Thursday, January 30, 2014

Air Fresheners - Which do you pfer and why?

I am a sucker for places and things that smell good and love to burn candles, incense etc.  I would love to know which air freshener you prefer more and why.  If you take part in my survey (to the right) please leave a comment explaining the selection you chose.  Thanks.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happy 2014!

Wow.  I can't believe it's been so long since my last post.  SO much has happened in the last year.  Since my last post (11/12) I've had surgery, said goodbye to two of our fur babies and said goodbye to my father in-law.  o.O  I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and somewhere in the depths of the sadness and confusion is GOOD.

After my surgery I chose to keep my shop closed until after the new year and I'm glad I did.  In January I was able to sell one of my favorite chimes to a customer who has since become one of my best AND a very good friend.  

After I sold that set of chimes she had me make a custom set and has since bout 4 more.  In early January I had a custom request for this awesome beauty.  This "beast" is 24 inches wide and 90 inches in total length.  She is placed in the entryway of the home for everyone to see.  I can tell you this much...she got a fantastic deal.  I was NEVER so happy and RELIEVED to read her email when it arrived. 

 Once I finished her ginormous piece I realized the task of redoing the one in our kitchen window was no where near as big of a deal as I was making of it.  I finished this one in a fraction of the time I thought I would.  Etsy even featured it on their Facebook page in June. <3 p="">

I sold my Big Kahuna (Somewhere Over The Rainbow) to another VERY happy customer on my birthday.  I was sad but VERY pleased.  I've since made one that trumps even this one.

This is the newest Big Kahuna.  This thing is a BEAST. Le Grand Facile or "The Big Easy" is a record for me.  She is a little over 4 ft long, 7 inches wide, weighs 10.66 pounds, has 436 pieces of glass and 986 stainless steel rings.  The "mini me" in the second picture sold the first day.  I currently have her hanging in the dining room window but would be THRILLED to send her to her new forever home.  I love how she shines in the morning sun.  

Even with the ginormous bumps in the road 2013 did have its good moments.  We added two new babies to our family. 
 Howie and Leo snuggled in Katie's chair.  They claim every piece of furniture for their own.
Sir Leo.  He's MY baby.  He was born in April and is one of the coolest kitties ever.  I truly believe Leo and Oreo would have been the absolute best of friends. 

Little Howie was born in August and is definitely as adventurous as he appears.  He's SO sweet.  They both have filled a very huge void in our home. 

I've made some major changes with my Etsy shop.  I've added 8 oz paint cans, stopped using glass jars for single layered candles, and decided to up the size of the incense packs from 24 to 100.  These changes have made shipping so much easier for me. I am also bringing back some of the older fragrances and working on new ones.

For now I will leave you with this Margarita.  It was part of the inspiration for my new set of Happy Hour Chimes....IV.  Thank you for sticking with me even when you've felt you shouldn't.  Here's hoping your 2014 is filled with everything you've hoped for.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Shopping Season

I am terrible at blogging.  I have a terrible time writing about myself.  Having said that...I have to share.

Our Beer candle is in the November/December "Holiday" issue of Draft magazine. 
I received an Etsy convo months ago from one of the editors.  She said my beer candle would be a perfect holiday gift for their readers. :)  When I mailed the candle I never expected to hear back from her but did think it would be awesome to come up with some new beer candles for the upcoming shopping season.  When she emailed and asked my my mailing address I was stoked.

I love to blend fragrances together.  Essential oils, fragrance oils and combinations of both.  I love getting the family involved and believe me...they all have opinions.  We had a blast coming up with Alvie, Peppermint Bark, Twisted Pumpkin, Drunk Dave, & Spicy Apple.  I have two new blends I plan to bring to my shop very soon. 

In the midst of all the scent blending and candle making I have also been working on new glass pieces.  I love cutting glass.  I've learned to cut more glass and less Anhoki.  :)

This one I made for me.  I love it.  It's 248 pieces of glass, close to 600 stainless steel rings  and 3 feet in length.  I made this after a marathon session of chandling and glassing. is in my shop. :)

While I was making the lamp for our bedroom I realized how much fun I was having.  The idea for this lamp came to me in a dream.  The next morning I selected the sheets of glass, ordered the lamp base and went on my way.  I had no idea how to describe the lamp to those who asked about it.  When I put the shade on the lamp base it just clicked and was exactly as I imagined it to be.  I do believe I have made enough chandeliers and lamps for every room in the house to have its own. 

If you've clicked the images you've been taken to my Etsy shop.  I am happy to say I also have an Indie Made site.  If you see something in my Etsy shop that you would like to buy and do not want to sign up for Etsy let me know. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Tribute To An Angel

                     Shawna & the girls                        

I have always been able to express myself with words or through my craft and am rarely in the situation I find myself in now. 
Back in August a woman contacted me with what "I" thought was a weird request.  She introduced herself as Shawna and began telling me about herself, her family and her request.  This was my first introduction to Maria's Big House of Hope.  I am one who is lead by my heart first and then logic and reason.  I am also one who has learned to be sceptical of most people (hard lessons to learn) and to do my "homework" before being "sucked in" by what I feel is a touching story.  So I did my homework.  This is when I knew Fate and Karma had jointly walked up and handed me an opportunity that I absolutely could not pass up. 
Shawna lost baby Lane in 2009.  Lane was born with Anencephaly.  You can read his touching story here.

2009 was a less than stellar year for me and my family.  Many moons ago I was born with Hidrocephalus.  My first surgery (at 2 days old) held me over until the age of 7 (1982) when I had to have my shunt revised.  In essence my drain tube was not long enough.  That revision lasted until January of 2009 (YES, 27 years!!)  When I had my surgery in January and told the Neuro how long it had been he thought I was lying and my husband had to correct HIM.  A second surgery in May and a third round in June/July that had me on "stay-cation" in the ICU of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for 3 weeks were not in my plans at all.  Not really how I wanted to spend my year but I do understand that everything happens for a reason and going through this life experience was part of my life's plan.

SO...when Shawna contacted me and explained her own story I felt drawn to her.  I felt a connection with her that I haven't felt with anyone before.  It was weird to say the least.

Now that we have some sort of background established here we can move forward with what this blog post is truly about...the whole reason Shawna contacted me in the first place. 
Shawna has a connection with Maria's Big House of Hope.  Through Show Hope she "met" Jeriel.   Jeriel was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa and ultimately died from her condition. 
Shawna's request was for me to make a memorial chime for baby Jeriel.  Little did I know just how much this small request would touch my heart.  She wanted me to make a set of chimes that would be displayed in the orphanage where Jeriel lived her very short life.  Wow.  I agreed.

John liked the idea of the "project" and had a few ideas of his own.
Shawna had originally asked that I etch Jeriel's name in glass but John and I wanted to do more.  First we etched her name in a piece of glass. That didn't work at all.  Well it did but not as I had hoped it would.  Then John decided milling the letters out of wood would be nice and work with my topper concept.  The "topper" never did come together.  Finally John decided to mill Jeriel's name in a fluorescent plexiglass similar to the way we used to do custom soap stamps.  Perfect!!  Couldn't dream of a better plan.  Well...his machine had issues. As I assured Shawna we would get to the bottom of this project I couldn't help but think we were being punished for something.  I mean... EVERYTHING we tried ultimately seemed to fail with this project.  It did seem to become more trouble than it should not to mention more money.  Then I started dreaming about baby Jeriel.  I would think about her ALL the time.  The parts that John needed to make his CNC machine work came in and we were off and running.

Once the plate was milled everything seemed to fall into place.  I was all of a sudden in default mode.  Without thinking about it the glass was selected, cut and put into place.  I was finally seeing the light at the end of this very long tunnel.  And as I was reaching the end of this very personal project I started crying.  I found myself unable to control my emotions.  It was like everything we had gone through to get to this point had all come to a head and burst.  I couldn't look at the chimes without tearing up.  Taking pictures was the worst.

But I finished it all up and sent it on to Shawna.  Then I decided doing a blog post on the experience would be a neat idea.  Shawna received the chimes a month ago.  I have been putting this post off because I couldn't seem to find the words.  Shawna and her beautiful girls took pictures with the chimes and I smiled all over myself.  Her kids are awesome.  I still couldn't write.  Today I received an email from Shawna that touched my soul.  She received a touching email and passed it on to me.  Apparently there are strict rules and regs we have to follow or I'd share it with you all.  Beautiful story.      

If I could say anything to Shawna it would be thank you for allowing me to be a part of something far bigger than myself.  It truly was an honor. 

If I could say anything to little Jeriel it would be..... We never got to meet but I love you and miss you terribly.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

As One Chapter Ends Another Begins

I hope those of you who actually put forth the effort to read my posts are putting butt to chair  when reading this one. 

Those who know me (even remotely) know I keep everything.  I have email dated all the way back to 1996 (NO JOKE).  Some may even loosely say I hoard in some cases.  Our basement was THE place for supply boxes to live out the rest of their days and even possibly become a temporary home for the critters that pass through Tennessee basements.  This was the case for those that did not have the luxury of being packing material for candles and glass creations or did not make their way to the recycling center.  I found supply boxes from 2004.  Over the last several weeks we have rid ourselves of most of these boxes.  Yeah us!

As I listen to the roofers tear down our old shingle roof, remove the biodegradable one underneath (never heard of such a beast before this experience) and put on our new and VERY awesome metal roof I ask myself WHY I am still holding on to all of this crap that I am clearly NOT using.  All I could say to myslef was "I "MIGHT" use it someday"....and when I laughed and told myself I KNOW I won't....I knew in my heart if not in my head it was time to let it go. 

I just filled one of those HUGE lawn and leaf bags and haven't really made a dent in the supplies I plan to toss.  I found the box of lids I was looking for 4 years ago.  I found the perfume bottles I misplaced and replaced twice.  I found oils I haven't seen in almost 2 years and are well past rancid.  Extracts for my lotions, deodorants, conditioners etc....I felt bad at first and even shed a few tears.  I couldn't believe I was tossing ingredients I used to drool over and dream about.  I'm well on my way and still have so far to go.  

Why am I doing this? 

Because I want my house back.  I want my dining room to be an actual dining room and not a room for housing supplies.  I want my glass space to be a glass space and not a place to house supplies I no longer have a desire to use.  I want the family room to be just that.  I like walking down the stairs and through the dark basement and KNOWING I am not about to trip over a box and wonder "who put THAT box there". 

I have SO many things I want to make and so many things I want to do to this house and I can't because I am hanging on to a past I no longer wish to hang on to. 

Making soap is what I USED to do.  I still make candles.....LOVE making candles.  I still create my own scent blends and LOVE doing that.  Making soap, lotion, lip balms, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and whatever else I could think of.....I'm no longer in that place.  And...honestly...I LOVE putting on a t-shirt and knowing it doesn't have oil stains on it.  It's been a long time coming but...Verbena Blends helped me realize it is OK to move on.  I know she will say "Wha......".  She wrote a post a short while ago that made me think.  I thank her for that. :)

I'm slowly learning to love my scarred and callused hands.  They are rough from being in water and dealing with so much glass and alcohol and using pliers with stainless steel rings for hours and hours.  I've learned to work around the hand cramps and locking knuckles.  I love the sound of my Dremel.  I love my drill and love to grind glass.  Do I cuss?  MORE-so now than before. I'm coming up with new and creative ways to drop the F bomb and dig one more piece of glass out of my hand I realize this event is taking place because I am making something I love.  AND....that something that I love with be with me longer than it takes me to run through it in several showers. 

John brought up the kewlest thing the other night.  As I turned the lamp off he asked me how if felt to know the vast majority of lighting I use in this house was made by my hands.  I didn't really put it together before but almost ALL of the lighting I use in this house..."I" MADE.  The chandelier in my workspace....I made that.  The lamp I use when it's late late and the kids are sleeping and I don't want to wake them up with the overhead  lighting...I made that one too.  Both lights in the living room and the table lamp in our bedroom....I made those, too.  The glass curtains in the house....I made those, too.  It feels good to say that.

Am I sad to be giving up something I loved for so long?  I can't say I'm sad to let it go.  I CAN say I'm happy I experienced it all and have memories that will last a lifetime.    

AS one chapter comes to an end...another begins.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's Been A While

I can't believe it is already August.  I've had SO much fun with glass this year.  I told myself I was going to do stained glass panels this year but haven't gotten to them yet.  I'm having too much fun with other things.   Like what?  Like this.

Through The Artisan Group I have had the pleasure of gifting Ryan Gosling, Tyra Banks and I recently gifted this set of chimes to Genevieve Gorder.  This set of chimes made me realize I need to add more of the smaller chimes to my shop so I've made several (that never made it to my shop) and have several sets in the works.  They are a lot of fun.

The Disco Ball

With all the chandeliers I have made this year I recently got a wild hair to make a lamp shade.  The lamp I've had on my nightstand...since...forever has a broken shade (glass) and was getting to the point of no return.  SO I bought myself a nifty lamp base, painted it and then outfitted one of the wheels from one of the first bikes we bought for the girls (I don't remember who it belonged to) and this is it.  I love taking parts of things that belonged to the kids and reusing them.  Two of the chandeliers I made for the house use the purple wheels from one of their bikes.  It makes them that much more special.  John picked the paint and said we needed a Cheshire Cat "feel" to the lamp.  Then he said it reminded him of the caterpillar.  SO...I call it "WHO are you". :)

Here it is lit up.  I wasn't fond of it at first but I really like it.  I'm thinking about making lamps and putting them in my shop.

I am currently working on a "scrap" lamp for my workspace.  This will allow me to have more direct light when working on smaller projects and late at night when everyone else is sleeping and I still need light.  I got the idea from Stacy.  The wood is leftover pine flooring from a friend's newly built log cabin.  It's very "rustic" in nature and will look just like this when finished.  The only "planned" part about it is the boards are larger the farther down you go.   Well....and I did try to show off as many holes and knots as possible. :)

Since my pattern has changed 3 times since I started I thought I would share only the colors I'm using in the shade.  I'm almost halfway though.  I'll share a finished picture soon.

8/3/12....I finished it AFTER I did this post.
It's  growing on me.  I'm working on another. :)

And the boss.  He's such a good boy and really hates when I work on glass.  It takes attention away from him. ((@@))

In between all of the glass projects I have been working on new blends for candles and incense with the hopes  of having those in my shop very soon.  It smells good in here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Has Been Amazing So Far

I love how this year is shaping up thus far.  We stopped doing a lot of the things folks have come to "expect" from us and have refocused our efforts into new and exciting adventures that have us all smiling literally every single day.

I had a TON of sales throughout Christmas.  Most of what sold through the holiday shopping season were NEW items and things I wasn't sure would go over well with those who frequent my shop.  Then it hit me.....If I'm not happy with what I am doing and making it is going to show and the sales will tank.  Guess what?  I was right.  I brought the bacon candle in and it sold like hotcakes.  I went through more wax in the 2011 holiday shopping season than I did ALL of the regular shopping for 2011.  I brought the wind chimes in and sold almost every single set I had made for the shopping season and those I actually planned on keeping for myself.  AWESOME!

Each year my resolution is pretty simple.  I resolve to NOT resolve.  By definition that simply doesn't work. resolution for 2012 was to get back to doing what makes me happy.  By doing what makes ME happy John and the girls are happy.  John is getting back into programming (nerd-geek) and the girls are goofier than ever.  So it's a win-win situation for all of us.

Where are you going with this, Anhoki?


 Happy Hour II "Kaleidoscope" Stained Glass Wind Chimes OOAK

 Renaissance Fair "Kaleidoscope" Stained Glass Wind Chimes OOAK

 Winds Of Change IV Kaleidoscope Stained Glass Wind Chimes OOAK Windchimes

This is the first chandelier I've ever made....Ever.  It hangs in front of the window in my workspace.  I love it because it's the first, it's simple and it's mine.

This is "Bob".  She is also mine.  She hangs next to my chair in the living room.  I love her because she has glass pieces from every project I've ever made up to the point of making her.  Everyone loves her and makes a point of gazing at her when they come in the house.  Makes me smile.  The first two chandeliers also use the bike wheels from the bikes our kiddos used to ride.  This makes them even more special.  I made one for my mom but have yet to get a great picture of it.  When I do I will update this post. 

So last week a woman contacted me through Etsy and asked if I could take the Happy Hour wind chimes and turn them into a straight panel of glass that she could use as a curtain in her house.  Erm....sure.  I'd thought about making panels or "curtains" before but never really had the incentive to do it.  Now I had a legit reason for doing so.  Of course I was over-anal and concerned that the glass would not offer enough privacy for her and she was more concerned about the fluidity of the piece and the glass color than the privacy.  Of course I still have privacy in mind and my mind is in overdrive mode.  I loved the idea so much I quoted it to her, bought the glass BEFORE receiving payment and was well on my way to making my OWN curtain for my workspace.  I've learned a lot about myself in the last few days and will change the way I go about making the curtain panels...
1) Don't push myself to get it all done in two days when it should REALLY take a week.
2) Let the creativity that is fighting you be the one IN CONTROL.  If it's not working creatively it makes no sense.
3) Remember to stay hydrated.  You actually need to eat and drink from time to time....even if that means you have to stop what you are doing and make yourself eat or drink. :~)
4) Electronica and Trance music keep me focused and energized. :~)

 Colorful Stained Glass Curtain/Panel CUSTOM ORDER

This is the panel I rocked out in 48 hours.  34 inches wide and 37 inches at the longest point  (33.5 at the shortest).  I used 238 pieces of glass in this panel.  And I got away with SO few pieces because some of them were pushing 6 and 7 inches in length.  I broke ONE piece of glass while putting the strand on the copper pipe and actually cried.  I had been working for so long and was SO close.  To have one break...broke my heart.  But....I WON!  She was placed in my workspace around 10:30 Sunday night and........I listed a custom panel/curtain in my shop this morning.   

What does all of this mean?  It means I am back to doing what makes me blissfully happy and it is a pleasure to wake up each morning.  It's harder than it used to be.  I cut myself a lot more these days.  You'd be amazed where tiny shards of glass can end up.  Those who know me know I hate to wear shoes.  Well....I have the scars to prove it.  I've cut myself far far less than I did in the beginning.  Now-a-days I cut myself while moving the glass instead of when I am cutting the glass.  Who cares!?  I'm doing what I love, making things that people find beautiful and actually BUY and decorating the house along the way.  Life is good.