Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

What a Week

I have to say that this was the best week in recent history. Work was good. I had a birthday. My Christmas gift gathering is complete.
At work today I received and email from my sis in law with several cartoons. A couple of them were very funny. I will share at least one them here today...
Happy Holidays : )

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Birthday Dinner

We had the kids over for my 50th birthday dinner today. Also for my younger sons 26th birthday. Nothing special, just a big pot of spaghetti, cake and ice cream. The kids had something to do at work so they could not stay long. The point is they made it over. I did manage to get a couple of nice photos of them. They were all dressed up and looked so nice. The restaurant where they work is having a prom for a young woman who is dying from ovarian cancer. She never went to prom in high school, so they are having a party-fundraiser for her. She is 27 years old and has three young children and no life insurance. I guess she doesn't have much time left as she just came out of hospice. I am glad the boys are working for a family who have good hearts. It is good for them to be involved in things like this. I am so proud of them. They have both come a long way. Christmas gift update: I did manage to spend some time on the spirit box today. I got the outside covered with fabric and the inside lined with striped paper. It actually looks quite nice. I am excited to get it finished and wrapped up. I need to include a card with some sentimental hoo ha on it : ) to put on the inside.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ah, The Holidays

I have been neglecting my blog, as well as my house work in favor of creating sentimental Christmas gifts for the members of my immediate family. I started with my son's girlfriend. I had a photo of them together, but it had a bad background, so I photoshopped it. I am a new user of photoshop and it was good practice. Anyway, I added a nice blue background and had it printed. Then I bought a plain wood frame and got to work. I bought some funky beads to go with the tiles I had already and got to work. It did not take long to glue the tile and beads. The next day I added the grout. After curing for a couple of days, I wrapped it up. I am very pleased with the final product. For my second son, I wrote the story of him. His birthday is December 17. He will be 26 years old, so the years of toys and 'in' clothing have passed. Taking into consideration the economic environment, I decided to do something more personal, hence the book. It is a letter to him. One that I should have written 26 years ago. I have to say that I am quite proud of the text as well as the binding. I covered some thin cardboard with faux leather and put his monogram on the cover with gold fabric paint, and added some ribbon to tie it all up. It looks very nice if I do say so myself. Of course, there was a check included : ) Moving on to the Christmas gifts, I started with TOM. He was in the Army for 20 years and continues to work for the Department of Defense. During his military career, he collected a number of commemorative coins. These coins were just hanging around the house gathering dust so I decided it would be nice to put them in a display case. Not being too handy with the tools in the man cave, I decided it would be best to purchase the display frame. I know that's a step away from 'making it myself'' but it was probably smarter to keep my digits in tact and purchase the frame. The local craft store had them on sale for 50% off, so that is still a an inexpensive gift. The hardest part with this particular project was getting it done with him haning around. He did get up and go hunting this a.m. so I got busy. It turned out very nice. I used velcro to attach the coins, so I hope they don't fall off. I did not want to use hot glue as I was afraid to damage the coins that have enamel on them. The Christmas gift for my oldest son was more challenging. He will be 30 on his next birthday. It just gets harder as they get older! Anyway, he's had a run of bad luck the last couple of years (three jobs, broken hip that had him out of work for 8 weeks) and I figured he could use some good luck. So, I got the idea to create a 'spirit box' for him. He is kind of 'new agey' and is into crystals and medicine bags and other stuff like that, so I think he will appreciate a special box to hold his talismans; happy thoughts, plans for the future, things that make him feel good. I purchased a simple cardboard box, items to make a dream catcher, and will use the rest of the faux leather fabric. I found directions online for a dreamcatcher and it was relatively easy to make. The next thing was to start on the box. Covering this would be more challenging. I started with the lid. Because I wanted the lid to be attached so I had to make some modifications. I am a big fan of spray adhesive so that's what I used to adhere the fabric to the box cover. No muss, no fuss, and no hot glue burns. However, spray adhesive won't work for attaching the lid to the bottom so I used hot glue for that. Covering the box bottom will be harder so I stopped for the day. I made good progress and will try to finish tomorrow. For son number two, I am going to mat and frame a newspaper article in which he was mentioned. A photograph was included. At the restaurant where he works, they prepared Thanksgiving dinner for the local Meals on Wheels charity. It is not so 'creative' on my part, but as I am working, I might think of something else. I think he will appreciate tho. I wish I had thought to take pictures of the construction process, of the book, the display case, the spirit box, and the mosaic frame. But I can really only focus on one artistic project at a time : } I will have to take photos of eveyone with their gifts. Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Had good time in Vegas. Tried to do as many 'free' activities as possible because we never win. And we are not infatuated with designer names so shopping was not on the list. However, the Forum shops at Caesar's are amazing. Two of every three shops has a designer name on the door. I could not believe. Amazing. There really is a lot of money in this town. Monday, December 1: We arrived by 1030, bought our tw0-way hotel shuttle (24.00) and we were on our way. We were able to get into our room so we dropped our bags and hit the strip. We did a 'refresher' circle around Caesar's: Bellagio, Paris, Flamingo, Venetian, Treasure Island, and Mirage. The conservatory at the Bellagio was 'under construction' for Christmas so we missed that. You would think they would have completed that earlier than the first week in December. I really wanted to get some photos. We spent a little time in the Flamingo on the 'Wheel of Fortune'. TOM really likes that game. It did not like us. It was pretty tight and and not playing nice. At the Venetian, we went to MadamTaussaud's Wax Museum. We had a lot of fun taking pictures with the wax figures. I was disappointed that they did not have more! We were too early for the Pirate show at TI. Well, we were not too early, we just did not want to wait around in the casino for 20 minutes for the show. We have to pace ourselves you know, limited amounts of cash were set aside for gambling. I had $50 in gift cards for Hard Rock Cafe so after a short rest in our room we hiked to the Hard Rock for dinner. If you're a pin head and a fan of Hard Rock Cafe, they are not on the strip. It was about a two-mile walk from Caesar's. It was a good walk tho after spending 4 hours on an airplane. We had a really great salad and I had enough points on my All Access card to buy two pins. Tuesday, December 2: Today is Bette Midler day. But that wasn't until 7:30. We had a whole day to fill up. Our sleep and dining schedule was all screwed up because of the time change so when we got out of bed we were ready for lunch. There is a Denny's near the Venetian so we headed over there for breakfast. It was at least an hour line. In our quest for food, we decided to get away from the crowds and headed over to the Duece (bus stop, $5 for a 24-hour ticket, every 15 minutes, 24-hours a day). About mid-way to Fremont Street we spotted another Denny's and got off for breakfast. No lines, no waiting. The food was pretty good too. The Fremont Street Experience is pretty cool. OK, it was mid-day and we didn't get to see the lights. We planned to go back after Bette. We spent a couple of hours walking around and we hit a couple of the casinos. We were winning enough to keep playing so we spent a few hours there. On the way back to the bus, we passed a guy painting pictures with spray paint and paper towels. Pretty impressive. TOM bought the one that we watched being painted. We had headed back to the hotel to unload. After a short break, we headed back to the Duece. We had never been to the Luxor, so that was going to be our next stop. We could hang around for a couple of hours before we had to head back to see Bette Midler (the reason for this entire trip). TOM got lucky on the slots here so we played for couple of hours. At 4:30, I called it quits. I did not want to miss the opening act! I am so glad we left when we did. At that end of the strip the bus heads to the transfer station and we had to change buses. We were heading into rush hour which was also going to add precious minutes to our ride. I tell you, I was a little nervous. We finally made it back to the hotel with time to get dinner. The food at the Augustus Cafe was pricey, but that does not necessarily equate to good. We paid $40 for spaghetti and a taco salad. The service was slow, or maybe I was anxious. No, the service was slow. Bette was terrific. She was loud and bawdy and everything I expected. We had pretty good seats, rear orchestra, center stage. I wish I had captured her playlist. I know she sang: The Rose, In the Mood, When a Man Loves a Woman, I've Still Got My Health, Hello in There, The Glory of Love, Baby Mine, From a Distance, Boogie, Woogie Bugle Boy, Wind Beneath Your Wings, Cool Yule, Friends. We also found out after the show, that Bette would be signing her book after her show on Dec 3; The Legend of Baby Divine. I went right over to the shop and bought my copy. We did have the best slice of pie (pizza) at the snack bar across from the Coliseum. It really was terrific. We never made it back to Fremont Street, I had a blister and we were tired. Off to bed. Wednesday, December 3: What to do today? That was the big question. Get breakfast. Check. We had two-fer tickets for the Eiffel tower, so we headed over the Paris. This Eiffel Tower is exactly half the size of the original. The views were pretty spectacular. Vegas is surrounded by mountains. The slots at Paris weren't playing nice so we didn't stay long. We didn't sleep well so we went back to take a nap : ) When we got up, we headed over to the Mirage to see the Secret Garden. It made me feel bad to see the animals in such small enclosures. I don't think I will support those activities any longer. We did stop and have some ice cream, but it didn't compare to Bruster's (my favorite ice cream). And off to the casino. I guess we broke even. I had to be fresh for the book signing. Didn't know how long I would have to stand on line, so we went back to the room for a rest. At 9 I was headed back to the Coliseum. I was about number 50 or so. Pretty pleased. About 10, the Divine Ms M made her appearance. I requested a specific dedication and she did it. She really is terrific. She requested no photos when she was signing, but I did have my camera a took a few shots. Although, I had the film setting wrong, so they are dark and grainy. I am going to try and clean them up tho. Feeling lucky, we hit the slots for our last nite. I was winning steadily. but small amounts. My tolerance for gambling my hard-earned money is low. If I had made larger bets, I might have walked away in a better postion. However, I walked away with money in my pocket, a man by my side, and Bette's book in my hand. I couldn't have asked for a better evening. Oh, and by the way, a few things happened in Vegas, that will stay in Vegas : )