Christmas card making   4 comments

For the past ten or twelve years, I have made my own Christmas cards.  And during that time, I have ranged from making millions hundreds of cards of different styles to making a basic pattern and changing it up with different colors and papers to making all of the cards identical.

Each method has its benefits, and I don’t have a favorite. (That’s the fun of being a Gemini, right?  Always of two minds.)

This year, I am really pressed for time, so there will only be two designs, very similar.  There would only be one, but A and I disagreed on which photo we preferred for the base.  So, I am making half with her first choice, and half with mine.

I spent the evening last night playing with the paper-cutter to cut out all the photos I printed on linen textured paper and while I did that, my beloved Cricut cut out dozens of the sentiment.  Sometimes Cricut and I don’t get along (it tears paper if everything isn’t perfect) but I used good quality paper and a new cutting mat, and had good luck.

Cricut

This morning, I picked out all the little bits of paper and got the Cricut cuts ready to use.  Almost ready to assemble! Just have to determine where and how much sparkle to add.

I might be mailing by Monday!  Woo hoo! I can catch up, I know I can.

Posted December 19, 2014 by salpal1 in what I am making

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Friday before Christmas list   3 comments

Good morning, all!

I am excited that it is Friday at last.  Whew – long weeks at work, but soon that will change.  :-)

Today I desperately need a hair cut – I look like a shaggy mop. I also need to wrap up the few Christmas presents we are giving, but more importantly – I NEED TO FINISH THE CHRISTMAS CARDS!

I have been puttering on them this week, and that is not getting it done.

Then there is laundry, and the post office – a package is there waiting for me!  I always hope it will be some intriguing surprise, but lately it has just been materials for tax prep season.  I suspect that is what is there waiting, but I still hope for a surprise bundle.

The grocery store – a true chore now that they have finished remodeling the store, and it somehow feels smaller and more crowded and has less of what I use than before they “improved” it.

I also might *need* to go to the bookstore or library for next month’s book.  If I can recall what it is. I have an email here somewhere…

Have some pictures to post here for you later, knitting updates, of course, and stories to tell about my week, but that might wait until later this weekend.

I also need to put together my order for Halcyon yarn.  I have a gift certificate that is burning a hole in my pocket.  They have some silk I want to get to make a couple of necklaces for a friend and her daughters… and there is NO POINT in paying the shipping on such a small item, I should really see what else I need from them. :-)

A pretty random, normal day.

Here’s a random thing -

I think we might not get a Christmas tree this year.  Not sure how it happened, just don’t seem to have the energy for all that work, even though I do love a tree in the house.  I might change my mind again.  Isn’t it good that A is so patient and flexible with me?  :-)

It’s Monday, and already I am thinking about my Friday list   4 comments

I have 9 more days of working at this job.

I am pretty sure I quit several weeks ago.

This morning my boss told me they are still trying to sort out how to get all my work done, when I am gone.  And they think they will hold off on making any permanent moves until the end of January, when they will call me and see what I think.

What I THINK?  I think that at the end of January I will be hip deep in organizational details and tax law, and won’t have a moment to think about all the parts of what I do now that have nothing to do with taxes. I think that they are really counting on the fact that I didn’t MEAN to quit.

Which, of course, is true. I tried to get a long leave of absence, sabbatical -like.  They thought that was bad for the organization (and likely, they are right.)  They said no, I said fine, then I guess I have to quit.  I gave them a date.  I said I would work part-time doing the taxes, then I would be completely done in April.  That I need some serious time off, but that I am open to discussing options IN THE SPRING.  Not the end of January. Now they seem  to think that might mean writing some grants this winter, or doing some research.  I did agree to do the annual report if they can’t get it done any other way as there is a contractual obligation there, and I can use last year’s as a template, work on it at home in my own time and be done with it when finished. I then suggested three people who could do it for them. But that is not the same as writing grants, and it is not ongoing, open-ended. It is not HARD.

They seem to think that by the end of January, I will be rested and ready to return to work. I will let them think that and call, and I will again explain to them that I really don’t even want to think about the future or my job or anything until at least a month after tax season.  More like two.  I am tired, burned out, and cranky with it.

Yesterday A and I were watching a sappy movie, in which the heroine has  boyfriend who sits on the couch and plays video games all day while she works.  He ignores her when she gets home from work.  A said to me “That happens once, and I am out of here.”

Ut-oh.  Note to self – if you sit  on the couch and knit all day, make sure that you at least put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher first. And pay attention when she gets home.

I am looking forward to having time to putter away with long to-do lists and nothing that MUST get done in a certain time frame.  I am looking forward to having that darned pool up and full of water when summer gets here.  I am looking forward to being able to clean a little bit of the house each day and keep it tidy.  To really finishing organizing that craft room, a bit at a time. To exploring ways to make money with the things I make (not a living, maybe, but something).

I am NOT looking forward to fielding calls from work asking me to do odds and ends of the job that I left because it was too overwhelming. How is that a break and resting?

So.  Friday.  A whole day.  What will I start?  What will I get done? I had better go start my list, because I am looking forward to it!

Posted December 15, 2014 by salpal1 in what I am thinking about

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Friday List   9 comments

First off – a note to the powers that be at Word Press. Please, could you add an auto save feature? Yikes – I just lost a whole Friday list post.

I’ll try to remember it all. :-)

So this morning, I am waiting for the bug man to come do his regular quarterly visit, and then I will call Crimson Crow so we can meet in Ellsworth. Lots of chores to do there, and of course, some fun things, too. A visit to the Craft Barn is in store, if, after I check supplies I find I do not have 6 pieces of 12 x 12 brown paper. My challenge will be to leave with not much nothing else. I will do the grocery shopping while there, at the big store, and then head over to Reny’s for some Christmas shopping. We do a Christmas is for Kids program at work, and A and I try to help out with that each year. This year there were two kids who went unclaimed by all the other donors, so I am shopping for a couple of 4-year-old boys – should be pretty easy! Crimson Crow mentioned a trip to GoodWill, and of course, we will need lunch! Should be a good day.

There will be knitting involved somewhere along the way, of course. I have already done my sock knitting this morning, but I have two other projects on the needles right now – the Estonian Lace scarf, and the lace cardigan. Here’s a photo for you – both projects in progress – amazing the difference needle size and yarn weight make! I love them both in their place – no way would I ever get through a lace weight cardigan, though I would love it when finished. :-)

lace projects

I have done some thinking, and reached a conclusion – this is my last pair of socks this year. I am slowing down the sock knitting, to make it last. :-) Twenty six pairs of socks! Wow, I never would have believed it. I was hoping to knit up my sock yarn stash, three skeins!!!! Did that ages ago. I am no longer afraid of socks, and I will likely keep knitting them, but at a much slower pace. So, this pair will linger on my needles. Actually, it will only be one sock that will linger, I will likely finish the current sock tonight or tomorrow. Part of what is driving this decision is that I have no more sock yarn, and am not ready to spend some of my precious yarn stash cash on more sock yarn at this point. With the changing finances ahead, I know it will be a while before it builds up to this level again.

Back to my list for today…

I will do a load or two of laundry, and the usual local chores, Post Office, etc.

If I have the patience, I will try to figure out why the new printer doesn’t see our Wi Fi, but even if I don’t crack that nut, I will start printing the photos for the Christmas cards (it prints fine with the cable). Yesterday I worked on cards at work, and it got me in the card making mood – yeah! At last! A says we are getting our Christmas tree on Sunday, and so the holiday things are coming together at last.

That’s about it – lots to do today because we are going to spend the day with A’s sisters and aunt tomorrow. So I had better get moving.

Have a good day!

Christmas traditions and decorating   6 comments

Last week toward the end of the carol sing at Mom’s, Cousin M lay on our Gram’s wonderful deacon’s bench, which graces Mom’s music room.  She was looking up and said to me “doesn’t that little piece of reflected light on the ceiling remind you of Gram’s house?”  I looked and it really did – the light was bounced off a small mirror on the table, reflecting light up through the angel-abra so that shadows of angels were on the ceiling.  It really was simple and pretty.  I couldn’t figure out WHY it reminded me of Gram’s, but I had to agree with M, it definitely was a special vignette.

I usually put up the Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend, but this year is different – it was so crazy that weekend, and I have not got my decorating mojo going.  But this  weekend I DID get out the candles for the windows, and the paper snowflakes for the porch door, and Gram’s Danish Angel mobile for the living room ceiling.

Last night I stood in the kitchen and looked out toward the living room.  And I knew why the angels on the ceiling at Mom’s reminded us of Gram.  Her simple little mobile always turned gently in the light, and the angels flew above our heads.  Gram may not be with us anymore, but her pretty little angels still are.  As are the wonderful memories she created for all of us with her simple, special decorations and traditions.gram's angel mobile

Of course, she also had a TREE and GREENS and GARLAND, none of which have I done yet.

First Friday – December   9 comments

I am looking forward to a low-key day, doing chores (laundry, groceries, post office, clean the pellet stove) and some crafts.

It’s past time to get the Christmas cards in process – I think this year’s card will be relatively simple, so I have procrastinated, but I need to get moving!

I will meet A in Bangor after work, so that we can go get a printer. That’s our exciting Christmas present to each other this year, and I need it for the cards, so we will get that rolling. I am excited that it can be wireless, now that the wifi works. Printing from the living room without a million cords – ooh lala!

I have been wearing sweaters and socks all week, as it is finally getting cold. And I realized quickly that I really could use a blue cardigan. So, since I have the yarn for that, I might cast on a sweater this weekend. Or, I might see what Christmas presents need knitting, and cast those on. Or, I might do both. :-) I will be breaking my rule on the number of works in process, but it is the holidays, right?

One other thing I NEED to get done is to dig the last of the carrots. Before the ground freezes any harder. :-)

Not really sure what else will happen, but I think I will just let the day unfold as it will.

Mid-week weekend update   6 comments

It took me this long to recover from all the festivities.  :-)

After a quiet day Friday, I spent Saturday at Mom’s with a huge pile of people from her side of the family – what fun!  It was our annual Christmas Carol sing gathering, and family came from all over New England.  Over the years, we have gathered together a book of carols, and we sing it cover to cover.  There are rituals for some songs (like Good King Wenceslas) and then we work on making the ones for the younger ones more fun – breaking into small groups for the Twelve Days of Christmas.  This year we had additional musicians to add to the piano – cousin M and her very special cello, brother N on his guitar, sister C on the recorder (tenor, I think) and even niece E on the violin for O Come Little Children.

Everyone brings lots of good food, and we all sing, even those of us who can’t, and it is so much fun to see everyone, many of my cousins I haven’t seen since this time last year. Cousin M organized it this year (somehow, even with a five-week jaunt to Europe) and she did a great job.

And every year, we get to see what fabulous thing cousin A has knit – this year it was an incredibly beautiful beaded cardigan. I don’t know how she finds the time.

Mom and I took the opportunity to give away a lot of our craft fair inventory, and were we ever vindicated!  Here was a room FULL of people who either knit very well or are married to someone who does, and they snatched up nearly everything.   They were literally crowded into the front hall trying on hats and scarves and oohing and aahing over the colors, the yarn, the fit, the buttons. My aunt insisted on paying for things she chose for my cousin, so I even came home with a bit more money.  And only three hats!  I found my demographic, I guess!  Now, how to find the ones in that demographic who aren’t related to me.  :-)

Got home in the early evening, and spent some quiet time with A and the cats (A went to the gathering but left before the singing).

Sunday I was up early, back to Mom’s to pick her up, then on to brother N’s for a brunch with some different cousins – H and P.  We see them very rarely, and H works lots of weekends, so N and sister in law D planned this gathering months ago, before the date for the carol sing was set.  Certainly, we all wished the two were not so close together, but we were glad to see them.  H was my first friend when we moved to Maine 40 years ago, long before marriage made us cousins, so it was nice to see her. Her sister P is lots of fun to talk to as well,it was nice to visit and reminisce.

I dug through my bag of hats not taken to the craft fair and brought along some “man” hats and the jewelry, and got my brother to take a pile of hats, and the nieces chose necklaces.  Even the friend of Niece N liked them enough to take one. Nieces N and C were the recipients of the first necklaces many years ago – N had me do some repairs on hers, she apparently wears it a lot, so I was glad to do that and give her more. C gave me tips on the colors and styles she likes, so I was glad to chat with her.  She likes pastels and wears scarves.  She should brace herself!  Even niece E got in on the deal and got a red and gold ruffled necklace.

After dropping Mom off, I got home around supper time, completely wiped out.  I love my family, and love visiting them, but sure would not have chosen to see them all at once in one weekend, with all that driving and rushing and no time to savor it.

As A said, though “so that was all our holiday visiting?  We are clear until Christmas?”  and it is true.  I will be glad of that as the month goes on.  :-)

Posted December 3, 2014 by salpal1 in how I spent my day, What I love

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