Friday, February 19, 2010

And the winner is....


My assistant will draw...

Elizabeth (Lisa) of Scott's Handmade Crafts ! She will receive the purple stash pack. Be sure to visit her blog for cool art journaling ideas and great photography, and her etsy shop for one-of-a-kind jewelry.

(Lisa: Hit me up w/ your info so I can get it to you!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

200 Post Giveaway

I just wanted to thank the new friends I've made around here for dropping by. This little blog of mine is some kind of therapy for me, and it's been a pleasure getting to know you all!

So without further ado, I've plucked one of my destash packs in my favorite color, purple, for your crafting and scrapping pleasure. A nice color for Mardis Gras!

To Enter, just shout out in the comment section and tell me what decadent treat you're having for Fat Tuesday. (We had French toast with strawberry compote for breakfast, and believe me the day is young...)

Be sure to include a way to get in touch with you if you are the winner! I will draw a name this Friday, February 19th at 5pm EST. Feel free to tell a friend. Good Luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My tea came just in time for more snow :-)

What a fabulous weekend we had. I am completely without photos, as we were enjoying ourselves so much. In a nutshell, Friday night we danced with our class at the 94 Aero Squadron, which has a DJ on Friday nights. They also have a big band on Thursdays, so hopefully we can do that sometime down the road. We were only able to stay for a couple of hours, but it was fun to be out for dancing and a cocktail at happy hour. Next we grabbed a bite at the Old Bag of Nails pub, which is becoming quite "something" in central Ohio. In retrospect I'm glad we went, because we got to see a good bit of the Olympic opening ceremonies, which we Tivo'd, then lost the next morning to make room for a bunch of episodes of some cartoon that was having a marathon.

Saturday morning a package came: it was my prize from Average Betty! You would not believe the delicious aroma of this box of organic tea when I opened it. This is just dam-good tea! Each bag is like some kind of fabric, and it's basically loose teas and various dried herbs in their natural form. My husband loves the chai and Earl Grey and I am nuts about the jasmine green tea, which is made with real jasmine. It is like sipping tea in an exotic garden. Delicious!

Saturday night we had frouffy romantic dinner at the Refectory, a French American restaurant here in town. It was a 5 course menu, with a lot of unrecognizable but tasty foods. I got the wine pairings too, so each course came with a different wine. Delicious!

Sunday, we took the boys to Best Buy for a new television. Yeah I said I was going to stop buying stuff. *Sigh.* Still fighting the good fight. The television was something we've been meaning to do for a long time. We have had the same 27 inch television since before I ever met Ken; he thinks it was 15-16 years old. Still in good condition, and destined for either a yard sale or thrift shop, it did its duty we think. We got ourselves a modest 32 inch modern television, which will hopefully last a while, and if nothing else is a lot greener than the old "tube set." Then we made way to our favorite little bakery, Cake Creations, so everyone could pick his or her own cupcake. We love that bakery because it is local, and totally family owned and operated. (The baker's dad apparently did most of the construction in the shop even!) As a scrapbooker and blogger, I am ashamed at my lack of photos, LOL, but it was a fun day.

Cut to today:
Weatherman says we're looking at 6-9 inches of snow by morning. Can you see that little thing sticking out over the snow? That's our mailbox.

Good thing I have the brand new teapot I got with the free tea. It virtually has not stopped working this weekend. We are all sacked out on the couch, reading books and having tea while we watch the olympics. I can deal with this.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I gussied up my computer workspace

Had to pull out some of my vintage valentines.

I do love my little things, and I'm often inspired by all the cool displays and things I see on the internet, but at my heart I'm still a bit of a minimalist.

Here is where I make blog :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making ready for Valentine's Day

The boys and I worked on valentines for the sweet aunties and their Oma.

I was extra inspired to make a special card for a young friend of ours who turned 5 this week.

My romantic husband sent flowers. These are the same flowers he sent me the week before we took our first vacation together when we were dating.

We are ballroom dancing tonight
Tomorrow we go to the romantic dinner
Sunday Valentine fun with the boys
I will reveal the slightly odd but definitely creative valentine I made for the husband.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Panda Fun with Paper Bamboo

Kids love to make believe, and they love to make stuff, or at least feel like they are. So this was an easy project that just came together on the fly. We watched a 20 minute video about pandas, because I was thinking about Chinese new year coming up.

I drew the outlines of leaves on green construction paper for Nathan to cut out. He's not great at cutting, but he loves to practice cutting. I actually cut out most of the leaves myself, but he was so excited to be doing a project that he didn't either notice or mind. I then just cut out strips of brown construction paper and rolled it into tubes. We used tape to put together bamboo for our panda friends to eat.

He spent 20 minutes feeding bamboo to the pandas, then went upstairs to get his other stuffed animals to try some bamboo too. Then, of course, they all had to go poop (which seems to be at the forefront of his four year old mind lately.) I also managed to find two panda themed story books, a coloring book with a panda page, and a panda puzzle to work on as the day goes by. Two facts have been committed to memory: that pandas eat bamboo and live in China. Fun morning! I think I might do a little pre-planning and maybe do a different animal or theme with him once a week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow day, again *sigh*

I tried my best to be prepared as the closing notice was already posted at 7am when I woke up.

Something in the neighborhood of 9 more inches, on top of the foot that fell a few days ago, is expected between today and tomorrow night.

Even the birds are snowed in.

By the end of the day it's this, and now I don't know what to do about dinner. I reserve eating in front of the television precisely for times like these.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lucky Me!

Actually I have won three things lately, which is so cool. I love blogland!

1. A couple weeks ago I won a free copy of Turbo Tax from the Non-Consumer Advocate, one of my all time favorite must-read bloggers.

2. Last week I received my "Bring Back Thrift" t-shirt from Bring Back Thrift Week, a needed movement indeed.

3. Today I won a porcelain tea pot and six boxes of Shangri La Tea from Average Betty. Check out her blog on cooking with tea today!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

*Yawn* Is it February already???

Finally got myself awake and moving. Got my Etsy updated with a bunch of craft kits, but I fear it may be just a weensy bit late for the valentine's crafters. Still I'm glad I got everything sorted and organized, and am just glad to have awoken from my winter hibernation.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A trip to the Ohio Historical Society, (and unexpected inspiration)

We wanted to do a fun family day. The boys asked for dinosaur bones, so we went to the Ohio Historical Center. No dino bones, but mastedon bones were just fine with them.

More bones.

And old firetrucks.

And old cars.

And an old trolley. Everything a growing boy needs.

I am always struck by the attention to detail, even in functional things, that craftspeople used to put into their work. (And still do if you know where to find them.)

Plenty of goodies that captured my attention too.

These quilts were part of an African American heritage exhibit. I love the bright colors.

This mineral exhibit has been there since I was a kid.

This time I saw it with new eyes.

All the colors you can imagine can be found in nature.

I love the homely goodness of these old things.

Things that were built to last.

I can imagine the good and bad of living in a small cabin.

Finally, my favorite little discovery of the day was this sweet little collage. I think I have totally found my valentines day inspiration!

My new favorite colors, Turquoise and Lime Green

Sometimes you just have to get yourself moving.

I spent a couple of days looking through magazines, and hitting the thrift store.

I've been seeing this color combo all around me.

I acquired all these lovely wooden spools from the sweetest lady at the church rummage sale years ago, but until a few days ago there were sitting in my basement. I never noticed that they were all these lovely blues, greens and yellows.

Even though these colors don't "go" in my house I feel like I must have them!

January Buy Nothing Recap

Okay, so if you read my blog entitled Enough I stated that this year my basic goal is to abstain from buying newly manufactured goods for myself and my household for one year.

I wouldn't call January a bust, but I definitely did not get off to the start that I wanted.
First of all, on January 1st I realized the boys were out of easel paper. In our house this is unacceptable, as the easel is the focus of entertainment for our older son, and definitely gets a goodly amount of use by the younger one as well. I remembered that a good friend sent an amazon gift card, so I figured, okay I 'll use the card. What always happens on Amazon? You have to spend $25 to get the supersaver shipping, so I decided to get a copy of Rodale's Organic Gardening to go with it. At that point I realize I've spent over half the gift card, and that the other half would not qualify for the free shipping later, so I had to spend the whole amount. So I threw in the movie "Up" for the family, plus a new Sarah Ban Breachnach book for myself. I justified it all because I technically received the gift card before the new year.

The next thing that came up was the beef. Over a hundred pounds of it, to be exact. We had ordered a large quantity of grass fed, pastured beef from a local farmer, plus several pounds of venison from a friend, and had to buy a deep freeze. We briefly considered getting a used freezer, but that made no sense since a new Energy Star model only costs $30 a year to operate. Again, I considered it justified because we've been planning on buying one for four years now.

Next, the younger boy needed new shoes, as he obviously is sleeping in a bed of Miracle-Gro each night. Being the younger boy, he has pretty much lived in hand-me-down everything his whole life, so this time around he got new shoes. I don't feel terrible about it because shoes are one of those items I don't buy used for myself either.

Then there was the Michael's trip. Again, I had a Christmas gift card in hand. Basically I purchased a Crayola gift set for a birthday party, two packs of scrapbook pages, several bottles of paint, picture storage boxes for the boys, and a pack of stickers.

On another outing, this time a date with the husband, we ended up at Barnes and Noble, and a copy of Somerset Life went home with me. Next time I will be strong and find a 2nd hand copy!

Finally, there was a month end visit to one thrift store, where I found a few owl friends to upcycle with new coats of paint.

I also found these awesome mid century champagne glasses, just in time for Valentine's Day!

There were few victories along the way. One, I did no impulse buying at the mega grocery store that I go to for the whole month. Two, I kept grocery spending under $100 a week. Three, we almost achieved our family goal of living on 75% of our income. Four, I actually went to Target, again gift card in hand, and came out without buying anything because they did not have exactly, precisely what I was looking for.

Things that I learned this month. For starters, as I read through this list I can tell you that very, very little of it was needed. This tells me that I sometimes feel compelled to buy things just to buy them. Also, from the hindsight is always 20/20 files, the family's reaction to the movie "Up" was that although it was nice, we probably won't be watching it with the frequency that we watch "Cars" or "Toy Story." On the plus side, I have learned that if I can talk myself into waiting just 24 hours, I probably won't end up buying the thing at all.

My basic goals for February are to start planning March and April birthday gift purchases, avoid impulse buys completely, to clean out the basement and art space, and list a ton of stuff on Etsy.

A good, thrifty project this month: I took an old, large basket, lined it with plastic, filled it with a layer of rocks for drainage and potting soil, and planted some of last years peas. It will make great decoration for St. Patrick's day and if I am lucky I will have peas by Easter!