31 January 2010

An Arm Chair Vacation

It is the last day of January, and so it seems that my February blah's came a day early. Its the same drill every year at this time. The shortened days, grey skies, and feeling that winter will never end, begins to takes its toll.

I crave a get-away. I'm not a sunny destination, beach-lolling kinda gal. In fact, I would happily deal with snow if I were to find myself whisked away to someplace that was far removed from ordinary life. Since the prospect of a holiday is nowhere in sight, I have to content myself with a little armchair travel, and a quick slip into an indulgent daydream.

I find it handy to have some visual inspiration for this exercise. Care to join me as I dream myself away to my favorite place on earth?

This photo by etsy seller Irene Suchocki is the perfect starting point. It captures my favorite bit of my favorite city: the graceful, towering spire that has become emblematic of Paris, and the whimsical allure of the French carousel. Irene's photos evoke a sense of softness and romance. Looking at one of her photos is exactly like falling into a dream. Fitting, no?

I can't dream of Paris without visions of macarons dancing across my eyelids. These little bites are the perfect Parisian treat, and their soft pastel colours are a cheery departure from the cold grey of Canadian winter. This beautifully delicious photo can be found in the shop of etsy seller Serpentine.

Now,what would a trip to Paris be without an afternoon sitting quietly at a cafe, drinking a strong hot, cafe au lait, while the rest of the world rushes by? This beautiful photo of the cafe chairs where I would seat myself, was captured by etsy seller alicebgardens. I actually just came upon her shop, and I can tell you that I was instantly enamoured!

And, since I am dreaming that I am in Paris, why not reach a little further and also imagine that it is springtime. Spotted throughout the city are cherry trees laden with heavy, fragrant blossoms. This photographed was shot in front of Notre Dame Cathedral by honeytree.

If I were to take this daydream to a truly far fetched, fantastical level, I would imagine that I had enough balls to drive those manic streets of Paris. Truth be told, I barely have the stomach to be a passenger! However, in this flight of fancy, not only am I behind the wheel heading out of the city to an idyllic country retreat - a Chateau stay, perhaps - but I am also behind the wheel of this classic Citroen in a charming shade of pink. This photo I found in the etsy shop of opart.

You know, that actually was a very therapeutic little journey. I encourage you to rid yourself of the winter blah's and take yourself on your own little flight of fancy. Feel free to share your adventures here, and thanks for travelling along with me today.

29 January 2010

3rd Etsy-versary Sale!!!

My goodness!! Where have the past three years gone? Today is my third etsy-versary. I can't believe it.

To celebrate, and to thank everyone who has supported my shop over these past 3 years, I am having a SALE!!

For three days, (Friday Jan 29-Sunday Jan 31) I will be offering 30% off everything in my shop. ALSO... every buyer will be entered into a draw to win a special surprise!! ssshhhhh... I won't tell what it is.

Please come visit my shop.

25 January 2010

Favorite Things - January 25

I have to admit, when I first came across this item, I thought it a little odd. But once it became available in glossy red, I was swayed by its prettiness and decided to give it a try.

And, then, it was love!

Today's favorite thing is my "I'm Not a Paper Cup" cup.

The original white ones look identical to a logo-less, big coffee chain, throw away mug. These cups, however are re-usable. They are a double walled porcelain cups with a silicone lid. The double wall has a hollow space between which provides insulation. The silicone top keeps the heat from escaping out the top. This means that your hot drink stays hotter for much longer. Ingenious! And pretty.

24 January 2010


String Me Along Jewelry Design can now be found on Lollishops.

What is Lollishops? Well, its a self-described "frou-frou friendly marketplace". With a claim like that, what's not to love right? Here, you will find all things whimsical, fanciful and romantic. *sigh* Its like a dream come true.

I'm slowly building my little corner, and you can watch it grow right here by clicking on the flower below:

By the way, like the ring? Thanks. I finally ordered some more of the vintage enamelled metal flowers that I used last year and have been slowly rebuilding the metal flower garden. There are some new lapel pins and bobby pins already listed on etsy, with more to come.

And if you are heading over to my etsy shop, be sure to check out my new shop banner and avatar. I thought it was time for a little make-over. It is a new decade after all. I am really pleased with the result, and I think it just works beautifully with the new styles of jewelry that I have been creating lately. A shout-out to miamardesigns for creating the banner.

21 January 2010

Hearts for Haiti

I applaud, truly applaud, those few individuals who are able to spring into action at the drop of a hat. Spurred on by a disaster in a far-away place, horrifed by the images that they see unfold on their TV's, they quickly formulate an idea to offer help and relief. More than that, they take that idea, they put it into action, and they make it work.

Below is an example of such a thing.

Artists are known for having small bank accounts these days yet their hearts are anything but. After the disaster in Haiti, one artist, Victoria van der Laan of Albany, NY, the artist behind Ex Libris Handmade (www.exlibrishandmade.etsy.com) posted a simple request on the forums at Etsy,

“I would love to see and potentially help to organize an Etsy shop established to fundraise for relief efforts in Haiti. Though I wasn't involved with this I understand a similar shop was started to help during the Australian bushfires last year. Does anyone know how this was done or have any suggestions on how it may work?”

Within minutes, dozens of fellow artists replied, offering their time, knowledge, and wares. This was January 13th. Heartsforhaiti.etsy.com was open for business by midnight on January 15th . With more than 200 artists contributing, they have raised over $1000 in less than 24 hours and contributors from all over the world are working around the clock to create items and get them listed in the online store.

Most of us do not even know each others names; we simply refer to each other by our shop names. To follow this story from its inception read the forum posts at http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6404152&page=1. The forum thread is a true illustration of the hearts and minds of the artists who have come together to aid the recovery effort in Haiti.

"The hearts of many in the Etsy community go out to the victims of the earthquake. Hopefully each of us, in our small and humble way, can help to alleviate some suffering." -Jesse (Etsy Admin. Announcement)

100% of the proceeds from items sold (excluding PayPal and Esty fees) will be donated to Doctors without Borders. Artists are paying the shipping costs themselves so buyers will not have to pay shipping. Plans are to keep the shop open for at least one month or until donations and volunteers are no longer available.

18 January 2010

Favorite Things - January 22

Today's favorite thing is something that up until a month ago, I wouldn't have given a passing glance to, let alone believe that I could fall in love with.

It all started innocently enough, when the week before Christmas I was in a pub in Charlottetown with my sister. It was one of those December nights.... briskly cold and snowy. The weather of the day had taken its toll on my hands. Skin that tends to be dry at the best of times does not take kindly to endless days of briskly cold and snow. Thus, my skin had become so dry it was painful. My sister saw me wincing and out of her purse she whipped a sample tube of GoldBond Ultimate Moisturizing lotion.

I thought she was kidding and was not at all tempted by the idea of dry-hand relief. For years, I have believed that GoldBond had striven to make itself the most undesirable product on the market. When I thought "Gold Bond" I immediately thought of grimacing, dry, itchy elderly people. Not an image that I like to dwell on, let alone imagine for myself.

As I winced again and my knuckle ripped, I was persuaded to give it a try.

What a miracle. Within seconds my hands felt relief. The skin was considerably softer after just one application, and after I nicked it from her purse, they were 100% better by the end of the weekend.

Since that weekend I have stocked up on the lotion and have it readily available beside my bathroom and kitchen sinks, and in my own purse. My hands have never made it through a January day with such suppleness.

17 January 2010

Golden Globes

Tonight is Golden Globe night. I'll be sleeping as the awards get handed out, but will remain awake to watch the parade down the red carpet.

In honour of tonight's fashion event, I have created this treasury on etsy.

I titled it "gwyneth at the globes" not because I am a big Gwyneth fan, but it was serendipitous that there was a dress called Gwyneth. Don't you love all those little golden and globe-shaped jewelry pieces? And what girl doesn't love a gorgeous black dress?

10 January 2010

50 Books - 2009

I fell short again this year of my goal to read 50 books in the year. I came closer than the previous year. My guess too is that if I added in the cook books, craft books, other instruction books, plus books that I referenced a chapter here, a chapter there, in actualilty I far surpassed that goal. Add in the back of cereal boxes, magazines, newspapers, web-articles, etc, etc, and I have inundated myself with information which is of course a good thing.

My final counted tally of full books though stands at 43, and here is the list:

1) The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
2) Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
3) The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb
4) Look Me in the Eye - John Elder Robison
5) The Gathering - Anne Enright
6) Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson
7) On Chesil Beach -Ian McEwan
8) The End of the Alphabet - CS Richardson
9) Tales of Beedle the Bard - JK Rowling
10) Daniel Isn't Talking - Marti Leinmbach
11) The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway
12) Tomorrow - Graham Swift
13) Born on a Blue Day - Daniel Tammet
14) Skeletons at the Feast - Chris Bohjalian
15) Mr Pip - Lloyd Jones
16) The Shack - Wm P Young
17) Remembrance of Things Paris - Ruth Reichl
18) World Made by Hand - James Howard Kunstler
19) Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden
20) Death by Rubber Duck - Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie
21) Girls in Trucks - Katie Crouch
22) A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
23) The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
24) Inside the Whale - Jennie Rooney
25) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
26) Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
27) Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
28) Watership Down - Richard Adams
29) A Member of the Wedding - Carson McCullers
30) The Witch of Portobello - Paulo Coelho
31) The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
32) Coventry - Helen Humphreys
33) Still Alice - Lisa Genova
34) The Painted Veil - M. Somerset Maugham
35) All Our Worldly Goods - Irene Nemirovsky
36) Where We Have to Go - Lauren Kirshner
37) Fruit: The Story of a A Boy and His Nipples - Brian Francis
38) Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
39) Gourmet Rhapsody - Muriel Barbery
40) The Wife's Tale - Lori Lansens
41) The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry
42) Night - Elie Wiesel
43) The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls

I'm going to aim for the same goal this year and see if I make it.

2 January 2010

Another Year, Another Decade

Honestly, how did that happen? I was prepared for the end of the year, but I was shocked to realise that a full decade had slid by so quickly. So much has happened in my life in the past ten years.

I began the last decade in Northern Ireland where I was at the tail end of a student-work visa. Once I came back to Canada, I completed the final year of my university degree, met and married my husband, went through 3 career changes (maybe one will someday stick), started a home-based business, and packed up again and moved to Atlantic Canada. And, really, there was so, so much more.

Of course, I have no way to predict what the coming decade will hold, but there are things that I would like to strive toward.
  • I would like to see another change in location as I do tend to get restless.
  • I would like to see my business grow.
  • I would like to explore other creative ventures, perhaps returning to my love of writing in some larger aspect.
  • I would like to be healthier. I am on the cusp of my 40's and I can no longer pretend that I am not getting older.
  • I would like to continue to travel. Its a big world out there and I have only seen fractions of it.
  • I would like to be more open to new adventures. I'm pretty adaptable to change, but sometimes have trouble getting my butt into gear unless I do something on a whim.
So, no real resolutions... more just a road upon which I will put myself and hope that I can follow. I expect that there will be detours, on- and off- ramps, and possibly some idiot will cut me off. But life is about the journey as much as it is the destination.