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.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Macro Monday #2

I know you're all waiting with bated breath to find out about last week's photo. We had lots of great guesses, but no winners! To be quite honest, I don't think I could have guessed it either. It was a hard one. Like some of you, when I see it, I think "coffee grounds" too. But nope, no coffee. No stains. No carpet. No poppy seeds and no baked goods. Though what comes inside it can be associated with baked goods.


Does this photo help?

It's a piece of a broken pecan shell sitting on my blue jeans. Isn't it weird how the black spots on the shell look 3-D? That does make them look like coffee or poppy seeds.

Thanks for playing along! I hope you had fun. *grin*

Now for this week's photo... hopefully a tad bit easier, but maybe not! (Click to enlarge.)

So, do you think you know it? Can you outsmart my macro? If you have a fun macro or close up shot to share, let me know! Or if you have any ideas for some close up shots, feel free to make a suggestion. Maybe someday you'll see it. *grin*

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Crystal, Meet AI Focus

And bloggy buds, meet Mr. Seagull. (Please make sure you click to enlarge!)

Photo courtesy of Mr. Honking Macro Lens.

Two things.

1.) I love this lens.
2.) AI Focus + continuous shooting mode = woooooo!

That bird was not very close. The lens just really rocks. And if I had a steady hand and more experience, it would rock even more!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Macro Monday

So it's Monday and I've got this sweet, new macro lens and I thought to myself, "hmmm, Macro Monday!" would be a fun thing I can do to help me learn to use this monster.

Here's the deal. I'll post a macro shot of something I found during the previous week and you get to guess what it is. If you guess it right, you win! What do you win? The satisfaction of knowing that you're smart and get to help me refine my photo taking skillz. Cause they aren't quite mad yet, yo. *giggle* Sorry, I guess I can't do better than that right now.

I'll post the answer (and winner if there is one!) as well as a small non-cropped version of the photo so you can see for yourself what it is on the following Monday when we start all over again. The photos will not be heavily edited. I might adjust the lighting levels if they're too dark, or correct the color if it's off and perhaps sharpen it just a tad if it needs it, but that's it. They will be at the magnification that the camera takes them... no digital zooming!

If you have a macro or even a point and shoot that takes really great close-ups, feel free to participate on your own blog! Just make sure you leave me a comment to let me know so I can check it out.

Here's our first Macro Monday photo (click to enlarge):

What do ya think? Do you think you know it? Tell me! Outsmart my macro. *grin*