A Gift for Me

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Today I broke down and ordered a couple of samples of mineral makeup foundation.   I'm trying to wean myself and our family off from commercial product that contain xeno-estrogens and endocrine disruptors.  Molly Bryn has many, many strange difficulties that seem to be related to her hormonal state, which has gotten worse lately.  We definitely need to cut out commercial meats - easier said than done when we don't have our cow or chickens or piggy yet.  Beans, anyone? 

My own levels have been much more manageable for the past couple of years but a recent discussion with Bing from Natural Way in Massena alerted me to the fact that our personal products may pose as great a risk as the food we eat - more in some cases as cosmetics are not regulated in the same way as food. 

Skin Deep manages a website which includes a tool that will allow you to see the risks associated with the cosmetic an personal care products you use.  I use the palest shade of foundation I can find that does not dry my skin.  Sadly - it has a rating of 7 in terms of toxicity because it is so pale.  It looks like something I should avoid.  As do our soap, our shampoo, our conditioner and my favorite lipstick.

So today, I ordered a couple of sample colors of foundation from Pink Quartz minerals.  I'll let you know how it works for me.  One thing that is really nice about these mineral makeups is the sheer number of color choices.  Look at all those foundation tones!   Have you looked at the eye shadow possibilities?  Pink Quartz has tons!  At the drugstore, we are held hostage to the whims of the Runway when it comes to color. 

Molly and I would like one of each, please!

You can read about our color plans for the Beorningstead here!

More Holiday Handmade Wishlist items

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O.K.  so this is a stretch for our budget.  More than a stretch.  I've owned cars that cost less than this - but it is worth every penny.  I would LOVE to someday own something beautiful from Dryad Studio and this would look so wonderful in my new house.

More Handmade Rings

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Another shop that Molly and I have been looking at for alternative Class Rings is Billy Reb's Manufacturing.

Billy specializes in Medieval, Gothic, Skull and Biker Jewelry.  He has an ArtFire shop and a website.  It looks like his website contains items that he produces regularly and the ArtFire shop is for more one of a kind pieces. 

Some of you may find it strange that Molly and I have been considering asking a guy who makes biker jewelry to make a graduation ring for her.

You know, I do have a faux biker jacket.  I bought it because

- I was the last one in the family without a pleather jacket
- it was the right length and fit nicely
- it was on sale
- and it says "Somewhere inside this soft, middle aged LDS woman with a braid and progressive bi-focals is a rebellious soul who won't listen to any of your conformist crap."

(did you find the irony?)

Anyway - we liked the look of several of his Medieval rings including the one with the Orange CZ and the Green Crusader ring and we suspect that with his background, he might be a good bet to custom make a graduation ring for Molly Bryn.  He's got very strong design skills, decades of experience and his jewelry is bold and very well crafted.

And I sure wouldn't mind finding something like this in my stocking:

ArtFire Contest! Buy Handmae This Holiday Season!

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ArtFire is running a Promote Handmade contest this season.  Anyone can enter and you can read about the contest here.

The requirements for entry are to find a handmade item you like, blog or tweet about it and post your link on ArtFire's Handmade Gifts Facebook page.  I would love to win one of their cool prizes but more importantly, I want to help other people find wonderful hand crafted items to give as gifts or buy for themselves.  I love real-live-artists and I want to contribute to their success.  Today, I'm featuring some beautiful rings by LinneaSilver.  Here's why:

Molly Bryn came home a few weeks ago with a flier from Jostens and spent several days on the Josten's website designing a ring.  A $350.00 ring, which is about as inexpensive as they come unless you want to but their ugly-butt cheapo $75.00 ring that no teenager really wants to wear.  It was perfectly clear that no one in this household had that sort of cash for a ring this year so she was content to wait and start saving her pennies for next year but then . . . I spent a night laying awake feeling sick about ever spending that sort of $$ at Jostens.

You've heard my School Photo rant?

Same thing with class rings.  Let me tell you a story.

Back in the day you waited until mid year Junior year to get your class ring and they arrived just before the end of the school year - you know - just to be reasonably sure that parents who shelled out big bucks for a class ring would have a graduation to attend in the same year listed on the ring.  So in 1987 I happily browsed through catalogs of designs and chose a ring and my dad handed over an astoundingly large chunk of cash and I skipped down to the Jostens booth in a dark corner of the lower floor of the school to order my ring and get my finger sized. 

My fingers are really small.    Really really small.  My wedding band is a size THREE & 1/2

The Jostens salesman would not accept the fact that I have very long, skinny fingers.  He insisted that my fingers were only so skinny because it was a cold day and they must be shriveled up or something in the cold.  He refused to sell me a ring the right size.   So the day that everyones' rings arrived, I happily took out my ring and wore it with my fist clenched tightly so it wouldn't rattle off my hand.  I've taken the ring in twice to be re-sized and they've never gotten it right. 

Knowing what I know now about the commercial jewelry industry, they probably can't make a ring the right size for me and can't re-size the one I have without losing the stones because they made it so stinking big to begin with.   (It has fit for only the last year or so with the extra 40 pounds I'm carrying but I'm hoping that won't last for very long - when the weight comes off, the ring will again be too large.)

I also know that their retail mark up is despicably large.  The ring MB was looking at was actually pretty small, made out of some cheap metal alloy with faux stones in it.  The rings are mass manufactured - yes, there are custom additions - name, school name, date and maybe some special club names or something but all of that stuff is pretty easily switched out in their process.  I get the trade catalogs.  I know that the materials costs for these rings are under $30.00.  The other $300+  are going straight into ad campaigns, traveling salesmen's expense accounts and some CEO's pocket.  You can bet your booties that no real-live-artists are seeing fair value for their labor in their plants.  (To be fair - they do seem to have a clean environmental record and their manufacturing facilities are here in the states but I have heard lots of complaints about their quality and customer service.)

So, I'm having a hard time justifying spending that kind of money on something commercially made.  Especially with a company that provided me with such poor customer service.  However, I love the idea of getting Molly a very special ring made out of real jewels and precious metals, to commemorate her school accomplishments and graduation.   Molly and I are now looking at ArtFire jewelers to see what other options are out there and we will probably contact a few of them eventually to see if they are interested in making a special real-live-artist made class ring.

LinneaSilver has some really beautiful things in her regular line.  She might be a good bet for a custom piece sometime in the next couple of years.  Molly Likes the celtic design and the southwestern looking one.  I like the medieval textured band with the carnelian set in.  All of them look very well crafted.  At the prices these are listed at, these rings would make great Christmas gifts!  The best part - if you buy one, you know that your money is going straight into a real-live-artist's checking account to help pay bills or feed her kids or buy more silver (which is skyrocketing, this month, BTW) or take a much needed vacation.  That's SO much more fun than throwing your cash into the maw of some giant corporation this holiday season.

I'm Featured!

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Morita of Inspirational Beading has been doing a series of interview with other beaders on her blog and today she published an interview with me!  I'm so pleased.  She took the time to post some gorgeous photos of my work and she made me sound like an expert. 

Go take a look at her site - she posts regularly and has some very interesting things happening on her blog right now.

Potty Talk

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"Maxx, what are you doing in there?"

"What does it look like to you?" (shouted through the open bathroom door)

"I don't know, Maxx, I don't like to watch people when they are in the bathroom."

silence. . . .  more silence.

"Maxx, I'm thinking you had better wipe your butt."

"How do you know I need to wipe my butt?"  (closes door, begins making sounds of frustration and annoyance)

Boy continues to make strange and incoherent noises for 5 minutes, refusing to answer questions seeking to diagnose the problem from behind the door.  Mom enters, discovers that a bum definitely needs to be wiped, that no attempts to self-wipe have been made and that at this point she must resort to using wet TP to clean the problem area.

This is not unusual.  Maxx was very slow to potty train.  He still does not stay dry at night and often needs to be reminded to pee during the day.  Research shows that FAS kids, especially boys, have problems with toileting issues well into late adolescence because the neural pathway that the bladder and bowel use to tell the frontal cortex that a potty stop is urgent is fried before birth.  We see that all the time - the boy will dance around holding his parts but insist that he DOES NOT need to pee until you physically place him in front of the toilet.  Lo and behold - it WAS urgent!  He occasionally has very unfortunate accidents because his bowel can only give him a few brief moments of warning before he needs to get to the toilet.

Now we are struggling with wiping the bum.  He was doing fairly well for a little while after I pronounced that I was Done wiping his bum this summer.  His bum is now (supposed to be) his responsibility.  Sometimes he is successful.  Lately, he actually seems to be using the butt wipe problem to raise my irritation level.  He will get to the bathroom on time but then sit there for a long time - until wiping is um. . .  more difficult than it needs to be. This might be a good sign.  He may be processing a cause and effect and be experimenting with the outcomes of different actions.  He may be consciously resisting one more inevitable step toward independence.  He may be seeking to prolong his dependence on me for the sake of attachment.

He may just be trying to make me furious.

My sister-in-law suggests a funky green frog shaped container of wet wipes. 

It's on the shopping list.

Speaking of potty talk - I started reading Gaiman's American Gods a few days ago. 

He's playing with some very interesting concepts in the book but . . .  I'm finding that I frequently need to skip several pages at a time.  I'm not sure I will be able to justify finishing the book. Call me a prude, but I don't read R and X rated stuff.  It frustrates me that so much of that seems to be here.  I love Gaiman's writing.  His imagination is brilliant and his voice and characterization are rich and satisfying.  There are some aspects of  imagination that I think should be kept private.  I don't like to read about explicit sex or violence.  It's getting harder and harder to find fiction that avoids graphic descriptions, especially in fantasy. 

Sigh.  I've included links throughout this post for some other Gaiman books that I've read that I feel confident about keeping in my house.  (Someday Maxx will be interested in reading the sort of stuff Gaiman writes - he doesn't need to have that sort of graphic stuff inserted into his imagination, either.)

I've been so busy . . . .

10:15 AM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
that the Neil Gaiman book I bought last Monday is still sitting on my night stand unopened.

Did you process that?  I have had an unread book - an unread book by Neil Gaiman - sitting practically untouched next to my bed for a week.  (confession - I did read the first page last night before Bry came up to bed.  Maybe I'll get to read some more on the treadmill later this morning.)  (Edit - CAUTION!  I cannot recommend this book to LDS friends and family members.  I love Neil Gaiman's writing and was aware of the fact that some of his short stories are a bit . . . beyond racy.  I still wasn't prepared for what I found in this novel based on the others I have read. - more about that in this post here.)

I have orders to ship today- yay!  I'm trying to upload more beads and brass findings into my shop this week as well as paint more scarves, paint the bathroom and finish a custom jewelry order.  Plus I brought Amelia home to her new studio on Saturday so I can finally photograph some of my new scarves. 

Speaking of scarves - I have a new coupon code for jewelry and scarves - free shipping!  From now until mid- December.


Studio Tour and Holiday Sales

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Well, Studio Tour was a bit of a bust.  Which is O.K.  I was still feeling pretty worn out on Saturday and had several coughing fits triggered by trying to speak - the few people who did stop in mostly got to hear me cough.

The up side - we got the house clean.  My mom is a hero.  She has got the same miserable virus that I have been fighting off for a week but she came by on Friday to help me get the mess under control.  My studio looked pretty good in spite of obviously being under construction. 

I got lots of scarves dyed last week and my studio is now in working order so production from here on out should be easier and more fulfilling.  I have a tentative wholesale order for Alchemy scarves - once that customer chooses her colors, I will post the remaining ones up in my shop.  I'm still having lots of trouble photographing velvet scarves.  I might actually have to set up a light tent.

Oh - and today starts my Supply Sale.  From today until the end of the month, all supplies in my Goblins Market shop will be 15% off.  Use the coupon code THANKSGIVING SUPPLIES at checkout.  I'll be adding lots of bead kits and mixes during this time frame for those who want to make handmade gifts for Christmas.  I'll even gift wrap your supplies if you request it - I know lots of people who think beads are awesome things to find in your stocking!

Etsy Strike

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Etsy Bitch is calling for a Strike this weekend.

Probably no one will see my banner in my shops because I've been in vacation mode since August but I'm striking anyway.  On behalf of those who are still trying to eeke out a living by selling handmade.

Please shop at ArtFire.  They do much more to make Artists' lives better.

Sinus Infection

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wow.  I have not felt this awful in a year.  The timing is horrible.  I was supposed to work today,but considering that I can't even sit up straight or keep my eyes focused or stop the effusion of horribleness coming from - well, suffice it to say that I'm sick and unpleasant about the face today.

The real miracle of all this is that I haven't been this sick in a whole year.

The first three years Maxx lived with us, I was sick more or less like this every 3-6 weeks.  Maybe not this bad every time, but seriously unwell with some viral cocktail or another that the boy mixed up to share with me.  It was bad in pre-K and got much worse in Kindergarten.  In 2009, I think I used twice as many antibiotics as in the whole of my life leading up to that year -

)News Flash - strange shimmering stuff going on at the edges of my field of vision . . . that's new.  Guess I had better call the doc to see if that's related to that junk she gave me to squirt up my nose as soon as they open.)

- Then last year, I caught Swine Flu and suffered the Ear Ache fro Hell and then was . . . . better.  Great, even.  It was as is Swine Flu had cured me of everything.  I started using ProGest in January 2010 as well, and that made a definite difference with my entire endocrine system.  So I've been very healthy for almost a whole year.

And now I realize that I had a darn good reason for gaining 20 pounds, being depressed and unproductive and miserable.  I felt like this all the time.  Hopefully, I will feel better next week.  Hopefully I will  learn someday how to be productive again and keep the house clean-ish again.  In the meantime I'm going to call the doctor and go back to bed.


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November is National Adoption Month. 

We just voted.  Did anyone have anything to say about adoption?  Not that I'm aware of.  We were all just too busy pointing fingers at each other and assigning blame for economic ills.  It would be nice to have the issues of Adoption and Infertility to come to the forefront of national attention.

In an effort to raise awareness, I'll post a few things about Adoption this months.  To start out, Here's a list of links to some things I have written in the past about our family's experiences with Adoption. 

Here is our rather long adoption saga:

Here's a slice of Toddler Adoption Reality

Here are a couple of posts abut the challenges of parenting an adopted Toddler - one centering on health and one on  . . . shoes.

If everyone were fertile when (and only when)  they wanted to be, Adoption wouldn't be such an important issue.  Here are some posts about Infertility and Secondary Infertility.

And a post about Family.

We are blessed.

 . . . . .

That's Much Better!

8:58 AM Posted In Edit This 1 Comment »
Remember the ugly scarves that went horribly wrong and didn't end up as magnificent anythings?

A few hours in an Imperial Purple dye vat fixed them right up.  There's  even some subtle variegation going on with some nice deep bluish tints in the middle of the swirls and a chocolate undertone around the edges of the swirls.  The overall color is a rich aubergine/royal purple - which gets lighter or deeper as the light moves around the scarf.

Sigh.  I love velvet!

 . . . .
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