Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another Giveaway and Cloris Leachman

Hello to All!

First, I'd like to tell you about another cool giveaway. Another twitter pal @sevidesigns is giving away an adorable handmade buttercup bag. It is in the most delight Lila Tueller fabric and a must have for the complete summer wardrobe! All the deets are on Katherine's blog, Sevi Desings. Make sure you browse the whole blog and her shop too, so many deligtful things!

Today's birthday shout out is to Cloris Leachman. Who is a young 83 today.

This woman is insane! Do you remember her performances on DWTS? She was a riot. And her list of performances on TV, movies and stage is very long according to her wiki entry.

Well, she has been an avid supporter of PETA for years and apparently a devout vegetarian. If that is what it takes to be that vibrant at 83, then I might just be throwing out the hotdogs again!

So happy birthday Ms. Leachman and many, many more!

That is all I have for now. Quite frankly, it is 4:25 am, and I am going back to bed! lol

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ultimate Promo GiveAway Alert!!!

Hello Friends!

I am writing to bring you great news. A favorite Esty seller of mine, Self Production Design is having a give away! Their shop has all of these really cool items that sellers like myself can use to promote their personal endeavors. I think that one of my favorite items is the scratch off card that you can give to customers to encourage future business. I love, love, love clever things and this lands right near the top of the list!

So right now go and visit their blog Self Production Design. They have all of the deets about the contest and so many other cool things that you can use if you are a eager artisan like myself!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reflections on Life

Pictured is my Grandma. She passed away last Tuesday. She was 89.

Grandma was ill for a long time. Throughout my memories I could always remember that there were certain health issues that plagued her and would show up periodically. She also had osteoporosis, that was very advanced making her very fragile and it hampered her getting around some.

To be quite frank these last 15 or so years we were not very close. Large gaps of time would pass and we would not have any contact at all. She had other parts of her life to focus on and so did I. And really that is the way the adult world works after all.

I have some very fond memories of Grandma. Spending time with her, baking apple pies, crocheting and embroidering, and getting candy bars from her secret stash in her closet. Mars bars...but that is a different story for another day.

We had known the end is near for quite a few days and that was the beginning of the tidal wave of emotion that is released when someone in the family passes.

Since I could characterize my relationship with Grandma as love/dislike, I started trudging through all the memories, did my share of finger pointing, picking out the things and situations that I didn't reap from and explaining why I didn't go out of my way for her. Mind you, my family is fairly good sized, so it was not that I was the only grandchild. So I was singling myself out amongst the others that I am sure were doing the very same thing as me.

What made me feel better in going into the wake and the funeral was holding on to those memories, my special ones knowing that no other person in the family had those exact memories and that made them special because they were mine.

Throughout the services Sunday and Monday, I listened to others speak of Grandma. Some of it was things I knew and some of it was things I never heard. Some of it was so outrageous that I was stunned that we were all referring to the same person!

How could she be so different with so many different people? At some point when I got older, did she just decide to be a different person?

I have realized that she was all those things, to all of us. And no matter how well you think you know a person, they are different things to different people.

Then it flashed in my mind, why wasn't she those things to me? Why did I miss out?

I think the best answer is that we are not everything to everyone. Does that make sense? She was the teaching me to make apple pie Grandma to me and she was the make sure that you did your homework after school Grandma to another. And that is okay. I can see that now.

Part of our life is learning lessons. One way is to actually experience situations and the other is by observation. To be honest. I am beginning to believe that the observation part is way more important than the experiencing. Well it has to come first at least.

If I look at my Grandma's life just as an observer, I can objectively pick out the things in her life that I would never want to experience and the things that I look forward to, like the joy of being a grandparent someday.

And while actions in her life would be considered wrong whether it be fact or opinion, I am able to view those and put them somewhere in the back of my mind, for future reference. Later I can call upon them for comparison on situations in my life. Learning lessons.

So Thank you Grandma for the lessons you have taught me even if you didn't mean to.

And Thank you to all of God's creatures for the lessons you have taught me even when you didn't me to.

Also, remember, we are all being taught the lessons, we are teaching each other, every minute of every day. I guess the trick is to take them in and heed them when necessary.

Rest in peace Grandma.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!!

I am trying to recollect when Earth Day first showed up on my personal radar. I was born in 1964, so its very creation occurred after I did. But I do not recall anything in school the way there is now. (But then again I went to public school in the city...can you say lead paint?). I think the first real memory of it meaning something to me was in 1990. I worked for McD's and we gave away mini pine trees to all that bought a kid's meal or something like that.

I don't think I became really aware until my kids went to school. Awareness explosion is more like it! The notes home, giving us clues how to be better citizens of the Earth. My kid's mini lectures on what we should be doing to conserve. I have a 6th grader, a 4th grader and a preschooler. And you would think that after 12 years combined Earth Conservation Education between my older two, they could figure how to turn off their lights or DVD players on a consistent basis!

Okay, so we are all into this and I am quite frankly enjoying it. Knowing that we are doing something to help always makes you feel good! And it really is so important. I reuse a lot of things, craft with my cardboard and most of my light bulbs are the funky, twirly shaped ones. We could recycle more and we will.

The chuckle I had about Earth Day is our President. And I will begin all this by saying that I like our President. I voted for him and I believe he is trying. Anyway today on the Earth Day our President is flying to Iowa to give a speech.

Now I am not privy to all the info, but the group of people and the effort it takes to get the President somewhere and keep him safe wouldn't that cause a huge carbon footprint? Am I missing something?

I know that he is scheduled to visit factories and give speeches, but in light of this very day, would it not be better to say make use of technology and have the speeches deliver via close circuit or even Skype? (It's good enough for Oprah!)

I don't know, I just find it so contradictory in this particular case.

So that is all for now. Happy Earth Day. Love the Earth. Go pick up some garbage and plant something!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Look Who's 50!!!!

Today I have a special birthday shout out to cousin Larry. He is 50 years young today!

Lar has been a part of our family fore-v-e-r, witnessing the chaos that we all can cause and pretty much took it all in stride.

He is a good man, with a big heart and we wish him 50 more, happy healthy years!

Happy Birthday Larry!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Saturday

Happy Saturday!!

What a wonderful day this is! The sun is shining, the weather is nice and the breeze is mild. Boy it doesn't get much better than this!

In the spirit of this wonderful day, I wish peace and happiness to all!

Today's birthday shout out is for the actress Hayley Mills who is 63 today. She has had a great career in various mediums, but my fav of hers is the original "Parent Trap Movie" made by Disney in 1961. The story is parents who get divorced right after the birth of their twin daughters and each parent takes one daughter to raise in different parts of the world. Hayley Mills plays the parts of Susan and Sharon, the twin girls.

So today I am proud to unveil my first celebrity inspiration piece.

This "One Heart, Two Halves" Thinking of you card is based on the twins that Hayley Mills portrayed. While as twins they shared the same "heart" they were two distinct personalities with one being more frilly (the left side) and one being ordinary and down to business (the right side). The card opens in the center and displays a message "Thinking of You".

Love it? This card can be purchased from my etsy shop by clicking on the picture. I can ship it directly to you or it can be sent on your behalf. Just indicate the recipients details when checking out in the "Message to Sender" box.

Here is a clip from the "Parent Trap". You have to love 1960's technology!

So Happy Birthday Ms. Mills and many, many more!

Thank you for taking a look today and enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Social Media..I Want to Be Ashton Kutcher?!?!

Hello My Dear Friends,

I write this today, as a tremendous event has taken place. Ashton Kutcher @aplusk has broken the 1000000 mark of followers of Twitter. During this week he was in a neck and neck battle with CNN to see who would do this. Ashton broadcast via ustream and CNN went live on their station including on air pleas from Anderson Cooper. Okay, so what does this mean?

To me, I am not totally sure what the whole scope of this is. I do not have my finger on the pulse of the tech world, most of the time, I just follow along because all the cool kids are. And who doesn't want to be one of the cool kids? In retrospect, I am finding that in my quest to become more than I already am, Twitter has become very important.

I originally signed on to promote my business, make contact, meet potential customers. It was really cool at first, searching for the famous people to get small snippets of their lives. I bought into the genre of "What am I doing" and I admit my first tweets were "Picking up DD from dance" or "waiting for dinner to finish...meatloaf yea". Okay sort of lame, but I was taking it literally and that's okay. But sort of boring and ordinary. Boring and ordinary don't get you many followers.

As I continued and got the hang of things, I found my self searching for better things to post. Or share again, retweets, they are called. I have read a whole slew of blogs and snippets and viewed pictures that I would have never seen anywhere else. I have read some quite amusing things that made me laugh out loud and I have come across some opinions that made me yell at the screen. I wanted to add content with some value and sprinkle in the ordinary. I am working to achieve the perfect mix. I have also added on to my followers.

But, in my search for better things to post, I find myself growing mentally and spiritually, taking more in everyday. And as I take in more, my output is becoming richer. I voice opinions and have mini conversations and wish people everything from "have a nice day", to "Happy Birthday", to sending condolences for an animal that is passed. One of my tweets even ended up on the ABC news website about a particular story. I am a part of news and the "new media"! We all are.

We can observe, ask questions, voice our opinions and even promote ourselves, all in real time. I have access to an infinite amount of people at any given time. We all do. I think that might be the thing that is so gratifying about this whole new media concept is that it is ALWAYS OPEN. It is current, it is fresh and there is always some one to talk with. This is something so different that you don't find with Google or the various "chat" type interfaces. And it is something really different than TV.

While all this is going on we might consider the outcome of always being on. What is it going to do to us knowing that there is really always someone there? I think that with technology, as separated as we may seem, we are actually closer. Take the example of actress Demi Moore @mrskutcher who received a tweet about a person with the intent of committing suicide. She passed it on in fear that it was real, other people saw it and were able to track it down to let the police know and avert tragedy. The lady really needed help and her cry was answered. Or how about the Amber Alerts that are tweeted and retweeted. Or even the free rental code for Redbox that I share when it is sent to me. Always on.

As I write in my other blog, It's a Fairy World, I have four general rules that I go by. 1. Be good to myself. 2. Be good to others. 3. Learn my lessons from all situations and take notes for future reference. 4. Love God. I would say, overall, being part of this "new media" applies all four rules.

So while I will probably not be Ashton Kutcher and you will probably never see 1000000 followers on my twitter page @julieanneg, I know that I am making a difference in others and in myself!

Onto our birthday shout out! Today we are wishing the singer/songwriter Liz Phair and very happy 42nd birthday. Ms. Phair is an Chicago area girl, raised in Winnetka Illinois and a graduate of New Trier High School. She has earned her chops as an artist, working from the very bottom up on the Indie scene to become the mainstream artist that she is. My fav song of hers is "Extraordinary". It is the kind of song that you blast in the car while driving and sing a long. The chorus is the best part :

I am extraordinary, if you'd ever get to know me
I am extraordinary, I am just your ordinary
Average every day sane psycho
Average every day sane psycho

Great lyrics, right? Perfect actually. Here is the video of the song.

Thank you Liz for great thoughts and Happy Birthday to you!

Well, that is all for now. Just a few And hey if you aren't on twitter, check it out. You will be glad that you did!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Never Waste Time

"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life" Charles Darwin

Wow that is a big thought without even a good morning, but that is what is on my mind this morning.

Wasting time more so than surfing when you should be working, I am referring to wasting time so you wake up one day and half your life is gone. Wasting time so that you have no concept of where the month went, let alone the week or the day.

Time and life are equal to me, very precious gifts. I am sure that you can say, well we all have live, we all have lives so how precious could that be? And hey, time is always there so what is the big deal? But do we have lives? Are we really living? Are we using time to our best advantage?

There are things going on right now, with family members that make me think about all of this. Actually this has been on my mind since the end of last year when my father-in-law passed. About time and life. All the things I just spoke about.

I sort of made a promise to myself that I would not question where the year went at Christmas time, because I would know what occurred. I would know what we did, big or small. No have to think or search my memory for even a second. I would know because I lived it.

Having said all that, I will admit that I have lost track a little. I will never admit again, that I do not know where time went. I will more than know, I will have lived it! There is my declaration!

So how do we change it? How do we enrich our lives to the very hilt? I am sure there are slews of people out there who can give us tips about organizing our "time" to more into our "lives". And that very well maybe true, being more efficient could make things run a little smoother. But what I am talking about is way beyond having a smooth running life.

I am talking about relishing life, reveling in it, experiencing every moment good or bad and knowing what it was about. It is not about what I own or what I can buy, it is about being. Just being plain and simple.

I am not sure there is an answer other than living it. What is the saying, the proof is in the pudding?

Okay, so having said all that we can go onto our birthday shout out. If you have been reading for a while, you might think that my choices are a little obscure. Who really cares about Peter Fonda anyway? Well, when I pick out my birthday shout outs because something about them touched my life in a certain way. Some pleasant memory is associated with that person.

So today's birthday shout out is the late Henry Mancini who would have been 85 today. He was a great musician and composer. His music catalog is long than your arm. He was nominated for 72 Grammys (won 20), 18 Oscars (won 4) and many other awards. He did many musical scores for movies, TV, and Broadway. "Pink Panther" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's". My personal fav is "Peter Gunn". I never saw the TV show or the movie, but it was the theme for the "Blues Brothers" movie. In high school I played clarinet, well tried at least and one of the few songs I could play was Peter Gunn. So here for your listening enjoyment I give your Henry Mancini and his orchestra with Peter Gunn.....

Thank you Mr. Mancini for all your wonderful music and one very pleasant memory.

So I will wrap up today with I hope you enjoyed the musical selection, Thank you for sharing the memory with me and hey, let's go live like Charles Darwin shall we?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jenniffer Weigel--See Her Show!

Hey Everyone!

Wow, it's early 4:30 AM and aren't I the early bird posting already. I like starting out this early because I seem to get the most out of my day. So we have many orders of business today.

First, if you are in the Chicago area and are looking for fun and something different to do please check out the Jenniffer Weigel show "I'm STILL Spiritual Dammit!" at the Chicago Center-Performing Arts April 18- May 24. The tagline for the show from Jenniffer's website is "Climbing the mountain of spirituality with a Martini in one hand and my pumps in the other..."

I have not personally seen the show, but I am a long time fan of Jenniffer's, via TV and radio mostly and I am positive that you will enjoy the night out.

Jenniffer W Also when you get a sec, visit Jenniffer's blog. She is funny and honest. She likes to explore different thoughts and makes no excuses for her conclusions. I remember one segement on the radio that she decided to say "Thank You" in advance to the Universe for parking spaces and she had a pretty good success rate going. Her co-host would give her grief but she stuck to it. I totally resonate with her!

Second order of business. Ha! You know when I start to write a post I have all these great ideas and by the time I get through the first part I have lost my train of thought for the next part so I can't tell you at the moment what the second order of business was. Oh, here is something, it is tax day kids! If you have not, get something in the mail today, return or extension and keep the man happy. (That is not what I had in mind, but it sounds good!

Third thing (and I remember what this was) today would have been Elizabeth Montgomery's 76th birthday. I loved her show Bewitched! It was always witty and she seemed so cool! She had a great career outside of Bewitched. As I read her wiki entry I saw many things that she did that I was not even aware of, but I am sure she was great in! Also the girl that mostly played Tabitha, Erin Murphy, she has gone on to be in TV mostly and her real life husband is named Darren! You've gotta love it! Her is Erin's site as well.

Now for you, I found a mini tribute of Elizabeth Montgomery on You Tube:

I have to add that Elizabeth Montgomery died from colorectal cancer in 1995, just 8 weeks after she was diagnosed. Apparently she was having flu-like symptoms and ignored them because she was shooting a film and when she finally went to the doctor, it was too late. This should be a reminder to all of us that we have to value our health.

So kids, that is all for now. I am off to pull a card and see what the fairies have to say today. To see that outcome be sure to check out my other blog, It's A Fairy World!

Have a great day and if you twitter, please make sure that you give me a tweet! @julieanneg

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Every Thought is a Seed...

Hello to All my Blog Friends!

I have heard from many of you that you have enjoyed the video clip from St. Baldrick's Day. Thank you for all your warm responses and thoughts. As you have read in the past, we are really committed to this particular charity and we always have a blast doing it!

No excuses for my absence, I lost a little bit of focus. Anyway...

I have become attached to Twitter. I read more than I tweet, but it is fun nonetheless, even when I had the flu. So scanning the tweets this morning, I came across this quote. It was retweeted by @DeniseHammock and the original tweeter was @VizionG. Here goes...

"Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't expect to harvest Golden Delicious." OMG I just love that! Talk about the slogan for positive thinking!!!!

So I have to look and see daily now, what exactly am I planting. And this is so far reaching from our individual thoughts to our interaction with others. And actually it will be way more healthy, mentally and physically for me. So cool!

I am finally in a place to start new creations once again and boy am I excited! Also be sure to look for a change in y blog. I am beginning to sell on Artfire. I am making the change, primarily for the ease of use for my customers. I will update you when this change occurs.

I have not done a birthday shout out lately and here it is!

Happy Birthday Loretta Lynn. Today she is 74. She has had a long life both in and out of the spotlight. I was amazed that her music catalogue is so long and full. Ironically she is touring right now, small venues and will be appearing in my area on April 16 at the Old Town School of Music in Chicago.

So her most famous song to me is Coal Miner's Daughter and I'd like to share that with you today.

So Mrs. Lynn, Happy Birthday to you and many more!

Have a great day everyone and plant some Golden Delicious!