Tuesday, 31 December 2013

LIFE: 14 Things for 2014

Source: WallsinHD via Hana on Pinterest
2014 will be the first year I've actually written down a set of, well let's not call them resolutions - perhaps intentions for the year ahead. As the clock strikes midnight tonight, the next 365 days are ones which I hope will be a little life changing - my green card for US residency needs renewing (stressed already), we hope to find and buy our first house and I want my ebay store to grow even more. 

Wants, wants wants. 

I want never gets.

A step I aim taking in 2014 is to try and be more organised, from bill paying, blog posting to knowing people's birthdays. Organisation is, I hope the key is trying to make me feel less stress and anxious about what's head (something I have issues with, a lot).
 Read more books
Crochet another afghan
Buy a house
Grow my ebay store
Get healthy and loose weight
Decrease stress levels
Be a better blogger (and be more confident in my blog)
Go on holiday somewhere new in the US
Renew my green card
Finish watching all the Star Trek series
Take more photographs
Work on my body confidence
Get tidier and more organised
To be happy

Whatever your intentions are for 2014 - feel free to share some below!

I hope of all you have a happy new year - I'm very much looking forward to getting back to sharing some more of our Michigan and Pittsburgh adventures from the back end of 2013 (yeah total backlog going on at this end).

Sunday, 29 December 2013

LIFE: Closing the Door Upon Another Year

Polar Bear Detroit Zoo Detroit Apples

2013 seems to have vanished into the same black hole that my missing socks end up in. Time really does seem to go a lot fast as a grown up - it's weird. I will admit to not have blogged as much in 2013 than previous years - the year also nearly saw me pressing the delete button - I'm glad I didn't (most of the time although I often doubt if this blog is actually any good).

To step into the future, we need to acknowledge the past and in doing so I'm sharing the bits, the pieces, the places and things that I've loved doing and experiencing in the 365 days. Hopefully this will also be a great introduction for those of you (many of you whom I'm very grateful for) that added me over the last couple of weeks to your reading list.


Everyone knows Detroit applied for as was approved to enter bankruptcy proceedings - the true effect of this upon the city and region will come to light in the forthcoming years. While we don't get down into the city has often as we could, I hope Dear Ms Leigh comes to portrayal Detroit in a more positive light then you might come to see and read in the media. We've spent days at the Detroit Institute of the Arts and had a great time at the Jazz Festival that will be a certain point to return to in 2014. In the boarder Michigan travels, I've experience the most magical and beautiful Mid West autumn colours, explored off the road places and went off the communication trail (there's still many more of these updates to come). We had fun exploring some more of Pittsburgh, tested my head for heights upon Mt. Washington and had even more fun zoo times. 


The Detroit tradition of the Coney Island Dog, and American attempt at a Cornish Pastie, and even baking them myself. The fun of baking mountains of apple pies and crumbles after visiting an orchard at falls arrival to finishing off the festive year with home made cranberry sauce.


Another year as an expat and I'm still learning how to cope and live with being in another country. From finding my home in America and dealing with immigration guilt to the smaller but all important elements of Christmas differences. Nevertheless, I'm already stressing about having to renew my green card next year!

Thank you to all the long time and new readers that have found, read and comment upon my blog. I'd love to hear what you love (or even don't love) to see on my blog and anything you'd love to see more of in 2014!

Who's ready for 2014?!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

LIFE: 12.25.2013


We did Christmas on the quiet this year. With just the two of us we did as we pleased. As I mentioned last week, Christmas as an expat can be a little hard and being in our late twenties the magic that kids have for Christmas has vanished. Sadly it's just like any other day - well actually like a Sunday spent together with huge meal, oh and the gifts. But rather than dwelling on what Christmas isn't, here's a little look into what we did get get up to. Oh and it even snowed some!


Ever since this huge, thick Christmas themed blanket landed on our doorstep on Monday as a Christmas gift from Joe's gran (she also sent the personalised snowman decoration in the first image - how cute?!) I actually don't think I've come out from underneath it. It's just so cosy and warm and going to be very handy in the coming colder months.


Neither of us have qualms about being online and doing stuff on Christmas so I actually wrote up a couple of blog posts, played Candy Crush no end and just enjoyed being able to use the internet aside from my ebay store (nevertheless there was still a number of purchases yesterday for sure). But when I wasn't using the old interwebs, I did manage to read some more of Lauren Bacall's biography By Myself picked up at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. It's actually turning into a delightfully intriguing read and getting me over my 2013 drought of reading, about time. As for The Juliette Society - I'm saving that for another post. But for now all I'll say is you show me 50 Shades and I'll give you The Juliette Society.

Christmas gifts seem to revolve around my two loves - vinyl records (Clairy Brown, Trivium, Phil Collins - Anthrax for the boy) and cross stitching alongside some Lush goodies which I haven't actually treated myself to for an age. The parents sent over some basics from M&S, alongside Angels Delight and some winter accessories to keep us warm.


But the best part - the food! A pure mix of American and English Christmas traditions upon one plate. Home made cranberry sauce topping off ham, stuffing, vegetable and the American tradition of rolls (hey at least the weren't wrapped around sausages). We're saving the piggies in blankets for leftover eatings tonight. Lets say it was quickly demolished all the same. Somewhat proud of myself as this was the first real Christmas meal I've ever made all by myself. Go me.

I hope you all had wonderful festivities and didn't end up with coal in your stockings. I'm somewhat ready to get back to normally blogging and sharing some American adventures with you all!

Monday, 23 December 2013

CHRISTMAS: Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

Digging out Christmas decorations after been stored away for the year, I love pulling out and hanging those decorations that are a little extra special. While the majority of the baubles are shop brought en mass, we have a couple of special ones that bring back a lot of memories which I thought I'd share;

Christmas Decoration

I'll admit to not knowing anything about Sand Dollars until moving to the US. Sand Dollars themselves are a form of sea urchins specially adapted to crawling and burrowing in the sand and hold special meaning regarding the life of Jesus. Their center marks a star of Bethlehem, the shape of the Poinsettia flower for his nativity, the five holes marking the five wounds suffered on the cross and if broke, five pieces come apart to represent doves.  The legend lives on across the year, but sand dollars often get decorated over the festive season. 

Christmas Decoration

Back in the days of being in a long distance relationship I sent this decoration to Joe for a Christmas present, I think it was originally from Marks and Spencer and I just love the penguins on it (my favorite). It is a little odd still just having my photograph hanging upon the tree but its a reminder of how far we've come. 

Christmas Decoration

Only fitting that we picked up a memorable Christmas decoration from Chicago on our visit there, I love that it has all the iconic buildings featured. Chicago itself certainly knows how to look pretty at Christmas time!

Christmas Decoration

Joe's gran every year sends him since childhood a special decoration, and in 2011 she sent matching little cherubs for each of us each with either pink or blue ribbons, they always hang pretty close to each other too.

Christmas Decoration

In the last couple of months I've been coming across a lot of beaded DIY Christmas ornaments, and I thought I would take a hand at one of the semi started kits. I've always been a fan of beaded and glass ornaments for how much they catch the light and after fiddling around for a night on the sofa, I managed to make four of them. I was pretty pleased with myself to say the least.

So this is my last post before Christmas - I hope you've enjoyed them- you can always look back if you missed any!

Now time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas - I'll see you all on the other side!

Friday, 20 December 2013

CHRISTMAS: Those UK - US Differences.


You might not think it but there's actually a fair few differences when it comes to celebrating Christmas between the UK and the US. Whereas the US is more for sticking up your tree and decorating your home in November for the festive season, there's big differences in the little things that you come to associate with Christmas in the UK. So I thought I'd share a few, things that even with this being my third Christmas in the US I'm still getting use to, it's mostly the things that don't appear over this side of the pond;

Christmas Crackers

Central to the British Christmas, crackers have never really made it over the ocean (although I hear you can occasionally find them). Why is beyond me, why wouldn't you want to wear a silly paper hat and read a crazily cheesy joke over your sprouts?!

Mince Pies

Mince meat for such pies is oddly different in the US alone - often coming in a box that's hard as a rock when you can find it for $7 a jar. Recipes upon the reverse of said jars are always for actual mince pies - yes a pie sized mince pie. In the US it's more about the Christmas cookie, in fact everything is about the cookie, year around.

Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding

Both are somewhat a little old fashioned in the UK, both are pretty much vacant from the US Christmas scene especially the Christmas Pudding. A lot of my vintage cookbooks do have recipes for Christmas Cakes but this is certainly missing from more contemporary book yet along supermarket selves. 

Tins of Sweets 

Walk into any supermarket in the UK and you'd be greeted with mountains of Quality Street tins, not so here. Quality Streets are non existent but so are similar kinds of sweets, or even tins of sweets. Your're lucky if you still find a bag of Twizzlers from Halloween.


Aside from your spiced and hard cider, Eggnog is a big drink of choice around the Christmas season. Admittedly it's not only I like, I tried it for the first time last year and really didn't like - one I happy give a miss. 

Boxing Day

That special day of eating the Christmas leftovers or of visiting the other side of the family otheriwse known as Boxing Day in the UK and Canada just doesn't exisit in the US. December 26th to many is straight back to the work grind and Christmas is done and over for the year. While there are post Christmas sales, there's nothing compared to the Boxing Day sales you'd find in the UK. It's certainly a way of getting over Christmas, a little too quickly for my liking.

What would you miss about your countries traditions at Christmas time?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

FOOD: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce

I've never been partial to cranberry sauce, but this recipe changes my opinion and I'll be more then happy to be eating this come Christmas Day. Joe has a huge love for cranberry sauce, so when they were on offer at Kroger (they are even Michigan grown) for $2 a bag a couple of weeks ago we grabbed some, mainly for the intention of making cranberry sauce for Joe to enjoy, now he has a rival for eating it!

Cranberry sauce is one of items that you imagine is harder to make then it actually is - or one of those things you wonder why bother making when it's already tinned. Pretty much all the recipes out there are extremely straight forward, more so then I would ever have believe prior to making a batch. Additionally it's a recipe that you can add and take away with ingredients as you please. 

For us we just wanted something straight forward but of course packed with taste. But finding a recipe that used one of my favorite things - bourbon, that recipe was a sure winner and it doesn't disappoint. The Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce takes about 30 mins or so to make and will provide you enough for two cups. Make sure to keep it sealed and stored in the fridge - it should last up to about two weeks under such conditions. The most amazing whiskey scent comes from the boiling, yet the sauce is not intoxicating, there's only a slight hint of something strong and lingering against the tartness of the cranberries. Being a big whiskey drinker myself, I might tinker and add a little extra bourbon in for good measure.

As I mentioned yesterday I might not be feeling the most festive when it comes to Christmas, but I'm certainly trying to go full out on the Christmas food this year with homemade stuffing, rolls and mince pies. 

What's your take on cranberry sauce - love or loath?!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

LIFE: Sometimes Christmas Isn't All That Festive

Before I fall head long into the final festive blog posts I want to share why Christmas seems to loose it's spark for me. I'm not sure if it's because of being an expat, getting older or years of slaving away in retail but Christmas isn't always that merry. 

You grow up with certain tradition and notions of what Christmas be it through your country, upbringing and how you came to celebrate it with family and friends. For me it was the dropping of a silver coin into the stirring of the Christmas pudding, buying the Radio Times Christmas edition to watching Christmas TV specials and mince pies. Even moving countries to one that isn't too dissimilar from your own throws you into a festive turmoil, at least for myself. There's no Boxing day, crackers to Christmas cakes - what you thought of as Christmas isn't the same anymore. It's all thrown into one day and then it's over. Christmas in another country forces you to relearn what Christmas is and how to celebrate it. I'm all up for learning and embracing the American culture, the food, the sports. But I find it hardest to adapt to the American style of Christmas. 

As for the years spent in retail well the festive cheer isn't always running wild there, the long queues, confused shoppers and the parents who just must find that one present for their princess but alas it sold out everywhere three weeks ago. When all the tills are running, staff are trying to serve you as quickly as possible so you can cull your deathly stare and over emphasized sighing that everyone can hear. 

Maybe I've lost the Christmas sparkle and need to see through my cynicism about people feeling they need this, this and certainly that. I need to see through the suggestions of overpriced white goods on bloggers wishlists and the overall pushing of materialism. And yes i'm well aware I say that with all the vintage (junk) I have.

I'm hoping in the last week running up to Christmas my festive spirit might return and i'll refind it among baking and spending time away from ebay with Joe and the kitties with a strong whiskey or three and I hope you come to enjoy the posts I have lined up to share. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Twerking Robots of 1977

Twerking Robots

Hey look - they were twerking upon record covers back in the 1970s! You might never have thought it but Robots were twerking with each other back in the summer of 1977 upon vinyl of all things. Back then it was just known as suggestive dancing. Those suggestive dance moves eh, and look at her rosy cheeks - she's certainly enjoying herself that's for sure, what with all those phallic robot objects shooting off around her. Wasn't like that in my day, or so they would have you believe. 

And yes, we really did buy Galactic Funk by Meco featuring the Star Wars soundtrack, and yes it is as awesomely funky as one would hope!

Anyways this amused me enough to share it - enjoy!

Monday, 16 December 2013

LIFE: What England Could Learn About Dealing With Snow


Us Brits should be use to snow, it darn well happens every year to varying degrees. It snows in America too, granted I haven't experienced a particularly snowy winter (I think this might be the exception) but the shocking differences in how England and US cope with the white stuff is striking, to say the least.

The days of commuting to and from York on the bus would mean the bus being an hour late arriving, then an hour late reaching York from a couple of inches of snow. You'd be lucky to see a gritter go by once a day on an evening in my former neck of the woods. We see the flake of snowfall and we get grumpy, the transport grinds to a halt and the country goes nowhere. Thing is while I mock, us northerners get on with it better than the south, additionally being from the north our snowfall rarely features on the news. Two snowflakes in London and it's the end of the world.

Snow doesn't seem to faze American's (at least not in states accustomed to it). People still go to work, go shopping, buses still run. The first sign of snow on turnpikes and freeways and salter teams (yes teams) work up and down to keep the roads clear. Salters in the US exist rather then gritters - salt works to melt the snow and ice and while it can badly rust your car it works so much better for getting and keeping roads passable. 

Americans are legally obliged to clear any snow from covering the paths in front of their home and applying salt or sand and so on to keep it safe. Could you imagine UK residents doing the same shovel in hand during a snow storm? I think not. Or maybe I'm too cynical.

Over the weekend snowstorm Electra hit us here in Michigan, I think we felt about 6 inches or so of snow. Granted there were issues, as it was snowing throughout the day the salters couldn't keep up and freeway driving was a little dicey at least in the morning. Our apartment complex managers didn't feel the need to clear the snow from around the grounds because it was a Saturday and no one had given the say so getting to and from the car, wasn't easy. I mean who know snow would fall on a weekend of all days .... Nevertheless it certainly wasn't stopping people from getting out and yes, that's a photograph somewhat showing the conditions down in Detroit during said snowstorm while finishing up at estate sale. People here battle through snow, sadly the UK could look to learning how to cope a little better.

I mean, it's not like it doesn't happen every year or anything ... that would be crazy!

What's your take? Do you love the snowy season? How do people cope with it where you live?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

CHRISTMAS: Festive Tag

Christmas Tag

The lovely Jess tagged me in a festive Christmas tag over on her blog so I thought I would share all my festive favorites!

What is your favorite Christmas film?
The 1985 film Santa Claus (with Dudley Moore) always use to come on the BBC, most often than not on Christmas Eve and it always use to be a tradition with my mam to watch it (or parts of it) around getting food ready for Christmas Day.I don't think it gets the attention is deserves against more contemporary Christmas movies which I would admit have somewhat passed me by. 

What is your favorite festive color?
Hmm, going by our tree I do like a bit of sparkly red and a dash of purple!

Do you open your gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
My first Christmas in the US we opened one small present - normally a stocking filler each on Christmas Eve at bedtime, it's a tradition that's now into it's third year. The rest we leave for the Christmas morning whenever we happen to wake up. 

What is your favorite winter fragrance?
Can't say i'm one to change my fragrance due to the seasons, but if Christmas baking was a fragance with all the spices then i'll go for that!

What is your favorite Christmas scent?
I do love the smell of a real Christmas tree, sadly the boy is allergic to them so we have to do with a fake tree these days. Might have to get around to buying a Christmas tree fragrance so I can get that smell back!

What is your favorite Holiday drink?
Certainly not Eggnog - tried some of that after moving to the US and just, yeah nasty. Normally I'm not one to go and buy coffee out, although we did treat ourselves to a huge Peppermint Mocha from Biggby - which if you're local to one, it's well worth trying.

Candy canes or gingerbread men?
Gingerbread man everytime, as soon as Christmas rolled around I baked some although they turned into being some headless zombies as the mix was rolled out a little thin. Yummy all the same. 

What is your favorite Christmas song?
Can't say I have a favorite, years of retail work means being over exposed to Christmas songs that sadly a lot annoy me. The Johnny Cash Christmas Carol is worth a listen if you want to get back to basics, we picked it up on vinyl months ago and only just got around to playing it.

Have you ever made a snowman?
All the time - we use to get some great snow in East Yorkshire when I was a kid, certainly up to my knees that made some great snowmen over the years. I should probably go outside and build a snowman was the dumping of the white stuff at the weekend but i'm more likely to complain about how cold it is these days!

What is the most important thing to you about Christmas?
Being an expat has certainly changed my view on Christmas, it's made be back off a lot from all the gifts and after spending so many apart from Joe when we were LDR, to me Christmas is certainly about family.

How would you answer the questions? I'd love to know how you spend your Christmas! 

Friday, 13 December 2013

LIFE: Spying Kitties and Tweeting Birds

Russian Blue Bird

With seasonal berries appearing on the bush under our living room window, birds - sparrows in particular have taken to having a nibble or two off there. Thing is, it's perfect viewing for our two kitties. I'm not sure who gets tormented the most - the birds being spied on by the cats, or the cats that wish they could get outside to chase them!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

CROCHET: Winter Ear Warmers

Crochet Ear Warmers Ear Warmers Snow

I'm sure the Mid West is in for a super cold winter this year, temperatures have rarely broken freezing point in the last two weeks and -9 to -6 is around the norm all day long. Luckily here in south east Michigan we've missed a lot of the crazy snow storms - it's more of the endless lightly fluffy snow that really doesn't do much but is annoying and cold all the same. 

Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh and the couple of estate sales we've visited since our return have made me more than enough aware that I need to get prepared for the colder times ahead. Last weekend ended up being a two pairs of glove kind of picking Saturday and it's not even properly winter. I'm always the crafty sort of person that see's something in a store, see's the price and is convinced about making something a lot cheaper so I took to raverly Tuesday night and easy found a lot of free crochet patterns for ear warmers which I badly need. 

I have to admit the ribbed ear warmers pattern stood out a mile - practical and cute all at the same time. It did take a couple of attempts to get the number of chains right to fit my head of mine, but the pattern is wonderfully simple and you can crochet it out in an hour or two. They certainly helped on today's trip to the post office in delightful -11C chilliness.

I'd also point out if you love the pattern and crocheting in general to check out the creators Justine's blog Crochet from J - she has some wonderful designs that I'm lining up for my to do list!

Are you making anything at the moment? 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

CHRISTMAS: When Money is Tight, Santa is on a Budget

Money for us, like many is tight. It especially was in my first year of living in America when we were getting a little too comfy with our overdraft. Things have picked up, especially with my ebay store but the tips and tricks for getting Christmas in the red pays true regardless of the size of your wallet. 

Challenge yourself to keeping to a budget
Me and Joe challenge ourselves to buying each other's presents within a set budget - this year $100. Buying presents for Joe would be fun regardless of a budget but having that limit makes myself really think about just how best and how cost effectively I can spend the money. Take note of deals, free shipping, online coupons and you can get a lot more for your money than you might imagine. 

The online auction site can be great for selling your old junk that you can get some extra spending money from, but it's also great for buying presents from. If you choose to sell make sure to mention tags in the title like "Christmas" "party" etc etc and you're good to go. There's a tonne of new items on ebay - it's not all used and abused and you can find some great deals if you know how to search that site - in honesty most of my Christmas presents for Joe has come from ebay and I have no issues admitting that. 

Do make sure to note your countries postal deadlines though! 

Christmas is as much about the food as anything else, but if you're keeping to a budget, eat to your budget. It's so easy to over buy and over bake too much food, food that sadly gets thrown out. Work out from recipes exactly what you need and stick to it. Ask guests to bring a dish, a bottle. If it's just the two of you - eat to your needs, consider cheaper options - frozen vegetables, ham instead of turkey. Eat what you like, not what you're meant to like.

Vintage Christmas
Stocking up at estate sales/garages sales or second hand stores and even online you can store some perfect Christmas items - especially decorations. You can find Christmas decorations at estate sales year around, just as long as you can remember where you stored said pieces and you're good to go!

Buy Out of Season
Prices rocket when Christmas is around the corner, but as soon as January comes around Christmas stocks gets reduced so grab your bargains. It's a great time to stock up on your wrapping paper, cards to decorations and even a new tree - that's when most of our Christmas decorations and even the tree was purchased as huge discounted prices.

It's easy to be distracted by all the shiny items that seem to appear at Christmas, it's easy to give in and want it all.

How do you manage your money at Christmas time?

Monday, 9 December 2013

CHICAGO: The Windy City is Mighty Pretty

Chicago Ice Skating Chicago Sky Deck Chicago Christmas Tree Bean

Two years ago today we set off from Michigan upon the Amtrak to Chicago for our honeymoon. My first memory of hearing about the all American city was hearing Doris Day as Calamity Jane singing about the windy city, which is mighty pretty and my heart always longed to step foot there. Visiting certainly did not disappoint, I never got around to sharing everything we got up to (and the things that I did, well blogger lost most of the pictures since that time so I deleted them) - from the eating at Mercadito (first try of Mexican food), staying at the gorgeous Amalfi Hotel to being like kids at the Museum of Science and Industry or the Field Museum. To be honest, we never did a quarter of the things there is to see in that city and it's a place I long to return too. Hopefully in the coming year or two we'll make a trip back for a future anniversary. Until then, as I do every time as this date in December arrives, I remember just  how much fun we had in the windy city (in honesty it was more cold than windy, but that's beside the point).

Sadly blogger went through having a major, major tiss with a lot of my photographs from 2011 so a lot of my original Chicago posts I've had to delete *sigh*. I hate technology at times.

What city has left you breathless?!

Friday, 6 December 2013

LIFE: Things #3


My intention was never based around doing these life ranty come happy posts weekly, but I'm running with inspiration to carry them on. This week fits around the Thanksgiving edition of a long weekend in somewhat rural Pennsylvania and the start of Christmas festivities. Here goes!

♥ There's only so much NRA, rifle, hunting talk I can take in a given time period. You may eat every part of what your shooting, but the idea of hunting animals for fun sickens me. And I say that as a country girl myself.

♥ People finding out you live near Detroit, then watching and hearing their surprise when you don't mention it being like a zombie wasteland when they ask.

♥ The only Cyber Monday to occur in these parts were stocking up on shipping supplies - the fun never stops with me.

♥ People asking for help on twitter/blogs (insert whatever social media form here) and never finding the words to say thank you for taking the time, or even generally acknowledging your response. You drive me mad!

♥ Wondering where people get some of their statements from on Tripadivsor - some just seem to be picked out of the negative air of doom and very out of place.

♥ Took our nephews to the Carnegie Science Museum, good thing about being an aunt/uncle is you get to hand them back, oh my they have so much energy!

♥ People asking for handouts to follow their dream - seriously I managed to move countries and somewhat start my own business by myself, if you want it hard enough, work for it. 

♥ Baking gingerbread men and having most of their heads fall off ... now some kind of scary headless gingerbread men. Tasty all the same!

♥ Trusting the idea of a sushi all you can eat buffet - granted it wasn't so bad, but ya know ...

♥ One of our neighbours gave us a spare Cat's Meow toy (basically it has a motor under a piece of material that alternates in which direction it turns and drives the cats mad) has entertained out cats no end for the past week!

Sarri's chocolate covered pretzels are amazing - shame they can only be found in western Pennsylvania.

♥  Finally getting around to ordering actual prints of my photographs, and making two photobooks as Christmas presents made this week more protective then I gave it credit for.

What's been getting your goat this week?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

CHRISTMAS: Cross Stitched Cards

Cross Stitch Cross StitchCross Stitch

I'll admit to being slow to catch onto the Christmas festive lark - both in reality and upon the blog. Nevertheless Christmas to me is just another excuse to get crafty - this year a couple of home made cards, crochet garland (if I ever get around to finishing it) and trying my hand at some beaded ornaments (if I ever find the time) are all on the to do list. If I was far, far more organised than I'll ever be i'd cross stitch far more cards then I did this year, in fact the only one I managed to do was one for the parents. 

The design was made up from a vintage Christmas Village Sampler sewn upon some linen, a back stitched Merry Christmas added to the bottom all thriftly made from odds and ends I already had in stock. 

Letters, postcards and card writing all seem to be a dying form, hopefully they don't die when it comes to Christmas Cards any time soon, it would certainly be a shame if they did.

Are you getting your craft on for Christmas?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

2014 Blogger Challenge


After blogging for over four years now, I'm always on the look out for new and exciting things to share with you, but it's actually surprised me that in four years I've never really undertaken any blogger challenges - weekly or monthly. So for 2014 I thought I would challenge myself to joining the 2014 Blogger Challenge which is being run by the lovely Gaby over on Another Girly Blog.

The idea is of blogging around the two topics sent out monthly and hopefully will get me thinking and sharing things that I wouldn't necessarily think about otherwise. 

You have until December 9th to sign up through Gaby's blog (more info here). 

Are you joining in?

Monday, 2 December 2013

LIFE: Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh

Snow Turnpike PA Snowy PA Pittsburgh Christmas Tree Snowy Hill Primanti Bros Pittsburgh

As everyone in the blogging world seems to have spent the last weekend decorating everything and anything with Christmas decorations, I'm recovering from a somewhat short noticed and whirlwind like visit back to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. As America was waking up to Thanksgiving morning we were well into our journey across the states during a couple of sharp snow showers - the first we've been in for the season, curled up under a blanket in the car watching the snowy world go by. While the trip was mainly for family reasons Joe managed to show me from more of the city he grew up near - many of which I'll get around to sharing across the next couple of weeks (so if you're sick of Christmas posts everywhere else they might be welcome read).

How was your weekend? 

Friday, 29 November 2013

ZOO TIMES: Mr Grizzly

Bear Bear Detroit Zoo Bear Detroit zoo Bear

I forget how many times I've been to the Detroit Zoo and each time the Grizzly Bear enclosure was quiet, no bears were coming out to play. In fact as the exhibit is a little hidden away I didn't even they were there until my third trip. But on our last trip as we turned the corner from the Griffe house we saw the furry brown butt of a Grizzly going back inside. We'd missed him again, or so we thought. We sat down for a little in the hope of another rare glimpse and a couple of minutes later we were granted an amazing view of this incredible creature as he was rooting around for food. Little did we know the Detroit Zoo is home to two Grizzles, the second coming out a little after to see what all the fuss was about. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

LIFE: Things #2


Ranting so close to Thanksgiving is possibly going against the meaning of the holiday, but as a British expat I feel like i'm somewhat gatecrashing the preceding's anyway. Luckily this installment of things - a look into my rants and loves features the good as much as it does the bad. So here goes!

♥ Cool kids jumping on the Doctor Who wagon being "geeks" for an hour and then going back to being the cool kids. 

♥ Question - can you be a Doctor Who fan without watching any of the classic Doctors? Do all these cool, or even new fans of the Doctor know anything, or take the time to go back, re-watch and explore the original Doctor Who or is it all about the new Doctors (the Smith's the Tennants) and that's it?! Discuss in the comments please!

♥ Talking about geeky shows, mines Star Trek - a new ritual of dark hot chocolate out of my TNG mug while watching the original series has begun oh and starting my Star Trek TNG cross stitch.

♥ Wondering if non Star Trek fans of Big Bang Theory "get" the Star Trek references, guest stars etc?!

♥ Beauty blog posts clogging up the #lbloggers twitter tag - just spam your own category please!

♥ Everything in the apartment breaking at once - from the closet door the AC dial to the toilet ... for which a broken toilet isn't deemed as urgent enough to fix within a day ...

♥ Date night sushi from Noble Fish - (one of THE best places to get made to order sushi in Metro Detroit) - it said so on this list.

♥ Homemade chicken pot pie - your husband going automatically for seconds - sign of a good meal!

♥ Actually gave in and watched the Hunger Games, really didn't get on with the book, film was somewhat better then expected, it's nice when you're proved wrong by a film. 

♥ Drivers who don't use their sodding indicators - like seriously?!

♥ Actually getting a little tearful when you read that they have plans to demolish your fresher year student housing (Ricky Road at Newcastle University).

Share what's been bugging you or what you've been loving too!

Indicator image source

Monday, 25 November 2013

MICHIGAN - Kitcheossening

Big Rock Big Rock Big Rock

The way Columbus is celebrated you might come to think there wasn't an American population before he "found" the country. Yet American was home to many hundreds of Native American tribes and today at leas in my Michigan experiences many historic makers come to remind us of the important places to Indian tribes and their people. One such place is Kitcheossening - now known as Big Point Rock. 

On our drive north from Mio through to Mackinaw we took the long scenic route through Charlevoix along the western coast of the state and found Big Point Rock as a place for a sarnie and a viewpoint. Markers state that Big Rock Point was named for a large boulder Native Americans used as a landmark and a gathering place by the Odawa (Ottawa) Indians as early as the mid 19th century. Each spring the Odawa returned to Waganaksing (are between Harbor Springs and Cross Village) with their wiigwaas jiimaan (birch back canoes) loaded with goods - sugar, furs to skins, meat, oils and honey after spending the winter hunting. You can see why - the huge bay although stony, is an excellent base for getting out onto Lake Michigan even today.