Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another Blizzard

This weekend is notorious for late-season blizzards. We're looking forward to 4-8 inches of snow over the next twelve hours or so. Wonderful night to snuggle up and watch a good movie.

The Bottle Cap Bonanza is in full swing. Come visit the shop, which is updated daily for at least the next three weeks. Here are the latest listings:


Ivanna Bier Bottle Cap Lapel Pin



Orgasmo Coffee Bottle Cap Magnet



Hollywood Nuns Bottle Cap Drink Charm Set



Cute Chick Bottle Cap Magnet



Stay warm and dry, and drive safely!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MN Etsy Team Gets Press

How wonderful! WCCO news did a feature on Etsy on Monday night. Unfortunately I was just too sleepy to stay awake for it. Thanks to the internets I (and you too) have access to the printed story as well as the video. Check it out here:

If you go to the MN Etsy Street Team blog you'll find many Minnesota artists/crafters eager serve listed by category on the sidebar.

Thanks to WCCO for the press, and the MN Street Team members who helped to make it all possible.

Buy Handmade!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bottle Cap Bonanza Kick-Off

In an attempt to brighten up this wishy-washy time of year, I'm going to buckle down and update my shop once a day for the next thirty days with my very fun, cute, clever, and most of all, colorful bottle cap magnets, pins, and drink charms.

Once a day. Weekdays for sure. Oh, already making excuses!

Does that mean I'll be blogging once a day with my shop update? In a perfect world, yes. But don't get too excited, because as I've said before, with the whirlwind of activity in Auntie B Land the blog gets last priority. I'll do my best, though.

Check early, check often. And if you are so inclined, buy one, or a dozen.

Today's listing: A Monday caffeine boost with "Joe."

Coming very soon - international shipping on many items. Just let me get my scale out and we'll be ready to roll!



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lifted Spirits

I love the four seasons of Minnesota. The long days of summer, the colors of autumn, the peace and quiet of winter, and the rebirth of spring. The seasons are a way of measuring time and give a sense of anticipation for something different to come. All of the seasons have wonderful things to offer.

Then come February and March. Of the twelve months in a year, February and March are my least favorite. The weather is indecisive, showing signs of warming up one day, then plummeting below zero the next. The snow melts, dirty and wet, then freezes into treacherous icy patches. The brown grass peeks out, not yet showing signs of life. The transition from winter to spring is slow and frustrating. Cold and damp. Ugly.

This is the time of year my heart sinks. To watch the glistening white snow turn to nasty brown slush is depressing. My car is never clean. Wardrobe choices are hard to make due to the fluctuations of temperature. February and March are a drudgery.

In the midst of this gloom, I’ve been cheered back into motion these past few days. The candles that bring me so much coziness in my own life have been appreciated by many these past few days. My spirits have been lifted with an order from a longtime customer. An e-mail from another customer, who has suffered greatly throughout the winter with ailments and injuries, letting me know my candles keep her happy. A note from a man who bought candles for his wife and daughters for Valentine’s Day, thanking me for making him the most popular guy in the family for his fabulous gifts. How did these people know their support and appreciation were just what I needed?

Kind words will brighten the darkest days and give strength to the down-trodden. Thanks to the loyalty of kindness of customers who have turned friends, I can face another gray day and skip on to spring.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Crabby

Unlike most bloggers, I wait until the day (or week, or month) after a special occasion to wish my readers well. It’s not that I don’t care enough to wish you all well on the day, it just that I can never usually get my act together soon enough to get something written up in time. If I could, I would have wished you all a Happy Valentine’s Day on time.

So, without further adieu,

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

I hope everyone’s day was full of spectacular love and romance.

Husby and I snugged in and had a cozy evening of cracking crab legs and watching a chick flick. (Husby is very good that way, watching chick flicks without complaint when it is obviously necessary.) He cooks the crab himself, and as usual it was fabulous. My body is still trying to adjust to the richness of it all. My contribution to the meal of love – homemade brownies. Not even from a box!

Today I’m back in the studio, pouring a batch of sage-and-lemongrass scented candles. The fragrance will waft up through the vents into all the other rooms of the house. This will give the illusion that I’ve also been doing some house cleaning as everything smells lemon fresh!

Have a happy week!

Reminder: don’t lose that lovin’ feeling just because Valentine’s Day is over.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Making Drink Charms

Beading drink charms is on the docket for the evening. Involved in the process is cutting the memory wire, putting a jump ring on the bottle cap charm, and stringing beads and the charm onto the memory wire. It’s a soothing activity, repetitive and not requiring a lot of brain power. I like assembling drink charms while watching my favorite TV shows or a movie. It’s an activity I look forward to.

Today someone asked me what I was going to be doing after work. I so cleverly answered, “I’m going to be charming.”

I crack myself up.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Meeting With A Mentor

Social and business networking has never been my strong point. I learned most of what I know from independent research and a lot of trial and error. The computer has provided access to forums and help centers where I could ask questions, but relationships have never developed from that. I’m pretty much a loner when it comes to my craft and my business.

Recently I was presented with the possibility of an opportunity. The possibility of an opportunity? Yes, I meant to say that. It wasn’t exactly an opportunity, but a prelude to an opportunity. I was very excited at the prospect of this opportunity, yet I had no idea how to proceed. I was too impatient to fumble through forums and informing me where I could find information on how to proceed. Thankfully, I had one person to whom I could turn. And even more thankfully, she obliged.

The information this woman could provide would be invaluable to me, so instead of just talking on the phone about my possible opportunity, I decided to invite her out for drinks, dinner, lunch, breakfast – anything that was convenient for her. She chose drinks after work, which suited me fine.

We’ve been business acquaintances for a few years now, and the relationship has become slightly more personal over time. This was the first time we had met in a social setting. While it was a business meeting, the relaxed atmosphere was welcome and made me feel even more comfortable just being myself instead of a "business woman." She ordered a Cosmo and I ordered a split of champagne. I knew right then we were meant to be sipping together.

I told her all about my possible opportunity and she was genuinely excited for me. I also told her I had no idea what to do next. For the next two hours she gave me ideas and suggestions I would have never thought of on my own. I took notes. We discussed and laughed as our cheeks grew warm sipping cocktails by the fire and with the excitement of my new prospect. She shared what she knew, and I swallowed it up word by word.

That night I learned the incredible value of a mentor, and what a special person it takes to be a one. This woman could have kept her business sense to herself, as my success could actually be a detriment to her some day. She chose to help someone who chose to reach out to her. For that I’ll be always grateful. I hope to be able to repay the kindness she extended to me that night. More importantly, I hope I can be as good a friend and mentor to someone else some day.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Lot And Nothing

Where to begin? I’ve been very busy these past few days, but there aren’t any updates you’d necessarily be interested in. Like how proud I was to get so much housework done on Friday, including dusting the walls of every room of the house. (I don’t care how clean your house is, you get cobwebs, and they must be removed at all costs.) Or like how I tested some different wicks for palm wax candles. Or how I created some new bottle cap magnets for Easter and created six new drink charm sets for 2009.

You probably wouldn’t be interested in the nervous anticipation I’m feeling over a possible new client. (I can’t tell you about it because it isn’t real yet. Stay tuned.) You certainly wouldn’t be interested in what I made for dinner tonight, or that I finally got around to editing the pictures I took at my parents’ anniversary party back in September.
If I had some pictures to show of the progress I’m making, you might be a little more interested, but alas, there are none. Perhaps next week.

Tomorrow will prove to be another busy day. Aren’t they all? I’ll continue to try to fit as much in sixteen hours as I can. I relish the weekends and the time I don’t have to spend at my day job. I work twice as hard at my dream job – you’d think I could switch the two around. Not yet.

So, you see, I really have nothing to post, not much to say, but there are plenty of irons in the fire. The words don’t adequately described the hurricane of thoughts in my brain and the utter joy I have when those thoughts materialize into something I made myself, a service I can provide for someone, an atmosphere I can create for myself and my husband. Chaos and bliss intertwined. You wouldn’t be much interested in that, would you?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dive Night ~ Meister's, Stillwater

Husby and I are teaming up with our friends Ruthie and Ray for a gourmet adventure based on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Each month one couple will choose a dive at which we will dine, and if provided, imbibe in adult libations.

The first dive was chosen by Ruthie and Ray. Rules of the game are the hosting couple keeps the dive a secret until we arrive. Ray did an excellent job of driving the back roads so Husby and I had no idea where we were headed. At the end of the road was Jim Meister’s Bar and Grill.

Meister’s is literally a corner bar. A tiny one at that. The crowd inside made me feel confident Ruthie and Ray had picked a good one. We were able to be seated right away, tucked away in a far corner so we could look around at the entire place.
Husby, Ray, and Ruthie all ordered a beer to start. I don’t drink beer anymore and couldn’t decide what to have. Husby suggested a cosmo. “I can’t have a cosmo in a place like this.” I think the waitress was a little offended, as she quickly responded “we make cosmos here.” It didn’t seem right, but I ordered one anyway. So here we all sit in the little hole-in-the-wall bar, everyone drinking beer and I’ve got my hoity-toity martini glass in front of me. But I have to admit, it was a good cosmo. In fact, I had two.

The food was definitely bar food. I ordered a Meister Burger because it reminded me of the bad guy in the holiday show Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Burgermeister Meisterburger. Ruthie and Ray ordered two plain hamburgers and two chili dogs for $5. Husby ordered two hamburgers for $3. We also shared orders of fries, onion rings, and deep fried mushrooms. The appetizers/sides were especially good. (Mushrooms had a yummy dipping sauce.) My fancy Meister burger came with cheese, bacon, onion, and cheese. The fun part about that was the bacon. Crumbled on the buger instead of strips. I thought that was a great idea.



The d├ęcor was dark and glowed red with bar signs. There was a recurring theme of black and red carpet on the walls of the bar and in the bathroom. Yikes. Our waitress knew we weren’t local, what with the cosmo and the camera, but tried her best to be patient. The other waitress was no less than 80 years old, thin as a rail, but very peppy and cheerful. Apparently, however, she can’t remember anything and gets all the orders wrong. Nice of the burgermeister to keep her on the staff. Maybe it’s his mother.



So the next time you’re in Stillwater, Minnesota, stop by Jim Meister’s Bar and Grill. You’ll get a decent burger, really good appetizers and, if you’re not feeling too self-conscious, a cosmo that will make you talk loud. Doesn’t get much better than that. Or so we shall see. Next month Husby and I get to pick the place. Will it be more burgers? Chinese? Italian? Doesn’t matter as long as we keep within our pre-set guidelines of “dive.” Stay tuned for the next installment.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Another Treasury

I'm honored to be a part of another beautiful Etsy treasury made up by one of my fellow Minnesota Etsy Street Team members. All of the items are beautiful. And see that great candle there on the bottom? That's me!


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