Sunday, Love and I went up to Mom’s house to have a family lunch as a combination Mother’s Day/My birthday. My sister, her husband, my Nanny and my Aunt were all there too. Since my birthday is on a Thursday (the 16th) and we were all getting together the Sunday before my birthday for Mother’s Day anyway, just made sense to do both together.
As always, click any photo for larger!
We had a nice afternoon though complete with food and a birthday cake (it had pineapple in it – yum!)
Hard to believe that my birthday is the day after tomorrow! Holy cow.
Today was an unseasonably beautiful day with temps in the mid-70′s. (It’s normally well into the mid-80′s by now with feels-like temps into the 90′s.) And, having worked my butt off getting 8 orders made on Sunday, packed and shipped today (hopefully) in time for Mother’s Day, I rewarded myself with an afternoon romp around Busch Gardens Tampa. It was just too pretty to be indoors today!
I was fortunate enough to arrive at the lions just at feeding time so I was able to get some really excellent shots of them. Here’s two of the male lion I quite liked.
It was really quite enjoyable to just walk around the park, take in the sights, take a bunch of photos and just spend a few hours doing whatever I wanted. I often say I’m going to run out for photos and such, but in reality I just never actually do it. Today, I did. And it was great! And, I even got to pet a kangaroo. So you know, can’t hate on that.
It was just the kind of lovely day I needed and I am still smiling from my enjoyable day out.
I’m so honored to report I’ve reached 1,000 sales in my etsy shop!! Thank you to everyone who’s supported me in reaching this milestone. It amazes me to see how far I’ve come in the year and a half since my surgery and the hardest experience of my life. Just goes to show that good things can happen even in the face of your greatest hardship.
In thanks, I’m giving away an Opalite Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life pendant in your choice of wire color! This is one of my most popular pieces. It retails for $50 but one lucky winner will get it free!
Want a chance to win? Simply LIKE PhoenixFire Designs FB Page, comment and SHARE the contest image for a chance to win! I will pick a random winner on Friday, May 3rd. One entry per person please.
Discount Coupon Code!
Can’t wait? Want to buy something now? Save 10% this week only on ANY purchase in the shop with code 1000SALES.
Thank you for your continued support!
I’m very excited to announce that a selection of PhoenixFire Designs tree of life and bird nest pendants are available for purchase at The Wellness Center in Key West Plaza in Palm Harbor!
Co-owned by a dear friend of mine, Shelly Moye, LMT & CLT, The Wellness Center offers a range of amazing health and well-being treatments including massive, facials, hydrotherapy and more. With a focus on natural treatments, my nature-inspired pieces are a perfect compliment!
You may recall I did a review of Shelly’s new studio back in September 2009 and it’s grown even more since then!
The Wellness Center is beautifully appointed with a spa aesthetic and I’m delighted to feature my handmade, gemstone jewelry for purchase here. A larger selection and custom orders will of course continue to be available at my etsy shop, but this is a wonderful expansion of my “brand” and allows those in the Tampa Bay Area a chance to see pieces in person and take them home right then and there!
You can find The Wellness Center, Shelly Moye and PhoenixFire Designs pendants here:
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2708 Alternate 19
Palm Harbor, Florida 34683
I highly recommend the services offered AND the selection of truly unique, hand crafted and artisan retail items available for sale!
Today we celebrate my tabby cat Mika’s adoption day as her birthday. Mika was adopted ten years ago and is now approximately 13 years old.
Happy Birthday to my tabby girl and wishes for many more!
Ok, not literally daily but I do find myself taking a lot of pics of my girls. First, because they’re always around. LOL And second, because dammit, I think they’re adorable. Plus, cats are a great way to practice photography because they move a lot, they’re quick, you have to really get a good lock on them to get the sharpness you want, etc. Which all just means I have a lot of pics of my cats that I think look nice and so I post them. Hey, it’s my blog, if I want it full of cats, well then it will be like the rest of the internet!
Come on, with faces like that how can I not take pics of them? For those curious about that kind of thing, both shots were taken with my 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. I use it normally for my jewelry but I’ve recently found it good in other situations as well.
Been busy behind the scenes this past week working on restocking the shop with previously sold out pieces as well as a few new ones.
I’m getting very close to my 1,000th sale milestone in my etsy shop. An amazing accomplishment given that I started it as a part-time hobby and turned it into my full-time job after my hysterectomy October 2011. I’m so excited, honored and amazed at the support I’ve received and the wonderful friends and customers I’ve made along this journey. I’m truly thankful for the ability to not only come back from my major health crisis but to be thriving and doing so well at my jewelry business as well. It’s really such a great feeling to be in control of your own future and to walk the path YOU want to take and in so many ways, though my surgery was such a massive and terrifying (not to mention painful!) experience in my life, I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person from having endured it.
Anyway, in light of trying to reach my 1,000 sale milestone, I’ve been busy trying to restock the shop. Here’s what I’ve been working on. Click any to get more details, additional photos and purchase information as well.
As always, there’s much more at the shop and custom orders are always welcome!
By the way, when I reach my 1,000th sale (I’m currently at 991 at the time of this writing!) I will be holding a contest and giving away a prize or two in thanks for helping me get this far. So keep an eye out here or on PhoenixFire Designs Facebook page for that announcement once I reach the goal! (Hopefully soon!)
Saturday, Love and I spent a few hours at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival. I didn’t get as many pics as I wanted so we’ll have to go back, but here’s a few.
It threatened to rain all afternoon but never did. Though it was partly cloudy most of the afternoon. The whole park is done up with flowers, topiaries and other pretty plant life. It’s always nice to check out.
The only thing worse then dealing with one postal service is dealing with two.
I mailed an item to a custom in Canada back on February 26th. USPS.com shows it cleared Canadian customs on March 3rd. If you go the Canada Post website, you can see it made it as far as Edmonton on March 7th. Then…nothing.
The buyer contacted me because when she called about it, they told her the shipper needed to initial an inquiry. So I called Canada Post. It was last seen in Edmonton and going to a Canada address so it seemed the logical choice. That was my first incorrect assumption.
Canada Post said they couldn’t initiate a track directly. That since the package originated in the US, the USPS needed to forward the request Canada Post start an inquiry. So I called USPS. They said that they couldn’t do a trace because the package is an “LZ” class package. (First class, or Priority Mail Envelope) That there is limited information provided on “LZ” class packages.
Next time, if I want further information, I should bypass the $8 first class postage and pay the $20-and-up Priority rate (but not Priority Envelope!) and they can look into it further at that point. Apparently $8 just isn’t enough in expense for them to give a crap. (Even though of course, all the USPS has to do is say, “Hey Canada. Can you see what happened to this package?” and have Canada actually do the all the work. USPS has to do nothing but ask and they won’t because I didn’t pay them enough.)
So, to sum: A package is somewhere in Canada. But Canada Post won’t investigate because USPS has to request the investigation. USPS won’t request the investigation because it’s “only” a First Class package. Meanwhile, I have a customer in Canada who’s been patiently waiting since February for her order and I have diddly squat to tell her. USPS says it might arrive tomorrow or in two weeks or in another month or not at all. Sorry, they don’t know and can’t ask for any further updates for me either. Pay more for postage next time.
I only wish this were an April Fool’s joke, but sadly this is the reality of dealing with not one but TWO government bureaucracies!
I’ve long been a fan of the Steampunk aesthetic. Gears, clockwork, copper, leather; that neo-Victorian style combined with some H.G. Wells and a bit of what if? imagination. But it’s not something I’ve ever participated in personally. Until earlier this year I kinda decided to start seeing if I could put together an outfit.
Then Saturday, March 23rd was Steampunk Invasion at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival and I wanted to finally make the outfit a reality.
How’d I do it?
Most women in steampunk wear corsets and skirts/dresses, often with a bustle or pickups. It’s a cool look but man it just looks wildly uncomfortable to me. I know it’s based on a Victorian influence (hence the skirts/dresses) BUT, why limit yourself? I decided to go for a more “liberated” look and opt for pants.
Slowly over a few months, I scrounged GoodWill, ebay and such and pieced together some items that I thought achieved the look I wanted. I found a ruffle blouse, a wool vest and some “sailor” pants with buttons all for super cheap which all worked together. I had a pair of old brown boots that would work and I got some accessories like a top hat, a pair of welding goggles from amazon and a Nerf gun to repurpose and transform.
My Nerf started off like this:
I read a lot of info on the net about taking it apart and spray painting it but I got as far as removing two of the microscopically small screws….and couldn’t get the rest. So I just decided to hell with it, I was going to try to paint it without taking it apart. I scuffed the whole thing with sandpaper then sprayed the entire thing with several coats of an “oil rubbed bronze” color spray paint trying to get in as many nooks and crannies as I could. I figured it was only $10 Nerf so I wasn’t too worried about ruining it and wasting money. Surprisingly, the base coat looked and worked great!
I then used Rub ‘n Buff (which I actually found in my local Micheal’s) in “Antique Gold” and “Silver Leaf” with my (gloved) finger and just went to town on it. I did various layers working it until I liked how it looked. I also went back in with some gunmetal acrylic (by Martha Stewart in her “multi surface” paint) and copper which both worked surprisingly well on the plastic. I finished it with some matte Mod Podge (I didn’t have any spray sealer) to help keep it from rubbing off. Few bits of jewelry findings finished the look.
Came out like this:
I did the same thing with my welding goggles: a combination of the Antique Gold and the Silver Leaf Rub ‘n Buff took it from this:
I know I need more accessories – I painted and modified my gun and my goggles on FRIDAY and went to the festival SATURDAY so for putting it together the day before, I was pretty proud – but it’s not hard if you think about modifying things rather than needing to make from scratch. And, like the pants I bought are a real, regular pair of pants (not costume-specific) but when you pair it with an outfit, they suddenly look different.
I also wore Opalite Rainbow Moonstone Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant in copper wire:
I went to the Steampunk Costume Contest (though I didn’t enter) and talked to a several of the people. They were all really friendly and very encouraging and complimentary on my new costume. So that was really nice. A few people asked to take my picture too which means I must have been doing something right AND I had several people ask me about what the theme was and what “steampunk” was so it was nice to be able to help too.
I am really excited about it now and already planning on ways to expand my outfit and improve on it for next time. I was really encouraged and got good feedback and it was a lot of fun to do something different like this! I can’t wait to keep going with it and really make it even better.
…out like a meerkat. Or something like that anyway. Here’s a few animal photos I took this afternoon at Busch Gardens. As usual, click any image for larger!
It’s so much fun to be able to run to a park for an hour and get to photograph amazing subjects like this. It’s one of the best parts about living in this area for sure.
To my dear friend…
July 30, 1967 – March 13, 2010
I have a Crock Pot. My Mom gave it to us many years back and it’s a damned useful thing to have. I don’t use it all the time but things I do tend to use it for I only make in that way. Such as a pot roast. The only way I cook pot roast is in my Crock Pot.
It’s in good shape; the crock is perfect, the stainless casing is not scratched up and of course, it works exactly as it should. The only problem is that out of nowhere, my lid handle snapped right off. The glass lid wasn’t damaged at all. And in fact, the screw that held the handle on the lid was still screwed down in the glass as well. But the plastic handle itself? Eroded away and broke into several pieces.
It’s pretty much impossible to pick the lid up without the handle and I was upset that the failure of the plastic was leaving me without a way to use my Crock Pot. I started Googling to see if you could buy a replacement handle. I found some replacement lids but they weren’t the right shape. So I emailed customer service at Crock Pot. I asked if there was anyway to order a replacement handle. I still had the glass and screw but the handle broke.
Within a day, I had a reply. Not only were they going to send me a new handle, they were sending me an entirely new lid. They shipped it out to me, free of charge. The customer service agent even apologized that they couldn’t guarantee the color. That made me laugh. You’re sending me a lid, free of charge. I’m really not too worried if the handle is black or white!
Today, I had errands to run and when I came home there was a notice I missed a delivery from UPS and the package was waiting for me in the apartment office. Packed in a mass of bubble wrap in a large box, was my new lid. Seven days after I contacted customer service asking about purchasing a replacement handle.
Thank you Crock Pot! Your customer support is greatly appreciated and I am really thrilled to find a company in this day and age still standing by their products and so eager to help. I would gladly have bought the new lid but the fact that you immediately sent me a replacement free of charge was so nice I wanted to commend you publicly.
Now I think I need to make a pot roast this week to celebrate!