Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday-8:45am: Secret Santa Mystery

Exciting Christmas mystery!
I still can't believe it!  :) :)
Monday night about 8:30 I am settled in with Karma watching TV and I get buzzed by the front door.  It was a young man from Cashwise saying that he had a gift delivery for me.  Huh?  A gift?...from the grocery store?
The young man shrugged his shoulders and almost giggled at my bafflement as I read the envelope.  "That's all I know"--he grinned ear to ear--"Merry Christmas!"
On the outside of the delivery envelope on one side it said--"gift card enclosed"--and on the other side--"Christmas present from a friend that called in to the store".  
I open the little gift card envelope inside and it was for $107.49!!  OMG!!  Talk about speechless!  I was absolutely stunned!  I look at the receipt and see that originally it was $114.98 but they deducted $7.49 for delivery charge and taxes.  So--whoever my Secret Santa is they were kind enough to even include extra for their delivery fee and my own delivery fee, too!!  Do you believe it?! 
Called in?  Probably from out of town?  Not a surprise as I really only know Dagan and Leah up here and a few people I rarely hear from anymore from my days at Concordia College and MSUM (1999-2004).  I called Leah right away to tell her and Dagan about this amazing mystery gift.
The funny thing is...I had just been thinking about how I might have to cut back even more on groceries in December because (besides already planning to order Christmas and birthday cards to be printed at Office Max, stamps, and my desk calendar)...Karma's pooper scooper handle snapped off a couple weeks ago.  I thought I could easily endure getting that up close and personal with her waste products until January, but--honestly--it was grossing me out touching everything with my thumb and had most definitely become highly debatable that I wanted to continue for another whole month.             
So...TRUTH?  The very first thing I thought of when I saw the gift card was cat poop!  ROFL!  That now I could make an Amazon order in December (already have a scooper picked out, of course) and pretty soon I wouldn't have to touch Karma's pee and poop anymore!  I actually did a little happy dance next to my desk!!  LOL! 
Anyways, I checked with my only possible suspect (my BFF) the next day--nope!  None of us could figure out who would have done such a wonderful thing??  I decided to call Cashwise and see if I could find out who sent the gift card.  
The news of my good fortune had obviously gotten around over there at the store because I asked for Cashwise Delivery and got another young man on the phone.  I said I had a kind of odd request.  Told him I had gotten a gift card the night before and was wondering if it was possible to find out who sent it to me.  With much enthusiasm he told me that it had already gone down before he got to work last night (mind you, I hadn't even told him my name) and that they had to go through the manager so I'd have to ask him...but he was off for a few days and wouldn't be back to work till Friday.  The happy young man even went and checked the schedule to tell me to call between noon and 9pm on Friday.  I said, this is just so mysterious.  I know! he said--this young guy was really enjoying the who-done-it.
So, I shall call this afternoon.  But, being as they didn't give their name in the first place, they may have told them not to tell if I call.  I don't know anyone close to me who would have done this.
My BFF, Ruby, suggested that it could have been a blogger friend!  Yes, I do mention my monthly grocery delivery from Cashwise on here--just part of my life, you know.  But I find that so hard to believe, though.  That somebody who only knows me through my silly blog babbling might have done something so marvelously monumental...???  That blows my mind even more!
Anyways, I will call the manager this afternoon.  Not sure I'll find anything out, but I will tell you what happens.  
Whoever you are...I am showering you with gratitude and I will testify loudly on your behalf at the pearly gates if there is a single moment's hesitation on St. Peter's part.  
Bless you!  :):):)
Meanwhile (back to my regular old life), I went over with Dagan and Leah to their old townhouse to go through some footlocker type chests Leah had gotten from her mother before Leah gave them away on freecycle...because there was some fabric in them.  I wanted to look for anything that might be good for either making bookcovers, cloth journal covers, or for use with mixed media.  Came home with some musty smelling hunks of fabric (that blue thing Karma is lying on is a shoulder tote bag I used to carry home part of this stash)...    
...and a couple of handmade throw pillows of her mom's (that smell so much that they are outside under one of the chair covers on the porch to air out--maybe all winter--LOL!).
I did grab one old Butterick pattern to use with mixed media.  Shows you how old all this material was--from the 80s.  We even found some shoulder pads that could have been for this jacket pattern.  
I am doing laundry today and going to add some vinegar in the washing of the fabric to try to remove the smell of being stored for a couple of decades.  ;)
All I got done this week so far was to try an idea I had for making a cardinal on a branch for the front of a Christmas card.  I didn't use paint, though.  I got out the colored pens--Triplus fineliners, Sharpie pens, and LePens.
Needing my outline, of course, I used a branch from one photo I found online and the cardinal from another photo--taped them together--and then outlined the basic shape with copy paper against the window. 
Then I used tracing paper (old and faint now) to get the basic shape onto my watercolor Moleskine journal.  I used the various pens to color in the bird and branch with pinecones...leaving spaces for snow. 
Then I wanted to do a watercolor background...and the plan began to falter.  I discovered that the Triplus and LePens bleed all over the place--so I had to try like heck to avoid touching them with the wet brush. 
I used some Glossy Accents for the eye... 
...and, after drying overnight, I added some white caulking for snow on the branch... 
...which did not turn out the way I envisioned, either.  Not sure if this would even copy well, but I will throw it in the pot as another choice.  I probably should have used paints.  I don't know what possessed me to try pens?  LOL!  Oh well.  Another one of those projects that are fun in the process no matter how they actually turn out.  :)
Caroline was here to clean on Wednesday.  Dagan and Leah had their walk-through inspection and turned in their keys to the old place yesterday.  I had computer issues this week with extreme slowness and losing connection over and over, but then it seems to have righted itself by yesterday (knock on wood).  Sun spots...cyber gremlins?  ;)
Today--well, I've got my white vinegar ready to combat the musty stench and my dialing finger ready for the manager.  It's a cold, grey day.  I'll continue playing with something for Christmas cards this weekend...and try not to pick something so time consuming--LOL!  And I'll leave you with a picture of why Karma wanted her blue bed back up on the loveseat.  (I flashed her while she was sleeping.)  The squishy sides allow her to be half out of the bed and have her head up on the throw pillow which puts her in the perfect position for a belly rub--you can see my thumb--LOL!
Happy dancing in Fargo!!
"Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us."
Boris Pasternak
And to my generous Secret Santa:
"The value of a man (or woman) resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving."
Albert Einstein

Monday, November 26, 2012


Good Morning!  :):)
Dagan and Leah wanted to have our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night.  They are far from unpacked--LOL!  But I got to see the house and it's been quite a while since we've had time together.  They are still moving some final smaller things from the old place and have to clean it so they can turn in their keys at the end of the month.  
Okay!  Here's looking down the entrance hallway toward the red front door.  There's something on the floor holding the basement door open because the cat box is downstairs.  BTW--Sammy and Annie adjusted almost immediately to the new house and seem totally relaxed and at home.  :)  
I moved farther back into the living room to get a shot of the nook where they plan to have a kind of cubed bookcase/ display case. 
Here's the living room.  The TV and such are still pulled away from the wall until they get everything hooked up.  They had the area rug made by the carpet company. 
Dagan at the kitchen island.  The dining room is filled with boxes of kitchen stuff.  They have found enough to be able to make meals--LOL!  We had a roast, carrots, and baked spicy potatoes.  I pass on the roast these days, of course, but the veggies were delicious!  Leah even sent me home some more potatoes that I ate for dinner on Sunday!
Leah kept hiding, so I never got a picture of her.  (She and I both hate having our pictures taken.)  The kitchen is awesome!!  She even has this super deep drawer where she can keep the big pots and pans so she doesn't have to dig and shift through them anymore--whoohoo!    
I didn't get a picture of the little bathroom right inside the archway there because it has no lights inside.  The company thought they wanted an overheard recessed light and they wanted a light over the sink--so right now they have none at all.  The company has to come back and fix a few different things yet.
But here's the pantry behind that archway!
Wow!  I just love this!!  Organizer's kitchen heaven!  
I didn't take any pictures of the unfinished basement or the garage because they are just filled with boxes and stuff.  But this is going up to the second floor.  
The big landing area is going to be a reading spot with bookcases and a couple chairs. 
The master bedroom (Sammy on the bed)... 
...has a walk-thru closet... the master bath.  Without flash... 
...with flash.  The accent wall is actually a kind of golden mustard yellow. 
This is closer to the real color there on the far right in the shot of the tub/shower and linen closet. 
Next to the master there's another (empty) room on this side.   
Then heading to the other side of the upstairs... 
...there's another empty room straight ahead.  I forgot to ask them which one will be the office and which one will be the spare bedroom for company, but I would guess this would be the company bedroom on the other side from their bedroom with the bathroom across the hall. 
The bathroom in the hallway... 
...and behind this closed door... the laundry room.  I love the terra cotta orange in there on these two walls!
The room at the end of the hallway is now the gaming room--and where their old dining room table and her mom's old chairs are.  They plan to buy a new dining room set.  There's another area rug that matches the one downstairs in this room, too.
And no--I haven't seen the empty house tour video yet.  As you and I can see they they are very busy and I think it is going to be quite a bit after the fact before it ever gets posted (if I can even figure out how to move it to my blog in the first place).  If that ever happens, you'll know--LOL!  But at least you have an idea of what the new place looks like.  They love it!!  Even without curtains and with boxes is sooo nice!  They will be very happy here.  They already are.  :) :)
What else did I do this weekend?  Well, I had these clipart snowflakes (that I found someplace online a long time ago and have no idea where) that I copied and then re-drew with a white gel pen on dark blue paper.  Yes, more cheating, I know.  Not my own designs.  
But they are so pretty as Christmas card possibilities. 
 We could pick one...
...frame the blue paper with a black paper edge...
...and mount it on white cardstock.  I thought these simple cards might print up well. 
Another option is the zendala that reminded me of the Christmas bulbs.
Next I am going to make an attempt to paint something.  Painting.  Never confident painting.  But I want to try an idea or two this week.  This week is it...time's up!!  Have to have something picked out by next Monday.
 She still has not tired of her green air mattress--LOL!   
I am surprised there is still air in it.  :)  
She's so happy to have her blue bed where she wants it.  And notice the new cat grass behind her ear there in the background?  Life is good for Miss Karma.
 Noise in the hallway!
Droopy to perky in half a second--LOL!
And so the week begins.  I can now picture where Dagan and Leah are and what they're talking about when it comes to the new house.  After they turn in their keys to the old place they can relax.  And after this week is over and we have some card fronts to pick from I can relax, too--LOL!  ;) 
I just love the holiday season!!
Have a sparkly week!
"The grateful heart sits at a continuous feast."
Proverbs 15:15

Friday, November 23, 2012


I decided to push myself to do challenges this week.  My plan was to combine the Goulet Ink Drop monthly challenge and the APR challenge (Thanksgiving) by using the five inks for a watercolor type background and then draw maple leaves on top.  (Leaves changing always reminds of the coming holidays.)  I got this far and let it dry overnight.
But Tuesday my hands were still not working right... I used a couple of rubber stamps instead.  I've been kind of missing my stamps a bit lately, anyways. 
Not the best job, for sure, but I was just delighted to be participating.  :)  I thought of redoing it, but the time is dwindling to work on Christmas card ideas.
Suddenly on Wednesday I woke up feeling more human than I have in three weeks!!  Only coughing occasionally and my head feels clearer.  My hands were working better, so I started on the zendala dare
I used sugar cane, aura-leah, and purk from my Tangles Binder. 
Actually tried shading a little on the tear drop shaped (purk) section.  None of these look exactly like the tangles I got online.  I guess I kind think of the various tangles as suggestions and adapt them my own way.  ;) 
Karma got her blue bed back up on the love seat.  She's been one happy camper.  
No howling in the bathtub and beating up the shower curtain as soon as her favorite bed was back in her favorite spot. 
But what's this?  
After all the protestations...she will sleep in the brown bed on the floor after all.  Cats!! 
Early in the week we had fog and frost. 
Looked so delicate in the sunlight as the fog was lifting. 
All week I worked here and there on the Tangles Binder...and finished last night!! 
I love it!  I can flip through...hundreds of tangles at my fingertips!  Now I'll be more likely to experiment with all these...and I can add any new ones I run across, too! 
We had snow here on Thanksgiving. 
Was really coming down for a while there. 
Well, mostly so windy that the sky was a white-gray curtain. 
So, this morning we woke up to White Friday--LOL! 
The wind was coming our way so we got some snow on the porch this time. 
Karma immediately wanted out, of course. 
She ate some snow outside.  When she came in she did her quick turn around to eat her footprints thing she does.  I usually take away the plastic in the winter, but Karma made a big protest over that, too, this year.  (I keep it there for when I leave the porch door open in the summer so that rain doesn't get on the carpet.) 
I think Karma is getting more demanding as she ages (be eight in February).  She's always been a diva, don't get me wrong.  But let's just say that she doesn't seem to like change as much as she used to.  I know how she feels--LOL!
Dagan and Leah went to her grandparent's for Thanksgiving.  I told them that I'd rather wait longer and have our Thanksgiving at the new house after they're more settled in so I can see their new home.  
For you new followers, the past 13+ years I spend quiet, lovely holidays alone (with Karma now).  Since Dagan met Leah we have our own separate Thanksgiving and Christmas after the fact at some point.  Works perfectly for me--no stress--peaceful--and they get to spend time with the other sides of the families.  I get to see them during the whole year, so I don't mind at all.  In fact, I think I suggested it.  I remember all the years of running here and there.  Karma and I have a wonderful time.  :)
Well, speaking of...the Diva is crying to go out and eat snow again.  Hope those of you in the US had a nice Thanksgiving and everybody else just plain had a really good Thursday.  :)  And to those of you who were crazy enough to tackle the crowds for Black Friday--more power to ya and I hope you got the deals you were hoping for.  Me--I'd let my fingers do the shopping--ROFL!  
Stay thankful!!  ;)
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank you', that would suffice."
Meister Eckhart