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The Best Eve of All-Hallow-Mas

"Isti sunt... These are they who while yet they lived in the flesh,
planted the Church in their own blood;
they drank of the Lord's cup,
and became the friends of God
... et amici Dei facti sunt."
[Responsory from Matins]

What a privilege it is to live in the House of God,
where, on the

eve of All-Hallow-Mas,
the Feast of All Saints,
we have time to spend a few moments before the holy relics
put forth for veneration in the chapel for the feast-day.

In the darkness of the night and the howling of the wind,
far away from the world and all that one finds there on such a night as this,
how wonderful to spend a few moments in the company of these
our ancestors in the faith
who have chosen to guide their relics to our island home...
the martyrs who died so brutally centuries ago,
the confessors, the doctors
who enlightened the Church in every province of the ancient world,
the virgins and widows,
the monks and nuns, who loved God and left the world

before we were even thought of, before we were even born.
Relics from every clime and every land.

Our Lord the King of Glory, crowns one of His martyr saints.

As the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King wanes
and that of all the Saints dawns
we remember you and pray for you and your intentions.
The holy Divine Office tells us that
Our Lord crowned His saints with glory and honour
and madest them to have dominion over the works of His hands.

Whatever your intentions, your sufferings, your pains and hurts,
may the holy ones of God
who repose on our island
help you,
comfort you
with that dominion given to them

and lead you to that Heavenly Crown
which Our Lord has promised to them that love Him.

The Crown Above

"Venite, exultamus...
O come let us worship the Lord, the King of kings,
for He is Himself the Crown of all the Saints...

corona Sanctorum omnium."

lacking and the lurgy...

due to a lack of Mr Daylight and Mr Internet along with a house call from Mr Lurgy, my week has not gone as planned. but i am taking a leaf out of Our #1's book and seeing my glass as half full and not half empty. since she left for the bright lights of old blighty i have tried to hold on to her optimistic attitude. it has been 11 weeks since we said our goodbyes and it is just under 7 weeks to go and we will be saying our hellos. truth be told the 11 weeks has felt like 11 months...

on wednesday when Mr Daylight showed his face, the rain and windy dying down for a few hours, i rustled up Our #3 and along with Carlos, my trusty camera we managed to get a few pictures for my little shop resulting in some sweeties hanging in the window.
as you can imagine these photo taking moments are always a bit of a fiasco within the shed

this gave me a chance to wear my jaunty new cap upon my bonce!

i am most delighted with my crocheted hat from the lovely Emily, she makes them in every color under the sun and quite honestly i think they are a complete 'bobby bargain' for a handmade cap who does the most spiffy job of keeping one's nut warm in this autumnal weather.
i also rather like my little cap because more often that not, i am having a bad hair day. this is due to my lazy 'hair-doing' ways... after i have washed and dried my hair, i braid my hair and so it stays that way, until the next time of washing. i do not wash my hair daily, therefore it takes on a rather 'bed heady' look over time, braids staying 'as is'. my lovely blue corduroy hat is perfectly suited to covering up my birds nest on day two of 'unwashed' hair. i really don't think one can ask any more than that of a little hat of handmade goodness.

Mr Daylight was gone as quickly as he appeared. leaving no time for my 'da da da da dah' tutorial picture. i have all the 'nitty gritty' photos taken (last week Mr Sunshine was most willing) but they are not much good if i do not have the actual 'high hopes da dah' finished picture. for no one would know what they were actually trying to make and with the 'highest hopes' in the world, i am thinking a 'finished item' picture is a must for a tutorial.
this is where i felt my glass was half empty, for i had promised a tutorial for the end of this week, but then i turned it around and thought how spiffy to have the tutorial to look forward to next week, so once again the glass was postively overflowing.

now one would think Mr Lurgy visiting would make the glass look a little empty, however because of his lethargic making ways, i was rather pathetic yesterday, without Mr Internet i could have used my time wisely to catch up on all i put off on monday but instead i sat in a little heap on the couch with Mrs Hook for company. she is most ample and i do like her comforting ways. as luck would have it despite feeling a little foggy brained, a crafting epiphany found me. they don't happen very often but when they do it is a grand moment, so i know if Mr Lurgy has not visited, i would not have sat on my couch in a heap and i would not have had the crafting epiphany moment! never did i think Mr Lurgy was a half full kind of guy but i have been proved wrong.

she is wishing you a weekend of 'overflowing' glasses and will be back with high hopes on monday (Mr Internet willing) ~ Tif
footynote: gosh i forgot to say "have a happy halloween", it all sort of bypasses me, so it slipped my little brain. come sunday eve, i will be holed up on the couch with Mrs Hook whilst watching 'its the great pumpkin, charlie brown'. needless to say, i am total pants at scary movies...

Surviving October

I survived three days of the Blog Challenge. I guess that makes me blog challenged? It was too much. I don't want to rifle through 30 year old photo albums to find pictures and then sit in my basement with the spiders scanning them in and cropping them. Too much. Who has the time? Not this girl. At least not now. And I cheated and read ahead and some of the topics were things like 'your favorite bible verse'. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no atheist, but Jesus doesn't belong on my blog. You with me?

So back to the old Niki, that writes when she can about whatever she's thinking of at the time. Several of you emailed and/or commented that you were happy I was doing the blog challenge so you could "get to know me". Sorry to disappoint! I'm an open book though, so if you have a question, just ask!

1. I think it's really sweet when people tell me I'm all belly. I really am ALL BELLY. Thirty one and a half pounds of belly. Well, I think I have some boobage in there too. But this thing is massive now. When I sit, my belly rests on my lap. I'm not going to lie, it's as gross as it sounds.

The only shirts that fit me, are comfortable and make me feel cute are the GapMaternity Supersoft Long Sleeve Crewnecks. Because I stick out so much in front most shirts make me look like I have love handles; the side ruching on these hide all the cushion I have for pushin' (you're welcome for the visual). And they're long enough that I'm always covered in the back and the front. No state fair belly hanging out the bottom.

2. Dunkin Donuts Coffee, especially the pumpkin spice.

And not the decaf kind either. Try not to judge me too harshly. My kids are still chunkers and I'm able to function through a "normal" day. I was a Starbucks girl before the twins, but they've voted and seem to demand DD. I aim to please.

3. Glammed up pumpkins. I make Martha's famous glitter pumpkins every year. This year I caught Wild Ink's post on painted pumpkins too; don't mind if I do. 

These are Rebekah's loverly pumpkins. Mine have been up for over a month now, but I haven't had time to take a picture of them. Went to take one this morning and a pumpkin already started to rot and seeped through onto my sideboard. I proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes mumbling expletives and cleaning stripper dust off my furniture. They now have a thicker runner underneath them for added protection. (Yes, I could use funkins but, trust me, they're not as pretty.) 

Anyway, when I'm not swearing at them, I love these pumpkins and if you don't buy your gourds at the grocery store (like I did this year) they last from the beginning of October through Thanksgiving. Double-duty decorating!

I finally have the energy to cook again and my gag reflex is almost nonexistent these days, so I'm back in the kitchen and so happy to be there. Recipes and reviews to come soon. Last year subscribed to Cooking Light for $7 and it was the best $7 I spent. New things to try every month and almost everything we make is quick, low cal and healthy.  

The husband just had his physical and his bad cholesterol came back high. This makes me not-so-happy. I feel like I've failed as a wife over the last six months when I turned up my nose at the grocery store and 90% of the food we normally eat. I need to keep my honey in tip-top shape so he can live long and prosper. Anyway, if you love being in the kitchen, it's worth a subscription. Unlike most food magazines, nothing in this one is too fancy schmancy and almost everything we make is good!

5. Spinning. I'm back on the bike and it feels so good; I actually feel human again. A little bittersweet because I know I have to give it up again shortly, but right now I'm just pedaling and smiling. 

Before moving to the Capital Region, I taught spinning for about 6 years and I've been on the bike for the last ten. Strangely I never got into road biking, although I'm dying to. Anyway, this exercise is my therapy, it's my sanity and it's my favorite. And I decided to hop on the bike and see how I'd do after a month off, and guess what? I did just fine. I'm super excited to finish up work for good soon and be able to get in there a few times a week rather than just every so often. 

If you've never tried spin, but want to, I can't recommend it enough! In an hour you can push yourself at your own pace, blast up to 1000 calories and completely decompress. L.O.V.E. does not begin to describe how I feel about this class.


i have shed fever today, i think it is something to do with the crappity crap weather.

yesterday i could not leave the shed for fear of being blown over and covered in wet soggy leaves, i had visions of wondering how long it would take my clan to notice their mother was not in her usual spot within the shed.

however today, as i reported in the earlier paragraph, i have shed fever. it does not happen often for i love my shed, but now and then it creeps up from behind, it creeps from behind because it is a 'sneaky little blighter', a bit like Mr Lurgy, who is also a 'sneaky sneaker' who waits for one to turn the other way and pounces.

so because of shed fever i am willing to face my fears of being lost under a pile of soggy leaves and shall go to the grocery store, i do not care for grocery shopping at the best of times, i wish i could embrace it as a 'fun day out' but alas my local store does not warrant such a title.
i see it now
'local grocery store, bring all the family, a fun day out'
and if such a poster were to be posted in their window, i would beg to differ.

but shed fever has me antsy and so has the cries of complaints at the lacking of edible matter within our shed. another thing to make me antsy is Mr and Mrs Monkey... ever since i made a little LOVE wall patch and asked them to "smile pretty please" they have become rather attached to it.

i popped it in my little shop window this morning despite their protests, explaining the little wall patch was dreaming of life somewhere more exotic than Mossy Shed and her acre of wet soggy leaves.
Mr and Mrs Monkey are no longer speaking to me, their silence is deafening and making me feel a little wretched, which in turn is making the grocery store look more appealing by the minute

if the dreary weather would shift, she has plans to snap a few pics for a 'high hopes' tutorial soonish ~ Tif

monday morning...

last thursday evening when i was rootling through the chunky yarn section in our local craft store, i came across a fat quarter named 'farmdale curio' by alexander henry fabrics.
the little fat quarter distracted me from the chunky yarn section
with its pretty vintage palette of cream, brown, grey, red, orange and yellow.
i tried to ignore said little fat quarter, i rounded the corner and went back to my original intentions. but alas, the little fat quarter kept whispering my name, after ten minutes, which i thought was quite an admiral length of time, i caved...

since returning home to the shed with the little fat quarter
i have been 'a plotting' and 'a planning' quality time with the little sweetie.
this morning we awoke to yet another day of blustery 'winnie the pooh' weather
and so it seemed foolish of me to not take advantage.
"why do monday morning 'chorey' things Tif, when a 'perfectly perfect' little fat quarter
has been waiting patiently for 4 nights and 3 days to be played with" i told myself.
taken heed of my own wise words, i battened down the hatches, made a cup of tea, heated up Mr Shark and switched on Miss Ethel.

being the size of a little fat quarter, there was not a lot to play with,
i pondered a cushion or a bag as i pottled around my studio,
my pottling took me into the lounge, little fat quarter in my hand, where it all became clear.
kathleen's cupboard in all her peachy danish glory, had mentioned the other day, perhaps it might be quite nice to have a new coat.
well as i am all about little coats these days, who was i to disappoint.

a few happy hours later, 'patching and a stitching' with my little fat quarter playing center stage,
kathleen's cupboard is now feeling most happy indeed, with her grande 'just say it like it is' coat.
it is a little bit wonky, certainly random and perhaps a tad squiffy, but she doesn't seem to mind :)

she is thinking tuesday is looking a grand day for monday 'chorey' things ~ Tif

and the winner is...

Janine, myself and little Finley stayed up super duper late on wednesday night,
taking our time to read all the wonderful inspiring books you live by,
here and in my inbox...
actually that doesn't sound quite right,
obviously we did not stay up super duper late reading all the books you mentioned,
for that would be quite impossible,
a night not being long enough
and the results of such an impossible task
could possibly led to madness.
so what i mean is,
we stayed up super duper late reading your comments,
on the wonderful inspiring books you live by!

thank you most kindly for taking part in our book bundle giveaway
and for also, as always, leaving such words of inspiration.
i do not think i have ever had a give away when i am not left with so many new things to discover,
and now i have a book list as long as my arm of new and wonderful reading material for me to work my way through.

i realized, i had not told you the book that inspired me so.
quite clearly for me, it was Pippi Longstocking and her adventures.
i do not recall how many of her adventures i read, although i have a well thumbed copy from my childhood,
what i do know is, Astrid Lindgren taught me to use my imagination
and for that i am most thankful

so we have a winner
and here she is
da da da da dah!!!!

my grandfather gave my sister and me,
the Readers Digest Great World Atlas back in the 1960's.
books in our house were few and far between.
this book to a small child, was HUGE.
its pages felt thick and luscious.
having not been in possession of this book for 3 decades,
i could still identify it by smell alone.
my sister took it off to college with her.
i found a substitute in a junk store a few years ago.
it still gives me the feeling the world
is a huge and incredible place

hurrah! hooray! for the lovely Kim,
her tale of childhood
and her inspiring wordly book
had Janine and myself most warmed,
congratulations my dear!

next week i have plans to tell you what Janine and myself got up to during her visit
and as if that wasn't thrilling enough,
i am also working on a little 'high hopes' tutorial which involves
not Mr Hook,
nor Dr Hook
but the ever-so-lovely
quite robust,
no nonsense,
let's just get the job done,
Mrs Hook

till then, she is wishing you the grandest of grandy weekends ~ Tif

St. Mary of the Cross, pray for us!

Saint Mary of the Cross, pray for us!
All holy Brown Josephites, pray for us!

This banner is now available on our new big picture download site:


book week... day six

and so we come to the end of book week,
but do not be sad dearest readers,
nor hang your heads and weep,
for it may be coming to an end but it is a peachy end.

as i mentioned yesterday,
when this sunday rolls around,
the lovely Janine and her little clan
will be insitu at Mossy Shed.
we will be doing what we do best,
which i don't actually quite know what that is yet,
but i am quite sure it will be
the bestest of besty things.

so's whilst i am away from my shiny place
doing besty things with Janine,
we thought it would be nice to have a little giveaway,
and even nicer,
since it being book week and all that grand stuff,
why not give away a book!
for indeed there is nothing quite like a beautiful inspiring book...

and so without further a-do, i must tell you
through the generosity of Janine and UPPERCASE
today's spiffy booky giveaway
is none other than the fabby book bundle from UPPERCASE.
hip hip hooray!

four wonderful books from a brilliant publisher
are looking for a home!
i actually felt a little giddy upon knowing this knowledge.
the peachy winner will receive one of each book,
'as and when' they are hot of the press.
da da da da dah!!

book one:
and illustrations by stefanie augustine.
a charming storybook
for whimsical grown-ups and sophisticated children,
beautifully written with stunning pictures

book two:
'work/life 2' a directory of illustration,
designed and written by Janine vangool.
featuring talented artists from around the world,
highlighting their personal stories,
insightful interviews and compelling images

book three:
being a collector of the utmost kind,

lisa set out to document her collection on January 2010,
embarking on a year long project
resulting in this special book.

book four:
the second book in the suitcase series
(the first being the lovely camilla engman)
explores the thrifty, crafty, peachy life of Tif fussell
and her alter ego dottie angel

(in other words, me)

so now to the nitty gritty,
and please be sure to read the nitty gritty bit
cause it is tres important to follow the rules


1. you can leave your comment (please see #4)
here or email me tif@dottieangel.com.
be sure to leave a way for me to get hold of you.
it does not matter where you live in the world,
this give away is open to all peachy folks
who love beautiful books and wish to give
these pretty four a loving, forever home

2. the winner will be picked by myself and Janine.
however we will, if need be
rely upon Finley's expert opinion
in this matter of great importance

3. the competition will CLOSE on Wednesday 20th Oct, 10am pacific time.
the winner will be announced on Friday 22nd Oct
at some random time depending on when little olive takes her nap
(gosh this all sounds very professional,
i am thinking i must have my professional hat on today)

4. now this is the bit that needs a thinking cap,
no panicking though,
for there is plenty of time to think and ponder.
to be in with a chance of winning all four books,
you MUST answer this simple,
but 'oh so interesting' question...


it could be either fiction or non-fiction,
it could be the front cover or pictures within,
it could be a character or the story its self,
or it could be the author that penned the book...
anything at all to do with one particular book
you recall reading, perhaps have read many times over
that has inspired you, in your head and your heart.
give away now CLOSED

so there we are,
a perfect end to a lovely book week
courtesy of my peachy publisher Janine,
how splendid indeed.

she is wishing you a lovely week and will return next friday with a winner ~ Tif

The Wonderworker of our day!

Saturday, 16 October,
Feast of St Gerard Maria Majella,
Patron of Mothers and Expectant Mothers

Good St Gerard,
powerful Intercessor before God
and Wonderworker of our day!

(Click on the picture to see it bigger
and to download it to your desktop.)

Throughout the year it has been our joy to provide many, many relics of St Gerard for mothers in distress who ask for them.

Today we would like to wish those mothers and expectant mothers
- and moreover to all aspiring mothers -

A most blessed Feastday!

Have confidence, St Gerard has and continues to work miracles in favour of those who seek to honour Our Blessed Lord by bringing children into this world.

If you are or know of a mother in distress with her infant, either born or unborn, or who is struggling to conceive, do not despair.

Many thousands of mothers in the last two-and-a-half centuries have found timely aid and relief through the intercession of the Mother’s Saint — St Gerard Majella.

So many couples have been given the most precious gift of a child through his prayers.

In this age, when the sanctity of life is attacked on all fronts, it is a privilege for the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer to provide the relic of St Gerard for any mother who requests one, or for whom one is requested.

Each relic of linen touched to a First Class relic of the Saint is wrapped in gold cloth with a Miniature of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour and sewn into a ribbon belt in order to facilitate its being worn. Each relic-belt is hand made by a devoted soul.

To request prayers or a relic please either send us your request and address through the contact button on this blog or address yourself to:

St Gerard Relics,
Golgotha Monastery Island,
Papa Stronsay,
KW17 2AR,
Orkney Islands,
Scotland, U. K.

Relics are provided at no charge, but, if you are able, something to help cover the cost of postage is appreciated. Our relics are made with Ecclesiastical approbation.

Prayer for Motherhood

O good St Gerard,
powerful Intercessor before God and Wonderworker of our day,
I call upon thee and seek thy aid.
Thou who on earth didst always fulfil God’s designs,
help me to do the Holy Will of God.
Beseech the Master of Life,
from Whom all paternity proceedeth, to render me fruitful in offspring,
that I may raise up children to God in this life
and heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory in the world to come.


30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: Your first love

See the handsome boy in the pink polo? That's Johnny Villano. I'm the cutie in the pink overalls. Welcome to my 8th birthday and my parent's basement; we can discuss the wood panelling later.

Johnny Villano was my first love. He told me he was going to marry me one day, and I believed him. Remember, back in the day, when elementary schools had tchotchkey vendors come to the auditorium and sell things before the holidays so you could buy your parents gifts? Well Johnny bought me a ring at one of those holiday fairs. It said LOVE in capital letters, and in the "o" was a topaz colored rhinestone. It was my promise ring.

Johnny was my best friend. He lived a few houses down from me on East 68th Street and he walked me to and from school. In the second grade, he was the one that told me about Jason on Friday the 13th. I didn't know such horror existed. I was terrified, too afraid to leave our school. He told me he'd walk me to my door. I asked if he would hold my hand, just in case. Well played Mr. Villano, well played. 

My whole life I always wanted a big family, but my mom had trouble conceiving after me. People would ask me if I had any brothers or sisters and I would reply "no, I'm a lonely child" instead of an only child (ouch, right?). When I was six years old my mom conceived my sister and in September just before my seventh birthday, Johnny's mom came and picked me up from school. She told me that my new brother or sister was on its way and that my parents had asked her to watch me until my dad got home from the hospital. 

My mom had never been in the hospital before. Again, I was terrified. Again, Johnny held my hand. After we had our snack and did our homework, he took me to the living room and laid down on the couch with me. Looking back on it now I guess we were spooning, he rubbed my back and stroked my hair and told me everything would be okay. 

The next year my family moved away to Florida. I promised Johnny I'd write. But I was 8 and he was 10 and we lived in different places. Our parents kept in touch with each other and through friends.

When I was in the 6th grade my mom told me that she heard from one of our old neighbors that Johnny was sick. Really sick. He had a brain tumor and was in and out of the hospital. I wrote him a letter and he wrote back and eventually our letters turned into a routine and I begged my mom to let me fly back to New York to visit. 

On a family trip to New Jersey my aunt and uncle brought me down to Johnny's house to see him. He looked nothing like I remembered. We were older then - 10 and 12 - but it wasn't our age that made us so different. He was swollen from the chemo, he had no hair, he was weak and connected to wires. 

My mom had warned me that he might not look the same, that he was really sick. I brushed her comments off, what could he possibly have looked like? Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. I tried not to gasp and I tried not to cry. But he knew by looking at me how bad it was. I think he knew anyway. He promised me it wasn't as bad as it seemed, but each step he took looked painful and he needed help to be able to just sit on his bed. 

We talked, we joked, we tried to catch up. But everything had changed. And so sometimes we just sat in awkward silence. When he asked me what kind of music we listened to in Florida I told him whatever I could remember. And then he handed me his headphones and asked me to listen to a song. Before I put them on he told me that if he could live forever he would take me to all of these places, confused I put the headphones on and he hit play. As the words came through the tiny, sponged speakers he grabbed my hand. 

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama

In the spring of my seventh grade year I got off the school bus and walked home. My mom was sitting in the kitchen. She had talked to Johnny's mom earlier that day; Johnny had passed away. I screamed at her not to lie to me. Told her jokes like that weren't funny. And when she told me she wasn't kidding, I fell into her arms and cried. 

My first love died at the age of 13, before he had even lived. He was surrounded by his parents and his younger brothers and he was finally at peace. For years I couldn't listen to the song Kokomo, now whenever it comes on the radio (which isn't that often) I think of him and I smile.

book week... day five

today i am busying myself with busy things around the shed,
and ignoring the glass jars and their need for woolly jackets.

for in three days Janine and her little clan are coming to stay.
means the lovely Janine and her little clan
pack up their suitcases and come for a visit!
hence the name 'suitcase series'...
here in mossy shed,
we are getting a little exciteable about the whole thing,
especially little olive and used dog.

however, i am thinking of giving each of my clan members
a note card with 'do not dos' written upon it,

1. do not bicker
2. do not leave wet puddles upon the bathroom floor
3. do not pick your nose unless it is in private
and while we are at it,
4. do not sniff, blow your nose
5. do not leave a trail of crappity crap
6. do not ignore me so i have to repeat myself 5 times
before you are spurred into action
7. do not do anything other than marvel at my orange meals

and the list goes on,
anyone living with a clan of aging children and a man
will know exactly what i am talking about...
however i have decided not to write my 'do not dos'
no sirree, i am going to throw caution to the wind
and trust my clan will rise to the occasion
showing their 'best shiny' sides for 4 whole days.
i fear this could be a moment
for clinging onto 'high hopes' like never before

now to book number five of book week,
and it's a goodie!
hooray hurrah!

my soul sister kindly gave me Orla Kiely's book for my birthday,
we share a mutual love of Orla and all her goodness.
so it was with great excitement i received this wonderful book,
okay so i was totally giddy, for i am a huge Orla nut!
the book is everything it promises to be
and a whole lot more,
page after page of Orla's world is revealed
in all it's colorful, patterned, retro glory

she tells about the early days, how she got started.
she talks about her creative process,
her inspirations, resulting in her stunning patterns
and how the scale and rhythm along with the color,
all play a part in creating her wonderful range
of clothing, bags and soft furnishings.

right at the back of the book is a little chapter on blogs,
where Orla talks about blogs being an endless source
of amazement and inspiration for her.
seeing how others interpret her patterns and color
within their own homes is wonderful.
this is the bit when i got super giddy,
a little lightheaded even and Miss Ethel felt the same.

for in the back of Orla's lovely book
is none other than mossy shed and Miss Ethel.
now of course many of you will be seeing once again
there is irony when it comes to Tif and her tales.
for indeed this would be the very wallpaper i am in love with,
still am to this day,
but alas the love affair came to an end within the shed.
i can actually hardly bare to mention it
so i have said that last paragraph in a whisper.

but not to worry, for upstairs in mossy shed
Orla's patterny wonders still continue to grace our walls

i have high hopes,
if ever Orla happened to be passing by the shed one day,
perhaps she may indeed knock upon our door
and despite gasping 'thee gasp'
she will be most happy to see the upstairs bit of the shed,
thus immediately forgiving me
and my wicked wallpaper stripping ways

if there is one book
to recommend for your wish list this holiday season
then Orla Kiely's book would be it,
not because of Miss Ethel, nor mossy shed,
but because it is a tres peachy read
and indeed totally Orla

she is thinking tomorrow would be a peachy day indeed for a grand give away ~ Tif

Diaper Bags

I need to buy a diaper bag. I haven't picked one out yet. Every time I "see" something I like online, I waffle. Living in Upstate it's not like there's a wealth of stores available to really see these items in person. I'm an in-person kind of gal. And I'm not into rootie-tootie-fresh-and-snooty bags. I don't care what the label says. I just want it to be cute and functional. If it's cute and functional and reasonably priced I'd do a cartwheel. Here's what I'm looking at for now:

Clearly the only thing that I'm certain of is polka dots. Seriously though, I had no idea all three bags I "picked" were spotty dotty. I guess I've found my bag style. Now if I only I knew whether any of these bags were worth their weight in diapers.

I've heard great things about Petunia Pickle Bottom, but I just don't like those bags when I see them. I may have to suck it up and order all three of these online. Although by the time I payS&H and return processing fees I'll have been able to purchase two bags. Any advice or recommendations? Have you seen any of these bags in person? Is there another bag I should take a look at? 

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 2

Day 2: Meaning Behind Your Blog Name

When I was in middle school I read Gilda Radner's autobiography It's Always Something, and it is from that book that I pilfered my blog's name. It's Always Something was a personal account to Radner's struggle with ovarian cancer, but more than that it was a testament to her life and how she chose to face each day.

This book and the Ryan White story changed my life. Ironically, or not so ironically Radner also faced issues with RPL and infertility. In her book she talked a lot about her father's influence on her and her attitude and credited him with the title (also a common line in her Roseanne Roseannadanna sketches) "It's like my father always said to me, he said to me, he said, Roseanne Roseannadanna, it's always something. If it isn't one thing--it's another! It's always something."

Simple. Profound. But so true, isn't it? I mean it IS always something. Life isn't about perfection and picket fences and 2.5 children in a perfectly coiffed surburban house. It's about waking up each day and facing whatever life hands you. And it's not about the trials and tribulations we face, but about our attitude and approach to facing them.

Look, I'm no Polly Prozac. I often have to remind myself when facing a new hurdle - if it wasn't this it would be something else, because it is always something. And as long as I keep that in mind, most days I can hold my shit together long enough to move from one problem to the next with a smile on my face.

This blog is a testament to my life. What's piquing my interest one day or occupying my thoughts the next. Sometimes it's facing disappointment and other times it's sharing my smiles. So there you have it.

Gilda may not have been one of life's great philosophers but maybe she should have been, because I think she understood, I mean really understood, what it meant to live before she died.

Before I go, I might as well share a few more snippets from her book that have stuck with me. I had to do a little googling to make sure I got the wording right, but I've remembered the message for more than 20 years.

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." 

"Dreams are like paper, they tear so easily."

"While we have the gift of life, it seems to me that only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit, our creativity, or our glorious uniqueness."

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 1

Day 1: introduce, recent picture, and 15 interesting facts

(stands, clears throat...) Hi, my name is Niki, and I'm a blogger. Okay. I promise. Taking this seriously. 

What's there to say? I'm a type-a, control freak that's obsessed with running, spinning and eating (which is why I run and spin). My hobbies have recently been curtailed by two aliens I have growing inside me (one of them just kicked me in the sphincter), but I'm happy to sit on the sidelines for these two. I'm married to one of the kindest people I have ever met and I have a super sweet yellow lab that was the center of my world (until recently). 

I love traveling, coffee and dirty language. I laugh at fart jokes and potty humor of all kinds. I'm a 13-year-old boy trapped in a 31-year-old woman's body. Enjoy. 

{ me and the aliens at 25 weeks }

Fifteen things about myself...here goes:

1. I'm incredibly indecisive, unless I'm making a decision about something in someone else's life; then I'm quite certain of the right answer.

2. I'm the oldest of seven by a technicality, but depending on when you ask me I'll either own up to the other 4 or just tell you I have a single sister and a single brother (whom I love with all that I am).

3. The beach is my favorite place in the world. Any beach, in any place. That's my favorite.

4. I love the idea of crafts and do-it-yourself projects but I hate actually doing them. I do them anyway, swear a lot in the process and then boast about how awesome I am after they're done.

5. I draw a line with reality TV for what is and isn't acceptable. Teen Mom = Good. Real Housewives = Garbage. I'm very firm with what is or isn't worth my time.

6. I suck at anything having to do with history, math, geography and science. I think it's partially genetic. My sister was up here recently and I offered to take her to Vermont. She asked me where in NY Vermont was located. See? It has to be something in our DNA.

7. I read voraciously.

8. Cooking is a passion. I thought about going to culinary school at one point, but the idea of cutting into animal bones skeeved me out too much, so I changed my mind.

9. I'm an overbrusher. I never knew you could brush your teeth too much or for too long. My dentist yells at me all the time.

10. I'd take a beer and a burger over a five star restaurant any day of the week.

11. It recently occurred to me that I have to deliver these babies eventually and now I am scared out of my mind at the thought of two human beings coming out of a hole in my body (whether god given or surgeon created).

12. However, the idea of being a mother doesn't scare me a single bit.

13. I have also taken to (quietly) mourning all the parts of my life that are now over. Sleeping in, taking up residence on the couch for an entire day, running with no end or destination in sight, marathon spin classes on Saturday mornings. I wonder what will fill these spaces that previously filled me. It probably goes without saying that I'm having an identity crisis from all the change in my life. 

14. In the 9th grade I wrote a research paper on PETA. I went vegetarian. Five years and one frat party later and I realized how much I liked hamburgers.

15. When I first met my husband I wouldn't date him because his name was Joe. In the 6th grade the school dork, Joe Callahan, asked me out on the playground in front of our entire class. I never lived that down and I hated the name with a vengeance thereafter. 

for the love of ercol...

for me, nothing says granny chic quite like vintage ercol.
on monday evening an ercol coffee table found me on Craigslist,
i gasped 'thee gasp',
for i have not seen the likes of such granniness this side of the pond,
ever, never, ever.

by tuesday morning i was plotting how to go and see it's loveliness
but not go alone.
for she was in the big city, in an area i was unfamiliar with.
i do not do freeway and city driving often,
if i do, there must be good reason for it.
my friend maggi planned to hold my hand,
but alas her little sprogs were sickly tuesday morning.

"what to do, what to do" i said to myself whilst wringing my hands.
i skyped with Our #1,
told her of my plight,
she rolled her eyes and quite rightly pointed out,
if at the age of 17 she was driving all over Seattle
then it would be quite possible aged 42,
i could manage such a feat.

i 'binged' a map,
studied the round trip in details,
wrote down my directions on the back of an old envelope.
then promptly my envelope was 'loved' by little olive
whilst i paced up and down my studio fretting,
knowing i had no choice but to go it alone.

after three and a half hours of build up
i left the comforts and safety of the shed,
Carlos my trusty camera by my side
and my slippers upon my feet (thread included)
i bravely travelled to the big city.

i noted i was going the speed limit and some were not.
i noted as soon as i got off the highway,
my envelope let me down
whilst lost and doing my breathing exercises,
i channelled my inner 'granny chic' radar sensor,
it did not let me down,
after several turns
i arrived at an emporium filled with secondhand goodness.

upon entering with Carlos in my pocket
and my slippers (thread still attached) upon my feet,
i knew my bravery had been rewarded.

arriving home at mossy shed, later in the afternoon
i cannot tell you which i was shaking more about,
knowing a little bit of ercol granny goodness was happily settling in.

or knowing after nearly 11 years of being a Brit living abroad in the surburbs,
i had finally faced my fears
travelling to the big city on my own
and making it home to tell the tale

she will be back tomorrow with day five of book week ~ Tif

Blog Challenge

I'm not one for blog awards and blog challenges and goofy things that come along with being a blogger. But lately my inspiration for writing is completely sapped and I have been trying to find the motivation and the enjoyment in keeping this space going (mostly for myself).

When I started this blog six years ago I used it as a way to keep in touch with college friends who had all disbanded and moved around the country. Then I went private for a little while and kept it as a personal journal. When we stumbled onto our IF path I opened my blog back up. Now, I want to keep it to remember what it was like to be 31, to remember what it was like to be pregnant, and to remember each milestone of our babies' lives. So...I need to come back to this space and actually start writing.

And as though she knew I was struggling to find things to write about, my friend Alix decided to join another blogger's 30 day blog challenge. Okay Al, I'm on board. I hope this doesn't get too silly.

Winborg Sisters Cherry Blossom Birdies

Nursery snafu number one. I'm sure there's more to come...

I ordered the Cherry Blossom Birdies 40x30 canvas (can be purchased through PB Kids) from Baby Oliver Boutique for our nursery. The artwork arrived yesterday and it has a lot more pink than I expected and isn't quite as gender neutral as I had hoped.

I ordered through Baby Oliver because they offered free shipping and shipping & handling through PBK was $63. Found out this morning that Baby Oliver has a no returns policy, lucky me.

The canvas is still wrapped in plastic with safety corners on the edges. I literally only took it out of the box before I realized it wouldn't work.

This retails for $245 + S&H on PBK, and $245 on Baby Oliver.

Selling for $200 with free shipping.
email me if interested nikinikinine[at]yahoo[dot]com


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