Sunday, December 25, 2005
Zack was more than a little overwhelmed! He got a huge electric train set (which, when set up, was about twice the size I expected!). In order to get the train set up, we had to take down the Christmas tree.
Santa must have decided I was REALLY good this year, because not only did I get a camera, but I got one HECK of a camera -- an 8 megapixel Panasonic Lumix with a Leica lens. Incredible. Now I just need a degree to use it! All kidding
aside, it's a super camera, with lots of bells and whistles, and it'll be nice to have something like this in the studio.
I also got new PhotoShop software, which is essential for my keeping up my web site, and I've been playing with that all afternoon, while Zack sits behind me and watches his trains.
Rick cooked the most incredible turkey for dinner -- brined with cloves and bay leaves and allspice -- never in my life have I had turkey that good! Email me if you want the recipe. Couldn't get Zack to eat a bit of it, though. His pickiness with food is getting old, let me tell you!
Now the boys are playing poker and I'm back to playing with my toys. Have to get to bed early, because I'm driving to Tysons Corner to meet Lesley for a girls' day out!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Last night we went to the house of one of Rick's co-workers, who throws a kids' craft party. Really fun, with lots to do -- Zack got into the rubber stamps (for gift bags) and the glitter (for glitter pinecones). Decorating cookies wasn't for him -- he just ate a huge plain one!
Today all the boys all watched a lot of football, and fed the cats catnip -- their annual treat this time of year! Zack is VERY excited about presents, which is cool as this is really the first Christmas that's he's really understood what all is going on. Our neighbors from across the street came over with their two little boys with a watercolor painting book (Thomas the Tank Engine, of course!) and Zack spent a lot of time all day going back to that and playing. He's never had the kind of paints where you dip the brush in water first -- he's always had the paint-in-the-bottle kind, so he was really interested in how it all worked.
I, on the other hand, spent a pleasant day clearing my desk of the stacks and stacks of magazines I had to look through, and learning a bunch of new chain maille weaves -- which are as addictive as knitting! Made a helm chain bracelet and a bunch of different earrings, all of which need to get tossed in the tumbler tomorrow.
Made Indian food (chicken Tandoori) for dinner -- tomorrow night is traditional, spice-brined roast turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. But Zack still won't touch it. It's peanut butter and jelly or fish sticks for him, darn it.
I plan to get up at 6am tomorrow so I can beat Zack's normal rising time -- want to get good pictures of him when he sees the HUGE box in front of the tree that magically materialized since the time he went to bed!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Well, sort of. I just started taking an online business course that will ultimately help my web site, and I have a million ideas running through my head (not good half an hour before bed time!) I already have two product launches for the beginning of the year, but there will be a lot of behind-the-scenes invisible work that will be done to really optimize the business. PSYCHED!
I got to visit my friend Lyn today -- she had her baby boy yesterday! He is adorable, I got to hold him, and I'm just in awe that Zack was EVER that small. Wow. Little miracles, they are.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Zack's Pre-School class had their Christmas Party today, and as with all the times all the moms and dads converge on the classroom, Zack was out of whack. Well really, all the kids were less than their normal selves, but who can blame them with all the excitement!
While we were waiting for all the moms to arrive, we had Book Time, and Zack parked himself in my lap. I love it when he does that -- he'll just back himself up and plop down and I get to smell how sweet his hair smells and snuggle.
Then the tables were getting set with all the snack goodies, and Zack saw COOKIES, and wanted them immediately. Well, they were supposed to sing songs for us first, and they also must wait for everyone to be seated before they can eat. So Zack throws himself on the ground crying that he wants "dinner" (his word for any food on a plate). Miss Shannon scooped him up and held him and they started their songs, and once they handed out the bells so they could do "Jingle Bells", he was right as rain. He's a ham and he loves those bells.
Finally got to "dinner" and he ate two little cookes, a few bites of cupcake (a big acheivement, he normally won't touch them) and that was it. Yay, sugar. The kids then got to see Santa and get presents. We left a little early because Zack was more than ready (so he said) and wanted to go to "Nobu" which isn't that expensive restaurant in New York City, but rather, Barnes and Noble, where we go to get stuffed pretzels and play with Thomas the Tank Engine.
Did all that, and then we got home in time for a migraine to attack, so we all napped.
And finally, a shot of the Christmas tree this year, residing in my office:
Much prettier in person but it's so hard to get a really good Christmas tree shot, with all the lights, you know?
Things are finally slowing down, too. Sent out Express orders this morning, have customers coming on Thursday, and then I think I get to breathe a little! Time to finish up my New Year product launch!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Zack and I had our little shopping trip today -- never made it to Barnes and Noble and very nearly never made it to Target, as our first stop (Marshalls) netted him a new Thomas toy. He was ALL about getting home to put it together. It's this electronic thing and you don't really do much other than sit and watch it and I don't get how little kids can DO that for hours at a time. But it keeps him happy, and didn't cost me a thing, since I got a VISA gift card in the mail from doing some phone survey ages ago. Bonus!
Oh, and The Rule of Four -- excellent! Spent WAY too much time awake last night reading it, and getting ready to do the same thing right now!
Friday, December 16, 2005
The print I got last night? Was from my best friend from when I was in the military -- she and I hadn't talked in a while, from one of those incidents that has no happy ending and no matter what happens, someone's going to get feelings hurt. I never stopped loving her (you just don't stop loving true friends) but had decided to just give the whole thing some space. Out of the blue, got this wonderful print and a lovely card, and it was the best Christmas miracle ever. And the print is perfect -- our meeting was really random and unexpected and we were close almost immediately.
How cool is that!
Rick leaves tomorrow (well, 2am) to drive to Connecticut to pick up Colin from Yale for Christmas break, driving BACK the same day. Yikes. So Zack and I are going to go and brave the crowds at Barnes and Noble, Target, and Marshalls in Salisbury. He's usually a very good shopper, so it should be fun. I'm basically done with Christmas shopping, except for the fun, random impulse buys.
I finished reading Son of a Witch last night and I have to say, I loved Wicked but not so excited about SOW. I actually skimmed some of the more extensive political intrigue stuff. BUT, I think there will be a third book and that one should be more interesting, I would imagine. I'm now starting Rule of Four, which already looks great -- I stayed in the bathtub until the water got cold reading it!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I got a wonderful, unexpected gift in the mail today -- more on the who and why later, I'm too overwhelmed. But I went to the web site of the gift, and found the most amazing things, and had to share.
The drawing on the left, I had to show you, because lately, that's how I feel!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I just got in some awesome Bali silver and this heart pendant just screamed for these pearls I've been saving. LOVE the color. At one show this fall, the first sale I made was the necklace I was wearing -- the sweater was the same color as those pearls, so hmmm.... should I keep this one?
Nah. If you want it, click here
Got a lot of boro bead bracelets made today, but my camera and I didn't have a meeting of the minds, so no photos. I am pretty sure that Santa is bringing me a new camera with better focusing capabilities, so let's hope! I just love boro glass, better even than soft glass. Unfortunately, boro glass is a lot more expensive than traditional lampwork glass, but it's hard to beat the look! Take a look at this piece, made by 5 Fish Designs :
Their work is AMAZING and they just got beads put in the Bead Museum and I can't wait to go see!
Be sure to check out their web site -- www.5fishdesigns.com
Long day tomorrow, so off to bed! Santa's coming soon, so BE NICE!
Monday, December 12, 2005
I finally got a couple minutes free time to post the Santa pictures! I've been a busy elf at the beading table for a long time, but had to get these up, because Zack is just too cute.
Guppys has this wonderful event each year called Dessert with Santa. The kids get to come and play in an environment they know (unlike the lines at the mall) and Santa stops in to visit. At first, Zack was a little apprehensive, and stood on the outskirts of the group, just watching the action.
When he finally got the nerve to go up to Santa, he still wasn't at all sure about getting on his lap. Can't say I blame him -- strange men with beards kind of scare me, too!
Then Santa gave Zack a coloring book, which earned some trust -- I thought this picture was cute, since it looks like Zack is reading off his Christmas list to Santa!
And we finally got Zack on Santa's lap, but as you can see, he was less than interested. I guess he knows that Mommy and Daddy are really behind all the cool gifts!
Well actually, Nana and PopPop are behind some cool gifts, too -- they were here all last week, and Zack got his first remote control car. VERY cool toddler car, goes forwards only, but it took him no time at all to figure out all four buttons on the "mote" (remote". LOVES it, and I think he likes it all the more because it's a Mercedes, just like Daddy's car (which just hit 300,000 miles, and is running as well as ever, can you believe it?)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Crazy week, parents in town, Zack has a cold, I'm busy til late at night processing orders, and STILL haven't gotten Santa photos downloaded off the camera (which means Christmas cards are late) but did find a cool thought for the day.....
Character -- it really is everything.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
He has been so funny -- he's been walking around with a toy train catalog going, "DIS ONE!" and pointing to the Polar Express train -- making sure Daddy and I both know he wants THAT train! Too cute.
I just got a really cool book -- Playmakers, The Origins of Timeless Toys -- SO interesting to read about how things like Silly Putty and Mr. Potato Head came about. There's actually a lot of history learned while reading this, too, as things like World War II and rationing had a part in how many things changed. I highly recommend taking a look at it next time you're at the bookstore!
Saturday, December 03, 2005
A funny-ha-ha thing happened today.
Months ago, I entered Fire Mountain Gems beading contest. I never expected to win, largely because I don't really use much of their stuff anymore and as the jewelry had to be made entirely of their components, my options were limited. But I thought, what the heck, I'll just try, and put together a VERY simple necklace.
The contest ended this week and I hadn't gotten an email from them, and the longer I looked, the more I really didn't like the necklace, anyway, so I took it apart. Zack wanted to play with the mother of pearl nuggets, anyway.
Today, I was opening the mail and there was an envelope from Fire Mountain -- I figured it was one of the standard "thanks for your entry but no thanks" letters. Imagine my surprise when it said that while I hadn't won, I was a finalist, and they needed the necklace to photograph for their catalog!
Holy moly! I had to laugh. I have to put it back together again, which isn't difficult, but I guess that will teach me!
The other funny thing was a new nickname my husband came up with for this girl who keeps thinking she came up with every beading design known to man, no matter how simple it is or the fact that any search on the internet shows a million of the same idea. He calls her the Al Gore of the Beading World -- Al Gore thinks he invented the internet, this girl thinks she invented bead stringing! That gave me a good giggle.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Phenomenally busy but had to say, Zack had his first taste of the GOOD stuff today -- Godiva chocolate! Zack LOVES chocolate but today I got him a little tiny Godiva Santa (any more than that and he'd be pinging off the walls) and he snarfed that thing down but quick, with lots of yummy noises.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
I just splurged on some really stellar vintage and rare Swarovski crystals -- they'll be perfect for my Luxury line that will appear next year. I can't wait to get them! I can't believe how much some of them cost, but when you consider that they aren't made any more, and the colors are unique, it's worth every penny!
Monday, November 28, 2005
It was great to spend the weekend with family and true friends. Ryan and Colin were in town and we had rented a house at Fort Story again and it was terrific -- much more peaceful and fun than the last time we went. Friday night we had our Thanksgiving dinner, and even though we had a full kitchen, we were limited to pots and pans and utensils, so we got a lot of comic relief trying to get the country ham split apart and in the oven -- Rick and the boys all tried to man-handle it and rip it apart like cave men.
Saturday we had dinner with our friend Diane and tried to convince Zack to try new food (no go on that one). Then Sunday, after the show ended, I took Zack to see the Boardwalk Christmas lights. That was a real treat. I got him a strobe Santa light stick thing as we waited in the line of cars -- one of those cheap toys that will break if you look at it but is a must, anyway. Then we drove up and ordered Christmas cookies, and at the ticket booth, they were waiting for us (very cool). Then we drove down the boardwalk looking at the most amazing light display. Zack just loved it -- it was his first experience with anything like that.
The web site is in need of updating as most of it has sold now, so will be working on that all week, and making new things, after I get all the custom work done. November is always an exhausting month.
Books -- I am in the middle of Anansi Boys which I was prepared not to like but have been pleasantly surprised. A different sort of book but I like the humor of Fat Charlie.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
We're off to the show tomorrow! Have a wonderful holiday this weekend! I know I am blessed in many ways and am thankful for so many things. This year I'm thankful for my miracle child, thankful for knowing who my friends are, thankful for my wonderful customers, thankful for the peace and happiness in my home. I wish you all the same!
Monday, November 21, 2005
AT LAST! I knew this movie was in production (for forever, it seems) but now it's official, it's opening in December! The book was wonderful... going to have to reread it (my pile of books to read keeps getting higher and higher....)
Had intended to start a different book the other night but instead picked up SKIVVY NINE!, which is a book about the unit I used to be in when I was in the military. My husband is a retired Chief Master Sergeant and he's not at all enamored with the book (feels that CMSgts should not be writing books like this for many reasons) but I am enjoying it because it's reminding me of places I loved. Being in Korea was one of the most interesting things I've ever done. The book was written about events way before MY time in Osan, but I recognize the places and things like chem warfare exercises and IG inspections.
Countdown to Virginia Beach is fast approaching -- I've made a lot of things but I never feel like I have enough, ever!
Saturday, November 19, 2005
I finished Girl With Pearl Earring -- good book! Spent some time online looking up Vermeer and trying to plan a trip with Zack to DC to a museum, but that will probably not happen until Mom comes to visit in December. I'm going to take a total departure and read Prep. Ordered Wicked and Son of a Witch from Amazon, can't wait for them to arrive.
Spent the majority of the day making jewelry for the next show -- used some stellar carnelian for a necklace and some beautiful smoky quartz and really large cultured pearls, that I was particularly happy with. With any luck I can photograph some tomorrow, at least for posterity -- I still have a lot to make before the show and very little time to do it in.
Also got a box of yarn today in the mail -- haven't had time to open it, but plan to do some knitting in the down time after the show hours over Thanksgiving weekend. Almost all the scarves I made sold last weekend (which surprised me for some reason) and knitting is what I do to calm my mind. I still have to sew together two sweaters I made last year, but THAT part of knitting does NOT calm me!
Anyone out there want to sew it for me? There's free jewelry in it for you.....
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Just finished Anita Shreve's A Wedding in December -- very good, and one that made me think. It's more or less about the "one that got away", and meeting up with that first love again after an entire life has been lived. I often think about people from my past, but there's really only one that I wonder about.
I love my husband Rick with all my heart, and I can't even believe the things we had to go through to finally meet up again 10 years after our first introduction -- it's a wonderful story that never fails to make me smile. But there is always that one person, met when your life wasn't fully "formed", as it were -- someone who always holds meaning in your heart. Luis and I used to joke that when were were in our sixties and old and gray, if we weren't with anyone, we'd get back together. I hear from him every six months or so, a quick, friendly, "how are you" with photos of kids and spouses and updates about jobs and health. This book made me think about our first meeting years and years ago, and because I'm so happy in my marriage, the memories are happy rather than poignant and sad, as they long ago used to be.
So what to read next? I think it's Girl With Pearl Earring, and then I have to get Wicked to reread before starting Son of a Witch -- got SOAW at the library but realized I really wanted to read Wicked again, too.
Back to work -- another big show coming on Thanksgiving weekend, and I sold almost all of my inventory this past weekend, so I need to get cracking!
Monday, November 14, 2005
Had a SUPER show this weekend in Northern Virginia -- did even better than last year and really enjoyed seeing customers from last NOVA and Occoquan. Thank goodness Lesley was with me -- I lost my voice on Saturday from laryngitis and it's still not back. I am pretty sure it's from allergies (come ON, cold weather!) but it could also be from just burning the candle at both ends.
My inventory is now woefully depleted so I've got to somehow finish a bulk buy for crystal, make enough jewelry for Thankgiving weekend (supposed to have the same level of crowds, so yikes), and get all the customizations from this weekend done. So as strange as it may sound, will NOT work tonight but get to bed early, to get healthy and start burning that candle again.
Started reading a new book last night, Anita Shreve's A Wedding in December. Haven't gotten that far but already can tell it's going to be hard to put down.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Had a lovely visit with Trade Whims, a new store in Easton. I went in the other day with Zack and could have spent FAR more time browsing their wonderful fabrics and yarns. They purchased a number of semi-precious gemstone pieces, which I think goes well with the theme of their store. I ended up buying some yarn, too, and talked to their fiber artisan -- her knit work is luscious! I need to learn how to do invisible cast-on for a scarf I want to do, and she's going to help me with that. I stink at learning things from a book -- I have to watch someone do it and then I can get it.
Getting ready to pack up to leave tomorrow for the Northern Virginia Christmas Market -- I'm bummed, my friend Melissa is really sick and can't come up as she had planned. Poor girl, she has to have her tonsils out.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Long day. Took Zack to the doctor this morning because he said "ear hurt", which is the first time he's been able to actually tell me when something doesn't feel good. He's a very healthy child, has only been sick a couple of times, fortunately. He has the start of an ear infection (ouch) and a sore throat, which I now have. Feel fine other than that. Had a skin cancer screening today, and thankfully got a clean bill of health -- been worrying about that for a while.
Got a huge shipment of crystal in today and got it sorted out and am now waiting for my new printer to arrive tomorrow so I can print postage to the 30-odd people who bought it. What a time for my printer sensors to die!
Still have a million and one things to do before Thursday, when we leave for the show. I have an appointment on Wednesday with a new store that wants to carry my jewelry, and I sold a ton to one of my best customers, so I'm trying to squeeze in more beading time but I'm not sure how much more sleep I can lose before I start to see things! It's all a rush, though, because it's so much fun to do these shows and talk to people and really see their reactions to things. Plus, I get two helpers this time, two friends who are fellow beaders who are selflessly giving up their time.
Got a load of books in the mail today, too, but haven't had a chance to unpack them -- already forgot what I ordered so it'll be like Christmas! Love books. So glad that Rick and Zack love them, too.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Had a great weekend -- got lots done on the jewelry front. Made the bracelet to the left to take to the show this weekend. LOVE making those type of bracelets but they take a lot of time.
Zack and I totally rebuilt his train table layout tonight, and that sparked Rick to start looking at MORE things for the train table. I'm afraid to guess how much we've spent on Thomas and Brio stuff, but it's got to be a thousand at least. With each train costing almost 20.00, it adds up fast, but Zack loves them, takes them to BED with him, even, and Rick and I rationalize that "they're collectibles". Haha! It's as much fun for us when we find a train he doesn't already have as it is for Zack, and I've started looking or the "retired" ones now.
I should SO be in bed right now but I'm wired.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Worked late into the night last night so I couldn't seem to get wound down enough to get to sleep that fast, so my mind was working a mile a minute.
Have you ever met someone who you thought was a wonderful person, and then the more you got to know them, the more things started to tap you on the shoulder and whisper in your ear, "You know, something's not right"?
I trust my husband's intuition but I should REALLY just accept it as a given -- if he meets someone, right away he can just TELL if they're a good person or a not-so-wonderful person. It's just a weird sense that he has and so far, he's never, ever been wrong.
I, on the other hand, can't seem to learn, and want to believe that everyone is inherently good at heart and that they're just "misunderstood".
I think I've learned now!
There are some people that just can't be saved from the emotional wasteland that is their heart. Some people are just users, complete fakes, who will be nice to your face and then ridicule you behind your back.
Ever want to know how a person's heart really is? See how they treat strangers. Someone who walks by an overweight person and hisses, "STOP EATING" has some serious issues. I'm no skinny-mini, not anymore, so what in the world did that person think about ME? Found that out when the relationship was severed (thankfully!) and she called me a cow -- what, is she still in high school, making taunts like that? Sad.
Yep, you can tell a lot about a person by how they act when they think no one's looking. It's easy to be nice when you're on top of the world, but when things start getting difficult, that's the real test of your personality. People who are humble and don't have to put others down to feel good about themselves are the true friends. People who don't feel the need to brag and embellish are the ones with the generous spirits.
And that saying that even pretty people look ugly when their personality is nasty? SO true.
I'm hoping that as Zack grows up and starts making friends and interacting with all types of people, he'll be trusting in nature, but smart, and will know to listen to his mind AND his heart. All I want for him is happiness, and with true friends and loving family in his life, I hope he'll be able to weather the bumps in the road that come along, even if they come in the form of "friends".
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I eagerly awaited the 12th book in the Series of Unfortunate Events (only one more book to be written!) and finished it last night. "The Penultimate Peril" -- I like the books -- there are some subtle plays on words in it, like twins named Isadora and Duncan and a villian named Esme Squalor. Things that kids may totally miss but most adults will grin over.
I went to the library today and picked up Candace Bushnell's Lipstick Jungle for a chick-lit break, and Girl With Pearl Earring for afters.
I also had to share this WONDERFUL pendant I just got from the most amazing glass artist, Sandra Miller. Click her name and check out her sold pendants, or check her site at www.sandramiller.com. The cool thing about her pieces (other than their beauty) is how she uses a photograph for inspiration for color and design.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
Says a lot to me -- and it's comforting, isn't it?
This was the first year that Zack was excited about Halloween! Last year, we had his costume on for about two minutes before he was DONE. So this year, we did without the costume and just did the orange sweatpants/pumpkin face t-shirt and we did much better!
The night started with Mommy giving Zack his first candy, Smarties and a lollypop. He's never seen Smarties before so held onto those for a while.
We then met up with my friend Shannon and her two kids, Lexi and Jake. Zack immediately took off down the sidewalk with them, going up to doors and saying his version of "trick or treat" and "thank you". Our neighborhood gets a LOT of kids, so many of the parents were sitting on the steps handing out candy and watching the parade of goblins.
There were a few houses that really went all out. The one photo shows Shannon helping Zack pick a piece of candy out of a bowl. Not sure if you can tell, but there's a body in that bin holding the bowl... he has his head down in the photo, but when people went for the candy, he jumped! Didn't scare Zack but it terrified a few kids! Unfortunately, my photo of his sisters didn't show up well -- they had a table next to his bin, and one girl had her head coming up through the table cloth, like it was a head-on-a-platter. They really worked hard on their display!
We came home and Zack immediately asked for chocolate. He got a little bite of some and then was fine with putting it away. Of course, this morning, the first thing he asks for is "candy", but I managed to direct him to something else!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Of course, coming home to Zack was wonderful! He stayed with our friend Shannon, who he just adores. Zack got to help Jake carve a pumpkin, but when Shannon got his hands in the "goo", he wasn't excited! Since Zack has Sensory Integration Disorder, he majorly avoids touching things that are sticky/slippery, so we've been working with him to get him over that. His OT he sees once a week has been such a help, and Shannon, being Zack's preschool teacher as well as a close friend, makes sure he works through things as well.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Yesterday after I picked up Zack from preschool, my friend Mina and her son Will and Zack and I went to Rainbow Farms. They have a pumpkin patch, but they also have a lot of cool things catered towards kids -- like a cool, seasonal playground. All the photos are here:
This picture is my favorite. Rainbow Farms has this huge corn picker/combine thing set up, with a sliding board/tunnel built in, and you can actually climb up into the seat. Zack was ALL about that!
Tomorrow Rick and I are heading out to celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary. We're staying at Prospect Hill Plantation Bed and Breakfast -- it's where Rick proposed, and where we had our honeymoon and have spent all but one of our anniversaries. We're staying in Sanco Pansy's Cottage and I am SO looking forward to a fire at night and a soak in the hot tub! Not to mention their dinner and breakfast -- to die for.
Lastly, wanted to share a photo of a necklace I made -- I've been on a necklace kick recently, which for me is strange, as I usually gravitate towards bracelets. I'd been wanting to do something like this for a while -- big slabs of onyx, with the toggle clasp in the FRONT. Want it? Send me an email at email@example.com and I'll get you details! It's not on the web site yet but will be soon.