Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thanks on Thursday

What are you thankful for today?

I’m thankful that my commute to work doesn’t include getting on the highway which was backed up for over an hour this morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Counting Down…

Are you ready for Christmas…is your shopping done?  Presents wrapped?  Tree tinseled?  Cookies baked? Cards mailed?  

Me neither….but tonight I did something that was festive, fun and softened up the “Grinchiness” I’ve been carrying around for the last few weeks.  Hope Santa was watching.

Several weeks ago, my boss managing partner of our firm asked me to buy a few hundred dollars worth of toys to donate to the Toys For Tots Program.  I grudgingly said yes because I’m not crazy about being unemployed again but I was also annoyed and put out that he asked this of me,  knowing I had to do this after work on my time. 

I only remember TFT’s when the marines collected used toys, fixed them up and re-gifted them to under-privileged kids and I don’t have good memories of that.  I was a new mother and had just moved to town when a neighbor asked if I would help her collect and clean up toys to donate to TFT’s.  We put boxes at the post office and library and scheduled a day to clean up and repair the toys together in my basement.  I got a persistent case of impetigo from that experience  which took several months of antibiotics to clear up.  Maybe that’s why TFT’s no longer accepts used toys.

The other day, when I called TFT to ask about drop off times and locations, they told me they really needed toys for older kids—10 to 13 year-olds—“tweens”.  I put this chore off as long as I could but last night, after another email from my boss, I decided to get it over with.  I had no idea what to buy.  Haven’t had any tweens or teens in this house for many years.

So at first I was watching other people shopping more than I was paying attention to the merchandise on the shelves but after a short time, I also realized I was having a good time---isn’t it hard not to have fun in a toy store?  There are so many animated and electronic toys—the last popular toys I shopped for were Teddy Ruxpin and Cabbage Patch kids.

I made several aimless trips around the store with my carriage before  ending up where they stock the musical toys and it was here that I found my inspiration.

I think I made  good choices.  The first toy I tossed into my carriage was a karaoke machine--for a  budding Lady Gaga maybe? Followed by an electric guitar—couldn’t we use another Jimmy Hendrix’s talent?.  Then I spotted a display case of cameras and with the advice of a salesperson, chose a compact video camera—maybe it will inspire another Steven Speilberg or James Cameron.   Next to the check out there was a display of MP3 players on sale so I picked up a couple of those too and a few  popular dvds for good measure. 

I would love to think that maybe these toys would be the catalyst to inspire some child’s future choices but even if they’re only play things and give some temporary enjoyment and take the slump out of a parent’s shoulders who’s worrying about not having gifts for their kids, I’m satisfied.  I doubt my boss, knew what he was missing when he delegated this job to me but maybe someone else “up there” knew I needed to do this.  

Goodbye Grinch! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Losing my “Grinch”

As it gets closer to Christmas.  Yikes—there is less than a week to go--I’m feeling more “in the  decorating spirit” and less “ho-humm ”.  Friday night I ambled over  to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby after work looking for a few things to “festive up” the house.

I was inspired last week by a tiny set of lights I saw as I was walking around the General Stark Store in Derry.

December 20112 001I apologize for only taking a picture of their door and not getting any pictures of the inside of the store because those of you who love country decorating and furniture would just be in heaven. All of the furniture and most of the accessories are made HERE in the US to boot!. 

Though most of the merchandise tends to be a bit on the “prim” side which is not really my decorating style I always manage to find something that I love there and I’m definitely going back for the after Christmas sale.  They had the most gorgeous snowmen and rustic Santa's I’ve seen.

I’m probably a little behind on decorating trends because I’d never seen these lights before but I loved the way they looked and the soft glow they gave off.  I wanted something for my kitchen sideboard and thought they’d be just the ticket.  I wanted greenery too but I waited too long and the pickins were slim.  I did manage to find this winterberry garland that was just the right length and looked pretty good with my old green and red woven table runner. 

Can you see the little silicone flame tips on the mini bulbs?    They are a little on the pricey side when you think you can purchase mini bulbs at CVS for $1.99.  These  were $18 for a string of 36 but I caved when I saw them and if there’s any left after Xmas for 1/2 off, I’m getting another set.

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I went up to the attic during the week and dug out the window candles but the bulbs were missing so I picked up replacement bulbs but they were the wrong size kind because as soon as I turned on the candles, they “popped”!   This morning I found the original bulbs which I packed separately to prevent breakage, I guess.  

I also dug out my Martha Stewart pre-lit tree I ‘ve had since 2003.  I’ve always put that on the porch and on a timer so that it can be seen from the driveway. I love coming home and seeing the house lit up.   No tree inside this year—I did want to get one of those skinny pre-lit trees for the living room but it’s probably just as well since the door and carpet have to be replaced.

I wish I had my pictures from last year when the house was completely decorated…oh well.  Here are a few pictures of the decorations around here so far….Christmas & Hannukah 121711 029Christmas & Hannukah 121711 028







And, here’s a cuteness picture of Calvin.  Doesn’t that little face make you smile?

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finding the Christmas Spirit. Thank you Mr. Grinch.

I’m looking for my Christmas spirit. I know the particulars of when, where and how I lost it, but finding it again is not that easy. 

The  cure---total holiday decorating immersion!   I’m making Christmas wreaths today.  If you want to join me, I’ll post last Xmas' wreath making tutorial.

(Side note—there are some  good things about the internet—one being that even if your laptop is stolen, your blog posts and pictures are retrievable). 

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last month and a half since I was “liberated” from my computer.   The first photo is a UFO that I finished and will gift to my garden club friend, Sue, who really loves the country primitive decorating style. (I have the original label I made for this quilt which was dated “1991”!)  For the past 20 years it’s been sitting in my “project box”.  This was made from one of the “Little Quilts” patterns.  You can see from my fabric choices back then that I was an avid “Thimbleberries” fan.  I still have a tree skirt with these same dark greens and reds which I used to call “prairie” colors because I did a lot of Prairie Schooler cross stitch projects back then also.

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Remember the baby quilt I showed you a few months ago?  Well I can divulge the recipient now and show you pictures of the finished quilt.  This quilt was made for Kasey’s baby niece, Mia Louise.  (You’ll remember that Kasey is my daughter’s roommate)  Mia’s mother, Jess is the author of one of my favorite blogs, “Sweet Almondine”.November 2011 110 November 2011 113








Now back to lunch and wreath making.  Stay tuned—more to come. 


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