Friday, December 28, 2007

Good article on adoption

I think I will be skipping this week's "Hey! That's Handmade". Look for the next installment sometime after the new year! :o)

Someone on a forum posted this awesome article on adoption. I gleaned so much from it and had to share.

"Whether our background is Norwegian or Haitian or Indonesian, if we are united to Christ, our family genealogy is found not primarily in the front pages of our dusty old family Bible but inside its pages, in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew."

Don't you just love that? This article has so much good insight into adoption in both the spiritual and physical sense. The author speaks of his and his wife's experience adopting two sons from Russia, the rude questions people asked them concerning the adoptions, and the spiritual journey that followed.

It is a very long article, but a great read that I know you will enjoy whether you long to adopt or not. After all, if you are His, you are adopted.

If you decide to read it, please let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The beauty & light within

I found this quote today and thought it was really neat and so very true, so I thought I'd share.

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." ~Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Darkness surely has been setting in for me and for many others I know as well. I can only hope that there's enough light in me to keep me beautiful until the next sunrise.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hey! That's Handmade! - "ConstantDreamer"

Happy holidays! This week, I am featuring "ConstantDreamer", an unbelievably cute Etsy shop filled with art made by Shaylind Standing. I found this shop a while ago, and people... it's so cute that I want a kid JUST so I can have a good excuse to buy Shaylind's art and hang it somewhere in my house! I love it so much. If we don't adopt soon, I'm going to buy one anyway and decorate the spare bedroom around it... or four. Ooh, or maybe my studio. What's wrong with a grown woman having a cute room, huh? *grin*

I asked Shaylind how long she has been painting and what sparked her interest in it, and she says: "I've been painting since I was a kid, but I really got serious about it in college. As an illustration major, I felt a lot of pressure to pick a medium to work in that would give me a consistant style. I also wanted something that gave me a lot of color options. I like acrylic paint the best because it dries so fast and it's so easy for me to work with."

I'm so glad she picked something with lots of color options, because that is one of my favorite things about her work! The colors are attractive and vibrant, and she mixes them so well.

"Giraffe Giclee Print" - ConstantDreamer

This is my favorite piece, like, ever. So cute. Want to cry. Don't you just want to pick the flower for the giraffe? Aww, he's so sweet!

I asked Shaylind, "Your art is so cute and whimsy, but it speaks to me! From where do you draw your inspiration?"

She replied:
"I try to draw the first thing that pops into my head. If I can't think of anything, I pick an animal or a household item. Simple is best. Usually, I do a quick sketch or two before drawing it on the final piece. The minute I start overthinking content and composition and such, everything falls apart. Those are the pieces that end up in the trash."

"Sea Turtle Giclee Print" - ConstantDreamer

Who doesn't love a turtle? Or green? I want to take him home with me!

I asked Shaylind to explain what "giclee" means.

"Giclee is a way of saying "professional ink jet print". I started using it because I once sent out for my prints and the printing place used the term. It's funny you should mention it, because I've been considering calling them "Fine Art Prints"."

"Giclee", "Fine Art", "Super Cute; Want to Cry"... whatever you call it, it's fantabulous!

"Bees Giclee Print" - ConstantDreamer

When asked about her favorite piece, Shaylind said, "Right now, I think it's my Bees. I enjoy how bright and cheerful it is. I'm also a fan of everything new I'm working on right now. I love having fresh work to look at."

Shaylind, we love your Bees too. And your Giraffe, and your Sea Turtle, and the Bunny, and the Bug Eater, and well, probably anything else you will put in your shop in the future. Your work is certainly fresh, and have I mentioned cute?

Please check out Shaylind's
fabulous shop, ConstantDreamer. You will not be disappointed. She has many more wonderful pieces that I did not share with you here. Go.Check.It.NOW. *grin* Also stop by her blog, Constant Dreamer, to keep up with her latest work.

Thank you, Shaylind, for giving me the pleasure of introducing you to my readers! We wish you the best of luck in your business and we really look forward to seeing all of your fresh, new pieces in the future!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Gone!! (Or: Cookies can be the best therapy)

It's gone, it's gone, it's gone!! *Doing a happy dance*


What's gone, you ask? Oh, just the UGLIEST most ridiculous lawn decoration, ever. It wasn't mine. Oh, no. My lawn is not the nicest on the block, but I'd die before I slapped on something like that and called it pretty. It's GONE, along with the neighbors who put it there. Apparently they sold their house and the new owners aren't Martha Stewart wannabes with their freaky lawn decorations.

In fact, the new neighbors (instead of having my husband and I gossip amongst ourselves about their yard every time we went outside) left the cutest little Christmas box on our porch yesterday while I was out. The cute little box was filled with cute little Christmas cookies. I mean, is that nice or what? I didn't even know people DID that anymore. Now I must find a way to thank them. Do you thank baked goods with baked goods? I also need to thank them for removing the ridiculous lawn ornament.

I know, by now you're DYING to know what it is, but honestly I'm scared to say. What if you utilize the same technique in your lawns? I'd die of embarrassment if I ranted about what you think is just uber cool. But people, it's got to stop! In fact, this decoration disturbed me so deeply that every time I left my house I wanted to stab a fork in my eye, fall onto the ground, curl up in a fetal position and cry for a year. I think I might need therapy. Scratch that. I KNOW I need therapy. Do you see what I just wrote?

Ok, so I'll spill. The offensive "decoration" in question was this hideous terracotta pot. A huge, hideous terracotta pot.
"That's not so bad", you're thinking, "terracotta is cool and earthy".
Sure, it is. But it wasn't just any old terracotta pot. It was a HUGE, hideous terracotta pot stuck in the middle of their yard.
"Ok, that's weird, but not worthy of therapy".
Oh, but that's not all! HUGE, hideous terracotta pot stuck in the middle of their yard, tipped over onto its side. Like the great winds came through and smote it down, spilling its insipid remains onto the cold, hard ground. (Can a grassy yard in the middle of a hot, Texas summer be considered "cold, hard ground"? Well, it is in my story. Just go with it.)
"Hmmm, now it's getting interesting."
Yes, interesting is one way to put it. Ghastly is another. Repulsive yet another. Cool, fun, lovely, attractive, innovative, or creative? Not so much. It was a huge, hideous terracotta pot stuck in the middle of their yard, tipped over on its side with a tacky, spindly, unkempt... weed (because "plant" or "bush" is just too kind)... planted in front of its opening.
"What??!??!!" *You screaming in terror*

I know, I know! Horrifying picture, isn't it? I mean, who thought that was a good idea? My neighbors, apparently. But that's not all. Sometime during the course of its (thankfully) short lived appearance in our usually nice and attractive neighborhood, this... weed... and its hideous terracotta pot were damaged. As if it needed help looking shabby, the pot decided to *crack* sometime in the last year. Did they remove it, or replace it? No. Did they decide, "oh hey, I'm not Martha Stewart and this wasn't such a good idea after all!"? Of course not. They left it there. Until they sold the house.

And now we have new neighbors. SANS ugly cracked pot/shabby weed. WITH Christmas cookies. On MY porch. The world is now happy place again.

Cookies can be the best therapy...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just a little something to get you in the mood

I thought this was really cute!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hey! That's Handmade! - "outoftheboudoir"

Hello, fellow handmade stuff lovers! This week, I will be featuring "outoftheboudoir", an Etsy shop owned by a sweet and gorgeous woman named Nelly. When asked about her shop, Nelly said:

"I opened my Etsy shop about five months after Etsy made its debut under the name Shabby Boudoir. Two years later, and about two months ago I decided to go to my pre-Etsy name, Out of the Boudoir. For me, a boudoir is a very private cherished place that we can call our very own, therefore what you see in my shop comes from a very special place within me, my creativity. Through my shop and future website I want to share my love of sewing, my love for the home and all things vintage, so I hope to incorporate all of these aspects harmoniously and bring them to the public."

Nelly is definitely creative! Her shop currently has several wonderful handmade bags that I would love to call my own. What woman doesn't love a fun bag?

"Estelle Bag" - outoftheboudoir

Isn't that fab?? The autumn colors, the fun print, and the super cute flower pin - it's a gorgeous bag. You KNOW I have a thing for flowers!

I asked Nelly what her favorite thing is to make. "
I like to make things that make life a little more beautiful... I can't say there is something I prefer to make more than anything. I enjoy fabric and things that spark my creativity, that speak to me. I have used cloth napkins to make some of my bags because I found the print irresistible, I'm open to anything!"

"Shopping Cart Handle Cover" - outoftheboudoir

Now this, I must say, is an ingenious idea! Fun, safe, fashionable - what more could a mom want? And just look at that little model... so cute!

Being a small fish in a huge pond can be a challenging thing. In a world where Wal-Mart and mass produces items are king, it's not so easy to sell hand crafted items. But those of us that love what we do plug on, Nelly included. "The pure joy of creating keeps me going when things are tough! My family and the dream of seeing my vision and goals come to life give me the energy to continue."

"Emalie On the Go Baby/Tote Bag" - outoftheboudoir

Yet another stunning bag here. The colors are cheery and it looks so well made! Any baby would be lucky to have his or her mom carry this... I mean, infants like to look good too, no? I happen to know that some of my readers are a little obsessed with bags, especially diaper bags. Especially fashionable diaper bags. You KNOW who you are!

"I strive to always make things with great quality, I want to be proud of everything I make. They come from my heart, they're meant to make those small details not so mundane... why wrap yourself in a "run of the mill" blanket? why not make that blanket a little more special? why not be more playful on the weekend and carry a fun little purse instead of the usual black leather bag? For me, these are reflections of a Life mantra if you will... Let's make every aspect of our life from the physical three dimensional things, to what we do, what we strive for, to our being... meaningful and happy. Let's take nothing and no one for granted, and enjoy our lives in every aspect."

Ah, Nelly, if only you could see my boring, little brown leather purse! *giggle* What a great mantra to live by though. We should all strive as such.

Go check out Nelly's
fabulous shop, outoftheboudoir. I seriously *heart* everything in it. You can also stop by her lovely blog and say hello!

Thanks for letting me show off your fantastic shop, Nelly, and for sharing from your heart. I wish you lots of luck!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Shapshot #1

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Or at least a little. I'm trying out a new photo meme to see if it helps me both use my camera more and blog more. This one doesn't have a set theme, you just post a photo every Monday!

This weekend we put up our Christmas tree, so I figured that would be the perfect photo to share this week. Yep, I have a boring tree! It's all silver and red. White lights only. I grew up with a tree full of colored lights and a large collection of mis-matching ornaments. It was cool, but I guess you can call this tree a little bit of a rebellion. LOL I did it my way! Yes, I know the bow on the top is too small for the tree. I need to figure out something else.

Hope you enjoy! *grin*

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Who wants free jewelry?

You do! You do! I mean, how could you not?

The wonderful, talented, lovely women at 5 Minutes for Mom have done a product review and are hosting a contest for 2 Belles & a Bead! Isn't that so nice of them?

If you visit their blog and leave a comment on our contest there, you will be entered to win $100 worth of free jewelry. That's right, $100 worth! That aint somethin' to sneeze at, you know! They will announce the winner on December 15th, so you better hurry!

Go on, tell all your friends too!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Photo Hunters: Long


I am extremely uncreative today and could not think of a good photograph for this week's theme. So what did I do? That's right. I took a picture of my new camera. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, the lens on it is quite long compared to any camera I have ever owned. Two, the lens I *want* for it is even longer. And three, because I waited so dang LONG to get the camera! *grin*


Friday, December 07, 2007

Hey! That's Handmade! - "Gallery32"

I have recently fallen in love with handmade items. Ok, so I guess it's not so recently that I've fallen in love with them as much as it's recently that I have started buying them more. I am not in love with the Wal-Marts of this world, nor am I in love with their cheap, mass produced items made in sweat shops from who knows where. Especially in light of the current problems that we have been having with mass produced items coming from overseas, I am even more conscious of what I buy and from whom and where it comes.

Being one of the "little guys" in the business world, I've really come to appreciate the work that goes into something you make with your hands. It often takes so much time there is no way you will be repaid what it is truly worth. Because of that, it's so important to love what you do in this kind of business!

In honor of others who share their love with the world by making things with their hands, I have decided to do a feature on my blog around once a week (give or take a few days - HOPEFULLY just a few days - you know me...) about handmade products that I have tried and loved or just found and hope to try and love. When I first came up with this idea, I immediately knew where to turn for ideas... my fellow Etsians! (For those of you new to the handmade community, an "Etsian" is a person who buys and/or sells on Etsy. If you have not yet checked out Etsy, I encourage you to. There are a lot of cool things there - all handmade, supplies, or vintage.)

So, today I am starting out with a cool shop I was just introduced to on Etsy called "Gallery32". Trina holds a BFA from the University of Kansas and takes some really great photos. She sells them along with greeting cards and other such things. She does some really cool special affects with the photos in photoshop (aaaaahh, a woman after my own heart!) and they are definitely worth taking a peek!

Trina says, "
I have always been interested in phototography. My grandmother bought me my first camera, a Nikromat, at a garage sale when I was 9 years old. It was love at first sight.

Recently I started taking photos to include in my collage. However, I have enjoyed taking the photos so much I have not made many collages."

Look at the colors in that.... soo nice. Earthy. Love it!

I enjoy taking photos of objects and nature. I am also influenced by the beauty that I find here in Kansas. I like to capture images from a different perspective than we normally look at them . I spend a lot of time on the ground taking photos from below object to see it in a different way. I also use a macro lens to get close up to objects to capture texture and tactile features."

Again, I love the colors. I also love how each photo looks old but still somehow not. They're simple but yet complex... they speak to me! I bet you never imagined a photo of candy could speak to me, but it does. What does it say? "Eat me..." But I bet that a photograph wouldn't taste very good. So it also says, "BUY ME!"

Trina says, "
I have a lot of different cameras that I like to use. My current favorite is my Polaroid EE100. I love the look and the instant gratification you get with this camera.

My favorite technique is Through the Viewfinder, TTV, photography. I ran across this technique on flickr. TTV involves using a digital camera, a twin relflex camera and a cardboard light tube. You put the light tube on the twin reflex, then use the digital cmaera to shoot through the viewfinder of the older camera. I also enjoy doing Polaroid transfers."

Christmas Cards - Gallery32

A very cool idea - turning your awesome and unique photographs into cards for the holiday season! And perfect timing too. If you are still in need of some Christmas cards, give these a looksee. They are too cute!

Thank you, Trina for allowing me to feature and interview you! Trina can also be found at her Gallery32 blog. Stop by her Etsy shop and take a look around and don't forget to visit her blog as well to say hello!

So this concludes the first installment of my new "Hey! That's Handmade!" special feature. I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to the next one. I have some neat shops to share with you. Everything from jewelry (*GASP* More jewelry?!) to clothing and from photography to bath & body products... you can find just about anything handmade if you know where to look. I plan to help show you and hopefully welcome you to the wonderful world of handmade!

A Christmas Meme

I swiped this from Heidi. If you haven't played but would like to, leave me a comment so I can be sure to read it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I like wrapped gifts under the tree because they're so puuurdy, but gift bags are cool otherwise. Very easy and nice looking. Plus, you can often reuse them! Gotta love that.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. I prefer the look and smell of a real one, but am too cheap. Plus, they're a little messy. Our artificial one is really nice though.

3. When do you put up the tree? To be honest, this is only the second year we've had a tree. I resisted it up until last year. Christmas was too depressing to celebrate much. But last year I decided to try to break out of my humbug-iocity and we bought a tree. We did it almost last minute though. This year we plan to put it up this weekend. I wanted to do it last weekend, but the opportunity did not present itself.

4. When do you take the tree down? Last year we waited a bit since we put it up so late. This year I imagine it will come down around New Years. It's a big tree and I will miss that valuable space in my living room!

5. Do you like eggnog? Uhh, *gag*

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmm, let's see. I don't remember a lot of what I received, but I loved the bike I got one year. I think my favorite of all had to be either the CD player my parents got me (I think I was a teen by then though) and the birth stone ring they gave me. The ring was awesome. Ooh, or these adorable earrings my granny gave me. They are little gold bows with mother of pearl hearts dangling from them. SO tiny but so beautiful. I loved those. I miss granny.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I do! My parents gave it to me. It's very lovely. I don't know where it is. *LOL*

8. Hardest person to buy for? My MOM. Boy is she hard!

9. Easiest person to buy for? My dad. In fact, he's so easy I'm willing to bet he already knows what he's getting...

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Probably a dollar store toy... when I was about 15 or 16 and had long stopped playing with toys.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail mail! I'm so bad this year. We haven't taken our Christmas picture, nor have we written our Christmas letter. Oops.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? *singing* "You're a mean one... Mr. Grinch!" Aww, that reminds me of granny too. Big Grinch fan, she was.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November-ish.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think I've ever recycled any gift as a gift to someone else. A gift we gave to a coworker, however, was recycled... as a white elephant gift... at the following year's company Christmas party! Thankfully my husband and I share an awesome sense of humor and got a HUGE chuckle out of that.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Oooh... pumpkin bread, apple bread, pecan pie, cookies, gingerbread... aww, heck. If it has sugar and/or a carb, I'm THERE. BTW, if you have a great gingerbread cookie recipe (SOFT cookie recipe), please share! I'm on a hunt...

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? All clear. I'm very picky about this! Our tree has white lights and simple decorations that are all silver or red. Boring? Perhaps. But beautiful? No doubt.

17. Favorite Christmas song? When I was growing up, "O Holy Night" was my favorite carol. I'm not sure I have a favorite today, but I like the ones that make me giggle. Like "Baby It's Cold Outside" or "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer". But I also like a good version of "Carol of the Bells". (FYI: you know you've been in the jewelry business too long when you CAN.NOT. type "bells" without redoing it about three times because you keep typing "belles" instead.)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay at home. I'm not fond of traveling.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Well there's Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do I recall the most famous reindeer of all? Umm, he's the one with the red nose, right? Shoot. What's his name? I can also name all of Snow White's Six Dwarves. Ok, show of hands: how many of you, whether in your head or out loud, frantically corrected me? "Seven! There are SE-VEN dwarves!!"

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither, actually. We have a big silver bow. Boring? Yes, perhaps. But Martha would be proud!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning!!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Big crowds. My goodness, I hate the big crowds. They make me so nervous. And all the commercialism. But not all the commercialism because it helps our business make $$. So I'm just partially a hypocrite then, right?

23. What I love most about Christmas? Family and umm, see question #15.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I see you just got a haircut.

You want some jewelry with that?

Apparently, you do!

We made our first drop of earrings at the salon on Wednesday. Almost half of it was gone before we left. We had to make a second drop today! Apparently the locals love our stuff! All of this started because of our Open House party. We had no idea that little thing would turn into this huge deal! But my oh my, are we thankful.

We've been officially "in business" for less than a year. Most businesses don't take off this fast in less than a year. Our website gets regular orders and we're always working on new pieces. I'm not saying this to brag (although I can't help but be a little proud that people appreciate our work!) but instead I'm saying it because we are BLESSED.

People have been praying over our efforts since before we even started. You all know who you are. Thank you. But, umm, keep on praying. I feel the need for a rolling mill and I'll need to sell a lot more earrings to buy one of those. *giggle*

Here are some of our newest (and apparently very popular!) pieces:

I have most of my Christmas shopping done now. I don't even like waiting this long, but most of it was done online so it's not so bad. I just need to buy for one more person and a few more stocking stuffers for the hubby and I'll be through. That's a huge load off. I think we will be putting up the tree this weekend.

How are you coming along with your shopping and decorating?

Monday, December 03, 2007

A day in the life of a socially anxious phobic

I had a PANIC ATTACK in the health food store tonight and had to call my husband on my cell and have him help talk me down.

I once had a HUGE panic attack in the middle of the grocery store. A couple of years ago, I guess. I had to run out of the store and leave my half full grocery cart there. I'm very embarrassed by that. I did call them as soon as I got home to let them know (I said I had "an emergency" and had to leave right away - if you've ever had a huge panic attack you know that's true) but to make matters worse they were rude to me about it. Sadly, I've found more people are rude than are understanding these days. If I had another choice, I would have taken it. But if I hadn't gotten out of there when I did, I would have passed out, and I'm not joking. I couldn't catch my breath and my heart was pounding harder than it ever has in my life. I was faint and nauseated, and it was one of the most terrifying things EVER. That day I finally understood why people go to the ER during a panic episode. After that experience, I had a very hard time going out and doing things by myself because my mind/body connected store = deathly panic attack and I'd start to uncontrollably panic. A panic attack is a natural and healthy physical response to something the body perceives to be a life threatening situation. It's the same concept as the "fight or flight" response, only it's usually attached to something that's not really life threatening. If it's a true panic attack from a phobia, you can't just "get over it" or "ignore it". It's not a spiritual thing (not that it can't be, but it's not a given). It's a natural and healthy God-given response that is amplified and assigned (beyond your control) to something it shouldn't be assigned to. And it really, really sucks and is very exhausting and embarrassing.

After that huge grocery store incident, it was so very bad for a long time. I had to drag someone out with me anytime I shopped, unless it was a very very short trip to, say, the pharmacy or something. Then I finally worked my way out of it and was able to go shopping alone for hours. Until today. Being sick all last week has completely shot my nerves.

But I didn't run out of this store (though I wanted to SOO badly). My hubby wasn't really able to calm me down, but he kept me grounded enough to where I could get the few items I needed and get out without too much damage. The poor cashier probably thought I was trying to shop lift or something, with as nervous and terrified as I had to look. He kept looking at me funny.

I haven't had to call and have him talk me through something like this in so long! I hope this is a one time thing and doesn't mean I have to work through all this stuff again. It was really hard and really stressful and I still struggle with it sometimes, especially on days where I'm not feeling very well.

1 step forward, 2 back. That's the life of a socially anxious phobic.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Pumpkin Bread Recipe & a New Look!

This is the first year I have made this recipe, but my old one is on my other hard drive and I was in a big hurry on T-day!

So, I hopped onto my favorite recipe site,, and printed out this one. I used a whole can of pumpkin (didn't measure it, so I don't know if it was the "right" amount or not) and substituted unsweetened granny smith apple sauce for 1/2 the oil, mostly for flavor. I also left out the nuts because I did not have any. I'm not sure I could taste a difference between this recipe (even with my modifications which are ones that I don't normally do) and the recipe I usually make, but the bread is really most and it got compliments from everyone that tried it.

Enjoy! :o)

Whatcha think of my blog's new face lift? Be honest!

Photo Hunters: Red


Yeah, it's been a while since I've participated. I keep meaning to but always forget.

This week's theme is "red" and a few things come to mind when I think of red. One would be blood, but since I'm not going to make myself bleed just for the photohunt, let's move on shall we? Next, I think of my hair. I have some photos of my red hair, but they're all on the external drive and I didn't feel like messing with that tonight. Then lastly, I think of gemstones. One of my favorite gemstone colors is red. Try as I might, I can't stop buying RED gemstones. Carnelians are a favorite of mine.

So, I poured out a few bags of red gemstones and snapped a quick photo. The oval ones with the stripes are red zebra jasper, but all the rest are carnelian beads and cabochons.

As always, click on photo to enlarge.