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August 22, 2016

Happy 6th Blogversary to Me!

Six years ago today I put my first blog post out in blog land!
I had been watching some others that I knew develop their blogs and thought I'd give it a try.

Getting started...
If it weren't for Linda @ Life and Linda I wouldn't have gotten off the ground with it.  I'm really not savvy in the department of computer language.
Early on she was nicknamed "fairy blogmother" by a bunch of us for getting several others started and rescuing some of us when we'd screw something up on our blogs!

** Thank you again Linda for all you've done for me! **

Why did I start blogging?

I'll spill my guts a little bit.
I was dealing with the empty the nest syndrome since our kids were out of the house
and in college.
More importantly though I needed something to focus on and to detract me from what was the worst financial time of our lives since Dan and I were married in 1978.  We had survived more than one recession but this one affected us like no other.
To begin with we are self employed and in 2001 we felt a change starting in the industrial sector of Michigan after the 9/11 attacks.  Michigan's economy became steadily worse and by 2008 we and pretty much everyone in the state of Michigan hit bottom.  Somehow we managed to stay afloat and little by little things started to improve.   We are still chugging along with our business although it's not the same as it was and never will be again.
I can definitely say that this experience changed us and we are wiser because of it.

My 2nd Blog...
Gardening was always a passion I had so I was also grateful to have it to focus on.  After I started my first blog I also started a 2nd blog called Sit With Me In My Garden.

Gardening can be therapeutic and rewarding.  It doesn't have to cost a lot- you can split up plants and double what you have and move plantings around to create new looks.  During our hard times I found it helpful to do things like that since I had very little to spend.

 Every winter I wait for the days to tick off and I really look forward for spring to arrive!
Seeing things sprout out of the ground makes me so happy and gives me such a feeling of renewed faith in everything!

Sharing changes in my home...
I  find it helpful to burn some energy off by shuffling things around in my home and if you've followed me for any length of time you know I've done this a lot!  For me changing things around gives the feeling of newness.  I don't like to be stagnate.
(No I don't go this far and re-paint my room every time I want to shuffle furniture!)

I love home decorating and find myself focused on that a lot.  I like to tweak things here and there.  It's been rewarding to "shop my house" and come up with new ways to use the things I already have.

When I found tablescaping in the blog world I thought it was crazy!  All I could think about was the cost of everything.  I kept my eye on it for a while and finally decided to give it a try.  Thanks to places like T.J. Maxx and following sales at some favorite stores I was able to build up a stash of tablescape related things.  It's a creative and enjoyable outlet and there's been so many fantastic ideas shared among the bloggers I'm glad I joined them.

Most of all I have enjoyed meeting all of you through blogland and sharing all of the things we do.   I very much appreciate the time you take to visit and leave a comment for me.
Somehow I feel that there are more out there like me who joined the blogging world due to a change in their lives and I'd love to hear your story too!

August 18, 2016

This And That This Week #6

Earlier this week fellow blogger Sheila from My Kentucky Living had shared a post about some cookies that I decided I had to make.  The recipe calls for bisquick and I had a nice big box of it as well as a brand new package of chocolate chips so of course I had to make some!

It was a rainy day and I thought this is a good time to bake!  Her post which you can go to "here" has a link that takes you to the recipe which is found on the Betty Crocker Website.  I love simple uncomplicated recipes and this one fit the bill!  I pre-measured ingredients and then put it together.  I chopped up some pecans to add in too.

I used my little ice cream style scoop to form each cookie.  I got 2 1/2 dozen out of the recipe.

I got a little laugh when I purchased the scoop.  I was at a little store that has loads of kitchen gadgets and I asked which size scoop was common for a typical cookie size.  She says "well that depends on if it's for home or for something like a school or church function.  She pointed to the smaller one and said that's for the functions (this way it will look like you have a lot more cookies because some people will grab a bunch and they can disappear quick)  :-)  The other is more typical for home.  The third one was quite large-  more like an ice cream scoop size and would make mega cookies.  I like using the scoop because you get a more even count.

I'm glad Sheila shared this because I have been known to buy those little packages of cookie mix and this is far more cost friendly!  I have to confess I've never use  Bisquick for more than biscuits, pancakes and a cheeseburger pie recipe I found on their box.   Did I mention these are delicious!

I've had my Christmas Cactus plant outside all summer in the shade and it's really filled out and looks very healthy but it's become pot bound.  I ordered a new flower pot to transplant it into.  Snicker snicker...I may have gone a bit too large!  I'm still going to use it though!  I found the flower pot on line by Terrain.  It has a black chalk finish and I liked the natural clay bottom.  It comes in white and natural too.  

This is my first Limelight Hydrangea I put in many years ago.  It's out front of the house and looks so beautiful right now have two spiraeas below the shrub that fill in.  They recently got trimmed a little too aggressively so they look a little shabby.  

I love the color and shape of the flower.  This one always looks a bit different than the ones out back.  It does get more sun so perhaps that's why.  They start out looking lime green and then go to white.  

Some pretty flowers right next to the limelight that are still blooming nicely!  Cone flowers, Black-eyed Susan's and Russian Sage.

I call this my forgotten garden.  I love these cone flowers and they have a nice light fragrance.  It's hidden around the side by a big blue spruce and I keep forgetting it's there!  Some gardener I am!  I love how summery it looks!  We're in the latter part of the summer now so it won't be long before all the flowers are done.

Last Sunday I shared a post about a newly discovered park on one of my shopping adventures.  You can visit it "here" if you like! 

                                                                         * * * *

This has been a long week.  Unfortunately I have to report my friend's son's injuries were so bad he couldn't be saved.  His body was alive but there was no brain function and after all the tests and monitoring were done it was determined that she had to let him go.  I appreciate all the prayers you've offered and now Linda could use more prayers for strength to get through all of this.

                                                                           * * * *

August 14, 2016

Went to shop- Found a Park!

Every so often we make a run up to Petoskey and I have a few hot spots I like to visit.  

I mentioned in a post  "here" back in early June about my admiration for the store called Monarch that is part florist and decorative elements for the home.  I went there first and looked for some things that will be added to my fall decorating once I get started on it.  

We had to park further away with than normal because it was very busy all around town that day. 
As we headed back to the car I turned my head and was stunned to see this park that I had never noticed before.  We always park about a half a block away and drive right by this area.  I think because we're always watching out for the pedestrians we just never noticed this before!

 I squeaked when I saw the gazebo.  I love gazebos and would love one in my yard….

I love all the hostas that they lined the sidewalks with.  We had rain on and off throughout the day so it wasn't sunny but it was a comfortable temp so that's good!

We headed along the path to see what else was there.

The park includes tributes to the Armed Forces.  
This Blue Star Memorial Marker was dedicated Sept. 18, 2014 

The Blue Star Memorial program was developed by the National Garden Clubs, Inc., in 1945 to pay tribute to the Armed Forces defending our country during World War II. Based on the original Blue Star flag displayed in the family homes, the star became a standard symbol on dedicated Blue Star Highways throughout the United States. The placement of Blue Star markers was approved by state legislatures in cooperation with State Departments of Transportation.
Today, the Blue Star memorial program has expanded to include many locations including highways, parks, veteran facilities, national cemeteries and historical/civic sites.
The markers pay tribute to all the Armed Forces defending our country, and they are a visible reminder of our love of gardening and our support for the Armed Forces of the United States of America. 

A Vietnam Veterans Memorial honoring those from this local area.

 A World War 1 Memorial

 Another memorial for World War II and Korea

 This big gun dates back to the 1800's

 This little girl was singing songs and totally enjoying herself.  Looks like Mommy has another one coming!

 Wow look at how much this weighs!

We turned around and went back to the gazebo.  Just as Dan got himself set up for a picture a local trolley style bus pulled up adding some more small town cuteness to the scene.  They offer free rides around town for the visitors!

 I was intrigued at how many people were just casually visiting and enjoying the park.  
It was a great day- not too hot and the rain was only intermittent.  People just seemed to be in an extra good mood!

There's an old set or railroad tracks still running through town.  Too bad they've done away with most of the railways in Michigan.  There are plans to start using some of what's left of the rails again and get a train going from southern Michigan up to the Traverse City area again.  I think that would be great!

Petoskey's gaslight district is always a big hit for the tourists.  I like to play tourist when I go up there too!

Side note:
Petoskey is a hot spot for finding or buying Petoskey stones that are found along the shores of Lake Michigan.  Michigan's state stone is the Petoskey stone.  Can you believe I haven't bought one for myself yet!  I'll have to fix that!

I hope you enjoyed my little visit to the new found park!

I'm am joining:

August 11, 2016

This and That This Week #5

The biggest thing I've done all week was to pull together a new look on my plate rack as seen at this link  "Later Summer on the Plate Rack"
Seems like lately I haven't been as inspired to do tablescapes but using my dishes to create new looks on the plate rack makes me happy!  

As you know if you follow me I am a bit of garden enthusiast and have a 2nd blog that I focus on my gardens with.  The hydrangeas are in bloom and that brings me great joy!  
Stop on by "here" and visit me.

Last Saturday I made a batch of potato salad.  I make it just like my mom did (sticking with the basics- potatoes, eggs, onion, celery, Miracle Whip with a touch of mustard) and I love having it ready to pull out when we grill so dinner is easy to put together.  It served the two of us for 4 days.  

I cheated a bit in that I bought a pie at Grand Traverse Pie Co.  This was called Raspberry Lemon Silk  and it was/is delightful!  I cut it into sections and froze up the extra.  


A sad note and ending to this week for me….

I have a prayer request for my friend Linda and her son Brent.

Yesterday Linda's son Brent was crossing through an intersection in Boston and was struck by a car.  He was thrown into the air and left with multiple injuries.  He has suffered a very traumatic brain injury which is the biggest battle the doctors are concerned with as well as many broken bones and internal injuries.  Linda is flying out to Boston today with her sister by her side.  I can't even begin to imagine the emotions going through her right now.  Earlier this year Linda's husband died of a short illness with cancer and two weeks later Brent contracted something that affected his lungs, heart and kidneys that he nearly died from.  He was in ICU for 10 days and had a long recovery afterwards.  He just got back to work in June and then this happens.  Linda is the one my daughter bought the patio set and grill from that I posted about last week.  She and I meet every other week for lunch and have known each other since 1984.  

  This is also unreal.


August 7, 2016

Later Summer on the Plate Rack and Dining Table

I fussed a bit on an off this past week working on my late summer plate rack and tabletop vignettes.

I was trying to mix something together that would work with this pitcher.  What I like about it is the multiple colors found in the flowers.  White, lavender, purple, blue, red, yellow, orange and green.

Since sunflowers are blooming now I decided it would be okay to use them.  I used my Ralph Lauren dinner plates in the background that have a touch of blue on the rim.  I wanted something to sit in the middle between the plates so I looked on the internet and found a tutorial on a napkin fold that ended up working out nicely.

I wanted to use these white picket fence looking candle holders since I think they look so summery and picked up on the white in the tray.  I found these pear shaped yellow candles but they hardly showed up.  I filled the glass votive with sand and plopped them on the top.  I wish they were larger- perhaps I'll find some when I'm out shopping another day.

I couldn't find anything on hand that was working for the tabletop.  Then I remembered I had these woven placemats.  They gave just the look I needed and the fit isn't bad!  I must have arranged this 6 times trying to find a good balance.  I chose the little bird house because it has the same kind of coloring as in the pitcher.  Then I decided since the apple plates and S & P shakers had the same kind of green and red I'd add them in too.  The birds just showed up!

Before we know it apples will be ready to pick!

I liked how the woven placemats pick up with the basket down below.  My sister Jen gave me the creamy colored pig with wings several years ago.  It shows up now and then.  I have a thing for flying pigs!  

So that's my Later Summer on the Plate Rack and Tabletop!  I plan to keep it this way until mid September when I'll make the plunge towards fall decorating!!  

This is the link to the napkin fold if you're interested "here"
The pitcher and tray are from MacKenzie Childs- I waited for a sale.
Sunflower plates are by Magenta were from T.J.Maxx last year (no doubt they have more in now or will soon)
Ralph Lauren dinner plates- Mandarin Blue- T.J. Maxx
Bird house was a Jim Shore piece from Lowe's several years ago.  
Apple plates and S & P shakers are made by Tag
Napkins are by Park - Newport Blue

I'll be joining:

My Designer

My Fairy Blog Mother

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