Merry Christmas

I honestly have been far from jolly this holiday season. Today was my last day of work until Jan. 4 and I am really looking forward to the time off. I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and I hope you have a very safe holiday. We are getting snow on Christmas Eve which I hope doesn't completely disrupt our travel plans and day. I'll let you know what Santa brings my way next week.

I think the Elf me dance is pretty cute. I didn't get the heads situated just right. Who knew I could dance that good. Actually Kai is the only one of us who could actually do those moves and he's too cool now to dance he says.


Done Dropping

This shot is from the farm with a sign my Dad made. I thought it was funny and appropriate for this post. I'm sad to say that I'm done with Entrecard dropping. The network administrator has informed me that there has been suspicious activity from my computer which is causing problems with the network. He told me the times that it had happened and they all corresponded to my lunch hour or after work when I would do my EC drops.

I've been growing disgruntled with EC for awhile but had continued to participate albeit much less often than in the past. But clearly the system is so corrupt and buggy that I can't risk my home computer either. I'm going to leave the button up for the time being since I don't think it's hurting anything and if it brings a little traffic in that's fine too.

I will now have to really think about how I want to keep this little blog going. I will be following the blogs that I regularly dropped on and using Google Friend Connect to do my blog hopping from now on. Hopefully I can find other less risky ways to connect with bloggers. Perhaps this might be just the thing I need to get me out of my blogging rut I've been in.



I'm seriously missing Fall right now. These are a few shots I took on the farm last month. It has been below freezing here for the past 2 weeks. We had snow on Monday and freezing rain on Wednesday but neither one was enough to earn a snow day.

I am really paranoid about walking in the snow this year after my major fall in January. Everyone keeps telling me to be careful which I am but I really wish that I could just stay inside, which unfortunately isn't an option. I can't hide from my fears for the whole Winter whenever there is any bad weather. The worst part is when I have to walk through the snow in my driveway. Getting out to scrap gives me a panic attack every time since that is when I fell last year and had to crawl through the snow with my fractures to get to my cell phone.

When the snow clears I am going to insist on getting the garage door replaced. I tried to convince Mike to do it this Spring when we were having the other work done on the house but he didn't want to spend the money then. This time I'm not going to take no for an answer since I don't think I can take the anxiety for the next 3 months of scraping.

I'm having a hard time getting excited about Christmas too. We will only be seeing the girls for around 24 hours which takes most of the fun out of it. I'm really looking forward to the week and a half off of work which I desperately need this year. I don't have much of anything planned which should be a nice chance to regroup.


A year in FB posts

Just a quick post with a cool app on Facebook that randomly puts together a sample of your status posts for the year. It's interesting to see what was going on in my head although possibly not so much to an outsider. If you want to make one for yourself you can go here if you are on FB. It would be cool if there was a way to do that for your blog.


Cleaning Green

I'm sure that everyone has probably heard of Drugstore.com. But did you know what an amazing array of all natural products they have. This is totally not a paid aid, I just really love the convenience of shopping from them especially with free shipping when you spend a certain amount. You can get 10% off your entire order by going through this link for the next few days.

They have so many more environmentally friendly products including a much fuller selection of Seventh Generation products than our local supermarkets. They have the softest recycled toilet paper we've found and also other feminine products which you can feel better about using. I also started using their concentrated laundry liquid recently and it works really well. I've always been scared to try other products besides good old fashioned Era since my skin is so sensitive and that is what I've used since birth, but the Free and Clear really does work and isn't irritating at all.

I have debated in my mind about whether it is worse for the environment to have the products shipped to my house in a box, sometimes with plastic wrap inside or to just buy the normal products at the local store. I realize that I'm probably over thinking things here and that these are concerns that many people in the world would love to have time to worry about. But I do feel better using products that have the least impact as possible and if it takes a little bit more energy to get them to me so be it.


Random Wednesday

I finally decided on a private studio in Chelsea with a garden terrace for less than the B & B in Chelsea. I found it on Craigslist but after many e-mails I feel comfortable with the arrangement. He has feedback on this site and pictures of the room which made me feel a lot better. He offered to have our friend who lives in Brooklyn come by and see the place before we paid the deposit which seemed like a lot to ask, but it was reassuring that he offered. The other place I contacted from Craigslist replied back immediately asking for 50% to be wired to him Western Union to hold the room. Talk about running the other way.

I spent the entire day Sunday making my Dad a coffee table book called Scenes from Lenox Farms. I had it made by A & I Books and if I had paid full price it would have been over $100. I had a Groupon so I got a deal but I still ended up paying way more than I usually do for photobooks on Snapfish so I hope the quality is worth it.

The shot of Jess running down the hill is one of Dad's favorites. I shot it with my old point and shoot but with some tweaking in photoshop I think it looks pretty cool now. I used the technique I learned in my class to convert to black and white and then bring part of the picture back to color in these two shots. I spent so much time editing every picture but I think my Dad will appreciate it.

I think that I have all of my holiday shopping done. Hopefully everything will arrive on time. There has been a box on the door everyday this week. It's fun opening them up and seeing what I bought even if they aren't for me. Hanukkah snuck up on me this year so the nieces and nephew in New York will be getting their gifts late but I don't think they'll mind having something to open after the festivities have died down for them.


New York State of Mind.

I'm starting to plan our trip to New York in early June. It's our niece's Bat Mitzvah and they live in upstate. I've never been to the city before so I've convinced Mike to stay a few nights in Manhattan before we come home. I'm really confused by all the choices of places to stay in the city. I really want to stay in a neighborhood and not in a chain hotel with millions of tourists.

All that I really know about New York is from the movies of course. I really like the looks of this Guest House in Chelsea called Dupay's Landing. It says that it is "Located on a quiet, tree-lined, residential street in busy Manhattan, this is the historic New York experience that you have always wanted, but thought was an impossible dream." There are 3 rooms in a cute little brownstone and the room I'm looking at even overlooks the private garden. It's $160 which includes all the taxes per night. This is more than we generally spend but it sounds pretty reasonable for Manhattan.

There are other "b&b's" that are basically in someones apartment that are cheaper but Mike really doesn't like the idea of that. There are tons of them listed on Airbnb. It could be awkward to basically be invading someones apartment but if they are used to hosting guests I'm sure it would be fine. Mike isn't the most social traveler though.

I really need to get this thing booked before everything good gets booked up. If anyone has any suggestions about cool places to stay in New York or neighborhoods you would recommend looking into I would really appreciate it.


The Many Faces of Kate

I would have to say that my niece Kate is the most expressive and unique kid I've ever been lucky enough to know. These shots were all taking over the Thanksgiving break. Not only is she incredibly intelligent but she also has an immense imagination. Her family calls it Kate's world. Her older sister pointed out that Kate sometimes says something to you forgetting that you aren't involved in the conversation going on in her head.

I sometimes think my sister is in over her head with trying to raise Kate but she really does try to understand her and help her to develop as best she can. Because Kate is exploring music and taking piano lessons this year Angie has asked everyone in the family to make or buy a CD of music that best represents us or that we enjoy for Kate. I thought that this was a great idea and can't wait to share some of my favorites with her.I've been doing a lot of shopping on-line this week and I found a great Toy Store called Hearth Song. Their tagline is "toys you'll feel good about giving." I would totally agree with that statement. They have very creative and interesting toys many of them with a crafty emphasis. They have a well articulated environmental policy and a story that I can really support. They are currently running a $4.99 shipping deal and a $10 reward card if you spend $50 on their site.

I bought my niece Jess a Design your Own Lamp as she has been getting into decorating lately. I got my nephew a kid sized metal detector as he is very into geocaching with his Mom and loves to explore the outdoors. They had kid sized bamboo knitting needles on sale for 69 cents. I'm going to give them to all the girls and see if anything of them choose to take me up on my offer to teach them to knit.
I got Kate a Physics kit from Mike that they can play with together. The two of them have always had such a special bond. I think it's because she recognizes a kindred spirit and considers him her intellectual equal. I took 10 shots of her sitting on his lap and each one of them was totally different. The two of them were hamming it up like crazy in most of them but there was something about this one that I really liked.

I am of course still buying handmade for some gifts this year but I have found that you have to supplement the handmade with other gifts that will help them to explore their own creativity. Kate is also into drawing and cartooning right now so I have bought her a bunch of supplies and how to books on Amazon including a Beginners' Sketching/Drawing Artist Kit. I do so love shopping and shopping for my nieces is the most fun of all.


Last day to Enter!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my Bag It Up Giveaway. You could win one of three prizes. Each has a gently used handmade bag with a matching wire wristcuff made by me. See the details here. I haven't been doing a lot of promotion, or really any, so there are only 31 entries as of today. So your chances of winning one of them is really good.


My new Hat Listings

I had an absolutely delightful Thanksgiving holiday. I had some relaxing and enjoyable days with my immediate family and the chaos of Thanksgiving day with the whole Lenox clan. I'll share pictures from the week later but I just wanted to share my new hat listings today. I got my niece Jess to do some modeling for me. She's turning into a real beauty and growing up so fast. She had fun being a super model for a few hours and did a great job I think.

These are the three hats that I have just listed in my Etsy shop. I've decided to build up my shop again as I had 2 sales the past few weeks without even trying including my most expensive scarf/hat set. Perhaps things are starting to turn around for online sales after all.The top hat is called Naturally Pink and was knit with an organic wool with environmentally friendly dyes. I used a chevron ribbed stitch which shows off the colors nicely and has lots of give. The black striped beanie is is called Silk Mountain and is from my favorite yarn brand, Noro. It is a wool, silk, mohair blend and is super soft and warm. And finally the Perfectly Purple Hat was knit with a wool handspun in lovely shades of purple, blue, and green.

She also modeled some scarves too but I haven't had time to edit or list any of them yet. I'll share when I can. It's too bad she doesn't live closer as it would be nice to have such a willing model close by.


Merry Christmas For Me!

So the big holiday shopping season is almost upon us. I've already gotten my big gift for the year. My Mom and Uncle got me the Canon Speedlite 430EX, an external flash for my camera, for my birthday/Christmas. I haven't had a chance to play with it much but I'm hoping to put it to use this week with the girls.

I was doing some looking for fun on my two favorite shopping sites since the network is down this week at work and no work is being done of any kind in our office today. I found the two cool widgets at the top of the page. These are books and stuff that I'd love to find in my stocking from amazon and the top one is a list compiled from etsy. I originally made a treasury of it you can find here. But I just discovered the site kaboodle and put together a wish list and made a widget which is easy to add to a site. I think this may become my preferred way of sharing items on my blog. Let me know if you have any troubles with seeing it or slow loading time.

So do you plan on venturing out for any Black Friday Shopping adventures? What are you hoping to find under your tree this year?


Happy Birthday Ani!

I finally feel as though I'm returning to the land of the living today. I have been on antibiotics for 4 days now but it was a seriously nasty infection in my ears and the start of bronchitis in my chest.

November is the month of birthdays around here with Ani's getting the highest priority. We had her friend birthday party on Saturday at the Painted Zebra. It's a paint your own pottery place so they could get creative and messy without the cleanup. I think the girls had a good time painting their trinket boxes. Ani painted an ice cream cone box and made it look like the ice cream was melting down the cone which I thought was very creative.

She's now 10 going on 21 which is troubling at times. Sometimes I catch myself talking to her like she's an adult. I can't remember what I had said but she actually told me one time, "Aunt Paige, sometimes I think that you forget that I'm only 9 years old." She is definitely becoming her own person now which is exciting to watch. She has her own dramatic flair just like her Aunt and I hope that she won't lose that spark as she grows.

This last shot if from her family party a few weeks ago with her Dad.


Mother/Daughter Weekend.

There was a whole lot of mother/daughter bonding going on this weekend. In fact, I would call it the theme of the event for me. I spent more alone time with my Mom than I have years. This was nice, except for the being sick as a dog on Sunday part. The craft show day was cold and windy which was good for my sales but it didn't help my cold much to say the least. I'm still coughing up a storm and just hoping to make it through the day at work.

I had a lot of support from family and friends at this event which made it extra special for me. It's going to be a very Lenox Knits Christmas at the Barnitz household this year for sure. They are the amazingly supportive neighbors and old family friends that bought many gifts to exchange this year.

Lisa and her daughter were going to have to miss the show on Saturday so they came over the night before to get a advance show all to themselves. They had a lot of fun playing in my tubs and frolicking in the knitwear. Kennedy is an absolute doll and she is an excellent model too. I plan on having her do some modeling for me the next time I'm home for my Etsy shop.
I also made a surprising number of stranger sales which was encouraging. I got lots of compliments from Mom's friends but the rest of my sales were to the hip, discerning shoppers of Rolla like this pair here. They were my last customers of the day and two of my favorites. They are future mother and daughter in laws and they had a lot of fun picking out their scarves. They had a nice camaraderie and they let me take a picture with their chosen scarves.

I think that I will probably do this event next year as well. It's a nice change of pace from the indie shows I do and it was a good day for sales to boot. I can almost fit all of my inventory into one tub which is a first in awhile. You can tell that I have had things priced to move this year for sure.


Rolla Holiday Bazaar!

I'm heading back down to the farm this afternoon for the Rolla Holiday Bazaar tomorrow from 9:00-4:00. Mom and I will be setting up my booth bright and early. It will be fun to have her there for the day. Kai is the only person I've ever had help me with a show before. Something tells me that Mom will do less texting and complaining but I could be wrong.

The above shots are from last weekend at the farm. We went down for the annual hunting cabin party. You can see the good ole blue grass band that Dad and my cousin Beth are dancing too in the panning shot. The top one is of my friend Tif riding Bob. We had a very relaxing weekend which I'm afraid won't be the case this time but hopefully it will be worth it.


My Veteran's Day Thoughts

Saying Happy Veteran's Day sounds a bit silly to me but I thought I would share my two family veteran's day pictures. The top shot is my grandfather on my mother's side, Jay Parscale, who fought in WWII. I don't know a lot about his story but I think he was also an Army cook. He is gone now but definitely not forgotten. This handsome young man is my Dad. He was an information specialist in the Marines in the very early days of the Vietnam War. He was sent out on his own for weeks at a time and sent back information via Morse code. He was also there for the buildup during the Cuban missile crisis. He often tells the story of how he was sent across the island during a hurricane to deliver a message and he had to crawl on his hands and knees holding on for dear life. I also know that there are lots of stories that he doesn't tell and wishes that he could forget.

As you may know I am the peace loving type and I dearly wish that there was no need for any young man or woman to go through what my Dad and Papaw had to experience. But until that day comes I'm very grateful that there are people willing to put themselves at great risk for our freedoms.


Bag It Up Giveaway with Lenox Knits!

It's been awhile since I've done a giveaway around here. I thought it was time to do some fall cleaning and chose 3 lightly used bags that I would like to pass onto to good homes. They are all handmade and still in very good condition. I will include a matching wire wrist cuff hand knit by me to each winner.
The bags are each approximately 9" x 12" which is a little small for my everyday bag but perfect for most normal people.

The orange flower purse was the first bag I ever purchased on Etsy in 2007. It was made by Blossom Arts who also works in polymer clay and made the button enclosure. I actually thought about taking the button off the purse and using it on something else but I couldn't bring myself to destroy her vision of the purse since it really is the perfect compliment to the design. I'm including a gold wire wrist cuff with orange and yellow beads.

Supastarr made the blue/tan flower purse in the middle of the top shot. I've bought screen printed tee shirts for Mike from her on several occasions. I'm including a silver wire wristcuff with blue seed beads and shell beads.

I cannot for the life of me remember when or where I got the blue batik quilted purse. I think it may have been at a craft show but it has no tags so I have no idea who the maker was. I'm including a silver wire wristcuff with gray seed beads and shell beads.
I'm keeping the rules really simple this time:

  • For the first entry just let me know what you look for in a handmade bag and/or where you bought your last bag. Please include your e-mail address if there is not a link to it on your profile page.
  • For an additional entry you may follow my blog with Google Friend Connect. If you already follow just let me know.
  • For a third entry you can add my blog to your blog roll and leave a link.
  • And finally you can earn another two entries for blogging about the contest. Please give a link to the blog post and leave two comments here.

As always please leave a comment for each entry.

There will be three winners chosen by random number generator on December 1, 2010. I'm opening it to the United States only this time to keep shipping cost down.

I don't really have time for all the promotional efforts that I normally do for my giveaways so your chances should be really good on this one. I'm looking forward to your responses and hoping that there are some other bag addicts out there that will get some good use out of these handmade creations.


Cinderella Project

Details about my giveaway should be coming tomorrow. I don't have the time and energy for a big production this time around but this one should still be fun.

I just wanted to ask you to take a few minutes to vote for a very worthwhile program for girls in need in the St. Louis area. The Cinderella Project collects donated prom dresses and also provides makeup and free alterations for the dresses. They are participating in the Pepsi Good Idea Program. If they are one of the top 10 vote getters then they will receive funding to buy much needed plus size gowns. As a big girl myself now I know how important choices are when it comes to clothes. These girls deserve to have as much fun picking out their dresses as their skinny counterparts.

If you have a facebook account it takes less than a minute to vote. You can vote everyday through Dec. 1 and you can also post it on your facebook page to ask more people to vote if you want to really be helpful.
Here is the details on what they will use the money for.
Overview: The Metro St. Louis Cinderella Project has collected over 4000 dresses from the public in the past two prom seasons. We collect an amazing selection of dresses in sizes 2-12, but as the sizes get larger, the selection of prom appropriate dresses decreases. The young women that are referred to our project are of all shapes and sizes. A lot of the girls we see are needing plus size dresses. Our inventory of dresses in sizes 14 + is limited. Our goal is to have an equal selection of prom appropriate dresses for the plus size girls as there are for the smaller size girls.


Bag It Up

So I finally made my purchase for my new winter bag. I actually went with one that was not part of my post yesterday. I ended up with the Skull Tote in Damask and Paisley by Moka Designs . I really love the rich red and browns and there are a total of 8 pockets and tons of room inside which is what sold me.

I'm sure I will be buying from the sellers in my post from yesterday in the future as I am such a purse slut. I am always shopping around and rarely go back to the same seller twice. Mike says I have a serious bag problem. When I told him I was shopping for my winter bag he asked if that meant I was going to get rid of some of my previous ones. He said "why don't you pass some of your other handmade bags on so that someone else can enjoy them?"

This really got me thinking and I have a giveaway planned that I will be announcing later this week. If you like handmade goodies you should definitely stay tuned for this one.


Big, Bold, and full of Crap

It's definitely time for a new handbag in my world. I've been carrying the same one for over 6 months which is almost unheard of for me. And on top of that it's not even handmade, gasp. I bought it in a moment of weakness at the mall on one of my first trips out of the house after my surgery. I've tried to get my monies worth by carrying it for longer than usual but it's time to let it go and get myself a handmade winter bag. I've gotten it narrowed down to 5 choices. If you want to see all the ones I have considered check out this treasury.

My requirements in a bag are such: It must be big. I carry a lot of crap around and must have something capable of fitting it all comfortably, preferably with lots of pockets to attempt to keep me organized. I need a long and sturdy strap. Too many handmade bags have little straps which just aren't practical in the real world. I prefer if they use upcycled materials as in the first two bags in my choices, but this is not a requirement.

I'm still really torn between a bold pattern like number 1 or 4 and something more earthy and natural like number 2 or 5. I guess it is the classic contrast in my life, between say Mondo's designs and Gretchens' to tie it in to my last post. Number 3 might be a good compromise I suppose and it is reversible which is nice.

So which bag would you pick? I'll tell you tomorrow which one I'm decided on. I know that the fate of the world does not depend on this but on a day like today when many of the decisions we are making in the polling booth are so important a frivolous choice seemed like a nice diversion.


A Travisity of Justice

I honestly don't think I am overstating it when I say that our house was in deep mourning last night over the horrendous ending to an otherwise perfect season of Project Runway. Mondo was absolutely robbed of his rightful title and I think that there should be some investigation of the judging. Perhaps it is time to clean house and get rid of old ladies Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. If they think that Gretchen's old lady underwear with brown prints is "on fashion trend" then I think it's time for them to move on. We need someone who can recognize real talent and not feel threatened by it.
Mondo's collection was fresh, colorful, and alive. Gretchen's was sad, drab, and uninspired. This is coming from a hippy dippy type who you would think would be her target audience. Her opening look is above and is representative of the entire collection. She had 3 different looks with those droopy knit underwear. Who in the world would actually wear those things out of the house?
This is the controversial final look from Mondo's collection which probably cost him the win. Nina and Michael didn't like it and told him last week. I personally agree with Tim Gunn that it was the perfect closing of the show and would absolutely wear it if I had the body or someplace to wear it. There were at least 6 of his looks that I would wear unlike Gretchen's sad collection. After the emotional highs and lows of this season it just seemed inevitable that Mondo would come out on top.

I believe that Missy Schwartz, who writes the recaps for EW sums it up best, "I am aghast. As I sit here at 11:16 p.m., the minutes piling up before I get to go to bed and try to forget the travesty that was tonight’s finale, I am at a loss as to what to say. Other than this: Project Runway has betrayed me. Nina and Michael have betrayed me. No, they’ve betrayed us, we the faithful Runway nuts who have stuck with the show through thick and thin, even when it went off the rails in L.A."

I have never felt so strongly about a reality show conclusion in my life. Luckily Mike is equally aghast so we can discuss it at great length. That is one thing I love about Mike, he actually prefers Project Runway to football. Does anyone else have strong feelings about last night's show or do you think I might be a bit too emotionally invested in a reality show?


Unexpected Visitors

So I saw this online the other day and I've been obsessed with it ever since. It is from the footage of a Charlie Chaplin premier in 1928 which filmmaker George Clark, discovered on the outtakes. It appears to show an old woman/man in drag walking down the street talking on a cell phone. There is a flat black device in her hand which she is talking into with no one else around. Some are saying it could be a time traveler but I'm sure there is some explanation we may never really know since everyone there is dead now.

I've always loved time travel movies/TV shows and ironically Mike has just finished a rough draft on a book involving accidental time travelers tentatively titled Unexpected Visitors. He has started 3 sci fi/fantasy novels since we've been together but this is the first that he's actually finished. He let me and our friend who has been published read the rough draft. I was worried that it would be crap and I would have to be supportive and lie but it's actually very well done. I pointed out some plot problems which he can easily fix and he's hoping to have it ready for submission by the end of the year. It could easily be done into a series if things go well which is the plan. There is actually a market for pulpy science fiction so there is always a chance it could be published.


Medusa's Day

I wish I could say that Medusa was my new best friend but unfortunately this was one gamble that didn't pay off so well. It was a perfectly pleasant day with some lovely booth neighbors but I sold a grand total of 4 scarflettes. The Medusa shot is of a big sign they had out which I posterized in Photoshop.

It was an unseasonably warm day which hurt my sales, and the event was a bit too spread out so I don't think we had as much traffic as we could have. They had booths in 3 different locations, some outside and some inside, and entertainment was all over the place . I don't think people were clear on where things were which caused some confusion. I think I pretty much broke even when you factor in the booth fee, food, gas, and a few other things I bought for the day.

I was happy with my booth display. I don't know why I didn't sell any scarves or wristcuffs but I guess it was just a scarflette crowd, what there was of it. I did sell a scarflette to a former Smashanista which I thought was cool. When they walked in I thought they looked familiar and then I heard someone talking about roller derby and I made the connection. I didn't think to take a picture of her in the scarflette which I am beating myself up about today.

I made a trade with the lovely Mandi from My Lovies. I chose a locket with a few beads but I came really close to choosing this beautiful pendant with old lace.

I had some good quality time with Kai, although he said he made 1000 texts during the day. I don't know how many different ways you can say I'm bored but I think he found a few hundred.

I'm looking forward to my last show of the year, the Rolla Holiday Bazaar on November 13. Hopefully there will be a good scarf buying crowd awaiting me there.


Off to Meet Medusa!

I'm off to Medusa's Craft Menagerie from 11 am to 7 pm today. It will be spread out throughout the 3100 block of Cherokee Street and will include the participating shops: Fort Gondo, The Archive, Peridot, STL Style House, Snowflake Gallery, Cherokee peach. You can also find my stuff at Peridot among all of the other great handmade goodies on consignment.

I'm not real sure what to expect from the day so I'm prepared for just about anything. I'm bringing Kai to help out and keep me company. I know that there will be lots of entertainment including a fashion show, live music, and a fire performance of some kind.

So if your local I hope you will come out and say hi and partake of Medusa's wonderment.


Opening My Eyes

I was checking out the Huff Post Arts page yesterday and found a really inspirational article I just had to share. It's called Relish the Art That Surrounds You by Agnes Gund. The main premise is that we should take time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us wherever we are. This line sums it up nicely, "I'm talking about the ubiquitous examples of the lift, the alert, the surprise and small thrills that come from acknowledging the loveliness that is both momentary and constant in the every day, ordinary encounters of our lives."

I was actually thinking about a post like this for awhile but just didn't have the foundation until I read this article. She says exactly what I was thinking far better than I could so I do hope you check it out. Ever since I took up photography as a hobby/new obsession I really feel like I've begun to see the world differently. A day doesn't go by that I don't frame an image in my mind as I'm walking down the sidewalk or driving down the street. I used to be so much more in my own head, not noticing the world around me as I do now. I see the world in images now and am constantly amazed at the beauty I encounter in my own little world.

Sunset with cross

She talks about places that she goes to explore beauty where she lives in New York City. I don't have the diversity of this local but I think I have just as much beauty to explore in my own neighborhood. So here is my own list of places in St. Charles, MO that I have photographed and can go back to time again to discover more beauty:

  • St. Charles Frontier Park. This includes the docks and riverfront views in the top shot. There are also countless festivals and gatherings held throughout the year that are not only great photo ops but just lots of fun.
  • St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery. This old cemetery was founded in 1856 and has some of the most important residents of St. Charles buried in it. It also has lots of really cool old statues and headstones that I love to photograph. I caught it right at sunset with the big cross for one of my classes earlier in the year.
  • Busch Wildlife Conservation Area. This is only 20 minutes from my house and is a wonderful opportunity to explore nature and discover beauty anytime of year. I definitely need to get out there soon to capture the season change and some fall colors. The goose in flight is one of my favorites that I've shot there.
  • Lindenwood University campus. This is my alma mater and is one of the oldest schools this side of the Mississippi. I can practically walk to the campus from my house and there is some amazing architecture and walking paths with beauty to explore right next door.
  • Frenchtown. This is the old Main Street of St. Charles and in addition to great antiques shopping there are also beautiful old buildings, a working trolley, horse drawn carriages, and other seasonal opportunities with people dressed in costumes.
These are just the ones that came to my mind this morning. I didn't include anything on the other side of the bridge which opens up a whole other world of possibilities.
Goose in flight

I know it's a cliche, "to stop and smell the roses", but I guess that is what I'm really trying to say. I'm really thankful for all of the beauty I'm lucky to have around me. I love our little corner of the world and as much as I wonder about what else is out there beyond my neck of the woods I really wouldn't change things one bit.


Blogging is Hard.

Anyone who is reading this is probably well aware that maintaining a blog is not easy. Anyone can post randomness once a month and call it a blog but to actually be consistent is really hard. Add to that the need to interact and be a part of the community and you practically have a full time job on your hands. The Embrace Your Narrative Key Chain comes with book and pen charms and silver split ring and is from fellow blogger Risky Beads. She maintains not just one but two handmade blogs including the Handmade Highway.

I honestly feel I've been a bit derelict in my duties the past 6-9 months. I've gone through the motions and posted at least 2 or 3 times a week and checked in with my blog buddies at least once a week but the passion was gone. This week I decided to try to recapture again what it is I have always loved about blogging. Mainly it is about being a part of a community.

I have the EC community and then the larger crafting community. I have seen Entrecard get overrun with spammers and won't even open up my drops inbox anymore for fear of what half naked pictures and other annoyances will be there. I've developed my Favorites list there of blogs I like in the system and who drop back regularly on me. You can find the list here and if you are in EC and would like to be added to my favorites that I drop on at least 3 times a week just let me know in the comments.

I also decided to make a commitment to be more a part of the wider blog community. I don't leave as many comments as I know I should and I hope to get over that lurking impulse. I went through the blogs I follow and cleaned up the list. I unfollowed anyone who hadn't posted in the past few months. This reaffirmed how hard blogging is as there were many abandoned blogs on my list. I have it down to a healthy 140 blogs. You can see the list on my profile here if you like. Now that all the dead weight is gone I can actually use my Reading List as it was intended to be used.

I also added some new blogs to My blog List on the right column. This blog roll is prime real estate as the more links to your blog the higher your google page rank. I'm still proud of my Google Page Rank 3 which took me 2 years to achieve. If you have a creative blog, not necessarily crafty but it doesn't hurt, you post at least once a week and would like to exchange links on our blog list you can also let me know in my comments.

I wanted to highlight a few of my new featured bloggers and recommend that you check them out. Some of the blogs on my list are well established with many followers like Makeunder My Life, and a few are just really well written blogs that have yet to be discovered like Cara Makes. Cara has a real way with words and is also very creative to boot.

I absolutely adore hipchic designs natural aesthetic and she really inspires me to try my hand at something new.

Additions Style has a very inspirational blog for the creative types. She has a modern design aesthetic which is refreshing to the eyes.

I also added Moonangelnay, who is a fellow longtime EC member. I have always respected her work and her commitment to blogging.

So I am going to make a commitment to return blog comments in a much more consistent way and to really try to be a supportive member of this wonderful community. I've gotten so much support myself through the past 3 years both personally and creatively and I really am grateful that there are people that still check in on me regularly.

(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD