Thursday, December 31, 2015

Throwback Thursday

When I was a 'tween, my parents and Himself's parents took turns hosting a New Year's Eve Party. My parents would let me stay up to ring in the New Year, or take me with them to Himself's house.

I remember one party at Himself's. I was 13 yrs old and all dressed up as people did in those days. Ma had made me a blue velvet dress with sheer blue sleeves and velvet cuffs. I was hanging with the grown up enjoying the hors d'oeuvres (or horse's ovaries as Himself's dad call them) Himself's mother made tiny hot dogs in a yellow mustard and currant jelly sauce. There were crackers and a cheese balls and cookies.

Himself's father was in the kitchen mixing drinks for the adults. He brought me my first mixed drink, a Banana "Daiquiri". It was of the virgin variety served in a cocktail glass with a maraschino cherry, and I felt very grown up ringing in 1968.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We Got Mail

Ink and I received some fun mail art from Finnbadger from Envelope 100.  Finnbadger makes his own envelopes and this brought a smile when I pulled it out of the PO Box. Holiday mice stirring with care and a color coordinated stamp. Red happens to be my second, favorite color. I added the Ink kitties in Paint Shop Pro to obscure the address.

Inside the envelope, was a card for Ink. When I first saw the postcard on Finn's blog, I left the comment: The mail creeps in on little cat feet.
There was also a card for me. I loved Spirograph as a kid. I still love it, and still have my set.

Thank you, Finn. It's always nice to get something in the mail that is not a bill.

Monday, December 28, 2015

I Got A Pressie

I was surprised when a friend of mine told me she roasted chestnuts using the microwave. I didn't know you could cook them that way. I'm really the only one on the family who likes roasted chestnuts. I told Himself about the microwave method and got all nostalgic.

My dad always had to have chestnuts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. He would buy the chestnuts and was in charge of roasting them. He made an "x" on each chestnut with a sharp knife and placed them on a baking sheet. I remember when I was little, he told me the "x" had to be made or the oven door would blow off. I was always a little disappointed that event never happened.

Himself ran to the Mahket to pick up a few items. One of the items he picked up was a snack bag of chestnuts. Yup, Himself is a keeper.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Gifts for the In-Laws

Now that the gifts have been opened, here are the gifts I made for the in-laws.  8 inch square. 23 karat gold, gouache, sumi ink on Diploma Parchment.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week

1. The turkeys came to call on Ink. He was very happy and excited to see the herd.

2. Grandmaster E. sent a box of her delicious Italian cookies.

3. Being sick a couple of days put me behind schedule, but I finished the Christmas gifts I was making.

4. Himself took my car to be washed and then removed some scratches from the hood and trunk. Himself is a keeper.

5. It was so warm Christmas Eve, we had to sleep with the window open. I love it!

How was your week?

Diffusing Christmas Morning: Idaho Blue Spruce, Thieves, Orange, Peppermint

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday

It's 64 oF at 3 PM. It's so warm outside. I'm loving it. It reminds me of Christmas 1965 (I was 10 yrs old), when I got a bicycle for Christmas. I don't remember how warm it was, but there was no snow or ice on the ground. I was able to ride my beautiful, new bike outside.

It looked like this Lincoln green one. I associated the Lincoln green with Robin Hood and it was my second color choice. Mine was a blue beauty with handbrakes. A couple of years later, I would be allowed to turn the corner and could ride across town to my friend's house.

When we were 15 years old, we were allowed to ride to downtown Wellesley (next town over) to shop. Our favorite hangout was the Hathaway Book Store across the street from Wellesley College. A house had been converted into the shop and every room was crammed with books. After browsing the book store, we would go next door to Bailey's Ice Cream. It was an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. They served ice cream in silver ice cream dishes. The hot fudge sauce cascaded onto a silver charger. There was also an odd looking water cooler where we could get endlessly, free paper cups of water.

Essential oil blend, Away in a Manager, Frankincense and Grounding

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Phone - Part 2

We got to the Verizon store about a half an hour after it opened. A salesperson took my name and added me to the queue. I was next in line. We wandered around looking at the tech toys. About 20 minutes later, my name was called.

I told the salesperson I hated the Droid Turbo 2, wanted to return it, and to buy the iPhone 6S. He said I had to wait for the original salesman who was busy with another couple, but "he'd be finished in a few minutes."

Cue clock and music from High Noon. The couple were purchasing two iphone 6 whatevers, and the salesperson was taking decades with them. All other customers in the store bought there purchases and happily left to continue their day.

I went to talk to the salesperson on door duty, but he said he couldn't help me because he was on door duty. No other salesperson was around. He did cheerfully tell me, I would be next.

"Considering I'm the only customer here at this time, I should hope so."

Cue the clock and music again. I'm fuming and muttering. 45 minutes has now gone by. I'm tempted to go across the street to the AT&T store and switch my service. I think I might have said this aloud. Somewhere in time, we asked to see the store manager, but he was on a conference call.

Shortly after, the salesperson who told me I would have to wait, decided since the original salesperson was still dealing with the iPhone couple, he would help me.

There were some pressure tactic when I told him I hated the Turbo 2 and wanted to return it. It's the best phone on the market. The iPhone 6S is thin and bends easily.

I heard about that. I'm a grown up and am careful with my things. I don't put my phone in my trouser pocket and then sit down. More blah, blah, blah, Even the most careful person...

At this point, Himself who is usually very patient, snapped just give her the iPhone she wants. And we want to talk to the manager.

Phone returned, $35 re-stocking fee charged (though for having to wait so long, that should have been waived. New iPhone 6S, and a lightweight case (similar to the one I had on the 5C) was brought out. Contacts ported over. Since the Turbo 2 didn't work when I left the store and had to spend 2 1/2 hours with tech support, I had the salesperson place a call to the new phone. It worked. I even got to keep the Bose portable speaker from the Turbo 2 package.

The manager came out to see us. I told him his policy of having to wait for the original salesperson was assinine. What happened if the salesperson had the day off? Would I have to come back during his next shift? No, of course not. He admitted they made a bad call. Didn't realize the couple was going to take several months of time with the salesman. I said there should be a way of having the office fix commission info.

I left with my purchase. Not bad for an hour and a half.

Lesson learned, maybe don't buy a new phone the week before Christmas. Though I'm not sure with having to go back to the original salesperson would make a difference at any other time of the year.

Diffusing Young Living's Christmas Spirit, again. Really like the combination of cinnamon, orange, and spruce

Monday, December 21, 2015

New Phone, Part 1

My iPhone 5C battery wasn't holding a charge so time to get a new phone. Was thinking about the new iPhone 6. Went to the Verizon store. I was stunned to find the cell phones are now huge! Seems to be a cross between a phone and a tablet. Though, I have to admit a larger screen is helpful for old eyes.

Verizon was running a deal. Trade the iPhone for a Motorola Droid Turbo 2. The Turbo 2 has a shatterproof screen, a nice feature. As part of the package get a phone charger, Otterbox hard shell case, and a choice of a portable Bose Speaker or a Fitbit. The Turbo had 32G storage compared to the 16G on my iPhone. Sweet.

The salesman ported my info over, and then realized he had pulled the wrong phone. Don't know what happened as it wasn't particularly busy. There were people in the store, but it wasn't packed and everyone was being helped. He talked to his manager. There would be a restock charge and then that cancelled out on the bill. He got the correct phone, ported the info, and I left the store. Riding home, playing with the phone, something was wrong. Seems the salesman mixed up my phone with Himself's phone. (Himself was not getting a new phone). The new phone had all my information, but Himself's phone number. Himself's phone had been disabled and the new phone was not connected. OY!

Returned to the Verizon store to find the store closed at 8 PM. Seriously?! The week before Christmas and the store closed at 8 PM? What now?

Fortunately, most of the companies are on Social Media. I found the Verizon Support Page and opened a chat with tech, Monique. Explained my tale of woe. She said she could straighten things out and I wouldn't have to return to the store. Great! Except it took her 2 1/2 hours to reprogram both phones. I didn't have to do anything except play on Facebook, occasionally read her IMEI numbers or turn the phone off and on. Monique was very nice and got the phones up and running. I went to bed.

Spent the next few days getting used to the new phone. It's big. Feels clumsy and is heavy. Though I suspect that's due to the Otterbox case. The case is hard to take off, and there's no easy access door to the SD card. The phone can't be connected to the computer because the cord can't be connected from the power plug like the iPhone lightning connector.  I could customize the ring tones, but had to download an app to do it. Was an extra step compared to the iPhone.

While downloading apps I was horrified to find the Android operating system requires an all or none app permissions. And the permissions are insidious and not necessary for the app to run. Things like:

Some apps can directly call phone numbers (perhaps costing money), read the phone status and identity, take pictures, use the microphone, take video, read contacts, add or modify calendar events, send email to guests witout owner's knowledge, modify or delete  the contents of the SD card. And the list goes on and on. There's no way you can deny app permissions on an individual basis like you can on an iPhone.

So guess what? I hate this phone. The Turbo 2 is going back. I'll grudgingly pay the restock charge, and will stick with Apple. At least, I'll be able to control the permissions from the various apps.

Diffusing Christmas Woods: Idaho Blue Spruce, Cedarwood.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Card Carrying Artist

The other day, Robin Cox Walsh from Pink House Studios posted about being an artist and a way to silence the inner critic. She designed an Artist Membership Card. You can get Robin's card base here (she cleverly saved it as a printable .pdf) to make your own membership card.

Join the club, make your own card and, tell the Inner Critic where to go.

Diffusing: Christmas Spirit, an essential oil blend of Orange,Cinnamon Bark, and Spruce by Young Living Essential Oils.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. My jeans were getting ratty so needed a new pair. Usually I order from a catalog as I can't find an inseam of 26-28 inches in stores. But found a pair of Lee jeans at Kohl's. They were the perfect Hobbit fit.

2. Spent the day making Christmas gifts

3. Phone battery wasn't holding a charge so go a new phone.

4. A day in bed recovering from a stomach bug. Cheered up when I received a Christmas card from artist and blog buddy, Robin Cox Walsh from Pink House Studio Thank you, Robin.

5. I'm up and feeling better. Not quite back to me, but a lot better.

How was your week?

And because I wasn't feeling too spunky, diffusing the Grinch: Peppermint and Spearmint.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Diffuser Necklace

I've been enjoying the oily goodness of diffusing oils at home. They just make me feel better, happy, especially on sunless days. I wanted to take that liquid sunshine with me when I'm not at home.

I came across diffuser necklaces. Most were made from terra cotta, and you just added a drop or two of your chosen oil. Nice idea, but I wanted something that looked more like jewelry. I did find some silver lockets on line, but it was hard to gauge the quality.

While poking through the jewelry making section of Michael's, I came across a locket by Blue Moon. It's sturdy silver metal and closes with a magnet. It has a lotus blossom filigree  design so fragrances can waft through. Sadly, I can't remember how much the charm cost. $6.50 or so keeps jumping out at me.

Wandering further looking for felt or something that could be put inside to hold the oil. I'm lazy and didn't want to measure and cut out little circles. I wanted something I could pop in, drop a fragrance, and run out the door.

In the scrapbook section, I found Recollections Floral Embellishments. The package contains 48 daisies ($4.99) which should be more than enough, and they turned out to be the right size.

I had a silver chain in my jewelry box, but found the amulet opening wasn't large enough for my chain. I was able to pry a jump ring from a charm bracelet I had made and didn't wear. With a small pair of pliers and a few chosen words, I was able to get the jump ring attached and thread the chain. Ta-da!

Diffusing Mrs. Claus, Stress Away and Peppermint.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Must Be...

Sunday, I was over Prissy's to pick up her trash. I usually sit and visit with her for a bit. Have a cup of tea. We're chatting and in the distance, I hear sirens. Lots of sirens. Like the town must be on fire. The sound is getting closer.

Prissy is deaf so she doesn't hear a thing. From the kitchen, I'm able to see out the front window. There's a couple of fire trucks slowing down out in front of my house across the street. I opened Prissy's front door to see Santa waving at me from the last fire truck.

Must be the fire department's Santa parade and life in a small town.

Today's diffusing blend: Santa's Workshop: Peppermint and Thieves


Sunday, December 13, 2015

How To Get a Fresh Christmas Tree Smell From an Artificial Christmas Tree

Get a tiny, terra cotta pot (Michael's has them for 69 cents). Thread your ribbon or string through a bead or button thats a little larger than the drain hole so the pot will hang on your tree. Drip a couple of drops of your chosen essential oil on the pot. I used Young Livings Idaho Blue Spruce. Ta da! Smells like a real Christmas tree.

I also hid a small pot on the window sill behind the door leading into the front porch. That has a combination of Young Living's Thieves and Idaho Blue Spruce for a welcoming Christmas smell.

Diffusing Santa: Thieves, Peppermint, Orange

Saturday, December 12, 2015

If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie

Ma had this gadget called a Gopher. It allowed her to reach things when a tall person wasn't around. It's made of metal with a trigger grip that closes pincers with suction cups. She called it Susie, and it became one of the items that came to live with me to collect dust in a corner of the kitchen.

The thing always reminded me of the Martian encounter from War of the Worlds (1953)

Regardless, Susie or Martian, the foolish thing turned out to be very handy. When decorating the tree, I always had to leave the top of the tree where I couldn't reach bare of ornaments until Himself was available to hang them for me. This year, with Susie Martian's help, I was able to ornamentize the entire tree without waiting for Himself. Well, almost the entire tree. There was one small, spun glass angel, and I didn't quite trust Susie Martian's dexterity. So Himself hung the little angel where I directed.

So Susie Martian got promoted from dust collector to top of the tree decorator and part-time dust collector.

Diffusing Mulled Wine: Thieves and Orange

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Found a partially decorated, fresh wreath at Wallyworld. Had pinecones and blue juniper berries. Made it easy to add some red glittered pine cones, plastic apples, and a recyced bow for my own front door.

2. Had a Christmas tea party with Red. Used the good Christmas tea cups.

3.  Grandmaster E. brought her contraband anisette cookies to the Black Belt Awards dinner. Italians would understand we needed a little something nice to go with coffee.

4. Enjoyed a pajama day. Actually, I got dressed in sweats and then piddledinked the day away. So relaxing

5. My cousin M called. We had a nice, long chat.

How was your week?

Diffusing from Innergy Health and Wellness, Holiday Stress Relief:  Frankincense, Lavender, Peppermint.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Many years ago, and another life time away when I was in college, I was engaged to be married. As it turned out, things with the relationship didn't go well, and I ended up breaking the engagement on a cold, Christmas Eve morning. Yes, I have impeccable timing.

After getting back into the dating game, and dating a string of young men all named Tom (very weird coincidence), I was lamenting to Ma in a 20-something, melodramatic way, I just wanted to hear bells when I was with "THE One". She, of course, relayed this gem to long time friends, Charlie and his wife, Doris.

During the middle of the Great Depression, Dad met Charlie at the Settlement House in East Boston. Charlie was a social worker, and had started a boys and girls club at the Settlement House. Dad, in his teens, was hanging out there, and Charlie took Dad under his wing. Charlie gave Dad odd jobs to do, either at the club or at his house. When Dad dropped out of high school, Charlie convinced him to go back to school, and Dad lived with Charlie and his family for awhile.

So, the following Christmas, or maybe it was in July because we sometimes had Christmas in July with Charlie and Doris because of bad weather at Christmas, Charlie sent me a small, brass bell so I would always hear bells. Charlie was a practical joker, but the bell became a fixture on my Christmas tree.

Charlie passed away before Himself and I became an item. So Charlie,  I just wanted to let you know. I hear bells every single day.

Diffusing: Joy, an essential oil blend by Young Living Essential Oils. Joy is blended from Bergamot, Lemon, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Geranium, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Coriander, Tangerine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Let There Be Light

One of the things Himself loves about Christmas is the lights. Over the years, he has collected a variety of outdoor displays. Candy canes and gingerbread men lined the walk. A nativity graced the yard while Santa, a deer, and an animated present looked on. White lights on the bushes and icicle lights (cleverely hung from inside) dripped from the eaves. All and all a very pretty display. Until she, she Herself got the elecric bill.

The Grinch bitched. The Grinch whined and the lights at Christmas went out. It wasn't like the Grinch didn't like the Christmas lights. But her wallet was just two sizes too small. The Grinch felt bad about banning the lights, but what was to be done? The Grinch pondered and wondered. Why couldn't someone invent solar Christmas lights? Lights that didn't need to be plugged in to eat up the electricity.

While browsing through catalogs looking at gifts, the Grinch found a whole page of solar Christmas lights. What a wonderful gift for Himself they would make! Lights to festoon the yard without running up the electric bill. (Running up the credit card bill was another thing, but it would be a one time investment.)

So, she pointed and clicked her way through the list. Two twig lights, two green ornaments, a sliver and purple. Two tiny deer and small Chrismtas tree, it was all too syrple simple.

UPS left the boxes on the steps with great care. Herself brought them in to her cozy lair. Of course, the day they arrived, Himself had to work late. Herself danced round the house until well half past eight. The car lights illuminated the bedroom wall. Herself pounced on him before he came down the hall. With barely a break for him to take a pee,

"Open the boxes!" Herself shouted with glee.

The boxes were opened. Himself oohed and ahhed. And then had to wait a day or two to set the lights in the yard.

The batteries charged all day in the sun. Himself and Herself went out for the night, and wondered what they'd find when they returned to their abode. Would it be dark or would the yard be aglow? They rounded the corner and into the drive. The two deer and one ornament were lit and alive.

Himself and Herself', faces split with a grin.

"The batteries need more charging," Himself said, and went in.

Diffusing From Keeper of the Home: #9 Happy Holidays: Fir or Idaho Blue Spruce, Orange, Wintergreen

Monday, December 7, 2015

Prissy's Wreath

The Christmas bauble box came out. Here's the wreath I made for my elderly neighbor, Prissy. I can't reach the spot on the house where she likes to hang the wreath so had to leave it in her living room. She must have had a surprise visit from her Daughter and SIL as I saw the wreath hung up outside when Himself and I left for the Black Belt Awards Dinner.

Today's diffusion blend, Comfor and Joy: Thieves, Rosemary, and Idaho Blue Spruce.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Car Freshener

I belong to an essential oil group on Facebook.  Recently, some of the members shared holiday crafts that could be made using essential oils. Jennie H.'s idea was to make a car freshener. All you needed was a spring clip clothes pin, cork in festive shapes or a sheet which could be cut into a festive shape, glue, and a drop or two of essential oil. Glue the shape to the top of the clothespin. Add a drop or two of chosen essential oil. Clip into the vent grate of the car and voila! Cute idea! A car freshener without a laboratory chemical smell.

I had purchased some tee-shirts from Redbubble send their shirts with a tiny spring clip clothes pin and a fabric hang tag with care instructions.  Rather than using cork, I thought I'd find something that could hang from the clothespin. While wandering around Michael's, I found burlap Christmas tree tags in festive colors (10 for about $5). The tags have a nice sturdy grommet. I also couldn't resist the felt happy, little gingerbread fellow ($1.49)

I glued a couple of buttons to the gingerbread man as he only had one and a half felt buttons. A bit of red string, and he was ready for his new home in my car. I think I have some sequins to decorate the trees. A project for another day.

Today's diffuser blend, Frosty Night: Idaho Blue Spruce and Peppermint

Saturday, December 5, 2015

They're Here

Gable on the stable and the rest of the gang have started to arrive.

Diffusing Christmas Spirit: Thieves, Idaho Blue Spruce, and Orange

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. After visiting the cemetery, we stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrell. I love grits.

2. Himself's Christmas present arrived.

3. Himself  had time to set up the Christmas tree this week instead of a few days before Christmas.

4. The Advent tree ornament countdown started on the first of December instead of several days later.

5. Bought wreaths to decorate for Prissy and my own front door.

How was your week?

Diffusing Christmas Everyday: Thieves and Lemon.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday

During the 1970s, I worked at the local hospital in the laboratory as a receptionist. It was a great place to work, and the women in my department were the best. Everyone helped each other.Phlebotomists would help file lab reports, I'd be asked to fill in for the medical secretaries typing pathology reports. Lots of cooperation and respect for patients.

One of our regular patients came every other week for lab tests. She was taking blood thinners. A friend of hers drove her. Both lovely, older women. At this time of the year, people would want to give us gifts. We weren't allowed to accept gifts unless it was something like flowers or a box of chocolates which everyone could enjoy.

This women got around the issue by inviting us to her home. Table was beautifully set. Coffee, tea, goodies. She also made all 6 or 7 of us over the years, the prettiest beaded ornaments.

As you can see, I still have them and cherish them. The white and gold angel is just big enough to stand on top of the Advent tree. When the girlies were little, they would take turns hanging a tiny ornament on the tree couting down the days until Christmas.

There's a flat angel and a gold and white bell with a tiny clapper. My favorite is the basket of poinsettia. They take pride of place at the top of the Christmas tree. All are reminders of a lovely woman and the best group of co-workers.

Today, I'm diffusing Christmas Cookie: Thieves and Stress Away

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Essential Oils Christmas Countdown

While I got off to a slow start with Young Living essential oils, I am enjoying the oils and diffuser. The oils are supportive of health and well-being. I've used them to make more natural cleaning products and health and beauty aids. The diffuser makes the house smell great and gets rid of the blahs.

As a countdown to Christmas, I thought it would be fun to combine oils to diffuse for the holiday season. Some blends, I found online. Others I just made up a name that evoked a happy holiday memory. At the end of each blog post, I'll give the oils I'm diffusing for the day.

Today, I'm diffusing Ribbon Candy, a blend of peppermint, spearmint, and lemon. The Eldest said it smelled like toothpaste. Everybody's a critic. :-D