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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Even if you don't celebrate Easter, it's easy to appreciate Spring.  It's such a beautiful time of rebirth!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party: First Reveal


The first group of participants are revealing their Bead Soup creations today!  My partner, Nancy Boylan of Snazzy Doodle Designs, and I are in the second group but please visit the first group, too.

Here is the list of blog links.  Enjoy the hop!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Freret Street Festival

Freret Street Festival Banner

The Freret Market is held on the first Saturday of each month (except July & August) but the April market is special.  April's market is known as the Freret Street Festival and lines the eight blocks between Napoleon and Jefferson streets.  Last year's attendance was around 17,500.  With more than 200 vendors and four stages hosting 19 different bands, this year's attendance might exceed that of previous years.

I'm really looking forward to it because it will be my first time vending at a festival.  I'll only be selling at this festival and no other markets during April because the Piety Street Market falls during the same weekend as French Quarter Festival--which I'm not going to miss!

If you're in the greater New Orleans area, please come out and join us!  There's free parking and the festival is conveniently reached via public transit.

Here are a few teasers:

wooden drink box by Big Easy Woodworks
 Wooden Drink Box by Big Easy Woodworks

frosted menorah by Andrew Jackson Pollack
Menorah by Andrew Jackson Pollack

Eleanor headband by Bedford Falls Headwear
Eleanor Headband by Bedford Falls Headwear

decorative solar lighting by CBros Innovations
Decorative Solar Lighting by CBros Innovations

Sidekick table by Crampd Studio
 Sidekick Table by Crampd Studio

hanging flight by Hourglass Productions
Hanging Flight by Hourglass Productions

Twitter tag:  #FreretFest

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vernal Equinox

 Happy first day of Spring!

fushia azalea in full bloom
The azaleas are in bloom everywhere which has been both beautiful and awful.  My allergies have been worse than usual for several weeks but I'm still really excited to see all of the colorful blooms popping up all over the Gulf coast.  The birds are nesting and I'm frequently awakened to the sound of woodpeckers drumming on the flashing.  And, I can't wait to see baby bluebirds (my favorite) and sturdy flickers feeding their young.  

What signs of Spring have you seen in your area?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the luck o' the Irish be with you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weekend in New Orleans

We had a great weekend in New Orleans.  Piety Street Market was not that busy but I made several sales, saw a friend that I hadn't seen since December, and really enjoyed the weather--very mild and comfortable.  We'll soon be nearing the end of the temperate weather before the heat of Summer.  New Orleans Summers don't wait to start by the calendar--it usually starts during or before Jazzfest.

My friend Heidi was not able to sell with me at the market.  Please send her some loving, positive vibes because she had to say goodbye to her dear dog.  She was elderly but old age and a life well-lived don't make it any easier when that time comes.

Sunday was spent making a few house repairs for a friend and talking with a hoard of good friends during an impromptu porch party--the best kind!  It was a fun but tiring weekend that left me needing a bit of a rest on Monday.  How was your weekend?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring Forward

Daylight Savings Time:
Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight before you go to bed.  The time changes at 1 am Sunday.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Couple of Reviews

Disclosure:  This is an unsolicited and uncompensated review.  I purchased this product and chose to review it because I am happy with the Litter Genie's performance.  

 Litter Genie Demonstration

As you know, I have a new kitty.  He may have been a feral but he is very demanding regarding litter pan hygiene.  He wants all buried treasure removed immediately after he's buried it and he doesn't mean 'maybe'!  This required multiple plastic bags each day which meant that I ended up using all the plastic bags from bread, etc. that would normally have gone into the recycling bin.  I take my own reusable bags shopping and rarely get the plastic grocery bags.  Some days I found myself scrounging around for bags and even resorted to using some of my biobags that I use to line my compost scrap container.  Those bags are expensive and all the plastic bags started to seem really excessive so, I started looking for alternatives.  I saw a product called the Litter Genie and must admit that the name alone made me think it was some kind of gimmicky "As Seen On TV" kind of product.  I was wrong.  I read a lot of reviews, watched a video, and found a $5 printable coupon.  The coupon is the reason that I decided to give it a try.  I saved around 33% using that coupon.  I'm really glad that I did take the plunge and buy it.

Pros: 
  • fewer trips to the outdoor garbage can
  • fewer plastic bags used
  • no odor--I'm not kidding about this
  • makes very frequent scooping convenient
  • relatively inexpensive--especially if you use a coupon
  • doesn't take up a lot of room
  • easy to use
  • can go as long as 2 weeks before needing to be emptied in a single cat household--Randy is 8 months old and I didn't have to empty it for 3 weeks (their estimate of 2 weeks for a full-grown cat is probably spot on)
  • refill can last as long as 2 months in a single cat household--I'll let you know my experience in a follow-up to this review
  • widely available (some Bed Bath & Beyond stores carry it--use a 20% off coupon or use a printable $5 coupon and buy it at Target)
Cons:
  • uses proprietary refills
  • refill cartridge might be costly over the long-run
  • uses plastic--still not environmentally sound
  • opening at top is a bit too small for the scoop that's included
  • scoop is too large for the opening
  • like most scoops, the openings are a bit too large to catch all urine clump bits that have broken apart
  • not as convenient for multi-cat households--will not last as long or allow as much time between being emptied
I mentioned that I don't find the Litter Genie scoop particularly useful but that also goes for most plastic litter scoops--I'm not just singling out the Litter Genie scoop.  When I scoop Randy's litter pan, I like to see a pan completely devoid of clumps and that includes little clump bits that have broken apart from the larger clumps.  I also like a scoop that can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  I don't think the plastic kind can be truly cleaned because I can't soak them in sudsy boiling water--I'm afraid that they'll melt or warp.  I read the reviews on some of the pricier stainless steel scoops and most of them weren't rated that highly and a significant number of reviews stated that they broke or came apart soon after being purchased.  What I wanted was a one piece, solid stainless steel scoop and I couldn't find one in the pet products.  I decided to go another route and I hit the kitchen department at my local Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  My husband spotted a large slotted spoon that was not only one piece in construction but also stainless steel.  The thing that sealed the deal was the price:  $3.99 on clearance!  Randy's new scoop outperforms any true litter pan scoop that I've ever used and is also correctly sized for the top opening on the Litter Genie--no messes.  It just goes to show that sometimes it pays to "think outside the box" when dealing with the litter box!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March Piety Street Market

Piety St Market March 9th Flyer
Piety Street Market

Update:
Please keep Heidi and her elderly dog in your thoughts.  She won't be at the market on Saturday so that she can be with her dog who is very ill.
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I missed the February market due to Randy's injury but Heidi of Expost Facto Jewelry and I will be there for the March 9th market.  I'll have all of the new items that I had planned for the February market (hearts are year-round--right?) plus my most recent work.  Please come visit us!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cloud Dome Earring Stand

I participated in the Window Shop Blog Hop sponsored by Rita of Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends back in November.  It was a lot of fun visiting all the other participants' shops.  I learned about a lot of shops I might not have otherwise found.  In addition to the social and promotional aspects of the hop, there were also prizes.  I was thrilled to find that I had won a Cloud Dome Earring Stand provided by the inventor, Cindy Lichfield.  Once again, thank you!

My husband, who does all my photography for me, has been very busy and only recently had the time to try my new Cloud Dome Earring Stand.

We were surprised when we opened the box and found that Cindy had also included the Cloud Arch with my Cloud Dome Earring Stand.  The stand is compact and easy to assemble and makes staging long earrings for photography a snap.  I have been using stoneware earring bowls but this stand gives me yet another choice in how I present my earrings in photos.  The stoneware earring bowls are lovely and give my photos a look that is very much in keeping with the style of my jewelry but not suitable as a means of photographing earrings for submission to a gallery.  This system allows the use of an infinite variety of backgrounds--you're not limited to the ones that come with it.  I found that I really like using a piece of white foam. 

View the comparison below:

sterling silver chandelier earrings by Cicada Silver
Casually Displayed on Stoneware Jewelry Bowl

versus

sterling silver chandelier earrings by Cicada Silver
Cropped
 (no color correction or brightness/contrast correction)

I really look forward to submitting some of my work to a couple of galleries in the near future.  Thank you, Cindy, for helping me toward that goal!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fantastic Find

Ingento #5 ½ 18" Guillotine Paper Cutter

My husband and a coworker went to a school district surplus sale and found lots of really nice items.  My absolute favorite is the Ingento #5 ½ (18") guillotine paper cutter.  It's in fabulous condition, makes really clean cuts, and my husband only paid $3 for it!  I found the same cutter online and learned that new ones retail for $250+.  This paper cutter is so much better than the inexpensive plastic one I've been using!  Keep your eyes peeled; you never know what you're going to find at those sales!