Monday, February 27, 2017

Natters - Feb. 27 / How Are You?!


How the heck are ya, my bloggy friends?  It's been chaotic for me lately.  Soooo many things going on around here right now, I'm back to that feeling that I can't catch a break and can't get caught up.  It's not bad stuff happening, it's just a lot all at once.  I'll try to briefly run through things instead of waiting any longer and trying to figure out how to get caught up on blogging.

First, Casey is moving out.  He picks up the keys to his first apartment this Wednesday.  He just turned 23 last week so it's not like this is a crazy thing to happen.  Still, as a mom, it is a crazy thing.  He's my youngest, my baby, and now he's leaving.  Hubby and I will officially be empty nesters this week.  Casey's apartment is close by though, probably no farther away than Ty's is, but in a different town than Ty.  He says he'll still come home on weekends to do his laundry, like Ty does.  And I'll still see him at work.  It's just weird though!  Also, he's moving in with a girl.  She may or may not be his girlfriend.  We're all confused about that status.  I think even they are still confused about it.  You see, he's known her for two years now and has been best friends with her during that time.  They work together and . . . she was dating his other best friend for those two years.  Those two broke up recently though.  It's awkward all around, and they admit to that.  They say that's why they're not sure what they want to be, friends or a couple.  Time will tell, I guess.

Second, we just bought a tractor.  It's larger than a riding lawn mower, but not a full sized farm tractor.  I'm not sure what they're actually called.  Hubby's wanted one for many years but we'd always been paying so many other bills.  Not that we're finally getting ahead, happily looking forward to getting the house paid off and opening our path to retirement, he's decided it's a great time to finally get this tractor.  It will have a bucket so he can clear snow from the driveway in winter, and haul dirt and things for projects the rest of the year.  It will also have a mower deck, much larger than our riding lawn mowers, which will help make mowing our huge lawn easier during the summer.  I like all those things but I just hate that we're right back into the paying-off-debt rut again.  We both agree though, that we're paying this thing off as fast as possible!

I'm back on my old computer AGAIN.  I just can't accept stupid freakin' Windows 10 and how drastically different it is from what I'm used to!  I was on it for a couple weeks and still couldn't find an email program that I was happy with, or a photo editing program that I could figure out.  That's a huge part of why my blogging has slipped, because I just can't get pictures ready.  The program I current use is very quick and basic.  I click on the photo thumbnail in the folder, it opens in Windows Photo Gallery, has an Auto Adjust option or a few basic options to manually adjust the pic, and saves the changes when I go to the next pic or leave the program.  NONE of the other programs I've tried are anything close to that quick and easy.  I did some reading and tried to download the versions of the programs I currently use but of course they won't work with WindowsFromHell 10.  I really don't know what I'm going to do because there are enough problems on this older computer that make it a pain in the butt too.  GAH!!!!!

I've been struggling with some minor but highly annoying health things lately too.  Casey insists that part of my 'illness' is just stress from everything.  It could very well be.  I did manage to sleep almost twelve hours Saturday night, which was glorious, but I still felt like I could sleep for twelve more.  And along with all this are just a million other little things demanding my time and attention.  I have a pile of wax empties that I don't know if I'll ever get Melted posts done for.  I have at least two haul posts I'd like to do, and another large order of something on the way.  I have cards I've made but haven't shown yet.  I managed to just slow down yesterday and watch over six hours of TV (that show The Staircase), and that felt great but the whole time all the little things were nagging at the back of my mind.

Hopefully, hopefully, HOPEFULLY things are slowing down for me now.
And hopefully I can get back to posting more like I'm used to!

In the meantime, how the heck are YOU?!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Watched - The Staircase

The Staircase
2004

'Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, presents a gripping courtroom thriller, offering a rare and revealing inside look at a high-profile murder trial. In 2001, author Michael Peterson was arraigned for the murder of his wife Kathleen, whose body was discovered lying in a pool of blood on the stairway of their home. Granted unusual access to Peterson's lawyers, home and immediate family, de Lestrade's cameras capture the defense team as it considers its strategic options. "The Staircase" is an engrossing look at contemporary American justice that features more twists than a legal bestseller.'

After watching The Jinx recently, people recommend The Staircase to me.  I found it was available from Netflix, bumped it to the top of my list, and marathon watched the whole series today.  Wow.  I have mixed feelings about this case.  I'd like to read more about the case, or see some other shows about it if there are any.  I realize this series is from Mike Peterson's side and while they didn't really glorify him, it was still *his* story.  Just in the quick skimming of a couple online articles after watching the series, I see things that weere never mentioned on the show.  So my thoughts in this post will be about *this show.*

Kathleen Peterson was found in a bloody mess at the bottom of the staircase one night by her husband.  He called 911 and hysterically exclaimed she'd fallen down the stairs.  The police and the medical examiner felt that her injuries were more likely from being beaten to death, and her husband Mike was soon arrested.  Leading up to the trial, information about another woman's death many years earlier was investigated.  Why was this significant?  Because it was a very close friend of Mike's and, similarly, he was the last one to see her the night she died.

I'm not sure he did it.  The one big hangup for me is that case of the other woman.  If you took all of that out, like they tried to have done in the trial, I think I'd believe the defense's theory that Kathleen fell, was bleeding, got up and slipped in her own blood and fell again.  She had severe cuts to her scalp but no skull fractures or brain injuries.  How many times have we all whacked our heads on things?  Heck, I've had a stainless steel pipe fall on my head from the blend platform at work.  These blows can be quite violent, but we soldier on.  I think falling backwards from the third or fourth step might give you a nasty bump and a headache but not a skull fracture.  On the other hand, cuts to the head bleed like crazy.  I remember when hubby was building our greenhouse and one of the rafter beams slipped down and bashed him on the head.  It dropped him to the ground and was bleeding so bad we were sure he'd busted his head right open.  We raced to the emergency room and they had to put several staples in the split skin but there was no worse damage than that.  So if Kathleen fell in a way that the edge of the door frame might have sliced open her scalp, I can see her being panicked and dazed and bleeding like crazy.  I can see her maybe trying to get up, slipping in the blood and falling again on those steps, in the small area, and maybe ripping another part of her scalp open.  Maybe I'm a fool, but I can see it.

Again, according to *this show,* I don't see a motive for Mike killing her.  The theory of her discovering he was bisexual and them arguing was weak.  Okay, maybe she'd found out and they'd argued, but why would he have to kill her over that?  What about his life needed that level of secrecy?

Like I said, I want to know more about this case now.  I did read one article about The Owl Theory that I found freaky, but it makes sense.  The tears to her scalp probably could have come from an angry owl's talons swooping and attacking.  She had been walking back to the house from their swimming pool that night.  Perhaps it attacked her shortly before she got there, she went inside already bleeding and panicked, and this led to her falling on the stairs?  I'm almost sure I've seen a show or movie about this theory.  So many things about it seem familiar to me.  Maybe I've seen a Dateline type show or something about it on ID channel?

I know there were big developments in the case after this show was made.  I think his conviction was overturned or something but I haven't yet read why.  And I know just in the past couple days he's been freed after a plea deal.  Yes, I really need to read up on this case now!  I wasn't too worried about doing all that before this post though because, like I said, this post is about the original show.

Are you familiar with the Kathleen Peterson staircase death case?  Do you think her husband did it?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Read - The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, Book Two)

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, Book Two)
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
2015
264 pages

'Callum Hunt's summer break isn't like other kids'.  His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc.  His father suspects him of being secretly evil.  And, of course, most kids aren't heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It's not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there.  The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen.  And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

I really enjoyed the first book in this Magisterium series so I happily jumped right into this second book.  I was a bit disappointed by this one though.  These are middle grade books and I like that they are on the shorter side (both under 300 pages) but maybe this one would have been better if it had been longer.  Maybe it would have had more of a story to it.  This one seemed sort of lacking, more like setting up bigger things to come than being an important chunk of the series in its own right.  The couple big events that this book featured sort of fizzled out.  In fact, I'm still rather unclear on what was really going on with the main point of this book.

After discovering a huge secret about himself back in Book One, Call has been struggling with that information.  He's pretty sure his father knows the secret too.  And when Call stumbles across something in the basement that strongly indicates his father is going to take care of the problem, Call and his wolf flee for their lives.  He makes it back to the Magisterium for his second year of magic school, although he and his friends are already trying to figure out a huge mystery.

Someone has attempted to steal a priceless and powerful artifact of the magic world, and Call is pretty sure he knows who . . . and why.

Call and his friends set off on another adventure, this time inadvertently dragging another student into it.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Call is eventually forced into revealing his secret to his traveling companions.  How will they react?  Is his secret going to remain safe?  Is HE going to remain safe?  At the moment (in this book) they don't really have time to process the information or react honestly.  They're in a battle to survive.  Once they get out of their situation and back to school, it's still uncertain just how his friends now feel about things.  One in particular seems to be struggling with the news.  How will this play out going forward?  It will be interesting to see.

So while this book was a bit of a disappointment on its own, it has set up story lines for what's to come, and I'm still looking forward to seeing where it all goes.

Have you read this Magisterium series?
What did you think of this second book?

Melted - Lasting Scent Candles / Sugar Sparkle

 
Sugar Sparkle - [no scent description]

I seem to remember reading somewhere that this is a lemon-caramel blend.  I'm all about lemon scents!  I also love caramel scents IF they are sweet and creamy, not salted.  This one is nice.  The lemon seems stronger on cold sniff.  Once melted, it was a little more bakery.  Still a nice lemon scent, with that creamy caramel cozying up to it wonderfully.

I melted this 1.4 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Melted - Satin Suzie / Black Cherry Spice

Black Cherry Spice - 'Fresh, ripe black cherries blended with kitchen spices.'

I liked this one.  It's like Kool Aid with some oompf!  Or like my beloved Cranberry Spice's slightly sweeter cousin.  This is a dark, fruity scent, quite sweet and playful but with just enough spice to keep it from being candy-like.  I said in my cold sniff haul post notes that this could work as a fall scent but just as easily work as an everyday scent.  Sometimes cherry and almond scents can be similar.  This one is not almond-y.  I would gladly get this again.

I melted this 1.6 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong, long lasting scent.

Watched - The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
(2015)

'Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon, Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.'

I am a true-crime fan.  I'm probably addicted to it.  I could watch Snapped and ID channel all freakin' day, and some people find that a little creepy.  LOL

I remember seeing commercials for this HBO docu-series called The Jinx when it was first coming out, and I remember being intrigued.  I never ended up watching it though because I just didn't get what it was supposed to be.  Real?  Drama?  How could they do a documentary if these crimes were still being investigated?  Is this the real guy or an actor?  There were just so many things that seemed weird and confusing to me that in the end I just dismissed it all and carried on with life.

Then my bloggy friend Kevin gifted me a DVD set of the series.  He insisted I needed to watch it, that I would not be disappointed.  I was like 'Ugh, but I tried and I don't understand . . . ' and I put off watching it for a while.  Until now.  I put the first disc in the other day out of boredom (and guilt) and to my surprise, was very quickly hooked.  I marathon watched the first five episodes Friday afternoon/evening, worked Saturday and didn't get to watch any, but popped that final episode in early Sunday morning just to see how it all ended.  I then hopped online to see what news there has been since this 2015 series aired.

I suppose I should back up and tell you a bit about what he's accused of and what the show is about.  Robert Durst is a member of the rich and powerful Durst family, real estate tycoons in New York City.  In 1982 his wife Kathie went missing.  The case has never been solved.  She's never been found, dead or alive.  No one has ever been charged for anything.  But it's always been believed that Robert killed her.  He had a falling out with his rich family and left the business in the mid '90s.  In 2000 a very close friend of his was murdered in California.  In 2001 a man in Texas was murdered, and Robert was charged with *that* crime.  In 2010 the movie All Good Things came out, which is a 'loosely veiled' telling of the missing wife story.  Robert saw the movie, contacted the director, and wanted to be interviewed so he could tell his side of the story.  That interview turned into the six episode series, The Jinx.

From what I got out of the series is that the theory is Robert killed his wife and got away with it for many years.  Later something happened (can't remember just what) that was going to reopen the case so Robert quietly slipped away.  He was on the run but people didn't really realize it because he was eccentric and already falling out with his family.  Theory is that his very close friend in California had fallen on hard times and was needing money, and perhaps had hinted to Robert that he help her out or she'd go to authorities about where he was and possibly what he'd done.  So he killed her.  He was then living incognito in Texas and, theory has it, his neighbor/friend found out who he was and was possibly going to notify authorities so, yes, he was killed.  Once he was arrested for that murder, all the other things started being looked at again and dots were being connected.

There is a lot of, um, quirkiness about this guy.  The whole messy story often seems like a badly written Hollywood movie, yet it's *real.*  He has tons of money so he has top lawyers and they saved him from the murder charge.  The jury decided it was an accidental death, so he was acquitted.  There is mystery in the Durst family too.  Do they know something about the missing wife?  Did they help cover something up?  There are just so many 'What the......' moments!  You can't help but wonder how this guy was never caught.  I don't know how to describe it really.  Robert comes across as both a crazy man and a very sneaky genius.  He's one who speaks in technicalities.  Whether he picked that up from his effective legal team or was always like that, I'm not sure.  He's the kind of guy who's going to get around things that same way, on technicalities.

I actually felt a bit sorry for Robert Durst for a while.  His family didn't really take part in the series.  I think a nephew was interviewed . . . ?  Robert's brother though, refused, although they did find ways to work him into the story.  The family seems rather dickish, all the rich folks rallying together against the black sheep to save the family name.  The brother had hired bodyguards and had a restraining order against Robert.  There was a part in one of the episodes where Robert wanted to be filmed outside his brother's house.  I chuckled a bit at that because it was like Robert sort of taunting in a seemingly harmless way.

It seems so obvious that Robert killed these three people.  Sometimes I think that okay maybe *he* didn't actually kill them but he had them killed.  Then I think no, he did it himself.  I mean, he didn't deny killing the Texas man.  He has flat out denied killing the other two though.  He was not very good about hiding anything in the Texas murder, yet why can't anything be found in the missing wife case?  Even the California murder has some very obvious clues.  It's all such an intriguing mess!

In episode five of the series, some interesting new evidence was discovered.  At the start of the sixth episode, I made a comment to hubby that "I wonder if he's [director Jarecki] worried his life is next?" when Jarecki and his crew were talking about what to do next.  The new evidence was a game changer, for sure.  When I was reading online after watching the show, sure enough, they had hired security because they no longer felt safe.  They are continuing to follow the Robert Durst story and I hope they do another show about what has happened since this original series.  There have been various arrests and events in the couple years since they put their series together, including Robert finally being charged with the California woman's murder.  He's an old man though, and apparently not in good health, so will anything be accomplished before he dies?  Or will his high priced legal team keep things drawn out long enough to where we'll never know what really happened?

I'm glad I finally gave in and watched this.  Thank you again, Kevin, for sending it to me!

Have you followed the Robert Durst story, or seen The Jinx?  What are your thoughts on it all?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Melted - Lasting Scent Candles / Strawberry Crunch Muffins

Strawberry Crunch Muffins - '(LSC Original Mix) Warm Strawberry Muffins with a Buttery Pecan and Brown Sugar Streusel topping.'

I didn't care much for this scent.  The strawberry reminds me of the popular 'fresh picked strawberries' scent that was all the rage a year or so ago, one that I never got into.  I think the buttery pecan notes leaned a little too close to zucchini for my liking, with a certain saltiness that I've really struggled with the past six months or so.  I didn't hate the scent enough to turn the warmer off, but I didn't really enjoy it either.  Luckily, Lasting Scents doesn't seem to have much staying power for me or I would have shut that warmer off.  lol

I melted this 1.2 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had very strong scent for about the first hour, then it faded to a more medium type, and was gone by the four hour mark.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Melted - Satin Suzie / Agent 66

Agent 66 - 'Ripe pears & spicy-sweet dessert figs with brown sugar.  (House blend)"

This one is very similar to Golden Pear & Brown Sugar, from Bath & Body Works.  The BBW one is a little warmer though.  This Agent 66 scent is a little fruitier but still has warmth and a bit of coziness from the brown sugar.  It's still a lighter (as in airy) scent though, not a thick and heavy dessert type.  I did like this but I think this is one of those scents where I love it in body products but not nearly as much in home fragrance.

I melted this 1.5 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent.  And again, I continue to be impressed with these Satin Suzie tarts.  This is another that lasted all darn day, and even lingered throughout the house well after the warmer was off and the wax had cooled.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Natters - Feb. 16


Day off today and I had no real plans, so that was good.  Thought maybe I'd go get my hair cut but in the end just stayed home being lazy.  Work did call at about 5:30am to see if I'd come in.  Of course, I ignored that message.  I don't know if it was because of the immigrants protest day thing happening or what.  *shrugs*

I tried watching The Hollow Crown: Richard II today.  I'd gotten that and disc one of The Hollow Crown: Henry IV from Netflix.  I quickly gave up when I saw it was Shakespeare.  I mean, yeah, I knew it was an adaptation but I was hoping it would have been acted out in non-Shakespeare dialogue.  Nope.  Oh well, gave up within minutes and will send them right back.

Got my Rosegirls order today, which I've already posted about.

The weather was quite nice here in Wisconsin today.  It got up to the mid30s and there was a decent amount of sunshine.  It's been warm and lovely lately, and supposed to get much warmer for the next several days.  We're supposed to hit 50 tomorrow and possibly mid50s this weekend!  Of course we all know winter is not truly over yet.  We'll drop back down in temperatures again and probably get blasted with at least one more snow storm this season.

So here's a news flash!  I got frustrated in the craft room again today.
I went in there with no real plans or expectations, figured I'd just play around with different techniques or whatever came to mind.  And then I just sat there and blanked out.  Again.  It's like, GEEZ, just do something!  But I think it's a fear of wasting supplies that keeps me from just playing around.  So I sorted some things, trying to do some better organizing, and pulled out the few Easter stamps and papers I have on hand.  In the process I found I have a double of one of my sentiment sets, and that made me even more crabby.  I must have ordered them close together and not marked them off my list in between.  *grrr*  I think I might be able to send one back and exchange it for something else.  I'll have to check into it more.

I did make one card though!
Probably should have waited till tomorrow to get a pic in daylight but oh well.  It looks rather plain but I did actually practice some techniques with this one.  Like the bunnies, sentiment, and egg are all heat embossed, and the lower part that looks woven is from an embossing folder.  I thought the woven look would be cute for and Easter basket type look.
There is also a faint bit of shimmer on the bunnies and egg.
The bling on each side was a complete after thought, just to see how they'd look.  I'm not sure how I feel about them.  You can't really tell in the pics but the upper section is many spring/Easter colored dots.

That's about it for today.  Tomorrow I'll go grocery shopping and since Valentine's is over now, the Easter stuff should be out at Walmart.  Maybe I'll find some fun goodies!

How was your day?


Haul - Rosegirls / Wax


It's been a while since I've ordered from Rosegirls.  Coming up on a year soon, I think?  I'd stopped ordering because I wasn't having much luck with scent strength.  A lot of other people had mentioned that too, a sort of general decline in Rosegirls performance.  I don't follow them anymore on FB so I've become clueless to openings and news and whatnot.  It was a total fluke that I saw a post in January about an opening.  I decided to give them another chance for a variety of reasons.  One, I'm hoping things might have improved over this year I've been away.  I'm also thinking that even if they are still weak, my craft room is small and lighter scents have been working in there.  I still do like that Rosegirls is local to me and I can support local business that way.  And, heck, I just love a lot of their scents!

So anyway, let's see what I got.

Hippie Juice - 'Lemonade, watermelon, strawberry, coconut.'
I'm not loving the new logo but I do absolutely love that they now put the scent description on the labels!  Yes!!!!  It was always such a demon of a scavenger hunt to try and track down descriptions for Rosegirls  products!  Anyway, I was looking for some laid back, everyday scents for spring and summer, and this sounded all-around yummy.  The lemonade zing hits your nose first but it quickly settles down to a sort of candy-sweet scent.  I think the watermelon is working hard along with the lemonade.  None of the scents really stand out individually.  This will be fun to try but I don't think I'd order this one again.  It's just a bit too candy-like for me.

Lemon Birthday Cake and Cookies - [no scent description]
Well, no description on this one but I think the name is pretty self explanatory.  I'm surprised this isn't more lemony.  Really, I thought it would be bright and bold lemon with bakery notes behind it.  Nope.  It's the other way around.  There is a lot of vanilla bakery happening in this, more like batter than finished baked goods, and then a little burst of lemon sits shyly in the background.  It's actually kinda blah.  I'm curious how this will be when warmed.

Best Friends Forever Club - 'Pineapple, lemonade, and frosted cupcakes.'
That same zippy lemonade note from Hippie Juice hits your nose first again with this one.  I think I detect a bit of the pineapple note under that, and then just a light bed of sweet cupcakes.  This one has a little more depth than Hippie Juice, with the bit of bakery adding a bit more substance.  This one is still very sweet but not quite as powedery-candy-sweet as the other.

Americana Smoothie - 'Blackberry Jam, Monster Cookie, and Smoothie.'
Ahhhh yes.  This is a classic and I remember absolutely loving it back in the day.  At least I think this is the one I loved.  There were a couple 'Americana' and 'Smoothie' blends that were popular, if I'm remembering correctly.  But anyway, this one is soooo yummy.  It has that deep, rich, creamy note that to me is a signature note of Rosegirls.  I do get the Monster Cookie notes, and there is just enough of a fruity burst to brighten it all up, while the smoothie wraps it all in that delicious creaminess.  Love this one!

I placed this order on Jan. 7 and received it Feb. 16.  Bags were $10.50.  Shipping was a flat rate of $9.00.  I think it was flat rate anyway, because I remember it was charged at time of purchase instead of at time of shipping as it has been in the past.  Bags were advertised as 8 ounces of wax.  Mine range from 8.0 to 8.3 ounces.  Individual chunks range in size from 0.7 to 1.9 ounces, with most being 1.0 and 1.1 ounce.  The four bags I ordered came in a Regional A box, nicely packed with tissue paper.  There were no extra samples.

I'm looking forward to giving these a try and my fingers are crossed that they'll perform better than last time.

Are you a Rosegirls fan?
Have you ordered lately?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day


Hope you all have a day filled with love and chocolate!

We rarely do anything for Valentine's Day around here.  I'm not one of those bitter anti-Valentine's people, but I'm also not a sappy romantic type either.  Hubby and I have just never really done much for Valentine's.

I wanted to at least pop on and acknowledge the day though!

Happy Valentine's Day, all my bloggy peeps!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Natters - Feb. 13


And suddenly it feels like maybe things are settling down for me.  Several small things have been taken care of, and while individually those things might have been small, with all of them combined nagging at me it felt like ten million pounds of stress and inconvenience bogging me down.  Our taxes are done.  I've finally gotten our old modem/router into the mail, on its way back to our internet provider.  I'm back on the newer computer and resigned to the fact that I'll probably be sticking with this one from now on, now that I've finally gotten it over to Ty's to get that big Windows 10 update done (on his much faster internet).  I'm caught up on the backlog of TV shows that I've been meaning to watch.  Well, most of them.  Still have several episodes of Sleepy Hollow, but I'm not even sure I want to bother with that show anymore.  I'm also done with Skylanders, so I've packed away all the little characters that were cluttering up the living room.  AND, I slept gloriously last night, which is something I've been struggling with again lately.  Ohhhhh, it was so fabulous!  *dreamy sigh*

As the blog title reminds us though, it's always something, and I'm sure there will be plenty of piddly new stresses to screw up me in no time.  But for today, I've been feeling much more relaxed and happy.

The weather was great today too!  Sunny and warm, up to 41 degrees!  It's been warm the past couple days but it's been cloudy and wet.  Today was lovely for a change.

Went to my mom's today and found her walking all over like a champ.  I know she's been walking more and more around her apartment without her walker but to see her just get up from her chair and walk almost the full length of her living room without even the cane was like 'Whoa!'  She wanted to go out and fill her bird feeders, and she was walking around her little garage without aid too.  We made a quick trip to town so she could return something to Kmart, and I found a tiny section of Christmas clearance, marked 90% off.  I found a really nice box of sparkly Christmas cards for 59cents!!  I know, I know . . . I should be able to make all my Christmas cards this year.  But let's be real.  *snort*  Better to have some store bought ones on hand too.

As mentioned, I'm not caught up and current on The Magicians.  We finished watching the Netflixed first season, and went right into the ones from the second season that we've had waiting on the DVR.  I'm back to liking the show, although the most recent episode appears to have killed off three major characters.  That seems rather bold for so early in the season.  I'm thinking hoping there will be some magical cure for what happened.  They have been messing with time magic, so maybe they'll reset the loop to try and change it?  Or some technicality that we've overlooked?  I'm gonna have to cry if what happened is real.

I helped Casey make cookies today.  His shift at work is having a little Valentine's Day potluck type thing and he wanted to make something instead of just buy.  He's been hinting that he wants to learn to cook and bake, so he bought a box mix for Snickerdoodle cookies today and I showed him how to do it.  We put little Valentines sprinkles on them too.  lol

That's about all the excitement happening around here at the moment.  Even with all my wonderfully peaceful sleep last night, I am still tired and I think I'll head off to read in bed early tonight.

What exciting things are happening by you these days?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Natters - Feb. 11 / Frazzled


Hello!  You know that scene in Poltergeist when the mom is trying to run down the hall to save her kids and the hall just keeps getting longer and longer?  Well that's how I feel lately.  It seems I'm losing time all over the place, like I can't get caught up on anything, and I can't figure out why.  I tried doing a Natters post the other day but it just turned into this super negative whiny thing and I deleted it.  I feel anxious and frazzled but at least it's not accompanied by that dark place I was in most of last year.  It doesn't *feel* like that so it'be much easier to cope with even if it is highly annoying.  I'm seriously starting to think I need to lock myself away in a room for a little bit each day and start meditating or something.

So anyway, we finished watching the first season of The Magicians this evening.  I almost gave up on it around episodes 8 and 9.  It seemed to get super raunchy around then and everything was about sex.  It was like every comment had some sexual reference, every scene had something dirty, and everyone was having sex with everyone.  I mean, seriously, they had to cast spell to light a beacon by having sex and climaxing together . . . ?  It just got old really fast.  It also seemed like the stories were getting all scattered and complicated.  I was quite sure I was going to quit watching then.  I went on IMDB though, and read the descriptions for the remaining episodes and thought it all sounded interesting enough to keep going.  The final disc of the season arrived from Netflix today so we watched the last three episodes this evening and yeah, I'll keep watching.  Well, for now at least.  We have the first two or three episodes of the second season recorded, so I'll watch those soon and see how I feel about it then.

I did make a few cards the other day.
I don't really care for this one much.  It got sooooo far away from my original idea.

I like this one a little more.  This was sort of thrown together in frustration, using scrap pieces.  I decided it would go to my mom, so I colored the birds red because she's all about cardinals.

A little boy birthday card.  This one turned out okay but it was still frustrating because it took so freakin' long just to make this one card.  I'm still so fumbly bumbly uncoordinated and inefficient in doing this.  One funny thing about this one though . . . (see next pic)
. . . is that it looks pretty darn cool even without the plaid and the frame.
I discovered that while I was assembling it all and considered just stopping there but I already the other pieces cut and ready to go.  It's funny that I keep loving my most simple looking cards most, yet I can't seem to stop myself from trying to go for the fancy look.  It's like maybe I feel the need to use all my fancy papers and dies to justify my spending money on them.

And then there is this one.  It looks like Hermione has a bubble wand.  Oops.  LOL

I know I need to just keep working on it, that I'll get more efficient and coordinated with all the tools and whatnot.  It's just so frustrating when I have an idea in my head then sit down at the craft table and just blank on how to go about doing it.  It's frustrating that I've put money into having a variety of tools and options yet don't ever reach for most of them, or fail at attempts at using them.  Hubby went shopping with me this morning and we were browsing the craft and hobby aisles at Walmart, and I had this huge internal fight with myself.  There is this girl that Casey and I know from work and she has a goal of opening a bakery.  She's working like crazy on getting better at making and decorating different cakes and things.  She's not afraid of failure.  She doesn't get upset about a lopsided cake.  She just dives back in and works on making the next one better.  She popped into my head while we were in the cake decorating/party supplies aisle, and I silent screamed at myself that I should just go back to making soap because at least I got somewhere with that.  *grrrr*  No one seems to understand how or why this is so frustrating to me.  I don't understand either.

And yes, I know it's just as frustrating for you guys to have to read my whining about it.

On that whiny note, I will go read a bit before bed.

Tell me something!  Anything!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Melted - Vintage Chic Scents / Jackie O Next Door

Jackie O Next Door - 'Serendipity, Lemon Custard, Fruity Loops, 7-Up Pound Cake, Marshmallow Birthday Cake, Vanilla Bean Noel.'

When you have a scent with so many things blended together you usually only really end up smelling one or two main notes anyway.  That's sort of true here.  I do love the scent but in describing it, it's just a really sweet and happy lemon scent.  The Serendipity and Fruity Loops are probably boosting the sweetness to make it a sort of candy-like lemon, and everything else is probably lending to the overall creaminess, but I don't specifically detect things like the 7-Up Pound Cake or Serendipity.  We'll just say it's an awesomely fun lemon scent, leaning more towards candy-like than bakery.

I melted 1 oz. worth of this flower tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had wonderfully strong scent.

[This tart was a gift.]

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Melted - Beezy Tarts / Vanilla Frosted Grahams

Vanilla Frosted Grahams - 'Vanilla Frosted Graham Crackers with hints of Raisins and Cinnamon. Delish!'

 I love graham cracker scents for their cozy, homey simplicity.  This one is a little more hefty with the frosting and raisins.  There is a touch of spice, like if you stuck your nose in a box of cinnamon grahams.  There is also a bit of what I call that 'sour' type note, like from cream cheese or mousse type scents.  I'm guessing that comes from the frosting.  While I do like this scent, I think one little note is enough to keep me from loving it.

I melted half of this 1.9 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.  It traveled well into adjacent rooms but stayed on an easy-to-take medium-strong level.  It lasted around six hours.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Haul - Simon Says Stamp

I placed another order with Simon Says Stamp after seeing certain stamps in a YouTube video.  Some of what I wanted is currently out of stock but some other things had just recently come back into stock so I jumped at the chance.

Let's take a look!

 Misti Grid Transparency, by Simon Says Stamp
First I went ahead and got a transparent grid sheet for my Mini Misti print tool.  I skipped this when I ordered my Misti because I was thinking the grid on the clear cover door part would be good enough.  I've had an instance or two now where I see why this is handy so yeah, I grabbed one.

Sprinkles, by Doodlebug Design Inc.
Adding to my embellisments collection with these pastel blue and pink dots.  I have baby cards on my mind after making that one a couple weeks ago.  I thought these were just different colors of the same item when I ordered.  I see now that they're slightly different.  The blue is sort of translucent, while the pink is more solid.  (The blue looks greenish here but they really are baby blue.)

So Much To Say, by Lawn Fawn
I got this just to add to my collection of sentiments.  This covers quite a few!

Hello Baby, by Lawn Fawn
Got this set because, like I said, I have baby cards on my mind.

Knight In Armor, by My Favorite Things
This is one of the sets I absolutely *needed* to get.  Look at that dragon!  And that castle!  And the little knights!  Oh my gosh, sooooo stinkin' cute!

Once Upon A Time, by My Favorite Things
And this set can easily go with that knight set.  Look at all those cute little fairy tale princess related things.  I don't have any specific ideas in mind for these two sets yet but the medieval fantasy just called to me.

Once the other stamp set that goes with this is back in stock and I get my hands on it, you'll see why I just HAD to have it.  

Can you guess what it is?

Read - The Iron Trial (Magisterium, Book One)

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, Book One)
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
2014
295 pages

'Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst -- and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

 I've had this book on my Amazon wish list for a while but I'd heard such grumblings about it being a total Harry Potter ripoff that it never really became a top priority for me.  I was quite surprised when I got this (and the second book) for Christmas!  And now I've finished reading it and can easily say that I really enjoyed it!

Of course people are going to compare it to Harry Potter.  I think any book with a school of magic and a trio of kids is going to be slammed with comparisons.  This sort of leaned more towards the Percy Jackson books to me though.  I'm not familiar with author Holly Black (at least not that I can remember offhand) but Cassandra Clare wrote the Mortal Instruments series and all the companion series to that, and I have enjoyed those.  One thing I noticed right away, and found a little refreshing, is that main character Callum is not this immediately likeable type of character.  At least he wasn't to me.  He comes across as kind of dumb and tends to say awkward things, like someone who speaks all of their thoughts.  He's sort of bumbling and, well, I just didn't really like him early on.

In this series, kids go to a testing day to see if they even show enough magic ability to continue.  At the end of the day, the Masters (teachers) pick their apprentices out of the kids who have made it through.  A Master can pick up to five kids.  Master Rufus, who is one of the greatest, picks Callum and two others.  It's a surprise to everyone that Callum is picked because although he did show that he has magic ability it was sloppy, uncontrolled, and just a big mess.  Callum's father is horrified to learn his son has actually been picked.  He's been anti-magic and totally against the Magisterium since his wife (Callum's mother) was killed in the mage war.  He absolutely did not want Callum to follow in his footsteps and attend that school, and he'd been working with Callum on how to *not* get selected.  Callum made it though, and off to school he goes.

The two other kids in Master Rufus's group of course become Callum's best friends.  They have mishaps and adventures.  There is the obligatory snotty kid in another group, one who hates Callum for being chosen by the great Master Rufus.  They eventually find out that one of the others in Callum's group possesses a rare and special kind of magic.  He is sort of The Chosen One, the one the mage world has been waiting for because it's only this kind of magic than can defeat The Enemy of Death, the powerful villain of this series.

Mystery surrounds Callum though.  Why would his mother leave a dying message scratched into the wall that said 'Kill the child!'?  What did his father mean in his heated exchange with Master Rufus on testing day before he was dragged out of the room by security?  When his father threw his mother's dagger at him while being dragged out, was it thrown AT him or TO him?  Why is his father so distant now that Callum is attending the Magisterium?  What did his father mean when he told Callum "You don't know what you are."  And why was his father trying to contact Master Rufus, pleading with him to bind Callum's magic?  A lot of the questions seem to have obvious answers, and when they are finally answered your first thought might be that it's an incredibly cheesy and stupid twist.  That's what I thought at first.  I was absolutely like "Nooooooo!  Whyyyyyyyy!"  but then as I kept reading it showed me how complex this situation really is.  The ripple effects are far reaching, and this book has gotten me thinking and pondering and having fun with it like I haven't in a long time.  There is cleverness in this storytelling.  There are things you think are obvious clues that turn out to be nothing (yet) and there are fairly obvious clues that lead you to the answers but there are always moments of 'But wait . . . ' as you think you're piecing the mystery together.

I'm very happy to have finally given this series a chance, and have already dived into the second book.  I like that these are shorter books, with this first one just under 300 pages.  It's a middle-grade series, so things don't get too bogged down or complicated.  I really enjoy middle-grade books for that reason.  Sometimes you just need a quick and easy story to give your mind a break, or to get it going again.

If you like the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books, I think you'll like this one too.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Melted - Beezy Tarts / Beezy Bakery Shop

Beezy Bakery Shop - 'Sweet Grahams, Cake, Sugar and Sweet Cream all whipped together, topped with a Sweet Vanilla Frosting.'
 
I really liked this one.  The cold sniff version has a bit more sweetness to it, and that hint of a 'sour' note that comes with cream cheese or mousse type scents.  Warmed though, this become a more dry scent, and there is a strong cinnamon-like note.  So are the 'sweet grahams' in the description actually cinnamon grahams?  Could be.  On cold sniff it's like a molasses note, but warmed it reminds me more of cinnamon.  And cinnamon grahams is how I'd describe this scent anyway.  lol
 
I melted half of this 2 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent that traveled well throughout adjacent rooms.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Melted - Satin Suzie Scents / Pucker Up, Sweetheart

Pucker Up, Sweetheart - 'Juicy citrusy lemons are sweetened by shortbread cookies and ooey, gooey marshmallows.'

This is such a yummy scent!  It's a deliciously creamy lemon bakery scent that's both bright and warm.  The lemon hits you first, sweet and happy, but softened by the other notes.  The cookie notes are right there with the lemon, lending the warmth of bakery to the scent.  And the gooey marshmallow mushes it all together to make it a thick, creamy, dessert type scent.

I melted this 1.5 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had strong scent that once again lasted nearly all day.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Natters - Feb. 3 / Mishmash o' Stuff

Hello there!  I'm posting an early day Natters because I have every intention of playing in my craft room all day today.  (I know, we'll see how that actually works out . . . )

Work was crazy the past few days.  I had to train the new night shift lead guy one day, was busy with a material trial run another day, attended a Round Table meeting another day.  Ugh, I'm just struggling to get back to normal and routine!  My work stress has eased up some but I still see it taking its toll on others.  One guy has been calling in and leaving early almost every day lately because he's reached a point where he just can't handle it anymore.   He says his wife keeps telling him to quit, get out of the toxic situation, but he's like me, afraid to take that step.  There is some comfort, in a weird way, in knowing others are struggling just like you.  It lets you know you're not just making it up.

I've been getting SO far behind on watching my TV shows that I've finally had to bump that up to top priority.  The DVR was getting full, and hubby watches/records way more shows than me so I had to get going on mine to clear up some space.
 
I tried watching a show called Taboo that hubby's gotten into but it just bored me.
 
I still have several episodes of Sleepy Hollow to watch but my interest just isn't there any more since Abby died last season.  I want to at least give this new season a chance though, and that's why I've been recording them.
 
Vikings has ended for the season.  I don't know if I'll continue watching next season.  I'd suspected all along that once Ragnar died my interest in the show would die too.  And yeah, the sons have avenged his death and now they've set up the new season for each of them to follow their own path.  The only thing I'm really still interested in is Floki's story, to see where life takes him after the events of this season.

I got caught up on Lucifer yesterday, watched all three (four?) episodes they had in this mini winter season.  Ohhhhh my gosh, I was bawling during that finale.  The music they used, the emotions from people you wouldn't have expected it from, oh my sniffleblurgness!  I wish I knew someone else who watched the show so I could talk about it more!

Suits returned last week, and we watched that episode but not yet this week's episode.  That one will be emotional too because Harvey finally confronts his mother.  Oh dear, I need to build up some emotional strength again before diving into that.  LOL

We're still enjoying Emerald City!

We've started watching The Magicians.  Is anyone here watching that?!?!  It's in the second season now but we Netflixed the first season so we can get caught up.  I've been aware of the show all along  because the commercial *always* grab my attention.  I'm not sure why I never watched before now.  Maybe because hubby was already recording so many shows, I'm not sure.  But anyway, very recently he became intrigued enough by the commercials that he started recording.  I told him I'd been interested for a while now, and that's when we decided to Netflix and give it a go.  He said he'd watched on episode from season two but was too confused.  So we started watching from the beginning last night.  I like the show but there are some things that bother me, and it does seem to be a slow buildup to what the show will really be about.  First, there is a lot of talk *about* magic but not a lot of actual magic being done, at least not so far in the first three episodes we've watched.  Also, I don't like their *type* of magic in this show.  There are a lot of complicated finger and hand gestures before the spell is cast.  Well, at least sometimes.  Other times it seems the magic just happens.  Are these supposed to be different types of magic?  Or is it just inconsistency in the writing?  Or will the silly gestures go away as they become more skilled?  I was reading some reviews of the show and a lot of people were grumbling that it's just a college-aged version of Harry Potter.  I don't see that at all.  True, the university is 'hidden,' and they teach magic, but that's about it for similarities.  There is another hidden school of magic, a sort of 'dark side' school.  And there is a looming threat from some mysterious evil magician that not only certain people seem to know about, which makes it urgent to get these students trained and ready.  It looks like things get more magical as the season goes on and into this next season, so I'm going to keep watching and see if I continue to enjoy it.  Please tell me someone reading this also watches!  It's lonely watching all the shows no one else watches.

I showed this on Instagram but keep forgetting to show it here.  Back before Christmas, like in the fall, I'd been keeping my eyes open for Christmas scented body washes at Walmart.  I never did see any, from ANY brand, so I went ahead and placed a BBW order for Twisted Peppermint.  So imagine my surprise a week or so ago when I notice this now on the shelf!  Really, Walmart?  I realize some people enjoy peppermint all year, or that peppermint could still be a winter themed scent, but this sure does look and sound Christmas-y to me.  Why get it out now?  *grrrr*  I'm tempted to buy one and save it so I know I'll have some mint body wash for Christmas season this year.

The wax section at my Walmart is looking a little bare and ransacked at the moment.  They still have a TON of fall scents.  Part of me wants to stock up while they're clearance priced, but then I know I'll feel stressed and limited when fall rolls around again and I can't buy all the new ones because I have a ton of old ones.  But the bareness of these shelves means they're getting ready to bring out the spring and regular scents.  I'm curious to see if there will be anything new that catches my eye but really, it's impossible to keep up with them now, to know what's new and what's returning.  I do have old pics and notes but to just browse the shelves, I can't always remember what's what anymore.

I noticed these a week or two ago over in the cleaning aisle, by the Glade and Febreze type home fragrance products.  They are EnviroScent Bursts.  They remind me of the Better Homes & Gardens little paper pellets that were in test stores last year.  (My store never got them but I'd seen a YouTube video about the new product.)  They are little tiny rolls of paper, like tiny pellets, and appear to be lumped into a ball in this brand.  They are scented (with essential oils, I think), and you place them in your wax warmer.  The heat activates the scent but nothing melts or burns or disappears.  If I remember correctly, there are three 'balls' in each package.  Packages sell for $3.77 at Walmart.  The four scents I saw were Paradise Breeze, True Cotton, Wild Lavender, and Amber Woods.  None of those scents really appeal to me, but I'd be willing to buy a pack and try it for blogging purposes if anyone is interested.  Have you seen or tried these yet?

That's about all I have for today.  I'm almost done with the book I'm reading so there should be a book review going up soon.  I've also placed another craft related order so there will be a haul post for that going up as soon as I receive my goodies.  And now I must go start another load of laundry and then lock myself into my craft room to create wonderful things.

How are you?
What fun things have you been doing, watching, reading, eating lately?


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Melted - Lasting Scent Candles / Buttery Blueberry Waffles

Buttery Blueberry Waffles - 'Waffle loaded with blueberries, butter and blueberry syrup on top.'

This was quite a yummy, cozy scent.  It's one of those 'comforts of home' types, you know, like cookies baking.  There is a sweet blueberry muffin note, with those blueberries really announcing themselves, and then the heavier, buttery waffles notes come racing up behind.  A very nice, deep, full bodied scent.

I melted half of this 2 oz. tart in my Glade hot plate warmer and had medium scent.  I was surprised it wasn't stronger because it's so potent on cold sniff.  Lasting Scents also seems to fade for me, and this one seemed to fade down to a light throw after only a couple hours.

[This tart was gifted to me.]

Band of Bloggers - Feb. 2017 / Vol. 14


Welcome to the February edition of Band of Bloggers!  You're probably getting tired of winter already as we start this new month.  Maybe your thoughts are already turning towards spring, or maybe your all about Valentine's at the moment.  Hearts and roses, chocolates and cards, and special someones making you smile . . .   With all that love floating around, our question this month is quite simple.

What scent are you *loving* at the moment?
It can be anything from wax to perfume to body care to . . . whatever!

I am *loving* lemon bakery scents right now.  Lemon has long been a favorite scent of mine but I seem to have come back around to it in a big way lately.  Lemon marshmallow or cookies or dessert, doesn't seem to matter as long as it's a sweet and creamy lemon scent.

We hope you'll join the fun and leave your own answer in the comments below.
And we hope you'll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!









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