Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Riddance, 2008!

That's right, you heard me 2008 - GOOD RIDDANCE! My first introduction to you was with a slightly sprained ankle due to the ice on the sidewalk on the way to my sister's house last New Year's Eve. That's right, I said it was the ice's fault - it had nothing to do with the margaritas I drank that night. 08.08.08 was supposed to be a GREAT day for me - one that I had looked forward to since my 20th birthday. I was turning thirty on this numerically blessed day. Well, let me tell you something 2008, you really let me down. Turning thirty was a turning point of epic proportions. Within weeks of that dreadful day, I lost my closest cousin after a long battle with diabetes. Weeks after that, my great-uncle passed. Fast forward less than 4 weeks, and my husband has a stroke on the way home from work. Suck it, 2008. You were no friend to me. You didn't do me any favors, and I will be glad to see your sorry ass in the history books.

That reminds me. 2009, we've gotta talk. If you even think about pulling the same crap on me that 2008 did, well I've got news for you, buddy... Not happening. I won't let it. After a year like 2008, I think my family and I deserve better! I'm not expecting everything to be sunshine and roses, but you can at least give us better than 2008, right?!

To all of my readers out there, wishing you and yours a safe, healthy, happy, prosperous 2009! If you're venturing out this evening, designate a driver!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend Winners at Sunshine & Lemonade

Kat at Sunshine & Lemonade is hosting a really fun giveaway this week. The lucky winner will receive a board game, book, movies, and snacks - everything that you need for a night of family fun! Check it out before January 2nd (when the contest ends) here!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back To The Grind

Today is the last day of vacation from my regular 9-to-5. Tomorrow, I reenter the fabulous and unforgiving world of inventory control once again. Double joy for me over the next few weeks, as I'll be dealing not only with month-end, but year-end as well. Did I also mention that my boss has added a January trip to our newest plant in Louisiana? You know, because flying out of Chicago in the middle of winter is oh-so-much-fun... At least I'm still on break from school for the next week, so I'm hoping to find time in the evenings to create some of the new ideas that are in my head for pretty bracelet and candle jewelry designs.

I just finished submitting my entry for Cafe Handmade today - please be sure to check out the site over the next coming weeks. It's a virtual craft fair of sorts, and there are some great finds on there (I've already started my birthday wish list, ha!).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mama Needs A New Coffee Maker!

I've recently become involved with a group called SITS (The Secret Is In The Sauce). It's a group of blog readers and comment supporters, and really a bunch of fabulous folks!

This month, they are giving away a Keurig Platinum Brewing System. I'd like to encourage all of you to participate here, but if you don't, it's ok - better chance for me to win :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

As I watch "A Christmas Story" for the umpteenth time, and get ready for bed, I leave you all with warm Christmas wishes for a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our Annual Gingerbread House

Every year, my son and I labor to create a gingerbread house for the holidays. This year, we even made the effort to create one for Halloween, although you won't find me posting pictures of that failure anytime soon. This isn't one of those projects that I create from scratch - I want to enjoy the decorating part, so I buy kits where the gingerbread pieces are baked and precut. I've tried the Wilton and Willy Wonka kits in the past, but this year decided to give the one I found at our local grocery store a try. It's made by a company called Create A Treat and it was by far the best kit we've ever used. The icing is premade, so you don't have to worry about getting it to the right consistency. The kit also comes with a slotted try, making construction very easy. We had so much fun making this one and are looking forward to trying more of their kits in the future.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm Geeked!

This is Malcolm, The Anti-Work Monster. I found him while my mind was aimlessly wondering through the world wide web and I absolutely love him. How can you not love something called "The ANTI-WORK Monster", seriously?! Unfortunately, I have only found him in a flickr slideshow, and I'm anxiously waiting to hear from his creator to see if she could make one (or ten dozen) for me, too! Keep your fingers crossed for me - if I find out how to get my hands on these things, I can just envision lining my office walls with them, mailing them to my co-workers, making them my business card holder (I'd just stuff my cards in the back of his tighty-yella's there!).

With less than 1.5 working days left before I have a full NINE days off, I'm GEEKED about my upcoming vacation. I've had a lot of time "away" from work over the past couple months, but every bit of time off has been for my husband's hospital stay and his subsequent follow up appointments with doctors at the University of Chicago. This time it's planned time off - no illness, no death, no hospital, no doctors!

The pre-vacation bliss is also making me a little crazy. I find that I'm having a hard time focusing on tasks at work and home - real, legitimate stuff that HAS to be done. I think my mind is so ready for time off, that it's decided to start vacation early on its own... I spent all night last night working on a new logo for my shop instead of wrapping presents, doing laundry, or working on school work - all tasks that are, trust me, far more important than the "need" for a new logo for my shop. In my defense, I just really needed to do something for myself for a change. I've worked really hard over the last year to make sure that everyone else was happy and taken care of. I think it's my turn now!

So, next week, I'm dedicating myself to do the things I love. I'm going to bake or make candy, make a few new jewelry pieces, READ (I cant't tell you how much I miss reading for pleasure and I have Gregory Maguire's "Lost" waiting for me, begging me to lose myself in another world for a couple hundred pages!), and play around with my logo a little more. Maybe I'll even take a shot at creating a new blog template for my blog. I'm not promising to get out of my pajamas - I'm not even promising to take a shower. I might make an exception on Christmas Day - but that's it! I'll let you know how it goes...

Until then, I suppose I better get back to work... I have lots of stuff to do, remember?!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Carnival: Christmas Spotlight!

I decided to compose my monthly blog carnival submission for etsyBloggers as a spotlight on some of my favorite Christmas items from other etsy shops. Please take the time to visit these shops and please remember etsy for your future shopping needs - Buy Handmade!

Santa's Helper Tutu by Hannah's Tutus

Frostbite Quilled Ornament by Forever Filigree

Set of 4 Mini Christmas Stockings by Missy and Me

Itsy Bitsies Nativy Set by Dragonfly Artistry

Lime Nostalgic Snowman Hat by Deb Robinson


Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter in the Midwest

A friend of mine (whom seems to be serving as a good source of inspiration for me lately) wrote earlier today about a snow day in Beaverton, Oregon. I couldn't help but to giggle as I commented on his post. It seems as though Beaverton was getting a couple of inches of snow. Here is an excerpt from my comment:

"See, here in the Midwest, we measure snow by the FOOT. Snow days are for wusses, and are only called if it has snowed more than 2 FEET in less than four hours... I swear! As for temperatures, we had a sweltering 51 degrees with thunderstorms last night - followed by a devastating 6 degrees this morning (-20 with the windchill)... So my entire car was under a quarter inch thick layer of ice this morning... fun stuff, indeed!"

The sad thing is that this is just a very slight exagerration. It really was 51 degrees here last night... and it really was in the single digits this morning... and it really was in the negatives if you took into account the wind chill. I really did have to chip away the layer of ice that froze my car door shut. Then I had the pleasure of scraping the INSIDE of my windshield so I could see to drive.

My cousin from Florida will be spending the Christmas with us in Indiana this year. Her teenage kids have never seen snow before and they're looking forward to all of the joy that snow brings... you know, stuff like building snowmen, sledding, snowball fights, snow angels... LOL. Of course, this is if we have snow at all! The weather in the Midwest only comes in extreme form. Right now, we have no snow on the ground due to all of the rain and the warm temperatures this past weekend. Chances are that we won't have snow for Christmas unless we get four feet of it in a storm that buries us all for days. I could wish for snow for her, but then she gets to leave a couple of days after Christmas. Instead, I think I'm going to wish and dream about warm weather on a beach in Mexico.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prop 8: The Musical

A dear friend of mine (much love, Jims!) posted this video on his blog and I wanted to share it with my readers... plus, I'm a huge Jack Black fan. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly share with you...

"Prop 8: The Musical"

**Note: I tried to embed the video, but it didn't agree with my blog layout, so please click the link above!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Update: Day 6, New Products & Special Savings for Blog Readers!

First, the tobacco-free update! I'm proudly on Day 6 of being tobacco free! I have to admit, I feel fantastic. I still have cravings, but they aren't as strong as I thought they would be. I keep myself busy and pop in a piece of sugar-free gum when I feel them the strongest. I think the cold weather outside and the fact that I'm at the busiest time of the year for my job really helps. At home, I'm busy with Christmas preparations and school work. I won't say that it's easy, but I will say that it has been totally worth it! I can smell and breathe so much better now! A deep breath isn't a laborious effort any longer! I'm excited to do some outdoor activities in the spring, now that it's not such an effort to just make it up stairs without losing a lung on the way!

I took advantage of having a week-long break from school for the Thanksgiving holiday to do some beading. A few months back, I had created a pretty pastel crystal beaded memory wire bracelet. In my haste to get the house clean one day, I snapped the bracelet onto one of my glass votive holders, and didn't give it a second thought. My husband went on a candle binge a few days later (he loves to light every single candle in the house, and snuggle up to watch our favorite shows - I'm a lucky gal that way!). He lit the candle inside the votive holder with the bracelet still wrapped around it and we were both impressed with the way it looked. The candle flame and the crystal caused these beautiful sparkles to dance around our walls... and "Candle Jewelry" was born...

I have made several different designs for this new line already... The best thing is that Candle Jewelry doubles as a bracelet! What a great gift idea! Most women I know love jewelry or candles, better yet if they love both!

I have posted them all in one etsy listing, but will take the time to break them out into individual and custom order listings later this week (I'm hoping I can squeeze in the time!). For a preview, please visit my etsy shop!

As a special bonus for my blog readers, enter code "BLOGGER" in the comments section of your order at the time of checkout and received 25% OFF! Offer valid through 12/10/08.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas: Giveaways from The Gift Closet

I've recently discovered a great blogger: Heather at The Gift Closet. Starting today, she is hosting a series of giveaways celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas.

For more information on how to win a $25 gift certificate from ScribbleItOnline to use towards the purchase of an adorable item such as that listed above, visit her blog today!

Facing AIDS: World AIDS Day 2008

Bloggers Unite

Please join me in recognizing the 20th anniversary of World AIDS day.

Worldwide the estimated number of people living with HIV is over 33 million. An estimated one million Americans are living with HIV.


Join the “Facing AIDS: World AIDS Day 2008” Campaign
In four easy steps, you can help reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS:

- Take a picture of yourself wearing a red ribbon. Be creative!
- Add the photo to your social network profiles, Twitter, blog, and/or website before December 1. Leave it up for at least a week.
- Add your photo to the “World AIDS Day 08” Flickr group!
- Encourage your friends to do the same and to promote HIV testing!