Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vintage

I love these beads. I even hesitated to make any earrings with them, because I sort of wanted to keep them all to myself.

But, ah, I decided to make them anyway. Just look how well these beads photograph! The glass just reflects light like I've never seen before. I'm not sure about the finish, but it looks similar to a dichroic finish. Does anybody know? I bought them at an estate sale, and I was told they date from the 1920's. Gah, aren't they just beautiful! Go check them out in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Current Favorites

I spend a lot of time browsing through Etsy, and my favorites list (both items and sellers) has gotten a little out of control. Meh, what am I supposed to do? The talent on Etsy is staggering. Here are a few of my current favorites. I realize some of them are already sold, but I keep them there in hopes that one day, when I am wealthier, I can return to these shops and beg them to make me one. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

The original plan for the Easter weekend was to drive to his parent's house (6 hours to and from) and a couple of days with them. At the last minute, though, it was decided that a trip to their house may be too much to squeeze into one weekend, plus Lyndon had spent the whole week working on the house (painting, etc - see post below!), and we really wanted to spend some time enjoying the new transformation.

However, I was still a little disappointed that our trip was canceled. I had my hopes of up driving somewhere new and just getting away. The weather is getting warmer and there was nothing I wanted to do more than just hop in the car and drive, and look forward to a weekend of leisure, good food, and good shopping with his parents. So to compromise, the two of us decided to take a little day trip to Oxford, Mississippi. I had never been there, and it's only about an hour and a half from Memphis.

What a great area! And what a perfect day it was. We began by eating lunch at City Grocery, where I had the most amazing salad. I can honestly say it was the best salad I've ever eaten. It was pork confit salad, with marinated pork, arugula, mandarin oranges, marinated cheddar cubes, slivered almonds, and the most wonderful dressing. Lyndon had the shrimp and rissotto, which, between mouthfuls, he assured me was very delicious. It was one of those dining experiences where everything seemed to fall into place and everything seemed perfect: the service was phenomenal, the atmosphere just lovely, our conversation was lively and wonderful. That memory is going to be forever seared into my memory. In other words, you should go here and eat.

Surprisingly, there were a large number of women's boutiques and jewelry stores sprinkled throughout the small town. I wandered in a few of them, and while many of them had cute, summery dresses on display (the kind that make you want to lose 20 pounds, tan, and get a pedicure so that you look right for the season), I wasn't about to spend $170 for them. I just wasn't interested.

Lyndon always checks out book stores, so he made a bee-line for Square Books, and upon entering I immediately wanted to gather up as many books as I could carry, find a cozy nook and spend the afternoon reading and sipping coffee. It's a two-story bookstore, with a large reading selection on both floors. Upstairs they have a charming little coffee counter, where you can order yourself a coffee. On that particular day, they had opened all of the windows and the spring breeze was flowing throughout the entire store, which added such a nice touch to an already warm and cozy atmosphere. I happily left the store with a new crochet book, while Lyndon found several poetry books that he didn't already own (a miracle!).

This may have to be our new Easter tradition. Initially I was a little disappointed to not be spending the weekend with one of our sets of parents, but this trip more than made up for it. If you are ever in the area, you should definitely stop by.

(Please note that I borrowed these pictures from the respective websites of the places listed above, as I stupidly forgot to take any pictures with my camera the whole time we were there. That's how much I was enjoying myself, I suppose).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Before and After

So who doesn't love seeing before and after pictures? No one! So here they are. The story? My boyfriend Lyndon owns his own home, and has for three years. I'll be nice here, and just say that his ex (the one before me) picked out the colors for each room and they were, um, a little...intense. Vibrant. Bold blues, reds, yellows. But not quite suitable for walls. It made the whole place seem smaller, and somewhat akin to a dark, depressing cave. So...I came along, and delicately suggested selecting new paint colors. Lyndon agreed, and look at the transformation! The first picture is the dining room...before. Next picture is (obviously) the after. The next two pictures are of the living room. Isn't it shocking what a different paint color makes?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Featured Seller: ThreeFiveEightyFive

Oh. My. Goodness. I just found a gorgeous shop on Etsy. I wandered into one of those "Show us your favorite shop" threads, and of course that meant that I lost the next hour of work to perusing everyone else's favorite shops. But this one. Drool. Seriously. Check them out here. Or look below and click away. The colors are just amazing. I will not doubt be purchasing one of these pairs of earrings before the day is over.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Snow!

So we had a pretty snowy weekend here in Memphis. As expected, the whole city shut down and everything was cancelled. I was going to post pictures of the snow, since it was so beautiful, but I thought this picture summed everything up nicely. Let's see, cold and wet snow? Or warm and dry kitchen? Zoe obviously chose the latter.







Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm Featured!

Ok, not really. A really sweet seller on Etsy asked other sellers if they would like to have an ad on her blog...so of course I said yes! She's only doing it for one day (today!), so I thought I should get a screenshot of it to prove that yes, I've been on someone else's blog, even if it was because of my own doing and not because someone thought my shop was awesome. See that big pink arrow at the left? That's my ad!

Go check out her shop, and her blog. Her name is JennyBunny. Isn't Etsy just a wonderful place full of wonderful people?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Snobby Yarn

I've recently taught myself how to crochet, and I am so very glad that I did. How did it take me 26 years to discover this wonderful craft? It's portable, easy, and oh so gratifying. Granted, I am still a beginner, but I get such pleasure out of seeing a row of neat stitches that I've just completed. The best part about crochet is the multitude of options that you have when you begin a project. You can use different sized hooks combined with different stitch types to obtain all sorts of looks. Not to mention the yarn options!

So, in order to further overwhelm myself with options, I chose to go to one of the local yarn stores in Memphis. The store is called Yarniverse (cute, huh?). They were having a 29% off sale on February 29, in honor of leap year. I thought, Hey, what a good time to go check out this store! So, with coupon in hand, I excitedly drove out to East Memphis to see what this store was all about.

Goodness gracious! The colors! The textures! And eegad, the prices! It was too much for me to absorb. My lofty goal was to find a nice, textured wool yarn that I was planning on crocheting into a cute shrug (I had found a pattern online and was dying to try it).

My high from finding the shop and discovering all of the beautiful yarns and colors was quickly squashed when I quickly realized that the shop, while cute and full of inspiring things, seemed a bit snobby. The ladies who worked there didn't seem at all friendly, and seemed to be annoyed with anyone who asked a question. I, unfortunately, was probably labeled "a customer to be ignored" as soon as I entered the store because I most definitely had an overwhelmed look on my face and I was grasping onto my pattern for dear life. Don't go near her, they probably whispered to each other, their colorful glasses lanyards (what do you call those things?) swinging as they shook their heads in disgust. She's a newbie.

I finally chose some seemingly overpriced (but somehow within my budget) wool yarn that I thought would work for my pattern. But let me just add here how incredibly helpful the other customers in the store were to me. I had several questions (Worsted weight? Bulky weight? Will this yarn work in place of that one?) and everyone was very eager to help. So, after waiting in line at the cash register and having to painfully interact with the snobby yarn ladies who took my credit card, I left the store feeling good about my purchase, despite having spent more than I imagined on yarn.

Yarniverse did not have the size hook I needed, so I stopped at Michael's on the way home. Eh, big mistake. Why, you ask? I ended up finding a yarn that I liked better than the yarn I had just purchased. And it was about half the price. I hemmed and hawed, not sure if I should buy the yarn at Michael's and return the previous purchase, or just stick with my overpriced wool yarn. I caved and bought the yarn at Michael's, and decided to return the yarn from Yarniverse.

Oh my goodness. Upon re-entering the Yarniverse store, I realized what a mistake this was. Not only was the line at the cash register longer than before, but some of the same ladies who had helped me choose the wool yarn were still in there, browsing the store. Oh no, I thought, they are going to see me return this yarn and wonder why. It took me half an hour to choose it, and now I'm returning it? They are going to think I'm crazy. Bah.

I finally made it to the cash register, and quietly told the cashier that I wanted to return this yarn. I had just bought it, I explained, and I decided to change my mind and return it. You would have thought that I asked her to cut off her left hand. She gasped, and turned to the woman next to her. "Did you hear that? She wants to return the yarn." (I need to add here that they were both wearing knitted cardigans...and that made me want to giggle). The other woman looked at me, and without blinking or using any inflection in her voice, told me flatly, "You can't return sale items. All sales final." It was like those debit card commercials where everything is running along smoothly until some chump tries to pay with cash. The music stopped, everyone quit talking, and the store became silent. She repeated herself, "All sales final." She practically spit the last word at me.

So I left the store with my tail between my legs, and a newfound hatred for the store. Sure, they have wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous yarns, but I can do without the uppity atmosphere. So, I've learned my lesson. I just need to buy my yarn from Etsy from now on.

Oh my, this is a long post. Sorry about that. But to get to my point - there are some awesome yarn sellers and their products on Etsy (just click on these pictures and it should take you straight to their shop). I couldn't feature just one seller. There are too many beautiful yarns done by so many different shops. Again with the options! So, lesson learned...if you don't want to buy expensive yarn from a snobby yarn store, then shop on Etsy! You're guaranteed a great product and wonderful service.

From top to bottom:
http://www.blondechicken.etsy.com/
http://www.hobbledehoy.etsy.com/
http://www.fabulosity.etsy.com/