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Archive for October, 2007

Hey, at least I can laugh at myself, right?

I hereby nominate myself to receive the Almost Darwin Award of the year. Why, you ask? Well, perhaps I should start from the beginning…

As you probably already know, we are doing a mini remodel of our hall bathroom. We my husband and dad replaced the faucet, lighting, and toilet paper holder. Prior to this, we had some yucky looking cheap shiny stuff. Now we have brushed nickel everything. I painted the walls a lavender/gray and the trim a light cream. For some reason, every single freaking doorknob in this house is the shiny fake brass stuff. Have I mentioned before how much I HATE shiny fake brass household items? It is so not my style. I had the brilliant idea of changing them out one by one to match the brushed nickel things we have been installing over the past year. I decided that the bathroom was the perfect place to start, given its recent changes and the fact that the fake shiny brass one had not yet been put back on the door from when I painted it a few days ago.

Soo, off to Lowe’s I go over the weekend to buy a lovely new doorknob. They are cheap, so I bought two – one for the bathroom and one for the linen closet across from the bathroom. My husband was sick all weekend and not up to helping me change it, and I decided on Monday that I would try to do it myself. I removed the fake shiny brass one, how hard could it be to put on a new brushed nickel one? HAH!

I had just finished scrubbing the front door outside, and I was overheated and in desperate need of a shower. So I headed towards the master bathroom. On the way, I saw that lovely new doorknob and it was just calling my name. “Cryyyyystal… CRYYYYSTAL!! You can install me yourself, you know!” I figured, well, now is as good a time as any, right? After all, it will only take a few minutes, and then I’ll hop in the shower. Why my conscience didn’t stop me from making this huge mistake, I will never know. I think my woman’s intuition must have been thrown out with the ugly fake shiny brass stuff. Or perhaps I was born intuition-less. Either way, this lack of judgment has proven that I have somehow gone from graduating valedictorian of my high school class to the stupidest person still alive on the planet. I used to be smart. I promise. Does chocolate kill brain cells? Maybe I just ate too much.

I know what you’re thinking: she must be overreacting. Why is it such a big deal to not be able to change a doorknob? Who cares? That’s what men are for, right? Oh, but see, my story isn’t even close to being finished yet…

I opened up the doorknob package and began to carefully study the instructions. I prided myself on opening the packaging with such care as to not rip it, and the fact that *I*, a woman, was going to actually read and follow the instructions, much unlike a man. I was going to install the strike plate first, but decided to do the knob instead. So I stuck the innards of it in the hole in the door. You know, the part with the piece that moves in and out – the piece that catches in the strike plate and causes the door to latch shut? I put that piece in first and was getting ready to put on the actual knobs when I had a stroke of genius. I figured that before I got too committed I ought to make sure it was going to line up correctly with the strike plate hole, so I pushed the door up against the door jamb. Ok, great, it looks like it will line up just fine. But did that satisfy me? Heck no, I wanted this thing done RIGHT. I had to be sure. Push. Click. The door was closed. Whew. It will work perfectly. Oh happy day!

I believe I failed to mention that at the point in which I “tested” the inner workings of this lovely new doorknob, I was actually in the bathroom. Remember, the actual knobs had not been put on at this time… just the innards. The part that causes the door to latch. Well, folks, the door latched and it latched WELL. It figures that the drunk aliens who designed and built my home actually did something right for a change (and just so my new readers know, that is not a racial comment. At least not a human racial comment. By “aliens” I mean the little green men that come from Mars… humans did not design my home.). I was trapped. In the bathroom. A teeny, tiny, windowless, claustrophobia-inducing bathroom. Without my cellphone. Hours from when my husband would come home from work. Hot. Sweaty. Hungry. Thirsty. Naked. Oh yes, did I fail to mention that part? I was buck freaking naked… on the way to take a shower, remember?

Bloggy friends, I panicked. Big time. I’m a phobic, you know, and claustrophobia is definitely one I experience. Can’t breathe. Gonna puke. Tiny bathroom. No phone. No window. NO CLOTHES. *screams* – “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” Oh boy, did I scream. Like a person trapped in a car about to fall off the edge of a cliff and burst into flames, did I scream. Like a germaphobic nerd about to get a swirly. And cried. Oh, did I cry. Cried and screamed and panicked. I was going to die in there, you know. My husband was going to come home a few hours later and find my lifeless, naked body trapped inside that coffin of a doorknobless room. And if I didn’t die, I would at the very least lose whatever smidgen of sanity I had remaining. These thoughts ran through my head over and over, along with many others, such as:

*I wonder if I scream loud enough, will the neighbors hear and call 911? Then the cops could find my lifeless, naked body trapped in the bathroom.
*Is the bathroom just big enough for me to back up and ram into the door hard enough to break it without breaking me?
*Oh for pete’s sake, I’m NAKED.
*There is NO chocolate in here!!

I was just about to sit my naked butt down on the cold, bare floor and resign myself to my fate when I glanced at the vanity and saw the key. No, not the key, but the key… channel lock pliers left here from when the men changed out the faucet. Oh, oh, oh! Surely the combination of my adrenaline fight-or-flight response and the heftiness of these pliers could help me out somehow, right? I determined that I would either rip apart and destroy the doorknob innnards enough to be able to open the door again, or I would start hacking away at the wall. I mean, yeah, we’d have a huge hole in the wall… but I would be free! And then later, we could, you know, buy a mini counter top and install a bar under the hole. What bathroom couldn’t use a bar?

Luckily with a few really good tugs, I was able to perform doorknob surgery and mutilate its innards and walk out of the claustrophobia inducing bathroom into freedom. I was then naked and free! What a shame we won’t get that bathroom bar though…

There are a lot of lessons to be learned here, bloggy friends.

One – I am obviously NOT made to do home renovations. At all. I will never attempt to do house stuff involving tools and doorknobs again. From here on out, I will commit my creative and handiwork skills solely to making beautiful jewelry. I’ll leave the house junk to my husband and dad. Let THEM get locked in the bathroom naked. I mean, who does that?!

Two – never attempt bathroom renovations without a phone and chocolate in hand.

Three – never change a doorknob naked.

Four – never test a doorknob naked.

Five – never, ever, EVER call your husband afterwards and tell him your story so he can laugh his butt off at you.

Lovely new doorknob: $8.75
Pair of channel lock pliers: $20
Can of paint to fix the gouge in the door: $28
Funny story to tell your coworkers about your hot, naked wife locking herself in a tiny bathroom and ripping apart the doorknob innards to regain her sanity and freedom only to realize after the fact that the actual doorknob was probably laying on the sink the entire time and could have been used to open it like a, you know, sane person: priceless

I almost died, people! So the Almost Darwin Award of the year goes to… *drum roll*… *sigh*… me.

It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to


But I really don’t want to. Bloggy friends, this boring bloggy belle needs your help! Our party is two weeks away, and our guests are expecting food, fun, and fabulous jewelry. We have the food and fab jewelry down, but the fun? We’re kind of at a loss. Help! A few people are coming just because it “sounds fun”. AAHHH!!!

I know some of you are really good at parties and fun stuff, so give me some suggestions, people. *grin* Or else we may resort to playing pin the diamond on the ring. And that’s just scary… very, very scary. I want our guests to actually like us, you know.

Apple Bread

Apple Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups oil
2 apples, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well blended. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for about 1 hour.

It’s reeeeally yummy!

On Hope & Grace

“Hope is for the people who have not yet found grace.”

This is the quote I left you to ponder on a few weeks ago. I’ve put a lot of thought into it since then. I’m not quite sure why, but it really wiggled itself into my brain and embedded itself there. It’s one of those things that can be looked at from many different angles, and here are my many thoughts on it at present.

Hope, according to dictionary.com, means, “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”. To me, hope is the thing that drives us forward, pushing us on in life. Without hope, why would we keep on running? Without hope, how could we keep moving forward even when things are difficult? If not for hope, wouldn’t we just give up? Whether it is hope in God or hope that we’ll get that promotion, or hope that our loved one battling an illness will get the needed cure… hope is what keeps us looking to that goal. When the hope is gone, so is the drive and the vision.

The past year has been, for me, hell on earth. I’ve lost so much. I’ve been broken so many times. I feel as though what thin shreds of hope I had and was hanging on to with my little fingers have been snapped and forcefully yanked from my existence. I’ve experienced death in ways I had not yet experienced. Not only in the death of a dear loved one, but also in the death of a dream. With these deaths I feel as though I’ve experienced yet another death… and that is of whatever hope and innocence I had left. There’s nothing like watching someone you love gasp her last breaths to hit you upside the head with real life. It’s hard to believe the world is an alright place after that. And after having to die to a dream, it’s impossible to keep your naivety.

Almost two years ago, I wrote about what I thought was a loss of something dear to me. It’s so hard for me now to read that and see just how naive to the world I was. Are you kidding me? I cried over a house? A house? Two years can really change a person. I’ve grown so much since then and so much has changed. In some ways, good and in other ways, bad. Either way, I’m not the same person at all. Dreams have died, people have died, hope has died, and along with them some of me has died. I’d like to think that part of that death is not only my naivety but also some of my insensitivity and some of my immaturity. I look at things differently now. I don’t debate until I’m blue in the face anymore. I try to walk a mile in someone’s shoes instead of just speaking to them in Christianese.

I’d like to say that my faith has grown, but in reality some of it has died too. Not all of it. There’s still plenty to keep me going on, but it’s not the same. I don’t look at the church the same, nor do I look at God in the same way. I’ve been hit with the harsh reality that His knowledge and sovereignty far surpass my dreams and desires and hope. Even when you know His way is best, sometimes it still hurts.

In many ways, hope to me has become a pain in the neck. I’ve been saying for the past year that the higher your hopes, the more they hurt when they come crashing down on you. It seems like it would be easier to not hope at all. But without hope, we would cease to move. Or at least *I* would cease to move. And unless we’re moving, we won’t reach our destination. What is that destination, you ask? For me and I’m sure for many of you as well, it has always been grace. Just as I see hope as the thing that drives us forward, I see grace as the thing we’re moving towards. The resting place where we can hang our hats and find something else we hope for – peace. I believe it is impossible to find peace if you’re not in grace (“grace” here meaning God’s freely given grace and favor). So I guess this is why that quote hit me so deeply. I’ve been hoping and hoping and not finding what I want… but what I want apparently isn’t what I need. My hope was misplaced, and has been dying a slow and painful death. What is left is me, bare and broken, on this road supposedly moving towards my destination via a very painful detour.

His grace is sufficient, but I’ve been so caught up in hope that I’ve failed to rest in that fact. If I can just find that grace and rest in it, the little-left hope, which can be wishy-washy and uncertain, will turn into something much more steadfast. Faith. While hope is just that… hope… “I hope for such and such”, I see faith as a firm belief. You don’t just hope for it to be, you know it will. And if I’m in grace, my will aligned with His, then my faith will be true and aimed where it should. Not where I might want it to be, but where He wants it to be… and I’ll know that even though this world is harsh and kills my hopes and dreams… my faith will never fail me because it is in Him.

The hope drives me towards grace. In that grace I can rest and find peace in the One who never fails me. Realizing this and standing on it is faith. So for me (and the Prison Break dude, perhaps) hope is for the people who have not yet found grace… because once you find His grace, it’s all you really need.

‘Tis the Season

The baking season, that is! One reason I adore fall is because that’s when I start pulling out the pumpkins and apples and cocoa and start making all sorts of baked yummies. Pumpkin bread and apple bread are two huge favorites in my house (well, favorites of *mine*, anyway. Dustin doesn’t seem to care for bread unless it has some sort of cheese melted on it. *grin* And have you ever tried to melt cheese on pumpkin bread? I haven’t, but it doesn’t sound all that great.). Then of course, there are cookies and brownies.

It’s time to start baking (even though it really has NOT cooled off here yet. Sickening, I know.) and I need your help. I’m fresh out of ideas and recipes to try. Tonight I made brownies (from a box…) and they were pretty good. They were organic and whole grain made with evaporated cane juice instead of high-fructose-corn-nasties. They were good, but not the best. I have a container of super dark cocoa powder that is begging to be made into the perfect brownie recipe, and I know you must have it.

I am also in need of some cookie recipes. We will be baking cookies for our upcoming party.

If anyone is interested, I’ll share my two bread recipes. I’d just do it now, but they’re on the desktop’s drive (which has now been converted into an external drive since the desktop went kaput and has not yet been replaced…) and I’m not currently hooked up to it.

So hit me with your best recipe!

A good note and a not so good note

Last night I realized that given the recent skills I have acquired, I can now call myself an amateur metalsmith. How cool is that?? *grin*

On a less than positive note, here’s a question for you. I see so much disrespect being thrown around regarding spouses (most of it I see these days is women disrespecting their husbands or other various men in their lives). My question is when did men cease to be our respected spouses and instead become our lap dogs that we “punish” into “good behavior”?

Here’s what I have to say about that: *GAAAAAAAG*

I realize that the women’s rights movement did a lot of good. A lot. But is it possible that too much “empowerment” has served to sway us a little too far in the opposite direction? What, are we “getting back at them” now?

Again: *GAAAAAG*

What Would Your Lifeform Do?

So, I have this dilemma now. As I mentioned yesterday, things aren’t exactly centered in my bathroom in a way that makes sense to, you know, a human. It might make sense to some other lifeform, but to mine? Not so much. The lighting I guess is sort of centered to the sink, but not perfectly. I think the builders were high on paint fumes (much like I am now) when they installed the box thing. Seriously, I think I must have picked the stinkiest brand of paint ever. I won’t mention which brand it is… Martha Stewart… because I am ashamed.

The paint, apparently, in semi-gloss looks different than it does on the card. Apparently this is also a disclaimer on the back of the card. So, my lovely gray-purple color turned out more like purple-purple, which is ok. It’s a pretty color, just not exactly what I was expecting. I like it, but I don’t know about future potential buyers. I don’t want to paint it again. I spent almost four hours in there today and I still need to do a second coat!

So, help me make a plan here. I have a rectangular mirror with a thick dark brown frame that I need to hang. Should I center it with the lighting, and hang it with the long sides going vertically and maybe put a candle sconce on the right side to “even” it out between the cabinet and wall? Or should I hang it with the long sides going horizontally so it’s not as obvious? Or should I center it to the wall and let my OCD drive me insane for as long as we continue to live in this house?

Here’s a photo. Sorry it’s not good… I’m tired (and a little woozy still from the fumes… Martha, if you’re reading this, make your paint less stinky PLEASE – I can smell it all the way on the other side of the house). Please ignore the lighting which is missing two glass things. I took them down so I’d have an easier time painting, but the third one was fighting with me, so I just left it. In case you’re wondering, the hole on the left side is where the medicine cabinet goes. I took it down. Why? I don’t know. Blame Martha. Actually, I’m going to paint it and I thought maybe perhaps it would be easier to paint while off the wall, but I’m not sure that makes sense to my lifeform.




What color should I paint the cabinets? They need it for sure. I’d rather stain them, but they’re not entirely made of solid wood, so I can’t. I’d replace them, but don’t have the time right now. I was planning on painting them cream, as well as the trim, but Dustin suggested brown to match the mirror frame. I’m not sure how that would look. I’d like dark brown if I were staining them, but not so sure about the paint.

So what would you do (aside from just moving to a house that was built by, you know, humans).

Just Stuff

Guess what. I didn’t bruise at all. For a girl that bruises extremely easily, this is a miracle. I mean, I hit my face HARD. I almost always have a bruise or five on my legs from whacking them on things as I walk down the hall or step over the dog gate or something (and don’t hit them half as hard as I hit my face) and yet the face didn’t bruise. The body is a strange thing. It just swelled a little and was sore for a few days. It’s just a bit sore now, but at least I can rub it without wanting to scream. *grin*

I don’t think there’s any way I could have hit my eye. I wear my glasses all the time when I work because I can see better with them close up than I can with my contacts, and, well, I hate my contacts. They dry out too fast and drive me nuts. I’ve already tried two brands. I haven’t decided if its worth trying another. I’m *always* careful when I work with the dangerous tools – like the saws (especially the flex shaft, which could quite literally cut a limb off) but pliers? It’s not like you really consider the possibility of stabbing your face with pliers. I mean, who does that?!

My toe hurts though. My little toe on my left foot (just thought the visual would be interesting). It feels like it was smashed with a hammer, but I don’t recall that happening so I have no idea what is wrong with it. I must have banged it on something because it is quite mad at me. Poor mad little toe.

Over the weekend, we started to work on our hall bath. We (read: my dad) replaced the faucet and we (read: I tried it all by myself but Dustin ended up doing it anyway) replaced the lighting. Then I (read: again, tried myself but Dustin ended up finishing it) replaced the toilet paper holder. Now everything is a lovely brushed nickel finish. Ahh, I love brushed nickel. Only, I’m a bit unhappy because, umm, the lighting box wasn’t really centered with anything. How dumb is that? It’s not centered perfectly over the sink and it’s not centered perfectly between the wall and the cabinet. Huh? So now when I hang the new mirror, I get the lovely job of finding out how to place it without making the whole room look dumb. I swear, as much as I like my house, I will never buy another home designed by this builder again! Lots of strange things. Lots. The room is also taped off, ready for me to paint it today. Yay. Have I mentioned how much I hate painting? I decided I’m going to also do the trim and probably the cabinets too. Someone come help me!

I’m having a hard night. The stress of the upcoming stuff along with other stuff we’re going through is wearing me out and I’m stressed and depressed and probably every other -ressed you can think of. Prayers would be appreciated.

I’ll leave you with a piece I made the other night in preparation for the party. It won’t be available on the website until after the party (provided it doesn’t sell) but I thought you’d like to see it anyway. But of course, if you really want it, you might be able to pull my leg. *grin*

It’s made with one of my favorite gemstones – blue crazy lace agate. The color is sooo pretty. It’s a 2-in-1 chain made with hand sawed and woven rings. It’s one of my favorite weaves even though it’s so simple. It’s just classy looking, I think. The clasp is also hand made. If the bracelet wasn’t too long for me, I’d probably keep it. *grin*

Click for larger pictures.


And one more piece (this one made by Momma Belle) with my other favorite gemstone, smoky quartz. These stones are SO pretty and their clarity is so nice. It’s hard to find good gemstones with perfect clarity without having to pay a fortune, but with smoky quartz it’s possible. *grin* Plus, the color just goes with almost anything. Pretty, pretty! I hope this one sells at the party or show because it deserves a lovely model.


So do you have a favorite gemstone?

Apparently my face

makes for a good roadblock.

Or at least that’s what my pliers thought this morning when they jammed into my eye socket bone, just 1″ below my eyeball.

Like freaking OW.

I look like I have a miniature snake bite… two little holes in my skin. Lovely. Now I’m just waiting for the black eye. I punched myself pretty hard! Who needs enemies when I have myself?

I just hope I didn’t crack a tooth. Possibly too high to crack a tooth, but its all really sore and achy now, so who knows.

I’m the poster girl for safety goggle awareness. I wear regular glasses most of the time, and the pliers hit right below my frames. However, if I had been wearing safety glasses, the pliers would have hit them instead of ME.

Don’t you just love the combo of snake bite, need-to-be-plucked eyebrows, and cleaning-house-today hairstyle? I’m so pretty. *grin*

Well, November should be interesting

We just finished planning a grand opening open house party at my home for November 10th. It’s from 2-6pm, so if you live nearby, feel free to join us! We’ll be having some good food, some fun, and some door prizes.

Just after we solidified the plans, we were contacted about being a vendor in a local trade show. The fees are low and benefit charity, so we thought why not? The kicker? The show is two days after our party. Two days, people! Can you say crazy weekend?

I am now officially freaking out. I have so much to do between now and then that it’s not even funny. I need to paint the hall bath, and change out some fixtures in there. I also need to shampoo the carpets, and and and… not to mention all the business prep stuff. I mean, inventory, food, decorations, cash box, change, oh my Lord I’m going to go crazy.

We’ve decided to offer hostess party opportunities as well. So, I’m going to have people in my home, I’m going to go to a SHOW as a VENDOR (which I have never even come close to doing!) and might be going into other people’s homes to hold parties. Umm, have I mentioned that I have social phobias?

It should be interesting, that’s for sure.

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