Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, I am killing time waiting for the parades to start, and editing some photos to put up on etsy (today, I hope!). Today, for the past 9 years, Hubby and I have always spent mostly alone. We ran away to Las Vegas and got married on Thanksgiving Day. Officially, Monday was our anniversary, but we always celebrate on Thanksgiving because we know, no matter where we are working in any given year, we will both have the day off to spend together.
I am remembering, today, some past Thanksgivings. When my aunt and I first moved out here, we had a small group of friends, mostly co-workers of hers from the bookstore. We were all in our 20's and most of us didn't travel home for the holidays. So we had everyone over to our house we were renting and we made a lovely dinner, everyone chatted and had punch, and then we drove down to the seashore for some running around and being kids. That was the day Hubby and I decided we were a 'couple'.
And then 5 years later, we were having Thanksgiving dinner, with our 2 friends from Sacramento, at the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Quite a contrast, but oh, what fun.

Today, I'll watch the parade for a bit, Hubby will have to get up soon so we can grab coffee and say our 'happy holidays' to our friends, and take the dog to the beach. Then, of course, once we get home, the food prep will begin. We got a turkey breast (we don't eat the whole turkey and we are definitely not the type to make stock or soup with the carcass), I got potatoes and an acorn squash to roast, cornbread stuffing (mix...I like it all crunched up in the oven, though, so I think I'll throw some inside my squash halves), gravy ('s hubby's fav), and wine. This morning I realised we didn't get cranberry sauce, which I don't eat but Hubby's going to cry when he finds out. And we are hoping our local bakery, which is open til noon and where we go for coffee, has some rolls or some of the delicious bacon-jalapeno cornbread left.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It's Sunday (again) and I am wondering...should I wake Hubby so we can get a move on and make the trip to Ikea this morning? Or, should I let him sleep since he has been working his new job 9-5 five days a week, then his 'just in case things don't work out, I need a fallback' job on Saturdays, and he has several freelance projects he's been working on every night this week, plus we went out with some friends last night and didn't get home til 11:30pm.
On the other hand, this is really the last chance to do any shopping before the mad rush of Holiday shoppers. We have been trapped here due to our income situation as of late, but are getting depressed just going day to day to pay the bills but nothing else. So, we thought we'd take our annual trip to Newport, Rhode Island to hang out, visit our fav Japanese store, and ogle the mansions. Then I realized...I'm hosting Christmas Eve dinner. I have 7 on the guest list. I have 6 place settings!! So, the trip to Ikea isn't essential, I would just like to have enough plates for everyone. But then there's the fact that I convinced Hubby to go to Ikea instead of Newport, so if we don't go, then I've ruined our travel plans altogether. Maybe we can just do Newport in a few weeks??

In other news, I hate it when people comment on 'global warming' as a reaction to the daily weather. We had a pretty chilly summer, with almost an entire month of rain, before the temp got up to the 'normal' range for the season. The past few weeks we've seen 70 degree days turn into 30 degree nights, followed by 'oh, my, it could snow today' chills in the air. So when it's summer and cold and people say 'so much for global warming' I want to punch them in the face...but, I suppose I come to expect to hear it. Yesterday someone said, because it's November 20-something and 65 degrees outside, 'if this is global warming, I'll take it!' Come on, people!! It's not about the daily weather's about the fact that it's not supposed to be cold in August and warm in November!! The world's gone all topsy-turvy and it's just not right!
There wasn't any REAL point to that story except to say that yesterday it was about 65 degrees and right now my teeth are chattering from the cold (I refuse to turn on the heat until it gets down to 60 degrees INSIDE).

I've started adding my new journals to my etsy site. And I'm getting ready to start my holiday sales. I thought about offering a percentage off or something, but I've not dealt with PayPal long enough to know the ins and outs. Has anyone had to do refunds (say, for a 'bogo' deal)? How does that work and is it a total pain? Just curious, I could just check out the site and see if there are answers there, but I was wondering about any personal experiences.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sliver Linings...

I got to spend the day with my sisters at a local farm (where one of them works), while we tried to sell our stuff at their annual craft fair. Steph's homemade jams and cookies and kiddie capes sold like hotcakes! I sold one journal and one ornament. But, as I said, I got to spend the day with the girls. Plus, I got 2 free hot cocoas and a piece of pizza. And a discounted Jamaican plate full of rice, cabbage, and jerk chicken to take home!! Yummy.
I think my side of the table turned out cute, and Steph's was nice and tidy, and I think it flowed okay, considering the strange combo of my stuff with hers. Someone dripped her homemade strawberry jam onto one of my bags; but, since it was decorated with a transfer of my art, it wiped right off with a damp cloth!
And I made this cute flower arrangement for our table, too. I thought it turned out really nice.

I also now have lots of new bowls to list for holiday shoppers. Today I am hoping to get some of the photo editing and description writing done so that I can just keep on listing for the next few days. Then, stay tuned, as I am probably going to offer free shipping at some point. Try to get those procrastinators to think ahead for once, right? It would never work for me, but maybe there are some out there who are a little more sensible than I!!

Oh, and I was pretty proud of the quick embroidery job I did on my bleach stained sweater the night before the fair. You can't even tell how careless I am with that nasty stuff (I use bleach rarely, and can't even figure out how I got it on this particular sweater!!).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

one day...two posts? my, oh my!

I just wanted to post to boast! I wanted...I mean, REALLY wanted, to take a trip 'into town' (=the town halfway between me and my sisters, where we usually meet up for coffee and whatnot) and get an Eggnog Latte. But, lucky for my, Steph didn't get her stuff done yesterday and was unable to meet me. That meant I needed to take the opportunity to do some work of my own. I have decided to use up the paper I have made by just making more journals, tags, cards, or whatever stikes my fancy in the next couple of days. Then there's all the random shaped paper 'cups' (or whatever you might call them) that need to be sealed and (maybe) painted or decorated somehow. And then that's it. I'm not going to stress myself out by over-extending this time.
So, that's what I did! I have been working very hard today, taking a break for a quick lunch of cold pizza (Hubby makes the best homemade pizza!!). Now it's just about 15 minutes until I need to start thinking about what to make for dinner tonight and thought I might post a few pics of what's been happening here...
My last batch of paper was blue and I made a bunch of different shapes to use as pencil holders or little 'catch-alls' or whatever. I sealed them all today and now just have to finish them off. Not sure how, but I better figure that out! Any suggestions?
I thought the little square one with the boat would be cute in a little boys room.
I also cranked out a few journals. There are still a few to bind, but I am waiting for glue to dry on the covers.

I also found a few minutes to make a quick hang tag using a silly little design I whipped up in PhotoShop the other day. I'm pretty happy with the results considering I'm not the computer person in the family!

Oh, and lastly, I wanted to show my last bit of tomatoes from the garden. We had so many little greenies on the tomato plant when it started getting cold and I was sad they were all going to have grown in vain. Then a friend of mine said, 'bring them in and hang them in the window. They will ripen.' And I did; and, they did!

Variety...spicy or just a bad idea?

I am soooooo tired from my kennel job this week. I am happy to have a one job for just 2 days, a day off, then a different job for 3 days, then a day off. BUT, sometimes I wonder if it actually makes life MORE difficult? I mean, I love working with animals, so Mondays and Tuesdays I at least get to spend time with those funny little quadrupeds. But some days are so busy, and only being there two days, it almost seems as soon as I am back in the groove, it's time to move on to the next half of the week. I'm not complaining...I'm just exhausted from the craziness that ensued in the last minutes of work last night and caused me to race through my tasks and wonder all night 'have I forgotten something?'
Now it is Wednesday and I am enjoying the view out my back door...well, I am enjoying the color of the sky (November grey) and the half-leaved trees (autumnal oranges), and watching everything blow around in the crisp air. What I am wondering, though, is how is it that the neighbors leaves are blowing across and into our yard, but our leaves are not blowing in the same direction and going into the next neighbors yard? Is it possible that we are in some sort of 'eye' where all the leaves of the neighborhood are swirling around and ending up in our yard? Like some sort of leaf tornado?? We spent all day Sunday raking and bagging leaves (well, it seemed like all day, but I do remember finding time to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine in the back yard during this week of Indian Summer weather). I really like the looks of the leaves on the ground, and I think it is a futile chore considering all of our hard work has basically been undone with the falling of the rest of the trees leaves...however, we just spent a good chunk of dough to have a real lawn put in (thank goodness my coffee shop job has me in contact with lots of nice laborers and business owners who like me!) and we really don't want to kill it. So a-rakin' we must go. AGAIN!
I'm not really sure the point of this post...I think I may be putting off the work I need to do. I have all day today, then a few hours the next couple days, and then I need to be finished up with my craft fair wares Saturday. I started painting the bowls I had sealed....I think they are cute, but putting yourself out there at a craft fair really is hard when you're just new at it. I hope this year goes better than last year because I feel like the stuff I am bringing shows a little more focus. Ugh! Art!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All sorts of crazy!

Let's start by saying that, despite all my good intentions for Sunday morning chores... sitting with the computer, cup of fresh brewed coffee, and listening to my friend hosting a local radio show always seems to be more fun for me. Call me 'crazy'!

I was going to try to meet friends in town for a 'crafty shopping' trip, but Hubby has had such a crazy schedule since getting a new (yes...another new) job this week AND keeping his other recent new job. I have not seen him more than a couple minutes in passing since Thursday evening. He worked 9-5 all week at his new design job. Then Friday, he still had to work his grocery job 6-midnight, so I saw him all of 15 minutes Friday. Saturday, I worked 7-2, while he worked noon-6pm...needless to say, he brought home a bottle of wine that I am surprised he hadn't started drinking on the way home!! So, today, is 'OUR' day. He is, of course, still sleeping, but this gives me a chance to catch up on stuff (i.e.: blog reading/writing!).
I have been working like crazy, though, to get stuff together for the craft fair next Sunday. This is the same one we did last year. I hope we get the great weather we are having today, but I am cursed when it comes to the weather and my involvement in events. Last year, I concentrated on cards and sheets of handmade paper and some painted bags. I sold some cards, some paper, and a bookmark. This year, specifically in the last couple months, I have been experimenting with paper 'forms'...bowls, trays and that sort of thing made with my handmade paper. I like it because no two are alike, and the possibilities are endless. The problem is that I have been trying to do it fairly quickly so that I have some stuff to sell...I'm afraid I am going to have quite a measly supply of product. Luckily, I was only really doing this because my sister wanted me to share a table with her...and then our aunt decided that maybe she would try to have some things to put on our table. We should have no trouble, at all, filling one table.
The other upside to all of this is that I have not been feeling creative at the point where I was considering ignoring my etsy shop for a bit to try to relax and let things flow as they will...but, now I have been doing nothing but creating in my spare time! In the end, if I don't sell anything at the craft fair, I'll have a ton of new stuff for my etsy shop!

Anyone else involved in any Holiday craft fairs? It is certainly the season for them...lots of holiday shoppers getting in the mood. Christmas music is already playing in stores...decorations are going up. In this crazy premature (in my opinion) Christmas frenzy, I keep forgetting Thanksgiving (and my wedding anniversary) are right around the corner! Don't get me wrong...I am listening to my 'Martinis and Mistletoe' CD at least once each visit to my studio, but I am blaming it on my 'highly susceptible to suggestions' personality! It all started when I heard Harry Connick, Jr. at the craft store. Which lead to an Eggnog Latte at the cafe. And it was all downhill from there! I just have to keep reminding myself of our anniversary, because Hubby will not forget, and I will look silly!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Personal life update:

I think I have forgotten to mention that our little girl, Moxie, has been drug free for OVER 3 WEEKS!! That's right, folks...I think that pug has healed right up. No more limping, and no more prescription meds. Of course, she decided not to heal until AFTER I ran back to the vet for a refill, which I have not touched! At least, possibly because she is small and her fracture was tiny...basically it looked like a hair in the x-ray...the drugs were not expensive. And now we have them in case...well, I guess in case she develops some sort of arthritis and has 'bad days'??
We have her on supplements, however, but I'm very okay with that. They are natural and keep her joints healthy and that makes me happy. She's the best pug EVER!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tea party pictures

Sunday I got dressed up and went out to celebrate a dear friend's birthday. It's a big birthday for her, she is in her first year of homemaking as a career, and wanted to throw herself a shindig to rival all shindigs. Of course, upon my arrival, it didn't take long for her to say, 'Oh, Jen, I'm sorry, I didn't think to get anything to drink!' Of course, she had tea, but I have apparently turned into the girl who 'drinks'. After several refrains of 'I don't need booze to have a good time,' she sent her hubby out for whiskey sour fixin's. He and I have turned into drinking buddies, so I'm not sure he cared about making the trip.
Here are a few pictures of the event.
Here's the BEGINNING of the lovely spread she put out. Petit fours, cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese on pumpernickel, cookies, cupcakes, and bread pudding (made with leftover cake!), ham salad, chicken salad...oh may!
I had Steph take a picture of just me, since I never get proof of my existence at any gathering. My dress is not terribly puffy, but considering the petticoat I am wearing is from my $30 Goodwill wedding dress and actually reaches the floor. (Behind the scenes secret: it's pulled up to my chest and hooked with pins.)
before Steph showed up...after Steph showed up.
Our silly outdoor fun was made possible by the crazy warm weather we had. Which is strange, considering the fact that pretty much any time I go visit these friends, it rains.
Now, that's the best tastin' pickle I ever heard!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's November

Halloween is over and I am sad to have not taken part in it whatsoever. I got to carve a pumpkin early in October, and I went to a pre-Halloween costume party. And that is it. I actually have a friend who's Halloween party is always the Saturday AFTER Halloween, so I may go to that next weekend, but probably not. Hubby had to work until midnight last night and I am not really a 'go out alone' kind of girl, so I stayed home. Which was actually a productive blessing in disguise. I wanted to get a batch of paper pulp ready so that I could do some work this morning while Hubby slept in. Instead, I made the pulp and then kept right on going and formed some into shapes with the random things I use as molds. I also started another mini notebook.
So this morning, I was able to move on to the next phase of other projects.
But now, with the craft show coming up, I am beginning to have that feeling of being overwhelmed. Tags need to be made and attached to things. Projects need to be finished so that I have stuff to sell. Pricing needs to be figured out. And, same as last year, I am forever fearful of my product holding up...since I work in paper and this particular fair is held at a farm and, for the most part, is outdoors. Last year it rained and it was frigid, but we were in the 'barn' which was the most sturdy and 'warm' section. However, I felt we didn't get as much traffic because it was down a hill and people had to be outside longer in order to get there. The pavilion people were right smack dab in the middle of all the action, but had no real shelter from the wind...only a roof overhead. And then there's the greenhouse...kept warm by the sun, sheltered from the wind, but tiny. It's first come first serve, and we are not able to make our decision until Monday, since I am going in with my sister and she will not know her schedule at work until our choice of 'seating' may be made for us, anyway.

And now that it is November, I have to really get my Christmas party arrangements in motion. That means researching Japanese foods, dress, decor, etc. That means, finding sources for Japanese foods, too. Sister Steph has lots of stuff I can use for decorations, though, and she has offered to help out if I need it. Since I am serving 'make your own sushi'...there won't be that stress of getting dinner on the table, at least.

Today I am off to a tea party for a friend's birthday. I will post a picture of my dress, as it is '50's themed. I'm going to look awful, but I don't have much to work with in the way of clothing. I do have this super cute little fuzzy 'jacket' that was something my grandmother had...I can wear that, anyway.

At some point I have to figure out my stupid health insurance stuff, too. This issue has become such a hassle and an annoyance that I wish would just go away. It was so much nicer when I was not forced to spend money I didn't have for something I didn't want!

Well, Hubby is up and getting ready to go do the usual morning and a chat with the proprietors, walk, beach. Maybe a nail trim for the dog. I'll need about an hour to get ready for the tea party, and then I'll be relaxing with a cup of tea with the girls for the rest of the day.

Then back to work.......................