Thursday, July 31, 2008
So it's Friday again already. Friday means my parents are coming home. From Maui. They've spent the last two weeks in paradise. One week in Honolulu and one week in Maui. They don't want to come home. Oh, boo-hoo! *wink* I, for one, will be glad to see their return. I'm a little tired of squirting fish oil all over myself and my kitchen. Apparently I'm the only reason they're not moving to Maui. Isn't it nice to have so much power? Mwa-hahahaha!
Happy Friday, y'all!
1. If I could travel back in time, I'd go to last Sunday. Why? Because I'd stop myself from buying the bag of mini Snickers at CVS and eating almost the entire bag already. My dentist is SO going to yell at me. Hi, I'm a chocoholic. Nice to meet you.
2. Give me chocolate or give me... nope, just chocolate, thanks!
3. I am listening to my dog "dripping". Dripping is the sound she makes sometimes when she's sleeping. Really, she sounds like a dripping faucet. I'm also listening to Home Improvement on the tv because I'm too lazy to get up and find the remote.
4. Somewhere, someone is thinking of chocolate. Oh wait, that'd be me.
5. I'll always be a readhead. For reals, yo. I'll dye it someday if I have to.
6. My idea of a good time includes a swanky Mexican restaurant, a pitbull (even though he was bigger stronger and less gay), a Pyrex, $90 pants, a McToilet, a "crawling" baby that can eat beads with a fork while barking in a library, and two of the bestest friends ever. (Don't ask. Trust me. Your life will remain much simpler this way.)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to work, work, work, tomorrow my plans include welcoming home the wannabe Mauiians (is that a word? It should be.) and taking some bizarre portraits requested of us by the man's family members and Sunday, I want to do nothing, but will probably work! (Not that I'm complaining. Business is good, and that's a good thang, yo.)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I named this piece "Chaos" because when it is being made, it is indeed an organized chaotic mess of rings until that last step when it all comes together into this gorgeous pendant. It's the kind of weave you're not sure you're doing right the whole time because surely it isn't supposed to look like that, but then all of a sudden, viola! (Yes, my blog pronounced "voila" properly in case you were wondering, thankyouverymuch.)
It is made with close to 100 copper rings, all hand cut and woven into this Oriental ball chain maille weave. A sterling silver box chain is threaded through the center, so it hangs oh so perfectly around the neck. The pendant is approximately 7/8" in diameter.
Do you love it? I think this weave is super cool. I see myself making it in brass and maybe even in sterling soon. Mixed metals would work well for it too.
Oooh, and I took these with my new lens. I didn't think I'd be able to use it at all with jewelry, but it doesn't do too badly. I have to move the tripod waaaay back for it to focus, so my next lens purchase will definitely be a macro (which is $$$$ so it might be a while!), but it surprised me that it sort of worked okay for this.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I participated in the last giveaway carnival, and have been asked to participate this time by giving away some coupons for FREE cereal! So of course, I agreed. I mean, who doesn't love cereal... especially when it is free!?
Are you kookoo for Cocoa Puffs? Health nut that I may be, I do enjoy a Cocoa Puff now and then. *grin* In fact, it was one of my favorites growing up. I've always been a sucker for sweet cereals, and chocolate IS a girl's best friend after all!
"NEW Cocoa Puffs Combos cereal... combines great-tasting chocolatey puffs with vanilla puffs, a classic combination that kids love. Even better, Cocoa Puffs Combos is made with whole grain and is a good source of Calcium and Vitamin D."
I have FOUR coupons to give away to four different people for FREE boxes of this new Cocoa Puffs Combos cereal. Each one has a value up to $5.33. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what your favorite childhood cereal was (or is?) and why. (US residents only, please.)
Good luck! *grin*
Saturday, July 26, 2008
My parents have been in Hawaii for the past week, so we have been dog sitting their "baby", Lucy. A little red teacup poodle that has the attitude to match the hair (don't we all?).
She is truly a little doggy diva. I'm surprised she doesn't demand doggy spas and doggy iPods and doggy bling. In fact, I think if she knew where my parents were, she'd have insisted they channel the Hollywood wackos and take her with them in a little poochie Gucci.
But alas, she had to stay in boring old Texas with boring old me and Dustin and our two stinkies. Trixie adores Lucy. She tries her hardest to love on her and play with her and Lucy just doesn't give a flip. Trixie's a mutt, after all, and not Hollywood material. Molly doesn't care about much of anything, so long as Lucy isn't in her corner. Then she gets a little OCD.
It's a zoo here, people. A zoo.
Poor little Lu has some pretty bad allergies and eats a special diet complete with two fish oil capsules with every dinner. Clumsy me + dull knife + cutting open fish oil capsules = stinky, fishy hair. Don't ask.
But isn't she a cutie pie?
Looks can be deceiving! Ah, who am I kidding? She's mostly a sweetie too. Just don't pretend you're going to grab her chin. Cause then she'll go all Tyson on you.
(And yes, I did take that photo with my new lens, thank you very much! Fresh out of the box, indoors, low light, NO flash, no tripod... *LOVE*)
For grins, here's one of the doodle bug (aka "Trixie"). It's a little, umm, bright? But I love the look on her face.
I just might abandon my long term love affair with my torch and marry my camera instead.
Dear rolling mill,
you've been moved down on the list. Sorry. You'll get over it. You're a big boy.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Well, I suppose it's jewelry more than bags.
It was a pretty decent day in jewelry land. This is a good thing, since I've made the decision to use some profits from my jewelry and jewelry supply sales (I have an Etsy shop that is strictly jewelry supplies, mostly handmade by moi) to knock things off my "Crystal
Needs Likes New Toys" list. On this list, you will find at least four camera lenses, a kiln, and a rolling mill. People, that's the short list. *grin*
I've had lots of decent days in jewelry land lately, which enabled me to knock the first item off my list... a 50mm 1.8 prime lens! Wooo! I'm so excited. The lovely Chelsea helped me pick it out after I deliberated over its purchase for years. Ok, I suppose it was days more than years, but it was long enough for me to pick up on some cool photog lingo. Like "prime lens". Oooh. Doesn't that sound important? And my new favorite word: "bokeh". Aaaaah. Bokeh. Now that's just the funkiest way you could ever say "blurry". I dare you to figure out a funkier way. Go on. Try. You won't succeed.
I also dare you to work that word into at least one conversation this weekend. Go on. Do it. And report back to me on Monday. I want to hear about the strange looks you get.
My new funky bokeh-inducing prime lens is currently on a UPS truck just a few hours away, and my patience is getting seriously bokeh-fied.
The tracking information doesn't say what the delivery date is, which should be illegal. 'Scuse me, but a girl orders a lens and a girl needs to know when said lens will be here because UPS has the nasty habit of leaving boxes of expensive goods on my doorstep whether I'm home or not. I've had things stolen this way. This is not a good thing for a girl who orders massive quantities of precious metals and gemstones, especially in this market!
So now UPS is PageRanking its big bokeh butt right alongside Google at a 10/10 on my "Crystal's Most Hated" list. If my lens goes missing because I don't know when to expect its delivery, I just might go postal (which, in my opinion, everyone should since despite all of its frustrating issues, at least the USPS won't leave an expensive package unattended on my doorstep).
But anyway, now that I'm all packed up and ready to go, I'll wish you all a good night. Errrr, morning. There's nothing like waking up all bokeh-eyed to an email box notifying you of little steps closer to knocking off the next item on your list. Hopefully tomorrow... errrr, today... will be one of those days.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Before we married, I had never even heard of stromboli, but my yankee husband grew up eating it and absolutely loves it. Nothing about it is healthy at all, its many ingredients are expensive, and it takes a while to prepare, so we rarely make it. However, Sunday we did. The way he traditionally makes it is with layered ham, pepperoni, hard salami, american cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese wrapped up in white pizza crust. It's truly a hearty man's meal (yes, even hearty men who used to be in the bell choir)! This time we decided to be adventurous.
First, we used the KitchenAid to make a hearty whole grain dough (with whole wheat pastry flour, which, despite the fact people say it does not work for yeast doughs, always works just fine for me). Instead of spreading a bit of mayo onto the inside of the pocket (which to be honest, I always found a little disturbing!) we spread pesto. Then came the layered meats, which we kept the same, and cheeses (substituting monterey jack for the mozzarella). My hubby was super meticulous with the seams, making sure they were perfect. I sprinkled some sea salt and oregano on the top to make it all purdy.
The verdict is in. Best stromboli, ever.
Dip in marinara sauce, and you're in pizza pocket heaven. My husband was on cloud 9. In fact, I think he sort of still is. Good thing we made extra for the freezer.
~ Crystal at 12:16 AM
Monday, July 21, 2008
Ana of The Pretty Peacock has written a guest post to share her practical advice on having an Etsy obsession. I know I can identify with that. Can you? *grin*
Is this a healthy obsession? You can make it so.
By: Ana Talukder Simpson
How shamelessly obsessed are you with your Etsy life? I am pretty new to Etsy. I really knew very little about it coming into it. I was never even a buyer (I know, booooo on me, but I have bought a load of stuff since then!). In April of this year, I decided to list a few of my creative endeavors and, lo-and-behold, people liked them. My first listing was just over two months ago and I am now shamelessly obsessed with my Etsy life. I know you have all been there and still live here.
I am a stay at home parent with two small children (5 and 2) and I consider the work I do for my shop on Etsy as my ‘work’: My real-life, tangible, get-paid-for-it-in-real-money, work. My children are my joy and butterflies and all those other happy, lovely images one gives when they talk about being a mother. All true –most days.
Being an obsessive Etsy shop owner takes its toll on our little ones, loved ones, friends, relationships, etc. I make no apologies for wanting my shop to succeed or being in love with my work, but I do not want it to negatively affect my life, because, then, what would be the point? So, I invested in an inexpensive little timer with a loud buzzer to keep my obsession in check , and what it ended up doing was help me manage my time and invest it where it needed to go – so EVERYONE is happy! Don’t get me wrong, there totally needs to be more hours in the day, but at least now, I have more definite direction of where my time is going.
I typically set up my email/convo time for fifteen minute segments a few times a day. I make sure that after every thirty minutes of Etsy work, I take a break and hang out with the kids – even if that means just getting out the Play-doh or having ‘tickle-monster-time’. For those more involved projects, I wait until my littlest is napping or they are both in bed for the night. Twenty minutes is devoted to setting up shipments for the next day, another thirty to plan new designs, etc. You get the idea. It is all pretty magical. Oh! And if you get real fancy – you can get a timer with multiple features like counting up, so you can hit “start” right as you begin a new piece so you know exactly how long it takes you to create it for pricing. Shamelessly working the double-duty. Gotta love that.
Indeed, we do! What a fabulous idea. I definitely need to work on my organizational skills, including organizing my time. Thanks so much for sharing, Ana. We wish you all the luck in your business as well as your other non-Etsy life. *grin*
Be sure to visit Ana and obsess over her gorgeous Etsy shop, The Pretty Peacock. Ana creates beautiful jewelry. I especially admire her PMC work. Check it out!
Friday, July 18, 2008
How are you this fine Friday? I'm stressed because I'm having internet issues*. I can't access half of the websites I need to access right now, including my own. Not cool when you have a business to run! I can access blogger though, and gmail so here I am, giving you quality blog content (stop laughing).
Now onto the Fill-In!
1. If I could be a fly on the wall I would cry because flies are nasty and walls don't look so comfy. Though to be completely honest, I'd rather be a fly on the wall than a fly on the poop.
2. Jealousy is green. Wait. Green is supposed to be good, right? I'm so confused now.
3. When I see a shooting star my wish would be that wishing on stars would actually work because that kind of child-like hope and innocence could do some good in the world right now.
4. I'd rather be me than a fly on the poop any day!
5. Certain songs when I hear them make me wanna dance. But I can't. So I try not to. But sometimes it slips out anyway. And that's just scary, y'all.
6. If time were in a bottle, and that bottle were thrown out to sea, that might explain LOST. Or at least make for another good TV plot involving island castaways.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to seeing my folks off for their trip to Hawaii! tomorrow my plans include braving the grocery store and Sunday, I want to relax.
*Yay! The internet is back! Woooo!
~ Crystal at 1:51 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I nearly woke my sleeping husband just now laughing out loud.
Keyword that linked to my blog this week:
"how to install a bathroom doorknob"
To whoever is looking for advice on this topic here on song of my soul... be afraid. Be very, very afraid. (And clothed. Very, very clothed.)
Thanks, Google. Your pagerank might have pooped on me, but you're always good for a laugh.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Hi, bloggy buds. I asked Morgan of LaVogue and morgansilk on Etsy to write a guest post about how her cute little buddy named Chippie entered her life. He's such a doll! I hope you enjoy reading about him as much as I did. *grin*
I couldn't do anything, hadn't been able to walk, or paint, or do anything since November, and now it was February. It was even getting hard to push the buttons on the remote. I had had two surgeries on my knee, one aborted, and all kinds of misery that I didn't understand. Finally, the orthopedic surgeon took the dang thing out and put in an oversize titanium one, but by that time the real problem was my hands. They hurt. The hair follicles hurt. My orthopedic surgeon thought I was an hysteric and my friends couldn't stand to be around me. My husband had to put food out for me when he left for work in the mornings because I couldn't pick up a pitcher or open a jar. I lost 25 pounds because I couldn't feed myself and didn't want to admit it.
I woke up in the hospital after the knee replacement and a new doctor was in my room. He took my hand, felt it gently, and asked me a few questions, then turned to the surgeon I deeply hated, and said, "She has rheumatoid arthritis". I was too messed up to pay any attention, but I did promise to make an appointment with that new doctor, and by February the medications were finally kicking in and I was beginning to feel more human. That month, my husband came in from working in the yard with a tiny little pink wormy thing the size of my (enlarged) thumb and told me he had found it under a leaf. What was it? We were familiar with baby squirrels, and this little thing was too small, so we decided that it was either a mouse or a chipmunk. He put it in a cardboard box lined with an old towel, filled an empty mayonnaise jar with hot water and wrapped that in a towel, and I emailed my veterinarian niece for advice. This little chipmunk was my constant companion until September when I was finally able to go back to work teaching high school. We bonded, and he has never tolerated anyone or anything else but me.
Laura told us to get some puppy formula at the local vet, and he grew and grew until he was a sweet little striped chippie. I would sit in the living room, doing my range-of-motion pedaling, and hold him in my lap. His tiny little eyes were closed and his ears were flat against his head, until one Friday night when one eye opened with a pop, then the other eye, then both ears perked up and he was off and running like a shot! Sometimes he's friendly, sometimes he's combative, and sometimes he couldn't care less. He wants to be left alone most of the winter, and has been known to attack people he does not like and remember them the next time. He would rather have chocolate than nuts or seeds, but it is dangerous food for little guys like him. He took off with a piece of oreo cookie one day and it took the two of us the better part of an hour to get it back. He chewed holes in my clothes, my purse, and hid seeds and nuts in our shoes. He even escaped the house for a whole day; just as I was trying to convince myself he would be okay he appeared in the driveway, looking around cluelessly. He would NOT be alright! I ran out there and he practically jumped into my arms. Squirrels will devour little chipmunks, hawks swoop on the them, cats will torment them; I have no idea how long they can live without predators, but he is more than six years old now.
What will I do when he is gone? I can never have a little friend like this again; you cannot capture a chipmunk and if you did it would never love you. It has to smell you and hear you and feel you long before it can see you or know that you are not of the same species. I have read that wild animals can make attachments with only one person, and although I do not know if this is true in general, it has been so in our case.
Find more videos like this on We Love Etsy
Awww, animals sure have a way of warming our hearts. We all hope Chippie gives you many more good times, Morgan! Be sure to stop by and visit Morgan at LaVogue and Morgan's Silk Scarves where you will find a wide variety of fabulous items from vintage housewares to hand-died silk scarves. You can also visit her on We Love Etsy.
Thanks for being a part of my little space in the world wide web, Morgan! *grin*
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Or, not so much.
I'm a bit miffed at Google at the moment. For some reason, my blog had a page rank of 4/10, and now it is 0/10. What the yahoo?! I thought it was a fluke at first, but it's been like this for a couple weeks now. I don't think I have been blacklisted, because, I mean, why? I haven't done anything Google-illegal.
My pages are still indexed. So... Google, not liking you too much right now. With those stats, I might as well start over with a whole new blog and my own domain. I was thinking about it and the main thing keeping me from it is losing my Google pagerank that took me two friggin years to get. *growl*
The one good thing Google is good for right now is a laugh. I use their Analytics thingamabop to track information on my blog and website. It comes in quite handy. I can see where people are from, what websites referred them here, and how long they stayed. But none of this is quite so entertaining as looking up the keyword searches that bring some people here.
"i hate teeth" - yeah? Me too! Or at least I hate my teeth. Though I must admit they do come in handy.
"easy mac white powder" - I have a feeling that this person was looking for confirmation that the white powder in his/her easy mac was not anthrax. Sorry I can neither confirm nor deny such matters. I can confirm, however, that easy mac is gross and not fit for human consumption, and that Annie's Mac & Cheese is the good stuff.
"funny description of tiny bathroom" - Oookay.
"i am a popular cheerleader" - Not so much!
"i fumble my words when i speak" - I, umm, uhh, errrr... but, you know... it's umm... yeah.
"how to choose my song before singing" - Glad to be of service!
"because you was a part of me because you was a part of my sole" - *blink, blink*
"acupuncture bruise afterwards" - Been there, done that.
"guess earrings" - Is Guess even still around? That is oh, so 90's.
"i call my soul" - I hope she answered.
"i gave you my soul, find song" - Find it, Google, find it now!
"i love my birthmark but the mole may be cancerous" - My blog can neither confirm nor deny this. Please seek medical attention.
"is ripping off moles safe" - My blog can neither confirm nor deny this. Please seek medical attention. And maybe some psychological help would be a good idea too.
"is it cool to have two earrings" - Why, yes. Yes it is. And you're in luck. My earrings come in pairs! Woo!
"meaning of a white elephant as a lawn ornament" - It means the British are coming. One if by land, two if by sea. Come on, people, watch your HGTV.
"soul is a four letter word" - Thank you, Mr. Obvious.
"crystal" - That's me!
My blog attracts some interesting attention. Eat that, Google, and shove it up your PageRank. (That sounds so nasty, yet makes so little sense.)
What interesting things have brought people to your site or blog?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Whoops! Crystal found a new meme to try out. I used to do memes a lot, then life got in the way, and now I'm just sort of lazy. *grin* However, I want to spruce up my blog which I feel has gotten a wee bit boring lately because half the time I don't know what to talk about anymore, so I'm going to try a few new things, including perhaps trying a new (or old) meme or two. (And maybe add some more run-on sentences as well because goshdarnit, they are so much fun.)
I'll also be featuring some guest bloggers in the very near future. From funny and heart-touching stories to informative articles and maybe a little in between, it should be interesting. *grin* Look for the first one (hopefully) sometime next week!
Now onto the Fill-In!
1. Oh, I can't wait until I have a child.
2. Coca cola is the first thing I see when I open my refrigerator.
3. I never leave home without my cellphone.
4. If I were a condiment, I would be ketchup because it too has red hair. Or something.
5. People who act like they're better than everyone else are really high up on my list of pet peeves.
6. The last thing I thought of before I went to bed was I gotta get up in five hours.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to hanging out with the hubbs, tomorrow my plans include flooring, flooring, flooring and Sunday, I want to get some jewelry business done!
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
After being married for almost eight years, I just learned that my husband was a member of a bell choir when he was a teen. Yes, a bell choir. You know, those people that ring bells. White gloves and all. I said that bell choirs have got to be the cheesiest of all "musicians". (Love you hon!) He played the huge ones. The ones that go "bong!" rather than "ding" or "dong". He said it's not easy playing those big bells. I said it's a wee bit, I don't know, wimpy? Now lest you think my man is a "musician" rather than a musician, let me set you straight. The man's got talent. He can play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums, a little piano, and can sing (and DJ). These are all hawt qualities in a man.
Bell choir? Not so much.
But here's the kicker, people. He joined this bell choir... for a girl.
Ah yes, because nothing says "Do you love me? Check yes or no!" quite so effectively as cheesy white gloves and big brass bells that go "bong!".
Last year I learned that he can throw pottery (strangely, also hawt).
Three years ago, he finally told me he does not like turkey lunch meat after the poor man ate countless turkey lunch meat sandwiches I made for him (and still does, bless his soul).
While we were watching America's Got Talent last week, I learned that he knows entirely way too much about Riverdance. Riverdance! I still don't know why. I'm not sure I want to.
We're proof positive that even when you've been married almost a decade and know each other better than you know yourselves, marriage can still be interesting.
Now I really want a kiln and pottery wheel.
I don't have much to say lately.
My life has been consumed with flooring, saw dust, dogs in bandannas, business stuff, allergies and more saw dust.
It took five days to finish the flooring in the hall. Five days, people. Lots of trial and error. Heavy on the error. But it looks pretty and we're now about 1/2 done with the nursery, and maybe 1/5 done with the master. After that, we have all the closets and the office. Then I can breathe again.
Sometime this month, I might finally get to schedule our homestudy interviews. I'm a little annoyed that they have not been scheduled yet, but also a little relieved since "ooooh hiiii... please ignore all the sawdust... it's not a danger to a baby... really..." probably isn't a good way to introduce myself to the person conducting the interview.
The dogs slip and slide on the new floor. It's quite funny. Dustin loves to scare Molly and watch her run in place, trying to get away from him. He's so mean. No wonder the dog has issues.
I've been talking to a few shop owners who may be interested in carrying some of our product line. I'm really hoping this works out. A few wholesale accounts would really help to grow our business in good ways.
I'm trying to dry socks but the dryer just turned itself off after being on for only a few minutes. The door is broken and pops open at random intervals. It's quite annoying and I want to throw it out the window. But I don't think it would fit.
I think I might become a "please remove your shoes at the door" person. Don't hate me because my floor is beautiful.
I'm pondering the idea of a chair rail in the nursery. Maybe white bead board. Maybe that would be a little too "kountry with a k".
I've had a table saw in my kitchen (not being used in there, just stored in there at night and when it rains) for over a week. I think I might be a redneck.
That is all. Good night!
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
That's where I'm living right now. A couple weeks ago, we tore the carpet out of our house in preparation for the new flooring we have been talking about laying for two years. That was nasty, people. Nasty. Now let me say that I try to vacuum well, but underneath the carpet and carpet padding was dirt and dirt and dirt. Oh, and a little more dirt with some dirt on top. NASTY. No wonder my allergies hate me. After seeing what lies beneath, I will never ever ever willingly live with carpet again. Nasty, nasty stuff that carpet. So we have been living on concrete since then... until this week.
Saturday, we (my dad and I) started laying the flooring and we've been working at it ever since. I'm tired, people. TIRED. It's hard work. It also has a steep learning curve.
I'm sore. My legs are sooo bruised. But my floor looks purdy. The part that has been completed, anyway. We've done the living room and part of the hall and still have the rest of the hall and three bedrooms to go.
Here's a sneak peak:
No, Jessica, the green isn't part of the decor. I know you're disappointed. (But you will be happy to know that we're using lots of tape. RED tape this time.)
In other news, I drove my baby SUV to Lowe's all by myself. I even parked it quite nicely (waaaaay in the back, far far from civilization). I deserve a friggin' award!