Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music Monday! I'm only happy when it rains....

Great song by Garbage - it happens to be raining, cloudy, windy, overall yucky, so this song is perfect. But instead of pouring our misery down, we can use this to channel our creativity and concentrate on our work. We can be productive on these rainy, miserable days. And be happy when it rains.



I will be using this rainy, yucky day to be productive, finish many projects that I started at various times, and to start projects that are in my head. Enjoy your rainy days!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Music Monday! Two for Tuesday!! Thank You....Stan



Heard this song on the radio this morning while taking 2 of my kids to school - they missed the bus (again).
So I made sure to sing out loud, one line partcularly:
I missed the bus and there'll be hell today,
I'm late for work again


I liked this song from the first time I heard it, and then my kids discovered it when Eminem sampled it in 2000 for his song 'Stan'. They were surprised I could sing along with an Eminem song, and that I actually liked it. It is a heavy story, but that is part of what makes the song good. And I also think it is cool Dido agreed to be in the video for this one too, even though she was not thrilled about getting tied up and her mouth duct-taped.  


Have a great Tuesday and week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Week 3

Are you not the fish tank type of person, but still like little creatures to look at? Are you fascinated with organisms and other worlds?  Do you have that difficult someone to buy for on your gift list that has 'everything' and/or wants nothing?  I know several people like this, and Christmas is a particularly difficult time to try to find a gift for these types. 
The Ecosphere enclosed ecosystem
photo courtesy of
Ecosphere Associates, Inc.
A gift that is interesting, intriguing, of living organisms that require virtually no maintenance, that will provided years of awe and wonder is the perfect solution to this gift giving dilemma.  What on earth am I talking about? How about a self-contained ecosystem?
Our Ecosphere - with cleaning magnet

The Ecosphere
Close-up of shrimp,
photo courtesy of
Ecosphere Associates, Inc.
Although of this world, they use space age developments that were initiated by NASA. They are completely contained ecosystems, sef contained and self sustaining, miniature worlds. Inside each one are active micro-organisms, small shrimp, algae and bacteria, all in filtered seawater. There is also a sea fan, decorative shells and lightweight gravel, to provide surface are for the algae to grow. It is a closed ecosystem in which plant and animal life are mutually sustaining.

This ecosystem survives using an outside light source, natural or not, to produce algae. The algae bask in the light and produce oxygen as they grow. The shrimp, a special species found in Pacific waters, breathe the oxygen while nibbling on the algae and the bacteria. The shrimp and bacteria give off the carbon dioxide needed by the algae for photosynthesis and growth. The bacteria decompose shrimp waste, breaking it down into basic chemical nutrients used by the algae.  There is a great visual to show the process on their website.


See 2 of our little shrimp,
with lots of algae
Simply set the Ecosphere in a room with indirect light, natural or not, and watch the magical shrimp swim around nibbling the algae.  It comes with an ingenious cleaning system: magnets. There is a small magnet inside the ecosystem, and one provided with the kit. When the wall of the 'acquarium' looks a little dirty, that is just a film from the micro-organisms inside. Simply rub the magnets along the walls. The inside magnet will stick to the outside one and scrape the walls as you rub.

My husband got one as a gift last year, and our three little shrimp are going strong!  They endured our moves, and have provided many hours of fascination for the kids and hubby, and me! Thier website has testimonials and there was one that struck me. The owners of an Ecosphere had to leave it in their home while they evacuated for Hurricane Ike.  Over three months later, they were able to retrieve their little shrimps, and they all were thriving.  It is estimated they can live up to 10 years, though the company say the average life is 2 to 3 years, though known to exceed 5 years.  Many testimonials say they have had theirs going strong for 8 to 10 years.

Large selection of sizes and shapes available,
photo courtesy of Ecosphere Associates, Inc.
There are various sizes available, even up to exhibition size with their Exhibition Ecospheres.  Ours is the small, 5.25 inch sphere with the small turntable base, and has three shrimp.  Depending on your budget, you have a nice selection of possibilities for purchasing. You can order directly from their website.  Each is shipped via Fedex Overnight directly to you, a signature required for delivery.  It is a fascinating gift, and perfect for those who are so difficult to buy for, and for any age!

Self contained Ecosystem - fun for the whole family
photo courtesy of
Ecosphere Associates, Inc.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Vintage Raige Items in Great Collection!



Take a minute to click and view this entire collection - full of great ArtFire folks.
I am thrilled 2 items were chosen for this great collection - The Vintage Teapot and those ever popular Morton Girls. There are so many great collections on Artfire, take some time to check them out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Monday! Time

and then one day you find
10 years have got behind you
no one told you when to run
you missed the starting gun

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zippin the Day Away in the Mountains - at Navitat Canopy Adventures!


Me and the kids zippin the day away!
Take the best of canopy tours and zip line tours, add a little repelling and hiking, a couple sky bridges, and lots of information about tress and wildlife in the area, and you have Navitat Canopy Adventures.  And an adventure it is! 
photo courtesy of Navitat
With my in-laws visiting us this week, we were looking for something fun we could do, and I remembered reading about this new comapny just 13 miles from our house that runs zipline tours high up in the trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Navitat opened last April, and has been showing visitors a great time since!

Browning getting me ready to zip
None of us had ever been zippin', and were a little nervous (ok I was the one a little nervous) about flying through the trees on contraptions we knew nothing about.  But we shouldn't have worried a bit. Our guides, Brett and Browning ('like the gun' she said) were so helpful, knowledgable, patient, and fun, and they taught us everything we needed to know.  They geared us up, and we set off to the karts that would take us up the mountain to begin our adventure.   
My son learning to zip
The first 2 zip lines were the 'training'. No long, and not to far off the ground.  We quickly got the hang of it with Brett's and Browning's clear and simple instructions, and skill at making us all feel comfortable. 
Then the long, high, exhilarating zips. Who knew that learning the cannonball when we were kids would come in handy ziplining? The cannonball is very important, especially on long runs and especially if you are light, because it helps you gain speed and get you to the next station so you don't have to pull yourself in. 
Pappa didn't always have to cannonball...

One zip was over 200 feet from the ground. Others were through tunnels of trees. We saw huge hemlocks, poplars, and other trees I can't remember, and each station was a big, safe treehouse floor with spectacular views.

Swinging while waiting
One station even had a swing we could enjoy while waitng for the rest to reach the station! Browning and Brett could answer so many questions about the trees, and each one that held a station had a name and a story.  They also could name the mountains in the distance, something I am very interested in learning now that we are living here. And if you needed a restaurant recommendation, they had plenty of those too!  
Wheee - repelling was his favorite part!
We also got to repell off a couple stations . Repelling was so much easier than we thought it would be.  It is amazing how much control you have when lowering yourself down.  
My daughter repelling
The sky bridges were wild too.  My daughter thought it was funny to shake the bridge as we went across, something her Gram did not find amusing!  We all were laughing though, and there was no fear of falling - we were strapped to safety lines the entire time we were off the ground and our guides made sure we didn't take on more than we were able to. Every step of the way they showed us how to get through the course in a fun way.
the long sky bridge, phot courtesy of Navitat
Navitat is offering end of season discounts until November 24th, so now is the perfect time to get your zip on! Just go to their Facebook page, like them, and you will get a code to enter if you book online.  (They will give you the discount if you mention it if you make the reservations over the phone too, but do check out the page, it has great photos, videos, and you can see how much fun it is!!)

Beautiful views, photo courtesy of Navitat
 Navitat brings the best of the canopy tour and ziplining together, mixes in history of the land, knowledge of the landscape, and lot and lots of fun.  You should really zip the day away in the mountains.

And don't worry, this little guy is not an official guide. He was just protecting the path, and the staff promptly and safely moved him to a more appropriate area to protect.
Copperhead protecting the path


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Week 2- A Gift for the 'List Person'

Are you a list person? Are you lost in the store without a list? Do you write a list and then misplace it and have to start over? Do you think of something you need and then forget what it was by the time you get the pen and paper?
This was me last year. I would start a grocery list, put it somewhere, think of something else to put on it, and not be able to find the list, then forget what it was I was going to put on it when I eventually found the list.

Noticing my struggles with lists, my angel of a husband gave me The Smart Shopper for Christmas last year. At first, I thought it was frivolous, a luxury item we certainly shouldn't be spending our limited budget on. But then I tried it. And I can't believe how much easier it made my life! I LOVE IT!!

My Smart Shopper
(last year's model)
Now let me explain The Smart Shopper. It is a small battery operated device you speak to, with a magnet on the back you can stick to your fridge. Hold, on, it is not as crazy as it sounds. You press record, say the name of the item you need, or the place you can't forget to stop at on your errands, and the Smart Shopper gives you a list of possible words that you said, you pick the correct one, and it is added to your list. That simple.

For example, If you are in the kitchen, reaching for the flour, and realize you have just enough for this batch of banana bread and need more next time you go to the store, but your hands are all full of flour and you can't find a pen, you just go to your Smart Shopper conviently located on the fridge, press the button, say 'flour', and select from the list the item you need. For flour, the list said 'flour', 'flowers', 'flatware', or 'lawyer', and it is in your list. You do this for every item that pops into your head, and by the time you are ready to go the store, you have everything you need on the list. 

A short, incomplete list for me
As if that wasn't great enough, when you are ready to go to the store, you press print, and your list prints out, conviently sorted into department sections. Meats all go together, laundry supplies all go together, baking supplies all go together. It is uses a thermal printer so needs no ink. It is awesome. I actually come back from the store with everything I needed.

As a bonus, you can also make lists of all the errands you need to go on, such as bank, pharmacy, post office, dry cleaners, lawyer, etc. Now, going to the lawyers usually isn't something I need to to every week, and if I did need to go, I believe I wouldn't forget this particular errand, but that is just me. You can also keep 2 separate lists going at the same time. So one for the Thankgiving dinner, and one for the regular grocery shopping.

The kids have a ball with this item as well. You see, they can add whatever they want to the list too. No more "Mom I need more Pop Tarts!" They can speak to the Smart Shopper and Pop Tarts is on the list. It comes with 2500 pre-loaded item names in its library, so it has practically everything you can think of in its 'memory'.

I said tunafish....
The kids also enjoy the fact that sometimes, it does not recognize the item you are saying, and comes up with a crazy list of totally unrelated items. For example, say 'tunafish' and it can come up with 'depends', or 'tampons', or canned yams, and when tried again, it may say 'nipples'. Super funny, especially to a bunch of kids. Sometimes I print off the list and get to the store and see things like 'diapers' or lawyer' or 'nail glue' on the list. So I get a laugh while at the grocery store too.

I said milk....
The fact that sometimes it does not recognize what you are saying is a source of great dissapointment and frustration for some, but we have found it to be more reason to laugh than to get upset, and it usually does get the right answer after a few tries. I just said tuna, and it was first on the list. Though 'total' and 'gin' were also on the list, but tuna was first!

New model of Smart Shopper at
The Sharper Image
(Notice it is rounded now)
This makes a great gift, and I highly recommend it for the shopper in your house. Shop around a bit though, and make sure you get some refill paper rolls. You can go direclty to their website, SmartShopperusa.com,you can get it on Amazon.com, or you can get it at specialty shops like The Sharper Image. I have found there is a big range in price at these venues, the older models being much cheaper, so do a little research before you decide which model and which place you will purchase from.

I simply love this helpful device, and wouldn't give it up and go back to hand written grocery lists for anything.  The Smart Shopper has made grocery shopping preparation and actual shopping easier, a bit less time consuming, and the whole family has fun with it.
And I almost feel organized.....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Music Monday! Dani California - name that character and win!

Whoever can name all the bands / characters portrayed in this video will win
20% off in Raige Creations Artfire Store. To enter, you must contact me with your answers via my Artfire Studio, and click on 'Contact Artisan' on the left. All correct answers will win - just in time for the holiday shopping season....


Have Fun!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember Remember the 5th of November


Gunpowder and Treason and Torture oh my.  What is this all about and where did the slang term 'guy' come from?


 Guy Fawkes, the one most associated with the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605 in London.  Bonfires are lit each year in celebration of Guy Fawkes and effigies of him, complete with masks, are thrown into the fires. But what are we really celebrating? Saving of King James I or that the Plot was attempted? It is said that Guy Fawkes is the only man ever to enter paliament with honest intentions.

Read more on IndieSmiles.com, where you can see also these Guy Fawkes fans and their original handmade items.
BBC also has a nice re-enactment, a portion seen here.



Happy Bonfire Night!   


And Be Careful.
  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wish List Wednesday

There are 4 weeks until Thanksgiving and 8 weeks until Christmas. We are officially starting the holiday season, and thinking, or stressing, about what gifts to get for Mom, Dad, kids, aunts, uncles, friends, etc. If we are also working full time, running our own small businesses, planning to entertain, or some other time consuming task, shopping can end up on the bottom of the list of things to do.


Therefore, I am happy to bring you Wish List Wednesday, a new weekly series running each Wednesday for 8 weeks, from now until those few days before Christmas, when stress is at its peak. It will assist you in your search for great gift ideas, and even menu suggestions or tips for getting ready for the holidays. And to make it even easier, each week will focus on an item that can be purchased right form the comfort of your computer, no rushing out to the store to wait in line. You can create your shopping list and shop right from here, just click and you are done. You can even add things to your own wish list.  Hopefully, this will ease the stress by the time Christmas arrives.

Week 1: Give a gift that will give year round -
Vintage Magazine Rack by funkiefinds
You may think this sounds like a cop-out gift, one that is too easy, with not much thought behind it. I've found this gift can be quite the opposite. It shows a person you really understand their interests, you support them in their pursuits, and you are thinking of them every month, all year long. 

Choose a magazine that showcases their interests, dreams, or hobbies. There is a magnitude out there for just about every subject there is, so it shouldn't be too tough to find one that will captivate your recipient and let them know you really understand what they like.

For example, do you have a teenager on your list? They are tough ones to buy for. Besides the latest iPods and cell phones, what else to they really want? They might not realize it, but a magazine is just the thing that can give them everything they are into, and not cost a small fortune. That hard-to-buy-for male on your list? What is his hobby or obsession? I bet there is a magazine out there for him. Your picky sister? Yup, there is definately one for her!

Specific Suggestions:
  • Teenage Girl: Teen Vogue has everything a teen girls is interested in: fashion, makeup tips, music news, movie news, and yes, boy info too.  We gave this to our daughter last year, and she looks forward to getting her magazine every month. The bonus is she is reading - and not on Facebook when reading, and not texting when reading, and not watching TV when reading.

  • Young Man/Older Man: Popular Mechanics
    is truly a man's magazine. My husband insisted we get this for our teenage son last year. I was skeptical thinking this was for old computer geeks. But was I wrong! The first issue arrived and our son loved it. There is a wide variety of articles in this magazine, from consrtuction to science, technologly to cars. And not geeky at all. It is written for men, by men, with a tough no nonsense attitude.  My son loves it, and my husband reads them when our son is finished with them. Two birds with one stone!
  • Discerning Woman: Real Simple is perfect for the woman whose complicated life doesn't leave room for anymore jewelry, clothes, kitchen gadgets, etc.  It is full of thoughtful life lessons articles, fashion and beauty tips, recipes, and organiztional and fitness tips, without the tacky sex articles and advice.  It is a classy, practical magazine that really helps make life a bit more simple. This is my favorite magazine and I give to myself each year. They make it real simple (pun intended) to give gift subscritpions and give discounts on multiples, so one for you and one for your sis means a great price!
  • Art Junkie: Art Forum, though not a cheap one, is the one I would recommend for anyone who is in the art world or appreciates fine art. "There are better reviews and a better diversity from across the world, not just America" said my husband, both an artist and art collector.  This is one of his favorites, and he has tried them all (nearly).

  • Entertainment Junkie: Entertainment Weekly
    is the one-stop shop for all news entertainment. It has reviews from all industries with the facts and information from an insiders perspective, and doesn't sink to tabloid gossip levels. Prior to my home-body lifestyle and dislike of television, this once was an indulgence for me which I thoroughly enjoyed because of its broad scope of movies, DVD, video, TV, music and books.

  • Economically Minded: Bloomberg Business is an invaluable tool providing readers with reliable and respected perspectives on the economy today. My facebook fans will recognize right off the recent post of interview with Mr. Kalin, founder of Etsy, was from Bloomberg. Their reporting showcases business and the economy at large. Great for the beginner business person or seasoned professional, and investors of all kinds. My husband loves Bloomberg for its international perspective and non-partisan approach.
This is only the tip of the iceburg and by no means a comprehensive list.  There are millions of magazines out there, and millions of places that sell them.  The ones I have provided here are simply suggestions from my personal experience, and the links provided are by no means the only place to find good subscription prices.  For example, Popular Mechanics and Teen Vogue subscriptions can be 'purchased' from Mycokerewards.com using reward points. That's what we did. So do look around, see what other magazines and other deals are out there that I missed. 
Hopefully this got you thinking 'outside the gift box'.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wow...another collection...

Another reason to love ArtFire, my Vintage Teapot made it into a collection. Thank you to Bonnie from Allegheny Hearth, aka known as Soapsmith, for putting together a nice collection of such diverse things.



Bonnie's soaps are just wonderful, with beautiful colors, and a great selection.
This one caught my eye, the Lavender Monet Soap. My favorite colors, my favorite Impressionist artist.

I think I am going to have to creat a collection now.

Red with a Touch of Green Collection

A very nice ArtFire Collection that the Toekini's were chosen for by GoldBracelets.