Holy Cow, I'm 40! (A birthday review)

I've have a few days to recover from the shock and fun of turning FORTY YEARS OLD! I cannot even believe it. I had a few moments of hesitation and 'holy heck', but in the end spent so much time preparing for a party that I couldn't dwell much on getting my zero. I wanted to celebrate the milestone with a bang, so Pat and I decided to have some friends out to the new house for games, drinks, food, and possibly a fire. That's where Pat started.

He built me a fire pit. I'll go into the details of it in another post.

While he was involved in the process of making the firepit, I began to work on making some beanbags. (Please note that while I am indeed crafty, I have issues with sewing machines. At some point I will learn to sew property with my adult-size sewing machine, but since I was just sewing straight lines, this mini one worked just fine.)

After the fire pit came together, Pat started on building cornhole boards. This is basically a beanbag toss game. It took him almost no time to pull these together for me to paint before the big day.

On Wednesday, I went to Mobile to visit with my family. My mom made the fried pork chops and gravy I requested. Please let me say that I'm not really a big fried food or gravy eater, but my mom's homemade pork chops and gravy are to die for. And, eating them only once a year can't be tooooooo bad for me, even at my age.

Oh, and she made me a German Chocolate cake!

We did lots more prepping for the party including ordering other games, frantically cleaning the house and yard, and buying some folding tables (we needed some anyway.)

On the morning of my birthday, I started right off by treating myself to doughnuts and pre-football shows.

Restless before the party, I made me a pair of earrings that are both my style and team colors (Roll Tide!)

Before I knew it, it was party time! Friends and family began showing up. I had invited all of my favorite people. Many of them didn't know each other, so there was some awkwardness, and I felt stretched trying to show off the house/property, introduce everyone, and jump from one group of people to the next. But, I also felt so very blessed to have all those amazing individuals come out to celebrate with me. Unfortunately, once people started arriving I really didn't get any pictures. I was too busy to worry with my phone or camera. (Pat says that was a good thing. It meant I was having a good time. I think he's right!)

My sister-in-law somehow got tasked with getting the cakes. I was picky and asked for two: a tiramisu and a chocolate cake. She rocked this and got some devilishly delicious ones! And, Pat's brother and mom came over early to make homemade ice cream. Yes, I'm so very spoiled!

The party was over before I knew it. Alabama had won, the fire pit had been lit, games had been played, the kids enjoyed the wardrobe boxes I left out for them, and lots of food had been consumed.

The clean-up was fairly painless. And, the amount of fun that was had encourages me to have more parties. I have to note that this was the first party Pat and I have ever thrown. How crazy is that!?

Sunday was dreary and rainy, perfect recovery-day weather as I sat and felt thankful for all my many blessings.

Thank you to all of you who wished me happy birthday on Twitter, Facebook, and in person. Y'all really helped me feel loved and added to the awesomeness of my day. And, a very special thank you to my amazing husband, Pat, who took on the task of throwing me a party, prepping the house/property, and dealing with me. He really is THE BEST! Now to face forty and beyond!

Halloween Projects and Tutorials from Around the Web

As you can imagine, I've been steadily trying to catch up on. . .everything since dealing with vision issues and moving and whatnot. In going through my feedreader, I've stumbled on some cool, creepy, and neat Halloween ideas that I thought I'd share with you before the actual day gets here. You know, give you enough time to make one of these projects or at least think hard about them.

These pumpkins with the doorknob tops are so cute and vintage-y. And, they look pretty easy to make too - BONUS!
Vintage Doorknob Pumpkins from Finding Home Farms

I'm obsessed with Tim Holtz products and have always wanted to make a little Halloween collection of apothecary/witches jars so this Undertaker's Parlor that combines both totally appeals to me.
Undertakers Parlor from IGIRLZOE

More pumpkins and upcycling! Again, these are made so easily and from thrift store finds. I might just have to make a few.
Pumpkin Candy Jars from Craftbits

Now for a few projects on the spooky side. . .
This first one is kinda labor intensive, but it looks like the results might be worth it! Seriously, a full-body ghost in your front yard!? Want!
Packing Tape Ghost from The Crafty Geek

A friend of mine actually made a set of these floating crystal ball candlesticks before I even saw the link in my feedreader. She did different images in hers but I like that the tutorial includes printable images to make it easier for you. I think they're pretty awesome.
Spooky Crystal Ball Halloween Candlesticks from Flamingo Toes

Lastly, something a little less spooky. . .and yes, pumpkins again. But these are faux quilted pumpkins.  For real, they are NO-SEW patchwork pumpkins. So adorable!
No-sew Patchwork Pumpkins from Crafts n' Coffee
That's what I've stumbled across so far. I'm sure there are tons of other amazing projects and foods and costumes and gosh knows what else that I've missed and haven't gotten to yet. But, I did need to share these. Remember that if you want to pin or save these projects, I ask that you go to the original source to do so.

What are some cool projects that you've made for Halloween? Help me catch up!

Currently I'm. . .

Cooking. . . Nothing tonight since I'll be away from home for a few hours. But I do have a full meal plan including this broccoli, cheese, and potato soup for tomorrow night, spicy black bean burgers on Saturday, and grilled pork chops on Sunday. Quick question: Are y'all interested in me sharing my meal plans again? I noticed those posts weren't getting much attention so I stopped. Let me know as I still plan every week's meals.

Creating. . . Some altered playing cards for a swap.
Here's a little blurred peek at the cards. (I don't want to ruin the reveal for my swap partner)

Drinking. . . Coffee, so I can function.

Eating. . .Nothing at the moment, but I am contemplating an everything bagel with avocado on it (though my menu dictates that I should make a smoothie.)
I gave in. . .The avocado was a little icky, but I got out what I could. It was delish!

Enjoying. . . A little more order and routine in my life now that the move is over, and I can get everyday tasks accomplished.

Finding. . .The magic of our new place unbelievable and awesome as we keep discovering new treasures.
Pat unearthed a 4x4 pole that had this odd metal ball and spike on it. I have no idea the purpose, but the patina totally catches my eye!

Hoping. . . The other house sells soon so we can really focus in on making this one ours.

Knowing. . . I have to have patience, the right buyer will come.

Listing. . .This lovely, romantic keyhole necklace
Blue-green Brass Keyhole Necklace

Making. . . A video of my process for the altered playing cards. (Though I'm still working on editing the video of the last set of cards I made.)

Marveling. . . Over the little things
I'm always distracted and mesmerized by dewdrops or water on leaves.

Needing. . . To really think about my business of being a jewelry-maker and make some decisions. Basically, I need to FOCUS.

Playing. . . Too many games on my phone. I really could be spending that time promoting my business, communicating with others, brainstorming designs or blog posts or whatever. Instead, I go brain-dead and mindlessly play puzzle games. GAH!

Reading. .. Nothing at the moment. Despite Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets sitting on my bedside table, I can't seem to pick it up (no worries, I have read it a few times already). I really should get to the library and find me something new. Any recommendations?

Relishing. . . In this living in the country thing, I think.
How cool is that oak tree rising from and above our little bamboo jungle?

Thinking. . . I really should plan something for my 40th birthday next week or I'll be disappointed I didn't. However, I have no idea how I want to celebrate it and would really rather someone else plan it for me. (I'm so very lazy.)

Wanting. . . It to stay warm longer so we can enjoy the pool. Alas, I think the temps have dropped too far to keep that hope alive.

Wearing. . . Warmer clothes today as even the air is a little chilly this morning.

Wishing. . . There was more time in each day. (Do I always wish for that in these posts?)

Our New Home | Pool and Property

Over a month ago I shared a look at the inside of our new home. I guess it's time that I show you some of the FIVE ACRES we also bought, including the pool area. He're what I was able to capture on camera the other day first thing in the morning (the lighting was weird so the pictures are a little odd, but I think you'll get the idea). Of course, I also filmed a video if you'd rather just go to the bottom of the page and watch that. This is a little picture heavy, bear with me. I'm excited to show you some of my new space.
The view off the back porch. Pat's already cleared away a bunch of the vines and overgrowth that had been covering that fence.
Also from the back porch you can see this shed. Again, the fence was covered in jasmine that we are slowly working on clearing out.
Taking a left off the porch, there's this little walkway to the pool, and a nice grouping of  banana trees and split-leaf philodendron. 
On the other side of the banana trees is this little area. We've decided to make it a fire-pit area since we found that fire pit in some weeds.
THIS is our pool!! It's kinda large and goes to 8 feet deep. It's also well-shaded which makes for quite chilly water. It'll be perfect during this sweltering Alabama Julys!
Okay, so back in the fire-pit are is this arbor (that was covered in air potato vines- eek!) and a few lampposts. It seriously feels like Narnia out here!
Out past the lampposts is this open area where we plan to plant our garden. You can see the light on the other side of the trees in the back, that's where out property ends and a large farm begins.
Next to the open area is this wide path that cuts through an area of bamboo and the back of the 'backyard'.
The path also cuts behind this pole barn. My husband says it's in better shape than it looks.
The pole barn hold all kinds of stuff that was left on the property - some treasures and some not so much.
Circling back toward the house is this basketball goal covered in overgrowth, I think it really speaks of the rustic nature of our new home.
I'm completely smitten with the variety of plants and flowers we have all over the property (with the exception of the air potato and jasmine). We joke that we've got one of everything. Take a look:
There are tons of gardenia bushes - it's a good thing I love them so!
As well, there are hydrangeas scattered across the property. I actually found this tiny bloom on one of them.
For the most part though, the majority of our hydrangeas look like this right now.
The previous owner had planted some mums. This is one small bunch like you would get in front of the grocery store. However, it's blooming. I don't mind!
In addition to lots of pine trees, we also have a few large oaks. This large, majestic one sits toward the back of the property.
There are beauty berry bushes scattered all over. I adore the color of the berries. Isn't it divine?
Elephant ears are mixed in with all the other plants. These are right outside the pool gate, giving that area an even more lush feel.
Also near the pool are several palms. This is the biggest of the bunch.
We've even discovered a few citrus trees. Though, this lime is the only fruit I've found on them. We think the other plant is an orange. I can't wait to find out for sure!
And that's just a partial look at the property, I didn't take you to the front of the house or the way back. I mentioned that it feels like Narnia out here but we're now joking that it's more like the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter. We've found some many cool items on the property, some we had recently mentioned we needed - like the fire pit. I plan on sharing a bit of a peek at some of the cool items we've discovered, but that's for another time. For now, here's my video tour.

I do apologize for making y'all wait so long for this reveal. It's been a ton of work trying to catch up and unpack and manage the property and enjoy the pool and excuses, excuses, blah, blah, blah. I do hope you understand.

My Experience Setting Up a Jewelry Booth for October's First Friday ArtWalk

I keep saying that things are starting to settle down and I should be able to get back on track here, but then I have a bit of a bloggy hiatus. I won't say it yet again. However, my craft room is about as good as it's going to get for a while, my daily to-do lists look a little more normal, and I feel less frantic in general; so let's keep our fingers crossed!

The beginnings of my booth sans lights, busts, and sign
For now, I want to share what I did over the weekend. Actually, it was Friday night. Downtown Fairhope has what they call 'First Friday Artwalk" each month. I was invited to set up a display booth at a new local restaurant, The Bone and Barrel, (some friends own it and it's amazing, but whatevs). I bust my booty trying to come up with a good setup and make a few new pieces.

A few of the new pieces I created before the event.

I was asked to limit my table to four feet. That worked out well since the only portable table I currently own is four feet long.
Set up and ready at The Bone and Barrel for First Friday ArtWalk

It hit me as I awoke one morning that I had impulsively bought a vintage typewriter that would work great to give some height and layers to my display.
I really adore how this looked. It garnered lots of interest from the kids there who wanted to pound on it.

I spiraled out of control from there, adding duck cloth and burlap ribbon as my table covering, using some glass cake plates (handmade with thrifted plates glued to fluted glasses- made YEARS ago), stacking books for interest, and laying out a few of my laser cut busts Pat made.
Lots of layers for texture and interest.

The front of the table looked bare, so I made myself a banner sign using paper, stencils, paint, glue, and basic twine. I was told to bring lights with me, so I bought one small one and then added one from Pat's office.
As the sun set, I was relieved that we brought more than the one light I initially thought would be okay.

I had a friend point out that my booth style definitely had a writing/text theme that I didn't even notice. I guess I have a style without intention: typewriters write out words; my busts, foam board, and jewelry cards all use old book paper, and the books on the table are full of text. I'm glad someone helped me recognize that theme, because I was just going with what I like, I guess it's words!
These are some of the laser cut busts Pat created for me. I adore them!
On Friday, Pat helped me transport, unload, and set up everything. He's my hero!
Loaded up and ready to go.

The booth got quite a bit of interest, but I didn't really sell anything. I'm not too bummed about it though. It was good exposure, a fab experience, and a lot of fun (we saw a bunch of friends and family while out on the patio). I'm hoping to try again next month.
Long necklaces laid on on foam board covered with dictionary text.

For your reference and mine, here's a list of what I took:

  • Jewelry (sorted, priced, and ready to go)
  • Table
  • Table coverings (duck cloth and burlap ribbon)
  • Banner sign
  • Displays (typewriter, busts, foam board, cake stands, books)
  • Tape and scissors (just in case)
  • Cashbox with cash, change, and Square reader
  • Receipts
  • Wrapping materials (tissue paper, paper baggies, baker's twine, and washi tape)
  • Business cards
  • Extension cord, 6-way power strip, and cell phone charger

Would you recommend removing/adding anything to it and/or do you have any advice for others like me just starting out selling our art in a booth-like setting?  And, what do you think in general? (please be kind, I'm new at this)?

Like I said above, it was a good experience overall, and I'm looking forward to another opportunity to show my creations. Thanks to those who came out to support me!

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...