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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Few Clever Pre- and Post-Holiday Ideas

Greetings and Salutations! How you be?
Oh - Merry Christmas, Happy New Year…Happy Holidays in general!

School finished a little over a week ago and then I dove into finishing knitted gifts, wrapping stuff, doing some baking (cardamom cookies {from a 2004 Sunset Magazine) and real pound cake (from my German Godmother, Elsie)}, delivering the baking and wrapped stuff, exercising to offset the baking-sampling, cat-sitting, and {grin} I'm still writing/mailing my Christmas Cards. Ah, well.
Whilst I am seriously enamoured of the Yarn Harlot's "End As You Mean To Go On"/everything-clean-tidy-caught-up for the new year concept, the actual implementation of such order in the week following Christmas is pretty much beyond my comprehension.

I aim to do better next year! {Oh, that's tomorrow. {grin}}

Inspired by my own challenges, ideas from friends, and bolstered by the recycle flyers from the city,
here are a few clever pre- and post-holiday ideas:
Do you-all have any to add? Please do share!

Holiday Cards - Gift Tags
  • I'd like to resurrect something a friend and I used to do. We would meet the first Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving and get our Christmas Cards started. {I'm sure you understand my current interest in resurrecting this tradition…{wry grin}} We'd have lunch and hot chocolate and enjoy each other's company!
  • I liked the clever suggestion from FizBirch Crafts that the Cards could be trimmed down post-Christmas to be used for gift-tags next year! 
Christmas Tree - Trimming & Recycling
  • A friend of mine recently commented that she may not put up a Christmas tree next year. Although she loves having the tree up and seeing all the ornaments and visiting the memories they represent, with the kids out of the house, it's just her doing the trimming/enjoying. I offered a suggestion based on something another friend of mine used to do - have a tree-trimming party. Enjoy friends, sharing stories and memories and the trimming of the tree. Pot Luck, brunch or dinner - it would be an excellent way to kick off the season. 
  • TreeCycle! The City of Tucson has had a Christmas Tree recycling program for 15 years! {I'm a little proud of our Recycling pursuits.} There are 9 locations that will accept Christmas trees through January 12, 2014. Is there a TreeCycle program in your area? 
  • And just a few more Holiday Recycling options courtesy of the City of Tucson. Essentially it's a Holiday-perspective on our regular City recycling.
    My favorite tips are:
    #2.   We can recycle "Wrapping paper with non-metallic finish or glitter".
    #11. "New Electronics? Then recycle or donate the old. Visit KnowWhereToThrow.com to find the recycler closest to you".
     (World Care also does electronics recycling events occasionally.)

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year! 
Please have fun and be safe!

{See you "next year". I have to go write up some more Christmas Cards.} ;-)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Things that made me laugh today...

Last week, I tripped over the copy of Mark Twain's semi-autobiographical "Roughing It" that I had been reading but put aside for a while. This morning I was reading a bit and this part made me laugh so I thought I would share it with you.

The setting from the Table of Contents:
"Chapter XXXI
The Guests at "Honey Lake Smith's" - "Bully Old Arkansas" - "Our Landlord" - Determined to Fight - The Landlord's Wife - The Bully Conquered by Her - Another Start - Crossing the Carson  - A Narrow Escape - Following Our Own Track - A New Guide - Lost in the Snow…..171"

The Setting from me (and Mr. Twain): 
Our hero, Mr. Clemens, and a few other gents have been trapped by a flood for a little over a week at Honey Lake Smith's Inn on the Carson River. They are attempting to leave because "life at the inn had become next to insupportable by reason of the dirt, drunkenness, fighting, etc.".

The waters have receded and after a failed attempt to cross the still over-full Carson river (where the canoe overturned, saddles were lost and another night had to be spent at the inn) our group is again attempting to leave.
But now it is snowing heavily. Following the instincts of Ollendorff they set out for Carson City, assured that if Ollendorff were to "straggle a single point out of the true line his instinct would assail him like an outraged conscience". After a short time they come across some tracks in the snow and Ollendorff is positive his instincts have them going in the right direction. The company hurries to catch up to the folks ahead of them on the trail.

These are the comments made me laugh out loud:
"Boys, these are our own tracks, and we've actually been circussing round and round in a circle for more than two hours, out here in this blind desert! By George this is perfectly hydraulic!
Then the old man waxed wroth and abusive. He called Ollendorff all manner of hard names - said he never saw such a lurid fool as he was, and ended with the peculiarly venomous opinion that he "did not know as much as a logarithm!""

{Happy Sigh} Gotta love the wondrous mind and writing of Mark Twain.

And a more modern collection of giggles - "I'm Climbing Up the Christmas Tree NEOW 2013" by Shorty and Kodi.
{This pretty much embodies why I haven't put up a tree since we got Gryphon aka The Gryphon-ator.}

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

Hola, Folks.
Crimony! It's been over a month since I last posted a blog. Sorry about that.
When I consider that I posted a blog nearly every day in November and December of 2012 and then I look at the paltry number of posts for this holiday season…
{sigh} Ah well.

However, when I consider that since last November/December I have been actively pursuing a Fiber Arts degree, that I have met a wide range of radically interesting and inspiring people in the last 10 months, and that my creative interests have bloomed dramatically in 2013…

What a difference a year makes. {Happy Sigh}
But I do miss writing on the blog and seeing from whence visitors come and if comments are left. As I'm sure you've guessed, I have been spending a great deal of time in the Ceramics and Weaving labs. And I am generally very pleased (and surprised) with the results of my time. The semester is nearly over and my Ceramics and Weaving projects are done/turned in/pending grading. I still have some more work to do for the Clothing Construction class so I'm not done yet.

But a little bit of down time before the next semester is up-n-coming and my to-do lists are being jotted/revised and "Blog" appears often on those lists. A fair amount of knitting and UFO pursuits are plotted as well.

Until the next blog "to-do" is fulfilled, here are a couple of quick pictures from the school adventures of the last few weeks.

Two "nose-level" views of my final project from my Weaving I class:

The collection of pots that came from the 2nd Glaze firing in Ceramics I:
{Yes, I like throwing pots on a potter's wheel!}

And…here's 3 more pictures.
These are the photos I entered in the 11th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest.
I know - it's ok. I don't actually expect to win.
{grin} I've seen the winning pictures from the 2012 contest.

However, I'm glad I did it. It's something I've never done before and I like the idea of trying even though I'm well aware of how remote the possibility of winning is. I'm mostly hoping that one of my pictures might be deemed interesting enough to be posted on the Smithsonian's Photo of the Day.
The finalists will be announced in March 2014 and the winners and Reader's Choice Winners will be announced in Spring 2014.

You've seen this picture before. I included it in the September 28th "More Landscape - this time in ink. Plus Photos from an Inky Dark Night" blog post. I took the picture a little after midnight with a flashlight held between my knees (so the camera could "see" to focus) and whilst dodging a large sphinx moth. {grin}

I tweeted out this picture in October after pausing in the breezy pre-sunset afternoon to take the picture at the Pima College West campus. This was taken with my aging iTouch - and the Smithsonian has a new category this year for photos taken with phones-n-such. 

Hmmm - I'm not sure how well this will come through on the blog (or to the folks at the Smithsonian).
This is a 360 degree picture taken with my iTouch and the Occipital 360Panorama app as I stood in the back of my little pickup truck and viewed alllll of the sunset-drenched Tucson valley and sky. It was spectacular and the photo doesn't quite do it justice.

You can also view this photo on the Occipital Website as a larger "flat image or in the original 360 degrees (use your mouse to click-drag-shift the image left/right). 

I plan to post again soon. Hope your holidays are going well!