Monday, January 31, 2011

A little under the weather but with a purpose...

So as some of you may know - I have been feeling a bit rundown lately.  A little overly tired, etc.  But as I was overjoyed to discover, I don't have the flu...or some other form of creeping crud.

I'm pregnant!

Woohoo!  And while I may whine and complain about how I seem to need to sleep 12 hours a day now, how I am nauseous 24 hours a day, and generally feel like someone is beating me with a least it's for a good cause.

So all is well, I'm taking those horrible smelling vitamins and trying to still get some work done between naps.  The fuzz people who sleep 20 hours a day are bad influences...Munchkin especially.

Other moms assure me that this will all pass in a few more weeks...let's hope, because you know me...if I am not doing 10 things at once whilst thinking about 4 more, I'm not a happy camper.

On the plus side, apparently I now have bionic hearing and the ability to smell what my neighbor 4 houses down is cooking for dinner.  Weird.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yippee Skippee - it's TAX time AGAIN!!

Ok, I may be the only person in the world who actually looks FORWARD to doing my taxes.

But I totally do - I love that Uncle Sam gives me money back.  It's just cool.  So very very very cool.
Hopefully this year will yield an actual VACATION to somewhere warm for a week or so.  And also some fun little toys for my studio - I have my eye on a drill press and torch set up....oooo oooo and a casting kiln.

So each day I scamper to the mail box and sort through the junk to find those tax forms and add them to the pile.

Our tax preparer is expecting us bright and early at noon on a Saturday in early February to see how much money Uncle Sam is giving back to us.  With an over 6 month deployment last year and me building a business...I'm thinking he will be kind.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fighting the BDU/ABU funk - aka: Freshen up those military blues and greens

As some of you may know, I am a proud military wife.  I am proud of my Airman.  He wears a uniform every day and is my own personal hero.  Awwwww.....  One of those uniforms is the ABU.

ABUs, battle dress camoflage uniforms are common dress for everyday.  They are made of a thick canvas type material that is treated with layers and layers and LAYERS of starch, hair spray, thickening agents to keep them crisp, pleated and ironed to perfection.

Unfortunately, while this process makes the uniforms look good, it makes them smell awful.  No matter how much these uniforms are washed, dry cleaned, etc....there is a special stank fondly called the "ABU funk". 

To combat this, so my own clothing doesn't smell like wet dog combined with smelly gym socks I created drawer and closet scented herbal sachets.  And so I didn't send my husband to work smelling like sweet girly things, I used more "manly" scents.

My personal favorite is the Sweetgrass Cedar blend - it freshes up those smelly uniforms and protects them from any greedy moths that try to make a meal outta them.  I used these pretty heavily in my husband's stored uniforms while he was deployed.  Because ABU funk is bad enough without encasing it alone in a plastic bag for 6 months.

They are also good for storing Winter clothes, jackets....sneaking into your husband's gym bag and sock drawer.  As well as freshing linens and bedding.

If you are interested in purchasing some sachets for your own soldier, airman, or sailor - here is the link to them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NEW for Spring - Girasole Collection

Working on new Spring Collections and have finished the first one, a line of ready-to-wear jewelry and hair accessories for everyday wear.  Pretty, youthful and sweet these designs go perfectly with vibrant color palette of this Spring's fashions.

Girasole - which is Italian for sunflower.   To me, sunflowers are the happiest of flowers, warm and welcoming.  This collection combines the beauty of different metals with simple, pretty millefiori glass beads.

Facebook FAN Giveaway! - 200th FAN wins a bobby pin set

The next giveaway from Reyna Red - Wind Dancer is for our 200th Facebook FAN!  Enter to win a bobby pin set of 3 (assorted colors, the picture is just an example) by becoming a FAN on Facebook.

Enter to WIN here!

Congratulations to our 150th FAN - winner of a free gemstone Amulet necklace:

Hannah Bythrow

She chose a white howlite amulet.  Howlite is a super-calming stone and helps to relieve stress.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just another Manic Monday!

So at the crack of oh'dark hundred, my eyes popped open and I was WIDE awake. 

Damn it.

Stared at the ceiling for a bit before creeping out of bed to check the time - holy shit it's 5:30am.  Got out of bed since sleeping seemed a fruitless pursuit and went about my day.  Shower, dress, feed fuzzy horde...ok, now it's 6am.

Decided to make breakfast for Thor since he was still asleep, so he wouldn't have to eat a bowl of cereal on the run.  And being the loving and awesome wife I am...I made chocolate corn muffins.  The timer beeped and the muffins came out as I was boiling water for coffee.

And he hits the snooze button. 

I wait a bit, the piping hot muffins cooling off.  The water boils and I let the kettle scream for longer than usual, using it as a passive aggressive alarm clock.

He hit snooze again.

Well, so much for my whole loving wife extravaganza.  Like a tree that falls in the woods with no one to see it.  Did it really happen? 

Did it?

Finally after a gentle noodge from me about breakfast and coffee waiting...Thor emerged.  It was rather like Puxatawney Phil on Groundhogs' Day...eyes barely open, squinting in the light, hunched over, big yawns, shuffling through the house.

And now it's 7am - I have a pot roast in and I am starting to work on my websites.  I'm betting most people aren't even awake.

P.S.  I took pics of the chocolate corn muffins - but I can't find the USB cable for the camera.  So you will have to imagine them.  But they were yummy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Photo of the Week - Sneak peek of new products! drawer sachet scents, coming SOON!

Classes, classes, classes - Casting 101, Part 1

Hi all -

A while ago, Thor and I signed up for a lost wax casting class.  Wax casting is something I always wanted to learn, but for whatever reason hadn't until now.  I've taken many a silversmithing class, in both high school and college, and never came across casting before.  Thor was game too which made it even more fun.  So we've been going for about 5 weeks now and we both really enjoy it.

So I thought I would give a rundown of the steps to casting.  And I recommend it to anyone who would like to learn new skills, or is just looking for something fun to do. 

Step 1 - Work with wax to create a design - using carving tools, shapers and a bunsen burner to heat the wax molten.  You can also use organic material or plastics to "burn out" a mold without using wax.

Step 2 -  Mount your completed design on a sprue (a thin wax stem) inside a casting flask (a steel tube).  The casting flask must allow 1/2 inch from top of design to top of tube and 1/4 inch around the sides.  It must not touch the sides of the casting flask.

Step 3 - Weigh/Measure out the investment and water according to the amounts on the flask (each flask has 2 numbers on it, for the amount of investment and water you need.)  Investment is a sticky kind of plaster that dries around the design and is maintained once the wax or organic material is burned out, forming the mold.

Step 4 - This step is timed and needs to be completed within 7 minutes.  Mix the investment and water to the consistency of thin pancake batter and pour at an angle into the casting flask until the mixture covers the design.  Then it's over to the vaccuum machine to tap out any bubbles in the investment so that it's ready to cast.  Once the vaccuum is completed, the flask is set aside for 15 minutes to dry.

At this point the actually casting process begins, which will be continued in the next segment.

Next time...Casting 101 - Part 2

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SNOW DAY! aka: Is it ever ever EVER going to stop snowing?!

So's another snow day! Between Sunday and this morning, Omaha got over a foot of snow. No lulls, continuous snow...without stopping...ever.

Hubby and I were out there like 3 times yesterday shoveling and you still can't tell we even lifted a finger. Today, it's not actively snowing...but we're looking at temps in the negative numbers with -25 degree wind chills. Brrrrr....

So for those of you enjoying balmier temps, here are some pics of what's outside my door. Enjoy whilst I look up pics of tropical climes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Tao of Neighbors - aka: How to avoid a toilet-papered house

As some of you may know already, I have some of the best neighbors in the world.  And a couple of the absolute worst.  And since I know such a situation is quite commonplace among the suburbs, cities, hamlets, dales, etc - I thought I would share my "guide" for being a good neighbor.

1.  My property is my property, and yours is yours.  I don't barbeque in your front yard for my pleasure, don't send your screaming children to play in mine for yours.

2.  If you don't like my life, stop paying so much attention to it.

3.  I don't tell you how to decorate your house, sit quietly and keep your thoughts on my covering up a caca brown color to yourself.

4.  I know you think your children are abolute angels, so why don't you actually spend time with them?

5.  Just because you believe in free childcare, doesn't mean I have to provide it.

6.  It's good to have flights of fancy, but not good to have them at someone else's expense and then spread the stories around.

7.  Just because my yard is a corner lot at the end of the street, doesn't mean that it's the neighborhood park.

8.  Creating a homeowner's association that no one is obligated to adhere to or join, means that you have absolutely no authority to try and impose your will upon others.

9.  When I want your opinion, I will ask for it.

10.  Continuously lingering on someone else's property without permission, when you have been asked to leave, is called trespassing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Movie Saturday, other goings on, and random picture

So Thor and I ran a bunch of errands today in kind of a random circular motion, first going to the Post Office.  Had 2 international packages to go out and AGAIN I had to wait till I got to the counter to ask for customs slips since they never bother to stock the forms in the lobby.  Frantically filled those out so I wouldn't have to get back in line, hopefully they are somewhat legible. 

From there our quest for a larger tackle box for our jewelry tools led us to the mecca of all outdoor stores...Bass Pro Shops.  Ok.  So I get that we are in kinda a hunting/fishing/yay guns area of the country...but I was not prepared for the sheer MASSIVE size of that store.  I did like the sign over the door - it made me laugh.

"Welcome all hunters, fishermen and all other liars."

So we go in and I stopped in the middle of the entryway, staring at the multitudes of people SUPER excited to be in that store on a Saturday.  I felt completely out of place and like I had a giant blinking sign over my head, "*cough* Bass Pro Shops virgin. *cough*"  Plus I think I was the only one not wearing flannel and gum boots.  lol

After the successful mission to find a larger tackle box for class, a Starbucks run (because the Bass Pro Shop had one randomly to one side next to the live bait section), and stop for those heavenly candied warm almonds...we were on our way back to Omaha to hit up Target for catfood.  Before Munchkin staged a full-scale revolt and hostile take over...because he's fairly certain he might die of starvation if he is not fed every 25 minutes or so.

Cat food in hand, we then began a journey to the new Aksarben Cinema that was just finished last month.  We found UNO, found it lost, found it again...and then finally stumbled upon the movie theatre.  Sadly, we were like an hour early so we had a look around at the "shopping center".  That took up about 10 minutes...and then we went to Jones' Cupcakes to kill some more time. 

Ok, I really do not understand the cupcake restaurant business model.  Who the heck wants to pay 3 bucks EACH for a cupcake?!  And a whopping $33 dollars for a dozen.  A DOZEN?!!  What kind of lunacy is that?  Buy a cake mix and a can of frosting - make a dozen yourself for like what, 5 bucks?

So then we were off to see Season of the Witch.  Thank goodness the theatre had a military price, because there is NO reason a movie in Omaha costs $9 per person.  Are you serious?  So anyway...the movie...yeah, it was ok until the last 15 minutes or so.  Classic story - great buildup, climax more of a muted fizzle instead of a bang.  A little heavyhanded with the "moral" of the story...felt a bit like a Sunday School comic book for naughty children.

Weather Men calling for either 50 degree weather or 12 inches of snow.  Can I barter for something in the middle??  Temps in the 30s and like 5 inches of snow?

And here's that random pic I promised you.  Because this is the weather I WISH we were having in January.  Of course the pic is from a cruise I took down to Mexico at the time like 4 years ago.  Balmy 80 degree weather, sun shining, ocean, warm sand....*sniff*

And now that I am thoroughly depressed, I have pics to edit for new products.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pocket Cookie - aka: The random things men do

I was putting on my coat last night after Silversmithing class, asking Thor if he wanted to stop by Starbucks on the way home for coffee.

He put his hand in his coat pocket, pulled out a cookie from Panera and said,

"Oh...I got this for you awhile ago and forgot to give it to you."

Then he handed me the pocket cookie.

So now I've been calling him "pocket cookie".

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Latest Ice Cream creation!

My wonderful husband and partner in crime, Thor, got me an ice cream maker attachment for Christmas for our KitchenAid stand up mixer.

Since then we've been trying different cream bases and mix-ins.  I love the fact that I can make and have fresh ice cream in like 20 minutes.

Tonight's creation was cinnamon ice cream which we had with fried, caramelized plaintains.

It was yuuuuuuumy!!

Photo Of The Week - When Pig was still Piglet

When my now 27lb cat, Pig, was a kitten, small and timid little snuggler who tried to steal my bear, Benjamin.  I remained aloof to his apparent cuteness and would only annex the bear for short naps. 

For a small fee.

**Benjamin Bear's wounded nose is not his fault.**

As I sit huddled for warmth around my laptop...

Hello fair readers!

That exclamation point is a bald faced lie...but I thought the effort was good considering that on this coooooooooold (holy schikies) Tuesday morning, here I sit huddled for warmth around my laptop battery and cup of coffee.

Plans for the day are much the same as yesterday - more pics to edit, Etsy to work on, fuzzy demands to meet.

And since I like to start out with a lame movie on Tuesdays, "Wild Wild West" is queued up and I have every confidence that it's as lame as I remember.

So here I go back to huddling...I  No really.  No, seriously. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

So you think you have high cholesterol?

Accomplished everything I set out to today, except the grilled salmon healthy dinner I planned in the early morning hours.  Epic Fail.

A trip to Office Max to get a new printer (my old all-in-one decided to turn cannibal shortly before Christmas, and would only scan, but not print or copy), found one marked 75% off (yay, me!) turned into a wander for "actual food" which in turn translated into calzones.

Yeah...the calzones had spinach in them covered in mountains of lovely cheeses and chicken, so hubby tried to say they were healthy...ish.  Noooooo.  Again...Epic Fail.

Post casting class Starbucks stop was was the Gingerbread loaf slice.  It's coldddddddd tonight.

And that's all folks!

***Stay tuned for Casting 101 - aka When redheads hold torches, light ablaze crucibles and generally wreak havoc in a community center casting lab with wax.

Munchkin's Fuzzy Advice for a Happy Life - 1/3/11

"When you have things to do, just yawn and roll over...they'll go away eventually."

Welcome 2011 - I solemnly swear to write more

Hi all -

My poor, poor, poor neglected blog.  Well, here we are just 3 days into 2011 and I have decided to write.  And to start off, let me beg forgiveness for the absolute thoughtless behavior that led me to ignore you for these last 3 long months.

So here I am, early on a Monday morning...up before dawn (crap), first cup of coffee downed in 2 minutes flat, first load of laundry in, and bleary-eyed in general...I am attempting to type some love to you fine readers.

Plans for the year -

1.  Blog at least 3 times per week - more living, more laughter, pics and Munchkin's advice on life.

2.  For the love of all that is pretty and shoes, I WILL organize my studio!  More than just shoveling things from one side of my table to the other.  Shoveling doesn't count.

3.  I will continue to let Munchkin bully me with his fuzzy demands.

4.  I will share the idiotic movies I watch, and the music I listen to throughout the day, as well as my trials and accomplishments.

5.  I will dance like an idiot, sing too loud, and bounce up and down and act like I didn't know you were watching.

Plans for today -

1.  Editing Etsy listings on winddancerdesigns for my destash section of jewelry supplies I have sworn to give up/pare down.

2.  If the freaking sun EVER comes out, catch up on product pics for headbands and french barrettes.

3.  Make something yummy for dinner with salmon that my husband will actually want to eat without staring at it like he's never seen a fish before.  (I miss CA...all the fish live there)  Although his cholesterol count is working in my favor on that - fish oil pills are icky.  I'm thinking grilled salmon with baby corn and sweet potatoes.

And now with all my plans (well, the ones I could come up with on that first cup of blessed life-giving caffeine) written down and the sun actually up now, I will call this first entry done. 

Please forgive its awkwardness and I go to fold some laundry, make that 2nd cup of life giving sustenance and to actually get my ass to work. 

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is queued up.