Friday, December 21, 2012

For the Makers Box--December 2012

I got my very first For the Makers subscription box yesterday!!! 

Here is what I saw when I opened the box:

This month's box was inspired by the Roaring Twenties and the GREAT GATSBY.  The inspiration card was right on top with lovely illustrations of the included projects.

I laid out all the supplies to get a good sense of the different projects I would be doing:

I'll be making a geode stopper, a watercolor desk calendar. an Art Deco-style necklace and a vinyl business card holder.  I got to work on the wine stopper and necklace right away.  I gave away the wine stopper as a gift the very next day.

Here are the other two projects I have finished:

These are some of the calendar cards that I did with water-soluble watercolor crayons. I like some more than others. 

This is the Art Deco necklace which I think looks really great.

Just one project to go!!!

I can't wait to see the January box!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wet Ones Sticky Situation Facebook Contest!!!

I love Wet Ones and make sure to carry them in both of our cars.  There are so many times when we are out and about and nowhere near a sink.  That is where Wet Ones come in handy!  I have also find them very useful when doing messy art with my son.  Cleanup is so easy!!! 

When I heard that Wet One was hosting a Facebook contest where you can submit your favorite sticky situations, I knew I had the perfect picture:

You can submit your own funny and crazy story and photo for the Wet Ones Sticky Situation Facebook contest here or by clicking on the photo below.  The winner will receive an iPad Mini!!!!  May your holidays be filled with lots of fun sticky situations and plenty of Wet Ones to clean them up!!!!

(I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Wet Ones. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.)

Wet Ones Sticky Situations

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Memory of ...

(artwork by Stephanie Ackerman)
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message [they are] Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
[They were our] North, [our] South, [our] East and West,
[Our] working week and [our] Sunday rest
[Our] noon, [our] midnight, [our] talk, [our] song;
We thought that love would last forever, [We were] wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


I have been struggling with the events of last Friday as I know most of us have been.  Every time I read a story about the tragedy, I am reminded of my own child and the tears start all over again.  I cannot begin to comprehend the loss that this community is grappling with right now.  All I can do is grieve with them and remember that "night cometh" for us all.  None of us knows how much time we have so we must make the most of our opportunities to say "I love you" and to hug each other and value each other.  My father was killed when he was walking across a street on the way to work.  Just like he had done every day for years.  I still struggle to remember what my last words to him were.  

It seems trite and wrong to look at the preparations for Christmas on the internet and all around me.  All the ads and sales and giveaways.  Even though I know holiday sales are so critical for small businesses.  It just doesn't seem important.  But life goes on.  We have to celebrate our time with our loved ones in order to honor those who cannot. 

Even as I struggle to find understanding and maybe even some sort of compassion for the shooter, I will never again say his name.  I will not allow him fame or notoriety.   This holiday season, I will hug my loved ones close and remember to tell them that I love them every chance I get.  

I appreciate each and every one of you.  I wish you joy, good heath, and prosperity in the coming year.  And....most of all.....peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pastor Gifts Done

I bought a few unpainted Nativity sets from PICK YOUR PLUM last year and set them aside for pastor/neighbor gifts.  I actually remembered to dig them out and put them together this year!!!  These sets are going to our two pastors at church:

I think they are pretty cute for less than $5 each. I have seen a similar set posted on Groopdealz but it didn't include the star. I think the star really makes the set.

I have one more set of gifts to package and then I can finally mail all the outgoing gifts.  I have mixed feelings about some of my homemade gifts.  The travel magnetic paper doll set wasn't as magnetic as I hoped.  I also made some homemade soap which is a little slicker than I had wanted.  Still, it the thought that counts.  Right?

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Yesterday, I joined in on Katy Dill's Day of Twelve challenge. The idea was to Instagram your day on 12/12/12 and try to post a photo at 12 minutes past each hour.  I didn't quite get every hour but I did a pretty good job.  It was kind of fun to capture "a day in the life" on such an unusual date.

My favorite photo was the creepy one I took of my myself in the library stacks. (middle of the top row)  I captioned it "Yes, your librarian is watching you."  I'm not really a librarian but sometimes it easier to just say that than explain my library worker status.

I hope you had a nice 12/12/12.  Now, we just have to get through December 21. The end of the world (as we know it).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Festival of Trees

A local women's group called the Petaluma Fabulous Women hosted their second annual Festival of Trees this past weekend. I am fairly active with this wonderful organization that takes a grassroots approach to fundraising.  The Board identifies a need within the community and then builds a fundraiser to address that need.  The founder of this group was featured on OPRAH.  It's such a great idea that really embodies the idea of neighbors helping neighbors.

Last year was the first Festival of Trees. The Fabulous Women got local businesses and organizations to decorate 4 ft trees for the event.  The trees themselves were either donated by a local home improvement store or were underwritten.  The businesses and organizations then decorate the trees and add a few extras such as gift certificates, wine tastings, bicycles, massages, mani/pedis, etc.  The trees are then bid on through silent auction.  There is also live entertainment, food, crafts, vendors and a a chance to visit with Santa.  All the money from the event goes to three different charities.  This year, one tree went for $1000!  The tree winners not only get a fabulously decorated tree to take home but all the add-ons as well. I wish I could have bid on a tree but they were all in the $100-$500 range by the time I got there.

The local Woman's Club that I am President of donated a tree:

 My mom and I created a peppermint tree that came with a one year's membership to our organization and two bottles of wine.  My mom ended up winning the tree.

I volunteered again this year and worked the food table where we were selling pastries, hot chocolate and s'mores on a stick:

(photo by Paul McGavin)

I wasn't overly fond of the Santa that was at the event.  Neither was Noodlebug:

(with his buddy by Paul McGavin)

I only let Noodlebug visit Santas with REAL beards but this visit took place while I was busy volunteering.  He wasn't scared.  Just not very enthusiastic.

Looking forward to next year's event!!!

P.S. I am giving away a beautiful picture book on my book blog.  Come by and check it out!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bringing the Coffeehouse Home with Torani

Regular readers of my blog know that I am sucker for Starbucks.  While I am year-round Mocha imbiber, I look forward to the holidays each year when I can indulge in their special holiday concoctions like Salted Caramel Mochas and Peppermint Mochas.  Even buying a small mocha a few times a week can really add up, though.  That is why I jumped at the chance to try two of Torani's syrups through SheSpeaks.

I got the Gingerbread syrup and the sugar-free Salted Caramel Syrup and they arrived just in time for Thanksgiving!!! I was able to offer my friends and relative a little extra holiday cheer with their post-turkey coffee.  I took my Starbucks home-brew and added some milk and the Salted Caramel syrup along with a dab of whipped cream for an indulgent home treat!!! And I felt a little less guilty because the syrup was sugar-free.  I was surprised to learn at how many different types of sugar-free options that Torani offers.  With several diabetic friends, it makes me happy to be able to offer them something special in their warm beverage.  I'm really looking forward to trying more of their flavors.  I was pleased that the flavors were pretty darn close to my coffeehouse favorites.  And the syrups are pretty affordable!!! I was happy to hear I can find them at local stores like CostPlus.

Since 1925, 3rd generation family-owned Torani has been crafting great tasting flavored syrups that coffeehouses use to make their flavored drinks taste so delicious. With over 120 flavors in Regular and Sugar Free varieties, Torani flavored syrups are perfect for flavored lattes, mochas, coffees, cocoas, Italian sodas, teas, lemonades, cocktails and smoothies. Coffeehouse professionals choose Torani flavors because they are expertly crafted and made with the highest quality ingredients, like natural flavors and pure cane sugar. The Sugar Free flavors have no calories and are sweetened with Splenda. Now, Torani flavored syrups are widely available at retail so you can easily create authentic coffeehouse quality drinks at home.

To up the ante on your own holiday hospitality, Torani is offering my readers a $1.00 off coupon on any flavor that is good until January 7.  Go here for the coupon.

This is a sponsored post by SheSpeaks and Torani but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

End of Year Wrap-Up and 2013 Plans

I spent the past year really trying to work on myself.  I read Gretchen Rubin's HAPPINESS PROJECT, spending one month on each chapter.  I took Stephanie Ackerman's year-long journaling course.  I took multiple classes from Brave Girls Club along with Jeanne Oliver classes and Christy Tomlinson classes.  Sometimes I made it all the way through an online class and sometimes I didn't.   I am starting to figure out that online classes that require a lot of supplies don't work for me.  I feel like I learned a lot over the past year.  I'm starting to realize that even though I still like many of the same things that I did 10 or 15 years ago, those things no longer define me as they once did.  I used to have a very modern-looking home filled with strong bright color and Mexican folk art. I still like those things. But the new Amy is craving a farmhouse with more of a shabby chic aesthetic.  I am returning to my Texas childhood with my desire for a house out in the country where I can keep chickens and bees and have a large garden. I am no longer a "Big City Girl."  I am a long way away from reaching my goals.  Having my husband out of work for two years was devastating. He is just now starting to make a little more money through contract work but isn't close to earning what he did at his old job.  It will take a long time to climb out from under our debt.  But we are working on it and I'm starting to feel hopeful again.

This year, I am going to scale back on online courses. Right now, I am just signed up for one. I'll be taking Tamara Laporte's LIFE BOOK 2013 class. It features some of my favorite artists like Melody Ross and Christy Tomlinson and I think I already own most of the materials on the class list.  I want to continue this journey of self-exploration. I want to try and make more handmade items that I can sell with my friend Monique at craft fairs. I want to gain more confidence in myself and my creative abilities. Noodlebug will be entering Kindergarten next year. (gulp)  I want to be active in volunteering at his school which means scaling back other commitments. This year, I'll be reading DAILY STRENGTH FOR DAILY NEEDS by Mary Wilder Tileston for my year-long book.  I'm making plans and getting ready for the new year.

Assuming the world doesn't end on December 21. (wink)

What are YOUR plans for 2013?  I'd like to hear about them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Crafting Gifts!!!

I am busy bee once Noodlebug goes to bed each night!!!

I am working on painting his castle that I am giving him as a Christmas present.  It is slow going! Lots of nooks and crannies!  Hopefully, it will all turn out the way I hope it will.

I also found this great tutorial at Alanna George's CRAFT NEST.

(image source)

I gave Noodlebug a set of LILY AND THISTLE paperdolls for Thanksgiving and he really really liked them. So, I thought I would do a miniature travel version as a stocking stuffer and give a set to some other little girls we know.  Alanna's tutorial is great.  I got all the items but I need to sit down and make them.  I'm hoping it won't be too time-consuming to cut out all those little pieces of clothing!!!

The paper doll set was $10 and I think I can make three gifts out of it.  The tins were $2 at Michael's.  I got the magnetic paper for about $3 with a 40% off coupon at Michael's.  Not sure how many outfits I will be able to make out of that. Go here for Alanna's cute tutorial.

I'll keep you posted on my holiday crafting progress!