Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Branching Out My Color Repertoire

I find myself stuck choosing the same sets of colors over and over. I knew I wanted to do some collage today but wanted to find some other colors to use. So, I turned to the Pantone 2010 Fall Color report for inspiration.

 I started by turning to my trusty wall of paints

and picking out the colors that were closest.

Of course, there were a few colors I had to mix myself.

I pulled out some prepared backgrounds and chose the ones that were the most neutral.

And cut them to size.

I assigned colors to each of the pieces, and started collaging,

and collaging.

And, then I soldered.
I'm pretty happy with the results.


What do you think?

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Day in Pictures

It's been a mixed-bag of a day. Some highs and some lows.
Beads were made
Pieces were sealed
Meals were planned (and shopped for)

Toaster oven was a spaz (as usual)
Sealer faded my pictures (while giving them an almost distressed look)
Glitter didn't sparkle
I'll let you have a peek. Let me know what you think!
I also met up with one of my best friends and her husband over the weekend for dinner (for her birthday that was a month ago.) While dinner was really her gift, I just had to throw together a pair of earrings for her. Here they are.

I Haven't Had Enough Coffee Yet to Think of a Witty Title

This "Wacky Attacky Necklace" was listed in my Etsy shop on Saturday

Soooooo, what do you think? WAIT, if you're viewing this in a feed-reader you need to head over to my actual blog site now and take a look around.

NOW, what do you think? Yeah, I did some updating and tweaking yesterday to make the header and this a three-column blog. Both are tasks I've been wanting for ages over here. That's another thing to check off my list.

I do have one concern. While I love the picture I'm using as the header, it really has nothing to do with crafts or jewelry or anything like that. I think it's absolutely 'me', but am not sure if it fits here. What do you think?

On Friday, I gave you a peek of what was on my desk. Did you figure it out? If you follow my facebook or twitter streams, it should have been easy. The Halloween bug bit me. I even shared this picture.

So that's where things are progressing. Hopefully, I'll finish a few of those items today and get started on a few more. But first, I must head into the craft room and get the ball rolling.

Aaaaannnnd, since this post has been a little dry, and it is Made Me Smile Monday after all, here's a few funnies:
Have a great start to the week!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Beads and Bracelets and Beautiful Things

Guess what came in the mail yesterday!
Remember the prize I mentioned the other day?
Yup, it's here already. If you's have blinked you would have missed me tearing into that box to find these lovelies:
Here's a closer view of them
Thanks again to Michelle Mach for hosting the blog carnival and to Rings & Things for all the goodies that I was fortunate enough to win! Now what to create with all this??

In case you missed it yesterday, I listed a cute bracelet that I'm calling Simply Charming.

And, lastly, here's a sneak peek of what's on the craft desk right now.
Of course, now I need to run to the craft store because I apparently have NO black glitter. How is that even possible?

But, what I really should be doing is cleaning house. After over four months on the market, someone finally wants to come see our house. . . THIS afternoon. We politely requested that they give us a day or so to get things in order first. I'm not sure that'll be enough time. I guess I've got a challenge ahead of me. Oh Joy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lunch Ideas: Mini-Pizzas

Since I've been working from home and making weekly menus, I've been running into one main wall: variety in lunches.

I've got a few choice items I make specifically for lunch that are out of the range of soup or sandwiches (which are typical lunch fare in my opinion.) But, beyond those few recipe items, I'm stuck.

Today, however, I branched out a bit and made mini-pizzas; something that I would usually make for the nieces and something I made for myself while I was in college. They are not something I've ever made for my husband and myself. Of course, like any pizza it can be dressed any way you like. The versatility of a pizza is what makes it so great.
Here's how I do it:
Ingredients
Wheat English muffins
Jar of pasta sauce
Spices 
(I used granulated garlic, italian seasonings, garlic parmesean, and McCormick's Pizza Seasoning grinder)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Pizza Toppings (I just used pepperoni today)

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place tin foil on a cookie sheet (it helps with clean-up)
Split the English muffins and place (insides up) on foil

Ladle out just enough pizza sauce to cover each muffin and shake on spices (I used the garlic and italian seasoning for this step)

Place toppings on muffins
Cover with cheese and add other spices (here I use the garlic parmesean and McCormick pizza seasoning)

Bake in oven for about 15 minutes (so the cheese is good and melty)
Consume!!

These were so yummy. As you can see in the picture, I also had some strawberries on the side since the pizza didn't have any real veggies on it.

While the inspiration for these did strike me, I'm still looking for other lunch-at-home ideas for grown-ups. My searches for lunch keep coming up with ideas for kids. What do you eat for lunch??

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything (even the kitchen sink)

This post is going to be ALL OVER THE PLACE and chock full of links! Fun stuff

1. First and foremost, I listed these earrings today in my shop.
For the life of me I cannot remember what that yellow stone is. If you know, please please let me know.

2. Last night, I made this Bowtie Lasagna. Of course, in true fashion, I added a TON of granulated garlic. With only that one, little addition. This stuff was FANTASTIC and so quick, so easy, so GOOD.

3. After making such a big and yummy meal, I was ready to load up the dishwasher and be done with the kitchen. OH NO! That wasn't gonna happen. I found the bottom of the dishwasher full of water. My dear, dear husband spent hours draining and trying to fix the thing to no avail. In the process, he pulled out the racks and left them in the floor. So, I was greeted with THIS this morning as I made my way to the coffee-maker.
This is ON THE FLOOR and only HALF of what I had to deal with!

Of course, the dishwasher was just about ready to be started (full) last night so I got to use my morning to HAND WASH an entire dishwasher worth of dishes. I have no conventional draining board thingamajig so this meant I had to wash one set of dishes and then towel-dry them before washing another set and laying them on the counter. Check out my counter. . . LOVELY!!
This was the SECOND set of dishes I washed BY HAND (like in the "good" old-days)
 The repairman will be here in the morning, thank goodness!

4. It's been a while since I've posted some fun links and it is Wild, Wild Web Wednesday so here's some fun and interesting stuff for you:
  • No Take Out apparently helps you plan an entire meal including the grocery list and supplies. Sounds like a neat concept. On first inspection it looks as though it's only daily meal plans. I need to investigate further to see if I can get more out of it!! Of course, I won't be cooking anything until the dishwasher get fixed, no dirty dishes means no handwashing!!
  • I got the new Harry Potter Lego game this weekend and have been geeking out with it all week. As such, this Harry Potter gear from Instructables that you can make definitely fits into my week's theme.
  • I tweeted this Cooties Video forever ago, but in case you missed it
Now, to figure out what to get for lunch since what I had planned requires dirtying too many dishes . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm a Winner!!

I won a giveaway!!

Michelle Mach hosted the first Stringing Blog carnival in which she asked 24 jewelry designers (including herself) to blog on their inspiration for the jewelry piece(s) they had featured in the 2010 Fall issue of Stringing Magazine.

Blog readers were encouraged to read the blog posts and leave a comment for entry into the contest. You only actually had to leave one comment on one of the 24 posts in order to be entered. But, more ambitious types (like myself) could go through each of the posts and comment (for a total of 24 entries.) Three winners were drawn for three separate prizes, and gosh darnit if I didn't win this awesome prize pack from Rings & Things.
Check out the winning announcement to see what the other winners are taking home. 

I had a great time participating in the blog carnival, because I got a peek at what's in the new issue of Stringing as well as find some more blogs to read by talented jewelry designers. It was a definite win-win situation. And, WIN I did!!

I can't wait to get my hands on the prize pack and play with all the goodies!! Thanks Michelle!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Somethings

I'm still searching for that balance I mentioned at the beginning of the week. And, while I'm not quite a master of it yet, I've definitely started to get the hang of it.

For this lazy Sunday morning I'm having I just wanted to share a few things with you:
  • If you haven't noticed, I sold a few items in the shop. [What do you mean you haven't noticed? Why don't you head on over and check it out (when you're done reading this of course). Just use the Etsy widget on the right ---> and click where it says CraftyHope to be taken to the shop. (That's NEW!! Go ahead and touch it, you won't break it!!)
  • I'm so happy that the ladies who have purchased the pieces have given me some feedback on the items they received. I know what course of action I need to take. I think.
  • Oldest Niece spent the night Friday night. She was desperate to make some jewelry and for some reason wanted to closely replicate a necklace I wear fairly often (and had JUST worn to see her on Wednesday.) When she was done with that (as well as painting a picture for her sister), she asked that I take a picture of them to put up on the internetz. Here are her masterpieces:

    This is both the necklace and picture in full form.
    Here's a better view of her necklace.

  • I had a bad case of lack of inspiration on Thursday so I drug myself up to the bookstore, bought a caffeine fix, and gathered a STACK of books and magazines. After about an hour and a half of flipping pages, I felt like myself again.It's amazing what some coffee and glossy paper will do!!
So that's it. I just wanted to pop in and not feel the pressure to put out anything super insightful. Just wanted to make an appearance. I have. Now, I'm out to enjoy the rest of my weekend! You do the same!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Balance

Here Comes the Sun Bracelet (listed on Etsy)
Now that I have exactly what I've been wanting (to make and sell my jewelry), I'm finding that I have a much harder time finding a balance in my day-to-day activities. Perhaps it has something to do with being at home all day, maybe I still haven't adjusted to the transition, but I just can't seem to even things out.

There's SO MUCH I want to get done in each day, but I just can't seem to get to all of it. Just as soon as the day starts, it ends. How am I supposed to fit in all the
  • blog reading
  • jewelry making
  • etsy listing
  • picture taking
  • record keeping
  • house cleaning
  • dinner making
  • coupon clipping
  • exercising
  • meal planning
  • craft room organizing
  • grocery shopping
  • blog writing
  • bill paying
  • book reading
  • and web surfing
into the few hours of the day I have my eyes open?

At the end of each day, I look around the house and just shake my head at the bigger and bigger pile of to-do's that have amassed. It's a shame, but a process. I've just got to find my groove, my schedule, my routine, my balance. Grab me a beam, I WILL keep my toes on it. There may be no flips, but I'll find a way to stay on top.
Life's A Beach Necklace No. 2 (listed on Etsy)
The two items shown are the newest pieces in my shop!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Success!!

WOOHOO. . . .say it with me WOOHOO!!

I made a sale!! Yes, my "Dark Clouds and Rain Earrings" sold yesterday. I guess that means they're not really MINE anymore!

With this sale, I've learned several important lessons (quickly)
1. The paypal tax thing worked and charged the 4% like it should. I'm just waiting for someone from Baldwin County to order something so I can see if that part works too.  (hint hint)
2. I can get fairly irate with great speed when I can't find what I know exists on the internet. I had a hard time finding the packing slip button on PayPal. But, with some calm assurance and rational thinking from Pat, I located it and printed easily. I was just panicky and blind (scrolling down always helps) PayPal is not at fault, my lack of patience is.
3. I need to spend some time working on the paperwork side of things. I need start up some file management and maybe some kind of accounting software to keep track of the sales (for taxes later.) I'm going to be looking at both Outright and QuickBooks Simple Start as well as through Etsy for any additional tips. If you have any ideas, please let me know.
4. It's great to be able to work with the buyers through Etsy convos. My buyer had an allergy to a certain metal. I let her know that I was more than willing to switch out the earwires to suit her. With that conversation, she made the decision to buy the earrings. How great is that?

So the first sale is under my hat and the earrings are on their way to their new home. I'm sure there are still some lessons to be learned. But, I'll take it as it comes. I like to learn! :)

Come by the shop and see what I've got going on over there!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Rave Review (of a grocery store)

Well, I got the grocery shopping done. Aaaaaannnnnd that was about it.

While at the store, a good friend from high school (that I haven't seen in a year) text me and invited me to lunch. How could I refuse? I believe that you've got to take those opportunities when they arise. So, we lunched. . .and drank. . .and gabbed. . .until 4pm!! It was fabulous. Now I need to take some time tomorrow to really get something done.

But first, I want to take this opportunity to praise Publix! They are the grocery store the most out of my way, yet I really enjoy the experience. More than the great selection of products is the customer service that makes my heart go pitter pat. Just today, I was asked no less than three times if I needed any help. I admit, I do have the look of someone who needs a little help, but the other grocery stores' employees never even bother to ask. (though the scurrying away does give me a clue that they notice me. j/k!!) 

Publix employees also usually make a point to ask if you need help taking your purchases to your car. While that's nice, I don't use the service. I'll work off those calories myself thankyouverymuch. 

The kicker today, though, was just as I started unloading my cart, I realized I forgot an item. I apologized to the cashier and went to put everything back in the cart. He told me it wasn't a problem and that he would be happy to unload the buggy for me. I was dazed, I was amazed, I was running through Publix to get that item so as to not inconvenience the overly helpful Stepford cashier. When I got back, there was actually ANOTHER cashier there helping him unload MY GROCERIES. It's become a real pleasure to shop at Publix, especially since they got me out there faster and on my way to seafood, beers, and good conversation! How about a big WooHoo for Publix?

I'm done now.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I've Been Busy

It feels like I got quite a bit accomplished today, some chores and some jewelry. I'm thinking tomorrow may include pictures and listing a few more items (plus grocery shopping.) For now, I want to share what jewelry I've made recently.

This first piece was re-purposed from an old pair of wood-burned earrings that I got in a grab bag of jewelry from the thrift store. See what I started with (below).


MUCH BETTER!!

This bracelet was made over the weekend and features a shrink plastic charm as well as a polymer clay bead both made by me.


 Lastly, is a piece I made a WHILE back but decided to re-string it today to better secure it to the toggle better. It's just fun!
 


And, that's it for today. It's late, and I've got loads more to check off that To Do list tomorrow.

Of Lists and Beaches and Procrastination

I'm continuing to try to figure out my schedule. But, for now I'm just letting myself fall into a natural pattern while I ponder a real list of tasks. In the meantime, I've distracted myself with all kinds of other things: trips to the library and book store, thrifting, cooking, a trip to Hobby Lobby, cleaning house, organizing, spending a day with the nieces, and even some actual crafting. While very little actual product has been completed, there's a whole list of things I want to get done. I got that list written down too (that's what I did while the nieces were in the dentist's chair.)

In the true nature of procrastinating, let me tell you how great Saturday was, I can do it in one sentence.
I got to play in the Alabama Gulf waters!!!!!

Now to elaborate, Pat and I made it down to the beach Saturday afternoon (after spending a few hours on lunch and drinks at The Wharf.) We went down to Terry's Cove in Orange Beach and set up our chairs and umbrella. We put our feet in the sand and got in the waves. We saw NO OIL in the water. We did find one or two tar balls in the sand, but were able to leave the beach without any oil on our bodies. It was fabulous! We are so happy to have our Alabama beaches back. Unfortunately, I was so excited about the whole adventure, that I completely forgot to take some pictures to share. Please forgive me, but you oughta come see the beaches for yourself anyway! Please!

Don't forget the Crafty Hope Etsy Shop is open for business! I've also set up a Facebook Page for Crafty Hope Jewelry, come become a fan!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Working on My Rhythm (TRT)

Now that I've actually got some items listed in the Crafty Hope Jewelry Etsy shop, I'm struggling to come up with a daily/weekly schedule of how to spend my time.

Currently, I'm waking up (a little too late), having coffee, blogging and going through e-mails before I head into any major tasks for the day. Unfortunately, yesterday was spent with very little crafty time. I used the morning to organize recipes, develop a menu for the week, and make a grocery list. The afternoon was spent running errands (bank, grocery store, etc.) with a side trip to a few thrift stores. [I'll share my finds with you later in the week.]

For now, you can just look at the state of my craft desk and tell that I've been busy!!
Now, to get in there, clean it up, and get to work!! Of course, while I work I'll be thinking of the best way to organize my time. If any other crafters out there have a method to their madness, please share!!

I'll leave you with some Totally Random Tuesday links:
  • This cooking by numbers site supposedly helps you come up with what to cook based on what you have on hand. I haven't tried it yet. But, I like those kind of tools when I'm stuck with NO IDEAS for dinner and a lack of desire to run to the grocery store. 
  • For those of you with kids, check out this list of the top 5 search engines for kids.
  • Think you're pretty good with geography? Try this game where you have to place the states on a map
  • Lastly, check out this floor tiled with PENNIES. You heard me, tiled with pennies. It's very weird, but then so very cool.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just the Bullet Points (MMSM)

It's Monday, that means back to the grind of making jewelry and running a house.

I haven't completely decided what's on the agenda for me today, but part of it involves making a meal plan (menu) so I can stop having to worry about it at the last minute.

It being Monday morning, my heart isn't into a full post, so let me just hit the bullet points of Friday and the weekend:
  • I listed ELEVEN items in my Etsy Shop on Friday!!!! Go check it out, and maybe even buy something from me. ;)
  • I need some suggestions on how to promote my shop. I know Facebook and twitter as well as putting a link from the blog here to the shop. But, what else can I do?
  • I mentioned getting to test out the Proporta iPad cases with my friend Alli. Go check out her review of the cases and the videos where I use my Vanna White skills to model them. If you can't figure it out, I'm currently using the one in the last video on my iPad and I love it!!
  • I got so very excited yesterday when I received a convo via Etsy that one of my items was featured in a Treasury. Basically, a Treasury is a list of items for sale that a person makes. Typically, these are their favorites, or have something in common, or caught their eye, etc.  Check out the one I made (it's my Copper Prism earrings that are in there) named Decorate Me. So exciting!!
  • Overall, it was a pretty good weekend. Pat had to play (with Port Trio) on Friday and Sunday nights. So, Saturday was our day. We headed to the Gulf for lunch and some Bushwhackers and then had dinner with some friends and some Mojitos. We recovered nicely, but just kinda hung out on Sunday since it was TOO FREAKING HOT to do much else before his gig.
  • That's about it for now. I'm hoping to get to work on finishing up some things in the craft room as well as making that darn menu for at least the next week. Busy busy!!
Aw heck, it's been a while. . .let's do some Made Me Smile Monday just for the fun of it!!
I feel better! :) Enjoy your Monday!