Sunday, April 12, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

As I've been doing these Simple Joy Sunday posts, I've been trying to write down stuff as it happens during the week so I remember it come Sunday. That didn't happen this week, so let's see what I come up with. . .

I've continued working out and even though there are other things that I'd like to be doing, I'm making getting in shape take priority. Yeah, I'd probably rather be playing with my pliers and making chain maille and haven't figured out how to have enough time in the day to do both yet but getting healthy is more important to me right now (blasphemy!). This week, I was thrilled when I started to see my hard work starting to pay off. I stepped on the scale and saw that I had lost 8 lbs over the course of the last month. A look in the mirror and I saw that I'm starting to tone up. Scott has even noticed more muscletone. All of that is thrilling to me, but even more so is that I feel stronger and more energetic than ever. No, I don't always feel like working out, but I'm loving the results and hopefully that will be incentive enough to keep me at it.

The beginning of April signified the end of my self-imposed mailling break and although I haven't picked up my pliers yet, I have started coiling some wire for a couple of necklace projects that I have in mind. Yes, my wrist gets a little sore after only a short amount of time coiling, but it's more of a not having used that muscle in a while sore than a hurt sore. Fingers crossed that it's better! Plus, I'm so excited to be working again.

One of my mailling buddies is being super generous and sending me some magic juice to try on my bright aluminum rings. The kindness and generosity of the mailling community never ceases to amaze me.

As I've been sitting here writing this post, Scott came into my work room and took some measurements on my wire winder and walked away. Then he was back with a dowel and his drill. He totally just made me a handle for my winder to make it easier on my hands and wrists! Such a sweetie he is and he gave me another simple joy for this week!

Check out more Simple Joys over at Cool Zebras.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Crafty Goodness: Lip Balm

Today, I tried something new: I made lip balm. I'm a big fan of making my own cleaning products and personal care products plus I use lip balm like nobody's business so it was only a matter of time before I tried making my own.

The recipe I used is from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond, a book referred to me from my friend Cat over at The Green Cat Blog. I picked up the beeswax with a coupon from Michael's and some grapeseed oil from Whole Foods. I really wanted to use coconut oil, but was having a hard time finding any. Add a little honey as a humectant and some essential oil for scent and I was all set. I don't have a double boiler so I made one with a Pyrex measuring cup inside a pot with some water. Worked like a charm!

It's still sitting in the kitchen hardening, so I don't know how I did yet but it smells great. I love trying new things!! I have more than I know what to do with right now, so this will either last me a really long time or my customers can look forward to getting some Athena's Armoury lip balm with their purchases. =)

Addendum: I found a second recipe that I wrote down a long time ago and tried that out, too.

Results: The first recipe I used is a little too oily for my taste and the second one is so hard that I can barely apply it. I guess next time, I'll split the difference!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Props for the Peeps Who Used Me as Their Artfire Referral

Fantastic news: I got the ten referrals I needed to get my free account at Artfire! I was so thrilled when I got the confirmation e-mail the other day! No listing fees, no selling fees, no monthly fees... Woohoo! There are a few people that I'd like to thank for using me as their referral.

There were a whole bunch of friends from the Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team.
Amanda otherwise known as:

Mrs. Dragon Ink and Vine

Kristin, also known as:



Wyldewood Papers


Titianna Blossoms

And some more friends from the Etsy Chainmailler's Guild.

You've Got Maille



Becky & Hailey

BnB Creations

And one friend from the Florida Etsy Street Team.
Dorothy & Brandi


There are a couple of unsung heroes (don't know two of the people who used me!) and I actually think a few of the people above maybe signed up after I had gotten my ten referrals, but they certainly deserve much thanks anyway!!! Please help them get started on Artfire and check out their amazing shops. I know I will.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Back in January, I shared with you some of my goals for the coming year. Now, that we're 1/3 of the way into the year, I thought I'd do a brief review of my progress. I'm hoping that accountability will help keep me on track!

* Take better care of myself:
-snack less at work (I eat when I'm bored)
Well, I'm definitely snacking less at work; still bored, but snacking less.
-work out regularly (am totally loving my Wii Fit) = more energy, feel better, look better, strength!
I played with my Wii Fit for about a month before life got in the way and it fell by the wayside for couple/few weeks. Then I bought My Fitness Trainer for the Wii... It gives a much better and more varied workout than the Fit. It is totally kicking my ass and I'm loving it. I feel stronger, have more energy, have lost 5 lbs already in the month I've been using it, and am also already noticing changes in my body.
-meditate = calm & focus
I've meditated a few times post work out, but really need to dedicate myself more to it.
-go to yoga classes = healthier me + meet new people
I still haven't done this. I really need to get on it. I know I would love it, I just need to get there.

* Clean & organize my workroom - I love that I have a whole room of my own, but have never really been thrilled with the layout. I need to play with that and create a more inviting & inspiring space. And I MUST hang the ACEO's, prints, and artwork I've been collecting!!
I spent a good amount of time cleaning out and reorganizing my work room. It's not finished, but already in so much better shape. I've gotten shelving for my closet which makes much better use of the space in there. I've thrown away old bills, bank statements, and miscellaneous other crap that was just taking up space in my life. I haven't reorganized the layout, which I'm still contemplating; and I still haven't hung my art.

* Get the sewing machine I received from a very generous Freecycler serviced and learn how to use it.
Haven't tackled this yet. I'm really excited about all of the stuff I can be making with the sewing machine, but just haven't gotten myself to sit down and play with it yet.

* Feel less guilty/bad about situations that I have no control over. Worry less. Stop over analyzing. Be more spontaneous.
I think this is going to be a work in progress. I am certainly much more aware of these situations and how I handle them now, though.

* Find a way to use the tremendous amount of down time at work to my advantage for Athena's Armoury.
I really haven't figured this out yet. At this point, I can work on pieces behind my closed office door on occasion, blog, and twitter. Much more than that. . . I'm not sure what else I can do.

* Production line pieces for days that I'm feeling less than creatively inspired.
* PLAY! Create new designs and don't worry about following rules.
I'm combining these two for now. In the beginning of the year, I spent a good amount of time working on a custom order. In the time after that, however, I took a self-imposed mailling break to try and rest my wrist for a while. I've come to the end of that time now and I'm going to pick up my pliers again as soon as I have a spare moment. I have to take it slow and get my strength back in that wrist, but I can't wait to work on these two! I've had so many ideas and am really looking forward to creating them.

* Purge. Get rid of stuff that I don't need or want. Clutter is disrupting the flow of life!
I think this has pretty much been accomplished in my workroom, I just have to investigate the rest of the house and see what can be done. Unfortunately, a good deal of the clutter is Scott's and until he builds his shelves in his office I'm probably just going to have to deal.

* List and blog about at least one new item per week. Continue to renew daily.
Renewing daily pretty much hasn't been a problem, but blogging and listing new items had been put on hold with the mailling break.

* Get going on creating that website.
I really need to do this and really want to do this, I just really don't know where to begin. Which host is the best? How much bandwidth and storage do I really need? Do I use the host's program to design it or buy a program to use? Designing it is also a little intimidating.

* Dedicate a couple days per month to picture taking. I thought that having my light box set up all the time would be a good idea because as soon as I'm done with a piece and still really excited about it, I could shoot it. Yeah, I wound up moving onto another piece and the light box just took up space until I decided to use it. Time to try something else.
Again, this has been put on hold with the mailling break, but I foresee it being a challenge for me. Photographing my work has never been one of my favorite things to do.

* Track sales/expenses better. A necessary evil in being a one person operation is having to do the tasks you'd rather delegate.
I guess this would be something I can start doing in my downtime at work. . .

* Work on better branding for my biz.
I have a few ideas that I need to research.

Overall, I think I've had a good start to the year. I'm pleased with the progress I've made so far: especially with working out and getting my workroom more organized. I do need to figure out how to get more hours into my day, though! I've found that by the time I get home from work, work out, get dinner ready, cleanup, make food to bring to work the next day, clean the litter box, and maybe do a load of laundry, I have just a short amount of time to unwind before I need to pass out and set my alarm to do it all over again. Where does the time come from to do anything else, including taking care of my business??