Sunday, May 31, 2009

Risking the Library!!!

Since I quit my job at Heritage Adoption Services, everyone who knows me knows that things have changed massively for me financially. It took me a little longer to figure it out. HA! I kept right on buying beads and books (my favorite things!) for months before I realized, you know, I'm going to run out of money if I keep this up. (I may be slow, but I can be taught!)

I did get another job, doing interviews for a research company, but it doesn't pay (anywhere near) as well as being the Director of Domestic Services. Sigh... So I'm economizing as I continue to make jewelry and convince people that they really do want to tell me private information about themselves and their families for the betterment of all through publicly-funded research.

One of the ways I'm economizing is that I've gone back to the library. Yikes! I wasn't sure it would be cheaper to begin with, because I used to lose books and wind up with huge fines. It was cheaper just to buy paperbacks and re-sell them at Bearly Read Books on SE Powell. But I was broke one day and out of something to read so I decided to risk it. It's working out pretty well! In about three months now I've only had fines of about $2.75. That's pretty good, don't you think?

So I thought I'd tell you from time to time about a book I've read. I just finished listening to one on audiocasettes in my car by James Patterson and Andrew Gross. It's called The Jester and is set in 1067 or so, at the time of the first crusade. The main character, Hugh de Luc, begins as a lowly innkeeper who is lured off to the crusade by the promise of booty and freedom from his feudal bond. He returns with what seem like some pretty good trinkets, but nothing of real value. But a (supposedly) noble man believes he has a relic of incredible worth and there's where the trouble begins. Hugh finds his inn burned to the ground, the son he did not know he had buried on a hilltop and his wife missing, dead or imprisoned or being used for who knows what. Hugh is of course grief-stricken, enraged and determined to find his wife. He becomes a jester in order to have access to the nobleman's court.

The story is full of period details and colorful stories and jokes. Patterson is a great storyteller, as always, and engages the reader in Hugh's life. There are surprises at every turn, characters both delightful and nefarious, demonstrations of great courage and loyalty, and heinous incidents unworthy of the human race. All in all, very enjoyable.

I liked this book in general as it was a good story, but I had a problem with the basic concept. While I am a Christian, I am not Catholic, so I really don't get the concept of the crusades or the value of relics, whether bones of the saints or objects touched or used in ancient times. It seems to me that the crusades were sort of the ultimate in religious and ethnic intolerance, or possibly just an awful lot of bloodshed for the sake of acquiring a lot of questionable relics that supposedly had magical powers of salvation. But I don't believe that objects have any power at all. The power of salvation lies in the relationship with God, not in objects or even in the church or its representatives.) So for me, this book was kind of like Dan Brown's books (The daVinci Code and Angels and Demons): a good read, but let's not take it too seriously from a theological perspective.

BTW, don't forget about my giveaway! Read my last entry and post a comment with your email address! And visit my Etsy store: I make nice jewelry for bold people!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Turn for a Giveaway - Maren's Birthday Earrings

It's so much fun to win things! I was reminded of that by winning a bookmark from MillionMinds and writing about winning a microwave when I was in high school. I've been inspired! So I cast about for something really nice that I could give away and I found it!

I made some great earrings for my niece for her birthday and she loved them so much! She says they're pretty much her favorite earrings and she wears them about three or four times a week. So I made another pair for my Etsy shop ( and now I've made another pair to give away.

If you'd like to win a pair of these cute earrings, post a comment with your email address. On June 30, Maren will randomly choose one of the entries and off we'll go. Good luck!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oooo - a giveaway!

Hey, check out the giveaway by Kandi Champagne Cook, an artist who sells on Etsy. She makes all sort of great stuff, including fun and funky magnets, cards, drawings that would be totally great framed - the sort of thing that just makes a little corner of your world more cheerful, and totes. ( The giveaway is for a handmade tote bag, with these cute appliqued trees and "hi" embroidered in a corner, and a deer appliqued on the other side. It's happening on {sweeter than me}'s blog ( She's giving away this very cute tote, useful for all sorts of things! I've been needing a tote for library books - I can't afford to lose any! Or maybe you could give it as a gift? How about knitting or crocheting supplies so you can carry your craft with you? Anyway, I hope you'll check it out and be sure to check out Kandi's etsy store too. I especially love those cards with the buttons - adorable!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yay! I won!

I was wandering blogs not too long ago and came to the blog by etsy member MillionMinds, She was having a giveaway! I have loved giveaways since I was in high school and won a microwave at the state fair by throwing my fully completed 3x5 card into a huge chest freezer supplied by Big Jim's Appliances. I didn't really want to, but Mom insisted we sign up for all the free prizes, just in case, because after all SOMEbody was going to win.

A couple weeks later I got a phone call from Big Jim's wife, the bookkeeper at the store, to tell me I had won an Amana Radarange. Mom and I both were purely tickled! She used that microwave for years and years, always offering it to me whenever I made a move. "After all, it is yours," she'd say. But I always turned her down because how could I take it away? She enjoyed it so much! When I moved back to Oregon after grad school, Mom bought me a new microwave. Wasn't she a sweetheart?

Well, I got a convo the other day from MillionMinds and guess what? I'm a winner again! Thank you, MillionMinds, for sharing your art with me. I have won a bookmark with her beautiful artwork and I can't wait to see it in person. She is a wonderful artist and her paintings convey so much emotion. Since I'm a big reader, I will enjoy the bookmark regularly. Go visit her etsy store at and check out her blog as well!