Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today I'm Just Thankful

Last week I was so busy that I didn't realize until Friday that I completely missed doing a Thankful Thursday post.  I settled in my comfy recliner with my laptop ready to share the thankfulness.  I turned on the TV, which I rarely do during the day, and all thoughts of writing a blog post quickly diminished.

The tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT that day still weighs heavy on my heart.  So much so that sharing anything else just seems so trivial.  So I've been silent.  Reflecting on my life and how I live it.  Wondering what I can do to make a difference in this crazy world.  One thing I know for sure is that I am thankful.

I'm thankful for
     *  my faith in God and the comfort I receive from Him
     *  the way people come together to help each other in the aftermath of a tragedy or disaster
     *  love, in all it's forms
     *  every single person in my life
     *  the loving arms of my husband who makes me feel safe
Today, I'm just thankful.

xo Annette xo  

Friday, December 7, 2012

In The Sewing Room

I've been in the sewing room, but I can't show you yet what I've made.  This is just some of the fabric I used to make gifts and I'm really happy with how everything is turning out.  I will definitely show you after Christmas what this fabric turned in to!

Are you making or have you made any gifts this Christmas?

Happy Friday!

xo Annette xo

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Dear Friends,
Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

I'm thankful for this time of year for many, many reasons.  I could give you a reason every day of the month and still not give you all of them.  Right now I'm particularly thankful for the twinkling lights everywhere.  One of my favorite things to do is drive around at night to see all the houses lit up.  It just makes me happy and I'm able to forget whatever is weighing on my mind for a little while.  I come home feeling like all is right with the world.

I'm also thankful for
     *  sisters
     *  an afternoon of shopping with Erin
     *  bursts of energy to get things done
     *  the dishwasher
What are you thankful for today?

xo Annette xo

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I came down the stairs and saw the reflection of the Christmas tree not only in the clock window but also in the pendulum.
Happy Wednesday!

xo Annette xo

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Find Out If Your Photos Are Being Used By Someone Else

Hi Friends!
Did you know there is a simple way to find out if any of the pictures on your blog have been used and published by someone else?   It's really easy to do.  Once I realized some of the photos from my blog posts had been downloaded, I decided to see if anyone had used them on the internet.

I was so surprised at what I found when I started searching for some of my photographs.  I've know for quite some time that this particular post about the dining room curtains I made is my most viewed post.  So I shouldn't have been so surprised to find that the photos are the most used.

I did the search and found that these pictures were used in a variety of ways but only one person provided a link back to the blog post.  One person actually said she made the curtains herself.  There wasn't a way to contact her so I left a comment stating that the photos were mine, taken by me and left a link to my blog post.  The last I looked it was still there.  There were also several sites with pictures of curtains that included mine, but no way to leave a comment or contact anyone.  And the most disturbing thing I found was when I clicked on my picture on one of these sites, it took me to a porn site.  I was so angry and just devastated that one of my pictures was used this way.

Here is how you can search for your photos.
1.  Go to Google and in the upper left corner, click on images.
2.  In that box where you type your search words, click on the camera icon.
3.  You can either paste your image URL or upload an image from your files.

It's just that easy!  I hope no one is using your photos in a disgusting way or taking credit for them.

On a whole other subject, my friend Kathy at Kluless is doing a book giveaway with related items every weekend during the month of December.  You can find the first giveaway here.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

xo Annette xo

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Dear Friends,
Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

Today is my Daddy's 77th birthday.  I was thankful to spend time with him and my mom this past August when we visited them on our way home from Colorado.  I'm thankful for the things he taught me, like the value of hard work and being honest.  I'm thankful he was always there for me.  Like the time I worked at the mall and was getting threatening phone calls from someone who was watching me.  Security couldn't do anything so Daddy came with Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson and waited with me until the shop closed, and then drove me home so I wouldn't have to drive alone.   I'm thankful I still have him.  He might be a little more forgetful, a little more bent, a little crankier, and a little more cynical, but he's still my Daddy and that will never change.  Happy Birthday Daddy!

I'm also thankful for
     *  the arrival of a new great nephew (the day before his great grandpa's birthday)
     *  the excitement of the Christmas season
     *  the internet
     *  Michael's job  
What are you thankful for today?

xo Annette xo


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Weighty Things

Hi Friends,
This is a difficult subject for me to write about but one I feel most compelled to share.  I had even started a second blog two years ago to focus on my my struggles with weight, but it turns out I wasn't able to successfully maintain two blogs and keep them separate.  My daily life revolves around food, my weight, and diabetes. 

I was overweight as a child but was never teased or felt left out because of it.  I don't think I really even realized I had a problem until my mother told me I needed to lose weight.  From that point on I've always been on a diet and have had body image issues.  I've lost count of the number of times I've joined Weight Watchers and lost significant amounts of weight only to gain it all back and then some.   Now here I am at my heaviest.  I need to lose 120 pounds.

When it comes to my size and how I look, I'm miserable in every way.  Physically I'm tired all the time.  I don't have the energy and stamina I should still have at my age and every joint hurts.  Mentally it's pretty much on my mind all day and when I go to bed at night.  Emotionally I beat myself up, feel guilty all the time, and feel pretty hopeless about losing the weight.

I know there are those who believe people like me just need to exercise self control.  I wish it was that easy, but it's quite complicated.  First, I'm on insulin for type 2 diabetes.  Insulin causes weight gain which requires more insulin which causes more weight gain.  It's a vicious cycle.  Second, I've learned to use food to cope with loneliness, and depression, and disappointment. Food keeps me company and has become my best friend.  I know that's hard to understand if you've never had food issues.  Third, food addiction.  Sweets are my drug of choice.  I'm not making excuses, but trying to explain how I got here and why it's not as easy as some people might think to just "lose the weight".

The good news is I'm ready to tackle the problem.  It's not going to be an easy journey, nor will it be quick or pretty.  It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done.  I'm not waiting until after Christmas to start.  I think by starting now I will have more self control during this "food season".

I know most women struggle with their weight.  Do you?  How do you deal with it?  I'd really like to know.

xo Annette xo

Friday, November 23, 2012

Small Business Saturday

Hi Friends!
I've never been one to brave the lines and crowds on Black Friday.  As crazy as it has become in recent years, I'd rather not risk life and limb just to get a few extra dollars off a purchase.  I know some people plan the day out in advance and know just where they are going and at what time they will be there.  Not me!

Instead, I will rest up today and plan my shopping for Saturday.  I have a list of small local businesses I will visit and hopefully find some gifts for giving or something I can't live without.  I will also be shopping on Etsy in support of handmade.    If you have time, why not support a small business this Saturday.  It will make someone's day!

Are you a Black Friday shopper?

xo Annette xo

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday~Thanksgiving Edition

Hi Friends,
As you know, every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  I have been doing this for over a year and I'm amazed how much there is to be thankful for when you choose to focus on the positive instead of the negative. We don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to be thankful for what we have.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for

     *   my family and the time I can spend with them.  Sean is not with us this year, and I miss him terribly, but I'm thankful that he is happy and not regretting the decision to move so far away.

     *   all that I have.  I have everything I need and then some.

     *   the soldiers in our family who are all home  this Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful for the men and women  in the military, who are away from their own families this holiday, who fight for our freedoms.

      *   the little things.  A cup of tea in the afternoon, sunglasses when I'm driving, the smell of pumpkin pies baking, Shylee's giggles, Annie dog's kisses, lunch with Michael.  The list could go on and on.

     *  all who read my little blog.  You each bless me in ways you don't even know.

I wish each and every one of you a very blessed and memorable Thanksgiving!

xo Annette xo

Friday, November 16, 2012

On The Way To The Bus Stop

Hi Friends,
One of the things I had to do while I had Grandma duty was walk to the bus stop with Shylee.  It wasn't that far but there were lots of fall things to see along the way.

I hope you have a fabulous Friday!

xo Annette xo

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Dear Friends,
Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

After writing this post, I've tried to be more positive about where we live.  Today I'm thankful for the beautiful water views that are so abundant in this county we live in.  Surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, and Potomac River, not to mention so many other rivers and waterways throughout the county, there is water everywhere you look, and I never get tired of seeing the beauty.  

I'm also thankful for 
     *  my own bed to sleep in after 4 nights in a hotel
     *  finding what I'm looking for at the first store
     *  a chai tea latte on a cold night
What are you thankful for today?

xo Annette xo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grandma Duty

How could I resist when Erin called me and asked if I could come spend a couple of days because she needed a babysitter?  Well, I couldn't, so I packed my bags and headed to northern Maryland over the weekend.   I was supposed to go home today, but it turns out I'm needed tomorrow too!

I always look forward to seeing Shylee and this time was no exception.  She is a sweetheart most of the time.  I have to tell you, she has been a real challenge this visit.  Temper tantrums, back talking, telling me 'no' when I tell her to do something, arguing, and all around unpleasant to be around.  I have been relieved to leave her and retreat to my hotel room each evening!  That's the advantage of being the Grandma!

I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!

xo Annette xo

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Dear Friends,
Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

I am so thankful that this election is over!  No more political ads, phone calls, emails, and heated Facebook debates.  For now anyway!  However, I am thankful for our freedom to vote and have a voice in our country's elections.

I'm also thankful for
     *  rain instead of snow
     *  no more physical therapy
     *  really great test results from the Dr.
     *  Shylee's 3 night stay with us

     What are you thankful for today?

Have a happy Thursday!

xo Annette xo

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for beautiful blue skies today.  The gray, wet, windy skies of the last few days are gone and that's fine with me!  As I see pictures of the devastation of Sandy, I'm more and more thankful that we came through the storm as well as we did.  We have a home, we have power, we have food and water.  There is much to be grateful for.

I'm also thankful for
     *  first responders
     *  distractions
     *  friends and family who pray
     *  phone conversations with Shylee

What are you thankful for today?

Keep smiling!
xo Annette xo

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

6 Things I Learned From Blogtoberfest 2012~Day 31

Hi Friends,
Another year of Blogtoberfest comes to a close.  I'm doing a happy dance over here!  I'm glad it's over, but I learned a few things along the way.

1.  I need to set more short term goals.  There is immense satisfaction from committing to and finishing a specific task.  It's a real boost for your self confidence, especially if it's challenging.
2.  I don't want to blog every day.  I enjoy blogging but find it very stressful to come up with a post  I have to admire those who do it
3.  I need to make files for the thousands of photos I have.  It was difficult and sometimes impossible to find photos taken in the past that I wanted to use in a post.  Now there's a challenging goal!  The problem is I don't know how.  The photos are on the computer by date taken.  
4.  Don't wait til the last minute.  Some posts need more time and thought than others.  Waiting until late at night to write the next day's post is not the time to try to think clearly.
5.  Never say never.  Every year after Blogtoberfest, I've said I'll never do it again.  This is the fourth year in a row I've participated.  The thing is, it comes every year when I need motivation to blog more regularly.
6.  I have the best blog readers.  I already knew this but I just had to say it again.  Thank you to those of you who read each and every post and commented every day.  You make it worthwhile!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
xo Annette xo

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Day After Sandy~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 30

Hurricane Sandy came and went.  We never did lose power but we did lose internet and cable for a time, and there is water standing in the yard.  There was no damage to our home or property and I read there was not as much damage in the county as was expected.  My heart and prayers go out to those who are experiencing extensive damage, flooding, power outages, and even loss of life.  I'm grateful it wasn't worse for us but it's hard to be happy about it when people are suffering because of the same storm.  Please remember them and help if you can.

One more day of Blogtoberfest!  Yay!

xo Annette xo

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting For The Storm~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 29

Hi Friends,
It's been hard to focus on anything with a hurricane coming.  I can't seem to put two thoughts together and write a blog post.  I did however make some pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies.  My kind of comfort food for when the power goes out!  Not so good for my diet, but necessary for my sanity!

My camera battery was dead so I had to find an old picture to use.  I couldn't find the one of pumpkin bread.  You'll just have to imagine that one for now!

To all my friends in the path of Sandy, stay safe.  And to those dealing with a blizzard because of Sandy, you stay safe too.  

Praying for all!

xo Annette xo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Heart Macro~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 28

A Beautiful bouquet of flowers provides endless macro opportunities!

I hope you're having a fabulous weekend!
We've battened down the hatches and we're hunkered down for Sandy's arrival.
If I don't get to finish out Blogtoberfest, it's because the power went out.

I'm joining Studio Waterstone for I Heart Macro.

xo Annette xo

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frustration~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 27

Hi Friends,
Remember this fabric and pattern for Shylee's jacket?  I was excited to get started on it and got all the pieces cut out and sat down at the sewing machine to begin sewing when I discovered a missing piece.  I went back through the unused pattern pieces and realized that it just wasn't there.  In all the many many years I've been sewing, that's never happened before.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  When it comes to making garments, I absolutely positively need a pattern.  I don't know how to wing it this time.

Maybe I'll just make the hat!

Keep smiling!

xo Annette xo

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Donuts~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 26

Hi Friends,
My friend, Meeling, from The Hairy Peach, posted a picture of pumpkin donuts on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.  She had made them and they looked soooo good.  I was really happy when she posted the recipe on her blog a few days later.

I made them last weekend and they were even better than they looked!  Here is Meeling's recipe.  I made a couple of changes.  I didn't have ginger so I used ground ginger.  I also added ground cloves.

(Yields 12 donuts) 

  A scant 2 cups of all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder - not leveled off
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Freshly grated nutmeg - about 1 teaspoon
Freshly grated ginger - about 1/2 teaspoon
Pinch of Allspice
(just a note that you could probably substitute Pumpkin Pie Spice for all the spices if wanted)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar - not packed
1 egg
  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  Approx 1 cup canned pumpkin 
(I doubled my recipe and used a full 15 oz can)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350º F
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices and set aside. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; 
whisk oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk/cream until combined. 
Add the dry ingredients gradually and stir slowly until combined. 
  Scrape batter in to a pastry bag or a 1 gallon zip bag with a corner cut off.
Fill each doughnut cup about 3/4 full with the batter.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until donuts spring back when gently pressed. 
Turn donuts on to a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes. 
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
(optional - but I mean really, why wouldn't you)

1/2 stick of unsalted butter melted
1/3 cup sugar
Cinnamon to taste - Approx 1 Tablespoon
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. 
While doughnuts are still warm, brush with melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Have a great weekend and if you're on the east coast, BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!!!!

xo Annette xo

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 25

Dear Friends,
Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

I'm thankful for my blog friends.  Your understanding, encouragement, and support mean so much to me.  If it wasn't for this blogging community, I probably would have given up blogging long ago.  Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments this week.  You're the best!!

I'm also thankful for
     *  good music
     *  inspiration from unexpected sources
     *  outside lights that work
     *  people who can write good tutorials
What are you thankful for today?

xo Annette xo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Decision That Started It All~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 23

Point Lookout, St. Mary's County, Maryland

Back in 2004, Michael started a new job with a new company.  In fact, he was the first person the company hired.  Six months later they offered him a new position that required us moving 125 miles south of where we were.  They sent us for a long weekend to see if it was a location we would be interested in, and if it was, they would move us down there for a six month trial to see if we would like it and if having an office there would work for the company.

For many reasons, I knew about half way through the trial period that I didn't want to live there permanently.   Michael on the other hand loved this new location and wanted to stay.  So we did.  I was not happy.  Here it is eight years later and I'm still not happy.  I would move back to where we were in a heartbeat.

The first two years we lived in an apartment 40 minutes from town.  I couldn't wait to move closer to civilization.  I was lonely stuck out in the boonies.  I did a lot of going back and forth to the old place to see the kids and visit friends.  I missed them all so much.

We bought a house and moved to town and within a few months I decided to go to work.  The new neighbors weren't very neighborly and I figured a job would get me out of the house and I would meet people and finally make some friends.  I got a job at a gift shop that rented spaces to artists and crafters to sell their creations.  I loved that job.  It lasted two years.  I had to quit due to health issues.  I had a great working relationship with my coworkers but it never progressed to more than that.

It's been over three years since I left the gift shop.  I'm still lonely and health issues still abound.  It was the decision to stay here that changed my life as I knew it.  I would be lying if I said I didn't resent Michael from time to time for making that decision knowing how I felt.  I certainly didn't expect these years of my life to be  full of lonliness, depression, pain, and depending on food to keep me company.  I guess the good news is that I'm ready to tackle these issues and get back to a life that is happy, productive, and fulfilling.  If I don't do something now, I'm afraid I'll give up.

xo Annette xo

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Adventure Called Blogging~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 22

Dear Friends,
When I started this blog over three years ago, it was to promote the things I was making for my Etsy shop.  The shop wasn't opened yet, but the plan was to get my name and items "out there".

I didn't think I would like blogging.  I'm not a writer or ever wanted to be one, and I was computer illiterate. I just knew that me and blogging wouldn't get along.  No one was more surprised than I was at how quickly I grew to love everything about blogging.

I'm still not a writer, but I've developed a desire to learn how to make my writing more interesting and compelling.  Blogging has ignited the spark I've always had to learn photography.  I've met some incredibly inspiring and talented people that I count among my friends.  I hope to meet them in person some day.  I've found some delicious recipes and learned how to make numerous crafty things.  I've laughed and cried and reflected on life's ups and downs in ways I never had before.  

My life has changed greatly the last few years.  I've briefly touched on some of these changes in past blog posts.  Now that I no longer have an Etsy shop to promote, I'm going to focus more on these changes and the journey to getting where I want to be.  I will do my best to keep this blog on the positive side but I want to be real and honest even if it means each and every blog post isn't all sunshine and unicorns.  After all, life is sometimes dark and crappy.

Some of the topics I'll blog about include depression, loneliness  weight loss, diabetes, how I got to where I am and how I plan to move forward from here.  My hope is that this little blog of mine will be a way for me to vent, be honest with myself, share my ups and downs, and document the successes.  I also hope that by being honest, maybe others will find inspiration and encouragement along the way.

I will still share my sewing projects, grandma experiences, and all the usual stuff.  I don't want you to think I'm going to go all doom and gloom on you.  I hope you will join me on this journey I'm starting off on.  It will mean a lot to me.

xo Annette xo

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Heart Macro~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 21

From a beautiful bouquet my husband surprised me with!

I'm joining Studio Waterstone for I Heart Macro.

I hope you have a lovely Sunday!

xo Annette xo

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Movie Preview~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 20

Hi Friends,
I first saw the trailer to this movie back in May or June when my son-in-law pulled it up on the computer for us to watch.  It was long for a trailer, but it sure had me hooked.  Michael listened to the audio book during our road trip and told me all about it without giving away too much.  I was even more convinced that I wanted to see the movie.   Here is the extended trailer for Cloud Atlas.

It comes out next Friday, the 26th.  We probably won't see it that weekend, but definitely as soon as we can!
What was the last movie you went to see?

Have a great weekend!

xo Annette xo

Friday, October 19, 2012

Out The Car Window~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 19

Hi Friends,
During our road trip to Denver and back in August, there were many times the traffic came to a standstill.  Every single state we drove through had construction somewhere.  Usually I would pull out the camera and take pictures.   The zoom lens was great for this.  Here are some of them.

I hope you have a fantastic Friday!

xo Annette xo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 18

Dear Friends,
Every Thursday I share what I'm thankful for.  Sometimes it's a serious or big thing, and sometimes it's a goofy or small thing.  I believe that no matter what is going on in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Always. 

This past weekend we took a quick trip to northern Maryland so Michael could work at his home office on Monday.  That meant I was able to see Erin and Shylee which I'm always thankful for when it happens.  But what I'm most thankful for was having all day Monday with Erin.   Since she started back to school (which I'm also thankful for) I haven't been able to spend much time with her.   And it's rare that Shylee isn't with us when we're together.  It was just me and Erin all day.  We shopped, we laughed, we cried, we ate, we talked, and just enjoyed being together.   I'll always be thankful for that.

I'm also thankful for
     *  unconditional love
     *  hot tea on chilly mornings
     *  beautiful flowers from Michael
     *  second chances
     *  understanding and encouragement from my blog friends

What are you thankful for today?

Happy Thursday!

xo Annette xo

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Too Tired To Think~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 16

It's late.
Or early, depending on how you look at it. 
It's 1:18am
I'm tired.
We got home around 10 from our mini trip.
I can't think clearly.
There was only one photo ready to go.

This is my feeble attempt at a blog post so I don't miss a day!
Thank you for understanding.

xo Annette xo

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Is Getting Harder~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 15

Hi Friends,
Hope you had a great weekend wherever you were and whatever you did (or didn't do!).  Saturday was a lazy day for me and yesterday we made the two and a half hour trip to northern Maryland.  I get to visit with my two favorite girls, Erin and Shylee, while Michael works at the main office of his job.  In other words, his business trips bring me pleasure!

Well, this blogging every day is getting harder.  I'm having a tough time coming up with things to blog about.  Actually, that's not completely true.  I have a list of topics, but they require a lot of thought and are of a personal nature.  Things that have been on my heart for a long time, but aren't that easy to share.

Until then, I hope you don't mind more pictures.  These roses smell heavenly.

What did you do over the weekend?

Have a wonderful Monday!

xo Annette xo