Monday, May 31, 2010

Lazy Days...

I just entered Diana's latest giveaway. She just introduced me to Dahliaville, a very cool Etsy shop. My favorite print is the Lazy Days. Since my accident a week ago, all of my days have been lazy ; )

Matt is spending time with his mom tonight. His youngest brother is in the Army and is based in Texas. He's finally home for a month, but unfortunately just in time for their other brother to leave for Costa Rica for a 6 week (I think) mission trip. Tonight all three brothers are together and spending time with Mom. Soooo....the house is TOO quiet right now. I did get out to the grocery store and I returned with a VERY exciting purchase...

CHIPOTLE MAYO!!! Have I been missing out on this or is it really new?

Matt switched jobs at work, and is now much busier than before. I just recently found out that the man has been so busy that he hasn't been eating lunch. WHAT?! No, no, no. Not my man!! He wakes up at 4 a.m. and can't even make it safely through a doorway that early in the morning, so I know he'll never make himself something to snack on at work. So, I put together some tasty treats for him for tomorrow.

A yummy chicken sandwich with pepperoni, pepper jack cheese, and CHIPOTLE MAYO!!! mmmmmm...

orange slices...

and a peanut butter cookie...

Now, try to tell me I'm not a good girlfriend hehehe ; )

Now the trick is getting him to remember to actually take his lunch to work. I think I'm on the right track. I left him a note on the bathroom mirror...

The refrigerator door...

and the door door...

I even put the food right in front of his Mountain Dew, which he NEVER forgets.

Think he'll remember? We'll see. Can you tell I'm bored?

After all of my pretend parenting, I decided to treat myself to a cookie. This was a special cookie though. How long has it been since you've dunked a cookie in milk? I've gone far too long without dunking. Tonight that changed...

I need to find something else to do now.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!!

peace & love

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hunches in Bunches

++CAUTION: gross pictures below – don’t scroll down if you can't handle wounds++

Well folks, it has been an interesting few days…I’ll just start at the beginning:

Saturday was a great day! Matt went thrifting with me, and we found some great stuff for my next swap {The Package Project}. I also found a little bench that will be perfect for my new sewing table once I sand and paint it. It was a productive day, and that night we went out with our best bud, Josh. It’s been a long time since we’ve gone out, and I was pumped. I even treated myself to a sugar free Red Bull (SO bad for you). When we got to the bar we had a nice surprise – penny pitchers and well drinks! That saved us some $$. The night got even better – our friend Siua came out!

The boys

We haven’t seen Siua in over 5 months. Once we all got the hugs in, we talked and talked and even squeezed in a couple games of pool. It was great. Then, while saying goodbye outside, we witnessed a motorcycle accident. It was horrible. The rider didn’t have his headlight on and hit the median. All I saw was a body flying through the air and sparks from the motorcycle sliding on the concrete. Josh called 911 immediately, and everything was taken care of. The man was okay and was more concerned about his bike than himself. I was useless. I just stood there crying. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life, and it was a reminder of how mortal we really are.

Here comes Sunday. The weather was AWESOME! I’d say about 86 and sunny, though my recollection isn’t that great right now. It was perfect outside, and Matt and I stripped the Jeep down and took off for the beach. Lake Michigan is only about 45 minutes away, and it’s a beautiful drive.

Check out my sweet Jeep hair lol

So that was my weekend. Time to go back to work. It was another beautiful day and I was excited to ride my bike to work....let’s just say I won’t be doing that again for a while:

I was passing a McDonalds when a truck leaving saw an opportunity in traffic and flew out of the lot and into me. Apparently, I hit the hood first and then was thrown into the street. I didn’t slide on the pavement, thank goodness - I was only wearing a tank top and yoga capris. Instead, it was like Godzilla picked me up and threw me straight down into the concrete as hard as he could. When I landed I screamed and screamed and screamed. When I realized I was screaming, I was like “Okay…I’m obviously, do I have my teeth?” Yup, all there! So then I just cried until the ambulance came. A bunch of people ran out and made sure I didn’t move, and they kept traffic away. After confirming with the fireman that all of my teeth were indeed still there, I was taken to the hospital (around 8:15 a.m.) and was there until 6:30 p.m. Talk about a long day! I hurt my right arm pretty bad and fractured my nose. I also busted up my forehead pretty bad, as you can see, and had to get stitched up. I’m doing pretty well though. I’m really sore and my head has been pounding, but I have medication. I think I’ll be back to work by Friday. If you ladies need a good eye shadow, I HIGHLY recommend
Clinique. I use “daybreak” daily, and that stuff lasted through this whole experience – tears, concrete, blood…even stuck around after having water shot into my face to clean the wounds. The nurse was amazed. That’s Clinique for ya – I only put the best on my face.

So yesterday was my first full day home after being all beat up. Matt stayed home from work and took great care of me. I was about to attempt to clean up my face when Matt stopped me and handed me some happy mail from Micaela. I smiled as best as I could. ; )

She sent a beautiful card, an adorable little notebook, and a bar of handmade soap.

Such a sweet surprise and at a time when I needed it most. THANK YOU MICAELA!!

The handmade mint julep soap smells WONDERFUL! I was happy to hear about her local shopping experience. Micaela – I’m so glad I met you; you make me smile : )

Today I got another surprise. One of the girls I work with delivered a cookie bouquet from everyone at the office. I love cookies! The frosted sugar cookies were gone in 60 seconds…okay well one was, but the other won’t be here for long. Big thanks to everyone at work!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Lesson Learned

I planned on writing every day, and lately I've been down to once a week. I will try to do better, my beloved 5 followers ; )

The weather was nice last weekend, we had nowhere to go, and I finally got a chance to make some plantable paper. I made some pink paper with poppy seeds and, my favorite, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" paper with dahlia seeds. The pink paper was made with mostly greeting cards/envelopes, "while you were out" messages and Victoria's Secret mail. The Breakfast at Tiffany's paper was made entirely out of Tiffany's catalogs.

I call and remove my name from the mailing list of every catalog that comes in the mail. Tiffany's took the longest to stop. I called them at least three times to remove my name, but the catalogs just kept coming. You can't just toss Tiffany's in a dirty, orange recycling bin; that would just be wrong. So, I held onto them. I was really excited to make Tiffany's paper out of the catalogs, and when I was done, I was extremely pleased with how the paper turned out. PERFECT!

I was a little nervous about plantable paper. I had never tried it before, and was really just wingin' it. Well, I learned a lesson. I probably should've known: plantable paper needs to dry a little bit quicker than normal paper. Look what happened to my beautiful Tiffany's paper:

The seeds started to germinate in the paper! Before the paper could even be used!!!

I buried all of it in front of the front porch. It was a pitiful moment and I'm still grieving. Hopefully, I'll at least get some flowers out of this lesson.

On a happier note, I got an order for some CD envelopes, similar to the ones made for the mix cd swap, for a graduation. I have three of them to do; pics coming soon. They will also be available in my shop within the next couple of weeks, in a variety of prints.

And finally, a little off topic: I heard from my first swap partner for The Package Project, the lovely Ann from Australia. I can't wait to get started on this swap! Check out Ann's blog. She seems pretty awesome, don't you think? : )

Friday, May 14, 2010

Staying Local

Let me tell you about one of my favorite local shops, Urban Lily. I'm a huge advocate of shopping locally, and Urban Lily is one of Michiana's secret treasures. The owner, Amanda, has fabulous taste and fills her shop with beautiful, unique, handmade and vintage finds. I went there last week looking for a Mother's Day gift for my mom.

My mom is crazy about her KitchenAid mixer (she even put flame decals on it - hers is black though), and when she bakes, which is all the time, she whips up 100 cookies like it's nothin'. Would you believe it - she hasn't had a cookie jar! I’ve been looking for an attractive cookie jar that is big enough for her batches, and I’ve had a surprisingly hard time finding one that is just right. Etsy was the first place I looked, but I couldn't find one big enough that I could afford. I was so happy to find the perfect "cookie jar" at Urban Lily. It is a huge, dark wooden bowl with a lid, and the whole thing is covered in beautiful carved swirls. I am not sure if it's meant to be a cookie jar (probably not), but it really is perfect for my mom.

While I was browsing Amanda's shop, I saw some adorable postcards and thought of Micaela. They are from Paper Relics, a company Amanda found though The Switchboards {“Connecting creative women in business since 2004”}. I can't believe I’ve never heard of this website! So, anyways, I picked up a few post cards for Micaela and a few to send out with my orders.

Last week's trip to Urban Lily was extremely productive. I was able to get birthday gifts for my lil sister, a Mother's Day gift for Mom and some post cards for Micaela and myself, all right here in town in a little independent business.

Why am I so hooked on shopping locally? Shopping at local, independent businesses helps your local economy, gets you personalized customer service from people who care about and love their business, and is a great way to find unique, high quality gifts that you can take home TODAY.

Keeping your money local is not hard to do, just be CONSCIOUS of where you’re shopping. Michael H. Shuman, author of the book Going Local, said, "Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs." Understand? Good. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, if you spend $100 at a local business, $68 stays in your community. If you spend $100 at a non-local business (national chain stores), only $43 stays in your community. Simple as that.

How about some awesome customer service?! When shopping for a gift for Boss' Day at The Mole Hole last year, after helping me find the perfect gift, the owner spent at least 30 minutes talking to me about his shop, other local shops, the artist who made the gift I bought, etc. Before I knew it we were talking about scuba diving in the Bahamas and going to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and I was almost late getting back to work! It felt good to get to know the owner and learn a little bit about his business and interests.
Another example of some above and beyond customer service is what Amanda did for me last weekend. I got a couple little things for my sister's birthday, but I also wanted to get her a gift certificate so she would check out the shop and pick out some things for herself. Amanda was happy to do a gift certificate, but warned me that she plans on moving to a different location (still in town, of course) sometime this year. She was worried about my sister showing up only to find that the store isn't there anymore. Luckily, she won't be moving anytime within the next month or so, and I explained to her that we don't keep play money in our pockets that long. Kassie will be in there within a month. I asked her about her new hours, and she asked what day of the week my sister would be most likely to go shopping. When I told her that my sister just had a baby, and that everything depends on what he wants to do right now, Amanda was quick to write her cell number on the receipt. "If the store is closed, just have her call me," she said. She lives right around the corner and said she'd be happy to open up the shop so my sister could look around. I was floored! What a sweet thing to do!! I heart Urban Lily.

Another thing I love about my area's local businesses is the unique gifts I can find (for others and myself). Urban Lily, for example, has a lot of great items that are handmade by some of Amanda's friends and other local artists. Circa Arts is also a great place to go when looking for locally handmade goodies. Last year, Matt and I found a wine bottle cheese platter for his mom there. I loved that the tag on the bottle had the name and phone number of the lady who made it. It makes that gift feel even more special when you know it was handcrafted by someone AND that someone is in your own community. Remember the cocoa leaf lamp I saw on my first bike ride to work this year? That was at Backyards, a very cool local business that carries unique indoor and outdoor furniture and d├ęcor that I would never find on my own. Stores like Urban Lily, Circa Arts, and Backyards are just a few examples of my area’s local treasures.

If you want to show support for independent businesses in your area, the best thing to do is visit them and visit them often. I try to spread the word about The 3/50 Project every time I get the opportunity. The whole idea behind the project is to pick 3 local independent businesses and spend $50 a month. Even if you don’t spend $150 or even $50 a month in local businesses, as long as you’re shopping local whenever you have the option, you’re doing well and should feel good about it.

Matt and I shop local ALL THE TIME. We avoid places such as Wal-Mart like the plague and always opt for thrift or local independent shops before going anywhere else (of course, if I have time to order, Etsy is my main source, but that’s another day’s topic). I’d even go so far as to say that we’re just about at 98% when it comes to eating local when we go out (we have a Burger King weakness). I won’t even get started on the food part today though; I’m sure you’ve had your fill of my “shop local” rant for one day.

If you do want more…here are a few links:

ShoLo (my county’s campaign for local businesses) Does your area have something similar?

Putting Wal-Mart’s Green Moves In Context
P.S. While I’m on the topic of shopping: Don’t forget – reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store! Use them EVERYWHERE you shop. Don’t have a reusable bag yet? Etsy is loaded with sellers offering upcycled and new shopping bags. ; )

I’ve been behind on my blog reading – hope to catch up with all of you this weekend!! Love!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fabric Banner Fun

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day! I headed into the weekend with no plans and came out exhausted anyways. Last week was pretty crazy, but I still managed to start and finish a fun project: Fabric Banner (from Kjrsten's How-To). This was too cute to pass up, and all I needed was an excuse. Our friend's mom's birthday is May 4 (last Tuesday), and since her birthday is so close to Mother's Day, the family dedicates the whole week to her - we call it Mommy Gras. So...we need a banner for Mommy Gras, right?! Right! {I apologize for the crappy pictures. I was pressed for time and took the pics in a hurry, but you'll still get the idea.}

I decorated a paint can to be used to store the banner - sort of a keepsake thing - so it will be safe and can be used year after year.

A Few Notes:

+ It took me three days to do.
+ I bought way too much fabric (2.5 yds), but that just means I can get a few more banners out of the material I have.
+ The letters need to be a different color. I was afraid the ivory felt would be too hard to see against the prints, and it definitely is. I wanted to get green, blue or pink felt, but the shades available were all wrong. So, I was stuck with ivory. Next time, I'll definitely use a different color for the letters. They need to stand out more.
+ I loved the way Kjrsten used buttons, and will try that on my next one (for my niece's birthday) to complete the look.

All in all, thanks to Kjrsten's simple instructions, the banner was a pleasure to make. I had a good time, and our friend's mom loved it. : )

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Addition to the World!

Amara Leigh, our friends' brand new baby girl, just came home Wednesday. Hopefully Matt and I will get to see her tonight. Here are some fun "new parent gifts" that we got them.

Another great KnockKnock purchase, perfect for keeping the new daddy organized and out of trouble (seriously, read the list!). The bottom of the notepad reads "Getting out of the house in two hours flat."

And for when there is about some apologies:

“One night, you'll take your perfectly dressed baby girl out to dinner with friends. She will act like an angel. And as she happily munches on her french fries, she'll loving look at you and puke all over the table. That's when you might want one of these. Or twenty. Nothing says, "I'm Sorry" better than a card that says, "Sorry." It's a New Parent Apology Card and it's sheer genius. 30 cards”

So…I hope these gifts will get some use…well, the checklist anyway. It would be awesome if the apology cards never get used – good sign!

: )

Side note: I've been SUPER busy this week. I even missed both kickboxing classes, so I'm feeling pretty cow-ish. BUT, I did start and finish a pretty cool project that I will share tomorrow (hopefully).

Happy Weekend!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mix CD Swap!

My first swap ever, Tiffany's Mix CD Swap, was SO much fun! Picking out the music was fun, of course, but, oh my gosh, the crafty part, as unnecessary as it was, was just too much. My mind was racing a gazillion miles an hour from noon until 8 when I finished. It's been a while since I just let loose and did whatever popped into my head without having to plan something specific - creativity is like crack. The whole 8 hours felt like 30 minutes. See what happens when you do something you love? : )

I wanted to make CD envelopes out of recycled kraft paper, so I started by cutting everything down to the right size. Then, I thought if I were a CD, I'd want to be in something a little more comfy than just cardstock. I had some good scrap fabric from old pajama pants that I cut up into pieces just a little bit bigger than the cardstock pieces.

I ironed folds all the way around to make nice edges.

Then, I put some bright colored thread in the sewing machine, sandwiched the fabric in between the paper, and stitched the edges together to make envelopes. I really liked the stitched border.

…Sewed a button on the flap, stuck some hemp cord in the bottom...

…Add the discs and playlist cards, and voila! Ready to swap! Here are my playlists:


I had a map that was the perfect size for two 8.5x11 envelopes. Because maps are so busy, I printed the shipping info on some bright (REALLY bright) translucent vellum paper to put over the map so everything was easy to read. I stitched everything closed and finally had two packages ready to be shipped out.

Today I got my first two mixes in the mail. I was so excited to get Kjrsten's (Have a Cute Day) package! I tore it open and was thrilled to find that almost ALL of the artists were new to me . I was also pretty excited that she included a TV On the Radio song, since they are pretty cool. ; ) I've been listening to the new mixes all evening, and I love Kjrsten's style. Each disc has it's own theme: one "Dreams," and the other "Summer." Both discs are going onto my iPod for my morning bike rides to work.

Isn't her cd folder cute?! I've been missing out on the decorative tape! I'm on my way to Etsy right after this to find some of the awesome tape for myself.

Thank you SO much, Kjrsten, I LOVE them!!