Frances & Smeeks Crafeteria

Monday, November 28, 2011
It's almost here!! The best indie craft show in the valley, Crafeteria, is this Friday, December 2nd starting at 6pm. I have attended and sold at numerous craft shows/boutiques and this my absolute favorite. Crazy talented vendors, live music, super fun crowd, and an overall awesome vibe.

Sadly, I won't be able to attend this year. I am seeing Iron and Wine with Marketa Irglova at the Crescent Ballroom. (It's okay to be jealous - I would be too). Just because I have to miss out doesn't mean you have to. Bust out your Christmas list and plan on some picking up some unique, handmade gifts for friends and family. What better way is there to support small business and our amazing local talent?

Our Yearly Photos...

Monday, November 21, 2011
We had our annual family shoot last month with my dear friend Laura of Laura Winslow Photography and it was a blast! Many of you are familiar with her incredible work but if you haven't had the chance to meet her in person, I have to tell you that she absolutely rules. We met a few years back and became fast friends. She is one of the most genuine, loyal, and selfless women I've ever met.

I received the photos a few days ago and was blown away. As usual, Laura absolutely nailed it. Here are some of my favorites that we will definitely treasure for years to come.

Speaking of Laura, she is hosting an amazing giveaway valued at over $10,000 (!!!) on her blog starting today. Crazy awesome. Pop on over to check it out.

Laura Winslow Photography

Arizona Balloon Classic

Sunday, November 20, 2011
We spent the better part of the weekend at the inaugural Arizona Balloon Classic and it was amazing!

My nephew and I arrived early Saturday morning armed with our cameras hoping to get up close and get some fun shots. We weren't disappointed.

My nephew and I had so much fun that I decided to drag Jason and the boys out of bed at the crack of dawn and do it all over again on Sunday morning. Totally worth it.

Definitely a new yearly tradition for us.

Update: I just got back from dropping Finley off at school and heard that his teacher and several of my mom friends were angry at how this event was pulled off - like letter writing and phone call angry. They all went on Saturday night, and like the commenter below, were super disappointed at the lack of fulfilled promises from the Arizona Balloon Classic website. They had to wait in crazy long lines just to see five balloons. Their facebook page reflects the same feedback from those who went on Saturday night. Although there were definitely some glitches (which I expect from a first year event), we had the opposite experience by going early in the morning. Hopefully, the ABC folks will take a serious listen to the feedback so they can improve and make this a more successful event for *all* attendees next year.

Update on the New Girls

Friday, November 18, 2011
I have some sad news. We lost one of the new chickens a couple weeks ago. Lottie (the buff orpington) got underneath the fence and into the front yard. Our neighbor's dog spotted her, ran over, and killed her. I was devastated and our poor neighbor felt terrible. Ultimately, it was my fault for not securing the fence better (which has since been rectified by Jason).

The other chicks are doing great. They are now free ranging during the day with the bigger girls and for the most part, they all get along nicely. Flo continues to be a bit of a bully but they know to steer clear of her.  Anytime she comes within 10 feet of them, they panic and run away.

Francie, our naked neck, is still awkward looking but in the cutest way possible, right? (I don't want to give her a complex.)

The big girls love the chick feed and are forever trying to figure out a way to get into the pullets' coop. We use a plastic boat to prop the door open just enough for the little ones to fit in and keep the others out. Speaking of the coop, this crazy old coop we bought is such a nightmare - I spend at least 30 minutes a day trying to help the doves get out of it. And I'll be honest, the doves scare the hell out of me when they're flying around in a mad panic and going straight for my hair and face. When the girls are bigger and on layer feed with the rest of the chickens, we will move them into the big coop and use this coop for new chickens.

Lucy has just finished molting and loves to show off her bright white tail feathers. She was looking super ragged so we are happy that she's back to her lovely self.

Our fall/winter garden is amazing this year!!  There is nothing better than fresh produce straight from the garden (and this is coming from a girl who is not a huge fan of veggies).  A bonus is that we've managed to keep all chickens and dogs out of the garden so far.

With the gorgeous weather we've been having in the desert, we've been spending a ton of time outdoors.  I love this little moment that I captured between Finley and sock monkey...

and Oliver, piggy, and his "old lady."

Enjoy the weekend!

Quick Weekend Getaway

Friday, November 11, 2011

We took a quick trip to Southern California this past weekend for a wedding in San Diego. Since we were so close, we decided to surprise the boys with a trip to LEGOLAND. I wasn't all that impressed with the place (aside from Mini Land) but the boys were in heaven and their reactions to everything were priceless.

After that, we headed to San Pedro. My parents lived in San Pedro for several years before they moved to Arizona (we lived there for a short time too) and I absolutely adore it. Nothing like watching the sun rise over the Port of Los Angeles to start your morning.

Our hotel room looked out directly over the port. I thought the boys would have loved it but they were too busy checking out their Lego loot.

Finley had me take a zillion pictures of his Legos but I'll spare you with just these.

I did manage to break them away from the toys for some adventuring around the marina.

Between the wedding, LEGOLAND, and some business in the South Bay, it was a whirlwind of a trip but it was nice to go back "home" and get my ocean fix for a while.

Homespun Craft Fair at Art Intersection

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The holiday boutique/craft fair season unofficially launches this weekend and there is no shortage of great events here in the metro Phoenix area. If you're like me and find yourself gravitating towards unique handmade gifts, you won't want to miss out on the Homespun Craft Fair at Art Intersection in downtown Gilbert this Saturday, November 5th from 10am - 4pm. 

This is not your grandma's craft fair. Art Intersection is supporting local handmade DIY endeavors by opening up their gallery for a one-day event at their first annual craft fair. Get a head start on gift shopping for friends and family by supporting some of the amazing local artisans that Arizona has to offer including Parkside Harmony, Hazel & Violet INK, Lurly, and Against the Grain (to name just a few).

If you haven't already had a chance to stop by and check out Art Intersection, this is the perfect excuse. Having opened this last year, Art Intersection provides a space for learning, creating, and exhibiting photographic art. They are committed to providing the photographic community with a place to meet and grow while embracing the intersection of related art forms. Cool, right? Come by, check it out, shop local, support handmade.