Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on 2011 and Looking Forward to 2012!


This is a time for reflection on the year that will be passing tonight. Alot of things have happened in our family this year! The biggest one is the birth of Owen to our youngest daughter, Jenny and our son-in-law, Kevin. Owen has brought so much happiness into all of our lives. There just isn't enough words that come to mind to explain what Owen has brought this family!

John has had a rough year but will definitely rise above all this. In the beginning of the year he was hired by a title company here in Charlotte to do commercial and residential real estate title underwriting for them. They had a very good and busy year. But for some reason John's boss has made a not so great decision at the end, he decided to lay John off due to the January, February slow down he is expecting. John has had one interview and hopefully next week another one is will be set up! It will all work out, I have faith it will!

We had many visitors from the North visit us this summer. First my sister, Sue, brother-in-law, Chuck and nephew, Troy came down in July for a visit. They were just in time to see Owen! A month later my Mom, Dad, younger sister, Sandy and 2 nieces, Devyn and Shawna came for a visit. We loved visiting with all of them!!

My job has been very busy and looks like it will stay that way for some time to come thank goodness!!

I have been reading a little more lately! I finshed reading 16 books this year. This is not my best total but I have been knitting alot. I am trying to learn to balance the two.

I completed alot more knitting gifts this year and managed to take a fair isle sweater class to! I made 5 scarves for Christmas gifts this year alone!

I very rarely make resolutions on New Year's Eve but this I will make 1. I will be buying and making Christmas gifts all through the year so I don't have to rush getting so many projects completed. I am finishing up a scarf for me and then i will start on that!

I wish all of you my friend a very Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees


I have been wanting to read this book ever since it came out. I received 3 Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas so I bought this book for my Color Nook. I love the cover photo! The blue in the dress is absolutely stunning-it caught my eye right away! Here is a synopsis of the book from Goodreads.com:

Award-winning author Matt Rees takes readers to 18th century Austria, where Mozart’s estranged sister Nannerl stumbles into a world of ambition, conspiracy, and immortal music while attempting to uncover the truth about her brother’s suspicious death. Did Mozart’s life end in murder? Nannerl must brave dire circumstances to find out, running afoul of the secret police, the freemasons, and even the Austrian Emperor himself as she delves into a scandal greater than she had ever imagined. With captivating historical details, compelling characters, and a real-life mystery upon which everything hinges, Rees—the award-winning author of the internationally acclaimed Omar Yussef crime series—writes in the tradition of Irvin Yalom’s When Nietzsche Wept, Louis Bayard’s The Pale Blue Eye, and Phillip Sington’s The Einstein Girl to achieve the very best in historical fiction with Mozart’s Last Aria.

There is nothing better than a historical fiction and a mystery all rolled into one in my opinion! I will let you know what I think of this book when I'm done reading it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

John's Job Interview Update

John had a wonderful interview. He really liked the woman who interviewed him. Unfortunately, the job he interviewed for paid $15,000 less than what we need. But all is not lost! The woman that interviewed John said she thinks she has another position for John because he has wonderful experience and hard to come by experience. She has to talk to the owner of the company but she said she would get back to him shortly. I have faith that there will be a job offer and it will be a good one. I just have a wonderful feeling about this! Please keep John in your prayers and send tons of good job vibes his way!! Thanks everyone!!

Keep your fingers crossed!

I shared with all of you that my husband was laid off as of 12/30, well today he has a job interview at 5:15. Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for him! I hope he gets this job and it is a good job with a great boss! He really deserves it. He has been having a horrible time with the boss that just let him go. I hope this is all over for him soon.

Keep sending the good job vibes his way!! Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011

What a Wonderful Christmas!!


Christmas Eve was spent at Megan and Ken's House. Jenny, Kevin, Owen, John and I joined Megan and Ken. We had some relaxing time before a lovely turkey dinner Megan and Ken prepared. It was so delicious!! Then we all went to church for the 11:00 p.m. service. After church Kevin, Jenny and Owen came back to our house to stay overnight and Megan and Ken went home to their house. Owen was so good in church! He loved the music and candlelight.

Christmas morning started at about 8:30-8:45. Megan and Ken came over and the festivites began!! (Jenny had gotten up with Owen around 5:45 but I went downstairs and said Merry Christmas one of my presents to you is go back to bed and I'll take care of feeding Owen). We had some lovely Nana and Owen time!!

There were so many gifts under the tree-we could hardly believe it! Everyone was so generous! There were so many gifts to list but a few highlights of the day were:

1. John got a mountain bike from Jenny, Kevin and Owen.
2. I got a triange chawl loom handmade by Kevin (from Kevin, Jenny and Owen).
3. John got 2 rounds of golf at Ballantyne Resort and Country Club from Megan and Ken.
4. I got a lovely lampwork bead bracelet from Ken and Megan.

There were many, many more gifts but the biggest gift of all was that we were all together and had so much fun! We were relaxed and played with Owen! I want to thank both of our girls, their husbands and Owen for a most enjoyable Christmas 2011!! You all are the greatest!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!!


I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Whether you are staying home or traveling enjoy your family and friends! I hope Santa sees how good everyone was this year and y'all get some awesome gifts whether they are material or spiritual.

Our daughters, their husbands and of course, Owen will be spending the day at our house celebrating, enjoying each others company, relaxing and playing with Owen and his toys! We are having roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, pumpkin and apple pie. Should be yummy!

Christmas Eve we are all going to Megan's house for dinner and then we will all go to the 11:00 church service together. I love coming out of church at midnight and feel the hush that comes over everyone when they reflect on the church service and its message.

This Christmas will be fun having Owen celebrating with us! Children always make Christmas special. Next year will be real fun!

John, my husband was laid off last Friday as of 12/30, but we have decided to not think about this during Christmas. We will deal with this "Scrooge" like thing that has happened to him after the holidays. We have many things to be thankful for and we are truly blessed with family, friends and having each other!

See you all after the holidays!! Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finally Feeling Human Again!

Good Morning Everyone! I finally feel myself coming around the corner on this pneumonia/upper respiratory thing I have been fighting for months! The only issue I am now having is a clogged right ear. I can't hear a thing from that ear. Sometimes that works to my advantage-LOL!! I put a full day in at work yesterday but took it easy not my usual rat race pace!! When I got home last night I did absolutely nothing. I didn't even knit! John had a Notary closing so I chatted with my Mom and then just watched TV the rest of the night. I have to put a full day in today at work too and then 1/2 day tomorrow. We are off next Monday-YAY!

I want to thank everyone for all the get well wishes you sent me! Y'all are so sweet!

Merry Christmas everyone! All of you who are traveling, please be careful and safe!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Owen's First Time Seeing Santa!


Monday night Jenny and Kevin took Owen to see Santa. By the looks of this picture he really liked him! So cute!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Owen and Papa


Saturday Kevin dropped Owen off at our house and he spent some time with Papa! I just had to show you Owen in his Santa hat! John had to be with Owen most of the time because I was so sick. I am going back to work tomorrow but I don't know if I'll be able to stay the whole day. Thanks for all the well wishes from everyone though-it is greatly appreciated!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The World of Teddy

I have been very sick with a double sinus infection and double ear infection the past few days. I missed work yesterday and spent the entire day in bed. As most of you know, we have a Golden Retriever named Teddy. Teddy was a rescue and he has been with us for 3.5 yrs. Every time I woke up from sleeping Teddy was there "guarding" me. I was downstairs at first on the couch and he got up on the ottoman to watch me but I guess he fell asleep!


I guess when he realized he fell asleep he decided he better check on me from the ottoman!


Teddy kept vigil the whole while I was downstairs.


I decided to stay in bed all day yesterday. He decided someone needed to watch me. He hopped up on the bed and took very good care of me all day!

Doesn't he look so regal even though he was a little camera shy.

I appreciate having Teddy "guard" and watch over me while I'm getting better. He is such a great dog and a wonderful addition to the family. He lets Owen pet him. Even though Owen is very gentle sometimes his aim isn't that great. Teddy didn't move a muscle when Owen pet his eyes! I think they will be the best of friends for years to come.

Well back to resting! Just thought I would stop in a show you how well I'm being taken care of!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dr. Visit Not So Pleasant!

As most of you know I went to the Dr. yesterday for a sinus infection. It was that and a double ear infection. He told me I have been sick since the end of October, this I already knew. I have had bronchitis, a cold, etc., etc. Well he didn't like that at all so he said I needed 2 shots!! I have not had a shot since I was a child for any illness I have had. The one shot in my left hip was a group of steriods and I have to tell you that really hurt! The nurse also hit a vein and was having trouble getting the bleeding to stop! The shot in my right hip was some kind of antibiotic blast and that felt like a bee sting. Overall the Dr. visit was not pleasant. I also have antibiotic to take for the next 10 days and they are like super duper horse pills!! I hope these infections leave my body forever!! After work today I will be getting my haircut and color. I was going to cancel this appt. but then I wouldn't be able to get one until January! Won't work for the holidays. After that appt. I will be sitting on the sofa or in my bed resting! I hope today goes quickly!

Sorry for the whining but I just need to whine and get it out of my system-LOL!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Off to the Dr. I go!

I have a Dr. appt. this afternoon because I'm pretty sure I have a sinus infection. This is not good-I have way too much to get done in the next few days! I really don't think I ever got better from bronchitis that I had almost 2 months ago! I am at work because I had quite a few things that needed to be taken care of this morning. Tonight I have my knitting group Christmas party too! I will be going but I'm sure I will not be there for very long.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Decorations at our House

I think I am finally done with the Christmas decorations at our house. The Tree is decorated,
the mantel is done, outside is done and now I can focus on other things like baking cookies, making the last remaining gifts, card writing, etc. Here are some pictures of our decorations that I promised.

Our 10' Tree

This Silent Night Ornament was my Grandparents from the '40's or '50's.

Woodland Santa Ornament

Last year my sister, Sue gave me this ornament for Christmas. It is a picture of me when I was 2 yrs. old!!

I bought this lovely sparkly jeweled snowflake ornament from Pottery Barn. It is one of my favorites.

This is the blue cupboard I have in the Dining Room all spruced up for Christmas.

This is my old world Santas, the Belleek china cottage ornament we got in Ireland and a Cast Soldier on his horse on the blue cupboard in the Dining Room.

On the other side of the Blue Cupboard I put the Christmas Teapot and service for two!

This is my Byer's Carolers collection on the entertainment unit in the Family Room. The entertainment unit was made by my Dad a few years ago.

Closeup of the Byer's Carolers.

Here is the mantel in the Family Room.


This Santa is on the mantel is mine and my Papa gave it to me when I was 1! That makes my Santa 51 yrs. old!

Here is Old Befana, my Byer's doll on the other side of the mantel.

My antiqued tin reindeer are in the center of the mantel. I put the red votives on either side to add some color.

Well that is all for today. I have alot more to show you but I will do it over the next few days. Gives you something to look forward too!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What a nice surprise!

Two years ago I bought a small Meyer Lemon Tree at Lowes in the Fall. I nurtured the tree by putting it outside when it was warm and bringing the tree in when it got colder. I moved it from the townhouse we were in to the house we are now renting. It got wonderful smelling flowers on it at the townhouse and then produce about 13 little lemons! After a while there were only 4 lemons that decided they were going to prosper. Tonight I went to get some iced tea for John and I for dinner and realized there weren't any store bought lemons left. I looked at the lemons on the tree and one of them was ready to be picked. Now mind you I have been waiting 8 months for these lemons to mature so I could pick them! Tonight this one lemon was just ripe enough. I cut it up and it was really, really juicy and it tasted wonderful! There really is nothing like your very own lemon!
Here is the luscious first lemon off the tree.

Here is the lemon on the cutting board-look at all the juice!!

The bowl I started to put the cut up lemon in was just big enough to hold all the lemon.

The next lemon that will be ripe is about twice the size of this one!! The other 2 are about the same size. The lemon seems to be full of juice and doesn't taste bitter like the ones from the store. I might even buy another tree!

The Tree is Finally Decorated!


Last night John and I finally completed trimming our tree. I will take pictures over the weekend. Decorating a 10' tree is not such an easy task! I am really upset though because I cannot find the box that has our antique ornaments in it. We moved in May and I know they came with us but now over the weekend I have to tear the garage apart to find them. I miss my clip on birds, little pine cones that are dusted with glitter that were my grandparents ornaments, etc., etc.! I know I will find them, but it is upsetting not knowing where they are. I put the Nativity up last night with my bible from when I was in 3rd grade. I always clip a real feather white dove to the bible just like my Nana did! I have a Waterford votive candle holder next to the Nativity too and I light it every night the week of Christmas. Christmas Day I usually keep it lit the whole day unless we go out. This year I did the banister a little different. We always put the Christmas greens with pinecones on the banister with little white lights but this year I added some small ornaments too-it looks wonderful! I put my mercury glass candlesticks up on the mantel and the glittery silver bird and greens. I also added some antique Santas along with the Santa my Papa gave me when I was one (that makes Santa 51 years old!). I still have to put up my Dickens Village some where and add a few things here and there but I'm pretty much done decorating.

I will be taking pictures and posting everything for you to see over the weekend. It was just too late last night and too dark.

Now I can concentrate on getting the handmade Christmas gifts done and baking a few dozen cookies!

Everyone remember to enjoy the Season!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Passing of a Great Person in Our Family

Last night John got a call that his Uncle Matt passed away at the age of 94. Uncle Matt was a patent attorney for US Steel for many years in Pittsburgh, PA and when he retired he moved to Hilton Head, SC. He lived there for over 30 yrs. and then the last few years of his life he moved to Columbia, MD to an assisted living facility to be closer to some family members.

I remember meeting Uncle Matt 33 years ago at dinner at John's Mom and Dad's house. He loved life! Right away he gave me a big hug, told me how pretty I was and then turning to John and said hold on to this one don't let her get away! He then turned and winked at me! He always called me Doll or Babe, but not in an offense way. It was just Uncle Matt's way. He was also a very sharp dresser. His clothes were always the latest fashion and he always looked "dashing". Uncle Matt was a very religious man, he always went to Mass every Sunday and other holy days. He helped out at his local parish as much as he could.

My girls loved Uncle Matt! He would always include them in every social outing he was planning. We visited him many times when he lived on Hilton Head. Jenny especially remembers the McDermitt Family Reunion on Hilton Head when she brought her then boyfriend, Darius. Uncle Matt took Darius aside and told him what a great "gal" Jenny was and that he better treat her like a lady and respect her to the fullest!! That was just the kind of guy he was.

The last few years had been very hard for Uncle Matt. He had major heart surgery. Then he had to have a defribulator pacemaker put in. He seemed to be recoverying from that but he was exceptionally tired all the time. He was then diagnosed with Parkinson's. John called him around Thanksgiving and he really could only talk for about 8 minutes and he told John he was too tired and must go. We really knew this was a sign that Uncle Matt wouldn't be with us too much longer.

Uncle Matt you will be immensely missed! Love you!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A New Year's Resolution Early!


I have been extremely busy the past few months trying to make alot of my Christmas gifts. I have definitely made a New Year Resolution early-I will be starting in January making knitting or handmade gifts. I never seem to be able to enjoy the holidays because I am frantically making things, especially knitted things. I have also decided that I will be buying gifts for people all year through and a few small things for stockings, etc. during the holiday buying season. I feel better already just saying that is what I'm going to do! I am really going to try my hardest to do just that!

Hope everyone has a great day!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Some Great Holiday Decorating Ideas

I thought I would share some of these great ideas for Holiday decorating that I found on pinterest.com:

I love this decorating idea!! Candy Canes in a white urn-really beautiful!

I thought this was really cute-some Southern charm!!

I think I might try this idea-clay pots with pine cones and red Christmas ornaments. Dress up your porch or the outdoors.

I love this garland around the door with the Christmas tree and wreath.

I need to start decorating around here, but it has been so busy! I will be working on decorating Wednesday night after work. I'll post some pictures of what I've done with the house. Everyone happy decorating!!

What a Whirlwind Weekend!

My weekend started like a whirlwind right from Friday on! Friday night John and I had Owen overnight. Jenny and Kevin were going to Kevin's Office Christmas Party. Owen was so much fun. He is starting to crawl or I should say he is trying to hard to crawl but he usually drags himself! Very funny! Jenny and Kevin came over around 9:00 on Saturday morning and we had breakfast together at Skillets. They left and then John and I headed over to Michaels-I need a few items to create some Christmas gifts. Then we had John's Office Christmas Party Luncheon around 1:00. It was very good and we had a great time! Got home and got ready for a Christmas Shopping Party at Megan's house where I was displaying my jewelry. I did pretty well there-her neighbors always love my jewelry. I got home around 12:15-boy was I tired!! Sunday I had a nice home cooked breakfast with John and the back at the jewelry table until 12:30. I then met some of my knitting friends at Dillworth Coffee until 4! Came home and John was back from visiting people in the hospital and nursing homes from our church. We chatted for a moment and then I checked my e-mails. I found out I had 3 orders to fill and they were custom. I spent a few hours before dinner and after dinner working on the orders. The rest of the night I watched TV and knitting!

I hope next weekend isn't as busy as that!! It is almost good to come back to work, I'll be busy but not that busy!!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yarn Dye Fest!!

Last night my knitting friend, Amy came over and she taught me how to dye yarn! I had alot of cream 100% wool yarn and it needed to be dyed. First I chose blue and green dye. We boiled some water and carefully placed the yarn in the water. You use a wooden spoon to gently push the yarn down into the water. This takes all the air pockets out of the yarn so there is no part of the yarn that doesn't get dyed. We then placed the yarn in a plastic storage container so we could apply the dye. Like this:


My friend, Amy "squirting" the yarn with the dye.

After you get the dye on the yarn the way you want it, you wrap the whole thing in saran wrap, kind of like a burrito. Then you place it in the microwave until it gets really hot. You then unwrap the yarn and put it in the sink to cool. When it is cool you rinse the yarn until the water is clear. Then you hang the yarn over your shower curtain until dry.

Here are some more pictures of my lovely yarn:

This is the pink yarn cooling off before rinsing.

Here is the pink yarn all done.

Here is the blue/green yarn we made.

Here is all the blue/green yarn hanging over the shower rod to dry.

I love the range of the blues and greens in the yarn.

What an absolutely fun time creating this lovely yarn! I'm sure I will be making lots more lovely yarn and soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Greenery all around!

I started to decorate for Christmas last night and I realized how much Christmas Greenery I put around the house. I was surprised how much I use in my decorating! I definitely don't have all my decorating done but I was making notes on how much greenery I will need. I put some on the mantel, around the Nativity on the sofa console table, in urns (inside and out), around the large white wooden swan I have, on the kitchen and dining room table, on a few little tables I have around the family room and on the banisters. I went on pinterest and found these really beautiful ideas I thought I would share with all of you. Hope it gives you some inspiration and ideas!

(all photos via pinterest.com)

I love this idea! Ice Skates on a greenery swag or wreath for your door. I have ever put my skates on a sled with some greenery and a beautiful cranberry velvet bow.

If you are lucky enough to have a wooden wheelbarrow, you could spruce it up this time of year with greenery and red berries. A few white twigs might be nice too!

A simple swag of different kinds of greenery make any door look festive!

This is such a simple idea-take any size can add greenery and a ribbon and you have a centerpiece!

I love greenery on the banister and this photo has some lovely ideas.

Can't forget the mantel. I love greenery and pinecones for mine!

I thought this was a really nice idea either for your home or as a gift. Put some little trees in crocks, pots, antique vases, etc. You could add ribbon or maybe some cranberries to the little tree (only if it is sturdy enough) or sprinkle with glitter!

Hope this gave you all some great ideas! Happy decorating!

Ring of Kerry, Ireland
My husband, John and I went to Ireland for our 25th Wedding Anniversary in 2004. We had an awesome trip and we will never forget it. We actually got to visit our friends who live in Northern Ireland. We spent 3 wonderful days with them! The picture above was taken when we visited The Ring of Kerry. The beauty of Ireland is just spectacular! If you ever get a chance visit there.
Megan is my oldest daughter. She and Ken were married on April 12, 2008. It was a wonderful ceremony and reception!
Jenny and Kevin at their wedding 8/30/08. The wedding was at our home and turned out wonderful! Everyone had such a good time!