31 October 2012

Trick or Treat!

It's Halloween, one of my favorite times of the year!

I've always enjoyed Halloween, especially costumes and decorating, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not too patient when it comes to carving pumpkins. This year I only managed to carve one of the large pumpkins we bought and although I considered doing a more elaborate design, I waited until the last minute so had to revert to my standard pumpkin face. But even the simplest pumpkin is transformed into a festive jack-o-lantern with a candle!


In our area, Trick-or-Treat is called Beggars' Night and is held on October 30. This tradition started in the 1940's as a means of reducing vandalism on October 31. Children are also expected to tell a joke or perform a trick before receiving a treat....and I hold them to it! For the most part, kids oblige with a joke or riddle.

Best jokes of the night:
Why did the spider get on the computer?  

He wanted to surf the web.

What sits at the bottom of the sea and shakes?  
A nervous wreck.


I wasn't sure how many kids to expect last night, as the number really seems to vary from year to year. As it turned out, we didn't have all that many trick-or-treaters, so unfortunately I ended up with quite a bit of leftover candy. 

Lucky for the kids, I didn't have to resort to oatmeal packets like I did one year when I ran out of candy! I thought it was a great idea at the time, as did the moms who were tagging along with trick-or-treaters, but when Bailey came home from trick-or-treating and found out about it, she most certainly did not agree. And she got all kinds of grief the next day on the school bus. "Hey, your mom gave out OATMEAL!"

I told my Memory Bound friends about the oatmeal and they wouldn't let me live it down: They gave me cute packages of oatmeal and an adorable "I want OATMEAL!" bag with REAL oatmeal! Too funny!

Whenever you celebrate, and whatever treats you get in your bag...Happy Halloween, everyone!

26 October 2012

24 October 2012

October Update

The month of October went by so quickly I can hardly believe it! I've been very busy doing a lot of contract work. As a result, my craft space usually looks like this:

 I should be finishing up everything by early next week so I will be able to get back to some other projects which have been set aside for the past couple of months. 

In completely unrelated news, I found this picture on my phone and realized I hadn't shared it. You'd think if you go to the trouble of putting a ginormous quote on the wall, you'd at least make sure everything is spelled correctly. Inconsistancy? This kind of thing drives me bonkers.

For now, it's back to work. I'll have much more to report next week! 

22 October 2012

Prairie in Late October

Fall is by far my favorite season. We've enjoyed several warm days recently, but unfortunately I've been trapped inside working on projects and pretty much missed them.

So over the weekend, I decided to set work aside and take a long walk through the prairie to enjoy the lovely fall afternoon. The neighborhood trees are past their peak, but I still saw a few with beautiful fall colors.

In the fall, the prairie is usually ablaze with golds and reds but yesterday it was mostly dried up and brown. The drought really affected the plants this year, and the hard freeze we had a few days back finished them off. But I always enjoy seeing the interesting textures of the prairie plants -- plus it's good exercise!

 The grasses were still looking pretty, with fluffy plumes blowing in the breeze. They glowed in the afternoon sun.

Our milkweed crop is down this year as a result of the drought. The few milkweed plants I saw had burst, scattering silky fluff and seeds to the wind.

The prairie was dotted with fluffy flowers, I assume scattering seeds like milkweed. They certainly didn't look like this the last time I walked the prairie.

The blue sky provided a beautiful contrast to the plants. I've always liked blue and brown. :)

There are a few scrub trees in and around the perimeter of the prairie. This one looked particularly colorful.

Compass plants are still standing, although dry and prickly.

Normally at this time of year, the plants glow with fall color. As you can see in these photos, there's not a lot color left to see.

 But when the sun hits just right, you can still catch glimpses of the rosy glow.

 Color or no color, I always enjoy walking through the prairie and consider myself very fortunate to have this beautiful ecosystem almost right in our own backyard.

19 October 2012

Feline Friday: I CAN SEE OUT!

Mi daddi cleend da windoes wif a SQUEEGIE! It was liek a toi fur me to chais!

 I followed him all around da hous an chaised da squeegie! Den when he wuz dun it wuz so brite in heer! Me an Tinsul can see outside reallie gud now.

Latur, mi daddi even rubbed my bellie! I think he lieks me, except when I throw up mi brekfust!
Luv, Lily

16 October 2012

Call Me a Tree Hugger

It's a sad day at our house. We're losing three huge trees from our back yard, including the tree you see at the left of this photo. It's too close to the house. The other two are pines which are diseased and crowding their neighbor trees. I can live with the loss of the pines, but I'm having a hard time losing the locust tree. Sure, it litters the yard with pods every fall but for many years, it has provided shade to my flower bed and habitat for birds and squirrels.

I had planned to be gone on this sad day, but we're having some work done inside the house and I can't leave. As a result, I can hear the buzz of the chain saws and the rumbling of the wood chippers. It's gut-wrenching.

I've had plenty of opportunity to speak my mind on this issue, and I have. My head understands the reasons why the tree needs to come down, but my heart hurts to see it go. In life, the heart sometimes has to take a back seat to the head. I wish this weren't one of those times.

So today I feel sad. I have the right to feel that way. Call me a tree hugger. I'd be honored.

12 October 2012

Feline Friday: Tinsel the Brave

I was working in the office/craft room earlier this week when I heard a strange but familiar scrambling noise in the hallway. It was Tinsel jumping up onto the railing and quickly regaining her balance on the narrow space. Tinsel was front declawed when we got her, so she has no way of gripping the rail should she start to fall. And she did fall once. It always scares me when she walks on the railing. It's a long way down to the first floor!

I glanced out into the hallway to find her rounding the corner of the railing. She did some fancy pivots (while I held my breath) -- meowing and dipping down as if to say, "Look at me, Mom!"

 I stood with the camera, not moving for fear I'd startle her and cause her to lose her balance. She continued her fancy maneuvers as I encouraged her to get down.

Finally she headed away from the corner posts and back to the end of the railing, where I plucked her down and gave her lots of loves. She's a brave girl, that Tinsel!

11 October 2012

Late Nights in the Craft Room

 I've had several late nights recently (is 1 AM considered late? I think so!), up working on projects. Fortunately I almost always have some company while I'm working.

Good thing I got an ottoman! It's a great place for a kitty to perch. It must be comfortable, too, because fights frequently break out to see who gets to sit on it! Lily won this time.

Here's a cat's eye view of my somewhat messy desk area. Notice the white cord strung across the floor? We've got router issues, so this is how it needs to be until we figure out something better. I'll put up with a white cord for internet speed! 

On another note, I LOVE my green chair! The first week I had it, my feet went to sleep because it's just a little bit taller than I was used to. But now I've adjusted to it and love it. It's very soft and comfortable.

I recently added a few die cut flowers to my small glass-topped table. At some point, I may put patterned paper under the glass, but for now this is the right amount of color and pattern for me.

Here's a photo of the great new (but old-looking!) stool I also bought at World Market to use at the small table. I'd been holding out for a real vintage stool but couldn't find one the right height. This one was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but it was exactly what I was looking for -- and I was tired of searching everywhere with no results. In addition to the industrial look of it, I love the fact that the seat swivels up and down to adjust the height!

 One thing I have struggled with in my "new" space is the lack of horizontal surfaces. I used to have space in my Target cubes for displaying containers but now I've filled each cube with canvas cubbies. I thought about another shelving unit but didn't want to clutter up the relatively clean feel of the room with more wall pieces. When I found this little industrial cart at World Market, it seemed to fill the bill -- and it spoke to me! :) It gives me the horizontal space of a small shelving unit, and it wheels around and fits under either of my tables, so it doesn't take up any additional space in the room. It now houses some basic tools, embellishments, and a container of border punches.


  I love my "new" space so much that I don't mind the late nights! In fact, I have so much fun working in the space that I never even notice the time!

04 October 2012

Craft Room = Project Central!

 I've had a number of projects in the works lately! I've been up to my ears in some contract paper crafting work and will continue to be very busy for another couple of months. My "new" crafting space has been getting a real workout!

 I've also been teaching a lot of classes which, of course, involves a fair amount of prep work. Last week I finished the second of two stamping classes in which we made 13 cards in one class. The class went very well and everyone left with 13 completed cards!

 This week, I'm teaching the first session of my Halloween mini-album class. I love Halloween and am very excited about this project!
 Even thought it's a "mini" album, there's a lot involved in the project -- lots of die cuts, text, and other fun details.

Next week, Katie and I will finish up another batch of kits for our annual Christmas card classes. It's Project Central around here, and I'm SO glad I took the time to re-do my craft area. Having a great space to work has made all the difference.

Last week I decided to take the plunge and buy a stool (not pictured) and this little cart at World Market. As you can see, Lily jumped up in it right away -- before I'd even taken off the tag! I think she was surprised when it rolled a bit! This cart provides a bit more horizontal space for containers, and it can go anywhere in the room. I love it!

And now, back to work!

02 October 2012

Pumpkin Patches: Not just for kids!

 We recently stopped at a roadside pumpkin patch. I'd much rather pick my own pumpkin than choose one out of a bin at the grocery store!

 As it turned out, we were just about the only people at the patch that afternoon, so we truly had our pick of the lot! There were three large fields of pumpkins to survey. I was convinced that in order to grow pumpkins, you need very sandy soil, but the owner told me that's not the case. Pumpkins grow just fine in any kind of soil. Who knew? Certainly not me!

In addition to pumpkins, they had some really awesome gourds shaped like birds and all kinds of other strange things.

We could have chosen pumpkins from these tidy piles, but we did not!

We ventured into the patch to pick our pumpkins right off the vine!

Look at these adorable gourds! I've bought many of them over the years but have never seen them growing in the wild!

The pumpkins were so perfectly round that I asked the owner if she turned them periodically. Yes, I'm sure she was rolling her eyes at my city girl question. She very kindly told me that no, she does not rotate her pumpkins, as she would be out in the patch from morning until night turning them this way and that!

I chose this one. Perfectly round!

Spouse liked the one with a big bump on it. It will make a nice nose.

And, although she's not home, we chose a pumpkin for Bailey -- plus two small ones for the kitties -- for a total of five pumpkins in all. Spouse looked pretty outdoorsy cutting our pumpkins right off the vine.
 It was fun visiting the pumpkin patch. They're not just for kids anymore!