Monday, December 27, 2010

Music Monday: Raise Your Glass

Getting ready to toast to 2011? I'm sure that "Raise Your Glass," by P!nk, will gain even more popularity this week leading up to the New Year. It's title alone gets you ready for a champagne toast but if you look beyond the bottom of your glass, the lyrics and rhythm are inspiring, particularly to those who don't quite fit in with the rest of society. The video is odd in nature and has a lot going on throughout, but if you can get past the shocking elements and a couple of swears, you may find inspiration in "Rosie the Riveter," a same-sex wedding, or a couple of geeks breaking it down at a high school dance. Besides being an anthem for the underdog and a push for acceptance of all people regardless of race, class, or sexual orientation, the video also demonstrates P!nk's support for animal rights. Raise your glass, bottle, or carton of milk to 2011, love, life - whatever your cause is!

Here are some cute things on Etsy that remind me of this video:

Rosie the Riveter Wall or Laptop Decal by RebelGraphX

Tuxedo - Animal Awareness Bracelet by Beadedtail
(a portion of proceeds in entire shop are donated to animal awareness charities)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Theme Thursday: Festivus

In my opinion, one of the best episodes of Seinfeld was the one about Festivus, a made-up sitcom holiday based on a true story. In reality, the fake holiday was "created" by the father of a screenwriter for Seinfeld, but in the episode it began with George's father, Frank, in a store fighting over a doll that he wanted to buy for his son. The doll was destroyed, and Frank realized that Christmas was way too commercialized and was getting out of hand, sentiments that lead to the holiday Festivus.

"Festivus" is a nondenominational winter holiday that is celebrated on December 23rd, according to that episode. You still may hear it be referred to as a "Festivus for the rest of us," and some fans of pop culture continue to recognize the holiday today.

There is no Christmas tree for Festivus, just an undecorated aluminum pole, which has "an appropriate strength to weight ratio."

George took the holiday a step farther by creating donation cards for a fake charity called The Human Fund, on the premise that it would be better to donate to charity than to exchange Christmas gifts at the office. After being called out by his boss, who donated $20,000 in "money for the people," George agrees include him in the so-called Festivus dinner to try to further cover up his charitable lie.

The Festivus festivities begin with dinner, which is followed by the Airing of Grievances, a tradition that allows you tell your family how they have disappointed you in the last year.

Airing of the Grievances is followed by the Feats of Strength, clearly George's least favorite part of Festivus, in which Frank chooses someone to wrestle with - the episode ends with the sounds of George screaming.

Throughout the episode there are references to a "Festivus Miracle," similar to what most would call a Christmas Miracle. How does your family celebrate the holidays? Do you have an unusual tradition?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Music Monday: Winter Song

It's very short notice, but if you didn't already know, tonight (technically early tomorrow morning) there will be a unusual occurrence. A lunar eclipse will begin around 1am Eastern time, and one "bite" at a time, the moon will slowly slip into our Earth's shadow, and if there are clear skies, the moon will turn a creepy orange around 3:17am, with the show ending around 5am.

This is a special lunar eclipse, though, as it falls on a full moon on the winter solstice, which hasn't happened since 1638. And perhaps another reason it is special is because it also falls on my birthday. Not just any birthday, but a milestone birthday. Some see the lunar eclipse as a bad omen, some ancient documents connecting disasters like famine with the lunar eclipse. Others see the movement from complete darkness back into light as an opportunity for personal transformation. National Geographic has an interesting article on this event.

Perhaps there are some positive personal transformations in my future, or maybe a cool picture! Who's staying up with me? Weather report has my local skies clearing up around the time of the eclipse from cloudy to mostly cloudy, unfortunately.

I leave you with a video of "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson in honor of the first day of winter.

This is my first of hopefully many Music Monday, an effort to pay more attention to my woefully ignored blog. Please stay tuned for Wordless Wednesdays and Theme Thursdays as well.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Something for Everyone

With three shops, it would be hard NOT to find something to buy from Linda of Pruitt Handcrafts! She is a talented crafter, breast cancer survivor, and grandmother to 25 lucky kids! Her talents extend from quilting and sewing to jewelry and scrapbooking.

This Cute as a Bug's Ear crayon carrier roll up caught my eye because my Great Grandpa Joe used to tell me that I was as cute as a bug's ear - such a puzzling expression that made me wonder how he's seen a bug's ear, and if it was really that much of a compliment. It is a cool little crayon caddy to roll up your kid's crayons for easy transport to maybe the doctor's office or baby sitter's house. This is featured in her shop Pruitt Handcrafts.

At Pruitt Designs, land of forever free shipping Linda sells her jewelry, lanyards, zipper pulls, and paper crafts. I love this zipper pull made with natural beads of wood, agate, and shell. Did I mention that it is always free shipping?!

Linda's destash and supply shop, Pruitt Supply, is where you can find scrapbooking supplies, beads, buttons, findings and more. Decorate your summertime memories with the Lady Bugs and Flowers Flatbacks.

She makes lovely jewelry, items for the home, or you can buy her supplies and make something over your own. Follow her life as a crafter and grandmother on her blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Celebrate the New Year with Etsy

Everyone has their own way of celebrating the New Year - with friends at a party, a low key evening with someone special, watching the ball drop on TV or in person, or maybe just making a New Year's Resolution or two. Most people could agree that no matter how it's celebrated, there is usually a feeling of renewal and a hope for a year that is better than the previous one. However you plan on spending the holiday this year, the members of the EtsyBloggers Team have many ways to make your New Year's holiday special.

Are you attending a New Year's Party this year? If so, you'll want to look your best, so check out the Abalone Paua Shell Necklace by Lizswares. This necklace combines glass pearls with shell beads and a toggle clasp. She also has a matching bracelet and pair of earrings to offer!

Abalone Paua Shell Necklace

New Year's Day can feel like a chance for a new beginning and a fresh start, so just let go of last year's problems and look forward to new opportunities. Just crack open a jar of SpottedCowSoaps' Champagne Whipped Sugar Scrub, toast to a new year, and scrub 2010 away!

If your New Year's Eve festivities include a fireworks display, keep warm with this New Year's Firecracker Handmade Knit Scarf, made by SusanNeedleHands. It features a mix of festive colors, including furry tinsel trim.

Handmade Knit Scarf - New Year's Firecracker

Share a smooch with your sweetie at midnight, or give them this Kisses and Hugs Pink Plush Heart by MadeByMelissa. If you are spending the evening alone this plushy will let you squeeze it tight.

Kisses and Hugs Pink Plush Heart

Remember your resolutions beyond January 1st with PruittDesigns' Reminder Necklace - Hope and Love. This cute necklace will help keep you in touch with what really matters. I've shown the necklace that is made with pink cube beads, but there is also a green one in stock too.

Reminder Necklace - Hope and Love

Support peace on earth and goodwill to all with JoeyandAleethea's Peace Ring of Cuteness. This sturdy ring is appropriate for any occasion but why not ring in the New Year with the cutest fingers in town?

Stay in contact with your friends and family, and wish them a happy and healthy New Year with these New Years Cheers Note Cards by Creative Lily. A simple way to send Cheers to your loved ones even if you can't spend the holiday with them.

New Years Cheers Note Card Set

How will you celebrate the New Year?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Treats

When I was a kid, my mom and I made Christmas candies every year for friends and family. Well, she would make the candies and together we would bag them up in these cute little "gingerbread houses" that we would make out of lunch bags. We'd cut the top couple inches off of a brown paper lunch bag and take red construction paper and make a square that was a little wider than the paper bag and we'd fold that in half and make that the roof. My mom had scissors that cut zig-zagged edges. We'd cut doors and shutters out of construction paper and draw on the windows with marker and use other craft supplies to complete the gingerbread house look. The paper bag would roll over itself a little at the top and my mom would hole punch holes into the roof and paper bag, tying the roof on with Christmas ribbon. I actually found a kit online to make similar looking gift bags. The picture below is linked to a package of 12 sold at Oriental Trading.

Now I make Christmas candies and cookies in my own home, though not as many as my mom used to. I buy Christmas tins and gift bags - as busy as my mom is, I don't know how she found the time to make candies and gift bags! The gift bags of candies are nice to have because you can give them to your family, but they are also nice to have to give something small and inexpensive to give to your friends that you don't exchange gifts with, or for those awkward occasions when someone surprises you with a gift and you didn't get anything for them.

I'd like to share my Rum Ball recipe with you. I found it a few years ago online. My only complaint is that they aren't as formed as I would like and they are really sticky when you make them. I discovered that it helps to roll the balls as directed and coat them with sugar, but then let them sit a few minutes and then dip the balls back into sugar and re-roll them into a more round shape and freeze immediately, but they still tend to go flat and stay a little gooey.

Rum Balls
1 small package (8.5 oz.) Oreo cookies
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts (optional - I leave 'em out)
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (sweetened cocoa is fine, too)
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/3 cup rum (don't use more!)
granulated sugar

Put whole cookies in food processor and whiz until finely crushed. In medium bowl, combine crumbs, powdered sugar, nuts, and cocoa. Blend in corn syrup and rum. Wet hands and shape mixture into one-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Store covered, in a cool place.

I quadrupled the recipe this year using two regular sized (16.6 oz) packages of Oreos.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Etsy Wishlist

The EtsyBloggers team is writing about what they would like for the holidays from Etsy. I don't really want or need much this year, but I searched around and found some cool things. Before I share them, I'd like to inform shoppers about a cool Etsy App that could come in handy this holiday season, Gift Ideas for Facebook Friends. Etsy promises to "be cool" and not post to your wall without permission, contact your friends, or share your personal data. It searches for gifts for your friends based on what they "Like" on Facebook. I haven't found it to be completely accurate, but its a fun time suck and maybe you'll stumble upon something accurate!

I came across this bangle, by ValleGirlDesigns, and it cracked me up. It features Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's quote, "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History." The lettering was burned, and then the bangle was stained and sprayed with several acrylic coats. Just a wearable warning for the well behaved women out there!

Sometimes in Pilates I get frustrated with the zipper hoodie that I wear, which can get in the way of my moves. The fitness room is kept too cool to go without one until I'm warmed up, so it's a necessary evil. How about this Hanuman Black Tube Sleeve by Kayayogawear?! It looks like it would keep the arms warm without getting in the way.

As a hiker, I can appreciate these bear bells/hiking bells by CaliforniaCollarCo. Though they are most likely intended for a four-legged hiking companion, as the name of the business indicates, they can also be hooked onto a belt loop or hiking pack!

I already make glass tile pendants, Scrabble tile pendants, and bottle cap pendants, so I'm not interested in taking on any more of those projects, but I wouldn't mind owning some domino pendants made by TaylorRain1, like this "Make someone happy. Mind your own business" extraordinary domino pendant. Her pendants are collaged, stamped, and have fun and sassy quotes. They are sealed with a high quality scratch free resin.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Devine Designs

Cindy, of Devine Designs, is a very talented jewelry artist. She has always been crafty, sewing swimming suits and dance costumes, and now working with with metal. Creativity comes naturally to her, stating that she has some talented family, but she has also studied under other talented artists and learned a lot of the art on her own. She only uses high quality components and each piece is unique.

You can see her talents meticulously put to work on this amazing piece, Goddess Spirals.

I love how she boldly mixes metals in pieces, like in these Western Style Earrings.

She also has some items that are more beads than metal, like this Fiesta Necklace.

You can also find Devine Designs Jewelry on her blog and on Facebook:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Splendid Little Stars and Sparkly Park

Margaret of Splendid Little Stars and Sparkly Park has a lot of creative talents. She hand dyes and hand paints clothing, and has been doing so for over 18 years now. Like myself, she enjoys being outdoors and finds inspiration in nature. She makes really cute infant and toddler clothing as well as beautiful jewelry.

This cute bubble suit was hand-dyed and hand-painted by Margaret and is called Dreaming in Pink. It features pink roses and green vines painted with dye on a light pink dyed bubble suit.

She has matching knotted hats available on 100% soft cotton jersey. These hats feature the same hand painted pattern. There are also several different patterned bubble suits and hats available.

If you're shopping for an adult, she has plenty of jewelry available in her shop Sparkly Park. I particularly liked the vintage blue grass and fresh water pearl earrings.

Margaret has a very interesting blog that I recommend following!

Monday, October 18, 2010


I was lucky enough on my hike up Basin and Saddleback to get some emails of other aspiring 46er women to hike with. When I have free weekends that I don't have to work or attend a wedding or wedding related event there isn't always an ADK group going on a high peak hike that I haven't already completed. I don't quite feel comfortable hiking alone on the high peaks for several reasons. First of all, as a woman, I don't really feel that safe going anywhere alone these days. Besides, with a neuromuscular movement disorder and my new tendonitis problem, I'm prone to falls and possibly injury, so it's nice to have someone with you in case something happens.

One of my new hiking buddies contacted me letting me know that her and a friend were going to be doing Sawteeth so I was excited for the opportunity. Group hiking is nice in that there is a leader to make sure you get back down the mountain, and there are enough people around that are experienced to help you in trouble spots. The disadvantage to hiking in a group is the pressure to keep moving when sometimes you'd just like to stop and take a picture and enjoy the moment. I found two great hikers with a good pace that enjoy photography when time permits!

We started from the parking lot by the Ausable Club on Rt 73 in Keene. The walk to the AMR gate was beautiful with the foliage, even though it was slightly passed peak up there. We signed in at the gate around 7:30 am and made it to the boat launch (just over four miles from the car) by 8:45. We took the Scenic Trail which breaks off from the West River Trail just over the dam. The beginning of the Scenic Trail doesn't cover much elevation, and is kind of rugged, but has gorgeous views of the Lower Ausable Lake and Indian Head. Indian Head is a large rock on the other side of the lake with a peculiar shape that resembles the side profile of an Indian's head.

Ausable Club

Indian Head

The Scenic Trail later picks up the East River Trail. There is a total of five overlooks before the summit. After the fifth overlook you feel like you are on a summit but the trail suddenly descends for a while. We were a little nervous that we had missed the summit sign, but knew we did not have any sort of view after the fifth overlook and there is supposed to be a view of the Great Range. We eventually started another ascent on the trail and were glad that we did not miss the actual summit when we arrived, as Sawteeth has more than one bump which is how it got its name.

Giant all the way to the left, Rocky Peak Ridge to the right of Giant, Noonmark is the small one in front of Rocky Peak Ridge

Lower Ausable Lake

At the summit we were rewarded with views of Haystack, Marcy, Basin, Saddleback, Gothics and Pyramid. My hiking friends taught me how to do the "numbers" on the summit when they require more than 2 hands. Some aspiring 46ers like to have their picture taken on the top of the summit showing with their hands what number peak it is for them. Mine was 18 which requires one finger on one hand and 8 on the other. Which is where the third arm behind me comes in!

Haystack back left, Marcy back right

Marcy left, Basin center, Saddleback right

Saddleback, Gothics, Pyramid

We followed the East River Trail out stopped opposite the top of Rainbow Falls for some pictures. Not too far away is another trail for Rainbow Falls which leads to the base of the falls. We took a side trip there for some photos too. We got back to the dam and followed Lake Road out back to the gate, signing out around 3:30pm.

Top of Rainbow Falls

Base of Rainbow Falls

I recommend going in and out the way we did if it's a nice day because the views of the Lower Ausable Lake and from the overlooks and summit are spectacular. All my photos from this hike can be found here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All Time Favorite Halloween Costumes

Halloween is definitely one of my favorite days of the year. Not only do you get to be creative and be someone other than yourself for a little while, but it comes with candy and parties without your typical holiday stress.

My mom always made my costume when I was a kid, which typically would involve a sewing machine or large cardboard box. I wasn't allowed to go trick-or-treating like the other kids because she feared that I would get hurt, so we'd jump in the station wagon and visit local family members. All my chocolate bars would be traded for white chocolate because I didn't react well to caffeine, but most of the family knew that and would give me non-chocolate candy or cans of olives which was one of my favorite foods. (And yes, despite our unconventional traditions I still loved Halloween).

The first costume that I can remember wearing was a nurse costume which was a white dress with white stockings and a nurse hat. I carried a first aid kit with my trick-or-treat bag.

My nun costume was recycled from the Pilgrim outfit I had to wear on Thanksgiving. My mom sewed a habit and I wore a large crucifix.

Despite my fear of bees, I got the idea for a bee costume from my mom's wardrobe. She had a yellow and black striped sweater that I wore with black leggings and wings made of tulle. She covered a cone shaped piece of craft foam with a black sock for a stinger and made my antennas with a headband, pipe cleaners, and painted yellow foam balls.

In fourth grade I was a die in a dot covered cardboard box. I wore polka dots underneath and accessorized with dice earrings.

I was almost 20 the first (and only) time I went real trick-or-treating. My college suitemates pitied me for missing out on one of the coolest childhood activities and took me to Hyde Park into some nice looking neighborhoods. They let me ring the doorbell but explained that typically its a race to who gets to ring the doorbell first. I was a baby doll because I didn't want to look too old, and I was on a college budget. We didn't get too much hassle for our age, but when we did we just explained that it was my first time and in some cases that got me extra candy!

One fun adult costume was when a friend and I were Joe Six-Pack and Joe the Plumber. I made us jewelry out of soda can pop-tops and ironed on some graphic t-shirts.

My absolute favorite adult costume was when my husband and I went as Peter Griffin and the Yellow Chicken from family guy. I did a whole write up on that last year.

This year, though, is up in the air. There is talk amongst fellow bridal party veterans that we recycle an old bridesmaid dress into a costume. I'm thinking my husband and I could do a Peter Pan or Captain hook and Tinker Bell theme, or perhaps Patty O'Green and another cartoon character from the 1980s using this dress:

If that idea falls through we were thinking about being David Bowie personas such as Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke.