Friday, September 28, 2007

For Immediate Release

That's how our press release starts. Did you catch that? Our PRESS RELEASE. We're sending out a freakin' press release! So it probably won't get noticed and made into a story, but it's still very exciting to me nonetheless. Special thanks to Kathryn of SpunSister Designs for the writing help.

Want to read it? Of COURSE you do! Here it is:


September 28, 2007

Crystal LastName
Two Belles & a Bead
xxx-xxx-xxxx Voice

Using Jewelry to Fight Breast Cancer

OurTown, Texas -- Pink ribbons do much to raise awareness of
breast cancer, but now you can join the fight with a little more style
and glamour. Local jewelry designers, Karen & Crystal LastName of Two
Belles & a Bead, have created a line of handcrafted jewelry to support
the fight against breast cancer.

The line, titled "The Jane's Hope Collection" was recently designed
and named in honor of a beloved family member who lost her fight
against breast cancer in April of this year. The jewelry is
handcrafted from sterling and fine silver, 14kt gold fill,
semi-precious gemstones, Swarovski crystals, and glass beads and
features a small collection of earrings, bracelets, necklaces,
pendants and accessories. For the entire month of October, 100% of the
proceeds from sales in The Jane's Hope Collection will go to The Rose,
a charity based in Houston, TX.

Karen & Crystal, who have been jewelry designers in OurTown for
three years, say they were inspired by the spirit of women fighting
breast cancer and the hope they all hold. "We have tried to reflect
their beauty and strength in the designs we have created by using
materials that are both beautiful and lasting," Crystal says. "The
jewelry has extra meaning when you consider the importance of the
issue it supports. It's basically women helping women. Our goal is to
spread the message of awareness and represent the spirit of hope." You
can find the pieces on their retail website,, where Karen & Crystal have sold across
the US and also internationally.

Two Belles & a Bead is a mother and daughter team of jewelry designers
whose goal is to offer high quality jewelry at affordable prices. They
carry a wide variety of jewelry pieces and specialize in semi-precious
gemstones, Swarovski crystals, sterling and fine silvers, 14kt gold
filled, copper, and chain maille jewelry.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact
Crystal LastName at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email her at

Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Cause backing up is hard to do

The lovely ladies at 5MinutesforMom are giving away 3 Western Digital Portable Hard Drives. And look, they come in pretty colors for the fashionable backer upper.

Not only that, but they're also giving away a pink Dyson vacuum! Now, you might be thinking who in the world would want a pink vacuum. I'll tell you who. People who want to make a statement. October is breast cancer awareness month, and pink is everywhere these days. The Dyson people are donating $40 from each sale of their limited edition pink vacuums to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Not only that, but they are also donating $400 to the same cause in honor of 5 Minutes for Mom. How cool is that? I think I just gained a lot of respect for Dyson.

Go enter!! As always, you don't need your own blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crystal's House of Hope & Shine

Doesn't that sound like the name of a combination church/car wash? That would be an interesting place to visit, don't you think? "Come get your sins washed away - oh, and your road dirt too!"

Once again I find myself with not much to talk about other than jewelry. I'm sure you're all tired of it by now! I've been having a really rough week, so please excuse my boring-ness. How is it that just when you seem to be getting over a huge hurdle and start to feel better after enduring something really hard, you come crashing down? Well, that's me. I was finally feeling better for a while, but now in the past couple of days I've started feeling horrible again. I hate being an emotional roller coaster. So yeah, this week has been bad and the only way to keep my mind off of it is to play with my jewelry stuff. I'm learning cool skills these days, and that puts me in a good mood because these are things I never thought I'd be doing... or at least not so soon. There's always a huge sense of satisfaction that comes from making something with your hands (especially when you show your husband and he says, "WOW!"). That, bloggy friends, means you have arrived. *grin*

My mother and I decided to take the plunge and invest in a couple of really neat jewelry gadgets. One is a Koil Kutter, and it makes the task of cutting the little bitty rings I use in almost every piece of jewelry (especially chain maille pieces) a cinch! I have been using a hand held jeweler's saw, and while that makes for a beautiful, flush cut, it's time consuming and tedious and I seriously do not like using it. I can't get the hang of cutting with my coil against my bench pin, so I hold it in my fingers and my hand is always so very sore after cutting a few coils. So our Koil Kutter, once we get it, will definitely come in handy! Now, to operate this Koil Kutter, we need a rotary tool. I was going to get the regular kind (like a Dremel, but better) but at the last minute, we decided to invest in a flex shaft.

A flesh shaft is like a rotary tool on steroids. Instead of holding the bulky thing in your hand and operating it sort of like you do an electric screwdriver, you hold this smaller easier-to-hold hand piece, which connects to a motor via a long tube/wire. This thing has a motor, people. And a foot pedal. I ordered a power tool with a freaking foot pedal! How awesome is that? Not only will this flex shaft work with the Koil Kutter to cut gorgeous, perfect rings... you can buy hundreds of different accessories to use with it. I ordered some polishing things that will make my job of sanding and polishing metal a breeze.

I'm sure all of this is SO interesting to you, right? Your eyes are probably glazed over and by now all you're reading is "wah, wah wah, wah, wah". Sooo, I'll stop speaking jewelry-ese and instead just post some pictures - which transcend all language barriers - to show off my newly acquired skillz.

First up, my first soldered (finger) ring!! It's made from fine silver, hammered, and hand formed. The twist was not planned. It happened after I realized my ring was too big and figured out that giving it a twist would make it smaller. I know, I know. Genius, right? *grin*

Next, a pendant and necklace which were hammered and then oxidized. I learned to use a certain chemical that oxidizes metals in minutes. It's very cool, but sorta smelly, so I do it outside.

And finally, I decided to try my hand at cutting sheet metal. This, too, is done with a jeweler's saw, although I enjoy sawing sheet MUCH more than I enjoy sawing itty bitty rings. The first one is a pair of earrings with copper squares I sawed and added to sterling discs. The second one is a heart pendant sawed from copper sheet with a sterling wire heart soldered on. I looove it! You'll see some areas with some marks/scratches, and that's from filing and sanding it down. The corners are tight and I'm having a hard time buffing them out by hand, but as soon as I get my flex shaft in, they'll be gone! I'll be sure to get a better picture of it then.

I will leave you with a quote on which to ponder. My husband and I are watching the second season of Prison Break on DVD, and tonight one of the characters was talking about hope. Now, I don't normally make a habit of forming deep thoughts based on TV quotes. However, this one caught my attention for some reason. The person talking to him was obviously religious and said, "Hope is for the people who have not yet found grace". I thought that was an interesting little tidbit that gave me a lot to think about. What say you?

Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm a member of a crafting forum, in which most members are jewelry designers. This is the greatest group of women (and a couple men) that I've ever joined. I've been a member of several forums in my internet lifetime, and am currently active on two. I post on a couple others sporadically, but two I post on daily and one of them is the jewelry forum. I've also left forums in my internet lifetime, the most recent one being a painful separation. Well, actually, separating wasn't what was painful, but rather the things said that lead me to leave were what hurt.

But I digress. This post is not about that, it's about shiny stuff. On this jewelry forum, every so often they do an "Art Piece Swap" where people make jewelry components and send them to another designer in a secret sister type of way. I joined the group too late to participate in the last one, but I saw how much fun they had so when they announced the current one, I jumped at the opportunity. When I received the name of my swap person, I started to get nervous. It seemed like she did similar things to me. Not really in style, but in skill. So I had no idea what to make, but then I figured it out. I ended up doing lots of little things that are some of my favorite things to work on, plus something new for me. Here is a photo my swap person took of what I sent her:

Those little chain maille flowers are the new thing I learned. I love them! I had a hard time giving them away!

Saturday we were gone most of the day and got home late at night, after attending a farewell party for a friend who is moving out of state and was a fellow DJ at the radio station where my hubby volunteers. When we got in, I checked the mail and got all happy when I saw a brown bubble mailer in our box. Then I squealed with joy when I saw the name on the return address! The person who had me as her art swap person was none other than Jennifer Casady!

Jennifer is an extremely talented jewelry designer who specializes in chain maille. I've seen literally hundreds of chain maille pieces, and hers are among my favorites. She combines maille and gemstones like nobody's business! Her skill set is amazing, so I was thrilled beyond belief to see that *she* was sending *me* something!

I ran back to the house and opened up the package. Even the packaging was beautiful. I thought I packaged my jewelry nicely, but she puts me to shame! I slowly peeled back the dark green tissue paper, untied the shiny ribbon, and opened up the dark green box to see a lovely little satin bag! A SATIN BAG, people! I opened the bag and to my delight, I found two beautiful chain maille weaves, each having two lengths. One of them is called "jens pind" and I'll be honest and tell you that I was REALLY hoping (and almost praying, but I'm not quite that bold) there would be some jens pind in there! It seems as though jens pind is one of Jen's specialties, which makes sense, seeing as it was, like, named after her and all. Ok, so it wasn't really, but she has it mastered so it might as well have been. Here's a picture of the goodies... please feel free to drool all over your keyboard.

Isn't it beeeeaaauutiful?? The jens pind is the smaller one. It is one of the more difficult weaves to learn and I have not mastered it yet. I've tried it once, and gave up when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. *giggle* I plan to try again someday when I have some more free time and after I get my Koil Kutter and flex shaft (another day, another post). I cannot wait to play around with these chain maille lengths. Now before you go getting any wild ideas, these are MINE, ALL MINE. I plan to make myself a couple bracelets or a bracelet and some earrings, or who knows, maybe I'll even make a chain maille bra. Oooor I'll probably just stick with a couple of bracelets. ;o)

I encourage you to check out Jennifer's website, so you can see her spectacular work for yourself. She's a very sweet, talented, Christian mom. She's also on etsy. Hey! So are The Belles.

I've aquired a couple of new skills in the past week that I'm excited to show you, but alas, drooling over these gorgeous chains has exhausted me so I will leave you in suspense for now so I can go to bed and dream of little gemstones dancing in my head. Could life get more corny? G'night, bloggy world!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

When making headpins... (a jewelry making commandment)

When making headpins, if the little ball doest detach and propel itself down onto thine desk rather than mind its own business and crawl up thine fine silver wire, thou shalt not assume that the tiny thing cooleth off quickly because of the mere size and attempt to move it with thine pointer finger.

It shall sticketh to thine skin til you pry it with thine other hand, and leaveth you with a ball-shaped white indentation in thine finger. It doest cause thou much pain and trembling. Thou shall curse the fire-hot wire from which it came, and the torch that caused it so. This is not acceptable, my jewelry loving friend; you shall not fall into this snare.

Thus saith the one with the burning finger.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #16

Because I have recently determined that I have the most bizarre animals ever created, this week brings you...

Thirteen strange things my dogs have eaten or otherwise destroyed

1. Power cords. Apparently this is haute cuisine to one mini schnauzer and one shih-tzu. Trixie (shih-tzu) destroyed the cord to our first digital camera and the one to my husband's cellphone at the time. Molly (mini schnauzer) destroyed one to MY last cellphone. I had to get a new phone because of her. 'Spensive little brat. Funny thing is, some of these cords were plugged in and being used at the time of consumption. It's a miracle they didn't get hurt.

2. Vomit. Ewwe, gross, I know. Trixie has been known to eat not only Molly's vomit when it contains recently eaten food, she also has eaten human vomit found in a pile outside the apartment building we used to live in. I almost killed her. I wanted to. I also wanted to Lysol her mouth, but I think they sort of frown upon that these days. I did, however, scrub her mouth, teeth, and tongue with a baby wipe. And then I cried. No, bawled.

3. Furniture. Trixie used to chew on our old dining room table set. Baaad dog. Molly made some leeway on some antique chairs we were storing here for my parents AND a couple of nice wooden TV trays we have.

4. Walls. When Trixie was a puppy, I caught her trying to chew a wall. A WALL!!! Please explain to me how you chew a wall?!

5. Wasabi peas. Ok, so this one can be blamed on my husband and his buddy. They like to eat dried peas that have this hot wasabi coating on them and see how many they can stand putting in their mouths at once. One day they were goofing around and thought, "hey, I wonder if the dog would eat one". Well, she did. She spit it out about 50 times first, but she ate it. And another, and another. And you thought *I* was cruel for scrubbing her mouth with a baby wipe.

6. Every squeak thing in every dog toy ever made. It's like an obsession with Trixie. Must.kill.the.squeaker. Can''s.deeeaaaaaddd! Then she eats the evidence.

7. Plastic clothes pins. Thank goodness she hasn't eaten the metal part, but the plastic part? I can't tell you how many of THOSE have been regurgitated around here.

8. Earwigs, spiders, and other such creepy crawlies. Molly? She just tosses them up in the air and then rolls all over them. But Trixie, she eats them. Yumm.

9. Paper. From used kleenex and feminine products to paper towels, receipts, and yes, money... they love to obliterate any piece of paper-like material they can find. And like the rude stinkers they are, they leave all the billions of pieces for me to pick up.

10. Toenail clippings. Trixie apparently has a taste for her sister's toenail clippings. They're like little black dots of heaven...

11. Fuzz. Tennis balls, beware! You will lose your fuzz if you come to my house.

12. Carpet. Ok, so they don't eat the carpet, but if there is anything that smells interesting in it, Trixie will lick a spot of it until it's completely flat. We call them "crop circles" because that's exactly how they look. How in the world my dog can lick perfect little crop circles into our carpet, I will never know.

13. Sand paper. See post below this one...

Strange, frustrating, comical dogs. But you gotta love 'em. No one ever said they were normal, but they do keep life interesting.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Do you ever get the urge...

... to eat sandpaper? No? Are you sure? Don't you think it would feel just heavenly going down?

Let me explain. For several days last week, Trixie (small, white, furry thing that eats my crumbs and licks my toes) was throwing up a couple times. This dog likes to eat anything and everything. Well, last week she decided to consume lots of pieces of plastic or rubber things that she found outside and apparently those simply do not digest well. Sooo, up they came. Honestly, I was getting concerned that perhaps she had a blockage, but her stomach was not bloated, she was eating ok, and seemed to be mostly her crazy self so we didn't take her in. She stopped after a few days and all was well.

Until one evening, that is. It was the last day she had the pukes. Dustin heard a funny noise coming from the office and he thought she was in there throwing up so he went to check it out. She wasn't throwing up. Oh no, quite the opposite really. *Slurp, slurp, slurp*

This is what he found:

You see the light area in the top left corner there? Do you care to take a guess as to why it is light? Yep, the dog LICKED OFF THE GRIT. She licked all around the thing and made the edges curl. Now this is strange and funny to begin with, but add in the fact that this isn't just normal sandpaper... it is a medium emery cloth used to polish/give texture to metals in jewelry making and it stinks. Really badly. Like the strongest paint or tar smell you can imagine. And my dog was eating this. Not only that, but we decided to look at her tongue to make sure it wasn't bleeding, you know. No red was there, but rather black. I swear the silly thing looked like a small, white, furry chow.

I have thusly declared my dog to be an idiot. A small, white, furry idiot that has a very select palate.

Sorry, I couldn't get her to smile for her fans.

Don't you all want to come to dinner?!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Life is always better as a pessimist

Or at least according to The Freelance Cynic, author of the original Moaning Meme.

Sandy tagged me for this a couple of days ago, but I know I've been tagged before by a couple other people. I think it was Amber and Jessica? Anyway, at long last, here is my moaning meme.

5 people who will be annoyed you tagged them.

Laurel at My Attempt to be Coherent because I like to pick on my new friends. *giggle*
Kim Thru the Looking Glass because she admitted she wants to be tagged for memes. Apparently it flatters her, and flattery gets me everywhere. So rant away, Kim! :)
My dad at Rantings From the Right because I think this meme was designed with him in mind...
Stacy at Upon Eagles' Wings because I'd like to see this totally sweet person whine for once, and...
Sarah, again, at My Peculiar Life because she can rant with the best of 'em! ;o)

If I didn't tag you and you'd like to participate, please feel free and let me know that you did. :)

4 things that should go into room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth.

*Huge honking SUVs and the idiot drivers down here who try to run me over in my little car. Yeah, SUVs are good for many people, but very few of them down here are really necessary. They're more of a "look at me! look at me!" status symbol or something. SUVs and trucks are to Texans as sports cars are to the rest of the world I guess. If you have an SUV and a good reason to have one, then this rant is not for you. However, if you "need" your SUV for your one small 4-month old child, please avoid all the places I tend to drive. I'm tired of laying on my horn to keep you from hitting me in my small, gas efficient vehicle. Oh, and learn to park in ONE spot please. ONE SPOT.

*Infertility. It sucks, big time. If I were elected president, I would abolish it my first day in office.

*That commercial with the military people for that little Tide thing. "A stain, Vaughn? A ketchup stain??" ... "Oooh what'd they do, send me a daggon houdini?!"

*Germs. Because germs aren't cool, man, they're just not cool.

3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently.

*Act like they know how I feel regarding our infertility. Or speak poorly of me behind my back (naive enough to think or hope I wouldn't find out?!) and judge me for my very valid human emotions or say not true things about me instead of approach me to work it out with me themselves like adults, which leads me to...

*Act like we're in junior high still. I'm almost 30, people. I grew up a long time ago. Please stop acting like your children.

*Try to touch my hair or any other thing that is exclusively mine, without my permission. I have a big need for my personal space. If you aren't my husband, puh-LEASE keep your hands, breath, feet, and anything else that is part of you or comes out of a part of you at least 5 feet from any part of me at all times.

2 things you find yourself moaning about.

*People who do not understand phobias and panic attacks, yet judge me for them, or think I am less of a person because of them. A certain dental assistant (for one) comes to mind.

*Being childless.

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself.

*I am crazy. But we knew this already.


*Link to the original meme at so people know what it's all about!

*Be as honest as possible, This is about letting people get to know the real you!

*Try not to insult anyone - unless they really deserve it or are very, very ugly!

*Post these rules at the end of every meme!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

8 - no 9 - Random Things

Amber tagged me for this meme. I think someone else (Heidi, maybe?) tagged me for either it or something similar a while back and I meant to get to it and never did. Hmm. So if it was you, I apologize!

Anyway, I'm really tired at the moment so this might not be completely coherent. If not, I apologize!

RULES - Post rules before giving the facts - Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves - People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their eight things and post these rules - At the end of the your blog you need to tag (hopefully) six people and list their names - Leave them a comment on their blog, telling them they have been tagged and not to forget to read your blog.


1.) I stay up until at least 3am most nights, and lately it has been closer to 5am. I'm obviously a night owl, but this is getting ridiculous! I haven't been sleeping late enough for it to be healthy. I'm sleep deprived and tiiiiiired. But for some reason, I am so much more productive late at night after everyone else would normally be in bed. I think I caught that bug from my mom.

2.) I'm an obsessive head scratcher. It's therapeutic for me, but once I scratch it, it starts itching. I'm also an obsessive hand washer. I don't wash them more often than recommended (after using the restroom, before eating or touching my face, etc) but my husband thinks I wash my hands too much. In the colder months, my hands get so dry they crack and get really painful.

3.) I like coming up with weird phrases that don't make sense. For example, I like to say "what the yahoo!??!?" and tonight I came up with, "well, that's one way to smoke a frog".

4.) Even though I've had years of voice training and have been told I can sing really well by several musicians, I have *horrible* stage fright and have a very hard time singing in front of people - even my closest family members. I guess that is a part of my social phobia. I also think it's really fun to purposefully sing a song out of tune like I have no idea what I'm doing. I once spent several days learning how to make my voice crack like country singers. I still can't do it anytime I want, but sometimes it works and it always makes me smile. If your voice doesn't do it naturally, it's sort of hard to get right! Especially when it flies against every bit of training you've ever had.

5.) I've written somewhere around 30 songs. Only one person has heard them all. It once was my dream to make a record, but I'm not sure I ever will at this point. I know my stuff is good enough, I just don't know that I'd spend the money to get it done. I had a musician/amateur producer (he has his own band and also works with ApologetiX sometimes - heard of them? - and supposedly co-produced "Cornerstone" by Day of Fire) tell me he wanted to produce a few of my songs for free, but that never materialized and probably won't ever now since he's about to move out of state. The worship team at our last church sang one of my songs one Sunday morning and that was a surreal experience for me. Seeing people worship the Lord to words and music He gave me was a feeling I can't describe.

6.) Speaking of feelings, if I could bottle up the feeling you get when you conquer a huge fear, I'd be rich. You know, like when you get through with a panic attack inducing dental appointment or visit your sick grandmother in the scary hospital not once but THREE times in a row and feel like if you can get through that you can conquer the world. If I could bottle it and sell it, I'd name it "iConquered". Would you buy it?

7.) I've had a lot of jobs I hated, but the worst one ever was a security checkpoint officer at the airport. Yes, all 5 ft 0 inches and 85 lbs of me scanned people and carry on luggage for weapons and other such illegal items. Of course, this was very pre-9/11/01 so things were quite different. I can't tell you how many times some smart aleck man would say, "shouldn't you be in junior high and not working at the airport"? I can't stand people like that. I always passed the random "catch the bomb" tests. They were scary though. The manager I had there was horrible. I couldn't stand her. The second worse job was at Hallmark. The manager there was really horrible too, and the owner was even worse. Evil, evil people. If I could bottle them and sell it, I'd call it "iSuck".

8.) I met my husband online via AOL instant messenger. He was in South Korea at the time, stationed there with the US Army. His profile said something about being a solider in the US Army and the Lord's army and it caught my eye, so I sent him a message. He used to say "outstanding!" with this silly accent all the time and I thought it was the cutest thing. He hasn't said that in soo long. When I was around 5, I told my dad I wanted to marry this famous person because he had the same last name as we did and I didn't want to change my last name. Nevermind the fact that this guy was old enough to be my dad and then some. After I met Dustin and got quite attached to him, I found out he had the same last name as me. It's not his blood relative name at all, it's the name of his step father's step father or uncle or next door neighbor or something that I can never remember. We met in person, my hubby and me, a few months after we met online and after I thought he died in a Monsoon or Tsunami or one of those other freaky sounding foreign weather issues. When I found out he wasn't dead, I freaked out and bawled and was never so happy in my life. We met in person, decided we were definitely in love, and married one year later to the day that we had met in person. We will celebrate our 7th anniversary in two months and two days.

and just because I'm now chatty...

9.) Our first date (and first kiss, but shhhh don't tell my parents) was the same day we met in person. He flew all the way down to Texas JUST to meet me and my family. He lived in PA and was back in the states for one month before he had to go back to Korea for another few months. On our first date, my car stalled on the way to the movie theater and we had to jump start it. Picture my handsome newly met in person man pushing the car while trying to explain to me how to pop the clutch. Sooo romantic, right? We saw The Bone Collector (again, sooo romantic!) and to this day, I can't tell you what that movie is about because I was too nervous to pay attention. I know it had bones, and I guess someone would collect them or something. Sick freak. He stayed at my parents' house for about 5 days, then went back to PA. Two weeks later, I flew up to PA for a week and spent Thanksgiving with his family. That was a very cold Thanksgiving. I was sick almost the whole time I was there. That is the last time I flew, and the only time I ever flew by myself. I don't ever want to fly again.

So, I guess that's it for now. I'm supposed to tag people, so umm, I guess I'll tag:

Jessica at Life as I See It
Jessica the Rock Chick
Kim Through the Looking Glass
Heidi at God's Grace in Practice
Sarah at My Peculiar World
Jennifer at Life in the Netherlands, and...
Amy at Confessions of a Supermom Dropout

Yeah, so that's 7. I've never been much for following rules. I apologize if any of you have already done this meme. I'm a little behind lately. Sorry. Blame it on my torch. And hey, it's not like you can't do 8 more things, right? ;o)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #15

I have zero writing creativity today. I think maybe The Rock Chick's curse is catching! Even so, her Thursday Thirteen this week is so much more interesting than mine is going to be.

Eventually, a friend and I are going to have a meme of our very own about product reviews. We keep talking about it, but neither of us has actually started it yet. But in honor of that, this week's list is:

Thirteen Things I Can't Live Without

1. My Lysol. If you've read any of my blog before, you probably know how much I *heart* Lysol. Being the germaphobe I am, I like to keep my kitchen and bathroom Lysol-ed. Plus, it comes in handy when one wants to go about killing spiders and scorpions. *grin*

2. My Oral-B Triumph. I've tried several different power toothbrushes, and this one is hands down the best I've tried. I'm an obsessive tooth brusher. When I brush manually, I end up brushing for at least twice as long as you're supposed to, and I also brush sort of hard. Even still, I simply can't get my teeth as clean as I can with the Triumph. It makes me feel like I just flossed even if I didn't. Even my dentist noticed the difference at my last visit, and I've only had it for a few weeks. We've actually had one for about a year and a half, but I stopped using it because it was in the back bathroom, and I'm never in there when I want to brush my teeth. So I bought a second one. My hubby still uses the first one. Speaking of teeth, I *didn't* need a filling last Friday after all! The little bitty cavity I had disappeared, which leads me to...

3. Fluoride. Yes, it's toxic and I'm supposed to be all about the natural crunchy stuff, but that stuff works! The hygienist gave me a fluoride treatment at my cleaning last month and it made my little cavity vanish! I know it was there because I'm the one that first found it before I even had my 6-month exam. I don't like the idea of putting it in tap water, but as far as topical fluoride? Oh fluoride, I love you so.

4. Lindt Lindor Truffles and Ghirardelli Twilight Delight. Because I have to get the money's worth out of that fluoride, you know. Those of us that are chocolate snobs and love the truffles call them little pieces of heaven. Ahhhh. As for Twilight Delight, it's 72% cacao, but oh so smooth and not in the least bit bitter. I'm actually surprised that an American chocolate company finally got it right. All other chocolate is simply inferior and should bow down before the Lindt and Ghirardelli kings.

5. Annie's Mac & Cheese. Who says adults can't love mac & cheese just as much as they did when they were kids? Move over blue box, because Annie's Homegrown Organic is the best boxed mac ever. You might remember a couple months ago I fiddled around with the Easy Mac (which was a waste and a disaster and a shame to mac & cheese fans everywhere). While that was not a good experience, it gave me a craving for mac & cheese that I haven't gotten rid of yet! We've been buying Annie's for a few years now, but don't eat it that often. However, recently I found little individual serving packs of Annie's Organic in white cheddar flavor. It doesn't come in its own cup, but that's ok... less waste, right? It actually tastes *good* out of the microwave. I love this stuff, and it's so convenient and fast. I *heart* you, Annie. You're welcome at my dinner table any day.

6. My memory card reader. I take a lot of pictures with my digital camera, and transferring them to the computer is so much easier with this little number. I don't waste camera battery power, and it is *so* much faster this way. Best $12 I've ever spent.

7. My cellphone! I have a Motorola Razr V3 and love it. I haven't quite figured out why so many people hate theirs. I really have not had any problems with mine. I just wish I would have sprung for the pink one!

8. The Bernzomatic 3 in 1 Micro Torch. You already know I have a love affair with my torch. It makes me shiver with excitement. Who knew melting metal could be such fun?

9. Our satellite with DVR. We just got satellite service a few months ago. Before we got it, we had digital cable. The digital cable had a couple more channels that we don't get with satellite, but we haven't really missed them. And now we have DVR. How did we ever live without this little gem?? I don't watch much tv, but when I do, it's nice to have a tool that records my favorite shows without me having to remember them every week.

10. My Lortone Tumbler. Nothing can put that mirror finish on metal like my Lortone professional rock tumbler does! I use it almost every day. My jewelery making buddies joke that if you have a house fire, you grab your Lortone first and your silver/gemstones second. *grin*

11. My Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Oh wait! I don't have it yet. I simply cannot go on. *sigh*

12. Carrots. One of God's greatest creations. I don't know why I love them so much, but I do.

13. Comet. Yes, rhymes with vomit, but cleans kitchen sinks like no other. I use it because my momma uses it, and she must know best, right?

Perhaps next week I'll list 13 things I hate! Happy Thursday, people.

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I've Got Skillz

I've taught myself a few new things in the past couple weeks, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. For one, I made a new style of ring and also post earrings (100% handmade except for the mother of pearl beads) for my uncle's fiance. I can't claim the idea; she came up with it, but I'm glad she did! I really like the look of the posts and I think I'll try them with a few different stones. The ring is similar to the others I've made, but there are more wraps around the bead, so it sits higher up.

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Next, I worked on my soldering skillz and made this heart with sterling silver wire, leather cord, and swarovski crystals:

And finally, today I learned to work with discs. I did not cut them myself because I discovered I can buy them pre-cut cheaper than I can cut them from raw sheet metal. I did, however drill the holes by hand. Literally. My electric drill had a dead battery, so I used the bit sans drill. *grin* Then I hammered in an impression, slightly domed them, tumble polished, and gave the high notes a satin finish to bring out the design. I put them on handmade hoops. They're about 1 1/4" from top to bottom. I'm sooo happy with how these turned out!

I'm lovin' my new amateur metalsmith skills. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Only in Texas

Only in Texas can you walk out on your back porch and see a gigantic spider the size of a toad, then turn around and see a baby toad the size of a small spider... then run back inside to grab your camera only to return just in time to watch a large red wasp drag the huge toad-sized spider across your porch to heaven only knows where.

This baby toad was the size of my thumbnail:

I've never seen a tarantula here before, nor have I seen a huge red wasp... much less a huge red wasp dragging a tarantula!

My life has never felt so bizarre.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Chocolate, love, and rock & roll

First, the chocolate. Problem Girl is giving away free M&M's to a person that talks about who they are proud of and why. Free chocolate, hello! What could be better? Ok, so the free tv I didn't win a few weeks ago would have been better, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

Now the love. Jenny at Up the Hill Gang gave me some link love this weekend! That was really sweet, so I'm returning the favor.

Finally, the rock & roll. So I really don't have anything rock & roll-ish to talk about, so I guess I'll talk about something else that rocks. My husband's brand new Xbox 360. Can you believe he got that before I got my new camera? Can you also believe that it is *my* fault? Yes, I am the one that physically dragged him out to Wal-mart (I hate that place) and made him buy it. He wanted it for a long time, but hates spending money on himself. He rarely spends money on himself. However, he is such a hard worker and deserved a nice treat for a change. Sooo, we're now the proud new owners of an Xbox 360 Elite and all these fancy accessories that I don't understand other than the fact that they are so overpriced (but that's just Microsoft for ya). Dustin and his friend were playing on that thing until the middle of the night. Hopefully we'll get our money's worth out of it. :)

In other news, hubby had the three day weekend off after all! Shocking, but true and very good. Saturday we went car shopping. I found three I'm interested in. One has leather seats. I can't stop thinking about the leather seats. I think I'm completely sold on leather seats. Have I mentioned I like leather seats? I've actually never had them, but they sure are pretty and easy to clean compared to cloth. It's an '03 Saturn Ion, so a little smaller than what I was planning, but the car is really nice and I think it would work. The other two are bigger - an '02 Saturn L100 (can you tell I like Saturns?) and an '05 Ford Taurus. Those two are both nice too, but are lacking in the leather seat department. I think all three are good candidates, though I'm willing to bet none of them will still be there tomorrow! I'm not even sure we're ready to buy now anyway, but if we decide we are, I'm dreaming about those leather seats. We used to have the Saturn model that the Ion replaced, and it was a decent size. Bigger than my current '94 Sentra (which rains).

Other points of interest... the Ion is manual transmission and the other two are automatic. My last car was manual, and that's what I learned on, so that's not a problem. They're actually a little fun to drive. :o) All three are have power everything, and all three have decent mileage, appear to be pretty well taken care of, and come with a limited warranty.

So what do you think? Is bigger or leather better?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Photo Hunters: Dirty


Dirty? Use soap!

This happens to be one of my favorite hand soaps. It's one of the few I can find that isn't antibacterial (which I refuse to use because I don't feel it is safe and regular soap gets rid of germs just fine).

Happy Saturday. Be clean. Use soap. :o)