Sunday, December 25, 2011

What Women Want?

It's Christmas night...time for women everywhere to reclaim their sanity after weeks of joyous exhaustion. Don't get me wrong...I love Christmas as much as the next person...but I think I like Christmas night even better. The frenzy of almost non-stop crafting, shopping, wrapping, baking, card-writing, cooking, dressing up, visiting, and eating is over for another year, but the best things, the peace and goodwill of the season, linger.

So, when we passed Santa leaving Maine in his big red pick-up truck tonight, I had very mixed emotions. The child in me didn't want to see him go, ever...but the exhausted woman in me wanted to open the window and yell,  "And don't let Rudolph hit you in the *** on your way out!"

Big, fat snowflakes were falling when we arrived home...a perfect end to a crazy-perfect day. With tummy and car uncomfortably full, I found myself thinking about what women (at least this one) really want as Christmas draws to a close for another year.

So, as the snow falls silently outside my window, and the house is finally still, here's my humble list:

1. I want to walk around wearing flannel, slippers, no make-up, and crazy hair for at least a week. I do not want to wear a sequined sweater or singing stocking cap for at least 51 more weeks.

photo from Mary Engelbreit website

2. I want my house back. I am ready to see every last pile of crumpled gift wrap gone. I want to wake up in the morning and fill trash bags to my heart's content. I want to walk from one end of a room to the other without tripping over bags, boxes, bows, candy canes, walnuts and elves. I want to walk into my craft room and not see this for 11 more months...

3. I want to gorge on salad and fruit. I do not want to be asked if I would like to try "just a little bit" of any of the following for at least 340 days: sugar cookies, egg nog, yule logs, baked brie, candied nuts, stuffed squid, chocolate-covered cherries, cheese balls, latkes, or pecan pie. It has taken me over a year on Weight Watchers to lose 37 pounds and I don't want one ounce of it back. I'm relieved that the annual holiday bacchanalia is over for another year...trying not to disappoint my (fantastic) WW leader, Mary Elizabeth,  is hard enough on a good week, a major challenge at the holidays.

4. I want to buy bins. I know it's crazy...I don't even need them...but when the Target flyer arrived in this morning's paper, there they were: colorful bins in all shapes and sizes, and, even, better, on Sale.  After saying I would never set foot in a store again after December 24th,  I have this insane compulsion to set my alarm for six a.m. (Target thoughtfully opens at 7:00 tomorrow for us after-Christmas women-on-a-mission-to get-their-homes-back), grab a Pumpkin Spice coffee on the road, and head the sleigh over to Target to load up on the latest accessories for the modern obsessive-compulsive.

5. I want my blogging time back. I have been so "wrapped up" in holiday preparations I've let my blog go and I miss it. I miss the creating, photography, and writing...but I especially miss my blog friends. I love nothing more than spending quiet time reading my favorite blogs, sharing comments, and being inspired by the amazingly talented women I meet in blogland. So I apologize to those Followers who wonder if I've dropped off the face of the planet (I haven't) and promise to do my best to reconnect with each of you in the coming weeks. My Sister's Cottage is here to stay.

Now that I've shared the Christmas Night confessions of a happy but holiday-weary woman, I'd love to hear from you. Are you sad that Christmas is over or anxious to get back into comfortable old routines?

This post is happily linked to :
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Shawnee Gift

My dear friend, Sandy, and I got together this weekend to do some flea market shopping. We first became friends teaching high school together many years ago and have since enjoyed many hours of collecting, crafting, and "Glamping" (camping in our little vintage trailers) together.  We even shared a booth in a local antique mall (or two) for a few years...until we completely wore ourselves out!

Old friendships are so can just be who you excuses necessary. And this old friend surprised me yesterday with a little gift...

a vintage Shawnee miniature pitcher to add to my collection.

It is marked USA on the bottom in teeny-tiny letters...

and will look perfect with the other pieces in my collection.

These little mini's are getting very hard to find so I am absolutely thrilled to have this piece. The tiny vintage pieces are no more than 3 inches high and they are perfect replicas of the full-size pottery made by Shawnee in Ohio in the 1930's and 40's.  (I wrote about my collection in a February 17, 2011 post here if you'd like to learn more.)

I can't wait to make a tiny little space for Sandy's pitcher in my kitchen pottery cabinet.

A day at the flea market with a wonderful friend and an unexpected gift from the heart...
Life Is Good!

This post is linked to:
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's All Stephen King's Fault!

Well, not entirely. I can't blame Stephen King for all of my November writer's block but I think he may have started it.

Needing a short blog break, I picked up a novel by Stephen King...and couldn't put it down. Then it was back to our little town library for another, and another, and another. So I've spent my little blog vacation in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine with Stephen (I think we must be on a first name basis by now) traveling through time and fending off all sorts of shady characters. It was a great escape.

November has been a tough month. Last November, my sister Nancy lost her battle with ovarian cancer. People had warned me that the anniversary of her passing might be difficult but I had no idea just how right they were. And somehow, while I was reliving those last few weeks at Maine Medical Center, writing about my latest craft project or flea market find just didn't inspire me to write. So I gave myself permission to spend a few weeks away from the computer.

In addition to reading, I found comfort these past few weeks in just spending quiet time in my craft room, where Nancy and I had enjoyed so many hours together over the years.

One night, I decided to pull my bins of fabric out of the attic and found the stash I had put aside for quilts I intended to make "someday". And so began my other November never-quite-got-back-to-the-blog escape...sewing.

As November wore on, I sewed and hand-tied quilt after quilt, emptying two bins of fabric and batting. Never being very good at stopping at just one of something, I ended up finishing eight quilts to give as Christmas gifts. I guess I had my own little Black Friday (except it lasted for a month) the warmth of my craft room with a Pumpkin Spice coffee in one hand and an embroidery needle in the other.  Sewing was almost as good an escape as chasing evil spirits in Castle Rock!

But I've missed blogging and the creativity of the holiday season is a good time to get back to it. Hoping my writer's block is finally over, I'm looking forward to reconnecting with blog friends again and saying Goodbye to Castle Rock for awhile.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy (Snowy) Halloween!

The snow is on the pumpkin here in Maine...just in time for Halloween! The surprise October Nor'easter knocked out our internet service so I have missed being able to visit my favorite blogs this weekend and hope to catch up with all of you during the week.

The fall leaves were still on the trees when the storm hit...knocking most of what was left to the ground in huge gusts of wind.

It's quiet now though and the sun began to return this afternoon...when my sister, Joanne, created this in her backyard just before today's Patriot's game. I just hope she got her power back in time to watch it!

The candy is bought, the pumpkin on the porch is lit...

And I'm definitely NOT dreaming of a White Halloween!

The forecast for Halloween Day is sunny and warmer so we're still looking forward to the annual visits for "Trick or Treat"...although Cinderella may have to trade in her glass slippers for LL Bean boots this year.

Happy Halloween to all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Does Home Mean To You?

After another crazy day at work, followed by two hours in the dentist's chair, I couldn't wait to get home. It is getting dark earlier now and that made the trip home seem even longer, and somehow, colder. As I drove, I thought about "home"...and why I was so anxious to get there.

To me, home is a safe and welcoming place...

Where I can wind down and take a few moments to regroup...

With someone who is always glad to see me.

It's my happy place.

It's home to my collections...

And home to my books, old and new...

Where Tom Swift and Stephen King live happily together in my cupboard.

Home is my cozy farmhouse kitchen...

With its autumn smells...

And warm memories.

It's the place where I can escape...

And create...

Where I can think up ideas...

And occasionally actually finish them.

And, after a long day, it's the place where I can change into my ugly cozy flannels, relax...

and dream about tomorrow.

What does Home mean to you?

This post is linked to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Anything Goes Party at Type A Decorating
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Walk In The Woods

My sister, Andi, the adventurous second-born, has a rather unusual hobby. No cooking, knitting or sewing for her...Andi prefers to express her creativity outdoors...making trails. Give her a pair of big rubber boots, a few dead trees, and a wheelbarrow (or sled in the winter) and she is transformed into a modern day Sakajawea, building trails that would have made Lewis and Clark proud.

I'm not sure how this trail-making thing got started (maybe we made a few too many "forts" in the backyard as kids?) but Andi has been adding to her labyrinth for a few years now.  Every trail is thoughtfully marked with a hand-painted sign to help her stupid sisters woodland visitors find their way. The only sign that seems to be missing is one that says "This Way Out".

The trails begin in the woods behind Andi's house. Her home is beautifully decorated and you wouldn't know by looking at it that she turns into a rough 'n tumble mountain woman once she heads outdoors.  What I do know is that if Lewis and Clark ever need to get to LL Bean for new hiking boots, they'll be all set...Andi's trails will no doubt connect to the Freeport retail store soon.

This is Andi luring her unsuspecting sisters into the maze. She says that the trail map is "in her head"...she has yet to draw it out for us in case we get lost. But I did find a close approximation on line...

The first few miles yards of the trail directed us to the "Woodpecker Tree". That's our youngest sister, Joanne, and her husband at the beginning of the yesterday's wilderness adventure (I can tell it's the beginning because they're both still smiling).

We did eventually arrive at the Woodpecker Tree...full of holes (as advertised).

Soon we came to the first of Andi's many "bridges". Crossing them is not for the faint of heart. She has created bridges from scraps of wood and old pallets found at the dump. All by herself, she has dragged all this stuff through the woods and into position. They are somewhat rickety affairs but, after all, what's a missing board or two between sisters?

I'm not sure if these bridges are a testament to my sister's engineering abilities or to her sheer determination to single-handedly conquer every last acre of the 100 Acre Woods. We must have gone two miles by now and you may notice that my sister Joanne's smile is beginning to fade.

Since no one had planned on a hike yesterday, we were not exactly dressed for the wilderness. I had on summer sandals and Joanne, always the fashionista of the sisterhood, had on a hand-painted pair of these...


I think we had figured we'd be spending the afternoon sipping Pumpkin Lattes at Starbucks instead of requalifying for our Girl Scout Hiking Badges. So, by this point on our adventure, we were all relieved to see this encouraging sign ahead...

But, alas, no such luck... Andi triple dog-dared us to make it to the top of "Turkey Hill". After all, what are sister's for?

She had even carved steps into the hillside to ease the way.

Andi promised that when we got to the top, we would probably see a flock of wild turkeys. I'm pretty sure the only turkeys out there at that point were her sisters...and we were getting a little wild by then.

What goes up, must come down. Joanne is definitely not smiling anymore...

While Andi hasn't broken a sweat. Maybe it's the shoes?

Eventually, we come to another sign...

And, after another mile or so, finally make it to the "Big Tree". If we look happy here it's because we knew we had almost made it out of the woods. Andi assured us that it was only a quick trip (over 50 feet of swaying pallets with pond water beneath) to the end of the trail. 

And the snake...well... he was little and you could hardly see him beneath all the leaves anyway.

 Just another quiet Sunday with my sisters (safely back at Mom's)...

Nancy is surely having a good laugh at us right about now!

"When you see someone putting on their Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh