I apologize for my rant on Wednesday and thank those of you who offered advice and sympathy. What I took from the whole thing was that either I need to stop being lazy and start protecting my products with something like a watermark or I need to just get over it. Right now I'm choosing to just get over it while the back of my mind churns with watermark ideas.

Since that last post was such a heavy one, let's take it a bit lower key today.
~*~First up, is a link to Spice Up Your Blog with Five Tips to Keep Your Blog Ideas Fresh and Flowing. I read through the post myself and thought the main idea of it is solid and not to wordy. If you're often struggling with some new blog ideas like I am from time to time, this post might help some.

~*~ How about Orange is sharing another winner of a link with a Custom Box Template Generator.
I haven't had time to play with the thing myself, but I know many crafters might just adore this sort of thing. And, with Christmas coming up you can never have enough boxes!

~*~Speaking of boxes for Christmas. Isn't it fun to have something unique to wrap up those boxes?
Rachel at Grasping for Objectivity offers up her idea and instructions for making word search gift wrap that includes the lucky receiver's name. . .or any old word you may want.

~*~Orchid Gray shares her tips for Successful Thrift Shopping. Her tips are intended mostly for clothes and accessories, but I think they can be applied to whatever you're thrift hunting.

~*~Lastly, tomorrow is December First. . .a new month. . .a new set of photo prompts from Fat Mum Slim.

I didn't do so well this month, but the start of a new month means starting again. Are you going to play along or is December just too crazy for you?

So those are my links for today. If your finger is still itching to click, check out the two new items in the shop and the earrings that were just marked down.
Country Rose Necklace
Sequin Stacks Bracelet
SALE - Dragon Eye Earrings

Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend. I'll be cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide as they play Georgia for the SEC Championship. ROLL TIDE!!
What are your plans for the weekend?

BTW and a Rant

I discovered that my craft desk has been in just about the same state for several weeks now. Want proof? Check out my BTW post from two weeks ago (click link) and how it looked this morning.

Yes. . I said lookED because I finally finished up that necklace lickity-split and started on something completely different.

Yup, it was Hammer Time! (I crack me up.) I love the crusty rusty-ness of this old bottlecap (found in a parking lot) and sealed it in with some Renaissance Wax after I banged the back all down.

Isn't it cool!?

I'm not exactly sure what the next step will be, but I'm hoping it's not on my desk as long as the last project! Check out more productive craft desks in the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group.
Bead Table Wednesday

Now for a rant. I listed this bracelet today.
Cafe au Lait Button Bracelet

Pretty right? It's one of the many from my button bracelet making extravaganza. After listing it, I pinned it onto my "jewelry" Pintrest board where I typically pin jewelry that is for sale (mine and others'.) Within a few hours I was notified that the image had been re-pinned. GREAT! Wait. . . it was re-pinned onto boards with titles like "DIY", "Stuff I Want to Make", and "Craft Ideas." This means that those people who like my design have no intention of buying the bracelet, they want to make it themselves.

The re-pinning of it seems to be a double edged sword. On one hand, people are seeing and liking my design, my product is getting out there, people are possibly clicking into my shop! On the other, there's no buying going on. Hmmm.

Now, I realize this is a super simple design. I even have a super similar tutorial pinned on my "Jewelry Tutorials" board. But, there's something about pinning someone's product onto a DIY board that just irks me. I even went back through my "Just Do It. . .Yourself" board to make sure that I haven't made the same mistake. I'll admit that I did find one or two from my early Pintrest days. EEK! (I quickly moved them to other boards.) But I'm trying to decide just HOW MUCH this irks me.

I tweeted/facebooked about this and received several suggestions that I watermark my Etsy images. I've been concerned that a watermark would distract from my designs. As well, I'm not sure if this is really that big of a problem or if I'm just being pissy today. What do you think? (not about me being pissy. . .) How would you handle this? And yes, I have considered commenting on those re-pins but I thought that might extend beyond pissy into the $itch range. Should I just DO a tutorial on making these bracelets, start watermarking, or take it as a compliment and just get over it already?

Oh well. . .back to the craft desk for the time being. Thanks for letting me vent.

We Made a Birdhouse

I've been meaning to show off mine and Pat's collaboration here for a few days now. See. . .he built me a birdhouse.

I suggested he use one of my wooden spools for the perch. I think it worked out perfectly. And then, it was all in my hands.

I started by priming the house with some Killz to protect it and give me a nice white surface to play with.

See how pretty!

I used some Patio Paint stuff I found at the craft store. I got my three favorite colors as well as some white and black. As well, I used a variety of paintbrushes (from foam ones to fine brushes.)

I also used some painter's tape as needed.

In some cases, a lot was needed.

I really went to town with the paint and even pulled out some round dot dobbers I had forgotten I had stashed away.

Now we just have to figure out where we want to display our work of art!

I'm sorry if this was boring for you. I've just been so excited to show off the darn thing.

Here's another colorful pretty piece, this one just got renewed in the Etsy shop.
Pulling Petals Necklace

It's a dreary day here and I think showing off these bits has definitely made it a bit brighter. I hope it's brightened your day also.

Menu Plan Monday and some personal rambling

If you're checking in and it's still Monday (11/26/12), My Cyber Monday Sale is still going on. You can get 15% off anything/everything in the shop by using the coupon code CYBERSALE at checkout. Contact me if you have any questions.

Now, for the real chore for me each Monday. . .the MENU!!

Breakfasts: Cinnamon toast w/fruit salad, Juice, Yogurt w/fruit & granola, Eggs w/toast & fruit, Pancakes w/fruit (maybe even banana pancakes)

Lunches: Juice, Leftovers, Hummus pitas, Soup w/grilled cheese (other options include: tuna noodles, cheese, quesidillas, chicken salad pitas)

Cheese and Nut Stuffed Shells (recipe below) w/salad
Meatless Spaghetti w/salad
Jalapeno Popper Chicken w/corn & black beans

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

Here's the recipe for the shells:

Cheese and Nut Stuffed Shells   
6 servings, Prep: 45 minutes, Bake: 45 minutes    
24  dried jumbo shell macaroni
2  eggs, slightly beaten    
1  15-ounce carton ricotta cheese    
1-1/2  cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 oz.)    
1  cup shredded Parmesan cheese (4 oz.)    
1  cup chopped walnuts    
1  tablespoon snipped fresh parsley    
1/2  teaspoon salt    
1/4  teaspoon ground black pepper    
1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg    
1  26-ounce jar thick and chunky pasta sauce (2-3/4 cups)    
1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain shells; rinse with cold water and drain well. Set shells aside. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.    
2. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the walnuts, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.    
3. Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into each cooked shell. Arrange filled shells in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake, covered, about 45 minutes or until heated through.

This stuff is in the oven now and I'm sooooo looking forward to it. Cheesy, nutty, pasta goodness. At least I hope it's good since we've never had it before.

Speaking of good, I mentioned last week that I was looking forward to those menu items. I have to report that each and every one of them delivered AND HOW! Num!

I've been such a slacker in the jewelry-making lately. I think the Holidays already have me all messed up or something. On the other hand, I've done an excellent job trying to get in shape. Now if there just wasn't so much good food to gobble up this time of year I might make some progress.

Ah well, tomorrow will be here soon enough for me to make another go at this whole live-life-to-the-fullest thing. Here's hoping your day ahead looks just as promising.

For Cyber Monday

I've been absent far too long this week. To make it up to you here's this. . .
I'll activate the coupon code sometime this evening  Coupon code activated now and will be de-activated on Tuesday Morning. If you've been contemplating any of the items in the CraftyHope shop, now's the time to hop on it! :)

Menu from a Thankful Girl

It was a beautiful Autumn weekend here and we were able to spend some time with family watching football and socializing. It was glorious. I'm looking forward to a week full of similar blessings. I have so very much to be Thankful for. (Wow. . .I think I'm a little buzzed from my five mile bike-ride this morning. Whatever it is, I hope this elevated mood continues.)

I did have a little bit of difficulty getting through the menu for the week, but now that it's done I'm pretty excited about what's in store for us.

Breakfasts: Cereal/oatmeal/grits, Juice, Yogurt w/fruit & granola, Overnight french toast, Hashbrown baskets (meatless)

Lunches: Juice, Leftovers, Turkey sandwiches, Thanksgiving meal (other options: tuna noodles, cheese quesidillas, chicken salad pitas, soup w/grilled cheese)

Rosemary balsamic chicken w/roasted cauliflower & green beans
Spicy peanut butter tofu w/brown rice & steamed broccoli
Thanksgiving dinner
Chili (w/meatless crumbles) over rice
Sauteed shrimp w/boiled red potatoes & green beans

Doesn't it all sound so yummy!? What are you looking forward to this week?

BTW: Meh

You know what you like. You know what you don't like. And then there's all that stuff in the middle that makes you feel.. .meh. . .

That's how I'm feeling about what's on my desk today for Bead Table Wednesday. Actually, it's been on my desk since Sunday. I've actually felt so blah about it that I've busied myself with other tasks to distract myself from my lack of feeling on this project.

I guess I'm probably over-exaggerating things by saying that I have NO feelings about this project. I really like the bright colors contrasted with the black. I like the key and the wing piece too. However, it's the way that it's coming together, the actual DESIGN of the piece, that makes me so iffy about it. So, I'm letting it simmer for a while to decide how to proceed; take it apart, keep at it, or redesign it entirely. Eeesh!

Do you ever experience this lack-of-feeling about a piece? How do YOU deal with it?

There's more Bead Table Wednesday in the Flickr Group.

Menu, Giveaway, and Shop News

For some reason, I had a really tough time making out the menu today. It's finally done. . .whew. I'm still trying to get the hang of this low-meat diet while also not planning on just eating pasta and cheese day after day (even if that is all I really want to eat.) I think I did okay for this week. I guess I'll see when the hubby tries out the new dishes.

Breakfasts: Juice, Oatmeal/grits, Waffles or pancakes (from freezer), Yogurt w/fruit & granola, Hashbrown baskets (no meat)

Lunches: Bean burritos, Leftovers, Juice, Soup w/grilled cheese, PB&J sandwiches

Broccoli & Parmesan Casserole (page 186, Cooking Light Way to Eat Vegetarian) w/salad
Cheese pizza w/salad
Rosemary balsamic chicken w/roasted cauliflower & green beans

It all sounds pretty good to me. . .
There's more Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Susie at Gathering up Bits of the World is giving away "Journal It" (a book on creating visual journals), some journal goodies, and one of her own hand bound journals. Awesome right!? Just pop over to her blog and leave a comment to be entered.

Also, there's a coupla items on sale in my shop, a new item or two, as well as a few renewed pieces you might want to check out including this one.
Calm Storm Necklace

Lastly, lets not forget the men and women who have served our country on this Veteran's Day Holiday. Their sacrifices have given us so very much. Thank you Veterans!!

BTW: A Cause and Effect Tragedy

Cause: Editing pictures of jewelry for Etsy.
Effect: Bead table gets neglected and looks like this -
The remains of so many recent projects (jewelry, Halloween costume, Halloween earrings,) and just trash

Cause: Getting completely wrapped up in something (anything) else.
Effect: Portions of craft room floor look like this (just a sample) -
Let's see what we have here. . .costume-making leftovers, button sorting, chandelier crystals, fabric scraps, box that needs to be put away, and newly bought supplies that haven't been unpacked yet.

The ultimate effect is this short post so I can get in there and do something about it!

There's more Bead Table Wednesday in the Flickr Group.

Election Day

It's voting day all across America and I played my part.
I apologize for the smudge. . .it got wet

I do have to rant a little because I (and everyone else in my voting area) was assigned a new polling place and it was CHAOS there. The parking situation was horrible: there were cars parked up and down the street, the actual parking lot was nothing but grass and no discernible system, it was almost impossible to get in and out of, and you had to drive through the line of people to get into it. In addition, the line was outrageous! There were people with wheelchairs and walkers and canes standing out in the breezy cold for close to an hour. Once you got into the building, the line for my last name was super long (you think they would have broken down some of the most common initials. . .like "S") and there was not a soul in some of the other lines. Once you actually got a ballot, you had to climb over other voters to get to an open area at a table. I hate to complain like this on the day that we most get to exercise our freedom, but I've never had a voting experience like that. And from the complaints I was overhearing, most of the other voters hadn't either. First world problems, I know. . .

Rant ended.

For a little happy, check out the two items I put on sale yesterday. I just love these two.
Passion Bracelet - 15% off
Pagoda Earrings - 20% off
I do hope that if you haven't gone out and voted yet that you do, and that your experience is much more fulfilling than mine. Happy Election Day!!


Thanks to those of you who made it through my goal review yesterday. I'll make it a little easier on you today with a simple

Two more quick things and then I'll let you get to the rest of your Friday.
1. My Purple Earrings were featured in this really gorgeous treasury.
2. I made some earrings out of paper. . .they're now in my Etsy shop.
All the Frills Earrings
 That's it for me. I've got loads of plans for the weekend and am totally looking forward to it. What's your weekend looking like?

October Goal Review

As October has come to an end, it's time for another goal review from me. If you're new to my blog, here's what's going on. At the beginning of the year, I made this list of 'goals.' Keep in mind that they are NOT resolutions and I know that I won't accomplish most of these before the year runs out. However, these are just some things to work toward. At the end of each month, I like to do a review of how I did in order to keep myself accountable as well as propel me to try harder in the coming months.
Monarch butterfly snapped while we were on a bike ride.
In order to break up this list and keep it visually pleasing, I'm including photos I've taken over the month (most of them are from Instagram.)

Here we go!

1. Exercise: Not so great- did do some walking, bike riding, and simple exercises/stretching at home, but definitely need to get much better about it (as always).
An actual healthy dinner
2. Eat right/better: A month of celebrations does not make for a good diet. We did ok but have faltered on juicing and have eaten out and poorly more than we should.
3. Read more books/watch less TV: I finished two books this month (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris) but still there's been plenty of tv in the mix. (We're working through quite a few different series's on Netflix.) I don't think I'll ever completely get away from the television, it's just too easy to push that on button.
A snippet of one of my to do lists.

4. Make a real effort to keep the house clean: SO MUCH BETTER! I don't know what's gotten into me this month, but I've made beds and mopped floors. It's crazy! Good crazy.
5. Discover new music: All I can say to this one is. . .nope, didn't happen.
Flower in friends' yard. Such amazing colors.

6. Grow some plants inside and out: Everything we've planted has died. It's so sad. Even Pat's attempts didn't work out. We'll keep plodding along until we discover the key.
7. Make my visions of my dream house and this house co-exist: No work on this at all. It's all just daydreams. . .and Pintrest.
8. Declutter/organize at least one drawer/cabinet/area a week: Did okay with this. Not exactly weekly, but did tackle some major areas like my closet.
9. Have a yard sale: It just didn't happen again. I did take a big load of stuff to goodwill though.
Love the saying!
10. Take better care of my face and skin: Most of the month has been . . .off, but toward the end I was getting better. Needs work for sure, but I've done better this month than any month previously. Success! Sorta.
11. Go to the doctor/dentist: Nope. . .I've thought about it much more, but it just didn't happen.

1. Make a real effort with my blog: I haven't been the best blogger this month. It's definitely been on and off, but I've been distracted. I'll be better, don't leave me. Seriously though, it hasn't been all bad. Or, am I just fooling myself?
2. Include more tutorials on the blog: Did get ONE tutorial up (my easy Halloween Earrings). But that's all. It's better than most months, but still not where I want to be.
3. Keep the craft room more organized: Oh wow, this was a really bad month for craft room organization. I'm really just now recognizing how very BAD it is in there. Something must be done!
4. Discover my passion: YES!!! You can take a look at yesterday's post for more information on this one. While I know there's still more work to be done, I'm SO MUCH CLOSER than I was before.
Just a bit of my magazine addiction.
5. Get published (or at least try): I made a huge step toward this at the beginning of the month by actually submitting to a magazine, now to keep that ball rolling.
6. Create something everyday: There are days that I cannot tell you whether or not I got something made, but the ones that do have recorded are pretty good. I think I did well between my button bracelet frenzy and playing around with my other supplies. I didn't realize when I made these goals how hard this goal would be to keep. In any case, I really did well on this over the month.
Button bracelet addiction in progress.

7. Explore other venue options for selling my jewelry: Just. . .no. Not yet. Lots of thinking and daydreaming, but not yet.
8. Find a way to use what I have instead of buying more: Have done okay on this. A few craft store trips but mostly trips to antique stores have robbed me of my money. I think it was well spent though!

1. Figure out where my time is wasted and put an end to it: I don't think I'll ever really meet this goal. It's too easy to be tired or a bit lazy and just not do anything. I definitely recognize when I'm 'wasting time' and simply choose to keep it up. Drat.
2. Find some confidence and exert it: I'm getting there kinda, but am still painfully shy.
Playing around with some glass and paper.

3. Think outside of the box: I'm so close on this one I can totally feel it. My discover-my-passion has a lot to do with it.
4. Be Grateful/Thankful: I've got so much to be thankful for and this month has really helped me realize it, but it needs work. . . lots of work.

So that's been my month. All in all, I think it's been pretty good. I'm still really happy about the accomplishments I have made and hope to make more progress on the rest of them. YAY!

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...