23 December 2009

The Stocking

This year, I decided to give myself a Christmas present...the gift of time. Time to enjoy every little moment that the days before Christmas arrive to be with friends, family, cook, bake, watch old movies and just appreciate all that I have. I've actually passed on this gift to you with one less blog to read!

And now...a word about that empty stocking.

The DH and I love to watch old black and white movies. Most are PG and the good ones always have a moral behind the story. One of our favorites at this time of year is The Bishop's Wife..a 1947 romantic comedy starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. It tells the story of an ambitious Bishop (Niven) who prays for guidance and an angel (Grant) comes down to set things right with all the people around him. In the end, the Bishop gives a sermon which is so true today. Spoken by Niven in his clean English accent, swelling music in the is one we can all learn from whether we celebrate this holiday or not. We can all give these simple gifts.

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries.
We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.

But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. Its his birthday we're celebrating. Don't let us ever forget that.

Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shinning gifts that make peace on earth.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

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06 December 2009

The Traditions

I've been so busy lately that something had to give and unfortunately, posting took a back seat. This is the time of year when everyone gets busy with shopping, decorating, holiday parties and family get-togethers. While talking to the DH the other night after a Christmas party, we both mentioned that the holidays just seem to be so much more rushed than we ever remember them being. We stretch ourselves so thin that we don't relish the things we enjoy but try to cram everything in. Which brought us to the discussion of our family traditions.

One thing I remember was pulling taffy. Now I'm not a huge fan of the gooey, sugary treats, but I can tell you that is was great fun when the holidays rolled around and Mom decided to make a batch of taffy. She'd bubble the sweet goo in a pan until it was just, peppermint green and vanilla white. The taffy was put on a board to cool slightly. Meanwhile, we scrubbed our hands to the nines...inspection took place...we then greased our hands all over with slimy butter. That's when the fun began! My little brother and I would pull hunks of warm goo back and forth all the while having to grease our hands with more butter. Lots of laughing and chatter going on...Percy Faith Christmas music in the background spinning on an old turntable (I'm dating myself here!). When it was finally pulled to perfection...we'd twist the colors together, cut into strips and wrap the goodies in wax paper. What a mess we made but it was so much fun..way more than even eating the stuff!

Now I haven't pulled taffy in years..always afraid that the kids teeth would further the 401K of our dentist. I'm thinking this year, I want to get away from all the commercialism that Christmas has become and bring back all the old traditions that made it special. Are you carrying on any of your family traditions?
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27 November 2009

A Little Something Edible....

I sure hope that everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving enjoying family and friends! So for the day after, I though I would share some little eats with know...maybe something you could do with leftovers! Take a close look...scenes from the London skyline done by Carl Warner and his team of 5 model makers. 26 different types of fruit and vegetables were used to create this skyline. Three weeks later, this is the outcome. I've always thought broccoli would make a great tree!

I have been absent from the blogging world for a week. ' Tis the season for online sellers to ramp up their shops and after sending a newsletter, I've been swamped to say the least. I've missed visiting y'all but I'm back!

Images from
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19 November 2009

You just never know....

This week has been very busy here...hence me not posting or visiting blogs for a few days. I am asked sometimes to give presentations and talks on antique jewelry to various organizations and at the end of the talks, I always ask the people to bring something of theirs for me to review. Kind of like an Antiques Road Show mini appraisal of their jewels. As with the TV show, most pieces are of the norm...especially in this little neck of the woods. Rarely does someone bring in that hidden treasure...until Monday night.

Brooch Attributed to Hermann Haussler -1910

A little lady listened carefully to the talk, gripping a box and a manila envelope in her hand. She came forward when I asked if anyone had something they wanted to show. She rose, speaking in a heavy German accent, told me she had a piece of jewelry her father had made. It was a sterling silver locket with beautiful enamel signature or hallmarks. I knew in an instant this was not just a normal piece of jewelry! From the manila envelope, she brought out an old family photo with one of the women wearing this locket along with her genealogy tree.

Brooch by Hermann marks..based on enamel work

She then proceeded to tell me the history of her father. He apprenticed under a jeweler in his native country and was specialized in enamel work on sterling silver jewelry. He had to leave Europe due to a family situation, met a Norwegian lad on the boat to the US. Together, they found work out here in ND. He never spoke of his jewelry making or of his life back in Europe. After he died, the whole story came out as to who he really was. His name? Hermann Haussler. The man he apprenticed under? None other than Theodor Fahrner whose Art Nouveau jewelry commands some of the highest prices on the market!

Of course, the lady did not know who Theodor Fahrner was or for that matter how incredibly talented her father was. He never made jewelry again nor created anything artistic once reaching the States. Her comment? "And to think..he ended up being a farmer in Monango, ND!"

We just never know what paths our lives will take or who you'll meet along the way!

All images from Imagevent
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15 November 2009

And now...a word from our sponsor

While growing up, it was a treat to be able to watch certain tv shows on a Sunday night. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Walt Disney, Bonanza...all were g rated. Come to think about it...most of the programs way back then were. We had to have all our homework done, had our bath taken and in general, ready for bed. During the holidays, I can still hear the announcer saying "And now, a word from our sponsors..."

Orvis Wool Knit Sweater from NodtoMod Vintage
Perfect weekend sweater to keep away the chill....

Gilded Pine Earrings from TenThings
Simple, elegant...the perfect stocking stuffer to make her smile..

Mini Sleighbell Crystal Charm Bracelet from SoDear2MyHeart
Oodles of tinkling sound to ring the holidays and the envy of any diva...

Plaid 1950's Day Dress from LolaVintage
Fabulous for entertaining without being too dressy....

Marie Ribbon Necklace from Twillypop
Ribbons and pearls are a girl's best friend....

Vintage Wine Quilted Long Bathrobe from Harlowmonroe Vintage
Wonderful way to start the morning with a cup of jo...

With the holidays coming up, I am on a mission to keep anything I purchase either vintage, handmade and for that matter...made right here in the USA! How about you?

Happy Monday all!

PS..if your interested in having linked logo on the blog just shoot me an email!
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13 November 2009

Good Pickin' Friday

The Brooklyn Bridge

St Patrick's Cathedral in NYC

London's Tower Bridge

Sydney Opera House
Just when you thought you might have seen all the art forms, you run across something like this. Stan Munro of Syracuse, New York creates replicas of famous buildings from around the world with millions...and I mean millions of toothpicks. be that patient! Creativity abounds!

Happy Friday!
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12 November 2009

Spam...we're not talking ham

Spam. Not the ham variety but those little emails you get when you know they are totally bogus. I've changed my name to Marta.

Marta is selling sports tickets online through Craigslist using an old ebay ID that I haven't used for over a year. My inbox was inundated the other day with emails from prospective buyers stating they would love to have this great deal I'm offering on Craigslist and they had finally tracked me down with the ebay ID I gave in the ads. My first thought was typical spam email...delete! Then the emails started coming through with the message stating "I am now sending you my credit card number and please hold the tickets". Curiosity started to get the better of me so I logged into the old account and voila...these were all legitimate buyers contacting me through ebay's system! I wouldn't normally be concerned, but these people were giving me their credit card numbers, addresses and phone numbers....and we're talking about all over the US. How gullible are people to send this info to a person who is advertising on Craigslist with an ebay user ID?

I did a post a while back about being Twitter dumb. Never say never...I now tweet and understand the validity of the social networking site for business purposes. It seems that accounts are being hacked over there right and left sending out emails such as "Check your IQ with this test...are you smarter than me?" Open one of those direct messages and it will definitely show your score..idiot comes to mind.

I really must be living in another world. Who gets their jollies from doing this kind of stuff? I understand selling SEC tickets and getting money for them but the other malicious emails for no monetary gain has me baffled. Honesty must be another quality not being taught, but I digress. Have you been scammed through spam?
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11 November 2009

Today...a big thanks

Medora, ND

A few years ago, the DH and I were on a little jaunt through the northern part of the US visiting family and my old hometown contemplating a move back. One of the sites to see...and there aren't that many in North Medora which is situated in the Badlands. Incredible scenery, a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt and steeped in history. Every night, they have a musical which plays to a packed house. Talent auditions from all over the US to vie for a spot in the show. Tickets must be reserved in is a big destination and draw...for ND that is.

On this particular evening, the tribute was to the veterans who have served in war. The DH, after being drafted, served for quite some time in Vietnam and was in quite the thick of things..Plaicou and other areas. There was not a day that he wasn't shot at or privy (if you can call it that) to some kind of skirmish. He does not speak of this time often to me or our family...I venture to say that most people who know him would not even know that he served. He rarely acknowledges the fact or is boastful about doing so. It was, after all, his responsibility and job. On this evening, the musical was spectacular and one that made you proud to be an American. The announcer then asked for the veterans in the crowd to stand so that we could honor their service calling out each war with the men and women standing when their service time was announced. When the Vietnam War was called, I looked at him and he back at me. He then slowly stood up. I can tell you that I had tears in my eyes and total pride knowing that my husband was one that was standing amongst a sea of many.

Today is Veterans Day...a day to remember the men and women that have fought for our America. Even though we may not agree with the political agendas set forth with each war, the fact still remains that there are people that fight and go to war for us on a daily basis. It is a holiday, yes...but there is a meaning in this holiday. Let's not forget what it truly is all about and the servicemen that do strive for our peace.
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09 November 2009

Instant Gratification

I think we're all a little guilty of this mental state. We want everything and we want it now. From instant cereals to cellphones and texting. Then there's the health care...instant service, diagnosis and cure. Education? Instant job, high wages and wealth. Shopping? Gotta have those shoes for the upcoming party to match my dress or better yet, let's go for the whole shebang and buy a new outfit. Lets not get into the physical aspect...take a pill and be thinner tomorrow. What you say? You can't pay for it right now? That's ok...we'll just finance it for you or put it on the charge card.

Sometimes, it doesn't surprise me with the economic times we live in today. I remember in my younger days when we got sick, we took an aspirin and did a home remedy. If we really got sick, we got a shot of penicillin from the local doc but I rarely remember going to see him. We never really went to the emergency room and I know there was not a thing called "emergent care clinic". If you wanted to talk to someone on the phone, you sat in the chair in the kitchen hoping someone on the party line wasn't listening in. If you were on a road trip, there were no gameboys, ipods much less cell phones. It was so nice to sit back and enjoy the ride. If you needed to make a call...which never had to wait till the next town to find a phone. Christmas shopping meant planning ahead for my parents deciding what they could afford and what each child needed. The presents I remember the most are the ones my Mother made for each of us from the jammies to the knitted scarf and hat.

So how does one cure themselves of this addiction? A tough question. I spent yesterday doing a little shopping on the internet and as these thoughts were racing through my brain, I stopped and asked myself, 1. Do I really need that or do I just want it? 2. What is the personal cost to me or my family if I decide to do this? 3. Is what I am doing really important in the scheme of things or will they work out as is? And the most important part thing I always try to remember is that instant gratification is temporary. I really do have everything I could ever possibly need or want and then some.

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08 November 2009

The Dunce in the corner...

That's me for sure...the little guy in the corner with the dunce cap on promising to be good. You see, I have been very remiss in posting several awards that I have gotten. I had them written down on a piece of paper and when cleaning up this past week for the big soiree, I swear, the shop-vac sucked up the sheet! So without further ado and what my addled brain can remember..I'm going to send out some big thanks you's!Sarah at Cottage Garden Studio gave me this very special award. In Sarah's words, "one common virtue, they are loyal friends regardless of race, creed, political affiliations and geography. To honor womanhood and friendship and there is nothing more wondrous a blessing for anyone than for a friend who came and never left your side." I tune in to Sarah's blog every time I'm on blogger and always leave with sound advice or something to think about in my daily life. To you, Sarah, I'll always be there...thank you for the honor! I'm going to pass this on to Kelly over at The Chic Geek. A fabulous blog...really go have a good read!

Emmy at Emmy Mom gave me this super Dragon's Loyalty Award. Love that colorful picture and it is a new one to me! I am new follower on her blog and really enjoy the enthusiasm and verve this young lady exhibits. I'm a you prbably haven't guessed already...and this is Emmy's way of saying thank you! I'm going to pass this one to Snap from Tales From Twisty Lane.

Barbara over at A Bird In My Hand honored me with this Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you, Barbara, but truly...this lady is THE creative blogger and then some. She's a published author and writes the best stories on her blog. Even though she may be new to the blogging world (so she says but she writes too darn well to be brand new!), she has taken to it like a duck to water. I'd love to shake her's even passed the muster of Clint Eastwood ;) and the lady has been on the set of Mad Men. Definitely after my heart! I'm going to pass this award on to PJ over at Seens From The Back Of My Eyelids. I'm new there too but really enjoy the posts!
This one is hilarious...not for me..just my blog! Bhavesh Chhatbar over at Information is Everything sent this present my way. Bhavesh is a writer, traveller, photographer and designer from India and brings the most interesting information out in his blog. I love traveling so is not a wonder that I enjoy reading his blog. I get to live vicariously though his travels!

How lucky can I be? This Honest Scrap award was given to me by two great blogs that I thoroughly enjoy! Matty over at Matty Thoughts is an ardent Phillie fan...he could use some of your love right now as he's feeling World Series pain! He really is a poet and doesn't know must read his acceptance of this award..totally creative... honest to a tee and a loyal commenter. A great blog to check out!
The Divine Mrs. D from Love Is A Verb is the other lady who sent this my way. She's been to 18 or 19 countries, names rats in the New York subway and does MTV voice-overs. Currently fighting bedbugs! I just had to add that last one as you have no idea the trouble it is to get rid of the little buggers! I'm going to pass this on to several people...Sandra at Worlds End Farm , Sara at Twillypop and Vicky over at The Westra World.

If I have forgotten one, please accept my apologies..and let me know! I really would like to to take off this hot dunce cap and stop writing on the hand has cramps!!

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07 November 2009

Just what you really wanted to know...

Anyone that reads this blog knows that I am a word person...or maybe you didn't know. It's one of those seven random facts that you just needed to know..HA! The fabulous Eclectic Element honored me with being her guest blogger so go ahead and click to read the interview here. Meanwhile, if you haven't used a wordle and want to kill some time, it's loads of fun..that is if you have time to kill! Judging by your responses from my last post, we all seem to spend too much time in blog land. It is addicting!

Have a great weekend all
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05 November 2009

Too much time...

Just a few random thoughts for Thursday.
I know today that I need to hide my make up brushes as it appears that when other people who will remain nameless use them, I end up with huge red puffy eyelids that droop over my eyes and I can barely see anything.
I also know that the roll on migraine relief stick my DH got for me should have been tested on a less conspicuous spot other than my forehead as I now have a large red warpaint band across the front of my face. Other than looking like I'm still wearing a Halloween mask, I'd say today is a pretty good day...I'm still kicking!

I do have to say, this matchstick art is pretty cool...if you have a lot of time on your hands! Which brings me to the question... how much time do you spend in blogland every day?
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03 November 2009

Stop to smell the roses...

My dear friend sent this email to me the other day. I am sure many of you have read it before, but it was a new one to me.

Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. He played six
Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people
went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a
middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and
stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till
and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his
watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as the
kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the
child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated
by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move

45 minutes:
The musician played. Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20
gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded,
nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

I did check this out on Snopes to make sure it was true. One has to wonder how many things of beauty we pass by on a daily basis because we're just too hurried to take notice. Seems we all should take the time to smell the roses.

Happy hump day all!
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02 November 2009

MIA Blogger...That's me!!

Call me bad...really bad! I have been away from posting for a few days which also means that I haven't been commenting....I'm a missing in action blogger...that's me! I wish I could say that I've gone fishing, but not the case. Seems I volunteered about four months ago to host a whole group of women at the house yesterday and today which entails lots of cooking, cleaning and basically "puttin' on the dog'"! Since we have been having a month of solid rain, it has made for lots of mud in the house and anyone that knows me, knows I hate to clean. That must be one of the seven things you just have to know, right? Top it off..the vacuum broke so I have been using a Shop-Vac! Those can really suck dirt! Don't be cringing out there...I'm sure someone can relate...please tell me they do so I don't feel like a total idiot!

Pumpkin caramel cheesecakes are ready, silver polished, house semi Shop-Vac clean and I'm good to go. Now I just need to stretch those gray cells and memorize a couple of pages of dialog and I just might make it through the night. I didn't realize that after 50, you can't remember a darn thing. Why is it that I still procrastinate? I'll be checking out some of you wonderful new followers and commenting back to my tried & true buds by tomorrow. It may be a threat, but you know I just love to comment!
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