Saturday, December 27, 2008

Squirrel House Revisited

After several years I think 3 now, we finally have some residents to our squirrel house. The house has seen better days. This is it in all its original glory. The porch railing has fallen down, and the wood started to separate in some areas. But these two fat happy squirrels now call it home.
One of my new fuzzy friends was gathering leaves and stashing them inside the box shaped house. I was so excited. The pictures are not great, but they will do for now! The last few days here have been great for wildlife viewing. With our unseasonable 60 degree day we were able to get outside and enjoy it!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Coated in ice

Ice everywhere. It coated the roads, the bushes and trees. The tree limbs are heavy under the weight of the ice, as I was writing this a huge limb broke loose and hit the ground with a thud. The noise was so loud that the dog started barking she though someone was on the back porch. The weather was so horrible that the schools were closed. So far we are lucky and still have our power, but others are not so lucky. If you thought Chicago winters could not get any worse, just add the 20 below zero windchill that is to follow this storm. Chicago winters are long and cold, and the temperature swings are outrageous, so if todays weather is not to your liking, there is always tomorrow!
Thankfully, I will be going to warmer weather this afternoon, as long as the flights are not cancelled.
Merry Christmas to all!
Stay warm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Therapy

Even though I am not a fan of the cold, I really do enjoy the snow. It is really the only thing I do like about winter in the Midwest. Yesterday at work we took the kids outside for recesses we all needed to get out and get some fresh air. In the play yard the snow was fresh untouched perfect for making snowballs. The kids all under the age of 5 were ready to go. They ran through the back door straight for the snow. It was my watch in the yard, and it was fun. They were throwing snowballs mostly at me, and they wanted me to throw snowballs at them! There was no whining, not a single tattle tail, and no fighting, it was just plain fun. For those 45 minutes we did not have a care in the world except making snowballs. It was snow therapy! I felt refreshed after that play time. I recommend it for anyone feeling a little cabin fever this winter. Get out there with the kids, once you start running around, you will be warm, and they will too!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Need Space?

I am running out of space on my hard drive for the thousands of photos that are stored waiting to be printed, or not. I was searching for a new external hard drive when I came across this great giveaway. Mudpies and Mary Jane is giving away a great external hard drive for either a Macintosh, or a PC. Check out their blog for a chance to win a fantastic storage solution. Mudpies and Mary Jane's contest is running until the 8th so get over there quickly, before time runs out!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas light Redo

I came home from the post office the other day and found Mr. Threadbeaur with the Christmas lights everywhere. Tangled around him were all the strands that did not work. He was trying to find the dead bulbs and any breaks in the wires. What a mess! Just as I was the straw that broke the camels back. We were going to have to get rid of all the lights that we had because half of each string was out, and on a few none of the lights worked. It is a shame to get rid of all the lights, what a waste!
So we went out and picked up a little gadget that claimed it could fix the lights! We thought for less than $20 it would be worth a try. Back at the house we straightened all the lights out in the living room. It is best to work where it is warm, and that is not the case outside. I went to the kitchen to make some left over turkey dinner, and I heard shouting from the living room. It was not the usually angry shouts when the technology fails, it was shouts of joy! "It is fixed" "look, look it is working" and "this is the best tool ever!", were among the shouts of excitement! He insisted I blog about this product, that is saying alot!
This gadget is called the Light Keeper Pro, and we got it at Target! It will last from year to year to fix the Christmas lights with a squeeze of the little trigger. It was so easy, and the fact that it worked without any issues is great. We get to keep all of our lights, and we don't have to throw them in to the landfill is even better! If you ever have holiday lights that are on the fritz just get the Light Keeper Pro to keep your Christmas lights working.

Friday, November 28, 2008

DoorBusters Black Friday

DoorBuster for Blog readers!
The holiday section is 10$ each for blog readers today only.
Black Friday is for deals, and those that stay home and shop from home are the most rewarded.

Check out the holiday section of Threadbeaur's etsy shop for Black Friday Doorbusters!

Mention code BLOG SALE for a revised invoice on the great holiday shopping bags!
If you found this sale through Twitter type TWITTER SALE in the notes to seller!

$10 holiday bags make great eco friendly gift wrap, get them while they last!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Sales

Now that the turkey is cooked, eaten and gone, it is time for a sale. Black Friday as you well know is a time for shopping deals. Deals are not hard to come by this year, but do you want to stand in line and fight the crowds at a MALL? No, I will be shopping on Etsy tomorrow. It is looking like there will be some fantastic deals.
Threadbeaur will be hosting a sale all weekend to include the infamous CYBER Monday. It will be the last BIG sale of the season at my Etsy shop.

Threadbeaur offers great eco friendly gifts for everyone on your list. This weekend you will be able to get the goods for 20% off. That is right you can take 20 percent off the entire purchase. Plus you don't have to stand in line, guaranteed! The items are all handmade and sewn in the USA! I have a selection of holiday prints, and the everyday prints.

The reusable bags are made from reclaimed, recycled materials such as vintage drapes, tablecloths and sheets! The material that could have otherwise found its way to the landfill is given a second chance, and turned into an eco-friendly shopping bag.

The coffee sleeves are also a great "green" holiday gift this year. They reduce the amount of cardboard used and they are fashionable!

Shop this weekend for 20% off at Threadbeaur.
When shopping this weekend use code CRANBEAURY in the notes to seller, and wait for your updated invoice. You can use paypal or Revolution Money Exchange!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Thrift Store Find

Among many errands that made it to my Wednesday to do list. The Salvation Army was at the top of the list! Usually weekdays are best there and you have a chance to score some great items. Today I was wandering around with a specific goal of finding some last minute vases for the table. Though I was unsuccessful in that area, I did find some thing great. I was on my way out of the store, when I decided to swing by the glasses one more time, just in case I could use a collection of short glasses for my holiday center piece. Well, I didn't find short glasses, but I did find these.

There in a row were six glasses from my home state of Florida, in perfect condition and the colors were straight from my high school alma mater. Orange and White. Priced at .60 cents a piece, I looked them over and though, why not! I gathered them up and got in line. During the checkout process she said the are 5 for a dollar, so it will be 1.60! HOW AWESOME!
I was so excited, of course I just put them right in my cloth shopping bag and off I went!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just in Time for the Holidays

Every one knows that with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you have to take a few minutes for yourself. What do you need after a frantic trip to the toy store, just to find out the item that your kid "MUST HAVE" is out of stock until next year! You need a spa treatment of course! Right now over at Misosouper you will find a great giveaway that will pamper you. You have to enter to win, go check the full details at Misosouper, and maybe you will be the lucky winner, of the spa in a box! VivaBox that is!
Good Luck to all!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baking Apprentice

I have gotten another great item in the mail. This one will bring joy all winter long. With the onset of the winter chill, I am in the mood for bread and soup. I purchased The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. When I got the book, I opened to the first page, and was captivated. I could not put it down. The story telling with the instruction was mesmerizing. I learned so much and now I have my first loaves of Pain 'a l'Ancienne. This bread doesn't look like previous loaves I have made, this looks, dare I say, similar to the ones in the book?!! I am so excited about this new book, I will have bread all season. I am learning the art of bread baking, not just a recipe, but the art. Bread is one of my weaknesses, so now I can make my own, whenever the mood strikes. I must wait until the bread cools now before indulging in the fruits of my labor!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Best Pizza In Chicago

We were up by O'hare airport when we decided to grab some pizza. Thanks to my ipod touch we were able to find a place near by. We choose Caponies Trattoria on North Harlem. They had been reviewed by the TV show Check Please. Two of the three on the show agreed that they had good pizza. Ever since we left the small town of Mt. Dora, Florida, we have been looking for a small pizza joint to replace our favorite pizza. Mt. Dora Pizza, in Florida is still our top choice, but Caponies in Chicago is a close second, or maybe a tie.

Caponiesmenu is great. The wood burning oven is what makes their pizza superior, and the fresh ingredients. We got there early around 4:30 on Saturday, and ordered the calamari. It was great, big pieces, with a great breading that was light and crisp. We looked over all the pizzas on the menu and found the Suprema loaded with Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. I was having trouble deciding on which one I wanted, I asked the attentive waiter which he would recommend, and he said the White Pizza. The White pizza had mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, parmesan and percorino romano cheeses with fresh sauteed spinach and garlic.

As we waited we took it the small local flair, decorated with The Sopranos memorabilia it was the perfect setting. I love the small town feel when you walk in. It was a cold day, and with the wood-burning oven reaching degrees near 1000, it warmed the entire space. When the pizza got to the table we were so hungry, without a moments hesitation we dug in. The crust was crisp on the outside and perfect in the middle, the ingredients were piled on, but not overwhelming, and the flavor was out of this world. My favorite of the two was the white pizza I really enjoyed it, and would go back just to have it! So if you are ever near O'Hare airport in Chicago, take the 15 minute trip to 3350 N. Harlem and get some great pizza at a great price at Caponies Trattoria!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sale of the Season

Tonight is going to be the best sale of the season at Threadbeaur. I will be offering 20% off your purchase for Saturday Night November 15. Think of your friends, yourself, and the earth... tonight you will get 20% OFF. Get your hands on the greenest gift of this year. The reusable cloth grocery bag.
Do you have a friend, or co-worker that has everything? Shop at Threadbeaur tonight and get them a gift that they can really use, and get it at the biggest sale of the season.
Tonight only 20% off your purchase. I accept RME and PAYPAL for purchases at Threadbeaur's Etsy Shop.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Mail Day

Today I got out of work early and came home to play with the dog, and when we were out front I checked the mail. The mailbox was filled with great things. Mostly they were addressed to other parties in the house, but there was one small package for me.

Not too long ago I found a great blog that is always packed full of great ideas on promoting your business, and the blog has some great eye candy pictures from his shop, too! Timothy Adam Designs is a great etsy shop...his medium is metal. He is a fantastic metal artist, and that distinction is well deserved. He was one of the my first discoveries on Etsy, and his shop is among my "heart" shops in my Etsy account. So you can imagine my delight when I saw his monthly giveaway on Timothy Adam Desgin's blog. Since I frequent the blog, I decided to enter and see what happened. As chance would have it I WON!!! I was so excited to win such a fantastic prize, I wanted everyone to know. I told all my friends about this amazing metal creator. His ideas are fresh and the product stunning. So in the mail today I got this necklace. Orange is one of my favorite colors, so this necklace is perfect for me. The square orange pendant has great weight and fantastic color saturation. The necklace itself is amazing with the magnetic clasp, it is so easy to take on and off. This is going to be my all purpose necklace. If you live in the Chicagoland area you will be able to identify me by the orange square that will adorn my neck. I can't say enough about this jewelry, but don't just take my word for it, check out Timothy's Etsy shop to get one for yourself.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grab the Tongs--Giveaway

There is a great giveaway over at Katydid and Kid blog. You have the chance to win a fantastic set of folding tongs from Jonathans Wild Cherry Spoons.
The hoops that you have to jump through are minimal for such a a great giveaway. Check it out soon. The contest ends November 22nd.
So hurry over to Katydid and Kid to grab your chance to win the great tongs.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Twitter Equals Views

I have been working to increase the traffic in my ETSY shop. Threadbeaur has been down in the dumps as far as views go, and it is time to do something about it. With the holidays coming I feel that is important for all etsy shops to promote and don't let the few views get you down. I turned to Twitter. The sign up was easy and now I have several people following me. It seems as though I have gotten a few extra views from it too. One of the ways to ensure that you get more followers and more traffic to your shop is to post often, and respond to those comments that interest you.

I have found some great info by using the twitter search site. It is a great tool. Check it out and you can search and narrow down who you would like to be following.

I was over in the etsy forums when I found this great instruction typed up by dottyral(click here for the etsy forum). She explains in detail how to get your items on the sidebar of your twitter page. I was able to do it in no time flat, thanks to her instructions.

So get out there and Twitter, and hopefully you too will benefit from followers, and experince increased traffic to your etsy site!
Check out Threadbeaur's twitter site.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crafty Recycling

In the afternoons, I come up with crafts for the children in the extended day montessori program at my school. I try to incorporate the eco friendly ideas that I hold so dear. My latest project that was greeted with smiles and excitement was a journal for each child. I collected the empty snack boxes from our snack, in this case it was Nilla wafers. I cut them to size of a half sheet of our "oops" copy paper. Then proceeded to punch two holes in each piece of paper and the cardboard. The kids decorated the cardboard which became the front and back cover for their journals. After the covers were just right they threaded the paper on to 2 pipe cleaners. The kids were having so much fun, and were saying things like "wow, I have never done this before". That is very fun for me to hear. It is nice when I can tell they are really enjoying the afternoon craft. Then at the end of the day they got to take their journals home, and keep them as a notepad, or drawing pad. It is a great way to recycle the snack boxes, and copy paper.
Now I have to come up with some more eco friendly toddler crafts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who likes games

Tagged by: Linda Loves Beading

Here are the rules of tagging

1. Link to tagger and display these rules on your blog. (check)
2. Share 7 facts about yourself - some random, some WEIRD (see below)
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blog. (see below)
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 Random and Somewhat Weird Facts About Threadbeaur:

1. I have a strange attraction to squirrels
2. I love pasta. My favorite right now is pasta with brown butter cinnamon, garlic, and goat cheese. I could eat pasta everyday.

3. I love to take photographs. I have over 40,000 pictures stored on my computer.
4. I hate strong wind, unless I am on the sailboat.
5. I can't stand the cold, yet I live in Chicago.
6. Road trips are my favorite vacations.
7. I love to plant seeds from food I buy at the store. I have four avocado seeds in pots right now (saplings). I hope they make it through the winter.

Who should I tag? Here it goes.
My Road To Riches
Steel City Bakery
Bottle Leopard
Green Circle Studio
The Spotted Sparrow

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brownies, Cookies and Cakes, Oh My!

I won a contest the other day from Steel City Bakery blog. She has a great etsy shop, and the prize that I won was out of this world. I had two kinds of cookies, delicious brownies, mini bundt cakes, and two kinds of cupcakes! My favorite was the cookies named Down on the Bog. They were so great, with plump cranberries and white chocolate chips the combo was sinful! I ate most of those myself. I did share the cupcakes with my coworkers who had never tried red velvet cake before, and she wanted to have more!

I took pictures of the cookies before I ate them. I would recommend them to cookie lovers everywhere! Try these fantastic handmade cookies from Steel City Bakery!

Buy them for yourself or a friend that loves cookies. It will be their new favorite! They would make great holiday gifts for the office, too!

Thank you to Steel City Bakery for the great giveaway and fantastic treats!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mid Week Sale

It is Wednesday and it still feels like Monday! How about a mid week sale to get things going!

For Wednesday October 28, 2008 any shoppers at my shop can take 10% off their order.
Not only that if you buy 4 bags you will get a FREE coffee sleeve!

You can do some holiday shopping and get a little something for yourself, can't beat that!
Browse around and enjoy Threadbeaur's Mid Week Sale

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Free Wi-fi

We went to McDonalds last night we were rushed, and had to have a quick bite to eat. We were on our way to our neighbor's house to decorate halloween cupcakes. The cupcakes were so fun, and turned out amazing. We had witches, jack'o laterns, and even a RIP tombstone! When we got to her house she had all the decorating items out and ready to use. There were all shades of traditional frosting, and even piping bags with icing to make fine lines, like for my spider web. I have two codes for free wi-fi at Mcdonalds that I won from the online game. Since I can't use them I would like to give them away.

So first two people that are interested please comment on this post and let me know. Leave your email and I will send you the code!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Potato Soup

Last nights dinner experiment was a great success. I could not keep this recipe a secret... Not after the rave review. My DH said it was the best soup he had ever eaten!!!
The roasted garlic and potato soup is going to be one of our staples this winter.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it out:

Threadbeaur's Potato Soup

6 regular potatoes roughly peeled (not peeled all the way) and chopped
half an onion
6 large cloves of garlic

4 cups veggie broth (homemade)
1 tablespoon celery salt
coarse ground black pepper to taste (i used about 7 cranks on the grinder)
kosher salt to taste (I used about a tablespoon or so)
1.5 cup milk

sour cream and cheddar cheese for garnish

Wash peel and chop potato and onion. Place on baking sheet with cloves of garlic (still in skin). Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 425 for about 20-30 minutes. You want the potatoes to be brown on the edges. You have wiggle room at this point, if you don't have too much time you can take them out of the oven early at the 20 minute mark or leave them in for a bit longer. While the veggies are roasting get a large pot ready with the broth and spices in it. When the potatoes are done put them in the pot with the broth and the spices. Take the garlic out of the skins and put in the pot. Simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point you need to get the blender out to puree the mix. Make sure you get some broth with the potatoes in the blender, or it will be too sticky. Work in batches until all potatoes are smooth.
When your mixture is smooth add milk. Start with 1 cup. Stir to incorporate then if the soup is too thick add the other half cup of milk. Stir over heat until soup is hot. Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream and cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

We had this with some great polish sausage. I think that the soup would be great with bacon crumbled on top. That is what we will do next time!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Night Sale

Check out Threadbeaurs Etsy Shop tonight for a great sale!
10% off your order. Saturday October 18, 2008.
Look for holiday gifts, a gift for yourself, or eco friendly gift wrap!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Check out this blog Handmade by Angie. They have great features on etsy artists! They choose me, Threadbeaur, to be among them. Thank you to Handmade by Angie for featuring my Etsy shop on her blog! You are sure to find some great features there. Click on her blog, you might just find a great gift for this holiday season, or something special for yourself!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

We woke early this fine Monday morning. It was still dark out and the clouds were heavy. MisterMan had planned a day for us. What a wonderful day. I love surprises, but I don't. I love them because they are fun, but I had a bad case of what we call nervous tummy! I could not even eat breakfast! So we got ready, and I with my 20 questions drilled MisterMan to see if I could get any clue to what they day was going to hold. Question one. How long are we going to be in the car? Answer. More than 5 minutes.
Question two. What should I wear? Jeans, flipflops, hiking shoes? All needs clarification of course, so that I can get the most clues. Answer. You can wear what ever you like. He was not about to spill the beans. The questions continued until he called for the cease fire, I had reached the limit of answerable questions, yet I had no better idea of what we were going to do. After driving for a bit we got to Fitzjoy's Riding Stables! Yeah for horseback riding in the forest preserve! It is so fun, and I was so happy to be back there for a wonderful fall ride! We checked in and got our crazy riding helmets on, and the horses came out. They were the same two from last year. Star and Misty. We went for a quiet ride through the woods, the trees were changing colors, it was so peaceful and fun. Star, my horse, was being a rascal. He was eating everything in sight. He was not shy about showing his annoyance with me since I was instructed to pull up and not let him eat the grass. We had a blast. What a great birthday surprise.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bags of Beauty

What a feeling....I finished all 20 bags for the order. I took a few pictures because they looked so nice stacked up in a row.
I have been posting almost daily on Etsy, but the views are slow to come. I feel like the buyers are not out there shopping on the internet, or maybe not shopping at all. I wonder what the financial crisis will bring for holiday shopping. Will it be slow on etsy, or will more people turn to handmade goods? Will shoppers want to shop with the environment in mind, handmade goods in most cases have less impact on the environment when they are produced. See why handmade is better at this website!

Tell me what you think will happen this years holiday shopping season.

Friday, October 10, 2008

In the Groove

When I sit down at the sewing machine, I sometimes need a little music to keep me going. So when I need to get in the groove like I did this week, I had a 20 bag custom order to finish, I turned the computer on to Pandora. It is a great site to listen to music. You can create stations that will play music that sounds like a specific artist.
The way it type in a name of an artist you like, then it runs through the database of thousands of songs, and pulls up not only that artist you typed in but others you might like. Then if a song comes through that does not fit the bill, you can say you don't like it and they won't play it again. It is a great way to explore music, find some new favorite artists, and new songs. My sister told me about Pandora a few months ago, but I just created an account, and I can't get enough now. The music got me in the groove, and I finished that custom bag order for Threadbeaur just last night. I was very happy to get them all put together. If you need some new music, I suggest you click over to Pandora, and check them out.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Spooky Wall Art Giveaway

A fond memory for me is spooky trip to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World when I was little. The pictures on the walls with the eyes that follow you. It was scary, but for some reason I loved it (or that is the way I remember it). I was looking around today and found this great giveaway that reminded me of my favorite ride. Over at Little Ant Design, they are hosting a giveaway for some spooky art. You will have to check it out. I think these pictures would look great on my entry wall where I have a ton of antique "fake family" pictures hanging around. One of these ghoulish portraits would fit nicely among them. Check out Little Ant Design for a fun way to get into the haunting holiday spirit!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Favorite Food

I have several. Though my favorite thing for a snack after work is Nutella and pretzels. Nutella is a creamy spread of hazelnuts and chocolate. It is the most delicious treat around. The smooth texture with the crunch of a pretzel can't be beat. I was at the grocery store yesterday and Nutella was on sale for 2.99. Then I noticed a coupon for a $1.00 off! How great, I'll take two please! It is always good to have on hand, just incase you need a pick me up! If you have never tried Nutella, and you like hazelnut, and chocolate you should pick up a jar. I usually find it in the aisle with the jam. Yum.

What is your favorite snack?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Deli

A new deli opened last week in Chicago Heights, a small town just down the street from us. Bergstein's NY Delicatessen serves great sandwiches and hot dogs. We went to try it out on Saturday afternoon. We walked in and the decor was nice simple and most importantly not confusing! The walls were red, with dark tables and chairs. To order you walk to the counter where the menu is posted clearly. I had a roast beef sandwich with horseradish sauce and Mr. Threadbeaur had the Chicago hot dog. Both orders were good. The hot dog was great, piled high with tomato, onions, pickle, sport peppers, and cucumber served with coleslaw and all for $3.50! A nice find in our little town.
I hope they do well and are open for years to come.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Surprise for Me?!

When I got home from work on Friday, there was a box sitting on the trunk of my husbands car. I glanced at it, but went inside to say hello. He asked "did you see your present?" I told him I saw a box, so we went back to the garage and he opened the box, that strangley had holes in the side of it. Inside were some leaves and a praying mantis. We have not seen any here before and it is an amazing bug! I grabbed the camera. What a fun surprise! I love the way the bug can turn his neck it is the strangest thing. This brown and green bug turns to watch you.
The praying mantis is a carnivorous insect that will even eat a bird! Check out this link for some more fun facts on a unique bug.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Etsy Artist Giveaway

I came across this great blog called Oh! How Lovely. She is hosting a giveaway of art from Kerry Beary's Etsy shop. The giveaway is a easy one to enter, so for some great items go check out Oh! How Lovely. Don't miss it the contest ends Friday!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Check out Martha's Blog

Martha Stewart on blogging! Well, why not! She has a fun little contest you can check out on her page. She had some good tips on setting up a blog for those new comers to the blogging world!
Check it out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When crafts don't go as planned.

I tried a new painting craft with the little ones in my extended day program. I do arts and crafts in the afternoon with 3 year olds. I set up the table for painting. I pulled out the paints and watered them down so they could plop it on the paper and then blow it around with some straws. I thought it was a great idea, and had seen it done with much success. Somewhere along the way my project ran off the tracks. I am not sure if it was the straws that I had or if the paint was not right, but I could tell that I was losing the kids, and fast. I had planned ahead though and the paint brushes were just across the room. I had taken them out just incase the straw blowing was not their thing. Just as one of them said they were finished I held up the paint brushes, and instantly they were refocused!
Thank goodness plan B was a success! Now they will get to go home with beautiful water color pictures, instead of a blob of paint on the paper!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Buy online with In store pick up....

In hopes of speeding up the process we did just that. I picked out the Fridgeaire dehumidifier 50 pint for our basement on the Lowes website, and opted for the in store pick up. We wanted to grab a bite to eat out there and thought it would be quicker if we bought the dehumidifier online and it would be ready and waiting for us to pick it up, right? I ordered it online at 6pm, at half past 7 (a full hour and a half later) we pulled in the parking lot where it was pouring, and hubby ran inside to pick it up. After a few minutes I began to wonder what was taking so long. Where they giving him a hard time about the computer printed receipt? Was it really busy at customer service? What could possibly take that long. Well, after a half hour, I see him trudging through the parking lot with a cart and the dehumidifier on the cart. Needless to say, he was not happy with what had happened inside. Apparently, they did not have the product ready, nobody could find it and as he stood waiting at the counter the employees that were supposedly "looking" for the item, he noticed that the description and invoice were still sitting on the counter. Finally he went to find the dehumidifier himself in the aisle. They were way up on top of the shelves, so he had to go find yet another person to help him. The two guys that were getting it down, decided since they were up there to spend a few more minutes taking not just the one we had purchased, but a few more down. As if he had not waited long enough. He kept is cool though, and headed back up to customer service to let the gals behind the counter know that he had found the item and would be on his merry way. I don't think we will be using that express in store pick up again. So after that fiasco he got an extra beer at dinner!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My new Favorite Italian Restaurant

Last night we braved the flooding and drove a few towns over to Orland Park for dinner. I had the task of choosing the dinner spot for us and another couple so I picked italian food, it happens to be my favorite! By chance, I found a small restaurant called Palermo's, and I am so happy that we tried it.
It was no too crowded, but I think that had to do with the weather. We walked in at 8pm and greeted by a friendly host, who showed us to our table. He took us to a table in the middle of the room, which at first I was a little unhappy with, but turned out to be just fine. I don't enjoy sitting in the center of the room, I much prefer a booth in the corner. The restaurant was small, and cozy. The ceilings were high, and the decor was fitting for italian dining.
Our waitress could not have been better, she was new, and fun. When we asked a question she did not know, she went and got the answer! Wow, that does not happen much anymore, and she did it with a smile! Once the four of us were settled in at the table we ordered some calamari, and drinks. The menu had many items to choose from. It ranged from pasta dishes, to meat, and seafood, with a section for what you might think of as your italian favorites. The menu also had a nice feature that helped you pair a wine with your dinner selection. The entrees had a number next to it that corresponded with each wine on the wine list, very helpful!
Then the food...I had the pasta carbonara, and I was not disappointed. This dish had ham, peas and an incredible creamy sauce. I did not want to stop eating it, but I did have a little left over, I can't wait for lunch today! I would have to say that it was the best italian dish I have had since my favorite italian place went out of business a year ago! My other half had a great dish too a wide noodle with crumbled italian sausage in a creamy pesto. He said it was the best dish he had ever had! That is a high praise to Palermo's. We will be going back there again and again. I highly recommend it as a great italian restaurant.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

It rained and it rained last night. It is still raining this morning. I usually love the rain, but the creek in the back yard is full and the water is only about a foot from the back deck! It is getting close. Our lovely picnic table is nearly floating away, as the water creeps up past the seats toward the tabletop. If you look closely at the photo you can see the picnic table in the water. We usually get one good rain a year when the creek comes up to the deck, so I am not alarmed by that so much, as the fact that the forecast is calling for more rain for the next two days! I will take advantage of this rainy day to get some bags made for my Etsy shop and the large custom order that I have. I need to really get busy and bolster my inventory with the holidays approaching. I hope to have a busy holiday season selling my eco-friendly bags. I have some great new fabric combos that I will be working on in the coming days. Off to the sewing room!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ni Hao

In preparation for the winter months ahead we have decided to take on learning Chinese this winter. We need a good activtiy for the cold dreary winter months ahead. I decided to invest in the Rosetta Stone to learn Chinese. I did the first lesson the other day and it was the greatest thing ever. The way that they present the language is fantastic and simple. The photo recognition is an easy way to identify the words and phrases. With Rosetta Stone you start speaking during the first chapter. As you practice speaking the program lets you know when you are saying the words correctly. When I completed the first lesson, I knew more words in Chinese than I thought I would. I knew things and I did not know how I knew them, that is the only way to explain the sensation I felt. My brain was working, on fire, and excited about my new project. I can't wait to work on the next few chapters! I would recommend Rosetta Stone to learn Chinese. I am sure that it works great for any language, but the Chinese is so fun.

zài jiàn

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Snappy Hair Clips

I spent a while looking for snap hair clips on Etsy the other day. I got my hair chopped off, and I needed a little clip to keep the short hair back while I am at work. There is such a variety available from those with squirrels to those with a beautiful design. It was hard for me to pick which ones I wanted. I stumbled across the shop cutecumber, where I found a wide selection of hair clips. She has so many clips that I want, but I choose these.
They came in a cute little package, and the shipping was so fast! The clips are perfect, even better than in the pictures, I will be back to get some more from Cutecumber. Her selection is out of this world. One of my favorites from her shop is the brown owl clip, that owl is too cute. The clips are a great size perfect for little girls and adults too. The pricing is right and the clips make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. A unique way to incorporate a clip into the gift would be to use it as the card holder on a package. That way the gift wrap becomes part of the present!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Airboat anyone?

They may be loud, and a little unsightly, but they are a load of fun. If you ever get a chance to take a ride on an it. Mims is a little town near Titusville on the east coast of Florida, that is where my sister found this great airboat ride at Loughmans Lake Lodge. When we got there we booked our ride, and went down to the loading zone, and hopped on the airboat. Just as we put on our big headphones, which are necessary to muffle the sound of the boat, the boat captain fired up the engine and off we went. It moved with ease over the grasses on the edge of the lake. We were skimming over waters in the St. John River for almost 2 hours. When it was over we wanted to go again. Despite the noise we were able to glide close enough to the alligators for a good look, and we also saw all sorts of birds. The weather was perfect no clouds, and temperature was about 80 degrees. With the wind from the boat it was almost chilly!The tour guide was wonderful as well, he knew his way around, and where the alligators would be. It is fun for kids and adults, so give it a try next time you are in Florida, it is a wonderful nature show you will not soon forget!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wine Addict

I just found this great up and coming blog about wine. I am looking forward to following the reviews, and must haves in the wine community. The catchy Grape In A Bottle, promises to have reviews of the wine they drink, not fancy smanchy wine that no one can afford. So far they are spot on with their review of four Emus, a bottle that I have had more than once, it will be interesting to see what is up and coming. Another entry over there is about recycled bottles, you will have to check it out! Very cool, though.
I am going to have this link on my side bar so that I will be able to follow it daily!
Good Luck new blogger!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Dinner

While most people associate Labor Day with grilling outside on the grill, my husband requested meatloaf for dinner tonight.
So for a twist on the original meatloaf, of which I am not a fan, I made this tasty dish.
Meatloaf Muffins with Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 2/3 to 1 3/4 pounds ground sirloin
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper
1 large egg plus a splash of milk, beaten
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 cup smoky barbecue sauce
1/2 cup tomato salsa
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Put ground beef into a big bowl. Put onion and celery into a food processor. Cut the bell pepper in half, rip out the seeds and throw them into your garbage bowl. Cut the pepper into a few pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse the processor blades to finely chop the vegetables into very small pieces then add them to the meat bowl. Add egg, beaten with milk, bread crumbs and grill seasoning to the bowl. Next, mix together the smoky barbecue sauce, the salsa and the Worcestershire sauce. Pour half the sauce mixture into the bowl with the meatloaf mix. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands. Wash up. Brush a 12-muffin tin (1/2-cup each) with vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Use an ice cream scoop to help you fill meat into a each tin. Top each meat loaf with a spoonful of extra sauce. Bake about 20 minutes. Cut open 1 muffin to test that the middle is cooked through.

The meatloaf muffins are fun to make and I love the little muffins... they make perfect servings! The BBQ sauce lends great flavor to the meat. I served the meatloaf muffins with crispy red potatoes and sauteed green beans. We had a great dinner sitting on the screened porch watching the black capped chickadee eat from the feeder. Doesn't get much better than that! I hope everyone was able to enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quilt... for the Birds

The time that I spend with the sewing machine is usually dedicated to the production of bags for Threadbeaur, however, I was in the mood for a new quilt. I looked on the shelf to see if one of my quilting books would lend me a little inspiration. Usually I will pick out the fabric then the pattern, this time I only had one fabric that I wanted to use. I picked up a book that I got for Christmas called Making Antique Quilts by Rita Weiss. The book has great pictures, and easy to follow instructions. I rarely use a pattern, so it is very important that they are easy to follow. I found a quilt called King David's Crown, and it was perfect for me. The title of my quilt will be Quilt...For the Birds. I took my fabric which happened to be Alexander Henrys Bird seed in yellow, and matched it up to all the fabric in my stash. I would post a picture of my stash, but it is a little messy at the moment. I will reorganize it and post pictures later. I had a ton of fabric to choose from and this is what I came up with.

I like to make a tester block, and this one came out great. I will finish this into a 3x4 throw blanket. Off to cut more pieces!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer is Over

Summer break is officially over. It was back to work this week at the Montessori school. The kids are all excited and having fun getting back into the routine. Summer is our shortest season, and I know that it is nearing the end. It is the small things that add up to the advances of fall. First, where did the sun go. Just a few weeks ago we played tennis well after 8 pm. Now our games are cut short by 7 pm. This afternoon as I drove home from work I noticed the trees. They are starting to change. It is gradual, but I noticed. The bright yellow leaves of fall are on there way, in just a few short weeks we will be in the peak of our fall color. I would say that autumn is my favorite season, but I dread the inevitable dreary winter. I am going to enjoy this weekend and the weather it brings. The skies are going to be blue and clear, and the air will be warm. This is summers one last Hoorah! I hope everyone has a great, safe long weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Arte Y Pico

Many thanks to Mary over at Now Entering Momville. She has given me a great award. There are so many blogs to choose from and I am happy that she picked mine! So thank you Mary. Now I get to share some blogs that over the last year have really captured my attention!

This award recognizes a blog’s creativity and overall contribution to the blogger community. Once you’ve been selected, please follow these guidelines and pay it forward:

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog by so everyone can view it.
3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the “Arte y pico“blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) Please post these rules.

I pass this award on to more deserving blogs. Drum Roll Please!!!

1). Misosouper- She not only knows how to shop, but she knows where to shop! Thanks for keeping us ALL in the know!

2) Grapeinabottle-Who doesn't love grapes in a bottle! Yum.

3)Irene Design- always fun to read and great web design

4) Try Handmade I like this blog because she is an advocate for all things handmade. Great blog.

5) Eco Blog-This blog always has something great about the environment! Thanks for trying to get everyone to go green.

The original website where the award started is Arte Y Pico

Hair Hair Everywhere

It is that time of year, Nilla the giant yellow lab is shedding up a storm. If you have a lab you know what I am talking about. Here in the cold climate she is fine in the winter with a little hair here and there, but come summer it is hair everywhere. I am talking about tumbleweeds of hair in the corner, that blow around when the doors are open for a breeze.
I found a great contest on What's that smell?. They are giving away the FURminator, and I need one. I had never seen anything like it before, and her before and after pictures are great. If you have a dog, cat or other shedding animal, I would check out the contest on What's that Smell?, you don't want to miss out on that great shedding tool!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Get a little splash of color for your walls!

Your walls will thank you if you win this great contest sponsored by GreenYourDecor. They are giving away two wall panels from SusyJack on their blog. Each of the panels are 10x10 and with two of them image the statement you can create on your blank wall! I know excatly where they would go if I win them!
Good Luck to all, check out to enter!

Under the Big Top

I am not talking about any old circus, this is the Cirque Du Soleil, and it was amazing. For the last few years, my husband and I gave up going to the movie theatre, in part so we could save the money, and part so we go to the real theatre. Cirque Du Soleil was traveling through Chicago this summer, and we wanted to go. Kooza was the show that was here this year. Finally with only 3 shows left I decided we were going to go. I checked my email, and there was a notice from the Cirque Club that the tickets were 50% off! Wow! I went to their site and picked the best tickets I could find, on an aisle. Once we were there and in our seats we remembered how fun the shows are. The actors started milling around in the audience picking people to bring to the stage.
Then the lights dimmed and we were in for the show of a lifetime. The thing about Cirque Du Soleil is that everything down to the details of the set are timed so you don't even notice the technical moves. You are distracted to another part of the stage as they set up the next apparatus. The artists are amazing during ever element that they perform, and the stunts are breath taking! If you ever have the chance it is well worth skipping a years worth of movies to enjoy a 2 hour spectacle under the blue and yellow big top!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Waterless Car Wash

What a prize I won the other day from Recycle your Day. She had contest to win EcoTouch Waterless Car Wash. This was perfect for me, since we are trying to be more earth friendly on a daily basis. When I got two boxes in the mail on Friday I was so excited, I ripped them open to my surprise found 4 bottles and two towels! It was incredible. EcoTouch had sent one bottle of each of the following: waterless car wash, dash and trim, carpet and upholstery, and chrome detail. On Saturday morning I moved my car from the garage to a shady spot in the drive. I could have just done it in the garage, but it was really nice out. Just as the directions stated, I sprayed the area on the car, and the towel and got to polishing! After a few minutes when the haze appears you buff it with the other towel and the car just glows! You do have to use a little elbow grease to clean up the car, but I just considered it a little extra exercise for the day. The ease of use of this waterless car wash is amazing, I would recommend this to anyone who would like to save a little water, but keep their car clean. You don't have to worry about set up or a messy clean up when you are finished. You just wash the towel in the next load of laundry, and put the bottle away! Thank you to Recycle your Day for hosting a great contest with a great prize!


You can read her full interview about the product on Recycle your Day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vintage Fabric Find

Another great place in Mt. Dora is the Village Antiques Mall. They have a ton of vendors in the mall that have a wide variety of items. My mom has a shop in there and she is constantly buying and rearranging her corner of the shop. They were voted the best antique mall in the Orlando area two years in a row! During this last visit, I wandered the mall while she put the finishing touches on her latest finds, and I found something wonderful! A bolt of vintage fabric! It was 14 yards of this great pattern.
I was so excited about the fabric, and it turned out that my mom knew the vendor who was selling the fabric. With Tropical Storm Fay approaching we had little time to negotiate a price, so when they called back we quickly went back to the shop to pick up the material! Then the chore was to fit all that fabric in my small carryon suitcase! I did it though, and now I will list a few yards of my vintage fabric on etsy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Take Me Home

Over the weekend, I travelled to Mt. Dora, FL, my hometown. Most things in this quiet little town never change. I think people like it that way, I do. Each time I visit I am reminded of the joys of small town living. They now have more and more big box type stores, and chain resturants, but you can search out the local goods. I went downtown to see what was new, and found a cute shop called The Painter's Daughter, they had a wonderful selection of items from antiques furniture to bamboo clothing. I picked up a few bamboo tee's for the up coming school year. They were so soft, and made in the USA, what could be better than that! We walked to a few more stores, then went for ice cream at La Cremerie (I used to work there in high school), the cool treat was nice in the hot, humid Florida afternoon. No trip to Mt. Dora is complete until you visit Renningers Flea Market. It happened to be the monthly antique fair, so we had a blast poking around in all the old stuff. So if you are ever down in Florida, I would suggest a trip to Mt. Dora, it is a wonderful little town with lots to see!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I recently found the Etsy shop TanyBug, she was having a photo contest a few months back. I found out that she is holding another giveaway. I am so excited about her camera straps that I had to dedicate a post to her contest. I have been looking for a handmade camera strap to sport around when I am in lugging around my Sony A100! Her handmade straps look like they would be oh so comfortable, especially compared to the one that came with my Sony A100 D-SLR. If you are a shutterbug, pro or hobbiest go check out the giveaway on TanyBug's Blog. Of course there is a deadline to enter, so scurry over to her blog before August 23rd!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blueberries disguised in Chocolate Brownies

Not that you would need to disguise the delicious summer blueberries from Michigan, but what a combo, blueberries and chocolate. I made a 9x13 pan of these amazing brownies that I found here. The recipe said that it was vegan, which is all well and good, but I did not have any soy milk, or intend on buying it just for the recipe. I substituted regular whole milk. The pan of blueberry chocolate brownies may be the best brownie I have ever eaten, and frankly, I could not stop eating them. I had some before dinner, after dinner, after we went to dessert at a friends house where we had a mango tart, and some just before bed with a glass of whole milk! Needless to say the pan is almost empty now!
I just was in the mood for some blueberries, but I also wanted chocolate, so I searched google, of course, and now I have my new favorite brownie. I don't think I will ever make them any other way. For the original recipe you can click here .
This is how I made them, less vegan, sorry!
Blueberry and Chocolate Brownies

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips I added a few extra for fun!
10 ounces blueberry preserves (spreadable fruit, smooth, no whole blueberries)
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
21/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Before starting Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and grease the 9x13 pan.

In a small bowl melt 2/3 cup chocolate chips in microwave in short intervals to avoid burning.
In a large mixing bowl combine bluberry spreadable fruit, milk, sugar, canola oil and vanilla. Mix this until smooth. I stirred it by hand, to preserve the quite in the house.
Sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir this batter until it too is smooth. It is okay to taste it, no eggs! Don't fill up because next you add the melted chocolate, and then the batter really gets good.

Once you are satisfied that the batter is stirred add in remaining 1/2 cup of whole chocolate chips (plus a few extra) and fresh blueberries.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 40 minutes. Though it is tempting to try the brownies just out of the oven I suggest you let them cool. I burnt my tongue, but oh was it delicious.
Share if you want, but they are so good you might just want to keep them all for yourself!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Seeking Green...Look no further

I recently found Ecovian. They have a fabulous website that provides a listing of services, shops, and resturants that have green practices. I love this idea of being able to search by city on ecovian. There are so many listing categories to choose from from spas to grocery stores and everything in between. Each category has its own standard of green, and on the website you can get the details for each heading. Last night I was scouting out clothing stores in Chicago that are green on Ecovian.

When you search as I did for a clothing shop, the list shows up on the left hand side of all the shops that are considered green. How would you consider a shop green, well, as they say on the website, the stores are rated on how much of their stock is produced in sweatshop free conditions, and how much of the stock is organic/natural. I love this since I am always looking for sweatshop free items, this will be helpful for me! Each listing has a green meter, little green trees. Those trees give you a quick indication how green the stores merchanidise is. With one green tree being the least green (but still green enough to be listed) and 5 green trees being the best.

The best feature on Ecovian is when you click on the store to get the details they provide you with a map, the store hours, and phone number along with the stats regarding the green factor. The store I was looking up had 3 stars for nautral/oraganic clothing and 5 stars, yes 5 stars, for sweatshop free clothing! Time to go shopping! Ecovian has earned a spot in my bookmarks, so that I can scour the pages before each shopping trip!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend Project

We have been living with our front porch as it was when we bought our house back in 2004. We never really liked the look of the banister that welcomed us home each day for over three years! One day a few weeks back I decided it was time for it to go! With not much of a plan for what we would replace it with we took down the banister. We hauled all the pieces to the side of the house, just incase we wanted to reuse them to make something new. Then we started planning for the new and improved front porch. In the meantime everytime I returned to the house, I was greeted not with a banister that was not so pretty, but greeted with the porch and the true charm of our house. After a week or so of planning, we came up with the idea of handmade planters and new steps to the deck. Once we had our parts list we headed to Menard's for some lumber.

We reused all the deck screws that we could when replacing the treads for the steps and the one board that we had to replace on the deck. When we were all finished we had two new planters, two new stairs, and a new ottoman made from the recycled decking and banister! What a fabulous front porch we now have!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Green and Clean

That is what the contest over on 1GreenProduct is all about. They are giving away a Eureka envirovac™. This looks like a fantastic product, and who won't be a little more green while you clean. The small motor means a less energy used during your everyday cleaning, that can really add up. The company also has the packaging down to a science, less wasted material and it is 100% recycled and unbleached cardboard! Kudos Eureka!, and thanks to 1GreenProduct for this great giveaway!

Don't forget to head over to grocerymama too for another giveaway!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thrift Store Finds

More often than not I can find something at the thrift store. Most of the time it is material, like drapery, tablecloths, sheets, that get repurposed into Threadbeaur shopping bags. My latest find though is not fabric at all, it is a fabulous little cabinet, that can be used to store things, like fabric of course! This cabinet has a hutch too, but I have not finished waxing it, and I could not lift it to its proper position by myself. I really like the simplicity of the piece, and those little porcelain drawer pulls are my favorite! I cleaned and waxed it, but it did not need much more work than that! I can't wait to take it upstairs to the craft room. I think it was a great find for $28!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back in Business!

The power just came back on! I am so glad too, the dog hair was starting to take over. I have already had the plumber come out, I have vacuumed and done all the dishes!
The next order of business is to get up to the sewing machine and start cranking out some new bags!
Check out this awesome giveaway on Grocerymama, maybe you could win a Threadbeaur original! Threadbeaur, thats me, is giving away a free bag of your choice! So go check out GroceryMama for all the details! Who knows maybe you will be sporting a fun reusable bag from Threadbeaur on your next shopping trip!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Without it no internet. I have been without power since the big storm here on Monday. Thankfully, there was not any damage to our house or family. I don't mind so much not having any lights, or even air conditioning (at 80% humidity and 90 degrees). It is the internet that I miss. ComEd says they can't tell me what the estimate on restoration is, but it may take days. Thank goodness for Panera and their free WiFi and the great broccoli cheddar soup!
Here I sit at Panera checking all my mail, etsy convos and the weather. I guess I am power dependent after all! It has halted Threadbeaur's production line! I will have to work double time when the power comes back to my neck of the woods!
Until the power is restored I fear that I will not be on the internet much. I will get back to my schedule as soon as the internet permits.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Made in the USA

Time for a new pair of tennis shoes for hubby! First things first, we are not buying anything made in China. It can't be that hard to find a shoe made in the USA, right? I decided to do a little research BEFORE going out shopping. I am glad I did. There are not too many shoes that are made here on American soil, but I did find that some of New Balance shoes are made here. Their website says that if 70% of the materials come from the USA and it was assembled here then the will place that tag on the shoe that says "made in the USA". Good for them I say! I will buy your product with that tag! Off to the Sports Authority we went in search of the elusive american made shoe. Wandering the aisles we checked other shoes, just for fun, and to our disappointment, there were aisles and aisle of MADE IN CHINA shoes, and other products. It is scary to think how much money is being sent there instead of used for American wages. We found the New Balance shoes and much to my surprise they said made in China... yuck! So we looked around and finally we found a few pairs that were tagged with USA, so we started searching for the correct size, and after an hour, we had hubby's new shoes made in the USA! Thanks team 724, we salute you!

We are on a mission to not buy from China, and spend our dollars on products made in America! It is not easy, and sometimes we don't buy things we want now, but I think it is worth it, and it makes me feel good!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Camping at Kickapoo State Park

Kickapoo State park is near Danville, IL. We packed up the car and the dog, and headed out on Friday night around 6:30. With a two and a half hour drive, we could just hope that there were still spaces available to set up camp. I had already acknowledged that it was going to be dark when we arrived. Once there, we took the first spot we saw, since there were other people coming in late too! The tent went up with out a hitch, as the dog sat patiently in the bag of the car. The night was uneventful, and warm. In the morning we reserved a canoe at Kickapoo landing for an 8 mile paddle down the Vermillion River. They shuttled us up river in a hot, sticky bus. Needless to say, the dog was unhappy smashed between a ton of other people and a Dalmatian named Dallas.
Once we got on the water everything started to work itself out, the dog settled in to the bow of the canoe, and I sat just behind her, and captain of the canoe, DH, sat in the back! The dog had a blast running in and out of the water, when we stopped for breaks. The sun beat down with no clouds, it was a wonderful day. After 4 hours of canoeing we were both tired, and we headed back to camp for some relaxation. We sat around and people watched until it was time to make dinner. We started up the firepit, and grilled some food. We had to make my campfire favorite... S'mores.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sunny Side of the Street

A few years back my husband and I splurged on a purchase of sunglasses. Mine are my prize possession, and I don't go anywhere without them. My husband has a pair of Kaanapali Maui Jim's that are the best sunglasses in the world. They are so lightweight that you often forget that you are wearing them. They provide a wonderful polarization that is a must have for a sunny day. No more squinting. Aside from being the best sunglasses ever, Maui Jim has the best customer service around. One sad day DH's glasses started to crack near the bridge. Over time, it continued to crack until it was unsafe to wear them without damaging them beyond repair. I looked at the Maui Jim webpage and their repair request. In short it said for $60 you can get the lenses replaced. Since DH loves his Kaanapali's, I packed them up ever so carefully, and took them to the post office. I shipped them down to Peoria, IL to the Maui Jim repair center, with a note about how they were broken, and we were sad. After a long sunny week driving to and from work, DH asked if his glasses had returned. So I shot off a quick email to the Maui Jim repair line at 5pm no less, and within a few moments, I had a reply! Can you believe it? Casey said, here is the tracking number we sent them on the 29th! I can not believe how fast and efficiently their system works! Thank you Maui Jim for the great customer service and the fast turn around on the repairs! We will be forever loyal to you!

The sunglasses were in the mailbox!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family Ties

It is summer break for me and I have a project. We went on a family vacation with my parents. It was a blast we went sailing, and everyone had their digital cameras. We would sail all day then in the afternoon we would meet up with my brother and his family and have dinner. The cameras were clicking non stop. The landscape was amazing (I posted a picture back in June). Now that everyone is back to their routines and the sunburns have faded it is time to organize the photographs. Since I am the one on summer break and a macbook with imovie on it everyone has sent me the digital photos to compile. This year I will be making a DVD movie from our video and pictures. Even though Macintosh has made its programs easy to use, the sheer number of photos that I have to go through is unimaginable. There are well over 1300 photos for the 8 day vacation, and I have to edit, sensor, and put the photos into the imovie timeline. The program imovie really is simple to use, it incorporates the photos from iphoto and the music from itunes. Click and drag these digital items to the timeline and add transitions. That sure sounds easy! The project is fun because I get to refresh my memory about the vacation, but it is time consuming. I estimate that it will take about a month to perfect the movie. I hope to finish it before going to visit my parents in Florida so that we can all watch it together!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Tunes

I got a nice surprise in the mail yesterday. The UPS man rang the door bell, and the dog went crazy. I love getting mail, so I ran to the door to say hello! I took the package and ripped it open. Inside was a tiny box with the picture of the ipod touch! My husband had ordered me a new ipod touch. The ultra thin ipod is so cool, only 8mm thick. I spent the day checking out all the features including the internet. I love the way Macintosh is so simple to use, I was able to just plug this in to the imac, and the computer instantly recognized it and opened itunes for me. I picked some of my favorite songs, and a few pictures of the pup! One of my favorite features is when you turn the ipod the screen shifts from portrait to landscape, it is great for surfing the internet and showing off my photographs. I went out to run some errands in the afternoon, and took the ipod touch with me. I had to look up an address while I was out, so I stopped by Panera where they have free wi-fi, and connected to the internet. I was able to retrieve the address, saving myself a trip home before mailing the package! How cool is that, my ipod touch helped me save gas! I am so excited about this new toy.

Some Times you Lose

In our effort to go green, we stopped buying the travel insulated cups that my husband used for coffee. They were very convenient but they were disposable and they are probably clogging the landfills as I write this. He did try to wash them and use them at least for a few days to cut down, but he decided it was time to stop buying them. When his last one was gone, that was it! Since that time about 3 months ago, he has been using a small glass mug with a metal handle we have a set of four. It is the only one of our mugs that fits in his cup holder, and he did not want to go buy a travel mug (most of the ones we found were made in China). This morning I got up to make his coffee and send him off to work, and everything went just as expected. I had just booted the laptop to check my Etsy page when I got a phone call.
It was him and he said in a sad voice "could you make me another cup of coffee?". Apparently, he had left the glass cup on top of the car as he drove away. He made it almost a half mile before the mug and its contents came crashing from the roof.
Sometimes you lose! I made more coffee and put it in another little glass mug and off he went again, this time he got to drink his coffee. As for the mugs, now there are three!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Give a Hoot!

This is one of the best contests I have seen! There are many reasons you should check out Treasures Under the Willow Tree.
First, this is handmade!
Second, she has an etsy shop!
Third, this owl is so cute!

Go check out TREASURES UNDER THE WILLOW TREE, and maybe you will win this fabulous set!

All ground up

Now with the new earth friendly filter for the Senseo, I have found myself wondering what I can do with the coffee grounds.
So I searched around on the good old internet. I came across thousands of things I could do. There was a recipe for reducing cellulite with your used coffee grounds (written by DIY Maven), or using them to wash the dog (supposedly the smell is offensive to fleas). From beauty tips to the garden there are many ways to reuse your brewed coffee grounds.

On they have a statistic that is amazing. They say that 40 percent of the trash by weight at Starbucks is the ground coffee. Can you believe that 40% of there trash is an organic matter that could be used for fertilizer. Some Starbucks offer there "fertilizer in the rough" to gardeners that want to green up there lawns, or stimulate the earth worms, so if you are interested talk to your local barista!

I will test the fertilizer for the lawn theory. I am saving the grounds every morning in a can. When I get enough of the grounds I will pick a patch of grass to test. The nitrogen in the grounds should act as a greening agent for the grass. Of course don't cover the grass completely, it still needs the sun. I will sprinkle the grounds when the weatherman calls for rain, and we will see what happens!

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Green

Turning to the kitchen, and my husbands coffee addiction, we decided to ditch the Senseo's coffee pods. He uses the Senseo every morning to get that caffine jolt, and the pods that the machine use were paper, and they are packaged 16 pods to a plastic bag. In our effort to reduce the plastic that we use we stopped buying the pods and purchased the Duck filter for the Senseo machine. This filter is great even though it was wrapped in plastic when it came. It works like a charm. Now instead of the plastic wrapper for the 16 (which equals 8 cups of coffee for him) pods, he can buy fair trade coffee in a larger bag. That translates to more cups of coffee per bag! Less plastic is great! To use the filter all you do is scope a bit of coffee place it in the duck, tap it down, put the lid on and set it into the Senseo machine as you would the original hardware. Press the button and you have your frothy coffee that you have come to love from your Senseo machine, with less guilt about the waste. It is just one more easy way to go green.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

After a Year...

Tomorrow marks the one year point of Threadbeaur on Etsy! I can't believe how the time has flown. One year ago, I found Etsy, at first I was just a buyer, spending time browsing the shops. After several months of browsing, one day, my husband said "why don't you just post a bag and see what happens". So I did, and well, it sold! I remember that feeling, it was the best, my first sale. Then a few moments after it sold, I thought, what if she gets it and doesn't like it... then I was nervous. Several days later the package arrived at my first customers house, and she left feedback on Etsy. I was again excited because she loved it, and I officially had positive feedback on my account!

With my first year coming to an end, I celebrate!
I want you all to celebrate with me, so I am running a promo for this one year celebration. Purchase from my ETSY site and receive a free coffee sleeve with every purchase. This promo will run through midnight on Friday July 25th. To receive the free coffee sleeve just type "Etsy year" in the message to the seller, and I will pick one of my fun coffee sleeves and send it along with your new bag!

To all my fellow etsy sellers... Here's to you and another year to come!

I accept paypal, and RME!
Remember to type Etsy year to get the free coffee sleeve!

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

Yes, it rained...hard, and for about 2 and a half of of the 5 hours that I sat out at the farmers market. It was sad really. I got there to set up just as the rain started, at 7:30am. Both of my signs were painted by me, and I thought they turned out well. The sign in the back is made from a discarded portion of fencing, and the shopping bag sign is made from an old piece of canvas. Durning the worst part of the rain, the water was collecting on the top of my tent. I used my lint roller to reach it and push it out. Then it would cascade down and drench my feet. Good thing I was wearing my Keen flip flops. My trusty tent kept me mostly dry. There were no shoppers brave enough to face the downpour, but after 10:30 or so there was signs of life. This experience despite the rain was much better than my first visit to the farmers market. I was pretty happy with the way the tent was set up. I will be going back on August 2nd to try again, hopefully with better weather!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hip to Be Square

It is finally done. I had to go to the car dealer to get the car fixed yesterday, and I toted this along, and finished sewing on the binding. I was there for almost 3 hours, so I was very happy to have this to work on. Just as the guy came to tell me that the car was done, I just pulled the last basting stitch from the quilt! Perfect timing, I guess. It looks great on my big comfy chair in the living room! I can't wait until it is cool enough to use a blanket again!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Revolution Money Exchange (RME)

Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange
I think that this service is great! It is like paypal, only they don't charge you fees for every transaction! You may think, oh I don't want to give all that info to them. Well, they are a bank, and it is all legit. I have not had any problems with m account. I got around the linking the account to my checking account, by having it linked to an online savings account at ING Direct, that way my ETSY money is earning interest. I think that RME is great and I am so glad that I signed up for it. If you are interested click on the link for a referral code I will get a $10 referral bonus!