Ten Things to be Thankful for This Morning…

1. We were home when “it” happened, so a major crisis was averted.

2. I was not the one taking a shower when it was
discovered that the water heater was not working.

3. My parents live next door, and their shower works just fine.


4. My Dad’s a builder, and his long-time plumber (and fishing buddy)
gave him a couple of slightly used water heaters that were removed
when clients decided to upgrade to gas hot water.

5. The new (to us) water heater holds 10 more gallons than the old one.

6. The new hot water heater was free.

7. My Hubby knows how to replace a hot water heater.

8. The vacuum and I got to spend some quality time in a hard-to-reach
place that hasn’t been cleaned since the last major appliance broke.

9. Ditto the mop.

10. It’s supposed to snow.



In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~I Thessalonians 5:18~


Saturday was a Productive Day.

We like those kinds of days.

The MenFolk were busy outside building Things.

Which was good, because the LadyFolk had Things-To-Do
inside the house. Artsy things. Etsy Things.

Things that needed Tea and Cookies for Inspiration.

We brought out the good china for the occasion.


We Ladies glued and sanded and painted.

We let the men join us when it was time to put pictures together.

And introduced Kate’s Hubby to a pastime we endearingly call
“Midnight Framing at the Frey House.”

Β He got the hang of it pretty quickly.

And everyone was rewarded by a Very Yummy
homemade Beef Pot Pie courtesy of Kate.

It lived up to its name.

Saturday’s Framing Adventure was actually Β a special event…

It was the first framing of Kate’s hand-lettered artwork!

I think they turned out pretty, don’t you?

We’re taking part in a private in-home craft show this week,
but after that, I’ll bet you’ll be seeing some framed things
in Kate’s Etsy Shop! Keep an eye out!


Just had to do a quick picture post…

Way back when our grandboy Jack was one,
he did a great impression of a Cabbage Patch doll…

Now that his little brother Derik is three,
I finally figured out his “Look-Alike”…

Minus the Kewpie-style mohawk, of course.

Hugs to my sweet grandboys!

Love, Nana πŸ™‚

Whoops… or Do Not Try This At Home…

It’s been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I think it must be true.

The night before last, I had the brilliant idea to simplify my website, Β which was built with three WordPress blogs… the main site, the “gallery” or shop site, and this blog. I figured that I could “mirror” the pages of the gallery in new “shop” pages on the website, and then delete the old gallery/shop site, thereby eliminating a lot of shuffling back and forth, as well as reducing the fees for custom CSS and such. It proved to be easy enough. With about an hour’s worth of cutting and pasting, I had the whole thing running seamlessly, as if the switcharoo had never happened. I even had the wherewithal to look at links coming into my gallery site, and ask them to update the address.

And then I went about the “deletion of blog” process. And WordPress asked me several times if I was very very super duper really and truly sure I wanted to delete that blog.

I was. Sure. Yep.


As in Forever Gone.

Today, while at the store, a customer asked about an unpriced silhouette, and knowing that I had a similar one in my shop, I hopped online and looked for it. Boy, was I confused when all the buttons on the shop’s main page had little question marks. And if I clicked on any of the question marks, I got a shop page with more question marks.

So, I made an educated guess at the price of the silhouette, as my head was filled with question marks.


It was working last night.


And then it dawned on me.

All the images on the original site had been downloaded to the blog that I deleted, so they were working as long as the blog was there, but when I made that rather decisive decision to delete everything, the images disappeared and were replaced by question marks.

Elementary, my dear Watson.

After about an hour or so of finding original images, scanning a few that were lost, re-downloading them all, and fixing broken links, I have the main shop page up again. However, if you click any of the links there, you’ll still find lots of question marks. I’ll continue cleaning up my mess tomorrow, and hopefully will have it all fixed soon!

And the moral of the story is…

…sometimes it’s best to leave these things to the professionals.

The making of a blizzard.

Well folks, we’re getting some snow! Again! This storm has everyone in alarm, and I must say it’s prompted several trips to the grocery store for us, as well as the piling of firewood on the porch, and the filling of pots with water. Just in case. As of 10 p.m. tonight, we’re officially grounded. The Governor said so. Which is okay, since home is a nice place to be. Especially when the weather outside is frightful!

Hopefully the electric will stay on and phones & internet will stay up. If not, we’ve got plenty of books to read aloud andΒ Scrabble and Monopoly and lots of candles and kerosene lamps and a woodstove. And gals that know how to cook on a woodstove. Gals that secretly long for the opportunity to test out their backwoods survival skills in a real life Β (but not life threatening) situation. That would be Kate and me. We’ve got a whole shelf of Foxfire books and the Reader’s Digest Back to Basics guide, so we’re ready. We are SO ready.


And in the spirit of frostiness, here’s the beginnings of a Snowy Story. It may take a while to finish.


Hello folks! It’s been quite a week so far! Industrious, with a few mishaps, but all in all a good week.

I think we have all the orders out the door and on their way to their destinations! If we’ve forgotten anyone… well… we hope we haven’t forgotten anyone!


In the mishap department, our dear printer/ scanner/ copier/ fax/ all-in-one/ Jane of All Trades/ my right hand gal/ very important piece of equipment is deceased. Hubby performed an autopsy… well, he actually attempted to fix it, but pronounced it dead once it was completely taken apart. It was quite an impressive operation, with lots of wires and screws and electronic looking things hanging out everywhere.

Also in the mishap department, our dear computer is acting very strangely. We’re not sure if she’s in mourning for the printer, or if it’s something more serious, but if we disappear from the internet for a short while, SOMETHING has happened.

And the washer made a funny noise. Which made Hubby start singing our theme song…

Honey, don’t kick it, Promise I’ll fix it,
Long with ’bout a million other things…
…Just another day in paradise.

However, Christmas preparations are coming along nicely! We should have the glitter and cookie dough cleaned up by Christmas morning.

We got the picture frames out of the way just in time to make some cookies. Kate made the Ginger Cremes first (recipe below!), and accidentally added an extra cup of flour to the doubled recipe. So we doubled the recipe again, left out a cup of flour, and mixed the two batches together. Then I made the chocolate chip dough… two giant batches… and left out the baking soda and salt. This was discovered because the first two trays of cookies were looking rather flat. So we managed to stir in the missing ingredients and said a prayer that it would work. The next two trays came out just fine, and the chickens will get flat chocolate chip cookies for Christmas!


And Somebody got a really neat early Christmas present from her Sweetheart! It was a little too big to wrap…

And, we thought we’d share an old family recipe… these are everyone’s favorites around here!

Ginger Creams

Dissolve 2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup hot water, and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, and an egg. Add 1 cup molasses and the soda & water mixture.

Sift together 4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a teaspoon each of Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Ground Cloves. Add to the wet ingredients, and drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven. When cool, frost thinly with vanilla icing.

As the oven and baking sheets heat up, they seem to bake quicker… sometimes as fast as four minutes… so keep an eye on them. The cookies should look like little ginger cakes, and should spring back and not fall when you press on the top of them.

Merry Christmas!

Home alone… but not lonely!

Today has been a quiet-stay-at-home-day for me. They’re getting more rare all the time! So far, I’ve accomplished laundry, framed & packed pictures to go in the mail, cut out angels, had breakfast & lunch, and am contemplating taking a nap. I’ve enjoyed the solitude, but I’ve been entertained a bit by a couple of our critters. Since there’s not much else exciting happening, I thought you might enjoy seeing the antics at my back door…

Oreo, our Jellicle Cat, playing “I Want In, I Want Out.”

This is her favorite game. Between innings and outings, she looks like this:

The game has taken a rather frantic turn the past few days, because Oreo tends to get a little nervous when things on her back porch change. The most recent change is that Mr. Stubbs, one of our roosters, has decided the back porch is a great place to hang out. And crow. (Stubbs has a deep, rich baritone crow.) He has found that if he crows loud enough and long enough I will find a bit of bread to toss out to him. I think he’d come in, if I left the door open!

The other night, he decided to bed down right next to the art room door…

Now THAT gives a whole new meaning to “grilled chicken!” Don’t worry… Hubby bundled him off to the hen house when we discovered him!

Even our dull moments aren’t dull around here. And so, I guess I’m headed for the couch to close my eyes for a few minutes.

As soon as I let the cat in.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave a comment on the last post for a chance to win a FREE PAPERCUTTING!

Opening up a can of worms…

Kate brought a surprise home last night from her babysitting job…

I knew immediately that it was NOT smoked almonds…

It was my new pets. Their new home has been waiting for them since August, when I gathered up my birthday money to buy this condominium for them. It needed a final touch before they could get an occupancy permit…

Then we had to fill it with special bedding and a handful of dirt…

And then the girls could move in…

And begin enjoying their first meal… a baby spinach salad that had lingered in our fridge way past the “use by…” date…

And then we placed the roof on to let them get settled in…

Vermiculture in my artroom. A very quiet agricultural endeavor. My raised beds will be very happy come spring.

Thanks Brett, for collecting our new critters for us!

Join, or Die.

Hubby and I laughed while setting up our table at Mount Vernon… I told him it looked like “War and Peace.” Half of the pictures were peaceful… Lions & Lambs in peaceful kingdoms, Distelfinks standing on hearts that say “Peace,” and lots of gentle quotes and Bible verses. The other half was a stark contrast… a Patriot on horseback brandishing a sword, tea being tossed of a ship in the Boston Harbor, and Patrick Henry raising his clenched fist at tryanny. After a good chuckle at our attempts to make these themes fit on the same table, we decided Thistle Dew Mercantile is definitely well-rounded.


One of our newest silhouettes was inspired by the “war” side of our well-roundedness. Friday morning, as we were packing to leave, I had an idea. The kind that’s not always the best thing to have as you’re packing to leave, as ideas can often mean that we don’t leave quite on time. This idea was inspired by a political cartoon created by Ben Franklin and published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754. Hubby was a good sport and gathered up framing supplies to take with us, as I worked feverishly on the pattern. I was just finishing cutting the first one as we went over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It’s a little different from most of our cuttings, since it’s in pieces, instead of all one piece. I think that’s the point of the cartoon. I had to be really careful not to lose the snake pieces with the AC blowing in the van!

And it was the first thing to sell on Saturday morning.


A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.
~Thomas Jefferson~

Schnibbles and Bits… or the state of things.

This photo just about sums up my life at the moment:


That’s about all the schnibbles I can balance on my cutting board without spilling them. I think I dumped at least three loads of schnibbles in the trash today. Yesterday I had an incredible creative thought to save them and make handmade paper with them for Christmas presents. Today that thought seemed absolutely insane, so I threw away yesterday’s collection of paper bits. Wild imaginings and occasional melt-downs sometimes often happen the week before shows start.


Hubby said to take a picture of the tables, so as to give a better impression of the state of things. Here’s the art room table (Note the Very Important Cup of Coffee!):


And the dining room table… which must be cleared for birthday cake by tomorrow night (Somebunny’s turning 20 tomorrow!):


Extreme papercutting. It should be a new sport.


I’m off to soak in a hot tub with lots of bubbles and MJ’s latest magazine. Maybe I’ll get some more creative ideas!

Oh dear.