Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Black and Blue Magic...

I can't believe I finally found out the title to this book. I have been searching for this book for probably over 20 years.
I had read "Black and Blue Magic" by Zilpha Keatley Snyder back in the early 70's, I think. It was about a clumsy boy who was supposedly descended from Houdini, who was staying at a boarding house for the summer, was really bored, and working there made his shoulders sore. (I forget what he did) He got this ointment from an older gentleman. When he rubbed it on his sore shoulders at night, he grew wings! He had such adventures!
I remember being so entranced by the idea that this boy could fly and how he could escape his humdrum life each night. At the time, (I think I was 8 or 10?) flying was something I was fascinated with, and used to dream that I could. (Funny how I can remember that dream to this day, even though this was back in the 70's!!)
This book came to mind many times over the years, but I could never remember the name of it til I found it on a website today. I found it on 'Loganberrybooks.com'. It seems to be a search site where you can put in information about a book you once read, but could no longer rememer the title. I can't believe how many people had read this same book and made inquiries.
Well, I'm delighted to finally solve that mystery. I would like to read this book again to see if it was as good as I remember, so maybe I will check my local library, or perhaps EBAY.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22 2008

I'm trying to get organized to do some sewing. I also want to get back into scrapbooking, and really make some headway on this. Plus, I am working on a cross stitch project most every evening for my mother. I really enjoy cross stitching. I finally got my older projects washed and ready for framing. The shocker was when I priced a small 6 x 8 project for framing. $80!!! I immediately decided to try doing this myself. I have some bigger projects - 12 x 16, etc, so I can only imagine how much that might cost. Even WITH a Michaels' coupon. The trick for framing cross stitch is to use....darn! Don't you hate when that happens? I know what they are called, but can't for the life of me remember what it is at the moment. Anyway, they go between the frame and glass so the glass doesn't squish your needlework. SPACERS!!! See, I knew what they were called. :0)) Just took a minute for that file to download.
I have so much I want to do - so many quilting projects, so much fabric to use up - that I am overwhelmed. Yes, I know. Bite off small bites, right? I'm trying...and I won't even mention the wool felt project waiting to be stitched...

I can make such a mess. I bought 4 craft tables from Costco. They are great, height adjustable... and every one of them has stuff on it. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I really need cabinetry to store alot of this stuff. I get out my project, and there it sits. I would have cabinets, except we plan to move this spring or summer. We are SO hoping.

Which brings me to another 'project'. Finding a house. Getting preapproved. Oh the joy... Since it's still only January, available houses are at a minimum, with one or two trickling onto the market every other day or so. And the other problem - it's so darn expensive here! We live in north central CT, in a nice safe community, about 25 minutes from my husband's job. We really hate to get any further away, but the property taxes here are $4000 on up. That add's alot to your mortgage payment. If we cross the border into Massachusetts, the property tax gets cut in half. But the available housing and the areas we would consider are minimal. SO....I guess we just keep looking, and hope something comes onto the market in the next few months that we can afford, like, has reasonable taxes, and within 30 - 40 minutes from work. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10th 2008 Warm weather!

It reached 60F the last two days. Great weather for January in New England! It won't last, of course. 50's today, 40's on the weekend - you get the picture. There are a lot of bare patches of ground now, which combined with the warm temperatures has given me a taste for spring. I thought in November I was ready for a long winter. Well, longish maybe. But I think by the time Spring really gets here, I will be more than ready for it. I am already starting to think about my favorite greenhouse in Granby. They have expanded over the last few years, and now offer nearly every plant imaginable. I want one of each please! :0)
The Carolina wrens are very busy this morning down by the garden. I love their different calls. They have to be my favorite bird. Last year, they raised a family behind the garden, and I watched them with their young in my front bushes, talking and hopping around. They are so gregarious. I also had a family of crows last year, which continue to come. Their young are very annoying in their incessant call for food. One just did NOT want to grow up! He continued to harass his parents well after the others were doing things on their own. Fortunately he must have finally given up, for all is quiet now. I've read that crows will travel up to 50 miles per day to and from their communal roost to their feeding grounds. They are actually quite interesting to watch as they raise their families.
My cat has spring fever. That's the only way I can describe his morning whine routine. First, the kitty treats. He hops onto the garbage can beside the pantry, where the treats are stored. He starts purring happily when I open the door. We then survey the canned goods, which he is quite enthusiastic about. Then we find the can of treats, which he nearly rubs the writing off of.
I call 'Kitty Treats!' quite loudly, and he runs to the place where he always gets his treats. He especially loves these, as they have greens in them. Honestly, if he had a choice, I thinke he would have been born a goat! He loves grass that much! Then he sits on the bench in the front hall and whines. He gets real excited if I put a coat on to go out to do anything. He thinks it's his chance to get a moment outside. I don't let him out on his own, too many coyotes and other cats around. But I do take him out on the front step for a minute or two, or on his leash down the sidewalk and the driveway, which he absolutely adores. Just not today. Now he is patiently parked on my computer desk as I type. He is not fussy about what he sits on - photos, papers, pens, stapler, whatever, as long as he can sit down. That's my cat.

Christmas 2007

Every year, we go up north to New Brunswick, Canada to be with our families for Christmas. It's a 9 hour drive each way if the weather holds.
Below: The McDougall Family
This year, the McDougalls' had a sing at the local Baptist church. All eight 'kids' were able to be there to sing. Mind you, the youngest 'kid' is in her 30's, the oldest pushing 60. Some of them play instruments, one sings in a local band, others sing at local charitable events. The entire family is musical, and 'Dad' McDougall can play guitar, mandolin, etc.

(The cute one in the center is my hubby!:0))

Below: Lisa MacDougall
We are not professional, well, except Lisa, who sang and played piano for years with Rita McNeil, both on the road, and in a television show. For those of you not familiar with Rita, she is from Cape Breton, NS. Lisa has since worked as music director at Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and travels some overseas for other engagements. She has played piano since she was at least 5 years old, plays by ear, and had to learn to read music! She has a gift, and we all enjoy it very much when she shares it with us.

Anyway, we sang Christmas music, some familiar, and some more obscure. My husband got a few solo moments, plus did a reading of 'The Christmas Guest'. He did an excellent job of that, I might add. Most of the guests (there were almost 200 in that small church, standing room only)were family and friends who have known the McDougall family for many many years. I spoke with my old grade nine homeroom teacher, whom I hadn't seen in over 25 years! My father-in-law shed more than a few tears at seeing his kids all together again and performing. That was really why we did it. He is 77 now, and who knows how many more times we will be able to do this for him.
We always spend time with each of my two stepkids, their spouses and our grandchildren.
One of the highlights of our trip was having dinner with my stepson and his wife. He cooked dinner for us, and did an wonderful job. This was the first time they cooked dinner for anyone since they were married. We had Maple Chicken, mashed potatoes with chives, green and wax beans, and Cream of Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup. Homemade!! It was delicious, and I think we need to make it an annual event. We had a great time, and it was very relaxing.
Another treat was the night we decided to stay at a motel because we just needed some down time. We opted for a room with two double beds for a good night's sleep (I don't know about you, but it seems the King size beds are harder than the doubles), and when she handed us our key, she said we had rec'd a complimentary upgrade to their suite!! It was lovely! I just wish we had been able to spend more time there. Two rooms, two TVs, micro, fridge, coffee maker, leather couch and chair. It was just what we needed.

Below: My brother and his 3 children
After the McDougall family, we went downriver (1 1/2 hrs) to visit my parents for Christmas Eve and Day. My brother and his kids came down for Christmas Eve Day, but Gina had to work, so we didn't get to see her at all. I was SO disappointed. This was David and Gina's first Christmas together as a married couple.

We have Seafood chowder Christmas eve, and I made my usual Salmon Pate and Shrimp Appetizer. Mom had made lots of cookies beforehand, so there was a lot of snacking!

Rick, Rebekah, David, McKenna Mom's Christmas tree
Our final day, we travelled back up north (1 1/2 hrs) to my husband's parents, and had Boxing Day dinner with all the family. This too is an annual event, which we never miss. I don't know how Gail (their step mom) does it. She cooks for this huge brood with all their extended families, grand kids, etc every year, and it goes off without a hitch. It has to be a labor of love.

Shortly after, we headed for CT. We stopped in Bangor, ME overnight for a bit of shopping, but honestly, by this point, I didn't want to buy anything. I was tired and just wanted to go home. Although we love to see our families, it is always a road trip for us. 9 hours each way, so many people to see while we are there - we are constantly on the road the whole time. We keep saying we are going to just rent a cottage on the lake, and stay there. Anyone who wants to visit, can. I'm thinking that's going to have to be a BIG cottage!! HA!
It was indeed a memorable Christmas this year.