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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Morning Has Broken~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 12

...and I am content to sleep right through it!  I am so not a morning person.  As a student, I waited until the last possible minute to get out of bed.  As a young woman with a job, I did the same thing.  There was never enough time to fully wake up before going to school or work.  As a new mom, I learned how to get up instantly when a baby cried, but I went through the days never fully awake.

I'm at a time in my life where I can sleep in as late as I want to.  The problem is that no matter what time I get up, I still am not fully awake until around noon.  It takes awhile for the morning fog to lift and I feel energized and ready to face the day.  

When I wake up, I lay in bed for awhile thinking about any dreams I had, making a mental list of what I need to do that day, flexing my ankle and bending my knee to work out any stiffness, and generally letting my mind wander.  Getting out of bed when I'm ready to prevents irritability.  When I have to get up before I'm ready, I can be quite grumpy.  It's a good thing Michael is much the same way and we're both content to not speak to each other right away.

Sometimes I wish I could wake up early and be all bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I've tried, I really have.  I'ts just not going to become the norm for me.  So don't call me or ring the door bell before 11am.  If I answer, you'll probably wish I hadn't!

Are you a morning person?

Hope you're having a fantastic Friday!

xo Annette xo


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 11

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 know it's a silly, frivolous thing, but I really am thankful for these pumpkin spice Hershey kisses!  They are soooo good and soooo addictive and satisfy the pumpkin craving I have this time every year!

I'm also thankful for:
     *  finally being able to turn off the air conditioning
     *  happy news
     *  the dvr
     *  details
     *  another day

What are you thankful for today?

Keep smiling and keep creating!

xo Annette xo

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 10

The trees have finally started turning and it's downright chilly these days!  Yay for fall!

Keep smiling and keep creating!

xo Annette xo

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Noticing The Details~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 9

Dear Friends,
A couple of weeks ago while I was talking on the phone with my daughter, my granddaughter, Shylee, kept interrupting.  You know, because the kids don't pay any attention to you until you're on the phone.  When  we finished the conversation, just as I was standing up, the phone rang again.  I thought Erin had forgot to tell me something, but when I answered, I heard, "Gramma, it's me Shylee".

I sat back down and settled in for some nonsensical conversation with a four year old, never dreaming I would be thinking about that conversation two weeks later.  She had walked to the living room window, and looking out proceeded to tell me what she saw.  In a matter of a few seconds I realized she was really seeing what was there.  She didn't just see leaves.  She saw leaves on trees and on the ground.  There were green leaves, yellow leaves and brown leaves.  There was a little bird hopping on the sidewalk.  There was a big red car and a little white car.  A man was walking a dog on the other sidewalk. (The one across the street)  The dog was snow white and had a long tail.

view from my driveway and living room window

It became so obvious to me that I don't really see what is around me when I walk outside or when I'm just out and about.  I'm focused on doing what I have to do and not so much on the details of my surroundings.  Also, when I go from the door to my car, I'm trying really hard not to see if there are salamanders, frogs or snakes anywhere within eyesight!  When I get to where I'm going, I just want to do what I'm there for and get back home.

When did I stop seeing the world around me?  I've been working on being more mindful of those little things that get looked over.  I was walking out to my car the other day and heard a bird chirping.  I stopped and looked around to find it and noticed two squirrels chasing each other in the corner of the yard.  They made me smile and I wondered what Shylee would have had to say about them.

What do you see when you look out your living room window?

Have a great day!

xo Annette xo

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Mountains~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 8

Hi Friends,
This weekend went by way to fast.  And the weather was summer one day at 85 degrees with lots of sunshine and humidity and the next day was 55 degrees, rainy and chilly.  Crazy!

I think I established that I love the mountains in this post.  Coming home from Denver, well actually from Arkansas, we came through Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  They are quite different from the Rockies but just as beautiful.  I loved looking out the car window and seeing the farms and the cows and the old trucks.

I would imagine it's quite beautiful here this time of year.  I would love to go back and find out for sure!

What did you do this weekend?

xo Annette xo

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Heart Macro~Blogtoberfest Day 7

I have no idea what these flowers are.  I know I liked the small compact size of the plant and most of all I loved the color!  Do you know what it is?

I'm joining Studio Waterstone for I Heart Macro.

Have a lovely Sunday!

xo Annette xo

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipes From Pinterest~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 6

Dear Friends,
Have you jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon yet?  I did well over a year ago and of all the things to pin, I like the recipes best.  I've collected cookbooks for years, yet I turn to Pinterest more often than not when I want to fix something new.   Here are some of the recipes I've tried that are keepers.

Snickerdoodle Cake Batter Blondies  I've also tried other recipes from this blog.

What new recipes have you tried lately?

Hope you're having a great weekend!

xo Annette xo

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Forgotten WIP~Blogtoberfest 2012 Day 5

Hi Friends,
Have you ever started a project and then completely forgot about it?  I was cleaning the sewing room and found this sachet top.

I had completely forgotten about it.  I started it just before my sister asked me to make her some sachets for gifts last December.  

I set it aside, and between getting buried under 'stuff' and my absence from the sewing room, it was forgotten.

It just brightened my day to find this work in progress.  The original plan was to make a lavender sachet but I think I will use it for a quilt idea that is floating around in my head.

Have you recently found anything you had forgot about?  

Have a fabulous Friday!

xo Annette xo