Hello, all, just a quick word that The Big Thaw 2012 is going to be on Saturday, May 12 at the Mayo Street Arts Center in Portland’s East Bayside — applications are open and available at the Big Thaw website. You have until February 29th to get them in!
Beautiful, beautiful. It’s Christmas-time and having had the very recent experience of battling crowds at our closest Toys R’ Us (and almost not surviving to tell the tale) I feel it’s very, very very (very very very) important to share the importance of giving a gift of time, effort and love over price tags + capitalism.
Every year as the crowds get crazier, and more pepper spray-ier my opinion on this matter gets stronger and stronger. Our economy is driven almost entirely by a paradigm that seems to say “disposable is good, more is good, spending money equates status and I don’t care where this item came from, as long as it’s cheap.” Whoa, whoa, whoa America. Let’s take a step back!
Buying locally, from skilled tradespeople and artisans ensures there is a face and a name to go along with the product you are buying. If there’s a problem with it, if you have a question about it, or sometimes even if you’d like to know how to make it these people are right there for you, happy to help. Lissa, from Barnacle Bags, posted this amazing salve recipe (part 1, part 2) for her readers, even though it is a product she’ll presumably be selling. How can she afford to do this? Well, most of us DIY-ers turned entrepreneurs have the Achilles heel that we’re actually just super-psyched about the things we make, and want others to experience the happiness, too. Try it next time you’re at a craft fair – ask someone about their method – usually they’ll tell you WAY more than you want to know! Also, here’s a super-duper tutorial on playing card notebooks from Malaika at Hand-Me-Down Designs:
I get so sad when I am talking to people who are experiencing major holiday anxiety because of the pressures they’re feeling as a result of living up to ‘tradition.’ Like, they’ve married in to a family that is big in to gift-giving but said family is also really in to procreation so people are taking out big loans in December to cover their ‘tradition.’ That’s not a good tradition! In our house, BIG Christmases were the way to go when we were growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. However, we’re all adults now, and have shifted our gift-giving traditions to more family and food-oriented ones. Every year we get together and eat like crazy on Christmas Eve, special foods we don’t normally cook. On Christmas morning we do a little gift-giving (stretch it out as long as possible!!) and then we watch some kind of family friendly movie and eat some more food + cookies we don’t normally have. This year we’re going to add-in some song-singing because the little one (she’s 2 1/2) really loves music. What’s more special than quality time with family? Definitely not iPads and Xboxes, that’s for sure.
This year, almost everyone’s getting something handmade. The money I’ve spent on Christmas presents for the whole family won’t exceed $50.00, but the time I’ve spent making everything is probably pushing 40 hours of ‘after work, TV-watching’ time. While I know not everyone can knit or crochet, everyone has the ability to do something that someone else can’t.
Are you good at fixing cars? Making cookies? Babysitting pro bono? Building bird houses? Even if you can’t make a THING to give to someone, consider drawing up a nice ‘gift certificate’ for services you can offer your friends and family in the future.
And, if you’re lucky enough to have enough income in your budget to really go nuts this time of year, showering out the contents of your wallet at local shops and at craft fairs giving directly to the artisan is going to do WAY MORE for your quality of life and the American economy than waiting in next year’s Black Friday lines at 4am.
If I don’t get to the bloggy-blog before the big man is shimmying down the chimney: MERRY CHRISTMAS, internets!!
Boyfriend and I went to Border’s the other night lacking any other activity to do past the 8 o’clock hour. Sometimes you’ve just got energy after dark, and you’ve got to use it. I was actually looking for the third book in the Millenium series, The Girl Who Kicked A Hornet’s Nest, but only found it in the exorbitantly-priced hardcover edition. No thanks, I’ll just get my dirty fingers all over Kate’s copy, if I don’t mind. But by the time I’d come to this conclusion I’d already decided I had to buy SOMETHING. Border’s is hurtin’, after all, and although I’m generally a Buy Local girl there is a soft spot in my heart for any book store still slinging lattes when all the other baristas have packed up and gone home for the night. Not that Borders’ coffee is any good, it’s just a principle thing.
So I managed to scrounge up a sweeeet little moleskin-rip-off “Piccadilly” journal that does a nice job of making me look hoity toity without costing me hoity toity prices. I bought a juicy pen at A.C. Moore the following day and now am fully equipped to write down my thoughts on a whim.
This proves 100% enjoyable for present-day-Audrey but totally confusing for future generations and/or dominant species’ who will wonder what the correlation is between Nat Turner/slave rebellion, fashion blogs in Portland, ME, and a litany of benefits crying out for pro-ice-cream-sandwich initiatives in every corner of my life. Seriously, let’s draw some ice cream sandwiches: they’re that good.
Wish I had pictures to go along with this rant, I think they would be be funnier than what you might be imagining in your head but I don’t want to discredit how funny what you might have up there could be… so for now, dear readers, think of the absence of pictorial content as a way of my saying: I trust you, you are hilarious.
Looking back, maybe that last entry was a little pessimistic. Maybe I just needed to complain a bit so that I could complete all of the following yesterday: grocery shopping (twice), living room tidying, cooking dinner, finishing a book and updating The BIG THAW website. Now that the steam’s let off, I’ve got some energy for a really positive shout-out to Kathi Langelier at The Herbal Revolution.
I first met Kathi at the Handmade Holiday Fair in Biddeford in December. We joked about how it’s always so expensive to travel in state and have to stay in a hotel if you want to be somewhere longer than just a day trip. Then we volunteered each other our ‘spare spaces’ in our houses whenever one was longing for a change of scenery.
While I’m a ‘city girl,’ The Herbal Revolution quite naturally has its home in Lincolnville, ME, where excellent things grow in gardens and forests. Kathi harvests and forages the herbs and plants needed for her products and makes good use of them without gross chemicals or stuff that makes my skin all red.
The first product I bought from Kathi was the Better Than Botox clay mask ($9) which is more than a bang for your buck. The jar itself is pretty sizable, but the contents are powder, not pre-mixed, so by adding your own water (or yogurt, lemon juice, tomato juice or whatever else works for you) you can get the consistency and longevity out of BTB that you’d like. Above is a picture of me looking so excited for how great my skin would feel in a little bit. The kelp powder tingles as there is mint and rosemary mixed in the clay and it has a very light, pleasant smell. The mask also includes nutritional yeast for acne prone skin (that’s me!) When I wash it off my face feels younger, fresher, and definitely more firm. Yay to 10 minute, natural face lifts.
After making some Etsy sales last week and a Paypal balance burning a hole in my pocket I revisited The Herbal Revolution as a repeat customer. I bought a St. John’s Wort oil (for pain relief in my bum! Sciatica boo, herbal remedies yay) and a small pot of Rose Lotion.
The Rose Lotion ($8) is light and smells exactly like you want it to. Feminine, breezy and subtle. The lotion itself is not pink, but a buttery yellow and that’s super refreshing. Not all roses are pink, people! And I don’t need any dye in my product to make me more convinced it has roses in it. Kathi done good. This little pot is portable and a tiny bit goes a long way (like a pea size for my whole face or two pea sizes for my leathery old man hands).
Kathi recommends using the St. John’s Wort oil ($12) with her St. John’s Wort tincture ($11)which (Thanks, Kathi!) she sent me as a special gift in my package. Although it tastes herb-y I mix the tincture (20-30 drops) in green tea and apply the St. John’s Wort Oil to my rear end which, for any of you who know me, is constantly ache-y. I’ve recently begun massage therapy and am retraining myself to sleep in a proper position but the St. John’s Wort battery combining forces with a heating pad don’t hurt, either!
St. John’s Wort is also indicated for depression. Mainers, I’m looking at you. It’s been freezing cold for near three months now, fresh snowfall has lost its nostalgic charm and we’re playing the ‘can we make it to April with that much heating oil?’ game. So: you’re depressed. Even if you don’t admit it I know you’re climbing in to bed with a book at 7pm and snoozing by 8. I know you’re ordering delivery for the second time this week and it isn’t even Wednesday. Depression has many relievers – this just happens to be my favorite one right now! Also look at my awesome teacup in that picture up there.
The St. John’s Wort Oil is distinctly herby but the odor is only apparent when you stick the vial up your nose (don’t do that). Plus, after a few days the aroma is actually growing on me!
I’m really quite psyched to have found something natural (and effective) right here in our home state. Kathi’s products leave my skin feeling great and my derriere comfortably soothed. I’ve got my eye on Calendula Oil next because I don’t think there is much of anything in this world that is more soothing than calendula. Maybe it’s because all our Mommies used it on us as babies. Maybe it’s because it smells distinctly and undeniably like Spring. Either way you slice it, you’ll be hearing from me soon, lady.
Ooh-ee! Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away and lucky you, there’s no need to stress about what to get your loved one. If you’re anything like me and my boyfriend, holidays that make people extra lonely or feel like they need to propose give you the creeps… but you still want to make a little gesture to show that special someone that you really, really like them – hey! Maybe you even LOVE them, and you’ve been listening. You know what makes them tick. Caffeine.
Coffee By Design and Little Eye partnered in June of 2010 to create a line of unique, handmade Java Jewelry pins, magnets and jewelry. These little gems are available at all four retail locations in Portland and Freeport and, for you cyber-folk who are joining me far from the North East, they are available at their website, as well.
Java Jewelry designs come in six unique images: latte rosetta, latte heart, CBD logo, coffee cherries, coffee flowers and coffee beans (some of which contain real beans in the epoxy!). Each image comes in the following: magnet, pin, hair clip, ring and necklace.
Little Eye has a long, loving relationship with Coffee By Design having slung lattes for three years as a barista and manager before venturing elsewhere. Next time you’re in for a fix pick up something sweet for the one you love!
Like a mythological winged serpent that rises from the ashes, it’s time to thaw out Portland businesses, institutions and individuals from their winter slumber. I take it as a personal duty to vote every day (you’re allowed to vote once a day!) for my local favorites. After all – credit where credit’s due! That’s an easy mantra.
If you haven’t been to Arabica in the last year you are going to be SO PSYCHED to discover that its exposed-brick interior and warm lighting now house Find, a clothing exchange shop new to Free St. where you don’t have to wait 6 weeks to get dollars for your gently used collars (and shoes, and pants, and oh heck, you know). And because I’m such a huge fan of instant gratification, you can imagine my delight when I learned that Laura had moved in and would give 30% of appx. value to you in cash or, get ready for this shoppers, 50% of appx. value in store credit! Wowowow.
Find’s been on the brain lately because with Halloween coming up I’m planning a little costume reconnaissance before the weekend comes. A lot of girls use Halloween as an excuse to show some skin one day before November but me? It’s my excuse to buy some new clothes. Besides – how different is a costume from an outfit? Last week when I was getting ready for Tara and Brian’s wedding J. goes “You’re wearing that, it looks like a Halloween costume!” Yes, oh yes, that’s because I planned it that way!
Visit find online here or at 16 Free St. 7 days a week. If you’re looking to get rid of threads, check their website at the bottom to see if they’re buying before you lug 10 boxes all the way downtown. 🙂