Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beautiful Jewelry From Scrap Materials, Part 2

First I need to remind you that scrap materials means not only little leftover bits and pieces, but also things I've had lying around for so long that they probably gave up hope of every adorning someone's body!  This one is a 5mm (millimeter) heart-shaped iolite that I got in a batch of other sizes and shapes of iolites about 12 years ago.  Hearts are hard to set, because they're fat and round at one end and skinny and pointy at the other.  They will often want to pop out the fat end, or shift sideways so the heart seems to be lying partway on its side.  A 5mm stone is a bit of an odd size, too.  It's very small to be set in wire without being in a pre-made pop-in setting first, with a wire design around it.  I didn't have any heart-shaped settings, so I modified a round setting.  Then I just added a small bit of leftover scrap sterling silver wire to secure the setting and make a bail.  Now it's a cute, dainty little pendant, perfect for a young girl or a woman who likes her jewelry understated!  I'll be listing it on Etsy soon!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Relaxation Spots

I would REALLY love to be here:  (Hamilton Island near the Great Barrier Reef)

Or here: (sunset at Lizard Island near the Great Barrier Reef)

Both photos are courtesy of Islands magazine.  You should really subscribe.  It's an inexpensive way to see phenomenal relaxation spots of the world!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

What's In My Purse

This is the next item in the 30-Day Blog Challenge list I've been referring to periodically (when I don't have any new jewelry to show you!)  What's In My Purse... (The picture is not my purse, just a representative.)

  • My cell phone
  • My son's wallet
  • 3 pens
  • Some personal pictures
  • Some personal notes
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen
  • My little Flip video camera (one of these days I'm going to figure out how to get the videos OFF it!)
  • Mirror
  • Reading glasses
  • 2 nail files
  • Lip balm
  • Eye drops
  • Comb
  • 2 checkbooks
  • Sunglasses
  • My MP3 player
  • My keys
  • A couple of old bank receipts
  • An envelope with a check for my husband (must remember to give that to him!)
  • My wallet (the contents of THAT will make a whole other blog post!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I remember when I first met my husband and we were talking, getting to know each other, and one of the subjects was old boyfriends/girlfriends. I commented then that all the people we had known in the past had made us the people we became so that we would end up together, appreciating each other.  I have always believed that philosophy.  I still do.


Monday, October 17, 2011

The BelAire Courtyard

It's been awhile since I posted a picture of the lovely courtyard where my store is located.  Fine dining restaurant Cafe Margaux is on the far right (outside the camera range), with some of the outdoor tables and the pretty fountain in the foreground.  My store is in the back left corner of the courtyard.  To my "right" is a cute little shop featuring ScentChips fragrance melts.  To my "left" is a boutique full of fun and fashionable clothes.  We also have The Village Spiceman, with all kinds of yummy sauces and rubs, and Shoetique, with cute and affordable shoes, boots, and bags.  If you're local, you need to come down and reacquaint yourself with the BelAire Courtyard (especially ME!)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Not a Baby Any More

When you are a mother, you are periodically hit in the face with the reality that your child is growing up.  (Yeah, yeah, fathers too, but it's not the same.)  I got one such smack in the face this morning.  My son chose not to participate in the Spirit Day at his school today.  About 5 or 6 times a year, Ricky's school has a themed dress-up day to show their school spirit.  It's not mandatory that they dress up, but he always has.  In fact, he just did "Clash Day" a few weeks ago (where they wear all kinds of outlandish clothes that don't match).  Today, however, was "Pajama Day" and he said it felt "weird" to have his pajamas on while getting ready for school.  I made a big deal out of "my baby...growing up...." and he rolled his eyes and started to make excuses, but it told him it was okay, it's just a mom thing.  And I do understand.  It's apparently not cool to wear pajamas to school after a certain age.  (Until you get to an older "certain age", and then it's fun again--all the teachers and staff at the school always dress up!)

Okay, now if he sees this he's probably going to get mad at me, but I can't resist.  THIS is my baby.  THIS is how I choose to think of him, at least from time to time!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

No Smoking

One year ago today I quit smoking.  Not a drag, not a puff since October 13, 2010.  Just had to mark the occasion.  Yay, me!


Monday, October 10, 2011

The 2012 Calendar Search, part 1

Every year for the past 13 years, I have bought promotional calendars to give to my customers, so they'd have my name and contact information in front of them all year long.  This year I did not.  Partly because it was like pulling teeth to actually GIVE them away before February, even though I started handing them out in October.  Even though I bought fewer and fewer each year because it WAS so hard to give them away.  But the main reason I didn't get them this year is because the calendar company really pissed me off.  I'm not going to go into that whole story, but after they took money out of my bank account without notifying me first, I was done with them.

The problem with that is now I'm on a hunt for the perfect calendar for myself.  I always got a couple of designs that I really liked and used them in my home and in my store.  It's probably just a bit early in the year to find a lot of choices of 2012 calendars, but I ran across one by accident the other day that just took my breath away!

I love horses, and this collection is by one of my most favorite photographers on Etsy...irenesuchocki.  She apparently has more calendars, but I haven't dared look at them all yet.  I'll probably want them all!  I've already got several of her photographs in my official Etsy "favorites" list--she's just phenomenal!  You can see all 13 white horse photos and purchase this calendar here: White Horses Calendar  (Go ahead and buy it, I won't mind--I've already asked and she can make more!)

The only drawback to this magnificent calendar is that it's only 5x7".  I need a calendar that has a relatively large box for each day so I can write on it.  I'm getting to that age where if I have things to do or bills to pay and I don't write it down, it flies right out of my head!  Fortunately there's no rule that says you can only own ONE calendar...mwaahahahaha!


Friday, October 7, 2011


This is a great article from the October newsletter of my friends at Onsite Computer Specialists.  This is stuff I honestly didn't know, and that I found very useful.  So I'm passing it on!

How to Create a Strong Password You'll Actually Remember

Pop quiz: See if you can guess which password is more secure -- Tr0ub4dor&3 or correcthorsebatterystaple. The first password is a jumble of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers and characters, with a few numbers substituting for letters. The second is a string of four common words -- correct horse battery staple.

So. Which is the better password? Keep in mind that hackers can design programs to run thousands of password guesses per second....

If you picked the second one -- the string of common words -- give yourself a gold star! It's the stronger, more secure password. It's also easier to remember than the first. And it goes against all of the password advice we've been given to date.

"Through 20 years of effort, we've successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess," writes Randall Munroe, mathematician and creator of the brilliant, "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language."

According to Munroe's calculations, the jumbled password could be cracked in about three days by a program running 1000 guesses a second -- child's play, in other words. The same program would need 550 years to guess the second password, which has roughly 44 bits of entropy (compared to the other's 28).

What does this mean to you? It means you can stop picking (and forgetting) gobbledygook passwords. Instead, choose a few generic words (avoid proper nouns like your dog's name or your hometown) and commit them to memory. Time required? Less than a minute. Brain cells required? Very few. Now your passwords are stronger AND easier to remember.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yes, Women Understand!


10. Cats' facial expressions.

9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colors.

8. Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.

7. Fat clothes.

6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.

5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.

4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.

3. Eyelash curlers.

2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.

AND, the Number One thing only women understand:



Monday, October 3, 2011

My Favorite Movie

The next item in my 30 Day Challenge is My Favorite Movie.  This, like my favorite song, is impossible to pin down to just one, although I AM much more discriminating with my movies than my music.  I don't like mindless, stupid, drunken comedies (like The Hangover).  I don't like horror movies (the "Freddy" movies, the "Halloween" movies, the "Chucky" movies.  Hmm.. with the proliferation of all of these horror series, though, apparently SOMEBODY likes them!)  I'm not crazy about shoot-'em-up, drive-like-crazy action movies (like Die Hard or Gone in 60 Seconds), but I will sit through one occasionally with my husband and son (just last week it was The Road Warrior--man, Mel Gibson was YOUNG!). 

A "message" in a movie is fine, especially if it's sort of left up to interpretation.  I LIKE to think!  But too "artsy" in the presentation of the message and I'm bored.  (I hated Shakespeare in Love).  I guess what it boils down to is I like to be entertained, and for me entertainment requires a decent plot and actors who can actually act, and I like it to engage me in the story.  So, here are a few that I've sat through more than once and enjoyed every time:

Glory (1989) --the Civil War film about the first black regiment in the Union Army, starring Matthew Broderick, Carey Elwes, and Denzel Washington in one of his first movies.

Excalibur (1981)--the epic Sword in the Stone, King Arthur and Camelot tale, starring Nigel Terry, Nicholas Clay, and Helen Mirren.

Willow (1988) --a fantasy adventure where reluctant dwarf and a former thief must protect a baby princess from an evil queen, starring Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis.

The original Star Wars trilogy.

Most of the Star Trek feature films.

And of course, The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The director's cut.  Hours and hours and hours of Peter Jackson's masterpiece, done just the way I hoped it would be when I first read the books back in the mid-1970's.  I think it's time to watch them again, actually....