Sunday, October 21, 2012

Does Three Cat Night Crafts Still Live?

It's been three years since I sold on eBay as Three Cat Night Crafts.  This was once my all-consuming hobby (before photography) and I did pretty well as a seller.  I started doing paint and fabric crafts in 1992 and eventually branched out to almost exclusively silk flowers, wreaths especially.  Sold a tremendous amount of stuff at work, some local consignment shops and craft shows.  Sometimes I don't know how I did this working full-time but somehow I did it anyway. 

After selling my own handmade stuff on eBay for a while, I started selling a lot of "shabby chic" decorating items.  Around 2006, pink was a hot seller and I sold tons of pink items - sheets, towels, plates, teapots, you name it.  This is where I also first got the photography bug as I learned how to stage little "vignettes" to showcase my items with my trusty Olympus P&S.  I also became interested in html, working and re-working my purchased templates.

Around late 2008 it started costing me too much to sell on eBay because people had stopped buying due to the economy.  I still have a huge amount of silk flowers, paints, fabrics, plus shipping boxes, bubble wrap and tape.  Today I decided to look up my favorite sellers list on eBay, which I haven't even looked at for about two years and almost everyone has nothing for sale.  Probably have all gone to Etsy or like me, gave it up.  Although I did find one seller and she is still going at it.  Put a little spark in my brain!

I'm still registered with the State as a business.  Could it possibly happen?  I'm going to look more into this, my interest is piqued!

Pink Teapot - I sold on eBay in 2007 - Like my staged photo?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prayers for Little Bird

Today I had a doctor appointment in a large medical building not too far from home.  The building has large doors on each end that slide open automatically and open into a long lobby.  I walked into the building and immediately something came flying at me with a "swoosh".  I ducked and then saw several other people duck and saw the small bird flying around in a panic.  There are always a lot of birds outside as there are trees and bushes and he must have gotten in when the large doors opened and couldn't find his way out.

The lobby was full of people and everyone was trying to stay out of his way when he flew behind an artificial plant there in the lobby by some chairs right where I was standing.  A lady and I parted the plant and saw him there and then he took off again.  I wanted to get to the lobby doors to open them and started walking toward them when the little guy flew right into the glass and fell to the ground.  People all gathered around him asking if he was OK and it seemed like no one knew what to do.  I heard people say not to touch him but I couldn't just leave him there.  I threw my purse on the ground and got out a tissue and gently picked him up.  He was a pretty little thing with a yellow breast.  His wings appeared to be OK because nothing was at a weird angle but he wasn't moving. 

So I picked him up and gently carried him outside and laid him on the ground just inside a large bush.  A young girl followed me out and she wanted to prod him with a piece of mulch, but I asked her please not to touch him.  When I went back into the lobby people were all asking me if he was alright.  I told them that hopefully he was just knocked out and would wake up in a while, it seemed to make them feel better.

When I came out of the doctor's office about 45 minutes later, I checked on him and he was still laying there.  I still have hopes he will wake up.  Should I have done more?  I don't know.  Been feeling sad all morning now. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ode to My Glade Candle

I wrote this for my "Creative Writing" class assignment - Light a candle and write about how it makes you feel.  ~

It's early morning as I light the Glade candle on my computer desk.  It has previously burned halfway down and the flame flickers inside the milky glass, not quite reaching the top. The scent is apple cinnamon and that wonderful sweet smell suddenly transports me in my mind to a large apple orchard nearby.  How I would love to be there right now picking apples in the cool autumn air.  My favorite season!  A kaleidoscope of colors on the trees gently falling to the ground, hot apple cider and chilly nights.  Thinking of fall reminds me that I have to buy a gift for Mom's birthday in a few days.  The apple scent reminds me there's grocery shopping to be done and the sooty match is telling me there is a ton of housework waiting.  Suddenly those blissful thoughts of apple gathering are gone and reality jolts me back to the present.  So goodbye for now my lovely fruity friend, and perhaps we can meet again when the busy day is through.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's Not Too Late

This post may be therapeutic in a sense as I feel I have to put some thoughts down on paper (so to speak) about disappointments in my life and trying to overcome them.  When I was a young teenager and thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life I had some big ideas as most kids do.  In the mid to late 60's a large majority of women did not go to college.  They finished high school, got married and had children, and that was a decision that many women made.  A lot of women who did work had part-time low paying jobs at the local grocery or drug stores.  But it was also the beginning of the so called "women's liberation" movement when women were exploring beyond traditional roles and finding out they could survive and thrive in corporate worlds and actually make a living doing so, becoming independent and looking at marriage as a choice and not a necessity.  I really didn't know what I wanted yet, but even at a young age I knew I didn't want to be a housewife and I admired women who had goals beyond the home and wanted a career. Continuing your education after high school was the first step to getting there.

In those mid 60's years, I started to dream about going to college.  As I always loved English and taking photos, I would daydream about what it would be like to be a photojournalist.  I loved looking through Life magazine and thinking how great it would be to travel the world reporting and bringing the news to life with pictures.  Things were a little different back then and student loans really weren't something that was available.  Most kids who went to college worked part-time jobs while their parents paid the majority of the bills because they had saved up for years so their kids would be the first in their family to get a degree.  Many parents re-mortgaged their homes in order to obtain college money for their kids.  My step-dad would never, never, ever approve any loans being taken out in my parents' names or mine.  I was told there was no college money for me and since my older sister had taken some secretarial classes in school, Mom advised me to go that path also as I could get a respectable job with those skills and if I wanted to take some college courses later I could pay for them myself.

So I took what was called the "secretarial course" in high school which included typing, shorthand, bookkeeping, key-punch operating and very little math, no language or science and a very limited choice of electives.  In hind-sight, this was a really bad path to take as far as getting a decent education as all I really learned was how to do manual labor in a sense.  However, I actually did enjoy my secretarial classes and even got to take the civil service exam in the high school cafeteria and got a fairly high score on it.  When I graduated I got a letter from from the Federal Government to come in for an interview and at that time wasn't at all sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to work but Mom told me I had to make a decision so I went for the interview and, as they say, the rest is history.  I started my job with the Federal Government in September 1970 at the tender age of 17 as a clerk/stenographer and proceeded on a 40-year career for which I am very grateful.  So, the deficient secretarial course got me in the door of the Federal Government and from there it was up to me to decide how ambitious I wanted to be.  With all the opportunities for training that the government offers for a wide variety of jobs it is really one's ambition or lack thereof that determines how far one can go.  After spending 12 years as a secretary, I branched out to being a claims technical examiner, a job which I really enjoyed, and after 40 years was able to retire happily in 2010 at the age of 58 with an annuity I can live on and have enough money to travel and pursue my hobbies.  Not bad. 

So you'd think that my "sadly lacking education" should be long forgotten, however, it is such a part of me that it's hard to forget.  In my early 20's and not long out of high school, I decided to read a lot of the "classic" novels like the Ernest Hemingways and John Steinbecks and Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald and after that Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton novels and mysteries and spy novels about World War II and the Cold War and on and on.  Since I had never even studied World History in school, these novels amazed me with their wealth of information about things way beyond my little scope of knowledge.  (Who could not love A Farewell to Arms or For Whom the Bell Tolls or East of Eden?)  I have always been an avid reader which is what keeps my interest in learning going.  I started learning things that I had not learned in school through reading and educating myself.  I've even learned how an autopsy is performed, thanks to Patricia Cornwell (although math still lags way behind, LOL).

During my early working years, I had a feeling a low self esteem which had persisted since high school.  However, as I spent more time around fellow workers, I realized I really was not a "dummy."  A little encouragement from different people in both my work and personal life helped move me along to having a much better opinion of myself and what I thought I could accomplish.  In those 40+ years since high school, what I have accomplished is "self-education" through reading, continuing education courses and just life in general.  Somewhere along the road, I could have decided to go to college and pursue that dream of a degree (and I much admire people who do this while holding down a full-time job) but life got in the way and it didn't happen.

My little blog has become my place to journal and post photos so I am finally fulfilling my teenage dream.  Perhaps in a much smaller way than what could have been but at this point in my life, it's something that makes me happy.  I am learning all I can about photography and plan on taking continuing education courses to help me become a better writer.  If I had not taken the lousy secretarial course I would not have gotten my government job.  If I had not gotten my government job and remained there for 40 years, I most likely would not have been able to retire at the young age that I did (as far as retirements go) and be able to do what I am doing now.  As far as some great moral of the story, I really don't know what that would be except that you have to do for yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.  If there is something that you want, you have try to go for it.  If you want to "have it all" then that is what you should do.

I never had "it all" but I do feel what I have had has been pretty good and hopefully will keep on being that way.   I gave up my dream of going to college but not about my own continuing education - I never want to stop learning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Diners, Drive-ins and Dinner


A few weeks ago I was watching reruns of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with that slightly wacky but always entertaining Food Network star Guy Fieri.  Back in 2008, he and his pretty red camaro went to a place known for their seafood specialties (Baltimorons call this a crab joint) not far from where I live called the Stoney Creek Inn.  Well, I figured if this place was good enough to be on Guy's TV show, it had to be something special so one recent evening a friend and I decided to try it.  (Puzzled as to how I had missed this when it first came on as I watch it a lot.)

From the outside, this place definitely fits into the dive category.  It sits off the main road right next to a marina on Stoney Creek, not far from the Chesapeake Bay.  Looks like a little dumpy bar with neon beer signs in the window and at first glance, really not much better on the inside.  It was pretty small and where they seated us obviously used to be some kind of porch, now closed in with cinder block and formstone on the walls.  But, after looking around, even though it was small it was clean and homey looking.  They had a large outside area with picnic tables that is probably used for steamed crab eating that had a nice view of the marina.

We had a wonderful appetizer called shrimp and crab toast, which was lump crab and shrimp on a sub roll with cheddar cheese on top.  Then I had a crab cake, baked potato and corn on the cob.  Great crab cake, nicely seasoned and big pieces of lump crab.  It was an excellent dinner, a little expensive, but seafood always is and it was large enough to bring some home.  Wish I had room for dessert because they had some homemade ice cream on the menu that really sounded good.  So I have to agree with Guy, what might look like a dive on the outside could really be quite the gem.  You just have to go in and find out for yourself.





Monday, July 16, 2012

Bucket Lists and Fallingwater

One of the things on my bucket list was a visit to Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece in Mill Run PA on the Youghiogheny River.  So on July 5 I finally visited after trying once a few years ago and being turned away because we had no reservation.  It appears at that time we got bad information at the gate because for $8.00 and no reservation you can do a self-guided grounds tour.  You can actually walk right up to the house, you just can't go in!  Wish I had known this 4 years ago.  I really would like to go back someday and see the inside of the house.  I think this would probably have to be in the Fall because as spectacular as it looked in summer, I can imagine that seeing it in the Fall would be awesome.






Wikipedia has a nice write-up all about the design and building of Fallingwater.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Finding This Great Bakery Was No Accident


On my recent vacation to Deep Creek Lake, I found this lovely little bakery named the Mountain Flour Baking Co. in the town of Accident, Maryland.  Accident is a small town in Garrett County which, according to Wikipedia, has a population of 353 as of the 2000 census.  Wiki also says that residents of the town are called "Accidentals" which I didn't know.  I have traveled through this town many times as a kid visiting my Mom's hometown of Kitzmiller and it's name always made me giggle but I knew when we got to Accident we weren't far from Grandma's. 

Anyway, back to the bakery.  I stopped by this place because I had a craving for some sweets.  You definitely can't miss it since it is right on Main Street, has a large "OPEN" sign and is flying a large flag outside.  So everytime we drove up Rt 219 going somewhere we would pass it and my cravings were getting stronger each time. 

The bakery is small inside but offered some large temptations.  I pulled out my camera and began to photograph some yummy looking cookies.  People look at me funny sometimes, but hey, I take my camera everywhere especially when there is food involved.  I was greeted by a nice lady behind the counter named Bird.  She told me the bakery is under new ownership and gave me a flyer with all their items on it.  I was quite surprised to find out that they even have artisan breads which are right up my alley but I never expected to find this far west of Whole Foods or Wegmans territory.  They offer a ton of different cakes, cupcakes, brownies, bagels, donuts, cheesecakes, bread pudding and much more, Oh My!  She even brought out a fabulous fresh-baked cherry pie while I was there which looked so heavenly.  Their website also says that they feature beautiful wedding cakes made by owner Christine Cornish Lewis.

I tried a few things, one of which was this fantastic peanut butter ball covered in chocolate (better than Reese's), some nice soft chewy chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles and an apple fritter so good like the ones at the Amish farmers markets in Lancaster PA.  I was there a little late in the day and sadly the cupcakes and a lot of the pastries were almost sold out and I do regret that I didn't have a chance to stop there again before leaving Deep Creek.

I wish the Mountain Flour Baking Co. a whole lot of success with their business because I sure do want to stop in there again and try some of those cupcakes that I missed and get a big box of those peanut butter balls to take home because I haven't seen anything like them around Baltimore.  Keep up the great baking and I will see you on my next trip to the mountains!

http://www.mountainflourbakery.com/