Friday, October 31, 2008

Have You Seen Craft Juice?

Yesterday I was browsing the Etsy forums and discovered a thread about Craft Juice. It was one of those things I just had to investigate, and now I have a new addiction!

Artists and crafters submit links and photos of their work, and people vote on them. There's no selling or costs involved, and it's just plain fun to see what others are making as well as what other people like well enough to vote.

This morning I submitted one of my Kumihomo necklaces. If you feel inclined to click on over, I'd love to have a few votes on this piece. You do have to register, but it takes about 10 seconds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Awesome Soap Finds

I love this loofah soap! Perfectly sized slices of loofah have been dipped in soap--the photo shows mint green wildberry soap--and they leave your skin feeling clean, smooth, and with a wonderful fragrance. I managed to snag one with a jasmine scent, and it's heavenly! After you've used the soap, you can repurpose the loofah in your kitchen. Even better, you can return it and it will be bleached and resoaped for you!

I also picked up a bar of Cinnamon Irish Oatmeal soap, and it's luxurious beyond my expectations. The scent is lovely, the lather is rich and wonderful, my skin feels terrific after I've washed, and it's attractive in the soap dish. My entire bathroom has an inviting light cinnamon scent. What more could you ask for!

This We 3 Kings soap is on my wish list. It has real 100% gold leaf flakes in it! It also contains true Ethiopian Myrrh in it (which has antibacterial qualities), and Frankincense and Myrrh resin in. It is scented with Frankincense, Myrrh, and Sandalwood fragrance oils. It's so pretty and unusual I don't know if I'll be able to bring myself to wash with it--I may just put it on display.

Be sure to check out Mommy's Little Helper: Bath and Body for the Soul. You'll find perfect little indulgences for yourself, and gifts to amaze your loved ones.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Make Something Mondays: Dichroic Glass Flower Pin

I had so much fun making this flower! I cut strips of two different dichroic glass and fused them together with a piece of clear glass covering them. Then I cut the two-colored piece into small triangles, and arranged the triangles into something that looked a little like a flower. I took a small white dichroic cab from my box of rejected pieces (there's a lot to choose from in that box--I make a lot of duds!) to use as the flower's center. The center was critical, because I needed a way to permanently connect the "petals" together.

Back into the kiln it went, and it came out pretty well I think. If I try this again I think I'll see what it looks like with fewer petals.

This post was inspired by Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go!, the ingenious moms behind Make Something Monday. We'd love for you to join us next Monday!

Make Something Monday

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Velvet Pouches Add Elegance

I love these new velvet pouches! They feel so terrific and look luxurious, so no matter what I put in them it looks more expensive and elegant than it did on its own. A few tea bags become a thoughtful small gift, and even little rocks from the driveway (clean ones!) seem to be magical stones in a velvet pouch. They're $5 for a pack of four, and I've got them in seal brown, black, moss green, and dark red wine colors. They're about 4x6 inches, perfect for holding a gift or treasure. I've listed my current stock in my eBay shop, but I love these so much I plan to order more in a few days. Let me know if you'd like different colors or sizes and I'll see what I can find.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Temari

I've been working on a bunch of new temari decorations, and finally have two of them ready to show off! I hope to get them listed in my Etsy shop today, but I'm getting ready to go off to physical therapy soon so I'll see how I feel after I've had my head pulled. The traction feels good while it's happening, but afterward it can feel like, well, like someone's been pulling on my head.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Hot Rocks! If you haven't visited her blog before, be sure to visit when you leave here. She makes the most beautiful jewelry, and my favorite part is the way she names the pieces. I'm not going to tell you more, you'll just have to go see for yourselves!

So I'm supposed to share seven things about me, some weird, some just random. I can't remember all the personal details I've shared here before and I'm too lazy to look them up, so forgive me if I'm telling you things you already know.

1. I've worn glasses since I was 5 years old.

2. My favorite color is purple.

3. As a child I would eat only a couple of vegetables, and one of them was carrots. But only if the carrots were cut like matchsticks and cooked in a brown sugar glaze. Round carrot slices in glaze? No way. And that's still my favorite way to eat carrots.

4. I would probably make a very good hermit. I prefer to work alone, and rarely feel the need to go out just to be social.

5. I've always thought I'd like to live in Montana, but I've never been there.

6. I often read children's picture books, all by myself, for fun. I've even been known to place requests for specific picture books at my local library.

7. My first "real" job was selling vacuum cleaners. I lasted about an hour.

If I follow the rules, I'm supposed to tag seven other bloggers to share seven facts about themselves. I am not always good at following rules (hmmm, is that fact #8?), so if you'd like to be tagged just leave a comment asking me to add you, and I'll add a link to your blog here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lucky Fortune Cookie Boxes

Between the tax marathon and starting physical therapy this week, I've been exhausted. I decided to brighten things up with another special blog-only sale!

I have these cute little fortune cookie boxes in stock. I have small ones, approx. 3" x 1.75" x 1.5" each, in dark red, light pink, green, and lavender; and large ones, approx. 4" x 2.5" x 2" each, in black, blue, gray, and bright pink. You can see photos of all the colors here.

They're perfect for storing a bit of jewelry or other small treasure, and also make nice place card holders at dinner parties. A light squeeze at the base opens the box.

I normally sell a set of 3 small cookies for $8.45, and a set of 3 large cookies for $11.00, plus $5.95 shipping. Get yours now, before the holiday shopping frenzy starts, and I'll give you 1 free set with each 3 sets you purchase. I'll also charge you only the actual shipping cost, so if you only want one set you won't get hit with a big postage charge.

Interested? Send an email to luckygirltrading [at] with the number of sets you'd like, your color choices, and mailing address. I'll confirm I have the quantities and colors you want, weigh them in a shipping box, and send you a PayPal invoice. If you feel more comfortable making a purchase through an established e-commerce site, you can get these at my eBay store--but I can't give you any discount there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15 is Tax Day for Procrastinators

Lucky people tend to be on top of things. I was not on top of our taxes this year, so when April 15 rolled around we filed an extension. I really didn't want to delve into the taxes because I knew I hadn't kept up with things very well and it would mean hours and hours of checking invoices to get costs, counting inventory on hand, and reconciling sales records and shipping records and fees. Not a big job if you work at it daily, or even weekly. I made sure to keep every bit of information I might possibly need, I just didn't put it into any sort of order, spreadsheet, or database. I threw everything in a box. A really large box. UGH.

I spent several hours each day last week working on our records. And all day, every day this week. I hate to admit it, but all work and no play makes LuckyGirl cranky. I've also had to listen to Mr. LuckyGirl say, "if you had listened to me and used QuickBooks this would have been a much easier job," over and over again.

So QuickBooks people, if you're listening, Mr. LuckyGirl is usually right about this sort of thing. If you want to send me some software I promise I will blog repeatedly about how much easier it made my job. I do want to be on top of things, I know that it makes life go much smoother when I am. And often smooth means lucky!

I hit the "transmit your tax return button now" button at about 9 p.m. this evening, so I had a good three hours to spare. Anybody else wait as long as I did to file their taxes? And I'd love any tips you'd like to share. I've already got the big one down: don't put it off until the last minute.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Increase Your Creativity: Found Poetry

Lucky people tend to be creative people. I think this is mainly because they tend to seek out unusual, creative ways to go about everything from their daily routine to handling huge personal issues. Regardless of how lucky or creative you normally are, there's always room to boost your creativity.

One of my favorite ways to kick-start my creative juices is to make or create something totally different than anything I would normally create. Here's an exercise I learned at a writers' conference a few years ago that's just plain fun.

Create Found Poetry

Found poetry is made up using words and phrases you find. On the surface that sounds sort of lame, because unless you're going to make up your own language, you "find" all the words you use.

Grab a book, newspaper, magazine--anything with printed words. The dictionary or a thesaurus will work, but it may be a bigger challenge than you'd like. Open your printed word medium of choice to any page, close your eyes, and place your finger on the page. Open your eyes and copy down the phrase you were pointing to. Include any punctuation that appears with the words.

Flip through the pages, or look at different areas of the page you started with, and hunt for words or phrases that might work well with your first phrase. Copy them down, and when you've "found" enough phrases to suit yourself, arrange them in the form of a poem. If you use more than one phrase per line, leave a good-sized space between the phrases.

Very old books and the classified section of newspapers are my favorite places to "find" poetry. Here's a poem I created from classified ads:

The Creator has A Name.
You The Father?
Find the solution!
We deliver!
Beautiful baby
Help us find her.
Will keep clean
For life.
Cash buyer.
Will pick up.

As you can see, I am not a poet, am basically rhythm-impaired, and will never make a cent with my poetry. That's okay, that's not why I compose poetry, and this is one of the extremely rare times I'm brave enough to share what I've composed. After channeling my creativity into an unusual outlet like this, I feel recharged and better able to create something I do want to share.

Write a poem. Share it or don't. But please let me know if you enjoyed this exercise, and how effective it was at boosting your creativity.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some of My Favorite Giveaways

I haven't had a giveaway on this blog for a while, so I'm due to have one here very soon. I've been busy checking out the giveaways on other blogs, and want to share some of the best ones with you.

Peppermint GiveawaysFabulous Fun Finds is hosting over 40 giveaways this week--and there are some terrific prizes! Some of them end tomorrow evening, so click over there soon!

I always find new giveaways posted on Etsy Giveaways, and you'll find some unique and very cool things there. This blog doesn't actually give anything away, but provides brief descriptions and links to other giveaways that feature items from Etsy artists and crafters.

I am having a giveaway on The Peanut Butter Blog for a jar of PB2 powdered peanut butter and a jar of PB2 Chocolate powdered peanut butter. This stuff is amazingly delicious!

And my favorite giveaway right now is at The Dirty Shirt. She's giving away a Keurig Single Cup Coffee Brewer--I've wanted one of those for years. I love those little cups full of different flavors of coffee! Hmmm, maybe you shouldn't enter this one and give me a better chance to have a lucky day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More About Linky Love

The poll has closed, and it seems that my original instinct was right: 52 percent of you agree that posts listing top Entrecard droppers and top commenters is boring. Even better, my original post spurred Margaret at eyespi20 to post about ways to give some link love that are actually interesting! She followed up with a pros and cons of blogrolls post, and I'm watching to see what sort of comments that post brings.

In figuring out how I want to take all this info and apply it to my blog, I have to remember that I'm not a professional blogger, and am not using this blog as a source of income. While all the talk about SEO, page rank, etc., are probably of some importance to me and this blog, I don't really care about them enough to let the "rules" associated with them effect my blogging decisions. (Can you hear the huge gasping sound coming from the blogosphere?)

I like to make stuff. The blog is primarily a showcase for interesting things I make and a way for potential and existing customers to get to know me a bit more personally. While I do have some income-generating ad spaces here, my goal with them is to fund my own advertising, not put money in my pocket. If folks happen to find this blog with a search engine then of course I'm happy, but if they don't it's okay too: there are more effective ways of finding customers and promoting my goods.

I think that it only makes sense to go with the majority of my readers: no posts about top visitors of any sort. I do enjoy posting about other blogs and shops, and that kind of linky love will continue.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What Do You Think About Linky Love?

As I've been reading other blogs, I've noticed a growing trend toward listing the top Entrecard droppers to that blog for the past month. Some folks have turned that around a bit and list the top commenters on their blog. This is a nice way to give blog visitors a bit of recognition and link love, assuming that you include clickable links to their sites.

I've resisted doing this because reading those posts are not interesting, at least to me. So I've decided to put it to a vote. Check at the poll above and let me know what you want to see here: links for dropping Ecards, links for commenting, or nothing at all.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Cream of Wheat Cake

I love this cake! It's made with Cream of Wheat, so as far as I'm concerned it's the perfect breakfast food. When my girls were young we had to make food from another country as part of a Girl Scout project. We found a recipe for Basboussa, an Egyptian cake. I tweaked the recipe just a bit. If you make this I'd love to know what you think of it!

Lucky Basboussa

2 cups granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
14-oz. box regular Cream of Wheat (not instant)
3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
8-oz. container plain non-fat yogurt
non-stick cooking spray
48 almond slices
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Stir 2 cups of granulated sugar and 1-3/4 cups of water together in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, but don't stir it. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Dip the end of a spoon into the syrup. When you pull the spoon out, the syrup should leave a light coating on the spoon (if it doesn't, let it simmer a few more minutes and try again). Let the syrup cool while you prepare the cake.
Put 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and a 14-oz. box of regular Cream of Wheat in a medium-size mixing bowl. Pour the melted margarine and yogurt into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and stir until it is evenly mixed.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Use non-stick cooking spray to lightly grease a 9 x 12" baking pan. Dump the mixture for the cake into the middle of the pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Use the end of a toothpick to lightly score the basboussa into squares. Draw 7 lines across the 12" sides and 5 lines across the 9" sides. Be careful not to push all the way to the bottom. Lightly press an almond slice into the top of each square.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn brown.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool.
Stir 1 teaspoon of lemon juice into the syrup. Carefully pour the syrup over the cake. It will look like you have too much syrup, but the cake will absorb all of the extra syrup.
Use a sharp knife to cut all the way through the scores you made earlier. Let the cake sit until it has absorbed all of the syrup.