Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanksgiving Tablecloth

There are several things about Thanksgiving we love... The gathering of family, the delicious food, (each family member having a favorite which Mom makes especially for them, my favorite being the butternut squash.) and sharing Christmas gift giving ideas... And we all look forward to the Thanksgiving Tablecloth.

The tradition began in 2000. I think i read about it in Family Fun magazine. It's a tablecloth you CAN write on. The idea being that each family member writes down what they're thankful for. Some family members add poetic verse, some draw pictures, some add silly comments and some just add a "Ditto" (I'm lookin' at you son... He doesn't like to write much. Everything he does write is generated on a computer screen.)

It's so enjoyable to spend a brief period before the table gets set to take time to read the many messages from years past and then take some time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for over the current year. All of the messages are precious, but the ones that really grab my heart, are those my Father-in-law added before he passed away 4 years ago.

This was the first year my 5 yr. old niece was here with us and old enough to add her own mark to the tablecloth... A picture, of Ariel... of course.

When it came time for dinner she especially worried that her dad might slop food on her picture.

The tradition continues.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What 25 years Looks Like...

Twenty-five years doesn't look like Richard Gere or Diane Lane. It's doesn't resemble 'Flaming passion' nor 'A heaving bossom.' It's not a romantic escape to Paris or Rome. Twenty-five years isn't about shouting your love in a romantic locale whilst producing a bank breaking diamond bauble.

Let me tell you what 25 years looks like.

It's a slightly balding, middle aged paunch... It's stretch marks and wrinkles. It's being happy to see him walk through the door after a long day at work... It's a kiss and a hug greeting.

Twenty-five years is a chuckle shared due to a like-minded sense of humor or a long-ago memory.

Twenty-five years is a quiet dinner for two at a favorite restaurant, paid for by your daughter.

Twenty-five years is a dozen roses instead of two dozen plus one, because there are bills to pay and a dozen smell just as sweet.

Twenty-five years isn't always easy, it's giving and taking. It's making his favorite meal even though it uses every pot and pan in the kitchen. It's offering to go out to eat when you can tell she's had a stressful day.

Twenty-five years is encouraging one-another to try new things,
supporting one-another through thick and thin.

Twenty-five years is walking side by side, hand in hand. It's caring for one another as much as loving one another. It's treasuring moments and building a life.

How lucky I am to have spent the past twenty-five years with my very best friend.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Mother of a 'Twilight' Addict

I don't know who she talked to or when...
Maybe she found out about it via the internet...
Regardless, she's now completely hooked on the idea of vampires and I guess wolves, because at some point they're supposed to figure into the story.

I'd heard Twilight mania was spreading like a disease but I thought we'd make it through untouched. My kids aren't often affected by pop-culture fads. Then my daughter started begging me to see the movie.

Really, I tried hard not to laugh when the brooding Edward walked onto the screen with his powdered white skin, manscaped eyebrows, bright pink lips, metro-sexual good looks and brooding attitude... But c'mon, how campy could this movie get? I thought surely my daughter would see through to all it's goofiness. Especially when Edward called Ella a 'Spider-monkey'... Seriously, what girl would find being referred to a primate, by her boyfriend, at all charming? Oh, and when he's in the sunlight, he seemed less sparkly or glistening and more like sweaty, which I'm sorry, kinda grossed me out.

Listen, up until I saw the movie on Saturday I knew ab-so-lutely NOTHING about Edward or Bella or any of the other characters my daughter now talks about like they're adored relatives. I'd only heard of the series through reading other bloggers discuss the series as 'crack-literature'... An idea that didn't exactly send me running out to the bookstore. However, now the girl child wishes to own the entire Twilight series NOW, right NOW, Can't hardly wait 'til Christmas NOW! And Oh God, when do I think the movie is going to be released to video? Do I think it'll be BEFORE Christmas? If so, can she please get it, oh please, oh please, oh please?

Is this what it feels like to be the parents of Wiggles Fans, Dora Adorers, High School Musical Madness or Hanna Montana Maniacs?

There is one plus side to this entire obsession. The girl child was SO desperate to see the movie a second time, she somehow convinced her brother to take her on Sunday. There's nothing like sibling kindness to bring about harmony in the home... Even if it does take the form of a laughable, brooding teen vampire story.

I can't wait until Saturday Night Live spoofs this flick. I want to see that almost as badly as my daughter wishes to see the movie again.

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Friday, November 21, 2008



I'll be open beginning Monday, Dec. 1st
11-2pm Mon.-Fri.

Need a gift beautifully wrapped?
113 East Main St.
Elkton, MD.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Thoughtful Message?

My son left this note on the breakfast table for me this morning:

Hey Mom & Sarah,

I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be waking up easily this morning because I was up until 2:00am talking to [One of the staff members from school] on AOL Instant Messenger about Shakespeare and it's subtleties.

If one of you could (attempt to) wake me up that would be awesome.

P.S. It also took me 10 minutes to write this note and print it.

Many Thanks,

I've heard two of his three alarms going off as I sit here typing this... How can I possibly be upset if he's spending his early morning hours studying the subtleties of Shakespeare?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Because I couldn't go through the day without passing this along...

This, This here is GOLD!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For all those crafters who like to play with ribbon...

Consider this a public service announcement to any crafter out there who's searching for a way to store reams of ribbon.

I neglected to count but I have a LOT of ribbon.

After my husband finished the new studio space for me, we sat around flummoxed as to how to neatly, conveniently and ideally store the scads of ribbon roles I've collected to create my card, paper and craft projects.

For the past few weeks we've been discussing dowel ideas, curtain rod holders and pipe systems and then, and THEN the other night we found THIS:

The Domestic Diva

Who has an entire post on ribbon storage and this novel idea:


While my mind is in the Gutter, darling Martha is thinking vertical! Use Gutters to keep ribbons and trims organized. Have a lumberyard (or your local home improvement store) cut a half-round copper or plastic gutter to size and add gutter end caps.

An inspired solution and a trip to the Depot and here's the result:

A thing of beauty, don't you agree? And yes, I've filled up the entire length of gutter and plan to add another length just below this one because yes, I have MORE ribbon and these are currently packed rather tightly... So yep, more gutter and yes, my anal-retentive ways made it necessary to store my ribbon by ROYGBIV/Multi.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Indecision 2008 - Continued

First let me say, WOW! You are all sure an encouraging bunch... Thanks for that, especially since only a couple of you REALLY know me. The rest of you, I'll accept your encouragement but keep in mind, in real life I might be a real slack-ass who might best serve the community by staying home and picking lint out of my belly button.

Anyway, now for the update...

When I last left you I was hatching a plan for what to do with that FREE shop opportunity I've been offered for the month of December.

Pretty, yes?... Or how 'bout these?...

No sillies, I didn't wrap these particular gifts but I DO very much enjoy giving beautifully wrapped presents, I just don't tend to take pictures of them when I do. So spent the weekend searching out some new ideas for gift-wrapping.

So here's the thing... I really don't have enough items to sell at the shop. Most of the work I do is by commission. However, the shop is a few doors down from the court house and just around the block from the hospital. Busy Doctors, Lawyers on the run? Who can they find to wrap their holiday gifts... ME! I LOVE wrapping gifts... And for a small fee, plus the cost of materials it's a win/win! I thought it might also be nice to make the shop a comfortable place for people to hang out if they wanted to wait for their gift(s) to be wrapped. So I thought having coffee available, some magazines and a couple of chairs might be a nice touch.

There are however some snags I'm trying to work out... Namely, Liability... Okay, you'll just have to trust me when I say, I'm one of the most honest people you'll ever meet. Our entire family has a strict code of honor which we adhere to. It's sad to say there are people in the world who aren't honest and they spoil life for the rest of us. So my problem is whether someone would trust leaving their gifts in my care and believe that I will be especially conscientious with their parcel(s). I have a lawyer friend who's looking into a possible waiver form but I'm really wishing it won't be necessary to have to use one.

Another road-block is my/our family's concern over the amount of time this project will take away from the busiest season of the year. I'd like to think everyone is gonna step up to the plate, help with the general housework, meals & Christmas shopping. I think I need to call a family meeting and refrain from talking with each member individually about this whole thing, because individual conversations have been pretty positive, but I haven't really raised the topic of, "What can YOU do to help?"

Since I'm in a holding pattern for the next week or so, as to whether or not this will be a go, I'm reluctant to put too much time into it yet. BUT, if this does work out, I'll have a lot to organize to get it off the ground... Moving furniture and supplies into the shop, creating fliers to distribute around town, figuring out prices, procuring boxes, ribbons, paper & tape (all of which I already have a pretty decent assortment of.) and determining a schedule. There are a couple other crafters who may already be interested in going into the shop. This would be a huge help in keeping the shop open on days I'll be busy with other appointments but it also brings up the ugly liability 'thing' again.

So I have these moments where I say, "HELL Yeah!" and then the next I say, "What the HELL am I getting myself into?" Pretty much any way I look, there's a lot of HELL involved with thinking about the whole thing. Regardless, I'll keep you posted.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Complete & Utter Indecision...

Okay, here's the thing...

There's this little shop on Main St. It's really cute, a large room, 2 bay window seats look out right onto the street. I was asked to decorate the windows for a group of artisans that would be moving in to sell their wares during the month of December. You see, the shop has been empty for quite a while and the owner offered rent to the Alliance for a mere $400 for the month... Better some money than none at all, I guess.

Anyway, there were a few people interested in renting the shop at $100 a piece. In order to cover the rent, the Alliance paid up front. However, only one artisan has come through. He's happy to pay his portion of the rent, problem is he just doesn't have people to cover hours at the shop. More artisans are really needed to make this work.

Here's where I come in. Because of the help I've given the Alliance this week, I've been offered a share in the shop for NO DOLLARS! Completely FREE! My problem?... I'm not sure I have enough items to sell. I DO have several cards but people don't tend to 'Card Shop' (Thank-you, Anniversary, Happy Birthday, Welcome Baby) when they're searching for Christmas gifts. I have a few framed pieces but surely not enough to put into a shop. The other problem is there's no real semblance of the framed pieces I have. I'm kind of a theme oriented person. I'd hate for the place to look like a mish-mash of junk.... And ultimately, I'm afraid I'll be tied down to the place during the busiest month of the year, just so a warm body is present so people can browse. On the other hand it's an opportunity and it's FREE!

I have a difficult time just trying to decide what brand of toothpaste to buy... Decisions like this leave me completely paralyzed.

WAIT!!! I think I've come up with an idea!!!
Oh, thanks so much for listening!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

But it's not even Thanksgiving yet!

Remember that Festival of Trees thing I blogged about last week?

I haven't been blogging much because I've been busy decorating Christmas trees...
But we haven't even made it to Thanksgiving yet you say?

Well, the world of Main Street promotional holiday retail begins this Friday... And I'm here to tell ya, it's been a busy week and it's only/already Wednesday!

So far I've decorated 2 trees, twice each. I had to decorate each tree once at home in order to insure I had enough ornaments for each tree. The Paper Treehouse tree, which I created to promote my card business, is made up almost entirely of handmade ornaments. I say almost because even though I've been working on creating ornaments (in my spare time) since September, I didn't have exactly enough to cover a 6 1/2 ft. tree... So yes, you'll see a few Wal-Mart trinkets hanging from the boughs of my creation. I'm all about complete honesty here folks.

Anywho, in case you weren't countin it's only November 12th and I've, in a sense, decorated 4 Christmas trees already... That, and I'm also heading the committee of exactly 3 people (including me) to get several of the shop windows on Main St. decorated for the holidays.

Tomorrow is another day of doing my part to grace this little corner of the world with some sparkly holiday wonderfulness. I'll try to get some pics of the shop windows but 'til then here are some shots of the trees I've decorated and re-decorated... But fortunately won't have to take down and put away because these trees are going up for auction!

Here's the topper for the Paper Treehouse tree
*wrapping that octagonal box was a logistical nightmare!

This is the topper I created for a tree designed for one of the retail shops on Main Street
*It might of been better if the bells didn't sit on top of the box, they're supposed to dangle.

Here's a sampling of some of the ornaments I've been working on for the past month or two.

And here are the results in my very messy living room which I haven't had time to clean.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Time Warp

Not to harp on this whole being sick thing but (oops! I'm harping) I've been spending my 'down time' watching crap loads of bad television. However I'd like to list the Discovery Channel an exception to the rule. 'Cause if I can be sick AND learn stuff without having to strain my brain reading... Well, that's a good thing.

Our new favorite show on Discovery is 'Time Warp'... It's WAY cool to watch the world slowed down and appreciate the beauty of it all. Which leads me to today's post. Last night I came upstairs from the basement (playing in my new studio) and found my daughter in the kitchen with a tray of water, food coloring, a straw and her camera... And this is what she was creating:

Most of the food coloring I had in the pantry is gone but no matter... 'Cause I think the results are pretty AWESOME!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Little Time for Blogging

I've at last taken the time to load pictures into my laptop in order to illustrate a few of the things that kept me so busy throughout the month of October... Laying around for the last few days holding my throbbing head in despair ultimately left me bored enough to blog about my accomplishments BEFORE I got sick... Because daytime t.v. really, REALLY SUCKS and if it weren't for the Discovery Channel, I'd have to say the same for night-time television.

Anyway, in early October I was busy planning hostessing a luncheon following the Memorial Service for my husbands Aunt Carol. She passed away in February but was being interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Aunt Carol was to be the second Aunt in my husbands family to be buried at Arlington. She served as a WAC in WWII and a drill Sergeant. Family came into town at my Mother-in-law's, from as far away as Washington state. There were cousins from Florida, Virginia, New Jersey and friends from Ohio paying respects to Aunt Carol and a life well lived. I volunteered for not only the role of planning the luncheon but was also tapped as photographer for the day. Here are some pics of the service at Arlington:

Amid the rush of 27 people waiting to be fed, I managed to get one pic of the buffet table which I had fretted over getting beautifully laid out to honor Aunt Carol, who always agreed with me that it was totally worth it to splurge on the more expensive paper napkins. While we were down in the D.C. area for an extended period and since there was family visiting from out of town, we of course, had to visit the District. My daughter got this beautiful shot of the capitol that day.

On top of the planning for the Memorial I've also been busy with another project. Our small town has an event known as 'The Festival of Trees'. Last year I was on the planning and decorating committee and because I'm a glutton for punishment or just really bad at saying No, I'm heading up the decorating committee for this years event. The way it works is, local businesses purchase and (sometimes) decorate a tree. This year the trees will be on display at different locations throughout Main St. for a 4 week period. During which time a silent auction takes place. In mid-December a large Christmas party will take place on Main St. with a visit from Santa, Carolers & Free Horse drawn buggy rides. At that time the trees will be awarded to the highest bidders at auction. I had the bright idea that this might be an opportunity to showcase my paper art skills and have volunteered to do a 'Paper Treehouse Christmas Tree'... I've been working on ornaments in my 'Free (ha! ha!) Time' and have completed roughly 25 so far. However, this is what my studio looked like in early October:

Since October is also the month of my birthday my husband put hours of time and labor into creating a studio space in which I could be more organized and have not only miles of table space to work with but also proper lighting. It's difficult to tell from the pictures above just how dark the cave is in which I normally work because I had to use the flash on my camera so you could actually SEE the space. That would explain the number of lamps on my desk top.

Anyway, following a few weeks of studio upheaval and a lot of time invested i
n some serious organization, I'd like to show you my NEW studio space:

18 Feet of Table Top

Loads of Storage underneath.
And also Above.

And just look at all that beautiful light... This pic was taken without flash.

My husband is a genius and I, I'm SO fortunate and spoiled to be married to a man with carpentry skills. Now I just wish I felt good enough to get up off this couch and create something in my new studio.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Waiting for my head to explode*

*Contrary to what you might think, this title has absolutely nothing to do with the election. I'm determined to keep this blog a 'No Politics Zone'

Both my daughter and I are suffering from the sinus infection from hell! I'm concerned that the next time I blow my nose my eardrums are going to give way and my mucous filled sinus cavity is going to shoot directly through the path of least resistance, spray a gooey mass across my family room and my last cognitive thought will be, "Dear god, what sweet relief!" This description has thoroughly grossed my daughter out, who is currently sitting next to me, sharing the same sickly despair but lacks my morbid imagination.

But enough about blocked-up sinuses.

Rather than make this post all about whining I'd like to share some photos my daughter and I took on Sunday at the nearby state park. I'm reluctant to admit my little girl has become a better photographer than me, so I'll just say she currently owns the better camera.

Welcome to Fall and all her Glory:

Sarah's photos: Really they're all due to her fantastic camera.

My favorite pic of the day... Wouldn't you know I didn't take it.

One gorgeous tree!

A beautiful fall trail at Lum's Pond State Park.

And here are my feeble attempts at fall photographs:

Silent summer sentinels

A reminder that Christmas isn't far away.

And in case the pine cone wasn't enough of a reminder.

Mirror of fall

Tall tales of the season

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