Thursday, 31 March 2016

A few of my Favourite things . . .


These are a few of my favourite things . . .


I love Cumbria and the Lake District.  Beatrix Potter country, the land of Wordsworth and inspiration for many of our poets and artists.  We have holidayed there three times, twice from down South and once from here.  I can still remember how it took my breath away the first time I saw the Lakes.  I had never seen anything like it before in my life.   We were in the car and went around a bend and then all of a sudden there was this most beautiful  panorama before us and I fell in love.  Not unlike millions of others who have done the same.  If Todd were to say to me today, lets go up to the lakes.  I would drop everything and just go  . . .  even if I do hate driving in the car and the motor way.  It would be worth it. It is a place I will never tire of visiting.

Potato Chips.  They are my largest weakness.   I cannot resist potato chips.  I dare not keep them in the house because if they are here I am stuffing them into my face.  It's not something we had very often when I was growing up.  I can remember going with my friend to the corner store on allowance day and buying a packet of them when I was about 11 years old.  They only had plain potato chips back then.  We would go into the cafe which was attached and order cokes and then sprinkle vinegar into our chip bags and sit and drink the cokes and eat exotic vinegar flavoured potato chips.  Not so exotic now when you can buy flavours such as Sweet Chili and Sour Cream, or Sticky Gammon . . .  pork sausage and mustard . . . yes, those are some of the flavours we can find here in the UK.  I do quite like the Sweet Chili ones.  Dangit.

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Doing Family History.  I love looking back at my roots and finding out things about my ancestors.  Seeing where I came from, imagining the lives they might have lived.  I think I had some very brave ancestors.   I think of them getting onto ships in an age when that was the only mode of travel to get across to North America, probably with only what they could carry . . .  and then travelling across the Atlantic to arrive in a hostile new world, filled with nothing but wilderness and wild natives.  Sailing virtually into the unknown.  This was a special breed of people and I am proud to have descended from them.   And then when they got there, having to clear land, build homes and build lives and livings from scratch.  These thoughts amaze me.  They truly do.  That's why I love doing family history.    I also love watching the television shows about it.  Who Do You Think You Are.  One of my favourite shows.  I think that inside each of us is a yearning to know who we really are and to discover our roots.


 The artwork of Holly Hobby.   Oh to be that good.    She was very popular when I was a teenager.  I remember saving my money up to buy my mother a wooden wall plaque of Holly Hobby.   It was of a young girl baking.  She has a table in front of her with an old stoneware bowl on it and she is using an egg beater and there is a clock in the background on the wall.  It hung in my mother's kitchen for years.  I have it now. She gave it back to me once when I was visiting.  I treasure it even though it is now faded and a bit yellowed with age.  I remember making Holly Hobby dolls for my ex husband's neices (first husband) shortly after we got married.  I wonder what ever happened to them . . .

I guess I have always loved making dolls.  Even then.

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Bluebirds and apple blossoms.  I have always loved bluebird art and bluebird pottery, and apple blossoms . . .  well, they just remind me of home.  May in Nova Scotia.   Apple Blossoms.  A little bit of heaven on earth.

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This is an old bluebird cream and sugar dish I picked up at a yard sale many moons ago.  Sadly the creamer got broken when we lived in Kent, which made me sad, but  . . . I got over it.  I still have the sugar dish part which lives in my craft room where she is safe.  Bluebirds and apple blossoms . . .

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I love setting a pretty table.   This was for Thanksgiving one year down in Kent.  My table always pretty much looks the same . . . I don't have the variety to change it up with the holidays . . .

Although I do attempt to do so  . . . .

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This was one of the aspects of my job at the big house I enjoyed  . . . setting the tables for the luncheons and dinner parties.  There were so many beautiful dinner sets, goblets, chargers, etc. to choose from, even cutlery.  I have never seen such abundance of beautiful things . . .

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Beautiful table clothes, napkins etc. . . .

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That part I enjoyed a great deal . . .  along with the cooking  . . .

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Not so much the other stuff that went along with it . . .

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But I did learn a lot and for that I am grateful.

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Baking days  . . .  and puttering in the kitchen.   As soon as we can afford it we are going to repaint the downstairs, including the kitchen.  It badly needs it.  Of course we will have to wait until after the Mission is finished as we won't have time until then to really do it.

 And of course each of you and your sweet comments.  They are also one of my favourite things.  ☺  You truly make my days and bless my life.  Thank you for that!

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"The flower that smells the sweetest 
is shy and lowly." ~William Shakespeare 

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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In The English Kitchen today a fairly healthy Broccoli Pasta Salad!

I wish for you a beautiful Thursday . . . wherever you go and whatever you get up to, may it be filled with a multitude of blessings and your favourite things. Don't forget!

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 And I do too!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wednesday ponderings . . .

Twice a year every year the Leaders and Women of our church (all girls from age 8 and upwards) get together for our own little mini conference.  This usually comes prior to the bi-annual General Conference which is for the whole of the church.  I love these special conferences.   I am always greatly inspired and uplifted by them.   In all truth you don't need to be a member of our church to watch them or read the talks or to be inspired by them.  There is food for the soul contained in them for everyone.

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It was in October of 2011 when I listened to a talk given to us by President Dieter F Uchtdorf, entitled Forget Me Not, that I was inspired to do this painting afterwards.  He is a favourite of mine.  (I know you aren't supposed to have favourites, but I do.  I can't help myself.)  I don't know why this talk resonated with me so much.  Maybe it is because I love forget me nots.   Maybe it was because when he said  . . .

"You are not forgotten. Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love."

 I felt like he was talking just to me.  It was like his words pierced my heart and I was that  little girl again who didn't think anyone loved me, or that I was important enough, or my problems important enough that a God in Heaven with much, much more to think about or care about  could stop and care about me . . .

I sat down right after and I painted this picture and Todd said to me  . . .  "You need to send a copy of that to President Uchtdorf."   At first I said no.  I felt that it would be very forward or presumptuous of me, and that my work was not good enough to send to a man as important as him.  But in the end Todd wore me down and so we made a print of it and then bought a special frame to put it in so that we could send it over to President Uchtdorf.

It was not too long after that that I was told that I might have Ovarian Cancer.  I forgot all about sending the picture to President Uchtdorf and the Conference.


That was a very scary time for me.   Ovarian Cancer is a killer.  I have never heard of anyone surviving it.  I can remember thinking that I was only 55 and I had so many things left to do, issues with my family which needed to be resolved . . .  and being afraid, really afraid that these things would never be resolved in time.   It was on my mind constantly.  I could not forget it.  It was just always there  . . .  always.  In my days and in my nights and in my thoughts.  Ever present.

At that time I was also reading a book by Gerald N Lund entitled Divine Signatures, the confirming hand of God.

This was such a great book! It made me think about all of the blessings in my own life and how intricately the hand of God had always beenworking  in my life. This book was full of real life examples of how the Lord makes himself known in the lives of those willing to follow Him. I appreciated that while many stories came from the pioneers, there was also an equal amount of examples from more recent years.  Stories about things which happen in people's lives where people might say . . .  what a coincidence  . . .  but really they are God-incidences. The stories and concepts  helped make me think about my own faith and hope.

And then one day. It was a Friday and I will never forget it.   I heard the mailman post the mail through our letter box and when I went into the front hall to look, there on the carpet lay two letters.  One was from the hospital and one was from the Office of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Well you just know which one I opened first.  It is not often, if ever  . .  . that anyone would get one of those.

It was a lovely letter to me,  personally written to me and me alone . . .   from President Uchtdorf, thanking me for the artwork which I had sent to him.  It was a nice letter as one would expect it to be, but what struck me most was the last paragraph.  Now President Uchtdorf does not know me or of my struggles, or the sacrifices I had made coming into the church, but my Heavenly Father does and the last few sentences of the letter went like this  . . . in fact I will scan it to show to you  . . .


Now that might look just like a few sentences to someone else and not like very much of importance . . .  but to me . . .  who was going through such a worriesome time at that point . . .  those few sentences gave me great hope, and not a hope that was just for that circumstance.  A sense of peace came over me that I had never before felt, and which has never left me since.   With those few sentences I felt all of the love that my Heavenly Father  had for "me" in a very personal way.  This WAS a Divine Signature.  And it was as if God Himself was speaking to me  . . .  telling me that He appreciated all of my sacrifices . . .  and my having stuck with the covenants I had made with Him, even through the rough patches . . . that "That" meant something to Him and was important to Him.  More importantly . . .  that "He" was mindful of the desires of my heart . . .  and that I mattered.

President Uchtdorf could not possibly have known what I had been through in my life, or what I was going through at that moment in time, but my Heavenly Father did and He had inspired President Uchtdorf to write me those words and for them to fall through my letter box at exactly the right moment.

I knew then that all would be okay, and if it wasn't exactly okay . . .  that I could get through it, whatever happened.

I lay in bed that night next to Todd, rereading this letter, with tears rolling down my cheeks and I said to Todd . . .  "An Apostle of the Lord has told me that Heavenly Father is mindful of the desires of my heart."  That meant everything to me, and you cannot know how many times since then that I have taken that letter out and re-read it, and how many times those very words have helped to lift me when I am perhaps feeling low, or like giving up, or unimportant.  When I despair that broken fences will never be mended, or broken hearts healed.  It is a promise to me that my Heavenly Father is mindful of the desires of my heart and that He is the mender of all things, healer of all hurts, and that He can work miracles in the hearts and lives of men, predicated upon their faith in Him to do so.

 One conference talk . . .  one simple act of faith  . . . a few inspired sentences in a letter of thanks.

This is what Conference is and can mean to anyone who has the faith and the will to be able to sit down and listen to, or even just read the talks . . .

I always, always get something special from them.  And maybe I don't always have letters from the First Presidency falling through my letter box, and maybe I am not always inspired to do a piece of artwork from them . . .  but I am always touched in a special way, and I always come away wanting to be and feeling like a better person.

I would invite each of you to listen to or watch the talks and presentations from the Bi-Annual Women's Conference which just took place on this past weekend, and to watch and listen to the talks which will be given this coming weekend which will be available on the same page beginning this Saturday at 10 am MST.  You don't have to listen to all of them, but I guarantee that even if you only listen to one of them, you will come away having been uplifted and inspired.


Isn't this a wonderful photograph?  It is a picture of my father's father and mother and their children (my father is missing as he had grown up and already moved away from home, as is his older brother Maurice who had died as a teen.)  The three small children are my cousins, children of my Aunt Fleurette who is standing at the back in the blue jacket.  My cousins are still alive and the others which are still alive are my Aunt Nadine (in the pink at the back)  my Aunt Arlette (little girl at the far right with the long hair) and the two boys at the front, my Uncle Patrice on the left and my Uncle John Paul on the right of my grandparents.   It is a real treasure this photograph.  My cousin posted it yesterday on Facebook and I just had to save it for myself.  I think it's pretty special.

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Chicken Rarebits with Melting Leeks.

Have a fabulous Wednesday.  Whatever you get up to don't forget . . .

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And I do too!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .


FOR TODAY, March 29, 2016

Outside my window ...
It's a bit lighter out than usual and I got up later than usual.  I hardly slept a wink last night.  Todd did not sleep at all.  These time changes really bother us and we both have horrible nights until we settle in to them.  Plus we went out for supper last night with our friends Audrey and Peter and did  not get home until 8 pm.  I find that if I am out in the evening at all these days, they make for a very bad nights sleep, if at all.  I hate that.  It doesn't make me want to go out at all in the evenings.  It is the same if we have people come here or I have to talk to anyone on the telephone.  For some reason if it happens in the evening it disturbs my whole nights sleep.

I am thinking ...
Why do I have to be this way?? An insomniac.   It has to be genetic.  My father has always had problems fallling asleep, yet my mother can sleep anywhere any how.  I could be sitting on the sofa falling asleep when we are trying to watch a program in the evening and as soon as I hit the bed I am wide awake.  It doesn't make sense and of course the more I worry or think about it, the worse it gets.

I am thankful for ...
We got the rain, but we didn't get the high winds that they got with this latest storm down South.  I am grateful for that!  Also grateful for General Conference which is coming up this weekend.  I love to hear our church leaders speak.  I always come away very much inspired.

In The Kitchen ...
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Hawaiian Pizza Pasta.  Pretty darned good if I don't say so myself!

On my "To Cook" list ...

 Cabbage Pie from Lea's Cooking.  We love cabbage and this looks and sounds delicious!  It's been on my To Cook list for a while.  Time to change that.

I am creating ...
(source Holly Hobbie)

I am working on a little book for my Grandchildren called "When I was Small."  It is going to be filled with short stories from when I was a child.  I was thinking, they don't really know me.  I don't get to spend time with them or tell them these stories about when I was their ages or the things I did way back in the olden days, so I thought I would do it in book form for them.  I will try to illustrate each story.  We will see how it gets on.  I am hoping it is a way to make them feel closer to me and to get to know me and my family.  It is a work in progress.


 This is my latest project.   A Hot Water Bottle Cover.  I found the pattern on Learn with Leanne.  It's super simple and I like it a lot.


Burlap Bows from Live, Laugh, Rowe.


Seed Packet Decoupage Flower Pots.  From Crafts by Amanda.  That woman is amazing.


Recycled Light Bulbs, coloured with nail polish.  For the garden.  From Green Garden Blog.  I can't find the link, but it sounds simple enough.

 I love this little Needle Book from Folksy.  No tutorial or anything.  Quite simply inspiration.

I am reading ...

 The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own . . . populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

Part fairy tale and part psychological study.

 I am looking forward to ...
General Conference.

I am learning ...
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Always a good thing.

Dreaming about ...


The next series of Poldark  . . .

Rocking chairs  . . .  would love to have one . . .


Painted wood floors . . .

Stained Glass window panels.  I have just the spot  . . .


Blue and White China . . .

A favourite quote for the day  ...

 `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸. •´¸.•~♥♥♥~•.~
           ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.
                      ( ¸.❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.*

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,
If one only remembers to turn on the light.

Makes me smile ...

Dogs always make me smile  . . .

One of my favourite things ...


Jane Austin  . . .  anything  . . . 


I like to watch the sun come up  . . . 

And that's my daybook for this week!

  ⋱ ⋮ ⋰
⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small *´¯`.¸¸.☆
  ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░░

Wherever you go and whatever you do, I hope there's a great day ahead of you! Don't forget! 

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And I do too!!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Small and Wonderful Things . . .


"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard 

 A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.

Todd and I were watching a program late yesterday afternoon based on the family trees of people whose ancestors were criminals which had been transported to Australia in the 1800's.  It was an age when poverty meant that people had to stoop to whatever means possible to survive in the slums of Great Britain.   Pick pockets,  prostitution,. thievery, ect.  It was all rife.  Poor meant that in most cases you had literally nothing but the rags upon your back.  It is amazing to me, these stories of poverty and although transportation seemed a cruel thing, it was probably a better thing than to stay living here in poverty.  It meant a new start after their penalty was paid and an opportunity for a better life.  These people were amazing and most ended up with far better lives than they would have done had they been left here in the UK.  Even as short as 100 years ago,  poverty meant there was no social programs net to save you.  No welfare.  No nothing.  Today . . .  we think we are living in poverty if we don't have the latest electronic device or fashions, etc.  We know nothing about poverty, real . .  true  . . .  poverty.   I am so grateful that we live in a day and age when although people certainly are not all created equal and there are many that do without . . .  doing without is not what it meant 100 years ago.  We are blessed.

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Personality plus.   This little guy always makes me smile . . .

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So does Lucy . . .  I love my furry family members.

Eileen and Tim.   Eileen recently got a Silver medal in the SO Nationals in Newfoundland.   I am always so proud of her, even if she gets no medals.  She's my girl.  Love her so much.  We had a brilliant skype visit yesterday.  They don't often have the chance to get online, but they were at Tim's parents and so I got to talk to her via Skype, face to face, voice to voice.   Modern technology used correctly is so awesome!  We had a lot of laughs.   And Mitzie got to impress her too.

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 I think the Easter Chocolate was making someone pretty noisy!  And somebody else couldn't take it!  He's plugging his ears.   Love these two so much.  Maryn and Cameron.  Look at those baby blue eyes  . . .  and that poser.  So sweet.  They're growing up so fast.

 The Easter Chipmunk.  Not here, outside my mum's house.  We don't have chipmunks in the UK.  My sister took this photo.  He is so cute.  This chipmunk has been there for a very long time.  It may not be the same chipmunk each year, we have really no way of telling  . . . .  but there has been a resident one for a very long time. 


My sister's partner builds birdhouses.   Some Nuthatches have taken up residence in one. So cute!  We had a nesting house, but nobody took up residence in ours.  The hedges are far too convenient and maybe safer.  I don't know.  This is a cute picture.  Spring is springing even there  . . .

If you don't smile after seeing this, there is no hope.   I love this. 


I got one and I hope you did too.  I love Lindt Gold Bunnies.  They're the best.


 But most importantly of all, maybe not the smallest thing . . .  but certainy the most wonderful thing.  It is the greatest gift of all.  I am eternally grateful.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

Sometimes when things are falling apart,
They may actually be falling into place.

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Baked Denver Omelette.

May your week ahead be filled with an abundance of small and wonderful things. Along the way don't forget . . .

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And I do too!