Friday, September 14, 2018

There's a Worm in my Blog

 It started last night when I had just sat down to read a bit before retiring for the night. I found I had a message on my Ravelry page asking about a pattern. The pattern link I had previously shared was no longer available. So, here I was late at night goggling to find where I could find the pattern and update my Ravelry page. 

I found the link but in the meantime, I found that someone had taken my photo, and pattern info and posted it on their website!  Without giving any credit to me! Was I upset? Yes! Not long ago, I read on one of the blogs I follow, that someone had actually taken the authors complete post and put it on their website.  This kind of behavior is beyond rude!
What is wrong with people today?  I'm not a fan of Pinterest, but at least if my photos show up on that site, so does my blog address to give me credit for the info.

above is the screen from the website
As you can see above, this photo belongs to me as it's the dress that I knitted.  This woman has thousands of patterns on her website and yet says ". . . work of many talented people. . .who have donated them to share. . ."  She has a very lame disclaimer on her website.  I did not donate this to her site!  She stole this info from my blog and gave me no credit whatsoever!  She trolls the internet daily I'm sure to post these patterns, asks for a donation to cancer research, yet, she has monetized her blog with tons of advertising!  She's a scammer if you ask me!  And, to top if off, she has over 1,500 followers.  Beware people that you are following a very fraudulent website!

I think I've had my head under water for too long.  I can't believe what people can do for their own satisfaction.  I love to find ideas online and if I find them on someone else's blog and share it on my blog, I always leave a link to the original author. It makes me so, so happy to share links to other wonderful blogs that I discover.  I would never ever take credit for someone else's work or photos, or whatever.

I think I've calmed down a bit now since I went outside and worked in my garden.  My thoughts and prayers are with those along the Carolina coast dealing with this horrific hurricane.  Enjoy your Friday and your weekend too, everyone! Until next time. . .

With my best wishes,


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Reflections and Knitting!

Hi everyone.  September is here and it seems like the summer months are a distant memory.  I like to keep up on current events but lately the news has been so very depressing.  Sometimes it boggles my mind what I read in the headlines such as boycotting In-N-Out Burger, or the ridiculous law that the Egyptian parliament wants to pass on making it illegal to name your newborn baby a western name!  I've never heard of such madness before.  It was somber yet refreshing this morning to watch Senator McCain's funeral where everyone came together for the good of mankind.  So, to relax what little mind I have left, I indulge in my crafts. . .

My husbands two brothers and their families from the east coast joined us for a week here in sunny California.  We had a wonderful time together and ended our visit at the Montage Resort on the Pacific Ocean where we enjoyed coffee on the terrace.

I finished knitting my astrantia socks which will be given to my daughter.  You can find all the specifics here on my Ravelry page if you wish.  

I had a good laugh about these socks after my son sent me the above message.  Yes, the yarn cost $26.00 but what can I say?  If you're a crafter, you buy what you like. . .
I am so very excited about my current knitting project.  If you recall, a couple of years ago I went to a knitting retreat in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  I received this huge cone of natural, undyed silk thread.  Originally, I had started another pattern but it just wasn't to my liking.  I found this new pattern and I'm in love with working on this.

It's my first time really knitting from charts and I was hesitant.  But, luckily, the charts are well written with easy stitch icons to memorize.  I do have proper stitch markers but they would be placed at the yarn overs which make the yarn overs not tight enough. Hence, my homemade yarn markers work great.  It's been fun seeing the pattern take shape, especially the edging on this particular pattern.

I've also have my crochet hook handy to do a quick crochet project now and then.  I bought this particular variegated thread in Turkey.  I found this pattern on Becki's website; she shares some beautiful things she creates.

I hope you have a fun and safe holiday weekend.  I'm off to my backyard where I'll be sitting by the pool with my knitting needles in hand.  Until next time . . .

With my best wishes to each of you,


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Lazy, Hot Days of Summer

Hello dear readers. Is it hot and dry where you are?  Right now it's 100 degrees outside in the shade.  Hence, I'm inside writing to you!

It's lovely to eat outside in the evenings but the last couple of nights,it's still been in the 90's.  Which, for us here on the west coast, is very unusual.  When the sun sets, the temps drop but not this week.  The photo above is from my daughter; she hosted a dinner party last week with an Italian menu.

The news around here is wild fires.  Unfortunately, one ignited yesterday afternoon in our area.  You can see the smoke above taken from our back yard.  It started in the early afternoon with about 50 to 75 acres. . .

When we retired last night, the fire had scorched 4,000 acres and was still burning.  The was the scene last night from our back yard.  It was scary to say the least.  I called the Sheriff's dept. to ask about procedures for evacuation.  Luckily, we weren't in danger but we slept very lightly last night.  The fire is still burning this afternoon in some very deep, hilly terrain.  The drought conditions from past years has made the perfect storm for a wild fire.

It's enjoyable if I can make it outside early enough to enjoy the setting before the heat sets in.  Otherwise, we find ourselves stuck in the house for the afternoon, away from the blazing sun and cooled with the A/C.  I long for the days when I can turn off the A/C!

I finished the first project from my Craftpod box.  For someone like me, who doesn't know how to embroidery (luckily, I have a huge book showing all the embroidery stitches), I was pleased to make this little needle case.  I turned the raw edges inside as I'm not fond of the raw, fray edges of fabric.  I think it's from those years in junior high when my mother was teaching me to sew.  She was a perfectionist in her sewing and I thank her for that now :)

Yesterday I had an appointment with my dermatologist.  I went thinking it was nothing unusual but I'm so happy that I made the appointment.  Turns out that my normal skin tag that is normally frozen, had to be biopsied.  Although I've not received the results yet, I'm not worried but I do want to share with you that if something seems not right with you  in regard to your health, please seek medical attention.   You never know what could be happening.

Thank you for your kind comments.  It warms my heart (maybe I should say "cools") to hear from you.

Until next time,


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Craftpod Crafting

Hi everyone.  I hope you are enjoying the hot, long days of summer for those of you in the Western hemisphere :)

Awhile back I came across Craftpod via a blog.  It looked like so much fun with everything being included. 
Before I left to go to Turkey in June, I placed my order for the Summer Craftpod.  I thought it was a good deal considering the shipping to the US was just under 5 GBP.  Upon my return home in July, there was my little Craftpod box waiting for me.  Sheer delight!

I couldn't be happier with the contents as it's a surprise as to what you will receive.  How fun is that!  The first little kit will be a needle book.  I had long wanted to make one of these and now I'll have my own.

Also included is a cross stitch piece which was designed by the talented Lucy of Attic 24.  I'm a little bit hesitant to start this as it's out of my comfort zone; I do needlepoint but not counted cross stitch.  Wish me luck. . .

And, to complete the box, here are the little goodies that make it so special.  A beautiful print by illustrator Brie Harrison, a rose enamel pin from, proper tapestry needles, button, and a lovely tea bag.

 It's going to be a fun afternoon stitching my way along to happiness.

Speaking of happiness, here's a photo of Laguna Beach from last week.  It's always a popular place but especially during these hot summer days.  Lilly sends her greetings to everyone, too.  I love hearing from you and reading your comments.

With my best wishes,


Friday, July 20, 2018

Staying in Venice and Istanbul

 Hello my friends.  Sorry I've not posted in a long time but I just returned home from Turkey this week.
My husband and I spent three weeks at our home in Turkey before the rest of the family joined us to continue the vacation.  I've come to the conclusion that our family "travels" as their hobby.  The photo above was taken at a wine tasting we enjoyed in Greece.

We enjoyed our time in the south of Turkey before venturing off for rest of the vacation.

Our first stop was Venice.  It was my third visit to this amazing city but this time I had the pleasure to stay three nights in this magical place.

My daughter rented two different apartments for the family and we stayed in this unique place where we had our own private courtyard.  It had been completely renovated and was very modern and comfortable but I missed the old world charm a bit. 

Venice is an interesting city.  The population now is around 55,000 residents; it used to be close to 175,000.  As the people have left, the homes have been bought up by investors who can rent them at a high rate of rent. Thereby, the average, younger Venetian cannot afford to live in Venice anymore.  It's a very sad case. Also, many Venetians are against the cruise ships coming into their city.  I totally agree with them.  Cruise ships can ruin the unique atmosphere of a place.

The apartment my daughter and her family stayed in was a perfectly styled Italian apartment with Venetian glass chandeliers.  It overlooked a canal and the light that came into the room was amazing.

Here's the beautiful hallway with the wood floors and a wall of framed handpainted watercolors.

I'm hoping to recreate one of these watercolors. . .

On our last night in Venice we had a family dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  It was in a square but there was a private courtyard behind.  We had spied this place a day earlier when the waiter told us about the menu.  The waiter from the restaurant next door saw us and told us "You don't want to eat there - it's owned by Pakistani's and is not Italian food".  My husband was shocked and told him "I'm Pakistani".  He isn't but that wasn't the point. Later that day, we went to lunch at this restaurant and it was the best Italian food I've ever had.  The owner is Italian but all the servers are from Bangladesh.  They were so kind to us and offered superb customer service.

  Hence, the last night in Venice we returned to the same place for dinner with all the family.  I didn't realize until later that Rome and surrounding areas of Italy has the second highest population of Bangladesh immigrants outside of London.  They are an integral part of Venice and I admire their ability to learn a new language and adjust to a different cullture.

We left Venice on a cruise and upon our return, we took a flight back to Istanbul.  I love this city, too.  

Again, my daughter had booked two different homes for us to stay in the area of Balat/Fener.  This area is off the Golden Horn and is the old Greek and Jewish part of the city.  Of course, now the demographics have changed.

At first look, the neighborhood can look a little rough in parts but it was quite charming and we felt safe too.  They were putting in new streets with beautiful pavers.
The home we stayed in was actually five floors; the bottom floor being a separate studio apartment.  It had been completed renovated to a classic style with beautiful period furnishings.

One of the unique features was this stunning, original wooden ceiling.

And, the stairwell continued to wind up each floor. Our Greek friend, Dmitra, joined us in Istanbul and told us about the Greek community of Turkey from the turn of the century who would have lived in these kind of homes.  They were well off merchants and other successful traders.  After World War I, many of them returned to Greece where they were thought of as a kind of aristocracy among the other Greeks.  Many  more left in the 1970's over the issues with Cyprus.  

The neighborhood is transitioning and becoming a very artsy area.  There were some lovely little cafes a few steps away where they served their style of "Turkish breakfast".

From the top floor balcony, we had a great view of Phanar Greek Othodox College.  It was built by an Ottoman Greek architect beginning in 1881.  The red tower is a well known landmark.

Also nearby, is the  Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople where the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I resides.  

It was an enjoyable time to be with the family.  However, it's always good to return home and get back to my routine.  Lilly was patiently waiting at the door for us when we arrived Tuesday night.

I hope you are enjoying your summer.  It's been unusually hot and humid here for this week but our normal, dry, hot weather is expected to return on Monday.

My best wishes to you,


Friday, May 25, 2018

The Long Weekend Has Begun

Hello dear friends.  It's Friday afternoon here and the weekend has started with a boom!  The pool replaster guys arrived with their jackhammers and have begun attacking the pool.

In August, we will have lived in this home for eight years.  It's the first home we've ever had with a pool and hopefully the last.  It's basically a hole in the ground that takes a lot of money and upkeep.  We are "do it yourself" people but this time, we had to hire a proper company to replaster the pool.  You can see the total discoloration and erroding of the plaster.

The plaster team arrived just a little bit ago, all five of them with their air driven jackhammers and they are getting the job done of taking off the old plaster.  Unfortunately, the whole pool system of heater and filter are over 25 years old, so we're having that system replaced too.  This is for a couple (myself and husband), who maybe get into this pool twice a year.  It reminds me of the boat we once owned.  Luckily, we sold that boat.  The pool I'm afraid is here to stay :)

I had a lovely week as my daughter took me to tea.  It was part of my Mother's Day gift.  I didn't tell you but my dear husband was in the hospital over Mother's Day.  He's fine now - long story short he had been prescribed too many doses of antibiotics and it effected his system.  Thank goodness for great medical care.  He is fully recovered.  It was scary.

My daughter and I enjoyed a lovely tea at the Tea House in an old house in San Juan Capistrano.  We've gone there before and my it was a busy place that day.  

On Saturday, I attended my Daughters of Norway lodge meeting.  It was held at the Women's Club House in Dana Point.  I love going to this club house as it's so old school from many, many years ago.  Our dear member, Myrna, wore her Mother's bunad that was made by her family in Norway back in the 1960's.  It's all hand embroidered; such fine detail, too.  I loved the jacket that she also has as part of the ensemble.  Myrna will be wearing this lovely bunad to the Grand Lodge Convention later this summer.

On Sunday, I hosted a dinner for some dear friends.  We had a good time and my husband bar-b-qued steaks but the bar-b-que decided not to cooperate.  No fear, as we finished them in the broiler.  It was a nice evening.

I'm still working on finishing my knitted scarf but in the meantime I started this little needlepoint.  I'm so late in coming to discover this wonderful needle art.  I absolutely love needlepoint!  However, the canvases can be quite pricey.  So far, I've bought them on eBay and have had great luck.   This is just a smaller one that I'm making from leftover tapestry wool.  I changed up the colors a bit as I don't like bright colors.
I found this canvas design on eBay through two different sellers.  It's a very large canvas and when I decided to purchase it, it was gone.  Luckily, after looking on the web, I found the exact same canvas at which is a Turkish website of all things.  It is 60 cm x 125 cm.

And I also bought this little canvas as I love the oval design.  In addition to the two shown above, I bought one more for my daughter.  And, guess what I paid for all three?  $61.00!  It was a steal.  Here's the catch; Goblen offers free shipping in Turkey so I had them shipped to my son's home there.  But, if I were to have them shipped to the US via DHL, is would have been $24.00 shipping.  It is still a great deal as the large swan canvas above was $99.00 on eBay.

The company offers all types of needlework products.  I didn't buy the tapestry wool as I wanted to see if I had some of the colors in my stash.  As it turned out, I was in need of some black tapestry wool and I hate to pay shipping charges.  I found DMC Laine Colbert tapestry wool online at WalMart and had it shipped to my local WalMart store for free where I picked it up. It's quite puzzling to me why WalMart would carry such an item such as French tapestry wool?  

Anyway, that's the update from Lilly My Cat.  Lilly is as sweet and sassy as ever and she sends you all her meows and good wishes for a safe Memorial Day holiday!

With my best wishes,


PS - I hope I didn't bore you with my last two blog posts about investments and buying a home.  I just have a real passion about these things and if I can ever help someone in some way then that's a good thing!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Don't Give Up on Buying a Home

Wow, my last post was so popular I'm back again with another!  (Not really, it bombed but that's OK as it's out there in blogland for someone who might be enlightened).

Really guys, I want to tell you about something that is now and present.  Buying a home.  You'll say,"we can't buy a home because we don't qualify for a loan".  I totally understand that.  But, there's always another way.

If you've read my blog, you'll know that I've invested in real estate for many, many years.  Throughout those years, many times I've sold a piece of real estate to a buyer through a real estate contract.  Here's what happens.  When you want to buy a home, you go to a bank or mortgage lender and apply for a loan.  If you get approved, that bank or lender will give the money to the seller of the property and then you will pay back the lender at a set interest rate over a period of usually 30 years.  OK....but you don't qualify for a loan.  No worries, you just need to find a property where the seller will be your lender or your bank so to speak.

Here's the real life scenario that happened just two years ago.  Years earlier, I had invested in some property in an area of California when the prices had dropped.  I secured an excellent tenant for one of the homes and he paid on time as agreed.  Less than three years ago, I decided to sell my real estate holdings in this area.  I asked my tenant if he was interested in buying the home he was renting.  He said "yes, but I don't have money for a down payment and I don't qualify for a loan".  I told him no worries as I would be the banker for him.  The following took place:

1.  We agreed on a purchase price and interest rate with a thirty year amortization.
2.  A preliminary title report was ordered as the buyer needs to confirm that the property he is purchasing is free of all encumbrances. (The seller owns the property free and clear).
3.  Our local title/escrow company drew up the legal documents which included a Real Estate Contract, Promissory Note and the Deed of Trust, held by safekeeping with the escrow company.
4.  There are closing costs involved in purchasing/selling real estate.  The buyer's closing costs were around $2,000 and I did not take any down payment on the sale.
5.  The legal documents were signed and recorded with the county.

In a nutshell, my tenant became the homeowner for less than $2,000!  He pays me on a monthly basis, and his monthly payment includes principal and interest on the loan, along with taxes and insurance.  The local escrow/title company services this loan for both the seller/buyer at a small monthly fee.

YOU can be a homeowner.  You just need to find someone out there who is willing to sell you the property on a real estate contract.  That seller is basically going to by your lender.  It's good for the seller too if he doesn't want to sell, get all the cash in hand and pay out a large portion to the IRS for his share of taxes.  This way, as the money comes in, his taxes to the IRS on the sale of this property are proportional.

Don't give up can also LEASE TO BUY.  I have an investment property now that I am negotiating this scenario.  You agree to lease the property at X amount of dollars for a term of X months/years.  A portion of that rent can be credited back to you if you decide to exercise the option to buy.  Again, it should all be in the contract you draw up with the seller.

Now my tenant is a homeowner.  He and his family are thrilled to be able to own a home in which they show pride and take extremely good care of the property.  Already, his home has increased in value and if he were to sell today, he could walk away with a profit of approximately $50K.  Not a bad deal after all.

What I want to say is that if there's a will there's a way.  It doesn't matter where you live in this world, don't resign yourself to thinking "no, it won't work".  You don't know until you try.

I hope this can help someone out there in this huge world.  And, I'd love to hear your feedback.  If you have questions, I'll be sure and try and answer them.

Sending you my best wishes,