Friday, February 29, 2008

And the butterfly winner is...

... NOT ME! *giggle* But I knew I didn't stand a chance. My butterfly didn't do to badly in one category. It got quite a few votes there. My butterfly came out completely different than how I pictured it in my head and sketched it out on paper. To be completely honest with you, it's not nearly as pretty as I was hoping! I'm not thrilled with it, but I'm happy with it. I learned a few new skills while making it, so that is a huge plus.

I know a couple of you figured out which one is mine, even though I intentionally used a different background and different props than I normally do in my photographs. I guess some of you just know me too well! :o) But for the rest of you who didn't figure it out... here is my entry (on my normal background).

Fly Away Blues

I made it by carefully sawing out a butterfly from copper (which is the back that you cannot see), then even MORE carefully sawing out another one with the middle sections removed.

Then I had to saw the little parts that go in the middle. These were not easy. At all! Then soldering them all together... *shudder* I hate soldering copper. It's a chore. The color was added by filling in the spots with resin that I colored myself with... *drum roll* eyeshadow! Resin is really cool and it domes like that. I liked the domed look, so I left it instead of sanding it down flat to the level of the metal.

So there you have it. My loser little flutterbye! But I really like her anyway, so she is a winner in my book. *grin*

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Taking that first step

Is it me, or is the first step always the hardest?

It has been months since we decided we are going to adopt. For months, we agonized over the decision. Not the decision of doing it, but the decision on how, when, and where. It's not cheap, you know. It's a HUGE thing. It won't be easy. There are so many different options as well. All these months we didn't know what to do or what choice was the best.

We went back and forth over a few options. We considered the foster to adopt program. We considered a program in an African country. We thought about a program that adopts only biracial and multi-ethnic children. We looked into S. Korea. None of them seemed right, so we just sat on it. Our talks about it got us nowhere fast.

One morning almost two weeks ago in about five minutes flat, we made our decision. We realized that what we both wanted was the same thing, but we had both been too afraid of it for various reasons. The next step was to decide on an agency. It practically fell into our laps, and that decision was made later that afternoon.

The pre-screening application was sent in two days later.

We will find out by March 14th whether or not we are accepted into this program. If we are, then our journey towards parenthood just might start its last leg. The agency person we spoke to said she's pretty sure we'll get in, but I'm very apprehensive because it was TOO EASY. Nothing in my life is easy. This, literally, was like 1, 2, 3. Either God's hand was in it, or everything that happened in the past couple of weeks was just a weird coincidence. I guess we'll find out soon enough. Either way, I'm sure the rest of the journey will be very hard.

I've been debating with myself for a week now on whether or not I would blog about this before March 14th. I almost didn't, but then I figured we could use all the prayer we could get as soon as we could get it.

So there you go. We could be parents by the end of the year. I'm honestly not sure what is more scary to me. The fact that it could fall through at any moment and prove to not be God's plan, or the fact that it COULD be really happening and we'll actually end up with a child.

I've never felt such a huge mixture of emotions right now. Half of me wants to run for dear life, but the other half of me has never felt such peace. That first step was so easy, but yet so very hard.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stuff on my fridge

Heidi tagged the entire planet to show the world what's on their fridges. Mine is boring, but why not?

First of all, I don't like things on my fridge. That bothers me. I will not be a kid artwork fridge mom. Sorry, I just won't! I'll put up a bulletin board or something for that somewhere.

Here is the front:

Seeee? Nice and bare.

The side:

It's not much, but I don't even like THAT stuff on my fridge. There is a shopping list and pen:

(I need rice, water, and coke. Yes, I buy my water. Yes, I drink coke. I need the extra calories right now. Yes, my handwriting is REALLY that bad.)

There are three magnets. The two flower ones I bought from someone on Etsy. She's nice and I wanted to buy something from her. I have no where else to put magnets. There are also two toy things that belong to my husband. They were Christmas gifts to him. They're magnet things. I don't know... they're magnets, you play with them, and build statues, solve world hunger... something. They're his though and are supposed to be in his office at work, but he keeps forgetting to take them there. So they're on my fridge.

Oh look! Fingerprints on my fridge. (They are now gone, thank you very much.)

On top of my fridge, you will find six boxes of cereal, two containers of rice protein (chocolate and vanilla), a crockpot, a package of paper towels, and BBQ tools. Don't get me started on the stuff on top of my fridge! I do not like that there either, but I don't have enough storage in my kitchen.

If you're wondering what's inside my fridge, well, there are leftovers from tonight's meal... spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and green beans.

No coke, though, because I'M OUT.

I won't bother tagging anyone because last time I tagged, no one did it. So if you want to play, go ahead and have fun!

My house... is haunted!

Not really. The truth is, it's dangerous to use a camera that you have not fully learned. I thought I had a pretty good grip on my DSLR's capabilities until on Valentine's Day, when I attempted to take photos of the flowers my husband gave me. I usually shoot my jewelry in a light box with two daylight lamps with the camera on either manual (auto focus) or a-dep, no flash. I forgot to change the settings when I tried to take a picture of the flowers.

Bloggy buds, I thought I broke my camera. I was SO MAD at myself for breaking the darn thing that I hadn't even had for six months! I pushed the shutter button, the shutter clicked open and it just STOPPED. It ceased to do anything. The screen was black, the shutter didn't close, and I started freaking. I looked all around the camera, pushing buttons, willing it to come back on. Just when I was about to sit down and cry, *CLICK*! The shutter closed.

Duh, Crystal, DUH. Low light + a-dep/no flash = AUTOMATIC SLOW SHUTTER SPEED. The camera did not break. It was just doing exactly what I told it to do. So, bloggy buds, learn your new cameras. Remember to change the settings according to the situation.

Or else THIS is what you will get:

My husband and I had great fun figuring out what all the "ghosts" are in that photo. They are various things on the counter and bar that got picked up as I moved the camera all around, trying to figure out what went wrong. But maybe I'll send it into Ghost Hunters anyway...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poblano Boats

Last night for dinner, I decided I'd make a completely vegetarian dish and attempted to make stuffed poblano peppers. Everything went fine, until I tried to de-seed them. They sort of fell apart, and I was left with flat poblano pancakes. So, I improvised. I pulled the sides up around the filling and made poblano boats!

I substituted pintos for black beans because I did not realize I was out of black beans. It was either pintos or lentils, and my husband loves pintos, so pintos it was. I also left out the corn and served it on the side (corn is a rare treat for us!) because my husband has a strange thing about not liking corn in things, though he likes it alone. I used brown rice and topped the boats with 2% milk colby cheese.

They got a thumbs up! My carnivorous man liked them. Though he did add sour cream and ketchup, and gave me a funny look while I was photographing his plate. *giggle*

I will definitely make these again. Maybe next time I'll be nice and add some meat. ;o)

Monday, February 25, 2008

How does your garden grow?

It will grow well, I hope! However, we won't know yet for at least a few weeks. We my dad dug up an 8'x15' patch of the yard, tilled it, and composted it on Saturday. On Sunday, we planted some plants and seeds.

My first REAL veggie garden! We have tomato plants, red bell pepper plants, and we planted cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash, and green bean seeds. It's a small garden because, well, I do not have a green thumb. It's not the hot Texas heat I'm worried about here... hopefully this garden will survive me.

We plan to put something up around it to keep the dogs out. Right now I have to watch them every time they go out there. I'd like to put up some trellis, but if it's too expensive we'll just be all hillbilly and go for the chicken wire. ;o)

See? Doesn't she look like a tuh-mater dog to you? She looks like a 'mater dog to me.

How about you? Are you planting a garden this year?

Friday, February 22, 2008


I'm sure that if you have a television, then you have seen the cheesy commercials for those products destined to be sold at Walgreen's in the future, labeled with "as seen on TV". Well, a couple of months ago I was trimming the dogs' nails and cut one of Molly's back a little too far. Her nails are pitch black and you can.not.see. where that crucial point is that you cannot clip past. She screamed, it bled, and I about cried. She forgave me though, and it did not bleed for long. Just a few minutes later she was playing like nobody's business, and all was well in our little world. Until...

The other day, the husband and I had a conversation that went something like this (give or take a few words)...

Husband: "Mouse, your nails are so long, pup!" (Paraphrased.)

Me: "Yeah, they are. But I don't want to cut them because I'm afraid I'll cut off half her toe again!" (True.)

Husband: "You are a horrible person." (This is a total lie. I don't remember what he said, but it wasn't that. Or anything remotely similar.)

Me: "I think we should get one of those..."

*wait for it... waaaaait for it...*

"... pet-o-files." (100% true.)

Husband *priceless look on his face*: "Pet-o-file?!? Do you mean PETICURE?"** (Also true. Stop laughing. STOP LAUGHING.)

Me: "Oh. Yeah. That."

Yes, people, I graduated Valedictorian of my high school. I made the dean's list at my university. I am a self taught jewelry artist/amateur metalsmith. I have an awesome, intriguing, funny blog that makes people lose control of bodily functions. (STOP LAUGHING.) But I apparently cannot distinguish between a demented person and a dog nail-filing-grooming tool.

And I expect someone to GIVE ME their child? It's so sad that it's funny.

But stop laughing!


How to vote for your favorite butterfly

I figured it out. If you're a guest (not registered) on the forum, you can't vote by using the poll option. You have to make a post by clicking on "add reply" and then listing the piece you want to vote for. ***

Kinda complicated. Sorry! I *think* your post will just show "guest" in the screen name portion, but they will be monitoring things, so you can't "vote" more than once in each category. :o)

I hope you still participate! But if not, well, shame on you. :oP Kidding, of course. I'm tired. Need sleep.

Oh, and for those of you curious which piece is mine. I will show you when the contest is over, sometime late next week. Until then, you'll just have to wonder!

*** Links to contests in post below.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

*Flutter, flutter*

Are you a butterfly fan? Then cast your vote for the coolest butterfly jewelry design. I have a piece entered, but I can't tell you which one it is. I can only say that after I saw all the fantastic entries, I knew that I don't stand a snowball's chance in heck of winning! LOL

There are a few different categories. Here they are:

Butterfly Theme
Creativity of Overall Design
Best Use of Color
Art Glass

So if you'd like to vote, please do.
If you're a guest (not registered) on the forum, you can't vote by using the poll option. You have to make a post by clicking on "add reply" and then listing the piece you want to vote for. You can only do that once per category though, so don't cheat!

There are some amazing jewelry artists there. Have fun looking. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hey you, put God back in that box

Grace is something I've struggled to understand for quite some time now. I think I've always seen God in a very punitive manner. Like many people, I have grown up putting God in a box. It's more comfortable that way, you know, seeing Him in this box I built based on preconceived ideas and decorated with my skewed sense of His character. To me, He's always been the scary God waiting for me to mess up so He could put me in my place. This breaks my heart to a degree that I cannot even express.

I'm not entirely sure why I believed this. God has never dealt with me with a heavy hand. Not even when I'm so angry at Him I could quite literally spew all manner of ungodliness at Him does He spiritually whack me. I deserved it. Oh, I did, and still do I'm sure. No. He's never been that way. He's always been the gentle but firm, loving and wonderful God.

I think much of what I believe about Him has been shaped by what I've seen in my life. I'm not sure I can think of many parental figures I watched as I grew up that took the grace path of parenting. Most in my circle were extremely punitive, harshly so, and very strict. Some of them were even frighteningly strict. There was little grace. I didn't even realize what I was looking at until recently when I began to explore more deeply the idea of grace. It was all I saw and I thought it just is what it is and that's all there is. So my entire life, I have been assigning very human parenting ideals to God. I knew what grace was but could not reconcile it to Him because I did not fully see Him in that way. My box. My pretty, little box. Yet now as I struggle to understand grace, I see I had it so wrong. As He always does, He's breaking down those walls with which I tried to confine Him.

I'm seeing now that the vision I had of Him up there waiting to strike me down is so far off. If He was going to strike me down, I'd already be down. I've harbored anger towards Him for a long time. I've argued with Him, whined to Him, and told Him I didn't like these cards I've been dealt and His response has never been harsh. Sometimes there's not much of a response, or at least I haven't seen it, but it's never been harsh. Not once. He's never punished me. He has taught me and walked with me and discipled me and guided me. Some of the lessons I've learned have not been easy. Some of them have been painful. But He has never hurt me.

When I took a step back and examined this aspect of my life and realized these things it took me entirely by surprise. And now here I am, struggling to understand grace, when grace has been right in front of me my entire life. I just missed it. I was too busy waiting for the blow. The lightning. The punishment. I was blinded by my misconceptions and preconceived ideas, and started to perceive difficult things in my life as punishment or God's withholding of grace from me. Not so much the infertility. Even I know better than that. But other things that have been with me for longer, and things to come. Or rather things I was expecting to come yet never did.

I'm His strong-willed child. I admit that I'm a handful. And yet, somehow His hands are big enough, and He handles me with grace. Somehow He teaches me with a gentle leading and not the blows to the head I so deserve. Somehow He gets through my thick skull in the most merciful of ways. He digs deep down into my core beliefs and says, "Nuh-uh. This isn't me. THIS is me. And this is who I want you to be."

He's quite amazing, you see, in His dealings with me. The perfect model of what I long to become. I have a long way to go, but my box is broken and that's a start.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hot off the bench(es)!

Oh yes, here it is. Another annoying post ALL about, you guessed it, JEWELRY!

I haven't bombarded you with enough jewelry photos this year, so I figured today is as good a day as any since we've been pretty busy creating new things lately.

As always, click the photos to view them larger. All but two of these pieces are on the site, and the two not on there yet will be shortly.

So here they are... the newest pieces from those crazy Belles. Enjoy!

Hammered gold & crystal teardrops:

Hand forged gold curvy links & Swarovski crystals:

Gold chain & freshwater pearls:

More gold chain & freshwater pearls:

Hammered & hand forged copper cuff:

Hammered brass, copper, & sterling discs:

Gold circles & copper crystals:

Sterling silver textured circles:

Last but not least, cutest necklace EVER to match the cutest earrings EVER. Sterling hoop & embossed copper heart:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The 123rd page

Heidi tagged me for this book meme.

Here are the rules:

  1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the 5th sentence.
  4. Post the next 3 sentences.
  5. Tag 5 people.
I grabbed the nearest big book that wasn't a book of recipes, and the following is what I found.

"I'll ride this through - I don't need to let this get to me."

"I deserve to feel O.K. right now."

"I can take all the time I need in order to let go and relax."

These are coping statements in The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D. I have no idea if they work because I haven't read much of the book. I read enough to realize I'm pretty much a psycho, and haven't gotten a chance to read more. ;o)

Let's see. I'll tag...

Jessica the Rock Chick
Jessica / PaulsBride

The most perfect shade of purple

That's what I would think every time I made a trip to the big grocery store and saw the irises when I passed by the floral section. I always thought to myself, "I should buy some of those", but never did. It's kinda weird buying flowers for yourself, you see. Despite our recent big ticket spending, I really am quite frugal most of the time and, well, spending money on flowers for myself just seems like a waste.

However, I did enjoy looking at them and never failed to notice them when I passed by. Either my husband did not fail to notice me not failing to notice them, or he is psychic, because Thursday evening he came home with a bouquet of, you guessed, it, those most perfect purple irises.

Now you're probably thinking that purple irises are a strange Valentine's Day gift. Roses, Dustin, ROSES! But my man knows me. He knows I'm not a huge fan of the roses. He also knows that tulips are one of my most favorite flowers ever and those are the flowers I usually receive. But for some reason he decided to be different this week and he was so right on. He also brought along some more little buddies of his. Hello, bloggy friends, meet Mr. Lindt chocolate and Ms. Ferrero Rondnoir.

Flowers? Chocolate? Wait, that sounds like Valentine's Day and we don't really do Valentine's Day! So I was quite unprepared. He really took me by surprise. Thursday was actually the 8th anniversary of when we got engaged. If you don't know the story of how we met and how we became "an item", you can read it here on his blog, where he wrote a sappy sweet entry on Valentine's Day just for me. *swoon*

So he bought me the most perfect shade of purple, delicious dark chocolates, and a cute sweet little card with a nice hand written love note in it. And what did I give him?

Peanut butter cookies, his favorites, and fudge oatmeal cookies, MY favorites. And I keep eating them all. *giggle* I'm such a bad wife.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Breakfast of Champions?

I love cereal. I could eat cereal for any meal. I love it dry as a snack and with almond or rice milk for lunch or dinner. One of my favorite cereals is honey nut cheerios. I don't get the regular brand though, I go for one of the organic ones. I figure if I'm going to eat something unhealthy, I might as well get it as healthy as I can, right? I usually buy Cascadian Farms, but last time I decided to try something new. It was on sale. It seemed like a good deal.

See the box? It says, "Excellent Source of Iron & Zinc... Fortified with 9 Essential Vitamins & Minerals". But they left something out. I opened up my new box of cereal to find all 9 essential vitamins and minerals... and bugs! More specifically the larvae stage of some grain-loving bug, which, by the way, is the grossest stage ever because they all look like maggots. Now, when I say I prefer to eat organic, I don't mean THAT organic.

I'm a vegetarian, you know. Can't be having bugs in my cereal. After sticking the box in the freezer (which first immobilizes any adult bugs, then kills all stages) to preserve the evidence so I could take them with me to yell at the store that sold them to me, I washed my hands about a billion times and found something else to eat. I think I'm scarred for life though. I will never look at a newly opened cereal box in the same way again.

I think I'll be sticking with Cascadian Farms. They cost a little more, but usually come without the bugs.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

He blogs!


I'm giggling because apparently we convinced my man to blog after all. But was his first blog all about how wonderful, attractive, intelligent, and perfect I am? Nope. It was about prison. Or something. I don't know. Oh yeah, he mentions me... at the end. I'm also listed as his number one "interest" in his profile. BUT! Then he claims his interests are "pretty generic".

Gee, thanks, hon! Are you calling me cheap?

"Generic wives, aisle four!"

Of course, I'm just messing with him. I must warn you, we both have a weird (and sometimes sick) sense of humor. I'm sure you've noticed that about me, but he's worse. In fact, it's his fault I am the way that I am. After living with him for over seven years, you sort of start to act like him. He's contagious.

But at least he's not generic...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Somebody got a hair cut!

And this time, it WAS me!

I hadn't gotten a real cut in a very long time. I've had a trim here or there, but it had gotten past my shoulders and I do not like long hair. I look much better with short hair.

Cute, no?

Here's the back. It's a little messy. Sorry. I'm too lazy to fix it. Ignore the weird mouth too. I don't know why my mouth looks weird. That's my paparazzi-get-the-heck-out-of-my-face-fake-grin I guess.

My hair cut, being all silly and posing for the camera (see? even it thinks it's cute):


You should have seen all the hair on the floor afterwards. There was a lot! One of the ladies that works at the salon asked my permission to keep a sample. That was, umm, different. Now I've had weird people approach me and ask me if they could touch my hair, but never in my life has someone asked me if they could take some home! Apparently she has a client that is looking for a natural looking red, and I guess mine is the perfect specimen? Thanks... I guess. *giggle* To be honest, I think she just wants to clone my DNA. I mean, who wouldn't?!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Things that make you go "awwwww"

Me: "Do you know that we've known each other for almost 9 years now?!"
Hubby: "No wonder you're getting sick of me. :oP"
Hubby: "I was thinking today that I kinda wish I had a blog so I could blog today to let people know that I love you."

*grin* Yes, ladies, he IS that sweet. And handsome to boot. Go ahead. Be all jealous. I don't mind. ;o)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

And the winner is...


"Keryn said...Sodalite and silver stardust necklace--beautiful. I hope I win!"

Congrats, Keryn, you did! I will be emailing you to let you know how to claim your prize. I hope you find some jewelry you love. :o)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Guess who wears 2 Belles earrings?

None other than Rachel Ray, of course!

A couple months ago, we sent a necklace and earring set in with a gift package to the Rachel Ray Show. It was coordinated by someone on I never thought she'd actually GET the jewelry, much less wear it on national tv!

But low and behold, last night I was watching her show that I faithfully DVR, and whatddya know, she was wearing earrings made by my mom! I am a couple weeks behind in watching her. She wore them on 1/16. They're sterling silver sidewinders (similar to these but hammered and with a black stone on the end). It looks like they were put on leverback ear wires.

I'm sure she has no idea who made them. I imagine they were just set out with her wardrobe. But it's still pretty cool, no? I tried to take a picture of the show paused, but for as big and nice as our new tv is, it just isn't photogenic.

But I found a video clip of that day's show on her site. You can view it (and the lovely earrings) here:

I've always been a Rachel Ray fan, but now I like her even more! *grin* Maybe someday I'll catch her wearing the necklace we sent. All y'all Rachel fans, keep an eye out, will ya?

And if you want to be cool and hip like Rachel and wear the latest in jewelry fashions, just let us know. Mom can set you up with a pair of earrings just like hers. *grin*