Sunday, November 29, 2009

gift ideas - tried and tested

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I am getting over a cold that came on the day before Thanksgiving. I had such a long list of things to do this weekend, but I forgot to take in to account that I am still kind of sick. Today I have given in and am taking it somewhat easy.

I thought this would be a good time to post some of the Etsy things I have bought over the past few years that I really like and often rebuy. Sometimes it is hard to know if something is going to be truly a unique and special item, so I am passing on a few of my my fave inexpensive buys over the years.

One of my favorite things to buy handmade is body care products. These are things I go through often and I am always looking for the right color or scent for me. Usually I find it on Etsy or at a handmade craft fair.

For lotion and soap I love Cottage Garden Therapies. The goat milk lotion is my favorite and the soap is great. I have ordered multiple times from these people. Sometimes the order can take a little long and the soap dissolves a bit faster than other soaps, but these are small things and worth the quality you get. The body lotion I like is thick and rich. I have found that with handmade lotions they are often to thin. Also the almond scent is wonderful.

I prefer tinted lip balm, especially in the summer. I have tried many many tinted lip balms from Etsy. I have a hard time finding the dark color I want and have better luck on Etsy. Sometimes with the darker tones the balm can be hard or taste or smell weird. The best ones I found so far are the Ripe color from jewelryalchemy and the Blackberry Lime Tint from soap. These are all vegan. Both of these balms are rich and soft and the scent isn't too strong. They both have a good amount of tint.

Lots of the tinted lip balms I tried were not tinted enough. If you want something really light I recommend the tinted balms from FlorishBathBody. I like everything about this lip balm, except I would like it a little darker. But, I love the consistency, shape and packaging. If you don't like color at all, I really like LongWinterFarm. I have only tried their lip balms, but they are really good quality and again, I like that oval shape.

Tip: Both jewelryalchemy and LongWinterFarm are doing free shipping right now.

Do you have a friend who loves history and vintage stuff, loves old films and weird stuff like old advertising, old film newsreels and out-dated educational films. Then you can get them some really neat and unique stuff from Yumheart's shop. They create DVDs from old newsreels, advertising and psa's and found films. They compile them by subject. There are some awesome DVDs with themes like Gender Roles and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Etiquette, NY Worlds Fair....there are lots of options. I have about 8 of these DVDS and they are great fun. Some really remarkable, fun, kooky and interesting stuff here. DVDs are not packaged in any fancy way, but you could create your own DVD case. The prices are reasonable and that is a good thing.

If you have a baker friend who loves making cupcakes and candy then Bake it Pretty is the perfect place to get them a nice gift. I bought from this shop when they were on Etsy and also since they have moved to their own website. She keeps getting more and more fun things in and there are lots of great gifts ideas on the shop now. Also a good place to get packaging for the treats you are going to give away this year.

So, there are a few ideas for you. Keep in mind that I also have a great nature documentary for the animal lover on your list, interesting vintage paper products for the collector or artist on your list and fun items like magnets and pillowcases in the PonyBoy Press Shop.

Hope some of this helps you out. I need to go make my Christmas list now. Please pass on any good gifts ideas you have. I need some inspiration for a couple people.

Monday, November 23, 2009

when being a General Hospital watcher pays off

This post requires that I admit to you that I am a day-time soap opera watcher. I have tuned into General Hospital off and on since I was a little kid. I would watch it with my Mom and then later I would catch it in the summer, during sick days, in the University TV room between college classes and on my days off from work. Around 15 years ago I started taping it and I watch it fairly regularly. Sometimes I get too behind and just delete weeks of episodes and sometimes I just get bored. But, I always come back and over the years my friends have often wondered why.

There are many reasons, but I will keep it simple and give you the short answer. I have followed these characters for 30 years. Many of the roles are still played by the same people. Where else can you see a character age and change over real time?

Okay, I know that seems like an odd statement when age is never mentioned on soap operas and eight year old kids go to camp and come back 4 weeks later as troublesome 15 year old delinquents. However, it still is more true on soaps than anywhere else. I mean, can you imagine watching a show where the character and the original actress is 55 years old and you remember when she was the hot new nurse in town and had all the juicy storylines? When those old characters talk to each other there is real history there. When Luke talks to his son Lucky about when he was a kid, it is not made up. He worked with him when he was 11 years old and he works with him now that he is grown and has kids.

Anyway, that is just one of the reasons that I enjoy soap operas. There are other reasons I think soaps are good and there are lots of ways that I think they are bad - which I also find very entertaining. Like, how one night will last a month of shows and then the next day it is a whole new season, or the way dead characters come back to life so often or the way the writing and sets are so half-assed sometimes. I enjoy the badness of these things just as much as the good stuff. My favorite is when they are at "the park" like on the grass during a picnic or something and you can hear the women's heels clicking on the cement floor.

So all of this is just a introduction to tell you that the next few weeks is the pay off for all my General Hospital watching. James Franco is playing a role on GH for several weeks.

James Franco was in Freaks and Geeks, Milk, Spiderman, Pineapple Express. He is a big movie star. He chose to be on GH for the challenge and for research. I think it is so awesome that he is doing this. Soaps get a bad rap and he is bringing a little bit of respect to them. I know they seem silly to people who don't watch, but they are kind of like SciFi or Mystery shows. You need to understand the "language" a bit to appreciate them.

GH has pulled out all the stops for him, too. The sets involved in his storyline have been better and more believable and I am excited to watch it. Having watched Freaks and Geeks a few times I feel a familiarity with Franco, so it is neat to see him on another show I am so familiar with - although it is strange, too - kind of like hearing your best friend suddenly speak fluent French when you didn't even know she knew the language.

I decided that if I was ever going to write a blog post and out myself as a General Hospital watcher that this was the time to do it. Any others out there?

There is more about his decision in this article.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a place in the woods

Last week at this time I as at a cabin near Mt Hood. It was my annual Autumn vacation with the mister and it was great. This was the first vacation that I have taken in a long time where I didn't feel the need to sight-see. We pretty much just stayed in the cabin and relaxed and enjoyed the great view. The second day we were there it snowed a bit.

The mountain you see here is Zig Zag Mountain. We couldn't see Mt Hood from where we were and it would have been covered in clouds anyway. Half the time we couldn't even see Zig Zag Mountain.

snow at Sandy River

People in Portland are really into Stumptown Coffee and being from the Bay Area I have always been fond of Peets, as well. They are both great, but Cellar Door is my new fave and this coconut creamer is incredibly good. It was such a treat to have coffee every morning with a Joe's Donut (the best donuts around!) while looking at the view.

great local coffee

There were some puzzles at the cabin and I did one for the first time in about 15 years. It was only 300 pieces and it took me way too long to do it - and Steve helped! And wouldn't you know it, the puzzle was missing one piece!


But, the best thing about the vacation (besides just being together, of course) was the hot tub. This hot tub was very private and we would go everyday about 3:30 or 4pm. We would watch the fog come rolling in over the trees and stay until it got dark. Heaven.

The path to the hot tub.

from hot tub

You can see a couple more images from this trip here.

Today I posted a few new items on my vintage shop. My favorite item was this vintage Wright's Rick Rack brochure. I just love it! 2 packs of vintage Rick Rack comes with it.

I will tell you a secret. I am not really ready for Thanksgiving and the Christmas Season yet. I usually am totally into it by now, but it just feels too soon. Is it just me?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

hey, look at me

I recently got this journal in the mail that I was mentioned in and I think a lot of you might be interested. It's called Signs and is put out by The University of Chicago Press. It is a Journal of Women in Culture and Society. This issue focuses on zines. There are lots of great articles and you can see the listings here.

Jenna Freedman, who is a great zine advocate and the zine librarian at Barnard College wrote the article that mentioned Figure 8. It was called Grrrl Zines in the Library.

Jenna mentions in the article (click image to make bigger and to be able to read text) that if it weren't for reading zines she wouldn't have come across the information in Figure 8 and would've never thought to question the fat prejudice that is sold as fact everyday. That is really awesome and makes me want to keep doing zines. There are so many great fat books and blogs out there these days, I often feel like maybe I can let Figure 8 go, but things like this make me rethink it.

It also is good inspiration for anyone making a zine. Sometimes it's hard to believe that zines can have an affect, especially when you can find anything on the internet in a second. But, there is nothing like having a zine to hold and read anywhere you are. It's less distracting than the internet and a much more intimate experience between you and the writer. And, like with Jenna, it can get into someone's hands who would have never sought out information on that subject.

Anyway, yeah, look at me (and look at zines!) in a smarty pants academic journal. Awesome. Thanks for including me, Jenna.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

november is a great month for...

As I mentioned in this post, the Glamour's How to Do Anything Book had a large influence on me as a kid. Filled with crafts, tips and self-improvement - it was something I poured over longing for a tip that I could use at 13 while I waited for a grown up city-living life where I needed tips like how to make sure my holiday party looks don't droop.

Some of these ideas for November are a little questionable, but I still appreciate the intent. Hope November is a great month for you!

The DVD is done!

I have been working diligently on getting my Dad's film on DVD for a few months now and I have been planning on doing it for years. And it is finally done! Well, technically I still do not have the covers, but they are to be delivered to me tomorrow.

To save money I designed the DVD menus in Photoshop and did the covers myself. That is one of the reasons it has been so much work. I emailed about 50 people who had contacted me from the website I made for my Dad a few years ago and have already received some orders. It feels very good to have it done in time for gift giving season.

The DVD includes a photo gallery and a really great short educational film made in the 70's by my Dad about being a wildlife photographer. I am so glad I got to put some extras on.

So, here it is. Take a gander. I am going to try and take a little break before I move on to the next big project.

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