There and back again…

To start, I’d like to thank Karin for shocking me out of my normal, everyday life by inviting me to do a guest post here. I had no idea that she would consider me worthy to grace her blog. But I’m grateful because I haven’t really written anything in a long time–unless you count lesson plans and student infraction sheets–and it’s nice to have more to say than what’s required by my job.

Some of the names I go by are Mom, Mimi, and Ms. Van Winkle. Mostly though, I’m just Paula. I was born into an Air Force family, the last of three girls, and enjoyed a childhood of living in five states (California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Texas) and two countries (Japan and Germany) while visiting several other places, including Illinois, Austria, and Switzerland. I’ve since visited over half the states in the Union and have collected spoons from each of them. In 2001, I married the most wonderful man on the planet–argue with me if you like, but you won’t change my mind!–and moved to Pennsylvania. Together, we’ve lived in Virginia and Nevada, but we’re glad to call PA home once again! We have five beautiful children and six-and-a-half grandchildren: 4 girls, 2 boys, and another boy on the way. Can’t wait for February!

States Map

green=places I’ve lived orange=places I’ve visited yellow=places I’ve travelled through

Once upon a time, I used to write stories. If you read Twific, you may know me as ladyrip. I have to thank Karin–again, and publically this time–for supplying the plot bunny for one of my favorite stories ever: A Ray in the Dark. Even though it’s not finished, I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever written. Someday I hope to get back to it. I love writing on it collaboratively with wuogkat who happens to be my “sister by choice” in RL! I’m also proud to say that I actually managed to win something in a contest: Popular Vote, Second Place in the Fanfic My Fanfic Contest (Tropic of Virgo). As I recall, ToV is actually how Karin and I “met.” In case you haven’t read it yet, I wrote “Skeleton in My Closet,” which is Tanya’s POV of OG and D_88. Poor, messed up girl!

Lately, my life has been wrapped up in teaching 6th grade ELA (I’ve taught every grade from 6 through 12 now); being a wife, a mom, and a grandma; playing piano and leading music in my church (not at the same time!); knitting scarves and crocheting dishcloths; and being OBSESSED with Starz’s Outlander series. Right now, I’m re-reading the entire series by Diana Gabaldon. I’m currently on The Fiery Cross and have seen all three seasons of the show, MULTIPLE times. (I told you I was obsessed.) Luckily, I’ve managed to rope my husband into watching the show with me.


MANDALA by Lion Brand is my new favorite scarf yarn!

Someday, when I have time, I will return to my scrapbooking, sewing, writing, and traveling.


Top on my Bucket List is to visit the United Kingdom, which we’re planning for our 20th anniversary. That’s only three and a half years away. Woo hoo!

Happy Holidays to you all! {{hugs}}

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Monday again. Yep, Sunday once again passed me by, I’m sorry to say, though I’m not sorry as to why it did. We got to spend time with friends yesterday, having lunch and watching It’s a Wonderful Life together in the theater. Last year was the first time seeing it for me and it had me bawling. Not ashamed to admit that I was in tears again this time, too. All in all a great day, even if it did mean I ended up missing my usual posting day.

I haven’t been able to get back to crafting yet, but I did spend the brunt of my time this week in the kitchen, baking for hours at a time. Everyone’s received their goodies now and they all seemed to enjoy them, so it was time well spent, despite still paying for the effort now.

This week I hope to get back to crafting again, as well as finish up decorating for Christmas. It’s taken a little longer than normal to get that done, what with one thing and another, but that’s okay.

What have you still got left to do before Christmas?

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Who Me?

Hello all, I’m Tammara, also known as Tammy. When Karin asked me to be a guest I was rather shocked, I’ve never thought I was very interesting, but here goes. I’m 48, the mother of three, grandmother of two. I currently live in a little town in northern Minnesota’s Itasca county.


The first snowfall of 2017, lovely at night but frigidly cold.

I have discovered that you absolutely cannot have too many fuzzy snugglies. We moved here in November of 2016 to be closer to my husband’s family who needed a bit more help. I work the night shift at Wal-Mart as a stocker. It’s a very physical job but lets me see all the new “toys” as we get them in. My collection of yarn and fabrics has not decreased at all since I started working there.

I crochet a bit, I’m still a novice after many years. I make simple things, scarves, small blankets, bookmarks and the like. I recently bought a set of knitting looms and am teaching myself to loom knit by way of YouTube and Pinterest.


A small selection of my yarn projects. I could make a nest of the larger box.

I color and draw, love to garden and cook and I enjoy woodworking and metal crafting. I occasionally make jewelry and wind chimes. I have in the past dabbled with making my own yarn on a drop spindle and woven a small tapestry on a simple lap loom. I have up-cycled thrift store clothing into quilts and simple clothing. I rarely if ever took pictures. I never really thought about it.

I research anything that strikes my interest and I collect old herbal remedy recipes. I write but don’t publish because I am rarely happy with with I have written. My family likes to say that I’m a bard, not a scribe because I can tell a story but not write it.

I just started a bullet journal to help me get myself lined out. I am probably one of the most disorganized people on the face of the earth. I have over a dozen projects in boxes scattered around the garage and basement. When Karin requested this blog, I realized how I many partial projects I have in progress and freaked. I now have a whole new section in the journal to remind me of what is yet to be completed.

I enjoy reading almost anything. Currently, I am reading through all of the stories on Rough Trade. I am also reading through Hellbells stories on AO3,

after that, I’m now even sure where to go. I have a large collection of books on my shelves by a variety of authors in a variety of subjects. What I read changes from moment to moment.

That’s about all I have, I  hope no one was too badly bored.  I wish everyone a happy and peaceful Holiday season and a blessed New Year.

Take Care Everyone,

Tammy aka Tammara

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Murphy Strikes Again

Good lord, it’s only 11AM and I already am looking forward to today to be over. Murphy’s Law has been our companion from the moment we got up this morning. Trust me when I say that 3AM on a Sunday morning is not the time you want to be finding a screw in your tire. Especially not when it’s below freezing.

Needless to say, due to the above, today’s plans have gone off the rails completely. I was supposed to spend this weekend preparing dough as well as baking. Yesterday my body decided to give me the finger, so that left today… Yeah, three guesses what won’t be happening.

Instead, I’ve got a cup of tea and am about to settle in to read a little bit before binging some Supernatural. I’m really enjoying that show. The interaction between the characters is great (even if I kind of want to slap Sam right now. I’m in late season 4, for those familiar with the show).

One of my favorite moments so far was Dean screaming like a little girl over a cat. Pure gold. If you watch the show, what are some of your favorite moments?

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Christmas Mood

Hello, I’m from Sweden and my minion name is Celia311. I work at a library and my love of books is epic. I’m currently having a bit of a medical issue that makes reading difficult so I’ve switched over to audiobooks for the time being. One recently read book is: Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry, an excellent book that combines the psychological aspects of grief at the sudden, violent death of a loved one and the sleuthing that it leads to.

I love to do crafts, and it’s my job to do Christmas crafts with my niece and nephews, which I love. When my niece was six years old she came to the conclusion that since my mom loved to do crafts, and I love it, and she loves – then she must have gotten it from me, through my mom. I didn’t have the heart to explain genetics to her, my heart just about melted at her announcement.

This past Sunday was the first of advent which is a big thing here. This is the day that you should put up your “adventsljusstakar” in the windows and hopefully even a Christmas flower arrangement or two. This means that I spent the weekend doing Christmas cleaning and planting hyachinths in my flowerbox.

I also got started on preparations for the “Lussebak” which is a tradition here. A “lussekatt” is a saffron bun that all Swedes tend to overeat of during the Christmas season. To really draw out the saffron I put it in a couple of tablespoons of vodka, at least a week before it’s time to bake. What’s really great though, is to use really good rum and let it marinate for a couple of years before you use it in baking!

What’s going on craft-wise for me at the moment is to get started on the Luciatåg amigurumi. Lucia is a big thing here which is celebrated in all the schools, most assisted living homes have Lucia trains coming in to perform for their residents. It’s a beautiful and powerful sight when a large group of women holding candles, and young men with star hats, sing traditional Christmas hymns and songs.

I’ve also made snowflake earrings and light boxes this season and I’m thinking of making even more to sell. We’ll see how it goes. I’d at least like to make some more variations to give as small Christmas gifts.

Crochet is my thing, I’ve tried knitting but I’m not very good at it.

My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was quite young but I never really did anything with it, except for the odd, traditional granny square, however, a few years ago a friend of mine was learning to crochet, and I picked up the hook again. Apparently, it is all muscle memory and I was hooked (pun totally intended).

With crochet, I’ve reached the point where I can see an image and try to re-create it myself. This is my winter hat that I made with inspiration from last years “Adventskalender” that was shown on TV (yes, every year since 1960 SVT makes a 24 part tv series of about 14 minutes each to count down to Christmas Eve, which is the day that we celebrate here in Sweden). The photo on the left is from the official SVT site.

My current unfinished project is a sweater for my nephew, he picked out the colors and now I just have to finish it in time for Christmas.

I also love working with reflective yarn – since it starts to get dark around 2:30 pm where I live it’s important to be able to be seen my motorists! My niece is modeling her brother’s hat, her hat is the bright pink one, her color of choice.

I did say that I’m not very good at knitting, but a colleague and I have started an exchange program of sorts, I help her with crochet and she’s helping me with knitting. It’s going to be a pair of socks, I tend to be terrible at keeping even tension when I’m knitting so we’ll see how it turns out…

I didn’t intend for my blog post to be a Christmas heavy post, but, since that is what is on my mind and in my heart lately it just happened. I wish you all a happy holiday, whichever way you celebrate!

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All Work and No Play

At least, that’s what it feels like right now. I haven’t really had a chance to craft in a few weeks and it’s starting to make me twitchy. I can’t even say that I’ve been working on getting our place decorated for Christmas, either, because that would only be partially true. Or rather, accurate.

What have I been doing? Well, some might call it Spring cleaning, I guess, except it isn’t Spring (obviously). My nicely organized living room is no longer organized because I’ve started on the bedroom and closet. The bedroom looks much better now that we have better storage and I’m happy with the results so far. Still, work to do, but I’ve gotten as far as I can until we can get more storage solutions to replace the old, not-really-working ones.

Since I really do want to get a tree sooner rather than later, I need to get the stuff back in the closet so we can make room for the tree. After that’s done I’m hoping I can finally get back into crafting. If I’m not baking, that is, because it is the season after all and I have stuff to get ready to send out to people ;-).

How far are you in your Christmas prep?

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A Little of This

Hello Everyone! Kudos to Karin for the invitation to share a bit of myself with you. I live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, known for its part in the Revolutionary War, the Amish, and shopping outlets. I do little to no shopping in the stores. I much prefer to make things to give as gifts.

To tell you what I do in terms of crafting would take all day! My interest and focus is study of historical needlework. Many of these skills are slowly disappearing and I hope to be doing my part to keep them alive.


I tend to have several projects going at once. Currently I am handspinning fiber with a drop spindle, and sewing using English Paper Piecing.

I love to weave and I am currently working with my set of pin looms. I am randomly weaving squares with no goal in mind. Eventually I will come up with an idea and I’ll have squares ready to go.



I always have a mindless project to do for when I am tired or in front of the TV, and right now I am making paper beads. I use my own designs in addition to finding other printed material.



Coloring is fun and relaxing too. I had to stop coloring when I was tired because my pens would go all over the page while I sat and snoozed. I can repurpose the pages into beading strips, so not a total disaster!


I can give up everything as long as I have my books. My kindle is my best friend and I would be lost without it. I am pretty eclectic when it comes to what I read. Right now I am reading a lot of fan fiction. It’s a wonderful escape! Mysteries would be second and then there’s everything else. I can read comedy one day and the next the philosophy of the Matrix movies. I am also reading right now *The Science of Game of Thrones* by Helen Keen. I just started it so I can’t honestly critique it.


Finally, there are my favorite books; the ones I approach as old friends. My all-time favorite book is *The Mists of Avalon* by Marion Zimmer Bradly. It tells the Arthurian story from the women’s point of view. I could use the book as a door stop; at 900 plus pages it looks like a brick. I tell people to not be intimidated by the length of the book; just read bits at a time.


Another favorite is *The Giuliana Legacy* by Alexis Masters. Beautifully written; one of those books I came upon by accident and am glad I did.

There are other books I love but will save for another time. I hope everyone in the US enjoyed Thanksgiving, and everyone else had a wonderful day. My thanks again to Karin, and stay safe during the holiday season!

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