Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nothing Can Substitute Experience.

I recently made the above leather tag for a customer, and I believe it is perhaps my favorite quote I've ever stamped.  It really sums up how I'm feeling at this point in my life. Go! DO something! Experience something completely new as often as possible.

And so, I am off to Peru - to pet alpacas, roam around Machu Picchu, and zoom across the waters of Lake Titicaca.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Little NY Side Trip

Two weeks ago I attended a wedding in Western New York with my better half and some friends.  It was delightful! Before the wedding, however, we did a little exploring around the suburbs of Niagara Falls, and then visited Niagara Falls itself.

 I included this image because my left leg looks like the backward-legged aliens in the movie, The Arrival. 
I don't think my leg actually looks like that in real life (jeans malfunction?), but perhaps it does and just no one has had the heart to tell me...

Niagara Falls: Tourist Overload

Monday, August 15, 2011

Catty VS Jeans

It is not wise to disrobe and deposit your pants within paw's reach of an evil catty.

 Well, it is not wise if you value the mental well-being of your pants.

Catty will dominate the pants and abandon them in a heap - ashamed and empty.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Special Gift From Georgia

This summer is the first summer that I have not spent in Georgia.  Sadly, that means that this is also the first summer that I am to miss out on smelling the heavenly scented gardenia's of my grandparent's backyard.  Or so I thought.

A week ago my mother overnighted me the first gardenia blooms of the season.  I put one of the lovely gardenia blooms in a glass ginger ale bottle that is currently sitting on my desk.  The other bloom, I stuffed in the air vent in our bedroom.  It has been a wonderful olfactory experience this past week. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wrapping Things Up

Next Saturday I leave for Peru.  While I will only be gone for 9 days, I feel like I'm preparing to leave for a month.  I've decided that leaving my store open while I am gone is not an option.  I run my shop completely by myself.  I am solely responsible for creating the products, packing them up, visiting the Post Office each day, communicating with customers, etc.  I think the idea of coming home from a trip after 9 days to have orders piled up (that are already possibly 9 nine days old) is not ideal.  So, as of today I am no longer taking custom orders until I return from my trip on August 28th.  That gives me plenty of time to finish up all pending orders and have everything shipped off before I leave.  Also, that way when I return from Peru I'll be able to start fresh, and customers will be able to order custom items with a relatively short processing time.  It was the best solution I could come up with to fit the situation. ><

My little backpack for the trip.  I plan on bringing only 1 change of clothes, some toiletries, and a few cameras.  Hopefully that will leave a little extra room for things I pick up along the journey.

I am also excited because my mother* is coming up next Wednesday and I haven't seen my Mim in 9 months!  As my cat is a weirdo, we can't leave him alone in the apartment while we are gone - not even with someone stopping by once a day to check on him.  He is annoyingly social and I fear he would be forever traumatized if he was left all by his lonesome for 9 days.  So!  My mom will be staying at our apartment, tending to the crack baby, while we are in Peru.  She's flying up from Georgia a few days before we leave so I can give her some type of tour of Boston before we abandon her in a new city.

*I don't call my mother "Mom."  As a young child, my kickass mother allowed my younger brother and I to begin watching South Park (and took us to see Bigger, Longer and Uncut when we were about 8 and 9), so the name I use to refer to her most often is "Miiiiiiiiiim" (a la Eric Cartman) or "Mim" for short. Or Mimson. Or Mimmish the Lemmish.

The other name that I call her pretty frequently is "Mam".  I read/watched Angela's Ashes in middle school and became fascinated with the McCourt family.  I read all the books I could find that were authored by the McCourt brothers.  This Irish-American family referred to their mother as Mam, and so that's where that came from. That's probably the name I use more often in public...

I am not leaving until August 20th, so I will still be available to answer messages through August 19th.  From August 20th - August 27th I will not have internet access, so I won't be able to respond to inquiries placed during this time until I return on August 28th.  The amount of times that I normally check my email each day may be considered unhealthy, so it is going to be odd to not even look at a computer screen for 9 days...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Catty VS Chair

My cat sucks at using his claws.  Well, he's good at having them extended, he just doesn't know how to properly retract them.  Often times he gets his "thumb" claw stuck on/in something, and his solution is just to pull until it comes loose.  Instead, if he simply pushed his arm forward this claw would be freed and he could be spared some struggling.  But, this doesn't happen and I am relegated to rescuing him before he rips off his claw (or I fear that he will).

Below is a heartbreaking event that I was witness to the other day.  My catty, Rasputin, got one of his "thumb" claws stuck in my computer chair.  This happens a lot.  He flopped around for a while before I freed him. (Does it make me a bad person that I let him squirm around, and took pictures of it, before unhooking him from the chair?)

I wonder how he used to survive on his own all day when I didn't work from home...

Ok, so I only let him suffer just long enough to take pictures.  Then, I helped him unhook his little claw (which took a few minutes as he had twisted his paw in such a way that I couldn't tell which way I should be manipulating his paw to free him from the grasp of the chair.)

My work station can get a little messy.  You probably can't tell, but I am using two dining room chairs placed on either side of my desk as additional "work surface."  Totally chic, modern, and classy - I know.

Aw, my poor little demon baby!  (Luckily, he's my mom's problem while we are in Peru. ::evil laugh::)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sweet Devotions

Here is a short sampling of some recent custom leather tags.  These are the sweetest of sweet. ><

 Happily Ever After

 My Pulse, My Heart in Gaelic.

Our Love and Adventures

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hodgson Mill Brownies

On my quest to eat healthier, I came across some brownie mix by Hodgson Mill that is quite delicious.  Made from whole wheat flour and milled flax seeds, these brownies are the healthiest brownie mix I've tried so far.  This all natural brownie mix is cholesterol free and each serving has 450 mg of Omega-3 oils.

While this wasn't the cheapest brownie mix on the shelf, at about $3 this mix is totally worth it.  I like to keep a few boxes in stock to satisfy my daily requirement for a bedtime dessert.  (Before discovering these brownies, I would usually have a giant stack of oreos and milk for my daily dessert.)

At first the texture of the flax seed was a little weird, but after making a few batches of these brownies, I've come to really enjoy the texture.  If I had to pick between the chocolatiest (sp?), fudgiest (sp?) normal brand of brownies and these "healthy" brownies, I would choose the "healthy" brownies every time.  Yums!  Also yums: a dollap (of Daisy! No. That would be gross.) of whipped cream on top.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'll Go Anywhere

After spending the first 23 years of my life in Georgia, I am happy to finally be branching out and starting to see the world.  A year ago I moved to Boston with my boyfriend and catty.  Since moving here we've taken a handful of mini weekend trips that have allowed us to visit a lot of inspiring places throughout New England.

Now is the time that we really get to experience something new.  Soon after starting our life together, my boyfriend and I decided that our goal was to take at least 1 domestic trip and 1 international trip each year.  The "big" domestic trip each year is visiting our families for Christmas (they all live over 1,000 miles away).  Luckily, the international trips are free game and we can go wherever we want to.

Initially, the goal for our international travels was to be as cheap as possible, 'cause - holy crap! - plane tickets to another continent are expensive!  So, for our first trip we picked Peru, because it's an inexpensive country to visit right?  Also, my vote for Peru was heavily influenced by the movie, Diarios de Motocicleta. As I am the one who has the greater interest in traveling, our first international trip has been completely planned by me.  So far, I am a horrible planner because this trip is costing me waaaaay more than I had planned.

I booked the trip for the dates that I could get the cheapest plane tickets to Peru. Like a complete idiot, I didn't factor in all the other transportation costs.  While in Peru we want to visit 2 places: Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.  Here is an exaggerated logistical scenario that is similar to how our trip will go: You want to visit New Orleans and NYC, but you are flying into LAX from out of the country.  You only have 1 week to see the sights. So, for most of our Peru trip we will be traveling on planes, trains, buses, and boats just to see these 2 places.

Anyway! We leave for Peru in almost 2 weeks and hopefully all goes well, we have a good time, blah, blah, blah.

Peru = Our 2011 International trip.

My boyfriend is planning next year's trip to Japan. The dates he's chosen coincide with the 2012 Tanteidan Origami Convention in Japan (since origami is his thang).

This leaves me to plan 2013's international trip.  For the past year I was set on India (Taj Mahal), but I have begun to reevaluate my options.  While I'd love to visit Bora Bora, I'm not yet willing to go turn tricks on the streets to pay for it, so I am currently looking at less expensive locales.  Below are the top contendors for 2013:

-Road trip along the coast of southern Ireland (the Motherland!)
-New Zealand* (Lord of the Rings Tour!)
-Beaches of Thailand
-Italy (Venice)
-Germany* (Bavarian Alps)

*Requires me to be making/saving a crapload more money, but still possibly doable if I rape my happiness for a full year and avoid buying crap I don't need like nice booze and organic shampoo.  :(

I'm really not that picky on where I'd like to go.  I simply want to see/experience something new. Even if it ends up totally sucking, at least I'd have tried it and know that I never want to go there or do that again.  At this point in my life, I'm willing to go anywhere.*

*save Africa. Modern film has totally eradicated any desire I ever had for visiting that continent.  Perhaps I'm easily persuaded and/or a horrible person.  However, I'd rather not risk it. ><

I have over a year before I should have it narrowed down, so I have plenty of time to make sadistically thorough spreadsheets of comparison between all the possible locations for 2013's trip. I am SO open to suggestions if anyone knows a neat place to visit outside the USA.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Art Equals Happy

I will admit that I am not much of a blog reader.  While I find them fascinating, I just simply haven't the time to browse too often. :(  Recently I came across the blog Art Equals Happy.  The layout is absolutely exciting and there's so many places to explore!  It was hard for me to stop reading and go and do something actually productive. ><

The author is an Illustration major in London, and their aptitude in that field is definitely apparent throughout site.  If you need to pass the time, I highly recommend you check out this inspiring blog.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vertical Tags, No?

 Horizontally oriented custom leather tag.

Currently in my shop, tags stamped horizontally are way more popular than tags stamped vertically.  This is probably due to the fact that for the first year or so of selling tags, horizontally was the only way I was asked to stamp the tags, and so my sample photos reflected this.  However, the popularity of tags that are stamped vertical in orientation is on the rise!  Below are a few recent vertically-stamped tags that perhaps challenge the notion that horizontal is the way to go.

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