Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thanks to January's Top Entrecard Droppers!

A great big thank you to the top Entrecard droppers for the month of January:

Parental Instincts

Windmill on the Hill

More Than Sew So

Septagon Studios Inc News Blog

John Wright Art

amy lilley designs

Lenox Knits

Diet Recipes Blog

Symphony of Love

how much love

Thanks to all of our regular readers, and we hope you are having a fabulous 2009!

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year Progress

I was reluctant to call my "areas of focus" for the New Year "resolutions", but I guess I was not really fooling anybody, was I? So I thought since January is almost over, I would report in on my progress.

First of all, I am happy to report that I am now a 2 cup a day coffee drinker! I also learned the horrible lesson that someone with a new coffee habit should not drink bucketfuls of the stuff even if they are driving all night.

I have been a good girl and planned my meals for the week and done the grocery shopping on Monday, with the exception of last week when the inauguration/trip to take son#1 back to school got in the way. This planning has worked pretty well, I have been using items on hand effectively and we rarely eat out. It is nice to know what dinners we have for the whole week and not have that horrible "what are we gonna have" dilemma midafternoon.

I have paid bills the day after payday both paydays we had this year. It is a little depressing, it feels like the money is flying out of the bank as fast as it goes in. It is nice though to know we are meeting our obligations before we spend any money anywhere else.

I do not have good things to report on the health front. I have not been back to the gym. I have tried to eat healthier, but those cookies keep calling my name. I need to weigh myself and climb back on the weight watchers wagon.

Artistically, this month has been mostly about the fiber art side of things. I have made some items for trades, and worked on some embroidery and felted projects.

This was a winter themed fabric postcard I made for a trade:

This is some other felted designs I plan to use later in ACEOs:

This is an altered mint tin I made for a trade- there is applique, beading and embroidery and most of the materials are recycled:
These are some ACEOs I am working on for a bird themed trade:

Finally, some embroidery "doodles" I am working on:

I am enjoying working on the fiber art items, but I need to make some stuff for inventory soon as well, and take pictures to list items to sell.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Want to be a Coffee Drinker

One day last week I was driving around, and it occured to me that I want to be a coffee drinker. It is a little odd, I seem to get most of my odd ideas while driving around. Anyway, I love the idea of being a coffee drinker, and I love the smell of coffee. Many years ago when I was in college, I tried to become a coffee drinker by chugging some of my roommate's instant International flavored coffee, and it tasted like something I accidently drank through a pipette in Chemistry lab and it made me feel sick to my stomach.

Fast forward about 25 years (God, I am old!) and in my mind there is a positive connotation to being a coffee drinker- there are so many nice social settings that revolve around coffee, shoppers look less harried when they are nursing a coffee as they shop, and the slug of caffeine wouldn't hurt either. People always talk about how they are no good until they have had their coffee- does that mean if I don't drink coffee I am never any good??

My husband got one of those one cup coffee brewers for Christmas, along with a coffee assortment, so I decided I would try that out. I found the varieties I tried the first 2 days a little bitter, in fact the 2nd day, I made my oldest son finish it for me. I went online and found something that was billed as a lighter roast, so I ordered that, and Tara told me I must get some creamer (good stuff- not skim milk!). Today I had all of the ingredients, so I tried a cup after dinner, and I was able to drink it all! I am on my way to being a coffee drinker! Now I need to get super productive in my studio to justify it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Sea Glasser's Passion

Okay, I admit, I have a bit of an obsession. Sea glass, to me, is more beautiful than any precious gem in the world. I see the stunning photographs taken by other collectors and artists and I drool. The rainbow of colors, the way the frostiness sparkles when the sunlight hits it... the amazing discoveries people make- from bottle stoppers to children's marbles, hand painted pottery shards and old electrical insulators, what might this have been at one point in history- what will I turn it into now that I've found it?

The winter months are difficult for me, I am perpetually cold and suffer from seasonal affect disorder. I need the warmth of the sun and the smell of the ocean; when I don't get it, I see myself start to shut down. I hibernate and my work is less inspired and less frequent. This weekend, as yet another winter storm approached, I decided it had been long enough. I was in extreme withdrawal and had to get a fix. So, I bundled up the kiddos and headed for the beach.

The sun was surprisingly strong and the wind was mild- the tide was -3 and the beach was scattered with rocks and glass- perfect! We walked and searched for about 20 minutes, covering maybe 200 yards until their little noses were frozen, their cheeks bright red. We called it a day and went home with only a few shiny treasures in our pockets to show for our efforts.

Back at home, rinsing off our finds, the smell of the ocean hits me and I can't stop thinking about it- tomorrow is Saturday, Ed will be home to watch the kids, I'm going to see if I can get some "me time"! Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who understands my passion and shares the feeling of tranquility that hours of wandering on the beach in search of hidden jewels can provide. "Go, honey. Have fun." he tells me. God, I love that man!

The tide is not so low this day but the rock piles are plentiful and the few combers who are out braving the snow flurries are armed with metal detectors or dogs on leashes. I am optimistic! Within a few feet I find a starfish, frozen in the sand- I grab my baggie out of my coat pocket and toss it in, another few feet and I find a frosty green bottle neck! I wander around with my head down, glancing up only periodically to check my position in relation to my starting point and to other people.

My mind lets go of all it's stressors- there are no bills here, no fighting kids, no dirty dishes. I don't feel the cold because the sun is shining down despite the tiny swirling snowflakes that are surrounding me. In my head I design pendants and fantasize about decorating the new home we'll soon buy with all of my finds. My bag is filling up quickly with frosted goodies, sea life and driftwood.

As the afternoon light starts to fade and the beach becomes empty I glance at my phone to check the time and decide to hit one more section of stones before I turn back towards the car. I pop my phone back into my pocket and resume scanning the ground in front of me. It's getting colder, I can feel my joints aching and I repeat to myself "one more good piece, not until I find one more good piece".

I am approaching the end of the stones, the sand is smooth and untouched in front of me. I start to turn around and as I do, I spot a tiny speck of blue peeking out- oh my gosh, oh my gosh, my heart is pounding, bend over, grab it quick! (As though there were someone else racing to beat me to it.) A flawless piece of cobalt blue! I am ecstatic! Blue is not found very often in southern RI, I myself have probably only come across a handful of pieces in all my years of hunting.

I take off my gloves and inspect it- totally smooth, frosty and round, it feels like heaven in my hands. Okay, I am satisfied now, I can head home. I clench the glass tightly in my fist and begin my long trek back to the parking lot; daydreaming about what this gem in my hand will become now that it's mine and wondering when next I'll be able to escape for another day at the beach.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year Focus #1

Since I let my household chores slip so horribly over the holidays, I started my new year refocusing efforts last week on my home and family. I started out by getting this great new calendar:

It is called
Mom's Plan-it 2009 Engagement Calendar: A 17 Month Engagement Calendar. It is great- there is a page for each week like a normal datebook, but then for each week there is a tear out grocery list and a place to make a menu. So, that is what I used for my menu planning that I started last Monday. I plan to make a list for the whole week each Monday, and shop on Monday for the whole week. This is a big deal for both time and money management!

Also I entered all the paydays for the whole year into this book, and I plan to take the time to pay the bills within a day or two of each payday. Any issues we have had with money management have been much more about disorganization, and I need to try to overcome that.

I would love to get better at finding great bargains, but I need to take babysteps, so I will hopefully get back to that later. In the meantime I have been reading some great blogs written by some fabulous bargain hunters!

I was not feeling up to par last week, but I did attempt a few cleaning sessions on my timer, and I plan to do a couple of those a day at least. This will help me get the household chores back on track.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The winter BLAHS and being rundown

*Warning, giant whiny post ahead, read at your own risk!*

So with the holidays being over and school/work back on the agenda, I guess it's only normal that my entire family should come down with a nasty winter cold. Aidan and Avery started whooping and coughing early last week and after a verrrrrrrry long and miserable day at the nearly empty RI Mall (waiting to renew my driver's license at the Registry "Express" - ha ha) last Friday, I came home feeling achy like I had run a marathon. I whimpered and crawled into bed with two heating pads and a couple of Tylenol PM hoping it was just the laps I had walked around the mall while I waited that were making my joints ache.

Saturday morning- head throbbing, eyes watery, body aching, can't breathe out of nose. Yuck, the cold has hit me! Hubby got up with the boys and let me sleep until noon. I took a shower, loaded up on assorted meds, put on my sweats and curled up on the couch. Around dinner time Ed tells me he is feeling achy. Uh oh... run to the pharmacy, go get some Zicam! Maybe if we both get on it now we can kick this cold in the butt before it gets any worse!

I don't know how we ever thought after a solid month of working round the clock, entertaining, baking, shopping, running errands, cleaning and house hunting (oh yea, did I mention we're trying to buy a house?) we would manage to escape the kids' cold when they spend at least some portion of every night in our bed coughing all over our pillows when they wake up unable to sleep due to various yucky maladies.

Sunday comes- Ed and I have synched our Zicam and Sudafed schedules with each other and pack up an afternoon's worth in our pockets as we head out to tour seven houses with my mom the realtor and the various selling agents. We toured seven uninhabited and thus FREEZING COLD houses in a 4 hour time span with nothing but coffee and cold meds in our systems. Yet another brilliant move on our parts. The last agent we meet tells us she has been feeling dizzy and nauseous. Oh great, thanks for just shaking my hand, lady!

Back at home we greet Ed's mom and dad (thank you for coming over to sit with the kids and risking your own health so we could go out today!), shoe them out of the house as fast as we can and bundle everyone into jammies at around 5pm. Austin (who until this point has remained unscathed) says his head hurts, can he take a hot bath... okay so now we're all officially under the weather.

Monday rolls around and everyone seems to be sniffly but stable, so off to school and work, I even manage to do a little eBaying and get some shipping done. 3:45, I get a call while I'm at the post office- "Mom, it's Aus... Aidan puked all over the school bus, should I put him into the bath?" UGH! I head home and call Ed- he's already on his way home from work, "I made a mistake coming in today, I am soooooo sick!" Will this damn cold never end? Will the Zicam not do it's job?!

Tuesday- Mom declares a family sick day and everyone stays home. We load up on soup, hot baths and snuggle time on the couch. Early to bed, lots of fluids and rest, we're gonna kick this thing! (Or so I think until the killer migraine shows up at around 11:30pm) I can't move a millimeter without feeling like my brain will burst out from behind my right eye, I can't see, every sound is like a razor blade on my ear drums, AAAAACK, this sucks!

Wednesday- Aidan is up with the roosters, a good sign he's feeling better. Avery is up within minutes of Aidan, another good sign. Austin is up but has an hour delay due to an ice storm, so he gets to lounge and watch a little TV before heading out to school. I brew a pot of coffee and Ed is feeling well enough for work. My headache is gone, congestion is minimal, and my body is not so sore. Ed emails me from work, he's still sniffly but all in all feeling pretty decent. Avery's cough is all but non existant, just waiting to see what the school buses bring home this afternoon before I can give a full report but it seems that we are on the mend!

Winter colds are the worst, but when both parents get it at the same time as all the kids, it's so tough not to be a miserable whiny complainer pants! I really hope we are at the tail end of this so life can get back to normal, I'm beginning to feel like a bit of a loser, my Christmas tree is still up and fully decorated, I've had no energy to start taking it down!

Okay I guess that is enough of a rant for now, time to start a to do list for the rest of the week! Stay well, wash your hands often and get lots of rest! :)