Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cascade and Porter

Two down, 44 to go! I'm not in a hurry though.

I had a minor detour from my Fire Tower Challenge when invited by my cousin to do a couple high peaks. I was a little reluctant because I didn't want to hold him back but agreed. Granted, they are the two weeniest peaks of the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks, but high peaks nonetheless!

The weather up north was naturally predicted to be chance of showers, while in my home town it was to be sunny and a slight chance of a shower. The sky was blue as we got on the Northway, but the farther north we drove, the thicker the clouds... then the drizzle.

It was muddy, as to be expected. I forgot to bring my Gaiters and my pants were mud splashed up to the knees in just a few short minutes.

It didn't downpour at any part of the hike, but even when it wasn't raining, we were walking through the clouds. The hike up was a lot easier than I expected. I didn't need to stop much except for putting on and taking off the Stabilicers. There was no need for snowshoes, but there was some very slick ice for the top portion of the trek.

At the junction of trails for Cascade and Porter there is a sign for .3 miles to the summit of Cascade and .7 to Porter. We went up to Cascade first, where we were greeted by a large cairn and a false summit. Up to the real summit we were walking on clouds (as literal as that can be). The view is amazing from the bare rock summit, unfortunately, I could barely see two feet in front of me. The wind was unexpectedly mild, but we decided to save our lunch for the summit of Porter.

The trail to Porter brought us around a very tall boulder, which I am told some argue could be the actual highest point of the mountain. A little ways past the boulder and you are at the summit of Porter. Cascade actually blocks the wind making a nice lunch eating spot.

No wildlife to report of... no flowers yet. We did see some cool looking moss draped over the trees, however. All in all, an easy way to bag two high peaks in a day (took us less than 4 hours, I'd say) and a great way to warm up for the bigger challenges. I hope to bring Sister up there this summer, I'm sure we'll do fine by ourselves! We'll just have to pick a day where we can see the view!

Here are the rest of my pictures from the hike.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Etsy Day 2009

This Friday, April 24h, 2009, has been declared Etsy Day! It is a day for us sellers to unite and all promote Etsy is a website dedicated to selling handmade items, such as jewelry, clothing, and home decor. You can create an account on Etsy to buy and/or sell handmade goods, and if you already have an account, be sure to spread the word!

To celebrate, I'm offering free shipping to all U.S. customers on purchases made at my store on Etsy Day.

Etsy administrators have made a list of suggestions for Etsy members:
  1. If you get people to sign up for Etsy on Friday make sure they mention your Etsy username in the Referrer Username box at sign up! If we see a user who really rocks this, we'll automatically include you in our Etsy Day follow up post. So if you print out flyers, get on the news, or get Ashton Kutcher to tweet about Etsy, make sure you get your username in there, too!
  2. Tweet your endeavors via Twitter and make sure to add the hash tag #EtsyDay. (And send it to @aplusk. Let's get Ashton Kutcher's attention on Etsy Day. Ha! Mr. Most Twitter Followers.)
  3. Support a new seller on Etsy Day! Buy an item from someone with no sales (you can find them on Pounce Undiscovered), and wish them a "Happy Etsy Day" in the Message to Seller field when you check out.
  4. Print out schugirl's Etsy sign to stick in your car window or download and print out the design Anda made for Etsy Day!
  5. Get an Etsy tattoo!
  6. Dress your family in all orange. When you get weird looks, whisper "Etsy".
  7. One final clarification..."Etsy" is pronounced like "Betsy" with no B.

So join Etsy, buy handmade, spread the word, and if you sign up today, just remember that AKeepersJackpot referred you! If you would like more details about Etsy, refer to my blog tutorial.

Image provided by Anda

Monday, April 20, 2009

Zany Zebras and Zarkles

If you are looking for a one of a kind gift for a baby shower, or perhaps for you own toddler, baby, or grandbaby, you should check out the unique and adorable handmade gifts by Mama Z of Two Zany Zebras!

Mama Z has a lot of creative ideas. For instance, her Zany Pocket Blankets come with a pocket to hold the included Zarkle. A Zarkle is a stuffed cute monster that is good for cuddling with at night to keep fears and scary things at bay. The Cuddle Blankies have little loops to keep the blanket attached to a car seat or high chair so that Baby can't kick it off.

Zarkles can be purchased separately, like Carlton Chameleon here.

Gift sets are offered with a Cuddle Blankie and matching onesie or toddler t-shirt.

And Mama Z loves custom orders! You gotta love her work and her creativity!

Follow her blog at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peaches and Green

MoonMystic was kind enough to put my Learn to Fly earrings in her Treasury West. Click here or on the screen shot attempt below to be directed to the treasury which is set to expire on Saturday, April 18th. Once you are in the treasury you can click on each item for more details on the featured products.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Fire Tower Hike

Belfry Mountain was the 14th fire tower mountain for Sister and I, and a special 1st fire tower for my mom. We decided to go hiking on Easter, just to do something different. My husband had to work, Sister's husband had to work. It was just us ladies and Mother Nature.

Very easy hike, actually up an old utility road, not even a trail. The 0.3 mile hike was all uphill but not too steep. Only a couple trail markers were in sight, but the trail was very self explanatory.

The tower is climbable, right up into the cab. Unfortunately it is littered with graffiti, probably because it is such an easily accessible tower with a close proximity to the road.

The tower has been converted into what we call a Frankentower - a fire tower that doubles as a communication tower as well. There were times it felt like the wind was going to tip us over in the tower, but Mom was protected by a large boulder, sheltering her from all the wind down below.

We thought it was interesting that there were three geological survey markers, each visible from up in the tower. We posed for a trekking pole pose before descending back down.

Click here to see all the pictures from this hike on my Flickr.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Learn to Fly

Press Play to hear "Blackbird" by The Beatles

Some people have asked me where the inspiration for my work comes from. Many times the source of inspiration is as simple as a bead or pendant. Sometimes it's from nature, such as a plant, bird, butterfly or flower. My titles are often Google inspired... I'll type in the colors or shape and browse through pages until I see a word or phrase that seems appropriate. I also get name inspirations from songs - and sometimes it's just something that I think up. When all else fails I'll just give it a really lame name like Blue Egg Earrings.

My newest listing, a pair of earrings titled Learn to Fly, was my first photograph-inspired work from a picture that I took of a sunset in Key West in February.

While the it wasn't the best quality photograph, as I certainly am not a professional, I thought the picture was really cool because a bird happened to fly into the scene as I pressed the button.

I had a couple peach colored shell disks from a pair of ugly earrings that I dissected for spare parts, and I found some lead and nickel-free metal charms with birds painted on them. They are wrapped together with sterling silver wire and dangle from sterling silver ear wires. Too bad the birds are perched and not in flight!

Sunsets, birds, photographs... that was just in the design. The title was inspired by lyrics in part of the song "Blackbird" by The Beatles that I had recently been listening to. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earth Hour

Earth Hour actually began in 2007, but this year was the first time I had heard of it. It was an idea that started in Sydney, Australia and was adopted by many other cities in 2008. The global event was organized by the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness for the need to take action on climate change. The event takes place on the last Saturday in the month of March and calls for all unnecessary lights and electronics in the home and business to be turned off for one hour (between 8:30 and 9:30 pm local time). Participating cities turned out the lights on even major world landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower! The United Nations Headquarters in New York City estimated that they would save $102 in that hour. Delhi, India's capital, had a phenomenal decrease in power demand during that hour, falling by 1000MW.

What did I do to help the cause? Sister had a bunch of us over for a candle light porch party. The television, computer, and all the lights were turned off and we just enjoyed the company of each other for over an hour in the dark outside on the porch, enjoying what was probably the warmest day of Spring so far.

So mark your calendars for next year, to celebrate a new kind of power hour.

Information on Earth Hour found on Wikipedia.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bald/Rondaxe Mountain Fire Tower

The drive to the trail head was a bleak one. We left home, which was overcast and 47 degrees, and crossed through what seemed to be a time warp before arriving to our final destination. Upon arrival we encountered a problem most unexpected for the month of April. The parking area was not plowed after the most recent snowfall, and the snow plows had displaced the snow from the road into the opening of the parking area. My car easily gets stuck in snow bumps at the ends of driveways, and with no cell phone reception, I was afraid we'd be stuck half in the parking lot and half in the road until the snow melted. Fortunately, I had not yet mustered up enough ambition to remove my winter stock of kitty litter from the trunk of the car, so I thew some down for traction and we sailed in with no problems!

The hike was super easy - the biggest challenge was finding the trail markers buried under a thin layer of fresh snow. According to Views from on High, it is only 0.9 miles to the summit. There was a few slick spots, and a few muddy spots, but overall, few obstacles.

My Stablicers clicked like tap shoes as we carefully walked across the spiny bare rock formations, hence the name "Bald Mountain."

The tower was open all the way up to the cab. We had to use our imagination to see the 360o views, as the fog, snow, and clouds masked the surrounding mountains. We could make out First through Fourth Lakes, and were disappointed that the High Peaks and Blue Mountain remained hidden in the dense gray clouds.

The original tower was wooden and built in 1912, standing 20' tall. The current 35' steel tower was built in 1917 and was closed in 1990. It remained closed until June 18, 2005 which happens to be the day I got married!

On the way down we encountered a few other hikers. One pair of older men remarked that they knew at least one female was on the mountain. I assumed it was because they noticed my kitty littering work in the parking area, but turns out this CSI Rondaxe observation was based on the small size of our footprints in the snow.

It was a quick descent to the car and we exited the parking area over the snow bump with nothing more than a small fish tail swerve.

Naturally, the sun magically appeared not too long after we began our road trip home. It was sunny and 55 degrees at home upon our return.

Check out all my pictures from the hike here!javascript:void(0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Outdoorsy Carnival, April 1st 2009

Welcome to the April 1, 2009 edition of an outdoorsy carnival. Thanks to all the participants, I think a record number!

Advice Column

VikramKir presents How Create and Make a Garden! Tips to build your own garden! posted at Thoughtfully Vikram....

Jack Clifton presents Do It Yourself Deck Construction posted at How to Build a Deck, saying, "The second problem with having a planter in the middle of a deck is that it completely chopped up the space and made the deck far less useful than it otherwise might have been. A six foot by six foot planter almost in the center of an otherwise flat wood deck that was about 20 feet by 28 feet in overall dimensions was little short of idiotic, but I guess that everything is in the eye of the beholder."

Tony Clifton presents How To Build A Shed - How To Build A Shed Door posted at How To Build A Shed, saying, "A visual guide!"

Aquatic Life

Jenny Smith presents Used Scuba Gear posted at Diving Scuba Vacation, saying, "Buying new or used scuba gear can be a daunting task for beginners because you need to be well aware of all the insand outs of the game, and this is something you can acquire through experience."

Jenny Smith presents Used Scuba Equipment posted at Scuba Diving Vacation, saying, "A scuba divers equipment is used to ensure safety. With that in make sure that you follow all the instructions properly.Most of the risks associated with scuba diving are likely only when the divers do not take proper care. Mentioned below are some safety guidelines following which you can avoid most of the risks."

Jenny Smith presents Scuba Diver Training posted at Diving Scuba Vacation, saying, "Scuba diving is a game that requires you to be very much skilled, and this is where scuba certification plays a very important role. In fact, in most scuba diving centers, it has been made mandatory to acquire certification. This is just to make sure you know the basics of the game and will not face difficulty diving deep into the water. In the past few years, lots of scuba diving centers have emerged that provide various kinds of certification. Take a look at a few of those."

Jenny Smith presents Scuba Diving Caribbean posted at Scuba Diving Vacation, saying, "scuba diving caribbean style"

Erika Collin presents 100 Excellent Websites for Exploring the Ocean Online posted at

Nancy Miller presents Water, Water Everywhere, And All The Reasons to Drink It posted at EKG Classes.

Charles presents Choosing the Right Fly Fishing Combo posted at Loop Fly Fishing.

Charles presents Fly Fishing Basics posted at Loop Fly Fishing.

Lou presents Ohio Spring Trout Releases posted at Steel Valley Outdoors.

GrrlScientist presents The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "a review of the true outdoor adventure story by Susan Casey. This book is the personal chronicle of the author's determination to learn about Great White Sharks -- however, the author's selfishness and immaturity ultimately destroyed two scientific careers and valuable research."

Wayne Cross presents My First Scuba Diving Vacation posted at First Scuba Diving Vacation, saying, "Everybody who dives has to have a first diving experience. Mine was about twenty years ago of the Big Island of Hawaii with a group of my friends. None of us were certified. How could we be, since it was our first time? If we had been certified, at least we could have said we had previously dived to the bottom of some community pool back on the mainland."

Mudslide Mama presents A Beach Vacation in La Jolla, California posted at Traveling Mamas, saying, "I've never submitted to this carnival before, and I hopeI chose the right subsection."

Green Thumb

Sandy Wong presents Gardening on Cloud 9 · How to Make Garden Container Using Soda Can posted at Gardening on Cloud 9, saying, "Almost anything can be used as a container in our garden. And here, I would like to show you how to make a garden container with a soda can."

Damian presents Cheap Garden Sheds posted at Garden Sheds Online.

Damian presents Garden Sheds and Outdoor Storage posted at Garden Sheds Online.

Damian presents Funny Garden Shed Story posted at Garden Sheds Online.

Tiffany Washko presents Are You in Danger of Becoming Free? posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

Miss Thrifty presents FRIDAY BARGAINS: darned fine garden tools posted at Miss Thrifty.

Chris presents The Great Sunflower Project - free seeds! posted at Smith Family Garden, saying, "Free Sunflower seeds for your garden! The Great Sunflower Project wants to determine areas where bee numbers are critically low. You can help and get free seeds in the process."

Jason Logsdon presents What to Grow in Your Vegetable Garden posted at Vegetable Garden Planner, saying, "Thought this might be helpful to people looking to get out there and start gardening. Thanks!"

Thursday Bram presents Gardening in a Group: 6 Tips posted at Wise Bread.

run4change presents Sod removal and planting bed design. posted at My Angle, saying, "This is a post with before and after pictures that demonstrate how much of a difference removing sod and designing a planting bed can make."

Nancy Muller presents Gardeners: What To Plant Now -- Very Comprehensive posted at Recession Depression Therapy, saying, "Oh, just look at the wonderful resource I found! Am I the only one that struggles over when to plant what for optimum production?"

In the Woods

Y Niz presents How to Pack an Emergency Case for a Camping Trip (Outdoor Camping Equipment) posted at Outdoor Camping Equipment, saying, "Have you ever wondered if you needed to bring an emergency case? You need to bring one just in case. What if you get splinters? What if you get cuts? That is why you need to bring an emergency case."

steven germain presents Bill and The Earth Room... posted at Rough Fractals, saying, "The most outdoor place in NYC..."

Cheryl St.John presents World?s Biggest Something or Other posted at Petticoats & Pistols, saying, "Antler Collector"

Camp Trainer presents Camping Meals: Easy 3 Meal Ideas To Follow posted at Adventure Camping: Hiking Gear Reviews and Backcountry Camping Tips, saying, "The following is an example of what I usually eat on backpacking trips, long and short, summer and winter. I’m not proclaiming this is an ideal diet, but the food is lightweight and easy to prepare."

travelcat4 presents Reduce Your Impact Tips - Eco Holiday Toiletries posted at Eco Holidays.

GrrlScientist presents 56 New Animal Species Discovered on Remote Lost World: Papua New Guinea posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "This photoessay details the recent news that scientists discovered 56 new species of jumping spider, amphibians, and reptiles in a previously unexplored region of the "lost world" of Papua New Guinea. Lots of pictures!"

Dana presents Homeschooling and learning things more deeply posted at Principled Discovery.

Open Air

GrrlScientist presents Pohjolan kivimäkehen posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "Pohjolan kivimäkehen. Photographed at Suomenlinna on Kalevalapaäivä (Kalevala Day). This is one of my favorite places to visit in Helsinki, Finland. This entry includes an image and part of the epic poem, the Kalevala."

Jeff Sullivan presents Top Budget Friendly Vacation Destination posted at Branson Travel Attractions - Budget Friendly Vacations.

Ryan Floyd presents How to do a Vision Quest posted at Creative Substances. presents Amarnath Yatra: Part 2: Sheshnag mountain and Panchtarni posted at

GrrlScientist presents Iäkäs Kivittää posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "[not sure if this is appropriate, but thought i'd send it to you nyway] Iäkäs kivittää. A close look at the old stones that comprise the fortress at Suomenlinna. Photographed at Suomenlinna on Kalevalapaäivä (Kalevala Day). This is one of my favorite places to visit in Helsinki, Finland."

DownTheTrail presents Hiking to Havasu Falls | Grand Canyon posted at Down The Trail.

GrrlScientist presents Genetic Compatibility Drives Mate Choice in Gouldian Finches posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "Color-coded Gouldian finches show that some bird species have long been choosing the sex of their chicks -- based on the plumage color of the father's head. Not only that, but this study shows that biologists have underestimated the role of female choice in determining the sex of their offspring."

Outdoor Olympians

Y Niz presents Balance MTR posted at Magnetic Tennis Elbow Brace, saying, "Tennis elbow is one of several repetitive injuries that can affect your elbow. The technical name for it is lateral epicondylitis.The pain stems primarily from the point where the tendon of the forearm muscle attaches to the outside (lateral epicondyal) of the elbow. It can also spread down your forearm and into wrist wrist."

Peter Jones presents Why We Love Upslopes: Colorado Telemark Video posted at Rocky Mountain Raider: Telemark Skiing, Bouldering, and Trail Running in Colorado.

Chris presents Extreme “Marathon Monk” Runs 50,000 Miles to Sainthood posted at Martial Development.

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