Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brrr, Its Cold or Getting Up Before the Furnace

I wanted to be at work by 5:00 this morning so that I could leave by 1:00 (to get Michele - yippee, she's home for Christmas!!) and not need to use any vacation time. It wasn't really an issue getting up at 4:00 until I got out of bed and realized the furnace hadn't woken up yet. We have a programmable thermostat which gets the furnace started around 5:00 so that the house is toasty warm (OK, not toasty exactly, but it's all relative) by the time I get up at 5:30. Getting up an hour before the furnace is not a good thing to do in my house where hearts are warm, but floors, walls, air, hands, heads, and other extremities are COLD, even when the furnace is full steam ahead!! I think this morning was the first time I've ever been excited about leaving the house to get in the car where I BLASTED the heat! Oh, and I've just realized that when I get home today, the furnace will not be expecting to bring the temperature up to human comfort (again, it's all relative) for a few hours - that's why the beautiful HOME TODAY button comes in so handy! (Of course, when I have days off, it always takes me a few hours of cold and complaining of cold and hot tea and extra socks and my house scarf, hood, and craft room gloves before I think "Oh, that's right, the thermostat doesn't think anyone's home. Let me hit HOME TODAY . . .right after I finish carving this ice sculpture in the front parlor.") [I do have to admit that the coldness in my house is not my furnace's fault - we have a beautiful new furnace that would like to work harder than I allow it. I keep the heat low to build character (ok, ok, I admit it, it's really cuz I'm cheap, but it sounds better to say it's character building !)]

Monday, December 21, 2009

What's that Burning Smell? or Yikes, My Hard Drive is FRIED!!

Technology hasn't been faring well in the Wescott household this year. First, Michele's on-the-road boredom protection, her portable DVD player, went kaput. That was pretty easily remedied with an early Christmas present. Then, the DVD player that's built into our TV decides it only wants to play Mr. Woodcock. So bizarre. It spits out every other DVD. I have a work around though: I put the DVD in, then turn the input to TV so it will keep the disk in the slot, let the TV warm up for about a half hour, and then it works like a dream. Needless to say, we'll be getting a new DVD player after the holidays!

The worst technology flare up, however, was the demise of my beloved laptop. It came upon it rather like a cold. First, the runny nose: my user profile disappeared and all my data went with it. After a little research, I found the data in some hidden folders and was able to add a new user profile. No biggie, I'm thinking, because my research found that Windows Vista sometimes deletes user profiles - it's a "feature." Next, the coughing and stuffy head: all of my pictures and music files disappear. I again think no biggie, they're in those hidden folders, but no. They're really gone. A little more research and I find a way to retrieve "deleted" files since nothing really gets deleted from a computer. After working on it for about nine hours, I'm only able to retrieve about 1/2 of the files because the rest are corrupt. And, alas, I didn't listen to my Dad and back things up regularly. So, at this point, I know there's something pretty significant wrong with my computer. The frequent "CRITICAL HARD DISK ERROR" messages while I was retrieving my files were pretty big clues. The black screen with "UNABLE TO LOCATE HARD DISK" message was another good clue. So, what to do? Well, after telephone coaching from my Dad, I bought and installed a new hard disk and Norton 360 (which I love), then reinstalled the operating system and all my software - an all day affair. That was Saturday. Yesterday, she (the computer) was acting like new, except she wasn't acting like a laptop. For example, the touchpad wasn't working and the control panel had all these options for a desktop and none for a laptop. A little more research and I find that I neglected to install a Dell-specific software package that I was supposed to install BEFORE installing the operating system! Uh oh! Well, thankfully, the components on that disk can be downloaded and installed from dell.com, so I installed the driver for the touchpad, which is now working like a charm. I'm not really sure what else was in that package, but I'll figure it out when I encounter the next thing that doesn't work quite right. And then I'll fix it - I've got mad computer-fixing skills!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Harvesting Carrots


This is a year of firsts for me. In addition to my first foray into online selling and my first craft show, I attempted gardening for the first time. Well, I think I've mentioned that carrots are hands down my very favorite food, so I made sure that there were plenty planted in the garden. Although I worried about the critters, I was trying to follow the advise in one of the gardening books Gloria sent and not harvest them until after the first frost, but before the first freeze, because it's supposed to make them sweeter. Well, on Monday, Michele locked the keys in the house and sent a friend to get me from work while she had another friend take her to Rita's work to get Rita's keys so that she could then get our spare key out of Rita's house.

Well, the first friend dropped me off about a half hour before Michele returned with the keys, so, not one to be idle, I decided to harvest my carrots. And, oh boy, what a lovely haul of carrots. Gloria and I planted short and sweets and at one point when putting down the seeds I accidentally dumped quite a few in one area and then forgot to thin them, so some were VERY short. I washed them off and popped a few of those little babies in my mouth and WOW! I've never tasted a carrot before that was as amazing as these! If carrots weren't my favorites before, they definitely are now! I have plans to try at least five varieties in the garden next year and CANNOT WAIT!!
And I just had to include this image. The minute I pulled this particular carrot out of the ground I thought it looked like a lady's bottom. I'm not sure this one will get eaten.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As Promised - A Pictorial Report on My Very First Craft Show

Michele got in the day of the show at 5am and I picked her up from the truck stop around 6 to go have breakfast. We were able to access the room to set up by 7, so, of course, Michele and I were there by 6:45! Here's the table just after we set it up.

And here are a couple close-ups:











Michele left for home after helping me set up with a promise to bring me lunch around noon. And true to her word she arrived just a minute or two after noon and kept me company the rest of the day. It was great fun to have her with me and so much fun chatting with the other artists. It was just such an amazing day and the best experience ever. And I can't stress enough what a joy it was to have this first craft show experience with a group of artists who over the past few months have become real friends. What a treat and definitely an experience I want to repeat!

Monday, December 14, 2009

An Absolutly Amazing - and Exhausting - Day

Oh wow! I had THE BEST time at the show yesterday!! It was just perfect. What a thrill to have people looking and touching and complimenting AND BUYING my things! And to be surrounded by friends all the while! Most of the other vendors were from the core group of RNESTers that I meet with every month, but there were several others so I got to make new friends. One such new friend was doing her seventeenth show since October! I couldn't believe it! I have some pictures I need to post, but I wanted to let you all know what an amazing time I had and thank you all for the good energy you sent. And thanks to everyone who came to the show - it just filled my heart to see friends and have friends see my creations!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dry Run

Oh, boy has today been busy! My final push to prepare for the show. I sewed NOTHING today - told myself that if I didn't get it made last night it wasn't getting made (as a consequence, I stayed up VERY late last night!) Today, I focused on making the table tents for my prices and product information, printing tags (because the ones I ordered won't be here until Monday), and do a dry run for the set up of my table. My dear, wonderful, patient friend Deb came over to help me and lend me her creative eye. She helped me arrange the table, put together the two racks for bags and hot pads, and then - bless her heart - tied ribbons and tags on all my coasters and hot pads! Such a great help she was!! I just finished packing everything up and putting everything in a central location so that packing the car tomorrow will be quick and easy. Now I'm going to reheat some pizza, lay on the guest bed, and watch some Star Trek - I'm pooped!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Beautiful Weather

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day: sunny, blue skies, white snow! Really lovely! These pictures are actually from yesterday, though - not as lovely - but I was working too hard to get any pictures today. This first image is the view down my street. I'll take a picture of the same view later in the season when the snow drifts on the sides of the street are above my head from the combination of wind and street, sidewalk, and driveway plows - really magnificent! The picture below is the snow that got in between my storm door and entry door because I forgot to replace the screen with the storm window in the storm door! I can't be expected to remember to do everything, can I?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

We had a nice dusting of 2 to 3 inches snow followed by freezing rain today. I love the snow, but, as a sane individual, HATE freezing rain! Freezing rain over snow is such a bear. But, I cannot complain. Michele is stuck - yes, literally stuck - in Wisconsin. She pulled off the road when the weather got really treacherous and stopped at a rest stop and now her truck is stuck in about 4 feet of snow and it's still coming down. I'm just glad she's somewhere safe with lots of food, a bed (built-in convenience), and access to a bathroom - plus lots of other stuck truckers for company! She'll be staying there overnight until the blizzard warning lifts and then, hopefully, someone will be out to get her truck out of the drifts! Prayers are welcome and appreciated!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting Behind!! YIKES!!

Well, I forgot that we had our annual congregational meeting at church this weekend, so I've gotten behind on my schedule for the show this coming weekend! YIKES! I have a contingency plan, though. Michele was home Sunday, so she went through all my completed items with me and helped me determine what is a "must make" and what is a "make if I have time." I'm a bit off target on my plan to have everything completed by Wednesday, but that will work out, I think. I had planned on tagging everything on Thursday, but it looks like my tags won't be in until Friday, so that works out just fine. I built in a cushion on Friday by taking the day off, so I think I'm still safe! Fingers and toes are crossed!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MIA

So sorry for such a long absense. I am making the final push to prepare for my team's show on the 13th. I've made a list, checked it twice, trying to find out who's naughty. . . oh, wait, that's not my game! See how crazy it is in December!

Actually, I've been having loads of fun getting ready for my first ever craft show. I'm nervous, but so very excited!! I've given myself a deadline of next Wednesday to finish making everything I want to bring and I feel on track. I just ordered more business cards - can't believe I've burned through 250 already! For one of my last jobs I had a box of work business cards for about three years and used about four! I have a list and a schedule and have done my research and picked the brains of everyone I know who does this regularly and I feel ready. I'm sure that everything will go perfectly even if everything is crazy - it's all about the experience, right?! Thinking back on this year and all the "experiences" and "first ever's" - wow! And all of you have been right there sharing it with me! I wish I could bring you all to my show with me, but I'm planning on taking a bunch of pictures, so it will feel like you were there!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Thankfullness

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We did here in the Wescott house. Normally, Michele and I get up early and start cooking together, but since this year we didn't know when she'd be home, we planned a simpler meal. I slept in, then, around 11, made the pie and cranberry sauce. At that point I didn't really know what else to do. Everything else that was planned took an hour or less to make and Michele wasn't going to be home until 5 or 6, so I took a few hour break. . .and then, around 4, I worked like crazy to make everything else - pretty poor planning on my part! It all turned out great, though - even though at one point I had to leave everything cooking away in the oven to go get Michele from a truckstop because she couldn't get her hitch lock working so couldn't drop her trailer and bring the tractor home (long confusing story). Dinner was perfect, indeed! And our annual day-after-Thanksgiving 6am trip to Joann's was even better because it was Michele's idea - I was willing to forego it this year, but she claimed she was excited about it and wanted to go with me! All in all, it was a wonderful two days and I hope yours was just as great!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Star Trek: Enterprise; or Oh, the Pain I Must Endure

As you probably all know by now, I watch copious amounts of Star Trek. Some of you may not know, however, that I watch it with a true purpose, somewhat like a calling. When Michele went on the road, I started watching The Next Generation (TNG) because I love it and Michele hates it and it was nice to do something not associated with us to help me cope. Well, I quickly became obsessed and began to do a lot of research on the shows and stumbled upon a beautiful treatise a fellow fan created that guided me through each episode of all the shows in the order that they actually happened (OK, I am not so sunk deep into unreality that I think they actually happened . . .yet - it is based in the future, you know!) So I have been following his guide and watching TNG, Deep Space 9 (DS9), Voyager (VOY), and all the movies in chronological order with every intention of going back and and starting all over again, but this time from the very beginning with Enterprise. When TNG, my favorite, ended, I'll admit it, I cried, but I at least had DS9 and, my 2nd favorite, VOY to look forward to. Well, I finished DS9 several weeks ago, and, just the other day, sorrowfully finished VOY and watched the final TNG movie (which chronologically falls after the last episode of VOY.) So, I was actually looking forward to meeting some new friends on Enterprise - I hadn't seen a single episode - and now am being tortured by watching this horrible show. Oh, it's bad, really bad, and not at all Star Trek-esque! And I believe they knew it was bad when they were creating it, which has to explain why people keep being naked! Naked! On Star Trek!! It doesn't even make sense. But, as I said, it is my mission to watch every episode in chronological order and Enterprise is, sorrowfully, part of the House of Star Trek. Oh, so painful, but alas, we all must suffer for a cause near and dear to our hearts, mustn't we? Thankfully, I have only 4 seasons to watch - first ever Star Trek to be CANCELLED by the network!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Indoor Photography

Everytime I looked at my post from Tuesday, the picture of my ornament really bugged me. It's so pretty in real life, but looks awful in that picture. The culprits: indoor lighting & unfancy camera - they really obfuscate the colors of the ornament! It's hard to get good product photos indoors when you're using a regular digital camera (though I think my camera is awesome!) and don't have fancy lights. I usually take all my photos for my shop outside for that very reason.

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's cold outside and gets dark SO early (Teresa, you may not have noticed the cold yet. And, no, 50's don't count as cold!) So, to apologize for the crappy picture on Tuesday, here's two much better pictures of my new favorite ornament - taken outside, of course.

As the days get shorter and colder, I know I'll need to rig something up to take pictures inside. I have the entire attic at my disposal (just don't tell Michele) and my sister sent me a link to a tutorial on building a light box. I need one a bit bigger than the one in the tutorial, but that shouldn't be an issue. Plus, I think I'll make it out of wood, instead of cardboard. I'll add this to my list of things to start working on that right after the holiday rush is over (yes, Daddy, the thesis is on that list, too!) What's a few more weeks of taking pictures in the cold? Hey, once the snow comes, I'll have a gorgeous backdrop!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ornamentation

Every year, Michele and I get a special ornament for our Christmas tree (which if I'm lucky goes up Thanksgiving weekend and stays up til February - though I haven't been that lucky in years!) Usually we take turns picking it out and surprising the other with it. We have about 14 special ornaments now - one year we miscommunicated and both bought an ornament, plus Mum gave us one, so we have a few more than there are Christmases that we've been together. Well, this year, since we've committed to doing a handmade holiday, I decided to make our ornament. It was so very fun to do and I think Michele will love it because it's her favorite color: blue! I think I'll whip up a few for the shop and the show in December. I have only eight more sets of circles, so they will definitely be one-of-a-kind and for a limited time at that!

Speaking of the shop, I'm sure I mentioned that I and 13 other fabulous artists are having open houses in our shops. Amazing deals are going on from now until November 30th (like mine: buy one item, get 2nd equal or lower priced item 1/2 off!) And even better than all that, all 14 of us are giving away something fabulous! Check out this post on Audrey's blog to find out how to enter to win one of the amazing prizes and see the other shops' promotions.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The King of Pop

For a long time - possibly her whole life - Michele has loved Michael Jackson. His death spiraled her into what I lovingly call an obsession. For example, while she was in orientation with her new trucking company, she and another trucker went on a pilgrimage to visit Michael's childhood home in Indiana. And she, who takes weeks to finish a one hundred some page book of funny fiction, read a 900-page treatise on his life in about 4 days! So, needless to say, she's really been wanting to see This is It. Yesterday, I cancelled tonight's plans to go to the roller derby since I'd been sick and it's a late, late night, so when she arrived home this afternoon and asked if we could possibly go see Michael, how could I say no? It was actually very good and moving and I bet if I was as in love with him as Michele is, I would have enjoyed it even more (I swear I think I saw a few tears in her eyes at the end!) Actually, all joking aside, Michael was a very talented individual and I'm glad I got to see  a part of his final offering to the world - and I'm especially glad I got to share it with Michele.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good Things - They Are A-Stirrin'

Though I was home sick today, all in all it was a good day. I woke up this morning feeling like I had the flu, but after taking my allergy medicine and advil, my symptoms seemed to subside a bit. I have a great fear that my nut allergy, which was only triggered by walnuts and pecans, is now moving to almonds. I have the sneaking suspicion that the Butter Almond ice cream I've been eating this week is making me sick.

Aside from feelings of illness, today was a most excellent day. My dad's surgery went well, though I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him yet - they are keeping him overnight due to his sleep apnea, but I'll call tomorrow to check on him. The weather was lovely today, too. I think I've mentioned before that my bedroom is painted yellow and decorated shades of yellow, so with the yellow sunshine coming through the window, I couldn't help but be happy. Also, throughout the day, I peeked into the craftroom to admire the bags I've nearly completed for my shop and the RNEST Winter Fest. They just really make me smile! And the final thing that made today such a good day is that I had another item selected for a Treasury on Etsy! So exciting! I'd love for you all to view the treasury - the more people who look at it, the better the chance is that it will get moved to the front page of the site! That would be so very exciting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

I wanted to take the time today to say Thank You to all veterans here in the U.S. and abroad. I also want to say a thank you to all families of veterans, active duty, and retired military. Having been raised in a military family, I know what a sacrifice having a loved one serve is and could see first hand the sacrifice that serving demands - which, of course, we all saw last week with the violence on Fort Hood. Regardless of what we think and feel about war and conflict, members of the military and their families are putting life and liberty on the line everyday and really deserve our support and love. I know today I am sending lots of love and good thoughts to my favorite veteran: my dad - who, by the way, is having surgery tomorrow, so please keep him in your thoughts tomorrow, too!

If you don't have your own personal favorite veteran to appreciate today and everyday, search online to find great organizations that will help you show love and support for the military. Care packages, cards, and letters are always appreciated by those serving far from home. For all you crafty folks out there, Quilts of Valor is a wonderful organization that provides quilts for wounded soldiers. I've got a quilt in the works for them myself and think it's a great way to say thank you and not limit my appreciation to Veteran's Day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crazy Busy

Wow, suddenly life as a shop owner is spiralling into insanity! The holidays are a busy time for me normally, but as a shop owner, it's getting really crazy. I'm loving it, though! It's so much fun to connect with other sellers and buyers, but my favorite part, of course, is making things I love and packaging them up for someone else who loved them enough to buy them! What an awesome feeling! And soon, I'm really stepping out there and will be doing a show! My first show will be December 13th here in Rochester: The RNEST Winter Fest! My local Etsy team has arranged it, so I figure I'll be surrounded by friends and that will be a good place to get my feet wet! So, I am crazily making loads of beautiful things because, in addition to the show, several other fabulous artists and I are having a Holiday Open House in our Etsy shops and I'm trying to get stocked up for that, plus I have my own Christmas gifts to make, plus I need to get my Pay It Forwards done and sent by the end of the year! So the next two months will be pretty crazy, but I can't complain: I'm doing what I love!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homecoming and Giveaway

Last night, the microwave came home . . . and so did Michele! What a great night! OK, yes, I know that microwaves are not true necessities, but I hadn't realized how much I depended on mine until it went out on the road with Michele. It's funny how I don't realize how dependent I am until that big red truck drives away!

There is one other thing I am dependent on and that is all of you lovely folks entering my giveaway! I'd love to surpass the entries that I got on my last giveaway (105), but, sadly, entries aren't forthcoming (though for the 13 current entries the odds of winning are REALLY good!) And, don't tell anyone, but as a team, we decided only US & Canada entries, but I really love my Australian and Norwegian followers (you all know who you are!) so enter away! I've also thrown out a challenge: if I get at least 150 entries, I'll offer up a second goodie, so please enter and blog this giveaway around! Thanks everyone!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Motherhood and Microwaves

I likely insulted every stay-at-home mom out there with a really baseless assumption that I made in my head. When my big sis opened her Etsy shop I thought to myself, "Oh, that'll be the life! Just staying at home all day with the kids making jewelry! She'll have all the time in the world to do whatever she wants for her shop!" Boy, was that the misconception of the decade! Yowzers - just having the kids visiting for two days disabused me of that notion very quickly - and there were three adult women there to care for them! I know part of it was the abrupt transition from my general solitude to having two very energetic kids in the house - I'm sure my sister and other moms have some major skills and routines that make everything manageable, but, boy howdy, I don't know how moms do it! Working moms either. I'm sure it's nice to have time away from the kids while at work, but working moms have a whole host of other challenges they have to contend with, too! So, this is me apologizing to ALL moms for my misconceptions and giving you the props you truly deserve!

To further emphasize the fact that I am not very smart about a lot of things, let me tell you about my latest bout of insanity. The week before Michele came home I made a crockpot full of chili. I love my crockpot and use it weekly. Well, that particular week I became very frustrated when trying to reheat my chili in the microwave. It kept leaving it cold in the middle and I would have to keep turning the microwave back on. This was eating into my time with my Star Trek friends, so I started heating my chili up on the stove, which, of course, worked much better. When Michele came home and said she wanted a microwave for her truck, I, still very frustrated, I truculently told her to take the one from the house! Do you know how hard it is to heat up pasta, rice, a cold cup of tea, and pretty much everything else (except chili and soup!) without a microwave? Now my frustration has done a 180! What was I thinking?? I miss you microwave! Please come home!

OK, now that I've given you two things that I am not smart about, let me tell you that I am pretty smart about crafting and quilting, so don't forget to enter my latest giveaway, which is hosted on my team blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Mother of All Giveaways featuring The Quilted House

Hey gang! As I mentioned about a week ago, my local Etsy team is hosting 7 weeks of giveaways - the Mother of all Giveaways. Well, today starts my week and I'd love it if you'd go to this post and enter! I'm giving away my new favorite thing to make: a quilted picture frame card. I think these are just too cool. Michele and I gave Mum one as her birthday card this year and she loved it, so make sure you enter so that you can have one, too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snuggie-licious

My sister, who granted is self-admittedly insane, has really wanted a snuggie. Well, on our bead shop/fabric shopping expedition today, Mum found her one and bought it and we all had to pose in it. Below marks the beginning of our family modeling career. The last picture is my sis, nephew, and neice conflated in the snuggie - like three peas in a very ugly leopard print pod! And, if you'd like one of your very own you can make it yourself! I found this pattern online. Enjoy!






Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Full House

Our house is bursting at the seams - well close to it! My mom's still here and today my sister, niece, and nephew came to visit. It's a nice feeling to have family in the house, but I am so not used to having children around. They put life into perspective, though. I actually had an incredibly trying day at work, but my nephew accidently left his teddy bear at home and that is truly a bigger travesty than anything they tossed my way today! It's fun to hear thier little voices as they try to avoid going to sleep. I think spending time with children is the best thing to do to get over myself. It forces me to abandon my puntilious nature and just go with the flow!

In a surprisingly related note, Michele asked if I would give her a little sidelight in my blog since she is no longer able to get a reliable wireless signal and has stopped keeping her blog. I shared some of your comments about her truck. She says that the red truck probably goes faster than others, but her truck is regulated at 63 mph - though she's found that she can get it up to 64 mph! Speed demon!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm Alive!

Hello all! I am alive. I survived the roller derby clinic . . . by not going! Ha Ha! Actually, there was so much going on this weekend with Mum's visit and Michele's hometime and us trying to get Michele's new truck outfitted, that I didn't look at the derby website until Saturday night . . . at which time I realized that I needed to have purchased all the pads and gear needed for roller derby! So, the decision not to attend was sort of made for me, but they have another clinic in November, which I am hoping to attend. Of course, the more I delay, the more time I have to think myself out of trying it! We'll see.

The three of us had fun this weekend even without the derby clinic. Michele and I cleaned her truck and stocked it on Saturday and Sunday and then Mum and I saw her on her way. Thankfully, with this new company, she'll be away 5-7 days and then will be home. Good times!

On an unrelated note, my local Etsy team is hosting the mother of all giveaways on our blog. We'll be having seven weeks - that's right, seven - of giveaways starting this week. You can enter this first giveaway here. And make sure to come back for every week! My week is next, so be sure not to miss it!

In an effort not to be too loquatious tonight, I will simply leave you with this picture. I'm sure it needs no caption.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Visits Galore!

Michele came home several days early, which is awesome because Mum comes tomorrow. My mom and Michele are fast friends and haven't seen each other for nearly a year. Michele will be going back on the road on Sunday, but Mum will be here until next Friday. I am excited about spending time with my mom - she's such an aesthete about all things fabric related, so I'm looking forward to getting her take on some of my new designs. Then my sister, niece, and nephew will be coming for a visit next week! Oh so much fun planned. Plus, this Sunday is the first Fresh Meat clinic for roller derby!! Mum is really looking forward to it! LOL!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mum!

Today is my lovely mother's birthday - and the scuttlebutt is that it's one of the big important ones! She'll be here on Friday for her annual birthday-time visit, but I wanted to send her a happy birthday wish via my blog, too! The first picture below is from her annual May visit. She claims she was only smelling the tulips, but it looks like she's picking them to me! The second is a picture is one I found from my big sister's undergrad graduation - about 16 years ago. Obviously that's my sister in the cap and gown, my brother's beside her, our short mother is in the middle, and the tallest on the end, yup, that's me. Happy, happy birthday, Mum!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Carrot Crazed

I don't know that I have been overt about my obsession with carrots, but they are truly my favorite thing in the world. I love to eat them, I love to quilt them, I love everything about them. My friend Sarah of Happy Olive Designs, made me a carrot family felt magnet set that I display in my craft room. I firmly believe that carrot quilts work in any milieu, which explains the quilted carrots on my desk at work and kitchen table at home and the carrot wallhanging in my dining room. Plus, I have a 3 foot long wicker carrot hanging in my kitchen. Now that you understand my adoration of carrots, I want to bring the following serious issue to your attention. This was forwarded to me by Sarah and was created by Natalie Dee (who, by the way, has some awesome carrot t-shirts and totes on her site!).
nataliedee.com
nataliedee.com

Edited to add: I got featured in my very first Etsy Treasury. For those who don't know what that is, a treasury is a curated gallery that houses items chosen by other sellers. This particular treasury features quilted items that depict fall. My fall wallhanging was included! Please check it out, but don't delay, one other thing about these is that they expire. This one will be gone like the wind by Friday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Musings on Fall

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year. The smell of burning leaves (I'm not quite sure where this smell comes from living in the city, but it's divine), apples, apple cider, and carrots, the oranges, reds, yellows, greens, and golds, the cool crisp weather that just whispers of snow (and my second favorite time of year: winter!!), sweaters and scarves and hats, and pies - the best pies happen in fall. Michele and I are lucky enough to live in an old neighborhood with huge trees lining the street. The first image is the view down that very street. The gold tree on the right is always the first to turn. The second image is the tree in front of our house. It always seems to wait to turn so that its leaves are at the height of brilliance for my mom's birthday (Wednesday). She comes to visit every year for her birthday and the window of "her" room looks out upon this tree. Ahh, fall, the most beautiful, and, in New York, the most fugacious of all the seasons.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Funnies & Feature

Ever since I announced that I am on a mission to become a roller derby girl, I've gotten a lot of encouragement, a lot of strange looks, and a lot of hilarious comments. I thought I'd share my three favorite funnies with you:
First, my mom. I said, "Mum, one neat thing is that the "Fresh Meat Clinic" is happening the weekend you'll be visiting, so you can come with me." She responded, "That sounds great - first I'll take you to the roller derby clinic, then we can head to the medical clinic!"

Next, my dad. He called be at an abnormal time (normal time is our weekly 7am Saturday call) so I answered rather anxiously and, with no preamble, he said, "If you get hurt doing this roller derby thing I'm gonna come up there and break both your legs!" (Well, that would keep me off the football field AND the roller derby rink!)

But, I think the funniest of all was Tina's response to my post about choosing the roller derby pseudonym of Sojourner Ruthless: "Just make sure you don't turn into Sojourner Toothless!"

All so funny!! I can't wait to get out there and give this thing a try!

On an absolutely unrelated note, Audrey, the lovely lady who won my Fall Celebration giveaway, has given me a feature in her most recent blog post. You should definitely check out Audrey's blog, not just to read about how much she loved the fall quilt, but because it's an awesome blog and SHE DOES GIVEAWAYS!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ctrl + Z

I spend a lot of time on the computer. I am on the computer for my entire workday and then I come home and work on my store or write my blog or any number of other things that seem to need to be done on this wonderful machine. I love the convenience and access to people all over the world that the computer and internet have given me, but I also adore that feeling of the world receding and life slowing down when I sit at my sewing table. That being said, this evening, when I needed to cut 10 strips to 7.5" and I accidentally cut them to 6.5" my first thought was "Oh how I wish I could just press Ctrl + Z and undo that!"

On a completely unrelated note, I have been giving a lot of thought to my future career as a roller derby girl. Each derby girl gets to choose a number and a cool name, which is usually a play on words, like Thea Pocalypse, Bomb Voyage, and Harriet Clubman. I've decided that, as I am no triskaidekaphobic, that I would like to have the number 13 (which actually is and always has been my favorite number, simply because 'M' is my favorite letter and 'M' is the 13th letter in the alphabet!) and I've thought of a very cool name: Sojourner Ruthless!! Ain't I a woman, indeed!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Cats Who are Not Away

I know my blog is titled "While the Cat's Away," but ever since Michele started her new career and is away from home so much, the real cats are never away from my side! In fact, Myah, is standing on my desk chair behind my back as I type. Castor likes to twine around my feet while I sew and often stands on my presser foot and starts my machine at the exact wrong moment, though I exculpate her from the incident during which I sewed through my finger - that was entirely my own fault. Now, Pollux, on the other hand, just sits quietly in this box across from my ironing board and stares at me. You gotta love cute kitties! (And Teresa, in case you were wondering, that IS the box you sent all the wonderful goodies in. I placed it there to reuse, but Pollux layed claim to it and that was the end of that!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roller Derby!!

When I was a kid I loved roller skating and, though I never saw a match, always wanted to be in the roller derby. My friend, Sara, and I went to watch the local Rochester squad in a double header tonight. What fun!! I really should have brought my camera because these ladies costumes were wild! I hope to go back, so I won't forget my camera next time. Actually - don't tell Michele or my parents - I hope to do more than go back to watch again: I'm going to their "Fresh Meat" clinics to try out for the team! I want to fulfill my childhood dream - and get to wear some really cool thigh-high argyle socks!! So, the clinics start at the end of the month and tryouts aren't until February, but I'll keep you posted! And Michele, Parents, if you happen to get wind of this: I know that I'm a bit klutsy and I know I broke my wrist skating when I was a kid and I know that I fall nearly everytime I go up the stairs, but this is different, I can just feel it! I think I was meant to be a derby queen!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Produce While the Garden Lays Dormant


Though, as I mentioned yesterday, my garden did not produce many zucchini or green peppers and now lays dormant, I have been very productive lately. I made these beautiful bookmarks for a very nice lady to give to the ladies and gentleman in her church prayer group. When I was taking pictures of them for my records, I thought that I should write about them and share the pic with you. I think they came out really well! Each one has a cross and the recipient's initial on front and a scripture written on the back. I hope they're a hit! They were so fun to make I think I will whip some up for the my fellow choir members at church!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One Green Pepper and Two Zucchini

You may remember that when Michele was home the time before last, I made her chocolate zucchini bread to send her on her way. My zucchini plant didn't produce any fruit until very late in the season and the two zucchini I used for Michele's bread? Yup, you guessed it, those were the only two that it ever produced! Now, Gloria and I planted about a million zucchini and cucumber seeds and I had one zucchini plant which only produced two zucchini!! Likewise, we planted several green pepper plants. Can you guess how many green peppers I got? Right again! ONE!! Just one green pepper!! [But it was really yummy! I sauteed it up with some chopped tomato and angel hair pasta and topped it all with some fried green tomatoes the last night Michele was home this time. Mmmmm!!] Now, I know it's weird enough that I only got two zucchini and one green pepper all season, but here's where it really gets bizarre: they all appeared only once Michele came home!! That zucchini plant was flowering for months while she was away and then the week she gets home out two totally ripe fruit appear! Same with the pepper! It had actually been there a while, but was tiny. The week she gets home it grew and started turning red, it was so ready for her! Must be that Michele put a special spell on the garden!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winnings!

As promised, I am back today to tell you why I was so excited yesterday. Remember, I teased that I had won something and hadn't won something else and I was excited about both? Well, first for the thing I didn't win: the Nature's Quilt contest. Now, why am I still excited? Well, because I didn't lose, either! I entered my first contest ever, nine people voted for my quilt, which thrilled me, and some really awesome quilts won, so I don't count that as a loss at all!

OK, now on to what I did win: A Blog de Oro (Blog of Gold) Award!! My first blog award EVER!!


This lovely golden award was graced upon my blog by Audrey of Audrey's Country Crafts. You should really check out her blog, too! (Hint, hint: in addition to featuring some really great artists and her own very beautiful painted treasures, she does GIVEAWAYS!!)

Now, I think this award is really cool for two reasons: It's international. Take a look at Audrey's blog to find out who gave it to her and you can trace the award all over the world - I went as far as Bucharest! How cool is that!

And for the second cool thing: I get to award it to TEN other blogs!! You know how I love to give things away, right? And my burgeoning list of the blogs I follow is insane! So here goes in no particular order:
  1. Quiltefia
  2. Roam Mania
  3. Sewing Trials
  4. Trials and Tribulations of Being a Working SAHM
  5. Charlotte's Cottage
  6. Buenahelena
  7. A Second Look
  8. Bookish Worm
  9. Life on the Block
  10. Canton Village Quilt Works
Now, there are several blogs I wish I could include, but couldn't fit into the ten. And there are a few that you would think I would include, but didn't (namely Michele's blog and the other two blogs I write for in addition to this one), but I only included ones that are updated regularly (which Michele's isn't) and that I don't write for (how fair would that be?) and that I knew were for public consumption. Congratulations to all!! And everyone else, please check these ten out - they are well worth the time!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Excitement!!

I have two bits of excitement to share with you, but I've decided to be a little demon and not tell you until tomorrow. I will give you a hint, though: I won something and I didn't win something else. All joking aside, I swear not telling you isn't a ploy to leave you esurient for more - I can't tell you yet about the first because I have to do a few things when I announce it and I shouldn't tell you the second because I will not officially not win until tomorrow and I really shouldn't give up hope until then. Either way, win or not, it's exciting and tomorrow I will tell you why. Until then. . .

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thanks Everyone!!

Thanks everybody for your opinions on the free gift with purchase. I went with the majority and made it for $10 or greater. And, Kym, my thought was to give away the bags until the items from the featured artist are gone and them change the listing to feature the next artist (so hurry up and send me something lovely!)

And, as you can see in the comments, Audrey found her way back to me to claim her quilt. It was probably my fault - I guess for most giveaways the host emails the winner when they've won - oops! Oh well, we live and learn, right?

Well, I am suddenly overwhelmed with custom orders, PIFs, stocking the store for the holidays, and getting ready for my next giveaway and my team's upcoming giveaways - and I just got a new Star Trek Voyager DVD for season 6 - season 5 ended with a cliffhanger, so I CANNOT wait to watch it!! Now, though I'm sure you can tell by the fact that I am suddenly incredibly busy, but I'll still tell you: Michele leaves today. She's starting her new job that will bring her home weekly, but with orientation and time with a driver mentor, she will likely be gone for a month this first time. So, it's back to the busy bee for me!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Opinions Wanted!! and Wherefore Art Thou, Audrey?

I am so hoping to get your opinions on something. As you know, I run a shop called The Quilted House. Well, as part of an effort to promote both my shop and other shops, I want to start giving a free gift with purchase. I'm starting it with an awesome jewelry shop, Just Ice Jewelry. She's giving her buyers quilted jewelry bags that I've made and she's given me some beautiful earrings to give to my buyers. To make her beautiful jewelry flow with my shop, I decided to create a theme around my free gift with purchase. It will be a rolling feature promoting a different shop each time. Something like: Grab Bags featuring Just Ice Jewelry. And then next month Grab Bags featuring Heavenly Creations PGH. The "grab bag" will be a lovely little quilted bag made by yours truly. OK, so I've got the general concept in my mind, I'm just not sure how to implement it. That's where you come in:

  • First, what do you think? I figure everyone likes to get something free, right?
  • Second, do you think it should be with every purchase? Just Ice Jewelry is giving her gift when a buyer purchases a certain style of jewelry. My friend Buenahelena is doing a Halloween themed free gift with any Halloween purchase. I was thinking doing it with everything, or do you think I should do it for a certain price point - like, free gift with any $10 or greater purchase?
Thanks in advance for your opinions!!

OK, in a totally unrelated note: Monday I announced that Audrey won the Fall Celebration giveaway. Audrey, Audrey, wherefore art thou, Audrey?? I haven't heard from her, so this beautiful wallhanging has been languishing in my craft room homeless and sad. Audrey, if you are out there, please contact me to claim your prize before Saturday. I'll draw a new name on Sunday, so don't delay!

Sick, Not Dead

I'm sorry I neglected to blog yesterday. I am sure you were all quite concerned. I leave a cryptic note about an unknown stomach ailment and then disappear! My apologies. Tuesday night, I started feeling worse and worse and finally, after searching the house and calling our neighbor (at 11 o'clock at night!!) for crackers, Michele (the best partner ever!!) went out and bought me crackers and ginger ale, adjuvants to settle my stomach. After consuming a bit of both, I felt a little less like dying and was able to fall to sleep. I awoke feeling hungry and fine, so I am not really sure what was wrong the night before. Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions! They were all really helpful and all centered around drinking something gingery! Now that I think about it, instead of sending Michele to the store, I could have gnawed on that piece of ginger root I've had languishing in my pantry for a couple months now.

On a very slightly related note, I moved "offices" yesterday (the stress of which may very well have made me ill the day before!) Like many, I work in a world of cubicles. I traded one very grey cube for a very pretty new one. Its walls are a buttery tan, which I like very much and which coordinates a lot better with the quilts and other items I have as decor. I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something I Ate . . . I Hope

I feel sick to my stomach! Now, I wouldn't usually blog just to tell you that, but I figured I might as well, since feeling sick fits in with today's word of the day. So, I feel sick to my stomach. I hope it was something that I ate and not the I'm actually sick - both really suck, but, unless it's food poisoning, upset stomach tends to end quicker than illness. I believe I will go lay down in the hopes that lack of movement will ameliorate my symptoms.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Beginnings


I started my new job today - sort of. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but, by day, I work as an instructional designer and up to this point I have developed instruction, mostly in the form of online courses, for custom clients. For over a year now, I have worked for the same client, a pharmaceutical company. Recently, I decided to change things up and applied for a new position within the company. I will still be developing courses, but instead of creating courses for custom clients, I will be creating courses to fill our catalog. These courses could be purchased by various clients and are not customized for just one. So, I still work for the same company, just in a different department. And because I work for the same company, my transition to the new job will be sinuous, but that is necessary so that I can leave my client in a good place. For a little while I may be straddling the fence between the two departments, but all is well. Since I officially became part of the new department today, they gave me this lovely bouquet and took me out to lunch. Such a nice gesture and a wonderful way to ease me onto their team and ease my leaving a department and client I will miss dearly. Oh, new beginnings wouldn't be so hard if endings weren't so sad!

And the Winner is. . .

# 80 - Audrey. How exciting!! Audrey, congratulations!! I am very excited to send you this lovely quilt. I hope it brightens up you home! Please go to my profile, find my email address, and email me your mailing address so I can get this quilt to its new home.

Although I am excited for Audrey, I'm sad that I couldn't make you all winners! I wish that I could do what I did with the PIF contest and let everybody win! Bu don't worry, I really like giving things away and plan to have contests regularly.

Speaking of contests, I'm sure you all remember helping me decide which quilt to enter in the Nature's Best Quilt contest. Well, voting has started. I'd love to win, so if you will all got to this site, take a look at the contestants in the small quilts section, and vote for Lily Garden: Year One, if you think it's the best. Thanks!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Clearing the Clutter

Those who have been following me for a while now probably remember following along on my tour of my craft room. Well, this room is the largest in the house (aside from the attic, which houses the other half of my crafting supplies!). One of the problems with having such a large space is that when it gets messy it takes a lot of time to clean and straighten it up. My predilection is to clean up after every project, but I've been so busy lately that I haven't taken the time to do so and things are just out of control. So, today is the day! I will end clutter's hold on my craft room and my creativity!! (Just as soon as I finish goofing off on the computer!)

Speaking of endings: today is the last day of the Fall Celebration giveaway, so if you haven't yet entered, now's your chance.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FAME!

I'm gonna live forever! We just got home from seeing Fame! What fun. I loved the show as a kid. Remember rushing home on Saturdays to a house full of crockpot cooking beans and watching Fame with the family. The movie was great and like all great movies left me feeling on top of the world. I left the theater cavorting wildly and singing loudly, while Michele tried to walk enough of a distance away so that people would think she didn't know me. I don't think she fooled anyone.

Well, from my post-theater antics, it is pretty obvious that singing and dancing will never be my claim to fame. Though I am pretty decent at both, I'm a lot better at quilting. And, thankfully, I just found out that the lovely little mini quilt, Lily Garden: Year One, arrived safely to my new friend Anne in Norway. Enjoy it in good health, Anne.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fun, Pain, and Fun!!

Oh, I am having so much fun reading all the comments on the giveaway post! Keep those entries coming! I cannot wait to see who wins!

Now for the pain segment. I wanted to tell you what happened to me the night I was working on the fall wall hanging. It is something that has happened to many other sewers, but I never thought it would happen to me. I sewed through my finger! Surprisingly, it didn't hurt, but the needle made a very eldritch noise when it went through my finger and fingernail and broke into many tiny bits. I think this makes me a real sewer - I have been initiated into the club! Although there was no pain when it happened, my finger really smarts now, especially when I type (which I do all day at work and quite a bit when I get home!!)

OK, now on to something fun. As you all likely know, I have a shop in which I sell quilted items. Well, I am also a member of a group of others who also have shops in which they sell items (though mostly not quilted items) and we all live right here in Rochester, NY. We're called the Rochester, NY Etsy Street Team (RNEST) and we are really fabulous!! This team has a blog, which I hope you will check out because they are graciously allowing yours truly to author a weekly column. I call it Wednesday Wellspring and weekly will feature a wonderful seller who has "bubbled up" from the well, so to speak. Now if hearing more from me isn't reason enough, my fellow members will also be contributing really cool posts, like Buenahelena's recent tutorial on magnetic rings! Very cool! So, if you have space on your blogroll, definitely check it out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Celebration GIveaway


Alright, I promised to show some love today, remember? It's the first day of fall and fall is one of my four favorite seasons! So, to celebrate, I am hosting my first no strings attached giveaway. All you have to do to win is enter and the random number generator will do the rest. And, because I like being nice, you'll have five chances to enter! Now, first, let me tell you what you will win. Just especially for this giveaway, I made this gorgeous fall wall hanging. Measuring 17 inches square, it is a smaller version of one I just listed in my shop. Just looking at it makes me think of fall!

OK, now for what you need to do to enter. You have five chances and need to leave a separate comment for each entrance:
  1. Leave a comment telling me why you'd love to have this wall hanging.
  2. Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment telling me you are. If you're already a follower, leave a comment saying so.
  3. Go to The Quilted House, look around, and come back here to tell me what your favorite item is.
  4. Go to my Etsy team's, the Rochester, NY Etsy Street Team, blog and become a follower. (Trust me, you'll want to. We'll be having the mother of all giveaways soon!!) Don't forget to leave me a comment here letting me know you did.
  5. Mention this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, twitter, etc., and leave me a comment telling me you did (no link necessary. I trust you.)
It's that easy. But, you know what, I think I want to give a little extra love to my faithful followers (who by now should be cognoscenti of me) in the form of two bonus chances to win:
  1. Leave a comment answering: Animal lover that I am, name one of the three animals I would love to sic a dog on.
  2. Leave a comment answering: What do I love to watch on DVD? (No need to be series specific.)
Best of luck to all, but don't delay. This giveaway ends Sunday, 9/27/2009, and I'll announce the winner on Monday! By the way, all are welcome to play, U.S. & International!

Is Today My Birthday?

I must be the luckiest girl in the world. I came home today and, after seeing what had come in the mail, had to ask Michele if somehow my birthday had moved from May to September! I was overwhelmed with goodies from two lovely ladies from the west. First of all, Teresa, of Sewing Trials, paid it forward in a big and wonderful way. She sent bags galore: shopping bags, a corduroy tote, a small bright orange tote (filled with chocolate that is already half gone), and the cutest friendship bag ever (that I saw her making on her blog, but had no idea it would be for me!!). She also sent a fat quarter of a fabric I fell in love with on her blog, two winter scarves, two fabric scarves, and two of the very loveliest cloth wallets I've ever seen. And she made it all herself!! Oh, Teresa, I love it all - thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Now, my "birthday" didn't end there! Oh, no, indeed. Also from the west, Kymberly (whose name is spelled identical to my big sis's), of The Cotton Patch, sent me an absolutely beautiful mini quilt from the Summertime Mini Quilt Swap. The beautiful sun-bleached colors of the whimsical pinwheels made me smile the moment I opened the package! This quilt, I believe, will grace the walls of my new "office" at work (by the way, I got a new job. I'm sure I will mention that again later). Thank you, Kymberly, for such a wonderful gift!!

Wow, all this love from two whom I have never met in person. It just makes me want to spread some love, too. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. Hmm, perhaps I have something planned to show some love. Should I hint around? Should I lead you all on a merry chase? No! I will not equivocate! There will be some excitement on this blog tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sneaky Cats, II

You may remember Myah, one of our three cats, from this post: Sneaky Cats. Well, she's at it again. I'm not sure what is calling to her, but she is driven to reach something outside this high, high window in my bedroom. I've peeked out and cannot see anything that fascinating, but there's no telling what captures a kitty's interests, is there?

Whatever it is, it captivates her and, in a farrago of ways, with alacrity she climbs up and stalks whatever is taunting her on the other side of the screen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Football and Trash - it IS Thursday!

Well today is Thursday, and, as usual, I ask . . . that's right, you guessed it, "why do I play football?" Well, today I only fell once, Michele almost broke Jena's nose, I almost broke Chad's finger, clothes were torn, chests were bumped, and, from an efficacious application of defense, my team left victorious!

Today, as I said, is Thursday, trash day, and Michele is home, but guess what? There is no trash! I took care of it last week (about the first time in a month) and we hardly generate any (recycling, reusing, reducing, and composting), so there is nothing for Michele to do and for me to enjoy not having to do. Oh, wait, [evil laugh inserted here], there's the litter boxes to take care of! Oh, honnnneeeyyyyyyy. . . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Late Night Visit to a Truck Stop

To avoid being accused of logorrhea, I will keep tonight's post short. Actually, I am keeping it short because I am tired again tonight. I wonder if I am coming down with something. Every time I say to Michele "I'm tired. I think I may be sick." She says, "Normal people, when they are tired, think, 'Hmm, maybe I'll take a nap or go to bed early.' But you always think you are sick. Just take a nap!" And I would go to bed early tonight, but I have to make a trip to a truck stop to pick her up and I am afraid that I will not awaken when she calls (I sleep like the dead). Plus, if I go to bed for the night and wake up in the morning, I am a nice person. If I go to bed for a short time, like a nap, I am very grumpy and grouchy and the devil incarnate. So I am going to get a nectarine and watch an episode of Star Trek or two while I wait. It will be better for all concerned this way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unfit for Lucubration

Tonight I am tired and not up to the lucubration of writing anything truly clever, so I thought I'd just show you what I've been working on. This is my favorite of a set of four Halloween cards I just finished. Isn't he scarily adorable??!! OK, I'm off to bed now - actually, I'm off to read in bed and eat a bowl of ice cream (remember, it's doctor prescribed, sort of. See here for clarification: Health Screenings.)

By the way, Michele has been delayed on the road and will likely not be home until tomorrow night or Thursday. I think that means she will be home for a week and a half - yippee - but it may mean she'll only be home a couple days and will still start her new job on Monday - yippee on the new job, bummer on the short time!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Puzzles and Shameless Plugs

I ran across this blog post by a crafter who 1. makes really neat ornaments and 2. has a really neat project going on. She's making ornaments out of puzzle pieces that she sells to support the Autism Solution Center. The REALLY neat thing is that if you send her pieces of old puzzles that are missing pieces or whatever, she'll use them to make the ornaments, donate the ornament profits to the organization, donate the amount you paid in shipping to send her the pieces, AND send you an ornament as thanks!! How cool is that??!! Check out her post here: http://busylittleelf.blogspot.com/2009/09/puzzled.html

In a slightly related note: Not to do a shameless plug, but my sister wrote a really nice post about two custom projects I created for her and her family. Check it out here: http://kymidiva.blogspot.com/2009/09/duchess.html?showComment=1252978524027#c4073282873143613719

And, last but not least, a word of caution. As the holidays approach, I implore all of you to temper your drinking and carousing and avoid becoming crapulous. It's all fun and games until you get all crapulous all over your mother-in-law's new Christmas tree skirt! (OK, obviously I had no idea how to work today's word of the day into the actual post, so I fabricated a reason to say "crapulous." Hey, what's a girl to do when the WOTD is totally unusable in her daily speech??)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pastoral Sabbatical

Our beloved pastor left today for a eight week sabbatical. He left his bucolic surroundings somewhere in the countryside of Western New York (that likely lacked sufficient street lights for me) and his suburban church to travel to six countries in Eastern Europe (Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Malta) to be a resource to a fellow pastor in Romania and provide support to other ministries. We are certainly going to miss him over the next two months, but I think that it is incredibly cool that he is making this sojourn. Today, as always, I am very proud of our pastor.

On an unrelated note, Michele believes she will be home tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning!! It's too bad that she couldn't have gotten here today to see Rev. Jim off, but I am so happy she'll be home! I think she goes for orientation with her new company a week from tomorrow, so she'll just be home for a few days (one of which will be trash day - yippee!!).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lazy Day

I shamefully didn't even get out of my pajamas today. I watched an episode of Voyager (my favorite Star Trek after TNG), chatted with my neighbor, Rita, in the garden (yes, in my jammies), made two tote bags, and accidentally made tomato sauce/tomato soup. So, although lazy, I was productive. OK, OK, you are wondering how a person accidentally makes tomato sauce/soup, right? Well, it can easily happen when said person decides to stew tomatoes, but doesn't know how and doesn't Google it and just decides to throw a bunch of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and green peppers into the Crock Pot and forget about it for ten hours. The lovely mess is definitely tomato soup or sauce and pretty darn tasty soup or sauce at that!

On a slightly related note, over these past months, I have tried to inure myself to the drudgery of chores, like the trash and litter boxes, with some success. The need for this will hopefully be coming to an end. Michele has been hired by a new trucking company for a regional route that will bring her home weekly!! Yippee!! Now, my only hope is that her weekly home time coincides with trash day! Hey, a girl can hope, right??!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Celebrating Life

I've felt sad today thinking back eight years ago to 9/11/2001 - a puissant memory that I am sure is on most minds, especially here in New York. This morning, I heard a radio host comment that in the midst of thinking of those lives that were lost, think also about those whose lives were changed for the better in the aftermath. Children who turned from crime and were inspired to become firefighters or police officers. Members of the US and international military who, without fail, defend freedom and culture worldwide. All of us throughout the world who gained new sensitivities to one another. And so, as I was acknowledging our losses, I celebrated life today. One of my favorite books that I have been working through for the past few years is You Can Do It: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls. Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas began writing it one year before she died on United Flight 93. Her favorite quote was "Get busy living, or get busy dying" from The Shawshank Redemption. Today, I thought of that quote, Lauren, the country, the world, and the affect 9/11/2001 has on us all.

In embracing life, I thought I'd leave you with a happy picture of me embracing the packed up Lily Garden: Year One before I sent it off to it's faraway home. Happy journey, little quilt.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mysterious Burns

The strangest thing happened earlier in the week: I discovered a small burn on my hand. Now that, in and of itself is not really very strange. The thing is that I don't remembered getting burned. Now, even stranger than that, this morning, upon waking, I found two more small burns on the same hand! Very strange. I have the oddest feeling that some noisome villain, perhaps a mischievous squirrel or bunny, sneaks into my bedroom at night and burns me with some miniature cigarettes. OK, OK, I know it's a lot more likely that I burnt myself on the stove or iron a few days ago without noticing and it just took some time to color up. But, admit it, the image of a villainous smoking squirrel is a lot more interesting, right?

Profiled

Hey, my shop was profiled in a blog in August - and I just found out! It was a very nice profile from a stamp carver who carves under the name of JackBear Stamps. As you can see, his portrait stamps are absolutely amazing!! Thanks, JackBear, for the profile!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dangerous

Well, it has now been confirmed that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. All my fancy maneuvering to make my blog into a three-column affair broke two things: my ability to edit posts and your ability to comment! (Thank you so much, Teresa, for letting me know the comment function was broken. I was beginning to feel unloved with 0 comments by mid-afternoon!!) Well, I've gotten a little more knowledge and fixed both issues (though the comment function still has the same glitch it's had: you have to click submit twice to get your comment to go through and now my note to that affect has disappeared - thankfully the submit thing is a Blogger problem, not one of my creation!)

It seems that today is the day to gently poke fun at my misuse of the knowledge I so passionately glean from the web. Today's word of the day fits me perfectly: malapropism. It describes the torture through which I usually put these poor words of the day by trying to use them in a sentence. Well, I will persevere. My malapropisms will be on display for you daily as promised!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Redesign/Reinvigoration

OK, you may have noticed that I have redesigned my blog layout. I've been wanting a three-column layout for a little while now, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. Well, I googled it and voila - refulgent in the listings were directions on editing the html of my page template to make it three columns. And, of course, I forgot to save the link to post for you, but if you google three-column blog (and the name of your blog template) you should be able to find directions - I guess it's something a lot of other people want to do, too! Let me know what you think of my redesign.

On a very loosely related note, I am trying to reinvigorate my online shop, too. I've made it a mission to list one new item every day this week, which is a challenge because that means that I need to make new items at least daily (and those of you who sew and quilt know that quilted items rarely get completed in a day!!) I got inspired, though, by another seller, Tina, who has twin three-year-olds and has made her shop a success. Also, by my blogging friend, Teresa, with three boys (and all their activities), who is making things and taking classes right & left! And then there's my sis, with two toddlers, and her own online shop! Well, if they, with all the folks and things they take care of, can do it, I most definitely can, too! I've cut my Star Trek watching to the bone - that's how committed I am!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cheerful Ironing

This may seem odd, but I love, love, love ironing fabric - it's one of the many sacrosanct joys in my life (right up there with Star Trek!!). I'm not very keen on ironing clothes or anything else, though. So, yesterday, after that excellent movie and my heartfelt blogging, I decided that the most appropriate capstone to the lovely evening would be to finish my ironing. I've been slowly, but surely, working my way through that large suitcase of fabric that Kym, my sister, sent me home with from Pittsburgh. I love to bring new fabric into my room and dream over it while ironing, folding, and color-coordinated sorting. I keep my journal nearby and jot down all my ideas and then pin little notes to the fabric to remind me. Oh, what fun!!

On a fabric-related note, sort of, I entered Lily Garden, Year One into that contest I mentioned. Voting starts at the end of the month, but I'll remind you. There are so many lovely entries already submitted, so it's bound to be a great competition. It's my first, so I'd love to win, but mostly I'm just really excited that I had the courage to enter!

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