Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Expensive (but effective!) Wasp Killer

I rarely have to put gas in my car; I just don't drive that much these days. I got to the gas station today on fumes and proceeded to swipe my credit card at the pump. This is the second time I've had to by gasoline since we moved, and both times the pump has asked for my zip code before authorizing my card. I tried the new zip code. The pump was not pleased. I swiped again, then tried the old zip code. The pump still was not happy. I tried a different card, and if pumps had the ability to giggle, this one would have worked itself up to a full belly laugh. I was running late but out of options--so went inside the store to wait in the cashier's line.

After finally managing to successfully pay for some gasoline I hurried back to my car and opened the little door to the gas cap.

Why on earth a wasp would want to build a nest inside the little gas-cap door on my car was beyond me, but there was no way I was going to stick my hand anywhere near him to twist off the gas cap. I looked around for something to swat at it, then realized in order to hit it hard enough so that I didn't have to worry about it surviving and stinging me, I'd have to hit it hard enough to more than likely break off the little door. Not a story I wanted to tell the guy at the repair shop.

What to do? I was running really late by this time, and stranded until I figured out a way to get gas into the tank. So I lifted the gas nozzle, activated the pump, then held and aimed the nozzle at the wasp as though it was a pistol. BANG! (or maybe GUSH!) Instant death. At almost $3.70 a gallon, I figure that wasp cost me about $1.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And the Winner Is . . .

. . . Leslie, of Leslie's Life blog! If you haven't seen her blog yet go have a look--she has photos of the sweetest little toddler, links to several giveaways, and some very cool product tips for moms. Congratulations Leslie!

I really enjoyed seeing what everyone chose as their favorite piece in my shop so I plan to have another giveaway sometime soon. There are buttons at the top right of my blog to make subscribing easy for you--subscribe today and don't miss out on my next giveaway.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nancy the Smiley Temari

I started a new Temari and it wasn't working out the way I wanted it to. I pulled out the stitching but instead of starting again, Nancy was born. Even though every day is a bad hair day for her, she's always got a cheerful smile on her face! I haven't decided whether to list her for sale in my Etsy shop or keep her to look at when I need to see a friendly face. Either way I think I'll make a bunch of friends and relatives for her to hang out with.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

How Will You Spend Your $25?

Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

I now accept payments through Revolution Money Exchange (RME), so if you've already signed up and are itching to spend your $25, by all means feel free to browse my Etsy shop or my eBay store. Just send me a message asking for a non-PayPal invoice and I'll get one to you.

Haven't signed up for RME yet? It's similar to PayPal, but there are no fees to send or receive money. Only available in the U.S., the accounts are issued by First Bank & Trust, Brookings, SD, Member FDIC and part of the Fishback Financial Corporation. Click the bright green image above to sign up and get your $25--but hurry, their free money offer expires May 15.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Belated Earth Day!

Do most people experience a high level of disorganization after moving? I've been several days behind (at best!) on most everything for the past month, including important things like my dad's birthday (sorry Dad!). I do manage to get the trash and recycling to the curb on the right day so I suppose I should be celebrating my successes, and less stinky stuff around the house is a good thing.

I wanted to share one of my favorite recycling and crafting resources for Earth Day, so if you don't mind turning your calendar back a couple of pages, come on over to Pack Rat with me. I love what they've done with empty cat food tins, and the photos have inspired me to come up with several other fun ideas for cat food candles. Wouldn't these be sweet with a mosaic around the outside?

All Tied Up, a top made from men's neckties, would be a beautiful way to honor the guy in your life while clearing clutter from his closet. My dad has always been a bowtie kind of fellow, so that would pose a challenge, but I think this would be stunning made with an assortment of black and white ties.

Wouldn't you like to be Friends of Pack Rat ?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Go Ahead, Pull My Zipper!

I love discovering new ways to add some bling--although I'm not one to overdo it with accessories, they make terrific stocking stuffers and emergency gifts so I tend to pick up a few here and there throughout the year.

Rosi of Berry Beads makes terrific beaded lanyards to hold ID badges, pretty earrings and other traditional beaded pieces, and these sweet zipper pulls. The best thing is that they would work just as well as backpack or belt loop charms, and anything that has multiple uses gets more of my attention.

Butterfly Bling Zipper Pull Charm

Purple Heart Zipper Pull Charm

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We Have Paper Window Shades

My husband and I have such radical difference in tastes when it comes to just about everything. It's so bad that when we were shopping for wedding rings he joked that he should just pick out the ugliest thing in the store and it would probably be my ideal ring. The funny thing is that I had the same thought, only in reverse. We finally picked out very different rings, and even though they don't look a bit alike, we love them.

Trying to pick out window coverings for our new house was even worse, and coupled with the amount of money we've just spent on house-related stuff made it too stressful for me to even try to shop with him. We settled on a temporary solution--inexpensive paper blinds from Redi Shade. They don't look too bad out of the box, they're easily cut to the correct size, they install quickly with an adhesive strip, and at around $6 each you can't beat the price.

I just discovered that Redi Shade has a guide available for customizing your shades, and now I'm really loving them. We can have different shades for holidays, birthdays, seasons--whatever strikes our creative muse. Of course, we won't agree on how (or even if) to decorate the blinds, but since they're so affordable and easy to put up neither one of us will feel stuck with something we don't like.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My New Studio (Before)

Today my husband said, "We really need to get that workshop finished so you can get back to your glass. You just don't look right without the little band-aids on your fingers." He's such a sweetie--and he's right, I don't even feel right without the little band-aids on my fingers. I use the colorful ones, so it's almost like wearing temporary, disposable jewelry.

We're fixing up our garage to be the perfect little studio, but as you can see we have a lot of work yet to do. We've been having a difficult time getting written estimates from electricians. They tend to say things like, "it will cost about (insert random amount of money here), do you want me to put this on our schedule?" Umm, no--if the guy is standing in the middle of the garage while I'm pointing to where the new outlets and the special wiring for the new kiln will go, there should be no guessing about the cost, right?

So next week I try to find an electrician I'm comfortable with, and then a plumber. Then we can put up insulation, and walls. . . .

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lucky Girl's Mother's Day Giveaway!

In honor of Mother's Day I'll be giving away this beautiful fused dichroic glass pendant to one lucky reader! It's approximately 5/8" wide and 7/8" long, plus a bit for the bail. The dichroic glass is a deep glowing red and orange at the bottom, and lightens to gold and yellow at the top--but if you look at it from different angles you can see bits of blue and green. There are bits of black glass fused into the glass above the dichroic layer that almost look as though they're floating on top of the pendant.

How do you win? Take a look around my Etsy shop, pick out your favorite item, and post a link to it in the comments on this entry by April 28, 2008. Make sure you also include a link to your blog or email address so that I can contact you if you win! On April 29, 2008, we'll print the comments, cut them apart, and have a good old-fashioned drawing for the winner.

Good luck--and I'm excited to see which items you pick as your favorites!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Pretty Rock

I wish more jewelry artisans would create jewelry for your hair. I feel lucky to have found A Pretty Rock! Not only does Yazmin Wickham create beautiful one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry, she also makes stunning adornments for your hair. I've included a couple of my favorites here, but make sure to take a look at her beautiful rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets too.

Carved Mum Mother of Pearl Flowers, Flora - Hairpins, $4

Pink Shell Flowers, Flora - Hairpins, $3

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Need More Traffic? Get Some Blog Buzz!

I was visiting some sites with Entrecard advertising widgets today (if you're unfamiliar with Entrecard there's an ad widget at the top left side of my blog), and found a blog about web marketing that's just my speed. Not too basic, not too technical, and it doesn't assume I already know a lot of stuff about marketing. Buzz My Blog seems as though it were written just for lucky me! The articles in the building traffic and community buzz categories have plenty of tips and links to keep me busy, but the thing that really made me notice is the Weekly Buzz: each week a different blog is featured, and it takes less than a minute to sign up to get your blog in the running for a feature. I like nice--and this is an extremely nice and generous thing this blogger is doing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Joy of Silk

I made this kumihimo necklace several weeks before we moved, but didn't have time to get it listed in my Etsy shop until now. I loved making this--the silk thread felt so nice I was almost sorry to get to the end of the braid! Now I'm anxious to finish unpacking and organizing so I can find the rest of my silk thread and pick out colors for the next one. I love custom orders, so if you'd like one made with specific colors just let me know.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Moore Taste is Elegant Taste

Toni Moore of Moore Taste creates some of the most stunning and elegant copper pieces I've ever seen. She also has a beautiful selection of sterling silver jewelry, but it's the copper pieces that caught my attention. My favorites are pictured here, and I would definitely feel like a lucky girl wearing any of them around my neck!

Craters Etched Copper Pendant, $23

Hammered Rectangle Copper Pendant, $23

Industrial Abstract Copper Pendant, $26

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Four Seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Yellow?

When I first moved to North Carolina from Ohio I experienced culture shock at many things, but one of the most memorable was what I now think of as the Yellow Season. In Ohio we experienced spring, but here it's just yellow. The culprit is pine pollen: it covers everything, quickly and completely. This is my car, fairly clean the day before I took this photo. It's normally a nice shiny black--and you can see the back corner of my sweetie's nice shiny black car on the left (it had been parked in a garage). The streaks are from the morning dew's attempt to securely attach the yellow to my car. I could wash it, but tomorrow it will look exactly like this.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bella Dio is Italian for Beautiful God

Bella Dio is run by a stay-at-home mom of three boys who lives in Indianapolis. I am amazed and awed by her versatility and resourcefulness: she makes beaded jewelry, does wire work, creates stunning polymer clay pendants, and her newest line involves bits of broken china recycled into lovely jewelry. As a Play-doh artist who could never make anything more complicated than a snake, I could browse her shop and admire her work for hours. Have a look for yourself, you're sure to find something that's just perfect!

Pink and White Cherry Blossom Pendant, $25

Perfectly Beautiful Broken China Pendant, $20

Love and Faithfulness Pendant, $25

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just for Fun--Instantly Frozen Beer Trick

Things are a bit hectic here: still unpacking, getting estimates for electrical and plumbing work for my workshop space, and we've been having internet and phone service problems. So today's post is a video just for fun--if you like this make sure to check out some of the other videos on Easy Bar Tricks.

Freeze A Beer In Two Seconds - video powered by Metacafe

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fit For a Princess

I love things that are custom made and/or personalized. I found this adorable princess gear at Personality Plus Boutique. Princesses not your thing? You can find a variety of custom embroidered items, including unique LDS products: everything from LDS personalized Baptism Towels, to LDS church totes, such as "I am a Child of God" and "Daughter of God" and "Primary" totes, as well as embroidered LDS Temple Hankies.

Custom Made Tutu

Embroidered Birthday Princess Onesie and Tutu Set

Embroidered Purple and Pink Birthday Princess T-shirt

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Giving Away My Trash

We are at least several weeks away from getting completely unpacked and settled in--I'm trying to look at it as making progress every day so that it's not so overwhelming. Today I was surrounded by empty moving boxes (there are empty ones--yippee!) so I joined the local Freecycle group.

If you've never heard of the Freecycle Movement, it's a grassroots, nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns and keeping perfectly useable stuff out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages. Most groups operate via Yahoo Groups, and I set my preferences to read the offers and requests on the web only so I don't get inundated with email.

According to the web site there are 2,519 local members and 4,808,480 groups worldwide. As soon as my membership is approved I'm going to offer these boxes, and with more than 2,500 people I'm sure someone will be able to use them. I love Freecycle!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Plays Well With Others

The thing that caught my attention at alilsumptinsumptin was the fact that so many of the gorgeous pieces available include work by other artisans. I love that this jewelry artist can take beads and focals created by others and combine them into stunning and unique accessories. That she donates the proceeds from some of the items to charity makes this shop perfect--so go have a look!

Classic Poodle Necklace, with black and white beads torched by Sarah Friskey, and a custom made black dog focal by Janet Crosby, $200

Blue Rondo a la Turk bracelet, with lampwork heart bead by Janet Crosby, $175.00

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Best Peanut Butter in the Universe

I'll get back to posting more handcrafted news soon, but for now I'm still spending most waking minutes adjusting to my new surroundings and trying to find things. Today I found my way to a supermarket (no simple feat--I really don't know my way around this area at all) where I discovered what is undeniably the best peanut butter in the universe. This stuff is like a giant spreadable Reese's peanut butter cup. And since studies have shown that peanut butter consumption can lower your risk of diabetes, I figure it's health food. Made by Peanut Butter & Co., who also have a sandwich shop in New York City, Dark Chocolate Dreams contains no cholesterol, no trans-fats, no hydrogenated oils, and no high-fructose corn syrup. It is also gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. Don't worry if your local store doesn't carry it, you can order it from PB&Co.'s website, along with a variety of other PB flavors, jellies and preserves, snacks, and PB&Co. gear. I'm seriously tempted to pick up their cookbook--it looks heavenly!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

We Moved and Survived It!

Last week it was warm and sunny, but yesterday--moving day!--it was cold and rainy and miserable. In spite of our best efforts to rid ourselves of excess stuff before the move, we weren't able to come even close to being packed by the time the movers arrived. After spending countless hours and miles on the road helping us try to find the perfect home, my mother-in-law Jeannie came to help; she always knows exactly when to come and rescue us. I'm not promising she'll help you pack, but she will go far above and beyond to help you find the perfect home. My daughter Stephanie volunteered to help pack and ended up working more than 10 hours packing, tossing, and cleaning. I don't think I could find better family anywhere!

The best part of the day was the moving crew. We've had experiences with DIY moving and so-so to unpleasant experiences with professional movers, but the crew from Taylor's Moving, led by Dwayne Taylor, was simply awesome. Although they were cold and wet, they took great pains to make sure our belongings were dry and protected. They packed things that we hadn't managed to put in boxes yet, joked with us, and one cheerful fellow kept breaking into song. And all for a flat pre-arranged rate. If I ever move again, I'll hire them to pack and move me, get a hotel room for a couple of nights, and hide out until they're finished--I'm exhausted and everything hurts.