Thursday, December 31, 2009

Doodling with Joli. She's studying my additions to her artwork.

"Hey, he's drinking a cup of tea. No. That's cahhhh-fee!"

A lady monster and a spider with chubby legs.

A blue full moon for New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Remember when I said I was going to make something for everyone this year but I was running out of time and Hubby suggested I give everyone a stick. No? Well, maybe I said it somewhere else... Facebook probably.

"A stick?" I replied.

"Yes. A stick. Wrap some yarn around it and tell them it's a magic stick."

Several members of the family asked, somewhat apprehensively "Are you really going to give me a stick?"

Well, you know I couldn't let an opportunity like that pass me by.

So I gathered some sticks. Special sticks from our fallen apple tree I'll have you know. Bought some embroidery yarn. I went with all the Hogwart house colors. Remembered them all except for Hufflepuff. I had to call and have someone look up Hufflepuff house colors.

Et voilà! Magic sticks!

I let William pick first - I knew he'd choose Slytherin.

Joe selected Gryffindor (of course) and industrious Lisa wanted Hufflepuff. Ravenclaw was left for Hubby. Looks like there's already some spell play going on there.

Of course they also received a few more non-stick gifts. I ran out of wrapping paper so I improvised with cardboard and paper bags and paper and markers. I even turned the bag handles into a bow. I rather liked the results.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I finally managed to put up a few decorations. We won't be home for Yule or Christmas, so a little will do. And looked just as festive in the end, if I do say so myself. Without hours of taking down to anticipate.

A friend made me these beautiful Yule faery wings last year. They looked happiest in the window.

And I finally broke down and bought a tiny colored tree. I was going to go get the black one with red lights, but they were sold out. So I chose the other color that called to me. Maybe not the perfect match for my living room, but the red pulled it together and I can use it in another room next year maybe.

I just pulled out a few ornaments, not many at all. The red pom pom garland and the old stole fur was from the fabric stash.

Small but pretty!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our local Walmart has completely recreated itself. Trust me, if I lived anywhere else, I wouldn't even SHOP at Walmart. But we live one hundred miles from anywhere in any direction and we have limited shopping options in our community. We have Walmart. Or .... Walmart. And then there's always ..... Walmart.

They've been painting, tiling, and dismantling departments for months. I was out of town for the first week in November and I came home to discover the final reshuffling had been done and the phoenix, what there is if it, had been reborn.

I hate it. Everyone hates it. Even the Walmart employees hate it. It takes triple the time to shop because no one knows where ANYTHING is. It's like shopping in a maze. If you ask an employee where the tea pots are or even, where the housewares department is, they stand there with a puzzled look on their face, scanning the difficult-to-see new signs hanging from the ceiling. I don't blame them. I can't figure it out either. They're doing the best that they can.

Although yesterday I reached the end of my patience. We asked an employee, a young man, standing in the hardware department (which took us two circles round the store to find in the first place) where the foam insulation for pipes was located. He turned around in a circle several times himself and then waved his arm vaguely in one direction, flinging it the other direction once just to cover himself in case he was wrong, and said "Over there somewhere." And then he started to walk away.

Using my most potent mom voice I calmly, icily intoned "Stop! That is not a helpful response. Go find me someone who knows where it is." He stopped. He picked up a nearby phone. He called for help. No one arrived. I assume the person asked to come to my aide is still wandering around hopelessing searching for the hardware department.

There used to be a shoe department. Now the shoes are everywhere. There are women's shoes mixed in with women's clothing, children's shoes elsewhere near children's socks (which aren't, of course, near adult socks), men's shoes near... you get the idea here. Boots of any size are somewhere else again. Design by buckshot pattern.

There are wide new aisles. That's because they are now carrying about a third of the previous stock. Yes, there are more frozen food items and a lot more electronic items. But there's less of everything else. There used to be a office/school supply department. Now it's just one short aisle. There used to be a card dept., now..... y'know, I have yet to even see any cards. But most dramatically changed, they used to have a huge craft and fabric department. Now they have two tiny aisles. One short row of fabrics with another pile they've been forced to stack horizontally so you can't really handle it without the whole thing toppling down. Gone is... I'd guess 80% of everything.

In a town with no Michael's, no Joann's, not even a Ben Franklin or local quilt shop, this is a BIG THING. No, wait, we do have a dollar store, and you can sometimes find craft supplies there, but still. It's a big change.

Fortunately, I'm long past my stash gathering era, now embracing the downhill slide of stash BUSTING. But that doesn't mean I don't need supplies now and then. Stash busting means you choose to use what you already have in your supplies as the base for your creative projects, but that also implies that you are making things and will need to restock basics like glue, wire, dowels, pins, interfacing....

I know, think ahead. Restock when I'm traveling out of town. And of course, order online. Good ideas. But not very helpful for a spontaneous type like myself who decides to make something at ten o'clock the night before I need it done, or during a week of icy winter roads or maxed out schedules.

So..... uhm..... do I have a point here? No. I was just whining. Would you like a holiday cheese ball to go with it? I could go back to Walmart, spend a couple hours wandering about in search of the refrigerated section, and see if I could get you one?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I haven't posted in a few days. You would assume, from past conversations, that it was because I was so busy making art and crafty things that I didn't have time to post. Furthermore you would assume that most of the things I was making were for gift giving so I wouldn't be able to post and show you any of it until after it was gifted.



I wish this was true. It is not.

There were eighteen people on my gift list. I have made one gift. One. Uno. Une. Ein. ONE. This particular gift was to have two (two, dos, deux, zwei, TWO) components to it. I made one part. I started two other gifts but they're not finished yet. I have four days left before we start our holiday travel circuit. Four days to finish seventeen gifts, wrap gifts, pack, do laundry, clean, decorate, shovel snow, make fires, sleep, eat, take a few showers.


*Laume wipes tears of hysterical laughter from her eyes*

I'm actually okay with it. I've been letting my guilt and disappointment slip away, little by little, over the last few weeks. I had choices, choices between making gifts and experiencing holiday and/or family experiences. I chose the experiences.

I still want to make gifts. I have lots of great ideas swirling in my head. I'll keep working on them. Hopefully I'll be finished with them in time for next year's holidays!

But for this year, it's time to move on to Plan B. Which is..... uhm..... I'm not sure yet. I know what it's not. It's not to try to "make up for it" by going out and spending a wad of money on stuff I have no idea whether anyone will like or not like. I have a couple of days to finish up a few more things, and as long as the kids have something fun to open up, frankly I doubt they care whether it's handmade or storebought. They might care some time in the far future, looking back. But that gives me plenty of opportunities to make those memories in the years to come.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Warm. That was the plan for the day. Just to keep warm. I had to run errands in the afternoon. It was a balmy 9º on the time/temperature sign on Main Street. It's -9º now.

So you can imagine my excitement when I came home to find our espresso machine returned to us. I had no idea how much I missed it until it was gone. The company (Saeco) was really great about repairing it. I was just about to check and make sure that it had arrived at their company and there it was, fixed and back on my doorstep!

And making even more delicious espresso. So tonight's plan - a rocking chair by the fire, my knitting, and my chocolate sprinkled cappuccino. Warm.

(For some cold photos, Beach Treasure.)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

This was in the free box at the thrift shop last week. With the cool icy blue and the bare trees and birds, I thought it looked very wintery. Turns out it's from the 1950's, a company called Lucent Dinnerware, this style was called Evening Song.

Not sure if I showed you this pretty tea pot I bought a few weeks ago. I think I spent $2. I think originally the gold covered the entire handle and spout. But I like it the way it is now, shabby and aged. It must have poured many a pot of tea, it must have hundreds of stories.

And now it can pour many more pots of tea for me.

It's been beyond cold the last few days. Almost as cold as I've ever known it here. Right now it's -9ºF outside. Hopefully this is as cold as it gets. BRRRRRR!

A good day to keep busy doing warm things inside. I've had the fire going all evening. Made a hot pot of split pea soup and hot apple rhubarb cobbler. Hot tea of course, as well as hot coffee. I might make it a triple play with a cup of hot cocoa to take to bed in a few minutes.

Ironing is a good warm activity, especially when I drag the board out to stand near the fire. Found some fabrics that I think will work really well for a project I'm starting. Being that time of year, I can't really say much more about that until after the holidays. Wink wink.

Anyone else up to any elf activities? You can tell me, no one you know will follow you to my comment box!

For some sparkly snow pics, Beach Treasure.