Monday, January 28, 2008

More Winter. . .

Hi friends,
What a beautiful day it is here. The snow is wafting down on top of us, and it is truly as lovely as a Christmas card. The frozen flakes are gently covering sidewalks and streets and cars and people, and I think I am in Currier and Ives country. The old Tina might have sniped that the scenery resembles a blizzard in the Ukraine, and I might have been tempted to hum a few bars from Dr. Zhivago, but I am taking a new and positive approach to winter--perhaps a bit of Teri's Pollyanna attitude is rubbing off. In fact it is working so well, that I am happily counting the hours until I can go home and shovel. Yippee. Always the bright spot in January is the Sundance Film Festival. That keeps us busy and entertained, and by the time it is over--it's almost February! As fun as last week was, though,I am quite looking forward to returning to my dull-as-dishwater life. We went to many movies last week. I didn't go to as many as Bob did--he is so stalwart--but Teri and I were pretty good. That is the fun thing about Sundance--you just never know what you are going to get until you are there. So now we have seen comedies and tragedies--absurdities and intensities, and I am fully ready to burrow in and stitch or read a good book. And guess what's coming at the end of the week? February. Here are 2 movies that both of us really loved. Young at Heart--a very funny, touching and inspiring documentary out of England about an elderly persons' chorus. Afterwards, the film director, the chorus director and some of the choir members were there to answer questions. It was great. Watch for it to come--even if only on DVD. You'll love it. Our second favorite--completely the opposite end of the spectrum--was Be Kind, Rewind. I'm sure this will come to the theatres. It was hilarious. Jack Black at his silliest, but kind of sweet as well. Everyone laughed their heads off. So if you need to make it through your January as well--plan a trip to Ogden. You can spend your days at Shepherd's Bush and your nights at the film festival, and what could really be more fun.

Egyptian Theater Ogden Utah- Sundance 2008

If you have a chance--check out our website for a fabulous new little gadget we have just gotten in. A local woman has devised these adorable thread spinners for separating your threads. Teri and the other girls have used them and they are quite ingenious. Me--I just love how they look. They are so beautiful and I will just have mine hanging on the wall in my bedroom. Although they would look sweet attached to your stitching bag. She has the special tin work done in a small village in Thailand under the fair trade agreement, so that it feels like we are helping women on the other side of the world as well. Be sure to take a look. They are quite lovely.

In between shoveling and movies, Teri is busy underway with a new series of little leaflets. They look like they will be darling--and if she can just stay awake long enough, they will done shortly. Not that I'm one to talk on the falling asleep front--I am the pro. I have almost finished the Green Snowman in a sudden burst of stitching fervor, and I am about ready to embark on the new heart for this year. So watch the website and you will know when they are all ready.

So--whether you are in snow or sun--take care this week. I hope you get at least 1 project finished and 1 new one started. Watch a good movie, and eat a great treat.

Until next week--

Be Mine Valentine by Lizzie Kate
We have darling backing fabric available,
along with a great set of JABCO buttons.
This is stitched on 7 count navy with # 3 perl cotton.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter Stitching

Hi friends. OK, I'm not talking about it today. Even though we have woken up to another 12 inches...and it is STILL SNOWING. Nope, I am just not talking about it. I am sitting at the computer in a room with no windows, and as far as I am concerned it is a fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk kind of day. Not that we've seen a sidewalk in months. Oh, that's right I'm not thinking about it. I have so many other great things to think about. Not about getting out of the parking lot and getting home. Not about Peter getting back to Salt Lake or Bob getting back home. Not about just going outside and dragging Teri in who seems to be on some kind of an Amazonian shovel spree in the parking lot. Snow plows--move over. Nope, I have just repeated my Yoga mantra 3 times, and I am thinking of happy thoughts. Thinking, thinking, thinking...
Happy thought #1: When you only have boy children, you come to terms early on with those special things that you won't experience. I knew long ago that I would not get to make them sit on the toilet seat lid while I hauled sharp-as-needles brushes through their waist-long hair. I knew I would not be the cause of tears and humiliation because I cut bangs too short--and crooked to boot. I knew I would not have to have that special upbeat and positive talk about special items with them. So I have to say that I was a little surprised on Thursday when Christian asked me to show him how to shave his legs. Nope--never thought I would be doing that. The joys of the swim team. I tried so hard not to laugh as we sat on the edge of the tub together and I watched him. I kept reminding him to be careful, and he kept wailing that he has waited 14 years to have hairy legs and now it was all going down the drain. They did win Region. ...and Christian--it does grow back.
Happy thought #2: My first sister, Sheree, just retired from teaching. So now she calls more often to check in or tell us what she is doing. This past week, she embarked on a quest to cook all the recipes from our web site, so we have received many calls. The first one told me she was fixing Drunken Meatballs. I wondered: what in the heck is that? Of course, she was shocked that I didn't know what was on our own site. I'll have to peruse the recipes before she calls again. Thursday she called to say it was Cooking with Nancy night and Sunday was going to be Cooking with Tina. I didn't quite dare ask what that was supposed to mean, so I just listened to her. Finally she divulged that she didn't know how to put her computer in a print version mode. So, her recipes come off on a large sheet of paper with a teeny, tiny recipe that she has to use a magnifying glass to read and the rest of the paper is filled up with a giant version of one of our faces. She said that at first she was a little unsettled by the larger than life photos, but now she just tapes them to her cupboards and talks to us as she is cooking each recipe. (I'm sure she was shouting at mine.) We were laughing too hard for me to worry for her sanity. I'll think about that this week.
Happy thought #3: Three months of Jane Austin on Masterpiece Theatre with Colin Firth on deck. That's got to make winter almost worth while.
Perhaps the happiest thought of all is that Teri has gone crazy re-decorating at the shop this week. Although we still have many darling winter pictures out, and it is undeniably THE time of year to be working on snowmen that can be made inside the house and under a blanket, I have noticed a very large and tempting display of Valentine hearts materializing before my eyes. OK who can resist a good heart. For me they rival angels. I have even drawn a new heart--although I have to finish my snowman first. I'm sure she will put her Valentine's display on the website, but if you are in a love mood just start looking. February Baubles is so darling with its new set of unique buttons, and you will love what Teri and Lonii have done with Lizzie Kate's new Be Mine. It is bright and cheerful and fabulous and almost makes you forget that it's January.
There seems to be a line up for the computer, so my quiet time is over. I guess I shall venture out and see what is happening outside. Have a great and safe week. See you next Monday.
fondly, Tina

February Baubles

Our Valentine's Display

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snow Days

I believe that the whole thing started with Teri and her squirrels. All during the late summer and early fall, Teri kept reporting on the acorn situation at home. To be more accurate, she kept telling us that there were no acorns lying around on the ground. She then went on to say that the old Indians knew that if there were few acorns, it meant there would be a very light winter. Everyone at work was quite happy and hopeful at the thoughts of an easy time ahead. I just kept thinking to myself: what old Indians and where did she meet them?

Sorry Teri, either your info or your observations are faulty since we have had non-stop snow now for 2 months. I have gotten stuck in the parking lot at the high school, I have helped dig and push Teri out of the gutter, and I have spent a harrowing trip down the mountain in a blizzard carrying 4 boys and their skis. Last Wednesday was the worst storm in many years. We had 22 inches in my front yard in 1 day, and we are still recuperating from it. Christian made me turn on the radio because he was sure it would be a snow day. Unfortunately, it was not. For some mysterious reason, the snowplows of Ogden seem to be out in full force only on light snow days, because on Wednesday, there were none to be found. Due to our stalwart, pioneer spirits, we all struggled into work where we stood at the window for 6 hours and watched the snow accumulate. We also spent a lot of time watching Teri shovel the front walk. No, I really did help her. By 4 o'clock, we closed up and left, whereupon we each--except for Lynnette--got stuck in the parking lot. Luckily for us--unluckily for him--Ray, the printer, had stopped by and had to dig and push us each out. Ugh!!!

The old Indians who work in the back are sending Teri an almanac update: If there are no acorns on the ground, it is because the squirrels have gathered them all up to prepare for a very long winter to come. Our world looks like a massive white wilderness with tunnels going all over. We have drifts 6 feet high on each side of the driveway, a tunnel across the white lawn for Vern, the postman, and even a tunnel for Lindbergh, and I am only hoping the Vern doesn't try to use the dog's tunnel.

After 5 days of slip-sliding up my street at home, the plows finally did my road yesterday morning. When I ran out to go to church--late as always--the edge of my driveway was filled waist-high with ice boulders. And it was still snowing.

As I walked across our ice-rink parking lot this morning terrified of falling, I felt like I was 6 again and playing my favorite childhood game: Mother, may I take 175 baby steps to get to the sidewalk. Once at work, I heard Lynnette mention to Sue how beautiful the sun on the mountains was, and I had to think about that. How true. I have spent days looking down--shoveling, scraping, slipping, stressing, and what I should have been doing is taking a moment to look up and witness the beauty of those sunlit, snow-covered mountains all around me. So that is my mantra for this week: Look up.

The one great thing about a snowy winter is all of the cozy opportunities it creates for staying in and stitching. Teri has rearranged much of the shop and I spent Saturday looking at many fun, new projects. Sam-Sarah's monthly baubles are adorable. We have just finished January and February and they are very sweet with their fun colours and buttons. And of course she has found the most darling snowmen ever. Some of us here at the shop are getting ready to work on Quaker Christmas, and I happily pulled fabrics and threads like I might actually do it. Hope does spring eternal. Gosh, my moments at the computer have gone by so quickly. It is almost time for the swim team to get out of practice, and if I am late Christian's hair will be frozen. I wish you all a lovely week with feet on firm ground. And remember, if you find yourself overcome by the January blues--look up--you might just find the sun.

fondly, Tina

Teri and Tina out shoveling snow!

20" in one day!!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Snow, snow, snow...

If I had a decent singing voice and 3 charming, musical companions, I think we could offer a pretty good rendition of the song on the train in White Christmas. We have had plenty of snow the past few weeks and it just seems to keep coming. We don't often have to shovel the sidewalk at work, but yesterday was the day, and I'm thinking it might be a long, wet winter. On a cheerier note, the weather has put me in the mood to stitch again since my Christmas angels, and I have been working on a companion to the Red Snowman. I am having a great time working on it, but I am also bombarded with distractions. My head is full of beginning of the year ideas all bouncing around inside trying to get out. I have ideas for new hearts, this snowman, spring things as well as a Christmas design that I never got to this year. Sometimes at night I just want to say--okay, now settle down--1 of you at a time. But then again, on the other hand I may just have a sinus infection.

I have finished 2 of my Christmas books and they were great. Unfortunately, a good book does cut into my stitching time, so now I am back to just reading before bed, which is never very optimistic. I have been known to spend the best part of a month on the same 3 pages that way. I have to drop Christian off at school before 7 in the mornings, so I have used the dark and cold as my excuse to crawl back into bed when I get home and read. Well.. you can probably guess how much reading is getting done.

I have a hard time getting it back together again after the New Year. Perhaps it is the January blues. Starting with the beginning of school in September it seems that life is a whirlwind of busy-ness carrying me with it headlong straight through to Christmas with hardly a chance to breathe. Then the long stretch of winter opens up and it is kind of blah and boring. Oh well, a good time to stitch.

Bob and I spent Saturday in line in the ice and snow getting tickets to the Sundance Film Festival. This is certainly a bright spot in January, and I am looking forward to cozy nights with friends watching interesting movies. You just never know what you are in for--but it is always fun and interesting. Bob is always good for anything--and goes to more that I ever do,--Teri is mostly good for romantic comedies, and I like many things except for tear-jerkers. I signed up for 1 movie that sounded good, and Bob said, "You really want to see that movie?" Never a good sign. I'll let you know.

Teri seems to be on some kind of psychotic cleaning frenzy at the shop. It's good--but sort of weird. Oh well, I guess somebody has to do it. We still have Christmas up--pictures, not decorations--as many of our customers are still into holiday stitching. I have to admit to being one of those myself. But then someone wanders in and asks for Valentine's projects and she scurries around dragging out every heart she can find. Then the next person inquires about Easter and she's off again. St. Patrick's has slowed her down a little, but she is so up to it. I am going to get someone to come in and ask for Halloween and see what happens.

Hey the new scissors and fob for 2008 are on our home page now, so be sure to take a look. And if you watch the site, we will start updating it with information for our Fall Retreat. We have the dates posted, and will start adding things now and then. Our brochure will be on the site towards the end of March, so just keep your eyes out and get excited. It will be so much fun.
Wherever you are this week, stay warm and don't slip on the ice. I hope to do the same.

fondly, Tina

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year!!

I set out to write this blog almost 2 weeks ago and look where the time has gone. I truly wanted to write on Christmas Eve and wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, but the shop was slammed that day and Teri and I were here alone. At the point we closed for the day, we noticed that we were in the midst of a huge blizzard and simply flew off into the white to finish up last minute errands and shopping stops. So here we are. I do hope that your holidays were great. I just love them from the moment my boys are out of school to the day they return-- I love just hanging out, going to movies, watching movies, playing games, cooking, and reading.

This year, everyone in my family gave me a book--which is one of my favorite gifts. The problem is that everyone wanted me to read their book first and was insulted if I was reading something else. So I now have 4 books going plus the one I was reading before the holidays hit. I have put them each in different rooms of the house, and it is actually working out quite well. Depending on where I am, I have a different plot to look forward to. And one of these days, I will have 5 books completed.

One unfortunate aspect of the holidays was the fact that Diet Coke went on sale several days before. So of course everyone bought some cases to have on hand, and left them in various areas of the yard and garage. Well, after the snow, the temperature dropped down to 12, and soon the explosions began. I would lie in bed at night--reading Bob's book--and hear the gun shot-like noises and then have to go out and settle Lindbergh down who thought we were being invaded. I felt a little like Betsy Trotwood in David Copperfield chasing donkeys around her yard as I hunted down all the coke cans. I think we may finally have them under control--just as the weather warms up.

So here we are at New Year's which is a day I truly hate. You know I am not one for change anyway, and what is a bigger change than a whole new year? I hate the holidays being over, taking down Christmas decorations, sending kids back to school and beginning real life's routines all over again. The one bright spot is always our New Year's Day sale at the shop. That is actually very fun and it is great to see everyone and start thinking about new projects. We had fun things on sale this year and served lots of delicious treats. Teri and Sue served hot chocolate to the poor souls who were bundled up and waiting outside for the sale to begin. Luckily there was sunshine defying the frigid temperatures. We even had our 2008 scissor fob and engraved Bianca scissors ready for the day. I have been delaying getting them done because I was a little hesitant about the peach colour of the new scissors. In the end, I think it is my favourite one, and I think the colours are fabulous. Check them out on our web site on the home page. I think you will like them.

I think that the rest of this week and weekend should still be considered part of the holidays, so just enjoy yourselves and take a little time to read or stitch. I'll write again on Monday and try to get back on track. Whatever you find yourself doing this weekend have fun and be safe. I fear I am going to Sweeny Todd and I am a bit scared.

Until next week--tina