Friday, September 22, 2017

Becoming a New Widow

Though we do not dwell on it, the possibility becoming a widow is in the back of our minds if we are married, and surfaces now and then in our Senior years. And now it has happened to me. When it happens, it really does change absolutely everything, literally and because our perspective on life drastically changes. The former life is finished, and we have to learn to live a new life.

During the first week of August, my precious and beloved husband of 38 years passed away next to me somewhere between the time we went to bed at midnight and the time I got up during the night at about 3 am. The last sound I heard from him was laughter as we joked about something before going to sleep, and we had just finished a nice Saturday together. The weather had been beautiful, he spent time weed whacking with his new weed whacker, and we sat together on our deck overlooking the lake. It had been a beautiful, peaceful day. My husband had just turned 64 a few weeks before, but he had Diabetes and had had 2 heart attacks in the past 10 years and a few cardiac procedures. We were ready to embark on yet another good nutrition program come September, I worked hard on and off over the years to keep him healthy, as much as I could manage and he would allow. There was a big part of me that expected that something like this would happen, but it was a huge blow and shock when it actually did. I immediately called the local police and my brother who lives nearby, and of course my children, all came within the hour, and the rest is somewhat of a blur. We had a beautiful Memorial Service the Friday after. Many came, and our Pastor put together such a nice and meaningful program.

During the first two weeks, there was a constant flow of visitors, cards, and meals. After two weeks my daughter, sister and son took turns staying with me most nights of the week and there were some visits from friends. This went on until recently, now the overnight stays are occasional, and I am experiencing the many things that when combined make up the grieving process. How I would like to be done with the extreme pain and heartache that comes with such a loss, but my friends who have made this journey before me tell me that it takes time.

It took me a while to decide whether or not to post this on my blog, but then I thought my readers are mature adults like I am, and some may find my sharing on this topic helpful. Though I will continue with the lighter themes and topics we have started, I do want to spend some time sharing my grief and widowhood journey just for those who may be helped by it. The photo was taken a few years ago on a vacation in Maine....we always vacationed in September. Oh how I miss this man.

Updated 11/30/18

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Easy to Grow Vegetables TOMATOES

Tomato plants are easy to grow in the vegetable garden or in containers in a location that receives several hours of sun. You will get tomatoes in a location with difficult soil and a few hours of sun, but the quality and quantity will be less than a spot with richer soil and more sun.

On my property, I have many trees, and rocky soil. But by adding some composted soil to our rocky soil, I have successfully grown healthy tomatoes.

In recent years, I have been planting them in containers on the deck, which receives several hours of sun each day. I like to grow cherry and grape tomatoes as they mature more quickly than larger tomatoes and we can enjoy them for a longer time in the summer. I plant in mid-May, and the plants are finished for the season in September. I do use tomato cages right in the containers. Here are some of my grape tomatoes ripening on the deck during the summer:

This image was taken by me

The roots of the tomato plant tend to stay close to the surface of the soil, and though the plants tolerate dry soil to a degree, it is best to keep the soil somewhat moist between rain showers and storms. This is especially true for tomatoes planted in containers. 

As for feeding, my plants are fed about every two weeks. 

I have only started plants from seeds once, it's hard to do if you don't have a sunny location or grow lights to keep them happy. This is why I like to give my local garden shop some business by purchasing young tomato plants. I have thought of making a very small "greenhouse" like structure...more like a frame covered in heavy plastic, to cover and protect plants that I start from seeds on the sunny deck...time will tell if this project is ever done.

We are at about 900 feet in Northern NJ and planting season lasts from mid-may to mid-September, or a little later if we have a mild fall.   I harvest all of the remaining tomatoes at the end of the season, even if green, and put the green tomatoes in a brown paper bag to ripen, which they do fairly quickly if they are mature enough.

In only a few months gardening can begin! I can't wait.

Image Credit: Clare Bloomfield at 
Updated 11/30/18

Friday, February 3, 2017

Heart Shaped Flowers and Gardening

Today I would like to add Gardening to the categories that we have in the right margin, because it truly can be a restful experience. For some, just working in the soil is relaxing, whether it be in a flower bed or vegetable garden, or a container garden like the one that I have on my deck.

Some may not think of the actual planting as relaxing, but may find pleasure and relaxation just looking at gardens that have been cultivated by others.

Whichever you prefer, I hope you enjoy the new theme, new pages and posts will be added as the days go by. To start, in keeping with the fact that this month is the month of love and Valentine's Day, I have created a page about Heart Shaped Flowers. I hope you enjoy, and will visit the "Gardening" theme to the right occasionally to see what new posts and articles have been added.

If you live in a cold climate and are looking forward to Spring, we only have a month to go, and a couple to a few months until we can really get our hands into the soil. I can't wait!

Image Credit ~ I have had this image for years, the site
that I obtained it from is no longer available.

Updated 11/30/18

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Free Humble Heart Crochet Pattern for Valentines Day

You do not have to be an advanced crocheter to crochet these hearts for Valentine's Day.

A week or two ago I created a page with instructions on how to crochet the hearts you see pictured...this is a picture of my first attempt, and I share how I used them with my husband's Valentines gift.

They are humble hearts, but have become nicer with more and more practice.

There is a video tutorial as well. 

Please click here for the free pattern for easy to crochet Valentine's Hearts, or visit the "Crochet" link in the upper right margin for all of my free crochet patterns and tutorial pages.

Updated 11/30/18

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Mother's Coloring Habit - a Relaxing Hobby

Last weekend I was visiting my Mom who celebrated her 87th birthday, and she was showing me the beautiful pictures that she has colored, intricate pictures with many details. Coloring is her new hobby, she says, and it is becoming a popular past-time for more than just children. I have another friend who is my age that also enjoys coloring.

Years back I asked for crayons and coloring books as a gift, before adult coloring was a popular as it is now, and I got them both. I didn't want grown-up adult coloring books, but the "easy" kind that children would enjoy coloring, but ended up with both and found that each had their own advantage.

Coloring transports me back in time to childhood days and happy memories. I love coloring animals in particular, because I am an animal lover. My mother prefers coloring flowers, and has markers that that she colors with, fine tipped markers especially for coloring and perfect for the small spaces that she fills with color.

I like to think that she took an interest in coloring again when she was staying with me for a few days, and we colored together. I colored casually, but she did so artistically, paying attention to detail and shading. Here is a picture of one of the pictures she colored last summer:

So it is not only quilting or crocheting that brings relaxation and pleasure, but the simple act of coloring.

Have you discovered the relaxing benefits of coloring as an adult?

Image: Coloring taken by me
Updated: 11/30/18

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hand Quilting - How to Hand Stitch a Quilt

Though some like to use a quilting sewing machine to piece together their quilts, many find hand stitching a quilt relaxing.

I have put together a page for beginners with a series of video tutorials to help you start and finish a quilt, or a smaller quilted item.

You can click here to go to the tutorial page.

If additional pages are added about quilting, you will find them all by clicking "Quilting" in the upper right margin.

Image: from Pixabay by vero1234

Updated 11/30/18

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I am Back to Share Some Hand Quilting Tips

I just looked to see when my last post was, October, it makes sense, that is the month that my dear brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As he was disabled, I was one of his guardians. Since that time we have gone through a difficult journey with him that ended June 29th with his home-going to heaven. We made many decisions for him, as he could not make his own, nor could we explain to him what was happening to him. But for as long as possible, right up to the final weeks when he slept most of the time, he smiled and laughed and kept his positive attitude. I miss him terribly.

In that time my husband also had a heart attack, but his life was saved.

Now I am trying to get back to doing things I had set aside, and am excited about getting into the topic of quilting. I have something all laid out to share here, and will be working on it during the coming days.

Updated 11/30/18

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How To Crochet Tutorial Pages are Now Complete

At least I hope they are! I've been working on them over a period of time, and think that they are complete enough to reveal to you now.

Following is a complete list of the pages:

How to Crochet - Free Stitch Instructions and Abbreviations

How to Understand Crochet Pattern Codes and a Printable List of Abbreviations

Buying the Right Crochet Hook and Free Metric, US and UK Conversion Charts

How to Crochet a Slip Knot (sl knot) Stitch and Starting Chain (ch)

How to Crochet a Single (sc) Double (dc) Triple or Treble (tr or tc) Stitch

How to Crochet a SLIP STITCH (sl st or ss)

How to Crochet Single (sc dec) and Double Decrease (dc dec) and (sc inc) (dc inc) Increase Stitches

How to do the DOUBLE CROCHET DECREASE (dc dec)

How to Fasten Off - Hide Crochet Ends - Change Yarn Colors

How to Crochet in Front (fl) and Back Loop (bl)

How to Crochet Back Post (bp) and Front Post (fp)

Basketweave Crochet Stitch using Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc) and Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc)

How to Crochet a Cluster Stitch (cl)

How to Crochet a POPCORN Stitch (pc)

How to Crochet a PICOT Stitch (p)

How to Crochet a LOOP Stitch (lp(s))

How to Crochet a BULLION aka RICE aka ROLL Stitch

How to do a CROSSED DOUBLE CROCHET (cr dc) or Double Crochet Crossed

How to Crochet a PUFF Stitch (ps OR puff st)

I hope you find these to be helpful to new inexperienced crocheters and experienced alike.

Updated 11/30/18

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Free Headband Ear Warmer Crochet Pattern with Sunflowers!

The cool months of fall and winter are just weeks away here in the Northeast USA, and for some of us it's hard to say goodbye to the flowers and trees, and with this cute pattern, we don't have to.

Ruth Cox, a friend I know from various forums and writing spots on the web, has put together a page with a free crochet pattern for a Sunflower Headband or Ear Warmer. She includes photographs of the steps in making the headband.

There's a story behind the headband on her page, and a link to a source for other free crochet patterns. I'll be featuring that link myself later this week, but for now, you'll find it and this free crochet pattern on Ruth's page.

For more posts that lead to free patterns, visit the "CROCHET" link under "Posts by Topic" in the upper right.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Image Credit: Ruth Cox - just one step in the process 

Updated 11/30/18