December 22, 2008

New Tutorial

Visit my craft blog for a *new* tutorial on

December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice and warm wishes to all who celebrate today! (And for my blogging friends in the southern hemisphere, Happy Summer Solstice!)

I *did* put up a tree this year-- our small one. It fit perfectly on the coffee table in the living room; that's why I love these "skinny" x-mas trees-- its much easier to find a spot to put one of these than it is a big, bushy tree. I surprised Firehand by having the tree up, along with a few other decorations (mustn't forget the mistletoe ball!) when he got home from work on Friday evening.

I am full of joy knowing that from here on out, the days only begin to get longer and longer! Huzzah! Welcome back, Sun!

December 20, 2008

Whirlwind Iowa Trip, part 2~ Family


We arrived at Firehand's cousin's home around 2:30 PM and the holiday festivities were already in full swing. Everyone was just finishing lunch and Santa and his Elf were there visiting with all the young ones. After he left, it was time for all the kids to open gifts.

There was restrained order as every kid got to open a gift at a time around and around the circle, according to Great-Grandma's direction, while the adults looked on...

Once all the children's gifts were opened, chaos reigned. Below, Firehand is looking a little shell shocked from all the uproar.

The kids retreated to the play room and then the adults played a word game and had our grab bag gift exchange. All in all there were 19 adults and 8 children there for the day's celebration!

I got to make the acquaintance of one very special little boy, my newest nephew, now 5 months old, and as cute as can possibly be. He's feeling mighty sleepy in Grandpa's lap in this picture.

The festivities began to disband around 8 PM. We discovered our car was stuck in the mud, and all the men in the family tromped out into the wet and cold to solve that problem for us. Then off to the hotel for some quiet time with MIL, FIL, SIL and nephews before bed.


Off to the holiday gathering at Grandpa & Grandma E's. Grandma (and helpers) had been cooking up a storm and we enjoyed beef with homemade noodles, her fabulous apple salad and all sorts of other good food for lunch. And off course we got our traditional plate of cookies and bucket of caramel & cinnamon popcorn to take with us when we left.

It was a much smaller gathering on this day, the only children being our 2 nephews, plus 10 adults. Still, that quite a few people in a small apartment! After gifts were opened, most of the adults played cards-- but I played with my newest nephew. A happier baby I have never met, I swear.

After leftovers for dinner, it was time for us to hit the road again...

... another 3 hours of driving to get to my hometown and family... More of the whirlwind trip on the way!

December 18, 2008

Whirlwind IowaTrip, part 1~ Traveling

Our trip back to Iowa to visit family for the holidays was a real whirlwind this year-- I think this one was the shortest and fastest trip we've ever done. Want to come along on the journey?


We left Friday night, almost as soon as Firehand got home from work. We had everything packed up the night before and just had to do a few last minute things and get our suitcases into the car and go. Sorry Howling Hill, the cranberry bread went with us...

Here we are, somewhere on the interstate between Sterling, CO & North Platte, NE. It's a mighty long drive, so I was entertaining myself by taking night photos of the lights as we drove.

Late night stop for gas. We were getting pretty tired by this point, but decided to drive a bit further. We finally stopped in Kearney, NE around 1 AM to get some sleep.


On the road again the next morning... we stopped briefly at a truck stop outside Lincoln, NE to get something to drink and saw these old-fashioned gas pumps there.

Woo-hoo! Welcome to Iowa! Crossing the state line and the bridge over the Missouri River.

We stopped at the Iowa welcome center to use their wireless internet. We had to retrieve Firehand's cousin's new address from e-mail so that we could find her new house, which was where one of the family gatherings was being held this year. Still a couple more hours of driving until we get there, though.

Next up... family, family, family!

December 12, 2008

MMmmm... Cranberry Walnut Bread

Made with fresh cranberries!

That's definitely good for a little Yuletide cheer. Oh yeah.

Feline Friday: Squished

This does not quite look comfortuhbuls...

... but a little bit of head squish doesn't seem to be deterring Moose from his nap, so what do I know?

December 9, 2008

Song Title Meme

Okay, so I found this meme over at Magic In These Hills a while back, and of course I have to do it and OF COURSE I choose Journey-- the Steve Perry years... what else? Duh.

Rules: Choose a singer/band/group.

Answer the following using ONLY titles of songs by that singer/band/group.

1. Are you male or female? Walks Like a Lady

2. Describe yourself. Colors of the Spirit

3. What do people feel when they’re around you? Why Can't This Night Go On Forever (**ROFLMAO** sorry, couldn't resist!)

4. How would you describe your previous relationship? Don't Be Down on Me Baby

5. Describe your current relationship. Stone In Love

6. Where would you want to be now? Escape

7. How do you feel about love? It's a Natural Thing

8. What’s your life like? Sweet & Simple

9. What would you ask for if you had only one wish? Precious Time

10. Say something wise. Be Good to Yourself

Bah Humbug This Year

Maybe. Maybe not.

We've been slow on acquiring the holiday spirit here at our house. For one, it's hard to think it's winter when the temps have been in the 50's. We have had snow a couple of times, but its melted within a day or two.

The only holiday decorating I've done so far is to put out the Yule wreath by the front door along with some silk poinsettias and our "Season's Greetings" sign. With having our upstairs so crowded with stuff from the downstairs, we have no room to put up our tree, even the smaller one. Not to mention, we can't reach the trees or ornaments because they are packed away downstairs while we've been rebuilding/refinishing the basement level. And it just seems like the house upstairs will feel even more cluttered if I put out holiday decorations. So I've been holding off.

But it would be nice to put a little bit of something Yule-ish out. I've been thinking maybe just the lighted garlands and giant pinecones and candles. Something really simple, from the box of stuff I *can* reach. Hmmm. Maybe. I'm thinking about it.

December 8, 2008


My surprise from Beweaver arrived over the weekend! Isn't it gorgeous?!

Not long after Samhain, Beweaver posted her spirit photos for readers to interpret and gave out 3 prizes. I won 3rd prize for giving an answer that made her laugh, so I got a surprise gift in the mail-- this beautifully stitched wallet. I love it!

Being that I am so NOT a sewer, I am just fascinated by hand stitched and appliqued items and Beweaver makes some of the most lovely items I've ever seen. Her stitches are so tiny and even-- how does she do it? Check out her textiles page for more of her beautiful work.

Thank you, Beweaver!

December 1, 2008

Tarot for 2008~ 12th Moon

The 12th cycle of the moon for this year began on November 27th. This is the moon cycle I've been apprehensive about, here's why:

Keywords/phrases from TP&S: chaos, shake things up, disruption, awakening, shock, havoc, major transformation, crisis, release from bondage, unavoidable change

Sound like fun? Yeah.

However, Tarot: Your Everyday Guide gives this insightful and helpful interpretation:

With this card, there is always the recognition that as traumatic as changes may be, they bring about the necessary end to something that is unsatisfactory, whether in one's personal life, or in one's greater social environment... If the Tower is about drastic, even catastrophic, changes, then the card read as advice to emulate suggests initiating such changes oneself.

Also: Consider where drastic changes need to be made in your life. The Tower has a lot to do with the toppling of structures, so a restructuring , or even total dismantling of certain systems may be in order. You must be flexible, imaginative, and prepared to let go of cherished beliefs and ways of doing things.

I've been hoping this card would only represent the chaos of balancing work with the holiday travel back to IA and all that entails, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more to it than just that.

One possibility: I have had a tooth bothering me lately. I think that either an old filling is coming loose, or that there is a new cavity around it. At any rate, I need to go to the dentist, something I dread for many, many reasons. So much so, I've not gone to a dentist in aeons. As usual, I've been putting it off hoping I'm mistaken, but at this point, I'm sure I need to go. So I need to suck it up and find a dentist and go take care of myself.

Therefore, to help me motivate myself to do what I know I need to do, some empowering words from the Tarot Affirmations deck Tower card:

I am freedom from towering prisons of outworn defenses, habits and attitudes.

I am sudden disruptions in established routines that cause unexpected growth.

So be it!