Sunday, July 27, 2008

featured: a keeper's jackpot

July is my first month as a member of the EtsyBloggers team. Every month I have the opportunity to write about one of my fellow team members. The featured EtsyBlogger this month is...

A Keeper's Jackpot

“A Keeper’s Jackpot” is a wonderfully talented and friendly etsian. She opened her Etsy shop in October 2007. She’s one of those SUPER artistic women who creates gorgeous jewelry using multiple techniques such as wire wrapping, wire crochet, and polymer clay to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her newest endeavor is decoupage. I am anticipating seeing some gorgeous pendants using this medium… I’ll be checking her shop often! :)

I chose a FEW of my favorite items from her shop to show here… Unique and beautiful jewelry, lanyards, bookmarks… she has it all! Interested in seeing what she’s currently up to!?! Check out her informative AND interesting blog!

A Keeper’s Jackpot… definitely a keeper! :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

TWO treasuries

I'm featured in TWO treasuries today... YEAH!!! Both treasuries were put together by fellow EtsyBloggers team members. WOW! They're so supportive and I'm sooo proud to be part of the team! Thank you VERY much EcoKate for including my Sushi - California Roll in your treasury. I'm so happy to be included with such beautiful items!
Another "thanks" goes out to spottedcowsoaps.... Her treasury of red hot items is sure to please the eye! She included my Black & Red Blossom Card in this collection. Again... I am so honored to be included with such amazing artists!

Thank YOU so much EtsyBloggers! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

a l-a-z-y afternoon & bookmark delight

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO READ!! However… I have a hard time putting a book down in the middle of the story, soooo I have to limit my reading. (or nothing else would EVER be accomplished… besides the important fact of not leaving characters in limbo!) Is there anyone else like this? I know my sister, Bethany, is like this too (admit it, Beeper!)!

Well… a couple of Sundays ago after a nice morning of volleyball, my husband had a great suggestion of spending an afternoon out in the Jacuzzi/pool AND maybe I should bring out a book (see how this is all HIS fault… or just his way of guaranteeing that I’d be outside the rest of the day!). It sounded like such a relaxing way to spend a Sunday… so I went to my book stash (books that NEED to be read!) and selected one in a series of three that my mom gave me (I guess we can say this is also her fault!).

The book I selected to read was, “Full House” by Janet Evanovich. (I did get teased and harassed by my husband and daughter throughout the afternoon about the title… My husband kept asking if Uncle Joey was dressing up as Elvis yet, and lots of other things that are just best not repeated… AND it is NOT about the TV series!!!)

If you’re looking for a book that is “light” reading that keeps you turning page after page with crazy characters, “a little” steamy sex, suspense, and funny dialog… well, then, this is the book for you! I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. It was a l-o-v-e-l-y way to spend an afternoon! I can hardly wait for the next lazy afternoon to present itself… that’s when I’ll read the second book in the series! :)
OK… to celebrate my first EtsyBlogger carnival post, anyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered in a drawing to win this bookmark (appropriate, don’t cha think!). This bookmark is marked #3 in my bookmark series. It’s a new item I wanted to make for my shop. (I’d love to hear what y’all think!) I have made a couple of other similar bookmarks as custom orders and I’m excited about adding more. All elements have been hand cut and embroidered. (I did use a sewing machine to accent the leaves and flower center as well as to sew the bookmark together.) No two bookmarks will ever be exactly alike, as I hand cut and sew all pieces, PLUS I’m not a robot! :)

Drawing will take place on Monday, August 4th. (Comments counted until Noon, PST on 8/04/08. U.S. residents only, please.) Better leave a comment… and tell me, do you get caught up in books too?! Does everything stand still while you “rescue” the characters?! (…and most importantly… what do you think of the bookmark!?!) Happy Reading!

August 4th @ 12:42 pm.
Here's the winner of the bookmark! I can't even believe it! I had my daughter choose the name out of the container... she mixed it for what felt like h-o-u-r-s... and whose name does she pull out but her Aunt Heather's! (I'll be mad Heather, if I find out that money has exchanged hands!!!) :) I am VERY happy for Heather though, as she could use some good luck right now! Congratulations!

Thank you to ALL who commented... and please check back! I plan on having a MONTHLY drawing! I'm planning for August's drawing now! :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

recap & new list

More Clippies!
Magnet Set
New paper pattern - Blossom Card

Magnet Set
New paper pattern - Blossom Card

Continue work on:
Chocolate Magnet Set

Blossom Card - Amy Butler print - Completed
Chocolate Magnet Set

This week is really starting out GREAT! I'm going to get LOTS done! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

widgets & running with the bulls

I've had too much fun today adding a couple new widgets to my blog! I had to add a video game... of course, since I LOVE video games. That's why Mario is here! It's little but you can actually play it! (Arrow keys to move & jump. Spacebar to select. 0 for menu. You'll need to point with your cursor to start the game and select your player.) I think I may have to have a game of the month or something... :)

The other widget I added is "the drama llama." The drama llama sometimes wanders around our house and the houses of certain members of my family. We tease each other that it's someone else's turn to "feed the drama llama," if lots of drama has been going on at someone's house. I thought I might do my whole family a favor if I "sponsored" this drama llama. Now all my sisters (and anyone else who needs it) can come and feed the drama llama here, if they need to. You know... I do what I can! :)

OK... I have to add this picture and mention... Leila sent me this photo and the video clip where you catch a glimpse of her boyfriend, Mike, running with the bulls in Spain! She's circled him! I think that's a little too close to the bulls myself! (But I have to admit that must have been SOME adventure! Mike... I hope you're OK and that your mom didn't have a heart attack!) Mike is participating in a study abroad program in Spain for the summer. Leila is missing him but happy that they can communicate via skype.

Monday, July 14, 2008

recap & new list

Continue work on :
Chocolate Magnet Set

Blossom Card - Amy Butler print
Chocolate Magnet Set

Custom Order(s) - Clippies - in progress
Continue work on: Shop Set Up Package for Dizzybroad - in progress
Chocolate Bookmark Extras - Design Completed
Chocolate Magnet Set - in progress

Blossom Card - Amy Butler print
Chocolate Magnet Set

Last week was a little crazy!!! Most of my projects have been shifted to this week. Let's see what I can do to get them off my list... :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

in progress & volleyball recap

In progress... Those two words can really mean a lot! I have many projects "in progress", dinner is "in progress", my life is "in progress... see what I mean! :) It could make you crazy!

Today I worked on two items that are on my project list for this week. The embroidered clippie is on the left. The flowers are looking so cute... that's what made me think to take photos of it "in progress!" I have a few more flowers to add to this one before I start the next one.

The project on the right is "in progress" as well. I thought that it was pretty cool how the chocolates were looking three dimensional as they sat there on my desk. I actually cut them out (see all those tiny zig zag cuts!) of one of my chocolate truffle pincushion photos. I thought they would make super cute little chocolate bookmarks. I've made some chocolate bookmarks out of felt and I love how they look but I got a little bug in my head when I saw some cute little photo magnet bookmarks at the bookstore. I had to come up with my own! :) The next thing I'll do is make a base with my logo on it and then they'll be almost finished. I haven't decided yet whether I'll offer them in my shop or whether they'll be a cool little "extra" with a purchase. It did take me an awful long time to cut them out... (I know, I'm anal retentive and it had to be perfect... but look at them... I think it was worth it!)

Let's see... It's Wednesday! That means it's time for the Volleyball League update! (Hope you were able to find my blog Brian and Laurel!) All right... all I can say is that it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING team play tonight! Special mentions must be made though! First of all... OH MY GOSH! Brian was ON FIRE!!!!! Blocking like c-r-a-z-y AND hitting like it was nobody's business... I'd be waiting by the phone Brian, because I think that you might get a call about making a trip to China to play for the USA... Yes... it was THAT good! :) Another special mention... this is to.... (drum roll) ART!!! (You know it Art!) All I have to say is, JUMP serve! Your serve gave us a great start in the first game AND it brought us from behind and finished the game for us in the second game. Plus, I could talk about your defense, hitting, etc., etc. You know... you just might want to wait by the phone too! :) Now not to leave anybody out... I know how y'all like to see your names here... Brent! OK! WOW! Great cover, digs, and step-in setting! (Sorry I didn't get you many sets tonight... I don't know what was up with me!) Garrett! CONSISTENCY! You always know that you can count on Garrett in a clutch play! He did everything well! :) Dale! Talk about some smart shots and great hits! Even when I didn't get you an optimum set you made a play out of it! Some terrific defense too! ...And last but not least JULIE! She was all about hustle! Diving after those balls! Covering the blocks! She was everywhere! ..and the hands... like BUTTER! Team great job tonight! Super fun... I always love it when we play against Jared's team... and once again they gave us a run for our money! (We won two out of three.) Great competition!

I'm up late tonight. I had to eat a big meal at midnight. I had some ribs, chicken, half a sausage, mashed potatoes, and the rest of the fixings. (I was instructed to eat lots of protein.) It felt very odd to eat that late and it was really difficult for me. Now... I have to stay up a little longer, I'm hoping to avoid being sick. Why did I do this, you ask? Tomorrow morning is my EGD. We're trying to find out what's going on with my stomach. Hence, the big meal at midnight. The doctor wants to see if my food is digesting properly along with some other fun and not so exciting things. I just want to start feeling better. The medication the doctor put me on for the past few weeks has made a HUGE difference. The nausea has stopped and I have made it through the night without having to get up and be sick. I only have had one small episode since I began this acid reducing medication. I am so happy to not feel seasick anymore.

I've been feeling a little anxious and nervous about the procedure for the last couple of days. I don't think I'm as nervous about the anesthesia and actual procedure as I am hoping that they are able to pinpoint the issue. I had so many tests done a couple of years ago and it was frustrating when nothing could be determined exactly. It made me feel like I was making it all up or being a hypochondriac or something. That's one of the reasons I went so long without following up about it again. I also tried to pretend I had it under control by never eating late, going to a bland diet immediately upon feeling the discomfort begin, and ignoring it the best I could. It finally got to the point where my dear husband had to tell me... enough is enough. And he was right. I was really starting to become a little depressed to be feeling like that more and more often. Keep your fingers crossed for me... maybe this time they'll have an answer.

I guess you could say that my health is also "in progress"...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cami starts a blog...

I got Cami's blog up and running today! She has invited all her cousins, aunts, and grandma! It was so much fun to see how excited she was about it... She did a great job completing her profile and writing her first post. I'm going to enjoy reading her entries!

Unfortunately I didn't get much done besides Cami's blog! I did learn a lot in the time I spent on it. I took a template and totally transformed it. My first time messing with a blog template... it was FUN! I want to thank Lena... she has an amazing and simply fabulous tutorial and some great free blog templates. Her work inspired me to try my hand at my own template. Cami's blog template is based on one of her backgrounds.

I'm also feeling a little out of sorts. Norm made reservations for our San Diego trip and Leila called to ask if I'd go to an appointment with her the day that we're leaving... then the guilt starts and I start worrying. I hate that! I know I need to relax... I know I can join her another time. I guess I have a tendency to read more into everything than there needs to be. Relax, Holly! (sometimes it's not so easy...)

Monday, July 7, 2008

recap & new list

Custom Order(s) - Clippies
Continue work on: Shop Set Up Package for Dizzybroad - (in progress)
Chocolate Bookmark Extras
Chocolate Magnet Set

Blossom Card - Amy Butler print
Chocolate Magnet Set

Custom Order - Initial Card ~ Completed
Custom Order(s) - Clippies
Continue work on: Shop Set Up Package for Dizzybroad - (in progress)
Begin Chocolate & Sushi - Bookmarks

Custom Order - Initial Card ~ Completed

Kitchen Delights (fun with fabric)
Sets - Booties, Clippie, & Card :)
The Fairies
Mixed Media Painting on Canvas

My goodness... last week sure went by quickly! I had such a great time planning and getting ready for our big BBQ! This week I hope to catch up on some of my projects... I'm looking forward to a productive week! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

r e c o v e r y

Ahhh.... What a BBQ!!! (I wish I had taken more photos...)

It may take me a few days to fully recover! We had more than 30 guests at our BBQ! It was a BLAST!!! I hope that our friends had as wonderful a time as we did! Although I am totally exhausted today I am already looking forward to planning another one in August. I feel so lucky to have such a great bunch of friends. They are all such nice, thoughtful, funny, interesting people. The party began around 4:00 and lasted until around 11:30 or so. There was relaxing in the spa, "competitive" billiards, a little Rock Band (Tim... we needed you! Next time! You'd be impressed... Julie was rockin' out on those drums and guitar! Maybe next time we'll get her to sing!?!), AND lots of just hanging out enjoying each other. Nearly everyone we invited came... only a couple of invitees were out of town and unable to join us (Art! and Jared!). Hopefully they'll be able to make the next one! :)

I am sad to say that our dear friends Nathan and Zhanna weren't able to make our BBQ... they had some excuse about the commute was too long or there was traffic or something. (They recently moved to Connecticut, this is NOT an excuse!) We missed you! :)

I don't know how I made it to volleyball this morning... I was definitely even more tired when I got home! Cami, Norm, and I relaxed in the spa for a couple of hours and just enjoyed being lazy. It felt great. On the way back into the house I couldn't resist taking photos of my succulent that has been blooming so beautifully for the past few weeks. I LOVE the colors... sage and a peachy orange. I wasn't certain if I would be able to capture the delicate and unique nature of the bloom. I hope I have. I also took some photos of one of my hibiscus plants that had a blossom open today. The petals and stamen were perfect. I posted a couple of macro shots on flickr.

I am very excited! I was featured for the first time in a treasury today! Thanks so much Mizzdraconia! I feel very honored to have one of my listings noticed and categorized with such wonderful "chocolate" themed items. :)

What a terrific weekend it's been!

Friday, July 4, 2008

more party preparations

The backyard is ready! The grill is ready! I was starting to get a little nervous about the grill... Norm got a new grill recently. We changed over from propane to gas. We had a plumber out to put the switch on the gas but we didn't have the right hoses so he didn't hook up the grill. Norm got all the parts he thought he needed but needed a professional to make sure we didn't blow up the neighborhood! I'm so glad that one of our dear friend's dad (the professional) was able to come over and finish plumbing the gas for us. Super nice of him to come on a holiday too! I'm so glad that it's all hooked up. This party will be our "break in" for the new grill. I had been teasing Norm that our BBQ was going to end up being a pizza party if it didn't get hooked up soon! :)

I posted a few photos on flickr of our new backyard furniture arrangement. It's amazing what a new arrangement can do! I loved how we had it before... but now it just seems perfect! We replaced the outdoor rug and I LOVE it. I found one that had swirls that imitates the swirls in the paisley pillows on the couch (plus it was 50% off!!! Hallelujah!). The new lights around the exterior added a nice touch as well. The torch lights on the coffee table are new also. We have matching torches that are on the hill side of the pool. I can't wait to see them all lit up tomorrow!

It was baking day today. Here are SOME of the cookies I made today! I made oatmeal chocolate chip, Reese's and Snickers filled butter tarts, lemon bars, AND cheesecake. My house smells wonderful... sniff... mmmm.... Tomorrow I have TONS to do! Norm is in charge of the BBQ and I handle all the other stuff. I guess I better make it an earlier night as I'll be up early. It's party day... almost! :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

party preparations

Today was easier than yesterday! I'm glad all that shopping was done yesterday... I did have a couple of items that had to be picked up but it was simple stuff, ten minutes at the store kind of easy.

My sous/pastry chef (Cami) and I made the BBQ sauce and mixed up two types of cookie dough. Norm and I put some new fresh lights (the old ones were definitely ready to be replaced!) up in the backyard. It looks sooo pretty. I'll have to take a photo to post as soon as we're finished putting the outdoor furniture back. It's those little things that feel so special. We had such a lovely time this evening getting those lights up and figuring out how we were going to arrange them. Our backyard is small but it's lovely to sit back in the gazebo and watch the kids swim in the pool. It feels homey and comfortable. I love it!

I contained myself today... I almost went out on a tangent of wanting to make all these little candle arrangements... Luckily, I got past that initial crafty add-another-item-to-the-list thing. Pheww.... that was close! I would have really stressed myself out in trying to get everything accomplished! :)

I kind of feel like I should have done more today (probably due to that close crafty call)... but I think things are going pretty well. Tomorrow Cami and I will do the baking and prepare a couple of other items that can be made ahead of time. Of course... there's still the question as to whether any one will show up! ;)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

SUPER busy

It has been a SUPER, SUPER, busy day! We're having a big BBQ on Saturday so today was the day that I did all the shopping I could for supplies. It was A LOT! Cami was a great help. We made our lists this morning and then headed out for our day of errands.

We started by going to the car wash. My MINI was begging for a cleaning. This was the fun part of the day because I told Cami to bring her Nintendo DS so that she and I could duel guitar hero while we waited for the car... (I don't know how long the guy waved his rag before we noticed! C'mon... we HAD to finish the song!) NOTE: I did win AGAIN! 2 out of 3 games... YES! She did play on hard, ...whatever!

Then the real errands began! C O S T C O . . . Luckily we went today because I can't imagine what the madness will be like there tomorrow as people get their last minute shopping done for the 4th! We filled up my MINI with lots of good stuff, went home unloaded, fixed a quick lunch, double checked the list for Ralph's, and headed out again! We filled the car once again at Ralph's... It's a good thing I have that extra fridge in the garage! :)

Cami and I are all set to start with cooking tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll make the barbecue sauce, a couple of the cookie doughs and start some of the other organization. Friday she and I will do the baking. It's going to be busy but fun! I am so excited about having a big group over. We have plenty of BBQ's but I don't always invite friends. Norm always teases me that I don't have any... so for this party I invited a bunch of my volleyball friends... He keeps teasing me that a) no one will show up... or b) I had to invite strangers on the street! (He better not be right!) :)

All right... back to getting stuff set... (I sure do hope I have friends show up!) :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

initial beauty

Initial Beauty... I like the sound of it! It's the new name for my initial/monogram cards. MommaB custom ordered this card to match the booties she purchased from me. It is going to be the card to go with the booties she's giving as a gift. She has inspired me to begin offering matching cards to go with some of my items... (I'm really excited about making a card to match the Skull Mary Jane Booties I have listed right now. I think that will be on next week's project list!) I hand cut, pierced, and embroidered the "j" on this card. It is mounted slightly above the card stock. The dimension really finished off the card nicely. YEAH! Initial Beauty! :)

I'm imagining lots of ways to play with initials... this is going to be FUN!
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