Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A trip to the city! Madison, Wisconsin!

We've lived a lot of different places.  Currently, and for over the past decade, we have settled in a rural farming community of the mid-west.  We love where we live.  It is picturesque and generally, low key.

However, recently this past week, we had occasion to go to Madison, Wisconsin and stay overnight.  Our oldest child had been accepted to play with the State Honors Band last spring. This was a huge accomplishment!  The concert, and culmination of months of practice, was this past Thursday.  So, off we went to stay in our capitol city.

As many know, Madison is a college town.  It is also quite famous for its politics.  Our school children all visit the capitol during their elementary years.  It is a gorgeous building....politics aside.  Many of our high schoolers decide to return to the capitol for the outstanding education that is offered there at UW-Madison.

I'll be honest.  We haven't always enjoyed our visits to Madison.  It is, after all, a city.  With that comes noise, congestion, chaos, and sometimes confusion.  Our high school senior, really being talented enough to choose anywhere in the country to attend college, has not chosen Madison.  Not that there is anything wrong with it, just that particular campus is not a good fit for him.

But, being there for 36 hours this past week was very enjoyable!  I came home liking Madison more than I ever have.  And I have to admit, I do miss some aspects of city life.  My husband and I do know what it is like to live in a city, as we have lived and worked in the larger urban areas of Philadelphia and Baltimore, and called smaller cities such as Buffalo, New York home, as well.

You see being in Madison reminded me that a city offers diversity of many kinds.
Area of Diversity #1- FOOD
The food was great and there was a lot to choose from!  We chose Ginos Italian Restaurant, which is known as a Madison institution.  But, there was sushi, Indian, thai, you name it and Madison has a restaurant for it!  We have missed that diversity of flavor, living in a small mid-western community that doesn't stray far from its bratwurst.  Coffee houses abound, as towards the end of our weary walking tour (waiting for concert time), we found ourselves taking refuge in Michelangelo's on State Street for an afternoon tea.  All of this was with two middle schoolers in tow.  Oh, and I can't forget about the ice cream!

Area of Diversity #2 - PEOPLE
What a great place to people watch.  All kinds of people can be seen everywhere you go!  Students, professors, community members, all mixing and interacting with tolerance for one another.

Area of Diversity #3 - ARCHITECTURE
We walked for six hours on the city and campus streets during our Madison visit.  Luckily, the weather (and no one can complain about our fall), was on the comfortably warm side and while not sunny, not raining, either.  It was so enjoyable to see so many kinds of buildings.  From the Old Lutheran Church with its door flung open, to the newly built place of worship that seemed just as inviting.  The Overture Center for the Arts is a stunning example of modern architecture set amidst all the shops and restaurants downtown, but fitting in beautifully as it offers free admission for the Contemporary Museum of Art and a wonderful concert venue that our family was privileged to experience first hand as audience members and a performer, as well.  

While we were visiting Madison, we needed to find activities to occupy our boys while we were waiting to arrive at the concert venue.  We decided upon the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. I wanted, in the very least, to show them this gorgeous building that I had seen last spring during a campus visit.  Luckily, they were hosting a FREE drop-in field trip for any interested K-12 student on four different science topics!  WOW!  We walked the mile from our hotel to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.   First our boys got to experiment with feral fluid and find out how nano technology is used in material science.  Next, one went to the anatomy lab to dissect a cow eye ball while the other (more squeamish son) went to use pipettes and find out about stem cell research. Finally, there was a video game lab experimenting on how to teach mindfulness to our students.  All of the labs were run by enthusiastic adults, anxious to enrich our youth! Oh, how I miss the opportunities found in a city! Especially a city as educationally based and forward thinking as Madison.  The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery understands that the private sector and public section has to work together to advance society and find solutions for some of the most complex issues of today!  Kudos to them for putting this idea to work!  

As we ended our trip with enjoying some wonderful music, played by the most talented high school musicians in the state of Wisconsin, I found myself missing all that a city has to offer.  It energized me to be around other adults who want to offer enrichment to today's youth and do that in a way everyone can enjoy!  I am bringing that enthusiasm back to my own community this week.  If you have read any of my other non-jewelry blog posts, you know that I have been an avid volunteer educating our youth in a variety of areas; horticulture, science, and writing.  I am thankful to have enjoyed Madison and return home invigorated to provide educational opportunities for local youth, outside a classroom setting.  While I know I don't have to live in a city, I think I've realized that visiting one more often than I have in the last few years can be very enjoyable!  

Thanks for stopping by! Have a GREAT week!

P.S. Some of my love of photography can be seen in my etsy shop where select pieces are sold!
Check it out!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Feature!

Good Morning!

Today, I'd like to share another blog with you!  My shop has been featured on the blog Eyelah!

Here is the link:

In the feature you will find out a little more about me and my jewelry making, as well as be able to check out some of my pieces!  Eyelah is a fellow etsian.  Check out her blog and then check out her shop, too!  Etsians are fabulous at supporting each other's small business ventures in the hand-made community!  I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stats on the importance of an online presences for small business

Good Morning! Today, I am shaing an info graphic from Vistaprint on the importance of an online presence for small business.  I found it interesting!  I hope you do too!  Having just come off a weekend craft show in which my jewelry shop, Carol's Jewelry Orchard, had a booth, I spent many conversations explaining to potential customers that I had a website via etsy and weebly, through which I sold my jewelry.  Look at the information, see where you fit.  What do you use, online, to increase your small business sales?

Don't forget to check out my Think Pink Sale, also.....going on all October. Prices already reduced on anything pink in my shop.  A portion (20%) of the Pink items sold will be donated to charity for breast cancer research.

Have a great day!  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drowning in Photographs...........

I have to admit it!  I take too many pictures!  I photograph all the jewelry I design and create, I photograph my kids, my yard, school functions, vacations, landscapes, fruit on the trees, etc.

I am literally drowning in pictures!  

This year my eldest son graduates from high school.  I don't know where the time has gone but I do know that I want to make some kind of keepsake for him.  He is an extraordinary young man! I know every parent feels that way, so I am not alone!  Due to all the wonderful accomplishments he has, I want to make some photo books that will preserve what he has already accomplished in the first part of his life.

I have decided to do this via online scrap books and photo stories, as well as home made DVD's.  Of course to be able to do justice to his school years, I need to have some kind of organization to the whole thing.  This is precisely where I come into a problem.  

UGH!  I need to sort and be able to categorize the thousands of photographs I've acquired.  This will take extra time, but I'm intent on doing it.  I've decided to make one photo book for his elementary years, one for middle school, and one for each year of high school.  This series of books will include family memories such as our trips to Bermuda, Hawaii, The Florida Keys, Gettysburg, Mt. Rushmore, and Rocky Mountain National Park.  The books will also commemorate 8 years of piano recitals, solo/ensembles, concerts, theater productions, National History Day Finals in Washington, D.C., and other performance events.  Of course, holidays and birthdays, visits with family and relatives will all be thrown in for good measure.  

It is a huge project to undertake but one that he can take with him if he wants when he leaves for college next year.  My heart is swelled with pride for him and the young man his has become.  The books will be a small token of our parental pride in him; one that he can cherish and keep as close as necessary.

I look forward to doing it!  However, right now it is somewhat daunting! So, I better get cracking!
The time is now to start organizing my pool of pictures!  

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget that I have a giveaway running at Pixel Berry Designs Blog, until 10/14/12.  Here is the link for that;

Also, my shop will be "on vacation" next Friday through Sunday (10/12- 10/14) to enable me to participate in a large local craft show.  If you are interested in purchasing a piece of jewelry in my shop, be sure to do it before Friday at

Thanks, again!