Sunday, January 8, 2017

Starting a Fresh New Year

(from my Penny Rug Sampler quilt not yet quilted.
I have been anxiously waiting to start 2017 and put last year in the past. The final four months of 2016 were too hectic and by the time the holidays hit, I was short of the energy I needed to handle all the plans we made. I finished the holiday season doing my best to embrace and celebrate as best I could. Our gatherings were successful, though perhaps next year I will lessen my expectations and make the holidays a bit simpler? If only I remember!

2016  seemed to be an intense year! The bitter debates that preceded the election as well those after seemed to put a strain on us all. My family is as un-unified politically as the nation, and I found people weren't ready to move on! Having recently read several books written about the Civil War, I couldn't help but feel that we are experiencing political polarization like our nation has not known since those days. I know that I was and still am passionate about my beliefs and respect that others were and remain so as well, but rhetoric on-line and sometimes in-person got heated enough that many were offended, me included. I realized that many Facebook postings didn't just express differences of opinion but personally attacked people for their views and it seemed that the senders felt justified in sending such posts to those that differed. One person held me personally responsible for being a clone of my candidate, no matter that I am not, nor is anyone else. Selections were made for all sorts of reasons and it wasn't unusual that our final pick was not necessarily our first choice.

Sadly I am two friends shorter by the end of this year's election. While that doesn't sound like much, each year my friend list grows shorter without intentionally eliminating anyone for reasons other than death. It was emotionally draining and being right before the holiday season, many besides me were still "on-edge and guarded" as families gathered for holiday dinners. I love the Christmas season and genuinely did not want to miss the good energy that ebbs from it, but found myself a bit short on the "Christmas spirit" and I am hearing that I wasn't the only one.

I recently forwarded on what I considered to be a festive holiday greeting to a friend and received back a request to not send such messages. I respect anyone's wish to not receive a seemingly "impersonal" greeting, but I truly thought a cheerful message was better than spreading any of the gloom I was still feeling. I was shocked at my friend's attitude toward this simple greeting but after this, I then noted another posting on Facebook requesting that anyone that demands constant internet attention, get a puppy, and couldn't help but sense that people are burnt out on having their Facebook sites flooded, even if with simple holiday wishes.

I am the first to admit that I can be guilty of spending too many hours on the internet. Not being so fond of winter, I choose to hibernate and often communicate with others via on-line in the warmth of my own home. I also keep irregular hours when days are dark. I like to send my messages at any time and those that communicate with me can do likewise. Internet communication is easy and convenient!
(from my "Comfort Her" pen and ink quilt still in process)

I did see that Pope Francis recently announced that he supports use of such electronic devices that connect people, and if I am reading him right, he is appreciating that there are positive connections being made between people that wouldn't otherwise be happening without the use of the internet. I think he understands people like myself, who value others but for one reason or another cannot make connections as well without the internet. People are still in need of connecting with others to remain"alive" and "in touch" and I am very grateful for being able to relate in this manner, but it seems that internet communication isn't always positive.

Because I have aggravated more than one person with my internet communications, I have checked out internet etiquette to be sure that I am using it appropriately, and must admit that religious and political posts remain areas that are still considered to be best avoided. Interestingly, those that request that of others are often guilty of posting very inflammatory posts regarding both subjects, so I am not alone in sending out what I perhaps shouldn't.  While that doesn't excuse my communications regarding either of these subjects, I am noting that boundaries are changing when it comes to what is shared with others. Clearly if standards change regarding such off-limit subjects, we all need to be more tolerant and respectful of others' contrary views.

I was stunned and offended with personal feedback to me by a "friend" who let me know that my posts were not "OK" as they were not truthful whereas she apparently has a lease on The Truth. I found this arrogant at best. This person even explained that mine were laced with fake facts unsubstantiated by her own news sources? Dah! My information  sources were clearly NOT the same as my friend's and that made them wrong whereas her's were correct? I AM one that takes personal conflicts to heart, and found myself initially shutting down my communication fearing that my "friend" might be right. "Put downs" are "put downs". They sting at best, and when illness already shakes self-confidence, they can indeed be very damaging!

Sadly it shook me to the core before I realized that our two party system is alive and well and many times facts are according to what is believed and not necessarily proven by a supposedly unbiased fact checker. What is true is in the eyes of the believer. "Unbiased authority" likely resides only in heaven, as such earthly unbiased experts don't exist. I came to the conclusion, right or wrong, that perhaps my "friend" and I are NOT indeed "friends" as I had assumed.

She also let me know that I was embarrassing myself, especially when her friends see my postings? My "opinions" would show only my ignorance to her friends? I don't think that I missed the point that I embarrassed her with her friends and I was instructed that fb etiquette has it that I needed to not respond to her posts, no matter how inflammatory they were to me, though she invited me to block her posts. I believe that I was essentially told to f-off? While emailed to me privately, the pain was no less than if I had been told in person "to not embarrass her by hanging around". I learned in elementary school that this in not the way a "friend" treats a "friend".

It is no secret that I lack a few brain cells due to lyme disease and stroke, but believe me, I have many that are still functioning and I processed her message well. Rudeness and arrogance and put-downs don't take a genius brain to comprehend. Her intellectual way of telling me that my views "didn't count" came across quite clearly. Biases and well-substantiated arguments exist on both sides and on all levels. This is still America however where each is entitled to their opinion, but I do have to wonder whatever happened to tolerance and respect for another's views, no matter if they differ? The fact that each of us has a vote suggests that every person is valued and counts.

I know that I literally have "thin skin" physically and emotionally. Eradicating Vitamin D for a long term treatment has indeed left me vulnerable, though I am finding that I am not the only one that apparently is emotionally "thin skinned".  I do believe that humans at large are suffering from internet insensitivity.  I am hopeful that people don't really talk to each other in the ways that they do on-line, but judging by the daily news, I am not so sure. If others have been offended, like myself, I hope they too are making New Year's resolutions to check themselves so as to be more civil, respectful and kind in their discourse with others. Much healing is needed in our country as negative words and insults precede violent behavior and aren't we all getting sick of turning on the news and finding yet another shooting or stabbing. Peace begins with each one of us and our words can wound as well.

Years ago my husband and I sought marriage counseling when some of our ways with each other hit an all-time low.  We were taking each other for granted and needed to be reminded that what concerns one, should be a matter of concern for their partner or friend as well. Not being sensitive to each other's thoughts and concerns is NOT OK. We have "friended" certain people on line and I think we all need reminders to, in fact, "treat them as friends". Human beings are behind every message that gets sent whether it be "a forward" or "hand-written e-mail" or "personal snail-mail card". We may be tired of being so blessed with too many messages sent to us, but then "being kind" is always the appropriate response, IF we truly care about others "as friends".

If insensitivity has crept into our communications in any form, it is then time to step back and appreciate our "overload" and deal with it within our self, rather than be unkind in any way. It is too easy to "let loose" and be "sharp-tongued" and it is no less abusive regardless if it is on-line.

That is my rant for today and for the new year ahead. I had to get in touch with my own use of the internet and political posts, and quit re-posting any that would in anyway diminish another for their political views, and I hope others will do the same. We are fortunate to have freedom of speech, but l believe it is a privilege not a license, and judgement needs to precede our words. I am actively closing down posts that express intolerance. Differing views are always welcome as long as they are expressed respectfully. Putting others down for their views IS offensive. Sadly some are not open to honest, thoughtful and respectful debate and discourse without fighting "below the belt". Name calling, insults and ridicule are abusive and don't challenge thinking or make for change, but just cause others to dig their "trenches" deeper.

To not use the internet to communicate would simply close my mind and heart to issues and people that continue to fill my life with meaning and purpose. I have many new internet friends that expand my thinking and are truly invaluable supports to me and me to them. I will continue to use the internet in a way that I can keep on giving to others and send messages of appreciation to the many friends that support me. I am blessed to live during the internet age, and appreciate how much bigger my world is on its account.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with meaningful communications between you, your family, neighbors and friends. Thank you all for your friendship and thoughts. I am indeed richly blessed with dear and loving friends and family and I hope and pray that each of us makes this world a safer and kinder world! I think that no one should need to buy a puppy to find a warm heart and get attention, though to be sure puppies need warm hearts and homes, families and kindness surrounding them too!  Happy 2017 everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

CelebratingThe Season of Advent

Our Advent Calendar, without messages to our children from the Advent Elf.

I started to write a blog a couple of weeks ago about the arrival of the Advent Season but as I later proofed it, I realized that this year Advent is seeming more like the season of Lent instead. I have found us besieged with many tests and trials distracting me from the peace and joy of this season.

We are all experiencing that our contentious election is not over but has continued. War in Syria only got worse in Aleppo and has been brought to us live on our TV screens, despite the fact that war is truly not a spectator sport. Strong differences of opinions are rampant and agitating us all on the internet and facebook and threats by our president to retaliate against the Russians for their alleged internet hacks have had a most unsettling effect on many of us. Today was "the icing on the cake" when I received what I thought was another "free sample" of cosmetic cream, that wasn't  free at all but rather a scam where I was being charged $95 a bottle, not once, but twice! I yelled and screamed that I would contact my lawyer and call my credit card to cancel payment as their service representative challenged me regarding signing myself up for "such a deal" and refusing to allow me to send it back for a full refund! I won in the end, but this isn't preparation for the peace and love of Christmas, but rather a season of political and world unrest, where scams, nastiness and contempt abound!
My special stitched pillow reminding us of the Holly Days of Advent.

God doesn't give up, however, and neither do I! Christmas is right around the corner and it will be here, whether our hearts are prepared or not. At my age I no longer welcome the cold of winter, but will be delighted to have Christmas to warm my heart and hopefully everyone will put down their political differences to celebrate whatever traditions you ascribe to. It seems that the holiday season has a special day for people of all faiths.

I, for one, am NOT going to miss the traditional celebration that ties and unites our family together, and will take comfort in the message of peace and love! Our family has taken much care and time to establish our traditions that we hold to every year. We have intentionally taken time away from the concerns of the world to celebrate our religious traditions and I am so glad now that we still come together to celebrate, no matter the circumstances that surround us!
This pillow was made a long time ago, when I had much time for each stitch!

It is done with in cross stitch, straight stitch and a special wrapped stitch.

Our traditions beckon us to return to what gives meaning to our lives and helps us focus on what is most important, the love of family and friends!  Our celebration focuses on the birth of the Christ Child and Christmas Eve Mass will be its highlight. We start with the singing of Christmas carols and then a candle-lit procession in our beautifully decorated church, complete with a large creche and Christmas greenery. Christmas Day will follow with an exchange of gifts that represent Christ's gift of love for us and for each other and then onto a big Christmas dinner with all of us gathered.

No matter the disturbance of this year's continued political fighting, the lack of acceptance of the new administration, warring around the world, and evil tricks by those trying to take advantage, I will have my heart and spirit warmed by Christ's love and the love of my family as well, all much needed to face the months ahead in our cold and snowy Vermont weather! We will pray for our world and its unrest, and hibernate to keep warm. For me it will bring stitching on unfinished quilts each day. So here we come 2017! At Little House, we will not live in fear but rather in renewed hope and a willingness to face new challenges!

I am praying that all Americans will renew their faith during this holiday season and be more ready to courageously embrace whatever changes this next year brings. I will re-dedicate myself to pray for new visions as to what I can do each day to make the world around me better. I may do only small things but doing them with great love was the goal of Mother Teresa and has become my mission as well.

A heart is stitched on each day's pocket to remind us to take time for love.

I wish all my readers a beautiful Holly Season, and a New Year filled with God's blessings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Winner of the Chicken Little Drawing is...

The winner of the Chicken Little Pincushion Drawing is Judith Forbes. Judith please be in touch with me to select your free Chicken Little!  Thank you all for entering and if you would like a Chicken Little Pincushion, almost all are now listed in my Etsy shop (just double click on Little House Home Arts under Etsy to the right of this blog and you will be taken directly to my Etsy shop. If you prefer another as seen in my blog, you may leave me a note requesting which one you prefer and if it is available, I would be happy to sell it to you.  Thank you all again for entering this drawing! There were thirty-eight that left comments, and I assigned each a number in the order that they entered and then had my computer select a random number between 1 and 38! I hope you will return to my website as I plan to post more free drawings in the future! I so appreciate your interest in my creations. Congratulations to Judith Forbes!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Free Chicken Little Pincushion Drawing extended...

Please note that the Free Chicken Little Pincushion Drawing will be held on Tuesday, November 29th, instead of November 26th as some people have had problems leaving a message or some are only able to leave a message anonymously.  If this is a problem for you, you may either leave me a message on my Etsy store site or contact me through email at  Just leave your comment there.

Please know that I have been checking my web site daily and hand recording names of any who have signed up, thus far, but don't hesitate to re-sign up if you are in doubt as to your entry for this drawing I will post the winner of the drawing on November 30th on my blog at so check back then to see if you won. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Sincerely, Jane McMillen

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Free Chicken Little Pincushion Drawing

My  silly chicken pincushions took on a life of their own at Maria Wulf's Open House this last October. I made ten and none came home at the end of the sale.  So I made more, thirty-three to be exact and perhaps just in time for a perfect gift for the person in your life or perhaps even for your yourself? I now call them my Chicken Little Pincushions or soft sculpture art. We did note that when photographed they seemed to all have their mouths open and we think this is because they are "busy chatting with each other".

They gave me pause to reflect following the election. I know that I was very engaged emotionally in this election season, so much so that the night of the returns I half-jokingly prepared a "suicide prevention kit" as I really didn't think my candidate had a chance of winning though I realized too that I rarely pick the winner ever. I am used to losing, and in fact, I think that on many fronts I might well be considered "a real loser". Despite two college degrees, I never chose my careers according to their ability to make money but chose instead jobs that were more about dedication to my principals, and serving others. As professions they were "good for women's work" (in my day), but then along came my health issues, necessitating me to cut back my hours, eliminate chances of promotions and eventually caused me to take permanent leave from my work.

I learned that even when more money was needed to support myself and my family, I was better able to do this by taking on cottage industry work on the side, the sort that Mike Rowe features on his shows. While they weren't "dirty jobs" per se, they were the tedious and boring sorts, the kinds that no one else wanted to do. Even then,we still seemed only to make ends meet. I do have to own that my husband and I chose to live in the beautiful rural countryside of Vermont instead of sticking to city life where jobs were higher pay and more plentiful. We literally "chose" the harder way for ourselves to succeed monetarily, but then we followed our hearts and not money.

Looking back on my life, I see now the value of those choices.We have had a quality of life that we wouldn't have found in the city though we rarely "had things go our way". We grew so used to not being "winners", that despite our quality of life increasing, our monetary success actually decreased.

So  it seemed only natural that election night I simply prepared myself for the worst outcome for my chosen candidate and prepared a thermos of hot, comforting Chamomile tea, stuffed several pieces of chocolate in a baggie to take with me when I escaped the inevitable negative election returns on TV to run to our bedroom and avoid watching him lose. I would retire early, pull the covers over my head to read the next book in my series of feel-good quilting novels and shut out the real world! One way or another I would make it through this long night and comfort myself until I got up the next morning to face the reality of losing once again!

Fortunately, I had received an order on line that I worked to put together, while I had the TV tuned into the start of the election returns. I was even avoiding taking a real interest in watching them, and only half-listened. As I sat at my computer sending information to my customer, I was prepared and ready for the slide to begin when I would charge to our bedroom, escape into another world, and sip hot tea and eat chocolate..  I was so "chicken" that I worked to remain detached, though I had not missed anything during the entire political campaign.

I couldn't believe what was happening as my chosen candidate didn't seem to bottom out...and his chances of winning increased.  I even changed channels to get the other side's perspective, determined to not let me get my hopes up. I couldn't allow myself to even consider the possibility of my candidate winning! To make a long story short, I didn't flip the TV off until about two in the morning and my hot tea became merely a beverage as I started paying more attention. My suicide prevention plan would apparently not be needed this time.

The next day I was truly feeling bad for my candidate's opponent and her followers, many of whom were my friends, though it still wasn't real to me there hadn't been some big mistake and that our victory would still be up-ended? This is how sure I was that my candidate would not win!

This writing isn't about winning however, but rather about losing...I didn't realize until later when I saw the other side struggling with their feelings about the election that we are all "chickens" and become like Chicken Littles, and I mean this in the kindest of ways. We all seem to do all sorts of "catastrophe-sizing" about the future when things don't go according to our plans. I also began to realize how many good things I have learned about losing. Life goes on, however devastating our loss may be, and let me be frank, I have had some devastating losses (family members suffering and dying from MS, Parkinsons, and cancer; my daughters and I being diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease, my youngest also born with a congenital chest deformity that made her chest grow inward during her adolescent years, crowding her heart and lessening her breathing capacity). Whatever the loss,we sought comfort, grieved, picked ourselves up, learned whatever we needed to learn and carried on to put our life back together again as best as we could.

There are, of course, different stages of grief that we all go through as we gather the courage to face the difficult and begin again. Many things in life are beyond our control and often more important than winning is how we lose. Losing, I found, is just as much a "part of life" as winning and despite it or perhaps because of it, we are blessed!

We gained faith during times of loss and learned that whatever we faced, God remained and still remains with us, helping us each step of the way and the more we practiced our faith during such times, the easier it became to trust that whatever happens, the next day comes, even when the skies are overcast. Who, however, in their right mind volunteers to lose something we hold dear, just to get stronger?   We are all a bit "chicken" and though Chicken Little actually suffered more from from anxiety, his fears were real to him. I figure that we are all Chicken Littles at heart. We are easily shaken and crushed, but picking ourselves up and going on "is life".

Though I wasn't disappointed by the election, my chosen candidate was really a substitute for the first candidate I had chosen that had lost in the primaries. I also realized that winning is not permanent, and losing will visit me again in the future! For those of you that are grieving and are in pain about this election, know that most certainly your side will win again. None of this is permanent.

In honor of all who voted and dared to hope for one candidate or another, I want to offer you a chance to win a drawing for a free give-away Chicken Little.  They are whimsical little pincushions or soft sculpture art that reminds us that we are all Chicken Littles and hopefully should you win one, it will make you smile and prepare to win again. It is my dream that both sides can contribute to making America the strong nation that will benefit us all!

To win one of these Chicken Littles, please leave your name in the comment section following this blog. A drawing will be held two days after Thanksgiving and the winner announced. Thank you for participating and hopefully you will be the winner.  If not they will be reasonably priced and for sale in my Etsy shop shortly after Thanksgiving! May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are indeed privileged to live in the USA and am grateful for all of you that follow my blog!

Our final craft sale for this year will be at The Lakes Region Farmer's Market Christmas Fair, at Poultney High School Gym, Poultney, Vermont on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  We hope you will come and see us there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Little House at Vermont Farmer's Fall Holiday Fair this Saturday, November 12th, 2016!

Little House will be at Vermont Farmer's Fall Holiday Fair Saturday, at the Holiday Inn in Rutland, Vermont, November 12th,  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will be joining many artisans and hope to see you there!  Here is a preview of some of our wares. Not pictured are our very popular fleece socks. They are come in all sizes, colors and patterned fabrics (300+ pairs)! Hope to see you there!

Pre set-up before the sale. Empty spot will be a stack of Hannah's aprons.

A sampling of my pincushions and other wool items.

No one can say that our booth isn't colorful!

Hannah's little giraffe stuffed toys for babies.

We love whimsical items...They make us smile!

Christmas gifts. Not shown are patchwork Christmas stockings.

 Hannah's fun display! Spaces to be filled with aprons and finger puppets!

New 2-toned felted wool pincushions stuffed with crushed walnut shell filling.
New Penny-rug-style felted wool pincushions with walnut shell filling.

Friday, October 28, 2016

About the Artist Who Didn't Allow Herself to be Photographed

Cutting out more chicken pincushions while watching politics on TV!
Bodies, beaks, combs and wings, for my new chicken pincushions.
I have been living in the fast lane and am having a hard time keeping up with everything at Little House! The 2016 Bedlam Farm Open House and Craft Sale over Columbus Day Weekend was altogether too successful! I am not complaining mind you, but in only a matter of a week, I had become a video star overnight ( and my pincushions seem to have become part of a mad buying frenzy, thanks to Maria's Wulf's marketing skills! I had to readjust my plan of quilting, thinking that my crafts were sewn for the season and quickly cut out more batches of my whimsical chicken pincushions. I will feature them in my sales in November and December and sell them in my Etsy shop as well!
My first chicken pincushions sold out almost before Maria's sale started.

My new two toned wool pincushions for this year!

Some new penny rug and biscornu pincushions to add to my collection!

My flower pot pincushions, a favorite item, all hand sewn.
Maria's short video of me showing my pincushions, broke a near life-long ban of avoiding all photographs of me, though fortunately, the video showed more of my pincushions than of my face, still the psychological ramifications of being "exposed to the public" were mind-boggling! Unlike The Emperor That Wore No Clothes, I felt exposed! Mind you, at the advice of a successful artist, I posted a picture of me in my craft booth a few years ago. However, instead of the life-sized picture of me doing my work that was recommended, my picture was not only merely school-sized but a real second grade school picture of me and with it my daughter's statement about me as an artist. It is all silly and whimsical and made me laugh but is factual and true! It reads:

"Jane makes a mean corn chowder, and her homemade bread is to die for.

Her favorite part of the creative process is cutting.  She has been known to spend weeks, cutting out new projects.

Jane writes every email in Lucinda Script.

Jane refuses to sit for a new portrait.  Something about having a bad experience in her childhood. While she has aged a little, and her haircut has changed, her youthful outlook on life and style has not.

Jane's Netflix Queue is full of historic dramas.  She is a sucker for dramatic productions with full-blown costumes and really bleak circumstances.

Jane's heroes include Elizabeth Bennet, Louisa May Alcott and Charles Krauthammer."
Aged a little, my haircut changed, but NOT my youthful outlook and style.

Maria's video was a total shock! It was spontaneous and I didn't even have time to object and she clearly didn't know about my strong objections on having my picture taken and only wanted to feature me and my artwork!  After receiving a message from a very dear friend that I have corresponded with for a few years now, I am trying to embrace my own image and so, my dear readers, you may need to prepare for selfies to follow? (or NOT!)

I am at last accepting that I am fast approaching 70 years old and am no longer meant to look like I am twenty! I am a step-grandparent now and am embracing my new rather frumpy image of the old woman that has been staring back at me from mirrors. I not only objected to all photographs for years, but have only enough mirrors in the house to check for ugly green specks of broccoli in my teeth?!
Standing in the rain, a frumpy old woman but I still have a youthful outlook!

Maria is a wonder to be sure, and her video was hugely successful in selling pincushions and after the following feedback from a very dear on-line friend, it brought about some inner healing as well!

"So, now I have to tell you about something that really meant a lot to me this week. I have a friend who has become so dear to me. She is wise in the best of ways, compassionate, gives of herself sacrificially even though it is especially costly for her due to health problems, and has a sense of humor, even in the midst of trials, that always brings a smile. I’ve never met her except through her words. Well, this week I got to see her for the first time…on Maria’s video, did you guess??? And Jane, I was thrilled! I could listen to your voice for hours- you have such a soft, lilting voice that is so comforting to hear, and so young! Yes, some people who are young sound old, but you have a very youthful voice. I know what you’ve said, and I truly do understand how you feel about your appearance because as I shared, I really dislike what I see in the mirror. So I’m not chiding you at all, but you are so lovely! I could go into detail, but I don’t want you to feel embarrassed or think I’m using flattery. I will say I have always coveted a nose like you possess :). It made me so happy to get to see you and hear you speak. Your pincushions are beautiful, but so is their creator. Even without makeup or clean hair, as you described your condition that day!"

This is the most beautiful note ever, and I so appreciated knowing that others, like me, judge a person by their heart and not their appearance, though I am my own worst critic and I do think my friend does flatter me in both inner spirit and outward appearance!

The past few weeks have indeed been eventful, for this was not the only personal challenge I had to confront! I unintentionally upset a friend by sending her a video that was political, though I did not mean it as such and added a note indicating to ignore the political statements and focus only on the medical assessment of the doctor, and sent it out "en mass" to friends. It was a video of Hillary being carried to her van, as well as other clips showing various and alarming visible signs of some sort of serious illness.

I was shocked to see that Hillary appeared to stiffen, unable to walk, and the doctor's assessment concurred with my own. I didn't think I saw a fainting episode as reported, which I have observed many times during my days as a nurse, but rather something that I would describe as a "neurological event" instead. Fainting seems more of a "limp-ening" experience and not a stiffening...and I had a brother that died early of a neurological disease and my mother though dying much older, had a neurological disease as well and I am familiar with bodies that refuse to function as their brain directs! I was shocked and meant only to inform my friends "on both sides of the aisle".

I learned the hard way that I was naive to NOT think that in this ultra polarized political world someone would consider it a personal jab at their chosen candidate, especially when they know of my differing political views. Sadly my friend would not hear of my good intentions! I felt like I was experiencing a bit of deja-vue when I saw video clips documenting Hillary's health condition. No matter which candidate I choose to vote for, I feel sadness when I see someone having signs of a potential serious medical illness.

I have been defending myself since this conflict. My intentions define me, though I know that I fall short of the mark when it comes to living them. I consider myself to be a truly caring and sensitive friend, and while I whole-heartedly apologized to her and meant it, instead of altering my behavior to keep myself socially appropriate and mute about politics, I am rebelliously re-posting some informative posts about the presidential candidates on facebook. I recalled that somewhere in my youth I was made fun of and shamed for my passionate beliefs and I am now insisting on reclaiming my interior as well as my exterior! I will not be shamed for my political beliefs and will intentionally speak or communicate on facebook about them boldly now though inside I am still timid and scared, as it may well mean that I have no friends left after this election!

I can make fun of my chosen candidate as well as myself, and after my friend tried to shame me for what I didn't do, I decided to insist on having political banter at home, "no matter what"!  I am not only claiming my own political voice, though I will spare my readers of my strong political rants, but I am insisting that all of us at Little House be able to have discourse about politics without shooting or shaming each other. I now realize that any form of shaming wounds a person, making them feel like that are indeed "deplorable" for their beliefs! Whatever happened to the psychology of "I'm OK, You're OK" and America's tolerance for differing views, no matter how heartfelt we are about our own!

This is America and I am taking back my overweight and unhealthy self-image hoping that others besides my friend see the good heart within, and am accepting my own political voice and allowing others to do the same! Forget social and political correctness! I am well-read on the candidates, and have opinions as to which best represents me. I claim my right of being me and expressing myself and allowing others to do the same!

God bless Amendment Number One and with it Number Two as well, for while I never owned a gun, lest it get used against me, I want the right to protect myself from governments that have gone crazy and I think we are almost there!! I have indeed been very busy embracing the old woman that stares back at me in photos and mirrors as I stitch away and prepare for sales ahead. I am trying to prepare for the election as well, as disappointment often follows them as I don't seem to pick the winning candidate, ever! Could it be that I am jinxing my candidate by my support? I certainly hope not!

I love, love, love organized messes!

Well, almost organized!

New pincushion bodies waiting to be filled with crushed walnut shell filling.

New fruit and chicken pincushions in process!

Regarding my upcoming sales, stay tuned for my notices of their dates, times and locations. I will be at two sales in November and possibly another in December!!.... And do check out my Etsy shop which will soon have my whimsical chicken pincushions along with other new items for your holiday shopping pleasure!

Last but not daughter, Hannah McMillen, is joining me on creating items for Little House! Don't miss her aprons, soft toys, knit baby hats and finger puppets! She has long been a co-creator-in-crime.  She is the designer of my website. business logos and designs and loves to do my booth displays. Her business skills exceed my own and she enjoys working my sales. She is a professional artist by trade and is working to expand our offerings at Little House with her own new creations!

My husband, Tom remains our silent partner, and is driver, hauler, banker, salesman, and chief-supporter of Little House!

Thank you for your interest and support of Little House's Etsy Store. Please feel free to give us feedback at any time!We enjoy hearing from you. Jane McMillen

*This blog is dedicated to my friend, D.M. for sending me such healing feedback and also to Maria Wulf! It is clear that I need to accept the older and less healthy woman that I am turning into. Despite my denial and resistance to growing older, I am not getting any younger, though I continue to work at that! I blame my physical failures on my battle with Lyme disease, but perhaps psychological denial is at the heart of them all? I think I learned in nursing school that we usually peak physically at twenty one years and after that it is all downhill! Perhaps I am "normal"?! As one friend wisely advised me some time ago,"Get over it!" and that is what I am planning to do!