Day 211-MET(My Essay Tuesday)-The Year I Learned to Make Jewelry

What seems like a hundred years ago, even though it’s more like twenty, I used to work as a phlebotomist in a satellite lab. It was there, while I was supposed to be doing my job,  that I stumbled on how to make my own jewelry from a catalogue of work-at-home projects I’d purchased in the mail.

Actually, I started practicing my new craft at home with the directions provided by the company, it was just that I had so much down time while working the satellite by myself, I used to literally lay out all the supplies, tools and directions, toiling away for hours at a time, teaching myself how to weave string and beads into beautiful, fringe style earrings and other pieces of jewelry. Back then my eyes were sharp and my fingers nimble, not to mention I had a lot more patience than I do these days. These were seed beads I was working with at the time, tiny little things, some of them no bigger than the head of a pin.

I would lay everything out on the empty counter and work, and when a patient came in to have their blood drawn, I’d get up and go do it. That’s how slow business was back in the day and I took advantage since I got all my work done, processed and sent out in a timely manner. My supervisor didn’t mind, as long as I got my work done efficiently. I wish I could remember the name of the company that I made those first pieces for, unfortunately, it was a scam but at least, I learned a new craft and began to make and try to sell them myself. This lead to more how-to manuals and magazines and I had the bug. I couldn’t pass Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or any craft show that sold beads for that matter, without buying more. I have enough beads, buttons and tools to open my own small store, yet now I rarely have the time for making jewelry anymore.

I took the knowledge that the experience of that first company gave me and honed my craft, perfecting it over twenty years but never really getting the marketing of it down pat. Oh, I tried to sell a few pieces here and there, I placed it in craft shows and antique stores where you rent a little booth, yet no one else wanted to pay what they were worth to me. By then, there was way too much competition from the many discount jewelry stores, and honestly, my work was better than some artists but not as polished as many. I made earrings, and bracelets, rings and necklaces-I still have many of my finished pieces today. None were as special as those first ones I taught myself how to make, when I discovered I actually had a knack for stringing and weaving beads into something beautiful.

Had I really believed in myself, I might have been better at marketing, but I told myself it would take the fun out of it if I had to mass produce my stock. I gave most of my jewelry away as gifts and kept some for myself, I can still make it when I want to give someone a heartfelt gift. It turns out I was doing it more for the love of the craft than something to make a profit on. Maybe I learned something more valuable than how to make jewelry that year. I learned how precious it is to be able to make something beautiful with your own two hands, how you share that gift is up to you.

Day 210-Motivational Monday-

Photo credit:funnybeaver.com
Photo credit:funnybeaver.com

This can be applied to my situation right now, how about yours?

Whether it’s a new relationship, a new job, or just a new way of doing things, this is a great motivational quote which I found on a Pinterest board of them.

As if this quote wasn’t enough motivation, I saw more in my notifications this morning, in the form of a blog by Suze (Obsolete Childhood) in which she named my blog as one of her favorites for Steven Sawyer’s BMU challenge! After reading her kind words, I was motivated to keep going, and it made me feel vindicated as a blogger/writer when she said I make her feel the emotions that I’m talking about. Thanks Suze, you made my day! I also checked out Steven’s blog, For His Glory and you should too, it is very inspirational.

That’s what we all do as bloggers isn’t it? Lift each other up, spread each others words and news and generally try to help each other, however we can.

As I continue with my courses on blogging and affiliate marketing, I have to admit-I’m getting more confused by the minute with all of the information overload, it can be quite overwhelming. That being said, once I figure out how to create a better place for me to serve you, my journey will be complete. Then, the adventure will begin and we can all have fun together. I want to create content that is helpful and relevant, that answers your questions or helps you solve a problem. Stick with me folks, I’m a work in progress!

How have I helped you today? Please let me know in the comments and to everyone reading and following on this warm and humid Monday-have a great, productive day and I’ll see you tomorrow…on the patio!

 

 

PS-Some of you may remember from yesterday that I mentioned a family dinner celebrating my oldest son and my husband’s birthdays. Well, I’m ashamed to admit, I got so caught up in the moment of surprising my son with his gift that I totally forgot to take pictures…and I very much wanted you to see what I got him. He is a gifted musician, and a friend of Stephanie’s makes these wonderful guitars out of cigar boxes. Kind of a novelty, but one that really works-it even has a pick-up for amplification! I purchased one from Fred and gave it to Sean yesterday (even though today is his actual birthday).

I will try to get a pic and/or video of him playing it, which he started doing within minutes after receiving it. I’m happy to say he was pleased with it, and happy that Fred showed them to me in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 209-Free Days-Another Veteran Actor, Gone Too Soon

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

As we prepare for the gathering of family for a celebratory birthday dinner, I was saddened to hear the news of the death of a great actor, Bill Paxton. Apparently, he suffered a stroke while undergoing a recent surgery and I was shocked to hear about it on a Facebook post, I then investigated and saw no fewer than eight news articles on his passing. It is amazing how quickly the press finds and distributes the news sometimes, isn’t it? He was a Ft Worth native (one more reason to like him), and my favorite films by him were Tombstone (1993) and Twister (1996)-although the earliest recollection was him being turned into a giant turd on Weird Science (1985). His wry humor and charm will be sorely missed, I never got into Big Love (2006-2011), but would gladly have watched him along side his son for the upcoming eighth episode of Training Day. RIP Mr Paxton.

 

Day 208-Free Days- Birthdays, Classics and Romance

Ahhhhh, from Roman Holiday to Summer of ’42 and all the way to Fifty Shades Darker, it seemed that romance was the backdrop for a perfect weekend for the birthday boy. While some things are better left to the imagination, I will say that we have enjoyed each other’s company very much this weekend. I surprised him yesterday with a card and a gift for him to get a professional massage, and then we went out for a celebratory Margarita at Don Pablo’s, or should I say Beerita-his newest obsession.

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Photo credit: Wikipedia.     

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Photo credit: Wikipedia.  

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Photo credit: Wikipedia
I’d never seen either of the classics I mentioned, though they were very good. Then tonight, he treated me to the lastest Fifty Shades movie which was at one of those theaters that serve food and adult beverages, not a stretch to say we both enjoyed date night a lot. 😉

I’m sure at this point no one wants to hear the boring details of the scads of homework that preceded all this, but I assure you, I did plenty. It seems that as usual, I have done things backwards, and jumped the gun by purchasing the marketing class, when I should have started with Elite Blog Academy-a fact I learned after viewing the first couple of videos in Ruth Soukup’s Blogging Made Simple series.  I tell you all this so that you will understand where I am in the process and to help you make a more informed decision if you decide you want your blog(s) to go in a new or different direction. While I’m not sure of anything yet, what I have learned from her videos so far is that my blog lacks focus.

When I started blogging a few years ago, I only knew I wanted to share what I’d learned and help people. I knew it could be a business, but never really concentrated on that part, my main goal was to educate, become part of a community and hone my skills as a writer. Now that I’ve made some new friends here in the blogosphere, I’m hoping you’ll stick with me if and when I do decide to branch out in a new direction. For now, rest assured, things will stay the same (unless you want new content) until I get through all of my studies.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Dave and Sean, my oldest son’s birthdays with a family get together and dinner. On the menu is pork loin with veggies, salad and fresh cooked green beans and/or salad. I’ll have a sweet potato for myself and for the birthday boys, hot apple pie a-la-mode. I’m hoping my surprise gift for my oldest, who is a musician, will delight him. I’ll let you know how it turns out when I talk to you tomorrow, from the patio!

(P.S.-I am not earning anything by mentioning the courses I’m taking or thinking of taking, just mentioning them in case anyone else may be interested)

Day 207-Flashback Friday-Life on the River

Sunny loved the water, it didn’t matter whether it was summers at the lake, vacationing by the ocean or the occasional trip to the Guadalupe River, she just wanted to be near the water whenever possible. Which is why she was shocked when she discovered how close her new house was to the Neches River three weeks after moving there.

She had been on a walk to get out of the drudgery of unpacking boxes and looking at the walls of her tiny new rental in the small town of Port Neches, when she came upon a large park. Curious, she noted the park’s name was Riverfront Park and kept walking, now excited at the prospect of water so close to her home. Cresting the small hill, she saw the parking area first, where boats, trailers and the boat launch greeted her widening eyes. Oh happy day! She could just imagine future picnics, fishing and the sheer joy of simply sitting by the river, watching the water ripple and ships floating in between it’s banks, on their way to get loaded with crude oil at the local refinery.

As soon as her husband returned home from work that evening, she drug him back out to join her in another trek to the river and happily gushed about all the fun they would have, especially now that she’d learned of a four day festival the locals called Riverfest, which featured food, carnival rides and a boat race, all set next to this wonderful waterway that lead to Sabine Lake and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. She could not contain her excitement at the possibilities afforded to them now, especially if he was to buy a boat. He had previously discussed this idea with her, and she was all for it. As long as it fit into the budget, of course.

Bo and Sunny had always wanted to move to the coast, Houston was so busy and congested,  they longed for peace and quiet and the when the opportunity came up for Bo to transfer to a refinery in Port Neches, they jumped at the chance for the life they had been dreaming of. They packed up the ten years of accumulated belongings and obtained a rent house until they could purchase a bigger home, and when the day came for them to move, they happily set out for what was to be the next adventure of their young lives. Sunny anxiously awaited the day the festival would arrive.

Bo arrived home from work thirty minutes prior to the gates opening to the festival. They made the decision to walk since the park was so close, that way finding parking would not be an issue. Upon arriving, they purchased tickets and were delighted to see a cordoned off area called a beer garden right next to the main stage and along the river. Oh, the sights they were seeing, people of all ages and manner of dress-one man was sporting camouflaged overalls and no shirt underneath. He must have thought he was dead sexy. The Cajun music was playing warm up to the first band and many people were already cutting a rug, or dancing a jig, Sunny wasn’t sure what they called it. As they got a drink and settled in to an empty picnic table, she was about to tell Bo that this was her idea of Heaven, when just as she turned to him to do so, an enormous tanker ship was lazily floating by. Sunny’s eyes widened at the sight of such a huge ship, so close she could almost touch it! She could hardly believe that something so large could keep afloat, especially on the river.

Later on, while making new acquaintances and dancing the night away, Sunny mused on how much she was going to enjoy this new life, she loved the food, the people, the quaint little town, but especially their proximity to all that water. Yes, life on the river was going to suit her just fine.

 

Day 206-Throwback Thursday-My Man & Me

Dave and I from around 1989
Dave and I from around 1989

Back when the kids were little, we used to get family pictures made often, usually at Olan Mills. As they grew older and became teens, the frequency became less and now, with the advent of cell phones and such, no one hardly ever takes professional pictures anymore. I kinda miss that-except for the high cost of the packages.

This picture was taken around 1988-89 and is one of my favorite pictures of us. I need to put it in a frame and hang it up in fact, along with lots of others I haven’t had time to mess with. I love looking at it because it makes me think of how young and perfect we were, we just didn’t realize it at the time. Look at that hair, the perfectly clear and beautiful completions, I even had most of my original teeth!!! David’s hair was at the perfect length, and I love that haircut. My only regret is that I should have worn a darker colored shirt, white always makes me look washed out.

This was part of a family picture grouping I’m sure, I just happened to see it in the shoebox with lots of my other pics. Someday I’ll sit down and put all of our pictures in albums. Yeah, right! No, I really want to, it’s just so hard to find the time. It’s been on my to-do list for about 15 years! Tomorrow is his birthday, it’s his turn to be 55 and I think he still looks great, gray hair and all. Me, I wish I had a magic wrinkle eraser and all my hair back, just sayin. 😉

Day 205-Wed. Med. Min.-The Many Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Good morning and happy hump day everyone! Before I start Wednesday’s Medical Minute on the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, a quick update to let you know how my main man is and the week in general. He had experienced a few little setbacks and was feeling rather poorly for the funeral of his dear aunt Wanda, in fact, I wasn’t sure even the morning of if he’d be able to make it. He powered through, even returning to work afterward, and called his dr. to express his concerns. After assuring him all of the issues he was experiencing were normal and then giving him a special steroid cream for a particular bad bout with what we used to call piles, he is improving and feeling much better. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support, I believe that is helping as well. We saw family we had not seen in ages at the funeral which was done well and the service was lead by a preacher that has handled funerals since my husband’s grandmother’s husband’s-that’s a long time ago! I have to comment on the fact that Allen Funeral Home police escorts will light those rude people that don’t respect the funeral reception up if they try to pass or otherwise get in the way! I never saw anything like that, except the time it happened for Uncle Max’s funeral, they demand respect in the little own of Wylie.

Also, I spent a good deal of time reworking my writer’s website and actually gave it a new, temporary name while it’s in test mode- Pertinent Posts is what I’m calling it, and you can check it out at kimsmyth.org and let me know what you think. I’m still having trouble designing and could not get it to go as a blog post, so you’ll have to look at the top of the list for my welcome to the new site. Sorry, one day I’ll break down and get some help, lol!

Ok, let’s get to the fantastic benefits of ACV, otherwise known as apple cider vinegar. I was introduce to this “miracle” by David’s granny some 30 years ago, she used it religiously…it may be one of the reasons she lived a long and healthy life, for the most part.

Besides the many uses for it around the house or as a beauty product, ACV has many health benefits including the ability to kill germs and help aide in weight loss.

The best apple cider vinegar
The best apple cider vinegar

Although it’s best to check with your doctor before increasing your intake of ACV if you’re on blood sugar lowering medications, ACV has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and maintaining blood sugar levels.

  1. It improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by some 19-34% and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin response, according to the ADA (American Diabetes Association)
  2. Reduces blood sugar by 34% when eating white bread
  3. 2 tbs. of ACV before bed can reduce fasting blood sugar by 4% in people with well controlled type 2 diabetes

Studies have also shown that ACV can help people lose weight by making them feel full, therefore decreasing the amount of food they ate. One study suggested that daily use of ACV led to reduced belly fat and waist circumference, lower triglycerides and weight loss. A 12 week study showed that people who took 1 tbs lost 2.6 lbs and those who took 2tbs lost 3.7 on average.

Another benefit shown in numerous studies suggests that ACV can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease, since ACV contains chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant which helps LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized, which is a crucial step in the heart disease process. ACV contains many other amino acids and antioxidants, one of which is acetic acid, the main compound in vinegar.

Many people talk about only drinking ACV with the “mother” which are strands of proteins and enzymes along with friendly bacteria that give ACV it’s murky appearance. I personally use that kind because I truly believe in it’s benefits, although I have used other brands in a pinch. Bragg’s, is the most popular brand of quality ACV and is my choice whenever possible.

ACV is great for preserving food because it can keep bacteria like E. coli from growing and was used thousands of years ago by Hippocrates for cleaning wounds. This is because it kills many forms of bacteria and has been used for everything from treating lice to ear infections-although I’d check with my doctor before trying anything like that. Granny used to have me drink it when we visited her house just for gp (general purposes) because she believed it was the cure for everything, especially fungal infections like us women get in our bladder and urinary tract. I wasn’t a believer until I did my own research years later, now I’m a faithful user- maybe not daily, but I should be. I reach for it when I even suspect I maybe getting a UTI.

The biggest claim is that it may have positive effects against cancer, yet testing so far has only been on rats and in labs. However, if it has been shown to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells on any kind of study, that’s good enough for me. I will keep on using it, and I would suggest it to any friend of mine. Heres how I drink it: First, I make a cup of hot water with my Keurig, to which I add- 2 tbs of ACV, 2 tbs of pure (not from concentrate) lemon juice, 1-2 tbs of raw honey, and a healthy dash of cinnamon. It tastes like hot lemonade, which I find delicious. In fact, I’m off to make a cup, just for the heck of it (and because I’m cold) 🙂

I hope I have given you some good reasons to try it out for yourselves, it can’t hurt you if you don’t overdo it. One cup a day is beneficial, a couple if you eat heavy carb-rich meals would be best. (especially after the meal)

I checked out a few sources for this post: www.care.diabetesjournals.org and www.nci.nlm.nih.gov

Hopefully I see you all here tomorrow for Throwback Thursday! Have a blessed day everyone!

 

 

Welcome To My New Test Site

I want to welcome all my visitors/followers/readers and prospective clients to my newly renamed website where I’m attempting a collaboration between my blog Kimmy’s Patio and my old writer’s website.

Here I plan to showcase stories, essays and articles that I’ve written around the web and mix it up with product reviews, promote my favorite books and bloggers and help you find what you’re looking for, whether it be the best course for freelancing,to the products that help you live the healthiest life-I want you to find it here.

I need your honest feedback to make this work, so if you see something that needs improvement, or have a question about something, please let me know in the comments. This is a work in progress, so be kind and let’s see if we can help each other succeed. Once I finish my course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, expect to see more posts on relevant products and courses that pertain to writing, in addition to posts and my favorite Paleo products like I talk about on the patio. I don’t see why combining these two worlds can’t work out, but if you see a problem with it, please don’t hesitate to point it out.

I’ll also be pointing to images on Pinterest and Instagram to increase my reach and showcase more of my favorite posts and products, as well as tools and tricks of the trades.

Thanks for being here to check me out, wish me luck and help me, help you!

Day 204-My Essay Tuesday-Got A Tattoo Late in Life

Since I served in military, one would think I would’ve gotten a tattoo back then. Although I accompanied my friend Teresa when she got her tattoo, I chickened out. No,  I had to go and wait until I was in my 40s, my sidekicks being a couple of burly firefighters who’s combined work took eight hours to do, leaving me a measley hour to get mine done! By then, the tattoo artist affectionately known as a Boog, was tired, cranky,  and in a hurry to get me finished.

When we lived in North Richland Hills the first time, we live next-door to a couple who became our best friends, Dave and Michelle. Dave was a firefighter for Irving, and he already sported several tattoos. One night while over there playing games, David I got into a conversation about my desire to get a tattoo. He then told me about a upcoming convention in Dallas where he and his buddy wanted to get new tattoos. After glancing sideways at my husband for his reaction, I then told Dave I’d love to go with them as this might be my only chance to get one. My husband thought I was crazy, having been all over the world and never getting one himself, even though he was a marine in the service, but he didn’t deny me the opportunity. “It’s your choice'” he said,  so Dave and I started making plans.

Now this convention was open to the public, so you can imagine the sights I saw there! A couple of weeks before going though, Dave had a artist friend of his draw up my tattoo, which was my zodiac sign– Pisces–but with an artistic flair. I had him draw actual fish one above the other, swimming in opposite directions, and the artist put water underneath which was a nice touch. In our drawing, the tattoo had many colors. Due to the fact that Boog was so tired however, he elected to only use blue-and-white. In the photo you can see one of the dolphins peeking out from my bathing suit. This is because the tattoo is too large for one thing, and not as low as I wanted it, number two.

When the day finally came for us to go get our tattoos, I was excited, nervous, and thought I completely lost my mind. Maybe my husband was right, why did I wait so late in life to do this? No, I wasn’t going to chicken out this time. I had tattoo fever! So, with drawing in hand, Dave, myself and his friend Miles, piled in the truck and headed to Dallas. We arrived an hour later to a sea of people of all ages, parading up and down the aisles, watching people getting tattoos and receiving them. My anxiety grew as I looked into the faces of people sporting piercings in every spot you can think of. I saw people so full of tattoos there was barely any blank skin left. What am I doing here?! This is crazy! The guys tried to reassure me that everything was going to be okay. I’d worn a bathing suit under my clothes, knowing where I wanted my tattoo placement. These people weren’t shy however, I saw more skin that day than a beach in Bali. (not that I’ve ever been)

After waiting a grueling four hours apiece four Dave and Miles to get their tattoos, it was finally my turn. Boog studied my drawing, made some adjustments–like taking photocopies and shrinking it down a couple of sizes, and after seeing he wasn’t in the mood to mess with it much more, I reluctantly agreed, I was ready. He laid me down onto two chairs facing each other, I lowered my britches, and with that parade of people walking by, staring down at me as I was about to receive the worst pain of my life, he began the outline. Oh my god! As the first needles pierced my skin, the sensation was like hot pokers being pressed into my flesh. As I gritted my teeth and took it, David peered down at me and asked, “You okay Kimmy?” I answered back through gritted teeth that yes I was let’s just get this over with. After a few minutes I got used to the pain and then it was time to color it in. I just thought the outline had been painful! I guess there’s more needles involved with the coloring in process, and when he approached my hip bone, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I wasn’t going to stop now!

I kind of felt short changed when 30 minutes later I was done. I was also disappointed that he’d only used two colors, but I was so happy with my new artwork, I let it go. After getting a bandage, and instructions on how to care for my new tattoo, I pulled up my pants and we were off. The guys were tired as well, and I was excited to show my husband Boog’s handiwork. I was now a tattooed lady! I worried about what my parents and brother would think, yet this was my body and I thought it was tasteful, since it was in a place no one would see, unless I was in my bathing suit. I didn’t tell my dad for quite a while, instead he saw it one day when I was at the pool. He never said a negative word about it. When I arrived at home after receiving my tattoo however, I was bummed out at my husbands reaction. After removing the bandage he viewed it and said, “Wow baby that’s big!” I replied, “I know, Boog was tired and had already shrunk the design down several times-I finally agreed on the size because we were all just ready for me to get done.”

Over the years we’ve both gotten used to it, but in the beginning every time I took a bath or shower, I’d gaze down at it, not believing it was there forever, yet loving it just the same. Unfortunately, the fact that Boog was in a hurry, the outline bled dye into my skin, making the edges look blurry. My son has a friend who could touch it up, but I keep putting it off, every time I remember that pain. They say when you get one tattoo, you want to keep going–not me, although I’ve fantasized about a couple more, I’ve never really thought of anything important enough or meaningful enough to go through that torture again. On second thought, after recently reviewing the design, I realized the design is flawed. Should I care this late in life that one of the dolphins is swimming upside down? Good grief! Evidently, no one else noticed including myself that I’ve been sporting an incorrect depiction of my zodiac sign! Maybe they didn’t want to hurt my feelings, maybe they thought that’s how I wanted it to be. I feel like such a fool, I might have designed it wrong myself…I don’t have the actual drawing anymore,  yet now I’m inspired to go get it corrected– maybe even removed and redone completely! I just don’t know, as I consider the big picture, is it really that important that an out of shape, middle-aged grandma really need to have a perfect depiction of her zodiac sign for the rest of her life? Now there’s some food for thought!

My one and only tattoo
My one and only tattoo

Then again, it doesn’t look too bad considering I’m an about to be 56 year old grandma who still sports two piece bathing suits. I can always tell anyone who cared to question the design that I meant for it to be whimsical… That should buy me a few more years. 😉