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.

Yes, I Do Make Jewelry Too

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada, writing by Tammy on Tuesday 12 February 2013 at 6:02 pm

I sometimes get asked by readers who find this blog why I don’t write more here about jewelry making, my first serious crafting crush, versus all this fiber stuff you see all the time here. I would guess, even, that if someone came here and didn’t know me previously, he/she might not enough know I make jewelry and even have 8 jewelry books published (and not by vanity presses BTW). So, to those inquisitive minds or those who just don’t know, yes, I actually do still make jewelry. Lately, I have been making Valentine’s Day jewelry.





Not only do I make jewelry regularly, but I write and publish jewelry tutorials, jewelry book reviews, jewelry designer interviews, and other jewelry related articles every week on the About.com Jewelry Making site. It’s my part-time job, and I publish a minimum of 8 articles a month on that site. If you sign up for my free newsletter over there, you will get a weekly notice of any new articles published.

As a result of being paid to write about jewelry over there and being contractually obligated to write a certain number of articles and other required activities to maintain the site, I sort of horde my jewelry text for that site instead of writing it here, which I don’t get paid for doing. Here I play. And, jewelry for me is not really play time like it is with fiber or other crafts. I mean. Maybe it is like playing, but it’s playing with more of a purpose. If I make a bracelet, for example, I have to take photos of each step of the process. If the design doesn’t work out the first time, then I have to rework it, and again, take photos and make notes as I go. I have to document my steps because I need them later for tutorials. I still enjoy the work, which is why I am still doing it after 15 years; however, it’s part of my living versus a hobby.

I wish I could devote more time to all of it, but I also work a demanding full-time job as well. So that’s the reason why you see different crafts here and not so much jewelry.

Drunken Birds & Pepper Trees

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Sunday 3 February 2013 at 6:56 am



The birds! The birds! Our pepper trees are full of berries, and this means that the local bird population is going ballistic eating the berries. They are everywhere as they eat them off the trees and also off of the ground.



Pepper trees are not originally part of the Florida flora and fauna. They are actually from Brazil, but they are all over the state. They grow super fast. The city cuts them down constantly in the canal behind our house, but a few months later, they are back. Which I have to admit, I’m okay with because they give us extra privacy. Of course, you have to be careful not to touch the trees because it can often give you a rash.

Any way, back to the birds. After chowing down on the berries for days, they get drunk and a little crazy, and even brazen. They fly away when I bring my dogs out, but as soon as our backs are turned, they are back eating more berries, sometimes just a few feet away from us.




I am not sure if the birds have a hangover after their berry binge.

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