December 28, 2010

We're Home!

My husband and I drove back from California last night. We had perfect weather on the drive down (not even rain), but we hit some heavy rain on the way back. Our poor dog just hates the long car rides; she even tries to hide from us before we leave on the trip back home! I completely understand - I don't enjoy the long ride either!

We had a nice Christmas. I spent some time with some relatives that I had not seen in years. I have a grand niece that I met for the first time (that makes me sound so old)! She looks exactly like her cute!

December 13, 2010

Sneak Peak at New Earrings

I have a new pair of pearl earrings that I am about to list in my Etsy shop. These are dainty earrings that are a little less than 3/4". I've been having fun with these teeny tiny glass beads, and I think I will incorporate them in some of my future designs. They are so tiny that if I drop one, I don't even bother looking for it!

December 11, 2010

My Minimal Holiday Decorations

I finally got around to decorating my mantel last night. Other than a wreath on the front door, this is the extent of my holiday decorations. It's been a few years since we had a tree, and it's just not worth the battle of Cat vs. Tree!


December 07, 2010

I never expected to write a movie review

I never expected to write a movie review on my blog (in fact, I have NEVER written a movie review anywhere), but I watched a movie on DVD a few nights ago that I feel deserves a review. The movie is called ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’.

I am so, so glad that I never watched this movie in a movie theater. And it's not because I’m not willing to spend $10 or so to watch a movie at the theater; it’s because this movie left me feeling like an emotional wreak! Now I am known to cry at movies probably as much (or a little more) as any other woman, but movies that center around animals usually get to me the most. I read one sentence on the DVD jacket and said to my husband, “I’ll bet this movie is going to make me cry”. That was an understatement.

This movie is rated ‘G’ and it really is a simple story. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not seen it, but it is based on a true story that took place in Japan almost a century ago. This is the American version of the story, and it was done very well. It is about a dog, his owner and the loyalty between them. The movie was done in such a way that it is so hard not to be overcome with emotion. Not only was I crying during the last 30 minutes or so, but for another 30 minutes afterwards. I looked at my eyes in the mirror and I looked as if I had just finished chopping a few onions. It is one of those movies that you will find yourself thinking about afterwards. And if you are an animal lover, it may make you wonder about the emotions of your pets (and in my case, my own emotions).

Well, this turned out to be more of a review of my reaction to the movie than the movie itself! I didn’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t seen it yet. And if you do decide to watch it, make sure you have plenty of tissue.

December 01, 2010

Week Five - Bath and Body Gifts

Oh boy, I had a hard time picking just four items for this week's gift guide! There were so many beautiful products to choose from. These are perfect for dealing with dry winter skin. Enjoy!

November 29, 2010

Labradorite Earrings

I have these small labradorite brioletts that I have been using in my latest earring creations. Here are my latest pair of earrings using these briolettes. I did something new with these earrings...I threaded the wire into a tiny spacer bead and placed the bead in the center. I think the antiqued look of the spacer bead looks nice with the labradorite!

November 26, 2010

Happy 'Day After Thanksgiving'!

Happy Black Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with plenty of leftovers. My husband and I went out to dinner last night. I believe it was the first time I have been out to dinner on Thanksgiving. I was surprised by how many people were at the restaurant. We started our meal with bowls of clam chowder soup, followed by turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and veggies. By the time the pumpkin pie came around, my stomach hurt! We ended up bringing home three boxes of leftovers!

To celebrate Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I am having a 10% off sale on all my jewelry. Actually, I decided to have the sale through the rest of the year.

November 22, 2010

My Weekend in Review - Adventures in Beer Making

This past weekend was coooold! It was 28 degrees outside on Sunday morning. And when the temperature gets low, my husband gets excited. No, he's not excited about the prospect of snow; for him, it means it's beer-brewing time! He started brewing his own beer about three years ago (even though he is not a big beer drinker), and the type of beer he brews depends on the weather. Since it's cold, he is making a lager.

Now home brewing is something that takes two people, since it involves lifting a heavy brewpot among other things. My husband uses an outdoor propane cooker to heat the ingredients, so that means we get to stand outside in the cold. So lucky me, I get to stand outside in the cold AND clean up the invariable kitchen mess that comes with beer making. Luckily we finished up outside before it started to rain!

As for me, I am excited at the prospect of snow.

November 18, 2010

Week Three - Green/Recycled Gift Ideas

In my third installment of my gift series, I decided to include recycled and/or reusable products. I've been toying with the idea of making a product out of recycled items, but I can never come up with something clever enough. Don't you hate it when you consider yourself creative and clever, but not enough?

By Funky Recycling on ArtFire

By Tin Can Sally on ArtFire

Recycled Jewelry Charm Bracelet
By Wear Wolfs on ArtFire

By Sedilu Green on ArtFire 

November 17, 2010

Photos of my New Earrings

Well it's windy and rainy here this afternoon, so I thought it would be a good time to finally take pictures of my new earrings. I listed the pearl earrings in my Etsy store a little while ago. I have been using these tiny pearls a lot lately.

November 15, 2010

More Earwires, and Quick Peek at New Earrings

I wrote about silver prices not long ago, and checking the price of silver has become an almost daily obsession of mine. I realized that I am almost out of sterling silver earwires, so I have been making more of my own. Now if I could only get myself motivated to actually make some new earrings, I will finally feel like I am accomplishing something! I do have one new pair, but I made it a few weeks ago. I took a quick picture of the pair while I was photographing the earwires. The earrings consist of many small, white pearls and I always find that a challenge to photograph.

November 11, 2010

My ArtFire Collection, 'For the Dogs'

I made my very first ArtFire collection a little while ago. The inspiration for this collection comes from the pet gift guide that I posted about last week. As I was looking for items to add, I came across so many yummy looking dog treats and I realized that it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between human and dog treats!

Anyway, here is my collection. Please keep the droll to a minimum.


November 05, 2010

The Weakening Dollar

As anyone that works with precious metals knows, prices are through the roof. When I read that the Federal Reserve plans to buy back $600 billion in U.S. Treasuries in an attempt to stimulate the economy, I also found out what this might do to the U.S. dollar. I’ve been watching silver prices increase for awhile now, but the last couple of days have been insane – a rise of almost $3 dollars to a total of just under $27 an ounce.

I’m sure we will see an increase in the use of non-precious metals in jewelry, among other things. I am glad I don’t need any sterling silver wire, for now.

Here’s a BusinessWeek article on the rising price of Gold, along with other metals:

November 02, 2010

Week One - Gift Ideas for Pet Lovers

I’ve decided to feature gift ideas from the beginning of November through the second week of December. The items will be picked from ArtFire Studios, and each week will have a different theme.

This week I decided to feature gifts for pet lovers. Two of these products are for pets, and two are for the people who love them!

by BAKidagain on ArtFire
by Gerty Designs on ArtFire

by Spolied Bratzwear on Artfire

by The Magic Sleigh on Artfire

October 29, 2010

Up, Up and Away!

Well ‘tis the season for…property tax bills. I always dread opening the tax bill, because it continues to increase while the market value of our home decreases. It’s definitely frustrating!

This gets me thinking about ways to save money on expenses that I can control. The number one expense that I feel I can control the most, is the amount we spend on food. There are just two of us in my household (I won’t include the cost of pet food…that amount has gone up quite a bit this year), and we often spend about $100 a week on groceries. We also end up throwing away about 15% of what we buy.

Here are some ways to save money on groceries:
  • Don’t cook more food than you need. If you don’t want leftovers, adjust a recipe to account for this. Recipe websites like let you adjust the serving size.
  • If you have a membership to a place like Costco, be careful how you shop. I mentioned this in another post about the dangers of the Costco membership! It is very easy to go overboard. We try to limit ourselves to food items that we know we will eat (like chicken breasts that can be used in a bunch of different recipes). Of course if you have a big family, this may not be a problem.
  • If you have a membership to Costco and you are on friendly terms with your neighbors, you can see if they would be willing to split the cost of some of your food purchases.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time, or freeze what you don’t use. One of the food items that we throw away the most is produce. We buy an onion for a recipe, use half of it and end up throwing way the other half. Here is a link with information on how to store and freeze various food items:
If anyone has additional suggestions, just leave a comment!

October 25, 2010

My Weekend in Review

This past weekend was much the same as other weekends. Except, of course, for the massive amount of rain we had here. It was so heavy at times, I had trouble sleeping (I’m not a heavy sleeper, though). I am so glad that we had some work/repairs done on our gutter; I discovered a wall of water pouring off the top during the late spring. Now it’s nice and fixed and I don’t have to worry about it (until something else goes wrong)!

My husband and I took a trip to Costco. As usual, we spent over $100 but didn’t really buy much (some wine, cat litter, ect.). Costco can be dangerous that way! I am somewhat of a minimalist, so I don’t have an urge to buy a whole lot of stuff. We did buy some new baking sheets, and here is why I wanted these: every time I bake (which is not too often), the bottoms of my cookies, ect., are always very dark. I read somewhere that this is more likely to happen if you use dark baking sheets. Our old ones were a dark charcoal color, and they were in bad shape.

We also went out to see the movie Hereafter, direct by Clint Eastwood. It was a very good movie - I recommend it. The trailers give the impression that it’s almost a horror movie, which it is definitely not.

October 20, 2010

New Smoky Quartz Earrings

I finally got around to photographing some new earrings yesterday. The earrings on the right include these cute rose quartz diamond-shaped briolettes. I placed these earrings in my Artfire studio, and I still have three more pairs to add.

October 14, 2010

The Maple Trees in Fall

 I awoke to fog this morning, and decided to take these pictures from my backyard. I just love this time of year!