Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gratitude Is Contagious

My but it's brisk in Minnesota today. 5° to be precise. But that's wintertime for you. Andrea of Sacred Suds had warm thoughts today as she expressed gratitude in a beautiful Etsy Treasury. She featured green and pink colors, and bless her heart, she also featured my Variety bottle cap magnet.

Thanks, Andrea.  You're a peach!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shooting For 103

He taught me to:

1.   love carnivals
2.   shoot from the hip
3.   make things from scraps
4.   laugh at myself
5.   sing about monkey assholes
6.   overcome obstacles
7.   change a tire
8.   be proud
9.   play blackjack
10.  find a place for everything

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Family Obligations

It was a wet and dreary weekend.  Normally I would love a weekend like that, but that's because I'm pretty much a hermit by nature.  If I can stay in and watch the cold, wind, rain, and snow from a chair by the fire, I'm about as happy as I can be.  Alas, I had to be out in it, stepping in puddles with my new shoes, shaking the raindrops off my coat, and generally not doing the things I would normally do.

Saturday was a happy wedding day for one couple, and Husby and I were obliged to attend.  It was a small wedding, and I was even curious as to why we were invited in the first place.  A happy wedding day to one couple was an awkward and inconvenient day for another.  Oh well, we went and are all the better for it as we not only learned a lot about the families of the wedding couple, we learned a lot about ourselves.  We also learned how to get home from one side of the Twin Cities Metro to the other after missing several of our exits due to construction.

Sunday was spent with Husby's parents.  Mrs. Husby is dying and she was finally ready to talk about funeral arrangements and such.  Husby's parents are very closed and private people and finding out their preferences for something so unbearably uncomfortable as their inevitable death is almost impossible.  Mrs. Husby took me to her closet and showed me some outfits she was agreeable to be buried in, as well as sharing some information regarding a funeral service.  It was a miracle, as sorts, getting that kind of information out of her.  Husby and I have been making some decisions on our own in the event no wishes were expressed, but are glad we can accommodate Mrs. Husby's requests.

Looking back, it was kind of a depressing weekend, but enlightening nevertheless.  I did find some time to play with my new fragrance oils and have begun pouring the dozens of votives I will have by the summer season.  Tested were Key Lime and Nag Champa.  I kind of like the latter, but don't know if it really corresponds to the violet color I gave the wax.  Oh well, what am I if not unpredictable? 

This week will bring more pulp fiction magnets to the shop.  I'm sure you'll find one to fit your fancy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The New Smellies Are Here! The New Smellies Are Here!

OK, it's the dead of winter, but we chandlers have to start thinking of spring and summer right about now.  We chandlers also know candle sales kind of dip plummet in the spring and summer months.  What's with that anyway?  Spring and summer candles are great for outdoor entertaining on the deck, or for getting cozy on a dark and stormy night. 

But I'm not here today to pitch candle sales.  I'm here to tell you about one of the most fun things I get to do as a candle maker.  Figure out what scents to carry.  Oh glory what fun it is!  Even better when my favorite supplier is having a sale on sample packs!  Today at my doorstep when I got home from the day job was a box of twenty-one sample fragrance oils. 

Oh I know it probably doesn't look like much to you.  Even Husby kind of rolls his eyes when the fragrance oils arrive.  But for me it's like a whole new beginning.  I get pumped about pouring more candles with these fabulous new scents.  I look forward to seeing what scents other people are drawn to when they stop by my booth at craft shows and festivals. 

This weekend I'm going to break out the votive molds and the palm wax and go berzerk.  Woo Hoo! 

So tell me, what sounds good to you?

Key Lime
Warm Apple Pie
Pina Colada
Almond Pastries
Green Clover & Aloe
Nag Champa (think incense)
Ginger Peach
Breakfast At Tiffany's
Cranberry Citrus
Macintosh Apple
Frosted Carrot Cake
Black Raspberry Vanilla
Love Spell
Lemon Pound Cake
French Vanilla Amber
Passion Fruit & Guava
Strawberries & Cream
Cinnamon Buns

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And Now, For The Naughtier You

When we went to my Grandma's house I was always intrigued with her True Story magazines.  My mom would never let me even look at the pile of them laying by Grandma's chair because they were not something a child should see.  They were, okay I'll just say it, smut.

Maybe it was those taboo magazines that gave me a fascination for trashy publications, or maybe there's just some kind of naughty-girl archetype that lives in all of us.  And the best part about smut?  The pictures.

Auntie B is proud to present to you for the first time over the interlinks her version of  Pulp Fiction Artwork, magnet style.  These images-turned-magnet are the cover art of actual paperback novels.  The ones from which your mother would shield your eyes.  They gave good girls bad ideas.  They fed your alter ego. 

I'll be adding dozens of these magnets to my shop over the next few weeks.  No doubt some will strike a chord with you.  No doubt you'll see something perfectly fitting for your girlfriend.  You may even see the cover of a book you saw in the pile of smut at your grandma's house.

Get your smut on over at Auntie B Online.  And tell your friends too!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Always Waxing

Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision with the name of my company.  Thanks to my nephews Fojo and Paenney and a very long story they started calling me "Auntie B."  When I began my company, and to this day I put an emphasis on candle making.  What better name for my company than Auntie B's Wax?  Kind of clever.  Starts with an "A" for top-of-the-list searches.  Pretty good.

But as time went on I found my crafting extended beyond candles, and in some venues I'm known more for products other than candles.  Will the customers be confused?  Should I branch off and make another company for my non-candle products? 

It occurred to me that Auntie B's Wax indeed goes beyond candles simply by definition of the word "wax."  In fact, I'm really happy I chose this name, because it is all encompassing.  It describes my expansion.  It describes my journey.  My company reflects how I wax.  Check out this definition:

-verb (used without object), waxed; waxed or (Literary) wax⋅en; wax⋅ing.

1. to increase in extent, quantity, intensity, power, etc.

2. (of the moon) to increase in the extent of its illuminated portion before the full moon.

3. to grow or become

Yes, this is Auntie B's "Wax."  Check in tomorrow to see what's new and available for sale.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Handwritten Note

For a while now I've been a little sad about the demise of the handwritten note. With e-mail and e-greetings being so convenient handwritten letters and notes are becoming a thing of the past.

When I was a kid I used to hate it when my mother reminded me over and over again to write my thank-you notes after every birthday, Christmas, and any other occasion that brought gifts my way. I couldn't think of what to say; my notes seemed so pointless and dumb. The thing of it is, I'm now grateful to my mom for making me write those notes.

Genuine gratitude for the nice things people do becomes stronger the older one gets. And with that I found my thank-you notes aren't pointless and definitely aren't dumb. Granted, in the beginning I was conditioned to feel obliged to write thank-you notes.  After years of following my mother's orders the task now gives me cause to stop for a moment and think about the person who was so generous to give me a gift for a special occasion.

I'll admit, a typed e-mail from me would probably be much more legible than my handwriting, but it wouldn't cause a tiny bright spot in the day when you get something in the mail that isn't asking you to apply for a credit card or pay a bill.  If there is personal correspondence in the mail, it is the first item to be opened.

A thank-you note doesn't have to be lengthy. That's why they make "note" cards - to keep things short and sweet. So how hard can it be?

I made my Christmas thank-you notes this year.  The image is from a vintage children's book and the inside is, of course, blank. I was a little late in sending out my notes this year, so I chose a winter theme for the image, rather than a Christmas theme.

As much as I hated being made to write thank-you notes as a kid, I'm glad I still write them today. They are a good discipline, they are good manners, they provide an outlet for creativity (especially if you make your own cards), and they will most likely put a smile on their recipient's face.

And plus, no one will ever tuck an e-mail under their pillow.  If you don't hand-write notes and letters, give it some consideration.  It's pretty likely your efforts will be appreciated.  Maybe even cherished.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are You My Type?

One of my favorite bloggers, Jessica Jones of How About Orange had a fun little quiz on her site the other day and I just had to share it.  Actually, it isn't really a quiz at all, but an analysis by what I assume is a leading analyst in the field.  He's especially humorous if you don't answer the questions right away. 

Anyway, he will analyze, through your answers to the questions he posts, what "type" you are.  More specifically, what font best represents your personality.  There are only four questions, so don't be afraid - jump right in.  I was assessed as being Pistilli Roman.  Look how fat and swirly I can be!

Go on and see how you're diagnosed.  I'd love to hear what type you are!  When first logging in you will be asked for a password.  In this space type "character."  Other than that, you're on your own.

Meet the analyst here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Featured Shop - Sacred Suds

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.

Now is the season of our dry winter skin.  The cold, harsh wind makes us cry out for some relief, and my sanctuary during winter is none other than the bathtub.  A nice warm soak is the perfect remedy to remove the chill from your bones.

Your bath is run, the candles are lit.  To make the experience truly heavenly would be some Sacred Suds.  Andrea has concocted the most divine soaps to make your weary body come alive and to sooth irritated skin.  Make no mistake, while I push these soaps during the harsh winter months of Minnesota, they are just as heavenly anywhere else on earth, in any climate.

Sacred Suds is inspired by the Goddesses and Gods of ancient mythology and provide excellent skin care and aromatherapuetic properties.  Here is just a small peek at what is offered:

Aphrodite, Goddess of Love is a delicious mixture of rose, ylang ylang, and amber, along with rich oils to sooth the skin.  As "rich and sensual as Aphrodite herself."

Cernunnos, Celtic Nature God  has been created to pay homage to a more virile and animal nature.  Scented with pine, fir, rosewood, musk, and clove, this soap will bring you back in touch with the natural being that you are. 

Shakti, Goddess of Creative Energy, a compilation of patchouli, ylang ylang, orange, and clove, will most certainly invigorate the senses as well as the body. 

Go visit Sacred Suds and get the inside scoop on what could be the most luxurious soaps you have ever encountered.  The shop is lovely and includes many glowing testimonials from those who have experienced the effects of these rich and beautiful soaps.  Also in the offerings are gift sets, as well as seasonal fragrances.  Simply heavenly.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

It was a magnificant nine feet tall (without the star).  It was home to over 100 ornaments and 1470 lights.  It shone with sparkly beads and icicles.  The Christmas Tree.  What a wonderful tradition.

A rather bad picture, but this way you can see it as I do without my glasses on.

When I started to disassemble what took me two days to set up, I felt really sad.  It's that way every year.  The glow of a Christmas tree makes any girl look beautiful, sort of like candle light does.  The glow and the season are over, which means no more Christmas cookies, fudge, or parties.  Taking down the tree means the end of holiday fun.  No more Santa, no more gifts, wrapping paper, ribbon.

But after removing about five ornaments, I suddenly wanted it to be gone.  It's time to go away.  The needles are brittle.  I want to get this task over with as soon as possible.

It took me an entire weekend to set up the tree.  It took me three hours to take remove all the ornaments, lights, and other adornments.  It took another thirty minutes to vacuum the needles out of the carpet. 

What once stood as a glorious symbol of the Christmas season, a topic of conversation for our holiday visitors, a display of ornaments representing gifts and ancestry has been left at the curb for the garbage guys to deal with.  Its withered branches have served their purpose and its wonderful aroma will have to be duplicated by potpourris and candle scents. 
You served us well, Oh Christmas Tree. 

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Welcome Sight

Are you ever just filled with resentment?  Filled with frustration?  Exhausted beyond belief?

Yesterday I was all three.  I was exhausted merely due to lack of sleep.  I've stayed up late every night this week, paired with having to awaken at 5:00 a.m. to go to the day job.  That brings us to the resentment and frustration.  A cold, snowy day is one of my favorite things, and I had to spend it pushing papers in a dull beige office, nowhere near any windows. 

So filled with resentment, frustration, and exhaustion I drove home at the end of the day to be greeted by a lovely snowy wreath.  Once again and all of the sudden all is right with the world.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Some New Projects In The Making

Last night I started experimenting with a fun project.  The concept is simple, paper dolls that are actually magnets.  Instead of folding clothes tabs around the doll, you simply place the magnetic clothes on the magnetic doll, which is on your refrigerator or locker or filing cabinet or that other metal thing you keep your cool magnets on.

Perfecting the final product may take a little while, but I think I'll be able to have these up for sale within the month. 

Also coming soon to my Etsy shop will be the ladies of pulp fiction.  I've been selling the pulp magnets for a while in other venues and they've been popular, but I've never been completely satisfied with them.  With some new ideas on production I may have the answers I'm looking for to presenting the fun magnets I've always envisioned.

With Christmas behind us I can look forward to a new year fulfilling all the crafty resolutions I made.  And guess what?  I already received an invitation to apply at my favorite winery festival to take place in June.  Yeah, it's going to be a good year.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Blissful It Is

Now that my internet is up again I've been searching out new blogs and inspirations.  And oh what a time I'm having!  Inspired I am, even if only to blog a little more.  For Christmas Husby gave me Blogging for Bliss, a lovely book created to inspire "crafters, artists, and creatives of all kinds" to blog their little hearts away.  Not only does author Tara Frey provide a wonderful guide to starting a blog or sprucing up an existing one, she also spotlights several creative bloggers. 

Without a doubt I will be referring to these bloggers in the future.  I've already put a lot of them into My Favorites and when I can I follow them on Twitter or Facebook.  Their links will also appear in the Inspirations section of my sidebar.

I'm just so excited.  This year is shining bright with prospects and hope.  I've feeling adventurous, and am fueled by the creative offerings of so many out there in the blogosphere. 

Well I could just gush on about Tara's book and all the delightful bloggers she features.  Spare yourselves my blatherings and get the book.  It's especially wonderful reading with a cup of hot chocolate!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Savoring The Last Days

As the Epiphany approaches the days of Christmas dwindle.  These are the moments I treasure most of all with a bit of melancholy knowing it will all disappear soon.

And so with my cup of hot cocoa I spend my evenings gazing upon the tree, savoring the last days of Christmas.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Addiction Of The 21st Century

O heavens! I experienced sporadic internet connectivity over the weekend and it practically drove me mad! I’m not one to be constantly connected; for pete’s sake I don’t even have a camera on my cell phone much less apps that allow me to post to my blog or give updates via Facebook and Twitter. But to be unable to sit down with my little laptop and not be able to get onto the internet was positively frightening!

At first I thought I had done something wrong, as we just recently got a new ISP and I was responsible for setting everything up. Internet Explorer cannot display the web page was the message I would periodically get. I feared some of my computer connections got unconnected and I’d have to figure it out all over again. Come to find out, the cable company was at fault (most likely cable lines froze and disintegrated in the -30 degree temperatures?), and in their attempts to rectify the situation our service was spotty, at best.

In an absolute tizzy I suddenly didn’t know what to do. Never mind that I had a mountain of laundry to tend to, or that I had dusting and vacuuming and tub scrubbing that needed to be done. My vision was focused on one thing, the internet. Am I so addicted that I become immobile just knowing I can’t log on at a moment’s notice?

Painfully I forced myself to turn my focus onto non-computer activities. The laundry got started and remainders of holiday entertaining were packed away. As I worked around the house trying not to think about the internet I would find other little chores to be done, picking up this and cleaning up that. I felt like a regular June Cleaver housewife-type, and it felt…okay.

The internet is invaluable, but I have to remember how to live without it. I’m one of those older people who actually lived the better part of my life so far without the presence of a computer, much less the internet and for that I am grateful. While I like and use the internet, I know I do not need it.

Except I do need it. I need it more than I don’t need it. I can’t stop. I’m in love with it and I don’t want to leave it to eat or sleep.

I need help.
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