Blarg. Tuesday (the 18th) was Love’s birthday. We’re a little broke right now so we didn’t have huge plans to do anything. We were hungry so I figured we could make a special trip out to this little hole in the wall place he went as a kid with his grandfather for lunch. Problem was, 1/2 mile from getting there, my “Service Engine Soon” light came on and my car got weirdly shuttering with sputtering/hesitation when I tried to give it gas.
We parked and ate lunch (because we were already there and starving) then used google to find an Advanced Auto Parts 2 miles away to get them to hook up the machine to see what code it was giving to determine if it was safe to drive home. (We were quite a bit away on the other side of the Bay; about 20 miles or so facing long bridges and afternoon rush hour traffic.)
Chaotic fiasco at auto parts store involving TWO people trying to read the codes, after over an hour of waiting around finally led to random assortment of “recommended fixes” such as “Replace Mass Air Flow Sensor” to “Torque Convertor Clutch Solenoid Circuit Stuck On” to “Replace Transmission.” (I kid you not on the last one.) None of which was terribly helpful.
We had driven out to Orlando and back in my car on Saturday without problem. We had driven all over that day without problem. But we had experienced a weird sputtering right when the light came on so I wasn’t sure what to expect trying to get home. Plus, when I googled the “Torque Convertor Clutch Solenoid” (or “TCC” apparently), it is a common problem and if it doesn’t disengage, your engine will stall out under 45mph. Hrm.
Since it had only done it the once thus far, we decided to try and get home under our own power. And over an hour of white-knuckle driving later, we made it without any further issues, engine hesitation, etc.
But now I’m not exactly sure what’s with the car. And just because we made it home doesn’t mean I’m comfortable driving it lest I get stuck on the side of the road again. I think I might just have AAA pick it up here and tow it down to my mechanic and let him go over it. I would trust what he said and since I’m not even remotely sure if the readings the auto parts place gave me have any basis in reality, I need to get it checked out by someone who actually knows what they’re doing.
Of course, I really have no idea how much it’s going to cost to fix and car repairs were not in our already stressed budget. Which is very frustrating. (And of course, comes on the heels of my computer monitor blowing out totally dead last week and needing to buy another one which was ALSO unplanned expense.)
So Love’s birthday did not quite go as planned and for the moment, we’re short a car and not quite sure what it’s going to cost to get going again let alone what truly is wrong with it.
I don’t run a lot of sales, coupon codes or discount codes very often. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m making a limited-time exception!
Save $10 on any purchase of $50 or more with code LOVE2014
Handmade, handcrafted tree of life pendants, birthstone jewelry, gemstone trees and more by Miss M. Turner of PhoenixFire Deisgns on etsy.
Get something you love or get something for someone you love and save! Just my way of saying thanks to all my customers and supporters and to share the love with handmade, artisan jewelry.
About once a week I head up to my Mom’s to help her with cleaning such as the vacuuming and mopping. She’s disabled and it’s hard for her and really wears her out. Since I work for myself I’ve got the time to help and I like going up and seeing her too.
Yesterday I went up for our planned cleaning day but when I got there she really wasn’t feeling well. She’s been having these bad headaches and the noise and volume of the vacuum already bothers her so I said I’d let her lay down and come up the next day (Friday) instead while she was at her doctor’s appointment. That way she could rest.
So this afternoon, I leave to head up there. Stopped at the post office to drop off some outgoing packages. Get back in my car, start it…it stalls out. Start it…stalls. Start it…wants to stall so I’m revving it trying to get keep it from stalling so I can get it into gear.
At this point, I’m worried. Mom’s house is 30 minute drive away and I’m only a few minutes from my house. I don’t want to get stuck so I drive back home and pull into my lot. I much rather test it again at home so if I get stuck, I’m stuck at home.
I turn the car off, start it and…no problems. Turn it off, wait a few minutes, start it…no problems. Ok, weird fluke I think. It happens sometimes with my car. (Apparently there’s a weird electrical issue in some Grand Am cars which cause the car to sometimes auto shutoff upon start up because it thinks it’s being stolen.)
So I pull back out of my parking lot and head back towards Mom’s house. I’m no more than a mile down the road when the wiper blade – CLUNK! – pops off the wiper arm. The damned thing slides in AND snaps in place! How did it just fall off on it’s own?? (On the lowest, time-delay setting nonetheless.) I’ve never seen anything like that before, ever.
I quickly pull into the parking lot of a nearby bank, get out, slide and snap the blade back into place. I get back in my car, turn around and head home. Clearly the universe does NOT want me driving up to my Mom’s today.
Took this from Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach Sunday, February 2, 2014.
Those of you who follow my facebook page already saw this picture of kitten Ginger, but it’s such a nice shot, I wanted to share it here too. She’s 9 months old as of January 1st and such a beauty I call her my “show cat.”
I was taking jewelry photos and had my studio lights set up. As always, Ginger came running over to see what was going on and practically started posing. This was taken with my 60mm macro lens and my Canon T4i. Absolutely zero editing except to resize and watermark. The shot came out perfect in-camera so I left it exactly as is.
And keeping with my effort to take and share more photos, here are a couple I took a few days before the end of the year last year at Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, Florida. (I think it was December 28th or so that these were taken but I only just got around to sorting and editing them now.)
(Both were taken with my 60mm macro lens and Canon T4i camera.)
Two things I’ve been slacking about by the end of 2013 were updating my blog and not only taking, but editing and sharing some of my photography.
Photography is a real passion of mine and I haven’t really been giving it a lot of time in general. Even when I DO take photos, rarely do I get around to reviewing or sharing them. Which is like half the point.
So Saturday afternoon, Love and I went over to Busch Gardens (Tampa) for a couple hours. It was overcast and windy but we managed two hours before the storms rolled in and I got quite a few nice photos out of it. And thus, in keeping with trying to be better about both blogging and photography, here are some of the selections from the day.
…and last but not least, I wasn’t kidding about the Guinea Fowl!
(All of these were taken with my trusty EF-S 55-250mm IS lens and Canon T4i camera. I rarely bother with anything except a telephoto when shooting at BG due to the distance between the animals and yourself.)
2013 went out with a whoosh as it flew past me and my intentions of posting more frequently in the blog. The second half of November and all of December became unbelievably busy and there was simply no free time available for updating, despite the fact I really did intend to many times. So here’s a bit of a recap!
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I did a show in downtown St. Petersburg. It was so much work getting ready! Took me literally weeks of prep. This was the first time I had a whole 10×10 tent and not just a single table at an event. But it went really well and I was really proud of how my booth came out and am ready to do more shows now!
We had Mika on a diet initially to get her down to a more manageable and healthy weight. At first, it went perfectly and she was so much more active. Then the weight loss continued. She had a bladder infection requiring a trip to an ER vet right after we got back from our anniversary vacation the beginning of September and the ER vet recommended getting her thyroid checked.
Took her in for an exam in November and bloodwork and x-rays showed everything was normal, except the vet was very concerned that she had cancer, possibly in the form of lymphoma. Ultrasound and a needle aspirate later, still nothing was found. $1,200 in about two weeks spent and we were no closer to an answer. The next round of testing – endoscopy under anesthesia – was going to be another $2,000 and we simply did not have it to spend. In the meantime, we’ve put her on steroids to possibly help with possible inflammation and in an effort to see if she feels better.
It was a terribly stressful few weeks and I’m still very adrift and unsure what’s going on with her or what it means for the longer term.
Little kitten Ginger is 9 months old as of today and continues to be adorable. I love the crap out of the fuzzbutt and am so glad we kept her. She brings so much joy to our family. (And biting.)
Gracie is just fine and nothing really new to report but I didn’t want to exclude her from the recap.
December 2013 was my absolute, hands-down busiest month ever in the history of PhoenixFire Designs! I typically average about 30 orders a month. Each order might have more than one item in it as well. December saw a whopping 118 orders! Needless to say, I was busy. With every single thing made by my two, very human hands from scratch, it was a lot of work. I was very honored though to have so many people come to me to help make their Christmas special.
Once the chaos of December died down a smidge, we had a simple but lovely Christmas. As usual, Love and I first had our morning together, then we went to his cousin’s house for brunch with his family and then to my mom’s for dinner with mine.
That’s the broad recap bringing us up to current. I really will try to post more frequently in the new year but my inactivity in the blog is just a sign of being super busy elsewhere. You can always see my smaller updates (like quick photos, cat pics, etc.) on my facebook page. And I try to make regular updates about my shop (custom orders, what I’m working on, sales, coupons, etc.) on my PhoenixFire Designs facebook page. Additionally, though I’ve been too busy recently, I also update www.TreeofLifePendants.com with what’s new in the shop as well.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season and best wishes for a wonderful 2014 for us all!
Holiday Wishes is a fun idea where you post your wishlist – anything from cards to pipe dreams like a car – and then you go through lists other people have posted and see if you can fulfill any of their wishes. I’ve been doing it on a community on Livejournal for years and years now but I tend to also copy my list here since not a lot of people are on LJ anymore. My list is over here on the community or listed below. Spread some holiday cheer!
Greetings! I’m Miss M. Turner. I’m 36 and I live in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida (USA) with my guy and three cats. (Used to only be two but we found and rescued the most adorable fluffy orange kitten earlier this year so now we have three. The felines are taking over!)
It’s been a pretty good year all things considered and though life always has it’s ups and downs, I think it’s been more ups than down this year so that’s always nice. I’ve been in this community for longer than I can remember. LOL I think like 7 or 8 years now? I look forward to it every year and enjoy both sending and receiving some holiday cheer!
1. As always, first and foremost: To have a good season in my shop PhoenixFire Designs
After my major surgery two years ago and not having a job to come back to after recovery, I decided to make a go at running my business full time. It’s been the best decision ever but it can be scary because it’s unpredictable. I can’t always guarantee what my income will be. My holiday season tends to be make or break for me and I count on it a lot for the whole year. I make beautiful pieces by hand and with love, including my world-famous Tree of Life pendants. I also gladly customize and personalize!
Even just spreading the word is helpful! Posting my link or “Like” my facebook page is greatly appreciated. You can post it in your journal, pinterest, facebook, twitter – anything! The more people know about it, the more I have a chance of getting buyers! Please help support handmade this holiday!
You’re also welcome to use any image in my shop or one of these images to link with as well:
2. And speaking of…Something Handmade by you or someone you know!
What’s your specialty? I’d love to see what you (or someone you know) loves to make by hand. Knit, crochet, sew, printmaking, woodwork, paper crafting, photography, paint, art, ceramics, pottery, glass, embroidery, screen printing, etc., etc., etc…..I’m leaving this totally open. Help support other handmade artisans too!
3. Any Kind of Craft Supplies!
And continuing the handmade theme, I can always use more supplies! I am a very crafty person and welcome just about any craft supplies! Rubber stamps, stickers, beads (not plastic please), jewelry findings, gemstone beads, papercraft items, die cuts, embossing folders, fabric, notions, tools – you name it, I’ll take it!
4. Gift certificates for Supplies!
There are always things I need running my own business. Especially supplies. So maybe you can help with gift cards I can use for places to get things to run my shop. Got $7.52 left on one? I’ll still gladly put it to good use. Craft stores, office supply, even places you might not think of like home decor and such that I use for my displays when I have a craft show – just about anything is helpful!
Three places that are exceptionally awesome?
- Etsy (supplies and handmade items)
- Fire Mountain Gems (supplies for my business)
- Amazon (little bit of everything.)
5. Anything from my amazon wishlist.
Ok, so I admit. I also like some good old fashioned material things too. LOL But I don’t mind gently used items. I’m a big believer that many things in life can be enjoyed by more then one person and shared. (And if you already own something on the list and want to pass it on, that’s awesome too!)
6. Anything Back to the Future
I LOVE Back to the Future. Like, seriously, I know the first movie by heart. It’s my ringtone on my cell. And I have like 6 versions of the DVD/Blu-Ray because every time it comes out, I buy it again. LOL So, anything about, or from or inspired by – handmade or store bought – would be super fun. DeLorean items, Doc Brown, Marty – it’s all good. Tees, keychains, posters, postcards, figures, autographs, promotion things, whatever. Silly? Yes, of course. But that’s half the fun.
7. Hand Knit Socks
This one is a guilty pleasure for me. I love soft, hand knit socks. I can’t knit my way out of a paper bag! I have pretty small feet (size 6.5 US or about 9″ long) so maybe a kind knitter out there would make me a pair?
8. Surprise me!
Take a look at my likes in my profile or read any my past journal entries. Any of that spark an idea for you? Think of something I didn’t mention specifically but think I might like? Go for it! (Feel free to email me/comment too if you have any specific idea/questions.) Handmade is awesome and appreciated. Gently used/pre-loved is as well.
9. My pipe dream wish: Canon EF or EF-S Len(es)
Something like the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens. Oh, excuse me, I drooled a little on my list. Sorry about that. Photography is my second passion and earlier this year I got a Canon T4i DSLR and I just love it. I love having so much more control over what I can do. But I really want to upgrade my kit lens. So the 17-55mm looks awesome. (The 15-85mm looks nice too.) Either way, it’s like $800 so yeah, dream I know but hey, can’t fault a girl for dreaming big!
And last but certainly not least… 10. Holiday cards!
Bonus if they have penguins on them, or owls, or winter scenes and extra bonus if they are Yule/Solstice themed. But honestly, any and all cards are SO welcome! I absolutely love mail. I check my mailbox every day because I just love getting mail. It’s like a present.
I do my absolute best to send return cards back for all I receive, so please remember to include your return address!
Miss M. Turner
PO BOX 1484
Elfers, FL 34680
ALLERGY NOTE: Because of my migraines, I can’t have anything that was around smoke and I can’t have any scented products unless they smell like food. Anything with a musk or a perfume or non-edible scent will trigger a migraine. I am also allergic to artificial sweeteners. Thank you.
(And if you feel like we have a lot in common, please feel free to friend my journal! I always welcome new friends. I even get chatty in the comments so if you see a ton of replies to this entry, that’s why! LOL)
Thank you in advance! I hope you and yours have a beautiful holiday season!
My Miniature Four Seasons (Wheel of the Year) Tree of Life earrings are the Fire Mountain Gem’s Design of the Week!
Here is the original image submitted:
It’s that time again! Christmas trees and holiday decorations are in full swing. But wouldn’t you rather have something unique and fun? Put a little handmade whimsy in your Christmas Tree decorations and holiday decor with this adorable little miniature yarn ball ornament with miniature knitting needles! A perfect gift or stocking stuffer for knitters and people who crochet and a cute way to celebrate your love of handmade!
With the look of a real ball of yarn, this ornament starts with a shatter-proof core and I then hand wrap the yarn around it in a messy style, covering all of it in a layer of genuine cotton variegated green/white yarn. Two, miniature bamboo knitting needles poke through the yarn ball waiting for the next project! I originally made one of these a few years ago for a friend who owned a yarn shop and when I posted it on Flickr, it got so much interest, I started offering them for sale. A seasonal exclusive, they’re only available this time of year and they tend to go quick!
Perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the knitter, fiber lover or handcrafted fan on your holiday shopping list!
HOLIDAY SHIPPING DEADLINES
I know people don’t want to think about Holiday & Christmas shopping yet. BUT…as everything is handmade by my two very human hands, there is more lead time required than grabbing something made in China from Wal-Mart. Especially factoring in shipping.
INTERNATIONAL ORDERS REQUIRE THE MOST TIME. International orders shipping first class (standard) mail MUST be received by FRIDAY DECEMBER 6th. That is only ONE MONTH from now!!
And Africa, South and Central America – even worse, your orders need to be in by MONDAY NOVEMBER 25th for Christmas delivery.
So RIGHT NOW is the time to start planning and getting in your holiday orders!
Don’t be scared – no tricks here! Just a Free Shipping sale for all US Orders at PhoenixFire Designs with code SPOOKY13 now through Halloween!
Hurry! Offer expires midnight on October 31st!
Shop PhoenixFire Designs!
So Love’s been sick since last week with a miserable cold. He missed work Friday, got sent home Monday, and Tuesday went to the doctor for meds. He’s been coughing violently and like mad for days and days and neither of us got any sleep the entire time because he’d wake up coughing every 15 minutes.
It’s nearly a week though since he got sick and I wasn’t sick yet so I thought I dodged the bullet. No such luck.
Woke up today with that “thick” feeling in my throat and a little bit sore. I’m also achy. And all three of those things are getting worse as the day goes on. *grump* So I think it’s safe to say I’ve officially succumbed to his cold.
The shop remains open but bear with me if I’m not quite as quick on the reply draw as normal. I foresee lots of sleeping in my future for the next few days.
Meanwhile, have a pic of my adorable orange kitten biting my laundry basket.
Me? I’m off to get a lozenge and get back under my snuggie on the couch. (What? It’s handmade and awesome.)