Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Making, musing, me

Thank you for your lovely comments on my Valentine cookies and the well-wishes for my health and the LB's. We're getting there. This was a really sneaky illness - there was no warning, it hit like a ton of bricks. And then it stuck around, moving through several distinct stages of physical misery. I'm finally able to walk from one end of the house to the other without wheezing. And this isn't a big house. Roll on, spring.


I've been taking it easy as much as possible, trying not to leave home except for the school driving, while I slowly get back to my normal energy level. I started crocheting these circles last week. I have had plans for a blanket for the GB for awhile now, and knew I really wanted to make it with dainty, softly-colored flowery squares. I'm working with Stylecraft Special DK, King Cole Pricewise DK and Baby Bee (but mostly Stylecraft). The pattern is something I played around with until I liked how it looked - but I think it may be about the same as the "circle-in-a-square" pattern I used for my crocheted pillow cover last spring. I think I'll make it with white borders around each circle. The colors remind me of ice cream - ice cream in the snow...ice cream flowers in the snow?


This is my new 1930's reproductions jelly roll. It will be my Valentine's Day gift from the Bear. I ordered it for myself, for him to give to me. I do this a lot. It's the only way to make sure I always get what I want. He gives nice gifts too, of course, but sometimes I feel less inclined to take my chances (how's that for diplomatic?).


Here are my Valentine's Day gifts to the Bears. The Lindt chocolates are for the Bear, who will also be getting a brush pen for writing and drawing (he ordered it for himself; it works both ways). The M&M's and Crayola supplies are for the small Bears. I'm trying to slowly replace their art supplies, and those are really a joint gift for them both to use. I already have boxes of 64 crayons ready to go in their Easter baskets so by spring they'll have the main art supplies replenished. I bought a load of glue sticks recently too; they use glue like it's going out of style. I'll probably get some new markers this summer when the school supplies are cheap.


I couldn't stand the top of my microwave anymore. It's where I keep any and all candy the children are given, whether in school (as in the case of the lollipops), or in other places like the barber shop, where the LB is given an entire pack of gum all to himself every time he has a haircut (they give him cookies there too; the kid lives like a king). I found this little wicker basket on a recent thrift-shopping excursion, only 49 cents. I put all the candy inside the basket. It looks nicer now than it did with a jar of candy and a bunch of loose packs of gum. My children are still young enough that they are required to ask me for the candy when they want some; they are not allowed to serve themselves. So...uh, by gum, that candy pile will look neater if at all possible.



I also bought this little china milk pitcher in a thrift store recently. It was $2.99, which is a lot for me to spend in a thrift store, actually. But I really like it. The pattern marking on the bottom says it's called "Platinum Starburst" and it was made in Japan. I have no idea how old it is, but it reminds me of 1950's china. My good china, a Noritake pattern, has platinum bands on white, so I thought they might work together. I've placed it in the hutch with other orphan china and crystal items, and it blends right into the eclectic look.


You could have knocked me over with a feather when I spotted these green shoots in one of our front-yard flowerbeds on Sunday afternoon. I had gone out to sit on a stool in the driveway, craving warm sunshine and fresh air. I was curious about the bulbs I planted, and went over to see whether, by some chance, there were shoots yet. And there were! But I don't know what they are. I planted tulips and grape hyacinths. It's too early for the tulips I planted. Two years ago, the Bear was given a few daffodil bulbs and he planted them in this bed. They kind of look like daffodils to me. Whatever they are, I was so happy! Going inside for my camera just about did me in, but I got a few snaps. I'm really excited for the flowers.


I've been poring over this wonderful book, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, which was one of my Christmas gifts. Joelle is the owner/founder of PurlSoho, the amazing textiles shop in New York. I have some lovely things from their online shop and I enjoy their blog, PurlBee, very much. This book is just beautiful and every project speaks to me. The rainbow-circle in the top left photo is a quilt! A color-wheel quilt. Each "spoke" of the wheel is a gorgeous, chromatically-appropriate cotton fabric. The needle-books right below it are so pretty: they look easy to make and I know at least one friend who'd like one. I haven't actually made anything from this book yet, but I keep going back to those needle-books, among other lovely project ideas. I really can't get enough of this fabulous book.


I had my first strawberries of the season and they were better than I expected. These were not specially chosen for the photo; I bought two 16-ounce packages and every single berry in both boxes was perfectly formed, brightly colored and surprisingly flavorful for February strawberries. It was kind of eerie, really. Newer readers may not realize that strawberries are my absolute favorite food of all. I could eat them every day, and when they're in season, I typically do just that. They made me feel better. Actually, I just remembered that I wrote about eating strawberries last year, toward the end of January, while recovering from a similar illness then. Where would I be without strawberries in wintertime? Or anytime? Maybe I don't want an answer to that question.


It's hard to feel pretty when you're trying to keep your lungs inside your body. I polished my nails yesterday. I was home alone with the LB, rasping my way through some homeschool tasks, and decided to paint my nails when we were done. I don't do it often, and when I do, I rarely use a real color; I usually use the sheer pink French manicure polish. But I felt like a color yesterday and I'm glad I did it. Like the strawberries, my polished nails helped me feel a little better. Today, I put on real pants, as opposed to the stretched-out leggings I've been wearing since Friday. Jeans and polished nails! Like a regular lady out on the town.

I'm feeling better every day, and I'm glad for that. I haven't minded the time at home all that much, though. Maybe it was a not-so-subtle reminder to slow down. I do tend to run myself ragged. I want to do it all where my family is concerned. But this is pressure I put on myself and I'm learning from it. Illness happens, it's a fact of life, and it's never fun. But maybe it gives us sort of a reset button; I'm getting better, returning to the normal swing of things, but I'm going to try to remember to take better care of myself and to listen to my body more. In the meantime, I have enjoyed some extra time at home, looking at my books, crafting in a sunny window, eating whole, cold berries with the hulls still on. It's good to slow down and remember what is important - feeling better, being warm and comfortable, knowing that some of my responsibilities can wait until I'm ready to deal with them again. It's not a race, ma'am.

55 comments:

  1. So glad to hear that you are feeling much better. I, like you, adore strawberries, especially when they have just been picked mmmm
    I also pick my own gifts 90% of the time, it just saves arguments :)
    Your crochet circles are really lovely colours. They are a really nice pattern as well. They look like they will sit in a square really nicely :) xx

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  2. Of course Jennifer, the most important thing is health and I'm so glad you are getting better! Especially for a mother who cares about everybody and everything in house! Your Valentines biscuits look gorgeous and your crochet as well!
    Best things to you!
    Olympia

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  3. So sorry to hear you've been ill Jennifer - sounds awful.
    Loving your crochet circles, the colours are so pretty and it'll look great surrounded by white. I like using Stylecraft yarns, they make up well and don't cost the earth.
    I adore the look of that 30s repro jelly roll, such pretty fabrics.And that book looks lovely too!
    Hope you feel lots better soon
    Gill xx

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  4. Hey Jennifer,

    You've hit the nail on the head about looking after yourself. You sound a lot like me - going like the clappers until you keel over! It's good to hear that you are on the mend physically. I enjoyed your post today. It was really colourful. Loving the milk jug. Just lovely. I have a tin in which I keep biscuit bars for the boys. They have been instructed not to help themselves. I want the older two to set Olly a good example. I quite often find it empty......

    Here's to you and the LBs feeling bright as buttons soon!

    Leanne xx

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  5. Jennifer, I just love reading your writings.. you're so comfortable to spend time with. Those are gorgeous berries, I wonder where they're from? Your circles are looking lovely, I look forward to seeing what you do with them. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  6. Glad you are all getting better, but take things slow till you right.love your fabric and new crochet project x

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  7. I'm so glad you're feeling better. It sounds like a nasty bug! I love strawberries too. :)
    Your nails look great. Doing things like that does make you feel better.

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  8. So sorry you have been so unwell Jennifer, your crochet circles are so pretty. It looks like you are going to have a lovely display of spring flowers. :)

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  9. Glad you two are feeling better. Wish I had some bulbs coming up, but I guess I'd have to plant some first. Ha-ha. Oh well. Your nails look pretty!

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  10. Oh, aah, mmm, dark, blackcurrant chocolate. How have I not discovered this??? It sounds beyond delicious. I absolutely must find some. I have "Last Minute Knitted Gifts" which is lovely, although there are clearly hours of knitting involved in some of the projects - just the kind of thing to tip me over the edge if I was to attempt it at the last minute! Lovely nails Jennifer. I used to have to wear nail varnish for work (I was a croupier for a while), and since I've stopped doing that I don't ever wear it any more. But it does look lovely on you. I chuck my boys' sweets into the back of the cupboard whenever they bring some home. Always so many sweets. Sigh. My middle one had a dreadful experience with a lollipop at the barber's. While my other half was having his hair cut, the middle boy's lollipop came off of its stick and stuck in his throat. Other half didn't even notice him quietly choking until someone pointed it out. It took him a while to get it out of him, he was pounding him, upside down, until eventually he was sick and it came out. I really can't bear to think about it very much. So I say no to lollipops whenever I can now. Hurray for little chewy sweets. I do hope you and your little bear are back to full strength very soon, it sounds like a nasty thing you've had. Enjoy the rest of the week, and take it as easy as you can. CJ xx

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  11. Glad to hear that you are on the mend Jennifer. Take it slowly thought and don't run faster than you have strength! That's a thing we Mom's tend to do though isn't it. I have had to slow down with my shoudler problems and it's not all bad.

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  12. I thoroughly enjoyed your post - every word of it, as always! But like a few others, it was the granny circles that had me at "hello!"
    I've had Valentine gifts for the grandkids wrapped for several weeks now - art supplies for everyone! That's the perfect gift!

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  13. I am glad you are feeling better Jennifer. It is just impossible to be ill with children in the house, isn't it? Because you can't really be ill it always takes forever to recover. We use an old tin for our sweets. No self service but it seems self emptying all the time.... I love your jelly roll and have been searching for something comparable this evening. Cx

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  14. Love the jelly roll and your nails look gorgeous. I bite mine and hate chipped nails so for now mine are always bare. Love having my toes painted though! Lovely post and I like how you buy your pressies, I often do this too xo

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  15. Such a lovely post. That book! I need it. And that colour wheel quilt...wow. I'm glad you're feeling a little better. That pitcher is really beautiful, very fifties looking. X

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  16. What a full and interesting post Jennifer and I love your last two paragraphs! Your crochet and jelly roll are lovely - good things on the way with those, and the lovely fresh shoots in the garden promising spring is in the air - well soon anyway - and I'm so glad you are beginning to feel a bit better again! Hugs, Joy x

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  17. You are so sweet preparing Valentines gifts for the Kids. Such a nice idea. Lots of lovely things in this Post and I adore your Linzer's in the last Post. Hope you feel better soon. I get frustrated when I',m not well and 'out of action' so to speak. However, there really is nothing you can do when you are unwell other than rest and slow down otherwise it takes longer to recover and everything just piles up even more. You look like you are spending your time wisely, nothing like some restorative crochet or crafting to lift the spirits :-) Mel x

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  18. So glad you are feeling better! I love the crocheted circles. What a lovely quilt they will make for the GB. I really like your Valentine's gifts for your family... especially the chocolate. My daughter would eat a package of strawberries a day... she absolutely loves them. I love your nail polish! This really makes me want to go out and buy myself a bottle of polish. I haven't had painted nails in years.

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  19. I'm glad you're starting to feel a little bit better. I always love hearing what you're up to and what's going on with your sweet family. Doesn't painting your nails a cheery color give you a much needed pick-me-up? I keep my nails painted a very pale pink but once in awhile I'll go for a bolder color. My toenails are a different story. Right now they're a lovely shade of blue.

    Your platinum starburst pitcher is from the 60's.

    Lucky you for seeing the miracle of plants coming up from out of the ground once again! I'm afraid it's going to be at least 2 months to see that around here.

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  20. So sad you have been feeling under the weather... so glad you are feeling better!

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  21. I am so glad you are feeling better! I got knocked over by an illness last summer and it took me a long while to recover...and like you I realized that I needed to slow down and listen to my body more. You are a good mom and with that comes a million things to do...good for you for taking care of yourself! Love that sweet new sprout in the garden...I am very eager for spring!!! Take care..Nicole xoxo

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  22. Gee...so glad to hear you are better....I know how you felt.....we had the same thing...yucky. :o(
    Your crochet is beautiful......I ALWAYS have strawberries....love them!
    Look at those daffodils....awesome!
    That China is sweet....does look 50ish to me too....
    I am a pale nail polish person....
    Thanks for the birthday wishes...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  23. So glad you are feeling better, Jennifer! While looking at your pretty crocheted circles I realized I have never made a round motif... yet :) I look forward to seeing how you bring yours together...flowers in a snow field...sounds lovely. Strawberries! How wonderful to have them available now! xx

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  24. Hi Jennifer,

    Sorry to hear that your family have been sick and glad to hear that you are feeling better.
    Love your Valentine cookies and the crocheted motifs.
    Happy rest of the week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  25. Do hope you are feeling a lot lot better from now and the same to all of you ☺
    Lovely red strawberries and I do think that little plant poking up is a daffodil, look forward
    to finding out. Nice nail polish too.
    take care xo

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  26. You are getting ready to celebrate valentine day. All your gifts and hand made things are good.

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  27. I hope you will fully rocover very soon!
    I absolutely agree that bright nail polish makes life better, I wish I used this remedy more often. ;)

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  28. I'm glad to see you are feeling better, Jennifer, and getting on with nice things like Valentines, pretty crotchet, jelly rolls and strawberries! Great post xxx

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  29. I'm glad to hear you're feeling a bit better - these colds that hang around for ages are horrible. That's going to be a very pretty blanket and I'm sure the GB will love it for years to come. Strawberries when you've got a cold (well, any time really!) are a good idea. No faffing about peeling them like with tangerines or oranges and they have more vitamin C than oranges, weight for weight. The jelly roll looks like it's going to be sewn into something very nice as well - do you have specific plans for it :)

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  30. Sorry that you have been under the weather and glad you are on the mend. Your photos show that despite your illness you really have been creative. I love the round crochet ice cream colours and the jelly roll has some gorgeous fabrics. The Colour wheel quilt is fantastic- I remember seeing something very similar somewhere or other and fell in love with the idea then- I'm glad you've reminded me of it. I hope you get better soon, Take care of yourselves.:)

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  31. I am glad that you are starting to feel better, it really is horrid being ill and then recovering. I hope that you are fully back to normal soon. Yes, those are definitely daffodils coming up in your garden!! Bulbs are pretty resilient things and generally will take care of themselves, so you should have some flowers fairly soon!! Well done you. xx

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  32. Glad to hear that you're feeling a little better, it does take time to get over an illness. I had Eleanor off school on Tuesday and Wednesday, unheard of for her so I know she must have felt bad. Mick's been suffering from a cold and I've picked it up now, I think we're all run down with this dull, rainy weather we're having. I love the beginnings of your new blanket, such pretty colours. That's one thing about Stylecraft, it comes in so many great colours. You've now got me craving strawberries but I've got a while to wait until they're in season over here.

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  33. Glad you are feeling a bit better and taking it easy. Love those crochet circles.
    Marianne x

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  34. You poor thing, coughing up a lung is not fun! Bless your heart, res, rest, rest, tea, crochet and rest and what you need.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  35. Hi Jennifer. I loved everything about this post...except the fact that you've been sick. Your pictures are so bright an cheerful in the yuck of winter. I think I will look for that quilt book at the library. There is such a delicate prettiness there. I love your little crochet circles and look forward to seeing the finished blanket. Keeping your lung inside your body. I've felt that way before and it's not fun. I'll be praying for you to get well very quickly.
    Blessings.
    Betsy

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  36. Pleased that you're all feeling a bit better, it sure sucks to feel ill. I'm with you all the way in the 'diplomatic' front, it's definitely the way forward, it sure saves any disappointment. Loving your jelly role and I can't wait to see what you're going to make with it. That book looks great and yes a needlebook is also on my list to do soon!! It's so exciting to see avlittlevlife in the garden and even more so when you don't know what's about to perp through. Love the sweet jug and oh my I've been meaning to dog nails for weeks, very unlike me. Yours are looking pretty. Sending much love and wishes to get better soon xxx

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  37. Jeans AND nail polish ----- must mean you are feeling better. Hope the healing continues.

    I love the little creamer. So pretty with it's 50s styling.

    Hope the big Bear and the little Bears (and you) all have a very happy Valentine's Day!

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  38. Oooh that little milk jug is the sweetest find! Glad to hear you're taking things easy and slowly on the mend. Can't wait to see the blanket take shape, the colours are gorgeous!

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  39. Jennifer, glad you're feeling better; must be those adorable, story book, perfect strawberries - they're your miracle food! Just today, I commented to my husband that I thought that it was too early for strawberries, even here in the Mediterranean, as I remember them being season around late March! But, he insisted that it is their time, now. Our little basket was not perfect, like yours, but very tasty, indeed!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Poppy

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  40. A fun post Jennifer! So much goodness. I have that sick crud thing now, so my comment here will be short. When I have a short burst of energy I go visit my blog friends, lol. Love your little pitcher. Happy V-Day!

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  41. Glad you're feeling a bit better Jennifer. Doesn't it lift your spirits when you see new shoots popping up through the earth. I like the jelly roll you have ordered on behalf of the Bear - I do that a lot cos if I don't get something I've hinted at, the chances are that after the event I wouldn't be able to get it. It's happened a lot and I have to be pro-active! :)
    Patricia x

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  42. You do need to look after yourself more Jennifer, you always seem to be on the go!! I am always amazed at your energy and enthusiasm.Loving your crochet work as always XX

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  43. Good you are feeling better, lovely crochet work and as usual, nice post!

    Lluisa xx

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  44. Those shoots look so promising , I loved seeing them !

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  45. I'm glad that you're feeling better, I seem to get sick every winter. Last year I had nasty strep and the year before I was in and out of the hospital for a month with pneumonia. Luckily this year I have just had colds. Being sick in the winter is always miserable! Continue to get better, I'm glad that you are taking time to yourself. That's such an important part of getting better!

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  46. That's a very cute little milk pitcher! What a nice find!

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  47. We've all been unwell here as well...picking up bugs one after the other. Although having unwell children isn't easy I think it's hardest when you're ill and they're well but are too young not to need your constant interaction. No one tells you that about being a parent. I cannot wait for the strawberry season here...they look delicious!

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  48. Beautiful,lovely and glorious post! I am sorry the nasty "bug," has been making it's rounds in your home-I hope you are all feeling better each and every day-oh I adore your nail polish.
    Happy Valentines Day-
    Jemma

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  49. Aw horrible bugs there's always something. My daughters always bringing bugs home from school. Yummy looking strawberries. So lovely to see that bulb popping up to say hello x

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  50. Hope you and your littlie are feeling so much better. So rotten when you AND them are poorly. Take care and try to rest up! J9 x

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  51. Jennifer, I hope that by now you are feeling much better. I haven't been on much, and need to catch up on reading a few blogs. I always stop by your blog, and I absolutely love seeing what you're up to. All of your pictures are so beautiful. -Thank you for being such a wonderful blog friend. I hope you continue to enjoy these simple moments, and feel better soon friend.

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  52. I've been such a slacker in checking on my blog friends and didn't realize you and your kiddo had been sick -- I do apologize. I'm so glad you are feeling better. I absolutely agree that getting sick is kind of a wake-up call that we are over-doing it and need to slow down.

    That is a really cute milk pitcher. My good china is Noritaki, too. Mine is called Winwood.

    That looks like a wonderful book. I have books like that that I just keep looking, looking, looking at.

    Hope you've had a lovely Valentine's Day, Jennifer!

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  54. Hello Jennifer. I hope you all are feeling better now. Your wee flowery crochet circles are colorful and great looking. OH, how I would LOVE to set in the sunshine and let the warm soak into Moi!! VBg Oh how I loved seeing those wee flower shoots. So inspiring knowing that Spring will really come this year. Hugs Judy

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  55. Mmm, strawberries. :-) Glad to hear you're starting to feel better, Jennifer - well enough to want to cheer yourself up with ripe fruit and nail polish. Don't overdo things, though. Let your body have time to heal properly.

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