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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lighter Already

While I'm pretty much wrapping up this blog, it only seems appropriate that this post goes here. And that is... I am no longer associated with Weight Watchers. Yes, I quit this afternoon, after a LOT of thinking about it. I mean, it does seem crazy to quit a job doesn't it. But working for WW, at least for me, carries a lot of psychological baggage in that leaders are lifetime members, and have all the associated food issues that many of the current members have. I certainly did. I'm hoping that I can step away from the always thinking about food, and points, and weigh ins and simply enjoy eating, without said baggage.

I will probably keep up my monthly weigh in, but will really try hard not to let it rule my life. And so, goodbye Weight Watchers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A New Blog

I've done the rant on clutter, etc. and how I'm trying to lighten things up, and I've noted that this particular blog has become cluttered with stuff that just doesn't really represent me anymore. Sure, I like all the stuff that is around on the sides, and some of it is moving with me to the new blog, but I'm going for more streamlined.

It's a huge work in progress. I guess any blog is really, but the side columns aren't all filled in with my favorite blogs, sewing and otherwise, I don't have any followers (you can be the first), and I don't have any other cute gadgets (I'm really going to try to keep that at a minimum).

Come on over and take a peek, and then come back again! It's a Sewing Life!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From an Etsy Friend

Sue, of Maddy & Me Designs, was my designated gift giver in the Bittersweeets First Annual Winter Sweet Swap. She made this gorgeous wreath, which I plan to hang in my studio, but am enjoying in my kitchen right now. Ever the ecological gal, Sue uses scraps from her beautiful felted handbags and other goodies, to make wreaths of all sizes. I love the year-round colorfulness of it, and it will always remind me of the great friends that I've made on Etsy.

She also included this sweet little felted bird's nest with two little eggs. According to her card, tradition says that a nest in your Christmas tree brings health and good luck in the new year, and the wreath brings warmth and cheer to all those who enter your home.

That just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, just like Sue's warm and fuzzy handbags!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leaving Etsy Teams

If you read my last post about the clutter in my life, this one is related. If you are an Etsy seller, then you probably know about the Etsy teams, and have an opinion on their usefulness. I wondered about their usefulness when I was a new seller, and as my shop(s) have evolved, have developed a more experience-based opinion.

First, my official team history: I joined the Boomers and Beyond initially, because I fit the demographic. Somehow, though, I never felt that I fit the team, and was not active, so I dropped that one pretty quickly. The second team I joined was the Georgia Street Team because I fit the geographical region. Up until yesterday, I still received the email digest from their yahoo group, but I have not been active, do not use their tag for my items, and don't make any treasuries from the group (nor am I in any).

The next 2 teams I joined (and this is not necessarily in chronological order, but more of an importance order) were the Etsy Bloggers, and Quiltsy. I was active in both to some degree. Quiltsy is a great team, and I think if you make quilts, I would highly recommend them. They are a wonderful group, and I even met a few of the ladies in October at the Quilt Show in Houston. They are also very chatty, and I found it hard to keep up on their thread, but I still have quilts in my Down the Street shop, and would still like to promote them. The quilts are just not my main focus at the moment, however, and my mom hasn't made any lately either. She tells me she'll have some "fresh" ones after Christmas. I haven't officially dropped out of Quiltsy, though I don't believe I've met their requirements recently, either, and I suspect they have dropped me.

That brings us to the Etsy Bloggers team. This is also a wonderful group, and they are very active. I long ago gave up on participating in their very chatty thread, but as the requirements are very specific, and blog related, I managed to (mostly) meet those, and did tag some items with the Etsy blogger tag. I only make treasuries periodically, but would often look through the Etsy blogger group for inspiration. Of their requirements, I almost always did the featured artist feature, and had the button on my blog. I also participated in most of the blog carnivals, or at least the one a month required, though one recent month all 4 possible topics left me quite uninspired. I've decided now, at this stage in my life, I surely can come up with topics to write about, and can feature artists that really touch me personally, so I'm ending my relationship with the Etsy Bloggers.

I have one more group that I am extremely active in, though it is an unofficial team. We've talked about becoming official, but we really like it the way we are now. We are positive and supportive, buy from each other and make treasuries for each other, and this holiday season even organized a sort of "secret Santa swap". If you're looking through the team threads, you can find this group with the search of "bittersweeets" (yes, with 3 e's).

This is the one I'm sticking with for the time being, in the reducing clutter in my life phase. I won't rule out other teams in the future, but I will definitely think long and hard about the fit before committing. If you have an opinion or experience on teams (and you've actually read this far), I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Do you ever have...

... something like this:

in your life? You know the feeling: like the walls are caving in around you. That's my 6 ft long cutting table, and I've been working like this for, oh, at least a month or so. Maybe longer.

Why? I don't know. Lack of motivation maybe. A feeling like I needed to get something done, so I won't take the time to clean up. Any sewist will tell you that it really takes more than that little spot in the center (with the yellow ruler) to properly cut something out, even if that something is pretty small.

Why am I showing you this? Well, because it's not just my table that feels a bit out of control. [and for the record, now it has been cleaned off, and readied for present wrapping]. Be prepared for major blog changes in the near future, as Down the Street Creations has gotten away from what I really want a blog of mine to be about and for.

That's all I'll say for now, but will keep you updated as changes are made, and oh, if you are really a follower, then... you'll know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Mother's Love

I stole that title from one of my sister's latest blog posts, but it seemed appropriate in this case, too. You see, what with Laura moving to the land of the Big Blue (is that what you Kentucky people call Lexington?), there are some wedding errands that need to be done without her. I mean, SOMEONE has to taste the cake!

So, even though my surgery isn't a week old, I found a friend that was willing to go on an outing that ended with cake.

Cake is an important part of the wedding, wouldn't you agree? I mean, sure, the flowers are gorgeous, the flower girl adorable, and of course, the bride is stunning, but if the cake isn't good, well, then, people remember that.

My friend, Sharon and I ventured into Midtown Atlanta today to sample the wares at Chocolate Pink. Our report... delicious!

You can click on the link to her post and read about her sacrifice, and decide who had the harder job. I think she probably wins (if there is winning to be had here).

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Flowers for Me

The big party is over, and on Monday I had a little bit of surgery. Here are the flowers my sweet kids sent:

By my bedside

And here is the plant basket that my mom, brother, and sister and family sent:

So wonderful to have all the well wishes. I'm doing great!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dinner Party for 18: 1 Day to Go

I know that I promised you pictures and no words today, but my tables are still outside. They are just too heavy for me to drag across the wood floors by myself. I was hoping to get them set tonight, and still might, but certainly won't feel like blogging about them after I do.

So, here's a peek at the mantle. I finished that this afternoon, and the sun was down when I pulled the camera out so I can't vouch for the quality of the pictures. Enjoy!

And the backs of the chairs...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Dinner Party for 18: 2 Days to Go

Today was the day to be serious about the whole festive party thing! OK, maybe a few days late, but better late than never. I got so much done because of the first thing I did today... I made a list. I KNOW! What a great idea! And it works!

I didn't manage to cross off everything, but almost, and did get the important things done. Did the laundry. Not really party-related, but Thursday is my regular laundry day and the hamper was overflowing. Did the grocery shopping, and got everything except the extreme perishables (i.e., flowers, salad, strawberries). Those will be on Roland's list Saturday.

Make ahead food for today included toasting the pecans for the salad. I do it in a dry saute pan on medium to medium high heat, and just keep stirring until they appear to be the right color. Doesn't take long, and watching closely is a must. Prepared the marinated cheese. I bought a goat cheese gouda, and the marinade is olive oil, champagne vinegar, black peppercorns, garlic slices and thyme sprigs. Very quick and easy.

So, the picture isn't the cheese that I made and you can tell that from the rosemary and not thyme, right? Right! But it will look pretty much like this, and I wanted you all to have a picture.

The most exciting thing I did... made the big centerpiece for the big table. No picture yet, but I think tomorrow's post will just be pictures. The tables will be set, all the decorations made except the floral arrangements, and the house will be ready. That will leave the final cooking on Saturday, and picking up the last minute things on Saturday. Oh, and the chimney guy, weather permitting. Leaky chimneys. Yep, never a dull moment.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dinner Party for 18: 3 Days to Go

Where DO the days go? Yesterday wasn't terribly productive toward the festivities on Saturday, but I did have lunch with a friend that is loaning me several things for the party, so there was that. And I finally finished decorating the tree, and remade all the beds. Party invitees have also been invited to stay the night if they don't want to have a designated driver.

So, you may have noticed the title. Yep, one couple couldn't find a babysitter. The only change I'll make is setting 2 less places. More food for everyone else! Speaking of food, I've started doing the make-ahead things. First the salad dressing which took me all of about 10 minutes (or less), but it's done.

The star dessert is a white chocolate cake from Piece of Cake, which I'll convince Roland to pick up on Saturday. The icing is white, and I've decided to also have a large bowl of strawberries with port syrup, which should look gorgeous, and, hopefully, taste great.

I recently bought this new cookbook:

and three of the menu items are from it: pickled grapes*, which are already made and tested; pimento cheese potato gratin, tested as well to rave reviews, and strawberries with port syrup. That will be untested, but that's never stopped me before. I made the port syrup this afternoon, which is super easy, but, surprisingly, messy. As it simmers, it creates a fine sugary mist that coated the stove and the floor.

*The pickled grapes met with mixed reviews, but it won't stop me from serving them.

Tomorrow is the big shopping day, making of the big centerpiece, and cleaning.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dinner Party for 20: 5 Days to Go and a Fun Treat to Make with Kids

At this point I should be seriously worried. But no, I appear to be calm and moving very slowly. Progress was hampered this morning by a 3 hour doctor visit. Nevertheless, some preliminary groceries were purchased, and supplies for this week. It appears I must prepare dinner EVERY night and not just next Saturday. Ho hum, life goes on.

Today I also made an experimental snack that's the fun treat mentioned in the title. Frosted peppermint pretzels. Yum! I bought some of these at Whole Foods (I don't remember the brand), but they were expensive for the few that were in the bag. But so easy. Here's what you need:

Pretzels, white chocolate chips, peppermint candy.

Crush the peppermint. Melt the chips. Stir together. Dip in the pretzels and place on wax paper or parchment paper until the chips harden. That's it.

OK, it's really sticky and messy, so if kids are involved, don't say I didn't warn you. I wore latex gloves, and discovered that it was easiest to dip only one side of the pretzel, and then "frost" the other side with my fingertip. You don't want it too thick. Also, if the chips re-harden, you can re-melt them in the microwave again. To melt, I followed the instructions on the bag.

Changing the subject, I saw this on the news and just wanted to share:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinner Party for 20: 6 Days to Go

So much to do! Today was decorate the tree day. Before we did that, though, we moved the furniture out of the room in preparation for the tables we rented. OK, sofa moved by the bay window in the kitchen. Turns out we really like it there. Pictures on another day. The chest that we use as a coffee table was moved to Roland's office.

Back to the tree. Roland put the star on the top. Then onto the lights. The past few years I've done the multi-colored lights, but this year we went back to the white lights to keep with the theme that will be emerging over the week.

I have a trick to putting the lights on the tree. Up and down instead of around and around. I tie the non-plug end to a top branch, then place the strand through the branches down to the bottom, then back up. When I got around to the back next to the window, I did a little zig-zagging since I wouldn't be able to get my ladder behind the tree. This technique is so much easier than winding around the tree and makes removal easier, too.

It looks better in person than in the picture, and the ornaments have been put on. Well, almost all of them. The last ones to go on this year will be gold ones, and I needed a break.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dinner Party for 20: Countdown

In one week, my husband and I are hosting a dinner party for one of his colleagues that is moving away, and yes, there will be 20 people. I've had parties for 20 and more, but never a seated dinner party. Oh, and with 3 weeks to plan.

So, we're down to the last week, and here's what I've done. Planned the menu, check. Ordered the cake, check. Ordered the rental tables, glassware, linens, etc, check. Planned the decorations, check. Now I'm down to the actual work.

Since it's Christmas, and that's what we celebrate, the decoration theme is ready made. I want to try to use items I already have, but I did head to Michaels yesterday to stock up on gold, glittery things to decorate the table with. The tree was purchased today, and it's a great looking one if I do say so myself. Pictures will be coming soon.

Many of the table decorations (the table will be 3 5' x 5' square tables put together for a giant 5 x 15 table) will be from nature. Armed with a can of gold spray paint, spray adhesive and gold glitter, I glued glitter on pine cones, and spray painted long sticks and more pine cones.

I have 8 vintage parfait glasses that I plan to use with 12" tapers. My initial plan was to use cranberries, but they are just too fat. Plan B was to buy some colored sand at Michaels, but I just didn't find what I wanted. Plan C: small beans spray painted gold. Split peas looked the smallest, and were the cheapest, so here is what they look like painted:

The green shows through the gold, and looks great! More pictures to come as the week progresses. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Jogging

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is so much in my life to be thankful for, but I'm especially thankful that my guys and I were able to run in the Marietta, Georgia Gobble Jog. You can see the beautiful weather that we had today, and with a start time of 9:30, we didn't even have to wake up too early.

My guys before the race

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

The Etsy Bloggers Blog Carnival topic this time, is what do you do around this time of year, if anything, to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Well, y'all know I'm from the good ol' USA, so, yep, it's Thanksgiving! This is one holiday for my immediate family that tradition has been dictated by circumstances that we work around, so it can be different every year.

Last year, we had Roland's mom, and his siblings and their families, plus Laura's then boyfriend, now fiance, so it was quite the group!

We wanted to get together since Aaron, the young man in the gray t-shirt, was soon to be deployed to the Middle East. So they came from Virginia and Missouri and we all had a great time!

This year, we're celebrating twice. The first will be this Saturday when Laura and Thomas arrive from Kentucky, and Thomas' dad and his date come down from Tennessee. This will the day for cooking, and we do enjoy the traditional menu. You know, turkey, dressing, potatoes, and lots of pie!

They can only stay the weekend though, so on the actual holiday, Roland, Kyle and I will head to a local restaurant and enjoy someone else's cooking.

Maybe in some other post I'll tell you about our Thanksgivings when we lived in Prague. We still joke about the traditional Thanksgiving goose! What? You don't eat goose on Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meeting an Etsy Friend

That's me on the left, and Sarah, who runs the fabulous A Fine Distraction, on the right. We met yesterday for the first time in person. We've been chatting in the Etsy forum for over a year now (we're part of the Bittersweeets One a Day Challenge). I, of course, knew she was a fellow Georgian, but hadn't done the map math and it turns out we only live about 35 miles apart.

I could have titled this Road Trip: Sugar Hill, but meeting an Etsy friend is so much fun! I felt like we already really, REALLY knew each other, so the in person part was just a formality. Her neighborhood was hosting an Arts & Crafts event, so I took advantage of the perfect for a Sunday drive weather, and headed northeast to see her.

I even got to meet her little girls and her husband, and they are such a nice family. I'm quite certain it will not be another year before I see her again!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Good Cause

Coffee-mate is teaming up with Dress for Success to give Cups of Confidence!

Go here to learn more about Dress for Success and how you can raise money, without spending any of your own. Click on the "Send a Cup of Confidence" link at the top of Coffee-Mate's home page. Once there, you can select your favorite Coffee-mate flavor and add your words of encouragement to a Dress for Success client - no cost to you - up to $150,000 for Dress for Success. Make sure you enter your city and state. The affiliate with the most notes can win up to $5,000 for its local program. I wrote my note for the Atlanta, Georgia affiliate.

When you click on the "About the Cause" link, you will learn lots more about Dress for Success.

Thanks for taking a minute to support a good cause.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quilt Sale

Do you need a great baby gift at a reasonable price. Here's your chance to get one! My mom is the chief baby quilt maker at Down the Street Creations, and she's got some new ones that will be unveiled in the next couple of months. To celebrate the new production, we're offering 20% off select baby quilts currently in our inventory, and 25% off the little Pumpkin quilt. There's an additional 5% off if you purchase both toile quilts. (The prices have been marked down.)

Take a peek and see!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Front Page!

Time to put Jenna Belle Designs on the map!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Giveaway Announcement

I have been feeling uninspired about posting here on the ol' blog, but was alerted to a blog giveaway that is offering something pretty unique and fantastic. Plus, I happen to love the artist, and while I already have several things she has made, I would love to win something in the give away. BUT, I don't want to be selfish, so I'm sharing.

This is what is being offered. Isn't it cute?! It's a sponge holder, with little drain holes so your sponge can dry out and doesn't get all nasty.

If you click on the picture, you'll go straight to the Ginpins shop on Etsy. And to enter the give away, you'll need to visit the Gifted Giveaways blog. Click on their name and it will take you right to the blog.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday -- A New Activity

Today's meeting topic had to do with boredom... you know, if you eat grilled chicken all the time, you'll get bored, and then quit the program. Of course, before you started Weight Watchers (or any plan for that matter) you ate the same thing all the time, and you didn't get bored and stop eating, did you? Never mind. But there really are lots of great things to eat out there that aren't loaded with calories, so choose wisely.

You can also get bored with your activity, too. It's been around a long time, but why not try hula hooping? I just bought a sports hoop, and it seems like its going to be lots of fun.

Well, that's obviously not me... but who knows, in a week or two I could look just like her!

OK, probably not. And you can even buy your hula hoop on Etsy!! Check out hoola monsters or Full Circle Quirk and get yours today!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Road Trip: Nashville

Nashville is a city I'm really starting to love, though honestly, I haven't seen that much of it. This past weekend was Parent's Weekend, so Roland and I hit the road Friday in the hopes of seeing Kyle, at least for a little while. We did see him in the afternoon, and then took him and his friend, William out for a great dinner.

Saturday, we knew Kyle would be sleeping late, so we found a great little neighborhood coffee shop, Sky Blue Coffee & Bistro, then after wandering around downtown a bit, we finally found the Ryman Auditorium & Museum. This was really for Roland who discovered that you could record your own CD, and in particular, one of his favorite songs, King of the Road. Once I can figure it out, I'll try to put in here, and you can hear him. He sounds pretty good, but one can really only hear that song so many times.

He's keeping his day job.

We managed to connect with Kyle at lunchtime... notice a theme? Then it was shopping because the poor boy only has 3 pairs of pants, and winter is coming. You gotta know that college boys just don't do laundry that often. Then if it's Saturday in the fall, that means college football, so it was back to the hotel room to watch the UGA-LSU game. We had to leave before it was over (turned out to be a good thing for these Bulldog fans) so that we could head to the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss game. Had a great time, but by the 4th quarter we had had enough.

We love college football. Didn't love this game.

Here's that food theme again... Sunday morning we picked Kyle up at his dorm for brunch, and then the grocery store for snacks for his room. And that was it. Had a great time, and it was nice to see him in his environment. The semester is going great for him, and we're thrilled.

Yep, we really did see the boy. Here's proof.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Avocado Update

Changes are afoot here at Down the Street and we are branching out all over. Look over at the Etsy minis, and you can see I have a new shop, Jenna Belle Designs, which will be a specialty shop with only handbags and zipper pouches, with an emphasis on the luxury. More details will be coming soon, and I'll be having a "Grand Opening" so watch for that!

Closer to home, I thought it was time to give you an update on this story of my poor avocado plant. Click here to read the first installment. And if you don't want to click, here is the "before" picture:


In late spring, I decided to take drastic measures. I replanted it outside in a much larger pot, and here's where it gets drastic. I took the garden shears and lopped about 6 inches or so off the top, leaves and all. We joked all summer about the stick planted in the pot because that was just how it looked. By the end of August, however, changes were afoot on the stick. Or rather, I noticed little leaf buds bulging out from the sides.

And now we have:


Much better, don't you think. I'll have to bring it inside for the winter, but I'm really excited about the extra leaves. I'm sure there's a moral here somewhere, but I'll leave that to y'all to figure out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

This is me...

Etsy Blogger blog carnival time again, and this time the host, Stormy Designs, wants to see our faces. I'm not a fan of getting my picture taken, mostly because I don't seem recognize the woman in the pictures. Well, not true, I recognize her and she's my mother. Thank heavens for digital cameras though, and after tons of pictures, here I am:

Ignore the horrible background. A photographer I am not. I'm pretty transparent about what I am though, but just to refresh your memory... wife, mom of 2 almost grown-up children (well, ok, they're grown-up... 19 and 22), artist and Weight Watcher leader. I probably have a few more hats as well.

Since this "interview" is for Etsy though I'll elaborate a bit more about the artist hat. Really, what I do is sew, and I love to try all sorts of new techniques and projects. I got started when I was 13 and made clothes for myself, friends and family. I was also pretty much always involved in some sort of other needlearts kind of project like counted cross stitch. When I was 23 I made my first quilt, a queen size Lone Star design that I hand quilted. One of these days I'll take a picture of it and show y'all (oh, yeah, I'm from Texas).

When I was pregnant with my first child, I took a smocking class, and was thrilled when I had a baby girl and could really practice my new skills. You should see the adorable smocked outfits I made for my son, too. At least until his dad declared him too old for that kind of thing!

Along with way I've taken a French machine heirloom sewing class, made window treatments for every house we've lived in, including for 8 rooms in our current house, made more quilts (I machine quilt them now), made lots more clothes, and currently have 3 shops on Etsy.

About those shops... there's a reorganization underway, and I'll elaborate more in a future post. The most important news for the reorganization is that everything in my Elle Quilts shop is 25% until I move it to the Down the Street shop. Stay tuned for the Grand Opening of Jenna Belle Designs... the shop is opened now so drop by and check it out while I finish polishing the shelves and the banner.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday -- Goals

What have you done about your weight loss plans this week? It seems we all want to lose weight, but our specific goals are often a bit fuzzy. That can be the problem to getting to our ultimate goal, of a thin, totally amazing self. I've got to weigh in next week, so my specific goal is to lose 1 pound by Friday, October 2. Seems doable.

The next step is to make a plan. My plan is to track my points every day, starting today. Hmmm, it's 3:45 and I haven't tracked anything yet, but the day is not over. That brings me to the final step... act on the plan. OK, then, better get busy. What DID I have for breakfast?

If you have a goal that you want to reach, make it specific, make a plan, and then, as they say in the movies, ACTION!

Those amazing Etsy artists can even help you with this one. Isn't this little chalkboard made by Mary Kate McDevitt adorable? Check out her shop. She has several versions of "mini goals chalkboards."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Featured Etsy Blogger -- Designs by Vanessa

This month, the Etsy Bloggers Team is featuring Designs by Vanessa. She has a delightful shop with jewelry and paper goods, and has a self-professed obsession with the birds! Look what she does with that obsession though... such cute cards:

And an adorable necklace:

Besides being crafty, however, Vanessa has a fantastic blog! Take a look, because you will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday -- Red Light Foods

Stop! Before reading any further, as this post could be hazardous to anyone with food addiction. You know who you are, and you probably know what your food "crack" is. And yes, you've probably felt the need to lose a few pounds. You didn't gain those extra pounds by eating too much salad, or too many apples, did you?

What am I saying? That some foods we eat can be addicting? Well, I'm no scientist, so this hasn't been tested anywhere, but the Frito-Lay company knows that "No one can eat just one." Well, I can. But give me some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and all bets are off!

The key here is to recognize your red light food (or foods in the case of many), and make a conscious decision to avoid it while you're trying to shed those pounds. Do NOT BUY the cashew nuts! Or the Oreos! Or the kettle chips! You get the picture. Finding a substitute that temporarily works is a good idea. And Conscious Portion Control can work if you let it. But you also have to be realistic. Sometimes you're just going to give in. Don't beat yourself up about it, move on, and when you've finally lost the weight, you can add those foods back into your life (in moderation, of course). You might find that when you've lost the weight, the red light foods are no longer as powerful as they once were.

OK, you're saying... that wasn't so bad. Well, no, but look no further if you feel a bit out of control because the following Etsy sellers could be accused of aiding and abetting your addition. If looking can't hurt, then feast your eyes on these yummy treats. Click on the pictures at your own risk as clicking will lead you directly to the shop. Enjoy!

Bliss Candies

Meg's Creations

Worth a Fortune

Monday, September 14, 2009

Road Trip: Stone Mountain, Georgia

Yesterday's road trip wasn't so much of a trip, as Stone Mountain is only about 25 minutes from our house, but somehow, in the 4 years of living in Atlanta, we've never made it there. Of course, as you can see by the picture, our destination was really the Yellow Daisy Festival. It's a huge craft festival with over 500 vendors from around the country, and it was high time we checked it out.

I was not disappointed. There won't be any pictures of the festival though (other than the one you see above) because posted ALL over were signs that pictures were not allowed. Obviously to protect the artists, which I totally understand. But I digress. The usual food was there in abundance, but we arrived after lunch, and a bottle of water was all that was purchased. What will power!

So. How were the crafts you ask? Well, it certainly ran the gamut, but suffice it to say, if you can make it, it was there. Several "repeat" booths, with vendors making virtually the same thing. Lots of hair bows, dog clothes, and picture mats that spelled something. Several booths with prints of original art and photographs. My favorite is always the pottery and we were not disappointed. I only bought one thing, a lovely pottery dish from a fellow Etsian and all around sweet girl, Charity. Another Etsy team member of mine told me to look her up and say "hi", and I was so glad that I did. Both of us were in agreement that we never would have believed that you could truly make good friends on the internet, yet that's exactly what happened. I seem to have subjects for several more posts, so I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, as is our usual fashion, Roland and I zoomed through the festival, probably making it through the whole thing in record time. I did manage to snap a couple of photos of the actual "stone mountain" which is the namesake of this park. The first is the mountain, and the second is an upclose of the carving of three Confederate heroes of the Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Hey, what can I say? It's the south.

(see the guy on the right in the white shirt... it's Roland!)

Next month (or maybe in November), I'm planning to hike to the top of the mountain with a friend of mine. It's apparently a pretty easy hike, no real "mountain climbing"! I'll let you know!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Product Review: Kristria Designs

There are thousands of jewelry makers on Etsy, so it's hard to know which to buy from, but I have found some favorites. Today I'm reviewing the shop of my friend, Kristin, who is the genius behind Kristria Designs. If you see her around the forums, you'll know her by her user name, kmaylward.

I just know her as wonderfully creative. I'm a repeat customer, buying 2 pairs of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet from Kristin. Take a look:

I gave the necklace to my sister last year for Christmas, but was really tempted to keep it for myself. I just recently purchased those earrings and wear them all the time now. They are so light and comfortable, and are really very "neutral". The bracelet is sea glass, which I absolutely love. When I was in Maine 3 summers ago I purchased an earring and necklace set made from sea glass, and Kristin's bracelet goes with the set so perfectly.

When you look through Kristin's shop, she definitely has a "look" which is very earthy and grounded. The wire work is fabulous, and I love how she combines the wire work with stones and sea glass, or like my earrings, lets its beauty stand alone. Every now and then some color bounces out of her shop, and when I saw the next pair of earrings I knew just who to give them to! Take a look:

After wearing red and black for 4 years at the University of Georgia, daughter Laura now has to wear (on occasion) some University of Kentucky blue to support her fiance's school. These are perfect, and so unique.

Besides all the fabulous jewelry, everything in her shop is 20% off right now, so hurry over and check it out! You will not be sorry!

Kristin gets an A+ rating from me!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday -- Dining Out

Is it really possible to eat out and still lose weight? That IS the question, isn't it! So many people eat out on a regular basis, that I hope the answer is yes. For those whose eating out habits are the norm instead of the exception, planning ahead, choosing wisely, watching portions, and really paying attention to hunger signals is the key. Of course, if you're following the Weight Watchers plan, then writing it all down is the biggest key!

Now what if you only eat out on special occasions. Well, the rules aren't that much different, but for me, they have to be a little relaxed. One meal will not derail the weight loss train, and life is too short not to celebrate now and then. So, did you see my last post about the road trip to Lexington? We celebrated, and I gained a pound, but I'm back on track and no more celebrating for a while.

While you're contemplating where to eat dinner tonight, enjoy this great photo from Etsy seller blueeyedbadger designs:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Road Trip: Lexington, Kentucky

We hit the road for Labor Day weekend, heading north on I-75 to Lexington. Tomorrow is Laura's birthday, so we wanted to celebrate with her. It's always fun to watch anyone open their presents! We left Saturday morning and missed the dreaded holiday traffic, making it to our hotel in time to watch the UGA-OSU football game. When Laura and Thomas got home from the UK game in Cincinnati, we joined them at their apartment to watch the end of the game. Not the outcome we were hoping though.

Lexington, Kentucky is the horse capital of the world apparently, so Sunday morning after a fabulous breakfast at Alfalfa, we went in search of horses. They have plenty at the Kentucky Horse Park! Here's some:

A birthday dinner was in order, and Lexington delivered up a delicious one at Jonathon's at Gratz Park. It was delightful on the patio! The birthday girl and her fiance:

Walking back to our hotel, we saw the beautiful, twinkly blue lights in true Big Blue University of Kentucky spirit! So, as long as UK is not playing UGA, I can say it... Go Cats!

Labor Day traffic wasn't too horrible on the drive home. We look forward to our next trip!