Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Favorite Discoveries of 2016

This year has been kind of crazy.  I finally moved out of the terrible apartment building I was in, despite all of the stressful obstacles in the world trying to stop me.  Jordan and I moved into a nice apartment with a kitchen and a bathtub and a balcony!  I stopped being able to walk again, but this place is handicapped accessible.  I also found out that dairy makes me sick, so after trying to only eat it rarely I have cut it out completely.  So without further ado, these are a few of my favorite things that I've discovered in 2016.


Daiya Mac n Cheese: I want a lifetime supply of this.  So far I've only had one box and I immediately wanted more.  If you're not a big fan of sharp cheese this is like the perfect mac and cheese taste.

FeelGoodFoods Vegetable Dumplings: I found these at Safeway and bought one box, because gluten free foods are extremely hit-or-miss.  I devoured the whole box and the next time I went shopping I bought four boxes, because I don't want to run out!

Ben and Jerry's Dairy Free Chunky Monkey: I actually never tried Chunky Monkey flavor when I was eating dairy but this is the one dairy free Ben and Jerry's flavor at my grocery store that I can eat.  It's also a delicious flavor.  The almond milk base makes it super creamy and I doubt I could tell it was dairy free if I didn't already know.

Books:  I didn't do a ton of reading this year because my arms are super sore at the end of every day now that I'm in a wheelchair.  I did do the month trial of Audible and I loved it so much!  I really wish I could afford a subscription, but at the moment all of my money is for medication.  Thanks to Audible I was able to listen to

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: I knew that I would love this book series from the first time I heard of it and oh, boy, was I right!  I was able to listen to the first and second book on Audible and I really want to read book 3.

Aside from Audible I haven't done a ton of reading this year but I have loved:

Drinking the Rain: during my brief time in the Inspired by Reading Book Club I loved this book pick about foraging for food and one woman's journey to find herself with the help of nature; I had to quit the book club because I was only able to afford to buy two of the books

Cabinet of Curiosities: got this one by judging a book by its cover and it did not disappoint; this book is chock full of stories and pictures of the curiosities in the collection of Thackery T. Lambshead


Twiggy Vittoria:  After having a seizure and hitting my head really hard on the bathroom floor Jordan insisted on not letting me sleep in case I had a concussion.  I discovered this channel that night and her videos easily kept me entertained all night and distracted from the pain in my head.  Twiggy is so nice and down-to-earth and I trust every one of her product recommendations.  She makes hair videos, makeup videos, story videos, videos about her dreams, and occasionally vlogs.  I had the luck to find her channel early enough to see it grow immensely this year :)

Rob Dyke: This guy's spooky videos are always well-researched and super interesting.  He does great top 10 videos, videos about strange things, and serial killers.  He also does comedy videos but I am here for the spooky.

Cayleigh Elyse:  Some would call her the female counterpart to Rob Dyke but Cayleigh has her own unique and wonderful things to offer, including: unsolved cases, spooky fun, creepy story narrations (including some stories she wrote herself), and videos about monsters and hauntings.  She does it all in beautiful dresses and with the occasional humorous bit thrown in when not talking about serious topics.

Good Mythical Morning:  In case you've been living under the same rock that I apparently was until this year I'll tell you about this channel, one of the most subscribed channels on Youtube.  Two guys named Rhett and Link host a show where they compete in different made-up games, eat weird food, and are just hilarious best friends.  Every episode has me cracking up from start to finish, and they even have extra videos like the show after the show and Good Mythical Crew.

That's all that I can think of at the moment but I'm sure there's a lot more I forgot.  What are some of your favorite discoveries of 2016?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Running an Etsy Shop while Dealing with a Chronic Illness

When I started my Etsy shop I never wanted to become famous or even so popular that I would need to hire employees.  And I haven't.  This post is not about my Etsy story; it is about how my celiac disease has affected the way I run my Etsy shop.  Most of you who are regular readers here know that I was diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago.  Celiac disease is a chronic illness and it's an autoimmune disease.  I haven't had enough energy to work a "real job" since September 2015, and I've accidentally ingested gluten twice in the past two months.  For me that means not being able to keep most food down, insomnia, sleeping for 12+ hours when I do sleep, brain fog, and constant fever, among other symptoms.  To really complicate things I haven't been able to walk since the beginning of September 2016, probably due to gluten ataxia.  All of these things combined mean that I'm really tired all of the time and my muscles are very sore as well.  Luckily for me I rarely get more than two orders a month and I always manage to fill and ship them on time.  Sometimes I send my fiancee to the post office if I can't do it but I always stick to my commitments.  If you also have a chronic/invisible illness I have some tips that might help you run your Etsy shop with less stress.

1. When you set your shipping windows make sure you give yourself enough time to definitely get it done.  You never want to ship orders late (and if you ever do have to ship late make sure you let the customer know why!)  I used to have mine set to ship in 1-3 business days but last year I switched it to ship in 3-5 business days.  That time works for me because it gives me a full week to pack and ship orders.  I can space it out through that week if I'm sick and not get stressed about missing the deadline.

2. Don't do custom made-to-order items.  I only sell ready-to-ship products.  I added a custom made-to-order item which was a $7 beaded dragonfly suncatcher during the Summer and I sold so many!  People were ordering as many as 6 to 12 suncatchers in each order.  Then I had to make each one according to their custom choices and I was struggling to get them all done and packed in time.  It really stressed me out and I removed them from my shop.

Add either custom or made-to-order items to your shop but once again make the shipping time longer than you think you will need to fulfill the order.  Keep in mind that sometimes you will have multiple orders to make at the same time.  If you do ever have more orders than you can fill in a time frame communicate it to the customers who have ordered from you.  If they aren't willing to wait longer they can cancel their order and if they're willing to wait the extra stress is off of you.

3. If your shop starts getting more sales than you can handle, increase your shipping times.  People tend to buy less often when shipping times are longer but it should help you get through all of those orders without getting completely overwhelmed.

4. If you ever get too sick to be able to fulfill any orders turn on vacation mode until you feel better.

5. This is one that I haven't done yet but super need to: come up with a low-price item that's super quick and easy to make and make them in a variety of colors and designs.  That way you'll get at least a little bit of money from the low-price items in between sales of higher priced items in your shop.

So that's obviously not an all-inclusive list but these are things that really help me.  Clearly my biggest Etsy stress is shipping, so I tried to make it as stress-free as possible for myself.  If you have any questions about running an Etsy shop with a chronic illness ask me in the comments and I'll try my best to answer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What I'm Loving: Weaving

Everywhere I look lately there are amazing weavings.  I've found some really cool ones on Etsy and it made me want to try weaving.  Thanks to The Weaving Loom I could learn everything I needed to know to get started.  (The Weaving Loom is a really helpful resource for weavers of all skill levels, not just beginners.)  I'll share my first ever weaving at the end of this post but first let's look at some of my beautiful inspirations.  Click the big pictures to go to the listing.  I'll list shop links under the grid photos at the end.
This one is gorgeous and I love the unique style of embroidering on top of the weaving.
I love the eclectic bohemian style of this one.
I super love the look of driftwood at the top but this one also has driftwood woven into it, which I love!
I love love love the antler at the top of the upper right weave.

I'm also loving the idea of weaving in feathers.
gatherhandwoven | UnrulyEdges | Lepetitmoose | PineapplePhi | midgins | amandajfrench | FirandField | krystleweaves | lightsofeden | BarefootDrifter | LittleWeavebird | CakeSpun | byheartmade | TheWeavingLoomShop | ilLOOMiKNOTiWeavings

And here is my first weaving, not the colors I would have chosen but they came with my loom and then I bought the off-white.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Silly Spooky Skeleton

I got this amazing skeleton dress from Hot Topic clearance and the bones glow in the dark, so obviously every night when we're about to go to sleep I take advantage of the lights being off to dance around in my dress singing "spooky scary skeleton".  (Although I've actually been getting it wrong and singing spooky ooky skeleton because my brain got it mixed up with The Addams Family)  This is what I'm referencing, in case you don't know about spooky scary skeletons.  Anyway I've been being really silly because my options are pretty much to be silly or be frustrated and depressed so I try to be silly and I was pretending to be a spooky scary chicken skeleton flapping my arms like chicken wings.  I tried to make a joke about Jordan not being scared by it so he must have nerves of steel, but my brain couldn't think of the phrase nerves of steel so I said iron lungs.  Because even through the brain fog my brain knew the phrase involved a body part and metal.  Sometimes brain fog can make things funny.

It has rib cage bones and arm bones.  I don't think I knew that they glow in the dark when I bought it (or if I did I can't remember) but I love it even more because they do.  I got it because Fall weather is here and I only have two long sleeved dresses which is NOT ENOUGH because dresses are the easiest clothes to put on when you can't lift your feet off the floor.  Plus Hot Topic was having a buy one get one for $1 sale on clearance and that is too good of a deal to ignore!

By the way, I hope this is actually funny to other people and not just a you had to be there sort of funny story.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Favorites: Etsy Wishlist + Youtubers + Instagram

I love Etsy forever.  I have a shop there but I'm also on Etsy every single day looking at the amazing things that other people make.  Here are some of my recent favorites that are definitely on my wishlist.  This week's theme is things that I want in my future jewelry studio.  Click the photo to go to the product listing on Etsy.
I always love everything that has butterflies or moths on it and this vibrant butterfly painting on wood will fit wonderfully in my future jewelry studio.
My grandpa was a hunter and his family of many kids were poor so deer and bear were common meals for them.  They would mount the antlers and have them around the house.  My grandma used one set to hang her necklaces from and I always loved how they looked.  These faux antlers are made of resin and look just like the real thing, but I don't have to wonder if a deer was killed for them or not.  I'm fine with people shooting deer for food, but never with animals being killed just to harvest parts of them to sell, whether it's antlers, fur, or bones.
I intend to have a wall full of different art prints that inspire me.  This one is stunning and perfect for my wall.
Another thing that I am forever in love with is beautiful dreamcatcher art.  I would absolutely put this one on my wall.
I love actual dreamcatchers even more than dreamcatcher art.  This one is lovely.
I make jewelry faster than I sell it so I am always looking for new jewelry displays.  I love this customizable driftwood one.  I would like them in a few different sizes.  They really go well with my branding.
How lovely is this tambourine?!  I would hang it on my art wall and then I could take it down and dance around playing it when I need some inspiration :)
I've also been discovering some cool Youtubers lately.  I've been watching at least as much Youtube as Netflix lately.  Here are some of my new favorites:

Twiggy Vittoria is my new favorite.  She's down-to-earth and nice and amazing and I trust every single one of her product recommendations.  Her purple hair is the best and she doesn't have nearly as many subscribers as she should!  She makes a lot of beauty videos and also vlogs and I just love listening to her talk.  I discovered her the night that I had a seizure in the bathroom and fell and hit my head really hard on the floor and had to stay awake as long as possible because of my concussion.  She kept me awake all night and even took my mind off my head pain.

Tommy Edison is hilarious.  He makes me laugh so hard watching all of his videos and I love it.  He makes videos about being blind, comedy videos, and film critic videos.  If you're having a bad day just go watch any of his videos and you'll be cheered up.

Claire Wineland really puts my life in perspective.  She has cystic fibrosis and I discovered her through her video on what it's like to be in a coma (and being in a coma and waking up as an old lady is my greatest fear).  She's sick but doesn't let that get her down.  She's sweet and has a great perspective on life.  Her videos make me feel happy too.

And last but not least my favorite Instagrammers.  I know that I once made a post about how I hate Instagram, but that was when Instagram was a little baby and nobody really knew how to use it well.  Sure there are still the people who just share photos of food forever but there are so many wonderful photographers and creatives on there these days that I kind of love Instagram now.  Follow me if you want.  These are just a few of my recent favorites on Instagram:

Witchy Stitching is so nice and creative.  She makes cool crochet stuff and I kind of just want all of it, especially the web dress.  Not only does she make amazing things but she's also the must social person I follow on Instagram, which is really nice.  Obviously any comments are cool but a comment that's more than an emoji or a Nice pic is just way better to get.  You should follow her if you like unique handmade products and actually social Instagrammers.

I discovered Midgins when I was researching my newest obsession, which I'll tell you guys about pretty soon.  She makes cool handmade products and also shares other people's handmade products and I love literally every product she shares!  That's super rare because I have some very specific tastes.  You should follow her if you like handmade products and discovering new handmade artisans.

I found melmadedooks in my recommended pictures feed (or whatever it's called).  He has a ton of followers and rightly so because he draws amazing pictures of real people of all shapes and sizes.  His art is just so good!  Follow him if you like art and appreciate diversity and real people of all sorts.

So those are some of my recent favorites.  Which one is your favorite?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Makeup Monday: Brija Cosmetics

After I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2013 it was overwhelming enough just to figure out what foods I could eat, so I didn't even bother with makeup.  I just stopped wearing makeup completely.  Now that I can't walk again I am even more exhausted than ever and I got tired of just seeing a sick person when I looked in the mirror, so I started looking into gluten free makeup.  I ordered a few samples and I'll be talking about what I like and I what I don't in these Monday posts.

I discovered Brija Cosmetics after looking for vloggers with celiac disease on Youtube.  I discovered Brianna, a great lifestyle vlogger, and immediately subscribed.  She introduced me to the huge range of affordable gluten-free products available on and I am so grateful, so of course I looked into her line of completely gluten-free beauty products, Brija Cosmetics.  My first order was for the Blogger Pack because I would get four surprise samples and one full size eye shadow of my choice, and I love surprises!  I picked the full size Lace Dresses eye shadow because I love the color and the name.  It's such a pretty color!  I also received three eye shadow samples and a highlight sample.

Please excuse the blurry photo.  I am wearing Brija Cosmetics eye shadow and highlight in this photo but the glasses glare makes it hard to see the eye shadow.  I also did a more natural and subtle eye look.

I learned how to do swatches!  From top to bottom these are: Consulting Detective eyeshadow, You Only Have to Do It Once eyeshadow, 90s Kid eyeshadow, ESPN highlight, and Lace Dresses eyeshadow.

Another blurry photo but it is not easy to take a photo of your eye!  I just used Lace Dresses eyeshadow for this look.
I love all of these products!  I will absolutely be purchasing more products from Brija Cosmetics.  The products are all really pigmented.  I only used the little bits of powdery residue on the baggies from the samples for the swatches and seriously just look at them!  These eyeshadows are going to last a really long time.  They're super affordable at just $5.50 for a 5g jar, and they're made of only natural ingredients.  The color really packs a punch and it stays on wonderfully all day long.  (I don't even use eye primer and it still stays perfectly.)  The highlight is really pretty and looks great on.  It really brightens up the corner of eyes and makes me look more awake and lively.  I love these products and highly recommend them for anyone who has celiac disease or just likes natural or affordable makeup.

The Brija Cosmetics products on my wishlist include: the upcoming glitter collection (all of the glitters are named after stones/minerals and the glitter is amazing! Like the I would buy all 19 colors if I had the money kind of amazing.),Can I Keep You? eyeshadow, the Gilmore Girls matte eyeshadow collection, and the Poise Cream Blush.

I also super love that most of the products have nerdy pop culture inspired names.  That just makes me love them even more.  She also has a monthly subscription box that I want to try.  So the final verdict is that you should definitely try Brija Cosmetics.  It's so incredibly affordable and really great quality all-natural makeup.

Friday, August 26, 2016

How to Be a Grown Up

Number one would probably be not to call yourself a grown-up, haha.  Your 20s are the years when you start feeling like you should feel like an adult by now.  I'm honestly not sure if anyone really feels like an adult or if we're all just faking it but here are some adult-y things I've done and some I hope to do by the time I'm 30, or at least by 40.

1. Learn to be comfortable in your own company.

One part of this comes naturally to me because as an introvert I enjoy being alone to recharge my batteries, and it's just more comfortable to me.  The other part was more difficult, which is to learn not to invest your happiness into another person.  It's important to learn how to be happy with who you are, regardless of what your friend, or significant other, or family might think or do.  That part was pretty hard for me to learn and sometimes I still struggle with it, but I try my best, and it goes hand-in-hand with the next thing.

2. Stop being a people pleaser.

It's nice to make someone smile and just to be a genuinely caring human being, but it's unhealthy to live your life to make everyone else happy all of the time.  For one thing it's exhausting and for another it's actually impossible to make everyone happy all of the time.  Some people aren't going to be happy no matter what you do, and that's not your fault.  Direct more of your energy toward your own happiness.

3. Take care of yourself/know your body

As the sort of person who wants to always be doing something productive I find it hard to give myself a break.  I am learning how to give myself a break because when I do too much my body gets sick and I have to take a much longer break than I would have if I had just paused and given myself a day to relax.

4. Know that your mental health is super important.

I'm still learning to feel and express my emotions instead of bottling them up.  It's really important to be able to tell when there's just too much stress and try to eliminate some or calm yourself somehow.  It could be taking a personal day from a stressful job or curling up in your softest comfiest clothes to read a book or watch a movie or taking a nice relaxing lovely-smelling bubble bath.  De-stressing feels great and it will save you from a meltdown in the long run.

5. Set a budget and stick to it.

This is one of the most adult things I have done so far.  Actually write down your income and all of your expenses for the month and then figure out how much extra you can spend for extra things like dates or clothes or fun stuff, and then pick an amount to put in savings if you can afford it.  It's really comforting to know that you have some extra money if you need it or to save toward a goal.  You can even use sites like Personal Capital to keep track of your finances using their helpful personal financial software.  For me it's great because I get really sick so it's a relief to have extra for new medications or vitamins or doctor bills when they arise.

6. Live in a place that you love.

I haven't gotten this one yet.  Right now I live in a place that I am so tired of, even worse since I can't walk and there are stairs everywhere.  My current list of amenities in a place would be simple: an unshared kitchen, an unshared bathroom, and a bathtub.  I hope we'll check this one off sooner rather than later.

7. Travel.

I really haven't done a lot of traveling in my life, but I have been to some very cool places.  I especially love mountains and beaches.  I do love traveling around my own city and exploring the different neighborhoods and little shops though.  I fancy myself an adventurer, and even tiny adventures are really exciting.  I just love going somewhere entirely new.  It's so full of possibility!

8. Live with less.

Living in a tiny room makes me feel like we have a ton of stuff but if we had a normal apartment situation it would end up feeling like minimalist decor.  Being poor and sick but stubborn and independent has pretty much forced me to live with less.  Most of the things I do own are from yard sales or thrift stores or free from other people who have moved.  I feel like it gives me the option to relocate without a lot of notice if the perfect place becomes available.
Click the photo to see this pretty embroidery on Etsy

9. Be silly/have fun.

I feel like your 20s are the years when you can be a little bit childish sometimes and get away with it.  Embrace that and get in touch with your inner child.  Draw with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, go for a skip instead of a jog, dye your hair a fun color or get it cut a crazy way, wear something outrageous because you like it.  Obviously you can still be silly and have fun when you're older than your 20s but it might not be so accepted.  And that brings me to my last thing.

10. Really stop caring what other people think.

I have this one maybe half down.  When I'm having a really good, low-anxiety day I am completely comfortable in my own skin regardless of anyone else.  But on a hard day I just feel like everyone is looking at me and judging me.  I won't leave the house if my hair isn't super clean and I'll usually put a hat on to avoid seeing anyone looking at me if I have to go out.  It can be tough with anxiety but I would love to feel okay going for a walk because I want to and be comfortable around whoever I might run into without feeling like I'm being judged.

Those are 10 things that are important to learn and do growing up.  What are some of the things that make you feel like a real adult?  Share them in the comments.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Etsy Interview Repost: Neil Slorance

Since I interviewed him in 2012 Neil Slorance has started making comic books!  So here is the interview again for those of you who didn't see it.

How to be a Ghost: An Illustrated Guide

I "met" this guy through one of my blog friends on Twitter and he is awesome so I interviewed him about his Etsy shop, which you should all check out.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hey! My name's Neil Slorance, I'm an illustrator from Glasgow in Scotland. I'm 25 and have a pet tortoise.

2. Tell me a little bit about your shop.
My etsy shop is where I put up my prints, pictures and other bits and bobs. I set it up about 2 years ago and so far it's been ticking over nicely.

3. How long have you been making art?
Since I could hold a crayon really. I spent most of my school days doodling in jotters and making wee comics about superheroes I'd make up. I really wanted to be an artist although I stopped for a good while in my teens while I was pursuing music but got back into it around the age of 19/20.
4. How long have you been selling art?
I started selling about 5 years ago, I remember I took my painting to a market stall in a library. I remember feeling totally chuffed when I sold my first painting, I guess because I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid and this was me taking my first step.

5. Why did you start making art?
I guess everyone starts making art as a kid and then as we grow up for whatever reasons some of us stop. I've kept going mainly because it's the best way I've found to communicate my ideas and thoughts, and where as I'm not a great talker and I stumble on words my pictures have given me a voice.

6. What inspires your art the most?
Life? Any part of life I feel strongly enough to make a picture about. Aside from that just when I get excited about something e.g I've been playing a lot of mario so I made a mario picture.

7. What advice do you have for new Etsy sellers?
Try and have a wide range of products, especially little things, they are your bread and butter. 

8. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Don't be afraid to show your work, even the stuff you're not proud of.

This collection contains all four of the issues of Neil's comic book Dungeon Fun.  I haven't read it yet but I really want to!

So be sure to check out all of Neil Slorance's stuff. If nothing else, definitely visit the shop and his Flickr stream.  He draws so many amazing things!

And definitely leave me a comment letting me know if you have an Etsy shop and would like me to interview you.

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Mental and Physical Health

I was thinking about stopping blogging but instead I think I'd like to switch the focus to being more about jewelry making and Etsy stuff and less personal life.  That being said this post will be about my personal life because I need to ... vent isn't really the right word, just process what I'm dealing with, I guess.

If you haven't been here from the beginning you might not know about me not being able to walk for nine months for no apparent reason when I was in college and then ultimately having to do a hardship withdrawal from school after having daily seizures.  This post tells about that.  Since that time I was diagnosed with celiac disease and stopped eating gluten.  I still get sick from time to time, most recently September through December of last year.  Even after being able to hold down food again my energy level never returned to normal.  I am exhausted constantly, sleeping a minimum of 12 hours a night and still waking up tired.  Because of this I had to quit my retail job and the last day I worked was in August last year before I got sick.  I applied for disability but I was denied because "there is a cure for celiac disease" (there's not) and I won't be unable to work for over a year (It's been a year this month.)  I was trying to find a place to move with Jordan closer to my parents because I am super tired of not having our own bathroom and kitchen.  We live in sort of a boarding house and there is one shared kitchen and five shared bathrooms for 30+ people.  The kitchen is on the first floor and our room is in the basement so I haven't had enough energy to go up there and cook since before I got sick in September.  Anyway we couldn't find a place in our budget in the small town and then I got glutened so we had to renew our lease here.  For the first three days since accidentally ingesting gluten I had my normal symptoms of not being able to keep food or water down, low fever, and a seizure.  The next day my stomach was actually feeling mostly better but by the end of the day I stopped being able to walk.  This is the first time I've been unable to walk again since 2011 and it is incredibly frustrating.  Jordan bought me crutches and a wheelchair on Amazon (Prime is a lifesaver) so I can get around our room and get to the bathroom by myself.  Our house is full of stairs.  To get out of our room and to the bathroom I have to go up two stairs.  I can use the crutches to skip the first step because the second step has a lip on it that trips me if I do both steps.  It is very frightening and dangerous and that's what I have to do every time I have to go the bathroom.  Even worse is that I can't leave the house, which is kind of ironic since when I could walk I left the house as little as possible.  I am going to have to get groceries very soon and eventually I'll have doctor appointments to go to and I don't know how to go outside right now.  There are between 6-8 concrete steps out the back door (never counted to be honest) and I don't have enough upper body strength to get up them with my crutches.  Jordan has been sick recently and can't carry me up that many stairs.  I also can't send him with a grocery list for me because Safeway stopped selling all of my main staple foods and I'm currently unable to cook, so I would have to go myself.  I would order groceries through Amazon but I have food stamps and very little money in savings, which I don't want to have to spend unless necessary.

This is all very stressful.  I have anxiety and depression and when I get glutened my anxiety and depression go into hyperdrive so I either sleep all day, have trouble falling asleep because my brain won't stop being anxious, or don't want to sleep at all despite being exhausted because the fever dreams have been horrible.  To make matters even worse I'm nearly out of Prozac and haven't managed to be awake during the day to call in the refill.  So I'm just trying to keep my mind occupied for the most part with Netflix, Youtube, or Etsy.

This post is more for myself than anything.  I kind of just needed to get my frustrations out.  So thanks for reading, if you did, and I hope that you are able to enjoy the outdoors and life's everyday wonders.  I'm still remaining mostly optimistic and have definitely kept my sense of humor.  I just hope I can walk again in less than nine months.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Inspired by Reading: Drinking the Rain

This month for Inspired by Reading club we read Drinking the Rain: A Memoir by Alix Kates Shulman.  This is probably the last book I'll be reading for reading club for a little while because I am super duper broke and can't even buy my vitamins, let alone books.  I loved this book partially because it made me think of the game I've been playing lately, Stardew Valley.  In this book a woman learns how to be independent and live off of the land at age 50.  Among other things, she learns how to identify new plants and cook with them.  One of my favorite things in the Stardew Valley game is foraging for different plants and cooking different dishes with them, so that's what was in my mind while reading this book.  To be honest I wasn't feeling inspired at all while reading the book but as soon as I finished reading it this design popped into my head and it seemed fitting.  I originally had an ammonite in place of the wood beads but these worked better with the design.

I used pyrite, matte frosted onyx, an orange agate tusk, wood beads, and a hammered copper clasp.  This necklace had to be made of things I already had because of how the book talks about not adding to the glut and re-using things you have, so I salvaged these wood beads from a broken necklace and they seemed perfect here.  I made the clasp out of copper wire scraps from previous pieces.  I feel like this is the sort of necklace Alix would wear and possibly even make for herself.  It speaks to me of nature and of adventures and being tough, which I think relates well to the book.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Inspired by Reading: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

This is my first piece of jewelry that I designed after reading a book.  I joined the Inspired by Reading group this month and I really liked the book we read.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender is the story of a nine-year-old girl who discovers that she can taste people's feelings in the food they make.  She struggles with this throughout her life until she finally learns how to live with it.  I intended to make three pieces inspired by this book: one for the innocence of childhood before she discovers her ability, another for the chaotic years of trying to handle it, and a third for when she learns how to live it.  Because of the fact that I only finished this book two days ago and have had low energy I only ended up making the first necklace, the one that represents her innocent childhood before discovering her "gift".

The imagery that stood out to me the most in this book was the red and white at the beginning, especially the red strawberries in the bowl on the lace doily that her mother made.  That's what inspired this necklace.  I had this scrap of lacy ribbon with stitched plastic pearls in a drawer and I added wire wrapped glass beads in red.  I made it a choker-length because it is the length of a necklace for a small girl of almost nine.  This necklace also reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, which seems fitting because it's another tale about a girl whose life is changed forever by things that she can't possibly understand.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Etsy Love: Bohemian Jewelry Holders

If you've been here for a while you probably know that I'm a jewelry designer.  I am always making jewelry faster than I sell it so I keep needing more jewelry storage.  It can be fun to make jewelry holders like this wine bottle one or a driftwood one that I'll be sharing a tutorial for soon, but there are also some really cool ones you can buy.  You can even buy jewelry holders that other people made, which is what this post will be showcasing.

Whether you're a jewelry designer like me or you just have a lot of jewelry, here are my top choices for bohemian style jewelry holders for sale on Etsy.  Click the picture to go to the item listing on Etsy.
These feather ring holders are so cute and also very affordable at just $6 each.  You can get them in 12 different colors!
I really love the design of this necklace holder because the hooks on the back keep the necklaces from sliding.
This one is cool because you can store a variety of jewelry or even other items and it's a really great crystal shape.
I love earring bowls because you can store so many earrings of all kinds, and this one has a great shabby chic finish.
This one holds a ton of earrings and necklaces, and even has a spot for rings at the bottom!

Those are my top picks for jewelry holders on Etsy.  Feel free to share other awesome Etsy jewelry holders with me in the comments.  What kind of Etsy item do you want me to share next?

And if you like Etsy and/or want to add to your own jewelry collection you should check out my newly released Cosmos Collection.  It's 5 matching necklace, bracelet, and earring sets inspired by the wonder and beauty of space, which you can mix and match, starting from $10!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Watching, Playing, Reading #10

Since I was so sick from September through December I've watched even more things than usual!  I'll just share my favorite movies I watched, as well as the TV series I have finished.



TV series:

Jessica Jones: I honestly watched this because it's going to be my name once I'm married, but I loved it!  It's about a superhero who has quit the superhero life and is now a private investigator.  It's a dark and gritty show with a lot of emotional stuff going on, and the season finale is really great.

Grace and Frankie: Two older women's husbands tell them their wives they're leaving them...for one another.  Grace and Frankie start out hating each other but form an interesting friendship through the sudden loss of their husbands.  It's a really interesting show and I really liked it.

Bates Motel: I am forever in love with this show, and the latest season is no exception.  Norman Bates is slowly becoming more disturbed and his mother is finally starting to worry about it.  And more bodies are showing up all of the time.

The Following: The serial killer cult never fails to disappoint.  This show remains interesting and surprising.

X Files: I finally watched this show and I have no idea why I waited so long to watch it.  It's pretty much everything I love all wrapped up in one amazing show.  There are serial killers, paranormal events, monsters, aliens, and a huge government conspiracy.  Oh my goodness, I loved it!

Love: Netflix usually does a great job of every original series they make, but I found this one a little lacking.  It was kind of funny at times, but the main characters were both horrible people, which I guess was the point, but I didn't love it.

Animal House: Not to be confused with the movie of the same name, this is a documentary series about rescue dogs and super cute puppies being rescued and adopted by loving families.  I love it because all of the dogs are so cute forever and there is always a happy ending.


After: After a bus crash two strangers find themselves back in their small hometown.  But nobody else is there and there is a strange black cloud closing in all around.  This is a great thought-provoking surreal movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It felt like it could be an episode of X Files.

House of Wax: Psycho serial killers in what turns out to be an "abandoned" small town.  This movie is action-packed and will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole thing.


Steam (If you are already addicted to buying games on Steam swing by the Humble Bundle store to get great deals while doing good.  I'm not an affiliate.  I just love getting great deals on games while doing good.):

Divide by Sheep: This game was cool but ending up infuriating me after a while, because I am not good at math, and it is essentially a math game.

Cook, Serve, Delicious: I discovered this game when Felicia Day played it on Youtube.  It's really fun, but also super stressful.  I haven't played it in a  while because I don't need more stress.

Dreaming Sarah:  I loved this game so much!  It has great visuals and really satisfying gameplay.  It's cute and creepy.  It took me about 3 or 4 hours to finish the game and I enjoyed every second (except for the time I spent trying to fall just right on the clock level to move on).

Image via


Alphabear: This is a fun word game with super cute collectible bear characters that you can use to help you beat levels.

Monument Valley: This is a sweet little game that sort of reminded me of Fez.  You play a princess traveling through different rotatable 3D worlds that get progressively harder to traverse.  It's a puzzle game with very relaxing visuals and pleasant gameplay.

God of Light: This is an interesting game where you use different mechanisms to direct light through three stars and into a portal.  It gets harder the more you play and adds more mechanics to direct the light.  It's pretty fun but also sometimes frustrating.


River Town by Peter Hessler: I've been working on this book for 4 or 5 months.  I used to read every day on the bus to and from work, but I haven't worked since September so I haven't been doing as much reading.  It is a very interesting book about an American's time teaching abroad in China in a small river town.  There is social and political comparisons to American ideals and also some interesting Chinese history.

What have been watching, playing, and reading?  Do you have any recommendations for me?