Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ambushed at the quilt show.

Why didn't anyone ever warn me that the danger of quilt shows isn't in the sewing supplies???

My friend Cheryl and I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton today, and I was expecting to be buying lots of ribbons and fibers and buttons and maybe even fabric although I don't sew--well, there were bigger temptations lurking.

Who knew that they sell jewelry at these things? Vintage jewelry made from old china and antique buttons!

I bought the most beautiful bracelet made from circa-1870s celluloid buttons. Each button has a tiny image on it, birds and butterflies and a tiny castle. I could have bought every bracelet and watch at this booth...they were all stunning, like little bits of wearable history. Cheryl got a bracelet at another booth that was made from old pearl buttons. Oh, and I got a small necklace charm made from a bit of floral china.

We also found a booth chock-full of ribbons and buttons and buckles and trims, most of which were vintage. Although the booth owner had the people skills you'd expect of a New Englander, she did know how to merchandise. The buttons were grouped by colors in vintage jars. The ribbons were wrapped around old spools and piled in baskets. The whole thing was formulated precisely to appeal to crafty ladies who love old stuff. Needless to say, Cheryl and I spent a lot of time there. I picked out a handful of old green, teal and orange buttons to go on the tabtops of my future scraproom curtains.

I also got Mother's Day/birthday presents for my mom and MIL, but I can't elaborate because I know they read this! Neener, neener!

Oh yeah, there were some pretty quilts, too. Heh, they faded into the background after we started discovering the vintage doodads booths, but we really did enjoy seeing them. The colors and textures were a feast for the eyes. I hadn't realized now many people are doing 3-D quilting, with lily pads and bird's tails that spring out from the quilt. Lots of hand-dyed, variegated and batik fabrics in the quilts, too, which were so, so lovely.

I just never dreamed I'd buy so much non-craft stuff at a quilt show. Dangerous, very dangerous.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Birthday boy.

Thirty-six years ago today, this precious little baby boy was born...and he grew up into a lovely man and I married him! Happy birthday, sweetie! I love you so much, and remember: you're not getting older, you're getting better. Or some crap like that. Also wanted to remind you: no matter how old you get, you'll still be older than me.

Anything else I can do to rub in the fact of your advancing age, just let me know. I'm here for you, babe.

Of course, I know you'll be here for me in eight months when my turn comes, too, so maybe I'd better just leave it at "Happy Birthday, Sweetie!" and a cheesy grin.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I bought these tulips a couple weeks ago, and I just uploaded the pics off the memory card. They were so gorgeous against my apple-green wall.

Where I left off.

Well, it took a couple days but the freaking headache finally went away. Sheesh!

Anyway, this writing's been really interesting. It was a six-week workshop in Becky's wonderful scraproom above her garage. We all sat at a gorgeous wood table and wrote. I snagged the chair on the side of the table where I could look out the window at her view of Back Creek...oh, I'm so pea-green with envy about her room with a view!

Becky lost her daughter to MS three years ago, and began her writing workshops as a way to talk with others about writing your story, writing through grief, telling the things that need to be told. I have come to admire this lady so much...she is such a giving, creative person with such a deep wound. I admire the way she's surrounded herself with people to teach and to learn from.

This workshop was more emotional than I had anticipated. And I wasn't completely comfortable with that. But it was a chance to get back into writing, and I explored a couple of memories that I hadn't totally understood before. Foremost was my memory of going to Washington D.C. to protest the first Iraq war 15 years ago. It was funny how it popped into my head one morning and demanded to be re-examined. Maybe I'll post the bit I wrote about it here sometime soon.

Speaking of writers, Sarah Vowell was on The Daily Show last night, and I missed it because I got caught up in some Olympic moment, so I made sure to catch her tonight on the repeat. I just read her book Assassination Vacation last week, and really enjoyed it. I like her essay books better, but how can you not love someone who makes pilgrimages to presidential assassination sites? And I mean, sites that are really, really peripherally linked. But she makes the links all come together.

The main thing I always remember from Sarah's writings is her description of going to the first GWB inauguration in 2001 and bursting into tears when he finished his oath of office. I can totally relate, although in 2001 I was still too much in a state of shock for tears. The tears came for me on Election Day 2004. Ugh.

Sarah is a year older than I am, and grew up fundamentalist Christian, which makes me feel sort of a peer connection with her, but she's about a million times more sophisticated and educated than I am, so I know I'd be completely intimidated by her. I can forgive her that, but she's friends with Jon Stewart and gets to sit and crack wise with him on The Daily Show, and that is hard to get past. I'm turning pea-green again.

Speaking of Jon Stewart, although I still profess my undying love for him, he may have to share that love from now on with Stephen Colbert. Man, I love that guy! I always loved him on The Daily Show...I loved how he would say the most appalling things with this really wicked look in his eyes. Wicked isn't even the word for's this amused devilish gleam that is amazingly attractive. Mm.

And now he's got his own show where he absolutely skewers the Bill O-Reilly/Joe Scarborough pompous blowhard stereotype, and I love it. LOVE it. Jon at 11 pm and Stephen at 11:30...I'm sorry, but Letterman and Leno could never in their wildest dreams be so cool, funny and subversive.

I had other things swirling around that I wanted to write about, but my feet are soooo coooold from sitting here...I need to break out my electric blanket. I've been freezing all night!

Monday, February 20, 2006


My alarm clock woke me up this morning, which is really unusual--I always wake up at least a few minutes before it goes off, and turn on NPR and doze for a few more minutes before getting up. But today it interrupted my dream starring Jon Stewart (yum) and yanked me into morning-time before I was quite ready.

And I woke up with a headache. A mega-headache. I had writing class first thing this morning, and I grabbed a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee on the way there, thinking the caffeine would ease it out. But although it tasted heavenly, it didn't help. The headache kept creeping up and creeping up, worse and worse as I sat there, and when I left Becky's house and walked out to my car, it had made it into the "top ten worst headaches of my life" list, quite a feat.

I came home and had lunch and popped three Tylenol, but my head is still throbbing. However, I have the day off and am fresh from my last writing class, and I want to take a little time to write about it.

Becky is a retired middle-school English teacher who has started holding six-week writing workshops in her home. I found out about the class last fall from one of the owners of the scrapbook store across the street from our former neighborhood. Becky scrapbooks, so she's a customer at that store as well as ours. I knew her only slightly, but a writing class sounded like a good thing at this stage. I took a couple creative writing classes when we lived in Idaho, but that was a long time ago, and since then the only writing I've done is journaling for scrapbook pages and instruction lists for my published work.

I'll finish this later...headache too bad now! Ugh.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dramatic clouds.

This was the view out my study window late this afternoon. We went from 70 degrees yesterday to 32 today. We had some really wet snow flurries, but nothing that stuck. These clouds show that something was moving through, for sure.

I've spent the day working on Fiskars projects for a Paper Crafts supplement for this fall. Weird to be thinking about back-to-school projects! You'd think I'd be used to working six months ahead by now. Anyway, the first two have gone way smoother than I feared they would. I have two more small ideas in the works. Then I think I'll start planning for the October Paper Crafts call. I am anxious to jump back into the regular submittal routine, since I've been out of it for quite a while. Every now and then I think about branching out and trying for some design team work, but the magazine stuff is so nice. Good pay and exposure, and I can pretty much create whatever I want. It works well for me.

Last night I heard a sound I haven't heard in ages: a "plink, plink, plink" coming from Todd's study up the hall. That means he was playing online poker (the plinks are the sound of cards flipping), and that means that life is slowly returning to normal after our big move! For almost two months, he's been busy with projects, but this week we hit a point where leisure time is coming back. Oh, there are still boxes around and millions of things to attend to, but Todd is finding time to fish and play poker now. It's a good sign.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lazy Sunday.

Well, it's a lazy Sunday for me, anyway. Todd and his dad are working on our closet re-modeling job, so they haven't had a relaxing weekend, but it's going well, and they get a charge out of building and hammering and planning. Todd's mom and I may run out and hit a few thrift stores today, but there's nothing that really has to be done except buy a gallon of milk. I can't express how wonderful it is to have a day where I don't have to get up and go somewhere all day long.

Todd got my countertop and wall shelves put up Friday night, so yesterday I was able to unpack a couple more boxes and free up a little more floor space in my scraproom. Now I need to really sort through everything, and I may start that this evening, but it's not something that has to be tackled right this minute.

So I'm just sitting here, listening to the hammers pound, watching a few miniscule snowflakes drift past the window, and looking forward to a pleasant day before I plunge into Monday activities. It's great.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fish story.

Todd had a very happy afternoon today...he got to go striper fishing on his co-worker Dave's boat. A few weeks ago, some of the office guys played hooky on a Wednesday afternoon, and had a super day. Alas, Todd decided to be responsible that day, stayed at work, and had to listen to phone call after phone call detailing the massive stripers the guys were hauling in. He was quite woebegone by the time he got home that night!

So the next time Dave took his boat out for an afternoon trip, Todd had to go along. Alas, the stripers were all off shopping and having their nails done that day...not a bite to be had.

Today was just right. The guys hauled in huge fish all afternoon and evening. How huge? Take a look!

That's Todd in the middle with the big smile on his face, Dave on the left, Aaron on the right. Usually when Todd goes striper fishing, he never gets good photos for one reason or another, but this time he got me some fun ones to scrap!

It looks like such a warm heavenly day out on the ocean, but somehow I don't think it was. January and February are prime time for striped bass as they meet and greet each other in the bay and out in the ocean. Unfortunately, those also happen to be the coldest months here in Virginia. But it looks like the guys stayed warm lifting fish!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


So this three-year-old kid comes into the store today with his mom. I came out of the back where I was bagging die cuts and said "Hi" to the little boy. He puts his hands on his hips and says, "Aren't you forgetting something?" like a mini diva. I was so amazed to get such an attitude from a three-year-old stranger...I said, "What am I forgetting?" His mom smiles and says, "He's wanting to play with the toys." (We keep a box of toys behind the counter for the rugrat-type of visitors.)

I couldn't decide whether to be amused or annoyed! I went with a little of each. It was all in the way he said it, like a 15-year-old girl on her period. Glad I'm not your mama, kid.

I indulged in a flurry of scrapbooking activity last week, making my first album for Shimelle's DoneNDusted class. You can look at it here if you're interested. We're just finishing up week two in the class, and although I was inspired by the topic, no album is forthcoming.

The week two album is a small album where you use three words to decribe your passion. Well, the only passion I could come up with was driving in my car and singing along to the radio. Hey, I never claimed to be deep. So I decided to do an album of road trip songs, which morphed into a collage-with-lyrics album idea, which doesn't at all fit the class album's theme and structure. So I started on my own idea, and have played around with it a little, but I have this sinking feeling it will end up yet another of my unfinished projects. All the creating mojo I was feeling last week has drizzled away.

The problem is my scraproom, and the boxes in it, and the lack of workspace, and the dilemma of where to put everything so I can live in here. I did sort of a mental "la la la I'm not listening" in here last week and was able to plow through the mess, but now it's bogging me down.

You'd think I could just move my old scraproom furniture into my new scraproom, bim bam boom, but not only is this room smaller, it's configured differently. I'm really at a loss as to how to get everything in the way I need it. However, the teal paint on the walls is indeed bitchin'. I guess the rest will fall into place, but I need it to happen soon...I have deadlines again. Fiskars and Paper Crafts.

I picked up the spring Stamp It today, and my Mother's Day stationery set was there, page 32. I'm always, always blown away by how well they photograph my stuff so it looks way better than I ever dreamed it could. It actually looks professional, and not like I threw it together in a fit of anxiety, heh heh.

So seeing my work in print always fires me up to submit more...really, to plunge back into it since my submissions have totally dried up between work and the holidays and moving...I just gotta get this room in shape and then figure out how to overcome the tiredness and carve out some time to indulge in creating. Hm. Seems like a lot to ask.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Our humble abode.

I was talking to my friend Bev last night and she mentioned that she hadn't seen any pics of our house yet. Which reminded me that I had tried once to post pics here weeks and weeks ago, but failed. So I'll try again!

Here it is: 213 Stony Ridge Court:

We really are on a ridge...we look out over all the neighborhood from our perch. On this flat, swampy peninsula, a ridge is like a mountain! When the Great Atlantic Tsunami comes, we'll be sitting high and dry. Hopefully.

A view of the backyard from the upstairs deck:

And a view of the back side of the house:

The upstairs deck opens off my study/scraproom, and the downstairs deck opens off the dining room.

This weekend I finally got a pile of small things done that had been gathering necessity over the past couple weeks. I re-painted the last tiny bit of kitchen, which has been waiting for a month or so. There's a tiny alcove at the end of the kitchen with two closets, a half-bath and the door to the garage branching off it. While originally painting it, I brushed up against either wall while crouching and contorting myself to get every crevice. So I finally got around to giving it a nice neat second coat--now I can take the tape off and feel like it's done.

I also got four loads of laundry done, a couple more boxes unpacked, and moved everything from the guest bath which we've been using to the master bath which has been sitting empty. We made a mega-run to Target and got shelving for the bath...and I found the cutest shower curtain on clearance. I still want to completely overhaul all the bathrooms--they all need paint, new floors and new sinks/counters, but it looks nice now and useable, so that's a step in the right direction. I'm starting to be able to visualize the end result, rather than chaos unending!

It was so great to have a couple days to putz around here and take care of some of the stuff that's been piling up.