Saturday, November 27, 2021

Day 2 Of Our Two-Day Sale and A Bit of ARGH With My Holiday Cards

Today is the second day of our After Thanksgiving Day Sale. It's "Small Business Saturday", an event first started more than a decade ago by the American Express credit card company. We have different items on sale today than yesterday, and we'll see how it goes. Today's items are usually more labor intensive for the staff, but typically Day 2 brings in less money than Day 1. Yesterday was the super small beads, aka "seed beads". Today's sale features beads larger than a seed bead - those that are actually sized by millimetres. 




Today is Small Business Saturday and we thank our customers 
by offering the second day of our two-day sale. We rarely 
have sales, so these days are quite special. 



I got a bit done on my cards yesterday before we opened, but not as much as I wanted. Still, I'll take any progress as a win and move onward. I'll have to leave myself a note to NOT order this particular card finish again. I'm finding the embossing powder has a difficult time adhering well to the "metallic" coating of the cards, and this is creating a problem. They certainly won't be as neat as I prefer this year, but the sentiments and the good wishes I put into each one will still come through over the miles. 




Metallic cardstock has a slightly metallic sheen to the 
paper. It's lovely to look at and has a nice weight, but 
it's turning out to be quite difficult for my embossing 
powders to really grip well. That's causing some problems, 
and additional time spent. It's also making this year's 
cards messier than I would like. I don't have the time or 
money to redo this portion of the cards, so I'll have 
to live with it and push through. 



With luck and some time, I might have them almost complete by the end of next week. I'm certainly going to try, although I still have quite a bit left to do. At least I get my "days off" next week, and I'll be using whatever extra time I've got to work on them. I can't put the inserts into the actual cards until I'm finished with them. Each card has four separate images embossed on them - that takes some serious time. 




My cards are somewhat like an assembly line. Each 
step of the process has to be completed before 
the next step can commence. The different parts 
are prepared and then assembled. It's easy in 
concept, a bit more difficult in the actual doing. 
But the challenge is always fun. 



Still, it's a lot of fun to see them come together, and I don't regret the process or the design decisions (except for the metallic finish of the actual folded card). I'll be happy to send them out. It's been a joy to be creative once again - exercising those parts of my brain that have been latent for too long these past two years. 




It costs nothing to brighten someone's day, so try 
to spread a bit of kindness behind you as you move 
through your day today. 



On that rather creative and/or domestic note, I think I'll wrap this up. I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and please, be kind, acknowledge the worth of those you meet in your daily life, and smile. A little kindness can go a long way. I'll be back on Monday. 




Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving Day Was Lovely and Today We'll Be Busy (Fingers Crossed)

I hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving (if you're in the USA). Today is Day 1 of our Two-Day After-Thanksgiving Day Sale and I hope we're really busy. We concentrate on different types of products for each of the two days. Today is a seed bead day, and with luck, we'll be able to keep up with a nice steady group of customers. It's "All hands on deck" for these next two days - nobody gets a day off. It's also a good way to lose the one pound I put on from yesterday's Thanksgiving Day meal. 



My salad is at the bottom, his soup at the top. 
The salad had a crumbled blue cheese and a 
dressing with cranberry. My tea was a lovely 
herbal tea with honey and lemon. I don't normally 
eat cheese, and I know there was sugar in the 
dressing, but I was treating the day as a 
vacation day. So I ate it and enjoyed it. 
No guilt. 



It was a lovely meal. I decided to treat the day as if it was a day when I was on a vacation and be a bit more flexible with my food choices. We started out with either a spinach salad or a chicken soup. I chose the salad, DH chose the soup. He explained that he "Wasn't Popeye", meaning that he really doesn't like a spinach salad. But the salad was absolutely delicious. 




Here's my main plate. The green beans were outstanding 
and the turkey was perfectly roasted. I ate a tiny bit 
of the mashed potatoes and the corn-based stuffing. 
The cranberry compote in the little dish was also lovely. 
It probably had sugar in it, but I ate all of that and all 
of the turkey. 





Past the bowl holding my gravy, you can see DH's plate. 
He had the gravy on top of his stuff, and he ended up 
eating everything. He wasn't as fond of the green beans 
as I was, but he declared the meal good, so that was 
a win. LOL



Then we had the main meal. Three thick and generous slices of roasted turkey, a corn-based stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans that were beautifully seasoned, and a cranberry compote. I asked for my gravy on the side, and used the bare minimum of it to dip a few pieces of my turkey into. DH had his gravy on his plate. The cranberry compote was a surprise - really tasty! 




We each also ordered the Prime Rib (for an extra charge, 
of course). I like mine medium-well, and it was 
perfect. There was an au-juis dipping sauce as well 
as a horseradish sauce. I brought most of this home with 
me. It'll make a nice dinner or two. 



We also ordered prime rib for an additional charge. Although we brought most of the beef home with us for another meal, again, it was lovely. My meat was perfectly cooked and so tender it almost melted in my mouth. It was served with containers of au juis (spelling?) and horseradish sauce. I brought my au juis home with me along with most of the beef. I'll get another two dinners from this. 




DH ordered his prime rib Medium-Rare and they came 
through with that. It was WAY too rare for my taste, 
but he was happy. He also brought quite a bit of 
that home with him for another meal or sandwich. 



After we returned home, we relaxed. PBS was showing four hours of the Great British Bake Off show's Master Classes with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. They were from a few years ago, but were delightful to watch. We watched football when we weren't watching the bakes. We relaxed and enjoyed the day. Today we won't be relaxing - at least not if we're lucky. We need some good sales for these next two days. Now I'm off to the swimming pool to start the day out right. Have a lovely Friday and I'll be back tomorrow. 





Wednesday, November 24, 2021

I'll Be a Whirlwind Today - Too Much To Do!

Today is massively busy. It's my Wednesday - so the usual chores of laundry and housecleaning and picking up a chicken in the afternoon still exist (that chicken might be harder - I might have a VERY long line to purchase one chicken). Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and everything is closed. My local grocery store will also be closed on Friday - so yeah - the lines at the grocers today might be massive. 




I'm hoping to miss the worst of the crowds by shopping 
really early, but I know I'll hit some. I'm guaranteed 
to hit crowds when I return in the afternoon to get my 
chicken for dinner. That might be horrific. One chicken 
and a very long line. 



I'll swim first - it's Wednesday and I'm in the pool for my mile. That's one very good thing. But from there, my agenda shifts. I'm not even bothering to return home. I'm going straight to my local grocery store with my list. From there, no matter how long or short it takes, I'm off to my Co-op where I want to get some of the new yogurt I found and a couple of other things. The lines might be horrid there too, but I think they'll be far less in length. Finally, I'm off to Whole Foods for my non-grain bread and five pieces of fruit. Thank goodness, they have a self-checkout section there, so I'll probably use that. 




I usually use the self check-out at Whole Foods. I've gotten 
quite good at punching in the codes for my fruits. 



After I finally can return home and get everything into the house, I have a special three-hour Zoom call scheduled that I would like to catch, followed by a different one-hour Zoom call. I can glue card groupings together while I'm listening to these. Finally, around 2 pm, I'll breathe a bit. Of course laundry needs to be pigeonholed into all of this. I've already got one load in the washer, but I usually do three loads on Wednesday. At the end of the day I have my usual phone call with Aearwen, something I always look forward to. So, I'll be on the phone or computer a lot today after my expeditions into the grocery shops on the day before Thanksgiving. 


I suspect I'll sleep very well tonight - LOL. 


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I won't do a formal post, just a quick check-in to with all of you a good day. We've got 11:00 am reservations for a nice Thanksgiving meal, and if I have a chicken in the refrigerator from my Wednesday, DH will have the "carcass to pick at" that he requested. We're both hoping we'll have an oven by Christmas. *sigh* Shipping is so *-cked-up* right now. I'm not counting on anything, but I'm certainly hoping - a LOT. I'll catch up with all of your emails and responses late today, and I'll be reading through posts tomorrow, too. I should be back on even keel on Friday, when I go to the shop for the first day of our annual "2-Day After Thanksgiving Blow-Out Sale". 




Our Thanksgiving Day meal will not feature a full roasted 
turkey, but we'll have a nice meal at the restaurant too, I'm 
sure. If I have an oven by Christmas, I'll roast a turkey 
for us then. 



Have an excellent day, be kind, be generous with yourself or your time, and I'll be back for a quick post tomorrow. I treasure each of you - you have enriched my life more than you would ever believe. 




Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It's a Busy Time of the Year - I'm Moving a Mountain, One Shovel at a Time

I was too rushed to get much done on my cards yesterday, but I already know I'm running a bit behind schedule. I need one more element for the card interior, and must decide on that today. To that effect, I'm bringing my entire bin of stamps to the shop with me. I'll try to look through them and choose what I need, then bring the bin back home with me tonight - there's no sense to accumulating tools at the shop. The bin has a home in my craft room (even if I still can't move in there because of all we pulled out of the basement storage room when it flooded in late August). I really need to reclaim that room, and I'll try to get started on that no later than the beginning of next year. 




Tasks that are large and multi-faceted are always 
a mountain to be climbed. But to move a mountain 
of dirt, you need to pick up the shovel and start 
moving it, one shovel, and one wheelbarrow at 
a time. I've got my pile of "to-do's" down to 1/4 
size, but there's still a lot to be done before the cards 
get into the mail. 



I'll finalize my mailing list on Thursday and print out the envelopes. My two-day Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sale begins on Friday, so I don't get Friday off, I have Thanksgiving instead. Tomorrow's schedule will be intense - swimming, straight on to grocery shopping, then a 3-hour Zoom call followed by a 1-hour Zoom call. If I get a lot done on the cards before work on Friday and Saturday, I'll be able to start the final assembly on Sunday. It's going to be several days of intensive work from now until Monday. 




My list doesn't comprise good and bad 
children, my list is mailing addresses for 
my Solstice cards. I still have to check 
it every year, making sure addresses are 
current. 



On today's schedule is hanging the garland at the shop. I'm a believer in allowing every holiday it's own time, so I don't put up the Christmas decorations until just before Thanksgiving. DH and Chickie can deal with the Christmas tree tomorrow. I despise putting trees up and hanging ornaments. Decorated trees are lovely, and if they are real (which the one at the shop is NOT), they smell delightful. However, they're a lot of work, a lot of mess, and have to be well-tended else they become a fire hazard. When it comes to Christmas trees, I'm a bit of a Scrooge. 




I like Christmas trees. More 
specifically, I like real Christmas 
trees. I love that pine scent, I love 
the feel of the branches. But we 
haven't put up any trees at home 
in years. I got totally over it while 
I had multiple shops. After getting 
them all decorated, I wasn't in the 
mood for home trees at all. 



So there you go. Busy as usual is my byline for the next few days. I'll still be posting, and I'll still be in the swimming pool on Wednesday and Friday. I'll be working on this and on that, talking with friends throughout the world, reaching out to friends on DW and LJ through my blog and my cards, and generally having a lovely time being busy, because busy isn't always a bad thing. I hope you have a wonderful day and I'll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, please be kind and leave smiles behind you as you pass today. 


And, would you like a special treat? Go to   https://www.yourclassical.org/mpr  (Minnesota Public Ratio) and click on Cantus singing "Simple Gifts". Cantus, a local men's acapella group, has been a favorite of mine for years and years. This was a beautiful way to start my day today. 







Monday, November 22, 2021

Football, Hockey, Grantchester - It Was a Good Sunday - FINAL CALLOUT FOR CARDS

We had a relaxing Sunday with football, Chipotle, and hockey. For football, the Vikings won by 3 in a thrilling back and forth game with long-time rivals, the Green Bay Packers. It was a see-saw game with both teams playing their utmost and was very entertaining. (The Broncos were on a "bye" week, fortunately, since they haven't been playing well, and just traded away their best player??? Can't figure out why they did that - stupid in my book). 




The Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay games are always 
highly charged because of the cross-border rivalry. 
It was a really well played game and very entertaining. 



The hockey game quite literally came down to the final shot in an overtime shoot-off. We lost, but at least we got one point, and we played really well. It was a very exciting game to watch. At the end of the day we watched the final episode of Season 6 of "Grantchester", a show we adore. We can hardly wait for Season 7 which is in production now. 




The MN Wild were on the second day of a two-day 
double-header with Florida teams. Tampa Bay won the 
Stanley Cup last year, so it was going to be a hard one, 
especially after the Florida Panthers the day before. 
But we pulled out a point and played really, really 
well. We held out own against an excellent team and 
it was a fun game to watch. 



Not that I watched a lot - I listened more than I watched, because I was busy trying to complete Stage 4 of my Holiday Cards, and beginning the final assembly of the interior panels. I can only do six of those at a time, so they will take a bit of time, but I can now do the final planning for the actual card interior as well as the envelope. I usually spend Thanksgiving Day printing out my envelopes, so ... this is the FINAL CALL OUT FOR CARDS. I have a few people I'll be contacting directly because I'm not sure they read LJ or DW any more. I've dropped a few people and have added a few new people, because that's the fun of life. New friends, new contacts. 




 I have a feeling I'll have to double-up on my postage 
this year, but that's OK. I'm pretty happy with how this 
year's card is coming together. So this is it - your final 
chance to get onto the list. If you want a card, let me 
know. I'm cutting off sign-up on Wednesday night. 



So all-in-all, it was a good weekend. This week I'll have Wednesday and Thursday off, and will work Friday and Saturday for our Two-Day Black Friday/Small Business Saturday sale. It's one of only two times a year when we do massive discounts on our products, and we usually do pretty well with the sales days. We'll see how it goes this year - there's really no predicting. I'll finalize that mailing list when I get to the shop and send the email off to my customers who have signed up to receive it. I'm crossing my Rubicon, let's see what comes from it. 




Supposedly Cesar said "alea iacta est" as he crossed 
the Rubicon to begin his march towards Rome. He cast 
his die, I'm casting my own. I have deadlines and still 
have a lot to do. Some years I'm finalizing my cards 
on Thanksgiving Day. This year I will still have quite 
a bit more to do, but I am finalizing my mailing list. 



Have a lovely Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. On tomorrow's agenda - making the store holiday-ready - mounting my tinsel garland and putting up my wreaths. DH and Chickie get to deal with the tree on Wednesday - something I abhor dealing with. Have an excellent Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. Now ... off to the swimming pool. 




Saturday, November 20, 2021

Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Window Saga in Pictures

Today is November 20th, also known as Transgender Day of Remembrance. The total number of transgender people killed over the past year is more than 450 people. I can't post everyone's names, but I will link to the Human Rights Council listing of the 46 transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who died since January 1st in the USA. Please allow your thoughts to turn to these people who, world-wide, face a very hard fight for acceptance in their countries. I invite you to click on a random name and look at the photo of that person. This was a vibrant individual who might have made incredible contributions to our world, cut down because of hatred and prejudice against them for NO legitimate reason at all. Here's your link: https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/marking-the-deadliest-year-on-record-human-rights-campaign-announces-release-of-annual-report-on-violence-against-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-people



Following the recommendation I made above, let me introduce 
you to EJ Boykin, aka Novaa Watson, 23 years old and killed 
in June this year. As happens too often, he was misgendered in 
some of the media and police reports. He lived in Lynchburg, 
Virginia. 



Now, on to the next group, I promised photos of my window repair, so here they are. 




It was a blustery, very cold day. They arrived, carefully 
looked things over and removed the cardboard we had 
over the inside. After looking at the rod iron grating 
we have as well as the actual mounting strips for the 
window, the lead decided that removing the grate might 
not be necessary. 






They removed weatherstripping and caulk from the front, then 
came inside. The second person seemed to be almost 
superfluous, except his job was to hold the pane in place as 
all of the supports were being removed. It actually was a 
pretty important role, but it was freezing cold outside so I'm 
quite sure it wasn't a favorite job. 







After the caulking had been removed, they began pulling 
off the metal weatherstripping. They had pulled out the 
multitude of screws holding the metal in position. Progress 
is being made. LOL








That job of holding the pane into place became more and 
more important as the bracing was removed. Soon the only 
thing holding the pane into position was one skinny very 
young man who (as I told Chickie) should have been 
applying to Hogwart's School of Wizardry because he would 
have fit right in. 







Finally the old pane was removed completely and carried to 
one of the two vans. The goal was to lean it against the van, 
the reality was the pane shattered into thousands of pieces 
on the sidewalk and into the curbside. OOPS! I was relieved 
that hadn't happened when the window was in place, it would 
have been a massive mess. 








After more cleanup and prep work, they were ready to install 
the new pane of glass. Chickie and I were huddled at the front 
of the store, both of us wearing our winter coats. The wind was 
blowing in through the large open space. I was grateful 
it was winter so we didn't get any birds or insects into the 
store through the large opening, but we had to deal
with the cold. Here they are almost 
ready to pick up the new pane and put it into position. 







They very carefully lifted the pane into position, made some 
minor adjustments, and started replacing the metal stripping, 
screwing in new bolts into the pre-drilled holes. I suspect the 
original pane had been there since the 1950's or so, so it was 
a bit of a touchy job, but the worst was the size of the pane - 
84" x 80" - huge! After all of the screws were tightened, the 
lead put silicone sealant all around on the exterior, while 
the younger flunky began collecting and cleaning up the 
glass from the shattered pane. 





It took until early afternoon for the store to warm up again from the 30 minutes or so when we'd had no glass in the window, but eventually things returned to normal. I still need to put up some of the signage that we had removed, but our "OPEN" sign is up, turned on and working. I did that first thing. I went outside later in the afternoon to sweep up some pieces of glass on the sidewalk that had been missed. I decided to ignore the shards in the street. So ... the long saga is almost over. I still need to get the final invoice from the glass company. It wasn't emailed to me yet, so I'll be phoning them on Monday to get that going. I need to send it on to my insurance company. Then I'll consider the saga complete. 


Have a truly excellent weekend and I'll be back early Monday before I run off to the pool. Please, look at that list of people in the beginning of today's post and click on a random name. Just reading about that person will help cement them as a person worthy of respect and someone whose potential will never be realized. Mourn for that person because they deserved a full and rich life. 




Friday, November 19, 2021

Upgraded By Necessity and the Window Saga Wraps Up

I wanted to get a duplicate of my current blender yesterday morning, and the Target website had stated they had two available at the location I used. Unfortunately, although I examined the aisle of blenders very carefully, my specific model was not among them.  I ended up with the next model up - the 1400 Watt instead of the 1200 Watt I had at home. I still get two more drink containers which is handy, and the blade is the same, which is also good because it does a good job. The most important thing was the main pitcher and that was 72 ounces, just what I wanted. It was $40 more *le sigh*, but that can't be helped. I'll start saving for a Vitamix IF they have one with the container size I need. 




I got the Ninja Pro 1400 Watt system. I'm not 100% 
sure if it comes with the food processor bowl on 
the far right or not, I haven't unpacked it yet. I have 
it sitting in the back of my car until later today. I know 
the food processor bowl costs more than $60, so if 
it comes with that, it might be worth the extra $40 
the system cost me. Still, it was an expense I really 
didn't need, especially around the holidays. 



Why is the container size so important? There are a lot of blenders out there, and they have a variety of containers with amounts vastly different. The recipe I've developed for my Ogre Juice (Alkagizer) makes over 72 ounces and fits four storage containers perfectly. Each of the storage containers fills one of my travel glasses perfectly. It means I don't have to be bothered blending every day or two. I can do a batch of four and if I pace things well, I only have to mess my kitchen up one or two times a week. 




This is what my front window bottom had looked like 
after I had the glass company silicone a second sheet 
above the shattered glass. Without that, with our 
lowering temperatures and harsh winds, we probably 
would have completely lost the window before the 
new pane was ready to install. 



We have a new front window, I'm delighted. The guys were at the shop around 9:15 am or so, and got right to work, pulling the weather stripping away from the old glass and removing the old pane from the opening. I had originally been told it would require three people because of the size of the pane, but we only had two, and they seemed to manage just fine ... except when taking the old pane to rest against the side of one of the trucks. 


(I sent some photos to my email to share with all of you, but they haven't come through yet and I have to leave for the pool in 15 minutes. Photos tomorrow if all goes well). 


As soon as they had put the pane against the truck, it shattered, scattering pieces of glass from large to tiny across a wide area. It was quite dramatic and quite the mess as well - LOL. Of course, that left us with no window in that large space. Chickie went back and grabbed our coats. We huddled in our coats for the next half hour while the opening was cleaned and prepped, and the new pane was carefully brought over. 


When they lifted the new pane into position I admit I held my breath. If this had broken at all, we would be stuck with boarding the store up for more than a month while a new pane was being made. Fortunately, they did a great job placing the pane. There is one small spot where I might be getting some air leakage, but I might just caulk that up a little bit to help keep the cold air out. It should be a pretty minor thing. 


The pane looks lovely. I did get our "Hours of Operation" sign updated and mounted in the late afternoon, and I'm re-doing the other signs we need today and mounting them Saturday morning. We also usually have a large "BEADS" sign that we put in the middle of the pane. Right now I left that off, but we'll be replacing that on Saturday also. It brings in a lot of customers, so I think it's important to have it there, even though it blocks full view of the street. 


That was my excitement for Thursday. Today I'll polish the liquid silver I didn't have time to do on Wednesday, work on the new signage for the shop, and do what I can on Stage 4 of my holiday cards. I'm not completely ready to go on all of them, but I can do part of them at least, and start joining the four stages into a single folio. Step-by-step, that's how this goes. I also need to clean the shower, it really needs a good scrub. 


Have an excellent Friday, I'm heading off to the pool for a delightful swim. I'm doing my mile, but I still need to increase my speed. That's what I'll be concentrating on over the next few weeks. Enjoy your day and please, stay healthy and be kind.