Friday, December 31, 2010

looking back.

...at 2010. it was very hard to select just twelve photos to tell the story of this year. so many changes in my life - all good. yes, I can even say that now about the hard things, like katie moving across the country, because it's been a wonderful change for her (and it's ok if I tear up writing this).


the look back is shimelle's prompt for the 30th, so I also have one for 2007 and 2009 (2008 was a letter to myself and I didn't share it online). I'm sure I couldn't imagine how different my life would be in 2010 when I did that first page in 2007. and I wonder how surprised I'll be this time next year when I look back at 2011. time flies. I need to remember to enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

undecorating.

a nice dinner.

...the shop was busy yesterday - knitters visiting from many places (I waited on ones from germany, new hampshire and north carolina) with families and friends kind enough to show us off - knitters needing help with projects (mostly ripping! but I'm pretty good at that since I've had years and years of practice!) - and I'm sure a few knitters who were thinking about this weekend's upcoming football marathon and planning ahead to have something to do. it made for a steady stream of customers, plenty of running around, and no time for a break.

sara came to visit in the afternoon - she brought holly (the regular tuesday knitters had been asking to see her) and asked what I wanted for dinner. oooohhh yes! I suggested cheese sandwiches, maybe with soup? she agreed. she cooked. she cleaned up.

and we enjoyed a delicious hot meal. thank you, sara. it was very nice!
more details on the layout here

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 intentions for 2011.

...we were talking at lunch yesterday about making resolutions for the new year. katie & sara both had plans for a few, but not me. nope, I wasn't planning to layout anything specific for 2011. and then I saw today's prompt and started thinking maybe I'd been too* quick to dismiss. 2011 doesn't need to be the first year for which I resolve nothing!
created in photoshop using ali edwards 10 things template - formatted 4x6 so I can print it out and keep it handy!
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*12/28/10 5:25 p.m. edited to fix the misspelled "to" in my opening paragraph (thank you sara for telling me!) and thinking maybe I need a new blogging rule that I should not post until I've had at least one cup of coffee...or that I simply need to proof what I write? :-)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry and bright.

...from our house to yours - best wishes for a merry and bright holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

more holly pics.

...I had to smile at a comment left in flickr on monday's december journal page about how much holly is showing up in this year's journal. because I'd just uploaded tuesday's page.

yep, more holly photos! I know they're much cuter and probably appeal more broadly than the in-process shots of my holiday knitting. which I am really (really!!!!) hoping to finish today. and I'll admit I spent a few minutes yesterday happily thinking about what I might cast on next.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

is it tuesday already?

...oh my, time flies when you're having fun! following sunday's relaxed pace, we hit buckhead for lunch and shopping yesterday. I was perfectly happy to knit and hold holly while katie and sara drove*. anis didn't disappoint - seriously, they are great with dogs! - and the food was delicious. after lunch, we went to phipps plaza and actually found all the gifts we were shopping for (plus two more - santa is going to be so pleased with me!)

*to accommodate everyone's evening plans, we had a very complicated car arrangement which involved two cars and ended up with my coat (and my keys) parked at phipps instead of with me. so glad my neighbor donna has a spare key - I'm embarrassed how often I end up using it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

merry times.

...indeed. our annual family gift exchange is one of my favorite holiday traditions. karen hosted this year and it was especially nice this year to have the whole family there - we missed katie last year (which is maybe why I didn't even blog about it!), and of course holly came too.

I had fun this morning going through the nearly 100 photos from katie's and my cameras. and was pleased I ended up with a enough good ones to create a collage for day 18.

we didn't take our usual group photo this year, but we did get one of the cousins so my mom can put a new photo on her refrigerator.
sara, pj, jillian, andrew, paula, katie
I was surprised how much the "kids" have grown and changed since 2007 and 2008. I'm really thankful we have these fun times together...and the photos!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

all here.

...both girls arrived safely - sara on thursday afternoon and katie yesterday evening. we've shopped and sara baked and now today is our annual family gift exchange. looking forward to merry times!
(and I'm caught up on my december album - click here to see)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10 things to do.

this week's prompt is very timely! shimelle's "to do list" prompt comes a little later, but with just eleven days to go, I needed this one today. it helps to get it all down on paper. and I love how that #1 item doesn't look nearly so intimidating in words!

as I typed up the list and grabbed the photo of my tree, I was thankful that decorating wasn't still a to do.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

photoshop textures.

...I can't remember how I found kim klassen's website, but I've been following along for several weeks now and I'm just in love with what she can do to a photo. last weekend she posted these beautiful textures and I've been waiting for the right photo to use them. yesterday seemed to offer a good opportunity. it was cold, and we had snow flurries on and off all afternoon and into the evening. I loved the way our tree looked from the deck, so warm and inviting.

and I'm really excited about the image I created.

I ended up using silent night 2 - and I used it twice. once as a photo overlay (on 100% opacity) and then again as a normal layer. it was really a happy accident. I'd planned to use the texture as background paper, behind the photo (with the overlay), but when I copied it into my photoshop file, it landed as the very top layer. and now I've spent way more time on this than I have. christmas knitting awaits!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

making me merry.

click photo for more details
...and now it's friday morning: the snow might be sunday (but they're saying it won't stick). and marc got little holly get out of her very warm bed before 5am so he could see her before he went to work. smitten indeed!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a favorite tradition.

...holiday lunch at maggiano's.

I started taking my management team to lunch there in 2000 (of course my documentation skills were not the best way back when I started...and apparently pretty spotty since then, too - I found only one photo from those ten lunches, from 2007). we'd get family style, have some wine, talk about stuff besides work and generally just have a fun, loud time. as my assignments changed, so did my management team. some years were definitely more fun than others! and lisa & janel were always two of my favorites (I can say that now, right?, since I don't work there anymore!)

so glad I haven't lost the tradition forever. lisa, janel & I met for lunch yesterday. we weren't a big enough party for family style, but we had a great time and the food was delicious. celebrate together indeed.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

introducing holly.

...seven pounds of the cutest toy schnauzer ever.
theresa took these photos when holly visited me at the shop today
now resting comfortably in my lap and maybe about to doze off. I know she must be exhausted - I am! we've had a big day!

and to the closest members of my family who are expecting knitted gifts under the tree...I am still on track and I am sure I can make up the time I've lost today caring for my new dog. but I think she might need a sweater (I have the prettiest machine washable red lorna's laces in my stash :-) and if that happens, I'm sorry - and you know I'll make it up to you!

p.s. because I know you want to know! her name is holly berry because her first family named her at christmas. I'm not going to change her name. but I'll probably her (just) holly.

p.p.s. she is 16 months old and fully trained (I'm glad I will get to skip right over the puppy year!). and it's a long story but the family who had her loved her but needed to make room for another dog.

p.p.p.s. I am now about to be 3 days behind on my december journal. I am going to catch up tomorrow for sure!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

two for two.

...as in so far so good!
click the image for more details on the photos and digital supplies
for these first two days, I've loosely followed the prompts from shimelle's journal your christmas - hands down the best on-line course I've taken. it's a bonus that you join "for life" and get to participate year after year but only pay the first year. she updates the materials every year and this year she's added a second daily prompt focused on photography.

stay tuned for something more like ali edwards' december daily tomorrow (or saturday, I'm not promising three for three!)... shimelle's day 3 is about christmas cards. and I just don't think I have much to say about that!

today is december.

...doh, right?! but I think it's just the right tagline for the opening page in my fourth december journal.
photo from the starbucks window
participating in the project has become a tradition in its own right. and I am thrilled that katie and lydia are going to play this year, too.

happy december!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 favorite places for on-line shopping.

...when I first saw this prompt, I was thinking I'd have to skip it because I didn't really shop enough on-line to have ten favorite places. and then I thought a little more. and remembered the page or so of my email inbox that's holding receipts and shipping status for the on-line shopping I've done recently. whoa! when did that happen? when did I become an on-line shopper?!
1. amazon. the king of them all. I'm still amazed at the selection, the prices and the speed with which they deliver. and this year, I'm also a fan of the giftcard ad on their boxes.
2. barnes and noble. a close second to amazon because much of what I buy is books. with my membership, I get free shipping. and when a 25% or 30% off coupon lands in my inbox, it's hard to resist.
3. ravelry. hands down the best place to buy knitting patterns.
4. twist collective. my 2nd favorite place to buy knitting patterns.
5. designer digitals. the only place I buy digital scrapbooking supplies.
6. etsy. a virtual marketplace where you can find just about anything, especially anything that's handmade. I'm a huge fan of hand-dyed yarn from here. and my computer bag and camera bag are from here.
7. russell+hazel. I order about once a year, when it's time for an updated calendar. they have great customer service and my order comes wrapped in pretty tissue with a handwritten card.
8. lands end. for luggage and christmas stockings.
9. itunes. love how much I can get for free.
10. costco photo processing. I use them for all my photo printing. they're good, fast and cheap - only $0.13 for a 4x6.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 things I love about thanksgiving.

...we've been talking about this one for weeks and I can't believe the big day is just two days away. here are the 10 things I love about thanksgiving:

1. the planning - it's one of my favorite things about fall. making lists, poring over magazines, cookbooks and blogs, emails and phone calls. ...and I love that my girls are both planners right along with me!

2. the cooking. once the girls got interested, we made this a real group effort. we start early, make a huge mess and finish around noon or 1pm. perfect timing to clean up and enjoy a glass of wine before the meal.
cooking with sara, thanksgiving 2008

3. time with my family. my parents always visit (and stay with my sister :-) and the ten days or so that they're here is a whirlwind of shared meals, college football and photo opportunities.

4. family traditions. marc & I hosted our first thanksgiving in 1985. a blend of what we'd grown up with and a few of our own ideas. I love that we now have "our" thanksgiving (what we eat, when we eat, where we eat, what we wear...) katie is having her first thanksgiving this year. and I love seeing how she's making it hers (with rob).

5. setting the table. I have a mix of serving pieces from my mom and my grandmothers, as well as a few things I've collected - silver, china, blue ridge and stengl pottery and depression glass. love how it all looks together and the memories those different pieces carry with them.

6. the macy's parade - so glad we have a tv in the kitchen so I don't have to miss a second of it - and then friends' thanksgiving episodes.

7. pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake and something warm with apples. all for dessert at one meal!

8. leftovers. I'm sure I'll be tired of turkey and stuffing and cranberries at some point next week, but right now, the thought of not cooking again for a few days is wonderful.

9. the friday after - putting up our tree and officially starting the christmas season.

10. making memories for my girls. I'd forgotten a few of the details from even these past few years. but sara hasn't. and I doubt katie has either. and even if all those memories aren't the best, it's important to have them. it makes us a family.

...and I am so very thankful for all of these things - the shared love of family and friends, an abundance of delicious food and beautiful memories.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

holding myself accountable.

...a few weeks ago, I got a letter from katie that included a list of things she was planning to accomplish by the end of 2010. she closed with the question "do you have any resolutions for the rest of 2010? or...things to do...?"

and that got me thinking - of course I have a weekly to-do list, but that includes stuff like paying bills, returning library books, the things I won't remember to do unless I write them down. and katie was talking about bigger things. the things you need to plan for and make time for and really commit to in order to make them happen. of course there's not much time left in 2010 (on november 10, when I started my list, there were 51 days left...and that seemed like too short a time!)

a lot of what I want to accomplish for the rest of the year relates to the holidays, and coming up with 10 things wasn't that hard. but then I thought about how I'd hold myself accountable. in years past, I've created an annual list and even blogged about it. but some of what's on this list is too personal to share with the internet.

instead, I decided to type up the list and share it with katie & sara. as I was thinking through the 10 things, I realized that a big part of what motivates me to keep going, to set goals for myself and accomplish them is the mama in me. is it the same for all the mamas out there - that you want to be the best version of yourself for your children?


I wrote them each a note about it - and know they'll help hold me accountable!

Friday, November 19, 2010

27 years.

...ago today, I had the incredible good fortune to marry my best friend. he is impossible to shop for, so I put together this layout and intend to give it to him in a frame. a small reminder for his desk that we were once very young and somewhat silly...and that we are still very much in love.
photos from 1980, 1981, 1997 & 2008 - we need a new one this year!
happy anniversary, marc! I truly can't imagine my world without you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2 movies I'd like to see in the theater.

...I am honestly not much of theater person anymore. I used to be - like back in our just-married days, marc & I would go at least once a month. we'd see a weekend matinee and then go out for pizza and beer. but that was ages ago. I remember seeing ghostbusters to give you some idea exactly how long! or the first year that katie was in college, sara & I had a regular chick flick saturday thing. we'd go to phipps plaza and start with lunch at the tavern (we'd share onion rings, a hamburger and cheesecake) and then see the movie. sisterhood of the traveling pants was one of my favorites.

yep, good times. but I've fallen out of those habits and now a movie must really be something special to catch my attention (otherwise, I'd rather watch it at home). and right now, I have only two* must-sees on my christmas list:

harry potter and the deathly hallows. one of my all-time favorite books, and for sure my favorite of the entire series. the movies have stayed pretty true to the stories and I've enjoyed the five I've seen. last week I DVR'd the sixth and I'm looking forward to watching it with katie before we see the new one.

morning glory. looks fun. sara loves rachel mcadams and diane keaton as much as I do. we just have to find a different place for lunch. sadly hamburgers and onion rings just don't cut it anymore!
*apologies to Ten on Tuesday for the abbreviated list!
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

birthday mexican.

...was all the best things I love about these gatherings. catching up with my friends (who are also my family). opening presents (sara had a big baking cookbook and I had a fabric bowl - very cool - lydia made it!, a coffee scoop and champagne). sharing white chicken chili nachos. drinking margaritas. and knitting.

thanks to sara for the photo - that's me on the left, powering through the stockinette body on my peasy cardigan, and lydia on the right, likely working on a gift, so I won't say anything more about that!

thank you all for a lovely outing - I'm glad we have the next one on our calendars already!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

fall.

(thank you, laurie, for the inspiration - more background here.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the first sign of the season.

...my friend honore sighted hers last week. I'm not talking holly - although the tree in the park is full of berries - I'm talking the starbucks christmas cup. when I was working in an office, there were a few of us starbucks devotees who would compare notes and share christmas cup sightings. the goal was to be the first one who could say "my starbucks has christmas cups" (note the "my" part of that statement...and sadly "my" starbucks has closed and I'm trying not to think that's just because I stopped going there every morning before my drive down GA 400!)

the christmas cup thing was such a  big deal (we did "real" work, too, I promise) that when friends moved away we'd text about it - no photos, just messages - in years past, I've received updates on christmas cup sightings from chicago, boston and north carolina.

last week I was really excited when my (well, one of "my") starbucks had the christmas cup sleeves. and I asked about when the cups might come out and they said a week or two.

so imagine my surprise when sara found one yesterday. darn, now there's no way I can win the christmas cup race.
sara's sighting - at the starbucks in the georgia tech bookstore
 but at least I placed. yes, here's my christmas cup.
my sighting - at the starbucks at windward plaza
for the record (and because I'm sure I'll want to know next year) - the cups appeared here on monday, november 8. how about where you live?

and as near as I can tell, xm radio has not yet started playing christmas music.

Monday, November 8, 2010

another birthday celebration.

...our fall birthday bonanza continues - we celebrated sara's birthday with all the best things - two lunches out at bistro vg, which means two delicious desserts,
pumpkin bread pudding from the first lunch, back in october
a perfect opportunity to start our thanksgiving planning,
and the second lunch, on friday - if they'd had pumpkin bread pudding on the menu again, we might've ordered it! but the browned butter tart was delicious!
and a two-of-us photo.

gifts,

including a handknitted one.
the 2nd pair of these I've knit for sara - she wore out that first pair last winter!
and, of course, cheesecake
from alpine bakery
with a candle for making that all-important wish.

happy birthday, sara and best wishes for the upcoming year - I'm so glad we got to share the celebration with you!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

happy birthday.

...to sara.
pleased that my photoshop skills have improved this year!
happy birthday, sweet sara - your first one away from home. and while I won't surprise you today with a pumpkin scone for breakfast, I am thinking about you... and promise a few treats and surprises this weekend. love you. xxoo - m.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 ways to simplify your life.

"Simplify". To me that means "streamline, take out the unnecessary, nothing wasted". For the purpose of having more time to spend on things I love and enjoy. I think most of us get plenty of practice doing things that contribute to that goal - me, as a wife and mother with a full-time corporate job for 27 years, I definitely had a lot of practice! most of these are now part of my life. habits I couldn't break if I tried.

1. Have one datebook where you keep all of your appointments. I've tried to go electronic, but my tool of choice here is a russell+hazel mini binder with monthly tabs. I like being able to see the whole month at once. this book goes with me everywhere. and I don't have to worry about checking another calendar someplace else before I make a commitment (or figure out what I'm doing today).

2. Have one to-do list where you write down everything you have to do. how much detail you put here depends on how bad your memory is. me, I tend to put it all down, just so I don't forget. this means that if I agree to do something, and you don't see me write it down, worry about it!

my datebook and to-do list
3. Learn to say "no" - and do it every so often.

4. Plan ahead.

5. Handle mail once. (for me, this means reading and either trashing or filing for follow-up - I am ruthless about the trash part, too).

6. Put things away. sometimes this is harder than I'd like, but the idea is that if everything is in its place, I don't have to spend time looking for it, and I don't have to allocate a chunk of time to "straighten up".

7. Cultivate good friends and healthy relationships - and disassociate yourself from the poisonous ones.

8. Consolidate vendors. we had our cell phones, internet and TV with three separate companies and just consolidated them all with at&t. so far, very good. and now I only have one bill to pay each month.

9. Get an iphone. I love having one small device that does so much!

10. Drink your coffee black. My mom suggested this to me when I first started drinking coffee (wow, over 30 years ago!) - it is very good advice. But I haven't been able to do it! I need a little bit of non-fat milk (or "the skimmest you have") and I really love it to be hot before I add it to the coffee. oh well.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

more kitchen table time.

...it's been way too long since I indulged in a kitchen table photo. probably because it seems kind of weird  when it's just me. it's much more fun if there's someone else to share it with. 
click the photo to see the notes

today's story isn't about knitting*, but letter writing. I've got three regular pen pals (my mom, katie and sara) in my life and I try very hard to send weekly letters. because then I get weekly letters. and getting real mail is worth it!

*I was actually surprised that I was knitting in all of those kitchen table photos. really? is that all I ever did while I was sitting there?! (no need to answer!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

instant gratification.

...the kind that comes from realizing a project's completion in mere hours.

otherwise known as the marian cowl, knit in malabrigo rasta. I met this yarn for the first time on monday night and knew I had to knit with it. tuesday morning I did some research to post on the shop blog and found a perfect pattern (sorry, this link only works for ravelry users). I bought the yarn and yesterday, cast on 57 stitches, knit for a bit.
kind of a funny thing, I'd planned this to be a "wordless wednesday" post - but it took me over an hour this morning to figure out how to get the photo off my iphone!
and finished it. I think the total knitting time was around two hours.

yesterday, I figured out my plan for holiday knitting. and realized I wasn't going to have much time over the next eight weeks for spur-of-the-moment projects. unless they only take two hours!