Sunday, December 1, 2013

Handmade Tree

Today as we dragged out the ornaments and decorations from the attic I had a thought.  Can you guess what my plan is?  This year the only ornaments hanging on our tree are handmade. This is something I have wanted to do for awhile. Now, even thought the tree is not as full as it would usually be, only handmade will be displayed. I love it sooo much!!  I must give a special shout out to some of the people who created these ornaments, often sent as gifts. Dad and Aunt Gloria have sent to most, and the BEST ornaments! The beautiful Santa in the first photo is a new addition from Etsy this year. Check out Myriam Powell Designs for some amazing work. This one was needle felted, and it is just incredible in person.

I won't bore you with all the pictures. Some of the ornaments were made by the kids when they were little, and others were bought at craft fairs. I just might get rid of the regular decorations and stick with Handmade Holiday forever! Last photo is G's room after she hung some lights that were given to her. They are made with soda bottles and a regular string of Christmas lights. They look very cool!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Space 2

Space 2
It’s been a while, but I’m back. The new business office for my husband is open and humming along. I think it was a good decision, but only time will tell. Working from home has its perks, but quiet and privacy are not among them. That’s not even counting the effect on the rest of the family. I really missed the chance to come home and have an hour to myself at the end of the workday, before the crowds descended. While he had a lot of time alone, I had NONE. (except the 20 minutes driving home from work. Going to work I have a sleepy teen with me, so it is kind of like being alone!).  It has only been a couple of weeks, and its Open Enrollment so he has been on the road anyway.

I had a fantasy that a business office would mean that I would get the room to myself. Not so. But I got my own little space, so no complaints. My husband left quite a bit of his work stuff in there, and I still need the storage and computer/printer for the online sales.  It looks pretty funny in there actually. My husband has a thing about using what you have. (upcycling?) Last year we modified an old swing set he had built years ago and made a beautiful container garden. 

This time he insisted that we use the raised platform bed that was already in the room as a way to get storage for the online stock and shipping materials. It looks terrible, but I must admit it works well. (Until I need something up there. We’ll see how much he likes it after he has to climb up there and look around, LOL) The Ikea bed is like 7 feet high with a desk underneath. So he just put lots of stuff up there out of the way. Whenever I sit at that computer I feel like I’m in a cave. He is quite pleased though, and it keeps everything in one place.  

So now I can have a little time alone at the end of the day, my sewing space, and things are out of the way. What could be better??
Stay tuned for my next devious plot to get my kitchen cabinets repainted. I like the idea of leaving the top cabinets off white, and painting only the bottom ones another color. I’m thinking about a Mustard Yellow (not Frenchs!), Slate Gray or Olive Green. Its only paint, right? Lets see if he goes for it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


This makes me feel ridiculously happy!    I finally got my little piece of creative real estate back. Its been almost 2 years since I could use my sewing machine in a dedicated spot. Did I mention how happy this tiny little spot makes me? (it really is the "little things" as they say :)) Want a tour of my crafty corner?
I have shelves. In the few hours since I took this photo the shelves of become much more packed. It seems I had bits of sewing, embroidery and knitting supplies stashed all over the house. Its all here now, except for the "Knitting Dresser". That won't fit in here.
I have a little bulletin board for ideas and such. I stuck this up there for fun. My boys when they were little. Its fun to see the men they are becoming.
The top I was in the middle of when I was booted form my sewing spot a couple of years ago. I hope I can figure out exactly where I left off (and that it will still fit!).   This little bit of space came about after reorganizing and switching a kid bedroom and my husband's office. When he became self employed and needed a real home office I got displaced.  Now, we are still both in the small room, along with my online sales stock, but it is in a better configuration. We are also considering renting an office in an office building, which could mean the room will be ALL MINE!!!!! Wow, that would be amazing.  There are a lot of people in our house, so getting some space of my very own is great!! So I'll be anxiously waiting to see how that plan pans out. I still won't be able to sew while he is in the working, because even with the quiet machine it makes quite a bit of noise.    Luckily I've had lots of knitting to keep me busy when I could not get to the sewing machine.  Life is good!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

One Size Does Not Fit All

I am so tired of this “college for everyone” mentality in the US.  College is not for everyone. It’s a fallacy that all children can learn and be on a certain level in the same amount of time. We have now screwed up an entire generation of kids with this ridiculous notion. There are so many young people who were pushed toward college, took loans and now are in huge debt, who probably were not even “college material”. As you know you can’t tell the bank, “Well I never finished college, so I don’t actually need that student loan. Thanks anyway, but I won’t be paying it back.” I don’t say that to be mean. When we used to provide vocational education/training in high schools kids could graduate and be college or work ready based on the courses they chose to take. Now, its college and career ready, which still means college, because as we know vocational training is gone from most regular schools. I have news for you Arne Duncan. Many kids should not be sent off to college, based on loans they can’t repay, to train for jobs that are becoming obsolete. This attitude that everyone must be prepared to go college is bad. Don't we need skilled trades people?  
 I say we stop changing the education system every year or two, and try something long enough to see if it works. Common Core has some serious issues, and I am afraid the disaster that is Secondary Education in America is about to get a whole lot worse.  No one asked my opinion, but if they did I would say this: Start with a vocational/trade focus in regular high schools. The middle and top students are going to go college anyway. We don’t really have to worry about them. It’s the rest of the kids we need to catch before they fall through the cracks. Sure its all about rigor, but why can’t the rigor be in a subject that will be useful for a middle class person working in a trade that allows them to live a comfortable life and support themselves?    Rant complete, that is all!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dear Friends Obsessed with Football,
I know it’s THAT time again. I see you all in your special shirts  (and some of you with hats too).  I understand the desire to participate in an activity you love, really, I do. What I don’t understand is why you don’t understand that not everyone loves football.  At work I was gently reminded that I’m supposed to wear my college colors on Fridays.  The premise is that it will excite the students about going to college. I’m pretty sure though that it is just a secret plot related to college football. I’m not sure if my college had colors.  To be honest I’m not even sure if they had football.  I now live in the South, which seems extremely college football oriented. Maybe attending college in New England prevented me from developing this affliction?  I hope you enjoy the season, but please excuse me from the festivities. Thanks
PS: I wish that everyone could get that excited about academics.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stormy Saturday

Stormy rainy Saturdays are perfect for movie watching. I didn’t get to watch any today. If I had had my way though, I would have curled up on the sofa with my 3 most perfect rainy day movies. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Cinema Paradiso, and Truly Madly Deeply would have been screened in a private showing just for me. These films all make me cry, which is something I prefer to do alone. It was just that kind of day outside. I did have fun though watching my son teaching my daughter to play her new trumpet. Seeing them work together toward a shared goal was awesome. I’m very impressed with his patience and ability to break it down for her. She was very cooperative (no small thing!) and excited. I think this is going to be a great activity for them to do together once she knows a bit more. Life is good!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Then and Now

I recently found an old photo of my husband and I right after we started dating. When I look at the image of myself I see someone so young and free from the burdens and worries of life. I was 26 so I suppose I must have had some burdens and worries, but I can’t remember what they were. I may have worried about stuff like boyfriends and break ups. There might have been some trouble coming up with enough for rent at times, but certainly nothing major had gone wrong in my life to that point.
Now about 20 years on I have learned some important lessons about how the universe works. Although my troubles don’t seem so bad compared to many others, they were mine and I felt them each acutely.  When I look at that picture of myself so young, fresh and full of possibilities I feel a little sad.  Just a little. It’s true that I had a lot to learn, and some real heart breaks coming my way.  I suppose that it's good we don’t know about that ahead of time because we might just give up. Life is good, and I know now that is true partly because of the hard stuff that we have to go through which changes us in some important ways. When you look at your children do you regret knowing about all the ways the world is going to hurt them?