Friday, January 29, 2010

Gummy Cast Offs

I discriminate against the green ones. I think they taste like soap. Am I crazy?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Prize Purchases: Camera Case

I spent more of my Amazon card. The first big purchase was exciting, but now I'm to the point where I'm hoarding it and nothing seems "worthy" enough of my last few credits. But this was an awesome and definitely worthwhile purchase - a neoprene cover for my new camera.

I knew that most often when I set out with my camera, I'd also have a purse, so rather than carrying two giant bags, I wanted to be able to put the camera in a purse and still be protected. My solution was this "Flex Armor", a spongy fabric case like a laptop sleeve that provides cushion and scratch protection without adding a ton of weight and girth. So far I really like it!

Super Market Madness:

Does qualification for the "15 items or less" line go on # of items, or # of different products? Lady ahead of me last night had about 20 yogurts, and 13 other products. Each yogurt has to be scanned separately. I cry foul.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stuff that has gone down while I've been not posting...

I apologize heartily, dear Internet. And now for something completely different...POSTS!

1. I sold all of the painted letters from the Wonderland party. First went the big Marquee, then I just recently shipped off the Cheshire Cat and Mad Tea sayings. I had listed them very low, mostly I just wanted to find them all a good home and possibly kick back a little money into the pot for next year.

I used USPS Flat Rate boxes, thinking they were $8.95, like they were the last time I shipped something. THEY ARE NOT. THEY ARE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I was fairly perturbed to find out that AFTER the boxes were packed, addressed, and on the postal counter, they were actually around $15 EACH to ship. Craptacular. There goes any possible thought of starting the 2010 Halloween fund, I was lucky to break even. Post Office, I shake an angry fist at you.

2. I had our DiGiorno party, and it was fine. It's weird for me to have low key gatherings, I don't know "how." I always feel inadequate without goodie bags and decorations, but I'm working on it.

The pizza was good. I'll admit when I buy frozen pizza it's generally the $0.99 Party Pizzas or maybe a $2 Tony's, so this was quite a treat to get six $7+ pizzas. I got all rising crust varieties, and my favorite was the plain old pepperoni.

(This is not my photo...I have been as woefully inadequate at uploading pics as I have been at blogging...but according to flickr, this is a DiGiorno pepperoni pizza. It looks pretty much the same as ours did.)

The "Ultimate Supreme" (really? two dramatic adjectives? necessary?) was so heavy it started to fall between the wires in the oven rack while cooking, that was kind of weird. The same thing happened with the three meat, so I guess it's good to watch them or you'll lose a lot of toppings (bad) and have to clean your oven (worse). The cheese stuffed crust was just okay - not a lot of flavor, and once it cooled the cheese really shrank. Probably not worth it. I'd have the pepperoni again, or the spicy chicken, and I'd like to try the garlic bread versions. I also have a bunch of $4 off coupons I forgot to give out. Let me know if you want one.

Football was watched, crafts were made. Crafts which cannot yet be shared due to their gift-like nature, and me not wanting to ruin the surprise just yet (ooh, intrigue!). Perhaps I shall share in mid February instead. Though that is not a promise, as I am apparently untrustworthy when it comes to posting. *Hangs head in shame*

3. We officially cut the cord with Qwest, and I just survived my first 24 hours without Internet.

I felt an odd calm and lack of purpose without my computer on my lap last night, and I had a pile of messages to wade through today, but I'm still alive. I'll have to take it day by day :)

4. I was an hour late to work one morning because I started watching last week's Project Runway and couldn't tear myself away.

My commentary is this: Ping, WTF? It's getting old that they keep a weirdo around each season who is "inventive" and "modern," which are code for "crazy" and "unsellable." Let's get real.


I know, I'm working on it. :) I'm not dead, just busy. I promise posts soon...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goodbye 'Net...

This is my last Saturday with Internet access at home.

I'm feeling less sure of this.

My computer was the first thing I reached for this morning, and I've been on it about half the day off an on, sitting in my pjs, avoiding the rain/ice storm outside. I have nothing to look at, hardly any email, nothing good to blog about...but I still check over and over.

I'm going to miss you, interweb.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Valentine Craft Ideas - mini round up

I've been ridiculously awful about posting this week - I'm so ashamed! I cleaned up my craft room...and haven't been back. It's been a busy week. Please don't abandon me, I promise not to make a habit of it.

In fact, I'm excited to get back to some actual crafting this weekend. Sunday is the day. I've picked up my free DiGiorno's pizzas, stocked up on soda, put together a few other snacks and munchies - and now I just need to decide what to actually sit down and make.

I'm thinking Valentines, but nothing is catching my eye yet. Some type of paper project would be easiest as far as my gathering is concerned - most people will be working on cards or scrapbooking.

I'm a little intrigued by these matchbook valentines at inchmark:

The Paper Source blog has a cute tutorial for "foxy" Valentine gift bags:

Martha has relatively few things that catch my eye, sadly. I do think these "German Cones" have potential:

These tiny gift bags are also pretty cute, but would be hard to deliver/transport:

I think these quilled flowers are very cute:

Papertrey Ink is one of my favorite stamp stores, they make really cute stuff and show you how to use it. I don't have the time or budget to order any stamps, but I'm loving this little birdhouse - and it's a free downloadable template!

It's shown here as an Xmas ornament, but you could easily make it Valentine-y with some "love birds" puns and pink paper. I think this might be in the lead so far.

Anybody else have any cute Valentine ideas/plans?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Had to do it before I lost my nerve...

I did it.

I'm a little scared. Tuesday it all ends: my hours of lolling around the house on the Internet, wasting time in such a convenient way. But also ending are the constant calls soliciting mortgage services, the repeated asking for donations (I swear the Lupus Society and Disabled Vets are run by mobsters - they will not take no for an answer!), and best of all, the $70 a month bills. When I called to schedule the cut off, they obligingly asked if there was anything they could do to keep me. I laughed out loud.

"It's too late. I'm sure YOU are a perfectly nice person, but the rest of the people there are RIDICULOUS. I've been counting down the days and I can't wait to be free of you."

That was probably mean, and not well rehearsed, but it's what rambled out of my mouth. At least I was perky and upbeat when I said it. She's probably heard MUCH worse in her line of work.

I'm no longer worried about getting rid of the telephone line, but the question is: will I be able to survive without Internet? We're keeping cable (dish) and I already sit at a computer all day long for I'm hoping it is bearable. And for a lot less than $70 a month we can always walk across the street to the coffee shop a few times if necessary :)

It's not delivery...

Remember That's the site I won my Amazon Shopping Spree on, but the real purpose is to select "hosts" for various product parties. I've applied for a bunch - craft supplies, books, bacon - and I've finally "won" one! This Sunday we're hosting a "DiGiorno Game Day Believer Pizza Party!" My "party pack" just arrived this weekend:

Isn't that cute? It's not delivery...but it's in a pizza box :) Actually there isn't any pizza in there at all, just coupons for me to go and pick some up (6, in case you are wondering, and a bunch more $4 off coupons for guests), and some party favors:

Somewhere in there is a pizza wheel, magnet, potholder, and of course all those rally beads. The idea is that you throw a playoff party and gnosh on pizza between...innings? quarters? Clearly I care very little about football, so we're shaking our party up a bit. The "man cave", AKA basement will host the aforementioned playoff viewing - which I hear the home team is involved in. Some people care. Other people :)

But the real party is upstairs, where I shall finally be returning to my crafty roots! This is what motivated me to clear out the craft room last weekend. Last year around this time I hosted a Stampin' Up workshop where we made Valentine cards and had a lot of fun - this year I thought I'd do it again, but the timing doesn't work out with my other obligations, so I mashed these two ideas together - and invited non-football-fans over to craft with me. I have plenty of supplies to share, and having people over forces me to actually sit down and use it all. So voila, the football/crafting mash up was born!

This way we all get pizza - will it taste like delivery? I guess we'll find out...I don't usually buy DiGiorno since they're fairly expensive and we either go with super cheap frozen varieties, or actual delivery. I'm actually pretty excited to try a bunch of flavors. And I don't have to sit through football, win-win! I'm looking forward to making some cards, and hope to have a few good ones to show off along with my review of the pizzas next week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Home Makeover: Craftastic Edition

Well, it took most of the weekend, but I have nearly fulfilled my organizational goals. I spent over 9 hours on Saturday and more on Sunday and Monday locked up in "the witch's tower", watching the entirety of True Blood Season One, and forcing myself to clean up the giant mess I'd let get way out of control. I'm happy to say, it is finally functional again! I have some pictures of the transformation, but first, a disclaimer - there are things in my craft room that will defy explanation. I can only say that a big part of my crafting is party planning, be that a holiday party, bachelorette, Halloween - there are remnants of each including a very bawdy "ring toss" game that the nuns are watching over. Not to draw too much attention to it, but don't judge me when you "find waldo." You have been warned. :)

So, to start off, I have to acknowledge the disaster that I had let this room become. Remember, this was all clean at Halloween...but when it came time to pack away the Halloween decor, I got made it up the stairs, but not back to storage. Thanksgiving, craft fairs, Christmas, a funeral, and several other events later, the carnage had stacked up and you couldn't even see the floor any longer! For example,


And after a little TLC:

A couple of neat notes here, that TV weighs about 200 lbs, and I thought hubby might die dragging it up the stairs. But the rectangular base it is sitting on is a lazy susan I found at the goodwill for $5, it was SUCH a deal! Now I can turn it to any angle depending on what I am doing or where I am working in the room, without any effort at all. The coffee table holding both is very sturdy, but again was about $10 at Goodwill. Score. The wire stand to the left of the TV was on clearance at Marshalls for $20, I got it thinking I'd use it for a craft fair of some sort but recently discovered it's the perfect size for DVDs.

Here's the other side of the room -


This was really just a matter of taking the time to sort things back into where they are supposed to go. My key is having a home for everything - a clear plastic box with a lid, clearly labeled via my P-Touch:

The other end of the room was just as bad, and basically covered with giant boxes.



I was actually hoping to get a couple more bookshelves to match the ones I already had lining both walls, but Target only had them in black and dark brown. Instead I picked up two of these square units in a similar color, which still worked pretty well:

These now hold all of my serving pieces and cake plates, as well as cake decorating equipment, cake pans, and other dessert tools.

I do have one big project left up there before I can say I've entirely re-organized:

These boxes are all of the receipts, product manuals, and other records that I need to sort into their proper files or shred. But now I actually have room to spread out and dig through all of that at my leisure. It had gotten totally out of control, to the point I had to struggle not to kill myself when reaching for the light switch:

But now look at all this luxurious work space -

Ahhh, crafting becomes fun again! And look, you can see my file cabinets, so I'll be able to sort out that mess above soon enough. To the left of the files is my sewing desk, also finally uncovered. And to the left of that is my new work bench, look Dad, I finally got that up too! My saw is sitting underneath it waiting for its first project :)

It feels pretty good to have gotten all of this sorted out, now let's hope I can keep it that way for a while :) I have a craft gathering coming up this weekend, and I'm excited to be able to access all my toys and get back to making pretty things!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Throwing down my own personal gauntlet: ORGANIZE!

Hello world, once again I have no new photos to share with you. I apologize for my craftastic failures. But I have a plan this weekend: CATCH UP!

I can't believe we just started the new year and I feel so behind already! This is my last free weekend before a major Saturday commitment starts up again, so I simply HAVE to make the most of it. At the top of my list:

1. Correspondence - I haven't yet done my thank you cards for Xmas or my birthday - some people say "you have plenty more time", but I usually get them out within a week, so I feel majorly negligent right now. Especially when I received such wonderful gifts! Sorry peeps, I promise they are coming soon, and I am so appreciative of all your kind gestures!

2. Porch - this is a disaster, and one I have to walk through every day when I leave and enter the house. But of course, with how cold it has been (sub zero) I haven't wanted to spend any time out there cleaning it up. I bought two new shoe racks over a week ago, and totally forgot about them in the trunk of my car. This weekend they need to make it in to the house, get assembled, and finally bring some order to the sea of shoes spread across the floor. To be fair, I caused this disaster during the cookie exchange when I hurriedly yanked the existing shoe rack to put it by the front door. And then never put it or the shoes back :)

3. CRAFT ROOM AKA WITCH'S TOWER: The biggest tragedy of the whole house. At Halloween, it was spotless and open in case anyone needed to crash there. Then I took down all the Halloween decor, and never got it put away, so it's languishing in various piles up there. For Thanksgiving, I had to take the tables which had piles of stuff on them downstairs to use for the meal - so more piles, this time on the floor. Add Xmas decor, craft fair/mosaic boxes, and I have one giant heap going. It's totally unusable, and that needs to change - I plan a full out organizational assault! All of the seasonal decorations will be packed away neatly, and the craft supplies once again organized and usable. I've even invested in more clear storage boxes to accomodate all my new "goodies."

In writing this I now feel like I have to be accountable, so hopefully I'm able to make significant progress. I'll try to do some "before" and "after" photos to illustrate the progress - just don't judge me too harshly on the "before"!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rocking and Re-Living...

Such excitement: I finally sat down and got my iPod up and running! Over the course of the past two nights I uploaded all of my cds into iTunes, briefly feared when I couldn't find half of them, cheered when they appeared, and fought off bountiful criticism of my musical taste from the evil hubby. Him: "Wow, you really are trapped in the 90's, aren't you." Me: "Is that supposed to be a bad thing?"

The only tragedy so far is that Everclear is missing, and I know my Dave Matthews Crash CD disappeared 10 years ago with my discman, though I still hold on to the liner notes. I have duplicate liner notes for Dixie Chicks and Counting Crows - but only one of each CD. Who knows what happened there...

For someone "trapped" in a musical past, I actually managed to fill my iPod pretty fully! I was surprised at how many CDs I had, and how I never really listen to any of them now (since high school, when we always had a "soundtrack" going) except in the car. Hopefully that will change. Next step is to learn how to make playlists, since the current flow is fairly schizophrenic. This morning I went from Ani DiFranco to Fozzie Bear. Both excellent artists in their own right, but not exactly a seamless transition. But listening to my high school orchestra performance in between Avril Lavigne and Reel Big Fish really cracks me up...

5 More sites I have recently wasted significant time on: - a few of these made me laugh out loud, which is not good when you are feigning work. - a nice site if you appreciated "Pregnant Women are Smug." This is what smug pregnant women turn into after birth. I've seen so many of these people, I really should start submitting. - See mom, I could have done so much worse. - I have resisted posting some of the gems from my childhood specifically because I fear ending up on this site. - this one is a GREAT idea, but needs a little help in the execution. They don't post regularly, but I continue to support it as a community service - apostrophe education is clearly lacking in our country.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Possibly the cutest birthday present ever...

Here's one more of the adorable b-day gifts I received at the epic 3-0 surprise. It's from my uber-creative cousin Holly, who we should all convince to create a blog of her own, since she actually gets projects done (unlike me lately). Her gift was so creative, both inside and OUT!

With the re-usable printed box, thick pink bow, and adorable ceramic gift tag, it was almost too pretty to open. Inside was a a fabulous Glitterville (Dept. 56) gift card holder, filled with a Visa gift card! Yay fun! Also, a beautiful blown glass cupcake ornament - how great will that look on my sweets tree next year?

Then there was also a "cup-a-cake" cupcake holder that I am so excited to try! They are single serving containers supposed to keep a decorated cupcake somewhat undestroyed in transit, i.e. for you to take to lunch:

You know I'll have to run a test and tell you how it performs. Speaking of cupcake disasters, this is hardly related, but worth passing along - at the memorial last weekend it was so warm, all of the cream cheese frosting slid off my otherwise adorable mini cupcakes:

I had little dessert platters on each table, hoping that would encourage people to munch as they were sitting. The chocolate frosting actually held up just fine, so I'll have to remember in the future that cream cheese frosting is not suited for warm temps or sitting out very long. Especially at a slight angle :)

Costco Photo Collages

Not all of the gatherings in a lifetime are cheerful affairs, but funerals and memorials are still events which require thought and planning. Last weekend we hosted a memorial luncheon for hubby's grandmother, for which I put my event planning skills to work once again. I wanted to be sure and give a follow up to the post on Costo's Photo Collages I did a while back, this time with actual photos of how mine turned out. I had previously scanned in all sorts of photos from throughout Gloria's life, and separated them into groups by era - I did four collages in all, first one of her childhood (some photos over 80 years old! That one of her in the baby carriage, lower right, just amazes me). Again, I give full credit to the Heritage Makers scanner, these photos were originally wallet sized and blew up BEAUTIFULLY:

I also did one of her early marriage and raising children, one of the 70's - 90's with lots of Polaroids and funny fashions, and one with more recent photos.

I was extremely happy with the results, and I think that they really gave a sense of purpose to the memorial. Family and friends were able to reminisce about memories they shared, or gain new insight regarding her life by visiting the various boards placed around the room.

Preparing them is simple - go to and log into your photo account, choose "gifts", photo collages, and set the size at the largest. Choose your orientation and photos, you can customize your background, borders, and even add a title (I chose not to). You select your photos and the computer lays them out for you at various sizes. If you dislike the way they come up with, you can "shuffle" again. They are printed in an hour, and I just used double sided tape to adhere them to standard sheets of foam core. Total cost is around $10 each. This is MUCH easier than pasting on individual photos, and it looks very clean and professional. I highly recommend this route for funerals, memorial services, or even graduation parties.

And no, Costco didn't pay me to say any of this - THOUGH YOU ARE CERTAINLY WELCOME TO, COSTCO! :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

5 Other Blogs to Visit:

I forgot to sync my backup drive with the photos I uploaded from the weekend, so none of my pics today. Instead, I thought I'd do another inspiration post - I could actually use a little more of this right now, along with time to actually execute the ideas. I'm in a bit of a craft drought due to other obligations taking over my life lately, but I plan to get back to it this weekend.

So, here are some of the craft-ish blogs I follow:

SwissMiss - "A Swiss Designer Gone NYC" - I'm not much into her designer lingo and expensive furnishings, and Lord knows I don't share her minimalist aesthetic, but she seems to spend plenty of time online and does some great cross posts. She finds fun products which are inspiring, if not always affordable, and the best part: SHE UPDATES A LOT. EVERY DAY AND THEN SOME. This is basically my #1 critique of most bloggers, they get popular and then get lazy. Swiss Miss is keeping it up so far...of course, she's also scoring some big bank off it. In addition to her design gig, she's now taking sponsors for her blog at the tidy sum of $850/week. If any of y'all would like to throw that cash at me, feel free :)

NotMartha - She's really scattered as far as what she posts, sort of like myself. Some days it's a list of links to cool projects or products, some days she does her own projects with excellent photos and step by step instructions. I first stumbled upon her when I found her Halloween Spider Cakes, which are still on my list to make for a spooky dinner party some day, and recently she did some pretty cute mini gingerbread houses to garnish mugs of hot cocoa. I don't see a rhyme or reason to when or how often she posts.

Bakerella - She bakes things. Usually tiny things. And gives you step by step instructions on how she did it. Her stuff is so fun, and her photos are so good, she almost has me convinced I could really make these projects. Someday I will (see bucketlist #112). For now I just die at the cuteness. The only thing that makes me sad is that she generally posts once a week. I suppose that is forgivable since these projects must take forever. But I'm a demanding reader, and I crave cuteness daily.

NotSoHumblePie - this is a new one on my list, brought to my attention by the oh-so-creative Carin, she of the TrueBlood Cupcakes, the Alice in the House costume, and the GORGEOUS holiday sugar cookies. She should really start her own blog. But I digress - Carin told me about NotSoHumblePie and it is ADORABLE as well! The author is a scientist who now bakes, and her love of science is still hilariously represented. She's done sugar cookies of mice & fruit flies, people wearing haz-mat suits, and some gorgeous martha-esque snowflakes. She seems to post daily, though a lot of it is also gourmet cooking that I have no patience to try :) But the cookies are right up there with Bakerella for cuteness factor, and earn additional wit points for their science themes.

LearnSomethingEveryDay - This one isn't explicitly crafty, but it's definitely interesting and can inspire craftiness. The site takes a while to load, but each day it features a new little factoid and accompanying doodle. Most of them are really interesting, and yet totally obscure - I really do usually learn something new - i.e Hitler was a vegetarian (December 23, 2009). Who objects to eating meat but is fine wiping out entire populations?!?! Or Barbie's full you know what it is? Look at December 26, 2009. Yesterday's fact was that the actors voicing the original Mickey and Minnie were actually married. That is just mind blowing! Okay, but at the least it is cool.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Keep Calm and... a little bit of history

I just ran across this super interesting article in BBC News about the ubiquitous "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" posters attributed to WWII. They're still all the rage and have inspired legions of parodies (such as the green one in my sidebar), especially amongst the Etsy crowd. Does it make it less interesting now that we know they weren't actually used in WWII? I can't decide. I do love the simplicity of the design. Certainly blows the "Uncle Sam Wants YOU!" posters out of the water.

The greatest motivational poster ever?

By Stuart Hughes
BBC News

Millions of copies of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster were printed on the eve of World War II, but never displayed. Now the message has taken on a new lease of life in our troubled peacetime.

The simple five-word message is the very model of British restraint and stiff upper lip. Keep calm and carry on.

In 1939, with war against Germany looming, the Government designed three posters to steady the public's resolve and maintain morale. These featured the crown of King George VI set against a bold red background, and three distinctive slogans - "Freedom is in Peril", "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory", and "Keep Calm and Carry On".

Two-and-a-half million copies of "Keep Calm" were printed, to be distributed in the event of a national catastrophe, but remained in storage throughout the war.

The message was all but forgotten until 2000, when a copy was discovered in a box of books bought at auction by Stuart Manley, a bookseller from Northumberland.

"I didn't know anything about it but I showed it to my wife. We both liked it so we decided to frame it and put it in the shop," explains Mr Manley.

"Lots of people saw it and wanted to buy it. We refused all offers but eventually we decided we should get copies made for sale."

Sales remained modest until 2005, when it was featured as a Christmas gift idea in a national newspaper supplement.

"All hell broke loose," says Mr Manley.

"Our website broke down under the strain, the phone never stopped ringing and virtually every member of staff had to be diverted into packing posters."

Soothing words

The poster was just one of hundreds produced by the Ministry of Information during the war to influence public opinion.

"The poster was a major medium in a way that it isn't now," says Professor Jim Aulich, an expert in propaganda art at Manchester Metropolitan University.

"It wasn't competing with television. It was one of the main ways of reaching people, through billboards and on public transport."

Rescued from obscurity after 70 years, the Ministry of Information's appeal for calm has risen to cult status. Mr Manley's store, Barter Books in Alnwick, receives an average of 1,000 orders a month from around the world. Customers include 10 Downing Street and assorted embassies. The design has been reproduced on T-shirts and coffee mugs, shopping bags and cufflinks.

It has also spawned imitators. One company has given it a twist, replacing the original slogan with "Now Panic and Freak Out".


•Clunk click every trip - seatbelt campaign
•Stop, Look, Listen - road safety
•Go to work on an egg - Egg marketing board
•Don't forget to tell Sid - Gas privatisation
To some, the world in 2009 seems as uncertain as it was in 1939, even if modern-day anxieties focus on redundancy and recession rather than bombs and the Blitz. Perhaps this is why the message still seems so relevant.

Of course, it might be difficult for the current government to come up with a poster with quite the same appeal during this time of economic stress. Context is everything, says social psychologist Dr Lesley Prince.

"If the government is in tune with you, you will listen. If you think the government is working on your behalf, you will listen."

This was indisputably the case during WWII, but is less clear-cut even in the most troubled period of peacetime.

Stiff upper lip

And a message of such powerful simplicity might not be so forthcoming these days. Today's government posters attempt to convince the public of an unappreciated danger and get them to modify their behaviour. The "Keep Calm" poster is merely an injunction to think another way and continue acting as you have always acted.

"It's very good, almost zen," says Dr Prince. "It works as a personal mantra now. If people are thinking 'I'm about to lose the house', it's good advice."

People are drawn to the calming Britishness of the message, says Mr Manley.

"It's interesting to look at the kind of places we often sell to; doctors' surgeries, hospitals, schools and government departments. It seems to strike a chord anywhere that works at a hectic pace."

Prof Aulich adds that the message has universal appeal.

"It speaks to peoples' personal neuroses. It's not ideological, it's not urging people to fight for freedom like some propaganda posters did."

Following the end of WWII, most of the posters are believed to have been pulped, never having seen the light of day. Only two original copies are known to have survived.

Thanks to a chance discovery in a dusty box of books, the soothing entreaty is finally having its intended effect, bringing comfort to a nation in turmoil.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Flashback Birthday

I've shown you a few of my fab birthday gifts, but I have a few more I thought I'd feature - including one I don't really "get" for a few more months, from my parents. Let me give you a hint:

I'm going to the Bon Jovi concert this spring! With my dad :) Adorable you say? Well then just look at the gift card he put with the tickets:

"Happy Birthday!!!
Like the movie 13 going on 30.
You were 13 for your first Bon Jovi concert.
Now at 30-you return.
Love You,
Mom & Dad"

Bon Jovi was my first "real" concert, which I attended with BOTH of my parents and my cousin Mindy in 7th grade. It was the night before my Odyssey of the Mind competition, and I distinctly remember not being able to hear the next day. We thought we were SO COOL. I think I might have even held on to the concert T-shirt, though it's somewhere in the pile waiting to be assembled into my T-shirt quilt (MOM: The one you promised me 11 years ago. Just a small reminder.)

I can't wait to figure out my iPod so I can get the most recent album and start practicing my air guitar and lighter waving. Thanks so much, mom & pop!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

All in the Cards - Episode II

I got such BEAUTIFUL and FUN cards for my 30th birthday that I just couldn't toss them out. So much thought clearly went in to choosing each one, I wanted to save the memories. Since I scrapbook digitally, I decided to scan them in. Here's a sample of the lovliness - they were ALL different, and all so unique!

Some cards sang ("Everybody wants to rule the world")

Some were complimentary

Some were funny (Can't dodge this one!)

Others were sweet and nostalgic

And one was a glittery mermaid - does it get any better?!?!

Thanks for these and many other beautiful cards everyone, I'm so impressed by your thoughtfulness!

A whole new nook

My 1940's house has the typical tiny kitchen, but it does have the benefit of this little bump out nook:

When it was for sale, the company staged the area with a little bistro set, but I just thought that looked crowded. For a while we had a small table and two benches in there, but all that did was give Norm a way to climb on top of the table and look out the window. And eat my curtains. During the last Halloween party we moved our "pantry" cupboard into that area, and we've found it fits perfectly and is very convenient:

It was clear that we would never sit in there to eat, and what I really needed was more STORAGE and ideally WORK SPACE. Trying to make 12 dozen + cookies for the yearly exchange is pretty hard with only 4 square feet of usable counter top. Solution? Craigslist!

I started looking at kitchen islands, and found a couple who were remodelling and getting rid of theirs. It actually appeared in fairly good shape, had an ugly but good condition laminate top - in much better shape than the rest of my ugly laminate counters - and they accepted my offer. So with the help of my parents and a station wagon, we loaded it up and took it home!

I love it! This sucker was HEAVY, which is good - solid wood, well constructed, and lots of work AND storage space. It actually goes really well with my existing cupboards too! I can replace all of the hardware with matching drawer pulls if I get ambitious, and some day I'll hope to get new counter tops, but for now - I'm just loving the functionality.

I filled it up right away. I was a little sad that my vintage Kitchen-Aid mixer wouldn't fit underneath (too tall) but even on top it is more out of the way than it has been. And I did fit lots of my GIANT Tupperware containers, a toaster, waffle maker, quesadilla maker, Foreman grill, TWO blenders (not sure how that happened), a malt machine, cupcake tins, and lots of serving pieces. AWESOME. I am so excited not to have to run upstairs every time I bake to retrieve pans, or have the giant unwieldy Tupperware sitting out. And boy, did I organize our utensils:

A whole drawer for spoons and ladles! Another one for spatulas and tongs! BE STILL MY HEART! The middle drawer is all the nicer serving utensils. All in one place. These were previously crammed in to 2 drawers which now hold BBQ & cutting tools (like the pizza cutter, apple corer) and one that has all the baking utensils like measuring cups and whisks.

It's like a totally new kitchen. Because it's counter height, Norm can't get up on top of it now. I feel so organized, which is inspiring. I can get at my pots and pans. Maybe I should actually start cooking now?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"Sweet" Holiday Decorations

I did a bad thing. I meet friends monthly for dinner at our favorite Chinese food restaurant, which is next door to a cute little pharmacy. Sometime before Xmas I was early for our meeting, and stopped in there to grab a birthday gift for another friend. While checking out, I spotted the most adorable tree full of Dept. 56 and OneHundred80Degrees ornaments - all in the theme of candies, cakes, and other sweets!
I fell in love.
But I resisted.


Until after Christmas. When I was again early to our meeting. And thought I'd "just take a look." I was sure they'd be gone, and actually didn't see them at first, but when I 50% off...well, you can guess what happened:

I bought them all. Well, nearly. I couldn't help it. They're just too cute for words. These little lolipops are my favorite:

Then there's the blown glass soda fountain drinks:

Goodie goodie gumdrops!

Brownie bites and petit fours:

Several colors of clay candy canes - with just a dash of glitter:

Everything is so adorable, I can't wait to have a tree with just "sweets" next year! I think I'll do the mid size one that was all red & silver this year, and stands on my whimsical Dept. 56 table. I'm dying for this garland to tie it all together:

I'm really excited about it. I spent a couple hours last weekend carefully wrapping up each one and packing it away. I've always had a Candyland or Willy Wonka themed Halloween party on my list - and I about died when I saw THIS PARTY on Bakerella's blog.

I'm dying again just looking at it. Can you imagine the fabulousness?

The play bakery with the dozens of felt cupcakes are just mind blowing.

Of course, my dog would eat them, just as happily as real cupcakes.

But I'm still in love.