Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cakes we baked last night for coffee hour at church this morning. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A wonderful Christmas! Posted by Picasa

Learning new things and ready for a new year

The new edition of blogger is out on January 1 and I am going to have to learn a new way to blog. Always something. Sometimes it seems to me that just when you learn how to do something, everything changes and you have to learn something again. I guess learning new things is always good.

We had a wonderful Christmas with Mike and Michelle. Four days of fun, with lunch out with my brother and his family, and Christmas dinner with Michelle's parents and brother's family. It was all fun. I got so many wonderful Christmas presents I can't even remember them all, but a high point was the new organizing system that Michael bought for me and taught me how to use. With a new job, it is a great thing to have.

George and I meant to leave their house at six in the morning the day after Christmas. We set the alarm on the television set in the guest room, because we didn't have a clock alarm. I fell asleep late, and...when the tv came on, it was on a channel that wasn't broadcasting, and George and I snoozed away to the soft light of the tv set. We woke up at 6. In a half hour we had packed up the car and were on the beltway on our way home. We drove through Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, and only stopped for necessary breaks and a Starbucks or two. We drove into our driveway at 4:00 in the afternoon. It was a great trip, no snow or ice, all nice weather, and everything went great. I was in bed early that night in honor of the start of my new job the next morning.

Christmas was great. New Year's Day is almost here. 2006 was a wonderful year, which saw a lot of improvements and changes and blessings.

I could not ask for more.

Have a great day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Getting Things Done

Michael has been teaching me the organizational system based on the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. He is convinced it is the answer to life itself, and I tend to agree with him. Yesterday we went to Staples and we bought the elements: a beautiful notebook case with a carrying handle, three hole punch, calendar insert, a contact list insert. Michael printed the sheets for me that he uses, and even bought me the pens that I write my lists with. Starting out with a "stuff" list on a small notebook, you then capture all the things that are taking up space on the great TODO list in your head, and write all that "stuff" into the project list, the action list, the waiting for list and the agenda list. Clicking things off your action list seems much simpler, and you move onto the next best action, until you check the project off as finished.

Does this sound like fun? It is! I am very excited about this and I haven't even read the book yet. I have already written four pages of stuff which is now safely ensconced in my new planner, with action lists ready to be acted upon. I finished two Christmas projects yesterday. The shopping list for the cookies we are baking today is in there. The list of what I would like to do while I am in Washington is in there, including a nice drive along embassy row to see the tasteful decorations.

The key is to carry the book with you and not be afraid to use it. I'm excited. Like mother, like son.

Have a great day.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas in Washington DC

George and I arrived at Michael's house today. We left at noon yesterday, got involved in rush hour traffic around New York City, stayed overnight in New Jersey at a nice Marriot, and arrived here at 2 today. Great trip. We stopped at a couple of malls for some last minute shopping. We bought a fruitcake at Harry and David's at an out let mall. Who knew that fruitcake would be so hard to find. I think it has a bad reputation, and no one seems to want any. George and I had not had any for years, and this year we were ready once again!

Tomorrow we meet my brother and wife and daughter for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and wrap, bake some cookies, and look forward to family time together.

Have a great day!
Jingle Bells!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and splendid New Year. We are heading for Michael's house today, and will be gone for the holidays. Have fun and be safe! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Somehow, Thunder never misses a chance to nap under the Christmas tree. Posted by Picasa

Gearing up for Christmas

It is that time of year when things always get a little bit hectic. This year I was able to do most of my Christmas shopping early, so that is basically done. I have to mail packages to Oklahoma at Christmas, and it is always a challenge to get those presents bought, wrapped and mailed first.

The lines at the post office this year were long. As I stood one day in a line with 17 people in front of me, I heard the lady at the counter says over and over, "Unless you ship Priority, it is not guaranteed that the package will arrive before Christmas." That was on December 11th, a full 14 days before Christmas. She said over and over that the postal workers only mail non-Priority boxes after all the Priority ones are taken care of. It sounded like a threat to me. So, I mailed everything Priority, and spent almost $50 doing that. Some other people, I noticed, took their chances on common sense, and mailed their packages regular. I could see the little thought balloons over their heads...14 days should be enough to get anywhere!

So, I braved the postal lines, and am now back home looking at the pile of gifts that is on the bed upstairs. Today is wrapping day. We are driving to Washington DC for Christmas on Wednesday, which makes me very very happy because I am a heavy packer, and I like to take what I like to take. We will have large bags of wrapped presents in the car, and a lot of happy thoughts about spending Christmas holiday with Mike and Michelle and Michelle's family. It is SO NICE to have a whole new family in the family, if you know what I mean.

Christmas cards are another stresser. I don't send out many, but even those that I do tend to go out at the last minute. This year I made many of my Christmas cards and tags using gold and silver embossing powder and a heat gun. I had fun learning about how to emboss rubber stamps, and I took advantage of having the time to do that this year. But, of course, I have more to do. It ain't over till it's over.

Today is a full day of Christmas prep, and by nightfall, much of the wrapping and writing of cards will be done. Then comes the hot chocolate.

Have a great day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday School

Of all the jobs that I have volunteered for at church, the best is being a Sunday School teacher. I don't have young children at home, and it has been decades since I did, and I am really getting a kick out of these youngsters. They have gotten used to me and I have gotten to know them, and we just have a great time together.

When I first started, I told them that I had only one rule: no interruptions. And that rule has stood by me to help me calm the excitable and keep the chaos down. I also started something called "Catch-up", which is a 10 minute period at the beginning of the class where they all get to talk about their week, or whatever is on their mind. We go around the room. This idea has really caught on, and now they love talking about themselves, and sharing with each other. It has also really helped me get to know each child and I think they all love getting to talk with NO interruptions. Listening to each other is such a gift I think!

We do crafts. Sometimes the time is short, so we have only 15 minutes or so. We often illustrate the Bible story using polymer clay, and I take home the little works of art and bake them and bring them back the next week. They really enjoy working with clay, and children are natural sculptors. I could NEVER do what they do so naturally.

The Bible story of the week is read by them, going around the table, and then we discuss the historical context, the geography of the region, the personalities of the Bible. My goal is NOT to interpret, but to hopefully give them something about the story to remember. We discuss issues both great and small, and I let them ask all the questions they want, and if I don't have the answer, that is ok too. I tell them that the Bible has been studied by scholars for centuries, and no one has the answers. Yesterday we studied the birth of John the Baptist, and talked about what it must have been like to be a prophet, walking in the desert, and baptizing people in streams and rivers. We often talk about the climate, the foods, and how it must have been to travel on foot.

Every week we have a different fruit to eat. One week I brought in a pomegranate and we talked about different Bible verses that mention this fruit. Yesterday when I asked what kind of fruit they wanted next week, they all yelled "Pomegranate!". Who knew.

Have a great day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The next pair of socks! Posted by Picasa

Another addiction

Some people are addicted to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, Coca Cola, scratch tickets...all kinds of things. I am addicted to making socks. I have just finished my third pair using Sockotta sock yarn, a mix of cotton, wool, & nylon which is perfect for socks. The wool makes them warm and pliable, the nylon holds their shape, and the cotton makes our feet comfortable in all conditions. This yarn is also superwash, which means it will last through lots of washings. One would hope these socks last awhile. They take a lot of hours to make. It takes me about 10 hours to make a pair of socks, and I usually can do a pair in about four days. George watches TV. I knit socks. And while I'm knitting away on these little cramped needles, I mull over why I like doing this so much. I used to think that this yarn was too fine, and that holding those tiny #2 double pointed needles too hard on the hands, but something has changed, and now I love making them. And, my hands do hurt. Sometimes I go to bed at night with both hands sore from cramping around the tiny needles. Well, we always have to pay for our addictions one way or another.

Three people on my Christmas list are getting a pair of socks, and probably more people than that before I'm through.

I tend to knit in stages. One stage, in a winter, I knit 18 hats. I made up my own patterns and got quite good at it, and I am happy to say that at a Stow, New Hampshire Knit-In Event, I won first prize for one of my hats. It was a hard audience to impress, and I am very proud. I'm all through with hats now, and have also knit through my shawl stage, my Lopi sweater stage, and my furry scarf stage last winter. Now I'm all about socks!

Hey. No hangover.

Have a great day.

So cute Posted by Picasa

Hand-knitted socks! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Wreaths from Connie and Yvonne

My friend Connie and I have been busy assembling the elements and making beautiful wreaths. I am giving some away to family and friends, and selling three on Ebay under Treasuresfrommyhome.

Connie is a real artist and these wreaths are very pretty. I have enjoyed the whole process of shopping with her for the balls and ribbon, and going to her house to pick up the finished product. She does the design. She does the work. I do the admiring and shipping.

The creative process is even more fun with a friend!

Enjoy the day.

Bubble colored pink and silver wreath with polka dot bow that hangs on my front door Posted by Picasa

Blue and Silver Posted by Picasa

The "Mexican Fiesta" Wreath Posted by Picasa

The wreath I sent to mom for her door. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Land of the Lost

My home office is in the diningroom. Recently, at Thanksgiving, when I had people over for dinner, I moved a lot of my work to other areas, and reorganized my papers and put them out of the way. Big mistake. I have misplaced several things that are important. I lost a bag of pretty jewelry pins that I had bought to give to friends and family as stocking stuffers. This was all very pretty sparkly stuff and I miss it! I have torn the rooms apart, looking in every box and basket, bag. Yesterday I realized that I have also lost my little red Moleskine address book. Losing one's address book just when Christmas cards are supposed to go out is a very bad thing. Today, I found out that I have lost a bill, which never got paid, hence, a surcharge, and another unhappy search for lost stuff. Somewhere I think there is a box, with a neat fitting lid, and in this box is all Pandora's stuff!

It isn't like I live in chaos. I don't. (I live in a houseful of yarn and knitting projects.) It is just that some gremlin had moved things, and I think the gremlin is me. Moving my stuff out of the way, and putting things away can be a bigger problem than just leaving it out where it can all be seen. Now I am threatening never to have anyone over for dinner again.

Someday I think that the Christmas gift pins and the crucial little red address book will show up. They will be found in a box, a basket, or a tote bag that I have neatly squirreled away somewhere.

Now WHERE????

Have a great day.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Better late than never! Posted by Picasa

Post Thanksgiving Thankgiving

We went out with the family for a big Thanksgiving Dinner this year. It was a lot of fun, and the food was delicious, but...alas, since it was a buffet, there were no leftovers. And even more than that, I didn't have any turkey. The salad bar, baked salmon and shrimp was so good, I feasted on that, and didn't have room for turkey. So I've been hungry for a good roasted turkey ever since.

Last night, George came home with a 20 pound turkey. Just for the two of us. The turkey at this time of year was no bargain. It thought that maybe we'd find a sale priced one, since it is post Thanksgiving...but alas, it cost $30 for this bird!

Today we roasted the turkey, and I made sage dressing, green beans with almonds, a perfectly nice jellied cranberry sauce out of the can, creamy mashed potatoes with homemade gravy and creamed onions. What a dinner we had. And after dinner, we put away enough for several meals of leftovers, as well as the turkey bones and carcass which will make a drop dead tasty turkey vegetable soup for even more meals to come. Leftovers galore!

It seems a little crazy to make a whole turkey just for two, but...when you want it, you want it, and it was a lovely dinner.

Happy Post Thanksgiving. Now, bring on Christmas!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It is a good world. Posted by Picasa

A new friend

"When there is nothing left in the world to prove ... all that's worth doing is to love one another ... using whatever means are available."
Author unknown

I was just talking through email to a new customer on Ebay. I meet some incredibly nice people who buy my jewelry, and I am honored to know them, even briefly. I said to him that I thought when I started selling on Ebay that it would be a good way to make some extra money. Actually, Ebaying has been a good way to meet new friends.

Two of my best friends I met on Ebay. Both of them love jewelry and beads as much as I do, and both are incredibly talented and beautiful women who have made my life so much richer. I have met hundreds of acquaintances on Ebay as well, and I really believe that Ebay's community values ring true: We believe that people are basically good.

Hear hear.

Have a great day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A new listing goes up today for a Jasper & Pearl Bracelet with Sterling Silver. Posted by Picasa

Moving on to Christmas!

Today is a day of transition. The Thanksgiving festivities are over, and thoughts turn to Christmas. This year we are driving to Mike and Michelle's house to spend the holidays with them. I can't wait. It will be fun to be in Maryland for Christmas Day, a state that I think is absolutely beautiful. George and I will enjoy the car trip, and I will enjoy the fact that I do not have to pack light, and I can take all the presents and Christmas wrapping that I want. I even plan to pack a few pie tins and cookie sheets for apple pies and cookies. Try that on an airplane!

Keeping it simple is hard at Christmastime, but that is what we intend to do. Not a lot of lavish and expensive gifts, but a lot of fun and together-time.

I'm redoing my Ebay store today, listing a lot of new items, and I'm busy taking pictures, writing descriptions, and setting prices low enough to lure buyers to my jewelry auctions. Ebay is where I meet new people and make friends with other jewelry and bead addicts like me. It's a fun place!

Have a great day.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The socks I made during the Thanksgiving holiday. 1 skein of Sockatta yarn and a lot of hours of knitting with tiny needles. Aren't socks fun? Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 24, 2006

Setting the table for dinner...Apple pie with holly decorations Posted by Picasa

We got to go see George's new granddaughter Lucy yesterday after Thanksgiving Dinner. Oh how cute! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Christmas Cactus in bloom just in time! Posted by Picasa

Our Thanksgiving centerpiece Posted by Picasa

Pre-Thanksgiving Fun Day

It is so nice to have Michael and Michelle here. Their plane landed just a few minutes late, and we have no holiday horror stories to tell about flights. I have been delayed and missed my connections so often on airlines that I am a VBAP--Very Battered Air Passenger. But no problems yesterday.

We enjoy sitting about, knitting, talking, surfing, reading, watching old James Bond movies, and just enjoying each other's company. Last night we went to a Boston steak house that has been there forever called Hilltop and had ribs and steaks and apple crisp. We are getting ready for Thanksgiving by honing our appetite skills. Today we will go shopping for little things like books, yarn and the Nintendo Wii...which is about all Michael talks about. I sure hope Santa can find one for him or we are all in big trouble.

My friend Dave gave us a nice grandmother clock before he died and it sits on our mantle next to George's family grandfather clock. George has both of them working now so we have dueling chimes every quarter hour. It is fun and makes the house seem rather like us...a little crazy but a whole lot happy.

Have a great day and enjoy Thanksgiving preparations!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving merriment

I love this time of year. Probably because I love looking at pictures of food and reading new recipes. The web is full of new recipes and pages of ideas, and the television has cooking shows that are non-stop about Thanksgiving and Holiday goodies. I love all this talk about food, probably because I love to cook, but mainly because I love to taste good things.

This Thanksgiving Day, I am not cooking. It is a departure from our norm, but one that I am happy about. We are going to visit Michelle's relatives and since there are so many of us, we are going out for dinner! Good. No dishes. Bad. No leftovers.

Frankly, in the real world, I am not that excited about leftovers. I can make a turkey anytime, and often George and I buy a small one and roast it just for ourselves. We make turkey sandwiches to take to work. Yum. Cranberries are good anytime, and it is so easy to make cranberry sauce. Lately I have been turned on to white cranberry juice by my mom, and it will be served on ice in our pretty red stemmed Fostoria glasses this year at our home.

It is an exciting day. Mike and Michelle arrive today. First stop is Barnes and Nobel for some book shopping and a cappucino.

Have a great day.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Meet George's new granddaughter, 2 day old Lucy. Posted by Picasa

The Snowflake Fair

Thank you to everyone who visited me at the Trinitarian Congregational Church's Snowflake Fair today in North Andover. It was a wonderful fair, and I had a great time. It was great to meet a lot of new people, and to sell some jewelry to some really nice buyers! Thank you to all who bought jewelry from me today, I hope you all keep in touch.

The day went really fast. Craft fairs always start early, and the prospect of lugging all the tables and displays at 7 a.m. is a daunting task. And then the fair starts and the people come in, and it all gets better really fast. I love meeting and talking to people at craft fairs, and although I don't do many each year, I'm always grateful when they are successful.

I had a large display of about 300 pieces of jewelry, and I came home tired and happy. A good day.

Thanks to all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The necklace that will appear on The HourGlass Gallery web site. Posted by Picasa

Running a jewelry business while running around

Since I came home from Oklahoma, things have been pretty much a running disaster. While I was gone, I didn't pay much attention to calendars, and when I got back I kept missing appointments. I found out that I had missed a craft fair where I had paid $50 for a table. I was already feeling a little foolish about that when I realized that I had missed a class that I signed up for. I was at church on Sunday and mentioned the missed class to a friend who was in the know about the class. She said, "oh, the class wasn't yesterday, it's today!" I called the beading shop where the class was to be held, and found out that although I would be two hours late, I was still invited to come and learn what I could.

I attended the class, caught up with the others and finished a really pretty woven bracelet that is pictured on my other site. At least I didn't miss that class completely, which would have been a real shame! It was fun and I can't wait to start making more of those beautiful bracelets and listing the for sale. This is going to be fun!

Today I am marking all my activities on my calendar and trying to get caught up. I have been working on jewelry to take to the consignment art and gift store, and finished 12 pieces in the past three days. My hands hurt from making jewelry when I go to bed at night. And I still can't wait to start on the next project. I lay awake nights thinking of new techniques and color schemes.

The Trinitarian Congraegational Church craft fair is this Saturday in North Andover, and I have a lot of work to do to make enough items to make my table exciting and therefore profitable. It is a challenge to make jewelry under pressure, but it is still the most fun thing I can think of!

Have a great day.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Raffle Basket called "Snowed In" Posted by Picasa

Highway Robbery

George and I drove to Mystic, Connecticut today. On our way, we drove past a Congregational Church in Preston, Connecticut that was having a craft sale. We decided to stop in and see what they had to offer. At the door, two nice ladies said, "oh good, you're just in time for the raffle." I felt that the least I could do was buy a few raffle tickets. I asked how much, and she said, "three for a dollar, or a whole arm's length for $5." That description was so tempting...I bought an "arm's worth". George and I quickly tore them apart and added them to the 15 or so baskets of prizes that were in the hall. The largest basket, of course, had the largest number of raffle tickets in the bag, so I just added one ticket to that one. I put most of our tickets in the bags that had the fewest tickets already, meaning my odds were better to win a small basket of stationery and thank you cards, or the basket of garden gloves and bulbs.

We walked through the craft show in a few minutes and they started the raffle. First drawing..nothing...second drawing...nope, not us...third drawing etc. Then LOW and behold...they draw for the biggest basket of all, one called "Snowed In",...and WE WON!!! Everyone was floored. Here two strangers walk in at the last minute and we walk off with the biggest basket that people had had their eyes on all day!

We left with our basket and giggled all the way to the car. I couldn't help but think that we robbed them. We even felt a little guilty. But it was so much fun.

The basket contains the games; Monopoly, Clue & Sorry, as well as popcorn, cookies, soda, and I don't know what all. It is fun and they were robbed :-).

Have a great evening.

A day in the country

George and I are off for a drive in the country. I got the idea as my plane was flying over New York. I wanted to see the countryside, and the beautiful northeast. I like Oklahoma, but I'm really a "northeastener" now. I missed it. We are going to drive to Connecticut to a bead store where they have lovely silver charms and findings that I can't find anywhere else. (No pun intended.)

On the way, we happen to drive near Foxwoods, the big casino that is so popular, and I'm going to scrape some quarters from my car and try to make the big haul. Ha. But it is a fun place to stop, and we don't stay long. We found the non-smoking slot machine room the last time, so we will head there. Cigarette and cigar smoke really ruins the casino experience for me--I smell it as soon as I hit the elevator button.

So, we're off for a nice drive, and have packed our apples and turkey sandwiches. A nice day for a drive!

Have a good one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mom's Cell Phone Holders

  Posted by Picasa

Time to go home

I will be leaving tomorrow morning to go back home to Boston. Mom is much better, and we have lined up a whole group of people who will be coming in at various times of the day to do things for her. She and I are being very stoic about my leaving, but both of us have learned to enjoy living together, and it has been a wonderful time to be together. She and I made cell phone cases that I will sell at the upcoming craft fairs. She does the crocheting part and I weave them together and decorate them. This little job has been just right to keep her busy.

Life will be slow for her, but she will manage. She wants to live in her own home, and my being here has made that possible--not a small thing. We have both seen what it is like to live at a nursing center, and there isn't much fun there, that is for sure. In fact, when she was in the center, she was alone alot there too...since the care is sporatic, and the nurses attention is hard to come by. It is hard being 96, and I have learned that well as I lived here with her. She has her work cut out for her to be successful at making her own meals and taking care of herself during the hours when no one is here. God bless her, and I hope she continues to get stronger.

Life in Boston is going to be busy for me. I have a lot of irons in the fire, and they have been heating up, even as I'm cooling my heels here in Oklahoma. Time to get back to my own life. The sweet part will be getting on the airplane tomorrow, but the bitter part will be leaving my mom here by herself. It has been wonderful. I'm lucky to have had the chance to be here.

See you in Boston.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006