Monday, December 11, 2017

Working and Holiday Gifts

I really hate working six-day weeks. I worked them when I was younger, even worked two or three jobs at a time when we needed the money. But now I'm older. have less energy, have a bit more in the bank, and really don't need to work extended hours and days. Except that I do ... work them, I mean. On an average day I'm in the shop between 7:00 am and 7:45 am and I leave around 6:15 pm. I'm even in the shop on my day off in the morning to make sure all of the computers turn on properly and that there are no software issues. 

Everybody's week is actually long, it's defined by what
gets packed into it. Mine is starting to be really boring.

Averaging things out, I'd say my average week is about 60 hours in the shop. That doesn't mean I'm just working on business. I surf the net, write a bit in my blog, yesterday I ordered holiday gifts for my BFF Sharon and the Chickie. So it's not all work and no play. But still, it's a lot of hours to spend in a place that I really don't enjoy any more. That sucks. 

I lost interest in GOT fairly early on, but DH
has watched all of the DVD's (we don't get
any of the premium cable channels). The
books were good, but they are past the books
now and into fan-fiction. Hmmmm .... 

We've been open for two Sundays now. I'd rather be home watching the football game than at the store on a day that should be a day with Hubby and football. Oh well, I only have one more Sunday remaining. Today I'll try to pound my order into shape for DVD's and calendars. I need them before too much longer. I'll also have to plan to pick up the next season of Game of Thrones DVD which releases tomorrow, so I'll have to add that to my agenda since DH wants it under our invisible tree. Christmas just can't come soon enough. *SIGH*

When GOT is completed, then I might consider
binge watching it. As it is, given to us in bits
and trickles, I'll bide my time. 

Have a glorious Monday. Looking at the calendar, there are only two weeks to the "Season" remaining and that, at least, makes me VERY happy. Now ... off to the pool after I plug in some pictures. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Merging Lives Requires Cleaning Rooms

Winter is the time for us to focus on interior projects instead of exterior ones. The outdoors doesn't end - snow still needs to be cleared from the roof, gutters still need leaves pulled out of them, etc. But, when the snow is falling and the winds are blowing, we're concentrating on cleaning, reorganizing, and trying to figure out how to make everything fit in new spaces in the upcoming year. It's unfortunate that both DH and I love to hang on to things. We're not "hoarders" in the classic sense - there are no small pathways through towering heaps of boxes and newspapers, etc. No, there's lots of open space, clean counters, and uncluttered furniture. 

Just add glitter and let those "My Little Pony" characters
run rampant in my craft room and den. The rest of the
house isn't bad (the library still needs work), but those
two rooms are in need of some serious cleaning and
reorganization work. 

But there are places, like the craft room, where it looks more like a herd of "My Little Ponies" ran through spreading glitter wherever they went while pulling everything off shelving. It's a direct finger point at the fact that both DH and I have a variety of interests and each one requires supplies, a different workspace, and storage. 

I'm not this bad, but I do have several of the same wheels
that this woman does. I own four spinning wheels - one
traveler, a castle-style, and Elizabeth standard and a
Rio Grande great wheel. I love them - they're simply beautiful. 

My own personal interests range from beading, weaving and spinning, to sewing, painting, print making, and lots of metal working. His interests overlap in painting, but he adds leatherworking, woodworking and general fix-it talents to his mix. He's handy with a jewelry bench too - holds his own with torch and hammer. 

DH is fine using craft paints like these for his painting,
where I choose to go with the more high-end Spanish
acrylics and watercolor paints for mine. Different
strokes for different folks. 

The main problem is that his supplies are not my supplies. I'm picky about brands and quality levels for things like my paints and chemicals, he is more than content to work with less expensive (and less reliable) craft paints which have larger color grains and different suspension media. He also is a good one for not putting things away or just putting them in odd places because that's where they were when he was finished using them. My tools have very specific homes, his seem to sprout feet and wander. 

We'll be retiring over the next 12-18 months and will be sharing living and work spaces. It will be very interesting to see if we can avoid destroying a 40+ year relationship once we're living in each other's back pockets. Oy! 

Have a wonderful Saturday. Even though I'm working tomorrow, it's only for four hours so I can deal. At least, I'll tell myself that - LOL. I'll probably start that pearl repair. The silk is stretched and it's ready to go. Be back on Monday! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holes, Cakes and Owls - Yes, My Brain is That Random

I remembered to bring my drill home from the shop, so I'll mount my new keyboard drawer on Wednesday when I have time to tape it up properly and drill the holes without having DH breathe over my shoulder and tell me how I'm doing everything wrong. I'm not sure why he would feel that commentary necessary, since I mounted the previous drawer successfully and actually know my way around a tool shop, but I know him well and I'm sure he would. I feel that a small wait of a few more days is the better choice. 

Two of these bakers were eliminated last night, eight remain. The
schedule says a total of six episodes, ending on December 21st. I'm
not sure how that works out to a single winner and a runner up,
but I haven't checked my calendar either. 

I'm rather zombie-like today. Last night was the first episode of Season 3 of the "Great American Baking Contest" and it was 2-hours long, keeping me up an hour later than my usual bedtime. It was absolutely worth it, though. Ten American bakers are in England baking in the "Great British Bake-off" tent for judges Paul Hollywood and Johnny Iuzzini. Last night's double episode featured Cake and Morning Treats for the two segments. The structure is the same as the British Bake-off uses and I've always loved their set-up of separate stations and work areas. Every baker has a totally self-contained area within which to work - none of this running around like crazy chickens the way it is with most of the American cooking shows. It was worth staying up for, but I'm exhausted today. 

Among the owls of Minnesota is this one - the
Long-eared Owl. Isn't it a beauty? There's
something so wonderful about owls. 

Yesterday, while writing my blog for all of you, I had an owl serenading me from my next door neighbor's tree for almost an hour. There's something so wonderful and haunting about an owl's "hoot" in the darkness of the night and pre-dawn. I've adored owls since I was a small child, and I'm still totally addicted to their beauty and their amazing skills in the air. Owls fly in complete silence and air-movement studies on flight comparing owls and other birds prove that owls barely disturb the air as they pass, unlike any other bird. 

Owls have a unique structure to their feathers allowing
them to fly in almost complete silence. 

So my post today jumped around from drilling holes to cakes to owls. No theme here, just my cold and sleep-deprived brain firing on odd circuits. Perhaps the swimming pool will help bring my thoughts into some form of stability and order before I head off to work ... or not! In any case, have a wonderful Friday and stay warm. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

They're On Their Way!

Success! By mid-day yesterday I had a large stack of cards sealed and with postage attached and was heading to the Post Office to get them mailed as well as purchase postage for my international cards. Shortly afterward, my cards had been delivered to the appropriate official personage and I was cardless! They are on their way! Please let me know if they arrive in one piece - envelopes sealed, etc. I used a new envelope supplier this year and even though I think they are good quality, I never know until they've survived the mail. 

I don't use this particular brand of embossing
powder, but have used this brand in the past with
success. The little grains of silver color sparkle
in the light and right now, I have small
grains throughout the carpet of my workspace. 

My study looked like a sparkle bomb went off in it by the end of the session. I was embossing the back of the envelopes and those were large areas covered with a tinsel-colored powder. Everywhere I look now I see the tiny gleams of escaped tinsel embossing powder flecks. It's pretty amusing. I ended up sending out 45 cards and have one in reserve in case of an emergency, but after another week, I'll put everything away in my craft room and begin thinking about next year's card. 

The Tim Holtz Stamp Platform by Tonic is smartly designed and
very study. The gridded clear lid allows for precise placement
of your stamp, the interior has a raised corner into which to
place your media, the two rare earth magnents are SUPER
strong, and the lid can easily be switched depending on
the type of stamp used. Highly recommended! 

This year's effort would have been impossible to achieve without a new tool which allowed me to replicate positioning on card after card flawlessly. The "Tim Holtz Stamping Platform by Tonic" was the single best investment I've made in my papercrafts in years. Designed to work with both clear and wooden stamps (after the wood backing has been removed), the stamps pressure-adhere to the clear, gridded lid and after inking can be applied identically to page after page. The pressure is even, so both large and small stamps were crisp and clean. If you do papercrafts using stamps, get one of these! 

Thank goodness for online shopping. I don't know how
I managed to get anything before the internet! With
DH being a Christmas-time baby, getting things
for the holidays doubles and I work six-day weeks
at the same time. NOT conducive to shopping! 

So now my life returns to normal - shopping for holiday gifts for DH and a few friends and figuring out what classes I might want to take at next year's Bead & Button Show. The catalog for classes is in my hands ... I can go broke really fast! 

Here's hoping you have a tremendous Thursday. Happy Holiday season to all! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Final Push to the Post Office

Today is my final push day and by mid-afternoon, I should be standing in line at the Post Office, getting the postage for all of my overseas cards. I embellish the envelopes this morning - that will take about two hours. My domestic postage gets slapped on and those can be dropped in the mail. My international postage will need to be figured out and purchased today, then those also can be mailed. By the end of the day, all cards should be out of my hands and in the hands of the US Post Office. Here's hoping all of you get your cards soon. 

Continuing my Holiday Card theme, I saw this one online and had to
laugh. So geeky, but so fun. Only those of us who know or love
Batman will truly understand it, but dude - it's perfect! 

Then my life can return to the normal level of "hectic" and I can do my multiple loads of laundry, maybe have time to put in the new computer keyboard drawer that arrived yesterday (I'm hoping it can use the brackets I already have installed, but if not, I'll have to drill new holes under my desk), and finally end my day with a nice conversation with Aearwen. Then I can start focusing on DH and our own holiday celebrations. It's been a long road to get here this year, but here I am - less than twenty days away from Christmas, and almost on time. 

For my friends with cats (you know who you
are - LOL), I found this fun card. Yes, not a
creature was stirring, not even a mouse after
this rapscallion caught him! 

I allowed myself a luxury this morning. My swim suit was pretty stretched out and sagging, and I have others because last year's holiday gift included several new suits, so I broke one of the new ones out of the bag this morning and I'm wearing a new color, new style, and snug suit today. Huzzah! I'm really happy with how this one is fitting, so I'll feel like the star of the pool today, even though Wednesdays are crowded and busy. 

This card featuring penguins is absolutely adorable. I wish
I could make something like this, but the labor on this
one would be a bit too much for a run of 50 cards.
It's really cute though, and I had to share it with you. 

I hope your Wednesday goes smoothly. If there isn't too long of a line at the Post Office when I get there later this morning, that will help to make my day! Enjoy yours, and please, do a small act of kindness today - small ripples of happiness can spread far. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

We've Got Snow!

We've Got Snow! Several inches of the white, fluffy stuff fell overnight. Today will be cold and very windy and, of course, it snowed, so I have to shovel before I head out to the gym. I'll also have to shovel at the shop. 

Snow plows can kick up a lot of snow, and all of that
crap has to be shoveled off the driveway. We have a
snowblower, and if it's a bunch of snow, I let DH take
care of it with the blower. But if I can handle at least my
tire tracks, it helps keep our ice problems to a minimum
as we drive in and out. 

If I'm lucky (and that's all in the perspective of "lucky"), it will stay cold enough that the wall I'll begin to build outside the shop to separate the sidewalk from the snowplow crap will actually stay until the next snow and the next one. The wall helps keep my shoveling reasonable, without huge swaths of heavy, laden snow that the plow kicks up. In fact, shoveling in general without the snow plow detritus isn't too bad. It's that last yard or so where the driveway/sidewalk meets the roadway that's really bad. 

My snow wall isn't this impressive. All I do is
begin to pack snow at the edge of the sidewalk
to create a barrier between the snowplow
snow and my sidewalk. This, however, is
extreme snow - 20 meters high in the
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Japan. 

The fact that I do have to shovel, however, puts me on a truncated schedule today. I have to build extra time in before leaving for the gym, and I'm not used to shoveling any more, my body has to adjust to moving snow with a long stick and a flattened piece of metal or plastic. When I have time, I clear the entire driveway (2+ cars wide and very long) plus the sidewalk to the front door. When I'm tight on time, I just clear my own lane so I don't leave car tracks in the snow. 

Because we have a north-facing driveway, these innocent car
tracks can turn to ice really quickly. Once they've iced over,
they can stay until Spring, making driving in and out of the
garage a more treacherous experience. 

So winter has finally arrived. Will she stay until late March? That's her usual rental dates for our part of the world. But at this time of the year she often goes visiting back and forth and we don't settle in for the long visits until after the New Year. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but whether she stays or not, she's finally here. 

Morana (also known by other names) was the Slavic goddess of
cold, winter and death. She was honored each year by the building
of a bonfire which the populace would jump over, then an
effigy of her as a young straw girl dressed in beautiful garments
would be burned. This would keep the populace healthy through
the cold season ahead. 

Happy Tuesday to all. Here's hoping you get logs of things accomplished today because it's only twenty days until Christmas, eight-and-a-half days until Hanukkah, and seventeen days until Solstice. The clock keeps ticking. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's Countdown Time!

I'm counting down the days now - wanting to get my holiday cards in the mail to all of you on my list. I've checked the list twice, will start signing the cards today, and if all goes smoothly over the next three days, they'll be in the mail Wednesday or Thursday this week. That's requiring a lot of work before the store opens in the mornings, and my schedule is messed up by a Chiropractor appointment this morning, but I'm pushing to get these out ASAP in hope that many of you will have them before your Holiday. 

I adore owls, so these Holiday Owl cards stood out for me. Here we
have holiday whistling owls. Don't they look festive! 

Yesterday was our first Sunday open of three. It's not a day that I am open normally. DH keeps me company on Sundays so that I'm not solo in the shop - it's always wiser to have two (or more) staff people on hand at all times. But yesterday he stayed in the back room and watched his football game while I stayed up front and worked on holiday cards. It seemed to work. I got the portion of the cards I was working on completed, and his team won the game. Huzzah! 

I seem to be on an owl roll today. Apparently a Santa hat and
an owl are just appealing to me today. 

I will have to take some time later this week and get some DVD's ordered for DH. Even though we tell each other that we don't want any more DVD's, they are really one of the few things that we really enjoy and I get the more unusual ones - continuing our collection of "Midsomer Murders", "Endeavour", and other British shows that we love. 

For my friends who love cats, I found this
little gem of a card. I guarantee the cats
I've shared my life with in the past wouldn't
tolerate the Santa hat, although getting into
the lights and the stockings wouldn't
have been beyond them. 

I'm also going to take a close look at what I can afford to give as donations this year. I always try to send donations to "The Trevor Project" ( for LGBTQ youth, and often other more directed charities that help specific groups of people desperately in need. This year I have several on my short list and need to narrow them down to a total of four charities. It's hard to do. I've always believed that money should be spent helping others, but there are so many hands outstretched and funds are limited. Still, I do what I can, when I can. 

I'm seriously loving this card from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The
decorated reindeer horns are so classic and beautiful, and Santa
isn't the ridiculous 'bowl full of jelly' as too often portrayed. 

So, since this is a Monday and I have to drive to the farther YMCA to swim before my Chiropractic appointment, I'll wrap this up. It's December, and Solstice is in a few weeks. How are you doing on your holiday decorating, cooking, and gifting? Haven't started? You'd probably better get going! LOL. Have an excellent day!