Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve.......

My fish are hungry and they do enjoy the warm water inside.  The colored rocks are my son's selection when he attended college.  It was left here and I am now using it for my three gold fish.

I did manage to get some of my trains out for under the tree.  My space is so much smaller that I didn't really get a good show with them.

I really like caboose cars.  I notice that the wheels are not on this one and I do have some spare parts to use in replacing them.  The brown boxcar is a classic style that brings back many memories of watching trains pass by when I was young.

My brother bought these two sets for my father many years ago.  When I closed down the house in Osceola he refused to take anything back with him to California.  I have them for now and maybe my boys will eventually take them.

The town ordinance gives us a deadline to shovel our walks.  The irony of it all is they have piled three to four foot of snow on the corner of my street from the road.  My sidewalks are like the bridge to nowhere. I have them cleared mostly but one will have to climb over the drifts if they try to walk down it.  I chose not to hand shovel them as I see most all of the other neighbors chose not to do so also. Actually the people in this town walk in the street year round as our old sidewalks are really narrow and hard to walk on when the street gives one plenty of room.

The path stops here.  I have a small layer of fluffy snow on the path at the time of the shots being taken but it is gone now as it settled in and frozen down to the snow packed sidewalk.

I am at work again today on New Year's Eve.  I am off at 2 and we have an appointment at 3 in West Des Moines.  I think we will grab a meal and we will probably sleep into the new year.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Happy New Year to all of you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Stuff.....

A blurry blue Santa is still hanging on through the new year. Our decorations went up late so we will probably not take them down for a week or so.

A blue crown on a questionable character.  Is it a nutcracker with those teeth biting down?  Is it a soldier or a santa?  I think the creators were confused about this one.

The green pine cone ornament is truly an antique from my wife's family collection.  In the 70's I bout the mushroom, tree and the red roofed house and they are replicas of the original antique glass blown ornaments of the 40's.

A blurry view of another one of the replicas, snow on an acorn, alongside a newer smaller glass ornament.

Another replica ornament.  The metal caps on these older ones are still a lot different than the newer ones made today.  It isn't such a pretty ornament but the early antique ones were not necessarily that pretty.  They had color and the shined and that made them magical.

I will close down the blog with this newer small tree with packages for it's base. We are warming up today and then going to go back into the deep freeze. We will just have to appreciate the one degree above freezing and move on for the rest of the week.  I work at school with the janitorial staff on Monday.  

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by my post.  One more day and 2013 will be.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

In the Village.......

Living in the village seems to be a pretty fun life.  No one seems to have a job and everyone is busy playing or hanging around in town.

The firemen are having a coffee break while they watch the strolling couple go by .  The train in the back ground is transporting bears to the next town and the streets still need to be cleared off from the last snow storm.

On the bridge standing is the painter Thomas Kinkade while others watch him work.  Generous gifts of three different figures from Maple Lane were added this year to the collection. Thomas Kinkade was one of them and the horse in the background is pulling a carriage.  I couldn't get a clear photo of it.  It was a nice and appreciated gift from Mr. and Mrs. Maple Lane.

Here is a blurry shot of the artist finishing up one of his wonderful landscapes. Thanks again to M. and J. for these figures.

Our son picked up two garage sale items for the collection.  The barn in the background was one of them.  I finally got the lights set up inside all of the buildings on Christmas day.  Most were lighted but I had to buy new lights for the two Andy gave us.  It ended up being a string of six lights on one cord so I had to rework all the buildings with a new setup to get it all lighted.  I will try to shoot a lighted village in the next few days.

I worked three days this past week at school but we still had some fun going to see a movie and now a bookstore visit. We both have been so busy up to Christmas day that we really didn't have all our decorating done nor did we have time to appreciate them.  Now we get all the trees lighted each night and I am out with the camera taking newer shots.

It snowed again on Friday.  It was a fluffy snow and it just added new slick conditions to the roads.  The cities are still trying to remove the frozen thick snow that is still on the roads.  We will have to have a good thaw to remove it and that isn't coming soon. I guess middle Iowa will reach 32 degrees on Sunday and that will help them loosen up some of the frozen stuff, that is if there is sun shinning on the day.

The celebrating of a new year is low key around here as it seems it will be just another day.  Hopefully someone in Washington DC will get their act together and stop spending money they don't have on things that buy them votes.  Hopefully a balanced budget means you only spend what you earn, like the rest of us are required to do.  Hopefully in the new year some people will be held accountable for what they are actually doing and not what they are pretending to be doing for the country.

Having watched the movie Les Miserables Friday night, it reminds me that throughout history power corrupts people. The leaders who lead really do want to be treated like Kings of the past and we can just go eat cake when the bread runs out. The only problem is that so many people don't have money to buy bread and that cake never existed in the first place.  I am waiting for a miracle of integrity and honesty and I am sure from experience that we won't being seeing it. I am actually waiting for the exposure that should have come a few years ago of the lies, dishonesty and intentional deception that seems to be status quo.

I will wish you a happy new year on another less grumpy day.

Thanks........for stopping by my post today.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Santa's Sleigh

My wife's Grandpa Cone made the sleigh many years ago.  The santa looks a little bit disheveled sitting there and no presents left to give away.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Print Frame Job......

This is another one of our frame jobs.  The poster is done from the company Sticks.   The make a lot of hand painted furniture.  The have ventured into the poster business also doing some of them in the same style of painting.

All around the main landscape are small images that graduates remember about their Iowa State experience or things related to the university.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Frame Jobs of the Past.....

Some of you want me to share what I have been doing in the frame shop.  The two that I will share today are items bought in Alaska by a woman who lives in Minburn, Iowa.  She made the trip this summer and really was impressed with her visit.

She also picked up this print that was done by an Alaskan artist. I matted it up with some color insert and made it look larger for her with three mats.  She had complained that she didn't know why she bought it as it was such a small print, but she was glad to see how I had made it look larger.

I spent the day at school working with my summer friends.  We had to go around the building and correct fire code violations.  I have two more days of that and we might be up to snuff by then.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas.......

Have a wonderful day on this day of Christ's birth.  I appreciate all of you and wish each one of you a great holiday.

Thanks for stopping by......

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 pm.......

A friend who follows me from England asked me about how many trees do we display each year.  I thought I would give a review for her to catch her up to the craziness.  Della and I both like the color and the lights and the fun that we really didn't have when we were kids. Today one can start a theme and with little money collect ornaments toward each new year.

Our large tree sits in the bay window of the living room.  It is a tree of memories.  The ornaments are the ones we have received over the years, the ones the boys received or the ones that are now being sent to us.  I know one of them is as old as Andy when he was a baby and the newest ones are from Aaron and his wife Keegan from Maine.  Lighthouses and moose come from Maine. This is a collection of memories of friends who have passed on and collections of ornaments from Kansas City when we would visit in the summers.

My wife's angel tree started when we bought it as our first small tree for the art gallery.  We thought it good to have it up for the customers to see when they came in to buy artwork or the pick up framing.  The collection of ornaments has grown larger through the years. You can see the only clear photo of the living room big tree that I have not been able to take. That tree in the living room has so much back lighting from the bay window that the camera doesn't give me a clear shot of it.

My small tree is covered with the glass blown ornaments. It has a mirror behind it this year.  There was no room for any trains this year as it sits on a chest of drawers. The ornaments are not the expensive ones but those that I have collected on after Christmas sales.  Since I have started the collection plastic fake ones are now being produced.  I found this year that there were very few companies making the small old fashioned ornaments and they aren't for sale.  That is good as I have too many of them anyway.

Because of me having too many of the glass blown ones, I now have an overflow tree.  I pick out the smallest ones from the large collection and I decorate this smaller tree. Some of my older ones are on tis tree that I bought thirty years ago.

My wife's teddy bear tree started up probably 15 years ago.  It was her idea and I keep buying her a new one each year.  There are more than just bears on this tree as there are raccoons and dogs on the tree also.  I noticed this year that tyco wanted to make all of their small stuffed animals with oversized eyes, like they are cartoon figures.  It is a sad choice to design them this way.

The decorated tree is a tradition from Europe and not our religion. Our belief in Christ, really is not deterred from all the trees. Our manger is really our prized decoration for the season. I made the barn manger myself a few years ago and we selected these mat finished glaze figures many years ago.  We buy animals to go with the scene.  Our Bible tells us that the wise men came to see the baby Jesus later and that there should be shepherds there at the manger.  One doesn't always see the shepherds or you can buy them with both.  We are watching for shepherds to add to our scene for the future.

As we leave for Christmas eve service I hope that you all have a happy holiday season and Merry Christmas to those who wish to celebrate the season.

Thanks for stopping by my post this evening.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


A blizzard can be a blessing for those who still have electricity.  Our Christmas traditions cause us to have a lot of work to do and we like doing it.  It just is that time is always the factor that prevents things from happening. There is never enough of it.  Because of the blizzard we had a two day gift to get our work done.  The trees are all up, manger scene on the mantel, framed worked distributed, art work shipped or distributed, packages shipped to four different locations and we finished our shopping yesterday.  There are minor things left to do and we just didn't send out cards this year.  We will email some and the rest we can ship out a note later after Christmas. We baked a few dozen cupcakes last night for our Sunday school group, kids and adults will get one.  My class is going to frost them to teach giving of time and gift giving.

The blizzard is a factor in everything when it comes to getting out and about.  The storm packed down on the highways, melted a little, then froze down hard.  It left highways in a mess as they could not get it off the highways.  It was like traveling on a pan of broken up peanut brittle candy.  We have to drive slowly.  Interstates as well as all local roads have the same condition and maybe by today it will get worn down. I sure hope so.

I may have time to get a lot of photographs now as chores are getting done.  I hope that I don't bore you with decoration shots until July, but I might. Maybe I should just start a blog for Christmas ornaments year round.  I will finish scooping out the sidewalks this afternoon and maybe will put up some white lights on my front porch.  I still don't have my two lighted deer decorations outside.  The neighbor lady wants to get together this afternoon when we get back from church so that will be our first and only Christmas party.  It will be fun and she likes to hang out with us.  She shares  her Christmas plans with her family and will feed us a lot of sweet treats.

I hope everyone is doing well out there.  Everyone has different family situations and it is fun to hear about what each of you are doing.  We will have a quiet empty nest Christmas this year and we seem to enjoy it a lot anymore.  We have been living a busy life and time off will be nice to just spoil our time for ourselves.  There are three movies out there that are must sees, but the weather and roads need to improve. Christmas eve services are a solid tradition and the rest of the time is a time to rest.

I wish you all now on an early note to have a Happy Holiday season, a very Merry Christmas, and a great time of friends and or family to enjoy.  I appreciate my friends on this blog and I wish the best for each and every one of you. My prayers go out to those who are having tough times at this time and I pray for better days ahead.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday's Scene.......

The balsam pine didn't break any branches from the weight of the snow but it certainly did bow down.  The birch in the background is  glowing from the late afternoon sun. We are all fine.  We ventured out to deliver a frame job Friday.  It was not that safe as the snow was packed and frozen with great textures on different sides of the highways. We drove slowly and returned home as quickly after picking up groceries.  The person was getting ready for Christmas and didn't want to pick up her four framed pictures so I offered to take them to her. She lived in the country and I couldn't make it up her drive completely so we walked the goods up half of the way.

We have our large Christmas tree up now and have a few more  decorations to put up.  Our shipping is done now but my wife and I still have not shopped for each other.  We may hit the mall very early today and see what we can accomplish.  Our Christmas plans are pretty minimal this year so we won't be too stressed for here on through the season. Our boys each will stay in their home areas and we will eat out breakfast with Della's brother and his wife Christmas day.  Christmas eve services will be one tradition that we will keep.

It is cold with all this snow on the ground and I guess that is the one thing that I really don't like about this weather.  The weatherman says the foot of snow really discourages the temperatures from getting very warm. We are warm enough in our old house but it would be more comfortable if it were quite so cold out there.

Thanks for stopping in today.  Enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, December 21, 2012


We finally received a blizzard.  We need the moisture no matter what form in which it comes.  They average the measurement of snow but a foot of snow is my call.  It is heavy and wet and the drifts are higher than a foot. School was cancelled yesterday because of the wind and snow. Our rural roads take two days to get cleared of snow. Today it is cancelled because of the ice that showed up under all the snow.  Our neighboring town has no electricity and it is very cold today. It is 8 degrees right now this morning and will warm up to 23 degrees by afternoon.

My neighbor's son cleared our driveway and I took a layer of snow and ice off of the car yesterday.  I will warm up the car again today and try to get two packages mailed at the post office.

The snow was blown against all structures and trees and as you can see here it is still attached to my gate.

I finished up all but one frame job yesterday with the day off and we are going to finish off the tree decorating.  I really needed the day off as I worked from dawn to dusk getting the framing done. Today school is also closed do I can move slower and start to move into more of a vacation mode.  We need to go shopping at the mall but we will wait to see how the roads look by this afternoon. The ice coats the streets in our town but out in the larger traffic areas they will use chemical to clear it.

It was nice to get to start the Christmas break early and today will be a bonus to take off the stress of getting things done.  We may not do cards this year unless we can find something today locally to purchase. Della finished her last dog portrait yesterday and we have that to deliver and one to ship the day after Christmas.   Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday's day to reflect......

A father of three of our students had a heart attack last night.  He was young and his death has added to the already sad events out east. The deaths on tv are very real but now the students face seeing an event happen to one of their own classmates. The experience is very personalize by their classmates losing their parent.  The mother of the family suffers from bone cancer.  It makes everyone be affected in one way or another.

We will probably have a snow day tomorrow as it is going to be very windy and 8 to 10 inches of snow will be on the ground.  It is Wednesday afternoon when I write this and the snow has begun.  We need to run to a neighboring town to deliver two artworks that Della has completed. I think we are stockpiled enough for food so we will just come straight home.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Getting there......

I hung the Christmas wreath on the front door last night.  This ornament inspired me to wrap ribbon around my wreath of pine cones to make it resemble this.  It seems I am getting things done a few at a time.

I stained and finished four picture frames last night.  One of those frame I had to cut and assemble before it was to be stained.  So I have the possibility to get two frame jobs done tonight and also we need to get materials after school to finish up the other two.

We will be delivering three jobs to a person tonight and that will be more things now out of the house.  The flag case and coin case will be delivered along with a dog portrait and a person portrait.  Della has one more collie dog portrait to get done by Friday and we might be totally caught up on our outside jobs.

I am shipping another package today and we have two more to get ready so that they can be shipped.  Chicago's box has to go out tomorrow and the Winterset, Iowa one will go out by Friday.

I am a floater today helping with tech and also hanging out part time in the special education room.  It seems like Wednesday but it is only Tuesday.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Shots........

Monday through Wednesday will be three busy days but maybe, just maybe, the dust will settle from all the activity by Thursday.

School will be a distraction from the things that I need to get done but I spent my whole teaching career juggling the frame shop and the school.  I keep running out of framing supplies, so Tuesday we make a glass run down to east Des Moines to pick up another case of glass.  I am also short one mat board that will have to be a specific color.  There will be not substituting a color on this one.

I think I will be in the Special Education room today. I was suppose to follow a young man around to each of his classes but so far he has not come to school today. If he comes in late then I will be switched back to that position.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


My wife's teddy bear tree is up.  The bears tend to move around on the tree as gravity is in existence.  So some of the guys get to be moved around all through the season.

Our neighbors tree outside is wonderful with its many different colored lights.  I will venture out again this week and try to get a less abstract shot.

Have a restful day on this Sunday.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday's Chores.............

I have three of the four frames made up ready for a finish.  I have one other frame that is a must do that will require us to go to Menard's again for two sticks of moulding.  The one that is left to do is so big that I need a stronger frame to hold the weight of the glass that I will use in it.

I finished up the backings of these two pieces and will not return to work on them anymore.  They are finished.  I might hit them with a polishing cloth one more time but that is it.  Mission accomplished.

I put up Della's angel tree this afternoon and have set up my glass blown ornaments tree. I have no ornaments on my tree but I do have the lights arranged and it is ready for the final hanging of decorations.  Tomorrow is another day in which I can probably get that done and also find some trains to put under it.

The mats are all cut for Della's work that needs to be shipped out this week. Her oil painting portrait is done and needs to be photographed one more time before we call the customer for pick up of it.  Della has one more dog to paint by Friday and I need to finish up the four frame jobs by Friday or even sooner.  I didn't get a clear deadline on one of the "must have" framing jobs so I will do it first.  We have been known to frame and deliver things up to the day before Christmas eve.  I don't want that to happen this year.

Tomorrow we rest.  Our small poodle has been a little under the weather so we are watching him and babying him a lot.  His digestive system is so much more sensitive now that he is older.

Thanks for stopping by to visit my late post today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twelve way!!!!!!

Stress, panic, tense filled days, and disappointment are some of feelings that I really am experiencing.  It really shouldn't be this way so I will work on it. I do have to go back to school tonight to help monitor students behavior while each group is singing or playing in a concert.  They are middle school students and I won't be too festive after the experience.

They get nervous before a performance and need to be monitored and then when they get done performing they get excited and are relieved and are ready to relax.   The lunchroom is a far ways away from the auditorium so it helps to maintain them.  I may bring in the Polar Express movie to keep them tamed down a little, by projecting it onto a large wall. I am going to plan on it to be a good experience and expect the kids to behave well.

I talked about this ornament in my other blog.  I thought he was an Italian cook but now I see he is just an Italian snowman.  I keep forgetting to mainstream him into the boxes of ornaments.  He has set in a display case all year in the dining room.

Thanks for stopping by my post today.