Posts filed under ‘blah blah blah’

do what matters

soooo….yesterday? not so much.

{spoiler alert: this is a serious post. it might make you sad, but don’t worry, it has redeeming qualities.}

yesterday after work, i headed to the dog park with two happy dogs in tow, oblivious as to what was about to happen. i didn’t know that when i got there i would find a woman sitting by the side of the road. i didn’t know that she would be petting an injured {stray} dog that had just been hit by a car. i didn’t know that i would be sitting there with her, petting the dog until it passed.

{due to our separate circumstances, neither one of us could take the dog to the vet. we both had dogs at the park, small cars, and limited funds, so we sat there together on the sidewalk, waiting for animal control, desperately hoping they would get there in time to euthanize the poor thing. the physical injuries weren’t beyond repair, but the poor guy clearly had head trauma; my years working at a vet’s told me that much. as he lay there struggling to breathe and then finally stopped, it was enough to know that he was not alone and neither were we. cars, pedestrians, and cyclists went by, but we stayed there–much to the confusion of the two police officers who had stopped–until the animal control officer came and unceremoniously took the body.}

why am i telling you all this? why am i ruining your perfectly good thursday?! ahh, for that i really am sorry, but i needed to talk about this. not just about what happened, which was terrible, but why i chose to sit there when i could just as easily have walked away. in fact, i need you to know why i actually ran towards a perfect stranger and an injured stray dog.

i ran over there because i thought i could help. i ran so that other stranger wouldn’t have to deal with it alone. i stayed because it’s what i would want a stranger to do if it had been my dog. {and omigosh i wanted to run away.} i stayed because all i could offer was comfort. it didn’t matter to me that the police officers thought i was strange. or that no one else came to join our cause. i did it because it was important. i did it because it was good. i did it because it was the right thing to do.

and–as promised–here’s the redeeming part, taken from the you are not special graduation speech by david mccullough, jr {which if you haven’t seen, you really, really should. or read the text here}:

“do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance…Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it….And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.”

{this may sound a little funny coming from someone who makes jewelry, but i’ve tried having a job where i wore my heart on my sleeve and after it wore me down, it wore me out. i try to make a difference where i can–even though it’s not my nine to five–and i firmly believe that you have that power, too, no matter what you get paid to do.}

p.s.: i also highly recommend watching temple grandin’s call to get back to “doing real stuff”, aka stuff that matters, delivered as a commencement address. {her speech starts at two minutes, or you can read the text here.}

June 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm 2 comments

be you

just a little pat on the back for today. a little nudge to remind you that there is a you shaped hole in the universe. go find it and fill it.

this post was inspired by 10 commandments for a good life over at marc and angel: a good read early in the year! want to learn how to do the letterpress effect in photoshop? check out this great tutorial from tut candy.

January 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm 1 comment

brown paper packages tied up with string…

this is my favorite part of the holidays! wrapping up gifts to make them look all pretty. the gifts inside….meh, but the wrapping? the best.

just kidding, the inside’s good, too. but after you spent all that time looking for or making that special gift for that special someone, you want the presentation to stand up to the goods. if you’re looking for loads of good ideas, check out my pinterest board dedicated to the wrapping of loveliness. and while you’re on pinterest, check out the other great ideas!

and of course, check out these sweet free printable tags, all rounded up for you by the lovely ez of creature comforts!

December 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

holiday secrets: gift giving

this weekend while i was at a craft fair, i overheard someone say–very downtroddenly–that they were looking for “the perfect gift”. i’ve heard people talk about this rare creature before as if it exists somewhere out there, and can only be found through exhaustive search efforts. the elusive perfect gift deserves its own nature show for how much it’s hunted.

here’s the deal: there is no one perfect gift that will make someone happy//be the best gift ever//get her to forgive you//trump all other gifts//make him love you//{and all those other things we imagine will be achieved when we finally present this perfect gift}. instead there are several thoughtful ways to show you love someone. and remember: this person you’re buying the gift for? they’ll never see all the things you didn’t choose. they’ll never know. in other words, it’s going to be okay.

and you don’t have to go overboard, either. i’ve been to family gatherings where there were more presents than room under the tree and i’ve also been to gatherings where there was a small gift exchange. both gatherings were equally fun.

that’s it, that’s all i’m going to say about it. because it’s really that simple.

seriously, where is that gift?

December 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

holiday secrets: decorations

it’s after thanksgiving, which means you’ve got your entire house covered in lights and inflatable santas in the front yard, right? everyone in our neighborhood does, which is cool if you’re into it, but if you don’t looove it, don’t tax yourself {or the power grid}.

really, you don't have to go all out

if you want to know the secret to getting all those lights put up? hire people. in our town there are several business that rip people off specialize in holiday light installation.

wanna know another secret? you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. even if you’ve done this every single year since forever, you can opt out. those piles of the animatronic masses will stay snug in their boxes. feel free to change your mind next year, but if you’re overwhelmed by this monumental task? give yourself a break.

personally, i like a few lights outside, like these adorable diy christmas trees, made from tomato cages and lights. you could even wrap garland around it to give it a fir-y look during the day. {these could go inside of course, but i’m planning on doing three in the front yard…just as soon as we tear out the dying tomato plants in the back yard.}

in terms of other decorations, i think about places that people will be. i like to welcome guests with a wreath on the front door, like this simple one.

then i scatter a few decorations throughout the house, including the tree {which i personally love, decorated with ornaments collected through the years. no theme trees for me. it’s topped with my handmade owl tree topper, never fully finished but oh well.} hint: if your house looks like the north pole, that’s not a few decorations. i’m talking a swag on the hearth, candles, and a few unexpected touches, like candy canes in a glass.

and you know me, i like to put flowers in the places my guests will visit, like the bathroom and guest room. poinsettias top my list this time of year because a.) they’re cheap and b.) they last forever. {they are extremely toxic to pets and children, so keep ’em out of reach of anyone likely to chew on the leaves.}

oh look, you’re done. now remember to keep those appointments with yourself!


December 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

holiday secrets: time for you

well, maybe not all of you...

i already shared my tips for surviving the big holiday meal at your house, and congratulations, you seem to have made it through. you cooked, you feasted, you cleaned up. maybe you’ve even recovered.

so here’s my second secret: during this busy season, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. it sounds so simple, right? in the past, though, how many times have you given up something you wanted to do for yourself so that you would have time to do something for someone else? i ask because i do it all the time. it’s why my toenails are rarely painted.

so this holiday season, go ahead and schedule some appointments for yourself and then keep them. i mean book them right now, this very instant, as a promise to yourself to give to yourself, too.

it doesn’t have to be fancy. it doesn’t have to be expensive. it just has to be something that seems like a luxury to you. a massage? coffee with a friend? a bath? once a week should do it.

i’ll be painting my toenails.


remember: today’s the last day of the sale! celebrate cyber monday by entering “turkey” into the coupon code at my etsy store to save 15% off everything! as usual, you’ll get free shipping and gift wrap!

{for the original, unaltered holiday image, check out the sum of all crafts.}

November 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm 1 comment

after thanksgiving sale

i know, i know, you’re busy shopping the big sales at the big stores, but when you get back, check out the holiday sale at my little etsy store! everything’s 15% off with the coupon code “turkey”. and as always, shipping is free!

{also, i’ll be adding new goodies next week, and sharing a surprise with you, too! can’t wait.}

November 25, 2011 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

happy thanksgiving


happy thanksgiving, lumpy gravy and all!

November 24, 2011 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

thanksgiving thoughts

seriously, no sweat

there’s a batch of gluten-free cornbread baking in the oven. i’m sitting outside in the lovely sun of what passes for fall here in socal and the dogs are playing ferociously. it’s pretty nice.

and even though i’m in the midst of a busy craft season and holiday stuff is piling up {then threatening to tip over}, i’m not nearly as stressed as i used to be. sure, it helps that all my gifties are purchased {i’m not that on top of it, i swear. i just buy things when i see them, even if that means my stockpile starts growing in january.} but the real reason i’m calmer is that i’ve redefined this season. instead of feeling like there are oodles of things i have to get done in order for the holidays to be perfect, i start by doing what’s most important to me. even then it doesn’t all get done, and that’s okay, too.

during this busy time, i’d like to share with you some of my secrets for doing less and getting more out of the holidays. i’ve already told you about my trick for finding the perfect gift. {though: there is no one perfect gift, just a few thoughtful ways that you can show someone you care. there, doesn’t that perspective shift leave you less stressed already?} from decking the halls to putting up with relatives welcoming guests into your home, over the next month i’ll share what’s worked for me. a no-fuss, no-muss, less-is-more kind of approach. cause i’m pretty busy. and i bet you are too.

today, i’d like to share my thoughts on turkey day. instead of making it a day of massive calorie consumption and food waste, how about returning to the concept of a gathering to celebrate what we have: friends, family, food. it helps if you enjoy cooking, but even if you don’t, try to focus on the gathering and celebrating instead of culinary perfection. it doesn’t have to be fancy. it doesn’t have to be ready on time. it doesn’t even matter if the turkey’s dry. {just make plenty of gravy.}

  • clear the day for cooking and socializing. cause really, that’s plenty.
  • get the house good-enough clean and arrange some activities for those who won’t be joining you in the kitchen. toys for the tots? tv for grandpa? then shove all that other crap in the closet. you have a big laundry basket, right?
  • let people help you in the kitchen. coming from someone who was once called a “kitchen nazi” by her own hubby, this is a bold statement. but if the season is about sharing, it’s about sharing the joys of cooking, too. {oh, and the disasters. they’re so much funnier when there’s someone else can share the blame.}
  • get out of the kitchen to socialize. while the turkey’s cooking, could you sit with your sweetie and watch the kids fight play? maybe catch up with a dear friend you rarely see. {this is also a good time to send the non-cookers in to do some mid-day cleanup!}
  • get out of the house for some fresh air. a walk after dinner or a glass of wine in the backyard before the final flurry of prep will help clear your head.
  • let people help you clean up and take home leftovers. ride that tryptophan high even if aunt maude doesn’t load the dishwasher right or your mother-in-law always puts things back in the wrong place.

most importantly, don’t wait till the end of the day to remember all the good times. instead, watch them unfold and enjoy them while they happen. {even if that means the green bean casserole doesn’t get in the oven on time.}

November 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm 1 comment

everyday genius

hey there! with all the holiday cooking coming your way, i wanted to share this super-duper-uber-fabulous tip with you from a small snippet {i’m using it even as we speak!}:

free. and easy.

put a spoon across the top of a pot while it’s cooking, and it won’t boil over. {even if it’s beans. especially if it’s beans: i am a champion at boiling over a pot of beans. go ahead, look it up in guinness for slowest.learner.ever.} the nerd in me desperately wants to tell you that this disrupts the surface tension of the water, preventing it from building up a good head of steamy bubbles and ruining your evening. and who am i to deny my inner nerd?

$24.95. and only good for one thing.

and given that there are these things in the world, for the low-low price of $24.95, this handy little tip will save you money as well as limit the number of swear words you have to say. {why is cleaning up bean water so gross?} plus you can use the spoon to stir stuff. try that with this pricey little gadget from sur la table.

looking for other examples of everyday genius? check out my pinterest board with all sorts of goodness. got any tips you’d like to share? i’m all ears!!

November 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

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