Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy New Year ( a little late)

It's finally 2012 and I hope that my year from Hell is finally over.  Splitting my a time between Western Mass. & Southbridge took a toll on my health.  I really couldn't maintain any kind of normalcy here and spent way too much time dealing with social services, paperwork, insurance companies, etc. Am now taking blood pressure meds:(   I got some great help from Elderly Services when a counselor helped me through a 19 page application for VA survivor benefits for Mom.  The application was sent out in early April and I was told I would hear in approximately 90 days.  It's been 9 months, Mom has passed,  & I've gotten 3 letters from them saying they still hadn't made a decision.  I was told that I shouldn't inform them of Mom's death until I get a decision as it would just create confusion and more paperwork.

So far, 2 weeks into 2012, all is well.   Though last year started out pretty decent too.  It didn't take a bad turn until late February.  Well, I have big hopes for this year--and some big plans.

To Recap--
I spent a lot of time with Mom so I did fewer craft shows last year and made less money at the ones I did attend.  Bad economy?  Well I hope that's all it was but we'll see how this years works out.

At the end of the year I was asked to participate in a holiday market in the center of Greenfield--a shop set up just until Christmas.  The Pushkin Gallery turned out to be a great venue as I was asked twice to bring in more stock.  I don't really have time to create new pieces during that time of year but I did the best I could.  Sales there somewhat made up for losses during the rest of the year.  I also have some items at the Daylily here in town and, while not booming, sales are steady.

I did lots of cooking and baking as both Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve was at our house.  We had a houseful at Thanksgiving and my youngest daughter drove up from Virginia.  Christmas was quiet, fewer people, missed Mom, and we ended up at the movies on Christmas day watching the Muppets.

Mom's house is still not on the market and I continue to drive to Southbridge more often than I'd like.  We had the floors refinished, the back porch rebuilt, a new bathtub surround installed, some sheet rock repaired, and work done in the basement.  The people who did that work found some plumbing issues that they said needed to be addressed.  A plumber is scheduled for this coming week.   Still need to get the building inspector in and Hubby and I plan to spend a couple of weekends painting 2 or 3 rooms.  I hope to get it listed by the end of February.

On the Positive Side--
It's now January, I've already applied to 6 shows, and have so far gotten into 3 of them.  Woo Hoo!  It's also the only time of year when I can spend large blocks of quality time creating jewelry. I have some new skills--riveting and soldering.  So I made some new steampunk pieces the first week of January.  And this past week I finally opened up my new shipment of silver clay. Made a few pendants and earrings.  But I'm most proud that I successfully set a triangular cabochon of rainbow silica.  Another woo hoo!!

But the best news is that yesterday I purchased tickets for a flight to Paris.  I said that after I retired I would travel and I will finally start this spring.  My oldest daughter & I have a hotel room in the Latin Quarter close to many of the traditional tourist sights.  But we also have a list of 2nd hand shops where we'll look for couture on the cheap.  We're also planning to go to the largest of the the Paris flea markets--Les Puces--to look for some unique findings that we can use in our steampunk designs.  We go shopping every year to NYC.  Maybe we can add Paris to our yearly itinerary.

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