Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Happy Halloween

I saw this fella hangin' out in the bushes in our front yard and thought he would be a fine addition to today's post! Yuk!! I do NOT like spiders at all!

Yesterday was "Boo to the Flu" day at our school district. Our District Office staff wore our official "Boo to the Flu" t-shirts that Tresa's company made for us. Here is a picture of some of us sporting our awesome t-shirts!

Our four "germy" nurses came by in the afternoon for a brief photo shoot with our two "hip and happening" hand sanitizers. They all looked so funny. I took a couple of pictures and then off they went to entertain the kids at the two grade schools.

Here is a germ getting wiped out with hand sanitizer!
Can you say "Good Sports"?
Have a Happy Halloween everyone!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

One shop, two shops, old shop, new shop....

Woe is me.....I am just starting to think about what I am going to do with my etsy shops this winter and already I have hit a wall.

Do I want to keep both shops or do I only want one shop? I am not doing anything with FourDogDay at all. I haven't added any new photos or cards in ages. It's just sitting there. Not that just sitting there can hurt anything, but if I am going to leave it open, then I need to do something with it. Matt was my photographer, but his camera is broken, so no new photos. I don't want to make cards what does that leave? Nothing.

I love MyOtherShop and all of the awesome fabric things that I can make for the shop, and I know that is the direction I want to go. The shop really just needs some cleaning up. I need to remove the things I'm no longer interested in making or put them on sale, and then I have tons of new items to photograph and list over the next few weeks.

The problem with closing FourDogDay is that it is on my double sided business cards and I still have a lot left. It's also the name of my blog. The problem with that is that we just got another dog, which I never expected to now the name doesn't even work and the banner is all wrong in both the shop and for my blog.

Oh dear me! I really don't know what to do....

Got any suggestions?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Past

Well Halloween is almost here. Since being asked to make the costumes for work....I have had nothing but costumes on my mind. I dug into my photo bins and pulled out some of our Halloween pictures....and then it all came back to me.

Tresa the Farmer with her best friend Maribeth the clown. They were 3 years old.
I finally figured out that to satisfy MY need to be creative...I talked my kids into some of the most awful costumes you can imagine. I really think poor Tresa got the worst of it, being my first born you know. I just always thought I was being the good mom by making costumes instead of buying costumes. I don't think my kids would agree. There were times when all the boys wanted was a cheapie super hero costume with the mask....the ones that use to come in the boxes with the see through lids.....but oh no, not my kids. They had to be something cute and fun and oh so special! I also had a knack at convincing them that it was really their choice....when in all was usually my choice.

Tresa the alien and Maribeth in 1979 at the age of 5.

Matt and I were e-mailing about this the other day and he said something about me finally getting around to apologizing for it! HAHA! It's a wonder they all turned out so "normal"...if you can call anyone in this crazy family of ours.....normal. I laughed and told Matt that they always liked the prizes they won though, and he replied that I was teaching them to think materialistically if it was all about the prizes. Then I got the last jab when I told him that I taught them that you didn't have to buy costumes....that handmade is always best. He agreed....end of argument and I I always do...because I am the mom!!

I'm guessing this is either 1980 or 1981....Tresa the flower complete with a bee.
This is the one where I really lost it. What little girl would want to be Hickory Dickory Dock? The poor thing couldn't see, could hardly hold her bag and couldn't even walk! She had to shuffle. Yes, that is a stuffed mouse on the top left! Poor, poor Tresa.

Michael the Mouse....1982 at the age of 2. He actually had a huge rat trap attached to his long tail that dragged on the ground and he was carrying a huge chunk of "cheese".

Tresa, cousin Lenny and Michael round 1983. Don't they all look sooooo happy?

Recycled part of the clown costume for Matti in about 1986.

Ah, here they must have liked their costumes. They are sort of smiling...except the little devil.

Now here are some really, really old pictures. Irv and I use to bowl on a league many, many years ago. We always had a Halloween party and wore costumes. Here is me and Irv as Superman and Wonder Woman. Like Wonder Woman's mustache? This was 1977!

Mr. and Mrs. Count Dracula

And this is everyone's absolutely favorite picture of Irv! Tweety and Sylvester in 1975. The heads were paper mache and not very comfortable. Do you like Irv's little yellow tail?

Hope you all have a very Happy Halloween this year. Are you dressing up??

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creative Countdown

I am SOOOO ready to be done making things that I feel I NEED to make, so that I can start making things that I really WANT to make again. Don't get me wrong....I LOVE what I do, but I seem to be in this rut of making things that I think I should be making rather than the things I love to make. I am counting the days.....

Right now I am making some Christmas ornaments I really don't feel like making. It's just a silly little mouse in a walnut shell. It's darling, but it's tiny and it's hard to work with and I am really just don't feel like making them at all. Therefore, I'm not going to!

Wow! I feel better already. Liberation is awesome!

I bought some great fabric to make wine bags and that is what I really want to be making right now....but I can't because I need a wine bottle to make the pattern. Irv is picking some up for me from Michael and Bern tomorrow. Then I can start those. I would like to make about eight of them for the upcoming show.

The holiday coasters are drying, and the cork is cut. I'll put them together in a couple of days and they will be ready to go too. I have fabric to make a few holiday aprons.......that is on the list for this weekend.

I have totally neglected my shops since spring, and I have a ton of work to do this winter with both FourDogDay and MyOtherShop. I am so off track since deciding to do craft shows that I am actually looking forward to cleaning up and reworking my shops. Throwing around some ideas....just not sure what direction to go.

Do you have any special plans for your etsy shop if you have one? Any creative ideas you just can't wait to get started on? Please share.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Credit! Who Needs It? Me!!

Well for the third time in as many years, we got a letter from our only remaining credit card company saying that they are going to raise our interest rate....and it's all the government's fault!

I read over the letter and tried to decipher the fine print....yadda, yadda, yadda. We are raising your rate to almost 16% even though you are a great customer...blah, blah, blah. You have until November 27th to decide if you like your new deal. If not, you can close your account, keep the interest rate you have now and make your regular monthly payments. Wow, I am so excited!

My initial instinct was to close the account. It makes me so mad when you pay your bill on time and you always pay extra....and...they don't really care.

I talked to Michael because he is really, really up on credit scores since he did tons of research before they bought their house and he said to try not to close the account if we can. We have had this account for over six years and it's a positive on our credit score. I really don't understand all of that, but the balance on this one is way too high to have a 16% interest rate. I had decided to close it and give Discover a piece of my mind! :)

So, we applied for a new card with another company because I hate being without a credit card in case of an emergency. The new one arrived, so I called to cancel the Discover card. Get this...the lady literally bent over backward to get me to keep the friggin' card. The interest rate will go up a half a percent, not to the dreaded 16%, but you are such a good customer, please keep it....etc. etc. etc.

Now I was really confused. Keep it? Close it? Keep it? Close it? I told her I would call back. I called Michael and he said to keep it. It will help our credit score to have that good credit history on a card we've had for that many years. So, darn it anyway....I have to keep it. We have good credit and I hate for my score to drop too much in case we do decide to move at some point and need to borrow money. I don't want to be working hard to get my score back up....I would rather work to make my good score an excellent score.

Darn you Discover! I wanted the satisfaction of telling you to kiss my butt....and now I can't. I will continue to pay my bill...on time...every month and one of these days...I won't owe you a penny! So there!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hubie's Market

The church and school where Irv works is having a very tiny little "market" on November 8 from 10:00 until 2:00. It's St. Hubert Church and School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois if any local readers are interested.There about 40 crafters and business vendors participating, and I am one of them. It sounded like they had a lot of nice businesses signed up. My understanding is that they use to have a big craft show, but over the years lost the volunteers and they stopped having it. This sounds like an attempt to get something going again. I thought I would lend my support.

Even though it is an indoor show, we aren't going to take our big setup. It's just way too much work for four hours. Instead we are going to do the two tables that they provide. I'm going to take some Christmas ornaments and the new brooches I'm making. I will be personalizing the sleds for people. The brooches will be in gift boxes on the table and I'll have ribbon for them.

I'll take the holiday coasters and a few non-holiday ones, and put them in gift boxes with tissue and ribbon. Then we'll bring the white bookshelf and put out some small cake stands, bring a clothes rack to hang my aprons on and a coat rack to hang the totes on. Irv said not to expect too much, so I am not going to go overboard....but then you always need to be prepared.

I'll have plenty for people to look at, but with a lot less set up and take down. It should work out fine. I'm sure some of the teachers and office staff that Irv works with will come by, so I thought it would be nice for us to participate.

Have you ever done any tiny little shows like this? Anyone show up? :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Love, Hope, Light

I was sitting in my car trying to get to the house I was suppose to clean that day. It was early in the morning and for some reason, traffic was all backed up. Odd. Helicopters overhead. Strange. What was going on? I turned the radio to a local station .

An express train has hit a school bus at Algonquin Road and Route 14 in Fox River Grove.

Love....Hope.....Light.....The words that gave everyone the strength to go on. Someone painted them on an overpass.

I can honestly say that October 25, 1995 was one of the worst days in my life. Seven children died that day. Seven children that were doing what they were supposed to be doing on a cool fall morning. Just sitting on the bus going to school.

The bus driver was a substitute that day. She pulled up behind the car that was stopped for the red light and waited. She didn't know that the rear end of the bus was sitting on the railroad tracks. She didn't know an express train was barreling down the tracks. Music was blaring on the bus. Kids were talking on the bus.

Kids saw the train coming. They yelled at the driver. She didn't hear them, and if she did...there was no where for her to go. Kids got up and ran from the back of the bus. Too late.

The train slammed into the bus with such force that the bus was ripped from it's axle, spun around and landed upright in the grass next to the street. Children were throw out of the little windows in the bus onto the street.

I try most of the time not to remember that day. The media converged on our two little towns to the point where you couldn't go anywhere without cameras rolling. It was surreal most of the time.

Michael was a sophomore at Cary-Grove that year. I knew he wasn't on that bus. We didn't live in Fox River Grove. We lived in Cary where the school was. His friends. He had so many friends in the Grove. I grew up in Fox River Grove. That was my town. That was my school....and Irv's school....and our kid's school.

When something this horrific happens, you don't really know what to do. The sadness engulfs you like a heavy blanket. When the accident scene is finally go there. You go there to feel, or not feel, to weep, to stare, to go to the high school where everyone else is feeling the same pain you are feeling. You cry. The secretary that you have known forever says, "They are all our children aren't they Kathy?" You cry some more.

You want to do something....but what can you do? This is so beyond anything that you have ever experienced. There is no manual to tell you what to do when seven beautiful children are killed.

I could easily write for days and days and days about our experiences during that time, but I'm not. You can Google "Cary Grove Bus Accident" and read more if you like. I'm not sure how far back the archives of our newspaper goes, but it's the Northwest Herald.

It was a sad time, but it also brought two communities and all of their residents so close together. A bond was formed that I don't think will ever be broken. We all changed and in some ways, for the better.

Today I am thinking about those children and their families with love. Forever in my heart....Joe, Tiffany, Susanna, Stephanie, Michael, Jeff and Shawn.

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