Monday 30 April 2018

Small and Wonderful Things . . .


"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard

A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best. 

I got to thinking last night about all the things I have had in my life to be grateful for. Maybe it is just I am getting older, but I was feeling very nostalgic, so here we go!

Day in the life of a girl, Norman Rockwell

Dear Diary, I think I was lucky to have been born in one of the most amazing times in the world's history. A time of great progress and achievement. Things seem to be going down hill a bit nowadays, but my growing up years were the best and most bountiful years ever  . . .  

I feel a bit like Nephi when I say I was born of goodly parents. They did the best that they knew how to do for me. I was warm and clothed and fed and loved. I wanted for nothing. No, I wasn't given everything I wanted, but I had all that I needed to have and they taught me the value of working for other things and so much more. I truly value the lessons I learnt in my home from parents who wanted the best for me. 


I had a father who read to me every chance he could and instilled in me a great love and respect for the written word. He would make up voices for each character in the stories he read to me, which turned each story he read to me into a real adventure. I can still hear his voice in my head, and some of the words to some of the stories . . . 

I had a mother who worked hard to keep our home clean and tidy and to make sure we were well fed.  When I was small she made all of my dresses and sometimes even matching ones to hers. She had a lovely Singer Sewing Machine, which she still has and which still works. It is the machine my sister and I learnt to sew on.  


I was lucky enough to have been given a younger sister, who became my best friend for life.  She is still my best friend, even though we don't get to talk as often as we used to, what with the time difference and all, and our own individual responsibilities, but we love each other very much, and I know she is always there for me, and always has been, for at least the whole of her life! 

 A Boy and His Dog, Norman Rockwell

I was also given a brother, which enabled me to see things from a male perspective. I can still remember how excited I was when he was born. My sister and I held hands and danced around my grandmother's kitchen singing "We have a baby brother!"  Throughout my life he has been a steadfast and immovable example to me of how to do things right.  I love him and I know he loves me too. (On a side note, the dog we had when I was growing up looked just like that. Her name was Penny. I loved her too.)

Family. It is a gift from God.  

My parents taught us to love God and while we didn't often go to church together as a family, they always made sure we went to Sunday School.  I got perfect attendance pins every year.  I learnt lessons and standards in Sunday School that have stood me well through the years and I am grateful for all of them, and I have a great fondness for the memories I have of us when we did go to church together as a family. Special memories. 

I grew up with the privilege of a free education which I sometimes took for granted, but for which I will always be grateful. My father never graduated from High School. My mother was the only one from her immediate family who did. It was really important to my parents that we were educated and that we got a high school diploma. My mother helped us with our homework and I had good teachers throughout my school years.  Teachers who taught and inspired, some of whom I am still in contact with and whom I still admire. 

Norman Rockwell 

I grew up out of doors, in an environment which afforded me the opportunity to develop my imagination, with lots of other children, which taught me how to get along with others, and how to develop relationships outside of my family group.  I am so grateful for the loving communities that I grew up in, and for the friendships forged. 

Wet Paint, Norman Rockwell

I am grateful for my many talents and abilities. I did not get to go to Art School, but I did get a Jon Gnagy Art Kit for Christmas one year and I learnt a lot from it. That was my parents way of encouraging my talents and supporting them, even if they didn't think becoming an Artist was a way to make a life. They were and are my biggest fans.  

Things were not just handed to us. There were chores and expectations, standards to uphold. We treasured the things we had because we worked for them.   

Norman Rockwell

I grew up in an age where  most children went to Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides.  I learnt a great many skills through those programs, and was also given the opportunity and responsibility in time to lead and supervise others younger than myself.  These skills have also stood me well through the years. 

Norman Rockwell 

Grateful for babysitting courses and for parents who entrusted me with their wee ones. 


For Saturday morning swimming lessons and for swimming lessons all the summer through, which taught me how to swim, something my mother never learnt how to do.  It was important to her that her children did. I have not been swimming for years, but I am sure it is just like riding a bicycle, once learnt, never forgotten. 

For Sunday School picnics and school sports days and all of the other community social occasions that helped me to feel like a part of something larger than myself and which gave me plenty of happy memories to look back on . . .  along with small achievements like ribbons for racing, and the ethic of it not really being if you won or lost, but how you played the game. Of sharing. Of learning how to rejoice in the accomplishments of others.

Norman Rockwell 

I had parents who were strict and set rules and boundaries for me.  Rules and boundaries designed to keep me safe from harm. I did not always appreciate them at the time, but I am grateful for them now. They were another example of my parents love for us. 

For me, it really was the best of times and for that I am eternally grateful! 

I am missing my friend Jan who always used to comment here.  I hope she is okay!  I miss her comments and I always worry when someone just disappears.

A thought to carry with you   . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Laughter is timeless,
Imagination has no age,
And Dreams are forever.
~Walt Disney •。★★ 。* 。


Today's Reading -  Alma 8:1-17 
Question - What have you learnt from the reading today? Why was Alma's mighty prayer unanswered at that time? 

ThoughtsThere is such a great contrast drawn between the people of Melek who came TO him to listen and make covenants. Then the people of Ammonihah who WOULD NOT hearken and would not repent and be baptised, all because satan had a great hold on their hearts. They reviled him, spat upon him and cast him out. I'd like to think Alma's prayers were answered in that the Lord was preparing Amulek.

There are two things that I absolutely love about this reading. The first is that the same Angel that came to Alma in the first place to start his conversion, came again to give him strength. That is beautiful to me and I can't even describe why! The second is that there is always a warning before destruction in the Book of Mormon. I have felt this on a smaller scale in my own life, if I am going in the ways of pride or self will, I normally get promptings to realise, repent and return to the Lord. This teaches me Heavenly Father is very merciful and patient.

Tomorrow's Reading (Day 150) -  Alma 8:18-9:6 
Question - What have you learnt from this story of Alma and Amulek? What can we learn about God's ways in these verses? 
In The English Kitchen today . . .  Cucumber & Dill Chicken Salad. Scrumptious!

Have a great week.  I hope its filled with lots of love and blessings for you! Don't forget! 
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And I do too!!

Sunday 29 April 2018

Sunday this and that . . .

I thought I had not shown you a picture of Mitzie in a long time, so I set aside some time to take a few of her yesterday afternoon. She's become very obedient. She sat very still for me. I just told her to sit and then stay, and she did. I think they turned out quite nice. Mitzie is the queen of our house, just as our Jess was. 

 It's hard to believe that she has grown so much since she came to live with us. She is so very loved as you can imagine. I had not thought that I would ever be able to love a dog as much as we had loved Jess . . . but we do! A good friend of ours just had to have her furry family member put down. She was a little Jack Russell terrier and 13 years old. Just a few months ago she was full of vim and vigor, but this last week we saw the light go out of her eyes, and she had stopped eating completely and only lay in her bed and slept. She was wasting away, and so a decision had to be made. That is always such a hard one to have to make . . . but in truth she had already gone from our friend, and it was painful to watch her going down. She didn't appear to be suffering at all, but there was no life left in her . . .  

Not like this little madam. We had to go out and get her a new bed this week as she had scratched the whole bottom out of her old one. It had only been a cheap one we picked up at the market and the bottom was only cheap fabric. You know how dogs like to scrunch up their beds before they lay down . . . well she had scrunched all the way through the bed. She won't be able to do it to this one. It cost a pretty penny and the bottom is well stuffed, with a nice big fluffy mattress. Todd remarked that she is more comfortable now in bed than he is. I told him Mitzie would be more than happy to change places with him, haha.  


 Our garden is coming to life again after it's long winter's sleep. There are the same old jobs to do . . . the digging and the hoeing . . . the path to weed and the beds to plan. Planting and sowing, the same routine to follow, but as ever the joy of it all is new . . . when winter ends and the garden calls to you, you know Spring has finally sprung.

I've noticed something about gardening. You set out to do one thing and pretty soon, you're doing something else, which leads to some other thing, and so on. By the end of the day, you look at the shovel stuck in the half dug rose bed and wonder what on earth you've been doing.
~Anne Raver  

There is the kitchen plot to clear and to rake, and seedlings to be tended to. The lawn needs to be mowed and it's edges trimmed. Fences need to be mended and nesting boxes in place . . . there is no time to sit and read these days, the chair by the hearth stays empty as the garden takes up every spare minute. We don't mind really. There is something that is so very beautiful about earth that's just been dug and the feel of it in your hands is so very soothing.

One is nearer God's heart in a garden
than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney

Even Mitzie has been doing her gardening . . . 

 This is her "I'm sorry" face . . . after she had dug up all the fuchsia that Todd had just planted a few days ago. We thought she had outgrown that phase, but apparently she hasn't. It is difficult to stay annoyed with her though . . . how can you when those big brown eyes look at you in that very contrite manner. So soft and so sweet . . .

Gardens are not made by singing
“Oh how beautiful”
and sitting in the shade.
~Rudyard Kipling

Our rewards will come at the height of the summer, when all in the garden begins to bloom profusely and we begin to harvest the rewards of our labours . . . in tender young vegetables . . . and soft and sweet fruits . . . can anything at all taste as delicious as something which you have grown yourself??? I think not! 

Its quite chilly in the house this morning.  I could see a big red moon hanging low on the horizon when I got up  an hour or so ago.  Today is the Chester Marathon, so some streets will be closed for half the day. That means it will take a bit of fiddling to get to church . . . figuring out which streets we can use that aren't closed. It can be done, just not without a lot of forethought. It does look however as if the sun is going to shine.  Bet there are lots of people happy about that! 


We watched a good film last night on our Now television.  Hidden Figures. It was about three anonymous black women that were instrumental in getting John Glenn into space and back again safely back in the early 1960's  Very good. I like films based on true stories.  I was thinking during the film about how very brave those first astronauts were to do what they did, when it was such a new thing, this flying into space on rockets.  Such courage is amazing.  And those women, facing such odds that they faced with segregation, prejudice, etc. I bet they could never have thought that one day there would be a black man in the white house. Thankfully we have come a long, long way from those disgusting days.  We still have a ways to go, and with that I will leave you with a thought for the day  . . .  

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Its okay to be a glowstick,
sometimes we have to break
before we can shine.
~Unknown  •。★★ 。* 。

Spiritual Enlightenment 


In the Kitchen today  . . .  Cherry Croissants.  Tasty, tasty!

Have a great Sunday!  Don't forget . . . 

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And I do too!! 

Saturday 28 April 2018

It about crows . . .

We had a lot of bread that needed getting rid of yesterday, well, not a lot, but some, and so Todd had put it out on the picnic table on the patio temporarily before moving it elsewhere and a big crow flew down and picked it up and flew off with it.  It sat on the roof of the shed first for quite a while, looking all over and watching the sparrows pick at it before it finally swooped down and grabbed it.  I have always been fascinated by crows.  They are really intelligent birds and you can easily tame them and I have also heard that you can teach them to talk.  When I was a girl there was a lad in the area who had two tamed crows and they used to chase me when I was riding my bicycle, swooping down on my and terrorizing me.  I am sure they thought it was a really fun game.  Not to me however.

They are quite sociable birds.   Did you know that they mate for life?  Tis true.  They also often live in small family groups and the older siblings will often help out their parents with the new chicks by bringing food to mom and dad, or even sometimes bringing food to the chicks.


Did you know a group of crows is called a "Murder?" 

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss 

My mother often recited this when I was a child.  If she saw only one crow, she would eagerly scan the skies for another, seeing only one crow as being a dreadful omen . . . I find myself often doing the same.  Old habits die hard  . . . 

When one crow dies, they often get together, seemingly to throw a funeral of sorts. The sight of a dead crow appears to attract mobs of sometimes a hundred or more live crows. You won't see any of them touching the dead crow, which kind of rules out scavenging as a motive, but it is an interesting thing to witness.  There is a theory that they are congregating together like this as a part of a mass survival lesson, learning about threats.  They are often hesitant to revist a spot where one has died.  (I don't know who finds out these things!)  

Proportionately, the brains of some crows are even larger than ours, earning them the nickname "Feathered Apes" by some zoologists. They are smart and good at improvising. Their brain is huge, accounting for some 2.7 % of their overall weight, whereas the human brain only accounts for 1.9 percent of our weight.  The term birdbrain does not apply to crows.

You don't want a crow for an enemy. Apparently they can recognize your face, and hold a grudge. In 2011, a team from the University of Washington published a remarkable study about the brainpower of local crows. The researchers' goal was to figure out how well the birds could identify human faces. So, in the name of science of course, they went out and bought two Halloween masks. One resembled a caveman, the other looked like Dick Cheney. It was decided that the caveman getup would be used to threaten the birds, while the Cheney mask was relegated to control status.

At the five sites, a scientist donned the caveman mask before catching and banding some wild crows. Getting trapped is never a fun experience, and upon their release, the ex-captives loudly "scolded" their assailant with a threatening caw. Seeing this, other birds who had been sitting nearby joined in the fray, swooping down to harass the neanderthalic visitor. Over a period of several years, both masks were regularly worn by team members on strolls through all five test spots. Without fail, the caveman mask was greeted by angry scolds and dive-bomb attacks from crows, including many who'd never been captured or banded, while the birds largely ignored the Dick Cheney mask.

Amazingly, the caveman disguise continued to provoke a hostile response five years into the experiment, even though the team had stopped trapping crows after those first few site visits. And some of the birds who antagonized the mask-wearer weren't even alive back when the whole thing started. The younger crows couldn't possibly have seen the imitation caveman grab an acquaintance of theirs, but they scolded it anyway. Clearly, the grudge had been passed on, Birds were still attacking the mask as recently as 2013.

Moral of the story?  Don't mess with a crow. They won't forget.
AND, they'll tell all their friends. 

They tend to congregate "en masse" and chant at the end of a day.  I noticed this back home when I was living there back in the 1980's.  There was  a brook not far from where I lived, and around dusk every day the trees would be filled with crows, all talking and mumuring together. This happened day after day after day.  I have also read that crows have variable dialects or languages depending on where they are from.  Not sure how true that is, but it is a fascinating idea for sure. 

They have resident Ravens (a member of the crow family) at the Tower of London that every visitor is quite used to seeing around the grounds. I think they even have names. It is not known when the ravens first came to the Tower of London, but their presence there is surrounded by myth and legend. Unusually for birds of ill omen, the future of both Country and Kingdom relies upon their continued residence, for according to legend, at least six ravens must remain lest both Tower and Monarchy fall. I think they have a breeding and conservation program at the tower now as well.  I have also heard that they clip their feathers so that they can't leave, which I am not sure is a true fact or not, but if true would certainly tell you how supertitious their presence at the Tower really is!!

Its quite chilly here this morning.  I have put the heat on because I was freezing. Brrrr . . . I guess Winter's not quite ready to totally loosen her grip from us just yet!  Our pear tree is covered with loads of blossoms, but not the plum nor apple. Looks like we won't get much from them again this year.  We've tried everything, but with those it appears to be hit and miss, and mostly miss!!

I've been trying hard to get in as many Grey's Anatomy episodes before the end of April, which is when Prime is taking it off their "free" programs. I guess nothing good lasts forever.  I am part of the way into the fifth season.  I could sit and binge watch them for hours, crocheting while I do, but Todd balks at the thought so I can't watch as many as I would like.  Fair enough. He is really quite generous with our viewing habits.  Fact, he is watching Gilmore Girls with me for about the fourth time now.  LOL  Yes, he is a very amenable man! I cannot complain! 

Another program we have really gotten into is "Unforgotten" on Netflix.  It's compelling, and last night we started watching the new documentary on there about Robert Kennedy.

Look at what I made yesterday.  Its a paper butterfly bunting. 

I ordered some yarn to make a baby blanket for Ariana and Jose. I am going to do the same as the others I have made, but using these colours (for a girl) plus white.  I quite like them!

And with that I will leave you with a thought for the day!

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

If they say that it's "impossible,"remember that its "impossible" for them,
not for you. ~Unknown  •。★★ 。* 。 

Spiritual Enlightenment 


In the kitchen this morning . . . Magic Pie.  Served with fresh fruit and clotted cream.  Delicious!

Have a wonderful Saturday!  Be sure not to annoy any crows and don't forget! 

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And I do too! 

Friday 27 April 2018

Friday Finds . . .

A few of the things  I find each week that pique my interest, bring me joy, inspire me to learn, create, do, become . . . Maybe they will do the same for you!  
Learn to knit fingerless mitts and gloves. Pattern from Knit Picks.  Not free, but not expensive either.  I love the colours! 
Josh Braker.  10 essential plants for the white garden. I love white gardens.  
How to make a container pond. From Waterside Nursery.  Great idea! 
Home Hacks. How to use White Vinegar in the garden.

The Fun Sized Life. Food for thought.  

The Artful Parent. How to make a 3D nature suncatcher.  

Frugal Fun for Boys.  Lego Pets.  

Minnie Co, free printable sewing cards.  

Easy Crochet Baby Blanket.  The Spruce.  

Loopy Lace Scarf by Kate Harris on Ravelry. Free.  

Artfire, knitted cowl pattern.  Very pretty. 


Half Moon Shawl. Pattern by Lion Brand on Ravelry. 

Polka Dot Chair. Oversized Beach Bag.  

From Craftsy.  Free pattern for the Phoebe Bag. 

Craftsy. How to embroider letters.  

Instructables How to Knit a Proper English Tea Cosy.  

Fork and Beans. Tee Pee Cookies.  

Handmade Charlotte, not to be outdone, sugar wafer dresses for the girls.  

She Knows, cookie bird houses with jelly bean birds.  Cute!  These would make great cake decorations. 

No source, just a great idea, for some hanging baskets using an old clothesline pully.  

Painted by Karla Payne.  How to make your furniture pop with paper.  Love this idea. 

No source, just inspiration . . . 


Coloured Pencil Sculpture by Molly Gambardella.  Wow. 

A 60 Day Challenge.  Are you up for it?


Clean like a Maid.  

More than a weed . . . 

And those are my finds for this week.  I hope something interests you here! 

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

You are confined only
by the walls you build yourself.
~unknown   •。★★ 。* 。 

I'm running way behind this morning, so I'll be back with the BOM Corner on Monday! 


In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Breakfast Spuds.  Simple to make and oh so tasty! 

Have a wonderful Friday!  Don't forget! 

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And I do too!