Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Hero!

My Front Porch

It is officially 3 days since the blizzard and my road is STILL not plowed! Around 8:30pm I caught a glimpse of the amber flashing light of the plow and got sooooooooo excited, but alas my road was not on his list. Shucks! I wonder if they will return? 2 blocks in each direction is plowed, but for some inexplicable reason they skipped my little corner of the world.
My Hero! Hoo-Ray!!!
Late afternoon my knight in shining armor... OK, actually... my hero in jeans... arrived via snowblower to help dig out at least one car. Come to think of it... it is actually his car. Hmmmm. No seriously, he's letting me drive it until I get insurance on mine again (another story for another time, I promise). He carved a deep path from his house to mine... on the road. I can't even begin to tell you how appreciative the neighbors were. They could FINALLY leave their houses and walk around. Dogs could 'do their business', everyone without a lake view could come down and see the snow... and lament the road isn't plowed yet.

Sooooooo... what have I been doing for the past 2 days??? I napped a little, cleaned a little, did some paperwork, found places for some boxes that were thrown in my bedroom during the move, threw out a bunch of old papers, and.... made some paper beads.

I joined a YAHOO GROUP called ART CHARMS. Once a month they host a swap with a theme... all have to be homemade mixed media art charms. January 25th is the deadline to have 30 charms shipped to the hostess for a Valentine's themed swap. I haven't designed my charm yet... but have decided to start by making these paper beads. There are thousands of tutorials on YOU TUBE on how to make them, however I felt compelled to take pictures of the process in case you were interested.

Step 1: Tear out a magazine page with colors you like. Mark the page along one edge in 1/2" increments. Mark the opposite edge in 1/2" increments also, but start 1/4" in. Connect the markings to draw long triangles and cut. I use a paper cutter to make it easier, but scissors work well too.

Step 2: Using a toothpick (or a piece of spaghetti) begin wrapping the strip, starting with the wide end. To start, roll the top edge around the toothpick and gently tuck the edge in using your thumb nail. Keep the tension steady as you roll. Roll up to the last inch or so.

Step 3: Place glue on the last inch and finish rolling. I use a product called Mod Podge as glue, just because that is all I could find. A glue stick, Elmer's, or any craft glue that dries clear would work just as well.

Step 4: Gently slide finished bead off of toothpick.

Step 5: Pick bead up with a pin (or another toothpick), brush on a glossy sealer, like Diamond Glaze (found at Michael's and Jo-Ann's) then stick in a piece of styrofoam to dry.

Use these as you would any other bead. The narrower and longer you cut your triangle, the rounder the bead will be.

Don't worry... I'll post a photo of the finished charms before I send them out. I'm thinking of using an old page of sheet music to paper-mache a small heart to dangle from the paper bead, but you never know... these things have a way of designing themselves and maybe the charm doesn't want to go in that direction :-)

I'll leave you with a few pictures of my first Christmas in my new home.

Tin Man from Wizard of Oz

Peanut Stone Fireplace

Monday, December 27, 2010


I thought I parked my car in the driveway???

YIKES! Speak about being SNOWED IN... I really am. We got hit with a blizzard yesterday and it didn't stop until all of the doors and windows were covered half way.

It started innocently enough around 10:00am on the 26th. A few snow flakes fluttered to the ground. I went outside and took a detailed look at my driveway. A friend and neighbor has a snow blower and said I should note where things are and to pick up any rocks so he wouldn't break a window when he came to blow the snow away. 

Later that day I walked a few houses down the block to spend the day with a friend cooking... our Sunday tradition. Black Bean Salsa Soup and Hungarian Goulash were the items to make this week. We cooked all day... and watched football... as the snow kept falling and the wind kept blowing. Silly me was waiting for the weather to calm down a bit before heading home. By 10:00pm I realized it was 'now or never'... so I bundled up, slapped on some chap stick, pulled on my boots and gloves and headed in to the storm. The only part of me assaulted by the elements was my nose.

Going down the walkway wasn't too difficult as he had shoveled the walk twice that day. However, once I hit the snow drifts on the side by the street, I was in snow up to my knees. Half way home a huge gust of wind knocked me down. I couldn't get up! I was laughing so hard. Every time I put a hand on the ground to help push me up, it went right through the snow, straight down in to nothingness. Here I was, outside in a blizzard, in the dark, all by myself, rolling around in the snow laughing my head off. I finally got under control and used my downhill skiing skills and got to my feet. At this point I am totally covered head to toe in snow.

I continue to stomp my way home. What a workout!!! I'm lifting my legs so high to clear the snow... I feel like a marching soldier. Finally I get to my house and turn in to the driveway. I have to go in the back door because the front has a deadbolt with no key. So around I go. Uh oh!! The snow drift between the car and the house is deeper than my waist. Now what??? Well... I've come this far... I'm not stopping now. I grab on to the car door handle and pull myself through the drift. 

AAAAACCCCKKKKK!!!! The back door is WIDE OPEN and the kitchen is filled with SNOW!!! O!M!G! Where's the dog??? No one has been home since 2pm... it is now 10:30. The door has been open all day by the looks of it. 

"Darla, where are you?" "Where are you sweetie pie?"

I stomp through the snow in the kitchen and race up the stairs, "No, not in Lauren's room." 
"There you are!" Darla is all cozy and comfy wrapped in my comforter in the middle of my bed. Her sleepy eyes look up at me wondering what is wrong.

I go back downstairs and when I look at the kitchen again I begin to giggle. It is so out of context to see 6 inches of snow on the floor... then I begin to laugh again. My phone rings... it's Lauren wanting me to come help her. She is one block from home and can't get any further. She asks me to come help push her car to the side of the road so she can leave it there and walk the rest of the way home. Instead... a kindly neighbor is there and offers his help. I unlock the front door (so she doesn't have to wade through the waist high drift) and wait for her to come around the corner. 

Heeeee!  Heeee! Ha! Ha! Ha! Lauren is covered in snow and her bar makeup has gotten wet and is dripping down her face. Hysterical!!! She looks like she is melting!!!

I clean the snow out of the kitchen. Realizing I have a problem with the backdoor lock... I use my Kitchen Aid mixer as a door stop to keep the door shut. We both change out of our sopping wet clothes and hang them to dry. 

My bed is snugly warm thanks to Darla. It's been a wild adventure this evening... and I'm exhausted. ZZZZZZzzzzzz.....

This morning I woke up to find my bedroom window blocked with snow. I'm on the second floor for heaven's sake!!! The wind blew the snow up between the houses and I guess my screen caught the flakes. The three windows at the front of my room are clear. I jump out of bed and take a look. WOW!!!! You can no longer see the street. The snow glistens from my front door straight to the lake.

Icicles drip from the gutters, all the animals are quiet. Until the plows come through no one can shovel their driveways. Lauren and I call out of work... even though a State of Emergency has been called. Whoopie!!! A snow day!!! I love snow days!!!!

Well, it's almost 8:30pm... and the plows haven't been through yet. I wonder if we will be snowed in for another day???? It wouldn't bother me if we were. I enjoy the peaceful quiet... and an excuse provided by Mother Nature to not have to go out.

I wish you all a peaceful New Year filled with laughter and joy.
Mother Nature's Winter Jewelry


Happy Holidays!!!

Stephanie showed me a picture of a yellow ribbon wreath she fell in love with. I bought a bunch of ribbon and a wire wreath form then 'went at it'. After a few false starts I figured it out and came up with this fluffy Christmas wreath. I can't wait to make it in tons of fun colors for all different occasions. Can't you just see it in pastels for a baby shower? White and Silver for a wedding or anniversary? School colors for a graduation? The combinations are ENDLESS!! Keep an eye on my ETSY store for them. In a few weeks I'll post a tutorial to make them your self.

Christmas has come and gone. It was fun, busy, crazy and fantastic.  Actually... The Hathaway/Hunter Christmas was held on Christmas Eve to free up the 25th for visiting other relatives and friends. In a way that makes it harder on me... having a retail store means I'm busy with the last minute frantic shoppers. However, on the other hand it make the 25th easier and stress free.

I forgot to take a picture of the dinner... Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster. Again I used an Ina Garten recipe and was not disappointed. Creamy goodness with chunks of lobster... YUM!
Oh... that reminds me.... I MUST tell you about my shopping troubles the day before!!!

I stopped in Trader Joe's to pick up some delicious pfeffernuse (German spice cookies) that are just to die for! I purchased a few other items including 2 bottles of wine. Next stop was Costco to buy the lobster... and a few other items (how can anyone go to Costco and NOT pick up a few more things?). Last stop for the night was Wegman's to finish the food shopping. My tired, aching feet were happy to be home... at 10:30pm.

As I emptied the car... in the freezing cold wind... I was wondering where all of this stuff was going to fit in my teeny, tiny kitchen with a minuscule refrigerator.  The cookies went on top of the fridge... the macaroni could stay on the counter, cheese in the cheese drawer, wine should be chilled... hmmmm... I could have sworn I purchased two bottles of wine, not one. Oh well... and the lobster should go in the fridge too... the lobster.... where in the heck is the lobster??? Ugh! I must have left it in the car. I trudge back out and take a look. Hmmm... it's too dark, I can't really see in the back seat. I go back and get a flashlight. Hmmm... no lobster, no where. I can't even smell it. Uh-Oh! Where is the lobster???? Ack!!!! I just spent $30 on lobster and I can't find it!!! Where could it possibly have gone????

It was too late in the evening to call the store. I would have to wait 'til morning. I checked my receipt just to make sure I paid for it. Yes... I did. Then I decided to check the other receipt to see how many bottles of wine I purchased. Yup... just as I thought... two bottles. What's going on?

Just as I was falling in to that peaceful slumber mode my eyes flicked open. I know where the lobster is!!! Still in the cart at Costco!!! For some strange reason I remember seeing a bunch of wadded up plastic bags in my cart. I even commented to myself about it. It wasn't wadded up plastic bags at all... it was my $30 worth of lobster!!! AAAAHHHHHH!

Early next morning I drove back to Costco to check the carts. Darn... they bring all of the carts in overnight so no one steals them. I won't bore you with the few hours I spent on the phone with a couple of rude Costco employees... but I stopped by Costco on my way home from work to ask 'face-to-face' if my lobster showed up at all. The answer was No, but the customer service person looked up my account, saw that I really did purchase lobster the night before, and replaced the missing product. Costco really didn't have to do that, but I am very happy they did otherwise I was going to serve plain ol' mac and cheese on Christmas Eve. Somewhere here in town some family is dining on my lobster this holiday season. I hope they enjoyed it.

And the wine??? Trader Joe's had the bottle up at the customer service desk waiting for the owner (me) to claim it. The cashier forgot to put it in my bag... and I didn't notice.

All's well that ends well. A great time was had by all... and the dinner was DELICIOUS!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Thank heavens I have an hour drive home from the store. That is my 'decompression' time. My mind wanders to the events of the day and tries to put it all in perspective. It's a time to slow down and reflect on what actually transpired that day. Who said what... why they said it... what promises did I make to customers that I need to act on... what change do I need to get at the bank the next morning for the registers... does the Post Office have enough stamps to start the day... what time do I have to get up in the morning and what is the first thing I have to do at work the next day. On and on it goes. Sometimes an hour just isn't enough.

Welcome to the wonderful world of retail... during the holiday season. Chicklet Books is closing at the end of the month so we have the added stress of selling all of the fixtures and figuring out what to do with the left over inventory... all while keeping the store fresh looking... answering 100 questions... listening to customer's laments at us going... and keeping that gracious smile on our face. Not to mention that I just closed on my new house this week... which is also a major life stressor.

My store is a mess... my house is a wreck... I only have ONE Christmas decoration up... I'm going crazy. So what else is new?? Take a breath, I remind myself... keep smiling... don't let them see you sweat.

Finally I'm home. My bladder is screaming to be emptied of it's coffee and Coke, my mouth is yearning for the fresh minty taste of toothpaste, but my tired bones win the battle as I flop on the air mattress which has been my bed for the past 6 months. It is 8:02pm... I am dead to the world by 8:04... fully clothed.

Sometimes I cry all the way home. Sometimes I am just so dazed I can't even think. Sometimes I replay conversations in my head and wish I could have answered in a different way. To the customer that wanted a bulk discount for 28 books...and slyly mentioned that she would purchase a whole lot more if I charged her .50 a book... I should have screamed, "Are you 'f''-ing nuts? The books are already marked down to a dollar! Do you understand that I'm already losing money on your purchase? Do you understand that I could have... and SHOULD have returned the book to the publisher for a credit? But nooooooo.... I decided to be nice and give you all a bargain instead... and you want to only pay .50??? You un-greatful bitch." Instead I put a smile on my face and repeat my stock reply for this very question, "Sorry... no further discounts, unless perhaps you want to purchase a tractor trailer full?" She purchased all 28 :-)

To the man that waddled up to the counter, arms so loaded with all the top selling children's books that I could barely see his face and commented, "Now we'll see if you are really selling all of these books for $2 each."... I so desperately wanted to say... "Yeah you stupid moron, this sale has been going on for 2 weeks now and YOU were the ONLY one smart enough to choose all of the top sellers at a bargain price". Instead I pasted that never ending smile on my face and replied, "Perhaps you didn't understand the signs... the $1 and $2 books are on the BARGAIN WALL (as I pointed to the opposite side of the store where the signs CLEARLY mark the wall). The books you chose are discounted 30%". He huffed and puffed and left all of the books on the counter and stomped away... for me to put back on the shelves.

To the woman who watched as I added books to the BARGAIN WALL and asked, "If all the books are sold, why are you adding more?" I looked at her puzzled. She pointed to the small 'sold' sticker on the very tippy top of the bookcase... I wanted to say,'Look around you lady... we are going out of business. Did you miss all of the neon orange signs? All of the fixtures are for sale... this one is sold, but we need some way to display all of the books 'til the end of the month and instead of just throwing them on the floor for a 'free for all' we thought it best to just mark this bookcase sold and continue to use it". Instead... you guessed it... I smiled and replied, "That sticker means the BOOKCASE is sold... you may still purchase the books"... as everyone around is grabbing books to buy.

"Could you please suggest a book for my 10 year old niece off the Bargain Wall?" "Is there an Art Section... this wall is a mess I can't find anything." "Why did you mark all the books with a black marker on the bottom... now I can't give it as a gift". "Do you have 25 copies of this title?" "I was in earlier today and I bought this book off the Bargain Wall... it has a bent corner... can you find me another?" "Where are you moving to?" "What about the Post Office... we just can't live without the Post Office!" "Listen up folks! It's called a BARGAIN WALL for a reason. For $1 a book you don't get a fully qualified staff member to help you. We don't have nice orderly sections... It started out all in order, I can't control where everyone else moves the books to... besides, it's a WALL!  Search... enjoy the excitement of it all..." I wanted to say. Instead... yup... I smiled and answered their questions politely.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


There are Keys to success, map keys, Francis Scott Key, Key West, and the key to my heart (which apparently got lost)... but I have recently learned that the most important key of all is the key to the house!!!

I see so many people with huge key rings. They jingle and jangle as they sway from side to side.  The person with so many keys is a trusted soul. Think about it... would you give your house key to someone you didn't trust??? I'm trustworthy... just not organized. I got locked out of my house AGAIN the other night. This is the 3rd time in only 6 weeks.

Let me explain... for 25 years I lived in a house where we NEVER locked the door. There was no need to. It's not that the area I lived in didn't have crime... in fact there was plenty of crime in Hillsborough. Between stealing for drug money and local gangs living in the area there was good reason to be cautious... however no one knew our little street was there, plus the only way out was the same way the police would come in. A sweet safe haven.

The last 2 years in that house we DID have a lock... but only because Chase (Scott's smarty pants dog) figured out how to open the door and escape. The lock was only installed to keep Chase in, not to keep potential intruders out. In my son-in-law's infinite wisdom... knowing I can't be trusted to keep track of a key... he installed a keyless entry. Heaven on Earth! We all had our own 4 digit code that could be changed at will if someone you didn't want in the house knew it. Yes... that was me... I gave the code to someone and then had to block them... another story for another time.

Now... in the new house I have a key. I gave a neighbor/friend a copy in case I got locked out (or should I say for WHEN I got locked out?). The second time I called him to get the key he mentioned that I was lucky he was on his way home. He asked if I had given any thought to what would happen if he wasn't in the area?

Well... that got me thinking. He's right. I should plant the key somewhere on the property so I can get to it anytime I need. So I held on to his copy and slipped it in to my purse.

The other night when leaving the store I took a personal inventory before I closed and locked up for the night. Car key... check, computer... check, cell phone... check. OK... ready to go. Hop in to the car, start it up, put it in drive, SHIT! Purse... NOT CHECKED!!! It's locked in the store... with the store key, my house key, AND the copy. UGH!!! Now what???

Lauren has a key, but she works until 2am. I considered all of my options. I guess I could break the window and then pay to fix it the next day. I could spend the night with my high school friend, but the dog needed to be walked. Hmmm... so I guess I'm eating dinner at Applebee's to have Lauren wait on me and then ask nicely for the key... or I won't tip her. Ah... that sounds like a winner :-)

What is the lesson I learned from all of this???? Keep my house key on the ring with the car key... and purchase a keyless entry lock as soon as I can afford one.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spark of inspiration!

Can anyone guess what this is a photo of??? Yes... it has to do with a sewing project. No... it's not something Darla fought with.

Yesterday I decided that Lauren and I needed new Christmas Stockings this year. New house equals new traditions... right??? So... I threw all sensibility to the wind and made up my mind that I wanted a PINK Christmas Stocking. I dug through a bag of thrift store purchases and came up with a size 4 petite 100% wool blazer... the exact shade of pink I was envisioning. Out came the seam ripper and scissors... and an hour later this is all that is left of that blazer. Felting wool is all the rage right now... so hot water, soap, and a clothes dryer are next on the list for this precious pink wool. I should have enough felted wool for the base of the stocking by tonight... using the original jacket lining for the stocking lining.

I kept the jacket's welt pockets just in case I decide to use them in the design some how. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Santa tucked a few hundred dollar bills in the pockets???  There's nothing more exciting than sticking your hand in a jacket pocket and pulling out cash!!!

I'll post a photo on Monday with my progress.

I wonder what kind of stocking Lauren will want??? Tinkerbell? Hmmmm....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm just a country girl!

Blue Skies

My yard is paved in gold... and brown... and red... and orange... and green. Is it just me... or are the fall leaves unusually colorful this year? I don't know if it is because of the hot and dry weather we had this summer... or maybe it's the first year I have been able to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and actually enjoy nature's technicolor display. Maybe it's just the new neighborhood that is filled with wise old trees. Whatever the reason, I am stunned by the beauty. One would think this was the first time I have ever seen fall leaves.

Miss Darla
My daily dog walk with Darla takes forever as I stop to inspect all the colorful leaves littering the street. I can't stop myself from picking up each jewel to press in the phone book (who uses phone books for their intended purpose any more?). As our family silently acknowledges what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving these pressed beauties will be scattered on the table to remind us of what is right in front of our faces every day... and to not forget the 'little things' in life.

Abandoned rake
Raking the leaves takes twice as long as it should. I find myself dropping the rake to run in to the house to grab my camera in hopes of 'capturing the moment' as a brilliant red leaf falls on a pile of translucent yellow ones... such a jolt to my senses!  This is the first time I have ever had to rake leaves. The old house had such a massive yard that the wind blew them right across the lawn and in to the back woods. I never knew the joy I was missing.

Chop! Chop!

Between raking and gathering wood I feel like a 'country girl'. I remembered to put out the recycling this morning... and broke down all the moving boxes to put at the curb. Finally... they are out of my driveway! Now I have to concentrate on learning how to chop wood. I'm really good at breaking off the small branches of debris and storing for kindling... and OK at stepping on the medium size limbs to snap in smaller sections to fit the fireplace... but the larger branches have me stumped (pun intended).  A friend and neighbor said he has a 'chopper' that I can borrow... Oh goody, I can't wait.

Yummy Pot Pies

I'll leave (get it? leave? leaves? I crack myself up sometimes) you all drooling with a picture of the most delicious homemade Chicken Pot Pies ever assembled on this planet. I made them yesterday from an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe I found on the web. I changed a few things... of course... and they took all morning to make... but they are sooooooo worth the effort. Makes the store bought ones taste 'blah'. Oh... and the house smelled like Thanksgiving!! Mother Nature's Potpourri.

Take time out to sniff the crisp fall air... 
Enjoy the moment!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Hands across the water... helping hands... lend me a hand...soft pretty hands... rough working hands... old hands... young hands... talk to the hand... talk using your hands. I have always said that if I were in an accident and the choice was to save my hands or my legs... I couldn't have both... I would choose to save my hands every time.

I didn't realize why hands were so important to me until the other day. Listening to Neil Diamond sing 'Papa's Embrace' reminded a friend of mine about how his dad's whiskers warmed his face when he was a young boy... just as it mentions in the song. A slow, sweet smile drew across his face as his thoughts drifted off to another time and place. He asked if I had the same feeling.

A sudden heart attack took my father from our family when I was only 6 years old. I don't remember his whiskers... at all. I remember his ears because he used to make them wiggle at the dinner table and make me giggle... especially on special occasions like Thanksgiving... when we were to be on our most best and proper behavior. I also clearly remember his temper which could flare up in an instant... but I don't remember it ever being directed at me. Most of all... I remember his hands. Large, strong, working hands. Hands that worked on sailboats, designed tools, finished building the house. Hands that tenderly stroked my cheek, my hair. Hands that became all thumbs when trying to corral my wisps of hair in to pig tails... the end result looking so out of whack that I had to hide it under a hat the rest of the day.

My father's hand was my security. He always held my tiny hand in his when we crossed a street, or walked in a crowd. One day, while shopping he let go for just a second. I reached up and grabbed the corner of his red plaid wool jacket so I wouldn't get lost. When I turned my little face upward to ask him something I realized the jacket I was clinging on to wasn't my dad... it was some other strange man. I dropped it instantly and SCREAMED! My dad was only a step behind and immediately scooped me up with his big strong hands in to his arms. Snug and safe again.

My own children have very distinctive hands. During a High School production of 'Pippin' my girls were in a large group standing behind a black curtain with only their hands showing on stage making motions to an opening number. I could pick them out of the crowd. Those were my daughter's hands after all... I gave birth to them, held them, kissed each little rosebud finger. Over the many years I have pulled them away from light sockets, washed off dirt, jelly, marshmallows, mud and sand. I watched as they mastered holding a crayon, fork and spoon. I too held their hands as we crossed a street or walked in a crowd. Eventually I gave one daughter's hand away in marriage... thankfully I adore her husband, or I wouldn't have given it away so freely.

Some people think walking arm in arm is special. Others think a hug is the most endearing public display of affection. I think holding hands is the sexiest thing in the world!!! It's an outward sign that you care way deep down inside for the person you are with. You don't want anything bad to happen to them, that you are connected to them, that you want to hold them close... and you don't care if anybody notices! Hugs and Kisses are brief encounters... quickly executed and then you pull away. Hand holding can last as long as you want... and no one would say a word.

Have you ever seen an elderly couple walking hand in hand?? To me that is the sweetest thing in the world.

Now... after all this blubbering about how wonderful hands are I must confess that I hate my hands. They give my true age away. They are old and wrinkly with dry cuticles and the veins are starting to pop up, not to mention the brown age spots. The fingers are fat and stubby so rings never look good, which is why I prefer necklaces and bracelets. My hands have done so many wonderful things over the course of my life... so I really can't complain. They might not be pretty, but they are strong... and able to hold on to any one that needs a helping hand.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Downsizing... a moving experience in more ways than one

Home Sweet Home!
Whew! Thanks to my new neighbors, Jack and Eric the physical moving went off without a hitch. Well... not much of one any way. I rented a U-Haul truck, but it wasn't near big enough, so we had to make 2 trips. Jack is the husband of the listing agent of the house I bought, which just so happens to also be my neighbor. Eric is Jack's son. I owe my life to those 2 guys!!!! They moved EVERYTHING!!

I know I brought way too much stuff to the new house. Downsizing and all that... but I had to move out so quickly that I was afraid I would leave something important behind. At least I can throw out the stuff from here that I don't want... but am secure in the knowledge that I have everything I really want.

Speaking of trash and throwing out stuff... The trash removal around here is AWESOME!!! At the old house we had to pay for a private company to haul our trash. They came once a week. Larger things like box springs, old rugs and such needed 'stickers' that you had to purchase from the company, making this an expensive proposition. Once a year the township held 'dump day' where you could bring your larger items to the dump... IF you applied for the special resident dump sticker, stood on your head and asked politely.

At my new house the trash gets picked up TWICE a week!!! And large items can go on the curb every other Wednesday. AND... here's the kicker... this service is all included in the TAXES!!!

As a matter of fact... I was used to having trash removal included in my taxes. I remember when I moved to the old house there was a note on the kitchen counter stating trash had to be on the curb every Wednesday night. So... we took the trash out every Wednesday night. One morning 3 years later while standing at the school bus stop with the kids I heard my neighbors complaining that trash removal costs were rising. If I were really paying attention I would have realized then that we were supposed to be paying for private trash pick up. However, being brain dead... I just smiled politely and wondered to myself why they would even care about the prices going up. Were they afraid of their taxes increasing?

So imagine my surprise 4 years after that conversation (having lived in the house for seven years now) when I received a phone call in the middle of the afternoon from a guy named Nunzio from Raritan Valley Trash Company. He asked if we were a customer of theirs, because it seems they have been picking up our trash and he didn't see our name on his customer list. Hmmmm... it started to make sense to me now. Long story short... Nunzio said his job was to keep track of all the new people moving in to the area and sign them up as customers. I explained that we weren't new... we have lived there for 7 years. Nunzio FREAKED!!! "We've been picking up your trash for seven years, and I didn't know it"? He asked. "You can't prove it", I replied. Nunzio was afraid he would be fired if his boss found out about the seven years... so we compromised... I paid for a year. THAT was the day I learned that not all trash removal is paid for with tax dollars.
My lake view

Back to the new house... It's my HOME. I fall asleep to chirping crickets and wake up with squawking ducks... and a smile on my face. The old house represented my past... raising the kids, taking care of an ailing husband, running the parent/teacher association, girl scout leader and all the rest. This new house represents my new life, my future. Sewing, baking, calm lake water and breezes, walks on the beach just a few miles away. Learning to fit all of my belongings in a space one third the size that I'm used to.

Trying to get my kitchen under control, I began to unpack some boxes the first night I was there. Much to my surprise, I never once gave a thought to where things would go. I grasped my wok close to my chest and spun around realizing there was absolutely no space large enough to hold it. This house is over 90 years old. They didn't have woks back then. There isn't a space for a wok. Come to think of it, I didn't see a pantry either. I started to panic. What was I thinking??? This house is way too small!! Look at the refrigerator... it too is small. AAACCCCKKKKK!

"Calm down", my friend said. "You don't have a need for a larger space or refrigerator, you are downsizing, remember"? "Are you disappointed you bought this house?", he asked.

I had to really think a moment before I answered. My life as I knew it, was rapidly changing... almost overnight. Was I ready for this? Part of me is excited about it all... yet another part is extremely sad. I miss my kids. My house is quiet. Not enough commotion. Who will I discuss how my day went with? Who will console me when I'm upset? How in the world do I only cook for one? I see a lonely future ahead. It's time to learn a new way to live.

"No, I'm not disappointed. It will just mean a different way of thinking on my part".

The next morning was a new day, with a new attitude. I went downstairs to the kitchen, took a deep breath and started to put things away. So I didn't have a pantry any more, so what... I had a whole bank of narrow cabinets along one wall that would work well. Things would only be one deep so I could easily find what I was searching for. And snacks could be put on top of the refrigerator, the dog food fits nicely in the basement landing. Using my many years of jigsaw puzzle experience I found new places for everything so far. Deciding it was time to take a break, I thought it would be nice to bake some brownies for my daughter Lauren. The move had been tough on her and maybe the waft of sweet chocolate and the familiar brownie smell will make her feel more comfortable.

Now... where are the mixing bowls? Damn... they aren't unpacked yet... but I know where the wok is! So, on my first morning in my new house as I begin the next chapter of my life I made a batch of brownies using a wok (bowl), fork (wooden spoon), and coffee mug (measuring cup). You know what? The brownies turned out just fine. I will be just fine.
Some critter is munching my pumpkin!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

One Sleep and a Wake Up...

And I'm OUTTA HERE! I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! A cute little house... on a lake... with a fireplace... about a mile from the beach. It is 90 years old, but has had a face lift. Vinyl siding, new windows, updated bathrooms, fresh paint, new hot water heater and kitchen appliances, granite counters and hardwood floors. Mold, mice, sagging floor, rickety basement stairs, unattached-unheated-no-electric garage (future art studio for me), very ugly entrance and front door, cracked cement driveway, and poor grading too! Oh, and the best of all is... every one of my outlets are 2 prong (in a 3 prong world)... YIPPIE!

The process of buying this house has not been a smooth journey. For one thing, I have to move in BEFORE I have the funds to purchase it. The owner is very agreeable however, so we worked it out. Considering I had to surrender my home, my credit history doesn't look all that wonderful... the seller has agreed to not run a credit check... I agreed to not make a fuss over the items in the house that have not been updated. It's an agreement we can both live with... and one that the lawyers are having heart attacks over! It's 18 hours before I start moving and the lawyers are still faxing papers back and forth, each trying to protect their clients. So far nothing has stopped me from moving and I doubt anything will. The seller and I see eye to eye and I am confident it will all be fine.
The listing agent just so happens to be my new next door neighbor... and we get along fabulously. Her husband and step son are helping me with the move... they are the 'muscles'. AND... the seller has his mother's furniture in the garage and told me I can take whatever I want!! How cool is THAT???

I grew up in this area of New Jersey. My classmates were from here... and a lot of them are still here. It will feel like 'old home week' as I bump in to them at the grocery store or around town. My mom lives 5 minutes away and a high school friend is a few houses down the road. Another classmate is the local veterinarian... so I am already comfortable that Darla will get the best care if needed.

Packing is difficult. I know I'm taking too much with me. In the end a lot of it will be thrown away or donated... but I'm having troubles making too many decisions at once. The dining room of the old house is already over stuffed with items to be picked up by charity on Monday. As I go through the house and pull things to donate I feel so FREE! Then I make another round and pull more things to put in the donate pile. Like a snake shedding it's skin, I'm growing in to a new person. It's LIBERATING and SCARY at the same time. Look out world... here I come!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On The Move...

Listing items for sale on craigslist, packing up 27 years of belongings and finding a place to move were the main focus planned for last weekend. The Somerset County Sheriff's Department agreed that 6 days was not enough time to gather my things and move, so I now have until the 19th. However, I didn't get very far on my list. Why??? I am so glad you asked.

My daughter, Stephanie called Friday in a panic which changed the entire weekend for me. She runs her own business, Kreative Events... wedding invitations, favors, 'day of' co-ordination, photography, and so much more is basically what her company is all about. Any way... one wedding this weekend was desperately in need of another worker... not to mention that she could also use help making 35 caramel apples. The only project I absolutely HAD to do that Friday was to sew samples of a fabric tote for another wedding she was doing. Of course I said I would help. Starting with dipping apples at Stephanie's on Friday night.

Dipping caramel apples is much more difficult than you would imagine. The apples need to be cold and dry, the caramel hot. Quick dip... then set on a cold surface so it doesn't pool much. We encountered so many problems... the sticks pulling out too easily, caramel sliding off the apple, pool of caramel too large around the bottom, bubbles forming, waxed paper sticking. UGH! We persevered and ended up with an acceptable looking display. Stephanie is now ready to tackle the 120 apples for next week's wedding.

Saturday I had to be in Delaware at 11:30am to catch a ride to my wedding assignment... helping Heidi (Stephanie's sister-in-law) with a 'day of' co-ordination in... SURPRISE... Baltimore! It never dawned on me to ask WHERE the wedding was. I guess it wasn't really important after all, I was going to help out no matter where it was. 

Next time you attend a wedding, look around. You just have no idea what happened in that room before you arrived to make your celebration a FABULOUS event. Let me run it down for you...

We arrived at The Belvedere (a beautiful old hotel turned condo) around 1pm. Unloading the van and hauling everything up to the 12th floor ballroom was first on the list. Heidi hastily ran down the list of things I was responsible for... then took off for the ceremony. Thank heavens I'm an adult and don't need much direction. I unpacked everything and ran around the gigantic ballroom setting up the tables with centerpieces, menus, table numbers, CDs, candles, and such. Checking the table diagram making sure the correct number of places were set at the tables. Wouldn't it be embarrassing if there were 10 people expected at the table and only 8 places set?

Filling the center vases with water was the hardest part believe it or not. I only had one pitcher and 24 vases to fill... with the only water faucet way far away in a place called never land. I kicked off my shoes and began the trek back and forth. On the third trip I spied a large bucket, looked around to see if any one was around to ask... nope... so I grabbed it. Ahhh... ingenuity wins again... Now I can fill 4 vases at a time... once I figure out how to haul the heavy bucket around the ballroom.

The cake arrived... it was pretty, but plain. "Here's the photo... who has the flowers"? the delivery man asked. Uh-oh... Heidi is bringing the flowers back with her from the church. I had no clue that finishing the cake was part of the job. SURPRISE... again.

Place cards laid out in alphabetical order on the main entrance table, flowers added to the tables, number of seats checked again, move the extra chairs to the back room, hide our empty boxes, decorate the table for the presents and cards, pick up litter from the carpet, ask George to wash the sticky dance floor, figure out how to turn on the lights at the other end of the ball room, wash spilled cosmos off 2 chairs, replace a cracked centerpiece bowl, and then the band shows up. An eight piece band... not the DJ the floor is set up for. SURPRISE... again. Presto change-o... room for 8. Light the candles... and stand back as the Bride and Groom gush over the beauty of the room.

Once the Bridal Party arrives and is introduced I feel my job here is done. My feet ache, my knees forgot how to bend and my lower back is crying for a heating pad... and my stomach is growling. Food... ah... sweet food! A wonderful buffet is set up in the end room for the band and other workers. Yum! I sit down to relax... that's when Heidi tells me we still have work to do. We need to keep an eye on things... make sure the Bride and Groom don't get hung up talking too long with someone they can't seem to break away from... check with the band to schedule all the speeches and toasts... not to mention the Bride's parents anniversary dance. Keep an eye on the box with the checks, make sure people know to sign the photo board, get paper towels for the men's room, give directions to get home, sew the Bride's dress when it falls apart... and on and on and on it goes.

When the party is over we charge back in to action cleaning and packing up... AND dropping off the gifts and envelopes to the Bridal Suite... in another hotel. Finally got back to Delaware at 1:00am. Tired, sore, and happy. All in all it was a huge bit of fun. Here are the photos:

Place cards 
Decorated Cake

Table #9
Beautiful Ballroom

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Old Days?

It's beginning to feel like 'the good old days'... and I don't mean that in a good way. Wednesday was a day off from work. It began well... I cleaned the kitchen, sorted through the accumulated junk mail that cluttered the counter, washed dried up, crusted ice cream from the bowls in the sink, sorted, washed, dried, and folded 2 weeks of laundry, and was just thinking about whipping up some chocolate cupcakes when there was a knock on the front screen door.

Knock! Knock! Knock!
"Mrs. Hunter?" "This is the Sheriff's Department".
UGH!!! Even though I knew this was coming, dread filled every pore of my soul.

You see... My husband Stan passed away 3 1/2 years ago from ALS. We spent so much money on his care and then had to deplete our savings, retirement, and investments before we could qualify for Medicare... which left me with very few dollars to live on once he was gone. Silly Stan thought for sure I would re-marry with in 2 years... so that's all he provided for. I guess he didn't believe me when I said I would never go through this again for ANY ONE... except the kids and my mom of course. Living frugally allowed me to string out a few extra months. In reality I thought I could pull out another year... however my car didn't like that idea and decided to cause me trouble, and Scott moved to California and needed help, then the economy took a dive and the store sales slid off the charts, not to mention the legal fees I am paying for the lawsuit. Any way... times are tough all over... and I couldn't afford the mortgage payments any longer. Hence the knock on the door from the Sheriff... it's time to move out.

Nothing ever goes the way it should when I get involved it seems. I called the mortgage company back in early April about the lack of money and we agreed to have me surrender in lieu of foreclosure. That is the information I based all of my decisions on. However, the short, round faced man standing in my doorway is telling me that actually my mortgage company purchased the house on April 13, 2010... the sale was finalized on August 25, 2010... and that I had to be moved out by 10am October 5th. Yes... in 6 days! I ask you... how can any one possibly move 27 years of a life out of a 4 bedroom, 2 story center hall colonial in just 6 days??? The little froggy faced man now has the audacity to tell me that he was here a few weeks ago to serve me the papers, but no one was home... I would have had more time if I were home that day. What??? Because I was at work I get penalized 2 weeks? What's going on here? Who I can I talk to about this??? Frog face points to the lawyer's information on the back of the paper. As if this wasn't enough frog face proceeds to 'walk me through' what will happen at 10am on the 5th. A moving van will pull up to the house and remove anything that's in it... the sheriff will escort everyone off the property that doesn't belong there and then padlock the door. Oh... sounds like fun! He leaves.

Hey! Wait a minute! If the mortgage company owned the house back in August... then why have I been mowing the lawn?? Why did I spend $50 on weed killer to kill the grass growing in the driveway? Why didn't anyone notify me?? Why did I pay for homeowner's insurance if I'm not the damn homeowner? UGH!!! And another question... more importantly, who paid the IRS tax lien of $47,000??? I am left standing at the door with so many unanswered questions.

Ring! Ring! There goes my bleeping cell phone. I snatch the phone and bellow, "Hello".

"Ms. Hunter? This is Dave from Princeton Volvo"... Oh here we go again... Ding, ding, ding... round three! Princeton Volvo are NOT my favorite people right now. My car was towed in on Sunday because the turbo charger blew. Three weeks ago I brought the car in because it was making a high pitched whining sound. I always thought a policeman was coming after me. One of their service managers test drove it... told me it was a turbo charger going... it would cost between $2500 and $3000 to repair... not to worry I still had about a year before it really became a problem... and it was OK to drive. He gave me a list of things to watch out for and sent me on my way.

One year in his time warped mind was only three weeks in mine. Just as the service manager predicted... my car would turn into a fog machine and the check engine light would go on. It took 3 seconds to pull to the shoulder of Rt. 18 once the light went on. I knew the routine well. Speed dialed AAA... again, this was the fourth time since May that I have needed my car towed to the dealer. The tow truck driver argued that the lot was gated and he couldn't tow me to the dealer. I reassured him that my car has it's own reserved space by now and that it would be OK. Thank heavens for fabulous friends that don't mind being called at 10:30pm to make a 3 hour round trip drive to help a damsel in distress... in the rain.

Any way... Dave, the service manager called on Monday to say that the repair would cost $5500!!!!!!!! No way!!! I began to dispute it... then realized this would best be accomplished in person. So, on Tuesday I dressed in a 'power outfit' and went face to face with him about the cost. By the end of the conversation he said he could knock the bill down to $4400, but that was the best he could do. In a clear steady voice I told Dave that left me no choice... my next move would be posting all of my repair bills up in my store window for all to see... plus I would wear a pin saying, "Ask me about my Vovlo". Dave prudently decided it was time for me to speak with his manager, Norm. In all fairness, Norm was pleasant and truly seemed to want things to work out... however he had an appointment he had to keep, and asked if he could call me later that day.

The phone call never came. I waited 24 hours... then called them. SURPRISE! Neither Dave nor Norm were there to take my call. Now... minutes after the sheriff dropped a bomb in my lap... Dave returns my call. UGH! We negotiated a compromise... and the car will be ready on Friday for pick up... and then I'm putting the damn car up for sale!!!

Now I focus on the date of October 5th. Certainly that can't be correct. I punch the numbers in the phone for the lawyer on the back of the paper. Long story short... this guy agrees that is not enough time, he will look into it and get back to me, and NO he doesn't know the answers to any of my other questions... particularly the one about the IRS lien.

Ring! Ring! There goes my phone again. Normally no one calls... all of a sudden I'm Miss Popularity.

"Mrs. Hunter? This is Glen from the congressman's office". Ah yes... I applied for VA benefits last April since Stan was in the military. To date I have received a letter every other month stating they are still processing my request because they are so behind. Since April!!! 6 months!!! So I wrote to my local Congressman to see if he could speed the process up in some way. Glen was calling to tell me that he contacted the VA and yes... I qualified for benefits... but they are so far behind it would still be another 4 months before I heard anything. REALLY??? Four more months??? I replied to Glen that if I didn't need the money to purchase food I wouldn't be so pushy. With that he hastily said he would see what he could do and would call back... Click.

Ring! Ring! Geesh... NOW who???

"Ms. Hunter? Dave at Volvo". NOW what? Oh... sure... it would be no problem at all to return the rental car to replace it with a loaner... today... 40 minute drive one way... ON MY DAY OFF!!! UGH!

Ring! Ring! AAARRGGGHHH!!!

"Yes!", I bark in to the phone.
"Mrs. Hunter? This is Glen just calling to let you know the Congressman faxed a letter to the VA asking to expedite your request. Please let me know if you hear anything and I will do the same so that we are all on the same page at the same time."

Ahhhh..... finally a responsible, proactive person. What a nice boy :-)

From the moment the sheriff knocked on my door... to the time I hung up with Glen was a matter of 1 1/2 hours.


Yesterday I had a nice conversation with the local Sheriff Department. They also agreed that 6 days was simply not enough time to move out and extended the date by 2 weeks.

October 19, 2010 is my official move out date.

Calgon... take me away!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So Much To Tell...

This past week or so has been so crazy. It started with attending a quilt show in Oaks, PA. Seeing so many beautiful quilts all under one roof makes me realize that I have got to get back to sewing my fish quilt. So much inspiration!!! Modern quilts, traditional quilts, retro, antique... you name it, it was there. My favorite designer, Kaffe Fassett had a whole display. I just DROOL over his designs. *Sigh*... some day I'll be rich enough to afford his fabric and make a quilt. A girl can dream... can't she?

Our Used Bookstore, Glen Echo closed it's doors this month... so we had a HUGE liquidation sale this week of the books on the lower level of Chicklet Books to make room for their inventory. The same people that did my whole house sale handled this sale. If anyone need their services do not hesitate to contact Rob and Diana at We Make It Go Away. They travel to Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our sale was extremely successful. One customer thought they were clever and could out smart Rob and Diana. He came to the sale in the middle of the week... but found out that Sunday would be 'fill a bag for $5' day. So he grabbed a box, filled it with his selections, hid it somewhere and walked out... intending to return on Sunday and purchase it then... saving himself $25. Diana found the box and put it in the back room. I don't feel bad that we lost the opportunity to move another bunch of books out of the downstairs... the man had excellent taste and pulled all the classics like Romeo & Juliet. I can never have enough copies of those. Ha, ha... his plan back fired.

Saturday found me in Washington, DC at the National Book Festival taking notes on what to do and NOT do at The Princeton Book Festival that Chicklet Books is holding this spring in the courtyard of The Princeton Shopping Center. Keep a watch out for more information about this in the future.

Can't you just see me wearing this pink polka dot shirt? Don't worry... I didn't buy it. Thrift shops have become my newest fascination. Finding bargains is only half the fun... meeting some of the wildest people is the other half. I was amazed to see who shops in these places. Young professionals, young families, older well dressed women and more. I bought a pair of black slacks from Talbots that I KNOW had a price tag of $129 when they were in the store... for $6.99!!! They are in PERFECT condition. A Banana Republic shirt at $4.99 rounded out my ensemble for the day. It doesn't bother me that someone else wore it before me... just think of it as borrowing something from your friend's closet. 

Not everything is so fabulous... but you do have to wonder who bought some of these things in the first place. Take this dress for example... 

In a typical Bride-zilla tactical move, I imagine she told her bride's maids that this dress was perfect for the wedding... and that it was simple enough that they could wear it again at another function. I doubt anyone really fell for that line.

I met a young woman trying on the most horrible looking shoes... that were way to big for her. Purple pointed stilettos with a poof of purple fuzz at the toe... in a size 12W. As I watched her struggling to take a picture of her foot with her camera phone I stepped in and offered to take the picture for her. As it turns out she writes a blog and since these were Frederic of Hollywood shoes in a super huge size she felt compelled to take pictures and write about them. Not because the shoe looked so wild... but because of the size. Why is the size important I hear you ask? Because only drag queens and transvestites fit in them. 10 minutes later I saw what she meant... a group of 5 transvestites swarmed around the aisle trying on all of the vampy stilettos... and they fit perfectly.

Sunday was spent peacefully at the beach. No, not in a bathing suit soaking up the rays... rather with my camera slung around my neck waiting for the perfect wave to break so I could capture the moment. I waited all day... but I didn't get the photo I wished for. I got many others that are just as nice... but the PERFECT photo in my head still eludes me. 

My beautiful, wonderful weekend finished up like this...

Yup... that's my car being towed... AGAIN! This time it's the turbo charger that went. Do you think it's trying to tell me that it's tired and wants to go to pasture??? I'm dressing in a 'power outfit' today and talking to the Vovlo dealership manager to see what my options are. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words...

The local Sheep Breeders Association... yup, you read that right... held their annual Fleece and Fiber Show this past weekend. You all know I just HAD to go and see what it was all about. The weather was gloomy, over cast with a hint of drizzle. I felt as bad as the weather... but that didn't keep me from driving out to Hunterdon County Fairgrounds... no sir... not me. My intentions were to do a 'drive by' and decide if this was an event to go to next year.  Apparently there is no such thing as a 'look see' in the country.

First of all you couldn't see anything from the road. You had no choice but to drive in. Once I paid the $5 parking fee then I just HAD to get out of the car and take a peek. The event was held inside 4 gigantic barns. I told myself I would just go poke my head in the first barn... and a goat stared back at me. He was so cute. I stepped inside and saw more goats, tons of sheep, alpacas, angora rabbits, llamas and more. The baby alpaca was the most adorable thing I have ever seen!!! Ahhh.... this is the country. I inhaled the fresh scent of sweet hay, sheep lanolin, and... manure!

In the next barn animals were looking at me, women were offering spinning lessons, men were talking to everyone about raising their animals, kids were hauling pails of water. Bags of fleece were judged and up for sale. Some animals were being prepped for competitions, others were being led around stretching their legs. Demonstrations of dogs herding... fascinating! Two little naked sheep were just sheared and looked cold. I wandered in to the next barn without even knowing it. This world is so foreign to me I felt I was floating in a dream. People really do this for a LIVING?

Whoa! Pay dirt! This barn is filled with vendors!! (Thank you for visiting the USA... please exit through the gift shop). Every where I turn I see fleece, yarn both in its natural state and technicolor, handmade soap, spinning wheels, felting needles, knitted scarves and hats... you name it! Some of the yarn even had the picture of the animal it came from... and you knew you just saw him/her in the first barn. Speak about giving your yarn a face!!! Lucky for me I didn't bring my wallet... I would have been in Trouble... with a capital T.

I found out why angora sweaters are sooooooo expensive. It would have cost me $35 just to buy enough angora yarn to make a thin scarf... but oh how soft and elegant it would feel against my skin. Perhaps next year I'll bring enough money to buy some... just for me. A teddy bear made from Alpaca was another thing I drooled over. If you haven't had the pleasure of feeling how soft and silky an alpaca is, you just haven't lived. The 'button lady' taught me how to tell a bakelite button from a regular plastic, celluoid, or lucite button and why they are so prized by collectors... and I topped it all off with a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Imagine if I decided to really go to this show? Remember, I was only going to do a quick 'run through'.

The bad part of this whole thing, was that I didn't have a camera. So many wonderful photo ops passed me by. I even left my cell phone in the car, so I didn't even have THAT to snap pictures with. I guess I really have to go back next year after all... and bring some money for the angora yarn :-)

I had the day off today and spent it cleaning and organizing for a move in the not too distant future... and photographing some items to upload on to Etsy. I concentrated on BUTTONS... now that I'm a pro at detecting bakelite ones. I got a lot of buttons from an Estate sale a few weeks back, plus I already had some that I was DESTASHING, in addition to a few more I found at a thrift store. Put them altogether and move them out the door!

One button I particularly am attached to photographed so well. I stuck it in some sand (that I took from the beach a few weeks ago) and snapped away. The angle I used makes it look like I was actually at the beach. I was really on my back deck... no where near a beach.  Take a look for yourself...

And since I don't have any photos of the animals at the Fleece and Fiber show to share... I will leave you with a picture of my mother's fig tree... and a pretty sunflower patch I saw growing by the side of the road. That's about as 'country' as I get.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I surrender!!!

OK... OK... OK... I've been off-line for a few days. I hear ya! That doesn't mean I haven't been busy uploading destash items and handmade jewelry on to Etsy... it just means that I haven't had a few spare minutes to get them up here on the blog. So.... to make my life easier I have been playing around with getting a mini Etsy slide show that will be on my side bar in this blog... BUT as I am sure you all understand... it has not been easy to make this happen. Why is it that things that are suppose to streamline your life cause so much frustration??? In a few days you will either see my Etsy shop... or an actual store. I haven't quite decided yet.

For the past few days I have had a sore throat, tender and slightly swollen glands, and a very low grade temperature. Not quite sure if I'm coming down with something, or if it's just going to hang out for a few days and go away. I've been 'laying low' just in case. Tuesday on my day off from the store I got a much anticipated FedEx delivery... a huge box full of BUTTONS!! I was like a little kid on Christmas morning!!! Since I was cleaning the house and had a full day planned I decided I wouldn't play... er sort... the buttons until after dinner.

My reserve lasted only about  an hour. Those buttons were calling out to me from the other room. "Look at me... aren't I pretty?" "No, no... look at me... I'm special... I have rhinestones and sparkle." It was worse than having all 3 kids in a swimming pool shouting, "Look at me!", "Watch me jump in the water", "Look I can hold my breath". I didn't know which jar to open first.

A jar the size of 5 pounds of peanut butter caught my eye. The bottom half was filled with white buttons, the top half with black. OK... I'll start there. I unscrewed the lid, lifted the carefully wadded up turquoise tissue paper that kept the buttons from rattling around during shipping, and noticed a hint of metal. Hmmmm... what could THAT be? Flicking black buttons to the side I reached in and pulled out a smaller jar.  Orange and yellow buttons sparkled in the afternoon sun. What a surprise!!! Kind of like a present within a present!

I began to sort shank buttons from regular ones with holes... metal from plastic and mother of pearl. Some looked like teeny tiny hats, others looked like glass.  So intent on sorting, it was hours before I raised my head and stood up and stretched... but all of my buttons were sorted. At least from that ONE jar... I have 5 more to go.

Tonight I'll take some pictures and post them so you can all share in my excitement. I know you are all jealous... come on, admit it :-)

I also realized that my days of living in the house will soon come to an end. For those of you not up to speed... I surrendered my house to the mortgage company. My husband, Stan had always wished that I would remain in this house. Between the medical bills and the gigantic economic hit we have all taken it was just not meant to be. I kind of came to terms with it. In as much as I would like to stay, it is so totally out of my reach money wise. To be honest,  everything is out of my reach right now. I take each day one at a time and am always so glad at night that I made it though 'yet another one'.

It has been about 6 months since the mortgage company and I came to the agreement, so I am thankful for the last mortgage free months. The worse part is not knowing when Lauren and I have to be out, but assume it will be soon. Hey! Does anyone out there need any house sitters??? Do you own a second home and want it 'guarded' and deep cleaned over the winter??? You know where to find me if you do... I'll be at my mom's :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 3

Well folks... I was so busy yesterday having a good time that I didn't get to post my blog. That's a good thing, right? I did however get to post my destash item and both days of handmade jewelry on Etsy like I was supposed to, so at least I'm not already behind after only 3 days :-)

The weather was so beautiful today... a PERFECT day. Not too hot (finally), with a cool breeze. I spent the day out on the Navesink River in Red Bank, NJ on a committee boat to watch the Sunday boat races. Monmouth Boat Club has been holding these races for years, and years, and years. The wind was a bit much for one boat and it flipped over... the mast got stuck in the mud... ick... I'm so glad I don't have to clean that mess up. There is nothing worse than river mud!!

The fresh air was so relaxing. A few ideas popped into my head for my 365 daily jewelry item. Making a daily item is actually kind of fun. It makes me think outside the box. For example... There is a jar of vintage buttons just begging me to make a bracelet out of them. So I grab the computer and go to trusty google and Etsy, type in 'button bracelet' to see what others have done.... I was not impressed. I want my buttons to 'dangle'... most of the ones I saw were made flat. The buttons that DID dangle were hooked with jump rings to a chain... not the look I was going for. So...... I took out my teeny tiny crochet hook and thin, thin thread and started to make a base, then pulled in the buttons... but the buttons were too heavy looking for the thin thread. Hmmmm.... back to the drawing board. I can't wait to see what I think up next to try. Eventually this bracelet will become a 365 item and you will have opportunity to purchase it... knowing I created a OOAK (One Of A Kind) .

Destash day 3

The DESTASH item for Day 3 is a group of 36 clear glass ornaments to use the paint from Day 2 on.

Day 2 jewelry item is a pink beaded memory bracelet with a dangling silver heart. This is a GREAT bracelet for a breast cancer survivor... or any one who loves pink.

Day 3 jewelry is a macrame bracelet with off white beads... and one white bead. There is a reason I chose to make it this way. Go to my Etsy store to find out why.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 2... Destash

Today I am 'destashing' 12 jars of paint. Air Dry Perm Enamel to be exact... plus a few other goodies. This grouping includes 2oz jars of the following colors: white, mediterranean blue, red red, chocolate, azure blue, 14k gold, true green, silver, citrus yellow and 3 jars of ultra black. In addition there are 2oz jars of retarder and thinner... and 8oz jars of surface conditioner, clear glaze, and satin glaze. I only used a few colors to paint some polka dots on 6 small ornaments... so I would consider all of the paint to be 'like new' and full bottles. The surface conditioner is about 1/4th used.

You can use this paint on many surfaces... however it is mostly used on glass. No heat set needed, just let it air dry. Creative ideas would be to paint cute wine glasses or martini glasses for your next celebration... or paint snowflakes on glass ornaments. Paint dries shiny. Go for it!
Available for sale in my ETSY store for $10.00 with FREE SHIPPING!

As far as the daily jewelry offering is concerned... the piece is almost finished, but it will be too late for me to post it tonight... so you will have to hang in there and be surprised tomorrow. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 1... 364 to go

Lime Green Cord
As promised... here is my first item up for 'destashing'. It was really difficult to choose. Not because I'm attached to these things and don't want to let them go... oh no, not me... but because there is so much to choose from that I didn't know where to start.

When we had the whole house sale I was thinking more about the furniture, kitchen items and anything LARGE that I didn't want to move. It never dawned on me to weed out all the craft stuff. I just stuffed it all in a closet and said I would          
                                                         go through it at a later date. That day has arrived!

Turquoise Cord
Today's destash item is 2 bundles of cording. The first one is really more of a LIME GREEN. 25 yards is neatly wrapped on the original cardboard tube. The second part of the destash is a beautiful bundle of TURQUOISE cording. However, my son's dog, Chase got a hold of it before I could stop him and tore the cording off the roll. I promise to detangle it and wrap it up nice and neat. I kind of like the picture though... it looks like wild spaghetti. There should be 25 yards on this roll too, but I see 4 ends instead of 2 so Chase must have cut it in to 2 lengths for you. How considerate of him :-)

Both bundles of cording is selling for $4 total with FREE SHIPPING!!! Go to my Etsy store to purchase... or drop me a line.

Beaded Beauty!!! Wear as a bracelet, or necklace!
And now... for the moment you have all been waiting for... the first item I made with beads and such is... a wrap bracelet. I crocheted it using black nylon string called C-Lon which is fade proof and water resistant along with size 8 seed beads in black, brown, tan, pearl white, and rust. It measures about 30" long and easily wraps around your wrist 4 times. OR... if you prefer... wear it plain as a simple necklace. Either way looks GREAT. Bracelet will come wrapped on a display card, dated and signed by me. Selling for $20... also with FREE SHIPPING!!! Purchase through my Etsy store or drop me a line. If you would like directions to make one yourself... drop a note in the comment section and I'll write a tutorial. It's really very easy... especially if you already know how to crochet.

This 365 day process ought to be interesting. I learned how to crochet a rope using thread and beads today. Once I perfect the technique I will choose an item to put up for sale. Learn along with me. Ask questions... I'll be happy to share how I do it!