Monday, June 30, 2008

Need More Luck? Get the Poop!

I posted a month or so ago about the superstition of having monkeys in your house bringing bad luck. Today I want to pass along a few superstitions I've collected about things that are supposed to bring good luck.

I've been told that in The Netherlands, folks believe if a bird poops on your head you'll have good luck. I have a very distinct memory of taking a couple of dozen Girl Scouts to Washington, D.C., waiting on a bench below a nice, shady tree while the girls investigated the bazillionth gift shop of the trip, whereupon a bird blessed me with good luck wishes. I did not have any notable good luck the rest of the trip, unless you count the fact that I survived to tell about it. Maybe I should have taken them to The Netherlands?

I've also been told that folks in Belgium believe that if you step in dog poop with your left foot, you'll have good luck. What does it mean if you step in it with your right foot? It just means you have a stinky shoe. Assuming you were wearing shoes. I am so not gonna test this one, in Belgium or anywhere else.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New 2.4mm Box Chains

I love the new sterling silver box chains that came in this week! They have the classic box link style in a heavy 2.4 mm width, so they're substantial without being grossly heavy, and they sparkle like crazy. I've got them in 16-inch, 18-inch, 20-inch, and 24-inch lengths, and they're all in my Etsy shop. I haven't managed to get them in my eBay store yet, so if you're a die-hard eBay shopper and want one just let me know (but they're less expensive on Etsy!).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Kumihimo Necklace

I listed this necklace in my Etsy shop today. It's about 18 inches long, including the clasp, and I think it's gorgeous--it's the first one I've done in this pattern and I love how it turned out. I make these for the love of making them, and not for any sort of profit. I'd be interested in some feedback on the pricing: this one is listed for $25, because that's how much I'm guessing someone might be willing to pay for it. If I put price tags on my kumihimo that reflect the time I spend on these necklaces, they would each be $100 or more, and I can't imagine anyone wanting one that desperately. So what do you think, is $25 a reasonable amount for a handcrafted necklace like this one?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Free Shipping for My Blog Visitors

I love all of you faithful visitors! I want to give something back to you, so I'm offering free shipping on any order from my Etsy shop or from my eBay store until the end of June. Just send me a message on either site with the words "My Lucky Day" in it after you've made your purchase and I'll send you a revised invoice with ZERO shipping. If you're in a hurry to get your payment made that's okay too--I can send you a refund for the shipping amount.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quest for the Longest Poetry Meme

I came across a blog with a challenge I couldn't ignore. Gary R. Hess at the PoemofQuotes Blog posted this:

I need your help fellow bloggers! Lets create the longest poem ever known to the meme.

What we need to do:
Copy and paste the previous persons poem, then write the next line. It can be a new stanza, new rhyme, etc. But the poem must make sense!

To keep the poem going, please place a link to Gary's original post (nofollow it if you have to) and the previous person's page (in this case, it's Just More Words at the End of the Day). Next, drop by PoemofQuotes and comment telling us the URL of your poem if you want us to continue it.

If you don’t like the previous line, you can start the meme over, just don’t confuse everyone. Please state in the comment if you started a new poem.

Lets try to make each poem as long as possible!

Here is the poem so far, including my line:

The forest sang of moans from years past,
while crumbling leaves of sorrow
the blackbirds pecked for morsels--what luck!

Who wants to be next?

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Very First Blog Award!

I received a wonderful blog award from Heather of Azure Islands Designs, who makes the most beautiful jewelry! This is my first award--ever--and I'm thrilled that she honored me with it.

Now it's my honor to be able to present this award to five other bloggers. That's tough for me: there are dozens of bloggers I read regularly and who are perfectly suited for this. Here are my five awardees:

Sara of Etsy Profiles selflessly promotes artists and artisans with pure sweetness. There's always something new and interesting on her blog, and anyone who promotes shopping with us little indies instead of big retailers is a winner in my book. She also makes lovely totes, cards, and other pretties.

LaWatha of LaWatha's Glass and More is one of the first and nicest people I met when I joined the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy. I'm not one of the most active team members by any stretch, but LaWatha has always been kind and considerate and the sort who seems happy to share her knowledge. And her glass is stunning!

Pearl of Fehu Stoneware makes gorgeous and unique pottery. I could look at her shop all day long, daydreaming that everything was really in my own house. She always has something nice to say, even if when I don't pop up on her radar for months at a time.

Marisa of Elegant Snobbery was the first person to include my glass jewelry on her blog. In fact, she was probably my first introduction to the blogosphere. And she had the patience and generosity to answer my bazillion questions about marketing and blogging.

Lady Rose of Diet Pulpit. I usually avoid dieting blogs because they tend to make me think I should diet. Although she does include some diet and nutrition info, there's always something interesting going on, and I never leave feeling like I should stock up on celery sticks.

If you've got a few minutes go have a peak at these blogs--you're sure to find something delightful!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Didn't Know You Could Do This in a State Park

I had no idea that some state parks have inns and restaurants, and it seems as though I've been missing out on some terrific bargains. One of the last things I did before leaving Indiana last week was to go to McCormick's Creek State Park. We took a very short hike, more of a walk really, and saw a lovely little waterfall and some really beautiful trees (I am a tree lover!), then went over to the Canyon Inn.

Rooms are a bargain, much less than the price of most hotels in the area. The inn seemed very well maintained and clean and offers free wifi internet access.

The thing that really had my attention was the restaurant area. The food was delicious, and the all-you-can-eat buffet included an amazing dessert table. But each of the huge windows overlooking a wooded area of the park have large bird feeders hanging in front of them so you can enjoy a bit of bird-watching with your meal. I saw my first rose-breasted grosbeak there--what a stunning bird!

I wish the state parks in North Carolina offered lodging and meals. And next time I travel I will definitely check out the state parks on my route!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Most Awesome Pincushion Ever

When I'm working on a Temari I use a lot of straight pins and long tapestry needles. A normal everyday sort of pincushion just didn't work for me: they were too small and too shallow. I asked Born Again Purses to make this extra-large one for me and at 7" x 6" x 2.5" it's perfect! She uses old wool sweaters, recycles them into purses and other accessories, then uses the leftover pieces for pincushions. I love recycling, especially when it creates something that's both beautiful and useful!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cheesecake Brownies!

While I was visiting my family I spent a couple of hours helping out in my sister's bakery. She's loved baking for as long as I can remember, and when she developed celiac disease and was unable to eat wheat products she created her own wheat-free recipes. I feel completely unqualified to prepare any food in the bakery--as a teen learning to cook I was the one who got her hand caught between the blades of the electric mixer--but I'm a darn fine dishwasher and box builder. As compensation for my highly-skilled labor she made me two full pans of marbled cheesecake brownies. YUM!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I heard on CNN today that Americans are driving less these days. I couldn't have known that by the amount of traffic I saw on the road this week. I was on the road for 8 hours one day and 11 hours another day, and traffic was heavy the entire time.

I am not a big fan of driving. And I don't like driving in the mountains, in the rain, or after dark. I'll tough it out through one of those, but toss any two at me and I'm likely to pull over and park. Some things can't be helped--I know it has to get dark each evening, and rain will fall when it wants to. But why people built roads--interstate highways--through the mountains where they had to post signs like these I just don't understand. If you're building a road and you know that trucks have a good chance of falling over, wouldn't it make sense to change the plans for the road?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bye Bye Baby

I've hit the road and left Indiana behind, and with it, my daughter and my grandson. This is the last baby photo for a long time (I promise!), but it was so sweet I just had to post it. I'll be home by Thursday--I think--but I'm taking the scenic route so I can spend a day or so with my parents and sister. It feels like I've been gone for months, not weeks, and I am getting terribly anxious to get home and get back to work. That's a new feeling for me--I've never felt homesick or wanted to get back to work!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Home Away From Home

I love visiting Bloomington, Indiana, and not just because my daughter and grandson live here. The Wampler House Bed & Breakfast is absolutely my favorite place to stay when I'm away from home. It's comfortable, quiet, cozy, and ultra clean. The guest rooms are spacious, the adjoining bath had a jacuzzi, and every day a plate would magically appear in my room with several homemade cookies. The fridge in the guest dining area is always stocked with a wide selection of sodas and bottled water, and there's a variety of teas and coffees, as well as snacks in case the cookies weren't enough.

Breakfast begins with a beautiful plate of fresh fruit salad and muffins or quick bread, juice, coffee--and then the main course arrives. It's enough to hold me until dinner! The house is decorated with old family photos and news clippings. My favorite thing is the planter in the front yard: it's a chimney top that blew off in a tornado years ago, and now it holds a bunch of cheerful flowers. Mr. LuckyGirl and I stayed here for several days while he was visiting, and he loved it as much as I do. We'll be back again, and soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

From the Flood to the Fire

I'll be leaving Indiana on Monday, provided that there's no more flooding and the roads remain open. Although I'll be glad to leave all this rain behind, it seems that I'll be heading into the smoke from the Great Dismal Swamp fire. I'm not sure how a swamp catches fire, but the peat really kicks out the smoke as it burns. I live at least 5 hours from the fire, and from what I can tell the smoke at home is smelly and fairly heavy. I couldn't find a link to embed this, so you'll have to click over to see the video of the smoke.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Giraffe Jeans

These little jeans are so cute! This particular pair features a handpainted giraffe and balloons, and fits size 6-12 months. I found them at JuJu Designs, where you can find a nice assortment of hand-painted designs, sizes, and items.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monkey Love

This is not really a photo of my new grandson. Well, yes, it is him in the picture, but he's not the reason I posted it. I got the darling monkey lovie next to him from The Monkey Shop--and Gabriel loves it. It's soft and cuddly, the blanket part is perfect for his tiny fingers to grasp, and the bright smiling face fascinates him. Dulce, the talent behind The Monkey Shop, has been crafting since she was four. It's obvious she makes each of her monkeys with love!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gabriel and Grandpa

Mr. LuckyGirl spent a long weekend in Indiana with us and I managed to sneak a photo of the proud grandpa and snoozing baby.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun with Popsicle Sticks

Although I am not a fan of weapons, I love it when kids get creative. My new grandson's big brother (do you remember when family relationships weren't so complicated?), Owen, was so proud of the popsicle stick creation he came up with that he made and posted a how-to video. Pretty impressive for a 9-year-old!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Entrecard Top Dropper Linky Love

A huge thank-you to my top 10 droppers for the past 30 days:

Aerten Art
Turnip of Power
Regretful MorningSo Now What?
On The Bricks
Is a mans world
Technically Easy
Students Views
Simply Crafting

Drop by and visit them if you have a minute--these also happen to be a few of my favorite blogs!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Weather in Indiana is Crazy!

It rains so hard that you know it has to be the peak of the storm, and then it rains even harder. I've never even heard one before this week, but it seems like the tornado sirens go off here several times every day. This photo is of an area just a few minutes north of Bloomington--I am so thankful to be here instead of there.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Kumihimo Tools

The last time I posted about making Kumihimo I told you a little bit of the craft's history. I brought the materials with me on this trip to make a few new pieces, and I thought you might like to see my tools.

I use this disk to create the braids. I can secure thee threads in the grooves both to keep consistent tension on them and to keep them in order. Tension is critical while braiding: too slack and the braid will be short and fat, too much and the braid will be thin and tight. The worst thing that can happen is to change tension levels mid-braid, because you can end up with a braid that is fat on one end, skinny in the middle, and just right at the other end. Not a good look for a necklace!

Sometimes I wind the thread on these bobbins. I braid with a minimum of 8 separate threads, and each thread starts out approximately twice as long as the finished piece. If I'm working with just a few feet of 2mm satin cord I usually don't bother with the bobbins. These bobbins are each wound with multiple strands of silk thread that are several yards long. Silk thread feels so luxurious to work with! It tangles very easily though, and I wanted to make a 16-thread necklace, so bobbins are a must. I hope to get this braid finished next week, and I promise to post photos when I'm done.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Baby Photo at Last!

I know you've all been waiting for the baby photos--I finally unpacked my camera today and managed to snap this while Gabriel was napping. I promise not to post baby photos every day. Not sure what else there is that's interesting enough to blog about though....

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm Finally Out of My Car, Plus a New Blog

After spending what felt like an eternity on the road, I'm finally playing with my new grandson. I'm still pretty brain-dead from all the driving, so no baby photos or cute anecdotes just yet. But I did create a new blog before I hit the road: The Peanut Butter Blog. In case you didn't figure it out already, it's about all things peanut butter. Come take a look, and feel free to make suggestions for future posts there.