Have I already told you that my fabulous daughter-in-law is a kindergarten teacher? Well, she is, and she has twenty lucky little five and six year olds who are in her class. I made some fun little treats that I am sending off for her to give the kiddos at their Halloween party.
They are so easy to make, and they will keep for three weeks or more, although I have never had them stick around longer than a day or two when I make them for us at home, because they are so yummy.
(It's that sweet-with-the-salty thing.)
All you do is melt some white candy melts in the microwave and dip your pretzel sticks in.
Plop a pair of candy googly eyes on the warm gooey-melty stuff, and let them set up on parchment or wax paper on a cookie sheet while you watch an inning of the Cubs -Dodgers playoff game.
Melt a single black candy melt in a cup in the microwave, and using a toothpick, put a little black oval below those googly eyes.
Watch another inning of the baseball game, and they're done.
Easy as that.
Last weekend I had the most fabulous time. My daughter and I went to the little town of Silverton, Oregon for some quality me time for each of us, to be able to focus on projects we had been struggling to find time for. She is in the process of studying for her real estate license exam, and I have been wanting to update my etsy shop, and social media stuff.
We met up Friday evening, and we settled in to work on our separate projects. We took breaks for dinner, and we spent the morning with our dueling laptops, in a cool coffee and breakfast place that had wi-fi. A big storm was hitting the pacific northwest, but we were enjoying the grey days and never lost power, so we were happy.
We managed to squeeze in pedicures late in the afternoon Saturday, and then picked up pizza to cook in our room for dinner, and then we both jumped back into our tasks.
Shortly after 10:00 on Saturday night. I was on a roll, adding banners and flags, and oodles and toodles of seasonal descriptions and photos of items to my little etsy shop, and I was feeling all kinds of proud of myself, when it happened.
The spinning-rainbow-wheel-of-death came on my screen just as I was wrapping up a marathon evening of working on my shop. And, it wouldn't. stop. spinning.
Had I downloaded one too may crazy fonts?
I ask this because, once, long, long ago, in the early days of giant home computers, I installed one too may fonts from several floppy discs of fonts. (remember those? If not, you are not nearly as old as I am.)
Anyway, when I turned on my computer, it was covered in Chinese writing, all over my desk top.
Enough about that disturbing incident.
That was then. This is now.
(Insert huge, deep breath and long sigh here.)
Well, at this point, panic set in. Luckily my daughter was there to be the voice of reason. She told me to turn it off and let it charge over night, and I followed her directions.
I woke up at 6:00 am and pulled open my little MAC.
I felt sick to my stomach. This piece of electronics is my lifeline.
(I don't back things up hardly ever often enough, and my cheesy print program can't send things to my cloud.)
(True confession here= I have never seen what is actually in my cloud, nor do I know how to get to my cloud.)
When my daughter woke up she insisted I call the folks at Apple. I said I didn't think they would help me without charging me a small fortune. She made me call anyway.
(It turns out that there is a reason they call those Apple workers "geniuses".)
Ohmygosh. So helpful. They gave me hope.
Unfortunately, it was not going to be a fast fix. I needed to be plugged in to a power source, and have continuous wi-fi, which meant I needed to head home to do the repair, when I had been hoping to stay until afternoon at that cute breakfast coffee shop again.
I'll skip all the drama and worry and praying that ensued once I got home and spoke with a guy from Apple, named Gary, who got the process going. Calls later with Trinity, and then Susan, and I am back to working on my Macbook Pro Tuesday night while binge-watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of Fixer-Upper.
(I love me some Chip and Joanna Gaines. I hope fame never changes them.)
My etsy shop is still in progress, but getting there. I lost some cool fonts and I am half afraid to reinstall them, but I'll get things rebuilt over the next few days weeks. In the meantime, everything in my shop is 20% off with the coupon code SPOOKY, and if you've hung in there long enough to read this far into my post, I have atop-secret code for you! Use the coupon code APPLE and get a $5.00 credit towards any purchase of $6.00 or more on my entire site. (I wanted to make it so you could get an item free, but etsy isn't set up for that...) My top secret offer is good through Thursday night at midnight!
There were beautiful cookies (I think from this amazing girl...) and presents, and lots of well wishes and laughter. I supplied her with a party hat with a vintage feel. It just goes to show that a party can happen anywhere, and that's the ind of thing that makes for good memories.
Turns out you can glue gun googly eye balls to wine bottles, then wrap the bottle in medical gauze, and create a memorable Halloween season hostess gift. (Thank you again, Pinterest.)
I added some homemade tags and it was ready to go to a friends house for Monday night football, (Download Hallo wine and boos tags ) followed by watching the last eight of what turned out to be thirteen innings of the San Francisco Giants and the Cubbies. (Served up with a repeat performance of my seasonal Pumpkin Crunch dessert!)
I saw the idea on Pinterest (of course) and decided it would be adorable to do for my daughter-in-law's kindergarten class. A quick trip to the Dollar Tree yielded purple paper cups, and, not only packages of googly eyes, but colorful eyeballs too.
(And as a bonus, I also scored orange and black striped paper straws for the pint sized students.)
I whipped out my hot glue gun and attached the eyeballs in a mater of ten minutes.
Too danged cute.
When you have a booth in an antique mall, they generally have one night a week where vendors are allowed to come in after hours to fluff and update their booth spaces. Wednesday nights are the designated dealer nights at Camas Antiques, and it's always a good time.
Junkers are bringing in new old stuff, and moving things around. The aisles are full of furniture and boxes, and people are chatting and checking out each others treasures. (My booth has taken on a definite Halloween-papercraft theme.)
Okay, so I am much more a harvest decore kind of girl than a Halloween diva, but I do like a few touches here and there, with more of an Edgar Allen Poe sort of feel than a Beetlejuice or Stephen King-esque slant to my touches.
(For me, the only exception for more color this time of year is on my little party crows, or if I'm making something for the grand-kiddos.)
I've been gettin' my nearly-nightly craft on the past coupe of weeks, and every Halloween paper craft I've created has inspired another to follow.
I love it when that happens.
Banners of all sizes, and party crows from here to the other side of the bridge to Portland, and most recently, petite gift boxes, perfectly sized to hold candy corn, or a fabulous cookie, or a gift card, or bracelet, or...well any little treat of favor you can think of.
These ghoulishly sweet kraft paper boxes made me think of a fun Halloween themed dinner or cocktail party, or maybe a luncheon with my gal-pals from my big girl job, and that started me thinking about table scapes. (Yep, it's that same old if-you-give-a-moose-a-muffin thing I do...) Table scapes made me think about designing coordinating bingo cards to tuck into nooks and crannies, or water goblets on the table.
Oh, can you just see that?
Yeah, kinda sorta something like that.
I'll have all of this in my booth tomorrow, and in my etsy shop as well, by Friday.
Who knew Halloween could be so inspirational?
I spent a decent portion of my weekend tinkering around my home, adding little harvest touches here and there. My mantel is always a focal point, and after borrowing back some pretty fabulous arched side mirrors from my daughter, (I originally found them at the Goodwill bins for a steal, when they were stained dark brown.) I began building out this year's white pumpkin theme. (I still need to add some white taper candles in the holders up there...)
I added two of my latest banners (Available in my etsy shop at at Camas Antiques later this week!) for a fun little Halloween touch, along with a black crow, a spider and a number thirty one.
I still plan to paint my brick fireplace white, as soon as I find the time.
(Ha! A girl can hope...)
Oh, how I adore autumn. It's the coziest season of all, with crisp mornings filled with cocoa, and toast with jam. The first of so many roaring fires in the fireplace, and my pumpkin spice wax wafting through the house. Boots replace my flip-flops, and big sweaters and scarves come out of hiding in the armoire in my bedroom.
I spent this morning putting away my cheerful summer accessories from around the house, and I replaced them with my sunflowers, and pumpkins, and neutral colors.
October, I am glad you're here.
It was a large conference we put on, and it was exciting, exhausting, inspiring, and overwhelming all at the same time. (Yep, that is possible.) Besides all of the weks of prep work leading up to the big event, we put in long days that started early, so I went to bed tired. I would then proceed to wake up every hour, worrying that I might somehow over sleep for tomorrow's early morning meeting. (I am pretty sure that I looked like I was 87 by the last day of the event.)
All I could think of on my flight home was walking in the door of my little home. There is such a sense of restfulness, and warmth, and...I am not sure of what word to use here, but maybe it's security. A place to just sit, and be present, and process all of the days before, among pictures of grand babes, and little black Halloween crows everywhere.
Once I did land, it turned out that I didn't get to go straight home, but somewhere else, where we watched the Seahawks game. That only magnified my need for being home.
It's funny to me, how a little old, fixer-upper, not-nearly-close-to-even-halfway-done cottage can do that to a girl. I guess that's why they say home is where the heart is.
The vintage faire last Saturday was fabulous, but you'll have to just take my word for it, 'coz we were so busy that I never took a single photo.
The weather was perfect, the shoppers were friendly, and we had a great time.
At the end of the day, we loaded the few remaining items and then last night I took a few things to Camas Antiques to add to my booth.
I'll most likely be back there tomorrow after work with more, because this Friday is First Friday!
This is the area where I had grand plans in my head, envisioning a garden shed, and a raised garden bed, complete with pea gravel.
Well, ask and you shall receive, as they say.
Several months ago, we got the garden shed (special shout out to my Rock n' Roll Buddy) and I painted to match my cottage's new paint job. I put my makeshift potting table next to the side of the shed, which I envisioned would look great, but instead it just magnified the weeds and bare dirt to any visible blades of grass ratio in the area.
Summer arrived. Life was busy, and transforming this little area of yard fell to the bottom of my to-do list. When my son-in-law was dropping off the band of brothers for Camp Cupcake, he pointed out that the area would be a great fire pit area, while I shared that my vision was for a raised garden bed to grow vegetables and herbs. A good idea, he agreed, and I never thought about it again.
The following weekend, Ralph and I went out of town. Imagine my complete and total surprise when my daughter texted a picture of a "little" project her hubbs was working on in my yard. (They wanted to surprise me, but then were not sure on the placement for the raised bed.)
(They had it in the perfect spot!)
I squealed, and launched into an ugly cry face in two seconds.
(Ralph was in on it and was not surprised. The fact that he was able to keep that secret was an even bigger surprise to me.)
I wish I had some good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) "Before" pictures, but I don't. You'll have to trust me when I say the difference in the entertaining areas of my backyard are huge, even without any veggies planted yet.
It's turning into a little slice of outdoor cottage heaven, right here on earth, with a lot of help from my family. I am truly blessed, and appreciate them all!
I told you I've been crazy busy, and part of what has been keeping me so busy is my grown up job. I'm currently working on spreading the word throughout my company about a program I run the recruiting end of for audiology doctorate students during their last year of school, (Like a residency) and I am having a grand time using think-outside-the-box methods to get my fellow coworkers excited about it.
On August first I announced that we, the Company, (and by "we" I shared, I meant me.) had declared August as "Extern Awareness Month", and I'd be showcasing information about the Program throughout the month. I started with a simple display in the kitchen first thing that Monday morning.....It was the day after Camp Cupcake, so I ran to the grocery and purchased bakery mini-cinnamon rolls and little hostess donuts. I added little flags, and a sign, and called it done...it's amazing what a little flag can do for store-bought treats!
Then, the week before last I came up with brochures that outlined how cool the program really was. I called it "Food For Thought" because...well, gifts of food seem to be the way to a neighboring department's heart.
Last week I shared a cleverly worded timeline for the program, along with an equally clever frequently asked questions sheet. Next week will wrap up my self proclaimed "Extern Awareness Month" with a pop quiz on what they've learned, with Starbucks cards for the winners. (These are some highly competitive folks, so I am anticipating good participation.)
I am not sure how many of you work outside your home full time, or part time for that matter, but I share this all because creativity and fun are not reserved for home alone. You can take pretty much any kind of meeting and add a level of polished whimsy to it. Heck, you can celebrate a day of the week, for that matter. (I currently have a plan up my sleeve to begin celebrating Fridays at my grown up job.) Do you do things at work to add some fun? I'd love to hear your ideas!
I'm not complaining, mind you, just sayin'.
Life is good. Just busy. Work. Family. My booth space. My etsy shop. (Insert embarrassed red emoji face here.) ah, yes, my poor, neglected etsy shop...
Lots has been happening, and I am dying to get you all caught up, if you're still checking in to see if there's a pulse here at ACottageIndustry.com.
I think I pretty much fell off the internet just after my trip to Maui with my bestie since fifth grade....okay, possibly a bit before that, but you got the highlights of my fun-in-the-sun vacation.
After that, it gets a little blurred. Camp Cupcake was a definite high point, and so I think I'll start here..
All men, this go-round, and we had a repeat performance of the ever-popular sack races...
....and the butterfly nets hadn't lost their multi-use appeal....
We had an epic water fight....
...I did add some fun new food items....(thank you, Pinterest. What did I do before I knew you?)
...We cooked our own hot dogs, and roasted marshmallows for s'mores.....(Some of us soaked our shoes in the water fight and had to borrow a pair of Gramma Cupcake's flip-flops while they dried in the sun...)
.........and we made great use of the tent all day long, and then slept in it. (Complete with glow-sticks and headlamps!)
I'm already planning next year's camp, with my fingers crossed that all of the grands will be here!
The campers this year included three returning campers, and two new ones. Sadly, two campers from last year couldn't make it this year, and while they were greatly missed, the all male troop this year enjoyed the new addition of a water fight on a very warm camp day.
Seriously, I took over 500 photos, however, I had some pretty nasty computer issues the week before, and the end result, after everything was back up and running, is that I no longer have iPhoto, and the "Photos" area where all of my pictures are now going doesn't seem to want to let me attach photos to emails, nor my blog, without adding several new-to-me steps in the process. I was finally able to share these first two photos from Camp with you today, and have more to come.
(Insert huge, frustrated sigh here.)
Couple this with the last three weeks being busier than I can remember, including my weekend comprised of an out-of-town mini-vacation trip to see family, friends, and fun, and an early flight home yesterday. This was followed by a late afternoon wedding for a sweet friend at my grown up girl job, after unpacking and getting the laundry done, so I could be ready for the work week.
(Does this all sound exhausting?)
(It was. But oh-so-fun!)
I plan to get things all caught up this week, fingers crossed.