Wednesday, June 29, 2011

30 Days of Creativity - Day 29 Wire Spool Holder

The other day, I was coiling some wire with my fairly new Foredom/drill wire winder set up for the first time.  I had my spool of wire just sitting on the ground as I coiled but that wasn't really working out so well.  The loose wire kept knotting up since it wasn't feeding easily off the spool.  I knew the setup I needed to solve the problem, but I'm not a carpenter so I really was unsure how to implement it.  Enter Scott.  I explained the design I had in my head and the purpose it would serve.

Wire Spool HolderOne trip to Lowe's and some time spent in the woodworking shop and he built my spool holder!  The PVC pipe comes off to reveal a metal pipe of a smaller diameter for smaller spools so that the whole rig is interchangeable for whatever spool size I'm working from.  It's nice and big to allow for the larger spools and to be closer to the work area when it's sitting in it's home under my bench.  Plus, the little tray on the bottom will be a great place to store my drill/winder apparatus when it's not being used.

I love it and can't wait to use it!

Wordless Wednesday: Corks!!


No, I didn't drink all of these bottles myself.  They are a collection I got from a friend that works in a restaurant for a craft project that fell through.  Now I have to figure out another project for this huge box of amazing corks.  I'm thinking about making a trivet, cork board, etc...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Call for Guest Bloggers

I've been thinking about adding a guest blogger post for a while now and after reading this post by Kanelstrand, I'm in!  I thought it would be fun for people to hear about a topic often discussed around here from a different perspective.  Or maybe to even branch out in a new direction based on popular themes here in the Armoury.

There's a wide variety of topics that we can focus on for your guest post including but certainly not limited to...
-renaissance (faires, history, etc.)
-jewelry (trends, inspiration, how-to's)
-goddess lore
-green anything
-blogging, SEO, Google Analytics, etc.
-entrepreneurship, small business, craft business
-craft projects/tutorials
-charity (obviously, I'm a big supporter of The 3 Day!)
-alternative health

Or, if you have another idea, let me know!

Why would you want to guest blog?  You'll have a new audience to hear your voice and they just may check out your shop or blog after reading your post.  Not to mention that you'll have permanent backlinks to your blog from the post which will make your blog's rank higher.  Your post will be promoted to over 1,400 Twitter followers and be seen by 60 (average) daily blog visitors.  Guest posting also paints you as an expert in your field and gives you an opportunity to be creative.

I'd like to have a weekly guest post and it absolutely doesn't have to be the same blogger each week, but we'll see how this goes to start.  If you do have an idea to do a series, let me know because I think that would be a lot of fun, too!

Leave me a comment here with your proposed post idea and a way for me to contact you (either your e-mail, through your shop, etc.) or you can also contact me through my shop.  I'm really looking forward to hearing your ideas and working with you!!

30 Days of Creativity - Day 28 Smoothie Experiment

I have massively fallen off the 30 Days of Creativity project!  I've had a couple of weeks of life massively getting in the way but I'm going to try and at least finish up the month.

Today, I really wanted a smoothie for breakfast.  I'm not too experienced making them so I was looking at our Super Smoothies recipe cards.  Unfortunately, we didn't have the full ingredients for any of them, so I just made something up anyway.

Into my blender:
1 banana
1 cup frozen sliced peaches
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
squeeze of honey

Smoothie Experiment

It basically tastes like a chocolate banana.  Very yummy.  In hindsight, however, I think I used too much protein powder and the honey wasn't necessary since it's sweet enough.  Guess that just means I'll have to experiment some more!

What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes??

Monday, June 27, 2011

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

I just finished ready Heat Wave by Richard Castle.  Perhaps, you've heard of the author?  He's a Pulitzer Prize winning author played by Nathan Fillion on the TV show "Castle."

I'm a big fan of Nathan Fillion from his work on Firefly, so I had to check out his new show when it premiered three seasons ago.  On the TV show, Richard Castle arranged for a ride along with top NYC homicide detective Kate Beckett (thanks to his special relationship with the mayor) as inspiration for a new book.  The crime stories are always intriguing, but Castle's relationship with Beckett and the rest of her squad are what really make the show for me.

Heat Wave was the first book that Castle wrote on the TV show with Beckett as his muse.  Reading the book was just like watching an episode with the same tongue in cheek humor and the same awesome cast of characters (albeit changed ever so slightly since they are creations of Castle's in the book).  And, of course, since it's Castle writing this book, he was able to take some personal liberties with the main characters that haven't actually happened on the show.    It's hard to get into details without giving things away, but if you're a fan of Nathan Fillion, the TV show, or even just quirky crime drama I highly recommend checking it out!

Also, there's a second book out by Richard Castle called Naked Heat.  Rumor has it that James Patterson or Stephen J. Cannell (RIP, Stephen. I love The A-Team) may have been the author(s).  Highly entertaining because on the TV show, Castle has a weekly poker game with them in attendance and they have made guest appearances on the show.

I'm going to have to see if the library has Naked Heat...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

A busy and screwy couple of weeks have gone by and not only did I miss doing a Simple Joy Sunday blog post last week, but I also fell off the 30 Days of Creativity project.  It makes me sad, but life really did get in the way.  Let's see if we can't at least play catch up on some joy!

Here are the highlights:
-I learned some new framing techniques; which actually was fun to learn!
-Scott & I went kayaking.
-We finished building the raised garden bed (it does need some supports, though).  Now, we need to figure out the soil situation and fill it with plants (mainly herbs and veggies)!
-I sold some soap!
-Got caught up on my Wonder Woman reading.
-Had a little lunch & movie date with my honey.  We saw the new X-Men movie.
-My Stretchy Flowers Chain Maille Bracelet was included in this Artfire Collection:

-Came home from work to a surprise one night.  Scott got us this stretched photo canvas of the Flatiron Building from IKEA that we had been eying:

-I sold a couple more things on Craigslist.  Yay for getting stuff out of the house and yay for money in my pocket!

In the meantime, we had a hell of a storm here last night and into today, so Scott & I are both completely wiped from keeping the house afloat.  You'll forgive me if this isn't the most exciting Simple Joy Sunday post?

How about you?  What were your joys this week?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Finds: From My Favorites

It's been a really long time since I last did a Friday Finds blog post!  Eek.  I was going through some of my favorites this morning and thought I'd share a few with you.  By the way, if you find something that you really love on Etsy and can afford it, go for it.  There are so many of my favorites that are sold and gone!

Also, please feel free to send me a present of any one of these.  =)

I usually carry a backpack with me, not a purse.  That's just the kind of girl I am.  I love this little hip pack, though, for those times that I'd rather be handsfree and don't have to worry about storing something in my backpack.

I can't wait to add some fun, whimsical accessories to the garden when we finally get some soil into the bed and start adding plants!  I think some statuary from Miss Gnomer is a must.  The hard part will be deciding what to get.

We've decided to dedicate our dining room to my city (NY) and have a massive photo canvas of the Flatirion Building, a large framed black and white photo of the old Yankee Stadium (as in the municipal looking building from 1948), and several other smaller black and white photos of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Vesuvio Bakery, and a small coffee shop.  The red in this print will really pop in the midst of all of the black and white!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Outdoor Decorating

I had been thinking about making some garlands to hang in our lanai to festivize the place.  My plan was to string wine corks, shells, and beads on twine.  Well, stringing the corks on twine was a bitch, drilling holes in shells creates a very aromatic dust, and the pretty glass beads that I wanted to use didn't have big enough holes for the twine.  In short, the project was seriously sucking.  And yet, I still managed to get 5' done.

And then my associate discount at the popular craft store got bumped up for a few days and they just happened to have some really pretty starfish and shell garlands on twine.  Granted, this is something that I could have easily made myself, but it was well worth it with my discount since I still would of had to purchase supplies and spend the time making it.

New Starfish Garland!

I got enough to hang on the side and back but the corner is empty.  I might get some prayers flags to string across the corner.  I think they would look so pretty with their vibrant colors waving in the breeze.  I particularly like these Inspirational Prayer Flags by Cazmira

I had an idea a while ago to add some solar lanterns around the lanai, too, but just never invested in the project.  I still think it will look pretty, but need to wait for some disposable income now.

I would love to get an outdoor rug, but when it rains, we just have too much standing water for that to be practical.

It's really starting to come together out there and become a really happy place!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: For The Birds

My last little bird feeder was destroyed by the squirrels.  Scott picked this one up for me the other day.  It's a nice, big, heavy duty feeder and supposedly squirrel proof.  Although, I did walk outside earlier and found a squirrel camped out on top of it.  I don't know if the birds have discovered it yet.

For The Birds

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Catnip is a Mighty Mint Indeed

Remember a Wordless Wednesday post only just a few weeks ago where I featured my poor catnip plant that got ravaged by a neighborhood cat?  Not only has the plant survived, but it's thriving!

The Catnip is Thriving!

There is an old saying about this plant:
      "If you set it, the cats will eat it,
       If you sow it, the cats don't know it."

The theory is that they are attracted to the scent of the catnip when it's in a weakened state such as bruised or having been transplanted.  I haven't tried growing it from seed, so I can't speak to that but the neighborhood cat did attempt to destroy the poor plant.  My Jack cat smells it on my hands when I touch it, but he hasn't tried to get to it yet.  I don't know if that's because the plant is now happy or if Jack it just a good boy.  I'm wondering whether I should try putting it into the garden bed when it's finished or if it will again be weakened and, thus, subject to attack.

By the way, catnip tea is a wonderful mild nervine.  It's also valuable in the case of fever as it will produce perspiration and encourage sleep.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

30 Days of Creativity - Day 16 Rosie the Riveter Puzzle

I'm so disappointed in myself for skipping a few days of my 30 Days of Creativity challenge!!  Unfortunately, a really busy work schedule has gotten in the way (I was creative at work - does that count?) and not feeling well.  I was feeling pretty crappy for most of today and spent a good part of it geeking out in bed reading Wonder Woman.  I wanted to do something, though, so I pulled out the puzzle I picked up on sale recently.

Rosie the Riveter PuzzleI really enjoy doing puzzles and I'm a huge fan of Rosie the Riveter, so this was a no brainer when I saw it in the store.  I only just pulled it out for the first time today and sorted through the pieces.  I got little bits of it put together, but haven't gotten very far yet.  It's a start!  It's only 500 pieces, but a lot of areas with the same color so we'll see how long it takes.  But really, that doesn't matter.  It's just fun to focus and work on it for me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Lantana Blooming

Lantana Blooming

I love how lantana plants magically change color.  The blossoms on this one start out yellow and turn pink.  Pretty!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


For the first time ever, Scott and I went kayaking today.  Being a water lover, it's something that I've been wanting to try for a very long time now.  When a Groupon deal came up recently for a local place, Scott grabbed it for us.  The deal was for half a day (4 hours) at half price: not a bad deal at all.

We went this morning.  Little did we know that it was going to be soooo windy today.  There were about 20mph winds that we had to struggle against just to get out of the canal (1.25 miles).  By that point, our arms were extremely weary to say the least but we had a goal to make it to a beach on nearby key.  I was bound and determined to make it.  I had to: my arms needed the rest.

Once we got out of the canal and hit open water, that's when the waves started.  I loved the waves!  I thought it was a blast riding over and through them.  Yes, the wind was still making it difficult but at least we weren't travelling directly into it anymore.  When we were, I felt like I wasn't making any headway; I kept paddling but it didn't feel like I was going anywhere.  We finally reached the shore!!

Our Kayaks

Me and my paddleScott goofing aroundScott got there first and towed me in when I got close.  =)  We had some ice cream and vegged on the beach for a few minutes until we realized that we needed to head back if we were going to make it in time.  Struggling against the wind, it took us about two hours to get to the key that should have taken about half that.

Heading back, we paddled a different route and saw a bunch of fabulous houses and some really amazing mangroves.

The mangroves were amazing

Overall, it's something that I will totally do again: on a day that's not so windy and when we have time to just tool around and explore.  Fighting the wind made it a physical challenge and also gave us very little time to check things out.  But I loved being outside, in the water, hanging out with Scott, and doing something different.  Can't wait to go again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Days of Creativity - Day 13 Mandala

I have an adult coloring book called Mandalas for Meditation.  I haven't played with it in a long time but today I was in "a mood" and it called to me.  I sat down for an hour.  A full hour.  I listened to an audio lesson about soil preparation (very much on my mind now that the garden bed is built) and colored.  It was a great focus of energy.  Gradually, as I colored, I felt the tension start melting away.  I grabbed colored pencils by instinct and just let the patterns emerge.  (Not the best picture though.  Sorry.)


By the way, I'm thinking of having a sale in the shop.  I'd love to hear what kind of sale you'd like me to have!  Vote in the poll on the left.  Thanks!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

30 Days of Creativity - Day 12 Wire Winder

wire winder mosaicI recently got my new Jump Ringer which is part of my coil cutting set up for making chain maille.  The wire winder has holes in it's base to screw onto your work surface.  Thing is, my work bench is an antique that I restored, so I really didn't want to screw into it.  So...  today's creativity was in problem solving. 

I added a wood base with a rubber bottom to clamp onto my bench when I need it and thus, not damaging my bench!

The Raised Garden Bed Is Built!

So exciting!!  We worked on the bed again yesterday.  While Scott was at work, I built all of the timbers we needed for the second level.

And then while I was at work, he put them all in...
Level 2 of the Garden Bed Mosaic 

 And this is the reason why we plan to put the landscape fabric in... Lots of grass and weeds have already grown back.  I also have a feeling that those things from our neighbor's tree will drive me crazy once the plants are in.

Grass & Weeds: What the Landscaping Fabric is For

It looks so great and has so much potential.  In order to get the fill dirt for it, we begin phase two of the yard projects...

Simple Joy Sunday

I had a minor meltdown this week when I started doing some number crunching and realized how tight things are going to be this summer (theater work pretty much comes to a stand still down here in the summer).  I started brainstorming some more ideas for work and am also thinking about having a sale in the shop soon (so follow the blog so you don't miss it!).  Despite the small anxiety attack...  I still found some simple joys this week.

The garden bed is coming along nicely.  Actually, I have to post another update because we worked on it some more yesterday.  I'm so excited to have a home for my herbies!

My 30 Days of Creativity started out a little slow this week when I was pretty much too exhausted to do anything on Sunday and was without my muse on Monday.  Thankfully, things picked up from there with some experiments in the kitchen, an herbal concoction, and a new planting.  Some of this stuff I would have done even without the 30 Days project, but I may not have made an effort to do something everyday.  I also felt like I was "cheating" a little by following recipes and instructions but realized (thanks to some twitter brainstorming) that not only was it a creative process, but also that everyone does things differently and brings a sense of self even when following instructions.  Regardless, I'm still having fun with it!

I joined the Etsy Blog Team this week and have been having fun getting to know the members via their blogs.

I became a Silver level certified framer this week.  There was a big hullabaloo getting there which I won't recount here, but it's fun to have reached another certification level.

My copper Gaia Chain Maille Bracelet was featured in a treasury.  There it is in the bottom row, far left.

I got a great deal for movie tickets through Living Social this week!  I basically got two tickets for the cost of one (at $9)!  I got a similar deal from Groupon recently, which is how we saw Thor.  We love going to the movies (and I'm constantly looking for ways to save), so this was a really great score.

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!