Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This drink and I have always had something of a dubious love/hate relationship over the years. What is it about coffee that inspires zillion dollar businesses like Starbucks to thrive? Even in our slowed economy, I constantly see all manner of folk with $4.00 plus coffee drinks in their hands and not blinking an eye about it.

Frankly, I'm trying to STOP drinking the stuff, mostly because of the caffeine content. I could switch to decaf, but I would just rather stop. I hate the idea that I depend on caffeine. What if I were suddenly catapulted into a scenario that left me without the ability to drink caffeine? My world would fall apart for a few days as I go through withdrawals! I would be reduced to a blithering idiot begging for her morning cup of joe because the headache and pain of it all is too much!

The really horrible thing is that I WAS caffeine free for months at one point. MONTHS! I felt FINE without this stuff! I had "unleaded" coffee in the am instead of the leaded version. Caffeine is hard to get away from even throughout the day. I love carbonated drinks and most of them contain caffeine. My most favorite carbonated beverage doesn't come in a caffeine-free version. So, if it isn't coffee in the am calling my name, it is the carbonated beverage later in the day that is. I really must switch to drinking Squirt instead. Only problem is that it isn't as readily available as my preferred nemesis. I could drink 7Up or Sprite, but I am just not all that fond of it. I slowly returned back to caffeine because it was too hard to avoid it!

You know, I am not all that sure that I really even LIKE the taste of coffee. I like the smell though, and that seems to be enough. I don't drink my coffee with milk or sugar. I drink it black. Always have. Why? Because I didn't want to like it too much. Rather than like it, I just sort've gotten used to it.

I ran into a rather unpleasant scenario yesterday morning. Since I was busy all weekend with other responsibilities, I was unaware that we had run out of coffee. Monday morning, I get up to get ready for work, stumble my way to the kitchen for my morning cup of coffee and found we had NONE. Desperate, I searched the cupboards for some residual form of coffee, or even tea that was caffeinated. If I didn't have something, I knew I was going to be in for a rough day. My hubby raced to the store and purchased some coffee. I barely had to time to drink a quarter of a cup before racing to work. It wasn't enough. Once I get to work, I'm pretty much stuck there for the next several hours without a break to even get anything else. I looked all over our tiny little kitchenette for something with caffeine in it. I finally found a tea that claimed caffeine and prepared a cup for myself. It wasn't enough. I made another cup. It wasn't enough. NO ONE in the building had time to go for a coffee run. I was beginning to have mid-morning withdrawals. By afternoon, I was the blithering idiot with massive headache. I made it to the end of my work day, but had to drive to the auto repair shop to meet my hubby. I asked him to please take me to someplace where I can get a cup of coffee. Actually, I drank a diet, caffeinated soda instead, which helped; but the damage was done. It had been a horrendous, exhausting day without enough of my coffee fix.

This morning, while I write this, I am having a cup of coffee. I hate it. I hate being dependent on it, but will drink it because I don't want another day like yesterday. Oh and did I mention that coffee is stimulant? That's why most folks drink it. Raises your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, constricts the blood vessels, and not healthy for folks with heart problems, blood pressure problems or circulation problems. Worried about getting stroke? DON'T drink coffee, or coke, or pepsi, or Dr. Pepper, or Mountain Dew.....

Tomorrow, I will have another cup of coffee. Going to try to limit myself to ONE cup, just ONE!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Do I Look Like a North African Berber?

Why do I ask this question to begin with?

The reason is because my oldest brother recently had a DNA test done to determine, once and for all, if there was North American Indian blood in our family.  For several generations, there has been an ongoing belief that our family had Cherokee blood. My oldest brother, who has worked hard to research our genealogy, never found any physical evidence of this. He chose to take a DNA test to prove once and for all that we had Indian blood...or not.

The answer was...NOT.

The the DNA test showed something he wasn't prepared for. It showed that our genetic markers most closely resemble NORTH AFRICAN BERBERS?

He thought it was a silly mistake. Not so.

Now, I'm something of a history buff, so found this piece of information interesting. Mostly because I already knew that I had a significant amount of Celtic heritage. I already knew that my genealogy contained at least a significant amount of Scottish/Irish background. I already had researched the general history of my Celtic heritage and found that these people migrated from Spain. I also knew that North Africans had come into Spain and settled there. So, it was no surprise that I had some North African Berber in blood. The part that surprised me immensely was that my genetic markers was closer to this race of people more than anything else!

So close that I could be living in North Africa and it wouldn't be much different than them? Wow!

The picture below the first one shows me with my oldest son. My hair is an obvious colored blonde. It is actually a light brown, green eyes and skin that tans fairly easily but can sunburn if I'm not careful.

If my hair wasn't colored and I was dressed like those folks  in the picture above, would you be able to differentiate me from those people in the pictures above? Probably not!

Tell me what YOU think!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Shop, New Ideas, New Fundraiser

Times are tough and fundraising for a great cause is even harder! Just ask any high school student wanting to attend Spring Tour on 2011 all the way across our U.S. continent to New York City. 

I have two...yes TWO students who have the grand opportunity to attend this great tour and experience the art and creativity that NYC has to offer...if only they can raise the money to get there.

Our school does not provide the funds. Yes, we have a fundraiser booster, but it will take much more than what they are offering to get these guys on the trip.

Solution?  Well, one is that I have opened a new shop on Artfire and with this shop, I plan to list some great items that my teens have created to help raise the funds needed to attend. They will be making a variety of items. Currently, we have dog treats up and going. These are without preservatives and monitored by mom to ensure quality and cleanliness. 100% of the proceeds will go toward the Spring Choir Tour to New York City for Evergreen High School Choir Students. More items will be showing later since this is a new shop site.
One more thing: ALL items on Ai Chihuahua will be dedicated to this Spring Choir Tour until May 2011! Fifty percent of all proceeds of all other items on this site will help defray the costs.

Are you ready to help a student with a once in a lifetime experience? Want to show your support for music in the public schools?  Stop by

I just thought I would add a video of our District Honor Choir from last year, which my teens were participants. Don't they sound great? Sorry for the picture quality. I am truly an amateur at videos!  Please click the music off my blog site to hear this fantastic choir. Many of these same students will also be going to New York this Spring...if they can raise the funds needed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lovely Slippers by Shelly

Lovely Slippers by Shelly on Etsy

I loved opening up my mailbox today to find that my order from Shelly came today.  These slippers are so soft! The colors are bright and beautiful!
Shelly makes awesome knitted and crocheted items!  Not only does she have knitted and crocheted bottle cozies to slippers and ponchos, but she also has ceramic coffee mugs with personalized saying and water bottles! Very versatile!
If you are looking for knitted, crocheted items  or personalized mug and water bottles, I highly recommend Shelly's etsy shop!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Personal History of Crafting and Arts

Most of you know me as the lady that makes soap.

Soaping is a fairly recent endeavor that I dearly love to take part in for the past 5 years. For me, handcrafted soaps was the beginning of a crafting "breakout" in my life after years of doing NOTHING related to arts and crafts. Instead, I was too busy working, raising kids and being a married woman. Other life endeavors had me going in other directions. I don't regret them, but I wished that I had taken more time to allow some creative fulfillment in the mix.

Even as a small child, I was a crafty, creative sort with something of an entrepreneural spirit. At the tender age of 4, I was picking OTHER neighbor's flowers (we didn't have many of our own) and knocking on doors to re-distribute them. Around the same time, I recall creating some sort of rope contraption to help steer my tricycle that had broken handles.

At age 7 or 8 I learned the joys of styrofoam and made all kinds of wacky projects from the stuff. THEN I discovered artificially colored feathers you could buy in large packages to make various crafting projects. I concluded that styrofoam and feathers were a good combination and created Christmas wreaths and tree ornaments from them. I actually sold a fair amount of them too, probably because I was a cute kid with an eclectic crafting vision. Around the same time, I learned the joys of writing and wrote, illustrated and "published" my own book. I showed it to my teacher who was so impressed, she decided it would be a great class project. All the kids hated me for that. Nevertheless, I continued illustrating and writing as a regular pasttime throughout my childhood.

In the meantime, I discovered my mom had some material that she made curtains out of several years before. The rest of the material lay in closet, un-used in a dusty little corner. I got some of the stuff out and began creating an odd version of a toga/robe/lounge around the house dress from it. God forbid that it should EVER be worn outside in public. I asked my mom if I could make her one too. She tactfully declined.

Around age 12, I discovered a new medium...LEATHER. In particular, SUEDE LEATHER. I was into all things leather and poured through books on how to work with it. I made purses, moccasins, vests, hairpieces, bracelets. This time, they weren't half bad and I sold quite a few items. Also, my grandmother showed me how to do embroidery. I made quite a few embroidery projects. I also learned some interesting arts in beading.

Then, I took a class in sewing at my school and discovered the joys of sewing and latched onto it. We sewed a basic dress in the class which was quite wearable and was one of my favorite summer dresses. After school was out, I was bored, so dug out my mom's cantakerous, old sewing machine she never used because, well, it was cantankerous. She also had never really learned how to use it, which was another reason why it was a tad cantankerous. It also needed a little oiling and some care. I got the machine to working with some scrap pieces of cloth I had found in the same closet I found the other material a few years back. Then I found the bonanza! Material that had been tucked away for over 10 years. My mom had made some curtains for my brother's room with it. It was beige/brown with all sorts of old-time automobiles on it. I LOVED it and dug it out, pinned my favorite (and my only) dress pattern on it, cut it out and began to sew. Now, I had TWO dresses I made myself. Only one problem though; the second dress had all the old-time autos upside down!!!  It was a lesson learned in making sure the pattern is pinned on the material correctly, especially when dealing with one-way designs. Still, the dress fit, so I wore the thing around the house.

I stayed with sewing throughout my high school years, making most of my own clothing, designing many of them myself, fitting the design to fit my buxom figure since most of the current fashions were made for girls without boobs.

Creative writing continued to make an impact with pages upon pages of poetry and short stories. I seriously considered a career in writing. It was about that time that I discovered I could sing. Actually, I ALWAYS sang all the time when I was a kid ( I still do). But, I took a choir class on a whim and found that I actually had a talent for it. It never really went much further than just enjoying the fact that I could carry a tune though. I wanted to take voice lessons, but our family didn't have the $$$ for such whimsy. Kind of like piano lessons...wanted that too, but never had the opportunity. Nowadays, I just play by ear even though I can read music up to a point.

But back to the crafting. A friend of my mom's was an artist and when I was around 18, I took lessons from her, mostly oil painting, although I dabbled in a few other mediums. LOVED it! I still have a painting in my living room that I made back then. I also have a painting my teacher did that was a gift when I moved to Alaska.

As a young adult in Alaska, I continued painting and sewing. Sewing became a mainstay as I perfected my skills at designing, alterations and working with clothing designed for warmth. I made winter coats, ski outfits and such. I also learned some tailoring techniques and made some men's suits and designed wedding dresses for friends. THEN, one fine, frozen 50 below zero night, a friend of mine showed me how to crochet. I made a potholder. But the next project I made was a ripple afghan. From there, it was granny squares and so on. I created out of my head patterns for hand and finger puppets for local kids to help prevent the boredom of cold Alaskan winters. I made hairpieces, pins etc. And of course, slippers were always a hot item there (no pun intended).

On a trip back to the lower 48 states, my friends introduced me to belly dancing. I loved the dancing, but I REALLY love the costuming. All that draped and gathered material and the intricate top and belt designs. I was HOOKED! I created numerous embellished designs via embroidery, beading, pleating, draping. All of my sewing skills and many other of my skills were used to create these funky/beautiful costumed designs.

Moved back the lower 48 eventually, got married, had kids, had a full time job with everything else and I found I didn't have room in my life for crafting, writing or much else. It all geared down to a screeching halt for over 10 years. The artist inside me was still there, screaming to get out, but I had to keep stuffing her back inside.  I finally couldn't take it anymore. I wrote a book...a novel. Not a great novel, but my first. From that, I discovered soap-making and slowly, the artist in me began creeping back out again. I began drawing again, sewing, and trying new things.  I'm still a busy mom, wife and hold a full time job, but I'm not longer the frustrated artist screaming inside; well, except for wanting more time to create.

Now, I have 2 etsy shops that contain some of that creativity...not all of it, but some. One I have specifically for soap .  The other is for a variety of crafting mediums that I am just beginning, from tote/grocery bags to furoshiki cloths and more to come.

What I've learned from my experience is that no matter how busy you become, if you don't satisfy that creativity you have inside of you, it will come back to bite you in the butt. If you are a creative sort, don't stuff it. No matter how busy you are, make time for your creative side. God made me the creative person I am for a purpose. Who am I to stuff that away?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Summer Secret Pal Gift

Summer Secret Pal Gift by Elektrajewelry
I just received my Secret Pal Summer gift from Dina at elektrajewelry on etsy.

She is a fellow collaborators in cahoots team member and amazing at her jewelry making skills.

The bracelet shown is in lovely iridescent peacock colors...truly my favorite! If I had a choice of colors and design, this would have been it! Understated yet a lovely accessory.

I'm a bracelet freak. I wear bracelets more than any other type of jewelry. For me, bracelets are an extension of your natural movements when  you express yourself with your hands. Bracelets become a show-stopper when used this way. They are an active expression piece vs. necklaces, which tend to be more stationary. I think of necklaces as "lovely divas" vs. bracelets which earn their place by active participation as they enhance your natural movement and become an extension of your expressions.

Stop by elektrajewelry for some lovely "extensions" of your own personality and expression.

In the Land of Simplicity

In the Land of Simplicity  there is also the unique, eclectic and practical. There are the recycled...things that gained new purpose in new ways to make them something loved in their "old age".

Plain n' Simple Large size Grocery or Tote Bag

There are things that boggles your mind and things that make perfect sense.

Floral Design Grocery or Tote Bag

They are simple things, usable things, practical things, and all are beautiful in their simplicity.

Plain n' Simple Medium Sized Tote Bag

With an extra touch, a simple twist, or a careful tuck, these simple things become amazing and delightful.

Furoshiki Tote Bag

They carry things...all those things we need when we are out and about. No need for the checker to ask if want paper or have your own, thank you.

Re-usable, responsible, practical.

Ever wanted to be where things were simple again? You can. Find your simplicity

It is the (purple) evening of the day...

This blog post is copied with permission from Linda

This Kaboodle Styleboard features handmade and vintage items from some of my Collaborators team members.

The vintage necklace is in Kelsi's Etsy shop. Kelsi organises our monthly challenge.

The Blackberry soap is from Patricia's Etsy shop.

The handmade necklace is in Dina's Etsy shop.

The lovely hand knitted scarf is in Susan's Etsy shop

The 5"x7" painting, "Evening" is found in my art shop and the sunset greetings card is in my card shop.

To leave a comment on this Styleboard, click here.
Once there you can promote it on Twitter and Facebook.

Some Great Etsy Sellers You WIll Love

I would like to feature three great Etsy sellers.

First is hamnahamid who makes custom clothing and costumes for you. Featuring children's clothing, her style is simply adorable!

The second is susanneedlehands who makes handmade knitwear, home decor and crafts all with knitting and crochet!

Third is elektrajewelry who makes one of a kind artisan jewelry

Stop and visit these shops. They are all highly recommended.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Personal Survey...It is Kelsi's Fault

I don't normally do these things, but for some reason, it seemed fitting today (???) 

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?  Actually ONE person said all three of these things in one sentence about 5 years ago. I questioned his prophetic ability at the time ha said it though:
1)" You are a woman of wisdom, 
2) and understanding, 
3. When you aren't filling out question surveys like this one what are you doing?  Working except when I finally decide to take a vacation.

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least (or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn't like at the time).   Creative writing, English, Spanish, P.E., history, science, current events, government, math 

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?   Win the lottery 

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?   Retired. 

7. What stage of life are you in right now?   Ready to retire 

8. Are you more child-like or childish?   child-like 

9. What is the last thing you said out loud?  "I don't know." 

10. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?   Smother Me by The Used

11. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?   Yup! 

12. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?   It has it's ups and downs

13. Does time really heal all wounds?  No. You have to work at it.

14. How do you handle a rainy day?  Carry an umbrella

15. Which is worse...losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?   losing luggage 

16. How is your relationship with your parents?  I visit their graves at least once a year since I live 500 miles away from them.

Will you miss them when they are gone?   Every day

17. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?   Very aware

18. What is the truest thing that you know?   Jesus was more than a man, he is the Christ, died on the cross for my sins, was resurrected and rules over all despite what we see around us in this physical realm. He did this because he loves me more than I can imagine.

19. What did you want to be when you grew up?   Retired.

20. Have you ever been given a second chance?   Yes

21. Are you more of a giver or a taker?   I used to be more a taker, but now I am more of a giver. 

22. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?   Yep!
23. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?   Having a baby...but it was worth it!

24. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?  You readers couldn't handle it.

25. Who have you hugged today?   My hubby, my daughter and my son

26. Who has done something today to show they care about you?  My hubby made me lunch, poured me a glass of wine and gave me a backrub...and well, I'll just stop there.

27. Do you have a lot to learn?  A never ending process

28. If you could learn how to do three things just by wishing and not by working what would they be?
Memorize the entire Bible
Remember everybody's name
Keep a clean house 
29. Which do you remember the longest: what other people say, what other people do or how other people make you feel?  Feel

30. What are the key ingredients to having a good relationship?  Focus on what they love, communication, sharing

31. What 3 things do you want to do before you die?  Travel overseas, win the lottery, Help the hurting
32. What three things would you want to die to avoid doing?  Those secrets are mine and mine alone.

33. Is there a cause you believe in more than any other cause?  Jesus

34. What does each decade make you think of:

The 20's: flappers, vaudeville, stock market crash

30's: great depression, prohibition, gangsters

40's: WWII, pearl harbor
50's: Korea, cars, the American dream, my birthday

60's: Vietnam, flower children, The Beatles

70's: graduation, tree huggers, John Denver

80's: birth of my first son

90's: a new start, birth of my other children

2000: moving

2010's Hopeful

35. Which decade do you feel the most special connection to and why?  60s

36. What is your favorite oldie/classic rock song?  Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple

37. What country do you live in and who is the leader of that country?  USA - President B. O bama
If you could say any sentence to the current leader of your country what would it be? Jesus gonna get you. 

38. What's your favorite TV channel to watch in the middle of the night?  Netflix 

39. What Disney villain are you the most like and why?  Me? A villan?

40. Have you ever been a girl scout/boy scout?  For a few months only. Hated it!

41. If you were traveling to another continent would you rather fly or take a boat?  Boat if I have the if I don't

42. Why is the sky blue during the day and black at night?  Light filtering through the atmosphere creates the color blue. Where there is no light, (at night) it is black

43. What does your name mean?  Of nobility, welll-born

44. Would you rather explore the deeps of the ocean or outer space?  I'll let someone else do that.

45. Word association      What is the first word that comes to mind when you see the word:

Pink: girly

White: pure

Elvis: swivel

Magic: evil

Heart: pump

Clash: attack

Pulp: grunge

46. If you could meet any person in the world who is dead who would you want it to be? Mary, the mother of Jesus

47. What if you could meet anyone who is alive?  The guy handing me my lottery winnings

48. Is there a movie that you love so much you could watch it everyday?  Waking Ned Devine

49. You are going to be stuck alone in an elevator for a week. What do you bring to do?  I would bring a person...MacGyver, so he can get me the heck out of there because I'm claustrophobic!

50. Have you ever saved someone's life or had your life saved?  Yep! To both.

51. Make up a definition for the following silly words..
Fruitgoogle: Candy for  techys

Ambytime: Wake up call

Asscactus: an ex-boyfriend/husband who is a real jerk

52. What was the last thing you made with your own hands?  grocery tote bag (this morning)

53. What was your favorite toy as a child?  animal shaped erasers

54. How many TV’s are in your house?  5

55. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Watch the wind blow

56. How do you feel when you see a rainbow?  Loved

57. Have you ever dreamt a dream that came true?  No

58. Have you ever been to a psychic/tarot reader?  Nope!

59. What is your idea of paradise?  Heaven

60. Do you believe in god and if so what is he/she/it like?  Yep! Loving, awesome, caring, giving, fair and perfect.

61. Do you believe in Hell?  Definitely

62. What one thing have you done that most people haven't?  Belly danced professionally, teach martial arts, work in a jail, throw hot water outside my door just to see it freeze in mid-air because it was so cotton pickin' cold outside.

63. What is the kindest thing you have ever done?  Not really sure. Saved a kid from drowning once.

64. Are you a patient person?  Usually

65. What holiday should exist but doesn't?  Everyday should be a holiday!!!
66. What holiday shouldn't exist but does?  New Year's Day, or April Fools Day (but I like April Fools Day)

67. What's the best joke you ever heard?  Not really into jokes but I like hearing them sometimes.
68. Where is the most fun place you have EVER been?  SIX FLAGS, definitely!

69. Is your hair natural or dyed?  dyed...mostly 

70. Do you have any deep dark secrets or are you pretty much up front? Basically an up front person, but there are a few things in my life that aren't for public knowledge

71. What is under your bed right now?  Dust and the floor

72. If you were in the Land of Oz would you want to live there or go home?  Oz is a bit too weird for me!

73. If you drive do you frequently speed?  Hardly ever.

74. What is the world's best song to dance to?  Oye, como va.   by Santana 
What song was on the last time you danced with someone? Some sort of salsa in El Salvador

76. Do you prefer Disney or Warner Brothers?  Disney

77. What is the first animal you would run to see if you went to the zoo?  Monkeys stand for honesty, giraffes are insincere, and the elephants are kindly but their dumb; orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages and the zookeeper is very fond of rum. Zebras are reactionaries, antelopes are missionaries, pigeons plot in secrecy and hamsters turn on frequently....what a choice. OK, I admit I borrowed this from Simon and Garfunkle. 

78. Would you consider yourself to be romantic?  yep

79. If the earth stopped rotating would we all fly off?  Yep

80. What is the one thing that you love to do so much that you would make sacrifices to be able to do it? Swim

81. If you (and everyone) had to lose one right or freedom, but you could pick which one everyone had to lose, what would you pick?  No one can force me to choose to lose a freedom.

82. If you had to choose would you live on the equator or at the North Pole?  I already lived in North Pole (the town, that is. It's in Alaska). I think I prefer the warm weather the older I get.

83. Would you rather give up listening to music or watching television?  TV, definitely!

84. What do you think makes someone a hero?  Doing the right thing even though they are more frightened than they have ever been in their life.

85. What cartoon would you like to be a character in?  Sponge Bob

86. Name one thing that turns your stomach:  Seeing someone with an open wound that is covered with maggots! (I've seen it before)
87. What was the last thing you paid for?  Sewing thread

88. Are you a coupon clipper?  Nope

89. Get anything good in the mail recently?  Something I ordered from an Etsy seller.

90. Which would you rather take as a gym class...dancing, sailing, karate, or bowling?  I've already done dancing, karate and bowling. Would LOVE to learn how to sail.

91. In Star Trek people 'beam' back and forth between different places. What this means is they stand in a little tube and their molecules are deconstructed and sent to another tube somewhere else where they are reassembled. Only problem is when the molecules are deconstructed the person is dead. When they are put back together it is only a clone that has all the dead person's memories. So...
Who came up with this weird question anyway??????? So what if my molecules are scrambled for a few seconds, they are still MY molecules, so it is still me getting reconstructed at the end of the transport.
92. What insects are you afraid of?  Mostly arachnids 

93. If you could print any phrase on a T-shirt, what would it say?      ??? You figure it out...
94. What's the most eccentric thing you have ever worn?  Green (lime) stretch pants with a pink puffy sleeved blouse print blouse, furry snow boots and purple floral hankerchief in the hair. (Don't ask why)

95. If you could pick one food that you could eat all you wanted but it would have no effect on how much you weigh, what food would it be?  Reeses peanut butter cups with chocolate ice cream

96. What are your parents interested in?  They are not alive.

97. Have you ever caught an insect and kept it as a pet?  NO
My brother had a pet tarantula once though....eeeewwwwww!!!!!!!

Have you ever caught and tamed a wild animal?  Horny toads

98. What is more helpful to you, wishes or plans?  Plans from the wishes

99. When do you feel your life energy the strongest?     ??? 

100. You are spending the night alone in the woods and may bring only 3 items with you. What do you bring?  Tent, sleeping bag, matches

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vaudeville and the Family Connection

Ever since I was a young child, I would hear my mom talk about something called Vaudeville. Her stories included performances as a young child in this phenomena all over the United States. Apparently, at one point, she had a partner in the act, but parents got into an argument and broke up the act. The argument went so far as to having the pictures taken of the two of them performing cut in half and partner side tossed away.

The only thing I really knew about vaudeville is that it seemed that it was a varied bunch of performances done by folks young and old all over the U.S. and that many early film actors came originally from vaudeville acts.

Interestingly, since my mother lived in the hub of early movie films and in Los Angeles, she had heard of the opportunity to try out for "The Little Rascals" in the film media. Her mother, hearing of the same, scoffed at the idea, saying that "such things like that will never become popular", and refused to let mom audition. Boy, was she ever wrong!

But, I digress. I wanted to tell a little history of what was vaudeville, so here is what I know.

Vaudeville was a form of variety entertainment that became popular from around the 1880s until the early 1930s. Performances were like a variety show of more modern television. Acts included musicians, dancers, comedians, magicians, animal trainers male and female impersonators, acrobats, singers, jugglers, short plays, athletes; almost anything that could be performed on a stage setting. It was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in North America for many decades.

Before the American Civil War, entertainment existed a bit differently.  There were different types of variety type  performances, such as Shakespeare play, circuses, dime museums, wild west shows and medicine shows. Saloons, music halls and burlesque houses catered to a form of entertainment that was a bit more risque. In the 1840s, minstrel shows became popular. Vaudeville incorporated all of these various forms of entertainment into a stable, institutionalized format.

In the early 1880s, a circus ringmaster, Tony Pastor who turned theatre manager, capitalized on the spending power of the growing American middle class by featuring "polite" variety programs in several of his New York City theatres. The birth of vaudeville was born. He hoped to draw a potential audience from female and family-based shopping traffic in uptown New York City by barring the sale of liquor and bawdy material from his shows. He also offered gifts of coal and hams to those attending. Pastor's experiment proved successful, and other managers soon followed suit.

By the late 1890s, vaudeville had large circuits in almost every sizable location in the U.S and Canada, standardized booking, broad pools of skilled acts, and a loyal national following. One of the biggest circuits was Martin Beck's Orpheum Circuit that brought together 45 vaudeville theatres in 36 cities by 1919.  Another major circuit was run by Alexander Pantages, who owned more than 30 vaudeville theaters and controlled, through management contracts, perhaps 60 more in both the United States and Canada.

As performers established national followings, they worked their way from often arduous working conditions to better pay and "the Big Time". The capitol of the big time was New York City's Palace Theatre, built by Martin Beck in 1913. The Palace provided what many vaudevillians considered the climax of their vaudevillian career.

A number events occurred that caused the decline of Vaudeville. Many vaudeville performers began to transfer from the vaudeville circuit to the movie business. In an effort to keep vaudeville alive, Alexander Pantages quickly incorporated motion pictures in his shows around 1902 and later went into a partnership with Famous Players, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. There was no official end to vaudeville, but it was obvious that it was going through death throes by the late 1920s.

Lesser priced cinema in the early 1910s dealt the heaviest blow to vaudeville. Many performers such as W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, and Jimmy Durante were lured away from vaudeville to the cinema by better salaries and working conditions. Other performers, who entered in vaudeville's later years, including Jack Benny, Kate Smith, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Judy Garland, Rose Marie, Sammy Davis Jr., Red Skelton, Burns and Allen and the Three Stooges  used vaudeville only as a launching pad for later careers.

Vaudeville suffered further with the rise of broadcast radio and then the wide availability of inexpensive receiver sets later in the decade.  Standardized film distribution and talking pictures of the 1930s confirmed the end of vaudeville.

Perhaps the concept of vaudeville never really ended due to its strong influence on the film, radio and television. Television variety shows were inspired by the old vaudeville acts, one of the most famous being the Ed Sullivan Show.
By the way, you are probably wondering about the picture at the beginning of this writing. That was my mom at the height of her own vaudeville career. Wasn't she cute?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Apparently Mexican Bugs HATE Wild Things Lotion Stick

A co-worker (DeAnn) of mine recently purchased Wild Things Lotion Stick, but before I could get to her, she took off and went to Mexico. Prior to leaving, another co-worker (Cathy) who bought several of my sticks gave her one of her own and insisted that she take it with her to ward of mosquitos and other biting bugs while there.

While down there, they visited a site in the jungle that was filled with mosquitos and other bugs. She and her hubby used the lotion stick. Others were getting bit right and left, but "the bugs hardly bothered us at all when we put the lotion stick on. If this stuff works down in the Mexican jungle, it will work anywhere!"

Cathy (the other co-worker), also stated that she put her lotion stick on and it "worked wonders" on preventing mosquitos from landing and biting. They still flew around, but would not land.

These are just a few of many testimonies I've received regarding this cute little 1 oz lotion stick that smells fresh and is made using all natural products. It is small enough to fit in your purse, pocket or backpack. It comes in a solid oil format but soft enough to glide on your skin with ease.

Looking for a simple, easy, fresh and natural option to artificial chemicals?

Wild Things Lotion Stick just may be your answer.

You can find it at  Soapy Blessings

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a popular additive to many health and beauty products because of the properties it contains. I thought you might wish to know a little more about tea tree oil.
It is obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of  Melaleuca alternifolia and is purported to have antiseptic properties and used traditionally to prevent and treat infections. There have been many small scale laboratory studies done that demonstrate that this oil truly does some antimicrobial properties; human studies have focused mostly on fungal infections, such as that of the nails, athelete's foot, acne and vaginal infections.

On the down side, tea tree oil should not be ingested, so extra care should be taken if used inside or near the mouth due to reports of toxicity. It can also cause some mild skin irritation if used in high concentration directly on the skin.

Here are what some scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil can do:

Acne: Tea tree oil may reduce the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions.

Allergic Skin Reactions: Tea tree oil applied to the skin may reduce histamine-induced inflammation. Although it may, as mentioned before, can CAUSE skin irritation if used in too high concentration or on people who have a sensitivity to tea tree oil.

Athelete's Foot: Tea tree oil may have activity against several fungal species.

Bad Breath: Tea tree oil is used in mouthwash for dental and oral health. However, tea tree oil can be toxic when taken by mouth and therefore should not be swallowed.

Dandruff: The use of 5% tea tree oil shampoo on mild-to-moderate dandruff may be effective and well tolerated. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

Fungal nail infections: Tea tree oil is thought to have activity against several fungus species.

Herpes: Tea tree oil has activity against some viruses, and it has been suggested that a tea tree gel may be useful as a treatment on the skin for genital herpes.
Lice: Early studies have found that tea tree alone or in combination with other agents may be effective against lice.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) chronic infection: Laboratory studies report that tea tree oil has activity against methicillin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus  (MRSA). Using a tea tree oil ointment in the nose and a tea tree wash on the body may treat colonization by these bacteria. However, this treatment should never take the place of recommended treatments by your MD.

Thrush (candida albicans in the mouth): In laboratory studies, tea tree oil has been shown to kill fungus and yeast such as  Candida albicans.  Tea tree oil can be toxic when taken by mouth and therefore should not be swallowed.

Vaginal infections (bacteria and yeast): Tea tree oil has been shown to kill yeast and certain bacteria .  Although tea tree oil may reduce itching caused by yeast or bacteria, it may also cause itching from dry skin or allergy.

Here is a list of some treatments tea tree oil is used for, based on traditional and theoretical ideologies:

Abscesses, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antioxidant, antiseptic, body odor, boils, bone diseases (osteomyelitis), bronchial congestion, bruises, burns, canker sores, colds, chronic venous insufficiency, contraction cessation, corns, cough, dermatitis, eczema, gangrene, immune system deficiencies, impetigo, insect bites/stings, leg ulcers, lung inflammation, melanoma, mouth sores, muscle and joint pain, nose and throat irritation, pressure ulcers, psoriasis, ringworm, root canal treatment, rosacea, scabies, sinus infections, skin ailments/infections, sore throat, swelling, tonsillitis, vulvovaginitis, warts, wound healing.

How should tea tree oil be used?
There is no proven effective dose, but a common dose is 5-10% tea tree oil can be applied on the skin daily for up to four weeks. Even though 100% tea tree oil is sometimes used for fungal nail infections, it is often diluted with inactive ingredients. It is strongly recommended that tea tree oil not be taken by mouth due to reports of severe side effects after tea tree oil ingestion, . Tea tree oil solution has been used as a mouthwash, but it should not be swallowed.

Allergies to tea tree oil:
Skin reactions can occur, from mild contact dermatitis to severe blistering rashes. People with a history of allergy to tea tree oil ( Melaleuca alternifolia ), or to plants that are members of the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family, balsam of Peru, or benzoin, should not use tea tree oil. It should also be used cautiously if someone has a known allergy to eucalyptol. Many tea tree preparations often contain this ingredient as well.

This information has been collected from a variety of different sources and not meant to take the place of your own research. Always consult with your MD before using tea tree oil as replacement therapy for conditions where othere treatment has already been recommended.

Now, given all of this information, you may ask if I use tea tree oil in any of my soap and bath and body products? The answer is Yes. Do I recommend the use of my products as a replacement therapy for certain conditions? No. If you happen to receive benefits by using products containing tea tree oil, wonderful! If you experience side effects, stop using the product containing tea tree oil, as you may have a sensitivity to it.