Monday, December 31, 2012

No punching tigers 'round here

On his New Year's Eve radio show of December 31, 1946, comedian Red Skelton proclaimed his resolution of not punching any tigers in the mouth for 1947.  When co-actor Rod O'Connor asked why he would choose that since he had never before punched a tiger in the mouth, Mr Skelton said "I know, but I'm gonna have a resolution this year that I can keep!"

I've been trying to come up with resolutions for this coming year.  Not the ones promising to cut back on fossil fuel usage or brown-bagging it for workday lunches.  And not vowing to shed pounds (although I really need to drop what I've gained in 2012....)  Instead, I'm resolving to have my camera with me at all times and look for the unexpected.  I'm going back to nature...biking, hiking, I used to do.  I got off track for a while, devoting too much time to work and being serious.  2013 brings a return to having some fun.  I'll still keep my eco-friendly lifestyle and I still have to work, but I've got to "get back to the garden".

Lol!  I bought this album NEW so many years ago!

The new year lies ahead of you, like a spotless tract of snow

Be careful how you tread on it for every mark will show

May all your "marks" on 2013 be fantastic!

And one more thing....there'll be no punching tigers in the mouth next year for me :)



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Darling book, Gutsy Woman

Every once in a while I stumble upon something extra special at a secondhand store.  This week produced one of those special items.

As everyone was grabbing books from the new table that was brought out, I picked up this and put it under my arm while I looked for more.

I found another very small book, a Gregg shorthand dictionary from 1910.  A dear friend in northern Vermont used shorthand during her years as a secretary but she says she has forgotten it all.  So the little book has been wrapped and mailed to her.  It won't arrive until next year but I'm sure she will laugh when she sees it.

Anyway, after leaving the table with these two books in my hands, I decided to see what the first one was.  My heart nearly skipped a beat when I recognized the Campbell Soup Kids!

I've since done some research and found that Margaret Hays wrote children's books and her sister, Grace G Wiederseim did the illustrations.  She later created the chubby tots that I remember in the soup commercials....Mmmm, Mmmm, Good!  Even thought she was a prolific producer of these loveable characters and comic strips, she drew and painted beautiful portraits, few of which are known to exist because of the difference in style.  Some of the covers for the Saturday Evening Post show portraits she drew in the Gibson Girl style.

This link is for an excellent biography for Grace G. Wiederseim, showcasing her strength of character, fondness for high fashion, and independent spirit in the early part of the 20th century.

It's amazing, the things that cross our paths and what we can learn about the women who came before us!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Vacation week

It's been a truely strange week here, weather- and other-wise.  At the beginning of the year I scheduled this as a vacation week without having any plans but I've enjoyed doing very little (other than our family Christmas get-together.)

I took one day to hop around some secondhand shops and another to be with my mother.  Tomorrow I expect to stay inside and watch the plows as we get more snow.  The first batch (Wednesday evening) melted from rain on Thursday.

I also solved a storage problem by using something that was about to be discarded.  This is the leg portion of one of those old-style folding TV snack tables.  The plastic tabs on the metal tray-top snapped, rendering it useless.  I used an old cotton-webbing belt to make straps that would hold it steady.

Now it is a stand for a vintage suitcase FULL of old family photos.....

....and it keeps my gym bag handy.  No excuses!  * wink *

I also sealed up the drafty window in my bedroom and that c-h-i-l-l-y slider door in the kitchen.  This thin plastic may not actually make it warmer but keeping those drafts down makes it feel more comfortable.  (Along with my tres chic drop cloth drapery!)

I'm all set to ride out the snow.  I hope you're comfy, too!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blessings of the Season!

Wishing you a joyous holiday surrounded by those you love. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012


This year I set up the manger that belonged to my parents.  It's the one I remembered from every Christmas as I grew up.  The "straw" has mostly rubbed off, after being wrapped in tissue year after year. The stable is pretty bare now.  Some of the pieces had been replaced as the original ones broke.  But even those are old.  I remember seeing replacement shepherds and sheep in F.W.Woolworth, all lined up on a shelf.  I imagine we weren't the only family who dropped a donkey and were unable to glue legs back on.  I like to see the prices that are still on the bottoms of these figures.

This photo is from some time in the 1960s or so.

This is today.

I just got this manger this past summer.  It had been packed away in my sister's basement for almost 30 years.  I'm so glad she kept it.  I've always loved it.

Wishing you joy and happiness in all your holiday traditions!

Friday, December 21, 2012


I apologize for being somewhat absent lately.  The past few months have drawn more time and energy than I imagined.  In a (very) brief recap:

The new person at work is catching on well and knows how to handle the basics, but there's still a lot for them to learn.

My mother was ill for a few weeks and is now doing much better.  She has decided to host Christmas Eve at her place this year and we should have a houseful!  (I'll go into details in another post.)

I've been working at my sewing machine, trying to perfect a finished product that I want to put in my etsy shop.  I'm still not quite satisfied with the results.

I finished a companion to the wool scarf that I made last month, this one more "masculine".  I mailed it without taking a photo, but it was made of 8-inch squares of similar wool as the first one, and backed with a medium grey microsuede.  I didn't put any trim on this one.  Instead, I put a running stitch about one-half inch inside the outer edges with three strands of black embroidery floss.

Our Christmas party at work was a lot of fun, as usual.  I'm going to be on the planning committee next year and I've got some ideas.....

It will be a busy weekend for me, as I'm sure it will be for you, too.  So for tonight, I'll be cruising through the internet and catching up on your blogs.  Time to find my slippers.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Of all the details in my life that I have posted you haven't read much about my financial situation, mostly because it has been "trying".  Through the years I've learned that it takes about 5 years to get over a setback, such as a major illness or job loss, etc.  At that 5-year point you're not necessarily bounced back to where you were (financially), but you've rounded the bend and are on the road to recovery.  Well, I'm rounding that bend.

Only a very few of you may remember when my car was rear-ended and totalled in the summer of 2009.  I had only a few days to replace it and made a good decision to buy a one year old Subaru.  After two years of those monthly payments I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel so I decided to tighten my belt and toss extra money at the principal left on the loan throughout this year.  Easy enough to do that during the warm months but heading into heating season worried me.  How could I meet my payoff goal of February 2013 while subsequentally paying the gas bill?

My worries were put to bed when our company announced a year-end bonus, which is very unusual for them.  While everyone laughed about buying iPads and new clothes, I had visions of that finish line getting nearer.  As soon as the money appeared in my bank account I directed it to the auto loan.  I can breathe easier, knowing that a February payoff is once again a reality with two more months of being a tightwad.  With so many other expenses about to rise, having this payment gone will truely be a blessing.

I raise my coffee cup in a toast to wish that you receive an equally pleasant surprise!

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's a start....

This morning everyone in our "idyllic" corner of New England was still just going through the motions of daily life while waiting for the second shoe to drop, the list of names and ages that would be made public.  Anonymity is safe.  Knowing the reality of it will break our hearts...again.

Even with this on my mind, my day was brightened as I drove through Stamford, CT and saw signs for a gun buy back being held  at the First Congregational Church today.  In my view, even if one gun was turned in, it would be a success.

This evening I heard that another buy back in Brooklyn yielded 134 guns today!  Many folks who participated did so because of yesterday's tragedy.  With the benefit of getting guns off the street and receiving cash (or debit cards) that would help in this holiday season, it's a win-win.

I am not against gun ownership and I can appreciate hunting but I draw a line in the sand closely after that, particularly against high-reload magazines and assault weapons (our federal ban was allowed to expire).  I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for speaking out so quickly, again, to challenge our nation's gun laws.

Please say a prayer tonight for the families.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Heartfelt sympathy

Our hearts are breaking for the families of those affected by today's tragedy.  God bless and keep all the children who joined him today, and help all those who are hurting.