Crafty Gifts

Charlie and I had success at the craft show.

Hand-dyed wool in front of weavings.

It actually was a very private show in a private farmhouse up a remote half-mile-long driveway .

Pottery, knit hat, felted pillow, sheepskin, basket of wool, handmade cutting board (L to R).

There was quite a variety of items with a heavy emphasis on sheep-related articles: sheepskins, skeins of dyed wool, felted pillows, knitted items, etc.

We bought a variety of Pysanky eggs for some favorite relatives.

We felt one of the deals of show was a dish of decorated Pysanky eggs of which we purchased 4.  Pysanky eggs are decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist method.  These have chains so they can be used as ornaments.

A unique collection of iron hooks.

The shepherd whose farm housed the craft show is also a blacksmith. We had a nice choice of wrought-iron hooks one of which we purchased to replace the mermaid hook in our conservatory bathroom. We bought a few more things but I can’t put them on the blog yet.

Do you have a favorite craft?


I Shop at Trader Joe’s

Years ago we started shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Honey, vinegar, and olive oil – we get them all from TJ’s.

At first we only bought olive oil.

Raw vegetables and hummus — all from TJ’s.

Now we do most of our grocery shopping there.

Nine-inch tapers come in white or ivory.

Recently I found 8 candles for $3.

Kisses for everyone.

This time of year TJ’s has all sorts of great gifts.  One of my favorite to give is a box of Baci, kisses in Italian.

A great bargain at $5.

I always get my boss’ wife a couple loaves of panettone.  One of our cooks at work asked me how to serve panettone which I thought was strange because she is Italian.  Apparently in Italy they pour milk or cream over a wedge.  I suggested cutting the loaf in slices, toasting it and serving it with butter. It was a hit!

I especially love white roses.

Recently I have purchased 20 roses for $10.  Enough to spread around.

Do you have a convenient Trader Joe’s? What’s your favorite TJ product?

Let’s Plant the Fall Color

I bought some ochre mums a few weeks ago to brighten up the porch.

These flowers from 2014 are forever gone.
These flowers from 2014 are forever gone.

I did the same thing last year with every intention of planting them once they started to fade.

The purple asters and golden mums can be planted in the yard and should come back year after year.
The purple asters and golden mums from last year should have been planted in the yard.

That didn’t happen but this year I’ve asked Charlie to plant 5 mums in a clump at the right side of the potager.

Hoping Charlie will plant five tawny mums in a clump so they’ll return next year.

Charlie doesn’t think much of plants that can’t be eaten but a little persuasion encouraged him to transplant these fall-blooming plants.

I’d like mums in this area near the potager.

Can’t wait to see what we get next year.

What perennials come back for you every year?

Adopting Polar Bears

I’ve decided to enhance my Christmas theme by adding more polar bears.  Last year my research led me to report that a group of polar bears is called a celebration.  This year I find that an aurora is the preferred moniker.

I am inspired by the white-painted branches stuck into the Christmas tree.

I am inspired by the tree in the picture above so I did a quick Google search and found stuffed polar bear at (Ali Express sells in small quantities what Alibaba sells in bulk units. I had been wanting to give this service a try.)

The little bears traveled together all the way from China.

They came packaged in one bag and were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

I celebrated the arrival of the bears.

It takes longer to get the items than buying from something based in the US but the price was reasonable enough that I could buy 10.  The cost was $3.28 each times 10 plus $1.46 shipping so $34.26 for 10 adorable 7.8-inch polar bears.

An aurora of polar bears.

While we’re waiting to decorate for Christmas our bear Casper is keeping an eye on the little ones. I might have to make little scarves for them.

Do you ever get sidetracked by a strange subject?

Recycling in Our County

Our county in Maryland has a recycling program.

My new under-counter bin.

Recently the county sent out an informational postcard  saying we could take a short quiz online and then get a coupon for an indoor under-counter recycling bin.

The blue recycling can is a gift from the county and stays with the house when the owner moves.

We have been recycling in our house for quite a long time.

Good reasons why we should recycle our debris.

However I think everyone at work is confused about how and what to recycle.

This recycling container at the county office of recycling gives a good look at what can be included.

We can mix recyclables in the same container but certain items are forbidden.  I’m going to have to print the list and post it at work as well as explain the process to my fellow employees.

Do you recycle?

Visiting Tips for the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a National Monument and as such is part of the National Park Service.

The Crown is open to visitors.

The ultimate attraction is visiting the Crown and looking out over New York Harbor.

Crown ticket has the name of the holder on it.

First, each household/credit card is only allowed to purchase no more than 4 tickets every six months.  And tickets are sold out months in advance so if you have a specific time you’d like to visit make reservations early. (We bought ours in the middle of July when the first available date was the end of October.) I suggest that August in the Crown of Liberty might be extremely hot.

The sign pointing to the ticket booth at Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Driving in from South of the Statue we caught the ferry from Liberty State Park in New Jersey which is much less crowded than catching it from the Battery in New York City. Don’t mix up parking at the Science Center with parking at Liberty Park. It’s NOT the same.

New York City skyline is in clear view.

After parking it’s a good walk to pick up Crown tickets at “will call”.  Each person whose name is on the receipt must be present with a photo ID. Each person will be given a ticket and a wristband which is cut from the wrist at the beginning of the assent into the body of the Statue of Liberty.

Lots of walking on bricks and cobbles.

Another walk down a cobblestone path leads to the first security screening before catching the ferry.  Much like airport security pockets must be emptied, jackets removed, belts removed, and steel-toed boots put through an x-ray scanner. Save time by carrying on your person only your tickets, money, ID, credit card, cell phone/camera.  Purses and backpacks are a real hindrance especially later.

The bow of the ferry heading toward the Statue.

The ferry carries over 500 people but is boarded quickly and often.  First stop is Ellis Island which we did not visit but does come as part of the cost of the ticket which actually pays for the ferry ride as there is no admission cost to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty.

Entrance to security station o Liberty Island.

Upon arrival at Liberty Island walk toward the American flag then turn right for the entrance to the Statue. There is another security screening here. Same procedure as before. The process is quick.  However all purses, bags, strollers, backpacks, etc. MUST be stashed in a locker. There was a slow line to get to the lockers which are $2 for 2 hours.  We bypassed this holdup because we had no extra baggage.

Spiral staircase

We took an elevator to the to the top of the pedestal (the foot of the statue). From there we walked 162 very tight steps to the crown. On the way up there are small platforms which allow stepping off the stairs momentarily to catch a breath and inspect the inside of the Statue’s structure.  In the Crown area we three (and two Park Rangers) took photos of the scenery and were assisted with photos by the rangers who also answered questions and generally gave us interesting information.

The original torch is displayed inside the pedestal.

Coming down the steps was uneventful but still a walk in a very restricted space.  After that we zoomed through the museum which is in the pedestal and only available to people with pedestal or crown tickets.

This shot would make a good postcard.

We ate at the café and bought a few postcards at the gift shop.  The postcard selection was not very good but we had brought stamps with us and wanted to post them from the island.

A view from the ferry.

Then we boarded the ferry for our return trip to the car. If you have any questions about our trip I’m happy to answer them.

Have you visited any National Monuments recently?

Windows on Craigslist

I’ve been selling the old windows from the house and cottage on Craigslist.

We have a pile of windows.

I have a whole pile of them which I sell for $5 for as many as the buyer wants, not $5 each.

6-pane, 28″ by 32″ salvaged windows

The last lot that went was to a young lady who makes wedding gifts for her friends.

The “wedding window” (Names have been altered for privacy.)

With a Cricut vinyl cutting machine and an old window she enumerates the wedding party and other details then gives the window to the bride and groom.

Can you think of other ways to use this idea?