Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finding My Style

This has been a difficult post to write as I can't seem to find exactly the right words. Bear with me.

One of my goals this year has been to work on 'finding my passion.' I know that is a vague and strange goal, but for a while I've had a hard time defining just who I am. I guess staying home as a housewife/jewelry artist has left me kinda lost. I feel that in both my jewelry-making and day-to-day appearance, I just don't know what my 'style' is and would love to figure that out.

I feel as though I've had an epiphany this past week in regard to that goal. See, with my birthday (and birthday money) I'm getting to do a bunch of clothes/wardrobe shopping. In preparation for that I spent some time perusing Wardrobe Remix on Flickr for inspiration and ideas. Now, I know I've never been a trendy or fashion-conscious kinda girl. Most of my wardrobe is comfy clothes, but I want to make a move toward making sure it reflects something of my personality, even if it is still comfy cozy.

As I began to imagine my ideal wardrobe I realized that the jewelry I want to make fits in with that image perfectly. . .fairly romantic but whimsical, flowy with a touch of punk/hardness, professional but punctuated with humor, vintage with a modern sparkle, outdoorsy with a steampunk edge. I understand that this may mean NOTHING to you, but in my head it all makes complete sense.

It's relief to have this mostly figured out and to have a sense of direction. I know that it's nothing set in stone, but at least I have a path now.

I even got a few necklaces completed that veer in this 'new direction' (see above and below)

I'm liking what I'm seeing.

Have you ever struggled with determining your style? What steps did you take to figure it out or have you figured it out yet? Do you think having a SET style is important for designers?

Oh. . .and I've been meaning to mention for DAYS now (but I was busy having a light-bulb moment) that my Natural Neutral Bracelet was featured in this lovely "Neutrals" treasury.
Neutrals

I know none of this has anything to do with what's important today. . .the CANDY!! Ha!
I hope you have a very spooky and spectacular Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Menu Plan Late

Somehow I'm a day behind. I really wanted  to make sure I shared my menu yesterday but I absolutely got distracted with molds and fabric and resin (not all together. . .no worries.)

Mainly I wanted to share these pictures with you. Over the weekend I finally broke down and made the PB&J Turnover recipe that has been on my menu for a few weeks. I don't know what took me so long, but they were way easier than expected and so VERY NUMMY!
I topped them with just a little powdered sugar and cannot wait to experiment with the fillings a little more. I'm thinking Nutella!


Anyway, on to the rest of the week's meal plan.

Breakfasts: Cereal/Oatmeal/Grits, Juice, Leftover turnovers (yes, there were leftovers), Eggs w/toast, Waffles

Lunches: Juice, Soup w/grilled cheese, Bean burritoes, PB&J sandwiches, Tuna Noodles, Cheese Quesidillas, Chicken Salad Pitas (these are just options, we won't be eating all of them I don't think)

Dinners:
Black bean soup w/salad
Tilapia with almond butter w/pink eyed peas and corn on the cob
BBQ chicken sandwiches (chicken in freezer) w/fresh corn salad (recipe below)

Here's the Corn Salad recipe. I think I got this recipe from a menu planning mom (or something like that) group I used to follow.

Fresh Corn Salad   
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.   

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn, shucked   
1/2 cup small-diced red onion   
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar   
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil   
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt   
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper   
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves   

Directions:   
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 to 5 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.   
2. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.   

There's more Menu Plan Monday (Tuesday) at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

And this necklace is new in the shop.
Walk Gently Necklace

After a bout of lack-of-inspiration yesterday, I'm itching to get at the craft desk right now. Hopefully I'll have lots to share for Bead Table Wednesday tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tutorial: Easy Dollar Store Halloween Earrings

I ran in to the Dollar Tree yesterday to grab some painting supplies for the nieces to use on the mini pumpkins I had for them. (And now I realize I didn't get any pictures of their pumpkins. . .darn it!!) I also decided to browse the Halloween section for stickers for their creations. A pack of glittery foam stickers caught my eye and begged to be made into earrings.You can make them too. It was sooooo easy!

Start by picking up a pack of foam stickers at the store and gathering your supplies.

Supplies:
Foam stickers
Felt
Craft glue
Toothpicks
Scissors
Small hole punch
Simple ear wires
Pliers (flat nose)

Now peel off your sticker and coat the back with the craft glue. Use a toothpick to move the glue around.

Press the stickers onto the felt and give then a few minutes to dry (5-10 minutes).

Cut the felt into manageable sections.

Carefully cut the excess felt from around the jack-o-lanterns. Remember that the stickers are foam and can easily be cut as well.

Using a small hole punch, create a hole in the stem. Be very careful to center the punch so that you don't punch off the side of the sticker.

Use your flat nose pliers to twist open the loop on the ear wires.

Thread the pumpkin onto the ear wire.

Twist the loop closed with your pliers. Ta Da. . .fabulous, sparkly Halloween earrings!

Easy right!?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Button Bracelet Overdose

It started innocently enough on Friday.

I thought I'd sort through some of my new buttons and maybe be productive at the same time. At first, it was just a few of them.

But it was so easy to do and so much fun that I thought a few more couldn't hurt.

Within twenty four hours I was out of control.

At the end of the weekend, the proof was undeniable.

I'm addicted to making button bracelets.

No intervention needed, I'll just be over here in the corner with my buttons and a smile on my face.
Seriously y'all. I spent the weekend (between celebrating my anniversary, watching football, and thrifting with the hubby) making over THIRTY button bracelets. I was obsessed. Now I'm not sure what I'll do with all of them yet, but I'm thinking the time was well spent.

Speaking of time well spent, if you've got a moment or two, I marked down a few items so they are now in the Sale section of the shop. And, these earrings were just listed. They're not buttons, but cool nonetheless.
Color Shock Earrings
Do you ever go off the deep end with a design/technique like I did this weekend? I need some reassurance (some smoothing of the hair and whispered 'shhhhh's) that it'll be all right.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I've totally got food on the brain right now as I just got back from lunching it up with a friend, shopping at the grocery store, and shopping at the farmer's market. Today's been a definite food-centered day and I feel totally bloated over it.

Anyway, I did get my menu made for the week before I got to all that though. It seems my breakfast and lunch options are pretty boring and repetitive lately, so I won't share them today. You can look at the past two weeks' menus if you're interested in those at all. Y'all. . .I seriously need some new low-meat ideas for those meals. Suggestions are TOTALLY welcome! In the meantime, here's our dinners.

Grilled turkey tenderloins w/cauliflower gratin & salad
Tempeh ratatouille
Black bean soup w/salad
Veggie burgers w/sweet potato fries
Meatless lasagna roll-ups w/salad

There's more Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

And, I re-listed this junk necklace today.
Suor Angelica JUNK Necklace

Now I'm serious about those breakfast and lunch suggestions!!

Here's hoping you're having a great Monday.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thrift Store Scores: Buttons and Chandelier Crystals

When I get stuck for inspiration or bored with a current project I tend to go thrift store shopping. However, often it feels as if I am PULLED in the direction of the thrift stores rather than just wanting to go shopping. This was the case yesterday. I have something on my desk that I like, but I just wasn't feeling it. I was feeling a trip to the thrift stores and was being pulled in one direction in particular.

I'm SO GLAD I listed to that instinct.
One of my finds
I wound up scoring two jars of buttons and a baggie of miscellaneous chandelier crystals.

I wasn't having luck at the thrift stores so I headed over to a favorite antique mall. I kinda wish I had taken a picture when I walked in the door because there were over a dozen jars packed with buttons.
Most of the other jars were larger than this. I also think these were originally peanut butter and jelly jars (separately) and I find that so stinking funny.

All those jars were there when I walked in. By the time I walked out, so had several other people. . . all with jars of buttons!

Fortunately I got there first and had the best pick. I'm absolutely smitten with finding the jar of all Mother-of-pearl buttons. SMITTEN I say!
I know they're not all MOP, but the majority are!
A better look at the buttons from the PB jar. What a selection!

As well, I'm glad I didn't pass on the baggie of crystals. I almost did and would have regretted it once I got home. I just know it.

I felt the same pull to shop last week as well, pulling over at yet another antique mall. This one was much larger and took me much more time to locate what had called me there. I walked out with these beauties. (Sorry for the pictures, the light's not so great here in the morning.)
Rhinestone buttons and brass key holes

So it seems that my last few treasures haven't been found at thrift stores at all. The keys and first chandelier crystals were at a flea market/yard sale and these last two were at antique stores. Do I still call it thrifting? Is it antiquing? Is junking too vague a term? Whatever it is, I'm glad they my muse is leading me to find the scores that I want/need!

What great finds have you made recently?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Artisan Whimsy and Meal Plan Monday

How was your weekend? Mine seemed to pass in a flash, but thinking over how I spent the days I did get a lot accomplished. Weird right?

Moving on. . .If you are in any way interested in the bead and jewelry online presence, I'm sure you've heard about Artisan Whimsy by now. If not, let me go ahead and mention it. It's an online community of other Bead artists/makers, beaders, and jewelry artists. I'm still not completely sure what direction this site is headed, but there's a forum, chatting, tutorials, giveaways, and LOTS of bead-y friends. Head on over to Artisan Whimsy and sign up.


Oh, and each month they'll be selecting two artists to spotlight on their Pintrest Boards. Guess who one of the ones for October is. . .ME!!! Head over there to check out my board (link above) and the rest of the Artisan Whimsy Pintrest Page.  You should also take a peek at the other spotlighted artist, Rose Dilly Zawchenuk. She's got some gorgeous pieces!


I don't know what took me so long to get today's menu made, but it was like pulling teeth to come up with ideas and it's still nothing spectacular. Oh well, it's done now at least.

Breakfasts: Juice, Yogurt w/ granola & fruit, Oatmeal/Grits/Cereal w/fruit, PB&J Turnovers (recipe in last week's post)

Lunches: Hummus pitas w/veggies, Juice, Grilled cheese w/soup, Leftovers, PB&Js w/fruit

Dinners
Mexican casserole
Mushroom stroganoff w/green beans
Mac-n-cheese w/broccoli
Grilled turkey w/cauliflower gratin & salad



While the menu took me forever, I did get some other tasks accomplished.
New Earrings listed
Pink Glam Earrings

All Shabby Beads on sale 20% off!
Shabby Beads on sale

That's all I've got for now, except a really long to do list. I'm heading out to hop on it. How's your Monday looking?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BTW: Productive

I've been crazy-productive today and am so proud of it. The craft room even got picked up. I just couldn't take it anymore. There's still a few spots that need some attention, but I can actually walk through the room right now. I told you. . .CRAZY!

I even got some other tasks accomplished

I sorted and stacked my jewelry magazines, pulling out my most recent copies (see above). From there, I proceeded to gather, record, and file information on submitting to each of them. I guess after jumping yesterday's hurdle, I'm ready for more. What happened yesterday you ask. Well. . . yesterday I sent in two pairs of earrings and two bracelets for consideration in one of those magazines. I'm totally not expecting to get in my first try, but wouldn't that be awesome?!

After marking my calendar of other magazine deadlines, I started on a custom order for a friend.

She asked for green. . .and green is what she's getting!

What's been on your craft desk today? Share it in the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group.
Bead Table Wednesday

I also took the time this morning to list these earrings.
Mini Owl Earrings


And now I've gotten a blog post written. BAM! It's just mind-boggling how much I can get done in a day when I really try. Wait until tomorrow, I'll probably be singing a different song then. That's always the way isn't it?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September Goal Review (about time!)

As promised yesterday, today I will regale you with the tales of my goal progress. . .or in many cases lack of progress. As a reminder, you can check out my list of goals here, but I'll be going over all of them in this post so it's not really necessary. The last time I did a goal review was in June for the month of May. That doesn't seem right. I can't believe I've put this off for so many months. I'm so sorry. I haven't been accountable at all for the whole summer. Wow. Oops! I'll also go ahead and admit that I didn't keep track of any of my goals for the first half of September. They really just slipped my mind. Geez, I suck! Anyway, let's see what I DID do this month.
I just love the brightness of these glass pieces

As with previous months, I'll be sharing photos from throughout the previous month. These are all photos I've taken and edited with Instagram.

PERSONAL
Used my julienne-er to make raking stripes on this zucchini

  1. Exercise- I really didn't do that much all month. I know I need to get out there and be active before it gets too cold to be outside moving around. 
  2. Eat right/better - I've done exceptionally well this month on this one between the juicing and the low meat diet. Of course, I've had some slip-ups, but all in all I've been much more conscious about my food. 
  3. Read more books/watch less TV - I've gotten through quite a few books since May and am not sure I can list them all here. I've re-found my love for the library system now that I have an app on my iPad for my local branch. It's awesome. However, this hasn't done much to quell my interest in TV. I'll keep working on it. 
    What I took home after a recent trip to the bookstore. LOVE!
  4. Make a real effort to keep the house clean - I would have to give myself a passing score on this one. The house has been much cleaner and I've even done the floors (that's HUGE for me!) Having a tidy house makes me feel much better. We'll get to the craft room in a bit. . .eek! 
  5. Discover new music - Nope. . .didn't happen. Moving on. 
  6. Grow some plants inside and out - My succulents inside are barely hanging on and the veggies outside have just about withered away. It's sad. However, Pat has decided to try out his own green thumb and has been talking about hydroponics/aquaponics. In face, he just finished building a self-watering container in which he planted some spinach. I may have to leave the gardening to him and just stick to cooking the harvest. 
    I saw these bright cacti at the store and couldn't resist a picture of their Seussian nature
  7. Make my visions of my dream house and this house co-exist - Again, we've been a lot of talk and very little action on this goal. We know what we like and some of what we want, but just cannot seem to get there. sigh. 
  8. Declutter/organize at least one drawer/cabinet/area a week - The two weeks I was trying to keep up with my goals this month actually resulted in two areas getting decluttered/cleaned. So it wasn't all bad.  
  9. Have a yard sale - We've still not had a yard sale of our own, but we DID donate a bunch of stuff to a charity yard sale for a friend of ours. As well, Pat's been trying to get rid of some of the other pieces in the house/garage that we don't use and has been listing them on Craigslist. That's a start I suppose. 
  10. Take better care of my face and skin - As always, I come and go with this one. More times than not I just forget to wash my face.  As I see more and more little lines appearing, I know that I've got to nail down a better skincare regimen.  
  11. Go to the doctor/dentist - Fail. . .just fail.

BUSINESS/CRAFT
These have been broken out quite a bit over the month

  1. Make a real effort with my blog- I did okay as far as I can tell on the blog over the month. It's still not where I want it to be, but it's getting there. 
  2. Include more tutorials on the blog - Unfortunately, the closest I came to a tutorial was my explanation of what I did on the Altered Dominoes.  
  3. Keep the craft room more organized - Oh NO. That poor room has been an absolute disaster for as long as I can remember. I hope to get in there and make some progress soon. But, isn't that what I always say? 
  4. Discover my passion - I'm still on a path to work on this. The Crafter's Devotional book and group definitely has me thinking hard about how I create so it's helping (when I remember to do it). I'm trying to pay more attention to what I enjoy doing versus what I make myself do, what I like in others' designs versus what turns me off, and those kind of things. I'm getting there. . .slowly.   
    The crackle on this piece of reclaimed wood really caught my eye
  5. Get published - I'm pushing myself this month to get this done. I actually have a few pieces completed that I hope to send out today or tomorrow to a magazine. I just have to write up all the info on them and pack them up. It's a big step for me and I'm a little nervous about where my foot is going to land. I'm happy I'm making it though! 
  6. Create something everyday - This is WAY HARDER than you would think. With all the business side of things and the marketing, sometimes it's hard to get in the craft room and push something out. I know this sounds a lot like excuses, but I think I need to be more realistic about this kind of goal for next year. 
    The contents of the bag of supplies I was toting around to my niece's dentist appointment
  7. Explore other venue options for selling my jewelry - While I still haven't made any definite steps on this front, I have picked up some fliers for a local market. . .it's really just some storage units that they rent out for commercial space and do a yard sale on the weekends. But, it could work. I also talked to my neighbor at the beginning of the month about opportunities in the community. (her mother makes pottery and sells it locally) So there's that. . .all talk. 
  8. Find a way to use what I have instead of buying more. I need less more in my life! - This has been a theme for me throughout the whole month. I do find it really hard not to just run out and get what I need, but I've got to train myself to think about what I have first. The hardest is findings (head pins, bead caps, etc.). I want to make a new commitment on this goal for the rest of the year. I just have too much stuff and I need to USE IT!

GENERAL
It's been a month of football-watching for me. Maybe I should find something to also do during that time.
  1. Figure out where my time is wasted and put an end to it - I continue to recognize that a lot of my time is wasted on video games on the iPad. The hardest part is recognizing that when I'm playing them I could be doing something else. Now, I'm NOT going to give up my games, but I need to restrict them to when I actually don't have anything else I could be doing. So the goal right now is to put an end to the wasted time. 
  2. Find some confidence and exert it - Still a struggle. . .always. 
  3. Think outside of the box - While I wasn't keeping track of my goals very religiously, I think I did pretty good on this goal over the month. Between the Bead Soup Blog Party, the Sequin Hop, and the Domino Exchange I used my supplies and materials in unexpected ways. I need to continue that train of thought throughout my work and marketing now. 
  4. Carved tree in a local park area
  5. Be Grateful/Thankful - I've started trying to remember to write down some of the things I am grateful each month and then share them here on the blog. I've just started this practice, so I'm not sure how to grade myself on this yet. It's a work in progress for sure. 
So. . .how do you think I did? I guess it's more important for me to figure out how I think I did. 

I definitely need to get back on track focusing on these goals, but I'm pretty happy with how I'm advancing even if I did take some time off from thinking about them. Where are you in your goals for the year? There's only three months left!!