Friday, July 31, 2009

Funny Friday

How I'm feeling today, after a late rehearsal last night . . .
And the funniest joke I've heard in a long time:
Aging Mildred was a 93 year-old woman who was particularly despondent over the recent death of her husband Earl.
She decided that she would just kill herself and join him in death. Thinking that it would be best to get it over with quickly, she took out Earl's old Army pistol and made the decision to shoot herself in the heart since it was so badly broken in the first place.
Not wanting to miss the vital organ and become a vegetable and burden to someone, she called her doctor to inquire as to just exactly where the heart would be."On a woman," the doctor said, "your heart would be just below your left breast."
Later that night, Mildred was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound to her knee.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bracelet FAIL!

I did a lot of wire work last weekend. I made a wire and crystal bangle and a wire wrapped cross (click the links to see them) that I am quite proud of. Then I had this idea for a bracelet using clear crystals, sterling silver beads, and twisted wire. I think it was a great idea, but my execution was definitely lacking. This turned out SO awful that I thought I'd share it with you, just for grins!

Oh yeah, this thing needs to clasp somehow. . . let's see . . . maybe I can just do this . . . nope, that's not right . . . how about this . . . . UGH!

OOOPS! I had two sizes of beads, and I picked up one that was the wrong size! Of course I didn't notice this until after I had finished.

And then there are my uneven, sloppy loops and awful wrapping.

I really don't know what I'm going to do with this thing now. I still like the design idea, but I definitely need to figure out the technique before I try this again!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Car Lust

I drive a 1993 Infiniti J30. (Here's a picture of one - mine looks just like this except mine is grey.)I learned yesterday that my car qualifies for the Cash for Clunkers program.
I am SOOOOOOOOOO lusting after a new car now. It's very tempting because $3500 to trade in this car would be a lot more than we would get under ordinary circumstances.

However, my car still works. It is still beautiful. It has a couple of minor problems, like a headlight that protests every time I drive over a bump in the road by turning off, an oil leak, and an antenna that won't retract any more. But it still runs just fine, and it is a LOT of fun to drive - especially on these curvy roads that we have in my area. And we follow the "Clark Howard philosophy" of cars - drive it until the freakin' wheels fall off! Oh yeah, and there's also the fact that we can't afford a car payment right now anyway.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a new car. . . sigh. Oh well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Southwestern Chicken Salad Recipe

Here's a great recipe for these hot August days! It's light and refreshing and would be great for a picnic.

2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup drained whole-kernel corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3 Tablespoons sour cream
4 oz. diced green chiles
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients except tortilla chips. Line plate with chips and serve salad on top of chips.
For more "kick," use jalapenos instead of green chiles.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A GOOD Earworm!

"Earworm" is the term for that stupid song that gets stuck in your head and won't go away! Usually it's a bad thing and makes you feel like this poor guy:
But in my case, I've got a good one and I don't want it to go away. My earworm is "Run To You" by Hillsong. Here is a snippet of the lyrics:

And I will run to You
To Your words of truth,
"Not by might, not by power,
But by the Spirit of God."
Yes I will run the race
Till I see Your face.
Oh let me live in the glory of Your grace.

Here's a link to a YouTube video of Hillsong United performing the song:

This song will be featured next Sunday night at our church's special evening service. I can't wait!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bangle Bracelets

I've started making bangle bracelets again. I took a break from them for a while, but now I'm making more in anticipation of my fall shows (they are always good sellers). I make these with sterling silver wire, and they have a self-hook clasp. So technically, they're probably not bangles. They are very lightweight and a lot of fun to make! I can also make them in any size, so if these sizes won't fit you just let me know and I will make a custom bracelet for you.

You can see more pictures at my Etsy shop.

Friday Funnies

Nothing serious today! It's Friday - time for some LOLCats!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Current Pet Peeve

My current pet peeve is the phrase, "Health care in America is broken."

Health CARE in this country is not broken. If you are sick and need to see a doctor, you can. If you are in a car accident and are on the verge of dying, you will be taken to an emergency room where you will be treated. Even if you can't afford to pay for the care, you will be cared for.

What's broken in America is our health insurance system.

I have a friend whom I'll call Susie. Susie was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer six years ago. She underwent treatment and was declared cancer-free. Then about a year ago, a scan showed that her cancer was back with a vengeance. She went to M.D. Anderson hospital, where they recommended what I'll call "Treatment X" (because I really don't know anything about chemo and don't know what else to call it! ) Treatment X is very aggressive, and is very expensive.

Susie's insurance company told her that they would not pay for Treatment X. Their reasoning? According to statistics, people who have her type of cancer and then have a recurrence of the cancer most likely won't survive. So why pay for Treatment X, in their opinion? She should just get Treatment Y which is much less expensive, even though it is less likely to be successful.

I am happy to report that Susie fought her insurance company tooth and nail and was able to get Treatment X. A recent scan came back CLEAN except for a couple of small spots on her lungs, which the doctors aren't particularly concerned about.

The moral of the story is this: Our health care system in America is just fine. We have the technology and the treatments and the doctors willing and able to practice their art. The problem is that the health insurance companies are getting in the way.

I don't know what the solution is, but let's quit bashing health CARE in America! If anything deserves bashing, it's health INSURERS.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I agree with Obama on something! It's a miracle!

The Senate has voted to terminate future production of the F-22 fighter jet, and President Obama has applauded their decision. This plane is built by Lockheed-Martin and its production is spread over many states, including the final assembly plant located here in Marietta, Georgia. This will result in job losses, to be sure. (Lockheed Martin states that 25,000 people are directly involved in the production of the F-22, and another 70,000 are indirectly involved.)

So why in the world do I, a conservative, agree with this decision? Well, it turns out that the Pentagon does not want more of these planes! They want smaller planes better suited to the type of threats we face in the 21st century. So now the money that was going toward the F-22 program can be redirected where the military thinks it could be put to better use.

We cannot continue to throw money at projects just because the projects employ people. If the project is a failure, is not necessary, or is not even desired by its beneficiaries, it's a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere! Like, oh, vouchers for private education???? (Yeah, like THAT's ever gonna happen! But I can dream, right?)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tumbler Tutorial

Once I have finished making a piece of jewelry in sterling silver, it goes into the tumbler. I've had several customers and friends ask me exactly why I use a tumbler and what it does. Tumbling does two things: it polishes and cleans the silver, and it also helps to harden soft sterling silver wire.

Here's a picture of my tumbler. It's an inexpensive one that I purchased from Harbor Freight. The barrel is made of black rubber. Many people use more expensive tumblers, but this one works just fine for my needs.

To tumble sterling silver jewelry, you put about a pound or so of stainless steel "shot" in the barrel, add water to about an inch over the shot, your jewelry, and then a squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Here's a picture of the barrel before tumbling.

Here's a picture of a bracelet before tumbling. The only edit I made to this picture was to crop it down to size.

Once the tumbler is loaded up, just turn it on and leave it alone. When you're finished, rinse everything well and admire the amazing shine on your piece! Here's that same bracelet after tumbling.
The difference looks subtle in these pictures, but believe me it is amazing in person! The bracelet is perfectly polished and has settled into its final shape. It is still flexible, but it will retain its shape much better now than before.
Tumbling is also the easiest way remove tarnish from sterling silver. If you have a piece that has tarnished, I'd be happy to tumble it for you.
Oh, one more thing . . . If you have a tumbler lying around in your garage or attic that has been used at some point to polish rocks, don't attempt to use that same barrel to tumble jewelry. No matter how hard you scrub out that barrel, there is likely to be some grit left over from the rock tumbling that will scratch your jewelry.
Some additional tumbler tips:
  • The water in your tumbler may turn grayish-green or even blackish. This is normal. It is the result of the shot in the tumbler wearing down the rubber barrel. The soap will keep the yukky stuff suspended in the water and off your pieces.
  • Don't let your jewelry sit in the gunky nasty water once you're finished tumbling. Rinse it immediately.
  • I recommend getting a fine mesh hand-held strainer to pour your shot into after tumbling. Rinse the shot after each use and let it air dry. Rinse the barrel and other components too.
  • Only use regular-strength Dawn dishwashing liquid. The concentrated stuff contains bleach, which will eat away at your barrel and could damage your pieces.
  • Make sure your shot is STAINLESS STEEL. Otherwise it will rust. Yuk. You can find it at and
  • Yes, you CAN tumble Swarovski crystals and hard stones (6 or higher on Mohs' scale). Even pearls. But only for a short time - no more than 30 minutes, just to be safe. I've tumbled AB coated Swarovski crystals with no problem. (I can't vouch for other brands of crystals with AB coatings, as I've never tried tumbling them.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

New listing on Etsy

I've decided that I really like my new model, even if she's out of proportion. I've named her Esmerelda. :)
Esmerelda is modeling my newest Etsy listing - a grey and black double spiral necklace accented with a Hill Tribes fine silver leaf. I love the double spiral stitch! It's a great way to get that twisted look - and the beads will STAY twisted because they are stitched in place. I also used a "V" stitching technique so that I could create a focal point to attach a pendant.

Here's the complete listing with more pictures on Etsy:

From Humble Pie to Peach Pie

It's peach season here in Georgia! The peach growers say that this year's crop is the best it has been in a long time. Here's one of my favorite recipes using fresh peaches.

Fresh Peach Pie

1 deep dish pie shell, baked & cooled
1 cup sugar (divided)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
Small box of peach flavored gelatin dessert
8 oz cream cheese, softened
About 6 - 8 large peaches, sliced

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, and water into a saucepan and cook until thick and clear. Add gelatin mix. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Blend 1/2 cup sugar and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Spread into pie shell. Top with fresh sliced peaches. Pour cooled gelatine mixture over the peaches. Top with whipped cream and refrigerate until set.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eating Humble Pie

What is it in us that makes us so averse to admitting we are wrong or have made a mistake? Why can't we just say, "I was wrong?" Why do we feel like failures when we mess up?

It's because we are all prideful creatures. Innate in us is a desire to "look good" in the eyes of others. Whether or not we want to admit it, the truth is that deep down we want to be regarded as worthy, important, and valuable. Admitting a mistake wounds us because we realize that someone might think less of us.

Well, I'm going to be a big girl and eat my humble pie. Those turkeys I wrote about yesterday? They're not turkeys. They are guinea fowl. I admit it - I don't know much about birds! Here's a link with information about Guineas:

Cute little buggers! And the cool thing is they help control deer ticks.

I didn't see them on my way to work this morning; they were probably insulted that I called them turkeys.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stolen Sweets Earrings

I just listed these earrings on my Etsy site. I LOVE them! This was one of my first attempts at making this type of earrings and I was pleased with the results.

What do you think of my new model? I was really excited when I ordered it because I thought it would be a great opportunity to show what the earrings would really look like when being worn. I was a little disappointed when it arrived, though. The display is pretty tiny and so it makes the earring look much larger than it really is.

Here's the actual Etsy listing:

These Turkeys aren't Chicken

A couple of weeks ago, I first spotted this family of turkeys on my way to work. I've seen them several times over the past weeks and have been amazed at how quickly they have grown. Finally today I brought my camera with me and took some pictures.

Now folks, don't be worried. These turkeys are NOT chicken! (HA!) They have absolutely no fear of the cars flying past them. As a matter of fact, while I was watching one turkey made its way to the middle of the road to peck at something on the ground. A car came up to it and stopped, blasted its horn, and the turkey just stood there looking at the car as if it was saying, "Hey - relax, dude . . ."

In a few weeks this spot will be a school bus stop, so I'm guessing they'll have to find a new hangout. But I'll enjoy watching them for now. It's a nice way to start my day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Up, Down, Up again!

Would someone please explain to me how I could have worked out five times in the past 7 days (for a minimum of one hour each time) and then GAINED two pounds?????

Oh, I know all the stuff about increasing muscle/losing fat. I know that my weight tends to fluctuate crazily and that in a few days i'll probably be back down five pounds. But still, it's quite a shock when you step on the scale and the needle goes UP!!! (And for the record, I don't really want anyone to explain this to me; I just want some sympathy!!!!!!)

Sigh. What a way to start a Monday morning.
On a brighter note, I want to thank Pastor Dean Ropp for his message yesterday and for the reminder that Jesus "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (Colossians 1:15) and "He is the radiance of [God's] glory and the exact representation of [God's] nature" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus IS God. Praise His Name!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I must confess - I love LOL Cats!

Happy Friday! But first, a brief commercial announcement.
I am running a promotion on my Etsy site this weekend. All bracelets and necklaces are 25% off! Include the phrase "weekend deals" in the notes to seller, and I will refund your Paypal account 25% of the purchase price. (Etsy doesn't allow regular coupon codes, so this is the only way I can offer a discount.)

Now for the fun stuff . . . no politics today.

I've always loved cats. They are so quirky and have such unique personalities! If I believed in reincarnation, I would believe that I was a cat in my former life. I don't, and I wasn't, but sometimes it's fun to speculate.

This one cracks me up!

Hee hee! NOT a pleasant way to exit this world.

I should have some time to sit down & create some jewelry this weekend - I'll post the results if they are worth posting. :)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Obama supports ousted Honduran president Zelaya – HUH?????

If you haven't been following the tense political situation in Honduras, here’s a brief run-down of recent events.

1/27/06 – Liberal Party’s Manual Zelaya is inaugurated as president for a non-renewable four-year term.
3/25/09 – Mr. Zelaya calls for a June referendum on constitutional changes that would let him run for a second term. The vote is scheduled for June 28.
May-June 09 – The country’s supreme court, top electoral body, and human-rights ombudsman declare the planned referendum illegal.
6/24/09 – Days before the vote is scheduled to take place, military commanders refuse to distribute ballot boxes. Mr. Zelaya discharges the country’s top military chief, Gen. Romeo Vasquez, and accepts the resignation of Defense Minister Edmundo Orellana. The heads of the army, marines, and air force also resign.
6/25/09 – The Honduran Supreme Court unanimously votes to reinstate Gen. Vasquez. Congress approves plans to investigate Mr. Zelaya and possibly declare him unfit to govern.
6/28/09 – Mr. Zelaya is removed by the military and forced into exile. Congress speaker Roberto Micheletti is appointed acting president.
7/5/09 – Mr. Zelaya turns back from an attempt to return home after soldiers clashed with thousands of his backers massed at the airport. At least one man was killed.
7/6/09 – Honduras’ interim government closes its main airport to all flights. Police and soldiers blanket the streets of the capital. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias will mediate between current Honduran leader Roberto Micheletti and Zelaya.

Now, here are President Obama’s comments on the situation:
“Even as we meet here [in Moscow] today, America supports now the restoration of the democratically elected president of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies,” he said.
“We do so not because we agree with him,” Obama said of Zelaya. “We do so because we respect the universal principle that people should choose their own leaders, whether they are leaders we agree with or not.”

Talk about a non sequitur! Zelaya went against his country’s supreme court ruling that the planned June 28th referendum was illegal and ordered the military to defy the supreme court. The military stood with the supreme court. Zelaya is kicked out of his country for defying his own country’s laws . . . and Obama supports his return to office because “people should choose their own leaders?”

HUH?????? Sounds to me like the people have chosen -they've chosen to kick out their leader!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aaaaaaaagh, the guilt!

There are so many things that I want to do, and so many things that I NEED to do.

I NEED to go to work every day so that my family can have a roof over our heads, food on our table, and health insurance. I WANT to spend time with my husband and son in the evenings because I am at work all day. I NEED to cook dinner, clean, do laundry – but this takes time away from my family. I NEED to exercise in order to lose weight – but this also takes time away from my family. I WANT to make jewelry because it’s my creative outlet and is very relaxing, but when I take the time to do that I feel guilty because it takes time away from my family. I NEED to go to Praise Team practice on Thursday nights because – well, I need to practice! But again, this takes time away from my family.

Aaaaagh, the guilt!

How did my mother do it?

Heavenly Father, please help me balance my life and my priorities!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Obama's Energy Legislation - Socialistic?

H. R. 2454 To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy

Cap and Trade is a component of Obama’s proposed energy legislation. In a nutshell: The overarching idea behind the legislation is to limit the amount of greenhouse gasses released into our atmosphere. Companies would be limited to a certain output of greenhouse gases, and if they produce more than their limit they will have to purchase offsets from another company that produces less.

My opinion is that this is a ridiculous idea because it will end up costing the American consumer. Why? Companies that have to purchase offsets will simply pass along that cost to us, in the form of higher prices. That’s what companies do when their cost of production increases. And no matter how horrible greenhouse gases supposedly are, this is NOT the time to be unnecessarily raising prices on anything!

But is Cap and Trade a socialistic policy? Not really. Take a look at the definition of Socialism in my blog entry below. In this legislation, there is no proposal of communal ownership of the production and distribution of goods. The idea of equity and fairness is there, but that alone does not qualify Cap and Trade as socialistic.

Cap and Trade = NOT socialistic. Not a good idea, but NOT socialistic.

This bill has passed the US House and is now being worked on in the US Senate. To express your support or opposition to this bill, contact your state’s senators.

If you want to read some interesting stuff about the Cap and Trade legislation, check out these entries on Jamie Dupree’s blog. Jamie Dupree is a full time Washington correspondent and is one of the most politically neutral reporters out there, in my opinion.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Socialism - the Conservative's New Rallying Cry!

Politically speaking, I am a conservative. I believe in free market capitalism and generally agree with the common conservative points of view. But I have been noticing a trend that disturbs me.

Lately, it seems that no matter what President Obama says or does, some conservative out there screams, “Socialism!” And thousands will rally behind with a hearty “AMEN!” But do they know exactly what they’re screaming and amen-ing?

According to Encarta, socialism is 1) a political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles; 2) a movement based on socialism: a political movement based on principles of socialism, typically advocating an end to private property and to the exploitation of workers; and 3) a stage between capitalism and communism: in Marxist theory, the stage after the proletarian revolution when a society is changing from capitalism to communism, marked by pay distributed according to work done rather than need.

I want to examine a few of Obama’s policies / proposals over the next few days in light of this definition. Are they truly Socialist, or is the term being tossed around as a rallying cry regardless of its meaning?

Everybody's doing it! (Blogging, that is.)

It seems that everyone has a blog these days. So here I am, giving it a try. I don't lead a particularly exciting life and I'm not sure what I will be writing about - hence the title "Musings & Meanderings."

We just returned from a short getaway to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Dave's brother and his family had come down to Gatlinburg from Chicago, and we had not seen them in about five years. It was really great to see them again and to catch up with everyone. Evan had a fantastic time visiting with his cousins.

Dave's family is spread out around the country. My family members are mostly here in Georgia and within a 30 minute drive. I love that Evan can visit with my parents and my cousins' kids often. I grew up that way and am so grateful that Evan can have that same experience.