October 31, 2011

I Used To Love It...

Halloween, that is.


It was my favorite "holiday" and I adored getting dressed up, having Halloween parties with my friends, playing Halloween type games like bobbing for apples or making haunted "houses" in my basement - and non-Halloween games made more fun in the dark, like Hide-n-Seek. I have had two, maybe three parties as an adult and loved doing that as much as when I was a teen. I love carving pumpkins - the smell and the feel of the "guts". I love baking and seasoning the seeds. The Hubs and I used to decorate our house up like crazy (inside) at Halloween... cobwebs, spiders, bats, ghosts and skeletons. I loved watching scary movies and telling scary stories. I loved both the sinister and the silly sides of Halloween.

It was awesome.

But as I've gotten older, it became more and more of a chore and less of a fun thing to do. I still love the "concept" but I don't love the "work".

I don't know what happened.

Maybe my kids drained it out of me.

It makes me sad.

Maybe I'll get my love for it back someday.

I can only hope...

This is Halloween...

Everybody Scream! :) (and eat candy)

October 27, 2011

CRAFT Retreat - New Options...

A while back, I shared with you a retreat that's coming up soon, in November.  It's called CRAFT - Creating Reflective Art For Transformation and it's hosted by my favorite place, Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, and the founder of that community and club, Rachel Kaufman.  Recently, she opened up space for people to sign up for a single day or a single class... and yes, there's still a few spaces for the entire amazing retreat weekend.

Click the picture below to learn about the details of this amazing opportunity to explore your inner world.

I hope you are able to take advantage of this ... it has the potential to be an amazing experience.  I have been holding out hope for a bit of a luck so that I'd be able to attend, but it's not coming... I wish I was able to make it out there!  The project sneaks have been absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait to see the "after" photos.

If you go, please share the experience!

October 26, 2011

Vintage-y Finds...

So, I traveled away from my Ohio home back to my "home" in NY this weekend.  Home - where I was born and raised.  I must say, I do still miss it very much.  This trip "home" had some purpose.  I was alone, for one, which meant I didn't feel the pressure of making sure The Hubs and The Boy or The Girl were entertained.  (Not that they take much entertaining, as long as they control the TV remote control or can get on their computer games somewhere, somehow.) 

I had originally intended to try and visit some old friends and past neighbors that I haven't seen in too many years.  I pondered it quite a bit, actually.  I never took the steps to actually do so, though.  I did get to meet up with one of my sisters and brothers in law for a lovely lunch and chitter chatter, but outside of my dad and stepmom, that was it for my "visiting" while home.

What I did do was join my dad in the basement looking at some old photos and maps.  This prompted me to hike my bod up into my dad's attic and pull down all of the photos I could find.  And what finds I found!   

One of my favorite finds wasn't a photo.  As my dad and I were pawing through things in the attic, and in the basement, he pulled out a book that I was so familiar with, it was like a long lost friend when I saw it again.  My sisters, for sure, would be even MORE familiar with it, as they had more time with it:

Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book - Revised and Enlarged!

My mom's cookbook.  It was given to her (per a message written in the inside cover) by her Aunt in 1957.  The book itself was published in 1956.  Now, I realize there are many of you out there reading this that may not think of this as "vintage", but as it is from my very young childhood (circa mid 70's) I certainly feel it is vintage.  At the very least, it invokes imagery in your mind from certain days gone by...

For example, the images in the book:

As someone who seeks out and uses images in training materials I create, I would definitely classify those images as "vintage".

My favorite part of the book, however, is the Special Helps section.  There are some amazing tidbits of wisdom here, even for today's "day and age", while still very plainly making clear what the woman of the house should be doing each day. 

I love that the second page of the Special Helps focuses on getting exercise and fresh air... wearing comfortable shoes and educating the reader that sitting takes less energy than standing.  Here are a few examples of these golden nuggets of wisdom:

But when I read this, I was a little shocked:

Really?  The floor?  Not even allowed to take a quick nap on a bed, or even a couch... but no, lie down on the floor on your back.  Light as a feather, stiff as a board...

But a few Special Help blocks away there was this concession:

Ahhhhh... there we are.  We are allowed, if but for a moment, to rest in a chair.  I can feel the bliss now...

Then there was this gem:

Uhm, yeah... this is, like, an every day situation at my house.  The only day I DO cook?  Sunday.

But my all time favorite that holds true even today?  This one...

It was a great weekend.  I had a blast going through tons of photos, finding memories from my childhood like this cook book and generally spending time in my hometown with my family (or pieces of my family).  It was tough to come back, but I have so many new plans for things I wish to do.  Things to refresh my spirits.

I hope everyone out there is making the time, and taking the time, to refresh your spirits!

October 22, 2011

If I Could Paint...

If I could paint, my choice of "muse" would most certainly be the sky.  I'm a total sky-gazer.  I am in awe of the "pictures" that come from the sky.  On my way home from the Sadist's last Tuesday, I was completely floored by the rays of sunshine beaming down to the earth through the dark, smoldering clouds.  It's the kind of scene that I would never be able to capture, but I tried.  Sadly, I only had my cell phone on me, but I snapped this:

I wonder if I had my "real" camera how much better the photo would have been.  Regardless, in my heart I know that no photo would ever be able to capture the sheer beauty of it.  Just awe inspiring!

October 18, 2011

Every Once in A While...

Do you have moments where you feel overwhelmed, sucked down, stuck in a rut and churning at the waves that keep tumbling over you, but getting nowhere?  Do you have moments where every task you cross of your list is replaced by three more?  When you have those dreams you're walking down a hallway to a door at the end but the hallway gets longer and longer and no matter how fast you run, you can't reach that damn door?  Do you have moments when it feels like everything around you is pressing in and you can't breathe?  When something bad happens - not huge, horrible bad - but unexpected not-good, that just knocks you enough off-kilter that the world seems a little harder to walk upon?

And then...


Every once in a while in the middle of those moments a light shines and you get this absolute, to-your-pores feeling that everything is perfect - flaws and all - and Life is GOOD?  When you sit back, take a breath and realize, the clutter can wait, the dust bunnies can continue to propagate and balancing your checkbook can wait one more day?  That the "bad thing"... it could have been much, much worse? When you just feel like no matter what, you are Happy, and nothing can change that?

Yeah... it's that kinda moment.

I hope you have a WONDERFUL day today.

October 15, 2011

Bruce & Esther...

Okay, I'm going to make a confession.  I have never watched an Oprah Winfrey Show episode in my life.

Yep.  Tis true.  It may have been playing on TV in the background at someone's house that I visited but never once in my life did I purposely turn on Oprah with intent to watch the show.

I guess while I'm admitting things...

Confession #2 - the only thing I have ever watched Oprah in was the movie The Color Purple.  And I only saw that on TV, with commercials.  Just, like, maybe three years ago.

Confession #3 - I "borrowed" an "O" magazine from the waiting room for an appointment I once had. I even asked if I could borrow it and promised to bring it back at the next appointment, after I finished a Very Important Article about living the life you were meant to live.  The confession part?  I never returned the magazine.  Oh, and I never finished the article.   Oh!  And the magazine still sits by my bedside among all the other various reading media waiting for my attention.

Confession #4 - I once said, "she looks like E.T. (the extra-terrestrial)" and a cockatoo (that's a bird, people) laughed.   To be fair, this was after she lost her first round of weight, and I really thought she'd gone to far.  I think she's very pretty, now.

Confession #5 - I, once upon a time, was really angry with her.   Hot, white, furious, long-term anger.  This kept me from watching her even longer.  I'm over it now. 

Confession #6 - I want to meet her.

Now why would I want to meet someone who I never really took much interest in, and once detested?  Because I'm impressed... I'm in awe... I'm even humbled by her.  I want to know her secret... I want just a pinky-full of her energy, her love of life, her belief in impossible things.

I began, only recently, to be interested in her because Rosie O'Donnell is now on the Oprah Winfrey Network and I happen to be a little more than a little interested in Rosie and her trials and tribulations.

(I'm sure you're wondering what in the world all of this Oprah schtuff has to do with my subject of today's post:   Bruce and Esther.  It's okay, keep reading.  It'll all make sense soon.)

So, now that Rosie has her own show on OWN, I have begun watching the OWN network here and there and have been drawn into Oprah's Lifeclass episodes.  Last night, while watching one of those, I started wandering around her online site.  And while I was wandering the site, I found this section:

And since I'm a sucker for Joy, and the pursuit of it, I started reading.  Some of them were very good.  Some I'm going to adopt toot-sweet (quick - what movie is that from?).

One of the "rules" said... "13. Prior to visiting your parents, you are required to watch Bruce and Esther Huffman from McMinnville, Oregon, test out their new webcam."

I started to smile, as I am traveling very soon to visit my own parents, and could only imagine...

... turns out my imagination wasn't quite as fun as the video.  Which brought me here to share it with you ... it will definitely bring a smile to your face.  It made me laugh!  I hope I'm not the last person in the world to be seeing this... but even if you already have, it's still good for another grin and chuckle:

October 14, 2011

Bazaar Remnants

I just love the word bazaar... and I love to purposely use it instead of bizarre. Not that anyone listening to me would know the difference.  But in writing... it's definitely more fun.  Like this...

Over the weekend I tried to sell some of my hand-crafted items but nothing really sold and so I thought to myself, "how bazaar!?"  It really was a bazaar situation.  Not a good bazaar situation either.

Okay, I'll stop.  Perhaps I'm only cracking myself up, in which case y'all are reading, groaning and getting ready to click on your browser's back button.  *hands up* I surrender to your better humor. 

The bazaar was a fail for me.  I blame it on the lack of attendance.  It was a beautiful day and other than the baked goods that were being hawked by the 5th graders, I don't think many of the vendors did very well.  So, while it was a let down, I am trying to rationalize it that way. I did sell one set of winter-themed cards.  That was great.  I sold them to someone I knew from work, though, so while it was awesome, somehow, it didn't "count".   Not reeeeaaaaallly. 

Okay, so...I already showed you one card design that I took with me. None of those sold. So, yeah, those of you on my Christmas card mailing list, don't be surprised if that familiar little something arrives at your door in a few weeks.  Let me now share with you one of the non-card items I took to sell.  I thought these were very cute.  I wanted a set (and I'm keeping one), so I was more than a little disappointed that none sold.   

Seasonal door hangers:

I showed you a teaser of this one earlier as well.  Autumn.

On the back of Autumn is Winter:

The second half of the set is, of course, Spring and Summer:

I made enough of these sets that I know that all of my family is getting one for Christmas (sorry those of you who read my blog - uhm... surprise!) and the rest, well... maybe this will prompt me to start an Etsy shop.  Who knows?!

I had one other Christmas card set for sale as well:

So if you don't get the Peace one...


October 11, 2011

The 21-Day Finale

I have SO much catching up to do.  Don't think I've forgotten about a bit of it. I know I need to catch y'all up on the 21-Day diet, my scrapbooking retreat (hoo boy, not all happy stories there), and the beast of a craft bazaar from this past weekend.


To start, let me catch you up on the 21-day detox/diet that I started back in August and finished on September 1.  For all of the (few) stories I told during that time, you can visit my fitness foibles page.

Overall, I lost eleven pounds.  ELEVEN pounds.  I was super stoked about that.  It was certainly an awesome kickstart to get me moving in the right direction again.  My fitness foibles page does not show the eleven pounds... it shows eight.  This is because I was most definitely moving in the wrong direction before I started this challenge. 

What did I learn?  DURING the challenge, I learned that I am very satisfied eating only proteins and fruits and vegetables with very little carb-y, bread-y food even though breads and pretzels and potatoes have always been my go-to foods.  I never in a zillion years thought I would be able to not eat those things and be satisfied.  But I was.

I learned that after the first three days were over, I didn't crave sweet things.  This is a lifelong fight for me... sweets after every meal... sweets to treat...sweets to soothe...sweets just because.  I learned that when I eat right, with plenty of vegetables, protein and fruit, my body doesn't look for the sweets.

I learned that I eat for so, so, so many reasons other than hunger.  And when that crutch was taken away, I learned that things come out of me that are somewhat shocking (poor Hubs).  I have so much to work through and I need to stop burying it inside of me and keeping it from coming out by stuffing it down with food.

I learned that I could set a goal and reach it, with very, very little deviation.  REACHING it, is actually the key point there.

I learned that I could go out to a restaurant and eat healthy choices and leave feeling satisfied.  I learned that pot luck meals at my office do not mean I have to change what I plan to eat, for my own health.  Yes, I may have stuffed my face with four (yes, four) plates of salad, but I didn't eat the other foods there.

I have to admit... all these things I've learned, a month and a half later, have nearly disappeared.  Because of this, I have learned just by writing this post, how quickly I have forgotten and how quickly old habits die hard.

The best part of the whole damn thing?  I finally, FINALLY! broke through my mental and physical "block" - the 25 pound mark.  When I started Weight Watchers oh-so many years ago, I never hit that 25-pound mark, and I tried doing the Weight Watchers thing for close to three years.  I had the same number block/plateau with the Sadist and for the better part of a year (October 2010 until this diet August 2011), I was bouncing around gaining a little, losing a little or not doing anything at all; never getting past that 25-pounds-off mark.  I can't even begin to tell you how good it feels to be well below that barrier and I'm NOT looking back.

When I decided to do the 21-day diet, I kept telling myself that it was only 3 weeks of my life and that I could do ANYTHING for three weeks.  When it was over, I promised myself that I'd never have to do it again if I absolutely hated it.  But you know what?  I didn't hate it. I actually loved 90% of it.  I do refuse to eat anything that makes me gag (and I did, on that diet!) and so, I need to now find my way back to the 90%.

And I will.  With the right mindset, and a little help from my friends, I will.

October 10, 2011

Seeking a Memory...

Hello bloggy friends...

I'm seeking someone with a memory; someone who has been around for a while reading my blog... I sure hope this person STILL reads my blog.  A loooooooong time ago, possibly during the first run of Blogging for Scrapbookers, someone, somewhere shared a link on her blog to another blog.  The linked blog was about a woman who, while healing from a divorce, redesigned the interior or her home completely by herself... DIY.   She punched through walls, built archways and redesigned a bathroom from basically the floorboards up.  She created a nook for her piano (I think it was a piano).  She did it all on her own.   I'm looking for that blog post.

If anyone out there remembers such a post, or knows how I can come by viewing it again, I would greatly appreciate you.  As in, many hugs and kisses.  Well... maybe not the kisses, if you're not so inclined (I come from a kissy family, but I have become wise to the non-kissy ways of people out here in Ohio).  Regardless, I would send you lots of love.

I know I've been a bit on the quiet side.  I have so much in store... so many stories to tell... a whole lot of pictures to share.  It's just a matter of making the time and right now... there just isn't any.

Please be patient with me... I will be back en force I promise.

Hugs for now!

October 7, 2011

Getting Close...

The craft bazaar is getting close - Saturday has zoomed up.  I can't believe how very little (in my opinion) I have ready.  I wish I'd done more, but time limits prevail and thus, I go with what I have.  I promised you pictures, and here is one...

... one of the sets of Christmas cards I'm selling.  I made this design first waaaay back, I think in August.  I wasn't sure if I was going to make more (there are a lot of pieces) but when presented with this bazaar, I though this card would be perfect to try and sell.  So, I have made more.

I do have more to share, but so exhausted.  Still using every spare minute creating, but I promise... more to come, more to come. 

PS> if you are a typical recipient of my Christmas cards, don't be surprised if this one ends up in your hands closer to the day.  If they don't sell, this is what I'm sending out!  :)

October 4, 2011

Picture Perfect!

How many men does it take to get a Budweiser Clydesdale into a Giant Eagle grocery store? 

Just enjoying the ride today.  You?

October 2, 2011

How Bazaar!

Happy October!

I have been out of touch here because I have been busting ass to try and get some "stock" together for a craft bazaar coming up this Saturday (the 8th).  Honestly, in my opinion, I haven't been very successful.  I should have started earlier.  Much earlier.  Sadly, I didn't have any inspiration and until about a week ago, I wasn't even sure we were going to do it. 

Anyone out there ever sell at a craft show or bazaar?  How did you prepare?  I'd love some list-minute tips and tricks!  For now... I'm off to bed.  Early morning boot camp with the sadist in seven short hours...

I'll be back to show you some of the things I'm making, as soon as I get a chance to catch a breath!  Hope you're doing something fun today...


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