Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bad Blog-Girl!

I can't believe I haven't posted since Wednesday! Since I joined this wonderful community, I have to hold myself back from over-posting, lest I lose the interest of my followers. Fortunately/ unfortunately there has been nothing monumental that is to blame for my absence. My days have simply been busy. Given the alternative (famine, flood, fire or pet catastrophe), I am grateful for plain, old "busy"! However, now that I'm comfortably seated, at my computer, that familiar urge to share every, mundane detail of my life is back. I sense this will be a multiple-post day, friends.
I absolutely have to start with a HUGE, public thank you to Margaret, The French Bear, for the amazing gifts she sent me for participating in her "Pay it Forward" event. I have been drooling over Margaret's creations ever since I was introduced to her blog via Monica's (The White Bench). When Margaret invited her readers to join in her "Pay it Forward", I was all over it :-) Not only do I LOVE the concept, but (not-so-secretly) I was so excited to have one of Margaret's beautiful creations for my very own. When the package arrived, a few days ago, I was beyond thrilled! Of course, everything was wrapped beautifully and I opened everything with great care.
***Note: I have learned, thanks to you ladies, how to practice a bit of patience when it comes to unwrapping gifts. Typically, I am a tear-into-it, get-to-the-good-stuff kind of girl!
Margaret made me the most lovely collage, combining elements that I never, in a million years, would have thought to put together: pale blue journal paper, speckled eggs, burgundy rose ribbon....simply (nothing simple about it, actually) stunning! I am so impressed by those of you who let your creative juices flow freely. I tend to be very one-dimensional when it comes to expressing myself creatively. Margaret also made me the sweetest "Welcome Spring" nesting box...yes, there is a nest with speckled eggs inside. Attention to details???? I've made four attempts to describe the intricacies of this piece (deleted them all, obviously), so I will rely on my pictures to illustrate what I cannot put into words. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you Margaret. Small words for the gratitude I feel!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am very simply a blogging idiot. For those of you who stick by me and attempt to follow my haphazard, circuitous, awkward ramblings......y'all have the patience of saints :-) Five days ago, Margaret (The French Bear) graciously passed along the Kreativ Blogger award to me. I'm just acknowledging this now, for what reason??? The blogger poltergeist removed the link to Margaret's blog from my sidebar...that's why! Same poltergeist, by the way, that devours socks in the washing machine/ dryer...nasty bugger. Sooo, here I am, thinking Margaret is giving "us" the cold shoulder because she hasn't been posting. Not so much, folks. Fortunately, I went in search of Margaret's link, to thank her for the AMAZING "Pay it Forward" gifts (post on that to follow because my panties are in a bunch and I want to be appropriately thankful and sweet when I gush about the goodies she sent me!). It was then that I discovered that Margaret had gone M.I.A. from my list of favorite blogs AND that she had honored me with the award. This ranting is exhausting, so it's time to slow down.
:::deep breaths:::
Thank you, Margaret, for thinking of me and for passing along the Kreativ Blogger award. I am so truly touched and you know (I hope) how much it means to me, coming from a woman I hold in such high regard!
Seven things I love:
~God...who knows more about my haphazard, circuitous, awkward ramblings than anyone...and, still, He loves me for it!
~My children...being a single mom has encouraged ( times, forced) me to connect on a different level with my kids. There are times, logistically, that I have to wear both the mom hat and the dad hat. Challenging? You bet, but it has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible.
~People....more and more, each day, I'm recognizing how much I enjoy people. Sound strange? Perhaps, but I truly love meeting new people whether it's via my blog, at the local convenience store or picking my daughter up from school. It drives my children crazy that I am always making a conscious effort to be outgoing and warm to complete strangers. Someday, I hope their perception will shift and they will recognize the benefit of approaching life with an outstretched hand and an open heart. Either that or I'm going to have huge therapy bills to cover in their future!
~The beach...anyone who knows me at all, knows I love the beach. With on and off snow flurries today, I'm especially longing for the warmth of the sand beneath my feet and the sweet/ salty smell of the ocean. Block Island sounds perfect right now!
~My pets...since Gretel's accident, I recognize how much a part of my family they are. taste in music varies widely, but it is always reflective of my mood/ state of mind.
~Creating...when I do not make time to express myself creatively, whether it's crafting, sewing, cooking or blogging, I am just "off" (more so than usual:-)
Time to "Pay it Forward"! This is the hard part for two reasons: 1.)there are so many blogs that have become an integral part of my day, so choosing seven is very difficult and 2.) many of you have already received this honor. I know you were as touched as I was, by the gesture of whomever thought so highly of you. That said, it must be challenging to come up with new friends to pass the award along to. Since Margaret has given me permission :::smiles::: to abide or break the "rules" as I see fit, I'm going to...can anyone guess?...BREAK THEM! Now, there's your shock for the day. I will mention 7 people whose blogs I follow regularly. I love all of them for very different reasons, which should be reflected in my choices. With that, ladies, you can opt in or opt out as far as whether to pass the baton.
~Margaret, The French Bear (and not just because she sent me really cool stuff today AND was thoughtful enough to flatter me in this way...Really!)
~Monica, The White Bench
~Kelly, A Girl Named Kelly Kelly
~Jen, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
~Lynn, Lynn's Lovelies
~Stephenie: Just a Little Bit Pink
~Sue: Gossamer Creations

Puppy Power

Thank you, Lynn, for your continued concern about Gretel. She's doing so well and is getting more bold every day, which thrills me to no long as she doesn't consider going a few more rounds with another mini-van! I was FINALLY able to bathe Miss Stinkpot the other day and she's even easier to love now that she doesn't smell like...well, like a dog who's been hit by a car, undergone surgery, and been without a bath for nearly a month. She and I had some playful lovin' time 2 nights ago and my son actually asked where my camera was so he could take pictures. Two of his least favorite things: being my photographer and the dog! To his credit, he has softened toward the pup, since her accident. They'll never be the best of pals, but she gets an overabundance of love/ affection from his sister and me!
***I REFUSE to acknowledge the fact that there is a bunch of white stuff, falling from the sky (as I type this), that looks suspiciously like S*#@W!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Squashing Secondhand Shopping Stereotypes

While I, personally, have never had an issue with secondhand shopping, I am empathetic to those who remain hesitant. I was raised in a very traditional, old New England, waste-not-want-not family where tag/ yard sales and consignment/ thrift shops were considered weekend highlights. Buying secondhand wasn't, necessarily, a financial necessity. It was more the "thrill of the hunt" and getting a good "deal" on new (used) treasures.
When my youngest child started preschool, I started working at a consignment shop I had haunted for several years. I was in the shop one day and joked with the owner that she would have to make a light fixture out of me or give me a job. She hired me and thus began my entre' to the inner workings of secondhand retail. Fashion Exchange is the oldest consignment shop in Connecticut and was the brainchild of the owner, Janet Falkenthal, who created this treasure trove of designer fashions 25 years ago. Yes, most of the clothing has been gently worn, but...unless you plan on leaving new tags displayed on your ensemble...the only telltale difference between her clothing and that you might find at Neiman Marcus, is the damage to your bank account. The clothing is always a fraction of what you would pay for retail, but it is the end of the season sales that induce a feeding frenzy in avid bargain shoppers. I was over at the shop last week, to take pictures for this post, and found the back room still stacked to the rafters with the $5 items. Okay, so what's the big fuss over finding $5 clothing at a consignment shop when you can snag stuff, at a yard sale, for $.50? I'm talking about Armani suits, St John's pants, Michael Kors tops & dresses, Carolina Herrera dresses & Coach handbags! Is Fashion Exchange the "norm" as far as shopping secondhand? Certainly not! Janet has set the bar as high as it could be, but she has single-handedly dispelled the stigma that so many associate with consignment/ thrift stores. Who knows what hidden treasures are lurking in your neck of the woods? Who knows? Those "frugal fashionistas" that are dressed to the nines and smiling knowingly!
Fashion Exchange
109 South Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
(203) 270-0354