Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Mountain Momma

owing I was coming to Denver, earlier this week I sat down ahead of time to pick out a Favorite {Photo} for today. Since I had Denver on my mind I thought of mountains, then I thought of John Denver and this song's lyrics that say "mountain momma," then I wondered where my John Denver CDs are because I used to love him so and I haven't listened to them in so long, and then I started stressing about the fact that my house is so disorganized that I don't know where to find a CD, and then I stopped myself because I didn't have time to worry about the house, I had to prep to leave for Denver. So here's a favorite mountain photo, LOL!

I took this somewhere in Northern Italy during a driving tour we took my parents on when they came to visit. Driving people around up in the mountains behind our house was Jason's #1 favorite touristy trip. His cousin Aaron once spent his birthday with us, lost up in the mountains, caught in a series of road closures and blockades that became so ridiculous as to be comical and made us feel we were in an episode of The Twilight Zone and would never, ever get home, we'd just be stuck in the mountains forever, trying to find a road that was open that would lead us towards home. Normally, though, Jason's mountain trips were fun. :)

We're in Denver because Jason got sent here for a class for work, and since 1) we have so many friends here and 2) we haven't been on a vacation together in a looooong time and thought it would be fun, I flew out to join him and we're staying a few extra days. I'd never been to Denver before. Actually I'm in Golden right now and I must say that for some reason I expected Colorado's architecture to look a lot more Austrian Alpine and a lot less American Southwest. So that's kind of a surprise, but then again I just got in last night and haven't seen much yet.

The very first thing we did after Jason picked me up from the airport was head into Denver to see Keith and Katie. I wrote about them before; we traveled a lot with them when we were all in Italy and we always had fun! First stop, pizza!

This place was sort of Northern Italian-inspired and this pizza was soooo yummy. If they added a little less yeast to the pizza dough it would almost have been as good as in Italy. :)

Then we walked back to their downtown apartment to hang out and chat. I love friends you can just fall back in with, no effort or struggle, it's just like we just left off! We even remembered to get a photo before we left:

Now I'm headed out to have lunch with Kristin, who I worked with in Italy, and her new little girl Harper! How crazy is it that I'm here in Colorado, catching up with people I haven't seen since we were in Italy together?

I'll be back this afternoon to upload photos and listings to Etsy... I've slid on my commitment to list one item per day due to this sudden trip, but I made a bunch of jewelry and took a ton of photos before I left, so I'm going to catch up! :) For now I'll include one last shot of the bracelet I just made and am wearing to lunch.

I *lurve* it!

UPDATE: I'm all caught up on my one-per-day Etsy listings! Click on the link above each photo to be taken to the listing on Etsy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Oktoberfest!

Three years ago this weekend Jason and I traveled to Munich with our friends Joe and Nikki for Oktoberfest. I wrote about it last year but since I grew up going to Oktoberfest every year, it's sort of programmed in my brain to think about it as soon as October starts looming on the horizon, so here we are again!

Last year was long on writing and short on photos, this year it's the opposite!

Here's the view from the balcony in one of the main "Big Tents" of Oktoberfest, the Lowenbrau Tent.

As you can see, it's not at all tent-like, except for the canvas roof above the slatted arches. It holds 5700 people inside, and 2800 more in tables outside. If you're not quite overwhelmed by the drunken masses here, there are 13 more big "tents" and 18 "small" tents for you to peruse!

Here's me making friends with a cool German guy:

I don't know how he's able to stand all those layers, two of them thick wool! I was roasting in my long-sleeved shirt!

Here's Nikki, posing with another cool German guy. This shot was a set-up because we were determined to get a photo of the "penis charms" (as we so delicately coined them) that we saw on a few German men.

Notice that she's pointing right at his, um, penis charms. [Side note: I tried Googling to find the name of this belt thing, but couldn't come up with search terms that didn't lead me to sites that, well, I didn't want to click on! If anyone knows the actual name I'd appreciate learning it!]

The women working the beer tents are AH. MAZE. ING. When you look at this next photo, please keep in mind that most women who were drinking from these 1 liter steins had to use two hands just to keep our teeth in our skulls--they are heavy and could easily knock loose a few teeth if you're not careful!

And this lady was carrying 13 of them at once! Gotta keep those thousands of beer-guzzlers happy! I wonder how they train in the off-season? Lifting cows? Shot-putting cars?

Pure awesomeness:

I thought about trying to get their attention to get a better photo, but who knows what kind of mess I'd be drawn into if they knew they had my attention and a camera on them?! :)

Finally, here's a fun photo:

Mmmmmmm, salty carbs, my favorite!!

We had such a great time! Thanks for coming along with me in this little trip down memory lane.

Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

p.s. The new item of the day is up here!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Righting the Money-Out, Money-In Imbalance

Look at these pretties:

Each one of those orange rectangles is an Etsy sale! Yesterday was a record-setting day for me and I'm through-the-roof happy about it! I'm busy today photographing more jewelry, editing photos, listing my item of the day, packaging and shipping orders, making custom orders, creating new items for later in the month, printing business cards, printing jewelry cards, and doing some prep work. Whew!

Another thing I'm through-the-roof happy about is that I took a chance and it paid off! I've committed to spending less, and part of that commitment is a challenge I gave myself to not buy any scrapbooking or art supplies during September. Of course a few things have popped up on my radar that I've just been dying to have, so I decided to get creative. First, I wanted some Fancy Pants acrylic die cuts, so I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook asking if someone would buy them for me in exchange for credit at my shop. Nadia graciously helped me out and I'm so thankful! :)

Then I fell in love with the kits over at The Girl's Loft. Margie and her girls put together such great stuff! After I won a Glue Glider on their blog, Margie and I shared a few back-and-forth e-mails and I just decided to ask her if she'd be interested in trading her August and September kits for credit on my Etsy site. And she said yes!! I could hardly believe it. I got the kits in the mail yesterday!

I love the August kit, so fun and fresh and jam-packed with goodness:

The September Back to School kit is so fun, too!

And how much do I love that the vintage book pages I received in my kit include this? "Some Amusements with Decimals," this just cracks me up!

I have another trade pending but don't want to jinx it by showing it before it happens. :) Lastly, before I get back to business, here's my newest necklace that I uploaded to Etsy today:

Just like in Aesop's fable of The Tortoise and the Hare, slow and steady wins the race. I tend to want things to be done now so I can cross them off my list, but so many things in life don't work like that. Like losing weight. Like battling clutter. Like making big changes. So here is a reminder to just keep at it--slow and steady wins the race.

See you tomorrow for Favorite {Photo} Friday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Remembering

September 11th. What photo could possibly be my Favorite {Photo} Friday on such a day as this? I headed into our photo files with one thing in mind, but ended up choosing this one:

I took it in Notre Dame (yes, the one in Paris) back in October 2005. The original includes people on both sides and I never really liked it... but I know more about and own better photo editing software now, so I cropped it and played with it and I really like the way it came out! I also think it's appropriate for this day of remembering.


I haven't been blogging much not because I don't have anything to say or show, but because I committed to myself and to Jason that I would upload a new item to Etsy every single day during September. And it's A LOT of work! It's also making it crystal-clear to me that I need a new camera, because I've been spending faaaaar too much time taking photos, uploading them to the computer, realizing most of them suck, swearing, uploading them to the computer, wanting to throw my camera through the window, taking more photos, and then fiddling with each of them in Photoshop because NONE of them are good enough as-is. I like my camera (a Pentax istDL) for a lot of things, but not for photographing jewelry. I know everyone says it's not the camera, it's the lens... and I have several pretty good lenses, and none of them are working for me. So I'm mulling over my options there. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Jason is being sent to Denver later this month for work, and since we know people in Denver I'm going to fly out to join him for a long weekend. I've never been to Denver! So if you have any recommendations for me of must-see, must-do places and things, please let me know! With the way this month is going I won't have time to research the city like I usually do before traveling.

This weekend I'm going to work on jewelry and photography and hopefully get a jump-start since now I'll be gone for four days and want to keep adding things to Etsy every day anyway!

Here are some of the things I've added so far this month (click on the link in the name to go to each item in Etsy):

Whew, when I look at it like this it makes me feel like I've really done a lot in the past 11 days! :) I've had a few people tell me that they want to order but also want to see what else is coming the rest of this month, so I added a note in my Shop Announcement--if you'd like an item I'd recommend purchasing it now, as many of them are one-time items that I won't be making the same way again. However, if you prefer, I can hold onto your purchase until the end of the month in case you find anything else you'd like to order; then I'll ship everything to you at once and refund your excess shipping charges! If you'd like this option please let me know, otherwise I will just ship your order within a couple days of your purchase.

If you're still here, thanks for sticking with me, lol! :) Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Two Peas in a Pod

When we lived in Italy I went to church on base. The pastor for my church service was (and is!) married to an awesome woman named Stacy. We are two peas in a pod!

In May of 2006 Pastor Jack and Stacy hosted a murder mystery dinner. It was so fun! Here is Stacy and me:

Yes, my hair was really that color. Stacy and I have that connection, that "you are home" feeling when we're with one another that makes you both feel so lucky to be friends with one another.

In June of 2006, Stacy and Jack and their kids moved away from Italy. While it was happening I focused on helping however I could and packing last-minute boxes and driving them around when one needed to be one place and another needed to be somewhere else. We have some pretty funny memories and jokes from that time; if ever everything in life goes crazy at once, it's when you're trying to move across an ocean! And when I dropped them at the airport and hugged them, trying not to cry my eyes out, Stacy handed me a CD and told me to listen to track number two. And somehow I walked away, back to my car, where I sat and listened to the song I'd never heard, and I cried and cried as I waited and watched the plane fly away over our mountains, taking my friend away.

I know it sounds ridiculously dramatic, but when Stacy left, I felt a part of myself fracture away from the rest of me. If you've ever had a friend like this then you know what I mean, and if you haven't, then I hope that you do someday soon.

AND THEN! Oh, goodness Lordy gracious oh my, Jack got orders to one of the many bases here in our general D.C. area!!! Stacy now lives about 90 minutes from me!! As lovely and wonderful as that is, if we don't both work hard to arrange our schedules, we might as well be six hours apart.

This past Wednesday the stars aligned and we met for lunch. Instantly, I was home. I was so, so happy to see my friend and simultaneously, due to the drastic contrast to my normalcy, so, so sad that I don't have this connection more regularly. I need it. I need my girlfriends, whether I have to drive 90 minutes or fly 900 miles; I need to make it happen.

Make it happen, this weekend, my friends! :)