·:*¨Etsy Shoppe¨*:·

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lady Slippers

I wanted to share with you readers a very special flower that can sometimes be found up here in my neck of the woods. While not uncommon, they can easily be overlooked and missed since they like growing in wooded areas, acidic soil, and tend to be near ferns and lower-growth brush which otherwise hides them.

It was by sheer luck this morning when I opened my bedroom window to let the breeze through my room that I spotted the pink little flowers amongst the greens and browns of the outside edges of our garden out front. After I took the meds I need in order to bring down the pain I'm still having in my back and letting that settle me down... I took my camera and wandered out front (and not far from the house at all!) and took some shots:

I always remembered as a little girl, on this property, wandering around through the front and back yards... The side, the little access road, the hills... And finding these little flowers spread throughout. Typically I've only seen them alone, not together in a grouping. This year I found a cluster- and not too far away was another single one! I'll keep looking through the property (as I can) to see if I can find others. Hopefully, the skeeters aren't as bad- they've been swarming worse than the black flies lately!

Keep in mind- these are illegal to pick, and if done so they shrivel and die quickly. (So I've heard- I've never picked them) They also don't transplant well- so wherever they grow- that's where they should stay. Otherwise, they wilt and die.... And we don't want that to happen!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Disco Fever

I've been able, during my more lucid moments, to get crafty... This excites me to no end! I've managed to find some pretty glass beads- though not exactly what I was looking for, they'll do for now. I was able to get some pictures of them yesterday, but I haven't unloaded or edited them yet. I'm still very unmotivated- all due to the meds the doctors have me on.

I found some glass beads, albeit not the ones I was looking for that I so fell in love with- and they have large holes- as to fit Pandora/Troll/Biagi bracelets. But, I thought, I'll figure something out. I'll make it work. And... I think I did. You shall see evidence tomorrow of such. I managed to come up with a pink and gray necklace and earring set, and two rose glass necklace and earring sets with different colors- one has clear rondelles, the other has a pretty iridescent light green. Like I said... I can't wait to show you how they came out... But the thought of removing myself from underneath this warm nest I've huddled into is not ideal, and it ain't gonna happen!!! Why would I need to move? My camera batteries are in the other room, not in my camera!

I did, however, post a new pair of earrings I came up with the other day.
Let's just say... I got disco fever! These little balls just remind me of a disco ball- albeit they're rainbow, have cut portions to see the amber glass inside.... And are just plain fun!

If I could get up and do a little dance, I totally would!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


The Underwater Ocean Earrings- one more set available once I get more supplies!

I've decided over the past few days, I must start using glass in my jewelry.

Now, I admit it.... I've been sort of a snob. Nothing but the best. And to me, that's Swarovski. It glitters, it sparkles, it's delightful in so many different designs. There are so many different crystal styles, shapes and components to use- it's mind boggling. They're sexy, they're sweet, they're bold... Anything you want them to be- you can design it.

A lot of jewelry designers incorporate these crystals into their own designs- so often it's difficult to come up with designs that are completely original. I don't steal designs from other artists- but I do like to borrow concepts and incorporate them in to mine. And I hope that some people that come across my own designs do the same... Just don't steal please!

As much as the crystal sparkles and shines- I'm now discovering the beauty of glass. Namely, lampworked beads. I never, ever, ever dreamed that they could be so absolutely stunning! I mean- I'm used to going to (and I hate it) Wal Mart and remembering seeing the strands of "beads" they sell there. Cheap metal, cheap cut glass, just... Nothing you can really turn into quality jewelry. Michael's Crafts is similar- albeit a bit better quality- and I actually do find some fun beads in there from time to time. The problem still remains is that the beads aren't always uniform... And they still look cheap. But not *always*. Cheap jewelry drives me batty. It's great for a costume party or dress up with little girls- but the look I'm aiming for here is classy. Refined. Unique.

My inspiration as of recently has been due to Pandora bracelets. There are so many ladies that now have the bracelets- myself included- and the beads that go along with them. My favorites, of course, are the array of glass rounds that are floated on the bracelets. But- that's not quite my angle. I don't want to use wide beads- as stringing them on headpins will make them slide right off. My solution?

Fellow Etsians!

So many different beads... Whirls, swirls, rainbows and flowers. Iridescent colors, dichroic glass, stripes, patterns... The combination of different looks to be created are limitless!

Here are just a few of the beads I'm peeking at at the moment...

This beautiful bead below is from Red Side Designs shop. I love flowers encased in glass beads- it's such an understated simplicity that it's hard to resist. I'd turn this one in to a beautiful pendant on a necklace.

I love whirls and swirls. Blue is a favorite color of mine- I have blue eyes, and anything that sets them off I'm a fan of. Typically- if I wear blue toned jewelry- it does the trick! These beautiful borosilicate beads are made in BBGlassArt's shop.

And of course, I've gotta go fun and funky. I fell in LOVE with these unique beads! They remind me of an anemone- just not in the ocean! These would become a necklace/earring set. Perhaps even one as a charm on a bracelet- why limit imagination!? These are from Sock Monkey's shop!

Last, but certainly not least, a wonderful shop was suggested to me on my Facebook page by a fellow artist. The shop is Radiant Mind, and there are SO many beads there that I want to buy right up immediately...... I have to restrain myself! Look at this gorgeous set and the colors used... I can't wait to get started... And to show off some of my new works!

So there it is... I'm strictly supporting fellow Etsians for my lampwork glass beading needs!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rose Earrings and Little Sister's Prom Night

So this weekend ended up going pretty well... I'm surprised I've managed to write so frequently! But, I guess that goes along with the territory that I'm supposed to stay off my feet and quiet... And that means computer (and cat!) on my lap!

I've managed to help my Mom clean out some of her craft room over this past week, and in doing so I found some really pretty glass beads she had started making in to earrings. She wanted me to show her how to wrap them really well- so I did, then took some snapshots. I think because of this venture, I'll have to expand more into the decorative glass beads I've seen around.... Don't get me wrong, I love Swarovski Crystals and how they look... But these pretty glass baubles have SO much potential too! After I finished these little earrings off, I hung them upon a pair of custom earwires I had made and decided to take some pictures.

These were really beautiful since the pinks were a few different tones, and they swirled from dark to light. If you look carefully through the bead- you'll also see some delicate whirls and swirls of very fine gold "dust" in there. The leaves swirl... And the entire bead just looks like it's perpetually in motion.

In a silly reverie of my own, I could totally imagine a beautiful woman down at the Kentucky Derby, in an beautiful wide-brimmed hat, dressed in white... And having the finishing touch not be her shoes- but these earrings! Hahaha, there you go! My silly little reverie!

Imagine to my delight, nearly the instant I posted them up for sale- they sold! A friend of mine is gifting them to a very special lady for a very special occasion- and that's all I'll say about that. I sure hope she enjoys them- and I hope she might even send in a fan photo of her modeling them for me.

So now for the second exciting part of my post.
Last night was my little "big" sister's prom. I know, I had mine years and years ago... I remember it like it was yesterday- and I have to say... I haven't had this much fun doing makeup or helping my sister out in a long time.

The theme was Hollywood, and she wanted her makeup done dramatic- but not over the top. Classic. I had just the thing. The only thing I'm kicking myself about is that I didn't get a close up of her face when I had finished- the colors were amazing! The only makeup I now use myself (except for foundation) is Orglamix. I used Champagne Toast all over her eye. This was followed by a shimmery gray called Sesame was the base for her lid. Smudged out a bit, it was just enough. What she didn't realize was that I wasn't done... Not yet! I had her apply black eyeliner in a very thin line on her upper lid, then went over the black with an amazing eyeshadow called Fog. (Its a shimmery purple/blue/iridescent!) It darkened the top, I swiped along the bottom to line and bring her eyes out a bit more... And it was gorgeous! Swiped Quartz over her brow bone. Foundation went on, finishing powder, and a touch of bronzer on her cheeks just to make them sparkle a bit. Mascara, lipstick- and BOOM! My sister looked like a princess!

I hardly had time to get ready on my own... But I managed as best as I could- going slower than a snail of course. I just wished I had smiled more- I was still in quite a bit of pain, but could have sworn that I had a better face on. I suppose it happens- I'll tell you though, I had a great time with my baby sister!

We also had to get the great shot of my sister an my parents- and I have to say, even though it's a teeny bit blurry- it's still a great shot. Mom was almost crying- and Dad was so cute! It's hard to catch him in a smile... But one of these days I will!!

It was so nice to see so many of the girls that chose really pretty, nice dresses to wear. There were a few there that chose- ahem- not so classy dresses- but I suppose you get those anywhere, right?! For the most part... The friends that my sister had surrounded by looked wonderful! It's also such a big difference when you're used to seeing kids in every day wear... Then there's a special occasion, they get dressed up... And WOW! They're beautiful!

And of course... The night went off as a hit. She had a wonderful time with her friends, and more pictures I'm sure will show up from random other students that attended!

We told them to show a little leg... And I think this one came out just absolutely adorable! Hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I got another blog award!!

So I finally read up on my blog comments tonight.
Not to say that I've been ignoring anyone... I just, well, haven't been in the right frame of mind recently. Imagine to my surprise, though, that a very talented artist who I avidly follow concerning her amazing beadwork nominated me for the "Kreativ Blogger" award!

Let me take a moment to introduce you to an amazing beader also known as Krafty Max. It's a total understatement to say that her work is incredible- from the design process, to choosing the colors, weaving the beads, and having the finished product... I'm telling you, I hardly have that patience! But it'll suffice for me to sit back and watch this amazing woman create her crafty goodies! I think by and far her favorite piece she's made that I've had my eye on is the framed Mermaid. Click the picture below to be taken to the listing- you can see other pictures, and really admire this beautiful piece of artwork!

Please also stop by and fan her Facebook Page!!

Ok know rules for me passing this on.
I have to list 7 things about myself that I haven't previously revealed. And tonight, I will admit, it'll probably be a tough one considering I'm a wee bit out of it. *grins*. At least the pain is subsiding- right?! So here goes... And if I happen to repeat something anyone remembers me saying and can quote me... Well, I'll owe you each TWO more random things. How bout that for a challenge?!

Here it goes...

1. I'm collecting succulents for a garden. I've all of a sudden fallen in love with these easy to take care plants, and while I don't have specific names for each of them- I plan to have pictures taken this week because they're just too pretty to not share. Plus, they grow fast. Which means I can share with my friends and family! My favorite ones especially are the multi-colored ones... For instance, Aeonium. It fades from a pretty yellow-gold middle flower, to pink tipped edges, to green under leaves. Very delicate! The one below is just a random, beautiful collection someone online has... I think I'll have to find the ones used, and make my own... :)

2. I've been known to scrapbook in some additional time I have- but being away from home, I didn't bring my supplies with me. Since I'm indefinitely home now, recuperating and recovering from this back injury- I think I can manage to sit around, cut some paper, print some pictures, and make an album or two worthy of passing down to my family, sisters, parents, boyfriend, etc.

3. I'm a compulsive cleaner. This is not a good thing when I'm told to stay quiet (as my doctor has- but I'm doing well and listening) I'm not obsessive about it... I just like things in their place. But I also do like to change things around a bit too- so it all depends on my mood, and how my outlook for the day is.

4. I love the smell of Johnson's & Johnson's Baby Lotion. The original, in the big pink pump bottle. It's so soft and silky... And the only thing it smells better on than myself is a little baby. Babies just smell so darn good anyways- provided they've got a clean diaper and no spit-up anywhere in sight. But then again- they can't help it.

5. When I can get back to it, I just want to drive. I like to get in my vehicle, put the windows down, blast any kind of music, and just follow the road where it takes me. Sometimes to the city, sometimes to the forest- it can be anywhere. Solace is my friend. And taking a friend along for an impromptu road trip is always a plus- and so much fun!

6. I miss camping. I think this year it's going to have to be accompanied by an air-mattress (so I don't totally kill my back once I hopefully get it healed), but a few brews, good friends, and a beautiful night under a black sky with bright stars is nearly perfection for me. Plus- there's something just so nice about cuddling next to your sweetie inside a sleeping bag. And yes- I do mean just cuddling and falling asleep together. Some of the wild animal noises creep me out though! LOL

7. I'm the oldest of four children. I am the shortest, and am the jewelry creator in the family (Just wait till you see some of Mom's things though- I'm working on getting her on it!). My brother is the tallest, and in the Air Force- stationed in Vegas. I'm jealous! My middle sister has the biggest attitude, but is the first person to help you out if you need it. She's quite an artist, and is currently a horticulturist. My youngest sister has her prom tomorrow night, and is graduating high school in just a few short weeks. This is depressing- because 11 years ago I did the same thing! LOL My youngest sister is the tallest of us girls, and absolutely beautiful. Here we are below... In order, of course!

Ok... Now that I've gone and done a ton of explaining- instead of a simple "Here's 7 things...", I'll get to the good part! I get to name 7 blogs I follow because that's how this award is passed along.

I hope you visit each blog and end up following them as well! They sure make for some interesting reads!!

1. First up is a delightful, colorful, and unique shop called Burnt Mill Candles and Soaps

Who can resist the name of a soap called "Crackling Firewood for Men"... !

2. Pick number two in my list is Number two is L-G Designs, Gems Crystals & Wire

Such intricate and detailed work- who wouldn't love a piece like this of their own?!

3. Up on deck for third is a great little shop I happened to come across-
mostly because of the name! Come on by and check out My House Party!!

Looks like a good time in there.... Who brought the wine and cheese!?
I can't help it... I love plants...!

4. Number four is one of my favorites, across the board.
She's been an awesome influence both in Blogland and Facebook,
and is absolutely giving 1000% dedication to helping other artists succeed
in addition to her own business. Without any further ado- The Handmade Gift-Guide!

Relax... I think I need a basket of these right about now!!!

5. One sweet shop that caught my eye was The Little Fox

So sweet, romantic... And yet, totally not over the top.
True beauty and talent!

6. For number six, another fellow jewelry maker has also caught my eye-
and I'd like to you to take a look at Monique Jewelry Designs

So sweet, simple... And just absolutely darling!

7. And last, but certainly not least... An irresistible pick I couldn't pass

Who doesn't love finger puppets?
Or ones with such adorable faces?
I couldn't resist!

I hope you enjoy these shops and blogs as much as I do!
And don't forgot- you can fan them on facebook as well!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Long Update- Grab a Cup of Joe!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've been holding up ok.
And so is kitteh, as evidenced in her new hangout spot within my houseplants!

Since early March, I've been plagued with a back spasm that just hasn't let up or given me any relief. After seeing my PCP, and her subsequently telling me that she wouldn't give me the combination of medications I know would have cleared this up... I had to resort to making an appointment with a neurosurgeon.

Needless to say, don't trust the fancy name unless you know someone that has seen them before and can provide an excellent reference. It took me nearly three weeks to get in to see this doctor, and after being poked, prodded and made to do move in ways that I had already explained were extremely painful for me. His recommendation for treatment was "Heat/Ice Therapy, Chiropracter, Physical Therapy, Narcotics, Tens (electrical stimulation and ultrasound therapy), Accupuncture, Giving Up, Some Fine Surgery".

Giving up?
Seriously? A doctor, a neurosurgeon, told me to give up.
I'm certain some of my readers here have dealt with pain... And some even with chronic pain... Would you for even a moment think of giving up????

I left his office empty handed. No medications, not even prednisone which in my case would have been used as an anti-inflammatory which was badly needed. I made sure to insist I had an order for an x-ray, and MRI. Symptoms thus far had been the back spasm, on my spinal column, radiating out toward just above my right hip. From here, the pain radiated upwards a little bit, but the majority was the shooting pain, numbness, and pins and needles that would go right through down my hip, bum and all the way down my leg and out my toes. Random times I'd fall. Just be standing, then boom- on the ground. Go to stand up from a sitting position, boom, right back down on the floor. Kneel down, attempt to bend, it could be anything. Boom... Falling on my knees, bum, side.... It didn't matter.

I had the X-ray done. Then the MRI. Refused to go back to the "neurosurgeon".

The second doctors I got ahold of, the "Orthopedic Specialists" who took me another two weeks to get in to see them told me they didn't see anything wrong with my back. Not from the MRI, not from anything. He sat there, asked me questions, checked my reflexes in my knee.... And that was the end of my appointment. The audacity of this doctor that got me the most was that he said this was all in my head. And obviously I have a nerve problem.
I thought this was a little silly- so I questioned him... If there's no problem, why are you saying there's something wrong with the nerve in my right leg. Particularly the sciatica. His response was to promptly get up and leave.

His assistant was kind enough to come back with a prescription to refer me to yet another specialist- to have a nerve test done. I didn't need that- I needed my back fixed. I was only at that point able to broach the subject of taking short term leave from work to get my back issues sorted out, diagnosed correctly, and fixed. The assistant left, then came back and told me it would be $175 for this new doctor to fill out the paperwork. Three pages. Two hundred bucks. I was appalled. I questioned that- cried in the office, I was so hurt at this point. In this amount of pain, no medication, driving myself to the limit because things needed to get done and I was the only one I could rely on... I was having a mini-break down.

That doctor popped his head into my waiting room and simply said "I won't fill this out for you. You need to see the neurosurgeon you had initially seen to get this done. Have a nice day."

I broke down. Took my records, didn't give them any further paperwork, and informed them I was not going to be back ever- nor refer their practice to anyone else.

So started the Emergency Backup Plan.
14 days, turned in to 7. I packed up some of my things, made an emergency call to my parents- and said I need you to come pick me up. They drove down to VA to come get me... Packed what I needed, and scooted me back home. Now my doctor up here had all my records before I had seen him- which is what I planned.

A good piece of advice for anyone with back problems- see first an DO- Doctor of Osteopathy. My doctor here has helped me through this since my first two injuries- my car accident in 2007, then falling down the stairs right after Christmas that same year. I've had flare-ups since then- but nothing this severe or long lasting.

Over the last week, he's helped me more than both those other two nuts did in two months. I have medications- muscle relaxants, and a pain reliever. He was appalled that all I've been taking was Excedrin Back & Body for the amount of pain and spasms I was literally hunched over with. My first appointment, he couldn't touch me- I was too bound up. This was when the pain meds and muscle relaxants were called in. I also had a steroidal shot in my rear end that would bring down the inflammation. Waited two days- and had to see him again. Not much relief- which not only was he surprised at, but he could feel in my back as well. He couldn't touch me for fear of hurting me.

So last week, he put me on an oral dose of steroids in addition to the rest of the medications. Today marked the day of the time passed, and I went to see him again. I had fallen twice this past weekend. Once on Saturday on to pavement (of course, the one day I venture out) and this morning, coming down stairs. That wasn't so bad, as I made myself push back and just sort of landed on the stairs sitting down hard. Diagnosis from me? Pain is alleviated to manageable, but the spasm has not let up. He felt as much as well. On the table, he had me relax as best as he could, then moved my right leg around. Excruciating in most positions.

Then he says, there... That's it.

What's it?

He said "You've got a severely torn ligament on the right side of your spinal column. This makes sense- it wouldn't show up on the x-ray or MRI, but I can feel it slipping. Your disc is slid out. This is the reason for the amount of pain you're in."

Me "Oh. Great."

Doctor "Well, you're young... You'll heal... But this will take a while, and you need to stay absolutely quiet. I need to do a procedure on you to help this give you relief- is that ok?"

Me "Yes. Anything, please. I don't want to hurt."

Doctor "On a scale of 1-10, right now where are you?"

Me "Between 9-10."

Doctor "High threshold of pain?"

Me "Yes. Usually why I end up hurt more than I should by the time I get to the doctor."

Doctor "You need to not wait that long from now on, ok?"

Me "Ok."

So.... Today.
Two nerve blocks, with more steroids. Let me tell you.... Having it done wasn't as bad as it seemed it would be. My doctor has magic hands- he really does. Told me there may be a slight chance of bleeding, or infection to the injection site. It would hurt- the medicine going in. It did... But only for a moment. And in that moment... Relief. Pain level went from 9-10 to 7 in 5 minutes. Level 5 in another 5 minutes. Here I sit tonight, and I'm at a level 4. Manageable. Didn't think I would feel this kind of relief for a while, nevermind by having my doctor suggest this as an alternative.

As it stands, I have to go back in another week for a checkup with him. As I'm making progress more slowly than he'd like, and I'm going a little stir-crazy in the process, whatever it takes to get me back to semi-normal would be just fine with me at this point. I'd be quite thankful. If this block lasts for at least the next week, that means he'll be able to help me more and we'll have at least some sort of idea at a treatment plan. However, if things backtrack- it would mean that other options- including surgery- would then have to be discussed. But when that time comes upon me... I shall do so.

As things look, I'll be working sporadically. I'm not used to sitting around and being idle.... But I'm also having some trouble making my jewelry since my hands are still shaking. I think I'll try to make some tomorrow- but we shall see just how well I progress along. I'm also home amongst my scrapbooking stash- which makes me rub my hands together and grin! So many stickers and embellishments... I don't think I'd have room for another shop on Etsy! Perhaps I'll just make them for my friends and family... Who knows.

My sincere apologies for ranting and raving on and on to everyone... But I wanted to let everyone in on what's been going on, and why I haven't had the chance to be online much at all.


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