Monday, November 30, 2009

Online Shopping Day!

The busiest online shopping day of the year! My Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend sale items will remain in effect on Monday, November 30.

Have fun shopping online!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The After Thanksgiving Let-Down

Sigh... It was over in a flash! Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, so cozy and warm with wonderful smells of the meal cooking all day, candles flickering on tables and countertops, a flurry of activity as the meal comes together all at once, and the always-too-short time to visit with family. This year was extra-special because we had my mom and youngest brother up from Massachusetts who've never seen our new house up here in Maine. They came up on The Downeaster from Boston. My middle brother and girlfriend came down from the Bar Harbor area and my son was also up from Massachusetts with his girlfriend. We had overnight guests both Wednesday and Thursday nights. I loved having a house full of family! It was great fun spoiling and entertaining them and I realized how much I miss doing that! I was the one who hosted all the holidays back home in Massachusetts and when it's just my husband and me it always feels like something is missing.

My son left Thanksgiving evening after dessert and the rest of us went over to Freeport and had breakfast out before bringing my mom and brother back down to Portland to the train station. We saw them off and all of a sudden it was over - we were alone again! It was pouring buckets of rain on Friday, a very gloomy day that just reinforced the gloom we felt knowing that the holiday was over. Last night I was back to listening to every creek and bump that this house makes, feeling very lonesome and homesick! I'll get over it I suppose. We'll see some of the folks at Christmas in a few more weeks. Then we'll have the BIG let-down! But, we'll save that whining for next month...

So, I meant to get some sale items figured out for Black Friday but was enjoying my company too much! I managed to get an email sent out late last night announcing a Thanksgiving weekend sale.

Check out my What's New page on the web site for details. Just to recap, both the Cameo and Super Luxo punchneedles are at 15% off and I've posted some hand-dyed wool roving from Kindred Spirits as well as some patterns using needlefelting techniques.

Making a return to the Wool Applique/penny rug Pattern category are vintage holiday designs from Lake View Primitives. Shown is Under the Mistletoe. I've always loved Jackie Apessos' whimsical style and these patterns are classics. And they're also on sale!

Well, at least I have two more days off - Monday my husband and I are heading over to North Conway, NH for some tax-free shopping and general hanging out together. We are actually in a great location here in midcoast Maine. About 25 minutes from the coast and about an hour to the NH border and White Mountains. It's the best of both worlds! I just wish the weather forecast was a little brighter for Monday. We're expecting showery conditions most of the day. Hopefully there won't be snow over there. I know it's almost December but I'm never ready for the snow! So why am I living in Maine, you ask?? Because it's beautiful all year 'round, snow be darned. I accept it and deal with it! We planted tulips all along some big boulders at the side of our driveway back in October so that'll give me something to keep looking for as spring nears.

This is probably enough rambling for this day. I've got a dish of lasagna in the oven that'll be ready soon. It's a traditional after Thanksgiving meal for when we're "turkey'd out". Tomorrow we'll be making turkey soup - one of my favorite things about the holiday! No recipe, just winging it. Hope it turns out well!

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as special. We all have lots to be thankful for.

Take good care,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a little Thanksgiving poem I penned this morning, feeling all festive and everything:

May your Thanksgiving turkey be golden and plump,
Your gravy like velvet with nary a lump;
May your apple pie dazzle them all at meal's end,
Have a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends!

That was fun! I saw a group of wild turkeys at the edge of our woods this morning that looked a lot like the fellow getting ready to peck at that pumpkin. Pretty brazen I thought, with Thanksgiving just a day away. I suppose they figure everyone's already gotten their holiday bird by now so it's safe to come back out!

I thought I'd share a favorite dessert recipe that I make every Thanksgiving. I love it because it's a make-ahead dish and I'm all about making whatever I can ahead! Once the mixture is in my 2-quart glass baking dish I cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until after the meal. Then, when everyone is ready for pie, coffee and other desserts I pop this in the microwave for 15 minutes - easy peasy! My son especially loves this and looks forward to it every year. Hope you enjoy it too!

Cranberry Apple Crisp

5 cups peeled & sliced apples
1-1/2 cups chopped cranberries
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ cup chopped nuts
Frozen yogurt, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)

In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, the 3 tbsp flour and cinnamon. Spoon into an ungreased 2-qt. microwave-safe casserole. In a small bowl combine rolled oats, brown sugar, the 1/3 cup flour, butter or margarine and nuts; mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the fruit. Microwave on HIGH 15-20 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from microwave carefully with oven mitts as dish will be VERY hot! Let cool as desired and top with frozen yogurt, ice cream or whipped cream.

Have a safe and happy holiday surrounded by those you love!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Results are in...

Well, I've begun sorting through the responses to my customer survey and what I've seen so far has really got my gears turning! As promised, I'll share the results over several posts starting here. There were over 570 responses! I've got a lot of reading to do with the write-in comments that most folks provided. So thank you again! For right now I'll share what my "composite customer" looks like.

You are mostly quilters - over 75% of you - with wool applique/penny rug makers coming in second, followed by cross-stitchers and rug hookers (virtually tied), needlepunchers fourth and a lot of various fiber arts you wrote in under "Other". Most of "Other" was knitting but you also do non-quilt-related sewing, some needlefelting and doll and craft making.

You are mostly at an advanced level of expertise in your favorite craft.

You shop mostly online from retailers who sell a variety of designer offerings and you also love to shop from vendors at quilt and rug hooking events - me too!

From a question dealing with what was most important to your online shopping such as variety of products, free shipping, frequent sales and a user-friendly web site, your overwhelming most important factor is shopping at a user-friendly web site. You weren't really swayed by shipping costs or even discounts. If we want something, we want it! Variety of products came in second.

Also, a sign of the times were comments I read over and over that said that you are digging deeper into your own stashes for projects and materials, therefore don't always require a "one stop" kind of shopping experience. You may have much of what you need for a project at home already.

Most respondents reside here in the Northeast with the Midwest coming in second. The rest of you are from all corners of the country with a fair amount of folks overseas too, especially Canada and "Down Under"!

That's enough to digest for this post. I want to study the "meat" of your detailed comments before I write more on this. After the holiday!

May your turkey be plump, your gravy with nary a lump and may you be surrounded by the warmth of family and friends this Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Information Gathering

Oh my gosh... Has it really been THAT LONG since I posted something here?? Egads! In all that time school started up again, my husband had a birthday and we took a vacation in the White Mtns of New Hampshire, I vended at a great new hook-in up here in Maine hosted by Camp Wool, Hallowe'en came and went as did Veteran's Day. How time (and crows) fly! And now Thanksgiving is this week...

I'm starting to think about 2010 these days and the direction I want to take.

So, last week I sent out a customer survey to get some feedback about buying habits and general information about what people are doing these days. The results have been very interesting and eye-opening, and I plan to share them in much more detail in the coming weeks. I'm also giving a 15% discount coupon good for an order placed after New Year's. Would you like to take the survey if you haven't already? There's a link on my What's New page where you can answer the seven questions and provide additional comments if you like. Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Thanksgiving will be busy for me with lots of family members coming north and south to converge on our house for the big meal. That meant this weekend was spent spit-shining the place as my mom and youngest brother have never seen our house yet. Tuesday and Wednesday will be baking nights with banana and cranberry breads made on Tuesday. Wednesday is traditionally "pie night" when I do my pumpkin and apple pies and try to prepare as much other stuff ahead as possible. Another dessert will be my "famous" apple-cranberry crisp and can be totally put together ahead in a nice glass baking dish and refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap until after the big meal. Then it's only a matter of microwaving it for about 15 minutes, break out the whipped cream and frozen yogurt and let 'em have at it! Oh, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it all! What are your traditional Thanksgiving preparations? Or are you dining out and letting someone else do all the work? That's fun too!

It continues to be a challenge working full-time and trying to maintain a web-based business and all that goes along with it, but I'm keeping my head above water for now. The coming weeks will be busy getting a hooked mat finished for a rug guild swap in mid-December as well as a craft fair at my work for which I committed to making some ornaments and needlepunched pins. Tough to get motivated after working all day and having to prepare a meal, clean up after and try to wind down from the day. Hopefully I can pull a rabbit out of my hat and get everything done so I can enjoy the final weeks leading up to Christmas! I'll post a picture of my little mat, a primitive tulip inspired by one on a needlepunched pincushion I bought from Betty Dekat (primitivebettys) on eBay a few years ago. It's great hooking practice for me but I hope it looks good enough for someone to want to swap at the guild party!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and I promise to be back again soon!