Thursday, January 28, 2021

All it takes is a dusting. . . .

. . . . . also the robins

. . . . . the Eastern bluebirds

. . . . . the Northern cardinals

. . . . . the Northern flickers

. . . . . the Pine warbler

. . . . .the House finches

. . . . .the Eastern towhee

. . . . .the Brown-headed cowbird

. . . . .the Pine siskin

. . . . . the Dark-eyed junco


The junco - known fondly as 'the snow bird' - arrived along with a snow
 fall during the night.  Looking out the window at 3:30 am it was
beautiful. Huge flakes of fluffy snow were illuminated under the street
lights, bare branches were outlined in white in the moonlight, and a white
 carpet had been rolled across the lawn.
 At 6:30 am I was out of bed and waiting for dawn with a steaming mug
 of coffee and a camera at the ready.  Knowing it was just a very light 
snow fall and would probably be gone quickly when the sun came up,
it might well have been the only time this winter season that I would have
a chance to photograph our garden birds in snow.
So I was ready - hope you enjoy seeing just some of the garden birds
when they visited, and sure enough the snow was almost gone by noon.

So, here's the buzz!

I've put my knitting bag aside for a while and decided to try
something I've not done in many years, counted cross stitch.
We've been watching far too many TV series these
pandemic winter evenings and a couple were foreign with subtitles. 
No good when you're knitting though. . . . . . . eyes off the screen and
losing the plot becomes easy!

When I saw this cute bee on a honeycomb pin cushion in a magazine 
I wanted to give it a try.  I had plenty of embroidery floss, a small hoop,
needles etc. but did have to purchase some 11 count Aida cross stitch
I enlarged the magazine photo to a size where I could see the 
stitches more clearly.
I admit that my eyesight is not what it was - distance no real problem
but close up work requires reading glasses. . . . . .and for this project,
 the purchase of a magnifier which really helps once one gets used
 to having it hanging around the neck.
Of course I can't work on this either if watching TV so doing a
 bit in the afternoons.

I'm following this photo, copied and enlarged, from a magazine.

Jasmin - October 25, 2020 - 24th Birthday

 Last year when at the fabric store with my granddaughter Jasmin, 
we found these beautiful machine embroidered panels.
She loved both the bee and the dragonfly so I returned next day alone, 
purchased them and arranged to have them made up into pillows for 
Jasmin's sofa. Was she ever surprised when a month later she opened
her birthday gifts!

I realize that this is a simplified version of the bee. . . . . . a starter
 for me, however after looking up 'cross stitched bees' online I've found
 so many beautiful stitchery patterns, and kits, much more advanced
 and detailed - such as the one below - which I may try later.

I've a long way to go yet but hopefully will share the finished bee later.

Do you cross stitch or embroider?
How about knit? 
I know some of you are fabulous with knitting needles and crochet hooks!

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Face of the Pandemic -

Lotions, potions,
bottles, jars, sprays, 
tubes, pots, packets.
Most women, and some men, collect dozens of these containers.
'Beauty' is packaged to lure us in and, in this modern age, has
 become an enormous business worldwide.

But how is the beauty business faring now?
Many of us no longer use a lot of makeup products, do we?
Personally my daily makeup regimen has almost ceased to exist, even
 on days when I have to leave the house because I'll be wearing a mask.
Makeup items are drying up, going stale, are out of date, and many are
 being chucked into the trash can. . . . .did you hear that clatter as I threw
 out another aging pan of eyeshadow and a nasty mascara wand?

I do still take care of my skin though with facial basics.
I've always enjoyed Origins products and still use a few such as these.
The Original Skin rose clay mask for my pores, the cooling gel No Puffery
 under eye roller early morning, and Super Spot Remover for the occasional
 pimple which rears its ugly head. . . . . after wearing those nasty masks
 for hours at a time!

My makeup mirror is not getting much use I must admit, and looking 
in the large bathroom mirror I now see a very different person than was
 there this time last year! 
The main change is of course my hair.  
The straight red bob with a fringe is history.
Growing in the silver is almost complete and my style is now a
 pixie - natural, wavy, short baseline with longer top and side bang.
No blow drying, straightening, or a ton of hair products required.
Just a shampoo, conditioner, a little mousse and I'm ready to go.
I actually am enjoying short hair again.
Where I will go I don't know, but I will be ready I assure you!

My other favorite products are made by Neutrogena, a company I've always
 found to be the best when it comes to affordable drugstore personal care items, 
especially skincare. My morning cleanse usually does consist of a bit more 
than that splash of water mentioned before!
After cleansing I love this product, Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum.  It goes
 on so smoothly and makes me feel ready to tackle the day even when
 bare faced!

Refreshing at any time, a light spritz of Verveine by L'Occitane of Provence.
The sheet mask Travel is my favorite from Korean company Peach Slices, 
pleasant to use on tired skin whether traveling or having to stay at home. 
Red lipstick or any color opaque lipstick, not a good idea under masks. 
Clear lip treatment products are better. . . . . .these Elizabeth Arden 8-hour
 work well adding a little color and softening when lips are fighting
 winter dryness. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . however my new favorite from Japan, is
Tatcha's The Kissu Lip Mask in its sweet pink glass pot with a tiny
 golden spatula to apply it ~ like non-sticky silken honey on your lips.
Lip treatment like no other, and believe me I have tried them all.

Are you wearing less makeup now?
Do you have any skincare tips to share, or favorite products to tell us about?
Are you anxiously awaiting those 'putting on your makeup' days which 
hopefully will return later this year?

Here's to another Monday morning and another safe, healthy week for all.

P.S.  Bob and I did receive our first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots 
yesterday with no uncomfortable reactions so far thankfully. 
Of course things will remain the same in regard to following the
 known safety procedures, including masks, as we realize we're
 not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday morning musings. . . .

It's the weekend and there's lots to fill my time.

We go for our first COVID-19 shots early tomorrow morning - drive-thru
in a hospital parking lot.  
We'll meet up with Razzy for a short walk - she's older now and doesn't
 enjoy going too far.
I'm taking a knitting break for awhile and have started on a new creative
venture with needle and thread - will share more later.

Grand-dog - sweet Razzy 
We're going 'walkies' tomorrow

Four beautiful blooms at last

My weekend flowers

Delicious veggies, Brussels sprouts, shallots, sweet potatoes - roasted
 yesterday for weekend recipes

Fresh eggs from Linda at the Saturday Farmers' Market 
(Anthropologie tea towel Christmas gift)

. . . . . . . and last but not least, the potting shed has a nightly visitor!
We discovered we've been feeding a little chubby mouse - a camera
 set up has filmed it coming around 10 pm to gobble our birdseed!
Later today we plan to pull out everything stored in there to look for
 an entry hole - as much as we love nature's creatures we don't want
 to encourage what could become a family into our shed! 

Enjoy your weekend - stay healthy, be safe.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Did you know. . . . . . . .?


 . . . . . . .my father roller skated with Agatha Christie!

That's not him in this photo with Agatha in the center. He would have
 been only 10 years old at that time, however he told me that he skated on
 the same Torquay pier at the harbour as a boy and recalled seeing her and
her friends having a great time.

Agatha on the right above.

Agatha center - Rock Walk background

Princess Pier - my photo taken from the condo above the harbour where we
 stayed at Christmas 2016

The pier is still there and although I've never roller skated on it I have
sauntered along it more times than I can count. At one time there was
a theatre/dance hall at the end but it was destroyed in a fire in April 1974
and sadly never re-built. Ferry boats operate from the end of the pier and
 cross Tor Bay to the busy fishing town of Brixham.
The seaside piers of Britain are an indisputably iconic fixture of life in many
 of the coastal cities and towns, whether for function or fun.

Currently many huge cruise ships, including Cunard's Queen Victoria (one 
of my favorites as we've sailed on her twice) are sheltering in Tor Bay and 
along the English Channel coast while inoperable due to COVID-19.

This past Sunday PBS aired an interesting TV documentary about
 the late Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie with several views
 of Torquay, my own home town, where she was born and spent her
early life. . . . .as did I much later.

Granddaughter Jasmin 'meeting' Agatha Christie 
Torquay, June 2015

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady MallowanDBE (née Miller
15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer known for her sixty-six
 detective novels and fourteen short story collections, particularly those revolving
 around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. She also wrote the world's
 longest-running play, The Mousetrap, which was performed in the West End from
 1952 to 2020, as well as six novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. In 1971, 
she was made a Dame (DBE) for her contributions to literature. Guinness World Records 
lists Christie as the best-selling fiction writer of all time, her novels having sold
 more than two billion copies. 

Via Wikipedia

A recently published book titled 'The Mystery of Mrs. Christie' 

by Marie Benedict has tweaked my interest. . . . . . 

Described as 'Historical fiction, British literature, meta-mysteries, the real-life

1926 disappearance of novelist Agatha Christie, interesting questions, 

reckless conjecture.'

If anyone has read this book I would love to know what you thought of it.

Can you tell I'm homesick?