Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Deja Vu, All Over Again

I know this is probably cheating, but I am reprinting my old resolutions. (I would have just linked to this but I'm not quite sure it would work, and most of you probably weren't reading my blog way back then.
Wishing you all a New Year's Eve that is everything you want. We'll be going over to my son and daughter-in-law for a little family and close friends get-together. Hopefully, I will get a crown party hat! I know we will be home way before midnite. Then I am hoping to have some time to work on my new list of goals, but til then:

Slowing Down, Getting More Done, And Living With Intention
Here it is New Year's Eve again and I'm still trying to improve upon last year's resolutions. Time has never been on my side. I have seldom noticed it to be a particular ally. It dances around me, and slithers underneath me, while I wonder where it went, and what happened, and, why, no matter what I do, I never seem to have enough of it. My improbable dream is to slow time down, but to get more done.And so, I have made a mission statement. Or maybe it is a mantra. Anyway, here is my new life theme.
Live With Intention. Knowing me, you might think that means that I intend to do something-at some point in time. Maybe sooner, maybe later. But, no, it means that I will live with intent. I will begin to realize that the future is what we have today, not somewhere in the distant horizon.Here is what Living With Intention means to me:That I enjoy my life as it is, but always want to learn more. I want to remember that it is never too late, and that nothing ends until it is over.That I remember to make some space for the new to enter. I am learning to let some things go. Weeding out, paring down, and simplifying are so hard for some of us.
That I bring kindness to others. There are so many things we can do that are truly significant. Once a week, I will send a card to someone I know. Or do something nice for someone for absolutely no reason.That I leave a creative legacy. I need to know that something I've sewed, or painted, or written will be here after I'm gone.
That my outside reflects my inside. I just know I must be more fascinating than I look!!! Sometimes, I think it must all be about the accessorizing.
That I take care of my health. It's true that our health is the most important thing we possess. I keep trying to remember that when I am tempted. And I am always tempted.
That I find time each day for creative and spiritual moments. It still comes down to time, doesn't it?
That I do not neglect the riches that I already have. Be grateful. Always.Happy New Year everyone.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Very Little Christmas

Well, we did have Christmas, but it was very low key this year. I barely decorated, didn't send out cards or letters, etc. etc. Some years it is hard to get every one together at once and this was one of them. We did manage most of them for a short time on Christmas Eve, but today was a very quiet day here. We watched old movies and I played on the computer all day. We decided not to buy presents this year except for the Kris Kringle gifts. Every year we draw names, usually on Saint Nicholas Day, and open those presents on Christmas Eve. I started this tradition years ago. The kids all put their shoes in front of their bedroom doors and St Nicholas left them an ornament and chocolate coins. Then we drew names and that was the sibling they were to secretly do nice things(!!!) for and give a special gift. It's funny what parts of Christmas traditions are important and what parts aren't! I didn't feel at all concerned about not getting a gift from my husband, but I really missed not having something in my stocking. I did fill stockings from the "gift closet". Luckily I did buy too much last year, so I still had some goodies.
The present economy has had a big effect on our family this year, and it doesn't seem right to buy frivolously when we don't know what's going to happen next. Layoffs, shortened work hours, and unemployment have become a very scary part of our lives in 2008, so the holidays weren't as jolly as usual.
On a much lighter note, this photo is of a large Santa my mom bought for me several years ago. His coat is made from an antique crazy quilt. I thought he was lost in our move in 2006, and this fall I finally found him again!
Whoops! I just started to tell you about some gifts that I made, but one of them won't be received until next week, so I won't give my secret away til then! It was fun, and took a lot of time (but very little money!) , so I'll have pictures soon.
Wishing you all Peace on Earth and a very happy new year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Winner!

Look at this! I won an award. According to my good new friend Jodie, of everything vintage, I am a Kreativ Blogger. This is so exciting. I feel like someday I can play with the big kids. I'm still thinking of who to give it to--there are so many wonderful blogs out there, so I'll be back shortly with some names.
As for the Christmas decorating fiasco, it is coming around but still not finished. The tree is up and it looks perfect, because it is fake. This is my first Christmas ever with an artificial tree, and it just makes me feel sad. I don't know why, but it does. My husband loves it. All he had to do was carry the box in and he was finished. No lights. No setting the tree at all angles trying to get it to look even. No deciding which was the best side. This tree has way too many lights on it for me. All you can see when you look at it is a blinding glare. I prefer a simpler tree, with a bad side.
My daughter Meg, bought her first artificial tree too, and doesn't like it either. We've decided to trade next year. I think the thing that I dislike the most is that the tree always will look the same. But we have solved that. Next year she will have the big fat one with a million colored lights, and I will have the tall skinny one with white lights. We both feel better already.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas Chaos

While I've been so busy decorating at work, I haven't made much progress here at home! I pulled all the boxes out of the attic, but that's as far as I've gotten. All these (and more!)came from behind the little gray and white door, and only half of them are going back in. Yes, this is the year I'm going to pare down and get rid of some of this. My decorating is a much more minimal than it used to be. Although I still love the little vignettes, they just don't seem to work in this house. I'm hoping to make much progress in the next few days. Maybe.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Beginning to Look Like Christmas

Well, I've been busy. Decorating the Victorian Home where I work takes a lot of time, but now we are finished, and busy with visitors. We try to show 1875 style decorating, which means plenty of red and green. We use a lot of natural materials and gild a lot of the leaves, nuts, and pinecones. The dining room was done mostly with paper roses. Lots of paper roses. We used to use all fresh greenery, but now we have to use some artificial, especially for the garlands that criss-cross the ceilings. This year we also used a lot of roses and hydrangeas. And gold beads. This is the dining room, where we hold teas and buffet dinners in December. When we have tea parties, the big table disappears and we have four small round tables in the room. Everything is very elegant. December is a very busy time here. I'm hoping to find the time for my own decorating soon. It won't be Victorian.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do You ATC What I ATC?

Yet another wonderful class! This one was with Carolyn Peeler and she was terriffic! Learned some new tricks, which is what I love when I take a class. Our album has a Christmas picture on the front, but I'm using it for my SB souvenirs, moo cards, labels, wrappers, all those little things you collect. I love the way the baseball card pages are cut into thirds and then attached to the book. This was my first time covering a book like this. Getting the wires off and on again is certainly exasperating! I heard about a machine called a Zutter that cuts the holes and binds the book all at once. I may splurge if I make a lot of books. (Notice how optimistic I am about continuing with this crafting bonanza). Actually, this is another project that I have finished. And there are more to come.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Silver Bella Bank

Okay, this is just a little silly, and certainly not my best ever creative endeavor, but I have to show you my Silver Bella Pringles Bank! I started this when I signed up for Silver Bella 2008, covered it with inspirational sayings, and added money to it, a little at a time. I took it with me, and didn't open it until Omaha. This was my spending money for Vendor Night. It wasn't as much as I hoped it would be (Is it ever???) but it helped me to do some serious shopping. Here is the secret. It must be taped and covered so you can't get the money out. Just cut a slit in the plastic lid and then secure it. Oh, and you have to promise not to open it no matter what the crisis is. I've started mine for 2009, but it isn't decorated yet. Just a dollar or two at a time should add up by next November. Because, I am definitely going again!
I know, I know, I really have to start taking better pictures.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bella Bella Bella

Here are some more of my completed projects! This was Jenni Bowlin's class and she was terrific. The class was called Tiny Treasures and we made three of the cutest little projects. Her bingo card was lots of fun. I really like her little packages of crepe paper strips. It's all about the crepe paper now, I think. Crepe paper and glitter. The tiny book with the key in the binding is also so cute. She came over to every table to show us how to do the key, and chastized me just a bit for not speaking up about having a bad key. She changed my key to a better one and told me that I was paying a lot of money for classes and shouldn't be afraid to speak up if my materials weren't right! I actually liked my bent up, wonky key but it wouldn't have worked very well for the book edge, so I'm glad I changed. She was so sweet, and helpful, and very sharing. A very good class.
Isn't this little spool the cutest thing? I really liked all the projects because they were quick and cute and would make perfect little gifts when you need something small. I also bought her little Bingo card baby book, and bottle cap ornament kit, and some of her vintage findings. Love her site. Please check it out. I'm really not a scrapbooker. I have boxes and boxes of photos, but just getting them barely organized is all I can do. With five children and seven grands, I can't even think how may albums that would be with just a few pics on each page($$$$). I do love the little books and accessory items though.
Oh my! I think I have beaten my record for monthly posts. Dare I say------see you tomorrow????

Friday, November 21, 2008

Silver Bella Bling

Here's my very first project at SilverBella. On Thursday nite-oh my, it was a week ago, already! the entire group made these darling little door hangers. The secret is to stamp the image and then embroider over it. It adds so much dimension to the picture. I even sewed some seed beads to the wings. (Thank you, Sandy, for being so generous with your supplies) A crepe paper ruffle, a velvet ribbon, a peace banner, and some mica finished everything nicely. Cute and simple. And finished! I just love it that I was able to mostly finish most of my projects. I did go back to my room most evenings and work on my projects. I think I was really in need of some quiet time so I did enjoy it. I do wish that I had mingled with all those Bellas who had those late night chats though. This was the first time I've gone anywhere without a roommate so it was quieter.
I promised to post on time today and didn't quite make it. I just got home from my monthly night out with friends. We started our Craft Nite over 30 years ago, and tonite I took all my new projects for an informal show and tell. I'm pretty proud of myself that I've completed these, and loved talking about the fantastic time I had. I think they probably want to be Bellas too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back from SilverBella Land

I went. It was wonderful. I am still wandering around in disbelief. I had an incredible weekend. I have a few pictures but not as many as I'd hoped. Just as I started to get into it, my battery was dying, so several pics came out poorly. Visit Jodie's blog, Everything Vintage. She is an extraordinary photographer. And such a good, new friend.

Here's a picture of the centerpiece from our lunch with Mary Engelbreit. Simply wonderful. This was a Saint's candle, I believe, wrapped in vintage book paper, and decorated with crepe paper and velvet ribblon. It's on a nest of shredded vintage paper, with shiny Christmas balls and lots and lots of glitter. The little sign says "Living the SilverBella Life". Glitter and crepe paper are the most popular ever, with lots of vintage ephemera. I still have trouble using real ephemera. With my history background, I want to save and protect everything. Cutting it and glittering it is just a little blasphemous to me, even though I love the look and feel of the originals. I have to say it: I usually want to copy it and save the originals.

We had a total of six classes. I've been working on my projects, and almost all of them are finished! I'll have photos of them tomorrow. Yes, I said tomorrow. I am a new woman.

So come back again, and I will have more to share.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wherever Does Time Go?

Okay. Here's the thing. I just can't seem to get the knack of this posting habit. Days, and weeks and months go by before I know it. Yes, a lot has been going on--I just can't seem to write about it, can I? All right, I am resolving to do better.

The biggest thing in my life right now is SilverBella, coming up next week. I am so excited to go to this art retreat. Of course, I haven't started getting ready for it yet. Have to have a tiara. That may be all of my prom nite costume. Last year I think the theme was Gypsy Something. That I could have done. But Prom? Not so much.

Stay tuned. I will be posting. Really, I will. I'm hoping all these inspiring artists will inspire me when I see them IN PERSON.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wasn't That A Party!!!

Who are these young people? Our five children gave us a wonderful anniversary party on Saturday. Family and good friends met us at the restaurant where we had our rehearsal
dinner forty (!!!!) years ago. The best part was the video they had made. It actually brought
lots of laughter and tears to everyone's eyes. The party was a great success, and I feel blessed
to have produced such a family.
One of the great things: Seven year old Lindsey was in charge of the video camera. She filmed the video while we were watching it. Yes, her version is a little choppy (think Blair Witch movie here!), but I have 20 minutes of funny comments from the grandkids while they are watching it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Silver Bella

Oh, I can't even believe it myself, but I am going to Silver Bella in November. I just registered today. It was my birthday present to myself. It was very strange, but this was the first year I ever remember that I didn't get any presents on my birthday. Oh, I do have a few still coming, I don't think I've been forgotten entirely, but very close it seems. My husband has decided that I should just buy myself presents--so I did!! He might want to rethink that one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Great Catch Up Post

Okay! I know it's been too long when I forget my password. Honestly, I don't know where the time goes. Working full time has certainly taken a big chunk out of my life.

Lots of things have happened:

First, I received a wonderful package from my swap partner, Kathy Schwartz of Sew Anyway. She made one of her great bread blankets for me. It keeps your dinner rolls warm for about half an hour! Lots of other goodies were in the box, including two items made by her 11 year old daughter Tori; a yummy coffee bean sachet for the car, and a felt needlebook! Also a lovely little tin from England (my favorite), a story book which has already gone to the grands, coffee, candles, a tissue cozy, and some inspirational cards. Lots of fun, and very generous of her. As for me, I was very late, and I hope she has forgiven me. I am really having trouble with deadlines lately.

The big news here in Iowa is that our state has about floated away. We have had the most terrible flooding. I think it's been the worst. Everyone still talks about the flood of 1993, but now I think it will be the flood of 2008 that we remember most. June started with tornados everywhere, and then went right into flooding. I live in an area a few blocks from the river, and though our neighborhood wasn't hit, many were. My children, and many, many other people have all put in a lot of hours sandbagging. They saved the area they were working on, but then the levee broke a short distance away, and many houses and businesses were severely damaged. Last week a lot of streets were closed, so there were detours everywhere.

In 1993, the water system was damaged, and Des Moines was without water for 21 days. Believe me, that is something you never forget.

Our house was in the Union Park Neighborhood home tour last weekend. Two of the houses had to drop out at the last minute because of the flooding, so it was a pretty small tour. But I think it was pretty successful, and my house looked so good (Except for the closets where I stuffed everything--My goal now is to start cleaning the closets.) A photographer from the newspaper came and took lots of pictures, but I haven't seen anything in the paper yet.
Well, I hadn't planned to use this picture, but I can't seem to get it to disappear, and it's now or never if I want to get a post today. Kathy, I will get your lovely items pictured soon.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

This and That

I keep forgetting to mention that I'm in the "Not Too Shabby" Summer Swap. Isn't the logo for this just so cute???? Roxi is still taking sign-ups so check it out.
I think that maybe a few people might be reading my blog. I hope so. Last week I was contacted by two old friends. I hadn't seen either of them for a long time, but they had both read VictorianGypsy. How exciting for me that they emailed. I always feel that I am writing to the big empty spaces and that no one actually sees it. The majority of my comments seem to come from spammers lately. That's the reason for the deleted comments.
I've just finished my first week of working full time again. What a difference! I think that working three days a week is probably my ideal job wish. Plus, of course, lots of money. I do love being back at LHF again, but it uses so much time, doesn't it? I have basically been my own boss during the last two years, so that takes some major adjusting. And the getting up so early..... Not really the getting up, but getting up and out of the house. I like to loll about. I do think that this will make me more productive though. I have lots of new ideas. I just need to schedule some time for them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Six Word Memoirs

While browsing at my favorite bookstore, I came across this book. Short, fascinating, funny, poignant, and depressing. Can you sum up your life in six words? Well, just for fun, I did. Several times in fact, in a few minutes. Here are some of the memoirs that I came up with.

A Wife and Mommy. Grammy, too.

Lots of things. Too little time.

Feeling a little out of place.

Living every minute of the day.

Using all the time that's left.

Needed to take a bigger leap.

I was always a little late.

New Goal: Dance a little everyday.

Drank too many cups of tea.
True, I have a gypsy soul.
Try it. It's fun, and your answers might surprise you. I know I am seeing a theme here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Tea Time

Look, look, look at the beautiful treasures I received from Cris Cunningham at Enchanted Heart Studio. I love this little Tea for One pot! It'a pale yellow, and goes perfectly with the blue and yellow plate. I also received a box of note cards-love Jane Austen, however did Cris know? And a sweet little notebook, and LOTS of tea. And all wrapped in gorgeous black and white toile tissue paper.

And here's what I sent to her: A little white tea pot with a crocheted tea cozy. I added beads and charms to the tie. I included two napkins trimmed with rick rack, a vintage apron, and a scattering of my TeaThyme Wishes.
This swap was a lot of fun. It was hosted by Teresa McFayden as part of her Bellatoria Zine. If you haven't subscribed to one of her Zines yet, please check it out. She has the most wonderful ideas. And she makes all sorts of fantastic projects sound easy!!! I confess that I haven't done too many of them yet. Just seeing and reading about them makes me happy.
Thanks Teresa for Bellatoria and the swap. Chris and I had a good time, and I think we're blog friends now. Hope so

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Banner

Look what I received from Linda Harre at StudioStuffGirls. I won a drawing! I've been pretty lucky lately--maybe it's time to start buying lottery tickets. She has a much better picture of this at her blog. It is very sweet, with lots of detail and pretty bird eggs. She also sent a pack of vintage wallpaper. I've been wanting to make a banner for baby Tess's room since she was born in November. Guess I'd better get a little busier.

Pass the Popcorn!!

Oh no,
John Adams, Jane Austen, and Anne Bolyn, all on the same nite, and all forcing me to sit mesmerized before the tv. I do have a project to work on, so I'm not feeling quite like such a
decadent person.
I have lots to tell you, and pictures of surprises that I've been getting in the mail, but of course the camera isn't even close to where I am. I think that is what keeps me from posting regularly--taking the pictures, uploading them, etc. etc. I can't seem to find a decent time and spot for photography. I think there is about one hour of the day when my pictures turn out decently, and I'm usually not here then. I really want to work on that. My goal is to actually hit 100 posts this year, And by that time, I hope to have enough blog friends to have a drawing.
I started back at Living History Farms this week, and spent Friday teaching Victorian etiquette to 5th graders. If you visit the site, I am back at my beloved Flynn House, plus I will be spending one day a week in the Millinery. The general season begins May 1, but now we are working with school groups and cleaning and getting the summer programs ready. I really feel that I am back where I belong. I left my full time position over 2 years ago, and have worked sporadically since then. Lots of changes, but I'll still be getting to do the things that I love. I will still be working for our family biz as "lunch lady" one night a week, but for the most part, I will finally be sleeping at night again. Already I feel more energetic. I am really hoping to get a lot more creative things finished too. I've been in a lull.............

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saint Paddy's Day

And what else would we expect on St Paddy's day but an Irish Gypsy Caravan. This is one of my favorite postcards from my Gypsy Collection.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Cyndi! I've never been tagged before, so I really don't know how to react. I have to share 7 things about myself, some random and some weird. This is hard--most of the random, weird things I know are about my family..........
1. I love history, and have worked for several years at a living history museum. I took a couple of years off, but am going back next month. I enjoy spending my days in 1875.
2. I know how to make jewelry from hair, and to cook on a woodstove. (See #1)
3.My maternal grandmother had 5 children. My mother has 5 children. I have 5 children. All are grown now
4.I collect gypsy items. Pictures, books, advertisements, cards, clothespins, fortune telling items, dolls, caravans, etc.
5. I've believed in reincarnation ever since I read "The Search for Bridey Murphy" when I was twelve.
6.Everything I do takes longer than I think it will.
7.I've lived in the same zipcode for most of my life.
Well, that's pretty random.
Now, for seven other bloggers.
1. Rowan Willow
2.The Marmelade Gypsy
3.Vintage Moon
4.Gypsy Wagon
5.Calamity Kim
6.Gypsy Froggie
7.Purple Majic
I can't say that I really know a lot of bloggers (or that they know me), but these are some that I enjoy reading
Have fun with this.

Friday, February 15, 2008

One World One Heart Winners

We have our winners! I'll be sending a bottle of GypsyWoman's Wishes to Lisa OceanDreamer and another bottle to Staci Rose !!! They'll go out on Monday. If anyone out there would like some sample Wishes, just send me an email with your address. I also have them for sale at or on Etsy.
I will miss having all these visitors. Hope some of you come back again.
Well, it's time for bed for me. I'll be back later today with some pictures (finally) and news about the drawings that I won.
Thank you Lisa for all that you did. This was phenomenal. I'll be reading new blogs forever. There are so many that looked fascinating.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Won Something!!!

Kari at ArtsyMama held a drawing and I won! The prize is a goodie bag from Anthropologie (so, who wouldn't love it). I'll post when it comes. I was so excited I emailed her twice, thinking maybe she wouldn't recognize the different addy. Kari's is one of my favorite blogs. She was the hostess for the Valentine Supplies Swap. She's had several others, but this is the first I got in on. You have to move quickly for these things. Anyway, I am thrilled. It was a good day for me. I won something and got a job offer-more on that later.
Well, isn't this One World drawing just turning into the biggest thing ever. I do hope some of these people come back and visit me again and that I can get some visitors to my little blog in "real time". I've been trying to keep track of where I've been, but it gets confusing. I participated in this last year, but it was much smaller. Last year I didn't win anything, but I found all sorts of new places to visit, so that made it more than worthwhile. Thank you Lisa for all this hard work you've been doing. This was truly an inspiration.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Valentine Swap

Here's the box I mailed to Elizabeth for ArtsyMama's swap. Got it out today which was the duedate. I swear, I am never early with anything. I think it has some fun things in it. Ribbons, lace, charms, butttons, trim, beads, stickers, and Wishes I hope she enjoys it. I hope it doesn't arrive all jumbled.

One World One Heart


Here's my give-a-way. Just leave a comment on this post and you will be entered in to the drawing for one of my Wish Bottles. Wishes are magical little messages to brighten your day. Each bottle contains up to fifty quotes, thoughts, sayings, and things that I just make up. The bottle also includes a fairy wand to help you get your Wishes back into the bottle. Remember, just leave me a note, and on February 14, maybe I'll pick you!
UPDATE: I decided to add another bottle and have two drawings. What would the VictorianGypsy's blog be without a bottle of her GypsyWoman's Wishes, I ask you!! When you win you can choose either style. Here's what the tag says on this one: To know the present, See the Past, and Foretell the Future.
Good luck and good fortune!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One World One Heart

It's time for Lisa OceanDreamer's One World One Heart Giveaway again and I'm going to play. I don't know what my item will be yet, but I'll have it posted by February 1st. The drawing will be held on February 14. Last year I posted a collaged journal. It was great to have all the visitors and comments and to visit everyone else. This is the year I've promised to be more active, creative, and involved. The last two years of changing jobs, downsizing, moving, and remodeling kept me away from blogland. I am always amazed at those who find time to post everyday, and that they have something to post about. This year, that still won't be me, but I will be better!!!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Caucus Fever in my Hometown

Everyone has deserted us and gone on to New Hampshire. Iowa is now the land of the lost and the lonely. The caucus was yesterday and after weeks and months, everything has quieted down. For months, the politicians and the press have been everywhere! We've been courted with daily phone calls, and coffee mugs, pins and pens, magnets, sandwiches, snow shovels, and bottles of water. Candidates have posed for pictures with our babies, and signed autographs. It was really pretty exciting, and I think, a good sign that people are interested in what's going to happen with our country. My candidate didn't win, but I think everything went well anyway. Iowa has had our little place in the news, and now I think we are all ready to get back to normal. I haven't been very active in politics, but find it fascinating. Many, many years ago, I spent the last semester of high school as a page in the Iowa senate. Whoops, just a little trip down Memory Lane

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Memory Collage Ornaments

Before I finish with Christmas completely, I want to show these collage ornaments I made. It was our turn to host this year, and the hostess always has a little gift for the women of the family. I made these ornaments from pictures of my inlaws. The ornaments are two sided, one showing them as a young couple, and the other side after many years of marriage. I made several shapes and colors, but of course, I forgot to take pictures of them! Each was different, but all used the same two photos.

Finishing Christmas

Well, we've said goodbye to the lonely old tree. Sadly, it will be our last live one. My husband is excited that he won't have to deal with lights and needles any more, but I will miss it. We bought a very nice 7 1/2 foot Frasier fir after Christmas, but it still looks fake, fake, fake, to me.