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.