God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!


I pray that you, my dear followers, will have a wonderful new year filled with good health, much happiness, a growing hope, deep contentment, & most of all a closer walk with God.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Last of My Christmas Finishes

Here are the final two Christmas finishes which I can now share with you   : )

This first one was stitched from a Country Rustic Primitives pattern.  I used sawdust for the stuffing & I loved using it!  Sawdust or crushed walnut shells ... both are wonderful!


And this one was stitched from a Lizzie*Kate pattern, Noel.  As with most of my photos I apologize for the blurriness.  Perhaps I should have asked Santa for steady hands for Christmas.     


For the past couple days I've been organizing my cross stitch stuff.  First I typed a list of all the cross stitch fabrics I already have.  My patterns were already sorted in files by designer name but I broke that down even further.  Each designer file now has subfiles ... Christmas, Fall, Winter, & Other.  Since my plan this coming year is to stitch as many Christmas & winter things as possible, I can now just open my file boxes & quickly see what I have to choose from in the Christmas/winter genre rather than having to dig through a whole file to see what's there.  If I already have the fabric a pattern calls for, I placed an easily removable pink sticker on each pattern so I'll know I can begin stitching that design whenever I want to.  For all other patterns I made a list of fabrics I need to purchase for those.  These patterns will eventually be pink stickered when I get those fabrics.  

Now I can start stitching something ... lol!  I know what I'm going to stitch first but I can't tell you what it is yet.  You'll see it eventually   : )

I've been having flashbacks all day, thinking to myself "last week at this time I was cutting up celery for the potato salad," or "last week at this time I was wrapping John's movie gift card."  It seems hard to believe that Christmas got here so quickly & then left just as fast.  I always have a bit of a problem dealing with this each year.  I hate to see Christmas end.  This coming year will almost be a year-long Christmas preparation for me what with crafting things for my 2012 Christmas sales inventory & cross stitching Christmas items.  This, of course, all being done in between cleaning, organizing, & otherwise getting the house ready to put up for sale in the spring & then packing & moving heaven knows where once it sells.  Lots to look forward to in 2012  : )          

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Need Help from Fellow Cross Stitchers


Is anyone familiar with this book?  Is it worth getting?  I can't find any reviews or glimpses of what's inside but I'm assuming it is a book of reprints of some of the ornament charts appearing in the JCS Ornaments issues prior to 2006 which is the publication date.  I don't have any of the magazines prior to 2002.      

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another Finish to Share Along With Lousy Photos of My Christmas Gift Stash Additions

I can share another pre-Christmas finish with you this morning   : )   This pinkeep is from a Gettysburg Homestead pattern.


In my last post I showed the "stocking gifts" my husband said would not fit in my stocking.  Inside one box were the following additions to my cross stitch stash.  You may be able to actually tell what some of these charts/kits are if you are in any way familiar with them & your eyes are good at deciphering blurry things.  Since sometimes, like in the photo above, my camera will take nice clear photos ... & at other times it takes photos like the barely discernible ones you see below ... I don't know what to think.  It's disappointing to say the least.  








The majority of the charts in the next 2 photos are Prairie Schooler Santas.  That stitching temptress Marly over at Samplers & Santas had been posting some of her PS Santa projects all along but the closer it got to Christmas the more she posted.  Not just a Santa here or there, mind you, but a never-ending array of them filling boxes, mantel tops, garlands, trees, windows, etc.  I was able to keep my distance at first.  After all, Santas do not dominate my Christmas decor.  Marly, however, would not give up.  Like those pesky peckers that she has constantly peck-peck-pecking away at her house, Marly post-post-posted those blasted PS Santas until I couldn't resist them anymore.  Feeling like a cheap tramp I armed myself with my husband's financial backing & rushed off to my favorite stitching supplier's site ... 1-2-3- Stitch ... & ordered every PS Santa chart I could find.  Upon their arrival I just handed him the unopened package & said "since you paid for these you can wrap them up for me for Christmas if you want."    



This shopping tactic began a precedent.  Any cross stitch items that I ordered from Thanksgiving on that he paid for were given to him, packages unopened, to wrap up for Christmas.  He just put all the packages into one big box & I had fun opening each one & discovering what I had ordered ... many of which I had totally fogotten ... lol!  Now comes the hard part ... what to stitch first   : )   

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Twas the Day After Christmas ... Almost



What a lovely Christmas Day it has been!  I think the pre-Christmas hubbub really hit me & John on Christmas Eve because we ended up going to bed at 9 o'clock!  John woke up at 1:30 Christmas morning & busied himself upstairs.  I slept till 3:00.  We put our gifts for each other under the tree on Christmas Eve afternoon.  John had made it clear to me more than once during the past few weeks that this Christmas was to remain small & simple.  The plan was to exchange stocking gifts & nothing more.  In the photo above you can see John's stocking on the left (the pinwheel pattern) & mine on the right (the 9-patch).  In between the two is one small gift with a red bow.  This gift could not fit into John's stocking so I had to put it under the tree.  Note my stocking.  It is filled beyond its capacity.  Now note all the other wrapped packages under the tree.  These gifts, he tells me, could not fit inside my stocking, hard as he tried to fit them in there.  I should've known that he would break his own "rule" ... lol!  

We always open our gifts to each other really slowly in order to make Christmas Day last as long as possible.  Open a gift, have something to eat, sit & talk, open another gift, watch a short DVD program, have something to eat, talk with someone on the phone, open a gift, etc.  John ended up taking 2 naps during the afternoon but I remained bright eyed & bushy tailed the entire day   : ) 

We enjoyed good food all day long.  Initially I thought I would continue my healthy eating program through Christmas but this morning I decided that Christmas only comes but once a year.  As a result I keep waiting to experience some kind of sugar overdose.  I haven't had sugar or any food that the body turns into sugar since May.  Today has been one wild ride on the sugar rush train ... caramel popcorn, gumdrop cake, potato salad, white bread, Jello salad, & there was some candy in my stocking that has been calling to me since yesterday.  Food combining rules have been blatantly ignored.  Did I enjoy my fall off the wagon?  Yes, but I'll get right back up on it again in the morning   : )  

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas Day as much as I enjoyed mine.  Maybe I'm just getting old but for the past few Christmases I have been keenly aware of how very blessed I am to get to celebrate another Christmas.  I often hear or read the phrase "live each day as if it were your last."  Each day is truly a gift & each Christmas maybe even more so.  Treasure each day & especially treasure each Christmas.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I pray that God will bless you with the most wonderful Christmas & that He will continue to shower you with His blessings throughout the new year!  


Stitcher's Giveaway Results

Santa Brings Giveaway Results!!!
 Graphic courtesy of Morning Glory Vintage & Prims

I used the random number picker thingie to choose the winner of my Stitcher's Giveaway & the 4 runners up. Surprisingly not difficult!  

The winner of the giveaway is ...


... & the 4 runners up are ...


Congratulations ladies!!!  I have emailed each one of you.  Be sure to respond with your mailing address so I can get your package in the mail   : )  

I wish I was able to send a little something to everyone who entered.  I thank all of you for taking the time to visit my humble little blog & to enter my giveaway.  Next year I am going to do RAKs ... but more about that next week   : )  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Finish ... & Some Other Stuff : )

I am able to share another finish with you this morning ...


This design is by The Sampler Girl.  I really like it since I have discovered my passion for sleds this year & I will most definitely be making one of these for myself   : )   Yes, that's my beloved chenille trim you see there   : )   I also used crushed walnut shells for the stuffing.  I find that I really enjoy using them.

I also wanted to share a photo of a little pre-Christmas gift my sweet baboo bought me a couple weeks ago when we went to Liberty, Kentucky & I mentioned visiting a prim/gift shop (Kindred something or other) that I hadn't been to for at least a year.



I have wanted one of these old pumps "forever" but could never find a nice one.  If I did find one it was either damaged or someone had painted it bright red or something.  This one looks great!  I wish I had a prim kitchen & could leave it by my farm sink but for now it's just sitting on the side of the counter & will probably be packed away after the holidays "for the next house."  Wouldn't it be neat if you could hook this up & really use it for water!

Lastly I wanted to show you a lovely decoration which I purchased online recently ...



I'm not sure if "decoration" is the right word but I just love this!  A round wooden box, primly painted, with winter fixins inside & that primly stitched little pillow!  I checked my Etsy account & I didn't purchase it from there & I know it's not an eBay purchase so I'm at a loss as to where it came from!  I do know the gal who made it is Jennifer Gass.  I do have an email address for her so I wrote to ask where I got it from thereby revealing to yet one more person my Scarecrow brain (before he met the Wizard).  I will post her sales site when she responds to me in case you want to visit & see what she has to offer   : )       

Happy Day Before the Day Before Christmas!

Graphic courtesy of Morning Glory Vintage & Prims

Yes, it's the day before the day before Christmas!  My countdown counter is telling me right now that there is just a wee bit more than 1 day & 12 hours till it's here.  Today will be a quiet day for the most part.  The only "have to do" thing on my agenda is cutting up celery & onion & making hard boiled eggs for the potato salad I'll be making tomorrow.

Some of my blogger friends are going to enjoy a white Christmas!  How lucky you all are!  The weatherman is saying that here it will be 51 degrees & sunny.  The times when John reports this type of weather to me during the Christmas season are the only times when you will hear me utter the words "Bah!  Humbug!"  Ah well, next year it will be different.  Next year we will be living someplace where we will be snowed in about now   : )

And speaking of next year, I mentioned yesterday that I've been uttering the words "maybe next year" an awful lot lately.  I find that I am getting a sort of mental poke in the ribs every time I do & a passage of scripture enters into my mind ... "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such & such a city, spend a year there, buy & sell, & make a profit," whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow....  Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live & do this or that."  (James 4:13-15)  I do have my plans for the coming year & I will share them at another time, but I will not forget that all my plans are "if the Lord wills."

Don't forget my Stitcher's Giveaway ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time.  In addition to the "grand prize winner" there will be 4 additional items to be won by runner's up.  This has been the first giveaway I've had where so many people wanting a chance to win.  I might get adventurous & try the random number picker thingie ... or maybe not since I can't even remember the actual name of it ... lol!  Whatever I choose ... the new (random thingie) or the old (Rubbermaid container) ... I will post the names of the winners tomorrow   : )

I hope you all have a very peaceful, enjoyable day.  No matter how much we all fret over things at this time of year, they all somehow seem to get done ... & those things that aren't done, have they ever really mattered in the past?  The important thing is to enjoy time with friends & family.  Share a nice meal, have a nice conversation, enjoy each others company, & make memories   : )

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Old Greeting Cards


Do you remember these wonderful old greeting cards?  I just love them!  I have a few small boxes full of them for Christmas as well as other holidays.  I haven't collected them for ages but I always have a look-see if I find some for sale someplace.  All the ones I have are unsigned with envelopes.  I haven't seen them in years (things still packed in moving boxes don't cha know) but maybe next year I'll be able to unearth them & use them in my decor.

I find myself saying "maybe next year" a lot recently but who knows what the new year holds.  I pray that it will be a good one for all of us!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pretty Much Done!

John's sister posted the following picture on her Facebook page recently.  It makes you think, doesn't it?

      
Don't hate me but I'm pretty much done with my Christmas preparations.  It's kind of funny ... most of us run around like chickens without heads (forgive me Trace) prior to Christmas, but no matter how much we fret about how quickly time is passing by & wonder how in the world we're going to get everything done in time, we always somehow get enough done to be able to sit back & enjoy the day.   Our Christmas will be very low key this year which I'm sure has helped me feel as relaxed as I feel right now.  No one is coming to our house & we aren't going anywhere.  A huge amount of baking was not done ... just one batch of gumdrop cake, most of which was given to the local post office crew.  We had so much turkey left over at Thanksgiving that I froze a good part of it.  Our Christmas meal will consist of  leftover turkey, a precooked ham, & homemade potato salad.  Christmas breakfast will be our traditional orange rolls which are delicious & easily made from refrigerated biscuits.  We didn't do a lot of shopping.  The cleaning was minimal ... not the usual "spring cleaning" type cleaning as in days of old.  As a result I can kick back these next few days & watch a Christmas DVD or read a Christmas book or do some stitching & not be consumed with guilt that I should be doing something else.  

I will leave you with our traditional orange rolls recipe.  My mother told me about these years ago & gave me the cookbook they were in (Better Homes & Gardens Bread Cook Book) sometime after that.  If you decide to give them a try I hope you will enjoy them   : )

Speedy Orange Coffeecake

1 package refrigerated biscuits
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) freshly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) grated orange peel

Dip biscuits in butter, then in mixture of sugar, walnuts & peel.  Overlap biscuits in a circle in a 9-inch pie plate placing one of the biscuits in the center.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until done.  Serve hot.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Finish I Am Able to Share : )

Just popping on this evening to share another finish with you   : )


Hmmmm ... a little blurry I see.  Didn't notice that when I downloaded it off my camera   : (   Anyway, it's a Lizzie*Kate design which appeared in the 2005 JCS Ornaments magazine.  I really enjoyed using the decorative buttons & was lucky enough to find that trim to place along the outer edge   : )  

Stitcher's Giveaway & Weekend Update

Just a reminder that your chance to enter my Stitcher's Giveaway ends on Friday, December 23rd, at 11:59 p.m. CST.  I have responded to almost everyone thus far who has wanted to be included for a chance at this giveaway.  I was unable to respond to some of you because "no-reply" shows in the address bar when I try to respond.  I'm not sure how you would go about changing that.  If anyone can fill me in on that I will pass it along in my next post.

As I write this post my Christmas countdown counter is showing 5 days, 11 hours left till the big day.  All together now ... YIKES!!!  I had hoped to finish a couple more goodies this past weekend but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice & men.  Rather than sitting comfortably in my recliner, a Mona Lisa smile on my lips, a pretty scented candle or tart sending its delightful fragrance throughout the house, & me calmly stitching to the accompaniment of soft Christmas music, I instead did laundry, cleaned the bathroom, dusted, wrapped gifts, made gumdrop breads, tweaked a bit of Christmas decor, & fretted over the fact that I gave my husband packages to mail last week & he sent them all via Parcel Post.  He is the sweetest, kindness, most generous (& tolerating!) hubby a woman could want ... but for some reason he came back from mailing my packages telling me "It would've cost me an additional $3.00 to send them Priority so I sent them Parcel Post instead."  Three dollars?!?!?  Really honey?!?!?  Good grief!  I could've dug in the bottom of my purse & come up with $3.00 worth of change to give him.  Sigh!  Lesson learned for next year ... mail packages myself.

This morning I visited & clicked to follow a stitching blog which has gifted me with 2 more stitching monkeys on my back.  The stitcher showed some Mary Garry & Val's Stuff projects she recently finished.  Did I know anything about Mary Garry or Val's Stuff before visiting this stitcher's blog?  No.  Am I now frantically searching for Mary Garry & Val's Stuff stuff?  Yes.  The monkeys are starting to complain about the cramped conditions.  I think I heard the question "How many more of us is she going to cram up here?" a time or two.  Me thinks those silly monkeys should start laying off the bananas   : )

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another Finish ... & What a Lovely Day!

After this morning's heart-in-mouth experience I was leery about traversing through the rest of the day but it actually turned out to be quite pleasant!  First & foremost I finished an old CS project & it's a keeper for me   : )   This is one of the old projects I did in another stitching life (my second one) but for some reason I did not stitch one part of it ... the little stitched button on the right side.  I think I remember thinking I'd be "creative" & use a real button there but today I put in the 39 stitches to finish it per the pattern chart & now here it is!


  
I remember stitching this back in 2004 while visiting my husband who was working in Italy at the time.  The finished size is 10x16.  I am showing it with a snowman pillow I purchased when we lived in North Dakota & behind that is a quilted pillow purchased who knows where/who knows when.  You can't really see much of it but I thought I'd make mention of it anyway   : )   Back to the finished stitching ... this was a Special Edition Kit from Pine Mountain Designs.  I actually think it's still available.  I really loved doing it & I really love the finished product   : )

I also did a bit of decor tweaking.  Remember the old blue toolbox I came home with a week or two ago?  I thought I'd make it "festive" & so I put some greenery in it.  

   
Not really a good photo but I think you get the idea   : )   Adding a small string of lights would be a nice tough.  We shall see if that happens   : )

Also, not long ago my dear friend Robin at The Cranky Crow won what I think was her 56th giveaway in a month.  Yeah, that sounds about right   : )   She is one lucky crow!  This particular win resulted from a "get to know me" giveaway hostessed by Linda over at Hickory Ridge Primitives.  Robin won a pound of fixins, a pound of tarts, & room spray ... all in the Colonial Christmas scent.  Robin was so enthusiastic about how wonderful these things were.  In her own words, "...heaven, I tell you, has to smell a bit like this...."  Of course I had to go to Linda's site to order me some of this stuff!  I ended up ordering 3 bags of fixins (Colonial Christmas of course ... I wanted my home to smell a bit like heaven too) as well as 6 different scents of tarts.  I was not disappointed!  What's more, my husband ... who has told me when I burn the tarts I have made that they make him sick!!! ... went on & on about how nice it was smelling in here!  Sigh!  I had a plan for the fixins & this was it ...


I bought this little tray at a half-off sale a couple weeks ago & had the wax candle with the tea light from last year.  The tea light no longer worked so today I grunged a new one.  All's well that ends well   : )

I also spent an hour or two on the phone with a favorite aunt & cousin.  I don't get to do that very often so I really enjoyed visiting with them   : )

I made meatballs & marinara sauce for dinner.  John had a meatball sandwich & I just had a plate of the meatballs ... both with melted mozzarella.  Yum!  While we ate that we watched a Christmas special DVD from The History Channel which we both enjoyed immensely.

I did a bit of cleaning today & in between everything else that was going on I looked at 12,406 gingerbread items on Etsy.  Yes, I really did!  I think it ended up being 250 pages.  I'd look at so many pages & then walk away & do something & then come back & pick up where I left off.  Most of it I got to pass by quickly but I filled my cart with several.  Before starting this post I went through my cart & weeded out most of the 40 things I thought were "had to haves."  I'm still thinking on the others.

After dinner John & I went to Office Depot to buy our son a new laptop for Christmas.  Will be picking that up tomorrow after they tweak it a bit.  We got to see some pretty Christmas light on the way there & back.  

Had a cup of killer hot chocolate thanks to my wonderful hot chocolate maker which I mentioned in a previous post.

I also found a nativity I like & I ordered that.

And that was my day!  I hope your day was as lovely   : )  

A Heart in Mouth Moment

I'm sure I have experienced some heart in mouth moments in the past but to start out with one this morning was more than I needed!  I made my morning cup of tea & then sat down to read emails & check blog posts ... my usual routine.  When I got to the 3rd or so blog post I suddenly couldn't post a comment.  I had no problems posting comments prior to that.  I went back to my dashboard & decided that refreshing it might fix whatever was happening.  After clicking refresh, I got a screen telling me my blog had been disabled for some violation of Blogger rules!!!  What in the world could little innocent me have done?  I did get an email this morning from some odd entity praising my blog & offering me a chance to promote their clothing sales site on it.  Needless to say I deleted that right away.  Otherwise I've been a model Blogger citizen!

After about half an hour of sheer panic, I thought I'd take a stab at logging in again & this time I got a screen asking me for my phone number so Blogger could give me a special code to type in.  I gave them my cell number, got the code, entered it & all seems relatively well.  I say "relatively" because whereas I had been following 80 blogs I am now following 128.  What's up with that?!?!?  And my "Items" area on my dashboard where it usually shows new blog posts to read ... there are so many that never showed up over the past week or so that I think I'm going to be reading these blog posts for most of the day!

I have no idea what happened here.  I guess I should just be thankful that I have access to my blog again & that I can comment on others.  I think I'll go brew myself another cup of tea & get started reading.  If you have been thinking that I have been choosing to not comment on your blog over the past week ... or maybe even longer! ... just know that I probably did not have any idea you had made one or more new posts.

Maybe I should take a sedative with that tea.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another Finish to Share : )

You'll probably be seeing a few of these posts over the next week or so   : )   Here is a photo of another one of the finishes I completed last week.  The usual disclaimer for the lousy photography applies.


This is a freebie pattern from The Primitive Hare.  I stitched it on linen using DMC threads & I'm sure you can see my beloved chenille trim that I added   : )   

I woke up this morning at 4:30 ... not really a surprise since I went to bed before 10:00.  Not really a problem either because I love getting up before the sunrise.  It's such a peaceful, relaxing time.  I make myself a cup of tea & then sit down to visit blogs & read emails.  On my dear friend cucki's blog this morning I read a lovely quote about Christmas with which I am going to end this post.  Yes ... I'm doing a short post this morning! Take advantage of this rare brevity while you can   : )   Anyway, I have seen many quotes about Christmas over the years but never this one.  I just had to share it with you.  

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells & lights & tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.

Norman Wesley Brooks
Let Every Day Be Christmas
1976

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Finish to Share : )

On Monday of last week I posted that I was not going to do any more stitching until I completed the finishing necessary on 13 other projects, some of which I recently stitched & some of which I found from one of my two previous stitching lives.  I spent the entire week working on this finishing & am proud to say that I did complete 7 of those 13 projects!  You may be asking yourself what happened with the other 5.  I decided there wasn't really any rush to finish those so hooray, no more pressure there   : )

I cannot, for a variety of reasons, share 6 of those finishes with you just yet.  However, I am going to share this one ...

   
As you can see, I finished stitching this little sampler back in January 1987 which was during my first cross stitching life.  I was so overjoyed to find that box a while back & discover that I actually did save some of my old projects!  Just think ... this little sampler has been waiting just 1 month shy of 25 years to be finished!  Amazing ... lol!  Basically I'm happy with the way it turned out.  I've got that "bowing thing" going on there at the bottom, much as I tried to avoid it, but I am thankful I didn't totally ruin it   : )   I have no idea where this pattern came from or who the designer was but I hope you will cut me a bit of a break on that   : ) 

Since I am now off the hook for a while as far as my finishing goes, I decided to start stitching something new.  I began this new project last night & it should, in normal person terms, be a quick stitch.  I hope that will be the case for me as well   : )

Christmas preparations are a bit more in the forefront for me right now.  I've done pretty much all the decorating I'm going to do.  The house could use a good dusting which it will get before the big day.  Yesterday I spent time jotting down a grocery list.  Food is going to be beyond simple this year.  We had so much turkey at Thanksgiving that I ended up freezing a bunch of it so there really isn't any need to make another one.  I usually cook a small ham.  I don't know if I will do that this year or not.  No baking this year except for some gumdrop bread which holds many good memories for us.  I will bake a few small loves.  We will keep one & the remainder will go to the people who work in the post office.  There will also be the traditional potato salad to enjoy & the traditional orange rolls on Christmas morning.  That's it really.  I'm looking forward to it   : )   

Don't forget my Stitcher's Giveaway!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stitcher's Giveaway!!!

I have been thinking about having a Stitcher's Giveaway for a while now & today is the day   : )   I am going to play this a bit like all you pros out there.  First of all, here is what you'll win if your name is drawn ...


I apologize ... as always ... for the less than professional quality of my photos.  I know God has blessed me in various ways but professional photography ability is not one of them.  Anyway, the winner of the giveaway will receive what is pictured above ... Two White Houses chart by Little House Needleworks, way more than enough 28-count Lambswool Jobelan to stitch the project (the project calls for Basketweave linen but I am substituting the Jobelan), & all the DMC threads called for.  The finished design will measure approximately 7-3/4" x 5-1/2".  These items are all brand new, never opened, never used.

So what do you need to do to have a chance at this giveaway?  

1.  Leave a comment on this post telling me you want to be included in the drawing. 

2.  When you leave your comment, tell me about something you hope to do or hope will happen in the coming year.  You'll get an extra chance to win if you do   : )

That's it ... sort of.  Do read on   : )

In addition to the giveaway I am going to draw 4 more names & these 4 people will each receive a little runner's up gift.  I will tell you that 2 of these gifts are from Blackbird Designs & 1 is from With Thy Needle & Thread ... cross stitch related of course   : )   I haven't decided what the 4th will be yet   : )  

You have until 11:59 p.m. CST on Friday, December 23, to let me know you want to be included in the drawing.  I will announce the name of the giveaway winner & the names of the runners up on Saturday morning, December 24.   

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Won Something!!!

Of course yesterday turned out to be a good day, thanks to the car dealership owner, after 2 horrendous days of stress, anxiety, & depression, thanks to the car dealership employees I guess you'd say.  On the way back home after getting this mess all straightened out John & I decided to take a drive down this little side road to a town called Gravel Switch.  Now doesn't that just sound like the most wonderful name for a country town???  We had never been to the town this car dealership is in before so we Googled to see what was there & some interesting places in the nearby town of Gravel Switch came up ... one of which sounded like an unbelievable craft shop & the other was an old general store which started life in the 1850s I think it was & was still operated & owned by the same family.  We both had pretty high expectations as we drove to Gravel Switch but that didn't last long.  The amazing craft shop was just the opposite, & the general store was still standing but it looked pretty bad & it was not in operation at all.  The entire area was very run-down.  Still it was a nice drive.

After getting back home we went to the post office to pick up our mail.  I received several packages, some of which I had no idea what was inside.  I do that ... I order things & then forget that I ordered them so sometimes I get quite a surprise when I open something.  Well last night I decided to open these packages & inside one of them was this!


This is a hand painted original by a well known folk artist by the name of Laurie Speltz.  I have not painted for a few years & actually had no idea who Laurie Speltz was.  However, each year I exchange filled Christmas stockings with a friend of mine in North Dakota & on her wish list this year were some stencils from Laurie's site.  I went to the site, bought a few stencils, & that was that.  I don't particularly remember signing up for a chance at anything.  I could have ... I just don't remember.  Or maybe you are automatically entered in a drawing when you order something?  Either way, I was one of 5 winners & this is what I received!  I am still in shock ... lol!  It is quite large measuring 6" in diameter!  It won't fit on my puny trees but I will find a place for it, believe you me   : )   I of course can't share my good fortune with my friend because she will then know she's getting some of the stencils she wanted ... but as soon as she tells me she's opened her stocking goodies then I will direct her to this post   : )   

Monday, December 12, 2011

And All Is Well With the World Again : )

I want to thank everyone who commented or emailed me regarding the situation my husband & I found ourselves in with the used car dealership this past weekend.  I especially thank those of you who said you would pray about it.

Both John & I were pretty depressed both Saturday & Sunday.  John had a rough time dealing with the high amount of the loan but I was dealing with my discovery that the dealership sold us this used vehicle with 50,000 miles on it for the price it was when it was brand new on the showroom floor.  I did not want to tell John about this for very good reasons which I will not go into here.  We needed to take the vehicle back to the dealership this morning for a bit of maintenance work which they couldn't take care of at the time of sale.  Nothing major ... an oil/filter change, a turn signal bulb replacement, & a tire pressure adjustment.  I initially thought about calling the owner of the dealership this morning & telling him a thing or two.  However, after a good night's sleep I thought it best to just ask to speak with him privately when we got there, tell him what I discovered, & go from there.

As I said, I did not want to tell John about the price issue.  However, this morning before we left for the dealership we were talking about the loan amount & he asked me if I had done any research to see what the actual price of the vehicle was when it was new.  I am not proud to say that I looked him in the eye & lied & said I had tried to find this information but couldn't.  Even though I did have a very good reason for lying to him like that I just could not rest after doing so.  He looked at me so trustingly & believed what I told him without question.  I felt extremely guilty even as those dishonest words were coming out of my mouth & within just a few minutes I couldn't stand it anymore & I had to confess to him that I lied & then tell him the truth.  Sometimes I hate that I am such an honest person ... lol!  Anyway, he took the news surprisingly well.  I told him I was going to speak with the owner of the dealership when we got there & see what could be done & he agreed to that.

When we got to the dealership John just went for a walk & I asked to meet privately with the owner.  I approached him by saying that I think there was an error made on the price & then proceeded to tell him about finding the original window sticker showing the vehicle was sold to us used for the same price it was sold when it was brand new.  It turns out that he is a very decent man.  He apologized for there being a misunderstanding & said he wanted to work this out to our satisfaction.  He was very nice, very kind, & very patient.  I know he did not have to do anything.  John signed the contract & for many business owners that would be the end of the matter.  He & I talked for a long while with him offering us several options we could accept.  He indicated that he would've been happy to just take back the SUV & return our van to us but the van already had a contract on it & he could not back out of that contract & run the risk of the purchaser suing him.  He said we could return the SUV to him & choose another vehicle.  He also offered to give us part of our down payment back, & he also offered to give us part of our down payment back along with a 4-year, unlimited mileage full warranty.  The latter is what we accepted.  So now everyone is happy.  We have a very nice SUV that is safe to drive, some of our money has been returned to us, & we have the full warranty.

Thanks again to those of you who expressed your concern, offered suggestions, & especially said prayers for us!

Giveaway at Stitchers Anon

Stitchers Anon is having a wonderful surprise giveaway for Christmas ending December 23rd.  Check it out   : )

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Country Sampler Primitive Christmas Ornament Swap

For the past couple years I have organized a Primitive Christmas Ornament Swap on the Country Sampler forum.  This year 14 of us joined in, each making (or buying) 14 handcrafted ornaments, keeping one for ourselves & mailing the other 13.  In the end we ended up with 14 new prim ornaments for our trees.  I thought you might like to see the ornament from this year's exchange   : )





Liberty / Lebanon ... What Should/Can I Do???

I did get a good night's sleep last night ... hooray! ... but still feel a bit drained this morning.  The temperature outside right now is 18 degrees with a wind chill of 16.  Wonderful!  Not as good as the old days in North Dakota with temps in the single or minus digits with wind chills of 80-below & a ton of snow to boot but hey, it'll do   : )

I posted on Friday morning about my husband receiving a flier in the mail from the car dealership where we take our van for maintenance.  The flier was one of those "YOU MAY BE A WINNER!" things.  We never pay any attention to stuff like that but for some reason John paid attention to this flier, scratched off the little circle as directed & what do you know ... our number matched a winning number.  We were guaranteed to have won one of the prizes listed.  They were also making these spectacular offers for huge discounts when purchasing a new or used car as well as offering to pay off your trade-in vehicle if you still owed money on it.  John said if the deals were good enough he might want to trade in our van.  John said he read the flier carefully ... even the small print ... & there didn't appear to be any hidden requirements you had to meet.

I thought okay ... a little drive to Liberty, Kentucky would be nice.  We hadn't been there for a while plus there was a prim shop not far from the dealership where I have found some nice things in the past.  We also would be passing another shop on the way back home that had terribly overpriced things but I figured it would be fun to stop there anyway just to look at their holiday decor & offerings.  So we're driving down the road & John takes the flier out of his pocket & says "you might want to take a look at this."  I asked why.  He said I should just check it over to make sure he hadn't missed anything.  I said "you told me you read it over carefully & didn't see anything questionable."  He then informed me he had read it over 2 or 3 times & didn't see anything at all but maybe I should look at it as well before we got there.  I looked at it & did see where he missed that the Walmart gift card prize of $2,500 actually did have in tiny print "up to" so you wouldn't necessarily get $2,500 if that was the prize you won ... but otherwise it looked on the up & up.

We got to the dealership & approached one of the salesmen & handed him the flier saying we were coming to see what we won.  The guy looked very puzzled.  I was thinking we didn't want to deal with this guy ... he didn't even understand the special promotions his company has!  Well, the guy then looks at us & says "This isn't from our dealership ... it's from the dealership in Lebanon."  Liberty is about an hour from us.  We had no idea where Lebanon was.  We all had a good laugh & John & I couldn't believe that we never noticed the address   : )

We did go to the prim shops (I'll post about those another time) & when we got home we looked up where Lebanon is located.  What a surprise to find it is only 19 miles from our house!  John suggested we drive there the next day (Saturday) & try again.  That sounded like fun since we'd never been there before plus we looked up shopping in the area & found some interesting places to visit.

On Saturday morning ... yesterday ... we drove to the Lebanon dealership, met with a salesman named Dave.  A liquidator actually ... the sale had to do with moving repossessed vehicles off the lot even if it meant the bank was going to lose money on them.  We handed Dave our flier.  Of all the prizes, we won one of the Walmart gift cards which he told us would be worth anywhere from $5 to $2,500.  I'm pretty sure I know how much ours will be worth   : )   It was funny watching people (a lot of them!) bringing in their fliers to see what they had won & then being handed a Walmart gift card   : )   Many of the people left after getting their prize but some of them did stay to look at the vehicles being offered.

Dave asked us if we were interested in looking at any vehicles.  John said it wouldn't hurt to look at some since we were there.  As we were walking out to the lot John tells him how much he hates our van because it is so huge.  More about the van later.  So Dave starts showing us smaller vans.  None of them appealed to us.  He then said "how about an SUV?"  We don't know anything about SUVs & we didn't care for the first one he showed us but the second one was quite nice.  We took it for a test drive.  It drove like a Cadillac.  I could tell that John was falling in love.

A little background on our van ... a 2006 Dodge Caravan.  We bought it this past May.  I liked it.  It wasn't anything pretty to look at but it was huge & I always pictured myself driving to other states & filling it with wonderful prim furniture to bring back home.  The only bad thing about it was you were kind of taking your life in your hands every time you drove it.  It was the Queen of Hydroplaning.  You would have to be very careful or you would find yourself sliding into a ditch or into the path of an oncoming vehicle even if there was just a little bit of morning dew on the road.  There were a couple other things that didn't quite work right but they weren't anything major.  I really didn't want to trade it in ... but then Dave pulled up the CARFAX report on it.  I had heard of CARFAX before but never really gave it any thought.  It's some kind of reporting company where you can find out if a vehicle you are thinking of purchasing has ever been in an accident.  It turned out that our van had indeed been in an accident ... a very bad one ... & it wasn't worth even half of what we paid for it.  We bought it from a dealership in Danville which is the next town over from where we live.  I'm telling you ... this is the type of business people you deal with in this area.  You can't trust 99.9% of them.  Anyway, I was not happy.  That, coupled with the fact that it had the problems I previously mentioned here, was quite upsetting.  You would think that there would be some type of law requiring the disclosure of such a thing!

There were no prices on these liquidation vehicles.  Dave said he would need to work with the bank to get us the best price.  He applied a coupon for $2,600 off whatever the price of the vehicle would be & then went to work.  We were there for 2 hours.  We were so wrapped up in the negotiation process ... the monthly payments & the interest rates ... that we were never given the price of the vehicle & never thought to ask.  At one point I wondered what the vehicle price was when it was new but that thought came & then was quickly forgotten.  At one point John seemed to be favoring just keeping the van but then Dave came back & asked John if he got the bank to agree to a lower interest rate (better than the one we had on the van), & if he got the dealership to agree to allow us the full amount for our trade-in rather than the less than half amount it was actually worth, & if he was able to get our payments lower each month than he initially quoted us, would John buy the vehicle.  John said yes, initialed a piece of paper, & the deal was made.  Now remember ... we were never given the selling price nor did we think to ask.  When the contracts were drawn up & John went in to sign them, without me because I was outside transferring things from the van to the SUV, the final price was heart stopping ... basically 3 times as much as we still owed on the van.  When I came into the business manager's office John was just finishing signing the last document.  I never got to take a look at them until we were driving home & he was complaining about how much we were going to be paying.  I wanted him to turn around & tell them we wanted the van back but he said "what's done is done."

The sad thing here is that we were told by the business manager that this vehicle would have cost anywhere from $33,000 to $45,000 when new.  In going through the booklets & other printed materials that came with the SUV I found what appears to be the original window sticker which indicates the original asking price for this vehicle when new was exactly the same price this dealership charged us for it used with 50,000 miles on it!  I am sick about this.  I haven't told John.  We need to go back to the dealership this week to get an oil & filter change.  My thoughts are to present them with this window sticker & insist they give us our van back ... but I'm thinking the papers have been signed, the title has been transferred, & we are stuck   : (

Any ideas?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Exhausted!

I have a story to tell.  It concerns travels & shopping both yesterday & today.  However, these things have left me too exhausted to post about them!  I will hopefully get a wonderfully refreshing good night's sleep & be able to regale you with the tales of these 2 days tomorrow.

I hope you have all been having a more relaxing, peaceful time this weekend   : )

Secret Sisters Stitching Group - Unfortunately Not Going to Happen

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that the Secret Sisters Stitching Group did not get enough interest to make it happen.  That is okay though ... I have another idea   : )  

I think (know) that several people were concerned about how they were going to keep their identities a secret for an entire year.  Others were concerned about committing to a year-long group having no idea what this coming year would bring for them.  To alleviate these fears I am now thinking about hostessing a group where you will remain a secret to the person you are sending to but you will only be sending to that person once.  You will still fill out a questionnaire of sorts indicating your likes/dislikes & you will be assigned someone to send a package to ... but it will only be a one-time mailing.  Perhaps we could do this on a few occasions during the year ... maybe each season or each major holiday.  You would only need to participate when you want to ... not be committed for an entire year.

The original post I made for the Secret Sisters Stitching Group (year long commitment) can be found here ...

http://farmhouseponderings.blogspot.com/2011/11/secret-sisters-stitching-group-anyone.html

The basic concept will be the same.

If anyone is interested in doing the group this way, please comment here & I will again collect names & see if I can get this to happen.

OLM's Season's Special Meaning

Marie over at Olde Lady Primitives is having a surprise giveaway & asks everyone who enters to post one thing about what gives this season special meaning for them ... if they'd like to   : )  

One special thing.  It's hard to choose just one ... but I would have to say the one thing that gives the season special meaning for me would have to be memories of Christmases past.  Christmastime spent when I was a little girl ... opening gifts underneath the tree, visiting aunts & uncles & cousins, baking cookies, going shopping, making gifts during art time at school, hearing Christmas songs on the radio, the good food we had to eat, & attending midnight mass.  Then when I got older ... in my mid to late teens ... it was still a time for some of those things but also a time of parties & being with friends & hoping to get a kiss underneath the mistletoe   : )   When John & I were first married it was a time of setting up housekeeping, learning to share our lives together, & starting our own Christmas traditions.  When the children came, well, it was all about them of course.  Now that we are older, Christmas is about all these memories that warm our hearts & make us so very thankful for the life we have lived together.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Country Sampler Secret Santa Package Received!!!

For the past couple years I have organized a Secret Santa group on the Country Sampler forum.  No one knows who their Secret Santa is going to be except for me.  I decided last year to play along & did so this year as well.  A couple of the ladies offer to be my Secret Santa even though they won't be able to remain secret.  I put their names in a little container & draw one out & that person is who will send to me.  Each of us sends to someone other than the person sending to us.  We add a card or note in the package we mail giving our identity but it is still kept secret until everyone gets their package ... then I reveal who sent to who   : )    

Today I received my package from my Secret Santa.  I was, as the old saying goes, "spoiled rotten."  The second photo is a bit blurry but the others came out well.  I took a picture of the box before I opened it, hiding the sender's name, but my name & address were too easy to read & I didn't want them posted publicly so you won't be seeing the unopened box ... which was huge!  I'm not going to indicate what everything is ... I think you can see that for yourself   : )






Hmmm ... I guess I do need to clarify that the little round containers to the right of the Believe stitchery are tarts (3 different scents), & the 2 little baggies to the left of that stitchery are replacement silicone dipped candle bulbs   : )

I couldn't wait ... I had to find places for some of the things right away ... lol!  Doesn't this hot cocoa sign fit perfectly here in the kitchen where I keep my hot cocoa pot on the counter???


I put the little mittens sign on my hallway table near the sleds.  I think it looks nice there   : )


Finally I hung the little stitched snowman ornament here on the hallway tree & also put the little snowman face picture in this area as well   : )


I can't say who sent these things to me as I will be directing the other ladies in the group over here to take a look at what I received & they can't know who sent to me yet ... but they will   : )   And my Secret Santa, she knows who she is ... so I thank her from the bottom of my heart not only for all these wonderful gifts but for the very sweet card she sent as well   : )

Ornaments & Finishings & Central Kentucky

My to-do's have been moving along at a steady pace but I sometimes rue the day I added that little Christmas countdown thingie here on my blog!  Every time I come here, there it is counting down the days/hours/minutes/seconds I have left before the big day gets here!

The day before yesterday I received my last ornament in Amy's ornament exchange.  It was made by Sandi at The Primitive Skate & is amazing!  I don't know why I'm talking as if she sent me one ornament ... she actually sent two!  I do apologize for the "blah" photograph below.  I was in a flurry of taking pictures at that time & although I did a quickie try at hanging them on the tree, I just could not get them to hang nicely for a photo.  I hope you can still see how awesome they are   : )


Over the past couple days I have been busy writing out Christmas cards & wrapping gifts.  I have also, as mentioned in a previous post, been working on my CS project finishes.  John hasn't had to call the men in the white coats to come take me away yet so I guess I'm doing okay.  He tells me I see problems where there aren't any.  Well thanks honey ... I'd maybe put more stock in that remark if you had your glasses on when you looked at my finished items!!!  However, I must admit that even by my standards they aren't too bad.  I don't think anyone is going to gag when they are given one as a gift.  I have finished 5 projects thus far, 2 of which still need to be stained ... another source of fear for me.  There are 2 more projects that are ready to stuff & make into little pillow-type things ... ornies or pinkeeps.  Another one ... one of my old projects I discovered the other day ... actually has a small area of stitching that still needs to be done.  Just a few stitches that will create a little button.  Why I didn't stitch that button way back when is beyond me but I'm guessing I as going to be "creative" & replace the stitched button with a real button.  Finishing that one will be easy.  You'll see soon enough   : )   I'll share pictures of all these things when everything is finished.  At least that's the plan for now.  Some of the things I've decided I'm not going to fuss over right now.  If I can just get these ones done I'll be quite happy   : )  

Today John & I will be taking a drive to Liberty, Kentucky which is about an hour from us.  He received a flier in the mail the other day from the car dealership where we take our van for maintenance.  It's one of those "YOU MAY BE A WINNER!" things.  He had to scratch off this little area on the flier & if the number revealed there matched the winning number shown elsewhere on the flier it's guaranteed that we have won one of the prizes on the list.  Well wouldn't you know it ... our number matches the winning number.  There are also all these offers this dealership is making about trading in your old vehicle & getting a new one.  John seems pretty excited about this.  He says he's read every inch of that flier, all the small print, & there doesn't seem to be any hidden requirements you have to meet.  Call me skeptical but I learned long ago to be wary of things that look too good to be true.  If nothing else we will have a nice drive ... & we are going to drive a little further down the road to go to this little craft shop I haven't been to since last year.  I don't remember the name of the place & it's very small but they have some interesting crafts & prims.  Then on the way home we will probably stop at Missy's, another prim/craft shop.  Missy's isn't actually the name of the shop (can't remember that name either) but it's the name of the owner.  Sometimes you find something there you want but her prices are ridiculously high & most things are mass produced except for the furniture her husband makes which really isn't of very good quality.  You're probably thinking why am I even stopping there ... lol!  Well, it's on the way home ... & it's the Christmas season so the place should be decorated nicely ... & we haven't been there for over a year ... & who knows, maybe I'll find something I just have to bring home.  Doubtful but you never know   : )   I'll post pictures later if I do bring anything home   : )     

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Chronicles of the Sweet Potato Garland - Part IV

Has Shirlee & her husband been buried under spices?  Let's find out!

_____________________

Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 8:56 a.m. - Nothing new to report on the sweet potato garland.  Every time the furnace poofs on & I walk in the bedroom it smells like a bakery or something.  Some of the potato pieces have shrunken to about half their size while others still seem to be as big as they were at the beginning.  And yes, the spices are still falling.  It is also VERY heavy!  If I were to take it now & hang it on one side of the Christmas tree it would probably topple the whole thing.  I'm just going to leave it there in the window, above the heating vent, & hope it will continue shrinking & losing weight.  I'll keep you informed of the progress.

Blessings,
Shirlee
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Sunday, December 5, 2010, 12:48 p.m. - Sweet Potato Garland Update - Day 11

It has been 11 days since I made this blasted garland & 10 days since it's been hanging in my bedroom window dangling over the heating vent, snowing spice mixture from time to time as it shrinks & compresses.  Most of the pieces have shrunken up quite nicely but there seems to be an area or two where the shrinking has not been so pronounced.  Today I decided to take it down & actually place it on the heating vent itself.  Of course when I took it down the spices rained down like fire from heaven on Sodom & Gomorrah.  I decided  to "shake it like a Polaroid picture" (OatKast lyric line from the song Hey Ya! ... something I picked up from John's endless playing of CDs) & then took it to the kitchen where John had placed a new trash bag into the trash bag container & I just plopped it in there & shook it all about (now I'm thinking of the Hokey Pokey ... you didn't know I was so musically knowledgeable, did you ... lol!).  Anyway, I then took it back to the bedroom &, as stated above, placed it on top of the heating vent.  I'll leave it there for a couple more days & probably have to shake it some more but I think that's the best that it's going to be.  It's still quite heavy but hopefully I'll be able to put it on the tree with it toppling over.

Incidentally, whenever the furnace poofs on there is the most delicious fragrance wafting through the bedroom.  Now that the garland is lying on the vent itself, it's like some luscious dessert is baking in the oven.

Blessings,
Shirlee
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Monday, December 20, 2010, 5:12 p.m. - Sweet Potato Garland, Final Update - Day 26

The blasted sweet potato garland is on the blasted tree.  I had to give it a good shaking once again in the trash bin ...& I mean at least a 5-minute shaking which consisted of beating the goofy thing back & forth against the sides of the bin ... & still got a good handful of spices shaken off.  It will totally amaze me if there is any spice mixture left on this thing.  However, as I was draping it on the tree it was still raining down spices a bit.  What an experience ... lol!  But here she is on the tree.  My story is at its end.  Perhaps I should write a magazine article for next year's holiday season ... Diary of a Sweet Potato Garland.

Front of the Tree


Side of the Tree


Blessings,
Shirlee
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The End