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Showing posts from 2011

Happy New Year!

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Here we are, at the end of another year, and ready to step into a new one. Before I get too wrapped up in my New Year's Eve plans, I like to put the focus on the year I'm still standing in. Unlike some, I'm not so eager to push 2011 out into the cold. It's been an amazing year, and I want to pause to properly thank it. No point in going into all that's happened. If you've been reading here, you know. If not, you can back up and find out if it interests you. I'll just say, it's been one helluva ride, and I'm grateful for every twist and turn.

I also look forward to 2012. I love a new start, and I love making plans for a fresh new year. One of my many mottos is, Make a plan, and plan to change it. I believe in putting out there what we want, and then staying open to things we haven't even thought of. Most often, the Universe gets it even better than we do.

Things are changing faster than ever in this world, and it's hard to keep up. Sometimes…

For The Moms Who Make Christmas

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i am  the partridge in the pear tree

i am
the ho ho ho
the fa-la-la
the jingle all the way

i am
the roast beast(or better yet, tofurky)
the stuffing
the cranberries
the green bean casserole
the cookies
the pies
the egg nog
the figgy...
...pudding

sometimes
i am
the grinch

but mostly  i am
the mistletoe
the stockings hung by the chimney with care
the tree full of lights
the brightly wrapped gifts
the tinsel

i am
the silent night

i am
peace on earth

i am
the mom

i make the magic

and when all this is over
i am
taking a spa day

because
i am  in fact
the sugar plum fairy

and
i am
exhausted

Goof-Off Week

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By this time each December, bead sales trickle to a stop, I guess because there's no guarantee of Christmas delivery at this point. I always panic a little bit, and then I relax and enjoy some time to wrap presents, put up the tree, plan fancy meals, bake, and just generally goof off. That's something I rarely do. This time of year I clean up my computer, sort and back up photos, ponder new directions for my blogs and website, and sift through a year's worth of mysterious bookmarks. There are dozens of things I mark for later use, and then never go back to. Some of them are no longer even valid links, and to be honest, I don't really know what most of them are. So I go through one by one, clicking, deleting, renaming, and re-filing. It's actually sort of fun - especially when I run across a really good one, like I did yesterday.

Allow me to introduce you to PhotoFunia. But don't go there unless you have some free time. It completely sucked me in, to the point w…

Winners!

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We have our winners for the December Bead Giveaway!
Congratulations Serena Thomas! You've won the Gem Globe!
And Congratulations Vicki Brunberg! You've won the Snow Globe!

I'll email both winners to get your addresses, and will mail your prizes promptly.
Many thanks to everyone who joined in! I'll be doing another giveaway soon, so please keep playing!

Last Chance to Enter the December Bead Giveaway!

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I had a great day at Taos Feeds Taos yesterday, and I'm a total pig for that "volunteer high," so I'm going back today. It's distribution day, which means people who have qualified to receive boxes of food will show up at the National Guard Armory, where the volunteers will cheerily push shopping carts loaded with goodies out to their cars, load them up, and send them on their way. There will be lots of smiles and hugs and Merry Christmas wishes, and even some heartfelt God Bless You's. This day always, always gets me in the Christmas Spirit.



Today is also the day I set for holding the December Bead Giveaway drawing, before I knew I'd be busy all day. This gives you until this evening to enter, if you haven't already done so. I'll do the drawing tonight, after I get home and take some ibuprofen. I'll post the two lucky winners names here and on Facebook, so check in to see if you're one of them. I want to get these prizes shipped right awa…

This is a long one. Please make some tea and sit with me here. I need you to read this...

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Nobody looks forward to funerals. I actively avoid them for the most part, and can come up with all sorts of excuses and justifications for not attending. Since we live in a pretty out of the way place, travel from Taos is inconvenient, inefficient, and expensive. I usually choose to go to the parties rather than the funerals. But in the case of Noel Cunningham's death, something told me that Rick and I both needed to go to Denver for the funeral.

I knew the Noel was an amazingly generous man who worked tirelessly in his restaurant, Strings, and more importantly in his many philanthropic projects. He was a great talker, but he also put his words into action. And he could talk anyone into lending a hand, usually by sitting them down for a wonderful meal, and then spelling out exactly what he wanted. Rick and I came to know Noel and his wife Tammy through the Hope Bracelet Project, which was started by the Cunningham Foundation, in support of Project Mercy, in Ethiopia.

When I firs…

Good-Bye Noel

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I'm posting this on both of my blogs today...


Rick and I are on our way to Denver, to attend the funeral of a very dear man, Noel Cunningham, who left this world last week. Noel and his wife Tammy took Rick and I to Ethiopia in November of 2008, changing our lives for the better, forever. Noel will be greatly missed by many across the world, and I hold the belief that given all the wonderful and loving things he did here in this life, he has even greater work to do now, from the other side.

Just because this is all we can see doesn't mean it's all there is.

I am so very sad, and yet so hopeful and inspired, and so proud to have crossed paths with Noel Cunningham. I'm setting aside business as usual for a few days, and I'll be back here with you next week, beading, cooking, musing, and celebrating life.

Carry on.
Love each other.
Know you are loved.

Thank you Laurie Maves for the beautiful video...

More Phone-tography

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I'm still having fun with my iPhone, particularly with the camera. A friend told me about the Photoshop Express app the other night, and I'm totally diggin' it. I only have free apps on my phone because my monthly bill is high enough already, thank you. Some of the free apps I've downloaded have been a silly waste of time. I delete those within moments of installing them. But this one is pretty useful, as it gives me a few more editing options than the auto-adjusting editor built into the phone/camera. I can crop, brighten, adjust contrast and such, and also play with borders and special effects.

Here's one I took the other morning. I'm fortunate to have such a photogenic view from my dining room table. The original picture is nice. Maybe it's good enough. But I have to mess with things and see what else they can become. The edited version is more dramatic. I'm not sure I love the border, and I could do it over a bit differently, although I probably won…

December Bead Giveaway!

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Happy December! I love giving gifts, and haven't done a Bead Giveaway for awhile, so this month I'm giving away TWO gorgeous beads! One is a snow Globe, valued at $89, and the other is a Gem Globe, filled with hundreds of sparkling CZs, and valued at $150!!! Find more beads like these in my BeadShop!

There are 3 ways to enter, and you can do each of them once!
1. Sign up on the Beadist Mailing List. You'll automatically be entered in the drawing, and you'll get friendly little emails from me, letting you know when new beads are ready to go, and special deals just for those on the mailing list.
2. Leave a comment on this post. Only once!
3. Leave a comment with the Secret Word "BEADS" in it on any post on my other blog, Positively Vegan. Again, only once!
Two winners will be chosen by random drawing on December 16. You must be "present" to win, meaning if I can't find you to get your address within 24 hours, I'll pick someone else. Check back here…

Babette's Feast

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The first time I watched the film Babette's Feast, it was at the recommendation of a nearly 80 year old friend who said I reminded her of Babette. I watched it, but I really didn't get it. This was at least 15 years ago, and I was busy raising 3 kids and being the "pizza queen" at our family shop in Seattle. I didn't connect with Babette, who lived and worked in a tiny, desolate village in Denmark, with a group of humble, simple religious people. Babette was from Paris, and the feast referred to in the film was the one and only over-the-top gourmet French meal she prepared for the villagers. I made pizza. Not hardly the same thing. And most of all, my vanity wouldn't let me find commonality with Babette because she looked... old.



Rick and I watched the movie again last night, and now I think my elder friend might have been looking into my future. Fortunately, I don't live in a stark, windblown village on the coast of Denmark, but I do find myself surround…

Some Holiday Love

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It was a most wonderful, and successful Vegan Thanksgiving here, with a full table, overflowing plates, good wine, and lots of love. Think you can't have a Holiday Feast without a dead animal artfully displayed on the table? Think again, my friends! I've cooked a lot of Thanksgiving dinners in my time, and I know my way around a turkey. Normally you'll hear the opening round of compliments to the chef - The turkey is perfect! So moist! Who made the green bean casserole? I love this stuff! Pass the potatoes, etc... and then talk turns to other things, depending on the group around the table. This was the first time in all my years of feeding people that the conversation pretty much stayed on the food. I went all out and cooked for two days straight, creating a meal like non of us had ever experienced, and it was awesome, if I do say so myself.





You can read more about it on my other blog, PositivelVegan, and get all the menu details and recipes. Try one dish at a time and s…

Because You Don't Have To

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I wonder what most of us are thinking more about - Thanksgiving, or Black Friday. I'm hosting a small family feast this year, and my vegan menu is pretty extensive, largely experimental, and probably more labor intensive than I think it will be. That's where my energy is going this week, from list making, to recipe notes, to shopping and prepping ahead wherever I can. I'm excited to be doing all this, so it's not a chore. I'm thankful that I can do all this, and I'm doing it because I want to.
The Taos Folk Holiday Show that I'm in starts Friday though, and even though I thought I was prepared for it, it's taking up more of my time this week than I want it to. Set-up is not the streamlined event I'd imagined. I was led to believe I would drop my inventory off yesterday, and the show's designer would display it artfully for me. Not so... I don't even want to go into the details, but I will say I spent several hours there yesterday, doing and r…

I Have a New Helper

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I've been putting a lot of thought and energy into the Taos Folk show, which starts the day after Thanksgiving. I need to have my inventory there on Monday, which means I have a lot of organizing to do over the weekend. Since I haven't done a show of any kind in several years, I'm thinking a lot about just why I'm doing this one. Sure, I hope to sell some beads and make some money, but really, for me, it's more about adding to my customer base. Whether or not people buy my work at the show, there's great potential for getting them to shop on my website later. I need to make the most of the exposure a five week show can bring, and I want to keep shoppers interested for years, not just weeks.

The show promoter is happy to have her artists do all the shameless self promotion we want, so I'm working on a guest book, where I hope to gather a lot of email addresses for my Beadist Mailing List. To entice people to sign up, I'm entering all new subscribers in …

An Invitation!

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It's been years since I've done a show of any kind, and the time has come to get myself out there again. Please join me, and many other talented Taos Artists, for Taos Folk. It runs from nest Friday, November 25 (the day after Thanksgiving) until Christmas Eve. We'll all be there opening night, with good food, great, affordable gift items for everyone on your list, and lots of festive fun. If you come to Taos for the show on any other day, and would like me to meet you there, send me an email and I'll schedule it in! For more information, visit the TaosFolk website. I hope to see you at the show!

the Secret Life of Sleep

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My friend and neighbor, Kat Duff, has just started a wonderful, entertaining, informative blog called the Secret Life of Sleep. Kat is working on a book on the subject, and has attracted the interest of two different publishers, so I trust we'll get to read all about it eventually. Until then, I look forward to her blog posts, where I'm already learning some interesting things about why I'm up in the middle of the night, reading a blog about why I'm up in the middle of the night. I know I'm not alone in this! Here's to a good night's sleep, or at least part of one!

Twitter

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When my post about Sushi was featured on BlogHer the other day, the editor over there gently suggested that I get myself on Twitter. Excited to be a featured blogger, I was eager to please. I had tried Twitter once before, but never really caught on to what to do with it. I could figure out how to tweet, but couldn't figure out why I should. Still, I decided to give it another go, so I re-opened my Twitter account, updated my information, and loaded the app to my phone. Okay. All set. Now what?

First maybe I should explain what I'm doing on BlogHer in the first place. I write both of my blogs on Blogger. It's where I started out, and I like and understand the software. TakingTheLongWayHome is more of a personal journey sort of blog, so I've been happy to have it sit in one place, waiting to be found by people who know me. But when I started PositivelyVegan, I knew I wanted to try to reach a larger audience, and I knew they were out there somewhere, all the newly emerg…

iPhonotography

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I have three cameras. One is a nice Sony Something-or-Other that I take bead pictures with. It's lets me adjust lots of things, and have more control over my pictures, but it's too big to carry everywhere. So I also have a cute little pink Olympus that fits in even my smallest purse. It does some pretty cool things too, and used to travel everywhere with me... until I got my iPhone.

When phones these days have cameras that can do the job on an everyday level, there's little need for me to haul around extra gadgets, so I've been putting the phone's camera to the test. Granted, there aren't a lot of settings to fiddle with, so there's not a lot of control, but in the right light, or even in the right moment, I can get some very satisfactory photos. I'm certainly not a professional photographer. I don't know my aperture from my elbow. But I like to try to capture what I see, and if it's ever possible to have a camera implanted in my eyes, I'll …