Friday, October 30, 2009

A New Agenda

One thing I've discovered by having my little Etsy shop is how many of you are so good at planning ahead! I began receiving a sprinkling of orders for items to give as Christmas gifts over the summer but as the fall settled in it became serious business for some! Knowing all my Christmas hiding spots were currently barren of secrets, I could feel a twinge of panic in the pit of my stomach not usually familiar to me until mid December. How many shopping days did I actually have left? Not enough I'm sure!

Armed with pen, paper, and a hot cup of tea I tackled the remaining pages of our 2009 calendar and created a holiday game plan. Lists were created, prioritized, edited, and compiled to create an agenda of sorts. In the end I decided it would be best to begin with a bit of organizing and simplifying, especially in regard to all the custom orders that needed my attention (especially considering I added a few more to the list for my own gift giving plans!)

I soon reclaimed the top portion of a bookshelf in our bedroom onto which an assortment of small baskets and boxes could be stored. All of the tiny pieces used in my pincushions, Lilies, and quilts can easily be cut in multiples now and stored safely away until it's their turn to be put into use. It's ever so easy now to grab a basket and head out to the sewing nook knowing everything I need is right on hand. I've even begun tossing in the coordinating thread, floss, beads, and trim as well. I'm feeling so on top of things. . . . .

. . . . . as long as I look up that is! If you recall, I did say I reclaimed the TOP portion of the bookshelf! This is what lies below. Believe it or not I do love books, I just don't treat them as well as I should.

Fearing I will be in dire need of encouragement as I tackle the next steps, I posted up one of the sweet little postcards I got at the antiquarian book fair last summer. Who knew at the time it would be so appropriate to my future agenda? And so inspirational! The process of clearing out is becoming almost a daily activity. I've been purging and tossing right and left. Drop offs at the consignment shop, donations to the library, and if all else fails, deposits in the recycle bin have not come without their rewards. More space, less dust, and. . . . .

. . . . .these treasures! I first saw these adorable wooden coasters over at Wyldhare's Hollow. She found her set on a "goodie hunting" excursion earlier this month. I feel in love with them and let her know in a comment on her post. Sweet as always, she said she would keep her eyes open for another set for me. I can't begin to tell you my amazement over the fact that she not only found another set but sent it off to me as a belated birthday surprise! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I especially love the fact that they have the little evergreen trees on them since this whole re-organization process developed out of my Christmas Agenda!

Not to be excluded. . . . . an additional surprise was tucked in for Lily Red as well! This tiny wooden basket is now one of her very favorite possessions. Being ever so sturdy and with a nice flat bottom I'm told it's uses tally in the hundreds.

It seems Lily Red's newest acquaintance, Red Riding Hood (#2) is quite an expert on baskets and many such conversations were had on the topic while hair braiding and other finishing touches were attended to.

Red Riding Hood even gave a demonstration on picking the finest flowers for making an arrangement to put in one's basket. Lucy had the special task of cutting a lining cloth for tucking around the blossoms. Both girls were quite impressed with their new friend, so much so in fact. . . . .

. . . . . that they were inspired to pay tribute to her frightful tale on Halloween. A bit of sewing was required but easily accomplished in their skillful hands. It was the generous loan of a key element, however, that added the perfect touch to their costume ensemble.

Happy Trick or Treat
Lily Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Winter Weather - a Taste of What's to Come!

The second nor'easter of the season paid a visit to our neighborhood yesterday. Several hours of snowflakes whipping every which way outside our windows was more exciting than anything to be found on the telly! By the early evening hours, however, all the white fluff was replaced with a bone chilling rain.

Luckily I was armed with my new dutch oven and a special recipe for french onion soup that had only just arrived by post. Believe it or not it was made by me, entirely from scratch and tasted as good as it looks! Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Birthday Buffet

I don't know about you, but the stores around here have been gearing up for the Halloween season since the last weeks of August. Ever since his first glimpse of the orange and black display at Jo-Ann's, Jackson has been counting down the days until we can pick pumpkins and get the costumes ready. With the exception of stocking up on Halloween Oreos (which are generally sold out by September leaving you with a glass pumpkin cookie jar that is either empty or filled with the Christmas Oreos that have begun creeping onto the shelves) the wee lad has had to be very patient waiting for the ghoulish preparations to begin.

This week, with the arrival of the first of October, I figured it was time to start. First things first,however, I knew a bit of pre-decorating house "clearing" was in order. . . . . which leads me here to my pile of birthday gifts on display in the living room. Now considering more than two weeks have passed since my special day it was definitely time to relocate my goodies but not before I did a bit of show and tell.

A manicure coupon, a much loved CD, and some very friendly popsicle bookmarks from the kids. . . . .

and everything I need to become a French Chef from the hubby. Now you should know right up front that I cook about as well as he speaks french (did you notice his pink sticky notes?) Therefore, the chances of me going in the whole Julie and Julia direction are next to zero although I bet I could fit about ten cans of Campbell's French Onion Soup in that dutch oven and serve the whole family from one giant crock!

Almost every year, as a special birthday treat, I go to a doll show up in New Hampshire. This time while my mom searched for some tiny dolls to put in her Christmas dollhouse, Dale scoured every table for a doll that looked just like her, and I kept watch for any little wooden treasures to be had. As it turned out only the birthday girl had any luck on that day. A Raikes Hitty along with a companion book stuffed with an assortment of paper ephemera was found neglected amongst all the more glamorous Betsy McCalls and Madame Alexanders. Mass produced she may be, but how could I pass her up, especially with mom as a co-conspirator in the purchase.
As for the rest of the little wooden wonders pictured. . . . they were rescued from an "as is" junk box for a quarter a piece! One man's trash truly is another's treasure, and at a dollar for the lot my wallet still felt rich too.

And finally, from mom and dad. . . . .a whole stash of Hitty treats! My Gail Wilson kit as well as an extra wardrobe pattern had been stashed away since our visit to the Sunapee Fair. The braided rug and quit hoop were a completed surprise, however. They too started as Gail Wilson kits but my mom was sweet enough to complete them for me. Those along with a few little consignment finds added in have me thinking it won't be long before Hitty's going to need a house!

But first. . . it looks as if I've got my work cut out for me!