Thursday, December 17, 2009

so much to do ... why am i playing online? :)

i'm so glad that my family is used to getting their Christmas gifts late cuz i haven't even started them yet, so there's no way they'll get there in time *smile*. i have so much to do, and i just don't feel like doing it. right now i'm uber-stressed with everything else going on. one good thing is that my stress has alerted me to another problem -- i have a 9mm nodule on my thyroid. yay! what fun! now i have to go and have it ultrasounded and get blood work done to find out what's up. the good news is that your thyroid has a little bit to do with a lot of things, so it may be the underlying cause of a lot of my issues. but it'll be a while before we figure out what's up. always something to keep me on my toes *smile*

and i wish the men in my life wore jewelry. it would make my life a lot simpler *smile*. i can't even make they key keepers, cuz they don't carry their keys like that. i guess i could make key rings, but why? *smile* i had a really great custom ordered handmade gift for everyone, but i underestimated the popularity of my favorite fibre artist and they won't be ready until after the new year! i was really bummed, cuz that meant that i actually had to do something. *smile* they're still gonna get their special custom order gift, just REALLY late, so i won't mention what it is, but i know they'll love it. *smile* but since i've been trying to go to bed at a decent time and do what i can to reduce my stress level, there's just not enough time for creating. how old do the kids need to be before they can cook their own meals? since isabelle came into my room this morning naked as a jaybird, i know they're old enough to dress themselves *smile*. and she's good at doing buttons, too *smile*.

but i've got to get off the computer so i can get dinner started so we can go get a tree tonight. yay! finally my house will start to smell like Christmas *smile*

Friday, December 11, 2009

third day's the charm :)

well, today was day three of panties for isabelle. and i told her on wednesday (day 1) that if she made it all day without peepeeing in her panties that we'd go to the store and buy the princess panties we saw. needless to say, wednesday was not the day. she pooped in her panties, and then when we went out to dinner (i know, i know, what was i thinking! *smile*) she peepeed and had to ride home in wet panties and tights, which really upset her. so thursday was better, but not all the way. today, however, was wonderful! we went out shopping and i had not 1, but 2 changes of clothes for her, extra panties and dora underwear just to cover our bases. but we stopped and pottied everywhere we went, and she kept her panties dry all day. so tomorrow while mommy's at work, isabelle will get to go to the store and buy princess panties.

i'm so glad to finally be able to stop buying dora underwear all the time. it was really a pain in the neck. i prefered the dora underwear (pampers) to the cinderella underwear (pull-ups) becuz they don't open on the sides and seemed to conform to her body a little more. sometimes the sides of the cinderella underwear would open on their own, which kinda defeats the purpose *smile*. but, with the dora underwear, she wears a size 6, which they only sell at target. and even when every other size of everything that pampers makes is on sale, size 6 dora underwear is not. very frustrating.

christopher didn't understand the need to call things certain things. diapers were cloth diapers and the occasional disposable. underwear are pull-ups. we started that with alexander, cuz even though he's potty trained, he's a really heavy sleeper and heavy wetter, so he wears "night-time underwear" at night. he's pretty good at naptime, though. but panties are panties. she gets really upset if you call her panties underwear. they're totally not the same in her mind. she loves the fact that she can do it all herself. for some reason, she had a hard time getting the dora underwear up over her bottom. but with panties she's all good. it also helped that we were sick most of this week, so we stayed in the house and she had on dresses. much easier to just pull up your dress and potty. and we had her little potty downstairs so she could potty and not miss her show. oh well. but only pee pee goes in the little potty. poopey goes upstairs in the big potty. mommy doesn't like cleaning poopey out of the little potty, cuz it's icky *smile*.

so we'll see what happens tomorrow with daddy being home. i don't know if he has plans to leave the house, cuz that'll make a huge difference with him and her pottying. he doesn't like to take her potty in a store cuz they have to go in the mens room. i guess it wouldn't be bad if it was like the women's room and was all stalls, but with the urinals, it's a different story. plus the men's room always seems to smell *smile*. well, we'll figure it out.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RIP *sniff*

well, my creative microphoto mp3 player died. i did what i could on line to try to revive it. creative has a resuscitation program, but nothing worked. i'm very sad. i really loved my little mp3 player. and now i don't know what i want to do. i have all the accessories for it, but i don't know if i want to get another one. they're a little old and they don't make them anymore, so they don't sell *new* ones. i looked on ebay and there's actually several available, but they're all used, and do i really wanna pay $80 for a used mp3 player?

but we had some good times, divazen and i. it was perfect for travelling, since i like gospel and showtunes and christopher likes bluegrass and johnny cash. and while traveling through the barren flats of western ohio on our way to columbus, it was great, cuz the only radio stations seem to be country. bleh! *smile* and with my nifty speaker system it was perfect for labor with isabelle. especially since there was a remote that i could use from my bed. my labor & delivery playlist was my favorite :).

so now, i have the delimma of what to do. should i just abscond with my husband's mp3 player that i got him for his birthday last year? or should i just buy myself a new one for Christmas? my Christmas gift is actually being delivered today, but it's not really a gift for me -- it's an oven and curling iron set for work -- so i don't think it really counts. but do i want another creative zen, which i really like, or do i want an ipod since we're a mac family anyway? the only reason i still have my dell computer up and running is to rip cd's and upload music onto our mp3 players. it would be nice to be able to do everything on the same operating system. but 8mb ipod's are expensive. i can get a 8mb zen for much less than an 8mb ipod. bleh.

let me finish mourning my divazen before i commit to replacing her. she was a good friend :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

early Christmas music and other random thoughts *smile*

so, i turned on the radio the other day and was thrilled to find Christmas music! already! and it's not even thanksgiving! :) I'm so excited. i listen to Christmas music year-round anyway, so it's nice to be able to just turn on the radio and have it for my listening pleasure. what bothers me, though, is that the day after Christmas, it's nowhere to be found. couldn't they wean me off it slowly? i mean, in the stores, they've started adding it every 3 songs or so, but even they make me go cold turkey. it really sucks :)

but today is alexander's birthday. 4 years ago right now i pushed him into the world. amazing! i can't remember a time that he wasn't here with me. my life without him seems just a fond memory or like something i read in a book--similar to my life, but not really something i can relate to. but we had an awesome day. his nana, grandma and aunt amie sent him money, so he & daddy spent it all at big lots :). meanwhile isabelle and i went dress shopping. she's been on this dress kick lately, and we didn't really have any with sleeves, so we had to go shopping. when i was revamping their fall/winter wardrobe she wasn't into wearing dresses, so i made sure she had jeans that fit and long sleeved shirts, but no dresses. so now she has some, but she's wanted to wear a dress every day this week so far. we need to make a trip to once upon a child :)

so alexander's birthday party is tomorrow. he's SO excited. he's invited 7 kids, 6 of whom are coming, and christopher has really outdone himself thinking up games and activities. i just hope it turns out the way they hope and everyone has fun. with alexander's track record lately he'll spend his entire party in time out :)

and i made my first sale of the Christmas open house! i'm so excited! check out audrey's blog for all the info on how to enter the contest to win this beautiful red jasper & pearl bracelet, as well as 13 other beautiful prizes (including one from the quilted house!). for the open house, i'm offering buy one get one 1/2 price on everything, and with all orders of $15 or more (not including shipping) you get a beautiful keychain! you even get to specify the color! i've only got 2 for sale in my shop right now, but i've got many more in progress, and i'm having a great time playing with color combinations. :) i've added some beautiful sterling silver and 14k gold items to my shop, i've also got several special orders in the works, and we haven't figured out what we're doing for the laret family Christmas gift. we've been doing a handmade gift exchange for the past couple of years, but we haven't decided what it'll be this year. at this point, though, it had better be something quick and easy :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

life doesn't get any easier

well, i'm tired. that's really nothing new, cuz i'm always tired. but i've hit a new level of tiredness, cuz i'm trying to do so many things--play with my kids, feed them regular & nutritious meals in a timely fashion, take care of the house, work a little to pay my bills, take care of the house (do we really need clean clothes EVERY day?) and make jewelry in my spare time. there's not as much spare time as my many projects demand, so i've been stealing time from my other duties to do jewelry, which hasn't been going over well with my husband. oops *smile*. but i've got so many projects going on!

the holidays are coming up and i'm participating in a Christmas open house (check out the button on the right hand side of my blog). there's 13 other etsy shops participating and you can check out the particulars either on my other blog or on Audrey's Country Crafts. the open house doesn't start until november 15th, and audrey won't have all the info up until then, but each shop is have a special promotion during the open house (i'm offering 1/2 off your second item and a free gift for purchases over $15 *smile*). and we're each donating a giveaway prize, so everyone has 13 chances to win! my giveaway is this beautiful pearl & red jasper bracelet. who said that 13's an unlucky number? *smile*

so in addition to that, it's the holidays, so i'm trying to make sure i've got enough stuff in my shop to make some money this holiday season. plus i've got the stuff i'm doing for blossoms of verona. she's got her grand re-opening on saturday, 11/14, and so i'm trying to get another set of stuff ready for her, too. and it's different than the stuff i've got in my shop. so many design ideas floating through my head simultaneously!

and to top it all off, my husband expects the children to be dressed and fed every day! too bad they can't live on fruit snacks and sponge bob yogurt *smile*.

but i'm in my pj's and my snuggie, ready for another evening of creating while i do laundry. there really is no rest for the wicked. or is it weary? either way, if the shoe fits...*smile*

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

shopping with children--not for the faint of heart... least not with my kids *smile*. my sister & mom can really appreciate this, since they've shopped with me recently, but alexander especially likes to push the envelope. he's almost 4 and likes to make sure that the boundaries are still firmly in place. i swear! but today was the icing on the cake. i just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me! *smile*

we had to go shopping today becuz they needed new pj's and isabelle needs pants (which is another story altogether *smile*). so we went to the mall with our friends kellie & clare & erin. gymboree was fine. children's place was okay. lunch was showing signs of needing a nap. so when we got to burlington i knew that i had no hope of keeping them in the stroller. fine. we found some jeans for isabelle and found some pj's for both of them and we're checking out. i know that my time is limited. even though i didn't force alexander to stay in the stroller the whole time, i knew that he was at the end of his rope, patience-wise. but he flips out while we're putting on our jackets to leave and knocks over my bottle of water, spilling water all over the place. i desperately wanted to thwack him in the back of the head, but i'm well aware of all the eyes on me. sheesh! i really just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me! when i was childless i used to look at those mothers with the uncontrollable children with pity and think about what poor mothers they were. clearly, if they were better mothers, they would have more control over their children and they'd be well behaved like my brother, sister and i were. how little did i know *smile*. but i was proud of myself, becuz even though i was embarrassed to the soles of my feet, i did what i would have done at home, and once he calmed down a bit, i took him out of the stroller and made him help me clean up the mess. i was so angry, but helping to clean up helped me to calm down, too, so that by the time we were done i wasn't afraid that i'd have to kill my child (don't call cys*smile*).

of course both of them are asleep now, and i have a moment to breathe before i have to deal with them again. thankfully there are still some things that isabelle doesn't follow in her brother's footsteps in. she flips out, but not as regularly and not as extremely. although until i saw her have a temper tantrum, i didn't think that children really threw themselves down on the ground kicking and screaming like you see on tv. the first time i saw her do that, i just looked at her and told her that when she was ready to settle down and behave like a sane, rational human being that i'd be in the living room. i had to leave cuz i was gonna laugh! amazing!

Friday, October 30, 2009

on being a SAHM...

i had a revelation while i was away on my mini-vaca with my sister and my mom. a lot of people who don't have children don't really realize what it takes to be a stay at home mom. my sister said as much to me while we were at her house and i was restraining my thrashing contortionist son. she really thought i had it made--that my life was perfect. i only had to work part time, and even though money's tight, i got to be at home all day with my two wonderful children and had time to create beautiful jewelry for my etsy shop. spending 2 days in her house disabused her of that illusion *smile*

i have 2 kids, and they couldn't be more different. but they're both a lot of work in their own way. isabelle is probably the most independent 2 year old you'll ever meet. and it's so frustrating cuz you have to help in a way that makes it seem like you're not helping even though letting her do it herself takes twice as long and you're already late...and alexander vacillates between wanting to do everything himself and not wanting to do anything himself. and you need to be able to know which day it is. and he's very high-energy. i don't want to label him as anything, but he needs a lot of directed activity, or he'll find a non-desirous activity to occupy himself *smile* and he's a master at breaking toys (and non-toys he just happens to be playing with *smile*), not becuz he's destructive, but becuz he wants to know how stuff works and why it moves or doesn't move. cheap plastic made in china just doesn't cut it for my son. he'll destroy it in a day. and not becuz he's malicious, but becuz he's so enthralled with it that he wants to know the entire parameters of it's ability. thank the Lord for tonka *smile*

so it was kinda gratifying to see my sister and open her eyes to my reality *smile*. i don't know what i would do if i weren't medicated. i'd either be in jail or western psych *smile*

Thursday, October 29, 2009

big lots, blankets, beads and blessings

well, the kids and i just got back from a mini-vacation to rochester to visit my sister and mom. we had a blast. i got to do some of my favorite things in the world: go to a marvelous bead store, visit a foreign big lots and be blessed with family. *smile*

the bead store we went to was called Let's Bead! it was absolutely fabulous! i spent way too much money, but they had some beautiful sterling silver chandelier findings, and i just couldn't resist them. the shop was easily twice the size of my favorite bead shop here in pittsburgh, Your Beading Heart, and had a fabulous selection of everything imaginable, and at decent prices, too *smile*. but at YBH i can bring the kids and sit them in the classroom and they get to watch PBS kids while i shop. i was ecstatic that they fell asleep on our way to the shop so that i could shop unhindered by little curious fingers *smile*.

my other favorite thing to do is to visit foreign big lots. every time we go somewhere we make it a point of finding a big lots store that we haven't been to. each big lots is different, and while they have some of the same things, each store has it's own unique charm and personality. even here in pittsburgh, my 2 regular big lots are different. so we went online before we left to find a big lots near the bead store so we could do it all in one fell swoop *smile*. yay! i love big lots shopping sprees. although, i really didn't splurge on anything--just what i'd normally be buying for my weekly grocery shopping anyway. oh well. it was still fun becuz i did find a snuggie!

now, i am a cold person. starting in late september i usually start wearing gloves and a hat. and i wear a sweater over my flannel nightgown to bed, with a hat and an extra quilt on my side of the bed at night. so a snuggie was right up my alley *smile*. earlie in the day on wednesday i'd gotten an email from a friend via facebook that there was a website where i could get a FREE snuggie, so i think i may have another one coming in the mail, which would be awesome! *smile* my sister is worse than my husband about using the furnace, so i was plenty warm last night snuggled in bed with my two personal heating devices (named alexander & isabelle *smile*) and my snuggie! when i found it at big lots, i pointed it out as a joke, but when my mom bought it for me i was thrilled. and of course, we all had to pose in it, which my sister posted on her blog *smile*. so much fun!

which brings me to my last "b"--the blessings of family. it was amazing to be able to spend a couple of days with 2 of my favorite women in the world--my mom and my sister. michelle & i planned this trip as a destashing/trading expedition. we have this elaborate ritual of trading stuff we're not using for stuff the other has that we want. this trip centered around her polymer clay stuff, which is my latest obsession. whenever i go to rummage sales or yard sales, i'm always picking up quilting stuff, which comes in handy for this purpose. i'm really excited to work with the clay and i've got so many ideas i want to try out! *smile* but i can't do it tonight, cuz i'm exhausted! what should have been a 4.5 hour trip took 7 hours cuz we stopped at every restroom (and bush) between rochester and pittsburgh. i'm so grateful that alexander's a boy and can "potty like daddy" when there's no potty available. i don't know what i'm gonna do when isabelle's wearing panties *sigh*. we'll cross that bridge when we get to it *smile*

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Third Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch

Third Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch
corner of Fifth & Negley in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh
5701 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232 | 412-661-4710 |

i'm actually fairly active at my church, especially since i'm not a member. and today the children and i helped out at the pumpkin patch. they do it every year as a fundraiser for their mission trips to haiti and other impoverished parts of the world, mainly north america. but they're very active in haiti, and a couple of members go twice a year. i really wanted to go this year, but when i mentioned it to christopher, he looked at me like i had two heads *smile*.

but i we went to the pumpkin patch, and i was unprepared for how much work there was to do. the shift started at 10 am, but i told michelle, the assistant pastor, that i couldn't be there til 11, so i was already an hour behind. the first thing i had to do was roll the pumpkins. most of them were on pallets, but we got so many this year that there were quite a few that weren't. if they stay in the same position on the wet ground they'll rot, hence the need for rolling. i estimate that i personally rolled about 100 pumpkins today, in a wide range of sizes from tiny to huge *smile*. and while the rolling was going on, i had to keep my kids from killing each other and help customers.

and i had some interesting customers. my first were two women who were looking for 3 almost identical pumpkins of 15" across. yeah, right *smile*. pumpkins that're that big are also really heavy, and who do you suppose they expected to carry these ginormous pumpkins? that's right--me! so i definitly got my workout today. between rolling them and lifting them, i don't think i'll need to go to the gym for a while *smile*. i also had a woman who wanted 50 mini pumpkins. thankfully she didn't need my help for anything *smile*.

my least favorite chore was moving the rotting pumpkins to the pile to become compost. ick! especially when you grab it in the wrong place and your hands are covered in pumpkin ooze. or one of your mini helpers knocks over the cart on which rotting pumpkins have been placed and hey explode all over the church yard. double ick!! *smile*

all in all, it was a fun day. we had wonderful weather for it, and the kids got to pick the biggest pumpkins they could carry *smile* and amazingly isabelle picked a short, fat pumpkin and alexander picked a tall thin pumpkin. go figure *smile*

so if you're in the market for a pumpkin in the pittsburgh area, be sure to stop by 3rd church. all the proceeds go to a very worthy cause *smile*.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

for the love of power tools :)

when i was in junior high i took both wood shop and metal shop, not becuz i really cared, but becuz that's where the boys were *smile*. but while i was there, i discovered a love of power tools. i could do a pretty darn good puddle weld with the oxyacetylene torches *smile*. i made a pair of shelf brackets and a bookshelf that i still use *smile*.

when i was a single girl, i had a tool kit with all the requisite screwdrivers and nails and my own power drill. i could put anything together, but don't ask me to sew on a button or hem a skirt. that's what safety pins and double sided tape are for *smile*. but when i got married, i married a man who really uses power tools, so i put mine away and was content to let him do all the work. i never had to put together another shelving unit, or take out the garbage, or worry about changing the oil in my car.

but then i started making jewelry, and i wanted real, professional looking display cases. and since i didn't want to spend the money buying them, i decided to make them. but my husband didn't have time to do it when i needed it done, so i rediscovered my love for power tools. what a thrill! *smile* i tried to talk him into letting me use his table saw, but he said no *smile*. plus, it's more of a table and storage area right now, so he'd hafta clear it off to use it anyway. i only needed to cut dowel rods, so i guess it would have been a little excessive, but it would have been a lot of fun *smile*

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

meet your new family...

my dad has been really into geneology lately, which is really awesome, but kinda hard cuz his family isn't really who you would think it to be. apparently, his mom was married to one guy, but had a baby with someone else. oops *smile*. but luckily, she knew who the real father was, and in the past year or so, my dad has done some research and found his real father's family, with all of his half-siblings and everything. kinda cool. but also kinda weird. apparently his family was not what you would call, um, chaste *smile*. or, um, faithful *smile*. there's another "other family" somewhere back there on his mom's side, too. really weird. it's the kind of thing you read about in a book or see on tv (thankfully not jerry springer, though), but i had no idea that it was my family's history. i wish i were a writer, cuz this has the makings of a great novel. too bad it's true *smile*. i don't think non-fiction sells anywhere near as well. well, we could change the names to protect the innocent and sell it as fiction, right?

and on a completely unrelated note, i will be revamping my heavenlycreationspgh blog to highlight my jewelry more fully. i'm gearing up to sell my jewelry at blossoms of verona, here in pittsburgh, starting 10/25, and i've got a fabulous new line of sterling silver and 14k gold that i'll have available there. but i'll take pics of everything and have it on my other blog, so stay tuned and i'll keep you posted *smile*. and my holiday earrings are moving quickly on my etsy site! the autumn and "boo-tiful" earrings are still available with free shipping for a limited time, so grab them while you can! *smile*

Friday, October 9, 2009

a happy accident

so i've been incredibly absent minded lately. it's gotten really bad. the last time i made granola i forgot everything that made it healthy (wheat germ & flax seed) and used a bit of garlic oil. luckily it was a very small batch. so i was extra diligent this time to make sure that i added the flax seed and wheat germ and only used canola oil. but i forgot the brown sugar this time. luckily i was very heavy handed with the maple syrup, so it actually turned out ok. i'd found a new recipe in parents magazine at my allergist and it called for 1 tbs of vanilla. it was really good, cuz i didn't add any chocolate (i usually use special dark cocoa powder *smile*) and with just the syrup and no brown sugar it was very lightly sweetened, but the plentiful chunks of pinapple, craisens and mango made it really delicious *smile*

my love of shoes

i love shoes. at one point in time i had over 100 pairs of shoes, most of them black. i've really downsized in recent years, mainly becuz my husband refuses to dedicate as much storage space as i'd really like. and he keeps asking questions like "why do you need all these shoes? you don't even wear them. don't you have a pair of black shoes like those?" clearly he's a man, and will never understand my need for blue reptile print leather pumps *smile*

but i think i've passed my love of shoes (some would say addiction *smile*) on to my children. alexander really only has 1 pair of shoes--tennis shoes--that he wears constantly. but he does have a pair that he wears to church at Easter & Christmas (and whenever we're at grandma's house for mass *smile*) but he needed a new pair cuz they didn't fit. we were at a fabulous resale shop called once upon a child where i take their "gently used" clothing and get cash to buy them "new" clothing. while we were there, i found not 1, not 2, but 3 pairs of stacy adams in his size. anyone who doesn't know who stacy adams is has never bought fabulous mens shoes. they're right up there with florsheims. i didn't even know they made stacy adams for boys! i was so excited. and i found the most adorable pair of rain boots for isabelle. she wanted to carry them home herself.

so today, we're watching lightening mcqueen, and they both want to put on their new shoes. and alexander is tap-dancing in the kitchen on the hardwood floor (i don't know where he got that from *smile*) and asked me if he can wear his new shoes to bed *smile*. a boy after my own heart *smile*

Monday, October 5, 2009

FREE SHIPPING!!! *smile*

well, i've decided to put my halloween and autumn earrings on sale from now until october 27th. all of my "boo-tiful" and autumn inspired earrings are available with FREE SHIPPING! they sold really well at the craft fair over the weekend, so i don't think they'll be around for long *smile*. the ghosts are my favorite. they're just so cute.

they're all glass beads with titanium fishhooks and stainless steel headpins. the boo-tiful pumpkins are embellished with crystals.

take a look at my shop, cuz i don't think they'll be available for long!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

whoo hoo! yay me!

i am so excited! i did a craft show/flea market/bake sale/basket weaving & apple butter making demo/farmers market today *smile*. and it went really well. the last thing i did, i only sold 2 pieces, my stuff kept blowing over, i'd lost my voice & i was placed right in front of the speakers *smile*. there were some challenges today, cuz i still had to work (and managed to do 5 clients), but i sold quite a few pieces, and passed out a lot of business cards, and even got the business card of a woman who owns a floral shop who was interested in perhaps carrying my jewelry! *smile* whoo hoo!

but like i said, the day was not without it's challenges. when i got there at 8am to start setting up, and found out i was supposed to bring my own table. that was info i could have used yesterday *smile*. but luckily i live nearby, so i called my husband and had him get the table out of the shed and transfered all my stuff from my car to his truck so i could take the table. but then, by the time i had everything set up, i had to go to work to do my first 3 clients. i barely had time to fill my friend michele in on prices and stones before i had to dash off to become a super-hairdresser *smile*. thankfully all of my clients were on time and uncomplicated so i was able to finish up and go back to my table.

while i was sitting at my table, i had alot of people approach, which was awesome, and i had to find the balance between over-bearing walmart greeter and uncaring ulta associate. i also had to resist the urge to lower my prices just becuz. people weren't trying to get bargains, but i still sometimes just felt that insecurity in my artistic ability. but when i sold an earring and necklace set for $35 and the woman didn't even blink, i knew i was okay *smile*

it was just amazing to do it. and now i really want to do another. but i'm afraid that if i do an actual craft fair with other jewelry makers that there'll be too much competition. i like being somewhere unconventional cuz people don't have anyone else to compare me to. but we'll see. a lot of these are on saturdays when i've got hair to do, or on sundays when i've got church. but i definitly want to try to do at least one holiday craft fair/flea market/bazaar/bake sale type thing. whoo hoo! *smile*

on a completely unrelated note, my computer room is in the basement, and right now both of my children are awake, which is always a challenge. but alexander had been pottying and came down to the basement all naked. when i asked him why he was all naked, he told me "cuz i like to" *smile*.

Friday, October 2, 2009

absentmindedness--a new disease?

i think i may have a terminal illness--absentmindedness. right now it's 12:20 am and i am blogging becuz i forgot that i put bread dough in my bread machine at 8pm. for those of you that don't know, i make all the bread that my family consumes. well, we buy hot dog and hamburger buns, but dinner rolls, special occasion bread, foccacia (my favorite!) and sandwich/toast bread is all made by me. it's awesome, cuz i get to control what my family eats, but it sucks, cuz i have to make the bread, sometimes twice a week. and for anyone who's never made bread, it's a process. luckily i have a bread machine, so all i really have to do is remember i've put dough in and it's all good. unfortunately, i forgot. but i can't let the dough sit overnight, so i have to let it rise for an hour and at 1am it will be ready to go in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. *sigh*

but doesn't your bread machine bake? you ask. of course it does. but for anyone who's baked bread in a bread machine, you know that the size of the loaf is not conducive to toasting, which is really frustrating. so i take the extra time to make dough, and then put it in bread pans and bake it myself so that i get appropriate sized loaves for toast, grilled cheese and pb&j. *smile* i also then get to put flax seed, wheat germ and sweet potato in the dough so that's there's a little more nutrition. i also altered my recipe to add whole wheat flour. i don't think my kids have really ever eaten squishy white bread *smile*. i think i even use whole wheat flour in my foccacia. i usually make whole wheat pizza crust, too, but lately i've been lazy and have been making white, cuz the whole wheat you have to bake for 12 minutes before you put the toppings on and then bake for another 20 minutes. the white crust you only have to bake once you put the toppings on. i don't know why you have to bake the whole wheat twice, but that's what my book tells me, so that's what i do. but even my white pizza crust looks like whole wheat cuz i put in flax seed and wheat germ. and i did remember them tonight even though i forgot them in my granola *smile*.

well, only an hour til the whole process is complete. and i won't even have the energy to slice it warm with real butter. that's the best *smile*

Thursday, October 1, 2009

rummage and granola

so i love rummage sales. my church does 2 a year--spring and fall--and i help out with the set up every time. it's awesome, cuz if you set up, you get to shop early and get all the good stuff before it goes on sale *smile*. my biggest weakness is cardigans. i have SO MANY cardigans, and they're totally awesome! i love "old lady" cardigans with pearl buttons and "mr rogers" cardigans (for christopher, of course *smile*).

but this year as i was making a final perusal of the sale goods, i came across 2 boxes of fabric that the ladies had missed. yay me! i found a ton of fabulous quilting fabrics and some muslin and really fun halloween flannel (unfortunately not quilting flannel, but i have other uses for it *smile*). there were some great patriotic fabrics and some autumn fabrics and some really great traditional-y quilting fabrics. i'm very excited, cuz when my sister came to visit for isabelle's b-day, she really decimated my quilting stash. of course i did buy some of it with her in mind, but i think i might make her come see me to get it *smile*

and i made granola last night. i really shouldn't do anything important after 9:30 pm. i'm absentminded during the day after a good night's sleep, but at the end of the day, forget about it! *smile* i totally forgot to put in both the flax seed and the wheat germ and forgot that we were very low on canola oil. so i pulled down our little carafe of olive oil, not knowing that my husband had put garlic oil in there once upon a time. so as i'm stirring, i'm wondering why it doesn't smell like it usually does. so i add more cocoa powder. it wasn't until it was baking that i started smelling the garlic. you can't really taste it, but still! i can't eat this fast enough. good thing the children like it too--they can help me eat it so i can make a batch that's nutritious and non-garlic *smile*

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

google analytics

i have gotten addicted to analysing my site traffic. it's completely fascinating. i was telling my mom that i'm an artist with the soul of an accountant, and it's totally true! *smile* the numbers fascinate me.

i'm new to twitter, but i'm amazed at how responsive it is. i put an item up for viewing and immediately there's tons of new hits on my etsy site. wow. now i need to do the research on what time of day it's best to post to get the optimum response *smile*. again, the accountant in me.

i finally figured out how to do google analytics on my blog as well. i love seeing where people come from when they come to my site, and seeing how many mac vs pc users there are.

now, i don't know how accurate these things are, becuz i get slightly different results from google than i do from craftcult on my etsy site, which is kinda frustrating. but i can't just do it for a short amount of time. i need to have a wealth of data to examine in order to determine what my best strategy is *smile*. is it too late for me to go back to school to become some sort of market researcher? *smile*

Sunday, September 27, 2009

absentimindedness and bag bonanza

so i'm incredibly absentminded. christopher blames it on my meds, but i think it's becuz i've got so many balls in the air, i can't remember which is which *smile*. so when i got home on monday and saw a package where the mailman and the ups guy leave my packages, i started racking my brain trying to remember if i'd actually bought any of the stuff i've got in my many online shopping carts (my cart at firemountain is always full *smile*). so imagine my surprise when i saw that it was my pay it forward from teresa of sewing trials. my sister had told me about her pay it forward, so i entered hoping to get something, and boy did i ever. *smile* and it came just in the nick of time. she sent me a wonderful set of shopping bags, and i'm one of those people they know at my grocery store, cuz i always come with my own shopping bags. now i have enough to have some in my car at all times, just in case. and it was my first dress rehearsal for the opera, and i needed a bag to use to take all my makeup and shoes and various accoutrement downtown, so they definitly came in handy *smile*. i also needed one to take my hair stuff down for the opening night party, in case anyone needed my professional assistance getting ready for the party. they were the perfect size to hold my blowdryer and flatiron, plus my clips, sprays, and combs. totally awesome!

there was also a set of wallets and notecard holders, complete with notecards and envelopes in one, and notepads in the other. and both had pens! i can never find a pen when i need one, so these are definitly going in my purse! and the little wallets are perfect for carrying feminine supplies that you don't want the world to see. awesome. and they close with a little button/tie closure. very cute and such a great fabric! *smile*

there were also some flannel scarves, which i have a feeling may become blankets for isabelle's babies. it's getting colder and even though she doesn't feel that her babies need clothes (she strips them naked as soon as they come out of the box), they always have a blanket *smile*. but there was one with music notes on it that is perfect for protecting a diva's instrument *smile*

thank you so much, teresa! your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated!

now i really need to get my butt in gear and figure out what i want to do for my pay it forward. i won my sister's as well, so i think i need to do 8 people. i need to confirm that, and i really need to wait until the opera is over, as well as the flea market this weekend at mt. hope church (frankstown road in penn hills, 10/3 from 8am til 3pm *smile*). but once life slows down, hopefully i'll have time to do something in time for the holidays *smile*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

finally, a break *smile*

so tonight was final dress for pittsburgh opera's eugene onegin. i'm so glad! it's been a really long week, and it's only wednesday. ususally the final dress rehearsal is on a thursday, but becuz the g-20 is here it pittsburgh, they're basically closing down downtown pittsburgh. major pain in the butt. but it's really nice cuz we have 2 nights off instead of only 1 between final dress and opening night. i'm really exhausted. when i come home from rehearsal i'm wired, so i can't get to bed before 1am, but my kids still get up at 8. oh well.

i've been using my time productively, though. i've been making more jewelry for the flea market i'll be at on 10/3 at mt. hope church in penn hills. i've got some really cute holiday earrings, both halloween and Christmas that are just adorable. and i'm really into making long necklaces lately. i don't know how well they'll sell, cuz since they take a while to design and make, and i'm using a better quality of supplies, they're kinda expensive. i got a fabulous sterling silver rose toggle clasp from my sister, and i really want to keep it for myself, but i may end up using it on a rose quartz and apatite necklace i'm designing. i'll keep you posted *smile*. i also made myself some fabulous chandelier earrings to wear on stage, but i left them in the dressing room, so i can't take a pic. i want to make a matching necklace but i'm not sure i have enough crystals left, but when i do, i'll have someone take a picture of me in costume so you can get the full effect *smile*

i'm hoping to stay home all day tomorrow and do some stuff, including taking some pics of my latest creations outside so i can get them posted to my etsy shop, but i think it's supposed to rain all day. i'm not really in the mood to get wet, just to take pictures, so we may have to wait a couple of days *smile*. but we'll see. i like using the rocks and trees in my backyard, but i may have to get creative if they weather channel is right. *smile*

Sunday, September 20, 2009

busy busy bee

well, i've been very busy lately. between rehearsals for pittsburgh opera (eugene onegin opens on saturday, sept 26th), making jewelry, doing hair, and taking care of my kids and husband, i've been a busy little beaver.

onegin is going to be a fabulous show. we did the studio run on friday, and it was amazing. they really spent their money wisely on the leads for this show. the tatiana is amazing! just amazing. i can't think of words to describe the beauty of her voice. for most of the rehearsals she hadn't been singing, but during the studio run, she finally let 'er rip, and it was so worth the wait. the men, for the most part, have been singing full out most of the time, but it was nice to finally have an opportunity to hear their arias and things we're not on stage for, and so don't get to hear during our rehearsals. and i think we sound pretty damn good ourselves. we've done an amazing job memorizing our russian, and i get to be a featured chorus dancer and am doing a pretty good job dancing our complicated waltz choreography while singing in russian *smile*. and it was very nice of the management to invite us to the opening night party again. now i have to decide what i'm wearing, whether i need to buy new shoes, and what jewelry i'm making for myself to wear *smile*.

but i've been working really hard on my jewelry as well. i'm doing a flea market at my friend michelle's church, mt. hope, here in penn hills, pa, on saturday, october 3rd. it should be a good time, but i'm not sure how much business i'll do. i've started making some new designs that're simpler, but a lot of fun, so i'm hoping they'll do well. but i've also gotten into using a higher quality of materials, which makes my stuff more expensive. so we'll see. even if i just get ppl interested in my stuff and get them to come to the website, that'll be cool. but i'd also like to sell some things *smile*. i made some earrings for my friend kellie's niece who has a very serious allergy to silver and gold, and she's ordered some more, which is cool. and i'm getting a lot more hits on my etsy site, which is also cool. i know it's slow in the beginning, and it's all about getting my name out there right now. it's working. blah *smile*

and i just had a glorious weekend. chris had an event to go to in youngstown this weekend, but i had work, rehearsal and church, so he took the kids with him to his mom's house and left me home alone all weekend! i had forgotten how quiet our house could be *smile*. it was the first time i've been away from isabelle overnight ever, and i missed them like crazy, but it was nice to have a break. of course i was late for church this morning cuz my alarm clock, alexander, was in youngstown, but it all worked out *smile*. i'm going to miss them a lot this week, too, cuz i've got rehearsal monday, tuesday, and wednesday for onegin, and i won't be home til after 11 each night. oh well. it's a nice paycheck, even if it isn't steady *smile*

Monday, September 14, 2009


when i first started dating my husband he had a dog, and they were a package deal. not being a big fan of dogs, i really grew to love duchess. she was a really well trained dog, cuz my husband did a really great job with her, and she didn't jump on people or lick or really even bark. plus as she got older she really just laid there so it was perfect when we had the kids, cuz they could pull her ears and her tail and we didn't have to worry that she'd bite. if she was tired of playing, she'd go hide under something. of course that backfired when alexander was little, cuz he could crawl under and get her *smile*

but duchess got really sick this spring, and christopher had to put her down. it was a very sad day. so for his birthday (today *smile*) i commissioned a quilted wall hanging from my favorite fabric artist, Michelle Wescott, artisan in chief of The Quilted House and she did a fabulous job. we did his birthday yesterday, cuz i have rehearsal tonight, and when he opened his gifts, i think i saw a tear in his eye. michelle did a fabulous job.

knowing her as i do, she had gifted my family with a wall hanging for christmas entitled "the family that sings" which included duchess. seeing that every day helped me know that she would be the perfect artist to creat a memorial to duchess. especially since we decided to not get another dog until the kids are older (or ever, if i have any say *smile*). but if we do get another dog, there will never be another duchess. she was really the perfect dog for our little family, and i'm so grateful to Ms. Wescott for creating the perfect memorial to her. *smile*

Friday, September 11, 2009

crafts with kids

so, i've decided to embrace my role as a stay-at-home-mom a little more and include my kids in more of my activities. so today i decided to do some paper mache. amazingly, it was isabelle, who just turned 2, and not alexander, who's almost 4, who was totally into the project and was mommy's little helper.

i decided to make a paper mache head so that i could use it to display my headbands, cuz everyone thinks i need to put them on my etsy site. so when i was at a bead shop yesterday and the owner was totally gushing over my headband, i decided it was time *smile*. when family and strangers say they're cool, i'm like "okay...", but when someone who does beading for a living thinks they're totally awesome, then i really hafta think that maybe i've got something really great on my head *smile*.

so i set everything up in the backyard with a drop cloth and lots of newspaper that the kids helped me rip and my paste and the balloons. originally i was gonna do 2, but one popped, so we only ended up with one. and once alexander realized exactly how messy it was gonna be, he decided he just wanted to watch *smile*. needless to say, isabelle and i were pretty much covered in paper mache paste. it's very itchy when it dries. and then, of course, i decided it was really too big to be a realistic head (even for me *smile*), so i let some of the air out of the balloon and then had to reapply most of the paper. oh well. i'm pleased with how it turned out. now, when it dries, i'll hafta figure out how i'm making it not look like newspaper (scrapbooking paper and decoupage?) and how i'm doing hair (i'm thinking yarn *smile*). we'll see how it turns out in the end.

it was pretty fun doing this with the kids, although it's interesting that alexander's the one who doesn't like getting dirty. i swear i have my brother and sister's children, cuz that's totally my brother. although i was always clean as well. okay, maybe he's mine *smile*

Thursday, September 3, 2009

my husband is the best! *smile*

my husband is awesome! he managed to go down the chipmunk hole to retrieve my lost earring! i think i'll let it soak in some peroxide for a while *smile*

but on a happy note, i got my first commission! i'm so excited. a good friend's niece is allergic to both gold and sterling silver, so she commissioned some titanium earrings for her 10th birthday. there was some sort of kerfuffle at rio grande (which was the only place i could find titanium earwires), but they came in today and i'm having a lot of fun designing earrings for young girls. i definitly see a new section in my shop coming soon. and as soon as i get them done, and have some daylight, i'll post some pics *smile*

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the perils of outdoor photography, or down the rabbit hole *smile*

well, i finally figured out how to take great photos of my jewelry. when i first started i was taking them at the campsite, which was awesome, cuz there's all kinds of trees and stuff available. i'm not so lucky at home, but i've managed to make do and still take some great shots. while my mom was visiting this past week, i made some really great jewelry that i was really anxious to take photos of tonite before i lost the light, but unfortunately the branches i use extend over the ivy in our back yard. i guess there's a lot of small animals that live in the ivy, cuz one of my earrings fell in and down someone's hole. i hope they enjoy it! *smile*

one of the great things about having my mom here is that she really forced me out of my box, so to speak.

she was kinda like my creative advisor and really helped me create some fabulous earrings using color combinations i wouldn't have thought of myself.

she really helped me see things in a different way that i think really worked.

now i've got to get my kids to bed (another reason the chipmunks will be enjoying some jewelry *smile*) so that i can get them posted to etsy. my sister ( says that you should post something every day. i'm lucky if i get a couple of things every couple of weeks *smile*

Sunday, August 23, 2009

my quilt

sorry it took me so long to post this, but i finally had a chance to take pictures of my quilt on my bed. we're gearing up for company this week, so we're doing some cleaning, so it was a good opportunity for photos *smile*

so here it is:
it's hard to take a picture of the entire thing on the bed cuz it's so big *smile*

i was particularly proud of the center blocks.

i am just really proud of myself. it turned out so nicely. it's not as warm as i'd like, but come winter i'll put our old quilt inside and voila! instant warmth *smile*. the next quilt i make, though, i'll have to research batting a little better. i was suprised how un-warm it is. it was really warm when i was making it *smile*

Friday, August 21, 2009


it seems that today was the day for surgery. my favorite aunt, aunt rainy, had a lump removed from her breast today, and i performed my first bottom-repair surgery on my son's teddy bear, teddy. both went well and both patients are recovering in stable condition *smile*.

my aunt's surgery made me realize that we have a history of breast cancer in our family. hunh? why did it take her lumpectomy for me to find out that she's not the first of my mother's sisters to have this problem? wow. it's very sobering, cuz i thought we were fine. my next-door neighbor is a breast cancer survivor. she's awesome. but i didn't think i knew anyone else. now, i don't think any of my aunts actually have or had breast cancer, but there's a definite history of female problems in our family. most of my female cousins have had hysterectomies because of fibroids and other "female complaints". my sister and i are the youngest of our generation, but thankfully now they have more advanced treatments. at least for some things. but for some reason none of this is talked about or discussed. of course, my mom's one of 10 and most of her siblings were very prolific, so my siblings and i have 40+ cousins in our generation, plus all of the 2nd cousins and their children *smile*. obviously it's hard to keep all this information current. but you would think that something important like a possible cancer diagnosis would be important enough to be passed down.

thankfully, though, aunt rainy is recovering peacefully and the procedure went well. we can all be grateful and thank God for that *smile*

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the good and the bad

well, i guess i am a true artist becuz instead of rejoicing at having made a sale, i'm sad cuz i sold my favorite pair of earrings and now i have to make myself another pair *smile*

i mean, i can't really be sad cuz i'm sure she's enjoy them, and i can always make another pair, but they were truly my favorites. and they went with everything from jeans to dresses and everything in between. but now i have to really get on the stick and add some new items to my shop cuz my listings are dwindling down. *smile* but all in all, i guess it's a good problem to have.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

wow have i been busy

wow. i hadn't realized how long it's been since i've blogged, but i've been really busy lately. we went on a fabulous vacation through beautiful, scenic ohio, and then up to our campsite, which is where i learned to take good pics of my jewelry. since then i've been busy re-creating my etsy shop ( and ordering new business cards and working with michelle and her etsy shop ( to create cross marketing opportunities.

the pics that i'd taken of my stuff before was really kinda crappy. i had totally convinced myself that i needed at least a nikon 400 dslr in order to correct this problem. but i discovered that my little nikon, that christopher rescued from the allegheny river, can take some pretty awesome shots with a little know-how *smile*. here's one of my favorites:
it's amazing what natural lighting can do *smile*

so after the campsite, i experimented at home. i hadn't realized all the features my camera has that i'd never even thought about! of course it also didn't help that the only instruction manual i could find is in spanish. *smile* but here are some more of my favorite pieces, some of which aren't even listed on my etsy site yet:

these are some of my favorite earrings, cuz they're so simple. they go with practically everything *smile* they're peach shell, with white shell donuts and red aventurine.

these i gave to my friend kellie for her birthday, but i love them so much i really need to make another pair. *smile* they're olive jade with swarovski crystal. just the perfect length to give a splash of drama without being overwhelming *smile*

i love amber! and i totally thought i'd never be able to work with it cuz it's hard to order online and know what you're getting. but i found some fabulous amber at a local bead shop and made this beautiful bracelet with white shell and silver daisies.

this is my all-time favorite bracelet. i honestly don't know if i can sell it cuz i don't have anymore of the brecciated jasper. there's a matching necklace that i don't really like anymore, so i guess i could make another one, but...i found the jasper on clearance at joann's and bought all they had. *smile* i love the boldness of the stone with the delicacy of the shell donuts and squares.

check out my shop cuz i'll be updating it regularly. i've got a ton more great stuff to add now that i've got awesome pics *smile*