Introducing: Mary Marie Handmade Goods!

At long last, I finally have something to show for my hours and hours AND HOURS of boiling water, gluing wicks, shopping, researching, taking photos, etc. etc. It’s an Etsy shop!

I do hope you’ll visit and check out my main offerings – recycled candles. A lot of people are making candles out of found objects, but few are also using recycled wax. For me, that’s the best part, and the one my thrifty grandmother (that would be Mary Marie) would be most proud of. Very little goes to waste here at chez candle crazy.

I hope to add some additional crafts made with fabric scraps and old buttons (thanks, mom!) very soon.

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s in the store now.

Set of cobalt blue votives.

Cute yellow mug.

I’ll also have items for sale at the Junior League Gift Mart this weekend (look for the Ephemera table) and at Craft Saturday December 6.

Obviously I’m in the mood to sell, sell, sell! now, but I truly believe these items would make great gifts, and in a time when everyone’s worried about money, I can offer you a handmade, eco-friendly present at a very reasonable price.

Loving: desk calendar

That evil is at it again, tempting me with adorable office supplies. The past couple years I’ve just found a printable desk calendar online, printed it out on cheapo paper and put it in an old CD jewel case.

But when I saw this guy, I had to have it. It’s made by Night Owl Paper Goods in “Owlabama”. Ha!

I bought some of their postcards earlier this year at a local bath and body shop, and they were too cute to send so I framed them.

The great fence battle of 2008

A couple days ago we realized that both us and the neighbors were having fence issues when Sadie came back inside, but Reggie didn’t. She’d hopped into the neighbors’ yard, then hopped out their yard into freedom and ran for her life.

As I was about an hour from interviewing a “celeb” from the Food Network, I was a tad stressed about finding the dog and getting to work. A half hour later when she still wasn’t found, we were both in full panic mode. We decided to trade off — I’d drive around and Mike would wait at the house in case she came back. As I backed out the driveway we both spotted her, trotting up the street like she was the happiest dog alive. Sigh.

Despite our attempts to fix the fence, or at least create a temporary blockage with the fallen limbs that had broken the fence in the first place, both dogs managed to escape. Twice. We were long past the ends of our ropes this morning.

After Mike searched a while and no luck, I got in the car and drove around the block a few times. I picked up my cell phone, then drove to the end of our block and turned left. I got about halfway down the street when I saw two full-grown deer bolting across the four-way stop ahead. I thought to myself, that’s an unusual sight for the middle of the day. And then I realized why I was seeing it.

About two seconds later a flash of black and white zoomed by. Reggie.

I followed their path and eventually found both dogs, after they’d lost the chase in a wooded area, nuzzling up to some neighbors. Together, they’d had probably the most exciting day of their entire lives. And as much as I wanted to scream and stomp my foot, I just had to laugh. It was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a while.

Later on Mike hopped into the neighbors’ yard and called Reggie, thus figuring out how she was escaping. Instead of hopping over the branches, she wiggled through them, showing Sadie the way. So we replaced the old broken boards that had previously held the fence up while the dogs pouted.

Sadie was especially miffed.

“If we can’t escape the yard, can we at least go for a ride in the car?”

I think they’ll sleep good tonight. They’ve been giving Mike the double cuddle.

Loving: button jar

Brianne gave me this adorable jar for candlemaking purposes, but I thought it was so cute it begged to be filled with old buttons and set in a sunny window.

Final thoughts on the cleanse

So I finished the cleanse yesterday, and I feel like, overall, it was a good thing for me. I lost a little weight (maybe 4 or 5 pounds), and by the end I was really craving less food and feeling more satisfied after I did eat. I think I will continue to eat this way in the sense that I want to stay conscious of every food decision, and feel good about making the right choices instead of guilty over making the wrong ones.

A couple things I really do want to change: less dessert and smaller helpings. Notice I didn’t say anything about cutting out foods. I just can’t have a 500-calorie dessert after dinner every night. And there’s absolutely no reason I need to scoop multiple helpings on my plate. If I decide to take up marathon running, then we’ll talk. For now, I’m only exercising about twice a week.

At the beginning of the cleanse I mostly had to pee a lot, and didn’t notice much of a change physically or mentally. By the middle I was cleansing in a different way, if you know what I mean. I would wake up, take the morning part and then take several bathroom trips throughout the day. Then I’d eat dinner, take the evening part and go to sleep.

I slept very well, and often had vivid dreams I’d still remember when I woke up. I also got really sensitive to spicy foods, something that also happened on my raw food experiment. I often didn’t feel hungry because I felt my stomach and intestines processing constantly. Today I felt much hungrier.

I’m not sure everyone would want to do this just because it requires you to remember to take certain things and certain times, drink tons of water, monitor what you eat, and experience numerous daily trips to the bathroom, some of them not exactly pleasant. But if you’re willing to make the commitment to sort of break yourself of bad habits and start feeling better, go for it.

By the end I was feeling very emotional, like a lot of things weighing on my mind came to a head, and so I just tried to work through it all, and feel much better today. I think just making any kind of dietary or lifestyle change will make you more conscious of other things in your life, and I think that’s something we all could use from time to time.

Meet Sadie

A few weeks ago we got an email from the owner of Downtown Doggy Daycare, where we’d taken Reggie a couple of times. She had a client who couldn’t keep her dog because she was now traveling about half the time and felt badly that the high energy dog was always alone. As soon as I saw the photo of Sadie, a black and tan coonhound, all curled up on a dog bed I wondered if I should hit reply. We’d been thinking of getting Reggie a buddy, well, since we got her. But it’s never felt like the right time financially or energy-wise. Sadie was the nudge we needed.

A few minutes later Mike emailed me. “Do we need a coonhound?”

So we got in touch with Sadie’s owner, and after a few communications, set up a time to meet her. By the time it rolled around, they’d already given her to someone else. We’d gotten our hopes up, and we were disappointed. But it was also the same week I decided to get my candle/yoga bags business up and running, so I felt a bit relieved I didn’t have to also handle a new family member.

A couple weeks ago we got another email. A family that lived outside of town had a stray, a pointer with a 7-week-old puppy. I called right away. The mom was gone. The puppy was still available. “Can we handle a puppy?”

A few hours later, the puppy was gone, too. I guess you have to be lightening fast to adopt a dog when you’re competing with doggy daycare clientele. “Should we just stop pressing our luck and go to the ARL?”

I think we gave up on serendipity finding us a dog that day.

And then, last Thursday, Sadie was back. The woman who adopted her had broken her hip and needed surgery. She also had decided she couldn’t keep Sadie anyway because her other dog, much older, couldn’t keep up. This time we were the only ones on the e-mail. This time I came by that night. This time, she went home with us.

So here’s our girl. All howlin’ hunting dog.

They think she’s about 2 1/2. I have no idea how she ended up at the ARL in the first place, just that she’s had 3 homes in the last couple months, and she needs some stability. Reggie needed a dog that could keep up with her, and boy does Sadie fit the bill. They wrestle constantly. They tree squirrels in the back yard. They sleep in tight balls on the couch, moaning when you try to move them.

Two wild girls, and a soft place to land. They will test my patience endlessly, no doubt. But I love them both more than you can imagine.

Scalloped scarf

I bought some yarn, oh I don’t know, a year ago? to make a cute little crocheted scarf. I had a little free time tonight so I pulled it out and looked up the pattern in my Happy Hooker book. I knew it was a simple one, but I had no idea it would go so fast! I finished it in just a couple of hours watching TV.

I won’t give away the pattern, but it’s basically just three rows of double crochet, with a shell pattern running over the outside.

I think if I were to make it again I might make it a little fatter. I chose cream colored yarn, but it would be great in black or purple, too.

Update on the cleanse

I can’t say I’ve noticed any major differences since I’ve been on the cleanse. Day 2 was probably the worst. I went for a short run, something I haven’t done in a long time. It felt good, but a few hours later I started to get a headache, and it turned into an absolute monster. I didn’t want to take any pills, being on a cleanse and all, but I ended up taking a couple rounds of ibuprofen just to get through it, and eventually it faded away. Last night I went to yoga and did several headstands with no problem.

I definitely feel like my system is cleaning itself out, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. I’ve been weighing myself every day just to see what it says, and it’s been showing about a half pound of weight loss each day. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what I eat, having a lot of fresh fruit and cooked veggies. I only ate out once this week.

I think my biggest challenge, diet-wise, in the future is making those binge-worthy occasions (baking desserts, holidays, eating out) rare. I take great pleasure in food (as you can see from this blog), so put something fabulous in front of me and I will eat it. During the week, when I’m in charge of what I cook, I do really well.

I’m traveling this weekend, so that will be another challenge, but I feel like just being conscious of making better choices will help more than anything.

Trying: a cleanse

The last two weeks I’ve really been trying to eat better, and I think I’ve done a good job so far. But I was feeling like I needed something to give me a little kick start and motivation so I went to the health foods store and asked about doing a cleanse. They have tons of products (mainly nutritional supplements and lots of fiber), and the clerk suggested a 7-day rapid cleanse that helps clear out your digestive system and some of your other organs, too. I have no idea what exactly will happen, but I’ve heard other people say they feel better afterward and want to eat healthier. So I’m giving it a try. I take two pills in the morning, two at night, and have two glasses of water mixed with a fiber solution a la Metamucil (but it doesn’t taste like anything).

Other cleanses, juice feasts, etc. consisting of a dramatic change in diet probably work better in terms of sheer weight loss, and I really did consider something like that, but you know, baby steps. I’ve heard very mixed things about those, and feel a little wary.

So far the sheer amount of water I’ve had to drink is the only “cleansing” I’ve really experienced, but it’s early still. Anyone ever tried one of these?