Archive for January, 2014

My Annual Prayer Service

It’s time once again for the annual Salute To Diggy trip to the casino.  As some of you may know, Diggy is my brother who crossed the veil nearly eight years ago.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I saw him; at the same time it seems like it was forever ago that I saw him.  Anyone who has lost a sibling probably knows what I’m talking about.

Diggy had a penchant for the slot machines.  He’d visit the local casinos when he could and had a field day in Vegas.

Every year between the end of January and beginning of February Husby and I go to the casino in honor of Diggy’s birthday.  For me it’s sort of like a yearly visit with him; I’m talking to him in my mind a lot of the time while I’m plugging my money in and spinning the wheels.  I remember him, get things straight with him, ask advice from him, and also plead to him for some good luck.  If anyone could give me good luck at a slot machine it would be Diggy.

I don’t know what people might think of my methods of connecting with my brother.  Some may think I should be spending time in a church instead.  Some may feel I should be floating in a boat at sunset in my attempts to commune.  In my mind, enveloping myself in the darkness, noise, and anonymity of a crowded casino brings me as close to my brother as I can get.

He loved the slots.  I’m pretty sure he’s right there with me when I’m taking chances.  If only I could high-five him when I win big.

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A Cold Winter Day

Such a beautiful day.  The air was clear and the sky was brilliant blue.  Squirrels fed on the seeds fallen from the bird feeders.  The snow drifts were as white and pristine as could be on a January day.  The temperature didn’t get above ten degrees.  In my opinion it was the perfect day to stay indoors and marvel at the beauty of winter from the view of the window.

The beconing bottle caps.

I had twelve dozen (that’s a gross) bottle caps calling my name and saying “embellish us, embellish us!”  What does a craft queen do when her bare-naked bottle caps call to her?  Submits to their every whim, of course.I set up my work station at the table right in front of the door leading to the deck.  Lots of natural light and a lovely view of the scattering squirrels and fluttering birds in the back yard.My time was spent with little circles of paper, freshly flattened bottle caps, and a brand new bottle of glue.  My entertainment was, of course, old-time radio shows flowing from my iPod into my brain, making my imagination work while my hands were busy with production.

The little circles of paper.  That’s right, it’s Carol Brady!

The little circles of paper ran out at nine dozen (that’s one hundred-eight) so I called it quits for the day.  Next in the process is applying the resin, and after a day or two of drying time I’ll create wine charms and magnets from the pieces that, by themselves, are nothing.I’ve been researching my competition and found that some people who make similar items to mine take a less labor-intensive path.  They use pre-flattened, chrome bottle caps (mine are real and flattened by me), they use a paper punch to make those little circles of paper (I use scissors), and they buy fabricated acrylic bubbles, complete with adhesive, so they can just press them on the images and call it a day (I mix polymer and hardener to make a resin and apply on my images with a brush).

That’s a bunch!

I’m not saying the others are lazy and I’m not saying I’m a fool.  Every crafter has her own way of making things.  I’ve found a way that works best for me.  A way that requires attention and precision and a bit more time.  Time enough to listen to some old-time radio shows and frequently glance out the window to see the winter snow drift lazily in mid-air until it lands softly in its place.

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January.  It’s the month I have to think about numbers and spreadsheets and…taxes.  I spent most of Saturday playing with my very specific spreadsheets, making sure they were accurate, so I could print them out for my accountant (Husby).  I also had to make my sales tax submissions to two states, a task that makes me nervous and sweaty every single year.  It’s not that I don’t think I’m doing it correctly, but I’m always a little concerned about making the whole online submission thing work right.  Well, I got my spreadsheets turned in and my sales taxes submitted so I felt pretty good; kind of like a real, live business person.

It’s been a couple of months now since I actively worked on making product.  Lately I’ve been feeling like it just isn’t worth the trouble.  The thought of starting up production again, just the thought, made me bored.  But working with my spreadsheets and seeing the sales I made and where I made them got the fire burning again.  I like what I do, and it’s fun to make what I make.  Over a glass of wine Husby and I started brainstorming about how I can grow my business into other directions and make it more profitable.  Not only is Husby my roadie and accountant, he’s also full of great ideas and inspirations!

January usually starts out as a drudgery for me business-wise, thinking here I go again, doing the same old thing over and over and over.  But when I realize what is and what could be, my motivation and enthusiasm starts up all over again.

Take a look at my shop and let me know what you might like to see listed there.  I’m always open to new ideas.  There will be some new drink charms on the way, and maybe even some candle accessories.  I also have a different plan for marketing my bottle cap magnets.  Be sure to stay tuned, because 2014 might produce some pretty fun suff.

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Curly locks, curly locks wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam
And feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream

“The lyrics simply reflect that curls are a symbol of elegance and beauty. This symbolism relating to curls and beauty has been reflected in many works of literature. The message in the lyrics is that a girl with ‘Curly Locks’ is so desirable that her future will be a comfortable life probably made by a good marriage.”  ~ Nursery Rhymes, Lyrics, Origins & History

I have curly locks.  At the risk of sounding full of myself I can honestly say I get tons of comments on my hair because 1) I obviously don’t dye it, and 2) it’s curly.  Lots of women envy my hair and I’ve even received compliments on it from men.

thCAQF3WNSIt was time for a hair cut, so I went in and got my usual bob style.  Then the stylist went berserk.  She started blow-drying my hair, something I avoid at all costs.  She blew and fluffed, blew and fluffed.  Then she did something that nearly made me shriek.  She took one of those round brushes and wrapped my hair around it while the blow dryer was directly on my hair!  I thought my head would go up in flames!  Okay, I thought, she knows what she’s doing, so I tried not to freak out too much.  By the time she was done with me my hair was completely straight.  Straight!

I don’t think there are any nursery rhymes about straight hair, and if there were they’d probably say something like,

Straight locks, straight locks, do the dishes and feed the pigs

I was so horrified by how my hair turned out I wore a hat to the gas station so no one would see the trauma done to my lovely curls.  Yes, I was quite aware that once I washed my hair again the curls would magically reappear, and they did, but for ten hours I looked like a stranger.  A stranger with straight hair.

So the next time I find myself complaining of the wily nature of my curly locks I’ll remember the day my curls were killed and be grateful for my oval-shaped follicles.  And the next time I see that blow-dryer and brush come my way I’ll remind my stylist that curls are admired and envied and if she dare take them away, well, I might just have to cut her.  How’s that for elegance and beauty?

P.S.  I don’t actually have anything against straight hair, it’s just that mine isn’t shouldn’t be made to be straight.  If you have straight hair I don’t really think you should have to wash dishes and feed pigs.

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Easy Evening

When I got home from the day job I saw a familiar car in the driveway. It used to belong to my brother but now is used mainly by my nephew, Paenney. He and his brother Fojo spent the greater part of today at my house with Husby, hanging out and sharing guitar-playing tips, having some lunch, and engaging in adult guy B.S.  I feel like I kind of wrecked the mood because, well, who wants a girl barging in on guy talk? They put up with me for a while before they headed home for dinner.

After the boys left (grown-ass men, actually, but I still call them boys) I headed over to my parents’ house to help my mom with a computer problem she was having.  I don’t know exactly what I did but I seem to have fixed it.  Call me the Geek Squad.  Of course I had to chat for a while with them after performing my technological magic, and they supplied me with a little chocolate for my trouble.  M&Ms and a delicious raspberry truffle.

I got home and saw that Husby kept the fire burning, the one he started up for the visit from our nephews, his godsons.  I snuggled into my chair next to the fire with a nice glass of wine and a big plate of Pizza Rolls.  Then I took a nice, hot bath and came back down to the fire and sat some more.

All in all it was a very easy evening.

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