Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Backward and Forward

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? I certainly did! Sort of...

Dave hurt his back Friday morning while taking a bag out of the back of the minivan. Really hurt it. He spent Christmas in quite a bit of pain, poor guy, but he seems to be on the mend.

Nathanael was sick with a cold. He's better but, in the spirit of the season, he gave it to Asher. Asher, very kindly gave it to me. Now I'm sick and I sound like a man. I keep expecting the boys to start calling me 'Dad'.

Do I sound like I'm whining? Sorry, I'll stop.

Oh, wait... maybe a wee bit more woe.

My mom and dad left for Florida Monday morning. So, on top of all else, I'm suffering from severe separation anxiety. After they left our house Sunday night, my husband held me close and murmured comforting thoughts in my ear. Like, "The next six months will go by so fast" or, "Maybe they'll sell their house right away". Such a wonderful guy! Until he said, "They're going someplace warmer." Suddenly, I felt like we were at a funeral! He was doing so good up until that point.

So, here I sit thinking about the New Year. I'm quite excited about it. 2010 was really wonderful. I so enjoyed having my parents so close. It had been a good 20 years since I had easy access to them. I know I got wrapped up in them- as did the boys and Dave- but it was so new and fun for all of us! Who can blame me for making my world a little smaller than usual? Oh, well! They are back to Florida now- someplace warmer. I'll miss them terribly but I think I'll be too busy to get maudlin about it.

I'm looking very forward to Asher turning three on January 9th. Two has been a bit trying- and that's putting it mildly. Talk about being wrapped up in someone! I had forgotten how all-consuming two can be. He is so independent. He wants to and, in some cases he can, do so much on his own. Unfortunately for him, and me, he has several limitations. For Pete's sake, he's only about three feet tall! He has been my constant companion and I adore him and his company. I still think he is one of the greatest surprises of my life. I can't wait to see what this next year of his life holds for him. (I'm thinking of teaching him to read. I'll let you know how that goes...)

That's it for now. The washing machine is calling my name. So is the dishwasher. And the dirty dishes in my sink. And...

Have a wonderful New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I'm going to try and stay off the computer over the next few days and spend the time enjoying my family and Christmas. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas! And, if I don't post before... have a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five for Friday: the Extreme Christmas Addition

Five Favorite Christmas Movies Before 1970:

1. A Christmas Carol (1938 version with Reginald Owens)
2. White Christmas (The only thing that makes me wish I had a sister is not being able to sing "Sisters, Sisters". I have to settle for a duet with my husband. We make it work.)
3. Holiday Inn (An earlier version of White Christmas with Fred Astaire instead of Danny Kaye. And it's in black and white.)
4. Shop Around the Corner (If you like You've Got Mail, watch this movie. It's what You've Got Mail is based on. Only better. And with James Stewart.)
5. It's A Wonderful Life (I bawl like a baby during the final scene where everyone in town is bringing George Baily money to help him out. Like. A. Baby.)
Five Favorite Christmas Movies After 1970:

1. Scrooge (With Albert Finney and singing! Thank you very much!)
2. A Christmas Story (I vividly remember the first time I watched this movie with my little brother.)
3. Christmas Vacation (From the opening scene, this movie does not stop. My absolute favorite part is when Clark has his little breakdown. I love Christmas but, don't we all reach a point where we are a hair's breadth away from a tirade similar to his?)
4. Pride and Prejudice (Not strictly a Christmas movie, but Christmas occurs during this movie and, any excuse to see Colin Firth...)
5. While You Were Sleeping (Cute and funny and romantic and... Bill Pullman finally gets the girl!)
Five Christmas Baking Musts:

1. Swiss Ruby Drops (Jelly. Non-pareils. Yum.)
2. Mexican Wedding Cakes (Powdered sugar. Pecans. Yum.)
3. Sugar Cookies (Cut-outs. Butter cream frosting. Sprinkles. Again, yum.)
4. Gingerbread Boys and Girls (Ditto.)
5. Fudge (I know you don't bake fudge. Yum.)
Five Things I love About Christmas:

1. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
2. Buying gifts for my boys.
3. Still not sleeping well the night before Christmas.
4. Christmas Eve (After the boys are in bed, with my husband, a bottle of wine and "It's A Wonderful Life".)
5. Decorating my house/wrapping gifts. (Bring it on!)
Eight more days to go! Eeeeeeee!!!!!:)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What I Want For Christmas....

...is to enjoy every minute of it!

One of the blogs I follow had a post about not missing the "sparkly eyes". It got me thinking about how every Christmas season I work pretty hard to make it festive and special and a treat for everyone. Then, about noon on Christmas Day, I'm exhausted and wondering what just happened. By then, I'm seriously considering having hot dogs for Christmas dinner instead of ham and all the fixin's. I really felt that way last year.

So, what am I going to do about it? I'm going to slow down, way down, and I'm taking everyone with me! This year, I don't care if it takes four hours, we're opening one gift at a time. Each one of us will take a turn to open a gift, revel in the excitement of said gift, show the gift off to all assembled, gaze at the gift a moment longer. Next!

Maybe it seems cruel to do this to kids but- I don't care! Last year, it was rushed and crazy and I missed half the gifts as they were being opened. I work pretty hard on Christmas lists, gift buying and wrapping. I spend the whole season excited about seeing so-and-so open their gift. I felt really bummed last year when it was all done. I was probably the only one but this year it'll change!

It won't hurt the boys to take their time, to learn what it means to "savor a moment". And, it'll be good for them to see that they aren't the only ones there, that it can be fun to watch others open their gifts. I forsee character developing!;)

So, that's the plan. I'll play Santa, slooooowww Santa. I'll make lots of coffee and hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls.

What's your plan for Christmas?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Five For Friday (X2)

I loooooove Christmas music. I start listening to it in October (don't judge me) because I am usually making Christmas stuff for Christmas shows. So, making a list of only five favorite songs doesn't seem right (or possible).

Therefore I have created two (still not enough) lists of five favorite Christmas songs for your listening pleasure. These particular songs are favorite versions of favorite songs. I have divided the lists into a grouping of Christmas songs and a grouping of Christmas Hymns. Enjoy!

***The first five songs are the Christmas songs, the second five are the hymns.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

As far as my art and shows, etc. is concerned, 2010 is at an end. All I plan on working on is "The Ghost of Christmas Present". Other than that, I'm taking a wee break.

Sort of...

This has been an interesting year for me. I have had so much fun creating my sweet and creepy little portraits. I feel like I have finally found where I need to be and what I need to be doing. I have so many ideas for portraits, my brain can hardly contain them. But I do not find that overwhelming. On the contrary- I find it inspiring! I still feel rather"young" in my art though. I am anxious to grow and develop my art and my style.

What are my thoughts for this next stage? Here they are:

1. No more Christmas stuff. Decorations or portraits. I'm done with the decorations-crafting no matter what time of year it is. I've decided to just work on my portraits. That's what I truly want to be doing and I know that I will only get better the more I make. Nothing against Christmas but, it's hard to make Santa look macabre. He shouldn't look macabre. I've loved doing the characters from a Christmas Carol and I think they fit into my "style" just right. And perhaps next year I'll tackle the Nutcracker. I think there are a lot of fun and diverse characters to work with in that ballet. I need to and want to stick with creepy (sweet-creepy).

2. No more Christmas shows. People were out to by gifts not invest/collect art.

3. I'm going after some big shows. I've mentioned Ghoultide Gathering. There is also the Renegade art and Craft Show and there is a craft show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I'm also think of doing the spring MSU show because they have an art side, not just crafts.

4. I'm going to start submitting my work in contest- ie. Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine and Art Prize in Grand Rapids.

5. I'm going to apply to become a member of EHAG and Spookytime Jingles. There are waiting lists for the groups so I know it won't be immediate but I need to get in line at least.

6. I'm going to get my website up and running. I'm going to really study the ins and outs of Etsy and I'm going to be a better blogger. This resolution stresses me the most. When I was in high school, computer classes were optional. At the art college I went to, computer aided design was optional, too. I didn't need no stinkin' computers. I was an artist! Ha!

7. "Perfect" the way I show and display my work. I got lots of good ideas at the MSU show and I'm excited about implementing them. I think. (What I really want is to make my portraits and then have elves sneak in at night, take the finished pieces away and do all that other stuff for me.)

That's enough for now. I'll elaborate on these plans as I tackle them.

I don't know if I'll be able to blog on Thursday. I'm spending the day with Nathanael at his school.

Off to do the laundry in my gorgeous washing machine. Enjoy your day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Tale of Two Appliances (and a minivan)

It's good to be back to "normal". (Don't ask me to define normal.) It's been a busy/crazy few weeks but things have finally settle down, at least to a dull roar. And, it isn't just Thanksgiving and a big craft show that has had me spinning....

First of all, a couple of months ago our garbage disposal died. Actually, it was just the outlet that died. My husband hasn't replaced the outlet yet because he just hasn't had time and other more important needs have arisen. In the grand scheme of things, no garbage disposal is no big deal. That's how I grew up, after all. I only tell you this little tale of inconvenience because...

About a week before Thanksgiving, the dishwasher died. (About a year ago, if I had written that sentence, it would have meant that I was communicating to you from the grave.) Again, not a big deal because, a.) it is under warantee and, b.) for the 8 1/2 years before getting the dishwasher, I was the dishwasher. I know how to wash dishes. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, someone came out to look at the dishwasher and submit a report to the store that we bought it from. It was well and truly broken so we would probably get a new one, said he. Unfortunately, because of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, there was know way that the issue would be resolved until the next week. Normally, no big deal. However, this year we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Visions of dirty dishes danced in my head. "Okay", I told my self. "Buck up, Buttercup, you can wash dishes." I went to my happy place until...

That same Tuesday, the washer began it's slow decline. It was dying, but not dead. I could do teeny, tiny loads but that was it. So, I began doing laundry everyday, in little loads, just to keep up. I was also worried that each load could be my last. Oh, the humanity! We then began the financially, painful search for a new washer. We found one, on Black Friday, and bought it. It's a beautiful, front loader. I loooove it! Now to move it to the basement of this old house and install it. No big deal, until...

The Monday after Thanksgiving, my husband did an oil change on our automobiles. He then got into my minivan to start it and... nothing. That's right, now my car wasn't working. Not a tragedy in that I also have an Explorer Sport to drive and Dave has another car to drive himself. Except that I carpool with another family for school in the mornings. My two kids and her two kids cannot fit into an Explorer Sport. So my dad, bless him, came to my house every morning to watch Asher so that I could take the kids to school.

Ready for some happy endings?

On Thursday night, Dave and my dad moved the gigantic, new washer down to the basement and installed it. Watching them move that beast was painful but it's down there now (and never coming back up!). It works and I loooove it!!!

On Saturday morning, after much research, my husband suspected that the minivan needed a new starter. Ouch! He began to take the engine apart to get to the starter when, what to his wondering eyes should appear but... a loose wire. Bingo, bango, the minivan is up and running!

On Sunday morning, my hero installed my beautiful, new dishwasher. There was, of course, a minor hiccup or two, but those ceased to phase us at this point.

And, while all of this occurred, I was frantically preparing for this big art and craft show and wondering how I was going to transport everything without my van. However, I have the worlds greatest parents and a downright magical husband. Everything worked out just right, just right!

This is a short, expletive-free tale of my past couple of weeks. I'm glad to be done with the shows for the year. I've had a happy day with Asher, grocery shopping and doing some much-needed housework. I even got to treat myself to some gift-wrapping while watching "Christmas Vacation". A good day!

Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on my thoughts regarding my art, my business and what I'd like to do with both.
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