I’ve Got the Music in Me

Want to feel as relaxed as a strand of “al dente” spaghetti?

Listen to music! 😀

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Yesterday I was working on a jewelry order and decided to load the CD player instead of turning on the radio. I chose a very varied selection of genres from rock to classical to pop to easy listening. By the time, I finished beading, I was feeling incredibly relaxed and refreshed!

Of course we all know that music is good for you. It’s a well-established fact. There are even quotes about it. You’re probably familiar with the old expression: “Music soothes the savage beast”. (The original quote is “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” (spoken by “Almeria” in Act I of The Mourning Bride by English poet William Congreve.)

But after my experience yesterday, I decided to delve further and was interested to learn of recent studies, which suggest that music has an intense effect on both body and mind. Some hospitals are even using “music therapy” as an aid in healing. The benefits include lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity and easing muscle tension. With those attributes, no wonder music can be an important tool to help the body stay or become healthy!

If you’re looking for something different next time you buy a CD, try Linda Ronstadt’s “Cry like a Rainstorm – Howl like the Wind”. The duets with Aaron Neville, alone, are worth the price. I just played it and I’m feeling oh so “al dente” right now – awake but very relaxed. 😉

Is there a CD you’d recommend to the rest of us that either helps you relax… or never fails to brighten your day?

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Have a delightful weekend, Kids! Since Monday is a holiday, I’ll see you bright and early on Tuesday. 🙂

Hugs,

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A Little R and R

This past Sunday, there was a wedding shower for my nephew’s bride-to-be. Because we’d have to travel some distance to attend, I suggested to my husband that we make a 3-day weekend of it. It’s been ages since we’ve had any real time off, so we decided that a stay at an old New England inn might be fun and refreshing . . . It was!

The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts has been operating continuously since the 18th century, and it’s just brimming with the charm of a simpler time.

The lobby is particularly inviting. (Click photos to enlarge)

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There are fresh flowers everywhere and an enchanting collection of teapots is on permanent display throughout the Inn. The antique furniture in the guest rooms and hallways, the old-fashioned lamps, and the vintage books and prints will have you convinced that you’ve suddenly traveled back to an earlier era.

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A cool glass of lemonade on the lovely front porch was just the break we needed after our morning stroll through the village.

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One of Stockbridge’s most famous residents was artist, Norman Rockwell. We visited the local museum, which houses a fantastic collection of his work.

As with all vacations, our time at the Inn was over much too soon. We checked-out, headed to the car, and then glanced back wistfully – one last time.

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Our next stop was the wedding shower . . .

~to be continued~

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Afternoon Delights

Vintage Czech Teardrops
It seems like quite a while since I “played” with beads.

By that I mean – since I sat down for a few moments without any particular design in mind.

So yesterday afternoon, when faced with the choice of cleaning out a closet, or making a little something with my beads – the beads won.

I pulled out a few interesting-looking lampwork candidates, some crystals, wire, findings, and my tools.

Earrings are always fun because you can make a few pairs in the time it would take to make one necklace – and time was rather short yesterday.

Here are the results. They’re now in my shop. 🙂

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I’m so glad I made it a point to make something instead of cleaning that closet, though. It’s important to nurture the creative side whenever we can! (See: Finding your Bliss with Beads)

No need for me to worry. Nobody is going to steal the closet-cleaning job. No way. No how. It will be there.

But, having a little fun yesterday was just what I needed to inspire me to begin planning some great new projects for 2009!

Hey, if the closet has to wait until spring – so be it. 😉

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Ya Gotta Love a New Year!

It’s true that New Year’s resolutions are usually not much fun – but putting those aside for a moment – it seems to me there’s a lot to love about the beginning of a new year.

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Here are my top five reasons:

1. There’s the adventure of selecting the new calendar! Talk about choices! No matter what you fancy, there’s a calendar for you. They’re available in a dazzling variety of sizes and formats. Some are funny, some are thought provoking, and some are absolutely beautiful. If you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to buy yours – at 50% off 😉 This year I found a very sweet one with pictures taken from vintage children’s books!

2. There are the after-Christmas SALES!!! Doesn’t it make your heart beat a little faster to see those “60-75% off” signs? Sometimes this reverie lasts all through the month of January and even into February. If you received a gift card or money for a holiday gift – lucky you! You’re probably going to be able to double your buying power in the early weeks of the new year.

3. Taking down the tree! I love the holidays, but as my mother used to say: “There’s nothing as OVER as Christmas when it’s over!” All of the sparkling decorations suddenly begin to look like the last rose of summer, and the now opened gifts (though very appreciated) take on a cluttered appearance under the tree. In our case, the tree has been up since Thanksgiving, so we are not too sad to see it go. I’m always amazed at how spacious and neat the house looks once everything is carefully packed away.

4. There’s some free time on the schedule again – woo hoo! With all the holiday preparations, shopping, social events, family parties, and other responsibilities, there are years when it seems as if there isn’t a minute to rest between mid-November and January 1st. How wonderful to look at the new calendar and see blank spaces again!

5. And what shall we do with this newfound empty space on the calendar??? Anything we want! 🙂 This is the time to try new recipes, or learn a new craft, or read that book you’ve heard so much about! Maybe you’ve been meaning to write a letter to an old friend, or visit a museum, or redecorate the bedroom. It’s lovely to know that there will be a little extra time as the year begins to spend however you please.

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As 2009 unfolds, what would you like to do?

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Tea Tales

Would it surprise any of you coffee drinkers out there to know that I can go MONTHS without a cup of coffee?

I love tea.

I know that tea is very “in” right now but, honestly, I’ve been drinking it forever. I love everything about it – the flavor, the warmth, the relaxing ritual of preparing it, the tinkling sound of the spoon while stirring it – all of these things bring a moment of calm reflection to an otherwise hectic day.

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Perhaps I developed this affection for tea from my grandmother. She believed that tea was the quintessential answer for everything! If you had a very bad day, she would make you a cup of tea to cheer you. If you were bursting with wonderful news, she’d urge you to sit at the table while she put the kettle on, and as soon as the tea was poured, she’d sit beside you and want to hear every detail of your good fortune. If you were sick with a cold or a stomach ache – well then, a cup of tea would surely cure you!

I must admit I am kind of fussy about the tea I drink. I prefer black tea. I know green tea is good for you, but many studies suggest that black tea is very beneficial, too. With milk, please – not cream! And the water must be HOT. Every once and a while, in a moment of sheer lunacy, I order tea at a restaurant. Most of the time I’m given a pot or a cup of barely lukewarm water, and no tea bag in the world can steep properly under those conditions. Talk about drinking dishwater!

Part of the fun of drinking tea is all of the “accoutrements” that go along with it – teapots, pretty bone china teacups with gilded edges, silver tea strainers, and little tea bag holders! And while I don’t use all of those things daily, I love to collect them and I do use a pretty bunch of china mugs that easily pop into the dishwasher.

Well, that’s my take on tea. What do you like to drink? 🙂