Friday, December 22, 2017

A Christmas Thought

With Christmas in the wings...only a few short days away...and a new year right behind it...I always start my end of the year inventory. I go through the litany of things I wanted to accomplish and was able to, projects started and abandoned, efforts to better the lives of my family and friends. Just how did I fill those three hundred and sixty five precious days?

When I sit and we all do...I sometimes feel woefully lacking in accomplishments. But then I remember. I remember when I was young my father built me a playhouse in our backyard. That little house was the jewel of the neighborhood. It was my space...all mine...rain or shine...summer, winter, spring and fall. I decorated, cleaned glass windows and swept wooden floors, welcomed my friends inside. My friends and I played school under it's shingled roof.

These days when I sit thinking, it often occurs to me that my life has come full circle. I'm once again in my little house...decorating, cleaning windows and floors, and welcoming friends. I've had my teaching career, as well. My childhood dream has followed me all these years. And, as I sit and gaze out these very windows, I feel blessed...and content.  

Of course, I've added a couple of occupants to this little house. My hard working...long running...husband. And our beautiful Annie, who makes us smile every day. My accomplishments...I've kept them fed and in clean clothes these many years and...hopefully...happy... happy in our little house.

 I hope in the coming days you all will be spending time with those you love and hold dear...making memories and enjoying the day. 

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! 

Enjoy the day!

The Family Mugwump

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bits of Christmas 2017

Hello, are this year's Bits of Christmas....just some random shots around the House of Mugwump. Through the years, I've amassed a sweet little collection of red children's socks and mittens. Along with greens and my favorite pepper berries, these simple items add color and whimsy to our Christmas.

I hope you enjoy these Bits of Christmas at our house.

...a new German Belsnickle

...socks and Shooner Redware early tartan seed pouch...and socks

...tiny red wool mittens

New this year is this early German cow pull toy with his folk art painted base. 

...socks and strawberries

I added an antique Santa to my early German feather tree...the fellow at the top...he's a clip-on.

...more socks

...another pair

I've had this wonderful early tin cookie cutter for a few years and decided he would be perfect in this old red carrier.

He is a handsome fellow...and has quite a presence about him.

I have been gathering early spun cotton ornaments for a few years and now have enough for this old feather tree. This tree is in our sunroom where we spend most of our time. It is the first time I've ever put a tree up in this room. When we are in this room we can see the real tree in the living room and Annie's Owl Tree in the family room...and now this sweet small tree, too.

...early spun cotton and cotton batting ornaments.


Many years ago I had photos of Annie turned into these stand ups. They enlarged the photo and backed it with hard plastic so it could be put in the stand. They made great gifts! This is Annie on Christmas morning when she was two and a half. She had just started walking and she would walk a little and then sit down and give you this very look..."I did it!" pleased with herself...even her hands are happy!

...and those little red long johns are still a part of Christmas at our house.

Hope you enjoyed these Bits of Christmas. I've tried to keep it simple these past few years...some greens, socks and mittens sprinkled in with redware and a couple of small trees...and, 

of course...

Annie's Owl Tree

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the day,

Monday, December 11, 2017

Amelia Island....brrrrrr

Good it's cold outside! 

Still having issues with my camera. We were in Amelia Island last week and my pics from the trip are not to my liking. They are fuzzy and I don't know why.

It was very cold in Amelia Island...cold for Florida. It was rainy and windy so we stayed in the hotel and visited with friends, read books and drank tea by the fireplace. 

On Saturday, before heading home, we went to the Dickens Stroll in Fernandina Beach which is on the island and just below Georgia. It was in the low forties and rainy so we bundled up and joined the fun.

Fernandina Beach is a wonderful little town that began as a vacation destination for northerners in the late 1880's. There are many Victorian mansions that have been restored and are beautiful...especially at Christmas. The downtown is full of old brick buildings that are now funky, fun stores. It is very similar to Franklin, Tennessee or Thomasville, Georgia...quaint and full of new merchants and eateries.

The entire town was decked out for a Dickens Christmas. I didn't take a lot of pics...too busy trying to stay warm and enjoying the sites. There was a dog parade that featured many dogs in various costumes...lots of dogs in their pj's.

The bookstore where I took these pictures was wonderful. The trees and skirts were made entirely of pages from books.

They were wonderful...true works of art. The sales ladies were in Victorian dress, as were many other shopkeepers and of course, strolling carolers.

It was a fun way to spend the morning...but the raw, damp cold...and the rain was wicked. I have so many layers on in this picture...two turtlenecks, a big puffy down vest under the heavy sweater jacket, a wool scarf and gloves. I look a bit "stuffed". When it's cold in Florida it is a damp cold that penetrates your bones! Annie was bundled up and toasty warm. Mr. MW, he has on shorts...and no jacket...he grew up in Connecticut, what can I say?

I'll try to get some Bits of Christmas pics today. I'm trying, Marly...I really am. Our board trip in December always throws me off schedule! See you later in week.

Enjoy the day,

p.s. Annie delivered her gifts to her friends on the Board of Governors last week. This year she gave them a photo of herself with each of them...the photos were magnets I made through Shutterfly. The name tags for each gift were retro flashcards with the name of each recipient. We also tucked a chocolate Santa into each bag. Annie loves sharing Christmas!

Monday, December 4, 2017

My dollies...

 I am happy to tell you my old Canon camera received some TLC on Saturday and it is up and running. We visited Best Buy with the intention of purchasing a new camera. I had tossed the broken one in my purse before we left the house so I could do some comparison shopping. As luck would have it, the fellow that was our salesman was actually a rep from Canon. Long story short...he fiddled around and got my camera working. He spent a lot of time getting it working and I all but offered to adopt him when he was finished. I was so happy! I really like my little point and shoot and did not want to have to buy a new one. It was a good day!

So...I have been taking a few pics around the house. Lately, I have been drawn to antique doll cradles. I now have three that I consider to be pieces of folk art.

This one is painted grey with black painted squiggles. It is signed on the inside in a lovely early script. It dates to the 1800's. I am using this gem under the tree...filled with early toys and books.

The large bear is early with a hump on his back and elongated arms...a real sweetie. The fox has little fur left but is still charming. The old Christmas books are part of a collection I started many years ago. The black and white dog I purchased from the wonderful folk artist Anne Childs. The dolls...both of these little dolls are from my family and each has a story.

The large doll is even older than I am! My grandmother was the president of The Washington Women's Club when I was very young. It was a service club...much like the Junior League is today. The ladies had this older doll that they dressed and raffled off for charity. My grandfather...Pop Pop...won the doll and supposedly said he knew right where that doll was me. Her clothes have been replaced by me with a more time appropriate dress and shoes. Her pretty face has cracked with age and I had her restrung years ago when her original bands dry rotted. I keep her...Pop Pop's I have always called her...on the counter in my laundry room. I see her every day.

The smaller doll belonged to my great uncle. Before he married my great aunt, he had a wife and young daughter that died in an epidemic in the early 1900's. The doll had belonged to his daughter. He was much older than my aunt so he was like a grandfather to me. The doll sat on the back of their sofa and I admired her every year when we would visit them on our annual trip to Florida. Many years later, after they were both gone, the doll went to my mother and my mother gave her to me. Uncle Mason's Doll is wearing an early red dress that is not original to her....but looks smashing on her for the holidays! She is wearing her original red leather shoes.

Two little dolls from my gifted to me by my cherished of my most favorite people. The other...passed down through a beloved uncle. Two little dolls, from different sides of my family, full of memories of loved ones gone...but never forgotten. Two little dolls under the Christmas tree.


Time is slipping away and I have much to I'm sure you all do, as well. Why does December fly by at break neck speed? The tree may or may not get decorated...I vote for the latter. I like just the lights and so far a certain daughter has not objected.  I told MR. MW last year that I wasn't going to put up a tree this year...fatigue talking. I relented and we brought home a much smaller the end I just could not go without a real tree...the German in me, no doubt. Annie's Owl Tree is up and decorated...and two feather trees are done. I'll be back with Bits of Christmas....sometime.

                                                             Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bah Humbug!

Humbug...went to take a few pics of Christmas around here and my camera screen is black. I've done all the trouble shooting to no avail. I guess I'll be shopping for a new camera this weekend.

So I'll continue the "purge". The relentless quest to de-clutter!

Don't you love it when Thanksgiving comes early? An extra week to get ready for Christmas is a big plus! I cleaned out a good deal of Christmas decorations last year and continued the process this week. I was determined to eliminate more boxes. Those Radkos I collected in the 90's...gone to the Salvation Army. Santa's...angels...greenery...packed up and headed to new homes via my favorite charity. I've been undaunted in my quest to eliminate clutter...even clutter in the attic that I can't see.

I am resolute in my quest to simplify! I am down to six of those large red and green storage containers...and a few small containers for things that are fragile. SIX??? That's about five too many even though some of them are only half full. Heading back to the garage to continue gleaning the piles!

Hope to see you soon with some "Bits of Christmas".

                                                         Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Hello, friends...

Thanksgiving will be here tomorrow and, as is often the case, we reflect on our lives and focus on our blessings with gratitude. 

It will be six years this week since I began Mugwump Woolies. This blog has afforded me a means with which to record the events of my family's comings and goings these many years. It has connected me with women who share similar interests as mine...hooking, stitching, feathering our nests...celebrating our families. I've connected with many of you, and consider you friends, though we have never met. I've learned a great deal from you. 

These days it seems blogs are waning. Life gets busy. I plan on continuing this journey...though I do it less frequently, I still enjoy staying in touch. 

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Enjoy the bounty of your table...the love of your family and friends...the comfort and warmth of your home...make some memories!

Enjoy the day,
Robyn, Annie & Mr. MW

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Happening here...

Been doing some stitching and finished this sweet deer yesterday. Tina Woltman patterns are a good fit for me...simple and fast...and lovely.  I've been trying to stitch in the morning before the kiddo gets up. 

This...this is what I should be doing...packing all this away so Mr. MW can get it back up in the attic.Yesterday, I took it down and piled it in this chair. Today...I've been avoiding it. Better get to it. Annie is anxious to get out the turkeys.

If you visit here and have ever seen Annie in a photo, more often than not she is giving the American Sign Language hand sign for "I love you". We have the most wonderful neighbors who are great artists and happen to be deaf. The husband of this super couple made this ghost for Annie...complete with her favorite sign! She's over the moon! 

Yesterday, I burned a bayberry candle all day in honor of my mother. November first...All Saints Day...was her birthday. That wonderful scent was enough to arouse a bit of holiday spirit. It will be here before we know it!

Hope all is well with everybody. It's a gorgeous, sunny day here!

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Hooking Chair...a new look

So, my hooking chair has a new look. Gone is the mantle...replaced with a lovely old worn pumpkin pine chest...and a black painted shelf. 

I'm loving the this color and mustard...perfect this time of year.

I've sprinkled the shelves with some of my favorite things and fall folk art. Here, on one shelf, sits the tiniest Schneeman pumpkin head doll...smiling among the pewter whale oil lamps.

Pumpkin Tyme...Ole Raggs U.S.A., Angela Hillstrom from an original drawing by Lori Brechlin. I have to admit this fine fellow is one of my very favorite pieces. The detail on this little guy is unbelievable. I'm so happy he lives here with us.

Another creation of Angela's is this sweet little witch. Can you see the detail in her shoes and socks?

A few pieces of Shooner redware and some old leather books...I'm looking forward to changing up the shelf to reflect the season.

I'm liking my new hooking corner. Now if I could just get myself into that chair to hook!


We made a trip to Orlando last week for a quick meeting. The Gaylord Palms is a huge resort that is enclosed in a biosphere kinda thing. I took this pic sitting on our balcony. Yes, that's a ship out there...a restaurant, actually. Years ago Annie and I enjoyed a grouper sandwich right there on it's deck. There are huge fish swimming in that aqua blue water. All of this is inside...and air conditioned!

Because of the hurricane, and the many cancelations in Florida hotels, our large group was able to book the rooms and conference rooms needed for our meeting. We practically had the place to ourselves! I hope the Eggs Benedict I enjoyed on this balcony helped their bottom line.

Florida continues to recover from Irma. We have friends who dealt with trees through their roofs and one family who is still using a canoe to get in and out of their home. The arrival of the pumpkins for the Youth Group Pumpkin Patch at the church on the corner of our signaled things were getting back to normal. A welcome yearly adventure is our trip to the patch with the wagon. All is well in suburbia. 

Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful time of year!

Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

...after the storm

Hello friends. First, thank you for sending prayers and kind thoughts our way as we prepared for Irma. We so appreciated all your comments.

Second, in view of the devastation in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by Maria...I can barely bring myself to post about our experience with a Cat 2. I have been struggling to load these pics for a week. Finally, today our internet cooperated so I thought I'd go ahead and share our "week with Irma".

Mr. MW and I spent Saturday before the storm putting up the Fabric Shield and plywood on our windows. It was all ready to go...stored since the last hurricane in the attic. It is still is a big job. My husband worked two fourteen hour days making our house secure. The biggest worries for us...losing the roof...or having a tree come down on us.

front door

We were as prepared as, water, radio, battery powered candles and lanterns (real candles give off too much heat when you loose power).  By Sunday afternoon the winds and rain had picked up so we hunkered down in our sunroom. We have hurricane windows there and we also put up the Fabric Shield. 

Annie, sleeping late after a scary night. Those little seed l.e.d lights stayed on all day and night.

We lost power very early Sunday evening.  The three of us slept on the chaises where we usually watch tv. 

We left the back door...a hurricane proof door...uncovered for an exit and for light. 

Mr. MW put this little plant outside the backdoor...our canary in the coal mine.

It was still there and upright after the storm. It is in a corner and protected on three sides but we were still impressed that it was there the next morning!

It was a long and scary night. While Mr. MW and Annie slept, I listened as the wind howled and things hit the roof with a big boom. I also listened to the radio and was relieved when the storm moved on around 4:30 a.m.

We left my old Volvo outside against the garage door to prevent the door blowing in.

...across the street...

Bert and Ernie...our live oaks probably protected us...

...but there were many trees down in the neighborhood...

...on our block...

The oaks that came down were laurel oaks...not live oaks.

Within hours our neighbors were all out...old and young, kids, dogs...everybody helping everybody. We live on the best street with the best neighbors!!! A group of eight homes, we are a close knit bunch that look out for each other. By mid morning the street cleaner had made two passes and the trash trucks had made their usual Monday pick-ups. It was amazing! 

She was exhausted!

We went three full days without power. After a hurricane the humidity is gone...sucked up by the storm. Outside it was cool and breezy for a couple of days. Inside our temps held at 79...thanks to Bert and Ernie. The scariest part was the darkness and quiet at night. We had police come down the street in the middle of the night shining big lights that lit up the whole street. Good guys!

My husband's firm had no power all week so we had him home for five days. Annie loved it! He checked a lot off his honey-do list. He did have a few phone conferences. One conference with the Florida Bar brought us some bad news. We had a trip to Boston planned with our Bar family for early October. I had made reservations for our family to spend four nights in Colonial Williamsburg on the way up...then on to Boston for a few nights with the board. Our return trip home was on the auto train. I had booked a bedroom cabin...Annie loves sleeping on the train! The Executive Committee, including Mr. MW, decided we should change plans and keep the meeting in Florida. Many members were still without power in their homes and offices at the time of the call. With so much of the state hurting, our dollars are needed here. So, we will be going to Orlando instead of Boston. Annie is disappointed, but she keeps seeing the devastation of Puerto Rico on the tv and keeps saying,  "We were so lucky, Mommy." What a kid I have! I am always amazed at her empathy for those who suffer. And yes, we were very lucky. Our group will be making a contribution to help those who have not been so lucky.

So, we are back to normal. It took a while for the cable to get back even after the power was restored. 
We are grateful beyond words. The storm was a Cat 2 by the time it hit us. We were hit by the "clean side" of the storm. We are in a no flood, no evacuation zone. Our roof stayed on...our trees stayed upright. 

Once again, thank you all for your prayers and're the best!

Today, all our supplies are once again packed up and in the attic...ready for the next one.

Enjoy the day,

p.s. The time has finally come. Our beloved Volvo bit the dust. After many attempts to nurse her back to health we have decided to let her go.

Even that hard decision was met with folly. The tow truck carrying her to the great beyond broke down. Have you ever seen a tow truck getting towed by a tow truck? It was a long...hard good-bye.