Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dec. 12 - Collective Craft Haul

I'd mentioned in a recent post that I'd show some of the craft things I've accumulated in the past month or so.  I'll also show a few of the Christmas things I'd worked on, and then do some nattering about the current crafty situation at the end of this post.

I don't remember if this was a Black Friday special or what but when you throw 'exclusive' or 'limited edition' onto a Lawn Fawn product the collector in me just needs to own it.  This was a collaboration set with Simon Says Stamp.  It actually features select images and sentiments from several Lawn Fawn sets combined into this one set.  So even though I already have the otters, birds, and mouse in their original sets, like I said, add 'limited edition' and I need it.

This was a Black Friday deal.  Spend a certain amount at the Lawn Fawn site and get the chameleon stamp set 'free.'  Spend a certain amount more and get the coordinating die set 'free' too.  Yep, it sucked me in.

I'd ordered these sets of alphabet stamps in four different fonts that day to get that dang chameleon set.  I'd never really been interested in alphabet sets before but I missed my chance at making personalized things this holiday season so I thought I'd be ready for next time.

Also picked up this little pack of wintery sequins/shaker mix.

As always, Lawn Fawn includes freebies when you order from their website.

Newton's Nook also had a nice Black Friday deal so I picked up a few more things.  Obviously I have baby cards in mind with this set.

This snowman set was too cute to pass up.

As was this one.

I saw SO many cute things made with these coffee and cocoa stamps that I just had to get the set.

In fact, here is a set of gift tags that I made using those images.  Freakin' cute, right?!

And then there is this set using other random winter images.  Also super cute!

I also made a ton of these gift card holders.

I made a bunch of these little treat boxes in a variety of festive paper designs.

I did not even attempt to make any actual Christmas cards this year.  My attention shifted to these more gifty type creations for a while before my interest once again died away completely.  I don't know how to explain it without sounding like the same old whiny broken record, but I can't shake the "Why am I doing this?" feeling.  At times I get super excited about building Achy Joints as our little creative outlet business, and other times I feel like I'm wasting my time because there is still nothing crafty coming from the rebuilt barn part of the whole thing.  I've come to resent the barn and everything related to it.  We're back in debt because of it.  We don't ever do anything because all of hubby's time and effort is still focused on the barn.  Christmas is small this year because of the barn.  Hubby's Christmas list is all things for the barn.  And yet, there are no crafty projects coming from there yet.

In this digital world, sending greeting cards is becoming a rare thing.  Paper crafts in general seems to be a hard thing to generate interest in.  I'm thinking once we get some other crafty things, like little wooden home decor pieces and bird feeders and whatnot, people might be more likely to buy those and might also be more likely to add a handmade birthday card or set of gift tags to their order.  Since they are not to the point of producing such things yet, I get frustrated and feel there is no use in me trying to promote and sell cards and things for Achy Joints right now.  I could be (should be!) using this time to keep making things and get a nice big inventory built up for when the time comes, but no, I get crabby and depressed and just want to quit completely.  People have insisted that I just step back and not worry about crafts for a while, do something else instead, don't get rid of my supplies in a fit of rage.  So that's what I've been doing for a couple weeks now.  I've been watching TV and lounging around, trying not to worry about things.

So for the time being, you might see the occasional card or thing I've created featured here on the blog but I'm going to just let the AJC Facebook page gather dust for a while until we see if hubby can ever actually get going on his end of the deal.  In the meantime, I'll be watching more Big Bang Theory and playing my bubble shooter game on my phone.

Thoughts on the matter?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Dec. 11 - Sweet Fixations Haul

While I haven't been a wax blogger for a while now, I have still be enjoying wax.  And while I shouldn't be spending extra money right now because of Christmas and our barn project, I couldn't help but place an order when I saw that Sweet Fixations had added new scents.

Let's just dive in and take a look!

Apple Cider Donuts - 'Grab a blanket and curl up with this cozy scent of yummy apple cider and fried donuts.'

There were a few new fall scents that were added too late for this seasonal melter but I ordered them anyway and will tuck them away for next year.  And this one is amazing!  It has an immediate warm and spicy apple cider note but it's so quickly followed by the yummy pastry note that the blend seems almost seamless.  After the initial sniff, the donut part of it does seem a bit more dominant but it's the apple cider you recognize first.  The spice is not overwhelming, just warming things up in a cozy way.  Oh my gosh, this is going to be excellent next fall!

Pumpkin Chai - 'Hot chai tea with a hint of spice and baked pumpkin dessert. Has all of the fall / winter notes you'll love.'
 Another of the new fall scents, and of course I had to have it.  Pumpkin AND chai?  Uh, yes, please.  This is another seamless blend.  The chai notes are there, warmly spiced and clearly tea (as opposed to chai latte, which is a creamy scent).  The pumpkin equally there but on a very tolerable level.  Some people find pumpkin scents too heavy.  I was surprised to find I wasn't enjoying that heaviness this fall.  I don't get a lot of the 'baked dessert' that's mentioned in the description but I do get the sort of tangy pumpkin scent, like puree from the can.  Very nice blend!
Pumpkin Chai Eggnog - '(SF Blend) Pour up a cup of this delicious blend of pumpkin chai and creamy eggnog.'
 And here is a very nice, much creamier version of the previous scent.  The eggnog threatens to overwhelm the pumpkin chai but I do still detect the crisper tea notes.  Although this is eggnog, I will set this aside and melt it next fall instead because of the pumpkin and spice.

Dear Santa - 'Just in time for the holidays a wonderful fruity blend with a hint of vanilla, some clove and orange.'
This is an interesting scent.  I thought the orange and spice would make it much more of a holiday type scent but it's actually quite sweet and fruity.  There is a thick, almost creaminess to it, something like a hint of bubble gum lurking deep within.  The spiced orange IS there, but very softly around the edges.  This is a nice enough scent that could be melted any time of year.

Better Not Pout - '(SF Blend) A magical blend of Elf Sweat and Dear Santa! Great holiday scent or fun for any time of the year!'
 I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet and fruity scents.  I do like to try all of the SF new scents though because you never know what you might be missing.  I know Elf Sweat is supposed to contain candy canes and a lot of sugary notes, so I know that slightly sharper edge of this comes from that.  It is a fruity scent just like the previous one (Dear Santa) but with a little more crispness where the other is more creamy.  This could also be melted any time of year, since the peppermint of the candy canes is not distinct enough to make it Christmas-y.

Sugar Milk - 'Sweet and condensed milk. Great to use for blending or a nice light scent on it's own! Reminds me of whipped cream also!'
I think I've had a Sugar Milk scent from elsewhere and seem to remember it being rather blah.  But hey, it was a new scent at SF and I was trying all the new scents, remember?  I actually don't like this one.  I remember the other one being sweet but with a sort of sour note.  This one reminds me more of the scent of straight up butter.  I'm not a scent blender, as this one is suggested for, so maybe I'll pass it on to someone who is.  Or I'll just toss it.  Bleah.  Lesson learned.
Iced Strawberry Lemonade - 'Cool off with this fun blend of icy berries, sweet sugar, and citrus.'
Mmm, this one is full of summer fun.  The citrus is subtle, adding just a touch of zip around the edges of the scent.  There is a strong sugar crystal type note to this.  It's neat how you can imagine the specifics of that just by sniffing it.  I do get a strawberry note, sort of weaving itself among the other notes and pulling it all together.  This will be nice in the warmer days of late spring and early summer.

Those were all of the new scents.  I also picked up a few old favorites just to fill up my Christmas scent stash, which is a little skimpy this year.

Candy Cane- 'Sweet cool mint candy. Great holiday scent.'
 One of my absolutely must-haves for Christmas.  A very nice peppermint that's not too sharp, as some straight-up peppermints can be.

Spiked Eggnog - 'A yummy holiday drink with vanilla, rum, and nutmeg!'
Another of my holiday must-haves, this is probably my favorite eggnog scent that I've ever had from anywhere.  It has that familiar eggnog 'sour' note, and spice to softly warm it, but it also has rum note and that's what seals the deal for me.  You should have this in your holiday stash!
Butterscotch Eggnog - '(SF Blend) Buttery butterscotch and creamy holiday eggnog.'
 I've also come to love this slightly sweeter version of my beloved eggnog must-have.  The butterscotch boosts the rum note while toning down that 'sour' note.  This might be the one for those 'sour' haters.
Gingerbread - 'Richly spiced gingerbread, nutmeg, and clove with just the right hint of sweetness.'
 Another must-have for me during the holiday season.  Sometimes I go back and forth on what type of gingerbread scent I like, the darker, spicier one or the sweeter one more like a gingerbread house.  This one leans towards the darker, spicier type, rich in molasses, but has just enough sweetness to keep it from being harsh.

Sugar & Spice - 'A sweet, strong cinnamon mixed with holiday fruits and spice.'
 I go back and forth on this one too, whether I like it more for fall or for Christmas.  On cold sniff right now, this is very spicy and sort of 'dry,' much more fall-like.  But I do remember it coming more alive once melted, with the deep spiced fruit notes really coming out.  I usually have a couple of these on hand each year, one for fall and one for Christmas.  lol

Hot Apple Cider - 'A cup of hot apple cider to warm you up on a cozy fall night. Cinnamon, clove and spices.'
This was not listed as a new scent, yet I don't remember ever having it from SF.  Why haven't I?  Because I never used to be a cider fan and always passed it by?  This is why it's so awesome when vendors include freebies, because we get to try things we might otherwise miss.  I love this one!  Ohhh, it's just a gorgeous, deep, spiced apple cider scent.  It has depth and richness, almost a hint of creaminess, which I know is weird for cider but it just works.  This is going on my Fall Must-Haves list for sure!
Cranberry Pomegranate - 'Sweet fruits and cranberries with traces of green and sugary vanilla.'
This is the other of the freebies included with my order.  I was excited at first when I saw that it was cranberry but no, this is not the type of cranberry scent I like for fall.  This is very sweet and pretty, with an almost powdery background note.  I like deeper, darker, spiced cranberry scents.  This is almost candy sweet.  I'll probably pass this on to someone else, someone who enjoys this type of sweet cranberry.
That is my order.  I'm quite happy with it, and quite happy just to be ordering wax again!
The scent shots at Sweet Fixations cost $1.75 each and usually have about 1.4-1.7 oz. of wax in each 2 oz. cup.   I like to cut mine in half.  Even 0.7 oz. in my tea light warmer gets me great results.

I placed my order on Friday, November 24 and received it on Thursday, December 7.  Shipping was flat rate $7.40, invoiced separately, and my order arrived in a padded priority envelope.

I've loved Sweet Fixations for many years now and will happily continue ordering from there.

Have you tried Sweet Fixations lately?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dec. 7 - Welcome Back Update

Well, hello there!  How are you all doing this holiday season?  As usual, I'm struggling with things and can't seem to find peace in anything lately.  I abandoned my blog for nearly a month and thought I was okay with the idea of never blogging again, but, well, here I am.

The barn project is still going.  To anyone but hubby and his friend, it seems that work has slowed to a snail's pace but in reality they are still doing a lot of things out there.  I just rarely go out there anymore, so I can never tell what's new.  They're working on things like shelves and cabinets for tools, getting layout of the machines and work stations finalized, things like that.  Still no fun crafty projects coming out of there yet though.  I'm getting anxious for that part of it all to start.

My own crafty woes seem closely related to the lack of crafty things coming from the barn end of Achy Joints.  I have brief surges of ambition and excitement about it all, and throw myself into it 110%, but then it seems to fizzle just as quickly when nothing comes from it.  Greeting cards and paper crafts are hard things to sell in this digital world.  I know things take time, and I know I have to self promote and help things along but it really is frustrating.  I'm thinking it might be a little easier once we have some actual wooden crafty items from the workshop.  Ya know, people buy home decor items more than they buy cards and treat boxes.  Once we have some little decorations I can help paint, and have those types of things to sell, maybe people will be more likely to add some cute little notecards or gift tags to their shopping cart.  So yeah, until crafty things start actually coming from the workshop, my own crafty ambitions fizzle and get shoved aside.  I'll probably putter if an urge hits me but I'm going to step back from purposeful production for now.

Having said all that, I do have some crafty things that I've bought in my bloggy absence.  I'll show those in another post, along with the few things I've made lately.  I just want to make this post a sort of recap/update after my month off.

I hit a deer on Nov. 27!  I was not hurt but my car has $2700 worth of work to be done and goes in next week for that.  It was such a stupid situation too.  I'd left work in an absolute rage that night.  I'm supposed to gather up paperwork at the end of my shift and make sure it's accounted for and put into the proper folders.  I skipped it that night and just stormed out, hopped into my car and was racing home.  It's dark when I drive home, and I live out in the country where there are tons of deer running around at this time of year.  I *knew* I was being crazy and was even telling myself to slow down and settle down, and -BAM- hit a deer.  As I sat in my car and waited for the cop to arrive to do the report, I was scolding myself, "If you'd just done the damn paperwork none of this would have happened!!!!"

I'm still working my way through all the seasons of Big Bang Theory.  I'm about half way through the seventh season now.  I found season nine really cheap in Walmart's Black Friday leftovers bins, and I ordered season eight when I was ordering some Christmas stuff, so all I need now is the tenth season.  (The current season on TV is the eleventh.)

The new season of Vikings has begun but I think I'm done with that show.  I suspected this at the end of last season when it became all about Ivar, and some other stupid things.  I watched part of this new season's premiere and was like 'Nah, done.'  Just like Game of Thrones, it feels like they just go for shock value now instead of telling a story.

I've been trying to get into that Versailles series but it's difficult.

Brand new series called Knightfall started last night.  We have it recorded but did not watch yet.  It's about the Knights Templar.

Work is work these days.  I was telling Julie I think my bad temper towards work is more related to my general life struggles than to work itself.  Like, has anything at work actually changed to make me so crabby?  Or am I just less tolerant of work that hasn't changed because I'm just frustrated with life outside of it?  Ya know?  Well, my workplace is still a mess but . . . lol

I'm not really feeling any holiday mood.  Thanksgiving was rather blah.  The boys were here, and Matt came over later but it was just blah.  We even tried to play Munchkin but Casey and I got so bored with it that we kept leaving the table when it wasn't our turn.  I put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving but didn't really put out any other decorations.  I'm okay with it because it's non-cluttered and will be easy to put away afterwards, but I'm also kinda bummed about it because it seems half-assed on my part.  It's just the way things are for me right now though, every little thing piling up and stealing my joy.  I have a couple extra days off work this coming weekend, and I'm not pressuring myself about crafts for now, so maybe I'll get this sanity train back on track soon.  I'm going to try and relax, watch more Big Bang Theory, and maybe take naps.

And hopefully keep blogging!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Nov. 23 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello!  I know I've sort of fallen off the earth these past two weeks but I still wanted to pop in and wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!  Do you have big plans for the day?  Traveling to family gatherings, or having family over to your home?  Watching the parade?  Watching football?  We are staying home and only having Ty and Casey over.  We'll have the big, traditional meal but it will be a casual day of football and maybe some Munchkin after that.

Be safe and be thankful, friends!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nov. 10

Today is the anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  I don't know how well known it is in other parts of the country but it's kind of a big deal around here since there is a Wisconsin connection.  I'm sure you all know the song.

[The video/song was supposed to be here.  No clue why it won't show up!]

 I wasn't nearly as productive today on my crafty stuff as I have been.  My mood dropped, my excitement fizzled, and my ambition withered away.  I don't even know why.  And now that the day is winding down I'm kicking myself for it.  I did make a bunch more of the little gift card envelopes, and started making the labels that will go on them, but never did fully complete any or get any listed in the shop.

I did watch a lot more Big Bang Theory though.

Today I am thankful for:

What are you thankful for today?

Nov. 9

Hmm, I seem to be falling into a habit of posting morning after recaps.  Last night I just did not feel like posting again.  It wasn't because I was crabby or anything.  In fact, I was in a great mood and very relaxed, which was why I just didn't want to bother.  I'm having a bit of a 'Why?' itch creeping back into my brain.  I'm not really posting anything worth noting anymore.  I'm not really sharing much.  My attention is fully on the crafting right now and I know that's lost me a lot of readers so yeah, it's kinda like . . . 'Why bother?'

Anyway, yesterday, the 9th, I worked pretty much full-time on Christmas craft stuff for the Etsy shop.  I've joked to people recently that my days off will now be working at my other job, and I was glad I actually stuck to it all day.  I finished 18 Christmas treat boxes and got them listed in the shop, then started making more gift card envelopes in the evening while hubby and I watched football.

I've finally started plowing my way through Big Bang Theory episodes.  I'd started from the beginning a few years ago, determined to watch all the way through and then start watching the current episodes weekly, but got sidetracked somewhere along the way.  I borrowed the DVDs from Ty again earlier this year (I think?) and am just now finally working on this monstrous marathon.  I'm about halfway through the third season.  Yeah, I have a long way to go.  LOL

Today I am thankful for:
Sheldon.  My gosh, I just love that guy.  He's so awkward but there is something so heartwarming in his honest view of things, in those times where his bumbling caring does show through.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Nov. 8

There was some subtle weirdness at work, like an underlying vibe of something going on but I haven't figured out just what.  I heard there was a lot of drama yesterday, and not only had I called in but my supervisor hadn't worked either.  Apparently he got fed up enough the day before and decided to take a day off instead of the walking out that he wanted to do.  It's all so weird because it's felt a little bit like things were starting to change for the better lately.  Ah well, who knows with that place.

I was anxious to just get through work and get to my days off so I could get back to working on Christmas things.  Even if my paper order doesn't come, I can do other things like color the little images for the labels, get photos taken and some things listed in the shop, etc.

I've even been sleeping better the past couple nights!

Today I'm thankful for:
The check that came today from the farmer who rents our little bit of land.  It's just a small amount, but it definitely comes in handy at the moment.

What are you thankful for today?