Saturday, September 08, 2007

Calling all Teen Altered Artists...

Well, how exciting is this? I've been asked to write an article for Listen magazine about altered art! I'm really, super excited!!!

An important piece of the article is getting quotes and feedback from teens who actually do altered art. If you know of any teens interested in altered art/mixed media or if you are a teen who is interested in either, will you P-L-E-A-S-E contact me? Pretty please?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Something Old, Something New...

For awhile I have been feeling a little torn about my blog. It started as a cottage-style, vintage and art sort of place, and now due to my "green" inspirations, has taken a different sort of turn. In order to keep things neat and tidy (or at least attempt to!), I've started a new blog "A Chick with a Conscience" If you are interested in environmentalism, humane treatment of animals and humanitarian efforts (along with bits and pieces of living more simply, more frugally and better on less), I think you might find it interesting!

I do plan to continue to post here off and on, but will try to keep this blog specifically set up for posts about vintage/homemaking type posts, along with any cottage-y ideas and inspirations. See ya over there (I hope!).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Falling in Love (at first site)...

This is a yurt. Tucked into a thicket of woods in rural Maine, it was so beautiful, rustic and unexpectedly comfortable, I felt completely happy and in love. I loved it's rounded sides and the pretty handmade chairs, the benches gathered up around the fire, the tiny, efficient kitchen area with everything hanging from its own special hook or tucked away in sliding wooden trays. I loved the forest and the smell of the trees and the canopy of leaves dancing overhead. I loved the patches of bright blue sky peeking through the more sparse areas of branches. I loved the clear dome top that allowed me to see the bright stars overhead before falling asleep. It sort of felt like an on-the-ground treehouse.

To the right, is the solar shower-also a first for me. There is something so right about bathing outdoors. I'm far from an exhibitionist-one of my sisters says I was born with clothes on(!) but this I fell in love with. The black plastic bag hanging from the pole was filled with water which was warmed by the sun. There was a nozzle and shower head coming from the bag that you could turn on or off as you needed water. My one regret is that I didn't use the shower a little earlier in the day. The water was pretty chilly by the time I got in, just before supper. Still, it was wonderful. Now I'm scheming to figure out how I can have one of my very own in the back yard...but privacy is much more of an issue on a small piece of land so I will need to do some creative thinking!

I told you the kitchen area was cute! The folks that own Frost Mountain Yurts thought of EVERY detail, many I would never have thought of myself. It was a lot of fun cooking on the propane stove, which heats a lot faster than my own electric one.

This romantic and rustic dinner for two was leisurely prepared in the late evening, just in time to need a pretty candle flickering. When I was little I was a bit obsessed with "Little House on the Prairie" and talked my mother into buying me a blue enamel set of dishes similar to these to have my meals in.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Doesn't it Seem...

Doesn't it seem that bike riding and other outdoor activities are ten times more fun and freeing when you do them like you did them when you were a kid?

I just went on a gorgeous summer bike ride...I was surfing the internet (one of my favorite pursuits but I say it shamefaced), and thought "Wow. It's really gorgeous out! Wouldn't it be fun to take a bike ride?" and I did and it was.

Now I'm sitting back at the computer because while I was riding I kept feeling that I-need-to-write feeling. My heart is still beating fast, my brow is a little sweaty and I feel all tingly. When I was a kid biking was my one freedom, the one time I could be completely alone and I cherished that. Growing up with three older sisters, two parents and a large German Shepard in 1200 square feet of living space, you would have too.

There is something though, in feeling the wind in your hair as you careen down a hill, feeling your heart hammer in your chest as you work your way up one, and thinking that you are doing it for FUN and because you want to, not because you need to get your heart rate in a certain range or you just ate "something sinful" and now better burn it off. Exercise really and truly is a great gift we can give ourselves, but I often forget that and think of it as exercise, like a dirty word. I think it should be called something else completely-exercise brings to mind exhausting aerobic classes or toning sessions where your instructor yells at you like a gym sargent to lift your quivering leg 10 more times. But movement, in it's true form is enjoyable and loving. Dancing, yoga, walking, strolling, biking, playing outdoor games...movement has a much better connotation for me.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Oh, I love it!

I am now officially addicted to green blogs and all the great eco-friendly shops and sites on the internet~who knew? I have a tendency to go full steam when I'm into something, and this is no different. However, instead of just reading about all the depressing statistics, I'm reading about all the great, incredible, fantastic and innovative things people are doing and it's making me so happy!

This site has such a creative idea to help save the elephants...recycled "poo" (sterilized) and made into stationary! My sister, Aimee, bought me a set for Christmas and I absolutely LOVE it. It's thick, heavy, and pretty and it helps elephants which I love.

Then I found this blog which is inspiring. The author is a journalist and lives in Toronto but is making all these green changes regardless of living in a big, commercial place. Often I have been guilty (am still at times) of thinking/saying, "Well, it would be easier to be green/live more sustainably if only I had a few acres in the country/worked less hours/had "green" friends, etc." Posters like this remind me that there is PLENTY I can be doing right here and right now, on my little 3/4 acre lot.

I also found this blog which is dedicated to doing one good thing after another...and then there are my old standbys: Simple Living and Mother Earth News.

So much inspiration~makes a girl's head spin...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is There a Job for Me?

When I was little, I certainly never thought "I want a completely pointless and useless job when I grow up. I want to push papers around and re-type documents and sit in my air conditioned office on my bum and watch the natural world outside of a window that doesn't open."

A few weeks ago, sitting in said office, staring out said un-opening window, I wrote this:

I wonder what it is that makes me impossible to please at work. Like an unhappy and ridiculously picky suitor I hone in on each and every negative workplace nuance and explore it until there is nothing left but an empty shell. “Too boring. Too stressful. Too beneath me. The expect me to do what?” I’m quite a princess in the workplace. Maybe it comes from having such a great home life. Often the people who thrive at work, especially those who overwork or let their entire lives revolve around their jobs, are those with less harmonious home lives. They work so hard and give so much because there is nothing at home for them to look for. Maybe it’s because I’m so happy in my little colorful nest, so happy with my sweet, calm husband and furry pets and cool family, that I find it so difficult to find happiness at work. I’m not sure, but would love to solve this mystery once and for all.
I know other people who dislike their jobs, but somehow they just keep plugging away at them, year after tedious year. In a way I envy those people. They know how to really make it stick. They know how to tough it out. When the going gets tough they don’t run away, resume flapping in hand. They stay put and meet the challenges head-on, or at least hibernate quietly until they are over. There must be a certain security that comes from that. A certain feeling of pride that they toughed it out, they didn’t let work get the best of them.
I’ve never had that feeling. When the days get rough, I start scanning the want ads. Maybe THIS time, it will be the right place. Maybe here it will be different… It never is. Of course, I rationally know that no place is perfect. There will never be a group of people that you completely get along with, never a place with extra high staff morale and positive, thrilling work that excites you everyday. I know this, rationally. But some part of me keeps thinking Is this it, then? This is the best it’s going to be? Really? Because some whimsical, unrealistic, dreamy part of me doesn’t want to believe it. Doesn’t want to believe that work means lists of menial tasks, coworkers who don’t share your point of view (or any opinions other than their own), and sleepy afternoons when you want to lay your head down on your keyboard and have a nap (or a good cry). Part of me refuses to believe that work has to feel like drudgery and that bosses can treat you like a gnat, change the rules at any given moment and then wait for you to smile and nod your approval. Part of me can’t believe that for the next thirty-odd years, this is life. Bland space, windows that won’t open, bosses who don’t respect, desk drawers that stick, coworkers moans rising in unison, nominal raises with a pat on the head. Can it really be true? Is it too much to ask for work that makes you feel fulfilled and proud? A job that gives a little back when you put so much into it? Long vacations and well wishes? Color and light and beauty and fulfillment?
Maybe in fact, it is too much to ask. But you know what? I’m asking anyway.

And I am asking. Only very quietly and a little too timidly at the moment. Changing careers is a very scary thing and starting over where you know nothing and no one and, may feel completely incompetant is very scary indeed. But if I look back in 5, 10, or 20 years, won't being stuck in the very same place seem scarier still?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Farm Girl Extravaganza...

Wow~what a day! This was the first annual Farm Girl Sale for myself and group of 3 others...and what a sale it was!

We worried this week as each of us scoured the weather reports which forecasted rain, rain, a thunder shower and yet more rain. The morning was misty and foggy when I got up at 5:15 to start loading the truck with all my goodies, a process in itself. I was pretty proud that I managed to haul in a full sized dresser and large rolling craft table on my own (though I did score a few black & blue marks on various body parts doing so). I sweaty, hot and hungry when I finally pulled into my sister's yard and surveyed the canopies we had set up the night before. Then it was unpack, unbox, chuck empty boxes under the table and greet my friends and sister as each in turn came out to set up their own wares.

What a lot of fun we had~and the weather? GORGEOUS! It was sunny and hot with a nice cool breeze all day. We laughed, talked, ate yummy food and swapped a few "must have" items. A perfectly lovely day~I can't wait till sale time next year, girls!