Wednesday, October 31, 2012

coming soon: holiday markets!

Happy Halloween! Since Hurricane Sandy got in the way of Halloween this year (I'm a little sad to not have carved jack-o-lanterns this year, but that's an insignificant complaint compared to what our neighbors in NJ and NY are going through, post-storm), let's talk about other holidays. Yes, the winter holidays...

I'm happy to announce that my art market schedule for 2012 is finally complete! Holiday markets are always the most fun markets of the year - the venues are set up with twinkly lights and everyone is in a cheerful mood. Plus, I love shopping for and giving handmade gifts. I'm super pumped that Funnelcloud Studio will be vending at FOUR markets this holiday season - this first being this weekend! (Are you one of those people who avoid the rush and get your shopping done before Thanksgiving? If so, I salute you!)

November 3 - 2Hands Indie Craft Market (Severna Park, MD)
December 1 - Charm City Craft Mafia Holiday Heap (Baltimore, MD)
December 8 - Richmond Craft Mafia Handmade Holiday (Richmond, VA)
December 15GRUMP at Artisphere (Arlington, VA)

Here we go! Let the holidays begin!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

fantastic mr. (or ms.?) fox*

On Sunday, I was out in my front yard with my camera, taking some pictures before the storm. I noticed some movement in my peripheral vision and discovered I was being watched...
It's always so shocking to see wildlife other than squirrels and birds here in suburbia, and this guy was quite brazen as he pranced across my font yard, not 20 feet away from me. We saw another fox in our neighborhood last year, but he was mangy and scruffy. This guy was beautiful, with a gorgeous fluffy tail:
"Hey, can Banjo come out and play?"
*I googled to see if there were distinguishable differences in appearance between male and female red foxes and these instructions cracked me up! Thanks eHow!

Monday, October 29, 2012

the calm before the frankenstorm

We've spent the past few days prepping for Hurricane Sandy (water? check! batteries? check! spaghetti-Os? check! two flavors of marshmallows? check! beer? check!) and wondering which part of our yard is about to get smashed.

It's now 3 am on Monday morning, and I'm just waiting for bad shit to happen the storm to hit. I mean what is one supposed to do the night before a hurricane? Just get in bed and go to sleep? (Evidently, yes, as all 3 of my boys are currently snoring.)

We walked the dogs today in preparation for a few days of cabin fever and I took some photos in our yard and around the neighborhood before the trees are stripped of all their fall foliage in the predicted 60 mph winds. And seriously, what is up with all the neighbors raking the leaves into nice neat piles in the gutters? WHO RAKES LEAVES THE DAY BEFORE A HURRICANE?!

A look at the past few days around here:
frankenstorm prep
hurricane gravy
Hurricane Gravy.
frankenstorm prep
frankenstorm prep
peanut butter
frankenstorm prep
peanut butter
sandies for hurricane sandy
Sandies for Hurricane Sandy.
walk banjo
Time to batten down the hatches and see what the next 48 hours bring! My dad's beach town in New Jersey has been evacuated and I'll be keeping Monmouth County and the beaches along the east coast in my thoughts. It would be heartbreaking if Dad's beloved bungalow was damaged in the storm, but right now all that matters is that everyone is out of harm's way.

Stay safe, friends - Mother Nature can be a real b*tch!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

don't let the bastards get you down...

...or how I almost called 9-1-1 on an unsuspecting delivery guy:

It's been a bad week - one full of bad news, stress, and Things That Need to be Taken Care Of. I planned to deal with it by eating a lot of cake.

Then, yesterday afternoon, someone pounded on the front door. It was not a friendly knock. It was scary pounding. And seeing that I work from home and was not expecting any deliveries, I was certainly not inclined to open the door to scary pounding. I really didn't need to add Abducted to the list of crappy things that happened to me this week. I thought I'd ignore the knocking and the uninvited visitor would just leave. But he kept pounding. And I got scared.

Luckily, I have a very effective Two Dog Alarm System. As I was cowering behind the dining room table, cell phone in hand, the alarm system activated. Banjo has the ability to puff himself up to the approximate size of a grizzly bear, with fangs to match. His bark may or may not cause unsuspecting visitors a loss of bladder and/or bowel control.

The guy kept pounding. Banjo was MAD and Banjo told him so.

Then the guy made a phone call, which I overheard as "...the property on ---- Street, shit! There are dogs here!"

Then I got really scared. Had the guy been casing the joint? Would he dare break in with the dogs here? Was this a home invasion? (Do I overreact much?) The door knob rattled. I considered calling 9-1-1. Banjo kept barking.

And then, finally, the guy left. Banjo came over to comfort me! "I scared the guy, Mom! I did my job!"

GOOD DOG! You saved Mama from being thrown into a white van and taken away.

After 15 minutes, my heart stopped pounding and I hoped the guy was really gone. I peered out the front door, hoping he had just left a campaign flyer or something (but knowing it wasn't - even those guys don't knock that much and they usually run scared as soon as the Two Dog Alarm System activates). I didn't see anything. But then, I did. It was...

So yeah. Banjo protected me

The prettiest most cheerful flowers ever, a bouquet so big, I can't even put it on my dining table because it won't fit beneath the pendant lights!
Thanks, Larry! After recovering from my near cardiac arrest, you totally made my day.

Obviously, the best part was the gift message:
Just imagining Larry on the phone with the florist (who he said was an elderly lady) ordering the flowers cracks me up:

Old Lady: Would you like to include a gift message with that?
Larry: Sure. It should say "Don't let the bastards get you down."
Old Lady: ....
Old Lady: Anything else?
Larry: "Love, Larry"

I especially love that she capitalized 'Bastards.'
Don't let the Bastards get you down. I'll be carrying this advice with me for a while.

(Also, sorry Flower Delivery Guy. I hope you had a clean pair of shorts in your van.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

highlights from the week

Happy Friday! I'm looking forward to a fun fall weekend.

 A few highlights from the week:
+ I spilled my thoughts on running a small business over at The Borrowed Abode. Big thanks to my blogging/business/real-life friend Jane for the thoughtful interview questions and for featuring my shop on her Small Business Spotlight!

+ Did you all watch the live broadcast of the Space Jump on Sunday? I still can't even think about it without getting sweaty palms. Larry and I held hands when Baumgartner jumped. (Larry asked if he had Cry for your Mommy on his egress checklist!) I still can't believe he jumped from 24 miles above the Earth, broke the sound barrier with his free fall, and landed on his feet! Doesn't make jumping off the high dive seem so scary anymore, does it?

blogger wine & cheese picnic
+ Had a lovely wine and cheese picnic at Karin's last weekend. It was a one-year reunion of sorts, to celebrate meeting a wonderful group of local bloggers who have become friends over the past year. After an exhausting weekend of art markets, I rummaged around for a clean t-shirt, picked up some wine (a Cab Sav) and cheese (Taleggio) at my favorite local wine shop, drove to Karin's, plunked my butt in a lawn chair and proceeded to stuff my face with delicious treats.
Lisa, Karin, a very tired me, and Sarah. (Photo by Ashley.)
Not pictured: Sarah, Tessica, and Lauren.

I didn't even think to take photos until the spread had been devoured, so head on over to That Is All and What The Font to see Ashley and Karin's gorgeous photos.

peanut butter tongue!
Peanut Butter Tongue for Everyone!

+ I try to keep politics off my blog, but let me just say that I am so ready for this election to be over. We just celebrated four years with Gravy and he has a 100% approval rating among his constituents. Gravy for President! His platform includes more naps and peanut butter for everyone.

Come to think of it, naps and peanut butter sound like the recipe for a perfect weekend, too...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

collections | pyromania

collections | pyromania
Don't try this one at home, kids.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

two years ago today

RV trip 2010
October 16, 2010 | Packing up the RV in Denver

Two years ago today, we woke up in Denver, packed a rental RV with four adults and a baby, and embarked on a ten day RV trip across Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

We drove across Colorado that night and into Utah and the darkness of Arches National Park. When we awoke the next morning we were in the most beautiful campground I've ever seen.
our RV in Arches National Park 2010
Throughout the course of the next week, we explored the wild west with some of our best friends (Sarah and Sean, and their seven-month old daughter, Anna). We hiked in Arches National Park, ate lunch overlooking the breathtaking scenery in Canyonlands National Park, saw a double rainbow over Monument Valley, stood in four states at once at Four Corners (never go there - worst tourist trap ever!), and climbed into ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park.

We ate sandwiches and spaghetti-Os, didn't shower, and spent the evenings drinking camouflage beer before tumbling climbing into our bed in Mother's Attic.

And so began our love affair with the RV lifestyle. Unfortunately, we haven't yet won the Mega Millions so we can take the ultimate road trip - a whole year off to explore the U.S.A. Who's in?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY shower/tub shelf

DIY shower & tub shelf
Larry and I have recently (finally) begun to tackle a number of simple woodworking projects that have been on my To Do List for ages. Of course, now that the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, our outdoor working time has become limited - resulting in a pile of power tools and half-finished projects residing on our dining room floor. (Will they stay there all winter? Only time will tell...) Oh, how I wish our house had a basement or a garage or a workshop!

Anyway, I finished a project! Ta-da! Nobody lost a finger! DIY shower/tub shelf:
DIY shower & tub shelf
DIY shower & tub shelf
Functional, organized, and pretty. 
(Doesn't everyone arrange their shower bottles in rainbow order? And yes, those are ketchup-style squirt bottles!)

Not only that, it's a dual-purpose project that solved two problems at once. (That totally counts as two projects, right?)
DIY shower & tub shelf
DIY shower & tub shelf
Last winter, I began a tradition of taking a hot bath on Sunday nights (while Larry watched his zombie show). I put my iPad, a few candles, and a glass of wine on a shelf across the tub and spent the evening watching HBO in the bath while my toes shriveled up into raisins. What I didn't tell you (and tried to hide in the pictures), was that my tub "shelf" was actually a bloated piece of particle board that Larry found in the shed. (Don't worry, I wiped the cobwebs off first.) It held my wine, but let's face it: it was gross.

So, gross cobweb-encrusted tub shelf was Problem #1. Problem #2 was the lack of proper storage for shampoo bottles and other shower necessities. I admit, I hate those over-the-shower-head storage caddies. I've never seen one that was the slightest bit attractive. And the kind that stick to the tile with suction cups? We've all experienced the *BAM!* Oh shit, there went the shampoo bottle! middle-of-the-night tub crash, right? The alternative to shower caddies is equally annoying: cramming all the bottles onto the corners of the tub ledge. But that's what we were doing because I was too stubborn to buy a shower caddy that I didn't like.

So when I decided to build a tub shelf, I also wanted it to function as shower storage for all those bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel that had accumulated in the corners of the tub. Since a shower shelf would be subjected to, well, showers twice a day, it needed to shed water and be waterproof. I came up with a slat design using 1x3s that would allow water to drain through slots between the boards. (Yes, I realize that water can still sit on the slats, but at least a huge puddle can't form like it would on a solid shelf.) I also coated the shelf with polyurethane to give it a smooth finish and protect it from water.

By day, it's a shower shelf. By night, it's a tub shelf:
DIY shower & tub shelf
It's quite sturdy and I suppose it could also be used as a seat, however, I didn't care to test this theory and risk a) busting my new shelf, or b) getting a splinter in my ass.
DIY shower & tub shelf
View of the bottom of the shelf - I didn't just want the screws to be countersunk, I wanted them fully recessed. You can do this by using a forstner drill bit:
DIY shower & tub shelf
The screws are zinc screws and should be rust-proof. Before assembling, I brushed all the shelf pieces with four or five coats of water-based matte polyurethane. (The cut ends of the wood got eight coats.) I hope I used the right product for this, and I'll report back in a few months as to how the shelf is holding up in the wet environment of my shower. (I considered using a product that is used to seal decks, but the can carried a warning of FOR EXTERIOR USE ONLY, so I was concerned that this meant it was stinky and not something I'd want in my shower. Also, such products usually require reapplication on a yearly basis and I'm just too lazy for that. So let's hope the poly protects it and my shelf doesn't rot.)

Successful project completion = Reward yourself by pouring a glass of wine and turning the lights down low:
DIY shower & tub shelf
Ooh la la!

Shower shelf? Tub shelf? Done and done!