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!

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!