Apologies!

It’s been awhile since I posted, and actually, I had a post ready to go in late May-Early June, but it needed photos; I saved it in draft form and then forgot about it…and never took the photos ūüė¶ I’m so embarrassed.

Life has taken some crazy turns since mid-June…breast cancer (caught early and I’m going to be fine!) and the decision to go ahead and retire. I had planned on working till the end of the year, but knowing what I was going to have to deal with (surgery and radiation) caused me to rethink the whole thing. I’m lucky to have worked for a state agency that allows me to keep my insurance as a retiree. As I’m not 65 yet, Medicare is not an option, so this was an absolute necessity. So I retired as of Aug 1, but actually left my job two weeks before that to have surgery.

I have most of the surgery behind me (they do have to go back in a remove a tiny bit more) and still have the radiation to deal with. Probably 5 times a week for 6 weeks. Yuk, I know, right? But I don’t have to lose a breast (or my hair) and I don’t have to lose my life, so I’m not complaining. Just dealing with it and moving on.

The good news is that I’m already up to my ears in doing what I love, which is making things with fabric, stuffing, thread, yarn, ribbons, etc.–especially dolls. I am stocking up on inventory in preparation for my first craft show, which will be next February. It’s a big one–Friday night through Sunday afternoon–so I have to really have a lot to sell. I probably need enough to fill my tables and then have some in reserve to re-stock if supplies dwindle. This is daunting in itself, but not knowing what will sell well and what won’t is the hard part. The last craft show I checked on had NO dolls being sold, so I think I have a niche, but how much?

My plan is to make a lot of small, inexpensive things, that I can easily restock, a little less of the mid-priced, mid-sized, things and just a few of the larger items. My Waldorf dolls will be the least in number, but I plan to take custom orders for these, so I just need to have maybe a half-dozen for display.

American girl doll clothes are something I can stock up on and I know they’re popular, but how many other people will be selling them? Ah, there’s the rub.

And then there are all sorts of other things to be considered….table covers, signage, pricing tags, display containers (racks, shelves, baskets, suitcases.) It’s a lot to decide and do, but now that I’m not having to deal with “work” my mind is free to play with all of this, and find bargains, too.

So, even though it’s in reverse order, I will probably get those photos taken that were supposed to go with my LAST post (ahem) and get it up here very soon. And then I will wait a couple of weeks and get photos of my more recent stuff and update everyone.

OH! I almost forgot….I probably will….at some point in the next few months…be moving my blog to a Weebly-hosted site. It’s rather inexpensive for an account that will allow me to sell my items online, as well as continue to blog. It seems easier (cheaper) and more cohesive than Etsy and search engines will still be able to access it. A fellow entrepreneur has her own site and blog there, and it looks like a good plan. Cheap and easy, what more could I ask?

So look for further updates to all of this soon, along with photos! I’m well and doing what I’ve been waiting for 30 years to do.

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A fun charity project

I love to sew.¬† Not just anything, of course, because some things are just so boring, I’d almost rather clean a toilet.¬† I’m only exaggerating a little, but an example is hemming my husbands pants.¬† ALL of his new pants must be hemmed before he can wear them and most of them are jeans.¬† My hands are usually battered from pins by the time I’m done and he often buys 2 or 3 at once.¬† I hate that.

Making a lot of plain panel curtains aren’t much better though I’m not usually scratched to pieces by pins when their done.

But THIS project was fun, fast and allowed me full vent to creativity.¬† AND it will benefit some little girls who desperately need help.¬† The design is called a “pillowcase” dress, because you can literally make them from pillowcases, but I did not.¬† There are various ways to handle the¬†arm holes, straps and bodices, and I tried a couple of them.¬† Anyhow, I had three of them turned out in no time at all and the fun part was embellishing them.¬† I had all these yo-yos I had made and some leftover trim from other projects, plus I decided to buy some white rick-rack.¬† Here are the results:

The dress in the middle was a longer one that I’ve folded up for the photo.

Some detail showing how I used the yo-yos.  One of the dresses also had smaller yo-yos on the back at the base of the ties.

Don’t you just love these bright colors???¬† And I found these fabrics on a clearance table, for very small $$$$, plus, their purchase also benefited another children’s group.¬† How great is that?!

The red trim has little white hearts (hard to see here) and was a leftover from something I made years ago.¬† I have no idea what or when. ūüôā

So now I have finished something really fun and sent it off to “Little Dresses for Africa” (see my blog roll link for more info) and it’s time to get back to curtains for the camper.¬† I bought a number of plain ivory colored panels at Goodwill on my last trip there and some of them worked out fine for the front and back walls of the bedroom, but some will need to be shortened to exactly fit the space above our bed.¬† They need to fit a rod at the bottom as well as the top, because that keeps them from hitting the pillows and getting in your hair as you sleep.¬† So precision will be necessary.¬† It’s only two panels, though, so I can knock that out quickly.¬† But I’ve decided to use some red and beige fabric my son gave me for Christmas to make some bias trims for them.¬† I bought bias maker tools and they work really well.¬† I can get these two panels trimmed and take the rest with me to sew onto the two sets I left on the windows at the camper.¬† I can easily sew them on with the little Featherweight machine I left there.

I am OFF work for the next four days….State of MD “service reduction day” tomorrow and Labor Day on Monday.¬† I am looking forward to these lovely days and then, in about two weeks, it’s time to go back to the camper in the mountains for one last hurrah before fall and winter creeps in.

ADDENDUM:¬† WordPress informs me that this is my 100th post!¬† Yay!¬† And for that I get…..wait for it……..nothing ūüė¶¬† But then, I’m only writing this because I want to.¬† Readers and comments would be good though.¬†¬†If you are¬†a regular reader…or even just passing through…please¬†drop a quick comment to let me know.¬† It would be highly motivational for me.

Oh my!

More than a month has gone by since I posted and we are getting ready to leave again.¬† I have not been inactive—-on the contrary, I’ve been busy, busy, busy.¬† I will post some photos of some baby things I’ve crocheted when we return, just haven’t gotten around to taking the pics yet.¬†

I began formal violin lessons this week.¬† I only really intend to learn to play by ear and be able to play mountain music for my own enjoyment.¬† I’ve been working on learning on my own for over a year and finally bit the bullet and found a teacher.¬† She is young and is classically trained, but she’s taught her own younger siblings and teaches others as well.¬† She asked what my goals were and my goal is NOT to play classical (though I love hearing it) and I don’t need to learn to read music.¬† I just want to play for the joy of it.¬† She is on board with helping me¬†learn to hear the music and play what I hear.¬† She is not experienced with mountain music, but is happy to help me.¬† She has a younger sister who plays blue grass, so she will be joining us sometimes.¬† My teacher also plays guitar and will join me sometimes.

My first lesson was chock full of information for me to assimilate and practice will abound before my next lesson in a couple of weeks.¬†¬† I’m off to practice now….

Will be leaving Sunday morning for the mountains (our last trip till next May) and will probably return Oct 4.¬† I’m looking for fall.¬† It was in the mid-90’s here today.¬† We broke a record.

Home again, home again…

We enjoyed our stay at the camper in VA, but it ended with a hurried packing up and coming back a day before I would have liked.¬† Let’s just say it lends personal meaning to the phrase, “Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”¬†¬† It was raining VERY hard for many hours, the local stations were putting our area in a “flash flood watch” and we figured if it was going to rain all the day the following day, as predicted, we weren’t going to miss anything by¬†heading home.¬† We also figured we weren’t going to get any sleep getting up every hour to make sure we were still going to be able to get out, or worse, that a wall of water wasn’t heading our way from upstream in the mountains that surround are campsite.¬†¬† So we packed up Tues. night and spent the night at the home of a kind family member (HIGH in the mountains, thank you very much), leaving Wed. am and arriving home Wed. around 5:45 pm.

We had a fine time till the rains came, attending the family reunion and relaxing.  Husband got some projects done that had been hanging and will be able to really enjoy the next trip, I think.  Not sure when that will be, but maybe late September.

I think our cat was quite happy to come home.¬† It was her first trip to a kennel and she’s about 11 years old.¬† She seemed very confused when we brought her home after being gone a full 8 days.¬† She is used to coming in and out at will and being fed on demand.¬† (What, your cat doesn’t have YOU trained yet?)¬† She was mostly in a cage and not able to go out and hunt or sit in a lap whenever she wanted.¬† I felt kind of guilty, but I can’t let my life decisions revolve around a cat. Anyhow, after a couple of hours of eating, testing my lap and looking out the front window,¬† she went out for a bit.¬† When she assured herself that the backyard was still hers, she returned and took a long nap in my lap while I caught up on “So You Think you Can Dance” and “Project Runway” (after unpacking and starting the laundry.)

I came home to find a message on my phone reminding me that I had an MD appt. for today, which I thought was next week and it was rather important, so I’m glad we came home.¬† So I got up and out and did some necessary shopping, along with the appointment.¬† Now I have to go have an endoscopy done next Friday, ick.¬† But necessary.¬†¬†

Can’t believe summer is so far gone!¬† The kids in southeastern VA started back to school this Wednesday.¬†

I have no projects to share, since all I did while relaxing was read some novels.¬† I am thinking about Kindle or maybe Nook, since I was in Barnes & Noble and saw one demonstrated today.¬† It’s a pretty cool thing.

Good Friday night

My week was crappy, but I came home happy, despite the fact that it was dreary and raining, with a promise of a possible 5″ of rain for us on Saturday.¬† (Sooooo¬†glad that is not going to be the equivalent in snow!!!….40″???¬†¬† Ewwww.)¬† I have plans for things to do that¬†don’t involve being out in the mess.

But things got better when I arrived home.¬† I heard that my online friend (who I’ve never met), Jenna of Cold Antler Farm¬†got approved for her home loan and will be moving to her OWN piece of land where she can grow her veggies, chickens, geese, rabbits, turkeys, goats¬†and become the true shepherdess she wants to be.¬† I’m so very proud and excited for her. Jenna has been doing her best to be a homesteader on rented land and she does it so very well, but now she can really soar.¬† Go Jenna!¬† I firmly believe that the positive energy and outlook (along with hard work) is what brought about this next step in living her dreams.

And along those same lines, one of MY dreams is to have a camper where we can stay for occasional weeks of¬†idyll in Cripple Creek, VA.¬†¬†Today Jim heard from his cousin in VA that he has found us a possible camper well within our budget¬†that he thinks we would like.¬† He said he’d buy it himself if he hadn’t just recently replaced his own.¬† I’m so excited!¬† We are on the lookout for email photos coming our way, but ideally, we will be going to see it within a week or so.¬† If all goes well, we’ll buy it and “plant it” at the family campground while we are there and we’ll be well on our way to having our vacation place.

We are so grateful to have someone¬†helping¬†us on this project.¬† It is one thing for someone to SAY that they will help you find a camper, but quite another for them to actually watch for one and go check it out for you.¬† Jim’s cousin is apparently the same kind of dependable person that Jim is.¬† There aren’t a lot of people like this around who will¬†make the effort on your behalf.¬†¬† He has promised to help us make arrangements, move the trailer, etc.¬† I believe he will do just as he said.¬† It’s so much easier to go this way than to buy one up here and have to transport it 450 mi. over mountains and through big city freeways.¬†

So, stay tuned for updates on the progress of¬†one of MY dreams.¬† Goin’ up Cripple Creek, goin’ on a run, goin’ up Cripple Creek, have a little fun…….

Miscellaneous stuff

I had great Turkey Day photos for everyone to see what I cooked and who came to visit, as well as photos of my latest project, but for some reason I have not figured out yet, all of them disappeared.¬† They were on the camera….I saw all of them.¬† And then when I plugged the SD chip into my computer no images were found.¬† Nor were they found on the camera anymore.¬† It must have been something I did, but just don’t know what.¬† Either that or my camera is about to die.¬† Hope not, since I’m not ready to buy a new one just yet.

I will retake the photos of my project at some point, but in the meantime please check out some blogs I recently found.¬† Sew I Do is a great sewing blog and she’s running a giveaway¬†right now that crafters and sewers will be happy to win.¬† Please check it out here http://verypurplestuffs.blogspot.com/¬†

If you like to sew, you may also enjoy Trudy Callahan’s blog http://sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com/¬†and do check out her 9 year old daughter’s blog http://sewingsister.blogspot.com/¬†.¬† She is learning to sew and blogging about her adventures.¬† I’m doing my best to support another generation of sewers.

I’m off to do some cleaning on this ugly, dreary, rainy day.¬† It’s still better than being at work ūüôā

Is it just a bit….odd?….

Sunday morning treasure hunting netted me a 100-year-old song book, which is totally falling to pieces.

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I bought this with the idea that I could find some good old songs for future fiddling.¬† I’ve already found quite a few familiar tunes, just doing a quick look-through.¬† This book is arguably a treasure, but for me there is no question at all.

The next purchase was a Hamilton Beach hand mixer, still with its original box and manual and a warranty that says it was purchased on 8/8/67. 

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It works perfectly and I paid $2 for it.¬† My own small mixer was having trouble with the beaters and even though Jim thinks he can fix it, I didn’t want to to chance being without one.¬†I have¬†a huge KitchenAid stand mixer, but there are some¬†jobs just too ridiculously¬†small for it and¬†$2.00 was cheap insurance.¬† Can you imagine an inexpensive mixer made today that will still be working in 42 years?¬† This one still had a sticker on it that said it was guaranteed for 5 years and it even had a screw still in a sealed plastic bag that you can use to hang it up.¬† I’m sure it’s been sitting unused for a long time,¬† but still.¬† Incredible.

Now lets move along to later in the day.¬† We went to Best Buy and bought a brand new laptop–so new that it has Windows 7.¬†

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Comcast doesn’t even have support for Windows 7 yet!¬†¬† It will play CDs, DVDs (and burn them), load and play music and video downloads and basically do anything else I can do on my full-sized desktop computer…and do it FAST!¬† It even has a built in camera and microphone. I went back today and bought a wireless mouse because I couldn’t stand the built-in thing (even playing Solitare was causing me stress and that’s just wrong.)¬† I also bought a tray that sits in¬†my lap comfortably and is big enough to use the mouse, so I can be totally lazy and decadent and sit in my recliner while I use it.¬†In fact, this blog post is my first done entirely on the laptop, including downloading my photos right from my camera’s memory disk.¬† Way cool!¬† The only negative I’ve found with this new toy is the sound quality.¬† It’s really the pits. I may download for my iPod and I might burn an occasional CD, but I won’t be listening to my downloads on here or playing the CDs.¬†

Husband has recently become an online gamer and I have no problem with that.¬† He’s retired and he has earned the luxury of playing games for hours a day if he so desires.¬† HOWEVER, it was putting a serious crimp in my own computer time, so we moved up a purchase that was probably going to happen anyway when we put our camper in the mountains.¬† The Dell Inspiron laptop is my early Christmas gift (he said he might buy me some socks too ūüôā ) and I’m quite happy. Dude, I got a Dell!

However, all this being said, I thought about my Sunday purchases¬†that night and had a bit of a laugh at what I had chosen in the space of about 3 hours.¬† One item 100 years old (the song book)….made during a time when the writers could not even have conceived of television, let alone computers; one item 42 years old–still very useful and practical in 2009; and an up-to-the-minute technological wonder called a laptop.¬†

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I’m still trying to figure out if it’s ME that’s odd or just an odd set of circumstances.¬† I have my feet planted firmly in–uhhh—well—maybe one foot in the 1900’s and the other in 2009 (I’ve lost my iPod and I’m going crazy without it, for example.)¬† I believe I’m a typical fifty something.¬† We’ve seen two centuries and a huge technological growth spurt.¬† We also have a nostalgic interest in times before our own, which seem paradoxically romantic and simple.¬† Of course they were neither. I’m all over the map in my interests and passions. I don’t think I’m all that unusual, but then, maybe it’s just the internet “company” I keep.

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