Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Ahead for Twenty-Fourteen and Fondly Saying Goodbye to Twenty-Thirteen

Saying goodbye to twenty-thirteen is kinda bittersweet. It was a year of first on a lot of levels, some good, others not so good. One thing it did provide was a new outlook on things in my life and a new found gratitude for the things I often take for granted.

Both my husband and I had minor issues with our health, but that being said, he was in ICU the beginning of the year and I had surgery in the summer, and if that wasn't enough, we finished December with another minor surgery for my husband. I learned a lot from all of these health experiences. The major ones were neither he or myself make a great patient and we are both about as chicken as chicken can be. If you could only imagine the sights of the two of us trying to take care of the other.....I like to rule with the iron fist when I am the nurse taking care of the patient and I like to rule with a iron fist when I am the patient, and not too sure the nurse is competent. Yes....it's all about lessons learned.

Above all the lessons learned this year, the one of taking care of your health is first and foremost. I took that lesson seriously, and decided to try and lose some weight this fall. I was able to drop 21 pounds, but then the hustle and bustle of the holidays rolled around, and I sorta just stopped obsessing about losing any more weight. I decided to hop on the scale the other day and was thrilled I had not gained any of that lost weight back, so I am confident to jump back on the band wagon and keep working towards my goal.

I learned that its ok to not be able to do all I think I should be doing, whether it be housework, cooking, cleaning, sewing or just surviving the day. I may need to work on not being so lenient with myself in 2014 as I am thinking my word for the new year will be "simplify." I seriously have come to a point where I am sure less is totally more....and this next year, I plan on trying to downsize and pass on some of the things I have told myself I have to keep for so many years. I know it will be a challenge, but I am up for it.

I also learned, that the most amazing experiences can turn into moments you will never forget. This fall, I casually mentioned to my brother of an event in Dallas coming up and I had thought about going. I never dreamed he would have taken that to heart, but he did. He purchased tickets for us to go. I could hardly believe it. I don't recall ever in my adult life spending an evening with my brother..just me and him. It truly, in all it could be, was the highlight of twenty-thirteen from start to finish.

He picked me up and we were off to Dallas to see Theresa from Long Island Medium. I could hardly contain myself as I expected that show to be the highlight of the evening. I expected a reading and to hear from a family member who is no longer here. Sadly, it was sort of a let down when that did not happen, but in all actuality, that was not the lasting memory of the evening.

True to Dallas fashion, the traffic was starting to back up as we made our way into Dallas, so my brother got off the freeway and took an alternate route, which happened to take us over the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which of course I had never seen or been on......Dallas and myself are not often two words in the same sentence!  I expected the road across that bridge to be packed with cars, but the most amazing thing was, there was no cars AT ALL on that bridge but one. As we started across the bridge, we noticed a car stopped on the side of the road. There was a girl standing beside the car and a guy on one knee, and he obviously had just proposed to his girlfriend, and we saw the tail end of that event. My brother honked his horn and said they would always remember someone honking at them at that very moment, I have to agree, I believe they surly will.  It was sort of a magical moment to the start the evening.

We had plenty of time before we needed to be at SMU for the event, so my brother drove me to where Klyde Warren Park sets over a busy freeway in Dallas. I have heard about this park and always wanted to go, but had no idea where it was. My husband and I have talked about going there, but as things go, we just never had done it. The park was enchanting and I really enjoyed that part of Dallas and all the buildings surrounding that area. It was amazing seeing a part of Dallas I had no idea even existed, I loved it.

Once we made it to SMU and parked, we still had plenty of time and we walked across the road and ate tacos from a little taco place called Diggs Taco Shop. It was good and I enjoyed our meal....I enjoyed it so much I almost choked on my taco, but that is another story!

It was truly an enjoyable evening spent with my brother. I never would have thought it would have been marked as my most memorable moment from the year, but it was. I will always treasure that evening...even if I did not get the reading from Teresa that I was so sure I was going to get. The event was exactly what Teresa said it would be at the beginning, which was that it was entertainment, she was enchanting and funny just as you see her on television. Some of the things she talked about have stuck with me and I won't soon forget them. I appreciate the fact my brother wanted to take me to see her, as words can never really explain how much that has and does mean to me. I am so glad that it was in the other things we did that night that proved to be the front runner of the evening as far as memories go.  It was a enchanting night from start to finish.

Twenty-thirteen provided an opportunity to reconnect with family members whom I have not seen or heard from in all of my adult life. Once again, facebook provides a great outlet for that very thing. It has been heartwarming to reconnect with people I remember so fondly from my childhood and whom are still around to share bits of my life with and share bits of theirs. Family is family no matter how old we get or how long it has been since we looked at each other face to face. I am grateful for "finding" my relatives this year, they add a lot to my every day life and I am thankful for that.

I don't know what twenty-fourteen holds, but I am looking forward to whatever it may be. I plan on simplifying so many things this next year, I have a list of things I want to get done, and plan to check them off the list one by one.

Quilting will still be a front runner, and as this year starts, I am already staring behind the ball on several things that need to be finished or started. I try and not put so much pressure on myself, but it is a hard thing for me to do. I have set goals for my family, and intend to see them met. I pray I have the patience to deal with any adversity that may come in the process of meeting these said goals.

May we all find peace within ourselves, find joy in every day things, be optimistic about the future and get as much enjoyment as we can out of the new year. May we learn to appreciate the things we often take for granted and never forget we could lose it all in a blink of an eye.

Wishing us all peace and happiness for twenty-fourteen.

 Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.
- John Wayne

Monday, December 30, 2013

Secret Santa Soiree 2013 Final Post

I hope each and every one has had a lovely holiday season. Once again, it is time for the Secret Santa Soiree Swap to come to an end. I still have a handful who do not have their post up, it may be due to computer problems, camera problems, or out of town, however, I am confident I will be able to update the list to 100% soon. I have heard from every one who is lacking their post, so keep checking back.

I'd like to take a moment to share some thoughts I have had the past few weeks. Most of you who read my blog, know I tend to speak my mind and ramble on....so expect that would be no different with this post. 

There have been situations I have either been a part of, or heard of someone experiencing the same type of situation and it has given me several things to think about. I decided to share them here on this last post and if it is something you can take away from my thoughts and find them useful, then that is great, if you don't get anything out of it, well...just chalk it up to me rambling as I am inclined to do.

Sometimes, the biggest disappointments come from expectations. Now, clearly, there are always expectations in most every thing we do, but I am talking about expectations from people we may not know personally, or expectations that are just too high and not attainable. Sometimes, people have unrealistic expectations of family or friends and when their expectations are not met for what ever the reason may be, they feel slighted or upset. I have learned in the last few years, expectations can lead to misunderstanding, disappointment, and a deeply wounded spirit if I let it.

Secondly, there are no two people on this world that have the same 100% taste in their likes or dislikes. I personally, throughout my lifetime have received gifts that were truly not my taste at all. I have received gifts that were deliberately given to me knowing I would not like them. (yes, I am afraid there has been someone very  much like this in my life and I allowed them to treat me this way for years...no more.) But the key to handling this type of situation was always smiling, thanking them for the gift, (regardless of the motivation behind the gift) and simply letting it go. There is a huge difference in someone maliciously giving terrible gifts, and someone sincerely trying to buy something they think someone will like and just missing the mark. It falls back to no two people have the same taste in all things.

Thirdly, no matter what, no matter how your expectations were not met, no matter what you think should have happened, it is always good manners to thank anyone who does something for you. Period. No matter if it is a small thing, or a big thing. Showing gratitude is very important these days, as we live in a world where very little gratitude is ever displayed.

Likewise, we live in a world where so many types of people interact with each other on various levels. Within our own families, there are difficulties that arise and our own families seem to disappoint and leave us feeling like they just don't get us. It is a fact, I know lots of folks feel this way. When the people closest to us miss the mark at times, how can we possibly expect total strangers to get it 100% right? Yes, there is disappointment but I think it all falls back to unattainable expectations. Clearly, the only thing we can control is how graciously we hold our heads up high, and do the right thing and display a thankful and grateful attitude even if we wish things had been different.

My expectations in hosting this swap each and every year is to give bloggers an opportunity to get to know someone they may not already know. It is ideal if that person has many different interest than myself. I have found if I have someone very different from myself, I usually find that once I have shopped for them, I have truly enjoyed thinking out of my comfort zone in trying to please someone who holds different interest.

Do I always get it right? Maybe not, I really don't know for a fact if I always get it right, but it is not from lack of trying. I am wondering if this is not they way to do things, and maybe I need to try and swap people with similar interest. Please know, it is always in the past and again this year been done in random draw when I assign someone their person. I don't look at names, I use numbers to make the assignments. Please know hosting this swap is a lot of fun for me, and I enjoy all the fun seeing the gifts when the packages arrive. I have not visited all of the participants yet, but I will do that in the next few days. Please take a moment and check out all the participants post about their gifts, it is always great fun~ and thank you to my Secret Santa this year....I am still over the moon about my gifts!

Thanks again for participating this year, and I hope you enjoyed yourself and enjoyed shopping for your swap person!

Below is the list of who had who......please refer to the original LIST to see who's blog belongs to what number.

for example

31 was Coloradolady and she had 21 tweloquilting

1 - 8
2 - 25
3 - 15
4 - 11
5 - 32
6 - 27
7 - 2
8 - 4
9 - 23
10 - 26
11 - 28
12 - 30
13 - 37
14 - 35
15 - 20
16 - 10
17 - 3
18 - 14
19 - 17
20 - 18
21 - 38
22 - 9
23 - 22
24 - 5
25 - 29
26 - 7
27 - 1
28 - 13
29 - 34
30 - 36
31 - 21
32 - 16
33 - 30
34 - 33
35 - 19
36 - 12
37 - 24
38 - 6

Please if you have not done your post, let me know when you do. I had a hard time this year as some of you were in multiple swaps, and I hope I got the right post linked in to the original list! Forgive me if I made a mistake, if you let me know, I will fix that!

Have a very Happy New Year!! I hope 2014 is the best it can be for each of you! And, once again, thank you all for participating this year...I hope you experienced a little Christmas cheer along the way!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vintage Thingie Thursday: Vintage Inspired Boxes

Welcome everyone to Vintage Thingies Thursday

If you have a love for vintage things, well....you have come to the right place. We have a really good time each and every week!!!
If you are new to this party, please take the time to
read and follow the instructions for participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday, click HERE. I try and keep things fairly simple, so please make sure you follow the instructions. Please only ONE link per week. Lastly, if you link in, LINK back to my blog, so everyone can see all of the vintage goodies on display that day. If you don't link back here, they won't know who to visit......thanks so much.

This year, our local Marshall's had some really neat Christmas things and I could not help myself, and purchased several things for myself. I could not resist these vintage inspired Christmas boxes. I fell in love with them the minute I saw them. 

I have these sitting on top of my grandma's china cabinet. I have really enjoyed all of these little vintage boxes this year.

I love this popcorn tin, and the little box with the snowman was a find at Marshall's too. They had lots of art work that used vintage images. I have a few more in other areas of my house...ahem......another post!

This one is cute too! I am guessing Santa's Biscuits are cookies????

Here is the top of the hutch! I love all my vintage treasures! And since next week is Christmas, I hope to do a couple of post showing my Christmas decorations this year, maybe this weekend!

See this little guy?? It was a find today at the local thrift store. I tell ya something, this week, I have hit the jackpot at my local thrift stores. I usually think that this time of year, I am past finding Christmas treasures, but I am here to tell ya, I have found the goods!

In two days, I found THREE vintage Christmas tablecloths, three vintage kitchen towels, a whole BOX of vintage ornaments for $2.50, a whole unopened package of vintage tags for 49 cents and two rolls of vintage ribbon with adorable Santa graphics, several vintage craft kits and some vintage Christmas figures. The most fantastic thing of all was a very old SANTA paper mache mold that hangs on the wall. I scored that one for only $3.00. It is not perfect, but it is perfectly fine with me! I have had the best time!! It may not happen like this again for months, but this week has been fun!

Happy Vintage Thingie Thursday...and Merry Christmas friends!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Secret Santa Soiree - Reminder.....

By now, most all of the packages should have arrived to their destinations. I have quiet a few who have not done their blog post and their packages have arrived.

I'd really like to wrap this up by the weekend, and post the list of which swappers had who's name. Please try and get your post up on your blog by this weekend, and email me and let me know you have done so.

IF you have not received your parcel, please send me an email and let me know. I know some were delayed in their shipping, but most all should have received their packages.

It seems to me that there are a lot of swappers who have either not received their packages or not blogged. Christmas is next week, and this should really be winding down.

Thanks all who have already completed your obligations to the swap!! Be sure and refer back to the original signup list and check out the great packages that have been sent to our participants! It is so fun to see what everyone received!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Ornament Swap Received! What fun!!

This year, I participated in a Christmas Ornament Swap hosted by Sue, at It's a Very Cherry World.

My partner was Dorothy from Hens Rule Blog. I had a great time fixing a goodie box for Dorothy and making an ornament. It was my first time to swap a ornament I had to make, and I hope my effort was not too much of a fail.

Today, my box arrived and I could hardly wait to open it and check out my new ornament and goodies! Boy, was this a fun box to open, and I was so excited as I dug into all the goodies!

Here is a picture of all my fun things. The ornament Dorothy made for me is so sweet, as it is a black and tan dachshund playing in the snow with a cute Christmas tree. It could not be more perfect.

Look how sweet this ornament is!! Sparkly snow and all tied up with a cute polka dot red bow!

She also included this cute little putz house. Oh, this is so cute! Loved it too!

Vintage euphoria, and a cute little vintage Christmas book. The little book really jogged my mind as I seem to remember little books like this from my childhood. I love all of these treasures.

Dorothy included a pretty card with a personal note and a cute little snowman ornament as well! This was  a very fun swap, and I really enjoyed participating.

Here is a glimpse of my little putz house, it is on top of my china cabinet with these little vintage Santa and Mrs. Clause that were gifts from  my SSS swap. They go so cute together, like it was meant to be.

And here is my cute little dachshund ornament already hanging on my tree! 

Thank you again, Dorothy for swapping with me this year. I enjoyed putting your box together and making you an ornament. Likewise, I was over the moon with my gifts! So fun!! I am really glad I decided to participate with this swap, and Thank you to Sue for organizing it! Christmas surprises are sure a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quick and Easy Last Minute Gifts ~ Original Recipe ~ Hand Lotion

 This is pretty much an original post I did in November 2009. I know for a fact, no one ever had posted this recipe before as it was given to me by a lady who had made it for years. I had someone email me a couple of years ago informing me that people all over blog land were posting this as THEIR own original recipe. It did not take long to discover that yes, indeed that was true and had happened.

 Now, with the use of pinterest, it is all over there too, and no one for the most part took the courtesy to link back to my blog. One person told me I should email these folks and demand they link back here, or have them take the post down all together. Friends, I don't have time for that...and besides, how can anyone be sure that NO ONE has ever seen or been given the same recipe before? 

Anyway, I am running this again....we are in the countdown to Christmas and you just might need a quick, easy and inexpensive little gift. This fits the bill all the way around!

 With the holiday season upon us, and I know lots of folks are strapped for extra cash, I decided to share this recipe for the most wonderful moisturizer you will ever use...and you can tell those expensive cosmetic counters at the department store goodbye...

These make great shower favors (which I use at every shower I give, just change the theme on the container), stocking stuffers, co-workers gifts, or just extra gifts to have on hand during the holiday season....something small...but says a lot!

Now, this is easy as can be.....and ANYONE whom I have ever given this gift to, simply raves about this lotion....they think I am a genius, super girl, the whole kit and caboodle....it has been fun riding that wave of genius for so long, but now I want you to have a turn too.....ready? Let's begin.....

All you need are three ingredients: From DOLLAR GENERAL.....Shhhhhhh, yes, I did just say Dollar General. You will need one large baby lotion, I used the Shea and coco butter today, the pink is great if you are doing a girl baby shower, the lotion will be pink. Next, a large jar of Petroleum Jelly, and finally, a jar of the vitamin E skin cream.....simple...three things that is all...now, lets get started.

See, here is the Shea and cocoa butter label......but the pink baby lotion will work too.

First, empty the jar of vitamin E cream in a large mixing bowl, get all the goods out of the jar. Now, I save these jars, they are plastic, and the labels peel right off with no effort, and they can be washed and to store the final lotion product back in the container....Recycle made easy!

Next, add the Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline).....sorry, I'll try to keep it simple.

Make sure you get all the good stuff.....I have had no luck at recycling these containers...so I toss them.

Lastly, pour in the lotion....all of it.....

I was not joking....ALL of it. I slice the side open, and using a spatula, get the rest out of the container...can't recycle this except inside the recycle bin.

Now, get your hand mixer out and begin to whip all of this together.......

whip, whip, whip..........don't stop....I said, whip, whip, whip.......

When all is mixed really well...it will be light and fluffy....almost like icing.....see, how pretty is this?

Next: fill your containers. I used recycled baby food jars. I had to really work at taking all the glue and labels off the jars, but these jars are a good size for a small gift, so totally makes a little effort on your part worth it.

Fill to the top......just like so.......

once again...don't waste a single drop.......

I used Mod-Podge to add some scrapbook paper on the spray painted lids, and embellished with vintage lace, buttons and rhinestones....

What do you think?????

Now, top off with some vintage rick-rack or ribbon...and there you go. See what a little creative work will turn an ordinary baby food jar into something really cute....

If you are making a big batch, then just do the same process with however many of each ingredient you think you might need. One of each will fill about 6-7 baby food jars. I have made big batches of this using about 9 of each.....works just the same.....

Once you have tried this, you will be sold....this is all I use. I use it as a face cream, hand and foot cream and all over body cream.....it is wonderful. I will tell you this, all my co-workers ask me for it without fail....I always get "When are you going to make me some more lotion?...Christmas is coming!"

They think I am a Rock Star......LOL

Here is a photo from a baby shower, used the same jars, had a little round sticker with shower theme printed and stuck on top of lid, and presented inside a organza bag.

Same lotion for a wedding shower, used containers from the container store, glued rhinestone on top for some pizazz and printed a tag and attached that to a little bag. I used the pink lotion here as this was a pink themed shower.

Tip: If you do not have access to baby food jars, (like I did not) place an ad on Craigslist under the "wanted" section...your email will be flooded with wonderful folks wanting to give these to you for free.....how economical is that????

And if you want to keep this recipe your secret....go right ahead.....you can be a Rock Star with your friends too!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Secret Santa Gifts

Secret Santa gifts are making their way all across the globe. Some of you are getting more than one package....so just know that may happen. Many missed the day to mail by a couple of days, but know all have notified me that their packages are on the way.

My secret Santa package came last week, and I am a bit tardy on getting my post up. With the busy work of running the swap itself, and making sure all were on top of the shipping, and working a full time job, and packaging Etsy goods to ship, I have been scrambling for extra time. Lame excuse...but it is all true!

My Secret Santa sent me a fantastic package...in fact, I was just stunned when it came, everything was perfectly selected and I was and still am just THRILLED.

Look at the box...packed with all kinds of treasures. The first package had two quilting books and wonderful, beautiful fabric!!

Notice the note..."can fabric scraps really be a gift"....oh, yes indeed....perfect gifts! My secret Santa did not forget the Doxies....they were most thrilled when they heard the crinkle of the packaging on these treats....which by the way, was wrapped in this adorable vintage towel.

This package was a cute little basket with an adorable, beautiful, lovely vintage tablecloth! Oh, the colors and pattern are just dreamy!! I was head over heals!!! Lovely S&P shakers too, I love these colors, and the pattern is perfect with collection of pink rose china!

Wonderful euphoria and hand made tags, I love these!! In fact, I have already used some of them in another gift I just mailed off. They came at the perfect time! Look at the beautiful hankie and that is a dachshund necklace. I absolutely love it and the length of the chain is perfect!

This was just too much.....a vintage sewing basket, and I think my mom had a similar one when I was growing up, but hers was pink. Inside, vintage buttons, threads, trims, lace, fabric and a fantastic Christmas pin and hanky. Oh, what a glorious gift!

These two little boxes were packed with vintage treasures.....LOVE! the bottom right photo shows the little girl and Mr. and Mrs Santa already in my Christmas decor! Loved it all!

Two sweet vanilla soaps were included in my box as well. Vanilla is one of my favorite scents, and these are displayed in my guest bathroom, the packaging matches my bathroom perfectly.

Also in my box was a wonderful blue apron, and a beautiful runner in pinks, blues and greens, It is just amazing, and these are all my favorite colors for vintage linens. This was an amazing package and I will treasure each and every thing that was chosen for me! I can't tell you how much fun I had with my box....I was beside myself for sure!

It is always so fun to see what someone picks for you and takes the time to try and make you smile...my Secret Santa did that very thing. I am in awe at how special she made me feel and can not thank her enough!!

I am looking forward to seeing all of your lovely gifts...that is the most fun for me, seeing what everyone got!! Looking forward to all the boxes arriving...and your post!

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