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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!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Product Review -- Sagegold Soaps

Next up for review is soap from one of Etsy's many soap makers, Sagegold Soaps. I've tried several different shops for their soaps, but keep coming back to Sagegold for several reasons.

Number 1 is that Kerry makes fabulous soap! But what sets her apart from other soapmakers and makes me go back and buy again and again?

One of the main reasons, and I have to confess is a bit superficial, is that it looks like "store bought". What I mean by that is, that I was having trouble convincing Roland, sweet corporate guy that he is, to try any handmade soaps. I'm not really what he objected too, but just couldn't do it. As you can see by my photo, the Sagegold soap comes wrapped in that nifty cellophane with a label, and looks like a bar of soap you might buy at the drugstore.

Kerry also has a wide selection of fragrances and many that I would consider unisex. Not too fruity or flowery, just good, clean scents. These also appealed to Roland, so now I buy her 4 bar set, choosing two scents for him, and two for me. I like mine a little on the fruity side. Her scents are also not overpowering, but just right.

The final reason that I keep coming back to Sagegold... my skin feels marvelous! The lather feels like silk, and you just know there is nothing harsh next to your skin. And when you dry off, that clean, smooth feeling stays with you. There is never a dry, tight feeling that you get with commercial soap.

Kerry only sells her soaps on Etsy, but I discovered that she has a website where she also sells lotions, insect repellent and lip balm as well as her soaps and other gifts. You will learn more about her and how she got started on both her Etsy site and her website. Go visit Sagegold! You won't be sorry you did!

My rating for Sagegold: A+
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

I haven't done one of these in a while, but no time like the present! Weight Watchers is kicking off their Lose for Good campaign. Get all the details here:

While you're at it, click on these lovely items that are found in Etsy shops that donate all or part of their proceeds to worthwhile charities.

Do a search on Etsy for 'charity' and you will certainly find a seller that supports a cause that is near and dear to your heart.