Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kissing 2008 Goodbye

Ahhh the passing of 2008. Shall I miss it? No, I don't think so. Were there wonderful things about 2008 that I will remember fondly, certainly. Were there giant balls of shite that I don't want to cloud my brain for even a second longer, hell yeah.

In the fond category, an amazing Christmas dinner (supervised by Tom, cooked by me - yes, those are gold pantaloons on the crown roast of pork!)

We thought of our T-Bone this Christmas too.

The rest of the highlights and lowlights:

I enjoyed the overly long, highly competitive, occasionally nutcase, mostly interesting presidential race. It was bizarre at times and it made me mad and sad and freaked me out at times, but I think the final result was worth the pain and aggravation. Here's hoping the next presidential race doesn't start for 3 years. In other January news, George Clooney was named a UN Messenger of Peace.

In February, our beloved T-Bone went t o kitty heaven. We miss him so much. Badcat misses him too. George Clooney remained devastatingly handsome in February at the Oscars.

In March we celebrated the first Breaking Bad Easter Brunch. I'm totally doing that again in 2009. I'm really looking forward to the new season of Breaking Bad this spring.

In April was turned onto the site and Scott Parkin (who's influence over CBS's Gary Unmarried makes the show doubly funny to me.) I attended a very smart, very intense BlogHer Business in New York City and dovetailing nicely with that event; The first (hopefully annual) Blogger Social. Blogger Social 2008 was all that I could have hoped for and more. I totally blathered about it here and said 1 million thanks here.

In May I received my PMC Certification from Rio Grande. I cranked out a ton of new Moda di Magno jewelry. I got the Etsy site up and running.

In June the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship, but George Carlin, Bo Diddley, Harvey Korman and Yves St. Laurent all passed away. On balance June sucked overall.

In July I got to interview the uber-talented Scott Parkin and turned the Moda blog into the official I (heart) Scott Parkin blog while I went to New Hampshire on vacation.

August highlights included a quick trip to Mexico, Miss Wasilla, the best Olympic opening ceremonies EVER (and jewelry inspired by the show) and the joy of cupcakes.

In September Tom informed me that he didn't marry me by accident. That made me feel good.

In October The Age of Conversation 2.o hit bookstores and  authors everywhere linked to each other like maniacs. I celebrated 14 years married to Tom.

In November America elected Barack Obama President of the United States of America. I was relieved.

December has been a blur. End of year wrap up, prepping for kick off of 2009, baking and shopping and wrapping and shipping (and replacing the gas furnace in the middle of everything.) Saw Burn After Reading, and in the final Clooney news of the year, he was awesome. The film was awesome, you should get it. The other film we saw was Slumdog Millionaire - a must see. Bring kleenex and a friend.

And Christmas, well it was awesome to be with the family in a warm house

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas and OMG

So I had a delightful time in Florida with Tom last week. I Twittered the heck out of the sunshine and general Floridaishness of the visit. I didn't mean to mock the universe by sharing photos of the sunshine and the sunbelt's attempt at Christmas decor. I really didn't. But I was punished for it anyway.

So when we walked into the house on Saturday night (just 4 hours late from the flight delays) it smelled like something had burnt. A fuel-ish smell, which was odd given that we have a gas furnace. Badcat was fine (and in fine voice) but there was definitely an odor. Tom scouted and I pressed the readout button on our hallway carbon monoxide detector (there is one mounted on each floor and a plug-in version in the main hallway with a constant readout.) The carbon monixide detector had a reading, a low one (30) but any reading is cause for concern in my book. Thinking that we were having gas furnace trouble Tom started calling 24-hour service numbers from the yellow pages. And FYI, 24-hour service on the Saturday before Christmas just means they have an answering machine and they'll call you back on Monday (if they call you back at all.)

Fortunately, Tommy knows people. Good people. And Roberto Gallinelli of Gallinelli Plumbing in Newton is good people. Tommy called him and after a discussion of the smell and the temperature received a "SHUT IT DOWN" order from Roberto. As in shut off the heating system.

Suck. On one of the coldest nights with a blizzard approaching.

So we warmed the house with the fireplace and put every quilt on the bed and after a quick scan of all available gas heater stock in the area, Robert installed a new gas furnace just in time for Christmas. (Actually, they just finished the final electrical work today.)

So this Christmas our present to each other is a new gas furnace. Which sucks slightly less than the year I got a car cover. Seriously, I unwrapped a car cover. Never mind the part where I leave out the fact that I got a new car in November. That doesn't matter because I opened a CAR COVER on Christmas morning. With no candy, jewelry or even scratch tickets hidden the middle. A car cover. That mistake has not been repeated.

Anyway, it's all good now. We have heat and the cat is fine and it is what it is.

Here are the last few shots from on the camera from Florida and the the first few upon my return to Boston.

Lawn decor in Boca Raton.

The City of Delray Beach.

At Red Reef Park beach.

Beach Dwellers.

A photo from the morning after we arrive back in Boston. We had about 16" of snow. Fluffy, white, ice cold snow. (That later turned to wicked heavy sleeted-upon snow.)

The gas furnace heater. (The former gas furnace heater.) Weathermaker indeed.

Completely unrelated water valve, but I liked the tag.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heading Back to Boston

Heading back to Boston from sunny Florida today. Not going cheerfully. Not dying to see how much snow is piled up in my unshoveled driveway. NOT hopeful about what is now an overbooked flight due to all of the cancellations yesterday (but Tom and I are on aisle seats across from each other, so it may be tolerable after a Benadryl and scotch.)

Hope your super Saturday is awesome - get out and help those retailers (and report back if you find something not on sale!)

Mmmmmmm. Boca Raton in sunny/puffy cloud glory.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Call for Holiday Orders

Well a whole lot of you got on the Etsy train and bought baubles and shiny things today - many thanks doves.

Those of you still contemplating, get on it;  you are up against the FedEx deadline.

If you have beloveds in need of shiny baubles, click HERE and get on it (and get credit!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crafty Madness!

Here I sit after three shows and a weekend of 20 hour prep days in my studio. My hands hurt, my silver files need to be mended and I can't keep my eyes open. I think the kiln was running 6 hours a day. (The electric bill is going to hurt...) Mama's tired, but very excited and pleased about new things on Etsy. To wit;

The Queen - Fine silver pendant on sterling chain. $65 for all kinds of awesome. BUY YOURS HERE.

China Coin with Jade. I made two for the weekend shows and they were the first things to go. I think I'll make more.

Indian Elephant. Another super-popular item over the last three shows. I have four left available on Etsy. BUY YOURS HERE.

Love is a Charm. I'm experimenting with some retail packaging and this is one of the trial items. This will go up on Etsy soon.

Here's my first crack at CPG. I kind of like it. I've gotten good recommendations on how to improve the overall look and feel. Tommy exclaimed "YOUR NAME IS HUGE" and I said, "Duh, it's my name..." Yeah, I am queen of the snappy comeback on 4 hours of sleep.

Cindy's necklace; This combination of mini-tab pendants and the new silver heart will go up on Etsy soon. The mini-tab pendants are available HERE.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holy Cats! Where Have I Been?!

It's been a little like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Busy, crazy, holidays bearing down, work, economy, meltdown and cheese. Wha? Cheese? I'll get there. Starting with the most recent things, I'll work back to Thanksgiving.

A necklace ordered by a friend for a dear friend of ours, a passion for baseball (Red Sox baseball) and her beautiful nieces.

A re-work of Annie's bracelet incorporating her beloved pooch Maud Bianca.

Attack of the hideous 'holiday' decorations. This accidental tribute to The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" number has been replaced with a proper Christmasy colored arrangement. Commit to a holiday (or all of them) or don't bother. FAIL.

Found some awesome pushpins on the wall in my office.

Made this for a customer.

Made this too.

Made this one too.

OMG - Had the most divine lunch with Business Rep Eileen Milano & my co-worker Zoe at Henrietta's Table at the Charles Hotel. No, we didn't start with dessert, but I was salivating over a nearby table's dessert selections including this: 

One word - CARAMEL. OMG, the caramel.

The mixed berry fruit pie was gorgeous and delicious.

But the pumpkin ice cream whoopie pie left me speechless (and that is so hard to do.) 

Before I tasted the sweet treats I enjoyed the Gloucester cod and mashies. It was a cold fall day and this was the most perfect lunch.

Zoe had the salmon burger that was so beautifully presented it seemed a shame to eat it. The shame passed quickly.

Chef Peter Davis has released the first cookbook from Henrietta's Table and it is AMAZING. Well written, gorgeous photographs and large, readable type! This will make an awesome New England holiday gift. Get it HERE or at Henrietta's Table.

After lunch Zoe and I walked from Harvard Square almost to Fenway (then we ran out of sidewalk and got a cab.)

The Weld Boathouse on the Charles River.

Dusk with the moon moving in.

For Thanksgiving I made the much desired potato and brussel sprouts gratin that I blabbed about in mid-November. Making this dish using the actual recipe yielded a riot of flavor and a grateful Thanksgiving table.

Ready for the oven.

Layering the potatoes, cheese and sprouts.

Lightly cooking the sliced potatoes with cream, salt & pepper.

Cleaned and sliced brussel sprouts.

Yeah, that's four cups of cheese; Gruyere and Parmeseano Reggiano.
I made  a delightful loaf of bread using the recipe from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois . Get it HERE and check out their AWESOME AWESOME blog.

It was delicious, fresh and hot from the oven with Kate's of Maine butter.

I was the a proxy confirmation sponsor for Miss Suzi Stein (previously seen here in The Kid Thing.) Her brother Pete is actually her sponsor, but due to an important exam at Colgate University, I was asked to fill in. Since no Nuns popped up to point and scream 'HERETIC!' I feel good about the whole thing. Any kid that wants to make a commitment to God will get all of the support I can muster. I mean really, I dressed like a grown up to stand next to the Bishop!

That's pretty much it save for a craft show or two, and some work stuff that should have a color coded alert system like terror watch.