Brighten Up Your Life!

If life seems dull, do something about it! You don’t need a lot of money, either. If you have a fabric stash and a sewing machine and/or serger, there’s zero cost.
Make throw pillow covers! If you have a theme you like, you can use that. I made vibrant Day of the Dead pillow covers for pillows my daughter already had. It looked like she had redecorated the whole living room after she put them on her couch.
Here’s how I put these all together:

Press fabric, measure, cut, make a narrow hem on the two back/reverse pieces, arrange the top and back sections, sew around the whole outside, and take a breath. I always make a diagonal cut across the points of the corners, close to my stitches. That reduces the bulk of fabric when the project is turned right side out. Press, urging the rounded corners of the pillows into sharp angles. Don’t skip ironing! This is what makes homemade look professional.

If you have lots of spare blankets or throws, you can fold them, estimate the size pillow it would make, and make covers/containers for them. The spare room can be decorated with pretty, functional storage units.

What an inexpensive way to decorate for the seasons and holidays! Swap out colors or themes of the covers, bringing Christmas or the seasons with a quick twenty-minute project. If you have too many blankets or throws, bundle them up and make a cover for them, too. Remember to share your pillowcase creations with the gang, too.

Looking for a new read? Check out these deals. MURDER IS TO DIE FOR, a #CozyMystery collection is #99cents. DEAR SANTA: A CHRISTMAS WISH is on sale until April 19th for only 99cents or read for free with Kindle Unlimited. HEROES FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE is $2.99 but ALL of the money earned for this set goes to Ukrainian Refugee Relief.

The Blessing of a Baby by @_NancyRadke USA Today Bestselling Author

I have a new “title,” besides that of bestselling author. My grandson and his wife just made me a great grandmother. It happened this week, so I’ll write about my precious new baby for my April blog. She’s a sweet little girl who took her own time getting here, coming on her own schedule, not her mother’s, who had it all planned out for last Thursday. The baby had other plans, almost making it to my birthday.

Baby

Babies are a delight to any family and our little one is no exception. She makes me want to include a baby in an upcoming book, just to remember what a blessing a newborn is. They were able to bring her home from the birthing center a few hours after she was born, so we all got to hold her right away.

Living Near, Living Far

When my first child was born, we were living in Hawaii and our folks were in Alaska and Washington state, and they weren’t able to be there right away. My great granddaughter lives within walking distance, so I expect to see her often.

The ladies in our church family are providing two weeks worth of meals, so I was told to wait to do that.

When my daughter was young, I used to take her to visit her great grandmother at a nursing home. It was the highlight of the week for both of them and I feel it taught my daughter to be kind and thoughtful of older people. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow up.

I feel like I’m rambling, so will mention the book I have out this weekend. Scorpion’s Trail, normally $5.99, is on sale. The story has nothing to do with babies, but it is a romance that introduces my favorite hero, Hugo, who takes delight in teasing my heroine, Perri.

Scorpion's Trail

Travel with Mona, visit Poland

In 2014, we spent four days in Poland, visiting the charming city of Poznan and the magnificent capital Warsaw, the historic Jasna Gora monastery, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and romantic Krakow, and later traveled to Gdansk on the Baltic Sea.

Poznań is a town steeped in history, as it was the first capital of Poland and seen by many as the birthplace of the Polish nation. Today it is a diverse and vibrant town, with much to divert the traveler. It has a stunningly rejuvenated central square, thriving night-life, fascinating museums, Renaissance town hall, Poland’s oldest cathedral, and many attractions in the surrounding area.

The Old Town square in Poznan

Warsow is the capital of Poland. It was completely reconstructed after wartime destruction. Its wide avenues contrast with the narrow lanes of the old section.

Palace of Culture and Science 
The tallest building in the city and landmark of Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science, was a gift from the Soviet people to the Poles. From its 30th floor, it offers a panoramic view of the city. It houses theatres, a cinema, museums and trendy bistros
[Picture taken from our hotel room]
Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów 
Wilanów Palace is a true pearl of Baroque architecture in Warsaw. King Jan III Sobieski, who successfully fended off the Turks in the battle of Vienna, lived in Wilanów with his beloved Marysieńka. The building and the park have both kept their original form, despite the partition, war, and occupation.
 
Vistula River
The Vistula is flowing through Warsaw. Its natural banks, inhabited by wild fowl, are right next to the city’s boulevards. In the summer, the weekend city life comes alive here – trendy bars and clubs, charming bistros, and outdoor events attract both city dwellers and tourists, while the sandy beaches are the perfect place to chill out. 
Old Town
A UNESCO world heritage site, the Old Town charms with its colorful townhouses and the exceptional atmosphere of its narrow streets.

 

We visited the Jasna Gora Monastery near Czestochowa that withstood repeated attacks of Swedish forces during the 17th century. Since then its Black Madonna is venerated as the “Queen of Poland” and has become the country’s national symbol.

The Jasna Gora Monastery:Bell Tower and monastery complex.
The entrance to the church
 
 
The Black Madonna, a miraculous icon, is the most important religious icon in Poland. Poland’s Black Madonna is located in a central chapel in the monastery complex. The Chapel of the Virgin is small, but an extended worship area enables pilgrims to attend services within the walls of the church. The icon itself is small, and the Virgin’s darkened face and hands, and the two scars that mar Her cheek, are almost impossible to see. The icon is located in the center of an ebony and silver altar, where candles and flowers are also placed.
John Paul II said that he prayed the miraculous Black Madonna during the attempt of assassination at St. Peter Square, Vatican, on May 13, 1981. There is a display of the belt of his cassock, shot and bloodied, in a special cassette on the right side of the altar.

 

Auschwitz: The Largest of the Death Camps According to our guide’s explanations, the most notorious of all the Nazi death camps, opened in the spring of 1940. Detainees included anti-Nazi activists, politicians, resistance members and luminaries from the cultural and scientific communities. Not all those arriving at Auschwitz were immediately exterminated. Those deemed fit to work were employed as slave labor in the production of munitions, synthetic rubber and other products considered essential to Germany’s efforts in World War II.

Auschwitz consisted of several divisions. The original camp, known as Auschwitz I, housed between 15,000 and 20,000 political prisoners. The biggest of the Auschwitz facilities could hold some 90,000 prisoners. It also housed a group of bathhouses where countless people were gassed to death, and crematory ovens where bodies were burned. More than 40 smaller facilities, called subcamps, dotted the landscape and served as slave-labor camps.

As 1944 came to a close and the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allied forces seemed certain, the Auschwitz commandants began destroying evidence of the horror that had taken place there. Buildings were torn down, blown up or set on fire, and records were destroyed. In January 1945, as the Soviet army entered Krakow, the Germans ordered that Auschwitz be abandoned. An estimated 60,000 detainees, accompanied by Nazi guards, departed the camp and were forced to march to Polish towns, some 30 miles away. Countless prisoners died during this process.

Huge posters gave statistics. Between 1.1 million to 1.5 million people, the vast majority of them Jews, died at Auschwitz during its years of operation. An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 Poles perished at the camp, along with 19,000 to 20,000 others.

In Auschwitz we visited rooms with glass doors showing hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing or pairs of shoes or tons of human hair. Going through these rooms was heart wrenching. We were crying and couldn’t take any pictures. The worst nightmare you could imagine.

Krakow: Poland’s most beautiful city For almost 500 years it was the country’s capital and the residence of Polish Kings. Today it is the cultural center of Poland.

The Cloth Hall in the Main Market Street: It’s usually filled with tourists. We savored local pastry at a café.
Cardinal Wojtila’s –Pope John Paul II– house in Krakow, his hometown.

 

St. Mary’s Basilica with a dozen of lovely carriages to take us on a tour.
Enjoying the lively music in the street.
 
 
 

Gdańsk (Danzig in German) is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland. At the center of its Main Town, reconstructed after WWII, are the colorful facades of Long Market, now home to shops and restaurants. Gdańsk is also a center for the world’s amber trade; boutiques throughout the city sell the ossified resin.

Neptune Fountain, a 17th-century symbol of the city topped by a bronze statue of the sea god.
Dlugi Targ or Long Market or Royal Way is the main street through Gdansk.

Below: The Golden Gate is the Western area with cafes, amber shops.

The iconic Town Hall Tower.
Vendors displaying their amber jewelry.

Poland is a beautiful country with old towns and modern cities, now opening its doors to millions of Ukrainian refugees.

A romance novel that will lift your mood and make you laugh:

 

BABY PLANS, Love Plans, book 5

Relax with a sweet and sassy Romance  

They meet at the fertility clinic.

Zach is working on an article. Audrey is secretly getting a baby.

And a big mess results.

The Memory of a Dog

“Dogs are often known for their loyalty, intelligence and maybe even their short attention spans. But a study published in Current Biology found that a dog’s memory may be better and more complex than we previously thought.” Global News

I just read an article on Google that couldn’t be more appropriate.

Bosty is a happy dog who loves to play with friends.

He was due for a grooming appointment at the same place where his mommy has been taking him for four years.

Professional dog grooming comprises the cleaning and hygienic care of a dog, including bathing, hair removal, nail trimming and ear cleaning. Good groomers also check for signs of health problems by looking out for swelling, parasites, heat, cuts and thrush. Regular dog grooming helps a dog stay fresh, keep calm and enjoy a coat that’s free of tangles and fleas.

Bosty is always happy to go out, whether walking or riding in the car to run an errand with his mommy.

Today, when the car stopped in front of his usual pet groomer store, Bosty stared through the window and barked. His mommy opened the door for him to jump out. Instead he shook his head, backed up to the other end of the car and cowered on the floor, whimpering and refusing to move. There was no way to make him move from his corner. His mommy gave up and returned home.

It turned out that at his last grooming, the tech cut near his ear by mistake, a tiny cut that must have hurt him, although his family didn’t notice and the store didn’t report it.

Now Bosty will go to a new dog groomer.

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