Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ready to Roll

I consider baking an arts and craft activity at my house....sort of a Go-To when the TV's been on too long. My little guy and I whipped these up yesterday. They are the greatest sugar cookies, mostly because they are ready to roll out right after they are refrigeration. And, they are incredibly consistent and easy to make. The taste is pretty good, and as long as you are junking them up with lots of sugar and icing, they're great.

Let's face it, when it comes to kid's food, it's more about how it looks...bright neon colors are the best. The kids love to cut them out with the cookie cutters and decorate them. I make them for every occasion...did I mention how easy they are??

Easy Sugar Cookies

1c. butter Consistency is the Key..leave it on the counter for a few hours
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 tsp. baking powder
3 c. flour

Preheat oven to 400. in large bowl, cream butter & sugar. then add vanilla and egg. Mix flour and baking powder separately then combine with butter mixture. On floured surface, roll out. If the dough is too stiff, you can add a little water, a drop at a time, until the consistency is right. Bake 6-7 min.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Lost Art

My daughter has been missing some of her old friends lately. So, she talked me into a sleep over with a few of her 10 yr. old friends. Let's just say I'm awful without sleep...What was I thinking?

Well, the big squeal-fest is happening this weekend. We've started to put together a few things for her guests. I thought I'd be nice to give them each an address book and a custom made set of notecards, so that they can keep in touch.

I remember having a pen pal when I was a kid. I was always so excited to get a letter in the mail, addressed to me. It made me feel so important. Do you think my kids will feel the same way? OK, maybe I need to settle for a small portion of the excitement that I once felt.

Custom Stamps

Here's the latest...Custom Photo Stamps. I have some beautiful pictures of my Joy Beadworks ring, and I just uploaded and and ordered. So easy. A great marketing tool, and stamps are something you're buying anyway. I'm sure my customers will notice when they receive their packages. If you'd like to receive a package with a custom stamp, you can order something at: !

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just Spreading the Love

A good friend of mine recently supported me in my business by purchasing one of my new beads. These beads have sterling silver collars and interchange with her Joy Beadworks ring. The green is a beautiful lime.
The green that she paid me with had this message on it: " Whitney Rolle, I love you, if this reaches you, you know who I am." I just thought I'd speed the process over the world wide web.. maybe Whitney occasionally googles her name??? Like I said, I'm just spreading the love...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What a Feeling: To Walk into a Room and Be Immediately Understood

My crafty sisters and I are at it again....This time with 2 versions of pumpkins. We made some gold and copper leaf versions for those who wanted to give it a try, and another friend had us making easy fabric pumpkins .
I think they are beautiful all piled and smooshed. The perfect autumn colors, and just the right amount of sheen, like the angled bright autumn sun.
I sewed together a bunch of my sewing scraps into a sort of quilt to make my pumpkin. I am very happy it turned out so well....Sewing the scraps together took a lot more time than I expected....let's just say I gained a new appreciation for quilters.

We all enjoyed the brief 2 hours of banter, latest news, stories & updates on sagas. Sure, the craft is fun, but I think the best part is that you "come as you are" in all states, physically and emotionally. Judgment is left at the door, and you walk into one cozy and strong support system.

The "system" makes some pretty darn good carrot cake and lemon cupcakes, too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cleaning Day

First, let me say that I was inspired by my friend the treat girl, who blogged about window washing yesterday.

It's a sad state of affairs when cleaning day starts with cleaning the cleaning bucket! What is all of the stuff? I am the marketing professionals dream when it comes to cleaning, if you say it works, then I'll try it. Well, No more, I'm convinced that very few cleaning products actually do anything, so I pared down my bucket to just the basics: windex, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach scrub, and my good friend, Mr. Clean.

I have many Cleaning Day Routines/Tips/Tricks which I will share here:

1.) Pick a day of the week to clean and commit to it. Do it all in one day. Otherwise, You'll do a bathroom here and there, and it never really looks like you did anything. Plus, it's never done if you clean here and there. My rule is, it gets done once a week. Then, I'm done. The cleaning supplies will not be brought out again this week unless there is an oatmeal spill on the couch or a pitcher of lemonade dumped on the floor.

2.) Wear something that you really don't care about. Even if you are ever so careful, a small spot of bleach will ruin a perfectly good t-shirt.

3.) If you are really strapped for time and can only do a very small portion of the chore, Start in the bathroom...the one guests would use. This is the only place that a guest will be alone in your house, with time to scrutinize the dusty baseboards.

4.) I once read a book (yes, about cleaning) that pleaded: Don't get it wet unless you have to. Think about it: Water acts as cement when mixed with dust and seeps into the seams of your baseboards. Dry cleans first and always, this means: sweeping and dusting.

5.) Gather all of the miscellaneous clutter and re-distribute. I always pile the stuff that's going upstairs on the steps, so that when I go upstairs to clean, I just have to grab it all and distribute it upstairs.
Here's a picture of today's pile-O-Stuff.

6.) Make sure that you dust and clean the TV and the cabinet/surface that it's on. Your husband will not notice that the house is clean...He'll notice that the TV is pristine, and therefore the whole house must be.

7.) The female version of this analogy is: If the window above the kitchen sink is clean, then the whole house must be spotless!

8.) Use cleaning supplies that smell nice. It's a bonus for you, and it smells like you've accomplished something when you walk into a sweet smelling bathroom.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Golden Pumpkin

A friend invited me over for what she thought was an overwhelming craft project..let's just say she's a little craft challenged. It was the easiest thing in the world...

A faux pumpkin, some acrylic paint, some modge podge and some gold leaf (or copper or silver), stick the leaf to the sticky surface...brush off the excess and spray with sealer. Easy as can be. The best part is that you really can't mess it up. If it looks messed up, you have reached perfection...there's the beauty.

I think I bought some expensive gold leaf pears once, too bad I didn't know how easy it was!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hey Bidda Bidda

I love a good farm auction. Here's how it sounds: (on very loud crackly speakers) Hey bidda bidda...who'll give me 20? This is good stuff, Craftsman,2 lots, your choice, who'll give me 20? hummina, hummina,You can make a livin' outa this box boys... start me with ten..ahh,10, now 11, now 12, are you in? now 15, you gotta beat 15, hummina 16,16 last call 16, SOLD to bidder number 47. Do you wantem both for 16? No? Let's sell the other one then....who'll give me ten?
You can people watch at the Mall or at Disney...I'll take the auction anytime. So much flannel it'll make your eyes hurt. The big names in fashion here are Cat, Dickey and Carhardt. These are people who have all lived weathered lives that I'd like to hear about.

If you're going: Terms you need to know, or you'll look like the rookie, and irritate the crowd..and you don't want to irritate this crowd.

By the Hand: They're selling by the handful..whatever they're holding up, you are buying ONE handful.

Choice: For example, if you are bidding on 5 extension cords, the 1st bidder gets choice of which one you can buy one..of your choice...or all at the money that you are bidding up to. So if you get the extension cords for $5, and there are 5 of them, and you want them all, it's $25. If you only want 2, for $10, say so, and they'll sell the rest.

By Lot: It's the whole pile that you're bidding on. So, the 3 extension cords that are left are sold for one money.

Bidding...make sure you have a number. You can get one at the trailer/office. You don't necessarily have to show your number when you're bidding..that seems to be a personal preference. You just have to know it. Bidding isn't a big showy thing either. A hand wag, a head bob is good enough as long as you've made your first bid clear, you're in the running.

It's fun to go and see what things sell for. A box of nuts and bolts goes for $3. If you need one nut in that box, in a pinch, it would save the day. A live trap for $25, a truck, 5K miles, with a custom aluminum bed for $20,000 (a steal if you needed a good truck), chicken feeders for $5, a broadcast seeder for $7. The jumbled array and lackluster presentation never ceases to entertain me.

I often wonder if the seller is happy, why they're selling out. Usually there's a sad reason, like the owner died, or got sick and couldn't run the farm anymore.

The auction itself is always jovial, it's a big meeting place for farmers and those with like minds. I know some that go just for the social aspects, never intending on buying anything, but they get a number anyway...just in case....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, I like Her Already

I am a parent at a NEW school this fall, and I'm still stumbling around trying to get to know the other parents and connect the dots with which kids are theirs.

One of the Moms was gracious enough to invite the Kindergarten parents to her home recently for a little get-together/meet and greet.

She served the most wonderful quiche...("from the French place...he has great food, but he's a little rude"). And an assortment of other great food. I saw the napkins that she used, and I knew INSTANTLY that I liked her.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Hear A Very Distant...Ho, Ho, Ho....

In preparation for the upcoming Holiday Season, I am introducing Joy Beadworks Starter Sets.
These cute tins are wrapped in a sweet holiday ribbon, they have a lift-off lid and contain a set of my best-selling sterling silver leverback earrings as a base, and a pair of Swarovski crystal dangles.

This set serves as an introduction to the Joy Beadworks line of Interchangeable Earrings. I now have 3 different earring "bases"(more info. later) and a whole collection of dangles for you to choose from. Check my Etsy shop for ideas!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Party In The Tee-Pee at Cheeseman's Farm

The absolutely scrumptious cake from Mimi's Bakeshop.
The decorated Tee-Pee at Cheeseman's Farm Betsy,the owner, came out to take pictures for their web site!
Face masks, pre-colored.
I found these at JoAnn's...they are Mr. Potato Head like mix and match pieces. They were perfect to decorate the 15 or so pie pumpkins that were included with our party package.
A finished mask...found at JoAnn's in the dollar bin....VERY FUN.
I am a total sucker for all of these wooden go stand behind it things and stick your face in it while I take your ridiculous picture things.

I am happy to report that the BIG party over the weekend was fabulous. We lucked into some beautiful weather and were able to use the tee-pee at the pumpkin farm. We had a wonderful lunch (thanks to a sandwich ring from Giant Eagle), did several crafts with the kids, went for a private wagon ride to the pumpkin patch, then played in the hay maze. One of the finest days on record in my book.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Living with Over Excited Princesses and a Bear

I have 3 birthdays this week in my family.

Unlike some of my friends, who LOVE to plan parties and put lots of thought and preparation into them, I usually feel overwhelmed. The girls are SO excited about their birthdays...I believe that they think that you are magical somehow for the day. Rose pedals should be thrown at their feet, and the world should sing their praises. When it's just a normal day except for some cake and candles, you are undoubtedly disappointed. The disappointment is my fear. Even though I put lots of effort into making the day fun and somewhat of a surprise, I always feel like I fall short of their expectations.

My husband's birthday is this week too. It takes me a week to figure out why he's so D*** grumpy most years. He absolutely HATES his birthday. So, this next week is filled with emotional high and lows, me in the middle trying to temper it all.

Here's to hoping that I somehow manage enough enthusiasm for the girls, and sprinkle some fairy dust along their path for the day, and bolster the unhappy birthday boy into at least enjoying the cake for the kid's sake!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Something NEW

I'm So EXCITED to introduce a NEW line of beads for my ring! These are all handmade one of a kind glass beads, with a sterling silver collar on either side of the bead. These beads fit perfectly with your Joy Beadworks Ring and interchange in the same way. These beads add a whole new dimension and a whole new look to your collection of Joy Beadworks Beads!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's a conspiracy, I swear.....

I raced in to pre-school Monday....We even remembered the little tyke's backpack! There's a big message board out front that reads: RED day is T*******. (the kids are supposed to wear red, they're learning about colors). At my usual frantic pace, I read "today" as the "T" word.....maybe it just didn't look right, because I re-read, and it actually said "Tomorrow".... a reprieve! So, tomorrow is red day...cement this tiny tidbit into memory.

So, along comes Tuesday...I'm humming along, taking care of the 6 of us in the usual ways, dishes, laundry, getting 3 off to school, lunches, is it library day?, where's my math worksheet? and on and on..... I get my little one one ready for school. I get a text from a friend reminding me that it is red day at pre-school. (I'm EVER SO GRATEFUL for the reminder.) I look over at my little one in his freshly-put-on orange shirt. Red Spider-Man shirt to the rescue!

Here's where the conspiracy comes in: Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe this little "color lesson" is really a PARENTAL QUIZ given by the pre-school teachers to determine PARENTAL COMPETENCY? Maybe if little Johnny's Mom remembers to dress him in red, little Johnny's Mom gets to come in and be a helper for the Halloween party and get to share in the kid's delight of such a fun event ?(Children's delight is the true currency of Motherhood.) If Susie's Mom totally forgot, maybe she just gets to SEND IN the snack? Time will tell....I made a little mental note of those who forgot. We'll see if they are at the Halloween party!