Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Week's Interview-Kit and Derek of Magpie's Trick

This week's interview is with the lovely Kit of (Kit and Derek) that make up Magpie's Trick.  Kit is one of my dear friends.  I feel blessed to have gotten to know her.  I adore their work.  Magical, creative, with a touch of whimsy.  Please enjoy this interview and check out their shop!


Tell me a little about yourself: 
 
We are Kit (the excitable, talky one) and Derek (the calm, silent one). We are a late 30s-early 40s husband and wife team of jewellery makers living in (but not from) Texas. I am originally from a little village in Scotland, and Derek is 2nd generation Norwegian-American from Minnesota. Derek is a technical artist for a video games company, and I am a "  self-retired"   former geologist. We're probably two of the quirkiest people you will ever meet. We have a house filled with sticks, dried weeds, feathers, stones, animal bones, odd antiquities, and Victorian-era furniture. We share our home with one perfectly strange 18-years-old son who just started college, three funny little terriers, and one surly black cat. Someone once said our house is sort of like a dungeon, but we think it is more like a dungeon designed by your eccentric great-grandmother!

How did you get started with your craft?
 
We were in the midst of a bit of a rocky part of our marriage, and we had a general dissatisfaction with life in general. We decided to take up something that was of interest to both of us, something we could do together...a shared interest that we could do side-by-side to reconfirm our closeness not just as a couple, but as best friends. We are both artistic in differing ways, so it was rather easy to realise that wanted to do something art-based. We have always shared a passion for jewellery, stones, and sparkly things, so we took one jewellery-making class that was quite uninformative and disappointing. The only real knowledge that we gleaned from the class was how to make loops! We decided we would be better off buying some supplies and sorting out how to do things by trial and error. Have you ever done something that felt so natural and came to you so readily that it seemed like you were born to do that thing? That's how jewellery design and creation feels to us. One we started, the ideas and the skills just FLOWED! 




What are your favorite materials to work with?
 
By far, our favourite materials are sterling silver and semi-precious gems. We have recently forayed into incorporating copper and brass into our designs, but silver will always be our favourite metal. It has such malleability, such a willingness to be formed into lovely shapes, such a wonderful energy.

What inspires you?
 
At the risk of sounding trite and cliche, we are inspired by things from the natural world. We see pine needles and think "  OH, wouldn't earrings look lovely?", we look at vines growing around trees and just know how that would look as a necklace. We're also inspired by little bits of architectural detail...a bit of gingerbread trim on a house, a slatted trellis, an interesting shape in a gate. Sometimes our inspiration is more basic and instinctual...the stones themselves tell us what they want to be!

What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
 
We're readers, gamers, travellers, and wanderers. Time and Texas weather permitting, we love nothing more than to go somewhere we've never been and roam about looking for interesting rocks to add to our collection. Derek plays guitar and makes up lovely songs (I make up songs as well, but they aren't so lovely and always feature our dogs), I cook (I cook a LOT, and my backside is proof of my cookery skills!), and our whole family plays Dungeons and Dragons (next campaign, DEREK can be the healer!). Did I also mention that we rearrange our house quite often? What was the dining room last month might very well be the lounge this month! There really never seems to be enough time to do everything we love.


What 3 items are your favorite?


We love this necklace. It has such an organic flow and the Labradorite is such an interesting shape. 


 

These earrings have such a HOPEFUL feel. The stones make us feel as if everything is bursting with potential.



This ring has such a powerful pull. The ephemeral flash reminds me not to waste time and opportunities. Right here and now is the only thing we are guaranteed. 



 


Do you have any advice for other Etsy sellers?
 
The best advice we have for other Etsyians is DO NOT agonise over changes, DO NOT worry too much about the mundane things like tags, SEO, and the other flotsam and jetsam that washes up in your Etsy experience. We know that Etsy is often frustrating, but if you allow those frustrations to overwhelm you, then Etsy becomes a horrid chore and your creativity drains away just as surely as if someone poked a hole in your artistic pail. Keep your chin up, shoulders squared, and your spine straight with resolve to keep the FUN alive in your Etsy journey. Another Etsy seller, EeeBee, has a print in her shop that says "  I Just Want to Make Beautiful Things Even If Nobody Cares".  We've taken that to heart. We all should.

Where can we find you on the web:


www.etsy.com/shop/MagpiesTrick?ref=si_shop

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop Review

I normally only have the best of the best on reviews, but congratulations to Shark for getting me to create an entirely new list.  The Lemon List.  Shark has won my biggest piece of crap I have ever used award.  I had read many reviews that raved about this product.  Are these paid reviews?  I'd have to think so after the experience I had.  This steam mop was by far the worst most useless product ever.   Which is a disappointment because I used their Portable Pro Steamer for years and it was great.  



This thing did basically nothing.  I take that back.  It did accomplish wasting a lot of my time using it, buying it, having to return it, and now having to use a bucket and mop to wash the floor.  I have tile floor which I ran the steamer over and over at a snails pace and the grout never even got wet.  The steam is so weak even on high and letting the steamer sit it was not hot enough to steam a piece of spinach off the floor I had dropped this morning.  First and second setting produced basically nothing but a very uneven pass over the floor.  I actually held my hand right up to the steamer and it was similar to holding my hand over a cup of hot tea.  I got halfway through the house and noticed the bonnet was barely dirty.  In the past I have gone through THREE bonnets before even getting out of my living room.  What it did accomplish was smearing dirt all over the floor.  I went over the kitchen floor three times and still the dirt sits though now it looks much worse then when I started.  I will now have to go over the whole floor with a mop and bucket and this goes back to Bed Bath and Beyond.  If any of you have had luck with a GOOD floor steamer I'd love to hear it.

Natural Remedies For Tired Eyes

Most of us have spent all kinds of money on lotions and potions to help combat crows feet and dry, puffy, red eyes.  Following are some great inexpensive at home remedies that are simple to use.

To tighten:

Crack two eggs removing the yolks and using the whites and beat them until they stiffen.  Then take a pastry brush (or even a soft paintbrush and carefully brush on the egg whites around your eyes).  Let dry for about 15 minutes and rinse well with warm water.  This can actually be used on your whole face and left on as long as 30 minutes.  It is a bit uncomfortable as the eggs start to dry and tighten but it does work and gives you a glow.



Dry and Puffy:

Whole fat cold milk.  Soak makeup puffs in cold milk and put them over your eyes for 15 minutes.  Milk helps soothe the puffiness and acts as an anti inflammatory.  The fat in the milk helps with dry skin.



Puffiness and Redness:
Chamomile is a natural anti inflammatory while green and black tea have caffeine and tannins.  These help to construct blood vessels.  You will see that many eye creams now contain caffeine.

Steep tea bags in boiling water for a few minutes.  Remove and put in the fridge until cool.  Put over eyes for 15 minutes.




Swelling:
Good ol cucumbers.  Simply make a thin slice of chilled cucumber for each eye.  Lay back for 15 minutes.  The vitamin c and caffeic acid help to calm swelling.
 


And last but not least ice wrapped in a baggie wrapped with a damp facecloth is a quick and easy fix for tired puffy eyes.




All photos courtesy of pininterest

The Next Giveaway Take the Poll

What would you most like to win on the next giveaway?  Take the poll on the right hand side (in the aqua box).  I will be making decisions based on polling popularity.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Amethyst Ring Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Maria B. for winning the amethyst ring contest!  Thank you to everyone that participated.  I plan on having frequent contests so please keep checking back.  I expect to have another in the next week or so.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sonoran Desert Museum

Some photos of one of my most favorite places.  The Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson.  I could sit in the hummingbird aviary all day!


Barn Owl


Barn Owl


Harris Hawk


Black Chinned Hummingbird


Anna


Rubythroated


Momma!

Ruby






A grainy Iphone pic

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Peace and Tranquility

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise, or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. - Anonymous





 



 













Monday, February 6, 2012

Home Sick and The Desert

The desert is a blistering inferno of intolerable hell. A flat, parched, brown land where little survives. This is where I live. But it's a dry heat you say.  Yes, sticking your head in an oven is also a dry heat.   Many people love the desert but it is not in my blood.  Longing for the water, green grass, trees, flowers and fresh air. In my mind I can smell the sea air, feel the dewy green grass on my feet, and hear the rustling of the leaves in the trees. I find solace in my garden plants here as they lift my spirit and remind me of home.  The desert does have a beauty all it's own that you should be lucky enough to experience just once.  Just make sure it's not in the summer shall you risk bursting into flames.  These are my back yard babies.  They are very photogenic:


Aeonium



Arizona Blanket Flower



Aeonium



Chamaelobivia "Rose Quartz"




Crassula Tetragona "Baby Pine Tree"



Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Elusive Etsy Front Page!

I cannot believe this day has come. I woke up to 25 emails and many messages on my Etsy from my lovely ladies of teamleanonme. At first I panicked thinking something was wrong. Upon signing on to Etsy I found out that at about 10pm last night for the very first time ever, I was on the front page. My glass suncatcher made it.  I couldn't believe it. My sweet girls couldn't type fast enough. Poor things were probably on pins and needles waiting for me to respond but I was in bed! I was so elated when I saw it I burst into tears. The Etsy front page is coveted. It's like the holy grail for some of us. I had give up on ever getting there and yet there I was. I had to rub my eyes a few times to make sure I was awake. 

While my items did not fly off the shelves, no sales to speak of.  I did have about 2600 views.  I could care less about sales right now.  I am ecstatic!

Here it is!

'Start the February with love!' by imali


Butterfly Bracelet with Ivor...
$19.00

Sweetheart Dog Cowl / Neck W...
$18.00

Autumn Harvest Felted Pebble...
$36.00

Canadian Honker Geese & Sand...
$25.00

Quilted textile hen ornament...
$25.00

Suncatcher Prism Window Art ...
$35.00

Michigan home decor Key hook...
$65.00

love birds
$7.00

two nesting bowls orange and...
$28.00

Forest Green Mini Trays
$17.50

Sale 10% - Deer Antler Valen...
$20.00

i love you photography - Val...
$11.00

ON SALE Shabby Chic - Shiver...
$68.00

Set of 12 ISLAND MINT Wool ...
$15.00

Yellow Damask Bowl
$20.00

Pulley Wheel Industrial Deco...
$29.00
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