Christmas Mix for YOU!

Happy Christmas!

I decided this year that I would make a special Christmas Mix for my friends. It's a compilation of songs that I have really enjoyed in 2010 (although some were released before then) and I hope you will enjoy them, too.

Please download it for free at the following link:
Download "Merry Christmas from Allie 2010"

Read on for the track list and reasons why I chose these songs...

1) White Winter Hymnal | Fleet Foxes

Last year, my friend Aimee sent a mix with a different song by Fleet Foxes that I really enjoyed (thanks, Aimee!). Oedipus also played this song on his 2009 Christmas Eve Broadcast on WFNX.  I knew I had to hear more! This band is pretty awesome.

2) I Wanna Kill | The Crocodiles
Thanks to my friend Brenden (thanks, Brenden!) for introducing me to the Crocodiles our of CA. This might be my favorite song from their album Summer of Hate (ok the song and album titles are misleading, trust me, it's a chill song).

3) How I Remember | David Bazan
I am a huge long time fan of Bazan's old band Pedro the Lion, so naturally, I love his solo stuff.

4) On the Table | A.C. Newman
I got this song at a music sharing party with two of my good friends earlier in the year (thanks, Erin and Kristina!). Full disclosure: It is a song from the OC Soundtrack. Hey... I heard they played good music on that show.

5) Happy Birthday/Come on Home | The Organ Beats
This is a track from The Organ Beats, out of Boston, whose lead singer was in the band Damone. I was listening to Damone CONSTANTLY in college, so when my friend Alex, who mixed this album, told me to check them out, I wasted no time (thanks, Alex!).

6) No Songs Is Good Songs | The Appreciation Post
I saw The Appreciation Post open for the Sheila Divine reunion show this summer at Landsdown Pub. Their enthusiasm was infectious. They opened with a cover of Tired of Sex by Weezer. They are one of my favorite new discoveries of 2010 and this song makes me melt every time I listen to it!

7) Over it Over Again | She & Him
Duo Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are She and Him. You probably have a crush on Zooey Deschanel. Or M. Ward. Or both. This is from Volume Two. Here's hoping for many more volumes!

8) Love Me Still | The Grownup Noise
The Grownup Noise is an awesome local band who collaborates with Boston Handmade quite often and quite well. Super nice people and super great music!

9) Hallucinations | Raveonettes
This song came to me on a mix CD from another friend this year (thanks, Matt!). I know the Raveonettes have been around for *so long* but I guess I didn't really read the memo until this year - although the memo crossed my desk about a million times since the early aughts.

10) Monument | Mirah
One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Mirah just hits me every time, so I am hitting you with her, too. This is one of my faves from her but you really can't go wrong with Mirah.

11) Charlie Darwin | The Low Anthem
Another local band, out of RI, I heard about The Low Anthem in the summer 2009 from a girl who had a G tattooed to her arm in the Adobe Garamond font (thanks, Laura, wherever you are). Obviously, she had good taste, so I gave them a listen, and what do you know... they are pretty great.

12) Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) | Arcade Fire
Quite possibly my favorite track from 2010. I can't say that Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" is anywhere near "Funeral" but I can say that this song might be the top played in my car on the way home from work this year.

13) Once in a Lifetime | Talking Heads
An oldie but goodie, this song is one of my all time favorites - dare I say top 10? - and it really helps put things in perspective and reminds you to live in the moment. We let too much pass us by, but we have just this one life... it puts me in check to just remember to not take small moments for granted.

14) Get Innocuous! | LCD Soundsystem
This song totally sneaks up on you. Seriously...

15) Stylo (Feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack) | Gorillaz
This is the last song I really remember rocking out to in my 1992 Nissan Stanza before I traded it in for a "real" car last spring. I remember driving around an extra couple of blocks before picking up Erin and Alex for some random adventure (sorry if I was late, guys). This is the perfect song to listen to loudly in your car on a warm spring or summer day. Or any other time.

16) I Love N.Y.E. | Badly Drawn Boy
Closing it with a classic.

I hope you enjoy this mix, and let me know your thoughts!
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all!!!

<3 Allison

ps - if you have made it this far.... a bonus video for you:

The Oedipus Christmas Eve Broadcast

Last year, WFNX Radio in Boston brought back a Christmas tradition - they broadcasted the long-running Christmas Eve show hosted by legendary radio personality and programmer Oedipus. It is a commercial free radio holiday extravaganza featuring Christmas music from around the world, new and old, drawn from many genres and heard virtually nowhere else. Before 2009, the special would broadcast on the now defunct WBCN, but WFNX jumped in to keep the dream alive!

This broadcast is really the highlight of my Christmas. OK... friends and family and togetherness is a big part of the holiday, as is partying for Jesus' birthday, but there is something about listening to The Oedipus Christmas Eve broadcast alone in a car or at home, unwinding from family craziness, that is really very calming. You can't help but feel nostalgic, thankful, and introspective.

The Oedipus Christmas Eve show will air without commercial interruption on Friday, December 24th, from 6pm until midnight. WFNX can be heard at 101.7 FM in Greater Boston, at 92.1 in New Hampshire, and streaming worldwide at

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Low Budget Christmas Gift (or fun new music for you)

Have someone you want to give something to for Christmas, but no $$ or idea what to give? Download this free EP from The Appreciation Post, burn it on a blank CD, maybe even print out a picture of the album cover and pass it along!

While you're at it, listen to this sweet and adorable song:

My First Christmas Tree

For the past few years, I have secretly wanted a kitschy fake white Christmas tree. Until this year, I haven't been in the right living space to make a legit tree happen. I decided to splurge (except, I only spent $25) on a 48" tall, fake, white, awesome Christmas tree for my living room.

Why a white Christmas tree? Well, I am going to have plenty of time to get a real tree later in life, so I am indulging in the frivolity and ridiculousness of the white Christmas tree while I can.
Here is a picture of my first Christmas tree in all its glory:

I got pretty amber lights for it, but Rookie Mistake #1 was that I bought them on green wire instead of white. Oh well. I also still need the right star for the top. I could not find one the other night when I was looking for the trimmings. But otherwise, I'm pretty excited!

Next feat: Start a lifetime collection of ornaments. While the matching ornament style is nice and uniform and orderly looking, I do love a haphazard Christmas tree with random ornaments that have been collected over the years.

What kind of Christmas tree do YOU love?

Operation C.U.P. (Citizens Using Pottery)

Operation C.U.P. (Citizens Using Pottery) is a movement my friend Arthur started last year with the idea of getting a handmade cup into the hands of people that wouldn't normally use a handmade cup. So it goes like this... buy a handmade cup or mug and gift it to someone close to you for the holidays. That's about it! Arthur's facebook page, Arthur Halvorsen Ceramics, is posting a daily link to a cup up until Christmas if you need some ideas or inspiration.
Here's my choice to fly us right into Hanukkah! I love this Paper Airplane Mug by Dirty Dishes Pottery. Something tells me I can get into Operation C.U.P.

Paper Airplane Mug by Dirty Dishes Pottery

Boston Handmade Downtown Holiday Gallery Opens Today!

Kick off your Holidays by shopping Handmade!

Opening day is TODAY, November 26!

The 3rd Annual 
November 26 through December 24, 2010
Wednesday - Sunday, 11am - 7pm

Make 2010 the season of handmade with gifts created by more than 20 local artists, artisans, and crafts people at 505 Washington Street, in the heart of Downtown Crossing Boston, between West and Temple.

Click image for full list of exhibitors

Danke Schön!

I have a lot to be thankful for. A loving family, friends near and far from various walks of life, a roof over my head, a full time job I enjoy, and a small side business that is more fun than it is work. I'm thankful for little things too, and my continued interest in really making the best of this life and soaking everything in.
Sure, this is all the normal "thankful" stuff, but it's what really matters.
I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and have much to be thankful for as well!

Plaid Friday Specials!

You know about Black Friday, but have you heard of Plaid Friday?

The name Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store "Black Friday," and is designed promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

Plaid Friday was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong shop local campaigns. One of the long term goals of Plaid Friday is to become a resource to make it easier for shoppers to find local businesses in every city across the nation. Plaid Friday brings back the neighborly nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable leisurely activity.


To celebrate Plaid Friday, shopping local, and shopping handmade,  I am offering 20% OFF your entire order in my shop when you make a purchase between Friday, November 26 and Monday, November 29 using the coupon code PlaidFriday10 at check out!

This offer is for in stock merchandise only and not valid on prior purchases. 
Sorry, no special orders. Expires 11:59 EST on 11/29/10.

New Photo Series: Love Notes

I've been working on a new photo series, tentatively called "Love Notes." It is a series of positive words or phrases popping up in unexpected places, mostly interesting surfaces. I've only just begun shooting... but stay tuned for more!

Poppytalk's 101 Reasons to Buy Handmade

Poppytalk has a great article with 101 Reasons to Buy Handmade. Here are some of my favorite reasons:

4. When you buy handmade, you are purchasing from artisans and craftspeople who enjoy creating their wares. The object holds that positive energy, and it spreads.

19. Buying handmade guarantees that no one will give the same gift as you!

45. Handmade items are what your Great Great Grandma used to buy.

52. Buying handmade is the best way to avoid shopping malls!

56. Buying handmade is an environmentally sound way to shop - handmade items are often made from recycled materials.

60. Buying handmade encourages traditions - how many happy hours have I spent learning how to knit with my mom and grandmom? There will never exist a knitting machine that can tell so many interesting stories!

67. Buying handmade ensures the discovery of quirky, one of a kind items! Companies won’t commit vast machines/factories to make riskier, odder things at the risk of not selling 1000’s or millions of mass produced units. But that is exactly what is best and most fun about making something oneself. Experimenting with new and different things! Odd shapes and combinations that may not be commercial but are definitely fun.

71. Buying handmade shows our children that not everything in this world needs to be mass produced. It teaches them to love and appreciate the unique and the imperfect. And it inspires them to do their own creating as well.

83. Buying handmade encourages independent thinking that breaks corporation's homogenizing tendencies.

86. Buying handmade allows opportunities for customization where shoppers can participate in the creative process to further personalize the item.

96. Buying handmade is just simply delightful.

For the full list, click here.
If you are interested in taking the Handmade Pledge, click here.

What are YOUR favorite reasons for buying handmade?

Vote for me in the Etsy and NASA Space Craft Contest!

Remember the Space Craft Contest I entered? Welllllllll voting has begun!

I would very much appreciate it if you would take a moment to vote for my submission under the category NASA and Etsy Space Craft 2D Reproduction. It's easy, here's how:

1) Log in to your Etsy account
2) Visit this link:
3) Vote for A Place So Gloriously Wired with Lights and Sounds (that's mine!)

That's it!

Voting ends November 19 so be sure to do it asap!

About the contest: NASA and Etsy invited Etsy members to celebrate artistic exploration and commemorate the end of the NASA Space Shuttle Program with a creative challenge: Share an original handmade item or work of art inspired by the NASA Space Shuttle Program and space exploration at large.

Prizes include a trip to an upcoming launch as NASA’s VIP guest, Etsy shopping sprees, and cool merchandise from NASA and Etsy. The winning artwork might even be flown on the Space Shuttle! If you vote for me, I might bring you as my guest if I win the grand prize :)

Not an Etsy member? Then it's high time that you register here:

Thanks everyone, and wish me luck!

More Matt and Melissa Engagement Photos

Remember Matt and Melissa's engagement photo shoot
Here are some more of my favorites from that day.

In front of Daniel Marsh Chapel at Boston University

Matt preparing to blow a kiss to Melissa

In front of Melissa's old apartment building

Matt being his charming self

This was such a fun day! I really enjoyed spending this time with two of my favorite people and I am so excited and happy for Matt and Melissa!

Fraske Designs Etsy Shop Turns 4!

Whoa! Four years ago today, I set up my Etsy Shop. I remember it like it was yesterday: A brisk fall day, it was also an election day in Massachusetts. I was home sick from work with a bad cold, but semi-functional, so after I walked down to Davis Square to do my civic duty, I was home on the couch with my laptop and some kleenex.

Someone had recently told me about this new website and I was checking it out. I had been making cards for friends for a while, and had been taking pictures since I had enough Bazooka bubblegum wrappers to exchange for a camera that shot 110 film with no flash. I poked around and read Etsy's policies and steps to set up a shop selling my very own handmade items. It was a no-brainer: Probably an hour later, I had set up, stocked with cards and prints, and ready to go.

It took a few weeks for me to get my first official sale. Then momentum started picking up, best-sellers started proving themselves. My Fenway Park Red Seat photo was the clear favorite, followed by You Are My Sunshine. As the months went by, I added and refined the products in my shop. I started to list more prints and less note cards. Increasing my Red Sox themed prints definitely helped with the traffic.

Fast forward to November 2010, Etsy has proven itself as an international go-to resource for handmade, and it has really made a positive impact on my life in so many ways. As an artist, it has offered me an outlet to share my work with the WORLD as well as those in my back yard. Thanks to Etsy, the store Magpie - a great local store selling handmade wares in Somerville - found me and asked to sell my prints and cards in their awesome brick and mortar location. This gave me the confidence I needed to start doing craft shows as well as approach more stores to see if they too would like to carry my work.

As a consumer, I have become even more aware of the importance of buying handmade, and the hard work that goes into the production of every item listed. And let's not forget the amazing people who have entered my life thanks to Etsy! I found the amazing group Boston Handmade, and have made some great friendships through that association.

It has been such a wonderful experience to connect with other artists and crafts people in the area. I have learned so much from getting to know these amazing people and immersing myself in the handmade culture. It has also helped me to push myself as an artist and small business person. While my small business is still basically a micro-business, I feel like I have taken great strides to integrate my art into my life and to find a way to share it with others. I wonder what the next four years will have in store!

Bazaar Bizarre Boston | 12.5.10

I am excited to announce that I will be a vendor at the Bazaar Bizarre in Boston for the second year in a row on Sunday, December 5! I will be there with Boston Handmade for what I think is one of the most exciting craft shows of the year.

We will exhibit at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama 
in the heart of Boston's South End neighborhood
on Sunday, December 5th from 12-7pm.

Bazaar Bizarre 2009
If you plan on going, get there early, because the line literally wraps down the street and around corners!

Starting TODAY at 10:00, a small number of early bird tickets will be available for presale. For $10, you can get into the 2010 Boston Bazaar Bizarre one hour (11am-12pm) before it opens to the general public. You'll be able to shop with a group of just 100 people, instead of the thousands of shoppers that will descend upon the Cyclorama as the day progresses.

If you miss out on the early bird special, or just would rather save $9, definitely stop by between 12 and 7!

Etsy Space Craft Contest

This week Etsy announced a mission to outer space. To honor the close of the Space Shuttle Program, Etsy is partnering with NASA and hosting an exciting contest. They are calling for artists inspired by NASA, its programs and the wonders of space exploration to submit their work and enter for a chance to attend an actual space shuttle launch, among other great prizes. It's out of this world!

I am entering the following piece in the 2D category... wish me luck!

My Etsy Wish List

As many of you can probably relate, I enjoy browsing to see what catches my eye. I love stumbling upon something new and interesting. I also love looking at my old favorites sometimes. Here are some items that remain at the very top of my Etsy wish list:

Seven Deadly Sins Plates by Trixie Delicious

 Sweet Dreams Decoupage Door Hanger by Trixie and Radar

Cross Section of a Cloud by Cate Anevski

Ghostbusters Wooden Peg People by Randomly Generated
 Cushion Cut Aquamarine in Rose Gold Ring by One Garnet Girl

Wine Bottle Cheese Plate and Cracker Tray by Big Sky

A million wishes for peace for John Lennon's birthday, October 9th

Help Yoko Ono get one million wishes for peace in honor of John Lennon's 70th birthday!

tweet your wish to @IPTower

mail your wish to
PO Box 1009
121 Reykjavik

email your wish to

"All You Need Is Love"

Boston Line by Line: City Wide Creative Writing

Are you a reader? Are you into creative writing? If you answered yes to either, you will definitely want to make time to stop by the second annual Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 16 in Copley Square.

One can't miss event is Boston Line by Line: City Wide Creative Writing sponsored by Union Park Press. Festivalgoers at this year’s Boston Book Festival are invited to stop by the Union Park Press booth to add a sentence in city-themed stories started by fellow Bostonians. Each story will be limited to one or two pages of text. When one story ends, the next one begins. Notable Bostonians who’ve been generous enough to “donate” a first line include Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River and Shutter Island, Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Susan Sloane, managing editor of WCVB TV’s Chronicle. The end result will be a collection of short-shorts collaboratively written by book festival attendees—available free of charge on the Union Park Press website after the festival.

Union Park Press publisher Nicole Vecchiotti says, “We wanted to blur the line between readers and writers, and do something that would also tap into the city’s creativity.” Vecchiotti describes the project as a simple writing exercise. “But we’re hoping that taking what is usually a classroom exercise and extrapolating it to the entire festival will add some excitement—not to mention that some lucky attendee will be able to write the concluding sentence to a story prompted by Bert and John of Life is Good, Nick Flynn, or Chef Ken Oringer.”

Just in case you were wondering...

What do the alphabet, pop culture, and classic board games all have in common? They are all part of some very exciting new projects I have been working on! They are all in "development" stages but I am kicking myself into high gear and getting some serious new stuff going. I'll be rolling out a new photo series, some housewares, some hyper-focused miscellaneous projects...

Anyway, it is all top secret but I am excited to make progress and should have some new and exciting stuff before the new year!

10/10/10: A Perfect Score for Handmade!

10am to 4pm

15 members of the artisan group Boston Handmade will be showing and selling handmade jewelry, clothing, accessories, ceramics, art, photography, handspun yarn, and more at SOWA Open Market 460 Harrison Avenue in Boston's South End on Sunday, October 10, 2010, from 10am to 4pm. 

I am not participating in this show but it's going to be great! October is my favorite month at the Market.

Boston Handmade promotes creating, selling, and buying handmade objects and art for home, work, and life. Buying handmade items connects the shopper directly to the designer, making the shopping experience distinctive and personal. Shopping with Boston Handmade means each purchase is supporting the local arts community and helping the local Boston economy thrive. The members of Boston Handmade create their work in small studios, which helps minimize their carbon footprint, and makes each hand-created object even more extraordinary.

Early Morning Pictures

Hot summer days can be oppressive, but the early morning hours of the summer are JUST right. I got up really early and took these recently:





Engagament Pictures - Matt & Melissa

My friends Matt and Melissa were in town this weekend to get down to some wedding planning business! We took some engagement photos in Boston on Saturday, here are a few of my initial favorites...

North Shore Concours d'Elegance

I had the chance to attend the North Shore Concours d'Elegance held at Endicott College on August 1. There were over 80 antique cars lined up along their beautiful campus. It was a perfect day and I took a bunch of  pictures. Here are some of my favorites! Click the image to see it full size.

North Shore Concours d'Elegance

North Shore Concours d'Elegance

North Shore Concours d'Elegance

North Shore Concours d'Elegance

Wedding Bells

 Tis the season for weddings! Three weeks from today, my very good friends Erin and Alex are tying the knot! Here are some selections from an engagement photo shoot we did in November. They are getting married in Cambridge at City Hall, and the reception will also be in Cambridge, so we took pictures at both locations.

The day started off a little drizzly which gave us the perfect opportunity to take some authentic couple shots under a red umbrella!


Then we took some shots in front of the City Hall entrance where the magic will happen in just a few short weeks!

Our last stop was the reception site just a few blocks down the road. It was a pretty fall day which was perfect for taking pictures outdoors.


As you can see, Erin and Alex have a silly side to them, hence Alex pretending to fly away like the statue. Some of the outtakes were my favorites! It shows that they don't take life too seriously which is one of the keys to happiness! Wouldn't you say?

Raw Toast Design

Well lucky me, I was a winner in the monthly Raw Toast Design print giveaway drawing last month! I discovered Raw Toast at the Spring BUST Craftacular when I visited Hillary in Brooklyn in May with Erin. I bought an Adrift print from him, and miraculously won another one, so now I have two lovely prints hanging in my new apartment... they look great together! I chose Fly Fishing which seemed like a good complement to the whole up-in-the-air concept of Adrift. Perhaps I will start a collection... if anyone wants to buy me my next print, or get one for themselves, check out the shop here!

I'd like you to meet the cutest baby ever!

I took some photos of lovely Alice and her parents recently. We chose Mount Auburn Cemetery as a venue. Alice should be a model someday! Here are some favorites:

alice, cutest baby ever.

cathy & alice

seth & alice