Thursday, May 28, 2009

A gift for the teachers

Well, at the school/day care that my children attend, it is almost time to change classrooms and get new teachers. So, time to say good bye to the current lovely ladies who have put up with my minions so far this year.

We got report cards and they are doing great. Teachers even claim that they will miss them. I know better - they will not even envy the next teacher.

But in an attempt to recover from some of the forgotten occasions and parties, I made a couple of items to give the teachers for their end of year.

Don't those look nice - it's a shea butter body balm that is scented like chocolate mint (good enough to eat) and a salt scrub that has a ocean breeze fragrance to it.

Easy to make, and I got the tins from Brambleberry. And guess what? The teachers loved them. I got some points back, not that I will ever get them all back.

So, I decided to add these items to my Etsy and Artfire shops. Look for them there with another item, the fizzy bath soak.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A pattern of concern

Just had to get this off my chest. I have an older sister, Tammy Bais Lively, who loves to buy new dogs and somehow they never seem to live more than 3-6 months (most of the time) before some interesting but terrible thing happens to them and they are gone. And then she is off to purchase another purebred dog.

The latest victim was a teacup Yorkie, who I think lasted about 4 months. This is a horrible pattern which I do not mean to make light of. I cannot say for sure that she is responsible for their untimely deaths but it has been happening for years. And up until now, I wasn't sure what to do about it. She lives in Texas and to be truthful, we don't get along well. I hear these things from my mom.

Evidence that not all of the dogs are doomed - my younger sister took one of the dogs a couple of years ago and named him Chance. She named him that for a reason! And he's still here today and is the sweetest dog.

So I decided to blog about it, and hope that the next person who is selling a purebred dog will look her up on the internet and see this post and not sell her a dog. Because chances are, they would be sentencing the dog to a short lived miserable life.

Book Review: Breaking Dawn (4th in the Twilight Series) by Stephenie Meyer

It only took me a couple of days to make it through the 754 pages of Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer.
I do disclose some information that you might not want to know, so be wary if you read. But I won't tell you the ending.

"All I really saw was Edward's face; it filled my vision and overwhelmed my mind" (Bella)

Breaking Dawn is about children, Renesmee in particular. But I will start at the beginning if I can. They actually got married! In the first few hundred pages, so I had to wonder, what's going to happen - and what's with all the foreshadowing of "innocent children" and Bella dreaming of babies. Well, it's not long before we learn that Bella is pregnant with Edward's baby.

And then we see things from Jacob's point of view, whom I feel very sympathetic to about Bella, and learn of Bella's struggles through his eyes. Finally, the time has come for the birth, and with a baby that is half vampire, half human - it's a rough go. Nonetheless - at this point there are too many pages left for Bella to die, so she does not. Becoming an excellent newborn vampire with amazing control, and her own special power - that is something I won't tell you. The final chapters are about the struggle to save her precious baby, Renesmee. From the ever present Volturi, who see this baby as a violation of the laws.

This writing is superb! She could have made this book into many, but she keeps it together as one. The foreshadowing and developments and surprises in this book are many and I must say - extremely creative without being outside of the realm of the "supernatural" reality we are in with the series. Things that happened in the first book are still making an impact in the 4th, which is something very unexpected.

And the love that a mother feels for her child, the ability to share her child with others, and the strength of her bonds to all seem to tie this book together. At times, I disliked all of the vampire family (the Cullens) - but not for long. Each of them returns to the easy and lovely person I have loved all along. I even disliked Edward, but only for a second and it's easily forgiven. So, yes, I am still in love with him!

And in the end, everything is resolved that I needed to know about to feel peace with the series and a feeling that it had closure. That was a wonderful feeling. But as my friend said, I miss Edward. Such a love that he feels for Bella and has waited for is not a trivial thing for adults much less a teen. This is my favorite book of the series, by far.

"Forever and forever and forever" he murmured. "That sounds exactly right to me".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Complaint! Imagine that...

Ok, today was great and then miserable. I was in Denison, TX and doing a presentation that went extremely well - that was the great part.
I went to Dallas Love Field to fly to Nashville. Lucky me, I got there a couple of hours early, so I thought! WHOA! There must have been 500 people trying to get through security. So, I went to the "other" security gate and it was backed up too! It took me 1 hr 30 minutes to get through security. Needless to say, I missed the earlier flight and I was standing near several people who missed their flights! I don't think it's Memorial Day, everyone was saying it has been like this for the past week. So, go early to Love Field if you are flying out, because TRUST ME - TSA does not care how long it takes.

And, I am reading Breaking Dawn so you will have a book review soon...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Review of the Week

I love Jennifer Crusie, she is such a great writer! I read her recent re-release of "Strange Bedpersons" this past week, and I think it's a winner!

First of all, I have read many books of hers, and I must say the newer books are very different, with stronger women and more complex plots. But, this one is as simple and lovely as they could be. I liked the spunk in Tess, the main character, but I felt the other people were superficially developed and could have had more depth. I kind of wondered what their motivation was, and throughout the book I was given hints but nothing solid. And my other thought is that Tess gives in too easily to Nick. For a feminist, she enjoys being taken care of.

But the story is fun, goes quickly and predictably, and the love is clear. I think it was a good read, and the sexual encounters are exciting and fun. Sort of like a harlequin romance, I knew how it would end but I did like the journey. And the interaction with Christine and Nick are worthwhile, she's a great secretary. So, I would say read this book if you can, you won't be sorry.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I got a blog award!

I got my first award! Yeah! Thank you so much little lady cakes!

So, I have to give the award to 15 other newly discovered blogs - which because I participate in SITS is not a hard thing to do!

Here goes -
1. Bluebirds living in the meadow
2. Lavender and Roses
3. The Entertaining House
4. Fairy Blog Mother
5. So Not Mom-O-Licious
6. Honest & Truly
7. Keeping up with the Schultz Family
8. Mommy? I'm Hungry!
9. Creative Attempts
10. Sassy Secrets of a True Blue Housewife
11. Lovely Purses
12. Unwrap Life

Here are the rules:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review: Thank You for Smoking

This week I read the book Thank You for Smoking, Christopher Buckley, 1994.

You may wonder why I read such an old book but the truth is that I have read some of Christopher Buckley's new works and I have been wondering what the heck some of the acclaim is about. So I thought I would read the first book, since Nick Naylor is referenced in other books.

Can I just say that Nick Naylor is the King of Spin? He works for the Tobacco Lobby back before it totally lost all of it's teeth with the states suing them. And in this book, he is dispicable... You can tell he's doing it for the money, but then the "Captain" gets him inspired and next thing you know all heck breaks loose.

Nick is kidnapped and stuck all over with Nicotine patches, which ultimately causes him to stop smoking. (Throughout the book, he's a heavy smoker). What was meant to kill him does not work, and he becomes a celebrity. Later, the FBI is investigating and ultimately arrests him for "faking" the kidnapping.

I like Nick Naylor because he is an unlikely hero. I think that he knows he is doing terrible things but justifies them in his head. And, in the end, he does an about face as the real villian is brought to light. I like it that he feels he should do some pennance for his bad deeds and goes to jail for 2.5 years anyway. I suppose everyone gets their just desserts in this book by the end. It is an easy read, and quite funny at parts.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Craft Show Rating: Del City, OK Garland Arts and Crafts Fair

Ok, I participated in a craft show this last weekend. And I must admit, it sucked. A LOT! Why, you ask? Because I sold a total of $9 worth of merchandise. And I think 100 people came through. I just am so angry that I spent the weekend sitting around doing a lot of nothing.

So, I am learning more about craft fairs and how they operate. I am applying my knowledge of marketing and analysis to determine the best places for me to go to make the most use of my time and energy. Sure, I want to sell gangbuster amounts of items. But I also want to have a great environment and possibly learn from others.

This weekend I spent 2 days learning that I should do more research. I was at the Garland Arts & Crafts Show in Del City, OK at the Del City Community Center this weekend. Ah, what a waste of time! I am sure the promoters enjoyed getting my money, and I thought they were knowledgeable about how to have a successful craft fair because apparently the ones they have in Shawnee, OK are supposedly great! But, I attended their show in Shawnee earlier this year, April 09, and it was a bust. Some issue with the parking lot. And then after this weekend, I plan to do no more of their shows.

I have several concerns:

1. I heard/saw no advertising about the show prior to the weekend. This leads me to believe that the promoters, Stan and Patty Wilson, did not contact the TV or radio stations. A show I am participating in this weekend, Deluxe, has had multiple announcements on NPR and many people blogging about it.

2. The promoters do not have a web site presence for either of their shows. This leads me to think that they are resting on their laurels of past success and not concerned with the way the world is changing.

3. I heard several people come in who said, “I knew nothing about it”. See #1 issues. I heard from the others at the show that they handed out flyers on post – Tinker. Wondering what else they did?

In other words, I feel like they took my money and do not care about whether or not I am successful. That’s a mistake, and shame on them for not doing more. Shame on me for not learning more about them before I dove in. Won’t happen again, and I think all craft fair participants should ask up front what the plan is for promoting the show. It’s something we need to know, and if you don’t get a good answer, you should steer clear of the show. I thought about it but thought their reputation spoke for itself. Now it does. LOUD AND CLEAR!

I have thought more about why spring craft shows don’t do as well as the fall shows or the festivals. People are coming to the show that are looking for free entertainment, want something specific, or are just looking for ideas. If they see something they need – like a gift – they will buy. But more likely they are looking. And in the fall, they are buying for the holidays. So, I suppose they will be more successful with sales. And festivals will be more successful because they have people who have come out with disposable income and not specifically for the crafts but are willing and open to looking. And impulse buying. So, this summer I am going to target the festivals, and move back to the craft fairs this fall.

This spring has been good practice, and I would say that I have learned a lot. I am going to do the last show of the spring this weekend, Deluxe, on May 9th at the OK Fairgrounds. I hope you consider coming out, and I hope I have a lot of sales!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Book Review: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

The third book in the Twilight series, I will admit I am an addict.

Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer, copywright 2007.

I wonder sometimes how a 600+ page book can hold you throughout. I believe it is the love story of Edward and Bella that makes me keep reading, wondering what will happen.

I was drawn into the book because the ying/yang that is presented by Bella having 2 male suitors who are opposite in many ways. There are things to dislike about Edward, after all he left Bella for the entire last book, so she fell into the arms of Jacob. And guess what, Jacob does not want to let go. Who could blame him? Vampires are the mortal enemies of werewolves.

But Bella is addicted to Edward and seems to lose herself whenever she is near him. I'm not sure I find that empowering, but it is very teenager. And yes, there is always the issue because she is human and has a few mad, angry Vampires chasing after her. Victoria is back, and she has a great plan to create a diversion for the rest of the clan and get her revenge on Bella. In the end, as expected, Bella is fine.

But the deeper story here is that Bella must decide between the two boys who are enamoured with her. And your heart aches throughout the story for Jacob who you can sense is not going to have a fair fight, but he has a plan. Ah, how I wish I could have heard more of what Jacob thought throughout the book! Bella must decide, and that she does, but you have to wonder how such a solid decision could be made at this young age. I guess we all think we are grown at 18, only to realize it is just a foolish charade!

The fights, the winners and losers in the battles, and the teenage angst are very predictable, but if you like a happy ending you will not find one, because this one leaves you not so sure that Bella is sure about what she has chosen. The meadow, the field, the Cullens and La Push, I feel that I know the town of Forks so well. Will Bella be able to actually leave? Such a big decision to make.

I read these books because I myself am in love with Edward, and all of the beautiful vampires that Bella encounters. They are mesmerizing, and I read to learn what might happen next. So, I am off to the library to get the next book in the series.