Monday, December 14, 2009

And yet another- Recessionista does the 12 days of Giveaway!

Recessionista, who is featured in the below post for Simply Modern Mom, is also having a giveaway (the 12 days of Giveaway!!! Woo hoo!

Good Luck, and keep rockin' the Holidays!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

One more giveaway- from Simply Modern Mom!

I stumbled upon this one late- and I missed out on some great giveaways! There is still time, though- SMM is giving away gifts from such great sites as Recessionista and Liliash. Check out the remaining giveaways here!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A funny song for a moody day.

It is cold and gray here in orange cone land, and I am feeling a bit off today. Not quite cranky, but getting there fast. Some days my little guys just can't resist landing smack dab in the middle of Santa's Naughty List- and believe me, they get a running start.

When I lived at home (and even long after I moved away), my late Dad, who had a rather dry sense of humor, had a sure fine response when one of us had worked ourselves in to an epic snit around the Holidays. He would raise his eyebrows, point his finger to the sky in a "Eureka!" move, and declare (in a truly ironic tone, of course) - "Tis the Season to be Jolly!".  It seldom failed to shortcircuit a bad mood. I use it on my own family now- especially when one of us is particularly cranky. It never fails to make me smile...I miss him.

As I was struggling to keep LTR (aka, Mr. Two), in Time Out this afternoon, I decided to take a moment of "Mommy Time" to have a breather and comb through my "Daily Inspirations" folder. It was a good thing, because it made my day. scrumdilly-do! is a fun crafty kids site that has a million and one awesome ideas, and today it gave me this little gem. You can catch the "professional" version here on her website. I like this one, which is live. Something about the paddy clapping live just made me smile.

Kristin Andreassen & Megan Downes - Crayola Doesn't Make a Color for your Eyes

Here is the URL if you can't get the player to work.

Now, off to wrestle LTR into a much needed nap. Tis the Season, you know.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Is it too early to miss my garden?

When we moved to our first house, now 6 years ago, it was late summer, and all I had time to do was note what was in the garden, and plan for the next season. Well, the only thing that grew in my garden the next year was weeds, as Enormodome was born the following May. As time progressed and Little Round Top came around, I found that I had even less time to devote to my little garden. This past summer was the first time that I actually had more than a few moments to work on things, and with my new-found hobby, I found bliss.

Something about working in the soil just calms me down- seeing the new shoots blossom almost before my eyes is quietly thrilling. I cherish my "alone time", even when it is aimless puttering;  I even love the meditative quality of pulling weeds. I don't have a green thumb by nature (no pun intended), and I have killed a great many plants in my time, but I think that I am finally catching on. I used to think that the garden had to be perfect immediately (like so many of my more established neighbors), and I lacked the patience of an experienced gardener. In my haste, I made a great many costly mistakes, and my early lessons were hard earned.

Still, my appreciation of Nature's amazing beauty and variety has grown exponentially, and though I still consider myself a novice, I have come a long way. With my new-found knowledge comes a modicum of patience, and while I still feel the need to sneak out in the early morning and urge my plants to move faster, I know that it will be years before my garden is where I want it to be. I love finding odd objects to nestle in between my favorite plants, and dream of building raised beds with old barn stone. My climbing roses are just starting to take off, and it is so lovely to doze in the sun with the bees buzzing amidst their sweet scent.

It has become harder and harder to put the beds to sleep for the season, and though the Fall is my favorite time of year, I am anxious for the Spring, when I can get my hands back in the soil...

Some wonderful sites- sharing the love (hint hint- Giveaways!!!)

I have been stumbling on to some wonderful sites via my wanderings online. Isn't it funny how we are all becoming so connected? Each time a visit one of my Favorites, I find about 5 more, and before I know it, my Christmas cookies are burnt to a crisp, and my sons have already fought, made up, and are asleep on the couch. So goes it!

Anyway, here are a few that are having wonderful giveaways. I am always finding more, so if I find any more, I will post them. Perhaps they will float soundlessly into the atmosphere, but let it be known that the effort was made!

I just found Fantabulously Frugal this morning- this site rocks already. I am always in the mood to save money, and if you like tips, freebies and giveaways, this gal is flush with them! If I never resurface from combing the archives, you will know where to find me.

This Giveaway happens to be called "You Deserve the Best".  I can't argue with that!

Next in line of fabulousness is Raisin Toast, and her companion site Red Easel. "Toast" is a more personal site - an online journal filled with interesting stories and ideas, her personal work, and inspiration. while "Easel" is a blog devotes to Art (Featured Artists, their artwork, supplies and other related subjects).

Back to her giveaways- I am almost tempted to keep these to myself, but she is having a 21 days of Christmas giveaway on both sites. She doesn't have a link button, but you can access them here:

UPDATE: as of Wed, Dec 9, she is no longer doing the giveaways. The sites are still up, though, and there are plenty of other things to see!

Don't worry, though- here is another, from Where Women Create!!!


This site is an amazing tribute to Women Artists of all types- you could spend a week just looking at the archived images. More fabulous? You can buy some of the works, too- some even created especially for them. Droolworthy, to be sure.

The giveaway is just incredible, too- one artist is featured daily, with a beautful item to be given away each day for 12 days straight! Sign me up, baby! Plus, you get an extra entry if you blog and add her button (above). Enter once a day until midnight on the last day.

And----another! Yay!!!

How ama-zing is this? I have two little hellraisers myself, so I would adore this in my collection.  Dawn of The Feathered Nest is giving it away- to celebrate her 1200th post.! The giveaway is for one of these fantastic decorative jars, or a gorgeous French journal. Beautiful...

Finally, there is ARTFUL HOME. This is in all caps for a reason, folks. This site is chock full of wonderful eye candy for home and office- clothing, artwork, furniture, oh my!. There are a number of Professional artists that sell from this site, so you know that there are some truly one of a kind objects and gifts. The glasswork alone is enough to give me palpitations.

They are giving away a stunning glass ornament each day through Dec 18th- you can access it from this link.

For some reason, the link to the contest breaks on me, but you can click on the link in the lower right hand corner to enter.

More to come, as I find them I will pass them on...

Friday, December 4, 2009

The only Christmas song to make me cry....

I am an emotional mess sometimes- there are times when I can cry at the drop of a hat- or at the first whiff of an emotionally manipulative or otherwise sentimental TV commercial. Sad music? Surreptitiously wiping my eyes. Babies sleeping? Sniff. Puppies looking sad?  Huddled in the corner bawling.

OK, not so much. But the Silent Night commercial for Pampers always did it to me. Still can't watch it.

Ironically enough, though, when it comes to deliberate displays of earnest sentiment, Christmas music on the whole really doesn't float my boat. Don't know why- maybe it was the stack of 33 records that my dad used to play each day (Firestone collections, Mitch Miller, Vienna Boys Choir, etc) that has desensitized me. I must be in the minority, but I can't stand "Silent Night". I also don't like "Away in a Manger", "Little Drummer Boy" and "Deck the Halls". They need to kick me out of the Christmas Club and call me Scrooge, but they just aren't my thing. Know what else I can't stand? Bloated and overly emotional celebrity Christmas albums. I truly believe that the Devil uses them to make disco balls in Hell (John Denver and the Muppets are just about the only exception). OK, so I am sentimental AND a cynic. There are worse things!

So imagine my surprise when I caught an unfamiliar but haunting song while flipping through the dial one Christmas. It happened to be playing on my very favorite public radio station (WYEP Pittsburgh), or I doubt that I would ever have heard it. I didn't catch the song title, and because they didn't post the playlists at the time, I actually called the station to find out what it was. Then, I ran out and bought the CD on the spot. I traded it the next week (I didn't care for most of the other songs), but I kept a copy of this one because it was the only Christmas song that ever made me want to cry while driving on the parkway. Seriously.

Here are the lyrics, and you can actually hear an alternative version on this link (from I actually prefer the original, from her live album "Child: Music for the Christmas Season".

Jane Siberry- "Are You Burning Little Candle" (original version)

 Are you burning, little Candle?
High upon the Christmas tree
Symbol of a new beginning
Faith and hope and sweet release

remind us

Of the children's faces
full of wonder and surprise
Of the laughter in their voices,
the sweetness in their eyes
When they wake up in the morning
with the feeling in their heart
That there's joy in the air
and they know that they're a part

Shine your light on me, little Candle

Are you shining, little Star?
Shining in the skies above
Lift us up into the heavens
Symbol of the light of love

Are you spinning, little Dreidel?
Spinning tales of long ago
Spinning past the little cradle
Tell us what we used to know

remind us...

Are you watching, little Angel?
High above the Christmas tree
Angels all around the world
Hear us as we pray for peace

remind us...

Are you listening, little pine tree?
Silent midst the glistening snow
Symbol of the forest stillness
Deepest joy that man can know

Are you singing, little Children?
Singing loud and strong and clear
Singing all around the world
Sing it loud so we can hear

Shine your light on me

Little Candle, Little Star,

Little Angel, Little Children

Shine your light on me
To me, if ever there were a pure expression of what this Season means to me, it is this song. To me, it is about light, and love, and being a part of the world in a meaningful and hopeful way. It is the innocence of the child (and the Child)- being able to listen to the stillness of silence (whether it be of Nature, or the Silence within), and the blessings of life. I am moved every time I hear it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My little nose pressed against the glass....

OK, so my nose isn't little. (Thanks, Dad's side of the family), and my nose isn't really pressed against the glass- we have an LCD monitor, and my husband would kill me because I smudged the screen- but you get the idea. Christmas is nearly upon us, I have almost completed my shopping, and, for the sake of my sanity (and my bank account), I doing my best to try bury my head in the sand for the rest of the season- "try" being the operative word.

You see, I love to window shop, and to see lovely things that I could dream of having. I have a house that is pretty nearly bursting at the seams, and the bank account that is the exact opposite, but practicality be damned! There is no harm in looking, is there?

So, I look, and I dream.

Dream about things like this lovely Brandy chair from the Victorian Trading Co.

I love the lines, the scrumptious patterns- the carving....between my two sons and my passive aggressive cats, this poor chair would last a week. Sigh. A cup of strong Earl Grey and a Jane Austen novel, and blessed silence for a moment. Heavenly.

What about these beauties? I do mosaics in glass, tile, and found objects, and I am always looking for my "tessies" (tessera, or the objects being grouted together in the mosaic). I came across these droll worthy lovelies on a wonderful site called Browse a bit if you love Italian ceramics- their dinnerware is divine.

If the link doesn't work, go to the main site and search under "St. Francis".

These gorgeous creatures are modeled after those found in the St. Francis Church in Deruta, Italy, in 1524. Replicated in the same fashion as the originals, they are handmade and each is one of a kind.

I would love to add some of these to my stash, but, alas, I could probably afford just enough to make a trivet. A very small trivet. It would be one beautiful trivet, though, and I would carry it in my purse so I could accost strangers on the street and show them how lovely it is. Really. That is how beautiful is would be.

And I could quite easily trade in my car for this baby. I just adore drawers, especially little drawers- lots of little drawers filled with treasure. If I ever get around to showing my craft area, you will see what I mean.

Oh my. Just think of all of the things that I could put in those drawers, and the glass knobs? Ohhhh, yeah.
This one is on sale at Painted Porch Country Antiques. Scrumptious.

Well, after spending my son's college funds on my imaginary shopping spree, I am off to climb the wall of laundry that has accumulated in my absence. Maybe I will find a some spare change to put in the old "Wish List" piggy bank! Never hurts to dream, my friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Overdue Thank You!

I meant to write this up last month (I know), but never got around to it. So, a most belated, though completely heartfelt, Thank You! to Dot over at She featured the Hammerhead on her latest cluster of Halloween ideas, and was nice enough to devote an entire post to it!

I am very honored to have been included in such great company; she always has a lot of wonderful ideas, and this Halloween was no exception.

I was sorry to disappoint her this year when she asked what I had up my sleeve for this year. My four year old, who has the attention span of, well, a four year old (yes, yes, I wonder where he got it), changed his mind about 100 times before he spotted the Iron Man costume at Target two weeks before Halloween. Since the point of diminishing returns was so close this time, I decided to forgo the sweat and tears and just roll with it. We had a great time, and I finally got to put the garden to bed properly this year.

And Dome had a fun time trick or treating as a Transformer. Sigh.

Overdue, just like my library books.

Once again, I am late in posting, though better late than never, right? I should probably mention that, real life, I am one of those people that is quite easily distracted. Oooh- shiny object! I am much like a cat in that regard, though the fact that I love to eat and then curl up for a nap doesn't help. I have been known to wrestle with with yarn balls once in awhile as well, though I call that needlecraft (the end result is often the same, though).

In any case, what was I talking about? Oh yes, the forgotten blog. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and paid for with overdue library book fines (I must have paid for at least one lane by now). I cherish those stolen moments when I can wholeheartedly "create", but more often than not, the world intervenes. Two small weapons of mass destruction that I call sons, lots of home projects half completed (don't even mention the word "laundry" to me), naps- well, sometimes I just forget. I often wish that I had Dumbledore's magic Pensieve- and a wand to magically capture those wonderful thoughts that come when you don't have a moment to write them down. It always happens- idling at a stop light, making dinner- those last fading moments right before sleep. You know, that magic moment when you review your day and remember all the things that you forgot? I always seem to write my more interesting ideas while drifting off...mmmmm, naptime.

I should get myself a laptop so that I can write in bed. Yeah, and pick up some yarn while I am at it...

Friday, March 27, 2009

On a Roll...

Or, just not having any luck getting my toddler, Little Round Top, to sleep. It is after midnight, and he is still happily chattering at my feet. No crib for me, mama! Poor guy is going to be exhausted tomorrow.

So, no access to projects pics at the moment, so I though that I would give you a glimpse into my tortured artist psyche. OK, into my library account. Better? I absolutely adore my local library- as it supplies me with some of the most wonderful resources imaginable, and at absolutely no cost. Well, until I rack up the fines when I can't bear to give up one of my favorites! My favorite part- if I get a clunker (which happens more that you might think!), I can just return it- no money wasted. Better still, I have a network to request from, and they are delivered right to my local branch - quickly if I am lucky. Can't beat that.

Anyway, here is what I have checked out at the moment. No "War and Peace" for me- at least not with two little mongrels keeping me busy during every waking hour.

The Greatest Hits [sound recording] : Why Try Harder / Fatboy Slim.

We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things [sound recording] / Jason Mraz.

P.S. I Love You [sound recording] : music from the motion picture.

Garden State [sound recording] : music from the motion picture.

Last Night [sound recording] / Moby.

Born-Again Vintage : 25 ways to deconstruct, reinvent + recycle your wardrobe / Bridgett Artise, Jen Karetnick

The New Terrarium : Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature / Tovah Martin and Kindra Clin

Cottage Retreats Decorating Ideas for Every Mood / Lisa Jill Schlang.

The First 30 days : Your Guide to Any Change (and Loving Your Life More) / Ariane de Bonvoisin.

The Closer. The Complete First Season [videorecording] / Warner Bros. Television ; directed by Michael M. Robin ... [et al.]

(The Nest) Home Design Handbook : Simple Ways to Decorate, Organize, and Personalize your Place / Carley Roney and the editors of ; photographs by Ellen Silverman.

Yankee Magazine's Panty hose, Hot peppers, Tea bags, and More--for the Garden : 1,001 ingenious ways to use common household items to control weeds, beat pests, cook compost, solve problems, make tricky jobs easy, and save time / [book editor, Veronica Lorson Fowler].

Easy Compost : the Secret to Great Soil and Spectacular Plants / Beth Hanson, editor.

Shoestring Chic : Extraordinary Style for Less / Gail Abbott ; with special photography by Mark Scott

Where Women Create : Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women / Jo Packham.

Katie Brown Decorates : 5 styles, 10 rooms, 105 projects / Katie Brown ; photographs
by Paul Wichelo

You might say that I am on a decorating kick, but there are a few interesting garden tomes that I picked up today. Now that I know that it will actually be warm tomorrow (woo hoo!), I am going to try to get out into the garden and do some clean up. And, since I lost the eBay auction (woo hoo times two!), I am hoping to set up my "home made" worm composter in the basement, as well. I am debating the bag vs. the storage container- we will take a vote tomorrow.

Happy Living...

And one more, since I forgot!

Speaking of Freecycle, when I am not doing the "Shady Lady*" porch pick up (the safest way, sometimes- and best when I am feeling antisocial), I meet the nicest people. One of them is my junk buddy, who gamely digs through fun discards at the local reclamation/salvage shop (Construction Junction- what's your function?). Another is a wacky gal that lives in a house under a huge oak tree that Washington planted. She has one of the most amazing English Style cottage gardens that I have ever seen. I owe a large chunk of my tiny garden to her.

I met another one this week, too- met a fellow artist (though admittedly one more committed than I) and got some pretty metal lanterns for my porch. She even sent me her blog to peruse. Though I am not into scrapbooking myself (the one that I started for my wedding and honeymoon is still woefully unfinished after 6 years), she has some wonderful eye candy to look at. By happy coincidence, she had a free giveaway, too! Kismet, I say. Since I do most of my surfing late night, I haven't had a chance to take in much more than a few pages, but I have added her to my growing list of "Idea sites that I fully intend to take advantage of once my life settles down and I have time to breathe". The more the merrier!

Happy living to you.

*Shady Lady porch pick up is when I pick up things that people leave for me on their porch. I generally pick up during the day since I am home (both for safety reasons and to minimize the chances of me getting hopeless lost, which happens frequently), but when most people are at work. I sometimes get suspicious looks from unsuspecting neighbors, hence the name, but if they are anything like my own neighbors, they will get used to having strange people slinking around with odd objects. All part of the fun!

Just because I can.

So, I love free stuff. I am a passionate and active Freecycle user, as well as a late night Craigslist "comber". I love to give things away to people that feel the same way- kind of like Christmas without all the emotional angst. When it works, it works, folks, and we all need that kind of love sometimes.

So, when I see a giveaway on one of my favorite new sites (The Pioneer Woman), I jump on it. Given the fact that she has thousands of entries already, I don't stand a Peep's chance in my Easter Basket in winning. It was fun, though, to contemplate a simple question like "What do you plan to do this weekend"?

So, here is my answer. Wish I could say that I was doing something wildly creative, but, unfortunately, my mojo is a bit slow at the moment, and I am feeling sort of self indulgent and soft. So, I will try to find some creative energy and do SOMETHING (as Dot at is wont to say). We all need it sometimes.

So, here is the entry- wish me luck!

I am going to have a birthday this weekend. Not a major one, but enough of a milestone towards midlife that it gives me pause. I am going to cry in my soup for a minute, then look at my beautiful sons and feel blessed.

Then I am going to head out to a favorite haunt from my old life and get the biggest boba tea (with monster tapioca pearls- hubby calls them "turd" teas), and then off to my favorite bakery (yes, I have one, hence a few more tears in the soup) for a massive cupcake with more frosting than sense.

I wish that I could get into my tiny garden, but, alas, we are getting some sleet and snow tomorrow. Instead, I fully intend to blow my entire nonexistent income on pretty garden things that I can get online. Like the worm composter that I started bidding on before I realized I could make it myself? C'mom folks! Wake up! I need the money- bid up!

The Internet shopping world is like one big window- and I intend to make some serious nose smudges this weekend. I might even add this as a new post on my god forsaken blog- one that I haven't touched in 2 months. There, one birthday resolution done already. Thanks for the nudge.

Happy living to you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Better late than never...

Christmas is never a dull time around our house, so it has been tough to get back into the swing of things! I did clean and re-organize my workspace, which was clean for a day before I started on a new project. More about that in another post. Before I forgot, I wanted to show you some of my Christmas presents for my brother- they turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

Mosaics are actually a recent interest, but I have really taken to it. I actually have a background in painting, so I love to combine the two media in one. I have found creating mosaics with tempered glass to be the most fun- though they can be hell on my hands!

The clock was my first attempt- I got the "blank" at Goodwill and stared at it for a few months before I came up with an idea for it. My brother loves Montana- he has been there several times, and I had a nice sunset picture that I used for my color inspiration. The base was sealed already, so I just painted over it with acrylics.

When it was dry I puzzle-pieced the glass over the paint and grouted it as usual. The piece that I broke had a lot of larger clusters, so I used those first, then filled in the gaps. I liked the look of the grout flowing in "rivers", rather than being more regulated, if that makes sense.

I had the table already- it was a castoff from a store that closed in the mall. My brother went to Notre Dame, and loves the Blue/gold combo, so I sort of started with that in mind this time (being mindful of his other decor, of course). I sealed it and painted the base in the same way that I did the clock- though this time I just squirted the paint and sort of free formed it.

Here is a close up of the actual tabletop:

You might be able to see in a few spots that I ran a blade through the paint in a sort of marbling pattern- it ended up adding a lot of interesting effects under the glass. The gold is just faux gold leaf (it is sort of plastic-y, so it was kind of hard to cut into organic shapes). I just shredded it and through it on randomly at first, then moved it around until I was satisfied.

Just experimentation, really- kind of seeing what I could come up with! I grouted with a deep black, and it really came out dramatic- I had a glass round that fit on top, and it sparkles even more when the light hits it. Wish I had another table like it- I was sad to see it head "home" to Vermont. ;-)

Happy Living to you.