Of All the Things I Still Remember..

Summer’s never looked the same.

Sound familiar?  Those are some of the lyrics to one of my absolute favorite songs {Daughtry’s “September”}.

But is there anything more true?  You grow up, get resposibilities, and suddenly it’s just another season.  The only thing that changes is the weather.

I used to love the carefree days of summer.  Those days so long ago {aka the 80s and 90s} where we’d just hang out in the neighborhood, with all our friends, just doing whatever.  And maybe, sometimes, our parents would take a picture.

And you know who would see those pictures?  Our parents, and those of us who were in them.

That’s the kind of summer I’d love to give my kids.  Just fun times, hanging out with friends, making memories, enjoying the long days, which, by the way, I will not be sharing every moment of with all my Facebook “friends”.

Of course, judging by my news feed, I am by far in the minority with this.  And it must appear to my friends that my kids are having the most boring summer ever.  You know, since I’m not constantly posting a picture, or video, or a daily essay telling the world the wonderful summer day we enjoyed together.   Seriously, no matter what anyone else may say, I will never believe that 200+ people need to know what I am doing every single day.  And my kids are having a great summer, thank you very much.

Yes, I do post.  Sometimes.  Birthdays, holidays, the occasional day I feel the need to be validated on Facebook, lol.  Oh, and of course any time I have a great shot of my husband in a ridiculous wig.   Some days I long for the social media free world I grew up in.

I think about it every time one of my kids asks me not to post something about them.  Mostly my oldest.  He’s 12, and in middle school.  I get it, so I listen, most of the time ;)

I am so thankful my middle school and high school days live only in the minds of those who lived them with me.   Dear lord if my mom had the ability to share every moment I was crabby, or put a picture of my new haircuts, braces, whatever.   I would have hated it.   Hated it.  Trust me, I’m glad my mom still isn’t on Facebook.  

I’m even thankful that there are so many memories I’ve made with my family and friends more recently, that are just for us.  It makes them more meaningful.  They are our private jokes, they are what makes us laugh, cry, and what bring us closer together.  They don’t need to be for anyone else.

I may be an under-sharer, but I’m proud of that.  Let everyone else share every detail of their lives.  Sure, I’ll be looking ,  just don’t wait for me to join in.  I am however, contemplating starting to figure out the world of Twitter and therefore subject the world to my random thoughts of the day.  I will first need to get past the overly self conscious part of myself that still thinks that is not a good idea.

My one exception so far in my under sharing ways has been my business Facebook page.  There I love sharing it all, and by all I mean everything related to my shop, with anyone and everyone, but that’s different to me.  I want the world to see my work, I don’t need them to be a part of my family.

What are your thoughts on the world of social media in your life?  Are you like me, or do you love to share it all?  Should I get over myself and start sharing more, or do I have it right already?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Happy Summer!

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Welcome Back!

Yea, that’s just me welcoming myself back to my blog.   You know, since I haven’t written in, well, forever. :)

I suppose I could have filled the gap with short posts about my everyday life.  But, I can’t bring myself to think that might be interesting for anyone else except me.  I’m an insecure online sharer, that’s for sure.  Maybe someday, maybe someday.

I will, however, write endlessly about my creations.  I love that.  They are awesome, of course, and quite possibly the most interesting thing I do everyday, lol.

And lately, I’ve been going crazy creating and listing new items.

First, I went on a wreath kick, and made all these gorgeous wreaths.  The red white and blue one is my favorite.

 

coralwhitewreath

greenandwhitewreath

julyfourthwreath

naturalwreath

peachpeony

summerhydrangea

I also made some new jewelry pieces.  I always keep one of each of my jewelry items for myself {free advertising!}, and out of all these new items, the little star necklace is the one I find myself wearing all the time.  Not that I don’t love it all, but that little star goes with everything.

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bronzeshellear

bronzesnakeear

bronzesnakeneck

darkangel1

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And last, but certainly not least, I added some wonderful new Harry Potter themed items.  Love, love, love all of these.  That 3 star ring is adorable, and the bracelets are so cool!  My absolute favorite is the St. Mungo’s necklace {first photo}.  That was designed after an amazing customer reached out to me with the idea.  It took me nearly 3 months to get perfect, but I am in love with the result.  It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve made. Ever.

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hogwartscastleneckall

monogrambraceletall

new3starring

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So there you have it.  Evidence of what I’ve been doing, besides blogging :)  Hope you love these as much as I do.   All these items and more can be found at my shop.  Thanks for visiting.  Come back soon.  Oh, and I’ll try to conquer my fears and start blogging about anything and everything.   Maybe.

 

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Going Green, Again

 

Shaklee-Difference

 

Just before starting my Etsy shop, I started another business.  I joined my then next door neighbors awesome team, Project Dream, and became a Shaklee distributor.

I did it because I love the products and loved their dedication to making their products safe, green and reliable.  So I wanted to share them with everyone I knew.

To get going, I had a grand opening party, and spread the word.

But it didn’t explode like I thought it would.  What I mean is, everyone I know didn’t just start buying a ton of stuff.

Yes, I thought it would be that easy.  I mean, that is all my neighbor did, right?  Knowing what I know now, I realize just how much work she put into growing her business.  It was and still is way more than I had first imagined.

About six months in, I was bummed out by the lack of instant success I was having.  And for sure, I was very distracted by focusing on my passion, aka, my Etsy shop, so I put Shaklee on the back burner.  I even stopped my website for a few months.

Being and doing creative things is truly my passion, and nothing was going to deter me from making my Etsy business a success.  I stuck it out, through some slow and tough times, but then it happened.   All my time and effort paid off, and I have met and even surpassed the goal I set for myself when I opened my shop.  I absolutely love having my shop and can’t wait to grow my business even more.

And I want to do the same for my Shaklee business.   I use and love their products every day.  From vitamins to laundry detergent, I couldn’t imagine my life without them.  My home and my family is healthier because of them.  It’s amazing what a difference no chemicals can make.  That is why I have been feeling re-inspired to start sharing Shaklee again.

In the coming months, I will be sharing all the amazing things Shaklee products can do.  And I hope you will try them for yourself and love them too.  I guarantee they will change your life forever.

Let’s go green together!

Click the Shaklee shop button on the sidebar to change your life.

And feel free to contact me here or on Facebook any time with any questions!

 

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My New Favorite Necklace

Now while I love each and every one of my creations at my shop, this necklace is my absolute favorite.

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A Quidditch necklace!  Love it!

And I love how this piece came to be.

I was working on another necklace, my Miniature Time Turner necklace -

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As it happens, those gold rings I use to make that necklace come as a set of three, attached to each other. I have to cut off one of them to free the right sized one for the time turner.  So I have some unused tiny rings left.

I was just staring at those rings on my counter that day, and wondering what I would ever do with them, when they reminded me of something.  The rings on the Quidditch goal posts.

I had a vision of three rings hanging from a necklace, but wanted to add more.  Having just made a tiny golden snitch necklace also, I found the inspiration I needed.   I would represent the game of Quidditch in a necklace with the goal posts and all the various Quidditch balls.

I chose to do it as a two layer necklace.  The longer one with the three goal rings, and the shorter one with the Quidditch balls.  The golden snitch is the centerpiece of the top layer, and then I added beads to represent the quaffle and bludgers.

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No, I didn’t use the gold rings.  They just didn’t look right.  But those engraved silver ones are simply perfect for this necklace.  The chain is very fine and bright silver.  The whole necklace is very delicate and understated, even with all those elements, as they are all quite small.  It is quite simply, gorgeous.  It has gotten me more attention and compliments than anything else I have created so far.   I just love it :)

Hop on over to my shop to get one for yourself!

And come back soon to hear about more of my wonderful creations :)

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I Guess You Really Can’t Please Everyone…

Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of receiving my first negative review at my Etsy shop.  Ouch, that hurt.  I am always living in fear of getting a bad review, my heart skips a beat every time I see a review has been left.   It was just as bad as I feared.

It was referring to an anklet this customer bought.  Unfortunately, the item broke and she was obviously frustrated.  And understandably so.  But so am I.

I hate it as much as anyone when something I make and sell has a problem.  I never want that to happen.  I do everything I can to make sure every item is perfect before I ship it, but sometimes something goes wrong.  Maybe it’s just a bad part, or maybe I made a mistake.

No matter what, as I put in my shop policies, I stand behind my work and will repair any jewelry item I sell, any time, for no cost.  {Except for the cost of mailing me the piece, but that is usually quite minimal.}

That’s why I am so frustrated.  I want to fix the anklet for her, or do something to make this right.  I wish she had contacted me first.  I would have helped in a second.  I’ve had to deal with a few repairs over my year and half in business, and it’s always been a easy and pretty pleasant experience.  Live and learn, I guess.  As they always say, you just can’t please everyone.  

I’m now debating putting out a public response.  I just don’t know what to say.  I drafted a long response, but upon doing some research, I am finding that short and sweet, or simply letting it go are my best options.  I’m still holding on to the hope that the emails I sent this customer a week ago will by some miracle be answered and we can work it out to a good solution that inspires her to change the review.

But the more I mull it over, I ‘m sure I’ll post a short response simply to assure future buyers that I will be there to help if anything happens to their item.

And I need to remember that one bad review among 110 good ones is not so bad.

At least I’m stronger now.  I can handle this.  And I know my items are still awesome.

 

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Our New Addition

You may remember my last post mentioning how we were soon to be bringing home a puppy.  It all came together rather quickly I must say, but a great breeder near us just happened to have a puppy available, so we just had to have him.  Or, I had to have him.  This was all my idea, my husband wasn’t so sure.

Here’s our new baby -

 

shaw

 

He’s a Boston Terrier, and pretty much the cutest thing ever.

It took us a few days to decide on a name, but we did – Shaw.

I love it, it’s a cute, and definitely unique name, but it’s perfect.  Even if it wasn’t my idea :)

My husband stated on our drive home from the breeder that he wanted the puppy’s name to be something Blackhawks related.  He’s completely obsessed.  And hey, they are the current Stanley Cup Champions.  Still,  I laughed it off.

I mean, my dog really should have a Harry Potter themed name, right?  lol

We threw around a lot of names, including some that were not connected to anything.   In his continued effort to get his way, my husband would just casually throw out various Hawk’s players names.

But one kinda stuck with me.   I didn’t tell him until the next day, but I really was starting to like the name Shaw.  It just fit.  So he won, which by the way, is quite rare around here.

It’s amazing how much having a puppy is like having a new baby.  I’m even getting up in the middle of the night to let him out.

But Shaw’s such a great puppy.  Smart, adorable and sometimes a bit rambuncous, but that comes with the territory.  I am totally in love with him, and so are my two boys.  They are having so much fun with him.

And my husband, the one who “didn’t want a dog”, is the one who looks forward most to coming home and letting Shaw nap on his lap.  So, in the end, I still won.  We did need a dog.

 

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A Puppy Shower?

Yep, we’re getting a puppy.  I am so excited.  And a little nervous.

It’s almost like bringing home another baby.  Well, it is a baby, just not a human one ;)

We are going to meet our new puppy this weekend at the breeder’s, so I went out and did some supply shopping today.  Whoa, I forgot just how much gear a puppy requires.  That stuff adds up fast.

So it got me thinking.  Why don’t we give puppy showers?  No, really.

First you go to the pet supply store, and register for all your puppy gear.  Then you get a party, where you and all your friends and family can ooh and ahh over those cute leashes and dog beds.   Hahaha, can you imagine?

Ok, so they don’t need quite as much as babies, but it sure is a lot.  I myself would love to go to a puppy shower.  I think it would be a blast.

Anywho, I can’t wait to meet my new “baby”.   And yes, he will be my baby.  My husband is convinced he will end up sleeping in our bed.  To which I replied – of course not, just a dog bed in our room :)

I am a little worried that I don’t really know what I’m getting into.  I haven’t had a puppy for 14 years.  And that was before having kids.   But it will be worth it, I’m sure.  After many years I’m ready to have a pet again, and I think it will be a wonderful experience for my boys.

Why 14 years? Well, 14 years ago my husband and I got a Lab.  I wanted a Boston Terrier, but he convinced me that a big dog, more specifically a Lab would be best.  And there is no way I could have resisted that adorable puppy.

 

reese

 

Reese was a wonderful dog.  So sweet and gentle.  And a little hyper, but he was just so excited about life.

It was incredibly hard to give him away when he was 6.  But my oldest had allergies, and was sick all the time.  Seeing as though he was only allergic to cats and dogs, and we were soon moving into a brand new home, the best option seemed to be to put my son in an environment without pets.

We found an amazing family for Reese, and they loved him so much and gave him a better  home than we could have asked for.  He passed away 2 years ago when he was 12.  We will forever be grateful to them.

My mom took our cat, Mel.  She was older and passed away just a couple years after she took her.  We are also very grateful to my mom for this.

Our son did better in our new home and after having his tonsils and adenoids removed in 2010, has been healthier than ever.  And recently we noticed that he would be at friend’s homes with pets, even for sleepovers, and not have a reaction.  Yay!  It looks like he outgrew his allergies!

So I dediced this past winter that I wanted a puppy.  My boys loved the idea.  And while my husband pretends not to be, he is excited too.  I know it.

And this time we are getting, wait for it … a Boston Terrier!  I’ve waited a long time for this little guy, and I can’t wait for this new adventure.

Stay tuned for new puppy pics and stories about our adventures with our new family member.

 

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Awesome New Creations!

After the Christmas rush ended and I had a little extra time on my hands, I was actually a little excited.  I mean, I loved having tons of orders rolling in around the holidays, but I was missing out on one of my favorite things – creating new items.

With barely time enough to fill all those orders in time, there was not a moment to spare for new creations.

That’s all changed now.  And I’ve gone a bit nuts creating and listing new items.  I’ve added 25 items this year already. Yea, I should probably slow down, but I had so many ideas in my head and I couldn’t wait to turn them into reality.

Now since I’m such a scatterbrain when it comes to creating, my latest additions are all over the map.  And that’s a good thing.  I love having a shop with such a wide variety of items, although lately I am a bit heavy in my Harry Potter section, but I just can’t help myself :)

And keeping with that tradition, plenty of my new items are inspired by Harry Potter.

Let’s start with these two necklaces.  I just love them, especially the miniature time turner one.  The third book is my absolute favorite and the sequence with the time turner is the best part.

First is my book locket necklace featuring the first and last words of the series.  This is the inside of the locket.  The outside has a hand painted lightning bolt on it.

booklocket2

And here is my miniature time turner necklace.  I LOVE this necklace!

 

timeturner2

 

I also had a brainstorm when trying to figure out just what to do with these infinity charms that I had.   Infinity bracelets with Hogwarts house colors!  These turned out so cute.  All the materials are so nice and it’s such a pretty and simple way to wear some house pride :)   Available as bracelets or anklets!

 

gryffindor4ever

hufflepuff4ever

ravenclaw4ever

slytherin4ever

 

I’m calling these the {insert house here} forever bracelet/anklet.  You know, because infinity=forever=always.

It’s Slytherin forever for me :)

Now onto some other stuff.   Besides all those awesome Potter items, I have also felt inspired to create some gorgeous spring wreaths.

Spring cannot come soon enough around here.  This has been an incredibly cold, snowy and LONG winter for us folks in the midwest and I have never been more anxious for some warmer weather.

Needing to feel like spring really will come, and because I have learned it’s best to list items early, I created these three spring inspired wreaths:

 

newdaisywreath

newgreenivorywreath

pinkcrocuswreath

LOVE these wreaths.  Any of them are sure to brighten and beautify your front door!

Lastly, I added some beautiful, non Potter related jewelry.

They feature another of my favorite design inspirations – vintage style jewelry.  I created this super cute charm bracelet and these gorgeous purple earrings.  They have real vintage vibe, and are great additions to any woman’s jewelry collection!

vintagecharm1

vintagepurple1

 

So there you have it, the highlights of my most recent additions to my shop.  A little bit nerdy, a little bit sweet, and no doubt, every piece is 100% chic ;)

Click the pics or my shop link on the sidebar for even more of my original creations.

And come back soon more even more new stuff!  This is going to be a great year!

 

Happy Crafting,

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Chia Oatmeal

 

chiaoatmeal

 

Meet your new breakfast obsession.

Delicious? Check.  Healthy? Yep.

First things first, yes,  I have jumped onto the chia seed bandwagon.  It’s packed with fiber and Omega 3′s as well as many other health benefits.  And it’s so easy to add them to a lot of recipes.  I like mixing them into my pancake mix and a delicious quinoa and brown rice dish I will be sharing soon.

I love these tiny powerhouses, even if my husband is convinced I’ll turn into a walking chia pet.  Ch, ch, ch, chia!

A few weeks ago, I was looking online for a new chia recipe, and I came across one for chia seed pudding made with coconut milk.  Only I don’t really like pudding. Or yogurt for that matter.  I’m weird, I know, it’s a texture thing.  But I do love coconut.

Instead, I had an idea to make oatmeal with coconut milk, add some chocolate chips, because I am a sucker for a sweet breakfast and mix in those trendy chia seeds.  To make it extra healthy :)

I was a little worried about the coconut milk.  Would it cook the oatmeal like normal milk? Would it actually taste coconutty?

The answers were yes {but it takes a little longer} and yes.

 

Here’s the ingredients I use:

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 cup plain {sweetened} coconut milk

1 TBSP chia seeds

sprinkle of mini chocolate chips 

 

To Make:

Pour oats and milk into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes depending on your microwave and how thick you like your oatmeal.  I love a very thick, not at all soupy oatmeal, so I cook mine for 2 1/2 minutes.  

Carefully remove your bowl from the microwave, it will be hot.  

Stir in the chia seeds, then sprinkle on the chocolate chips and enjoy!

Perfect for breakfast, or a midnight snack :)

 

I love it.  It’s so yummy and keeps me full for a long time.  I mean how can you go wrong with coconut and chocolate for breakfast that’s actually good for you?!

What are some of your favorite chia seed recipes?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

 

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Cool Tattoo. What Is It? Does It Mean Something?

That is what I hear a lot from those who notice my latest tattoo.  And every tattoo has a story, long or short.  My first tattoo is a short story, my latest a longer one…

I love tattoos. On me, or anyone else.  And so, ever since I got my first tattoo 10 years ago, I wanted more.

But up until a few months ago, I didn’t have a clue what to get next.  My first tattoo is a dolphin.  It’s just above my right hip.  I got it when my first son was a year old.  Not that it has anything to do with him, I had just always wanted one and being a mom wasn’t going to change that.  I’ve always loved the beach, the ocean, and dolphins.  It is a dream of mine to one day live by the beach.  I even considered trying to become a dolphin trainer at one point.  Don’t know where that went…

So, ten years passed, fairly quickly I might add and there I was, still wanting another tattoo. My life had changed so much in that time too.  I had another son, moved twice, made new friends and reconnected with some old ones, and discovered a story that would change my life more than I ever imagined.   A story that even inspired me to start my Etsy shop, and having my craft business has made me happier than I’ve been in a long, long time.

It all started three summers ago when my brother brought over some books he thought my oldest might want to read.  He did, loved them and told me I should read them too. Reluctantly, because in my head they were children’s books, I started reading.   One chapter in I had fallen completely in love.  Two months and seven books later, I was forever changed.  Never has a story touched me so deeply, or inspired me to follow my creative passion and finally find my calling.  Harry Potter had just changed my life.

About a year and a half later, when my oldest was turning 10, we had this wild idea to act out the first few Harry Potter movies as a family as a part of his birthday celebration. We needed costumes and props, so I brought out my creative and crafty skills and got to work.  I learned how to sew wizard robes, and learned to become a wandmaker.  Those wands would become my inspiration to start an Etsy shop.  After my husband planted the idea in my head to sell them.  I did, and quickly discovered jewelry making too.  Now my shop is full of Harry Potter themed jewelry, wands, art as well as a bunch of “generic” jewelry and other crafts {because I do love other things too, believe it or not :) }.

Early this summer, my shop took off and is now quite a success.  Some weeks, I work a full time job filling orders, shipping, writing listings, etc.  And I LOVE IT.  This is what I am meant to be doing.  {Sorry Shaklee team}  And yes, sometimes keeping up with this blog is a challenge.

So, back to the tattoo.   Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the Harry Potter world, one huge part is Hogwarts – the school of witchcraft and wizardry.   And within Hogwarts, all students are sorted into one of four houses – Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, named after the school founders.  Placement is determined by the Sorting Hat’s analysis of who they truly are inside.    And I am a Slytherin. 100%. Without a doubt.  That is a good thing, no matter what anyone may try to tell you.  Remember – “Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that” :)  

Now for some time I’ve known my second tattoo was going to be Harry Potter related, I just couldn’t decide on what it should be.  Then I saw a picture on Pinterest and I knew it, that was the tattoo I was going to get.  It was simple, sexy and so perfect.  It showcases a whole other side to me not many have seen. And even though it’s really not easy to take a picture or your own back, here it is -

 

 newtattoobetter

 

If you don’t recognize it, it’s the snake from the Slytherin house crest, done in black.  It took me forever to figure out where to put it.  I knew I wanted it more visible {much to my mom’s dismay} and small.  I chose the center of my upper back, just below my neck. I absolutely love it.  So does my husband.  Of course he does, I mean for a geeky tattoo, it sure is sexy ;)

Now, what next?  I don’t know yet, but I do know I’m not waiting 10 more years to figure it out.

 

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