The Last Birthday in August

August is a month of birthday’s for us. My sister’s is the 2nd, mine is the 9th, my mother-in-law and brother’s is the 23rd, and Kelly’s is the 27th. I love birthday cake!

Every August Kelly says, “Let’s not do birthday cakes.”
Me: Whut? But I love birthday cakes.
Kel: We don’t need it.
Me: And?
Kel: (silence…he knows he’s defeated)

Seriously, there is one day out of 365 days one should eat cake. Am I right or am I right? Don’t get me wrong we didn’t eat five cakes because yes I would have a cake for my brother and mom-in-law even though their bday’s are on the same day. And my sister lives in Wisconsin so I can’t stretch the “But I love birthday cakes” to that extreme.

Kel’s mom celebrated her birthday with us this year…so three cakes….and ice cream. We did good. It was three of the small 5×7 cakes. The trick is to invite enough people over to finish the cake that night.

Kelly turned 50 this year. We did not have a big blow out party. We had the next best thing. Our good friends Shane and Tara came over to celebrate along with their daughter. My son came too. Kel and Shane used to work together and go back a bit farther than the four of us as a group. They are “our people”…as good of friends as you’ll ever have.

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While we didn’t have a big blow out party….we did have 50 candles on a little itty bitty cake. The word ‘birthday’ is edited because these candles took up too much real estate. You ever try to put 50 candles on a 5×7 cake? Look closely…the A in bday is missing. I broke the stake off the wax. What to do?? This:

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I started my professional career in quality control inspecting laser systems built for the military. It honed my skills and beliefs of doing things right and with quality products…it’s what you see and will get when you purchase a product from my Etsy shop: sheislivinoutloud.etsy.com. (a shameless plug!) But I also learned this Universal Truth from working in manufacturing:

There is an adhesive for EVERYTHING.

The blue in this pic is Loctite. I’m telling you….never think all is lost. My only concern was how flammable is the Loctite. After all, we were about to have a mini bon fire on the kitchen table as it was.

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Fiddy candles.

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The boys had a couple of drinks…Eagle Rare bourbon (a gift from Shane). But Tara and I had a carafe of home made wine: green apple Riesling. The smaller bottles are peach ice wine…a very sweet, potent, desert wine that we were going to make spritzers with. But like I said, the two of us drank this carafe. On a Thursday night with one more day to go and be productive. Enough said.

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Mini bon fire. No time to stage the shot by getting all the phones and keys out of the way. Or, figure out the settings on my camera to take a better shot. This cake would have a layer of wax very quickly.

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Yep….he blew them all out at once. I don’t think he had time to make a wish.

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Happy Birthday honey! I’ll photograph you in a better light next year.

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He is most happy on the water….

64 ozs

One component of my MYR (Mid Year Resolution) is to drink the standard 64 ounces of water a day. I can’t say that I’ve been successful at this to date. Really, I’m not sure what 64 ozs is anymore.

My excuse has been…and it’s a pretty good one: I’m used to working in surgery and you can’t just say, “Hey, I’ll be back, I gotta pee.” A surgical technologist must be in the room at all times during surgery so another tech would have to scrub in while you excuse yourself and usually there is not an available tech hanging around. So you don’t drink. You don’t drink before the day starts. You don’t drink in between cases unless you have strong PC muscles. Surg techs are in a constant state of dehydration. It’s our normal.

But now I’m home more than at work. I only have my ignorance as an excuse so the surgery excuse sets better in my mind.

Yes, I remember that one cup equals 8 fluid ounces. But it’s been a long time since my mind has traveled up the mathematical ladder of weights and measures. 64 ounces seems like 2 gallons to me.

The idea for this post was going to be me offering a helpful way to ensure we all get our daily 64 ozs. Why not fill a pitcher up with that amount of water?? When it’s empty you’re golden. Genius!

First things first. How much is 64 ozs? Do you know that it’s only a half gallon?? That’s a carton of Blue Bell. That I can visualize.

1/2 gal = 2 qt = 4 pt = 8 cups = 64 oz

Got it.

I can do this….and so can you.

More Passport Covers listed on Etsy — check them out!

I am so excited to get my second product into production however, first things first. I felt I needed to create more passport covers in different patterns before going on to the next big thing. So I did it.

Here’s one:
celtic tri point - olive green square
This one is good for a guy but can go either way. I know I need to make more manly man ones. I really love felting these Celtic knots and will add a few more designs to my collection.

How about this one?
dragonfly - lavender green square
It’s a departure from my skull fixation. So cute!

And this one:
flower power - denim orange square
I call it Flower Power. I’ll be making more in different colors too.

Seven new covers are now posted. They are fun to make. This last batch didn’t take near the time as my first group but I’m still not down to the two hours I’m charging as manufacturing time. That’s the thing about being an artisan (not artesian, Kelly, ha!)…you and your time have worth but you must also charge a fair price to the consumer. If I can’t get my time down to two hours I’ll either have to increase the price or discontinue making them. But that decision is in the future and I’m not too concerned with my below minimum wage at the moment.

Let me ask you….what do you think of them? Honestly. Any suggestions? I’m open!

OKAY…..THE NEXT BIG THING:

Covers for your carry-on luggage. Oh you just wait. They rock if I do say so myself. In a couple of days I’ll add a post showing the process I went through to get to the final design. But for now…it’s back to the sewing machine.

I see people are actually reading my blog. hahaha! I’m so happy I’m not writing to myself. Thanks y’all!

Killing time on a Saturday

We are enjoying unseasonably cool weather in Oklahoma. Typically, August days are an unrelenting high 90 degree temp if we’re lucky. Unlucky is 100 degrees with an even higher heat index. Dead grass follows this weather pattern and while it kills my husband to see dead grass on our acre lot, we praise the high heavens for dead grass at the ranch. This year….no dead grass dang it (for the ranch!). We are on course to have the most rainfall on record this year.

Saturday was wonderful. Clear, clean sky; and not too hot. We had a heavy rainfall the day before and man the heavens opened up again Sat night. Grass is green.

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Yep. Green. And beautiful. Look to the left of the camper. We have a vineyard!

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There is a row of white grapes and a row of red. They are wine grapes but I don’t remember the variety. We make wine (and beer). It’s a fun hobby!

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This is Kel’s pride and joy. He built the supports, strung the wires, and keeps it tilled. The vines were little sticks when he planted them during the Spring.

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We were afraid the amount of rain this year would kill them…and it almost did. But they are thriving and now are long enough to be attached to the lower wire so they’ll grow along it. We cannot harvest grapes until the third year. Kel is the one who is becoming the expert. My only job is to keep the spider mites away. Those suckers are a real problem around here. Neem oil to the rescue.

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Years ago I went to a wine tasting event while living in Dallas. It was really fun and you should do it if you get the chance. The sommelier was educating us on how a vine absorbs the different elements from the ground as it ages and the roots extend deeper and deeper. Our micro vineyard is planted next to a pond which is not the best place. Think….arid Sonoma or Napa valley….that is not our climate. Amazingly our vines are healthy. But I can’t help but think about the flavors our grapes will absorb as the roots grow to the center of the earth. Hints of pond scum? Won’t know for three years.

Bye!

A Day At The Ranch

Guess what I’m fixin’ to do?

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Mow. And I don’t mean a typical yard. My brothers and I inherited our grandparents place near by. Not quite 23 acres. After they passed, because I moved to Oklahoma, it became my responsibility to care take. And it’s a chore let me tell you. My grandparents kept the place so pretty but they worked nearly everyday on it. And they also had the help of good friends on a near daily basis too.

Then there was little ole me. My son helped. And when I met Kel he helped too…quite a bit. So this has been going on for 11 years and it’s fallen on me the entire time save for 7 months when a brother thought it’d be cool to live at the ranch. Ha! It’s work baby. He soon found that out.

So off I go. First stop: gas. Only I didn’t grab the gas containers from the garage.

So off I go back home. Good thing. Not only did I forget the containers I forgot to lock the front door…water the dogs….and take off my jewelry. The yard has several single earrings hidden within the blades of grass.

Thank you Eggberts for being next to Quik Trip and having a Starbucks cuz this girl is not towing a mower behind a truck and going to the main store!

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Have coffee will mow. This is a bad a** mower. Commercial grade. Zero turn which is a little tricky when you want to take a drink. You will not see the coffee stains on my tee shirt. !!

We used to mow…oh…say seven acres of the property. The remainder is hay, two ponds, and buildings. How do I know seven acres? I don’t. I just pulled it out. Now we mow five acres. How do I know it’s five acres? You got it.

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It’s hard to tell but the foreground is mowed and the back ground is not. It’s at least a foot high.

This is a good time to touch on my MYR where I decreed that I will do things when I say I will….something like that. I was supposed to mow two weeks ago, then last week, then this past Monday, Tuesday for sure, Wednesday I promise, not even going there on Thursday. Now it’s Friday and if I don’t do it my husband will and that’s not right. So the grass grew. And then there was rain and the grass grew more. Off topic: how can I expect myself to follow an exercise and diet plan if I don’t do what I say I will as a kinda normal behavior in my life in general?

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The south lawn looking toward the barns. It looks like hay was cut and ready to bale. There are three huge crape myrtle trees on the left. If only I could dig them up and transplant them on our puny one acre homestead.

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This is a beautiful old oak tree in the front yard. She survived the Ice Storm of ’07 but lost a couple of branches so looks a little misshapen. But she’s lovely. If only I could dig it up…

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Ice Storm of ’07. I will only say this: over 100 truck loads to the city wood chipper place and to burn piles on the property.

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Don’t let the pretty orange flowers fool you. This is poison sumac cleverly disguised as trumpet vine. I found this out the hard way. I call them unruly sons-a-bitches. It’s the devil’s plant. It grows along a fence line that’s a couple hundred feet.

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Me. No, I do not have a mustache. It’s dirt. I’m covered in it. That’s how it goes mowing the ranch.

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My savior after a day of mowing. Every inch of exposed skin gets slathered with this stuff.

This property is a gift to my brothers and me. It’s worth quite a bit of cash. I have to remember that it’s a gift and truthfully I don’t always do so. It’s a hassle….a day of work every week if Kel and I do it like we should. We mow grass in the summer and mow leaves from 60 year old trees in the fall, winter, and spring. There is a ton of weed eating and we’ve let that go. The house is barely holding on but the value is in the land so I cannot justify repairing house things because it will be torn down. It’s up for sale and one day it will be sold. Will I miss it?

The Chicken or the Egg?

Etsy is a whole new world. It’s one thing to be a buyer and poke around all the different shops. But when you become a seller…well…there’s two ways to go about it:

1.) Fill your shop up with stuff and open the doors. Post your shop on Facebook and ask your Friends to post it on theirs. Hopefully by word of FB you’ll get sales.

2.) Number 1 and promote your shop within the Etsy community and optimize your SEO. Good lord! It’s intimidating the amount of information at one’s fingertips. You can spend hours and hours and…do you get my drift….hours promoting your shop. There are teams you can join that are so helpful with promotion but you must participate because it isn’t fair if other shop owners promote you and you do not return the favor. And you do not want me to get into the nuts and bolts of SEO. You don’t even want to know what the acronym stands for, trust me on this.

My shop isn’t full yet. What is ‘full’? I don’t know but I gotta get there. But I also have to get my shop in people’s faces too so they will buy my wares. Do I make my things…cuz I have two other projects on deck and I want a variety of different things…or do I take the time to promote? What’s the sense of promoting if your shop isn’t full? Why have a full shop if you haven’t promoted yourself? What came first….the chicken or the egg?? I don’t know!!

And then there’s photography. It’s not the egg or the chicken. Shooting great photos is a necessity and requires a pretty dang good knowledge of your camera. And light boxes. And backgrounds. And shadows. And ISO. And F-stop. And….my brain just blew an artery.

So I’ve decided to go with the egg. I’m going to get more things in my shop. Also, instead of watching the news every morning I’ll spend that time…maybe an hour…and learn something new in the EC (Etsy community).

There are a gazillion shops folks. And I want to be a front runner. I need the chicken and the egg and I will have them both….at some point…soon…hopefully….geez.

Right now I’m making a few more passport covers in new styles. Here’s a peek:

pretty dragon fly with gossamer wings
This is a really pretty dragon fly with iridescent wings. It’s a departure from my skull girls and skull cherries. A softer side.

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Here are the new styles. Besides the dragonflies and the flower power I’ve felted two Celtic designs. They are really cool. Not a great photo…still learning that.

That’s it!

Back to the egg!

Last Day of Fiddy Four

Tomorrow is my birthday…55 years on this earth.

I’m suppose to be…oh…say…30 pounds lighter. I’m supposed to be wearing really cute shorts and tops and sandals and jewelry and have a sassy haircut and….

But I look the same now as I did on January 1. My 4 pound weight loss does not show dang it. And it’s just stupid. I have absolutely no freaking excuse to not be in a healthier bod and wearing cute clothes. No children at home. Working at home building my Etsy shop and making cool things. I work whenever the hospital that employs me calls but surgeries typically slow down during the summer. I’ve got it made folks….a fortunate girl. So why is my ass still fat?

So I’m just going to say it. Put it out there for readers when I get them (ha!). Declare to the world. I am stating my Mid Year Resolution:

  •   I will lose weight. It will be more than four pounds in six months…well, seven months.

That’s all I got right now. No set poundage number. No diet plan. It could be a declaration of disaster I suppose. But no! Not this time.

Here’s how I’m going to start:

  •   Eat less food. Smaller portions.
  •   Drink the standard of water minimum: 64 oz.
  •  Get to bed at a normal time and stop staying up till 11, 12, 1. My husband will be a happy camper.
  •   Do what I say I’m going to do. Say what?

That last one is a biggie. It sets the stage of any success I’ll have with my MYR. I know there are a lot of people who say, “Buy cute clothes now and wear them. Love your body now.” And I have thoughts on those thoughts but, right now, I told the hub last night that I’d give the dogs a bath. Item 4 on my list…check!

UPDATE: Pups got a bath!

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This is Buddy. Bud thinks he’s about to go for a walk. Little does he know…

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All clean! He’s a happy camper.

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This is Zoie. Zozo thinks she’s going for a walk. Psych!

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I’m not going over there!

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She broke free dang it. It is very hard to get her back to the hose…takes a lot of convincing. But she finally did and the ordeal was soon over.

Now they can come in the house.

It’s all part of my diabolical plan…

Hey there!

I know I don’t have any readers yet but I will. My little blog site definitely needs a makeover. I have a couple of books that will show me how to add pizazz to my site but I’m focused on creating products for my Etsy shop right now:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/sheislivinoutloud

My blog will move up the chain and it will attract a bevy of readers…even though I’m writing to myself at the moment. !!

I guess I’m the only one who can say: I knew me when…

I’ll take it!