About this blog

The original intention of this blog was to help promote my handcrafted jewelry and beading supplies. However, I believe I lead an interesting life (which Dave gets a lot of credit for), so you will often find ramblings about things other than beads and jewelry! Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy living it!!!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Wishing you and yours a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year!


Gold New Year

Cutting Back in This Crazy Economy

For sometime now, Dave and I have been cutting back on certain things in order to try and stay ahead of this crazy economy. In 2008, we decided it was time to make a change in the vehicles we were driving. I commute 140 miles round trip daily and the truck I was driving got about 18-20 miles to the gallon...not really the best vehicle for me, but I was involved in a really bad car accident years ago in which I had to be cut out of my SUV and I had a fear of driving anything smaller (if I had my choice I'd been driving a jacked up F-250 diesel 4x4)! Gas and tolls (not too mention having the oil changed every 6 weeks) was really hitting us where it hurt, so we made the decision to buy a much more fuel efficient car. Yes, a car. I was a little apprehensive at first, but realized it really was the best thing to do. Dave and I never argue about money, and I wasn't going to let one of my fears get in the way of that. So, we went car shopping and it was much easier than I expected. See, Dave and I have always been pretty practical and incredibly sensible when it comes to money. A vehicle is not something we've ever looked at as a status symbol and we definitely don't try to keep up with the Joneses. A vehicle just needs to be reliable and practical. So, we decided on a 5-speed, 4 cylinder Honda Civic 2-door that gets 35-39 miles per gallon. Dave taught me how to drive a 5-speed eons ago so it was a no brainer. Plus, since it is a 4 cylinder, the 5-speed adds a little extra pep and is much more fun to drive. We also splurged on the sunroof figuring that this was going to be a car I would be driving for a long time, so it needed to be fun and kind of sporty. It's also a very safe car...lots of reinforced sidebars and airbags so that helped to relieve my fears! I always tell Dave that when I'm driving it, I'm on the inside and don't see the outside, so as far as I'm concerned it's an Infiniti G-35! Also, we decided not to trade in my truck since it was only a few years old. Instead, Dave retired his older truck, which didn't get very good gas mileage because of the oversized tires and was starting to develop some "gremlins" and started driving the newer truck. He has a relatively short drive to work, but the newer truck does save him a little bit in gas and is more reliable.

We also decided to have our home phone turned off. Our bills were running anywhere from $40-$60 per month and we rarely used it. Most incoming calls were people calling for Applebees or Macaroni Grill (our phone number was very similar to both of the restaurant numbers...off by just one digit) and we were always using our cell phones anyway. So, it just made sense and we haven't missed it at all. What's funny is we haven't actually unplugged the phones in each room or the answering machine!

We've also started doing our food shopping at Walmart. There is a lot of money to be saved there. For instance, a bag of Tyson's Buffalo Wyngs are $8.99 at Publix, but only $6.99 at Walmart. That's a big deal when you buy a bag a week in addition to all the other items we save on. The only drawback is that they don't always have the specific brands we use so we do occasionally still make a trip to Publix.

As we reviewed other areas we could make changes in, I brought up the Lotto tickets. Dave and I have been playing the lottery for as long as I can remember. We started off playing $5 a week on Saturday (which for the Florida lottery is 5 sets of 6 numbers, each set or play costing $1). Then somehow, we wound up with another 5 sets of numbers so we were playing $10 a week. Neither of us can remember how we wound up with another 5 sets of numbers, but the rationalization was we had to keep playing all of them...what if we stopped playing one of the sets and those numbers were drawn...we'd never forgive ourselves! Some time ago, Florida added an additional drawing for the same lottery game on Wednesday, so...we're now playing $10 on Wednesday and Saturday. In 2009, the Florida lottery also became part of PowerBall in which the jackpots are HUGE! Well, we had to play at least a couple of dollars there! Now here we are spending approximately $85-$90 a month on the lottery! We went back and forth on this for the longest time until one Saturday when we happened to be flipping through the channels on the TV and by chance stopped on Jim Cramer's (the money guru guy)show. What he said changed everything! He said statistics show you are 12 times more likely to get hit by lightning on the way to buy your lottery tickets, than you are to win the lottery! Everyone knows your chances of being hit by lightning are slim, even here in the lightning capitol of the world! WOW! Funny how that was all it took...we stopped buying lotto tickets that weekend and have never questioned our decision. However, we do still occasionally buy Powerball quick pick tickets if the jackpot is really big...just in case!

What changes have you made to deal with this uncertain economy?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Caterpillars

We have alot of scarlet milkweed growing in our yard. This particular plant is know for attracting monarch butterflies. It's very easy to grow and will spread like wild fire. Some people don't like it because it actually has an "ugly" stage. After the leaves are big and green and the little flowers have sprouted, the caterpillars move in and feed on the plants. They will devour every last leaf and bloom (if you look really closely at the pictures, you can actually see where the caterpillars have been taking bites of the leaves). That's when the ugly stage happens. The plant is left with no leaves or blooms...just long twig like branches. But what's really neat, especially for someone like me who has trouble growing stuff is that these plants will grown right back. A few weeks after the ugly stage starts, we snip the twig like branches down so that they are only a few inches long (we've had some grow to over 3 feet). The plants will come back again bigger and bushier than before. I'm not really sure what the "season" is for these plants because they seem to go through multiple cycles each year. While we haven't seen any yet this year, in past years we've actually seen the caterpillars form their cocoons on these plants and were able to watch the monarch butterflies emerge. I'll have to keep a close eye on them this year as it seems like we have more caterpillars than ever.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Not Your Average Pet Sitting Job

Last week Dave and I were pet sitting for the neighbors while they were away for six days. We've done a lot of pet sitting in the past for friends...you know...normal pet sitting...feed and walk the dog, empty the cat's litter box, etc. This time it was a little different. Okay...alot different. See, the neighbors have 3 horses, a miniature cow, 6 dogs and a cat. I've been spending more time around their barn in the past few months as I'm trying to overcome some of my fears with the horses. I want to get to know their personalities a little better and be more comfortable being close to them when I'm not on their back. So, when they said they were going on vacation, I volunteered us! I'm glad to say that overall it was a good experience and I have gained a bit more confidence. Everything went pretty smoothly with the horses with a few small exceptions. The first morning, CC, the cutting mare, kind of rushed me when I went into her stall with her feed. I was trying to upright her bowl so I could pour the feed in from the pail, but she was anxious and didn't want to wait. I put my finger in her chest and asked her to back up, but she didn't. That's when I got a little nervous and decided it was best to back out of the stall and come up with a new plan. After I took a couple of deep breaths, I realized I should probably enter the stall without the feed, upright her bowl, then grab the pail of feed and go back in. That worked perfectly. When I went back in without the pail, she backed up when I asked her to and allowed me to get to her bowl. Then I grabbed the pail of feed, dumped it and we were both happy! The last night we had a little bit of a situation with Doc, the reiner, after we put his sheet on. Doc is a gelding, but tends to act like a stud! He can be kind of obnoxious, especially around those of us that are less "horsey". In any case, Dave and I decided the best way to get his sheet on him was to put his halter on and lead him out of the stall so we would have a little more room in case he spooked or acted up. Everything went fine until I turned him around so he could go back in his stall. I had lead him just a couple of feet into his stall when I started to untie the rope halter. I just assumed he would understand that I wanted him to go all the way in the stall since that was the direction we were facing and he was used to being in the stall overnight. Well, as soon as I got the rope halter untied I could feel him pulling backwards instead of going forwards. I tried to nudge him into the stall, but he didn't want to go back in so I moved out of the way. He didn't really have anywhere to go because there are chains up on the "aisles" of the barn. So, here we are standing in the aisle trying to figure out how to get him back in the stall. I probably could have put the rope halter back on him and lead him all the way in the stall, but I was a little freaked out at this point, and he was being obnoxious so I had no desire to get too close to him. In the end, Dave came up with the idea to grab some hay from the tack room and throw it in his stall. Luckily, that worked. I do need to point out that none of the horses have ever done anything that caused anyone to get hurt. It's just that I have an innate fear because I was never around horses until just a few years ago. So my adult mind rationalizes that an animal that big and strong could hurt me. And it's not even that I think they would hurt me on purpose because none of them are mean. I'm just afraid I'm going to do something wrong that's going to suprise them or spook them and I'm going to get kicked or something. But little by little, I'm getting better.






Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quote of the Week

"A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones that need the advice!" - Bill Cosby

Monday, December 21, 2009

Who Says Dogs Can't Smile?!

I was looking through some old pictures the other day and came across this picture of our pitbull, Doom when he was a just a pup. He loves to lay on his back, and when he does, his upper lip tends to fall away from his teeth. The result...he smiles! Okay, it's more like a goofy grin, but I love it! All the anti-pitbull folks would probably like to say he's snarling and getting ready to go for my throat, but that's just because they've never been around one that's well-bred, obedience trained, has responsible owners and a BIG personality like this guy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hot Off the Bench

These are the latest pieces that are hot off the bench and recently listed in my Etsy shop. I am offering a 10% discount on the Cloudy Days coordinating pieces. Buy both the necklace and earrings, and I will refund 10% of the purchase price (not including shipping). The Horse of Many Colors necklace is very similar to that found in a well-known western catalog, but much more reasonably priced!Canyon - Ocean Jasper, Sterling Silver and Bali Sterling Silver Bracelet
Cloudy Days - Ghost Jasper and Oxidized Sterling Silver Necklace
Cloudy Days - Ghost Jasper & Oxidized Sterling Silver Earrings

Horse of Many Colors - Maple Turquoise (Magnesite) and Copper Necklace

Flowers for My Pretty - Glass Flowers and Oxidized Sterling & Fine Silver Earrings


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mustang Sally Band - C'mon DJ

I do believe I have a new favorite band. Their name is Mustang Sally and they are an all girl country band. I received a friend request from Tobi Lee's fan page on myspace (she's the lead singer), so I decided to check them out and see what they were all about. They describe themselves as Sex and The City meets Honky Tonk USA! You can check them out at http://mustangsallyband.com/. Below is a video of their hit "C'mon DJ".


Friday, December 18, 2009

My First Giveaway - Facebook Fans Exclusive

I'm holding my very first giveaway on Facebook. Just my little way of thanking everyone who has become a fan since I started my page earlier this month. So, if you haven't already become a Facebook fan, you may want to mosey on over to http://facebook.com/shellysstuff and get all the details. Entering is easy...really easy. Up for grabs is this great pair of sterling silver earrings! The deadline to enter is 11:59pm (EST) on Thursday, 12/24/09. Winner will be announced on 12/25/09. Good luck!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quote of the Week

I'm not sure who the author of this quote is, but I found it on Delana Harvick's Twitter page. Delana is the wife of Kevin Harvick, my favorite NASCAR driver.

"It's not the number of breaths you take in life, but the moments in life that take your breath away."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shelly's Stuff is on Twitter

I made the decision if I'm going to immerse myself in the whole social networking thing to maximize all my options to attract attention to my handcrafted jewelry shops, I might as well add Twitter to the list. So, if you would like to follow me, please click here. I can promise you that I will not bombard you with hourly updates as to what I'm doing. I'm going to try to stick to just tweeting about newly listed items, giveaways, special announcements and events I will be at. Also, if you have a Twitter page, and are looking for more followers, please feel free to post the link in a comment.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hot Off the Bench

Hot off the bench and recently listed in my Etsy shop! Silver Leaf Agate & Oxidized Sterling Silver Earrings

Copper Heart Necklace

Bronze Freshwater Pearls and Copper Earrings

Ceramic and Bali Sterling Silver Bracelet

Botswana Agate and Sterling Silver Earrings

Heather King Photography Giveway at The Lost Earring

Kelly over at The Lost Earring (one of my favorite blogs) is hosting a giveway for a set of Fine Art Greeting cards from Heather King Photography. Click here for all the details. Entering the giveaway is easy...so don't miss out! Both of these gals also have shops on Etsy. If you click the links above and go to their respective blogs, you will find a link to their Etsy shops.

Thought for the Day

"You don't stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing".

I totally live by this. Dave and I are always chasing each other around, wrestling, and playing silly little games that originated shortly after we started dating (a couple of decades ago). Sometimes I think to myself, "Are we going to be doing these same things when we're 65"? The answer...absolutely!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shelly's Stuff is on Facebook

Yesterday I joined Facebook. It took me most of the day as I created a business page without having a personal profile and couldn't get any of the apps to add to the page. Unfortunately, I didn't find the help section of Facebook very helpful. There wasn't a single place where it stated you had to set up a personal profile before creating the business page. And, if I had to have a personal profile first, why didn't it tell me that?! Alas, after finally figuring this out, the page was created. It's still in the early stages, but I'm slowly working on it. If you are interested in being a fan, please click here. I'd love to get to 25 fans so I can get a unique URL to direct people to the page (any help in reaching that number is greatly appreciated!). Also, I'd like to add a custom tab where I can promote others. I'd like to be able to add a photo, a brief description and a link to their website. If anyone can tell me how to do this, or where I can get information/help, I will be forever grateful! Lastly, if you have a business/fan page on Facebook, please leave a comment with the link. I'd love to see what you've done.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Favorite Things Friday

This week's favorite thing is my pair of split ring tweezers. This is a tool I use when making jewelry and it has become indispensable. The pair I have is made by Bead Smith and is made of stainless steel. These tweezers are used to open split rings so they can be attached to other components of the jewelry. Prior to purchasing these, I would attempt to open the split ring by using a finger nail or anything else I could find to wedge in there. Unfortunately, I was going through split rings like crazy because attempting to open them without the proper tool was causing me to distort their shapes and render them unusable. The price for the tweezers ranges from $4 to $6, and was well worth it considering the profits I was eatting up with marred split rings.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Puppies!

My sister's border collie Rori gave birth to a litter of 7 puppies on Tuesday, 12/01. The sire of the litter is their male, Tyri. The litter is made up of 4 females and 3 males. Both the dam and sire compete in Flyball, and hold several titles. You can check out additional pictures and find more information on my sister's website by clicking here. I'll be sure to post more pics as the puppies start to move around and open their eyes. Aren't they just adorable?!

The dam - Blast Off Rori


The sire - Lock-Eye Tyri

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Whispers

(In honor of my mom and dad's 48th wedding anniversary)


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NASCAR Championship Weekend at Homestead

Dave and I headed down to Homestead on Friday, 11/20/09 as part of our annual trek for NASCAR's Championship weekend. We've been going to Homestead for the past 6 years to watch the last race of the season for all three divisions (trucks, Nationwide Series, and Sprint Series). People are surprised when they find out I'm the big NASCAR fan...Dave enjoys it, but not nearly as much as I do. I am thankful he indulges me and shares this weekend with me! We decided to stay at a different hotel this year. We normally stay in the Keys, Islamorada specifically, which is about 50 miles from the track. This is the closest we've been able to get a hotel that we actually like (stayed in South Beach one year, but hotel had centrally controlled A/C that was on 65 degrees all the time...I froze. Stayed in Miccosukee Casino one year...way too smoky...especially for non-smokers and there was no way to get to the rooms other than going through the casino). The hotel we stay at raised their rates this year and while we've always liked this hotel, it wasn't worth what they were charging. I searched for other hotels and I guess because of the economy and less people going to the races I was able to find a less expensive hotel that was nicer with better surroundings 25 miles closer to the track! Yay! That meant less drive time for Dave! Friday night was the Camping World Truck race, and I'm happy to say my favorite driver, Kevin Harvick, won the race in his own truck (he's a Sprint Cup driver for Richard Childress, but owns his own race company, Kevin Harvick Inc, which has trucks and Nationwide cars). And in addition to that, the driver of his other truck, Ron Hornaday Jr, won the series championship which also gave Kevin Harvick Inc the owner's championship. Nice to see that he did so well. Silly me didn't videotape the double burnouts Harvick and Hornaday did after the race...I was so into watching it!!! On Saturday, Kyle Busch won the Nationwide race, and the series championship. Now, Kyle's a great driver...no doubt about that, but his attitude needs a major adjustment. He is definitely the driver that fans love to hate, which is really sad considering his ability. He's the driver who will wreck someone and say they're whining when they complain, but the following week he'll get wrecked in the same manner and whine about it and that should be okay. He can definitely dish it out, but can't take it. Sunday, was the Sprint Cup Series race, which was won by Denny Hamlin, but Jimmy Johnson won the championship. Johnson actually set a record as this is his 4th consecutive championship. While that's an incredible goal, he's another one who's not one of my favorites...he tends to play it safe and is very commercialized. People are talking about him being one of the greatest drivers of all time, but I don't think that fits. Granted he's a good driver, but I'm not ready to call him one of the all time greats. His wins come from a combination of things including luck and a crew chief (Chad Knaus) who makes really good decisions...but that's just my humble opinion! In between races we spent our time walking around the many displays and the vendor trailers and tailgating out at the truck. Luckily this year we brought the pop-up canopy and the really comfy chairs. We met some great people while we were tailgating and had lots of laughs! All in all, it was a really great weekend. I'm ending this post with a video of the national anthem and flyover. This is a tradition at all NASCAR races, and I get goosebumps every time! It's not the best video as we just bought this camera and are still learning how to work it, but I think the point comes across well!




Monday, November 30, 2009

Justin Timberlake as the Gingerbread Man

I happened to see this video, and just had to post it. I'll admit...I have a crush on Justin Timberlake (yes, Dave knows). He's a talented guy and seems to have his head on straight. I figured this video was appropriate since we are in the midst of the holiday season. Just make sure you watch the entire video...the dancing at the end is the best part! So tell me, who's your celebrity crush?


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things I am Thankful For

Just a few of the things I am thankful for (in no particular order):
  • The freedoms I enjoy as an American living in America (and those in our military that fight for those freedoms)
  • The health and happiness of my family and friends
  • The truly incredible man I share my life with (for more reasons than I have time to list)

I hope that all of you, your families and your friends have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Rhinestone Cowgirls Contest

Michelle and Jennifer over at The Rhinestone Cowgirls have recently opened up a brick and mortar shop, and are having a little contest to celebrate. You can read all about it by clicking here. The deadline to enter is today (11/24) so giddy up on over there and check it out! You can also shop online by clicking here. They carry Cowgirl Tuff clothing, handbags, wallets, bling belts, bling flip flops and more. Lastly, you can check out the The Rhinestone Cowgirl blog by clicking here. Good luck!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Insanity

The INSANITY begins today!

Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Daytona Biketoberfest

Back in October, Dave and I went to Daytona for Biketoberfest and were joined by our brothers and sister-in-laws. This year we stayed in Ormond Beach very close to Destination Daytona (the empire that Bruce Rossmeyer built) instead of near the track like usual. When I went to book the hotel room near the track, I was sticker-shocked when I saw the rates of $200 per night. Now, I know that hotel rates are always jacked up for special events, but this was ridiculous especially with the economy. I would have thought the hotels would be offering deals just go get rooms booked. In any case, I decided to search around Destination Daytona since we knew we'd be visiting the bars down on US 1 at night. Bingo! Found a hotel within walking distrance to Destination Daytona and slept 6 very comfortably for a very reasonable price. We had a really good time. The weather was really nice Friday night when we arrived. It was comfortable enough to wear short sleeves on our outing to the Broken Spoke Saloon. It's an outdoor, pole-barn style bar that's become a favorite. The antics of the crowd kept us entertained to say the least! And, then there was the chic on the custom. Man, we saw her get on this really nice custom...stretched...raked...fat tire and she looked really good. Kinda tough, but in a feminine sort of way. Now, her and her man, who was also on a really nice bike decided they didn't want to park in the regular lot, but back where the crowd was. So, we're all watching her, and she's trying to get it turned around...goes forward a bit, then gets stuck and has to be pushed backward. How disappointing! Ladies...if you're going to ride you need to be able to get yourselves out of any situation! Dave asked me what I would have done it that situation. Well, I would have started that bad boy up, 'cause ya' know it sounded good...all loud and mean...and would have drove it right through the crowd in front of the stage...people would have moved out of the way! We spent Saturday walking around downtown and then back at Destination Daytona. Saturday night we hit the Iron Horse Saloon, which is also an outdoor bar. The weather was a little cooler, so we all threw on an extra layer. The economy definitely had an effect on the event this year...crowds were much smaller than normal.
One of the bars down on Main Street

Bob, Janis, me and Dave at the Iron Horse Saloon

Custom sportbikes at the Rat Hole Show at Destination Daytona

Group shot at the Broken Spoke after several rounds of adult beverages. Janis, Belinda, Josh, Dave, me and Bob...say cheese!