Friday, January 7, 2022

ALWAYS Trust Your Gut


I know you've heard it over and over again, but are you really listening to that little voice inside your head? Well, you should. If something doesn't feel right, then more than likely it isn't. This is for every life situation. It could save your life or prevent a disaster.

We and our dog traveled for ten days during the holidays. Our first leg of the drive started at our home near Lake Michigan heading to San Antonio to visit our daughter and son-in-law (and all the grand pets). The drive was quite nice with little traffic. We stayed over in Little Rock to break up the trip. The next "leg" we drove from San Antonio to the Tampa area to visit my dad and bonus mom. Again, breaking the trip into two days. Light traffic as well. 

As we left Florida for our return trip home we stopped in Manchester Tennessee for that break. The only bad traffic was through Atlanta, but that seems to be the norm, though I've seen it worse. We arrived at our hotel around dinner time. We stopped and picked up some salads for the room. We got all checked in and sat down to eat our salads. I remember the lady behind the desk mentioned snow was on the way so I thought we should put on the news and see exactly how bad it was. Where we live snow is a winter-long occurrence and everyone is used to it. But here in the south, not so much. They have very little equipment to clear the roads. The weather lady started with the mention of a snowstorm that is definitely on its way in the morning hours and they will be watching it closely. I looked at my husband and said, "lets get out of here." He thought I was nuts since we had just checked into our non-refundable and pet-friendly hotel room. But he trusted my instincts because I had a strong feeling. So we loaded up the car and headed home immediately. We were tired from the drive there but I gotta say, even in the cities, we pretty much had the roads to ourselves. Zero to very little traffic.

When I woke up in the morning and looked at the Nashville area news they were calling it a CODE RED STORM. Telling everyone to stay off the roads. Had we stayed, we would have either been stuck on the highway, sliding all over, or possibly in a serious accident. I suppose we could have rented two more nights in the hotel but who wants to do that? I woke up this morning and the highways along our route was still in the red and orange.

Long story short, when your instincts kick in, LISTEN TO THEM!

Photo credit: Google maps on my computer screen. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Family Heirlooms


There is a cute story to the spoon in the photo above. Several weeks ago I was cleaning out a drawer and came across an old jewelry box I had forgotten about. I opened it up and along with some old jewelry from my teen years was this silver spoon. Well, it was actually black because of sixty years of tarnish. Once I cleaned it I noticed it had my name engraved on it. I found a shop on Etsy that turned it into a ring for me. Now I can enjoy it a whole new way! I didn't know who had gotten it for me so I asked my cousin if she knew. She told me that it had been her! I was so excited because I love this cousin so much and she is also my Godmother. This makes this spoon even more special. I have this vision of my granddaughter wearing this ring as an adult or at least tucking it away with her special things. I'll bet that when my cousin bought that spoon she never in her wildest dreams would imagine me wearing it as a ring sixty years later!

Family heirlooms don't have to be expensive pieces of jewelry that are passed down for generations and generations. They can be anything that is loved and cherished by the original owner or the loved one(s) who want the items for reasons that may be special only to them. 

When my bonus dad passed away in 2015, there were a few things that our family wanted to keep for very special reasons. For example, my brother wanted his WWII items. While cleaning the basement out that year, I was lucky to find his war documents. Right now they are in a fireproof box in my studio. I pull them out regularly to look at them. I also kept his gloves, a jacket, and a scarf. I wanted those items because he was always worried about everyone being cold. He loved his family so much and always wanted them to be happy and comfortable. My daughter wanted one of his handkerchiefs and white undershirts. He was the King of cooking breakfast and when the kids would be there overnight or for breakfast, he'd be in the kitchen in his white shirt cooking up a storm! Such simple items that bring comfort to those he left behind.

Another thing that you'll find in my fireproof box is the many letters and notes my kids wrote to me while growing up, and even after they grew up. Some of them are sweet and loving while some are just plain silly. But I love them!

I'm not a materialistic person, but I do enjoy looking at and holding things that remind me of a special person or time.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Favorites - This Pet Stain Remover!

In the earlier days of my blog I did a feature called "Favorites." I simply shared the love of a product that I have used. No paid promotions, just my personal opinion from my experience. I thought it would be fun to start that up again!

As some of you know, I have a beautiful little rescue pup (photo above) who has been a nightmare to housebreak. There is a reason for this. She is a rescue from an Amish puppy mill. If you've never heard of them, I suggest you google it so you can see what my poor baby had to live through for the first three years of her life. Long story short, she was used for breeding and lived in horrendous conditions until she was of no use for them anymore. Fortunately, there is a rescue group that is close in location to the Amish community and takes their "throwaways" and finds them homes. Living three years in a dirty cage, you can probably understand why we struggled with housebreaking. Fortunately, she has come a long way in the two years we've had her but still has accidents on the carpeting.

I have a very long list of items I've tried to get the smell and the staining out of the carpeting and they just didn't get the job done. But this product, right here, is my hero in a bottle! I purchased mine from Amazon, but I'm sure you can find it locally as well. I wish I would have taken a before picture but to be completely honest, I was embarrassed to do so! Her favorite place to pee was near the front door. There must have been 30 or more round spots that I just couldn't keep up with. It was embarrassing when someone would visit. Someday we may rip up the carpeting and put in different flooring, but for now I'm happy to have found this.

NOTE: I do not get paid by anyone for sharing my favorites. They are just things, places, food, etc that I truly love.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Renting Cabins - Check Every Corner of Your Room!

Now that the weather is getting nicer and the hubster and I almost fully vaccinated, it's about time to hit the road! Because of the events unfolding last year, we weren't able to travel at all. As I was looking through my travel journals (more on that another time) I was reminded of a recent trip to Tennessee to visit with family. The Gatlinburg area has always been a favorite of ours. We have family there and sometimes we take a bunch of other family members and rent a huge cabin in the mountains. Love the mountains! 

On one particular trip, we got quite a surprise when we were just getting into our room. We had just brought in our luggage and my dad and bonus mom stopped in to greet us, they were staying in the same RV park, but instead of a cabin, they had their RV. We're all sitting around chatting and I look down at the floor and I saw what appeared to be a toy snake behind a dresser. I bent down to pick it up and that's when I saw the tongue poking out. Nope, not a toy! The hubster and my father were looking for a broom to shoo it out while my bonus mom was laying on the bed with her feet up in the air screaming bloody murder. During this time I sent a picture of the snake to my then boss who is a veterinarian and an expert in reptiles and exotics. He assured me it was a simple rat snake that was not a threat at all to humans. Relief! 

The men did get the snake out of the room and even went as far as shooing it into the river. Seriously? Apparently, they weren't aware that rat snakes are quite good swimmers. Yep, it swam right back and went under our cabin. We called the park office and they sent someone out to capture the snake. They promised me that they were going to release it at the other end of the property and no harm would come to it. I mean, seriously, I think we traumatized the poor snake enough as it was.

So why am I sharing this particular story? Because the weather is getting nicer and you'll all be traveling and those that will be out in the wilderness, nature, the mountains, cabins, etc, need to check your space!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Rock Hiding Adventures


We have been blessed with the most precious granddaughter, and the best part is that she lives close by. And even better, she loves to spend weekends (or any time for that matter) with us. Whenever she's here we focus completely on her and we are always looking for adventures. She's an adventure type of girl! One of our favorite things to do is to paint rocks and hide them.

We hide them everywhere we can think of. Our favorite places to hide them is some of the many parks and trails we live by. We even get the dog in on the action! The hubster, the dog and I are planning a drive to Texas in the near future and I have a nice little collection to take with me when we stop for breaks.

Our hope is someone will find them and post them to facebook so we can see how far our rocks go. We were super excited recently when two of our rocks were found by two little girls and posted on facebook! But the very most important thing of all is to know that someone out there found one of our rocks and it brought a smile to their face! 

Rock painting and hiding is such a fun thing to do to create memories for your kids or grandkids. And the smiles, laughs, and creative energy is worth a million.

If you are interested in creating these fun memories with your kids, or even yourself (remember I'll be hiding some when I'm traveling without kids), here are a few tips and information to get you started.


Rocks of any shape or size, but not too big.


Acrylic paints

Paint pens (optional)

Indoor / Outdoor sealer (I use Krylon glossy)

Please read the instructions carefully on your sealer and use in a well-ventilated area. Preferably outside.


Paint the rocks as desired (see links for ideas). It's nice to put a facebook group name on the back because sometimes people like to share the rocks that they found and it's fun to see if they found yours! I printed them out on labels and stick to the back before sealing.

Remember, some people like to keep the rocks that they find and some people like to re-hide them. Maybe someone was on a special outing with someone they love when they find your rock. If that's the case, they might want to keep it for a memory. Either way, it's up to them. 

I have read that you shouldn't hide them in the state or national parks since they have the rule of leaving nothing behind but footprints. I have seen a lot of people hiding them there. Maybe if you keep them limited to a pavilion or gift shop rather than the actual trails or beaches. If you are hiding them outside, please don't decorate with wiggle eyes or anything else that an animal can ingest. Stick to paint and makers.


I love painted rocks website

Painted rocks on pinterest

Kindness rocks on Facebook

Found rocks on Facebook

Painted rocks on Facebook

Now go out there and have fun, create memories, make someone smile.

The addiction is real my friends!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

So This is 60...

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, the BIG 60! I've only been in the 60's for about two weeks but it already feels like a new adventure is awaiting me. Thinking back, my 40's were wonderful with major life changes and my 50's were even better! This gives me a reason to believe that the (hopefully) many years ahead will be amazing.

With all that said, I also realize that I have let myself slip in the taking care of myself department. OK, it's not a slip but more of a downward spiral! That's OK because for the first time in years, I feel like I'm getting back on track and back to my old (or younger?) self!

Everyone seems to have a difficult milestone birthday but believe it or not, this wasn't mine. My most difficult birthday was when I turned 30. It was horrible! I had scary thoughts and really wasn't in a good place in my life back then. Plus, that is the year I quit smoking which could have led to some of the emotions. But I quit as a birthday present for myself and I have to say, to this day it was the best gift I ever gave myself!

I had a serious talk with myself while I was walking Berta (adorable picture above) about my plans to do this. I wasn't actually talking out loud, that would have been weird, but quietly in my head. Along with about twenty or so habits I'd like to change, remove, or add, I miss my writing. I'm going back to the way I blogged early on. Sharing tips, adventures, struggles, photography, feelings, thoughts, etc. I'm sure you'll also find a few crafty ideas as well.

If you'd like to follow along (hopefully for the next 50 or so years), I would love that!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Let's Talk About Cheese and Other Fresh Ingredients!

I'm not a great chef by any means. I can however, make up some really yummy meals, and am known to make a mean Brownie M&M Trifle.

Let's face it, if you have a good recipe, and can measure properly, you can cook. What separates the good cooks from the "creative" and perhaps "exceptional" cooks, is your choice of ingredients, accuracy in measuring, and not being afraid to experiment. To this day, I don't think I have ever followed a recipe exactly. We'll get into more of those things later, but today we are going to focus on fresh and high quality ingredients.

I learned years ago that you can't use margarine in baking because butter is just so much better tasting. Along with that little tidbit, I won't use imitation vanilla anymore. My daughter made me the real stuff for Christmas one year, and since then, that's all I'll use. The same goes for apple sauce. There is absolutely no comparison between canned apple sauce and freshly made apple sauce.

Now, onto my most recent discovery...cheese! I'm a busy girl these days. Between running my business and my busy everyday life, sometimes it's too easy to cut corners to save time. Last night I made our favorite Mexican casserole (recipe will come soon) only to discover, I only had about half the amount of cheese that was needed for this recipe. Fortunately, I always have brick cheese in the fridge because we love our cheese. I decided to shred the other half from the brick myself. It took less than two minutes with a hand grater. Two minutes!!! It also took less time than that to wash the grater.

The first thing I noticed was the look of it. The cheese that I shredded was so fresh and soft looking. When I put the shredded cheese next to it, I couldn't help but notice the "powdered stuff" that was covering it. I'm sure it's perfectly safe to eat but, ewwww! After researching, I discovered that this was an additive to prevent the cheese from clumping in the package. It's on all shredded cheeses. I also noticed the feel of the cheese. My freshly shredded cheese was soft, and moist, while the bagged cheese was hard and very dry. 

It was clear that the look and feel was like day and night. What about taste? Well, I'm sure you can imagine that difference. I did a little taste test before and after baking. Yep, no comparison! The freshly shredded cheese was delicious and yummy, while the bagged cheese was dry and hard, just as it looked and felt. As for the finished product, wow! So rich and delicious! That would be the freshly shredded part, not the bagged.

So, if you want to do some experimenting, the first place I would start is to do away with the convenience or cheaper items, and go with pure and fresh. You won't be disappointed.

For more cooking tips click HERE
Looking for some yummy recipes, click HERE

Friday, June 14, 2019

From Simple Mug Rugs to Magnificent!

As I've said before, I absolutely love it when you send me pictures of the projects you've made using my patterns. I especially love it when you add your own touches or embellishments that really make it your own. 

Linda took that "added touch" to a whole new level! I can't tell you how excited I was when I opened my email to find the photos of the quilt and pillow shams she made with some of my camping mug rug designs. She has made something so special that she and her family will be able to enjoy for years and years to come. And she did a beautiful job! 

The colors and fabrics she chose are so perfect and fun. It looks like she increased the size of the appliques a little. I've included a link at the end of this post showing you exactly how to do that if you ever need to.

Keep the photos coming! 

The above patterns are from the PDF Pattern Shop.

Instructions for adjusting the size of your appliques can be found HERE.

Thank you again Linda for sharing this beautiful quilt with me, and allowing me to share it with my readers.

Monday, February 11, 2019

NEW - Instructional Video Channel!

In the Hoop by Sher now has a YouTube channel where I'll be sharing some instructional videos to go along with my designs.

I just published my first video and am working on the second (zipper bags).

Please stop by and check it out! It's a new video so right now I can use all the love you can give!!! After you watch it, share, like, subscribe, or comment. 

Here's the link! Sher's Channel

Can't wait to see how you like it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Inspiration - When Creations Tell the Story

As every creative person knows, it not only takes talent to create, it also takes inspiration. Some times you can be inspired by something common and obvious, but sometimes you can be taken completely by surprise. Did you know that some of my patterns and designs were inspired by special things? Some of them even have little stories behind them. I thought it would be fun to fill you in on what's behind some of my favorite and most popular patterns.

Working so many years at an animal clinic, I've been lucky to be a part of treating wildlife as well as cats and dogs. One of the greatest experiences of my work there was raising and rehabbing owls. Howard was a special owl and the only one we named because he was so awesome. You can read about him here. If you want to see what a barn owl looks like from baby to adult, Click here, and trust me, it will be worth it. The transformation is amazing!

You will also notice that you will see a lot of cats in my designs, and many of them are black. That's because my "assistant" who has been with me for eighteen years is a black cat. 

Then there is Bubba. We had a little Yorkie who has since passed. He was such a special little guy, but he had so many medical problems. He was a little trooper. He was a little guy with a HUGE personality, and a lot of love to give. He is the inspiration behind the dog that is a part of my new logo, and the Fluffy Dog Key Fob Design and Fluffy Dog Mini Zipper Bag. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of Fluffy Dog in patterns down the road.

My obsession love of tea has inspired many of my tea designs. Must be the British blood running through my veins! 

I can't forget about the Hot Air Balloons and the Camping Collection. My husband and I love to take long weekends away. One of our favorite places to go is to Battle Creek, Michigan for their Hot Air Balloon and Air Show. If you ever get the chance to go to one, I highly suggest it. As for the camping collection, it was inspired by my new found fascination with camping. I was never really a camper, but hey, I am a Nana, and my granddaughter loves it, so I will love it too!

There are so many things that inspire me. It can be something as simple as a color. Many times it's something that I truly love and want to share with you in my creations. If I put them all here, you would be bored and probably fall asleep reading. 

What inspires you to create the things you create?  

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