What I Will Do for A Blog Giveaway Prize or please turn down the volume, cover your eyes and have an amazing weekend

I so know I will regret this after hitting publish, but I have been promised a totally awesome blog giveaway for you guys from a very popular shopkeeper if I post a video of myself saying "wash" (how the hell do you say wash anyway?) plus I am trying to get my nerve up to do some video tutorials (great for SEO), so even though I blanked on "mischief night", "sunshower" and " inch worm" (I think?) - (I totally blame mommy-brain which I have somehow had since 8th grade and blame for all missteps) here is my NJ dialect saying the words below - see if you can hear the 'fogetaboutit' Carmella Soprano in me:

(not sure why my face is so white - I blame weeks of rain and the spotlight I have Olive carry around trained on my face):

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

Now answer these questions:

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

If anyone wants to try this on their own blog- leave a link and I will add it in here - there is also a link on Leigh-Ann's wonderful Freckled Nest site here. I was once asked by a speech therapist if english was my second language because I pronounce every syllable which left me very smug until he added - "whether they should be pronounced or not" - aargh!

Anyhoo, Happy Friday everyone - I am posting this Thursday night, but plan to get up at 4am to watch the wedding and drink margaritas (winks at Cinders).

The winner of Bullfrog Laserworks Custom Rubber Stamp is (drumroll please)

Chosen by random.org True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 611

Elena Rosenberg of Tickled Pink Knits! Congrats Elena!

Don't miss this week's giveaway it is only up through Sunday!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Ever After especially Will and Kate!

Upcycled Corkboard Tutorial - from Blah to Cork-tastic in 10 Minutes!

This is another easy-peasy tutorial

(not sure why I am doing all these cork tutorials lately - it just seems to be working out that way)

all you need for this one is a piece of cork or your existing corkboard, some scrap fabric and furniture tacks.

I made mine with a vintage hanger, but this is equally awesome on your existing corkboard.

(you can also make this on solid wood and furniture by drilling starter holes - it is alot of work though - I did something like this once using paint for the petals instead of fabric on an old cabinet - you need to measure the starter holes so the furniture tacks are placed exactly where you want them and you need to use a very small drill bit)

1. Cut a cardboard petal template 2. Cut out your fabric petals 3. Lay out your flower 4. Add your furniture tacks securing the fabric as you go


After writing this post I was suddenly so tired that I had to lay down on my front porch - well not on the actual porch floor if that is kind of what you are picturing, but in a wicker chair on the porch with my feet on the railing -

one moment I am staring at my dandelion garden and listening to Harry Chapin sing that sad song about the taxicab and the next moment I am shooting Lance Armstrong in the foot ... uhuh - at least no vital organs were involved - even in my dreams I only maim, never kill - I'm kind of nice that way.

I have no idea where or how I got the gun or why I decided to go all Clint Eastwood on his Nikes but I clearly remember seeing Lance sprawl backwards onto my shipping table, landing squarely in a pile of customs forms and manilla mailers.

What this says about my subconscious I don't really want to think about - I was on the livestrong site looking for recipes the other day or it could just be my brain's way of reminding me not to eat tylenol pm for dinner ... again

BTW is anyone getting up tomorrow to see the wedding?? Maybe if I really do slip myself some tylenol pm this afternoon and fall asleep around dinner time I can get up early enough ...

Creating Special Spaces for Our Stuff

I was so happy to find this amazing yellow toolbox at a little antique shop in Red Bank, NJ (simply one of the best towns on the planet) a while back and it seemed the perfect place for some of my favorite old books.

I am not usually "a lamp on the left and a lamp on the right" kind of a girl but lately have been craving a bit more symmetry and structure.

I have also been wanting to move real furniture into my kitchen and move out the prefab cabinets and this is the first step - an old dresser with some black paint, covered with turquoise and sanded (sand where real wear and tear would occur - around knobs, corners, etc) as a sideboard under my pot rack (excuse the messy pots!)

If you have about 15 minutes you might enjoy Dan Phillips TED talk about the homes he builds from reclaimed and cast off materials.

Saving the Planet by Trusting Ourselves and creating a wish garden that may get you uninvited to the annual block party

Some days the news is so bleak I can't watch it.

My hubby was getting nosebleeds during the early weeks of the Japan nuclear crisis and we reached a point where we turned it all off.

I felt guilty over this because I do not want to be one of those people who turn from things I do not want to look at - the kind of person who steps over the homeless, avoids looking at the scarred and pushes her own stuff down so deeply that neither years of therapy or a two ton John Deere can unearth it.

(we were thinking - "I just can't go there. It is too hard to look at this stuff. It is too hard to feel this stuff." We put the brakes on.)

These are challenging times (and I am talking about things other than Japan here and many of us are feeling it) - times maybe we will be telling our grandkids about if we are lucky enough to have any. I think we are all here for a purpose, meant to be right where we are, right now.

None of us know what is going to happen. We believe things will get better, but suspect that maybe things will get worse first.

So maybe the greatest, most powerful thing we can do is to simply say, "What the hell, I will go there. I will look. I will feel what I need to feel. I sur­render."

Maybe we don't have to worry about being centered while we are in this place at this time.

If we intend to always be in control we are out of luck. Control is like a box that will never allow us the range of movement that is needed to knock down boundaries and belief systems anyway. Control has always been highly overrated.

My Hindu guru artist friend says to me, "Is the world really collapsing around us? Or is it lift­ing itself around us while everything that stays the same just feels like it is falling?"

Maybe we will know exactly what we need to do, exactly when we need to do it. Maybe we just need to not be afraid to look. Maybe we just need to not be afraid to feel. Maybe we just need to trust ourselves.

I am writing this post on Earth Day after a neighbor asked me what I am doing about my 'dandelion problem' - I told him I'm not sure and he said to me, "well, I thought knowing you, you were probably growing them on purpose"


I do know we are not about to pour toxic chemicals all over the tiny little piece of the planet's skin that we are the caregivers of right now.

I will never understand how a dandelion is any less beautiful than a daffodil.

Maybe there is some organic remedy I could look into or maybe I should wait until they turn into little puffballs and then erect a little fence around my dandelion patch with a sign that reads - blow me.


*never trust a blonde print by franticmeerkat
*dandelion print by briole

GIVEAWAY - Days of the Week Corkboards with Pushpins by Uncorked for Mother's Day CLOSED


Moms need to be organized - and these babies can help, I promise.

As a special Mother's Day giveaway I am giving away something from my cork line Uncorked - 7 little corkboards with 7 gigantic days-of-the-week pushpins - perfect for moms needing a little more organization.

(or people with moms needing a little more organization)

Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree. I get most of my cork (other than the recycled wine corks) from Portugal - where the cork is carefully harvested by hand without chemicals; the process allows the bark to grow back in a few years! Cork is an amazingly eco-friendly wood.


One lucky winner will receive these 7 corkboards and 7 days of the week pushpins!


It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below!

For additional entries:

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

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

Enter by midnight, Sunday, May 1st! Good Luck!

The Mother's Day Giveaway winner is (chosen by random.org) :

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 462


Happy Earth Day 2011

In celebration of Earth Day

(which coincides with Good Friday and Passover week this year - Happy Easter and Happy Passover everyone!)

this is a special ONE DAY giveaway for your choice of a recycled wine cork test tube terrarium - leave a comment below with your favorite theme and also let me know if you would like a magnetic terrarium or one that stands in a little wood cube :

1. seashell 2. bird 3. alice rabbit 4. victorian 5. seahorse 6. garden 7. sewing

I will use random.org to draw a winner at 8pm EST tonight! CLOSED

Happy Holidays everyone!

UPDATE- my wine cork dog leash did not make it onto the big screen - or I should say small screen :( although this may be a good thing since Kathie Lee and Hoda were mean girls and made fun of all the eco-tastic goodies that did make it on ... not sure I could have controlled Olive if her leash had been the butt of their jokes - I mean especially since she's off-leash now and I've been smashed from the wine I've had to drink to gather the corks to make another one ... this was a long week

10% discount in both my shops - Uncorked and Polarity with the coupon code earthday2011 through the end of the month!

And the winner is (I gave 1 entry per person)

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 11
Powered by RANDOM.ORG


Back on Friday for Earth Day!

Taking a mini spring blog break to catch up on orders and get my house cleaned (what a mess) -
I'll be back on Friday with a special Earth Day giveaway!

*gone fishin' screenprint by dmeyerdesigns

Wrapping Up This Week - when a week ends with April 15th you know for sure next week will be better

So, last Saturday I hit my favorite local flea market and I should say that flea markets in New Jersey are not like those massive markets in other places

(we hold onto our junk here and only sell things when we are desperate for cash for really important things that are pretty much unaffordable like college tuition and gasoline)

it's a real hit or miss place.

I did find these 3 pieces though -

1. a baby scale -

no, I don't have a baby and cannot imagine that at one time actual real-live babies were placed on this thing and I already have a vintage kitchen scale and a vintage postal scale and there are not alot of reasons I would need a vintage baby scale

except for the really cute baby on the front that made this thing irresistable ...

2. an old farm sink -

I have no clear idea what I will do with this and I know you are probably thinking PARTY and imagining it filled with ice and brewskis - but I have no friends remember so that will probably not work for me and I won't be planting anything in this bad boy because that would be a little too expected - I will have to think about this ... but I just couldn't pass it up - it is HUGE

3. an old grocery scale

(I am really not obsessed with scales ... really ... although now that I think of it maybe this is getting a little scary since I own a kitchen scale, a postal scale, a baby scale and a grocery scale - my only prerequisite to any kind of scale purchase is that I cannot be able to actually weigh myself with it ... that would be really scary)

The winner of last week's giveaway (drumroll please) for Studio724's amazing bag is (chosen by random.org):

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 416
Powered by RANDOM.ORG


Note - I had a couple people this week email me to let me know that most blog giveaways require the entrants to visit the giveaway shop and that maybe I should require that, too, so I just thought I would clear up why I sometimes do that and sometimes don't in case people are wondering.

Most of my giveaways are my creative tithes- giving part of what I make online back to the creative community so I usually buy the giveaway item or I trade for it and in those cases I do not require an entrant to visit the shop although I certainly hope they do and I try to find cool stuff that they will really want to check out! If I require the entrant to visit the shop it is because the item was donated by the shop and the shopkeeper wants a visit for their donation (and they should!) - I hope this clears that up!

Have an amazing weekend everyone - my taxes are still sitting on TurboTax's server waiting for my trigger finger to hit SEND - I keep thinking I will suddenly remember a deduction I have forgotten - I hope yours are done and you are getting a great big refund!

Also a heads up that my cork dog leash may be on Kathie Lee and Hoda next week as part of The Art of Reuse Project - I had to overnight it to them - fingers crossed!

(Olive is a bit pissed to part with it though)

Upcycled Wine Cork Heart Tutorial - wear your heart on the wall not on your sleeve

I probably should be making this in the shape of an Easter egg this week, but I felt the need for another stab at making a heart

(some of you may remember my rubberband heart fiasco)

Now you could make this on a piece of wood or heavy cardboard cut into a heart shape or matboard inside a frame, but I have a clipboard fixation so we will make this with a clipboard.

If you have an old metal one this would be even more amazing with magnets on the back of your corks.

You will need: wine corks, chalk or paint, glue (I like gorilla glue because it is strong and you have some maneuvering time before it dries, but any good wood glue will do), clipboard, paper and scissors

1. weigh out about a lb of corks (just kidding) 2. fold a piece of paper and cut out a heart the way we did for valentines when we were kids 3. use this heart as a template and lightly trace your heart onto your clipboard - or whatever surface you are using 4. randomly chalk a few cork edges and then distress with black chalk (make sure to leave the most flat edge of the cork for the back and check your hands this stuff is messy) 5. lay out your heart edge 6. glue in place 7. fill in the middle glueing as you go

Just grab some thumbtacks and hang all your important notes or not so important notes!

If you decide to make one of these and use a Staples clipboard (like I did) and need a little magnet to cover the Staples logo hit the let's chat link on the right and let me know your address and I will pop something in the mail to you.

Note - I later gave the cork edges a quick spray of a sealer - a good idea if you use chalk!

if not now .... when

just askin' ...

(and no, that thing you did last night with your lip and a clothespin doesn't count)

*print by the studio alcantara


Bullfrog Laserworks is the home of Portland maker Roberto Sand who creates custom stamps, invitations and lots of other goodies.

Roberto says, "the laser is just a tool, like a paint brush or a chisel. Your ideas will be my inspiration in creating unique, original products with this powerful, precise machine."

Roberto lives with his beautiful wife, amazing stepdaughter and grumpy cat Toby (is there any other kind of cat) and wants to make a living doing what he loves - creating unique crafts that people will enjoy!


One lucky winner will receive one large size custom rubber stamp from Roberto! Everyone can think of something to do with this!


It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below and be sure to check out Roberto Sand's shop - you will find some amazing items!

For additional entries:

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

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

Enter by midnight, Sunday, April 24! Good Luck! CLOSED

The winner of Bullfrog Laserworks Custom Rubber Stamp is (drumroll please)

Chosen by random.org True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 611

Elena Rosenberg of Tickled Pink Knits! Congrats Elena!

New Work in Polarity Shop - and maybe I can gather enough loot from my sofa cushions to buy one of those snore stopper gizmos

I used to make button lids for my magnetic polarity lockets, but for some reason I haven't in a year or so. I recently made some special fun and funky bridesmaid pieces for a customer's wedding and decided to create a couple extras for my Polarity shop customers. I think they are super cute!

Hoping for good weather here to hit a flea market or two and also hoping to get a little sleep - hubby's snoring is really out of control right now; last night I ended up wedged between the sofa cushions like an errant cheeze-it

(not that there are cheeze-its in my sofa ... because Olive would eat them)

- it is not a good thing. Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and a good night's sleep!


Upcycled File Cabinet Drawers - create shelving and planters from old drawers

If you have any old metal file cabinet drawers or can get your hands on any at a flea market this spring - they can easily be turned into amazing hanging shelves and planters.

The drawer's pull handles make great places to hang your doodads and the file name insert (shown here with the dictionary definiton of GROW) make great spaces for words, pictures, business cards, etc.

The easiest way to hang these is with a screw into a screw anchor. They can also be stacked or used as shelf dividers - too many possibilties to throw these babies into the junk heap!

Earth Day Countdown - Getting a Little Greener in 2011 - Spring Cleaning

As Earth Day 2011 approaches there may be some ways we can tweak our lives and live a little bit greener.

Spring Cleaning for Greenies -

1. Reduce - this one is all about buying less stuff with less packaging and cutting the clutter in our lives.

(clutter gets in the way of everything - it is hard to even set an intention for what we want in life when we have filled our lives with too much stuff)

2. Reuse - after you create that pile of stuff you want to get rid off - take another look at the pile - can anything there be reused in a better way - not to hang onto it just to hang onto it - but don't toss the books when you can glue them together and make an amazing side table!

3. Recycle - I know you are already doing this so maybe the next step is a compost pile - composting is super easy

my post with some tips is HERE and a great post on the EcoEtsy blog is HERE.

I recently bought some wonderful worm compost tea to add to my garden from Maryellen of MaryZoom - she has volunteered to help me when I launch my very own kitchen worm bin with red wrigglers, which she promises do not smell and are easy to maintain.

4. Donate - 80% of what we own we never use - maybe someone else can! There is a great list of what to do with our stuff on Martha HERE

5. Make our own cleaning supplies HERE

6. Make it a no-trash cleaning day - ditch the paper towels, the throwaway mop-head thingies and those sticky pads that you have to toss - there are better alternatives to all of these things - if Grandma didn't clean it that way, we probably shouldn't either.

7. Break up with our mailman - get off the junkmail lists with greendimes.com or 41 pounds , go paperless with your statements when possible

At EcoEtsy we are having our 2nd annual Earth Day Auction - this year we are raising money for Habitat for Humanity in Japan - check it out HERE - there are several packages of handmade goodies you can bid on and get yourself some amazing loot while supporting a wonderful cause.

*Jane Austen quote dishtowel at Brookish

What Small Makers Might Learn from Big Companies and Their Policy & Procedure Manuals

When I worked for a bank we had lots of rules and lots of regulations and lots of manuals.

There was a rule for everything and a certain way that almost everything needed to be done.

Many of these ways and rules were exactly the reasons some of us no longer work for places like banks or dream of no longer working for places like banks

but one positive thing the writers of those policy and procedures manuals did for us was create a system of practices that allowed us

(even with a sign in every office reminding everyone that the customer was always right)

to say no when we needed to.

When we don't have any rules for what we will and will not do, we are more likely to make reactive rather than proactive decisions.

Reactive decisions are made on the fly and often depend on our emotion in the moment or on guilt or wanting approval - proactive decisions are thought out and support the intentions we have for our business.

Proactive decisions allow us to grow in intended ways. They help us set up the systems to spend our time in the best possible ways for us.

For example I get alot of requests for charity donations for auctions and things. Early on I would ask them to fax me a request with the letterhead of the charity and I would send them off some jewelry, but it got to be a little too much and what I really wanted to do with my donations; support the causes I was passionate about - was getting lost. So, I made myself a little policy about dealing with charity requests and I stick to it. I also made a little policy about brussel sprouts and I'm sticking to that one, too.

(this is not to say we can't bend the rules sometimes - except for the brussel sprouts rule because, well, they are really gross - because of course we can, but just not so often that the intention behind our setting it in the first place gets lost)

If you are asked to do something in the moment that you really don't want to do, you don't have to come up with lame excuses or trudge along and do it anyway - well, sometimes we do have to do the things we don't want to do and trudge along and do it anyway, of course, but those things should be the exception- mostly we should be doing the things that support the intentions we have for ourselves.

(you also do not have to answer a request until you are clear on what you want - saying "let me get back to you on that" - is often a good idea and allows you to see how the request fits in with the intention for your business and your life)

Some clear guidelines about what we will and what we will not do might make our small maker lives alot easier.

Sometimes the big companies get something right ... sometimes.

watch your back - they REALLY are out to get you today ...

Rules for April 1st - don't believe anything anyone says today, open doors slowly, do not move any oddly placed objects, check toilet seats for saran wrap, do not come running when your kids call you,

(sneak up on them - trust me- they are up to something)

check for thumb tacks before sitting down anywhere, do not eat anything that has been out of your sight for 10 seconds ...

(actually these are all good rules to live by everyday, except for the eating thing - that would be a hard one)

I don't want to make you all paranoid and suspicious today, but .... maybe you should be.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, congrats to Unni and Lindsay for their giveaway wins, don't forget to enter Studio724's amazing giveaway HERE - next week we will begin our Earth Day countdown, I will have a new upcycled tutorial you won't want to miss and a little post on the value of working together ....

xo - enjoy your weekend everyone ... and be careful .... seriously