Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. May next year see us able to gather in person with friends and family once again. 




Gobble, gobble..... time to start cooking the bird. 





Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving - It's All About the Food

The grocery opens at 6:00 am today, and I'll probably be there shortly afterward. I don't need a lot, but I do have to get my weekly shopping done. Thanksgiving or not, Wednesday is my day for grocery shopping, and I don't want to waste forever standing in line for checkout. I can whiz through rather quickly getting my veggies, fruit and a little bit of frozen and be back outside as fast as possible. They usually only have two checkers on duty that early, so the line for checkout might take longer than my actually time shopping, but when it's done, it's done and I won't need to deal with it again. 




There's nothing like grocery shopping on the day before 
Thanksgiving. I wish I didn't have to, but I need my 
oranges and milk and other things I have to have for 
my weekly shop. So, off to the store I will go in 
1/2 hour. 



My pumpkin pie with whipped cream will be ready for pickup at 10:15 am, so I'll be down there waiting on time. Except for that, my life will do the usual revolve for Wednesdays - three loads of laundry, housework, and hopefully some serious knitting this afternoon. That's the goal, I'll have to see how well I do. 




Almost all of the Bakers Square restaurants have closed 
in my area, but there is one close to the old Ford plant 
in Highland Park that's still open. I have reserved a 
pumpkin pie for pickup at 10:15 am today. I love their 
pumpkin pies - so good! 



I set up an appointment with my eye doctor for mid-December. I'm concerned about how poorly I'm dealing with glint and flash. Since almost everything I do has some aspects of glint (even the knitting machine has glint off the hooks and latches of the needles), I'm concerned. I deal in a lot of detail and really don't want problems, although I'm getting older. I keep telling myself that I'm getting better, not just older, but I'm calling BS on that. I'm just getting older. 




Thanksgiving is our one opportunity to overeat with 
societal acceptance. The holidays that revolve around 
food are actually fairly rare. Think about it. Christmas 
revolves around trees, presents and church (for some), 
Easter has a bunny and candy (and church again, for 
some), and the Fourth of July is all about the big 
bang and sparklers. Only Thanksgiving is all about 
the food. 



Still, it's going to be lovely to have tomorrow off to commune with a large bird, lots of fixings, a pumpkin pie for me and a pecan pie that DH baked yesterday for him. Since I won't blog tomorrow, I want to wish all of my friends in the US (and of course in other nations as well) a wonderful Thanksgiving. Among the many blessings in my life are you ... my larger family of on-line friends. Be kind, stay safe, and please, wear your mask. I'll be back on Friday morning. 




Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Things Are Wrapping Up and Searching Through Stuff - LOL

DH and I tore the craft room and his workshop apart yesterday looking for a staple gun. Now, we were looking specifically for MY staple gun, not one of the four that DH has. His work perfectly, but they're too hard for my hands to operate one-handed. When I'm putting up the garland in the store (today's chore), I need to hold the garland in place with one hand and staple with the other. 




I have a staple gun like this. Unlike the many styles 
of just steel, I find I can compress this one without 
needing two hands. After I've put almost 100 staples 
into the shelving and cabinets at the store, ease of use
and no pain is important to me. 



For years I had kept my staple gun on top of one of my craft bins. I knew exactly where it was, no hunting necessary. BUT ... two years ago or so, DH claimed it was a poor choice of location for my tool and that I should put it somewhere better. Apparently I found a "much better" location, because I couldn't find it when I needed to. 




The garland I use is a red/green mix quite similar 
to this. I purchased it from Frank's many years 
ago before they went out of business. I admit that 
I decorate the same every year. Lack of imagination? 
Not really, just not really "into" decorating the store. 



After unsuccessfully searching for it in the early morning, DH and I returned to the search after dinner last night. Finally, success! After I had tried several of his offered alternatives (including the electric, which actually would have worked, but been very inconvenient), we took a final look at the craft room and there, behind a sorting project and standing on-end next to some labelled boxes, was my staple gun in it's plastic bag labelled with my name. I've got it with my laptop now and it's coming to work with me today. It's time to "Christmas" the store. 




We have a lit Christmas tree similar to this, 
that we place on top of some low display cases 
near the center of the store. It's a haunted 
Christmas tree. The lights aren't blinking 
lights, but every once in a while, it will start 
to blink on and off randomly, then stop, 
then start again. We decided years ago that 
the tree must be haunted. 



We split the chores for holiday decorations (and they're always the same because we hate to decorate). I staple tinsel garland across the top of the library shelves and leather display, and DH handles bringing up our ancient tree and decorating it. I don't like to decorate trees, just love them when they're done and rather magical. So he'll do the tree on Wednesday, but I'll do the garland today. 




Maybe I should have set up a "Chore Chart" for my holiday 
cards, but I've done them for so many years, I'm pretty aware 
of what needs to be done and in what order. Gluing on 
the faceplates actually takes time, because the glue has 
to set properly. But it's not difficult to do. Just takes time. 
The little gifts are a breeze - just cut and twist and done. 



The holiday cards are complete (yippee). Well ... almost. I still need to glue the faceplate onto each card, but that's easy. I'm also working on the finishing touches for the small gift that I'm enclosing with each one. I'll try and take some time on Thanksgiving to get my files together and start printing out the envelopes. Then it'll be a simple matter of assembly, stamps and taking them to the post office. Final stages ... those make me happy. I'm still well ahead of my Solstice cut-off date for getting them to the Post Office. 


Have an excellent Tuesday and please - be well, stay safe and wear your mask. I hope you have a wonderful day. I'll be back tomorrow. 




Monday, November 23, 2020

This Week Is The Beginning of Our Holiday Season

I'm going to be finishing my cards over the next two mornings, and beginning to bring my equipment back from the shop to my house. I hope to spend Thursday roasting my turkey and printing out holiday card envelopes while watching football. On Friday we jump into our annual Two-Day sale and that starts our holiday season. I'll be putting up our garlands at the shop on Tuesday, and DH will have to decorate the store tree with our remaining ornaments on Wednesday. (I refuse to decorate any Christmas trees.) 




My holiday job at the shop (aside from composing and 
sending our various e-flyers to our customers) is to 
hang our tinsel garland along the tops of our bookcases 
and display areas. I'll be very happy when I never have 
to do this again. 



But none of us are really in a holiday mood. I haven't found anything wonderful for DH for either Christmas or his birthday (both of which are in late December), and I hate letting him down. I'll keep looking, of course, and I do have a few ideas, but I really have to get moving on those. I have a month, approximately, and that's not a lot of time. 




It's been a year of broken dreams. Even if 
I've allowed myself to expand in some ways, 
I've retreated in others. I miss hugging people 
a lot. Waving at them from behind barriers and 
a mask just doesn't make up for the personal touch. 



It's hard to get into a holiday mood in the "Year of Broken Dreams", which is how I think of this year of masks, fear and The Virus. I'm not seeing happiness and joy at the upcoming holidays, I'm seeing people at the edge of their patience with the combination of COVID and a contentious and horrible election. Frankly, I think we're all fed up with this year, and the celebrations for New Year's should be epic because we all want a do-over. 




I think getting a do-over for 2020 would be on everyone's 
holiday gift list, but it's impossible to gift this one. It 
doesn't stop me wishing that this year had been other 
than the terror-stricken and grief-filled year of angst that 
it actually has been. Maybe we can finish the year in 
a slightly more relaxed way, but only if we stay 
vigilant. 



So, as I finalize my Holiday cards, I think of everyone they are being sent to and hoping that our upcoming holiday season and solstice will be the beginning of some wonderful things over the next year. As always, please be kind, stay safe and wear your masks. I'll be back tomorrow. 



Saturday, November 21, 2020

I'm Talking To You - Final Call for Cards!

I was running behind on my holiday cards, so I got up at 3:15 am Friday and headed to the shop at around 7:00 am to get some serious work done. I finished Stage 2,  and by the time I opened my doors to the public, I had also finished Stage 3. Now I need to finish the final two stages - the stamp on the very back and gluing the frontspiece onto the front of the card. I know I said no gifts in this year's card, but an easy one occurred to me, so if it works out, you'll also get a small gift along with your card. 




Maybe I should decorate our mailbox like this ... or not. I'm
not sure any decorations would survive the snow plows if 
we have another storm before Christmas. 



I'm hoping to spend most of Thanksgiving cooking my turkey and printing out the envelopes, so ... THIS IS THE THIRD AND FINAL CALL-OUT FOR CARDS. I may be contacting some of you individually if you haven't responded, but please. I love making the cards, and I love sending them to friends throughout the world. I'd love to send one TO YOU! 




Yes, I'm talking to you. I can't send you a card without 
you talking back to me and giving me your current 
address. Come on ... join the party! I have eggnog and 
punch just waiting for you! 



So message me and give me your current address. Cards do me no good sitting in a box. They want to travel the nation and the world, ready to surprise and delight their recipients. They can't do that for you if you don't give me your address. I remind you that I require nothing in return. My joy is the making and sending of the cards. I also remind you that I don't care if I'm sending them in the USA or anywhere else in the world. The cards love to travel to exotic locations. 




Don't be the person left out in the cold. Send me your 
address in a PM and I'll get one of my holiday cards 
sent out to you soon. It's my joy to spread some happiness 
during this crazy year. Please allow me that small 
pleasure. 



Have a wonderful weekend and I hope to hear from you soon! Be kind, stay safe and please wear your mask. I'll be back on Monday. 



Friday, November 20, 2020

Transgender Day of Remembrance - Carry It In Your Heart Today and Always

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, where people around the world honor the memory of those who died. Not all died by murder, although a large proportion of these people did. There was also death by suicide and, of course, by COVID. In the United States 47 lives were lost, 386 lives lost world-wide. Of course, this list is incomplete - not all deaths are reported, not all are even found. 




Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance worldwide. 
Hold those who have been killed because of their 
sexuality in your hearts today. We lost amazing people 
over this past year. For a list of those killed in the USA, 
click on the link



Still, we live in a world of extremes, and apparently sexuality is also supposed to be black or white - no in-between. If we can admit that everyone has a different personality, different likes and dislikes, and different ways of approaching problems, why can't we admit that everyone's sexuality also differs. After all, we're not chasing after the same sexual partners. 







We are finally acknowledging that people are on a spectrum - a spectrum of intelligence, a spectrum of personality and of course, a spectrum of interests and sexuality. We are not all interested in the same things (thank goodness). While learning to admit the differences in our daily lives, why would we ever think that sexuality was only singular - male and female. Yes, that's what's required for reproduction, but reproduction isn't sexuality, although it can be enhanced by sexual attraction. Sexuality is attraction, desire and focus outside of the limited realm of reproduction, and it's as individual as clothing and music choices. 






So please, as you move through today, think about those who lost their lives over this past year only because they were perceived as "different" and therefore, threatening. I'll be back tomorrow - be kind, stay safe and please wear your mask. 




Thursday, November 19, 2020

Random Thoughts - Knitting, Holiday Cards and Black Friday

I had approximately 3 hours to work on my knitting machine after finishing my myriad of errands yesterday morning. Of course, one of those errands was to go to Michael's for some "Caron Skinny Cake" yarn. They had LOTS of Caron yarn in lots of thicknesses and types, and they were luscious colors. I ended up with six cakes and settled down with one of them in the afternoon after I got my machine set up again. I had a pattern I wanted to try out, so I had a goal in mind. 




It's a horrible picture, but it's really a cute hat and I 
think, once I know what I'm doing, that I can do one
 in a couple of hours. I'm probably going to leave off 
the top pom pom. I've never been fond of them. But 
I might include it as a button on/off version. Maybe. 



I messed things up numerous times, knit and unraveled and repeated, but by the time I put everything back into the box and tightened the strap, I was fairly confident that I would be able to actually knit the entire item next week. It's a hat that was featured on YouTube by one of my favorite designers/instructors and it's not terribly complex. It is designed for a knitting machine similar to mine, and it's going to look great. Another question I had was the sizing - I think I'll need to drop it down slightly in size for the person I'm thinking of, but that won't be a problem at all. The original size will work for several other people. If I get one made next week, I think I'll be able to punch these out and I'll feel pretty happy. 




As usual, I'd be totally lost without my Tim Holtz 
Stamp Platform. I still need to add two stamps 
to the interior of the card before I can begin the 
final assembly. But first, I have to finish the 
final embossing and cutouts. For designing on 
a wing and a prayer, I'm pretty happy with 
how this year's card is turning out. 



On cards, I should be finishing up Stage 2 and moving to Stage 3 today. I have to finish the interior details before I can move to the final stage of assembly, and it's already the 19th. I want to have these ready to go by early December, so my clock is ticking. I suppose I should also be putting thought into what we're putting on sale for our Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales. I'll have to send that email out to my customers on Monday, Tuesday at the latest. 




As usual we'll hold a Black Friday and Small Business 
Saturday sale. We'll be limiting the number of customers 
in the store to no more than six, and of course we'll 
continue wearing masks and sanitizing. The State just 
closed down inside restaurant dining and all youth 
sports and gyms/recreation centers again for 30 days, 
and COVID cases are rising again. We're just not 
going to take any chances with our health, or that 
of our customers. 



So, the rest of my week seems rather full, all of a sudden - LOL. I think DH will be hunting for turkey and other Turkey Day food, and I'll get my usual pumpkin pie ordered today too. My local Baker's Square may have closed, but there is one branch of my favorite pie restaurant still in business in the Twin Cities. It's nowhere near as close, but I am familiar with where it is and picking the pie up next Wednesday won't be a problem. On that note, I'm out of here. Have a fabulous and wonderful Thursday and I'll be back tomorrow. Be kind, stay safe, and please wear a mask.