Now we’re ready!!

I think I’m prepared for whatever snow storms Mother Nature has planned for us this Winter…

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Overwhelmed by blank pages

Blank pieces of paper are so full of promise.

So much space to write thoughts, ideas.

To draw or doodle something unique.

Yet quite overwhelming too!

I love the look of empty clean pieces of paper and the possibilities are endless

to what will be written or drawn.

And yet I am often overwhelmed with all of that blank space.

Like now.

I want to write but nothing seems to be flowing from the deep recesses of the brain.  I’m been able to pick up the camera again and find some things to share with you though.

It seems that many times I am better at showing you something versus describing in great detail through writing.  I love details but they aren’t often something which I can explain easily.

I hope you understand and will bear with me as I trudge through the empty corridors of my brain searching for something else to write.

There must be a file cabinet somewhere in there which holds the words which I am seeking…

So many things about the local family-owned grocery store attracts me to it

Even though we live in a rural area, we are not immune to Walmart.  Walmart has pretty much taken over this country’s landscape by being everywhere.  I remember the time when it wasn’t anywhere in Pennsylvania (and only seen in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and now there is a store as close as ten minutes from my home.  When my husband and I were dating, Walmart built the first store close to us and we would go there occasionally.  When we married, we’d go about once a month to buy all the things we needed that we couldn’t buy at the local grocery stores and it didn’t bother us to only visit it once a month (probably saved us a lot of money that way!).  After a big chain store named ‘Ames’ closed the local store which had been around for many years this rural area no longer had a retailer to frequent.  We’d now have to drive 35 miles minimum for purchasing items other than groceries.  After an ad was placed in the local newspaper asking residents to call Walmart’s corporate office and request a store to be built in our area to replace the now-closed ‘Ames’ retailer, it came to fruition and in 2007 it opened its doors.  The prices are good for most things compared to many other retailers and that unfortunately has helped to close many of the local and family-owned businesses.  Eventually we began to shop weekly for everything including groceries and it was convenient and saved money for us.

But a lot has changed due to Walmart and their business practices and we dislike going there now (we only go for a few things on occasion).  We’ve gone back to patronizing the local PA family-owned grocery store named Weis Markets and we love it.

So many things about shopping at Weis attracts me more than ever before.  The local store is close to my husband’s job location which makes it quite convenient for him to shop at in the early afternoons when he is finished working.  It saves me a trip on most Saturdays and has saved my precious weekend time to do other things (because I can stand in line at Walmart for 30-45 minutes just to pay for my groceries).  When he, or I even, go to Weis there usually isn’t a crowd of people and it is nice and quiet to shop there with relatively short check-out lines.  The employees are very personable too (you won’t get much of that at Walmart).  Walmart is a nightmare and they only have a few registers open at any given time with very long lines out into the other sections of the store.  I’ve even begun buying health and beauty items at my local Weis store.  The difference in the higher prices versus Walmart prices is worth it by saving me all the aggravation of going to Walmart (and Weis doubles coupons too!!).  And the best thing of all is that the money doesn’t leave the state; Weis Markets is family-owned and here in Pennsylvania.  PA also has another rather large chain grocery store called Giant Food Stores and we do go there occasionally.  But I’m still drawn back to Weis.  Maybe its due to my ever present longing for nostalgia from my youth.  When I was young we stayed home and in our local area mostly; shopped at the only local family-owned grocery store (where everyone shopped at) which began in their home!  Leaving our area for any type of shopping was very rare in those days.    Everyone patronized their neighbors and didn’t think of leaving the valley for anything else.  Going to even a Weis store was rare but I do remember visiting them.  I also like the Weis near us due to its appearance inside.  Someone once told me that she doesn’t care for them much because she thinks they look “old fashioned” (or she used some other term similar in meaning).  They are updating many stores and building some new ones to be more energy efficient and to have more variety and larger selections to choose from.  I still enjoy our local one; it hasn’t been upgraded recently but that is all good by me.

I still enjoy the local owned businesses too.  They support local communities and its people and remind us what truly helped to build our small rural areas in the first place.

Even during the holiday season it seems so much more fun for me to go to the local grocery store.  It reminds me of all my excitement as a child of going there and getting all the seasonal goodies and baking items needed.  There is nothing too commercialized about a grocery store, it is all about the food, and I enjoy that aspect the most.  🙂  Food brings fond memories, doesn’t it?!

I will continue to shop at my local Weis Markets to help keep it here where it has been for many years.

Lost Family Photos

I enjoy walking through flea markets, consignment shops and thrift stores and attending Estate sales.  You just never know what vintage treasure can be found.  But there is one thing which I often see that saddens me deeply.  It never seemed to bother me before, but recently it has.  I often find old family photos in a box for sale.  I sift through those images and see handwriting from someone who has written the date, names of individuals and/or special events/holidays.  Why on Earth would anyone want to sell those family memories!

I recently read a story about someone who purchased a Soldier’s Purple Heart at a Good Will-type thrift shop for $4.00.  That is reprehensible.  There is no excuse for that Purple Heart to end up in a thrift shop.  Are individuals so irresponsible that they would throw their family member’s Purple Heart into a box of clothing/items to donate to their local thrift shop?  I compare that act to the action of selling vintage family memories for a quarter a piece.

I know what some may say.  Maybe those individuals have no one else in their family to pass on their memories.  Even if that is the case, wouldn’t their be someone else whom they feel close to who would take those family memories to pass on to their family members?  They could remind their children/grandchildren about their good friend Mary and pass on other memories of her time here on Earth.  That would be much better than selling her memories to complete strangers who don’t even know her story.  I now worry that my photography/family images and heirloom pieces will end up in a consignment shop in 75 years or on someone’s yard sale table.  It seems like many younger generations don’t seem to have the decency to keep their grandparent’s images and heirlooms in the family.

Thankfully, the individual who bought that Purple Heart for $4.00 has morals and they took time to research and find family members of that Soldier.  They returned that Purple Heart and didn’t want a $4.00 refund for doing it.  I just pray that the family has learned a lesson from all of this; that they will keep it safe and become more responsible and it won’t be thrown into a box for the thrift shop.

 

Reaching Back In Time

Is it so taboo to want to live the simple life?

In this time period, where just about everyone is “plugged-in” to something electronic or a social media site, it seems like we are evolving at such a rapid pace and no one wants to slow down.

To each generation, the term ‘good ol’ days’ has a different meaning.  As a baby born in the 1970’s, I think often of the 1980’s, of my childhood and what I deem to be my ‘good ol’ days.’  I miss the people most, who are no longer a part of my life now.  And, as strange as it may seem to some, I also miss the life I was living.  It certainly wasn’t easy and there are some bad memories mixed in there, but as a child I didn’t have all the worries and responsibilities as I do now.  And, I had lots more fun!!

For a very long time, I’ve always felt I have an ‘old soul.’  I haven’t had memories, dreams, flashbacks or recollections of a former life, but I just feel older in my soul, than my actual years and get deja’ vu quite often.

My grandparents’ generation lived through the Great Depression and endured and fought World War II.  My maternal grandmother was in Europe at that time and probably had the harshest life imaginable during all of the fighting.  I’m so drawn to that time period and I seek to learn all I can of the 1920’s through the 1940’s; especially the War itself.  I imagine what life would’ve been like on the home front (USA) or abroad in Europe during all of that time.  I wish I could ask my Grandparents.  As a child I didn’t have interest in “the War”, but I do now.  If I could go back in time to live through a time period, I would choose the early 1930’s and live forward.  Would I join the War effort as a Nurse in the WAC or choose to keep the home fires burning here for a man?  I don’t know.  But it is a part of history which I feel so much more at ease with.  I enjoy vintage items and recipes which kept company during all of that.  I’ve been canning food for many years and have been expanding my repertoire in the last few.  I will keep my Victory Garden going the best way that I can (with lots of help from my hubby!).

As I get older, I keep wanting to reach back to a much simpler life and time.  I feel technology is exploding at a very rapid pace and I just feel so lost in all of it.  I don’t use social media mega giant Facebook and don’t feel the need or desire to.  And to be extremely honest with you, the Internet is growing too rapidly that I often sit in front of the computer and feel overwhelmed by it all.  I enjoy the “task” of writing a good old-fashioned letter and putting a stamp on it and mailing it (stickers on the envelope are fun to add too!).  At least I feel that I’m doing my part to help the United States Postal Service stay open-lol!!  I think that old fashioned writing of letters is a lost art and quickly becoming forgotten.  And, I saw too much fraud when I was a bank employee so I still enjoy writing out a check and paying my bills by mail!

I love the process of making and creating by hand versus buying something which was mass produced or made by someone else.  Knitting, crocheting, cooking and baking are things which I enjoy immensely.  I recently purchased a vintage cook book through Amazon titled ‘Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book’, copywrite 1950.  I bought a used one because I wanted an original from the time period with character.  And I got it!!  (I read some posts from others who purchased a new reprint of the book and recipes are missing)!

 

Cookbook

Cookbook3

Cookbook2

 

I love making the old family recipes which I have and cooking from vintage cook books.  It certainly transports me back to a better place and time.  I decided to make the recipe for White Bread (yeast) from this cook book and I used the yeast which I have which is Rapid Rise.  Using that replaces the first rise in a bread recipe and shortens the time to get it ready for the 30-minute baking.  I used that yeast because it is what I have in my fridge and I’m all about using up what I got (see previous post).  It turned out to be the BEST loaf of white yeast bread which I’ve ever made and it was PERFECT!  Instead of using milk, as I’ve done in the past with previous recipes, I used water.  It was a tasty bread loaf; better then the ones you buy at the local bakery.  Many bakeries and family-owned restaurants tend to use their cherished old family recipes and those foods are the BEST!  I keep looking at all the new recipe books from my library and the same recipes just keep revolving around with a few differences (just compare several books of the same type of cuisine and you’ll see each author’s ‘spin’ on classic recipes).  I think the older recipes are best.  They keep things simple and use items which are stocked year-round in my home but the taste is fantastic.  When the Greatest Generation was growing up and living life in their early years, the best thing they enjoyed was putting a great meal on the table for their families and friends and everyone who visited was considered family.  They didn’t go out to eat at restaurants or order take-away food to eat at home.  Why would they?  Their recipes are the best ever!

There’s no way known, yet, to turn back time and most people wouldn’t want that anyway.  But, I can still daydream of a life that is simpler and of what I lived as a child.  I grew up, and still live, in the country.  My family was farming crops and animals with big gardens.  My mother and paternal grandmother canned lots of food each summer to help us endure those harsh winters which we once had and my family hunted to put meat in the freezer as well.  I had a good childhood in many ways; but, at the time, I didn’t think it was.  I do now.  I was fortunate compared to many others.  I’d get on my bicycle and ride to town (up a very steep hill) and visit with my best friend.  We’d spend the day together and sometimes ride all over town, or to the local library where her mother worked.  I’d return before dark and no one worried (too much!).  No cell phones, computers or electronic toys.  We’d go outside and play all day and it truly was fun!  We’d write snail-mail letters to each other and call and talk on the rotary wall phone for hours (with no call waiting).  Boy!  I sure miss all of that!  I certainly would embrace the simple life; however, others around me wouldn’t.  They are evolving, along with the rest of the world, using all electronics and social media, which has gripped the world quickly.

I think that as humans age and look to their final years on Earth, they become more nostalgic and wish for their youth.  It appears to just be a part of the cycle of life.

And, as a final thought, I will say that I really love Miranda Lambert’s song ‘Automatic.’  Here’s a link to the video on YouTube.  Listen closely to the lyrics; I think you’ll feel what I feel.  Let me know….

 

Spring Mandala

My newest hobby is crochet.

I love creating things which are unique and made especially the way I like them.

This Mandala is no exception to that rule.  I want to frame this and hang it on a wall along side of my photography.

You may tweak this pattern to make you happy, as I have.  Choose any hook, yarn and colors to suit your style or make your heart happy!

(I think it would look great made in the ‘Cool Breeze Ombre’ color of Sugar ‘n Cream and hung in a kitchen; don’t you?!

🙂

Spring Mandala

Spring Mandala

Abbreviations for crochet:

ss-slip stitch

sc-single crochet

dc-double crochet

tr-treble crochet

ch-chain

st-stitch

sp-space

I used the following to create mine:

“H” crochet hook

1 2oz. skein Lily Sugar ‘n Cream “Country Side Ombre” (with some leftover to use for another project!)

Ch 5, sl to join into a ring (make more ch if you want a bigger hole in the center)

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc throughout), 11 dc into the ring, ss to the top of beginning ch3 (12 dc)

Round 2: Ch 3, dc in the st at the base of the ch, 2 dc in each st around, ss to the top of the beginning ch 3 (24 dc)

Round 3: Ch 3, dc in the st at the base of the ch, ch 1, 2 dc in the same st, ch 2, skip the next st, *2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc in the same st, ch 2, skip the next stitch,* continue * all the way around, ss to the top of beginning ch 3 (12 sets of 4 dc, 12 ch 2 sp)

Round 4: Ch 3 (first dc), *ch 10, dc in the next sp between the 4 dc groups,* continue * all the way around, ss to the first dc.

Round 5: Ch 4 (counts as first tr), 5 tr in the same ch-10 space, ch 1, *6 tr in the next ch-10 sp, ch 1,* continue * all the way around, ss to the top of the beginning ch 4 (12 6-tr groups, 12 ch 1 sp)

Round 6: Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, sc in ch 1 sp, *3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, sc in ch 1 sp,* continue all the way around, ss to the top of the beginning ch 3 space (12 sets of 6 dc)

Fasten off and enjoy.

You could use as a doily or hang somewhere to brighten your wall.

My Personal Card Challenge

I absolutely love paper crafts!  Ever since my friend introduced me to the world of scrapbooking, several years ago, I have gone ‘nuts’ on card making as well!  Currently, I have so many ‘scraps’ lying around from several years’ worth of card making.  I have made several hundred cards for friends, family and OperationWriteHome.org.  If you enjoy card making, and a FANTASTIC cause, check out their website!

So, I’m challenging myself to use all of the scraps lying on my craft table, before I begin cutting into beautiful unused 12×12 sheets of cardstock and scrapbooking paper.  Believe me when I say that is a difficult thing for me to avoid!  I have so much paper and supplies in my craft room and on my table (including items I’ve kept to ‘upcycle’) that it can be overwhelming most days to sit down and even create a card.

But, this morning I have done just that!

I love looking through the clearance items/bins at Michael’s for anything unique and cheap!  Cheap doesn’t always mean that you will pick up bad or ugly items.  I picked up this cute stamp in the clearance bin last evening, and I absolutely love it!!  It is titled “Scenic Villa” and I immediately thought of Italy!  So, I wanted to create a card with this stamp and the colors of the Mediterranean.

What do you think?

scenic.villa

have we sacrificed our privacy?

double u

double u

double u

dot.

~

dot

com.

~

a recent comment from a guest to my blog on my post titled, “please allow me to photograph you” has made me think about something which we all should be concerned about.

especially if you are reading this right now.

you are certainly on the world wide web.

privacy has become something of great concern since the internet has taken the world by storm within the last 15-20 years.

facebook is a good example for me.

most everyone (excluding myself) can be found on facebook.  everyone and every organization seems to be there and looking for you to visit and ‘like’ them.

first of all, i treasure my privacy and only share photographs on this blog which don’t reveal too much about myself and/or my family.  anonymity can be wonderful (even on the web).  i am free to be myself and display my craft of photography to the world.  for others to view and enjoy, because i doubt everyone will fit into my abode to look at my photo albums~ 🙂

the next reason i stay away from a facebook account is because i just don’t have the time, nor do i want to spend all day, playing a game called farmville and/or seeing who is going to the bathroom at any given moment!  🙂  I grew up on a farm, raised animals and had to stand outside in the cold and freeze my ass off to help.  i don’t want to ‘pretend’ to ‘work’ any ‘farm’ on the internet and then pay for it too!   just doesn’t make sense.

and it seems like addiction to the internet, including addiction to facebook, can ruin relationships, marriages and families.  what ever happened in connecting with your family and friends around the kitchen table on a saturday evening and playing a board game?  i do enjoy game night.

does it really matter how many of your friends have ‘friended’ you (or whatevery you call it) on facebook?  what about an old-fashioned phone call or visiting in person?

when we were kids, we got together with friends and rode our bicycles all around town, to the library and local bakery and had fun in doing it.  also, we didn’t have a cell phone and our parents didn’t worry (too much) if we didn’t return for several hours or if it was dark outside when we did get home.  (boy, i sure miss those days!)

i realize that anything we post on the internet can be and will be viewed by many people.

but we all can have some fun and still keep our privacy; right?

(and in keeping with the theme of my blog, here are a few recent photos)~

please allow me to photograph you!!

as a photographer who loves to capture moments in time which pass in a blink of the eye, there is one thing i absolutely hate.  it’s when people run away from me and my camera or say ‘don’t take my picture.’

how many times have you heard that?

children love the camera, it seems.  they are so anxious to have their photo taken.

and we are eager to capture them.

adults….

well…..

they’re another story.

i will admit that there are times when i can relate to that feeling of not wanting my photo captured.  but, rather, just stand behind that lens and capture the moments in front of me.

i love photography (much better than videography) and the fact that each image has frozen a moment in time which has passed.  and can never return.

the ones which i love the most are the images of my loved-ones.

i can say with 100% certainty that my mother never ran away from anyone’s camera.

for that, i am ever grateful.

she always ran to be in-front of the lens and gave her famous pose and smile.

i am so very grateful for each and every image that i have captured of her.  and the ones of us together are even more special.

i believe that candid photography is extraordinary in its own way.  and thanks to the invention of digital cameras and the lower investment costs in a good quality camera, we all can capture the special moments in our lives.

we all have bad hair days or feel that we must put on make-up for all of the images to look “just right.”

but, just enjoy the moment and smile.  those people who want to capture your moments, really do love you.  and they enjoy those moments with you.  allow them to jump-in to the image with you and just be yourself.

death is a certainty for us all.  when we have passed, each of the images that someone has possession of which shows you with your goofy pose, bed-head hair or perfect smile, will continue to keep them smiling.  and the memories associated with each image taken will last a lifetime.

please don’t run from my camera lens anymore.

i just want to capture your special moments.

for forever!

zombie apocalypse

with all of this talk and media attention on the upcoming

‘zombie apocalypse,’

i just have to join in.

you see, last evening we had no electricity for several hours.   this spanned a very wide radius (over 20 miles around) and noone has an answer.

there were sirens alarmed but we don’t know why.

it occurred to me, as we were sitting outside enjoying the evening (more light outside then in our home), that this was going to make great headlines as the apocalypse.

i even texted a friend, we joked about it and i said that she could come to our home to make ‘The (final) Stand’ (Mr. King gets the credit here, please).  We had built a fire to keep warm, as it grew darker, and i joked that we were using the fire to ‘lure-in’ the zombies.

Eventually, the electricity was restored.

it was fun for a little while.

i said that we would have to pack up to make the move and would have to purchase two more ‘pet taxis;’ however, he said that we’ll make our ‘Stand’ right here in our little corner of what’s left in this world.

to imagine how we were going to survive, led me to think of all of Hollywood’s interpretations of the apocalypse.  and i realized that we (human-kind) really don’t know what we’re going to do because we really don’t know what will happen.  our imaginations are great, but they don’t fathom what is truly unknown to us all.

WordPress.com Reader & Topics

i don’t believe that i am alone when i say this,

I TOTALLY HATE THE NEW WAY TO READ TOPICS/NEW POSTS BY OTHERS!

my posts do not seem to show up in the reader, or i must search for several days to find them, and others are missing the opportunity to visit my site.

(i miss the previous version of posts and i always saw mine posted each time i searched!)

is this happening to you?

if you enjoy reading my posts, i encourage you to follow my blog, so that you don’t miss the opportunity of reading my newly added posts (and photography)!

A New Year

it is a new year.  a chance to begin so many things that have been set aside.  an opportunity for so much.

i am hoping to be able to keep this blog updated more frequently; to preserve so many things which have been waiting for me; to find something better in my life.

i also seek to rid myself of so much that is not needed.

i seek to thoroughly live my new motto, “less is more.”

christmas with mixed emotions

…well, that time of the year has arrived….

my christmas vacation.  i’m very excited to have several days off from work and the ability to spend my time as i wish (including sleeping late in the mornings).  it is also a sad time for me as well. 

one of my parents passed away earlier this year and this is the first christmas without.  i am happy for release from pain and infirmities; but sad for the separation by distance.  it’s exactly that which makes the passing of a loved one difficult.  i know though that one day we will see each other again; and it will be good.

spending christmas with Jesus is a good thing and we will be together one day in each other’s presence.  for now, i take peace and comfort from knowing that the pain on earth has ended.

Merry Christmas to you in God’s Heaven!  WE LOVE & MISS YOU!!!

daydreaming

i guess i could say that my most favorite past time is daydreaming.

it even keeps me awake at night.

i love to daydream about a different life; as a different person surrounded by different people in different scenarios.

it keeps me sane (though that may be hard to believe).

i want to take some of that daydreaming and bring it into print.  by writing the fictional story that is occurring in my head.

will anyone follow that?  better yet-will i be able to take my daydreaming and put into words?

there is so much…

so much detail and so many characters…

i’d like to try……..

New Views (part 4)

now i have finally come to my final personal valuable lesson…

…cherish those around you….

…it’s as simple as that…

times seems to go faster, as you age.  i didn’t believe that, as a youth, but am seeing it with my own eyes, now as an adult.  the days will pass quickly which only means that everyone important to you will age and those around you will pass from this life.

…cherish the moments with the special people in your life…….

….today could be your last day on earth…….

New Views (part 3)

…..make peace with the past

….several months ago i went off track on my new views in life….making peace with the past has become an important one for me.  although it seems like things from my past still haunt me i am determined to keep them in the past. 

such sage and important advice.  it will keep you more sane and make the days ahead brighter.  i’ve had my share of negative events in my past 35+ years of life on this earth.  the present for me does hold disappointments too.  noone will go through life with a golden spoon in their mouth and “perfect days.”  if you think your life is bad, just watch the news to see and hear of others’ unpleasantries.  i’ve decided to forgive ones for my past ‘bad’ days and events which occurred to me.  i have found that i have peace within myself regarding those individuals and have learned that my life may not have been perfect growing up as a youth; but others have had far worse and they are survivors too (as evidenced in all of the history books that i have been reading; especially of world war ii).  

your past does define your character and inner soul. it makes you who you are today. what you do today will shape your tomorrows.

merry christmas!

it has been so long since i’ve written…but wanted to spread a little wish for a merry christmas and a peaceful and healthy 2012 to all!

it has been a tumultuous 18 months for me.  i’ve experienced so many things and often wonder why?  my whole life has been full of disappointments and hurt.  i keep praying that things will get better and that i will get direction for my life.  when one thing happens, it just leads to a long chain of events; sometimes not the best.  we all have daily struggles to contend with and disappointment and hurt in our lives.  we can always name someone else who appears to have a better life and always know that there are others in worse conditions than ours.  we must be thankful for what we have; and i try to keep that perspective in my life.  i can only do what i can do; i’m only one person; and in the end, will receive a great reward!

peaceful wishes to all~