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Living Graciously, Artfully, Frugally.

Consciously taking notice of the gifts each day places in our path.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” R. W. Emerson

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Painted Vintage China Cabinet and Thoughts on Dark and Light

Chiaroscuro.
Light-dark.
I finished painting my thrifted china cabinet just in time for Thanksgiving.
Early morning sunlight doesn't show the painted finish to best advantage.
But the light and shadows were so indicative of my thoughts lately, that I snapped away.



This year's preamble to the Christmas season has me disappointed.
Really more ashamed.
Ashamed at the behavior of fellow citizens...
ashamed of the rampant consumerism that has replaced the season of giving with the season of greed...
ashamed of the retailers who somehow found it necessary to open on Thanksgiving...
ashamed of what we have done to the most beautiful time of the year.
Appalled.
Disgusted.
Done.


I love the celebration of Christ's birth and the beauty of the winter season and 
yes, the pretty lights and decorations as well.
However, we have gone too far.
Time to reel it in. 
It has been a long time coming.
The lightness is turning dark and we need to stop.
Each in our own way we are feeling the tug of wrongness in our hearts.
Let's join together in counting our blessings.


Most of us have enough.
More than enough things and gadgets and trinkets than we shall ever need.
Shamefully rich in the amount of things we own.
Don't allow the advertisers to tell you what you should have next.
Turn off the ads, the distractions, the frenzy.
What we do lack is peace.
Peace is what this season should be about.
Peaceful homes, peaceful hearts...
stillness.


I understand the need to keep the economy moving,
The jobs are needed,
but unless we voice our disapproval I see more darkness down the road.
Let's try to be kind, and polite and...
peaceful...
in all our dealings this season.
Buy from your neighbors, grow your local economy,
make the big guys take notice.
We have created a monster and it is up to us to tame that beast.
Make a list of those retailers that opened on Thanksgiving and don't give them your business.
There are plenty who did the right thing.


Make gifts, recycle, paint, create...
peaceful.
Take stock of what is a want versus a need.
Dwindle that gift list and be content.
I know that you, my friends, have the same thoughts and feelings.
That is why I come here most days.
To visit, to share...
to find peace.


Giving is indeed a part of this season.
Delight in giving a well thought out gift.
Skip the gift certificates, the pre-wrapped toiletries and latest electronic gadgets.
Maybe it will be hard at first but do you feel the need for a return to less as well?


Let's close the door on this riot of wants and take time to savor each moment of the season.
Peace and stillness and quiet contemplation of Christmas are my wishes this year.
Oh yes, and some peace for all of you my friends.

Yours in abundance, P.

PS
In pursuit of a bit of peace I am following my best and longest blogging friend Debbie and
 turning off my comments.
We all need more time.
So feel free to come and read and then be off.
No pressure.
If you want to chat more you can visit me on Facebook or send me an email.
Thanks for sharing in this wonderful Blog World.



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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving.


Blessings


From Frippery Farmhouse


To your house.


Let the feasting begin!


Yours in thanks giving for all the riches we have around us.
Friends and family.
A roof over our heads.
Food and drink.
People to share it with.

Happy Thanksgiving, P.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Winner!


I suppose this give away was not for everyone.
Digital scrapbooking is new to me as well.
I am having fun with it and I hope the winner of my Give Away...
Debby of Cozy Blanket...
will agree.
Congrats Debby! 

Sorry I was so late in announcing.
There have been a whirlwind of changes going on here at Frippery Farmhouse.
Holiday prep and some rearranging, both of the house and of life in general.


The leaves have bid farewell for the season.
We will gather to give thanks for the many blessings we share.
We will be like the woodland creatures...
fluffing our nests
tidying up
taking stock
preparing to snuggle into this cozy time of year.

Times, like the seasons, change.
We must adapt to each one as it arrives.
Cherish the times past while moving
 forward and embracing what will be.

Yours in thankfulness, P.


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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Don't Forget My Give Away!

Hi friends,
Christmas crafting is under way at Frippery Farmhouse.
Many of you have been at it as well!
I have been playing with My Memories Suite and used it to showcase 
what has been happening in the craft room.


Don't forget, the software give away ends Sunday.
I really want to share a copy with one of you!
The trees are bare, the sun is lower in the sky and winter is approaching.
Think of everything you could do on a cold wintry day with a pot of tea and your My Memories Suite!


I am off to try making a flyer for my upcoming shows.
Enter to win here!
It really is a load of fun.
Good luck!

Yours in glitter, P.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway!!!


Of all the creative interests I have, one that I aspired to but never actually began was scrapbooking.
I had the best intentions when the kids were growing up,
but hey,
they were growing and I was taking photos...
That's as far as I got.


When the good folks at My Memories offered me a copy of their digital scrapbooking software 
for review I said "Of Course! "
This may finally be a way to organize that lifetime of photos.
Easy and tidy.
No scraps to clean up.
I am itching to explore more!


This little album I am sharing took me all of 20 minutes to put together.
I wanted to see how easy the scrapbook software was to use.
Simple.
Easier than a blog post.
Love that.


My Memories also offered to share a copy of the digital software with one of my readers.
Simple rules.
Go to mymemories.com and browse the layouts they have ready for you to use and pick your favorite.
Then comment here telling me which you like the best.
For extra entries follow My Memories Blog.
and on Twitter too.
Just click the links and follow, then let me know in separate comments that you have done so.


My Memories Suite does so much more than just digital scrapbooking.
You can create cards, videos, calendars...
wall art, gifts...
the options are amazing.
As an added treat they are offering my readers a coupon for $10 off the My Memories Suite 3 digital software package as well as $10 to use in the My Memories shop.
$20 value!
Just think of all the Christmas fun you could have creating with the software.
Just copy and paste this code STMMMS5002 when placing your order.
I will post it on my sidebar too.




I am sure I will be sharing more creations from My Memories Suite in the near future.
I will announce the give away winner Sunday evening at 6PM.
Go see what fun you can have with this software.

Yours in making memories, P.

I was compensated by My Memories with a free copy of the software for review but the opinions on it's awesomeness are all mine.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanksgiving Mantel


After spilling my guts all over the page on Thursday,
I thought a bit of giving thanks was in order.
Gratitude for new friends never met in  person.
Thankfulness for those met because of blogging.
Connections...
 real and compassionate and caring connections.


Sharing of stories, some heart wrenching, some joyful.
Lots of laughs and of course some tears as well.
The comfort of knowing we are in this together.


Thank you, to readers, followers, commenters, emailers,
all who have graced my life by sharing bits of your own.
I am blessed to get to participate in this lovely community.
Your passions and talents,
your stories,
your joy and sorrow.


Lives touched by other lives.
Sometimes even changed by them.


When the days get a little blue, this is a place for some escape.
When things are going our way, this is a place to spread our happiness.
Pondering a question?
Answers by the dozen.
How to...?
Solution.


As we begin the cozy season of giving thanks and sharing our gifts, 
know that my heart is full of gratitude for you my friends.


I have been given the gift of lifetime friendships with some who I would never have had the opportunity to meet but for blogging.
I know many of you have too.


Here's to you friends!
I wish you abundance...
in life, joy, kindness, love and home.
Keep sharing,
it is what life is all about.

Yours in thanksgiving, P.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Buying American and Affording It?


This one had me hesitating to hit publish...
here goes...
My dear blog friends,
I am coming to you today with
a dilemma, wrapped in a quandary and mired in difficulty.
Making a living and buying American.
The movement to buy American is a wonderful and noble movement.
I try to join in whenever it is possible.
I want to purchase handmade and homegrown,
create things from recycled or vintage items.
It all sounds so perfect.
Taking a deep breath here...
I am not revealing this for sympathy, just stating facts, 
because you all have saved my sanity in so many ways over the past several years.


Yes, please, buy American, buy local, buy handmade whenever possible.
However,
there is a little roadblock in this way of life at Frippery Farmhouse.
Being one of the "new poor" for the past several years, 
(or nouveau pauvre if I want it to sound bit prettier) 
 selling handmade and vintage at a price that covers my costs and
 also gives me a bit of profit just is not working.


We have been living below the poverty line, income wise, since my hubs was downsized 3 years ago.
(The week my daughter graduated from high school and 
 our oldest finished his sophomore year in college.)
I have tried taking up the slack by finding traditional work
 but I can't even get a part time Christmas job at Hobby Lobby!
No one seems to want to hire women over 50 
when there are so many young people desperate for a job as well.
I have cobbled together a business doing events and craft shows and vintage fairs 
as well as one big temp job each spring.
Not looking for pity...
We are one of many who thought retirement was just around the corner when the rug was pulled out 
and our lifestyle came crashing down.
We were never really wealthy but enjoyed a quite comfortable middle class life.
Each little purchase did not have to be agonized over.
Things have changed.
My husband has given up looking for any job after applying daily to multitudes of positions. 
In the end he chose to start his own business.
 He has utilized his years of experience.
That apparently doesn't count for much today to employers.
Again, the age thing.
He is one of many long term unemployed men who have given up 
on the type of traditional job they held for 30+ years.
We are poorer but I think in many ways happier.
His business actually helps others remain in business and 
save money while reducing their carbon footprint.
He feels good about it.


That said, he is seeing some success in the form of a bit of income
from his new business that may allow us to keep Frippery Farmhouse.
Almost afraid to say that out loud for superstitious reasons.
Really that is all we have been striving for through this.
It just takes time to start all over again.
We could sell the house and call it quits but first we would need to do some updating,
 which again, is not in the budget.
We carry on, inspired by all of your fabulous make overs and do it yourself projects.
Bloggers have saved me.
Many times the urge to rant and rage or just go to bed and let it all fall down around us
has come over me.
But no.
I plow on.
If you can do it so can I

Which is why I want your opinion on the original topic.
I have crafted and thrifted my way to a small success in my little business.
However, it isn't enough.
I used to do this for fun, now I am doing it to live.
It seems everyone else is feeling the pinch as well.
I cannot sell my handmade pieces for the price I would need to make a profit.
Thrifting takes time as well, plus storage space and a reliable vehicle to haul it all.
Plus space fees and show fees and yadayada...



I have tried selling jewelry at home parties for a large MLM company as well.
I could make some decent money doing that.
The jewelry was lovely.
I felt guilty at the prices.
Like forcing people to buy something they don't need and 
shouldn't spend the money on because you are holding them captive at their friend's house.
Peer pressure sales.
Just couldn't do it anymore.
Many people are in my position and they just cannot afford those treats.
They also cannot afford the price of quality hand made items.
They really are a luxury for most of us.
Like buying a piece of art.
Parts and materials and the time involved in making a piece of jewelry or craft item
yourself also bring the cost up quite high.
I loved to shop Etsy and craft fairs and small indy businesses.
I like making my own pieces for sale.
I just cannot do that at this point and I know I am not alone.
There is a market for those pieces but what about the rest of us?


Out of this puzzle comes an answer.
An answer for me at least.
Women love trendy fashion and they also want to treat themselves 
and others to a little bit of pretty now and then.
Out of my Nouveau Pauvre circumstance I have decided to begin selling a line of
affordable fluff and frugal finery.
I am purchasing only from suppliers in the USA and accessories designed in the USA 
but they are manufactured elsewhere.
Sorry.
It is part of life these days.
The MLM company I worked for was based in Chicago but all the jewelry came from China.
I have also researched jewelry parts, again 95% imported.
Until something changes this is the reality.
Target, Walmart, Macy's ...Michaels, Hobby Lobby.... the same...



I am going to give this a try.
All of my accessories will be priced at $15.
A little luxury at a reasonable price.
The choice of pieces is made by me.
I have tried this out now at several local ladies night vendor events to much success.
I may expand to Facebook and maybe a website.

Do you have a better answer to the Catch 22 of wanting to
 buy American, to keep business local, and the fact that you just can't afford it?
Frugality doesn't have to be austere.
Without something pretty every once in a while what is the point?
A moral dilemma without an easy answer.


I am an American business, so does that count?
Hope I don't sound too jaded here.
This is the way of the world as I see it at this point.

You have been my safe place to go when things get rough
and for that I thank you more than I can express.
Just wanted to let you know that as well.

Yours in a quagmire, P.



PS I will still be crafting and thrifting and painting too. Those are passions I will not give up on.
This is just a little something extra.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Today is a New Day


We are all Americans.
Whether today finds you happy or sad, 
whether your candidates won or lost
keep this in mind...


our country is great because we are free to be who we are and believe what we choose.
We are a melting pot of thoughts and ideas.
Regardless of your own feelings today please be kind to one another.

I want to thank Ellen for reminding us to use good manners.
Thanks E!

Yours in love of the United States of America, P.
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Pawrade


Happy November!
Seems whatever was broken is now repaired. 
I was able to download photos today.
So here are a few more shots of the doggies of Pawrade.
There were so many more but getting a still shot of a costumed dog on a cold and windy day?
Not so easy.
 Some were dashing and dapper and dressed their owners to match.


Some just came to socialize and be seen with the cool dogs.


Athos, Porthos or Aramis?
Or perhaps this guy is d'Artagnan come to join the original Trois Mousquetaires.
Whoever he is he looks quite dashing.


Speaking of handsome...
That face!


The hardest to photograph were the little guys, always on the move.
This pumpkin patch was wee-diculous.
Check out the guy on the left.
He is looking like he thinks they might be chocolate filled pumpkins.
Yummy.


I am sure the thought going through this sweet ones head is
"Really, don't you think the coconut bra is carrying things a bit far?"
Hula girl looks so much like my Baby that they could be twins.
Don't worry, Baby is safe from all costumes.
Karma and Manny might make fun of her.


Wish I had more decent photos to share.
What a fun event.
For more, check this out.

Yours in furry fun, P.
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