Monday, September 29, 2008

You know it ain't easy runnin' out of thrills

Hmm, so I had intended to put in a nice travelog of our trip, but I found it much more relaxing just to ignore the Internet completely. Except for once-a-day email checking to see if I got any sales on Etsy (just 1, thanks for asking.)

We're spending the night in a somewhat sketchy motel in Barriere, British Columbia, which is about 5-6 hours from home. We made some amazing progress today - left my friend Alice's house in Bonnyville, Alberta this morning around 6:45 our time, and TJ drove 12 hours straight, with minimal stops for gas and food and puppy-walking.

We did have a lovely stop in Mt. Robson, at a rest area. It was about 70 degrees out, gorgeous and sunny, and an amazing view of the mountains. The Canadian Rockies, and really, most of BC, are *so* pretty. We'll definitely be back.

The pups have been really great travelers, Spike especially. We set up his dog bed in the back seat, and he just curls up there and sleeps nearly the whole time. He hasn't once tried to come up to the front seats while we're moving, though he does get up there if we leave the dogs in the car to get some food. I guess he wants to watch us through the window to make sure we haven't abandoned him.

Neither dog has fussed about needing to get out of the car, though around the 11th hour today, Peanut got up and paced around the back of the Nitro, alternately staring at us and barking at the giant tractor-trailer truck behind us. I think he was just done with the car today, and so were we, so here we are, in bed at the motel, in a huge dogpile.

Oh! And today we saw wildebeests. Ok, not really, but we did see wild mountain goats - a whole flock (herd? gaggle?) of them crossing the highway in Jasper Natl Park. I got some pictures before I had to shut the window to prevent Spike from jumping out to get them. Peanut DID NOT like them and told them in no uncertain terms, to stay the heck away from him. Very loud. Fortunately the wildebeests didn't notice the Peanut at all.

We had a lovely time with Alice and Randy, eating, playing with dogs (they have 2 awesome pups), and crafting. I think TJ snuck in some football and napping while Alice and I went to some garage sales and did our crafty stuff. I made some good progress on my cross-stitch kit that I bought several weeks ago. I also figured out that cross-stitching in the car *is* possible, but a bit unwieldy and also has the danger of someone getting their eye poked out with the needle in case of an accident.

This past week has been a lot of fun, but I'm looking forward to getting home too. Wish us luck that the border crossing line is short!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I was made for chasin' dreams

Helloooo from Lillooet, British Columbia. Don't know where that is? Don't worry, neither did I until this evening when we decided we were done driving after 150+ km of winding, bumpy mountain roads.

Our intended stop for the night was Kamloops, which we didn't quite make. But that's ok, because we are SPONTANEOUS travelers. Flying by the seat of our pants with no plan except to get to Edmonton by Thursday night.

This morning I slept in because my sweet husband got up early and fed the pups and took them to the small dog park near our hotel. Peanut met an Akita puppy named Andy and apparently took quite a liking to him. They spent a long time chasing each other and wrestling while I slept blissfully in our hotel room.

Breakfast today was another crepe. Yes, I'm obsessed. There was a tiny crepe cafe across from our hotel which had been closed since we arrived but reopened this morning, finally. and OMG it was AMAZING. The most perfect, slightly sweet, paper-thin crepe surrounding fresh sliced banana and strawberries. It was HEAVEN. I would have eaten every meal there if we had stayed any longer.

We took the pups to Granville Island and wandered around for a bit. It's a great place for artsy-crafty things, so I had a good time. I actually *didn't* buy anything, believe it or not!

Then we drove to Whistler, and saw the ski jump and biathlon stadium they are building for the 2010 Olympics. Very cool, except for the TONS of road construction along the way.

After a nice dinner at a brewpub in Whistler Village, with the pups begging pointedly at our feet, we got back on the road, and after what seemed like an interminable sequence of twists and turns and potholes and bumps, ended up here in Lillooet. I have never been so happy to see a town I hadn't heard of before, especially when we saw there were places to stay :) And now it is time to sleep. We hope to make it somewhere in the area of Banff Natl Park tomorrow, but that's a long way from here, so we'll see. Yay Canada!

Monday, September 22, 2008

If it was a box or a bag

When I go on a trip, I like to buy a souvenir to commemorate it. But not a tacky shot glass or collection of postcards that I'll lose in some drawer. I like to buy a piece of jewelry, clothing, Christmas ornament or something I'll actually use in my day-to-day life.

So when I walked into the giant Roots store in downtown Vancouver this morning, and saw their handmade in Canada purple leather handbags, I fell in love. And decided the "Village" flat handbag would be my trip souvenir.

In fact, the bag I bought was the only one in its shade of purple - it's more of a magenta, reddish-purple. The others in the shop were more of an eggplant shade. The style I bought is actually hiding in the pic above, it's in the middle on the left, right behind the small two-zipper pouch.

But not only is the color totally fantastic and the hardware bright shiny silver instead of the usual hideous brass, it's the softest nicest leather *ever*. Or should I say "leathah evah" in honor of Project Runway contestant Stella, who got booted a couple of weeks ago.

Yay. I love my new bag. It's so pretty.

We also took the pups to Ambleside Park, which is *amazing*. It's a big off leash park with a paved walking trail, access to the bay, lots of cool driftwood to run on and around (which also means nice big sticks to throw for Peanut), and big grassy fields for running and ball-chasing. Until you lose your ball, that is.

Don't worry, I got lots of good pictures of the pups having fun. They're still getting used to traveling, though of course Spike travels like a pro, my little roadtrip buddy. More later. I gotta go get us some crepes now for dinner. YUM.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And I just can't hide it!

We're leaving for our Great Canadian Road Trip in a few hours. I started packing last weekend, which was good because it gave me a chance to think about what I might forget.

Traveling with the pups adds a whole new dimension to this - we've packed a bag just for their stuff, and it also means they are going to take up the space where we would usually put our bags.

Last night, I got some girls together for a "beauty exchange", which basically meant that I asked them to bring all the old hair products, unopened cosmetics, and jewelry that they no longer wear/use and we could swap. One woman's "too greasy" is another woman's "amazing find", right?

We did surprisingly well, with only 4 gals - yeah, people ended up taking some of their own stuff home with them, but for the most part we did some good swapping. And managed to drink 2 bottles of yummy red wine, from Argentina and Spain. (Thanks Lisa and Adrianne for giving me those!)

I got some nice travel-sized color safe shampoo and conditioner for our trip, and some of the John Frieda "brilliant brunette" styling products that I've always wanted to try.

But the real awesome find for me - tons of beaded jewelry to disassemble and remake. I can't wait to get started on that. It's really too bad jewelry making isn't exactly a portable craft, or easy to do in the car.

Well, off to do the last few bits of packing!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What about today?

So yesterday I left work early to go get my hair cut and colored. I was planning to get the red highlights I liked so much before, but my hairstylist actually talked me *out* of it. That's how I know she's good, because she passed up the opportunity to charge me multiple $100s of dollars for the much cheaper one-color treatment.

So yeah. I'm at the point now where I need to color my hair at least every 6 months or the miscellaneous grey hairs start popping up all over the place. And with black hair, I can't exactly hide them. That's pretty suck-tastic but since it's only twice a year, I can deal.

I got a shorter haircut than I was expecting, which was sort of my own fault since I gave her carte blanche to cut some of the old, badly-colored parts. Apparently the previous salon I went to used a "1" and they should have used a "3", whatever that means. To me it all looks black.

But anyway, after I got home, I needed to do a bit of work before shutting down for our vacation. And I realized when I got on the computer that the Etsy Treasury West was just getting ready to have an opening.

For those not familiar with Etsy Treasuries, there are a limited number that can be created, and you get 2 days before they expire. So all through the day, treasuries are expiring. Once they get below a certain magic number, it opens up for new ones to be created. All very mysterious.

But I had the amazing luck to be there exactly AT Magic Number + 1 and had to wait only 15 min for that last one to expire. So I snagged a spot, and came up with the theme of Pumpkin Pi:

Yes, it's because I'm a dork. But since all those nice folks in my EtsyRain group included me in their 4 (maybe 5?) treasuries last week, I thought I'd repay the favor and try to use all local Etsy shops in my list. Which wasn't too hard, until I got to the "Pi" item. Apparently no one in Seattle does anything with Pi. Sad.

So I was pretty proud of myself, and thought the list looked good and was sort of dorky and clever at the same time.

And then I woke up this morning to find out it actually made the FRONT PAGE of Holy crap! It's only the 4th list I've put together. I've always tried to make a list that was so fabulous it would get picked for the front page, but it takes a special "look" and the whim of one of the Etsy employees to pick it.

I'm still surprised they picked mine. Of course, it was before I woke up, but the happy Etsy community managed to get a screen shot and post it to Flickr.

So, again, because I'm a good Etsy sheep, I used this to promote other Etsy shops besides my own (plus I've gotten a ton of exposure and consequently, I think, a lot of sales over the past couple of weeks), so I didn't really directly benefit from this treasury. But you know, that's ok. I had fun picking the items, and it was the first time for some of the EtsyRain folks to have their items on the Front Page.

Since I'm not totally heartless, that was enough to make me happy about that :) You know, good will, good karma, and all that.

So I guess at some point my goal is to have one of *my* items make the front page. A girl can dream, right?

And speaking of dreaming, remember that I mentioned Oprah last time? So it's not going to make me as rich as Oprah, but the day after posting that blog post, I got an inquiry from a woman about my nickel tags.

She wanted me to create 10 tags with her band's name on them, as keychains for their upcoming record release party. How freakin' cool is that?? And if that wasn't cool enough, I went to check out their page and they are an all-female METAL band, from Seattle. Wow.

Now, they're a bit too growly death metal for my liking, but the music part of it is pretty rockin'. I'm stoked to work on this project, which I'll tackle when I'm back from vacation. If you want to check out the band, go to, and rock on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How did you know?

So my 1 year Etsy-versary was on Saturday, and I actually *blew away* my goal and came in at 56 sales for the year. Holy smokes!

So I am thrilled, and of course, because I am an overachiever, my new goal is 100 sales total for my second year. Kind of reminds me of how Oprah's goal salary when she first started working was to make her age * $1000 per year. I guess she took care of that pretty handily, huh??

Well, here's to hoping I'm as successful as Oprah. Ok, maybe not, because that would mean I would need to open a jewelry and magnet sweatshop in my house, but here's to general success, then. And continuing to use Etsy for my work-stress relief.

And in other news, I am so freakin' old and rickety. I went to the gym two whole days in a row last weekend - a veritable streak for me lately- and then spent the next week so sore I could barely walk. Doing yardwork for the United Way Day of Caring with my team last Friday didn't help much with that either.

I guess I am now of "that age" where I need to maintain a consistent workout schedule or pay the horrible price of sore achy back muscles for days on end. Sad.

And in other fun hammering on metal news, my experiment of making dog tags out of nickel silver, which is a copper/nickel/zinc alloy which doesn't tarnish, worked out pretty well.

I am still experimenting with the best way to apply the oxidation solution to make the letters darker - it's made of hydrochoric acid (yay HCl!) and potentially something else yicky. Fortunately it's pretty dilute so it's not really dangerous, just something I need to be careful with.

The next few I make will have darker lettering - I just need to get a little less skittish about the chemicals. It's been a long time (10 years!) since I handled any chemicals in a lab so I've lost my touch.

And bear with me for one more picture - my parents adopted a new puppy last week. Meet Maya, an adorable chocolate lab/something else mix. I can't wait to meet her!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

With a little help from my friends

I am truly a lucky girl.

Last night I got to see Nightwish *and* Sonata Arctica last night, and the sound was actually great even though it was at the ConcreteBox SoDo. Sonata Arctica was awesome live, and of course Nightwish did not disappoint. Yay for Finnish metal!

Dave and I grabbed dinner at the very awesome Steelhead Diner in Pike Place Market, which features all local ingredients configured into yuppie versions of standard comfort foods. Plus they have poutine, one of the few places in Seattle (heck, probably the US!) that does.

And today I exceeded my numeric goal for 1 year on Etsy, with even a few days to spare, thanks to Leslie, who rocks. I am lucky to have such sweet friends who think of me even when they are super-busy and sleep-deprived. :) And she didn't even have to do it, because right after she bought her GeekMagnets, I sold another custom pet tag. So yay and thanks again to everyone who has put up with my Etsy Obsession over the past year. (Because really, a geek has to have some project to obsess over, right?)

So all of that is totally wonderful, right? But wait, there's more! It also grates and slices!

I was wandering through the Etsy Treasury today, and found *4* treasuries with my items in them. Holy cannoli!

For months I don't think I've been featured in anyone's list, but now I'm in four? And with four different items from my shop, no less. Since I haven't posted any pictures in a while, I'll leave you with some pretty treasury pics:

Gardening, Anyone?


Bite of Seattle

I Saw Red

I'll just hang out here, floating on my little happy cloud for a while :) Hope your week is going as well as mine seems to be! Cheerio.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I will buy you a new life

Quick post before I fall into bed. Apparently all that working out has made me very tired. But on the happy front, my pedometer recorded over 9000 steps today. With not a whole lot of effort. YAY.

And you know how I know that? Because Amazon Fresh brought me a new pedometer battery before 6am today. I love this. Not to mention the DVD copy of Juno they also brought with our week's groceries. I can tell this is going to be dangerous.

But I can't wait to watch Juno again. I only saw it once and totally and completely fell in love with it.

*and* I sold another custom copper hand stamped pet tag today. Woot!

Sadly, I had to cancel one of my previous sales because the buyer never paid me. Etsy has this weird checkout system where you check out on Etsy but then need to complete a second step on Paypal to actually PAY. So there are some small % of buyers who don't make it all the way through and thus don't actually pay for the item they "bought". Which is disappointing :( I tried to contact this person several times without any luck. Hopefully she's on vacation or something and will come back and try again later. I was looking forward to making a doggie tag for her.

But now it's off to bed to get some beauty sleep. Cheerio!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Two days in a row

I'm still here. At about the same weight I was back in May. Which is not surprising since I've been totally slacking off on the exercise, and only marginally paying attention to food.

But this weekend was a bit of a turning point. Not a fireworks and marching bands kind of a turning point, or a rock-bottom, I need to change something, turning point. Just a small nudge toward being just a little bit healthier.

I went to the gym both days this weekend and did 30 minutes of cardio. Sweaty, 150+ HR cardio. And it felt really good.

I can count on my fingers the number of times I've been to the Pro Club since I went back to Microsoft. That sucks. It's such an awesome gym, and it's FREE.

Yesterday and today, I saw a TV special on Discovery Health based on 'You on a Diet' which is a very reasonable book about getting healthier. No boot camp, no elimination diets. Just some good advice, mostly stuff I already knew. So it inspired me just a tiny bit, to get a little healthier.

Baby steps. 20 minutes of working out each day this week. That's it.

My mind is racing

I am paralyzed with indecision right now. I want to be crafty but cannot settle down enough to pick one thing to work on. My mind is full of ideas of things I want to make, and some of these ideas are ones I've had for months.

Arghhh. I know I just need to pick one and get started but I have all these lovely new and old supplies in my craft room and they're all calling to me. And it doesn't help that Kristine sent me a surprise package yesterday, which contained some gorgeous beads, and also a bunch of her old bracelets that she's giving me to recycle into new things.

Kristine is awesome. Yay Kristine.

I also need to make some more GeekMagnets, in case I get another rush of orders like I did last week. Of course, that frenzy seems to have slowed down, so maybe I need not worry too much.

And to fuel my creative fire even further, I saw Vienna Teng (yes, again) at The Triple Door on Thursday.

Favorite singer + favorite venue + friends = Triple YAY.

As always, her performance was flawless, though I definitely wish she had played different songs. I don't actively dislike *any* of her songs, but there are definitely ones I would have preferred to hear, given the short setlist.

But she closed with "Harbor" and totally made my day. Yay Vienna Teng.

And work is calming down just a little bit. So I hope to have more crafty time, and less stress. Yay for that.

And my one year Etsy-Versary is next weekend. Think I'll sell 2 more things to hit "my number"? I'm not sure, but I'll definitely try :)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Safety of shoreline fading away

Wow, I sure have been a busy girl recently. There was a sudden explosion of sales in my Etsy shop last weekend - I was getting at least one sale per day of both GeekMagnets and copper pet ID tags. And then it trickled to nothing again, boo hoo.

But I really can't complain, because I'm now at 50 sales and I have just a week left before my Etsy-versary. So maybe I won't quite make "my number" but I'm *really* close, not to mention the tons of jewelry I've sold offline.

Thanks to my mom, I sold another 5 pieces to her when she was here this week. At some point her friends are going to get tired of gifts from Anandi's Laboratory. Good thing she has a lot of friends :)

TJ is off zooming around the local racetrack today on his Ducati, so the pups and I are enjoying a quiet weekend at home. I think there will be some craftiness in the plan - I got a shipment of metal pieces to try out, in different gauges, so I'll probably make some test pendants to see how that works out. I got some aluminum, so I want to see how that works out for stamping ID tags and keychains, since it's doesn't tarnish.

I also have a cute cross-stitch design to work on - it was the only kit at Joann Fabrics (yay 40% off coupon!) that didn't have Jesus, precious little country scenes, annoying florals, or romanticized images of Asians or Native Americans on it. It's a cute picture of a cartoon doggy with bones and balls, and because I'm crafty like that, I'm changing some of the colors in the pattern so it should be colorful and fun when it's done.

Three people this week have made fun of me for doing cross stitch. Dude, it's so much fun. It's mathematical and soothing. It doesn't require a lot of practice to get decent at it. What's not to like?

(Besides the usual hideous country samplers, Jesus, Precious Moments, and offensive ethnic designs, that is.) I suspect the same people who design jigsaw puzzles also design cross stitch patterns and kits. BORING, BORING, BORING, or just plain fugly.

Subversive Cross Stitch offers some cute patterns, but they're not exactly things I'm comfortable hanging in my home or office. But I definitely love the sentiment.

So as soon as I get back into it, I'm going to start designing my own patterns for me to stitch. Apparently it just requires some graph paper and patience. I've got the graph paper, anyway. Cheers!

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