Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In Review

First, I want to thank all of you who have visited with me and helped me get through this year. While I don't get many comments on my little blog, I appreciate those of you who take the time to stop by and wish me well. I've met some of the nicest women since I started this blog, and while I haven't met any of you in person, I feel like I know some of you well.

The last two years have been rough, but I made it through and so did you. I'm looking forward to getting my life back on track in 2011.

Overall, I managed to get a few things accomplished around here. I've painted my spare bathroom, painted my front porch, started a front walkway, and painted my kitchen.

I've rescued one starving dog that was chained to a tree, taken in and vetted one kitten and one cat, and rescued five abandoned bantam chickens. I've seen Princess through surgery for thyroid cancer and Blair through her treatment for heartworms.

I've made skirts and robes for my little granddaughters, a jacket for my mother, and gifts for friends and family.

And last but certainly not least, I landed a good job!

The year has gone by quickly and I have lots of projects I hope to complete in the coming year. I can't wait to see all the new projects you come up with. It's so much fun visiting all the lovely blogs and getting completely overloaded on eye candy and inspiration!

I hope each and every one of you have a happy and healthy new year!

See you in 2011!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Big Snow

I know a lot of you are snowed in right now with the latest blizzard that hit the eastern part of the U.S. I'm not sure what our total was, but it's at least six inches - which is a pretty big deal for us. It is so beautiful and I took pictures of my pooches running and playing in it yesterday.

I took a chance and let Blair loose with Princess and Zoe. I was pretty sure she'd be good and she didn't disappoint me at all. Zoe, on the other hand, disappeared twice and wouldn't come back when I called her. We stayed out for about an hour, which was enough for my old girl, Princess. Bless her heart.

Hansel and Gretel are so pretty. The cold doesn't seem to bother them at all but I'm still going to build them their own shelter before too long.

The chickens said 'no way' to going outside.

Here's my little old girl in her custom made coat I ordered for her about 11 years ago.

Feeling frisky and running like a younger girl!

Precious Princess playing with Zoe

Blair and dingbat Zoe in the back yard...

Blair loose in the field for the first time!

She was so happy. This time last year, she had heartworms and couldn't run. Now look at her!

Where did Zoe go? I can't see her!

Did she go this way?

Mom, maybe she's over there...

Give it up, Blair. She'll come back when she's ready. (and she did)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Up and Running Again :)

My internet is back up - hooray!

So, did you all have a nice Christmas?

Mine was low key but nice. I went up to Laura's and Alissa' for a few hours. Of course, Alissa had already opened all her gifts by the time I got there, but I did get to watch her open the things I gave her.

She had asked if I would make her a poncho and "decorate" it a while back. I knew I'd make her one for Christmas and it was fun to watch her open it. Her reaction was just what I needed to put me in the Christmas mood. Her jaw dropped and she said "I love it; it's just what I wanted"!! Made me SO happy!!

I found some sparkly little butterfly beads, which were perfect to add around the lapel area. Alissa likes her some bling :)

On one of my recent trips to WalMart I happened to discover some kids' watches. Low and behold there was a little pink watch with a little butterfly as the second hand. You KNOW I had to get that for my Rosebud. She hadn't asked for a watch and nobody had even mentioned one, but I knew it would make a great little gift for her.

Mother and daughter...

Alissa asked Santa for a scooter and he found a little pink one. She was so excited!

Here's a picture of one of the gift tags I painted.

I forgot to take pics of any of the little paintings I made. Plus, I made two little mug rugs - my first - and forgot to take pictures of them before I took them to the post office. I was in such a hurry to get things out of here :( I managed to paint four cards - each unique. Yep, forgot to take pics of them as well!!

We got several inches of snow last night, so I've enjoyed a quiet day at home. I'm exhausted from painting my kitchen (another post). I finally got a small batch of Christmas cookies made today. I was busy in the kitchen all morning making potato sald and stuff I can eat without electricity in anticipation of a power outage. Then I took Princess, Zoe and Blair outside to play in the snow for about an hour. I'll post those pictures tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow...I wonder if I'll be able to get in to work - or if they'll even be open!?!? It's still snowing and at the very least, I bet things will be on a delayed schedule. Yikes - another day without any pay? Sure hope not.

Sleep well tonight. I know I will!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everbody! I hope you are having a wonderful day with your family.

My internet is down at home, so am posting a Christmas wish from my daughter's home. Hopefully, I'll be able to blog tomorrow after I put a call in to Windstream!

Have a blessed day!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Miscellaneous Post

Did you think I vanished?

Nope - I'm right here, just busy like all of you. Now that I'm a working girl again, I only have about three hours each evening (if I'm lucky) to get all my chores taken care of and work on my gifts and cards.

Well, I've made and mailed four cards - that's it! I decided at the last minute to make little paintings instead of using the cute and new winter/Christmas stamps I bought a few weeks ago. I also painted each of my gift tags and sprinkled them with diamond dust. They turned out very pretty.

I've made three small paintings, which have been mailed. I'm working on one for myself and then I have a couple to do for others. If I don't make one for me now, it won't happen. You know how that goes. And did I take pictures of any of the things I painted? No :(

I was determined to wrap my gifts so they were pretty this year. Usually I just throw gift wrap around them and slap on a cheap, pre-made bow out of a bag. This year, I used very pretty paper and used some satin ribbon instead of the gift kind. I tucked in a sprig of cyprus from my property and with my hand painted, glittered tag, the presentation was beautiful - if I do say so myself. I'll post a picture of one as soon as I get another one wrapped.

Here are a few pictures I just snapped so I would have something to make this post a little more interesting.

What's this - a partridge in a pear tree? No, it's Alex, Patches and Sarah on a branch. I let them hatch out an egg a few weeks ago so I'd have another bird to keep Coco company. She's all by herself in another cage since her sister flew the coop last summer.

Here is little Pumpkin, getting braver every week.

Here is a tiny tree I have in the living room. I never did get a proper tree this year, but I'm enjoying this one.

Check out this gorgeous poinsettia that I won at our Christmas party last Friday.

My beautiful swan with a wreath around her neck.

A stack of pretty boxes tied with ribbon

And finally, a santa wall hanging I paper pieced several years ago.

Now I've got to go make a small gift for my new manager so I can give it to her tomorrow. We're off Thursday and Friday so tomorrow is my last chance to give it to her. Two days off sounds nice, but I won't get paid for it, so I'd rather be working. But, at least I've got a job now!

Gotta run - have a good evening!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What I've Been Working On

Finally, I've completed the gift I've been working on for my mom. What a labor of love this turned out to be. I'm very proud of the way it turned out though.

This is the pattern I purchased when my sister and I went to the National Quilt Show in Williamsburg this past spring.

Here is the completed jacket.

The entire jacket calls for lining, but it made the sleeves so bulky that the jacket was very uncomfortable. I had to make new sleeves for mom's jacket and left the lining out. It shows in the pictures, which I'm not happy about but darned if I'm touching this project again except to mail it!

I used my pretty copper metallic thread to quilt some swirls on the back and front, but other than that just used tan thread for straight line quilting on it like the pattern had.

I couldn't find any nice closures that suited me, so opted to use one giant button. I found the perfect one yesterday at JoAnn's. Then I couldn't decide on the placement and was driving myself crazy over it so called my DS and asked her advice. She suggested putting the button near the breast bone and cover the loop I made with an inchie. I loved that idea but ended up making the closure loop wider and since it had more presence, just left it alone.

(pardon the shadow from me taking the picture)

I bought a more contemporary pattern for myself, plus a gorgeous batick fabric kit. I'll be doing things differently on mine from what the pattern calls for.

Now that this gift is completed, I'm frantically working on things for the rest of my family!

I hope you have a great day. I'm off to work on my other projects, take care of the chickens, haul trash to the dump, buy food.......on and on!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Something I Painted Years Ago

I'm running out of time to make the rest of my gifts so was looking through files for painting inspiration and came across this.

This is a painting I did for my older daughter and her husband several years ago. Every time I see it, I can't believe it was me that painted it.

Happy Sunday to you all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Snow

Hi everybody,

As I was leaving Gail's house after cleaning, it was snowing a little. The closer I got to my house (I live north of Gail), the flakes were pretty big and there was a nice dusting of white everywhere.

It was almost dark already so I only got a couple of pictures.

The one I took of my deciduous holly didn't turn out very well and I didn't have time to take another one.

I had to close the barn up; my chicken flock had already gone inside for the night. I was glad because all I wanted to do was come inside, make something to eat and then settle in for the evening. Of course, I had to take care of all the inside critters before I could do that.

Now that everybody - including myself - has been fed, I'm looking forward to relaxing in my chair and doing some stitching while I watch my Saturday night Britcoms. I'm tired from cleaning and have a headache.

Before I leave you, I want to let you know that my new job is going great. The woman I report to is about my age and we have a lot in common. She's very nice and it won't take long to complete my training. This job is almost identical to one I had a few years ago.

Enjoy your evening :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back To Work For Me!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's back to work I go!

Yes, tomorrow I'll be back in corporate America earning my own money. I'm so excited about this opportunity and feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. My financial struggle won't be over by a long shot, but at least I'll be using the skills and knowledge I've learned over many years and gain some new ones too.

This morning I attended my orientation to fill out paper work and will have benefits in two weeks - a great relief! Then I had to drive to Laura's house to take Alissa's advent tree to them so she'd be able to open the first pocket tomorrow morning. Afterwards, I came back home to get Pumpkin and take her to the vet for her booster shots (another $100!). So my last day at home was spent on the road, but that's ok. All these things needed to be taken care of.

I crocheted a beautiful white on white scarf for my friend, Gail, and gave it to her yesterday. I wish I had taken a picture of it because it was really pretty. I used some soft, fluffy yarn I bought at JoAnn's a few weeks back and then stitched white pearl beads on it and added a few skinny ribbon strands on top of that. She was very pleased with it, but I knew she would be :)

I've almost completed the gift for my mother and am giving you a sneak peak. I'll have to call her and tell her not to look at my blog for a few days so she doesn't see any of it.

So, I've been frantically trying to get as many things done as I can around the house these last couple of days. I've got most of my Christmas decorations put in place and just have to buy my little table top frazier fir to make the house smell like Christmas. Nothing beats a frazier fir for fragrance!

Here is my small cloche with a pair of tiny deer by a tree, and some cool snow - all from Gail's store. The snow comes in miniscule grains and when water is added, it grows 100 times their size. That's why the cloche looks a little foggy - from the moisture. I've got this on my side table in the kitchen.

The snow is really to keep sprigs of holly hydrated, which I've done in the den. And it feels cool to the touch - very neat stuff!

I'll post more decorating pictures when I get them all tweaked properly. Till then, it's back to some final touches on my mom's gift so I can get it in the mail! And then to bed to get back into a nice, normal routine (I love a routine!)!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Am Employed!!!

I've waited so long to be able to post this! After almost two years of unemployment / under employment, I have a job!!! I was offered the position last Wednesday, but it is just beginning to soak in.

Immediately after losing yet another offer a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I had hit bottom (again). The next morning I read one of the motivational blogs I have listed on my blog. I really paid attention to what the words meant and it was enough for me to at least half-heartedly do another job search on line. I applied for an administrative assistant position, not knowing any details.

That afternoon, I was contacted by a staffing agency asking me to come in for an interview the next day. While there, I learned some details of the position and it sounded pretty good, plus it was with one of the companies I've been targeting. Then last Friday while driving to MD to visit my mom and sister, the staffing agency called and asked if I could come in for an interview with the hiring manager the following Tuesday. You bet I could, I told her!

So after returning home from MD, I met with the hiring manager and her director and learned all about an absolutely fantastic project they were just awarded with the Department of Energy for a green project. The position is actually for a project assistant, which is what I was looking for. Plus, the duties are so close to what I did a few years ago that the learning curve should be minimal for me. And the icing on the cake is that it's for a green project - for me the long time tree hugger!

I report to my new job this Wednesday and for at least the first three months I'll be working through the staffing agency, but the director said that if I perform up to his standards (and you know I will) that in about three months, I'll be made permanent with full benefits. The only negative about this is that the salary sets me back about 10-12 years, but the opportunity is absolutely fantastic and I couldn't be more thrilled!!

So now I can get on with my life and move forward. I like routine and now I'll get back into a more normal one. There are still struggles ahead financially, but I'm on the right track...and just in the nick of time. For any of you that have gone through the same struggle in this anemic economy, you can understand the relief and hope that I am feeling.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Gobble Gobble! I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving with friends and family.

I GOT A JOB!!! More later :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

She did this by herself; it's dingbat Zoe.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waiting and Running

This has been one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a long time. I was told at my 2nd interview last Friday that I would hear no later than today if I was getting the offer or not. Waiting for something so important stresses me beyond belief; it's like being on an emotional roller coaster. One day I was positive and pretty sure I'd get the offer and then without explanation, have a strong feeling of negativity and knew it would happen.

I've been sad, hopeless, grouchy and asking myself why do I even try. Well, the waiting is over - they chose another candidate. When I read the e-mail, I was immediately relieved - not only because I wouldn't have to wait any longer, but that I wasn't selected. As much as I need and want a job, this one was low pay and no benefits. The owners were great and it would have been a good opportunity to grow with them, but I had every intention of continuing to look for what I really want - a project coordinator position where I can run with responsibilities and solutions. And it will come eventually, and I would have felt terrible leaving those guys if I was working for them.

So, just in the nick of time I've had yet another interview for a 6 month contract project coordinator position with one of the companies I've been targeting. I may or may not be called back, but it was just the thing I needed to give me hope again.

And now for the running part of this post...I'm headed to MD to visit my mom who has been in the hospital this week (another stresser). I'll be staying with my daughter and be able to spend time with little Ginny again and she will make me laugh. We have a nice weekend planned with my sister and I can't wait to get there.

I'll leave you with a picture of a piece of mixed media art I made for my daughter, Erin, last year. I don't know if I ever posted a picture of it.

Have a good weekend - I know I will!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Charming Play House!

Hi everybody,

Just before my camera batteries died, I took a few pictures of the garden shed Gail built inside her store. She's turned it into the cutest looking Christmas space that makes me just want to move right in and stay. She missed her calling as an architect to be sure. When I make something, I usually just start nailing and screwing without measuring. Not Gail. She measures everything precisely and it always pays off.

Just look at what she built all by herself using nothing but old shutters, doors and windows. The only part she had her husband build was the tin roof.

She even created a little faux fireplace inside under the mantel, but that's when my batteries died. I'll be working there tomorrow and take a few more pics to share with you.

I heard from one of the interviews I've had recently and didn't get that one, but still waiting on another one. I'm supposed to hear either way by this Friday. I felt very positive over the weekend, but not so much now. I know things will work out eventually, and I hope I have a brain left by the time it does! I feel like I'm getting dumber every day!