Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Ruby Red Beauties

Aren't they so pretty? I never thought I would be saying that about a washer and dryer. I mean the main thing about a washer and dryer is that they are functional and do the job, right?

Anyway, we've been looking at new washers and dryers for months now, or should I say that I have been and the hubby has been avoiding looking, cause he knew that looking would equal buying. I researched them in the spring when the Feds were offering the "cash for clunkers" rebate, but the hubby nixed the idea then. Well as time went on and the higher electric bills kept coming in, the hubby decided it was time to go look again at new dryers, not to mention that a new local Lowes was opening and I had a 10% off coupon. So off we went. We found the dryer that we wanted and talked to the sales guy. Lowes would give up the 10% with the coupon and another 10% for opening up a charge to place them on.

Well that just opened up a whole new deal...I had to have the washer now, as we would be saving 20% off that too. So we walked out of the store, planning on returning but off to check another appliance store out as they were having a sale too. So we get there, look for the same model and find out it's discontinued but replaced with a much nicer model=more bells and whistles! Woohoo! So we talked to the sales guy, who matched the 20% off that we would have gotten at Lowes and that sealed the deal. Oh, and to top it off our gas and electric company was offering a $150 rebate on the washer and the delivery fee would be rebated too! WOOHOO! My kind of deal!

We did all the paperwork, leaving with a promise for a phone call the next day to confirm our delivery date. Being the practical gal that I am, I ordered the white pair, as you can see by the picture my utility room leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe one day, I'll get the hubby to drywall and stud the thing out, but for now, it ain't broke, he ain't fixin' it! Anyway, back to the phone call...I get one about noon the next day. The white ones are being delayed in getting them to the warehouse, would I take in their place the pair of ruby red ones, the ones just like on the showroom floor instead. It took me all of 2 seconds to say yes. Now don't the red ones look better than the white ones?

The pair were delivered yesterday. The delivery guys were top notch. They hauled away the old Maytag, it was 25 yrs old, and a workhorse, and the newer electric dryer. The new pair are sitting in the utility room, waiting to be put in place. We have a few things to do first. There's a shelf that has to be moved as we are stacking these babies. The gas line has to be relocated and a new dryer vent has to be run. Thankfully I managed to get all the laundry caught up yesterday while waiting for the delivery, so the hubby has a few days to get things done.

Apparently, I also have to relearn how to do laundry. These new machines come with all sorts of washing options, it's enough to make your head spin. I will actually have to read the owners manual, which I never do...maybe I'll just let the hubby read it, then he can tell me. I am so looking forward to having a new washer and dryer that is not only more energy and water efficient but will save me about $20 bucks a month on my utility bill by switching to gas on the dryer. And we all know what that means....more money to spend on "other things"! LOL! I already have the my eye on something but shhhhh....don't tell the hubby!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Ian!

From the day you were born 15 years ago, you were loved. Being the youngest of 3 children is hard, I know as I was also the youngest. You always are trying to find your place in the family. We gave you many nicknames first E-B, as your brothers thought your name started with an E and the B well that's obvious. Then as you grew a little....notice I say a little, we started calling you Peanut! And while you dislike that nickname, you will always be my "peanut".

Pop Pop always made you cry! Although in this picture you weren't!

When you were little you were my dare devil child, always trying to keep up with your brothers! At one yrs old you broke your foot playing football outside with your brothers. The cast only slowed you down a bit, and as soon as you learned to get around with it, off it came!

Although as you got a little older, you got a little less adventurous but I guess that comes from having 2 older brothers keeping a watchful eye on you. On our trip to Disneyland I had to bribe you with money to touch the sea slug, although you had no problem touching the star fish...guess the sea slug looked more dangerous.

You played basketball, soccer and baseball, although not with the same interest as your brothers did. Your true interest lie elsewhere....

You were my child that wanted to know how things worked. If your dad was fixing something, you were right there next to him, helping to take it apart.

As years have past. you have developed a deeper love for tinkering, just like your father and grandfather. You've gotta "know" just how things work. Just knowing they do isn't enough for you. You have found your niche in the robotics club at Towson. You can build your robot, then take it apart to make it better, over and over again. Just please, when you learn to drive in the next year or so, try to leave the car intact mechanically!

Happy Birthday Peanut...errr I mean Ian! Love you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Goodies In The Mail

I gotta say that the other day it was just like Christmas morning in my house, only better as this time, I was the one opening presents! I ordered from Brenda at The Rusty Thimble on her last online sale. She had some of the cutest, coolest snowmen! I just couldn't resist!

Brenda wrapped each and every one in tissue tied with a fabric ribbon. I ohhhed and ahhed over each one as I unwrapped, so much so, it got the hubby's attention! He came to see what was causing me such excitement!

For now I have them stuck on a shelf in one of my prim cabinets....yes, I need to drag the thing outside and paint it and will hopefully do so soon, but for now they are stuck in the cubby. I don't usually decorate for Christmas/winter til sometime in December, so instead of just tucking them away, I evicted the former shelf inhabitants and put the adorable snowmen in place. Can you tell how pleased I am?

If you have never visited Brenda's online sale, you don't know what you are missing. Be sure to check out her blog to sign up for her sale emails, the twice monthly giveaways, and be sure to stop by her etsy shoppe. Just click on the links.

Thank you Brenda for the little black sheepie gift too. I need to find a place to put him and completely forgot to take his picture.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friends Don't Give Friends Fruitcake

This past week I worked on lots of new Christmas stencils for signs. A few that I did were about the dreaded or beloved fruitcake....all depends on which side of the cake you are on.

Seems like many people have a love/hate relationship with the seasonal gastronomic delight. So I thought in spirit of the season I would do a little background and share just how the fruitcake came into being.

Fruitcakes date back to Ancient Roman times. The earliest known recipes were made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into a barley mash. As fruitcakes evolved so did the ingredients due to availability and religious restrictions. Butter and milk were "allowed" by the Pope in 1490 in the German version called stollen. In the 16th century it was discovered that a high sugar concentration acted as a natural preservative for the candied fruits used within the cakes themselves thus making them not only more affordable and popular.

Traditionally fruitcakes were made from fruit and nuts and soaked in alcohol. Alcohol acts as a preservative. In 2003, Jay Leno actually sampled a fruitcake that was baked in 1878. Hmmmm...wonder how it really tasted?

Fruitcakes have been the butt of many jokes. Johnny Carson would quip that there was only one fruitcake and it would be passed from family to family. In Colorado, there is a fruitcake toss held the first Saturday in January. The record for the longest toss stands at 1,420 feet.

I don't think I'll ever look the same way at another fruitcake. Not only are they suppose to be delicious, they are also aerodynamically shaped. As always you can find these and many other signs in my etsy shoppe.

If anyone has any delicious fruitcake recipes to share, please do so, as I'd love to try making one and getting the family to eat it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Accepting Credit Cards

How many times have we all heard from our customers, that they are tired of paypal? They don't like using it...they don't trust it....etc, etc.

I use to have a merchant account with doing as many shows as we did it was a necessary evil. I have since cut back on my shows and with the lousy wireless reception we got, it was more problems than it was worth, not to mention I was paying for a service that I rarely had. So when the fall craft show season came around, I had to find a replacement for accepting cards.

My friend Pat and her hubby Lou, have been using Propay for about a year. They have used it without any hitches. So I was fooling around trying to decide what to do and I came across this post in the etsy forums regarding propay and there being a discount for etsy sellers.

So called Propay on the phone. Asked my questions. Found the link and signed up. Got a great discount on the yearly fee..only $29.95/year versus something like $70. To get the deal you have to click on the link and go through to the end. It takes just a few minutes to get yourself all set up. You can use it on your website, at craft shows, and of course on etsy, artfire or even ebay.

Anyway, thought I would share the link cause the forum thread didn't have many posts to it...propay . Sure hope that somebody can use it. Their fees are very comparable to paypals and you don't have all the ebay baggage that comes with using paypal.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Was Awarded The Versatile Blogger Award

A big thank you to Deb of PaxtonValleyFolkArt for awarding me The Versatile Blogger Award. It's nice to be thought of. As part of the award I need to nominate 15 blogs to receive this award and list 7 facts about myself.

So here goes the blogs my award goes to...

A Primitive Place~Tammy
Angies Raggedy Patch
Barb's Heartstrokes
CatNapInn Primitives
Lavender Dreams
Waxed Out Creative Life
The Rusty Thimble
The Krazy Kraft Lady
Sweet Prarie Dwellings
Rock River Stitches
Ravenwood Whimzies
Pine Tree Prims
Olde Annie Primitives

I realize that some of the blog that I have nominated are "award" free but still hope that while they love to be award free, they still will post the 7 things about themselves...

Ok, so onto the 7 things about me...

1. I'm the youngest.
2. I have 2 sisters, no brothers, much to my fathers dismay.
3. I married the same man twice, 9 days apart....what was I thinking? LOL!
4. I'm a Gemini...hubby says I have an evil twin that comes out, so guess my astrological sign is appropriate.
5. I have 2 years in an accounting degree. I stopped when I had my 2nd child.
6. I hope to live in a log home someday on the 6 acres of land we own.
7. I'm the only female in a houseful of males...even the bunny and the bird are males!

Boy, that was fun and figure out what to pick...Hope everyone has a good time answering their "about me" questions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Punkin Swap Goodies Came

My punkin swap came last week! I had to put it aside as I was getting ready for my big show of the year. I did take pictures and thought I would have time to do a post but I couldn't keep my eyes open at the end of each day.

Carrie of scaredycatprimitives sent me the most delicious smelling pumpkin made out of chenille. It smelled good enough to eat. In the box also was a small peat pot, that she painted like a jack o lantern and a ceramic ghost popping out of a pumpkin. I don't know how Carrie knew but she also included my favorite Halloween candy...a bag of candy corn. I had to beat the boys off it as they were trying to eat it on me! As part of the swap Carrie also sent 3 yummy sounding recipes that I can't wait to try out.

Thank you so much Carrie. I appreciate everything that you sent. I have already found a place for everything. Just need to add some more fall decorations and I'll be set.

Catoctin Colorfest

This weekend we participated in Catoctin Colorfest. We've been doing this show for the last 18 years...WOW! I didn't realize that until I thought back to how old Joshua was. The first year we did it, he was in his pack-n-play.

The show isn't quite what it use to be but it still is a darn good show. The police estimate that 150,000 people attend the show, but I think this year the crowd was a little off.

It use to be that shoppers would show up way before dawn and shop by flashlight! LOL! Ladies would bring anything that was on wheels to put all their purchases in, they still do, just not as many.

You can find everything at Colorfest...mums, pumpkins, apples, crafts, sheets and socks...Yep, you read that right..even sheets and socks! It always amazes me that customers would come to a craftshow to buy that kind of stuff, but they do, so as long as they do, the vendors will continue to set up.

On Sunday I went to track down just where Pat from CountryWorkshop booth was at this year. Last year Pat had an awful location due to changes that have occurred with exhibitors attendance at the show. So glad that she and Louie were able to secure a much better spot. Anyway, I stole Pat from Louie to go for a walk with me so we could look at the show. This picture is of Louie, protesting! I told him I was gonna caption it "Louie Whining"! LOL!

As always Pat's booth looks exceptional. Louie does all the heavy toting and lifting to and from the show. He does the cutting and spraying. Pat does the artwork on the signs. You can find her on etsy...just click on the link above.

One of the exhibitors that is located in my area is Steph from puppywear... Steph is such a fun gal to be set up near....she can tell you stories and make ya laugh...always a good thing.

I snapped a few pictures of my booth set up. It amazes me that I don't set up the same way at any two shows.

For this show I tweaked my display further. I ordered some more wire grids and additional corner shelving along with more pegs. I didn't check the boxes when they were delivered and got a big surprise when we got to the show..the wire grid shelves were missing...instead I got a set of legs for the grids...hmmm...not what I needed. Had I checked the box when it arrived, the company that I purchased from would have made things right...they are shipping out the right things today.

I was able to get a few things painted while at the show. My boys help run the booth, so that frees up some of my time. It's nice to be able to sometimes sit and enjoy yourself painting away. See you at Thurmont, next year!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Experiment Paid Off

Well I have got to say that all the time and hard work finally paid off. The picture above is from my new front flower bed...aren't the impatiens simply gorgeous? They struggle through Baltimore's record 54+ days of over 90 degrees. Some days I didn't think they would make it but with enough water, they did. Speaking of water, my water bill arrived and it was 3 times the normal amount for June, July and August...YIKES! But look at the payoff!

How many of you remember reading my post back in August about covering all my grass with black plastic to kill it...well really I should have said weeds with a little grass. Anyway, here's a picture to help you remember what it looked like...

The black plastic along with the sunny, hot and dry August weather really cooked what was under the plastic. I started unveiling and working on reseeding in early September. Most of the grass...errr...weeds had died off with the drought and lack of rain already so killing the rest was pretty easy.

I started by dethatching each section I was working on, trying to work in strips. Then I added new top soil, raking it out as smooth as possible. Then came the organic fertilizer....boy did the flies like that when I wetted it down. And finally the grass seed.

I watered, and seeded and seeded and watered. The grass filled in little by little making a nice lush carpet on the ground. I had to convince a neighbor to take off her shoes and just stand and rub her feet through the new grass....oh, there's no other feeling like it.

I still have some more work to do on the front lawn. There are still some small bare spots that need to be reseeded. And I still have some weeds and I'm taking care of those by hand and pulling them as I see them and as time allows. I've had neighbors stop and look and comment positively about the front yard. I love my new flower bed and front last part of this project is to remove the remaining bushes and put another raised bed in that area but alas that will have to wait til next spring, as my budget and back can't tackle another flower bed project right now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Darlington Apple Festival

The first Saturday each October, the quaint little sleepy town of Darlington, MD hosts it's annual Apple Festival. Held on the main downtown thoroughfare, Shuresville Road, the town comes alive with crafts, food vendors and civic organizations.

The show offers afternoon before set up to make it easier on it's exhibitors. Most crafts people that have been doing shows for years really appreciate that feature. This years set up had a few complications...Mother Nature decided to bestow upon Maryland 9-11 inches of rain that Thursday, which made it a little soggy for those setting up on the grassy areas and made parking out of the question in other areas.

My space this year was located on the school driveway so we didn't have to worry about the soggys. We got all of our display stuff and some of our product up on Friday evening. We planned on returning early in the morning to finish the rest.

Ian, Sean and I headed back to Darlington in the early morning hours. We were set up in no time flat and making sales. The weather turned out to be absolutely wonderful and sales were brisk. If you are within an hours drive time from Darlington and are looking for something to do, it's certainly worth the drive.

There are orchard fresh apples, apple dumpling, apple cider, an apple pie baking contest, apple fritters, along with plenty of entertainment. There are even pony rides to keep the kids entertained.

It was nice catching up with craft friends. Talking about the evolution of our industry and where we think shows are headed. Things certainly have changed since I started doing shows 20+ years ago.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Punkin Swap Sent

I participated in a punkin swap that the OFG group on etsy was having. Thank you goes to Brenda of TheRustyThimble for organizing this swap. My partner was Carrie of Scaredycatprimitives. I checked online and the package has been delivered, so no big secret this time....

Anyway, I sent Carrie a vintage milk bottle that I painted a pumpkin on. My newest halloween sign, that says BOO! A bag full of sticks and stones along with saltdough waxed dipped fall leaves and acorns. And while out shopping I picked up a Yankee candle votive in the pumpkin pie scent and a chocolate covered Halloween pumpkin peep. What's a swap without a little chocolate?

We also were suppose to include 3 new recipes too, so I included some that were comfort food for the upcoming cooler fall season.

I'll be sure to share what I receive from Carrie once my swap package arrives.