Friday, December 31, 2010

A little announcement

Guess what? {every}nothing wonderful is...drum roll please...


And by sponsors I mean patrons of the arts, friends, reciprocal relationships for beneficial means, or just advertisers...though if you like I'll make you a really fancy "patron of the arts" bumper sticker, because I know you'll want to be aristocratic like that. 


Go ahead and download the PDF for more info and shoot me an email to sign up for your cozy little spot over there on the right side of the page. 





Lots of great new things are coming to {every}nothing wonderful - you'll want to be a part of it! 


Thursday, December 30, 2010

The sweet success of failure

"It's the bubbles of nothing that make it really something."*

AeroBar

* Former tagline for the Aero chocolate bar sales campaign

That yumminess you see? One of my all-time favorite candy bars - an Aero. You can't get them in the U.S. but my mom toted some back from Australia for me. That's love! The Aero tagline used to be "It's the bubbles of nothing that make it really something," which, for some reason, I've always remembered. Isn't that true of everything though - so many little nothing moments and events make life pretty spectacular.

It's that time of year again - time to reflect, reevaluate, examine and plan. I encourage you to leave room for error, in fact, plan for failures, leave room for the 'bubbles of nothing'. Some of my best successes were borne of failures this holiday season - and I'm so glad I made every single mistake.

My failed caramels? Went in the freezer and make amazingly easy and perfect caramel sauce (with a touch of cream added), or caramel for hot cider (yum). I'm actually planning to make more "failure" caramels to pop in the freezer when these are done!

My guest post for The Sweetest Occasion? Started out as bows/wrapping ideas but the files wouldn't save correctly and the pictures were a mess. I got some great problem-solving done and oodles of future ideas out of the final project.

My marshmallow disaster? Well, readers liked it and I like that...a lot. I reminded me to take life with a grain of salt and to remember to laugh...it also gave me a little more permission to be myself.

When I let life and other people get the best of me for a minute I remembered that we're all pretty darn amazing, unforgettable, and have so much to offer...and I made a promise to keep trying and for you to keep trying too.

And you know what? Those are some of my favorite posts too. Success is nothing more than failure turned on it's head, right?

So when you are thinking about those future plans, making resolutions, and planning ahead, don't forget to leave room. Leave room for whimsy. Leave room for laughter. Leave room for all the success your failures have to offer. Leave room for joy. Leave room for forgiveness. Don't plant your seeds too close - leave room to grow. Leave room to discover, unfold, and embrace all that is you. Leave room to savor the sweetness in the 'bubbles of nothing'.

I'm excited for a new year - I hope you are too. We're gonna make it something spectacular, I just know it. Can't wait to see what you've all got planned (I saw that 365 blog set up Wendy!).

In the meantime I'll be finishing up those yummy candy bars...you know, before the resolutions take effect. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Orange you glad I didn't take the ugly orange?

Oranges

A cautionary tale for all of you who recently aquired fancy new cameras or who decided to start a blog this year:

...

Phone call to my husband 5 minutes ago:

Me: Did you take my good orange?

Em: Your good orange?

Me: Yeah, you know, the one with the leaf on it. I said I wanted to photograph it.

Em: Um. (silence). I still have the leaf. I can glue it back on.

Me: Ugh! I said I wanted to photograph it!

Em: I just grabbed the one on the pile (I will admit, there is a bowl of oranges, it was on the top, I should have moved the orange in question). I can glue the leaf back on. I still have it.

Me: C'mon! You should have known! Leave the pretty one!

Em: Um, ok. I'll take the ugly one next time...you'll probably want the ugly one too, right?

Me: Well...yeah...I will. Leave the pretty one and the ugly one.

Em: Ok, I'll take the normal one. (pause). It was a really good apple though.

Me: It was an orange! See, you don't even know what you took!

Em: I took an apple and an orange.

Me: Hoarder.

Em: So, did you you call me about anything else?

Me: No.

Em: I still have the leaf...

...

Consider yourself warned.

Taking Time for You: The Luxury Basket

Basket

It's a cleaning, organizing, paperwork kind of day here. It might be that same sort of day for quite a while, actually - I'm in a bit of a spring cleaning mode and I'm going with it.

While tucking something away in the master bathroom I spotted a basket I made - and thought I would pass on the tip.

Last year I decided to do a major clean up in our bathroom and linen closet. I tossed, donated, culled, and cleaned out everything we didn't need or use. What I was left with, ultimately, was a pile of really beautiful soaps, lotions, creams, bath salts, etc...almost all of which had been gifts and almost all I set aside because they were "nice". Do you do that? Set aside a beautiful bath product someone gave you because it's "special'?

I found a basket and filled it up with every wonderful product we never or rarely use. I put the salts into a nice jar and scented them with an oil we like. Anything I couldn't use because of my sensitive skin I gave to a local women's shelter. Then I tucked a basket under my side of the sink, a basket under my husband's side of the sink and filled those with our daily odds and ends. The "special" basket went right in the middle, easy to see and access.

I told my husband what was there and that we were to use everything in it - that we needed to pamper ourselves more and everything was right there, in the basket. It worked! We took more baths, used more of the pampering gifts we had been given, and took more time for ourselves. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to take a break, to use the "good stuff".

The luxury/pampering basket is an easy, inexpensive (more like free) way to treat yourself - plus you get a cleaner space out of the deal! Win - win!

Go ahead, pile up all those bath and body products that filled your stocking in a basket and put it somewhere you'll see and use it - you deserve it!.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crafting a New Year: The 100 Calorie Wine Glass

100calorie_Wine2

The most popular New Year resolution is, no surprise, weight loss. Year after year we vow to shed those excess pounds. I thought I would share a quick and easy trick/craft that might help...

This super easy etched glass project is my "diet" wine glass. The bottom of the thick band of etching is 50 calories, the top line 100 calories (or, if you are a Weight Watcher, 1 point and 2 points.

100calorie_Wine1

The lines aren't perfect but then again perfectionism will destroy any diet before you even start, so leave that behind anyway. If you want to gear up for the diet with some inspiration, Tiny Buddha has an excellent post about perfectionism today.

To make your own 5-minute "diet" wine glass place painters tape or contact paper where you want the lines and follow the tutorial instructions for glass etching.

I designated where my lines went by placing the glass on a scale (press "tare" to get the start weight back to zero), and then slowly filling the glass with water until you have 2 ounces (50 calories) - use the water line as your guide and wrap the tape around your glass below the water line, then fill to 4 ounces (100 calories) and tape again, above the water line. Etch the space in between and you have what you see above, or simply place two pieces of tape close together at your designated marking line and etch for a thin line detail.

This is a super quick project and an easy way to help keep those wine pours moderate. Best yet, no one has to know a thing about why the line/details are there and you get to keep your secret close in your slim-slim waistband.

Cheers!

A Sweet Surprise



You remember me mentioning a surprise? Well, it's here!

I'm featured on (newly redesigned and beautiful) The Sweetest Occasion today - and you can download an entire suite of completely customizable, imprintable party supplies - from the invites to the decorations and everything in between!

Here's the best news though - it's not just for parties! You can customize into your own stationery if you like. Every text item is something you can control and edit yourself - so have fun with it! Go ahead and download it for a future occasion - and send pictures, I would love to see it in use!

Enjoy the download and browsing The Sweetest Occasion! While you are there check for other wonderful downloads, party inspirations, and eye candy galore as well!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day!

As many of you know I spent a considerable period of time in Canada when growing up...at least 5 years or so, and while, as adults that's a rather short period of time, as an impresionable young girl, the time was extensive and impressive. Many lessons, traditions, holidays, and impressions have stayed with me throughout the years – Boxing Day is probably one of my favorites.

Boxing Day is, essentially, a holiday (bank and otherwise) - though for me it always meant more. The etymology and origins or the term are a bit muddy at best but for some reason it became impressed upon me that Boxing Day was the day you boxed up all the old toys, Christmas decor, and other oddities and gave them to the needy, put them away, or discarded the clutter.

I have no idea why but the idea of boxing things up on Boxing Day makes me positively giddy. The idea of physically and mentally cleaning up the clutter after what, let's admit, is a pretty hectic holiday is entirely refreshing...like spring...

DonnaHay_Oct/Nov2010_4

Speaking of spring, my mom just got back from a month in Australia and I, wildly excited, got a stash of Donna Hay magazines and cookbooks to delight me for at least a year (then again, just one copy would do that). Can I simply say this though, a spring magazine, in the dead of winter, in the near-tundra, is the most singularly refreshing, uplifting, soul-filling thing ever?

DonnaHay_Oct/Nov2010_2

The hour I spent pouring over the October/November issue made me feel like a whole new person - light! Fresh, succulent veggies! Bicycle rides in lush green hills! There is hope! And while I love the newly fallen snow we're just received (again), a little reminder of spring makes me want to sing.

DonnaHay_Oct/Nov2010_3

And so, in the spirit of Boxing Day I hope to get done my spring cleaning early this year...so we'll have more time for picnics and peonies, planting and popsicles.

DonnaHay_Oct/Nov2010

Hoping this new year brings you a feeling of excited ambition, refreshment and hope - a spring time for your soul. Happy Boxing Day, friends!

DonnaHay_Oct/Nov2010_1

P.S. Will tell you much more later but that wood, under the magazine? Part of my amazing husband's gift to me. Amazing, amazing. I'm keeping him, for sure.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Cringe

I was just remarking to some friends the other day that I feel bad for our kids...what with the advent of everything internet-y they can't really get away from their past indiscretions. You Tube will always be there, mocking them with their shame of being human...and 15...and stupid.

I have a sort of love affair with the fact that no one needs to know all of my life-long embarrassments. That doesn't mean that I don't still, sometimes, dead of the night, unable to sleep, ruminate on "actin' the fool" and literally cover my head with my pillow. Because I do. Literally. Cover my head. With my pillow.

I also like to think about the imminent demise of people I really care about and boo hoo like a banshee at 3am. I never get out a good cry like the "oh my god you fake died at 2:59am" cry. Sorry to everyone I mentally killed, it was done out of love, promise.

My husband fell victim to my funereal sob-fest a few weeks ago when I decided to read my way straight through "Let's Take the Long Way Home" (good book, quick synopsis: the best friend dies. *SOB*). After I got done mourning the loss of a woman I'll never know, I then killed off pretty much anyone who has ever meant anything to me. And sobbed. Then I got stuffed up and had to go blow my nose.

Six times.

Somewhere around the 4th or 5th nose blowing, side of bed sitting, wailing, beat-my-breast, get this woman a drum and call it music, my husband sat up, one eye opened and said "So, are you going to be ok?" To which I said "Yes, go back to bed," and he said "Can you stop soon? You're waking me up". He's actually a really good guy...except when I'm all fetal-position angsty at 3am, apparently.

Which, somehow gets me back to the embarrassing indiscretions part. Follow my smooth transition straight on through to the holidays will you? Great.

I cringe when I write holiday cards.

Every year. Every single year I die a little.

Why?

Dolly Parton. And Kenny Rodgers. I blame them.



My mom has always loved a well-written, earnest letter. So I wrote my parents a Christmas card. I was probably 6, maybe 7 years old...and they had the Kenny Rodgers/Dolly Parton Christmas album...which, desperate for inspiration, I was listening to when writing the card.

Which I signed "I want you. I need you. I love you."

Ok, clearly I am innocent here and at only 6 years old was innocent in not getting that innuendo but COME ON!

And now, every year, when I write cards, I think "I want you. I need you. I love you." when I sign my name on every single one. Thus, why I have a life-long fear I will sign all my holiday cards with a sexual innuendo.

The end.

So now that I've put that out there for all the world to hang on to for the next umpteenmillion years I'll go back to dreading for my child and the future of the internet. I need a drink...maybe I'll do something embarrassing and upload it to You Tube to make myself feel better, or maybe you should do it for me. Go forth, dear friends, and make those holidays cringe-worthy!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Santa,

This is the first year my little one is finally "getting it" about Santa. While I will admit that today, at home, I am a bit over it holiday-wise I'm really looking forward to my husband being home...and to the beginning of our Santa traditions.

First up? Penning a letter, of course! I'm thinking a few crayons and plain paper will do the trick since we're barely able to stay on the page just yet.


Next? She'll watch her message from Santa from the Portable North Pole. That's already waiting and ready to go.

Then? Making cookies with Dad (and Mom...maybe). I'm thinking oatmeal - it's basic, I know, but it is remotely healthy - and chocolate free.


And the final touch? These completely adorable snowman milk jugs.

The next day is the present extravaganza, of course - and grandparent cuddles!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Put it on a stick. Oh you thought I was kidding?

Maybe you follow {every}nothing wonderful on Twitter (maybe you don't). Perhaps you saw this (or not):
Oh. You thought I was kidding?

Oh no, I wasn't. Just wait. 2011: The year I put everything on a stick. When I get famous from it you'll see, I was right.

In fact, I'm going to judge all projects based on four main categories: Originality, execution, taste (aesthetic or actual), and "if it's better on a stick".

Of course "If it's better on a stick" is a sliding scale. For instance: Children's Books. Not better on a stick, impaling danger, +10 points for not putting it on a stick. Versus: Cake. Clearly, better on a stick (and gateway to success?). Mmm hrmm. +10 for fame-factor.

Other "on a stick" products?

We'll start with your face. Still not kidding. And no, we won't discuss how a head should never be a "ka bob".


Your facial hair (or lips).

Your drink.

Your food. All of it. From the infamous corn dog to biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, the aforementioned cake, and everything else for that matter (everything else including camel. Barf face).

And after you eat you'll need to clean up. With your soap. On a stick.


And since we'll need some culture a Museum. ON A STICK.


By this time your kid will want a toy. Or candy. So you can get them balloons on a stick and a giant gummy bear on a stick, while you take a break to check your email...on a stick.

Need I say more? 2011: The year I put everything on a stick.

Should we open up an "On a stick challenge"...oh, I think we shall...

Bring it (on a stick).


Beer Break!

We're back from our whirlwind graduation/Christmas/visit extravaganzapalooza. Wow! What a whirlwind!

NBB

We did take a short break for a brewery tour though. My husband has been home-brewing for about a year now so it only seemed fitting to go on a tour of a brewery that started in a basement: New Belgium Brewery (makers of Fat Tire, etc).

NBB_Begin

I'm pretty sure he loved it.

NBB_Equip

Which is to say he was entirely jealous of their equipment...even though the equipment was bigger than our house. Details.

NBB_bikes

I was, to be honest, slightly more enthralled with the copious amount of art...and could have spent much more time looking at all of it.

NBB_tabletasting


NBB_Lighting

Because really, where else in the world could you get away with beer lighting, or tables loaded with hops and empty bottles?

And that, my friends, is where the pictures end. Not another one. We were that busy! Funny though, after a weekend that busy it makes the craziness of Christmas seem rather calm, which is a surprisingly nice feeling.

So now on to peaceful baking and relaxed wrapping. Hope your weeks are productive but enjoyable!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

About that planning ahead thing...

Remember when I said I didn't plan ahead as much as I should I have? I wasn't lying.

I'm behind.

I really want a nap. Ohmygawd y'allllllll I want a nap!

And I'm guessing even you readers who are far ahead of the game have some stress going on right now too. So I'm taking the rest of the week off, for the most part (I might have one little announcement for you *wink wink*) and I say hey, you should too!

I do want to extend a huge thank you though, to my lovely readers. I have truly enjoyed getting to know you this year - and I'm fulfilled by the knowledge that there are so many truly lovely people out there!

I have been so fortunate to have so many of you comment, email, tweet, or reach out to me in wonderful ways. You are one heck of a funny, nice, encouraging, beautiful (and I mean physically - I see your pictures, you are all really pretty!), inspiring and overall great group of people.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I would really like to go ahead and put together a blog roll for those of you who are bloggers - if you are interested in being included (or want to be excluded) please let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely rest of the week my friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Re-gifting

Have you ever bought a gift for someone and then become so positively smitten with it that you couldn't bear to see it go? I did. This year in fact.

I tried to give it to the intended recipient. I really did. But I couldn't...and neither could my husband, apparently, after he snatched it away from me and shoved it deep into my Christmas stocking!

The day I brought home the Keel's Simple Diary we sat at the dinner table, Em, Heather, and, of course, moi, and we each completed a page. It was deep. It was insightful. It was hilarious. It was obscure.

It was perfection.

It was simply the best diary I have laid eyes on. You still have a log of days but the answers perhaps more illuminating than expected.

For example:

Can you read that? If not go to the Simple Diary site and browse around - you'll find the sample pages.

Another example? Answer these:

Your day was: (  ) a good call. ( ) showtime. (   )a cold shower.
Explain why: 

(  ) You cope. (  ) You hope. (  ) You dope. (  ) You know.

Let's be spontaneous

This is finally under control:

A secret passion you are dying to share with those who deserve it:
Instant Gratification:
1) Ripping up paper and throwing it in the basket.
2) A vacant elevator standing by, going your way.
3) Slamming someone else's car door.
4) Sneezing.


The premise behind Simple Diary is, well,  simple - the world is filled with technology, over-saturated in fact - we need to reconnect with our selves. We need simple prompts. We need to dig deeper.

If you have a few extra moments check out the videos on the site - I think you'll be surprised at the diversity of answers to simple prompts such as "say one thing to the world" or "what makes you happy".

I won't lie. I'm really excited to get into my stocking this year!

Text for example and images all via simplediary.com


Note: I was in no way compensated, requested, or otherwise encouraged to tell you about Keel's Simple Diary. Although, honestly, I wish I had some to giveaway to my faithful readers right now because they are that awesome...and if someone had asked me to tell you about them (which they didn't) I would have said the same stuff as above. Well worth the $13-15 investment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We call that stress, dear.

You can go ahead and laugh at all of this. Trust me. I did. I still am, actually.

Marshmallow anyone?

Oh my gawd y'all. Today is the day I bust out the "y'all" and keep it around for a while because, whoa, it's only barely 2:00 pm...and I spent the last hour in my bed afraid to come out. No lie.

I have a to-do list the length of two cheap rolls of septic-friendly toilet paper. Let's just say I'm not 'getting things done' like I'd like. We leave to go see the in-laws soon, and to celebrate my sister in law's graduation...which means I have to get those presents done and wrapped. Except that 1) I'm afraid to wrap anything because TSA might ask my husband to literally unwrap his package and 2) every recipe I wanted to make or bake needed to be done less than an week in advance.

Let's just call a spade a spade and say that my planning ahead hat must have flown off somewhere on the side of the road on the homemade holiday highway. While you are lending me your spade could you dig a little hole so we can bury some of my failures from today? Thanks.

So, today I attempted the baking and candy making portion...but not until I threw another load of laundry in...and then realized that I had washed the last load, a very full one, with practically no water. Ok. Run the laundry again, this time with the proper water level, and get back to the candy making.

Now I have heard, much more than a few times, that making homemade marshmallows is not only easy, but fun. People are liars. Don't even try it with me you pretty, perfect, bakey-bakey people. Y'all are liars.

I tried. And failed. Four times. In a row. It is at this point you mention the definition of insanity and I gesture toward the straight jacket hanging in the closet (ok, not really, it's just a robe, promise). The candy part burnt, it undercooked, it stuck to my sweater which then picked up a wad of dog fur and, I kid you not, A SCREW. At which point I should have probably taken the obvious and deeply scary symbolic nature of that message and run for the hills, but no, I kept trying. My eggs wouldn't whip into anything remotely resembling "peaks" (maybe because I'm in the midwest and things are flat here, we don't do "peaks). And now, four fatalistic attempts later I'm pretty positive that all of my favorite bowls and pots are glued together with a homemade epoxy to rival superglue.

Feeling guilty for sitting my kid in front of the TV while I burnt the crap out of my index finger and made fail-mallows I decided to give her extra long cuddles before nap. Then she was so sweet and so cute I thought, "Ohhh, sweet baby, why not take a nap with you?" So I brought her into my bed, curled up and snuggled in. She sighed and smiled and dug in too.

And then she stabbed me in the eye and laughed at me. And still I gave her another chance and tried for another 15 minutes. It was somewhere between nearly being asphyxiated by "monkey" and having her "toot" in my face that I gave up. Into the crib she went.

Back to my bed I went. Pondering my failings for the day (which include breaking a glass, burning the motor out of my blender, putting my shirt on backwards, accidentally stepping on the dog's tail...oh, and mentioning a heinous crime when trying to calm my sister in law's nerves before she went into a job interview) I decided if I stayed there all would be ok. Little one had finally fallen asleep, I was steeling myself to maybe actually accomplish something, we were on the right path. Until I got out of bed and the suitcase that was on it fell off and woke the kid, scared the dog, and undid all the packing I had just done.

Oh and I realized, while packing that everything I had picked out for the little one...didn't fit.

Y'all. Y'ALL. Seriously now y'all. Seriously.

I find this endlessly amusing. I do. What else can you do. It's the holiday's, it's stress, it's life.

Why am I telling you all this. Well, because it's funny, for one...and because we all do it. We all do this crazy fiasco kind of day once in a while. So be it. Gotta just pick up and move on, right.

Hitting bottom, the only way to go. It's on the up and up from here on out! Wahooo!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Repurposed Receptacles: White on White

I tried to resist but I just couldn't - I've got vintage vases on the brain. Had a gift exchange this weekend with a group of friends all across the country. My gift? This gorgeous vase I've been pining for. Splendid!

GorgeousGifts

Of course, while trying to remember the name of the vintage vendor that sold my beautiful vase (Grandma's Attic) I stumbled upon a whole new onslaught of beauties I'm now coveting. How beautiful are these vintage (or vintage inspired) vases and carafes?



I could probably write an entire post just about how obsessively in love I am with all of Alyssa Ettinger's pieces. There is nothing not completely perfect about her porcelain pieces - from the colors to the construction. Divine.



The pristine white affection led me to Beebleboy Vintage Homewares - where I could also die and go to heaven. Every piece is more exquisite than the last - each more stunning. Makes me dream of long rustic farm tables and delicate little hands who never disturb breakables.


And since I clearly can't resist casts of vintage bottles, I had to take a peak at this little gem from Rebecca Barfoot.

Ahh to have enough shelving, money, and light to appreciate simple, beautiful things.

Do you have a favorite vintage vendor? Tell me about it - I'd love to take a look! What about a favorite vintage piece - does it mean something special to you, why?