Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Today is the last day of the old year. Tomorrow is the day for fresh starts and resolutions. Have you made yours?

Typically, people do not keep their resolutions for more than a week after the New Year. While the resolution is good intentioned, sometimes it is too difficult a task. After all, people can't change overnight.

One of my main resolutions is not to buy yarn unless it is needed for a project I am working on that moment. For example - last night I realized I would not have enough yarn to finish my brother's Christmas present. So, today was a practice run in my resolution. Could I stay the course and only buy what I needed? Regardless of sales or coupons, I was able to only buy the one skein I needed. Success!

Now, I am a complete yarnaholic - I have so much yarn. I wouldn't say too much yarn because you can never have too much yarn. But I have a lot and a little apartment. I also have a lot of patterns. Once again, not too many, but it may be safe to say that I will not make them all in my lifetime. And I'm not even 40. That's saying something.

So, like any addict, I have to take it one day at a time. Resist temptation whenever possible. And when I do slip up, don't give up.

That's the important thing to remember with any type of resolution - don't give up. If you slip up, get right back on the horse and keep going with your resolution. Pick up right where you left off and keep moving forward one day at a time.

Best of luck to you and Happy New Year!!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Brand New Monday

Today marks the return of Brand New Monday. Mondays I go through Zibbet and find fresh new listings. Let's begin.

root beer brown crackle glass beaded squiggle necklace
This beautiful necklace comes from Beading by Jenn (http://www.zibbet.com/BeadingByJenn). Only $25, this root beer bead necklace is another addition to Jenn's squiggle necklace collection.

Sunflower Champagne Flutes, Personalized Toasting Flutes
Next is this gorgeous pair of Sunflower etched champagne flutes from Brad Goodell (http://www.zibbet.com/bradgoodell). Only $76, these flutes can be personalized on the base with your names and your wedding date.

Size 2 Hand smocked girls dress
Finally is this stunning rose smocked dress from Christening Couture (http://www.zibbet.com/christeningcouture). As the designer says, every little girl needs a smocked dress. This is an original design and sells for $110.

Thanks for joining me on Brand New Monday. If you would like to be featured on my blog, please feel free to contact me.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fresh Start, New Selling Venue, and New Years Resolutions

Hi Friends:
I am back after a long hiatus. A lot of things have changed and a lot of things will continue to change.

In case you haven't noticed, I no longer have my own stand alone website. Traffic wasn't coming, and honestly, it was too much work to try and maintain it and the E website. And frankly, I didn't have the time. Also, I have distanced myself from E and have set up shop on Zibbet. I no longer agreed with E's definition of handmade. I am no longer angered by it, but I no longer want to talk about it and give E more publicity by talking about it. Because every time I publish E's name, I give it more power on Google and such. No more. I will still support the handmade artisans there, but whenever possible, I will ask to purchase something offsite and through Paypal.

So, I am now on Zibbet and I couldn't be happier. There is sense of community and a pride in the co-founders for their product. They have wonderful customer support and a chat room that allows you to engage other sellers on the site. I have already made friends in the short months that I have been there. And I have already had sales, which is wonderful. It will take time to get all my listings up on Zibbet, but that's okay. I am doing this correctly and making sure my listings and tags are correct, and my pictures are good.

New Years Resolutions - concentrate on the shop and get as many things listed as possible. Work on the blog and get more followers. Work my butt off to promote and get more sales. I have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Promote other Handmade artists on Zibbet. Get the name of Zibbet out there and help make it bigger than E. I am one person, but one person becomes 2, then 4, then 8, and so on.

Who is ready to come on the journey with me?  I can't wait to see you all there and see my friends grow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Website

Hi friends,
I know I haven't been blogging lately. Work and the new dance schedule has really eaten up my time, not to mention prepping for my craft shows. I hope you come over to my Etsy shop to check out my new products!

I also have a new website. http://jenstangledthreads.com no longer houses my blog. Instead, it has my new online shop. Take a look around. I am having a 30% off sale to announce my grand opening.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Changes, they are a coming!

If you have tried to view my blog from my old address of http://www.jenstangledthreads.com, you'll get a message that I'll be returning soon. This is because I am having a brand new website built! My customers will get to shop directly from the site instead of having to go through Etsy. I am so excited for this new business move.

I will try to keep the blog updated with new products. I have 2 new products in the works right now that I am excited to show you.

Until then,

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Christmas in July sale

Okay, I'm a few days late in promoting this, but I'm having a Christmas in July sale all month long!!!! No coupons to remember! 15% off everything in my Etsy shop. Don't forget to stop by!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Featured Crafter - Sunshine and Vodka

Today's featured crafter is Paulette from Sunshine and Vodka. Paulette specializes in wedding bouquets and accessories. 

1. How did you get started? I started Sunshine and Vodka as a way to sell some of items that were collecting in my studio. I didn't want to be stuck making baby blankets or cards so I had to come up with a unique name. My two favorite things came to mind and it was born.

2. What is your favorite thing to make? I LOVE flowers. Embroidering them, creating bouquets with them and wearing them. 

3. How often do you just play around and create something new just for the experience? I do this quite a bit. I love the challenge of figuring out how to make something. The first round usually ends up in the "oops" pile and I get better and faster at making things.

4. Do you take custom orders? My entire business is custom orders. I love working with people, especially brides. It's not for everyone but I truly enjoy making someone's vision come to life. 

5. How can people contact you? (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, email, blog) My facebook page, www.facebook.com/sunshineandvodka is a great way to send a message. I check both there and my Etsy store:www.sunshineandvodka.etsy.com, several times a day. This is my full time job so I am extremely devoted to my customers needs and respond accordingly.

For your special day, be sure to check out Paulette's shop. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Enjoying Vacation

I have been enjoying my vacation. I have been so stressed at work and with not getting many sales. *sigh*

But this week has been a stress-free zone. I finished the baby blanket for the gal at work, made 2 new ruffle scarves (and took pictures and listed them), and I'm sending out the scarves that were given away as prizes. I have to finish laundry and clean the apartment, then pack for this weekend.

My son leaves on Monday for his dad's so I need to plan out my summer to maximize promotion and creation. So, I think that every night I will work 1 hour on promotion (blog hops, facebook ladders, Facebook hops), and the rest of the night creating. Sometimes I get so stressed with work and dance that I forget to take time for myself for exercising and just plain creating.

So, I have to ask - I never have a summer vacation where I get the "I'm bored" from the child. He's always gone! How do you alleviate the summertime blues?

Happy Summer, Friends!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Featured Crafter - Megan Barkley-Colwell and The Nautical Owl

So, I'm bringing back my Featured Crafter post. My first featured crafter is Megan.  I just had a couple questions for her.

1. How did you get started? Back in December 2011, I wanted to make some fun gifts for my family and friends. A wood burning kit was on sale at my local craft store along with some unfinished wood items. I started with a couple jewelry boxes and storage, and it took off from there. I was hooked on pyrography!

2. What is your favorite thing to make? Right now I'm really enjoying burning jewelry. It allows me to combine my two favorite hobbies - art and fashion.

3. How often do you just play around and create something new just for the experience? More often than not. A lot of times my ideas come from dreams, or hopes. I'll spend an day sketching and researching online. Then I jump right in and start sketching on the wood. Some things work out...others don't. Ah, the trial and error of crafting!

4. Do you take custom orders? Of course! I'm always open to new ideas! I love creating treasures for others to love for a lifetime and the fact that they're custom makes it much more special.

5. How can people contact you? (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, email, blog) Contact me anytime PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/TheNauticalOwl/boards
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/NauticalOwl
TWITTER: @TheNauticalOwl
EMAIL: thenauticalowl@yahoo.com

Megan has such gorgeous pieces. Stop by her Etsy shop to look at all her pieces and show her some love!!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Win a Hope Ruffle Scarf

I've hit over 400 followers on Facebook. It's time to celebrate. I'm giving away this beautiful scarf

You can see the listing for my scarf here to get more information on this scarf.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Terrific Tuesdays

I have to try and be positive right now. Today I am starting back up with the diet and exercise. My goal? 80 pounds.  It is going to be tough. Gaining is so much more fun than losing.

How was your Memorial Day? I spent it cutting up sheets. Why? Because I had a bright idea once to make rag rugs so I went out and bought a bunch of sheets. And Mom gave me a bunch of her old ones. When I say old, when I put it in the dryer, the elastic came apart. I'm almost done cutting them all up. Will finish tonight. Then winding them and find a place to store them. Until I get a chance to actually make some. Hopefully this summer before the craft season starts.

I was in the EZcraftshow chatroom all weekend. Very empty. But I learned of a woman who sells Ruffle Scarves on Facebook and she has a 6-8 week waitlist. Seriously? And she has over 16,000 fans. How do I get one of these? Seriously. How? So one of my tasks every night will be to work in the Etsy teams and join their Facebook circles. Unless someone has a better (and smarter) idea. I would love to sell on Facebook!

I was also thinking of starting a blog hop once I hit 100 followers. So, I need 2 things from my readers.

1. What day would you like to see the blog hop launched on? I know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of blog hops out there on any given day. They are fun, trust me. But what day would you like to have the blog hop on?

2. Who would like to co-host? I know that one of the keys is to have a variety of co-hosts to help merge followers. So, my followers would become your followers (hopefully) and vice versa.

You can email me your suggestions at jenstangledthreads@gmail.com or just comment below. I look forward to your responses.

Well, I'd better get back to work. Finding it very hard to concentrate on work right now. I want to go home and finish cutting up sheets so I can wind them, then get started on some creating.

And always, if you are looking for that gift for grad, dad or just because, check out the EZCraftShow. I have some great specials going on that are only available through the Craft Show. And go visit some of the other booths. I know they will appreciate the business.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EZCraftshow Online Craft & Gift Show

That's right - I'm doing another online craft show. You can visit my booth here. I have several show specials going on right now that are not available on my Etsy site. Of course, I also invite you to check out the other booths and shop around. There are Direct Sales representatives as well as handmade artisans. You can also visit the chatroom and play games for some wonderful prizes (one of my double ruffle scarves is being offered as a prize) as well as chat with some of the vendors.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Never turn down an opportunity

This past weekend, I was at the Mall of America with my mom and son, and my mom's best friend and family to celebrate Mother's Day in our own way. We did the 5k Race for the Cure. Okay, it was walking, but we did 5K. Not only did we celebrate Mother's Day, but we celebrated Deb's 5 year cancerversary (as she puts it). 5 years after beating cancer. She is an amazing woman.

To celebrate, I made a bunch of my pink & white ruffle scarves for everyone who walked with us. I was told to make about 20 or so because we didn't know how many people were coming. So, I made 23. And I brought them all with me. Needless to say, I had a bunch left over that I could sell.

After the race, Josh and I were walking around the Mall and ended up at a booth inside that was selling Susan G. Komen gear. The ladies at this booth saw the scarves my son and I were wearing and asked who made them. I told them I did, and I sold 3 scarves on the spot. And got a card from one of the gals who has a little handmade gift boutique. I wish I had thought to bring my business cards with me. After all, I always have them in my purse, but I didn't have my purse with me, only my wallet.

Lesson learned: Always have business cards in your wallet.

Anyway, I've been having fun with ruffle yarn, waiting for a yarn order to come in for a baby blanket. I hope to be able to take some pictures this weekend of new colors and styles.

Oh, and if you want one of my pink and white ruffle scarves - I have them aplenty.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

But I really wanted the wine.....

Last night, I had a decision to make. Exercise (which I really needed to do) or go to the liquor store and get wine (which I really wanted to do). I had forgotten on my way home from dance and when I got home, I didn't want to hop in the car and drive.  Frankly, I'm in the car too much. So, I decided to walk (yes, walk) to the liquor store and back - about a 3 mile trip there and back. Only rolled my ankle once, but I got some much needed sunshine and fresh air.

Today - my body is screaming at me (what else is new?).  And it is supposed to storm today and tomorrow.

More wine?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Friend Connect Blog Hop

It's Tuesday again which means it's time for the Friend Connect Blog Hop!
It's the time to meet new friends and find new blogs. You can choose to follow the cohosts in whatever way is best for YOU! Here are some of my favorite ways: GFC, BlogLovin', HelloCotton, RSS, Twitter, Facebook.
Ok, so let's get to the party, shall we?
RULES are simple:
1. Follow your host 
The First link below
2. Follow your co-hosts 
The Next 8 links below
3. Link up below using your main blog url not a specific post.
4. Make sure to visit some of the blogs in the link up and follow them 
and if you want to leave them a comment, I'm sure they'd appreciate that as well.
5. Tweet about this blog hop
6. Share about this blog hop by grabbing a button and putting it on your sidebar!
I have cohost spots available! Email me if you're interested at melissa@thelifeofanotsoordinarywife.com
Post Sponsor Ad:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Productive Sunday

I have had a very productive day today. I finished all my open orders (just waiting for the puffy paint to dry).

I've also finished my backlog of listings. So proud of myself. Celebrating with a glass of wine. Oh, and I cooked supper tonight. Or rather, I made doctored-up spaghetti. 2 jars of my favorite sauces, add a pound and half of hamburger and some italian seasoning. Add in a loaf of garlic bread and 2 dozen spice muffins for breakfast this week. I think I will have to clean the apartment next weekend.

What to do, what to do next? I have ruffle yarn, some new patterns to play with. And, I'm entering in a partnership with a photographer to use my baby blankets as photography props.

This week I have a blog hop scheduled, and the 5K Walk for the Cure on Mother's Day.  And dance, of course. Always dance.

~Happy Crafting~

Friday, May 3, 2013

A day off

Okay - so I usually have my weekends off, but for the first time in a long time, I took a weekday off that wasn't because of snow or school or sick child(and I keep thinking it is Saturday). Not to say I didn't work, because I did. I helped sort flowers for my son's spring fundraiser for dance. Oy! I learned more about flowers than I ever wanted to. And I still ended up making a trip into work so I could drop off flowers for coworkers and my boss. Not that they will get to plant them this weekend. In case you missed it, it was snowing yesterday and today. *sigh*

You still have time to enter my giveaway for a gift certificate good towards the purchase of anything in my shop. If I hit 1000 entries, I'll give away 2 gift certificates.

<a id="rc-02a0552" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02a0552/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Too fat?

I heard on the radio this morning about a blogger out of Houston who asked her readers if one of the Oklahoma City NBA cheerleaders was to fat to be a cheerleader. Kelsey Williams is nowhere near fat. She is muscular and toned, and while she might have a little big more flesh than typical cheerleaders, I would not call her chunky. She is healthy. And good for the blogger's boss for firing her.

Since when is healthy equated with being fat?  Or being too fat to be an athlete or a cheerleader. The self image of our young women is already a hot topic today. I've seen this first hand although I don't have a daughter of my own.

My friend's daughter is a very talented dancer. She has the ideal body for any young lady (or woman my age). She wears a size 0, is small with a full bust. However, she does not look like most dancers you would see at a dance competition. Most dancers you see are tall, leggy and skinny. When she dances between 2 thin dancers, she looks chunky, although she is far from it. I wish I could say that the judges look strictly at technique and musicality, but they don't. She receives high gold for her solo when all the other solos from our studio (danced by tall, leggy dancers) have received platinums. She has been told by professional ballerinas that she has the ideal body type for a ballerina. Which is why it pains me when she says she needs to go on a diet. She doesn't! She says it is just to tone, but I honestly do not see a scrap of spare flesh on her. As a woman who struggles with weight issues, I can't stand to hear her say this.

I'm happy to see that not all studios out there require their dancers to be thin and leggy. Mom and I made this observation this weekend. You could tell what studios were dancing based on their dancers without looking in the program. Some girls were bigger sized, but they danced just as beautifully as the rail thin dancers with wonderful technique. And I was just happy they were dancing and exercising. As long as you move your body who cares what your body looks like?

I know that a lot of studios strive for the tall, leggy, thin look in their dancers. They have weigh-ins, nutrition counselors and demean girls who are still growing up and maybe have a little baby fat on them. Then they stuff these poor girls who already feel bad about themselves into bra tops and booty shorts and parade them around in competitions. The girls with a little extra weight have muffin tops and are shoved in the back of the routine. These girls are still growing and discovering what their body shape will be. Why are you demeaning them? When they are young (13 and under) if they cannot wear a proper leo under their costume, it is too revealing! Girls this age do not need to be flashing their belly buttons to everyone. It gives these girls the wrong idea about what is acceptable. No wonder young girls are wanting to wear short shorts and heels with little crop tops. No wonder we have perverts out there raping these young girls and then saying, "I couldn't tell what age she was. She looks 25."  or "She was just shaking her thing out there and wearing those skin tight clothes. She was asking for it."


Protect your daughters. Stand up to these studios who parade your daughters in little costumes and say no. There are plenty of studios out there (like mine) who do not objectify young ladies with skimpy costumes.  Cover those belly buttons!!!!

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for the raffle. Only 2 days left.

<a id="rc-02a0552" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02a0552/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Monday, April 29, 2013

A very fruitful weekend, if I do say so myself

Yet another competition this weekend. Josh did AMAZING, despite some hiccups along the way. Okay, to be truthful, he wasn't the only one dancing on stage, but everyone did great. He received 3 platinum trophies for all his routines, plus 1st place overall for clogging, and 2nd place overall for the boys hip hop, and judges awards for each of the hip hop routines. We had a lot of fun and even got to shop! Mom took us to St. Cloud so we could visit a quilt and yarn shop that we had seen advertised every year.

Both of us were like kids in a candy store. And we both bought new projects while we were there. I could have done some major damage in that store.

Well, I need to get working on this scarf. It isn't going to finish itself.

Don't forget to stop by the blog hop!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mom's Monday Mingle #52

Would YOU like to "Co-host"

with us?

Booking now for May!

1. Please FOLLOW each hostess (They are 1-6 in the link up)
2. Leave a comment if you are new and want us to return the follow.
3. Grab the button and display it on your sidebar or link it to the post.
4. Have fun and meet new friends!

Friday, April 26, 2013

So ready for the weekend.....

Sorry I haven't blogged the past couple days. Things have just been hectic.

With that said:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why Diets Don't Work Today

I had an epiphany today. I wonder why diets don't work. Especially for me.

With all diets I've read about, you need to change your eating habits. Cook nutritious food. In those three words, what is the one word that sticks out? Cook. I do not cook on a regular basis and I honestly do not know a single family who cooks at least 5 days a week. Heck, not even 4 days a week. We live in a world of school activities, after school activities, a full-time and a part-time job. Our cooking consists of popping a ready-made meal in the microwave or reheating leftovers from a fast food restaurant.

So it is a wonder that diets don't work. Most diets tell us not to shop in the "processed" food aisles and buy more "natural" food. And of course, cook it. But who really has time to cook with all the activities we put our kids in? Josh is only in dance with the occasional dance competition and band concert, but he dances 3 days a week. I can't imagine some of these families that have activities every night of the week.  Nonetheless, I do try to "cook" at least on the weekends. During the week we have scrambled eggs, Chef Boyardee, leftovers from the weekend, soup - pretty much anything that can be cooked in a microwave. Except eggs - those are cooked regular. :)  But that needs to change. I need to eat better so my son eats better and learns better eating habits. So, I need to learn how to cook something that isn't out of a box. Have you seen the sodium levels in some of these foods?

First things first - get rid of the food in the apartment. That way I can start from scratch. And start buying new, more wholesome options. Like whole wheat spaghetti.

Let's see how this works. :)

Don't worry. I still have Jimmy Johns on speed dial. And a favorite on the computer.

Monday, April 22, 2013

It all comes down to dance and my son

It truly does.

If I didn't have my son, I'd be pulling more days like today. Today I worked almost 11 hours. If it weren't for the fact that Josh has dance Tuesday through Thursday before 5 pm, I'd be pulling more of these shifts. And I can't work late on Friday because I will be on my way to another dance competition. Can't work this weekend because I will be at a dance competition.

I am a workaholic. I know this. It's why I have my Etsy business. That, and I love creating, but I am a workaholic to my soul. Always keeping busy. So if it weren't for my son, I'd have no social life. Don't get me wrong, the money is great when I can work this overtime. But I do like it when I get to clock out and come home to my little guy.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend wrap-up

This weekend was another competition weekend. Josh did fabulous. High gold for clogging and gold and the best costume award for hip hop. He did very well on an individual level - no major mistakes. He needs to work on getting his knees up and keeping his fingers straight, but he knows these things and is always working on them. Just need to step up the little things practice, I guess. And the energy. Energy is always a big issue for the routines. I would love to see his routines to get to the next level by the end of the year - platinum for clogging and high gold for hip hop. I've already spoken to one of his teachers about getting some  extra help with his round-offs. I compare him to the other boy on his hip hop team, and this other boy's are just better and more powerful. A little extra help won't hurt.

I do compare Josh to other boys his age who dance. I know Josh isn't the best boy dancer in the country. He tries and he improves every year and that is what matters. I do want him to be the best boy dancer at our studio and I know he is close to that. He is the oldest competitive boy we have at the studio and he mentors a lot of the younger boys we have in his hip-hop class (not the one he competes with).  We have a little work to do before regionals next weekend.

On another note, I've been furiously working on this Dr. Who scarf for my customer. My hands are a little sore today, but I am finally past the point where I had stopped and tore everything out. Tomorrow will be a long 10-hour day at work followed by a couple more hours of knitting. Life is never dull!

And I just found out that not all of my blog followers are showing up in my follower count. The follower count only counts those who follow my blog through GFC and who subscribe by email. I'm really, really hoping that I have more than 58 followers with Google+ and Bloglovin'. But right now I can't figure out how to look at my numbers for those. So, if anyone uses these to track followers, let me know.

Well, I'm off for the night. If you have not signed up for the giveaway, please do. It is for a fabulous prize - a $20 gift certificate good towards the purchase of anything in my shop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 19, 2013

Giveaway!!! Giveaway!! Giveaway!!

Yesterday we hit 50+ followers! I can't believe it has happened so quickly. Thank you everyone who reads my posts and is willing to take a look into my wild and kooky life.

To celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway. The winner will receive a $20 gift certificate good towards the purchase of an item (or items) from either my Etsy shop or my HandmadeArtists shop. Disclaimer: Total cart purchase must be equal or greater than $20.

Liz at Funny PostPartum Lady is gracious enough to help promote my giveaway. She has an awesome blog and hosts blog hops regularly on her website.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you to all my followers. Here's to another 50 followers and hopefully I won't run out of writing material. If that happens, I might have to bring out some of my stories. :)  Or more pictures of the little man.

Here's an easy way to get entries: What would you buy if you won?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Perfectionist in Me

I am notorious for ripping out rows and rows in my crocheting when I find a mistake. It is the perfectionist in me. I dislike adding stitches unless the pattern calls for it. Even if I am halfway through a project, I can and have ripped out an entire project and started over.

The same is true for my knitting, but I can't just rip it out to the spot where I made the mistake. I am just not that good of a knitter yet. So, instead, I rip out the entire thing and start over.

I did this tonight. I was getting along good with this Dr. Who scarf for my customer. I made a mistake and I tried only ripping it to a point just past the mistake. Yeah, that didn't work so well. So I kept ripping until I started over.

What can I say? I'm a perfectionist in most aspects of my life. This means when you buy something from me, you know it is as perfect as I can make it. It might take me a little longer in some cases to finish the project, but that's the price I pay for who I am.

So, I've gotten some input for my giveaway to celebrate having 50 followers. I am going to give away a gift certificate worth $20 good towards the purchase of anything in my Etsy or Handmade Artists shop. Look for a Rafflecopter contest to come your way soon.

On another note - it is snowy and windy in Minnesota tonight. Drive safe my Minnesota friends.

Woohoo!!!! We did it!!!!

We have 50 followers! It has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of blog hopping, but we did it! Now I just have to keep the followers. :)

So, I said a long time ago that I would have a giveaway when the blog hit 50 followers.  But I have no clue what I'm going to giveaway. Suggestions?  I guess I could always give away a pair of Flip-Furs.

What would be your dream prize from my lovely little shop?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Aaaaand I did it again

Good evening fellow evening bloggers and readers. You might be asking - what did Jen do again this time? Am I paying homage to Britney Spears? Did I ruin another computer? Did I once again fail in my attempt to catch a kitty in a playful position with the camera for a wordless Wednesday post?

Okay, yes to the last. They are never being playful when I have my camera out. Why is this?

But no to the rest.

No, tonight I pushed my hands to their stress point in trying to get this scarf done for a customer. It is an 8 foot scarf. And I have been crocheting since about 5 pm. I always seem to be doing this. Whether it is from crocheting or knitting or typing or pointing and clicking with a mouse. I always seem to push my hands to their stress point, making it more difficult to perform the task I am doing.  Okay, I actually miss the days when my hands would hurt from typing or writing all day. Stupid writer's block.

This is part of the reason why I drink at night. The alcohol dulls the pain so I can push further. I don't drink to get drunk (does anyone over the age of 30?). But it makes the edges a little fuzzy, the pain a little less noticeable. But tonight I was out of alcohol and so I stopped a little early tonight because I was getting to the point where I couldn't hold the knitting needles. Strangely, typing is stretching them out a little, but they are still sore, so I won't push anymore. I think my body is telling me it is time for bed.

So, here's my question - if you craft, do you suffer from arthritis (like myself) or fibromyalgia (like myself) and does this prevent you from crafting as much as you would like? Honestly, I can't tell what is acting up tonight. I blame the weather - we are supposed to get a snowstorm tonight and tomorrow. Everything hurts.

Good night, and happy crafting.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Weather and Acceptance

I live in Minnesota. This means I can count on winter lasting from mid-November (and sometimes earlier) until mid-April. We had a wonderful snowstorm last week that dumped quite a few inches of snow all over our budding green grasses. We are supposed to get more snow this week. And everyone I know is complaining.

Yes, we have rarely seen the sun this spring. There is talk about filing misrepresentation papers on a certain woodland creature. Our baseball home opener had the fans standing in line for free cups of coffee and hot chocolate and crowding under warming lamps. While this is not normal spring weather, it is hardly abnormal. Minnesota is known for its freak April snowstorms. Now, when you get into May, then it is cause for concern. But we still have a little time. I know, last year we had 80 degrees on St. Patty's Day. And this summer set a record for the number of days over 100 degrees. Thanks, I'd rather have a cold, sloppy spring over a warm one.

But I used to be one of the masses complaining about the cold. Maybe it is the extra layers of flesh I have accumulated over the past couple years. Maybe my time in Alaska has toughened me up a bit. But I really don't mind the wintery weather. I have a great car that can go through anything Mother Nature throws at us. I have an apartment where I don't have to turn on my heat because my neighbors crank theirs up. Besides, I enjoy being inside. I'm not an outdoors girl. And I've been too busy with work and dance and my crafting to go outside to walk (even though I should).  I'm allergic to mosquitoes and I don't just burn in the sun despite a healthy layer of sunscreen - I crisp like bacon. Hot weather makes me crabby. Maybe after all these years, I am turning into a northerner after all.

I can't change the weather. So why should I stress about it?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Being a kitty mommy

Being a kitty mommy means that I have toys all over the floor, two unintentional heating pads at night, and I'm greeted at the door whenever I come home to half an hour of meowing. And the meowing whenever I go in the kitchen or get up from my chair. Doesn't matter if they have a full food dish and water or I just gave them treats. I get meowed at. Then, when I try to pet either kitty, they run away. And meow some more. My son knows I need some decompression time when I first walk in the door from work. Why can't kitties understand this?

I can accept that I will have kitty litter tracked through the entire apartment and ground into the carpets. I can even accept the fact that the kitties will chew on power cords and shoelaces. I trained them not to chew on my yarn, after all. But for the life of me, I can't train them not to meow at me for half an hour. They don't meow at my son when he comes home. Only me. And they will cuddle with everyone else. But not me.

Why? Does anyone speak kitty? How do I get them to stop?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

House Hunting

I am searching for a house. The truth is, I need a bigger place. I would like a 3 bedroom or a 2 bedroom with an extra family room or a loft. The extra room will be my office/craft room. And I would like a townhouse. I have enough things going on that I do not have time to work on a yard. Plus, the thought of someone else plowing my driveway is just too good to pass up.

So, I've been looking through listings. I've seen a few nice properties with 2 bedroom and a loft. I can't truly commit now because my credit isn't high enough. But, I'm working with a program who will help me get my credit score up so that when I am at the end of my current lease, I can get a decent rate. I'm going with a loan through the VA. With the VA, I don't need a down payment, there is no PMI and I just might get a better rate than a conventional loan. Sometimes, it pays to be a veteran.

The VA says it does not have credit score requirement, nor does it have a credit history requirement. However, banks are less likely to lend to you if you don't have a minimum score of 640. VA loans are designed for veterans and service members, some of whom don't have a great credit history. Most of the programs out there who help veterans get these loans have a secondary program designed to help veterans raise their credit score. Often, these programs are free.

I look forward to sharing my journey to homeownership with you.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mommy Mondays Link Up

Welcome to Mommy Monday, a day where we celebrate our motherhood. This is a link up, so share your story and link up with other bloggers. On Saturday, I shared the joys of being a dance mom. Today, I'm going to share some wonderful pictures of my son.

This is Josh. He is my light and my world. Yes, he is a dancer, but he is also a geek and a natural storyteller. He will tell you the entire story of any movie he has seen, plus little extras. He reads with such comprehension that he can tell you what is in a book, but not in the movie.

Here he is with his kitty, Huggy Bear. Huggy sleeps with Josh every night and will let Josh carry him around the apartment.

Okay, this isn't a picture of him, but a picture of what he builds with his Kinex pieces. He loves making pyramids like this.
 And of course, I have to have at least one dance picture in here. Here he is at Nationals last year when he was picked to be in the Standout Dancer routine. The three lovely ladies with him are dancers at our studio who were also picked for the routine. They all did outstanding!

 Yup - that's a rare picture of me. In purple, too! We went to a Vikings game with my mom.

And here's a more recent picture of my special little guy. He's helping me model some hats I made.

I love being a mom to this guy. He is so helpful around the apartment. He does the dishes, cleans the bathroom, cleans out the cat boxes, vacuums, takes out the garbage, folds and puts his laundry away. He's a great kid. I am very, very lucky to have him.

Link back up to Simply Just Lovely with your post about being a mom.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I am a dance mom

I am a dance mom. I am a rhinestone embellishing, car pooling, crafting fool at times. I support my son and his "girls" 100%. I may have a boy dancer, but I know how to put up fake hair. I am a master of zip-ties and hair gel.

Yes, I do think my son is the best boy dancer at the studio. He works hard and thrives being the center of attention for his clogging line. He works that much harder to make sure he does not let his girls down. I may be a bit crazy at times (I won't deny it), but that's because I want him to do his best. But he's not only a dancer, he is a student as well, and school always comes first.

My son dances 3 days a week, unless you count extra practices. I bring my crafting to the studio. Being at the studio during class allows me know of changes in the routine, announcements and learn what my son needs to work on in his spare time. I am also a member of the booster club board (though, I won't be doing it next year), so if parents need to know about fundraisers, I have all the information.

Most of the time, the moms (or dancers) will come up to me as I'm working and ask "What are you working on today?" I love talking about my work, and they will often ask if I sell my work. This is the perfect opportunity for me to hand out a business card. I never miss an opportunity to promote my business. I always have a stack of cards with me. This has brought me a number of referrals for rhinestoning. I rhinestone studio jackets. Just adding a little sparkle to make the girls feel a little special.

My son wears sparkles and sequins. I don't apologize for this. He only wears them for competition and he doesn't mind. I did rhinestone his jeans this year for clogging, though. I asked his permission, and he agreed. I think he secretly loves the sparkle. Nothing wrong with that. He loves his jeans, so I might have to do it every year from now on. I'll put the other ones on Ebay when he grows out of them.

This weekend marks the start of competition for this year. With two routines this year, and me being line mom for one of them, this is going to be a challenging and rewarding year. Frankly, I think I'm more nervous than my son, but I always am. He was born to be on stage. He has a million watt smile and a charm that makes the judges fall in love with him.

So, here's to a wonderful season and the best of luck to all the studios out there.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Back in the land of the living

Hello again, my lovelies! I am back. I know I haven't been around lately. Things have been a little hectic.

Work has been, well, work. I've been pulling a lot of extra hours so I haven't had the time to devote to the shop as I should. Well, that's all going to change. I need to devote as much time as possible to the shop if I'm going to succeed. I have 3 shows this fall that I want to attend. Not to mention, there is a shop in town who wants to sell my Flip-Furs and rugs. So, I need to get going on making some, huh? :-)

One set back I had was the fact that a couple weeks ago I had spilled a glass of wine on my open laptop - doh! New rule in the Anderson household - no open liquid containers near the computer. The glass will always be on the other side of the chair as the laptop. After having a friend's husband look it over and take it apart, my poor laptop was dead. I spilled the wine in the exact spot that needed to fry the connectors. Luckily he was able to salvage the hard drive so I didn't lose any of my pictures. Yay! And my new computer arrived on Monday with all my new software. Now I just need to find my camera in my pit of an apartment.

During this downtime, I got in 2 new orders! One for a ruffle scarf, and one custom order for 6 pairs of Flip-Furs for a bridal party. The scarf order was no problem - a welcome surprise order while I was at work and easy to ship out. Just need to buy the same ruffle yarn to replace it. The bridal party order is complete as of last night. Just waiting for the last pair to finish drying. The box will be sent out tomorrow or Monday.

Tomorrow will be a massive cleaning day. Time for spring cleaning now that I have all orders complete. I have a lot of new products to take pictures of and list. Then Easter at Grandma's.

I'm so happy I took today off. I have a very busy work schedule coming up. Competition season starts next weekend. I am very excited for the routines this year. My son has 2 routines this year - clogging and hip hop and both are full of tricks and complicated footwork. He's been working so hard on his footwork. And, his all boy hip-hop routine is going to compete at one competition - just to give the boys a taste of competition. My son is the oldest of all the boys, but is having so much fun learning tricks and just hanging out.

Well, I'm off for the night. I hope tomorrow to have pictures up on Facebook and the blog, not to mention the shop. Look for more activity from me on the blog - blog hops, pictures, order updates.

May you always have a crafty day!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New patterns; new adventures

I love new patterns. I have fun with them. Yes, it is incredibly frustrating the first time I work a new pattern. But I feel every time I complete a new pattern (and I do it correctly), I have such a feeling of accomplishment. Another battle won, another pretty thing thrown into the world.

The first time I made a pair of Flip-Furs, I had no clue what I was doing. I had a pattern for spa slippers and I was testing out different pattern variations for different sizes. The first row is always the hardest, no matter what the pattern is. Especially if the first row needs to be a certain length. In the beginning, I bought a bunch of flip-flops in different sizes, then I would use those as my size gauge. I know, doesn't work for sweaters or anything else.

I admit - I'm not the greatest when it comes to making a gauge swatch. I never make one. I crochet tight and knit loose. Go figure, right?

When I'm starting with a new pattern, it isn't uncommon for me to make mistakes. And being the perfectionist I am, I tend to rip out whatever I'm working on until I hit the mistake and then continue. Sometimes, I have to rip out the entire piece and start over. Especially with knitting, since I'm just beginning and I don't know how to go back on patterns and pick up stitches.

So, the reason for this post - I'm working on a new knit pattern. Which means that if I make a mistake, I have to rip out the entire thing and start over. I've done that 4 times so far with this pattern. Pretty par for course if you ask me. But, I'm having fun doing it. I love new patterns.

This pattern is a hanging towel. One of the old fashioned ones that have a button that you can hang off a stove handle. Just a little something to wipe your hands with while you are cooking. It matches the new rugs I made - both the giveaway rug and the rug that will be listed after the giveaway. I'll also have washcloths available as soon as I can make a set to photograph. I can't wait to show you everything.

After this set is complete, I will be making some rag rugs. I love shopping at the Salvation Army store for old sheets and fabric. I came home with a treasure trove on Friday. I can't wait to to start playing with it. I have found yet another store I can get in trouble in.

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win my new rug. The contest ends in a few days.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feeling productive, yet unproductive

So, you know how I dislike all the administrative stuff that comes with having my own little online shop? I did that all weekend. Didn't sit down and crochet once, unless you count the 6 ruffle scarves I made for a charity going on next weekend. Didn't work on my new rug (not the one in the giveaway - that one is done with the exception of the rubber backing.) Yesterday I set up my new mannequin and started snapping pictures of all the ruffle scarves I had. And started working on those pictures with Adobe Photoshop. Which rocks, btw. Might have to buy it after the free trial runs out.

Today - more of the same. Uploaded listings for 4 scarves on 3 different websites, and added them to the portfolio page of my blog. (Have you visited it yet? Pretty cool) Yes, I was able to figure out the html coding to add the pictures and imbed the links back to the Etsy shop for all listings. Yay!

Despite getting all this done, I still have a lot more work to do on pictures that I took. But I want to CREATE! That's why I'm here, right? To create and make pretty things? I have so many projects I want to tackle. I should start making a list and keep it on the blog somewhere. Then, when I make it, I can cross it off my list. Like my crafty bucket list.  Oooooo.....Might have to start that tomorrow.

Well, I'm off to bed. Need to get back to work tomorrow. *sigh* So much work, so little time.

And if you are reading this, please follow my blog if you aren't. I have Google Friend Connect over on the right. Who knows? At Christmas time, I may send out a coupon for so much off or free shipping at about Black Friday for all followers.

And don't forget to enter for your chance to win my new Kitchen Rug before you can buy it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Win It Before You Can Buy It Giveaway

Take a look at what I've been making this week. This is the first in a new line of products for your bathroom or kitchen.

This rug measures 16" x 25" and has a non skid bottom. This rug is handcrocheted. I will run this giveaway for 2 weeks. There are multiple chances to enter, but the ones with the biggest point values are to follow my blog, blog about my giveaway or to buy something from my Etsy shop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 18, 2013

Girlie weekend

This weekend was wonderfully relaxing and made me feel like a girl. Now, I'm not normally a gal who goes for the girlie stuff - manicure, pedicure, facial. Every once in awhile, I go for a massage and/or a facial. But, the funds just haven't been there until I got back my tax return this year. I got enough back that I was able to put some aside for Nationals and I had enough left from paying bills that I decided to pamper myself.

It started Friday night after work. I went to a salon that my girlfriend recommended. It was just by chance that her favorite stylist was there. Yes, it is in Walmart, but I loved the service there. I pretty much told the stylist, Whitney, that I was putting my hair in her hands and to have fun. She gave me a sort of inverted bob, which I had before. She loved my color. I had a great shampoo and conditioning treatment, then Whitney had fun with my hair. She even taught me how to use a flat iron so I could replicate what she was doing at home. Then I walked into the Walmart nail salon and got a pedicure and acrylic nails. Now, I am always hesitant to do the nails because I work with my hands. I type, I clean, I crochet. It is tough on nail color. But, I decided to do the white tips with clear acrylic over it so it looks like I have a French manicure. So far, the nails have held up. I am quite happy. I also got the car washed on the way home because I hate a dirty car.

Saturday continued the transformation. I had an eye appointment and ordered new glasses. I would love to have contacts, but I have an eye condition which makes it difficult. I contemplated coloring my hair before heading out to see the girls, but I didn't have enough root to make it seem worth it. In a few weeks, I'm sure. Then we had girls' night. I got together with my two best friends, dropped my son off at one of their houses for her older daughter to watch him, and we headed to Apple Valley. First, we stopped at Ulta, because of the my friends loves that store. I ended up buying some beauty products. We then went to Kohl's because I needed new work clothes, and I hate shopping by myself. They are honest and tell me what looks good and what doesn't.

After we shopped, we went out to dinner, then a movie, because none of us wanted to go home. Safe Haven is a great date movie. Sweet and romantic and I love Josh Duhamel. I would not kick that man out of bed for eating cookies.

Sunday, I had an appointment at my favorite spa for a facial and a massage. At the end, I added a shampoo and blow-dry because my hair felt gross afterwards. Don't get me wrong, I love scalp massages, but my hair doesn't.  And I still had some shopping to do.

Today, the office was closed, so I spent the day working on a new facial washcloth for myself and catching up on my favorite shows. Just a relaxing day after a weekend of pampering. Let's hope the week doesn't undo all the relaxing.

I will be hosting a giveaway in the very near future (as soon as I finish the product). This will be the start of a new line of products for me. So, if you are in need of a kitchen rug, stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dance Moms make me want to scream!!!!

Okay - maybe just one today. This woman gives all the other moms at my son's studio a bad name. She is selfish and it seems she doesn't care one lick about her daughter being a productive member of society.

For the past 2 years I've had to listen to her complain about how her daughter has no time to do homework because she has skiing or soccer or basketball or volleyball in addition to dance. She over-schedules her daughter and son, then turns around and complains about it. Her big thing last year was the fact that her kids (who go to the private school in town) have to get up early in order to meet the bus and her kids are so tired they can't concentrate at school because they go to bed late because they are doing homework. Here's a thought: don't put your children in so many activities that they don't have time to do homework! Maybe cut back on the activities so your kids can learn something!

This is the same woman who chopped her daughter's hair and keeps it short because she doesn't have time to do her hair in the morning. Then, complains because she can't get her daughter's hair up for competition.  Every mom is told the optimum length her daughter's hair needs to be in order to be properly put up for competition.

This is the same woman who during our first year with fake hair couldn't be bothered to learn how to put the hair piece on her daughter and had me put it in every competition. And, who right before our 2nd year, said she wasn't going to boot camp to learn how to do her daughter's hair because I would be there to do it for her, even though my son wasn't in that particular dance. I told her that I wouldn't since my son doesn't dance on the jazz line. She gave me a dirty look. Oh well.

She didn't show up to boot camp again this year. Too busy.

Her thing this year is that she yells at her daughter for losing her new dance shoes and can't remember to pack up her stuff properly. Well, if you wouldn't do everything for your daughter and make her take responsibility for her stuff, she would learn that she needs to pack it up every night after dance. I have not been responsible for my son's dance stuff (except for packing his competition kit before the first competition) since he started competition. He takes care of his stuff. He makes sure he has dance clothes packed in his backpack before we leave in the morning. If he forgets and I have to go home to get him stuff - he owes me 10 pushups. He knows that if he doesn't do his homework, he doesn't get privileges. If you tell your child if she loses her shoes, she buys the replacements - stick to it! Make her do extra chores to pay for those shoes.

Tonight really pushed my buttons. I walk into the studio and I see mom sitting at one table, daughter sitting at another, still in school clothes, working on homework. Watching her friends dance. Mom told daughter she cannot go into dance until she gets her math homework done, even though it is already late and the daughter has already had a test on the material and failed the test. Mom finally sits next to daughter and is attempting (and failing) to explain the material to her. The poor girl is crying. One of the other moms tries explaining it. The mom doesn't understand the material. The daughter is getting more and more frustrated because she doesn't understand.

I go over and look over the material. Fractions. Not hard stuff. So, I put myself in between mother and daughter and I break the first problem down into little steps. Daughter is catching on. Mom interjects and says "I don't know how that works - how is she? She isn't getting it." Which is just destroying this girl's confidence, even though she is understanding and doing every little piece I give her. She understands it, but doesn't want to speak up to her mother. Her mother believes she can't do it, so she believes she can't do it.  I want to throttle the woman. And all the while, she is going on about how the teacher isn't earning her paycheck because her daughter doesn't understand math and isn't that what she's paying for? How she was never good at math and how she doesn't have the time to do the online tutorials to learn what her daughter is learning in order to help her with her homework.

If you were any sort of mother - you would find a way to help your daughter. Hire a tutor. Talk to the teacher and ask for extra help instead of giving up on your daughter.

Okay, I'm done now. I feel better.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dance Boot Camp

Yesterday was the 2nd annual competition boot camp at my son's dance studio. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how organized I try to keep things running when passing out costumes or receiving costumes, these moms think their child is the most important and needs their costume now. And I'm the one who gets glared out when I tell these moms they need to get in a single file line and that I don't want them reaching into bins. And no matter how many times they are told that a parent needs to sign out a costume, how many of these girls are just dropped off with no parent.

If your child is in dance, it is your responsibility to to be there to make sure you know what is going on! You are going to trust your preteen child who has Justin Bieber and One Direction on the brain to remember what is being told about their costume? Please!

I was ready to throttle the next mom who pushed her way to the front because she is "important to the studio" or her daughter is the "best on the line and needs extra time to make sure her costume is correct". Never mind that when my son lined up to have his costume checked, the studio director didn't even look at him. I'm used to her not caring what my son wears. No, when one of the desk workers who is in charge of the boot camp says that I need to make sure everyone signs out their costume, then, because the line is too long, reaches in and grabs her daughters' costumes without checking them out, then  proceeds to just hand out costumes while I'm trying to organize all the costumes that are being turned in for alterations - that bugs me.

Makes me want to scream! What is the point of having the parents check out the costumes when you are giving preferential treatment to your friends. I didn't even do that for the parents on my son's line.

Thus begins another competition season.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Friday!!!

Okay, so Friday will be over in about 90 minutes. But I am sooooo glad today is Friday. This week has just been awful at work. I'm getting transitioned to a new position at work, and I'm training my replacement, who just doesn't understand how the department works. And, I found out that my immediate boss doesn't know what or how much I do every day.  Wow. Really? I have to train her in next week to do part of my job because my counterpart and my replacement don't have time to do it right now. ERRRRGGGHHHH! I don't know when I'm moving to my new desk in the other office. I'm sure I'm not even half trained in my new job, yet I'm expected to take over one of our biggest accounts. Really? Really?

It is stressful to say the least. I am so happy the weekend is here. I unwound with a couple glasses of wine and some fast food therapy. I'll pay for it, but I'm hoping this weekend I can get some calories burned so it won't make that big of a difference. Finished a hat and a ruffle scarf tonight - going to take pictures and list this weekend.

I realize that this spring/summer, I'm going to have to hit the garage sales and look for mannequin parts or a dressmaker's form. That way I can take better pictures. And I need to invest in some more poster board so I can have a better "light box". And a tripod. Definitely need a tripod. So, every penny I make off the shops will go in a jar. That jar will be my yarn expense account and hopefully my savings account  to buy the needed things. I suck at SEO, but maybe I can get better at taking pictures.

And I think this weekend I will rhinestone a pair of my son's jeans for this year's dance competition season.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I am never more happy than when I'm creating. I love the feel of yarns through my fingers. The smooth metal of a crochet hook or knitting needle. I love new patterns. Every night I'm not working on creating, I feel like I'm wasting time. This is my work ethic. The same as during my day job. If I'm not working, for whatever reason, I feel like I'm being lazy. I need to have work.

I realize that in having an online shop, I need to continuously working on my tags and descriptions in order to keep them fresh and new. But every time I'm working on my shop, I'm not creating something new and beautiful for the world to see. Okay, maybe they are only beautiful to me, but I am proud of every one of my creations. Yes, most are patterns that I've downloaded. I'm not really a pattern writer. Just yet. Soon. I hope.

Just like in my work life, I need a clone. One of me will be creating. The other will be working on the shop or the blog or the social media networks.  I know I need to get better with the tagging and keywords. It takes time and patience, neither of which I have. I admit this.

This weekend, I hope to list my new ruffle scarves and crochet hats. I have more ideas than time to make them.

Keep creating, whatever medium you use.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bigger is Better?

I'm a little disturbed by a recent AT&T commercial. It is one featuring a grown man in a focus group of young children. Faster is better, bigger is better, doing two things at once is better. These themes disturb me because they involve children. In one of the commercials, the children are saying that a bigger treehouse is better because if you have a small one, you can't have a big screen tv. Do we really want our children to be consumed with the idea that bigger is better? Faster is better?

This is what is wrong with children these days. They want the latest and greatest electronic toys for Christmas and birthdays - not caring about the costs to their parents. My son has an iPod - not something I would want him to have at this age. He's only 10. But his father bought it for him and has hinted on more than one occasion that he would buy our son an iPad. Which is completely unnecessary at his age. I've told my son that he can save for an iPad if he really wants one - so that he knows the value of something he wants.

Maybe I raise my son the same way I was raised. He doesn't have a lot of video games and I don't go all out for Christmas for him. Yes, he is spoiled, but not to the extent some of these kids. He got a new Wii game (Just Dance 4), a custom made towel, a handmade Chewy doll, and a Lego set. He also got clothes and movies,  of course.

But he knows bigger isn't necessary. If you have something that works - use it. When it breaks or is no longer functional - then buy something better. For example - I kept my Ford Escape for years. I paid it off then kept it longer until I started to need to replace parts. It was no longer functioning as it should. With my commute, the gas mileage I was getting from my Escape was no longer outweighing the money I was saving from having paid it off.

Just my two cents.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thoughts on not being normal - medically speaking

I have accepted the fact that my body is not medically normal. When I was a child, I had the chicken pox 3 times. As a result, I am susceptible to getting shingles as an adult, which is potentially fatal. My son is not allowed to catch the chicken pox, which is why he has had the vaccine and the booster. And why I am vigilant in making sure my son is not near anyone who is contagious or in contact with someone who has chicken pox.

Now, I am not a hypochondriac by any means. People have thought that about me because of my insistence that there was something wrong with me for years with the joint and muscle pain. I was right - I have fibromyalgia.

I've seen the commercials about the shingle vaccine and often wonder if I should get it. I don't think I will for the fact that whenever I get the flu vaccine, I get sick. Now, the CDC says you cannot get sick from the vaccine. I disagree, which is why I don't get the flu shot. And I don't get the flu (knock on wood). So, if I get sick because of some weird immune system, I'm not taking the chance I will get shingles from this vaccine.

So, I don't get the flu shot. People at work say I'm irresponsible. But you know, I'm one of the few people who will stay home if I am feeling sick. I choose not to infect my co-workers. If only they would give me the same courtesy. I don't know how many times I have caught a cold from one of my co-workers. Stupid people.

Ah well.


Monday, January 14, 2013

The consequences of getting old

Some days, I really hate my body. Not just the general shape of it. I admit it. I'm fat. I need to lose weight. But that's not why I'm upset tonight.

I have fibromyalgia. Team that with bad hips and bad knees from the Army, and you have a recipe for pain that comes at least once a week. Take today for example. I had worked out twice this weekend. I was feeling good. I had planned on going back on the treadmill today after work, hopefully before supper. That didn't happen. At about lunchtime today, my left knee started aching and by the time I went home, was so sore I could barely put any weight on it. Stupid me, I had left my Aleve and Advil bottle at home. By the time I got home, the pain was shooting down my leg into my ankle and through my toes.  There was no way I was going to work out tonight. So I didn't.  I can only hope that tomorrow my body will be less inclined to fight me when I tell it that we need to work out.

Now, I don't do a lot. I walk on the treadmill at a good pace. Sometimes I get on the bike for 30 minutes or so until my butt falls asleep. I don't lift weights, don't go crazy with the elliptical. I don't go nuts because I know my body and its limitations. 2 days in a row of working out is not my limitation. I know I can do better and I know that later this week, I'm not going to have a chance to work out because of a booster club meeting.

I don't take medication for the fibromyalgia because my quality of life is pretty good right now. I can go to work and to my son's dance classes. I know when my body needs a rest. Maybe in the future, this disease will become bad enough that I will need medication to function. I was almost to that point when I was in the Army. My pain was so bad that I went to work, then I came home and went to bed. All I wanted to do was sleep. But that's not my life today and I really hope it is not my life in the future.

So, here's hoping that tomorrow I can bend my knee again and I will be able to go on the treadmill or bike and get some resemblance of exercise in this week.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Changing the website

I decided to get rid of the Weebly account. I just don't have the time to devote to having a separate e-store website. So, from now on, when you go to http://www.jenstangledthreads.com, you will be directed to the blog. I will have links to my Etsy and HandmadeArtists websites, as well as Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. Whew! That's a lot of websites to keep track of. But, one less to keep track of with getting rid of the Weebly site.

So, that means that all my pictures of my completed projects will be on the blog. Soon. I will also copy all my listings from the Etsy shop to the Handmade Artists shop. Not to mention I will have to save pictures of all my projects on my "tablet", so I will have a portable portfolio when I start approaching brick and mortar shops. So much to do, so little time. EEP! If I could afford an assistant, I would get one. Seriously. I do have a day off coming soon from the office job. MLK day would be a good day to spend working on the shop. Depends on how much I get done this week at work.

I am excited for this new year and I hope my sales increase from last year. I hope to have new products for your enjoyment and some new color combinations for Flip-Furs. I hear emerald green is the color of choice this year. Might have to go yarn shopping again.

My beloved Packers lost last night to the 49ers. So, I will predict that the 49ers take it all. In the past few years, the team who has knocked out the Vikings in the playoffs (when they make it) or the Packers, have gone on to win the Superbowl. The Saints won the year that they played the Vikings in the NFC Championship game. The Giants won last year when they knocked out the Packers in the 1st round. I predict the 49ers will win.

Have a great rest of your weekend. I'm going to have some lunch and get working on my son's scarf. Need to finish that before winter ends.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Memory of Light

It is no secret I am a geek. I revel in this fact. I love my books. They are friends who have seen me through depression, boredom and my sudden, infrequent bouts into exercise. I have seen 2 series end now in my reading career, both of which I started well into the middle of the series.

One was Harry Potter. I remember reading the first book right when the first movie came out. It was Thanksgiving and I was stationed in Alaska. I read the entire first book before we went to see the movie. I watched this series end and was a little mournful, as it would be one less series to look forward to.

The Wheel of Time series was introduced to me by an ex-boyfriend. I was told to get through the first 100 pages, then I would be hooked. It was true. I struggled through the first 100 pages but then I was hooked on the series. The Wheel of Time outlived its creator, Robert Jordan. Jordan spun a story of good vs. evil with twists and turns. Jordan died before the series was complete, causing his readers to worry the story would never be completed. His wife, Harriet, selected fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson to complete the series from notes left by Jordan. I admit, I was a little nervous with this, as I had never heard of Sanderson. But he did the series justice.

The end of this series left me satisfied. It was like a good meal, one you could revisit over and over again whenever you wanted. Usually, I do a complete read-through before the new book comes out. I didn't get a chance to finish my read-through this time (I'm only on book 5), but I intend to finish, adding this 14th book to the mix.

Spoilers to follow - just to warn you.

I was sad to see so many deaths in this book. Not minor characters, but major ones who shaped the book. Nearly all of the Forsaken died, and the two who didn't deserve their fates. Their ends were justified, if not foreshadowed in the series.

This book centered on the Last Battle between Rand al'Thor and the Dark One. Al'Thor was the Dragon Reborn, a man fated to fight the Dark One and die. Which technically did happen. The technical part I will leave to the reader.

The Last Battle draws in all the characters from the series. The battle is raged on four fronts and the effects are devastating. Eventually, three of the fronts are pulled together into one final battle.

The identity of the last Forsaken, Demandred, has been the topic of discussion on many discussion forums for years. The revelation of his identity was the only sore spot for me in the entire series. It was anti-climatic, almost stupid. His alter-ego wasn't even on scene.

For the most part, I did enjoy the series. I recommend it to any fantasy reader. I warn you, the books are thick and sometimes a little slow, but the twists and turns will keep you guessing until the end. The first book is The Eye of the World. Get through the first 100 pages and you will be hooked. There are a lot of characters to remember and keep track of. If you enjoy George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, aka The Game of Thrones series, you will enjoy this series.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How's your year going?

How's your year going so far? Mine, not so good. I haven't stuck to 1 resolution. Haven't been exercising. Haven't been blogging every day. Really don't have an excuse for it, other than I'm lazy and I'd rather be knitting or crocheting than exercising.

Finished a scarf this week. What do you think?

Keynote Knit Scarf - Stays in Place - Child's Scarf

Working on a new scarf for my son now. I just have project after project. After my  hands get tired, I work online. I have a bunch of listings I need to renew and transfer over to HandmadeArtists. I need to get ready for the online craft show I've signed up for next month. I need to scan my patterns in and save to my Nook/Tablet. I have project after project I need to get done. No rest for the wicked, I guess.

Here's hoping for a better week. My new book will hopefully be here tomorrow, so I will spend the weekend unwinding and reading it. Then starting fresh again on Monday.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blonde Moment

Have you ever had one of those moments as a crafter when you buy the wrong material? I didn't look at the weight on a skein of yarn I bought until tonight and saw that I had purchase the Caron Simply Soft Light. I never buy Light. I didn't know they had Light! So I guess I will have to buy another skein or exchange it. *sigh* Might as well keep it. I'll figure out something. Maybe I'll use it for the tops of the Flip Furs.

Watching Dance Moms as I work on this order. Once again, I'm surprised at these moms who put their children through this. I would never put my son in a dance studio with an abusive dance teacher. He gets upset if one of his teachers makes him do a part over and over and over again. Sure, he probably won't make it as a professional dancer, but that's not what he wants to do.  And these moms are just evil!  Evil dance moms!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your holidays were wonderful and blessed with memories shared by friends and families. Last night I spent the evening with my two girlfriends and their kids. I made my mom's special pork chops and spaetzle, a wonderful German noodle that is messy to make and clean up, but totally worth it.

I love cooking for people who appreciate it. My brothers don't appreciate my cooking because, let's face it, they are much better cooks than I am. I never claim to be a great chef. In fact, I often say I don't cook, to which my girlfriends lovingly say I'm one of the best cooks they've known. And then tell me to shut up. I have a handful of recipes that I can make well.

I finished almost all of my Christmas presents. I have 1 scarf left to finish. I learned how to knit! I'm making a Dr. Who inspired scarf. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of all the gifts I made this year. Hopefully I will get appreciation pictures that I will post.

So, with the new year, there has to be resolutions. So, here is my list:

1. I will not start new projects until I have finished the ones I have already started. Unless, of course, I get an order.
2.  I will blog at least every other day.  I will try for every day, but seeing as how I usually have working lunches at work now, I'll have to wait until I get home.
3. Every 10 pounds I lose, I will buy a new pattern. Or a new book. Of course, that means I will only be able to buy 9 books or patterns. Yes, I'm trying to lose 90 pounds. With that, I will be going on a diet and trying to exercise every day. I will set smaller goals, of course. Working out every day for a week will earn a new reward (possibly 2). Maybe a new skein of yarn.
4. I'm going to work on the website. New features will include shipping options. I'm also expanding to http://handmadeartists.com, so I will have 4 websites you can buy from.

I think that's good enough for now. I will be hacking my Nook Color to make it into a tablet so I can put all my crochet patterns and recipes in 1 spot. No more carrying around books and pencils.

Well, that's all I have tonight. Need to get back to my knitting. Back to the schedule tomorrow.