I’m Going in to the Woods…

 

"Little Elf" figure $6.50 from monkeyjunction on Etsy

…namely, the woods in and around the Green Mountains of Northern Vermont.  I’ve worked hard for a year taking minimal time for myself and now relaxation at Grammie’s house in the woods for SIX DAYS is my reward!  And, all of them paid for.  Score.

Before I load up the school bus (my dad drives a big, yellow Pontiac Aztek) and jump in with father, brother and niece, I thought I’d poke around on Etsy to check out what the folks in the farm-friendly, rustic and rural state of Vermont are up to.

 

Monkey Finger Puppet $6.00 from monkeyjunction on Etsy

The first of my finds comes from a woman named Meredith out of Burlington.  Her Etsy store, monkeyjunction, features creations that are self-proclaimed ‘super-wonky’ which I automatically like.  Preschool-friendly finger puppets, mini dolls and bean bags are on the menu and Aunt Audrey likes.  Likes a lot.  They’re very reasonably priced and with puppet duos like bird and worm or trios of three blind mice, they are great educational tools for wee ones!  Marked as favorite for when K. gets a little older…  Check out a nice site from Meredith at The Sharing Preschool Blog.

 

Bobby Pin Trio – Retro Chic $16.00 from SweetAvenueJewelry

Just down the road, Martha in Colchester from SweetAvenueJewelry creates colorful, vintage inspired jewelry and hair pieces.  I like the selection above because it reminds me of July 4th…which is about as far away on the thermostat as you can get from what we’ve got right now (not that I don’t love that, too).  Martha is a Renaissance woman, in that she creates jewelry and crafts while simultaneously holding down a 9-5 and playing in a band.  Although my pastimes are a bit different, I can totally relate.  Clear vision and sweet execution – I hope I end up in a local shop that carries her work!  And if none do, yet, then they better start lining up.  🙂

Vermont wouldn’t be Vermont if it weren’t for all the farms we pass on the way to Underhill.  From slanted and decaying photo ops to bustling and vibrant active farms the countryside is carved based on an agrarian way of life.  This is slowly changing, which breaks my heart, but for the time being let’s enjoy.

 

Buy 3 and Save Trio of Rustic Farm Fresh Soaps $8 from oldgatesfarm on Etsy

Old Gates Farm sells on Etsy a wide selection of soaps, knitted work, dyed bags, note cards, fabric-covered buttons and more.  Of all the items in her shop, though, these rustic soaps caught my eye.  I might be a sucker for a beautiful photograph, or maybe it’s because I’ve been itching to learn to make soaps.  OR it could be just that I need to shower more!  Whatever the reason, these beautiful soaps are made with homegrown herbs and that’s a-okay with me.

 

Fine Silver Earrings $50 by courtneyreckord on Etsy

Finally, all things can’t be cute or squeaky clean: these silver, industrial-style earrings from courtneyreckord are huge and amazing.  The rough-hewn shapes are just screaming to be worn by someone with amazing, long, curly hair.  My VT cousin has amazing curly hair – maybe I should get them for her!

In addition to some much needed rest and relaxation I plan on scooting around Chittenden county to find some shops and artists from the Great North.  Blog entries may be sporadic over the next few days, but I’ll be sure to fill you all in when I get back!

Holiday Shopping on Etsy

Ahh, the long weekend.

Over the long weekend, I got involved in some “BNR”s on Etsy.  For those who don’t know the wonder of BNRs, here’s a little tutorial:

A ‘curator’ selects a BNR ‘Treasury’ which is a collection of images (listings) from different sellers on Etsy.  The listed sellers are then notified that they are part of a BNR and these sellers should then spread the word in various forums, blogs, on their Facebook page, etc.  BNR stands for “Buy and Replace” which means different sellers can purchase items from those listed in the treasury in order to take that previous seller’s spot.  The idea is hopefully someone will want your item and will want to buy out your spot!

I’m not totally sold on how viable a business model this is, but the exposure it creates and the networks it builds are invaluable.  In a BNR you end up watching a little obsessively, hoping your item will sell so you can buy another.  😉  So you end up ‘chatting’ with the other people in the BNR for quite some time.  I made a few internet-friends this weekend!

The other plus is that it enables my spending bug which, if all works out accordingly to plan, will break even if others replace my listing in the BNR.

~

 

Creatures of Habit Zine collection $3 from EastoftheSun on Etsy

 

Peppermint Pine Moose Sachet $5.95 from WSDreams on Etsy

I ended up purchasing a couple items, one from East of the Sun (Anna Simmons) and one from Winter Solstice Dreams.  One ended up in my car to freshen out all the bad smells (where do they come from, anyways?) and the other was gifted as coloring books for my super awesome niece!  While I was puttering around on Etsy, I found some other wish list items.  P.S.  Hands off my WSDreams lavender eye pillow for future purchase!

 

Vintage Holt Howard Cat S+P Shakers from twolittleowls on Etsy. Xmas present for my mother was a hit!

 

WANT WANT WANT Jewelry Organizer by BluebirdHeaven on Etsy.

NEED NEED NEED Figural Wood Hat Rack from Eden Cove Treasures on Etsy

End of Year Clearance SALE!

Our own little Cyndi Lou Who surveys the surprise-decorated living room!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  Ours was full of excitement and noisy toys, what with the advent of our newest, youngest family member.  Quiet Christmases are a thing of the past for the next dozen or so years…thank goodness!

To clear room in my studio and start 2011 fresh, I am having a clearance sale at my Etsy store.  Also feel free to get in touch to visit the studio and select items in person.  Here’s how it works:

"Mint" necklace and casino lights pin set, soon to be listed. $11 (before discount)

Go to my Little Eye Designs shop at http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com .

Choose one or two or twenty listings from my Etsy store.  When you are ready to checkout, enter the coupon code “GETITGONE” during the purchasing process.  40% will automatically be deducted from your total.

Each shipment will contain a special gift for your helping me to clean out my studio space!  Sale runs from Sunday, December 26th through Monday, January 3rd.  Shipments will go out beginning Tuesday, Jan. 4th when I return from vacation.

Bare Branches Set of 3 pins $7.00. Click for listing.

Happy shopping, everyone!

Visit:  http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com to shop!

Day 22, 23, 24 and 25. What? I got busy.

Four more ways to give!  In rapid succession, it’s cold out and the covers are calling my name!

Good as a side, or as the whole.

#1 – Eat well.

Eating well can mean eating delicious things (like I did all weekend) that aren’t so good for your body but are good for your soul.  Then balance that out with eating well for your body.  Like delicious spring greens with blackberries, pine nuts and blue cheese pictured above.  Well rounded, not fatty and so delicious!

#2 – Tell the truth.

Not just to others, but to yourself.  I don’t think this needs any explanation.

#3 – Rebuild bridges.

Ghosts from the past are scarier when they remain as ghosts.  Does it really serve you to hold on to negative feelings forever?

annnd…#4.  You guessed it.  Buy from artists!

Mass media, big box stores and ironically, the internet, are dehumanizing our everyday experiences.  Regain some of your human experience by supporting the arts.  Pictured above is one of my newest listings, a pendant with an arctic fox in it and on sale with coupon code GETITGONE at checkout.

Day 21 of Giving: Uhhh…Sweets!

 

Peppermint Bark Snowflake $2.50 by cakesandmorewi on Etsy

Thank goodness my new day job has dental benefits, because seriously, Little Eye loves chocolate.  And candy canes.  And more chocolate.

 

Low Carb Almond Cookie Mix in a Jar $6.00 by MamasLoveinaJar on Etsy

There are literally thousands of listings on Etsy for delicious sweets, cookies, fudge, soaps that smell like candy that you’d probably try to eat if you didn’t know better, truffles, trifles, chocolate covered fill-in-the-blanks and more.  And look at all that stuff in your pantry – sugar, flour, …turn it in to something worthwhile!

Then share.  With me.  So we don’t all get enormously huge before January!

 

Day 20 of Giving: Drive Carefully.

The gift we give today is pretty serious – it’s making sure that others are healthy, happy and safe to enjoy their holidays by making sure we responsibly enjoy our own.

Firstly. We are SO LUCKY to have a white blanket of snow covering Maine, even in the South!  Of course with your snow tires (or four season tires) your Maine car is equipped with the necessary precautions to prevent skidding, bumping, crashing.  But that guy coming down the straightaway that you’re turning on to…does he?  Tuesday evening brought a beautiful (heavy!) snowfall to the Portland area that resulted in a 17-car-pile-up near Deering Oaks and countless other accidents.  Personally, as I was driving home in my equipped, yet somewhat finicky sedan, a zippy motorist crossed the straightaway with only 15 or so feet between me and him – my antilock brakes take at least 20 feet to be effective!  And pedestrians, use CAUTION.  Just because someone could potentially brake from the distance you’re planning on crossing at, just assume that the car will slide and swerve and may not do what you’re thinking it will.  Remember snow?  It’s slippery.

Secondly.

In my mind, there is absolutely no excuse for excessive drinking and driving.  It’s taken way too big of a price for me to really, truly know this.  So if you’re going to parties between now and the New Year and want to enjoy beverages, here are a few ground rules your mother, teachers and friends probably already told you but if you don’t listen I will personally break your knee caps so you can’t get in your car.  (Not actually true, but I’ll definitely take your keys).

#1.  Designated driver.  I personally think this rule of thumb is a sham.  DDs always end up getting persuaded to ‘have a drink!’ by their increasingly sauced friends and, who wants to go to a party with a large group of people they may or may not know and not taste a little liquid courage?  Sometimes this works.  I have friends who don’t drink but like going to parties.  This works.  Couples who can actually stick to this plan have some success.  This works.  But if this seems like kind of a bummer, please see Rule #2 + #3.

#2.  Taxi cab!  Sure, you may have to wait awhile and hey, it may cost $20 to get across town but stop being such a miser, Scrooge, it’s Christmas!  Leave the house with cash so you are not in a bind later when you’re contemplating a hackney driver and also leave a nice tip for the fellow or lady working on the holiday.  Split the cab with people who live close so it’s not such a pain in the wallet.  $20 is totally worth avoiding thousands in lawyer fees, losing your license or killing yourself or, worse, one of your friends.

#3.  Stay awhile!  Eat something!  If you’re planning on leaving the party at 1am after the big toast and a little dancing, stop your intake and start your snacking a few hours before.  You’ll still have good bubbly champagne feelings but when it’s time to drive you’ll be in much better working order.

#4.  Be nice to the dry.  If someone doesn’t want a drink, don’t get all excited because you are and think it’s the best thing in the world.  Some people don’t!  As someone who ‘takes it easy’ at parties and usually switches to tea after 2 drinks, tops, I just want to let you all know that you *don’t* get more and more awesome as the night wears on…it’s actually the opposite.

 

Have fun, but above all, be safe!

Day 19 of Giving: Wrap It Up.

Wow!  I’ve really let the days get ahead of me.  Here I’m writing an entry for days ago!  Still, get ready for a power-packed day of entries so that I can enjoy my Christmas Eve with family without feeling like I didn’t do what I said I was going to do.  🙂

Day 19 reflects on my activity last night of sitting on the living room floor (hardwood, ouch) surrounded by reused paper, ribbons and bows from last year.  Half the fun of receiving and giving gifts is making an event out of it.  Presentation, as in sales, is everything.  But you don’t have to break the bank or widen that footprint in order to do it!

Do you have a ‘nook’ anywhere in your house/apartment?  Do you love breathing air and drinking fresh water?  Then what you’re going to need to do is save these things on Saturday you used to wrap up your presents throughout the year:  birthdays, bar mitzvahs and yes, Xmas 2011 (whoa!).  Because seriously, who wants to pay $4.99 for a tube of shiny paper that will end up crumpled on the floor by noon on the 25th.  Not me.

I had a few pristine sheets of tissue paper in red, green and white that were the ‘top layer’ for several prezzies.  We had a big tube of shiny red paper with snowflakes on it that mysteriously ended up in our possession (I don’t normally do shiny, since it’s triple the environmental impact or some other fudged statistic like that) so I wrapped a present in it that would’ve busted through the tissue paper otherwise.  Simple gold ribbon tied the packages tight and I made little tags from paper left over from a wedding invitation order I made in 2009.  I cut strips of the paper, stamped it in gold with a Christmas tree stamp, wrote the recipients name under the tree and hole-punched at the top so it could fit through the ribbon.

Annnd…our family is celebrating Christmas on the 24th because my Dad works for the volunteer EMT in Yarmouth on Saturdays so he can’t be sure if he’ll be needed for a call or not on the 25th.  I like to think of that as a little gift in itself, of course my dad would wave his hands in the air and tell me to can it if he heard me say that.  So on the night of the 24th when all that paper ends up strewn about, I will definitely be hunched over collecting pristine scraps.  Then I’ll reuse packaging Etsy orders, wholesale shipments to any number of Maine shops, and who knows what else.

Pictures of my eco-econo-wrapping to come – don’t want to ruin the surprise!