Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yep 2 posts today!

So yesterday I discovered that I have managed to lose 5 pounds without even trying. WELL let me tell you this has given me a kick in the pants and really motivated me! If I can lose this without trying imagine what I can do if I put my mind to it!!!

So I am setting myself 3 weekly goals. I'd be thrilled if y'all could help keep me motivated!
1. Work out every weekday. NO EXCUSES!!!
2. List 5 items in my etsy shop every day!
3. Make atleast 2 items every day!

I am really feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things so HERE I COME!!!

Cakes and sales

So I really enjoy creating things. When I finish them I usually snap a quick pic on my desk to share.(with all the 'stuff' behind it) Listing items in my Etsy shop seems to be a whole 'nother matter! Yes it takes me a while, but I don't even really mind sitting down (or crouching as is often the case) to spend a few hours taking photographs and editing them to best show off the product. BUT sitting dow to list each and every item on Etsy about drives me insane! It's not that I don't like writing the descriptions, that part is pretty easy for me. But it's the monotonous plugging in details that gets me...Heck I've had items where the listing took longer to do that making the item itself!!!
BUT if you're going to sell online this is something that needs to be done. It's silly to complain about lack of sales when the same few items have been sitting stagnant in your store! Thanks to the late night urging of a dear friend I listed these 2 cakes Friday night. Saturday morning I received a message from a gal in Canada asking if I'd ship the cream and chocolate one to her. No problem, (I prefer NOT to list shipping prices for international, but I will gladly do so after I adjust the listing accordingly) I emailed her back and confirmed that I would indeed find out how much shipping would be then alter the listing accordingly. Well not 5 minutes later someone ELSE bought the cake!!!!
My poor first customer was heart-broken, but I told her I would gladly make another cake custom for her! Then later that evening after posting my good news on Facebook, someone else custom ordered a version of the cake in Chocolate and Hot Pink!!! Soooo this just goes to show how important listing is!!!! (And listening to the urgings of good friends! =D)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gosh I LOVE books!

(Sorry this post is a 'tad' wordy! lol)

I really don't think there is anything like the rasp of pages turning in a good book! I didn't realize just how much I'd missed sitting down to devour a good book. Back in January when I first challenged myself to read 100 books in 2010, I didn't think anything of it. I mean I read each of the Harry Potter books from cover to cover on the day they were released! So really reading 2 books in a week should have been a cake walk. And it was until my husband deployed in April. It was kind of my ritual that I would read in the mornings while he got ready for work as well as in the evenings while he got ready for bed. Finishing 2 books was easy. But when he left, well my whole routine changed and I really didn't read as often as I had before. Heck there were several weeks that I didn't even pick UP a book, let alone read one. Oh sure I made sure to buy the latest releases from my favorite authors and read them. But the total immersion into them wasn't there. It certainly wasn't for lack of story that's for sure and I really did enjoy each book I read. It just wasn't with the same 'OMG-I-Can't-Put-This-Down' attitude that I truly love about a book that really draws you in.

I was at the bookstore a couple weeks ago looking for a new release and stumbled upon a couple other books that I had seen reviewed. I felt as though something let loose in my chest, as I grabbed those books...I could feel the need to read them, that sweet voice in the back of my head, calling out to me, crying to be fed the words written on those gorgeous pages. I finished the 4 books I bought in record time and went in search of more! And just last night I ordered yet more books! It feels so wonderful to be back to the point where I just want to lose myself in a book! =D

Ok so on to the reviews...I have finished 3 books and listened to one audiobook since my last post.
Book 54 was Guardian by Angela Knight. This is the most recent release in her Time Hunter series. I've written about her other books in this series of futuristic romances. Guardian follows Riane, a 23rd century Temporal Enforcer who, in the hunt for a traitor, gets stranded in the 21st century. Nick has been alone since his early teens, when 'monsters' killed his mother. Little does he know that his mother is actaully part of the very race of 'monsters' that killed her. Monsters which are also the enemy Riane fights against every day.
Book 55 is also by Knight, Master of Fire is the latest in her Mageverse series. (remember me mentioning King Arthur, Knights of the round table, vampires, witches and werewolves? yeah THAT series! =D) Master of Fire is about King Arthur and Queen Guinevere's son Logan. Logan is a Latent (someone capable of handling Merlin's Gift) who was long ago cleared to accept Merlin's gift and become a Maja (vampire) BUT Arthur and Gwen swore they'd never force that decision upon him, so Logan has lived a normal life in a small town as a fireman/arson investigator/bomb squad member. But when Latents start dying in suspicous 'accidents' Gwen fears for her son's life and sends a Maga (witch) to protect her son. Her only rules: Logan must NEVER know what she is or WHY she's there. Oh and NO FALLING for Logan. Let's just say "Best laid plans..."
These 2 were wonderful additions to Angela Knights wonderfully woven worlds and I look forward to reading even more!
Book 56 I just finished tonight, was Captive Desires by Diane Whiteside. This is the long awaited sequel to Captive Dreams which I read a few years back. (Heck that was the book that got me hooked on Angela Knight!) Captive Dreams follows Danae who is a successful Prima ballerina who writes fanfics in her free time. Imagine her shock and surprise to see her perfect envisionment of her favorite leading man at a fan convention. Alekhsiy has watched his pretty dancer through the veil that seperates the worlds many times, but even he is stunned by the rush of meeting her in the flesh. Now he must remember that he is in her world on a mission to save his own.
Book 57 is actually the audio book I listened too. Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh picks up where Angel's Blood left off. Guild Hunter Elana Devereaux must attempt to adapt to her new life by Rafaels' side. Demons from her past haunt her dreams, and begin to haunt even here waking hours. Murders in The Refuge must be investigated and lives must be protected. Is Elana strong enough? This was another fantastic installment to Nalini's Guild Hunter saga, but as with Angel's Blood, this definitely pushes the boundaries of our perceived notion of Angels. This one might not be for everyone. BUT I loved it1

Monday, September 20, 2010

So, what can it be???

I've been toiling with this idea for quite a while now...I wasn't entirely sure how I wanted to go about doing it. I'm still not sure this was the BEST way to do it, but I'm on the right track. I know at this point you're going, "Ok it's a white vase???" Maybe if I turn out the lights?

I printed off some wolf silhouette clip art and then trimmed each one individually. Each one got a good layer of black sharpie front and back. No clue if this helped the effect or not, but from the inside it look nice too! The images were then decoupaged onto the clear rectanglular vase with Mod Podge. While it dried i mixed up a 4:1 mix of Translucent-White premo polymer clay. I conditioned it until it was almost completely mixed but left a few striations for 'texture' so to speak. Then it got rolled out really thin in my pasta machine.
(a number 5 on my Atlas) The clay was then smoothed over the frame trying to eliminate as many bubbles as possible. I got most of them. I then baked it for 20 minutes (since it was so thin!) let it cool and sanded it a bit. I think it will get more sanding as well as some black trim along the top and bottom. I am trying to decide between black clay or a ribbon or fabric trim of some leather or suede 'ribbon' seems really appealing right now. Each side has a different image which can be seen here.

So what do you think?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Meet Dolce!

Last month I was commissioned to make one of my Kudzu's Whimzy-style dragons. I hadn't made one in a while, so I eagerly accepted. The customer only had one request...she wanted her to look sweet and kinda goofy. GOOFY?!?!?!?! Um ok so this had me rather stumped as I never have been able to capture the wonderful facial expressions like Sally can. But that's why they are HER dragons and mine are 'in the style of' LOL

So I knew right away I wanted pink...nothing says sweet to me like pink! As I fiddled around mixing colors and saw a butterfly land on a plant out in my flower bed...and it was a lightbulb moment!

Dolce was entirely sculpted by hand using polymer clay, her eyes are a blackish purple faceted Czech glass bead and her wings...well her wings are my secret! Just kidding! =D I actually recycle used dryer sheets, by painting them with a mixture of acrylic paints and tacky glue. after they dry I make the wire 'bones' which get glued down. After that glue drys the 'bones' are covered with either fabric paint or more glue/paint mix. When they are completely dry the wing shapes are trimmed out and inserted into the hole I made in the back.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've been reading...really I have

I just kept forgetting to post about the books after I've finished them. I've read 10 in the last 2 monthes so my reviews are gonna be super quick. Most of the authors are ones I've talked about before, just current books in their series or new series by them. So without further ado, books 44-53 (in no particular order, mainly cause I'm not entirely sure which order I read them! LOL)
Nalini Singh's Bonds of Justice, the most recent release in her Psy/Changeling series. I also started her Guild Hunter series with Angel's Blood. I LOVE Nalini and have enjoyed everything she writes. Her GH series might not be for some folks who have very definite ideas and opinions about Angels and vampires. BUT if you are open to interpretation and creative liberties, this is a very well written storyline with plenty of twists and turns.
From Gena Showalter (one of my faves!!!!) comes the latest in her Lords of the Underworld series with The Darkest Lie. She also had a short in the anthology The Bodyguard.
Ok so what to vampires, witches and The Knights of the Round Table have in common???? Nothing, unless you happen to be Angela Knight. This is probably one of my favorite authors, I can read her work over and over again and never tire of it. The first set is her Mageverse series. In it King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and the other knights are all immortal. Pretty cool, they've been protecting Earth for centuries. An old threat has come back seeking to conquer the universe starting with Earth. Oh by the way...Arthur and his Knights are vampires, and Gwen and the other ladies of Avalon are witches! (or Maja as they prefer!)Throw in werewolves and the Fae adn you have one wild ride of a story. Master of Night is the first book, which I HAVE read, just not this go-round as I can't find it! =( then comes Master of the Moon,
Master of Wolves,
Master of Swords,
and Master of Dragons
Her newest book is Master of Fire (which I am reading now, so not counting it...yet!)
Angela also has a futuristic series that deals with time-traveling genetically engineered warriors. Warlord which contains the short stories Jane's Warlord and Warfem starts of the series with a bang...actually I think it's more of a sonic boom as the hero Jumps into the 21st century. The second book in the series is Warrior. (again I've read it before, just not this time as I think I might have loaned it to someone. eeep!) Her newest book is called Guardian, which I just finished yesterday. Guardian features the daughter of the hero from Warlord as the heroine. Angela has a wonderful grasp on the future and her writings never fail to keep me entranced!

So there you have it...3 awesome authors, 10 great books in 2 monthes. I really need to do more reading or I don't think I'm gonna make my hundred. :-( Good thing I have several awesome books lined up waiting to be read!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's beginning to look alot like...

Ok so I know it's only the middle of September, and I can't STAND seeing all the Christmas decor being put up in stores already...BUT as a crafter, I KNOW I MUST get started on Christmas decor (heck I probably should do some all year round so there is no rush) So I started out with these cute 'stained' glass items. I bought the little frames last year intending to make them then. Well best laid plans... Sooo here is teh 1st wave. 3 became ornaments with the fourth becoming a votive holder. I am including a battery operated tea-light flameless 'candle' with it. Right now I have one that changes color, but I am thinking that a plain one might be better. (More pics here!)
I have one more of each design...I was thinking about doing votives with the 3 that are ornaments and and ornament with the other. That way each design will be available as either an ornament or a votive holder.

I also finished a round 1/6th scale table. I'm rather happy with it. The base was an unfinished candlestick and the top is 2 thin rounds wood-glued together. I painted the base white and the top got stained Oak.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

ICE Resin

Ok, so when my first batch of Barbie accessories can in months ago, among the goodies were several pretty perfume type bottles. I knew instantly that I wanted to try and reproduce them...well early experiments failed epicly! Until yesterday. In one of the yahoogroups I belong to someone mentioned a new jewelry grade resin that could be cast as well AND it took detail really well and stayed crystal clear. So I hopped over to the website. It looked incredible...since I had some questions about ICE Resin and casting small items I sent off an email to their ICE Queen. (heeheehee, I love that. =D) And within 2 days, she replied and answered all of my questions and then some. I then discovered that my favorite online beading store carried it, so into my cart it went. While I was waiting for it to arrive I made some molds to try it out with. I made 3 molds from miniature plates, those can also be used with polymer clay! I also molded a simple bottle from my stash o'bottles. Yesterday I followed the instructions and mixed up 1/2 an ounce of ICE Resin. When you'r making miniatures 1/2 an ounce goes a loooong way! LOL The picture above is the result from yesterdays play. NOW I did realize that I skipped a very crucial step...letting the resin rest for 5 minutes after mixing. The bottle and the 'cut glass' plate are both full of bubbles. But the other 2 plates are pretty clear due to the resin resting a bit. The molded items will take about 3 days to fully cure, but I am totally thrilled with the way they turned out and already have another batch curing, as well as some new bottle molds setting up as well.

I took come pics today while I made the current batch as kind of a mini tutorial. Check them out here!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

way behind, sorry!!! (plus Dresses 10 & 11)

Ok so let's see I last posted over a week ago...not good...been kinda hectic. First off I finished 2 more outfits by the 31st. The Robin (jeans, top, and bird watching accessories) and the Patricia (a blue and white paisley dress with Red accessories). The craft show I'd been working towards was Wednesday the 1st. Not the best show but certainly not the worst either. I did sell 3 of my barbie outfits. (the Rachel, Traelyn and Marsha!) So I was very happy about that. I sold a few other little things as well but not really all that much. Although I did hand out a ton of business cards and was invited to do another show in November, and had several folks ask about custom orders. =D

After that well I promptly got horribly ill! Like ugh thought I was gonna die ill. Thankfully it only lasted 24 hours and I have a wonderful teenaged son and 2 very well behaved younger sons. Joe took care of his brothers and such while I slept away most of Thursday. (Glad I was able to up up and mobile long enough to get the younger 2 off to school and then pick them up from as well.) I have no idea what cuased it, but I honestly think it was my bodies way of telling me I'd not been taking care of myself. So it forced me to! I am back to my old self again, but will definitely NOT be pushing myself so hard this time around. I don't have too much going on over the next couple of months, but there are some biggies. Yard Sale on the 18th, just a bit of rummaging around for that. Custom order miniature Miss Piggy and a dragon to go with the other Jim Henson characters I made last month. Another larger custom dragon, a set of custom Christmas ornaments, and Army Camouflage pens, oh yeah and some wedding accessories in miniature. THEN in October is the Fort Benning Bazaar show, then 2 more shows in November. None of these things will take up too much time and I promise to make sure I am eating and sleeping better. =D