Sunday, January 31, 2010

One World One Heart

This morning, over at my friend CatieAn's blog, I read about an amazing bloggy event going on called One World One Heart. Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian is the host of this phenomenon, has been hosting it for a couple of years. It is all about meeting new bloggy friends and reconnecting with old. Finding kindred spirits who we haven't ventured out and met yet. Connecting with people in our corner of the world and also across the pond both ways. It's what blogging is all about, connections and making our world seem not so big and scary. It's a wonderful thing for me, to think that because of this crazy bloggy world, I have friends all over the place, people I've never met face to face but feel that I know. Some of them I do know that I could show up on their doorstep, introduce myself and be swept into a hug, invited in for tea and a cozy chat. How comforting is that ~ to know that there are people all over the place that really truly care for you. Incredible.

As soon as I read about this, I had to join in because I feel so strongly about what Lisa is trying to do. Oh - and I visited her site and swooned over her beautiful vibrant artwork. Go take a peek for yourself. It's gorgeous and so much fun! In the name of the game I've decided to give two prizes away for One World One Heart to two Magic Carpet 2010 ticket holders. Getting your ticket is easy, just leave a comment, that's all, no tricks, only treats! The winners will be chosen on February 15th by a random number picker at Easy peasy!

First, I will be giving away a set of four homemade picture note cards and envelopes featuring my Gnome friends. I've caught them in the cutest situations - out playing in the woods, feeding chickens, all kinds of things, so wanted to share their antics with a blogger friend, new or old. Then, for the second prize, an actual flesh and blood, or I suppose I should say, yarn and fiberfill, Gnome....Mr. Barney Gnome, brother to a dear friend of mine. Read on for the story of how we met.

I would like you to meet my friend, Mr. Walter Gnome. My daughter, Shilo, and I were strolling along in the woods one recent afternoon when I heard a bit of rustling in a tree nearby. I heard a tiny voice proclaim "Top o' the morning to you" and with a bit of searching found Walter stretching his arms in pleasure at the tiny bit of sunshine that was peeking through the trees. (Yes, it was afternoon, but a Sunday and Gnomes tend to sleep late on Sundays.) Walter and I quickly became fast friends and not a day goes by that we don't visit on the phone. I was telling my new friend about this wonderful blogging event and he came up with a brilliant idea. It seems that his brother, Barney, has a hankering to travel a bit and meet some new people. He would be willing to put himself out there as a prize for One World One Heart, that is, if anyone would have him. I assured him that someone would love a new little friend such as he. I wish I could show you a picture of Barney, but alas, he seems to be attached to my crochet hook and was to self-conscious to let me take a photo with that metal hook attached to him. He's every bit as cute as his brother, though. (Please don't let Walter know I said that. He would be crushed. Thankfully he hasn't mastered the art of computers so won't be reading this.)

Sometimes Gnomes are shy, actually a lot of times. Even though he and I are friends, sometimes I still find him hiding in the tall grass, just waiting quietly, hoping we don't pass him by. We don't. I always keep an eye out for him, careful that an eagle doesn't carry him off. I'm pretty sure that you're little gnome friend will be fairly shy as well. They are brothers after all.

I've told him that he will be going to live in a new wonderful home and that his new friends have not yet been chosen. That they will be the holders of the Magic Carpet 2010 ticket here at On a Rainy Night. Barney, (that's his name you know), thinks that I meant he was going to be flying to his new home upon a magic carpet. I tried to explain to him that no, he would be hitching a ride with the mailman, but I still keep catching him singing this tune:

"Come on down,

Stop on by~

Take a carpet and fly

To another Arabian Night!"
He's quite the singer too, I tell you, a deep rich baritone.
Leave me a comment if you want to enter in, and even if you don't. I would love to know that you stopped by and am very happy to meet you! Please make sure that in your comment, you've left me a way to contact you in case you win and don't forget that it's not to late to join in One World One Heart and have a giveaway of your own, meeting all kinds of new blogging friends along the way. (Now, I put enough links in here. I know you can find it. Go on...)
Thank you, Lisa, for hosting such a spectacular event!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's early Saturday morning here on Pleasant Avenue, an entire weekend stretching before us with all the magic it may hold. I'm sitting here on the couch, computer in my lap, looking out the window at the dark world around me. Lights from the other side of the bay shine across the water and early morning commuters are making their way across the bridge. I have a fire crackling away in the fireplace and fresh banana bread and fragrant coffee are waiting in the kitchen. Breakfast with friends is on the agenda this morning, a perfect start to the weekend with good food and laughter. What else will it hold for us? Walks on the beach, a hike through the woods, time spent in the kitchen whipping up something wonderful, movie and popcorn? Time will tell, but the possibilites are endless.

May all your weekend adventures be pleasant ones.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Day At the Beach

In pictures...

Terrible Tilly~

Haystack Rock

A bird watching club. I hope they found the right kind of birds peeking back at them.

The best coffee in town is served up at Sleeping Monk's Coffee Shop, complete with homemade CHOCOLATE whipped cream. Oh my!

Sentinels standing guard.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stitching Up Some Hope

My parents were foster parents and my sister, Susan, was for a couple of years as well. Our Mom and Dad had become foster parents after most of us had grown-up and flew the coop, though our little brother, Joshua, was still at home. Our youngest brother, Tommy, came to live with Mom and Dad when he was three and they were able to adopt him when he was about eleven. When Craft Hope announced project #6, I had to jump in. Red Scarves for foster kids who are college bound and have turned 18, so are no longer in the system. Pretty much booted-out on their own, ready or not.
Here is a quote about this project taken directly from the Craft Hope site:

'The Orphan Foundation serves thousands of foster teens throughout the U.S. They provide college scholarships, connect them with mentors and internships, send them care packages, and testify for them before Congress. Each year 25,000 students ‘age out’ of the foster care system and the Orphan Foundation is committed to helping them become tomorrow’s successful citizens. They launched the Red Scarf program in 2005 to send red scarves to warm the hearts (and necks) of college bound youth. They began taking these donations to include in their Valentines Day care packages.'

It's not to late to join in and whip up a red scarf for project 6.

Craft Hope has also opened an etsy shop, Craft Hope For Haiti, which is benefiting Doctors Without Borders for Haiti relief. You can donate handmade items to the site and also, of course, buy beautiful handmade items from this shop, all proceeds going to the benefit. They have had and incredible response and so far raised a good amount of money. I decided to donate a set of custom made baby blocks to the site and they sold within just an hour or so of the listing. Yeah! I'll be making them this weekend and getting them out. If you would like to donate something to this charity, pop over to the Craft Hope site for the details.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Whip It

Early in December, I knew that I was behind in my Christmas crafting. I had made a list of presents to make and that list wasn't getting shorter at a quick enough rate. I decided that it was okay, and I would just carry on at the pace I was going. Intentions are good and some of my families gift boxes would just be late. Then Shilo got sick and I fell further behind. I'm still trying to catch up and sometimes other things grab my attention and I wander off of the Christmas crafting path. Never fear, family, those gifts are still on there way and who wouldn't like a little Christmas magic in say, July? Today I'm going to show you some of what's been coming out of my craft room, but not all, because some of the finished projects haven't yet made it to their recipients. (And I suppose that they won't get there any to quickly until I actually mail out those boxes...)
This little quilt wall-hanging was a block of the month by Gail Pan Designs and I love it! I love the sweetness of the little blocks - called A Christmas Wish - and I love how it came together. It will be perfect to display NEXT Christmas. See, I'm not really behind, but waaaaaaay ahead!

I apologize for the quality of this picture. It's a bit hard to look at - kinda makes you sick. Here in the Pacific NorthWET, it's next to impossible to get a decent shot this time of year and on top of that, I'm fairly certain that I had my camera on the wrong setting for this. Ickkk! Anyway, I made this Day of the Dead Poochie Bag for Shilo for Christmas. It turned out waaaaay cuter than this shot shows and she just loves it. Says it's her favorite. The fabulous pattern came from the ultra-talented Monica of The Happy Zombie. Thanks, M, I've whipped up a few of these now and they're all super cute! (Run over to Monica's site and grab the pattern for yourself. Her site is awesome. You're going to drool all over yourself!)

Bopping around in the back of my mind for quite some time has been some little bags to hold and organize my crochet hooks and knitting needles. Mine all seem to have minds of their own and become a tangled jumbled mess inside the cute little bucket where I try to keep them. They jump out, they hide underneath my sewing desk, they run away. Naughty little buggers indeed, so I thought if I gave them some cute felt homes that just maybe they'd be a little happier and hang out where they're supposed to. I finally whipped up a couple yesterday. This one holds three crochet hooks, all in their own little compartments. I haven't made any for my knitting needles yet, but they're coming. I'm thinking about adding loops to the back so that you could put up some type of a hook and hang them all on it. What do you think? These little crochet hook clutches will be coming to etsy soon, but not yet.

I hope you're whipping it and getting caught up on projects this winter. Now I'm off to my craft room to whip it good, some more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Before the Music Starts

(This image originally uploaded to flickr by Hector Alza)

Some days I feel as if I'm twirling uncontrollably in a mad game of musical chairs, spinning from one task to another, never quite completing anything. The music starts as soon as I open my eyes, even before the sun has lightened the sky in the east, and I begin to twirl. A classical tune plays as the coffee brews, turns into a splashy melody that signifies the shower and morphs into a fast-paced almost hysterical song that seems to repeat one single word as I get dressed and head out the door for work - "go, go, go". For a moment, in the car, the music has stopped and I can take a moment to breathe as I sit my seat, knowing that I have won the chair for this round.
I pull into the parking lot at work, pop open the car door and the music starts again. Rushing up the stairs, I again twirl to the music, changing places with the other players in the game. We spin, smiling and laughing at one another as we go. Hours pass, the music starts. Stops. Starts. Time and time again. In each chair that I've won for the moment I try to complete the task given - counting Racor filters for inventory control - answering the phone, "Yes sir, we do carry bilge pumps. Let me transfer you to someone who can answer your questions." - checking in a shipment of gillnet from Japan - shooting off an email to a supplier - calling the radio station to check on our monthly ad's - climbing to the tip-top of a ladder in the chilly warehouse to pull something off that top shelf - on and on the music plays, switching songs before any task is quite complete.
Now I must hurry and finish typing this, before the music starts again....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We Had Some Chickens

Today's the day that the Cricket Flat chicken flock finds out where their new home is going to be, but before I make the final announcement, I thought that in the spirit of fun, a little entertainment was in order.
This little ditty that you're about to read was sung around the campfire during my 6th grade Outdoor School adventure. (Yes, strange little songs and poems seem to stick in my head. We all have a special talent and that, I'm afraid, is mine...)
Now, I want you all to sing along. A campfire song isn't fun with only one voice making all the noise and frankly, you really don't want to hear just me singing. It's atrocious to say the least...
Here we go~

(sing slowly and sadly)
We had some chickens,
No eggs would they lay.

We had some chickens,
No eggs would they lay.

My wife said
This isn't funny.
We're losing money.

(pick the beat up a bit here, a little more joy in your voice)
Then one day a rooster
Came into our yard
And caught those chickens
Right off of their guard.

(Fast tempo, sing happily and clap along)
They're laying eggs now
Just like they use ter
Ever since that rooster
came into our yard.

They're laying eggs now
Just like they use ter
Ever since that rooster
came into our yard!

Wahoo! Good job, everybody. We all deserve S'Mores!!

Now for the big announcement. Our sweet little flock of chickens, by the randomness of, is going to live with.....Adrienne of
Some of a Kind ! They are super excited for the trip and their new home. Chickens are a bit more adventurous than you might suppose. These guys have talked about nothing else for days now. It's getting rather old, actually. You know the old saying "cackling like a bunch of hens"? Believe me, the rooster is just as bad.

Here is Adrienne's winning comment:
That story is too funny! I'm sure not so funny at the time ;-)
How clever - I just love those little chickens!
(you know my dad has the same bday!)

Pretty cool, I think, that this giveaway was to celebrate my Mom's birthday and it turns out that it was the winner's Dad's birthday as well. Karma

Thank you all, for stopping by and entering my little drawing. I hope you'll stay tuned and visit often. On A Rainy Night is going to be chock full of fun giveaways in 2010. Just my way of saying thank you to all of you special people who have become my cyberspace friends, my in-real-life friends, and all of you that I have yet to meet.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Turn the Page Tuesday

It's time once again for Turn the Page Tuesday, hosted by Adrienne of Some of a Kind. For this month, I've decided to take the opportunity to spotlight two wonderful books that have come to me this past month from bloggy friends.

Jodi from The Jolly Bee held a giveaway for the book The Creative Family and I was the lucky winner! Yeah!! This book is written by another blogger, Amanda Blake Soule of SouleMama and is absolutely wonderful.
Full of nature exploring and craft projects, it's purpose is to help families tap into their inner creativeness while laughing and playing together. Amanda makes some really good points in just the first few paragraphs alone, talking about how every child has a creative genius inside but we tend to lose that as we grow-up. Creating with our children is such a wonderful way to connect and grow, letting the little one's teach us as well.
Here is the first paragraph of Amanda's introduction:
'At the heart of every mindful and loving family lie the seeds of endless creativity. With patience, support, and just a bit of guidance, that creativity can flourish and grow in beautiful ways. In our modern lives, it's all too easy to get swept up in the busyness of the day-to-day--meals, cleaning, school, work, and other life details often stand in the way of the time we need to pursue our creative endeavors. As parents, it is both our responsibility and our privilege to be sure that our family's creative spirits have all the room and tools they need to soar freely.'
Sections include Gathering, Playing, Living and Connecting which all include projects and wonderful idea's.
Thank you so much, Jodi, for this great book. Oh, and if you've never been over to
The Jolly Bee for a visit, go! Jodi has a great site and she's sweet and nice to boot.

My friend, Mary, from Mary's Writing Nook, hosted a Christmas Book Swap and Mary and I were partners. Again, Yeah!! Mary and I have swapped books in the past and she always has great taste in reading material. (If you don't know Mary, pop over to Mary's Writing Nook and say howdy. You're going to love her!) This year, she sent me The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh. When it arrived, I was in the middle of another book and hurried through it so that I could start reading The Unfinished Gift. I was not disappointed. Boy, was it good.
Patrick Collins is an 8 year old boy in 1943 who has just lost his mom in a car accident and his dad is a fighter pilot overseas. Patrick is taken, by a very caring social worker, to live with his grandfather, a man that Patrick has never even met. The grandfather, Ian Collins, is a crotchety old coot without a kind word to say to the heartbroken little boy. Patrick doesn't know why his grandfather doesn't seem to like him and prays for the quick return of his father, who the war department is trying to locate. Patrick finds a hand-carved wooden soldier in the attic, but his grandfather rips it out of his hands and Patrick is forbidden to touch it again. Why is Patrick's grandfather so filled with bitterness and what is the story of the wooden soldier? I won't tell, it would spoil everything for you. Stop asking!
First paragraph from the book:
'When the black sedan stopped at the traffic light, Patrick rose quietly to his knees in the backseat and peeked out the side window. He flattened his palms against the glass, cold as ice, but he didn't pull back. His eyes were drawn to a large picture window on a house at a nearby corner. Set deep within he night shadows, the window gave the appearance of a painting suspended in midair. Patrick would've given anything to be a part of what he saw inside.'
This is a wonderful book. If you pick it up, you won't be disappointed, I promise.

UPDATE; Dan Walsh, the author of The Unfinished Gift, visited my site tonight! Yeah!! How cool is that?! To read more about this book and to see a preview of the upcoming sequel, go here
You can also follow his link through my comments section to visit his blog. FUN! Thank you, Dan, for your visit. So looking forward to The Homecoming.

Don't forget to scroll down to my last post and leave a comment to be entered into my giveaway. A family of chickens could be yours!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

My Mom loved her chickens, loved tossing them their grain, watching them scratch around in the garden for bugs and loved collecting their eggs. She had mostly Rhode Island Reds, but a few other breeds were usually mixed into the flock.
I, on the other hand, hated the chickens and they knew it. I couldn't go into the chicken house without them squawking and flying at me, pecking my hand when I would reach for the eggs. Darn things hated me and I always kept an eye peeled for that nasty rooster, Rooster Cogburn. He had huge spurs and I always thought he was just waiting for the opportune moment to use them on the back of my legs. Yes, I was the chicken, they were not. Sometimes things get a little mixed up on the farm.
Mom's birthday was January 9th and because of her love of her chickens, I am going to give away a small flock of poultry to one of you. I had planned on sending Mr. and Mrs. Clucker to the lucky winner, but when I went out to check on them this afternoon, I found the little Mrs. sitting happily on this nest. (Silly chicken, I didn't tell her that it is a Robin's nest and that she should have made the Mr. build her one of her own.) After a little bit of beating around the bush, they told me that yes, they were expecting a chick or two. I have no desire to separate a family, so whoever wins this giveaway will have to be willing to take the kids as well. I don't know yet who they will be but I'm sure they will have delightful little personalities.
If you would like to have the Clucker's come and live with you, please leave me a comment, telling me your feelings on life in the chicken coop. Hey, and if you tell other chickens about my giveaway on your blog, let me know and I'll pop your name in the egg carton twice!
Drawing will take place on Sunday, January 10th.
My sister, Stacey, is making a pillow out of some gorgeous fabric and giving it away in honor of our Mom as well. Make sure you pop over to Stacey's Treasures to enter her giveaway also!