Hello, hello!  I have made it back from vacation and am so happy to be home.  Being away and visiting is nice, but it's always so nice to get home to my own stuff.  Now is the dreaded and inevitable unpacking, grocery shopping since there is nothing to eat in the house, and catching up on all the blogs I usually read (and I will- look out for week-old comments!). 

Let's talk traffic.  I hate it.  I like to drive, but I admit that I am not the most patient when stuck behind the car that's going exactly (or under) the speed limit.  Or if other drivers do stupid things.  Our trip took us all the way down I-95 along the east coast.  It is, in parts, on of the most dangerous, congested, and boring routes you can take.  If you've ever been down it, you know what I mean.  We left very, very early in the morning, hoping to get through NYC before traffic was out, actually going down the Cross Bronx Expressway without stopping, which never happens.  Then we get to the George Washington Bridge, which has an upper level and a lower level.  We always take the lower because it's cars only.  Get this- as we're passing under the last sign, after the road is already divided by concrete barriers, we see a sign that says, "Lower Closed".  WHAT!?!?!  I end up driving along the Husdon River which my husband re-routes us on the GPS.  Thanks for the warning, New York.  Luckily there was a quick turnaround and we were back on track in no time.

Then in Virginia, and I do not understand this at all, we got into two spots where the traffic basically stopped: once because there was a pack of motorcycles stopped underneath an overpass, and once because a guy had pulled over on the left shoulder because of car trouble.  This blows my mind.  They weren't doing anything- nothing was on fire, no one was lying on the ground, nothing.  I mean, slow down a little, gawk if you like, be careful not to hit anyone, but come to an almost complete stop?  Come on!

11 x 14 Traffic Jam print by trendypeas
 Once you get past Richmond, Virginia, you hit the longest, flattest, most boring part of the highway through the Carolinas, which seem to take forever to get through.  One great thing about that part, though, is that just about every exit has a gas station right there as soon as you get off, which is very convenient.  But other than that, there's not too much to look at as you are counting the miles.  Luckily here there is generally very little traffic, with people driving in the right and just passing on the left (only two lanes down there), which is how it should be.  And it's mostly trailer trucks, so they are pretty much on a steady course.  We are always happy to get to Georgia just because we finally feel like we've made some progress after all that.

1930s South Carolina Map by StoriesDiviniations
 And the best part: Chik-Fil-A.  The South for us is Chik-Fil-A country, the best fast food chicken sandwich you will ever find (if you missed my copycat recipe you can try it here), and we try and make sure to hit it at least once while we're there.  This time we got it for lunch driving both ways, so I feel a little spoiled.

I'll share more of what we did on our trip as the week goes on, but for now, I'm off to tackle my list.  Hope you all have had a great holiday weekend!  How's the traffic out there?

Hooray! Project (Just About, Almost) Complete

I am so excited to share our just about completed basement with you!  It was almost two months ago that I shared this post with you, waxing poetic about my new-found love of self-adhesive spackle tape (if you're new here, it's not as bad as it sounds), and now we have just about gotten it done.  Carpet was installed yesterday, after which we moved the washer and dryer to their new home and added a few small pieces of furniture.  Our current living room set is eventually going to go down there on the rec room side, but until we re-do our living room, we won't otherwise have anything to sit on, so right now we've just shuttled some of the mass pile of toys down there so the toddler has something to play with.  He was so thrilled with the carpet, he wouldn't come upstairs for lunch.

New double laundry sink (and Casey's new bath tub)

Folding table and hanging rack (and a spot for the toddler to sit)

Rec room

So now we just need to add doors on the utility closets and bring down the ironing board, which I can now leave standing up all the time, which I'm so excited about.  Not bad for a basement that started out completely unfinished!

Commenting Etiquette (Or the Lack Thereof)

So today is the last day to enter the giveaway, but to be honest, I'm thinking of extending it because it is quite possibly the saddest giveaway ever!  I think I may need to re-think my tactics if I ever decide to do this again!  Thanks to those who entered and for everyone else, there's still time!  On to our regularly scheduled programming....

I was reading threads yesterday in the Etsy Blog Team forum and I came across a post someone had written talking about a (very) rude comment that someone posted on her Facebook page, basically saying her work was crud (insert the s-word here).  I was really disheartened for this person, whose feelings were understandably hurt, and was really taken aback by the idea that someone would post something like that on someone's page.  It just seems so hurtful.

I've thought about this before, particuarly when reading comments posted on news articles online, especially political things.  There are always comments calling the writer an idiot, calling the subject an idiot, or just calling each other idiots.  It makes me think, "Who gave you license to be so mean?"  Now anyone with a keyboard can become a pundit and place their anonymous feelings out there to insult the masses (and often full of typos and grammatical errors, which I don't even want to get started on because it just makes me mad).  

Spell check button by beanforest

I try and comment positively on a blog if I feel like I have something to contribute to what the author is saying.  Sometimes I want to react to what someone else is saying (on those large news outlets), but what's the point?  The person behind the comment probably won't even see it, and what's one more comment on an article that already has 1000+ comments?  I personally haven't had a negative comment yet about my stuff on any media I use, but I'm not a huge shop with a huge following so I don't know if I would be as vulnerable as someone casting a wider net, and I don't have a Facebook page that may link me to people who know people who know people that I don't know.  But I know I would be pretty devastated if someone were to say rude things like that to me, without any explantion, because I'm rather hard on myself as it is.  You may say "perfectionist" because that is accurate, especially when it comes to work, and I don't take criticism well, especially when it comes to work and I'm trying to do it perfectly to please you, darn it.  I need to develop a thicker skin.

Anyway, I'm not really talking about a tough customer who doesn't like something they ordered, but just someone who are being mean for the sake of being mean.  Have you ever been on the receiving end of a negative comment, anonymous or otherwise?  Just drive-by, unexpected rudeness?

Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation Lino Cut Print by andyrama

Guiltiest TV Pleasure?

Ok, so I confess....we don't currently have cable television.  Actually, we have no television.  We own televisions, but they are sitting unplugged in various rooms in our house.  Before we had the toddler, we watched tv all the time.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Afterward, we would turn on the tv in the morning to The Weather Channel, and that's where it stayed for the rest of the day.  We had a $75 a month weather habit, except we weren't even paying attention to it!  When we decided to buy our house, we also decided that we didn't need to be paying all that money for something we weren't using.  We had a baby, a dog, and a new house to occupy our time, and I have to tell you, we haven't missed it.  My husband rarely misses Mad Men, his current favorite, by watching episodes online.  I do the same with Project Runway, which is just about the only one I keep up with now.  We just don't have the time. 

However, we do have Internet (obviously) and confession part two: I am pretty obsessed with celebrity gossip sites.  It's pretty sad how long I can sit there and read stuff about famous people, and I don't even know half of them because they're ON TV, which I don't watch!  So I've gathered a lot of information about current tv shows just by reading posts online and I was wondering, what's everyone's guilty pleasure television show?  I just came across something about The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I've seen a lot about Jersey Shore, and others about Celebrity Apprentice and The Biggest Loser, not to mention the whole Two and a Half Men thing.

I've told you mine- I don't want to miss PR (and I wish I could design like that)- so tell me yours!  What show can you not bear to miss, or secretly watch but wouldn't want anyone to catch you with it actually on?

As Seen On TV Words Quote Digital Image Download by Graphique

I Have A Problem

Magazines are taking over my house.  In the past year, I have only subscribed to Cooking Light (which turned out to be a little bit disappointing from the last time I got it), but my mother and grandmother and other various family members all get different ones and they swap and pass them on.  Which is great, until you don't have time to read them.  Or in my case, want to look through them one more time in case there is anything worth saving.  And that leads to a pile of magazines of epic proportion waiting, waiting for me to do something with them.


Oh, and don't forget the catalogs.  Sheesh.

Do you hoard magazines, or am I the only one?  I think I'm going to just have to start pitching them here pretty soon!

What I Just Read (and Read, and Read)

I am borrowing the premise of this post from Janet of Custom Sepia, whose shop I mentioned last week.  I found her shop through her blog, This Is Beige, which is a really fun read.  She posts things like recipes from the back of the box, pet peeves, shop features, and a bunch of other totally normal-people stuff.  You should check it out for sure.

Anyway, Janet posts "What I Just Read", which is about a book she just read (didn't see that one coming, did you?).  I love the idea because I'm always looking for a good book and it's nice to hear about them from regular people because you never know who's writing those Amazon book reviews.  I don't get a lot of free reading time right now, but typically if I get into a book I'll try and blast through it as fast as I can to find out what happens.  I am one of those read-until-2-am people so I can finish the book, although the last time I was up until 2 am reading was pre-toddler, April vacation from school, Twilight series, which I could not put down.

However, during my 6-hour stint in the bathroom last week followed by many days of total exhaustion, I managed to do some reading because there wasn't much else to do.  On my hit parade: The Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two, and Comfort Food, all by Kate Jacobs.  I know I'm behind on this one as they came out many years ago and I think were pretty popular.  My friend gave me the audio version of Knitting Club but I realized that I am not a book-on-tape kind of gal, unless I have the book in front of me as well.  I think I just like to have the print in front of me.  I started with Knitting Club, it being the first one (as well as a gift from the free table at the library!), and I read through it pretty quickly and enjoyed it thoroughly, though I have to say that it does not wind up as a feel-good read, if you know what I mean, and I have decided in recent years that I do not enjoy books or movies that make me cry.  I want to be entertained when I do these things and am not exactly looking for sadness (the fact that the cover said something about Steel Magnolias should have tipped me off).  It was a really good story though and I would highly recommend it.

Knit Two is the follow-up, which I didn't know existed.  I went to the library looking for Comfort Food and was pleasantly surprised there was a sequel.  It is a much happier story that picks up a few years after the first one.  Another great, quick read.  Comfort Food is highly entertaining, about a woman who is a television cooking show host and what she goes through to try and keep her show.  It winds up great and didn't leave me reaching for the tissues, so it also gets a thumbs-up.  I'm also happy to find that there is a third knitting book, Knit the Season, that I'm going to have to look out for.

(Oh, and my giveaway that's right under this is in need of some love!  Read on, and enter to win!)


The toddler and I, for the past week, have had what I can best describe as some kind of food posioning, though I can't prove that's what it was, but no one else got the "bug" so I'm going to assume that's what it was, and it was miserable.  The toddler has had pretty good energy through the whole thing, but his mama has not, and so there was a real lack of things getting done around here as I lay around trying to get better faster.

One thing I did manage to do during the sick week was a few loads of laundry (trust me- necessary).  However, I did wash one load and then forgot it was there for a day and a half, and had to re-run it with some soap just so it wouldn't be musty-smelling.  When I went to put it in the dryer- surprise!- there was another load already in it that I had forgotten about (see a theme here?).  As I folded up the dry laundry, I was missing one of the toddler's socks, which are usually corralled in a mesh laundry bag but because of the circumstances were loose, and just figured it had gotten left behind and was in the washing machine with the wet load, which it was. 

And so this got me thinking about socks.  You always hear the stories about people losing socks in the wash, the dryer eating them, etc., but (and I'm probably going to jinx myself now) I've never lost a sock.  I've had them get into separate washes, or find their way into pockets of other things in the wash, but I've never outright lost one and assumed the dryer ate it.  So I wondered where all the stories came from.  Do you lose socks?  Does your dryer eat them?  I'm not here to judge anyone if you do- I'm sure if you have more people in your family you are more likely to lose them- but I'm curious about this!

Lost Socks Fabric Basket by HandmadeByBette

A New Favorite

In my quest to find a great Mother's Day Gift to send to my mother-in-law, I of course took to Etsy to try and find something super special.  In my browsing of shops linked to other bloggers I know and suggested favorites, I came across a new favorite shop.  If you read my post about the Etsy Taste Test then you know I am very picky, and this is especially so for my favorites.  In order for me to favorite a shop, I really need to like just about everything in it and want to buy several things.  Custom Sepia: Personalized Ceramics for You.  And Other Great People. is one of those shops.  Janet makes these really amazing customized plates and platters that can be made special just for you.  Check these out:

Family Name Custom Platter-
For the one in your life who cherishes his or her family most

Set of Two Family Tree Platters-
This one is going to be mine one Christmas once our family is complete.  What a great gift!

Personalized Bridesmaid Thank You Dish-
More special, perhaps, than a coordinating necklace or handbag

Mom's Famous Recipe on a Platter-
A great gift to honor mom, or to send her favorite recipe to someone special

Your Handwritten Note on a Serving Platter-
Immortalize your child's (or someone else's) handwritten message forever

That is just a very small sampling of what Janet offers in her shop.  The possibilities are endless when it come to customizations- it seems like she can put just about anything on a plate!  I'm pretty jazzed that I found this shop because it gives me some great gift options for the future.  Even if you don't particularly use platters, they are beautiful items to display, and Janet even offers plate stands in her shop to help you show off your creation.  So take a wander over to Custom Sepia and check out what she has to offer- I don't think you'll be disappointed!

I Lost Half of My Dog

Casey the poodle got a haircut yesterday (at least one of us did!) and now she looks like half the dog she used to be.  People will say to us over the months, "I think she's gotten bigger," but she's really just gotten hairier. (Hairyer? Neither of those look right.)  We cut her twice a year: right before summer so she will be cool and right before winter so she will grow out and stay warm. It takes awhile to get used to looking at her after her day at the groomers, but we think she turned out so cute this time.

A few days ago (the princess on her pillows)
She looks so good!