Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Since most of us are grasping for some order about now, and getting organized for a stellar 2009, I thought I'd share a helpful tool.
If you would like to get your finances in order and: set up an easy budgeting tool, get charts and graphs on where you are spending, and get tips on how and where to save, read on. The best part is that there is NO Monthly Input required!
"In 5 minutes, see where you are spending it, understand how your investments are performing and set up realistic budgets." Go to http://www.mint.com/ .
Friday, December 26, 2008
Here are a few words of wisdom:
"Mothers have as powerful an influence over the welfare of future generations as all other earthly causes combined"- John Abbott
"Mother is far too clever to understand anything that she does not like"-Arnold Bennett
""Motherhood brings us as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow too. Nothing else will ever make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own"-Margarite Kelly and Elia Parsans
I've enjoyed a quiet and peaceful day browsing through this book looking for the wisdom in like minds. Thanks Mom!
Friday, December 19, 2008
O what fun we had! I was floored by the talent in the room! The creativity and bottomless enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.
I mean, a bowl made of a gourd with handmade soap and p.j. pants!, a kitchen chalkboard and a handmade apron made from a spare curtain!, an amazingly fun lighted snowman gourd and lovingly knit perfect green pair of mittens! ALL MADE BY HAND AND ALL UNDER $10!
It was a challenge and a lot of fun coming up with the Secret Santa. Certainly a highlight of my Christmas Season.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Here's something one of the Coaches I read suggested: Live your life as if it is a game of Hot and Cold. Hot is happy, Cold...well, not so much. Gravitate towards the warms, move toward them, emotionally and physically. Walk away from the cold and colders. If you do enough walking, your life will be filled with mostly "warms" and maybe even some "hots".
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Here's all you have to do to amaze young and old alike: Make your standard sugar cookie....use my recipe from a few months back...the tried and true, old stand by. Then, use a large cookie cutter and then a smaller one to make a hole in your cookie. Have the kids choose thier favorite flavor of Jolly Rancher and put it in the center "hole". Bake as normal. The candy will get all bubbly in there, just let it go...It will smooth out like glass as they cool. I find it's best to bake them on parchment paper, just because they slide off so easily. I've also thought of crushing some of the candies to make a stained glass effect, but haven't yet tried it.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
You can create a book of your photos..the site allows you to choose backgrounds, layouts, fonts, and book covers. I can't imagine a better gift for Grandma...a quick family history, or just a book showing all of the fun that the grandkids had this year. I recently got one for my Dad, detailing and cataloging our trip to Alaska. I even took pictures of our ticket stubs for the back cover. And, for a limited time only, the books are 30% off with free shipping! check it out at www.shutterfly.com
And then I saw it all laid out one day and I realized that I had a problem: massive and ridiculous amounts of cookie cutters! I mean stars in 3 sizes, hearts in various sizes and with different trims, trains, leaves, acorns, angels, you name it, I have it. The bin runneth over.
I guess it's not the worst of addictions...the rewards are sweet.
Apparently we did not give enough Halloween candy to the troops!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I've been wanting to do this for years...And, thanks to the spiraling and unpredictable economy, I think this is the year to forgo the luxury and the over the top presentations.
This is definitely the year for "Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String"! I added a little color by making my own "From" tags. Let's face it, scrawling 6 names on the "From" section of those little cards was a little tedious, so I just made up my own and printed them on cardstock.
I tied a little greenery at the center for interest. I wanted them to look a little travelled and worn, I almost crumpled the paper before I wrapped them, but then I thought I was going a little far. I mean, some of the things in these boxes came from Amazon, but Not THE Amazon!
My kids completely hated the idea, I'll confess. They insist that any "kid" packages have to be wrapped brightly, festively and with lots of ribbon--not string. Oh well, you can't please all of the people all of the time!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
We designed a display and an item that we have never marketed before especially for the Gallery! We created a handmade glass bead pendant on a sterling silver venetian box chain with matching handmade and perfectly matched earrings on our most popular sterling leverbacks. They look terrific on their display case, and the tree display really fits in with the feel of the place.
If you are local, I'm hoping you'll stop in!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
They look great alone or, I like to add any of my round dangles....shown here are Swarovski crystals in "Snowdrop" and "Gotta Have It Aqua". Try something new and swirl it up!
Friday, November 28, 2008
Here are a few of my favorite responses:
-That I've made it to this age.
-That the Presidential election is over.
-I never hit a deer while driving.
-How smart my kids are.
-A wife that doesn't complain too much.
-Even though my car is not new, it starts every time.
-My family has taught me that there are lots of ways to be rich.
-ROY G BIV.
-I am free and there's no one in the house.
Maybe you are thankful for some of the same things? It's a great reminder.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The pie game that we are playing! Here's how it works: Everyone is given a slip of paper that says: "3 Surprizing Things That I am Thankful For"--Signed Annonymous. (I'm hoping to eliminate the "health and family" replies.) The slips will be tucked inside the "pie" that we made out of construction paper weavings and with a crust of aluminum foil. After dinner, I plan on reading them and giving everyone a list so that they can guess who wrote each one. The person who has the most correct guesses wins the prize--a set of cute dessert plates!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I was helping him on Noggin.com today, and all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks! The boy knows the QWERTY as well as I do! He has no problem typing anything!
How strange...maybe someday we'll be debating whether to teach the hand written word at all.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Am I the only one? Does it make anyone else gag that on ABC, they are counting down TO the 25 days of Christmas countdown? As in: "13 days until The 25 Days of Christmas!" It made me laugh when I first saw it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Check it out www.woot.com . Then you, too can use phrases like: "I wooted it", "I got caught up in the Woot", "Holy Woot!"
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I saw this huge burly, bearded man in Carhardt overalls and a flannel shirt with an canvas insulated vest covered with grime standing in the midst of the quilting fabrics today. He seemed so pensive and out of place. I had to make a comment..... help maybe. He stood there and explained how he was looking for a really warm fabric to make hoods out of because he and his crew are often outdoors and also work in mines where it's cold. They needed hats to wear under their hardhats.
I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...you know..."my wife/mother said she'd make them if I picked up the fabric" sort of thing. Then he launched into how the Navy taught him how to do lots of things and the guys make fun of him and then I finally GOT IT! He sews! He showed me his vest, that he made....I'm tell'in ya ladies, I have never seen such quality. The vest was a heavy canvas, lined with a heavy quilt, the collar was courduroy...double stitched for strength, zippers, pockets, the whole thing. Wow.
Then he asked me how many machines I had...I wasn't sure if he meant hand held mixers or what. Then he said he's got 6! Six sewing machines!
Now who's the fish out of water!
I would have taken a picture except for the obvious...see my previous blog :(.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday at school I realized that I didn't have it in my bag (as I usually do). It's OK, I thought, I just left it at home on the counter.
It's not on the counter.
I've been waiting for it to show up all weekend. I run the same "route" through my days, so I was thinking it should be there somewhere, right on top of a pile of camoflaging clutter.
I actually started to look in earnest last night. To no avail. Now, I'm at a complete loss. It must be right next to my address book, because I can't find that either.
I'm just not allowing myself a sense of panic and loss. It HAS to be here someplace. I have pretty much figured out that it is in some very random place, like behind the green beans in the pantry, I just hope I didn't leave it on top of the garbage can.
Ok, gotta go check....
Thursday, November 13, 2008
A great-grand uncle to my Mom (or something like that) stopped by recently with a big bag full of narcissus bulbs. He simply had too many and thought I'd enjoy some. Well, of course! Me and my girlfriends would ALL like some.
So I gathered up all of the big wide mouthed vases that clutter my life and stopped at the Home Depot for a $2.00 fifty pound bag of pea gravel. Some re-purposed wired ribbon from the attic was the final touch.
We had a fantastic day doing makeovers (thanks to Marzipan Mom and her recent Mary Kay connection.) We pulled names for the Secret Santa that we are planning ( I swear, I'm more excited about this $10 maximum-make-it-yourself from stuff you find around the house project than any other Christmas gift I have planned.) And, we all put together a vase of paper-whites.
Things were a little rushed as usual....we decided we need to start writing some of the things we think about down, so that we make plans to DO them!
Here are the directions for forcing some Narcissus bulbs just in time for the Holidays:
1.) Fill a dish or wide vase with a layer of pea gravel.
2.) Cover the rocks with water.
3.) Place the bulbs in the dish, flat side down, nestling the bottoms into the stones.
4.) Place the vase in a well-lighted indoor location. Keep the stones constantly wet.
Paper Whites (Narcissus) will bloom in about 6 weeks!
They are a great fragrant gift and a refreshing bloom to have in your home when the outdoors gets dreary and cold.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I just LOVE these new Santa rings that we are making! They are on an adjustable sterling dipped silver band. Just add a red or green sweater and you are festive!
Available at: www.joybeadworks.etsy.com
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Here's how he built his own house with little or no money: Lots of sweat and effort.
Before my parents were even married, he paid $100 for a barn that was soon to be sunk (literally). The barn was on property that has since become Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. He and my Mom would go out to the barn on Sundays and dismantle the slate roof, beams and siding. He later used some of the beams and siding in the barn at the farm, he used the slate to put a nice roof on his house.
The beams in the house came from Olbum's Furniture Store in the North Side. Apparently Olbum's was being torn down to be replaced by better things (not) and Big Mike was contracted to do the demolition. Dad just can't stand to see perfectly good building materials wasted, so he paid Mike $3 a 3X14 floor joist. He bought most of the 3rd floor. It was all he and his friend could do to get those beams down to the second floor and then lower them out of the window and onto their truck. The windows in his house are 1/4in. plate glass that used to be the display windows from the store.
The hearth used to be a curb stone from the streets of Evans City. Apparently he happened by when road workers were removing some of the curb, and was fortunate enough to have them put in the back of his truck.
So, he's "green", or resourceful or just plain grew up having to figure out creative ways to accoplish goals. I give him a lot of credit, and hope that I could do as well, if I ever need to.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The catalogs have begun to arrive at my door in earnest, and my kids have started to gather all of the toy catalogs and circle with sharpie everything that they want. Let's just say the Lego catalog is nearly one big black circle.
I love to avoid even going to the stores, so here's the plan: Order from catalogs! Couldn't be simpler, selected items arrive at your door, generously packaged in concealed brown boxes (so that they can go right to the "hiding place" without even being opened!) The only thing that cranks me off is paying for the shipping. Then I found this site: www.freeshipping.org . It gives free shipping codes for more than 800 web sites!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I agree Amy, I'd also like to add that I'd like to see kids earning more and given less (mine included).
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
No Fair! My friend over at Hope Studios beat me to my laundry story!
I had to laugh yesterday at my pile of laundry....it's huge. This is only the kid's clothes....neatly folded in 4 piles, one for each of them. I have to admit, it still isn't put away. Somehow I end up thinking that I'll just do the last load, and then I'll put it away. Well, by the time I get the "last load" washed and dried, There's another load.
I had another friend remark that she did laundry all day yesterday, too. I think it's funny that we all got caught up in the halloween party/last minute costume/field trip swirl last week!
Monday, November 3, 2008
We were back at McConnel's Mill yesterday. It was such and amazingly beautiful and warm day for early November. I just made sense to take advantage of the weather and go out for a walk. (By the way, I'm not sure when a walk becomes a hike, but maybe it's when you walk in the woods??)
The McConnel's mill terrain was formed when the glaciers that were moving across North America stopped at this point, dumping all of the rocky debris. The place has always been fascinating. Horses and buggies made their way to the mill to grind their wheat, and through the ages, people have left their mark. Whether it be initials carved in trees or dates carved in the stone.
I came across my favorite yesterday: How about the script?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
It was the usual Trick or Treat mayhem around here....You know cramming down dinner at 5:30, looking for the missing parts to the costume from 5:34-5:42, looking for suitable candy bags for all from 5:42-5:48, looking for a flashlight from 5:48-5:49, one with batteries...OH, forget it.... so that at 5:59, the kids were all standing at the door for the imaginary whistle to blow at 6pm: To OFFICIALLY begin Trick-or-Treat.
We live on the edge of a somewhat rural area, and one enterprising farmer hooked up his wagon to his tractor, strung some lights, and loaded up the kids...ALL of the adults in our party were so jealous...
Wouldn't it be nice to have a seat, an cold beverage, relax and take in all of the kid's excitement from the heights of a haybale?
We're pooling our resources for next year...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I consider baking an arts and craft activity at my house....sort of a Go-To when the TV's been on too long. My little guy and I whipped these up yesterday. They are the greatest sugar cookies, mostly because they are ready to roll out right after they are mixed...no refrigeration. And, they are incredibly consistent and easy to make. The taste is pretty good, and as long as you are junking them up with lots of sugar and icing, they're great.
Let's face it, when it comes to kid's food, it's more about how it looks...bright neon colors are the best. The kids love to cut them out with the cookie cutters and decorate them. I make them for every occasion...did I mention how easy they are??
Easy Sugar Cookies
1c. butter Consistency is the Key..leave it on the counter for a few hours
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
3 c. flour
Preheat oven to 400. in large bowl, cream butter & sugar. then add vanilla and egg. Mix flour and baking powder separately then combine with butter mixture. On floured surface, roll out. If the dough is too stiff, you can add a little water, a drop at a time, until the consistency is right. Bake 6-7 min.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My daughter has been missing some of her old friends lately. So, she talked me into a sleep over with a few of her 10 yr. old friends. Let's just say I'm awful without sleep...What was I thinking?
Well, the big squeal-fest is happening this weekend. We've started to put together a few things for her guests. I thought I'd be nice to give them each an address book and a custom made set of notecards, so that they can keep in touch.
I remember having a pen pal when I was a kid. I was always so excited to get a letter in the mail, addressed to me. It made me feel so important. Do you think my kids will feel the same way? OK, maybe I need to settle for a small portion of the excitement that I once felt.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The green that she paid me with had this message on it: " Whitney Rolle, I love you, if this reaches you, you know who I am." I just thought I'd speed the process over the world wide web.. maybe Whitney occasionally googles her name??? Like I said, I'm just spreading the love...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I think they are beautiful all piled and smooshed. The perfect autumn colors, and just the right amount of sheen, like the angled bright autumn sun.
I sewed together a bunch of my sewing scraps into a sort of quilt to make my pumpkin. I am very happy it turned out so well....Sewing the scraps together took a lot more time than I expected....let's just say I gained a new appreciation for quilters.
We all enjoyed the brief 2 hours of banter, latest news, stories & updates on sagas. Sure, the craft is fun, but I think the best part is that you "come as you are" in all states, physically and emotionally. Judgment is left at the door, and you walk into one cozy and strong support system.
The "system" makes some pretty darn good carrot cake and lemon cupcakes, too!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It's a sad state of affairs when cleaning day starts with cleaning the cleaning bucket! What is all of the stuff? I am the marketing professionals dream when it comes to cleaning, if you say it works, then I'll try it. Well, No more, I'm convinced that very few cleaning products actually do anything, so I pared down my bucket to just the basics: windex, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach scrub, and my good friend, Mr. Clean.
I have many Cleaning Day Routines/Tips/Tricks which I will share here:
1.) Pick a day of the week to clean and commit to it. Do it all in one day. Otherwise, You'll do a bathroom here and there, and it never really looks like you did anything. Plus, it's never done if you clean here and there. My rule is, it gets done once a week. Then, I'm done. The cleaning supplies will not be brought out again this week unless there is an oatmeal spill on the couch or a pitcher of lemonade dumped on the floor.
2.) Wear something that you really don't care about. Even if you are ever so careful, a small spot of bleach will ruin a perfectly good t-shirt.
3.) If you are really strapped for time and can only do a very small portion of the chore, Start in the bathroom...the one guests would use. This is the only place that a guest will be alone in your house, with time to scrutinize the dusty baseboards.
4.) I once read a book (yes, about cleaning) that pleaded: Don't get it wet unless you have to. Think about it: Water acts as cement when mixed with dust and seeps into the seams of your baseboards. Dry cleans first and always, this means: sweeping and dusting.
5.) Gather all of the miscellaneous clutter and re-distribute. I always pile the stuff that's going upstairs on the steps, so that when I go upstairs to clean, I just have to grab it all and distribute it upstairs.
Here's a picture of today's pile-O-Stuff.
6.) Make sure that you dust and clean the TV and the cabinet/surface that it's on. Your husband will not notice that the house is clean...He'll notice that the TV is pristine, and therefore the whole house must be.
7.) The female version of this analogy is: If the window above the kitchen sink is clean, then the whole house must be spotless!
8.) Use cleaning supplies that smell nice. It's a bonus for you, and it smells like you've accomplished something when you walk into a sweet smelling bathroom.
Monday, October 20, 2008
A friend invited me over for what she thought was an overwhelming craft project..let's just say she's a little craft challenged. It was the easiest thing in the world...
A faux pumpkin, some acrylic paint, some modge podge and some gold leaf (or copper or silver), stick the leaf to the sticky surface...brush off the excess and spray with sealer. Easy as can be. The best part is that you really can't mess it up. If it looks messed up, you have reached perfection...there's the beauty.
I think I bought some expensive gold leaf pears once, too bad I didn't know how easy it was!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
You can people watch at the Mall or at Disney...I'll take the auction anytime. So much flannel it'll make your eyes hurt. The big names in fashion here are Cat, Dickey and Carhardt. These are people who have all lived weathered lives that I'd like to hear about.
If you're going: Terms you need to know, or you'll look like the rookie, and irritate the crowd..and you don't want to irritate this crowd.
By the Hand: They're selling by the handful..whatever they're holding up, you are buying ONE handful.
Choice: For example, if you are bidding on 5 extension cords, the 1st bidder gets choice of which one you want..you can buy one..of your choice...or all at the money that you are bidding up to. So if you get the extension cords for $5, and there are 5 of them, and you want them all, it's $25. If you only want 2, for $10, say so, and they'll sell the rest.
By Lot: It's the whole pile that you're bidding on. So, the 3 extension cords that are left are sold for one money.
Bidding...make sure you have a number. You can get one at the trailer/office. You don't necessarily have to show your number when you're bidding..that seems to be a personal preference. You just have to know it. Bidding isn't a big showy thing either. A hand wag, a head bob is good enough as long as you've made your first bid clear, you're in the running.
It's fun to go and see what things sell for. A box of nuts and bolts goes for $3. If you need one nut in that box, in a pinch, it would save the day. A live trap for $25, a truck, 5K miles, with a custom aluminum bed for $20,000 (a steal if you needed a good truck), chicken feeders for $5, a broadcast seeder for $7. The jumbled array and lackluster presentation never ceases to entertain me.
I often wonder if the seller is happy, why they're selling out. Usually there's a sad reason, like the owner died, or got sick and couldn't run the farm anymore.
The auction itself is always jovial, it's a big meeting place for farmers and those with like minds. I know some that go just for the social aspects, never intending on buying anything, but they get a number anyway...just in case....
Friday, October 17, 2008
I am a parent at a NEW school this fall, and I'm still stumbling around trying to get to know the other parents and connect the dots with which kids are theirs.
One of the Moms was gracious enough to invite the Kindergarten parents to her home recently for a little get-together/meet and greet.
She served the most wonderful quiche...("from the French place...he has great food, but he's a little rude"). And an assortment of other great food. I saw the napkins that she used, and I knew INSTANTLY that I liked her.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
These cute tins are wrapped in a sweet holiday ribbon, they have a lift-off lid and contain a set of my best-selling sterling silver leverback earrings as a base, and a pair of Swarovski crystal dangles.
This set serves as an introduction to the Joy Beadworks line of Interchangeable Earrings. I now have 3 different earring "bases"(more info. later) and a whole collection of dangles for you to choose from. Check my Etsy shop for ideas!