Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's that wafting in the air?

Ahhhh. Here in the land of all things KJ, it's a good day when you get a box at your door and through the packing materials and box; seeping from the seams you smell mini candle shop. I could hardly wait to open the box which was holding my aromatic abundance of happiness.

I ripped the box open and my nose came alive and fell in love. The WoodWick wax melts were here! A concoction of lavender, caramel, sun-ripened apple, redwood and fireside all swirled together in a nasal intoxication like never experienced before. If there is a heaven, I hope it smells something like this.

Breathe in, smile, breathe out.

I hope your day smelled half as good as mine. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's in the trees

Today I was looking at the trees and thinking about their colorful leaves. It's almost as if they've saved up all of the best colors of the sunrises and sunsets of they've seen in the previous year and as a grand finale of visual fireworks, they share them all in a big bang for our eyes to feast upon by way of their boldly colored leaves.  Beautiful hues before leaving themselves bare and exposed for the frigid months ahead. Come springtime to lather, rinse and repeat.

Another fun thing to witness are all of the squirrels and chipmunks...trying their best to be as stealthy as ever, only to find themselves having to cross an ocean of crunchy, noisy leaves.  I liken it to the sounds of sharply clanging pots and pans with an occasional crash of a cymbal as if in a cartoon. It makes me giggle.  I am blessed to live in an area where I can witness such simplicities as these on a regular basis.

Thank you, Mother Nature!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A day of cleansing

Sorta... Actually it's more like a day of cleaning the house. It's needed a buff and shine pretty badly, so today is it's lucky day!  It's smelling lemony fresh.  Nothing is nicer than a freshly un-cluttered swept and mopped kitchen.  Makes me sad when I mess it all up again when it comes time to cook dinner...  Hmm.  I don't even know what's on the menu for tonight's consumption. Probably nothing too fancy.

I'm anxiously awaiting more news about my potential job.  I am very excited, and can't wait to get started.  I think it will work out great, given the opportunity.  I've trimmed my fingernails, given them a fresh coat of polish - and they're ready to unleash some documentation! 

Monday is always seems like the quietest day of the week for me.  The kids are off to school after a busy weekend, hubby is back to work, and it's just me and the house, and our trusty kitteh - Sneezers.  The day is flying by.  I need to get back at my cleaning duties, and before I know it, it'll be time to go pick up the kids and the house will be full of sound again.

I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A job?

Last night, I didn't sleep very soundly.  This morning rolls in, and ahhhh, sweet sleeping in bliss was taking over.  The bed was toasty warm.  I was getting caught up on some missing slumber when my cell phone rings.  It announced "call from...." and rattled off some random, but local, digits.  I didn't recognize the number, but for some reason I answered the call.  Normally I let the calls that I don't know ring to voicemail, but not today. 

"Hello?" I answered in my 'you didn't just wake me up, I'm WIDE awake' voice.  I hear an older man's voice on the line (can people still use that term with cell phones? on the line?) and he introduced himself.  He mentioned having received my resume in the mail back in September.  It was for a job that I had already convinced myself that someone had already been hired for, with little way to follow-up on - short of another letter.  It was sent into a PO Box at the local newspaper, so I really wasn't sure where I was applying, but only for the position of a medical transcriptionist.  I haven't had any specific training in that area, but I am very technically skilled and type very well.  I have a strong attention to detail, I can type well, and I am a fast learner.  It was a job that was not full time, and I would be able to work from within my own home.  It seemed too good to be true, and when I hadn't heard back, I figured I just wasn't qualified.  It was a job that had been filled before he'd received my resume, he told me.

But then...

It wasn't working out.  He was interested in my resume.  He is going to contact a former employee that used to work for him and see if she could stop by and teach me what I needed to know.  I am now waiting for a call from her.  I am beyond excited.  I hope to hear something soon, so I can get started right away.  They pay is more than minimum wage, I won't need to spend money to refresh my wardrobe, and the gas usage with my car will be minimal, as he's right here in my town.  The turn around time is every 72 hours.  So, 3 days a week I'd be going to get work, and deliver work.  That is perfect.  I can work it into my routine of the daily runs with the kids to and from school.  I am beside myself!  I don't think I'll be able to sleep until I know when I'll get my training and can get started.  The phone call was basically my interview... it's weird having a phone interview without knowing it was going to happen, and being half asleep.  I hope I didn't sound totally moronic. LOL

I hope this works out.  I'm so excited!  I think I said that already... *fingers crossed*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Winning

Today began on a very off note, because of lack of sleep, mostly.  It's Friday.  I should have woken up in a fantastic mood.  I am not fully awake yet, though.  However, I'm more awake now than I was an hour ago.  Yay for progress!  I actually think I got granted a do-over.  I caught some sleep, then got up to get a few things done... and just like my first try, I sipped some coffee, and read my equivalent to the news.... Facebook.

Onward, with the do-over.  As I sleep sit here at my laptop, trying to steady the coffee to my lips and keep my back turned to the 2nd attempt of "morning grumpies" I peruse my facebook.  Cranking my eyeballs open enough to read the what's-what of who's -ever-whom... I hear an angel calling my name... KJ... Kayyyyy.... Jayyyyyy..... I sense a disturbance in the force. 

Then I see it.

If you know much about me, I love candles.  Particularly - WoodWick Candles.  Last year I was graced enough to be a "nose" for them.  They sent a few select people to be on their fragrance team to test out their new line of scents before they hit the market.  I was stoked.  It was AWESOME.  Well, my friends, today I had another good moment, with WoodWick.  I am a fan of their Facebook page,  https://www.facebook.com/WoodWickCandles#!/WoodWickCandles if you're curious.  I see they've listed one of their "Facebook Fridays"; each Friday they do promotional things where you can win various discounts and freebies. Well, today's challenge was to unscramble the letters to 4 of their scents to win 5 free wax melts. The first 10 to email in, won. My name didn't get mentioned (not everyones did), but I still won the coupon code.  I am so excited!  It just made my day.  If you've never tried them, the next candle you buy should be a WoodWick .  They are from the Virginia Candle Company found here - http://www.virginiacandle.com/  They cost a little more than regular candles, but they last longer, and the fragrances are far superior than any other candles I've tried.

I hope you have a Fantastic Friday, with, or without a do-over. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's no time to chill

Today broke me, I caved.  I turned on the dreaded furnace.  The temperature inside the house had been holding steady around 66, then it dropped lower, and lower.  It got to 63 and I decided that's it!  Time to get it to at least to 66 again.  So, I got out my reluctant finger, and applied it to the button that controls the bank; or at least seems to, through that nasty thing called "the electric bill" *shudder* it just had to be done.  You'd better believe that as SOON as it's a little warmer again, it's going right back off.  I am hoping this is only temporary for now, as I know the days are numbered when we'll require the heat to be on 24/7.  Until then, I am going to squeeze every penny I can save out of it.  It's always a personal challenge -how low can I get the electric bill?

On a totally unrelated note, we watched "Meet Joe Black" last night.  It was a good (and long, wow!) movie.  I realize it's from 1989 or something rediculous like that, but we don't do a whole lot of movie/TV watching around here.  We do have a Netflix account, and only watch the streaming movies.  Now that colder weather is approaching, I see us snuggling up in piles of blankets watching a few more movies than we normally do.

If you have kids, you may find this tid-bit of information useful if you need to make a laugh or two or 500.  Take a black marker, and if you're right handed, take the inside of your left pointer finger and draw a nice, fancy mustache on it.  Then, put it under your nose, mustache side out, and look at your kids.  It makes simple conversation SO much more interesting.  It took about 2.3 nano-seconds before they decided to follow suit.  It was a great time to liven up a soggy, cold, after-dinner-do-your-homework evening.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How did I get here?

Do you ever stop and ponder the thought, "How did I get here?" This is something that I think about often. Changes, of even the smallest magnitude, impact us - today, now.  How did this blog come about?  This blog is inspired by my shop on Etsy which is new, and still has the fresh off the rack from the store scent.  It hasn't developed its own feel and smell quite yet.

Let me share with you some of the history of how I got here.  In October of 2009, I left my job of 8 years, being a professional technology geek.  Why did I do that?  The largest of reasons was the fact that my mother, whom used to watch my children before and after school, entered into hospice care.  She no longer could care for them as she had in the past.  Her health continually declined, and I knew it was time for a change.  So I took a leave from work to stay home with my children.  It was one of the biggest, and most important decisions of my life.  I have never regretted that decision once.

On an already shoe-string, paycheck to paycheck budget, I knew that things needed to change, again.  I needed to find a source of additional income to help dig us out of our debt.  In an already difficult economy and even more difficult job market, things proved to be extremely challenging.  I had a schedule I needed to keep for my families' sake, and finding employment was tricky enough, let alone expecting to find something to work around my schedule.  I've been keeping my eyes open still, and the job search is still on for something I can do from home, or within my time constraints. 

Then, in a moment of supporting brilliance, my husband says to me "Why don't you work for yourself from home, with an online shop?" It seemed a little too simple.  I shrugged it off, at first, it sounded wonderful, and too good to be true.  But why?  Why would it have to be too good to be true?  Why couldn't I make it happen?  Suddenly, I felt myself become more intrigued and inspired by the challenge.  I could.  I can.  I will.  I am.  I say these things, even without my first sale.  I know the best things are worth waiting for.  I continue to work at it.  It is not easy.  It truly IS work.  It's still a baby, in it's infant stage.  Right now I am guiding and helping it grow into something that smells like success.  This is how http://KJsnaturallycreative.etsy.com was born. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Keep creating, even when the effort seems moot.  Change it; embrace the change.  Make your future brighter than the sun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happily bare cupboards

Today I was looking through my cupboards and scanning the kitchen for what I could whip up for dinner tonight.  I am happy that I am running out of pretty much everything.  Let me explain why this makes me so happy. 

First and foremost, it pleases me that we waste almost zero when it comes to food here.  It's not that we eat an abundance of it just for the sake of *not* wasting it.  Simply put - we buy what we'll eat.  What I cook, everyone enjoys.  The leftovers go with my wonderful husband to work, for lunch.  That in itself saves us money, and not wasting food here at the house adds up.  Second, it's healthier and as a bonus, it helps me by not having the shelves cluttered with things we *won't* eat so it's easier for me to find what I can perpare.  I'm not afraid to try and cook new things, but I go easy with it, and usually it's a good turn out.  If the leftovers won't get eaten right away in the fridge, I use reusable freezer containers and make up single meals that will be used for the times when dinner doesn't yield leftovers.  It's a healthier lifestyle for us physically, and for our bank account.

A year ago or so... or has it been 2?  How quickly I've lost track, but some time ago we installed a dishwasher.  That investment helped us in at least 2 ways.  The first is the fact we used to use styrofoam plates A LOT.  I've always felt environmentally guilty for that.  So, I changed it. My old argument was "we'll dirty more plates and waste more water" but now that we've streamlined the dishes with the dishwasher... I think it saves money, time, and the environment, by a nano-speck at least.  And for that, I'm happy.

This morning, both of my fuel "low" lights were on in my car.  Just now as I scrounged around for things for dinner, the "empty" lights came on.  I filled up with gasoline after delivering the kids to school, and I'll restock the kitchen tonight in an adventure to the grocery store.  We're even down to the last 2 rolls of toilet paper in the house, so yes, I think it's time!

Monday, October 17, 2011

In dreams, not for the faint of heart or stomach

I am still in the middle of re-organizing the crafting area upstairs in my crafty cave.  But when it's done, oh the things I hope to create.  I have much to do, but this organizing thing is a necessary evil.  It will get done.

Last night, I had a sea of bizarre dreams.  One of which woke me up, and I was actually scared.  I thought to myself "why can't it just be daylight, everything is less creepy during the day..." and I was reluctant to close my eyes to go back to sleep, but too afraid to keep them open in the dark. Guess which won?  You guessed it... Sleep.  So off to sleep I go again, this time to have another unusual dream. 

In my second dream at one point was Christopher Walken. THE man.  He is cooler than hell.  And in my dream, I was trying to impress him.  He played some role of a dark character - I don't remember exactly what his purpose in my dream was but I do remember the challenge he placed in front of me.  It was to eat a plate of... of stuff.  On this plate, there were pig intestines, raw pig meat, and topping it, was a couple of slices of cooked bacon and a chocolate chip cookie.  I mean, really?!  REALLY?  I proceeded to eat this plate of disgustingness and choked a little on the pig intestine as I was trying to swallow it.  A pocket of air was trapped and it was blocking my airway, so I pointed to my open mouth to show Christopher the air bubble (he had been watching me eat, quite contently because I didn't freak out, I was as cool as he was apparently, or at least gained his approval) so he very nonchalantly poked his finger in my mouth and pushed the air bubble further down my throat so I could swallow.  How bizarre of a dream is THAT?

I think that's about enough for one blog in itself.  I hope none of you lost your most recent meal reading the above content.  If you managed to make your way through all of it, allow me to give you the look of approval that Mr. Walken gave me.  Kudos to you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ideas... they're swimming in my head

Back to some basics, just ideas.  This is a fun part of the whole creative process. It can be a frustrating part, too.  It's full of trial and error.  It's full of not producing anything - but more of a scientific study of sorts.  Sometimes during that testing you discover things that spin you off in a whole different direction, and that's just part of the adventure.

I've never painted wood to give it a rustic, distressed look before.  I have a larger wooden frame with some pegs on it that used to have a piece of masonite in the center with what someone at one time thought they'd upcycle with a snowman themed placemat... they glued it right onto the masonite - and it was a challenge to rip it off.  So, I'm going to take this old garage sale find, and turn it into a blackboard with a distressed finish to the frame.  I'll be sure to take pictures so I can post them!  I do have some wood to test the distressing process, which will finally allow me to use some of my old candle wax that I've melted down into larger blocks.  I just knew I'd find a purpose for it, w00t!

And now, it's time to feed the family.  Meatloaf is on the menu for lunch!  This'll give me more time to think of what things I can test with and get a game plan... Oh, and to figure out how to clean up my crafting area before I get started in my next mess. LOL

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Not taking the day off!

Glorious Saturday... welcome!  I am saying this just with enough time left to officially call this Saturday still.  Did I mention before that I am more productive at night?  Yes, I think I did, and no, that hasn't changed yet. :)

Today I made a couple more cards, axed a couple that didn't quite make me happy... and finished up some RAM magnets.  w00t!  I like how they turned out, but I might be just a little bit biased. 

I tried some new glue for the backs to adhere the super strong magnets securely to the sticks of memory, E6000.  Props out to my BFF April for suggesting it; thank you, April!  Interesting fact about the E6000 - Walmart carries it for just under $3.  Pat Catan's (a local crafting goods store similar to Michael's) had it priced at almost double that, including their 40% mark down.  Yes, I went back to Walmart. :)  I nearly had a disaster trying it tonight, though.  It's in a metal tube and it's ready to go as soon as you take the cap off... well, with full tubes like that, they're REALLY sensitive to any pressure. I must have squeezed it in all of my excitement; I about glued myself to my crafting table! LOL I suppose it wasn't all that bad, I mean, the cat's fur will grow back, and my cutting mat needed some holes filled in anyhow.  J/K!!  A little dab of glue on one side, and a little on the other, wait a couple minutes, and mash the two parts you're adhering and voila! You've just permanently bonded two items that didn't even know each other's names.  OOOOh the power!

The listings were all more towards the geeky side, so you'll have to stop by the shop and check them out.  http://KJsnaturallycreative.etsy.com  Don't forget, a couple days ago I posted a coupon code in a previous blog post!

I'm eager to see what tomorrow brings.  'Till next time - keep on your curious hat, and keep on being crafty!

Friday, October 14, 2011

QR Code fun!

It's time to let my inner geek show this morning.  My head hurts.  I needed a good distraction from the norm.  Geekness, be unleashed!

I don't know about you, but last Christmas when we were shopping around for a new TV... I found that being able to scan barcodes with my DroidX phone was an essential part of the process.  It's amazing to me that by scanning some little lines, you can get SO much information.  QR codes - Even our local hospital is using them on bracelets for their patient lookups.  Amazing things, simply amazing.  Sometimes you even find them in ads for stores that take you directly to their website.  If they can do that, why can't I?

So, I went online today and found a free QR code generator. It gave me this:
I use an app on my phone called ScanLife.  It is free from the Droid Market. Go on... try it! Scan that pixelated square.  I know you want to.  It will take you right to my Etsy shop.  How cool and wonderfully geeky is that?  And, I curiously wondered - will this work, by scanning my laptop screen. HELLS YES it does! For that, I give two w00ts!  w00t w00t!

I'm so glad I got that out of my system. Thanks for sharing that geeky moment with me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In a rut?

All day yesterday, I wanted to go up to my crafty cave and "create"..."produce"... the process is slow going it seems.  What do I do when I get into a rut such as this?  I try to find smaller, idle, auto-pilot hands-on things to keep me preoccupied until something randomly shows up in my head.  It's still morning.  Some of my best creative process comes in the evening and at night. 

So, I found some old paintings that I was not happy with the beginnings of, and gave them a fresh start with some gesso.  This time around, I used the traditional brush-on gesso, not the spray kind.  Perhaps my nose hairs will stay their natural color today. LOL  They'll require a second coat tomorrow. 

Then, I crafted my first paper box today! It's a cute little 4"x4"x2" turquoise and white polka dotted top and bottom... so cute you wish it had cheeks that you could squeeze and pinch! That was exciting for sure.  Much easier than I ever expected it would be.

Yesterday for dinner I made some cheddar potato soup, which turned out great!  I used beef broth instead of the chicken broth I normally use.  It really gave it a touch of heartier flavor.  It was a great compliment to the hints of cheddar.  Yum.  Leftovers, lookout! I've got you in my mind.

I'm working on perfecting some RAM magnets that will soon go up into the shop.  I love how they're turning out so far.  I need to figure out the glue I'll use to secure the magnet to the back, and decide if I want to do any lettering differently for future batches.

All in all, it's a pretty quiet day.  It's not raining, the leaves are beautiful; a day like this is the epitome of an autumn day.  Simply Perfect.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Coupon code for my Etsy shop!!

Drumroll... 

Ok, you've waited long enough. :-) Hopefully you gotten a heads up that you'd find a coupon code here for my etsy shop at  http://kjsnaturallycreative.etsy.com  

Since my shop is brand new, I am offering for the month of October - a coupon code for any of the items in my shop for the Grand Opening.  It is good for 10% off any of the items listed there and if you're my first customer, you'll also get bragging rights! w00t w00t!

Please feel free to spread the word, follow my blog, and my Etsy shop.  I'm always working on new curious creations to add and if there is something similar to the style of items I have in my shop already that you'd like to see, send me a message and I'll see what I can do for a custom reserved listing just for you!

Thanks for taking interest in KJ's Naturally Creative, and I hope to be hearing from you soon.

The coupon code is:  GRANDOPENINGOCT2011, 10% off of the list price before shipping  and it is valid thru the end of October.

Music, and work, and things...

Good morning!

It's a miracle I'm working, after all, I have never been too much of a morning person... but enough about that, it'll make for a great blog update later.

Right now, I am working.  Coffee in hand, and music via my favorite service - Pandora.  (Check it out at http://www.pandora.com) I'll probably have another blog post specifically on that, as it's so much in my veins that it deserves a deticated post.

With music, I can do just about anything.  It's like the air that I breathe, especially when I'm creating, or working.  Presently I am working on my Etsy.com shop.  It's something I've wanted to do for a very long time.  I will give some advice - it really takes a time investment and determination.  I am sure it will get there.  I am still waiting for my first sale, but I am not giving up.  Yesterday I created a banner that I am liking for right now.  It's much better than the lack of banner I had 2 days ago.  Today's priority is working on my Policies section.  I am off to do some research and will hopefully get a good base as to what I want. 

Please check out my Etsy shop at http://kjsnaturallycreative.etsy.com It's a new shop, and soon it's going to be bursting with more creative and curious items than ever.  I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blogging...

So here I am!  Wecome to my blog if you've magically found me here in my little shaving of the web.  This blog will be about everything, mostly.  A little of this and some of that, maybe a lot of nothing, too!

A few weeks back, I was at the store and found one of those big jumbo bags of Halloween candy.  You know the kind; the ones with all the gooey goodness you can handle, that make dental professionals get hearts dollar signs in their eyes when they walk past them.  Yeah, the Mary Jane's, Bit-o-honey, Tootsie Rolls, all of those... Well, in an too anxious to get my sugar rush fashion, I popped a Mary Jane in my mouth.  Chew, chew, crunch!  Ruh Roh... dafs a peefs of toof! Patooey.  :( So much for binging on candy that night.  I got a free billy-bob tooth with that bag of candy, early, for Halloween!  Luckily it didn't hurt.  I got an appointment scheduled with the dentist for a couple weeks out.  After a few days, the bag of candy sat, on my crafting table mockinly.  I thought to myself..."I should just eat some more, to make sure I don't have any other teeth that need fillings replaced, after all - if I do, I already have an appointment made!"  I twisted my own arm.  I had some more gooey goodness, and guess what?  All else seemed secure! :-) Yay for reasoning!

As a matter of fact, I am typing this with a happy, and freshly repaired toothy grin.  See?!
:-D  A beauty, eh?

So, that's all for now.  I'll write more some other time.  Comments are always welcome.  Don't be shy, say Hi!