Saturday, April 30, 2011

Waiting for Summer TV

I don't have cable. I haven't had cable in almost 2 years.  Anyone that has known me for a while would be shocked to hear this.  For most of my childhood/teenage years/early adulthood, television has been my life.  When I say that I used to watch 4-6 hours of TV a day, I mean it.  I had "my shows" that I watched everyday and it occupied a lot of my free time.  I even watched crap TV - the kind of shows that you know are bad and stupid and yet you watch them anyway (and feel ashamed for watching).

Since moving in with my better half, I haven't had cable.  I think we just decided that we'd rather have super fast internet instead of cable.  Also, he didn't watch that much TV and I thought I should probably cut back.  I'm happy to say that I've survived quite well.  While I am SO out of the loop as far as pointless entertainment news goes (who the hell is Snooky and Justin Beiber and iCarly?), I am seriously OK with that.

I do still have a few choice TV shows that I MUST watch (The Office, Outsourced, Parks & Rec., Archer, and South Park).  But I really have cut back.  Oh, and since I don't have cable, some of these awesome shows must be ascertained by other, less than legal means...

Sadly, my ABSOLUTE MOST FAVORITE shows are only on during a tiny window during the summer/fall.  These shows, that I would watch first before cashing in my winning lotto ticket, are:

Boardwalk Empire

Ahhhhh, such good stuff!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Snow: Georgia VS Massachusetts

I've lived my entire life in the South - North Georgia to be exact.  While the winters that I have experienced there have always been cold, the amount of snow that falls in the Peach State is quite diminutive.  Snow, if it appears at all, is treated as a big deal in Georgia.  When the weather threatens snow or ice, sh*t shuts down. 

9 months ago I moved to Boston, Massachusetts.  I just survived my first New England winter. Hell, I even went skiing in Vermont in sub zero temperatures this past January.  I think this (very cold-natured, always shivering) Southern girl did OK.  The point I'm trying to make is that the winter I experienced here in Boston was very different from my past Georgia winters.  There was A LOT more snow.  I went home to Georgia this past Christmas and it actually snowed.  I took pictures.  I returned to Boston and in January there was a blizzard.  I took more pictures.  Here's how the two states compare, in my eyes.


Pathetic dusting of snow.

Our snowballs were half snow / half leaves. :(

Snowman with pine straw face.


 Train/bus station parking lot during the early stages of a blizzard.

A small view of my route to the post office.   The sidewalks were covered in ice, but luckily I had something to prevent me from dying.

 I'd never seen so much snow in my entire life. So white, fluffy, and virginal!

 Yeah, the pretty snow didn't last long...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Giving to Charitable Organizations: Part 2

During my research to find a humanitarian aid organization to which I would like to donate a percentage of my monthly sales, I came across the web site for Help Darfur Now.  While I feel that the cause they are supporting is definitely the type that I'd like to support, one of the aspects of "spreading the message" kind of bothered me.  (I know this organization is not the only one to use the following method, but I had to choose someone to be the example, right?).

Right on the homepage is a list of merchandise that can be sold to raise money for Help Darfur Now. Bracelets, t-shirts, stickers that all say 'Darfur'.  I totally understand that getting the message of the cause out into the world should be done by any means possible; however, I would just feel silly wearing a shirt that says "Darfur".  People in Darfur are being murdered in cold blood and here I am wearing a t-shirt for them.  It just doesn't feel right.  I know the intention is good, but it just almost seems inappropriate.

If people are DYING I need to be doing a hell of a lot more than donating money and wearing a t-shirt that supports the cause.  Sadly, my only option right now is to donate money and receive a t-shirt in return. I can just see some Hey Bro wearing a Darfur shirt, hanging out with his bros, talking about how he helped Darfur.  It annoys me.  And maybe it shouldn't.  Maybe I should be happy that that shallow sack of crap actually felt compelled to help someone other than themselves.  But there they are laughing and acting stupid, wearing their Darfur t-shirt while an entire family dies of hunger or bullet wounds.  Going off on a side track. Hmm, I think Brandy is harboring some resentment... 

Anyway!  As I am not brave enough (or mentally/emotionally/physically capable of abandoning my beloved better half) to take my butt over there and volunteer to help with my own two hands, I am relegated to helping by donating money, writing letters to influential political figures, and spreading information about the cause.  This makes me angry and sad as most of these tasks seem so petty compared to the gravity of the situation.

I will probably end up donating to Help Darfur Now, because they are a Darfur-related organization that actually says how the money you give is directly helping the people of Darfur:

"When our chapters raise money, they send it to Help Darfur Now and we send it to the organizations mentioned above [Doctors Without Borders , the International Rescue Committee, the UNHCR and other relief organizations]. We have made arrangements with these organizations so that the money is specially earmarked for Darfur."

When I looked at the financial records of a few of the other leading organizations that support the Darfur cause, I noticed that most of the money was going towards advocacy and promoting awareness, and not directly helping the people.  While I know that these aspects of supporting the cause to end genocide in Darfur are important to eventually bringing peace to that region of the world, I want my money to go to an organization that is directly helping the people that are in need right now, by providing food, medical assistance, supplies, and other items that are required.

There are a few other organizations that I'd like to investigate a little further before I decide which one I'd like to lend my support.  I'll begin by donating a percentage of April's sales, and then a percentage of every month's sales after that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Favorite Shops: Dance Sippy Dance

I came across Dance Sippy Dance while searching for creepy, weird art dolls.  It's just a hobby I have. I want to start a collection one day, but that's another story...

Dance Sippy Dance sells an array of clay sculptures that each have their own personality.  I visit this shop all the time to check and see what new items have been added.  I love the adorably weird sculptures that are found in this shop  Their creepy, at times blood-covered, faces are just too cute! :) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Right Justified

On rare occasions I am asked to right justify the info I stamp onto the leather tags.  Here are a few recent right justified tags.  One of them may look familiar [re:April 25]...


Monday, April 25, 2011

Burnt Rice + Missing Cat + Spilled Leather Dye = Crappy Evening

Yesterday was one of the worst days I've had in a while.  It involved a little bit of blood, a lot of tears, and a gallon of frustration.  The catalyst for the evening of suffering was the burning of sushi rice...

I was cooking rice in a little pot, and then it began to burn and produce smoke.  I didn't want the smoke alarm in our apartment going off, so I rushed the smoking pot over to our glass sliding door to let it smoke outside.  Upon opening the door, the wind was blowing in such a way that all the smoke came rushing back into the apartment. Our second floor apartment does not have a balcony, so I couldn't simply leave the pot outside and close the door.

Moronic glass sliding door (of our 2nd floor apartment) with no balcony. 

As I was dealing with this stupid door and the smoking pot of burnt rice, the smoke alarm starts going off.  Leaving the door open, I run over to the smoke alarm, yank it down from the ceiling, and turn it off.  It is at this point that I don't see my catty any more.  I had just seen him in his nest atop the fridge, but now he is no where to be found.  I run around looking for him in all his usual haunts, calling his name.  I am greeted with no response and begin to get worried.  I run over to the glass sliding door and look out.  It is possible that he could have fallen out the door, and through the 6" gap between the outside wall and the stupid iron bars in front of the door.  

I rush outside, panicked, looking under cars and wandering aimlessly around the train station parking lot.  Quite upset, I run back inside and look again - maybe he fell behind the fridge and broke his neck (hey, at least I'd have found him).  But no catty!  I go back outside again and look in bushes and in our parking garage.  At some point I cut myself on something and later find blood smeared all over my clothes.  I don't see him and pretty much give up hope of finding him.  Our cat is a little...different, being a sphynx and all, so I thought if he was found, he'd probably be kept as a souvenir.

I go back home - again.  I get on the phone and start calling animal hospitals and shelters, asking if anyone has brought in a white sphynx cat.  No luck.  My boyfriend comes homes, lifts up the sheets of our bed, and there is our evil catty!!  As soon as I see that the cat has been safe and sound in our apartment the whole time, I turn to my boyfriend and burst into tears.  "I hate him," I tell my better half. "I hate him."

The bad part is, I had actually check the bed upon my discovery that he was "missing".  I just didn't look in the right spot, I guess. He can flatten his little hairless body pretty well, so I didn't notice his lump under the covers.  I thought that I wouldn't have to endure any more trauma that evening...

After recovering from that ordeal, I start dying the tags that I had stamped that day.  Halfway through the stack I am working on, I knock over my bottle of dye and it totally covers the tag I'm working on.  Of course it's a tag that is FULL of stamping and took a decent amount of time to create.  At this point, I'm like F it. I'm out. 

 All better!  I made a new one the next morning.

Yeah, yesterday suuuuucked.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Best Birthday Card. Ever. Slightly Mature.

My boyfriend's birthday was last week.  My lovely mother made him a birthday card.  It is by far the best card I have ever seen with my two eyes. 

**It helps to be a South Park fan to truly understand the interior theme of this card, though it is not required.

[click the photos to see the photo enlarged/more detail]

 I like the hat.

 Zombie + rhinestone eyes + glitter shoes + dismemberment = Happy Birthday!?

 Referencing the Woodland Critters episode of South Park, of course!

I think my favorite couple is that of the butterfly and gray kitten.

While I don't know the connection between Bertrand the Zombie and the woodland critter orgy, I still have to say this is my favorite birthday card ever - and it wasn't even my birthday!

I love my "Miiiiiiiiim!"

Being distracted by the cute, animal fornication, I just noticed the heavenly cherubs in the upper corners. Oh, Mom.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Unique Anniversary Gifts

Since my boyfriend and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary today (thanks Geek2Geek!), I've decided to post a few neat anniversary gift ideas I found on Etsy.  As celebrating an anniversary is quite an intimate experience, all the gift ideas below can be customized.


Necklace with 2 custom map pendants and wax seal charm.
$55. By Designs by Taylor2u.

Clay vase with your names.

 "You and Me" custom embroidery.
$65 by Lilac Saloon.


Custom stamped metal key chain.

 Personalized leather belt.

 Custom initial resin cuff links.


 Custom image digitally rendered from your photograph.
$50. By EmmieBean 

 Custom His and Hers stone wear mugs.
$83. By Mud Pie Studio

 Map coordinates (of your choice) burlap pillow.
$22. By Hillside House.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Junk Drawer Item Saved My Sanity

Before stamping something on an ID tag or key chain, I first have to create a piece of leather that is the proper shape.  I use an X-Acto knife and a metal ruler to cut the leather to size.  Then, I use a hammer to hit a leather punching tool into the leather to make the hole through which the suede lace or keyring is attached.  My leather punching tool is kinda crappy, I suppose, because instead of falling out the opening in the back, the punched leather circles get clogged in the tip of the tool.  You'd think I could just keep punching and the force would eventually make the pieces pop out the back.

However, it does not work this way for me.  I get about five punches in, and the tip is so clogged with leather that it will not penetrate leather any more.  It merely dents the leather tag that I am attempting to punch through, as the pressure of the compacted leather will not allow the tiny leather discs stuffed into the tip to move even a smidgen.

After punching holes in about five tags, the tip of the tool needs to be cleared of leather excrement.  In the past I had been using a tiny drill bit.  I would remove the tip of the tool, stand it up on the table, put the drill bit on top of the exposed leather at the end of the punch, and then whack it with my hammer.  This would force the compacted leather bits down and out the bottom of the punch tip, clearing the way for me to punch five more tags.  Well, after a while, the frail little drill bits started bending and breaking, leaving me with nothing strong enough that would work to clear the shaft of the punch tip.

Until I remembered I had this guy in a junk drawer.  Used to assemble some furniture I had purchased, this little tool saved me. In every way that a woman can be saved. (Sorry, bad Titanic reference).  This little beast is super strong, so I am not worried about it succumbing to the pressure of my hammer pounding the top of it (that sounds way worse than I intended).  With almost one forceful blow, this new found tool clears out the entire blockage of leather punches.

I store all the left over little leather circles in a baggy.  Why?  I just can't throw anything away.  I also keep all the bits and trimmings of leather that I've discarded, stored in bags as well.  As of present I have no plans for these scraps, but maybe, one day...I know, I'll probably never need a dime-sized giblet of leather, but it's nice to know I have it in stock, just in case.

All the tools required to make a simple hole in a piece of leather.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Giving to Charitable Organizations: Part 1

While I am not proud to say this, as an adult I have never been one to donate to charities on a regular basis.  I don't even give $1 when I am asked to at the grocery store. I welcome you to call me selfish and greedy, as that is how I am beginning to feel.  I suppose my rationalizing of this issue has always been, Hey, I don't make a ton of money.  I don't have extra to give away.  I'm trying to survive, just like everyone else. Sure, I may have a little bit extra after paying my bills, but I deserve to be able to take that extra and spend it on something frivolous.  I earned it! I worked for it!

And then I see footage and photographs and hear stories of people that are so much worse off than I am.  I live in a decent apartment. It has heat and running water.  I have all kinds of clothing and I can eat whatever foods I want whenever I want.  I was able to go to school uninterrupted, pursue my education, and even get a degree (not that I'm doing much with it, ha!).   I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dictate how I live my own life, and with that being so, I am where I am because of only my actions.  There are far too many people on this Earth that cannot say the same.

At this point in my life, I feel like I need to somehow help other individuals that aren't lucky enough to have the same opportunities I've been given.  I want to share some of my rewards with those that are enduring unimaginable hardships and injustices.  While I know that any assistance I could provide would not be remarkably large, hopefully it would aide in creating the opportunity for a fulfilling, productive life for at least one person. 

So, I am seriously contemplating donating a percentage of my monthly sales to an international charity that has yet to be chosen.  I will being researching various causes and organizations to determine where I'd like to lend my support.  I'm currently leaning towards groups that support the eradication of genocide in Africa, but there are so many causes that could use donations, that I am not yet committed toward any one organization.

I shall keep you up to date.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Favorite Shops: Heather Kent

Heather Kent makes some of the neatest jewelry I have ever seen.  It is all composed of hand painted, one-of-a-kind water color paintings.  These tiny paintings can be found on a variety of jewelry items, including necklace pendants, rings, and earrings. I have had this shop in my favorites for a while now.  I just love staring at all of the beautifully unique jewelry.  The paintings are so small and yet include so much detail.  One of the best things about this shop is that the owner offers custom pieces.  I am seriously considering getting a necklace made that has a pendant of Rasputin painted on it. Eeeeeee!

I need a pendant with my evil cat on it. I do!!

My favorite types of paintings found in the shop are the ones depicting books, though I have about 20 more favorites of other subject matter.

 The variety of items offered is pretty cool.  Besides necklaces and rings, there are also belt buckles, earrings, cuff links, and ACEO paintings.

Each piece is an original water color painting, not a printed reproduction. How freaking cool is that?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

End With A Heart

Here's a few new quotes and layouts to brighten up your day.  :)

 Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking
outward together in the same direction.
-Antoine De Saint-Exupery

 Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry.
-Jack Kerouac

 I wish I knew the story behind what is stamped on this tag.

End with a heart.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'd Rather Be Somewhere Else

New in the shop are these ready to ship tags that declare where your luggage, in a perfect world, really belongs.  And in turn, where YOU belong.  (Most of my dream places involve space ships, castles, and English estates.)  Don't forget that I can always make you a custom tag if you prefer a different dream location. :)



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Independent Designer's Market Boston

I will once again be participating in IDM Boston.  I participated last November as a total noob.  It was my first craft market/show ever.  I am excited to be returning as I somewhat know what to expect.  I bought a table, table cloth, and banner for the last show, so I don't have to worry about that this go around.  I have since gotten a credit card reader, so customers will be able to pay with credit cards as well as cash.

I think the only thing I am worried about is actually getting there.  The market is in the city and I live outside the city.  I am new to Boston, and have recently discovered that the roads here are stupid.  Many streets are not marked, lines dividing the lanes aren't always visible, pot holes are abundant, and the general layout of some of the roads is just silly.  I feel bad having my boyfriend drive me (and my stuff) all the way into the city to help me set up and then drive back home, but it could be worse for him. I could make him stay with me at my table all day. :)

Anyway, if you are in the area (Harvard Square) Saturday May 7, 2011, from noon-6:00 pm, feel free to stop by. There are a lot of other designers there with some really neat products.

Now I have to go create a bunch of ready-made products so that my table doesn't appear totally barren. Suggestions welcome. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Flowers in a city of stone

I live on the second floor of an apartment totally surrounded by concrete sidewalks and asphalt roads, so I don't have a cute little back yard to observe plants and the like. Sadly, I don't even have a balcony on which to grow things (though I do have glass sliding doors that open over the street. What?)

This being the case, I like to buy fresh flowers and keep them around so that I can stare at them when I am feeling too deprived of living things.  I'm not too picky on the variety, I just buy whatever is the cheapest and doesn't drop staining pollen all over the place.  This is the first time I've bought this variety and I've really enjoyed their bright magenta color.

My little helper interrupting the photo shoot to smell the flowers.
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