Easter Musings

In these uncertain times, it takes an emergency to really bring home who in your life is a true friend and who is an acquaintance.

In the past week we have gone through an emergency that brought home the knowledge of love and friendship. People on Facebook that are marked as friends have really come home to show their “true colours”. This has been an enlightening moment when even strangers to me have come to the forefront with offers of support, assistance and caring. A few people who I thought as friends because of my support in their tough times just vanished when I needed them most. It is obvious that I was and probably always will be just a superficial friend. I get it now! This is a difficult lesson to absorb but it has forced me to rethink how these people will be a part of my life moving forward.

To the people that messaged me, texted me, phoned me over the last few days. I want them to know how much I truly cherish their friendship. You kept me calm, made me laugh and you helped me more than you will ever know. Thank YOU!

To my family that were willing to  drop everything to be there for me, your phone calls and willingness to get my shopping done and delivered.  Thank YOU!

To all those that truly know me, know that I am very much an introvert and this past week has been particularly difficult, dealing with the posts, messages, texts and phone calls and yes I did crash Friday and most of today but I am getting slowly back to normal.

So on this Easter Weekend, count your blessings, cherish your friends and be thankful of what you have in your life.


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Winter Blahs and Paul’s yummy pickles!


So the other day a friend of ours gifted me with a jar of pickles. OMG! they were the best pickles I have had in soooooooooooo long. I rationed them but it was a small jar and I knew I would soon be without these pickles on my plate. What to do what to do! I emailed our friend and complimented him on the pickles and politely asked if he would share the recipe. Well YAHOO  he had no problem passing on the recipe to me. I was surprised as most people say “oh they are a secret recipe”   “oh I can’t give it to you that was my mother’s recipe or grandmothers recipe” Well he was proud to pass it along and I could not wait to get the ingredients to make them. I bought new spices as mine were as old as Methuselah and keeping up with my purge and replace mantra I got new spices.

Here is the recipe :

Bread & butter pickles


18 cucumbers, 3-4” long; thin ones 8 or 10 medium onions
1/2 cup pickling salt

Slice cukes and onions. (Cauliflower and red pepper can be added) Layer the cukes and onions and salt in a glass container or stainless steel container
Let stand for 30 minutes.

Rinse well with cold water, drain well in a colander.

Boil the following together for 4-5 minutes in a large pot:

2 1/4 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. celery seed

1 TBSP mustard seed

1 tsp. turmeric

1 1/2 cups brown (yellow) sugar

2 1/2 cups white sugar

Add cukes and onions to the vinegar mix.
Bring to ALMOST the boiling point, stirring with a wooden spoon to heat evenly.

Spoon into jars and seal, using snap lids that have been brought to a boil.
Do not put through a hot water bath. 

Below are pictures of the process



I bought the small seedless cucumbers in the vegetable section of the Super Store. And yes that is Windsor pickling salt. opps my bad!  I had the french side facing out, but you get it right?



After I sliced up all the cukes and onions using my food processor I sprinkled the 1/2 cup of pickling salt over the top and then with a wooden spoon I stirred the salt in to make sure everything was covered, covered with a tea towel and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes while I was getting my jars, covers and liquid ingredients ready. I rinsed and set my colander on my bowl to let it drain while I got the liquid ingredients boiling. By the time the 4-5 minutes were up the cukes and onions were ready to add to the liquid.


After I boiled the vinegar, tumeric, celery seed and mustard seed I dumped the thoroughly rinsed and drained cukes and onions into the pot. I had the stove on medium high so the pot would not scald, stirring so the ingredients were mixed well. Then I kept stirring so it would not scald and watching to make sure it did not come to a boil again.




I then proceeded to scoop the pickles into jars. It makes a nice small batch of pickles which is ideal here because I am the only one that eats pickles and relishes and chows.  I had the lids in a pot on the stove that I had boiled.

Remember that these pickles do not have to go through a water bath…..NOPE…Once they are spooned into the jars and the covers put on, you are DONE! Just let them cool and then put them in your fridge.

Feel free to make your own. I guarantee you will love the taste of these pickles.

#YUMYUMYUM  #yummypickles

My next kick at the can will be Million Dollar Relish. Anxious to make and taste these as they were the big discussion at my group meeting this week.

And on that note. Have a great snowy weekend and remember spring is just around the corner (so they say) yup.. I will believe that when it happens.

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Taking charge of my health

Feeling miserable every day is not a good way to exist, right? For years I have had a lot of trouble with my knees. I started taking celebrex in the 1990’s. Seemed to work fine but over the years I had piled on weight that I could not explain. After learning that gee… celebrex is not considered long term. So why had my doctors continued to prescribe it for me year after year. You would have thought that one of them would pick up on the fact that I had been on it for way too long.. So a few years years ago I asked for something different. I wanted off these meds. So the dr prescribed another type of anti inflammatory medication that seemed to work fine. and as a bonus I dropped the weight that had piled on over the past 20+ years. yay..  right? So a few months ago I had gone in for a checkup and said. You know, ” You know.. I don’t seem to be getting any more relief from the new meds” So back I go on celebrex. This was early June of this year. He figured. I had gotten the celebrex out of my system enough that now it would be ok to go back on it and it should work fine. Ok I was skeptical but I thought, I can’t do this pain much more. I have no life, my legs give out, my knees lock up.. I was feeling miserable.

So back on to celebrex and in the meantime he wanted xrays of my knees since he didn’t have any on file. Over the summer it didn’t seem to get much better and good God!!!! I put 15 pounds of bloat on over the summer.   

How does this happen. Reading about celebrex it is one of the main things that can happen.. Extreme weight gain.. ((((Over three months?)))  So I got my xrays and blood work done and made the appointment to go back and see what was up. Well it turns out that I have severe degeneration on the inside part of both knees. So.. he suggested replacement on both knees.. UM  NOPE.. not going to happen as I am a person that heals extremely slow and I know what would happen if I had a knee replaced. So now what?   Well I told him about the celebrex and the weight gain and he said.. ok.. we will put you on something else. ok fine. Let’s just play Russian roulette with my body now. Try this,, no try this.. and in the meantime he is playing around with adjusting my pre-diabetes meds, trying to get a happy number. Again another med change and off I went to check the side effects, etc. During all this I am still feeling totally miserable and completely defeated.  I was not in a good mind set and my happy place had moved to Siberia I think.. hahahaha. At that time I asked about alternative pain relieve aka CBD. He said yes sure he would contact the company  ( www.cannimed.ca/) and get the paperwork started and then I go in and fill out a registration form with the company and await for it to be approved. YAY  I was approved and after chatting with the reps/customer support for the company they gave me lots of insight and lots of things to think about. I pondered, did my research and said well if the meds the dr just changed. After a couple of weeks, my stomach is wrecked, the pain is still there and I bloated up so much my knees are swollen and aching and the bathroom runs are not acceptable. Who wants to be tied to a house because you never know when you have to make an immediate run to the bathroom. enough of this crap (yes pun intended). So as of today, I have come off this new arthritis medication and I made the order yesterday for my first round of CBD oil. Now the crappy thing about this is that the insurance does not cover this stuff. I can do the cost, that is no problem, but when are they going to realize that this is supposedly more effective and less cost than the man made chemicals they are paying for us to put in our bodies?  

The CBD should arrive tomorrow or Thursday and it will be a whole new learning curve for how much I will need to take, how much I will have to purchase every month but at this point money doesn’t matter if it straightens me out and brings me back to a quality of life that I should enjoy.

And on that note, my stomach feels a bit better today since I didn’t take my arthritis meds (might just be all in my head) but I will take that as a positive any day. I will do another post after a couple of weeks with the CBD and report my findings and reactions to it. 

Breathing deep and seeking peace at this time


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Love it or List it Birdhouse

Well I finally did something about the soggy bird house I had hanging in the tree. I paid good money for it.. cedar… but it started to get soggy and moldy from the weather. There were no drainage holes in the bird feeder.. Odd .. right? So I decided to  so do a “love it or list it” bird house episode. hahahahaha

I kept within budget (had my own paints and varnish. Had holes drilled in the base of it for drainage. I  spent days.. drying the feeder out, sanding, and then two coats of paint and two coats of varnish. All in all I think the birds will be happy with it..I know I am!

I went all funky folk art on it. Just sat down and started pulling out paint colours and having some fun. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished project. Now.. mind you I am not a tole paint artsy person. I just slapped the paint on.. drew a few flowers and voila.. done. It is now hanging once again under the tree and I think the birds were happy since it is a large open feeder good for my cardinal, blue jays, grosbeaks as well as chickadees and finches. I still have to get my suet feeder out for the ones that prefer suet.



Nothing like a bright funky feeder I say!

The birds were shown many feeders in the general area, in their budget and almost picked one that had almost all of their demands but in the end. They chose to LOVE IT. ..and are staying put in my backyard.. yay!

Now back to what I was doing for the past 2 months.. which is watermarking my patterns and corresponding pictures to relist on etsy..

That is a whole other story that I will get to over the next week.

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Summer Fun

Well good morning world

I haven’t been blogging much as we were so busy setting up our updated shop here in the valley. My studio is no more. I have gratefully turned it over to the up grading of our shop. This move has been extremely good on both ends. The studio is now the office for our repair intake and my smaller studio/office is in the upstairs of the house. I am good with that as I was really had started cutting back on the amount of items made for shows. I didn’t do any shows last year as I was feeling burnt out and tired. That is when we decided to do the switch which was no an easy process.  Clean/purge/pack and decide which direction I was going to be going. Well the direction chosen has been a good one for me. I am concentrating on revamping my etsy which will reflect my mothers corner instead of truenorthcreations. I am relisting and setting up drafts for my patterns and as they become expired on the old etsy I will be ready to relist them under My Mothers Corner. I am also designing and writing up some newer dog designs. (Actually old designs that I used to sell on Ebay but had never written up) These dog designs just came out of my head as I was knitting but at least I was smart enough at the time to do up a graph and keep the pictures of these designs. Now all I have to do is put them in a template for my pattern and I will be good to go. This is my fall/winter project. I was thinking of doing a big show in October but I am really not sure if I will have enough stock for it since we are busy with 100’s of intrument repairs that have to be completed by September. I am thinking that the items I have in my rubber maid container can be set out for 1 or two smaller shows just to sell off what I have on hand. That would certainly work for me this year. 

As for other things I have been making a few tea cup bird feeders to use for photo shots of the birds. I just put them out when I want to take some shots. One has a drilled hole in the bottom to let the water drain but I really don’t think I will have to depend on that as I plan to take it in when rain is forecast. I am really excited to see the shots and I am working on getting the right angle, distance and focus done today. I have a pair of cardinals that have been gracing my feeders and I wanted some close up shots. Also I have a female rose breasted grosbeak (no male yet) and I wanted some close ups of her as well.  


Well that is all from this little part of the world. The weather has finally cleared and hopefully we will be back to normal temperatures today. Time to get busy watermarking my patterns and putting them in the drafts of Etsy. I should be fully up and running there by September!  yay

Have a great day and remember to be kind

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Vitamin D Deficiency

Well it was time to go for another round of blood work last week. For the past year they have put me on  medication to help get my sugar count down to where they felt comfortable with it. It was not high enough to put me on diabetic meds and I have been borderline for quite a few years and the Dr decided to try to get it closer to normal range so it doesn’t damage or interfere with my kidneys.. Being over 60 I said.. sure.. I had lost 40 pounds over the year but that didn’t seem to make any difference with my counts so lets do the meds and see if that works. He started out with the lowest dosage and every three months he would check and up the dosage. He was quite happy in November. So much so that he said.. let it go until May and we should see a significant decline in the sugar. I was good with that and honestly the way I was feeling that day (bad cold) I was like.. yup,,,,anything you say, I just want to go home and lay on the couch.

So the Christmas festivities passed.. January,, Feb.. March.. and wouldn’t you know it.. I had so many colds hit me this winter I could not for the life of me get out of my own way. Now knowing me, if you know me, I tend to hibernate for the winter but this winter all I wanted to do was sit in the corner and do nothing. I lost my concentration and had so many stupid moments I was getting worried. As my mother-in-law once said after her strokes and had memory loss, “All that brilliance gone!”  haha.. that was exactly  how I was feeling. I even had a difficult time trying to design a pattern at one point and I was thinking.. WTH!!!.   I can do this.. I have done it so many times before this should be a piece of cake, so what has changed?  There was no knitting, no crocheting, I had no craft shows to organize as I had decided that last year would be my absolute last year of organizing, dealing with some of the entitled vendors and dealing with venues that choose not to work with organizers at all. I had enough and said.. nope.. I am done. Now this was the best decision I have made in a long time. No stress for shows.. no sleepless nights worrying about all the ins and outs of doing a show. It was going to be GREAT!..  However.. instead of enjoying my free time, I was sick many times, sat and watched movies and basically pulled away from the world. I felt miserable and the arthritis in my knees and ankles flared up and there were days I could barely move my legs.   I was so tired it was stupid crazy.  It was a particularly long crappy stressful winter so that did not help the psyche at all.

Along comes May and time to go for blood work. I was a bit concerned because I could not for the life of me figure out what the heck was going on. I just kept saying to myself.. “for God’s sake…snap out of it!”  I watched my eating, I took my meds, and I put 7 pounds back on (ok that was probably from doing nothing all winter, so I will take responsibility for that) Well yesterday I went in to get the reports. He said..Your thyroid is good ✔  and, well your sugar is the same as November ✔ .. odd because I had upped the dosage of the meds.. hmmm.. My cholesterol was up. WHAT!!!  it has always been low to great now it is up? my kidneys were good ✔,, no infections detected✔  B12 was good ✔.. but wait!   my Vitamin D was almost non existent!!!!!!!!!!!!.. So I said.. what does that even mean?

Well after some thought and discussion he said to me .. “ok so this makes sense now. Vitamin D deficiency causes cholesterol to increase, when that is up it messes with your sugar count,  if that hadn’t happened more than likely your sugar would be almost ideal this time. Seeing that it was identical to the last time he was convinced it would have been down”.  Ok I felt good about that part but what the heck is with the Vitamin D. Is this something I have always had?  He said “I just wanted to make sure this time and run a few different tests and Vitamin D and B12 were in the mix this time”. Well good thing as I would not have picked up on the Vitamin D thing for sure.

So the symptoms of low Vitamin D are

*FATIGUE  — you may feel tired all the time and fatigued even when you’re getting a good night’s sleep.

*INFECTIONS — greater risk of catching colds and developing infections

*BACK PAIN AND BONE PAIN  —  insufficient vitamin D3 can cause pain in the back and leg bones, joints, and ribs.

*MUSCLE PAIN — may cause muscle pain

*OBESITY — Malabsorption may also cause obesity

*COGNITIVE DISORDERS  —  risk factor for disorders such as dementia and cognitive impairment, especially in older adults

*DEPRESSION  — 65 percent of the people who had depression also had low vitamin D3.

*SLOW HEALING  —-if you get injured, and it takes a long while for you to heal, it might be because you have an inadequate amount of vitamin D3.

*HAIR LOSS — If you’re losing your hair, you may have a vitamin D3 deficiency

*BONE LOSS  — a lack of vitamin D3 can inhibit the absorption of calcium, causing bone loss

So that is it in a nutshell. I am not crazy… I am Vitamin D deficient. With my Vitamin D being almost non existent I was a walking poster girl. Looking at the symptoms it was any wonder I was so miserable.  So I am starting to take 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day until September.


All my other meds I am taking will stay the same. And for those that say, just get out in the Sun. Nope that just won’t cut it unless you live in the south where you can get out all year round and even then it is not enough.

So that is my report for the day and I hope it helps some people get some answers in how they are feeling. I just thought I was having a miserable winter when that was only a small part of it.

Here is to a better summer and no more colds, cold sores, achy bones, fatigue and countless other symptoms  to deal with. I will do a follow up of this post in Sept after my next round of blood work. I am predicting a better one next time.



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Salt and Pepper, Newfoundland Hat

My mother used to make these hats many moons ago. I tried everywhere to find the pattern that most resembled my mother’s Pattern, as she was gone and no one knew where any of her patterns were. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. I should have worked with her to get her patterns but we all think that our Mothers will live forever. I made it my mission to find this pattern. Well after hours of looking online I finally turned to Facebook with a plea. It only took me 1/2 hour to find the pattern once my post went out. AND!!!!  it was my mother’s original pattern that she had given to her friend once she could not knit anymore.. How cool was that!!!!.. My sister picked it up and mailed to me. I scanned it and I plan to put the original in a frame and hang it on my studio wall. Well last month a gentleman contacted me to see if I would make this hat for him. He had found the pictures and a write up about my mothers pattern. I agreed and made it for him and shipped it out. Wow. What a time I had trying to decipher the hand written pattern. It was trial and error as I was working on it and I was writing it out as I went in terms I could understand. I finally finished it, had the pattern written up in my template and figured.. why not allow other people to make their own hats.. sure.. yup..

So I now have the pattern available to download HERE

I have it on my website along with a lot other patterns from my mothers collection as well as my own designs. Grab a cup of tea and slip on over to browse my patterns.

Here is the gentleman’s testimonial:

*** posted By Dave:

Maureen,I am running late on everything sorry.I received the hat last Friday,WOW.What a hat ,fantastic ,A-plus, the best quality, very warm. .Must I say more?

I found you and your hats by googling Newfoundland hats on the web.You may wonder how a guy from Pennsylvania USA knew about Newfoundland hats.After retiring from Verizon (40 years) I started driving a school bus part time.I picked up a new child in the beginning of the school year.His dad was a new teacher for Lasalle High School.And he was from Newfoundland. Come fall the child had on this really neat hat.I asked what kind of hat was it.He told me his grandmother made it and it was a salt and pepper Newfoundland hat.I went on eBay that night and bough a salt and pepper one from Saint John Newfoundland.

So there’s the story. Thanks again for the terrific hat..***

Posted in Harry Hibbs Hat, knit hats, Knitted Items, Newfoundland Hat, Salt and Pepper Hat, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments