Saturday, December 31, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEARS 2017

Dec 31, 2016

For me,  2016 was not one of my best years. I have felt out of sorts for the past few years, with 2016 being the worst. This past year I was plagued with severe neuro issues. My arms were down to about 5% strength in my hand grip, with flare ups of swelling, pain and all kinds of weird things. I was also plagued with severe respiratory issues. It would start in November and last til spring. This past year it lasted until August. For anyone with asthma issues, you can understand how difficult life is. It is hard getting anything done when you can barely breath. 2016 was a year of inhalers, prednisone, advair and duoneb nebulizers. All is was able to grow in the garden this past summer was rhubarb and potatoes. Things that did not need much work. The grass went without being mowed, yard did not get cleaned up, crafting did not get done. I did mange to get to work most of the time, but after work all I could do most days was sit in a chair and watch TV. Some days knitting was even too taxing.

With all this going on, I have learned much about myself and my husband. It infuriates me that the remodeling of our house that should have been finished three years ago is at a standstill. Turns out that for my husband he finishes projects to the point that they serve the purpose, then doesn't finish. As long as the light bulb works, doesn't matter to him that the light fixture is not put up-after all, we have light, the bulb just hangs by a wire. My list goes on and on of things that need to get finished.

We figured out the culprit of my sickness- the flu shot- and life is much better this fall. The thinking is my over zealous system makes way too any antibodies-causing the severe reactions. While the majority of people can have immunizations without having difficuties, I cannot. Makes sense to me!

The past year has not been all bad, I was able to cross off a couple of things from my bucket list. For the.  past 30 years I have wanted to learn Clogging. After I tore off my hamstring, I thought I would never be able to do it. I thought with the shows it would be too slippery for me, and slippery means falls. This past fall, the Campanile Center had a class, which I took, and lo and behold, I learned clogging. My legs get tired very easily, and with the RSD my nervous system reacts, but I perservered. I learned to use a cane like device so I do not fall when my legs slip out. It also takes alot of practice for me to get the routines down, but eventually I did. The woman who taught the class is gone for the winter, so in April the class will start back up. I need to practice in the mean time, so my nervous system won't be so freaked out when we start again.

My husband also bought his first new car! All our Subarus finally died. Some had close to 400,000 miles! Since my husband needed a right hand drive to deliver mail, we ended up buying a Jeep Wrangler. At the time we purchased it, it was the only new vehicle we could get in the US that has right hand drive.

I also joined the YMCA and started to learn pickleball. It is alot of fun, and great exercise.

My list of goals so far for 2017 are:

Learn Photoshop Elements 2015. I have purchased a couple of tutorials, Hopefully I can learn to use more of the features. I really enjoy making scrapbook mini albums-now I want to learn how to edit the pictures and start making books with the pictures in them.

I've always wanted to do more watercolor pictures. I had taken a class many years ago, did not think I was too good, so I stopped doing it. I have found Derwent Inktense pencils which are so much fun! I want to make some hand made cards, hopefully to sell at the flea market or online. Since I am going to be retiring soon, thinking of ways to supplement Social Security.

Since we moved four years ago, I have not had a dedicated crafting space. My husband has started building me a shed, but that is on hold for the winter. I am trying to make a crafting space in the basement so I can start to sew again. I started sewing my own clothes in August 1969. Want to get back to doing more.

I also plan on continuing with the Clogging, Pickleball and going to the YMCA. Need to get back to being physically fit despite the restrictions I have.

Do more camping. This past year the only camping I did was at the MN State Fair and for two days at Peninsula State Park. I hadn't been to Peninsula in about seven years due to health issues. It was so good to get back! I never realize how important those little trips are too me. Plan on doing many, any more.

I also want to get back to baking. All my adult life I have baked alot. I normally would make lots of baked goods at Christmas, especially cookies. I would spend weeks making spritz cookies with the cookie press. For the past few years I  have not made any!

I think this is a pretty good list too start with!  My last goal (that I can remember now) is too post pn the blog. Hard too believe it has been a few years!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! I hope the New Year brings you peace and love!




Friday, December 5, 2014

Life as I see it from my living room

Life from the Northwoods

I have been thinking of my blog alot lately.  Seems I have been neglecting it for a very long time...

Since it is Advent, and a time for introspection, I decided the one thing I could do was to get back to sharing little tidbits of life here in the frozen tundra (yes, I am a PACKERS fan!).  My husband loves to watch all those new reality shows about Alaska and the northern part of the hemisphere, so why not share my little part. While not in Alaska, I do live in one of the coldest, snowiest parts of the contingent United States. No, we do not get as much snow as Buffalo, but we do get much colder.

So, what does one do on this dismal dreary days when the sun doesn't shine, it snows enough so you have to clean your car every time you want to go out, and you consistently wake up to below zero temperatures?  I will begin to share some of that with you, maybe I'll get through this winter without going stir crazy!

We moved two years ago a little further from town, my youngest is away at college so it's just my husband and I now, so my baking kinda came to a halt. It's not that I do not like to bake anymore, it's just hard to have those wonderful baked goods around the house without eating them all.

The past two years, I have focused my time on making mini-albums, knitting, watching more TV than I care to admit to. I have found that Judge Judy and the Peoples Court can be interesting at times, taken in small doses.  For some reason, I cannot get into enjoying the majority of sitcoms-there lives are just not interesting enough to me.

I hope to begin to share more of the crafty things I have been doing- it's amazing what one can do with a little bit of paper, tape, glue, and scissors. I have found many, many talented women out there which I would like to share with others.

With all the emphasis on technology-the kids with their phones, tablets, video games, etc. that somehow we need to go back to teaching our kids some of the skills they need for proper brain function. Some people barely even write anymore, which is so sad- our penmanship is something that we can truly call our own-how can the right and left parts of our brain balance themselves out.

If just one person can read this blog and learn something new, I can say I accomplished my goal.

Now, off to finish the Mother Goose mini album I have been working on-pictures to follow soon!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Little Bit of Heaven on a Wednesday NIght in Tomahawk

Living in a tourist area, many towns have free concerts once a week. Last night was the kick off of  the "Music by the River" series in the town of Tomahawk.  I had mentioned it to my husband days ago, he didn't seem all that interested. He would much rather spend the evening gathering firewood, than driving to go listen to music.  Especially since it was going to be a rain free evening.  On Tuesday night, we had a discussion that went something like:
Me- Are we going to go?
DH-Not sure, how are you going to feel?
Me-I would like to go, but you know how I change my mind. Depends on how my work day goes.
Both- Lets wait tip tomorrow to make our decision. We'll need to see how our day goes.

The band that was playing was Warren Nelson and his Outfits.  Warren Nelson is a great songwriter and the power behind the beginnings of Big Top Chautauqua up in Bayfield, WI.  He got himself in some big legal trouble, and has been out of commission for awhile.  He's got a new band, and back in business.  We have seen the Big Top Chautauqua orchestra quite a few times, and really enjoy the music.  Warren has a way of putting history to music, and getting all those words in while he sings. He is also a phenomenal guitar player.  So, we had this discussion knowing the music would be great.

After work, I really did not feel like going anywhere, so I took my time getting home.  It was also a very pleasant day weather wise, I figured DH would rather be in the woods.  I pulled up in front of the house, and DH came running out the front door.

DH-Are you ready?
Me-Are we going?
DH-Yea, free food
Me-Not sure I want to go, I'm pretty tired
DH-Thought you wanted to go-free food. WJJQ has their listener appreciation night!

One thing about my husband-if there is free food-he is willing to go just about anywhere!  So, I told him he need to get the chairs, and he as going to be driving. While I went in to change and get ready to go, he was already in the van.

We arrived in Tomahawk about 25 minutes later.  One thing about giving out food- lots of people show up. Not surprisingly, there was a nice crowd by the time we arrived. We had to park a few blocks away, since we arrived so late, there were very short lines for the food.

I have to say, I was quite impressed with our free dinner. Brats, chips and pop, Standard picnic food up here, done very well. Growing up in Chicago, I have not been a big fan of Brats, they are growing on me.  Last night, there were some that had sauerkraut with them, Have to say they were very yummy!

At 6pm, the band started.  The hiatus of Warren Nelson, has not hurt him a bit, he may have even improved.  Unlike some bands, where you just go to listen to music, Warren knows how to blend the jokes, music and stories to make a SHOW.  Not everyone can do that.  The first half he did a lot of his newer stuff, toward the end of the first half, I found myself so RELAXED I started to dose off.

The second half, he did more of the older stuff he wrote and did with Big Top.  I had moved over to a picnic table (my brother in law had joined us, we only brought two chairs) and was working on my doodling (I am taking an online course in doodling and lettering).

The band was doing a song from the "Riders in the Wind" show up at Big Top. Here I am sitting at the picnic table, doodling away, and all of a sudden, felt like I was in Heaven!  The sun was setting over the river, the temperature was in the low 70"s, very few mosquitos or insects were out, and here I was out on this beautiful summer evening, listening to some of the BEST music I have ever heard!  You can tell the band was in the zone-one of those magic moments when you know it is not just playing an instrument, rather the music has become part of the soul.  At that point, all of life's trials and tribulations-all the problems of the day-had all dissolved into this one magic part of time.

The music continued for about 30 minuted over time.  A large number of us stayed.  The night showed us that Warren Nelson is back, despite all his troubles, as well or better than I had remembered. The addition of his son playing banjo and Otis from Otis and the Alligators on harmonica, round out this awesome group.  I would definitely travel to see them again!http://www.warrennelson.com

If ever in Tomahawk, WI on a Wednesday night during the summer, take the time to go to the Music on the River series.  There are different groups every week, if this is the caliber of music we will here, it is well worth making Tomahawk your destination spot.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking back and moving forward!

For those new to here, four years ago I slipped on water, tore off my hamstring tendon, injured my sciatic nerve, had a cadeavor tendon put in, developed RSD (a sympathetic system pain disorder).  I have had chronic pain issues since then, and the event REALLY changed my life.

Last week, I went to see a doc at the UW.  My understanding is there is not much more than can do, I just have to live with this.  For the past four years, I have had hope that somehow something could be done, it was difficult to hear that I am now stuck with this.

With that being said, it is now time to start looking at alternative  ways to do the things I enjoy doing, and to look at new possibilities.  Over the weekend I signed up for two online classes. The first is Colorlove by Joanne Sharpe.  I enjoy making journals, I wanted to learn how to make my own pages and take it to the next level.

The second class is on Craftsy and is a class on Plus Size pattern fitting.  I start a new job next week, and will need to start wearing regular clothes.  For the past 23 years as a nurse,  I have worn scrubs to work, now I will only need to do that once a week. Since it is so difficult for me to find clothes that fit up here, and I do not like the cookie cutter selection, I like to sew a lot of my own clothing.  With the changing figure as I age, need to learn how to make garments that will fit the first time.

As my world begins to expand, hopefully my blog will also. The thought also just occurred to me that this is such an ironic time to restart my life.  Tomorrow my oldest daughter will be celebrating her 37th birthday.  I think the birth of my first child was a MAJOR life changing event.

So, on to make her birthday card!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Title of your life's memoir in six words.

Last week I was listening to WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio), there was a discussion on words.  One of the discussions led to a talk on using six words to title your life's memoir.

As woman grow older, our hormones begin to assist in altering our thinking. As our uterus declines, so does our thinking of self.  We begin to think more globally and to see the world in a different fashion.

With this< I have also had this yearning to start journaling.  I have always been drawn to watercolors and more of abstract art, so I want to incorporate this into my journal.  I also enjoy scrapbooking, have spent many hours planning out scrapbook/art journals.

When the discussion came up on the memoirs, I found it quite intriguing. My title came to mind very quickly!

Crazy Horse
 
    Lightly Treading

       No REMORSE!

I had the title, now wasn't sure how to proceed.

This morning while searching the net, I found an online class by Joann Sharpe. I find I enjoy her work, so I bought the class.  It is a class on art journaling, I am SOOOOOO EXCITED about taking this calss and seeing where it will take me.

Hopefully I will figure out how to post pictures of the pages I make.

Until then,  What would be your six words to describe your life's memoir?

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Memories Version 4

I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

My Memories is a digital scrapbooking software that I have been using.  They have recently come out with version 4.  

Why is this so exciting!  This has now opened up a whole new world for me.

This version has a print and cut feature to use with the die cutting machines such as
eclips, Cameo, etc....

Now, instead of having to head down to my local store for embellishments, with the use of my computer, a program like Sure Cuts A Lot, and My Memories 4,  I can custom create my scrapbooking!

This is such an advantage for those of us with little space, young children, out in the country.......

My Memories comes with choices of paper, shapes, etc. You can also purchase scrapbooking kits online.  Here's what I think is great:

I like the idea of making small scrapbook albums. I'm not ultra creative, so to think of adding embellishments sometimes is over the top and overwhelms me. I am not always sure what colors go together so I am sometimes at a lost.

Now, I  buy a scrapbook kit (they have frequent sales) for which I pay about 4.99.

I like to make smaller, sturdier albums, so I buy white heavier card stock. I like using the 110 pound weight, it seems to make the albums stronger.

I open up My Memories, choose to do a blank page. I add my paper make a square or rectangle the size I want, print the background paper.  I then cut the paper out. There, one page of background now done!

Say I want to add some journaling to that page. I can use the Word Art feature, make the journaling to look the way I want.  I then load my paper into my Eclips machine, I import the word art, and instead of cutting out the the word art, I use the pens and the machine to add the journaling. Viola! A custom made page!

I am so excited to be able to use all these features and to learn more!

My Memories is not so much a photo editing software, and you will not be able to do all the things you can as with photoshop, but for those of us who want to do more with out die cutting machines and scrapbooking, this may be just the thing.

The price is also within reach.  Their scrapbooking kits are a reasonable price. They also have great sales, this week I bought many files of word art for 99 cents each.

If interested in this software, there is also a 10.00 off coupon code on my blog.

I also found there customer service very helpful. I was having great difficulty downloading the version4 which I had never had with the previous versions.  I have moved, so I thought it was something with my much slower internet.  Turned out, it was the way I had my Mac set to download!  How Mike from My Memories figured that out for my, I will never know, but he got it working!

I am so excited to take my scrapbooking and die cutting to another level, I hope this will also help others!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Musings

I am sitting in front of my front window of our new residence, soaking up the warm morning sun, watching the barren trees lightly sway with the morning breeze. Christmas and New Years are now over, the peace and quiet allow me to reflect on the past  year, what I hope for the New Year.

The past year has been one of challenges and change. My husband and I have been remodeling this house, having moved in two weeks ago.  There is still LOTS to do, but I have a bedroom to sleep in that is 90% finished, and a great bathroom.  Walls have been taken down and rebuilt. My son has done an excellent job with the drywall and painting. The color in the living room is quite mellow for me, allows the light from the sun to reflect. Their is a warmth that comes through, even when it is gloomy and dark.

Anyone who has ever tried a remodeling project will attest to the stress it puts on a relationship. There were many times I wanted to just stop and back out, something inside would keep me going. Add to that my chronic pain issues and my sympathetic pain disorder, I'm amazed at how well we have come through this.  I hope to post some of my projects, even the mundane such as cleaning the wood furniture.

Not much baking has gone on in the past year in our home. My two biggest baking accomplishments of the year were the wedding cake I made in August, and the baking demos I did at the MN State Fair.

I have enjoyed developing and baking recipes made from cake mixes.  One of my goals for the new year, is to come up with a recipe that uses cake mixes, but can be made in small amounts at a time.  With families being smaller, a large cake is not always practical.

I will also post more of my scrapbooking projects. I really enjoy spending time making mini albums using my new Eclips die cutting machine, so watch for those in the future.

As we get closer to spring, you will also find gardening tips, stories of my garden. Two summers ago I started a new garden out here, using the Square Foot Gardening method.  I am amazed at how well the garden did.  This past summer, I had a row that was based on the Lasagna Method, I have never seen tomatoes grow so high with such a huge yield!  Looking forward to trying that again this year!

I encourage those reading this, to take advantage of this quiet time in winter, to think back on your past year, to those thing you may want to change, new goals for the next year. This is a great time to sit back and recharge for the busy months ahead..........