Happy New Year, New Beginnings and a Fresh Slate

Happy New Year, New Beginnings and a Fresh Slate

Hello there!  Happy Happy Happy New Year to you all!  May 2014 be a year filled with love, laughter, creativity and all the good stuff (y’know, bunnies, sunshine, ice-cream, dew-drops on roses – that sort of thing…).  I truly wish you every happiness and hope that you can find and follow your bliss 🙂

As I sit on my own tonight (not sad and sorry, just on my own…reflecting, not moping…) I am thinking about the things I want to accomplish this new year.  Many of the things are somewhat selfish ones, but I hope that they will make me a better person and help me to live a little more and be myself, in whatever way makes me happy.  I’m going to put myself first a little bit more…which is hard because that doesn’t come naturally to me and I say that in the most humble way I can.  I am not a super unselfish person – I just to tend to put everyone else’s needs before my own and, while I think that is a good trait, it can sometimes mean I am left out in the cold (literally – I would give you my overcoat in a blizzard if you asked for it) and in not standing up for myself or making my needs known, I make it hard for other people to really know and respect me.  I am one of those annoying people who reply, when asked what I’d like to do, “Um…I don’t mind really – what would you like to do?”  Yes, I am one of THOSE. And it’s time to stop being that way.  At least some of the time.  Basically, get your own coat next time there’s a blizzard! It’s freezing out there!

I want to get better at taking compliments.  I want to be worthy of them and be gracious enough to accept them.

I want to improve my social skills.  While I will never be a party animal (unless that animal is a little mouse, hiding under a chair) and I will never be the life and soul of any social gathering, I want to be able to at least attend events without being scared and anxious and generally piking out.  I need to learn how to speak to people and not care if they think what I’m saying is rubbish.  Other people speak a load of nonsense and I don’t dislike or laugh at them, so why should I worry about it myself?  I need to be prepared and have a stock-standard list of things I can talk about so I am not a walking awkward silence.  I must not be dull any more.

I want to be more daring in my clothes.  I always dress safe.  I cover up.   I have curves and I do everything in my power to keep them hidden.  I’m not saying I should let it all hang out and frighten small children and animals, but I should try and dress like a woman.  Instead of a librarian.  Ok, I am a librarian…but librarians don’t actually dress “like librarians” – it’s a cliche and one that I am perpetuating.  I don’t like being the centre of attention so I will take baby steps with this one.  A slightly shorter skirt (must work on legs…) and an extra button undone.  That sort of thing.

I am going to stop saying “Sorry” all the time.

I’m going to get a tattoo.

I’m going to get my nose pierced again and my ears.

I’m not going to let my hair rule my life.

I’m going to exercise more.

I’m going to eat better.

I’m going to get to a healthy weight/size and stick to it.  I am not going to try to be thin, because I’m not that body type and I am not a thirteen year old boy.  I’m going to be healthy and fit. I’m going to walk more and find exercise that I enjoy.

I want to be tidier.  This is a tough one for me as I have already documented.  I will try and put things away and find a home for things.  I will not hoard.  There isn’t an apocalypse looming and if there was, how useful would empty toilet rolls and inch-long pieces of string be?

I’m going to tell people I love them.  I do this a lot anyway but I’m going to do it more.  I’m going to tell people they are important to me.

I’m going to learn how to sew.  I want to be able to hem my own pants, fix a broken zip and whip up a snazzy new skirt.  I want to be able to say “I made this” when someone compliments me on my outfit.  I want to be that embarrassing person who makes their ensemble out of curtains and gives
appliquéd reindeer sweaters as Christmas presents.

I am going to laugh more.

I am going to cry less but allow myself to cry when I need to. And then stop.

I am going to find a substitute for chocolate that is renal friendly.

I’m going to stop being a doormat.

I am going to be comfortable with myself and with being alone.  I’m not going to let someone else’s issues become mine.  I am not going to waste my time on people who don’t appreciate me for who I am, with all my faults.  I’m am not going to fall in love with people who don’t deserve me and who don’t think I am good enough. I am not going to change who I am and what I believe in to fit in with someone else’s ideals.

I’m going to be less harsh on myself.  I am going to be accepting of my failures and my shortcomings and I am going to help myself to do better, without judgement or fear.

I am going to try my best, always.

I am going to have a pretty home and surround myself with things I love and that make me happy.

I am going to entertain more and be less of a hermit.

I am going to learn new skills and have new experiences.

I am going to try hard to fix my medical and mental issues.

I am going to ask for help when I need it.

I’m going to stop being frightened of men.

I am going to read all the books I buy.

I want to find out what I am good at and do it.  I want to be successful at something and be proud of myself.

I want to dance like no one is watching.

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I want to learn how to walk in high heels.

I’m going to start my book.

I am going to stop allowing myself to be bullied into things.

I am going to stop trying to fix things for everyone.

I am going to drink tea out of pretty cups and sit at the dinner table to eat and make myself proper meals.  Toast is not a meal.  Neither are Cheerios or coleslaw.

I am going to stop being so cheap.

I am going to be braver.

I am going to stop cutting myself (there! that was brave!  And now you know. Let us never speak of it again).  It is stupid and hurts the people I love who know about it.  I am not an emo 14-year-old kid, I am almost 40.  Time to stop and get a new hobby. While I do not think an internet blog is the place to announce such a thing (so tacky!), I am doing it to be accountable.  It’s hard to hide something when the whole world knows.

I am going to master chopsticks.  The eating utensils, not the piano tune.

I am going to attempt to learn to play my ukelele.

I am going to hug and touch more.  I’m going to let people touch me.  They ain’t got cooties! (and more importantly, neither do I)

I am going to learn to like travel.

I’m going to be more spiritual and not be ashamed to be so. I am going to believe in magic again.

I am going to start dreaming of a future for myself.  If anyone wants to come along for the ride, that’s fine, but if not, that’s ok too.

I am not going to shut off my heart or stop being me.  I am going to love my family and friends and find joy in simple things.

I wish you all the best for the New Year, and every New Year.  Hold on to love and happiness.  Let go of fear.  That’s what I am going to try and do.

Thank you for reading (and not judging) 🙂

X

Vintage Blue

Vintage Blue

Just a quick post – gotta get my head together and think about my New Year’s Resolutions and goals before midnight hits…

One such resolution should focus on spending.  Or, rather, doing less of it.  I am generally pretty careful with my money but I do, like most people, buy things I don’t need.  I hardly ever buy brand new things, so I forgive myself somewhat, but buying is buying and I already have too much stuff so
I should promise to keep my purse shut in the New Year.

That said, I have had a lot of expenditure this week – primarily on my car which needed a major service, lights and brakes fixed, four new tyres and a wheel alignment.  Sigh.  All necessary things but still…the money had to be pried from my fingers like Kim Kardashian hanging on to her false eyelashes and Laboutins.  So I told myself not to spend any more this week if I could help it.  I then cleared out my wardrobe of unwanted items (four bags full – disgusting really) and took them all down to the local op-shop for donation.  Which would have been fine had I not then walked INTO the op-shop, instead of just stopping at the donation bins outside.  Sigh.  I desperately need new shoes (I have weird feet and find it impossible to find shoes to fit me plus I can’t walk in heels.  Or wedge heels.  Or really flat shoes.  And I don’t buy leather.  See? Impossible!) and was looking to see if there were any in the op-shop but no…nothing.  Which led me instead to the clothes racks – four t-shirts, two skirts and a dress later, I wandered over to the china and knick-knack section.  I have been wanting some nice cup and saucer sets so when people come over for tea I can actually serve it nicely instead of plonking a mug down in front of them.  So classy.  Not that there’s anything wrong with mugs – I’m not that elitist – but it is nice to be able to have some elegance in your life from time to time.  Anyway, I found this lovely set and bought a matching pair too.  So pretty.  I think it may be vintage but nothing fancy.  I just liked the colours and design.  It’s cute and my favourite colour, no chips and the glaze is in fairly good nick too.

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Sweet and Petite!

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The set is made in Japan…not sure why it has an English castle scene  on it though…

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Ye Olde Castle on a hilltop…with pretty wildflowers.

Now all I need is someone to come over for tea… 🙂

2013 – The Year That Was

2013 – The Year That Was

2013.  Twenty Thirteen. What a year.  A horrible, horrible year in many ways, but also a year of great highs and small wonders.  My marriage broke up and I nearly did too but I have carried on, amid much whinging and weeping and general feeling sorry for myself.  I got a great new job with wonderful, wonderful co-workers and am eternally grateful for it and them.  I moved into a new house on my own – scary but also amazingly freeing.  I cut my hair – not amazing in itself but a big deal to me.  I had a successful mini-market and felt encouraged to continue and have more in the year.  My kidney function improved to 46%.  We welcomed my baby niece Amity into the family – she is a treasure.

We (the world) lost Nelson Mandela.  We gained a new royal prince.  We were disgusted by Miley Cyrus (put your tongue back in your head, girl!), were bored by the whole “twerking” thing and watched a guy print out a gun.  Western Black Rhinos were officially declared extinct.  There was a new Pope.  A civil war in Syria.

I made lots of new friends and re-connected with some old ones.

I made ice-cream.  A lot.

I lost weight and gained it back again.  Ice-cream may have been involved.

I walked a lot and cried a lot.

Life got harder, but, in some ways, was made easier.

I learnt a lot about dementia.  More than I ever wanted to know.

I crafted my heart out, making and selling hundreds of cards, earrings, pendants, bracelets and brooches.  I tried crochet (failed) and soldering (a work in process) and attended a watercolour class (inspiring and encouraging…will do more).

All in all, 2013 was a year to remember.  It went by so quickly and some of it is worth speeding past in order to never have to deal with it again.  It was the last year of my 30s which scares me a little but also makes me grateful to have been given 39 years when some people get far less.

I have some resolutions to think up and goals to plan for.  I have moments to reflect on and hopefully gain some understanding from.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and the first one I will spend on my own for quite some time.  This saddens me but also gives me a chance to think and plan and reflect so that 2014 will be as good a year as I can make it.  I want to try harder to BE.

I want to be cool and “put together”, like this :ImageBut we all know it will more like this (because I am an idiot and couldn’t be cool if my life depended on it…being an idiot is more fun anyway :

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(Besides, when I look at the first photo I now see I had a tissue stuffed under my bra strap…coolness – not!  Epic Fail)

I want to blog better…my last few posts have been less than inspiring and I want to
improve on that in the next year. I want to have a life worth blogging about.  Time to stop hiding.

Hope your plans for NYE are shaping up nicely…

Tidings of Family Joy

Tidings of Family Joy

So, Christmas is over, technically.  The tree is bereft of gifts and the turkey is nothing but a carcass being picked apart for sandwiches and stock (unless you’re vegetarian, like me, in which case you’re probably so glad right now you don’t have to deal with a turkey/chicken skeleton in your fridge).  The rush to get cards written and sent has passed and now it’s time to ponder the cards you did get (and why you didn’t get as many as last year or why so-and-so didn’t send you one this year) and try to figure out where to put all the presents you received (if you’re lucky).

I had a lovely Christmas.  I was going to have a really quiet one, away from family and basically mope around and be miserable with myself.  My Mum was going to be co-conspirator in this – she wanted to do whatever would make me happy and figured if I wanted to boycott the family Christmas, then so be it, she’d help me and keep me company so I wasn’t completely on my own.  A couple of family members weren’t happy about this.  Christmas is a big deal in my family – our grandparents believed in family and togetherness and so we have always spent Christmas as a united whole – cousins, Aunts, Uncles, siblings and parents.  So, when I announced I wanted a break from it (for my own selfish needs I must admit), there were a few grumbles of discontent.

In a loving, caring way, I was bullied a little into joining in the festivities.  I’m so glad I was.  I love my family and I don’t know what made me think I would want to be away from them at such an important time.  I guess, after the year I’ve had, I didn’t exactly feel like celebrating or making with the merry.  But that’s the whole point.  When you’re feeling down in the dumps and completely unsociable, your family should be the ones to pull you out of the doldrums, give you a kick up the bum and make you remember that you are still loved and wanted around.

So, needless to say, I had a lovely Christmas Day, spent with loved ones who have supported me and comforted me this year, as they always do.  It would have been insulting if I had ended up not making an appearance.  Moral to the story – be grateful for family and be with them whenever you can, because they love you even when you don’t love yourself and are more than willing to drag you, kicking and screaming, into the familial bosom for a little distraction and fun.

There was one awkward moment when my young nephew asked where Uncle “E” was, but all in all, I forgot I was on my own for the most part and just joined in with the over-indulging, gift-giving frenzy. There is something very heart warming and comforting about watching little ones open their gifts and I am so glad I got to share this Christmas with my nephews and nieces. Their squeals and cries of delight made me feel happy and content.  Blessed and thankful.

I stayed with my Mum for the night.  She goes all out with her Christmas decorating (I am too lazy and don’t have the space).  She has six Christmas trees, throughout the house, each one with a different theme and colour scheme.  They are usually beautiful and co-ordinated.  In other words, they put my decorating to shame.  Her home is a Christmas wonderland…no tacky neon Santas or inflatable reindeers, Mum tends towards the vintage, traditional or classy, elegant looks.  There are snowmen on shelves and snow-globes on tables, baubles in boxes and enough stars and tiny twinkling lights to fill Santa’s workshop.

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We spent a few nice days together, Mum and I.  We even went and stayed with my Dad and Step-Mother in the country for a day and night.  I am so proud of my parents for getting on with their lives and, after the initial emotionally trying time that comes with all divorces when hearts are bruised and battered and lives need to be rebuilt, they are friends and still care about one another.  My two “Mums” had a heart-to-heart while my Dad and I pottered about in the paddocks, checking on fences and livestock, and I think it was good for both of them to speak freely and find some common ground.  I can only hope that I do not succumb to bitterness as my separation continues and divorce looms ever closer.  On that subject, “he” did not call, message or contact me at all over Christmas which has hurt me more than I can say but I suppose has solidified in my mind how much I mean to him (or rather, how little I mean to him).  I don’t think I am asking for too much to have the person I have loved for the past seven years to send me a little text message or email just saying “Merry Christmas”.  Maybe I am dumb and naive.  But it still hurts and makes me wonder what a terrible person I must have been to him to not deserve even the smallest of kindnesses.

But I digress…

Christmas this year has been restorative and soothing to me.  I am rather ashamed that I thought I would be better off avoiding it (*slaps wrist and looks suitably guilty*) and hope that next year I am a little more gung-ho and enthusiastic, if only because I am so amazingly lucky to have the family I do and I should celebrate that whenever the opportunity arises.

I hope you enjoyed Christmas (for those who celebrate it) or some time off or just had a good week.  I am looking forward to a New Year with new opportunities and challenges, a fully-mended (if somewhat fragile) heart and a healthier, happier, less stressed and sad me.  I want 2014 to be a year of joy and well-being for all of you too.

Thank you for reading (and sorry for the self-indulgent wallowing associated with my break-up.  It will pass soon enough but I hope you can forgive me a little while longer.  I’m still mending…)

x

Jingle Hell

Jingle Hell

I like Christmas carols.  So sue me.  I know they can be cheesy and annoying, but I like them.  I like “Good King Wenceslas” (I had to look that up to spell it – I know the words but have I ever had to write the word?  I don’t think so…) – traipsing through the snow, dragging his page along with him, giving some peasant enough firewood to keep him cosy – that’s a king I could get behind and go “Huzzah!” for.  “We Three Kings” – I used to be able to play that on the piano!  “Silent Night”? Love it!  (even if the whole “yon virgin” bit used to make us titter slightly in primary school).  Anyway, for someone who is not in the least bit religious, I am a fan of the mighty Christmas carol.  I like the feel of them – that warm, enveloping feel of festive, familial celebrations and unwrapping presents with your brother in your PJs on Christmas morning and oohing and aahing over what Star Wars figure you got and how many Crayolas are in this year’s set.  Good times.  Better times.  Simpler times.

But there is a sad and disturbing trend leaving a nasty stain on all that is holy in my Christmas heart.  And what can that be you ask innocently?  What could possibly taint the joy and good will to man that is suppose to be celebrated at this festive time?  I shall tell you (otherwise this whole post would be pointless).  It is (and here I shudder) the “contemporary” Christmas carol.  Oh you know the ones I mean…shopping centres have them blaring out at you from all angles and television advertises them constantly.  Teenybopper pop stars bleating and warbling all over poor Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer or some old has-been rocker destroying “Away in a Manger”.  Don’t even get me started on the “jazz” takes on the classics.  Bing Crosby is about as contemporary as I get.  Justin Bieber, your days are numbered (don’t think I didn’t see your Xmas CD in the shops…I’m on to you!).

Call me a party pooper if you like, but why can’t they just leave the old carols alone, so that they sound like the old carols?  If you want to destroy a song and render it completely unrecognisable, please don’t pick an old classic like “Do you hear what I hear?” and get Mariah Carey to hoot and holler all over it, hands flailing about so that it sounds like what you are hearing is something akin to a cat being bludgeoned to death with a plum pudding.

This is my rant for today.  May your night be sugar-plum-fairy filled and your halls be decked with fa la la la las.

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Haircuts and Brown Paper

Haircuts and Brown Paper

 

 Well, I finally went the chop. Hair today, gone tomorrow…or, rather, on Saturday. I went to a hair dresser recommended by a friend and I’m glad I did. The lady was really nice and did a great job and it was so cheap! Normally I avoid getting my hair cut because it’s just so expensive, but this one, wow, very affordable – so much so, I might even get my hair cut regularly (like you’re supposed to do apparently – who knew?). Anyway, it’s done now and I’m happy with it (thank goodness – no one would want to listen to my whining about it if I wasn’t happy) and I can get on with life. I also dyed it (bye bye grey strands!). Not a fancy, weird colour – just my own natural mousey brown shade.  Just sans grey.  What do you think?  I don’t think it even looks dyed…

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Christmas is looming and I am no closer to being organised.  I am running out of time to see everyone I wanted to see before the 25th and I haven’t completed my gift shopping.  Actually, I’m only about a quarter through it, if that.  It gets harder every year.  I don’t like to buy gifts that are junk or just some thing that will get thrown in a cupboard never to see the light of day.  I like gifts to mean something to the recipient and be well thought out and from the heart.  Having said that, if it’s December 24th and I still haven’t got you something, you are probably going to wind up with a gift voucher, a box of chocolates or some socks.  Just warnin’ ya! (Personally, I like getting socks, so it’s not really a lame present in my mind…they’re practical, right?  Everybody needs socks!).  I like to make presents too although I am hardly ever organised enough for that.  I haven’t even got any Christmas cards ready yet.  Pathetic effort.  Epic fail!

My twiggy Christmas tree is up and decorated and has some tiny sparkly lights too.  I have gone for a silver, white and blue theme this year.  Actually, that’s what I do most years ha ha.  I’m not into the traditional red, green and white for Christmas.

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I have wrapped a total of three presents.  Which is quite sad.  I have gone for the usual brown paper wrapping.  This is because
a.) I have a big roll of brown paper to use up
b.) I like brown paper and it goes with everything and doesn’t clash with my decor when under the tree
c.) It always looks so nice in the magazines and decorating books and I am trying to be classy and sophisticated
(ha! that’ll be the day!)

I’m using some little clay tags I made a couple of years ago, to embellish some of the gifts I’ve wrapped.  Just to add an extra element. When it comes to 24th December and I am still wrapping, I will be cursing these “embellishments” and the extra time they require to attach to gifts (all of 2.5 seconds most likely).  Sometimes the clay tags are a bit brittle (my crappy workmanship) and they break just as I am trying to tie them to a gift.  Or I haven’t made the hole in them big enough to accommodate string.  But I think that the little bit of extra effort looks nice and makes it look like I took the time to create something appealing.  The recipient doesn’t need to know it caused minor tantrums and fits of cursing.  And the tantrums weren’t that minor.  

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I have just seen some beautiful Christmas cards I want to try on Dianne Faw’s blog. I have done cards before with a “patchwork” feel to them but I haven’t done any Christmas ones and I think I will try it this year.  I need something fairly quick to do as I am running out of time and creative energy as well.  Thanks Dianne for the post!  It reminded me of an easy technique that has saved me in the past. 

Had two of my library friends over for dinner tonight – my first real “dinner party” (if three people can be considered a party…).  I made mushroom risotto which turned out ok although took a monstrously long time to cook for some reason (which is always the way when you are trying to make something for other people that you’ve made a million times for yourself) and for dessert I made cinnamon-maple ice-cream with gingerbread cookies crushed up in it.  Yum!  So good.  I served us up delicate little bowlfuls but really I think we could have all just eaten the whole tub.  We had a nice evening chatting, talking about books (it’s a cliche that librarians do that…but we did do it tonight!) and laughing about ridiculous things – God, it’s so good to laugh!  I haven’t done that in such a long time.  The kind of laughing when your tea comes out of your nose and you collapse in a heap with exhaustion and can’t even remember what you were laughing about.  THAT kind of laughing.  So good.  

Must go to bed.  It is a hot and sticky night and I foresee lots of tossing and turning and the fan working in overdrive.  I have carb overload from dinner and so I am going to waddle over to the kettle and make myself a nice cup of peppermint tea (that dissolves fat, right? I’m sure I read that somewhere…) and watch some
21 Jump Street re-runs because I am having a weird 80s fetish right now and am re-living my youth.  

Hope you’ve had a good day 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Market Madness

Mini Market Madness

Well, the day had finally arrived for my Mini Market Day…all my hard work and staying-up-late-nights and stressing over would I have enough and would I have enough room and what if people don’t like it and what if everything sucks and I humiliate myself… Because I am nothing if not slightly paranoid and dumb.

My lovely Mum helped me set everything up last night because I was having an attacks of the-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-first dilemmas and basically just walking around in circles bemoaning the fact I am very disorganised and a bit mental.  It actually didn’t take long and this morning we were ready so early that we sat about twiddling our thumbs for an hour or so before everyone was due to arrive.

Once I had set everything out and it was all pretty and well presented, I realised I actually had quite a bit of stuff… I had worked hard, by crikey!  All those hours of work had paid off and I had some nice pieces on display.  I was quite proud of myself for getting it all done.  I think in the end I had made 100 cards, 21 bracelets, 15 necklaces, 100 pairs of earrings plus pretty peg sets, brooches, rings and goodness knows what else.  Not bad for one little chickadee on her own in the midst of a separation, move to a new home and starting a new job.  I’m allowed a little bit of patting myself on the back (for once).

I had about 25 people come during the day and it was really relaxed and happy and people were taking their time and having a chat and a bite to eat.  I wasn’t stressed or freaking out and I think everyone enjoyed themselves and were happy with what they bought.  I hope so anyway.

The weather was perfect – I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  Blue skies, a little bit of cloud and a lovely breeze that stopped it getting stuffy in my house and allowed people to look at things we’d set up outside without getting too hot.

My Mum made me some pretty bunting to hang up in the courtyard and some lovely little paper birdhouses for decoration…

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We made far too much food (as always).  Brownies and cupcakes (complete with cupcake toppers I made yesterday), coconut ice, apricot bites, caramelised onion tarts and shortbread.  My friends brought some scones and muffins too.  So much food left over!  Luckily, I think there is a morning tea on at work tomorrow so guess who will be bringing in a few plates to share?

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The brownies could have been a disaster.  I forgot to put the baking powder in them and have to yank them back out of the oven and mix in some in.  I didn’t think it would work but they actually came out really nice – fudgey and gooey and yum.  It’s probably a good thing I’m not supposed to eat chocolate…otherwise I would have polished them all off.  The coconut ice was supposed to be the traditional pink and white…except I was half way through making them when I realised I didn’t have any pink or red food colouring. So they’re green.  Which is interesting…  

I had four or five tables of stuff which diminished as the day went on.  My Mum made a basket full of Christmas Angels and little scented decorations for the “tree” (also made by her – painted twigs in a pot) which will now be my Christmas Tree, post-market.

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We scattered my cards around and used everything we could think of to display the earrings and other jewellery.  Here’s a tip – tea boxes (the ones with sections in them) make excellent display cases for earrings on cards.  Thanks Pinterest for that idea! My new business/earring cards came this week, just in time for my last 50 or so pairs of earrings and they look great and fit perfectly in the tea box and other “holders”.  Ramekins and small teacups also worked really well (I was running out of ideas by then!)

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All in all, a lovely stress-free day.  No tantrums from me, happy customers and gorgeous weather.  All the hard work paid off and I now have Christmas money and can maybe even afford to get my hair cut finally and get my car
serviced before the really hot weather starts.

Hope your weekend has been fun and rewarding, especially if you have your own crafty business.  Have a great week 🙂