Episode 5 Coming Soon!

Blogged under My Crafty News, Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Sunday 14 September 2014 at 9:44 am

I am preparing to record the fifth episode of my Crafty Princess Diaries Podcast. With each episode, I learn a little bit more about this whole process, and I continue to get encouraging feedback from my audience, small as it may be.

If you have missed any or all of the previous four episodes and want to catch up, there are two ways to watch. First, you can stay here on my weblog. Just select the category (listed on the right) for the Crafty Princess Podcast. I have embedded the videos there along with show notes and links related to each episode.

Another option to is to watch directly through my YouTube channel; you just miss out on show notes. However, the cool thing about YouTube is that you can subscribe to my channel and get notifications sent to you when I have uploaded a new video.

Finally, here are links to each show, which I try to keep under 20 minutes each:

The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet - Book Review

Blogged under Good Books, Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 20 August 2014 at 5:11 pm



Like many women in America, I struggle with weight and, in general, my overall fitness level, so I was intrigued by the title of the new book The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet. It is written by the founders of the web site fitbottomedgirls.com, Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, and published by Harmony Books. The copyright date is 2014, and it retails in the US for $17 and Canada for $20.

I am going to just admit that I may not be the intended audience for this book. It made me feel old! I say this because many of the suggestions are things my well over 40 body just cannot do any more. The book offers a number of ideas for very short workouts, which in theory I love the idea of that. The concept is that you can do a lot of small 10 minute workouts, and if you do enough of them throughout the day, they add up. Great! However, here is an example of why I say my body can’t do most of them. One of the “strength” mini-workouts they suggest has you hold hand weights on the ground as you do push ups while still holding the weights, and then you are supposed to pick up one of the weights while you are still in plank position. It tells you to do as many of these as you can in five minutes. I know I could not do one in five minutes. Now, maybe when I was 30 I could attempt this, but now? This is an extreme example, but for the most part, many of their suggested activities I found more intense than I could manage.

The other reasons this seems to me to speaker to a younger crowd is the constant motivation to be positive about your body and yourself that rings throughout the book. That, of course, is good. I know women can by hyper-critical of their bodies, especially younger women. I actually find that sad. I’m not perfect. I do need to lose weight and become generally more active and healthy, but I do not constantly beat myself up about it.

There are a lot of very positive reviews about this book, so it must be helping some women. I’m guessing it tends to help those who might, for really the first time, be trying to lose weight and exercise more regularly, and this book offers a lot of concrete ways to do that.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

New Floors & Reorganizing Craft Supplies

Blogged under My Crafty News, Projects in Progress, Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Friday 18 July 2014 at 12:04 pm



My craft-room slash home-office is also the main room my cats like to hang out in, probably because I’m usually in there writing, grading papers, and making stuff. We have been planning to put in new flooring (as our 15 year old carpet was beyond…well…beyond!), and we finally got some major work completed this past weekend (forgive the spots on my dirty camera lens). It meant taking tons of furniture, books, craft supplies, and more out, and then my contractor (aka husband) painted the walls (a putty color) and installed engineered hardwood flooring.

What a long weekend, especially for him. To say he had zero energy left after all of this is putting it mildly! So, of course, we did not get everything done in one weekend. We did, however, get the cats settled in there while we wait until this weekend to finish the details like the trim. They have all given it the kitty paws up!




After the trim is finished and a few spots of missed paint added, we can put the furniture back in there. This gives me a chance to do some rearranging and reorganizing. I plan to move all my jewelry supplies that were on one desk into a different room (which I will then have to reorganize as well). Since adopting the cat crew a few years ago, it has become just about impossible for me to bead in this room because they all like to help me.

I had just about figured out how I wanted to arrange the furniture back in the room, removing some and adding an old Popasan chair that my cats love, when we came into a snag. This is the snag:




Doesn’t Chanel and Herbie look ubber comfortable? This is in the living room now. We crammed most of the furniture in there, and set up a desk with my computer so I could still do some work. One of the tables, we - for no reason other than it fit - set next to my desk, and I threw an old dog bed on top of it and a small afghan on top of that. Well, the LOVE IT! This spot is right next to me now as I type, and there is almost always someone there, near me, hanging out, enjoying the comfortable spot where they can sprawl and lounge together while still being near me.

This set up with the table and cushion on it next to me was not part of my plan! Ack! But, even my husband has realized we are going to have to figure out a way to get this set up configured in my room when we move all the furniture back.

I know it is crazy to arrange furniture to accommodate cats, but seriously, how cute are these two? How can I say now them?


Teachers Never Clock Out!

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Saturday 1 February 2014 at 11:35 am



This was my desk at home on Friday. I don’t have Friday classes. Since I don’t have to walk into a classroom on Fridays, many assume that I have the day off. I mean - if you are a teacher and you are not “teaching,” what could you possibly have to do, right? The photo above just shows a little bit of the stacks of papers I had to haul home this weekend. I got through this group on Friday as well as created a web test for a special needs student who needs certain accommodations. I also had to create some new assignments to go along with a new approach I’m taking with grammar in my Composition I class.

There is still a stack of untouched hardcopy essays from Composition II to grade, and then there are the emails and web papers that I need to get to this weekend too. I’m taking Saturday off from school work, so that means those are my Sunday projects.

So today I blog and craft and do laundry and ignore the fact that I need to vacuum, but tomorrow, I clock back in as “teacher.”

Getting Organized for 2014, Sort of

Blogged under 31 Gifts Indep. Consultant, Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 8 January 2014 at 11:21 am


One task on my holiday break to-do list was to get my home office organized. I would show you a “before” photo, but that would be way too embarrassing. Let’s just say “dang, girl, it was a hot mess!” As a Thirty-One consultant, I have been slowing gathering products with this in mind, a Caddy here, a Fold N File there. In fact, I’m still waiting on my outlet order that has a wall hanging unit and another bin that I will also use in my office. But for now, I’m pretty darn pleased with the results. It took me about half a day and half a box of kleenex (oh the dust!), and voila, it looks amazing. And I feel like I am so much more productive.

Here are a few close up photos to show what I did.


The Fold N File on the left I’m using for my school paperwork. This is handy because, if necessary, I can tote the entire thing to my school office, or I can just pull out a few items I need and bring those with me. Plus, yeah, I can finally use the shelves behind it for actual books. I have my school books in the middle and craft books on either side. Some of the craft books I plan to review on my blog, so it’s nice to have them right there ready for when I’m ready to write about them instead of hidden under piles of stuff.

To the right is a Littles Carry-All Caddy with my tissue, pens, calculator, lip gloss, etc. I love these caddies! In fact, I ended up getting three more for my desk. See the photos below:


They hold all those little items that tend to be all over my desk, and I can keep them contained now. Plus, I can move the caddies around if I need to spread out. I pushed the handles down when I don’t need them.

Along with craft books, I have an assortment of jewelry items that need reviewing and/or used in future projects. These were originally crammed in a tacky plastic basket and had dust all over them (yup, I have dust issues in my house!) Now I have them all in this Your Way Junior Cube and Lid. I have the clear side facing me, so again, I won’t forget about them, and the lid helps keep the cats out and the dust down. I think the taupe gingham print looks good with the purple theme I have going on. These cubes are pretty cool and are one of the new products in the Thirty-One spring 2014 catalog.


Then there is the overflow to deal with. Here is a Medium Utility Tote, which was a special during November. It is not available right now, but I’m hoping we will see these again either as a special or in the summer catalog. I have magazines and small project bags in here plus yarn on top. To go along with the purple theme again, this print is called Awesome Blossom.


And…more overflow includes 3 large bags. The center one is in a retired print, but it is the Super Organizing Tote. I am working on finishing up a jewelry book update as well as writing a book about Florida literature, so I have all the paperwork, books, etc. in this bag. The other two bags are full of yarn and works in progress.

Oh, and did you notice my office assistants on top of the desk and the empty boxes to the side of my computer? Of course, I have to save room for my cats.

Now I have the organizing bug and hope to be able to make something happen like this in my craft room. Since doing the jewelry book update, it has been a wreck! While I would much rather spend my time crafting than organizing, I have to admit that getting organized feels so good and is totally worth the time.

What about you? Do you have organizing plans for 2014?

Big Changes for the Crafty Princess in 2014

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada, writing by Tammy on Thursday 26 December 2013 at 3:08 pm


2014 has some big changes in store for me, beginning with a BIG announcement: December 31, 2013 will be my last day as the About.com Jewelry Making Guide. I have to admit that I have very mixed emotions about this. I’m happy and sad at the same time. I started the site from nothing back in 1998 when About.com was The Mining Company. It is difficult to explain all the hats I wore during 15+ years I worked at this freelance job, but you can kind of think of it as running a mini online magazine where I was the designer, editor, proof reader, writer, photographer, link checker, HTML coder, etc, etc.

I am sure there are many people who are wondering if it was my decision or the company’s, and I have to say it was a little of both. My contract was not renewed, but I didn’t expect it to be. In fact, it was kind of a relief that it wasn’t because I have had a hard time letting go, even though I knew it was past time for me to leave. I won’t go into details because I would have to write a dissertation to explain it all, but the nutshell version is that I was not happy there anymore.  I have been planning to leave for well over a year. Every other month I would tell my husband, “This is it. Don’t plan on another check from this job. I’m done!”

I still enjoy making jewelry and plan to continue to design and write about jewelry making and other crafts on my Crafty Princess Diaries blog as well as some other outlets I’m exploring, so I’m not disappearing from the jewelry and craft web world. In fact, I’m looking forward to some new opportunities.

ETA: Also, I have a Raverly group for those who would liked to join: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/crafty-princess-diaries

Get Slim and Get Sassy Too

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Saturday 23 November 2013 at 1:18 pm

Except for maybe spinning, crafting tends to be a very sedentary activity. Then there is my day job. While I usually am on my feet when I’m teaching, much more of my time is spent sitting as I grade papers and do other teacher-type tasks. Add that to getting up there in years, and my weight has become a constant battle for me. Honestly, even when I regularly exercise, I see little difference other than maybe toning up some, but as far as my weight…that dreaded number on the scale…nada. Exercise alone used to be all I needed when I was younger, but after a certain age, unless I spent hours and hours at the gym every day probably, it is not enough to control my weight.

It comes down to just not eating as much as I would like to..period…and that is for all foods. I have always eaten fairly healthy. Even when I was a child, I would not eat very much red meat. It drove my poor mother crazy. I have also always loved vegetables. Raw, cooked, there aren’t too many that I won’t eat. I like sweets, too, of course, but I’m fine if I have a few bites of chocolate a day. So how do you cut back on eating when you don’t eat junk food or indulge in lots of sweets? It comes down to cutting back on pretty much everything.

The problem seems so simple to solve, but for me it has not been as simple as it sounds until recently when my sister (after I told her I was curious about it) gave me a bottle of an essential oil product called Slim and Sassy. She has been experimenting with essential oils for awhile (see her blog post about it here), and eventually she became a doTerra distributor.

Admittedly, I was really dubious about this stuff. I read up about it online, and while many people did say it works, many also said it tastes awful. I’m pretty wimpy, so if I don’t like the taste of something, there is a good chance I won’t use it. Along with the bottle of oil, she gave me some empty capsules with instructions to put 3 to 4 drops in one of them and swallow it. I started trying it out 4 days ago. Even in the capsule, you can still kind of taste it, and while it’s not great tasting, I can tolerate it. In fact, today I just put a few drops in a little water and chugged it.

According to the manufacturer, you are supposed to put 8 drops in a 16oz glass of water, and you are supposed to take it in between meals. I’ve just been taking it once, 3 to 4 drops, in the morning, and it does help to take it first and then drink a good amount afterwards because the taste tends to linger for a few hours.

I was too chicken to step on the scale before I started this. I know the numbers would be horrifying, so I’ve decided to gauge how well this works by seeing how my cloths fit. I felt really good when I woke up this morning, so I bravely took out a pair of pants that I have had to struggle getting into lately. And…happy dance…I zipped them up with no problem!

So why and how does this stuff work? It is made up of natural products: grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon. For whatever reason, as least for me, this combination curbs my appetite. If I get hungry at all, which I have not found that happening too much, it lasts for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then I’m fine. In fact, it’s a mild hungry feeling at best, not my usual must-eat-now-or-pass-out-feeling. On top of that, I feel a little extra zip, not wired up but just a general good and energetic feeling.

For anyone struggling with weight, I feel comfortable recommending this product, and I am shamefully suggesting anyone interested should contact my sister (at wonderfulworldofbags@gmail.com) to find out how to get a bottle, or you can shop directly on her web site. Slim and Sassy is under the oil blends section.

I know it’s not even been a week since I started using it, but I am sold that it does work. In fact, once those same pants start to be a little on the baggy side, I may even be brave enough to step on the scale again.

Laundry Room Organized, Check!

Blogged under 31 Gifts Indep. Consultant, Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Saturday 30 March 2013 at 11:25 am



Admittedly, our laundry room is the smallest room in the house; in fact, I hesitate to call it a “room” because it is really kind of a hallway in between the garage and kitchen. There is just enough space to open the dryer door, and above the washer and dryer is a shelf that had turned into a catch all for rags and sundry items vaguely related to cleaning.

One mantra of Thirty-One Gifts is finding solutions, and after getting my kit when I joined as an independent consultant, I realized that I could use the Large Utility Tote included in the kit as a place to start with getting that shelf organized. The tote is one of the company’s most popular items, and now I know why: You can use it for all kinds of storage.

The tote pictured is in the Party Punch pattern. Without monogramming, it retails for $35. It measures 11.75 inches high, 21.5 inches wide, and 10 inches deep and has a metal frame around the top so you can collapse it down and flatten it in case you want to store it some place. It also has handles on each side, and mine came monogrammed with “Family Fun” on one side. I thought that was kind of a funny saying because I ended up storing all the dogs’ towels in there for when they get baths, some fun huh?

On the opposite end of the shelf, I have a few baskets, that were buried in the piles of stuff, filled with cleaning products and dog leashes.




It is just one tiny room, but I feel so good that it is organized now, and of course, this has got my mind thinking about my next organization goal. I ended up ordering another Large Utility Tote in the Woodblock Floral pattern without any monogramming for our bedroom, and I may get a second one for that room. My husband has a ton of shirts that need ironing, and they tend to pile up on one of our dressers…ummm…yeah because I do iron but not every dang day! Plus even if I got myself in gear and ironed every shirt he owns, there is no room in his closet, which he needs to purge some stuff from. I’m not waiting on that to happen any time soon.

If you are looking for organizing solutions, you can view the Thirty-One Gifts catalog on my shop site. Along with the large utility tote, they have a number of other products that can be used to organize your studio, home, or office.

Spring Break has Sprung!

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Monday 25 March 2013 at 9:10 am



Spring Break officially starts for me today! As usual, I have a long list of stuff to do, most of which I won’t manage to complete:

  • Meet up with friends and family. During the semester, I don’t have a lot of time to socialize!
  • Read a little each day. Right now, I’m reading a book now called Chasing Sunsets: A Cedar Key Novel by Eva Maria Everson.
  • Crochet, of course! I am hoping to get at least part of the Crochet Beyond the Rectangle class done.
  • More crochet, I’m still making amigurumi toys for the shelter. I’m banging out a lot of Buddy Bears right now. I also have to make some wash cloths I promised to make for my mom.
  • Get some spring cleaning down around the house. I feel the urge to purge and reorganize.
  • Spin, spin, spin! Now that all my spinning supplies have a pretty new home, I feel even more like making some yarn.
  • Bead up some jewelry - I have a few designs that have been floating around in my head. I just have to decide which to tackle first.

Today Is Why I Live in Florida

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 27 February 2013 at 12:00 pm

Today it is about 70 degrees, and I can feel a little nip in the air because a cold front is coming. While the grass does not grow as fast as it usually does (which my husband is very thankful for), the foliage is still green. It is February in Florida, and it is a beautiful day, a day that epitomizes why I have chosen to live in this state.

I was four years old when my parents relocated to Florida because my father got his dream job as a NASA engineer. That was over 40 years ago. I can’t say that I have traveled widely; I have been around a good portion of the US (especially out West), taken a dip into Canada and Mexico, briefly visited the Bahamas, and spent a week in Jamaica. Except for a Christmas spent in Colorado when I was about 12 and a November 4-H trip to Chicago when I was 14, most of my travels have been during the summer when the weather was warm. So my northern cold weather experience is limited, but the little that I did experience was enough to determine that it was not for me.

I remember one afternoon during the 4-H Chicago trip. I was in the infirmary. I don’t know exactly what was wrong with me other than I had a headache that would not go away, and when I went up to the infirmary to ask for an aspirin, the nurse insisted on taking my temperature and would not let me leave after that. I was stuck in there for a few days. This was about half way into our weak-long trip, so I had already been outside a fair amount as we were ushered from one place to the other. I was shocked at the horribly cold winds and the dead trees everywhere. It seemed the like gloomiest city in the world to me.

On this afternoon, it had started to snow, so the Florida 4-H group was out running around like crazy kids in the snow, as most had never seen it before. I watched them from an upper floor in the infirmary, and my 4-H leader, Mrs. B, had stopped by to check on me. As we both watched them, I asked her, “Why do people live here?” She was originally from the area, so it seemed like she should know. She replied, “Because they don’t know any better.”

This memory emerged today as I was walking around outside. I often post on Facebook about the great weather, and it is taken by some of my FB friends as an “in your face it’s better here than there” comment. However, it really isn’t meant that way (at least most of the time ;) In fact, one FB peep posted recently how much she loved the snow and did not want someone from the South commenting back to her about how warm it was where he/she was. She hated hot weather, so there!

It is funny how passionate we can feel about where we chose to live.

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