Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mistakes happen ... or prying the cookie corpses off your cookie gift trays

So, when a 24" snowpocalypse had me homebound the weekend before Christmas and it was too late to shop on Etsy anymore without some serious postal fees, I thought it would be a good idea

(ie cheap and easy)

to make a few cookie trays to give as last minute gifts.

I had been to Williams Sonoma a few weeks back and picked up some icing tubes and holiday sprinkles that I thought could make my cookies look amazing plus I really wanted someone to see them. My daughter and hubby are both salty snack people and I really wanted some oohs and aahs .. plus I was short about 4 gifts this year.

My cookies always smell amazing and usually taste pretty good , but are not always servable to people who can actually see them - something always seems to go wrong with the presentation plus I have some serious cookie makers in my family who make cookies that smell, taste and look good, so I always face some serious cookie challenges.

I chose a recipe from the Martha Stewart website listed as easy that did not require a mixer or a cuisinart or any of the other appliances I do not own since I never bothered to piece together a wedding registry

(how many years can you be married and are still allowed to do this anyway?)

So anyhoo, my cookies smelled good, they looked good and they tasted .... well, let's just say I had shoveled in enough cookies to require an afterschool purging and family intervention if this had been a Lifetime movie, before I realized that they actually ... didn't taste all that good...

But, the important thing was that they looked good

(this is America and 2009 and looks are all that matter anyway plus no one actually eats the cookies people give them, right?)

and I gave them out proudly on my little repurposed trays on Christmas and heard the oohs and aahs I had waited all these years to hear

... until ....

3 days after Christmas, the cookie emails began to come in

(tales of cookies permanently adhered to my repurposed trays, tales of chisels being needed for removal, tales of chipped teeth, tales of pretty little cookie corpses)

from friends and I use that term loosely feeling the need to remind me of that one time that their kids caught salmonella or had their stomachs pumped or something silly like that after a summer barbecue

(some people need to pick up a Bible and learn about forgiveness for pete's sake)

So, anyhoo - I am determined not to let this get me down because it is the thought that counts and some people should just be happy they got gifts that were not made of cork or car parts (finally) this year, if you know what I mean.

Wishing everyone a tummy full of amazingly scented, colorful and tasty cookies in the New Year (next year mine are shipping out with chisels and mouthguards and they will still look damn good).

Monday, December 21, 2009

mERRy ChriSTmas!!

I am de-plugging myself for a few days and will be back after the holidays, unless something incredibly amazing (or incredibly awful- which can be amazing, too actually) happens that I just have to rant about.

Wishing everyone a warm and wonderful holiday! xox

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday and yes, I know it is actually Friday


It's not like I think no one knows what day it is (except me), but this week flew by so fast that it still feels like Thursday and I am old enough to not be thankful for fast flying weeks

except maybe the week before, the week before, Christmas

not sure if that just made any sense at all now that I read it back, but I have promised myself to stop editing this blog so much, so I will just keep typing and hope for the best

Grateful 1 - I am very grateful for all these free little address labels I receive this time of year

(sort of)

I used to just get these from the American Lung Association who would send me about a gazillion teeny tiny ones adorned with cute little cardinals.

(the birds not the Catholics, although when I was a kid they used to encourage us to pray for the cardinals and I never knew if they meant the birds or the ball team and was so disappointed when I found out we were supposed to be praying for the men in the red robes- although now that we know what some of them were covering up- I really wish we had been praying for them after all)

And what exactly do birds have to do with healthy lungs? Cigarettes do a lot of bad stuff, but I have yet to see a smoker cough up a cardinal.

Confidential to Philip Morris- could you please make this happen?

So anyhoo, this year everyone from the Susan G. Kohman Foundation to the VFW is sending these to me. I think that maybe instead of mailing gazillions of address labels, they should just use that money to, well, um, support their causes.

I mean, does anyone even send letters anymore?

Maybe next time these charities will send me some cutting edge Betamax tapes or 8 tracks or some horses for my feudal plantation.

Gratitude 2 - My front door is not broken.

Last night bringing home some take-out, in the dark and the cold- I was standing on my front porch clicking my car remote at my house door to get it to open and thinking - dammit - my front door is broken

and well, I'm just glad it isn't

<---(note- this is not actually my front door, but let's just pretend it is- it's much cuter than mine)

Gratitiude 3 - It is almost Christmas. And even though my family has pledged no gifts

(bah humbug to them all I say)

and half my family (the half that can cook unfortunately- I really miss you Randi) has moved away - it is still almost Christmas and people are happier (yes, even in New Jersey) and kinder to each other and smiling more often ... even me.

I still really, really want to see someone cough up a cardinal though ...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Time Out Tuesday or stuff to check out while you eat your tuna on an everything bagel

I've been a bit AWOL from this blog lately what will all my decorating, caroling, shopping

(have got the shopping part down, just not the shopping "for other people" part)

wrapping, baking, visiting schools, nursing homes, hospitals- your basic do-gooder holiday schedule that I have every year

(well... I did sing Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer yesterday to an old lady at the grocery store until she tried to silence me with a can of Raid- not very eco-friendly these old ladies now a days)

so, now seems like a good time to take a time out and see what the wonderful web has offered up for us in the way of inspiration and maybe even some last minute gifts

(but don't count on it because this stuff is awesome and is probably sold out)


This hidden bookshelf allows your books to just kind of float on your wall- love it.


Rural Chinese farmers are growing Buddha pears - these are a little scary, but very cool.


Now, I trip over my own shoelaces (actually I have even tripped over other people's shoelaces) all the time, so this Shoelace Rug has a special place in my heart.


This camera can punch out a picture anytime, anywhere- yup, I said punch out a picture- me thinks me likes it!


A seesaw (that spelling looks wrong) for grown-ups recycled from bike parts- what more can I say about that.


Now when my hubby dances with our daughter he steps on her feet, so we would need these reversed for us.


I think I am obsessed with resting my books- but I love these, too.


Yup- that's 3604 coffee cups in 4 shades using various amounts of milk and coffee!


The most brilliant use of your extra cords- had me searching my entire house for extension cords- just brilliant!


French footlong marshmallows!


A new way to look at design that I just love.




The gorgeous furniture collages of Jennifer Mullin- I want to live in her rooms and yes, she has a locket!



How cute are these.



OK, back to work- just a few (couple) more days of chaos. I've been slowly adjusting to my return to real life like a diver coming up from the darkest depths of the ocean, although an ocean that has been littered with unwashed bowls of Lucky Charms, laundry, unopened mail and a very sad little Olive needing a walk and some brushin'.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recycled Christmas Countdown ... more reasons to drink more wine


While you are getting merry this season with your favorite bottles of red and white -start saving your wine corks

(you may already have a nice little collection)

and turn them into amazingly awesome Christmas tree ornaments!

A little cork education:

Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree. Most cork is grown in managed forests, primarily in Portugal and Spain, where the cork is carefully harvested in a centuries-old tradition using hand tools and without pesticides or fertilizers ensuring the trees will remain undamaged.

To make these little beauties you will need:

Corks, Buttons, Glue, Pleather Cording, Eyehooks, Slip Rings and Some Cute Little Christmasy Things to Hang From Your Corks

1. Start with a button that is about the size of your cork or a bit larger and thread it with a strand of pleather from the bottom up
2. Stack on a few more buttons and tie it off. Give your pleather a few more inches for hanging and trim.
3. Using a pair of sharp little scissors dig a little hole in the top of your cork so your bottom button sits flat
4. Glue the button to the cork and let this set
5. Twist an eyehook into the bottom of your cork and add a slip ring
6. Now you are ready to add any cute little Christmasy things you can think of to dangle from your corks


OK, I have to admit this is a re-post from last Christmas.

I'm actually at the mall right now looking for a parking spot or maybe at our town's tree lighting ceremony- which is actually held right across the street from our house- yup, lucky us- but they give us jingle bells for our shoes and we really, really want those bells, so even though it is about minus 20 with the wind chill we will be there.

and this post is for your own good anyway, because wine is very good for you- at least red wine .... plus it is low calorie ... really

Note to my scale- please be kind today- I'm hoping for a .6 loss - that's all I need-and if it happens, we'll totally be BFF forever.

OK, off to get my jingle bells.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Smells Like Sweat or your holiday marathon needs a time out and a trip to the shower

An amazing perfume maker and blogger, Roxana of Illuminated Perfume, asked me to participate - along with a dozen or so other bloggers - in a holiday round robin
Advent-ure
.

Every day a different blogger creates their own little post about scent and its relationship to the experience of the holiday season.

And since I am a bit of an expert on scent

(not to brag or anything but I have been known to tell my hubby to close the window because I 'smell screen')

I decided to accept her blogger challenge

(and because otherwise I would have had to arm wrestle her and I have heard these perfume makers are very, very strong)

So, anyhoo, when I think of scent and the holidays I think of 3 things - cinnamon sticks and also Yankee Candle Homecoming which has a very strong cinnamon scent, gingerbread cookies or sugar cookies baking in the oven

(someone else's oven, probably)

and sweat.

Yes, I'm sorry but the holidays have come to smell like sweat to me because I am always running here and there, doing this and that and make about a third of my annual income in about 5 weeks.

For a few years I had a cart in a local mall- I set up on Halloween (first holiday lost), I was burned out by Thanksgiving and getting ready for Black Friday (second holiday lost) and was half asleep on the couch on Christmas morning (third holiday lost) while the presents were being opened. The good news was that I didn't work much the rest of the year- the bad news was the holiday season was lost.

With the internet, things are different. The wholesalers order early and although they hope you can restock them up until the last minute, they understand when you can't. The retail sales slow down a couple weeks before Christmas compared to the mall with its endless holiday hours and last minute shoppers. There is time to

breathe.

We are all ao busy now anyway and add in all the holiday hoopla and it can be a recipe for exhaustion and burn out. Let's focus on those amazing holiday scents like cinnamon and cookie dough and yes, even sweat, which I kind of like actually and let's remember to

breathe.

(and check out the other bloggers scent-sational holiday posts - all amazingly inspiring)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday


I am going to take a little break from weekly giveaways and give a few little things of my own away between now and Christmas

(more on that later)

for today, I have to take a little breath and remember that the holidays can be amazingly wonderful or incredibly stressful and the choice is always our own.

for today, I am going to hold on to the amazingly wonderful parts and hope you can, too

xo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Recycled Christmas Countdown or baby got book

This is part 5 of my weekly series on some recycled and repurposed Christmas gift ideas- things that are easy enough to make fairly quickly, but still look like you put the proper time and thought into them.

I love little knobs and hangers and hooks and doodads and pick them up at garage sales and Anthropologie's sales racks whenever I have the chance- not knowing what I am ever going to do with them.

They make great little hanging racks but attached to a piece of wood they are just so 'been there, done that'. Attached to a book they make an amazing, recycled little hanging rack!


1. Gather your supplies: books that you don't mind drilling holes in- I know this is going to hurt all you bibliophiles, but sometimes art hurts folks (the books should be the same thickness as the length of the screw attached to your drawer pull unless you have some heavy duty wire cutters like I do), your doodads and sawtooth hangers

2. Mark the spot(s) where you want your hooks.

3. Drill your holes - note- when I drilled the very thick Harry Potter book, I smelled smoke and thought I had started a fire, so maybe thinner books are best or that could be just a little of the Potter magic leaking out

4. Clean the drill area flush with a razor blade

5. Add your drawer pulls with washer and bolt on back

6. Add your sawtooth hanger with a hammer
Some simple wrap (Target giant lunch bag - just how big have our lunches gotten I'd like to know- run through an inkjet) completes the gift!

Thankful Thursday or I did not really cause Katrina... really

I am starting to like these thankful Thursdays now and feeling like a much better person

(glass half full, remember)

than the one who whined all the time.

And I have alot to be thankful for this week .

Gratitude 1: This amazing giveaway over on Lory's The Sunshine Studio blog where you can win your choice of one of my Polarity lockets

so hop over there and get yourself entered!

Gratitude 2: Polarity's soft launch on Uncommon Goods website

yup, THAT Uncommon Goods (and if you are asking what a soft launch is, I am not exactly sure, but it sounds..well... soft and kind of launchy)

I was totally going to do a big announcement for this in January - when I thought we would be making our debut, but somehow we are on their website now and I am a bit speechless...

well, not exactly (have been howling at the moon a bit over this actually)

I love Uncommon Goods and this is very exciting for me and 3 of the Polarity locket artists - Holly Ward Bimba (Gollybard), Jessica Doyle and Christy Zaragoza (Peppermint Daydreams) and I will chat more on this later when the Valentine's Day catalog comes out and yes, this is my first catalog, ever!

Gratitude 3: I am very thankful that I found my missing keys (that have been missing for almost a week)

at the bottom of my pocketbook

the pocketbook that I use everyday and had checked a few times - well, at least I thought I had checked it a few times, I mean who loses their keys and doesn't check their pocketbook, right?

Gratitude 4: I broke a major OCD habit today

well, maybe not so major because I have alot of them, but I had my little bag of peanut M&M's

(well ... actually a HUGE bag, why is everything else getting smaller while these damn bags of peanut M&Ms are getting super sized)

and instead of eating the colors in alphabetical- well, red first and then alphabetical order, I just ate them out of the bag, one by one, distractedly, without thinking about the color

I stared at the empty bag with shock and awe when I realized what I had done and then knocked on some wood that I hadn't just caused a major disaster somewhere in the world

(like Katrina- don't even ask me what I forgot to do that day)

Gratitude 5 - The security camera in our local video store is totally broken.

(now I had nothing to do with the actual breakage, but am happy that someone else out there had just had enough of this already, too)

I mean, have you ever seen yourself on a store security camera?

It is horrifying. You totally think you are having a good (looking) day and and then you see yourself on one of those, and you're like, "oh my God look at that sloth coming into the st-- wait, that's me."

then you feel like crap

or maybe that only happens to me.

Oh, and I am totally grateful that the customer who ordered the Mad Scientist cork necklace and discovered that I had reversed the last 2 letters of the word scientist, which kind of changes the meaning a bit if you see what I mean, was kind enough to tell me about it and not tell everyone else by putting it in my public feedback - of course I told her I would fix this problem immediately, but couldn't resist telling her that as far as the problem piece goes - I wantit back.

Monday, November 30, 2009

GIVEAWAY - Afra Gorgeous Arm Warmers!

CLOSED- WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TODAY!

Afra is an art and craft atelier in İstanbul made up of two close friends- Aslı and Azra.

They love the handmade life and eclectic things. Afra designs are mostly inspired by different color and texture combinations. Their work is beautiful, warm and wonderful!

We are so lucky to have a wonderful piece of Asli and Azra's amazing work for our giveaway!


WHAT YOU GET:

One lucky winner will receive Afra's amazing brown chic arm warmers!







HOW TO WIN:

Visit Afra and leave a comment below letting Asli and Azra know which item is your favorite.

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

DRAWING:

MIDNIGHT on Sunday, December 6th! CLOSED

Friday, November 27, 2009

Recycled Christmas Countdown or saving your digits the old fashioned way


This is the 4th part of my weekly series on some recycled and repurposed Christmas gift ideas- things that are easy enough to make fairly quickly, but still look like you put the proper time and thought into them.

I don't know anyone's phone number anymore because they are all stored in my cellphone and when I forget to charge it

(all the time)

I am left wishing I had my memory back

(from before I lost it being a mom)

or that I had a wonderful old rolodex!

You will need: a can (cut out both ends- you can't do this with all cans these days, but there are still some out there), a magazine, index cards or cardboard and dividers (you can make these pretty easily, but I just happen to have some purple ones)


Step 1- Gather your supplies, cut both ends from your can and peel the label

Step 2- Find an interesting picture page in your magazine (the magazine can be new and part of the gift or you can recycle one of your old ones)

Step 3- Tightly roll it up and slide it into the can

Step 4- Trim your index cards to about 4" square (square just seems better somehow and it also stands up perfectly for some reason that I can't figure out)

Step 5- Slide your dividers and cards into the pages - instant modern, recycled rolodex!




Some simple wrap (Target giant lunch bag run through an inkjet) completes the gift!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday or I will not whine, I will not whine, I will not whine

I thought instead of whining my way through the holidays, I would try something a little more positive and focus on things I am thankful for.

So do you guys want to hear something awesome?

Then you should probably go read another blog.

You are not going to believe what happened to me.

(just kidding... sort of)

Gratitude 1: A 2 Day local craft show last weekend that I have no idea why I signed up for (yes, I know I am dangling my participles and I also do know why I signed up, but I will take full responsibility for my own stupidity)

I was surrounded (on 2 of 3 sides) with buy/sell jewelry and yes, even though I befriended the very kind sellers of this junk, I totally knew it was buy/sell.

NOTE to buy/sell people at juried shows- EVERYONE knows you did not make your stuff when 1. You have 1000's of pieces with 1000's of different clasps, beads, settings, styles, etc and 2. You are selling necklaces for $10.00 that could not possibly be made for $10.00 (other than by six year old children in India)

(and oh yeah, also when you say that you "sell jewelry" because people who are not buy/sell do not say we "sell jewelry" - even though we try to - we say we "make jewelry")

And you make those of us who actually labor over our product look expensive and shows should be more careful - and they often aren't.

But, wait I am getting whiney, so let me say that I am actually very thankful that I did this show because now I am 100% certain I will never do another non-Indie show (and I've never done an Indie show, but they seem like more fun and no one is ripping Made In China stickers - unless they were the one in China actually making them - off the bottom of their stuff minutes before the show starts) again.

I am incredibly thankful that I did so poorly that I will never be tempted to do this again.

and that I got to meet this woman ---> (untouched photo I snapped as she was leaving and YES that is all her own hair)

who squealed when she saw my cork

(the kind of sound you would expect to hear if you punched a build-a-bear)

and of, course, I got her stylist's digits, because you know I just had to ask.

Gratitude 2: I was sick on Monday, but on Tuesday I was better. So I knew it was just a stomach thing and not the swine flu which I was convinced I had for a few hours there. Which, of course, is totally ridiculous because everyone who knows me knows I am like the last person to grab on to the latest fad. If I got swine flu now that would make me terribly in vogue, it's more likely that I'd have SARS.

Gratitude 3: I spent like 3 hours at Barnes and Noble trying to decide whether or not to purchase the new Stephen King.

(ie reading the first chapter while sipping spilled hot chocolate from my napkin - hey, it's a recession - and avoiding everything I was supposed to be doing ... like food shopping)

and I got to hear the best little quarrel I'd heard in a long time

(that I wasn't participating in)

Let me set the scene- they were an adorable twenty something couple- she had wide-set Bratz doll eyes and you just knew she would still look cute when she washed off all that eye make-up but you just couldn't hate her for it because she was just so damn adorable

and he kind of reminded me of that cute wannabe detective guy on the HBO series.

She was smacking the side of their table trying to get his attention.

"ANSWER ME"

She hit the table harder sending the Dean Koontz books he had been building into an elaborate pyramid crashing to the floor. "You spilled my Koontz," he whispered, calmly gathering the books and re-Jenga-ing them on top of each other. He looked sad. "Now, I've got dirty Koontz."

This sent my hot chocolate spewing and caused everyone to look at me.

"Sorry, asthma attack", I muttered, pounding my own chest.

"We are so broken up right now!" - she stomped off.

So, anyhoo, we have to be thankful for the little things (as Oprah says) and for some reason this little exchange (I did see them making out in the parking lot an hour later) somehow made me happy and had me thinking about young love and all the passion of it and then that made me a little bit sad and needing to see my own hubby.

So, I headed over to hubby's shop and he was wearing his 'crazy pilot from Mad Max' goggles and stopped dead in his tracks to say to me "damn, you look good"

(those goggles are a bit distorting)

and I thought, well, maybe old-love isn't so bad either ...

(of course, he burst my love-bubble by asking about the lines in the grocery store and about all the food I bought, which made me realize that I actually did have to hit the food store and not just the bookstore)

so I blew him a kiss and left him standing there with his saucer eyes and fraggle rock hair and went off to do my Thanksgiving duty.

Hoping everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and lots of amazing things to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend Special - Wednesday thru Monday!

To thank all my wonderful customers and kick off the holiday season I am having a special in both my Etsy shops!

Holiday Weekend Special -

Order any Polarity locket from Wednesday, November 25th thru Monday, November 30th and receive a free lid set for the holiday season!

Leave a message in the comments to seller section of your order letting me know if you would like the Christmas or Hanukkah lid set!

Order any Uncorked necklace and receive a free wood holder for your test tube!




(but if you are one of those Black Friday die hards who needs to head to your local mall to get in the spirit- here's a little tip to make the day go faster.

When you drive to the mall, instead of wasting your time looking for a parking spot -drive right up to the mall entrance and when you see people coming out with an armload of gifts yell, "Hey! Would you like a ride to your car?" - this could prevent the endless circling looking for an empty spot.

Or if you are really pressed for time when they put their gifts in your car, you can just drive off without them. Shopping done.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

GIVEAWAY - Be Happy Now Calendar Cards! CLOSED

Winner chosen by random.org

Min: 1
Max: 287
Result: 4

is JennTRC- check out her beautiful blog!

Be Happy Now is the amazing shop of a wonderful artist in Jeruselum.

Jenny lives with her boyfriend and cat, Blueskii. Jenny says she has no routine in her creation process. She works spontaneously. Sometimes she thinks about content, but often just pick up one of her pencils and starts drawing.

Jenny is a happy artist and wants everyone else to Be Happy Now, too!


WHAT YOU GET:

One lucky winner will receive BeHappyNow's amazing little calendar cards for 2010 featuring 12 of Jenny's amazing illustrations!






HOW TO WIN:

Visit BeHappyNow and leave a comment below letting Jenny know which item is your favorite.

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

DRAWING:

MIDNIGHT on Sunday, NOVEMBER 29th! CLOSED