Friday, July 30, 2010

Subversive Messages = Satisfaction

There are some times when you just have to say something  but it is totally inappropriate or futile to do so.  This happens to me a lot at my day job.  My questions and concerns are either ignored or ignored.  But that's only when they're not ignored.

When this happens I have to open the pressure valve a little or else I'll explode like a overboiled pot of pea soup, which isn't pretty.  I get my satisfaction from desktop pictures and wallpapers.  It could be I need to look at something pretty to counterbalance the blandness of the office space, or maybe a subversive message is just the thing to make me feel like I've had my say without actually saying it. 

This is the picture on my day job computer desktop these days...

Attitudes are contagious.  Mine might kill you.

I know, it doesn't sound like something that happy little Auntie B would say, but sometimes the daily grind can just wear you down, no matter how happy you try to be.  This one serves as ample warning to anyone approaching my desk. 

This and many other subversive messages are available at Despair, Inc. in the form of calendars, desktoppers, posters, etc.  I love this site because it lets me know I'm not alone and likes to mock the ineffectiveness of corporate (and government) pinheads.  Best of all it mocks those stupid motivational posters meant to light a fire under corporate (and government) cogs like me.

You might not be able to retire from your job yet, but at least now you can make fun of it without uttering a word.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Never Thought It Would Happen To Me

Remember the movie The Jerk?  Remember Navin Johnson saying,  "I never thought it would happen to me."  It is with that same sense of stupor that I am saying the same thing.

A long time ago I thought it might be fun to learn how to make candles.  I was newly married living in a little house and the kitchen was my work space.  Of course we didn't have a computer or internet access (it was the olden days) so I depended on books to teach me the craft of making hand-poured candles.

It was frustrating at first, but I persisted and was determined to perfect the candle-making process so I could burn my own candles instead of having to buy them from overpriced retailers.  Finally I was able to consistently create candles of various sizes and shapes with perfection.  I liked pouring candles so much I had to begin selling them in order to make more.  After a period of hobby selling, I began my business, Auntie B's Wax.

I still have all of those candle-making books in my studio.  Yes, I now have a "studio" instead of having to work in the kitchen, thanks to a bigger house.  I still refer to those books too, for inspiration and renewed ideas.

Several months ago I was appropached by a book editor. She wanted me to contribute to a new candle making book, one specializing in natural waxes.  Of course I was thrilled as I work heavily with palm wax and beeswax, both  which are natural and renewable.  My contributions are instructions on how to make simple molded candles of both palm wax and beeswax.

I'm not selling anything, and I don't profit at all from this book.  I wasn't even paid for my contribution.  However, it is an honor for me to be able to give to new chandlers what I had reaped from contributors and authors of all those books from which I had learned ~ the benefit of experience.

So, like Navin Johnson I look at "my" book and say to myself, I never thought it would happen to me.  Who knew that girl making a mess in the kitchen would actually be asked to instruct others on how to do what she had mastered?

It's all a little overwhelming, but also very satisfying.  I hope this book finds its way into the hands of interested beginners, and that the instructions from all the contributors inspires creative candle making.

This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other retailers.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Important Points

Oh, just hold your horses.  I know I didn't get a post up by 6:30 this morning as I usually do ~ that's because I spent last night out with two other girls and we had much rich food and wine.  (Hi, Ruthie and Natasha.) 

Roman Anthony's in White Bear Lake.  Yum.  Try it.  The two men waiting on us were fabulous and fun and were able to make chocolate cake materialize out of thin air after telling us there was none.  Either they were very magical or we had enough charm to actually get what we wanted.  The cake was delicious, and even came with an edible flower.

So today I'm just trying to decide why I don't eat seafood linguine and chocolate cake every night and am grateful for the girl time.  We need girl time.  Unless you're a boy, then you need boy time.  There's always plenty of time for the commingling of the two, so be sure to spend time with those of your own gender on a regular basis.

And don't forget to eat chocolate cake.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Don't you love weekends?  Mine was especially long ~ three days to be exact.  Luxurious!

It feels good to be able to walk around without product in my hair.  My eyelashes love being free from the stickiness and inevitable smear of mascara. 

I can walk around barefoot and even take a bath at 2:00 in the afternoon if I want.

Weekends are a good thing.  May I please have another?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Universe And Its Metaphors

Strange how things happen.  The Universe is watching you.

Here's how it happened.  For months...nay years I've been trying to build up my little business.  I've also been trying to be a good wife, housekeeper, employee, daughter, sister, and friend.  I've learned to prioritize and organize, or so I thought.  In the process of prioritizing I've neglected some pretty important things for too long.  In attempts to organize I've wasted valuable time getting things in order over and over again.

Making business decisions, cheering for the little progress, rolling with the defeats and losses, and producing, producing, producing has taken the spotlight.  After all, I'm working toward a nice little supplement to my retirement in a few years.  However, without my even knowing it there has been a tiny bug inside me, chewing away at my effectiveness.  It was trying to tell me something without having the ability to just come right out and say it.  In my preoccupied state I didn't even hear its whimpers, which would translate into the English language as "slow down, even out, just stop it!"

So I'm going along in life thinking I'm all that, except maybe just a tad tired.  Today I was restocking after a sad showing at Marketfest (fabulous event, just not the kind of place where people buy stuff) and puttering around the house.  I remembered it was time to wind the clock, so I did.

Thirty seconds later I heard a hollow bang which came from the vicinity of the clock.  The spring broke and the clock stopped ticking.

Beside the fact that this is a beloved heirloom three generations old which I recently got fixed to run perfectly and now I just ruined it, I realized my action was a metaphor delivered to me from The Universe.  You're wound too tight, baby.

After the requisite breakdown which accompanies a generalized feeling of failure and inadequacy I've decided to listen to The Universe, as well as that inarticulate tiny bug that's been gnawing at me for so long.  I'm going to step back.  I'm going to get some perspective.  I'm going to optimize my effectiveness. 

I may not produce as much as I have been.  I may not list items for sale in my shop as frequently.  I might not even post here every day.  But I do know I'll be checking in as I always have, making notes on the journey I'm on.  Perhaps I can share some insights that may apply to you.  Perhaps you can leave comments that could help me.

For now, I'm going to approach the weekend with a new vision.  I'm going to rest as well as work.  I'm going to do business chores as well as household chores.  I'm going to drink a glass of wine as well as a gallon of caffeine.  In other words, I'm finally going to listen to The Universe and unwind a little so I can keep better time. 

I'm also going to take the clock in for repairs...again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Featured Shop ~ Steampunk Vintage Design

About twice a month I contribute an article to the HandmadeMN blog featuring the HandmadeMN members' shops on Etsy. I thought it would be nice to have those articles on my blog too, as I really like the artists and shops I feature, and their wares might add a bit of class to my little corner of the blogosphere.

Today's featured shop is one created by a team, Connie and Tim.  They specialize in watch parts and movements jewelry, but also like to re-purpose vintage and antique jewelry and hardware into jewelry pieces.  These days repurposing is where it's at, and so is the jewelry of Steampunk Vintage Design.

Connie and Tim's jewelry has a definite vintage and Goth look to it.  Check out these cool earrings...

Here's a great idea - a gift for the guys in your wedding party.  Piffle on those stuffy cufflinks at the tux rental place..  Steampunk's are something to examine and admire...

I really like the look Steampunk jewelry has with so many metal elements.  It catches the light and draws attention.  What good is an accessory if it doesn't draw attention?  This next item is a wonderful piece.  To me it says Victorian Biker Chick/Dude. 

For some truly unique handcrafted jewelry made with the finest selection of vintage watch movements you must visit Steampunk Vintage Design.  You'll be the talk of the town!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hot Summer Days

These are the hot summer days. 

It doesn't seem so long ago when summertime meant no homework, no responsibilities, and lots and lots of playing.  My fair face would turn beet red with my vigorous play and my wispy white hair would curl into sweaty little ringlets.  Summertime also meant frequent trips to Tug Lake in Wisconsin, home to Gram and Grampa. 

It would be the end of the day, the sun in the western sky.  Charlotte would still be swimming in Tug Lake like a minnow and Diggy was just a little toddler being passed around to the next adoring adult.  I would always get cold and pruney from swimming too long so I would sit with the adults in the yard on the sticky, aqua blue, padded vinyl lawn furniture and drink a Fresca out of the bottle ~ that was back in the day when Fresca had real fruit peel bits floating in it.  Then I would ask my grandma if I could listen to the stereo. 

Being the doting grandma she was we'd go inside, and she'd fire up the fancy console with my favorite record.  She'd then return to the lakeside gathering outside, leaving me to what would turn into one of the most nostalgic memories of my life.

The sun reflected off the waves of the lake through the large windows of the house, throwing shimmering images through the whole room.  The indoor air felt warm to my lake-chilled body.  I was probably eight or nine years old.  I felt independent all alone away from the family, and yet I was embraced in a comfortable and safe environment.  My choice of music every time was none other than Steve and Eydie, Real True Lovin'.

When I was a young teenager I would reminisce with Gram about those days when she would play the fancy stereo for me.  I asked her with the most innocent of intentions, "when you die can I have your Steve and Eydie record?" 

One day when I was well into my thirties Gram gave me the record.  "Here you go, honey.  You don't have to wait until I die to have this."  She remembered, before she would inevitably be unable to. 

When I sit in my rumpus room during warm summer evenings I see the flickering shadows of the trees cast along the floor and walls by the setting sun and am reminded of Tug Lake and the sparkly diamond waters of my childhood.

I still feel like that little girl when I hear this song, sometimes sadly longing for the carefreeness of childhood.  Mostly I'm reminded that it was those carefree days, my fun and accommodating grandma, and Steve and Eydie at sunset that contributed to the person I am today.  For all those things I'm grateful.

What memories does summertime bring to you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bigger Than A Breadbox

There's been some excitement at my house.

Can you guess what it is?  Probably not, as my idea of excitement is probably much different than yours. 

There was a delivery, which was bigger than a bread box.  Way bigger.  We had one of these all along, but it came with my marriage, about which I was very unhappy.  (I was unhappy with the thing, not the marriage.)  Yes, martyr that I am, I took the bad with the good when I took my husband oh so many years ago.

You see, I married a man who believed that if it doesn't hurt, it isn't working.  Discomfort is proof of being alive.  Comfort = lazy.  After fourteen years of marriage I think he finally believes differently.

Yes, we finally got a new mattress.  Not only a mattress, the most luxurious mattress we could ever imagine having.  Even Husby wallows in its billowy goodness. 

We continue to be aware of the possibility of nose bleeds as this is the thickest mattress we've ever experienced.  I don't even have to bend over to make the bed ~ and I'm tall!

So I put on a new set of sheets and we were good to go.  I dreamt more that first night than I had in months.  I also stayed in the bed for eleven hours straight that night, rendering me completely useless the next day.  Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

No, it doesn't look all fluffy and grandiose like a bed fit for a magazine spread, but it is our respite ~ a place to retire at the end of the day.  The delivery of our new mattress was the highlight of my entire week.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Favorite

It's June, July, or August.  It's hot.  It's humid.  I need a snack, so I go to the pantry and pull out some graham crackers.  I go to the refrigerator and pull out some butter.  (There is nothing better than graham crackers slathered with butter!)  I attempt to spread the butter on the crackers and end up with a counter covered with cracker crumbs.  Why?  Because the butter is hard, straight out of the refrigerator, utterly unspreadable.

Butter is a beautiful thing and must be preserved at all costs.  In the summer I can't leave the butter out of the fridge for too long because it gets skunky and blistery and downright unhealthy to eat.  What's a girl to do if she needs to have spreadable butter at a moment's notice in the Minnesota summertime? 

The answer and today's favorite is...the butter bell.

Image compliments of Pinch My Salt

The butter bell is one of the best inventions ever.  How it works is all very scientific, but it allows you to store butter out of the refrigerator, keeping it soft, spreadable, and fresh for up to thirty days.  I know!  It's a miracle.  The magical component?  Water.

Just pack a stick of butter into the bell part of the crock.  Then pour about 1/3 cup of water into the larger portion of the crock.  Put the bell filled with butter upside down into the water.  Don't panic, it will be okay.  The water creates a seal, which in turn keeps your butter soft and fresh.  I'm telling you, these things are great.  Try one out ~ your graham crackers will thank you.

Fancy-schmancy butter bells (photos as well) offered by Sue Pariseau

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Express Your Feelings

How are you feeling today?







Come on over to Auntie B Online
and find a magnet to suit your mood.

This is been the latest edition of The Shameless Plug.  Thank you for your attention.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Waste Some Time And Have A Smile

Here's a fun little game for you.  It will amaze and amuse you.  It will test your mouse clicking skills.  It will distract you from the fact that I don't have an actual blog post today.

Play Screamin' Beans!

Have fun, and join me tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching Up

Have you ever just taken a little break

from the vacuuming

and the laundry

and candle pouring (or any other little project you might have)?

The timer was set to go off

for the time I needed to go fill the well of the candles I'd been pouring.

I'd just rest my eyes

until the bell rang.

Have you ever been awakened by your husby

to find yourself sitting in a chair

gently holding a pair of socks to your chest

the ones you had taken off because your feet were too hot?

To find the sun still shining?

To have no idea what day it is?

"Your timer went off," he said queitly to me.

Have you ever fallen asleep so soundly within a matter of very few minutes

right in the middle of the day

without any intention of doing so?

I did.

And it was wonderful.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Friday Favorite

Today's choice comes all the way from across the pond.  I give you my favorite...t-shirt.

It's over twenty years old and probably smells like the dickens, but I can't ever, ever get rid of it.  My brother brought it back from England as a souvenir for me.  Back in my saucier days it caught many eyes as the word "Virgin" was most prominent.  I thought that was amusing.

I only wear it around the house now as it is tattered and faded with many years of wear and wash, but it remains my favorite.  When it is beyond wearing it will join many others in the Rubber Maid hamper, also known as a tomb of t-shirts, someday to be incorporated into pillows or blankets or some other "art" I might create from their sassy and memorable slogans.  For now it is cherished and worn with dreams of visiting Europe and memories of Diggy.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I was driving home in the pouring rain yesterday thinking of all the things I have to do, including a special little project that needed to be done before the weekend. When lo and behold it hit me like a ton of bricks ~ I have to take inventory for my event tomorrow!

How could I forget?  Actually I didn't really forget as much as misfigure my days.  Marketfest is on Thursday, when most shows I go to are on the weekend.  And this evening from 6:00 to 9:00 I'll be in beautiful downtown White Bear Lake meeting and greeting my adoring fans.

When you're not visiting my booth you can check out some old-time cars, eat some great food, visit other vendor booths, and listen to music.  I think there's also a petting zoo or something with farm animals for the kids.  It's three solid hours of nothing but fun and hob-nobbing. 

So come on up to White Bear Lake and say hi.  I'd love to see you!  The weather will be warm and sunny for a fun evening out.

Photos courtesy of Marketfest's Facebook Page

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fly Away

It's been a busy time at the Auntie B's Wax World Headquarters. Lots of thinking, lots of producing, lots of packaging, lots of selling. I love life at the headquarters, but no matter how much I love what I do, sometimes I just need a vacation.

Vacation comes from the word "vacate." Let go. Leave. Don't look back for a week or two.

Chances are pretty good I won't be vacating any time too soon, but still I dream. And because I'm merely dreaming and not actually planning, these are the destinations I would choose...




...Door County, Wisconsin (my next state neighbor!)...


To what destinations would you like to vacate?

Monday, July 05, 2010

A Quiet 4th, Except For Those Neighborhood Firecrackers

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. For a lot of you (like me) the weekend continues today, which is a much needed bonus. Yay!

There's not much to report from the Auntie B's Wax World Headquarters regarding the weekend. Husby and I were in town instead of at the cottage for the first time in a very, very long time. It's a long story. We spent a little time with my parents on Saturday and Husby's dad on Sunday. Other than that, it was a pretty ordinary weekend.

One fun thing that happened was my being featured in two very unusual Etsy Treasuries. Check them out...

Bizarre and beautiful treasuries, don't you think?

Enjoy your extended weekend.  If you're back at work today, welcome back.  It's a day in Craftland for me, getting ready for Marketfest.  I'm very excited to be participating, but so much to do before Thursday.  Off I go!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Friday Favorite

I can't pick just one favorite today. 

First of all, there is Paenney.  Happy Birthday!  The little kid becomes a man.  Eek!  (Nah, he'll always be a little kid :))  His sense of humor brightens up many lives, and his extraordinary good looks will turn a lot of heads (as if they haven't already!) in the years to come.  Sorry we can't be together today, but we'll all be celebrating soon.  Have a fab day!

And then who could deny this favorite?...America.  Cherish her. 

Have a blast this holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Droppin' Dough On A Mystery Project?

So I've been thinking for a while about a project I might want to try.  I don't want to let the secret out because here's the deal ~ I don't have the supplies needed to even make the attempt. 

Don't think it's anything so simple as going to the store and buying something like pipe cleaners...

...or glitter...

...or paper and scissors...

The thing I want to try requires an investment of $350.  That's three hundred and fifty dollars.  This is nothing to smirk at, at least when you're as frugal as I am.  Oh, I can easily drop $300 on a few cases of wax because I've been pouring candles for over a decade and actually know what I'm doing. 

That's the thing ~ with this new project I can't even start small.  $350 is the bare minimum I need to invest to without even knowing if I'll enjoy creating the product, and that says nothing about creating a product that will actually sell.

These are the things that plague a small-time business person like me.  On one hand I want to jump into anything that could be fun to make and also turn a profit.  On the other hand, I have to pay attention to the budget.  It kills me to have to think like a corporate fiscal manager.  It takes the fun out of creating.  But then back to the first hand, you have to spend money to make money.  And then my mind gets to being really chaotic and twirly and I don't know what to do!

For now I think the project is going to be put on my Outlook Tasks under the category of New Projects.  I'll see how the summertime shows go and perhaps I'll be lucky enough to make some extra change to make a capital investment.  There's that fiscal manager lingo again.  Ugh!

Why, you ask, am I telling you all this?  Several reasons.  1) Maybe some of you are in the same predicament, wondering what to do, and it may ease your mind to know you're not alone.  2) Talking things out like this clears my mind a little, and what is a blog if it isn't a place to clear the mind?  3) I'm here to serve as a small reminder of how we can't always just jump into a project simply because we think of it.  Sometimes the reward is in the waiting. 

But your curiosity may be piqued.  What is this grand scheme I'm pondering?  Here's a sneak peek...

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