With the passing of Sandy, temperatures have dipped into chillier digits, and the heat officially kicked on in the row house yesterday. I've been busting out the boots for the past few weeks, but at this point I'll need to add a few sweaters to my wardrobe for additional warmth. I think that the beautiful 70s October weather is certainly gone for good and we'll be looking at crisp November air from here on out. With another unexpected day off from school due to the storm, I spent the morning doing some online window shopping. Here are a few of my favorite sweaters I'd like to snuggle up in.
Any awesome sweaters that I missed while I was browsing? I'd love to see them! If you're anything like me, once it's cold it is hard for me to stay warm so sweaters are essential. Now hopefully I can convince Andrew to let me buy a few of these. ;)
I can't really title this blog post "The Aftermath" as I was going to because things just aren't that bad. After a full 24 hours of getting slapped in the face by Sandy, we're actually quite lucky that things aren't worse than they are.
I spent the day working on some new card designs, reading and catching up on blogs, working on some custom orders, snuggling with my cat Finn, and obsessing over the weather radar because of my love for crazy weather.
Andrew got out of work early so we decided to brave the elements and take Lilah for a walk. She was extremely excited to get out of the house and into the rain and wind. Lucky for you, I didn't have the video camera on when the real wind gusts arrived. At times it was nearly impossible to stand up straight and we could hardly walk!
Andrew also thought it completely necessary to go check on our roof deck furniture that he had tied down with a tarp. And by checking on the roof deck furniture, I mean, taking a video in the dark from the roof with the rain pounding him and wind howling. While you can't really see a whole lot, you can hear a lot, which speaks for itself.
And yes, Lilah felt as though she needed to go out into the weather again. She seemed to like to bark at the wind. These are riveting videos I tell you!
And if that's not enough, right before we were about to go to bed, we noticed a huge pocket of water gathering in our kitchen wall. Andrew being Andrew decided that it was a good idea to start investigating right away by cutting a hole in our drywall. Needless to say we will need to do some home repair due to a leak above the door that let all sorts of water reach the interior wall. And for now, we get to live with this in our kitchen.
Upon waking, we found more water damage upstairs in the wall in our hallway. That damage will be more interesting to investigate as we truly have no idea where it is coming from.
Needless to say, things are better than they could have been and I'm quite ok with that. The big thing here is that the power stayed on so that I could bake my lasagna for dinner last night. And quite frankly, I was going to eat lasagna for dinner whether or not Sandy wanted me to, damn it! And I did. And it was delicious!
I hope everyone else that had to wait out the storm made out ok!
Remember this awesome tornado? And all of these lovely weather happenings? Add to the list the crazy derecho we experienced this summer and yet another insane thunderstorm that marked the beginning of our summer road trip, causing our first leg of the trip to take almost twice as long. Yes. I am beginning to think that we may actually be cursed. It is all a little too Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs-ish. Today marks the beginning of yet another natural disaster-- Hurricane Sandy.
I certainly love crazy weather. I would be lying if I told you I didn't used to run out in our backyard scanning the sky when the tornado sirens went off while growing up in Indiana. And I would also be lying if I told you I didn't like to take the dog for walks in the middle of hurricanes just so I can feel the intensity of the wind and rain pounding my face. Or that I didn't obsessively scan the weather radar for a week leading up to these big storms. Or that I didn't wish the earthquake would have lasted longer than 30 seconds and that I wasn't sad I didn't feel the aftershocks.
Not much of a blog post today other than to say that 1) I hope the power stays on, 2) I cannot wait to see what happens at 3pm when, according to weather.com, we're supposed to experience (and I quote) "squalls," and 3) considering our luck, we're insanely fortunate that the Yellowstone Supervolcano didn't erupt the second that we entered it's crater boundary on our road trip this summer. The end.
Hope everyone else on the East Coast is staying warm and dry!
Ah, the perks of being a teacher-- summers off and $200 Amazon gift cards. Well, actually the gift card thing only happened once in the six years that I have been teaching in Baltimore City, but I like to pretend that it is one of the perks. It makes me feel a little better about this whole teaching thing. When I got said Amazon gift card about a month ago, I thought it would be best spent on the new Kindle e-reader (and a pair of boots, obviously). And just because I could, I got the bright pink leather case to go with it.
The first book that I decided to read is Protecting Truth, the second book in a series that is authored by a friend of ours. While the YA sci-fantasty genre is not always the first thing that I choose to read, I am amazed at Michelle's talent. I could never imagine writing a novel-- so much time is put into the craft! Her latest novel came out a few weeks ago, but I decided to wait and order it on my Kindle.
Anyway, that leads me to the next issue at hand. I'm completely overwhelmed with where I should begin in terms of books to read. There are a few that have been on my mental reading list, but I just hadn't made it to the bookstore to get a copy nor had I been able spend the money on so many books. The awesome part about the Kindle, I realize, is that many of the books I would love to read are a fraction of the price of the print edition. In addition, there are a lot of free books available too. I have a few books that I've decided I'll be reading, but knowing that I'll probably plow through those pretty quickly, I'd love to hear your suggestions especially if you've read some free books that were especially outstanding.
Over the years there is one thing that many paper lovers will acquire, and that is overabundance of the thing we love. It would be a lie if I were to say that I don't have paper spilling out of drawers and taking over my studio. Paper can be inspiring. Sometimes I need to buy new paper in order to get my creativity going again. However, the result can be too much paper.
Last weekend, I spent part of the morning reorganizing my drawers full of paper when I suddenly thought of a fun way to both minimize my stock in paper and provide an economical set of correspondence for my customers. I paired bright colored card stock with contrasting envelopes. I cut flat note cards from light-weight 80lb card stock and printed each card with a handwritten hello. The end result? Bright, fun, and bold flat notes for the economically minded. Right now there are three limited edition sets of 8 flat notes available in the shop, and each set is only $10. And I have a few more color combos in mind. These cards would be perfect for a simple note to a friend-- nothing too fancy, but a blast of color to brighten someone's day.
I think I'll even start using these for myself to send a little cheer to my family and friends. Sometimes the simplicity of color is all that we need.
I've been trying to do better with updating this dear old blog more frequently. I was a self-proclaimed success after a post on Monday and Tuesday. Two days in a row-- success indeed! I've also been super busy with new designs and trying to get them into the shop. I spent a larger portion of last weekend printing, editing, and photographing some of my latest cards. I feel as though I've had a plethora of creative ideas, but having the time to get the final product into the shop has been a challenge. In addition, to a few new items that I wanted to share today, I have some new holiday cards and Thanksgiving cards that will soon be listed as well. But for now, I'll share with you some of my newest favorites.
My latest anniversary card may or may not be from similar personal experience.
I love the fine print on this one. Not going to lie-- I may have felt a little old this year on my birthday. Only one year away from the big 3-0 is kind of crazy!
A few people suggested that I make some fun cards with no occasion in mind. This is one of my favorites as a result of that suggestion.
I love the simplicity of this love card. Reminds me of those grade school crushes.
What creative endeavors have you been working on lately?
Maybe I don't really know what I'm talking about because I've never actually seen The Wire, but I have heard things. I've lived in Baltimore for six years, yet have never seen the show. Really. I know. Gasp. Is it a good show? I wouldn't know.
Quite frankly, I love this city, I love my house, I love my neighborhood, I love my neighbors. And quite frankly, Baltimore doesn't deserve the bad reputation that it often gets. Yes, it has it's moments-- like the time a Baltimore City police officer knocked on our door wanting to get up on our roof deck so he could skip across the roofs on the street to scope out a drug deal. Or the time when we lived at our old apartment-- Andrew took Lilah outside to go pee at 3 in the morning when she was a wee baby pup only to find a creepy man dressed in black with red contacts staring straight at our dog. Or there was the time the seventeen year old drop out threw a metal drain cover at a guy that lived down the street, barely missing my car.
Ok. You get the drift. But really, that's the city. And if you can't deal with a few of these infrequent incidents now and again, then city life is probably not for you. Almost everyone that I know that lives in Baltimore, or even a major city for that matter, has some sort of crazy story to tell.
However, recently, it's been feeling a bit more Wire-esque, or so I've been told.
This had been hung on our door by BCPD. Need I say more? (P.S. Don't you love how I Instagrammed that shit so it looks all old-timey detective-y. I love a good dose of sarcasm. And I am a nerd.) The ironic part is that this particular incident was indeed a burglary and homicide, but it was a shooting too. Apparently they felt that checking all three boxes would freak people out too much-- who knows?
The best part? This happened four houses down on the other side of our alley. Woohoo. In other news, three weeks later, as in Sunday night, there was another shooting around the corner from our house in which we discovered this morning that the victim died. Nothing like going out to get your groceries only to return to the street being blocked off with police tape and squad cars.
Now, these sorts of incidents have not happened for a veeeeeeeery long time in our neck of the woods, so the fact that there have been two back to back shootings is a bit creepy. However, I find myself not so creeped out. Maybe it is the fact that I've become desensitized to violence in the city. Maybe it is because I know that it is transient crime-- people moving through our neighborhood from rougher areas of the city. Maybe it is because I know my neighbors and I know they are fabulous and that together we make our street better and safer.
So many of my friends have reacted by saying something like, "Oh no! You better move at once! There are homes for sale in my neighborhood!" But if we were to move, doesn't that make the problem in our neighborhood worse? In the two years that we have lived in our house, our neighborhood has become exponentially better. Sure, there are bad things about this city, but the good constantly outweighs the bad. To leave would be to give up hope on those good things, and I'm not ready to give up hope yet.
I don't feel unsafe, and I don't think I'm naive to say that. I keep my guard up, and I live my life without fear because living in fear is no way to live. And I focus on the positive things that I love about my city, knowing that some times are rougher than others. I'm willing to give up a few rough days in order to be happy for the remainder of the year. And from what I've heard, this really isn't The Wire, and I'm happy to know I've got it pretty good.
I'm going to be honest with you guys today. I am an outsider. Part of that has to do with the fact that I'm a complete introvert. The other part of it has to do with the fact that I hate cliques. Growing up, I was never part of a group. I had a few very close friends and lots of acquaintances. I didn't like the social groups that developed in high school-- you know, the jocks, the nerds, the stoners, the preps, etc. I thought they were pointless. Why couldn't everyone just get along?
I was never popular, and if I was, I didn't know it. I got along with all types of people and was fine with that. What I wasn't fine with was when someone that I got along with in one class ignored me in another because the the rest of their group was present. That was middle school and high school. Me, the outsider, that tried to get along with everyone because it was what I thought was the right thing to do. I was, and still am, genuine. That is who I am. The superficial quality that some people seem to be able to pull off is just not me, nor will it ever be.
Recently, I've been a bit absent from this blog world. I liked to use the excuse that I just didn't have the time. I have been strapped for time, but not any more than I was last year during the school year. I did some thinking for a while this weekend and realized it had to do with a lot more than that. I love blogging because of the interaction with others, the community aspect. However, recently, I've grown to feel frustrated with what seems to be an ever-growing problem of cliques within the blogging world.
On blogs and on twitter, I see only certain people talking to other people within a small group. No worries, you might think, I'll just ignore your tweet even if you have something good to say because you're not in my group. Or, I'm not going to give you special treatment even though you are my blog sponsor because you're not in my group like some of my other blog sponsors. Or the good old tweet that says, "I DMed you!" as if there is some big secret that no one else can know, yet everyone MUST know that you are having this secret convo so that the others won't feel in the loop. Seriously? Just DM the person without announcing it, for goodness sake! It's all a bit like this:
Yup, I totally said it. It's all a little bit like Mean Girls.
Here's the thing-- it's perfectly acceptable to have your own group of friends. However, having your own group does not mean that you have to ignore, be rude to, or patronize those that aren't in that group. In addition, just because someone isn't in your blogging clique doesn't mean that you shouldn't give them a chance as an individual. Bottom line-- there is no need to treat people poorly just because you aren't part of their group. At least take the time to get to know the person! Give them a chance!
If someone comments on your blog, give them the benefit of the doubt and go check out their blog. They might have something fabulous to say. If someone sponsors your blog, take the time to get to know them. Don't write a post about them as if you were great friends without even taking a moment to email them and find out a few things about them. (This actually happened to me once. I paid to be a sponsor, the blogger never contacted me, and then the blogger wrote that I was such an awesome person that they would totally want to hang out with. Talk about awkward.) And when a new blogger tweets you or follows you on twitter, put yourself in their shoes. Reach out to them instead of being rude, ignoring them, and not giving them a chance.
I don't expect you to be friends with everyone that you meet, but I expect people to be civil toward each other, to be kind to one another. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing out on one of the most important aspects of blogging-- getting to know new and interesting people.
You may or may not remember my little feature of StarSeventeen, my sister's Etsy shop. Recently, my sister asked me to work on a branding concept for her shop. I was super excited to do this because it is something I've been interested in dabbling in for a while. And of course I was super excited to be helping out my sister! She is an extremely talented artist, so for her to ask me to design something for her was quite the task.
Her art focus of choice these days happen to be painted hats such as these.
She wanted a logo that represented both her signature "portal design" (as you see in this hat) as well as an urban retro feel. The end result?
In addition to the logo, I created a banner for her facebook page and her Etsy shop. My last job was to make post cards, merchandise tags, and business cards for her as well. Everything turned out just as I had envisioned and my sister was by far the easiest client I have ever worked with. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we have ESP. And by ESP, I mean, that I'm familiar enough with her art that I could run with the suggestions she gave me.
Anyway, be on the look out for lots of new super awesome stuff in my sister's shop that goes beyond just the hats! She also just started up a new blog, so feel free to show her some love there as well! And to any of you looking for some design work, I may or may not be just a little happy if you ask me work on a new logo for you. ;)
Any new projects or concepts that you've been working on lately?
It is no secret that this dear old blog needs a little life support at the moment, or maybe a good dose of CPR to at least revitalize it. I've been missing from the blog world for about a month after school took over my life. Between all of the lesson planning, grading of papers, coaching basketball, taking a grad class, AND last but not least keeping up with the continually growing shop, my poor blog has taken the biggest hit of all.
With the arrival of fall, I've decided to try to get my butt back in gear with this whole blogging business. Fall is my favorite time of year and there are a few things that I've been loving lately.
Post-season playoff games for the Baltimore Orioles! Baseball well into October is something that hasn't happened here since we've moved to Baltimore (or even well before then) and the excitement in the city about the O's is pretty awesome! Baseball fans or not, people are getting excited about our baseball team.
Time to get those boots back out! And by getting the boots back out, that also means buying two new pairs to add to lot. Sorry, but I couldn't choose just one of these. In all fairness, I did have some pretty spectacular coupon codes and some leftover money on an Amazon gift card to help me out so that I wouldn't break the bank.
Also exciting? Popcorn and apple cider! I have a delicious peanut butter popcorn recipe that I'll have to share with you all in the future. I eat way too much of that stuff during these fall months.
While fall in Baltimore is usually pretty warm well until November, this coming week we'll finally be having some of those cooler temperatures that I truly love. Despite tomorrow's weather (lots of rain) I'm loving this outlook for the next few days!
And of course, I can't wait until the leaves start to change! Combine that with some cool, crisp weather and some weekend hiking and I'll be a happy girl.
I just can't help but love fall. It is most certainly my favorite season. What are looking forward to this fall?