Monday, November 28, 2011

Card holder stamp set

My daughter-in-law's birthday was last week. In addition to a small wrapped gift, we wanted to give her cash but not just stuck inside an envelope. On a recent visit to Archivers for one item, I bought many more than one item. Big surprise, eh? One of them was a stamp set from Ai (Art Impressions). The four piece set included the bag shape, the tissue paper filler, the words 'Happy Birthday' and a hang tag that I didn't use.
I have small stamps with words of Christmas greeting on them, and plenty of Christmas themed paper so it would behoove me to make some of these and have them ready, right?

Are you betting people? Smart money would say you should bet on me doing this 15 minutes before I need the gift card.

Oops! Gotta go....I'm late for my Procrastinators Anonymous meeting!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Another successful, happy holiday

Like the quiet after the storm, I like the reflective part of a holiday get together when I am alone with my thoughts and replay conversations that took place, look at photos that were taken and make mental notes of what to repeat or delete knowing full well if I don't write the thoughts down, I will forget them by the next event.

Chuck and Kim hosted 25 people to dinner today, almost an even blend of Kim's family and ours. If her uncle that lives in Michigan had been available along with two of our MI nieces, the count would have been 31. Yikes!

Folding 8' tables made their way to the basement along with stacking chairs that used to belong to my husband's company. I bought Christmas print fabric at Joann's on Monday and hemmed it to make three table cloths and two bread basket liners. A busy print doesn't just look festive, it hides stains if they don't come out in the wash.
My Christmas dishes, a Corelle pattern, mixed with Kim's grandmother's china and my and my mother's silverware to set the table.
My mother-in-law's electric roaster is still going strong even though it looks ancient. My sister-in-law and I guess that it is from the late 1940s or early 50s.
Using these items keeps the generation that has passed with us at current and future holidays.

And the one little one who shares DNA from both family trees was someone we are all thankful for. Here is Colton from this afternoon. You might think the lower half of the photo is out of focus. I'm here to tell you that his feet never stopped moving!
I hope everyone had as nice a holiday as I did, with full bellies and full hearts.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to bed with the intention of sleeping for 10 hours but I will settle for seven. Call me when the coffee is ready.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who stuck the target on me?

Ever leave the house and feel that both your clothing and your car have big targets on them? I could live with a Kick Me sign if it meant Donald and Goofy were my only worries.
Yesterday I went to Joann's to get Christmas print fabric. Between the fabric on sale and a $10 off coupon, I am covering three 8' tables and making bread basket liners for under $30. I was happy. Until I left the store. I didn't notice it, but apparently a target was attached to my cute little car.

Silly ole me...following rules that would make my high school driving instructor proud...I was driving within a lane in the parking lot. Cars were parked in their proper spaces. Silly cars. By doing so, they blocked the view of the %*$# idiot who almost sideswiped me while driving much too fast diagonally across the lot.
She had the nerve to glare at me when she slammed on her brakes! Oh to be Kathy Bates' character in the parking lot scene of Fried Green Tomatoes. Do you recall it? If not, here is a link to that clip: Click here

Next I stopped at Kroger, hoping to get everything I needed for the rest of the week. My son and daughter-in-law are having Thanksgiving dinner. I am making the stuffing, lemon meringue pie and had hoped to try this dessert called Pumpkin Lust Cake that I just discovered this past weekend. If you read the recipe and the blogger's comments, you'll know that this ingredient
could be difficult to find.  Ha!  I live for a challenge! I tied my Super Hero cape on, unaware that it too, had a target on it. I had carts rammed into me, someone walked off with my cart by mistake (humorous apology made that incident fun) and more than the usual number of shoppers who stopped at that midpoint in the aisle that prevents anyone from passing on either side.

I noticed lots of expressions that looked like these. I hope my face didn't look like either one!
Kroger disappointed me, not at just one store but three. One of the Kroger stores was next to an Archiver's (scrapbook) store. I spent almost as much in there as I did at the original Kroger where I bought groceries for the week. We won't discuss that with hubby just yet. No sense in both of us feeling agitated. Photobucket

Meijer stores are a chain in Michigan and Ohio. I avoid grocery shopping there because the stores are huge like Super Walmart stores, but in I went on the quest for the pudding mixes. I needed two. Meijer had one left. I bought it and another seasonal pudding mix, Classic Turtle.
I hope to make the dessert with pumpkin at one end of the 9x13 pan, and this at the other. Wish me luck. If you are venturing out amid crazy drivers, either in their vehicles or behind shopping carts, I wish you luck too. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Let's talk turkey...

'Tis the season for turkeys and pilgrims, right?  How many turkeys are hiding out at your house?

Do you have any furry ones?
Calico printed ones?
How about a musical one that sings Turkey in the Straw?
One that is camera shy and turns his head away?
One with such skinny drumsticks, you definitely wouldn't want to roast him?
How about a small one that gobbles REALLY LOUDLY?
A demure one, embarrassed to be among the noisy ones?
One that is a sun catcher?
One that sits on a kitchen window sill issuing a reminder?
Maybe yours is a place mat, made by a friend?
Did Jim Shore make one you simply had to have?
Or did a Beanie Baby catch your eye?
How about a rustic one?
Or a turkey with a sassy attitude?
Ever see one try to hide his hand in the sand when there isn't any sand?
Here is another one with lousy drumsticks
And the skin on this one would probably hurt the roof of your mouth
This one is stuffed, but not with anything tasty, he's 100% fiberfill 
This pair isn't protesting Wall Street, but they are picketing with a sign
As is this one who appeals to teenagers

Let's not forget the people who brought us the first Thanksgiving feast, and no, I don't mean Mr Butterball and Sara Lee. I'm talking pilgrims now. 

There are young pilgrims bringing food to the harvest table
Innocent looking, nose-less pilgrims
Happy pilgrims with enough nose for the pair above as well as themselves
And smart turkeys disguised as pilgrims so that they stay seated at the table rather than plated!

Even one of the bears at my house gets festive for Thanksgiving. The other two are jealous. Or maybe they are cold because they don't have sweaters. Here they are cuddled together in a basket wondering if they'll be safe until the next visit by my grandson.

This has nothing to do with turkeys or pilgrims, but it was a new purchase this year. 
A little bling tied onto a shelving unit.
And lastly, sometimes my favorite Thanksgiving decoration of all, taken from a 
Mary Engelbreit Home Companion magazine

If you're shopping this weekend for Thursday's feast, cleaning like mad in case a relative decides to look behind the entertainment for cobwebs and dropped Easter candy, dieting to fit into your skinny jeans or binge eating to stretch your stomach so you'll have room for seconds of everything...whatever the heck you're doing, have fun with it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Food+holidays: fun or headaches?

Ahhh, the holidays....the Norman Rockwell picture of the loving family gathered around the table, giving thanks for all they have. How many women feel part of that picture if they're hosting dinner for 25 relatives, some of whom don't get along, one family who is always late, and one insists on bringing their dog even though you've specifically told them not to do this?

That second scenario is not mine (thank goodness!) but is a compilation of problems that I hear from some who no longer enjoy hosting or even attending holiday dinners with family. I think it is a shame that we can't be closer to the Norman Rockwell version, but I understand the angst and anger some women feel.

My Michigan sister-in-law and I have traded off Thanksgiving and Christmas for over 30 years. Last year my single son hosted Thanksgiving and this year my married son and dear daughter-in-law are hosting it. Last year Bill and I hauled dishes, pans, table cloths and folding tables not just to our son's house but down to his basement. All 327 steps. What? You never noticed that the number of steps increases with each trip?

We'll be helping again this year, but my married son and his wife have more experience with cooking and entertaining. This will be their first turkey and their first meal for 26 people. Our youngest niece will be out of town and the middle one is hosting her husband's family. Their will be 14 diners who share my married surname, 11 with Kim's maiden name and one friend of the family who has had Thanksgiving with us for years. There will be 8 young children (ages from 20 months to 9 years) which is the most I can remember at any holiday meal.

I don't know yet who will be making desserts this year. I love to make them, but will make whatever is needed. Except gravy. I make lousy gravy. Regardless of who gets the joy of desserts, I plan to bring these, at least enough for the 8 kids, but more likely, enough for everyone.
Are they cornball or cute? Whatever you think, they are soooooo me.   The directions are here.

Are you hosting or attending? Will people bring a dish to the meal? Are holiday dinners a joy or something to be endured?

Our extended family doesn't quite look like Norman Rockwell's family, but we do pull together and enjoy our meals together. I am very thankful not only for my sister-in-law and nieces who help clean up when they are here, but for my husband who starts prepping whenever I do, and is by my side throughout the entire process. My married son is following suit and that makes us both happy. Our single son is great with helping to clean up, and if you need someone to make Kraft macaroni and cheese...he's your man!

I'll let you in on a secret. My sis-in-law discovered that after the turkey is in the oven or roaster, the side dishes are cooking or chilling and ready to be finished just before everything goes to the table, it helps if you have a glass of wine. Or two. Honest.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Prize, and an Oddity

Yesterday I wrote about winning a prize from a yarn shop hop. Today I picked up the prize...10 skeins of yarn!

It is a bulky weight yarn and I have no idea yet what I will do with it, but I've already looked to see what others have done with it on Ravelry's website. I probably won't have time to touch it until after the holidays anyway.

Before leaving the house this morning, I noticed a piece of paper had blown onto our porch. It was a receipt, an old one with a carbon backing. Note the date.
It is not my receipt. That store no longer exists and I never heard of it 25 years ago. The receipt was for an exchange of one skein of yarn, one color number for another. 

How odd that it would show up on my porch. Maybe a ghost of knitters past has come to haunt me!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Anticipation! I am feeling it! What is on the other side of that door? Or in my case, what will I be picking up tomorrow?

Last Saturday I participated in something called The Baaad Girls Shop Hop. I've done quilt shop hops before, and one scrapbooking store hop, but never one for a yarn store. In shop hops, you purchase a "passport" either at your favorite participating shop or the one which will be your first stop. The passport is a sheet of paper or booklet that gets initialed, stamped or punched at each store and turned in at the final store for prize drawings.
In last weekend's case, there were 5 shops participating and the passport fee was $10. The passport entitles you to discounts at each store for that day, gives you a goody bag from each shop, and the money generated from passport sales goes to charity. Most shops also offer refreshments, often home baked items and beverages.

For a few blogger friends who knit and are somewhat local to the area, I will mention shop names and my impressions. Don't read anything into more photos at one store than another. Lighting, shopping congestion or the fact that I didn't ask permission to take photos might be the reason for fewer photos.
I began the hop at the store furthest from me, Sweet Pea's in St Clair, Michigan. They are located in the shopping plaza on M-29 ( North Riverside Avenue), at the south end of the plaza. You must enter the plaza to find their entrance.
This was part of their refreshment offering with drinks on a nearby table.
Beyond this window is the St Clair River. This area is a nice place to sit and contemplate a pattern or have a husband watch the river (and often freighters) go by while you shop. 
 A closer view from the window.
Their goody bag included The Country Register, a Debbie Bliss magazine, a guide to things to see and do in the Blue Water area, a lovely skein of fun yarn (Crystal Palace Monaco) and a package of Sweet Pea seeds.
My review: I loved this store! It was bright and cheerful and so were the employees. It isn't so close that Bill has to worry that I will go there weekly as I do my local shop, but I will definitely return.
My next stop was in Armada at a Knitters Hideaway. It is off Armada Ridge on 33 Mile Road, set back quite a bit and if traffic had been heavy, I would have missed the small sign at the end of the drive.
The store is upstairs in this garage. The area is small, but chock full of yarn, patterns and notions. The two women working were very friendly.
Their goody bag had a pattern, some candy, an emory board and oddly....a pen from a funeral home or cemetery that I guess was local to the area.

My review: The store was nice, but in all honesty, it is so far from my usual travels, I doubt I will return.
Next stop, Labor of Love Yarn and Fiber in Romeo.

Their goody bag included size 3 Bryspun circular knitting needles and patterns for a mug cozy, a seed stitch bobble scarf and a flapper hat. No photos accompany the directions and since no one greeted me or asked if they could help in any way, I have no idea if these items were displayed somewhere or not.

My review: The downside to cramped quarters in an old Victorian home mean that a table full of knitters (class or a regular knitting group session) made it difficult for new shoppers to walk around or even see what was available. The turn off here was that no one paid any attention to potential new shoppers.
Stop number four was Trio Crafty Lady on Hall Road in Macomb.

Their goody bag was the store's newsletter and a pattern book featuring ella rae yarns.

My review: The store had lovely displays. The staff is not friendly. This is not my first experience with aloof attitudes in this shop. There was a beaded scarf on a display that caught my interest. I found the pattern near the check out and asked if the yarn was anywhere near the displayed scarf. The employee walked me to the display and said it could be made from this, that or the other yarn. I asked if this meant that they were out of the yarn in the sample. Oh no, they had it, but it was locked in the display case at the check out. I didn't really want to see it, did I?    Of course not, you idiot. (thought but not spoken). I kept my $36 (cost of said yarn) and left with previous impressions in tact.
Last stop was City Knits, now in Harrison Township on Crocker near 16 Mile. They have a location in downtown Detroit, but that store wasn't part of this hop. This location is a recent move from downtown Mount Clemens where parking was sometimes difficult and nearly all metered parking. The store is in a strip mall and most easily found by looking for the restaurant's sign.
This is only a fraction of the yarn in the store nearest the windows.
Items from a trunk show were displayed on the walls
More trunk show samples behind the refreshments. They are still constructing shelves and bins to hold even more yarn and notions which is why the ladder is in site.
Samples of crochet for one of their classes.
Their goody bag had Spin*Off magazine, a pattern for a ski band, a bottle of water and a skein of Ironstone yarn, color is called Herb Garden.
My review: Like Sweet Pea's, everything in City Knits was good. I asked about knitted gloves that were placed on top of Vogue Knitting Fall 2011 magazine. The gloves are on page 98 of that issue and in my opinion, the photo doesn't do them justice. They are gorgeous and were designed by the shop owner, Karen Hendrick-Hands. The employee took me to the yarn (Misti Alpaca) that was used to make these gloves and wished me luck choosing one color over the many others that were drool-worthy. I will definitely re-visit this store for two reasons: First,  I ordered a pattern that was out of stock due to popularity during the shop hop and second, I got an email notification that I won something from the shop hop drawing which took place yesterday!

Too bad I have to wait until tomorrow to find out what it is! Photobucket
Before anyone thinks I was harsh in commenting on two of the stores that didn't greet shop hoppers, this isn't about ego. The purpose of a shop hop is to draw new people into the store. The first three stores were brand new to me and I will definitely return to Sweet Pea's, so they succeeded. The fourth store wouldn't have warranted a stop from me except for getting my "passport" stamped. The snooty attitude over yarn cost them a sale not only that day, but any future days.