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Sweet! A Pirate Suite!

A mom name Heather, who also happens to be a soap and body yum entrepreneur (her site here: contacted me through etsy about making address labels and “booty bag” labels to match my pirate birthday party invite.

She bought the invite, but we ended up bartering for the labels and I’m looking forward to receiving my goodies in the mail.

So, now I have an entire suite of Pirate themed goods, including a photo thank you card, available in my etsy shop. I’m going to do cupcake toppers and t-shirts when I get some time. Any other ideas for must have birthday party accoutrements? I was thinking a banner would be cool, but I’m not sure how easy it would be for folks to print on their own.

Here are the address labels/alternate goody bag labels. I haven’t listed them on etsy yet, but will ASAP.

Pirate Address Label

An alternate Booty Bag label

p.s. All the labels are designed to print on Avery’s #5294 labels or these labels from


Bag Lady: For the Birds

You know about my envirosax obsession. Well, I’m also loving this bag I saw on

This tote looks roomy and comes in aqua as well as orange. It’s $24 from Spur Stor, but coolmom has scored a discount code for 20% off your entire order good until July 31st. Enter the discount code COOLMOMJULY at checkout.

I think the bag is the real winner, but they have a bunch of other neat graphic prints as well.

For example:

Summer Celebrations: new in my etsy shop

There is also a BBQ invite in this series that I’m not in love with. I think I’ll rework it.

Time Treat: The Hidden Posters of the Nottinghill Tube Station

These posters were found in a London Underground tunnel that had been closed off in the late 1950s and was reopened for the first time during a recent construction project.  They are left untouched for now as decisions about preservation are made. What a fun find. The colors and the lines give lots of inspiration.

Thanks to Jody Wody for the link!

Fabulous AND Functional

Here’s a small little something for you that has really changed the landscape of my car (and if you have young kids you know just how hairy that can be):

It’s an Auto Trash Bag available for $19 + shipping from etsy seller The Mod Mobile aka Allyson Hill.

I am totally in love with mine. I got it in the fabric above but she has a zillion fabric choices and she also sells a variety of other handy auto organization accessories (plus some non-auto stuff).

The bag is sturdy and professionally sewn, it has a stiff inner lining into which you insert a dog poop pick-up bag (or produce bag, etc), and then you tuck the extra bag into the space between the inner pocket and the decorative fabric exterior. The bag comes with an adjustable snap strap that you can loop around a variety of places in your vehicle (mine is on the headrest post of the passenger seat since I rarely have a passenger. If I do, I can just swing it around back.)

I can’t believe I’m gushing over a trash sack, but I love looking at it and it has virtually decimated the gum and granola bar wrappers, receipts, and fallen goldfish the poor car used to swim with. This is definitely something I’m going to be ordering in bulk come Christmastime as I can think of a whole passel of moms whose lives will be better for it.

Also loved Allyson’s post on the Pomodoro Technique. Definitely something to try.

Good to know. Now what?

I haven’t been blogging much, a combination of weather (beach time! gardening! panting from humidity!), work, boys, and, mostly, my neck.

If you know me you know that I have had severe chronic back and neck issues since an ice hockey injury in high school.

So, 1993 to 2010, that’s kind of a long time to keep putting off the pain, but the truth is that I have been trying to deal with it– I’ve had PT, chiropracty, some acupuncture, massage, seen doctors, essentially purchased stock in ThermaCare, done yoga etc. etc. etc., without finding anything that worked to effect any long term relief. I finally reached the breaking point last month after I did some mysterious thing (sleeping the wrong way? handstands in a pool? Who knows.) that put me into a new place of hurt  and I couldn’t take it any longer. The kids are old enough, I’m not nursing, I can get babysitters. I realize that I’m not getting younger and I have to make my pain a priority (my mother has of course been telling me this for years. . .). So, I made the doctor’s appointment, got the MRI and am now waiting to see the specialist (Thursday, July 1st seems like a long time to wait though I know it isn’t).

This is NOT my MRI, but this is what stenosis looks like. I won't be looking at this post again since it makes my neck throb when I see the image.

The preliminary reading of my MRI showed narrowing of the nerve channel on the right side of my cervical vertebrae. This is known as Cervical Stenosis, an ailment most commonly seen in those 50 or older (great, just great.). Though I don’t yet know what is causing it or what my specific  treatment options are, I am both hopeful and incredibly anxious to finally have some sort of factual reason for my pain. I don’t dare to imagine that something will diminish it all together, but the idea that it might be somewhat relieved is amazing.

Once I have more information, I’ll post an update. If you know someone or yourself have experience with this issue, please let me know. I’d love to hear what steps you have taken to ameliorate your pain.

Apparently, Dick Cheney had surgery for lumbar stenosis today, so I’m in good company. ;P

Joy Times Two

I’m very pleased that two of my holiday card designs have advanced to the second round of rating/voting in the holiday card challenge. The pool started out with almost 1400 designs, and has been narrowed down to just over 400. The competition is stiff, and if you have a chance and the inclination, I would truly appreciate your taking the time to rate my contenders.

The easiest way to do this is to click on the images below. This will take you directly to my design for rating. The designs that receive the overall highest rating will be chosen for sale on There is a cash prize, but more importantly, having a card for sale on minted would provide me with amazing public exposure. So, thank you in advance for your time and forbearance.

Here they are:

If you feel like all you ever do is vote for my freakin’ designs, do not fear. If I don’t place in this challenge I am going to take a break from entering minted challenges since I have been invited to design for a new online stationery company (more about that later!!) and simply won’t have the time despite the insidiously addictive nature of the challenges.

EXTRA MOTIVATION! Minted has just announced that all voters who rate at least 50 designs before June 23rd will be entered to win a $500 gift certificate for products. Now that’s a lotta stationery. (Just don’t rate them higher than mine. ;p)

I was surprised that these were the designs that made it– my favorite was “Laughing All the Way,” but now I’ll get to sell it in my etsy shop!

These are some of my favorite competitors, click through here to discover even more:

Retro Owl Bookplate: new in my etsy shop

Julia, who has a great blog called San Diego Song Birds, ordered several items from me including my moving truck moving announcement in green and grey, custom bookplates and an address stamp. I’ve got the bookplates up for sale in my etsy shop, so you too can give a hoot.

I LOVE doing custom work, so if you have something particular in mind, get in touch.

a berry cute idea.

For her daughter Riva’s birthday party, my neighbor Sarah made a beautiful plate of strawberries and blueberries even more appealing by adding paper parasols. Try this trick with any plate of fruit at your next party or barbecue for an easy festive feel.

Can’t find paper parasols? Order them here.

I Prevail Upon Your Good Will, Again.

The holiday challenge just opened for it’s first round of voting/rating. This round will determine which card designs (there are over 1300 of them this time) will go on to the final elimination round.

I have 8 entries, and I realize it is asking a lot of you to rate them all, but if you have the time and the inclination, I’d love it if you would.

During the last challenge, a lot of you were confused by the “voting.” In order to vote, you do need to create a account, but they won’t correspond with you unless you sign up to receive mailings.

When I’m ask you to “vote,” I am actually asking you to “rate” my designs on a scale from 1 to 5. (5 please! :)). The easiest way for you to do this is to click on the card designs below to be linked to the rating page for each particular design. Once you rate a design, you are automatically taken to the next design which may or may not (probably not) be one of mine. You are totally welcome to rate these other designs (but don’t give me 5s and others 1s please, this will just result in your ratings being discarded), or, if you only want to rate my designs, return to this blog post and click on another one of my posted designs. I hope that makes sense. I’d hate to miss out on your support because the process leads you to web rage.

Thank you in advance for your support. I truly appreciate it. Ho Ho Ho.