Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Setting realistic goals for 2010

New year - which direction?Image by randihausken via Flickr
With Christmas behind me, I find myself thinking more and more about the new year.  I have never really been much of a resolution type of person, but I do believe in setting yourself goals--kind of a roadmap to get where you want to go.  Granted, sometimes the goals you set are simply unrealistic or unattainable, but at least you have a focus and a direction.

I am thinking more and more about both professional and personal goal setting, which is not the norm.  I usually do the "lose weight, give up bad habits, get more sleep" kind of goals just like everyone else but this year I am thinking more globally.  As a nurse for the last 20+years, I have really just tried to keep my head above water and for me just getting to work on my scheduled days was a great goal.  Now, I find that won't work for me.  If all I want to do is get myselft there, then I need to find something else to be doing with the rest of my life.

Personally, I have just "let things happen" for way too long.  This next year, I would like to feel that I am at least at the helm of my own life.  The years have a habit of getting away from you if you let them--marriage, motherhood, work, social life, etc.  Before you realize it, the time has passed and you have not gotten any of your personal goals accomplished.

So--this year I plan to make some very serious and very detailed goals for myself.  I will break each goal down into monthly parts and break those goals down even further into weekly goals.  Maybe I can actually get something done this next year toward my desire to go to school, get another job, encourage my artistic side, relearn to play and laugh.  I'll try to keep you posted on how I'm doing.  Won't you let me know what you are planning in the New Year?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas Health CareImage by via Flickr
Today is finally Christmas and I am so glad it's over.  I worked today and it was a really sad day to spend with my patients.  I am constantly reminded that life is hard and sometimes a simple quirk in time can mean all the difference in the type of life you get to live.

So, today I am very grateful for my life--my family, my work, my health, my pets, my friends,--simply my life.
I know that I am very blessed.  I know that there are people in the world who love me and care about my happiness.  I know that for my age, I am in extremely good health.  I am thankful for it all.

I hope you too will do some internal searching and discover the bounty of your blessings.  May Christmas live in your life all year long. 

Merry Christmas!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Santas are finally finished and on the tree!

Well, I wasn't sure these would be done in time, but I got bored today while I waited for someone to come by that never did.  While waiting, I went ahead and finished the santas and hung them on the tree.  I took some liberty with the project instructions and I added dimensional paint for the beard and used black ribbon to attach the legs.  But, I have to say they turned out quite well.  I like the way they look on my tree. 

I may be starting my own Christmas tradition.  Last year, I made the snowflake ornaments that are up on the tree.  This year I made the Santas.  Wonder what I will make next year?

Here's some pictures of the santas:


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm ready for Christmas------------to be over!

Today is the 23rd and Christmas is almost here. I am avoiding going out like the plague because the traffic here in Austin is simply crazy! I figure that if I am not ready for Christmas now, I don't think I will ever be ready.

The one thing I know I am ready for is for all this holiday madness to be over. I am enjoying my tree, and I am enjoying visiting with my family; but that's about it. I am still working on my Santa tree ornaments and maybe they will be done in time for Christmas, but if not there is always next year!

I just wanted to take a minute to write briefly here because I know that the next two days will go by in a blur of activity for me and for almost everyone else. There's dinner to prepare, trees to finish decorating, presents to finish wrapping (or buying maybe?), and a million other little things to do to get ready for the big day.

I just want to say:


May the New Year bring us Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men
(and Women and Dogs and Cats and Other pets!)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, December 21, 2009

aunt jane's nut roll

With Christmas closing in, there's really not much time to do anything extravagant, but there is always time and sincere appreciation for home-baked goodies.  This recipe is easy, makes 4 loaves, is easy to freeze, and tastes delicious.  Just the thing when you remember that you forgot to get that present for your Aunt and Uncle and they will be arriving soon!  Even if you are not a baker, you can gather the dry ingredients into a decorative tin and print the recipe on cardstock and give it to your favorite teacher.  Great last minute gift!


For the original post and for more quick gifts and recipes>>CLICK HERE

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Found an interesting Non-Christmas You Tube video to share

Have you seen this video?  It's fantastic.  No wonder the guy got Hollywood's attention.  This is an amazing filmmaker.  I hope we see more of his work very soon. 

Watch it and let me know if you agree. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

 Here's an idea for some last minute gifts to give to teachers and other service people you interact with regularly.  Gifts don't need to be costly and the best gifts are those that you put some time into.  This article below shows you an easy craft to make that will be very appreciated by any recipient. 

By Gayla Trail


What You Need:

# Cotton muslin or pre-made resealable tea bags (large size).
# Ribbon or string
# An assortment of herbs and essential oils (optional)
# Optional -- rolled oats, epsom salts, sea salt.
# Cellophane bags, cellophane roll, other packaging.

This is such a simple but satisfying gift to make. I have been making them for years and always receive compliments and requests. I often give three of them in conjunction with other bath/spa products (also homemade), or give one or two with other gifts. I make lots because everyone likes them and I can fire off a large batch in one night. As an additional savings use herbs grown in your garden. I use my own home-grown sage, basil, rosemary, mint, calendula and lavender (flowers and leaves).

To make the bags you will first require some cotton muslin. Other cotton fabrics can be used but I prefer this kind the most because it is dirt cheap ($2.00 and change for a yard or cheaper if you buy scraps from the ends bin), unbleached, and has an open weave while remaining sturdy and rigid. In the past I have purchased ribbon (I'll explain its use later), but this year I found some nice seam binding tape in earth tones for a very good price (29 cents a yard). If you don't want to sew you can purchase special large-sized, sealable tea bags made especially for this purpose. They are relatively cheap to buy and can be sealed with an iron. However, I guarantee you that even the most inexperienced sewer can make this. Keep in mind that it is going to be used a few times and thrown out. Precision is not necessary. No one will be grading you on your ability to achieve a perfect square because the bag will be wet and soggy before the recipient has a chance to inspect the merchandise.

1. Start by cutting the fabric into squares. Any size is fine but I usually cut mine into 6" squares because that is the thickness of my ruler and it's faster.

2. Cut a 12" length of ribbon or string. Butcher cord or just about any strong string you have on hand can be used. This will be used to hang the bag over the faucet so it must be strong enough to bear the weight of a bag of wet bag of herbs.

3. Lay out a piece of fabric. Lay the string/ribbon on top in a u-shape with the U formed inside the square. The object is to sew the ribbon inside the bag so that when you turn the bag inside out, you can hold the ribbon like a handle. Place the other piece of fabric on top and secure with a few pins.

4. Sew around the square, being sure to leave a small opening to pour the herbs through. Turn your bag inside out through the hole, push out the corner and iron flat.

5. To fill the bag, take a piece of scrap paper and form a cone with it. Insert this into the hole and use it as a funnel through which to pour your herb mix.

6. Sew the seam shut with matching thread.

7. Herb bags can be packaged in cellophane to retain freshness and the potency of the smell longer. Or you can give as is. Be sure to include the ingredients and instructions for use (Hang over faucet when filling tub. Hang to dry and reuse up to 3 times) with each one.

Herbal MixesHerb Mix Recipes:

Every year my recipes are different but they are always based on what I think are the three things people want out of a bath; to heal, to revitalize or to relax. As a result I mix my herbs accordingly. I always add a few extra ingredients aside from herbs to each bag. I add rolled oats (coarsely ground in the blender first) for moisturizing and soothing, epsom salts for muscle relaxation and celtic sea salt (as opposed to table salt) for its healing properties. Powdered milk or citrus peel can also be added. I have listed this year's recipes below and a listing of other potential ingredients at the side.

Please Note: When using herbs be sure your recipient doesn't have an allergy. Chamomile for instance is a common allergen to those with ragweed sensitivities. Also note that some herbs should not be given to pregnant women. Although you will not be drinking this 'tea', your skin is a semi-permeable membrane and anything that comes into contact with the skin will have an effect.

Soothing: Calendula petals, eucalyptus leaves, lemon balm, rolled oats, espsom salts, celtic sea salt.

Relaxing: Rose petals, lavender leaves, white sage, rolled oats, epsom salts, celtic sea salt.

Stimulating: Mint leaves, lemon grass, rolled oats, epsom salts, celtic sea salts, a dash of lemon grass and mint essential oils.

You can go here for the original article and see if you can find other things to make!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Here's a video for another quick Christmas Card!

There's not much time left until Christmas, but there is still time to make a few special Christmas cards for your "special" friends.  Watch this video and then try it out!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ribbon Tree Holiday Cards

here's another quick idea for some last minute, hand-made Christmas cards.  I might leave out the quilling if I was going to be mailing them, otherwise, these are really beautiful and quite easy.  Even the kids could have a go at making these cards!

If you do try them, let me know how it goes and what you think, won't you?


CRAFT: Celebrate the Season

By Ann Martin
Are you planning to make cards to send this holiday season, but running out of time? Or perhaps you've been toying with the idea of giving paper quilling a try, but have hesitated because you think it must be too complicated? Worry not ... these retro ribbon trees go together quite quickly. The 3D quilled scrolls add a bit of extra dimension, but if really pressed for time, you could omit them and still have a pretty card.


Cardstock: green, ivory, white, and glossy red
Velvet paper, dark green
Ribbon, 14" long, metallic, 3/8" wide
Printer and tree template
Quilling paper, white, 1/8"
or use computer paper and cut 1/8" strips with a paper cutter
Quilling tool, slotted
Paper cutter
with scoring blade
Double stick tape or glue stick for mounting layers
Glue, clear drying, suitable for paper
Plastic lid

Ribbontree Treetemplate
Download and print the tree template.

Directions for the Red Card:

Ribbontreecardred Step1
Step 1: Prepare a green card blank by cutting cardstock to make a 5½"×8½" rectangle. Score and fold the 8½" length at the midpoint to make a card that measures 4¼"×5½".
Step 2: Cut a 3"×5" rectangle of glossy red cardstock. Center and glue it on the card.
Trimmingribbon Step3B
Step 3: Print out the tree template. Adjust the size to make a tree that measures 2¼"×4¼". Cut out the tree, trace around it on white cardstock, and cut out.
Glue strips of ribbon diagonally across the tree, allowing a little extra at each end. It's easiest (and you'll get the cleanest cut) if you wait until the glue has fully dried before trimming. Then turn the tree over and trim the excess ribbon. Glue the tree on the card, allowing room below it for the quilled stand.

Rollingcoilonslottedtool Step4A
Step 4: Insert one end of a 4" quilling strip into the slot of a quilling tool. Turn the tool with one hand and guide the paper with the other to make a rolled coil. Stop rolling at the halfway point and slip the coil off the tool.
Cscroll Step4B
Repeat with the other end of strip, rolling it toward the midpoint to form a C. Make 2.
Step 5: Glue a 1" strip of quilling paper on top of another 1" strip, creating a double thickness.
Step 6: Make a glue palette by spreading a thin puddle of glue in a plastic lid. Pick up a C coil with tweezers, touch its underside to the glue, and place it on the card. Repeat with the second C scroll, turning it over so it faces the opposite direction. Glue the 1" strip at the bottom of the 2 C scrolls as the base.

Directions for the Green Card:

Ribbontreecard Green
The ivory/green card is nearly identical to the green/red one, except for using a 3¾"×5" rectangle of dark green velvet paper on an ivory card and a slightly larger tree template (2½"×4¾").
The quilling gives just the suggestion of a tree stand. Make an asymmetric C scroll by rolling one end slightly past the midpoint of a 4" strip, so that one coiled end is larger than the other. Make 2.
Mailing Tip: Is it possible to send a quilled card through the mail without the quilling getting crushed? Yes! Cut a square of bubble wrap and place it over the quilling before sliding the card into a regular envelope or use a bubble wrap mailer. You might also want to include a piece of cardboard behind the card to prevent bending. And if you're really daring, considering how busy the post office is at this time of year, take the cards there and ask to have them hand cancelled.
About the Author:
Author Annmartin
Ann Martin of all things paper is a quilling enthusiast who loves introducing the craft to others. She teaches, designs projects for books and magazines, and is especially hooked on making paper filigree jewelry.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, December 4, 2009

Noodles Is Still Missing

Some of you readers may know that I own a rat terrier named Satchmo and am an avid dog fancier.  I can only imagine the pain I would feel if something were to happen to my beloved companion.  Because of how strongly I feel about pets, and rat terrier dogs in particular, I am cross-posting this message below.  If anyone anywhere can help bring this baby home, I want to give them the chance to do so!  Please read below and if you have a blog, post this to your blog to try to help find a lost little pet.


Please help my friend find Noodles, her beloved Rat Terrier, who went missing Dec 10th in the San Antonio area. If you don't live there, please cross post on your blog or send this posting to someone you know in the area. My friend's only wish for Christmas is to get her Noodles back. Please help by getting the world and her photos out there in the cyber world.

She is microchipped so if there is any doubt, take her to a vet or shelter to check for it.Miss Noodle is a special little girl and is very much loved by her family. They are distraught by her disappearance. Let's see if we can get her face and story all over the blogosphere and increase her chances of making it home by Christmas.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Make this for your Christmas tree

Here is another great tutorial for making Christmas Tree ornaments with the family.  This one uses Makin's Clay that you buy at your local hobby/craft store.  I have never used this product before, but after seeing how cute this turns out, I may have to give it a try.

One of the things that appeal to me about this clay is that you don't have to paint it.  It comes already colored.  I'm not sure of the cost and I also worry about how to store the unused clay.  If it is costly and can't be stored for very long, then maybe I won't be able to try it.  However, I do think this is a very cute ornament.

* Makin's Clay®
  • 60 gram Yellow Clay
  • 60 gram White Clay
  • 60 gram Black Clay
  • 60 gram Blue Clay
  • 60 gram Red Clay
  • 60 gram Green Clay

Recommended Makin's® Tools:
  • Chisel
  • Mallet
  • Roller

Other Materials:
  • 1 piece of Gold Thin String 
  • White Glue
  • Black Pen


1. Print and cut out the pattern.

2. Roll yellow cClay into a square sheet with Makin's Roller.

3. Cut the star shape out as shown then pin two holes on each arm of the star.

4. Roll white clay into balls in the size of the faces.

5. Roll neon orange clay into teardrop shapes then add onto the faces. Pin in the mouth with Makin's Chisel.

6. Using desired colors, make the hats and details according to the pattern.

7. Add the eyes with a black pen and the writing with a silver pen. Twist and attach a gold ribbon or rope.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Santas are coming along!

For anyone who remembers my posting earlier about making little santa ornaments for your tree, I am now going to post some pictures of my progress.  I know, I know.  I am moving at the speed of a slug, but I'm just pleased to be moving at all. 

I hope to finish these this week and get my tree up.  I have mixed feelings about doing that, but I know I will get the tree up before long.  Anyway, here are three pictures of my progress with these cute little ornaments!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

12 Smart Ways to Save Big on Christmas Shopping

I figure that since we have less than 25 shopping days left until Christmas, I would post an article I found that talks about ways to have a "frugal" Christmas without having a boring Christmas.  I especially enjoyed the last suggestion in the article.  I may have to think about that next year.

Anyway, I know that everyone is out there in a shopping frenzy, so here are some suggestions to make this Christmas more fun and save the wear and tear on your pocketbook!

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but your wallet can still be delightful. And since we’ve got gifts to give, let us find the ways to save! Yay!
Yes internets, it’s that time of year when the turkey leftovers and that tryptophan stuff have settled in our stomachs. After awakening from the holidaze slumber, it may be time to turn our attention towards Christmas. Now, I’m not big on the whole Christmas consumeritis thing that turns many smart people into spending splurgers.

top 10 christmas gifts
But, I do love to find frugal ways to celebrate the holidays without spending a bundle. So to get you into the holiday spirit, here are 12 smart ways to save big on Christmas shopping.

1. Go online shopping

Skip the stores and save yourself some holiday grief by going online shopping to save a bundle. Many retailers offer online holiday sales and specials that aren’t available in stores — especially on Cyber Monday! So get clicking online before stepping foot in the mall to save 10% to 60% on everything from books to electronic gadgets like the Kindle. Just be sure to get free or cheap shipping before hitting the checkout — there’s no sense in killing your deal with costly shipping charges.

2. Shop with secret online coupons

Paying full price for anything when a better deal can be found can turn any Santa into a Scrooge. Bah Humbug! To get shoppers into stores, many retailers offer online printable coupons to boost Christmas cheer with big savings. So before buying that perfect gift, get online and search for coupons by entering the retailer’s name and then “coupon code”.
Check out these 8 Stealth Ways to Uncover Big Savings with Secret Online Coupons for even more ways to save like Santa.

3. Dump department store credit cards

When the cashier at your favorite department store offers you a huge discount on your holiday wares just for opening a store credit card, do your wallet a favor and take a pass. Those pesky credit cards offered by retailers carry huge interest rates that can chew into any deal if not paid off. Carrying numerous credit cards can also hurt your credit score, and no one wants to take a credit hit just after the holidays.
Want to pay off your balance sooner? Try this Credit Card Calculator to see how paying more than the minimum balance can make a HUGE difference this holiday. Results may shock you!

4. Use cash this Christmas

Save yourself some credit card shock tomorrow by spending only the cash you have today. Besides, you could save a few bucks by using cash and asking the store to cut your cost by the 2% to 3% interchange fee that banks charge retailers for credit card transactions. Become a really sneaky shopper by trying these 5 Ways To Screw Your Credit Card Company.

5. Skip brand names, buy generic

Don’t believe the expensive marketing hype behind many brand name products. Marketing costs big bucks and you’re paying for that cost every time you buy a brand name. Besides, brand name items are not necessarily better than the lesser-advertised alternatives. By purchasing quality generic products this holiday you can save 10% to 50% on gift giving.

6. Be brave, ask for a discount!

Get over your silly shyness and ask the store manager, “Is this the best price you can offer me?” You may be surprised by how often a retailer will give you 10% to 15% off the sticker price just for asking. Asking for a discount is free and saving 10% in under five minutes of work is time well spent.

7. Find bargains in bulk

Cut the cost of your holiday meals by up to 60% by buying bulk grocery items. Bulk bins are a fabulous way to save some bargain bucks on candy for stocking stuffers, baking goods for delectable desserts, and going nutty over holiday nut mixes. You’ll also find huge savings on rice, pasta, spices, and lots of mixes for the big family dinner.

8. Wrap gifts without wrapping paper

Pass on the glittery gift bags and shiny rolls of gift wrap. Wrapping paper is big business and can add to the cost of even the most frugal of gifts. Instead, get crafty by wrapping your gifts in something useful, like a reusable shopping bag. If you’ve got a baby gift then swaddle it in a baby blanket. But if you’ve gotta have that pretty paper then stock up on wrap after the holidays, when it’s 50% off.
Want more wrapping ways? Check out these 11 Ways to Wrap Gifts without Wrapping Paper and top that gift with one of these 6 Printable Holiday Gift Tags.

9. Make it a homemade holiday

Get the family on budget while having some fun by making it a homemade holiday. If you’re a shutterbug then get the family together for a photo. If you’re crafty then knit a scarf, make some ornaments, or sew something special like a Softie Christmas Tree or a Sling Backpack. For those who love baking, go ahead and get creative with cookies, cakes, and sweets. Got a hiker in your family? Then make some homemade granola!
If you’re less handy but love a fun treat, then try these 8 Homemade Gifts in a Jar — the S’mores in a Jar are super cute!

10. Keep ALL your receipts

Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, always keep your receipts. Retailers want your holiday cash so they discount and mark down items often, so there’s always a chance that the gift you bought yesterday is on sale today. If you find a price cut on a recently purchased gift, bring in your receipt and ask for a price adjustment. Most store managers will give you the better deal up to ten days after your purchase if you have the receipt. So just ask to get your discount!

11. Make a list and check it twice!

Be like Santa by writing a Christmas gift list to plan out your budget and time. There’s no sense in going over budget on a gift because you ran out of time on Christmas Eve. A well-planned list can also help you curb impulse shopping when the flashy holiday displays catch your attention.
To get you started, download the Free Printable Grocery Shopping List and plan your dinner sooner — it’s easier to catch a sale or find a coupon when you’ve got a shopping list ready to go!

12. Donate a cow

Talk to your family this year and consider starting new Christmas traditions by donating your holiday gift budget to charity. Organizations like Heifer International represent thought provoking gift ideas that go beyond the space underneath your Christmas tree. Gifts to Heifer International can include a Cattle share for $50, a Llama share for $20, or a Sheep share for $10. All livestock shares and donations can help families achieve self-reliance, can give a steady supply of nutrition in the form of products like eggs and milk, and can provide a dependable source of income from the sale of products like wool, honey, and produce. Think about making a real difference this holiday by donating to any number of charities this Christmas.

Here's the link to the original post

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]