Relax with a Surf Rat (Cocktail, That Is)

While on vacation last week, I noticed that I wasn’t drinking much. Then again, it might be because no one in Cocoa Beach knew how to make a decent sangria. Rather than admitting ignorance, one bartender made up a recipe and added rum to it- cheap, gut rot rum, at that- GAG!

But thanks to my online buddy Barbara’s restaurant suggestions, I found some tasty BBQ. And discovered Surf Rats…oh, my tasty tropical goodness.

Surf Rats
2 ounces Orange Juice
2 ounces Cranberry Juice
2 ounces Pineapple Juice
¾ ounce Coconut Rum (Perhaps a little Maliboom Boom?)
¾ ounce Spiced Rum (Got a little Captain in you?)
¾ ounce Banana Liquer
(recipe found on SotallyTober.com)


(I seem to be missing a few key ingredients…)

Surf Rats are light and fruity cocktails that go down quite easily, so beware and be happy this Labor Day weekend!

-Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Food & Beverage, Relax, Stress Relief in All Its Forms | 1 Comment

80s Music Makes Me Happy

I’m not ashamed to admit it- music from the 80s makes me happy. The fashions and make-up were overdone and excessive, but entirely appropriate for the self-indulgent excess that was the 80s. I may not have partaken in the yuppie past time of overindulging in coke (I was only a middle-class teen in Midwest America back then), but I did overdo it with some Aqua Net (and later Salon Selectives with their apple-scented line of hair products)…

How you likin’ that overstarched ball of bangs? Rockin’ the stonewashed denim on my 15th birthday…it’s a good look, eh?

Regardless, I loved the music then and still do today. I was a Top 40s girl back then who loved INXS and Depeche Mode and flirted with alternative bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Violent Femmes. Now I embrace it all, even the hair bands like Motley Crue and Poison. Thank you, VH-1 for bringing back all the 80s stars from the verge of extinction; I so thoroughly enjoyed witnessing Bret Michael’s dating habits…all three seasons of it.

From the Wide Sarcams Sea shop.
Read the inside of this card and purchase it here.

How about you- Any fave bands from the 80s?

Leave me a comment with your confessions!

-Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Be True to You, Happy, Help Others Lighten Up & Laugh, Wide Sarcasm Sea Shop | 1 Comment

Dunbar Gardens Baskets

Yesterday was spent handling all the post-vacation dull domestic duties- grocery shopping, unpacking, laundry, etc. In our house, laundry is done on a per person basis, meaning everyone has their own basket and clothes are washed by person rather than mixed together. It saves time sorting afterwards. It also allows everyone to do their own laundry however they want. My husband works around machines all day, so he washes his stuff all together in hot water to get grease and oil stains/odors out. I wash most everything in cold, but separate by color.  And while I take care of Jack’s laundry, at two he does put his dirty clothes in his laundry basket. (Start the training young, I say!)

This morning I had laundry baskets on the brain, so I went looking on Flickr for photos of cool ones and found these lovely baskets by Dunbar Gardens.

I love how all woven baskets are handmade, as there is no machine that can replicate the process. And these are far more pleasing to look at than any of the laundry baskets in our house. The designs and patterns of these baskets (as well as the photographs themselves) are simply stunning. Perhaps when we move into our next house, I’ll invest in attractive baskets for each of us…make the mundane a bit more beautiful. But in the meantime, you simply must check out their Flickr photostream and see all the beautiful willow baskets Katherine of Dunbar Gardens creates.

Any other mundane objects you think could use a little more “beautifying”?

-Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Home- Useful & Beautiful, Simple, Things to Buy | 3 Comments

Life After Vacation

*Sigh*

We’re back from our vacation, which means back to life. Such a bittersweet feeling. No more  lazy mornings of watching the sun rise over the Atlantic and listening to the pounding of the surf. But we are back in my own snuggly beds and eating healthier meals at home, rather than restaurant food (most of which is mediocre at best).

So today I’ll be returning to life after vacation.  There are bags to unpack, laundry to do, groceries to buy, photos to upload and sort through (800+ in my case), pounds to shed (I gained five pounds on vacation)…

I’ll be back tomorrow with updates on the calendars and other news.

Take care,
Nicole

Posted in Home as a Haven, Life, Talking to Myself | Leave a comment

I Created! Tea Towel Calendars

A few weeks ago I talked about testing out Spoonflower to have them print my Tea Towel Calendars. I love the multi-functionality of tea towel calendars, so I was excited about making some. I received my test towel back and guess what? I LOVE IT! I’m totally making more of these to put in the shop…

(I haven’t finished the edges yet in this photo, so pay no attention to them!)

In addition to doing my “Floral Flatware” pattern shown above, I’d like to do a coastal/ocean themed towel as well. I’m thinking about using my “Sea Squared” print or a variation of it-

I also need to decide on colors. I like how that tan towel turned out, so I’d like to do more of those. I’m also thinking about a dark blue of some sort. I want to do a total of four colors, so what colors would you like to see these towels in? Here’s a color chart from Spoonflower to help get you thinking-

I’d love your input! Leave me a comment here, tweet me (@threebysea) or stop by my Facebook page with your ideas and suggestions!

Take care,
Nicole 

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Art/Design/Craft Stuff, Create, Creative Living, Home- Useful & Beautiful, Multi-Purpose Items, Three By Sea Shop | 1 Comment

Relax, It’s Raining

I’m writing this post pre-vacation and with the knowledge that this might be the view from our hotel balcony due to the seemingly nonstop rain forecasted for Florida this week and next…

(Photo by Theory on Flickr)

And if that’s the case, here’s what I’ll be doing:

Snuggling with my guys in front of the TV.

Taking pictures of the storm.

Family napping!

Reading.

Souvenir shopping.

Getting sucked into kid-oriented tourist traps.

Having some cocktails and watching the sharks.

Playing in the rain with my son.

Playing with my new watercolor set.

Roaming around rockets in the rain.

So let it rain…it’s still going to be a fun vacation!

What do you like to do on rainy days?

To relaxing rainy days,
Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Relax & Unwind, Waste Time | Leave a comment

Taking Pictures Make Me Happy

I’m currently on vacation with my husband and son. We’re spending five or six nights on the other coast in Cocoa Beach. I love when our little “three by sea” is able to getaway like that and relax, with no obligations or agendas.

I tend to take lots of pictures of my guys while we’re on vacation.

These are just some of the photos I’ve taken of my guys while we were on vacation during the last couple of years. My husband works a lot of hours, so vacation is a perfect time for snapping tons of pictures of them together.

I’m the picture taker in the family, so there are a lot more photos of Jack with Daddy than Jack with Mom. I usually have to hand the camera directly to my husband to take a picture or it doesn’t happen. Or take them myself, which I’m not so hot at!

Is anybody else’s family like that? Is this some sort of “mom” thing?

Take care,
Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Happy | Leave a comment

Simple Solution for Packing Lunch

School is starting back and I’m digging these reusable compartmentalized lunch boxes from EasyLunchBoxes.com. Perfect for work or school, they save money, time, and eliminate the need for Ziploc baggies.

These bento-style boxes come in a 4-pack for $13.95 and lunch bag coolers are $7.95.

I appreciate the fact that the lunch boxes pack flat in the cooler bags, rather than sideways like so many other cooler bags. When I was still teaching, I loved lunch containers like this for packing leftovers and afternoon snacks and would have liked a cooler that they fit in properly.

EasyLunchBoxes.com also has a lot of neat ideas, including recipes, tips, ideas for lunch tags, etc.

Later Gators,
Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Things to Buy, Unclutter & Organize | Leave a comment

Pay It Forward as a Work Ethic

After a lot of trial and error the last month or so, this weekend I finally figured out the formula, so to speak, to create a drop/half-drop pattern in Illustrator. After the “Holy shit! I finally figured it out!!!” Happy Dance, my next immediate thought was, “I have to do a tutorial and share this with others!” It’s not hard once you know the trick and it will save you a ton of time!**

That happy, “I can’t wait to share” moment was dampened a bit later in the weekend when, on another website, I saw a tutorial for how to do something similar in another software program. It was fancied up and packaged as an e-book and being sold for what I feel is a ridiculously high price. It’s not the first time I’ve seen someone selling way too little for way too much.

Call me naive, but I believe helping one another, rather than snubbing or taking advantage of one another, can only improve the quality of work created and level of success ALL of us experience. Now that I’ve saved some folks time figuring out the secret to drop patterns, perhaps they’ll have time to figure out some other technique or discover some great supplier to share with the rest of us.

And no, I’m not worried that I’m giving away the keys to the kingdom by offering up my tutorial. It’s just a tool for anyone with a vision to put forth. If sharing the tutorial is the difference between someone outselling me or not, then perhaps I need to reevaluate my work, not my level of sharing. The same goes for the supplies, the equipment, the manufacturer, and all of that.

Some will argue it’s a matter of getting paid/recognized for your time and efforts. I get that. I understand finding a great supplier, the perfect equipment, a reliable manufacturer takes time. I understand that figuring out a particular technique took a lot of trial and error on your part.

But let’s be honest- how many other people are responsible for helping you get to the point you are now? I’m guessing 99% of us didn’t do it ALL by ourselves. Someone mentored you, shared where they sourced their materials, a contact for getting started in a particular area, a website with lots of great information, etc. Sharing this tutorial is my way of paying it forward for all the help given to me by others on my journey.

Taking advantage of or snubbing those who are where you once were isn’t what’s going to make you better or more successful at what you do. Focusing on creating good work and shaping your own unique message will. Charging a fair and honest price for your goods and services will. Contributing to a community pool of information that all of us can benefit from all will.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

-Nicole

**The tutorial will be posted next week when I return from vacation…it’s my first time attempting something like this, so bear with me!

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Art/Design/Craft Stuff, Be True to You, Create, Life | 1 Comment

Training Wheels to Get You Creating

When I began blogging just under two years ago, I had NO idea what I was doing. So I signed up for a Typepad account to help me learn as I went.

A year later, I wanted to expand my blog into a website, so I signed up for Squarespace. They allow you to design your own site by offering lots of options for customization. It’s like web designing with training wheels.

Now today, I’m itching to take off those training wheels and create a website how I want it, not within predetermined parameters.

So I bought a book Sunday, started work on a site map, and am headed off to teach myself some coding and web design. Currently I know the html code for about two functions, so it’ll be an interesting journey.

This is the book I bought.

It’s not the end all guide to web design, but I’m trying to keep it simple and stick to what I need to know right now. The rest will come later. I chose this book because it was published within the last year, and I liked the layout of the text. As a “visual” person, I appreciate illustrations, examples, and side bars with tips and tricks!

So please hang on while I go on this journey. The site will still be up and functioning (let’s hope anyways!), but changes will be taking place over the next few weeks (or months!) while I create the amazing Three By Sea website that’s in my mind.

What about you? Do you have something you’d like to create but don’t know how? Are there “training wheels” for it to get you started? A book, a tutorial, a pattern, a kit, etc. that could help get you started? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! GET GOING!!

Wish me luck!
-Nicole

Posted in 1,001 Ways to Simple, Happy, and Relaxed, Damn It!, Create, Creative Living, Talking to Myself | Leave a comment