomparable Diane Stoffel and I've had her a number of times over the 18 years.  She and one other teacher and myself and one other "camper" are the only ones besides director and friend Katie Puckett who have attended all 18 years.  WOW - where have the years gone.  Anyway - I'm excited about that and next post I'll be showing some rug hooking FINALLY!  Sad to say another year is passing and I don't have a rug or finish to exhibit in their rug show.  BOOOOO  !  I simply must remedy that in 2017 and get something finished up.

I only have a couple of photos for you this post.  First is a not so great photo of a Janina Kallio design called Herald.  The yarn is Louisa Harding and I don't remember the name of it but a wool from Italy.  It's a lovely springy color and the light openness of the pattern will make it a wearable garment here in the deep south.

 Second up is Sailing by Meg Gadsbey from Australia - Atelier is the name of her design and hand dyeing company.  I ordered this White Gum wool from her and she also did the hand dyeing - gorgeous isn't it .  In AU they call this DK weight but here its worsted - My DH is already eyeballing it because he likes "thick" yarn not that wimpy stringy yarn I usually knit with.  WOW - I think he knows too much !  He also likes "tight" knitting - that's what he calls something in Stockinette or garter stitch not a lace or openwork design like the Herald.  He is too funny giving his commentary about my knitting.  I read on someone's blog some very good advice about involving your husband in your needlework in whatever way you could and it really has worked for me.  I ask him for color advice all the time in rugs, needlepoint, knitting whatever and now if I'm just sitting and vegging and not working on anything - he says "Why don't you have your crafting out"  HUH!  now I created a monster.  No seriously it is nicer for him to be pleasantly interested than complaining about my always "crafting".
well - short post today - I just wanted to pop in and show my 2 first finishes for 2017.  More to come I hope.  Cheers and "Happy Crafting " 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

CHRISTMAS IS COMING !

I figured if I didn't make a blog post today - it might not get done and I actually have quite a few finishes to show you today and some WIP's of course.  Not to mention a new start !

First up is my exchange gift for our duClay EGA chapter annual Christmas luncheon.  This is Basket of Cherries by BBD.  I did the finishing myself although I'll admit it is minimal finishing - still people!  Give me a break - I am SUCH a non-finisher.  However I really worked myself and stretched myself the past couple of months by finishing a few things.  The was a treenware board I bought at Dixie Darlin in Tenn.  It worked perfect for this piece.

 Next up is the exchange gift my mom stitched.  It is finished exactly like it was in the BBD - My Friendships or something like that.  My apologies to any BBD experts - It is my mom's book and I don't remember the exact name.  Anyway  - I did all the finishing, YEP - I ordered the paint, the Briwax , the trim and I used Vonna's excellent tutorials for flat finish mounting to accomplish this feat.  Please visit The Twisted Stitcher and give Vonna's floss tube instructional videos a try.  They are immensely helpful.  She doesn't leave out a single detail.  VONNA ROCKS!
You can't see the lining of the box very well but I used rug hooking plaid wool that matched perfectly.  Guess what,  guess who got this box?   ME ME ME !!!!!!!!!  I was so excited that no one chose my mom's gift and once it came my turn to pick - it was still there so I snatched it up pronto.  My thoughts were to give it to my mom but she said she wanted me to have it since I worked so hard on it.  I didn't argue much because I don't think I have anything in my house that my mom has stitched.  I have loads of stuff my dad has stitched, oh yes I have a HO HO HO piece by Lizzie Kate my mom did many years ago in a treasured Hog River frame.  Can't say I don't have a thing but I will have to task her for a sampler of hers.  Maybe even a loan.
 
So - the Santa next to the box - yes he is holding a hooked rug!  This lovely Santa is signed and dated and I'm quite sure the gentleman who carved him by hand is no longer with us. I met his wife at a rug camp in Sebring many years ago.  She was taking orders for him and of course I ordered one.  I never heard from her again until one day about 2 years later, I got an email from this woman and she said her husband had come down with a rare form of Parkinsons and was struggling to get thru the list of people who wanted this Santa.  She said - you may not want him because his work has suffered and he doesn't feel it's nearly as good as before.  I said - I'm thrilled to hear from you and YES I do want him.  I should have taken a photo of just him - he is so perfect and amazing and I treasure him.  There is a little hand woven basket next to him that also came from that area of Florida near Sebring.  All treasures in my mind.

Next is the beautiful Christmas ornament that Kathy Rees taught to duClay EGA back in November.  I'm sorry it's not "finished" yet but I'm gathering up my courage to do this one.  I've only finished two prior canvas pieces, both of them done in finishing classes at the now closed French Knot np shop in Savannah Ga.  I sure miss that lovely shop.  So I'll show it when it gets "finished"  It was sure fun, Kathy encouraged us to raid our stash and find fibers to use.  I used 4 fibers, Gloriana floss, Fyre Works, Watercolors and a hand dyed boucle type stuff from Color Complements in Canada.


Another finish by MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!   It was pretty easy to finish except I sliced a big gash in my wrist with the rotary cutter on this one.  I am not that familiar with a rotary cutter, have avoided buying one for years but with all this fancy finishing and watching Vonna's tutorials - I figured I had to have all the "stuff" or I couldn't be successful.  Lesson learned - I've bought a bigger wider ruler and hopefully won't run the cutter into my body parts.  This is LHN Merry Christmas 2016.  I used PTP Crystal Earthen, all from Dixie Darlin in Tenn.  It is mounted on yep you guessed it - rug hooking wool.  This wool is actually used in my rug Santa and Ewe - it was perfect for this ornament.
Simple but sweet and it's hanging on my tree!
Once my exchange and EGA challenge obligations were done a couple of weeks ago, it's like a bird out of a cage.  What fun rummaging thru new charts and old WIP's looking for what I want to add to  my challenge next year and what I want to work on right now.  It's completely guilt free for about a month or so until reality sets in and I have to get back to work on my assigned projects for 2017.
 
Here is an ornament canvas I found in my stash,  like a long forgotten friend - Santa came riding into my hands on Rudolph.  This canvas was purchased from the Bristly Thistle which is about an hour north of me. This is Onward Ho by Mile High Princess and it came with a stitch guide.  I have gathered most of the threads suggested by the guide.  A few of them were new to me like Entice, Kreinik Hot Wire and Gloriana Duchess Silk. There's sequins, beads oh my !  I'll change a few things but this is going to be fun!
 


I'm sorry to say that 2016 was another bummer year for rug hooking around my house.  Sad that another Off the Ocean rug camp exhibit will come up next month and I won't have a finish to show.
This rug could have been finished so easily but as you can see - it's languishing - not finished at yet another Christmastide.  So sad - he is so fun.  One thing that has kept me from plowing thru is that big space under the house.  There is two snowflake thingys drawn there and I don't want to hook them because they won't show on this background.  I wish I could draw another deer there but even another pine tree would be better than a big blank space.  This is a combination of two With Thy Needle and Thread designs, yes I do have the charts and no I have not stitched them and probably won't stitch them.  Maybe next Christmas he'll be done.  The color plan was done by my DF Dianne Kelly of the Woolen Cottage in Ohio.
Oh yes there's knitting - there is always knitting !  This is a special Christmas colorway offered by The Loopy Ewe last season.  I started it and worked on it until Christmas and then put it away and never looked at it again till I uncovered the bag a few weeks ago and thought AWWWW - another forgotten toy.  So I pulled it out and have been enjoying the pattern Fractal Danger by Martina Behm , a designer in Germany.  The yarn dyer is Blue Moon and it's just gorgeous yarn to work with.

Another WIP I've been working on is Jujuy by Joji.  It uses 3 colors and I chose Madeline Tosh Merino Light.  I've never used MT ML before, it's a very popular fingering single ply yarn.  The first colorway is a very drab grayish brownish tanish color called Kitten - finally the 2nd color Well Water is appearing and then one more color will be added for the border.  It's a fun easy relaxing pattern that I can work on when I am tired, brain dead and can't see to stitch.

Oh , last up is a finish I also forgot to show you.  This is tree #2 in the Fanciful Forest club which I participated in year before last with The Needlepointer in WA.  I'm going to start another tree and then I am going to tackle finishing the 2 I already have done.  I have some finishing ideas - it's just putting them into production that is the problem.  I'm determined to try and do some things myself, after all - I have a big birthday coming up in 2017 and I figured I have to pull up my big girl panties some time in my life right !
 
Fibers and stitches all by The Needlepointer.  This tree was fun and easy to pick up and put down.


Well friends - that concludes my Christmas tour, I hope you have your halls decked and your bells a jingling because Christmas is almost upon us.  I love the music and the special treats, I miss how things used to be.  I miss the fact that friends have fallen away, some have passed and some have just moved on, I miss my dear grandmother and my husbands dear grandmother and mother, we try to cling to things we've always done at holiday time but you can't ignore that things have changed and I guess will keep on changing.  I'm very thankful I have my dear folks to cling to at holiday time, I love them so much and they make everything we do so special.  I'm grateful for friends both near and far, those who are so dear to me and those I've never met but are still dear and special just the same.

I wish you and yours all the joy this season has to offer, I give thanks to the Lord our God for this season and for sending this son.  It's HIS birth we celebrate - don't forget the reason for the season !
MERRY CHRISTMAS , God bless us every one !