Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pictorial Roundup

I'd be the first to admit that I'm not much of a housekeeper. Sure, our home is generally neat, but clean, that's another story. Yesterday I finally got around to cleaning the floor, which if we weren't having dinner guests, would have been put off even longer!

I do like it when things are clean, I just don't enjoy the process. Bruce, upon his return from work last evening remarked that the house looked wonderful. Nice.

The nicer weather, aside from the stormy days, has me much in the mood for picture taking. Let's see what I've been shooting, shall we?
I can't get enough of this orchid I bought before Christmas. The color is really special. Funny how the oil painting I did above the lamp kinda matches. Confetti.

I don't know about you, but I seem to have a habit of losing things that I've put away recently. What I'm looking for lately is my old green wallet. After winning a new wallet at Amanda's shower, I moved some things over, however, I didn't move my Social Security card, which I've been carrying around since first receiving it in the eighth grade. I've looked everywhere to no avail. I can find things I've no interest in locating, but not the things I want. This prompted me to clean out my "junk" drawer which I'm very pleased to show off:
We'll see how long I can keep it looking so organized.

Regina has the most beautiful shade of amaryllis blooming in her front yard:
Seriously gorgeous!

Speaking of orchids, just after Christmas I showed you the marvelous orchid Ruth's parents brought. When last you saw it, there were thirteen buds ready to burst open any day. Most of them have opened, although there are a few left. Orchids do make such great gifts because they last for so long.
Because I like the box so well, I've used my birthday gift from Matt and Tom just once. So clean and elegant don't you think?
To go along with the excessive acorn drop, we have a bit of a stacked mushroom infestation in our beds; this is only one of the stacks.
Of course, if I can't find something natural to photograph, I make something up:
While we're on the subject of making, after all these years, I finally learned how to use the decorative stitch on my sewing machine. You saw this dress earlier in the week hanging on my chair which I got around to finishing on Thursday afternoon--gotta get my spring wardrobe made!
The weather tomorrow is supposed to be fantastic, and with that in mind, I've got a bunch more prints to sign, including these two which I'm showing up close so you can see the new look:
More often than not, when I photograph something out and about, I have someone in mind while doing so. Years ago, Matt introduced me to Olivia, the pig character in the snow globe on the left. I have a suspicion there is someone in my viewing audience who just loves Olivia. Or, should I say, let's hope so? We'll find out tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Shall We Make Today?

How about a terrarium? Recently I became aware that terrariums are all the rage these days, which doesn't surprise me; pretty much everything makes a comeback. I can clearly remember making one in a large brandy snifter during our first year of marriage, which for those of you who don't know, was 37 years ago.

Here's what I gathered for mine:
We had a hard time finding plants small enough, and to tell you the truth, these are a tiny bit larger than I would have liked. I bought some from Jim at the market, however, when Bruce was out and about on Sunday, he stopped by a garden center, buying me a few more, including the tiny little podacarpus I used. So, mine looks like this at the moment:
After watching this slideshow, Terrariums on the NYT site, I'm thinking I need to do better. I was lucky to find this lidded jar at Marshalls, however I think I'll be on the lookout for something more creative.

Monday night was bridge class. It was pretty good actually. In the afternoon I dealt out the cards as if there were four players, practicing my arranging skills before heading to class. No need to make a fool of myself. I'm happy to report that somehow, when it was my turn to be the declarer, I actually won my hand. Beginner's luck for sure. Trish is in the bright pink top in this shot taken before class started. I'm telling you, I'm definitely getting my money's worth with the class costing $100 for 13 weeks. Mind you, Mr. Perry Poole teaches the entire two hours, making the cost somewhere around $4 an hour. Now that is a bargain, don't you think?
There is but one student under 50 in the class! Some of the folks mean business, which is why I did my little home practice session.

Earlier on Monday I stopped to see my friend Lois who was in her yard gardening. Showing me around, she pointed out the tulips and daffodils peeking up through the soil, as well as the poppies and anemones. Showy days are coming! I brought home this incredibly delicate, and more importantly, fragrant pink rose:
After photographing it in the gorgeous light of my brand new office, I moved it into the kitchen for water. This morning I found all the petals on the counter, which knowing me as you do, means photography!
I absolutely love how the petals are shaped like little hearts!

After a somewhat busy day at the Polasek, and some errands following that, I came home just as the predicted rains began. Apparently, along with the rain, there were tornado warnings for late in the night or early morning, however, as far as I can tell, none materialized.

And I should know...reverting to my childhood ways, I stayed up WAY too late reading. Try as I might, I have not been able to get into The Girl With the Dragon Tatto. I know there are people who are wild about the series, however, after reading 50+ pages, I just didn't care enough to continue. What I did devour is this:
More than a year go my friend Linda suggested I'd like this book. Knowing our tastes are pretty similar, when I saw it at Borders for $4.99 I picked it up, and am I glad I did! Baxter, on the other hand, had no knowledge of my nocturnal ways, whimpering at his usual time. I'm afraid to pick it up today because I know I'll never get anything done. I remember reading another novel by this author, who is female by the way, titled Prep, which is just as much of a page turner.

Actually, for some reason my left heel is hurting very much, so I doubt I'll be going anywhere today. Sounds like maybe it is a good day to put up my feet and read...

Monday, January 24, 2011

An Anniversary of Sorts

Waking up this morning I immediately began puzzling about today's post. How best to summarize my feelings on the anniversary of my mother-in-law's death? Am I sad, or am I happy? Sad, because we'll not see her again in this life, or happy that she's reunited with her loved ones in a better place?

Both Bruce's brother and sister urged him to visit the graveside, which he did yesterday morning after setting up the booth. Returning in the afternoon, I asked him how he felt, to which he replied-- "mixed feelings." I know what he means.

Although my father has been dead almost half of my life, I've gone to the cemetery maybe three times. Mostly, because I know he's not there. Sure there's a marker, but it means little to me. I prefer to think of both the good times, and the bad, while he was still living. Have I ever told you how we had to polish our shoes every afternoon when we returned home from school? Shoe inspections followed when he got home from work with punishment meted out if they weren't done properly! I suspect today's children have not once polished shoes, however, if I were having to buy shoes for eight people, maybe I would have done the same. Times, obviously, have changed.

But I digress...

Taking the trash out to the can out front, I immediately knew what I would use. Why, of course, the Christmas cactus I brought home from her house. For two weeks or so, I've watched as buds appeared and wouldn't you know it--today the first one opened wide. Now, that's how I like to commemorate her life--with a tangible reminder of her. Serendipity? Maybe, but it sure speaks to me more than a headstone.

I can just picture her delight upon seeing the cactus, which, undoubtedly she'd babied throughout the year, come to life once again with brilliant fuchsia blooms. Furthermore, there was this in the Times on Saturday: Blog of Yesteryear If you watch the slideshow, you'll be sure to recognize one of the diaries. Pretty amazing to me that it showed up now. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Making her gingerbread this Christmas, (although I did not attempt the pinwheels because I lost the recipe) using her scissors when cutting threads on Matt's quilt, those kinds of things keep her alive for me.

Rest in peace dear Judy Ann Peck, you've left much good behind. Thank you, thank you, for giving me your son to share my life with, and be the father to my children. I loved you, and still do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let's Make Some French Bread

Shall we?

But before we get to that, let's talk spaghetti and meatballs. Around our house, while growing up, having spaghetti and meatballs was quite a production. On the rare occasions that I've mentioned my father in this space, you've probably gathered that he was picky. Make that extremely picky, down to the size of the meatballs my mother made. Don't ask me to remember his reasoning for only wanting very small meatballs because I can't, however, I know it was woe to my mother if they were too big. So......

Although I married a man who is similar to my father in some ways, being picky is not one of those ways. To say that he's easy to get along with is an understatement. Furthermore, he's always wanting to take me out to dinner when he's home. Mostly I say, no thanks. If you've ever been to a restaurant with me you know how challenged I am when it comes to choosing my food, always wanting to go last. It's that choice thing I guess. I'd mostly rather go with home made.

Because I know how much Bruce loves spaghetti and meatballs, and because he'd just gone through a hellacious week, I set out to make just that. I never knew until fairly recently that some people plop their meatballs into the sauce uncooked, did you? After forming all the meatballs my mom used to fry them in the cast iron skillet. I've gone somewhere in between; half cooking them in the oven before putting them in the sauce to finish cooking.
Please note the dirty oven and the clean pan, one of the new ones I purchased with my gift card Bill gave me to William Sonoma. Last post I mentioned I was busy and astute readers will recall that cleaning was not on my list!

At my age I've tried lots of things, one of which is bread making, although I've not attempted any in the last few years. Yesterday that all changed. Using a recipe I found online, which truth be told, I already knew the ingredients, I set to work. After mixing the dough here's what it looked like:
Mighty gloppy, if I may use that word, wouldn't you say? Let me just give a shout out to granite counter tops--they are the best. The orange Tupperware measuring cups must be nearly thirty years old by now. I do love color. Anyway, here's what it looked like after kneading for five minutes and then after a few minutes rest, another three.

The bowl in the foreground dates back to my wedding shower. I suppose it is cool all over again these days, what with the retro craze and all. On the back of the King Arthur Bread Flour package there were instructions for baking a rustic loaf which I followed, letting the dough rise only once, punching it down and forming the loaves. Next I placed them on a corn meal dusted pan, placing it in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack. I turned the oven on to 400 and 35 minutes later here they were:

Pretty cool, huh? The recipe is entirely vegan down to brushing the loaves with cold water before baking. I can't wait until Matt comes home again to make some for him, but in the mean time, expect yours truly to be making more bread. Some people, judging by the amount of no-knead recipes, find kneading tedious, however I found it relaxing.

Finally Bruce came home, after four days away. I mentioned he'd had a horrible week earlier, but didn't tell you what happened. He left on Monday afternoon, flying into NYC, and driving from there to Kingston, NY. If that weren't enough, the next day he drove from Kingston to Watertown on the most treacherous highways you can imagine. Or maybe you can't. Cars and trucks jackknifing all over the road, with some landing along the guardrail. Snow, snow, and more snow. Plus ice, which is apparently worse. After spending time in Watertown, the next day he drove seven hours to his job outside Boston. Why, you ask, did he do all that driving? Mostly because he thought it would be quicker than multiple rental cars and flights, however, the dangerous weather he faced has him re-thinking that for next time.

Here's the festive table he found when he arrived:
Have I gone on too long? Are you bored yet?

I suspect you could care less about the bread, what you really want to know about is today's interview. Am I right? Here I am wearing my home made dress before I left:

I will be freelancing for a magazine named Central Florida Lifestyle when there are assignments to be had. In return, I will receive free advertising for my business. There are a number of freelancers already, however, they apparently like to have many to choose from at any given time. Keep reading my faithful ones.

Finally--I'm just about ready to call it a post! Nancy asked for a better look at my new table/chair and maybe you thought the same.

That's a denim dress I'm working on hanging from the chair. Although those fun pockets won't be seen, I'll know they are there. 

And that's all folks--another edition of Camera Crazy comes to a close. :)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Busy Little Beaver

Yep--that's me these days. I don't know about you, but I want to do more than time allows. Between cooking, taking pictures, my business, sewing, reading, and the list goes on, I am having to really discipline myself to get it all in! No complaints mind you, I'm a very lucky gal!

To top it all off, I went and signed up for bridge lessons with Trish. Monday afternoon, when she was dropping me back by the house after our session at Sherwin Williams, she mentioned she and some friends were going to lessons at the Bridge Center on Bennett Road. Gosh, I thought, that brings back memories of my parents. Why not? Well, I up and did it, joining about twenty other folks for group lessons. We'll get more into that as the eleven remaining weeks progress, but suffice it to say, when I left I thought--Gail, just what were you thinking??? Memory and strategy are the two most important skills needed to play bridge, which as we all know, I'm lacking in both.

So, here's the new table, along with the new chair on the left side of the picture. Bruce discovered it in Ikea and knew I would love it.
This, of course, was taken during my marathon print signing session. Better light soon. And just for fun, here's a neat little photograph of my sewing machine.

Get this: I've got a job interview on Friday morning. No, I'm not going back to taking x-rays, but of all things, I got an email yesterday asking me to set up an interview with the editor of a local magazine. For now, let's leave it at that. Hmmmmm.....

Although that stack of prints above looked like a lot, and it was a lot, it's not enough for me. 113 prints my friends. After preparing them all, I counted them. It struck me as kind of amazing that I sold 25 more than that whole stack at the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival. Because they were leaving the booth one by one, the sales figure was just a number. Seeing them stacked like that made it real. My long time readers, along with myself, can hardly imagine how far we've come in our journey. Above, I wrote that I was lucky, but what I really am is blessed, beyond reason.

Moving away from the serious for a moment, I wanted to share this little idea I read in a magazine the other day. The article was mostly about getting your cupboards, closets and drawers organized;  the author suggested freezing little ketchup packs, like you get with fast food, to put on little cuts/bites. Clever idea, don't you think? I have been organizing a bunch---gotta start the new year off right. Bill was over for a bit last night with promises to come clear out his old closet. I've heard that line before, so I'm not holding my breath. On the other hand, it would be nice.

In fact, last evening I had every intention of writing, but he hung around for a while which made me happy. Don't get to see my "boys" often enough.

This was my early supper last night:
I thought the colors were so pretty I naturally had to get out my camera! The napkin is one of two I made the other day out of some of the original fabric that was to be Matt's quilt. Once I'd sewn all the strips together I realized I'd made a mistake on my fabric choices. See below to agree with me.

To the left of the table is the large canvas of my food coloring experiment, one of two,  I'll be delivering this afternoon to the Church Street Exchange building to be hung in the window, maybe along the Garland side. With the opening of the new arena, there are more folks down there walking past the buildings. Turns out the mayor asked Dana if she could have some art hung there. Because I know Dana, and because she manages the complex is was pretty much a slam dunk. Actually, a woman named Lisa who once had a gallery space in City Arts Factory is the one who is in charge of it. After sending her some images, she chose some large colorful pieces (six total) that will hopefully grab people's attention. You'll be the first to see the hanging once it's done.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rainy Day Monday

Waking up to gray skies on a Monday morning isn't my idea of perfect, however, the thunderstorms which came in soon thereafter are much needed. While driving to Ocala last week on a super cold morning, everywhere I looked I saw evidence of our unseasonably cold weather this winter. Brown, brown, brown!

Mostly true. Actually, my drive through the Ocala National Forest was wonderful. Mile after mile of stick straight pine trees planted in rows.
So, there was some green. And lots and lots of blue. The freezing weather--28 degrees in Umatilla, seems to bring out the blue of the sky, which in turns seems to turn every body of water ultra blue. You know how sometimes a lake looks either gray or green? Not so in the winter it seems.
The above is not just some random lake shot, no, my friends, it is part of our family history. Make that Matt and Bruce's history to be precise. When I saw the sign for Farles Prairie, I decided to see the place for myself. Taking a left turn off SR 19, I drove along a sand packed road for miles and miles with nothing but the sound of my car and when I felt like braving the brisk cold, I opened my window to hear an occasional bird song. Again, pines and more pines. Which brings me to the above picture. Eventually I arrived, and the above is was I saw. Clicking on the picture will enlarge the scene allowing you to see the rows of broken pines surrounding the lake. I've no evidence to prove this, but more than 15 years ago, Bruce and Matt, along with some other men from our church, camped in this location. I'm showing you the boat ramp where they launched their canoes for fishing in Farles Lake. Well, I can't remember all the details, however, I do remember that a huge storm, which, at the time they called "The Storm of the Century" came through. Remember I said I drove for miles and miles off 19? Imagine being in a tent in the middle of the forest during a massive storm! Maybe Matt will remember more of the exact details, but for my part, I recall that someone called letting us know they were all right. It was a very frightening experience for all involved. Which brings me back to the picture; perhaps the storm broke off all of those trees?

Continuing my drive I pulled into Juniper Springs, one of several swimming springs in the forest. Because of the extreme cold, I shared the park with two other hardy souls.
The glint of sunlight on the springs shows off the gorgeous color. Another pretty little feature there was a mill house which was closed at the time of my visit.

By now I'd been on the road for more than four hours, which tells those of you who know that Ocala is only 1 1/2 hours away, how many times I took sightseeing detours! Because my meeting with Desiree was not until 1:00, I stopped at one more place, Appleton Museum of Art and was I glad I did! For more information on this Ocala gem, click on the link. Seriously spectacular for a city the size of Ocala.
Bill would have gone crazy what with his love of all things made from natural stone--make that 80,000 square feet of Italian travertine! Sadly I missed a 200 piece photography show by a week, however, I've definitely a new appreciation for oil painting of which there was a lot.

Turns out Kimberly's Cottage was only a few blocks from the museum which was great because it's very easy to get lost in Ocala.
After a tour of the facilities, Desiree and I brought the pieces into the boardroom and that was that! As you can imagine from reading her email, she was a very enthusiastic young woman. For my part, I was happy to be of some help.

And then, I took the long way home, which I'm sure doesn't surprise you one bit! I thoroughly enjoyed my road trip, mostly the peaceful stretch through the forest, with barely another car on the road. I need to get out more often!

Moving into the present, the market was terrific yesterday. The day began chilly and gloomy, with few folks out, however, just before lunchtime, the sun broke through the clouds and all was right with our little market world. Pretty much my best sales day there in ages and ages. Hurray!
By the way, Jonathan and Amy, the purveyors of the fruit pictured above, both told us how thrilled their 13 year old son was to receive the bed and linens making Bruce and I very happy. We've never forgotten all the times we could have used some helping hands.

Heading into the kitchen now to heat up some leftover corn chowder I made the other night. Definitely a soup kind of day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Would Be Blogging...

if not for this:
I picked up the prints late yesterday morning and I'm overwhelmed! I do love the new paper for sure though. As you know, Bruce was very anxious to get a new table, so since he was working from home he suggested we go to Ikea a little after lunch. Well, within hours I was sitting here thanks to my in-house handyman:
Actually, this was taken after dinner, thus the darkness, however in the next few days I'll give you the daylight version. As well, we got a super cute chair for the room. Why, you ask? Well, Baxter needs somewhere to hang out, doesn't he? Of course, humans can use it as well, but you get my drift.

Hopefully, this adorable shot of Baxter, ready for bed on a cold winter's night, will make up for my absence:

I am anxious to share my Ocala trip with you, but that will have to wait until the mound of prints is signed, priced, sealed and sorted into the new baskets! Oh my, what have I done?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beautiful Morning

Apparently we are the only state without snow on the ground, for which I'm grateful. That said, it is still mighty chilly around these parts, more so tomorrow morning if the predictions prove accurate. Nonetheless, I can take just about any temperature if the sun is shining, and shining it is. Without any humidity to speak of, the sky seems to be a more brilliant shade of blue, which I'm now facing in my new space. I liked my "Dancing Green" office very much, however, I'm loving facing a window in my new space. Life is good.

After returning from the Polasek yesterday afternoon I couldn't wait to give the food coloring experiment another try.
I began, once again, by coating the foam core with corn syrup and dropping red and black food coloring. Not entirely pleased with that, I added a blue drop on top of the red which I fully expected would become purple. It did not, as you can see. I LOVE how that blue turned out. For the record, I tried it on glue, which proved to be unsuccessful--no movement of the color. The idea for the glue came up because after seeing my photographs online, Bruce said he wanted to see them in person. Sorry baby, they won't be around for long because they are too messy!

Lest you think I've gone completely crazy, I'm still taking photographs of just about anything I can find. As you know, I recently bought a kettle which I'm loving by the way. When Angela was over on Saturday night the discussion turned to tea. She claims that tea tastes better when consumed from bone china, a notion that seemed a little far fetched to me. Well, at some point in the past, my dear friend Mary Whited gave me a lovely bone china cup and saucer I retrieved from the buffet drawer.


I can't say that I noticed any difference in the taste, but it sure is prettier than my mugs! Another gift from Mary, whom is both a most generous and gracious lady, is this very cool blue vase which I've been trying to do justice to in a photograph for a while now. Still not there yet.

And then there's this delicate camellia I brought home from the Polasek yesterday:


So you see, I haven't completely abandoned the real world! Tomorrow I've scheduled a trip to Ocala to make a charitable donation. Here's a copy of the email:
Dear Gail,

I saw your work in Ocala at FAFO and was extremely impressed.  Not only did I love your work, but I have also continued to talk about it.   I work for the Marion County Children’s Advocacy Center - Kimberly's Cottage, and our agency is creating a gallery in our conference room.  We would love to see some or your pieces displayed as inspiration for our staff and our community partners.

Kimberly's Cottage is a non-profit agency that offers cost free medical exams, forensic interviews, and short term crisis intervention counseling services to children who have been victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and severe neglect.   Our conference room is not only where we hold meetings with community partners, but also where prominent members of our community meet with our board to discuss donor opportunities.

My request is that you consider donating one or more pieces of your amazing work to be displayed in our gallery.  We would display this piece with your contact information and the price of the piece – offering the individuals who see your work the opportunity to learn more about you and where to find more of your art, or potentially purchase the piece as it is displayed.  Not only would this offer exposure of your work to many of our community’s affluent individuals, additionally, your generous donation to this outstanding cause would be tax deductible. 

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon about this opportunity. 

I responded first by saying "what a flattering letter she wrote and really, how could I refuse?" Seriously, Bruce and I have been so blessed, I'm more than happy to donate to what seems to be a very worthy cause. 

A clever way to segue into this  The Humble Cabbage 
just wouldn't come to me. Clever or not, I love cabbage. I've not always loved cabbage. In fact, I used to hate it for many of the reasons sited in the article, chief among them, the smell! I don't know about you, but I can still remember walking into the elementary school cafeteria and being overwhelmed with the odor, yes that's the right word, of overcooked cabbage. Here's how I like to cook cabbage:
  • Cut in half and slice. Maybe cut up the slices a bit more.
  • I use a glass pie pan and fill it with the cut up cabbage.
  • After putting in less than 1/4 c water, cover with wax paper.
  • Microwave on high for about six to seven minutes. 
  • Poke with fork to determine doneness. Keep it a little firm like you would brocoli.
  • Season with a little bit of butter, and generous amounts of cider vinegar. If you're Bruce, once it's on your plate, cover with freshly ground black pepper. If you're not Bruce, do it your own way!
  • Be prepared to be surprised at how delicious it is!
Time to get away from the computer and over to my sewing table. I told you life was good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Making Art

You never know where inspiration for art will come from. After naming all new 75 pieces for my bins this morning, I read the instructions for a Christmas gift from Matt. There is a pack of both watercolor paper and fabric that you expose with the sun, however today the sun refused to make an appearance. Nix that idea.

Here's what I did come up with after coating foam core with corn syrup and dropping food coloring:
It was really amazing how much they looked like flowers. I then tilted it upright and here's what happened soon thereafter:
By now I put it in the sink to contain the mess! Obviously I had to take photographs to show you how cool it was. Here's one taken about thirty minutes later:
Now my abstract flowers have stems!

Tonight is the last college football game of the season--the big show down between Oregon and Auburn.  At this point it's anybodies game, however, later tonight there will be a bunch of disappointed people. I'm always saying that you must be prepared to have your heart broken (at least for a night), if you're a sports fan. I know of what I speak. Bruce has already left for the week, so it will be me and Baxter on the couch rooting for my Alabama neighbor Corrine's team.

Lastly, here's a funny outtake from my latest self portrait. This scarf Nancy gave me for my birthday rocks!
I swear it looks like I'm about to get sick!

P.S. I forgot that I put this cool link up earlier today: Books, Books, and More Books

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Switcharoo

Well folks, we did it. More accurately, Bruce did most of it. This morning, shortly after getting up, Bruce asked if I wanted to make the change. Well....why not?
Bruce concealing all the wires while Gail takes photographs. See reflection in mirror. It took most of the day, but here's how things finished up:
More than a year ago I purchased the comforter/quilt before Matt came home for Christmas. My intention was to use it on the fold up bed we purchased, however that never happened. For the moment, this is good.

When we began moving the furniture this morning I called Jonathan, the farmer from the market who generally takes all of our furniture when we make changes. They have seven, yes, seven children! I didn't hear back from him until later in the afternoon, but when I mentioned we had a twin bed and mattress to give away, I think I heard tears in his voice. He said, "You have no idea what a blessing this is for our family." Gosh.....

I've photographed most rooms of our home except for the room that was formerly the twins' room. I loved that room. Cool and calm. My chance is over. It's new. Maybe not so calm. About the middle of the week I lugged my six foot table that I use for markets (when I don't use my tent) into the room. I placed it in front of the closet to see what I felt like being in the back bedroom. I liked it. A lot.

The light is amazing in this room. Although Bruce is not all the way pleased with my using this table, and I suspect he'll do something about it when I'm not around, for now, after all the work, here's what it looks like:

As I type this I'm seeing the beautiful crescent moon out the window which makes me very happy. My very first blog in my new space! There's still a bit of tweaking to do, but not much. I've got so much room! The best part is that the table can be taken down and at least a double air mattress can be used in the middle of the room. Turns out we've solved several problems at once. Not really problems, but it seems as if we'll be using our space more efficiently. In my former office, when we have four visitors we'll take the treadmill down and set up the folding bed, and there you have it! A big switcharoo that benefits everyone. Doesn't get any better!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change is in the Air

Don't you just love January? Of course, living in Florida, as I do, has something to do with it. Yes, the weather is ideal most days but what I like about January is the newness, if that's a word. Anything seems possible. I've never been one to make resolutions, however, I do like to make changes. But you knew that didn't you? I always like to say, everything is subject to change, except my marriage! Speaking of marriages, oftentimes I don't recognize how special our relationship is until I hear tales of other marriages. Whew! There are some mighty unhappy married folks out there. I'm ever so grateful I'm not one of them.

So what am I changing now? Lots.
  • First, my hair. I've had my hair highlighted since I was about seventeen and it's time for a change. What's wrong with brown anyway? Furthermore, I'm going to do my best to let my bangs grow out. That's another thing I've done for most of my life, starting with the time in elementary school when my friend cut my bangs with fingernail scissors. Can you imagine? My mother would never let me have them, saying my forehead was too narrow. When I think about it, I've no clue how I had the nerve to defy her wishes! Bring on the headbands!
  •  I've bought an electric kettle. One of the most fascinating things about Tom was his approach to the kitchen, or more specifically, food preparation. Very scientific. The error of my ways was gently pointed out--making a proper cup of tea requires an electric kettle. Yesterday morning I did a little experiment, filling both the kettle, and my regular stove kettle, with enough water to make a cup of tea. Kettle won hands down. Nancy will recognize my little spoon rest from one of the cool little shops in DeLand.
  •  One of the biggest changes I am making is my prints. Monday I spent more than three hours at Rogers house figuring it all out. I am going to regular mats with lustre paper. There, I've said it. The time just seemed right to step things up a bit, although, with my decreased sales last year, I'm not sure where I got the idea to spend more on my product, but hey, you only live once! He made two images with both the matte paper and lustre for comparison. Both Bruce and Angela voted for lustre after inspecting them. What did I think? It's a go! As such, I had a BOGO sale last week, and will do so again this Sunday, to clear out as much inventory as possible. The remaining prints will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, or friends if they'd like them. Lisa and Nancy got their share on Sunday.
  • While at Hobby Lobby on my birthday we finally found some new baskets that match my tablecloth. No small feat I'll tell you. Looking for months, I'd never found four baskets that matched before so when we saw these we didn't hesitate.
  • My prices. For nearly three years I've kept my prices the same, however, with the changes I'm making, I am raising them slightly to help cover my costs. We'll see how that affects my sales. Last year I sold nearly $7,000 less than the previous year. Pretty significant wouldn't you say? January makes me hopeful that this year I'll see an improvement.
  • One thing about selling at the same location is that keeping things fresh definitely helps keep people looking. As such, I'm having Roger make lots of new images, keeping only the perennial favorites. It's not like I don't have others to try! One thing I've learned is that you never really know what will capture people's attention; almost all of my big sellers are surprises to me. Maybe this new batch will have a few, however, that remains to be seen.
That's my list so far. Subject to change...

I've got a great link for you courtesy of Matt:
Estate LivingSeeing those faces and reading their stories was wonderful. I was fascinated that the interviewer asked them their original hair color. Plus, I liked how they gazed at the camera rather than smiled. Most of us don't spend our days smiling so they felt more natural. You probably already know that the introduction of the Brownie camera was the dawn of forced smiles in photographs. I like to smile as much as the next person, just not so much on cue!

Bruce spent much of the holidays working from home, but he's on the road again now. I stayed up WAY too late finishing this novel, Father of the Rain
It was one of those novels that are compelling while reading, but upon completion, makes you wonder why you bothered.

If you've ever wondered if you should spring for Amazon gift wrapping, here's what it looks like:
While reading the card I wasn't sure if it was my quilting book or not, but it was. Speaking of Jonathan, he still has no job, but he has been through two interviews at the Apple store. Waiting for a call now. It's a start!

Finally, here's a little cutie for you:


While shopping I can never resist cute little things like this to photograph. Thunder and lightening woke me several times during the night with the rain continuing this morning. Guess that means I'll be staying in to finish my year end bookkeeping, a dreaded task if ever there was one.

P.S. Forgive me for the excessive use of exclamation points please.

Past, Present, and Future