28 November 2007
A few months ago, a colleague in our UK office approached me about sending over some of my jewelry to sell in the employee craft fair they hold each year. I waffled a bit, but she was persistant, so I sent an assortment of earrings, bracelets and necklaces over to her just in time. I'm glad I did.
I got an email that approximately £130 of my jewelry sold. Less the table fee, my gross is £122.50 - or in Yankee money, approximately $253.39 (based on today's exchange rate). I am completely over the moon!
Of course, I'm anxious to see what sort of hits I get on my website and etsy shop now. I wish that I were able to have a stat counter on my etsy shop, but at least I'll be able to see what sort of traffic I get from the UK on my own website now. Here's hoping word-of-mouth works!
27 November 2007
Bless This House
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC
In case anyone was wondering, this is the last stitched piece I finished sometime in 2006 prior to starting and finishing the bird piece over the Thanksgiving weekend.
This was finished in 2006, but the bulk of it was stitched in the summer of 2005 when my parents were visiting. Mom and I would spend the evenings stitching away while Mark and my Dad would watch Cops or something similar.
I think the three floral motifs in the lower left and my initials/date were all that needed to be done but that took me nearly a year to finish.
Designer: La D Da
Chart: Bless This House
Yesterday was a travel nightmare - delays, airport closures, flight cancellations, mad scramble for a rental car, driving back to Cincinnati. Enough to make you want to pull your hair out. But somehow, despite me being hot and cranky, both Mark and I survived without killing one another.
The US Airways staff were incredibly helpful. They couldn't give us any financial compensation since the delays were 'weather related' but they did manage to book us on the the first flight out of Cincinnati - which is much closer to my Mom's house than Columbus is - with no change/penalty fees. (Hooray for US Air!)
The morning flight home was uneventful. We had the bulkhead seat which was nice - front row and first people off the plane. When we crossed the Walt Whitman back into Jersey I breathed a sigh of relief. When we walked through the door and the dogs greeted us, a smile broke across my face.
As a result of the flight debacle, I ended up burning my last 1/2 day of vacation time for the year. I got into the office right before 11 AM and left around 3 PM. I'm home now, laundry is being done, the dogs and cats have been fed and are getting lots of TLC. It's not even 7 PM yet, but the bed is looking quite cozy. I think I'll pop in a movie and watch for as long as I can keep my eyes open.
There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
If only getting home were as easy as clicking my heels together and repeating that phrase over and over.
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC
Besides making jewelry, another crafty past time of mine is needlework. In particular, cross-stitch. Although it's been some time (>1 year) since I put needle to thread and sat down and stitched, I haven't lost the passion for it.
While I was home in Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday, Mom and visited her local needlework shop. While there were tons of things that caught my eye, it was this kit (Friends Gather by The Trilogy) that caught my eye.
I started it while watching the football (not soccer) game on Saturday evening and continued working on it Sunday morning and evening, and finished Monday morning. Actually, I must give credit to my Mom for finishing it on Monday. I'm 'knot-challenged' so she put the final touches on it and did the eyes on the black bird for me.
All in all, a fun piece to stitch. I think the birds are rather goofy looking, especially the black one. I brought it home, pressed it, and sooner or later I'll send it back to Mom to take to her (my) framer. It's been 10+ years since I've been on the east coast and I still haven't found a framer I like as much as Ken in Northern Kentucky.
If anyone wants the chart and the leftover threads, leave a comment or drop me a line. I'll gladly send it along to someone who would like it.
26 November 2007
We were scheduled to travel back to Philly tonight, but due to weather conditions, the Philly airport shut down around 5 PM eastern time. Instead of waiting around the Columbus airport to see if our plane might leave eventually, Mark got online to rebook us on a flight out on Tuesday morning, while I was on the phone with Denise who managed to book us a rental car.
Granted, my Mom was only halfway home, but considering it was close to a 2 hour drive to the airport, we decided we'd just rent a car one way and drop it off at CVG in the morning. We made great time getting back to Cincinnati (1h, 20m or so) and had dinner before returning to my Mom's house.
There's really no place like home - but if you can't find your way home, nothing beats the comforts of Mom's place.
25 November 2007
It's been a great day. Mom, Mark and I went to the game this afternoon. Although our seats were in the nosebleed section, we had a great view of the field. I was thrilled to see Chad have a breakout game - THREE touchdowns. Mark finally got to hear the Bengal's song that I'm always singing bits and pieces of at home - five times during the game.
A wonderful way to cap off the Thanksgiving weekend here. We're heading home tomorrow. Here's hoping the rain won't delay our flights on either end. Can't wait to get back and see the pups (and cats)!
24 November 2007
Pet Sitters - in particular, our pet sitter/dog walker, Angela. She's been a godsend to us when we've been out of town, caring for the zoo. Our dogs love her -- but then Henry loves anyone, and if you give her food, Suki will love you too. If you're local to me and have a need for a pet sitter, I'll be glad to share her information.
Air Travel - thank you Orville and Wilbur. About 100 years ago, the Wright Brothers successfully flew an airplane near Kitty Hawk, NC. Now, air travel is the norm for bajillions of holiday travelers. It's less than 2 hours in the air from home to an airport near my mom's house - much better than 10+ hours in the car. Although, if I had sufficient vacation time this year, I would consider driving. My husband hates being in a car for any amount of time. I like driving across the county.
Thanksgiving Day Football - after the meal is done, there's nothing better than curling up on the sofa and watching Detroit and Dallas play football. For as long as I can remember, these two teams have played an opponent on Thanksgiving Day. Growing up in Michigan, we natually watched, and cheered, for the hapless Lions. This year, they lost - again. (I honestly don't know how often they win on Thanksgiving Day, but it always seems Detroit loses.) The Dallas game was of interest to us this year as well as they played the NY Jets, the team my husband cheers for. Unfortunately, the Jets who showed up and played hard against the Steelers on Sunday must not have made the trip to Dallas. Still, it was nice to have a vested interest in both games.
Graeter's Ice Cream - no trip home to Cincinnati is complete without a stop at Graeter's for a dish (or cone) of caramel ice cream. We had ice cream at their Fountain Square location yesterday - it was ever bit as good as I remember. Nothing beats this gooey, eggy, nummy concoction. I think it's the best ice cream ever. My husband doesn't agree. Silly man.
Dillard's - it's one of the 'local' department stores in Cincinnati and it was there that I found my TJ Houshmanzadeh jersey. We stopped a few places on Black Friday for me to look for a Bengals jersey - while I found plenty of Ocho Cinco, Carson Palmer, and even Boomer Esiason (!) jerseys, I really wanted TJ. So as I was at Kohl's, considering settling for a Chad Johnson (85) jersey, a woman told me Dillard's had their Bengals gear 40% off (as opposed to 20% at Kohl's). Mom and and I dropped my husband off at the house and went down to the malls - I found what I was looking for, although the prices at Dillard's were significantly higher than those at Kohl's. With the discount, the jersey came out to be $1 more, so I bought it. I figured it was worth the extra dollar to get the jersey I wanted. I also picked out a hat as well. I'm all ready for the game tomorrow.
So, that's it for now and I think I'm caught up...
Oh - just in case I don't get around to posting tomorrow, a sixth thing to be thankful for: Bob Evans. Having to kill 45 minutes before Hobby Lobby opened yesterday, Mom and I stopped for brekkie at Bob's. Mmmm... biscuits and gravy. Yum. Since the nearest Bob's to me is somewhere in PA, I enjoy coming home and having a big bowl of gravy with their delicious biscuits. Yea, it's a chain, but no one makes biscuits and gravy like Bob.
18 November 2007
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC
Beside Suki, aka la petite Cujo, pictured here, I'm also grateful for snapping my 6-game losing streak in Fantasy Football with a WIN. Okay, it might be a bit premature, as my opponent has 1 player left in Monday night's game, but I'm up 139-90 after the Sunday night game. I think it's safe to assume I've won.
I snapped this pic of Suki last night while she was in our guest room bed. A few weeks ago, she decided she no longer wanted to sleep on the sofa downstairs at night. She follows one of us upstairs and waits for us to put her on the bed. (It's too high for her to jump on herself, although I did have fun watching her attempt it once.) She pretty much hunkers down for the night, only going back downstairs once I wake up and go down myself.
There's more pics of Suki-girl in my Flickr album if you want to have a look. I got a little camera happy last night. I need to get some more pics of Henry one of these days.
17 November 2007
Mark and I went to see The Fab Faux tonight - a Beatles tribute band. However, like Beatlemania and many other tribute bands out there, these guys don't imitate The Fab Four, they simply play their music. There's five in the Fab Faux - and except for the drummer, they all play a wide variety of instruments and take turns with the vocals. There's no dedicated John/Paul/George/Ringo.
I really enjoyed myself. The first act was a set of varied Beatles tunes - from all 'eras' (although that sounds funny, because The Beatles as a group didn't last that long). I don't remember 100% the full set list, but it went something like this:
- Hold Me Tight
- Back in the USSR
- Dear Prudence
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- I'm a Losers
- I Am The Walrus
- Penny Lane
The second set was Abbey Road in its entirety - which probably half the world or more knows. I had a huge revelation in the middle of the set when they played Oh! Darling - turned to my husband and said, "I had NO idea that was a Beatles song! I've only heard it a million times." Of course, George Harrison (my favorite Beatle) shines on Abbey Road - Something and Here Comes the Sun being two totally awesome songs. (Admittedly, the Lennon-McCartney tunes are pretty damn good too, but you'll never talk me out of my "George is the best Beatle" mindset.)
The encore was Got to Get You into My Life - which was a great upbeat song to have in your head as you left the theatre.
All in all, a fun afternoon. I'm not sure if it was the fact that we were at the 4 PM "kids show" (as Mark called it), but the energy level of the audience was next to nothing. There were moments, but for the most part, it was like watching/listening in your living room. If I were to see them again, I most definitely would be purchasing tickets to the 8 PM show. Tickets for the 2008 show at the State Theatre will be going on sale on Monday morning. I'm already contemplating purchasing them.
But, back to The Beatles...
On the way home, I phoned my mom and asked her if she remembered the hype surrounding The Beatles. I'm obviously too young to remember, although they were still together when I was born. I've seen the films with the girls screaming, crying and passing out. There's NOTHING in my generation that's caused this sort of hysteria. I can't even imagine what it was like. My mom shared her memories of The Beatles, the hysteria, and watching them on The Ed Sullivan show. Funny, I never really thought Mom was 'into' The Beatles, but she's of that generation - guess it was kind of hard to miss.
I'm thankful for the musical legacy that John, Paul, George and Ringo have left us. Even after the demise of The Beatles, they continued making music on their own - many songs of which are classics. (Although that dreck McCartney wrote following the 9/11 attacks should be banned from the airwaves and all copies destroyed. *shudder* I can't even say the name of it -- but you know what I'm talking about. No pun intended.)
Now, if only I could get some Beatles music off iTunes. *sigh* Would you believe we don't own any Beatles CDs? I guess I'm gonna have to join my friend Susan and Rob Zombie and be one of the last few people to actually purchase CDs.
And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make
16 November 2007
Today I'm thankful for my neighbors. Good neighbors are a special treat and I feel lucky to have them on both sides of us and across the street.
Summertime is a blast with cookouts at each others' houses (or backyards). Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are another reason to get together. Even a summer Sunday afternoon will find us loading up in the mini van and heading down to the Headliner to see the B-Street Band together. Tonight, I'm heading over to one of their houses for a Pampered Chef party.
We're quite lucky to have neighbors that we do. I wouldn't trade them for any others.
15 November 2007
I really have a lot of fun creating jewelry - and when someone else likes it enough to purchase it, that's even a bigger thrill.
I sent over a sampling of earrings to a colleague in our UK office this week. She had contacted me a month or two ago about a charity craft show they do each year and asked if I would like her to sell some of my stuff along her handcrafted cards. It didn't take me long to say yes, but then the panic set in.
I've spent the past weekend tweaking some pieces, making new pieces, and pricing all of them accordingly. For a gal who conistently knows the £:$(US) ratio, I suddenly couldn't remember how to convert dollars to pounds. Is it doubled? Is it halved? Fortunately my senses returned quickly and I realised that $1 is roughly equal to 50p these days. Ouch.
I'm hoping to have a few more hours to make more stuff ahead of the holiday shopping season. Now that I've finished my holiday shopping (yes, I'm rubbing it in!), I should have plenty of time to hunker down and let my creative juices flow.
14 November 2007
I went a 'handmade' route this year - most everything I purchased as gifts will be coming from fellow Etsians. I'm dying to share what I purchased, but I can't. Certain friends and family members read my blog, so I'd spoil the surprise.
There's one last package that needs to be shipped and I'm hoping it'll arrive by next Wednesday. We're flying out on Thanksgiving Day to visit my mom, so I'm wanting to take all the gifts for her and my brother with me so I can leave them out there and not have to bother with shipping.
I've got a couple things to make before the gifts are completely finished, but the shopping bit is over. I won't have to fight the crowds on Rt 9 this holiday season. I can stay home, curled up with a dog and a book and laugh at the desperados on Christmas Eve looking for those last minute gifts.
What I give thanks for today (yesterday?) is my passport. I've had a passport since I was 15 years old and my first trip was to Spain with my high school Spanish class. I don't remember a heck of a lot about that trip, except there are olive trees everywhere in Spain, but it definitely was the trip that started my itch to travel overseas.
Shortly after we were married, I introduced my husband to the joys of overseas (European) travel. Now, despite the 6+ hour flights, he can't get enough of it. I'm the voice of reason now, even though I desperately want to go back, visit Ireland, see more of Germany, with the dollar tanking, it's just no time to be traveling to Europe. Heck, even the Canadian dollar is worth slightly more than the US dollar, so the Great White North isn't even a bargain. *sigh*
My passport has allowed me to travel places near and far - looking at my current passport, I have entry/exit stamps from the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, and Slovakia to name a few. Just looking at those place names conjures up memories of the respective trip and makes me wish I had the means to hop a plane and head back to Europe.
We still dream - seeing more of Germany is on the agenda as well as a trip to the Emerald Isle. But until it's 'reasonably' affordable for Americans again, I doubt we'll be going back anytime soon.
Photo: Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest
12 November 2007
Four of the five animals that share the house with us are alumni of the Monmouth County SPCA. You can find Sadie & Lily's story on their website. (Excuse the typos that were my fault for not proofing my email to the SPCA.) I'm hoping eventually Henry's and Suki's stories will also be posted.
I give thanks for the Monmouth County SPCA's ceaseless efforts at rescuing stray, unwanted, abused or neglected animals. No adoptable animal is ever euthanised, but is cared for until they find a forever home, no matter how long it takes. I am incredibly blessed to have four wonderful animals who this shelter opened their doors to and provided with temporary food and shelter until they joined our family.
If you're looking for a pet, please consider a shelter pet. There are too many wonderful dogs and cats (and other critters) sitting in shelters hoping for a second chance at a new life. Not all shelters are non-kill; many will euthanise perfectly lovely animals simply because their 'time is up.'
Which leads to my next plea... If you do have animals - be a responsible pet owner and spay or neuter. It's the first step to solving the pet overpopulation problem. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if there were no more homeless or unwanted pets?
Lastly, if you can't adopt, will you consider supporting your local shelter? The Monmouth County SPCA relies heavily on donations from people like me and you, as do many shelters around the country.
For my friends who may be considering a gift for me this holiday season, I'd be delighted if you'd consider a donation to the Monmouth County SPCA or your local shelter instead.
11 November 2007
Ain't feed readers the greatest things since sliced bread? In a bag, too boot! My Google reader list just multiplied by leaps and bounds.
My non-football fan and non-US friends might not understand this, but Ohio State is the team I love to hate. Being born in Michigan, it's in your DNA to hate anything to do with Ohio State. The game that matters usually is (University of) Michigan-Ohio State, but when a upstart like Illinois comes in and delivers the knockout punch, you rejoice. Gleefully!
For my Buckeye fan friends -- chin up! It's a given you've won the Big Ten championship. Plus, there's always the game in Ann Arbor as well as next season. At least you don't have to worry about losing the national championship again.
10 November 2007
The purple and blue pairs are now listed on etsy - the last pair I am still debating on whether or not to list them. I like them an awful lot and they'll go with a lot of my autumn wardrobe.
All in all - they were a lot of fun to work with, although getting the headpins through the felted bead was challenging at times. I have quite a few more to play with, so I'll probably work with them some more tomorrow. I've also found a tutorial on making my own felted beads. I just need to get my hands on some wool roving and I might have a go at it myself.
About a month ago, I was one of several women who particiated in a bachelorette party/hen night for my friend, Kelly. The evening culminated in a 'lingerie party' thrown by one of my wonderful sorority sisters, Gina. We had a blast ordering lingerie and trying on some of the floor samples. I think a few of my sisters were disappointed I didn't actually order the dominatrix get-up.
Gina also volunteered to measure anyone to see if they were wearing the proper bra size. After several of us went through the motions and confirmed they were indeed wearing a properly fitting bra, it was my turn. Gina measured me, made a new notations on her scratch pad and measured again. She turned me me and announced a size. I shook my head, "Are you sure?" She nodded yes. So, I made a notation of it - two band sizes smaller and two cup sizes larger - even though I was skeptical.
Sunday morning I decided to head out to Kohl's to check if Gina's measurements were on the mark. I sorted through the bras, found a couple in the new size and walked back to the dressing room to try them on. My jaw just about hit the ground when they actually fit - and fit well. Never before in my life had I had a bra that fit so perfectly. I bought two new bras then and there and went back home to tell my husband my boobs had gotten bigger - no surgery necessary.
Since then, I've stocked up on even more bras in the proper size. I'm totally on the "make sure you get measured properly" bandwagon now. The proper size makes all the difference in the world.
As for the dominatrix get-up... I'm still thinking about it. *wink*
It's a Mod, Mod World earrings
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC
I've been holed up in my makeshift studio this morning prepping for a charity craft show at our (UK) office later this month. I want to get everything photographed, priced and packaged up so I can get it out the door to my colleague in our UK office later this week.
The vintage lucite hoops in these earrings are part of my recent stash acquisition. I'm totally in love with these earrings and don't know if I can part with them. They've been listed in my etsy shop as of this morning, so if they sell, that's that.
I've made another pair with the hoops, only using black Swarovski crystals in place of the topaz glass and sterling silver findings instead of gold filled. They're just as cool and I haven't listed them (yet).
More to come later this weekend - both for the craft show and in my etsy shop. My Flickr album might give you a sneak peak -- if I can get things uploaded there itoday.
09 November 2007
My parents divorced when I was quite young and after we moved out of state, my brother and I would spend the summers in Michigan with my mom's parents. I have wonderful memories of those summers - from camping weekends to playing Yahtzee and Euchre to watching Match Game while having a glass of slush.
Every Thanksgiving, grandma and grandpa would come down to our house for the holiday. It was a time I always looked forward to, just as I looked forward to Christmas at their place with the whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins). We would also visit them in Florida, where they spent their winters in their teensy trailer. Generally, Easter would find them back with us for the holiday, the last stop on their way back to Michigan from Florida.
Around Good Friday 1985, my grandma became ill. Within weeks, it was discovered she had a brain tumor. Despite surgery and radiation, six months later she was gone. I had just turned 18 and this was the first big loss I'd experienced in my life. I'm still saddened that I never got a chance to say goodbye and tell her how much I loved her before she died.
More than 20 years later, I still miss my grandma, but she lives on in my heart and memories. I am thankful that I had a chance to know her, unlike many of my friends who never knew their grandparents, and for all the wonderful times we had together. I'm also grateful to her for teaching me how to play Euchre -- although I'm sure there's a few family members who wish I didn't know how. I'm ready for a Euchre match on Thanksgiving.
08 November 2007
Since college, Phi Mu has been there for me, wherever I've lived. Each time I moved to a new town, I found the alumnae chapter and voila - an instant family. We're not cookie cutter clones, in fact, there are more than a few women who are my polar opposites, but there's a common bond between us.
Here in Jersey I've got a core of friends which are made up of Phi Mu sisters. Between them and the unofficial Sisterhood email list, I've got a wonderful support system. My sisters are there for me in good times and bad. We laugh together and we cry together; for that, I'm eternally thankful. I have gotten so much from my sisters over the years, I hope that I can and do give back enough in return.
Little did I know when I pledged Phi Mu back in 1987 how important it would be to me. Now 20 years later, I'm thankful for this wonderful bond of sisterhood that stretches north to south, east to west. I've met my share of wonderful women who I am honored to call my sisters and friends.
07 November 2007
Suki, our Pomeranian, has a slight problem and isn't always able to hold it until I get home to take her out for a walk. The vet has ruled out a UTI, so it's just little bladder/old dog issue.
After weeks of her having accidents on the rug in our foyer (and washing it over and over), I got smart and picked up a box of wee wee pads. She took to them immediately! She'll have the occasional miss, but that's better than her deliberately peeing on the rug.
Much easier to clean up too; no more washing the rug every other day. Which reminds me, I still haven't replaced it.
06 November 2007
So, to catch up, here's six things (in no particular order) that I'm thankful for...
- My Husband
...who puts up with me during good times and the not-so-good times. He really is a wonderful man who has the patience of a saint when I'm on a rampage. Despite our different sport allegiances, I love autumn Sundays when we watch football together.
- My Dogs
Both Henry and Suki are Monmouth County SPCA alumni. I really can't remember what life was like before they joined our family. Well, I can remember not getting up at 5 AM to walk them... There's nothing better than coming home after a long day and seeing their faces light up with joy when they realise their humans are home. Dog love is simply wonderful.
- My Cats
Stanley is an stray from Brooklyn and our last (pet) connection to the city; Sadie and Lily are Monmouth County SPCA alumnae like the dogs. Not only are they great bed companions, they provide me hours of amusement. I'm still waiting for Sadie to learn that Stanley's not playing nice when he comes to groom her; he's just lulling her into a false sense of security before he goes in for attack.
Its hard to me to imagine anyone being illiterate as reading comes as naturally to me as breathing. I've been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. For me, books have been a wonderful source of learning and escapism since I was a child. I like nothing better than to be curled up on the sofa with the dogs or cats and a good book in my hand. (You can see my recent reads in the sidebar to the right.)
But of course... If I don't have a book in my hand, I'm probably holed up in my makeshift studio playing with my assortment of fabulous beads. I really love taking separate pieces and fashioning them into a beautiful piece of jewelry.
As in how many points I lost by in my Fantasy Football match up this week. I'm thankful it was only 99 points and not 100. Yes, it's still a loss and I'm on a losing streak (5 in a row) but there's always next week. (How the heck is one supposed to compete against a team stacked with players like Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and Tony Gonzalez. Sheesh!)
So, that's the catch-up list... Stay tuned for more throughout the month of November.
05 November 2007
While it's easy and I suppose some of my friends/family would like - and perhaps even prefer - gift cards, I think it's so much nicer to give an actual gift that you pick out for someone. With that in mind, no more shoddy mass-produced crapola for gifts from me. This year I'm doing my shopping at a variety of craft fairs and or online at etsy.com (or making it myself).
I've picked out a few things from some of my favourites from my fellow etsians below. Whether they're wishlist items for me or potential gifts for others, I'll leave you to decide.
02 November 2007
I've been dying to see them for a long time, but anytime they were playing local, it was a benefit and tickets were a minimum of $150 - these tickets were a steal at $50/head. Sorry, but I wouldn't pay $150/person for John, Paul, George, and Ringo. (Actually, if someone managed that reunion, I'd probably pay more than $150/person.)
I hope the performance lives up to the hype. It's a Saturday night out on the town, so I'm sure we'll have fun nonetheless. (Off to figure out what's on Abbey Road -- I have an idea, but not 100% certain of all the tracks.)