Friday, January 30, 2009

Uff Da*

We are setting up for an event today and I have last minute things to do. So, I thought I would quickly share with you part of our mad dash to get out of the house this morning. My Lily has been studying her ancestors in school. Today they have set up a mock Ellis Island in the media center and she will be passing through just as her Norwegian ancestors did when they first came to America. She put the entire outfit together herself. (Reread sentence one) I think she did a great job and didn't really need my help.

*an exclamation of Norwegian origin. Wiki puts it like this..."Uff da" is often used as a term for sensory overload. It can be used as an expression of surprise, astonishment, exhaustion, relief and sometimes dismay.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


If your Valentine's gifts just don't have the impact they should, here is my suggestion for the gift your sweetie will never forget. How would you like to spend your valentine's weekend with some chocolate? I'm not talking about just a box of the gamble chocolates, either. Godiva is creating another chocolate room...yes, room. Here are photos and highlights from last year's Decadence Suite that was in the Bryant Park Hotel in New York City.

The decadent design of the Godiva Chocolate Room is dressed in chocolate...and more chocolate.

• Every wall in the Godiva Decadence Suite is made of chocolate.
• Two renowned pieces of art – Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” and a Jackson Pollock-inspired abstract – have been reinterpreted in chocolate by Godiva, exclusively for the suite.
• A luxe daybed decorated with Godiva chocolate is the ideal place to indulge in a dark chocolate truffle straight from the pages of a literary masterpiece, many of which can be found in the suite’s chocolate bookcases.
• Additional chocolate décor highlights within the living room include a coffee table filled with chocolate designed to mirror Godiva’s iconic Gold Box, fashionable chocolate “Pucci” armchairs and a chocolate fireplace. • The dining room, illuminated by a chocolate and amber crystal chandelier and several dark chocolate candelabras, boasts a chocolate mosaic table and chairs and a buffet toppling with an abundance of Godiva pieces, setting the mood for an incredible dessert weekend.
In addition to a weekend in the lavish suite, the winner will also indulge in several chocolate-themed activities, including a private chocolate tasting led by Godiva Executive Chef Chocolatier Thierry Muret, a chocolate spa experience, and a private gourmet meal and wine pairing created by one of New York’s finest chefs especially for the couple in the suite. In addition, upon their return home, the winner will receive a year's supply of Godiva chocolate.

How do you win this year's weekend for your Valentine? Just buy a box of Godiva chocolates valued at $25 or more that is specially marked with a heart symbol and inside is the game piece. The official rules on Godiva's site.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Raising my voice for change

Do you know that on February 10th, thousands of manufacturers and retailers of children's products will be going out of business? The truth is stranger than fiction.

Please click here to read about the new regulations that are to take effect in February. This is an extremely important issue and Sarah Jane has put together a very well written explanation of what is happening and what needs to be done. Please get informed and involved.....these regulations threaten to put thousands out of business.

Update: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved a 1 year suspension for the burden of lead testing and certification. However, there is still work to be done. Please read this for a very good explanation of what to do now.

remember 8 tracks?

I had to explain to Drew what an 8 track was the other day. That had me thinking about music. So, I went to etsy and typed in music to see what I'd get. That took me to guitars which took me to this.

The cutest maternity tshirt I've seen in a long time. Don't you just love this illustration? Which had me thinking, I wish I knew someone pregnant. What a gift that would be. Oh, and there it was, "What a gift that would be" idea.

& for the tag.....who knows, maybe there is a Santana or Segovia in your future.

Then I heard a question on the radio this morning. If you were on a deserted island and could load your ipod with only 5 songs that you were going to listen to forever, what would they be? Could you really pick just 5 to listen to over and over?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

keeping heirlooms chic for generations

Ice Milk Aprons contacted me awhile ago to let me know about there site. At the time, I was very impressed. I thought their aprons had a fresh nostalgic feel and I made a note to take a better look. Fast forward to yesterday......still extremely impressed with the aprons, but then I look at little closer and notice.......they package them in jam jars.....brilliant. This works for brides, moms, daughters, and even the foodie. I also happen to think it would make a beautiful hostess gift. They are made as waist or full aprons or check out their signature gift package. It includes an apron (custom monogrammed, if you like), unique heirloom kit, and 25 blank recipe cards. I would gift this to a friend who has just remodeled their kitchen. & for the tag.......if your kitchen is going to look so stylish, why shouldn't the person standing in it?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gift of Gab....heartfelt cupcakes

With Valentine's Day, comes school parties. With school parties, comes class treats. When it comes to class treats, I'm always up for something simple that has great presentation. The flower cupcakes toppers we made for this birthday party, but I thought it would be easy to do something similar for Valentine's. I cut two hearts out of felt and glued a toothpick in between them. The cupcakes are store bought (Whole Foods makes the best 2 bite ones and they are the perfect size when you know there is going to be loads of other sweets). Then I simply dressed them up with confetti sprinkles and added the topper. For Valentine's, use only red confetti and sprinkles.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In honor of Trish

Today I'm not going to be writing the regular gift inspirational post. My hometown suffered a terrible tragedy this week. One of my classmates (there were only 29 of us) lost her 16 year old daughter in a fire. The State Fire Marshal's Office said the fire was caused by a build-up of lint in the clothes dryer. The build-up caused the dryer to overheat, melting wires which then incinerated. Her husband was also seriously injured. He was able to save two of their children, but was injured while trying to get to their oldest daughter. He is still in the hospital. Cheryl, my classmate, was at work at the time. As a member of Cheryl's class and in honor of her daughter, Trish, I have been asked to do everything I can to spread the word so this doesn't happen to anyone else. For me, the way to reach the most people is to blog about it. Please take a few minutes to click on the bottom link to learn how to prevent this kind of fire. Email the link to your friends and family and if you can help spread the word even farther, put the information on your blog. Do everything you can to let people know of this potential danger and please put the Eighmy family in your prayers.

Click on the photo to link to this tragic story.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a picture is worth a thousand words

I've been meaning to post about my Grandmother's paintings for awhile. Josephine Hollingsworth Poulson was an artist who used many mediums, but when I think of her work, I think of her watercolors. She was also my namesake. I am fortunate to have many originals of her work. She died very young (before I was born) and one of her last wishes was for the originals to no longer be sold. She had been selling her art at shows and was just starting to create a name for herself when she got sick. She decided she wanted them given away or kept in the family. For years, my mom and I quietly searched for a place to print her paintings and do them the justice they deserve. We have found such a place and I have to honestly say, it is sometimes difficult to tell the original from the copy. I hope these images do them the same justice. (Since she framed them long before reflective glass, I had to take the photos from the side) I just found out that Andrew Wyeth was one of her teachers. With his passing and her paintings on my mind lately, I decided it was a good time to show them. We have one of her prints available on our site and are working on more. The nursery rhyme we have also made into a print and it makes an incredible baby gift. I will be getting a photo of that one loaded onto our site soon.

Speaking of handwriting...

Have you seen these? I'm always a fan of creative packaging and I've been a fan of Jamie Oliver's since he was known as the naked chef. We must even have the same love for creative wording. Several of his food gifts have clever titles. They fall right into the category of easy go to gifts. For the gift tag, I can think of many phrases and appropriate sayings that have to do with salt or seasonings, but I still like the one from the Holiday Gift are the salt of the earth. For the jam gift tag, I honestly like a play on his a jam?

Packaging designed by Pearlfisher. The mustards and chutneys are worth checking out, too.....clever and simple is always a winner.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The writing on the wall

I've been thinking about handwriting a lot lately. I'm wondering if we spend so much time on the computers that we are losing the art of handwriting. I like how this person has been using a handwriting font in their blog. It really gives them a personal feel. I posted about fontifier a long time ago here, but I've been thinking about it so much again that I thought it worth another post. If you don't remember, you can go to their website and have a font of your own handwriting created for just $9. As I posted before, I really love this idea because of the endless possibilities. You could actually "write" your own thank you notes and invitations, preserve your child's handwriting, or use it on your blog to create that personal feel. Talk about a thoughtful inexpensive gift. Download the form and have them fill it out and then you take care of the rest.

*Update: Someone was nice enough to let me know that you can go here and do it for no cost at all. Okay, no excuse now! Thanks for the tip!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Favor

Since I posted about Absinthe yesterday, I thought a party favor gift for a hangover would be fitting. I don't know if a Bloody Mary actually cures a hangover or not, but I would certainly enjoy it while trying. Put all the ingredients into one of these gable boxes made from recycled materials found here.
Make yourself a label for the front or make it really simple for I did and go here for a great selection of labels to customize.

Fill the box with :

vodka (the small airplane bottles would be perfect)

one lemon

small bottle of Worcestershire sauce

tiny bottle of Tabasco

small can of Tomato juice

piece of celery

You could even wrap up a couple of mini muffins if you like.

Now aren't you a thoughtful host....

Bloody Mary photo credit: Martha Stewart

P.S. I loaded a few new creatures on the etsy site yesterday.....two mice and a small bear. You can see their cute little faces if you look up to your right a little.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Little Green Fairies

I've recently noticed a lot of bars popping up that serve absinthe. You remember the spirit that was known to inspire artists and had them seeing little green fairies that had been banned for 95 years. It occurred to me that this might be a fun gift for someone seeking inspiration.

*The serving of absinthe is something of a ritual, involving as it does pouring water over lumps of sugar sitting on special spoons. The ritual arose because vintage absinthe was unsweetened and slightly too bitter for some palates, and the sugar needed to sweeten it would not dissolve in the liqueur’s 68% to 72% alcohol content. By the time the drink was banned there were over a hundred different designs of spoons.
Step 1: Pour a measure of absinthe into a tall glass.
Step 2: Place a slotted absinthe spoon over the glass and place a sugar cube on it
Step 3: Slowly pour 4 to 5 parts of iced water over the sugar and let it drip into the glass. The absinthe will turn from emerald green to a milky white.
Step 4: Sip slowly and imagine yourself in a Belle Époque Parisian café

(*ritual link here)

There are several places online to find the spoons and glasses if you want to include them. I saw many on ebay including this set.

It seems obvious to put on the tag, "To cure the Absinthe Mindedness". However if you want something without a pun, "A bottle of inspiration."

Skip the sugar spoon and find more contemporary cocktails here.

Find absinthe here.

Wikipedia also has a very informative history here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Valentine's Part One

It certainly seems like we just stopped talking about Christmas when what do you know, it's time to talk about Valentine's Day. I loaded some items onto our site yesterday. If you aren't careful, this holiday will really sneak up on you. I have some other fun things in the works for Valentine's that I will be posting soon so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The artist within

How many times has this happened to you? You walk into a store or open a magazine and there is something you have had in your idea book right in front of you in the flesh. This happens way too often to me. It feels like people are living inside my head. The most recent of these frustrating experiences was just the other day. I have in my idea book to put together a coloring book drawn by several artists. I really think the quote by Pablo Picasso says it best. "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Coloring books are a favorite past time and why can't they be taken up a notch. Imagination and creativity shouldn't stop once you have outgrown coloring books. I for one, would love a well illustrated coloring book to lose myself in. Tie some colored pencils to the top and you have a fun gift for any age. So, until I put my idea together..........attention all artists, I'll be calling on you is a good substitute for my idea.
I know it is not gift of gab Monday, but for the tag, I would put that Picasso quote.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gift of Gab...Dear Susan, thanks for being lazy.

No longer are lazy susans those weird little gizmos you see at Aunt Mildred's house. The lazy susan has evolved into a very useful piece of art and I for one am grateful. We have one sitting on our kitchen table at all times. It makes every meal so much easier. Gone are the meals of constantly hearing, "pass this or pass that". Last night for instance, we had bean burritos. The lazy susan held all the little bowls of fillings. With the holidays, gift of gab Monday had been put on the back burner. If you are new to us here, the gift of gab is a regular Monday feature that shows how to put a quote with a gift. By writing the quote on the gift tag, you tie together your gift with the thought. I love this quote and I am not surprised that it was Frank Lloyd Wright who said it. These lazy susans are just the right amount of artistic and practical to create that modern spin on an old fashioned favorite.
Lazy susans available here

Friday, January 9, 2009

A highly intelligent creature with lots of arms...genius

Since I have already dubbed it the year of the octopus here and posted about a pitcher with a lot of uses here, I knew that when I saw this octopus that is a pitcher, I had to feature it.

& for the tag..."Because we could all use some extra hands."
Available here

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?

I could post about a book every day as inspiration for a gift, but there is nothing like a classic that has illustrations that bring a warmth of familiarity along with an excitingly new sense of humor.

& for the tag...Shouldn't every day be a wonderland?

Available here.

32 uses

& for the tag.....Variety is the spice of life. Use for 2.milk 3.juice 4.dinner table pitcher 5.cream for coffee 6.ground coffee 7. loose tea 8.dry dog food 9.dry cat food 10.sugar 11.oatmeal 12.dry cereals 13.sun tea 14.bedside carafe 15.wooden spoons 16.buttons 17.candy 18.acorns 19.beach sand 20. legos 21.shells 22.candy 23.marbles 24.coins 25.bath salts 26.mouthwash 27.cotton balls 28.q-tips 29.loose matches 30.rubber bands 32.colored pencils

32 oz. carafe available here. (Also available in 8oz. if you don't want to list 32 things!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vegging Out

& for the tag..."Now that the holidays are over, I thought you deserved some time to veg."

Farmers market cards hand printed on letterpress on recycled paper. Available here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

the year of the octopus

Wow. Here we are in the new year. So much has happened in the last 2 weeks and yet it is like nothing has happened at all. My Christmas was very nice, but that seems like a long time ago now. We got sick somewhere right after Christmas and didn't surface until a couple of days ago. Just in time for Drew, my oldest, to have his birthday. Even though time has stood still around here, I know that is not how it is "out there" and I'm anxious to get moving with the rest of you again. I have a lot planned for 2009 and I'm glad you're here. I'm taking inspiration from the octopus since I feel like I have my hands in a lot of exciting projects for this new year. What about you? Are you feeling inspired with the new year?

octopus artwork available here