Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Never too early

Mantle: Feb 14, 2009My mantle, 15 Feb. 2009

Oh my, yes. Some of my year 'round Halloween decorations are up! These are our David Frykman (resin) sculptures, which we started collecting after our first trip to Hell, MI, where we bought the little devil trick-or-treater. I think the library, with its red accent wall and black bookcases will become the room that always has Halloween decorations up!

Seen 'n Find Bottles
seek n find bottle for little onesI wanted to give a seek 'n find bottle to the daughter of some new friends, but she's a little 'un (~2 y.o.), so the printed card would not do.

Instead, I laid out the toys - on a sheet of paper - in a rectangular area and took a picture, which I printed and slid into a plastic sleeve. When I filled the bottle, I stopped a few inches down so there was more room for the rice to slide around, making the toys easier to find. A smaller bottle would have been better (the 1 liter size ends up being kind of heavy), but we didn't have anything with a large enough opening to fit all the toys through.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Showers of (Mail) Blessings

bacon bar packageEver since I heard about "bacon chocolate" I have been dying to try it. But I live in the boonies now, so I can't just pick up a bar. And, I'm watching my pennies anyway (not even buying yarn!), so I was content to leave it on my wish list* until finances improved. Well, yesterday, a package was on my doorstep from sweet woman named Allison, who also likes acorns. Inside was a Mo's Bacon Bar, plus some adorable wooden acorns and a hand-carved stamp. (I keep meaning to ask her if she made that herself.)

Let me tell you: it's certainly not for everyone, but whoa! I like it. I'm allowing myself just one square a day of the "deep milk chocolate" (between dark & milk) with salt and bacon.

tea from lesliedAlso, dear Leslie sent me some of my favorite caffeine fix tea: Christmas tea from Adagio, along with some paper filters (my mug). Those paper filters are excellent, if you like loose tea. After getting a box of them, I threw out my French press, which was a PiTA to clean after every cup of tea!

As if that wasn't enough, there was also a box of past issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine, including the 2008 issue (lost) and (if I read it right)the first October issue ever : 1991, plus a couple of the Halloween holiday issues (which I own, but are beat up). The sender isn't anonymous to me, but I'm keeping her identity quiet until I hear the word that it's okay to share.

*I love Amazon's universal wish list button! I'm tickled that a few surprises have come my way as a result, but the purpose was simply for me to keep track of things I spotted online and would want to buy someday. You know, if someone said, "Here is $100. You must spend it on yourself," I'd be ready. (I had that happen once, with a birthday gift, and had a really hard time!)

Speaking of wish lists and Halloween, if you're a Halloween fan, check out my list (in the side bar). I've found a couple cool new goodies that might be of interest.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Midweek Update

foggy day feb09I'm not the biggest fan of driving in the stuff, but oh, do I love a foggy morning! I took this on Tuesday morning, while there was a tiny bit of snow remaining to feed the fog. Things cleared up once I got a mile or so away, and the driving was fine after that point.

It did, indeed, put me in the mood for my fave holiday! I was able to get my Halloween links site back up this week, and have gone through the box of books, actually managing to pull out a few to pass on. I think my nephew will get a kick out of them - he benefits when I buy books that end up being too childish for my taste.

heigh ho for halloween bookA recent acquisition - 1948 ex-library book. It has little value as a party-planning resource (those parties I plan but never throw), but it's a nice little piece of history and fun to look through.

A little part of me is celebrating the demise of a particularly hateful group on a certain knitting/etc. forum I'm on. They're going on and on about freedom of speech and censorship, not understanding that those rights don't apply to private property, and not at all understanding the real reason they were axed.

It wasn't even the always-borderline racist (and other -ist) comments like this little gem. I'm not privy to inside info., but what's been said, simply, is that the mods couldn't (wouldn't?) moderate without supervision and that the group was too much work. They have NO idea how much slack they were given, because everyone I know would have booted the group months ago!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is it love?

sheldon loving lion toyA while back, I posted about Sheldon's love for a particular skein of peach acrylic yarn.

Well, that yarn is looking pretty ragged, so I joked to John on Sunday that I would put out a stuffed animal and see if Shel would take an interest. I selected the lion - obviously male, but with more bite-able area - and set it in the library (or the room that will become the library). The funny thing is, Sheldon never does what I want him to do. In fact, the more time and effort I put into a toy, the less they're interested. So, imagine my surprise when, last night, John spots him dragging the lion around.

It was one of those rare times when I had my camera nearby (always seems to be in my purse on the other side of the house when the cats do something picture-worthy) and I managed to get one good picture.

I wonder how long it will last?

cat toys felted ballsSpeaking of cat toys and effort... Back in August, I posted about an idea I had to adapt a project (for a child's toy) and make kitty-size toys. Well, I did, almost right away. They were met with a mild interest, but were not favorites. When we went back to the house on Saturday to pack up some more stuff, I spotted them and tossed them in a box. Right now, they're marinating in a baggie with a couple tablespoons of catnip. Maybe that will help. (Moo mini card for scale.)

It has nothing to do with the toys themselves. It's their usual pattern: paper bags, boxes, pen caps and milk jug rings are infinitely better than any handmade or store bought toy. Exceptions: the laser pointer and one weird little green mouse that came in a stocking full of mice.

I didn't throw them in the washer to felt all the way, because I liked the texture that a partial needle-felting gave. It's a fun way to use up scraps, if nothing else!

If you want to try this, but don't have cats (or small kids) around, check out Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls for another application.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

The Positive Side

...of sending random strangers mail:


My teddy bear, Mundy, checks out the wonderful and generous goodness that came in the mail this afternoon from a fellow Rubbernecker, Debi. It's a RAK package (RAK = Random Act of Kindness), and it came on the perfect day.

There is a quartet of SPA goodies* from Jafra, a book I've been wanting to read - The Secret Life of Bees - and an inspiring card, which I think I'm going to be looking at pretty frequently. I feel so spoiled and lucky!

I'm also involved in sending out surprises (although not this extravagant given my current financial situation) within a small group. My previous post wasn't meant to discourage people from giving, just to encourage them to be careful. Getting unexpected mail can make someone's day (or maybe week)!

*Bath & shower gel, massage oil, massage cream, & sea salt body scrub

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Watch for scammers, people! Over the weekend on Ravelry, one person was found to have 4-5 IDs and had taken several people for gift cards, yarn and tools after claiming that everything she owned (yarn-wise) had been stolen. People eventually started talking, and it turned out she was the same person who, under a different ID (minimum), had been selling yarn and tools (probably the same stuff she'd just been sent), but never delivering. Many people are kind and soft-hearted, but it pays to be cautious/cynical.

Another user was deleted after making just one post. I'm sure many people thought it smelled fishy, because well, if the first thing you do is start begging for stuff, it sets off some alarms, but I wonder how many others flocked to help this poor woman on the run from an abuser. Who desperately needed...yarn? The needle in my cynicism meter buried itself in the red when she claimed that none of the shelters/domestic abuse centers in her area would help her b/c she didn't have a drivers license. Her area (at least where she claimed to live)? A few miles from where I just moved. Where the shelters will NOT turn away a woman fleeing an abuser because she couldn't take her purse with her. Yes, I called and checked. Then sent her the phone # to the closest shelter who said they'd be happy to help her, and sent a message up the chain.

It seems that the tougher times get, the more people there are willing to scam others, and the more people there are that want to help, in whatever way they can, because as bad as they have it, someone else has it worse. Knitters aren't nicer or more trustworthy than other people. Just because someone says something doesn't make it true. It's great to want to help out, and hey, if you can afford to send out stuff willy-nilly, go for it. But there's nothing wrong with exercising a little caution too!

/public service announcement

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lost & Found

I make this kind of post a lot, it seems!

nekkid guy stitch marker1Back when I did Ren Faires a lot, and made collections of favours (for people to pass out), I made some little guys like this to be a bonus for customers. I wanted to make more as stitch markers a few months ago, but could not find the box of stamps anywhere!

It actually made me quite sad, because I couldn't find a place to buy him online (nor could I remember the co. that made the stamp). When we were packing up stuff in the garage at the old house, I found a tote full of most of my stamps. Oh, so that's where they went! Right on top? Nekkid guy.

So, stitch markers have been made, and will hopefully be inserted into my Etsy shop (empty at the moment) later this week.

Making them with a gas oven instead of a tiny toaster oven was interesting. First thing that happened: they all flipped over and baked upside-down. Amazingly, I only lost 3 because of that. Next load from the old house will include my old toaster oven!!

Halloween Stuff
Y'all know I love Halloween the most, right? Well, after adding a bunch of books to my wish list, I set about making my first Listmania! List on Amazon: Grown-up Halloween. I know right where my box of Halloween books is, so I might be adding to it as I get that unpacked. Sadly, however, I can't recommend most of the books I own.

My Halloween links site is down right now, thanks to Comcast's so very smooth transition. They promised a seamless transition for movers. What did we get? They deleted all of our web accounts and content. I hope to be rebuilding it in the next few days.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Drive-by: Hat received

Sarah's new hatAnd it fit, and was declared "perfect." Whew <-- me, making a sigh of relief. (She might not look happy in the pic, but she assures me she is. She's just tired from working all night.)

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