Monday, December 31, 2007
I'll stay home, eat chocolate, watch TV, and make new jewelry. I have several new designs that I'm super excited about. A couple are one of a kinds. A few are limited editions. And some are just neat. :)
So have a Happy, Safe, and Healthy New Year!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Your dominant hues are red and green, so you're definately not afraid to get in and stir things up. You have no time for most people's concerns, you'd rather analyze with your head than be held back by some random "gut feeling".
Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.
Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I had a final flurry of packages sent off at the post office this morning - including an overnight package! I've never done an overnight package before.
My little cousin is coming over tomorrow and we are going to CLEAN! The house is a mess. I need to do laundry. I need to get my shipping area organized and ready for the new year. Jo Jo is going to dust, vacuum, and organize/clean the spare bedroom.
Tonight will be spent wrapping gifts, watching TV, and relaxing (or recovering depending on what happens at the dentist!).
I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year!
I'll try to take lots of pictures to share of our celebrations.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Gosh...at first I couldn't really remember. I know my friends and I would talk about being teachers. I can't even imagine being a teacher now. We ALL wanted to be wives and mothers. I'm one out of two so far in that score.
When people are really stuck about what they want to do with their lives, there’s a simple little question that helps unlock the log jam of “shoulda/woulda/coulda”.
“When you were in first grade,” I ask them, “what did you want to be when you grew up?”
But thinking more specifically about what I DID as a child makes me think a little deeper into what I do now.
I loved to color - and even at 29 I must have a large pack of Crayola crayons in the closet just in case the mood strikes me. I used to dump out the entire box of 96 and reorganize them by shade. All the blues in one section, all the reds in another, and so on. Does that say that I like color or like to organize and be in control? HA!
As long as I can remember I've been creating jewelry. My friends and I made embroidery floss "friendship" bracelets on the bus to and from school. I spent a lot of my allowances at the fabric store on all the colors of embroidery floss that I had to have. And of course I organized them by shade.
Oh and my Light Bright! Did you have one of those?!? I used to absolutely adore punching the black paper with the little plastic thingies to make fabulous patterns and colorful displays.
Now I spend most of my money on beads and jewelry making supplies. They aren't 'that' organized but for the most part all my beads are organized by type and color.
I'm sensing a theme here. I'm not a super organized person - my desk at work looks like a tornado hit it and is often joked about by my coworkers. But I know where everything is and it is 'organized' in my own way. So maybe the theme is color. I love color. All shades and hews. Whenever someone asks my favorite color I can't really answer. I love blue but I also love red. And green. And orange. And yellow. And all shades in between.
I'm looking forward to practicing my enameling skills because then I'll be able to combine my love for playing with metal with my love of color.
It's an interesting exercise to go through...I want to be a ____________ when I grow up.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
8 Reasons You Should Buy Handmade Products over Commercial Products
1. Handmade products are unique. Do you really want the same scarf, mug, earrings, necklace or other item that 20,000 other people have? Of course not! Handmade items are always unique, even if they are the same type of product because they are not made by machines they are crafted by human beings so each piece will have its’ own unique characteristics.SO true! I may make this necklace over and over again but each and every one is completely unique and hand crafted by my own two hands!
2. Handmade items have personality. Life is not about being blah. Life is about expressing yourself and to do that your things need to have as much personality as you do. If you are happy with buying mass produced items that have no personality off a shelf at Wal Mart think about what that says about you. Don’t you want to express some personality?
3. Handmade items are special. When you get a gift don’t you feel a little bit more loved when someone gives you a handmade gift? Everyone loves getting handmade gifts or wearing something that was made just for them.I LOVE to give handmade gifts and 75% of the gifts I'm giving this Christmas are handmade.
4. Handmade items last longer. Because they are made from high quality materials and handcrafted by trained artists items that are handmade last longer than low quality imported mass produced items.I don't find this is *always* the case but an experienced hand crafter is going to use the best quality and have skills that ensure excellent quality.
5. Handmade goods are high quality. If you are a person who values the quality of an item more than the price then you already know that handmade items are far superior to mass produced items. While a mass produced item may be cheaper initially is it really cheaper when the item needs to be replaced a month later? When quality matters, go handmade!How many times have I bought a cheap shirt at Costco and had to throw it away (or make a rag out of it) less than a year later because it gets holes or starts to wear through?!?! So frustrating.
6. Handmade items are not made by children in sweatshops in Third World countries making 10 cents a day. Experienced and trained craftspeople make each handmade item. So while you might pay a few dollars more for a handmade item it’s because you are paying for quality materials, years of experience, artistic talent, and well-honed craftsmanship. Isn’t that worth paying for?I will say that the kids in Third World countries are going to work no matter what because 10 cents a day is more than nothing. Their families need to eat too. I'm not sure that buying the products marked up 1,000 times really helps them though. I think it's more important to change the climate in their country so they can go to school instead of working 12 hour days.
7. When you buy handmade you are supporting traditional arts and crafts techniques that have passed down through generations. In today’s high tech world the old arts and crafts traditions are being replaced by mass production but when you buy handmade you are saying that you prefer your items to be high quality pieces of art instead of mass produced trinkets.I admit...I love trinkets. I have to control myself and luckily my husband isn't that interested in these things. I've gotten much better at avoiding the "stuff" on the shelves at Walmart.
8. When you buy handmade you are supporting local and small businesses. By paying artists and craftspeople for their goods you are supporting them and all the businesses that they do business with. If you are a person who believes in supporting your community economically then buying from local artists is a great way to support your community and make sure that your money goes to support local businesses.Again, when I shop at Walmart I'm still supporting a local business with local employees. People work there who live in my community. One of the Walmarts near my grandparent's house is the main source of employment and shopping for people in the area. HOWEVER, I only buy things that I can't get from artisans like Tylenol and Toilet Paper. =)
Keep these things in mind the next time you see a scarf, a bracelet, some great handmade soap or other item and think,” I could get that for half price at Wal Mart.”!So the next time you need a gift for someone - buy handmade. Jewelry, scarves, bath and body. It's all available out there - handmade by someone with love and care.
I love Christmas Cookies. I am not much of a cook or baker but every year I do at least try to make frosted sugar cookies. This year was cutting it close but I finally got to bake this last weekend and I went nuts.
Normally I use a prepared recipe for sugar cookies (the kind you can get in a box at Costco) but when I went shopping at Fred Meyer they didn't have any. The nerve!!! So I ended up looking up a recipe online at the Food Network. It was a LOT more complicated than I am used to and I didn't exactly follow it to a T. =) But I did cook from scratch. That counts for something right?
I didn't have unsalted butter so I didn't use the salt called for in the recipe and figured the salted butter would work just fine. I also didn't use my big ol' Kitchenaid mixer - the one my mother gave us for our wedding and that I have never once used. Why start now?
So I used the really old hand mixer that she gave me ages ago (it's so old that she used it when daddy was still alive ... we're talking more than 20 years!) and it works just fine. Although it didn't really do what the recipe called for - which was to beat until the dough pulled away from the side. Um...yeah the "dough" was all over the bowl! And it just wasn't working.
That's what hands are for right? I dove in and mixed the dough until it was the proper consistency. Phew! I hate getting my hands icky.
The recipe called for two hours in the fridge so I finished up some jewelry and wrapped some presents while watching Monster in Law. Very funny movie by the way.
Another thing that made this process a *little* more difficult - I don't actually own a rolling pin. *blush* Never have. I normally make due with a round glass of some sort. heh Well, the dough coming out of the fridge was REALLY hard so I knew if I tried the glass trick the glass would break with all the pressure I had to enforce. So I used my hands again and beat the dough into submission. That worked quite well and made it soft enough so I could use my poor glass 'rolling' pin.
I got these fabulous cookie cutters from my work Secret Santa - they are Gingerbread men with "bites" already taken out. ROFL One without a head. One with a missing arm and the other missing a leg. I think they're hilarious. And they make really great cookie cutouts. Between those and the neat tiny Pampered Chef cutters I had some really neat shapes.
The frosting event occurred the next day. Some of the cookies "accidentally" broke so of course I *had* to eat them. Needless to say I was on quite a sugar high all day. But all in all I think my work turned out quite well...
Trooper thought so and ate most of this entire plate! He would have continued if I hadn't heard his collar hitting the plate.
Luckily I had taken photos before he could destroy all the evidence of my homemaking abilities. See the gingerbread men? They rock!
And the surviving cookies made it to work where they were promptly devoured by coworkers feeding their sugar addictions. Thankfully I won't do this again for another year.
Monday, December 17, 2007
My friend Marie played the Baroness and was so good. She's got a great voice (yes, in this play the Baroness sings).
Marie actually sounded like Julie Andrews. It was freaky. But she did a fabulous job. The Captain was great but he looked so much older than the woman playing Marie that it was kind of odd.
As we drove away, we were chatting about the show, and the two older girls and I all noted one thing that shocked us. I know that the movie and play involves Nazis. I've seen it on TV. It never caused me to blink.
But seeing Nazi flags live and in person punched me in the gut. All three of us "big girls" (the other two are 12 and 9 and had no idea what we were talking about) had the same reaction. I felt a little ill seeing the flags. It's that scene where the family is performing right before they escape. And the Nazis are there to take the Captain away immediately after the performance. So of course there will be Nazi flags. I never thought it would hit me so hard to see these in person. I was actually physically uncomfortable and sick to my stomach.
I suppose that means I'm not totally numb to history - even as much as I've seen and studied about the Holocaust and WWII. Good to know.
Anyway, it WAS an excellent play and I really enjoyed myself. Plus I got to hang out with my girls. LOVE my girls! =D
Friday, December 14, 2007
I took Trooper to daycare today! The poor little boy was terrified. :( Since I dropped him off before business hours he will be in his own individual kennel for a couple of hours until the staff arrives. As I was leaving I could see his head pushing up against the kennel ceiling (it's a short kennel) looking at me like "why are you leaving me???" *SOB*
I KNOW he will have a blast or I would never leave him. I had to fight with hubby to take him by himself. Quinn is too old and would hate it. Kodiak is still healing from his surgery. And Trooper NEEDS to play with dogs so badly. He has so much energy and just can't get it all out with us working and walking him sporadically.
I am going to call as soon as they open and check on him though. I feel like a mama...I want updates people! I almost want to go back home and get him but I'll let daddy do that.
So thank goodness it is Friday (and payday!). I'm taking my girls (4 cousins ages 9, 12, 20, and 21) to see the Sound of Music at a local theater. One of my good friends is the Barrenness. I don't really have time to do this but I took the two little girls last year to see the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (My friend was the White Witch!) and we had such a good time. And I know it will be fun. I'll just have to catch up on orders tomorrow.
Monday, December 10, 2007
It was a crazy weekend - I had a jewelry party at Trooper's breeder's house. Lots of fun and food and puppies!!! Forget jewelry - I just wanted to play with the dogs. The puppies are 5 weeks old and beyond adorable. It was hard to keep myself from sneaking one out.
Orders have not stopped just because it's December, although I'm thinking that they will slow down a lot now that my guaranteed shipping deadline is here. I thought about extending it but the reality of my life makes me leave it as is. Most of my work is made to order so it takes a couple of days just to prepare pieces to ship - I think I'd be cutting it a little close.
So it's off to the post office I go...hauling two bags full of Priority shipping boxes. Phew! I was up late finishing up - and I hope that everyone loves everything. That is always the most anxious part - wondering what they think when they open their packages.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Did you know we only had the 18th largest military at that point? (According to the radio this morning - where they were reading from the LA Times.) We sure aren't 18th now.
This photo was taken by a Navy photography as the USS Shaw was exploding. Dec. 7, 1941.
The surprise was complete. The attacking planes came in two waves; the first at 7:55 AM, the second at 8:55. Along with the ships in Pearl Harbor, the air stations at Hickam, Wheeler, Ford Island, Kaneohe and Ewa Field were attacked. For two hours and twenty minutes, Japanese aircraft bombed and strafed these military targets. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan.Behind them they left chaos: 2,335 dead servicemen, 1,178 wounded, 640 unaccounted for, 48 civilians killed. 188 planes had been destroyed and 18 ships of different sizes had been sunk or damaged, including 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. Only 29 Japanese aircraft were shot down by American return fire, most during the attack of the second wave. In one stroke the Japanese action silenced the debate that had divided Americans ever since the German defeat of France left England alone in the fight against the Nazi terror.Quoted from Remembering Pearl Harbor
My mind reels at the horror of what the Japanese accomplished that day. I
I thank God for all those who died, who fought, who lived, and who served. Then and now.
Great quotes compiled at Remembering Pearl Harbor site, which should be remembered today!
Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
Neutrality, as a lasting principle, is an evidence of weakness.
So, after our trip to Maui this year I am so in love with turtles. And how cute is this little girl? Her name is "Lola the Turtle Snuggle Buddy" and she is handmade in Colorado Springs by Bean Pickle Sprout (How funny cool is that name?). No lead in this little girl. She's ready to be adopted.
Sometimes we all need to be reminded of this. We are all God's children and with this customized embroidered tote you, or your loved one, will never forget. Created just for you by Adrienne of Personality Plus Boutique, you can customize the colors and everything!
I am in love with all things Japanese. I've been to the beautiful country twice and even have my own wedding kimono (not that Hubby would let me wear it at our wedding...he's no fun!). I discovered this incredibly talented artist on Etsty and have been drooling over her incredible work. I can't pronounce any of it but it's gorgeous. :)
Thursday, December 6, 2007
That is my goal - to make sure my dogs are happy and healthy. Trooper is not happy. He's antsy. Fidgety. Bored. It rained so much the past few weeks. Hubby has been working a lot of overtime. I've had orders and shipping.
And he can't play as rough as he wants to with Kodiak and Quinn. Long walks around the neighborhood do not tire him out.
So tonight, hubby and I are going to go tour a local kennel for Puppy Daycare. If we like it, he'll be going next week at least one day if not two. It will be SO good for him to play with other doggies and run run run. I can't wait to have a tired dog!
And as soon as we think Kodiak is fully healed he can go too. I'm not so sure about Quinn. She's getting fairly old but they may be able to take care of her there too. She may enjoy it.
Just from the photos it looks like a fabulous and very professional place. Each dog gets their own little kennel that they go in when they first get there. I love this because my dogs used to go absolutely nutso when we'd go to the other daycare (that's another story). This will give them a chance to calm down.
Things look so clean and well kept from the photos too. And they have a pool for doggies!!! I love that. Not just a pool, they also have kid toys for the dogs. It is so funny to watch dogs play on those!
I'll report back ... the biggest hurdle is convincing hubby that Trooper will be safe and cared for by someone else. :) He's so protective!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Am I too old for a cape? If there were any kids young enough in my family I would totally buy one of these by Panjo!
Sometimes I am really messy when I eat...but I don't think my neck would fit in this adorable bib by Hoobaleedoos.
Although my mom didn't really cook...I'm sure if my dad had lived I would have wanted to help out in the kitchen and would have needed one of these precious little girl aprons by Mommy and Me Boutique.
I wonder if the cookie comes with it???
Oh so many more goodies are coming...I can't stop myself!!!
If I had some extra cash I would totally buy this!
Isn't that beautiful!?!
And I wish I had a little girl in the family to buy for who could wear this adorable little dress!
And don't forget the doggies! I SO wish I had a small dog so I could buy them this. ROFL
I have never seen Monty Python movies but I still know the lines!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
My Aquamarine and Fine Silver "Bullseye" pendant is featured in November. Woohoo!
In 1996 I remember the freeway being closed due to flooding and 11 short years later it's happened again. Hubby had to go in at 5 a.m. today and is being assigned down to help with traffic control.
The weather has calmed down a bit but I still had my wipers on all the way to work this morning. It was coming down pretty good.
My grandfather - the ultimate cowboy - decided that he didn't want his outhouse to float away yesterday. So the stinker wades into the overflowing river up to his thighs (he is 80 freaking years old!), straps a rope/chain around the stupid thing, gets on the tractor and pulls it to dry land. Oy! I swear that man is going to give us a heartattack long before he leaves this earth.
A great photo from West Olympia - I was JUST there on Sunday!
I've seen it flood in that intersection before but never ever that badly. That is just frightening!
I hope grandpa's house is okay...he's fairly far away from the river but I know one of his neighbors lost several outbuildings and had to be rescued from their home! Although neighbor in his neck of the woods could be several miles away. I'm sure one of the main roads into town will wash out - it has before.
God bless mother nature and do not piss her off!
Monday, December 3, 2007
That may sound like a lot but it takes hundreds of unique hits to generate one sale.
3,922 Unique Visitors
5,766 Total Visits (1.47 visits/person)
Think about that. Nearly 4,000 unique visitors and only 14 sales. That's not that great in terms of conversion rates...although I do know certain jewelry friends of mine who up my stats a little bit (*cough* JenC *cough*)...not that I mind! :)
I am thrilled that I had 14 sales in November. I hope I can get that many each month. Working full time makes it more difficult to get many more - because let me tell you I was swamped. Most items are made when ordered, from scratch. No working on the weekend and stocking up - I usually stay up late in order to finish. I can't stand letting orders sit for more than a day or two.
Those sales don't include my sales from my Etsy shop - so add another 15 sales - although I have no idea how many hits I get on my Etsy shop because they don't give us by shop stats.
And why, you may ask, am I sharing this information? Mainly because I want to share with other jewelry folks...it is HARD to sell online. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of us out here in the cyberworld, competing for jewelry customers. It is a lot of work and you shouldn't be discouraged or think down on your work just because you haven't gotten a sale in awhile. Trust me, this was my busiest month all year. And I'm thrilled.
Hits and sales have continued to increase since the beginning of the year and I hope that trend continues.
But yesterday I was inspired to create some more subtle rings that still used natural stones but didn't look like something that could take an eye out.
Gorgeous Sleeping Beauty Turquoise - completely natural and feminine - found in the Sleeping Beauty mine in Nevada.
Ocean Jasper - I found out that this stone is only found in one mine in the world in Madagascar. It is such a remote area that there are no roads and the stone can only be gathered at low tide along the edge of the ocean and transported by boat.
Malachite - I love the green swirls and patterns found in Malachite. This stone shape is really fun - a square that is drilled from corner to corner.
And if you still want a little bigger bling - this Amazonite is incredible. It almost sparkles. A really great color, this particular stone is actually from Africa (most Amazonite is from Russia and is more green) with stunning pale teal green color.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Why did we need a new roof? Well, when we moved into this house over five years ago we were told that the tile roof was a superior quality and we wouldn't need a new roof for 20 years. Yeah right. So much for that. A few months ago we discovered a leak ... there was water streaming above the window behind my work station. Hubby could not find the leak. It wasn't the window.
So we called a roofing company and we definitely had a leaky roof. One of the tiles was broken and they don't do tile roofs. Apparently they are supremely expensive. Not only that, our stupid roof had ONLY tiles. Seriously...tiles then nothing but our ceiling. No two by fours. No layer of plastic or whatever. Nothing! SO lame.
So we decided to go through with a new roof...not cheap. Got the home equity loan. Ready to go. Set for yesterday. It was the loudest most annoying experience ever. Even without a flippin' foot coming through the ceiling it would have been horrible.
I'm sitting here working on my laptop trying to get some things done and all of a sudden my ceiling explodes.
The guy slipped (since there was nothing but air and some beams) and thankfully caught himself before his whole body came through!
In reality it isn't that big of a deal. They are going to pay for the repair (the drywall came by last night already) but it completely freaked me out. I started to have a panic attack and had to call hubby home. Poor guy. I was flipped. Shaking. Near tears. Although I'm proud of myself for not actually crying. :)
The dogs were freaking out too of course.
Alls well that ends well. The drywall guy actually found some other parts of the ceiling that need to be repaired from the leak so we'll get everything repaired at once and split the cost with the roofing company.
And Trooper ended the day conked out in the kitchen. :)
He was seriously out cold. Didn't even open his eyes when I took this picture. Normally when I walk up he'd start stretching or something. LOL He was wiped out. =D
Friday, November 30, 2007
My poor Trooper Bear. He is so stressed out right now.
Why? You may ask. Because our roof is being replaced. It sounds like a herd of rhinos are walking around up there. I knew it would be noisy. But good googly moogly I can hardly hear myself think. I swear one of those guys is going to fall through my ceiling at any moment.
But my poor baby boy is stressed - panting, pacing, staring at me "why momma?!?"
And OH MY GOD! Some guy's foot just came through the freaking ceiling! Gotta go!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Check out this neat Puzzle Coaster Set from Chiasso. For only $25! What a great gift idea.
Know a gardener? This quirky gift is so great! Sunflower Kit "Ben & Jerry's Terra Fuela" from Gardeners.com looks almost good enough to eat. It's even the same price as my favorite flavor, Karamel Sutra, $4.95.
And check out this cool clock...made with gears from Bits and Pieces. It's only $19.99.
I'll get back to handmade blogging now. Feel free to shop for handcrafted jewelry - you won't see me blogging about commercially produced jewelry...unless it's Tiffanys!
We collect money from everyone on the floor and a few people are designated as shoppers. They go out and buy all the goodies (trust me...we get a LOT of goodies purchased. After all, I work at a Financial firm...money isn't in short supply from some of the higher ups) and bring them in to be wrapped.
It's great! Everyone loves it. In the past we've hung the family member names on a flat Christmas tree on the wall and anyone who wanted to go shopping could take a tag or two (or three). People got involved.
We set up a meeting date/time with the family and a group of coworkers goes to delivery their goodies and it is so much fun. Most of the time we end up crying. :) The families are always so thankful.
One year we had single mom with two kids who was pregnant. We don't judge. I cleaned her kitchen (don't tell hubby - I don't do that at home!). She had no sheets on the bed, one pillow. The kids all slept with her on this mattress on the floor. We gathered everyone's resources and delivered two twin beds for the bigger kids. You should have seen their faces! Sheer joy for such a simple thing that most of us take for granted. They got their own fun kid sheets and pillows. Sure, the beds had to be put in the living room, but so what. They sure didn't care.
She also didn't have a vacuum cleaner. So we got one for her. And a real bed for her (with a real mattress) and a crib for the baby. This woman was SO thankful. She cried. She didn't have to sleep with her kids in the bed anymore. She could vacuum her small home. How many of us take these small things for granted?
My favorite thing is the overwhelming look on the mother's faces (it's always been a mother - whether they were single or not - who was home to receive us) when we fill her living room and kitchen up with food, toys, sometimes a tree....it's priceless. It's part of the Christmas spirit. Giving.
This year the Privacy Grinch has ruined it. I just got an e-mail telling the coordinators that we can no longer contact the families, we can no longer find out any information (children's names, ages, favorite colors!), and we won't ever see or meet the family because we can no longer delivery to them directly. WHAT??? Apparently there's some sort of stupid new privacy law??? I wanna see it. This is just insane.
I am so pissed. We are only allowed to know them as "Family #1", "Family #2" and have to get them gift cards. Let me tell you - folks are not going to want to donate to "Family #1" ... it's impersonal. It's random. It's boring.
Who the hell came up with this stupid privacy law??? This is getting ridiculous. I want things to be secure and private but these people voluntarily sign up with the Salvation Army in order to get assistance.
I am just so flippin' ticked off right now. This is seriously one of the highlights of my year and now 90% of the joy has been sucked out of it.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I really want one of these skirts from Nicole Lee Designs. They are wrap arounds and SO pretty!!! And they are my size! Brilliant! She has some amazing fabrics that I have never seen at Macys. They are fabulous! Oh, and handmade which I am all about this year.
I wonder if she could make this skirt in my size? I love this fabric!
It's funky and different! I'm nothing if not different. :)
She also has hats, purses, and wallets. Such talent!
I think I need to add her skirts to my Christmas list. :)
I love Soapy Love and her Soapsicles and I love to give them as gifts. They look and smell good enough to eat...and apparently Trooper agreed.
Of course, when I actually tried to get him to hold one in his mouth so I could photograph him he wouldn't. He apparently figured out fast that as good as these Soapsicles smell - they don't taste nearly as sweet. So he ruined my gifts and didn't even eat them! What a waste. Ha!
The evidence...you can see his big teeth marks.
I love my dog. I love my dog. I love my dog.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
What says love more than a handcrafted gift? Love, time, and attention goes into things made by hand by an artisan who enjoys their work. I'm not bashing commercial items (I love the mall!) but sometimes handmade gets a bad rap.
Here are some seriously awesome handcrafted goodies that I think everyone should consider this Christmas and Hanukkah season.
For the Knitter in your life - Stitch Markers from Vanilla Lotus.
Stay warm! This beautiful handcrafted (okay, it's machine stitching...but you need hands to run the machine!) quilt from Warm n Fuzzies is a steal at $60.
And oh my goodness...I love cupcakes! Why not add them to the Christmas tree? The Cup Cakery thinks it's a great idea.
Do you love goldfish? I always killed ours. So these Goldfish Cups by CG Studio would be perfect for me - easy care fish!
This apron by Mom's Retro Fashions almost makes me want to hit the kitchen and cook...almost. Could I just wear it while I make jewelry???
Trust me, there will be more.
And not much has changed. I tend to throw a fit if hubby tries to make me change the channel. My life is sadly structured around the TV schedule. It's amazing that I get anything done but I do! I can't just *sit* and watch TV. I have to be doing something else at the same time. Which is why I prefer to have my program on in the living room on the big TV instead of the bedroom. I have many more projects going on in the living room area. About all I can do in the bedroom is fold laundry - and that's no fun.
But last night I was desperate to watch Chuck but hubby had dibs on the big TV for the Miami Dolphins vs Philly Steelers last night (Miami lost - shocking!). So it was to the bedroom I went for my weekly dose of Chuck.
This show is freaking HILARIOUS!!! I am completely addicted to it. I missed an episode once and thankfully was able to watch it online. TV online! I am in big trouble. Last night's episode was not a disappointment. It's so funny that I laugh so loud and hubby gets mad. HA!
When I say that my life revolves around the TV schedule I am so not joking...
Monday - Watching Chuck - taping Aliens in America
Tuesday - Bones & House
Wednesday - America's Next Top Model (I know, shut up and stop laughing)
Thursday - Survivor and CSI (I tape My Name is Earl and the Office)
Friday - Moonlight (my MIL got me hooked on this one) and Las Vegas - both taped while I watch What Not to Wear
Other favorites - Law & Order SVU, Psych, Eurkea, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, the Dog Whisperer, reruns of Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70s Show, Seinfeld, King of Queens, oh the list goes on and on! And lest you think I am completely shallow - I also LOVE the History channel (including the International history channel), Discovery channel, and the other learning style channels.
Saturday and Sunday I am catching up on shows taped during the week - I rarely stay up past 9 p.m. so anything on at that time gets put on the DVR. What a wonderful invention! :)
My poor husband never had a chance at the remote. It is MINE!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Things have been going so well that I am having trouble keeping up with adding new products and I am looking for new stuff. I am really interested in art, jewelry, bags (desperately need a few bag designers), accessories, home decor, paper goods, plush, tees, crafting supplies, candles, home fragrance, bath & body. Take a look at the shop and see what you think and if you are interested in having your products carried in the shop, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am only doing consignment right now (no dropshipping). If I think your products will be a good match with the shop, I'll contact you with the consignment agreement to look over.
Check her out and see if your stuff would be a good fit.
Actually, it's not nearly as bad as I anticipated. I'm fairly awake and do appreciate the comfort of my work environment. And not comfort as in comfy but just as in familiarity. It is MY desk and that is so obvious. It's a mess!
This last week has been crazy and not at all relaxing. I'll probably get more rest being at work! I did not relax - from Saturday the 17th, which was my grandmother's memorial - to this last Sunday when I was running around preparing packages to ship - it was non stop.
I am beyond grateful for the sales, don't get me wrong. I need to sell so that I can continue to create - it's hard to justify creating when nothing sells...plus it's hard to fund new supply purchases!
I'm hoping that sales space themselves out throughout the next few weeks...I'd love one a day or two every other day. I could handle that level of business. In the meantime my mom ordered a couple of things that I need to finish. She generally gets put on the back burner - poor thing. At least she's understanding and super supportive. She'll probably get something nice for Christmas. :)
Friday, November 23, 2007
Check out these cards from Darjeeling Paper. Too funny!
Everyone says stupid things but when you're the most powerful man on the planet I suppose you should be a little more careful. lol
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Visit The Little Black Box for more than 50 unique companies offering fabulous and amazing deals. I'm participating with my website and the deal is really spectacular! Find everything from lotions and candles to jewelry and stationary.
Codes are only available on The Little Black Box - the extravaganza starts at 5 a.m. East Coast time and ends at 12 noon.
And don't forget - I've got LOTS of sale items in my Etsy shop. Get 50% off of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that are perfect for all your gift giving needs.
Get Ready...Get Set ... SHOP!
Monday, November 19, 2007
I am incredibly blessed and am thankful to God for the life I have.
Oh, and go shopping on Friday!!! :) I've got lots of sale items in my Etsy shop.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Rachel Lucas is currently going through what I think is one of the hardest decisions...whether it is time to say goodbye to her dog Digger. Reading her post and the comments is making me cry. I hate to cry. But I can't stop reading!
My dogs are so precious and special to me. They bring me such joy and happiness...even when they are their naughty selves and cost us oodles of money in surgery, vaccines, food, and all the treats we lavish on them.
Quinn in particular is starting to get older. I've started taking more photos of her because I never want to forget how happy she is. She still jumps around like a little puppy when we take a walk. I can't even say 'walk' without all three dogs whining. But she can't walk as far as she used to...starts to slow down after only a couple of laps around the neighborhood. Trooper could still pull an entire sled team after two laps.
We've tried diet foods but she's still a chunk...look at all those rolls! I think daddy slips her too many treats.
Kodiak is still happy go lucky but has had so many issues with his back legs that I shudder to think about how much pain he will someday be in...I can't stand the thought of not being able to prevent that pain! He is SO happy...I love seeing him "smile." Or stick his tongue out at me. HAHAHAHA!!!
And Trooper...oh boy...what can I say about this little (or big) monster. Trooper Bear is the perfect name for him. He lumbers with no tought to his own personal space or taking over other's personal space. He's a goof ball and loves to play - tug of war, catch, wrestling. He is a delight and true entertainment on a daily basis. He's also a trouble maker who likes to antagonize Quinn...and he started peeing on hubby's base woofer! ROFL That wasn't well received. He gets snipped next week!
He looks like trouble doesn't he? lol He's a stinker...and a total love bug. He loves to cuddle which is great because the other two dogs aren't big on cuddling.
At least they have a sport that they all can play together...begging.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
"Megan, I have two shows booked, Dec. 1 and 7, and I'm petrified. Not only do I not have enough jewelry made to sell, I don't have an idea of how to fill an 8 foot table with displays. I honestly don't know if I'm up for it. I am having a lot of work and personal troubles right now. I feel like a jerk for dropping out but don't know what else to do. I have no display items (like busts) because I don't want to invest in something if I don't know if I'll likeit.Any advice? Please?"
First piece of advice......take some deep breaths! :) It's not the end of the world. No one will die if you don't participate and no one will die if you have a bad show. The good news is that everyone starts out being scared and having no idea what to do. Trust me. If you are that stressed it might be a good idea to back out for now and try again next year. There's no harm in that and you aren't a jerk! Life happens (trust me...just read the last few entries here and you'll see how my life has been going the last week!).
But you have at least two weeks and I think if you want to go ahead with the shows you should have no problem. A few handmade display items and a little confidence go a long way!
My first show was at a local high school. I had three small folding card tables that I borrowed from my mom and they were super wobbly. I went out and bought some cheap fabric (red and green since it was the season) that was sheer because I thought it was pretty. Some black, non-sheer fabric that was sort of silky. I found this cool tree looking thing at Michael's to hang bracelets on. I used a picture frame with a plastic cross stitch thingy inside for earrings. Necklaces went flat. It was really pathetic.
Sheer fabric - don't do it unless it's over a solid fabric. You can SEE through it (duh!) and you could see my ugly tables. Not only that, it was also sort of silky and kept sliding off the table!
Despite all the horror of my set up I still sold around $80 - which I thought was pretty darn good. It only cost $15 to get a space. My expectations weren't very high and I think that is important for a first show. It's more of a learning experience than anything else. Sales are just a bonus!
As for the amount of space - 8 feet is a lot less than you think. I prefer at least 10 x 10 and even then it's not always enough. Get two tables in those 8 feet and add a few people browsing and it gets really cozy really fast. With an 8 foot table you'll be surprised how fast it fills up! And you'll be surprised how few pieces you may need. I am a perpetual overachiever when it comes to creating items...I always always always have too much.
But if the show is a small local show I would estimate that if you have at least 50 pieces total (that includes earrings which should be the bulk of your items) you will be just fine. You don't want to have too much out on your table because it can overwhelm customers. Having ten or twelve necklaces and an equal number of bracelets should be enough if laid out properly on the table. Earrings are usually what sells most so have more of those.
So here is my 2 cents on display ideas - for what it's worth...
Go down to the Walmart or other discount store and raid their clearance fabric section. I got great fabric for $1 a yard for my tables. I didn't sew them or anything (I probably should!) but just cut them to fit. Most folks aren't looking at your table clothe seams!
While at Walmart, see if they have some inexpensive picture frames. Inexpensive is the key because to me these are just a stop gap until you get an actual earring display. They can be any color because you can always spray paint them the color you want (I prefer black or natural color).
Now go back to the sewing section and get those plastic thingys (yes that is the technical term) that are used with cross stich and yarn - you know the ones...they have lots of little squares. A lot of times they will have different colored ones...black is best to me. You'll also want some colored paper (again, I like black but white is good too) to put behind it since you don't want to see the back of the frame. This will be where you can hang your earrings. You can use them with french hooks and leverbacks (though it is a little tougher with leverbacks).
Do you have any old shoe boxes or storage boxes? Use these to create layers at your table (put the boxes under the fabric so make sure the fabric is long enough to go over these and the table). It's okay to drape necklaces and bracelets flat - especially if you're short on time and resources. It's not ideal but people WILL look! And adding layers will help.
These three things alone will give you a respectable table display. And it won't cost you much at all! It's a good idea to not invest too much if you aren't sure if this is the direction you want to go with your business.
Feel free to ask lots of questions! There's also a ton of great advice over at Cagey Crafters where some of our members have been going through these same anxieties. We'll talk you through it! :)
Monday, November 12, 2007
No one in my family (that I know of) has given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I know that my father's dad was in the Navy but I never knew him. My grandfather (mother's father) was an MP - stateside for all of WWII. My husband's father was in the Navy but I don't know anything about his service. And of course my hubby was in the Coast Guard for several years before joining the state patrol.
Growing up I knew next to nothing about the military - was never exposed to it and never had any reason to think about it. Life was pretty peaceful in my little world through the 80s. It's not like I watched the news.
The first "war" that affected me in any way was the first Gulf War. I was in middle school and most of the students were "anti-war." There was a walk out and I participated - but only so I could go home early. I was actually fascinated by the images on TV and watched as much as I could. Seeing the military men and the flashes of light as missiles streaked across the sky was breath taking. And "winning" as quickly as we did brought me some amount of pride - even at the age of 12. Of course I knew nothing of what was actually going on and didn't realize that we probably should have kept going.
As middle school continued I was exposed to WWII via the Holocaust. I don't recall any part of my education that focused on the military or battles fought to protect our country. The most my school did was focus on the Holocaust - and I am glad that they at least did that much. I am fascinated, horrified, and enthralled by all things WWII. I found out that my grandmother (father's side) was a working as a 'Rosie the Riveter' on air plane wings. I learned about life during the war in my maternal grandmother's life. It's amazing. We go through nothing today compared to what they sacrificed - just as civilians.
Joining the military was never even discussed as an option for my brother and me. It wasn't put down, it wasn't even brought up. Never said outright, there was always a 'last resort' type of attitude about joining. Yet every time I saw a military person in uniform I was impressed. They never seemed like losers or lower class folks. They were pressed, poised, confident. I loved it! (Not to mention how hot guys look in uniform!)
My husband definitely 'looks' like a military guy - crew cut and all. And I am so lucky to get to see him in uniform when he works. When we have kids I will make sure that they know - military service is not a 'last resort' ... it is a proud and honorable thing. Those who serve keep us safe. They stand up to dictators and fascists the world over. They sacrifice family time, personal time, and their lives so that we may be comfy and cozy in our little worlds. If my children decide to join I will be beyond proud - I will be humbled and in awe that a child of mine would make such a selfless decision.
God Bless our armed forced the world over. You are our freedom fighters and guards in this difficult and dangerous world.
Friday, November 9, 2007
It probably started last weekend - I had a craft show on Friday night and Saturday. I knew it would be slow - my prices are too high for this demographic - but I'd signed up for it earlier in the year and didn't want to cancel. So that felt like a waste of time, even though I did have a few sales.
No time to relax on Sunday because I got swamped with bead orders and three jewelry orders. Which is fabulous! But also stressful. And my mom needed my help in showing her car to someone (she was on vacation) which took several hours.
Monday rolls around and my 'real' job is uber-stressful. It normally is challenging and I love that. But sometimes I get requests that frustrate and stress me out. Monday night I packed a bunch of bead orders and got read to go to the post office on Tuesday.
Now, one of those perfect storm things is building...I am bipolar (something I will blog at length about later) and there are times when I am very "UP" and other times when I'm very "down"...most of the time I'm pretty much in the middle. Unfortunately, one of these icky down times decided to hit me Monday and lasted until Wednesday. *sigh*
So, not only am I very down at the time, but after going to the post office on Tuesday I realize that I had screwed up at least two of the bead orders. :( I sent the wrong beads to one person, and left out one person's beads all together! I couldn't find another person's beads that she'd ordered so I had to go apologize and issue a refund for that. I ended up refunding at least three orders and still sending the beads out. Which is fine...they are destash items ... but I hate messing up!
Thankfully, by later Wednesday my mood wasn't nearly so down (though still not up by any means) and I was able to focus and work on getting several more bead orders ready to ship on Thursday.
Thursday I get a call that another person's beads had broken in transit. ARG!!! What next? What else can go wrong?
Oh but wait...standing in line at the post office Thursday took forever and I was late for my dentist appointment. So they decided to reschedule me. *sigh* This was the last straw for my husband who flipped out and demanded that I slow down.
HA! I don't know the meaning of the word relax and he wants me to slow down. No - sir - ee. If it weren't for my down moment I probably could have handled this week better. Unfortunately all the little things added up and really hit me hard.
So I am beyond grateful for the weekend. I am also grateful for my friends online (I don't have many in the real world LOL) who sent encouraging messages and prayed for me. I know that those prayers helped!!!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
There are a gazillion gift guides out there - several of which I am part of for this season. But someone came up with a brilliant idea to create a list of some of the best guides out there. Wish I had thought of it first!
Guide to Holiday Gift Guides
I am sure she'll be adding more as she finds out about them.
Here is one - The What Designers Independent Design Shopping Guide. It look fabulous! (and no, I'm not even in this one!)
And in the last few days some of my favorite shows have jumped on the Green bandwagon and started lecturing me on my harmful impact on the planet.
*insert very obvious eye roll here*
I am SO sick of being lectured to...not to mention having people try to scare me into thinking the earth is going to end soon if I don't throw away my car and walk to work. I LIKE my car. I actually even like my commute. It's me time. I can listen to the radio (or yell at it in some cases) or music or nothing and just drive in quiet.
I'm not opposed to the idea of keeping things clean and pretty. I don't like pollution. It's icky. It makes things stink and look bad. But compared to 30 years ago, my state is practically pristine. It's not perfect, of course, but it's pretty darn gorgeous here.
I recycle (most of the time) though not obsessively. I do my best to get the most miles out of my car. But not to save the planet...I don't want to have to spend a ton on gas. I would NEVER pour oil down a drain. I never litter (my own husband would write me a ticket if I did, trust me on that).
So when Sunday night football becomes so ridiculous as to lecture me to turn off my lights as they sit in a dark studio I get a little annoyed. NBC has turned their peacock logo green. It's all about sustainability and enviro-friendliness. Arg! Leave me alone! All I want to do is watch TV in peace.
And it turns out that I am not alone in my annoyance. Eco-Fatigue is starting to hit and I am SO glad! I'm sick of being told that I need to buy carbon credits and monitor my carbon footprint. What a ridiculous concept. Whoever came up with buying carbon credits is now rolling on a bed somewhere with $1,000 bills laughing at all of you who think this is a legitimate idea.
I was laughing hysterically during last night's episode of Chuck. My concern for how they were going to turn this great show into some politically correct spew was unfounded. One of the main characters is this annoying power tripping guy who was being a recycling nazi. Made recycling look real fun (insert sarcasm). And then some hippy dippy loser was trying to save the planet by planting trees, who 'Casey' properly squashed. Then it turned out the hippy dippy loser was an undercover CIA agent who shows up to save the day with a big 'ol gun! ROFL Take that enviro-wackos! I was loving it!!!
Thank you, Chuck, for not making one of my new favorite shows into some lame Al Gore wannabe appeal to save the planet.
Monday, November 5, 2007
I use cPanel as set up by my lovely website gals (Lightning Bug Designs) but I wanted to be able to access my e-mails anywhere from any computer. Leila (of LBD) set it up so that I can use GMail as my ... sort of a front page ... to read and send e-mails. All e-mails still go through cPanel so I have to go into that system from home and periodically delete things.
Which I *just* freaking did a week ago. And yet here I am again getting error messages sent out to people who have e-mailed me saying that my inbox is full. It IS NOT!!! I will go in again tonight and see what is up within cPanel (can't do it at work...grrr) but I haven't gotten a thousand messages in a week or anything like that.
If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I'd appreciate it. My actual GMail space usage is only at 15% of my capacity. So I know it's not that system. It has to be cPanel. :( I'm so frustrated ... and I am not a technical person so I have no idea how to trouble shoot. *sigh* Happy Monday to me.
Friday, November 2, 2007
It's an 8 x 8 space, smaller than normal, but it's not bad. I actually lucked into the space. It's in the main building (out of 4) and one of the first places people will go...and it's a corner space. I'm loathe to stop doing this show even though it's not really my market any longer. Mostly little old ladies (so cute!) and moms with kids looking for some entertainment and a good deal. My work is no longer their price point.
But I decided that for $65 it was worth it to do the show at least once more. I have tons of older inventory that I cringe at the idea of taking apart but am never going to sell unless it's at a show like this ... and I offer it at 50% off.
So I made some signs - "Inventory Clearance", "50% off" - we'll see if I can move some stuff. If not I'll be bringing items home and getting some quick photos to post in my Etsy shop. I don't want to add things to my main site because I'm working so hard to focus my site on a consistent look. The things I'm trying to move are not part of that look any longer.
Wish me luck!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
He absolutely does NOT want to play with his little brother. I video taped their stand off yesterday. This is Kodiak's first day home after surgery and he's pinned in with our mobile gate (best investment we ever made for the dogs!).