Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beady Brained

Had a big sale on my beads and beading supplies this past weekend. Was doing okay until I got a young couple that, of course, was trying to save as much as possible and in trying to accommodate them I ended up making a huge mathematical error...cost me over $100 but it was my error, my fault, my stupidity so I'll just have to grin and bear it ! The young man was apparently the jewelry maker and designer, he was also quite the chatterbox, anymore I can't seem to walk and chew gum at the same time, let alone listen, talk and do calculations...that's just more than my beady little brain can handle. Since I was having a sale, and as I said they wanted to get as much for their buck as possible, they asked if they made a large purchase could I give them a better discount. I said that with a large order I could probably take an additional 10% off the bottom line. But with the constant distractions and conversation I ended up adding the 10% to my sales discount instead...big error. Well live and learn, won't do that again...I hope !
So today I don't want to talk beads, think beads or even look at a bead. Think I'll just go putter in my garden again.

Early Monday, I found a couple of immature Lubber grasshoppers munching on my newly planted bougainvillea. Managed to flick them off with a twig and then quickly stepped on them...the thought still makes me shudder. Yes they were only small Lubbers, maybe 2" in length and they still had their black and yellow adolescent markings but in a very short time they would have gotten quite big and would have been capable of devouring a small forest. Guess I should have gotten that big Lubber last year, instead I let him intimidate me.

Our "Little Gem" magnolia is full of blossom buds...there is something about those huge milky white blooms with their distinct sweet fragrance that's synonymous with South Dixie.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush

This week has seen me scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming, straightening and generally de-cluttering my home, something I’ve not done in a while.
Hubby and I are trying to get our home loan refinanced, since our credit was good we didn’t feel intimidated by the process but that soon changed. Our home loan is through Bank of America so we went through them for refinancing in hopes of taking advantage of lower interest rates. Well the low rates are out there but the banks aren’t willing to give them to anybody. A few weeks into the process we were told that B of A had granted our request and all was good. Then a couple of weeks later we get word that an appraiser is coming out to appraise the value of our home for B of A. Okay, now we’re confused ! If we’ve been approved then why appraise our property now, why wasn’t it done some time ago ? (wrote about this 1st appraisal 2/25/09 Banks and Dust Bunnies http://abeadersblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/banks-and-dust-bunnies.html)
Anyway that appraisal came in below the county assessed value of our property and, in typical bank fashion, they denied our refinancing. Maddening to think that the bank is now saying our property is valued less so they won’t renegotiate with us...never mind that they are carrying our original loan for the over appraised value anyway ! To me this makes little sense.
We’ve now wasted 3 months of our time as B of A played ring-around-the-rosies with us. Had to start the refinancing procedure all over from scratch. Now we’re working with another bank trying to broker a lower loan rate and of course have to jump through all those hoops yet again, fill out a tome of papers and go through another property appraisal. Unfortunately there haven’t been any sales of homes in our rural area that are even remotely similar to ours and the appraiser even lamented the fact that, since sales have been so scarce for so long, there isn’t anything they can compare it against. Of course the banks want the impossible, an appraisal of a fairly identical property that has sold within the last 3 or 4 months and within a mile radius of the property in question...fat chance of that !
So : " Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush. Here we go 'round the mulberry bush....."
Photo above is of our driveway planter at the front of our home...the Gold Mound Lantana have definitely recovered from the freeze damage.
Photo left is of my bleeding heart vine, it too is recovering quite well and though this photo has nothing to do with my home refinancing the "bleeding heart" seemed apropos.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And How Does My Garden Grow ?

Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.
I've been playing hooky from my online web presence...no Etsy...no twitter...felt great!
John and I did some gardening, planted a Bougainvillea and started a small veggie garden, a couple of heritage tomato plants and some bell peppers, aka sweet peppers...would like to get some herbs, but not today.

Had planted some Candy Tuft seeds back in February, thought that spring was right around the corner, didn't realize how far around the corner it really was...even for south Florida ! Poor seedlings sprouted but had to remain indoors until signs of frost were past, several weeks later. By that time the sprouts had grown lanky and sported only a few sparse leaves. When finally planted I wouldn't have given them much chance of becoming attractive plantings but as you can see from the above photo they survived and are now lush with perky bouquets of white blossoms. I have my fingers crossed for the bougainvillea. We had planted a very tropical, brightly colored croton called a Dread Locks or a Jamaican, due to the spiraling coils of long foliage, unfortunately it, being tropical, required constant watering and last summer our rainy season did not comply. I was forever dragging out the garden hose and eventually, between the sporadic deep watering and a bad case of mealy bugs the Dread Locks succumbed ! Now, months latter we've planted a pretty, bright bougainvillea in its place. Since bougainvillea aren't as reliant upon moisture I'm hoping that it will fair well and grow into a lovely specimen.

It was a beautiful day for planting and puttering in the garden.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Below is an e-mail I received today from my darling daughter Wendi. She and I are of like minds and we both sport a soft heart. I will be helping sponsor Wendi's very sweet roommate, Vanessa, for I know that AIDS has affected and touched so very many people. If you know of any one participating in this worthy walk please support them in any way you can.

Hello Everyone:

Some of you have met my roommate Vanessa and some know her from my conversations. But many of you may not know that as a young teenage she lost both of her parents within a few weeks of each other due to complications from AIDS. Last year was the first year she decided to deal with the loss head on by turning it into a positive and participated last minute in AIDS Walk in NYC. This year she has decided that she would like to participate again.

I am extremely proud she is facing what many would term as a devastating loss with such conviction and determination to make something positive come out of it and try to help others faced with similar situations. I know times are tough and charities are being hit hard by the financial state – but every dollar counts so if any of you can help out and give anything even just $5 as it adds up and will make such an impact.

Love you all and wish you all the best - and many of you I have not spoken to in a long time so drop me a line tell me how your doing and where you are now.

On Thu, 4/16/09, Vanessa Felice wrote:

From: Vanessa Felice Subject: AIDS Walk New York Sponsorship.
To: wendiyoakum Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 11:30 AM
Please sponsor me for AIDS Walk New York!
Wendi, I'm going to be participating in AIDS Walk again, and would love your help in reaching my goal! I know it's rough right now, but even the tiniest amount would mean a lot to me. This is the one cause that I wholeheartedly support, and would really appreciate your help in reaching my goal this year!Thank you so much for any donations that you make! Every little bit counts! :) Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support AIDS Walk New York

What's in a Name ?

Recently made a pair of earrings very similar to these using Delica #11 seed beads, decided to make another pair using different elements.
This pair utilizes Delica #11 round and hex shape seed beads, tiny rondelles of real carnelian topped off with freshwater pearls and micro #15 seed beads in a hematite finish. This pattern has always been a favorite with me and even though it is an old pattern, probably dating back to Victorian times, it is so versatile and can be adapted to suit most tastes. Here the rustic, hand hewn carnelian rondelles give a slight primitive edge to an otherwise very sophisticated and elegant earring.
Ear wires are 20 gauge, 14 k gold filled that I've embellished with orange-red crystals, compliments the orange-red of the carnelian quite nicely.
Haven't really come up with a name for them...maybe Carnelian Carnival...then again maybe not, some might think of carnival as being cheap or tacky, though I was thinking more like Rio deJaneiro ! What would you name them ?

Sophisticated, elegant with just a dash of primitive charm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Killer Pantyhose

Camera still on the fritz .
John can never believe that anything would go bad. Ever the engineer he feels that if something is engineered correctly, manufactured to high standards it should last as long as the pyramids...sometimes he even takes that belief to leftovers in our fridge !

So once again the batteries went through a cycle in their recharging station and were returned, perhaps fully charged, to the awaiting camera. I prepared my photo shot, turned on all of my Home Depot $5 reflector lights and clicked the on button to my camera. The perky little musical tone told me it had turned on but then, just as quickly, the tone sounded again and it turned itself off. Not a good sign ! Tried again and the camera repeated the same procedure a sure sign that batteries were indeed defunct. The on screen message stated that batteries needed changing. John couldn't believe that they went bad, after all they were only 3 or 4 years old !

Today, camera-less, I dig into my vault of photo ideas that I had stashed away...perhaps not as fully fleshed out as I would wish nor as entertaining to some.

One of my biggest pet peeves is pantyhose. Hate them !
For those unfamiliar with pantyhose, they are sized, supposedly, by a persons height and weight. Since I am only 4' 11" and approximately 99 lbs I fall in the smallest category: a size A. My waist is about 24" maybe 24.5". So what's the problem ? When I absolutely HAVE to wear pantyhose I am in agony, they practically cut me in half and every moment is sheer torture. I've even gone so far as to try to stretch the tight elastic waistband by stretching the darn things over the end of my ironing board but the elastic that is used is just too resilient ! If I go up to a size B then I have to pull the waistband of the pantyhose up to my armpits !
According to the chart on the packaging a size A will fit a person 4' 10" and weighing between 90 to 155 lbs...or a person up to 5' 7" and weighing between 100 to 125 lbs. Now can anybody tell me why the powers that be think these people should all have an 18" waist ?

Photos show my belt fastened at it's usual notch and pantyhose, with it's tiny constricting waistband, is inside the belt's circumference...with lots of room to spare !

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dead Batteries...

Today I am featured on "Getting to Know You", a lovely blog written by a lovely and talented Etsian. http://carpetbaggercreations.blogspot.com/

Must apologize that my own blog post today will be short and photo-less...had wanted to do a show and tell about my latest seed beaded earrings but the batteries in my camera died. Since they had been recently recharged and the charge didn't last long I'm beginning to think that my rechargeable batteries have taken all of the recharging that they can handle...time to get some new batteries.

So until my next posting I wish each of you well and thank you most generously for taking time to visit my blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Things That Should Not be Put into the Clothes Drier

There are many things that one should never put into the heat of their clothes drier...crayons, lipstick, ball point pens, tubes of mascara, magic markers and now I've another one to add to that list.

Had been a few days since I did laundry and as I loaded the drier I decided to clean the lint filter. Odd, it usually comes right out but today it seems to be caught on something. A slight wiggle and a good yank and it finally comes out, however there is a ball of lint sticking out of the drier vent. Naturally as I went to extract the lint ball it drops further down into the drier vent. Went to get a flashlight and of course John, my hubby dearest, who is ever the curious one, wants to know what's going on, I explain and he goes to the garage to get a better and brighter flashlight. After we both had peered long and hard into the vent, we concurred that it was not just a ball of lint, it had been some tiny creature...at one time.
John found a length of stout wire, fashioned the end into a hook of sorts, and managed to fish the dessicated little critter out of the drier vent. After removing much of the lint, it was apparent that it had once been a little tree frog...perhaps it came down the drier vent stack to get away from the cold. Poor little fella, guess he didn't know that frogs should never go into the drier.

Photos : Top page- topside of dried frog.
Left photo : topside of dried frog

Right photo : belly up froggy.

To Bead or Not to Bead ?

Just spent the weekend crafting some seed bead earrings. One pair, dangling fuchsia flowers, took me over 10 hours to make...mainly because I hadn't made this pattern in ages (also had modified the original pattern as I like my altered version better) so it was a re-learning process. I wish I had taken a photo of them hanging but couldn't seem to come up with anything from which to hang them from ! Everything I tried looked unnatural or was too short, these dangles hang about 2" from the loop of the ear wire.

I made the mistake of getting on the Etsy Forum and asking opinions, I should know better than that as everybody has their own opinion...one person thought they looked childish...another thought that big and chunky is in and these were too dainty and then yet another comment seemed to have nothing at all to do with my question...that happens a lot in the forums, people are in a hurry to post in as many threads as possible and don't really read. Anyway from the few comments I received the consensus was to "forget ta bout it !"

The second pair of earrings are totally different but I've not finished them yet so couldn't post a photo. Perhaps I should stick to gardening ?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Miraculous Recovery

To those who visit here every-so-often, you may recall my past blog entry (3/31/09) regarding a planter filled with frost damaged lantana. We have tackled the task of clipping, trimming and cleaning out all the dead branches and twigs. Afterwards I looked like I had been in a cat fight, though lantana does not have thorns it does have very dense and branching growth, once dry and hard this growth can be incredibly sharp. Having learned that, should I need to do this again next year, I will wear protective long sleeves and gardening gloves.
It has only been a couple of weeks since John and I cleaned out all the dead growth but you can see how resilient the Gold Mound Lantana is...it seems to grow like a weed, very rapidly !
Spent most of yesterday tending to some of our garden’s needs and didn’t get much accomplished with things on my computer. Am still in a fog about Twitter, can’t seem to find my way around, guess I need a tutorial to show me how to post links to photos, how to change my home page background and how to draw followers...guess what I really need is to be 18 or 20 years old again ! : )
If anyone is interested I am at twitter : http://twitter.com/dimessina
Though I’m not into the quick snippets of conversations, micro posts and links I have my fingers crossed that, with luck, I’ll learn and catch on.

Photos are of our driveway planter, hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago we thought this lush green lantana was dead...killed by several nights of freezing temps. But now it is even covered in sunny, golden-yellow blossoms...butterflies should not be far behind.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lubber or Leave them

One of our southern "Pets" (rather pests) the Lubber grasshopper. These insects are said to grow as large as 50 to 70 mm but I could have swore the one I saw last summer was much bigger than 3 inches, to me he appeared to be at least 4 inches from head to end.

I was told that the best way to kill a Lubber is to just step on it...no way am I about to step on something as big as a mouse, I can't stand to step on our huge Florida Palmetto bugs (humongous cockroaches). Our Lubber was given free reign of our garden, just hope he doesn't return this year.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My VERY First Etsy Treasury

Been busy most of the day with Etsy Treasury. For some unexplained reason good luck smiled upon me this morning. As I sipped my cup of hot tea I decided to check on the Etsy treasury just to see if it might be somewhere below 450. To my surprise it registered 335. The magic number is when it drops just below 333. For a moment I sat dumbfounded and then realized I wasn't yet signed in to my Etsy account. In a complete state of panic I signed in dreading the reality that those few precious seconds could well cost me a chance at a treasury. Dumb luck strikes again and my connections seem to be working quickly, efficiently and in the flick of a dog's tail I was signed in and back on the treasury page...count now 334...checked to see the expiration times on the last items...3 seconds and 23 seconds...quickly scrolled down to the bottom of the page and waited like a leopard about to pounce on its prey...BOX APPEARS...CLICK...I have a treasury space...hallelujah, sound the horns, blow the trumpets...I'm in! I'm in! I'm in !

So the rest of my day has been putting my treasury together, discussed my first treasury and the lovely first treasuries of a number of other very special etsians (was a pleasure to hear from them, and they are all so gifted), then contacted all the talented etsians whose items I had borrowed to place into my treasury...all this took much more time than I imagined it would...but anymore it seems everything takes more time than I imagine it will !

Afterward I spent a good hour or so trying to figure out how to get pictures of my treasury to post on this blog but, no matter what I did, I just could not figure it out. Went to Thumbalizr but seems they are set up for the more savvy than I, as there was no detailed explanations or step by step instructions that would take me by the hand and lead me though it. So until and if I can figure out how to do this I will just post this link so that you can see all the truly lovely items that caught my eye and my heart : http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=50401
Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
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