Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A to Z April Blogging Challenge

Since I am a new blogger I was very excited to just sign up for the A to Z April Challenge.

What is it all about you ask?  Well every day in the month of April except Sunday you have to write a post of at least 100 words.  Each day your subject matter need to be the next letter of the alphabet.  So on April 1, you will start with the letter A, on April 2 the letter B and so on throughout the month except on Sunday.  That's your day to rest and to think about what you want to blog about for the rest of the week.

The A-Z challenge is open to all so why not enter.  Its a way to get your self out there and meet new friends. Its a win win to me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Minute Makeover

Its a dreary day here in upstate NY.  Lots of sleet and freezing rain during the night and we woke to the sound of the town sander going down the street. The sun is trying to come out, but on the whole its a bleak kind of day. I decided it was just the kind of day to sit in a cozy space and read. I often read in my guest bedroom.  Its in a part of the house that is quiet and a great place to spend some alone time, reading a great book that I am enjoying, Fellow Mortals by Dennis Mahoney.  I was sitting in a nice comfy chair and I looked up and in an instant I decided to redo the bed.  I wanted to rid myself of the dark dank day outside and bring some brightness inside.

I walked around the house looking for some things that I could rearrange that would fit into my guest room.

I went to my living room and gathered up some pillows and a folded quilt.

I rummaged through my closet and came across some red plaid and check pillows that I usually decorate with at Christmas time and went to work on the bed.

This is the way it looked before my minute makeover.  A bit boring.

With a few tweaks that took a minute and $0 dollars I got a new bright sunny bed on a not so sunny day.

Mary Ann

I am sharing this post this week with  Brenda at Cozy Little House   Kathryn at The Dedicated House,  C.R.A.F.T  Sew Can Do Knick of Time   Savvy Southern Style Wendy at The Shabby Nest  Under the Table and Dreaming Sunny Simple Life   Lambaround  and DebbieDo

Friday, February 22, 2013

Looking Back On Mom

This is from and earlier post that I did but I wanted to participate in Flashback Friday at  Seaside Simplicity   Hope its worth a second look.

Growing up, New Years day was always a big celebration in our house because it was my mothers birthday.  My grandparents rarely celebrated her birthday because it was so close to Christmas but when she married my father he decided to make it a big deal.  For my poor dad that was no easy feat  because my mom was very very picky.  My mom rarely kept what he got her each year, more often returning it to get something more practical. That never dissuaded my dad who would still go out of his way to buy her something each year even though he knew she would probably take it back.

Well we lived in Queens and not far from our house in Ridgewood was a store called Jay Rose.  It was very exclusive for that time and my mother would longingly look in the window when we passed by but she would never go in.  So one year my dad decided to buy her some things from Jay Rose.  Now my dad was no Tim Gunn and had no idea of fashion. He was a big guy, over 6 foot and not so light on his feet.  When we got to Jay Rose my dad bounded into the store like a bull in a china shop.  The bell over the door jingling in triple time.  As we entered everyone stopped and starred, not sure if they had ever seen the likes of my dad entering their store.  A sales lady quickly came over wanting to help. My dad looked around the shop, his eyes resting on a mannequin dressed  in a yellow plaid pleated skirt and vest accessorized from head to toe including a yellow clock pendant.  Probably feeling uncomfortable in this very feminine place my dad pointed to the mannequin and said "I'll take everything on that mannequin".   I was only 6 but I knew that outfit was nothing that my mom would ever wear.  I think the sales lady noticed my shocked look and tried to persuade my dad to go in another direction but he was hell bent on that outfit.  Next thing I knew every sales person was called into action and they were pulling all the clothes from the mannequin, putting everything together in one big box with Jay Rose printed in big letter across the top.   They even wrapped it for him including a big pink bow.

On the way home I was nervous for my dad.  He really went all out, going to a place way outside of his comfort zone to try and give my mom a great present.  I could picture my mom opening the present making a face and returning it the next day.  So on New Years Day, my moms birthday, after we had cake, my dad brought out the present.  Mom unwrapped the box and gasped as she saw Jay Rose printed on the box.  Tears came to her eyes and she whispered  "Oh Joe".  I held my breath as she lifted the top of the box anticipating her usual negative reaction.  Instead she screeched in delight.  Wow was I off on this one.  I thought for sure she would hate this gift but she seemed to be in love with it all.  My dad was so excited.  He thought he had finally gotten it right.  He was on cloud nine the rest of the day.

Well he never seemed to notice that my mother never, ever wore that outfit.  I remember her putting it on a few times, looking in the mirror, taking it off and hanging it back up.  Over the years she cleaned out her closet many times, packing  up clothes for Good Will but that head to toe yellow plaid outfit remained in her closet for over 30 years.  I think she knew that it was not about the outfit but about the thoughtfulness and love that it represented.

So today on my moms birthday New Years Day she will be in my thoughts.

Happy Birthday Mom

Mom and Dad one of the few pictures of have of them together.  My dad is not looking too happy.

Every New Years Eve their friends threw a New Years Eve costume party.  My mom was very creative and was always trying make a better costume each year.  Because of his size she would always make my poor dad  a women.  He did seem to enjoy it.

Here is a picture of my mom with my kids and an anniversary party for my Aunt and Uncle.

I will be back soon with some more of my crafty ideas and projects.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Robot Trio

It finally feels like summer its been a bit rough up here in upstate NY lately.  YIKES.  I have been working on combining my cricut  robotz cartridge , cardstock and embroidery hoops.

So I am happy to say that I  love the way they turned out if I do say so myself.

I used bright green, blue and yellow fabric for the backgrounds and made a different robot from the cartridge for each hoop.  I make a number of the same image and layer them so it give it a 3 D effect.  I then embossed some area's with metallic embossing powder and finished them off with some gears.

The green one is a 8 inch hoop, the blue one is a 6 inch hoop and the yellow one is a 4 inch hoop.

I was excited to see that they coordinate really well with a 10 inch robot that I had already done.

I think they would look great on some little boys wall.

Mary Ann

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Just A Quiet Sunday

Lately I have felt like spring is just around the corner.  The weather seems to be milder and the days are a bit longer.  I know I am being premature in my thoughts that winter will soon be over because I live in the Northeast and we are often tricked into thinking about spring and then mother nature socks us a good one.

I have  been in a bit of a funk about my Etsy store.  I opened my shop in November of last year and I was surprised and happy to get a sale relatively quickly.  It was followed by seven more sales and I was on my way, or so I thought.  Things since then have been pretty slow and its hard not to feel sort of discouraged.  I have been trying to look for some trend of what was a good item to sell, to get people to my shop.  It looked like embroidery hoop art may be a way to go.  So I thought of a way to combine the embroidery hoop art with what I do which is paper art designs.  

Because I am a over buyer when it comes to crafts supplies, of course I start buying tons of hoops and fabric quarter pre-cut material.  Buying the fabric quarters gave me the option to get more fabric choices rather then going through all the bolts of material and having them cut one by one.  The selection was great and they were on sale at Joanne's.

As you can see I do have some over shopping issues.  I am always afraid that when my creativity kicks in I won't have the tools to create the image that I have in my mind.

I am always drawn to making girly things but this time I decided to make some hoop art for the boys. I am going with a robots theme and I have already made a large 10 inch hoop robot.

I used old clock parts and gears for his belly and embellished him with embossing power and a heat gun to give him more of a metal look.

I am now working on a trio of robots on  hoops of different sizes that can coordinate with the guy above or be hung on their own.

As I am always hoping for a sale I am really doing something that I love to do. It makes me happy, although I have to say a few sales would make me way more happy.

Mary Ann

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crazy About Quilts

I love quilts, all shapes and sizes, all colors and patterns.  Everywhere I go I always gravitate toward a quilt or a quilt design.   I have many quilts in my home, when I took stock the other day I discovered that I have at least one quilt in every room.

I love to hang quilts.  This one hangs in my family room.  I try and use it as a focal point to take away from the look of my husbands recliner.  Men do love their Lazy Boy's.

This smaller one hangs in my hallway leading to my upstairs.

The above two hang in my spare bedroom.  Love my cat wall quilts.

This one I hung in my downstairs hallway.

Whats better then a warm cozy quilt on a bed to welcome guests when they come to visit. The quilt is paired with a crochet blanket that my Aunt Betty made for me a very long time ago.

A Christmas quilt to brighten up the holidays.

I even love pictures of quilts.  This poster I bought when I visited Lancaster, Pa. few years ago.

I would love to make my own quits but unfortunately I cannot sew a stitch  so I created my own way of creating a quilt pattern using paper.

Using a die cutting machine I cut out  intricate patterns that replicate a quilt pattern and pick coordinating colors and prints to create a one of a kind faux quilt framed pictures.

This one is in teals, reds, greens and yellows.

So no matter how you stack it up,  I am crazy in love with quilts.

I am sharing this post with Brenda at Cozy Little House   Kathryn at The Dedicated House,  Knick of Time     Savvy Southern Style Wendy at The Shabby Nest  Sunny Simple Life   Lambaround and Homemaker on a dime.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Saying Goodbye Is Always Hard

Yesterday I heard that a friend of a friend had passed away last week.  It totally took me by surprise and although I did not know this person very well I felt saddened by the loss.

Laura was a very intelligent, savvy, women.  She always knew current events and the ways of the world.  Her mind never stopped learning even though she was almost 70 years old. She had lost the love of her life over 20 years ago and raised her two girls alone.  She opened her own business, sent her girls to college and paid for extravagant weddings, all on her own.

I think of the times that I would run into her in the store and she would  be so warm and friendly, always asking after my family.  She seemed so put together and had infectious smile that no matter what kind of mood I was in, would make me smile.  Who knew that through the windows of her eyes there was way more to her life then I ever would have guessed.

The last time I say her, was a summer ago. We drove together to our mutual friends daughters baby shower.  It was during that few hours in the car that I saw a crack in the life that I thought she was handling perfectly. She talked about her relationship with her daughters, that had tons of ups and downs. I saw something in her that I had not seen before, sadness.  Since both her girls had moved to other states, miles and miles away, I asked her why she would not just sell her house and go live near one of them.  She said she could never sell her house that there were way too many memories to leave.  I remember telling her that her house was just a pile of  concrete and wood, that memories were in your heart not in a thing.  She said that she knew that but she could never leave it.  It seemed like she could just not move forward in her life.

So around Christmas she started to decline, in body and in mind.  She became physically and mentally depressed, although I think that she may have been depressed for years.  She finally passed last week alone in her beloved house with all those memories.

Her death reminded me how I sometimes I feel stuck in my life.  I am sure that we all do, but life offers so many challenges, heartbreaks, and happiness it needs to be embraced and conquered everyday whether its a good day or  not so good one.  We need to choose to go forward and learn from our mistakes along the way, keeping all those memories close to our hearts carrying them with us whatever or wherever we go.

Even though  we certainly were not close I will miss Laura, her smile, her intelligence, her love of her family and friends and hope that she is now united with her husband and is happy and at peace.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Decorating With Memories

Over the years I have collected things that friends and family have made or given to me and I love to incorporate them in my decor.

A pretty quilt that my daughter made me in my favorite bright colors of reds and blues and greens.  She has made me many quilts over time but this is the one that I love the most.

The white washed church my grandson picked out for me for my birthday.  At the time he was seven and my daughter said that once he saw it in the store he was sure it would be a winner.  I love it mostly because he picked it out.

I love these little mini dolls that my daughter made for me.  I love dolls of all shapes and sizes but these are so sweet I wish she would make tons more for me.

My son whose a web designer created this digital art for me.  Its a one of a kind and really captures his design style.

A pitcher and bowl that my mother made for me.  She is no longer with me so I enjoy thinking about her lovely painting on the glaze in ceramic class.  Priscilla, my cat kid seems to also enjoys it.

My roosters remind me how much my youngest grandson loves animals.  Whenever he would come to my house he would get so excited to see them.  We had a few occasions when he would grab them and run but they are none the worse for wear.  Priscilla must think she is part of the rooster grouping.

I love plates, my friends know that and when they find plates at estate sales they are kind enough to pick them up for me.  I really have quite a number of them at this point so I hung them in a hall that leads to my bedrooms. 

 I feel like having things around me that depict the warmth and kindness of friends and family truly make my house a home.

 I am sharing this post with Brenda at Cozy Little House   Kathryn at The Dedicated House,  Knick of Time   Kathe With an E  Savvy Southern Style Wendy at The Shabby Nest and Sunny Simple Life 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Schenectady The Far Side Of Hollywood

I live in upstate NY in the tri-city area of Albany, Schenectady and Troy.   Even though Albany is the capital of New York State life in general is pretty quiet here, but in the summer and fall of 2009 Hollywood came to sleepy little Schenectady in the form of the movie The Place Beyond The Pines.

Most of the movie was shot in Schenectady, not far from where I live.  All that you heard about for months on the news, from friends, neighbors and coworkers were about the movie.  There were sighting of the stars constantly.  A friend of mines aunt who lives in the Stockade area of Schenectady was walking her dog and a nice looking guy approached her and jokingly said that he was renting the house across the street, so if she saw him, coming and going please don't call the police on him.  He introduced himself as Bradley.  She obviously was not a movie watcher and did not make the connection.  A few days later when she mentioned it to my friend, my friend started to scream and spent many hours that summer and fall camped out on her aunts front steps hoping to get a glimpse of Bradly Cooper, but Bradley had others things to do and she was never able to catch him coming or going.

My encounter with one star of the movie was kind of a miss.  After an appointment one weekday morning in Schenectady my husband wanted to get some breakfast at Denny's.  As we were walking to our table I could see a large group of people sitting to my right.  I really did not pay much attention.  We took out seats in a booth.  I sat with my back to the large group, my husband sat facing the group.  Now my husband is one of those people who always thinks someone looks like somebody famous.  We could be in a store and he will say, I just saw a guy who looks like Stephan King.  He will drag me up and down the aisle stalking the poor guy and so I can see if in fact by some crazy chance it is Stephan King.  When we finally find him, to me, he looked more like Larry King and nothing like Stephan.  So this particular day when I found him starring at this group of people in Denny's and saying that one of those guys over there looks familiar, I paid no attention and told him to stop starring.  I never even made and attempt to turn around.  After the large group left the waitress came over and asked if we got to see him?  Him, whose him???  Well Ray Liotta was sitting right over there she said.  So for once my husband did see the real deal but for whatever reason he could not place him.  YIKES.  Who would think that Ray Liotta would be eating breakfast at Denny's on a weekday.

So I guess from now on when my husband says he just saw Pamela Sue Anderson in aisle 6 at the grocery store it just might be her but then again, probably not.