Brazen Cork Necklaces - not afraid to get naked, hang out and maybe cause a little trouble this weekend

Sometimes (especially as the days get warmer) my cork can get a bit too full of itself and I just can't keep it covered up.

I recently made a large "naked" cork order for a winery that is opening near me and am adding a few 'naked' pieces to my Uncorked shop this weekend. If you have a special wine cork saved from that special occasion and would like it reconstructed into a necklace or keychain or some other type of useful doodad, just drop me a line!

Have a nice weekend everyone- we are expecting wonderful weather here tomorrow.

Friday Finds - it's a dog's life - some stuff on Olive's list


1. charming pet balloon animal dog toy
2. mimi green dog collars
3. cookie mom dog spray
4. mimi green pictures of you dog duvet
5. organic pizza pie treats by olive
6. rubenacker boston terrier print
7. these creatures dog feeder
8. pet peek fence window
9. vintage pet doors
10. mountain dog rope leash
11. skate dog studios pet feeder

another Friday Finds stack by the amazing photographer, stacker and mother of pup Ruby Kella MacPhee

Thoughtful Thursday - who are we letting judge us?

"Here's the mistake we make in high school:

We let anyone, just anyone, judge our work (and by extension, judge us).....

The cheerleaders are deputized as the Supreme Court of social popularity and the gym teacher forever has dibs on whether or not we're macho enough to make it in the world.

These are patterns we sign up for, and they last forever (or until we tell them to go away).

...the ability to choose who judges your work ... is the key building block in becoming an artist in whatever you do."

Conversation by Seth; The Honorable Hound print by HoundTracks

20 Ways to Make Sure You Are Never Uncomfortable..

I once had a co-worker, who we will just call Cyndy Bennis

(because that was her name)

and she had an obsession with the office temperature

it was too hot

it was too cold

the thermostat was, of course, right next to my desk

one day after my gazillionth temperature adjustment

I said: "no flippin' more!"

(or maybe something a little bit stronger, this office was in Jersey)

and Cyndy said: "I'm sorry. But I just don't like to be uncomfortable."

(she kind of rocked my world that day because although I would never have voiced this out loud - and groaned when she did - I was often making choices that created exactly that kind of life)

Now I'm not about to rally for uncomfortableness

(and yes, you can totally use this word in your next Scrabble game just offer up this post and not an actual dictionary as proof of its wordiness)

because of course, it is kind of our nature to crave the comfortable, the warm and fuzzy, the familiar ... but there is something to be said for pushing past all that; pushing into the uncomfortable - the place where things can go either way

incredibly good or horribly bad

the place where things just don't stand still and something new has to happen.

Today (my older and wiser self) might offer up to Cyndy some advice on keeping life comfortable:

1. Do not get a dog.

2. Watch tv while you eat dinner with your kids so you don't have to deal.

3. Don't go to any kind of live performance because there will be really long lines.

4. Don't try anything you don't already know you will be able to do.

5. Use every type of available drive up window so you never have to leave your car.

6. Leave well enough alone.

7. Leave good enough alone.

8. Buy your clothes in the same store all the time.

9. Get your library books from the same section every time.

10. Never wear anything as cool as these ... again ----->

11. Let things happen to you. Don't make choices.

12. Never get out of your pajamas (wait, maybe scratch that one)

13. Don't watch the movie Precious because it will make you cry.

15. Never exercise.

16. Toss your rake and get a leafblower (thanks Sherry).

17. Do it for the money.

18. Do it for the approval.

19. Seek security above all else.

20. Find a comfortable spot ... and stay there.

I hope Cyndy wouldn't take this advice. I hope she is somewhere right now, all happy and warm and fuzzy and yes, a little bit uncomfortable, too. And I really hope she has a dog ... and some kick-ass shoes.

print above of Uncomfortable Situation by CordialKitten

1. Cutting Edge T-shirt by Xenotees
2. Pendant with butterfly and vintage buttons by QuenchMetalworks
3. Modern tree rings by FocusLineArt
4. Simplify by SimpleRoots
5. Slice oil painting on textured canvas by Teamzvonik

Take 10 Tuesday - some stuff you might have missed while you were out walking the dog or cutting the daffodils or whatever you have been doing

1. Why Worry Keeps You Poor over at The Launch Coach

2. Megan's post on Growing Your Business Beyond Etsy over at CraftMBA

3. The last few days of TeamEcoEtsy's Earth Day Auction for the World Wildlife Fund.

4. Pip Lincolne's post Fusty Beads and Cans of Worms over at Make and Meaning

5. The Top 5 Life Size LEGO Art Projects over at Inhabitots (check out the zoo animals)

6. The essential life skill of Toilet Paper Origami over at How About Orange

7. AWESOME Poster at Baltimore Print Studios

8. Seth's email checklist

9. Maybe DOVE is the only company that should be making commercials - see them HERE

10. The Kick The Door Down Project - Tara's story over at Scoutie Girl

GIVEAWAY - My Etsy Shop POLARITY - Personalized Locket Set

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 624

SylviaLousieHandbags! - These sisters have a great blog and Etsy shop!

I haven't done a giveaway from one of my own shops since last year and I think it is about time!

For this week's giveaway I am offering a Polarity locket lollapalooza.

The complete Polarity jewelry set (necklace, bracelet and ring) personalized with your own pictures!

Polarity lockets are made from a recycled steel auto part that I solder into a gorgeous little piece of jewelry! Polarity is all about doing more with less. The magnetic lids are interchangeable, so one piece of jewelry turns into many!


One lucky winner will receive a Polarity locket, bracelet and ring set with 5 PERSONALIZED lids and 1 lid with the definition of YOUR CHOICE!


This is an easy peasy one, just leave your contact info!

For additional entries:

(5) Follow my blog
(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post

(5) Friend my facebook fan page or me

(I just joined Facebook and do not know how you do this, but if you are on there already maybe you do)

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.


MIDNIGHT on Sunday, May 9th! Good luck!! CLOSED

FRIDAY FINDS - It's a GREEN World - Let's Keep it that Way - Have an Amazing Weekend!

1. jerry kott recycled wine vases
2. tumbleweed tiny house company
3. 1% for the planet
4. loyalloot log bowls
5. rodrigo alonso's shoes
6. bristol & bath drum sink
7. recycled cassette tape necktie
8. gas can luggage
9. love the ladies and ideas of junk market style
10. kotik design beer cap necklace
11. patagonia ditch the car t-shirt
12. upcycled terry cloth pig- made from towels from 50's and 60's
13. guitar case book shelf
14. big belly solar recycling cans

Another amazing stack by the incredible photog and stacker of all things stackable; Kella Macphee - check out her amazing pics from a NYC benefit she shot this week on her blog!

Earth Day Turns 40 Today - and TeamEcoEtsy is Having an Auction!

In celebration of Earth Day's 40th birthday, TeamEcoEtsy has some amazing goodie bags filled with all kinds of eco-goodies to be auctioned off for the World Widlife Fund!

The bags include Green Jewelry (both my lines are included here), Green Home, Green Baby, Green Paper Goods, Green Fashion and Green Health & Beauty.

Lots of amazing handmade, eco goodies and a wonderful cause!

Happy Earth Day everyone- enjoy our auction!

The World Wildlife Fund is an amazing organization supporting global preservation efforts - check out their website - there is oodles of great information there.

No Whining on Wednesday or why are people in Nevada searching for mosquito dunks and ending up here

As part of my SEO immersion I have been checking out (while watching American Idol) .. carefully studying .. my google analytics to see just what it is that I am saying that helps people find me on here.

(for anyone not familiar- google analytics is a service to see what kind of web traffic your website, blog, etc is getting, where that traffic is coming from and the kind of things that people are searching for when they find you)

So, although these search terms seem a bit strange, I am going to trust Google and the googlers and work these search phrases that people seem to have found me with into today's post in hopes of drawing even more traffic in here.

(traffic with credit cards and paypal accounts hopefully, because baby needs a new pair of shoes ...

<------ and by baby I mean me and by shoes I mean these Ciao Bella's - aren't they cuties?)

1. Squirrellicious - Actually this is an easy one because squirrellicious is a word I use alot ... really.

In fact, people who know me are all like that girl is totally squirrellicious.

(it could be a hair thing)

and there is a totally adorable Etsy shop called Squirrellicious

(coincidence? I think not, squirrelincidence? ...maybe)

2. The Race to Wear Plastic - Now this makes total sense because I have been in a race to figure out more ways to incorporate plastic into my wardrobe since I lost my Alice in Wonderland wrist watch in the 1st grade...

(on the playground during recess and my teacher Miss Rehak(?) refused to search my classmates pockets and lunchbags; a situation that left me crying and demanding a Nazi-like siege on the school grounds and fostered a growing distrust of authority figures and inability to work a wrist strap)

3. Ivins Reservoir Itch - I think I am just going to leave this one alone- I am not sure what the people at my local reservoir have been saying about me, but I can assure you that I only did this that one time and well ... I just don't want to talk about it.

4. Mosquito Dunks for Sale in Las Vegas - This is my favorite. I did do a blog post on mosquito dunks once and have probably mentioned Las Vegas

(although I've never been, but hear what happens there stays there, kind of like the fast food fries in my car that Olive just can't quite reach)

and I have almost certainly used the word 'sale' many, many times.

(as in hello- this is a sale, please buy something, baby really, really needs those shoes)

And I am certain the person in Nevada searching for those mosquito dunks was very happy to stumble in here and find some recycled jewelry he didn't even know he was needing.

Of course, there are also plenty of searches for more relevant things, but if I can draw 'em in here with Ivins Reservoir Itch and Squirrellicious and The Race to Wear Plastic and Mosquito Dunks for Sale in Las Vegas

(best to work these all in one more time)

then I think I can do pretty much anything, right?

**Special in both my shops Uncorked and Polarity for the next 10 days - just say one of these search phrases or something similar, no penalties if you say groundhoglicious or the race to wear aluminum foil- I'm just not that kind of seller

(unlike other businesses out there that ignore you if you don't cross every t and dot every i or actually mail in one of their entry forms- damn you Publisher's Clearing House)

in the comments to seller section of your order and receive a free set of earrings with any purchase**

1. Amazing ivy aid - natural poison ivy relief from B. Noel Aromatics
2. Stunning rainbow punk plastic necklace by DarklyngStudios
3. Fun toteBag by GoldieFawn
4. Beautiful red bird cardholder by Squirrellicious
5. Adorable mosquito card by SouthernPestPrints

Take 10 Tuesday - some great posts in case you missed them - lots of podcast action

1) CraftMBA's post Is Use the Best Form of Marketing (do you wear/use your own work?)

<---- 2) Lovin' Amalia's zippers on canvas!

3) 15 Marketing Tips to Remember by the Bakery

4) Art Marketing action podcast on Placing Older Art on Your Website

5) Kari Chapin (The Handmade Marketplace author) answers crafty business questions over at CraftyPod

6) Kim Tillyer has a great birthday giveaway on her blog for one of her amazing brooches!

7) How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review by Chris Guillebeau

I might have to fire myself now - this could be bad or good news

8. Getting Other People to Hate You at the Gapingvoid

9. The amazing Jessica Doyle's amazing videocast over on Elastic Lab.

10. The amazing Carmen Torbus rocks her video "interview" for the incredible ladies of Spring.

Sticks and Stones or how to stop being so sensitive that your teeth hurt

Now, sometimes I like to think that I write posts that are lessons I've learned and would like to pass on, but sometimes I think they are really just lessons for me.

(this could be ... is ... one of those times)

I am sometimes very thin-skinned. I know this about myself and it is something I am continually working on.

In my brain I can clearly see that everything is not all about me.

(except on this blog - which is why I have one, sort of)

I know that criticism is sometimes about the other person and sometimes something that I have only imagined and I know that very often it is not personal. I know all of this ... in my head.

But some other part of me gets ... well, hurt and often much more hurt than the situation requires.

In her book "The Highly Sensitive Person", Dr. Elaine Aron says that in evolutionary terms, being sensitive to criticism could be a lifesaver. "Back when we were hunter-gatherers, being excluded from the group was very dangerous. We might have starved or even gone insane from being ostracized. We are very social animals."

(now, I have never thought of myself as any kind of social animal, but I guess it is in my DNA and I will gladly blame my ancestors ... adding sensitivity to the list that includes bad hair and mild OCD)

Our sensitivity to the negative opinions of others is so strong, she says, that we record these emotional wounds in the same part of the brain as actual physical pain.

Now there is some good news here because sensitivity to other people's opinions of us (and brooding and smarting over inconsequentials) is the most adjustable type of sensitivity and I am determined to adjust mine.

(and of course this sensitivity means these are things that I actually care about ... deeply. If someone were to insult my housekeeping skills or singing voice - both pretty bad - I could shrug those things off in a second, but insult the things that matter and watch out)

So here's my gameplan:

1. Rewrite my mornings. I usually hop on the computer as soon as I am alone in the house, but this immediately opens me up to external things- sometimes good, but sometimes not so good; an email from a customer that she accidentally gave me the wrong shipping address ... to Australia ... for a 3 piece uninsured order that left my house the day before - can get me off to a rocking bad start.

But if I take some time for me first, before I open myself up to all that external stuff, I will be better able to separate the problem (if there is one) from myself. So from now on - a morning coffee, stretching and shower before I let the outside world in.

2. Clear things up right away. If something feels strange or out of balance, I will check in with the other person right away. How many times do we think we know what the other person is thinking and when we finally talk it out- we were way wrong about what was really going on.

3. Be ready to move on. Putting all our eggs in one basket is a good way to ensure we will take the outcome personally.

(good when things go our way and bad when they don't, but really always bad because it puts our emotions and happiness and stress level under the control of someone else)

I was turned down last week for a show I was really counting on ... looking forward to ... because "they were full with jewelry" and of course, being an insanely sensitive person I took this to mean "we don't like your work" when what they probably really meant was "they were full with jewelry".

Next time, I will have a list of other options available. I will move on down my list if someone says no. I will find that something else that is waiting for me.

4. Get enough sleep. I am much more sensitive when sleep deprived and stressed.

5. Give myself permission to zap 'em once in a while. I will keep a few zingers in my arsenal because sensitivity can be a strength also and it is often the sensitive people who say exactly the right thing.

(I think)

things such as - "Excuse me?"

(now this must be said very calmly and with a straight face as if we really do not understand what we just heard)

Asking someone to repeat a thoughtless comment is a graceful way to make them think twice about what they just said ... and maybe rephrase it if we have misunderstood.

"I wonder why you would say that"

The kinder gentler version of "what the hell does that mean?" challenges the person to reflect on his/her motives.

"Ouch! That hurt my feelings."

This lets someone know we've taken a comment personally

but I will use my zingers carefully and for the big things and learn to let the small things slide.

5. Keep things in perspective - who we are becoming on this journey of ours is much more important than what happens to us.

When we get beyond taking things personally and allow ourselves to choose a different way to respond, we will become more and more unflappable and happy.

At least, this is my plan, I'll keep you posted ...

(no stopping ever poster by EvenAndy)

Friday Finds - Some Etsy Goodness to get your weekend started


1. squirrellicious fish pouch
2. better than jam dress
3. lemkab leather necklaces
4. polaroid camera drawing by cb78
5. tovie corrie cuff
6. peace 4 you upcycled satchel
7. celentano woodworks avocado guitar
8. english dept giselle dress
9. print by holli
10. rini and faith headband
11. vintage sign from hindsvik
12. eight seasons wristlet
13. amy miwen custom painted vans
14. jane mount painting of your bookshelf

Another weekly stack by the amazing stacker and photog Kella MacPhee.

Thoughtful Thursday - spending money on what is important to us

"The new trend in spending money is to buy things that are painstakingly hand built instead of efficiently mass produced.

It might not be a better price than what you could buy at Target, but the very fact that you can pay for an artisan to create it, an artist to design it, a talented worker to bring it to life - that act makes a powerful statement about what you can afford and what's important to you.

Instead of a bigger house, it's a house that's built from scratch by craftsmen.

Instead of a bigger steak, it's a handmade dish of local poached vegetables..."

If you are making a living making things this is a pretty exciting conversation and if you are a human being concerned with the conspicuous consumption of consumer goods it is a conversation worth celebrating.

Conversation by Seth Godin, Letterpress by StarShapedPress

Whining Wednesday - a few things that are freaking me out this week

I know I decided to turn Whining Wednesdays into No Whining on Wednesdays and I have been good for the last few weeks, but every now and then we all need to whine

(just a little)

freak out #1) Hubby reading in the bathroom. This really, really bugs me. And I haven't blogged about him in a long time

(at least a week)

but this has gotten so out of control.

I am constantly finding strange things in the bathroom - like flashlights and drill bits and unopened mail

(I know this has nothing to do with reading, but these things freak me out, too)

and I am totally yucked out when I find a book in the bathroom. I mean, is it just me, or should nothing be in the bathroom that doesn't belong there.

this is how it starts folks -------->

Soon George will be taking the book into the restroom at the library before bringing it home so he can test it out; see how it feels on his lap, how well it rests on the back of the toilet tank, etc.

This so freaks me out

(of course, this does not apply to bathtubs or parents escaping their children- both valid "book in the bathroom" scenarios)

freak out #2) Amazon - Remember when Amazon was the internet's go to place for books, music, and movies?

Then they somehow collaborated with every other website ever created and now you can also purchase wholesale servings of organic juice drinks, a dog sled, a 200 pound drillpress, my own cemetery plot under a shady tree in Nevada and frankly, I don't like seeing those items as suggested purchases next to my shopping cart with my Snowdogs II Anniversary Edition DVD in there.

(Olive claims to be a big fan of Cuba Gooding, Jr although I suspect she has a little crush on snowdog number one)

freak out #3) That Tiger Woods talking listening to his dad Nike ad (ala Hamlet?). I have read this advertising called brilliant branding. I am just calling it C-R-E-E-P-Y.

(remember when Nike had that great ad with all the little girl babies throwing off their pink nursery caps- what the hell has happened to them?)

freak out #4)
- An 11 year old girl super hero (YAY), but wait a minute, an 11 year old girl super hero who uses the "c" word (not so YAY) - I don't think I am a prude

(in fact some of the reviewers of this movie want me to feel like a prude for objecting, but I object anyway)

if women let this word become acceptable and part of normal conversation I resign from my race, really truly .... let's boycott this movie - I'm not even going to say its name.

freak out #5) SEO - I have immersed myself in this stuff over the past few days, so I can pass all the wisdom I have accumulated on to you guys next week

(and maybe sell a few things)

"So is it all about the Benjamins, baby?" you may be asking yourself

(because in my head you all talk like P. Diddy)

and yes, it kind of is, actually....

and speaking of immersing myself (freak out #6) I did take a break this morning from my SEO education to liberally baste my face with some new organic skin care products, because I think this is something I need to start thinking about and because I really don't want to be able to use the folds of my face as a coin purse anytime soon.

I realize someday this is going to happen and I will probably be happy to have the extra storage space, but for now I still have a couple empty shelves in my pantry...

Now here's where I insert the disclaimer that I have been advised by my sister (who moved to Portland, Oregon a few years ago) that people on the west coast consider "freaking" a bad word, as if it were the real "f" word (and yes, I think the "c" word is way worse than the "f" word) that we use all the time here on the east coast and no one bats an eyelash.

She claims that when she says "freaking" to people they look at her as if she said something really bad, so she has stopped saying it.

(she is back to using the real "f" word and giving them the finger)

So, if you are a west coaster and this word is like fingernails on a chalkboard to you, I freaking apologize, sincerely. And if you are a west coaster and think my sister is freaking crazy let me know that, too (I think she is actually saying frigging, which is gross actually).

1. Calming and Clarifying Facial Cream by DressGreen
2. Reading photography by A Life Through the Lens
3. Freak Out and Throw Stuff notebook by Earmark
4. Eager Husky print by ToxicGuineaPigs
5. Toilet Paper on your Neck by LiciaBeads

Take Ten Tuesday - Great Links for Craft Fair Tips and Tricks for Your Crafty Biz!

If the spring and summer plans for your crafty business include a craft show or two here are some great links you don't want to miss:

1. My own post on Selling the Benefits of Your Work

2. Indie Craft Shows Beginners Guide to Craft Shows

3. Booth Layout at a Craft Show from the Craft Report

4. Craft Show Applications Unraveled from the Etsy blog the Storque

5. Craft Fair Tips from the Etsy blog the Storque

6. Craft Show Checklist (what to bring) from Badskirt

7. Craft Show Display pics on Flickr

8. 119 Places to Find a Craft Show by Sunshine Glassworks

List of craft shows from Sunshine Artist

Indie Craft Fair Guide

9. Great Tips from Indie Craft Shows

10. More tips from Craft Show Tips

(Picture of Petit Collage's amazing display at Renegade)

GIVEAWAY - Brookish Mr. Darcy Proposal Mug and Choice of Book

CLOSED - AND THE WINNER IS: Jennifer Hudson Taylor!

Chosen by
True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 610

Brookish is the wonderful 1800's inspired shop of husband and wife team Brooke and Justin.

They live with their 2 daughters in northern California, where they celebrate everything Jane Austen with their amazing screenprinted creations including mugs, towels, t-shirts and gift cards.

Brooke adores the 1800's but also has modern sensibilities. She brings a sense of both of these realms into her creations.

I have a bit of a Jane obsession and recently enjoyed the Pride and Prejudice remake zombie book.

(hoping this isn't sacrilege, but I think some other Jane fans may like it, too!)


One lucky winner will receive this gorgeous Brookish mug and your choice of book!


This is an easy peasy one, just let me know which book you would like with your Brookish mug if you win!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.


MIDNIGHT on Sunday, April 25th! Good luck!! CLOSED

Saving Second Base - things you can do everyday

The Daily Green asked Janet Gray, a professor at Vassar College and a board member of the Breast Cancer Fund for some simple tips that can help reduce your breast cancer risk factors. I thought it was important enough to repeat here.

Research shows that many risk factors play a role, including our genetic makeup and whether or not we've had kids or breast-fed. But, a substantial body of scientific evidence indicates that exposures to common chemicals and radiation, alone and in combination, may contribute to the high incidence of breast cancer.

1. Drink clean water. This means clean (filtered, if you don't like the taste) tap water and not bottled water.

Commercial water bottles often are made from plastics that leach chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), which is known to mimic hormones, and which has been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer. Leaching of chemicals from plastic bottles is particularly common when the plastic bottles are warm, as can happen when bottles sit in the sun. If you are using a plastic bottle and the water or other fluid inside it smells "plasticy", don’t drink it!

2. Use microwave safe containers. Despite the label on many plastic containers claiming that they are "microwave-safe"; use either glass or ceramic bowls for heating foods in a microwave oven. Even so-called "microwave safe" containers have been shown to leach Bisphenol A (BPA) when heated.

Laboratory studies with rats indicate that exposures to BPA, especially during prenatal through early adolescence, predispose an individual to increased risk for developing breast cancer.

3. Eat soy (but not too much). Most studies suggest that a regular intake of soy, especially during adolescence, as a well-integrated component of a regular diet (as opposed to a dietary supplement like a pill), may be protective against breast cancer. On the other hand, some studies examining the effects of ingesting high levels of soy supplements (e.g., genistein pills or isoflavone protein extracts) suggest that this may lead to changes that increase the risk of breast cancer.

4. Use natural cleaners. Many household cleaning products (including chlorine bleach) contain chemicals like alkylphenols (example: 4-nonylphenol) that are endocrine disruptors (chemicals that mimic hormones and have been implicated in increased risk for breast cancer) as well as toxins that affect both our brains and our reproductive systems.

5. Tune up your car. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are products of incineration found in air pollution, vehicle exhaust (especially diesel), tobacco, smoke and grilled foods. Exposures to PAHs, especially from vehicle exhaust and gasoline fumes, have been linked with increased incidence of breast cancer.

Exposure to high levels of PAHs either at the time of their first menstrual period or at the time they first gave birth, were associated with an increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer in women decades later.

6. Eat clean fish. Foods that may contain high levels of PCBs and dioxins should be limited, especially for pregnant women and children. Both are known carcinogens that have been linked with increased risk for breast cancer. Although PCBs have been banned from production and use in the US since the 1970s, they remain in our environment, including our rivers and lakes.

Eat smaller varieties such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, stream trout, smelt, and yellow perch. Limit consumption of fish that are fattier (and more likely to accumulate PCBs) like lake trout, or fish that are bottom dwellers like catfish.

In general, careful preparation and cooking can reduce the amount of PCBs consumed. Fillet fish by removing as much fat as possible. Also cook using methods such as baking or broiling in a pan with a rack, rather than frying – frying may actually seal some of the toxic chemicals within the remaining fat of the fish.

7. Avoid (most) canned food. In addition to being found in many plastic bottles, BPA is also found in the epoxy resin liner of most canned foods. The BPA from this lining has been shown to leach into the vegetables in the can.

Eden Organic makes beans in cans that are BPA free, so why can't the other manufacturers do it, too?

8. Avoid dry cleaning chemicals. PERC is the most common chemical used at dry cleaning shops. It accumulates in our body fat and may therefore remain in our bodies for long periods of time

Don't buy clothes that need dry cleaning, check if your dry cleaner uses perc, if you get your clothes dry cleaned with perc or other organic substances, be sure to remove the plastic packaging from your clothes and air them out, preferably outside of your home. Also, many fabrics that say "dry clean only" don't really need it.

9. Use stainless steel or cast iron cookware. Aluminum is a metal that mimics estrogen. Labs have shown that aluminum can cause direct damage to DNA in several biological systems. Although studies have not shown a direct causal link between aluminum and breast cancer risk (little work has been done in this area), breast tissue has been shown to concentrate aluminum and it is found in highest levels in the quadrant of the breast near the underarm region, the same area where the highest proportion of breast cancers are originally diagnosed.

These tips seem very do-able to me and you may already be doing many of them. I didn't know about the aluminum cookware, but have been using mostly cast iron for other reasons for awhile now. Hoping this list gets us all thinking!

Thoughtful Thursday - Bling It On or How to Make a Lucky Number Necklace

This is a fun piece that I made for a friend's housewarming party (she collects gnomes), but it would also make a great idea for a lucky number or initial necklace!

My friend likes big jewelry, but this can also be made in a smaller size or would make a great accent piece hanging on a mirror or frame.

(and everyone needs at least one piece of big chunky jewelry in their closet, right, plus I know you are really into the industrial bling ... or was that Fergie?)

You will need:

1. metal house number (these come in all sizes)
2. hardware - washers, eyehooks, screws
3. doodads for hanging (beads, charms, etc)
4. neck chain
5. jump rings and slip rings
6. power drill (drill press preferred)
7. pliers

1. Decide on the placement for your doodads (bottom, sides, front) and mark your locations with a marker. Drill a hole (smaller then your eyehook) on the top for your chain and on the marks you have placed for your doodads.

2. Screw in your eyehooks and washers. Add slip rings or jump rings.

3. Add your chain and doodads.

Your only limit is your imagination- you can decoupage parts of the number and even hang your number horizontally for added interest!

No Whining on Wednesday or keeping things balanced and maybe even easy to quit

When I was growing up my mom didn't work.

Now, I say it this way because I know you will know what I mean, and of course, she did work. She did the hardest work of all.

She was not a good example of a "happy to be at home raising her family" kind of mom. She was bored.

This boredom led to depression and some other negative stuff, but it also led to alot of fun, crazy good stuff which came from her innate creativity and forced isolation.

But, I grew up thinking that working (and being out of the house) was probably a good thing.

When my daughter was very little I was working for a bank. Her good friend's mom took a job as a crossing guard, but because it was a pain in the neck going back and forth to her crossing guard stop all day long, she quit after a few days.

Now, this was all at a time when I was working alot and probably lacking a certain balance and my daughter would ask me sometimes often to quit my job.

So, anyhoo, she was with me at the bank one day (maybe a take your daughter to work day, I don't remember) and a bigshot vp was visiting my branch and she was asking all the daughters what they wanted to be when they grew up. And Sue's daughter said, "a doctor" and Theresa's daughter said "a lawyer" and the vp was nodding and smiling and then she asked my daughter and my daughter said "a crossing guard"

and when the startled vp asked her why, she replied, "because it's easy to quit."


Now, years after I ditched all that (or it ditched me, truthfully), I am working long hours again and feeling that lack of balance, "not easy to quit" thing creeping back into my life.

Yesterday, I had a rather lively debate about this exact subject- yes, with another person -

(Olive was sleeping)

who believes that because we are doing what we love (and hoping that the money will follow) there is almost no such thing as working too much.

(of course, this guy was also eating a box of raisins at the bagel shop and I haven't seen an actual person over 24" tall eat raisins out of the box like that in a very long time, also I should mention that the box was gigantic)

but, I don't get out much- maybe raisin popping is the new thing.

I have a feeling (and a knowing actually) that work that you love because your soul needs to do this thing and work that you love because you can make the payments on your cute little Prius can both become ... too much

and this "too much" thing can happen very quickly and soon you are not doing the things you used to do (and you loved those things, too) - no trips to the library, no long bike rides, no painting your peeling wicker porch chairs, no trying out those new recipes, too many no's for a life where you are committed to saying yes.

So, I am re-balancing again and thinking this is just another process without an endzone and knowing that being so far left right now means I may need a very big push right to swing back to center.

(does anyone have an extra ticket to Hawaii they won't be using?)

So, after our lively debate, which consisted in quite a bit of raisin flinging on his part, I was finally able to extricate myself from the conversation by maneuvering toward the condiment counter to get a lemon slice for my tea.

Suddenly, someone next to me was announcing, “Well my daughter had her baby.”

(surely she wasn't talking to me because I didn’t even know she had a daughter, but, yes, I turned around and there it was- eye contact)

My response was something like, “Hey, do you know where they keep the straws?”

and she continued, "She wasn’t plannin’ on having a baby but she was takin’ medicine for her urinary tract infections and that messed with her birth control and she got pregnant.

Me - smile, nod, *crickets*

(I sometimes go pre-verbal when forced into an actual face to face conversation involving the word urinary and infection and yes, this happens to me quite often, I live in New Jersey, remember)

"The labor was quick though. She was already real dilated by the time she got to the hospital. That baby pretty much just dropped on out."

and then she grabbed her crossing guard stop sign and headed out the door.

I guess some people just don't know when to quit.

1. Vintage children in crosswalk pic from TheVintageMode
2. Quitter card by RedLetterInk
3. Cinnamon Bagel Earrings by 3Squares
4. I am an artist, not a waitress ring set by KathrynRiechert
5. Get a job dress by PaulaLaFargue

Take Ten Tuesday - or drop your glue guns tax day is next week!

Now hopefully, if you have a craft, design or art business you were organized last year with your receipts and paperwork and you know what you made and what you spent and what you actually made after all that spending

(this was a huge awakening for me recently)

How do you know if your crafty enterprise is a business or a hobby? Well, generally the IRS believes that you have yourself a business if you are in it to make a profit.

(whether you actually make one or not).

And if you have a business - here are some links you might want to check out:

1. IRS Schedule C Instructions Profit or Loss from Business

2. IRS Publication 535 Business Expenses (things you can legally deduct from your income- hint, your brand new sephora bronzer probably did not make the list)

3. Turbo Tax (super easy to use and you will not need to download all the IRS forms)

4. Craftypod's podcast Taxes for Your Crafty Business with Hunter Coleman (great info and links)

5. Outright (Etsy bookkeeping tool- I haven't tried this- if you have or do- let me know how it goes)

6. Tax Info for Small Businesses from those crafty mavens at Design Sponge

7. A Free Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop - 9 Lessons from the IRS

8. Tax Resources for the Arts Resource Network

9. The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions from Kiplinger

10. What to do About That Swiss Bank Account (you do have a swiss bank account, don't you?)