Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last Minute Holiday Shopping? Priority Mail Upgrade!

I started my holiday shopping early in the hopes that I wouldn't have to deal with the hordes of people in stores and at the post office this late in the game, but alas I'm still there. I've still got two boxes to send out today and possibly one more later on.

So, in honor of those of you still shopping, I'm offering a free upgrade to Domestic Priority Mail shipping until December 20 at Athena's Armoury.

**However, I must have your order in by 10:00am (EST) on December 20 in order for me to have time to package it up and get to the post office before they close.**

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Been A Hell of a Year

The Room
We knew when we bought our house that we were probably going to have to fix the stucco on the extension that was put on the house. Little did we know that we'd have to literally tear down both walls of that room and totally rebuild them.

Dental Drama
I don't have any irrational fears except having to have a tooth pulled. And that is exactly what I had to do on Valentine's Day of this year. The bridge to fill in the pulled tooth is still not permanently attached because it's still giving me problems. Then, I find out I need another crown on the other side of my mouth. That, too, is attached temporarily for the time being while we wait to see if I need a root canal on that tooth.

My Jeep
Over the summer, I was without my Jeep for over a month because my battery died and the gear shift broke. The broken gear shift was a known problem that Chrysler was slow responding to which is why it took so long to get a replacement part. Then there was an issue with my fuel injection system.

It's December. The year is nearly complete. And problems with my Jeep surface. Again. The current problem is yet another known problem. This one Chrysler won't acknowledge. This problem has been around for so long that it actually has a nickname: The Death Wobble. Apparently, people notice a problem, fix something, and it goes away. For a little while. And the process repeats.

After much soul searching and finally coming to terms with the situation, I have decided that I must get rid of my beloved Jeep. This makes me sick for two reasons:
1. I love my Jeep.
2. It's already paid for. The thought of having to make yet another monthly payment right now is making me really sick.
But, in the long run, I think it's the right decision.

I think I've narrowed down my search to a used Toyota 4Runner. In doing some research, I've discovered that they are very hard to find used because they are such good vehicles, people very rarely get rid of them. I just want to whole situation over.

Here's to hoping that things turn around next year. . .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US!

In honor of this holiday shopping weekend ALL orders (my Etsy shop: Athena's Armoury) received by midnight (EST) on Monday, December 1st will have a choice between free shipping or a pair of gemstone and sterling silver earrings. Please let me know which you'd like in the Notes to Seller Section when you check out. If you choose free shipping, either wait until I send you a revised invoice before you pay or if you beat me to it and pay first, I'll refund your shipping via Paypal.

Thank you so much and have a happy, healthy turkey day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Little Lightbulb Went Off

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

I've heard that expression before but never really thought much about it. I just thought that it sounded like one of those motivational sayings that should be under a picture of mountains or something. Recently, however, I heard the saying again but this time it was just a few days before what I was anticipating to be a trying week and it finally occurred to me how much it makes sense.

Think about it: We may not have control over everything that happens to us, but we do control our own reaction. Why waste the energy getting upset about something you have no control over. Get up and do something about it.

That, my friends, is power.

That phrase became my mantra leading up to and during what could have been a Hellish week and I really think it helped.

I leave you with a motivational poster I got for my man once upon a time (he likes Wolverine):

"Some people want it to happen. Some people wish it to happen. Others tear down the walls of resistance and make it happen."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Handmade Holiday Bazaar Post Mortem - Better Late Than Never

Post Mortem = After Death. When I went to school for directing, we would have an analysis with our instructors and mentors after each show we would direct. This was called a Post Mortem.

I had such a wonderful time at the Handmade Holiday Bazaar!! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, the live music was so groovy and such a nice extra, the food (from Limey's) was so yummy, and the women in charge (Stacey of ElleBelle & Julie of SewItsForYou) are the BEST (couldn't ask for nicer or more organized). It was so great meeting so many fellow Etsians: both fellow vendors and others stopping by the event to visit: it's nice being able to put a face to the name. I also had a fabulous time chatting with my customers - so many friendly, gracious, and complimentary people! The event was not a huge monetary success for me (I hear the economy is keeping most customers from spending at the craft fairs recently), but I had so much fun anyway it was so worth it.

Scott came with me in the morning to help me set up my tent: it was the first time I was using it. It's a good thing he came, too, I can't imagine how I would have done it alone. As it is, Dan (Stacey of ElleBelle fame's husband) had to help us figure it out (thank you!). I had every intention of having a setup rehearsal before the show, but was never able to get it done. It's super easy now that we know how to do it! Shortly after setup, Scott had to head to work which left me on my own for tear down which was fine until I had to take down the tent. Enter Doug (Mr. Julie of SewItsForYou) who helped me take it down and carry my stuff to my Jeep (thank you!).

I had a plan to make weights for my tent, too: The event was in a parking lot so I figured I might need them since I couldn't use the stakes. I had the plan and Scott put them together for me so that I could focus on inventory and display. The plan: Four lengths (one for each leg) of PVC were filled with sand (Scott's idea, I thought of using quikcrete), add endcaps to them with some adhesive and the weights were all set! They worked like a charm, too: I was at one end of the parking lot and it kind of turned into a wind tunnel late in the day. I watched my display plaques blowing in the breeze and the top of the tent looked like it wanted to take flight, but luckily enough it stayed grounded. I do have to think about a way of securing the display plaques for the future, though. Although nothing happened that day, I can see them hitting someone if I ever have to deal with more wind.

Speaking of wind. . . Between the breeze and the sun going down, by the end of the day it was getting a bit chilly. I didn't want to put on my coat, though, because it would have covered up the majority of the chain maille I was wearing. Problem solved easily enough, though. I had been eying the adorable hats, scarves, and dolls by Wonderland Creations and the cool weather gave my the perfect excuse to grab my own monster scarf (there are pockets in tha paws!):

Nitty gritty self analysis:
I need to work on my tent and display. I love my display plaques and hope to use more of them in my tent display in the future (I used four out of the six I had made). In addition to coming up with new ways of showing items on the tables, I want to have one more table and maybe a rack or just something else interesting to look at. Also, if I plan on doing ren faires and pirate festivals, I will probably wind up using three walls, so I need to work on how to make the inside of the walls look interesting as well as a way to camouflage the top of the tent. I may have to recruit my MIL who has crazy sewing skills to help.

Another plus was my armor: many people were drawn into my tent simply out of curiosity when they saw my coif and mantle. Of course nobody at the craft fair bought armor, but it served the exact purpose I brought it for: to be eye catching. Once they were in, two things happened:
1. They started looking at my other work.
2. They asked questions about the armor which led to a greater appreciation of chain maille.

I loved* it when they asked questions because it gave me the perfect opportunity to take out a piece of wire and explain that every single ring in every single piece in my tent started from that. I explained to them that I coiled and cut all of my own rings before I was able to weave them into the pieces they saw before them.

I also had my pliers with me so that I could demonstrate the weaving process. I was making some more of the samples that I give out with my purchases:
The weave is Tao 3 made with bright aluminum wire and can be used as a pendant, zipper pull, cell phone charm, key chain, thing-a-ma-bob. I had sent in twenty of these biz card/samples for the goody bags given away to the first customers that had shown up that day.

Overall, it was an excellent day and I really hope that Stacey and Julie organize another one!

PS -
Dear Blog,
I know I've been neglecting you. I am sorry. I will update more regularly, I promise. I promise to tell you about more women warriors, I know how much you love to learn about them. I also want to share with you some of the amazing Etsy items I've gotten recently. And maybe more fun than anything else: I've had the good fortune to receive a few giveaways recently (I never win anything and have been graced with a few!). I plan on spreading the good karma and will start to have a blog giveaway soon, too!
Thank you for being so understanding,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Handmade Holiday Bazaar on Sunday!

Come visit Athena's Armoury on Sunday at the Handmade Holiday Bazaar in St. Pete, FL. Here are the nitty gritty details:

Sunday, November 9, 2008
10:00am - 6:00pm
At Fiberologie
411 15th Ave N
Admission is Free

I'm so excited about this show! I've got a bunch of new inventory not yet available in the shop to bring with, a fantastic new display (still finishing it up, but it should be done by Sunday. . .), it's the first time I'm using my tent, and I'm doing a chain maille demo.

New items include earrings, pendants, bracelets, ornaments, mojo bags, hackey sacks & juggling balls, even new armor.

For my demo, I'll be chatting a little bit about the history and uses of chain maille and demonstrating how to coil and cut jump rings by hand. If I have time, I'll also demonstrate a simple weave and some variations of it. My demo is at 4:30 in the Fiberologie classroom. There are other fun demos and make and takes scheduled throughout the day, so be sure to check them out here. I'm sure I'll be playing with pliers in my tent, too, so drop by and see what I'm working on.

ElleBelle and SewItsForYou have done a bang up job organizing the event and getting word out. They were even nice enough to feature each of the vendors at their blog. You can find mine here.

If you're local, I'd love to meet you! Drop by and say hi! Also, if you mention that you're one of my blog readers, get 10% off your purchase.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meet Gawain, My Male (or maille - *snort) Model

Mantle available in the shop soon.

Well, I couldn't call him Arthur or Lancelot -- that's waaaaaaay too obvious.

I rescued Gawain from the depths of the theatre where I work. He appeared to be abandoned and unloved for quite some time (evidenced by the somewhat unclean fabric and marks at the neck).

Today, Gawain is modeling the mantle I made forever ago and was waiting for the perfect model to try it on. The mantle was woven using historical methods of weaving in Euro 4-1 (bright aluminum with copper trim).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

BusyBusyBusy: Stock, Storage, Tent, and Inspiration to Boot!

I have been so incredibly busy lately stocking up my inventory as I get ready to vend at the Handmade Holiday Bazaar in a month! One of the many new items that will be available at the fair will be these adorable (if I may say so myself) little Christmas Tree Ornaments:

They are made using the Japanese 12-2 weave in anodized aluminum. I still have to add a handmade ornament hook and then they are all done. They'll make their debut in my Etsy shop after the fair!

Last weekend, I spent about eight hours one day and another two the next coiling and cutting rings. There were quite literally thousands of various gauges and sizes by the time I was done and my wrists were a little sore, too.

All of this prep work has had me digging through all of the little plastic baggies that I keep my rings in quite a bit. And getting a bit frustrated when I couldn't find what I was looking for only to cut some new rings and then go back to find that I already had some. The plastic baggie system was not working for me. I've known this for quite some time, but just couldn't find a happy alternative. I had been avoiding using tackle boxes for a few reasons: the compartments are rarely big enough for the amount of rings that I usually have on hand in any given size, the separators are usually removable which means that the rings slip under them and get all mixed up, the whole lid opens and thus doesn't seal each compartment well (mixing rings again), plus when the whole lid opens instead of each individual one, a klutz like me can easily spill a few thousand rings all over the place (not fun).

I found these boxes at Joann's yesterday for 40% for their Columbus Day weekend sale. Yeah, the compartments are still a bit small, but each individual compartment opens by itself and they all lock shut! Its so easy to search through my sizes now: they are organized by gauge and increasing ring size in both imperial and metric. Sure, I still have my large baggies full of the rings I use for large projects, but this is sooooooo much easier and more organized.

I only got three to see if I like them (it was hardly enough to organize my stock of bright aluminum rings). . . I may have to get some more.

I also got the makings of my tent weights today. Since this is the first fair I'm using my tent at and it happens to be taking place in a parking lot (no stakes in the ground here!), I found I had to deal with this sooner rather than later. I had been absorbing ideas from various forum threads on Etsy for a while and finally decided to go with sand filled PVC tubes. I thought that this was a great, low-profile way since they will be attached to the legs of the tent and not protrude too terribly much: I was concerned that someone might trip on a water filled milk jug. I still have to cut the PVC, attach the end caps, and fill them but that's a job for another day.

I was talking with a woman I work with the other day about the power of positive thinking. She firmly believes that if you put it out there (not "I wish" or "I want", but rather "I will") it will happen. I thought it strange that while wondering around Joann's I happened upon this vinyl wall art and immediately thought of our conversation. I though the universe was telling me something.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Visit The Armoury

I am very excited to announce that you'll be able to visit Athena's Armoury in person at the Handmade Holiday Bazzar! I'll be selling all of my maille goodies from the shop plus some more not yet listed including some holiday ornaments and all kinds of fun, funky earrings. I'll also be giving a demo on how to coil and cut your own jump rings and a short tute on how to make a basic weave and some variations that can be done to it. Fiberologie, Elle Belle, and Sew It's For You are all doing various demos and workshops as well! It sounds like it's going to be a really fun day and I'm so looking forward to it.

More info to come as the date gets closer, but for now here's some info from the Handmade Holiday Bazaar blog:

Stacey of Elle Belle, Julie of Sew It's For You, and Karrie of Fiberologie have partnered to create, promote, and host a venue for funky, crafty, non-traditional art sorts of things, the Handmade Holiday Bazaar!

Event Details:

Sunday Nov. 9th from 10am – 6pm

Karrie is hosting the event at Fiberologie, a super cute contemporary fabric shop in a 1920s house off 4th St. N. in St. Pete next to Limey's. (411 15th Ave. N)

Admission is free

35 local artisans will be selling their wares and demos/workshops are planned throughout the day.

We’re excited about giving St. Pete a handmade alternative to mass manufacturing and old school craft shows!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Metalhead Gets a Sewing Machine

Over the summer, I kept seeing all kinds of fun crafty projects that required the use of a sewing machine. I also kept thinking about options for decorating my tent. Well, yours truly, a self proclaimed UNdomestic chick and metalhead, decided to get a sewing machine. Inspiration struck in the form of Freecycle - it's free and being saved from a landfill: you can't go wrong! A couple of weeks after posting my want ad, I was contacted by a woman who had gotten a new
machine for Christmas and was finally getting around to doing something with her old one. I went to pick it up the next day and she included all kinds of stuff for me: extra bobbins already threaded, all kinds of extra feet, a plastic thing you put the pedal in so it doesn't move around, and (thankfully) the manual. She even sat me down for half an hour for a little lesson just showing me the basics. She was such an awesome, generous woman! I am so grateful to have received this and for the time she spent with me.

About a week or so after having received it, I was practicing just sewing straight lines and all of a sudden it stops, red lights start flashing, and all Hell breaks loose. I have no idea what happened. Can't figure it out. And it's still not a happy camper. Luckily, Scott's mom (a sewing machine pro) is back in FL and hopefully, I'll be able to hit her up for some help. I'd really love to get some more practice and play time in so I can start using my new toy to make stuff. Weeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kitty Injustice

Allow me to introduce you to Black Kitty (so named by my neighbor). She has a heartbreaking story. Her family used to live a few houses down from us, but they got divorced, moved out, or otherwise relocated. So, what did they do with her? They threw her out on the street. The people in the next house over eventually took pity on her and brought her in. Until they got a dog. Black Kitty and Jake the Dog did not get along. So, what did they do? They threw Black Kitty on the street. The people in the next house, my neighbors, have not brought her inside, but they do at least feed her. I just don't understand this. Why do people do this? It would never have occurred to her second set of owners to throw the dog out into the street, so why is it okay to throw the poor little pussycat out there? It makes me so sad and so upset to know what she has been through. Do you think these people know that an average outside cat's life expectancy is only 2-3 years? Or perhaps these people don't care?

This hits particularly close to home because I believe my little (well, not so little: he's 13 lbs.) Jack has a very similar story. He had been fixed and declawed and then abandoned. Because someone took away his claws and then threw him outside, he had no way of defending himself and is now sick with FIV. FIV is AIDS in cats and is spread through a scratch or bite. Cats with FIV will lead a long (although, not as long if they were not sick) and healthy life as long as they remain healthy. Feline leukemia is actually closer to human AIDS. It breaks my heart to know that he's sick because of the stupidity and lack of compassion of his former humans. When my vet first told me that Jack has FIV and I started asking questions, she said that many other people would simple have had him put to sleep. I just don't understand that either. He's still the same sweet kitty that I fell in love with, I just have to take a little special care in the event he gets sick. His quality of life is just as good as a healthy cat. My vet said that he was very lucky to have found me. I feel like the lucky one.

If you feel as strongly as I do about this kitty injustice and want to display your feelings, check out julep115's Etsy Shop:

In other news: "The Room" is coming along. The sealant is on the stucco and the corner where the birdcage attaches has been painted, so now our contractor can come back and put the lanai back together. Once he's done with that, we can finally have the final inspection done. We will still need to paint the remainder of the exterior walls, paint the trim work on the interior, and finish up some furniture to be done in there for the time being. There's still two more big things to do: we need to replace the laminate flooring in there (the water damage was so extensive that it's basically turned into speed bumps) and deal with the landscaping so that we can get the standing water away from the house. Damn, we're poor.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Darkening of the Days

The Autumnal Equinox is upon us, dividing the day and night equally, preparing us for the long, dark days of winter. I am ever grateful for the bright, energetic days of summer and the revitalizing feeling of the powerful sun. But, I also equally look forward to the period of rest and reflection that comes with the darker days of winter.

This time of year, although busy at work, is a nice winding down period at home as I prepare to hibernate and stay indoors more for the coming colder (yes, even in Florida it gets a bit cooler) months. This time of year, the cyclic nature of the universe serves as a reminder that endings are also beginnings. That although things may become dark, there is yet a sense of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

This is the perfect time for balance since the day and night are of equal length. It is a time to focus on eliminating the bad and strengthening the good. Let your baggage go and know that for every dark night of the soul, there will be a sunrise the next morning.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Etsy Convo's Downtime

In case you haven't already heard. . . Etsy is doing some "necessary site maintenance" to a few features this weekend: convo's (Etsy's internal messaging system), Alchemy, Kiss and Make Up, and Filing New Non-Delivery of Goods Reports. From Etsy:

"The maintenance will take place from 7pm Sunday, September 21 to early morning on Monday, September 22 (Eastern Daylight Time). During this time, all Convos will be inaccessible. However, none of your Convos will be deleted and will reappear intact after the site maintenance."

The engineers are using for status updates. For more information, check out the Storque Post.

In the meantime, if you need to reach Athena's Armoury, feel free to leave a comment here or send an e-mail to Janine [at] AthenasArmoury [dot] com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Athena's Armoury Newsletter

I'm very excited to announce that Athena's Armoury will now have a newsletter! Rest assured, it is not my intention to make an annoyance of myself. Just a little update sent out periodically (maybe once a month) letting you know about new product lines, new weaves being offered, events at which you can find the Armoury vending, as well as specials only available to newsletter subscribers. I'd really love for the sign up to be over there in the right hand column, but I haven't quite figured out how to make it fit (yes, I'm a bit HTML challenged). So, for now, if you'd like to sign up for the newsletter, head on down to the very bottom of this page and fill in your info. The first newsletter probably won't go out for another month or so, to hopefully give some people a chance to sign up. (Legal mumbo jumbo: Your information will never be sold or shared. If ever you'd like to opt out of receiving the newsletter, simply reply to the e-mail with the word 'unsubscribe' in the subject line.)

Also, I mentioned a few posts ago about a new product line coming to the Armoury. Well, I just picked up a new set of tools specifically for it.

I love these little stamps and can't wait to play with them!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Les Misbarack - Brilliant

Okay, so I try not to be too terribly personal or political in my posts, but I have to make an exception today. The theatre geek in me is making me. I present to you:

Les Misbarack

You can also find some very, ahem, unique supporter buttons here. For example:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chainmailler's Guild Street Team on Etsy

I'm very excited that we finally have a street team on Etsy just for us maillers! It's a very talented and supportive group that I'm proud to be a part of.

We have our very first contest open for voting right now, so go check it out! You can vote for your two favorites (ironically, I have two entires in this contest. . . hint, hint) and if you leave your contact info in the comment section, you have the chance to win a prize just for voting. There really are some amazing pieces in the contest. The entries are anonymous, so check back in two weeks to find out who won and which shop (besides the Armoury, of course. . . hint, hint) has your favorite pieces. Click here to vote.

Another exciting happening with the guild is a trunk show this weekend in the Etsy virtual labs. I'm hoping to be able to show not just examples of my work, but also some pictures of how to coil and cut rings by hand. Check out the info below. Can't wait to see you there

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sneak Peek: New Mojo Bag Line

I'm very excited to share a little sneak peek of a new line at Athena's Armoury: Mojo Bags containing healing stones. The idea started with this Spirit of the Sea Mojo Bag:

I listed this at the beginning of the summer as a talisman for beach lovers to keep a little bit of the sea with them all the time. There's a chunk of violet sea glass on the inside with a cowrie shell adorning the outside. Plus, there are a few small holes at the top where the rings aren't all connected if you want to add a couple small treasures of your own to the bag.

As the summer progressed, I gained a renewed interest in the healing properties of crystals and stones. I was trying to think of a simple way to carry these powerful amulets when the idea struck me to incorporate them into these little bags.

I ordered some fantastic stones from No Stone Left Unturned and received them yesterday. They are gorgeous. I was immediately drawn to them and couldn't wait to get started working on them:

But this is just a little sneak peek! You'll have to wait a little while longer before they are done and available in the shop!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fleamarkets Are A Haven for Display Items

shhhhh. . . You can see some stuff I've been working on in the background. Soon available in the shop.

Scott and I hit a local flea market yesterday. He's always got something in mind to look for, and I'm usually looking for unique display items or stuff that I could upcycle. Yesterday I found this awesome old typesetter's box. I fell in love with the old wood and little compartments. Once it's cleaned up a little bit, it will be perfect for displaying pendants or other smaller items.

I also saw a half mannequin there that I'm still deciding whether I should have picked up. The stand was wood, but the bust itself was plastic with fabric covering it. The fabric was a bit ripped, but I probably could have gotten my sewing wiz MIL to fix it or make a new one for me. It was a female bust and the guy was asking $20. I have access to a very similar male bust for free. Damn. I should have gotten it.

Here's another little something coming to the Armoury soon.

Dragonscale Bracelet in Bright Aluminum

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Have a Good Excuse for Being MIA, I Swear

I kept a sort of photo diary as things were progressing at my flickr account.

Okay, I know I've been MIA for even longer than usual. Let me explain. Doing work on the house is a bitch. When we bought our house, we saw some cracks in the stucco on the wall where a wood extension was added on to our block house. Our inspector checked for moisture inside the room and said that the cracks were probably just due to the addition settling. Yeah, well, we went through a period of A LOT of rain recently and this particular room started to flood. Needless to say, we wound up having to deal with it sooner than we had planned.

We had to demolish two walls, replaced both of the weight bearing beams and the post on that side of the house, and rebuild EVERYTHING. The good news is that we got a bigger window and now know that it is built right and is structurally sound. The bad news is that we spent our vacation time home babysitting the work being done (we took turns being home, off and on for about a month) thus not really having any kind of relaxing vacation time and the cost (we are so very poor right now). Other bad news is that the lovely wood laminate flooring that was in that room now needs to be replaced due to the water damage of the room flooding a few times before we were able to get it fixed; and that we still have a standing water issue around that part of the house and unless we get that taken care of, all of this work will be for naught. But, BIGGER window! STRUCTURALLY SOUND!! Sigh. . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Eco Tip: Skin Deep

I've always been concerned about our environment and conscious about the things I put into my body, but in recent years I've also become more aware of the things I put onto my body. Your skin is your largest organ and whatever is put on it seeps in and can affect the rest of you. I've more and more been making an effort to use personal care products with all natural, organic ingredients. I've been a long time fan of Lush (especially their bath products), but also like to support my crafty sistas, too.

I've been known to indulge in bath products as well mineral cosmetics from Lollibomb. By the way, Luca (of Lollibomb fame) is a doll and her products are amazing. I had gotten her six month subscription and had so much fun opening a box of goodies every month.

I also fell in love with the Veggie Deodorant originally offered by Sugar Lips who passed the torch onto Wicked Clean.

Pink Quartz Minerals has the best ever under eye concealer called Goldenrod (I use this stuff religiously).

Lately, though, I've been taking matters into my own hands.
Above, you see some awesome sugar scrub that I talked about in a previous post, some baking soda style 'tooth paste', a vinegar rinse for my hair, and some lemon hairspray. The vinegar rinse works great, but took a little getting used to (my hair went through an adjustment dealing with the different ph). As I mentioned, I love this sugar scrub. I'm still deciding on the lemon hairspray: my hair is either super fly away crazy or kind of gunky when I use it. Since it goes from one end of the spectrum to the other, it may be another factor (like the weather), so I'm giving it some more time. So far as the tooth paste goes, my teeth have never been whiter and I love how clean and not chemically they feel. My only concern is the lack of a protective ingredient in it. I have read that there's more fluoride in tap water than ever before, so does that mean I'm getting all the fluoride my teeth need through my drinking water now?

**Did you know that only 11% of ingredients in beauty products undergo premarket safety tests? If this concerns you (it certainly does me), check out Skin Deep. First launched by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group in 2004, the website provides information on more than 25,000 personal care products and nearly 7,000 ingredients. Searchable by brand, type, and ingredient, the site ranks products according to known risks. Ever question the wisdom of appying chemicals like phenoxyethanol to your delicate skin? I would.**

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blog / flickr Mosaic Game

Blog Game
Originally uploaded by Athena's Armoury
Thanks to my friend Cat over at The Green Cat blog, I discovered this fun little game. Because I love flickr, here we go:

The Game:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image. (Like Cat, I can be a bit of a rebel, too, so I also used whatever page I waned--so there!)
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Janine
2. What is your favorite food? Italian (duh)
3. What high school did you go to? Farmingdale
4. What is your favorite color? blue (used to be purple, then black, now. . .)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Harrison Ford
6. Favorite drink? mmmm. . . beer (well, that's the fave 'drink' drink, I also love water, tea, coffee)
7. Dream vacation? Italy (or just about any beach)
8. Favorite dessert? rainbow cookies!!
9. What you want to be when you grow up? This is tough as my career path continues to evolve. I think I'm going to take a cue from Cat on this one: Happy.
10. What do you love most in life? Freedom
11. One Word to describe you. Here's two: Woman Warrior.
12. Your flickr name: Athena's Armoury

Athena's Armoury is Awarded the Arte Y Pico

Thanks to All About Cats for giving me the Arte Y Pico award! This award recognizes a blog's creativity and overall contribution to the blogger community. Thank you!!

Once you've been selected, please follow these guidelines and pay it forward:

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.

2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.

4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the Arte y Pico blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Please post these rules!

Okay, so I'd like to award the following five blogs:

1. The Green Cat
2. MrsDragon
3. Handforged by Kirsten Skiles
4. Battlemaiden Studio
5. The Happenings at Up from the Ashes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team Charity Event

I am a proud member of the Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team: it is a fantastic group full of friendly and supportive as well as amazingly talented fantasy artists. Right now, we're trying to support one of our team members who is going through an extremely trying time. Nora of the Etsy shop Nora Blansett has undergone some very serious surgeries and continues to undergo treatment and further surgery. It is hard to explain just how much she has been through without disclosing details, but suffice to say my heart goes out to her and her family.

A long, long time ago, our team endeavored to do a round robin project. We had two teams working on two separate fairy dolls: a Light Doll and a Dark Doll. We decided that we wanted to auction off the Dark Doll (I contributed a chain maille breastplate to her) in honor of Nora. All proceeds from the sale of the Dark Doll will go straight to Nora to help pay her doctor's bills. Right now, the Dark Doll is getting some finishing touches put on her by a team member, but once she's done, I'll post some pictures and tell you how you can place a bid.

In the meantime, the amazingly talented Valorie of Battlemaiden Studios has done an original watercolor called Brief Respite which is currently up for auction at her blog. The auction will end at 11:59PM July 15th. At that time, Valorie will list the painting in her Etsy shop for sale to the high bidder. Shipping to the US is $5. To win, just comment at her blog with your bid. Be sure to check back and make sure you haven't been out-bid. Be sure to include your E-mail address so she can contact you if you're the high bidder. Want to contribute, but can't necessarily afford an original? You can also buy a print or bookmark from the Nora Section of Battlemaiden's Etsy shop.

Thank you so very much in advance!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Three Happy Surprise Features!

I just very happily discovered that Athena's Armoury is featured in not one, not two, but three different places over the course of the last few days!

First, I received a notice through Blog Catalog from FishHawk informing me that I was featured in his Five for Friday feature. FishHawk says: "FIVE FOR FRIDAY is a weekly feature on this blog that is meant for the SOLE purpose of calling attention unto sites that I think that many would find interesting." He featured my Euro 4-1 stainless steel bracelet with lovely lavender glass dangles:

Thank you FishHawk!!

I was just scrolling through the referring URL's of people who visited my blog and noticed that quite a few people were coming from two different places over the course of the last few days: Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and The Scarlett Rose Garden.

The Scarlett Rose Garden is a totally charming blog featuring (among other things) fantastic vintage clothing. Nikki at Scarlett featured my blog post on Rosie the Riveter for her "How to look Rosie for the 4th!" blog post.

Thank you Scarlett Rose Garden!!

And lastly, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories did a fantastic tutorial on how to make your own DIY d12 Handbag (of Holding) . In their intro, they linked back to my blog post featuring the alternative use of my Chain Maille Dice Bag as an evening purse.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quizes, DIY Videos, and Boredom

It's been a very, very slow day at work for me. I've literally spent the entire day taking online quizes and watching DIY videos at Threadbanger.

The first quiz of the day informed me that:

53% Geek

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

The last quiz I took, determined which Tarot card I am:

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?Take the Test to Find Out.

Yup, I'm bored. . .

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summertime Lull

This blog entry is a part of the Blog Carnival for the EtsyBloggers Street Team.

Summer is notoriously slow for theatre. That said, we are able to do some prep work for the coming season and some maintenance that there wasn't time for while we're 'in season.' But we also spend a lot of time hanging out, drinking coffee, surfing the internet, and hiding from the folks in the Ivory Tower. I personally am lucky enough to have an office, so I plan on closing my door for a little while in the morning and then again in the afternoon so I can play with pliers. I'm hoping that the summertime lull will be a good time for me to continue building up my inventory as I prepare for ren faires! I was starting to think about the amount of goods I want to have in my booth. I plan on having a good selection of one of a kind items, some stuff that needs to be ordered (armor and clothing), as well as piles of production line kind of stuff. I thought that something like 100 Euro 4-1 bracelets would be a good start. This is the weave, but the pile o' pretty will not include the dangles:
I plan on making a variety of ring sizes as well different thickness; and also using a variety of metals. Hmmmm. . . maybe 100 won't be enough. . .

Also, with the slower summer season, Scott will be around a bit more often, too. Unfortunately for him, that means he's got to catch up on all of the house fixes he's been putting off.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm Not Being Sponsored, I Just Really Like These DIY Websites

Just a couple more awesome, DIY websites brought to you by Athena's Armoury. . .

As you may remember, I tried my hand making a sugar scrub for the first time recently. It was so much fun to make and I loved the all natural ingredients. I've always been interested in 'natural' beauty and in recent years have become even more aware of the things I put on my body in addition to into it. Well, today I stumbled upon (literally, not through the Stumble Upon) There are so many recipes that I can't wait to try: Chocolate Milk Bath (sounds delicious, no?), Tea Tree Facial Lotion (Emu Oil is a natural sunscreen and the Tea Tree Oil helps fight off blemishes), All Natural Disinfectant (non-wood) Surface Cleaner (clean counters with no chemicals!), and so many more.

Plus, check out ThreadBangers for a new episode every Friday for some DIY fashion tips and how-to's so that you can create your own style instead of fashion dictated by the runway. They'll show you how to refashionize (their word) a shirt otherwise deemed ready for Goodwill or a landfill. But, they also have all natural beauty recipes (yup, that's how I got drawn in), jewelry organization techniques, backyard decor DIY style, wall decals. . . I can go on.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Just For Crafty Fun

Okay, so it's been a very, very long time since I've been to IKEA. Well, since I needed some furniture in my barren first apartment out of the dorms anyway. I remember it not necessarily being the highest quality, but I loved the simplicity of everything and, more importantly, the prices. Needless to say, when I found out that one would be coming to my area next year, I was ecstatic! Being a new home owner, we've got some empty to space to fill and, well, are a bit strapped for cash at the moment. Perfect.

Today, I stumbled upon a fantastic blog called IKEA Hacker. It's exactly what it sounds like: ways to hack goods from IKEA. There are ideas for transforming items so that someone can't point at it and say, "you got that at IKEA." But there are also tons of brilliant alternative use ideas here, too. Check it out and have fun! Awesome.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Solstice Shopping

In honor of the Summer Solstice tomorrow, I'd like to share with you the Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team's Midsummer Night's Dream Exhibition! There's a little something for everyone here: art, jewelry, art dolls, hair accessories, statues, ritual oil, bags, vases. . . I've got three items featured including my For a Good Cause: The Nature Conservancy Bracelet: $5 from your purchase of this bracelet will be donated to the Nature Conservancy. It's a gorgeous exhibition full of beautiful items from some very talented folks. The exhibition is maintained by the tremendously talented Kristin of the Etsy shop aquariann.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Warrior Women Need to Exfoliate, Too

I made a batch of yummy sugar scrub for Mother's Day last month for not only my mom, but also for my wonderful friend Julie (who's one year old is adorable) and myself (I have a fur baby: Jack). It is so scrum diddy deeelish! It is a combination of sugar (duh), olive oil, honey, lemon rind, green tea, and dead sea salts. Not only is it exfoliating, but so very moisturizing with the olive oil and the antioxidants make the green tea really great for the skin, too.

My mom suggested that I sell this at the faires, too. She's never been to a ren faire before and doesn't know that it's not like a regular craft fair where anything goes. People usually have a 'specialty' to their booth, if you will. But, I admit, I'm still thinking about her suggestion. It is so yummy and was so much fun to make. After all, warrior women need to exfoliate, too. . .

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fun with Power Tools

I spent an enjoyable afternoon yesterday in my theatre's shop. I was busy starting to build some of my display items for my booth. Yes, I have a long way to go still with inventory, but this stuff has to get done at some point, too. I had an idea that I loved and couldn't wait to get started on it.

I needed to create something eye catching that would draw people into my tent, but it also had to appear rustic to fit in at a renaissance festival. I kept being drawn back to using wood; I think it makes a good balance to all of the metal that will be in the tent.

My first stop was to Lowe's to pick up some panels of lovely (looking and smelling) cedar. Once I got to the shop, I drew a couple different sized oval templates (drawing an oval is bit more complicated than you would think!). I've used a band saw before, but this was my first time with a jigsaw. Big difference: with one you move the wood, with the other you move the tool. It took a little getting used to, but I'm proud to say that I didn't screw anything up too terribly in my learning curve. It just took me a bit longer than it would have say Scott who's been using the tool for twenty years. I cut out and sanded six large ovals and twelve that are a couple inches smaller. I plan to make strands of three each, connected with handmade chain, and attached to the pipes of my tent. Step one is complete.

I also have a grand plan to make my own wood burned sign for the outside of my tent, so I played around a little bit with my burner for the first time. Fun! Oh, and I got two compliments that just tickled me: "ooh, pretty girl with power tools" and one of the guys compares me to one of my heroes none other than Rosie the Riveter.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trying to Make Nice with a Little Sparkly

My blog isn't talking to me right now. She's a little disgruntled that I've been neglecting her lately. I'd like to make it up by sharing a pretty sparkly I finally had time to photograph.

I love the way this came out. This versatile piece is part jewelry, part armor. Made using stainless steel jump rings and accented with red glass beads and rosettes in the ring, bracelet, and body; a hammered, hand forged clasp completes the piece. This handflower is delicate and hardcore all at the same time.

Are we friends again?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rough Month

Gentle readers, please forgive my blog neglect as of late. May has been a stupid, busy month and it's not over yet. I had a quick 3 day (barely) trip up to NY to visit my mother and grandmother for Mother's Day, a somewhat wackier than usual work schedule (and that saying something seeing as I work in theatre), jury duty today, dental trauma from Hell off and on all month, we had our air conditioner replaced from yesterday to today (yes, that meant fans over night in FL), and then yesterday my Jeep wouldn't start (the part they need is on back order, so I may be winging it for a couple of weeks). . . All of this and I was finishing my mantle, working on jewelry for my sister in law's wedding (which we'll be going up to WI for next week), finishing the Damn Dark Doll (as I've lovingly started to call her) for the Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team's Round Robin, and have been working on designing my booth and costume ideas so I can start applying for ren faires and festivals.

Is it just me or has the month of May been pretty rough all around?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Renspace: Myspace for Rennies

My fellow Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team member Sacred Oak recently introduced me to Renspace. I must admit, I never really 'got' Myspace until I started exploring Renspace: it totally makes sense how people connect over there now! Again, I must admit, I still haven't signed up for Myspace yet, but I did for Renspace - it just seemed to make more sense since it's dedicated to the faire folk that I'm trying to connect with. I've neglected my blog a bit lately (the month of May has been insanely busy!) and so too with my Renspace page, but here it is. Come check out my page and explore the site - it's a really fun resource!