Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Apologies to anyone reading today. I have to admit to feeling blue today. The year has come to an end, and while I accomplished a lot this year, there was so much I hoped to do and it just didn't come to pass.

Here are some things that I did manage to get done:
  • Watched a lot of sports. My son plays basketball, baseball and football, and my daughter plays softball and soccer - so many hours were spent cheering my favorite athletes on. (Favorite memories - watching my son hit a triple and later catch a fly ball hit waaaaaaay out to center field. Adults we didn't even know were waiting to congratulate him after the game.)
  • I planted a garden this year, using two kiddie pools and several 5 gallon buckets. The garden was a moderate success, we grew broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, hutterite beans, cherokee beans, jalepeno peppers, green peppers, cucumbers, red potatoes and assorted herbs. Unfortunately, we did not grow a great number of any one thing - something we will remedy this coming year.
  • We started composting and collecting rain water for our garden.
  • Canning was in full swing in our kitchen this past summer. We purchased vegetables by the bushel, half bushel and peck from an Amish farm to supplement our home garden. The big successes this year were salsa, spaghetti sauce, hot pepper jelly, apple pie in a jar and wineberry jelly.
  • I had a stand at a local street fair, selling my purses and tote bags. It was a moderate success, but much too exhausting trying to stock an entire stall.

Things I really wish I had done (or done better):

  • My goal for the past several years has been to be more hospitable and to work harder to cultivate friendships. I did try, but things really didn't work out the way I had hoped. We joined a Dinner 8s group at church, but only one of the couples made it to our house for dinner. We then invited another family over to our house, but they did not stay very long. Later in the summer, we hosted a picnic for three families and that seemed to go well. I need to be more confident and try harder to invite more people, I guess. At least we did better this year that we did last year. Hopefully, we will do even better in 2009.
  • This year we opted to take a stay-cation (stay home while on vacation) rather than travel. We've never been terrific travelers, the most successful trip to date was a weekend in Williamsburg, VA two years ago. I long to travel, I've never even been on an airplane. I'd love go somewhere amazing with my family this year.

Wow, no wonder I feel tired today. It has been a busy year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reality Check - Christmas Insanity

What a week this has been. I love Christmas, but trying to find some time to sit down and enjoy the season has been nearly impossible lately. Between church programs, charity projects, school plays, choir and band concerts, cookie baking obligations and Christmas shopping, I'm suffering from some serious holiday battle fatigue. (also, looking at that last sentence - I may need to face the fact that I seem to have a very serious problem saying "no")
So, why do we do this to ourselves? This is so far away from the true meaning of the season that its no wonder that the holiday is barely recognizeable. So, for the next two weeks, I'll be sorting the wheat from the chaff on my calendar. I want to eke out some time to spend with friends and family and enjoy good food, conversation and laughter. I want to spend less money and spend more time, I guess.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner - a must-have if you love sewing!

I've been following Anna Maria Horner's blog for over a year now. I absolutely love her tutorials and her colorful designs make me want to buy more fabric than I could possibly ever sew. Unfortunately for me, no fabric store within 50 miles carries her products and I've not yet been able to rationalize paying shipping for fabric that I don't yet have a designated purpose for. Soon, though, very soon. So, imagine my delight when she announced plans to complete a book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

And then finally, the day came and there it was (having arrived at the local book store several weeks late), sitting on the shelf, just waiting for me to pick it up. The pictures are gorgeous, and the pattern pouch in the back is perfect! I also love that the patterns are printed on sturdy copy-type paper instead of the brown tissue paper stuff that just isn't very durable. My biggest dilema was deciding which pattern to try first. That problem was solved when I found myself at a chain fabric store on Black Friday. At one point during my hour-long wait to get fabric cut, I found myself positioned next some fabric that was just begging to be my next purse. So, that very evening, I began to work on the One of Everything Bag pattern found in the book. This bag came together splendidly and I just love the style.

(Please excuse my feeble attempt at artistic display of my bag, its fairly pretentious for someone who has not yet learned how to eliminate the date stamp from her pictures.)

My second project from the book was the Magnetic Personality board with the Opposites Attract magnets. This is a gift for my niece and again, it was simple to put together and I'm thrilled with the end result. I think I'll be making a few more of these for gifts. In the very near future, I plan to make the Pincushion Caddy and the Just for Kicks ball.
This book is so (sew?) much fun, I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves to sew.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grin and Bear It!

Some days, you just have to smile and hope for the best. This is Runner's best upside down cheesy grin, that I just happened to catch on film (can you still call it film if its a digital camera?) one day. What a long, long week this has been. Christmas is coming alarmingly fast and I just want to plant my feet and take some time to enjoy the season.

Some Days, You Just Need A Smile!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Brand Spankin' New

I have no idea what I'm going to be blogging about here, but it looked like fun, so here I am.

Ten fast facts about me:

1.) I live in the same town I was born in - very exciting, no?

2.) I met my husband of 14 years at kindergarten registration many, many years ago. Also, I TOLD our kindergarten teacher that I was going to marry him. Planning ahead is a good personality trait, right?

3.) I've always been fascinated by the Amish, even if I did think that Santa Claus was Amish when I was a little kid. It was the long, white beard that threw me, okay?

4.) I once had a pet goat. Named Brownie. Who ate cigarettes. Filter and all. I loved her, goats make really good pets.

5.) I learned to cook and sew before I turned eight. Not well, mind you, but I did learn. My grandfather was an extremely brave man who tried all of my recipes and lied through his teeth about how good they were.

6.) My great-grandmother once chased me with her false teeth (talking about my grandfather reminded me ***shudder***).

7.) I'm not good at hair or make-up or any of the typical girly things, but I do love to sew, cook, bake, can, vegetable garden - so I am good at old-timey girly things.

8.) I have two children, an almost 13 year old girl and an almost 11 year old boy, who I love dearly and could not be better kids if they tried!

9.) I have two retired racing greyhounds that were adopted in 2006. Awesome dogs - I highly recommend adopting a greyhound, you just can't go wrong.

10.) I used to compete in timbersports. My events were crosscut saw, bow saw and chainsaw racing.

Hmmm. I wasn't sure if I could come up with ten facts when I started. If you read the facts above, remember - I never said they were going to be interesting facts - just facts.

Anyway, I'm not sure what I'll be doing here, probably a little bit of everything.