December 23, 2013

Thank You!

I just saw that somehow I've managed to get 15,000 pageviews! I am so happy and completely amazed too. Thank you, everybody! I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and a joyous New Year. Please drink responsibly, drive carefully, and most of all get drunk on life itself!

December 10, 2013

The Coolest Rubber Stamps on Etsy

Part of a new series of posts, The Coolest Craft Supplies on Etsy! Please note, I have no affiliation with any of the shops featured. I just admire their work. EDIT: All links are now working! So sorry about that!

Rubber stamps--incredibly versatile, lots of fun to use, and they come in so many shapes, sizes, and materials! What's not to love? And now it is easier and easier to find stamps by indie designers and stampmakers. Here are some of the best from Etsy!

Tangrams have always been interesting to me--only 7 shapes and you can use them to make so many different images. Wouldn't these make the best origami paper?

3 Rubber Stamps Tangram Stamps

I would have to use these adorable HANDCARVED kitty stamps to make personalized stationary.

Cat Stamps Set of 4

This little hedgehog picking up an apple with his spines would make a great border for a scrapbook page.

Hedgehog Porcupine Illustration Rubber Stamp

Can't you just see this stamped in a bold red ink, matted and framed on a wall?

Little Town Stamp

Wrapping paper would be so much fun with boomboxes stamped all over it in 90s neon colours. Everybody dance now!

Boombox Rubber Stamp

You couldn't ask for a sweeter wedding shower or wedding invitation stamp.

Initials in Tree Stump Rubber Stamp

This lovely HANDCARVED stamp has left me awestruck as well as moonstruck.

Full Moon Large Handcarved Rubber Stamp

I have been telling The Precious the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears a lot lately. She always sympathizes more with the baby bear than with the naughty little girl! Her favourite part seems to be when the bears gobble up Goldilocks at the end.

Bear Rubber Stamp

I love stamps with sayings that are truly unusual. You'll never find this in a Michaels store!

Not Now I'm Doing Strange Things Stamp

And finally, the coolest for last.

Batman Cat or Superman Cat Costume Rubber Stamp
I love that they even have a concept photo!

Oh, the possibilities!

Are there some really great stamp artists on Etsy that I left out? If so, show me in the comments!

December 9, 2013

The NSA Crebain are Flocking

Is that new kin member a government spy? Has the NSA infiltrated your guild yet? Does this sound completely insane? Yeah, I think so too. Unfortunately, it is happening. Apparently the government thinks that we gamers are violent and have the potential to form terrorist cells because we get online to run around in groups slaying orcs. Come to think of it, we make up false names for ourselves and wear costumes. Wow,this is sounding pretty threatening. TO FAKE ORCS, that is. And goblins. And spiders the size of cars. None of which exist in real life.> - Orc And Dagger: U.S. Reportedly Spied On Gamers Online
I find this to be both a gross violation of human rights and a great waste of taxpayer money. I also think it may explain some of the weirder fights picked in Bree.

November 29, 2013


I say this excitedly not because I will be taking advantage of any Black Friday sales. Nope, my shopping is done, such as it is (sigh) and you will not catch me fighting over the newest singing Elmo at Walmart today. So why am I excited about Black Friday?

Well, the first and best reason is that my husband is off from work today. YAY!

But the other reason, the one that is inspiring this post, is that for the first time ever I am running a Black Friday sale in my Etsy shop. Everything, even if it was already marked down, is 15% off. You don't even have to do the math--Etsy On Sale has done it all for both of us! So if there's anything in my shop you've had your eye on, now is the time to snap it up.

Haven't looked at my shop lately? Here are a few things you might have missed.

On Sale Scrooge's Chamberstick Vintage Candleholder

On Sale Vintage Glass Owls Set of 2

On Sale Christmas Bunny Rabbit Nesting Tins Set of 3

On Sale Bucilla Cat Letter Holder Plastic Canvas Kit

On Sale "Puttin On the Peachtree" Vintage Atlanta Cookbook

Just don't wait too long--my sale will end at midnight Central US time on Monday December 2nd, aka Cyber Monday.

Shop Aurelas today!

And in the meantime, don't forget to support your small local businesses as well! Your dollars are your vote--do you want to vote for Wal Mart or your local independent gift shop? Would you rather help Amazon or your local independent bookstore? And of course, would you rather buy something made in a factory by someone who was paid a starvation wage and kept in dangerous working conditions, or buy a handmade item from an independent artist? The choice is yours--don't let the industries fool you.

Finally, have a happy Thanksgiving weekend! Expect a long post about our surprisingly interesting Thanksgiving just as soon as I can sort through the photos :)

November 12, 2013

Episode 1 Part 2: Keep The Frack Out of South Jersey - The Route

Do I live in New Jersey?  No.  Do I have money invested in New Jersey?  No.  Does that matter?  No.  I cannot bear to see more wetlands destroyed in the name of corporate profit, no matter where they are.  For my daughter's sake I must protest this destruction.  Please consider the long-term effects of the proposed pipeline and take a look at this video, which shows some of the areas that will be ruined.  Thanks!

November 10, 2013

A Halloween Adventure

Yes, it is very late to be doing the annual Halloween post. But I think you will agree that our Halloween this year was quite unique and well worth recording. It was also quite exhausting.

The Precious chose her costume idea about a month before Halloween and did not waver after that: she wanted to be a scarecrow. I was relieved as a scarecrow costume would be quick, easy, and cheap to put together. I admit that "cheap" was probably the selling point. We took her to the boys section in a local thrift shop and had soon found a pair of overalls, a big red flannel shirt, and a cute little hat. My plan was to crochet some "straw" to sew around the edges of each piece of the outfit to make her intent more obvious, but a certain little someone repeatedly refused to nap, got into everything she possibly could, and kept stealing my crochet hook as I tried to work. So the scarecrow had to be straw-less.

The other part of our Halloween costume plans was that The Precious was going to choose my clothes and do my hair and makeup for me. I would go as her doll. I thought it would make hilarious memories and a bunch of really funny pictures. But alas, it was not to be! We ran out of time because we spent most of the day looking for a pumpkin. Yes, you are supposed to buy your pumpkin well before Halloween day, but our town sold out of them very early and I had to make one last-ditch effort to dig one up. We drove around and around but ended up having to buy one about 4 inches tall. Grrrr.

Running late as always, we hastily ate supper and helped The Precious into her costume. I threw on some of my normal clothes, tied a long scarf thingy around my head, put on some sandals, and called myself a hippie. Then I added some "scarecrow makeup" to The Precious with my eyeliner pencil and she looked absolutely adorable.

Trick-or-Treating was going to be at the lake near our house, so we loaded The Precious into her little red wagon and gave her her first ever candy bucket, of which she was very proud. She practiced scaring crows.

So dressed as a hippie in slightly uncomfortable sandals, with the world's cutest little scarecrow in tow, we set off down the road, laughing at the forecasters who had predicted rain.

By the time we got to the lake it was dark and we actually had to use our big flashlight sometimes to be sure of the path ahead of us. The Precious wasn't the least bit frightened of the scarier costumes and seemed to be having a great time just staring at all of the kids. At a few houses she even got up the courage to say "Trick-or-treat!" in a soft, sweet little voice. A lot of people assumed she was a little boy because of her costume, but she didn't care. What she cared about was the candy--specifically, the lollipops! And lots of people were giving out lollipops, so she was one happy little girl. We knew quite a few of the candy givers so we let her start eating her candy in between stops. By now it was very dark and we were quite a long way from the house. My feet were hurting (don't ever wear sandals for trick-or-treating!) and we were starting to think of heading back. And then suddenly the rain came.

I'm not talking about a soft little drizzle or some sprinkling. This was full-out,hurricane-strength rain.

I happen to love rain. So at first I went a little crazy and may have even danced. I distinctly remember singing. The Precious and my husband were having fun too. But then Doldin insisted we take a certain road as a shortcut to the road we needed to go down to get to the road we live on. I told him that this road would not take us where we needed to go. But I, alas, am nothing but a useless female, so down this road we went in the rain and the dark. No one else was going this way, so my husband thought we would be able to get home sooner by avoiding the crowd. Hahaha.

As the blocks kept coming and coming, the night grew darker and the rain kept driving down. Within only about 2 blocks we were all soaked to the skin and we were still nowhere near home. I was worried about The Precious but she was contentedly munching her candy despite the rising water in her wagon. The road went ever on and on, darker and narrower now, and we began to have trouble with cars and trucks flying by too close as we scrambled to pull the wagon safely to the side. At one point we took shelter from the traffic in a driveway only to find that the owners were trying to get into it and apparently considered us suspicious characters. Yeah, we always take our two-year-old in a bright red wagon through the rain with us when we want to rob houses. Geez. With the rain pouring harder we continued until my husband finally had to admit that he had made a mistake with the road (not in so many words, of course). It felt as if I were in a horror movie, wading through ankle-deep water in ever more slippery shoes that cut my feet, with vehicles seeming to want to hit us and no end to our journey in sight.

Finally, finally we hit a road that would take us where we needed to go and eventually we made it home. We immediately helped our poor little girl out of the wagon and poured at least an inch of water out of her candy bucket before heading into the house to get her into a warm bath. But I just had to get a few photos of the poor little scarecrow in her dripping duds before we took them off.

She was so tired she nearly fell asleep in the bath and was out like a light in no time. That's when we realized that we never had done anything with the tiny pumpkin after all of that searching. Life's like that sometimes.

So we had a Halloween we will absolutely never forget and which will hopefully be one of a kind. I hope that your Halloween was equally exciting but at least a little less damp.


October 16, 2013

Start Spreading the News

The government shutdown conveniently makes us forget about what may be our biggest threat: the NSA and its unconstitutional, completely illegal, and ethically wrong spying on Americans and foreigners, all without a warrant or court order.

Please watch and then make your voice heard today! If you don't, you may find yourself muted in the future.

For more info visit Fight for the Future

October 11, 2013

A New Look

There is a reason I rarely post photos of myself. Over the last few years I have not been happy with the way I looked, because I could not shake the weight that pregnancy and post-partum baby holding (she would not sleep during the day unless I held her!) added. But now I am happy to say that I am down under 160lbs again, thanks to a combo of a new medicine with a weight-loss side effect, eating less, and chasing The Precious even more. That girl can ZOOM! At 5 feet 5 inches tall, I am still not at a healthy weight, but I am getting there, and that makes me happy.

I am even able to finally get rid of my size 14-16 clothes and wear a dress that claims to be a medium. It's lying--it is huge! But it makes me feel better anyway lol.

So take a look at the slightly smaller, twenty-something pounds lighter version!

Will I ever get back to the 113 pound body I had when I met my husband? I really doubt it and really don't want to anyway. Curves are nice to have! I am just proud to be getting a little healthier. It really does feel better to be a bit lighter--I can breathe better, for instance.

So to everyone who is trying to lose weight, don't give up! It is possible as long as you are willing to keep trying. :)

October 1, 2013

Monday Spotlight : Simple Home Accents

I forgot that yesterday was Monday, so we will pretend that today is.

Today I am going to spotlight a shop that I have enjoyed watching grow and branch out, from a few categories of items to a really nice variety. Simple Home Accents really does have something for everyone, every home, and every occasion. Whether you need the perfect gift or want to upgrade your walls, Simple Home Accents has what you are looking for!

First of all, this soap looks good enough to eat, and the description sounds wonderful. Can you say stocking stuffer?

Fresh Rain Glycerin and Goats Milk Soap

I wish my handmade cards turned out this well! This colour combination is so stylish--bound to be a hit!

Black and White Cards with Pink Leopard Print Flowers

This is on my personal wishlist! Toile is always so elegant.

Cream with Black Toile Single Light Switch Plate

These clothespin magnets would be so handy for so many things, and I love the way they combine the rococo trend with simple functionality.

Clothespin Magnets Pale Blue with Metallic Silver Accents Set of 6

If quiet Asian elegance is more your cup of tea, take a look at these coasters!

Ceramic Tile Coasters Green Waves with Cranes and Metallic Gold

Thinking ahead to the holidays, what is just about always a welcome gift? A picture frame, of course! Simple Home Accents has quite a few to pick from, and they're all great. Of course, I love that a cat is in the featured photo, hehe!

Wooden Picture Frame Dark Grey Black and White Paper Flower

I really hope this has inspired you to start your Christmas (and birthday) shopping at Simple Home Accents. Check back next week for a brand new spotlight!

September 29, 2013

Favourite Finds

It has been a time of sickness for my family and I don't think that any of us are truly well yet. But I finally feel up to making a blog post, so that has to be something, right?

I have been dying to show off the fun things I have found recently at yard sales, thrift shops, etc. There are lots more items that will go into my Etsy shop, but these are the ones I am keeping for myself.

Actually, this first item is for The Precious. I have been wanting to make her a flip-flop doll for ages but of course have never got around to it, so I was thrilled to find this one in a thrift shop in such good shape. I love that it transforms from Lil Red to her Grandma and (when you turn Grandma around and lift up her cap) the Big Bad Wolf! The Precious sleeps with it now.

This little bottle fascinates me. I couldn't get a decent photo of it to save my life, but one side has a tree on it and says something like Straubhuller's Elixir Tree of Life Since 1880; the reverse reads Nectar of the Golden Life Health and Vitality. I would guess that it is not a real antique but who knows. It is just too pretty to sell and I will be hanging onto it.

For...was it 50 cents? I snagged this cherry blossom wall decor thingy for our bathroom. I know everyone nowadays paints them neon colours but I really like the faux-bois look of this one and am going to keep it just as it is.

This crazy cup is an older find I never got around to sharing before. It is fairly modern but so much fun,I just had to have it. Thank you, Waterfront Mission!

Finally, my dearest friend had a book sale recently due to her mother's passing, and when I had finished helping she let me have the books I had chosen to buy as a gift. It was way too sweet of her! I just wanted to show off this one because it is so unusual.

I just love that it has Carrie Nation on the back complete with her famous hatchet!

Naturally, I can't keep all of the amazing things that I find. In fact, most of them are going to have to be sold. So, keep an eye on my Etsy shop because there are great new items coming! I will give a few mysterious hints:


Care Bears






Teacher Gifts

Norman Rockwell


September 23, 2013

Monday Spotlight: Fabric ala Carte

Let's face it, some of us are just addicted to fabric. My habit started when I was probably about 4. Back then, I had to try to be satisfied with leftovers from the clothes Mama made for us and herself. Since I made Barbie clothes, leftovers were perfect. Soon relatives heard about my sewing attempts and I was being given vintage fabric right and left. When a flood destroyed my scrapbag, a kind neighbour of my aunt sent me a new stash, and it is on that stash of garment-factory remnants that I have built an insane collection of fabrics of all kinds. Even now, when I have no room and no time, I find it very hard to resist an interesting print or a fun texture.

Which brings me to today's shop, Fabric ala Carte. This is one of those Etsy shops I cannot visit without finding at least five new things that I want! I have a feeling that anyone who crafts with fabrics will find themselves in the same situation. So click here to see the shop, or keep reading to take a look at my selections.Fabric ala Carte

One thing I love is that Kris's shop is full of fabrics that are not only high-quality, but stylish. For instance, I would love to make a Jackie-O style suit from this! It would be perfect for fall.

Bubble Flower Dusk Kaffe Fassett Rowan Westminster

And wouldn't this exotic print make the most gorgeous maxi skirt?

Crazy Love Pricilla Green Jennifer Paganelli Free Spirit Fabrics

For kids, doll clothes, or pillows I can't imagine anything cuter than this mushroom fabric! I'm a sucker for mushrooms anyway though, as anyone who is forced to scroll through my camera files will see.

FAT QUARTER Lecein Fabrics Woodland Mushroom House

I really like that you can find custom fabric bundles at Fabric ala Carte. For example, here Kris has put together 10 coordinating Amy Butler fat quarters--endless project possibilities!

Amy Butler Bundle 10 Fat Quarters

This set of Riley Blake charm squares would make up into a great table runner for Thanksgiving, no?

28 Decadence 5 Charm Squares Riley Blake

And of course, it's time to start thinking Christmas crafts (oh deer....) Deck the halls with peppermints this year!

Fat Quarter Flurry Peppermints Kate Spain

Believe me, I am only showing a few highlights here--there are 22 pages of fabric for you to drool over! So head over to Fabric ala Carte now and stock up.

September 21, 2013

Happy Hobbit Day!

The Precious is very sick and I am trying to distract myself from worrying about her by putting together a sort of shopping guide of my favourite hobbit and Lord of the Rings items. I think all of them are so cool, they really speak for themselves, so I will shut up for a change and let them talk.

On Sale Middle Earth Hand Dyed Yarn

Bilbo's Doorstep Handcolored Print by ErikaRaeHeins

The Road Goes Ever On Notecard Set

Hobbit Garden Soy Candle 16 oz Jar Green

The Hobbit Poster

Hobbit One Ring Earrings

Lord of the Rings The One Ring Beaded Bracelet

Shire Frodo and Gollum Earrings

Tolkien "All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter, Not All Who Wander" Calligraphy

Aragorn Lord of the Rings Charm Necklace

Taking the Hobbits to Isengard Digital Art Print

To the Edge of Night Nail Polish

Eowyn by FarinskyArtStudio

Tree of Gondor Babydoll

Return to the Shire Notecard Set

So may your Hobbit Day be happy, and may the hair on your toes grow thick and curly!
Cheers from Caledonia Quickfoot of Vilya (who usually takes form as an elf named Aurelas)