Monday, November 26, 2007

Thankful and a give away!

Edited to add: Ooh, the stuff I've found while in NYC! Just maybe a little somethin' somethin' from places like Tinsel Trading and Mr. Pink's!
I am still exhausted from the house full of family, but it was a wonderful time. The food was outstanding. I don't mean to brag, but we really outdid ourselves this time. I don't think I'll lose this full feeling for at least another week!
*the perfect day for a trip to the zoo in D.C. We could not have ordered up better weather. And we were able to see the pandas showing off.
*the first annual talent show complete with magic, art, a circus act, singing, feats of intelligence and great strength and a champion burper.
*making a gingerbread house which has since lost a wall and the roof is all wonky. I think we got more frosting on ourselves than on the house.
*We've started a gratitude journal which will be sent to the host family each year for safe-keeping. Several lovely entries, some handprints to document growing children and menu notes. It's already broken in and waiting for next year's gathering.

*playing lots and lots of domino games. Our dominoes only see the light of day on major holidays and this time they got a workout. Friendly competition and no one being sore winners (which are worse than sore losers)!

I've started adding some of the blogs I read regularly in the side column. I'll be adding more as I get the time. If you're not there, it's not because I don't love and adore you. it's because I'm not dressed yet and need to drive my daughter to school! I'm pretty sure that my list of blog favorites now far exceeds my list of art supply favorite sites!
Last, but not least, I have some goodies to bestow to someone.....

The Christmas season is officially here and all my supplies are spread far & wide in the studio as I work on whipping up fun new projects from old findings. Don't we all love presents? What I love more than getting presents is giving presents, so I'd like to give someone a little package filled with fun vintage Christmas goodies. Just leave a comment and when I get back from NYC on Thursday night, I'll have one of my trusty assistants draw a name. Danielle, no loading the ballot box! lol

In this tiny, fun assortment, there is a nice large sheet of vintage Christmas giftwrap from a department store roll, a teensie little basket made of old greeting cards, some tiny Shiny Brite ornaments perfect for crafting, a dresden, a few vintage cards (one that folds into a cool box ornament), several Christmas seals and tiny stamps. I may find something cool in NYC to throw in there as well. Ya just never know!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fun stuff!

My first Joli Paquet kit arrived today! If you didn't get in on the fun already, I think there are some kits left from these talented ladies. Check it out! I had been so very sad to miss Silver Bella, but this group rocked it out with fun kits full of sparkles, magic and all things glittery.
And, a box full of amazing goodies. From Ebay. I quite literally feel like I hit the jackpot with this lot and will be looking to share a few things, so be on the lookout for my next blog entry which will be my measly 25th entry for a retro, kitschy Christmas giveaway! I was so excited going through this box that I forgot for a moment that the hubby probably wouldn't look at several packages arriving on the same day as a 'good mail day', but rather as a, 'oh boy, what has she gone and done now' kind of event. I was squealing at him to come and look. I completely lost my wits, but wow, good haul.
Also in the giveaway will be some goodies from my vast assortment of Christmas love stash. Can you tell I love Christmas? Does that come across? Because if it didn't, let me tell you, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
Today while hubby was working on an enormous project from The List, I had a little time to play in the studio. It looks like a craft store blew up in there, but good things are happening. Sometimes they're happening so fast, I seem to be in the midst of 3-4 different projects at once.

Before Christmas completely takes over though, I've got to give Autumn its due. The leaves this year have been absolutely gorgeous beyond compare. Some days have felt like pretty gifts all wrapped up in a cozy sweater with a steaming mug of soup kinds of days. To do: make more soups & stews, read more novels while curled up under a quilt, jump into a pile of leaves and sit on the porch swing to while the afternoon away....

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Big Turkey, Me!

is just around the bend. My side of the family is descending upon our humble abode. I am so not ready! But I am. Does that make any sense? I hate housecleaning. With. A. Passion. I haven't been able to negotiate for a cleaning service with Tim as a part of my "If Momma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy" contract though. He's more of an indignant "Why pay someone good money for something I can do myself?" kind of guy. Unfortunately, when we have mass quantities of people coming to stay, he's more likely to be overtaken by the urgent need to rearrange the garage (because, um, you know, that's where we're all going to spend time eating pumpkin pie and watching football, right?) than being overtaken by the need to vacuum, dust, do breakfast dishes or change sheets. On these issues, after knowing each other since we were 14, we still have what I call 'intense fellowship', i.e. arguments.

The only solution to this problem is to do something I fought against for YEARS in our marriage. I still get a little eye twitch while doing it, but the headaches it saves me make it definitely worth the doing. Make him a list. I couldn't stand making lists of to-do's for him. I was not his mother. I did not understand why he couldn't take a look around the house and see the work that needed to be done. His mind doesn't operate the way mine does though. He can appear to be looking around the living room but in his head, he's thinking "I need to check Casii's front tires." Good thing to think because I have one that tends to lose air faster than the others, but he would never see the pile of books on the floor, the newspaper spread out over 3 sofa cushions, the cat hair that needs to be vacuumed off the rug or the 3 glasses on the coffee table left there from the night before.
When I finally humbled myself to make lists for him, he was ecstatic to check off tasks for me. He still gets sidetracked (how a man goes downstairs to get a bag of peas from the freezer for me, never to return. only to be seen outside 20 minutes later mowing the lawn is beyond me), but the list will bring him back on track. I get what I want in the bargain too rather than driving him crazy because I'm stressed beyond belief trying to do it all myself.

Moral of the story: While our first-born stubborn selves are equal, we are NOT the same. Our brains are wired differently. A self-help book would tell us to celebrate those differences. My advice to anyone who has similar issues, is to make a nice martini (margarita, glass of red wine, whatever floats your boat), make that list and take the edge off your personality differences.

What I do enjoy is the homekeeping part of entertaining. Creating an atmosphere, putting on music, baking pumpkin bread, filling little guests baskets. The details that will make someone smile, make someone comfortable and ease the way for frazzled family nerves.

I got a crazy idea this year that I was going to make little placecards. Sketched it up, made a demo model and proceeded to churn them out. They were a lot more work than I planned on, but I think they turned out nicely. Next time I'm hosting though, I may see the good sense in writing someones name on a tent folded piece of cardstock!

A couple of weeks ago, Dianna tagged me to list 7 random facts about me. I'm so tardy, sorry girlfriend! Be warned, you asked for it!

1. My name really is Casii. Not Cassandra or any other form derived from Cassandra. My mom thought this spelling was glamorous. I think she was still hopped up on Demerol when she filled out my birth certificate.

2. I have no pinky toenails. Freaky, ain't it?

3. I'm older than my spouse. By eleven days, but don't you know he milks it about landing himself an older woman.
4. My spouse and I like to play little pranks on each other. This is usually precipitated by one of us going out of town. Much of the time it involves underwear; hanging it from the ceiling fan, chandeliers, tucking it under pillows, suitcase or laptop bags. We've also had fun with the Dove true beauty ads. We'll rip those out and post them on mirrors, fold them up to fit into wallets, tuck them into lunch bags. When Sanjaya was on American Idol and defying all odds by hanging around, I was flipping out at the television. Tim had been out of town one week and picked up SEVERAL free copies of USA Today from the hotel lobby because there was a big article on Sanjaya. I was finding that young man's photo in obscure places for days. It was, at once, torturous and hilarious. Our latest prank? A thong traveled with him out of town, but he got me too. I'd been cleaning out the spice cabinet and what did I open the door to find? A giant 3 Musketeers ad I'd torn from a magazine.

5. As a teenager, I snuck a large pizza into the movie theater. Also, bags full of Taco Bell, sodas tucked into my waistband and probably lots of other crazy contraband. Today, they still haven't heard my pleas to have diet Dr. Pepper and the big theater doesn't have Junior Mints. What kind of movie place doesn't have Junior Mints?!? If you see a lady with a leftover Halloween box of Junior Mints going into the theater, keep it on the downlow, will you?
6. Addicted to diet Dr. Pepper. See above.
7. On a holiday note, the moment that the Halloween decorations are put away, I get out the Christmas cds. Right now, Harry Connick Jr. is serenading me. After that, it will be Nat King Cole and then Brian Setzer. It's happy, swinging stuff. Drives my kids crazy! hehehehe
Watch out friends, I'll be tagging some of you next!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties...

are all gone now! Back to their boxes until next year. We had a really cool group of youth show up and they actually watched the movie! Sometimes when we do the movie on the side of the house, they're more into the chatter than the clattering of bones on the screen.

But, darn it all, they left me with cupcakes! Yummy, red velvet, white chocolate cream cheese frosted cupcakes. Kill me now. I have no willpower. Zip, nada, zilch. I had so much fun making them and thought they were so adorably cute that they'd just have to gobble them all up. Nothing doing. If you make your way to my house, don't be surprised if you find a cupcake or two in your handbag later....
Exhausted though I was, yesterday I managed to drag my sugar-hangovered self out to shop with Michelle. Her creative synapses are firing just about 100% of the time. We were supposed to head straight for a field trip to Ikea, but on the way, we saw a Target, looked at each other and yelled "Halloween Clearance!" Whipping over 3 lanes of traffic, we parked in a hurry and ran into the joint. No need to ask where the goods were because we could hear the crowd. Like women shopping for a Tickle Me Elmo doll circa 1996, we were snatching up the goods left and right. I got that feather wreath that I had refused to pay full price for as well as a bunch of goodies for Thanksgiving (all their fall goods were clearanced too). For good measure, we threw in t-shirts, stockings, sock and even Making Memories Halloween stuff. No buyers remorse here!
You'd think the adrenaline would've died off after that, but cheers erupted when we saw the flags of Ikea waving in the distance. Bags grabbed, we tore through that place shopping it like we were a couple of hyperactive 5 year olds high on a bag of Pixie sticks. Everytime I go there, I fall in love with the apartment mock-ups. How they manage to make 650 square feet of living space look so fabulous is beyond me. I can't squeeze my worldly belongings into my own house which is considerably larger. For all the solutions they offer to smarter, chic, simpler living, I came out with a huge bag full of goodies to wedge into my already crowded house.
It did give me some motivation to go into my studio and do a little rearranging. Kept it simple and changed the way I stored cardstock and patterned paper. Oddly, this gave me 2 fully empty Cropper Hopper paper keepers. Does this mean I should go scrapbook shopping?
Dianna tagged me and I will get my list together soon. Just so hard to find 7 random facts about me! lolololol Not! My problem is narrowing the list down so no one is truly horrified to call me friend. Good thing Halloween is over because if it weren't, my list would be downright scary....