Friday, December 31, 2010

One More Day

Left of 2010 and let's turn our hearts and minds to greeting a fabulous New Year.  I was hoping to take some time off today but after the G'kids being sick now everyone is home and the office is the only place of peace and quiet, so here I sit working which is actually a good thing.

We generally stay in on New Year's Eve and with rain falling yesterday that has now turned to ice we will be following that tradition this year as well.  Jayson has to work tonight too so we will have the 5 children to look after and Layton (our other Grandson) goes back home tomorrow so some time spent with him would be good.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Birthday Girl

After being sick for her entire Birthday and eating only 2 bites of cake she still enjoyed her Birthday.

You can tell she doesn't feel well in this photo but she sure put on a brave smile none the less.  We had to cancel her party and will reschedule it for next week, poor thing.

We will be releasing some Linda Ravenscroft's today and here is a sneak peek:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Day Sale

We have launched the New Year's Day Sale (30% off) and will run through midnight 1/2/2011 and enjoy everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010


After a very busy Christmas we are now prepping for Birthday parties for the girls and today's release so reminded me of exactly how I feel at the moment.

Many moments of feeling like I am walking a tightrope and trying to keep things in balance with both mind, body and spirit.  I am happy to say that I am still on the rope albeit a little teetering here and there but I am still aboard :-)

We do hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and we have heard from so many friends, family and customers with stories of Fathers/Husbands/Wives/Brothers/Sisters coming home from overseas and others where this is their first Christmas with an empty nest and the joyous and thankful times that abound in this time of uncertainty for many. 

As we approach the New Year let's all hope that those that are struggling, struggle less, those without jobs, find employment, those with parted families, rejoin again or find their path to happiness, those with trials and tribulations find more balance but most of all we wish for peace for all as we take the steps into the New Year.

Here are some images of this morning's view of the hoarfrost, notice the one lone birch (that I am afraid is dying after the tornado has none on it).

Here is Takara enjoying Christmas morning boxes :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Horse

I love you very much, and I truly cherish your presence in my life. I would never wish to criticize you in any way. However, there are a few trivial details regarding our relationship that I think might bear your consideration.

First of all, I am already aware that horses can run faster than I can. I do not need you to demonstrate that fact each time I come to get you in the pasture. Please remember that I work long and hard to earn the money to keep you in the style to which you have become accustomed. In return, I think you should at least pretend to be glad to see me, even when I'm carrying a bridle instead of a bucket of oats.

It should be fairly obvious to you that I am a human being who walks on only two legs. I do not resemble a scratching post. Do not think that, when you rub your head against me with 1,000 pounds of force behind it, I believe that it wasn't your intention to send me flying. I am also aware that stomping on my toes while you are pushing me around is nothing but adding injury to insult.

I understand I cannot expect you to cover your nose when you sneeze, but it would be appreciated if you did not inhale large amounts of dirt and manure prior to aiming your sneezes at my face and shirt. Also, if you have recently filled your mouth with water you do not intend to drink, please let it all dribble from your mouth BEFORE you put your head on my shoulder. In addition, while I know you despise your deworming medication, my intentions in giving it to you are good, and I really do not think I should be rewarded by having you spit half of it back out onto my shirt.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that you are confused about the appropriate roles you should play in various situations. One small bit of advice: Your stone-wall imitation should be used when I am mounting and your speed-walker imitation when I suggest that we proceed on our way, not vice versa. Please also understand that jumping is meant to be a mutual endeavor. By "mutual", I m ean that we are supposed to go over the jump together. You were purchased to be a mount, not a catapult.

I know the world is a scary place when your eyes are on the sides of your head, but I did spend a significant amount of money to buy you, and I have every intention of protecting that investment. Therefore, please consider the following when you are choosing the appropriate behavior for a particular situation:

- When I put your halter on you, attach one end of a lead rope to the halter, and tie the other end of the lead rope to a post or rail or whatever, I am indicating a desire for you to remain in that locale. I would also like the halter, lead rope, post, etc., to remain intact. While I admit that things like sudden loud noises can be startling, I do not consider them to be acceptable excuses for repeatedly snapping expensive new lead ropes (or halters or posts) so that you can run madly around the barn area creating havoc in your wake. Such behavior is not conducive to achieving that important goal that I know we both share --- decreasing the number of times the veterinarian comes out to visit you.

- By the same token, the barn aisle was not designed for the running of the Kentucky Derby and is not meant to serve as a racetrack. Dragging me down the aisle in leaps and bounds is not how "leading" is supposed to work, even if someone happens to drop a saddle on the floor as we're passing. Pulling loose and running off is also discouraged (although I admit it does allow you to run faster).

- I assure you that blowing pieces of paper do not eat horses. While I realize you are very athletic, I do not need a demonstration of your ability to jump 25 feet sideways from a standing start while swapping ends in midair, nor am I interested in your ability to emulate both a racehorse and a bucking bronco while escaping said piece of paper. Also, if the paper were truly a danger, it would be the height of unkindness to dump me on the ground in front of it as a sacrificial offering to expedi te your escape.

- When I ask you to cross a small stream, you may safely assume that said stream does not contain crocodiles, sharks, or piranhas, nor will it be likely to drown you. (I have actually seen horses swimming, so I know it can be done.) I expect you to be prepared to comply with the occasional request to wade across some small body of water. Since I would like to be dry when we reach the other side of the stream, deciding to roll when we're halfway across is not encouraged behavior.

- I give you my solemn oath that the trailer is nothing but an alternate means of transportation for distances too long for walking. It is not a lion's den or a dragon's maw, nor will it magically transform into such. It is made for horses, and I promise you that you will indeed fit into your assigned space. Please also bear in mind that I generally operate on a schedule, and wherever we're going, I would really like to get there today.

For the last time, I do not intend to abandon you to a barren, friendless existence. If I put you in a turn-out pen, I promise that no predators will eat you, and I will come back in due time to return you to your stall. It is not necessary to run in circles, whinny pathetically, threaten to jump the fence, or paw at the gate. Neither your stall mates nor I will have left the premises. The other horses standing peacefully in adjacent pens amply demonstrate that it is possible to enjoy being turned out for exercise.

In order to reassure you, my dear horse, I have posted the following message on your stall door:

"Notice to People Who Complain About My Horse"

1. I like my horse a lot better than I like people who complain about her.

2. To you, she's an animal; to me, she's a big, hairy, four-legged daughter --- and you know what they say about coming between a mother and her children.

3. This stall is her castle, and you are expected to treat her as the queen she thinks she is.

4. If you don't want her to steal your carrots, don't walk by her with the carrots sticking out of your pockets.

5. Horses are better than husbands or kids. They eat grass, don't smoke or drink, don't expect an allowance, don't voluntarily get their body parts pierced, don't hog the remote, don't waste the whole weekend watching football with their friends, don't talk back to you, don't compare you unfavorably with their friends' owners, don't keep you awake with their snoring --- and no horse ever left the toilet seat up after going to the bathroom.

Finally, in closing, my strong and gentle companion, I would like to point out that, whatever might happen between horses and their people, we humans will always love you. In fact, our bonds with you help create new bonds among ourselves, even with total strangers. Wherever there are horses, there will be "horse people", and for the blessings you bestow upon us, we thank you.

Most sincerely yours,

Your Owner

Second Wind

This time of year is always so busy for us, not only do we have Christmas with my Granddaughter's Birthday on the same day, but we have Harmony's Birthday on the 29th and then Emilie's on January 4th.  This always bring so much activity as the girls always plan a birthday pool party.  Their friends love to swim in the pool in the middle of Winter and looking out the windows at all  the snow as they enjoy.

The pool is a full sized 13 feet deep concrete pond (can't tell you how many times I have threatened to fill it in and make it into an indoor rose garden/conservatory) and it is so wonderful to watch the 20 plus girls diving and splashing and giggling as they play.  Harmony asked me to open up the hot tub room and the Sauna as well but I think we need to keep everyone centrally located as best we can.

Each year I try and share pictures of the formal living room with all the Christmas decorations etc and this year is no exception, here is a picture of the tree (notice the stitched Fairy Muse on the wall?):

Here is the fireplace with the all the stockings - All 10 of them!

As I wind down and try and make sure that I have all the little kids covered as far as shopping I am reminded that there are yet 3 Birthday's to come as well and I have not done a thing for those.  Thankfully Jayson's boss is a pastry chef and she is making a Butterfly cake for Aubrey's Birthday so 1 cake down and 2 to go :-)  Harmony wants to do a Silly Bandz theme so that should be interesting.....

I am tired and have been fighting Bronchitis the past 2 weeks and am about at the point where I think I need to see a Doc for some antibiotics.  We are not used to the little kid cold syndrome and have fallen victim.  I love this time of year but I must admit that it is exhausting....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

This time of year always brings back the remembrance of starting something new as the Winter Solstice arrives.  This night will be longest on the calendar and yet the day the shortest and signifies the shortening of the day.  It is a time for reflections and savoring the time that has passed as the historical meaning was always marked by the uncertainty of making it through another Winter.

I often feel this way myself, will I survive yet another Winter and of course I will but it makes me appreciate the warm sun and the first growth of shoots from the Crocus in Spring.  For now though I am relegated to viewing the endless miles of white and endless stream of snow drifts and wonder where are we going to put it all this year?  As of last night we have received 27 inches of snow and trying to get home last night after picking up children was a challenge and left me breathless on more than one occasion.  I had to maneuver past cars and trucks in the ditch and then coming down the driveway in a narrow path left by the skid loader and I creeped along I watched the banks next to me slide past the window, now that is deep and the most snow I have seen in the 6 seasons that we have lived here.

Watching the horses play and romp and they themselves trying the navigate the 18 inches or so.  We created a path for them in the field in which we took the skid loader and created a track around the field.  All 7 of the horses followed behind the skid loader in anticipation of having a somewhat clear path to run and play.

Now we are off the get the 2nd Find Bob contest launched (1pm today) and get some charting done.  I spent most of the day validating the Christmas entries and not enough time to get charts released so stay tuned today for new goodies :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Friday That Seems Like Monday

With all the kids home yesterday today feels like Monday and I have the workload the prove it :-)

Everyone is off to school as scheduled this morning and now I need to get caught up on releases and emails.

Before I do so, I must tend to this lovely face asking for her morning ear rubs :-)

Have a fabulous weekend everyone and stay warm!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Snow....

We awoke again the the cell phones going off at 5:30am announcing a 2 hour delay for school for the girls.  It is still dark out but I quickly opened the door to the Ice Mistress and it looks like we have about 5 inches and still falling.  Here is a shot of the falling snow as it whisked past my camera lens.

I had to resist jumping out into it barefoot, it looks so soft and welcoming but I was quickly brought back to reality as the wind gently brushed my cheek and a chill quickly ensued down my spine.

Here is a portrait of a very bored 10 year old waiting for school:

Stay tuned for some releases today from Zindy Nielsen, Ching Chou Kuik and more :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making a List....

And checking it twice, I gathered up the Christmas pressies that I have ordered online and made piles for all the kids and I think we are done.  My wonderful Son had offered to wrap the last of them and bless his heart, I was so very grateful to have that task done.

Last night was rather joyous with the kitchen filled with the aroma of lasagna and garlic bread, Bob makes the best garlic bread.  9 bodies all hanging out talking, sitting on the counters and sharing what our week has produced so far.  The kitchen is the center of our home (literally and figuratively) and seems to be preferred over any couch that might be available.  The menu for tonight will be Gumbo which my Son is making and being a chef with classical training I am really enjoying having some varied recipes, but quite frankly my hips are starting to rebel.  After making Marzipan bars and Baklava I am afraid I am resigned to just enjoying and will deal the results after the First of January :-)

My Step Son has been gone to visit his Son down South and came home last night and it was good to see him.  The kids played with the girls and the house was a jumble of varied laughter and squeals of delight and giggles, it made my heart happy.

I have been trying to get some reading done and I am currently working on the following titles:

I have a voracious appetite for books and have so many that I have thought about doing a book exchange of sorts.  I will have to continue to think on that subject.

I hope that everyone is thriving and also finding time for peace during this blessed Season.  Remember to slow down and enjoy each moment the day brings, hug a loved one, sip slowly and love with a full heart.
"Life is too short for drama & petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Bob and I have been working on more of the House Mouse collection and will be releasing several today that we hope you enjoy.  So much of our artwork is centered on fantasy and these cute little characters bring so much charm and whimsy I have to smile when I work on them.

I needed the bit of a smile with all the cold and snow, I tend to get house bound other than picking up the kids from school and day care which is often preceded by alot of moaning as groaning as I go out the door.  You rarely will see me at the grocery store (they all know Bob by name) at any time of the year let alone Winter.  I would be just fine to be inside for 5 months of the year surrounded by the things I love and the artwork that we convert for your needle.  Although I say that now and probably couldn't ever do it.  Makes me wish at times that I lived aboard the Enterprise and could beam myself elsewhere at a whim.

We have been thinking about moving more and more and also realizing that selling this very specialized house will be difficult in this market, so we sit and wait out another Winter. 6 of them have passed now and I wonder if it is just the thought of moving or the fear of change which has never really caused me fear but we are well rooted here and the roots run deep but yet we don't love it or dare I say even like it here.  It is not the "here" but the place in which surrounds us.  Flat lands, farm lands and a different way of life that is so foreign to us and so far away from the cool ocean breeze that is so much a part of our core beings.  We tend to try and live as sustainably to the environment as we can and not only the environment but our bodies and there isn't even a place to really get good organic food here.  We talk about the importance of nature and respecting it and people start talking about corn fertilizer and the benefits of using Anhydrous Ammonia in the fields for a better harvest - what???  You mean you put that in the soil and we eat the produce?  I have learned alot about organic farming and well farming that is also not so organic and find it pretty scary.

Two people from very far away places, Bob from St. Thomas Virgin Islands and myself from Southern California, very warm climates and yet we end up here and I am so ready to leave.  What brought us here was my position at the Mayo Clinic and while it was a wonderful job, we are now self employed and the realization that we can pretty much live anywhere we like as long as there are schools nearby and my recently moved in Grandchildren and Son are on their own of course.

Hmm, where would that be?  Northern California on the coast in a tiny little home overlooking a cliff at the crashing sea?  A little cabin atop a mountain top in Colorado?  A little home with a thatched roof on the coast of Beliz? I don't know and all I do know is that I would prefer anywhere but here.  We tend to live rather simply and our lives have become complicated since moving here and downsizing is one of the goals on the list.  The maintenance of a land this large and a herd of 7 horses makes for alot of work despite the normal daily activities with HAED and as we move into our 50's this idea becomes more idyllic.

I will continue to wait and see what the road brings and continue to be a good student of the Universe and learn what I must.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Am Sooooo Pleased!

I got an email from Kinuko's husband and with the outpouring of emails from people that were so disappointed her work had been retired, they have decided to renew their contract.  The only glitch is that the following images will not be available but the rest of her images are back on our site. 

Chinese Angel
Cybelle's Secret
Claire's Wings

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New QS's and a SK

We are working on some new QS's and an SK today and the images are below.  Nadia Strelkina's work is so beautiful that we wanted to offer smaller more focused designs of her work and are very pleased with the outcome of these.

We are expecting more snow today and so far we have had the most snowfall since 1991 and the horses are absolutely loving it.  I found some quiet time yesterday and just sat at the kitchen table watching the horses play in the field.  Eva and Daphne have become true friends and it is beautiful to see the two of them at play.

Eva is growing up so fast and as I was grooming her last night she is almost the same height as Daphne who is 2.5 and Eva is 1.5 so she is indeed going to be around 17 hands and what a proud girl she is....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


It dawned on me last night that we have 12 shipping days left before Christmas and I suddenly became overwhelmed. Not only do we have our family to buy for but with 5 more people added to the mix it suddenly became an huge moment of realization that I have not nearly finished my shopping. I must get on that before the week is out and I normally have everything done by 12/1 and I hate waiting until the last minute.

We have signed a new artist by the name of Dean Morrissey and his work is simply gorgeous! He has a storyteller feel to his work and his Santa's are simply stunning. We will be working on several of his pieces for release today :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Little Redecorating

Since we lost our last blog to a hacker I will be posting here at the old location. The past week has been filled with trials and tribulations but all of which have taught us a lesson.

We learned that our site was open to hackers to destroy code (no purchase information was available) and destroy they did. We found a fabulous company that worked through the night to bring us back and I cannot say enough good about them. We will be moving servers in the next several weeks which will provide for a much faster experience for our customers.

Hopefully things will become a bit more stable and we are through the rough patches. I have reflected on this and several other experiences that happened with moments of tears and terror. But I do know that each passing day is a gift and there are so many others that are in worse places in their lives and I must remember that.