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Little Fishies

We took the kids to Victoria Pool for the first time yesterday. Their bumble bee and lady bug weren't approved flotation devices (go figure) so the boys became the floatation devices of choice. My kids are almost too comfortable in the water. 

I was super excited to have my brother with us, because the water was way too cold for me. I couldn't believe the kids were happy to go for a dunk. I thought for sure they'd stick their toes in and high tail it back to dry land. 

{ peek-a-boo, Daddy }

{ kick, kick, kick. Future Michael Phelps }

{ nom, nom, nom. Those top two teeth can't grow in soon enough. }

{ 33 weeks old }

{ love this little chipmunk }

{ still just pretending to crawl }

{ got you Daddy! }

{ what did parents do before Sophie? }

They tiny humans are not so tiny anymore. So much personality out of such itty bitty beings. I swear every time I pick them up from a nap they look a little bit bigger. I am in the middle of making their Halloween costumes and as soon as those are done I'm starting on their first birthday party. Because you know once Halloween hits, the year is pretty much over.

Vermont Before the Storm

My brother recently completed his service contract with the U.S. Coast Guard and he came to visit us while he figures out what comes next. He's goofy and talks too much, but is funny as hell and I've loved having him here.

Saturday we took him over to Vermont to look for winter coats for the kids and while we were there he got to try his hand at fly fishing.

While Daddy and Uncle Bobby fished the kids and I fed the trout and enjoyed the sunshine.

After the boys fished we headed over to the oldest marble quarry in the country for some cliff jumping (mostly for the dog, but the boys joined in too). The kids got a kick out of watching Gracie catch air.

By the time we were driving home the outer bands of the hurricane had already started dropping rain on us. I quickly realized I (desperately) need new tires. It's amazing how infrequently I drive now that we have the kids, and driving in terrible weather freaked me out. Poor Joe and I pulled a Chinese fire drill in the middle of Vermont and he got us home safe and sound.

I woke up Sunday morning and found Reese, Daddy and Gracie watching Baby Einstein. I'm guessing Reese was cold? These two are too funny together.

By the middle of the day the wind was horrible. I made Joe go out and take in all of our patio furniture (admittedly, something we should have done on Saturday...). But at least he got to test out the patch he put in his waders after ripping them last fall. Good news is they don't leak. 

While our neighborhood and town held up to the storm, many of our surrounding areas are underwater and several bridges are shut down due to barges either coming loose from their moorings or because the wind put the stability of the bridge at risk. Most of the roads and bridges that we travelled on in Vermont are underwater or completely gone. Lots of prayers going out to families that are still without power or cleared access roads.


I need to take a class to learn how to shoot in manual. For the last eight months I've gotten by on trial and error. I shoot about 200 pictures of the kids to get a handful of images that are in focus and have the right amount of light. Now that the munchkins are moving toward mobility they have less patience for my antics. Actually, they probably never had patience for my antics. But before they were statue babies so they couldn't do anything about their annoyance, now they roll away.

I'm tired of sifting through 200 pictures for one good one. I'd like to just take (mostly) good pictures. And I really suck at shooting outdoors, my lighting is always terrible because I can't rely on the preview screen to see what things are looking like.

I found a photography crash course that I really want to take from Nicole Hill Gerulat (she pens the blog A Little Sussy). Sadly for me, she's a West Coaster. Flying to Cali for a photography crash course just isn't practical or possible. She offers online classes, but I don't think that type of course fits my learning style. I really want to take a day (or two) and focus on just learning my camera and Joe is willing to watch the kids for me while I go school myself.

Back when I was inpregneato I ordered two books - a Canon for Dummies book and another manual dumbed down for non-pros like myself. But I am sad to say that I've barely cracked the binding on either. Every time I start reading my mind wanders to other things and I realize that I've read four pages but haven't processed a single thing (don't you hate it when that happens?). Not to mention that photography manual type books are B-O-R-I-N-G.

So I'm on the lookout for an in-person course, preferably one I can take this fall before the weather turns sour. If you've taken a course what did you think? Was it worth the money? Did you learn how to use your camera? Was it an online course, or did you take one in person?

And, last but not least, if you have a class to recommend in Upstate NY, NYC or Boston please let me know!

hooray hurrah, it's a give away...

yes indeedy, what a perfectly perfect day for a give away.
however before we get on with it, just a little note to say i will not be around for a few days as i am a busy bee beavering away on...

1: make lots of goodies to take to The Creative Connection where Janine, myself and the book will have a stall in september.

2: spring clean my blog in late summer with the help of my friend Marjan. so things may look a bit odd over the coming few days and despite the worry of it all disappearing into cyber space, it is something i have been wishing to do for a while.

3: my lads need to get organized for school next week, this would mean unpacking their back packs from mid June, removing old mouldy sarnies and the likes. then the dreaded shopping for school supplies
4: putting sweeties on my shop shelves, this will take a few days but i am determined to get photos done and listings written.

5: doing Gladys (our airstream trailer) up. yes at last i will no longer fear a visit from the department of trailer abuse. this past sunday, me and my lads of three ('cause that is what my shed is now, me and my lads of three, don't you like that, has a nice sound about it doesn't it? "why yes it does" i hear you agree). so me and my lads of three, we've been patching old Gladys up with sheets of metal and rivets to stop the rain coming in and one coat of duck egg blue has been applied to her inners. we are now turning our attention to her floor. oh happy days

so, that being all said, shall we just get on with the give away?
"blimey Tif, we thought you would never get there"
yes, i can see your point

so this little give away is probably the most spiffily ever give away to me, for i will be giving away a copy of my book. when Janine sent me two last week i immediately thought "one for me and one for you"

along with the book (and signed if you would like a bit of my scribbling in it), i will also be giving away one of the original bits of embroidery i made for the book. so the winner will have a book and a bit of dottie angel stitchery to go with it.

if you wish to enter this little give away then you will have to answer this question...

what little critter or pet would you love to care for and what would you call them?

now this is where you get to pop on your imagination caps and dream big or small. forget your allergies, the fact your nest is rented or you work all day. forget about them being domesticated or not, rare old critters or common as can be. does not matter, for one small moment you can picture that elephant in your yard or the snake in your bath tub.
so for example if it was me entering, i would say

"oh i would love a goat, my goat would be called PIP, but i would not wish for PIP to be lonely so i would be sure to have another goat called PIP'S FRIEND. i would go out into my yard and spend quality time with PIP and PIP'S FRIEND so they knew they were loved. on rainy days i would invite PIP and PIP'S FRIEND in for a cup of tea and a bit of telly watching"

i will not go on anymore because actually i now realize i could write a short story on PIP and PIP'S FRIEND which is not the point of today, no sirree, the point of today is you and your story.

so let us just write down the nitty gritty in easy points


1: leave a comment or email me tif@dottieangel.com with the sort of lovely pet you would like to have as a friend and their name.

2: be sure to have a way that i can contact you, either leave an email address in your comment or be sure it links to a blog

3: me and my lads of three will choose the winner and announce them and their imaginary pet on tuesday 6th September when i return to my shiny place after my list of 'to dos' is done.

4: do not panic if you do not see your comment published, this could be a number of things, one: you may not have answered the question and therefore do not qualify. two: i will be checking comments once a day so i may not have got to yours and published it just yet. 3: when i am spring cleaning my blog later this week everything disappears into cyber space.
of course i hope number 3 does not happen, so i am keeping both my fingers and toes crossed until the spring cleaning is over

so there we have it dearest readers, i hope you will enjoy dusting off your imagination caps, i know i have and now i am off to dream about PIP and PIP'S FRIEND whilst i tackle the mountains of neglected laundry which comes of living with 'just me and my lads of three'

she is thanking you for your 'billy-no-mates' kindness and thinking how lovely, he (she) will be forever remembered on the front cover of her book ~ Tif

obituary of a chicken...

hatched: friday 13th March 2009
untimely death: saturday 27th August 2011
leaves behind 5 feathered friends and a broken hearted mother hen

"to some others perhaps you were just another chicken, but to us you were 'billy-no-mates'. just as your name suggested, you were no sheep, pecking with the pack. no sirree! you were a loner who strutted to the beat of your own tune. usually an ABBA or Elvis number in your head. for two years you did you own thing and you did it well.
as you ascend to the great free range Las Vegas in the sky, perhaps not looking in tip top condition due to your untimely death, we are quite sure you will be welcomed with open wings and indeed find the perfect little scratching patch of ground, somewhat similar to the acre of moss you so freely roamed for your short time on this earth. rest in peace little 'billy-no-mates' for despite what your name may suggest, you were indeed one of the best mates we ever had"

she is thinking Tuesday would be a grand day for a giveaway, yes hurrah hooray for Tuesday ~ Tif

Est enim urbanissima, curialissima Regina, gloriosa Virgo Maria.

Saint Bernard (1090-1153)

seeing Our Lady's statue

greeted Her with

"Salve Regina!" or "Ave Maria!"

to his surprise he heard Her reply

"Salve Bernarde!" or "Ave Bernarde!"

When a man devoutly salutes the Virgin

he is saluted by Her in return.

For amongst all Queens,

the Glorious Virgin Mary is

the most polite, the most courteous.

It is impossible to greet Her

without receiving a greeting in return.

That is why,

if throughout the day

you say devoutly "Ave Maria!" a thousand times

you will be saluted a thousand times

by the holy Virgin.

Quam homo devote salutat Virginem

resalutatur ab illa.

Est enim urbanissima,

curialissima Regina,

gloriosa Virgo Maria.

Nec postest salutari

sine resalutatione miranda.

Si mille Ave Maria dicis in die, devote,

millies a Virgine resalutaris.

(St. Bernadine of Sienna


things i like...

about my book
(yes, 'tis feels quite odd to say "my book")

* i like the rounded corners.

* i like the feel of the front cover.

* i like the hand stitched postcard and little loved barcode.

* i like that my grandmother's pesky pom pom squirrel is tucked into my apron pocket on the front cover.

* i like that it sits perfectly perfect in my hands.

* i like the chunky spine a whole lot.

* i like that it is part of the Suitcase Series.

* i like the fact 'little lucky bunny' has a whole story all about him illustrated by my brilliant brother

* i like that such an inspiring book, can come from the collaboration of just two folks, one crafty blogger and one independent creative design publisher, yes i think that is quite a thing to like.

* i like very muchly, that Janine and i were fortunate to have so many willing helpers with the handmade details the book required. including Janine's own Mom and her trusty sewing machine

* i like that when i flick through the pages it is everything i hoped it would be and so much more.

* i like that when i think about having dottie angel published in a book, really truly think about this moment, it causes me to well up inside. i never thought anything else in my life would match the moments of my children being born, but this moment sits alongside there nicely.

* i like very muchly to think this book would not be what it is without you, my dearest readers for which i am thanking you kindly today.

and most of all

*i hope you will like it too

she will be back on monday with a little giveaway, till then, be safe my brilliantly brilliant 'i spy' dearies ~ Tif

What a Nailbiter

Seeing your kids hit a milestone is the best thing in the world. However, watching them fall, fail, struggle and scream in frustration while they are developing the skills to achieve that milestone is horrific. I want to show Reese how to crawl. How to move her little hands and feet. How to catch herself when she falls off balance. But all I can do is surround her with pillows and hug her when she gets scared.

This week she figured out how to go from crawling (or at least the crawl position) to sitting. Of course, she had to learn this new trick in the wet, slippery, unchildproofed bathtub. She's now perfected it on dry land and I bought one of these for our tub adventures.

How the kid figured out how to go from pretending to crawl to sitting and skipped over the actual crawling part (for now) is beyond me. I guess we'll be facing another week of watching her scream and flop, since all she wants to do is sit up and show off her new skill right now.

easy peasy with a bit of twitchy...

today i am super duper twitchy with a hint of fretting... Our #2 appears to be in the path of Hurricane Irene. i had thought she was not, but then my man confirmed this morning that indeed she is.

so to deal with my twitchy ways (which could go on all day and then i would not have achieved anything at all other than a whole load of twitching and fretting) i thought i would show you my easy peasy how-to for jars brought back from the brink of the recycling bin. then tonight when my man comes home and asks me "Tif, what madness have you been up to today?" i may respond with "a bit of twitching, quite a bit of fretting and then a 'how-do' on glass jammy jars"

so shall we?

indeed such is the easy peasyiness of it, i have not even bothered with 'how-to' pics. i will just list the ingredients, a few steps and some piccies of the little glass lovelies in their 'voila' glory

*different shaped glass jars and their lids ~ if you do not have any then i suggest you look in your fridge or store cupboard and decant the inners, soak off the labels and feed your clan with an exotic offering of jar inners later today

*spray paint which adheres to metal ~ take a looky along the aisles of your craft or DIY center and check what is written on the side of the can. choose happy colours

*vintage floral decals ~ i have used Meyercord ones. if you are lucky you may find them in a thrift store or estate sale, but i have never had such luck. therefore i go looking for them in the vintage aisles of Ebay and Etsy. there are some very spiffy ones, i was rather taken with a little lamb i came across once, but alas i could not think of a place to stick a little lambie in Our Shed. i shall wait until i am official Granny material and then buy a vintage lamb decal

*clear gloss spray ~ for the purpose of sealing your decal and making everything look spiffy and shiny.

hey ho, lets go...

the recipe:
1. take your clean lids and spray paint them with your spiffy coloured spray paint.
2. patiently wait for them to dry, then repeat, and wait again for them to dry.
3. check they are super duper dry, do not be impatient like me or you will be filled with regret.
4. cut out your decals, making sure each one fits its intended lid nicely.
5. follow decal instructions for adhering. basically soak in warm water and then carefully slip it off its backing paper onto the lid.
6. with a soft cloth, dab at your decal, removing any water and old glue from the edges, sometimes because of the age it can be a little too gluey.
7. be careful with your dabbing, the decals are delicate and will slide around.
8. allow to dry, twiddle your thumbs, do not touch your decal. if you must, then be very kind and considerate towards your drying decal.
9. when everything is dry, coat the whole lid in a nice shiny coat of clear gloss spray.
10. and wait again. the wait will be worth it. upon dryness, reunite your spiffy floral jar lids to their glassy bottoms and cluster them together.
11. perhaps fill your jars with pretties. perhaps do not let others use them, perhaps only allow them to be admired from a distance. yes perhaps that would be best.

Mr Postie has just arrived and she is thinking how surreal to think she is a published author ~ Tif

footynote: gold sticky star for "i spy with my little eye something beginning with L O" :)

At the hour of departure

This morning in Orkney

the votive Mass for the Sick Near to Death

was offered for

Mr. Duncan Simon


Christchurch, New Zealand.

Mr. Duncan Simon serving the first Holy Mass

offered in the Christchurch oratory, July 2007.


Omnipotens et misericors Deus...

Almighty and merciful God,

Who hast conferred upon mankind

both the remedies of salvation

and the gifts of life everlasting:

look mercifully upon Thy servant

who is afflicted with sickness of the body,

and refresh the soul which Thou hast created,

so that at the hour of departure,

it may be found worthy to be taken home to Thee,

its Maker,

free from all stain of sin,

by the hands of holy Angels.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ ...


Quaesumus clementiam tuam...

We beseech Thy clemency, O almighty God,

that by the virtue of this Sacrament

Thou wouldst vouchsafe

to strengthen Thy servant with Thy grace:

so that at the hour of his death

the enemy may not prevail against him,

but he may deserve to pass to life

accompanied by Thine Angels.

As Mass for the Sick Near Death,

the Litany of St Joseph


Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament closed


8.30 a.m. here in Scotland,

Mr. Simon entered his eternity;

it was

7.30 p.m. in Christchurch.

Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine,

et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Requiescat in pace.

Eternal rest grant to him O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace.

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