Friday, April 29, 2011

Think Different

How about a little inspiration to start your Friday?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blog Feature: Frosting for the Cause

As many of you know, last year I raised over $3,000 and walked 60 miles to fight breast cancer in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure.  I may not be walking this year, but I still firmly believe that we are close to a cure and will continue to support the fight.  A friend on twitter recently told me about a blog that is working hard to find a cure using... confectionery.

Frosting for the Cause

Frosting for the Cause is built around a guest blogger format with a new cookie/cupcake baker blogging every day for an entire year.  They will share their recipes and a little bit about their connection to this horrible disease.  By agreeing to do this project, these very generous bakers will donate a batch of their cookies/cupcakes to their local Women's Hospice but will also make a $25 donation to either the Canadian or American Cancer Society to fund research.  Not only are these amazing volunteers raising awareness but by the end of the year, they will have raised $9,125 for research!

There are some really yummy recipes over there.  Head on over and show some support and find a little recipe for dessert while you're at it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

FAEteam Exhibition: Fairies, Elves, & Pixies, Oh My!

fae exhibition

The unbelievably talented Fantasy Artists of Etsy is featuring a selection of members in it's current exhibition entitled Fairies, Elves, & Pixies, Oh My!  My Fairy Chain Maille Lariat is included among the dolls, leather masks, bath products, notepads, artwork, accessories, jewelry, clothes, and more!  Check it out!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

I'm one of those types of people that love everything to have a home and to be able to put everything back in it's place.  That said, my blog, aside from finally starting to post again, had grown rather stagnant.  I spent a good amount of time this week starting the clean up process.  I got rid of old links, logos, and some widgets that just weren't cutting it for me anymore.  I started doing some sponsored blog posts and added a couple of widgets that I thought my readers might be interested in and will also help me generate some income (check out the Groupon logo & Vistaprint deal over on the sidebar there!).  I'm going to continue redesigning things and will hopefully have a new & improved blog when I'm finally done.  In the meantime, it's a work in progress and maybe it will never be done because it's an organic, growing process that changes with me.

And now, some things that made me happy this week...

I spent a lot of time brainstorming ways to earn money.  There were a few reasons for this that I discussed in my Need Cash? blog post earlier this week but another reason is because there is a blacksmithing course at a local arts school that I would *love* to take.  Needless to say, I spent lots of time thinking about the course and what I can create for the Armoury.  You may hear more about this soon...

I was absolutely delighted that my Pink Warrior Chain Maille was featured in a collection, my beadwork was featured in a treasury, my Fairy Chain Maille Lariat was featured in this treasury, and my Uber Chain Maille Dice Bag was featured in this collection!  I really felt the love this week!!

I got my first orchid.  I had always thought them to be very sensitive plants, so I was always afraid of killing them.  A friend explained to me that they aren't quite as sensitive as I may think and to just make sure it gets plenty of filtered light.  She mentioned that a friend of hers with a green thumb actually feeds her orchid green tea.  It's just a little one, but I love it.

My first orchid!
I purged some clothes, shoes, & electronics this week.  It feels so good to get rid of some of that weight hanging around!

Got some good thrift store booty: glass bottles, wood display stuff, a ceramic teapot, a metal trivet, a garlic keeper, and a wee herb collecting basket.  All very useful stuff and all really great deals.  Gotta love that!

Made some Tangerine Lavender Soap this week.  I'm really enjoying soapmaking and am starting to get more creative with my additives (I used Apricot seeds in this soap for exfoliation).  I also had an idea for an herbal goodness package inspired by 3 Day walkers.  I can't wait to get it together!

I enrolled in a Culinary Herbalism course!  Yes, I invested a few bucks that I don't necessarily have with this course, but it's such a phenomenal deal and an investment in my herbalism studies and health.  I'm very excited about this!

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (we can exchange links!).  I'd love to hear!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Are Scrubs Green?

The other day at the thrift store (bunch of great finds, by the way) the girl at the register was wearing a women's scrub shirt and not only did it look super comfy, but it also looked pretty cute!  I've always loved v-necks.  Anyway, it got me curious about medical scrubs.  Odd, I know but did you know that today's modern scrubs only became popular in the 1970's?!  Prior to that, the 1940's is the earliest that any kind of dressing gown for the operating room was really seen with any regularity.  Prior to *that*, in the early 1900's surgeons only wore a butcher's apron and a cotton gauze mask (collected from cotton mill sweepings) and that was to protect them from the patient!  I found all of this quite fascinating.  If you think about it, Louis Pasteur discovered his germ theory of disease in the mid-1800's, so why did it take so long for the medical profession to adopt an attitude of cleanliness?

I spent a little time browsing scrubs and found that there are tons of different fabric patterns available.  But I have to say that by far, the most favorite thing I found were the Pony Collection of Scrub Hats for Women at  They are really adorable and come in some really groovy fabrics.  I'm wondering if something like that might work to keep hair back & out of the way when working out...  

And, by the way, back when doctor's wore a butcher's apron and then when they started wearing dressing gowns, all of this apparel was white.  But in a modern operating room with the bright lights, this led to eye strain.  They abandoned the white for various shades of green which provided a high-contrast environment, reduced eye fatigue, and made bright red blood splashes less conspicuous.  This uniform was originally known as "surgical greens" because of its color, but came to be called "scrubs" because it was worn in a "scrubbed" environment.  Just in case you were curious. 

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Friday, April 22, 2011

In Honor of Earth Day

This isn't entirely about saving the planet in the way usually thought of for Earth Day.  It's about sharing wealth, peace, helping your fellow man, saving the environment, and more.  This little girl is brave, intelligent, and inspiring.  Please watch and see what she has to say on behalf of the children of the world; and although this is from 1992, it still holds true today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Word World Fosters "No Child Left Behind"

I appreciate the guest post, Graig Brooks
PBS has definitely hit the mark for my favorite educational TV show with “Word World”. This show is a favorite with three of my grandsons ages 5, 4 and almost 3. Not only is the programming at PBS commercial-free but provides meaningful educational information to viewers of all ages and interests in an entertaining fashion.
It is a known fact that we retain 25% of what we hear, 50% of what we see and 75% of what is simultaneously seen and heard. World World is definitely learning in disguise with its captivating characters and storylines.
The way this program builds words is unique since the letters become a picture of the object but in a fashion which is not degrading to presch! oolers who view themselves as beyond the picture book age.
In each episode through the eyes and feelings expressed by all the characters, children receive a valuable lesson in how words can affect others around them. The characters also deal with social issues as well as manners.
For parents and caregivers, the World World characters offer opportunities for extended learning about the real animals these characters represent such as dogs, frogs, elephants.
While this program is basically geared to preschool age children, there are valuable episodes for children in the early grades as reading concepts such as the formation and use of compound words. Check to see if you get PBS.

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Need Cash? Here Are Some Ways I'm Earning a Little Extra Online

These days everyone is a little short on cash, I think.  I know I am.  I left my full time job back in January in order to be rid of the stress that was taking over my life.  Along with the relief came some anxiety (although nothing in comparison to what I escaped!) about paying the bills with my two part time jobs.  Things this month have been a little slow, combined with some scheduling snafu's, and now there's this class that I would love to take (more on that later!!)...  Anyway, I've been brainstorming some ways of trying to earn some more cash to either supplement what I'm doing right now or to maybe even replace one of my jobs.  Here are some ideas that I'm playing with... is a service where customer texts a question and receives an answer from a real person.  I'm one of the people that will search the internet or ChaCha's database and reply with an answer.  The pay isn't great, but it's easy enough to do while vegging out on the couch watching tv, you can do it any time of day or night, and anywhere you have a computer and internet connection.

I've applied my blog to Google AdSense.  When approved, Google will provide me with html that will display ads related to the content on my blog.  I get paid as people click through.

Soon, you may start seeing me talk about certain products: it may be a review or it may just be how I use that product in my life.  This is through a program called Blogvertise.  I will never recommend a product to you, endorse something, or review something that I haven't tried but I will be paid to talk to you about some websites, products, or services.  Full disclosure, always.

I haven't applied for it yet, but I'm planning on checking out Amazon's Affiliate Program.  I already include links to products on Amazon, so this makes sense for me.  Basically, if someone clicks on my link and purchases a product then I would earn a commission.

Another program that I've heard about and plan on investigating is constant content.  My understanding is that you basically provide articles to them and get paid when someone purchases it for use on their blog.  Your articles can be published multiple times making it a repeated source of income for only one article.

As I continue to straighten up and redesign my blog, you may also see some Project Wonderful ads start popping up.  I don't think that this will become much of a money maker or if I'll just use what comes in to re-invest in putting my own ad out there in the hopes that it will bring in some sales.

Other freelance websites that I haven't tried include ProBlogger and Craigslist (so far, Craigslist has only been a place for me to attempt to sell some stuff).  Online placement firms like Elance or vWorker handle money and guarantee payment but will also take a percentage of your paycheck and may charge other fees (again, I don't have any experience with these websites, just heard about them).

And last, I plan to start including my herbal goodness and soap to Athena's Armoury Artfire & Etsy shops.  I've been waiting to have pretty new graphics (banner, biz card, nice labels, etc.) but I don't think I can wait much longer for two reasons:
1. People have actually been asking for me to get things listed in the shop.  I've used a multitude of people as guinea pigs (no animals were harmed in my trials!) and they have raved about my soaps and salves so much that they want to buy more.
2. Plain and simple: I need to start earning more money.  I would *love* (as do many crafters) to make a living with my herbal goodness and maille but more than that, I need to start earning a living doing things where I can create my own schedule so I don't miss out on any more theater work.

I hope that you find something here that will help you out in these hard economic times!  I'm really only just getting started with this stuff and will gladly give an update down the road to let you know how successful or unsuccessful any of these campaigns are.  Please share in the comments below any strategies that you employ to earn a few extra bucks, too!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

I can't believe it's Sunday already!  This week went by super fast!!  I also realize that the only blog posts I've done lately have been this Simple Joy Sunday series but it's helping me get back into the swing of things. =)

I was really touched this week by the comments that I've gotten about the soap I've made so far.  I've given away bars of my Lavender Oatmeal Soap and my Creamy Castile Soap to a bunch of people to get some feedback and have been blown away with their reveiws.  I really wanted to wait until I had a new banner and graphics before I started listing my herbal goodness in my shop, but I may have to at least start adding my soap sooner since people are actually asking for it.  Makes me so happy to hear!  Plus, this week I made a new flavor: Cinnamon Clove Spice Soap.  It smells sooooooo yummy!!

I attended a really interesting webinar this week about Natural Pet Care.  It was actually really thought provoking and I love learning new things.  Talking about the webinar could be a blog post in itself but suffice to say that it really made me think about things for Jack's (the official kitty of Athena's Armoury) sake.

There has been a bunch of scheduling BS going on with my part time job that has made me extremely cranky.  Obviously that's not a simple joy but the kick in the pants it's giving me to start listing new stuff has been!  I got two more new pieces listed this week and have many more to come that need to be photographed.  The crankiness is also making me think of different ways I can try to earn money so that I can create my own schedule so as not to conflict with calls for theater work.  Ultimately, that would be perfect: if I could work from home and be a stagehand.

I tend to be a bit of a loner, so this week when a friend from the Herb Society asked me to do something I, surprisingly, came out of my shell.  We had a deliciously fresh lunch, watched Eat Pray Love, and took a walk on the beach.  Overall, it was a really lovely afternoon and something I very much needed.

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (we can exchange links!).  I'd love to hear!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

Last week's lack of a Simple Joy Sunday post was due to what I was calling booger brain: allergies have been really bad off and on for the past month.  I was feeling better this week and so was a bit more active and have a few simple joys to share...

With everything that's been going on these last few months, I hadn't really made much time to devote to my mailling.  This past week I made a couple new copper maille bracelets, including coiling & cutting rings.  It made me realize how much I miss working with metal.  And it also reminded me that I need to get my Jump Ringer; I don't know what's taking me so long since I was given money for it as a present last year!  Here's my new Shaggy Loops Copper Confetti Chain Maille Bracelet available in Athena's Armoury on Artfire and Etsy .

Shaggy Loops Confetti Copper Bracelet artsy

In attempting to make herbal candy (didn't work out so well this time for some reason) I spilled 300 degree liquid on my hand.  Very, very not fun.  I made a burn salve for it and wound up with no redness or inflammation with the exception of one blister.  It feels good knowing that I have the ability to treat myself and others.

I started talking to a graphic designer friend about creating a new logo for me so that I can start adding some herbal goodness to the shop.  It was a lot of fun talking about the world I see for Athena's Armoury & Apothecary and I really look forward to seeing what she comes up with!

We'll be getting our fence done within the month (it really needs to be done, so yay!) but that also means that our drainage project & my herb garden will be following shortly behind.  So excited!

I haven't borrowed a book from the library in a very, very long time.  Maybe not since college and then it wasn't for enjoyment but my studies.  I did this week, though, and I can't tell you how happy it made me.  I don't know why.  Maybe it was the smell.  =)  But that also led me to spending a very enjoyable day making my lemongrass chicken soba noodle soup and indulging in reading most of the day.  It was a good day.

Oh!  We have a rain barrel!  Scott was able to finish it up this week (after not being able to find a part locally last week).  Of course, there's not rain in the forecast anytime soon but that's okay.  So excited to have rainwater available to me for the plants to drink!

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (link back here & I'll do the same for you, just let me know!).  I'd love to hear!