Thursday, April 29, 2010

Around town - Joslyn Castle in Omaha

All those who wander are not lost....

Hi All -

I'm back from my trip to CA to see my family and wanted to share with you some pics of one of my favorite places in Omaha.  My husband and I moved here about 2 years ago now, he's in the Air Force - this is our first station together.  Now my husband and I are, by nature, explorers...we are not content to stay on base and never take a look around.  So almost immediately upon arriving, we started looking about.  He likes museums and zoos...just a kid at heart I guess.  I like old buildings and downtown strolling and we combine nicely.


We discovered the Joslyn Castle pretty early on...while driving through older neighborhoods looking at the big old Craftmans, the pretty Victorians, sensible Four-squares, etc.  It is this massive stone castle that appears from behind a variety of early 1900s styles of architecture as you drive down 38th Street. 

The property is massive, nearly an entire city block.  We were able to take a tour inside last year, however the Castle is closed for part of the year - but the grounds remain open to the public. 

This is a shot of the exterior - how would you like to live here? Like a real princess.

After a year of living on Offutt Air Force Base, my husband and I decided to buy a house.  We found one of those big 'ol Craftsmans just a scant 3 blocks from the Joslyn Castle.  How lucky is that?  So before my trip, I wandered over to take some pics of the gardens which are in full bloom with Spring, as well as some exterior shots.

So here they are - enjoy!
Leah :-)
Carpets of tulips in the garden....

The garden gate...I love all this old wrought iron work.

The "wishing well" tree....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My home state - oh, how I miss you...

Hello from sunny California!

I am in my home state for about a week to visit my family as a birthday present to myself.  In the flurry of activity: meeting up with old friends, being passed around to different branches of the 'ol clan like the last chicken wing at a barbeque, shopping in mad little flurries at antique malls out and about...I haven't updated my blog so you all can partake in the fun.

Well, I decided rather than long winded single posts on each of my favorite places...I would instead post a pictorial - so those of you who have never been to the West Coast Sunshine State...could see what I love about it.  So here goes...some of my favorite places...Part I.

Monterey is absolutely gorgeous!  The ocean, the fresh seafood, the sea otters, the boats, good shopping, etc.  Little tip:  It's easy to tell the natives from the tourists here.  Pretty sandy beaches, crystal blue water...sounds heavenly right?  Wrong.  The Pacific Ocean north of San Diego is COLD...very cold.  The only people in the water without a full wetsuit on are in for a rude surprise.

Ok, now you've been warned.

Hakone Gardens - absolutely breathtaking.  These gardens were used in the outdoor scenes in Memoirs of a Geisha, the movie.  The ornamental cherry trees are stunning in the Spring - vibrant pink flowers.  A traditional Japanese garden in the heart of San Jose.

Villa Montalvo is a part time artists' colony and a part time arts and music venue.  Many local and internationally known music artists perform here on Spring and Summer nights.  This unique property boasts many marble statues such as the one above of Romeo and Juliet, and is a popular place for weddings.

These are just a few of my favorite places in California - stay tuned for more pics and tidbits to come.  Hope you enjoy! 
Leah :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Words to live and work by...

Sometimes humility is an act of self-preservation, and pride is the surest path to humiliation.

Hi all:

I learned this lesson well over the last couple of weeks.  I had been working on mock-ups for a potential wholesale account which were completely contrary to my overall asthetic.  But instead of admitting that straight off, I was convinced that I could do anything.  So 3 weeks of labor and frustration followed as I tried every technique I know as well as trying to force a few new ones...all to try and squeeze myself into a mold I knew I would not fit in.

And finally today - I faced the truth.  I am not the right designer for the project.  And you know what, I am ok with that.  I would rather the clients get something that they are going to be happy with, and that I would be proud to put my name to.

So tomorrow Rachel, my photographeress extraordinaire, is coming over tomorrow to catch me up on new designs.  So I will have work to work on whilst I am on vacation in California this week.

And also while I am on vacation, I am going to be taking my camera out to local landmarks, both in my hometown and Omaha...expect to see those pics along with some interesting tidbits about each one.

I love old buildings...the attention to little hidden details that are notably absent from new construction.  Buildings were built to last and also to show the personality of the architect and person living in the house.

I'm excited to see all my favorite places in Northern California over the next week:  Chinatown, Monterey, Saratoga/Los Gatos, San Francisco, Winchester Mystery House, Caffe Le Presse, etc, etc, etc...

Redhead signing off,

Friday, April 16, 2010

New reading material - how I miss a good romance novel...

Hi all -

It's been a relaxing couple of days in some ways...not so much in others.  Found out today that the show I was supposed to be doing tomorrow was cancelled.  A while ago.  And did I get any notification prior to the refund of my booth monies?  Nope.

Ah well, annoying...but a blessing.  So I ended up having the weekend off.  Well off in the sense that I don't have a show.  But I do have yard work and laundry and wholesale orders to work on.  But more on that later.

This entry is about books.  I love books.  I collect hard back books of all genres, an addiction that I got from my mum.  Of course my addiction is in direct proportion to my income and my need for supplies...and so my collection as it were is much smaller than my mum's.  But I still have a healthy collection of books to which I have recently begun adding how-to books. 

Running a business - even with a business degree brings into sharp focus those skills that a person does NOT have.  In my case, the sharp focus in on the fact that I have absolutely no innate skill for Quickbooks and when I believed naievely that Photoshop Elements would be easier than straight Photoshop CS, I was clearly out of my mind.

So a quick trip to the local bookstore to get some reference material for those subjects.  After browsing through the Computing section, I found the following gems and also fell in love with a cookbook:

The Missing Manuals have been recommended to me by my more technically inclined pals to fill in the blanks for those who are beyond the Dummies books....but not quite to the full on technical manuals.

I chose the Teach Yourself Visually for Photoshop Elements because I just needed to see where things were hiding in the submenus...since Elements doesn't seem to follow the same footprint as CS.  Live and learn.

The Mediterranean Cookbook is my way of learning how to cook more Greek dishes since my favorite Greek restaurants are not open all the time.  And there's nothing more depressing than wanting a gyro and not being able to get one.  So this way...I will learn to make my own.  I did it with Thai food...I can do it with Greek.

Here are some more books that I have been dabbling into the last month.  I recommend them all to independent artists and crafters as essential reference materials. 
And of course, all work and no play...etc...  So here are some of the light reading I've been doing to reward myself for all the other "business related" reading.

These books are light and fun, "brain-candy" if you will.  Sweet and sometimes tart...but good in small doses.  Too much rots your brain.

So here are some that I recommend.  A little bit of everything...

Some romance, some sci-fi, some history, even a picture book or two.

So I hope you enjoyed this little trip into my library of the moment.  I think what a person is reading shows a lot about their overall interests. 

And now back to your regularily scheduled programming.
Redhead signing off,
Leah :-)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ladies Night Extravaganza - a little shopping, a little drinking, a little Rock n' Roll

Hi all:

So, it was my first Ladies Night in Council Bluffs - I'd never been to the Mid America Center, so I got a bit turned around at first trying to find the loading dock.  But I did find it and began to set up around noon because I wanted to get it done early and still have time to run some errands....yeah, no. 

I got there plenty early...but was a bit distracted by the venue and who was next to me, etc.  My booth was right in front of the stage, and the gathering table...since it was my first year I wasn't sure what location was good or better than any other.  Anyway...I set up and was done about took alot longer than usual because people were shopping while I was setting up...which is really ok with me.

And I was without a helper as both my husband and the lovely Rachel were not available.  But I think I did ok regardless.  It was a little harrowing at the end of the night...I was the last one to leave.  Not the best packing job I've ever done....but it's ok. 

The band was interesting...I was with them while they did old classics from the 50s and 60s...then they totally lost me when they queued up "Elvira".  Yeah.... That song gives me horrible flashbacks from 7th grade P.E. when we had to learn to dance....50 minutes of trying to do the electric slide to that song.  I still have it stuck in my head...the next day.  grrrrrr.... Giddey up a room bah...a room bah...bow wow...high ho sil-ver...AWAY!! See? not cool.

Decided on the way home to stop by Ameristar for to play the slots for a bit...haven't been to a casino since before Thor left in November.  There was a fun new video slot called Pirates Beach that was fun for about a half hour.  Played my 40 bucks and was out of there by 11pm.

Eeeeee....while writing this post I found out that photos of my display and designs made the paper here!  Woohoo!  I am getting a copy of the paper and will post that once I have it.

Leah :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Introducing....The royal family of Fuzzdom

Hi all:

This Monday morning's blog is a peek into my wee world outside the design studio, shows and other misadventures.

It's a tour of the Fuzzdom.  Now the Fuzzdom is what my husband affectionately calls all parts of our old Craftsman that have been annexed by our two cats, Munchkin and Piglet. 

Hereafter, they will be known by either their given names as stated above, their official state titles: His Royal Fuzziness and Tiny Cat, or the many nicknames that exist...Munchkin has more because it is in direct corellation to the amount of fuzz.

More fuzz = more names.

He is the keeper of the fuzzy tumbleweeds that sometimes roll across our hardwood floors when a breeze comes by, the eldest, the insitgator, the drinker of drips, fuzz man extraordinaire.

             Munchkin - His Royal Fuzziness

Now Piglet - he has no special skills to speak of...well other than theft, the random pilferage of miscellaneous paraphenelia (scarves, the left mitten, hats with pompoms, nail files, tweezers, orange peels, etc) and the depositing of said items under the bed in a nice nest-like pile.  Oh, and randomly running into, falling off of, knocking over of nearly everything not nailed down around him.  He is a very un-stealthy cat.  So accordingly, his nicknames center around yelling at him whilst he is running away from the latest pilfered item or scene of the crime. 

 Photos of him are often out of focus, because if
he sees a camera...he needs to get THIS close.                  Piglet - Tiny Cat, Pig, Piggie...etc...

Now you might wonder, why on Earth, I would bestow such names upon helpless (yeah, right) and innocent animals (ha!)and there is always an excellent reason.  Because they fit.  To a T.  And now I shall expound...

Munchkin is at least 12 years old...I say at least, because I have had him that long.  However, he came to me exactly as he looks now and so I have no idea how old he really is.  He showed up at the door one night as I was bringing laundry in and patiently followed me to the door and right on into the house.  He then looked at me and jumped up on the couch and went to sleep.  And he's been here ever since.  He's my cat...well, actually I think he may be some hybrid of cat and something else...but we'll get to that later.  All 6lbs of black and white Himalayan fuzz and one cross eyed glory of him.

Piglet was an impulse purchase....a guilt gift that I got for Munchkin after we moved to Nebraska from Northern California.  I thought I needed forgiveness for dragging him cross country in a car in two days.  So I went looking for a companion for him...and found Pig, then Sebastian, who names a cat that?!  Pig was a combo of all the cats I haven't had yet.  Blue eyed, marmalade, Siamese.  So I went for it. And Munchkin still gives me the stink eye sometimes for that short-sighted silly decision.

Piglet was Tiny Cat for awhile when I brought him home while I tried to settle on a better name.  And then I noticed that at meal times, he squealed like a pig for food...loudly.  And he is very pink around the edges.  So I told him he was a Pig and looked like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh...and so now here we are.  I still call him Tiny Cat sometimes...although he is 22lbs and climbing.  Oh, my spleen....oh god, my spleen....

And so now that you have been introduced to the royal family here in the Fuzzdom I will leave you with this montage of the royals. 

Back when Munchkin was still bigger than Pig.
I didn't make him an actual throne - so he made one himself.
Thank goodness - Pig was still too small at this point to pilfer Benjamin Bear and shove him into the pile under the bed.
He's lulling you into a false sense of security - with his fuzz.

Toodles from this tour of the Fuzzdom - I hope you enjoyed your stay.  Come back again soon!

-Leah :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Suddenly Springtime...there is much rejoicing!

Hi all -

Today was a short day at the show - doors closed at 4pm and so was home by 4:30pm and decided that since it was such a pretty day I would take my IPod and wander about the neighborhood.

What a change!  Spring has finally arrived.  It almost doesn't seem real, like Mother Nature will yank it all back with a cackle and say, "oh,'s 6 more months of snow.  Enjoy!"  But the trees are blooming...gorgeous pink and cream magnolias make me smile.  The bulbs have popped up, rainbow colors, nodding in breezes almost whispering at passerbys.

Norah Jones was crooning in my ears as I walked through the neighborhood, just breathing and enjoying the scenery...the crazy mixture of house styles, colors, landscapes, people.  Met a new friend...6 month old Hank (a cutie-patootie Boxer puppy) tangled up in my legs and proceeded to smother me with kisses.  The IPod earphones are a little worse for the wear...but still seem to work.  hahaha.

When I got home from my walk I continued my mad-scientist experiment with PMC silver.  Fires like a dream, but am still working out the kinks with thickness for different ideas I have. 

Plans for the rest of the day include working on new designs because sales have been good and have to keep inventory up since I have 2 more shows immediately following this one.

So Happy Springtime everyone!  Take time out to take a look around sometimes. 

Sometimes the best time is spent doing absolutely nothing.
Leah :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New title - new layout...NEED opinions

Hi there:

So, I have been playing around with different layouts and I have found one I like the best...although I am still trying to tweak it.  Add my own header, change the font color, etc....but HTML, not my strong suit.

I decided to change the title, although the web address stays the same...I felt that concentrating solely on my jewelry lines really limited both the content and my creativity in this blog.  I want to be able to talk about and share my thoughts, loves on any and all subjects.  So the title has changed to reflect that. 

Of course I will still keep you informed on the goings on with Reyna Red and Wind Dancer as things progress.  But look for added content - pictures, travel essays, recipes, odd musings, polls, giveaways, and random bits of pet info.

I would absolutely ADORE feedback on the changes so far.  Please tell me what you think and I would be thrilled to hear any and all suggestions on how to make it even better. 

And if there are any lurking blog designers, mavens of HTML, geniuses with Flash, etc...would cookies as a bribe entice you to help a technical dummy?

haha, anyway - Yes?  No?  Like?  Dislike?  Any bells and/or whistles you would like to see added?

I await on bated breath for your comments.
Leah :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Big changes on the horizon...

Hi All:

I have been reading this really amazing book called, Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey.  It's a book about blogs, blogging and it gave me some really neat ideas for a new direction of my blog. 

I thought that a blog had to be focused in one direction - and so tried to fit that mold.  I only blogged when I had news to share about my jewelry or business...and I wasn't enjoying myself.  It was a chore.

Something I had to do every week.  That attitude about it sucked all the joy out of it.  And really, what is the point of that?! 

The most important idea that the book points out is that blogging is supposed to show an online audience the real you...not a version of you.  So from now on, I am going to be me.  Just me on here as well.  That's not to say that I won't ever write about my jewelry or just won't be all I write about.

So, dear readers...look for changes over the next few weeks...changes to layout, subject matter...tone, etc.

It's a whole new horizon out there...
Leah :-)