Sunday, September 27, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

Try and find your simple joys. It helps. Really.

This week, my simple joys...

~After a really long day and late night at work, I was driving home over a bridge and there was a light show going on all around me. There was no rain where I was driving, but apparently all of the areas around me were getting hit. The lightening was stunning.

~Earlier the same day, Scott and I were desperate for cookies for some reason. I got home that night, exhausted, to find that he baked us some chocolate chip cookies. He even picked up a bottle of wine for me. He loves me. =)

~My mom sent me a little surprise present in the mail. Happy surprise!

~My pussy cat, Jack, who squirms like a little kid when I try to cuddle with him, voluntarily cuddled with me a couple times this week. So cute!

~I unexpectedly received lesson one of Rosemary Gladstar's The Science & Art of Herbalism this week. I am so excited to begin my journey!!

~Loose leaf tea. There's serenity, health, and happiness in that.

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Finds is Postponed This Week

Instead of Friday Finds for today's blog post, Athena's Armoury will be offering Free Shipping! I recently decided to take the beginning steps in a change of career which included ordering Lesson One of Rosemary Gladstar's The Art and Science of Herbalism. Much to my surprise, I was excited to find it in my mailbox today. I opened up the envelope and was so excited that I could barely focus long enough to read the intoductory letter.

In celebration of my new endeavor, Athena's Armoury will be offering free shipping from now until midnight on Sunday, September 27, 2009 with coupon code: anewbeginning.

Thanks & happy shopping!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Custom Chain Maille Purse

This post has been a long time in coming..

I love doing custom work. I love taking inspiration from someone and working with them to create a piece perfect just for them.

I was approached by a woman to make a custom purse for her. She had an idea of the shape and feel that she wanted, so that's where we started. Because of the size of the bag, I wanted to keep it as low weight as possible so we decided to use bright aluminum since it is 1/3 the weight of steel. I hand coiled and cut the thousands of rings that were used. She wanted it to be reminiscent of the days of Camelot, so I suggested weaves in the European family. The picture above is the weave that we used: Gridlock.

This second picture will give you some idea of the depth of the bag. It was honkin'.

In the pictures below, you will see some of the details that were incorporated in to the design. The shot of the left shows a corner of the bag to give it structure. The shot on the right shows how the strap (a simple Euro 4-1) continued into the body of the bag for strength.

She also and her heart set on using dags (or daggers), so I used that element on the flap of the bag and a snowflake charm was the finishing touch.

I love the way this piece came out, but more importantly, my customer was thrilled. Have an idea for a custom piece? Let me know!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

My weekly simple joys have been alluding me lately. I usually make a point of taking note of my simple joys throughout the week, but things have either been busy or stupid a lot lately.

Here are a few joys thanks to Athena's Armoury:
**I finished a custom order for a chain maille finger ring this for a co-worker. I'll show it off with another blog post, but was thrilled to see how happy she was with it! Half an hour after giving it to her, she came by and said that she had already passed on my card to someone, is going to show off her ring to her cousins, and was thinking about ordering a necklace. Woohoo!
**Another coworker asked me to make a necklace for her husband's birthday present. It will be a thick Full Persian chain. So sweet that she asked me to do it for her!
**I sold a custom cuff bracelet to an old friend and a pair of breast cancer awareness earrings, too!

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Update on the Career Front

After spending the last couple of months searching want ads and coming up with nothing unless you're a nurse, in finance, a web page designer, or want to work in a convenience store... I started thinking about things that have simply drawn my interest. The one thing that has stuck with me since I started doing all of this soul searching is herbalism. I've always been into alternative medicine, am a huge proponent of yoga & meditation, am the recycling nazi in the house, I only use the all natural cleaning products that I make, and even make many of my own personal care products. I adore teas and am fascinated by the healing properties of herbs.

My little container herb garden. That's Jack peeking out the window.

The whole herbalism thing is something that I had been tossing around with Scott for a little while and I'm not sure he knew what to make of it until we went to visit Saint Augustine recently. We visited Old City Remedies which is housed in the Nation's Oldest Drugstore. They have an absolutely amazing assortment of teas and herbs and I was simply in heaven in there. Scott looked at me and said "You can do something like this." I was shocked, astounded, excited, and wishing I could have it right that second. And then my doubtful brain kicked in and I thought about how small businesses typically don't make any money the first couple years they're around. After thinking about it (let's face it: obsessing about it) for a couple of weeks, I finally decided to start reading my Small Business for Dummies book and I ordered Lesson One of Rosemary Gladstar's The Science and Art of Herbalism.

This is the first idea that I've loved since I started going crazy about all of this stuff recently, so I figured that I should go with my gut and give it a shot. I must admit, though, that it's incredibly intimidating to switch career paths to something completely different than anything I have ever done. It also feels like a tremendous risk to go into business for myself especially when we are so concerned about paying our bills. It is going to take training (herbalism & small biz training), research, and a lot of dedication but it's an area I feel strongly about, I would get to create daily in addition to the day to day business aspects, and get to be my own boss. I hope I don't hate it when I get there and I hope I don't get lazy in the process of trying to get there. It also didn't escape me that this isn't something that I can dive into and that I will be stuck at my sucky job for probably another year or so while all of this comes together. Here's to hoping that I can hold it together that long!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Finds - DIY Kits

I love learning new skills, doing things with my hands, creating... It truly makes me happy! There are so many wonderful kits and tutorials available to try, the hard part is deciding which one to try first. Here are a few that I've been dying to try. Pick them up before I do. You've been warned.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Finds - Herbal Inspiration

I've always been fascinated by herbs and all of their uses whether it be medicinal, spiritual, or culinary. My recent success in growing them in the Florida heat has been very encouraging. For this Friday Finds blog post, I'd like to share my love of nature and these amazing plants, with some items inspired by or created with herbs.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Finds - Women's Equality Day

Women's Equality Day was on August 26, but in the flurry of being busy at work, hating work, and being home trying not to think about work I was totally sidetracked and didn't have an opportunity to highlight it. For this week's Friday Finds, I'd like to highlight a few special women who broke through barriers.

For more on Susan B. Anthony, check out my Women's History Month feature on her here.

I love this artist's description of Marie Curie: "Marie Curie didn't just climb over sexist road blocks, she was like a wrecking ball demolishing assumptions about women and their skills and intelligence." Read more about her in the item description.

For some more info on Victoria Woodhull, check out my Woman Warrior post about her here.