Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{scripted} : Sardine gotcha

Lee: Hey, there's a potluck coming up at work. Can you make something awesome?

Carol: Sweet awesome or savory awesome?

Lee: Let's go with savory. Everyone does sweet. Anything in mind?

Carol: Um, it would have to be something that you won't need to heat up.... what about something like ham roll-ups?

Lee: Yeah, they're pretty standard and recognizable.

Carol: They are. I'll look up some recipes and see if I can add something that will take 'em to a whole. notha. level.

Lee: Like sardines. You could add some chopped sardines and after people bite into it I'd be all like, 'Ha! There's a sardine in there! You're eating a sardine!'

Carol: [staring]

Lee: It would be like the ham-roll Crying Game. Awesome.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Page Wreath (or, one dollar's worth of awesome)

A couple weeks ago, I asked Lee to give me a book that he didn't really care about - I had big plans after seeing all of the book page wreath tutorials out there. It seemed like a super-cheap and super-easy way to add something dramatic to a wall. Never mind the perfect color combination of black ink on a creamy newsprint-ish paper.

I can seriously say that this is now my most favorite project ever. My four-year-old helped with twisting the pages and the two-year-old helped to take all of the ornaments off of the tree, put them in a big pile and lick each and every one. Fun for the whole family.

I started with a regular hardcover book, ripped the cover off and painted the outside of the pages with a combination of blue, silver and brown craft paint. I just wanted to give it a dirty, time-worn look. I didn't really achieve said look, but it still came out nice.

Then came the folding and gluing, folding and gluing, folding and gluing....

The finished product is GORGEOUS. It's a monster of a wreath -- that thing's over two feet wide. It's just perfect.

Whaddya think? Do you want one, too? Have you made one?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Because I love coffee *that* much + FREE SHIPPING WEEKEND

So, I figured three and a half months was a long enough hiatus for blogging. I wasn't sure how to dive back into the swing of things so a crafty post is as good as any.

Has anyone seen those crazy coffee filter wreaths lately? Seriously, Google 'coffee filter wreath' and you'll get exactly 49,300 results. Well, now it'll probably be 49,301. When I first saw them, I got this crazazy wild hair and was dying to make one, or fifteen. I picked up the supplies that I needed yesterday (ummm, coffee filters and a wreath form) from the dollar store and got to work.

Everyone's got a tutorial out there, so I'll spare you with too much detail. Essentially, take a coffee filter, fold it up a couple times and hot glue it to a wreath form. Proceed the burn the everlovin' skin off of eight of your ten digits.

I loved them INTENSELY when they were initially finished. I couldn't believe how perfect and beautiful they were. I think I may have had a teensy bit too much coffee this morning because I was even talking with a friend about making and selling a bunch of them because OHMYGODTHEY'RESOBEAUTIFUL. In fact, I made the decision that everyone in my life MUST own one of my beautiful wreaths.

Lee's mom came over for dinner tonight and I was still pretty-gushy about them. I asked her what she thought of the most beautiful wreath on the planet and her response? "Coffee filters?" She wasn't impressed. How did she know they were coffee filters? What has happened to the world?

Then the caffeine started to wear off.

Now, every time I look at them, all I see is coffee filters. I feel so jaded....

It was super easy to make them and only involved about two hours of neglecting the children while they attacked each other with plastic fishing poles. I'm still going to keep them up and maybe tomorrow morning after I have a couple cups o' joe, I'll love them all over again.

Now, that you've read this far, you deserve a TREAT! Head on over to the shop and get FREE SHIPPING all weekend. just place your order like usual and we'll refund your shipping right back into your account. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When "Awkward Family Photos" meets Etsy...

 2010 08 Knitmare
(from BoingBoing.net)    

I think it speaks for itself..

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Maybe I Could Rate And Review Pillows... Or Earplugs...

I find it interesting that the market is being flooded by books from people who made money in the internet 10 years ago.   They've reverted back to the old media to tell the rest of us how the new media works.

Their first usual lesson?  The old media sucks because it can't keep up with the pace of how fast things are changing in the world today.

Ironic, no?

Their second lesson?  Make a presence with your passion.

It's very Kevin Costner/Field of Dreams.  Build it and they will come.

On one hand it makes me feel bad, because of all the people who are out there who are eating this advice up, wholesale and bland, without a single grain of salt in sight.  

On the other hand it makes me wonder: what is my passion, that is so strong that I won't leave for 2 month stretches without a peep?

There's nothing quite as depressing as assessing your life and realizing that the thing that most excites you is the possibility of getting a full night's sleep.

8 hours??  Uninterrupted??   ...where did the kids go?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind...

Inspired by the quintessential wedding reading, this card may be suitable as an everyday card for a partner with a sense of humor or possibly for that special someone who's taking just a bit too long to propose. You'd have to be pretty ballsy to use these as wedding invites, but how *awesome* would that be?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Home Office Redecorationpalooza 2010

What you're about to view may burn your retinas:

This was my office back when JunkMail Greetings was just a twinkle in my eye. Also, I clearly hadn't had kids yet because there was enough shit on the floor to choke all of the Gosselin kids. The office is made of solid redwood (I think?) so it was really dark and made me slightly claustrophobic. I have some other 'before' shots of the office, but to be honest, I'm too ashamed to post them. They're that bad.

Would you like to see what it looks like now? Welcome to the Ikea showroom!

Wanna know a dirty, little secret? Behind the shelves you see below is a fireplace. Yes, I have a fireplace in my office *and* I covered it up. All the years that I've had this office I think I only used it once or twice. Plus, it was taking up some major real estate. By covering it up, I gain an entire wall's worth of storage. Plus, when the wind changes and I all of a sudden must. have. a. fireplace. in. my. office, I can just move the shelves.

I used a pretty fabric from Joann's to line the back of the shelves. It creates a ton of visual interest and it also hides the above-mentioned fireplace.

I also set up a nice, little orders center next to my desk so that I can keep my shipping basics and orders all neat and tidy.

I painted out the bay window and made a bright and breezy area for the boys to hang out while I work. This window tends to attract a few ladybugs here and there, so they're usually climbing all over the place harassing their bug friends. The seat is the perfect height for Jack to stand and work on his important projects. It's also got a *sweet* view of the lake.

So there you have it. It seems all serene and lovely, but even as I type this, I'm yelling for them to stop pulling the curtains and throwing the books and drawing on the wall and smooshing the ladybug and knocking over the lamp and .........

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Should I Be Worried About The UPS Guy?

Do kids draw what they see?

I remember Jack used to draw people who were just heads. And I wondered if that was his perception. Do kids only see heads? Are torsos completely out of the range of recognition?

Slowly the heads grew arms and legs. It was a huge day when he drew the grandma from "Sid the Science Kid" complete with glasses.

The other day a friend sent me to this site. They take kids' drawings and have artists professionaly render them. I want to send him one of Jack's pictures and see what he can do with it. Maybe I'll send the one where Jack has drawn a family portrait, but replaced me with the UPS guy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Got The Lincoln, I Just Can't Pick Which To Choose...

I've been made aware of a new service on the interweb.

The site is called fiverr.com.  On the site, it lists a whole bunch of people, who are willing to do a whole bunch of stuff for $5.

I love it.  It's ghetto outsourcing for the masses.  I was introduced to the concept of personal outsourcing in "The Four-Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss.  But this makes it accessible to any Joe Schmo, who for example, might have five bucks burning a hole in his pocket and happens to be in dire need of someone to translate a 1000 word essay into Thai.

I love the initiative.  The gumption.  The entrepreneurial spirit and the pure drive of capitalism.  I wish I was clutching a fistful of fives, just so I could commission my own "If They Mated" combo/blend picture for $5.  (Sandra Bernhardt/Mick Jagger mix.  They look so similar already, it'd be easy for the guy.  I just want to reward him for trying.)  Get another to write a love letter to Carol.  Nothing says "I love you" like a random stranger.  Who wants five dollars.

But then I came across this life coach.  There are so many things that I love about this guy:
First: for $5, he'll listen to your problems and secrets, with no speaking, for 5-15 minutes.
BUT, for $5, he'll give you a life coaching session for 30-45 minutes.

Wait a minute.  According the upper-end math, this guy is saying it is three times as painful for him to listen to you whine, then it is for him to tell you what to do.  Lower-end math?  His time is 6 times more valuable as an ear, then it is as a voice.

Unless his voice is transmitting the messages of the Angels.  Then that's an even five too.

I call him a visionary.  Literally.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Peep Show

I can't really say too much about this project, but here's a little taste of what's goin' down here at JMG. I should be able to provide more details next week, but I'll keep throwin' a few bones your way until then.

It's a cover-up

We've got three slipper chairs sitting in our Florida room (yes, a Florida room in Canada. Sun room?). And it's killing me to see them looking like this:

Especially since I've been trolling Target's sites for ages oggling their slipper chairs.

Product Image
So in the spirit of cheap-or-free DIYness, I got to work. I had a couple HUGE drapery panels that I was going to use at the New York Stationery Show last year, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I had gotten them on sale for about $9.99 (I think) for the pair. I took a look at the existing upholstery job on the chairs and it was in really good shape. Just ugly as sin. And sin's pretty ugly. Sometimes. If it's the bad sin....

Anyway, I decided to just cover over the current fabric because with two little monsters running circles around me, it was just the easiest thing to do. Plus, I didn't really want this project to take more than an hour.

As always, I had 'help'.

After a few coronaries involving a potential shortage of fabric (I only wanted to use one drapery panel per chair), this was my result:

Not bad, eh? I fancified it up a bit and nailed in some upholstery tacks, too.

And do us both a favor and don't mention how out of line and wonky they are, okay? I'd still like to stain the legs a nice espresso color and possibly do the third chair in a funkier, more colorful fabric - like the background in this photo:

But for now, I'm pretty pleased.

And while I was on my psychotic covering spree, I decided to do our oh-so-nasty dining room chairs. The kids have an incredible way of getting every. piece. of. food. they eat on these chairs so I needed a way to camouflage it.

Before, in all of its stain-y glory:

And side-by-side:

What do you think? Too busy? I think they'll cover up most of the garbage that gets dumped on them every day.

What about you? Any cover-up jobs of your own?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The part where I wax poetic about Rustoleum

I think it's safe to say that I'm a little obsessed. Only a little. I love redecorating. Rearranging. Re purposing. Just about re-anything. However, it's gotten to the point that Lee has absolutely no idea how the house will look when he comes home. I'm willing to bet that if the entire house were painted turquoise when he rolled up into the driveway, he'd just sigh. Because he knows I've got the crazy like that.

Lately I can't really take on any huge projects because I'm busy with Thing 1 and Thing 2. So, I'm forced to do little things to appease my need for environmental change. Today, I attacked a little nightstand that's been sitting in our hallway waiting to be stuffed away in the basement. It had it coming. It was looking at me all sideways and taunting me. So I pounced at the opportunity to put my .87 can of clearance Rustoleum Aqua Spray Paint. Who knew .87 could provide such therapy.

So, in between loads of laundry, dishes, building snowmen and baking low-fat brownies made with applesauce (gag), I tackled the nightstand.

Here's the before. I hired a model to to help me with the pictures:

Clearly, he likes to DIY as much as I do.

After a few coats of the aqua-colored-heaven-in-a-can, I drilled some holes for the smaller 3" centers on the new hardware and voila! I gots me somethin' pretty-like.

I probably have a million and one projects in the pipeline (including a housepainting project, but don't tell Lee), so I'll do my best to throw a couple your way every week.

What about you? Do you tackle projects in teeny tiny bites, too? Do you ship the family out for the day so that you can get it all done at once? Do you just say 'screw it' and hire someone?

The Sad Part Is: If You Know What I'm Talking About, You Need Improvement Too...

As I sit in church, I'm bothered by how much the new priest reminds me of someone.

Not a good someone.  

Not a friend or some trusted confidante.  There's some real negative emotions attached to this.

I have a bad habit of doing that.  I see physical similarities in people, mistake the similarities for auras, then pre-judge people based on what the other person was like.  I once told girl she reminded me of Bono.  At the time I thought it has something to do with auras and how they were both outspoken activists who advocated for a crapload of causes.  Turns out, it was really only cuz they both share that weird little bump on the bridge of their noses.  Either way, I don't think she was impressed.

But I'm staring at the priest and looking at the slightly greasy, balding pate.  The round cheeks that don't fit in with the rest of the face.  That little smile after every sentence like he just said something really insightful.

And then it dawns on me.

He looks like "The Situation".   

I want to poke the old lady to my left and whisper, "Hey.  Doesn't the new padre look like Mike "The Situation" from Jersey Shore?"  but it seems inappropriate.

Not to mention she'll have no idea what I'm talking about.

Then I wonder, who here *would* know what I was talking about?  How many people who watch Jersey Shore, also show up for mass at 9 am on Sunday morning?  I might as well ask if anyone recorded last night's South Park, no?

There's a part of me that tries to justify this as having a complex personality.

But I think you and I both know that I really need to upgrade my TV viewing. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Thought That "Bubonic Blanket" Had A Much Nicer Ring To It...

Approximately 3 years ago, we bought a red velour-y throw.  We thought it'd be the perfect car blanket to wrap the big one in, when he was little.

You might know the type.  It's about 5 by 7, it's super-lightweight and almost furry in its softness.  And if you drape it over a kid and pull it over them quickly, the static'll beat any Van DeGraff generator you've ever seen on Bill Nye.

It ended up being a bit too big to drape over a baby carrier, so it made its way into the house as a sofa throw.  But from there it's come to take on a whole new purpose.

It's played some type of comforting role in every single sickness that's taken place in this house in the last three years.  Any time that PJ's on the couch and Nyquil/Advil have been combined, this blanket has made an appearance.  Light, soft, warm.  Totally synthetic and puke washes right out of it like it ain't no thing.

Carol calls it "the typhoid throw".  I'd like to think she means it affectionately.  But I can't be sure.

It's been a solid year since the typhoid throw has made an appearance, but tonight I wrapped the big one up in it and tucked him in.  

101.  We're gonna be in for helluva night.

Monday, February 8, 2010

End-Fray. It's Awesomeness By The Bucketful In So Many Ways.

We've been considering coming up with a new line.  Something similar, but nicely (and nichely) complementary to the HateMail line.

HateMail was our baby.  It's what got us started.  We were HateMail, long before we were JunkMail Greetings.

But then we tried to look into the future and came up with the JunkMail brand to be the umbrella under which all of our products would stand.

And now we have a few different branches of products: HateMail, HateMail for the Holidays, HateMail Minis and JunkMail's Defined, Unsolicited and Invited lines.

And now we need a new one.

Brainstorming session.  (done while two kids are laying on the floor crying and yelling "Mine! Mine!")

 - something paper related - or even more specifically "junkmail" related.
        -flyer?  no.  insert?  no.  phone book.
                   - goddammit.  derail the train.  different direction.
- something print related - 
         -  ink.  press.   Gutenberg...   goddammit.
-  something elegant sounding.  maybe latin.
         - um..  I don't know any latin.  pax.  lux. veritas.  carpe diem.  pluribus unum.
                   - what about pig latin?
                                 - otesnay?  emomay?  goddammit.
- something signifying our second coming of HateMail
         - deux,  deuce
                   - maybe we can call it dooce, then call up dooce and tell her we named a whole card line after her and hope for free promotion?
                              - deux, deuce, douche.  goddammit. 
- something old and snippy sounding.  maybe an old lady's name.
         - mildred, gertrude, bertha, goddammit.

BREAK.  and so we stopped and took the children for random runs around the kitchen/dining/living room loop until the little one squealed to be put down.

And then it hits me.  End-Fray.  

"End-Fray!" I yell to Carol.  And the way she looks at me makes me put a big "goddammit" next to that one too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Eats, Shoots and Leaves? Eats Shoots and Leaves?

For anyone who's ever seen the book "Eats Shoots and Leaves", we understand that the English language is a minefield of misunderstanding waiting to happen.

I recently took out a book titled "What Every Body Is Telling You - A Guide For Speed Reading People".  It's a terrible book.  Written by an "ex"-FBI agent, it's supposed to help you understand body language, but instead it just makes you question the caliber of the people in the FBI.

But it sparked a conversation that went EXACTLY like this:

Carol:  So, what makes that book only for speed readers?  I opened it up and it looks like a normal book to me.

Me: What?

Carol:  The book says it's for speed-reading people.  Why's it only for speed readers?

Me:  What?  Nonononono... it's not FOR speed-reading people, well it is, but, it's to help you speed READ people.  Like READ their body language.

Carol:  Oh...  Don't look at me like that.  You can see where the misunderstanding could come from.  Anyways, is it good?  Have you learned anything so far?

Me:  Nah.  It's fairly obvious stuff.  It has some interesting stuff where it links body language with innate physiological responses though.  Like that whole thing about crossing arms being a fairly hostile gesture.  It's supposed to be a protective thing when you're in an uncomfortable situation, you protect your major organs, blah, blah, blah.

Carol:  I always thought that was crap.  I cross my arms all the time.  I cross my arms because it's comfortable.  What else am I going to do with my arms?

Me:  But what makes it comfortable?  Maybe it's comfortable because subconsciously you've moved to protect yourself?  And that display of protection is kind of a passive-aggressive thing?

Carol:  Are you calling me passive-aggressive?

Me:  No, sweetheart.   You're very clearly aggressive-aggressive.  Let's not get it twisted.

The English language, ladies and gentlemen.  A minefield of misunderstanding.