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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

With the Canadian dollar worth alot less than it was a year ago, (when it was on par with the US dollar) I have decided that I need to try and buy more of my supplies here in Canada. I will always have my favourite lampwork artists that I purchase fabulous beads from, and some of those are in the USA, but as for some of the more basic supplies, I need to purchase more here at home, to keep my costs down and my jewelry affordable. The cost of shipping, and duty charges, along with our lower dollar, was starting to hurt! The problem is, I find it extremely difficult to find good quality, interesting and unique items here in Canada. I am very picky, and we just don't have the selection available to us that our American neighbours have. Many, many hours have been logged in at this computer searching the internet for a quality Canadian suppliers that offer good wholesale prices, and I have only found a small handful of good sites. I have one that I have been ordering from for a couple of years now, and I am very pleased with the product, prices and service of this company, Bamiyan Silver, which specializes in silver, Bali silver and gemstones, as well as Swarovski crystals. Yesterday, I came across another site, which seems to be very promising...Stones and Findings, located in Toronto, had some unique precious metal findings, as well as gemstones and pearls . After I placed my order online, one of their reresentatives called me for my credit card number, and was very helpful, offering replacement suggestions for a couple of items that were sold out. She also told me that she would add in some free samples of pearls and gemstones to my order! My order would ship out today, and I should have it within a few days. Normally I wait 2 to 3 weeks for packages from the States, so it is always exciting to get supplies sooner than later. So it seems like there is great customer service at this company, which means alot to me, as it is so rare these days! So to all jewelry designers and beaders here in Canada, as well as those reading from other countries I will leave you this year with a few favourite Canadian bead suppliers sites to browse on New Years Day.....have a good one, and see ya'll next year!!!

www.stonesandfindings.com (gemstones, pearls, silver,gold and metal findings)
www.bamiyansilver.com (wholesale, silver, gemstones,Swarovski)
www.beadfx.com (Czech glass, seed beads, metal and silver findings)
www.theringlord.com (wire, jumprings, chainmail supplies)
www.titanbeads.com ( Smaller site but some interesting finds. Ugandan beads, copper, glass, semi precious, wood etc.)


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hockey time in Canada




I hope all of you had a wonderful time over the holidays! Every winter my husband builds a skating rink in our back yard, and we enjoy some family friendly hockey games over the Christmas holidays. This year it had been too cold to get out and skate, however the weather finally warmed up on Christmas Eve, and we were able to get outside in the afternoon for some excercise, and burn off some of those Christmas goodies we had been partaking in! Here is my husband, son and eldest grandaughter enjoying some hockey. Oh yes, I had my skates on, and I was playing and scoring goals too!
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Just wanted to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all enjoy special time with your family and loved ones, stay warm to those of you, who like me are deep in snow and frigid temperatures, and I hope Santa is good to you all! I will catch up with you again in a few days.
Susan
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Maui dreamin', on such a winters' day!

It is still very cold, and there is alot of snow that has fallen recently here. So thought you might like to see what I see as I look out my back window. Here is where I am.....

and here is where I wish I could be.....


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Monday, December 15, 2008

Keeping warm and decorating cookies!

Over the last few days, we have been in the middle of a deep freeze. Many of you, in other parts of the world will never experience the type of weather we are now having here in western Canada. Today was minus 35 degrees celcius, which for those of you who measure your air temperature in fahrenheit, it is the same as minus 31 F! It is supposed to stay cold all week, but not quite as cold as today. It won't stay like this for too long, usually within a week to 10 days it gets back to normal winter temperatures which are not quite so severe. In the summer it can be plus 35 degrees, celcius or 95 F. So you can see there is quite an extreme range from winter to summer. Anyhow, because of the cold weather, my sons' school was closed today, so we wrapped presents and made chocolate fudge. Yesterday all the kids were here, as well as my eldest grandaughter and we spent the afternoon in our warm house decorating sugar cookies.
All you need for this fun filled activity for all ages is:

Prebaked sugar cookies, (we baked ours earlier that morning). Icing in several colors, and sprinkles, colored sugar, small candies etc. for decorating, some spreaders or small spatulas for spreading the icing on the cookies, and toothpicks for detailed areas. Also if you have fancy icing cake decorating tools that's a bonus.



Add some eager participants..................
Lots of creativity....




and voila!!!!!!



Yum!!

Oh, yeah...and while we were having fun doing that, my husband was doing this!



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Friday, December 12, 2008

New in my shop



A few more goodies recently listed in my shop. The necklace, "Hey Jealousy", is a new design, that is simple and contemporary and features 3 pendants on gold filled chain. A wonderful Venetian glass heart, a rare, vintage opaque Swarovski crystal in a cool apple green color, and a smaller, contemporary Swarovski crystal in Erinite green. Available in my Etsy store for $55.00 USD


The bracelet, "Modern Love" is not new, but co- ordinates nicely with the necklace. This bracelet features the same kind of Venetian heart bead as the necklace, some cube shaped Swarovski crystals, artisan lampwork beads and a 14K gold clasp.Listed at $60.00 USD


Keeping with the green theme, is "Rocky Mountain Way" combining pretty Peruvian opal stones, green opal stones, sterling silver beads, vintage topaz Swarovski crystals, and contemporary Swarovski crystals in one of the newer colors called Opal. This one goes for $90.00 USD. Please check my Etsy store for more one of a kind designs, made with top quality materials!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

My first award!





Ooooooh....my first award!!! I am so excited! This Butterfly Award, for the coolest blog ever, was sent to me by Crafts and Cooking , who is all the way over in India! If you enjoy Indian food, which I do, she has some fabulous recipes on her blog. I also enjoy seeing images from another part of the world, and really enjoyed her post and photos about her day in Dilli Hat. So thank you, Swapna I am honoured that you enjoy my blog!


Here are the rules to accept the award:


Put the logo on your blog
Add a link to the person who awarded you
Nominate outstanding blogs that you follow
Add links to those blogs
Leave a message to those nominees on their blog


I picked 10 of my faves and there are many more, but thought I better limit the number. So, in no particular order my nominees are:


Tialey Vintage- fabulous vintage finds


Triz Designs- jewelry to drool over!


Twenty Pound Tabby- wonderful fabric crafts, and the most adorable ornaments ever!

Thyme2dream-beautiful tiaras, earcuffs and more!


Artistic Flair-gorgeous and very cool fused glass. Check out her Twelve Days of Etsy!


ChatElaine- British jewelry designer and lampwork artist ( on the cover of this months Beads and Beyond magazine)


Paintings in Watercolor-stunning watercolor art by Linda Hammelman


Altered Events- Beautiful and romantic hair clips, chokers, tiaras and weddding accessories


Beaded Tail- this blog is like a daily dose of sunshine...it always makes me smile!

Sweetwater Designs- Lampwork bead artist and fellow Canadian!






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A sparkling Christmas


We went out this past weekend and picked up our Christmas tree, a fabulous fresh balsam fir that stands a majestic 9 feet tall! It is lovely and fragrant and smells like Christmas should. Yesterday I finally got around to decorating it, and it turned out great, all sparkling in silver, white, red and gold, very festive. It snowed alot here on the weekend, about 30cm, so everything outside is covered in a thick blanket of snow and looking very Christmasy! I am also posting a photo of one of the bracelets in my Etsy shop, called "Montego Bay", which has similiar colors to my tree, and also is very sparkly, with 40 genuine Swarovski crystals, 6 of them being vintage ones. Also the dichroic glass heart in this bracelet is breathtaking, and the photos cannot capture how delicious this Venetian glass heart really is. Pin It

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Off with her hea........................

Last night my husband and I were watching one our favourite shows, The Tudors. For those of you who are not familier with The Tudors, it is a series based on the life of King Henry the eighth and of course his six wives. Now this isn't your typical dry documentry on history, no...this is full of deciept, manipulation, adultry, wickedness and sordid sex! And this isn't just any episode of he Tudors, this is the season finale! We have watched the beautiful but selfish, Anne Boleyn, Henrys' second wife, over this past season and her fate is now imminent, she is about to be beheaded for treason, or in other words having illicet affairs with several men while married to Henry...who is by the way is extremely sexy but evil, on this show, I might add! She has walked up to the platform, where she is to be beheaded,with weeping ladies in waiting behind her, she has made her speech, said her prayers and handed a pouch of money to the swordsman who is about to do the deed. Her jewelry is removed, and she looks up to the sky and sees the birds and........................what the....????? The TV goes black, all the lights in the house are out and we are having a POWER FAILURE!!!!! I cannot believe the timing, just 2 or 3 more minutes, and we would have seen it all. Now I have to see if I can find it somewhere online to watch it. Pin It

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Childrens Designs








Today I taught a class of grade 3 and 4 students how to make bracelets. As I arrived, their teacher had them all on the computers looking at my website to see the type of jewelry that I made. They were all so enthusiastic, about having this opportunity to create their own piece of jewelry, and it went really well! Even the boys in the class thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In fact the last 3 bracelets shown here at the bottom, were all created by little boys! Unbelievable! They were making a bracelet to give to a special person in their lives, so the lucky recipients were mostly moms, grandmas and sisters, although one little boy decided that his creation was for his Webkinz toy.There was great excitement as they selected their beads for their bracelet, and it was interesting to see the designs that they came up with. One girl was inspired by the sky and the earth, another by summer, and a boys' inspiration was a volcano! After they had completed their projects, their teacher had them think of a name for their bracelets and each child had to write an explanation about who their bracelet was for, why they chose that name for their design. It was alot of fun, and the kids were all so great and well behaved!
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Music Monday-Happy Christmas, John Lennon




As we are entering this Christmas season of goodwill and peace on earth, let us not forget those who are living in countries that are not so peaceful as ours. Three more Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Friday.Will there ever be be a day when war is over?

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The big five 0

So you were probably wondering what occasion it was that my friends and I were celebrating last weekend. So I thought I should let my readers in on this milestone event, that takes place on the anniversary day of the bombing of Pearl Harbour, so I will let you figure out what date that is. It's almost here, just one more day, and there is nothing I can do to stop it! I am turning 50...there I said it! I cetainly don't feel 50, more like... 35. I am very happy with myself and my life! I am in good company as Madonna, Sharon Stone, Annette Benning, Michele Pfieffer, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Ellen Degeneres also turned 50 in 2008. Apparently, Lego, and the Gibson guitar also are 50 years old as well this year. Cool!!

Here is an interesting quote by Charles Dickens, that I think explains how many of us feel as we get older, and yet in many ways, still feel our youth, as I hope to continue to feel in the coming years:



Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life. ~Charles Dickens



Ok, so I don't have a grey head...I was at the salon last week getting my color refreshed, and I try not to look too hard for the wrinkles of time! But you get the idea. So having my friends celebrate with me last weekend, really took the edge off of this big huge birthday, and now I don't feel quite so bad entering my fifties...eeek, I said it again! Pin It

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Teaching kids

Next Tuesday, I am teaching a class of 22 grade 3 students how to make a simple one strand beaded bracelet. This is a first for me, so I am making sure that I am very prepared, and hope that everything goes smoothly...but with young children you never know! I have purchased all the supplies that I need, and have sorted the beads into colors in bead boxes. I have glass, stone and wood beads in several colors and sizes. I also plan on precutting the bead wire into 10 inch lengths, to speed the process along. I am going to give them a quick talk on design and pattern, using color, shape, texture, balance etc. and I also plan on discussing some ideas for inspiration to get them thinking about their own designs. I am going to bring in a few of my bracelets, some pictures of my jewelry, as well as magazines for them to look at. Then they will gather the beads for their project on a paper plate, and play with their patterns on their bead boards until they are satisfied with their bracelets. At that point I will help them attatch the clasp and I will crimp the crimp beads for them. I also have a handout on making a bracelet, for each child to take home, should they wish to try this again at a later date with Mom or Dad. I hope that I haven't forgotton anything! If any of you wonderful jewelry designers or crafters out there have any tips, I would be very happy to hear them! Pin It

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Little pieces of the past







Things are pretty slow in my Etsy shop these days, I have found that my Christmas craft
shows have been very successful this season, whereas selling online has come to a complete halt. So here are some basic but very pretty bracelets that I am listing in my Etsy store later today, and to my blog readers only I am offering free shipping to Canada and the USA on anything in my shop until Dec.15. Just send me a convo through my Etsy store, that you read about free shipping on my blog and the shipping prices will be adjusted. These bracelets, are reasonably priced, for gift giving or party wearing. All three have some fabulous vintage beads combined with contemporary beads for an eclectic look. The flower on the black and pearl bracelet ("Dance the Night Away") is a fabulous vintage rhinestone, rhodium plated clasp probably from the 50's, and there are a couple of stunning vintage Swarovski crystals in that one as well. The bracelet that is completely silver("Heavy Metal"), combines ornate Bali beads, with some huge, rare, sparkling, vintage Swarovski, disco ball style beads. The feminine bracelet in pink, white and green ("Linger"), has some adorable vintage lucite beads in a pretty apple green color. "Dance the Night Away" and "Linger" will be listed at $52.00 USD, and "Heavy Metal" at $75.00 USD.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life is so short


The weekend with my dear friends was wonderful. We laughed so much on Saturday night that our faces and stomachs ached! All together, there were there were four couples, and all of us have been the best of friends for between 24 and 27 years. It was a fantastic celebration. Here is a picture of the four gals taken early in the evening, before things got crazy! That's me second from the left.
Everyone spent the night, so no one had to worry about driving home and we all had breakfast together the next morning. Shortly after breakfast, one of the guys, who has been a very close friend, (as well as his own family being like family to me) recieved some devastating news...his sister had been admitted to the hospital and had passed away the previous night. She was only a few years older than us. It was such a shock to us all, and the worst thing was that he and his wife, had to now leave, and deliver the awful news to his parents. After their departure, those of us remaining, and now in a very somber mood, discussed life, and how you have to make the most of your time here, with the people that you love.... because one day we are here, and the next day we can be gone. Life is so short, and I am so glad to have such wonderful friends and family to share it with. Today, go tell someone you love, how much they mean to you.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Best friends forever!




Today my friend Heather, and her husband are coming over from Vancouver Island to spend the weekend with us. Both her and her husband have been my best friends for about 27 years. They moved away to British Columbia in 1991, and we have still kept in touch, and visited each other often. They have come all this way to celebrate with me, and my husband and two other couples that also have been extremely good friends for close to 30 years! More about the reason that we are celebrating later, and maybe some pics if you are lucky! Meanwhile here are some photos of my friend Heather and myself, one taken in the mid 1980's, and one taken this past summer...please ignore my curly hair in this pic, we had just got back from the beach!
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Shipping!

I would like to wish our neighbours to the south of us a very Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your time with your loved ones and may your tables be filled with all things yummy!As it is colder here in Canada, we need to fatten up earlier than our American friends, so we already had our big Thanksgiving feast in October! I will have free shipping (yay!!) to the USA and Canada only, on all my items in my Etsy store on Thursday and Friday Nov.27 and 28. Pin It

If first you don't succeed.....

My open house on Sunday was a success! I did not have as many people show up as I had hoped for, however everyone who did bought something so it turned into a profitable day. Yesterday, as I was reading some blogs of other artists and designers, I discovered some have not been as lucky with their Christmas craft shows and open house events, and I know how discouraging that can be. Lets face it, I am sure that every artist and crafter out there has had at least one "dud" show.....I know I have! It is so discouraging, when you put your heart and soul into something, all the anticipation and hard work and expense that goes into your craft and then no one buys your things! Sometimes you feel like giving up. The important thing is to NOT give up! Try to analyze why this event did not work for you this time, and turn it around for the next show. Here are some things you may want to look at, if you had an unsuccessful show:

1. Was it the right venue...did your product fit in well with the show, as far as price, and the type of customer that the event attracted? (Who is your target market?)
2.Is your product priced right? Now that doesn't mean priced too low...people will pay for quality work. Don't undercut your prices.
3. Are your designs fresh, unique, and up to date with the trends? If you sell jewelry, how do you set yourself apart from the other jewelry sellers?
4. Is your display table or booth interesting? Do you have your items displayed on different levels, a flat display is boring! Does your display compliment your merchandise? Do you have good lighting? You need to invest a substantial amount of time getting your display right!
5.How much advertising was done? Send out flyers in the mail or email, to all your clients, neighbours, friends and tell them when and where your show is.
6. If you are having a sale in your home, what can you do to bring people to your house? I offered a discount coupon to all my customers on my mailing list, and a free pair of earrings to the first 10 customers that came to my open house. It was a small cost to me, but really paid off when everyone who came out purchased.
7.Build towards the next sale by having a book for customers to leave their name and contact information, so that you can let them know when you have new items, sales, shows etc. Hand out your business cards.
8. Network with fellow artists, to find out about other local art shows , and which ones are worth getting involved in.
9.Keep smiling, and keep faith.and hope you have better luck next time...no one said this was easy!!! Pin It

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music Monday-Led Zeppelin

Last week, on Thyme2dreams' blog, she had a video of Led Zeppelin, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So today I thought I would feature some Zeppelin right here on myown blog. I chose the song, Immigrant Song, as it has been my ring tone on my cell phone for the past year. Apparently this video is from 1972, lots of hair, and some great rock n, roll.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hot Rocks Open House

This Sunday is my Christmas open house. Some of you may know that I live in the country, about 30 minutes west of the big city, Calgary. So to get people to actually want to drive out here and attend my sale, I have to be creative...and then pray for good weather (no winter storms)! A few weeks ago I sent all the people on my client list a news letter regarding this event, and let them know all of the fun things that will take place on the day of my open house this year. First of all if you are one of the first 10 people to show up, you get a free pair of sterling silver earrings! Second, in my news letter, were 2 coupons, one for the recipient and one for a friend, for $10.00 off any regular priced item over $65.00. Thirdly, there will be a draw to win a bracelet, that anyone who attends can enter. Finally, I will also have a selection of merchandise on sale for up to 30% off. All this, as well as a great selection of new designs. I advertised in the local newsletter, on the community bulliten boards, spread the word verbally and I will have road signs in my area.If you live in my area and would like to come, please contact me for directions to my home. I am hoping for a decent turnout....and so far the weather forcast looks good! Pin It

Monday, November 17, 2008

CHristmas art show update







The Christmas art and craft show that I was in this past weekend was great! I slightly surpassed my personal goal for sales, got a few custom orders,got a lead for a big festival in the Spring, and handed out a whole pile of business cards...I ran out on Sunday at 4:00pm and had to resort to scribbling down my website on lined paper! It didn't hurt that I was the first table that you saw when you walked through the doors either! I certainly got lucky there. I raised $95.00 for Beads for Life, with my silent auction, so I was quite pleased with that. Here are some pictures of my table...Betty and Lucy, my redhead mannequins really worked hard this past weekend!
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Music Monday- Annie Lennox

The art and craft sale that I was involved in over the weekend was a success! One of the pieces that I sold, was the new bracelet, named "Walking on Broken Glass". You couldn't turn on the radio, back in the '80's without hearing Annie Lennox' voice! She was, and is still amazing! I don't know how old she is but she looks fantastic. Here she is performing in 2005.. Have a great Monday.


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sneak a Peak on my show items!







Here is a preview on a few items in my booth for the big Christmas art and craft sale starting tomorrow. I am really excited about the necklace as it was a labour of love for quite some time. I finally finished it, and the title is... "Bleeding Love", with focal bead by Rebecca Werner. As well I have a bracelet titled "Walking on Broken Glass",with some fabulous lampwork lentils, and the purple charm bracelet is "Lady Marmalade"..no it isn't a marmalade color, but it felt very French, bijoux, to me, and if you know the song, you will understand the title.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Getting ready for the big show

Well I am back after a few wonderful days of well needed R&R, on Vancouver Island. I did manage to drop a few entrecards while I was away, and it was a real joy to experience high speed internet while I was doing that! Now it's back to some serious work, as I have a big Christmas art show that I am in that starts on Friday and runs through till Sunday. So I have alot of items to pack up and I would like to get a few more earrings made up as well.I am also excited about the silent auction that will be held in my booth for the necklace made with Ugandan beads. I hope to raise a decent amount of money to send to the women of Uganda. I will certainly let you know how it all turns out! Pin It

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New creations to keep you entertained







I am going to be away for a few days as, we are heading out to our little getaway place on Vancouver Island, off of Canadas' west coast. So I hope to be inspired by all things west coasty...ocean, beaches, big trees, eagles, whales etc! In the meantime enjoy these new wire wrapped bracelets. See you in a week.
Oh ...the names are from top to bottom:"Summer Breeze", (Seals & Crofts) "Cowgirl in the Sand" (Neil Young) and "Salt of the Earth" (Rolling Stones), all classics!
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Hollywood Nights-new necklace







Awhile ago, I got my hands in this gorgeous vintage rhinestone pendant, full of sparkle and loads of bling, and I thought that this would be a great piece to design a necklace around for the holidays. Perfect with that little black dress for a Christmas party, or New Years Eve...you are guaranteed to turn heads with this focal piece! I used garnets, A couple of vintage Swarovski crystals as well as lots contemporary ones, Swarovski pearls and quartz crystal. Guess what was playing on the radio as I worked on this creation? Hollywood Nights, by Bob Seger... and so the necklace was named!
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Music Monday-Never Ending White Lights

Who says angels are not real? A great video and awesome song about a tailor repairing an angels' wings and how they fall in love. The song is called "The Grace".

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween







My husband, two of the kids and I, carved these pumpkins that will line our long and winding driveway through the spooky trees to our house tonight. It is an annual tradition, and it is always fun to see what characters we end up with. The one with the glasses is the Mad Scientist! These are two of my crazy kids posing with the Jack-o-lanterns. Have a happy, fun and safe Halloween!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Halloween goodness!




My sons' class is having their Halloween party at


school today because tomorrow they have the day off.


So here is the tray I took to the classroom this morning for their party.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Week







My son and I decorated for Halloween at the front of our house this past weekend. We now have a spooky graveyard!
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