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.