Of Beasties, Bells and Knitting


This has been a very busy, yet relaxing weekend spent at the Waterford Historical Society’s “Log Cabin Days”. I spent from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Saturday demonstrating knitting, and from 12:30-5 on Sunday.  This was a very interesting time with lots to see and do (and eat!). I met lots of lovely people and coerced several to ‘knit with me’ on a scarf that will be donated to the Society when completed, for them to raffle off in the Fall.  I got to visit, up close, 2 very cute and friendly Alpacas, which made my day. The owner/handler actually brought them around the area on leads for their ‘walk’ and came up into our pavilion. I was so amazed to see them so close that I totally forgot to take a photo (photo is them in their enclosure).  During the two day event several of our ladies from my knit group stopped by to knit and chat. We were fortunate to be located right next to a lovely lady ‘wool spinner’ named June who offered to give me some lessons on learning to spin wool.


(I declined…spinning wheels start at over $100 and the actual spinning takes time and dedication to produce uniform yarn). We were also well-fed, as the society president gave us all food vouchers for each day. We feasted on hot dogs, pop or water, coffee & donuts AND wonderful strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream! (My friends were teasing me that I chose to eat my dessert first!…I’m no dummy: “Life’s short-eat dessert first!”)

OK-I’ve mentioned the ‘beasties’ (alpacas) and knitting…all that’s left is “THE BELL”! To say that a small brass bell could easily drive a sane person crazy is putting it mildly.  Located right next to our pavilion was a lovely donated wooden train, made for children to play on. Located in the engine compartment was said bell, which all children (and some adults) could not stop themselves from ringing…over and over and over…ad infinitum.

IMG_0800the “offending bell”

There was a wonderful 80 piece band consisting of mostly senior citizens with some high schoolers in the mix who played long sets of a huge variety of music from Cole Porter, to “Stars and Stripes Forever” and a little modern music thrown in, as well. We had gorgeous weather, a great location (our pavilion was right next to the river so we got a nice breeze both days) and a very enjoyable experience.  All of my group said that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and will all be back to volunteer again next year…me included.

Hope you had a great weekend;




Published in: on June 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm  Comments (4)  
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185 and Going Strong!


Dan Smither, “Key of Hope” director, Durban, S. Africa and me, “grammiepammie”   6/24/09

Last night I was able to ‘connect’ with Dan, who’s home from S. Africa on a 10 day ‘fund raising’ trip, working on two “golf outings” in one week. He’s a very busy person!  Was able to deliver another 22 afghans for his ministry, bringing the total for S. Africa to 73. Grand total of all afghans, Ghana & S. Africa:  185. After more phone calls & emails, looks like the newspaper article will be published some time next week. The reporter was interested  in speaking to Dan to get his view on the connection between my afghan  ministry and his in S. Africa with the parentless children.  I will attempt to try to copy the article here on the blog, when it comes out.

When I look back on the past two years and actually think about the number of afghans delivered it totally amazes me. If it weren’t for the help of so many wonderful people, this ministry would never have lasted as long as it has. For all of you who have had a part in it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Trying my best…

frizzy hairEver have one of THOSE days?

to keep my head above water this week; it’s shaping up to be another ‘crazy week’…sigh.  Let’s see…where do I start? Yesterday afternoon found me chatting with a lovely young lady via phone (I’m guessing in her 20’s) who is a Intern for our local paper. It seems the article for “The Ghana Project” has been laid in her lap; my friend the reporter who originally wanted to write the article is now too busy with her own business, and the lady to whom the article NEXT passed…passed it on to this young lady. Perhaps NOW it will be written. Not trying to toot my own horn here, just hoping it might generate some local involvement. This evening is my Special Needs group (Friends Group) and my friend Dan Smither of “Key of Hope Ministries” in Durban, S. Africa will be dropping by (he’s home for a week). I’m taking my camera to get a photo of the two of us and one of the afghans. (Actually, he’s stopping by to pick up 22 afghans; I put together 19 and a friend from church donated three crocheted afghans her granddaughter did). I’ll post the photo soon.

Last night was also my Knit Night group; was trying to coordinate the members for our group’s involvement in a local event: “Waterford Historical Society’s ‘Log Cabin Days’ this coming Saturday and Sunday. The President of the society (and a member of my group) has asked our members to ‘Come knit/crochet!”; it seems this whole Log Cabin Days is a two day affair recreating events/happenings/and demonstrations of ‘things from days gone by’…like knitting, crochet, tatting, quilting, loom weaving, wood carving, etc. They will also have a three-day Civil War encampment on the grounds, so that ought to be interesting! There’s even alpacas, from a local farm (I can’t wait…really want to see them!). We are to come for however long we wish and just knit/crochet “in public”… sounds like fun to me! The President even arranged for us to be in the pavilion (not sweltering under a tent outside) so I’m anxious to be a part of it. I’m thinking I’ll go Saturday morning and maybe Sunday afternoon (it’s 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days). Since I love to just knit & chat, what could be more fun? OH! I can also bring along the Ghana Project information to have  ‘out on the table’, so that’s another good thing! I also have a baby shower Saturday at noon but I’m thinking I’m going to purchase a present and deliver it to their house Friday, thus freeing up my Saturday. Like I said, it’s turning into another crazy week.

Last night found me feeding extra teens (spaghetti & garlic bread leftovers) as middle son decided to ‘make an event’ of the premier of the new “Transformers” movie, thus I had extra teens hanging out at our house before the midnight showing. Yep, it’s been crazy around here.

Hope your week is shaping up as you had planned; our weather is supposed to be a ‘scorcher’ today ( in the 90’s!), even received a weather bulletin email about Severe Heat Levels today. I’m planning on staying inside (and catching up on laundry, paperwork, and Friends Group newsletter business) and keeping cool…at least until I have to leave for Friends Group around 6 p.m.

Stay cool!



Another Crazy Weekend

It’s been one of those crazy/busy kind of weekends and now I’m slowly trying to return to normal.  Saturday was spent trying to track down a unique device from a good 15 years ago: a Big Bubble wand (and book). Sunday (yesterday) was a huge third birthday party for my grandson at my son’s house and he had requested me to try to find ‘that big/huge bubble maker from my childhood.” Now, I’m no dummy… my swift fingers immediately hit the ‘net’, doing a search for ‘big bubble wand’ and I found that very thing at Borders bookstore! To give you some idea of what I’m talking about:


This is the ‘kit’; you get a bubble ‘wand’ and a book that gives you all the info you need to make HUGE bubbles (see photo) using liquid dishsoap, water and glycerine. The entire title for this kit is (just in case you’re interested):  “How to Make Monstrous, Huge, Unbelievably Big Bubbles” by Klutz company. It sells for something like $16.99. We attended the birthday party but left before they started making bubbles; I heard from middle son that they were a big hit. I remember making them with the oldest son a good 15 years ago and they can make car-sized bubbles. It was amusing to create one and watch it drift on the air; we live on a main highway – we’d make a bubble and watch the cars going by as they spotted the bubble…very funny! Depending on the humidity, a bubble would last a few minutes or longer (if too humid, they’d pop almost instantly.)  If you’re interested, you can buy glycerine in a cake decorating store (you only need a few Tablespoonfuls and a medium sized bottle runs around $4.00.)

Today was spent ‘catching up’ again, with runs to the Post Office, office supply store, yarn store, gas station, hardware store, grocery store and finally, to treat myself, to Tim Horton’s for an iced cappochino! Yum! Our temperature today is hovering in the low 80’s and the humidity is crazy-hot. We finally relented and turned on the air conditioning as the house humidity was up to 68% and inside house temp at 78. I’m slowly cooling off…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh (grin).

Sorry I haven’t done any entries in a few days, also had to track down a book for my husband for Father’s Day (thank heavens for the internet!). Last Sunday he mentioned a book he used to really like that he’d lent to a friend a good 12 years ago and it was never returned.  It was cute hearing him say: “I really wish I could have got that book back” and sitting there thinking: “Amazon.com here I come!” Yes, was able to locate the exact book and have it shipped…it arrived in TWO days! He was totally amazed. All you could hear him say was:” WHERE did you get this book???” Big grins all around…it was a total hit!

That’s my crazy weekend and day so far; sure hoping it slows down just a bit, soon (but know fully well that this week is booked pretty full, also). Oh well…I’d be complaining if all I did was sit home and knit, too!

Enjoy your day; have a little fun…you need a smile!



Stitchin’ in the Sun!


It’s a gorgeous Monday afternoon around here; 84 nice, sunny warm degrees, slight breeze…what’s a girl to do? Why, enjoy it while she can, of course! As you remember, I’m no “Sun Goddess”, so there’s SPF 30 on me, my trusty (goofy looking) sunhat on my head, a nice icy glass of tea to keep me from getting parched and I’m ‘good to go’! As nice as it was, I only lasted about 20 minutes…just too darned hot for me, but it’s a start!

Like my dear friend Momma, today was another ‘get things done’ day except it became get them done EARLY! Have 3 loads of wash done, folded & put away (another one in the dryer and 1 in the wash…that should just about finish my laudry chores for the day.) Got the dishes cleaned up, fridge cleaned out, house straightened up and made a big ole’ batch of Macaroni salad for dinner tonight.  Actually, the salad was a big help in me cleaning out the fridge; the salad has leftover sliced up ham, cucumbers, green peppers, celery, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes and leftover black olives from Saturday’s dinner of Nachos. I, personally, like to cut up small chunks of Cheddar cheese in it but the rest of my family has requested I not do that, as it’s not their favorite (I suppose I could just cut up chunks in MY bowl…now there’s a thought!). Along with this salad we’ll be having grilled chicken breasts on the George Formann; my kind of night-a cool salad and meat cooked on a grill which doesn’t heat up my kitchen-win/win situation here!

As I’m working on this post my youngest son is ‘rocking out’ to Guitar Hero 2; he’s an enthusiast of the more hard-core rock music and I’m not so we’re working out a solution to this (soon to be) problem. I let him have the livingroom tv and ‘rock’ to his heart’s content while I’m on my computer or outside…away from the NOISE! When I can’t stand any more of the ‘music?’, we sort of trade spots in the house. Our house is small and today begins the countdown to end of school for the summer (2 more half-days to go), so a solution needs to be achieved BEFORE Mom totally loses it. I think this will work….for now.

Hope you have a great day…remember to not OVER-DO whatever you’re up to today.



Doing a little “Happy Dance”

CARDINAL WOODPECKER red winged blackbird

Hello, everyone!

Today is Saturday and it’s a bit gloomy outside but I’m still happy inside! Just received an email from a new ‘squares contributor’ and she will be my very first “outside of the USA” contributor; she’s from near Sydney, Australia! Pretty exciting, eh?  A few days ago I got word that my friend, Dan, who’s the missionary to Durban, S. Africa and the head of “Key of Hope” ministries will be home for a few days at the end of June. I just emailed to see if he can use about 18 more afghans and I’m anxiously awaiting his answer. It seems the shipment of containers to foreign countries is FAR different from shipping here in the States. He shipped out, in JANUARY , a large container from Michigan holding, among other things-our 51 afghans. To my knowledge, that container is due to arrive in Durban some time THIS MONTH! That’s almost SIX MONTHS-hard to believe, eh? It definitely makes me very grateful that shipping here in the States doesn’t take THAT long!

We have three more half-days of school left for my youngest son (Mon-Weds) then he’ll be home for the summer. He’s thrilled and I’m wondering what that’s going to be like; we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m hoping to make more trips to the beach this year. I’ve said that now for the past two years and just don’t seem to be able to fulfill that promise to myself…maybe this year?  We have a lovely beach about 20 minutes drive from our house; it’s part of our state’s Parks and Recreation program. They maintain the beach nicely, there’s picnic tables, bathrooms and showers, grills and lots of nice open grassy areas for picnics, throwing a football, playing volleyball on the beach, etc. The cost is very minimal: $6.00 for the day or $24 for the season! That’s $6 per CAR…very reasonable; no, I don’t know why I don’t go more often. I’m thinking it’s probably because I’m a redhead and BURN very quickly. I’m that goofy person you see occasionally at the beach who wears a big sun hat, white shirt and even a long skirt…all to keep the sun OFF of me while trying to enjoy the day. Yep, it’s SPF 100+ (if they made it that high) sun screen (for me, it should be named SPF 1000, Sun Quanset hut screen! small joke….sorry). The sun and I are NOT friends and that’s probably why I avoid going to the beach. Don’t get me wrong, I love floating on the water or wading up & down the beach while little minnows nibble at my toes…it’s just the fact that the sun and I are NOT friends! (I think I made my point on that one…time to move on…)

At our bird feeder these days are a number of interesting bird varieties: sparrows (naturally), bluejays, cardinals (male & female), grackles, cowbirds, and lately we’ve started getting Red Winged Blackbirds! I didn’t know that they ate seed…you see (or hear) them near lakes & marshes but we’ve had the males, females and ‘teenagers’ lately. I love to hear their ‘morning song’…it always makes me think of lakes. (Here in Michigan-Water Wonderland, you’re always near water of some sort.) The only problem with our feeder is that, lately, we’ve had a very persistent squirrel who’s decided that he loves our seed & feeder to the extent that he WILL NOT go away when (a) yelled at (b) very loud noises projected his way (a very loud clipboard snapped) or (c) things thrown at him (my boys have taken to trying to get him off by throwing markers/pens at him…….he’s ‘dug in’ and decided that’s HIS feeder! The other day I decided I’d had it! I went out there with a broom. To my amazement he just sat there and stared at me (almost daring me) so I ‘hit a home run’ and belted him off the feeder with my broom! Can you picture that one? I certainly didn’t expect he’d stay there when I began my ‘swing’!  HOME RUN! Broom connected with squirrel, sending him flying into the bushes!  Ten minutes later I looked out and there he was, chomping on my seed again-very frustrating!  Several times in the past few days we’ve taken “broom to squirrel”…he still comes back and we still keep ‘hitting home runs’ with him. Not sure, yet, who’s going to win this one! I’ve taken to only putting out small amounts of seed at a time and then just scattering it on the ground, not in the feeder. That way, the birds get it (and our little resident chipmunk…love those little guys!) and not that crazy squirrel. It brought to mind the reason why I didn’t fill the feeder all last summer & winter…and it might just be that same nasty squirrel returned…every time I would fill the feeder, the squirrels would clean it out in less than one day. I’m NOT my ‘squirrel’s keeper’ so to speak, so I just plain quit filling it; sad but true. I LOVE looking at all the various birds and occasionally seeing one I’ve never seen before; then I run to the bird books to try to figure out what kind that new bird is. We even have a very healthy looking Red Headed Flicker (in the Woodpecker family) who comes around to search out bugs in the yard. OH! AND…a few months ago we started seeing a male & female rabbit ‘family’ who would come out into the yard in the early morning and just before dusk. Yesterday I saw one of their ‘offspring’…a small ‘baby/toddler’ bunny hopping through the grass, ever mindful of any sounds around it. Very cute to watch!

Not much else going on around here; watched the last (Game 7) of the Hockey Stanley Cup Finals with our hometeam, the Detroit Red Wings. I’m not a sports fan, per se, but LOVE watching the finals if the Red Wings are in it. (or the Detroit Pistons if they’re going for a playoff). It was a sad game; it seemed to me that they just didn’t have the ‘drive’ that they usually have when playing for the Stanley Cup. My oldest son went to downtown Detroit to be in the atmosphere  and excitement of the game; I’m sure he was very disappointed at the final score. Oh well…as in life, ya win some-ya lose some.

Hope you’re having a great day (hope the sun’s shining for you!);



Getting Things Done


Today is Saturday and, it seems, it’s been designated: “Getting Things Done” Day! Early this morning my husband informed me that we were taking his car in to the shop to have the brakes checked out. Since he had the original work done at this place several years ago, they called to say: “No Charge!” (what a blessing!). Because it’s still rather early in the day (10:45 a.m.) I asked if they were busy (they said No), so we just switched our cars at the same place.  My car has (what I think sounds like) a squeak in the right front wheel well. It sort of sounds like a trapped bird (in ‘women’s car talk’). My husband said he thinks it sounds like a bearing is going and, if let run it’s course, could cause the whole wheel to suddenly break off (great…what fun), so I’m just glad it’s now in the shop getting looked at. With the extra blessing of no cost for my husband’s car, it’s looking much better in our pockets going the extra expense of getting my car looked at.

Among the other ‘getting things done’ items on the list today is my baking more goodies for my Sunday School class tomorrow. I like coming up with recipes for great coffee cakes, so with that in mind I found myself suddenly seized with a great desire for this one recipe I made months & months ago. I call it: “German Chocolate Coffee Cake”, although I’m not really sure what the original title was. It has a nice, moist flavor and is very easy to make:

“German Chocolate Coffee Cake”

1 (18 oz.) box German Chocolate Cake mix

1 (15 oz.) can Coconut-Pecan Frosting

4 eggs

1/2 C. vegetable oil

1 C. water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, mix thoroughly. Grease and flour a tube pan (or Bundt pan); pour batter into pan and bake 55-60 minutes. Let baked cake rest for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. You can dust top with powdered sugar, if desired.


Since our Sunday School class has about 40+ people, I usually make 2 coffee cakes. For my second cake, I chose another moist, flavorful, easy-t0-make cake:

“Apple Dump Cake”

1 (18 oz.) box spice cake mix

42 oz. canned apple pie filling (2 cans-check ounces)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 T. sugar

3/4 C. butter

1 C. chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour apple pie filling into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and sugar; sprinkle spice mixture over pie filling in pan. Pour cake mix, dry, over apples. Dot with butter and scatter nuts on top. Bake 45-60 minutes until browned on top and bubbling on sides.


Am currently working on afghan #178 (about 1/2 done); lately I find myself doing some knitting/experimenting with the various yarn colors I have here. My ‘yarn stash’ is rather vast, thanks to many wonderful people who have donated to the Ghana Project works. I keep the various yarns in large solid colored tubs and occasionally forget what great colors are hiding there. The other day I decided it was time to go check the tubs; that’s always fun as I seem to rediscover great yarns I’d forgotten. Anyway, I’m rambling on here; since I’m rather ‘house bound’ due to the lack of my car’s availability at the moment, I see more squares knitting in the immediate future of this day and that’s not a bad thing.

Still have a bit of laundry left to get to; other than that I’ve pretty much done all the things I’d put on my ‘to do’ list yesterday. That’s always a good feeling when you get things done you’d hoped to.

Hope you have a great day (it’s sunny, in the low 70’s…perfect weather!) here. Go out and enjoy your day!




Addendum: Turns out my squeak sound was my brakes rubbing! End of the day, got brakes done on 2 cars, my exhaust fixed (was starting to get rather loud) AND got my oil changed…all for the price of what it would usually cost to get ONE car fixed! I was very happy! Also, had input on the Apple Dump Cake from my friend, Jay of “Jay’s Jammin'”, who said that it was very good and very rich; happy he liked it!

Crazy Quilts, Calligraphy and Afghans


I don’t know about you, but my days sometimes, seem to be more of a crazyquilt rather than a nice, smooth bedsheet (how’s that for an analogy?) I hadn’t really planned a lot for the day before middle son and I got into a discussion about his college class: Beginning Japanese. He dumped out his schoolbooks and with them came a small pile of flashcards he’s started to make. Upon further discussion I learned that he was really struggling at making these look like the Japanese alphabet characters, so…(in typical “Mom” fashion) I volunteered to make them for him. Actually, I had a great time doing it as it brought back lessons in learning Calligraphy from many, many years ago. Putting marker to page and ‘drawing’ the Japanese characters was a challenge I was definitely up for; as you can see in the photo-they’re all done.

Next came the thought that I’d actually planned on setting up more squares to be sewn into afghans. (thought in my head: “Hey! That might make a good blog post!”) so…here goes:

STEP ONE: Get together boxes & bags of squares, in dining room:

100_1652As you can see, there are several boxes & a few bags of squares, sorted by color hues. (Yes, I’m definitely a “Type A” personality…have to have everything ‘just so’ before I begin working)

STEP 2: Arrange squares in some semblance of order: Variagated, then solid, then variagated, etc. This might look easy, but the actual ‘trick’ of it is: Once you get the color stages going, you will usually run out of corresponding colors in the same range and have to find something else to change the color hues. (Does that make any sense to you?) What usually happens is: I have a ton more solid colored squares than variagated, hence color choices become a bit more tricky to match. (And, YES…I’ll agree…I’m REALLY picky about them going together/matching! More “Type A” quirky stuff….)




From this point, the squares are put (in their sequence) into a small plastic bag and then I knit the ‘pocket’ to hold the Beanie Baby (in the above afghan, it would be the solid white square in the second row, middle), then sew the ‘pocket’ onto the square, put in back in it’s order and commence with sewing the squares together. It takes 30 squares to make one afghan and today I put together 4 afghans=120 squares before calling it ‘quits’ for today. Later I’ll knit the 4 ‘pockets’ and sew them onto the squares but for right now just sitting to write this blog is a bit of a rest for me. I’m currently awaiting a phone call from youngest son to go pick him up from viewing a track meet at his school, then it’s home to start dinner. Think we’ll have spaghetti & garlic bread simply because it’s an easy dinner and is usually well-received (my husband loves it).

That’s my crazy day so far; hope you’ve had a good one. It started out here cold and rainy but now it’s sunny and around 73 degrees, so I’m not complaining; the flowers can use both the rain AND the sun.

Hope you had a great June 1st!