Monday, December 29, 2008

Macro Monday #9

I stumped ya! I stumped ya all! Okay, actually, a couple of people did correctly guess it, but no one that actually posted the answer as a comment. So, I'm calling it a win for the macro. *grin*

Last week's photo is actually of the speaker (or is it the microphone?) on my iPhone's butt.
Yes, iPhones have butts.

See? And yes, I got an iPhone. Blame my husband. Or Santa maybe. But whoever has the blame is, in fact, awesome since I am now addicted to the silly little thing.

How the heck did I ever live without an iPod? The iPhone is supposedly like an iPod Touch with a phone combined. And other stuff. Or something. It's the best thing ever if you're lazy and like to check your email while still in bed and not wanting to move yet. Yes. Yes, I am that lazy. It's a black one with a white case thingy on it. I bought myself a black case, but Dustin swiped it. I'm a little ashamed to admit that it's an attention grabber. We were out shopping last weekend and every time I answered it, people stared and one even asked questions. That was odd. I don't like drawing attention to myself, but being a redhead, well, I'm usually out of luck. Now I'm a redhead with an iPhone. I'm doomed.

Anyway, on to this week's photo! I'm quite certain that this one is much easier than last week's. It's quite possibly the easiest one yet, even.

Go on. Outsmart my macro. I know you can do it!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boy's Best Friend

Did you have a merry Christmas? Ours was pretty sweet. We spent the day at my parents' house where we exchanged gifts and then I helped my mom cook dinner. We had dinner with Uncle Cracker (chiropractor, you remember) and his family. The cutie pie up there is my Boy Cousin hugging Trixie.

We brought the dogs with us, as they had not been to my parents' new house yet (packing up two dogs isn't all that fun!) and we didn't want to leave them home alone all day on Christmas! Yep, they are spoiled. Though not that spoiled, since this year they did not get any Christmas presents. We usually get them one. Trixie loves tearing up wrapping paper. She still got to tear up paper, so I'm not quite sure she missed the gift.

Trixie and Boy Cousin made fast friends. They had lots of fun playing tug of war. That dog NEEDS a kid to play with! Hopefully she'll still be playful when our kid is here and old enough to play. Baby Girl Cousin (the cute one that has a future in photography, you remember) didn't quite know what to make of the dogs. She seemed like she wanted to pet them, but then she'd touch them with just one finger, and only for a brief second. It was funny. Then she got really mad when Trixie licked her face. Can you blame her? I'd be mad too! Trixie is such a little nurturer. It's a shame she can't be a dog mommy... she'd be an excellent one.

I've got some gorgeous family, don't I? I'm glad we spent the evening with them. They're lots of fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From me to you

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a blessed day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Macro Whatever #8

Once again I am late! I'm sorry. Yesterday was one of THOSE days. After an entire week of feeling more mentally stable than I have in months, yesterday and today I've felt awful. Oh well.

Anyway, last week's photo was as just about everyone guessed, broccoli. Organic broccoli, even. I am sooo proud of you all for knowing broccoli! Yay you for eating your veggies! (You do eat them, right? Not just recognize them? Hmm? Do I need to call your mothers?!)

Here is a photo for this week.

Ooooh. Aaaaah. It's an attention grabber for sure. Can you figure it out? Can you outsmart my macro? Have fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Front Pager

I was doing some Etsy shop work and logged out of one shop so I could sign into the other, and when the front page loaded, tadaaaa! Our little sterling silver bloom ring was -BAM- right there on the front page! This is a big deal, people! Our first time on the front page of Etsy.

Congrats to us! *grin*

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


... Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday #7. Yes, Wednesday.

I'm so very sorry that this is two whole days late! You see, the past week has been crazy busy and I haven't had much time to think, much less take a macro photo and blog about it. I didn't even get a photo taken until late Monday night and fully intended to write up the post after, but got sidetracked. I worked all day Tuesday and, well, here we are. So there.

I may or may not have a Macro Monday up for the next two weeks, since it's the holidays and all. At the very least, I will try to tell you what this week's photo is. Who knows, maybe I'll put new ones up both weeks. Just don't hold me to it, mmmmkay?

Alrighty then, with that out of the way, let's get on to the good stuff.

No one really guessed last week's photos. The three closest were Heidi with "some underwater creature", Jeanie with "underwater adventures with Jacques Cousteau's son", and Mrs. Smith with "shell for a hermit crab".

It's not a crab, but it's an underwater creature for sure, and I imagine Jacques Cousteau saw his fair share of them, though I'm not sure about his son. Did he have a son? Did the son go scuba diving? Did he happen to see...

... a starfish?

Because if he did, then he might have just been able to correctly guess the photos. Though probably not, because dang, they DO kind of look like dog toys don't they?!

I forgot to get a shot of the whole thing, so you'll just have to take my word for it. The first one is the top of the starfish, and the last two are of the side and bottom. Interesting creatures, those starfish.

Here is this week's photo:

What is it? I don't know! Oh wait, yes I do. I took it. But do you know? Can you outsmart my macro? Good luck!

P.S... we finally got a new, more-than-$15-piece-of-turd-tripod. It's awesome. Buh-bye, camera shake. See ya!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Font Problems

I need help picking a font for metal alphabet stamps. They will be for stamping jewelry pieces.

These are my top two choices. What do you think?

Freehand 591
Murray Hill Bold

I really like Freehand, but some of the letters are a little different in size than others. Like compare the capitol "H" and "F". If it weren't for that, the decision would be made! I like Murray Hill Bold, but I think it might be a little fancy pants for me.

Unfortunately they don't make one titled "Crystal's Most Bestest Font EvAR".

Monday, December 08, 2008

Macro Monday #6

Good afternoon! Macro Monday is getting busier and busier... last week our participation was great! Let's keep it up! *grin*

No one guessed correctly though. I thought it was a little easier than it was. But my husband didn't even realize what it was, and he knew I took that photo. Oops. Sorry!

Anyway, last week's photo was of a tortilla chip:

And a not so close up shot:

Ahhh, it all makes sense now, doesn't it? The greasy mole was my favorite guess. That's exactly what it looked like to me. *giggle*

I'm afraid that this week's photo may be even harder! But who knows, maybe someone will figure it out. To give you a better chance, I'll give you three photos. Same thing, different part/angle.

Can you outsmart my macro? Have fun and good luck!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Raffle with a cause

MckMama over at my charming kids is holding a mega raffle. She's giving away a sweet Canon XSi DSLR package. The raffle proceeds go to benefit three wonderful organizations. Go check it out here.

If you decide to participate, God bless you and good luck. :)


I guess I haven't rambled in a while. Truth is, I haven't had a lot to say. I'm definitely in a funk these days. Call it depression, call it the blues, call it a funk, dreary, the blahs, whatever you want to call it I have it. All I want to do is sleep. I cry at the drop of a hat. Or the whack of a hammer...

*I hit the heck out of my finger yesterday. I was cutting some discs for an order, and the big, heavy duty mallet landed on my finger instead of the punch. Hardened steel + big, heavy duty mallet + lots of force = OUUUUCHHH!!! Although what I said was far less polite than ouch.

*I tried to take a photo of my poor finger, as it is quite bruised, but for some reason the bruises really don't come out on the photo. It's weird. It looks ugly. And it still hurts.

*Arnica cream does not help when you whack your finger that hard.

*Crying for ten minutes straight while calling your finger very ugly names does not help either.

*Icing it while crying and calling it ugly names does very little in the way of comfort too.

*Typing hurts. Though yesterday I could not use it at all, so I guess hurt is somewhat of an improvement.

*Our flooring project is almost complete.

*Well, kinda. All of the flooring is down, and now we're trying to put the baseboards back on.

*Well, "we" meaning my dad. And sometimes I watch. Nail guns scare me. Hello, I can't even use a mallet without killing a finger.

*Dustin and I are shopping around for a camcorder. I'm thinking about video blogging. I don't know about that though. I mean, your expectations of me are so high... I'm not sure how many times I can say "yo" and "fart in your general direction" on camera. Either way, we need a camcorder to catch those precious moments that are sure to come... such as baby's first booger bubble.

*There will be no baby booger bubbles if I never finish revising and mailing the four extra copies of our scrapbook. It should have been done a month ago. Yet, it's not.

*I'm rethinking this whole parenting thing. I'm thinking I'm not cut out to be a mom. I don't want to do it anymore. I'm going to be a horrible mom. Please don't tell me how great I'll be because I won't believe it. This is why the revised scrapbook is not sent. Mental block. I may never finish it.

*I bought a Beco Butterfly and I'm not sure I like it. It says it fits from 4'11", but I'm 5' and it does not fit right. Too bad. I was excited about it.

*I am now sold out of cuff bracelets at the moment. This is a good thing.

*I'm tired of my house being a torn up mess. I have a Sam's size package of toilet paper in my living room. There's just something not right about that.

*I was supposed to get a new tripod today, but UPS sucks and is running behind so it won't be here until Monday. The macro is too much for my $15 tripod and me no likey the camera shake. Me also no likey the small amount of noise I get from shooting at 800 ISO. So, I ordered a Manfrotto tripod with a ball head. It's supposedly rock solid and can support enough weight to last me through any camera upgrade I might want to throw at it.

*I'm so thankful that my second Etsy shop (jewelry supplies) is paying for my newfound photography addiction. Because it does.not.end. and it's a 'spensive addiction, yo. My shugah daddy can't buy me everything.

*Speaking of shugah daddy (gosh, I hope you all know that's a silly joke), he just got an iPhone (merry Christmas, hon) and now thinks I need one.

*It's his fault (love you, hon) that I'm now addicted to YouTube. It all started with watching phone reviews, trying to decide which cellphone to buy. I do need a new cellphone, I just do not need an iPhone. Who needs GPS when you're never far from home?

"iPhone... where is mom & dad's house?"
"Right down the road, idiot."
"Oh. Ok... where is the health food store?"
"Just a little further down the road, gosh!"

See? Who needs that? Sassy, those iPhones.

*I think he's winning, because despite the fact that I don't need GPS or an iPhone, he has somehow brainwashed me into wanting one.

*I now feel strange talking about all the expensive electronics in our lives. We've never before bought expensive electronics. This is new. In fact, before the past couple years, we've never bought expensive ANYthing. We're blessed with hubby man earning a really good salary and my business endeavors paying for my silly little hobbies right now. I know it will all end with the introduction of children (formula's 'spensive, yo). (That's the second "yo" that you would not have gotten were I video blogging.)

*I do not want to be a mom that yells. Last week I yelled at my parents' little diva dog. Does that mean I will yell at my little diva kids? I can't do this.

*I still hate the monstrous crib of hideousness, but I think I'm too tired to care.

*That's all.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Only in Texas

Good to know, people. Good to know.

I don't think I want to know.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


"Do these feathers make my butt look big?"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Macro Monday #5

I'm running a little late on this tonight. Sorry about that. Being sick set me behind for work and I'm scrambling to play catch up and get orders ready for the mail tomorrow.

Wowee, y'all done good on last week's photos. Bethany, Sandy, Karen, Sandra P., Erin, Nicole, Mrs. Smith, The Rock Chick, and Jen all guessed wood of some sort.

You would all be right! They are photos of pieces of driftwood we found at the bay.

Now, on to this week's photo!

What is it? Do you think you know? Can you outsmart my macro?

If you'd like to participate on your own blog with a close-up photo, let me know! I'd love to play along. *grin*

Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chuck Norris in a Blender

I've become a YouTube addict. It's a little sad.

But you know, if I hadn't become one, I wouldn't have found "Will it Blend?".

This one is my favorite.

This one just about made me laugh and cry all at once.

And this one... well, this one speaks for itself.

This is what happens when Crystal gets the flu, people. It's not pretty.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All I Really Want for Christmas...

A friend sent this to me earlier and asked if I had seen it. I had not. I'm glad I have now.

All I can say is wow and I'm sure glad I had a box of Kleenex sitting right next to me (still pretty buggy, you see).

I wish we could welcome them all home.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Buggy Again

Still feeling buggy. Blah! I hate the flu. Or whatever this is.

It's mean. And it bites.

Like these guys.

Have you ever been bitten by a huge friggin' ant like that one? I stepped on one when I was a teen and it hurt for days. Its body was so strong that I squashed and squashed and it would. not. die.

I've not ever been bitten by a spider that I know of though. The one there is supposedly a spiny orb weaver. We found it while walking a trail at a local wildlife reserve last weekend. She was pretty small... 1/2" or less. But magnified she sure does look fierce. Apparently spiny orb weavers are good garden spiders since they eat pests. I think I prefer her right where she is. Though maybe if she came to visit my gardening would go better considering part of the problem was pests.

Ooor maybe not. I think I'll take my chances.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Little Buggy

That's how I feel right now. Or a lot buggy, really.


I caught my hubby's cold. Achoo. My throat hurts. Can I cry now?

I'm not feeling very thankful today. I'll be thankful when the crud goes away. I am thankful for my man. And my macro lens. Both of which help me photograph cool bugs. (Though only one of which helps me catch bugs. Don't worry. I love him anyway.)

What are you thankful for today?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rooted and Grounded

This weekend we took the camera and went to a park that is nearby. There are lots of geese and ducks that live there. There are also these lanky old trees that are the coolest things. Their trunks run along the ground really low so you can sit on them. They're curvy and cool and would make a great photo location. I took a photo of my hubby sitting there, but he'd die if I posted it. Sorry.

The cool old trees also have cool old roots. They come out of the ground and follow it, sloping down into the pond. I wish I could have captured it on camera better, but I don't have a good wide angle lens... yet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Macro Monday #4

Week #3 must have proven to be a little easier, because we have several winners! However, one was pretty much right on the money. Mrs. Smith said:

"Ok, after much thought and deliberation, I think it is a photo taken just under the ridge of a cherry flavored Dum Dum sucker. : )"

It was strawberry flavored (my favorite!), but yes, it is indeed a red Dum Dum lollipop. And no, I did not eat it after taking the shot. I threw it away.

Germaphobe here, sorry.

This week, you get a twofer! A two for one special. Two photos, one guess. *grin*

I think these are pretty easy, so I'm sure someone will get it fast. Will it be you? Can you outsmart my macro?

Good luck!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adventures in Soap Making

People, I made soap!

Okay, well, I sorta made soap. I guess what I really did is turn some lovely handmade cold process soap base into scented stuff. But I made soap... that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Of course I had to photo log my journey. What kind of blogger would I be if I did not?

First I had to measure off one pound of the goat milk soap base and cut it into chunks. For a really dry soap, grating is best, but this soap was still pretty fresh and soft, so I took my chances and cut it into chunks.

Then I dumped it into a pot. Now, melting the base on direct heat like this was not one of the recommended methods of rebatching it. However, I don't have a double boiler, did not want to use the microwave, or take hours melting it in the oven. So, I decided to take my chances. Because me taking my chances in the kitchen?

That always works out well.

Next I measured and added 1/4 cup milk, added it to the pot and turned the heat on low. While it got to cookin', I decided to measure out my essential oils to try to get a good combo of scents going. I decided to try a mixture of cedarwood and sage based on a soap I bought off of Etsy for Dustin. He loved it. Any handmade soap that excites my husband is a good soap in my book because then he looks at me just a liiiittle less strangely when I go and spend our entire life savings on it.

I decided to throw in just a tiny hint of lime because I'm obsessed with citrus. Just a tiny bit though. You have to be careful wth citrus oils. Actually you have to be careful with all of the oils.

Let me take the time to add a healthy warning here. Essential oils can be good and wonderful and they can be dangerous. Don't go adding them all willy nilly to things. In fact, don't play around with them at all unless you know what you're doing. I don't know what I'm doing, so I really should not be within 100 meters of them. However, I did look them up on my supplier's website to get the safe and recommended 1-lb soap amounts for each of the oils. Hopefully our skin will remain on our bodies and we will not melt when we step out into the sunlight.

Let me also throw in another warning here. Don't use your food stuffs for your soap stuffs. Once essential oils, fragrance oils, or colorants touch any of your food stuffs they can no longer be food stuffs. I bought a cheap set of pans, spoons, and measuring items to be used only for soap.

Ok, enough of the scary stuffs.

By this time I saw that it was not melting very fast.


So I turned up the heat to medium low.

That worked.


That is what I called the rice krispie phase. Because a couple weeks ago we made rice krispie treats and the melting soap looked a lot like melting marshmellows.

Another warning: melting soap is not melting marshmellows. Don't eat it. Even though it's goat's milk and oil.

Then it hit the tapioca pudding phase, which I failed to capture. Sorry. I was too afraid you'd eat it.

Next comes the vanilla puddin' phase. Ahhh, vanilla puddin'.

See? Aint she purdy?

This is where you stir in the extra stuffs. Essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants, seeds, herbs, small critters...

I just chose the cedarwood, sage, and lime essential oils. I decided to keep it all natural. No pretty colors needed. It was a nice creamy vanilla puddin' already. Who needs, like, purple? I wanted to add some kind of exfoliant but I didn't know if what I had on hand would work so I skipped that.

It was time to pour it into the mold. Now, I must have misunderstood the mold description when I bought it because I thought it made a 16 oz bar in each of the cavities. However, I quickly found that there was no way the entire 16 oz was going to fit into one cavity. Apparently it makes two 8 oz bars of soap. Oookay.

I had to let it cool off, then popped it into the freezer to harden it long enough to get it out of the mold. Once it softened up again, I cut it into weird sized bars.


Now we have 8 2oz bars of cedarwood sage soap with a twist. It smells delightfully spicy with just a little refreshing zing! in the background. Love it.

We're supposed to wait a few to several weeks for it to fully harden and be ready to use. However, I confess that I took the tiniest bit of it and used it on my hands. It lathers like a dream.

I have four more pounds of soap base left and several scents from which to choose. Next time I'm doing something girly. Once I use all the base, I want to buy my own oils and lye and make some completely from scratch.

You know me. I'm clumsy. Doesn't seem like such a wise idea?

Pray for me.

And don't eat my soap. It just looks like white fudge.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do you Etsy?

No?! Well, you should!

Etsy is awesome. I Etsy. All my friends Etsy. You should Etsy too.

If you do, would you like to visit my treasury?

Rockin' Robin

An Etsy treasury is where an Etsian shows a collection of some of their favorite items... usually going with a theme or color or both. The cool thing about treasuries is several times a day, one is picked to be shown on the front page. This brings lots of exposure to the artists who both make the treasuries and are featured in them.

2 Belles & a Bead is also currently featured in a treasury made by one of my good jewelry buddies, Laurel!

At the time of this writing, both Rockin' Robin & Sultry Sexy SILVER are on page three for hotness. I'd love for one or both to make it to page one! They both expire tomorrow afternoon, so there's not much time left.

So how can you help? If you Etsy, I'd love for you to sign into your Etsy account (buyer or seller, it does not matter) and visit both treasuries. While being signed in, if you will click on each individual item featured it will help boost the treasuries further to the top. If you leave a comment on the bottom, that helps too. If you're not comfortable leaving a comment but still want to help, the clicks alone would be great!

No pressure, no pressure. ;oP

But at the very least, you really should Etsy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Macro Monday #3

*Ding ding ding*

We have a week #2 winner! Woooo! None other than my very own mama. Yes, she won fair and square. She was not in on it nor was she present at the time the photo was taken. I guess living on the coast helps though, since...

"It looks like it may be seaweed or algae with some broken sea shells."

... is exactly right. I believe it is some kind of algae or moss growing on a rock that Dustin and I found down at the bay. The little white things are indeed broken pieces of shell.

You're all winners in my book though just for playing, and some of you had quite the entertaining answers. *grin* Please, keep them coming.

Here is this week's photo. Something a little red to get you into the holiday mood...

Oooh. The intrigue! Can you outsmart my macro?

Let me know if you participate with your own close up shot on your blog!

Have fun and good luck. *grin*

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have a thing for bracelets lately. I don't mean wearing them, I mean making them. I don't think I could personally pull off a cuff, but for some reason I'm obsessed with them. I made two in the past couple months and I like them both and wish I could wear them both.

I also have a thing for bangles but haven't made any yet. Soon though, soon.

Black birch sterling silver cuff:

Rippled copper cuff:

<------ Oh, and do you see the little sponsor section over there to the left and down a bit? If you see Zaja Natural there, go click and buy. For real. Do it. Best soap ever. In case Zaja Natural is no longer there, click here and buy. Try the charcoal facial soap. I'm so not kidding. Ask my husband, he uses it too. In fact, I think I need to order some more soon. And the dead sea mud scrub? Divine. Oh and look! Now she has deodorant!

Someone buy a cuff. I need to go shopping.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eight years - anyone have a time machine?

The man and I celebrated our eighth anniversary this week. Can you believe that? I can't. Not only that, but we've been together for just one year shy of an entire decade. It's pretty hard for me to wrap my mind around that one.

If I could go back in time eight years and change things, I would. Oh, pick your jaw up off the ground. I wouldn't change my marriage or my groom. Just the wedding. I've been thinking about that this week. I didn't really want a huge church wedding. I wanted to get married on the beach with just a very few close family and friends. Barefoot in the sand with the gorgeous ocean in the backdrop. With the best photographer in town. Instead we did a church wedding with an amateur hobby photographer. I loved his work, but I absolutely hate our wedding photos. I'm not knocking amateurs, of course (I guess I kinda am one?) but this one screwed up and I'm not sure I'll ever get over it.

Nor will I get over the lack of ocean in the backdrop of said photos!

Anyone have a time machine? I'd like to go back 8.5 years, get married in the spring right when my man returned home from Korea, instead of the following November... and on the beach. With a pro. Barefoot. Then I'd fast forward again, only a little further into the future than the present, to whatever point in time it is that we become parents. Cause I'm tired of waiting, people.

Hopefully this will be the last anniversary we'll be sans babysitter.

But either way, I lurve you hun. Even though our wedding photos suck, you're my world. We didn't get married barefoot, but hey I guess shoes aren't so bad.

Eight years down, forever more to go. *grin*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The perfect little model

A few weeks ago my mom kept my little baby cousin for a couple of days while my uncle & aunt worked at a health fair (my uncle's a chiropractor, you see... in fact, my hubby who has been seeing him for a while now calls him "Uncle Cracker". Cause he's a back cracker. And the uncle. Uncle Cracker. Get it? Oh, never mind.).

I went over and visited them for one of the afternoons because Little Baby Cousin is the cutest thing ever and I hadn't gotten to see her in a while.

Of course I took my camera. Of course I took well over 100 photos of the child in a span of 30 minutes. And then of course I took some more. She's such a ham and is incredibly photogenic. She thought it was a lot of fun, especially when I let her push the shutter button and take a couple photos herself (I held the camera). She got a nice shot of my mama's legs and a nice shot of the room. I think the kid has a bright future as a photog. The one of mama's legs was super sharp. And framed nicely too, like all tilted and artsy-like.

Cute AND talented. Kid's got a good life ahead of her.

I spent the next several days going through them picking out the good ones and doing a little photoshop magic. I have received permission from Aunt to share a few of them here on my blog because a cuteness so great needs to be shared with the world.

So there she is, the perfect little model... my Little Baby Cousin (who is having surgery tomorrow, by the way, so your prayers would be appreciated).

I wish I could show them all to you, but alas, the cuteness is far too much. I fear you would go into cute overload. Which is quite dangerous, I hear.

See, I can handle it because I've worked my way up, bit by bit. But Little Baby Cousin is new to you, and you must get used to such cuteness a little at a time... step by step.

Aunt & Uncle were pleased with my not-so-mad photo skillz. I think I am now the official family photographer. I think such a title deserves a new lens.

I think the super cute Little Baby Cousin agrees. There are many more legs in the world to photograph, you know.