Going back in time

Now this story starts in about 1984.  We lived in Cheyenne Wyoming, and there was a blizzard and a lot of snow on the ground.  I could see my neighbor unloading groceries from the back of her car which she had driven across her yard up to her kitchen door.  Having moved from Arizona just months before, I thought this was absolute craziness!  But now, years later, I could easily see myself doing the same thing.

That winter became boring confined to the indoors.  But there was a saving grace, I love to do embroidery and sew.  I was lucky enough to be living in Australia when I was 12-years-old.  I went to an all-girls school, and back then the school only had 2 electric sewing machines.  The rest were all manual treadle machines.  So we had to take turns getting to use the electric machine, but did most of our sewing on the treadle machines.  I say this was ‘lucky’ because it taught me the basics.  Not to rely on the machine to be able to do the work for you.  We learned how to put in a zipper without a zipper foot, let alone make a buttonhole by hand.

When my children were growing up I did a lot of sewing.  I also used that sewing machine (and other crafting talents) to make extra money so I was able to be home with my kids.  I did everything from sewing outfits to cutting out wood shapes and tole painting.  My biggest sellers were little sailor-like outfits, and wooden garden bunny cutouts.  During Frontier Days I made little wooden magnets with the cowboy on horseback that sold like hotcakes.  Now you have websites like Etsy where people like me would be able to sell all sorts of things.

So much of my sewing/crafting paraphernalia has been boxed up for years.  But more recently I have been digging thing out and getting back into it.  I made the youngest a book bag awhile back, but let’s just say it can be a problem when you are trying to get too many layers of fabric sewn together.  So we made a visit to a local upholsterer and had him sew it up.

jj_bag_9191Well, to get to the point of this story, for Christmas this year I wanted to do something handmade for my future daughter-in-law.  She recently graduated from college, and is now a school teacher. So I thought to make her a fun bag to carry all her teaching stuff in.  I went digging through all I had and found a pattern, material and thread; even a loaded bobbin.  The pattern called for quilted fabric.  Most ‘quilted’ material would be 3 layers of fabric, top patterned, filling layer, and a plain color backing fabric.  What I had was a thicker material that had been quilted.  So I wasn’t able to follow the first direction of taking the fabric apart to use the patterned layer as binding.  No problem, I have tons of binding, but all ugly . . . jj_bag_9294so off to the fabric store.  OMG! (the youngest hates it when I use OMG)  Have you seen the prices of fabric?  How can anyone afford to ‘craft’ anymore?  All I bought was some ribbon, a few iron-on decorations, cording, and $14 gone!  If I had bought the fabric, let alone the pattern, ouch!

So I have come to a conclusion, so many people complain that we spend our money on things made in other countries.  The simple fact is that especially in this economy we can’t afford to buy locally.  Let’s get honest, to buy everything to make this bag would have cost about $35.  I could pick up something comparable at a local dollar store for about $10.  Yes, this is probably better made, will last longer, and has the added touch of being made just for someone special.  But, most people would look at it from a more practical side.  Why spend $35+ and hours of time to produce something you could pick up at a store for so much less?  If you ask me, it sucks.

Let it Snow!

Yes, it is coming down in buckets.  Although that really doesn’t give a true representation does it.  Rain comes down in buckets; snow is more like a busted feather pillow.  But that doesn’t sound grammatically correct either . . . well anyway, here is my anecdote for the day.iz_shoveling_reduced_9749

The youngest has been wishing for snow for ages.  So this morning we woke up to it and the thought of bundling up to go out and shovel, well YUCK!  Then I had a thought.  I knew she was awake snuggling in her bed.  So I went to her doorway and said “you need to get out in the driveway and clean up your mess so we can get the car out.”  She looked at me with a very puzzled look.  I said “look out the window.”  She did and a happy yelp came out of her mouth.  Within minutes she was dressed and heading out the door.  I vaguely remember those days when the idea of shoveling the driveway was fun.  It actually wasn’t that long ago.  I used to bundle up with the kids and all head out.  We had numerous shovels, and have to take turns with the best one.  Now, I must admit, the best enjoyment is looking out the window at the youngest.  What I treasure more is her enthusiasm and pure joy to do it.

Christmas Eve Is Here

iz_tree_9297Our little tree.  This year with all the goings on in our house no one was up to the big tree.  Making room for it, trying to dig it out and all the decorations in the garage.  Things were just too out of place to think about it.  So the youngest and I found a little live tree.  We hit a few stores to find little things to use as ornaments, and Hubby happened to run across a string of lights in the garage.  We now have a special little tree that we all love.

I had an absolutely wonderful birthday on the 21st.  It was little bits of joy all day long starting with my son calling me just after 8am.  Instead of having a party with everyone over, I got to have time with each of them in wonderful ways.  Of course everyone has been giving me a hard time about the Mayan Calendar saying the world was ending, and it is all my fault because it is my birthday.  But the best part was when the wild child, youngest, and Hubby started singing that song, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and Happy Birthday.”  They had me in stiches.  Then, we had decided on no cake.  But they couldn’t let it go, so while I was talking on the phone with my brother, Hubby and wild child made a cake in a coffee mug in the microwave!  It wasn’t bad; a little dry, but with a little chocolate syrup poured all over it was pretty good!

The other special thing about this Christmas is that it is going the same way my birthday did.  As most know, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  So Christmas is when the kids can go to the significant others to celebrate with their families.  So we have them come by a day or two before.  This year work schedules conflicted, so yesterday our son and fiancée came for breakfast, and the oldest and her fiancé came late for cheesecake.  We opened presents, laughed, and enjoyed being together.

Now I sit with Sarah Brightman turned up loud on the stereo.  She has the most beautiful voice ever.  She is singing “Beautiful”, a song that can make anyone feel better about who they are.  Merry Christmas to everyone.  Have a wonderful time with all the people you love.  But I send the most important message of love to my cousins in Canada.  We have a new angel watching over us today.  We will miss you Jack.

December 20th Part 2

Ok, so I made a statement about tomorrow (see previous post).  I even put it on Facebook, but do you think I will ever live it down that the Mayan calendar ended on my birthday?  There are so many theories out there, but I am more inclined to go with the simplest, they got bored and stopped.  I mean get real!  Think about it, hundreds of years from now when our calendars are dug up, they will think the world ends every year on December 31st!  Ok, maybe not.  But the simple fact is that if the world is going to end tomorrow, what are we going to do about it?  The world will have ended.  So what is important to me is today.  As it turns out I am having a birthday lunch with my girls today.  We had hoped to do it tomorrow, but 2 of them have to work.  So today my mother is taking me, the oldest, wild child, and the youngest to a fancy restaurant for lunch.  This place is posh.  My mother likes to take me every year as a special treat.  But we haven’t gone the last few years, so we are making up by taking the girls as well.

After lunch wild child and the youngest will head to work, and the oldest and I will go shopping.  We are almost done with the Christmas shopping, so we can enjoy ourselves.  But that does bring something else to mind.  There are those out there getting all bent out of shape with people using “Xmas” instead of Christmas.  I think I want to make a statement about that today as well.

Christmas came about to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Xmas is referring to the holiday involving Santa, not Jesus Christ.  Now let me elaborate:

  • Christmas is the time of year that we look to our religion, whatever it may be, that pays homage to the Son of God.
  • Xmas is the time of year we are rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to get everything finished in time for Santa to arrive.
  • Christmas is the time we give thanks for all the wonderful joy in our lives.
  • Xmas is when our bank accounts take a real beating.
  • Christmas is when we give thanks we have a bank account that can provide Xmas.
  • Xmas is when our children’s eyes are filled with joy and happiness as they open that special gift.
  • Christmas is when we get to marvel at our children’s eyes filled with that joy and happiness.

So please, don’t beat me up for using Xmas.  It is the shorthand of a busy mom dealing with the Santa based holiday.  When referring to the birth of Christ, I will forever and always use the word Christmas.

wreath7

Christmas is coming

I just realized that I haven’t posted anything since December 4th.  Where has the time gone?  I have tried to think about what I have been doing the past 11 days.  Well the obvious, getting things ready for Christmas.  We are very much focusing on either making gifts, or selecting things people want rather than just to have something to wrap.  The biggest challenge has been the youngest.

Yes, believe it or not the hardest one to buy for is the 16-year-old girl.  She is not your typical teenage girl.  She is not materialistic or bratty; she actually enjoys spending time with her parents.  Last night we played Jenga and she got the biggest kick out of her Dad’s goofing off.  I know, isn’t it wonderful!  Her Christmas list consists of music, books, and reloading her Starbuck’s card.  She isn’t into designer clothes, and doesn’t carry a purse.  She wears make-up, but not excessively, and doesn’t do much to her nails but shape them.  Her hair is down to her waist, and oh so beautiful.  She doesn’t drive yet because she doesn’t want the responsibility of having her friends in the car with her, or the pressure of being able to, but refusing.  When we asked her if she would like a Nook, she responded that she didn’t really like the new one.  But if I wanted to get her Dad a new one she would love his old first generation one.  Arrrrg!

Last week was also our Breast Cancer Task Force Christmas Breakfast at Mimi’s.  I am in charge of the photographing, so I am up wandering around during the present exchange.  Now we do the exchange where everyone brings a present and they all go on the table.  We each draw a number and pick a present in order.  We can either pick from the table, or steal from someone who already opened a gift.  Each gift can only be stolen 3 times.  In the past I have never fared well.  When I did get a gift I liked, it was inevitable stolen.  Well this time was different.  I was #9, and #8 had just stolen a gift for the 2nd time, and I liked it.  So I grinned and stole it!  The rest of the exchange was wonderful because I knew I had a gift I got to take home.  The thing I love about this is that I never would have bought such a thing.  It is a hanging tapestry of a snowman that has blinking lights all around him, and I love it!

The Kitchen continues . . .

If you notice the bar and shelf look different, it is because the bar is oiled, but the shelf hasn’t been yet.

Well we ran into a hiccup.  When Hubby was installing the upper shelf the bracket popped off the metal plate the shelf attached to.  I know these things happen, but it means another trip to Ikea.  Now this has its good points and bad points.  It is a 45 minute drive and on busy freeway.  Not exactly something I enjoy.  Now getting to spend the day with my oldest, shop there, and better yet have lunch (they have really good Swedish meatballs), that is fun.  It is always hard to walk out of there without spending money!

The wall dividing the kitchen from the living/dining room in 2000

Now I am looking at stoves, but there are so many to pick from.  We are restricted by the size of our kitchen.  You must understand this kitchen started out much smaller.  When we bought this house there was a wall of mirrors where the new counter is, and the kitchen was very small and closed in.  We knocked down walls and updated it to make the best use of the space.  We are looking for a slide-in stove, with the rings set up to use a griddle on.  Right now we have electric, and have thought about putting in gas.  So we have to decide if we want to convert to gas before we get a new stove.

Wow, in looking for the ‘before’ pictures you really can see the difference.  This after picture was taken while still a little under construction, so I guess when this round of remodeling is done I will have to take new pictures.

Thinking it through . . .

I really thought the bar could have been replaced in a weekend.  But Hubby has been working so many hours this week, it has crawled along.  But we are getting there and hopefully it will be done this weekend.  Well the bar part at least.

We have spent a lot of time trying to decide what to do below it.  We have come up with a plan for cabinetry, and glass front doors to match what we did on the office door with the blue glass.  Wild child works at an Arts and Craft store.  It isn’t one of those chain ones, oh no.  This place is a treasure.  You walk in and it is floor to ceiling crafting stuff.  Everything and anything you could imagine.  You could get lost in that place and not come out for hours.  Well they have stained glass, and some very beautiful glass.  So when we were trying to figure out what to do with that extra space above the door, the glass came to mind.

Now to transfer that idea.  I don’t know if I want to go with painting the cabinets white though . . . ???