It's Christmas Time! (2016)


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Hello my lovelies!

For all those who celebrate, I hope you had a marvelous Christmas! Due to a different set of circumstances, this year my immediate family was able to travel to my grandma's on Christmas morning!  Now that, my friends, is a rarity.

We traveled to Small Town, USA and surprised my grandma at church. I must admit that I haven't been to her church in such a long time.  It was nice to be able to visit there once again.  Is it terribly shameful that I had to use the hymnal for almost all of the Christmas songs!  Oh my goodness....and I was at the front of the church.  In my defense, typically you sing these only once a year and although I knew all the songs, I didn't remember all the verses by heart.  So, I grabbed the hymnal!

After church, we had dinner and I was able to spend some time with cousins whom I see maybe once or twice a year.  It was good to catch up with them.  I didn't take a lot of pictures, per my usual.  Folks get a bit camera shy these days.  But not these folks...

You know me.  Then there's my brother.  And the rest are cousins.

In between chatting and meals, I spent time writing a final research paper for my internship course. In fact, I'm still writing it, but I'm super hopeful that all course requirements will be completed by this weekend so that I can claim at least one full day of vacation.  (Pray with me please!)

I'm also presently recovering from yet a third oral surgery procedure (from today actually).  In spite of medication, my body refuses to shut down so here I am am filling you in on the details of my life. lol  Truth be told, I think it's because that paper is not done.  I've got two sections remaining and as I worked on one of those sections, I could feel my body say, "Sleep is around the corner."  So, my friends, I will take heed.  Hopefully by the time I post pre-New Years, I can tell you that I've satisfied all of the course requirements.  After such (and 5 credits I am taking in the spring semester), I can take my comprehensive exams, which basically is the next step towards dissertation and graduation!  :-)

I am very thankful for so many things, but as I have somehow shifted from Christmas at grandma's to grad school, I want to let you know that I received two A's this term.  Yay!  I thought I would literally run around the building when I saw the registrar's post.  To celebrate the end of a semester, my grad school friends and I spent hours laughing and catching up with each other over a fabulous meal at a downtown restaurant.  As I am the furthest one out, it was worth the drive!



So, bringing this post back to Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season with your family and that you were able to reflect upon the true meaning of the holiday.

How are you spending these last few days of 2016?

xxx,

Happy Thanksgiving - 2016!


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Hello lovelies,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!  I was overjoyed to see this holiday come.  First, let's be honest, everyone deserves a break; a time to step back and regroup.  Although I'm not the one in the kitchen stirring a multitude of pots, I can say that for me, Thanksgiving is a breath of fresh air.  It's not even about all the amazing food dishes, it's just a feel-good holiday - one that I enjoy spending with my family.

I did have a huge grad project due during the holidays so I had to spend most of mine working, but it was nice to be able to do that.  In between, I got to spend time with my brother and my mom.  My brother and I went to a local lake with a walking trail for a few moments.  It's really a nice spot.

Look at that mega streak of gray hair I've got!

My brother and me
I also purged a lot of items from my home that were donated to a local donation center.  My house took a huge sigh of relief!  Seriously.  The photos below are just a beginning.  Watch the video to see the things that were donated.
My guest room - BEFORE

My guest room - DURING

Trash
I love my mom's dining room.  She has found the prettiest fall decor over the years.

Thanksgiving Dinner
I took time to pot the mint I salvaged from my aunt's yard.  I had to propogate it in water to keep it going, but now it has a new home in soil (currently residing in my window sill).


At the end of the holidays, we visited several family members on my dad's side of the family.  At my uncle's house, my cousin's husband prepared the most delicious upside down cranberry cake.  My aunt (his mother in law) made a cup of coffee, served in mugs she made.  That made it even more special.


My video chronicle:


I did finish my project and have just about wrapped up the semester.  One course is done, the other will be done by the weekend.  I still have to finish up my course from the summer, and I am aiming for that in the next month.  If I'm lucky, I'll have time for a project or two.  *fingers crossed*

How were your holidays?

Letting Go and Starting Anew


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Hello lovelies,

Many of you were there every step of the way when I began my business journey in Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth back in 2010.  Can you believe that was 6 years ago?  I enjoyed taking that leap of faith and trying my hand at the business scene.  Craft shows were fun and I met a lot of amazing people along the way.  But now it's 2016 and I can no longer devote the time I had in the past towards a handmade business.  Trust me, every time I enter my craft room I'm reminded of those wonderful days of crocheting, knitting, sewing, and photography.  So know that the love of the art is still in my heart as I close the doors to Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth.

I've already closed my Facebook business page and I will take down my website by the end of the month.  Perhaps the money saved from hosting and such can be saved towards this lovely couch I've had my eye on.  *wink*  The only online sites that I will continue under this name is my blog (of course!) and my YouTube channel.  You didn't think I was leaving you guys, did you!?!  I may be on a bit of a hiatus, but I'm not gone...just seriously in study mode.

As always, I love to keep you informed of what's going on in my world.  Below is the video I created, which also shows many of the items I've made over the years.


Thank you for your support over the years and together, we'll see what new doors are opened!

Love you to pieces,

My Current Situation...


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Just trying to finish up the fall semester.  Yeah, it's that serious.

I'll fill you in on the major/minor details of life as soon as I can.  :-)

Toodles,

Tea Cup Exchange {Fall 2016}


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Hello lovelies!

Last month I participated in another Tea Cup Exchange, hosted by Stephanie of "The Enchanting Rose."  It's been a little while since I've participated in any swaps and you know I have this fascination for teas and dainty tea cups, so I had to participate this time.

I shipped my package off to the faraway land of Minnesota, while my own package arrived from sunny Florida.  All of my items were nicely packaged in a decorative box that's perfect for the upcoming holidays.  Inside, I reached of course, for the note.  My swap partner, Brenda wrote me the loveliest letter in purple ink (my favorite).  I could tell by what she wrote that she definitely did her homework, snooping around my blog and learning more about me.  That was really nice.

In addition to the letter, Brenda gifted me a box of Tazo Chai tea, a white lace doily, and of course a lovely tea cup and saucer set.  Often times I never use my tea cups besides for decoration, but I am looking forward to sipping a hot cup of tea from this lovely set.  So feminine and dainty.  LOVE it.  :-)

Thank you, Brenda, for such a wonderful tea swap package.  And thank you, Stephanie, for hosting yet another successful tea cup and mug exchange.

I will be linking this blog post to Stephanie's reveal post.  I can't wait to see all of the lovely tea cups and mugs that have been swapped.

Wednesday's Feature: The Wiggles and Squeaks Shoppe


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Meet Kar of "The Wiggles & Squeaks Shoppe."


AE:  Who are you and what is it that you do/make?    
K:  My name is Kar and I am the owner of the The Wiggles & Squeaks Shoppe.  After many years of making and creating for others, I finally opened up an online shop to share my creations with the rest of the world.


I create crochet, knit and quilted items for others to enjoy.  I will also be creating and offering patterns for those who like to create for themselves and want the satisfaction of doing projects for themselves.



AE:  How did you get started/What is the motivation behind your work?  
K:  I have had a love of creating things since I was small.  My biggest influences have always been my Mom and Mema.  I really got into making things when I was pregnant with my first child.  I made a few things here and there for him.  I tried to make as much as I could for him even though I was active duty in the USAF and there wasn’t a lot of free time for creating.  I really started to make even more when my girls came along and I stayed home with them.  I taught myself how to crochet, knit and quilt during nap times and at night.  From there I just kept on making things for others in the family.  By now just about everyone has a special quilt, blanket and some kind of special hat to keep them warm through the winter.  Everyone needs something special to cuddle up with from time to time.  


Because of this love of making, I thought why not see if there were other people out there who would like to have soft, cuddly creations that would be special to them.  My focus is blankets, whether they are crocheted, knitted or quilted.  Blankets just have a special place in my heart.

I really love color.  It inspires me every day with everything I create.  I like vintage and modern looks in the items I make.  I try to incorporate color, vintage and modern into everything I make.  And making quality items is so very important to me so that anyone who gets a special made item from me will have it for a very long time to love.

My patterns are so very important to me also. There is nothing worse than having patterns that leave out information.  I strive to make sure that each one is written with clear, concise instructions with lots of pictures, so anyone using any of my patterns will have a clear understanding of how to make something from them.

AE:  Where can we find your work? 
K:  My work can be found at:  www.wigglesandsqueaksshoppe.com
Other places I can be found:
Instagram: @wigglesandsqueaksshoppe
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wigglesandsqueaksshoppe/

AE:  What is your website/contact information? 
K:  www.wigglesandsqueaksshoppe.com and http://simply-kar.blogspot.com/


 "I put my heart into every item that I make.  I believe it's so important that the receiver knows that their special item has love stitched right in it."


Words cannot express how truly happy I am to see Kar open a shop for her beautiful creations.  Over the years, I've continued to be mesmerized by her handiwork.  Crafters know quality when they see it, and believe me, Kar's work is high-quality.  To date, her crocheted dishcloths are the only ones I reach for.  Please peruse her shop, check out her blog, and other social media sites.  The holidays are fast approaching...  

Peace & Love,

And Then There Was Matthew...


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So I'll admit, I've been away from my own blog for much longer than I would like to imagine.  So perhaps it does take a hurricane coming through to allow me the time to update you all on life.

So let's rewind to the end of September.  September is my birthday month and I'm thankful to have been allowed to have a milestone birthday - 40!  Yes, on the 25th of September I crossed over into another decade.  Part of me really wanted to have a celebration of sorts (because I never do that) and yet, my schedule didn't allow for much.

I'm thankful for my childhood friends who took me to lunch where I was able to taste my first eggplant parmesan.  Let's just say that I'm in LOVE!  I now dream of eggplant parm.  Is that crazy or what?!


We also stopped by my favorite cupcake shop - CCups. This business is owned by a breast cancer survivor and proceeds go to cancer research.  Plus, they bake cupcakes fresh daily and you never know which ones they will have.


Speaking of cancer research, at work, my school participated in Relay for Life.  It was my first Relay for Life experience.  We had a team and participated in the team lap.  To see so many survivors completing their survivor lap and then to see the caregivers....I mean, it was an amazing experience. A bit of a tearjerker, but amazing nonetheless.  I couldn't stay all night (as this event was 24 hours) but I did stay well into the evening.


Somewhere between my birthday and all the studying I've been doing, I went insane and gutted out my closets.  Seriously!  I just started yanking everything out, sorting, purging, and restocking the closet using only black clothes hangers.  It was that serious.  But (secretly) I feel better.



And now, just as we enter into the second week of October, Hurricane Matthew graced our path. Truth be told, although many are still without power, I'm thankful that the damage our way was not severe.  In the county where I work and the next two counties over (they have a much lower elevation), they have been severely flooded.  When the news anchorman gets in a canoe to cover the story, that tells you right there that it's serious.



We still haven't returned to work because some schools still don't have electricity, so I'm busy trying to catch up on all the grad work I was unable to do while the power was out the past couple of days. Plus, I never finished the work from my internship this summer.  Trust me, I'm getting it done.  But if you know me well, you know, I dream of painting and home improvement projects.


I couldn't resist slapping a huge sample of grey paint in my guest room.  I really couldn't.  Something came over me and said, "Do it!" so I did.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  :-)

Be well!

xoxo

September's Tea of the Month: Herbal Chocolate Chai Tea


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I know, I know.  I just shared a Tea of the Month post with you on yesterday.  Maybe it's the hint of Fall/Autumn in the air, the cooling temps, the chilly rains that have me running to my tea cabinet to find something warm and soothing for days like today.  Or maybe it's because I have so many teas that if I only shared one per month, surely others would expire before I could share them with you in confidence.  Maybe it's a bit of both.  At any rate, just know I love tea and I love sharing my teas with you.

If you recall, Full Leaf Tea Company gifted me four tea samples.  I shared the Sweet Matcha Green Tea with you earlier, but today I'm sharing their Herbal Chocolate Chai Tea.  This tea is such a beautiful blend of the flavors that make chai teas so unique and a hint of chocolate.

When I prepared my cup...ahem, cups, I added a teaspoon of sugar and a little unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  I know many prefer their teas unsweetened, but as for me, I prefer mine with a hint of sweetness.


I've already had two cups today.  Of course I had to make a little video to share my tea-making experience with you.  I really wish you could smell the beautiful aroma from this tea, but since I can't, you'll just have to take my word for it.


So, what's your favorite Fall drink?

To Tea!

September's Tea of the Month: Victorian Earl Grey Tea


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Hello my lovelies,

I recently have been sipping on some delicious tea - Simpson & Vail's Victorian Earl Grey Tea.  It was gifted to me by one of my Youtube followers, and I must say that it's quite a delicious tea. Although I've heard of Earl Grey teas, I'd never tasted any before.  This particular tea is a rich blend of black tea, rose petals, lavender, rosemary, and a high quality bergamot oil.  According to the company, it's a perfect tea to pair with pastries.

Because this is a black tea, boiling temp waters are to be used.  To save time on busy mornings (i.e. all of them) I place the loose tea in my one-cup coffee maker.  I just take the K-cup component out and used the other filtered section.  Works like a charm!


I know some prefer to drink their teas as-is, but me...I have to add a little sweetener.  To me, it brings out the flavors of the tea.  To each his own.  :-)

Is it just me or when I think of cups of tea, my mind immediately goes to My Fair Lady where Eliza repeats, "Cup, cup, cup, cup, of, of, of, of"?  I love that musical!


You know I have to share my Tea of the Month video.  :-)


BTW, if you're interested in joining Stephanie's Teacup or Mug exchange, head over to her blog and sign up.  Her exchanges are so much fun!




To Tea!