Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Holiday Cards

AHH, almost November 1st already. It sneaks up on my every year. Summer is over, kids are back in school, and BAM! It's time for my annual "Christmas Card ANGUISH"

I am not a scrooge.
I love to send holiday cards, the act of writing the greetings to friends and family is a joy, The ritual of sealing envelopes, writing addresses, I love it, this is not the part that causes the annual anguish.

You see, my family has a tradition of "special holiday cards". I blame my mom. She started it., with her personalized cards from the Miles Kimballcompany. A card shaped like a mailbox, that opened to reveal letters inside. And the handmade greetings! Before the days of digital cameras and fancy rubber stamps, my Mom's Christmas cards were often made of construction paper, glitter and photos. Sometime there was that fake, flocked "snow". Photo greetings when I was just baby, so many decades ago.

I carried on the tradition. When my children were young, the whole process was relatively easy, if I planned ahead. Usually around mid September, I would dress up the kids and plunk them down in front of the fireplace, cajole some fake smiles from them, and that was that. Kids grow every year, and they provided an acceptable photo almost every Christmas. One year we took a photo of all of us crossing the wooden bridge in our yard... Oh, and there was that wonderful year when we had a huge snowfall in October, and I got an almost magical candid shot of the three of them tunneling into a sparkling snowbank. A once in a lifetime chance........

Now that it's just adults in the house, photo cards do not hold the same appeal. I don't want to show off my spreading waistline and no one wants to look at the new wrinkles and graying hair annually. Knee replacement photos do not promote Yuletide JOY.

So here is where the Annual Anguish comes into play. Coming up with a creative, clever idea to spread holiday cheer without breaking the budget, and/or consuming every bit of spare time I have. That is anguish. It must be quick, easy and cheap!!

Remember, I do not do the "rubber stamping "thing. I knit. I sew. I blog. I do not stamp.

Most times, I think I have a good idea, and then immediately dismiss it because it is:

Too time consuming.

Too hokey.

Too expensive.

All of the above.

You are asking "Why doesn't she just buy a box of cards be done with it?" Dave asks that every year, too.

The year I had a major surgery in December, I did just that, boxed cards were sent out. In fact, I did that last year, too... But so many people told me that they were disappointed to open our card and find something NOT HANDMADE. And even though I sent out the ready made cards, I still went through the anguish of TRYING to come up with a great idea................. I might as well have made them.

I do have an idea for 2007 holiday greetings , but I am afraid it is:

Too time consuming.
Too hokey.
Too expensive.

Got ideas? Simple, cheap and creative are my criteria. I need to get cracking on this. Where are my elves when I need them?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Right around the corner

This road sign is just out of our town. They tell me that many years ago there was a wool processing factory on this road. A nearby bridge is known to the locals as "the wool factory bridge". I have no idea how long the factory has been gone. I love this sign!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hard Frost

I don't know what is up with me . I have been anxiously awaiting our first hard frost, for some reason. I don't do much of the gardening, or even clipping grass in the fall, so it's not as if I want the work to end.

Our home is in a low area, we get frost when others don't. On average, we seem to get a killing frost in late September or early October. Last night was our first hard freeze.... October 28. With the cold comes that clear blue sky,,,,,,,,,, And still so many leaves on the trees.

As I get older, I crave the "routines" of life, the first hard frost, the hub-bub of hunting season(remember this IS Wisconsin), and then the holidays. Long nights of January provide lots of time to create. The rhythm of the seasons is soothing to me, like home. I know what to expect...

Summer is often full of surprises, mostly pleasant, but still.......... I like my routine. Getting old,, I guess.

Winter looms ahead,,,, I say, Bring it on!, my "glory days" are yet to come!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Credit or Debit, or what

Paperwork makes me crabby. I, delay, deny, postpone, intentionally misplace, anything resembling paperwork.

I will never be a true business owner because I hate the "business" end of it all. I love the creative parts of my job, dressing the window is fun,

but the details of invoices, and record keeping leaves me cold.

I spent today in the "backroom" of the shop, entering data into the computer and figuring quarterly sales taxes. Really, I whine about it, but the computer does make it fairly simple. Despite that, after three years of being in business, I still rely on my "cheat sheet" to identify a credit or debit..

........It all makes me feel like a Witchy Woman!

On the lighter side of things,

today, October 26

is the birthday of

Ghen (my nephew)

Gwen (my sister)

and Marlene (Dave's sister)

and a customer and friend, Sarah, gave birth to her second child, Delia, this very morning!
Congrats to all!

It is a milestone birthday for Delia , as well as Ghen.

Ghen is 18 !
Eighteen looks good on him!

Here is the birthday boy dressed as a vampire.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I focused on my projects, and cut and sewed and cut and sewed. I made mittens. EIGHTEEN PAIR! That's 34 mittens !!! All different. The pairs coordinate but do not match. Like these mittens, that I made back in February, the new ones are cut from recycled wool sweaters. Better to make something useful than to end up in the landfill.
Too lazy to arrange them for a photo, they are going to Loose Ends tomorrow in a laundry basket. For sale , $20 a pair.
Today is Monday, my afternoon with Emili. As a treat, we stopped at Widmers Cheese in Theresa. Check out the website,,,,,,, a nice site done by my landlord, Aaron from SunAnt Technologies.
Many of you knitters have asked me "Just what does that guy in the back offices do?" , this is what he does.

Here is Emmi at the cheese shop. Something about the smell at the shop reminds me of my childhood and the farm, it must be all that milk. We had a good time, and bought mild brick, brie and string cheese.

Emili has decided that we should "explore Theresa" on Monday afternooons after school. So far, she has been to the candy shop and the cheese place, I hope Theresa does not dissapoint. It is a mighty small town! There is always the library.

History of the Village
Theresa is located in the rolling hills of northeast Dodge County, The small community was founded by a French trader named Solomon Juneau. His original home now stands on a hill overlooking the village and the west fork of the Rock River. Solomon Juneau also founded the city of Milwaukee and was its first mayor and postmaster.
About 10 miles west of Theresa is the famous Horicon Marsh. East of Theresa is the smaller Theresa Marsh and a short drive farther takes you to the beautiful northern Kettle Moraine State Forest area.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Staying focused

I have been reminded that I haven't made a new post in a week. So here it is.

The week that passed has been a roller coaster ride, and a lot of it seems to be going in the down direction.... but also like a roller coaster, the ups have been exciting. And the ride zooms,whooshhhhhhh and it's over!

I won't bore you readers with all the details, because I don't think I want to revisit them all, and, frankly most of the details are just plain boring.

Trying to be positive, I have been sewing and knitting and working, ......and Ta DA! My hand does not hurt!!! I am ready to declare the surgery a success. Thanks, Dr. Zachary!

Now that I have full use of my hand again, it seems my brain has been swamped with creative ideas. Making up for lost time? All these ideas swirling around my cranium,,,,,,, leaves not much room for day-to-day details. Like laundry, cooking, running the shop, etc. Dave says I need to "stay focused". I think I need to delete some files and immediately empty the recycle bin. Or have more memory installed.

To this end, Betty and I have agreed on a challenge. Yesterday (Saturday), we set some goals for each of us to have accomplished by Tuesday afternoon. Of course, our projects are not the same, so we used the honor system to determine how much we each need to finish by the deadline. The winner gets a prize,, as yet unnamed. Perhaps the prize will be bragging rights, I don't know. But if I am to "stay focused", I should end this post here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Working Vacation

Yesterday was a nearly perfect day for me.
Every year at this time, we go to our cabin to get things ready for the winter. I mean to say, Dave gets things ready....I have the day off! Really, he would rather do the chores alone.

Dave was working.

While Dave was doing his usual autumnal duties,,,, I did just whatever the heck I wanted to do!
I knit on a freeform hat. And yes, we DO have a pink leather chair at the cabin!

I did some spinning,

and then I finished the hat!


I finished knitting a bag to felt

and plyed the spun yarn

Then DAVE made lunch!

I cut out a whole lot of mitten linings

And made the toe of a sock

And then Dave took me out to dinner!

Do I feel guilty? Not even a teensy bit!

Life is good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Limit Pan

In the Octobers of my childhood, I often carried the limit pan.
What's a limit pan? Ask my Papa. He knows.

When the time was right, after we finished supper and Dad finished his evening chores, but before sunset, we would hunt for hickory nuts. Of course, my father knew where to look,,,he knew a hickory tree from an elm or an oak, but did what we kids know? I learned to spot a hickory and several other species, too.

Once the tree was located, we utilised the limit pan. The "limit pan" was an old, discarded loaf pan, once used for baking. Our goal each evening was to fill the pan, and that was the limit of nuts for that night's hunt, we went home. That's why Papa named it the limit pan.

We were not the only ones looking for hickory nuts, often the squirrels would get to them before us. There were times when we just chalked it up to "being a bad year for hickory nuts".

We rarely filled that pan...

Lovely cool evenings (like tonight) remind me of the limit pan, and the way my Dad drives around the country "block", slowly, looking for nuts and wildlife, and maybe a nice sunset.
At 50, I still love to ride in the truck with my Dad. He sees and notices new things every day, on the farm where he has lived his entire life.
It's a good way to live, making a simple thing like picking up nuts an adventure. Thanks Pops.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I love a parade

What is more American than a parade? It seems the whole city turned out for today's Audubon Day's parade. It was hot.... Like a July 4th parade.

Here are some highlights.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Reality Check

Of course, we all want people to think the best of us. "to put our best foot forward" and "not airing your dirty laundry in public."
But I am revealing a lot of my life here on this blog,,,,,,,, and it might as well be realistic.
I take photos of projects, or people, and with the wonderful magic of a digital camera, I delete the shots that are not flattering. Or crop out the mess that is in the picture behind the finished sock.
So in the interest of full disclosure,,,, this is what my sofa and surrounding area often looks like. This is reality. Not staged.
Readers who know me personally will not be surprised by this shocking post. (Some of you have seen my basement)
To the others: This is reality.........get over it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wash On Monday

Do you do your laundry on Monday?? At our house the washing never ends. We do laundry almost every day.....especially if it is a good day for drying outside. Today it's drizzly and damp. So the laundry went into the dryer, and I went into my workshop and made a Santa.
I've made thousands of Santas....... I don't recall ever making one with a laundry theme before!
He carries a laundry basket, clothespins, a washtub, and assorted laundry.
The photos don't do him justice, he's cute. So if you want to decorate your LAUNDRY ROOM for the holidays, he is for sale at Loose Ends Yarn Shop. (In my opinion, anyone who decorates their laundry room for the holidays needs a serious mental evaluation. That's why I am not good at sales!)

Dave's comment on this Santa: "Just what is Mrs. Claus doing?"