Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas at Our Home: The Unabridged Edition

...And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...
Ah, who doesn't recognize even a piece of the classic poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas"?
Oh yeah, that's exactly how our home is at Christmas. All is quiet and peaceful, not even a mouse moving about. Everything is beautiful, neat and sparkling. Grinnin Grampa is wearing his cap, sound asleep, breathing ever-so-quietly.
"Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"...NEVER would he snore on Christmas Eve!
But the pictures you see are the sheer truth of it all, at least around here. This is what our bedroom floor has looked like for a couple - okay, a few nights now. The middle picture is what our bed looked like this afternoon, as I was frantically trying to wrap a couple things before a certain someone got home.
Wrapped gifts under the tree in the living room.
However, the next few pictures are what I prefer to leave you with; these are bits and pieces of what the inside of our home looks like if you throw a magical sheet that makes the mess around the bits and pieces disappear.
The lime green tree in my office with pink and white decorations.
A musical snow globe I've had for years. If you look closely, you'll
notice that the shepherd boy is missing the bottom part of his arm.
It's floating around at the bottom, close to Baby Jesus' bed of hay.
I'll never know how something can get broken inside a snow globe, all
cushioned in glycerin. There's no damage to the outside. This, by the way,
is how I bought it and why it was probably something like 75% off at the time.
Porcelain ornament that is one of my favorites; another that I've had for years.
Our neighbors get baked goodies from us every year. This is
what their gifts consisted of this year. You saw the wrapping mess.
No way am I sharing my kitchen mess.
It snowed a few days ago and I managed to capture this
cardinal sitting a few feet from our back door. It was/is
the only semblance of peace and order around our home
for several weeks.
As Lily Tomlin's character on Laugh-in would say, "And that's the truth...!" (insert raspberry sound!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baking, Goofing Around and Shopping

We had our annual Open House at the Shop this weekend. This is one of the goodies I picked up for my self. She sits next to my monitor.
I thought this was just beyond cute and, for $3.00, couldn't pass it up! Do you think she looks like me?
Cookie baking filled a good part of one day this past week. These are brickle cookies that I made for my neighbors but they seem to be disappearing before I finish the rest of my cookies for the neighbors' cookie tray that I give them every year.
And here are a few of the tags I made. Some will go on the cookie trays, along with a little handmade ornie. Others will hang on gifts under our tree. The reverse of the tags have a stamped "To" and "From" on them. The above tags and the ones directly below are one and the same but the one above shows a little more depth and detail.
I'm not even half way through my shopping! Why is it that, when I was younger, I was usually finished early - sometimes before November 1! How are your lists coming along?
Finally, I have to show you this next photo before I finish this post:
I took it coming back from shopping the other evening. It was about 5:00 PM and it had been raining - hard! The corner of the building in this shot belongs to the gas station that sits next to a parking lot that I pulled into to photograph the rainbow. The attendant outside stood and stared at me, as though he was wondering why in the world I would take such a photo.
As I recall, rainbows were in the skies after almost every rain when I was a child. They seem like such a rarity today. So, as the attendant was wondering why I would take the time to capture this image, I was wondering how he could turn his back on such a jewel. I'm sure there's a moral in this for all of us.
God bless you all, and may you enjoy your rainbows.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving, Videos and Here Comes Santa!

Hubby and I had another great Thanksgiving with my side of our blended family. I'm so proud of each of them and would like for you to meet them, albeit video style!
I hope you like videos, because here are a couple videos of the shop that we're in (Corner Nest, Elizabethton, TN). I hope you enjoy your mini-trip there:
This one is of the cabin upstairs in the shop. Yep, a real faux-cabin! This isn't my booth but it is one of my very favorite booths within the shop: the Cabin
This one starts in the back of the first floor, at our booth. My memory card ran out waaaay before I could finish even the first floor. I hope you enjoy! CLICK HERE to view!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just Looking Around this Place and That, With some Greek Tales

This past Thursday was my day for Remicade treatment. Trust me, those are days in which absolutely nothing else gets accomplished. The infusions take three to four hours and they give me a dose of 50mg Benadryl. I look forward to a nice looong nap on those days. We are provided with nice comfy Lazy Boy lounges and TVs with headphones; other than that, this is about all there is to look at: ...which is why I generally take a magazine to look through. Last week, I brought the Premier edition of Where Women Create. It had been awhile since I read through the pages of this issue, so reading it again between zzzz's was a real treat. A couple days later, we had a refreshing cold wave come through the area. I always look forward to Fall but each year when the leaves start to turn, I remember the Greek mythological story of Persephone. She was the young daughter of Demeter, who some know as "Mother Earth" or Mother Nature and Zeus, King of the Gods. Demeter is responsible for keeping the earth fresh and fertile, with lush crops and flowers. Zeus is responsible for, among other things, law and order, thunder and such. Persephone is a beautiful maiden and of course, everyone loves her. Hades, the King of the Underworld, is no exception and he kidnaps her one day, dragging her to the Underworld with him to make her his bride. Demeter is wrought with grief and can no longer perform her duties as Mother Earth. The world turns cold and Persephone's parents grieve and search for her. The earth is no longer fertile; fruit and trees fall from the trees, the skies are grey and the crops all die. When her parents finally discover who has taken her and where she is, it is too late. She had eaten some of Hades' fruit (pomegranite seeds) and therefore must spend at least part of her life with him. The three (Demeter, Zeus and Hades) finally come to an agreement. Persephone will spend one third of the year with Hades and the other two thirds above ground. There is much more to this rich story, but you get the picture. Fall is the time when Persephone must leave her above ground home and return to Hades. Thus, this is when the leaves begin to dry and the world starts to turn cold. Demeter, during this time misses her daughter so much that the world gradually turns to ice until Persephone comes "home" in the Spring. Photos: Barn is next to our property; the picture was taken from our garden. Rolled hay (last photo) is on another neighbor's property. Olde windows were taken from a turn of the century house and are waiting for me to decide their destination. The Japanese Maple lends its beauty and color to the small flower garden that is immediately adjacent to our back patio and the washtubs and tools hang on our smokehouse. The picture appears to be black and white but was actually taken in color; the colors you see are "natural".

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts to Share

My childhood girlfriend, Joanna, sent this to me in an email. Although I thought the email was fun to read, it was also quite true - but, if my Dad was still alive, I would never confess that to him. Just wanted to share with you:

Random Thoughts for the Day: 1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. 2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. 3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. 4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. 5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? 6.. Was learning cursive really necessary? 7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. 9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. 10. Bad decisions make good stories. 11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day. 12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again. 13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to. 14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever. 15.. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away? 16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that? 19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well. 20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shop Photos, Christmas Ornaments and an After Shot

This is one of those seasons. You know, a season that you feel you've been working either on or toward all year? I bought several small artificial Christmas trees last year when everything was marked down to something like 1/3 of the original price. I finally finished this one and before you look, let me apologize for the fuzzy grain. Yes, I could shoot a better picture but it's getting late and I'm getting tired and am hoping you'll just roll with me on this one. Okay, and yes, it's just the bottom part of tree I decorated with a primitive feel. Told you I'm tired. Here's the upper part: If you look close, you'll see itty-bitty pinecones that I unraveled from old Christmas picks and wired onto the ends of some of the branches. There's also some fake candy that I grubbied up to look old (oh yeah, yum!) a couple little boy and girl gingerbread people, bits of berry garland and, of course, some stained homespun fabric to help it look more old timey. The tag is really cute - an old picture of three sweet infants looking up at the Christmas tree. This will be part of my primitive display that we're putting up in the shop (Corner Nest, Elizabethton, TN) tomorrow. This little trio of primitive houses was actually just a frame of twigs that my DIL gave me several years ago to "fix up" and sell. Yes, you read right. Several years ago. You've seen my sewing/craft studio so you shouldn't be surprised. This will go on the wall and will become part of the primitive hangings for sale. Finally, this is a tiny trio of scented dolly ornies (ornaments) that I placed in a bowl of pinecones. They smell like pumpkin pie and are really cute. I have several bags of these (three each) and will put this picture on the label to give customers an idea of how to use them. They'll look really cute hung on trees, too. My studio is an ongoing work of, well, work. I'm forever trying to get it better organized. Do you remember waaay back when I showed you this old library card file that I was using to hold pens, glue sticks and the like? Well, I'm finished enjoying it and it's now time to take it to the shop. Last but not least, here's the updated photo I promised you. Remember the grungy-looking leaded glass wall cabinet from a couple posts ago? Well, here it is as it looks today. It, too, will have a place in the shop and I don't expect it to last long at all. I uploaded a few new photos of shop pictures (a couple are our booths, most belong to others) on Flickr if you want to click HERE and take a look. ...and that's what I've been up to the last few days. What have you been doing lately?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flu Shots and A Few Shop Photos to Share

Yes, I have had mine! Have you had yours? Flu shots, that is! Hubby and I took advantage of the free flu shots that Exide Technologies (battery plant where Hubby works) offered to their workers and families a couple weeks ago. Then, just yesterday, I was able to get my H1N1 shot. Neither of us had a reaction to the "regular" flu shots. I had a little fever with my H1N1 but will happily fight that in lieu of the actual Swine Flu!

We are, of course, still active vendors with the Corner Nest Antiques and Gift Shop in Elizabethton, TN. If you live in NE Tennessee or SW Virginia or North Carolina, you may be close enough to treat yourself to a day of fun there. Trust me, you will love it! We get visitors from all over the world. There's even a little cafe there on premises. You can literally browse and shop for hours without having to leave the building!

Those of you who know me know that I love all things old, primitive, shabby and shiny. I took photos of just a few items and displays that caught my eye when I was there last time to drop off a "fresh" load of items and to "fluff" up our displays.

I think this is a charming little quilt that may just end up on my newest grandson's bed!

Does this look like a scene straight out of an old-time general store?

True, today's windows are more energy efficient and may be easier to clean but the old windows have so much character! I'm still puzzled as to why I didn't bring this chest home with me!

This primitive display is surrounded by autumn leaves and pumpkins - so very fitting for a fall day like today!

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trying to Get Better, a Few Things to Share & Smelly Bags

See? I'm already getting better!!!! Two days in a row, two fresh blog postings! I did fail to THANK YOU for the well wishes you offered both my friend, Mary and myself. As you may remember, she was bitten by a rattlesnake and suffered severe consequences. Thanks to the many prayers offered up for her, she says she is near normal once again. As for myself, I did go through a couple really tough months with my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and, although I have finally come to realize that my body will no longer move as fluidly as it did thirty years ago. If you or someone you know has RA you already know that we are never pain free but can reach a point where you can work with and through the pain. Again, I thank you with all my heart for your past and continued prayers. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've already seen this photo:
Yes, they are mostly feed sacks, and most are made from burlap. Some are old and others are not. I don't know which is which. Just being honest! I hung them out NOT because I washed them (because I didn't!) but to air them out. If you have ever met up with a feed sack you know that the odor is not one that you would expect, say Reese Witherspoon, to adapt as her own. IF you're interested, I'm selling them for $7 each which includes postage. They'll be available for awhile, as I won't put them in the shop until (probably) next week.
This photo and the next one, in case you're wondering, are being included here simply because I like the way the pictures look. The flowers are ones that I dried in our attic and I'm now wondering what to do with them. Any ideas are appreciated!
Meanwhile, I've been turning some of my attentions toward Christmas items, both to put in the shop and to include as gifts or within gift wrappings. For example, I have been able to hand dip some pine cones in scented wax (oh, yummmmm!), attach some faux sprigs of pine and some ribbons, etc. - well, here are some of the finished products:
Can't see them very well, can you? Darn. Well, okay, so I packaged these perhaps prematurely but I wanted to make sure the fragrance stays in tact. Trust me, they look really cute in a bowl with fruit (real or not), potpourri, etc. They're also really good to use on a gift instead of (or along with) a bow.
I've also been working on some tags and I'm not too sure what I'll do with them, either.
This snowman is one that I can't very well brag about. Poor guy. I started out with this great idea of stamping a Christmas tree on chipboard for his background, then stamping his image on a piece of cardboard, color it all, sparkle him up and attach him to the chipboard. Well, first of all I didn't off center the tree enough. It kinda looks like he's using it as a backpack. Then, I used sugar sprinkles on him and mica flakes for the snow behind him. The results are just okay. He needs more glitter everywhere. Maybe I'll take another pic of him after it's added and you can give me your honest opinion of the final product. This next tag is a different story.
I actually like this one but wish I had cut out more of the white surrounding the child she's carrying. I left the angel print itself un-glittered, glued her to lime green chipboard and glittered around her after giving the chipboard a pink border of paint. You can't really tell in this picture, but the pink ribbon trails down below the chipboard and is looped and attached at the top with a pink bead. Okay, now you've seen everything I've accomplished in the past five months and now I'm off to finish catching up on YOU and your blogs! Thanks for stopping by! Love ya!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh, My Gosh!!!!! Has it been that long????

It certainly doesn't feel like it's been almost five months since my last blogging post. Oh my gosh! I've shocked myself! Nothing earth shattering has really happened during the past few months. I've spent quite a bit of time on Facebook (okay, with the games on Facebook). There is one thing that I have to admit to realizing, though. Are you ready? Here goes: I am not as creative when I'm not blogging. True. I haven't even been thinking very creatively and you know what else? I miss that part of me. A lot. Oh, true, I've been doing a few things - making cards, re-thinking projects, rearranging displays at the shop - but my creative activity of the last few months is but a tiny percentage of my "normal" brain activity. Additionally, I've missed all of YOU! I've been remiss not only with my own blog, but visiting yours and that absence really has created a void in my life. I love reading your words, keeping up with you and your families, being so impressed with all the various ways you direct your own passions. Thanks so much to those of you who have chosen to stay in touch with me during this "break" of mine. Now, because I really don't have any photographs specifically meant for today's blog, let me just share a few that I have managed to take lately.
Imagine opening up your bluebird house, hoping to find a nest of baby bluebirds and finding - YIKES! A mouse and nest instead!!!!!
Our next project: Re-do this vintage wall cabinet! It doesn't look like much now but expect it to look wonderful with a fresh stain on its wood, a new handle and cleaned up leaded glass. Yes, I did say leaded glass. Wonderful, isn't it?
These luggage tags at Books-a-Million cracked me up!
And, finally: The beginning of a Halloween display I was setting up in the shop. It didn't quite get finished. The display, including the boxes, were sold before I finished! Always a happy occasion!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Prayer Requests and Gardening Tales

Many of you know my dear friend, Mary, of Mary's Meanderings. She was bitten by a RATTLESNAKE and, although she is home, has had terrible reactions to antibiotics. The time she has to spend with her foot elevated has also caused her fibromyalgia to flare. Please pray for her and, if you have a few extra moments, stop in and say hi. I'm sure she'd appreciate the visit.
Here on the home front, things have been moving at a fast pace. Well, things AROUND me have. I've been having some major problems with my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and although it appears that things are finally on the right track, my joints are still quite swollen and causing me pain. I'm behind in everything. Everything! And much of our garden is ready for harvesting and canning.
I've spent the last several days playing computer games and that's about it. Today, however, I'll venture outside and try to get my body moving again!
Thanks again for all your prayers. Love to you all!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Family Addition, New Confession, and a New Camera

Pretty bird!
She's a baby.
A very TINY baby! I took this picture the day after she came to live with us. Coco was about 8 - 9 weeks old at the time. She's a Green-cheeked conure who will remain small (not this small, though) and will learn to talk. She won't talk as prolifically as Bailey (whom you met in the video posted a few weeks ago) but that's okay. What she can't say, she makes up in sweetness.
As you know, we HAD four parrots. Two of them (the Amazons) were "rescue" birds and were meant to only be with us for a few months. Those months turned into years. They were previously a couple (Amazons mate for life) but we kept them in separate cages. They REALLY wanted to share one cage. Hubby and I aren't bird breeders and didn't want to be. Then, at the bird fair we attended a few weeks ago, we met a couple who were interested in our Amazons. We thought it would be a happier home for them and as a result, the Amazons have a new home and we have a new baby.
NOW - are you wondering what I'm about to confess?
Let me ask you a question: Do you notice anything different about my blog photos?
If you do, there's a reason. I left my "old" camera outside one night. As luck would have it, it was a night of heavy rain. No, it wasn't raining when I left it out there.
Long story short, the camera got drenched. Turned it on, it flickered a few times, then went black. Deader than the proverbial doornail. Responded as vigorously as a river rock. You get the idea.
SO.....I researched cameras and actually found a nice, affordable Canon, with which I photographed these flowers from my garden.
I later discovered that, if you remove the batteries and memory card from the drowned camera and bury it in a bed of uncooked rice, the rice may just revive it. (Evidently, rice will absorb all the moisture. But be patient! It may take 3-4 days.)
I now have two working digital cameras. One has been very reliable for several years; the other takes better closeups and handles macros and because it's new, is really neat-o! The reliable one now belongs to my Hubby.
The rice trick, by the way, works with cell phones, too.
Didn't I once state that rice is the answer to everything? (Spoken by a true Filipino-American!)
Have a wonderful rest of the week!