"I am alive and kicking"

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The holidays cause sore hands

As Christmas approaches, my hands are getting more sore.
Sick. What were you thinking! Naughty. Santa's not coming to your house.
I MEAN, my hands are sore because I've dragged out my yarn and crochet hooks. I've been making a few gifts, and trying my luck at selling a few items.
Crocheted fingerless gloves, or wristers, make a great holiday gift.
AND, they're easy to make.

I've been successful on both fronts, particularly with fingerless gloves, or as some people call them, wristers.
Do your hands get #$&@*%! cold during the day -- sitting at your computer, taking notes in class, listening patiently to a customer complain?
I know my hands are always freezing, unless I'm taking a burning hot shower.
Fingerless gloves are an awesome gift idea.
I've also tried my hand at winter headbands. They are pretty fancy, especially the ones with a hole in the back for your ponytail or braid.
I'm currently working on a red had with a white brim for my kiddo. He said he wants a pom pom on the top. We'll see if I'm crafty enough to figure that one out.

For you crocheters out there, here are two of my favorite sites for free patterns:

www.allfreecrochet.com 

www.redheart.com

Happy Holidays and happy crocheting!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shop Local! (Note: This is a shameless plug)

Admittedly, I am a Walmart shopper. I'm sorry. I'm poor, and the national retailer saves me a ton of money.
However, I do enjoy shopping locally when I can spare a few extra bucks.
So, as Christmas is right around the corner (and I've been writing an article about this) I'm going to pull a shameless plug for all my downtown and local business owners and friends.
Shop local, whether it be for Christmas or any other time during the year. (Disclaimer: I will be mentioning a few stores below. No offense meant to anyone left out.)
Here are a few reasons why you should shop locally:
1. Local shops can offer items large retail stores don't or different, more exciting versions. For example, I was in The Little Red Hen the other day and saw they had adult coloring books. Yes. You can get these at Walmart. BUT, the ones at The Little Red Hen were a tad different. They weren't as big, so they probably fit nicely into a medium-sized purse. The store offers some sweet metallic markers to fill in your creations, so that's awesome. And the store offers books with an array of designs.
Another unique item option (note: incredibly shameless plug) awaits you at The Framer through 316 Vinyl Creations, which creates gift items featuring vinyl designs. There are completed items in store, or customers can bring their ideas in for completion.
2. Local clothing stores offer quality clothing at decent prices and typically have sales throughout the holidays. Take a leisurely Saturday and pop by these shops, most of which are on Main Street, and peruse what deals they have -- Adorn Boutique, Ideal Fashion and Furnishings, Geyermans, Harve's, Tickled Pink, to name a few. Watch for ads, too, as businesses may offer deeper discounts with coupons or other special discount days.
3. While you're shopping, you may get thirsty or a tad hungry. Locally owned restaurants and cafes aren't that far from most of the local businesses. Downtown has two coffee shops -- Cafe Teresa and Cornerstone Cafe -- where you can stop for delicious coffee and lunch or a snack. Plus, both shops have a few gift items to peruse.
4. Out for some holiday decorations? Stop at Ben Franklin, Bonnie's deKor, The Pin Cushion or Fabric and Textile Warehouse. If' you're real crafty, you can make your own decorations from fabric, yarn and other materials. If not, you can simply buy your items.
5. Have an antiquer in the family? Jeez, we have two stores on Main they'd enjoy. The Antique Mall has a huge collection of anything you can imagine for antiques. There's always something different in there. If that antiquer likes to dress up for certain occasions (perhaps a themed holiday party), take them to Einstein's Costume Shop. They'll be blown away at the huge selection.
6. Don't forget the flower shops -- Cherrybee's and Nepstad's. They offer all sorts of gift items. Growing up, our flower shop was one of my two go-to places to get gifts. They always have unique items found nowhere else.
7. Although I typically favor pet adoption over pet purchase, don't forget Mitchell has Ed's Pet World! Even if you don't want to purchase a pet, the store still has a ton of options for pet gifts or gifts for your pet. ;)

Gosh, I could go on and on.
The point is, support your local businesses. There are plenty of statistics out there that prove shopping locally boosts a town or city's economy.
Here are a few links, if you're curious and so you know I'm not just blowing smoke.

http://www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/ 

http://smallbizsurvival.com/2014/02/want-to-help-save-your-small-town-start-your-own-business.html

Happy shopping!

Monday, November 9, 2015

A jaunt through the neighborhood

Today's post is brought to you by Gus, the border terrier:

This is me with my human brother. I was trying to convince
him to let me run free. He laughed at me. I then pooped in his room.

I have commandeered my human's magic box to share a story.
In her cleaning frenzy on Sunday, my human mommy became irritated with my pacing and mercifully said, "You need to get out, Gus."
She led me to the back door where my harness usually lay on the floor. On Sunday, it was hung up out of the way.
She forgot to put it on me.
She opened the door and let me out without the harness. We were both surprised.
I looked back at human mommy, she looked at me and I ran!
Weeeeeee!!! I'm free!!!
"He'll come back," I heard her say and shut the door.
Who cares? I thought as I ran around sniffing.
I ran about the neighborhood, caught sight of my human brother riding his bicycle, so I dodged behind a house and ran some more.
I peed on several trees, around a fence where I saw another dog, who barked at me.
I pooped in some bushes and barked and chased a cat until it climbed a tree and hissed.
I just wanted to play.
But running around at full speed after being cooped up is hard work.
I got really tired. And thirsty.
I looked for water, but couldn't find any.
I trotted into my backyard and my human mommy opened the back door.
She was so happy to see me, she gave me a biscuit and fresh water.
Whew! I guess I'm set for running until the next time my foolish humans forget to make me put on my harness.
"I knew you'd come back, Gus," human mommy said. "Who's a good boy? You're a goooooood booyyyy."
I am a good boy. So to maintain that facade, I will sign off.
I didn't just use human mommy's magic box.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Literacy and the Giant Pumpkin

I must say, although my home county is in the middle of nowhere, the people continually find outrageously wonderful ways to raise money for worthy programs.
A Facebook friend of mine had a video on his wall about a giant pumpkin being dropped on a van in Minnesota.
This piqued my interested, though I never imagined it would be in Lancaster, Minnesota.
But there it was.
A video of a huge 1,400 pound pumpkin being dropped on a windowless minivan.
Although this is not an original activity -- I've found many links to similar events around the country -- it is certainly entertaining.
Charlie Bernstrom grew the pumpkin. Volunteers sold tickets to people for $1 a piece for a chance to be the one to drop the pumpkin.
All the funds raised went to the Kittson County Literacy Council-- a program that provides books and other materials for children around the county.
I applaud anyone who helps facilitate any fundraiser, but to bring some originality and pizzazz to it, that takes some doing.

Watch the video here.