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.