Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What happened to Scrooge?

In the last few years I haven't had decorate for Christmas much and have let the boys take over. I don't know why, but this year I've been bit by the holiday bug. It might be because of Silver Bella and my inspiration to have a white tree and do a swap tree; I can hardly wait.We've never had a grown up nativity set before so when I saw this at the shop I snapped it up and couldn't wait another day to set it up on our coffee table today-the day before Thanksgiving. So unlike me. The tree goes up at the last minute and they have to hold me back to keep from taking it down the day after Christmas. Not this year and I'll give y'all a good look when the tree is up.
The shop is completely decorated (although I'm am falling behind having been gone two weeks recently) to the nines for the holidays. I just completed a post of pics on The Pink Cabbage blog; check it out at to see what's what and what you don't want to miss. Enjoy!
By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Latest Guru

I found MaryJanesFarm magazine at Borders in Omaha and instantly fell in love with it. It could have been one of the factors of me suddenly feeling contented with where I live and stopped day dreaming about moving to Nebraska or Texas. I'm going to bring that feeling to where I am.
It kind of reminds me of when I first read Laurel's Kitchen back in the 80's; about how to make every day life of running a home creative instead of mundane. I'm so inspired and can't wait to start making those changes. Actually, I have, working on re-habbing (read cleaning and organizing AGAIN) my work room so I can unpack all my fab Nebraska treasures and boxes of things waiting my attention in the garage.
Check out her website at and I highly recommend subscribing to her magazine. It also inspires healthy living by means of organic cooking and recycling. Bonne elan!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Silver Bella-Yaaaaaaaaaaahooooooooooooo!

So I know that no one is going to ask me to be their personal travel agent when they know that I've driven to and from Nebraska two years in a row, this year alone. My only real mistake this year was overshooting Stromsburg by five days. There is something between two hours and five days...who would have guessed? Okay, don't answer that. I did, however, use that extra time well; reading long-overdue magazines and books, leisurely crafting, sleeping in, going to bed late-whatever!The fab part of overshooting the timing was that I had lots of time to finally empty my truck, finish a couple of swaps, make three trips to Hobby Lobby (none of which did I take my supply list for classes), and roam around town making dents in my credit cards. Unlike last year, when my mom and I drove up to the Hilton 20 minutes before leaving for the first event Thursday night after driving two full days, I was there on Monday and leisurely waited for the Bellas to start drifting in. Though, after asking many women who gave me blank or even rude stares as non-replies, I gave up and just waited for someone to ask me. I finally happened in the lobby and here was the first Wednesday wave of comers having dinner at Spaghetti Works. Then after, back at the hotel, we met another wave for drinks in the bar.
Once Julia and Karen got in on Thursday afternoon the time started to zoom. Above is the first official activity of Silver Bella 2008; wonderful dinner, fabulous goody bags, and a great craft for us to all "complete" together; I'm no quitter, I'll get it done as soon as I find it.
Then Hope reminded us that she and Amy's flight had been cancelled that morning even though they'd been up since 4:30 a.m. It was already way after 10 by then and the mayhem of the swaps began. It took at least an hour to set up, deliver, and find the right places to pick up. Above is me and Alana George (never did ask if we were related...whadayathink Alana?) with whom I did a one-on-one glitter house swap. I got way more glitter outta her than she did me but I think she liked it, see how she's smiling?
Sandy taking my picture taking her picture with one of my fave Bellas, Janey behind. Sandy bought one of my mom's monkeys and loved sleeping with it. Email her for references. Love you Janey but I'm not driving again next year but I'll try to connect through Chicago and we can still go part way. We can set off the alarm in the potty!
Okay, so there are only going to be a few swap pics on here 'cause I can't find any at the moment. I did see them after I got home as Janine came over and helped me unload the truck and we went through the boxes. Then I stacked the boxes in my little room to wait until I'm finished refurbishing my work room. I'm installing shelving around the top of the room for all my pretties to make more room for my work stuff and can see the pretties better. Sooooooooooo, above is the spoon art that Julia made for the Altered Spoon Swap. I love it, it's above my sink in the kitchen on the window sill.
You can see these are the bigger pieces that I pulled to place until there's room for the smaller ones. I think I'm going to do a Silver Bella Swap Christmas Tree this year. Keep your fingers crossed; it's "my" year to do the tree. Above is from the sachet swap I got from Dallas Deb; my bed looks and smells great.
The cup cake and stand I got from Lonnie-yikes!!!! It was a one-on-one also and I so felt like crawling under a rock as she opened the one from me. She was sweet and I thought it was okay but I did get to give her a second one the next night that I had made for her but chose one over the other. I thought she deserved a baker's dozen for this. My first class on Friday was Soldering for Virgins with SALLY JEAN ALEXANDER. If you've been living under a rock, she was the first and queen and mac daddy of soldered jewelry. And here I am with her; she was so much fun and a great teacher even though we were supposed to make three charms and I only made one and it looked like it had been run over by a truck. It was not her fault, it was clearly mine, but I'm going to keep at it 'cause I've been wanting to learn how for so long and I've at least seen how it's supposed to be done which is a long way from where I was.
I had a late afternoon class that I had to duck out of early to start setting up for vendor night. We were so lucky that we got to load in early so as to have plenty of time to set up and get into our prom dresses which was the theme of vendor night this year. Above is a little party pic from my spot.
And more of my little necklace collages...
...a few more goodies I made, quite a few found new homes, yippie!!!! This cute lady drove with a few girlfriends from right near where my grandaddy grew up just to come to our vendor night; they were a hoot... ...and check out her crown close up-too cute!!!!!
Maija and I, me in my pinkie purple prom dress and long, long hair in an updo that kept undoing. Maija looks sleek and fab in herself and her fab necklace.
The girls, not in their prom dresses, but in their wonderful smiles.
Lonnie, on the left, who made my glorious cup cake and stand, who-ha-too-beautiful-from-Italy, and me trying to look tiny and skinny next to who-ha.
More prom queens with some twists. White flip flops after Memorial Day? Okay, the gloves so make up for the faux pax.
And the quintessential Amy Powers in her grandness with the hot pink wig, unbelievable outfit, and the essential wand. It's such an honor to know her and call her a friend; she's one of a kind in the best of all ways. Love you.
I didn't get a great prom picture to steal yet so I'd already had the idea to do a black and white of our group; could this be 1963 or what? We wrapped up vendor at about 11 then back to the room for another until-3-a-m-non-stop-talking evening.
Finally, here's Julia. And this is sooooooo Julia. What fun it was to be with her, not near enough time but so fun while we did. I do believe we'll be making an anniversary of this, will we not? Love you.
And Karen, the friend that came with Julia from Houston. Karen is so great, what a gift Julia brought with her in Karen. Bottom line-her daddy played football for A&M-need I say more? She's all that and a bag of chips! Love you.
We're all looking pretty chipper for our Meet Mary Luncheon even though we'd had our late night/early morning. These are the gals I got to share the lunch and speech with.
I teared up as soon as Mary was walking to the podium. I already described this part of SB in my previous post from that same day. I'm glad I posted while it was still so fresh. She's dry but brutally truthful to the point of very funny as in "It is what it is, laugh or cry.". I realized that she could be Martha Stewart or more if she had wanted to but her business is just the size she wants it to be so as to have a family life and real life. I'm sure she could also have multiple houses, t.v. shows, etc. but she's chosen to not make her art and business her life. She's chooses family first and has lots of friends and real-life experiences like the rest of us.
Of course I was the only one who pushed the personal space issue. She doesn't look scared does she? Love you.
I was late for Charlotte Lyon's class due to the line to meet Mary. She knew there would be a few of us late waiting in line so she'd been regaling the class with lots of personal stories about she and Mary. I got in on some and it was too fun. Charlotte is wonderful and I had a great time in her class and loved, loved what we made in her later.
Since I was in Charlotte's class when Mary finished meeting everyone, she stopped by to tell Charlotte bye and was with the third of the fab three, Barbara. Wow, just when I thought it couldn't get better, we get all three in one room, the three that are Home Companion Magazine and books.
This is Pam Garrison and me and the art piece I made in her class. I didn't finish any of the projects but, of course, will. I'll be adding to this one, too, it's just started. Remember? when I finish rehabbing my work room...and it's under way so it shouldn't be long. Yes, back to work tomorrow but then it's the traditional Thanksgiving Clean Out the Work Room the rest of the week. By the way, Happy Thanksgiving Clean Out the Work Room to you and yours. Love you.

Rockin' with tha Swedes

Stromsburg has only one bed and breakfast, I think it's the only place to stay overnight at all except camping in the state park, a little too cold for that this year. So I stayed at Stromberg B and B. Stromberg is a huge name in Stromsburg and it's an old famous clock made in Sweden. The Strombergs were wonderful folks and they definitely are clock collectors; just from what I saw in the few rooms I was in, I would guess that I saw at least 100 clocks. There were a good 50 coo coo clocks in the kitchen alone.
I asked them and we guessed that it's a Swedish thing 'cause I have such an affinity for clocks, I had an idea that there might be some connection since my mom has several clocks from her grandparents and her mom, my grandmother, had quite a few clocks too.
These are just a few of the snaps I took of their endless collection, it was cool.
Here's a little sneak peek of how sweet the room I stayed in was...antiques, doilies, and old fashioned lamps.
There are several neat shops in around the town square; one was a home decor shop that had been the local soda fountain shop. They still had the original fountain with the original Hamilton milkshake mixer, ice boxes, fountain spickets, and ice cream coolers. They were just like the ones that Jarrett's had in Bryan when I was growing up; it made me feel so warm and cozy.
See? I love it.
I made a point this year to get to Stromsburg on Saturday so I could attend services at the church where my grandmother, great grandparents, and great-great grandparents attended. It was awesome. Mom and I had seen the church and visited the cemetery across the road last year which I visited after service on Sunday but inside the church was fabulous.
In the basement where they have coffee after church the pastor showed me this painting of the three different plants that have been on the property, not at once but as a succession. The one on the left was the first, on the right was the one that was built when my grandmother was little, then the third, the one there now, in the middle would be one that my great grandparents, grandmother would still have attended and the one that my mother remembers visiting as a child.
I loved sitting inside and thinking about them having been there.
After the service the pastor gave me all the scoop on the church history and told me this was the original baptismal font where my grandmother would have been baptised and perhaps her parents before that.
So many beautiful adornments in the church that I should have had my picture taken with all the folks I talked with after the service. I met two out of three brothers who had their hair cut by my great grandfather who was the town barber. The third brother lives right down the road from here in Bethesda! One brother said he remembers his first hair cut as one of his first memories and that it was 37 cents. I replied that's where the family fortune came from! My favorite part is meeting folks who actually knew the family when they were alive.
Next are just one-offs that I found amusing here and there in and out of Stromsburg. Here's an old cowboy waitin' his turn in the loo... great grandparents home, still the same...
...lots of Swedish here and there, no idea what it says but love the way it looks...
...same here, a gable that looks like it came right from Carl Larsson's home...
...and little gazebo, both at the state park on the edge of town...
...and the huge silos that declare Stromsburg to be the Swede capital of Nebraska. Nebraska? What other state has more Swedes? I guess maybe the Dakotas?
Very typical Swedish drawing outside the local grocery. I think that might say welcome. I'll find out sometime...thanks for letting me share.