The band of brothers came over for a sleep-over last night, while their Mommy and Daddy went to a grown up holiday event. The evening was spent playing cards (Go Fish, and a new fun game they taught me called Kings in Corners) eating Otter-Pops, and reading Christmas stores at bedtime.
We had quite a discussion surrounding who had the bed and who got the camp cots in the guest room, with the blue sleeping bag's fluffiness being a wildly popular comodity.
This morning we will have breakfast, (cereal, and surprise fruit smoothies!) and then they will help me finish decorating the Christmas tree, which has managed to go all season half decorated with lights, bows and icicles only.
All of these babies are growing too fast!
We bought items we both would love to bring back home; Goodwill gift cards from me, and state lottery scratch-offs from him. The dilemma then became how to wrap them, and with the party less than an hour away, I tossed each item in a gift bag, and the last gift card went into a brown box.
I printed tags to designate whether it was a girl or a guy gift, and with a few snips of ribbon, tissue and netting, I was pretty much done.
I have a vintage laundry basket on wheels in my craft room that holds all of my snippets of ribbon from past projects. I also keep a basket of Walmart ornaments, (They work great for lots of party themes, and most of them are only a dollar or two!) along with dollar store mittens in every color, ("coz they're a dollar!) just for decorating packages and baskets. I added an ornament and a sprig of fake greenery to the boxed gift, and a pair of dollar store mittens to the girl's gift bag.
Done, and done, all within fifteen minutes.
I love the entire concept of New Year's Eve celebrations surrounding reminiscing over the old year as it ends, and looking forward to the new year with all of it's infinite possibilities and opportunity that it holds. I don't think all that many folks share my sentimental feelings about this holiday, and I am not sure why.
I know, I know. We don't have to wait for New Year's Eve to make a resolution. We've all heard the quote from L.M. Montgomery's Anne in Anne of Green Gables say “Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” and I heard Oprah once say you can make a resolution any time and any day, and yes, she is right. Still, to me, there is something so magical about the ending of one year and a new one beginning, and I always feel so filled with hope when I think of it.
One of my dearest friends is flying in to welcome in 2017 with us, and so I'm even more excited this year.
My booth space at Camas Antiques has a nice collection of New Year's goodies. I've added banners and flags, and a few cool little treasures to help celebrate the holiday.
It was hard for me to part with those huge mugs, as I can envision us sipping some cocoa out of them on New Year's morning, but....I'm really out of room in my cupboards to store them.
How about you? Are you a die-hard romantic who loves New Year's Eve? I'd love to hear!
As usual, it was like herding kittens, and a lot of laughing going on, and we added a special pink Disney Santa hat for sweet Isabelle in the big group shots. By the way, did you notice all of the kiddos are in Mickey (or Minnie!) themed jammies?
Speaking of Isabelle, she wanted to take a picture with just herself and little Kacher.....
....and that lead to two more cousins wanting a photo, although they seemed to have trouble sitting still...
Oh, such fun!!!! Time flies, and I cannot believe the two oldest grands are turning eight this month (on Christmas eve!) and in January. We will surely be showing these pictures at their weddings some day....
If you're blessed with an awesome family, that is! (Grown kids, and grands, and Ralph, oh! My!)
Our bags are packed, and we're off to brave the icy roads here to get to the airport, and fly on down to southern California for a long weekend of crazy fun. (If you're wondering about my photo up there, I whipped up some surprise treat and game bags for the grand's flights back home at the end of the trip.....)
Eeeeee! I can't wait to get my ears!
It didn't start out like that. In late spring, family members and close friends began mentioning to me (as if I didn't know it myself) that "The big six-oh" was coming up this year, and they were wondering what was I planning to do. Not necessarily an absurd question to be asking me, as I am known as the person most likely to plan an over-the-top-full-tilt-boogie event to celebrate anything from engagements-to-new-babies-to-painting-the-picket-fence.
And, as I said, at first it didn't bother me in the least. Birthday-shmirthday. Another opportunity to gather family and eat cake. (or cupcakes.)
But then September came.
And suddenly I became acutely aware of time, and how fast it goes.
How your choices define the path your life takes. How, over the last ten years (ten years) I had made decisions on the fly more often than not, partially because I had never really made big decisions like finances and job layoffs solo, and partially because I was in survival mode, working hard to not lose all of my marbles. I would constantly regularly occasionally throw caution to the wind and wing it, and now, when I looked back, all I could see were my wrong turns and hiccups, and oh-my-what-the-holy-moly-were-you-thinking-when-you-did-that moments, all playing in my head like a really bad lifetime-television movie that just magnified my seemingly endless list of apparent poor life choices.
(Did I mention I have an over-active drama gene?)
Why did I call out ten years as a marker in time?
Because, September 30th of this year marked an anniversary of sorts for me. You see, I became suddenly single exactly ten years ago on that day. (I first shared it here.) Time is a funny thing, you know? Like, I can remember that moment I discovered I was suddenly single with laser-like clarity, as if it were yesterday afternoon. Truth be told, when I think of that precise single moment, it still takes my breath and I feel an oddly weird sensation in my heart, just for half of a nano-second. Not a feeling of love lost anymore, but still a vivid memory of the feeling of sudden realization that I was truly-alone, and this was really happening..to me....and oh-my-Gawd-I-surely-will-die-because-I-am-a-couple-girl-and-I-thought-we-were-going-to-be-together-for-forever-and-ever-and-I-don't-know-how-to-do-anything-but-that.
Yeah, I remember that moment clear as day.
Even though my life is pretty danged sweet now, for some odd reason, realizing it had been a decade kind of paralyzed me. All of the less than stellar wing-it-life-choices and on-the-fly decision moments, and days, months, and now years, seemed to close in on me, with each one more magnified and multiplied in an incredibly harsh light.
I was acutely aware that I couldn't have a do-over.(There's that drama gene again.)
I gave it a half-hearted try, (okay, I didn't) and I couldn't see anything remotely resembling a successful moment for myself in those ten years. (After all,I was knee-deep in a poor-poor-pitiful-me party by this point.) The best I could see was a that-choice-was-not-as-bad-as-that-other-choice-I-made view of things. Now, a new decade was fast approaching.
I felt like I was going to cry when I thought about it for more than a minute. (Okay, I did cry.)
The calendar turned from September to October, then November, and quicker than you can say drama-queen, December was here. I spent the first six days of December talking to God (mostly during my alone time in the shower and in my car on the way to and from work....do you do that?) about how much I felt I had messed up in the last ten years, and how, oh, how...how...was I going to fix it? I continued to fret about it and talk to God.
Yesterday was my sixtieth birthday.
I woke up with a new attitude, which I am quite positive was not from within me, but a birthday present from God. I felt happy, with a renewed excitement to see what awaits me in this next decade. I understand now that there is no need to keep looking back, except to see how far I've come, and I see, once again, that I am right where I am supposed to be.
#60isnotforsissies #lifeisgood #livelifeforward #Godisgreat
Have I already told you that my fabulous daughter-in-law is a kindergarten teacher? Well, she is, and she has twenty lucky little five and six year olds who are in her class. I made some fun little treats that I am sending off for her to give the kiddos at their Halloween party.
They are so easy to make, and they will keep for three weeks or more, although I have never had them stick around longer than a day or two when I make them for us at home, because they are so yummy.
(It's that sweet-with-the-salty thing.)
All you do is melt some white candy melts in the microwave and dip your pretzel sticks in.
Plop a pair of candy googly eyes on the warm gooey-melty stuff, and let them set up on parchment or wax paper on a cookie sheet while you watch an inning of the Cubs -Dodgers playoff game.
Melt a single black candy melt in a cup in the microwave, and using a toothpick, put a little black oval below those googly eyes.
Watch another inning of the baseball game, and they're done.
Easy as that.
Last weekend I had the most fabulous time. My daughter and I went to the little town of Silverton, Oregon for some quality me time for each of us, to be able to focus on projects we had been struggling to find time for. She is in the process of studying for her real estate license exam, and I have been wanting to update my etsy shop, and social media stuff.
We met up Friday evening, and we settled in to work on our separate projects. We took breaks for dinner, and we spent the morning with our dueling laptops, in a cool coffee and breakfast place that had wi-fi. A big storm was hitting the pacific northwest, but we were enjoying the grey days and never lost power, so we were happy.
We managed to squeeze in pedicures late in the afternoon Saturday, and then picked up pizza to cook in our room for dinner, and then we both jumped back into our tasks.
Shortly after 10:00 on Saturday night. I was on a roll, adding banners and flags, and oodles and toodles of seasonal descriptions and photos of items to my little etsy shop, and I was feeling all kinds of proud of myself, when it happened.
The spinning-rainbow-wheel-of-death came on my screen just as I was wrapping up a marathon evening of working on my shop. And, it wouldn't. stop. spinning.
Had I downloaded one too may crazy fonts?
I ask this because, once, long, long ago, in the early days of giant home computers, I installed one too may fonts from several floppy discs of fonts. (remember those? If not, you are not nearly as old as I am.)
Anyway, when I turned on my computer, it was covered in Chinese writing, all over my desk top.
Enough about that disturbing incident.
That was then. This is now.
(Insert huge, deep breath and long sigh here.)
Well, at this point, panic set in. Luckily my daughter was there to be the voice of reason. She told me to turn it off and let it charge over night, and I followed her directions.
I woke up at 6:00 am and pulled open my little MAC.
I felt sick to my stomach. This piece of electronics is my lifeline.
(I don't back things up hardly ever often enough, and my cheesy print program can't send things to my cloud.)
(True confession here= I have never seen what is actually in my cloud, nor do I know how to get to my cloud.)
When my daughter woke up she insisted I call the folks at Apple. I said I didn't think they would help me without charging me a small fortune. She made me call anyway.
(It turns out that there is a reason they call those Apple workers "geniuses".)
Ohmygosh. So helpful. They gave me hope.
Unfortunately, it was not going to be a fast fix. I needed to be plugged in to a power source, and have continuous wi-fi, which meant I needed to head home to do the repair, when I had been hoping to stay until afternoon at that cute breakfast coffee shop again.
I'll skip all the drama and worry and praying that ensued once I got home and spoke with a guy from Apple, named Gary, who got the process going. Calls later with Trinity, and then Susan, and I am back to working on my Macbook Pro Tuesday night while binge-watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of Fixer-Upper.
(I love me some Chip and Joanna Gaines. I hope fame never changes them.)
My etsy shop is still in progress, but getting there. I lost some cool fonts and I am half afraid to reinstall them, but I'll get things rebuilt over the next few days weeks. In the meantime, everything in my shop is 20% off with the coupon code SPOOKY, and if you've hung in there long enough to read this far into my post, I have atop-secret code for you! Use the coupon code APPLE and get a $5.00 credit towards any purchase of $6.00 or more on my entire site. (I wanted to make it so you could get an item free, but etsy isn't set up for that...) My top secret offer is good through Thursday night at midnight!
There were beautiful cookies (I think from this amazing girl...) and presents, and lots of well wishes and laughter. I supplied her with a party hat with a vintage feel. It just goes to show that a party can happen anywhere, and that's the ind of thing that makes for good memories.
Turns out you can glue gun googly eye balls to wine bottles, then wrap the bottle in medical gauze, and create a memorable Halloween season hostess gift. (Thank you again, Pinterest.)
I added some homemade tags and it was ready to go to a friends house for Monday night football, (Download Hallo wine and boos tags ) followed by watching the last eight of what turned out to be thirteen innings of the San Francisco Giants and the Cubbies. (Served up with a repeat performance of my seasonal Pumpkin Crunch dessert!)
I saw the idea on Pinterest (of course) and decided it would be adorable to do for my daughter-in-law's kindergarten class. A quick trip to the Dollar Tree yielded purple paper cups, and, not only packages of googly eyes, but colorful eyeballs too.
(And as a bonus, I also scored orange and black striped paper straws for the pint sized students.)
I whipped out my hot glue gun and attached the eyeballs in a mater of ten minutes.
Too danged cute.
When you have a booth in an antique mall, they generally have one night a week where vendors are allowed to come in after hours to fluff and update their booth spaces. Wednesday nights are the designated dealer nights at Camas Antiques, and it's always a good time.
Junkers are bringing in new old stuff, and moving things around. The aisles are full of furniture and boxes, and people are chatting and checking out each others treasures. (My booth has taken on a definite Halloween-papercraft theme.)
Okay, so I am much more a harvest decore kind of girl than a Halloween diva, but I do like a few touches here and there, with more of an Edgar Allen Poe sort of feel than a Beetlejuice or Stephen King-esque slant to my touches.
(For me, the only exception for more color this time of year is on my little party crows, or if I'm making something for the grand-kiddos.)
I've been gettin' my nearly-nightly craft on the past coupe of weeks, and every Halloween paper craft I've created has inspired another to follow.
I love it when that happens.
Banners of all sizes, and party crows from here to the other side of the bridge to Portland, and most recently, petite gift boxes, perfectly sized to hold candy corn, or a fabulous cookie, or a gift card, or bracelet, or...well any little treat of favor you can think of.
These ghoulishly sweet kraft paper boxes made me think of a fun Halloween themed dinner or cocktail party, or maybe a luncheon with my gal-pals from my big girl job, and that started me thinking about table scapes. (Yep, it's that same old if-you-give-a-moose-a-muffin thing I do...) Table scapes made me think about designing coordinating bingo cards to tuck into nooks and crannies, or water goblets on the table.
Oh, can you just see that?
Yeah, kinda sorta something like that.
I'll have all of this in my booth tomorrow, and in my etsy shop as well, by Friday.
Who knew Halloween could be so inspirational?
I spent a decent portion of my weekend tinkering around my home, adding little harvest touches here and there. My mantel is always a focal point, and after borrowing back some pretty fabulous arched side mirrors from my daughter, (I originally found them at the Goodwill bins for a steal, when they were stained dark brown.) I began building out this year's white pumpkin theme. (I still need to add some white taper candles in the holders up there...)
I added two of my latest banners (Available in my etsy shop at at Camas Antiques later this week!) for a fun little Halloween touch, along with a black crow, a spider and a number thirty one.
I still plan to paint my brick fireplace white, as soon as I find the time.
(Ha! A girl can hope...)
Oh, how I adore autumn. It's the coziest season of all, with crisp mornings filled with cocoa, and toast with jam. The first of so many roaring fires in the fireplace, and my pumpkin spice wax wafting through the house. Boots replace my flip-flops, and big sweaters and scarves come out of hiding in the armoire in my bedroom.
I spent this morning putting away my cheerful summer accessories from around the house, and I replaced them with my sunflowers, and pumpkins, and neutral colors.
October, I am glad you're here.
It was a large conference we put on, and it was exciting, exhausting, inspiring, and overwhelming all at the same time. (Yep, that is possible.) Besides all of the weks of prep work leading up to the big event, we put in long days that started early, so I went to bed tired. I would then proceed to wake up every hour, worrying that I might somehow over sleep for tomorrow's early morning meeting. (I am pretty sure that I looked like I was 87 by the last day of the event.)
All I could think of on my flight home was walking in the door of my little home. There is such a sense of restfulness, and warmth, and...I am not sure of what word to use here, but maybe it's security. A place to just sit, and be present, and process all of the days before, among pictures of grand babes, and little black Halloween crows everywhere.
Once I did land, it turned out that I didn't get to go straight home, but somewhere else, where we watched the Seahawks game. That only magnified my need for being home.
It's funny to me, how a little old, fixer-upper, not-nearly-close-to-even-halfway-done cottage can do that to a girl. I guess that's why they say home is where the heart is.