Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Here I am at 3 am,
need to sleep, but blogging!
what will I do when the kids wake up
and ask why I'm not jogging?

What it is that keeps us from what we love to do when we know we need to do it, but decide to do something else instead?

I love making jewelry. When I have the house quiet (like now, except for the sound of more than one person, and two dogs, snoring) why do I not "power bead?" Why do I spend self-indulgent time on the computer "checking my email," a.k.a. wasting time and sleep, instead of crossing out my to-do list?

Tomorrow will be filled with schoolwork, phone calls for mundane matters, child care, and life. And I'm sitting here, at 3 am, blogging.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

All that Glitters....

Just look at this cool glass bead shipment I just got in the mail! Many thanks to Vanessa at http://salvagenation.etsy.com/. They have really unusual stuff that is so fun for creating. Those critters are just waiting to play, aren't they? They are lampworked by a local artist in St. Augustine. I don't know which talented person did them, though. They're already spoken for, too. They're waiting for me to give them their beads and they're off to their new home. Custom orders are so fun!

So I'm getting my bead on after a dry spell. How do YOU get your creative juices flowing again after a while? It's been a frustrating couple of weeks. Productive, but not for beading. We started our schooling, I started this blog (wow it takes sooo much time to learn this stuff!) and my computer whacked me on the head and made me spend wayyyy too much time on it. To get reacquainted with my bead table, I had to find it first. Any level surface in our house is in jeopardy of accumulating piles of stuff from the many people and activities that go on here. So, I waded through a mountain, and reorganized. Then I went out and bought a whole bunch of beads.

Originally, I did not intend to spend anything except for what I desperately needed (I was totally out of clasps) but there was this great sale, and... well... Now I have a good dose of motivation. It's been a little quiet on the sales front at Etsy, many people will tell you, but I've always found that you sell more when you're really motivated. Ever invite someone over to your house for dinner when it's a complete mess? If you have, as a motivator for getting it clean, then you know what I mean. It works like charm. Buy beads, get motivation (dang, I need to sell some stuff NOW!!)

Last week Rebekah and I went to a fundraiser craft fair for St. Paul's Catholic School in Riverside. We had a blast. It was our first jewelry show, and it was a complete success for us. She sold some things, I sold some things and met some really great people, and donated some gorgeous blister pearl and Swarovski earrings for a door prize. We were just one of about 5 jewelry tables there, and it was fun to see everyone's craft personality as expressed in their jewelry creations. Not one of us was the same. I met a beautiful lady from Africa, and she told me her story, and about her sisters who send beads to her so she can make her jewelry. It was a very nice night. I hope to be invited back next year. I think the most enjoyable thing about making jewelry is seeing people where it, and enjoy it. When their friends try to talk them into buying it because it "just looks like you, don't you think?" It's supremely satisfying. Yep, I love this stuff!

I got started with jewelry making when I was in 6th grade, I think. My mom was making Christmons for our church Christmas tree here's a link, if you promise to come back...(http://www.crivoice.org/symbols/chrismon.html) These are cross stitch, and they're really nice, but the ones she was making were made of pearls, gold beads, wire, and the like. I was enthralled. I took money from my chores and bought some beads, sequins and other glittery things and made jewelry, mostly earrings, and sold them to my friends. I also took thick art paper and made earrings, painted different colors, added some jewels and different designs. I wore them for years. I took a jewelry class in college, and got into the "real" stuff -- I never knew blow torches could be so fun! We did formed pieces, soldered pieces, made bezels -- I was hooked. Then upon moving to Florida and going to work I pretty much forgot all about it. In fact, I tried to avoid beading altogether, but it sneaked up behind me and captured me when my mom started beading, and my daughter wanted to make her a bracelet last Christmas. There's no going back. I'm in up to my eyeballs. and ear wires...hehehe!

My husband is totally supportive! He encourages my obsession, er.... hobby, and tells me he knows I'm going to do great. Awwww, he so wonderful! It feels so good to have somebody believe in you.

That's my advice: To get motivated,

1. find or clean off your craft table. Dust off your tools.

2. Invest a little scary-ness into your inventory to give you a "have to"

3. Find yourself a cheerleader and tell them you've been a little discouraged lately.

4. Put on some relaxing otherwise motivating music, to set the environment

5. minimize distractions. It's hard when you have a darling little guy like mine who wants to play, but maybe daddy can take him to the park. Or he can take a nap.

6. Get busy! Not many days until Christmas!!

So I can't wait to get started with these beads. They look so festive and ... holiday! I'm thinking some Goldstone, some crystal, some of them with copper wire... We'll make them dangle-y and dripping with glamor. I think I'll put on some Manheim Steamroller Christmas, and bead until my fingers blister. Stay tune for the "after" pictures!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

And Baby Makes Nine!

OK, time for introductions! Courtney is my oldest. She changed my name to "Mom" 16 years ago. What a delight to have her as a daughter! She's beautiful, a great student, and a wonderful volleyball player. She plays this year for Providence Schools, a private school, but they accept home school students into their athletic programs, since they're with the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) but that is another blog post altogether. If you're wondering how home schooled students can participate in public and high school activities here in Florida, Google the Craig Dickinson Act. (think, Tim Tebow, Heisman trophy winner and currently sophomore at the University of Florida. He was home schooled!) So, we're ready for Courtney's volleyball to get noticed, so we'll have an idea of the direction she'll take for college. I would rather have her play here in town, and go to a local college. I'm not ready for my baby to be grown up and gone yet. One of my 5 best reasons for living, she's my heart! She's twice the young lady I was at her age!

This is Matthew, my oldest son. He's an aspiring actor. At 12 1/2, he plays that guitar whenever he isn't eating or sleeping, taking a short break and playing the computer, or when he is trying to escape his schoolwork. He's really getting very good! One of my 5 best reasons for living, he's my heart! I didn't have brothers growing up. I have one sister, whom I'd consider a best friend (not then, but now, by the Grace of God). So Matthew broke me into the world of little boys quite roughly, without any warnings or preparation. I had no idea what to expect, and though it was love at first sight, It's been a wild ride! He's such a good kid. Witty, brilliant, reserved, contemplative. He's always the one you see in the background of our scrapbook pictures, watching everything. That was true until he discovered acting! Since he began his training with John Robert Powers, he's really come out of himself. My son, who would rather take an "F" than memorize anything, can now memorize and deliver a monologue that will double you over it's so funny. He's put on a sparkle and an intensity that I suspected was there, but he kept hidden. What a wonderful transformation.

He has an agent who said that he would represent him in LA. We're excited about that. I'm not sure what it entails, and I'm not going to be that crazy mom that pushes her son into everything. I'd rather he just do some commercials, maybe a few TV shows, etc. But we're behind him all the way.
This little lady is Rebekah. Goodness GRACIOUS she's growing fast. She's learning how to cook, and is very capable doing anything I ask her to do. She's highly enthusiastic and energetic when it comes to getting things done (and getting her way) and she could easily run our entire house of it were her job. Yay for type-A!! I know she'll do anything she sets her mind to do. She's also a volleyball prodigy. After 6 years of gymnastics, she leaped into volleyball, with her sister's coaching, and is really turning heads on the court. We're hoping for scholarships. That would be really great!!

Rebekah also likes to make jewelry. You'll find some of her creations on my Etsy site at http://laurastaley.etsy.com/. We get to sit together and make stuff, and it's fun to relate that way. She also likes to paint pottery, and do glass etching. I suspect she'll be able to do every craft she sets her hands to, because she does pretty well for a 10 year old already. She has the same restless, itchy, crafty hands that I have. She's another one of my 5 best reasons for living. She's my heart!

And here's my little man. When I was remarried in 2004, I dreamed of having another baby, but it was more wistful imagination than anything. I had the baby bug bad, but was busy working in sign sales, hauling kids All over Florida for sports (we were on two competitive gymnastics teams, and my oldest was playing middle school ball, too. Well, let's just say he was the best souvenir from our first anniversary trip. He's as cute as a Cupie doll, isn't he?

Jimmy seems to think it's his job to crack us up all day. He's a love sponge, and likes to spend time snuggling, playing with his trains, his trucks, and on the computer. Yep, he's a techno junkie. At 2 1/2, he can use the mouse, and navigate around his computer games. Popular titles at the moment are Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the Tonka Construction series. Since we home school, we have 5 computers, and thank to Broadband and a wireless router we can all use them at once. He also likes to watch classic Disney clips on You Tube. Donald Duck seems to be his favorite. He's developing an interest in space, so look out Buzz Lightyear, here he comes!

This gorgeous hunk of a man is Donald, my husband and best friend. After my divorce, when I was really wanting to feel normal again. You know, go out and have lunch, be normal, have normal friendships, feel attractive, all of that stuff. I put up a profile on Match.com, and this interesting guy emailed me. The part that caught my eye was that he was a believer, and attended church regularly. Wow. A man that seeks and understands accountability! A rare find! That was just the beginning. We were married that next April, on his birthday. He's the most patient man I've ever met. We've had such a great time being married. Here's a picture of us taken in 2004...

Donald came as a package deal, and so did I. We both had 3 previous kids from our previous marriage. When I met his kids, I fell in love with them immediately. It hasn't been the easiest thing to blend two families together, deal with ex's and their issues, and try to maintain respectful relationships between all of the people in our kids' lives, but we've muddled through it. We've made quite a few mistakes, but we've also done some things right. By God's Grace, we will not only get through it but our children will rise above it and beat society's current odds on divorce. Hopefully we'll pass on to them what we've learned.

Blog design

Wow, I really feel out of my element with this blog! It'll take a while to get the hang of it. So far, as far as computer stuff I've done digital scrapbooking, ebay, Etsy, I have a profile on Cafemom, and emailing. Now as of this week I have an entrecard that I haven't dropped yet (haven't figured it out), signed up with Scoutle, made my own blog, figured out how to put those cute little square block thingys on my blog, and advertised with Project Wonderful for my Etsy site. I'm cyber-spaced out!

Along the way, I've made some new friends. I was really impressed by Restored316designs.blogspot.com. Lauren's designs were simple, elegant, and classy. Kind of like a massage for the eyes, which you need after spending too much time on the computer. I figure that if I can get people to ahhhhhh, when they hit my blog, then they'll look around, check out my Etsy listings, and look at my ads. Maybe they'll even join my followers list, because they want to come back and look at the beautiful template that she created. If I was a graphic design student today, this is what I'd be doing. back in "my day," we had to mock everything up by hand. Pagemaker was just a cute little word processing program. Hey, it wasn't THAT long ago. It was before Al Gore invented the internet, though.

Well, today I found out that Lauren is having a contest and giving away a blog template! Not that I want anyone to go over there and enter, but, really, you should. At least you should check out her designs, and look around for a while. Make a few comments while you're there. Get the flavor of the blog. What a nice place.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GRRRrrrr. Frustrating.

Getting my kids to do their schoolwork is like herding a brood of chickens. The minute I lose my focus they're UP and GONE. Why does this happen? It's painful when you realize that they are not as motivated to learn as I am to teach them. Sometimes it's hard to be determined to keep going. We tried lightening things up this morning by playing dominoes, practicing multiplication by stating the product of the two numbers on the tiles as we were playing them. It disintegrated into bickering. (sigh) I wish they'd get along better. Sometimes we can't even play games without someone picking a fight, and the other jumping in, defensively. Sheesh.

Well, in the meantime, we had lunch. Bean burritos. Mixed 3 cans of pinto beans with onion, garlic chili and cumin powder, a bunch of salt, and blended them into oblivion. Then we heated them up in the fry pan, and glopped them onto fat free flour tortillas lined with cheese. drizzled a little enchilada sauce, and faster than you can say Mexican hat dance, we had Taco Bell style bean burritos on our plates. They were actually pretty good. I guess the stuffed peppers have to wait until tomorrow.

So what's for dinner, mom?

I have to blog our current dietary struggle. Try to picture my older son, picky eater#1, coming to grips with vegetarianism when he would rather have chicken wings. To break them into it, I do try to have a baked or broiled meat along with whatever else we're eating. I feel like a short order cook at the Waffle House. "hold the oil, here!" "No onions there" Then I try to feed my youngest son, 2 1/2 years old, but he won't eat ANYTHING that we have sometimes. Mostly rice, fruit, cereal, peanut butter and jelly, and the rare veggie for him. He's very difficult. I suppose that hunger would take over and he'd start to eat what we do, but he's always been small and just getting him to eat has been a struggle. He's 28 lbs now, and short. He looks well-rounded and is rarely sick, so I guess we're doing ok.

Maybe we can get back onto the schoolwork, but I think I've lost them. Somebody's outside in the glorious weather squirting a hose at the window. Maybe we need a nature walk.

What's up for today?

Our daily schedule fluctuates more than it should, I think. In order to establish more structure and to try to get more accomplished, we're trying a new schedule. That means I won't be on the computer in the mornings, except to check my Etsy shop for new sales or convos. The computer consumes my time like my kids slurp down a smoothie! I guess I'll get the hang of this schedule thing eventually. But I hate it See ya after lunch! MMMMMmmmm, vegan stuffed peppers from last night. (yelling to the kids) "Hey guys! It's already 9:55! Get up and eat lunch!!"

I'll have to blog about our new semi-vegan lifestyle. It's complicated and worth a whole entry by itself. Maybe I'll post recipes that work for us. Then maybe I can invite others to do the same. I don't know enough about this blogging stuff to know what's going on yet.

For instance, this cute little scoutle guy walking everywhere. what's the (181) that was on it this morning? And where is he now? Seems like their service might be down.

Gotta get some coffee. Be back when my fingers have time to fly...but I HAVE to make some jewelry first. (clenching teeth) I have to discipline myself to do that BEFORE computer time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today was the day!

I've been thinking and musing and wondering and plotting, but today was the day. Which day? The day I started my first blog, of course! So, now that I have it, what should I write about?

I have writer's block.

No, not really. I can't wait to get started. My friends and family would tell you that I'm fairly opinionated about many things, and others would just roll their eyes and groan. They know I can't resist opining on just about everything that crosses my path. Oh, well. Nobody's perfect.

I hope you'll join me on the trip of my lifetime -- through the joys and pains of homeschooling, raising kids, seeking balance in the roles of wife, mother, stepmom, businessmom (or mompreneur), and all of the craziness in between. Alternatively witty, corny, rant-y, whiney, I'll try to the best of my ability entertain and inform while changing diapers, teaching fractions, running my house, and seeking better relationships with others, and with God. It sounds like a dartboard of a target, but that's how I roll. So, fasten your seatbelts, we're off to explore the rigors of being a wife and mom in the 21st century.

I'm in awe-inspiring company. The blogs I've read by families who are so accomplished and inspiring will always be around me, and I'm but a little spark of a candle when it somes to their shining beacons. I hope that I'll make friends along the way, and we'll share a virtual cup of coffee from time to time.