Monday, September 7, 2009


Last night a centipede almost fell on my head. I stepped back (unaware how lucky I was) at the last second and it landed right in front of me and ran away on its horrifying eyelash legs.

So it lives with me now, hidden... biding it's time.

Oh fright!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Old Dog and the Sun

Fall has come early for us, quickly following the summer-that-never-was, but it is being a kinder season than summer was to us. Today is one of those days of deep blue skies and a hearty, penetrating sun. The air is dry, and there is a touch of coolness. The furry, heavy bumble bees, a miracle that they can fly on those small wings, are buzzing around the leggy, grizzled summer flowers which are winding down for the season.

It makes me pause.

I think about what I will miss about this house if (when) we do sell it and move. Not a lot comes to mind, I feel so ready (although I am sure I will be surprised at the things I will miss when the time does come!). But today, as I was sitting on my back porch step, the cement warm in the sun, I realized something I would miss so much, it made my heart ache.

Today was the kind of day my dog would have loved. Sleeping in the sun on these intensely sunny days was one of his favorite things. I would sit on those same steps, and he would be quiet and sleepy. He would come by me for a scratch and a hug. He'd lean on me and we'd sit and soak up the sun together, as if storing it for the long winter ahead. His fur would be so warm and soft, a comfort to me who feels a chill so easily, especially as the season changes.

In our new house, there will not be Buster's favorite spots. The places I could picture him sleeping, or just being. My tangible memories, they stay with the house when we move on. The cement steps in back, the corner of grass in the yard. The spot in front of the steps to the second floor. They will stay here. His ghost-memories will float through this house for another family, a family that won't even know he was ever here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Froggy Friday

I don't know why I like frogs so much, but I do, and always have (you should see my bathroom decor!!). We found a bunch of adorable tree frogs (look at the suction cup "fingers") Upnorth, and I wanted to share....A very serious fellow!

Giving us the frog-eye

My favorite little guy!

When we were done observing and enjoying the frogs, they each went back to the spot where we found them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Best Laid Plans of Mice And Men

I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately.

There is a school of thought that says the Universe keeps sending a person the same types of problems over and over until he or she learns the lesson, or resolves the issue.

My kids start school next week. We have not moved, no one has made an offer on the house. They will be starting at their old school. The summer was unseasonably cool, quite so. I do like a hot summer before I have to get into winter mode where I shiver the whole other nine months of the year! Things are not going as I planned.

There lies my issue, I believe: My LESSON. I don't consider myself a control freak, at least not in the regard that I need to be in charge. I just have trouble with surprises, I am not a spontaneous person. I do not like to find where I am going, I like to KNOW. (God bless http// I don't like to change my route for going to work. I don't like to make plans at the last minute. It is just hard for me. It is not something I dislike about myself, it is something I have accepted, and I try to work with it, plan for things I can to keep myself from feeling nervous. (Because what fun is being nervous?) There are all types of people in the world, and this is me.

But then there are the things I CAN'T control. I can't control when my house sells, or if the houses I like will still be for sale when my house DOES sell. I can't control the timing. I can't control the chilly summer that is making my tomatoes ripen oh-so-late. And this is what I have to learn to deal with. I have to learn to let go, to let the Universe take care of me, to let things play out as they will. After all, I may not know what is best for me--I may look back and realize how things worked out better. It has happened before. So... I am trying.

Sometimes I think about when I was a kid and all adults seemed to know what was going on. They seemed so grown-up. They seemed DONE, like they knew the answers, knew what was best, always what was right.

I wonder if my children look at me like that. It is laughable. I am still trying to figure it all out. I am still finding my faith, still wondering how the world works, wondering what I will be like when I "grow up"... certainly some things I have figured out, but so many I have not. And then things happen sometimes to turn what I have already figured out on its ear. I am guessing it was the same for the adults in my life. Maybe they were still waiting to grow up like I feel I am--but hiding it well!

So, when I see my "for sale" sign, I try to shrug. No blinking light on the machine from the realtor? I think, "maybe tomorrow." But sometimes I feel the sinking feeling, I get frustrated and sad. I remind myself, "it can change in a blink." I try to focus on the things in my life that are oh-so-very-right. Universe, I am trying to learn what you are teaching me to make me better!

I am evolving. And I may never stop.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Well, I know I am not updating regularly these days... I guess I don't have too much to report. Today I thought I'd report my unexciting events...
After a blistering hot week of 90s (I know my brother in San Antonio and my friend in New Orleans will scoff at the description--but HEY, I'm built for subzero weather. Nope, I don't LIKE it...) where I was SO HAPPY it was finally summer--we have had a week of 60s. BOO. It is supposed to warm up, but sadly, we are near a Great Lake, and that will keep ME in the low 70s, still. Doesn't feel like summer--and disappointing when Fall will be here before we know it.
I have not been doing much jewelry. I took a break from crocheting after overdoing it (my children put it many orders for things--my son is so delighted with the free Pokemon crochet patterns website I found!), but have gotten back to it a bit. And tonight I want to hurry up and make some red, white and blue earrings for tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be the *big* parade with my in-laws, then we go there for lunch. There will be lots of kids, and they will all get to sleep over by Grandma and Grandpa. They will come to the school across the street for fireworks, as it doesn't get crowded and we can see them from two neighboring cities. I will make popcorn and lemonade. I MIGHT even share with the kids. ;-)
NOTHING DOING on the house-for-sale stuff. Not even a showing in two weeks. Our realtor assures us it is across the board, as interest rates have risen. I am getting concerned, however, because we are running out of time to get this going in order for the kids to start in a new school this Fall. Do we change them during the year, or take the house off of the market?? What can my little babies handle?
After waiting to move for 10 years, I did not realize it would still be difficult to move after reaching the point of getting the house on the market. I truly know that in the scheme of things, it is a small problem. I really believe that, and think that perhaps there is a reason or an issue that I will look back and understand why it has been such a challenge. But I have to be honest to say that I am disappointed beyond words. And that is all I will say on that subject (for now anyway)--since it is beyond words!

I spent a couple of hours this evening putting MANY of my resin items in my etsy shop on clearance. I hoped it would get them to move a little more. And I have listed international shipping. Which means I have to hike myself over to the post office instead of printing labels off of PayPal, but I think I can manage--ha ha!!

I am enjoying the kids this summer. They are fighting a lot (either best buddies or fighting, argh!), but I am trying to keep them busy. They are not signed up for anything (since I thought we'd be moving this summer!), but we do a weekly trip to the library, I try to arrange a weekly playdate, we do crafts one day... you get the idea. It is nice to have a relaxed summer.

And really... that IS it. I hope you are all having a lovely summer and that your weekend (for those in the US celebrating the 4th, especially!!) is full of fun, family and friends!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Crochet Crochet and MORE Crochet--Maybe You'd Like to Join Me?

What have I been DOING for the past week? CROCHETING. We didn't have any house showings this week, so I didn't have to waste any of my time cleaning--ha ha ha! Ok, I am HOOKED on (ok, I couldn't resist the corny crochet joke!) these little amigurumi creatures!! I don't really LOVE the crocheting part, but I love the creatures! Is it the kid in me? I can't help myself!! I SAY it is because my kids like them... but truly... they just make me smile!!!

Here's what I've accomplished...

These are a few from the pattern I purchased on etsy--I sort of screwed up the pear, but I don't feel too badly as he was my first effort... She has a lot of cute little patterns in her shop.

Look at this cutie cupcake! Ok, a little lopsided, but in all fairness, my kids gave it a good squishing! This was a FREE pattern! It worked up really quickly! The instructions are INSANELY awesome--really a great one as a first try because the instructions are so detailed, and have pictures!

These red apples are for my kids' teachers for an end-of-year gift. I know one of them will really love it--not sure about the other one, as I don't know her as well--but I am giving them chocolate, too--so THAT part should be welcomed, at least! :-) These are a basic apple pattern from the Lion Brand Yarn website (free! but you might have to create a login and password to view this pattern), I just added the faces.

Finally, these panda bears (also from the Lion Brand Yarn website!) were for my son and daughter--JUST finished last night! I added a little yarn bow to Girlie's. As you can see, they aren't exactly the same--I know I messed up a little on one of them. But the truth is, it doesn't really matter because it still looks like a panda! :-) That's one thing I like about it! I can mess up and it's still ok!

I also wanted to share a website on Squidoo that has a great basic crochet tutorial--truly these creatures only use one or two different stitches. Over and over again! You can do it!!!!!!

I am slowing down after the initial excitement has worn off--but I DID happen to be at Michael's when they had a discount as-is yarn bin--all 99 cents! Nothing was wrong with them, just no label, and maybe a tad bit unwound. YAY! I got four skeins for the price of one regular one! I did feel charmed again!

If you are at all interested, give it a try--crochet needles are not expensive, you can just buy one. Get yourself a needle with a large eye to do the mouth. The eyes are doll eyes--washer type, easily found in a craft store. You could even just embroider them with yarn like the mouth. And some yarn. If you are totally new to crochet, check out the Squidoo tutorial, and start with the cupcake! Fun! :-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Why I Should Never EVER Throw Anything Away

OK! I have been spending plenty of time teasing myself about being a pack rat over the past couple of months as we prepared the house to put on the market.

But a packrat isn't just made, it is learned. And here is a great example....

Back to my crafters' ADHD--I am part way through the adorable pear (see entry below!), and part way through the tomato (I had to go buy stuffing and eyes which I did this morning). I found a free pattern for a cupcake--partway through that. I had found where I packed my yarn, and went to town! This stuff is perfect for me because the projects are rather fast (well, maybe they are even FASTER for those who don't have speed disabilities in crochet as I apparently do!) so I don't have time to get sick of them.

Well, I looked through my bag of yarn with dismay. As I packed it up, I donated about half of it--thinking, I am done with crocheting. There is no way I will need this bright orange skein of yarn EVER again.

UNTIL NOW, when I am going to crochet an ORANGE with a cute face. Sigh. So today I had to go out and buy more orange yarn! I would have saved myself $2 (it was on sale--everything was that I bought today--ah, I feel like I lead a charmed life!!)...

Let's just say it was not the only yarn purchase I made today.

I didn't even WANT to look in the bead aisle! Well, I forced myself.

Anyway, it is a few points in favor of hoarding. And a big example of my crafters' ADHD.

Sidenote, I googled free crochet patterns, and found these GREAT ones on Lion Brand yarn's website. I want to make about 99% of them! I had to make up a login/password (they are all free patterns), so you might need to in order to view them--but it is well worth it. ADORABLE.

This little guy is on the Lion Brand website's list of free patterns--

he is totally on my list--is this so cute or WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

Final note: Only one couple came through for our open house this weekend. Big bummer. BUT, the house is clean, so I am going to go crochet for the next 45 minutes until I need to pick up girlie! So THAT is a silver lining!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Old Craft

I think I have Crafters' ADHD.

I know some of you can relate.

Ok, anyone following my blog knows I have painfully put away the resin (FOR NOW!), that we are preparing for a move, so my beads are not readily accessable (as in all over the place).

So I visited my friend's house the other day and she had these ADORABLE crocheted toast and veggies in her kitchen. WITH FACES. Oh, how cute! She got them off of etsy, by the way. Just do a search for crocheted food and you will be in awe of the talented yarnsters out there!!!

So.... I have had this discussion, I believe on Twitter, about this. WHY BUY WHEN I CAN MAKE? (the unspoken part is when, how and "add it to the list.")

I used to crochet! That is my excuse.

I taught myself to crochet in high school, when crocheted sweaters were all the rage. They were kind of expensive to afford with babysitting money, so--to the library I went for a book on how to crochet (see, I had the illness even then....). Well, I never made the sweater (and did eventually save up and buy one which I wore far too long for it to be in style!), but I did learn how to crochet. I actually made a baby sweater.

But here is the problem. I am really SLOW at it. I learned many stitches, but could never pick up the pace. I mean SLOW. I started said baby sweater when a friend was pregnant... and gave it to her two years later for her second baby. And gauge (which is the stitches per inch) was never my thing (much like drawing straight lines)... so her newborn sweater fit her baby at six months. Well, she did love it.

Here is a picture of what I can make with my pattern. It was created during the salmonella scare, why the tomato is so frightened--HILARIOUS!!

So, here I am back again. I purchased a cute fruit pattern on sale for $1 (come ON, how can she live on that price?!) and I will give it a try. Maybe move on to other food patterns (I was drooling at the adorableness!) if this goes well. And the fruit is small--I mean, how long can it take to crochet a tomato (famous last words!)????

But, ahem, I'll have to figure out where I packed my yarn.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Cardinal

As I am sitting here on the computer, avoiding my to-do list which is as long as my arm--much of it preparation for Sunday's open house being held by our realtor--I am listening to the cardinal sing his pretty song.

As I pack some things (not prematurely I hope, please sell, house!!), as I prepare to leave--I wait for that sad feeling, sentimental feeling (as I am a girl that emotes as often as I breathe), but it doesn't come. Instead, I am excited. As I pack my flannel pajamas, I feel giggly to think that next time I wear them I will be in my new home.

But then I hear the cardinal, the sound that greeted me when I moved in, and has been such a part of living here. We are in the city, we don't get many more birds than sparrows. Some robins. My neighbor has a huge tree, one of the largest in the area. It shades our tall roof in the summer. And it houses a cardinal family. It can't be the same one, can it? Nearly a decade and a half later? But the generations have always been here for us. They watch us from the electric lines--one male at a time. Except for the strange summer when we were sitting in our back yard, and about five males--must've been frisky nestlings showing their stuff--swooped at us, back and forth, landing on the fence, making another swoop to the other side of the yard. It was both funny and a bit too similar to a certain horror movie we are all familiar with. But they were pretty cardinals, so who couldn't be delighted while ducking from their strange swoops?

My son, barely able to talk, would point out the pretty song and say, "card-nal." Now he and his sister and I all excitedly point him out. We hear him and try to spot him, who can first?

I hear my neighbors on the other side of me say to their two-year-old twin boys, "There is the red bird!"

As accustomed as we are to them, seeing them nearly every day, they are still a special surprise, a treat, a thing of beauty.

They have just been here, singing, all this time. Something I have taken for granted for this many years. Such a small thing, but yes--something I will really miss.

Yet it makes me excited to wonder--will there be cardinals settled by my new house? Or something else? What is ahead? Eagerly I await.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mother Nature Weighs In

I know I've been gone a really long time!

But guess what! We have a "for sale" sign in our yard! We did it! We've had a couple of showings, but no one is interested, yet. I am trying to be patient, as we've only been listed for two weeks... but I am excited to get out of limbo!!!

With that said, I'll move on to my next story......

My buddy, Tronsgirl, and I had a two-day craft fair this past weekend. It was our first outdoor craft fair, and she found us a canopy, extra tables, etc. Also, it was a juried show, so we felt pretty good about getting in...

Next scene... We are set up. Hello! We are set up. Anyone out there????? There were only about 60 vendors (taking away a little of the thrill of being accepted). It was at the entry of a very popular festival--and everyone seemed pretty excited to get into the festival. They didn't really have time to look at crafts. It was very slow--the only thing that made us feel slightly better is that it was slow for EVERYONE. Not that we don't wish everyone else success--just that we knew not to take it personally. Or tried not to.

By 4:00 pm (after we had been sitting there for six hours) we had each made a whopping $22 (at least it was exactly equal so we didn't glare at each other in envy in our boredom and disappointment). The sky was looking a little cloudy. Our husbands, who had spent the day with the kids in the festival part of the event came back for a rest. Tronsgirl and I went out for a little walk to stretch our atrophied muscles. There were a couple of sprinkles, so we went back to our little canopy. Then, so suddenly, the sky broke open! It was like buckets of rain were being tossed on us, the sideways-super-windy-rain! Did I mention it was so so so cold? We were shocked! Tronsgirl and I were laughing in hysterics while our husbands tried to get the sides of the canopy down (it was too windy to do so, by the way)--so we just tried to hold the flaps that were already down, well, down. All of our jewelry flew off the tables. I remember the sight of my husband chasing my (0f course ruined) business cards out the back of our canopy. Tronsgirl's husband snapped me out of my shock--"hold down your stuff!!" I quickly threw the table cloth over what remained on the table, to keep it down (the tablecloth was very heavy with water at this point--certainly could keep everything down!).

My son, at a drier spot where we herded the three children, asked, "Is this a monsoon?" I don't know, I think monsoons are warmer.

The wind died down a bit and the flaps were finally able to come down. We stood there as the rain fell, in shock. Then, slowly, the sun came out.

All in all, it probably lasted less than 10 minutes. We were SOAKED through. Our shoes squished. We were shivering. My jeans felt like they weighed 50 lbs. Dejectedly, we started packing up into soggy boxes, with no rhyme or reason. Everything was tangled and soaking. Earrings all over the grass. I was pouring water out of my pendant displays. Oh my.

When we unzipped the sides of our tent, everyone looked shocked. Slowly packing up. There was a small "flood" in front of the booths across from us. They looked like they didn't know where to go, on their squishy little islands of wet crafts they had worked hours and hours upon. The poor woman next to us lost thousands of dollars worth of her merchandise. For her, it was a business, not a hobby.

We went back to Tronsgirl's house, which was near--got into THEIR clothes, put our clothes in the dryer and had a cocktail.

Obviously we could not participate in the fair the next day, so we decided to come back, hit the rides-part of the fest and have a cook out. Lemonade from lemons?? We stopped at the craft fair to check on it, and only about half of the crafters returned.

Thankfully all of my jewelry is OK!! BUT sadly, many of my displays are ruined--hurt to have paid for that when we didn't even recoup our entry fee! And of course I'll have to order more business cards. Lots of time and money spent on our set-ups, wasted and ruined. Tronsgirl did lose some merchandise, which is heartbreaking, indeed.

So... no craft fairs for a while, we have decided. And personally--I don't think I will ever do an outdoor one again. Now I will think about selling this house and getting a new one, summer vacation with my kids (only three weeks away!). I have things to list on etsy, so I will probably slowly add more to the shop. I have suspended my ArtFire shop.

But for now, I am taking a step back. Not defeated, but definitely soggy. I need some time to wring out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The State of Craft Fairs

So, my friend Tronsgirl and I had a craft fair on March 14. It was our biggest one to date (our SECOND one together... ha ha!). It was supposed to be quite well attended, it had a good reputation. PLUS we got a corner spot, so we each got our own table!!

We had a lot of fun planning our set-up. We put our business cards in plastic Easter eggs with some candy.

That's me, at my table

WOW, was it a big disappointment! After subtracting my entry fee, I made a grand total of....

get ready for it.....


$21 stinking dollars!!!!

I chose NOT to subtract out the display items I purchased for the event, craft supplies, etc etc. That would have just been TOO depressing.

I know some craft fairs are just LIKE that (and truth be told, a lot of people are making jewelry these days!! The past two craft fairs have boasted too many jewelry booths! We even heard mumblings from the crowd about it this time!)--but I think it has more to do with the economy than anything. The good old trickle-down. And I GET it. With my low sales, I certainly didn't run around to other booths. I couldn't afford to, either.
And I think it supports me putting away the resin for a while. I can't put money into this when not much money is coming out. It is a bad time to try to start a "business" out of this. So I think I will really just try to go with the ebb, and wait for the flow. Focus on other things for a while. I have actually pulled out my first love, beadweaving, again. Those projects are more time consuming and felt like I didn't have the time to take for them--but with the low sales, I don't have to rush any product out! So in a way, that is a blessing in disguise, perhaps.

Tronsgirl and I have one more craft fair at the end of May. This one is TWO days (makes me tired to think about!!) and our first outdoor one. At a CHOCOLATE fest. I hope the air smells like chocolate (and the porta-potties, too. Urg.). If history proves, I have plenty in stock for a two-day fair. Most of my stuff is priced and ready to go from the time I put in before the last craft fair, so I shouldn't have to do too much to prepare.
Although it is juried--perhaps I am being hasty when we haven't even been accepted, yet...

Then I think it is a bit prudent to take a break from the fairs and let the economy catch up a bit.

Anybody else on the craft fair circuit with some insights?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life Without Buster

I know it's been a while--my sis-in-law called me out on it this weekend. Said, "I only know what it going on in your life by reading your blog, and it's OLD!!" So here I am.
Truth be told, this entry is more for me than for you... and I knew it would be kinda hard to write, so I guess I have been putting it off.

Sometimes writing can be so cathartic, help one get through emotions that are difficult, help clarify thoughts, feelings and ideas.

And sometimes it can dredge up some stuff that one's been keeping down.

A little over two weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to put down our dog of 13 years. He was 14, and kind of not "all there." Incontinent. Almost blind (although he seemed to be able to see treats over amazing distances....), almost deaf. So, it was time. Anyone who has made that decision knows how difficult it is. I really struggled with wondering what RIGHT we have to end a life. But cleaning up his urine and feces at least once a day won out, I guess. And truth be told, despite the painfulness of it--there was a sense of relief that such a difficult decision had finally been made and carried out. I think perhaps we let things go on a little longer than necessary. But we had to be right in our hearts about it. And finally, finally, I was. He was no longer my happy puppy.

So my husband took him in and held him as the life went out of his body. I didn't even have the guts to go with. And with that he is gone.

My kids were very sad, of course. My son says that when a beagle and golden retriever have another baby, Buster will be born again, and be young and happy and able to play and feel good. My girl says that he is "kind of alive" in heaven--so she is ok. Although when she first heard his collar tags jingle (my son inherited the empty collar) she started to cry--she said she would have been ok if she didn't hear Buster's "noise..." Later she told me she found his footprint in the dirt, and she stamped it out. I know that was her way of dealing with that pain. I understood--I remembered the stab of seeing his pawprint in the snow a few days after he died and it sure set me off. It melted later that day.

We will miss him. Things will remind us of him, even though we are doing ok. We still make sure the gate is closed, even though there is no pooch ready to make an escape to the exciting world out there. We keep food away from table edges. I found myself staring at a pretzel on the floor--I don't know how long it has been since I have actually SEEN a pretzel on the floor. Then I realized I was going to have to bend over and pick it up--it wouldn't eventually disappear on its own!

But I've stopped hearing him bark to be let in. He doesn't seem to lurk in the corner of my eyes as he did at first. I've stopped thinking the tan blanket balled up on the couch is a dog that needs to be told to "get down!" Slowly, it is becoming normal. Life without Buster.

We are dog people without our dog.

What else can I say about it? Perhaps the thing a dog most loves to hear: He was a very good boy.

A very young Buster plays with his toy

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy March

Well, this first Monday in March I awoke to some SERIOUS lake effect snow!!! It was a surprise to even the meteorologists, apparently. Being near to a huge body of water (very near, like six city blocks) sometimes gives us weird weather anomolies. My mom, who lives about 20 minutes away from me, thought I was kidding when I said we had a foot of snow. She said they had a dusting. Hmmm. If this is winter's last hurrah, I can deal with it. Time will tell if it is or not, though...

In other news, my friend had her baby this weekend!!! She has two wonderful, active, crazy, funny, wild boys and was hoping for a little girl--and that is just what she got!! I have a pretty nasty cold, so I haven't gotten to see her--but I did run out to the car and take a peek when they picked up their boy (who is in my daughter's 4k class, and I brought home with me so they could take their time getting back from the hospital [did I mention a foot of snow?!]) with a scarf over my germy face. She was sleeping like a tiny little angel, what a beautiful little baby!! Can't wait until I am better and can hold her and check her over a little more. I said if I don't get well soon, they'll see my weird face peeking in their windows!

We have continued to work on the house. I put down my craft heat gun and picked up a hardware heat gun and stripped the paint off of the back of our front door so it would match the decorative, original 100+ year molding that my husband painstakinly stripped 9 years ago. As I did it I sang in my head to the people that will someday own this house, "I am making things pretty for you!!!" I wonder if the owners of my next house were doing the same--getting it pretty for ME! What a fun thought!

Although, ahem, I did crack the window--I think my heat gun on this side and the winter air on the other side was a little too much for it to bear. I didn't even think about it until I heard the "crrrrrrrriiiiiiick" and watched the spider cracks race through the window. Darn. Made more work...... (and I still have some work around the doorknob, but I wasn't up for removing that right then! Then the sanding, staining, etc etc!!!)

GUESS WHAT!! My resin is put away! I know you are shocked, I am as well! I still have to finish some pieces, glue on bails, etc. It does feel kinda good. Sort of freeing.

And it gave me time to work on something else! I fooled around with some wire and beads and made myself this business card holder for my craft fairs. It is pretty free form, but I think turned out nicely--it is not too crazy, is it?

Well, as the snow piles up around me, I have thoughts of newness, and accomplishment, thoughts of Spring!! Let's hope Mother Nature catches wind of my thoughts soon, and follows suit!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tiny Update...

...Ok, I haven't put the resin away yet. YET! But I will. I'm gonna!!!

Yesterday I went to a bead show. Now I am jonesing to bead... heeheehee.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Can I Do It?

Ok, I think I've come to a conclusion...

I just need to put the resin away to where I can't get to it...

I have so much to do to prepare for putting this house up for sale, yet I spend so much more time foolin' with my resin! Not like my shop sales can make up for the time I spend.

Yes, I do love it. Yes. But there are THINGS to be done!! I have some pieces to finish. Then AWAY it goes. I still have items to list on etsy--I make them faster than I can list (because it is more fun to make them than to list them!! ha ha!!)... so I think I just need to put it away and list what I have. Then maybe I won't get so distracted by the glitter, what-not and hoo-haws scattered about.

Not that I can TOTALLY stop with any jewelry. I just mean the resin. Because it draws me in and keeps me there!

Because then I'll have more time to pack and, urg, clean... So resin, by this time in two days, you're packed up and hidden (I have to hide my chocolate, too, for the record. It does help, even though I KNOW where I've hidden it from myself!)!!!

Can I do it?????

Friday, February 20, 2009

Is it Wrong?

You KNOW I love my children. Truly, I do. They are my world, pretty much.

So is it wrong that I am so happy that my sister just took them away for the night? I caught myself smiling as I was walking back indoors after helping everyone settle in the car.

Not just a little smile.

These breaks are so precious--if only we knew how much time alone would mean BEFORE we had children, right? I wouldn't have spent so many Sundays in my pajamas watching dumb movies on Lifetime.

Or maybe I would have... but I would have APPRECIATED it more!!

I have a lot of housework to do. PLENTY to do to get ready to sell this house. Certainly there is jewelry to make. Resin to sand. Yes indeedy.

But I have a pretty good book from the library. And my bed isn't made. So I am going to go "waste" a little time. And keep this smile going a little bit longer....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WHEEE! My New Etsy Shop

This has been on my mind for a while! I've been wanting to set up this new etsy shop and today is the big day! My husband has learned to make the frames, and I've learned to cut mats (previously done by my dad--but we wanted to take over before I started an actual shop). I set up shop, listed some sample names...
...Now I wait! :-) But that's ok... I am working on a couple of framed name gifts right now, which are keeping me busy. Plus the jewelry, there is always the jewelry.
I just love doing these names, and have been so pleased with the feedback I have received. I started doing them... oh, maybe 12 years ago? They look very different now! I used icky little frames from Walmart (the only place I could find decent panoramic frames!), without mats back then. They've metamorphasized into something more professional-looking. Even if I don't make a sale, I am really glad that I am trying. Well, I do WANT to make a sale, ha ha... I guess it is just that I DID IT!!
To be able to make a little money doing things I love--I mean, HOW GREAT IS THAT? I'm tryin'! :-)
Oh, I almost forgot! Here it is: It's All in a Name

Monday, February 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Well, we've been trying to get our house ready to put up for sale! It is an exciting time for me, as I planned to live in this "starter" home for about three years before moving on. Well, nearly fourteen years later, here we are...
I must admit, after 14 years in one house, inhabited by a major pack rat (me) who has raised little pack rats (also me)--getting things cleared out is a major challenge. ESPECIALLY when you are a pack rat, and it is hard to get rid of stuff. And your little pack rats are biting at your heels, not wanting you to get rid of any of THEIR stuff, either.
We are also making improvements that we would have enjoyed living with (like carpeting the room with the old tiles--previously mentioned in this blog--it looks so good now... I would have enjoyed that room looking like that!! And a future date of getting the bathtub reglazed!)... but that is also a challege for those of us that are home-improvement-challenged. And a bit financially strapped as well.
Despite those challenges (a word I keep using, but it fits!!)--it feels like a very good time, not an easy time, but like dreams coming together.
Funny, too--how those dreams have changed over the past decade-plus-four. I don't yearn for a gorgeous, large, new home anymore. With a giant yard in a fancy suburb. We are looking for a very modestly sized ranch (and I mean modest!) in a nice little neighborhood. A yard big enough for a swing set and a place to plant tomatoes. My husband wants unpainted molding (his pet peeve in this house!). I want to be near to school, and to have a dinette space. A driveway instead of an alley. A rec room in the basement--or room for one. Trees. Or tree. A picture window. Most importantly--and maybe this is where I've become older and wiser--my little family cozied up with me. A place to call home, where I plan to stay. A place where my kids will grow up and bring their spouses back for dinner. A place where I will have my grandkids open their Christmas presents. I guess the difference this time, this many years later, is what I am looking for. Last time, at the young age of 24 I was looking for a house. This time I am looking for a home.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday

I have been thinking of my friend today because it would have been his 38th birthday. He died almost five years ago (can't believe it is that long!) after a failed bone marrow transplant in an effort to cure his Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. He left behind two young sons, (ages 3 years and 4 months), and his brave wife--also a friend. And of course the rest of us, bewildered and sad.
His wife asked everyone to please write a letter to the boys about my friend--a memory, a story, something to help these children know their father. I thought it was a splendid idea and I took the task very seriously. Truly, I felt my friend was guiding me as to what to put into the letter. I fought it (we fought like siblings!!), but in the end he won, and I am glad he did.
I asked for permission to post the letter here, and it was given. I think his message, through my words, is important to revisit now and again. (I have edited the letter to leave out real names and specific locations for the children's privacy.)
Rest in peace my friend, we miss you, we miss you, we miss you.
May 5, 2004

Dear Boys,

I went to college with your dad. I met him freshman year when he shared a dorm room with someone I knew from high school, and I knew your dad for around 13 years at the time he passed away. After that first year, for the rest of his time at college, in some capacity, he roomed with a friend that I would later marry. I had the dorm room next door to your mom, and that is how I met her and became friends. We were all a very close-knit bunch, like a little family. We hung out and ate together and fought and made-up and helped each other with homework and debated and laughed together, we got on each other's nerves, and knew we could always count on each other, much like a real family does. Some of us went on to marry each other, like your mom and dad, T.D. & A.D. and my husband and me. I always felt so lucky to be part of our group at college. I don't think it was such a common thing to have such a close bunch for the entire time we were there, and I feel so fortunate that we remained close throughout the years, although I know we did not see each other as much as we all would have liked. We have seen each other at our best and worst, and accepted one another despite our faults and more positive traits. We all have a history together, and that is something to be valued. It is something that will always bind us together no matter how many years pass.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide what memory of your dad that I wanted to share with you. Let's face it, some of the memories will have to wait until YOU are in college to hear, ha ha! And how does one choose from the years and years of memories? What one memory would embody who your father was to me? These were some of the questions going through my mind. As I searched my memories, one kept surfacing and coming to the front of my mind.

When we were still in the dorms, your dad and I had some time in the afternoon when everyone else was still in class. I would go up to his room and we would watch Bugs Bunny cartoons. Sometimes we would chat a little, it was never anything monumental, it was always quiet and restful. We just unwound together and sat, they were rare quiet moments in loud dorm and busy life. Well, that is not a very exciting memory to share of all of thirteen years, so I spent some time thinking why it kept coming to my mind, and didn't want to be shoved aside, when there MUST be something more exciting to share with you. I think now that your dad was trying to send me a message.

I think the reason for the memory coming back to me again and again is that maybe some of the best moments with each other are those "non-moments" when nothing very exciting has to happen. They are those quiet times when you are just with someone you care about, when you don't have to say anything, when you can just be, which are some of the best times. Maybe those are the kinds of times that make up a life, the moments between the funny stories and crazy incidents. Maybe those "non-moments" are really the moments that mean the most. Since your dad has left this world, I am finding myself recognizing and taking pleasure in these non-moments instead of waiting for the next "big thing" to happen.

I am pleased that I was able to share some of those moments of your dad's life with him, as well as with your mom and pleased to call them my friends. I miss him dearly.

I will count my blessings tonight, both large and small, as I have almost every day since my friend passed. It is my way to honor him, my way to show how much his life did matter to me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our Voices Were Heard (At Least for Now!)

Great news!
Exerpted from the CPSC Press Release:
CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products, including products intended for children 12 years old and younger.
The stay of enforcement provides some temporary, limited relief to the crafters, children’s garment manufacturers and toy makers who had been subject to the testing and certification required under the CPSIA. These businesses will not need to issue certificates based on testing of their products until additional decisions are issued by the Commission.
The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010, at which time a Commission vote will be taken to terminate the stay.
A huge thank you to everyone who signed the petition and who raised their voices in regards to amending this law!!! However, the last line states that our work is not done!! But we do have a year to create, sell as well as convince the CPSC to save handmade!!!
Click here if you'd like to read the etsy notice which also prints the press release in full.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Almost Finished

Well--after yesterday's frustrations, today I got more done! :-) I finished my beadwoven bracelet last night as we watched an interesting and very sad documentary called "God Grew Tired of Us" about the Lost Boys of Africa. We got it from Netflix (which I love, by the way. We have this instead of cable). My husband said this morning, "You just want to hug those boys and men." True. Some people have amazing strength within them which is very inspiring. Sometimes it is so painful to realize how blessed I am while others around the world suffer so.
My husband took girlie to a birthday party, so I sanded my resin while my son played GameBoy. Tronsgirl's package is going out tomorrow, yay!! I put away my resin stuff for now--as much as I love it, I want to get to my other mediums--it keeps sucking me back in when it is out! I still have to clean up my bead stash, as well as photograph and list some etsy items... but I feel in control of my little mess of stuff here now (or maybe it seems quite a bit less important in the big picture)! :-)
Tomorrow is Monday, a new week dawns!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Did you ever have one of those days where you just wander around getting nothing accomplished because you are in the middle of so many things and you don't know where to start? Here are a few things on my partially-finished list that I have been struggling with today:

*A partially completed beadwoven bracelet
I tend to do this type of work at night in front of the tv. Although I haven't given up my tv time (amazing, huh?!), I have been too beat to pick this up and bring it with me. You know how heavy a needle can be.... (oh boy!)

*A bunch of items to be photographed and listed on etsy
I can't sell 'em if they ain't listed, right???

*The top of my seed bead/glass bead dresser (yes, DRESSER--not box, DRESSER!) needs to be cleaned up
The upside is that I DID clean up my craft room a bit... just didn't get to the dresser.

*A bunch of items to be sanded, drilled and glued--including one special order that was ordered and paid for a while ago (sorry Tronsgirl!)--the star doggie
I have no excuse! I MUST mail it out Monday morning!!!

I did get some more resin pieces made--yes, that means they'll hit my sanding pile tomorrow morning, most likely--why do I do it to myself?
Those pink things are bottle cap magnets! I like how they turned out, they were a lot of fun. They are sea life and look very 3-D because I used several layers of resin. Fun!

And I have been thinking about this delightful mix of bead soup I ordered. Crystals and fire polished beads galore. But I'm not allowed to touch them (figuratively) until I finish what I already started. Although you can see that I poured them on a plate and looked through them. I also accidentally dumped half of them over, but that is another story... Anyway, ideas with these beads are cluttering my brain!

ALSO, found these adorable brads! I can cut the backs off, and solder them to my glass pendant frames, so THAT is also on my mind and something I am not allowed to start until I get some of this other stuff finished! They are SO CUTE!!!
Other things I accomplished today (maybe it will make me feel better to list my accomplishments):
*Took a shower
*Watched episode of Clean House on cable
*Went to hardware store with family and talked husband to going through Wendy's drive-thru
*Organized icons on computer desktop
*Watched last half of an episode of Top Chef and first half of an episode of Housewives of Orange County
*Updated blog with a rather whiney post
Sigh--NO, not making me feel better, I think I should stop now! Well, tomorrow is a new day, right?!?! And this sure beats having a creative mind block! ;-)

Friday, January 30, 2009

CPSIA Petition

Please consider adding your name to this petition in regards to amending the CPSIA law. You can also send an e-mail with the content provided to declare your desire for a closer look at this law's details. You do not need to be a member of MomsRising to sign or send this petition and/or e-mail. It doesn't get much easier than that to give an opinion. And if there are enough of us--our opinion WILL count! Your involvement will mean a LOT to a lot of people!!! Thanks!
Sign petition here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More on the CPSIA

Check out this great link to a blog I follow with more discussions on the issue. It is worthwhile to check out the blog she previously wrote that she references.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Save Handmade, Amend the CPSIA!!!

There is a new law due to be enforced on Februrary 10th called the CPSIA. This is a VERY important law which came about after so many toys were found tainted with lead. This law requires a great deal of testing for any product (including clothing) made for children 12 and under. Yay, let's keep our kids safe!!

BUT--this law is having unintended consequences. Many people who handmake items for children will no longer be able to do so due to the expensive testing requirement. While this might be fine for Mattel, Grandpa Bob who makes toy trains out of wood in his basement because he loves to see children smile can no longer do this (well, he can make them, but can't pass them out!). MANY shops on etsy have had to close their doors, or about to due to this law and being unable to afford testing (which includes items such as handknit mittens, which are not typically found to contain lead!). With the way the economy is going, it seems to be a backwards decision.

It needs to be amended!

Here are a couple of great links to learn more...

And this can not only give you more information, but give you an idea of how to take action to save handmade!

Besides really feeling for those who have to close their shops, and those of us that will miss out on some wonderful, delightful handcrafted items, this does directly affect me. Later this year I was planning on opening shop on some name art that I have been making for years for friends and relatives. My father, who has handmade the frames and cut the mats for my artwork, has been teaching my husband and I to take it over to handle (hopefully!) a higher volume.

Sadly, this dream of mine may never take place if this law is not amended--because even though it is to be hung on a wall, not to even really be touched by a child (even though the paint I use IS non-toxic!), it is included in this blanket law. And my dream is only one of many that will be defeated.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why I Started Beading

I thought today I would take a moment to credit the person who inspired me to start beading! She may not even know just how instrumental she was! :-) One of my husband's group of friends includes a bunch of guys from high school, the neighborhood, and their friends... well, one of these friends married a girl (This goes back more than a decade--I believe she was the second girl in the group, we really had our work cut out for us, taming these beasts! ha ha!!) and she made beautiful jewelry. She now has an etsy shop called Farfrumplainjane. Well, at get-togethers she would sometimes bring some of her finished work to see the reaction--to know if people liked it, they would do well at craft fairs, etc etc. Well--in all of her beautiful work which I admired there was one bracelet that especially caught my eye. It was called "tennis bracelet" and weaved with gorgeous AB Swarovski crystals. The depth of the black crystal spoke to me. It was more than I was used to spending for a bracelet, but I couldn't get it out of my mind. I went to her next craft fair, deciding that I would fork over the money--but it was not there!!! All of this I kept to myself.

So I decided to learn to make it. After a year or so of learning to bead the various stitches and learning about the various beads, I finally found the pattern and did learn to make it... but here is the funny thing! I have not yet made one for ME! :-) That is how it goes with beading--many gifts get made. (Don't feel sad for me, ha ha! My jewelry box is overflowing!). But she has always been very generous, willing to share and teach, and I appreciate that. Even though I never owned that bracelet, it went one better. Because I couldn't purchase it, I found a passion that I have never found for an art or craft before. It gave me something far better, it gave me my Love of Beads... and for that, Jane, I thank you!

Check out some of Jane's gorgeous work, and be sure to visit her etsy shop!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Isn't This Cute?

I know I've mentioned my friend and fellow jewelry-maker, Tronsgirl, before. Recently she asked me to make a little special order for her--some small resin charms. She had been asked to make a "Nightmare Before Christmas" charm bracelet! I love how it turned out. She glued little cabs to the resin charms, and I think it looks great--she make the "backs" into fronts--and solved the problem of the resin pieces having "backs." Now either way looks great. Had to showcase it here, because I just love it!! Too bad it is not for sale because it was a special order--but maybe she would make another! :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hoard Much?!?

What was I thinking? 250 size #000 bubble envelopes!! *sigh*
Well, it was a really good per envelope deal. It's a lot, isn't it?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The "Free Shipping" Decision

Well, today I have decided to make both of my shops as "free shipping" shops (as I write this, one is changed and one is not). I took a lot of thought with this, and quizzed my seller-pals on Twitter... We thought together as sellers and consumers. Times are just tough--for BOTH sellers and consumers. So I decided, even though I didn't raise my prices to try to eat some of the shipping costs, to just offer free shipping. If people decide to buy when they wouldn't have--sometimes those extra $2 are the tipping point--it is win-win for both of us, isn't it?

I know I am going to keep making stuff even if no one buys it, so I thought I would try to make it easier on both of us. ;-) We'll see if I make more sales or not, I don't know if it will make a difference.

Thanks to my Twitter pals for discussing the issue with me! Sheltie19 and SuperTeeTee!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Any Thoughts?

So.... as I was going through stuff, trying to clean clutter out of my life (you are talking to a certified pack rat here, the rattiest of the bunch!!) I came across a silverware holder... Well, I like the way it looks, and got to thinking that maybe it would somehow make a good jewelry display for my upcoming craft fair. I need more necklace display, and I thought I could hang them from it. I double checked my sanity with craft fair pal, Tronsgirl and she agreed it had some promise--tho' it is not quite ready as-is. I was thinking it would be cool to wire wrap some beads around it, but I think it also needs some sort of backing--makes my eyes cross to look at it from far away...... I will have to give it more thought, but any ideas or suggestions would be welcome!

Here it is with some sample necklaces. The metal pieces in back kinda bug me, and also would make it harder to put something up against the back....

Also, you can see how it looks so "busy" being able to see through it!

Here is a close up... I think the jewelry looks nice against the mesh.

Here is something behind it (obviously nothing I would actually use, it is just propped up) just to give you a clearer picture... and it just looks better, doesn't it? To break the space up? But ok, WHAT do I use, and how do I do it???? I did think about turning it around and maybe hanging some bracelets from the metal pieces, but it really doesn't give me enough necklace room then, and I really already have a nice bracelet display (and not a ton of braclets). Hmmmmmmm....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back In the Saddle

Well, I have spent most of the past two days getting back into the groove of things with my shops. I have listed many new items in both my ArtFire and Etsy shops--besides finishing the items, there is taking the pictures, editing the pictures and listing the items. It can be quite a process as many of you etsians know! I feel such relief to at least have my Valentine pieces out there! I have a number of other pieces ready to photograph and list as well... but one step at a time.
One change is that I pulled my ball chain from my shops. It is at a point where my fine customers have helped me pay for some of my bulk purchase by sharing it with me (thank you!), but I want some left for ME! :-) I don't feel that I want to make that big investment again. I have yet to be "in the black" with my supply purchases vs. sales, especially after my big ball chain investment! Sad but true!
And doing this means my house is a disaster! Can't seem to focus on both at the same time. Either my house looks decent and my shops are neglected, or my shops are updated and my house is out of control! *sigh* If someone has a magic balancing act to teach me, I would be so grateful!
I took some time of from my shops, I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed--I really am having issues with balancing my "work" and home life. Plus post holiday, perhaps?? But I felt some renewed vigor and enthusiasm for what I do today!
So I guess I am back in the saddle!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time for Some Elbow Grease--More Resin Tips

Ok, as promised, here is part 2 of my resin tips--finishing the resin. I think perhaps the biggest thrill is popping out the resin piece from the mold to see how it turns out. Perhaps the smallest thrill (or no thrill at all!) is sanding the piece--but it is a very important part of the process. Even if tedious. I want to take a moment to again recommend Sherri Haab's book--it is the resin bible, and certainly worth a read!

Here is my sanding set up. Now, I accidentally reversed two of my sandpapers. Normally I do it in order of roughest to finest grit. The higher the grit the finer the sandpaper. The 600-1000 I purchased at an auto supply shop. The others are from a hardware store. Also, please notice the mask. I do NOT enjoy wearing it and breathing my own breath over and over--but it is far better than breathing in resin particles which are NOT good for your long-term health. Please be safe!!

Sometimes when I've been sloppy with my resin, I have some really big, rough, edges. In that case I use a scissors to trim them. I also only use the 100 grit if it is really gnarly. Take care because it will really remove a LOT of resin. Also, the more you use the sandpaper, the finer it becomes--my 100 is probably finer than that by now because it is pretty well used, as you can see. I will be showing you this on one of my new Valentine's Day pieces! My friend sent me some really cute heart sprinkle candy, and I used them in heart shaped molds--I think they turned out sweet!

Once I have trimmed, if needed, I go down the line of sandpapers... yawn yawn, boring boring. You will see the edges getting nicer and nicer. Please note that once you hit 600 grit, this becomes a wet sanding experience. I keep an old Cool-Whip container for the water. Choose an icky container because once you use it, it is no longer suitable to contain food. I think some people actually sand right in the water, but I dunk my piece in the water and then sand. Works for me! By the time you hit 1000 grit, it is like polishing the edges.

Sanding, la la la!

Dunkin' la la la!

Wet sanding, la la la!
There! Nice and smooth!!
Now, at this point some people glue bails on (these bails will be pictured later). Personally, I usually drill a hole and make a wrapped loop. If you are a bail gluer, you can skip these drilling pictures, or just look at 'em for fun! Personally, I think both ways look nice! But you are saving a little money on supplies, and can control the size better with the wire.

I put the piece into a regular vise that we have in the basement. I use a rag in there to protect the resin from scratches.

Then I drill with my beloved Dremel tool. It is not a fancy one, but can do so very much. If you do not have one, I would strongly consider it--for many areas of home improvement and crafts. I prefer the 1/16" bit, but I am sure that is a personal preference--I go down a bit, maybe a quarter of an inch, not an exact science. Only use the low speed setting because if the resin heats up too much it will adhere to the drill bit. Not a huge deal, but a mess. And personally, I am surrounded by enough messes! I find that the wire fits, but also leaves a little room for glue, as well.

Our nice little hole!

Above is the glue on bail--little silver leaf-looking piece. I have found this on etsy. Just search under supplies, "bail." You would put glue on the little leafy part, and adhere it to the back of the piece. I use wire to make a wrapped loop bail.

There are many tutorials on making wrapped loops. This is a nice one. One day I sat down and made them over and over and over until I mastered it. REALLY, it is worth learning if you don't already know how. Once your hands and tools know what to do, it is very easy. It is like riding a bike!
As far as glue goes, I am a BIG fan of 5-minute epoxy. Did you know it is a type of resin? You can get it at the hardware store OR the craft store. Usually they come in little syring-y applicators, but I happened to find a big amount at a hardware store. Simply mix two equal portions on a notecard or scrap card for a bit with a toothpick. I also use the toothpick as an applicator. It will set up in about five minutes, and has an excellent hold.

And there you have it. Be sure to position your loop so it hangs correctly on its chain. At this point it is a nice touch to polish it with carnuba wax--which is the same wax that is used on cars! I found this at the local hardware store. You can pick some up when you are getting your sandpaper! :-)
Good luck and most of all, HAVE FUN!