In addition to my own shop I also want to highly recommend some items that simply amaze me. Cyber Monday is right around the corner so get with the shopping before these fabulous goodies are all gone!
Favorites from my own shop
Favorites from other shops
Happy shopping, happy sales!
Buy handmade and go green!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
In addition to my own shop I also want to highly recommend some items that simply amaze me. Cyber Monday is right around the corner so get with the shopping before these fabulous goodies are all gone!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Did I mention food?
A pen and paper
All five of my senses
My sixth sense too
Making new friends
Chucka Stone Designs
Coffee (I have no idea how this was not first lol)
Late night lovin’
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Each of the experiences below is just a random sampling of what can shape a person’s life and I sincerely hope each of you take this and even if you do not post the list to a blog or other location, look over the items and be grateful for the experiences you have had while challenging yourself to try some of those things you have not. I have separated into three groups-- have done, not yet and no freaking way (if I can help it). If you want to play along in the standard way check out the link above to Charmaine & grab the list in order!
1. Started your own blog (2 in fact and both just received an award yesterday! More on that to follow)
2. Slept under the stars (on the beach - awesome, in the woods - not as awesome)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (well World about 10 times so I think it counts)
8. Climbed a mountain (lots)
9. Held a praying mantis (I think but it could have just been a grasshopper, was a long time ago)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (not while on a boat but over the ocean a lot)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (as far up as they let us go at the time)
18. Grown your own vegetables
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (this used to be a fairly common occurrence when I worked in an office, in the last year I have barely even taken a day off for holidays and have not been sick at all)
24. Built a snow fort
26. Gone skinny dipping (only once, it was effing freezing!)
29. Seen a total eclipse (of the heart?)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (both)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (Ireland only, never been to Lithuania)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (its all in perception of satisfaction)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (one of my favorite activities)
47. Had your portrait painted (drawn in pencil at a bar once & I didn’t know it was even happening until he handed it to me at the end of the night, I was so flattered but completely embarrassed)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkel, no scuba but I plan to someday)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
57. Started a business
60. Served at a soup kitchen (this is one of the single most gratifying things I have ever done, every single person should do this at least once)
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies (Samoas, or whatever they are called now, and Thin Mints rock my world)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
67. Bounced a check (yeah too many, luckily that was a long time ago!)
68. Flown in a helicopter (I was about 3 or so and my dad was in the military. My mom and sister who was a baby at the time stayed on the ground while I got to go up in the military helicopter, so freaking cool!)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
73. Stood in Times Square (tried to but number of people walking kind of forces you to keep moving most of the time)
75. Been fired from a job
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (never driven one, love to ride on the back though)
82. Bought a brand new car
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (a few times mostly for gymnastics, luckily never the police blotter)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
88. Had chickenpox (another fun memory…my sister and I had it at the same time. It was July 4th and we watched fireworks from the way back of the station wagon then went back to soak in an oatmeal bath)
91. Met someone famous
93. Lost a loved one
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day
3. Played in a band (Does Rock Band count?)
4. Visited Hawaii (high on the list)
10. Sang a solo (Does it count while driving?)
12. Visited Paris (also way up there, just mentioned wanting to do this while watching Funny Face the other night)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (will do when I get there)
25. Held a lamb
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (MUST get to Italy)
31. Hit a home run (maybe in grade school but do not remember, likely not)
32. Been on a cruise
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (plan on doing this in the next year)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (see 28)
39. Gone rock climbing (no but where is the white water rafting question?)
40. Seen Michelangelo's David (28)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (never thought of this but now I want to go and do it today)
44. Visited Africa
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (again…28)
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
55. Been in a movie (would love to put this on the have list!)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (have not tried in a long time, used to not be able to because I weighed less than the minimum requirement, don’t know if it has changed)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
72. Pieced a quilt
74. Toured the Everglades
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (my sister has lived in Arizona over 13 years and we still have not done this)
80. Published a book (I FULLY intend to achieve this, a few times)
81. Visited the Vatican (well if I haven’t seen the Sistine Chapel…)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (both individually not in conjunction)
89. Saved someone’s life
92. Joined a book club
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
No Freaking Way (If I Can Help It)
11. Bungee jumped (oh hell no!!)
15. Adopted a child
20. Slept on an overnight train
22. Hitch hiked (too scary these days)
27. Run a Marathon (ah hahaha! I don’t even run to the bathroom when I have to pee)
41. Sung karaoke
46. Been transported in an ambulance
65. Gone sky diving (see 11)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
77. Broken a bone (lots of fractures, couple sprains but never a break)
90. Sat on a jury
94. Had a baby
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
Friday, November 21, 2008
This past week we entered into a cold snap akin to the temperatures in January where the mid day high was not really making it out of the thirties. Damn climate change.
So what does a summer loving, need to be barefoot as much as possible, warmth craving, and environmentally conscious gal do without turning the heat up to eighty in the apartment? I re-introduce myself to exercise and the oven. Though not simultaneously of course, that is just dangerous and would require a level of coordination I definitely do not possess.
As you all know Rock Band is quickly becoming my favorite evening activity -- I am priding myself on the fact that I can now pull off scores in the ninety percent range with the level set to Hard and I am starting to actually get the drums in more ways than just hitting the corresponding pad when little boxes of color scroll across the screen. The pads correspond to a real drum kit so not only do I get which pad is associated with which sound (bass drum, snare, cymbal, cowbell, high hat, etc) but I am beginning to feel the rhythm of the songs I play. My arms are flailing about, my right leg is in seemingly constant motion and my core body temperature goes up as I pound away. Many may say this is not exercise but I challenge them to try playing on Hard level for an hour and then let me know how their arms and calf feel the next morning. It is energizing to play rock 'n roll but more importantly, keeping me toasty warm.
Another thing that rocks is channeling the life of a bear. Again, everyone knows how I plan to come back as a Grizzly in my next life because of their play all summer, eat as much as possible then sleep all winter lifestyle. Man that is like a dream come true. So I figure why not get a little bit in touch with that now and start packing it on so I can survive what is clearly shaping up to be a cold ass winter in Boston.
Matt is laughing at me because (and I am the first to admit) I am not what one would typically call domestic but as of late my oven has been firing up some pretty tasty treats and adding joyous warmth into the apartment (not to mention intoxicating smells!). Some of my favorites are homemade sauce which I then used to make lasagna, mashed potatoes, chicken soup from scratch (we cooked a whole bird and I used the bone, veggies and drippings to create the soup), banana bread and of course my specialty desert apple cranberry pie.
Fall just lends itself to cinnamon and brown sugar, apples and cranberries, fatty deliciousness. I want to share the recipe with all of you because the big Turkey day is almost upon us and if you are looking for something super yummy to compliment the meal but do not know what to bring this is definitely a winner! Happy eating, I plan to be either drumming or comatose until spring.
Apple Cranberry Pie
Two 9” pie pastry crusts (or enough home made dough to make them)
3/4 Cup brown sugar (not tightly packed)
1/3 Cup flour
4 Cups apples sliced or chunked (I use Cortland or Gala, sometimes McIntosh)
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 Cup white sugar
1 Tsp cinnamon
2 Cups frozen cranberries
1/2 Tsp cinnamon sugar mix
Preheat oven to 425
Coat pie pan with butter using wax paper to spread & sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture (leave some if you want to use it on the top of the pie as well)
Combine sugars, flour and cinnamon & mix well
Add fruit, thoroughly coat all of it
Place one crust in pan and turn fruit in, distribute leftover dry mix across evenly
Top crust and dot with butter (sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture)
Seal edges with a fork & cut slits in top, remove excess dough from sides
Bake with crust shield for 30 minutes
Remove shield, bake additional 10 minutes or until golden and mixture is bubbling
Let cool slightly and enjoy with a warm cup of tea and cold scoop of ice cream
Monday, November 17, 2008
The sun was hiding behind a cloud but no water was falling
From the sky or my eyes
I felt the gaze and my entire body turned to face you
Standing across the street
Wearing a trucker hat and blue jeans
With a smile in your eyes
Chewing pink gum and blowing bubbles
Carefree and light
I could taste it
The traffic of walkers was heavy
But I stood stoic like a pebble in the moving sea
Passed by so gracefully
Diverting the motion
I could not get to where you stood
We locked eyes for an instant
We shared the time and space
Intense and heightened
Bridging the swirling current
I felt it all in that moment
The place I was meant to be
I wanted to grab it
To grab you
To take your gum
To pop the bubble between
Where I live and you fantasize
But instead I came about
As if the rock became dislodged
Tossed around by the waves of the crowd
Traveling with the unseen current
Reality shakes me
And I wonder if it was just a dream
Sunday, November 16, 2008
My Mom did this fair last year and convinced me to give it a go because there was fairly decent traffic and a nice mix of buyers and sellers. She was not wrong! We were lucky enough to request tables right next to each other which was great so we could man each other’s booth when one of us had a need to venture out. Here are the original set ups; we both adjusted placement of materials as the day went on and after doing so both of us got more sales. Coincidence?
He was able to acquire a good number of pallets that could be broken down on site (not always possible) and where he did not have to take everything just to get a few good ones (something many places actually required). When I arrived home yesterday he was out on the balcony removing nails and pieces from each other with a bunch of tools.
Since we are attempting to construct this unit completely for free (meaning we do not want to spend any money we have earned from jobs to pay for necessary material needed for construction like hardware, screws, biscuits, glue, paint, etc), as well as reduce the clutter in our apartment, I knew it was time to sell a few more items on craigslist as well. Friday afternoon I posted our old dehumidifier that we still had hanging around from the days of owning a house with a wet-ish basement.
Matt just wrote up a little something on his pallet retrieval experiences; those who are inclined can read it here.
Based on his calculations we are currently at +$49.18. Yippie!
Friday, November 14, 2008
First and foremost this is the last time I’ll be pimping to get as many people as possible out to the FUMC Craft Fair in Melrose tomorrow. 645 Main St 9:00 - 1:00.
All my bags
Now that the sales will commence and the production of all those upcycled fabrics lessens, we can finally get our house back together. It is going to seem like we have so much space in our teeny apartment and the quilt-like layer of tiny threads all over the carpet will succumb to the vacuum on Sunday during football. Yee-haw!
Recently Charmaine posted a link to a really fun site where I spent some time “yearbooking” myself into a bunch of different time periods. It made me chuckle to see myself in these different eras but what was really funny is that the 1990 photo is scarily too close to my actual yearbook picture from 1991.
How much hairspray would this take?
I always wondered what I would look like with an afro.
To bang or not to bang?
See what I mean? Talk about hairspray, ugh.
Tomorrow Matt is going to hit the road and start acquiring a trunk load of pallets so we can start construction on our entertainment center. It is going to be a whole lot of fun to watch this thing come together. Nothing like acquiring material for free to create an enormous piece of furniture. I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed that it comes out nice because he already has plans to build a bunch of other functional furniture pieces using this free stock of lumber. That should keep him out of trouble for the entire winter and then he and B can bond over manly things like sawdust and planers while S and I bond over shaking our heads at the guys but enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Monday, November 10, 2008
It is not a bad looking site -- streamlined and clean -- but definitely basic.
I am a big believer in the fundamental premise of ‘ask and you shall receive’, along the lines of visualizing what I want and then getting it. When I officially opened my business last fall I announced that my goal for it was to be up and running, fully operational and making a small profit within the first year. I am proud to say that exactly what I asked for happened and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to work on my own and for myself while delivering the highest of standards to my clients. It has been a fun year of discovering new techniques, realizing where my true passions lie and feeling out where I want the real focus of my company to head.
As a new year begins for Chucka Stone Designs there are things I am asking for, expect to work on and fully intend to get by next fall. Increasing business in faux, publishing and handbags is where I will strongly focus and I plan to scale back on other endeavors like graphic design and jewelry.
Although I do not consider myself a vain person, I feel that when I perceive myself as looking good it makes me feel good as well. I am confident to go out and flirt with the world, to get anything I want. So today I gave a monster facelift to all six pages of my poorly lacking website so it could feel good and assist in helping me tackle the new goals I have set for this year. Click on the screen shot to take a peek at the newly improved Chucka Stone Designs home in cyberspace. She is one well dressed and snazzy company now if I do say so myself!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
As I have been on this positive high for the past forty eight hours it occurred to me that there have been many times in my life that defined me, for example every moment I have lived, but only a couple handfuls of them really resonate as the days that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I hope to look back on this list in ten years and not only still feel the same but have even more moments to add.
Seeing something I had written published for the first time. Sadly, the teeny-bopper magazine I submitted the poem to was very likely tossed more years ago then I care to mention but I can still feel the exhilaration I had when I opened the pages and saw my name and words in print.
My first real kiss with a guy I truly loved.
Red Sox win the first World Series in 86 years. It pleased me to no end to know that my Grandfather was still alive to see that day as well.
The day I got married.
Maintaining a 4.0 GPA in college as a returning, adult student. It was not that I did not have the capacity to do so all along, it was simply that I placed more emphasis on things outside of my studies. The work and time that went into sustaining that standard is something that will stick with me forever; just knowing I could do it if I wanted to has been applied to every area of my life since.
The day I moved into the first apartment that was all mine. Liberating.
Hearing the words “President-elect Barack Obama” for the first time. When I was a kid I was told countless times that I could do anything, be anything that I wanted so at about age seven I proudly announced to my Mom that what I wanted was to be black. Unfortunately there are some things that are actually not possible so instead I spent much of my growing life studying and identifying with the heroes I had, many of whom were from the African American community. My number one all time hero was Rosa Parks but as of two days ago she might just have some competition in holding onto that position due to our newly elected President inching up the list rather quickly.
Yes We Can.
Yes We Did.
YES WE WILL!!!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
6:30 AM -- Wake up an hour early due to sheer excitement and kiss Matt bye. It’s Election Day! Start smiling.
7:30 AM -- Finish writing two blogs that would usually take me an entire cup of coffee to complete. Spend some time chatting in Etsy forums and checking out blogs to network with some really fine people. Do not stop smiling even though it is first thing in the morning.
9:00 AM -- Grab my cell phone to text Matt “I am counting the hours until tonight!”. Receive text back “Tick tock the bush has been cut down”. Smile even bigger than before.
11:00 AM -- Make an amazing blueberry and raspberry smoothie, put on iTunes and begin cutting fabric for some new clutches. Dance around my apartment singing and smiling. Pop outside for a cigarette and notice not only is it in the mid sixties but there is no wind although the leaves are rustling, the sky is crystal clear blue and the yellow leaves have a different glow than usual. Realize that the positive energy is not only in my own apartment but is taking shape everywhere. Smile knowing that in about twelve short hours Obama will become President-elect.
3:00 PM -- Wrap up sewing and get ready for Matt to get home. Consider taking up nail biting as a hobby but realize getting my fingernail into my mouth means I would have to stop smiling.
4:22 PM -- Matt gets home and I stick two fingers in the air like I scored the winning touchdown proclaiming “Its time to go vote!”. Of course my smile is growing into an open mouth emoticon at this point.
4:52 PM -- Pick up my Mom and carpool to the school we all vote at. Begin to get nervous that I have no idea what I am doing since it has been so long but I give my name and street address, take my voting ballot sheet, step into the corner of a booth sectioned for four people and pick up the felt tipped marker approved for coloring in the blobs.
4:53 PM -- Get so excited to see Obama’s name on the ballot I actually save it for last.
4:54 PM -- Meet Mom back out in the parking lot and actually do leaps back to the car that I thought were pretty graceful but likely looked like a cracked out ballerina to everyone else. Do not care about how it looks because I finally completed the reason for my ten and a half hour smile and I am feeling the love. Ask Mom why she is not leaping and notice Matt humors me with one try at a leap. Gotta love him.
5:07 PM -- Arrive home and feel I have got to rid myself of some of this energy or I will burst so I play about an hour of Rock Band while Mom either plays solitaire or knits and Matt gets the chicken ready to bake for our burritos tonight. Finally score 100% on Celebrity Skin on Medium (as if I needed another reason to smile).
6:14 PM -- Matt and I combine efforts to start making guacamole, heating up refried beans, grating cheese and getting the other ingredients out for our yummy burritos.
6:30 PM -- Turn on the television to watch the Super Bowl of politics. Have one brief pang of sadness missing the presence of Tim Russert. Chat over burritos and projection by Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw.
8:00 PM -- Already cheering for so many blue states and chatting with my sister (who is stuck in traffic in Tucson -- the city with the widest roads possible -- on her way home from work, she mailed in her ballot). We hang up when her friend arrives and plan to chat later in the evening.
8:50 PM -- Pretty much doing a square dancing routine in my own head while the dudes spray paint more blue on the Rockefeller Ice Rink map. Matt continues to refresh his live updates from Yahoo and I take Mom home.
9:07 PM - 11:00 PM is pretty much a blur because I was pretty much just jumping around laughing and frolicking through my tears of joy. I think I wrote a blog for Green Leaf Reviewer on our Massachusetts Questions results though. Check it out if you like.
11:15-ish -- Watch John McCain give one of the most eloquent concession speeches I have ever witnessed. Nod in agreement that he is still a very cool guy and smile at his ability to be polite, honest and firm with his supporters. I was especially moved when he looked concerned and pleaded “please” with the crowd several times for booing both his loss and Obama becoming the next President. He certainly flipped the script on that with his very articulate, unwavering support for the President-elect.
11:30-ish -- My sister calls back and we both are watching the same network so we can tandem watch Obama’s acceptance speech. When he takes the stage she remarks on the irony “how about all of them being in red huh?” My eyes immediately begin to well up and everything in both of our houses goes silent. At one point during the speech I quickly utter to her “you ever heard over a million people chanting ‘Yes We Can’ in unison before?” and upon the close of his speech she, Matt and I all breath the sigh of relief that the entire country will hopefully be breathing today as we finally begin making progress toward a brighter future.
Midnight-ish -- Actually utter the unthinkable words “I can’t wait for January” just before Matt packs it in for the night. Clearly that sentiment has nothing to do with the weather. There is no way I will be sleeping as I am far too wired and want to watch more results pour in (like North Carolina and Indiana that closed hours prior but have still yet to report).
1:00 AM Wednesday November 5, 2008 -- Finally admit my exhaustion and send I love yous back and forth with my sister so I can go to bed. Spend about another half hour wide awake in bed smiling while I replay the day in my mind.
7:30 AM -- Wake up and immediately get on YouTube to locate and re-watch Barack Obama’s Presidential acceptance speech. Get misty again, start writing and know that for the first time in a very long time, everything will truly be alright.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In one week, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street.
In one week, you can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy from the bottom-up so that everyone has a chance to succeed; from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor.
In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.
In one week, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.”
The above is an excerpt from a speech given by Barack Obama on October 27, 2008 in Canton, Ohio. Every time I hear him speak or read the speeches he has made I am so overcome with optimistic happiness I actually want to cry tears of joy. I could get used to feeling bliss for the next eight years.
Wow, what an amazing thought -- feeling hope, inspiration, happiness and joy for eight solid years!
Need a little help with the concept? Check out this post written last Saturday by Jason. Very much what I have been thinking for weeks. Very much what we all need to do throughout the day today.
I support Obama. I know he will be our next President because I plan to get out there and cast my ballot for him tonight. I strongly urge and encourage all of you to do the same.
We will vote for change tonight. We will realize a positive future for this great nation.