Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Have You Taken Your Vacation Yet?

Vacation: a period of rest away from work, study, etc.

Vacations are more important than you may realize. We live in a very fast-paced world, and it is really easy to get overwhelmed. We are are tuned in, turned on and always on the go.

Everyone needs some downtime to unwind and de-stress. You may think it will hurt your career, or your business to take some time off, but the opposite is really true. If you work to the point of total exhaustion, you aren't doing anyone any good. Not taking a vacation can lead to bunout, emotional and physical illness, and even obesity!

“Taking a vacation is not a luxury — it’s a necessity,” says Kathleen Hall, founder of The Stress Institute in Atlanta. “If you don’t have the opportunity to relax and reflect you get stressed, and chronic stress is the driver of most diseases — heart disease, obesity, insomnia.”

And probably the hardest part of taking a vacation, at least for me, is to disconnect. That means limiting (I can't quit totally) time on my smart phone, laptop etc.

Remember, no one person is indispensable. Even if you are a one-person business, you need some time off for yourself and your loved ones!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Find a Community Theater in Your Area!

Community Theater from Wikipedia: Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community. It may refer to theatre that is made entirely by a community with no outside help, or to a collaboration between community members and professional theatre artists, or to performance made entirely by professionals that is addressed to a particular community.

Community theatres range in size from small groups led by single individuals that perform in borrowed spaces to large permanent companies with well-equipped facilities of their own.

My daughter's family has gotten involved in a wonderful community theater in their hometown of Moorefield, WV. The actual town is only 1.6 square miles and has a population of 4820 people. It is roughly 2 hours west of Washington, DC. But what a powerhouse of talent! Led by Keith Miller, Susan Garrett, Thad Garrett, and/or Betty Stickley, the productions they put on at McCoy's Grand Theater ( are superb! Check out the Marquee tab to see some pictures of previous performances.

Our first experience seeing a production at McCoys was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in 2008. It was also the first production our daughter, son-in-law and grandaughter were in. Fabulous - and none of the three had any theater experience before. And how the family has grown into their various roles. They have been involved in Beauty and the Beast, Harvey (our son-in-law Derek Barr reprised Jimmy Stewart's role), The Sound of Music (Kirsten played Sister Berta & floored us when she was the first one on stage and came out singing a solo in Latin). Our granddaughter Allison was one of the Von Trappe children and was fabulous. Other highlights were How to Succeed in Business, Death & Taxes, Tom Sawyer (Allison played Amy Lawrence), and most recently Seussical the Musical. And I'm sure once Elliott is old enough, he will be joining this wonderful group.

Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea, the theater certainly does not revolve around my daughter's family. There are so many talented people that put these productions together. Lauren Gresham is multi-talented - she has played a girl, a boy, has a fabulous voice, and when I saw a rehearsal for Seussical, not only knew her lines, but the lines of the characters she interacted with. And I believe she is 11! Heather Thorne sang the lead in Sound of Music and others and is fabulous. There are so many talented people in this troope - my husband always says the actors of Hollywood have nothing over these people in talent - and I am sure that is true in community theaters throughout the country.

I urge you to search out and support your own local community theater. Your attendance is invaluable - ticket sales help pay for licensing & musical fees. Plus there is the expense of costumes, electricity, in some cases renting a hall, and the list goes on. There is also a need for people to help with props, constructing sets, making/altering costumes, and more. And who knows, the acting bug may hit you like it has for Kirsten, Derek and Allison Barr in Moorefield, WV. In any case, you will have a great night of entertainment!

FYI, McCoy's next production is 'An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe' the end of October. If you are in the region, I urge you to check it out!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sewing Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks!

Back by popular demand, here are some more sewing tips, tricks & shortcuts!

Always prewash your washable fabrics and zippers. That removes any finish on the fabric that might gum up your needle.

When sewing seams, always sew in same direction. I always sew from the bottom to the top. If you don't do this, and you sew a pant leg from the bottom to the top on the inseam, and from the top to the bottom on the outside seam, it may seem to be slightly twisted.

The easiest way to sew a pair of pants: Sew both the outside seam and inseam of each leg. Turn one leg inside out and put inside the other - the right sides should be together! Then it is very easy to sew the crotch seam.

When easing 2 lengths that are different such as an armscye, always have the longer piece on the bottom. It is then easy to stretch the shorter piece to fit.

When making a tee type top out of a stripe, where the front & back are the same except for the neckline, cut the back first, then flip it over and line up the stripes on the uncut fabric. Now you can cut the front and the stripes will line up at the side seams perfectly. You will only need to cut out the front neckline, which is always lower than the back!

When sewing 5/8" seams, press seams flat, then press them open. If the fabric is thick, press them open over a seam roll or tightly rolled towel. That will prevent the seams from showing on the right side of the fabric.

You can find beautiful fabrics, vintage patterns and other sewing related items in my Addoway store at and in my Etsy store at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stamp Collecting for All Ages

"Twice happy is the man who has a hobby, for he has two worlds to live in." Stamp collecting is a very enjoyable and educational hobby that is appropriate for all ages from children through adulthood. It can be worked on individually, or as a family or other group.

You don't need much to get started - just some stamps and an album to put them in! One of my most cherished possessions from my mother is a little binder that my mother used to put some very interesting stamps in. Each page had one or two stamps under which Mom had handwritten everything she could find out about about the stamp - who it depicted, why they were important, what was important about a place that was pictured.

Stamp collecting can educate in the areas of geography, science, nature, literature, history and every subject you can think of.

Stamps are not just used for postage. They have also been used as a form of taxation, otherwise known as a revenue stamp. Cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, cotton are just three examples of taxes that were collected by requiring them to have stamps.

The seeds of the American Revolution were planted when Great Britain imposed the Stamp Act of 1765 on the colonists. This required them to pay a tax via a stamp on every piece of printed paper they used. Ship's papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards were taxed.

The money collected by the Stamp Act was to be used to help pay the costs of defending and protecting the American frontier near the Appalachian Mountains. The Stamp Act, however, was viewed as a direct attempt by England to raise money in the colonies without the approval of the colonial legislatures - taxation without representation.

You can find stamps and examples of postal history in my Addoway store at


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yes, I really do sell pre-owned magazines!

Yes, I sell back issues of magazines. Some are over a decade old (Martha Stewart Living), and some are current. And yes,

people do buy them. I won't get rich from those sales, but it's a way to recycle, repurpose, and in some cases educate! Vintage magazines can be quite valuable to the collector. Most of mine are about a decade old to current, and in excellent, like new condition . But they will be vintage someday! We all have special interests, and tend to save our favorite magazines, and that is how a collection is started!

Currently I carry the following:

Coastal Living
Colonial Williamsburg
Golf Digest
Hallowed Ground (The magazine of the Civil War Trust)
Martha Stewart Living
Preservation (The magazine of the National Historic Trust)
Smithsonian Magazine
Townhall (Conservative politics)
The Hook (The Journal of Carrier Aviation)

Why do people buy magazines from me? Some to get an issue they may have missed. Some to get a magazine that is not normally sold on the newstands, such as The Hook, Preservation, Townhall. People who are into military ship and aircraft models love The Hook. It's a great resource with terrific pictures and articles. Others use magazines for craft projects.

There are wonderful ideas on the internet for using magazines for craft projects - the list is endless. For ideas google "uses for old magazine crafts". For example, golf magazines has beautiful pictures that could be decoupaged for gifts for the golfer.

All my magazines are shipped with care, the same way I would like to receive them! That means cardboard stiffeners (unless they fit in the stiff priority flat rate envelopes). And it is against postal regulations to ship magazines by media mail, so they are usually shipped first class, the heavier ones by priority mail. And yes, I do combine shipping for you - you can really save if you buy more than one magazine!

You can find my magazines in my Addoway store @

If you want to learn more about vintage magazines, check out