Tag Archives: Island Art and Hobby

Toy With the Idea of Non-Toy Gifts

I was that parent who insisted that my boys were going to have all wooden, all natural, and “real life” toys.  I stuck to that rule for quite some time and, I’m not going to lie, I’m still happy that my boys have, on their own, become interested in things like animals, boats, police/fire/coastguard/etc., vehicles, fishing tackle, and sports cards…rather than Power Rangers, Pokemon, and whatnot.  I guess what I love the most about their interests is that they are “real” and they’re not going anywhere.  You can never learn too much about wild animals, real life heros, sports, science, and such.  But, it isn’t just that, I’m also cheap and I’m happy that they haven’t gotten into the it items that are going to be replaced by new it items in 6 months.

So, they’ve been playing with many of the exact same toys for probably YEARS. They, at 5.5 and 7.5, still can not get enough of their collection of Hess trucks, fishing boats, rescue vehicles, match box cars, and Schleich animals. They also have 100s of small whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, etc that they spread out and play with for hours.  On the other hand, they also have iPod minis, for when they need some down time…or I need a break!

I say all of this (in my incredibly long-winded own way) because all of that means that I had NO idea what to get them for Christmas this year.  They truly don’t need a thing.  They still use and love so many of their toys…why replace them with stuff just for the sake of having more stuff?  Likewise, we have a tiny little home.  I truly can’t bear the thought of buying crap that they are not going to use.  That having been said, clearly we want to get them things…and not super lame things….for Christmas.

They did ask for a few things…so that helped.  They both wanted a couple of pairs of new sneakers.  Shot, score!  Cause, you know, I was going to have to buy those soon anyway.  They wanted “rollie” hockey bags. Ummm….ok…awesome!  The less I need to lug their gear around the better. It totally rocks that I was also able to get the Grit Pod hockey bags that actually have a compartment for each item of their gear!  TOTALLY addresses my OCD issues.  I couldn’t be happier.  They wanted new backpacks.  That one kind of hurt, because they both have ones that I love…and that don’t really need  to be replaced….but, since they were cheap and easy…I got them.  And, they always get the new Hess truck.  So, not bad.  We were making progress.

They’ve been dying to take guitar lessons, but with hockey, school, etc. that hasn’t really been in the budget. Thank goodness for grandparents, because thanks to Nammy they will have guitars and an amp and thanks to Grampy they’ll have their first three months of lessons. Tremendous.

So, now what?

From here it is all about the Experience Gifts!  Here’s a little secret.  Shhhh.  If, like us, you find yourself to be on a budget, Experience Gifts can be great because you don’t really have to pay for them before Christmas.  For example, last year I put together a little gift basket with some Providence Bruins stuff, a photo of a hotel in Providence, a brochure for the Providence Dave and Busters, and a brochure for the Roger Williams Zoo.  A quick little one night getaway stuffed to the gills with activities that they were going to love to help kill the post holiday/winter doldrums….that didn’t have to be actually paid for until a few weeks after the holidays when we actually booked the hotel and got “baby Bruins” tix online…for super, super cheap I might add.

Another great quick getaway that is on my favorite list is The Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg…again, give them a getaway for Christmas by putting together a cute basket (think Wolf ears or nose from a party shop, swim goggles, one of their own bathing suits and/or flip flops, maybe a cheap new towel, a brochure) and then book it in January or February for a mid winter retreat.  Does that sound cheap? What evs….it works.

Experience Gifts don’t have to be in the form of overnight trips though!!

Here are some other ideas:

A membership to Maritime Gloucester.  Get a cheap sand pail (or find one of the 1,000 you already own), throw in a ocean dwelling stuffed animal (or go buy one from their awesome gift shop), maybe a small fishing net, grab a brochure, and you’re good to go.

A season pass for the Water Taxi.  Buy a little toy boat (can you say Toodeloos) and tie on the pass with a cute little bow.  Maybe even find a sailor or captains hat to go with it!

Gift cards to Friendly’s, Orange Leaf, Cape Ann Lanes, Island Art and Hobby, Gloucester Cinema, the Rainforest Cafe, or Art Haven (which also means GLAZED!). Of course, there’s also things like the Museum of Science, the Boston Children’s Museum, the PEM, the Elizabeth Stewart Gardner Museum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Sky Zone, The Legoland Discovery Center. You name it!!  Don’t forget their favorite store.  Seems like a no brainer, but my boys love nothing more than a gift card to Fisherman’s Outfitters or Fin and Feather in Essex!  I buy them a couple of new fishing lures and tie them onto the envelope from one of those stores and they’re the happiest of campers.

Two things:  First of all, ALL of these kind-of-lame-to-open gift cards can be made super fun with simple extras.  A little bowling pin (I’ve seen them but probably couldn’t find one when I actually need one so you’re on your own there) or a roll of quarters for the video games to go with the bowling gift card. Some microwave popcorn and some candy put into a cute box (Michael’s Crafts in Danvers sells really cute boxes…sometimes even ones that look like popcorn boxes…see below) to go along with the movie gift card.  An actual container from Orange Leaf (which they give out with their gift cards) filled with some gummy bears, cookies, or other toppings.  A paint brush, crayons, cheap set of markers to go along with the Art Haven gift card. A magnifying glass for the MOS, some small plastic animals/insects to go with the Museum of Natural History. An art book to accompany the art museum visit.  A pair of gym shorts or a new water bottle for the trip to Sky Zone. A small Lego kit to go with the trip to Legoland in Somerville. Whale Watch tickets work well with a brochure or post card of a whale, a stuffed animal, or maybe even a t-shirt from one of the local whale watching companies. You get the point!  Secondly, if a place doesn’t necessarily make/give real gift cards….just make your own and then pay cash when you go for real.  I’ve done that plenty of times.

One of my favorite gifts is a “A Day Your Way” ticket.  Each of my boys get one and then they get to redeem it for a day that is planned totally by them (with in reason and budget!).  They only get one or two a year so if they choose candy for breakfast and breakfast for dinner I don’t really care!  They also get to choose one activity: movie, mini golf, museum, hike, etc. and we follow their lead all day long.

Aside from day trips, are also simple staycation ideas. Super easy, no brainers. Hot cocoa, ice cream sundae toppings, popcorn, and a movie in a fun basket for a family movie night!  Some snacks, a pizza coupon, and a new board game for family game night!  A new book and some snacks for a guaranteed long session of read aloud time together.  A basket of crafting supplies for a day or arts and crafts.  Some binoculars, a compass, a map, a nature map or field guide, maybe a disposable camera…and you’re off for a fun hike together!  You get the idea.

For those of you who are super eager beavers, plan a scavenger hunt!  Some small gifts and clues that will lead your child all around town with some fun stops along the way!  Again, my boys love to search for different boats, see which boats are in and which are out, hit a playground, go for a hike, grab a hot cocoa, search for more clues….  Super fun day!

And, finally….   here are some other Non Toy ideas that I love.

1.  A magazine subscription.  We love National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, Boys’ Life, and Time for Kids.  The novelty of getting their new magazine in the mail has never worn off and we make certain to make special time to read it together within 48 hours of its arrival.

2.  To up the ante, a book club.  I’ve used Gift Lit before.  Think wine of the month club, but in a book form for young (or any aged) reader!

3.  Equally, if not more, awesome is Kiwi Crate!! I really hope at least someone has hung on and read this far because this is one of my favorite ideas ever!  Same idea as the monthly book club, but you sign up and then all that you need to complete a fun craft together is shipped right to your house! Total excitement the day it comes in the mail!

 

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GloucesterCast 106 With Guests Donna Ardizzoni, Kim Smith, Toby Pett, Paulie Walnuts and Host Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 11/30/14

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GloucesterCast 106 With Guests Donna Ardizzoni, Kim Smith, Toby Pett, Paulie Walnuts and Host Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 11/30/14

Topics Include: Winner Of GloucesterCast Subscriber Contest #2 Is Leslie Heffron, Week Three GloucesterCast Podcast Subscriber Contest: One of the first ten subscribers to the GloucesterCast this week will win a mini framed sketch from Paulie Walnuts of your local scene request, Toby Pett Wearing Sailing Arch-nemesis Fred Shrigley Boat Shirt despite intense sailing rivalry, Is There A Bigger Drinking Institution Than The Rhumb Line In Gloucester Since The Old Timers Is Gone?, Is there a better feeling than having your Christmas shopping done early?, Donna Ardizzoni still smiling after falling and bruising her ribs half way up the Lobster Trap Tree, Kudos To Hiltz Trucking for trucking the Lobster traps for the lobster trap tree and Sticky Fingers for treats for the builders more kudos to come, Buoy Painting At Art Haven For The Lobster Trap Tree , GMG Holiday Party December 19th, A Present To Me would be If Someone bought a gift for them self or for a loved one from Fred Bodin at Bodin Historic Photo, Mini-Rant- Local retailers That Don’t retweet or share Dawn at La Provence or Susan From Toodeloos efforts to promote shop local initiatives that would help them out, Shopping Local Is So Much Less Stressful and studies show that over 50% of the money you spend locally stays and gets re-spent locally, Just a Few Local stores to get great gifts- Toodeloos, Island Art and Hobby, TBT Post, Premier Imprints, Pisces, Palazolas, House Of The Raven, Cape Ann Olive Oil, Alexandras Bread, The Cave, Savour Wine and Cheese, Bookstore of Gloucester, Main Street Art and Antiques, Pearls, Ace Hardware, Building Center, Ect Ect Ect, Donna has pillows which she can put any of her photos on them for a gift, Cape Ann Giclee, Confused Over The Flap Over The Increased Cost for The Post Thanksgiving Gloucester Daily Times, Christmas Tree Talk, Lumberjack Kim Smith, White Lights vs Colored Lights, C9 Ceramic Lights, For Anyone That Is Doing The Home Energy Assesment Please advocate To Get As Much free Stuff as Possible Including Free Lightbulbs, Free Power Strips,  Efficient Shower Heads, and Electonic Thermostats, Going To Find Out If The Functional Lights We Replaced are of use at Second Glance, Shout Out To Steve Corbett Electricians, What Kind Of Savage Eats Mince Meat Pie?, Pie Pole Adventures With Kim Smith, Secret To Non-Runny Pecan Pie, Donna Is Not A Pie-Eater, Rocky Neck Holiday Art and Craft Show, Magnolia Historical Society Art In The Schoolhouse, Rusty and Ingrid, Local Colors, Joe Higgins Gyotaku Prints, Brother’s Brew Donuts Mandatory Mention, The Reach of The Blog, Judith Sudduth on Eastern Point, Reminder: How To Get a Free GMG Sticker , Brodies Pub, The Secret To Brodies Steak Tips, What Other Places Are North Shore Drinking Institutions Like Mattys In Marblehead, Brodies in Peabody Square and The Rhumb Line In Gloucester?, GMG Holiday Party December 19th, Toby Is Getting a Knee Replacement, Councilwoman Melissa Cox, Killer No-Brainer $300 Camera Recommendation.

Joey Toby Donna Kim Podcast 105 Paul Frontiero

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The Happy Couple

Susan and don get engaged

Special FOB’s Don from Island Art & Hobby and Susan from Toodleoos stopped into the gallery today and let slip the fact that they had gotten engaged on Tuesday 9/17 on Susan’s 50th birthday.  Don got down on one knee to propose in Newburyport, where they met and had their first kiss – don’t know if both things occurred on the same day.  So sweet and such a great couple.  I always thought they were married, as apparently did many people.  They also just celebrated their 5th anniversary of being together.  Best wishes to both of them.

E.J. Lefavour

Island Art & Hobby

colleen at island art and hobby

I love Don at Island Art & Hobby.  I stopped in recently looking for something he didn’t carry.  He immediately went onto his suppliers sites, found what I wanted and ordered it, so I can buy locally and at the same price I would have paid if I had ordered it online.  In addition to a great selection of art and hobby supplies, there is also something for the wee ones. 

Here is Colleen with some of her charming little students.  Colleen’s little ones classes are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:15 – 11:15 at Island Art & Hobby ($12).  If you have a budding little artist in your midst, bring them over and let Colleen nurture their creative side.  For more info, call 978-879-4511.

E.J. Lefavour

Rebecca Siswick’s art at Island Art and Hobby

Rebecca Siswick Graham is the Artist-of-the-Month at Island Art & Hobby! Her current collection of artwork in acrylic, encaustic, and mixed media will be on display now through March 31st. They held a reception on March 15, and was well frequented.

Rebecca with her art

 

Her work, inspired in biology, uses an interesting variety of techniques and media.

By the way, Island Art and Hobby also has a growing selection of origami materials:

- Fr. Matthew Green

 

Here’s Mine!

This post officially ends the series ; “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”!

You (the Artists) that read GMG had your chance for a free plug. Five great artists took me up on it. I know there are more out there that read this Rag. I’m sure some were thinking about participating. some were going to participate but never got the time to do so. Some I’m sure think they are to good to participate in this lowly blog. “I’m not”!

I have a few different setups. One for Oil paint one for Acrylics and one for Watercolor.

So here is my Watercolor set up. It’s so easy to carry around. Other than the box all you need is a napkin or two. Island Art and Hobby down on Main st. carry a similar setup ask for the special water brush. Contact Frontiero@hotmail.com with your photos and info if you use this type of painting kit and i’ll post it and give you a free plug here on this Rag. :)

OK Here’s my Car set up. It’s a Sakura 24 color watercolor box that you can put a 4″x6″ postcard size watercolor paper in it and still have a lot of palette space to mix colors. you can see and or buy my small paintings at the EJ KAHN/GoodMorningGloucester Gallery down at the Madfish Galleries on Rocky Neck this year. HAVE FUN!

Gloucester Webcam of The Day- Island Art and Hobby

This Webcam and more can be found at www.gloucesterwebcam.com

Check Out Island Art and Hobby Website Here

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This www.gloucesterwebcam.com local webcam portal project was an idea I had last year to have as many webcams streaming from local businesses or organizations as possible which highlight the incredible vistas that we as people that live and work here get to enjoy each and every day.

The idea was to have the organization install the webcam, have them embed the webcam feed on their own websites as well and have a link to each business website on the Gloucester webcam portal website to showcase their business as well.

Tim Blakeley from Gloucester Bytes provided the initial installation at ridiculously cheap cost because he believed in the project.

Random Gloucester Business Tweet of The Day

In an effort to get more local businesses out of the stone ages and into 2012 I’ll be posting a random Gloucester Business Tweet every now and again.  Don’t lobby for me to post your business tweet, just get your business active in the social media game, if what you post tweaks my interest you could see it here and folks that may not have even known you had a twitter presence might just find out about your bidness.

Hey, we had over 41,000 folks check out GMG just yesterday on a beautiful sunny Sunday, come get some of that love baby!

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Today Island Art and Hobby Tweets-

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Follow Don Boye, owner of Island Art and Hobby on twitter here

5:20AM On Main Street Snapshot of Snow Totals (or lack thereof) On Main Street Courtesy Island Art and Hobby and Toodeloos–GMG October Nor’ Easter Coverage

Classic example of how the www.gloucesterwebcam.com project can let you know what’s up when you’re away or in bed.

Island Art and Hobby Facebook page here

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Toodeloos Webpage here

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Click here to see the other cams

Click here to sign up and have your business or community organization represented on GMG when we highlight something cool happening on your cam and also listed on www.gloucesterwebcam.com

Check out the interactive map of all the locations that are live so far and their field of view-

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Halloween Party Kids Unlimited, Island Art and Hobby, Harbor Goods, and Local Colors October 30th! Moved To Rose baker Center

Halloween Party

Sunday October 30th has been moved to the Rose Baker Senior Center due to the weather forecast.

Same Time from 2:00 – 4:00pm

All activities, prizes and treats will be awaiting all the Little Trick or Treater’s in their costumes.

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