Sunday, December 20, 2009

Terra the Hat Cat Says, "Have You Been Nice ... or Naughty ... This Year?"

Santa Hat Kitty Cat Christmas Photo
 My cat Terra Catta loves me so much she lets me take silly photos of her.This picture of her wearing a Santa hat is from last Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Wishes List

All I want for Christmas is more pictures of my grandkids ... and a cool way to display them.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Birthday Twins

My two grand daughters Bella and Anya are cousins who share the same birthday - November 3 - with a span of 9 years between them.

Bella is pleased that she got her birthday wish - a girl cousin. Happy birthday, ladies!

Thanksgiving in Vermont - Eagle Rock, Lake Beebe

We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Vermont this year - the weather cooperated and we enjoyed some outdoor time without traffic, billboards and nighttime light pollution.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday Sale - Starts Today at Tiny Prints

I'm a Tiny Prints fan - they have the coolest cards, invites, announcements, note paper and stationery for every occasion.  I like their style and products so much I'm also an affiliate. They're running a Thanksgiving offer of $10 off $49+, $20 off $99+ or $40 off $199+ starting today, running through 11/28/09.

If you love Tiny Prints printed invites, custom photo cards and oh-so-special papers for weddings, birthdays, graduation, holidays and parties, then snag a great Black Friday deal while the offer lasts - just follow the links in this post. You'll also find some cool discount coupon codes on the Tiny Prints site also ... good for a limited time only!

Tiny Prints Holiday Collections
Tiny Prints Homepage


Gift Ideas - Personalized!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

One of my favorite things to create is kids clothing. I'll be sharing some of my customizable designs for children over the next few weeks, starting with these two cute Christmas shirts for kids (or adults). You can change the style, color and add your own personalization to these ... shirt sizes from newborn to adult.

Baby or Child Christmas 2009 Tee Shirt
Christmas 2009 Tee Shirt - Christmas Tree Design by imagefactory
Browse Baby T-Shirts

Babys First Christmas shirt
Babys First Christmas by imagefactory
View more Babyshirt T-Shirts

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Squidoo Celebrity

I'm a behind the scenes achiever. I don't toot my own horn much. But I have to share my claim to fame with you this week - and it's all because I'm a Squidoo lensmaster. One of my fellow lensmasters analyzed my Squidoo lens statistics and then blogged about my work in Profile of a Successful Squidoo Lensmaster (blush, that's ME she's writing about!). Another lensmaster featured two of my peace-related lenses on her blog post about the International Day of Peace.

Thank you kab and GreekGeek - you made my day, and then some!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chanukah Fun

My Zazzle designs are fun for me to draw and make nice gifts for all occasions. I recently got word that one of my favorites - the Chocolate Hanukkah Moose - is featured on a Squidoo Chanukah humor lens: Make Me Laugh- Funny Chanukah Gift Items. The moose character is available on tee shirts, stickers, greeting cards and even US postage stamps ...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Big and Small Apples in Vermont

The big and small of it - apple varieties at Champlain Orchards. We snagged two bags of Macs to take home to Pennsylvania. I've already used up one bag just from snacking and making Apple Crisp.

Next recipe on the apple baked goodies agenda: Fresh Apple Cake

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vermont Fall Festival

Although Friday was rainy, the rest of the Columbus Day weekend was classic Vermont autumn weather.

We took a short drive after the shower to view the foliage around Hubbardton Battlefield.

On Sunday we had a big breakfast at The Wheel in Benson, then enjoyed a visit to Champlain Orchards in Shoreham where we loaded up the car with organic apples, cider syrup and winter squash to take back home to Pennsylvania. This was the first visit to Bekah and Keith's house for great-grandma (my Mom).

Baby Shower, October 10 2009

A good time was had by all at Keith and Rebekah's baby shower over the Columbus Day weekend. Sawyer and Isabella helped out with gifts; Bella selected which presents to open, and Sawyer took the toys and books for a test drive.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Autumn Harvest

cored and sliced appleI love this time of year. The flowers and grass are still beautiful, the leaves are just beginning to change color, and the gardens and farm stands are loaded with fresh local fruits and veggies. I make a point of loading up on fresh apples in the fall so I can make batches of applesauce, apple crisp, apple pies and my favorite Fresh Apple Cake.

This year I'm planning to try something new with the apples that fall from the old tree in our yard: apple head dolls. I'm waiting for the first apples to fall; I think the deer may have beat me to a few already.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Flatlanders on the Move

We had a fantastic vacation this summer to mark our 7th anniversary.

We started out driving to Northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday night to visit Jocelyn and Forrest at Ebb & Flow Organic Farm. ebb and flow organic farm lakewood pennsylvaniaAfter a fun night in the guest house (the newest Tiny House at Ebb and Flow Farm), and packing a load of fresh organic veggies, herbal olive oil and fresh honey from the farm into our cooler the next day we were off on the next leg of our vacation trip.
jocelyn with organic vegetables, ebb and flow farmTiny House, Ebb and Flow Organic Farm

We drove through upstate New York and along the Mass Pike from the Berkshires to north of Boston on our way to Cape Ann in Massachusetts. We arrived at the seacoast on Saturday afternoon with Hurricane Bill ... and left as Hurricane Danny passed by the following weekend. Although no damaging surf or wind came through, the waves at Good Harbor Beach were 12 feet high on Sunday. The surf was amazing and lifeguards were keeping most swimmers away from the rocks.

We spent a sunny seaport week in Gloucester, where we both enjoyed more local flavor than I did when I lived on Cape Ann 10 years ago. Every day was a beach day and we visited Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Bearskin Neck, Folly Cove, plus spent some time climbing the rocks at Stage Fort park and walking down Main Street in Gloucester. We had our bikes in the back of the truck, so we rode all around Rocky Neck where we met a fun artist at Imagine studio and got photos of her colorful art car.
art car, imagine studio at Rocky Neck art colony in Gloucester MassachusettsWe bought and cooked local Gloucester lobsters - fresh and lively right off the boat just a short walk from our vacation rental - for our anniversary dinner. We enjoyed the meal at sunset from the deck at our apartment overlooking East Gloucester's working harbor. We even bought 6 extra lobsters later in the week. Doug cooked, shelled and froze them to take back home to flatlandville.
lobster dinner, gloucester vacationTrish, Jim and the grandkids drove in from New Hampshire for a beach day on Tuesday. The tidal pools were full of fish, crabs, snails, starfish and seaweed - Bella had a blast looking for crabs and starfish and shells with her friend Olivia; when the tide came in the girls grabbed the boogie board and rode the incoming lazy river current under the footbridge at Good Harbor beach.
bella surfing lazy river at good harbor beach in gloucester, massachusettsOn his first trip to the ocean, Sawyer built sand castles and moats with Doug and explored the tide pools.sawyer building first sand castle at good harbor beach, gloucester massDoug and I feasted on absolutely delicious gourmet dinners at The Franklin, The Rudder, The Studio and Thai Cuisine plus I had real fried FRESH seafood and home made onion rings at Charlie's place (twice!).
live lobster, cape ann massachusettsLiving away from the beach and far from New England makes a native long for fresh haddock, scallops, lobstahs and clams. You cannot get the same thing elsewhere in the Northeast. Believe me, I've tasted and tried in PA, NJ, DE and MD. The other seaside spots can't touch the taste, freshness and quality of New England seafood restaurants. And to make this trip really foodie perfect: no MSG, no food service prepack meals and no additives and preservatives to make me sick!!!
east gloucester fishing boats in the harborWe enjoyed 10 days of grand and glorious food despite Gloucester's public water system problems that added extra work and sanitation steps to all restaurants and households in the area.
thomas e lannon sailing ship gloucester massachusettsThursday night was extra special - we visited the Cape Ann Farmer's Market at Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester then took a sunset sail on the Thomas E. Lannon masted schooner. Captain Tom Ellis and his family and friends and talented team constructed her about 10 years ago from local timber.
Thomas E. Lannon Schooner, Gloucester Harbor August 2009Our sunset sail aboard the Thomas E. Lannon included acoustic entertainment from "Fly" Amero and Allen Estes. The entertainment was a lucky coincidence ... we wanted to sail on Wednesday but the boat was booked for a private charter.
Thursday's sunset sail was a once-annual event with the musical duo, and it was a kind of old-home event for me. When I lived in downtown Newburyport back in the mid 1990's I was a regular at The Grog whenever Fly's band hosted a special blues event in the downstairs club. I also went to other bars to dance to the Allen Estes Band in and around northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. So it was truly a treat to discover both these musicians on board as the acoustic entertainment for our sunset cruise around Gloucester harbor.
pick your own organic raspberries, champlain orchards, shoreham vermontWe wrapped up our vacation trip to New England with a stop on Saturday afternoon in Brandon, Vermont on our way back home to Pennsylvania. We picked autumn raspberries with Keith and Bekah on Sunday morning at Champlain Orchards, then made the drive home to Pennsylvania in just 6 hours.
champlain orchards, shoreham vermont, berry pickingThe cats were happy to see us although old man Sparkey took awhile to forgive us for leaving him home with Terra for 10 days. The two of them must have driven each other nuts - she's been sleeping in the fruit bowl on the dining room table instead of on our bed
cat in fruit bowland he claimed my suitcase as his personal napping spot this morning.
sparkey on Lee's suitcase
Update - I guess our two cats actually got along quite nicely while Doug and I were on vacation. I caught them sleeping together today (they almost NEVER get cozy and are usually very possessive of their personal space) so they must have had a pleasant time at home while we were away, thanks to our wonderful neighbor who fed them and gave them love and outdoor play time every day.
cat nappers

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to School - Lunch Box Notes

It's Back to School Time!

I was a working mom, and so is my older daughter - in fact, she's a school bus driver in her community. I packed healthy lunches for the kids, and often would draw a picture on the paper sack or tuck a special note into a lunch box to remind them I was thinking of them. This was more than 30 years ago - I didn't have a computer then, and I had a tight budget. I still have the budget, but now I also have a computer so I can print out nifty free printables like note cards, stickers, bookmarks and labels.

I like these little animal cubbie labels to use for writing lunch box notes or to make stickers for younger children. You could even use these little square printables as book labels ... or bus tags for preschool and kindergarten age kiddos.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Woodstock as a Commodity

Did you ever think anyone could trademark a phrase that's been used for 40 years? Well, apparently Summer of Love is (according to Zazzle) the intellectual property of Live Nation - the corporate moneybag for Woodstock 2009 ... at least that's the excuse they gave me recently for pulling one of my original nostalgia designs. I was a member of the graduation class of 1969.

This design was approved and offered for sale at the Zazzle site for at least a year or more. So, out of the clear blue I got email telling me my design violated Zazzle policies and was being pulled. I tried to get a straight answer about why the design was yanked, and I just got robotic responses regarding "intellectual property" ... I'm still not sure what they consider is the actual violation on my design. It must be the words, because the art is mine.

I created the artwork used on this tee shirt more than 2 years ago. Thousands of writers and artists have used the phrase "summer of love" for at least 4 decades. It wasn't originally about Woodstock; it was actually used to describe summer/1967 in San Francisco. Perhaps someone from Live Nation can elucidate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sick 2 Death of J-K+8

Are you still following the Gosselin show (the off-screen version, not the TLC show)? I can't help but stumble over tabloid news about Jon and his blondes or Kate and her pain - this stuff belongs in private life, not on page 1 of every celeb site. I finally succumbed to my distaste and made a comment on one fancast posting - I'll probably get banned in Berks.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's a GIRL

Ultrasound prediction is that the next grandbaby - due in November - is a baby girl ...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why I Boycott Wal-Mart

The closest store to my home is a Super Wal-Mart. It has just about anything I might need at a distance of just over 1 mile away from my driveway. I make every effort to NEVER shop at Wal-Mart.

I drive to shop at other stores in our area instead of leaving my money at Wal-Mart.

Why? Because although I am price-concious - as are most folks who aren't independently wealthy - I have issues with how they treat employees, customers and neighboring businesses.

You can learn more about how Wal-Mart Employees Work for Change.

Connecting with Grandkids

It's not easy living 400 miles from your grandchildren. I'm still trying to figure out a way to connect with them until I'm living closer. I'm hoping this book might offer some fresh ideas.
connect with grandkids book and lens

Arlo Guthrie, Woodstock Video

Arlo Guthrie performed the controversial Coming Into Los Angeles at Woodstock in August, 1969.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Life is Stranger Than Fiction

I recently ran across some fairly odd baby care products for expectant and new parents, and a few for parents of young children. Being past the having-a-baby stage and well into grannie-hood, baby stuff intrigues me in a different way. I marvel at how we boomer parents and our parents survived at all with glass bottles, cotton diapers and giving kids a bath in the kitchen sink.

A few newfangled gadgets and thingies sort of gross me out, but maybe someone younger might find them cool, hip or at least amusing.

Now, one of these 21st century items might actually be handy for older boys and men who just can't seem to hit the target: Tinkle Tube Toilet Aid

Friday, July 03, 2009

More Minutes of Fame

Sometimes you don't even know you have fans. I have a Squidoo friend named MiMi (GrowWear) and she publishes a blog about lenses and lensmasters. I happened to visit it today and found this.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ahhhh, food glorious food

I admit it. I'm a food snob. I've been "poisoned" by food additives at so-called fine restaurants all over the world so many times that I don't eat out much. When I find a place that prepares fresh food well and doesn't add sulfites, MSG and other nasties, I'm a loyal fan. If it's got ambiance, and great prices so much the better.

One of my favorite places to eat in Reading, Pennsylvania is Judy's on Cherry where you can get a delicious lunch or dinner from Tuesday through Saturday. I've never had a disappointing dish or beverage at Judy's. Any occasion is the right one - a birthday, a celebration or just lunch with friends.

I just returned home after a week in New England, so we opted for an impromptu dinner on Thursday night; we managed to grab a booth for 2 before 7pm. We lucked into Judy's 5 for 5 special deal with tapas-style tidbits and drinks all priced at $5 each. Judy's has an ever-changing menu and specials on Wednesday and Thursday; be sure to get a reservation if you plan to go on the weekend.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Castle in the Clouds

If you chance to visit New Hampshire's Lakes Region, be sure to take a day trip to the Castle in the Clouds (Lucknow Estate) in Moultonborough. This preserved historic estate is not far from Lake Winnipesaukee. The building and its furnishings are open for tours, plus you can also visit the former stable (now a cafe and gift shop) and the nearby water bottling plant.

You can drive up to the top of the mountain, then take a shuttle to door of the castle and its gardens. Along the easy drive up the mountain are scenic spots where you can park and enjoy the breathtaking views. There are many riding and walking trails on the 5500 acre grounds - bring your hiking shoes or take a trail ride and enjoy a picnic lunch.

The former Lucknow Estate is a beautiful place eve in the mist and fog of an autumn rain - it's truly New Hampshire's Castle in the Clouds. The photo above is Lake Winnipesaukee, shot from one of the front bedroom windows on a rainy day in mid-October.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

Hollie Steel certainly has talent, and if it were me up there on that stage I think I would have broken down long before she did. Watch this touching video from Britain's Got Talent ... and oh, BTW, Hollie did get a second try at her performance and she did a smashing job - well enough to make it to the Final.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Swine Flu Mask - Knit Wits

Sick of the news about H1N1?

Bored out of your gourd?

Take the pressure off and have some fun making this knitted Swine-Flu Masque by David R. Castillo (aka GoGoDavitron).

Take that, Kermit.

You can find more knit and crochet masks here.

Rocket Moms Soar to New Heights

I've mentioned before that I write at Squidoo. I've created nearly 100 topical lenses (one-page web sites about a single subject) at Squidoo. I'm also a Giant Squid and a Squidoo Rocket Mom.

What's a Squidoo Rocket Mom? Rocket Moms is an invite-only gathering of the smartest women on the web, working together to make Squidoo lenses and a whole lot more. The first group of Rocket Moms has nearly completed its 6-week get-together. I'm pleased to say it's been challenging, exciting and lots of fun to be part of the inaugural group. I've met lots of new women and reconnected with many of my longtime female lensmasters in the Rocket Moms group. I've also been inspired to create more than 6 new lenses in just under a month. Seven of my lenses are in the top 100 Rocket Moms Lenses. w00t! Soon the first session of Rocket Moms will end, and each of us will have 5 invitations to hand out to new members.

If you're passionate about Squidoo, would love to be a successful WAH woman, and want to make friends and earn money by doing what you love, let me know. I would love to be able to welcome five new Rocket Moms to Squidoo.

What's a Squidoo? Squidoo is an online community filled with one-page web sites called lenses. They're focused on a single topic, person or idea - that's why each individual page is called a "lens." Anyone can join Squidoo for free and create one or one thousand lenses. They're easy to create because Squidoo has a simple to use page building tool that lets you pick and choose building blocks to add to your lens. It's got easy fill-in-the-blanks templates to get you started, then you simply pick out the modules you need to add guestbooks, Amazon products you want to feature (and make money from), charity donation blocks, pictures, lists, polls, videos and written text blocks to your lens. You can arrange your Squidoo lens modules anyway you like - and you can rearrange them at any time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Famous Clip Art

clip art penguin featured in iphone snowglobe appAnother of my graphics has a small claim to fame. My baby penquin clip art is featured in an iPhone toy, Snowglobe. 

This is the second of my graphics used with permission. The first was a Back to School graphic that's featured as the backdrop in a funny kid-friendly video.

My original graphics are offered free to parents and teachers for personal and classroom use. I also permit single image use for blogs and Squidoo lenses under a Creative Commons license

My graphics are NOT permitted for use on Zazzle, CafePress or download sites.

If you're interested in using my clip art for commercial projects, get in touch with me - you need to purchase the image or get a license for any commercial use.

Friday, May 15, 2009

In Memory of My Father

blubber lodge ossippee new hampshire
Blubber Lodge

When I was a child, we spent at least a few days of our family vacation at Blubber Lodge, my Dad's old camp in Ossippee, New Hampshire. He and 4 other men built it in the late 1950s, in what was then a very rural New Hampshire town. It was a no-frills, wood heat, hand-pump in the kitchen structure - a hunting-fishing-man cave getaway cabin.

As the youngest of the group, my father ended up owning the camp and he longed to go there every year. My oldest brother Chris spent many seasons helping to rebuild and repair the cabin over the course of several years. His family spent chill-out time there many times. The rest of the family had relocated to Pennsylvania, so there were not too many visitors other than them and occasionally my father, from 1974 until 2004.

Fred made his last visit to the camp with two of my brothers about a year before he passed away. After Dad's death, Blubber Lodge was subsequently sold and I haven't been back since I took this photo in 2004 when my mother traveled to New Hampshire prior to the sale.

My father passed away 5 years ago today; with no cemetery for me to visit (he was cremated and his ashes are at the camp as well as at other locations he loved all over New England) I like to remember him with photos, and with my memories of Fred Hansen, my father, as a younger and happier man.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Peace Clip Art

peace sign clip artMy new peace sign clip art lens at Squidoo is ready for prime time.

Peace Clip Art is the 3rd component in a set of niche pages developed around the theme of Peace and art in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock art and music festival (August 2009).

In '69 I was 18 years old, but I wasn't able to go to Woodstock.

Peace Coloring - the Color of Peace
Make Peace Not War - Peace Crafts
Peace Clip Art

Monday, May 04, 2009

Peace Coloring Books

I draw pictures and design clip art. Here's a recent Squidoo page I created all about Peace Coloring Books.

How to Avoid H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

If you're getting confused or don't know what to do to avoid getting the H1Ni flu virus, just read this easy to understand article by ComfortDoc: How to Prevent Getting H1N1 Flu or Swine Flu.

It's got all the information you need: the four basic steps to prevent infection, the science behind the disease, and lots of other resources (good resources) with up to date information.

ComfortDoc is a real MD, and she's also a terrific writer at Squidoo.

Remember what Mom taught you:
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing (try to do it away from others)
  • Wash your hands every time you sneeze or cough, or after you've been out in public
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose
  • Stay away from sick folks, and if you get sick STAY HOME
If you can't wash up right away, carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer spray, gel, or wipes.

Don't shake hands or touch other people's computer keyboards, phones or personal items.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mother's Day is May 10

Everyone has a mother; some are still with us and others are not. My mother was a real hottie when she was younger. She graced all her daughters with those curls and cheekbones.

I happen to be a mom and a grandmother but unfortunately right now I live far away from my daughters and grandchildren. I won't be with them on Mother's Day and that makes me a little sad. But I always hear from them on my birthday and Mother's Day. I make sure my mother gets a card and I try to make something crafty and special just for her, too.

A card, a phone call or just a little email message helps to make the distance and time between visits not seem so long and large.

Remember your Mom on Mother's Day - even if she's no longer with you, even if it's difficult. At one time you were her world and you can be certain that somewhere in her heart she still remembers that time when you were small and she was the strong one. And so do you.

Now, for a lighthearted look at being Mom, check out "I'm the Mom".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Due Diligence

This week I had another hands-on lesson in freedom and justice for all. I've been a registered voter for more than 35 years, but never served on a jury. I got the big whammy for 4 days this week, serving on a Federal jury. It was an interesting and exhausting and awesome experience. If you've never been a jury member, prepare yourself for the feeling of incredible responsibility it lays on you. And even a sleepless night or two if it's a tough case.

I don't regret serving, although it raised havoc with my personal life and my self-employment. It cost me more than I will be compensated in money and time, but I feel like I understand more about the judicial system than ever before and appreciate the protection of a person's right to be judged by peers and considered innocent unless proven otherwise.

It was ironic that my jury service was in the birthplace of freedom: in Philadelphia, right across the street from the Constitution, and only a block or so from Independence Hall.

If you're summoned to serve, go - it will change your life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Didja Know?

squidoo rocket moms
I'm a Squidoo Rocket Mom!

Rocket Moms is a gathering of the smartest women on the web, working together to make Squidoo lenses (and a whole lot more).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Twitter Gold - Fathers and Daughters

Do you tweet? I do, but not to excess. My friends on Twitter share the most remarkable things, and this one really hits me in the heart. Paul Simon sings a lovely dad-song with some help from his daughter. A thousand thanks to fellow Squid, Twitterer and online friend, GypsyOwl for tweeting this blip from her playlist.

I'm gonna watch you shine, watch you grow. There could never be a father loved his daughter more than I love you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Or so they say. Last night the temperature fell to 19 degrees. There's a new skim of ice on the fish pond and the tulips and daffodils are looking a bit chilled. For southeastern Pennsylvania, the normal daytime temperatures should be hitting the fifties, and overnight lows should be in the thirties in the last week of March.

It's also Red Flag Warning time in our area - there's been little or no rain for a long time, winds are brisk and humidity is low. C'mon Mother Nature - it's time to lighten up a bit on this region.

I guess the month will go out like a lion ... let's at least hope for April showers and spring flowers before Easter.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sweet Irish Candy Crafts

I live in pretzel land and most of the long timers around here have German roots. When it comes to St. Patrick's Day, though, everyone's a wee bit Irish. Here's a sweet holiday treat that's a perfect blend of both cultures - pretzel shamrocks.

Like these? I found lots more Candy Crafts here.

free st patricks day clip art and crafts