A Vintage Christmas…Sorta

I love vintage things, but unless I make some lucky  finds, I can’t usually afford them. I was spoiled with great thrift stores when we were living in Madison. Houston thrift stores leave something to be desired. The ones with … Continue reading

This is what happens when your favorite antique mall has a store wide sale…

Things are rather busy here. I’m frantically trying to finish some Christmas gifts before we head home to PA late next week, and Ad is working his little tush off to finish his thesis. Fortunately, I made some time to … Continue reading

Continuing Christmas

December 25th may have come and gone, but me and my mom are still rocking the whole Christmas spirit thing. And why not? Celebrations of love, family, friends, and nature should be ongoing, not crammed into one little day.

The snow fell all day, and there is at least 15 fluffy inches out there right now.

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My grandpa’s new snow-blower attachment is being put to the test.

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I love when my house is decorated for Christmas, and the tree makes everything look cozier. I think Charlie agrees.

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I made some Apple-Cinnamon Mutt Muffins to give as late Christmas gifts to a few friends who have dogs. I found the recipe here. Charlie and I tasted them, and we both approved. Phil and Mom were not impressed.

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Merry in Madison

Finals are approaching and people are stressed, but things are merry and bright in the this house! At least we’re trying to keep them that way. The countdown to our trip home to PA has begun…although we’re still not sure exactly when it’s happening or how long we’ll be there. We’re counting down anyway. The time spent with family will be the perfect ending to a wonderful, eventful, and stressful year. No matter how many times I move, how many new jobs I experience, how many friends I make, or how many houses I make my own, nothing feels nicer than going home for a bit. I have perfect friends and family, which I was reminded of yesterday!

Seconds after I got home from class yesterday afternoon, the door bell rang. On my front steps I found a giant Christmas package addressed to me and Ad, full of gifts from our best friends Emily and Mike, and my west coast mom, Sally. I’m talking a huge box. I didn’t even know the post office would deliver packages this big. I promptly opened it and spread the presents out underneath our fantastic tree.

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The Christmas cards have been flowing in, probably because I sent out tons. I’m all about snail me. I mean all about it. Very few things thrill me more than opening a handwritten letter. Seriously…send me mail.

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During the material madness that sometimes takes over the holidays, it’s helpful for me to remember how many things I already have to be grateful for….supportive family, a cozy home that I share with my best friend, beautiful relationships that stretch across the country, a shelf full of good books, a college education, time to craft and contemplate, and a beautiful view out my front window. What things are you most thankful for during the holidays?

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I’ve been a busy girl on this snowy weekend! I’m working on making some finger-less gloves to sell on Etsy. The colors of these ones are a bit wild, but maybe it will suit somebody. The entire ball of yarn was  only 60 cents, so would could I do?  There are some nice lavender ones coming soon.

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And I’ve made a few flower brooches as well.

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And now for some general Christmas-y pictures! We finally had some snow today There was about an inch out there at some point, but now it’s warmed up so the snow is beginning to melt. Short lived, but much appreciated.IMG_7426IMG_7396

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Gift Guide!

I really love giving people gifts, but I really hate how commercialized the holidays can be. I tried pretty hard this year to make a lot of gifts or buy gifts that were handmade, recycled, re-used, or good for the earth and her inhabitants in some other way. So far it’s been a little tough, but rewarding! I thought I’d share some of my favorite meaningful Christmas gift sources.

So to begin with, I’m pretty much addicted to Etsy. Everything sold there is either handmade or vintage. I love supporting small business owners, especially those who put so much artistic work and feeling in to their products. If I’m being completely honest, this section is also partly a plug for my own Etsy shop, Armeria. Check out the handmade items that I have for sale!

Another personal favorite for gift giving, is making a donation to a charitable organization in someone’s name. Heifer International is a great organization that provides needy families with livestock and other resources (like honey bees!) that act as a reliable food source as well as a source of income. Making a donation in someone’s name is an effective, sustainable, and empowering gift.The nice thing about donating to Heifer International is that it can be done in affordable amounts. For instance, if donating the money to buy an entire sheep ($120) for a family is out of your price range, then you can choose to donate $10 towards the purchase of a sheep for a family. A flock of ducks or chicks only costs $20. Once you’ve donated, you can print a personalized Honor Card to give as a gift, saying that you’ve donated money in someone’s name to Heifer International. This is a fun gift idea for kids, and you can talk to them about how the gift is helping another child in a different country. It definitely gets at the spirit of Christmas!

Kiva is another one of my favorite gift giving sources. Kiva is a micro-financing organization that allows you to make small loans (starting at $25) to borrowers around the world to alleviate poverty. For example, I’m currently loaning $25 to this man, so that he can buy some pigs and start an animal husbandry business. He will gradually pay back the loan in full, at which point I can lend the money again to someone else. Kiva now offers Kiva Cards, which allow you to put money on a card and then give it as a gift. The recipient of the Kiva Card can browse the Kiva website and choose which borrower they’d like to lend the money to. The whole process is pretty fun!

My last recommendation for an earth friendly, slightly less consumery (< that should be a word) place to shop is the thrift store. I love thrift store shopping, but it is not for the faint of heart. At least 70% of the time you’ll come out empty handed. It’s certainly not the ideal place to shop if you have a specific item in mind, because there’s no guarantee that you’ll find what you’re looking for. But if you’re open minded, and don’t mind getting a little dusty, you can find some real treasures at low prices. Just a few weeks ago, I purchased something at a thrift store that was brand new, and still had the Urban Outfitters price sticker on it. The original retail price was $10.00, but I got it for $0.60. I like shopping at thrift stores and knowing that instead of creating more consumer demand for items that hurt the earth during production and shipment, I’m buying perfectly good re-used items that probably have some interesting history.

I’d love to hear your ideas for ways to make gift giving more special and/or earth friendly!