Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Going Postal:


I have said it before, and I will say it again...I'm a nerd for Postal Services. Yes, not just the US Postal Service, but all of 'em! I don't really collect stamps or anything (though I do always ask them to show me all the stamps they have before I buy them, because I like to have nice stamps, even if they are just going on bills).
There is just something about being able to drop a little note into a special box and a few days later it's on the other side of the country or the world. I'm also curious as to how all of this "magically" happens, though maybe it's quite boring, which would be really disappointing.

When I first moved to the DC area, one of the first places my "DC-native" friend promised to take me was the National Postal Museum--sadly, that hasn't become a reality...yet. (Though I did go to The Post and Communications Museum in Frankfurt, Germany). I'm sure they could show me what's up with the US Postal Service or tell me all about the artists who are commissioned to design postage stamps.

The Postal Service is so easy to take for granted. Unless stamps are going up (which, by the way, the USPS doesn't receive tax dollars for operations, so stamps inevitably have to go up) or something got lost, no one really even talks about it. People generally aren't surprised or impressed when they have real, paper mail sitting in their mailbox. Why not? I don't think most people even think about how the whole thing functions. (Then, I guess the same thing could be said for waste or water services, which I don't find nearly as fascinating, but then they don't have pretty little stamps to put on things!)

Now, don' t get me wrong, I have definitely been burned by the USPS, like the time when I lived in Honolulu and my friend in Chicago mailed me the bridesmaids dress I was to wear in her wedding. That never came. All the people at the Post Office knew my name during the whole ordeal and they were super nice. At least my friend had an extra dress because the original one never arrived.

Or the time I mailed out an PinkBird order and recieved it back, months later like this:

It happens, I guess. And, sure I was upset, but what could I do. C'est la vie!

Well, after all this, I think it goes without saying that I do save stamps (as opposed to collect) because I like to collage things like jewelry boxes or frames with canceled stamps:




Want interesting Postal Facts? Check out the list on the USPS's website here

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Best Friend's Wedding:

Happy First Anniversary!

Janine and Angelo 2006


(photo by me)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Night is Movie Night


D'oh! Before you head out to see The Simpsons Movie, why not head over to PinkBird Creations to check out all the fun new stuffI've got in store!?

I've been a very busy bee lately and will be adding new creations to the PinkBird shop and to the
Etsy shop all weekend! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

PinkBird Supplies Supplies!

I have recently had some very busy free time which I spent cleaning and re-organizing my home, life, and art supplies....while sifting through boxes and jars and more boxes of beads, paints, wire, glass, ceramics, etc. I decided it is time to get rid of all the stuff I have but will probably never use. This is definitely a good thing.

With a little inspiration from Tina Seamonster (of ilikeseamonsters.com) and her blog for the Washington City Paper's Crafty Bastards* called, "Growing your Etsy Garden" I have listed heaps of beads, charms, and other random arts and crafts supplies on the PinkBird Etsy Shop.

So, at the PinkBird Etsy Shop you can find an interesting assortment of items that I just never got around to using or that are a few oddballs leftover from finished projects. And, since I've been cleaning out my craft supplies (which will be an ongoing task) I am trying to pass along anything I may never use--it's a win/win: I have less clutter and you can buy some awesome stuff!

I don't really need a lot of this stuff anymore, if I've had it for awhile (and in some cases years) and I haven't used it, I probably never will. Some of the notions and beads are vintage pieces that belonged to my grandmothers. I've had the realization that just because it belonged to someone I love that's not a very good reason to keep it if I'm not doing anything with it. Plus, I have tons of wonderful things that belonged to both of my grandmothers that I actually adore and use, so why have a handful of beads sitting in a jar?

Hmmm. Now I think I need to take some of this advice with me to my closet!

(*Way back in November 2006, I was one of the Washington City Paper's "Craftiest Bastards of the Week"!)

Here is a preview of what's in store at PinkBird's Etsy Shop:


Etsy
Buy Handmade
PinkBird

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Meet me in St. Louis...




....Well, not really. PinkBird Creations will just have some promo items in Swag Bags at the next St. Louis Craft Mafia event.

Today (while listening to Feist's album, "The Reminder"--so good!) I got all kinds of PinkBird goodies packed up for the St. Louis Craft Mafia's summer trunk show, Crafta Nostra. They will be handing out about 500 swag bags at the show, in which you will find treats from yours truly!

I'm actually pretty excited about getting to be a part of it. In case you don't know, I went to the University of Missouri-Columbia so I spent a little time in St. Louis (though, being from Chicago I think I am supposed to participate in the CHI vs. STL rivalry that goes on, but really...). Anyway, having spent fun times in Missouri and having friends that still live there, I feel a bit of a connection to the place. Plus, any event like this that helps out indie artists and handmade goodness gets my vote!

(I've actually donated items to quite a few Indie Craft Fairs if you really want to know a few of them, you can see my "As Seen In" page).

So, if you're in the St. Louis area, come out August 18th to shop the wares of indie designers. Not only will you be supporting local organizations, grassroots arts, and indie artists, you can get free stuff, listen to a DJ spin, have a drink, and an all around good time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Around....


Well, this past weekend was our 5 year wedding anniversary (woohoo!) and to celebrate we spent the weekend in good ol' Charm City, Baltimore, Maryland. (I really wanted to do a long weekend on a Caribbean island somewhere, but that wasn't possible after our unexpected trip to Morocco last month).

So, Baltimore is no island paradise, but we still had a wonderful time.....

Friday we went to see the Orioles play the Chicago White Sox (sorry, Chicagoans, I'm a Cubs fan and was rooting for the O's!). At one point I headed into a bathroom stall and there, sitting atop the toilet paper dispenser where a pair of really cute vintage-inspired (or were they vintage?) sunglasses. And, since I LOVE sunglasses (and pretty much collect them) and because I am not ashamed to admit that I do and will clean and then use/wear previously used items (from thrift stores, dumpsters, etc.) I immediately thought about stashing them in my purse. They looked cute enough, 70's style, big with metal arms...

As I stared up at the sunglasses and was thinking how they looked vintage I realized that if they were they could theoretically belong to some cute blue-haired old lady who has no idea that her shades are hip. I seriously contemplated this the entire time I was in the bathroom stall. Should I keep these found glasses? What if the little old lady who belonged to them came back to find them and they were gone? Would she even knew where she'd left them? Would she buy some bad Orioles hat to keep the sun from her eyes during the game? Would she be sad for having lost them? I just couldn't stand the thought of that, since I love little old ladies and grandma types, and decided to leave the sunglasses where they were....but not without picking them up to further inspect them before I left to wash my hands.

I opened the arms and there it was...proof that these probably didn't belong to someone's grandmother, that they were not vintage, that they were not some secret found fashion treasure, and that all those fashion cliches are true "what's old is new again" or "what goes around comes around." Stamped inside the arm of the sunglasses was one short phrase: Forever21.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Discount for Blog Readers!

I have just added a few cute new items to the PinkBird Creations shop, which you can see by clicking here.

These are just some of the new goodies:


ALSO.....just for our Blog readers, we have a 10% off coupon! Yup! Just enter the code READINGISSEXY07 and you will get 10% off your order at PinkBird Creations from now until July 31, 2007!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our Moroccan Adventure: AMAZING.

Well, sadly we have returned from Morocco. We had an absolutely amazing time. I learned a lot about both Morocco and myself (which, I think is the best reason to travel).

Anyway, I still can't describe the trip we took, so I will let my pictures do the talking....(what's that old cliche?) I made a Google Map of (most) of the route we took in our journey from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate to Tata to Agadir to Essaouira (for the Essaouira Gnaoua Music Festival) back to Marrakesh. You can see the map with links and descriptions HERE.


Our arrival in Marrakech was somewhat crazy. We drove into the heart of Marrakech which was just buzzing. The streets were alive. We rode in our driver's black SUV through large streets, and then gradually narrow alleyways that were full of people, bicycles, mopeds, and even donkeys. But we made it to our Riad (garden apartment/hotel) just in time to fall asleep.

Monday, June 18th, 2007, was our first full day in Morocco. We woke
up early to meet our fabulous guide, Brahim. Then we were on our way from Marrakech through the Tizi-n-Tichka pass in the High Atlas Mountains to the city of Ouarzazate and Ait Benhaddou, an amazing and beautiful Kasbah built in the 12th century. (It was at this kasbah that many films have been made including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and The Mummy).

Here I am on the balcony of our hotel in Ouarzazate. This place had a lovely (but very cold) pool and a delicious restaurant. It was here that we had our first taste of Moroccan cuisine. Tagine. yum!


The next day we spent most of the day traveling across the edge of the Sahara (between the Anti-Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert) to the small town of Tata. The scenery was beautiful.




After driving through the desert (at the edge of the Sahara) with temperatures at about 116 degrees Fahrenheit we stopped for lunch in Tazenakht, a town that is "famous" for making Berber carpets. As you can see from the pictures, something really interesting about the places we visited in Morocco is that a place can look so drab (made of mud and straw or cement) and blend in with the mountains or desert (being red or brown or white) but have a beautiful and ornate door and opening this door leads to fantastic and simple beauty and life.




It was here that we learned that in the desert there are parts of the day that it is just too hot to do anything more that relax indoors or in the shade. The hours between noon and 3pm are almost like a "siesta." So, after just relaxing and visiting (and letting the van cool down) for about 3 hours we continued on our way to Tata.
The following day we traveled a short way to a small Berber village called Tagmout. Here, in a large home, we drank mint tea, ate lunch and were lucky enough to see an "Ahouach" music "festival." During this traditional festival the village congregates (in this case, at a private home) to hear stories told through musical poetry. Our guide Brahim was part of this musical group. The performance was also a competition between two singers, a famous poet (whose name I never got) and another man--the Poet kept calling on Brahim to compete but he declined. This festival is both spiritual and musical, the musicians were seeking inspiration in the moment, and I even got to be a part of that moment:



It was also here that I met these women, and even though we didn't speak the same language we were still able to joke and giggle together. How fun! These beautiful woman also led me to my new love of black eyeliner (kohl). The kohl they wore on their eyes was amazing.

Later Brahim took us to visit a nomad family that we knows. He had found out earlier where they were living and brought us to their (handmade) tent for mint tea. Again, the experience was unbelievable. The children were beautiful as they stared at us and played with baby goats. Probably the most fascinating thing about their home was that hanging in the center of their largest tent was a single compact fluorescent light bulb. I followed the cord with my eyes to find that it, and a cell phone, where being powered by a very small solar panel. Something about the whole scene was like glimpsing the future from the past. So awesome.
On the way to Agadir the next day we stopped in Brahim's home village of
Issaffen. He took us to his mothers house, where he was born and where she still lives and we drank tea with her. (The following pictures were taken outside her house, which is built into the side of a mountain).




After one night in Agadir we hit the road again to Essaouira. We made a few stops, one being in Tamanar at the Coopérative Amal, we watched women crack open argan nuts with rocks. The argan tree grows only in Mexico and Morocco, but only produces fruits/nuts in Morocco. Goats also like to climb the Argan trees.


In Essaouira we attended the Essaouira Gnaoua Music Festival.
Essaouira is a medieval fortress town on the Atlantic Ocean, It's also known as "Wind City, Africa," and let me tell you, it is very windy--at times there was ocean spray blowing in the air. We stayed inside the city's walls in a cute little apartment, which was really pretty. The city itself was quite busy because of the festival.

The following are pictures taken in Essaouira with descriptions as needed:


(view from our apartment in
Essaouira)

I love the Postal Service , any postal service really.
So, when we travel I like having my picture taken in front
of mailboxes
. Seriously. I have more mailbox pictures here.











One of the best days we had in Essaouira was buying carpets from this man in the souk.
We spent a few hours haggling,
talking, laughing, and drinking tea with him.
He kept telling me how much he liked me--I'm not sure if this is because I have a great sense of humor and laughed at his jokes, or because my husband was heading to the ATM to get cash to buy carpets from him!




This man is carrying our backpacks (luggage) for a small fee.





After a few days in on the cool coast, it was time to head back to Marrakech for our final day and a half in Morocco. In Marrakech we strolled along the alleyways to Djemaa el Fna, the largest square on the African continent. It is just buzzing with "henna ladies," orange juice stalls, men with apes who pose for photos, storytellers, musicians, acrobats, "dentists," water sellers, and snake charmers.





I bought some fabulous handmade jewelry from the nice old man who runs this shop.



So, here we were on the roof of our Riad on our last morning in Morocco. We had such an amazing journey. We met so many wonderful people.
We learned so much about Morocco and ourselves.


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