Getting to Know Me

I've been so crazy swamped with all kinds of activities and events going on in my life that I've let my reading of others' blogs fall to the wayside. I feel quite remorseful over this. Don't worry, if I haven't made it to your blog lately they're all saved in my feed-reader and I AM working on getting there eventually!

While working my way through my feed reader, I discovered that the Alabama Women Bloggers have added a few new bloggers to the team and allowed them a chance to introduce themselves. In addition, they've given the rest of us the same list of questions to answer and introduce ourselves further. Despite that post going up weeks ago and the linky now being closed, I still thought I'd play along. Here goes!

1. Name and Birthday
Hope, born on Oct 24th

2. How long have you been blogging?
A while, I think it's something like 6 1/2 years now.

3. What is your favorite part of being a blogger and why?
I really enjoy the social interaction. I feel quite awkward in person.  Making friends and learning about people (as well as sharing about my own life) without that in-person awkwardness is freeing to some extent. I also enjoy getting to put my own words out there. I've always loved writing and blogging is such a creative outlet for that passion.

4. Why did you start blogging?
After about a year of working a technology-related job that gave me a lot more free time than my previous profession, I had the opportunity to read blogs. I decided that I wanted to be a part of that community. I thought it would be fun to share some of my own creative endeavors, life, and fun things I find online. One day, I just up and started a blog. Well, a bit more thought went into in than that, but you get the gist.

5. Tell us a little about your Family.
I'm blessed to be married to my soul mate, Pat. We have two cats (one is my niece's if you ask her. . .long story.) While we would love to have children of our own, we've been blessed in other ways (nieces and a new nephew just to name a few.) We are both close to our families, and I don't know what we would do without either of them.
Two of our three nieces

6. Where are you from?
I was born in Mobile, AL but my dad was in the Air Force so we moved around during my younger years before returning to Mobile when I was 11. Pat and I now live in his hometown of Fairhope, AL, just across the Bay from Mobile. I love the quaint and small-city atmosphere.

7. What is your greatest achievement?
Scoring Pat as a husband. He's an amazing man and probably the greatest blessing I'll ever receive. I don't know what I'd do without him.

8. If you could live anywhere where would it be and why?
Because Pat works from home as a software developer and I'm a jewelry artist/social media manager/housewife, we really could work ANYWHERE. However, we are very happy where we are. We would both love to be just a bit closer to the water on a little more property (in the woods would be nice), but South Alabama is the place for us. We're close to the beach, the weather isn't too awful, and our families are here.
I mean, who wants to live any further away from this?

9. Favorite Movie?
I can't pick one, that's like picking a favorite niece. Here's just a few of ones that go into the favorite category: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies (I know the last Hobbit hasn't been released, but I'm positive I'll love it), Harry Potter (all of them), Empire Records, Labyrinth, Dead Poet's Society, The Princess Bride, The Lost Boys, Return to Oz, horror movies, and so many more.

10. Favorite Music/Song?
I've said for years that my favorite song is 'Galileo' by The Indigo Girls, and that pretty much still rings true, but I like a fairly extensive variety of music. It's easier to rule out what I don't like: angry music, twangy country, or rap. I'll listen to most anything else.

11. What are your hobbies?
Can I count jewelry-making as a hobby? Ha! I enjoy all kinds of crafting, thrifting, beach-going, floating in the water, beer-drinking, kayaking, movie-watching, and picture-taking.
The three B's: beach, boat, beer!

12. What inspires you?
What doesn't? The sky, other designers, other bloggers, a shift of light, nature, music, color combinations, and my friends and family are all examples of inspiration for me.

13. Favorite Color?
Blue, but my absolute favorite shade is a bright peacock/sky blue.

14. What is your dream job?
It's possible that I'm doing it. I'm pretty content and happy with my life as it is so I have a hard time imagining what would make it better. The only thing that comes to mind is being a mother. Being an awesome aunt is a close replacement though. I went to school for psychology, got the degree and everything. I do think that being a child psychologist would still fit me well.
What more could a girl want than to play with beauties like these?

15. What are you looking forward to most in 2014
Ummmm. . football season (ROLL TIDE!), a vacation with the hubby (no solid plans yet), and more time in/near the water.

I hope I haven't bored you too much with this list of information about me. I appreciate you taking the time to read all this. You can find my social links in the right side bar. I'd love to have you follow me.

Found Objects in Use

Since I shared my obsession for and collections of found objects the other day, I might as well show you some of the jewelry in the CraftyHope Etsy shop that I've made with found treasures of the same ilk.
This Pump up the Volume necklace was made with a guitar knob that was probably just laying around the house (Pat's a musician)
As you can guess, the Lamp Finial necklace utilizes a lamp finial I picked up at an antique store.
In the Distraction earrings, you can see just one way that I've used hardware washers.
The focal in this Island necklace was made with some sort of found sewing notion (a grommit maybe) and a hollow pearl-like bead, both found.
Keys and buttons are some of my favorite found objects as you can see
The Key to Spring necklace
Curvy Earrings
There's quite a few more examples in the shop that you can check out for yourself.

As a side note; my grandmother was admitted to the hospital yesterday with some breathing issues. I'm staying with her for the time being. As such I'm not sure how present or absent I'll be for the next few days. Please say a little prayer or send us some good vibes for a speedy recovery.

Meal Plan and Recipe Review

Ah, Monday once again. A day for me to try to resume routine and get back on track. That's indeed what I've been doing as I've already cleaned out the fridge and completed the grocery shopping for my weekly meal plan. Here's what I think we'll be eating.

Breakfasts: Blueberry banana muffins, Smoothies, Yogurt w/granola, Cereal, Omelets, French toast

Lunches: Bean burritos, Simple sesame noodles, Leftovers, PB&J, Tuna noodles, Cheese quesidillas, Soup & grilled cheese

Grilled Chicken w/sweet potatoes & roasted broccoli
Spaghetti w/salad
Homemade pizza w/salad
Grilled steaks w/red potatoes & grilled corn on the cob


Recipe Review

Raspberry Chocolate Icebox Cake: This was super easy to make and so, so tasty. However, it makes a ton. Even with one of our niece's help to eat it, we still didn't finish the whole thing. I think I might half it when I make it again. Oh, and I didn't have amaretto so I just used almond extract. It was definitely good.

Walnut, Parsley, and Parmesan linguine: I was a little concerned about Pat liking this since it had no meat, but he really chowed down on it. I also really enjoyed it. I'll definitely make it again.

Whole Wheat blueberry waffles :  I substituted 1 cup of white wheat flour and 1 cup of regular whole wheat flour instead of using the two cups of whole wheat. These were really divine; silky and wonderful. YUM!

And now with that taken care of, I'm off to check off some less desirable and less blog-worthy chores.

Pick Up Artist

You may or may not have noticed, but I love using found objects in my jewelry-making. Much of what I use that's labeled in that manner are 'found' at thrift and antique stores. However, I'm always on the lookout for other little treasures and usually have my eyes trained downward.  I'm constantly stuffing my pockets or stashing items in my car after I find some little trinket on the sidewalk, parking lot, beach, etc. In fact, I have little caches of found objects all over the house.

In the craft room
a little bowl holding these treasures
One the dryer (where they come out of my pockets)
This is after I've picked out all the change and stashed it elsewhere
On the kitchen counter
Some shells and driftwood from the beach
On my side table in the living room
Not much here as it usually ends up in the laundry room
 In my car
pardon the grossness, I need to get in there and detail it soon

As you can see, these treasures range from miscellaneous metal pieces to rocks and shells to buttons and broken jewelry. I pick it all up. Now if I could only figure out what to do with these bits of awesome. At some point, I will sort through them and store them in these drawers, but for now they stay scattered.
These are somewhat organized by type

Please tell me you have collections like this as well. And, what trinkets catch you eye?

Giveaway Winner and Menu Plan

Remember the milestone giveaway I mentioned a few weeks ago? Today's the day I pick a winner for this loot (and the other bits I've added to it since then!)

I listed all those who were interested in winning (a local friend wasn't) in order of their comment and used to select a random number from the list.

Here's the list.

Congrats Bead Addict, you've won some loot for your stash. I'll be sending out an e-mail to you shortly to get your info! Thanks to all of you for playing along. :)

With that taken care of, it's time for me to share what's on the menu.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal, Toast w/toppings (avocado, nut butter, or jelly), Yogurt w/granola, Omelets w/bacon, French toast

Lunches: Bean burritos, Simple sesame noodles, Leftovers, PB&J, Tuna noodles, Cheese quesidilla, Soup & grilled cheese

Kung Pao Tofu quinoa bowl with veggies (test recipe)
Homemade pizza w/salad
Grilled chicken w/sweet potatoes & roasted brussel sprouts

And that's about it for today. I hope you have a glorious week!!

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...