Ten Years Ago, Remembering My Sister

I'm almost positive I haven't mentioned it here, but Halloween means a little something different to me. It's always been one of my favorite holidays; getting to dress up as ANYTHING you want, knocking on strangers' doors and given a gift, the mystery, the horror movies, the excitement. Ten years ago, I added something else to that list. It became the day we lost my sister.
I think everyone in my family has a copy of this picture of the two of us.

She died in a car accident Halloween morning, though we didn't find about it until the following day.
I'm going to share a few pictures of us in costume since it is Halloween. My mom always made our costumes. On the left is me as a clown and Crissy is on the right as a gypsy.

The next year Crissy got to be the clown and I wanted to be a Barbie. I ended up being more Preppy than Barbie, because. . .  come on how do you make a little brunette girl look like a Barbie?

My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved often. At times, my sister was the only friend I had. We were absolute polar opposites. . .ask anyone. We answered to nicknames like day and night or thunder and lightening. We fought constantly so that adults were often telling us, "You're sisters and that means you will be friends forever. You shouldn't treat each other that way."  Basically, they wanted us to learn to get along. We didn't for a long time.
My mom saw some movie with the "Sleaze Sisters" (whatever that is) and decided to dress us up as them. Yes, we're wearing garbage bags and some version of KISS makeup. Also, I won ugliest costume at the base Halloween party that year.

It got worse in middle and high school. We found our niches, our group of friends and they were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Even into college, we didn't really ever hang out.
I had a hard time finding pictures of us together during those rough years. And, they were all a little weird, like this one of me apparently sniffing a nacho.
Or Crissy with her head turned and using the wrong finger.
Or this awkward shot from my high school graduation.

That all changed when Crissy became pregnant. The hormones or whatever calmed her wild demeanor some and we really became very close. She was my best friend. After the rough years we had as teenagers, I couldn't have imagined that would have been possible. In those few years we had as friends, we weathered some tough times as a family, and we were each other's shoulder to lean and cry on.
This was my 26th birthday and we were apparently cackling at something.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us as it shows how close we'd grown. It was taken at the same time as the one above it.
It was all cut short 10 years ago today. I always thought (and was always told) that when I had no one else, I would still have my sister. I depended on that fact. It's hard to bear that it's not true. I miss her daily.
Love ya baby sister!

As I already mentioned, when Crissy died she had two daughters. They were 3 1/2 and 6 months old at the time. I'm constantly thankful that those two are around to fill some of the void she left behind.  I'll be spending this Halloween the same way I have for the last 10 years; with my nieces (who will be dressed as a nerd and as Si from Duck Dynasty.) Yup, they're characters all right. It should be a wonderful way to spend the evening.
It's crazy how much these two look like their mother and me. Crazy!

I apologize for getting a little sappy here, but I wanted to give y'all some of my history as well as honor the memory of my sister. Today seemed like the day to do it. Thank you for giving me that chance.

I found this in my digging for pictures too!

I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween!

Weekly Menu and New in the Shop

Since I just put tonight's dinner in the oven, I suppose I should share this week's menu with you before it slips my mind.

Breakfasts: Cereal, Yogurt w/granola, Juice, Waffles or Pancakes (from freezer), Blueberry Muffins, Egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches (on wheat hamburger buns) [all with fruit]

Lunches: PB&J w/fruit & cheese, Chicken salad sandwiches w/fruit, Soup w/grilled cheese, Bean burritos w/all the fixins, Sesame noodles w/veggies, Leftovers, Cheese pizza (from freezer) w/small salad

Taco Soup
Cheese ravioli with marinara w/salad

Unfortunately, I've gotten all off track with my recipe reviews so I don't have one for you. Besides, nothing we've had lately really stands out as something I want to recommend or give my two cents on. Instead, let me show off some of the new items in the Etsy Shop.
Roman Empress Necklace
Shabbified Necklace
And these two pairs of earrings were just re-listed.
Textured Washers Earrings
Happy Flower Earrings
 I hope your Monday has been a lovely one and that you're not already behind like I am!

Vintage Wooden Spool Challenge Reveal - A Rolling Blog Hop

A month or more ago I got an intriguing e-mail from Christine of One Kiss Creations asking if I would be interested in participating in a 'rolling hop' using some unconventional items she found while out antiquing. Obviously, I couldn't resist a challenge like that and replied instantly with a resounding YES! I revealed my rolling hop challenge items (along with all the other goodies Christine included for me) almost a month ago.

The deadline for this hop was very loose; reveal your creation(s) sometime between the end of October and the end of November. Thus, it's a ROLLING hop. As well, Christine only asked that we use at least one of the vintage wooden spools she sent us. At first I was determined to use all three, but after finishing off the first two ideas I ran out of steam. Anyway, here's what I created with them. (I really love what I made so I may go overboard with the pictures, fair warning. Also, clicking on the pictures will zoom in on them.)

With both of the spools I used, I felt the need to alter the empty portion where the thread used to be. And, in both cases I used paper to do so. In the first, it was some delicate, yellowed, French text from a book.
I can only pick out a few of the French words, so I hope it's not nasty.

For the rest of the necklace I wanted to stay simple and play off the sewing theme, so I pulled a little from my abundance of buttons. Sticking to vintage mother of pearl buttons, I stacked them above and below the spool, created a chain, and dangled one from the spool.

I also finished off the chain with some small wood beads and a dainty, vintage-looking brass clasp.

Weirdly enough, before Christine ever mentioned a challenge or told me what the challenge materials would be, I had already sketched out a spool necklace design. Though what I ended up with isn't exactly what I drew, it's really close! My sketch used wire instead of the chain, but this worked wonderfully. And, I may still use wire idea eventually with the other spool.

Again, I altered some paper for the center piece. This time it was some dictionary text, though you can't really see it for all the altering I did to the paper. I think the technique worked wonderfully and I'll share the process I used later. For now, it's all about these spools.

I finished the necklace off simply with more chain and a few wire-wrapped beads.

The dangles are just a random collection of beads, charms, and found objects that I thought went well with the tarnished/sparkly feel of the paper.

I've already worn this necklace out and am really in love with it.

Now, I still have that one spool from Christine left and plan on using it at some point for sure, but I didn't want to try to force inspiration. Instead, I'll just let inspiration find me.

Here are links to the twelve other participants in this rolling hop.
Right now, Janet and I are the only ones who have revealed. You can also just keep an eye on Christine's blog to find out when they roll out the reveal of their creations. Janet from Honey from the Bee was the first to reveal on her blog. You can also check out what Christine had to say about Janet's reveal.

Thanks to Christine for the awesome challenge and thanks to you for stopping by!

What would you do with wooden spools?

DIY: Quick Fix for a Missing Rhinestone

As I worked on a project last week, I realized that one of the tiny thrifted charms I wanted to use was devoid of any rhinestones in its 'sockets'. I know this happens all the time. Here's a quick fix for it, especially if you don't have a replacement rhinestone.

Now, it is absolutely possible that there isn't supposed to be anything in those empty bowls, but I didn't let that thought stick with me for long. I had to fill the void. So, I gathered some supplies: Glossy Accents, glitter, a small paper cup, and a toothpick. Any kind of glue would work, I just went with the glossy accents because I would sure it would stick and be shiny.

The paper cup isn't actually necessary, I just like the raised, limited surface I get when it's upside down. Anyway. . .squeeze out a couple of drops of your 'glue' and sprinkle some glitter on it. Feel free to go overboard, you can always shake off the excess glitter back into the bottle. Stir the glitter and glue together with the toothpick.

Using the toothpick, scrape the glitter-glue into the sockets.

Allow it to dry.


Obviously, you can just use some straight-up glitter-glue. I went this route as my glitter-glue is all cheap stuff that I knew would just fall back out of the charm once dry. As well, this way I could get the exact color and consistency I wanted.

I hope this helps the next time you see a missing rhinestone.

Today I'm. . .

Trying out something new.

Currently, I'm. . .
Bookmarking: Recipes. I’m ALWAYS finding new recipes. This one for a Pecan Cobbler is probably the latest find.

Creating: Space. I’ve got this pile of beads and love the palette, but have become completely stuck on what to make of it. At this point, I just want it off my desk but I don't want to just stuff it away. Sigh.

Enjoying: The weather. The temperatures have started to go down a little here in the Deep South and it’s almost bearable to be outside.

Feeling: Better. The cold I had a few weeks ago is finally coming to an end. I hope.

Giggling: At myself. I'm still really tickled by my anniversary pun from yesterday.

Listening: To the quiet. Mornings are really quiet here. All I really hear is the running of the fishtank and the white noise of my laptop.

Listing:  A new necklace. Here's what's newest in the Etsy Shop.
Dawn Necklace

Needing: Coffee. My cup is low again dangit.

Noticing: The mess. Well, I’m not just now noticing it, but the disastrous clutter in the craft room is getting to me. It may be time for another overhaul.

Reading: Sedaris. I really prefer to listen to David Sedaris read from his books, he’s so funny. But I picked up his newest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, from the library a few weeks ago and have finally cracked it open.

Watching: Star Trek (seriously).  During lunch, Pat and I watch an episode of a show on Netflix. We've worked through all the episodes in several shows this way. We started on Star Trek: The Next Generation last week and are really getting a kick out of it.

Wearing: Comfort. Today is all about comfort so I threw on jeans, a t-shirt, and a cardigan. Also, bare feet.There will be flip-flops in my future (it's not that cool yet) and probably a necklace before leaving the house.

Wishing: To go thrifting. I think I might hit up a favorite antique store or two when I head into Mobile later today.

Wondering: What you think. How do you like this type of post from me?

Crafty 11th Anniversary Gift

As I mentioned yesterday, this weekend Pat and I celebrated our anniversary. For us, that usually just means a nice dinner out. This year's dinner out was a comedy of errors that won't soon be forgotten. In addition to dinner, I always like to give Pat a little something that I've made for him. I started by finding out that the traditional 11th anniversary gift/material is Steel. This article from The Nest suggested items like tools, a flask, handcuffs, etc. While those were all interesting ideas, I decided to take my own route.

This is simply made of a wood plaque painted black with metal washers glued on. I used some E-6000 glue. Turns out it's kinda hard to find plain steel washers since steel has to be coated with something to prevent it from rusting. These are coated with zinc, but I figured the general idea was there.

Since I'm a punny girl, I quickly wrote this sentiment on the back of the plaque.
Yeah, I'm pretty corny but Pat thought it was funny and that's all that matters.

Since Pat's been all into his garage workshop lately, I told him this was to help decorate that space. Here's where I found it today.
Awwwwww! (And yes, we eat that much gelato. Specifically, I eat that much gelato.)

As you can plainly see, I do make more than jewelry sometimes.

Menu & Recipe Review (while longing for the beach)

After an anniversary weekend complete with a 'fancy' dinner, an Alabama win, and a dip in the Gulf; it's time to get back to reality. But first. . .
The water was so clear yesterday! It was simply gorgeous.
Though I long to be back down at the Gulf, I know I need to focus on tasks at home. Today's main task (as always on a Monday) was to get the meals planned for the week.

Breakfasts: Oatmeal/Grits, Yogurt w/granola & fruit, JUICE, Waffles/Pancakes (from freezer), French toast, Breakfast burritos

Lunches: Leftovers, Bean burritos, Soup w/grilled cheese, PB&J, Sesame noodles, Tuna Noodles, Cheese pizza (from freezer)

Tilapia w/microwave scalloped potatoes & peas
Tofu stir fry with noodles and veggies (something similar to this sweet chilli recipe)
Cheese ravioli in marinara w/salad
Black bean burgers w/sweet potato fries


Recipe Review

Jam filled almond muffins: Yes, I FINALLY made these. They were good overall. I did make them the night before we ate them as the whole process seemed like it would probably take longer than we wanted to wait for breakfast. In the end, it wasn't that long really. They rose well and were simply beautiful too look at. However, both the hubs and I agreed that they needed a bit more filling as they were kinda dry. I will probably double the filling next time. There will possibly be a next time.

I also got this beautiful bracelet listed in the shop today. You may recognize it from my Bead Soup Blog Party reveal from earlier this year.
Green with Envy Bracelet
 Though those tasks are complete, there are still many more on my to do list. What are you longing for this Monday? (another weekend, a trip to the beach, a nap. . . that all sounds good to me!)

Thrifted and Recycled

The entire time we've lived in our house, Pat and I haven't had a coffee table. Now, I know that may mean nothing to some people, but it's driven me a little bonkers. Where am I supposed to stack my magazines, put my feet up, place the TV remotes? We've been on the lookout for one we like for a long time, but have never quite found the right one. Until now. . .kinda.

See, we went thrifting together and Pat found this wonderful all-wood desk with a broken leg. He was in the market for some drawers and bases for the larger tools in the garage. For 35 bucks, we took the desk home. Once he got the top of the desk off to get to the drawers, we realized that the top was the perfect size for a coffee table and a plan began to solidify.
The desktop in question
We bought an old door from a shop up the street and Pat began the process of coming up with designs for the table. After settling on a design, he created the base with panels from the old door and some other wood he had in the garage. We also picked up some old casters at yet another place. (I had to have old ones; new, shiny casters just didn't seem to fit with the theme.)
The cats were puzzled by this new, large item.
He affixed the desktop to the base. . .
Isn't it a beauty!?
. . .and I have the most perfect coffee table EVA!
Check out the layers of paint on the door and the awesome wearing on the tabletop.

In addition to the desk, Pat also bought a couple of old two-drawer filing cabinets. Once I inspected the inside of them, I insisted on being given the contents.
Do you see what I see?
Check out those brass re-inforcers on the folders!!

They tear right out too!
I see all kinds of possibilities.

The backs have this bit of separation to them though.
I think I can hammer them flat without a problem. What kind of possibilities do you see in the rings?

Oh, and these were in one of the drawers too.
Too funny. . .right!?

I'm so happy that we were able to recycle some vintage pieces into furniture we both really love. And, I'm excited that I found some items in an unexpected place that I can use in my jewelry-making. What a wonderful surprise. What kind of surprises have you discovered while thrifting?

Meal Plan and Recipe Review

I've been sick with a nasty cold the last few days and am finally recovering (I hope). However, it leaves me a bit lazy and longing for some comfort food. As such, I threw together a menu that fits both requirements.

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, Juice, Yogurt & granola w/fruit, Waffles/pancakes (from freezer), Jam-filled almond muffins (I swear I WILL make these!), Breakfast burritos

Lunches: Leftovers, Soup w/grilled cheese, bean burritos, PB&J, Sesame noodles w/raw veggies, Tuna noodles, Cheese pizza (from freezer)

Spaghetti (w/soy crumbles) w/salad
Tacos (w/soy crumbles) w/all the fixin's & corn
Mac-n-cheese w/broccoli

I'm linking this menu up with Meal Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Recipe Review

  • Peanutty Thai noodles with sugar snap peas: We liked these a lot. The hubs said he wished the peanut butter had been a little sweeter, but I was using Jif, so I don't know how much sweeter I could have made it. I really like that the peas were still really crispy. I may make this again, but I may fiddle with the recipe to get a sweeter taste from it.
  • Mushroom, corn, and poblano tacos: These were pretty good. They still needed a little 'umph' of something that I just couldn't figure out. I like that they were low calorie and still filling. However, I'm not positive I'll make them again.
  • Red lentil rice cakes: Let me first say that the flavor of these was really good. I didn't make the salsa as the hubs doesn't like raw tomatoes. I had an issue with keeping the patties together. It was a real fight. The recipe is supposed to make something like 12 patties. I made 10 and still had mix left over for 10 more. I froze the second half for another time. As such, I guess we will be eating them again, but I'm not sure I'll make them from scratch another time.
  • Delicious ham and potato soup:  - I've made this soup many, many times. I'm a huge fan of potato soup and have tried several recipes, but this one is our favorite. I do tend to 'mash' the potatoes some once they're soft as I like it a little creamier than the diced chunks. I will most definitely make these again.
  • Steamed shrimp & mushroom dumplings: As predicted in the instructions, these aren't a quick, throw-it-together dish. And though I was sick, I was willing to stand, stuff, seal, and steam to get these made. They were totally tasty and I will likely make them again when I'm sure I have plenty of time for them.
  • Garlic sesame snow peas: I reviewed these previously here

It's time to turn my attention back to playing with the beads on my desk and enjoying the comfort that is lower temperatures!
I can't really show you a picture of the lower temperatures. . .

My Loot from Fanciful Devices

I don't know if you follow Marina at Fanciful Devices or not, but you totally should. She makes the most amazing tribal, crusty, grungy jewelry. As well, she's hilarious in a very random, haphazard sort of way. I love her posts; they're full of eye-candy as well as humor. In August, right at her birthday, she received several packages of awesome from another designer who was de-stashing. She received SO MUCH that she decided to give some of the awesome away. I happened luck up and be one of the several chosen to receive a package from her. I've been so busy I forgot to show off what she sent me. This is a little picture heavy, please forgive me.
Let's start with the fact that this package was busting at the seams from the time I opened it. I restrained myself from just tearing into everything and made sure I took pictures as I pawed though and sorted all the yummy bits.

I started by taking one of the baggies of beads and dumping them into a bowl.

For size reference, here's my big bowl next to the packaging.

I methodically sorted all the beads.

Look closer
Yes. . .so much cool stuff!

Then I hit the second baggie.

And sorted it.

There was an old jewelry box included in the package, and who knew what could be in it. . .

Yup. More awesome!

Then there was all the random pieces scattered in the box: seed beads

Plastic pearl cabs and glass beads

Interesting metal bits

And the treasure below (that daisy piece on the bottom left is a snippet of hand-painted tin!!)

This bit of a druzy piece really excited me.

I even have to show you my space (in the floor of course) for sitting and sorting. That big area in the middle is where a Hope was.

Needless to say, Marina really spoiled those of us who lucked up and won her birthday giveaway. Thank you!! Now, to get my booty in gear and use these wonderful bits!

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...