Christmas In Black And White (Mostly)

Monday, December 29, 2014

We made to the other side of the Holidays! How were yours? Christmas for me was a sort of strange mix of a most wonderful and a most emotionally exhausting time. Nothing like the holidays to bring out the family dysfunction. It has to happen every so often right? We need material for all those holiday movies. Speaking of which I kept thinking of the quote from Christmas Vacation: I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery. The crux of most of it was there was a lot of drama around me having Christmas dinner at my house. Though in the end, somewhere halfway through Christmas day, with my fridge filled with food and my house filled with a weeks worth of tension, we headed out for Chinese food for our Christmas dinner. I think in the end this holiday is one that is going to go down in the books as one I am just glad to have survived. Someday I am sure I'll sit around and laugh about all it all. And to be fair I did my fair share laughing (privately) at the time too. And if anyone in Portland want to have Chinese food for Christmas dinner next year, I have a recommendation now.

But, as I said, there were a lot of wonderful moment as well. Even though it was a bit stressful "getting to have" Christmas at my house, I loved it. It's the first time in my life I didn't go to and fro multiple places in that 48 hour period that is Christmas. My kids were really happy too, and that's where the true joy in Christmas is at for me. They happy. Me happy. There were lots of cozy moments in front of the faux fireplace with warm cocktails, we also played games, baked cookies, made pies, listened to christmas music, ate a lovely christmas eve dinner, and tracked Santa. My sister, my oldest, Fisher, M+L and I stole away for a bit on Christmas eve (fisher's 17th birthday!) after dinner to walk around sipping hot chocolate on Peacock lane, looking at all the Christmas lights, listening to the carolers, and being merry.

These days following Christmas have been nothing short of relaxing. My children, of course, made out like bandits, and I have a giant pile of books that have replaced any worries I had with which book to start with first (i also got an ipad so that's been keeping me nice and grounded to my couch as well).  Now, though, I am ready to start the new year! I have this feeling it's going to be a good one and I am excited to start it off on the right foot.

photos: 1. i headed to my old neck of the woods to visit my grandma on a perfectly foggy 23rd of december | 2-4. impromptu christmas dinner | 5. fisher's b-day cake | 6. christmas lights | 7. grandma's house | 6. peacock lane peacock | 7. fisher got a gas mask for his birthday (?). we all had to try it on. | 8. after christmas morning house playing with my new olio lens | 9.  christmas morning with grumpy cat and the mip robots

Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wishing you all happy holidays! I'll be checking out for the week to spend time with my family, or maybe the bottle of Bombay I stopped to get at the store last night. And of course I must say a happy birthday to my first born, Fisher, who is turning 17 today(!). Hope you all have a peaceful, warm, and joyful holiday. xo


Photo Diary | All The Twinkling Lights |

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Christmas week! Are you ready? I think I am finally ready for Christmas. Logistically I've been ready for about a week. But the whole 'spirit of Christmas' had been eluding me no matter how many hot chocolates I guzzled, how many christmas gifts I wrapped, how many cookie scented candles I burned, and no matter how many times I tried to watch Elf

I could easily fall on the side of a Christmas cynic, generally speaking. I get the cynicism for Christmas. There are many valid reasons for one to be grim about the holidays. But. I don't fall on that side of the fence. I love Christmas. One I have kids. Christmas for kids is magical. A month of watching the same movies repeatedly, and rather bemoaning from parents, actual excitement because they watched Rudolph when they were little too. Buying presents, looking at lights, making and eating more cookies than a kid normally gets in a year, tying bows, spending time together as a family, getting out of school for two weeks, visiting Santa, believing in reindeer, waiting for the big day. These are all things I loved about Christmas and I just want to wave my mom wand around and sprinkle magical snow dust on everything around them. But this year, like I said, it wasn't happening. I was waving half-heartedly and while doing so, instead of counting down the days to Christmas, I was counting the days until it was over. So not me. 

So this weekend I decided to just give it my all. I boxed up the fake tree and found a lot that had one scraggly little tree left, had it tied on my car and made the switch (turned out it was my fake trees doppelganger. no one even noticed. but the pine scent continues to fill the air nonetheless). I watched Home Alone 1 and 2, The Family Stone, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I wrapped presents and choked down soynog. I filled out Christmas cards and bought another cookie scented candle. I spent an hour fighting with some clips of cedar to decorate my mantle just so. It was coming together but, still, my brain was thinking only a week now (until it's over!). 

Saturday morning my neighbor Jack stopped by, we got to talking and the subject of Christmas came up of course, and we both agreed that it just felt a little less Christmassy this year. So he said, "You know what we need to do? We need to go look at lights and I know just the house to go see." So later that evening we piled into his truck and he started heading to the neighborhood where I grew up. He was telling me about this house and it started to sound more and more familiar. When we got there I realized it was the same house my grandfather always took me to when I was a little girl. The house and property is covered in lights. Top to bottom and side to side. They build window scenes in the living room windows with circling trains, animatronic dolls that nod and bears that pop out of tree stumps. For years I've wondered if this place still existed, wished I would have asked my grandfather about it (what's the address!), even questioned if I remembered it right at all. Was it real? Was it as amazing as my memory led me to believe? However, now that this memory was nearing 30 years old since I'd last been there, I figured while the memory likely did exist, the lights and dolls and trains and bears probably didn't anymore. But it did. It does. And it was just as magical. Maybe even more so because when I came home it definitely felt a little bit more like Christmas. 

'Tis The Season

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I am so glad today is here! As those of you who have been following along know I've been busy filling holiday orders from my shop and also getting ready for the craft fair I did this last weekend. And last week, it was a long one. While in the throes of getting ready for the show our whole house came down with some respiratory virus that kept us up hacking all hours of the night, school was missed (a.k.a. time alone to get stuff done was missed), we had a wind storm which knocked down a few trees in out neighborhood and were left without power for 24 hours. With so much going on I decided not to get a tree, put up lights, or buy any Christmas presents until that was all over. So from here on out it's all about the holidays for us. I am so looking forward to spending the next week doing some shopping, wrapping presents and watching holiday movies, baking cookies, and just being present enough to truly enjoy the season with my littles. In fact I am so excited to get on with them that, despite my lethargy last night, I dragged out my trusty fake tree just to put up for the next few days until we get a real one (it also confirmed how much i want a real one this year). 

And speaking of the craft fair - it was a completely different experience from the first time I did it this last spring.  Working from home can be pretty isolating and one of the reasons I wanted to do the craft fair to begin with was just to be out, in person. See who my customers are, meet other makers, see what people gravitate towards, get feedback and the like. The mood of the last one just seemed so off, that despite the fact I was pretty certain I didn't want to do it again, I thought I'd try the holiday one. And I am really glad I did. Obviously the holidays are a time when people are out and about looking for presents, so the crowd was much larger, and overall the mood was just so much more upbeat. Both the shoppers and vendors seemed in really good spirits which made it really fun. And this time I really did get to have all of those experiences that I had hoped for. One of the random things I noticed was that both men and women like my products. I am not sure I would have really known that otherwise. So from the business end of things to the social end of things it was a great experience this time around. And as an added bonus at the end, a lot of the vendors, myself included, did trades with our goods which was such a fun way to start my pile of Christmas gifts. 

Detour: Classiq

Monday, December 15, 2014

I am pretty sure it's Monday, as in I am pretty sure we just had a weekend, but for me it was a complete blur. My weekend was consumed with the craft show that I did Saturday and Sunday. I will save the details for another post but if I had to sum it up in one word I'd say: fun. It was a lot of fun, but oh am I tired! 

Today you can find me over at my favorite style blog Classiq talking about one of my favorite holiday traditions. 

Never Say Never

Friday, December 12, 2014

Remember that time I did that big craft show and afterward I concluded that I didn't think I wanted to do that ever again? Well, surprise, I am doing it again! This weekend actually. The good news is that being as this isn't my first big craft show like it was last time, the amount of work is at least cut in half. And even better for me, there's no anticipation of the unknown. I have a lot of the little things ready and waiting from last time like shopping bags, receipt book, and all those things you forget until the last minute. Which is great because unfortunately this week whilst trying to finish up inventory, dot my i's and cross my t's I have also been battling a cold that my oldest no doubt brought home from school or public transportation.  But I've been plowing through this week with the intention of having everything ready for Friday's load-in by Wednesday night so I could rest up Thursday. Which thankfully I did because we've been without power since 4pm yesterday courtesy of a wind storm. And you know it could have been dire had I not been ready, but I was, and because of our lack of power I didn't spend the day fretting (I totally would have despite my plan not to). Instead we went out to dinner, saw a movie, and played games by candle light. There's always a silver lining friends, even when you need to squint to see it. Hopefully I'll find one today as well, even though that's feeling a little less likely on day two without electricity. I was really hoping to wake up to everything coming on in the middle of the night. 

And if anyone is in or going to be in the pdx area be sure to come down to the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale and say hi on Saturday or Sunday from 11-6). I will be in some very good company with over 250 local vendors (and vendors who come in from elsewhere too). You can find details here. Have a great weekend! I'm off to charge my phone in my car!

Products in images can be found at Plumed

Jul Time

Monday, December 8, 2014

How was your weekend? Did anyone get a tree? I saw so many lovely instagrams of christmas trees over the weekend in their various stages of being cut down, placed on roofs of cars, being decorated, and of course, many final shots of trees in all their twinkly and sparkly glory. I must admit I felt a little wah wah as I looked around my house at my sole decoration so far this year (and my piles upon piles of work surrounding it). With that I am continuing living vicariously through the internet this early holiday season. I can say I think having to wait (or choosing to wait really) has made me decide that I am definitely going to keep my perfectly sized fake one in storage this year and opt for a real live nobel. I am ready to let the pine scent and needles overtake my house. 

Print: Goal Sheets

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. And by lately I mean probably somewhere around the last six months. Even though I find I am constantly busying myself with one thing or the next, I haven't felt like I have actually been in a forward moving motion for a long time. In fact I've felt pretty stagnant and I know that means that I need to really sit down and evaluate a few things. Ideas are starting to take shape but I will save that for another day. 

One of the issues I have had lately is that I am a list-maker (if I don't have a to-list to follow everyday i am likely to not do anything at all). However, and this is where the issue part comes in, sometimes that list is so long and so daunting and filled with so many things from so many different areas of my life, that this tried and true method stops working for me. Thus the list grows and grows as I stare at it blindly and the words jumble and spin on the page. My to-do lists lately are pages long. Filled with various goals ranging from mundane and repetitive tasks, to huge long-reaching, huge time-investment goals. I've realized lately that these lists are obviously counter-productive. I can't reference lists where 'learn html coding' is right underneath 'make the beds.' So I decided a good first step is to take the time to sit down to prioritize and organize my goals. To do so I made these hand-dandy (i hope!) goal sheets. 

There are three goals sheets in each set (there are two sets: one with profanity because I think I need a little foul language to get me moving right now. and one that is rated PG for those who aren't motivated by cussing at themselves). 

The first sheet is a goal worksheet to work on up to three goals from your giant to-do list to start with. So figure those out first (prioritize where you want to start). And then decide what steps you need to take to reach the goal/s. Finally break those steps down into simple actions. So using 'learn html coding' for the example goal to begin with - the steps could be: take a class, read books, watch youtube video's, subscribe to online series, etc.. And the actions can be to pick one of those steps such as: research books - order a book - read chapter one of book. Break it down into teeny tiny babysteps. You can download the write that shit down version here. Or you can download the more friendly small steps everyday version here

The other two sheets are daily/weekly to-do charts for post-it notes so you can write new goals daily/weekly and pull them off as you go along (i found the idea here). 

For the weekly you can post 5 big steps to take for the week and do one each day. get that shit done version here. small steps everyday version here.

For the daily you can break it down into smaller goals or add other daily tasks and just pull them off throughout the day and when the chart is empty you can eat some chocolate (chocolate not included). get that shit done version here. small steps everyday version here.

Simple Holiday Decor

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

For those of you who aren't into a whole months worth of holiday posts you might want to check back in here after January first. I love the sparkle and coziness and scent of pine trees and traditions of Christmas and I just can't help but fully indulge in this on the blog. Not to mention this is quite a busy time for me in my shop, and with that, I usually end up having to live a bit vicariously through the internet until things slow down for me - which is usually right before the holidays get here. I do love to put up a few decorations though. However because I still need to keep my house functional and have the ability to spread my work out during this time I really love simple holiday decorations that don't take over the whole house, yet still feel very festive. Like these ones. 

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 

The Gift Of Giving: Gifts That Give Back

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy December! It's here. I always see it coming, yet I still feel like it sneaked up on me a bit. How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Ours was really, really nice. My neighbor was kind enough to allow me the use of his oven while he went to families for the day and I can tell you it was hands down the easiest and best Thanksgiving meal I have prepared and served yet. The rest of the weekend was perfectly relaxing. We decided to go for a weekend of over-eating instead of over-spending and spent a long quiet weekend at home snacking on leftovers and milling about.

But on to the present. It's that time of year again where my humanitarian side, blogging side, and love of "things" side get to live in perfect harmony for a little bit. The Gift of Giving series has to be my favorite series that I have here on the blog and I look forward to this time each year to share my new findings with you.

I love Christmas, I love buying things, I love gift giving, and I'll admit I love getting them too. But. Like most people there have been many times throughout my life when I, or my family have struggled, and before I did what I do now I worked in social services, providing services to families in need. So come the holidays, no matter where I am personally, I try to give back as I am able to (many non-profits depend on the funds/donations they get through the holiday season to run all year long). One way, for those who may not be able to afford out-right cash donations, is to buy gifts where part of the proceeds go to a charitable donation. This is something I hope to incorporate into my own business someday. And with that said I am always on the lookout for companies who do this, not just for my own inspiration, but as a really great way to give to during a season of giving in more ways than just one. Here are a few of my picks . . . (and as you can see you can give gifts that give at all price points!)

1. The Naked Hippie t-shirt: TNH "invests 100% of it's profits into micro loans that help people in developing countries support themselves and their families by starting or growing small shops, stands and sidewalk businesses.

2. Kite Pencils: For every pencil pack purchased, Kite gives one to a child in need. "Kite partners with organizations and schools committed to eliminating the barriers of education both domestically and internationally, where kids in attendance are living below the poverty line. 

3. Raven and Lily Yami Everyday Tote: "Raven + Lily currently helps employ marginalized women in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, and the USA at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.

4. Apolis Cypress Fig Travel Candle: Apolis partners with communities to co-create products, investing in the production and introducing the finished products to a global marketplace. 

5. LSTN Headphones: Working with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, LSTN helps to restore hearing to a person in need for every pair sold. 

6. Nomi Network Child's Elephant Tee: Nomi Network is a non-profit that creates economic opportunities for women and survivors at risk of human trafficking. 

7. fashionABLE The Able scarf: fashionABLE works with women to help them start small business cooperatives, and we partner with and require manufacturers to also employ women with fair wages and fair hiring practices.  

8. LUSH New Charity PotWith every purchase of Charity Pot, LUSH donates 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small, grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.

9. Out of Print Banned Books Notebook: For each product sold, one book is donated to a community in need through our partner Books For Africa

If you have any suggestions of your favorite charities please let me know in the comments!
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