Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shout Outs!

So for some reason the title "rainy day = heavy hearts?" came to mind and I was going to write about how it started out this way, but how I'm trying to lift it, but whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa I don't want to be so serious today! (but just for one more second)... Ok so the whole... "when life hands you lemons thing". Life has handed us a few lemons lately.. We're trying to so hard to make lemonade, but has anyone ever stopped to realize that lemonade is really sour without the sugar? What about the sugar? I NEED SOME SUGAR!

On that note... Here's some shout outs to people and things that have been giving me some sugar!

1. Pam of Folk Art Tree Fandangle absolutely made my day. First of all, she had the most clever idea of sending a gift to every 50th person that hearts her etsy shops. When she told me I was 50 I thought it was a really sweet idea, but didn't want her to feel obligated to send me a gift. She (sweetly) demanded that it didn't matter I was a team member, but I was 50th and I won. So today I open my little gift. The card she wrote me was the sweetest thing and made my day. Her packaging was adorable. She puts in a tiny little piece of paper that says smile on it that falls out into your lap and makes you do just that and then (we haven't even gotten to the gift yet!) the cutest little earrings were inside the box. They are sterling and swarovsky crystal and I just love them. Thank you Pam.. that deserves a shout out.

2. My Boys. This show just keeps getting better and better. One of the episodes this season.. maybe the first I think I laughed uncontrollably for at least 3-5 minutes. It was great. We had to pause it. Jeff and I both love it. We just wish that the episodes were longer and by golly that the season was longer! 6 or 8 episodes or whatever it is is SO short! But we LOVE it and we want more!

3. Sushi. Oh how I miss you dear sushi. It's been far far too long. But you still deserve a shout out. I've yet to find a "sushi buddy" around here and the only place that was open for lunch is no longer. I NEED my fix!

4. Toyota Sienna. I just love my car. It's wonderful. I love that because we took one of the bucket seats out we have a big open space where I can easily change a diaper, we can sit and have a snack, or just waste time. It's wonderful. As much as it's still crazy I drive a mini-van I still love it.

5. Mini Golf. I just love mini golf and I'm getting her started early! She had a blast. When we were in NH we went to Pirate's Cove with Mom and Paul. She was a bit too young for the putting concept, but she loved being there and having the ball.

6. CSA's. I am so excited to start getting my veggies from Hatchet Cove Farm. Hatchet Cove Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is a great way to receive farm-fresh, nutritious, organic vegetables at a great value. When you become a CSA member (by buying a ’share’ in the farm for the season) we become your farmers, and Hatchet Cove Farm becomes your farm. How does it work? When you purchase a CSA share you help support the farm by paying up front for your veggies in the spring. That helps them pay for seed and cover the expenses of starting up the farm for the season. In return, you get a weekly selection of all that is available on the farm. This means you are eating the freshest, most delicious seasonal veggies possible. Kelsey and I can't wait to start visiting the animals!

7. Scrabble. It really is the world's best board game. I don't play nearly enough. I think I need to start a scrabble night!

8. Sesame Street. Kelsey loves it and ok I admit it.. it makes a good babysitter sometimes. Kelsey was just so delighted to see the picture!

9. Comfort Foods. mmmmmmmmmmm. mac n cheese, stuffed shells, pot roast. yeah that pretty much sums it up for me right now. Oh and I have meatballs cooking right now.

Ten seems too cliche.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Facebook brings on the orders...

Facebook has been a really great way to get exposure to my etsy shop and some of the hand-painted accessories and toys I have created. As a result of posting my work in photo albums on facebook, many of my friends have purchased from Whimsidoodle. Here's a look at some of the orders I've had in the past few months and how they came to fruition:

Kristin knew she was having twin boys and wanted letters for their nursery. I was the only person who knew their names. I based the letters off of her bedding, as well as some coolorful canvas art she'd gotten with a jungle animal theme. The boys just came last week. Congrats to Kristin and Josh!

My friend Danielle had seen some of my work on facebook and in my etsy shop and she immediately thought to have a set of ladybug coasters made for her aunt. I used unfinished 6" ladybugs and put extra coats of varnish on them, so they can withstand moisture. I've had very good luck with that. Her aunt loved them. It was a set of 4.

My friend Carly wanted to get some letters for her niece Alaina. The bedding was from target and I used some of the flowers and butterflies from the patterns as inspiration. The target site is great for this, because it shows an entire collection, which may be bedding, lamps, light switch covers, rugs, valences etc, so everything has a different patten and it gives me a lot of opportunity to segue from it, but use it as close inspiration by combining components within the different patterns. I don't have that many stores near me and none with letters, so Carly found letters she liked and had them shipped to me.

Another baby on the way was Payton. My friend Kelly wanted to have them sent to her sister before Payton's arrival. They were also inspired by the bedding and nursery, which is a ladybug theme. Kelly also had the letters shipped to me. She found them on and they are great. They were already white and very big... 8", which was the largest I'd done. They were a little challenging, because they were more like plastic, but the paint varnish took to them fine.

This was actually the order that started it all! My cousin Mary Elizabeth and I did a custom trade for our etsy shops. She sells the cutest handbags in her shop. Actually, it all started because she made me the cutest diaper bag and matching zip pouch for my baby shower. I loved the zip pouch so much, I'd been using it as a makeup/ditty bag when I traveled, but I needed something bigger. So I had her make me a custom one (which I LOVE - it's this beautiful black and white almost damask design, but funkier), but I'd also fallen in love with some of the cluthes my other cousins had, so I had her make me one of those as well in this gorgeous pink and green fabric. She also has wallets, key fobs and lareger bags in her shop! So in trade for my two bags she had me paint furniture embellishments for her daughter Nicolina. She told me the paint colors (a periwinkle type color) and I did my thing. I think they got put on the door in her room. These letters are only 3" high or so.

Friday, April 24, 2009

spring revelations... what's next?

I find myself feeling many things lately... some of them include hopeful, cheerful, and happy. Yet, for the first time in a very long time and maybe ever, I have feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence, doubt, wondering who I am and what my place is and it started to occur to me the other day where some of it stems from. It's really great... every time I find myself in these positions I can just blame society.

For instance, after college I found myself struggling with the "next part" not happening as planned. We're raised (as girls especially) to go to school, then college, get a job, find the man, get married and have babies. So there I was living in Boston out of college, 22/23 years old and there a'int no man! I wondered what was wrong with me and why it was taking so long. I'd done everything in the right order and this was something I couldn't really control. I was living in a city I'd been in for 5 years and it was like a foreign land. Everyone I knew aside from a few friends had fled off to their new jet setter lives and careers. All of a sudden there was no longer keg parties and 20 something guys looking for a lay and no commitment. Now, every where I went I met baby factories and had to look for wedding rings. It was like the twilight zone in a matter of months. Naturally when my best friend and roommate got a job in NY threatening to leave me behind I couldn't stay. I fled, scared to be alone and went "home" to my parents where the "get a job", "exercise" and "stop going to the bar every night" notes appeared on my bed within a matter of a week.

So... I find myself blaming society yet again. Ok society.. I DID IT. I graduated from kindergarten, 8th grade, high school and college (ok, so I don't have a MBA yet, but maybe someday). I went on eharmony I found my man (a really good one btw), we bought a house, got married and had a baby. We did it all in the right order (sort of if living together is considered socially acceptable. My catholic gram didn't think so), but now I realize ... "now what?" I've spent my whole life working toward the next thing. As a child you constantly hear, "you have the whole world ahead of you... go get it!" So now I wonder "where's the big world?". I know it's there, opportunities are everywhere and I've certainly never been accused of being something other than a go getter, yet, it's so easy to become paralyzed. And once again I feel like people around me are facilitating the "what next" by the natural question....... "when are you guys having another baby?" While we're waffling over this question and it may happen, I find myself realizing that the reason to do it is not because it's the natural what's next.

I think a lot of it stems from being a master multi-tasker and having a hand in so many different things that I never feel a master at anything really. At 29 I feel out of the loop to what hip 20 somethings should know and be in the know. Do I really have time to twitter? I haven't written in my blog since January. Do I have the time to try and use every socal networking tool to get people to my etsy shop? Do I have the time to sit down and replenish my shop? Do I have to have an existence beyond being "Kelsey's mom" if that's when I'm happiest? Do I have to be in the know in order to stay in the game? I do have to work... How many questions should I have to ask myself in one day before I have the answer?

So.... what's next?

I'm not sure. I'm trying to enjoy every day and find a balance and figure out my purpose right now. One thing I am sure of is that chasing after your almost 2 year old while she tries to get puddles and knowing that you make her whole world is the most amazing feeling in the world and wow does that give you a sense of purpose. I'll take it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another day

We had a very busy few days. Kelsey and I went down to Mass for girl's weekend. It was fantastic. There were of us girls and two babies. We all fit in my van to go out and about.. shopping, sushi, sightseeing. It was so needed and a great time. I'll get pics up in the next few days.

Yesterday was the Built Energy Forum at the Augusta Civic Center. What a success! I am so proud to have been apart of such an event and even more honored I get to put it on my resume. We had such talented speakers and the Governor of Maine, John Baldacci came to speak. We would have been happy with 100 attendees and got over 250! I tihnk we ad 275 people in the room during the talks. It was so inspiring. So hopefully that room full of people will figure out how we can all have more efficient, green homes without the $4500 mortgage for 1800 sq ft!

Today we are cleaning the house and trying to clean up the tornado that hit inside. So far so good and lots of work to do to close out the event. I love watching Kelsey play and dance. She has a baby doll that she hugs and loves and "ma" (kisses) now. In the past week or so, but they are pretty inseperable. As I type she hands me baby who is now on my shoulder for a burp. Oh here comes grandbabydoll number two and a Kelsey to hug the mama. "ahhhhh mama" she says.

I love the love.

Thank you for the hard plastic piggy Kels.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

must share recipes

Kelsey and I went to play group today and our friend Liz has the best recipes for pretzels and play doh!

here is the pretzel recipe:


3 1/2 cups flour (I use bread flour and never seem to get that last half cup in the dough)
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon Yeast dissolved in one cup warm (not hot) water

Baking Soda wash: is 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda dissolved in one cup boiling water
Egg Wash: 1 Egg and 1 teaspoon water
Kosher Salt

Mix Brown sugar, salt and yeast together. Add flour
I use a big mixer with a bread attachment and I believe that a foodprcessor would make quick work of it, too.

Put this in a bowl (I put a light coating of olive oil on the dough) and cover it in plastic wrap. Keep out (not in fridge) overnight to let the dough rise. If you were pressed for time you could have it rise on the couter for a couple of hours---but this option makes the dough less easy to roll.

Cut into pieces and roll out. Shape and then brush with the baking soda wash. Brush with the egg wash and then sprinkle salt. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Put into a preheated oven (425) for about 10 minutes or so--until golden brown.

PLAYDOH recipe:

4 Cups flour (I buy the really cheap kind to make the playdoh with) :)
1 cup salt
1/2 Cup Cream of Tartar
Food Coloring
3 or 4 tablepoons of oil
optional:(essential oil scents like lavendar)

Put all ingrediants into a saucepan and start on low....mix really well. Increase the heat some and after a couple of minutes it will start to come together. It is very sloppy at first. Keep stirring until it really starts sticking together. The heat is what is binding it so you might have to turn it up a little...should never boil.

keeps well in a plastic bag.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

this and that - 10 thoughts I ponder

#1. I am ready for a REAL vacation. It can even be in this country, but it needs to be kidless, winterless and just the husband and I.

#2. I often find myself wondering how people with many kids fit into small cars.

#3. I just don't understand the big deal about goat cheese. Not to mention I hate the taste, but when and why did it become so trendy.

#4. This is me ready for the new season of American Idol and wondering what happened to David Cook.. why do they drop off the face of the earth afterward?

#5. I've come to realize that it's not important that I send Christmas cards to everyone I always did, but most important to stay in touch with everyone that matters.

#6. Do men add to their daily calendar "be insensitive at least once today or mission failed?"

#7. Girl time really is the key to my sanity or what's left of it.

#8. Little things make me really happy and little things really piss me off... (add to resolution list - work on that)

#9. Watching your child grow every day is the greatest thing that can happen to you.

#10. It never gets easier after loved ones die, it just gets different. But always remember.. you can't get time back.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The beginning of a new year...

Snow themed pictures on a snowy day here in Maine. I guess these pictures represent the overall feeling I'd like to have at the end of 2009. I am ready for some calm, peace, drama free and trauma free time. While I know I am lucky as can be and things could always be so much worse, I also know I have to allow myself the ability to take in some of the pain, grief and stress I've had, reflect upon it, be thankful for what I have and move forward. If it were only that easy.

We're all starting our resolutions. Jeff and I each have about 13. I found my myself taking away many of the resolutions that caused me to have to measure a success (or failure) and found myself adding more that caused joy or self improvement. Jeff made a comment about last year's resolutions and how he only finished one. That really sparked something inside of me. I was very passionate about.. "why is that a failure?" "Let's celebrate how much of it you DID complete!" He had resolutions such as read 10 books or earn $10K at his second job at domino's. While he didn't complete either, he was close and they motivated him. I think that in all the years I knew Jeff before that he'd read maybe 10 books combined, so 6 or 8 in one year was great for him. And he loves challenges, so pushing himself to be extra nice and extra helpful to his customers was a great character booster (now we just have to work on the general public realizing they should tip their pizza delivery guys and that it's not all built in!) I realized that it's not silly to have resolutions such as take a bath twice a month, or go on a family vacation and if it just can't happen in '09 (I'm in 3 weddings this year!), to have it planned in '09 and ready for 2010.

The economy is a downturn as we all know. Mainers are always ahead of the game in saving I'd say.. the state motto should be "scrimp and save". While I admire it ,I don't adhere to it as much as most, but I certainly heed the warning. Having gone through a bankruptcy as a kid I know what it's like to have a lot and then have nothing and I know how to not spend. I find myself planning a lunch with my friends and hearing others say they are on such a tight budget these days they may not be able to go. I pause a moment and wonder if I should be as strict. Should I be like my brother and sister in law and have a budget that runs straight through next December. Frankly, NO. I can't do it. It's not me. And when we are really in a tight place I get resourceful. Rolling change, selling things we don't need, conserving food. Sure ok. I can admit it probably adds some unneeded stress. And don't get me wrong.. I do save and I don't spend frivolously, but we certainly aren't saving 3 months worth of bills just in case as Dave Ramsey suggests. Believe me, I wish I had $10K in my checking account plus everything else in my investments, but we live day to day and try not to touch the investments. Anyway, my point is that as hard as the economy is and how scary everything is right now, we're still ok and I'm certainly sitting tight and not doing anything major, but I realize that $10 at lunch is going to buy me memories that I'll always have and some time with my friends that my inner soul needs right now.

What I learned more than anything in 2008 is we can't get time back. Some become paralyzed by grief and loss and life continues to go on around them and they miss... a lot. Life won't stop. Death won't stop. Tragedy won't stop. But our ability to move forward, and create memories can continue. I've never lived my life with regrets, but I would regret having something else happen to another one of the people I love the most or even myself and not have the hugs, kisses and all the things that need to be said be said.

I find myself at a place of reflection and calm, yet also at a place of such turmoil. So here's to 12 months from now resulting in a piece of mind reflective of snowy afternoons and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

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