Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace on Earth


Just a quick note wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and joyful New Year.

Sharon and Ann

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fun Girls Night Out

Well, not exactly a girls' night out--more like a girls' day in. Our good friend Cindy came up with a fun idea which turned into a great way to work in a get-together with our core group of girlfriends. We have all known each other for...um...I'll just say a long time. As the years have gone by we still stay in touch, but as you all know, it gets harder to find the time to get everyone in the same room. The solution: A cookie baking/cocktail drinkin'/girl-gabbin' marathon. We all pre-made our dough so all we had to do was show up and take turns baking batches. This took care of two problems: Holiday baking and catching up with who has a new boyfriend (Kim), who's gotten a tattoo (Kim), who's life is going swimmingly right now (Kim). Damn her. Just kidding...we should all be having the great time she is having. What am I saying--we are all having a great time. Sharon and I are busy with Secret Leaves, Diane is enjoying her new cute little house and Cindy is content hanging out at home with her husband Jack and her dogs, Atticus and Talullah.

Below are some snaps from the event. And if you have been searching for those perfect Christmas drink recipes, I have also included the recipe for Kim's tasty Bourbon Slushes (I told you she was living the good life). That girl always knows what to bring to put the party over the top. And thanks to Cindy for opening her home to an afternoon of dough-slinging good times.


1 can frozen lemonade, slightly thawed 1 can frozen orange juice, slightly thawed 1 bottle sweetened tea 1/2 can sugar (use empty lemonade or orange juice can for measurements) 1 can bourbon 4 cans water

Freeze in an empty gallon ice cream pail--the plastic kind with the handle. Take out and let thaw only to the point that it is slushy. Pour some in a glass and enjoy. YUM!

P1010100 Bourbon Slush

Holiday cookies

Cocoa-chocolate chip and oatmeal crisps ready to go in the oven

image Sharon taking a picture of a tray of cookies

Cindy and Talullah Cindy with Talullah

CIMG1139 Me enjoying a Bourbon Slush

CIMG1135 Diane chillin'

CIMG1148 Kim...

CIMG1166 ...and her new tattoo.

P1010099 Handsome Atticus waiting for crumbs to drop.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas card tips

Have you sent your Christmas cards out yet?

Boxed Christmas cards

I was writing Christmas cards the other evening and a couple of thoughts hit me: One, I remembered something I read recently about addressing envelopes. The USPS (that's the United States Post Office to you) suggests not using punctuation when addressing your envelope or package. Apparently, it's harder for their machines to "read." So that is Tip #1.

Tip #2. Hand-address the envelope. It's probably OK to use labels (or a custom rubberstamp would be cool!) for the return address, but it's just more personal to handwrite the recipient's address rather than use a label or pre-printed envelope.


Tip #3. My friend Kelley includes an inspirational quote in her Christmas cards. She prints the quote on a piece of paper, cuts it out with decorative scissors and inserts it inside the card. This is a nice personal touch and a gentle reminder of the spiritual side of the season.

Tip #3. Don't forget the envelope! Decorate the outside of the envelope with a rubberstamp or seal--it's always more fun to get decorative envelopes. You know it's something special before you even open it!


So that's it! Those are my greeting card tips. Happy licking and stamping!


Friday, December 7, 2007

What we are listening to...

This week's choices are all over the map. We enjoy the old stuff so we dug out some of the standards... T Rex, the Band, and Bob Dylan. Then we ventured into the 80's with some This Mortal Coil and the Pretenders. Sharon's husband made us a playlist on Napster which totally took us down memory lane with bands like Bauhaus, Iggy Pop, Wire, PIL, to name a few. He is addicted to downloading these lists so there is more fun to come. Ok, you are wondering if we ever listen to anything beyond 1984. Well... yes we do. We rounded out the week with Essex Green, Guided by Voices and Lily Allen.

And speaking of Rock and Roll. This weekend is the annual Rock and Roll Craft Show here in St. Louis. This is a super cool event that showcases the area's finest crafters with an alternative flair. It lasts two days and includes live bands and a cash bar. Who could ask for more. Is Secret Leaves participating? Of course we are! It is our fourth year and it just keeps getting better. It is put on by a group of women who run a smooth ship and the variety and quality of the goods is very much worth your time. Check it out!

rrcs 4

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Seven + Seven Random Facts

One of our fellow NaBloPoMoers, TC of I Have Things, has tagged us for a meme. Kind of like a chain letter in Blogworld. So here we go, beginning with the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share seven facts about yourself. (Since there are two of us, you get fourteen--count 'em--fourteen facts.) Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here goes:

Seven Random Facts about Ann:


Ann playing in the Misses at the Rock n Roll Craft Show

1. The drums are my favorite instrument.

2. The middle toe on my left foot is my shortest toe.

3. I like to make my little rat terrier-mix Pilar dance to the theme song from Sex in the City.

4. My favorite numbers are 5 and 7.

5. Would like to have the super-power of becoming invisible any time I want.

6. Do not like to put my head under water.

7. I feel like I am still 27.

Seven Random facts about Sharon:

Me at Kelley's wedding

Sharon at her best friend Kelley's wedding

1. My favorite song is "Yesterday" by the Beatles.

2. I have a fascination with murder and mayhem.

3. I've seen the movie My Own Private Idaho eight times--four of them at the theater.

4. In my first two weeks working at Elizabeth House, I locked myself in back hallway three times.

5. The beauty of my physical surroundings is very important to me. (I understand why postal workers shoot people.)

6. I enjoy teaching people how to do stuff.

7. My nickname in grade school was "Derry for the Defense."

OK, your turn. We tag:

A Treehugger's Wife

Diary of a MILF in Progress

Splendid Sustenance

Towards Sustainability

Welcome to my closet, here's a black dress


Down the Rabbit Hole

Why The Music Posts?

Rilo Kiley

We are trying to post every week or so about the music we are listening to. I thought I'd explain a bit further what's behind this. The reason is...music is pretty dang important to both of us. I've been an avid listener since I was about 10 years old. I still remember my first full-length record: It was the original soundtrack for Jesus Christ Superstar. And I remember that the next few records included Who's Next, Neil Young's Harvest, Carol King's Tapestry and the Yes Fragile album (Can you guess how old I am?). This started my long career as a music fan--to be more accurate, my rock music addiction. Later on in my youth, I bought a bass guitar and three months later began playing in bands. To this day I still partake in both of these habits and don't see them going away any time soon.

Sharon has a strong passion for music as well. She has been around it for most of her life and spent much of her earlier years going out to support the local music scene and ended up marrying a musician. Her husband, Mike, still actively plays and is a successful music engineer with his own recording studio. Needless to say, music is a constant staple in their household. I will let Sharon fill you in later on her influences but I can tell you her interest in lyrics plays a huge part in what floats her boat.

Here is what we've been spinning this week: Sun Kil Moon Tiny Cities, Rilo Kiley More Adventurous, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Raising Sand, and Liz Phair Exile in Guyville.

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Green for the Holidays

Home Eco sign

This Friday evening from 4 to 7, Secret Leaves will participate in an Artisan's Reception at Home Eco, St. Louis' first and only green general store. This is the second year we have participated and proprietors Terry Winkelmann and Phil Judd put on a really nice holiday event--festive atmosphere, lots of yummy organic sweets and treats, beautiful artisan-made items and plenty of eco-friendly products, from green cleaning supplies to solar panels to lovely and unusual eco-friendly gifts.

Home Eco interior shot Photo Elizabeth Maxson

If you aren't doing anything, stop by and see us! We will be there selling our wares.


PS. Thanks to our friend Elizabeth Maxson of Elizabeth House for the use of her photos.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Unique Boutique

OK, Ann and I are participating in NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month. You are supposed to post every day in the month of November. I have missed a couple of days since I started, including yesterday, so I am posting twice today to make up for it. Here are more Unique Boutique images:

This is our friend Cindy, on the left, and our friend Jen on the right. Cindy is an attorney. We are really proud of her, as the rest of our friends are hooligans and ne'er-do-wells. Cindy says she aspires to be a hooligan and a ne'er-do-well, but she hasn't quite mastered the art of it yet. Jen is the charming proprietor of Angelina Accoutrements. She makes beautiful sweaters, wraps, scarves and headbands out of vintage cashmere. She was instrumental in getting us into this show and we appreciate it! Her things are absolutely lovely. Here is a sweater and skirt combo she designed. Notice also the sumptious wraps hanging on the rack to the right. So fine. (That is Jen's handsome husband Greg on the left.)

Well, that's it for now. Leave us a comment...we would love to hear from you!


Unique Boutique

Greetings all. I am finally getting around to posting about Unique Boutique, one of the shows Secret Leaves participated/is participating in this holiday season. The annual event is held at John Burroughs prep school in St. Louis and vendors are by invitation only. It was a good weekend for us: sales were brisk and it was extremely well-organized and well-run. Our thanks to organizer Bren Souers and all of the volunteers for a job well-done.

Our big sellers--as always--were Scrap Journals and Take Cover Journals. We also did quite well with a couple of new items: our Cigar Box Album Kit and our new Map Albums. We are still in the process of deciding whether to add these permanently to our offerings.

Unfortunately, my photos are not great, so you will have to trust me when I tell you that our display looked really good!

Unique Boutique tableThe letters draped across the front were printed on pages from an old book. It looked really cool, but the show was so crowded and the hallway so narrow, I don't think many people saw them. (The artwork on the back wall is not ours.)

Unique Boutique Map Albums

Unique Boutique cases

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Good Weekend For The Movies

After the hectic rush of last weekend's Unique Boutique adventure and, of course, all the hubbub of cooking and eating Thanksgiving Day, I took advantage of a rainy Saturday to relax and go to a movie. A luxury these days. Although it may not be everyone's cup of tea, I chose No Country for Old Men. It has been getting a fair amount of critical acclaim and I usually love the work of the Coen Brothers.

I enjoyed this movie. But without giving too much away, if you want the story to tie up neatly in the end, this is not the flick for you. Also, as in most of the Coen Brother's work, there is no shortage of violence. But it is well done and the dialogue is very entertaining. I woke up today still thinking about it, and for me if a movie stays in your mind and makes you think, then it is well worth the time you took to see it.

And in keeping with my relaxing weekend and fatigue of eating turkey, I plan on more movie rentals tonight with a big plate of nachos! I can hardly wait.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Unique Boutique Teaser

Just a quick post with a sneak peek at our table at Unique Boutique this past weekend. More to come...

Unique Boutique vignette


Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Menu for a Good Life

Thanksgiving with my husband Michael's family this year. Here was the menu:

Appetizers: chips and salsa, artichoke dip and crisps, dill dip with rye bread.

Main course: roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, potato casserole, corn in heavy cream, layered salad, pasta and broccoli salad, cranberry relish and sauce, cheddar biscuits and yeast rolls. Yes, it was heavy on the starch. Yes, it was delicious.

Dessert: pumpkin pie, cheesecake with raspberries, blueberry pie, apple pie with cinnamon ice cream, coffee for those who wanted it.

It was fun, relaxed, filled with laughter...a perfect family gathering. I am thankful for my loving family; Michael's loving family; my good friends (who are like family to me); my wonderful friend and business partner, Ann; good health; our dog Ellie and kittycat Lulu; a warm, comfortable house; decent cars to drive; enough money to go to the movies or out to dinner occasionally, the luxury of doing what I love...I have a lot to be thankful for and hope you do too. Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recycled Christmas cards

Here are the new Christmas cards we designed for this holiday season. They depict the first three verses of the Twelve Days of Christmas. They come in sets of 8, all the same card. All cards are printed with soy ink on 100% post-consumer recycled card stock manufactured at wind-powered plants. Yea green!


2 Turtledoves

3 French Hens

We also have coordinating Christmas stickers. These would look so cool as the seal on an envelope, on a gift, on a package to be mailed, on a place card...the possibilities are endless! Each sheet has 24 stickers with four different designs per sheet.


Twelve Days Christmas stickers

If you are interested in purchasing, drop us an email at inquire@secretleaves.com. Happy holidays!


Monday, November 19, 2007

What we are listening to this week

Kaki King

Kaki King

This will be a busy week at Secret Leaves World Headquarters. This past weekend was Unique Boutique and we are preparing for the upcoming Artisan's Reception at Home Eco on November 30, as well as the Rock-n -Roll Craft Show on December 8-9. I like to listen to easy stuff while I am working, so maybe it will be a little Red House Painters, perhaps Luna Penthouse--and I have been listening to Todd Rundgren a lot lately too. Ann is a fan of Kaki King. She might want to hear some other girl rockers too. We'll keep you posted...


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Arizona Wedding

I’m sure you can picture it...Sedona. It made the perfect backdrop for my niece Crystal’s wedding. My family made the trek to Arizona to witness the nuptials and it was a fantastic time. I always enjoy the chance to spend a time with them and the trips we take together are always memorable. And I do mean memorable in a good way.
Below are a few pics of the setting. The wedding took place in early October so it was a tad chilly, but other than that the day was perfect. Also pictured is the Cigar Box Journal Kit I gave the happy couple as a wedding gift. We will be selling these at some of our upcoming holiday events and we are considering adding it to our product line. Tell us what you think!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Good Trade! The Coudal Partners Swap Meat

Like Wind In His Hair said to Lieutenant Dunbar in Dances with Wolves, after he traded his chest plait for the lieutenant’s Civil War uniform jacket: “Good Trade." That’s how we felt when we received our swap meat item. Let me back up. Secret Leaves entered the Coudal Partners Swap Meat several months ago. This is an online swap in which you send in one of your handmade wares and in time you will get something someone else made of equal value. We traded one of our Scrap Journals and about a month later we got a lovely handcrafted necklace in exchange. It was so much fun getting this in the mail that we are hoping to enter the swap again. Our necklace prize came along with a note telling how the jeweler, Megan Vandehey, came about making this particular piece. It was a bittersweet tale involving heartbreak, but in the end she is learning a wonderful skill and is all the better for it. A great story and a great experience. We encourage every artisan and crafter out there to participate in the Swap Meat.
(I know I am reaching for it with the reference, but I love that movie.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Quick post by way of explanation

Hi all. Just a quick post to tell you that if you were once on our blog roll and now you are not, it wasn't on purpose. I accidentally lost our whole blog roll due to human error. : (

I added back all of the blogs I knew off the top of my head and one of these days when I have time to catch my breath, I will add the rest back on. Sorry to those of you who fell off.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Beautiful Day in Chicago

I told you there was more to the story. There always is.

On our two day trip up to Chicago we were accompanied by our good friend Tyler and we were glad she was there to lead us around. She lived there for several years so she knew the ropes of getting around on the 'L' and the bus.

The rest of these pictures are of our time walking through the neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Old Town. We couldn't have ordered a more perfect day. We saw the sights, admired the houses, ate delicious food and had a few cold ones. We even got a little shopping in. Sharon and I both came home with new fall coats we found at a great little vintage clothing store.

Thankfully, we walked quite a bit and I'm hoping that offset the delicious food and cold ones.

A photo shoot with Sharon and Tyler. We were passing the time waiting for the bus.

Cool building across from the bus stop.

Wouldn't you love to live in this house?

Row after row of great houses.

A girl and her dog. Can you think of a better way to spend the morning?


Here's me. I'm not in most of the pictures because it was my camera.

The Bongo Room had the best breakfast offerings. I had an egg and cheese with veggies on a croissant. It filled me up for the rest of the day.

I thought irises only bloomed in the spring. I was wrong.

Hope you enjoyed this pictorial of our trip. We love Chicago! We hope to return very soon.
Leave a comment if you can relate.