Friday, December 21, 2007

'Tis the Season

tiny santa

Well, Christmas is upon us. As usual, I haven't finished my shopping. But this year it doesn't bother me if I don't get finished until Christmas Eve. It's been such a long and draining fall with Kevin being so sick so often that I'm just so tired now and all I want to do is sleep instead of shop. I did order some things from Etsy but I can't tell what because they're gifts and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I have the important things bought. That's all that matters I suppose.

I made some good sales in my Etsy shop this holiday season bringing my total sales up to 140. My sales figure reflects 141 right now but that's because I had someone back out of a sale and admin hasn't squared things with me yet, but they will in time. I'm sure a lot of people bought and then changed their mind. It's too bad that has to happen, but it does. I was glad to see the 20th pass as that was the last day to ship Priority with the USPS and get it there on time for Christmas. I made two sales that day and had to rush to get them to the P.O. because I hadn't checked Etsy all morning! I was busy getting ready for Christmas myself and so were they! But I got them mailed and off. One was a sale to Newton, just up the road from Charlotte. That's only my second Carolina sale (other than family). I was tickled.

Kevin has been having fun in his class making things about Christmas as well as other holidays celebrated around the world this time of year. He came home from school today with his backpack just brimming with goodies that he'd made in his class. There were painted and colored things, glued things and folded things. There was a Christmas card he'd made and on the inside he wrote "Merry Christmas Mom Dad and brother. Love, Kevin." He's so funny. He doesn't have a brother!

front of kevin's christmas card

inside of kevin's card

He brought home the gingerbread house he made from graham crackers, frosting, and candy pieces. The whole class made them. His turned out really good! It has a window over the door and it did have green gumdrop chimneys but he ate them! It's an adorable house!

Kevin's gingerbread house

He made an ornament. Oh, it's not just any ornament. It's something quite special and unique. Handmade you might say! The teacher got plain silver ball ornaments and each child painted their hand with white Crayola paint. Then the teacher put the ornament in their hand and they just grabbed the ball, leaving their handprint on the ornament. Then after it dried, the teacher's assistant finished each finger 'snowman' with a hat, face, etc. Then she attached the tag.

Kevin's Ornament

When Kevin showed it to me I thought it was so cute. Then I read the tag. I then proceeded to cry. Kevin didn't understand why I was crying. I told him it was because it was so sweet. He still didn't understand. I told him that when he was much older, say 18 or 20, he could look back at this ornament and see just how small his hand used to be and realize how much he'd grown. I was thinking I could look back at it and see my baby, who will always be my baby no matter how big he grows to be. (I'm crying again.) So then Kevin started crying with me and the two of us were sitting there on the floor in front of the fireplace crying and holding each other, he not really knowing why, and me clinging to his innocence as I clinged to him. What a sight we must have been. Isn't his ornament cute? He made lots of things, but the ornament was the best.

I uploaded lots of pics to Flickr of my decorations for this year. They're the same decorations I always have but since very few of you have seen them before I thought I'd share a bit of what we do in our house for Christmas. So I invite you to Flickr to view my Christmas 2007 set. It's not finished. It won't be until 2008!

celestial ornies

If I don't get another chance to blog before Christmas, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday! May it be filled with lots of joy and happiness!

Until next time.....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Sad Day

Today I learned one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters passed away. Dan Fogelberg died from prostate cancer this morning. He was only 56.

Dan Fogelberg - RIP

I grew up listening to Dan Fogelberg's moving lyrics and angelic singing voice. I used to sing his wonderful melodious tunes to the top of my lungs while in my bedroom in high school. I played my guitar to his songs, learning as many of them as I could. You might know him from "Same Old Lang Syne" which is often played this time of year. It's a bittersweet song which makes me cry anyway, but now it will always make me cry. He also wrote "Run for the Roses", written for the Kentucky Derby and thoroughbred horse racing. But "Part of the Plan" is among my all-time favorite songs ever...Ever. That was the first song I remember hearing by him and it is the most meaningful to me. Here are the lyrics:

"I have these moments all steady and strong
I'm feeling so holy and humble
The next thing I know I'm all worried and weak
And I feel myself starting to crumble
The meanings get lost and the teachings get tossed
And you don't know what you're going to do next
You wait for the sun but it never quite comes
Some kind of message comes through to you
Some kind of message comes through
And it says to you...
Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
That's a part of the plan
Await your arrival with simple survival
And one day we'll all understand
One day we'll all understand
One day we'll all understand

I had a woman who gave me her soul
But I wasn't ready to take it
Her heart was so fragile and heavy to hold
And I was afraid I might break it
Your conscience awakes and you see your mistakes
And you wish someone would buy your confessions
The days miss their mark and the night gets so dark
And some kind of message comes through to you
Some kind of message shoots through --
And it says to you...
Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
That's a part of the plan
Await your arrival with simple survival
And one day we'll all understand
One day we'll all understand
One day we'll all understand

There is no Eden or Heavenly gates
That you're gonna make it to one day
But all of the answers you seek can be found
In the dreams that you dream on the way"

I learned to play the song "Twin's Theme" on the piano which is from the album "Twin Sons of Different Mothers" with Tim Weisberg. I played it for an assignment in my piano class in college in 1980. Talk about a moving piece of music. When I first heard that song it moved me to tears. Listen to it sometime. His music was often moving. His lyrics were as well. I'll always be moved by music and his was among the most touching I ever heard.

I cried when I read of his death. He was too young. The same age as my brother. So full of talent, love for life and for the gift of our Earth. He will be missed even though his music will live on.

It was a sad day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Daemon

I visited Jasmin's blog and saw where she had done this. I thought I'd try it out and see what mine was. What do you think? Do you think it fits me?

Elf Yourself!

Check it out!!! It's funny as heck and you can do it too!!

Just a little Christmas card from Kevin and me!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Famous (sort of) Rainbow Moonstone Earrings

(I know, I know.... I've been notably absent. It's mainly because my eyes have been bothering me quite a bit lately (remember, they're the first things to go). Looking at the computer has gotten to them over time and now I tend to get a headache and an eyeball ache when I'm in front of the monitor for an extended period of time. I do apologize for my absence. I miss you all.)

I just had to pop in and let the world know that my Rainbow Moonstone earrings are once again famous (sort of)!! These are the same pair that made it to the front page of Etsy for my one and only appearance a while back. They have 1100 views and have yet to be sold! That's just fine by me. I'll keep 'em! They're worth every penny of the $32.00 that I'm asking for them and I'm not waivering a bit from that price. They are truly AAA grade stones with more rainbow than I've ever had a chance to see up close and personal in a moonstone. I might come down in price on other items in my shop, perhaps put other pieces on sale, but not these. No way. These are special. And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so....

Not long ago I was approached by Juvella, an online Bulgarian jewelry and accessories magazine regarding permission to use my rainbow moonstone earring photos for an article they were doing about the stone. (Juvella who, you say? That's what I said too.) Turns out they have a very, very nice and informative site that is quite fascinating (if only I spoke Bulgarian). (I couldn't find a Bulgarian-to-English webpage translator so I had to copy and paste the text from their site in order to understand it). Of course, I thought it was a hoax until I visited the link they provided me to their site. It was rather impressive looking. They told me they would provide a link back to me under the pics they used if I would allow them to use them. So I said why not, and granted them permission and was excited about the possibility of being famous in Bulgaria! article featuring my moonstone pics

Well, today I got notification that the article was published online and my pics had been used! Go check it out! It's cool! I did find a text translator for the language barrier so I copied and pasted the text of the article to read it. It's all about the stone. It's mystical properties and beliefs, that it's in the family of feldspar (as is labradorite) and it give it's Mohs scale hardness, etc. It's a good article.

Being a collector and lover of gemstones, I found their article enlightening and fascinating. I love rocks. Love, love, love 'em! I have a small collection that I treasure. It includes emeralds, garnets, sapphires, tanzanite, kunzite, morganite, topaz, aquamarine and yellow beryl, tourmaline, amethyst, etc. I'm serious. I like gems. Wish I could afford the ones I really want like Paraiba tourmaline (copper-bearing making it the color of apatite which is also copper-bearing), alexandrite, rubellite and indicolite tourmaline, and so on. At one point in time I wanted to become a graduate gemologist with the GIA, taking their online and distance courses. I would still someday like to have that "G.G." after my name. So when I say that these rainbow moonstones are AAA, or any gemstone I use for that matter, I mean it! If it's not AAA, I won't say so. I'll just name the stone. If I'm uncertain, I won't say it's AAA grade. I will only say that if I believe it to be true and have some sort of information to back me up.

Anyway, rambling here....

So now once again my rainbow moonstone earrings are famous!! I'm thrilled!!

Thank you Juvella, for allowing my pictures to represent such a fascinating and wonderful gemstone! It was my honor. :)

Until next time. I hope everyone is geared up for the holidays. My next appearance in the Main Showcase is this Friday, December 14th. Wish me luck! Maybe I'll sell these earrings then!! :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Know You're Gettin' Old When....

...You can't see squat anymore without reading glasses.

Meet my good friend, my +3.25 magnification readers. They're my very, very best friend when I'm wire wrapping jewelry. These and my Opti-Visor combine for a pretty powerful magnification when wire wrapping! It also comes in handy when trying to get a splinter out of your finger or for seeing the flaws in those beads we all know and love.

I also have another pair of readers that are not as strong. They're maybe +1.5. I use them a lot too in combination with my visor so I can get up close and personal with the jewelry. If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't be making *anything* except a big mess! But thank goodness there are friends like this so I can see what the heck I'm doing.

I never wore glasses until college when I noticed I couldn't read the words on the blackboard very clearly or the signs above the interstate quite as well. And after I got them I never wore them for anything but driving for at least 15 years, not even reading. But then I had to start wearing them more and more often if I wanted to see far away clearly. Then I got pregnant and my eyesight really started to go. Coincidentally, I hit 40 at the same time, and we all know what they say about aging and the eyes: they are the first things to go. Well, I can attest to that fact!

An updated prescription of glasses and I could see the signs above the aisles in the grocery store! Wow! This seeing thing was really cool! Then I gave birth. The eyes deteriorated some more. Now I was wearing them a little bit more often. And then POW! I hit 45! And buddy, I can't see squat! Now it's bifocals, baby! (But bifocals aren't the best things to work on jewelry in.)

I now only wear my glasses/bifocals when I'm driving or watching a movie in the theater, or out somewhere that I really want to see clearly, like looking at the stars. At home, I don't wear my glasses at all except for my readers to make jewelry. Otherwise, I'm lens free. I just don't like my looks in glasses. (I sure look groovy in an Opti-Visor though!) And I can't get used to them. I tried contacts but my eyes were too sensitive for them, even the soft, flexible, wear them for three days and throw them away kind. So I just don't wear any until I have to.

The thing about readers is that the more I wear them, the more I need them. Sometimes I make jewelry for hours. When I do, I find that my eyes can't adjust back to normal viewing after being in them and the Opti-Visor. I think I'm killing my eyes even more so. I'm now in a quandary. What to do? Lasik? But as I understand it, you still need readers even with Lasik.

I miss being able to see well, like Kevin can. He can spot a fly on the wall at 50 paces! Once upon a time I could too. It feels like it was yesterday. And at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago. For now, it will be readers when I'm working and perhaps reading to Kevin, but for the most part I will remain lens free. I do ok without them. Can't read the road signs until I'm right up on them, but I can read a book and see the TV. It's not like I can't see. I just can't see as well anymore.

You know you're gettin' old when you can't see squat when it's right in front of you! Anyone else?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Woohoo!! A First!!

Etsy Front Page, originally uploaded by msbellee.

I made the freakin' front page!!

I don't believe it!

Still in shock....

Celebrated with a strong glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast (at 2AM). Chocolate of course!

Who wudda thunk it?!

Thank you JulieGarland for including me in this list! I'm so grateful!

P.S. I sold 2 things!! :D

...happy dance...happy dance...happy dance!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yay for Me and Kevin!!

I was nearing my goal of 100 sales but was afraid to say anything for fear of jinxing myself like I jinxed Kevin. I kept holding my breath and biting my tongue. I watched carefully as the hearts accumulated and the views went up on my items as I would list and relist. I was stuck on 99 for what seemed like days and days. I thought for sure I wasn't going to make my goal. My one year anniversary on Etsy (November 17th) was fast approaching and I would be stuck on 99!

Yay!, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Then this morning (after my bust of a Storque Showcase last night (more on that later)), I woke up to 101 sales!! Yay! I did it!! Talk about a happy camper! And almost even cooler than having broken 100 is the fact that the two pairs of earrings that sold will be traveling all the way to Spain!! I'm thrilled! That now makes seven countries I will have shipped to. MsBelle. Little ol' southern gal me. Who wudda thunk it?

Thanks to all my customers, wherever you may be. You make my day! And thanks to my family who make up a large part of my sales. I really appreciate your support. It means so very much to me that you all like what I create enough to want it for your own. I truly mean that. :)

And last but not least, thanks to all of my Etsy friends and family, and other moms who are all there to support me and let me rant and rave and bounce things off of. You have made a world of difference in my life, no matter where in the world you are. You are all dear to me.


So today was a good day for that reason and for another reason. Kevin went back to school today!! But let me tell you, he had a time of it late last week:

  • Wednesday he missed Halloween because he had a fever of 102.3 after just having seen the doctor that afternoon after school (he went to sleep and slept 18 hours)
    (This is also the day we found out he has tonsillitis pretty bad and that's where his fever is coming from. They also did a finger stick for a blood count to test for mononucleosis (it was negative.)
  • Thursday I kept him out of school due to fever and sore throat
  • Thursday night he ran a temperature of 104.3 (scary)
  • Friday they switched his antibiotic yet again due to contining fever (did this over the phone--no doctor visit this time)
  • Saturday got another shot of Rocephin
  • Saturday developed fever blisters on his upper lip (blisters due to his high fever)
  • recuperated Sunday, but now is stricken with diarrhea from all the antibiotics he's been on
  • Monday (yesterday) follow-up to doctor where he had no temp, and another blood count from another finger stick came back normal once more

He was cleared to go back to school even though he still has tonsillitis and fluid behind the left eardrum. He has a lingering cough, a sore finger and a sore left 'cheek', but no more temperature and he's eating well again. He still has to take his meds. He still has the blisters on his lip although Carmex is doing the trick on those. But now he is playing and eating and coloring and drawing and reading and writing and spelling and he's my Kevin again! (I pray I don't jinx him.)

So this morning I did a happy dance for both of us. This afternoon I picked him up from school and learned that he got a smiley face for the day. Yay! Then I went to vote and Kevin got to 'vote' too. He skipped into the polling place and I felt like skipping too! (I was so happy to see him skipping.) Then we came home and celebrated by eating some of his 'trunk or treat' candy since he didn't get to go trick or treating on Halloween, poor baby.

We had a good time and a good day. Both of us.

It's like I can breathe again....


Storque Showcase

I did my own little experiment of sorts with the Storque Showcase I had on Monday, October 5th. In the 24 hours I was in that showcase I received 3 hearts for the entire day that I suspect came as a result of the showcase. Another heart was in response to my hearting them first, so I am not going to count that one. I received 12 and 15 hearts while I was in the Main Showcase October 26 and 28. Also, my views from the Storque Showcase were next to none. Almost non-existent. I'd watched when I changed the ranking of my items to see if it got viewed or not. Not much. Not many AT ALL. Truly disheartening.

So today I relisted 4 items at different times throughout the day. I received many, many more views. Even received views up into tonight while I'm writing this. I received 4 hearts today, the same amount as yesterday and today I have no showcase, only relisting items. (So you can't tell me that being in the Storque Showcase is going to get you noticed.) I also don't believe I received many hearts on items from this Showcase because I got practically no views. One can't get hearts if there are no views. Another thing I didn't do on the day of my Storque Showcase was relist any items. I wanted to see just what kind of attention the Storque Showcase brought in and I did not want any interference with that. Well, I certainly found out it was negligible. I don't know what might have happened had I relisted while being in the Storque Showcase, but I feel I would have received hearts and views from the relisting, not from the buried showcase. I believe it is now evident (to me at least) from my test that our money is not well spent on the Storque Showcase. But $15 for the Main Showcase???? Hmmmm.....

The sale that pushed me over 100 the day after the Storque Showcase was a heart from a while back. It was not a newly received heart, nor a heart from the Storque Showcase. However, of the items that were bought, one was relatively new and one was older. One happened to be in the Showcase and one was not, but it was on sale. I'm not sure if the customer purchased as a result of the Storque Showcase or not. The newer piece was in the Showcase as my top ranked item for a big part of the day. I'm not sure what to make of it when I think about that. I suppose I could ask if it was bought because it was seen in the Storque Showcase or because it was a newer item in my shop that she just found. Perhaps that would be the thing to do. Ask.

It's interesting to watch the views mount up after listing or relisting an item. It's also sad to watch in horror as your showcase ends in a dismal failure. I'm just glad it was only $7 I threw away instead of $15. Who knows? Either one can probably end either way on any given day, depending on who you are and what you sell I suppose. Right? Right???

I won't be spending much more of my money on showcases, at least not the Storque. And certainly not two a month at $15 a pop. I do better listing and relisting. The Storque is so hidden away. It's like in a dark dungeon that nobody bothers to frequent unless they have to. I'll spend my money on the listing.


Until later....

Friday, November 2, 2007

Higher Prices for Etsy Showcase

So did you hear? Etsy raised their prices for the Showcase from $7 to $15. That's more than double the amount for something that is not guaranteed to bring in a sale equal to $15. (I really wish Etsy would send out a newsletter or at the very least an email to sellers with news like this. I almost missed seeing it. If I hadn't been scrolled down to the very bottom of the home page to see the Storque news scroll by I would have missed it completely. Why can't they just send out an email with important updates?? Instead, we have to glue ourselves to Etsy to find out things like this. Some of us just can't do that.)

Anyway, I'm not good at advertising or marketing. I don't really do either one other than my business cards, having my name out there on things like Indie Public, etc., and the Etsy Showcase. But as for buying advertising banners on websites or indie blogs, I haven't done it. Number one, I don't usually have the money. Number two, I'm afraid that I don't have enough really good inventory in my shop. And thirdly, I wouldn't really know where to start.

I must admit, I had recently become more enthusiastic about buying a spot in the Showcase since the last two I participated in were actually fruitful. I had spots for October 26th and October 28th, and I had one sale from the first and three sales from the second. Needless to say I was thrilled because that has never happened before with any of my prior Showcases. Of course, I always got hearts and faves on some items, but up until these two Showcases, no sales. However, it's never going to be a sure thing. So is it worth forking over $15 to buy a spot when you're not guaranteed you will even make a sale? What do you think? It might be different it the Main Showcase were actually linked to some kind of outside Etsy advertising, but it's not. (That's another thing that irks me about it.)

It just hit me as greedy that Etsy would increase their price for the Showcase. Up to this point it seemed that Etsy was a fairly reasonably priced site to list on and advertise in their Showcase. I mean, every little fee does add up mind you. But with the listing and renewal fees they rake in from supplies alone, Etsy is making a killing! (Let's hope they don't increase their listing fees too!! Knock on wood!) Now, little people like me with next to no money will now have to think twice before going for a spot in the Main Showcase. I don't believe the Storque Showcase price went up. And since I missed purchasing a Main Showcase spot when they went on sale this last time, I opted for two spots in the Storque Showcase. Lots less traffic to the Storque, I'm sure. Probably will not get a sale from either day, but I can see risking $14 to try twice before I can fork over $15 to try once when neither of them is guaranteed. I don't know. Maybe $15 for the Main Showcase is a better deal since people might actually find you there as opposed to the buried Storque Showcase. Perhaps $15 really is a good deal and I just got spoiled with $7 and don't really know better anyway. It seemed fairly cheap. Since I know nothing about advertising I am assuming not many things were out there for $7 that exposed you like Etsy's Main Showcase.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on the new "Category Showcase" spots being offered for sale. I don't know about you, but I almost never use the categories to find what I'm looking for on Etsy. I always use the search bar. Do you use categories to surf Etsy? It seems to me that Etsy is beginning to look very much like the other "E" place. When I sold things on the other "E" place years ago (Kevin's used cloth diapers) there was an option to pay extra to have the item either highlighted in bold inside the category, or showcased in a featured spot in a gallery at the top of the category. That seems similar to what Etsy is now trying to do which I guess is ok. It's just that I don't use categories and wonder how many people out there do. So would buying a spot in the Category Showcase be worth it?

I'll let ya'll know what happens with my Storque Showcases (and with the Category Showcase spot I just went and purchased!). That will make three spots for me in November, none of them being the Main Showcase, but still cheaper than two of the main ones. But as an experiment, I'll try to buy one of the main ones as well (if I can get one) just to put a cherry on top of my growing little Etsy bill (full of showcase spots and relisting fees, not many sales fees). I've hardly made anything on Etsy, yet I keep relisting my items to keep them at the top of the categories. And I keep spending money on these Showcases. What's wrong with me????

Someone needs to teach me about advertising and marketing. I'd like to know what I need to be doing and how to do it right. I'd also like to know what I need to do besides take good pictures (which I'm really trying to work hard on) that might help with sales. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


BOO!, originally uploaded by msbellee.


Happy Halloween all!!

I hope your Halloween is Spooktacular!!

Trick or Treat!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thank You

I just wanted to send thanks to everyone who sent their good vibes to Kevin. I'm glad to report he's doing much better. Although he is running a slight fever this afternoon, he's playing, eating, and generally feeling a heck of a lot better. Last night we went to a little Halloween carnival at my sister's church. He got to wear his Halloween costume. This year he is the black Spiderman.

There were some fun games like 'go fishing', ring toss, dart throw to pop the balloons, a sack race, bobbing for apples, a costume contest, and a cake walk. He had lots of fun. At the end, they had a 'trunk' or treat outside in the parking lot. All the kids went around to the church members' cars and got their treats that were being given out from their trunks. He's got a whole bag full of candy already and it's not even Halloween yet!


I would also like to thank Jasmin who very thoughtfully wrote a blog entry about the earrings she allowed me to create for her. They look so good on her too! (Jasmin, I stole your pic!) Thank you Jasmin. I appreciate the kind words and am so glad you like the earrings.


A customer recently bought my 'Ana' necklace and in the feedback she left me this pic:

Thank you! I'm so glad you liked your necklace and I'm delighted you sent me this pic. I hope you wear it happily for a long time to come.


That's all for now. I'll try to write later after the 'son' goes down. Tomorrow is Halloween and Kevin's first day back after being out sick and after two teacher work days yesterday and today. I'm glad he had the last two extra days to recuperate a bit longer. I don't want him to overdo it even though he's feeling better. His slight fever has me a bit concerned again. I just want him to get well and stay well for a while. If he missed Halloween he'd be so terribly upset. We'll see how it goes.

Take care all!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bring On the Megazord

I want to thank everyone who has sent Kevin their good wishes. Each time I tell him there are people all over the world wishing him well I get a smile on an otherwise blank and pitiful face.

Yet another trip back to the doctor yesterday (Thursday) as the Augmentin was not staying down and Kevin had pretty much stopped eating. He will not turn his head as his ear hurts quite badly all the way down into his neck. He has been running a fever between 99.7 and 100.9 degrees Farenheit. He didn't have a fever the day we went to the doctor after school on Tuesday. This developed on Tuesday night and Wednesday. He was also kind of dizzy today from the ear infection messing with his balance a little bit. He thought that was strange. So I called the doc and they said I should probably bring him back in.

Well, today they brought out the big guns. He got a shot of Rocephin in his tushie. I had the same shot of antibiotic last year when I could not get over the bug I had. It finally knocked out whatever it was...finally. I hope it does the same for Kevin. (However, after reading this article, it makes you wonder what we're doing to our kids and ourselves.) Also, beginning tomorrow, he starts another different oral antibiotic called Omnicef. Surely with the combination of the shot and this he will get over this ear and sinus infection.

Poor Kevin. He cried, of course, from the needle. But it didn't last long and then he got over it. I told him that the antibiotics he had before this were like regular Power Rangers. They were doing battle and putting up a good fight, but they needed more help to conquer this terrible infection. It was now time to call in the Megazord (which was the shot). I explained to him that the Megazord was going to go in with everything it had, armed to the teeth, and blast this bug away. I told him that the regular Power Rangers had been fighting really hard, but they didn't quite have all the ammunition it was going to take to fight off whatever this was keeping him sick; therefore the Megazord had to be sent in. He understood this concept. :)

Let's hope the Megazord does its job. It's really strange not hearing Kevin talk, not hearing him laugh, not seeing him play or do anything but lie on the couch and sleep. It's also strange that he doesn't want anything to eat. This boy likes food. I even tried to bribe him with his favorites but he wanted nothing. Nothing. He hasn't had food in him since Wednesday night and not much of his supper then. I'm going to try to get him to at least eat some toast tomorrow. He has to have energy for his Megazord.

Once again, I thank everyone for their support, kind words and good wishes. It is very much appreciated on this end by both me and Kevin.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


This is an update to my last entry where I apparently jinxed myself.

Yesterday when I picked Kevin up from school he was in tears. I could tell something was wrong when I saw the look on his face as he walked toward my car. As he climbed in I asked him what was wrong and he said his ear hurt. He then put his hand over his left ear and began sobbing. So we went directly to the doctor from school where we saw a nurse practitioner to affirm that yes, he has another ear infection. I told her that this had been going on since toward the beginning of September and that I would really like to know what was going on and why nothing was working. She only had this to say: "We'll switch his antibiotic from Amoxicillin to Augmentin which is a little stronger and if there is still sinus infection, this should take care of it too. Then if it's still not better we can do an x-ray of the sinuses to see if they're clogged or if there's any remaining infection." She gave him Motrin while there and in about 15 minutes it did help with his pain.

We came home and since he felt much better from the Motrin, I made his lunch. Then he said he wanted to lay down. After about 1 1/2 hours of getting no actual sleep due to coughing he sat straight up and proceeded to 'toss his cookies' all over the bed. Poor baby. He began to cry and the cycle starts all over. Last night as he was lying on the couch he began to get uncomfortable again. Again, it resulted in another trip to 'hug the commode' and more tears. All I know to do is hold him and tell him to breathe and try to relax. He did sleep all night with no interruptions and seemed to be comfortable most of the time.

I'm just extremely frustrated that he cannot get well. He has to eat before taking the antibiotic or it might possibly make him sick. But it makes him sick anyway. It's the same medicine he took with the fire ant bite and it didn't make him sick then. I don't understand why it makes him sick now unless this time it's a combination of having the cough-producing drip that is making him not be able to tolerate it this time. I don't know.

Not getting much done in the line of getting new things made for the shop. Can't really concentrate on it. Oh well. Life comes first.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cool Sunsets and Cameras

jack-o-lantern face in the sunset

I had to share this pic with everyone. Can you see the face of a jack-o-lantern here? We've had some awesome sunsets recently (I love sunsets). This face appeared in one of them! I thought it was so cool being that Halloween is coming soon. The picture was also nominated for Pic of the Week the Charlotte Photographers pool on Flickr. I was quite honored and tickled to be nominated. That's a first for me! It's a fun and unique pic and it was an awesome sunset! Here's another sunset we had:



I also wanted to let everyone know that even though we are better regarding our sickness, Kevin and I are still battling it. His is now more allergies than a virus. His drip, drip, drip from his nose is still unceasing which leads to continual coughing. Poor baby. I haven't heard his actual voice since around the middle of September. He sounds like he has a constant cold with a stuffy head, which he does sort of. He's handling it well though. However, beginning this past week he coughs so much that it makes him throw up. Then he cries that he's throwing up and the nose gets even stuffier. Then while he's sleeping I can hear his raspy upper chest. I just wish we could get some real rain or a good hard frost to get rid of whatever is in this air. It's a killer.

Kevin loves to have his face painted. As a precursor to Halloween he wanted to have his face painted. So daddy did the painting and this is how it turned out:

kevin's face paint

I'm trying to make the best of my old Olympus Camedia 3020 until I can get a new camera. It's not that mine is a bad camera. I have absolutely loved it since getting it about 5 years ago. It's easy to use and I love the pictures it has given me over the years. But the dying sensors issue is now becoming a problem. On the other hand, I am just now really learning how use it to take pics of my jewelry! I've learned that going into digital zoom mode is a no-no and to stick with the optical zoom only or I get too much noise in the pics. I can shoot about 10cm away from my subject which is pretty good for this camera. I think my jewelry pics are getting a little better. I still have to play around until I get the shot I want as we all do, I'm sure. The only problem is that they usually turn out 'soft' and I always, always have to use contrast and brightness in an editing program, not to mention cloning out the hot pink and green pixels that result from the dying sensors. They seem to be multiplying rapidly now, sort of like a virus inside the camera!

Here's the camera I've dedided I can afford and want to give a try. I think it might be a good all around camera that might take good pics of jewelry too. I tried it out in the store the other day and was pretty impressed with its macro capabilities which is what I want for jewelry pics. What camera do you all use and how do you like it? If you could get a new camera, what would you get and why?

So with all that in mind I've been busy experimenting with the camera I already own on the things I have been making for my shop. I have two upcoming showcases and wanted to get some new things ready for them. I found some really neat background papers I'm experimenting with. I've also been trying to give new life to some old things that have been sitting around my shop for months unsold. Perhaps this will do the trick until I can get that camera.
pink turquoise and oxidized sterling
indigo/black coin pearls in goldfill

I'm also having a sale in my shop. (This sale isn't associated with the EtsyBead sale, though they are having one also.) I just decided to try to move some things out since they have been there so long. Lowered the price 20% on some items! So if you need some upcoming holiday gifts, check out the Sale section. There will be more things added from now until the holidays!

That's all for now! It's been a while since I posted. Wanted to catch everyone up and say hello.
I hope all is well with everyone and that your week is a splendid one!
Until next time....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Can't Quite Kick It

I don't know about anyone else, but I have been sick now for 3 weeks with a sinus infection, ear infection and a stubborn cough. Kevin has just gotten over his illness of the same except he had conjunctivitis on top of everything else (pink eye). Of course, mommy got it too. Well, mommy just can't quite kick it.

I went to the doc on the third day of being sick. I have been taking the prescribed antibiotics and other medications, and my temperature finally did go away. As a result of that alone I feel much better. But I have become an 'olfactory factory'. I never knew one's sinuses could flow like a water fountain left turned on. Puffs tissues have become my best friend (with lotion and aloe). Halls Mento-lyptus with 'advanced vapor action' is like candy to me now. Vics Vapo-Rub won't even touch my sense of smell. Not only do I blow day and night, night and day, but the persistent cough that results from the constant drip is driving me batty.

Oh, I know this too shall pass. As long as it doesn't go into bronchitis I'll be ok. It doesn't feel like it's going to. It's just really annoying. I'm giving it until the end of the antibiotics and if I still blow like a steam train I'm going back to the doc.

In the meantime, I haven't had one iota of creative desire in me. I've made just a couple of things while being sick but I really just don't feel like making anything. I can't get much done between blows anyway. But I did make this pair of earrings that I thought turned out pretty cool.

citrine briolettes with cut-out oval earrings

I think the next thing I'll make is another wire wrapped necklace. I love wire wrapping. It's very relaxing in a 'twisted' sort of way. But I've had some pearls yelling at me to make a necklace and so I guess I'll give in to them if I can just quit blowing!

And one last thing to a reader who shall remain anonymous...the Glitter Storm was a big hit!! Thank you for everything!!! :D

He loves it!!

Until next time when maybe I'll be feeling much better.....

Friday, October 5, 2007

Passionately Pink For the Cure

I was invited to join a new group on Flickr called "Passionately Pink for the Cure" to help support breast cancer awareness. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Yahoo! is donating $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for each pink photo added to this group's pool up to $50,000. That could really help in the battle to find a cure for breast cancer.

Kevin drew this little pink girl today so I could upload her and help with the cause. I was so proud of him. :)

I promptly uploaded all of the pink photos I had in my stream. There is no limit to how many photos per day you can add so the more, the better!

Won't you join the group and add all your pink photos to help the cause? And tell your friends to join and add theirs too!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Marie Antoinette's Necklace

I just had to comment on this.

Check out the necklace that's going up for auction this December at Christie's in London. The pearls set into it once belonged to Marie Antoinette. It consists of natural pearls, diamonds and rubies.

Isn't that gorgeous?! Look at the size of those pearls. They look massive. I think it's absolutely beautiful. (Boy, Christie's sure knows how to photograph jewelry, huh?)

I hope it goes to a museum so that the world can enjoy seeing this masterpiece as they can the Hope Diamond and other magnificent treasures of the world.

***CORRECTION: I had originally stated that this necklace once belonged to Marie Antionette. My mistake. Only the pearls once belonged to her. Thank you for correcting me. I don't like to state wrong information.***

UPDATE: This gorgeous necklace failed to sell at auction due to not fetching enough to meet the reserve price. I still believe it would be wonderful if it were put in a museum for all to enjoy.

The Name Game

Missficklemedia tagged me for the name game. I'm finally getting around to it.

My middle name is Elizabeth. I don't know quite how to play this but I'll give it a shot.

E - for my family.
L - son to pieces.
I - Incredibly...addicted to chocolate.
Z - Zzzzzzzz...I like to sleep.
A - Always...worrying about something. Usually money.
B - rescue dachshund. What a sweetheart.
E - Eat...I need to eat healthier.
T - favorite gemstone.
H - High...on a mountain. That's where I want to live.

I hope I played nice! I'll tag you all!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Wonderful Customer

First of all let me apologize to everyone. I have been so busy lately and so tired. Kevin has been sick for over a week now with a stuffy nose, cough, fever, and just plain feeling yucky. He missed two days of school this week, poor thing. I had a bit of a sinus headache myself. I've also been trying to get things made for my Etsy shop so I don't get out of the habit of making things and being creative. That is really important to me. I've pretty much let the house go at this point. And, well, I just haven't felt like being my bloggy self at all. I miss all of you terribly, visiting your blogs and having you visit mine. But I just had to take a moment to blog about this.

I was thrilled recently to have sold a pair of pearl earrings to a fellow Carolinian (South), my first sale to the Carolinas other than family. A very friendly customer and fun too. So when my customer emailed me saying she was blogging about her purchase I was twice thrilled! Here is her entry about her experience shopping with MsBelle on Etsy.

To my customer, I really appreciate your kindness and am very flattered. I'm very grateful. Customers like you don't come along every day and it means a lot when you do. So my thanks to you for being such a wonderful customer. You made my otherwise lousy week not so lousy!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Things Get Better, Life Goes On

Kevin and I journeyed back to the mountains last weekend for the funeral of my uncle who passed away. The resulting sadness and depression were really about to get me down. I tend to think about things too much sometimes (a lot) and it eats away at me inside until I get all stressed out. I think about life, death, people I know, my family, the universe...and how short this life really is. I get all jumbled inside my head and want to stop thinking. My uncle will be missed. He was a character. Even in death he still had his sense of humor. Even so, it was too early for him to go and it made an impact on me and I started getting depressed. But...

...I must say this has been a pretty good week in spite of things.

First of all, Kevin only got in trouble for talking in class once this week as opposed to four times last week! (He's a talker, that boy.) They get 'cards' that start out green. When they get in trouble the first time they "turn their card to yellow" (I'm not sure what they do but they go through colors each time they break the rules). The second time it gets turned to red and they get a 5 minute time out and the parent gets a call. Then finally it goes to blue. Kevin didn't get to play at recess twice as a result of his talking. He also tole me he had to "walk around in a square instead of play" one day and then "sit on the carpet". (This all sounded sort of mean to me but since I'm not there, I'm not sure what they're doing. ) Then finally when their card gets turned blue they go to the principal's office and the parent gets another call and the child gets a 30 minute time out in another room. The first week of kindergarten and Kevin got his turned blue! But he didn't have to go to the principal's office. I did get called twice however. I promptly told my little talker that he needed to stay quiet and not disrupt the class or talk when he was not supposed to. The teacher told me he was not alone in this card-turning. I felt a little better. So, this week he only got his card turned once--today! But I congratulated him on making it for four days!

Secondly, I bought a showcase spot for today, Friday, and I thought it went really well.

So I buried myself in trying to come up with some new things and kept myself busy making and photographing them to prepare for the showcase. I wanted to have some cool new stuff to 'showcase'. (I like to get at least one spot if for no other reason than it makes me work harder to create new things. It gets my butt in gear.) I stayed up late and worked during the day while Kevin was in school (at last). It felt good. I think I got some pretty good things made too. Not a lot, but I was happy with what I did get made. And for the first time since I have been buying showcase spots, I actually made two sales directly from it! (Yay!) That's a first! Those two most recent sales and a custom order yesterday put me at 75 sales total! I have one remaining custom order that will put me at 76 and I'm just thrilled about that, can't you tell?! I never thought I'd see the day that I might approach 100. Now I'm hoping I can make that goal by my one year anniversary in November. But I don't want to jinx myself so I'd better hush up right now before the sky falls in.

Thirdly, as mentioned above, I recently got two custom orders from Etsy that were non-family!! One is going to the UK and the other has gone on its way to Texas. Also, I shipped another package to the UK in August but my customer told me she had not received it. :( After consulting with Kathy of Dornick Designs, I told her to wait a little while longer to see if it showed up. Otherwise, I was going to make her a new piece if it did not arrive. Luckily, it made it!! Whew!! But it took almost 4 weeks to get to its destination. As Kathy so graciously advised me, sometimes customs can hold up packages overseas. Indeed, this was the case. But it finally arrived and the customer was happy with her new jewelry. Thank you customs.... ;P

Fourth, our dear friend Stephanie put together a 'love'-ly treasury and kindly included me in it. It's always nice to be featured in a treasury. There's always that chance you're going to be on the front page (and they're just so fun).

Fifth, a necklace of mine was featured on in their Daily Ditties section! Talk about surprised! I was thrilled. I don't know how many people actually saw it but I was emailed yesterday that it appeared there on September 13th. After this week it will be archived, so at least I got to see it while it was there. It made me happy! This is the screenshot of it:

Sixth, I bought an ad on the site for next week. Look for me there!

Seventh, I hit 600 hearts today!

And rained today. For the first time since Kevin and I have come back from the mountains in August it rained. It hasn't been a lot of rain, but it's rain nonetheless. It has been in the 90s here each day and it's just miserable. No rain at all. Sometimes we'd get clouds, lightning and thunder, but not a drop of rain here at my house. Everything is brown and the grass crunches under your feet. No flowers in my yard and I'm afraid it's going to stay that way. I'm not using our precious water just to keep my dead flowers alive that will come back next year if I'm lucky. If they don't, no big loss. The water is by far more precious. We have to pay for our water. City water. So I try not to use any more than I have to. Besides that, it just makes sense. We're in a severe drought. Save the water. The plants can die. So today, it rained!

And the temperature finally lowered itself into the mid 80s. What a relief. The A/C in my Jeep doesn't work so well in the high 90s. When I get in it to go pick Kevin up from school it's sweltering inside and too hot to touch the steering wheel. I have a black interior which doesn't help. But now fall is on its way and the cooler weather with it. I'm so looking forward to that. So is Kevin. Let it rain all it wants to, and then some.

Oh, and I almost forgot, a picture I took last year of a sweetgum seed pod sitting atop my boulder in the back yard is going to appear in a Charlotte magazine called "BanktownU$A" and it will be hitting the streets next week! Apparently it's just a tiny little picture, probably the size of an avatar or something, but it will have a link to my Flickr photos! How cool is that?!

That's it gang. It's been a while since I wrote. I do apologize. I've been depressed and keeping myself busy trying to get ready for the showcase. I'll try to get back into the swing of things here shortly. (And Shannon, I have not forgotten you tagged me so I'll get to that as well. I have a long middle name and I'm still working on it!)

Things get better. Life goes on....


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Little Laughter in the Forums

This morning I was cruising around in the Etsy forums, reading this and that, finding pertinent threads that I might add my two cents worth to, etc., and make an appearance. Then I came upon this uplifting, hilarious thread, posted by BSBCreations. I thought I might share it with you. For those who don't want to follow the link to the forums I'll just copy and paste her post here:

"I got this from a wonderful friend and had to share! Have a nice day!

Q: How many forum members does it take to change a lightbulb?

  • 1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed
  • 14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently
  • 7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs
  • 1 to move it to the Lighting section
  • 2 to argue then move it to the Electricals section
  • 7 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs
  • 5 to flame the spell checkers
  • 3 to correct spelling/grammar flames
  • 6 to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb"
  • 6 to flame them
  • 2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp"
  • 15 know-it-alls who claim they were in the industry, and that "light bulb" is perfectly correct
  • 19 to post that this forum is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb forum
  • 11 to defend the posting to this forum saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this forum
  • 36 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty
  • 7 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs
  • 4 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL's
  • 3 to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group
  • 13 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"
  • 5 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy
  • 4 to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"
  • 13 to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs"
  • 1 forum lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now and start it all over again."

I about peed my pants! :)

Have a good day!

Friday, August 31, 2007

the face says it all...

the face says it all..., originally uploaded by msbellee.

The first day of kindergarten:
anxious, nervous, excited, apprehensive...

Oh, my dear Kevin,
what adventures await you my sweetpea.


We got up quite early this morning.
Earlier than ever before,
although we've been practicing for this day.

He ate his breakfast.
I made and packed his lunch.
He proceeded to get dressed.

getting ready for school

Bedhead as usual....

terrible bedhead

Barney knew something was different about today.
Not the normal routine. He was anxious and concerned.

Barney knows something's different about today...

We're going to miss our Kevin while he's
off to his first day of school.

Barney looks so sad

I told him to mind his manners,
and to remember to say the magic words:
'please' and 'thank you'.

I told him to make sure he shared.

I reminded him that he should treat people
the way he would want to be treated.

I told him to raise his hand if he had a question...

...and I told him I loved him.

And off he went,
escorted out of the car by a school aid,
his lunch sack over his shoulder
and his little backpack in his hand...

...and he didn't even look back.

I cried.

Many tears later, I'm still crying.

I miss him.

Barney misses him.

It's way too quiet.

I'm lonesome already.

But I have to get us ready to go to the beach today
so I don't have a lot of time to cry.
Today, distraction is a good thing.

I can't wait to hear how it went.

I'm sure he'll say "it was just fine."


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fiction Plane

This has absolutely nothing to do with parenting or jewelry or Etsy or anything. But I thought I'd share since I really liked it.

I found this group on You Tube. I looked at the singer's face. And when I heard the voice and saw the face I was totally amazed.

(Sorry about this broken link. I cannot get it to work. You can go to and search for "Fiction Plane" to see the "Two Sisters" video.)

I was astonished when I heard this group. They're called 'Fiction Plane'. The minute I heard them I was taken back to my days in college working at the record store on the strip in Knoxville. When I watched the video and heard them play, it was as if I was listening to the early days of the 'Police'. And now I know why. The lead singer/songwriter/guitarist/bass player is none other than Sting's son, Joe Sumner. Isn't it weird hearing them and not seeing Sting and the Police? But you can still almost see Sting when you look at his son. The resemblence is just uncanny. The voice and style of playing is even more uncanny. The apple certainly didn't fall far from the tree with this young man. And now I'm feeling sooooooooooo old! Sting's son in a band, and I liked it!

So what did you think? Do you like it? I just might have to go buy a new CD as a result of seeing and hearing this. It's been a while since I listened to anything but bluegrass and kid friendly stuff, but this was worth a second listen (and look, IMO). In college I used to listen to the Talking Heads, the Clash, the Police, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, etc., early 80's music (no disco though), and this took me back to that time when the Police was still young. I liked these guys a lot.

I wonder what Sting thinks of his son's music. I bet he hears and sees himself in his son. It's kinda cool how genes are passed on, isn't it? Wish I had those kinds of genes (and money) to pass on to my child, don't you?!

Well, that's all. I hope you have a good Sunday and a great week.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Touched By Enya

Last night (Saturday night) Kevin was watching Oban Star Racers on Jetix when at the very end of the show he ran to the TV and turned up the music. It was a very pretty melody, sort of new age and free sounding with lots of violins and harmonies. It sort of reminded me of Enya.

I asked him if he liked that music. He told me yes. I told him that if he liked that he would probably like Enya. I proceeded to go online and find this Enya video for him to watch and listen to the beautiful melody.

As I began playing it, he came running in. Then he stopped, dead in his tracks, and that's when I saw his face. His lip was quivering and he was beginning to cry! He looked at me and sort of laughed, but he still kept crying. He watched the video, mesmerized by it and the music. I asked him if he was ok. He nodded his head yes. I asked him if he wanted me to stop the music. He shook his head no. I asked him if he liked it. He sort of laughed and cried at the same time and said yes, he did. This music had touched his soul, I could tell. It was an amazing thing to see: my little 5 1/2 year old Kevin, standing there crying, being touched by music for the first time in his life. I'll never forget it.

He then sat on my lap in front of the computer and we watched the video together. I hugged him and stroked his head as he sat there cuddled with me crying. I couldn't believe how it got through to his heart. It was so sweet. He was so cute. He was so beautiful with the smile on his face and the tears on his cheeks. Then he turned around to me and said "I love you mommy". I threw my arms around him and hugged him as tight as I could and I cried right along with him. There we were, both crying and listening to Enya's Orinoco Flow! It must have been a sight to see, the two of us there, but to me it was one of the most touching experiences I've ever had with him. Instead of telling him to be careful not to run in the house, or to please put his toys away, or drink his milk, or go brush his teeth, I was sitting with all 62 pounds of him on my lap experiencing this lovely event with him. It was awesome.

When it was over he threw his arms around my neck and just balled! I asked if he liked Enya. "Oh yes, it's so pretty. Can we watch it again?" So I played it for him again. This time I asked him to listen for the violins and to listen to her voice. And the second time it still made him cry but not as much.

He eventually got all the tears out of his system and I found a place online that we could watch many more Enya videos. He hummed along with the melodies and sang along with them almost as if he'd heard them before, but I know he hasn't. He just filled himself up with her music, watching the videos one by one, over and over again. The rest of the night we sang 'sail away, sail away, sail away'. It's a very pretty tune.

This experience was the most wonderfully moving thing I've ever shared with Kevin. He has a very sensitive and expressive soul. Enya's music filled him with joy and touched him like nothing else has before. I got to experience that with him. I am so thankful for getting to share her music with him.

I love you Kevin. You make my heart smile.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quacker Fat Cat, 1989(?)-2007

Quacker Fat Cat, 1989(?)-2007, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Quacker, my mother's cat, did not come back in today after going outside this morning. That's very unusual for this cat as he's a homebody and likes to be inside most of the time, especially when it's this hot. Well, sadly, we believe Quacker has probably gone on his way to the Rainbow Bridge.

My mother has always had cats. She has never sought them out however; they somehow always find their way to her. There must be a neon sign outside her house that only cats can see saying "All Felines Welcome." Sometimes there is a vacancy and sometimes there isn't. But somehow they always manage to come at just the right time. Whenever she has an old cat, there always seems to be a young cat waiting in the wings to take up residency in its place, should something happen. This was the case with Quacker.

All my life there has been a cat or cats at her house. Some cats my mom inherited from her children, me included. But a lot have come to live here on their own, just appearing. Some have ended up staying for many, many years, living the rest of their lives out here with her. My mother has never turned one away. She is the patron saint of stray cats. I admire her for that.

Nobody ever knew how old Quacker was. He, too, just appeared one day about 18 or so years ago, already grown when he came. At one time my mother had five cats, Quacker among them I believe. Slowly, one by one, something happened to them: cancer, kidney failure, old age, arthritis, stroke. And then my mother was down to one cat: Quacker. He had always been an outdoor cat...until last year. She finally let him come in after all these years and after all her other cats and dogs were gone. And Quacker just thrived inside, loving every minute of it. He'd snuggle next to her in the recliner, clawing her when he'd purr; he'd sleep on her bed or on the big chair in the living room; he'd let you know when he wanted out; he'd let you know when he wanted in. And he had a purr you could hear in the next room. It truly sounded like a motor running. He got his name from the way he meowed. It sounded like a duck more than cat. Therefore he was called Quacker. But he was always laid back and calm.

Quacker developed a cataract last summer. It was the first real sign of his aging. But he was always fat. He was as big as a groundhog. Often times he was mistaken for one out in the driveway. He would sleep on top of mom's car, or anybody's car for that matter. He would lay in the sun and soak up the sunshine. He was a very laid back cat. It tickled me how he related to Barney, my dachshund. He was Barney's buddy, as you can see from the picture. They were big buddies. Whenever we'd come to visit mom, Barney would always go say hello to Quacker, tail wagging and tongue licking at Quacker's face until Quacker had had enough and swat at him. Quacker never put his claws out though. He wasn't afraid of Barney. He was almost as big as Barney! They got along really well. All you had to do was talk to Quacker and he'd purr and then he'd 'quack', and then Barney would interrupt because Barney would get jealous. He'd come over and lick, lick, lick at Quacker's face until he'd had quite enough of the dog tongue and then swat at Barney. But there were other times when all Barney had to do was lick at Quacker and Quacker would start purring, until he got tired of it that is. Sometimes they would even sleep on the couch together. It was funny. They never 'fought like cats and dogs'. They were really very good buddies.

Then back in May a kitten came to my mother's house. Again, it just appeared from out of nowhere. I thought it was strange that one would appear as there was not a 'vacancy' in her house. (I'm now wondering if cats don't have a sort of sixth sense that tells them when another one is about to pass on. That would explain a lot of her cats coming on the heels of another's passing or just before.) The kitten stayed outside. It was wild. My mother eventually tamed it and it is now a very playful and fun kitten who loves people and is Kevin's best buddy. Barney, on the other hand, thinks it's prey and wants to chase it and bark at it. It bows up its back and its tail gets all bushy like a Halloween cat when Barney goes after it, but then the kitten just comes right back for more. (They say curiosity killed the cat. Well, it's most definitely going to kill this one!)

Quacker did not like the new kitten, hissing and smacking at it. But the kitten would come right back for more, chasing Quacker's tail and pouncing on it, only to get smacked and hissed at by Quacker. Dislike for the new youngster was written all over Quaacker's face and tail. He'd put his ears back and twitch that tail like "go away, kid, you bother me". But the kitten didn't care. The kitten has a LOT to learn.

For the past week Quacker had been not quite himself. His eating had slowed a bit and yesterday he was not himself at all. He seemed almost disoriented. He would sort of walk in a circle like he didn't know exactly where he was or something. It was weird. He wouldn't jump up on the chair to sit next to mom. He wouldn't really talk when you'd talk to him. He was not his normal Quacker self. Mom was going to take him to the vet today, but she never got the chance. She let him out this morning and we have not seen him since. He was usually always asleep in the chair outside on her porch. Or he would be laying in the driveway soaking up the sun. Or he would be on the hood of the car asleep. But not today. He was nowhere to be found. He just vanished.

I've heard that animals will sometimes go off and find a place when it's their time to go. We believe that is what he did. He always came back, especially being as old as he was and finally getting to be in the house after all this time. He relished finally being in the house. There was something wrong. Something really wrong. We could tell. And we know in our hearts that he is gone.

Barney will miss his buddy. We'll all miss his spirit. We will miss his 'quack'. And we will miss his purring like no other cat you've ever heard. We will just plain miss him.

Here's to you Quacker. You were a good ol' cat. The most laid back cat I've ever known and definitely the one with the loudest purr. We'll see you again at the Rainbow Bridge.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Heat Is On....

Just popped in to say hello to everyone! I hope everyone is having a great summer.

The heat is about to get to us all here. This morning it was like walking out into a sauna (it's not the heat, but the humidity; but it's hot as it can be too!). Fall is just around the corner and we will be wishing for warmer weather before you know it. Change is inevitable. Sometimes welcome, sometimes not. I look forward to the cool weather change.


We've been having fun here in the mountains at Granny's. Going outside to play with the kitten who came to stay is now a favorite thing to do. Kevin will miss him when we go back home.

The kitty is growing up fast (as is Kevin). 'Tigger' now has a little belly on him that's really cute, but he's getting taller and longer now so his kitten belly will soon be gone. He follows Kevin around like a little puppy. It's really funny. He will even get his feet wet when Kevin fills up his wheelbarrow to play in it. I thought that was strange for a cat. Of course, this kitten will also pounce on anything that moves...feet especially. You have to be careful when you walk that you don't trip on him! He's a funny cat.


I've discovered that trying to get a child ready to go to kindergarten for the first time is the easy part. Trying to get myself ready for the big day is quite another story. More on this later when I have more time....


After much thought, I still cannot decide which picture to use for a new avatar. And I'm leaning more toward staying with what I've got (I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that Stephanie!). For now (or until I have more time to ponder this matter) I'm staying with what I already have.

Thank you for all your opinions and input. I appreciate it. I may end up going with the green onyx brios later on down the road, but for now you'll still be able to recognize me with the white dancing pearls and blue topaz avatar.

(Stephanie, I agree. Change is hard. I think I just like my avatar the way it is! :) )

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Look What I Got!

I's my new handforged bronze ivy leaf from knitsteel over on Etsy! It's the coolest thing! I can't stop touching it to feel its surface texture. It's quite smooth and wonderfully crafted to say the least. The color is beautiful. I don't know what I was expecting but it is beyond my expectations.

This piece is very warm and rich, with a lustrous shine and beautiful contrasting dark patina. I have no idea what I'm going to use it for. It could be a pendant, keychain, talisman, etc., as Kirsten states in the description of these little beauties. Right now I just can't seem to put it down. I keep reaching for it and holding it, rubbing it with my thumb to feel it over and over again. It's just really, really great.

Kirsten makes truly unique and stunning works of art. You should visit her shop, her photos on Flickr, as well as her blog to find out more about her and how she makes these and all of her gorgeous pieces. (She is also a member of Etsymoms as am I.)

I feel lucky to have obtained this little work of art for myself, and I'm thinking about getting more for Christmas presents, they are so unique and wonderful.

Thank you Kirsten! I love it!

P.S. Kevin has now taken to calling this piece his 'lucky charm' and wants to keep for himself! I may just have to get another one so we can both have our own! :D

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Avatar Help

As stated in an earlier post, I'm thinking about changing my avatar. Here is what I have come up with. I put together a collage of thoughts and it includes my present avatar. Should it be something that is in my shop or would it be all right to use something that has sold already? Can I enlist your help in choosing a possible new one?