Thursday, May 7, 2015

Trash Day Treasures (and a fun graduation card)

Hi friends,

First, let me share my darling graduation card with you.  I went to a stamp camp last Friday.  It's a place in my neighborhood where a Stampin up demonstrator invites us to her home and we pay $15.00 and make 3 cards.  It's a fun social event and I love not having to prepare anything.

So how do you feel about trash day? My husband LOVES trash day.  He also loves going to the dump.  Why?  Because when we no longer want something, it is very satisfying to remove it completely from the house and premises.  It's such a good habit to get into.  In the past, when something broke or was no longer used, we would transfer the item to a closet, attic, garage or shed.  having moved a few times, I can tell you it is a huge hassle to have to deal with all the 'built-up' stuff in an attic!

So we now are much more disciplined about moving it out to the trash.  Here in our city condo in Waltham, trash day is not just trash day, it's also treasure day.  It's very common for me to put something out on the curb and within a matter of an hour, it's taken. Not by the trash collectors but by neighbors and others who are on the lookout for things.

My dear husband is absolutely mortified that I've joined with them.  For the last few weeks, he's groaned as I come back from my dog walk Thursday mornings and hop in my car.  He knows I'm not running to the convenience store for milk at 7:00am.  He knows there is a 'trash day treasure' that I'll be bringing home.

And I've gotten some great finds.  Today I brought home 3 partially full bags of potting soil.  Organic potting soil at that.  I can totally use that in my patio pots this year.  Last week, I found 3 bar stools.

The paint is kind of worn, but they are nice stools - like the kind you'd see in Pottery Barn. My dear husband reminds me we having nothing bar stool height, BUT, I found this great idea on pinterest and will be converting these bar stools into a craft desk for the cabin.

What else have I found?  Well, one day (around Easter) I found a cool looking rustic creche.  It has some damage, but I loved the look of it and have big plans for renovating it for Christmas next year.

Just the other day I got some outdoor cushions from my next door neighbor.  I didn't actually pull them from the track, I had been talking to her over the weekend and she was sharing with me about how her outdoor cushions had mildew on them and she got new ones.  I boldly asked for the old ones and have done some google research on removing mildew.  It's a fair amount of work, but very possible.  See below for that FIND.

And what about my first statement - getting rid of things we don't use?  Well, no worries.  I figure if my projects don't work out and I don't need these things - I'll just put them out with my trash some Thursday morning and one of my neighbors (or garage sale junkies who troll the neighborhood) will come by and snag them up.  If no-one else takes them, they go to the town dump (same place they were originally headed.)

Do I feel bad about taking my neighbors trash?  Well, I do a little bit, but not for the reasons you would suspect.  The only reason I feel bad is because I have the financial resources to buy things new and I sometimes feel guilty that I may be taking the good stuff from my neighbors trash and maybe instead I should be leaving it for those people who drive around in pickup trucks (or walk around with shopping carts) looking for stuff.  I believe there is a whole industry of taking used stuff from the trash, renovating it and selling it for a profit.  It's actually an age old concept that is spoken about in the bible.

The biblical concept is called Gleaning and it is listed in Leviticus 23:22

"When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God."

Below is what Wickipedia says about gleaning

Gleaning (formerly 'leasing') is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.[1]

Old Testament[edit]

According to the Holiness Code and the Deuteronomic Code of the Torahfarmers should leave the corners of their fields unharvested, and they should not attempt to pick up that which was dropped or harvest any left-overs that had been forgotten when they had harvested the majority of a field.[2][3][4] On one of the two occasions that this is mentioned by the Holiness Code, it adds that, in vineyards, some grapes should be left ungathered,[5] an argument made also by the Deuteronomic Code.[6]
So  I don't feel bad about going through my neighbors trash because I think it's 'trashy.'  Nor do I feel bad about it because of what others might think of me.  The only reason I may feel bad is because I feel maybe I should leave this for the 'Gleaners.'  But to counter this, I very often put nice things out on the curb, I always donate unused stuff to charity (rarely if never try to sell it for a profit) and put aside some of our income each week, month and year to give to worthwhile charities.
So, what do you think about trash day treasures?  Would you take something from the curb in front of your neighbors house that was put out as trash?  Should I stop taking things to leave for the poor?  Are you wondering if I'll ever get around to making any my projects with my trash?
Thanks for your thoughts and thanks for visiting my blog today.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Greetings

Hi Friends,

I have a bright and fun Easter card to share with you today.  I actually did my crafting up in NH at the cabin this time.  I went through the supplies I brought and couldn't find my Papertrey white paper and I had to improvise.  As any of you copic marker crafters know, you really can't color a stamped image if you don't have the right paper. I had SU whisper white but the sheen and texture of that paper is not at all suitable to copic markers so instead of coloring my eggs, I stamped my eggs on patterned paper and cut them out.  This alternate method had excellent results.  Of course as soon as I finished the card, I found the PTI paper!  I guess this card was meant to be.

And speaking of Easter and the cabin, we are celebrating Easter up there this weekend.  Sarah did a nice job creating a spring mantel for the fireplace.  Bob scrubbed the stones on the fireplace - they were black from years of soot.

I spent last weekend working on kitchen curtains.  I went through 3 full bobbins of thread and they are not done yet, but they are coming along.  Slowly but surely, the cabin is getting homey.  Want to see?  Of course you do.  Here is the spring mantle.  Even though it's a stone fireplace, adding spring elements does make it less winter like and more spring like.

I spent last weekend working on kitchen curtains.  I went through 3 full bobbins of thread and they are not done yet, but they are coming along.  Slowly but surely, the cabin is getting homey.  
Want to see?  Of course you do.

Above is the 'mock-up' of the curtains.  I haven't hemmed them yet, but wanted to see them on the window so I hung them up, almost done.  I love, love, love the bright red against the white kitchen.  It looks beautiful with the snow in the back meadow.  It will look beautiful also with green when spring arrives.  I hope to plant daffodils in that back meadow for naturalizing.  Red, yellow and green - won't that be gorgeous?

We have plans to go to the dump Saturday - every exciting.  We also plan to go the Buffalo farm at Yankee Farmers Market.  This place is right in town is a farm that sells all kinds of local meat.  Sarah and Ivan have been there, but I have not.  I hope to get bacon for our spinach salad and either ham or pork for our Easter meal.  It's kind of cool to be able to get local meat right in town!

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sarah Kate

As spring approaches, I get nostalgic about my darling Sarah.  She's an April baby and I thought I'd share the card I made for her and some darling photo's of her as a baby as her birthday approaches.

My card is a copy of a beautiful card made by Maile Belles.  Maile's card below has a heart frame with many blossoms in various colors in the middle.

My card goes with a circular frame and similar (but different) blooms.

Check out the link to Maile's blog for details on how she created this beauty.

So, back to baby Sarah.  She was a darling baby - 2 weeks late, but well worth the wait.  She had a bright red mark on her forehead and very little hair.  How funny that the hospital taped a bow to her head for her hospital photo!  She loved to be wrapped up tight in the blankets and when she wasn't wrapped up, we had her in those sweet little nightgowns that have tie bottoms.  She was a colicky baby so Bob and I spent most nights those first months holding her (football style) in our arms and pacing the nursery all night long.  We were exhausted, but loved her to pieces.

And look at her now!   Still adorable, but in a much different way!

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Care Package

Hi all,

When you were in college did you ever get a care package from home?  I got a few and they were always so exciting to open.    When Sarah was in college, I would always send a spring time package just before the end of the semester as a kind of 'finals prep kit.'  In Sarah's spring box I always included fun PJ's.

I haven't sent Eric anything all year and figured he was due.  I boxed up a bunch of treats for him to arrive just before Easter.  I didn't send him PJ's (although he probably would have appreciated that.) Instead I sent him a Red Sox shirt, and one for Jessa too!  Since he goes to school in the south, he will have a hard time finding any Red Sox gear nearby and my local Walmart was chock full of items. The hard part?  Choosing which T-shirt he would like best!

And of course at the top of the box was a beautiful Easter card for my # 1 son.  I can call him my # 1 son, because he's my ONLY son.

There are very few occasions where you can send a bunny card that says Love You' with purple polka dots, but this was one such occasion.

I was surprised at how expensive it was to mail.  I sent it in a USPS priority mail flat rate box - size medium and it cost me $12.95 to ship.   I think when I sent these to Sarah several years ago it would cost $7.00.  At least I'm not sending the box overseas.  When I would send boxes this size to Sarah when she was in the Peace Corp it would cost me over $50.00 and take at least a month to get there (if it made it to her at all!)

It's no big deal though.  I only send one or two boxes a year.  But next time, I'll use my own box and send it regular parcel post.  I think the convenience of the priority mail box adds a little extra fee.

I sent it last week.  Let's hope he gets it before Easter and let's hope he doesn't overdose on sugar when he gets the box and starts to binge on Sour Patch Kids Watermelon Candy!

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Make it a great day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Papertrey Ink Spring Blog Hop (and throw back Thursday on a Wednesday)

Hi all,

Today I have a card to share with you for the PTI blog hop that uses the Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge for the layout.  Below is my card, the inspiration photo and the sketch.

My card is going to a girl I work with who had surgery a few weeks ago.  Shame on me, I didn't send anything at the time, but haven't forgotten her and decided to use this card making opportunity as a chance to redeem myself.  Who knows, maybe she'll appreciate the card 2 weeks after surgery more than the day of.  She'll be out of work for at least 4 more weeks so she'll probably enjoy hearing from a work friend with kinds thoughts.  I used the papertrey ink tea set and some Ranger Watercolor paper. I inked up various sentiments from the tea set and stamped them while the paper was mostly dry, but still a little damp.  It gives the sentiments a little watercolor effect as well.

For those who follow my blog, I got some great responses from my throw back Thursday (on a Wednesday) post last week so decided to continue the trend.  For this weeks theme, I thought I'd share pictures from 26 years ago, when Bob and I lived in Florida and we were expecting our first baby.  Sarah arrived in early April, so below are a few shots we took of our little house, her nursery and me getting bigger by the minute!

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Throw Back Thursday (on a Wednesday)

Hi friends,

First, a quick card to share with you.  This is a fun and easy birthday card using watercolor papers.  I sponged the blue ink over the stamped floral images to create this soft and feminine effect.

So, do you ever load pictures to facebook for 'Throw Back Thursday?'  Up until recently I haven't been playing along, but I've really enjoyed seeing my friends post pictures from way back and decided to join in the trend.

I spoke to my daughter on Monday and she said that she and some friends were going to get together and drink green beer on Saint Patrick's Day.  That reminded me of my younger days so I found some old pictures from 1984 of the Phi Kappa Pi Beer Blast.  I plan to put these on facebook for TBT, but thought I'd share a little of the backstory here on my blog.  These pictures below are all from March 17, 1984 -  the first beer blast of the season at Phi Kappa Pi sorority house at 58 Elm Street, Potsdam NY.

Do you not know what a 'Beer Blast' is?  Well, I don't know who else participated in them, but they were very popular in Potsdam NY back when I was in college.  Pretty much every Saturday (when it wasn't freezing cold) a fraternity or sorority would host a 'Beer Blast.'  It was a fund raiser and I have no idea how we made any money on these things, but I recall that we did.

You could buy your ticket in advance (from fraternity or sorority members) for $3.00.  You would go to the 'house' where the party was happening at 1pm and you could hang out in the yard from 1-5pm and drink as much beer as you could handle.  We didn't have 'red solo cups' back then. I recall they were just really cheap clear plastic cups and you'd go to the keg and pour your own.  It was cheap keg beer.  Our beer blast (I think all beer blasts) served Genesee beer.  If you are not from NY, you probably don't know about Genny Cream Ale.  It wasn't very good.  Light, not very carbonated and had a reputation for giving you gas (fondly known as Genny Screamers when the gas let loose.)  The joke was they used water from the Genessee river and that was not known to be clean.  I don't think they actually did that, but we liked to joke about it.

The party also included a band and hot dogs.  Rest rooms consisted of port a potties for the girls and a makeshift urinal for the men.  We put up plywood privacy barriers and several bathtubs.  It was 'rustic.'  At many beer blasts, at some point the barricade would fall down and we would get a show. Even though we were an engineering school, not much effort went into these things.

The hot dogs were typically boiled in the kitchen, put on a bun and then thrown out to the crowd from the porch.  I don't recall that we served plates, napkins, mustard or ketchup.  I don't think I ever ate a hotdog at a Beer Blast, but I think state law required that we serve food with the alcohol and some of the guys did eat them.

At 5pm, the kegs would be shut down and the host group would have to start escorting their drunken guests out of the yard.  It was like a parade.  Most went back to their dorm or apartment for a nap before heading downtown for the Saturday evening festivities, some probably headed straight to the 'after party.'   Neighbors hated when a beer blast happened on their street because public urination was common.  I recall having to do 'street duty' after our beer blast to ensure that anyone walking on our street didn't make a pit stop in the neighbors bushes.

The yard would be a wreck after the event was over.  If you had any grass in the past, it was pretty much gone and you were left with a lot of mud.  I don't know how, but the grass grew up pretty nice that spring after the thaw happened.  Maybe spilled beer makes good fertilizer.

The dress code at a beer blast was first and foremost be warm.  In upstate NY, even in the early fall and late spring, it would be chilly.  And you would wear your fraternity or sorority 'colors' or 'letters.'

In my circle of friends, everyone went to the beer blast.  We didn't always stay the whole time and we didn't always over-indulge, but it was the social event to be at and I don't think I missed too many of them.  I would do my studying in the library Saturday morning (or laundry) and then make plans to hit the beer blast in the afternoon.  I was in the 'napping' after the blast category.  We would head back home, nap, eat and then head out the evening social events.

Below are my photos from the March 17th event.

Several of my sorority sisters posing for a picture.  Don't ask me their names - I've totally forgotten by now.

Beth Ziemen and Sheila McMahon - my two roommates in front of our apartment.    They were also sorority sisters.  I liked hanging with these two.  Whenever we went downtown together, guys would buy us drinks because Sheila was GORGEOUS.  Beth and I weren't too shabby either, but everyone noticed Sheila which wasn't a bad thing.

Bob and I in our matching gold and black.  He was in Phi Kappa Sigma, I was in Phi Kappa Pi, both fraternity and sorority shared the gold and black colors.  Yup, we both look like we are in middle school!  Bob was actually a college Sr when this picture taken, me a junior.
In case you didn't believe me about the 'all you can eat hotdogs, all you can drink beer and a band for $3.00', here is the ticket as proof.

Click the link below to see more Beer Blast photos and memoirs from Potsdam NY

Potsdam Beer Blasts

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope I inspired you to post some Throw Back Thursday pictures of your own this week!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Farewell February

Hi friends,

Before I get into today's post, let me first share a fun birthday card I made for my co-worker.  I made this at a Stampin Up workshop and it's the kind of card I never think to make, but love it.  Very colorful, very fun and very 3 dimensional.

I am so happy to bid farewell to February.  It actually was a great month for me, a lot of really great things happened, but oh my word - the snow - the cold - I'm very much ready to flip the calendar to a new month.  And flip the calendar I will!

For those who don't live in New England, we have had near record breaking weather in February. 100 inches of snow in one month.  And that was IN ADDITION to the 2 feet of snow we got the last week of January.  Almost every week there was a storm that dumped over a foot of snow on us, cancelling work, school and making a mess of everything.  And if that weren't trouble enough, we also were breaking records for cold. We had 28 consecutive days with lows of 20 degrees or colder. Last Sunday the temps rose to almost 40 degrees.  People were out in shorts!  It felt so much warmer to us compared to the bitter cold days we had been having, it was like summer to us.  This is a picture of my back yard.  Can you see the fences in the back?  Those are 8 feet high fences and the snow is almost to the top.

So, what does all that cold and snow do to my routine?  Well, it made things really inconvenient but for me it was really just a nuisance. Driving to work was difficult because it's really hard to get out of my neighborhood since 2 lane roads become one, pulling out from my side street onto Beaver Street is dangerous because it's very hard to see the on-coming traffic, and once I get on 128 south, with all the salt on the road, it's nearly impossible to actually see where the lanes are.  And of course, my back and shoulders ache from shoveling, shoveling, shoveling.  Thankfully Bob has the snow blower and does most of the heavy lifting in this area, but I shovel the dogs path in the back and shovel the front walkway for the postman.

So, overall an inconvenience for me, but for others, it was much more significant.  Many people in the Boston area rely on public transportation or have jobs that they can't do from home.  For these people, this February has meant many hours of lost wages (when a company can't open, workers can't earn money.)  When public transportation shuts down (which it did several days in Feb) people can't get to work (even if the company is open.)  And when public transportation is not running at normal schedules, people arrive to work late and/or have to leave for work much, much earlier.  And I don't think it was very pleasant to walk to bus stops or train stops with giant snowbanks blocking the sidewalks and waiting on a snowbank corner for an extra long time for the bus.  I really feel bad for these people and am aware of this is just one more area where the difference between rich and poor is significant.

So, in the opening sentence I alluded to many great things happening in February, let me tell you about those things.

First, on February 1st, I started my new job as Contract Center Manager.  Having been in the new role for a month, I can say that I really like it.  I'm still heavily involved in my old job, but have started tackling some of my new 2015 projects in the contract center and am enjoying managing a team of 4 people.  I forgot how interesting it is to work with direct reports.  People are so funny.  I've already had a number of funny instances with the team and since I'm an old lady now, I just laugh and don't ponder these things and stress about them.  So I'll give you a 'for instance.'  So I had our first team meeting and I asked them to each share something about them that they want to share with the team, particularly something I may not know about them.  I was thinking of sort of an ice breaker to start the meeting.  I also asked them to share the accounts they support, the challenges they face in their job and where they think they add the most value to the company.  So we get into the meeting and the first person to share says 'well, I really want to be a super hero - Captain America'  I'm like 'okay....'  Then they proceed to share that their wife also wants them to be Captain America.  Now, I'm getting nervous - please don't over-share here!!!  So, we move on to the next topic.  The next person shares that they want to be a Minion.  At this point I'm trying hard not to bust up laughing.  I was actually thrilled.  These people are not brown nosers who wanted to impress the new boss.  Imagine how dull it would have been if they said 'well, I like to read the Wall Street Journal in my free time and spend my weekends advancing my excel skills so I can write macros.'  Instead I have super hero's!  I'm looking forward to more adventures with this great group!

So, second, on February 7&8, I headed to NYC with my mom, daughter and met my sister and cousin.  We had such a nice time visiting the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa.)  They had a Matisse exhibit that was really interesting and we enjoyed a fun lunch of Ramen and dinner in Jersey City.

Then on February 10th (was originally supposed to be Fec 9th, but the snow storm cancelled my flight and I had to fly out one day later) I headed to Dallas for the Vendavo Price Summit.  This is a great event that I've been to for the last several years.  This year was extra special because I was one of the break-out group speakers.  Jin and I had been working on our presentation materials for several months and we were very prepared.  The session went well and we got good feedback that our session was interesting and the topic was relevant to the audience.  I think they published the sessions in You Tube format (only for session attendee's) and I'm kind of afraid, but also curious to watch it back.  Did I really nail it as much as I think I did?  In the end I plan to watch it.  How can I grow as a speaker if I'm too afraid to actually watch my own session?

Here I am presenting on such an exciting topic 'change management!'  Notice my hand gestures!  I was probably very animated!

 Below:  Rich (my boss), me, Aditya and Jin at the hoe-down party.

Below:  In the back, Mayur, Rich, Aditya (and me in front) during one of the sessions.

Christine, Jin, me, Mayur and Aditya at the 'Gala.'

And on February 13th, we closed on our NH cabin.  That was fun, exciting and exhausting.  We had a u-haul truck reserved for Feb 14th and another snow storm was on it's way.  We felt confident we'd have time to get the furniture (couch from craig's list, mattresses from Bob's discount furniture), drive the truck up to the cabin and return the truck back before the snow started.  We managed to get it all done, but not before the storm came.  We had some harrowing driving on NH back roads, in a non-snow friendly 17' U-haul truck, but all worked out in the end.  Sunday February 15th, we awoke (after sleeping on our new comfy mattresses) to a beautiful winter wonderland in rural NH.  In winter, with the snow falling, it really is magical.  Our cabin is in the middle of no-where and at night, it's soooo dark and soooo silent.  No light pollution and just utter and complete silence.  It's very  nice.   Last Sunday we went snow shoeing right out the back door.  Then we filled the wood stove, sat our new sectional, read a book and R-E-L-A-X-E-D.  I think we are really going to like the cabin winter-spring-summer-fall.

Since then, nothing interesting has happened, but it was a very busy and exciting 2 weeks from Feb 1-Feb 14th.  Today I'm going to make 'from scratch' slow cooker bolegnese sauce and my friend Karen is coming over.  I haven't seen her in forever and I'm looking forward to catching up with her. How about you? What's on your agenda for today.  I hope you have a great day and thanks so much for visiting my blog today.