Monday, December 29, 2008

Return to The Batcave

I am taking a break. Well deserved maybe, but I am taking it whether I deserve it or not.

So I let all my listings expire so I can work on my new business plan for the new year. I guess all those watchers who weren't ready to buy on ebay must have paniced when the quilt kit listings ran out and I didn't relist them, so they found my ecrater store and I have sold a couple over there this week and even sold one of Missy's checkbook sets. But otherwise I am kickin' back a little and working on fun stuff for a while.

Like swaps, that I really shouldn't be doing because I really don't need any more stuff. Thanks so much Missy for getting me hooked on that! But they are just so darn fun and tonight I spent the night looking at cool patterns for "penny rugs" that really aren't even rugs, but are actually table runners made from felt. I am in a spring swap at the HGTV quilting forum and for some reason decided that these would be fun to make for my 7 days of spring gifts. I haven't quite decided on them yet but it was fun looking at the patterns.

Another thing I have been working on is 2 new blogs. I have decided that this blog didn't really end up to be what I intended it to be, which was a site for me to promote my business and talk about my crafty endeavours. Since this has turned into more of a family blog I felt that I should separate the two and I am going to be moving my family chatter to a new site, so Up the Rainbow Creek will be more focused on business. I also opened a "cooking school" blog last night, since cooking is something I really enjoy and I have an interest in sharing my knowledge on that subject, but it will also be an advertising /commercial enterprise eventually I hope. I will let you know once I figure all this out.

Matt Update: finally got to see the orthopedic doc today and it was pretty good news, except Matt didn't take it that way. The broken vertabrae is lined up and should heal well, he has weakness and tingling on the left side because the nerve bundle that goes through the vertabrae is the nerves to his left arm and should clear up when everything heals. The important thing is to stabilize the neck and and allow time to heal. That is the part Matty didn't like, he wants this to be over and to get back to work. There is still a chance that he may need surgery for ligament damage if there is soft tissue injury that could make his neck unstable, so they are going to schedule an MRI to check that out. I think we all feel better knowing what is going on and he will be OK, even if he doesn't feel that way right now.

Today is the last day of 2008, had a few ups and downs, bumps and bruises this year as always, but with 2 new grandsons and so many wonderful memories and all the love and support we have in this family this was one of the best year's ever, and I am sure next year will be even better. That's all the chatter I got for today, catch ya next year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wise Man Meets Barbie

Ok, to be honest I was not sure I was going to survive the week. The kids got here on Monday and no cookies were baked, the tree wasn't even decorated and no presents were wrapped. Heck, half of them weren't even made yet, so it would have been pointless to try to wrap them.

Anna had been promised that she could decorate her own tree when she got here and she was anxious to get started. I was planning on having her decorate the little one in the family room but seeing that the big one was completely bare still I quickly wrapped some lights around it and let her go at it. Kyle and Morgan joined in and the next thing I knew they had the most beautiful creation. Not everyone has a Christmas tree with teddy bear in a leapord costume hiding in the branches and a yellow balloon animal of some sort perched just below the angel. They were very proud of it and I wouldn't change a thing on it.

Tuesday night we finally got some baking done, kind of. I think it was actually early Wed morning when we got to the fudge. Mark and Mark were doing a little partying in the kitchen and they were making us crazy because they were so loud and couldn't take a hint that we wanted them to get out of the kitchen and leave us to our important work. In fact the more we hinted the more obnoxious they became and we were eventually rolling on the floor laughing. So I finally said they needed to leave because fudge making is serious business and that prompted Mark B to come over and start grazing through all the cookies just to aggravate me. Finally he gave up after he got me mad enough.

It was another one of our exclusive creations. Our top secret peanut butter fudge recipe is so top secret we aren't even sure what the recipe is. So we had our annual Great Fudge Recipe Debate and finally agreed on the peanut butter/chocolate layered fudge recipe and realized then we wouldn't have any marshmallow cream for the plain chocolate batch. I had a partial bag of mini marshmallows and we googled some recipes and made up one we thought would do. Both batches turned out perfect and we limped off to bed at 3 am or so, vowing an early start on the meatballs, turkey, ham and cheese balls. Right!

So somehow we managed to get all the food going by about 1:30 pm and get the house looking nice and festive. Mark W was taking care of a lot of honey-do's and wrapping gifts and Anna had been playing quietly by herself in the family room waiting for the other kids to arrive. Kaish decided to take some pictures to show Milena and she walked into the family room to take a picture of the mantel and found that one of the wise men from the nativity had apparently swept Barbie off her feet and was planning to run off with her! We thought it was too funny so we had to leave it that way. When Fred got here he seemed to think the scene was a bit too risque and felt compelled to adjust the cleavage a bit.

For some reason I was surprised that this many kids can sound like a herd of elephants when they are racing up and down a 50' long tile hallway and running in a circle through the living room, kitchen, family room and back down the hallway. I had to enlist some helpers to get my presents wrapped so we could let them start opening them.

They kind of sat still for exactly as long as it took to take this picture. Poor little Anna was in bed with an earache by this time, so she is missing from the picture.
The hit of the year were the singing animals that Grandma Ruth got for all the kids from the Cracker Barrel gift shop. We heard about this from all the parents who got to listen to singing chipmunks and "YOU MAKE ME WANNA SHOUT!" all day long on Christmas day. I am thinking Mark and Kaisha will want to shout when they get to listen to that for 2,300 miles in the car. HA! HA!
Carter and David's first Christmas
Morgan says David "has candy cane clothes!"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night's sleep, I sure need it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Today's Special: Slightly Used Apples

I had a baggy full of slightly used apples. You know the ones that the kids say they want, and they don't want them cut up and they take about 3 or 4 nibbles and then you find them abandoned on the coffee table because they ran off to play. So I cut off the nibbled parts and washed them and put them in a bag in the frig.

Tonight I was wanting to bake something so I would have a little sweet something for my afternoon snacks. I came across a recipe for a caramel apple cake and remembered those apples in the frig so I came up with the idea of using a cake mix and adding 1/2 cup of applesauce, the slightly used apples peeled and diced fine and some chopped walnuts and cinnamon. I baked it in a tube pan and frosted it with caramels melted in microwave with milk, added some powdered sugar and a Tbl of butter and poured over it. I think it could have used some decorating if I was serving it to anybody else, but it turned out pretty tasty. So now you know what you can do with slightly used apples.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I have some good news... and bad news

So, as they always say, give me the good news first.

Kaisha and I decided last night that they could make it out here for Christmas if they drive in the new family truckster.

See how happy the kids were that last time they were here for Christmas. They were just tiny bugs then.

Since we are going to be driving to IL the day after Christmas we can caravan together with them and the kids. It should be so much fun!
I stopped by that new gift shop in Sedalia and talked to the owner and she said that I could have some space to set up my coat racks to sell my purses! She actually was pretty excited about it and said Di can bring some dolls to sell too. We are meeting there Friday to set that up.

I really had fun doing the new pattern, and I sold another one yesterday! I decided to list it here too. So one more step on my way to my new year's business plan. I just feel really good about that.

Now the bad news, of course.

Mark W. doesn't want to drive out here, says it is too far. They sound like old farts. No sense of adventure!

Avon decided that they want to move the schedule up and sell campaign 1 before the end of the year. They are supposedly going to bring a truck in on Christmas eve and want it delivered on Christmas day or the day after. Then they are sending the day 4, 6 and 7 trucks the next week. So no trip to IL.

ebay sales have dropped like a rock. My listings all just ended with only one item that got bids. I was really hoping to have some money coming in to put toward my new business plan.

No worries. I am not giving up hope yet. Things have a way of working out. They will. I just have to believe that.
We will all be together for the best Christmas ever and then I am going to see my mom and dad!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Workin' the Graveyard Shift

That CL lady actually paid me for the pattern! I guess you know what that means. I had to take a break from trying to organize this mess:

That pile is actually most of my quilt kit fabrics that I work from every day. Is that a disgrace or what?

And I did get the pattern mostly done. And it actually really looks good. I got the pictures sized and layed out in the right places with the words wrapped around them in a pretty attractive way. Which is more than I can do on this blog site. But that might come to me one day soon.

Anyway I think this pattern should be well worth the $12.95 for all the comprehensive knowledge I am passing along. It took me quite some time to design all these projects and perfect the construction of them all from my own little brain. Now here I am for a mere $12.95 plus FREE SHIPPING, willing to give it all up.

I have had some debates with a few folks on this subject, but what I maintain is that there are two completely different markets for patterns and supplies and handcrafted items. Those who are do it yourselfers are not going to buy finished items because they know that they can do it themself. But they will buy patterns and kits because they don't have the time or the skill to just design something on their own.

I have had a few people contact me to say how much they liked my purse tutorial on this blog. They seemed surprised that I would post the instructions for free. That makes me happy too. I love free tutorials and have found some really good ones that have inspired me. It's not always about the $12.95 to me either. Sometimes it just feels good to give something. More about that later.
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