Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Presents for the season

Oh the joys of Christmas! We had a great time celebrating down with all our family in Central Florida. Though Lincoln is a little small to open presents, there were enough to last him the entire year. He got to "open" his JellyCat animals and snuggle up with the soft plush toys. Those toys are so soft and cute, I would like the entire collection! My present was just as soft. I got a barefoot dreams throw, and bathrobe. The luxurious soft fabric can take you away even in the most hectic moments.
One thing I will get after the holiday season is the Appaman Vintage football tee with the crazy monkey on the front. It is too cute, and a must have in any little boys wardrobe!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Internet For All

Internet services can be elusive for those that can't afford to have a cable modem, and router, and the funds for the cable. There are other options though. You can still get reliable cheap dial up service. Dial up service is better than no service, and when you can get it for under $10 a month it is a real deal. With dial up, as you may know, you use your phone line, which is good if you live out in the country where you can't get cable Internet service. If you want a little faster Internet you can also get other packages from high speed dial up to DSL. I like the fast speeds of DSL so that package is more my speed, still it is inexpensive when compared to cable Internet! With the big companies that push all sorts of services on you, this company gives you the freedom to just have the Internet service. No more salesman trying to make you upgrade your cable package with your Internet service. Best of all this Internet provider is American owned and have great customer service where you can easily talk to a REAL person! What a bonus. They have great business ethics and privacy policies. No hassle trial, they offer 30 day money back if you are not happy with the service. If you are without Internet you should look into this American company that can help you with all you Internet needs!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Real Football

With a more than a few hours to kill during the day, I have to find something to fill the time. Normally, almost as a rule, we never watch sports matches at our house. The one exception being real football. Not the kind with the funky oblong ball, but the one where you use your feet to move the ball around the field. Yes, some of you know the sport as soccer, but it is football to me. I am looking forward to watching the English Premiership match between West Ham United and Chelsea. If I have to leave the tellie to run an errand I always have the website to get livescores of the game. Today I am not rooting for anyone in particular, just ready for a good game. If you don't have time to watch the game, you can always get the livescore, or results from

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Photography Web Hosting

I am currently taking some photography classes, in hopes of composing better photos. I have always enjoyed photography, and now with a correspondence class, I will learn the art of composure. Once that is done, though I need to get my photography page up and running. Since I am in the Destin area of Florida, there are great opportunities to make great photos. But how do I share them with the world. Photos are big files and so I figure that I need to get a dedicated page to storing them, and have to find the perfect website hosting company. If any of you photographers have any insight on web hosting I would love to know.
I have found many people say they like certain features of the web hoster, and then others they really just don't like. I will be doing my research on web hosting site so that I can find one that has the most features that help you so that you don't get locked into a contract that is just not right. There are so many options out there, research is the key to success.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Right on Time

Our new addition to the family came right on time. December 9th, 2009!
Check out my new blog for the little guy Thinkin' about Lincoln.
There will be many pictures to come, so I decided that a seperate blog would be most appropriate.

Enjoy! Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, December 7, 2009

One Tablespoon!

That is all it takes to get the clothes clean. I tried a small bag of Charlie's Soap a few months back and was so impressed with it's cleaning power that I bought the 5 gallon bucket of powdered soap. It is a great product and was able to rejuvenate some of our old linens! What a bonus. The large container of Charlie's soap is sitting on the floor next to my washer. It comes with a little green scoop that you would think you need to shovel in the powder, but just one tablespoon will due!
This bucket will do 1280 loads of laundry! I won't have to reorder that anytime soon. The soap is earth friendly, made in the USA and the fact that I can buy it in bulk and have it delivered once every 3 years saves on gas too! After a few washes my clothes come out smelling clean (not perfume-y) and soft, no need for fabric softener. The per load math breaks down to about 12 cents a load! I could not resist! I am so happy with it I want everyone to use it! You can buy it on Amazon too! If you are looking for new laundry detergent I highly recommend the Charlie's Soap it is fantastic.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Increasing Sales

Sometimes it can be a mystery why your sales are slumping. It is the holiday shopping season afterall, people should be flocking to my shop, what gives? Maybe you know exactly why your business is not growing, however, I think that is the minority. In any case it is always helpful to have someone from the outside look in on your business to fine tune what you have undoubtly spent many hours nurturing. If you are turning to the professionals look no further than Bert Martinez he can help you target your ideal clients, and get your shoppers turning into buyers. He has been tagged an "emotional engineer", and with his credentials I am sure that he can get your business going. For many small businesses this might not be feasible to hire someone to work out the kinks, but his blog is full of great ideas about improving sales, and the basics of business. As in any business, knowledge is powerful, find it where ever you can!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The shop-aholic

For those of you who don't feel that gift cards have what it takes to be the ultimate gift, there is another online tool that you can use to get your shopping done locally. Don't forget about you can find great places for gifts. Have an idea? You can plug key words in to the local search bar and it will come up with local places to shop. By using some online tools when making your shopping rounds, you can save time, and energy which are usually in short supply this time of year. When you need a break from shopping you can also find local restaurants. It is your source for the local yellowpages!

In the Spirit of the Holidays

Gift giving can be stressful if you have hard to buy for people on your list. First you have to come up with something, then buy then package then ship it to them. This year I am headed via my couch of course to the I found great cards tehre including some for those of my friends that love the outdoors. The Bass Pro Gift Card is not just for those who love fishing, it is for anyone who likes doing outdoor activities. The gift cards are easy to buy and easier to package and ship! That takes all the stress out of shopping! Bass Pro Gift cards can also be personalized at You can find the best picture of your mate climbing to the summit and put that right on the card to make the gift that much more special! There are many reasons to get gift cards this year, and for me it is so that I can get more sleep!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Airport Express

Last night we picked up some Bose Companion 2 speakers to hook up to our airport express. It is a great way to get some house sound. It is getting high tech around here. Now that the speakers are hooked up I can use my iphone as a remote control (via the remote app) to skip the songs in my itunes library that I don't want to hear today. The volume can also be controlled by my iphone. It is amazing what these little devices can do. With the airport express I can also take advantage of itunes radio, which has been playing all day today. It is amazing that a little music can get you motivated to do the laundry.

Never Too Safe

I remember years ago when we hardly even locked the doors to our houses and cars. Now though it is a habit to lock the door behind you whether you are coming or going. If a locked door is not enough for you to feel safe perhaps an ADT security system is something that might make you feel better. Of course there is a monthly fee for this service, but the peace of mind that it provides is well worth the dollars a day that it would cost to have one installed.
There are so many Home Security Systems to choose from that the task of finding one that fits your lifestyle can feel challenging. I was recently shopping around on the Internet and found that ADT provides services in many states, if you are interested in them you can click to see if your state is listed.
I like the idea of installing home security, it is just one less thing to have to think about when you come home at night. I know that if the alarm has not been set off there is no body inside. Peace of mind is worth a few extra bucks a month, you can never be too safe!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Skip the crowds!

We skipped the crowds this year, and the shopping altoughter. We opted for a hike around a small lake. It was nice quiet and not another person insight! What could be better? I shot a few pictures with my new lens, and Nilla got to run around.

If you are going to skip the shopping at retail locations but still need that perfect gift. Some great places to start looking is on etsy. On Etsy you are bound to find something for everyone on your list. They even have great gift buying guides to help you find something even for the hardest to buy for! Check out for the unique handmade items that you would not find in retail stores.

Or even try your luck on Ebay. I have some Wii Video games listed on ebay. I hope that more people will look there for discounts on must have games of the season. Ebay auctions are fun, and fast. The best part is you get to skip the crowds, and your package is delivered right to your door! So if you see something you like bid on it before the end date so you are sure to have all your holiday shopping lists covered.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What is your take?

This holiday season is now in full swing. I want to know how you will be shopping this year. Are you going all out and going to the BLACK FRIDAY SALES? Or will you take it easy and spend your shopping hours browsing the internet.

I think this year will be the year of the internet. I have found that it is easier to find coupons, and deals via the web than to drive all about town comparing and hoping that the item I MUST HAVE is still in stock. Having friends and family out of town is another big factor for us. With online shopping you can just have your packages directly sent to them, sometimes you can even find free shipping.

So what are your plans, pajama shopping at home, or fight the crowds on Friday?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dancing the Night Away

My dad loves to dance. He teaches lessons to a group of faithful followers once a week. They get the basics down, but practice is where the real perfection is found. Dancing can be a fun aerobic activity if you are looking for a new way to shed some pounds in the new year. Maybe ballroom dancing could be a new hobby for your new years resolution. There are not many things you need to get started. Just a class or two and of course who could forget the fashionable dance shoes you are sure to find. While many start out dancing in any old shoes, many including my parents have invested in some great dance shoes that really make floating across the dance floor much smoother. The dance shoes give you a little more flex with your newly learned steps. My parents have gotten really good at dancing, but then again they practice all the time. You might see them out and about dancing across the floor. Anytime is a good time to put on your dancing shoes, whether you are going out for dinner where there is a band playing or on Friday night at the Lake Side Inn for drinks, you can dance the night away.

Bargain Shopping

Now that the shopping season is in full swing everyone is looking for a deal. At least I know I am. I do most of my shopping online from the comfort of my home. The computer is also an easy way to find discounts. You can search for coupon codes for any store on the web. From my point of view it is best to never buy at full price. There is always a discount to be had and online coupons are abundant. The coupons you can find are usually codes that you have to type in during the checkout process, but with the simple cut and paste shortcuts on your keyboard it can be very easy.
Coupons are not just reserved for material purchases such as clothing, toys, and computers. You can also search for great deals on travel or accommodation coupons. If you are traveling this holiday season you should give it a try. It can't hurt right? With in a few minutes you will know if you are going to find a deal for your travel or hotel. I will say be careful, coupon hunting online can be addictive, and you will find that every time you reach for your wallet, you will be searching for online coupons too!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dream Job

After waking up late on Saturday, we decided to get up early on Sunday and grab a donut at the little donut shop by Turkey Creek. The donuts alone were fantastic, but since the rain had let up we decided to take the Turkey Creek 1.5 mile walk in the light drizzle. The Florida fall color was nice to see. Not much of it, but the trees that were changing were spectacular shades of red, and yellow. On our way back to the parking lot, we heard a leaf blower. Someone has to clean up the boardwalk when the leaves start to fall. This is the way to work. It seems as if this leaf ranger knew what he was doing. Traveling down the boardwalk on his segway blowing the leaves down to the ground. Thank you to all the people that keep our parks nice for us all to enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Puppy Love

When it comes to keeping up your health don't forget your loyal pup. While it is hard figure out what is ailing your precious pooch, there are answers around the web that can be very helpful. Your canine health is important for your pup if you want her to be a happy dog for years to come. Whether you just need some advice on puppy care or need information on symptoms that your dog is showing you can find the answers you need on the web. If your dog is sick you should consult your local vet, but for everyday needs of you dog you can turn to the web. Just the other day after a long fun day jumping in and out of the water our dog was tired and her legs hurt. Over activity for her, and we looked up a few symptoms and we were able to help her. For us the senior care for dogs is very helpful.
If you are thinking of getting a new dog you can also get advice on selecting the right breed for your family. After all it is important that you will both be happy with the new living arrangements. The more information you can find the better, and will help you be prepared for your new dog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shop like the Stars

With all the online shopping possiblities you can really find some great bargins. Do you keep up with the fashion of the movie stars, do you want to have clothes like them? Well, you can shop here and get a great deal, and even better... free shipping when you buy $100. I found some fantastic Gypsy 05 clothes with a reduced price tag. They are not cheap, but they are not full price either. So if you are searching for your own star style you can get a great deal with the Gypsy 05 clothes.
If you are looking for more of a discount check out the ON SALE tab and you are sure to find something for your style from the Maxi dress to the cute tanks. There is something for everyone. Bring out the star in you with some new duds!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sandy Sunset

The little beach down from our house offers great sunsets on a nightly basis. The always empty spot last night had wonderful color, and some pelicans that were showing off for us. It is nice to stop and watch the sunset, and take time for the beauty that surrounds us. What a great evening by the bay!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nickel Back

On our most recent trip to Target I had a great surprise. We wandered the store picking up the essentials and once our basket was full we went to check out. I, of course, had my reusable cloth shopping bags with me. The girl at the register was very friendly, and chatty. Which is nice, it was like she was enjoying her job. As the transaction was finishing she said "OH yeah, you get a nickel back for using your own bags" I thought this was great. Target has started giving you five cents back when you use your cloth bags. It is nice to see more and more stores doing this to discourage the use of plastic. I guess it is positive reinforcement. I use my back and get a nickel off my bill. I will have my bags handy every time I go shopping for sure! Go to Threadbeaur's Etsy shop and see what sort of bag fits your style. Save the planet in style with a fashionable cloth bag by Threadbeaur.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oceans of Lotions

I am always on the look out for great lotions. I carry a bottle where ever I go. Whether for dry hands, or arms or legs, I have to have some sort of lotion. I like trying new ones with good ingredients, not a lot of fillers, and wonderful scents. The Molton Brown hand lotions fit the bill. They sound fantastic, and therapeutic for dry hands. The Kai Body sounds like they have some great scents in the hand lotion, but it does have a lot of ingredents, some of which are not on my list of skin friendly items. However the candles would be a nice addition to any aromatherapy session.
When it comes to beauty and spa treatments, don't forget your hair! There are a ton of products on the market to make your hair thicker, stronger and shinier. The Liquid Keratin starter kit might be the way to go. With the 30 day treatment, you are sure to see a difference in your hair and its manageability. If you are not ready for a 30 day treatment you can always go with the Keratin Complex and mix and match your shampoo and conditioner choices.
Whatever your beauty routine is, you can always spice it up with some new lotions, or a new brand of conditioner. Who knows maybe you will find a new favorite. Don't get stuck in a rut, try something new. I know that I will be getting some new lotions now that winter is near.

Monday, November 9, 2009

November in Florida

Fall is here, I have even seen a few trees change color. This passed weekend we went to the beach a few times. The weather was amazing. Mild temps in the 70s and not a cloud in the sky made for some great beach days. Sunset on Friday, and midday sun on Saturday. It is hard to believe that it is November. Had we been up in Chicago we would be preparing for winter, instead we are enjoying a little sunshine.

Here I am with a big belly shot with the sun. Yes, I have a jacket on, it was only about 65 degrees!
M tries out the water, but it has gotten very chilly since the last time we were at the beach. Not really swimming weather.

Help is always available

I remember back when I was in high school having a tutoring session almost weekly. I was one of those students that needed math help, and the way to get that was through a math tutor. However, it was a scheduled event weekly, that usually cut into the time when I rather be playing soccer, or tennis or anything for that matter other than math.
Now in the age of technology online math tutoring can replace your weekly tutoring session with the local tutor, and put the online math help at your fingertips 24 hours a day. I know that getting a teenager to do anything can sometimes be difficult, but this is on the computer, and I think that is something the kids can get behind. The online math tutor can be a valuable tool for the struggling student. You can type in your questions and get the help you need. I think this would have been great for me when I was in school. I hope that the students of this fantastic online generation take advantage of all the benefits that the internet has to offer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tubs of all sizes

With only a shower stall in our bathroom we long for a luxurious bathtub. I want one that is big with jets and easy to get into. I recently saw some walk in tubs that provide all of those wants in one! The existing shower stall would be easily replaced with the tub. The tub has 16 power jets to help your sore muscles! What could be better?, the fact that the side opens and allows you to get in easily without the fear of falling or slipping. This is an all in one, so the shower is built right in too. No need to have a separate tub and shower, I can just replace my shower stall with this walk in tub. I think my muscles would thank me!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Digital Revolution

We have been in the market for a new pocket digital camera. Long time fans of the Canon Elph, I did my research on the new models that are out. I really liked a few of them. After seeing the Canon sd780 in the store I went back to the computer to do a bit more research and compare it to the SD940is. Two of the cosmetic differences between the two is that the SD940 does not have a view finder! Who uses it anyway, the image that you see in the view finder is not what comes out on the screen most of the time. The SD940is also has a bigger LCD to view your photos. The SD940 was not in the store to play with, but since it is the latest model, I figured it was about the same in body shape and style, and that I could purchase it online for less! I found it on for a great price, and got it with next day shipping. I had to have it NOW! It arrived today and boy is it small. It makes my SD500 look like a behemoth.

After a charge on the ultra small battery, I went to the back yard to see if I could snap a few pictures. My first impressions, since they are priceless, is that the camera was great. The weight the size, easy of menus, everything was nice. It helps that the menu system is similar to previous models of the elph, but this one has so many more options when it comes to manual settings. By no means does it have the control of my sony alpha DSLR, but it has some really fun menu options from color accent, color swap, digital macro, and a plethora of scene selections. One of the main reasons we settled on this camera is because of its ability to shoot video in HD. Who wants to lug around yet another item in the camera bag when this great little camera does it all. Quick video shots, which really who wants to sit through 3 hours of video, depending on the size of your SD card you can shoot 10 minutes or more.
Here are my first shots, the newly emerging brussel sprouts and of course the dog.

New wheels

M's car has seen better days. The laundry list of things that are non-functional now is getting longer. Starting with the antenna that is no longer going up or down, just making noise to the air conditioning fan that has stopped working except on high. That is not really a big deal, because if you need the air on here in Florida you want it to be cold. I just hope this winter is not too chilly for his short commute.
Since we are seeing more and more things that work less than perfect, we have been looking into some new wheels. We are going to try and hold off as long as possible, but it can't hurt to look, right?
I am really partial to the Volvo with its great safety record I would love to have the XC90 with plenty of room for our dog and for the new baby the XC90 would be ideal! Of course there is the tiny item of price that will ultimately be the determining factor. It is just a vehicle to get from A to B, so we don't really need to get something that is super fancy. I am also checking out the reviews on a few of the Honda cars. They too have a great safety record, but the price on these is still a little higher than we really want to spend on a car. I do like the options for green vehicle by Honda, the Prius is oh so tempting! One brand that is a little easier on the budget is Kia. Some of their models look great, and the price tag is a little easier to handle. We will have to do some research to see how the safety record compares to Honda and Volvo. Since we are going to drive M's car until it literally falls apart, we will have some time to do the research necessary when making such a big investment in a new car!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I was just reading my Facebook page when I saw that GroBaby's at Kellys Closet were buy 6 get one FREE! That is a pretty good deal, anytime you can get one for free is good. I am not sure how long this will last so hurry over and pick which of the cute little GroBaby cloth diapers you want. If you just need a few, maybe you could go in with a friend and split the pack, and the price. Anyway you divide it everyone wins.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Get on the Bandwagon

Great news in Buenos Aires, they are in the process of getting rid of plastic bags! Check out this great article on the ban from Seashells and Sunflowers. The blog writer is an American living in Argentina, with a great perspective on life abroad!
Way to go Buenos Aires, now lets all follow suit and reduce the number of plastic bags we use. We can all make a difference, start with one bag, then your stash will grow as you get intouch with the fashionable side of bagging groceries!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Potty Pail

Yesterday was a good mail day. I got a few packages one contained a fantastic quilt made by my mom for "baby boy", and the other was a gift from my SIL of the Potty Pail. M was so excited that it arrived, that he promptly stopped what he was doing to go set it up in the "men's room" (that is what the upstairs bathroom is now called). The box was nicely packaged, and the one sheet of instructions was easy to follow! The pail itself is a large bucket with a hole at the bottom for the water and other spray off to go directly into the toilet. The quality of the fasteners was unbeatable they were all brass fittings that worked perfectly with our toilet. Within minutes he had the sprayer attached and the potty pail in position on the toilet. The pressure of the spray from the nozzle was incredible! This is going to be great in our cloth diapering adventure! If you have never seen the Potty Pail check out their website for details. If you are ready to buy click the link on the side bar to go straight to the site! Once we use it I will let everyone know how it works, but until then the set up was a breeze.

An unlikely find

I was going through a few unlabeled boxes the other day, only to discover that it contained a few gold coins! It was my lucky day. The one gold coin that caught my attention was so shiny, and in great condition. I needed to research what the value of such a coin would be. I scoured the Internet for some info. It is hard to decipher all the numbers, and graphs that I found, but one site that really was helpful was all about gold coins and gold bullion coins. The information was easy to find, and easy to understand. I was really glad to get some much info on one site. Of course I took my coin to a local dealer and got top dollar for it, since I did know what it was worth! I guess it is good to do your homework, before you sell your coins.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shopping Smart online

It is easy to search for something online, but you have to find a place that will give you all the buying options for your product. I have finally made it to the last month and half until the baby is born, but I need some last minute clothing, especially some jeans. It is not easy to find a good looking pair of maternity jeans, but it can be done with a little effort. Fashionable maternity clothes is almost an oxymoron, but with a few tips you can have a fashionable wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Since I only have a month left though I don't want to invest in a ton of clothes. I need to think about the holidays when the baby is a few weeks old and we have some people to visit and places to go. I will want to have something festive to wear. The internet will save the day. I can search for some holiday clothing favorites like a great cashmere sweater. It can be dressed up with accessories, or be wore everyday with jeans, and the best part is that it will hide some of that baby fat! I can't wait to get shopping online!

Stocks have come a long way

Last night I watched a great documentary on the stock market boom and crash in 1929. It was fascinating that some of the same things were going on then as they were last year. Though, I will not begin to compare the crash that triggered the great depression with our mild recession. The lure of the stock market was just as inciting then as it is now. It is easier now with all the technology of online trading to dabble in the stock market. You just have to set up an account, and you are ready to go. As long as you have some funds you can do stock trading from you sofa!
In the show I watched they had great stock brokers, and they were even setting up shop on the great cruise lines of the day. Today we just can just use our internet access and our online broker to make those trades in record time. It seems that the technology has just made it faster and easier to jump into the stock market. Now that it is on the rise again, hopefully the investors will be confident to start trading and boosting the economy even further!

E-Waste and recycling

I was searching for places to recycle my old electronics. I don't know how we got these computer parts, but they are taking up space, and they need to be recycled. They are certainly out of date, and the technology so slow that you would fall asleep between load times on any project. I found that in Australia they have set up a great e-waste recycling program that keeps some of the hazardous materials found in obsolete electronics out of the land fills. I think it is a great program, and they accept a large variety of e-waste, from computers, to dvd players, and everything in between.
Waste management is important all over the world, but waste management in Australia, I think would be really important. They have limited space, and I am sure that the landfills are just as unsightly there as they are in the USA. I really like the thinking that if we can keep stuff out of the land fill we could have less of them. I hope to see E-waste recycling programs popping up from Australia to Zimbabwe. From residential to industrial there are things we all can do to reduce, reuse and recycle making this place we call home a better place for all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our supply is growing

Now we have the diapers that we will need to start this crazy journey. We bought a few different kinds of cloth diapers. Once we try them all we can stock up on the ones that work the best for us.

From gdiapers we have six little gpants and some cloth inserts, and thanks to a friend a ton of the flushable inserts (those are going to come in handy for sure).

We have 3 diapers from GroBaby, super cute and I love the Velcro that they use. I could not resist those stripes.

We also got 6 from BumGenius (3 one size 3.0 with the velcro tabs and 3 one size organics with the snaps). I was really excited because I got the organics on and they had a section labeled clearance, so I clicked it of course, and they had the organics on there as seconds. Described as loose string, or label sewn on crooked. So I snatched up three of those for a discount! Can't beat that. On first inspection I really like the organic ones they are so soft on the inside.

I think we should be set for now, we also got some cloth wipes that will fit in our wipe warmer.
If anyone can think of something else that might be useful for cloth diapers please let me know. I am always open to advice!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cloth Diapers

I just got my shipment of Gro-Baby diapers. I still have a month or so until baby arrives, but I just could not resist the cute new colors that they are offering. I am also excited that I won't be spending thousands of dollars on diapers for the next few years. The fact that our family is not throwing a ton more diapers in to the land fill is also an added benefit.
Check out this video that I found about Gro-Baby diapers, who know maybe they will be a solution that will work to lighten your diapering budget too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Walking can be lucrative

Over the weekend the weather was great. The temperatures have dropped and we are now able to comfortably walk with the dog around the neighborhood. On Saturday we walked down our street and saw a garage sale going on, and decided that we would stop on our way home. We continued in the crisp air down to the beach where we enjoyed watching the birds flying over the water. Then we headed back to the house. Once we got to the garage sale M took the dog, and I went to see if there was anything we wanted. The sale had great plants for the yard, including some trees, and other big plants. Though none of them stuck my fancy. I could not help over hear another shopper ask if the garage sale had any coins. The response was no, so I just blurted out that I had some old coins that we have collected over the years. The guy looked at me and said well, do you live near by? So we continued down the street a few more houses, and M ran in to get our coins. The guy had a great time sifting through the coins, he uses them in a crafty way, and makes necklaces out of them. For us, we were just glad to get them out of the limited closet space that we have, and well, we will get a few fancy dinners from that sale!
The funny thing is you just never know who you will run into, and we had a nice time talking to the guy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Savings is the name of the game

Now that I have my shopping lists under control, and in order, I have to find coupons to save some money on the things I need. Baby toys are on my radar today as I scour the internet for coupon codes to my favorite online retailers. I like to find toys that are going to last a long time, even if the wee one doesn't play with them for long periods of time. I can always put it away and bring it back later like it is a new toy. Legos are always a good bet. They are fun, and stay looking good for a long time. Unless you suck them up in the vacuum cleaner, which I don't suggest. It never hurts to look for codes, most times in your shopping cart you can find an area that you can type in a code. If it works great!, if not well no harm done.

Since I am on the topic of legos, if your tyke loves those fun building blocks, how about skipping Disney this year and heading to LEGOLAND! Just think how excited your little builder would be to see all those blocks in one place. There is a legoland in California, and I heard a rumor that there could be LegoLand talks of one coming to the Orlando area. What a great rumor!

So off I go to find some discount codes for legos, until we can find the time to go to Legoland. If anyone has gone to that building mecca I would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back to School

I have been contemplating going back to school. I am really interested in photography and I would like to get more education on the technical side of the photo. Photography has really been my hobby for such a long time. I love to shoot landscapes, but would like to break into the portrait world. I was searching the internet for trade schools who specialize in photography certificate programs. My friend sent me some great info on photo classes online, and I think I will check those out too.
I think photos make people happy, and what better reward from your work at the end of the day is a happy client. Technical schools seem to be abundant on the internet, and most of them have correspondence classes for photography. One of the most appealing ideas of online career colleges is that you can work at your own pace, and don't have to go to class. That would work out great for me, since I will be staying home with baby. I hope that I can find one that works for me. If any of you have taken online photography classes for certification, I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crafty Columbus Day

Our Columbus day was filled with yard work, swimming and a little crafting. M pulled more grapevines from the trees. We are trying to get them all out so that tree can get some much needed sunshine. The vines are taking over. So down they came. We did not just want to throw them out, so as he pulled them down, I wrapped them up.
The vines were a little unwieldy at times, but managed to get them going in a circle, and in not time I had a great fall wreath for the front of the house.
I don't have a proper hook for it yet, but I am sure I will find something suitable. Right now it is hanging on our little squirrel welcome sign.
It will be easy to spice it up for Halloween with a few mini pumpkins, then some red berries for Christmas. It is an easy craft for anyone that has some grapevines around.

Grapevine wreath:
Start with fresh grapevines (easy to bend, but won't break)
I took all the leaves off but left all the little curls.
Use a large vine make a circle just bigger than you want the wreath
Use the smaller parts of the vine to wrap around and hold the circle together
On you next pass with another vine try going in the opposite direction
Again, try to use the small shoot offs from the main vine to wrap and hold the circle together
You can get great results by weave the vine in and out of the circle (it will also make it more stable)
If it is not quite a circle when you are finished you can fix that by just applying pressure to the oblong side.
And that is it! You have a wreath.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Break Down Shopping

These days if I don't have my shopping list I can't make it through the store efficiently. Whether the list is long or short, if an item doesn't make it on the list, I will forget about it. I try to make my trips for errands as efficient as possible, making lists for each store I will visit and in which order I will go (so that I don't do a lot of backtracking while driving). This has worked out great for me. When the list is complete. However, there are those times when the shopping list is not complete, and I walk aimlessly through the store trying to remember if it was toothpaste or nutella that I wanted to get.

I really like the idea of a website that could simplify the list making for me and break down the items into the store columns so that I could just print out my list (on scrap paper of course) and be on my way.
This would really be helpful for the grocery shopping list staples. That is your regular shopping list, milk, eggs, butter, nutella, etc. That way it is always ready for you online. I assume that if you forgot your list at home, a dreadful occasion, you could log in via your iphone, and get your list online. Your trip to the store would not be wasted. Good old technology saves the day.

Keep up with the latest about these shopping lists on facebook, the networking that helps you stay organized.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Hungry Caterpillar

I was pruning one of my experimental plants, a Japanese plum tree today. I was just about to grab the leaf that needed to be removed when I noticed some prickly bits underneath. I turned the pot on its side to reveal one of the coolest caterpillars I have ever seen. He must have been very hungry, because most of the leaves had been eaten. I had just assumed that it was not doing well because it was a transplant.

That was not the case, this little guy made this plant his personal buffet. From what I can find on the Internet this is a stinging caterpillar, and it is called the saddleback caterpillar. The brown oval marking kind of looks like a saddle. It is very fun to find great bugs in the back yard.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wouldn't it be Nice

I would love to jump on a jet plane this January and travel to Argentina. I know a few folks that have done that for New Years eve, and might be going again. Flying down to South America over the new year would be a blast, then think of all the fun things you could do once you got there.
My parents went two years ago and stayed at a few hotels in Buenos Aires. They had their favorite breakfast spot and of course danced their way around the town.
A few of the things they did while on tours in Argentina were tango lessons, tai chi in the park, and visiting the cemeteries in the area.
But there is more to Argentina that just Buenos Aires. I think if I were going I would plan for a two week jaunt around the country from top to bottom. There are many different tours that last from a few days to a few weeks. They will set up all the hotels in Argentina for your trip so all you have to do is pack your suitcase. Remember the climate though, since they are south of the equator, the seasons are opposite!
It would be an adventure what ever season you decide to go in!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Leave the Keys

We just installed this great keyless lock on our front door. I was so tired of having to lock the door when somebody was already waiting in the car for me. I guess I am a little slow when we are getting ready to head out the door. It is probably the best purchase we have made in some time. We installed just the deadbolt for the keyless lock, and now when the dog and I head out for a walk I just leave the keys inside. No need to take them with me, because I can just use my finger to unlock the door.

I don't know what we did before we had our keyless lock, it has simplified the process of leaving the house, and I feel that it is as secure as can be. With a press of the finger the door locks just like a regular deadbolt, it is secure. Then when I come home, I don't have to fiddle with the keys, I just press the lock and come right in!

I think the temporary access is a great feature. You can set it up to let certain people in, like say the housekeeper, or a friend. Technology has come a long way, and I am going to embrace it! I love my keyless lock.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reusable gift bag

I had to give a few gifts out over the weekend, and I choose the green way. I picked a few of Threadbeaur's grocery totes, and stuffed them with two bottles of wine. The packages were topped off with a little ribbon to keep them closed during transport, and to add a little extra flair.
These happy packages are two gifts in one. The wine of course and the bag can be used over and over for all sorts of things. From grocery shopping to a trip to the market, or a visit to the beach. The reusable gift bag is a perfect green way to wrap up your presents this year.
Check out the varieties at Threadbeaur's Etsy shop. Here is what the finished project looked like. Pretty little packages all in a row, ready for a party, or where ever they may go.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wine Time

When we lived up in Chicagoland we often took trips to the wineries that were just over the border in Michigan Wine Country. We would make a day of it with a few friends. Tasting wines from the sweetest dessert wines, to great dry reds. Some of the wineries hosted getaways with wine pairing as the theme. Though we never did one of the weekends, they sounded like fun.

Now that we are in Florida, we like to host our own wine pairing dinners. Where we select a wine and find great dishes that compliments its flavors. Using the wine grades as our guide we try to pick wines that are scored above 90, but we do occasionally give the underdogs a try. Sometimes we just go in and pick a wine just by looking at the label, by picking that way believe it or not we have found some really great ones. Price is another contender when we are picking wines for our parties. You can easily find fabulous wines for under 20 dollars.
Half the fun is picking out the wines, but once we pop open the corks, that is when we really start having fun. Sharing the bottles with friends helps us determine the different subtle flavors in the bottle. We have mini wine reviews and have some good laughs too.
Wine parties can be fun, have your friends bring two bottles to the party. One bottle can be shared as you share stories, and the other can be a take home for another person. That way everyone goes home with a different bottle of wine.
Tell me about your wine parties, have you found any great wines for under $20?

Even my socks are Eco-friendly

On a whim I purchased a pair of socks with my Keen hiking shoes a few weeks ago. I have had plenty of time to try them out. I first wore the combo to New Orleans, where it was the hottest day I can remember. It would have been a day that my keen flip flops would have been great. However, I had on my teko socks and keen hiking shoes. While the rest of me was unbearably hot, my feet were not. They are so comfortable. I would recommend them to all my friends, and I will be buying a few more pairs for my new walking regimen. I can't say enough about these socks.
Teko is a eco-friendly company too. They use recycled polyester in their product, which in turn uses something that already exists, and reduces new products (pollutants) from being produced. As a manufacture they do use electricity, but to counter act that they buy wind credits to offset some of their electric use. They use recycled materials for their packaging. So you can pop it into the recycling bin when you unwrap those fantastic socks. Drumroll please.... as stated on the website in the "walking the talk" section they like to keep manufactures here in the USA busy, they have a factory right here on American soil in Mount Airy, North Carolina. I think I will buy stock in these socks!
If you need a good pair of socks, check them out, they are worth a few extra bucks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Your daily Grind - More Green

Coffee sleeves are routinely used at coffee shops, you know the ones they are cardboard, dull and brown. Every time we go we say no to the coffee cozy that the barista is slipping over the cup. The other day we were grabbing a cup of joe at Starbucks and I asked the girl to leave off the sleeve, and she looked at me as if I were crazy. Then she asked if I would like a double cup instead. So I handed her the cloth reusable coffee sleeve and she effortlessly slipped it on to the cup. She said she loved the cloth sleeve, and could not believe that I made it.
I have a ton of these coffee sleeves in all sorts of recycled fabrics. They make great gifts for the office, or an addition to a gift basket or a little extra in the form of a tie on for the top of a pretty package. If you know a daily coffee drinker, and I know you do, this might just tickle their fancy. Many of the sleeves are just tossed out with the trash, despite the fact that they could be recycled. Why not just skip the trash and use your fashionable cloth coffee sleeve. Keep your eye on Threadbeaur I will be stocking the shop with new bags, and coffee sleeves all week. Of course, if you are looking for a bunch of the coffee sleeves email with the details.

Saturday Blues

So the craft fair was shaping up to be good. All the vendors buzzed around the lot setting, and resetting their goods, until they had it just right. The temperature at 9 in the morning was reaching 90 degrees and the humidity felt like 100%. It was hot. So after fixing the displays I sat down for a much needed rest, and some water. Our location was the best thing about the day. My booth over looked the bay, and we watched the dolphins swimming and the pelicans flying. That was really the highlight of the day. The only thing that went was a few business cards, and I mean just a few. The parking set up for the show was not great. The vendors were able to park in the lot close to the tents, and the visitors to the show had to park across the street. The street happened to be a 4 lane divided highway... So you can imagine that it would take a bit to cross the road, and people seeing that probably just kept on driving. I think about 60 visitors total passed my booth, which is not very many. I was highly disappointed, as were the vendors just beside me.
So when we saw the storm clouds rolling in around 3:30 we really hoped for rain. When all the other vendors started packing up we did too. All in all, it was a long hot day, with not much more than a business card passed out.
At least we got to watch the dolphins.

Friday, September 25, 2009

PhunFest is upon us.

The car is packed with my table, two chairs, tent, and my inventory for the craft show. They are expecting to have 2,000 visitors to the show on Saturday September 26th. My inventory includes a ton of reusable bags and some coffee sleeves. I am sure I will have enough, and the ones that don't find new homes during the PhunFest will come home with me and find their way up to my shop on etsy. The weather man says that the rain should hold off until later in the afternoon, so we are hoping he is right for a change.

With only a few last minute things to do like fill the cooler with some water, ice and a few snacks, we are ready to go. I hope that it is as busy as they think it will be. I have been told there will be some great music, and other great vendors at Navarre Beach. So if you are out that way, stop by and say hello!

Blogging for Money

A friend sent me a link today to a great site that shows you how you can be blogging for money. I update my blog almost daily, as my readers will know, and this site I was directed to could help fund my blog through advertising. Who would like to investigate that, right? Well, I am going to check it out. The page even offers the opportunity to blog for charity instead. They have a few great causes that can always use funding.
Learning how to make money blogging can benefit you or if you wish a charity. Either way it seems like it might be a good idea. If you don't have a blog, you can start a new blog through the site. They seem to have all the bases covered!
This community is a revenue sharing community, and they share half! I think by signing up with them you would get more readers to come to your blog, which is really the reward. I am always looking for places to advertise my blog, and get people to come to read. Maybe this site could help in that. I will just have to see. Thanks to my friends, they are always on the lookout for new sites.

Interior Design: not just for the pros.

The living room was looking a little drab the other day. Less than functional, and it was time for a change. I need to change it around so that it was fresh. I was not buying furniture online, it was time to rearrange. Not to say there aren't a few pieces of furniture that I am drooling over, but we are decorating on a budget, and sometimes you just need to move the furniture around for a fresh perspective. So I cleared out the room, mostly, and cleaned the area. I brought the couch back in first and placed it in a different location. Already I could see what a difference it was going to make. With a few more small moves, and perfect placement of the throw rug I had a brand new living room.
Interior design is not only for professionals, this simple transformation made my day. When M got home from work he noticed immediately and loved it! And since the day that I changed the furniture around, we have used the living room more than any other room in the house! It went from a room that we did not like, or use (wasted space) to the best sitting area in the house.
So next time your space looks a little dull, try something new. A different layout might be exactly what you need. Don't let that couch stick to the wall, try moving it out in the middle of the room. Couple it with an antique trunk, and a modern end table, perhaps you will be surprised with your eclectic look. Move that furniture around and get a completely new look, it is worth the effort.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Under Lock and Key

I had an idea for a modern way to store fabric. Something fresh. All the colors could be separated into lockers. Yes, like your old style gym locker. Or a fresh look with one that has a great see through front. So all your happy fabrics could be seen without opening the door. I think this might look really neat in a studio setting. Can you imagine having an entire wall dedicated to fabric stored in fabulous see through lockers. You could have lockers specifically for scraps of each color, then you would always know that they were ready for the next project.
There are so many ways to organize fabric and unfinished projects I could go on forever. I need a separate space for all the unfinished quilt tops, and those that have been backed and not quilted. I think I would choose wood lockers for my projects. They look great and it would keep the dust off of them. Wether your studio is modern, small, larger or somewhere in between, a fabric locker could be the next big thing in fabric storage! Then again maybe it is just fleeting idea.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's in the Pot?

Since our move down here and the catastrophe that was the avocado plant my green thumb days were limited. Now that weather permits I have started my seed experiments again. My dreams of large outdoor planters with my avocados thriving are a thing of the past. Now I interested in a several garden planters where I can start seeds from palms, and some of the fruits and veggies that I buy at the store. There are so many different palm trees that I will need to invest in planters that are not too expensive to start, but once the seeds start popping up I would love to get a few of the high end planters for my prize palms. Our yard does not have a ton of space for this sort of experimentation in the ground, so the planters are the way to go. For the more delicate plants that might need a little shelter from a freeze will be planted in an indoor planter that can easily be moved outside when the freezing weather has passed.

In the next few years, I hope to have a supply of small palms to take to our next home. They do take some time to become established, but if I leave them in the planters they will be much easier to transplant when the time comes. Of course, if you have any tips about plants, and palms, let me know. My thumb is not as green as I would like. I am off to fill some planters with soil and a few seeds that I got last time I was at my parents house! I hope the seeds take to their new home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are you a Pastry Chef?

I am not a pastry chef, but I do love fresh made cheese danish. I wanted to try and make a few of these for a fun breakfast treat. I searched the Internet and found and easy to do recipe for great tasting cheese danish. Much to my surprise, with the help of some frozen pastry dough, they were really simple to make. The name says it all Easy Cheese Danish recipe.

I picked up the needed supplies at the store on Friday so that we could have just out of the oven delights on Saturday.
I followed the recipe as written on the food network, but I did put the cheese filling in the frig for about 20 minutes since I forgot to thaw the pastry dough. Once the dough was warm enough to unfold, I continued with the recipe as written. I cut the dough into quarters and filled like this.

By this time I was getting too hungry. I skipped the step that says chill for 20 minutes once the pastry is filled. I just could not wait any longer. So into the oven went the pan, and 20 minutes later I had warm cheese danish. I added a little icing just like my favorite bakery. It is just a quarter cup of confectioners' sugar and a teaspoon of water, but it is so so good.
For a twist you can add a little jam just before baking, and that would be really great too! Next time I will give that a try.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's Cooking

Over the weekend we had some culinary delights. From dinner on Friday night that was meatloaf muffins with homegrown green beans (compliments of the neighbor), to the cheese danish experiment for breakfast.

The meatloaf muffins we have had before, but they are one of M's favorite comfort food dishes. I got the recipe from online of course. You can check out meatloaf muffins for yourself. Next time you are in the mood for some comfort food give them a try. A fun new twist on an old favorite.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Recovering can be fun

We had an old chair from Ikea. The kimsta looks like the Poang only it has no head pillow. I decided that we could recover the seat and it would be perfect in the nursery. I did not like any of the covers that Ikea sold, so I took my color scheme of brown and blue and went searching for some fabric. I found the perfect print for the room. Modern, not too kiddie.
The task of recovering started with examining the old cover, and with a few quick sketches we had a plan. I was going to sew it like a big pillow sham. I did not want to have to do the zipper, so in the back the fabric over laps like a pillow sham.
It was coming together smoothly, but when we gave it a try on the chair the top was a little too big.
Not to fret, with a quick zip across where the back and head connect, the bulkiness was eliminated, and the cover fits nicely.
I really like the way it looks in the room, and I guess that is what matters most!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Task

One of the best items I have is my pocket calendar. This small but useful object keeps me on task, and I never forget appointments. I, however, would like one for the house that the entire family can use. We can put up game night, meetings, appointments. It would be a great place to write down every ones chores for the week, too. Everything that keeps the household running. We would use it at the nerve center of the house. I really like the idea of a dry erase calendar, one that can be updated easily when appointments changes, no more pencil erasing all over the place. Yes, we change our calendar that often.

The dry erase calendar can be put up on any wall surface, and can be customized, another really great feature for me. Why not use a great photo for your calendar background. One of the best features of a dry erase calendar is that it is reusable! Of course, it is eco friendly. You can just erase last months happenings and then you have a clean slate for next month. Add the meetings as they arise, and you will be super organized! No more throwing out last years calendar. One less thing to clutter your desk, if you are like me there is no room on the desk for a calendar anyway. I think it is the perfect solution to staying on task and keeping the house running smoothly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Full View

Well now that the recipient of the project has gotten it. I can reveal it in full.

This small quilt measures about 45 by 45 and I think will be perfect for a new little girl. It could be a playmat, picnic blanket, or just something to tug around the house. I used the fabric from my stash, the black, which is no doubt vintage, and the fun green with small pink ants crawling around it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rainy Day Crafting

Today I got all my errands done before noon. The only bad thing about that is that there was a monsoon rain storm as I was walking out of the grocery store! I parked my buggy under the over hang, and ran through the puddles in the parking lot to the very furthest spot where the car was waiting. I jumped in the car and drove to the front of the store. The rain was just coming down as hard as I have ever seen it. Once out of the Santa Fe I opened the back hatch and used it as a shield from the rain until I could run to the buggy under the protection of the overhang. Grabbed my cloth grocery bags and ran back to the car. That took about a minute or two maybe. I pulled down on the hatch to close it and as I did a gallon of water that had collected in the well that holds my license plate came gushing down on me! I was then really soaked! Time to go home and put on the PJs and do some crafting.

Now I have Pandora playing the Bishop Allen station and I am making bags. My inventory is increasing, and now I am enjoying this rainy day! What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Crafts, movies, other ideas?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Family and Finance

With a new baby on the way it is the perfect time to improve credit ratings. This way you will be prepared for what will come after baby arrives. We are getting our finances back in order so that we will be ready for any unexpected expenses that may arise with our first child. Bad credit can be hard to get under control and getting back to the the right track can also be difficult. But it is worth the time and effort to fix your credit. Whether you are struggling with foreclosures, credit card debit, or were the victim of identity theft there are people that can help you. I saw over at Ovation Credit that they have several ways to help you out of a jam.
Getting a plan is the first place to start, and you can help with all your credit repair needs. It is better to just get started right away, the longer you wait the worse off your credit can get. Even now in this down economy you can fix your credit.

Clean Slate

Here we are starting a new adventure. It is time to decorate the nursery for a baby boy. We are starting with a clean slate, and with a few gallons of paint (no VOC paint of course) and some free furniture we will see what we can do. A co-worker gave us, yes, gave us some great things for the nursery including a crib, dresser/changing table, clothes, and other goodies. This is what we are starting with, and when we progress I will drop in a few new pictures.
The adventure begins here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What was the address again?

We were in New Orleans last weekend, and while we were there we walked the streets to look at all the old buildings. I noticed that many of the buildings were adorned with fabulous address plaques. Mostly they were made of dark metal they looked great and gave the historic buildings even more charm. I really liked the look of the home address plaques. I think our house would look great with a wall address plaque. Something classic with a modern flair! The house number and street name, or maybe our last name. That is something to think about. Which will I pick, address plaques with numbers, or one with our name.

Like the one at the hotel where we stayed, it was bronze, and had the name of the hotel, and when it was built! I don't think we need to go that far, since our house is not historic, but none the less the plaques were a unique way of having the address on the wall, without the stick on numbers!

Becoming a Bag

In a few short days this will be my newest bag for the shop. This great old blackeye pea sack has been revamped into a shopping tote. This I think would be great for the market. Of course, nobody will have one just like it! The printing on the bag is still sharp, and dark. It would make a perfect gift for your California friends! Watch for it in the threadbeaur shop, or if you just have to have it, let me know, and I can list it just for you! For the strap, which I will be putting on this afternoon, I will use a khaki colored fabric, and the recycled red sheet. What a great way to re purpose items headed for the dump, now this has a second chance as a unique fashion friendly shopping bag.

Unpack the tent

Since we moved in our camping equipment has been collecting dust. It was just to hot here to do any camping. A fall trip to North Carolina might be just what we need. We will miss the fall color from the midwest, but a camping trip to see a little fall foliage and enjoy some cooler weather sounds like the perfect remedy. Not that I am complaining, I love being back in the warm weather. Recently some friends went to NC rv parks, and they said that it was just fantastic. The parks were clean and fun. Of course there is the task of choosing the right rv park NC for you. We are always on the look out for the places that accept pets, since our big dog likes to go on vacation too, we don't want her to be left out. She loves making s'mores at night around the campfire!

Wether you are tent camping or traveling by rv, you will have your choice of RV park North Carolina. So dust off that camping gear and head on out for a fall trip to see the leaves change color. So much to see, so little time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sneak Peek

Well for all you readers here is a glimpse of my latest project. Since I have not finished it yet, I don't want to let out the details. When it is complete there will be the grand reveal of the entire project. For now, this picture will have to satisfy your project curiosities.

I took these fabrics from my stash. Wait until the reveal, I think you will like it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

At the market

I went to the local farmers market, and I have visited before. It is not big, but they had some tomatoes, peaches, and other fruits. I just went to pick up some tomatoes, since I have been a slacker and have not planted any. I stood inline with my cloth bag ready for the girl to plop my tomatoes down into. Imagine the horror when the lady in front of me requests separate bags for each item is buying and a second bag for her small bounty of tomatoes. I don't think a few tomatoes is going to break through the plastic, and if it is going to she should really be using cloth bags. Why oh why do these people continue with the habit that is so horrific. Take a bag with you to the market, how hard can it possibly be? Why be burden with the hot, flimsy plastic bag, when you can use a bag that is so much easier on your hands. Cloth bags don't cut the circulation off in your fingers, and certainly are not going to break at any moment, leaving your veggies tumbling to the ground.
If you have not switched, now is the time! No more excuses, get your bag, be fashionable, be earth friendly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playing Piano

You know how some people collect different sorts of items, like vases, items of a certain animal, or shoes? Well, I have a collection of pianos! Only two, but I found them both for free on craigslist, so how could I resist. The only problem was when it came time to move. Thankfully we had space for both of them, but the movers were not so happy with the fact that they were both going. Now that they are major pieces of furniture in my living room, I guess I should really start to play them. I know how to read music which is the first step, getting the piano chords down is another story. Sight reading music is hard, but M is learning the piano chords, usually he plays by ear. Both of the pianos are horribly out of tune, and since they are so old (at least one of them) the last piano tuner said that he would not tune it up to the appropriate key in fear of breaking the sound board! Last summer when it was tuned he made it an octive down or so, but it still sounded great. Now I just need to get some free sheet music and I will be all set. We can playing dueling pianos! Good times.

Monday, August 17, 2009

38 day countdown

I found the first craft fair that I will participate in here in Florida. The 3rd Annual Panhandle PhunFest! I have been in the sewing room all day, thank goodness for a little rainy weather. Cutting, sewing and ironing describes the activties for today. With only 38 days until the festival I have to get busy and make as many of my eco friendly items as I possibly can. This festival supports a good cause, the Fisher House on Eglin Air Force Base. It is a place where family members can stay when they have a loved one recovering in the hospital.
If you are in the area on September 26th go to Navarre, and stop by the Phunfest! Looks like they will have a ton of craft vendors, and some good music. I hope to see you there!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Project finished

I just finished this cute little boys quilt for a friend. She is going to a shower soon, and this boy quilt will make a cute present. I wanted to try out those little fabric blocks, so I cut out some matching fabric from the quilt, and whipped one up! I will pop them both in the mail today! I hope they like it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A second opinion

M's residency is over, thankfully, and I ran across his old white coats. They had been severely miss treated over the last 6 years. From the floors of the ICU, to the Emergency room, they have seen their way around the hospital. Stains on the cuffs, and pen marks in the pocket.
The fate of these coats was written on the wall. Or was it?

Ceremonial burning? Too Hot.
The Morgue? Too Creepy
Trash? Maybe

I felt bad just tossing the coats that were a staple in his wardrobe for so many years. I figured I could do something with them. So I cut the name out, and got to sewing. M is a big coffee drinker, and always is in need of a reusable coffee sleeve. I threw some blue fabric on the back (similar to his blue scrubs), and violia! A personalized, history filled coffee cozy!
It was a big hit in the office. The second calling for the coats, very useful!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I miss my thrift store

Finding a local thrift store is easy. Finding one that has a constant supply of vintage fabric, sheets, and pillowcases is not easy. I do miss my favorite Salvation Army from back in Homewood, IL. Every time, usually once a week, I went there they had a new selection of vintage drapery, vintage pillowcases, the perfect makings of a reusable bag. I am using the Internet to do a local search for thrift stores in my local area Shalimar, but so far, they don't hold much promise for my "go to" store. The ones that I have visited are too neat, or too expensive, or don't have the salvageable fabric that I am looking for. Local yellowpages can be a good lead but until you set foot in the store you don't know if it is going to be the one! Local antique shops are another group I will look at so there are about 40 stores that I need to check out. That will keep me busy for now. Unless of course anyone out there knows of any near by shops that would be worth looking into!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fun way to shop!

I just recently rediscovered etsy color finding tool. It is a fun way to shop by color. On the color slide choose the one that you are in the mood for and click. An assorment of fun handmade etsy items will pop up for you to enjoy! I started with blue and ended up going through a ton of different colors, and finding a few new favorties in the process!
If you have not tried out Etsy color tool for shopping, I highly recommend giving it a whirl!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


As I was wrapping M's sandwich in my reusable sandwich wrap that I got from IreneDesigns. I realized that I needed to have a snack bag too! So I went to the pantry grabbed a plastic sandwich bag from a dusty box way in the bag of the shelf, and went to the sewing room. I picked some fabric from the scrap bin and started measuring and cutting and within a few minutes the snack bag started to take shape. This one is two apples high, perfect for going on a picnic, or just your regular lunch. No more plastic snack bags, and the best part about it is you can wash it and either machine dry it or just hang it up to dry naturally. This does not have any Velcro to get tangled up in the wash, it is just the fold style that I remember using all through school.
I am thinking of making more for my etsy shop, but for now, I have something to pack a few snacks in for M's lunch so that he gets more than just a sandwich.

If anyone has any comments, or suggestions on the snack bag, please let me know! Of course, these are all handmade with recycled or vintage material. Just one more way to keep more out of the landfill. Thanks.

That is a sweet potato!

At the store the other day I ran across some white sweet potatoes! They looked intriguing, so I got two to make mashed sweet potatoes. They were great. I added a bit of butter and some brown sugar, and mashed them until they were mostly smooth. They had a nice flavor. They were sweet, of course that could have been the brown sugar! To compliment the sweet potatoes we had some ham, and brussel sprouts glazed them with a balsamic reduction! Oh how delightful!

It was a rich meal full of flavor and the colors were beautiful too. It would have been just as nice with the regular orange sweet potatoes, but I love to try something new!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 potatoes cubed and boiled
3 tablespoons butter (more if you like them really buttery)
3 tablespoons of brown sugar (more or less to taste)

Mash together. Serve! Yum

Brussel Sprouts
12 sprouts
Bring water to a boil. Add sprouts boil for 7 minutes or so until bright green. Stirring occasionally.

Balsamic Reduction
1/4 balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar (might need a bit more)

Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. This can be used on many dishes, but tastes really good on the brussel sprouts.

Slice and pan fried until warm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm a winner!

Naturescorridor announced her winner for the contest she was running on her blog! I was so excited to hear that it was me. She sent me a wonderful set of her personalized stationery. The package was sitting in my mailbox yesterday, and it looked so nice. Beautifully wrapped, and the contents stunning. The note cards are on heavy paper and have a wonderful bird printed on them along with my name.

Treat yourself to something beautiful! Sit down and write a letter. The note cards will brighten the day of the recipent of the letter, I am off to do that now!

Thank you Naturescooridor for the great contest!