Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Is It Here Yet?

Well, what do you know! It's almost Christmas again. I started out on time, really I did. Finn, Tess, Cass and I had our tree trimming party early in December.They came over after school and it was really quite festive. We had hot chocolate with whipped cream and peppermint, frosted cookies, and of course, Christmas crackers complete with toys,riddles, and paper crowns. They each decorated their own little tree, which did a pretty good job of filling up my tiny front room.
 Tess is seven, and when her tree was done, it was mostly pink and purple, a very girly tree. Tess has decided she wants to move to Paris and be a fashion designer. Hmm, I've never been to Paris.....

 Cass is four now, and this is the first year he decorated his tree from start to finish.  We added colored lights and he was very happy with it. Finn is nine and will be as tall as his tree soon.
I put up my tree with the paper ornaments again, with a few added new ones. Maybe next year I will be able to go back to all the old decorations. Maybe not. I thought about skipping decorating completely this year, but I decided to at least do a little. Now it is one day until Christmas and I am finally thinking of decking the halls. I am really starting to miss the greenery and garlands. There's a chance I may hang the stockings. Who knows! Wishing you all a happy holiday. Ours is in three sections this year. We've had the first one, and tomorrow I will go to to Kansas City, and finally, next Saturday, there's a chance that we may all be together. It is what it is.

Vintage Whimsy

Yes, we really did have a space at the Holiday Boutique. Everything looks all a jumble here, but it was quite nice. We arranged the Christmas garlands on an old screen door. The ornaments were on the wire dress form. We used book pages as a background for the jewelry and to hold our business cards. Meghan makes beautiful rosaries using a selection of vintage beads, and collaged ornaments. I, of course, had paper trees and Wishes. It was a lot of fun being with Meg.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Places To Go and Things To Do

It's time for the fabulous Beaverdale Holiday Boutique. Back in the day, my friends and I used to have a table here. Many many years ago...... But now I am back. My daughter, Meghan and I are setting up here this weekend.   My first craft show in a long time, but we are really looking forward to it. Stop and say hello. I will have pictures.
 I've been away from my blog for awhile. I bet you thought that I was really retired since I got that cake and everything. I have been busy. I have another job that I really like, and even was lucky enough to take a vacation (Again) and saw the ocean-- this time from Amelia Island . The Hamptons in the Spring and Florida in the fall. Living the good life.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Party Time

Today was my last day at the pediatricians office where I have been a receptionist for the last four years. It was a bittersweet day, but I have been ready to move on for a while. I wanted to wait until the timing was right.(Insurance!) and I was vested in the company.  I have been through a lot since I started working there in June of 2010 and I have made many good friends who have been very supportive when I needed it. I learned that I had breast cancer right after my interview and started at the office and began my radiation treatments the same week. The day after I finished treatment was the day that our son Rich died in his sleep. A few months after that, I lost Jim. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? And it was. But during that time and for a long time after, I lived in a perpetual fog. Going to work everyday was something I knew I had to do. I'm sure I wasn't the best employee they ever had, but so many people offered me support and encouragement over the next few years. Today, they gave me a wonderful party. And, lucky for me, I didn't have to follow the dress code today, because I was gifted with this lovely vest.  The handmade card (Thanks, Torry) and note were included.

        Dear Sweet Sandi,
A vest because you're fully vested
A peace sign to keep you always at peace with yourself
A starfish so you remember to take vacations
Peacock feathers so you remember how beautiful you are inside and out
Lights and colors so that you remember to party
Owls to keep you owly and wise
A telephone so you always keep in touch
                 Butterflies so that you fly away but hopefully fly back every now and again                 
We all enjoyed it and it has some wonderful charms and decorations that may turn into something else. And it even lights up!! I am going to miss seeing this group every day.  But now, I am on to new adventures.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Home From the Hamptons

And we finally arrived. The ocean was magnificent. And cold. We dipped our feet in, but that was about it. We spent some time sitting on the beach and collecting seashells. And we shopped. And ate. And visited. And laughed. It was a wonderful trip. And ended all too soon.
Here we are, Gerry, me, Mary, and Sherry. Yes, I know, my friends with the rhyming names. Gerry and I have known each other since our early teens, and actually found out that we are third cousins! Sherry organized our very first trip to England in 2000, and we met Mary on one of the later trips. These are my traveling companions and we also have had the most wonderful adventures. Sherry moved to the Hamptons last year and hosted our visit. She always knows the best things to do and places to see, no matter where we are! She knows where all the celebrities live and we drove by a lot of their houses,even though we mostly saw gates and hedges. There is a lot of privacy here. It's where the beautiful people come to get away, I guess.

Can you guess who this gate belongs to? Notice the monogram. So many people have homes in this area-Paul McCartney, The Barefoot Contessa, Jimmy Fallon, Billy Joel, Gweneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Jerry Seinfeld, just to name drop a few. The funny thing is, no matter where you go, everybody there looks at you to see if you are "somebody".
The shops are all big names. No chain stores allowed. And everything is so expensive. Just to think that some one  will actually buy $300 cashmere sweaters for their baby boggles my frugal mind. Our favorite places were the resale shops. We are so easy to please. The best was "The Ladies Village Improvement Society". This was started in 1895 and is housed in a home built in 1740. Loved it.
And the garden shops are all magnificent. I think several rent out areas for parties and weddings because they are just beautifully landscaped. I really liked The Bayberry in Amagansett.
We had movie night and immersed ourselves in the GrayGardens story. For those who may not remember, Big Edie and Little Edie were relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy. They lived in an old East Hamptons mansion that became increasingly rundown and pest-infected over the years. After it was condemned, the family tried to clean it up. Two documentaries were made in the 1970's and later a movie with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore. The story is riveting and there is quite a cult of information available. Of course, we drove by the restored house.
My alltime favorite celebrity moment was meeting Amy Zerner and Monty Farber. They have a shop in the village and I just happened to find it. Any one who knows anything about the tarot will recognize their names. They have written lots of things and she is a textile designer. I really want one of her very,very expensive jackets. Their designs are based on her original fabric collages. They were so nice and we are now facebook friends.
(I took two of these simple sweater and dress combinations with me on the trip. I thought they would work well, but now I am just thinking.......Frumpy!!!. I think I will have to be my own next project. I see a makeover in my future, even without consulting the cards!)
The Hamptons were perfect. But as all good things do, this had to end. And just as we began our vacation with weather delays,  we ended it in the Chicago airport. It took us 26 hours to get home from New York, with several cancellations,flight postponements, and a night spent on very uncomfortable cots in the airport. Have I mentioned that Mercury was retrograde?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Traveling---Trips and Tips

All aboard for our train ride to the Hamptons. By Sunday we were feeling pretty sure of ourselves. We said goodbye to our apartment, and the doorman quickly got a taxi for us. Inside the train station, we purchased our tickets from a machine. The train is very reasonably priced. Every one stood watching a big sign, waiting for the track number to be posted. As soon as it lit up, people moved in a giant wave. New Yorkers don't waste time. We settled in with good seats near the door. After a few minutes, we found out we had to move to another train. Something was wrong with the one we on. After about 15 minutes, we had to transfer to our final train. Here is my first and biggest tip about riding the train: You do NOT want to have a lot  of luggage. A small overnite bag or backpack is perfect. I hope you are getting a mental picture of our heavy, heavy suitcases. It is crucial to this part of our journey. The train ride was over two hours and was very nice. One of us slept. The other one plotted the stops. After asking which of the Hamptons was the one before our stop, I felt pretty prepared.  When Bridgehampton was called, I knew we were next.  Our suitcases were handy and we were ready to move. As soon as he called East Hampton, we were on the go, dragging our suitcases up the four steps to the nearest door. We were the only people getting off. I reached the door, and it closed. As I was screaming "Noooooooooooo" and pounding on the door, my friend leaned against her suitcase and fell over it (That's the trip part). As she landed on the floor, a very nice lady helped her up. I was still pounding on the door. The ticket taker came by and said he didn't see anyone, so he had given the signal to go on. The train was behind schedule because of the extra transfer at the station, so I guess they thought they could make up some time. I don't know how he could have missed seeing us, even without the Statue of Liberty crowns. Once again, I had nixed the idea, in case our friend meeting us at the station decided to pretend not to know us.
All ended well. I called her, and she was able to meet us at the next station, which was only a few minutes away. We stood by the door the entire time. After being told for two days not to stand up on the planes, and not to stand up on the buses, we learned that it is vitally important to stand, and be ready to run, when one is on a train.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Travel Guide. Part One

I just spent eight days in New York City and the Hamptons. What a trip that was! This was a reunion visit with three other friends that were my fellow travelers to England. We are all about the shopping, and the quaint little villages, and the resale shops, so visiting is always a good time with lots of laughter. It was just what I needed.
Gerry and I didn't get to "our" apartment until late (almost midnight) Friday night. Charming, charming building, complete with doorman. I guess when you are traveling on Friday the thirteenth, you have to expect a few difficulties. We thought we would arrive late in the Iafternoon, but the flight and the weather didn't co-operate. Luckily, it's very easy to find a late dinner in the neighborhood, and we also found a yarn shop practically next door.  It was our first stop on Saturday morning. I bought a skein of the most expensive yarn
I have ever seen, I will either make something small but beautiful, or I will wind it into a ball and be happy. Next came brunch, outside, complete with people watching. I bought an antique book from a street vendor. "Around and About Old England"  My favorite place, and a lighthouse on the cover, so I couldn't leave it, even though I promised myself not to buy too many books on this trip. They are so heavy, but I am so weak.

We only had one full day in the city, but with the hop on hop off bus tours we were able to see quite a bit. Most of it was from the bus, since we got a late start. But we took three tours. Actually, we took one of them twice. First, we did the uptown tour. That one was the best. Our guide and bus driver were very informative and entertaining. We saw Central Park, brownstownes, and mansions, churches, and China town, Harlem, and Sean Connery's home.  Jacqueline Kennedy's apartment building, and also Maya Angelou's. The Trump Tower, Grant's Tomb, the Museum Mile, Times Square, and much, much more. At the end, we gave them a big tip. Then we wanted to do the Downtown Tour. The guide said "Yes,yes, this is the downtown tour. Hurry and get on." So we did. Before you knew it, we were seeing Chinatown, and Harlem, Times Square, Grant's Tomb etc. Well, you get the idea. People in NYC are always in a hurry. They talk very fast, and will always say yes to any question you ask. This tour guide had a broken microphone, so we didn't hear a lot of what he had to say. But by this time, I was about ready to give the tour myself. (Remember, I had years and years of training at a Living History Museum, I know about tours.) At the end, we felt sorry for him, and gave him a medium sized tip. By then it was almost time for the Evening bus, so we got on that one too. It was starting to get cold, but we stayed upstairs for most of it, wearing our yellow plastic bag ponchos. Gerry wanted us to wear the Statue of Liberty crowns that she had purchased earlier in the day, but it was a little windy. Of course, the city, by night, is fantastic. We went over the bridge  and spent a lot of time freezing in Brooklyn. The Empire State Building was lit with red, white, and blue for Flag Day. We saw Chinatown again. This tour was supposed to include the Statue of Liberty and the site of the Twin Towers, but I don't think that happened. The guide was a comedian (not so much) and we heard too many stories of his fiances and girlfriends. By this time we were very very cold and hungry. This time, a small tip. We were finally catching on that we were about the only ones putting money in the bags they held out as we got off the bus. Hey, we're from Iowa, and we are always polite. After a trip to Starbucks, we hailed a taxi, and went back "home" feeling like New York natives.                                                                                

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Maybes and Mishaps

I've been feeling just a little melancholy lately.Maybe it's the weather. Spring just doesn't want to happen this year. Maybe it's the holidays. And maybe it's just that I feel that some changes are on the horizon. It is really hard not to miss all the people and objects that I no longer have. I use up such a large portion of my energy and my brain just trying not to think about the way life used to be. Of course, at night, there are no shields, so I often wake from disturbing dreams. Who knows? Nearly every night, I dream about death and houses. Maybe I am just tired from all that dreaming.
Lately, I have spent lots and lots of time trying not to think about my old house. Even though I am very well suited to my current place, it doesn't feel like it is really mine. Maybe it's because renting doesn't feel like a permanent committment.  I'm not sure. I do know that I really wish I had more shelves and cupboards and drawers!
We have had a lot of stormy weather lately, with sirens and newscasts and everyone I know facebooking from their basements. That could be it. I am missing my basement and my lovely, organized crafting room. That is the one room here in my new place that I can not get to come together. Without all my shelves, and cupboards, and drawers, I can never seem to find anything. Maybe I am just creatively stifled.
Today I met the sweet young family who bought our little cottage. And it makes me so very,very glad (in my melancholy way). I have heard such good reports about them and I can tell that they truly love the house.Maybe that shouldn't even matter but it does. I believe that old houses have a sort of soul and absorb the feelings of the people who live there.Maybe that's the difference. A rental is often just a temporary home. So many tenants only stay a year. I plan to live here for quite a while, but I've seen lots of people move in and out of the neighborhood since I've been here. My downstairs neighbor moved out yesterday, and even though I hardly ever saw him, the house feels different. Maybe after I have been here a little longer, and feel more organized, this place will have more soul. Maybe.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Musings

This is a journal I made years ago using a photo of my mother when she was a teenager. I love this picture. It is so full of hopes and dreams.
I am the oldest of five children and my youngest sister (Shawna) was only four when I became a mother. So I have been surrounded by children most of my life. I remember lots of times when I longed for a little piece of quiet, but I can honestly say that I have loved every moment of being a mother.
I don't have a lot of family keepsakes, but I do have this note written by my grandmother after my mother's birth:                            
                                                                 Our hopes for our
      Baby's future are Health,
        Contentedness, Happiness
     And a kind loving heart.
     And: Honor Thy Father
      & Thy Mother.
      May Joys ever be yours.
I remember my grandmother as a stern woman who didn't often show her softer side. I was afraid of her when I was growing up, but got to know her better after I had babies of my own. She liked to sew and made quilts while nursing her babies, liked to write, had a very strong faith, and was superstitious about the things that bring bad luck---black horses, red dresses, and singing at the table.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Great Day For The Irish

Wishing a Happy St Paddy's Day to my three Irish colleens, Erin Kathleen, Meghan Elizabeth, and Bridget Eileen. Once we started with the Irish names, we just couldn't stop! And top of the morning to all the boys too.    

May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Not Just For Curtains Anymore

 Once upon a time I lived in a house with all the storage that I ever thought to need. My grandkids called it the house of doors and drawers, because there were so many. Now that I live in my cozy little home with very few drawers, I am learning to improvise when it comes to storage. For years I had an old dental cabinet where I kept my jewelry. I couldn't bring it with me, but the cabinet lives with my daughter Meghan now in her wonderful old Victorian house.
I had to think of new ways to store my jewelry and these are some of the things I did. The inspiration for the hanging necklaces and  milk glass vases came from WhippyCake. I love her blog and her style, which is nothing like my own. I used tension rods  between my bedroom door and closet door, and curtain hooks. It works very well. I think I will shirr a fabric tube or use washi tape on the white rod to add some color, but that hasn't happened yet.

On my dresser I have a narrow shelf with compartments which I filled with milk glass vases. These hold cuff  bracelets. A black velvet jewelry holder from the craft shop keeps the rest of my bracelets from tangling.

Having everything on display is very different for me. I enjoy looking at it. Most of my jewelry is handmade or gifts. Nothing valuable if you are counting dollars, but fun to look at.

I covered a foam florist wreath with strips of fabric and lace, and  pinned brooches onto it. Still more to add. I think I thought of it myself, but I'm sure it's been done before. Probably on Pinterest!
The bedroom walls are much darker than they look in the picture so there is a lot more contrast. (Will I ever be a photographer?  So many times I put off posting because I don't have decent photos, but I have decided to concentrate on timely writing instead of beautiful pictures. Forgive me)

 I also use tension rods as a way to put a fabric wall hanging under my fireplace mantel. And they can be put across a
bookcase shelf to hold ribbons. I'll show photos of my crafting room when I finally get it organized and I can find things again. Hope springs eternal.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Old Grey Mare-A February Rant

This has been quite a week and it isn't over yet. Our new computer system went live at work this week, and for me it has been a nightmare. Literally, I have even been dreaming about it every night. All my young- and I do mean young- co-workers don't even realize what an advantage they have by working with computers all their lives. I can tell they are upset with me. And of course, at least once a day, the trainer will say to me that she has never seen "that" happen before, as my computer seems to do something entirely of it's own free will. No matter how many times someone tells me to push this key or that key, it absolutely makes no sense to me until I understand why I am doing it.
As we all know by now, electronics just don't seem to like me. My garage door opener quit working (And it is probably the coldest, snowiest week of the year.) My phone battery keeps draining and I don't know why.  And, yes, I am trying all the things I am supposed to do. And I must be the only person in the world who can't get the Facebook movie of my life to work. Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera
On the home front, here is a picture of all the mail I have gotten this week. This was the week my Medicare deluge started. (And after this week, retirement looks good, if only I could think of another way to make money and not have to learn anything new that I don't want to learn) Every single thing I've gotten this week has been from Medicare, or Aarp. Or a reminder to get burial insurance. Until today, when I got a pretty blue envelope inviting me to make this Valentine's Day one to remember! I can call now to reserve my place for a private showing of the latest in hearing aid technology. I am feeling so old. Even though I know that is better than the alternative. Any nice mail would be greatly appreciated.
It was no surprise to me to learn that Mercury is retrograde. All month. I can hardly wait  to see what else is ahead for me.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Tea Time

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a teacart. When I moved here, I realized that I finally had the space for one, under the window in my dining room. This is my smallest home, yet it is the only one with the right spot. Every time I visit the antique stores, I have looked for one. Not too big, and definitely one with a lift off glass tray so I can put postcards and vintage papers underneath. Friday night I decided to walk through the  Brass Armadillo antique mall. As I pulled into the parking lot, there was a vendor carrying this beauty inside. I hurried in and searched until I found it. Just perfect and even a few dollars less than the limit I had given myself. Meant to be, right? It even fit into my car, and it was payday, so there was enough money in my account. All the signs told me this was my teacart. And now it is. Happy Valentine's Day from Me to Me.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

100 Things About Me- Part one

I was sorting through boxes (still and again) and found this picture. I think I was probably three. It made me think of the lists I often see and have never tried to do. So here it is---Things about me That Aren't Really Important to Anyone Else......but isn't that why we have blogs?????
1.I don't want to be too predictable.
2.I am from a really unusual family who could easily fill this list, but I am trying to make it all about me.
3.I really do love Irish music.
4.I prefer tea but drink a lot of coffee.
5.I like to knit and crochet, but have never made anything that has to be fitted.
6.I still have the first "antique" I ever bought. Candlelsticks. 50 cents
7. My absolutely favorite job was at  a living history museum. It was my life for many years.
8,I can make jewelry from hair. (See #7)
9.I can cook on a woodstove (Ditto)
10. I know more about nineteenth century ettiquette than anyone probably wants to know.
11. I always spell etiquette wrong. Other than that, I am a really good speller.
12.I was a page at the Iowa Legislature when I was in high school, and worked there again for a session four years ago. Loved it.
13. I've always hated office jobs.
14. I work in an office.
15.I have always wanted a gypsy wagon in my back yard.
16. Now that I rent, I don't have a backyard.......or a gypsy wagon.
17. Sometimes I tell fortunes at parties.
18. I used to have a fairy ring in my yard. Every day I made a wish when I got off the school bus. For years.
19. I'm mom to five children. My mother has five children. My grandmother had five children.
20.Sometimes I write poetry. Not often.
21. I really want to write a book, but I'm afraid to start.
22.I have been baptized three times.
23.Every single moment of my life is touched by grief. I have learned to live, even to enjoy. But it is there. Every. Single. Moment.
24. I married at nineteen and never regretted it.
25. New furniture makes me nervous. I like things to have a little wear.
Okay. End of Part One. 100 really seems like a lot.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Word of the Year-2014

Every year I pick a word. And this year the word is Discovery. Or Discover. Or Discovering. I thought about picking Adventure, but want to notice and learn about things first. I actually used this worksheet to help me pick out a word. I thought about nearly a dozen words, but discover was the one that seemed just right for the year I have ahead. Last year's word was mindfulness, and I spent most of the year thinking about things, and moving and clearing out my life. So this is the year to discover new things about my self and my world.
Did anyone notice that the link goes to an address called "Word of the Year Discovery Tool". I filled out five pages of worksheets trying to come up with the perfect word for me. And only just now I noticed that I "borrowed" my word right from the title! Maybe I need to go back to "Mindfulness" for another year! Stay warm and think about a word. It's probably right in front of you.