Crafty Love! Handstamped

I’ve always been a big fan of personalization, and these days personalized jewelry is all the rage. Unfortunately there is a lot on the market that is either ugly or looks the same as fifty other products. Browsing on Etsy, I found a few personalized items that are a bit more unique and interesting. Lately I’ve been trying to suppress the urge to get a tattoo, so maybe a personalized key chain or something would be the regret-free way to go. These are some things I would actually purchase for myself or a friend…since I have a tendency to develop catch-phrases with people. ๐Ÿ™‚ I mean, what fun would life be without nicknames and catch-phrases??

Recycled Silver Initial Ring
$24 by Two Chicks Too

Suede Monogram Wrap Bracelet
$64 by jp style

Copper Pet Tag
$7.25 by Ao Designs

Custom Cuff Bracelet
$60 by Metal Pressions

Family Totem Key Chain
$55 by Silver Me Pendants

Custom Key Chain
$14.75 by The Copper Poppy

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Crafty Love! Road Trip

This week I’m working a ton so I can take Friday off and begin my road trip to the deep South and spend the weekend with some friends. I got a hilarious voicemail last night while I was sleeping: “Booooo! You’re not answering! I guess I’ll get over it. Oh! I keep forgetting we have an hour time difference, yo! And you’re probably trying to get some sleep so that you can get up early and stay late at work tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. So that you can come hang out with me on Friday. Sorry!”

I am so ready for a real change of scenery and to get the heck out of Dodge for a couple days. As much as I love a good road trip with friends, I also really enjoy traveling alone. It’s not as entertaining, but being alone with your thoughts for seven hours is pretty good meditation time. Plus, you get to listen to whatever music you choose. I enjoy feeling like I am feeding my independent, adventurous spirit. Birdy is going to be vacationing at Auntie Jenny’s house with all the animals at the zoo. Thanks, Auntie! She is in love with most people. Except small children and people on bicycles.

I found some great road trip stuff on Etsy today, so check it out!

Road Trip Chipboard Album
$25.99 by Sara Nicole Designs
I kept a travel journal when I went to Europe, and I really regret not having done so on all my other trips.

Car Litter Bag
$19 by The Mod Mobile
My friends are really kind not to mention the disastrous state my car stays in. But they all know I need one of these more than most people.

Diane Arbus Quote Fine Art Print
$30 by 3 Lambs Graphics
I love this quote and totally relate.

Postcard Passport Cover
$5 by Sugar Cane Train 808
A friend of mine collects vintage postcards, which I think is awesome. Love this passport cover.

Crafty Love! War Damn Eagle!

It really sucks that as you get older you end up with best friends who live states away, as life paths diverge. I am really missing them, whose crazy work schedule is making it harder for us to talk as often as we’d like and are used to. Thank God for texting secretly while at work and for Skype! LOL!

Back in high school, I was a marching band person. I started to say “band geek” but at my strange small town high school, being in band didn’t make you a geek, and it actually upped your cool factor in some cases. My friend says, “That’s what all former band geeks say.” LOL.

Our band contained a lot of really popular people. For example, I was in band and also Student Body Vice President. I think the reason band and popularity went hand-in-hand in some cases was because we were the kind of people who liked and accepted everyone and were not snotty. We realized that sometimes the people who are considered outcasts are the coolest people you could ever hang out with. And we marched with a lot of them and became good friends.

The Colorguard performed with the Cheerleaders at football games. (We had a signature thing called “The Butt Dance.” Which involved a lot of ass shaking. Don’t ask.) We were very serious about our band competitions and won most of the ones we competed in. Our friends who were not in band usually came along to hang out because they were so much fun. I mean, who doesn’t love road trips, costumes, cheering audiences, watermelon shaved ice, and cuddling with cute boys in bleachers? Ah, high school.

I have to admit, marching band was one of the most fun things I did in high school. It was such a rush to be out on the field, under the bright lights, before a screaming crowd. And when we won our trophies at competition, we were notorious for storming the field as the other schools waited politely behind a chain link fence. We plowed over the fence. ๐Ÿ™‚ We devoted hours and hours to practice. We were dedicated. We did not tolerate slackers. At least, not on that field. You better fucking roll your feet, heel-toe, goddammit! Or else we’re gonna get yelled at when we have to watch the video of that game! And our section is gonna have to run laps!

And the trumpet players had the best lips. Oh, the muscular wind instrument lips. ๐Ÿ™‚

So because I was in marching band, I went to every football game our school played, at home and away, for four years. And to this day, I understand the rules of the game very minimally. I was usually more interested in watching boys in bleachers than football. We had a spirit team that used to drive an old pick up truck around the track at time outs wearing rainbow clown wigs and rile up the crowd. I would safely say that they were the school stoners. (Our principal was great at getting everyone involved in the perfect way for them as individuals. He came up with the spirit truck just for the stoners, in fact.) It was the perfect job for them, and we loved them. There were always so many distractions. What are we doing after the game? That was all that was on anyone’s mind for the most part.

But I actually kinda enjoy watching football now, at least on the college level. I only watch college sports, really. Professional sports bore me, and I am too pissed off by how much money they’re making to take them seriously. They’re slow and lazy. College players work their asses off because they want to get a huge paycheck for being slow and lazy. But while they’re working towards it, there are so many shining moments of glory.

I really prefer college basketball and always have, BUT! This fall when I go visit my Alabama friends, I am going to go to my first SEC football game at Auburn (hopefully when they play Bama) and see what that is all about. I love a good rivalry. In high school, it was R-S Central vs. East Rutherford. College was Carolina vs. Duke. Apparently (not that I know first-hand since I am not from the deep South), the Auburn vs. Alabama rivalry is one of the fiercest.

I cannot wait to see some angry chanting and some awesome college marching bands (you see where my heart lies). Can’t wait to tail-gate while playing cornhole and drinking Southpaw. Can’t wait to get decked out in navy and orange and shout “WAR DAMN EAGLE!” And high five people at touch downs and wrap up under blankets in crispy fall air. That is sounding particularly good right now since we’ve had weeks of 95 degrees. Who am I kidding? I’m just looking forward to being able to wear a scarf! I look really cute in scarves. ๐Ÿ™‚

So here are some Auburn colored Etsy finds I want to take with me!

Auburn University Cornhole Board
$160 by Cornhole Nation
Perfect for tail-gating!

It Takes Two Baby Scarf
$45 by Nanna’s Knittings
Auburn colored scarf to wrap up in!

Atticus Finch Is My Co-Pilot T-Shirt
$20 by Inexplicable Confetti
What I”m wearing under my scarf and over a thermal long-sleeve. The book was set in Alabama, you know.

Dreamcatcher Earrings
$180 by Kalliope Jewelry
A little bit of hippie flair to finish off my ensemble. Gotta keep it true to me, yo.

Crafty Love! Guitar Stuff

As y’all have probably noticed, I’ve been playing a whole lot of guitar lately. I kinda go through phases with it and play nonstop for weeks, but then I burn myself out and have to stop because my fingers are blistery and in so much pain I just can’t play anymore. I really enjoy playing an instrument that I can actually use to entertain my friends and make them laugh and smile, as opposed to the classical violin and piano I played growing up. I’m just not interested in the seriousness of that anymore. There were a lot of reasons I stopped playing those instruments…I don’t have a piano anymore…I got burned out after playing violin every day for 17 years…I wanted to learn something new…I was sick of being defined as “the girl who plays violin”…I wanted to be able to play popular music and sing and try to have a voice people might actually enjoy listening to that doesn’t sound like a 13-year-old in the church choir.

Nowadays if I play violin, I mainly play Old Time Appalachian tunes that remind me of songs my great-grandpa Phin learned growing up in the mountains of North Carolina and used to sing to me when I was little. I would lay in the floor on my back in front of where he sat on the couch, and put my knees on my forehead and my feet on his knees. He would sing, “Shady grove, my little love, shady grove I say…shady grove, my little love, I’m bound to go away.” And then he would push my feet towards the TV and flip my legs back over. It was the greatest game, and he had to sing that first verse of “Shady Grove” every time before he flipped me — it was required.

Check out this coolย  guitar stuff on Etsy!

5×7 Fine Art Print, Las Guitarras
$9 by Zuppaartista

Recycled Guitar String Pendants
$26 by Plucking Pendants

Handmade Picks in rosewood, ebony, bone, and horn
$29.95 by Brossard Picks
*Disclaimer: I gave my dad these picks for Christmas last year, and he loved them. He actually gave one to a covetous picking buddy, whose response was, “Gee, at least I got one thing I wanted for Christmas this year!”

Acoustic Guitar Pick-Up
$35 by Mojohound Music

Personalized Note Cards
$18 by Dean Penn and Paper

Crafty Love! Sea Turtles

I’ve always had a thing about turtles. Native Americans had animal totems (or guides) to symbolize certain qualities in themselves, so I suppose if I were Native American, mine would be the turtle. Turtles teach us to take things slow and give ourselves time to figure out if we need to protect ourselves or plunge forward. My mom gave me a silver turtle ring when I was very young with movable arms and legs, so maybe she knew about my turtle totem before I did! She always comments on my life-long trait of cautiousness and careful deliberation and says I was even hesitant to be born. I tell her I was probably comfortable in there and didn’t see any reason to move!

Turtles remind us that it’s okay to retreat into your shell for a little while and wait until your thoughts and ideas are ready to be expressed. Anyone who knows me can tell you that as an only-child and an artist, I need a lot of alone time to balance myself emotionally. I retreat into my shell pretty often so that when the time comes to socialize, I can do it successfully and enjoy it instead of daydreaming about what I’d rather be doing in that moment. Other turtle lessons: Be patient in reaching your goals. Be careful in new situations. Be adaptable to your environment so you can find harmony in it. Live at your own pace.

On a side note, now that I’m talking about turtles, I can’t stop thinking about Aesop’s Fables. Was I the only kid on the planet who hated them and found them annoying because the morals were so freaking obvious? Anyhoozer…

What’s your animal totem? (I think I may have more than one…)

Sea Turtle Woodcut, Mono Print
$100 by Brian Taylor

Borosilicate Turtle Pendant
$75 by Jewels by L Designs

Sea Turtle Sushi Tray
$26 by Island Girl Pottery

Batik Turtle T-Shirt
$11.50 by Batik Creations

Baby Steps – 8 x 10 Print
$29 by A2Sea Photography


Crafty Love! India

Last weekend I finally finished unpacking my house and got my craft/sewing room all organized. And I realized that my bedroom is in need of some serious decorating help. It’s pretty much the one room in my house with zero personality because I was more concerned with blocking all light from the windows so I could sleep than making pretty curtains or hanging art or anything. I’ve always wanted to have either a Moroccan- or Indian-themed bedroom — I even have a book on Indian decorating elements. Actually I wouldn’t mind if my whole house was decorated in that fashion. But right now it’s my bedroom that needs it the worst. So I am going to start there. I started looking for things on Etsy, but of course I found other cool things besides just home decor, so I had to share them all. I need about five more jobs!

Traditional Mehndi design hurricane candle holder
$55 by All About Henna

Guitar Strap Woven with Recycled Sari Silk and Cotton
$40 by A Spinner Weaver

Aqua-Lime Brocade Stripe Cushion
$20.50 by Behirah

Bohemian Sunset Earrings with Carnelian and Caribbean Blue Chalcedony
$29 by The Stella Blue Gallery

Elephant Parade Matted Print
$12 by Signet Studio

Crafty Love! Outdoor Weddings

Favorite wedding memories from my family:

My parents got married in 1975 in my mother’s parents’ living room. My mom wore a simple cotton hippie dress and daisies in her hair. My dad wore a powder blue suit and left his long hair down. The best man had car trouble on the way and left his jacket at the garage. Halfway through the small ceremony, my grandmother stopped the minister to point out he had skipped a step — the part where he was supposed to ask if anyone had any objections.

When I was about four or five in the early 1980’s, I was the flower girl in my uncle’s wedding. I remember sitting in the floor in his sister’s room while he got ready. As he leaned into the mirror to adjust his bow tie, he sang to himself, “Oh here she comes! Watch out boys, she’ll chew you up! Oh here she comes! She’s a man-eater!” Thank you, Hall and Oates for providing that very special memory that my cousins (his children) prefer I don’t recount. ๐Ÿ™‚

When I was nine, I was a junior bridesmaid in a cousin’s wedding. There was a junior groomsman (a nephew of the bride) who was to walk me down the aisle. Unfortunately, when we watched the video afterward it was clear we were the only attending couple who felt it necessary to sprint to the altar. At this same wedding, the brother of the groom had a terrible time trying to light the candles in the church and eventually had to give up so the bride could walk down the aisle. That couple has an 18-year-old son now who has inherited the truck that his dad used to flee the premises for honeymoon-land. He is still finding grains of white rice.

This weekend I will be attending the wedding of some very good friends in Asheville. In true Asheville fashion, it will be held on a farm, and there is camping for people who would rather sleep outside than stay in a hotel. The happy couple met years ago when they belonged to the same African dance group — she was a dancer; he was a drummer. Sometimes I look around me and think I am so fortunate to know the various amazing and interesting people that I have met over the years. Congratulations to Breanna and Greg! Here’s to a long and happy future. I have to go buy a dress now! While I’m doing that, you guys can check out some outdoor wedding related items on Etsy.

Moss Covered Centerpiece
$10 by Spotted Leopard

100 Bird Seed Favors
$95 by 2 Birds in Love

Ring Bearer’s Bird’s Nest
$14 by Garden Side Studio

Firefly Lantern
$24.99 by Bragging Bags

Crafty Love! Starbucks

I guess we’re all pretty aware of how bad the economy and job market suck these days. I feel really fortunate that I don’t work for a big corporation so that my fears of being laid off are much less thanย  most people’s.

My friend has been searching for jobs in multiple states and multiple fields so that he could pay for his last year of college coming up this fall, and he finally got hired at Starbucks! Today is his first day on the new job, and we are celebrating the forthcoming paychecks (and hopefully gas for the tank so he can come visit me again soon).

He is very ADD and hyper, so I’m really not sure that daily exposure to espresso is going to be a good thing for him. But with his cute face and winning personality, I don’t doubt his ability to up-sell will stun and impress even the most seasoned customers.

“We have an amazing lemon poundcake today that would taste great with your latte! Also, this CD was made just for us to be listened to while eating lemon poundcake and drinking lattes! You need it to complete your total Starbucks experience!”

On a side note, I just bought some instant Starbucks packets at the grocery store recently, and they are actually really good. I recommend it for those of you like me who only crave coffee every so often and not frequently enough to own a coffee maker. Because when you only crave it a few times a year, you don’t want to be drinking Folgers or some shit.

Here are some really cool Starbucks related things I found on Etsy today. I particularly like the eco-friendly angle of them all. Of course.

The Original CupKozy
$7 by CupKozy
Replaces the paper sleeves and reduces waste!



Going to Hawaii Up-cycled Charm Bracelet
$15 by Jupita
Made from discarded gift cards!

Recycled Gift Card Notebook
$5 by AlmondWorks

Coffee Bag Tote
$65 by Susan O’Reilly


Crafty Love! Geese

I am a closet animal lover. I’m closeted because I don’t really go for cute. I am not the type of person you are going to find squealing over a baby bunny. I will be squealing with delight on the inside, but you’ll never see that. There are several non-domesticated animals in particular I find most adorable: otters, elephants, squirrels, gorillas, raccoons, calves, goats, turtles, kangaroos, reindeer, bears, hamsters. Lately I’ve realized there’s a new addition to the list. Geese! There are many, many wild Canada geese in my city. I don’t know why. I grew up two hours from here and can’t remember ever seeing geese back home. I do live near a bird sanctuary, and there is a small lake in my neighborhood a couple blocks away (complete with Goose Crossing road sign). So maybe that explains it.

I LOVE THE GEESE! They show up in the oddest places, like in a gaggle on the corner of an intersection. The other day I had to wait a couple minutes to turn into my driveway while a family of five waddled slowly across the road. I love to see them up close because they’re so huge and amusingly disproportionate. They look like hockey-sticks on a beach ball. I love how you hardly ever see just one. I love the strangely funny honking noises they make. It always makes me laugh. I love to see them flying overhead, because it seems to defy the laws of nature that something so big and goofy could actually take flight. And I love seeing their formations. It makes me marvel at the wonders of science and nature that they all know exactly when to synchronize a turn, when to lift one wing just a hair. I like the fact that they waddle around with this complete air of narcissism. It’s like they think the entire world exists merely for their benefit. I’m really, really happy that we share a neighborhood.

And, um, have you SEEN the Larry the Goose SNL sketch? It’s the small things in life, people. This is still making me laugh, months later. Mainly because when I was telling my mom about how cool the geese in my neighborhood are, she said, “Isn’t that what flew into Captain Sully’s plane and made them crash?”

Here are some great goose-related finds on Etsy.

8 x 12 Photograph, Goose in Flight
$19 by Rebecca Kier

Handmade silver necklace, Migration
$60 by Camilla Luchesi

Fine art print, White Goose No. 3
$25 by Sharon Montrose

Greeting Card, Honk Honk Hiss
$3.00 by Rue Renee

Free Necklace by Dote Handmade Goods

I’m giving away this handmade necklace over at On the Search for Hidden Treasure. Now’s your chance to win some of my art work! Go over there and enter to win!

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