Sunday, August 31, 2008

You raise me up

Nope, not Josh Grobin. The D-man!

Isn't he

Crazy and sweet. Lookie what he did.

Almost 8 years down babe, with only 4-ever left to go.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hey! That's Handmade! - "ellembee"

Hello, people! It's about time for another handmade feature, don't you think? So today, I'll be introducing you to Lisa of "ellembee" on Etsy.

I know most of you readers are women, and what woman doesn't like new clothing?! Yes! You read right! I've found some fabulous handmade clothing to feature. Aren't you excited? I'm excited to show you, but first, let's get to know Lisa and ellembee a little better.

*How long have you been screen printing and working with clothing, and how did you become interested in it?
"I just started screen printing about 5 months ago. I was a bedding designer in California for the past 4 years, until I got laid off in January. I moved back to Michigan, where I grew up, and had to find a way to make some money! I had taken a screen printing class in college, so I knew the basics. I looked at some how-to videos on Youtube, and read a few books on the subject, and just sort of fumbled my way through figuring out how to do it!"

"Floral Tank in Robin's Egg Blue"

*From where do you draw your inspiration?
"I get inspiration from the weirdest places! Usually, I'll glance at something and think it's something else. That sounds weird. lol. For example: the other day I was driving and I saw this billboard that had a huge key drawn on it. But the drawing was pretty bad, and I couldn't tell right away what it was, and it sort of looked like a city skyline to me. A few seconds later I realized that it was a key, but I thought that a skyline would look really cool printed on a shirt, and now that will be one of my designs coming out on a hoodie for my fall line."

*What is your personal favorite of your collection and why?
"I have a love/hate relationship with lacy indigo. The design that I originally thought of for that shirt looks totally different. I sort of happened upon the way it ended up looking, and I think it turned out great. That shirt is my best seller, and I think it's the most original in my line, but because of the bleaching process that I do, and the intricacy of the design, I mess up a lot of them that can't be sent out, (that's the part I hate!)"

"Lacy Indigo V-Neck Short Sleeved Shirt"

*Things are tough these days, especially for many of us "starving artists". What do you do to stay positive in such a difficult field?
"I LOVE working for myself! I love the fact that how much money I make is completely up to me; I take full responsibility for my income. With amazing places like and the local craft fairs that I do, the sky is the limit. I find myself working 14-hour days, 6 and 7 days a week, and it doesn't even faze me, because I love what I'm doing! I love my job!"

*Lastly, is there anything else you want my readers to know?
"Just that I think they'd be really happy with any of the items in my line! When I got started, I really wanted to be able to affect the way someone feels with my clothing. I love going into a dressing room at a store and trying on an outfit that looks so cute on you, and makes you feel so good, that you have to jump up and down! (Am I the only one that does that?!) Anyway, that's how I came up with my slogan ellembee- hand printed clothes that'll make you jump up and down! I love that I get to help people feel good about themselves!"

I'd jump up and down to own anything from Lisa's Etsy shop, ellembee! Make sure you stop by and check out her full line of fabulous clothing. I know you'll want to add a piece or two to your wish list!

Thanks so much, Lisa, for letting me share your work with my friends. Best of luck to you!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mixed Metal Mania

I'm addicted, y'all.


They call out to me, begging me to make them all harmonize. The sterling tells me it can't stand to be alone, and the copper is all, "yo, I need a bright and shiny bud".

Seriously. My jewelry talks to me. Doesn't yours talk to you? No? Well, maybe you just aren't listening! (Or maybe you're just, you know, sane.)

I actually had a little creativity in the past few days. Not much, but a little. Mostly I've been bogged down with adoption stuff or filling orders for my handmade supplies shop for things that have long been designed (not that I'm complaining, mind you). I haven't gotten to actually design something in a few weeks.

I've been wanting to make a triple metal Jens Pind bracelet for a while. My Shaggy Loops bracelet was originally going to be a Jens Pind, but the aspect ratio was off just a touch, and Jens Pind is a very picky little weave. So picky, in fact, that it is apparently one of the hardest weaves to learn. But never fear, jewelry loving friends, for I have mastered it. I guess chain maille becomes me, because I actually found it fairly easy to learn. (Am I allowed to say that I'm dang proud of my mad chain maille skillz, yo? Cause I am. I have now mastered two of the so-called "hardest weaves". Go me! Woooo! I kick massive chain maille booty!)

(You do realize that I don't really say words like "mad skillz" and "yo" and "kick massive booty" and "fart in your general direction", right? It's all an online act. Sorry. It's true. In person I am quite eloquent and have mad speaking skillz, yo.)

(Stop laughing.)

(For real, Dustin. Stop laughing.)

My photo set up is packed away while my office is getting the new flooring, so these photos taken on my kitchen table (with a cool little wooden dish that came from Hawaii!) aren't the best.

Here is what I made today. Six gemstone pendants (from left to right, top row first: black water jasper, blue pearl, lapis lazuli, kiwi jasper, Russian charoite, and a wooden teardrop, all wrapped with sterling silver wire) and some mixed metal earrings. Copper flowers, hammered antiqued brass teardrops, and antiqued brass lotus flowers, all on sterling ear wires.

Oh, and just look at these little earrings! I did not make them. My parents brought them back from Maui (where they are handmade! Woo!) and gifted them to me (along with... *happy sigh*... handmade soap!! Do they love me or what?). These earrings are little sterling plumerias. I think they're just the most darling earrings ever, so I had to share.

What is your jewelry saying you to you these days? ;oP

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Randomness: Adoption

*Parenting via adoption is no better or worse than parenting via conception. It is just a different way of getting there.

*Choosing to adopt is not settling for something less than. Just because something is second choice does not make it second best.

*Birth parents are not evil people lurking in the shadows, waiting to "take the child back". God has put in me a tremendous amount of respect and compassion for women who make an adoption plan. Not to mention gratitude. My heart truly goes out to them.

*How do you express that plus share yourself in a "Dear Birth Mom" letter? However it's done, I need to figure it out soon.

*Beginning this process has put a whole new meaning to certain areas of scripture. I never really thought about the fact that Moses was pretty much adopted. Ephesians 1 says that God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world and predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus to Himself. I mean... wow.

*Adoption is forever. Once the child is ours, it's ours as if it had come from my own womb. No turning back. The birth parents cannot regain their rights. Adoption is final and forever. God adopted me. No turning back.
Final and forever. Again... wow.

*There is a great possibility that we could become a multi-ethnic family. The idea of embracing, celebrating and incorporating into my daily life an entirely different culture than my own in such a real and tangible way while teaching my child to do the same is something that is very appealing to me.

*Though it also scares me a little, because the world is still cruel.

*But I'm a redhead, and though I'm little, I can take 'em. That will be my kid. Bring it.

*There are 2 million couples waiting to adopt. That's many many more couples than babies being placed.

*Adopting does not a hero make. Although the process is now less villainized than it has been in the past, unfortunately it seems that it has swung to the opposite extreme and is now romanticized. We're no saints. We're just regular people, many of us infertile, lots of us traveling a painful journey with way less highs than lows, who love children and want to raise our own. Our future children do not need to be rescued. They're not "lucky". If anyone is lucky, that would be us. Adopting does not make us heroes. It makes us parents.

*Our interviews are done, and though I'm not a hero, I do feel quit heroic to have completed our part of this leg of the journey. I have never before had to speak to someone so in depth about every aspect of my life, past present and future, all at once. It will be at least a few weeks before the home study is written and approved (it will be around a 20-page document that needs to be approved by multiple people), but once it is, we can legally adopt in the state of Texas. (And we get to sign away our life savings, wooo!)

*Three years ago when we first decided to pursue raising a child, I never imagined we'd be here today. It's not a place I thought we'd be at this point in our lives. Now that we're here, I can't imagine being anywhere else.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Between a Crate & a Hard Place

We've had this little portable dog crate since Trixie was a puppy. It was the perfect size for her for most of her life, and then it became the perfect size for Molly when we got her. We have a second crate, a larger wire one, that we can use for Trixie alone or even for both of them.

They're both crate trained, but we don't use it in that capacity very often anymore. We use them for travel and leave them open because for some strange reason they like chilling out in there sometimes. Once in a while, when I tell them to go "to bed" when I'm about to leave the house for an errand (I'd trust Trixie to have the run of the house, but not Molly, and it's easier to confine both instead of just one) they'll both run to their crates instead of their nice cushy beds we have for them next to their water & food bowls, in the laundry room (which we confine them to with a dog gate at night and when we leave the house). They're weird little dogs. Sometimes they'll both run into the same crate... ALWAYS the small one. I guess they like to cuddle.

Yesterday we emptied the office where their crates usually reside, so we could rip out the carpet and start laying down the new flooring. We put the large crate away in the garage for now, but left the small one out in the living room temporarily because Molly can be a little reclusive and likes to hide out in her crate when she gets nervous. We didn't want to stress her out too much.

Today, we found Trixie curled up in the small crate. This is what happened when she tried to come out. (I have no idea how my socks ended up there, by the way. That's probably thanks to Miss Molly...)

The funniest part is this was not the first time today that this happened. Only the first time, she ran in place for several seconds before actually emerging. It was hilarious. Silly dog.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Stuff

Our interviews yesterday went well. The woman writing our home study is nice, and chatty, and it was a good time. We were only able to complete the joint interview, and the individual ones are scheduled next Tuesday. I found it surprisingly easy to talk to her about the infertility. In fact, the only time I even got emotional at all was when we talked about my granny's death.

Here are some flooring photos. Sorry they're not very good. Notice the missing baseboards and green stuff. That green stuff I.HATE. It's underlayment that is required when laying the flooring on a concrete subfloor. It's a moisture barrier + sound barrier. It's thick and a pain to deal with, especially when you poke holes in it accidentally and have to tape it up with the red stuff. HATE.THE.RED.STUFF. You also have to tape the seams with the red stuff. If I ever see green and red stuff again, I will promptly scream.

Here is the living room. I don't like my new rug, by the way. *sigh*
Love the crack in the wall too, right? We seriously need to fix that.


Please ignore the mess in the "nursery", and the orange chair which will be gone very soon. VERY soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Just a bit ago I saw something blow across the floor. At first I thought the something hopped, but I thought "naaah... what would hop? Must be a leaf the dogs brought in, blowing from the ceiling fan". It was just far enough away that I couldn't tell.

A few seconds later... hop, hop, hop.

Mmmmkay, maybe not a leaf!

Nope. Not a leaf at all. More like a frog! (Or toad? I don't know.) A baby frogtoad a little less than an inch long. Hoppin' to its little heart's content across my living room floor.

How did a baby frogtoad get in my house to begin with? I wish I knew. Maybe he hopped in with the dogs after a potty break. Maybe he hopped in when I was taking out the trash. Maybe he is a Super Hero Baby Frogtoad and can hop through walls. However he got there, there he was.

I was about to get up to find something to scoop him up into so I could help him hop his little body right back outside... but just then he hopped under my tv armoire. Dang. I had visions of finding a baby frogtoad carcass under the armoire years later. Apparently baby frogtoad also had these visions and quickly hopped back out.

Only this time, he emerged as a frogtoaddustbunny.


Now, y'all. I just swept and mopped. Only I can't sweep and mop under my tv armoire, so apparently that is where all the dustbunnies go to live and later randomly attach themselves onto baby frogtoads. You'd think a Super Hero Baby Frogtoad would be stealth enough to avoid the dustbunnies, but apparently not so much.

I ran to get a camera and then frantically searched for something to help coax him outside. I decided a scrap piece of flooring would do. I opened the front door, propped something against the storm door to keep it open, and gently nudged the frogtoad with the scrap laminate.

Superhero-ish though they may be, frogtoads just aren't very bright, because the ding dang thing hippity hopped itself the wrong way. I guess my house is frogtoad friendly and he thought he found a nice, new home.

I fought the urge to squeal loudly as I was SURE he would jump on my face and suck out my brain. Or at least get tangled in my hair.

I was able to construct a barrier so the frog toad could jump one way and one way only. And so he did. Right into the space between the end of the flooring and the door base thingamajig. You know, you have to leave at least 1/4" gap between the flooring and the wall? Well, yeah, we have that. And the baseboards still aren't on. And frogtoad fit lengthwise, barely.

Frogtoad liked this crevice. It was cozy and safe. No dustbunnies. No arch enemies. No frogtoady kryptonite. So I grabbed a little floor spacer thingie and nudged him again. And again. And again, as he kept going the wrong way. Finally I constructed a second barrier so he jumped out of the crevice instead of down it, and then he hopped out the door.

Sorry frogtoad. We have enough pets. But ain't freedom grand? Goodbye, frogtoad. We won't forget you. You're now forever recorded on my blog. Maybe someday one of your frogtoad descendants will someday Google "I hate teeth" and find you, finally being able to fill in the missing pieces of their frogtoady family tree. See? Even though I didn't let you stay, there are benefits to hopping through my walls. Please don't tell your frogtoady friends.

Hey, at least the dogs didn't eat you.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

More Randomness

*You are all BAD bloggy friends, BAD! You asked me why when I told you not to. For that, I... (ok, confession time. Just now I was going to say, "I fart in your general direction", BUT what are the odds that you would all get the reference there? So nevermind. Plus, I'm waaaay too classy for that.).

*Instead, "Go and boil your bottoms sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you!"

*Class? I got it.

*Let's hope that class shines through on Wednesday, when we have a person from the adoption agency come by to do our home study interviews. They will either be all in one day or in two days. I think since our appointment is early enough, it might just be one.

*I promise to not break wind in anyone's general direction. Though I do have allergies, so I can't promise a lack of nose-blowing. Sorry.

*My house is currently still torn apart from our flooring project (which isn't quite done). I'm worried that this will reflect negatively on the study. I don't know why it would, but I'm a worried paranoid person by nature, sooooo...

*We now have our first ding in our new flooring. Some metal thing was on top of a shelf, on a pile of clothes I was pulling down (why? WHY was there a metal thing on the shelf? I have no idea.) It fell and hit just right and *ding!* I cried for an hour.

*"A" is the initial of the last name of Dustin's family members who threw a big shin-dig family reunion thing, for which they took pictures. We could not be there for the pictures, so we were sent shirts with an "A" and told to take photos, including silly ones, so we could be "photochopped" in. Hence the last post.

*I thought that was a bit weird, but okay.

*I think my husband makes an adorable blow fish.

*My dad thinks he knows Hawaiian because he can now pronounce
"humuhumukununukuapua'a" which is apparently some famous fish in Hawaii and means "fish with a pig's nose". Or something.

*My printer farted in my general direction last week when it decided it would poop out on me. I sensed it coming. Being a business woman in the middle of trying to fill orders, a printer is a must. So I threw it in the toilet and *kindly* requested my hubby buy me a new one likerightnowplease.

*Maybe kindly is not the appropriate word there. Growled might be a bit more accurate.

*I don't normally growl, but I was completely stressed. My wonderful man was nice and bought me one anyway, despite the growling. It must be because I'm so cute when I growl.

*I recently ordered some cloth dipes "seconds". I could not pick the colors. "Girl" was the only option. I ordered them anyway because the price was insanely cheap and I figured "hmm, pastel lavender, not too bad?"... I requested they be as non-girly as possible and said why.

*I recently got a package for five hot pink dipes "seconds". I will either have one chic baby girl or one baby boy that better be really secure in his masculinity.

*Besides a Hot Sling, those are the only baby things I've bought since I last mentioned baby stuff. The only other thing I'll buy before getting "that call" is a changing table. I plan to buy that soon after our home study is approved. Oh, and maybe a baby carrier that Dustin can use. That plus a quick run to get formula and wipes and other baby toiletries before picking up the baby should do until we're settled in.

*It stinks that it could still be two more years before we're parents. That would make for a 10 year wait total (we've wanted them since we married but kept putting it off one reason or other) and a 4+ year wait since deciding we were ready. Hind sight is always 20/20.

*I could really go for a slice of chocolate cake right now. Anyone want to bake me one?

*That's all for now.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Funny faces

Don't ask.

Just don't ask.

Friday Fill-Ins #84

Friday again. How was your week? Mine was hectic, as I'm sure next week will be too. I have until Wednesday to get my house as spotless as I can. Wish me luck.

Happy Friday, y'all!

1. You know you're old when the music is too loud.

2. My heart is divided between thinking Molly Mouse is the cutest dog, ever and wanting to strangle her for peeing on the new rug.

3. My tooth to stop hurting is what I need RIGHT NOW!

4. I have felt the sting of infertility, I have known the depths of its unrelenting despair.

5. Gah, won't these people get over themselves already?

6. Clean the pee off the rug as soon as you can! (Or else it will stain, you know.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to cleaning, tomorrow my plans include cleaning and Sunday, I want to sleep, but will probably clean.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Those Crazy Belles

They done gone out and got themselves a blog!

If you check it out, let me know what you think! *grin*

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hey! That's Handmade! - "barkingbirdart"

Hi bloggy buds! Today I'm featuring a really special artist. Rebecca of "barking bird art" on Etsy!

Rebecca has some fantastic illustrations in her store. I found her by clicking on an advertisement and fell in love, so I asked her for a little interview. I hope you enjoy reading about this great little shop!

*How long have you been doing illustrations, and how did you get into it?
"I opened my Etsy shop last November and sold my first pieces a few weeks later. Prior to that, I'd never shown my work publicly, so it was quite a thrill to suddenly share my illustrations with people around the world! As far as my credentials go, I majored in Art History and took many studio art classes in college, and I've been a doodler and painter most of my life. I'm still new to the business side of illustration and really excited by the possibilities."

"Star Gazing Turtle"

*What inspires you in your art?
"My work is inspired by classic children's book illustrators, contemporary Pop Surrealist artists, and the natural world--especially the animal kingdom--which never ceases to amaze and delight me!"

*Your colors are soft and lovely and your pieces are so adorable... your "voice" definitely speaks through each one. What led you to that particular voice?
*What do you hope to give the world by sharing your talent with it?
"You might be surprised to learn that I'm a bit of a cynic and a pessimist by nature, but I like to think that my better side shows through in my work. I figure that there's enough ugliness, angst, and sorrow in the world already, so I choose to celebrate the sweetness instead. In response to what I hope to give the world through my art, I'm afraid that I don't really have any lofty intentions. When I'm going about my day and I see something cute, it gives me a momentary little burst of happiness. I'd love to think that my illustrations occasionally have that effect on people."

"Elephants in Love"

*What is your personal favorite of your collection and why?
"That's really hard to say. I'm completely crazy about elephants, so I'd probably pick "Elephants in Love" as my current favorite. I try to strike a balance between enjoying what I've created and acknowledging that there's lots of room for growth and improvement."

*Things are tough these days, especially for many of us "starving artists". What do you do to stay positive in such a difficult field?
"I am lucky to have a really sweet and supportive husband. Seriously, my work would not be possible without him. Not only does he pay the bills (thanks, Sweetie!) but he offers lots of encouragement during the slow spells. Also, I try to remember that although times are certainly tough financially, we are living in something of a golden age for indie artists, musicians, and crafters. The internet has given us so much power and control over our careers. It's truly amazing! Ten years ago I wouldn't have imagined that I'd be selling my art to customers as far away as Australia. It's a real honor and something that I'm grateful for every day!"

I urge you all to check out Rebecca's Etsy shop, barking bird art, to see the rest of her fabulous work. I promise you'll love it! Or at least, I promise I do. *grin*

Thanks so much, Rebecca, for letting me share your work with my friends. Best of luck to you!

Monday, August 04, 2008

And the winners are...

For the FREE Cocoa Puffs coupons...

#76: Zombie Money commented, "Hi! I loved Lucky Charms because they tasted so magically delicious :)"
#24: Tammy said, "Nothing like chocolate for breakfast! thanks for the chance."
#17: Michelle said, "I have loved Life ever since Mikey decided he liked it."
#38: Tanya commented, "Lucky Charms all the way!!! Great giveaway! Thanks for offering it!"

Thanks to all who played! As a consolation prize, anyone can click here to print out a .55 off coupon for Cinnamon Toast Crunch! The coupon will be sent directly to your printer.

If you are a winner, please make sure I get your mailing address soon so you can get your prize.