a blogger swap

Few weeks ago I was reading Heather’s blog at Beauty That Moves and read her post about a blogger handmade goodies swap.  So I went over to check it out.

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Amanda, from Sweet Potato Claire, organized a swap with fellow bloggers across the country.  Something I’ve never done before, and what a beautiful surprise and great joy this was.  All the way.  From contacting and ‘talking’ to Amanda, and her answering all my newbie questions.  She’s such a lovely lady… oh my!

Amanda swapped (is that a word? it doesn’t sound right…) anyways she swapped 68 blogging ladies from different parts of the country, and gave us all someone to send a little package filled with handmade goodies.

We were able to see everyone who was participating, and everyone’s blog, to learn and get to know each one a little better, from her list of craft swappers.

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And just like that, while I was making my own handmade goodies, and sending off my own box to my swap partner, one day I found my own package at the door.  Look at all the beautiful things I got in the mail last week.  I didn’t know of course, until I received the package that Tracey from Clover had my name as a swap partner.  I’ve never met her before, but it was as if she had known me forever.

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These coasters.  Four (yes FOUR!) knitted cotton coasters in the shape of leaves.  But I’m not really allowing hot things on top of them… they are just too pretty to cover them! Look at them…

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So, they are decorating our dining table, and we play around them.

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She made this beautiful bowl with gourds she grew in her garden.  So cute!

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Now, we want to plant some gourds and see if we can make some! What a great and beautiful present.

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Now, this is a trick photo.  Tracey sent me this Almond Rosemary Toffee and has the recipe in her blog.  We opened the package when it got home, one day after dinner.  The kids wanted to try the toffee so we had some while watching the Olympics.  Next day when I took this photo I had to put the only pieces left on the little window of the bag so it show what it was.  We had eaten almost all of them in less than one day!  It is (was) that good.

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And oh… look at this cup cozy.  Oh the yarn so pretty, I love the colors.

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And look at the wooden button!  I don’t know if Tracey knew of my love for wood but I think this would have been my choice to make myself a cozy.  All of it.  The yarn, the colors, the button… it is that perfect.  I’m telling you!  She’s amazing.

Tracey wrote about her swap and her making in her blog before I received the package, but I hadn’t seen it.  And even if I would have, because I did look around everyone’s blog, there’s no way I would have known it was for me, because there’s a large list of swappers.  But oh… I probably would have wished it was for me!

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Everything was so delicate and so cute and pretty and nicely wrapped and beautiful cards and so delicious and so… so… just perfectly beautiful!  She took lots of time in making me feel special.  My heart filled with joy and happiness and thankfulness.  Thank you, thank you so very much Tracey.  You are a beautiful person.

I hope my swap partner liked her goodies also.  From all the list, she was the only one who didn’t have a blog, so I don’t really know.  But I’m crossing my fingers she’s been enjoying her goodies.  They were fun to make and to send off a little package her way with care, and hoping for some happiness wrapped in that box.

Siena was so excited to see what this mystery box from someone unknown contained.  It was so much fun.  There’s nothing better than receiving something special in the mail, right?  I have to do more often.  It is really fun and it brightens anybody’s day.  I know that.

Now, Siena has given me the homework to find a group of kids to do a handmade swap like this.  I don’t know if there is anything like that for kids, but I’m searching now.  If anybody knows or wants to do something like that we’d love it.

I’m so glad I decided to participate in this swap, because it was a great experience, with so much fun to make, give as well as to receive.  Thank you Amanda.  Will have to do it again some time.

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a beautiful winter

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To me, there’s two kinds of beautiful winters.

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The winter we usually have here, rainy, stormy, gray and wet.  I like it.  But I would also say, that an even more beautiful winter would be with snow on the ground for the most part.  Oh yes.  A snowy winter that I’ve never lived in, but I long for someday be in it. Snow for two months.  No, three months.  The kind it makes everything glow and quiets the world.  But I know these are somewhere else.  And I know, it happened this winter in a big part of our country, and I know it’s not as glamorous as I have it in my head.  But since I’ve never lived one, I’m allowed to dream. Right? And dream is what makes it even more beautiful.  DSC_0064-small

And then there is the beautiful winter that you would normally think, with sunshine, not very gray or muddy days.  The kind you can still play outside, even though the calendar says December or February.  The kind, my kids are wearing t-shirts most of the time. The kind of winter that when you look outside you can see the blue skies and the sun shining.

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Well? That’s the kind of winter we’ve had this year.  Amazingly beautiful, so different from our rainy, gray, wet days.  I still like those, because I do love rain.  But this was different.

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And it’s been perfectly fine.  Perfectly beautiful.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014

The Opening Ceremony, is one of my favorite things to watch in the Olympics, be it the Summer or Winter Olympics.  This year’s, I thought it was a beautiful show.

I found these photos of the Olympics from space, from this website.  There’s more, if you’d like to go look at space.com.

We hooked a TV and watched the Olympics most nights this time.  With all the races, interviews, stories, also came all the commercials.  We usually watch movies and videos in the computer, go to the movie theater sometimes, but there’s nothing like watching TV with commercials.  I mean, I find it so boring to watch the same commercials over and over again.  But this time it was different.  
It was the first time, we all sat down in front of a TV to watch something.  To watch TV every night, for a couple of hours was something we don’t normally do.  We never have, actually.  We haven’t had a TV in many years (10 maybe?), but then my brother gave us this one, 2 years ago, when they moved back to Chile.  
I’m proud of that we don’t really watch TV.  Because in almost 12 years, we haven’t had a TV in our house, and it is not part of our lives.  I guess we’ve had this one packaged in its box in the basement.  But we feel like we don’t need it.  We can get all the movie needs from the computer.  
With the commercials we watched, we made the most of it.  We discussed what each one was trying to sell.  Who was targeted to?  Did it make us want to buy that product?  Did we need that product?  Did it make sense?  The different qualities.  Why were they showing that commercial at that time?  After few days, we were able to recognize them, sing the jingle and had our favorites.   And of course, after two weeks of Olympic-watching, commercials and all, we had a “final test” on Closing Ceremony day.  We would yell out loud the name of the commercial.  We also did the test “on mute”.  And of course, we also went for naming the commercial with our eyes closed, just by the music.  We got pretty good at them!  And we feel like we didn’t need to buy any of the products they were trying to sell us.  Extra credit!  
These were some of our favorite commercials.  These two on the top, remind us and laugh at how we see our Oregon.
And after 17 days of Olympics, of beautiful views, amazing wins and sad defeats and falls, of stories and sights of Russia, of Bob Costas’ interviews and his eye infection (I was worried we were not going to see him this year… I like him) we are ready to take a rest ourselves.  
We had a good time.  A great time watching actually.  We are still talking about the races, the athletes, Sochi, Russia, travels, skiing, skating, hockey, and all that we saw and learned during the last two weeks, it is especially fun to hear that everyone at home is done with the TV.  That we are happy to put it away.  I like that.  
This photo is from the same website, space.com.  Such a pretty medal, isn’t it?

And so it ends.  Even from far away, in the warmth of our home during the Winter Olympics,  we had fun.  Amazing athletes, amazing what they can do.  And maybe some day, I will go to an Olympics Opening Ceremony.  Who knows!  Maybe some day.