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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Log Cabin In The Midwest (My Little House)

When I was growing up I spent most of my childhood living in a beautiful log home.  It was hand built by my parents and skillfully decorated by my mother.  The log cabin was nestled at the base of a sloping bluff in the countryside of Wisconsin.  It reminded me of the stories from Little House that I had read many times.  In the fall the colors would pop; yellow from the Paper Birch, burnt umber from the mighty Oak, bright pinkish orange from the Sugar Maples and the deep rich green from the many varieties of pine dotting the forest behind our house.
This beautiful picture was found in ETSY shop Carla Dyck Fine Art Photography at http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarlaDyck?ref=seller_info
I was blessed with a large 70+ acre yard and took many long walks through the trees.  My favorite pastime was to hike towards the top of the bluff and along the way I would discover many new herbs and plants.  The air would be damp and cool, the sun was bright cutting through the mist, and the forest bed would emit a the sweet smell of freshly fallen autumn leaves with every step I took.  I would get so excited at the thought of what I could make with the scraps of paper birch bark, the dried herbs or the nuts that I harvested (if I beat the squirrels to them.)  It was a wonderful playground that tantalized the imagination.  I often came home loaded down with treasures to cook, dry, or decorate with. 
Despite being a modern construction the log cabin had many antiques and features that gave it the old fashioned country feel.  My favorite was the old cast iron wood stove in the dining room.  I loved this little wood burner since it was one of the only sources of good dry heat that would successfully dry all of my treasures.  I carefully bundled the herbs by their stems and hung them around the freshly stoked stove.  I begged for any old sheet pan my mother had and placed the small items into the oven space. Most often the house would be filled with aromas of drying mint, comfrey, and chamomile (my favorites and these were the most abundant herbs.)   I looked forward to the days it was cool enough to start the wood stove since in the Midwest it was always so humid that drying things was a challenge.  
This sweet miniature replica looks a lot like the stove I grew up with.  It can be found in ETSY shop Rubees Nest at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RubeesNest?ref=seller_info
While I no longer make the home brew teas, I still make the other natural crafts and continue to add my own personally collect and dried touches to each.  I love my new life in California and rarely miss the cold winters of the Midwest but I get a touch of nostalgia with each project I create as it takes me back through time to my little log cabin at the base of the hill.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy National Chemistry Week

Yes it is finally here...National Chemistry Week!  I shop and shop all year long for the perfect gift for each of my loved ones.  Decorate the yard with giant molecular models and trim the tree with beakers and ribbon. . .
This great Classroom Model was found in ETSY shop CathodeBlue at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/CathodeBlue?ref=seller_info
No, but seriously it is actually National Chemistry Week and I do love chemistry.  I tutored it in college along with some other subjects and would also balance chemistry equations just for fun (like a crossword puzzle.)  Chemistry was a lot of fun but as a young girl I fell into the trap of that old myth that girls are not good at science.  I allowed myself to be so insecure that I avoided all science related classes and barely made it through the classes that were mandatory and actually I think I failed one.
What an amazing Artist!!!  This wonderful Charcoal Drawing was done by Erika Baez and can be found in ETSY shop ErikaBArt at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikaBArt?ref=seller_info
When I went to my interview for the Viterbo University I was informed that the Dietetic Course I was requesting was actually a Bachelors in Science and Math.  I was told that not all students make it through etc.  At this point in life I was an older very stubborn non trad student so I replied that I was sure that I would love it (hoping that I wouldn't show the stress on my face that I was truly feeling.)  I was certain that I was better at writing, reading etc. but my family needed me to pursue a degree and my mind was set on didatics.

So, I studied hard, prayed before each test I took and I was happily surprised that I was at top of the class.  I also found that I loved the crazy little experiments in the lab.  Making things spontaneously burst into flames was one of my favorites but more practical things like creating aspirin and running it through the equipment to test the purity was another.  It was a simple start but I fell in love and gained much more confidence.  I went on to take organic chemistry, bio chemistry and more, finding myself at the top in each (of course I had to work at it.) 
This wonderful Illustrated Science Book was found in ETSY Shop Blue Apple Vintage at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/blueapplevintage?ref=seller_info
It took the love for my family and the desire for something better for us to get me over the big wall of fear and intimidation.  I hope that young girls will learn from me that chemistry and science is not just for men or tomboys but girls and women can be good at it and enjoy it too.  If I can do it and love it anyone can. (Besides I found out I can't spell or make a correct sentence so that leaves me just math and science.)
This is sooooo Cute!  I love this little set and it can be found in ETSY Shop Shiny Pennies at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShinyPennies?ref=seller_info
So in honor of Chemistry Week, just like I do for all holidays.... Lets Celebrate With ETSY!!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Christmas Gift Guide, Free Shipping and Coupon Codes


I am ready for the holiday shopping season and can't wait to get the ball rolling.  So I am offering a wonderful special good until Midnight October 31st.  40% Off your entire purchase at Postcards In The Attic or Free Domestic Shipping on purchase of $5.00 or more (excluding books.)  Use coupon codes WOWOCT40OFF or OCT2011FRSHP

I would also like to provide some gift ideas each of the following guides include shops that are offering Free Shipping on all or some of their items.  Don't miss out now is the time!

I hope to see you soon

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Haunted Pathways and Bewitching Halloween Parties

I don't remember how it started but I did go a bit crazy...our first Halloween party ended with such a huge success that I was struck.  I needed to go bigger and better each year after.  I loved planning and scheming all year for each new scare.  At that time internet access wasn't as common and there was no ETSY.  Just think of what I could have done with what is available now.  I am going to sprinkle a few of my favorite ETSY party decorations throught this little blog to help you get some great ideas for your own party.

My kids were 8 and 10 at the time when I was walking through my yard one night and realized the layout was perfect for a Haunted Pathway.  It was almost pitch black with many creepy country noises of hundred year old trees bending and creaked in the breeze.  I had only a few months to plan but my first year I was successful in setting up a very creepy haunted pathway which became the highlight of our Halloween parties.
You can fine this great piece of fine art for purchase at ETSY shop Mommy Makes at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/MommyMakes?ref=seller_info
By our second year we expanded our pathway and lined the parameter of our 5 acre country yard with orange strands of light.  We ran it through the pathway of trees that skirted our small ankle deep creek continued up around towards the field by the wild and bushy dogwoods and ended it at a patch of closely growing trees.  These trees once provided protection for an ancient outhouse that was torn down a long time ago.  The grapevines here hung linking the tall gnarly trees together to add to the creepiness and provide a wonderful anchor for the many glowing cobwebs I put throughout the area.
This great luminary was found in ETSY shop SniKitty @
 http://www.etsy.com/shop/Snikitty?ref=seller_info
A graveyard was set up in front of the dogwoods with life (or death) sized tombstones complete with arms and legs of the undead and two foggers to cast a mist around the entire space. Some of the tombstones were handmade with Styrofoam (instructions found on my Halloween Party Ideas page) and some were purchased at the time I couldn't afford to buy an entire graveyard.  I was so fortunate to acquire a full sized coffin; it was extremely heavy but very affective.  It was crudely made out of cheep wood and wasn't painted for the lack of time but it was aged and in the dark it didn't matter as long as it produced many screams.
This creepy tombstone would have been an excellent addition to my creepy graveyard.  You can find this beauty at ETSY shop SigsRose at http://www.etsy.com/shop/sigsrose?ref=seller_info
I created my own wispy ghosts (Halloween-party-ideas.html) and plastic cut outs for haunted trees to supplement my store bought decorations.  The year before I snagged up all the decorations, party cups, napkins and more that I could afford during the 75% off discounted Halloween sales.  There were me and my scouts (my mother, sister, etc.) set out to shop diligently throughout garage sales for anything scary or distressed.  One person's broken skeleton decoration quickly became my pile of bones for the graveyard. 

My children helped me pick out the prizes from Oriental Trade to fill the 20 buckets that were strategically placed along the pathway.  Anything from little notebooks and cute erasers to obnoxious, but fun, baking soda bombs and candy that turns your mouth red. 
Next was our costumes...Many of which were comprised of salvation army or garage sale items but some were investments and were more expensive, we used these every year.  When I was building my handmade costumes I found it a little funny that in the past I had said "why would anyone try to sell this" when I would find an torn up garments at a garage sale for a 25 cents.  Well...I guess I would because those were what turned out to be mad scientist, Frankenstein, witches and the living dead outfits.  Often those old clothes were not tattered enough so I would run them over with the car which produced a much more realistic tears and wear apposed to cutting them with a scissors. 
For the costumes that we would use every year we would invest in quality masks and even full suites.  This mask would look excellent with my "ran over" tattered clothes. Put some fur around your neck, hands and feet and you could scare anyone!   This great costume was found in ETSY shop Sans Soucis Studios, a real Artist and Mask Maker at
http://www.etsy.com/shop/sanssoucistudios?ref=pr_shop
Donning my freshly ran over costume and with a rehearsed scripted in mind I guided a group of 20 children to the haunted pathway.  We would follow it first down towards the trees next to the creek.  Faint haunting noises could be heard in the pitch black and only my flashlight along with the strings of orange lights guided our way.  We crunched our way through the leaves to the first clearly marked bucket of treats.  The kids excitedly dropped the prizes into their treat bag eagerly moving on to see what would be in the next. 

The first few kids spotted the next bucket on their own and ran towards it with their friends close behind.  Suddenly a werewolf leaps from behind the tree, growls and grabs at them.  Several kids jump, scream, then giggle as they realize what had just happened.  They all grabbed their treats and moved on again gleefully chatting about what could be at the next bucket.  Often the boys would insist that they were not scared and were daring the next haunt to come after them.
I wish I could have found these amazing luminary buckets back when I did the parties; they are perfect for the pathways!  I found these in ETSY shop LizzieJeans @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/lizziejeans?ref=seller_info
This amazing fun continued through many years until the kids became to old to scare effectively and the excitement seemed to have waned.  We didn't wait until they were completely board with it but closed it up and held more traditional parties instead.  Unfortunately there are few pictures of these wonderful moments since all of the adults in our family were busy haunting various areas but my memories are vivid and so are my children's memories.  These will always be the best Halloween memories I ever had.

I hope that some of my tips can help you set up a haunt for your family and friends.  (Halloween-party-ideas.html)  Luckily now we have ETSY and can find many items handmade by those creative artists and crafters.  Happy Haunting!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I am back and now a Mother Inlaw!

In 1991 I gave birth to a large healthy beautiful baby boy.  From that moment my life was changed... there is nothing like the bond between a mother and son.  The time I spent with my son as he grew up was an amazing adventure; he was my sports star, my artist, and my friend. 

Two weekends ago my son married his sweetheart and again my life has changed.  Now I am not only the proud mother of a wonderful son but also a wonderful daughter.  Change is bittersweet, it is hard to see your children grow up and become independent but with that comes new adventures and memorable moments. 
Their wedding was the first of many beautiful memories to come.  I loved her choice of colors and flowers; my daughter inlaw and her mother did a beautiful job designing her wedding. Sweet little navy colored butterflies everywhere and bouquets of dark blue columbine, lovely light blue hydrangea along with white roses for beautiful nontraditional autumn colors decorate an elegant little reception hall.  (Not that I am partial to butterflies or anything.)

I have been blessed with mature successful children and now I have the opportunity to welcome a new member to our family.  I can see that she makes my son happy, she has dreams and visions of their life together and my heart felt prayer is that they are able to reach all of those and more.