Paper Trail

Honestly, Kids, sometimes I long for the days when letters were on paper….

With online banking to pay your bills, and emails/texting to touch base with family and friends, will hand-written letters become totally extinct?

I think it’s a pretty good possibility.

Although I’m glad to see most of my bills being paid without a stamp, I really hate to think that the fun mail will someday stop.

People don’t really write letters very often, now. In some ways, it’s understandable – email is so much quicker and more convenient. But there’s something beautiful about a little envelope with your name handwritten on it. 😀

When I was quite young, my grandmother helped me compose a letter to a cousin who lived far away. I had never written a real letter before. Nana suggested that I first scribble something in pencil on a piece of scrap paper, but I wasn’t sure how to begin. She encouraged me by saying:

“Just write as if you are talking to the person… as if he is sitting right there beside you!”

That worked like a charm. Next, she gave me a sheet of good paper and (drum roll, please!) my grandfather’s special pen – the “fancy” one he kept in a little stand on the bureau. Talk about feeling like a grownup. 🙂

Probably the most faithful and prolific letter-writer I’ve ever known was Sir Beads’ Mom. Her letters were little treasures. She always used pretty stationery and usually, it was scented! I swear the lovely fragrance of those letters would spread to all of the other mail that arrived on the same day. It made opening the bills a pleasure (well, almost!).

Her letters were written in a beautiful script and she often tucked in a photo, or a newspaper clipping, or a recipe she’d copied especially for me, or snippets of yarn from an “in-progress” sweater, or scraps of fabric from a dress she was sewing for one of my girls – just so I could see the colors and textures she had chosen. It was fun to feel part of the project in that way.

I miss those letters. They brightened up even the sunniest of days! I did save a lot of them. They’re part of our family history, after all.

I wonder if emails between family members will survive through the ages. Will they be stored on tiny discs? Will they be accidentally erased during computer crashes? They definitely won’t have the little surprises tucked inside . . .

This week’s question is:

Do you have old hand-written letters that you have saved? Do you ever hand-write a letter, now? Do you save emails? Are you ok with a totally paper-less society?

Ok, that’s more than one question! 😉

But you know what I mean…. Lol



It’s All Good

If you’re like me, you’re tempted to be a little disappointed if you can’t accomplish things you were planning.

Oh, I know we all talk about how important it is to set priorities, to schedule “me” time, and to live in the moment – but following through is the tough part.

Of course, there are periods when we’re able to get into a groove of putting our plans near the top of the list. It can even seem quite natural.

But then there are also times when life gets in the way. Family and friends need us and when they do – it seems much more natural to put our own plans aside.

Ok, Crystal. Sounds true enough, but is this going somewhere?

Why, yes it is! 😉

I’m talking about a light bulb that went on for me recently as I looked back over the past year. At first, it seemed as if I didn’t finish very much on the creative front. While re-organizing, I came across a bunch of supplies and patterns that I’d been so excited about initially, but had never had time to begin. I tried to remember what I actually had finished and, off the top of my head, I couldn’t come up with much.

Then, I went through some photos and was surprised to see that there was more than I thought.

A lot more than I thought.

I‘m including some of the photos to remind myself to focus on what was finished (not what was left undone), and also on whatever positive things I was able to accomplish for my family and friends over the course of the year.

We all know it, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded . . .

There will always be things we wanted to do.

Far better to concentrate on the things we DID do!

When you look at it that way – it’s all good! 😀



The Incredible Everlasting Ink Cartridge

Every so often, we all encounter things that are simply unexplainable.

I’ll bet you can tell a tale or two about an experience you’ve had that left you scratching your head in wonder.

At this moment, it seems as if it’s my turn! 😉

Allow me to explain . . .

Don’t you agree that the cost of printer ink is maddening?

Oh, I know you can have cartridges refilled more economically than buying new ones, and that it’s friendlier for the the environment to do so. In fact, I have friends, who’ve installed systems where large bottles of ink continuously fill the cartridges on their printers. They save a fortune on color ink, in particular.

But, in this instance, I’m just talking about my little workhorse printer, the one I use to print pages and pages in black and white – daily!

Here’s where the “unexplainable” part comes in . . .
You see, many months ago, I bought and installed a new Black Ink cartridge. After what seemed like only several weeks, I got the message that the ink was getting low. Of course, you always get that message fairly quickly – they want you to buy more ink.

Have it ready! they insist.

Anyway, the little ink-status graphic showed my level as very low. Time passed and it began to show as almost empty, and then totally empty.

Well, I’m smart enough to know that “empty” could be far from empty, so you’ll never find me changing that cartridge before the print becomes too light to read. No, Ma’am.

But, here’s the thing. It has been months now, and I’ve been printing like I’m running a daily newspaper! Twenty page document? No problem – plenty of ink!!!

Seriously, I print a lot and that ink is as bright and crisp as ever. (Can someone please cue the theme song from the Twilight Zone?!?)

I’m actually beginning to wonder if I’m in some sort of a fairytale and a little elf is filling the ink while I sleep. 😉

They say that truth is stranger than fiction.

Whoever “they” are, I believe they may be right!




Fun, Inspiration, and PRIZES!

Join the Valentine’s Day Bead Design Challenge!!!

Make something to show the rest of us!

See all the creative results posted on this blog, February 14th!

For details click here. 🙂

Cool as a Cucumber This Holiday Season

Usually, I’d be in a full-blown panic by now.

I mean – it’s only one day until Thanksgiving.

That’s one day, Kids!

Most years, I’d be thinking of how much I must accomplish before Christmas.

You know the drill but I’ll spell it out anyway – just for dramatic effect. 😉

The shopping! The decorating! The Christmas cards! The wrapping! The baking! The cleaning!

The very thought of it would cause my heart to pound!

Oh yeah! Full blown panic by now . . .


But not this year, and I’m not sure why.

For decades now, I’ve been part elf at this time of year, joyfully festooning every inch of the house with holiday glitter. Sir Beads has often joked that I’d tie a red bow on the toilet seat if not talked out of it. 😉

Suddenly this year, however, I sense that I’m entering a new phase in my life… a phase of simplifying traditions.

It’s time to decide what’s important, skip what isn’t, and then savor the small delights of the season. I just don’t want to jump on the holiday merry-go-round this time.

Could it be that I’m finally weary of it all? Hmmm, not exactly. I did have sort of a milestone birthday this year, and Sir Beads retired. Perhaps those experiences have given me reason to stop and reassess.

There’s so much I want to do and only so many hours in a day. It’s time to stop doing things simply because I’ve always done them.

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Christmas. I’m just going to try an experiment in the next several weeks . . .

I’m going to take it slow and easy – no “must-do lists”, no impossible schedules, no thinking “It wouldn’t be Christmas without ____”.

I want to stop and smell the evergreens . . . for a change.

How about you? Have you simplified the holiday season?


Autumn Bliss

I love autumn!

Maybe you’re a passionate fan of another season.

Even so, you must admit that autumn has its charm! 🙂

Besides the obvious delights – such as crisp air, bright pumpkins, colorful foliage, and the autumn holidays – there are more subtle gifts to savor during this glorious time of year.

Today, I share some things that make autumn special to me . . .

1. The slow-motion dance of a single leaf as it flutters to the ground.

2. Fresh apple cider
(Just had some – see photo!)

3. Pumpkin bread
(Yep, just had some. Washed it down with the apple cider! See photo, again!) 😉
(recipe found here)

4. Shopping for new yarn and planning cozy cold-weather projects like scarves, shawls, and blankets.

5. Fall brings the new season for favorite tv shows! (So tired of summer re-runs.)

6. The welcome return to a nightly ritual that Sir Beads and I enjoy tremendously – our after dinner cup-of-tea! We have to give it up during the summer months as the evenings are just too warm for a hot beverage. But, beginning every fall, no matter how hectic our schedule, we make it a point to put on the kettle, find a cookie or three, and spend a little time unwinding, together. It’s my favorite part of the day.

C‘mon, now. What do you like about Fall?

I’d love to know!