Friday, April 29, 2011

And the Winner Is....

According to the random generator

Inna is our winner!

Inna said...
These look great!
Liked Mylana's Facebook page!

Woohoo!

Yeehaw!

Huzzah!

Inna, send me an email letting me know where you want the earrings and soap shipped and I'll get them in the mail pronto!

Thanks again to Clare {http://mylana.etsy.com} for the fabulous interview and the generous donation of her earrings and soap.

Now, get to her shop and buy something fabulous!

I bought two bars of soap from her last week and I love them.  Plus, she surprised me with a bonus bar of soap.  Look how pretty they're packaged.  They come wrapped in a strip of muslin that I can reuse, and I think that's just pretty awesome.  


I've only used the Herbal Mint so far.  I love the way it lathers - lots of bubbles.  Plus, it doesn't leave my hands feeling dry.  It does get them very clean, though.  I've used it post-gardening and post-art and it takes off dirt, glue, paint and paper clay.  It's awesome stuff! 

Next week, we'll have another interview and another giveaway.  This time, it's going to be a multiple choice giveaway.  As in, you're going to have your choice of three different items to win.  Yay!  

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you back here next week! 

Be happy, 
Rachel

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No More Rain, Please.

First things first.  If you haven't read the interview with Clare from Mylana and entered the giveaway, you should do both right now.  

I'm sure by now that you've seen the horrible weather we've been having here in Arkansas on the news .  We got out yesterday and there is water everywhere.  I didn't take any pictures because it seemed like we were in a hurry everywhere we went, and by the time we were finished doing what we had to do, I just wanted to get back home.  
There have also been tornadoes in the central part of the state.  

At last count, 11 people have died in Arkansas because of the storms.  My heart goes out to their family and friends. 

Here are a few photos I found online of the storms' effects.  It's not pretty.  







And...it's raining again.  

I think we all could use a little bit of sunshine for awhile.  A little peace.  A little rest.  

Be safe, and please don't get out in bad weather unless it's absolutely necessary.  

Be happy,
Rachel 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interview 1: Clare from Mylana

Today's interview is with Clare from Mylana on Etsy.  Clare has generously donated a pair of gorgeous earrings and a soap sample for this week's giveaway.  Yay! 


Aren't these stunning???  
They're even prettier in person.  

And this soap smells SO good.  Seriously. 
   
And they can both be yours...all yours...muahahahahaha!  

To enter the giveaway, you must...
1.  Follow my blog or become a fan of my FB page
2.  "Like" the Mylana Facebook page
3.  Leave a comment here letting me know which you did.  

It's that easy! 


You can enter Tuesday through Thursday. 

Now on to the interview.  

Isn't she beautiful?
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Clare and I make soap and candles along with jewelry and other crafty things.


2. Why do you do what you do?
I have been fascinated with wax ever since I was a kid and would melt down all my old crayons, but I keep making things today because I love the good feeling I get when I can give away or show something that I have made to someone and they like it.


It's a bacon-scented candle!  PURE GENIUS!
3. How long have you been doing it? (Your craft, not doing IT)
I made my first real candles in kindergarten as part of a project, we made tapers the old fashioned way by dunking a long string in a vat of wax and then in a big pail of water. A few years later, I made sand candles at girl scout camp. I made them a lot at home in hight school by melting down old candles, but it wasn't until I got to college and the internet became popular that I could find a steady source for supplies. In college I ordered my first real supplies and have been making candles for over 12 years. I bought my first soap supplies in 2000 when my candle supplier started offering them and I made my first batch of cold process. About 5 years later, I learned melt and pour soap making. I just learned how to do jewelery this last summer.
Cucumber Melon Glycerin Soap

4. Do you listen to music while you’re creating? If so, what kind?

Sometimes I do, and usually it is the itunes livestream radio. I also really like Tori Amos and occasionally, latin salsa or jazz. I have a BA in Spanish, so listening to music in Spanish helps me retain some of it. I also really love the Gypsy Kings.

5. What’s the crappiest job you’ve ever had?

I worked at Taco Bell for 3 years and that sucked, but I would probably have to say the Army. I was in the Army for 6 years and got disabled in Afghanistan, from a disease, not combat. I was over there after Sept. 11 and I got very sick and they airlifted me to Germany and it turns out that I had Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. You can't be insulin dependent and be in the Army. I take 4 shots a day, so I got medically retired. There were parts of the Army I liked, such as travel, bonding with friends, and the work we did over there to help civilians, such as building roads, schools, and hospitals. Unfortunately, I am not really into guns and I don't find it fun or exciting and I dislike camping and tromping around in the woods playing war games, so even though I was always a good soldier and loyal, I was glad to be out of the military because it wasn't a good fit.
Copper and Green Glass Necklace

6. Professionally, what’s your goal?

I would love to be able to sell locally, but for soap and candles, I need product liability insurance and a better production facility than my kitchen, in order to wholesale or in a lot of stores. So, my first goal is to sell enough to be able to buy more supplies and consistently make more of the same types of soap and candles, and second is to save for product liability insurance and renting a space for production.

7. If you cut Paula Deen do you think she'd bleed butter?

I've personally never seen her show, but I do see her face on the box of Walmart bakery goodies, and I actually feel guilty just looking at them. Some of them look so unhealthy and awesome though, like this butter pecan caramel cake thingy. I don't think there is any way she can eat the things she cooks on a regular basis or she would be dead.

A huge thank you to Clare for the awesome interview.  Go check out her shop and buy some pretties!  

And, remember to enter the giveaway!



Be happy,
Rachel 

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Little Q & A. A Giveaway. Another Rainy Day. Oy Vey!

UPDATE:  The package arrived today and the giveaway will include a soap sample,too.  It smells so good and the earrings are GORGEOUS!  


It's almost time for the first Curious Crow interview and I'm so excited!  

Our first seller interview is with Clare.  Clare's shop is Mylana on Etsy.  Clare makes awesome soap, candles and gorgeous jewelry.  AND...she's been generous enough that she's giving away a pair of earrings, and you'll be able to enter to win the earrings tomorrow right here on The Curious Crow.  Woohoo!  

At the moment I don't have a pic of the earrings, but I'm hoping that I'll get them in the mail today or the next so I can let you guys see them.  But judging from Clare's other earrings, they're gonna be fabulous.  

Stop back by tomorrow and read about Clare and why she does what she does, and then enter to win!  It's gonna be great! 

Okay, I just used so many exclamation points that I'm starting to look perky.  We can't have that, so it's time for me to gripe for a little bit.  

Do you know it's been raining here for days and days and days?  It's an unbelievable amount of rain and I'm not sure if it will ever stop.  There is flooding in the area and some reports are stating that we've had over 10 inches in the past three days.  


This is what the radar looks like at the moment.  We live at the purple X so we're in for more rain today.  I'm really quite tired of it.  We may be flooded in, too.  There's a lake near the house and if it's flooded we're screwed.  There's no other way out.  WE'RE TRAPPED! DOOMED! THE HORROR! 

There's a chance I'm being a little overly dramatic about the entire thing.  

Okay, that's enough bitching for now.  

Make sure you go check out Mylana and come back tomorrow for the interview and giveaway.  

Be happy,
Rachel

Thursday, April 21, 2011

News of the Exciting Kind

Exciting things are a-brewin' here at The Curious Crow.  

First a few personal type things.  

1.  I was contacted after this past First Thursday by a very nice gentleman from Northwest Arkansas Community College.  He had seen my art at the show and asked if I wanted to have a show at the college.  So, I'll have my art there from Nov 1 - Dec 31.  Yay!  


It's one of the fanciest looking community colleges I've ever seen
2.  I was accepted for the Downtown Eureka Springs Art Show, which is part of the May Festival of the Arts. The show is May 13 and 14. This means I really need to get busy making things. Yay again!  




3.  Eric and I have taken over the fall art show here in Eureka.  It doesn't have a website, yet.  We're working on it.  This will be the sixth year of the show, so everything is pretty much in place.  The venue is secured and we should be able to get some funding for advertising.  I've never ran an art show before, but when I told one of my friends that I was a little nervous about it his response was, "Are you kidding me?  You'll get to boss around a bunch of people.  You're a natural for it."  He's such a funny guy. I know the show will be a lot of fun and hopefully Eric and I will make a dollar or two from it.   

NOW...for the really exciting news.  

Starting next Monday, I will be interviewing sellers from Etsy.  Every week I'll interview a different seller.  I think it's going to be a great way to look at the human element behind the shop.  The interviews will be short and I'll try to keep them fun!  

AND...every once in awhile, I'm going to be having a giveaway! In fact, the first giveaway will be next week! 

Monday I'll let you know who the interview will be with, what the giveaway will be, and how to enter and all that sort of stuff. 

How fun is this?  

Be happy,
Rachel 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Can't Believe I Fell For It - The Grand Finale

If you're just now joining us, you can find the previous installments to this scintillating story here and here.  

So far on our adventure, Eric and I had managed to fend off a ferocious ringneck snake and we had eluded jawbone-wielding murderers and ravenous bears.  


However, we still hadn't found anything that was really photo worthy. Except for this next picture, maybe.  


Just so you know, flip flops + wet rocks = disaster.  


Okay, maybe not disaster.  Maybe just a wet backside.  Like this one. This quite healthy one that would probably look pretty darn tasty to a hungry bear.  There's a lot of butt meat there.   


But I did manage to save the camera from hitting the rocks when I hit the rocks.  So there's that.  

Have I mentioned that the day I picked to go gallivanting around getting nature all over me was the hottest day this year?  It was 87 degrees, which is too hot to be traipsing through nature in flip flops while fending off things that want to eat/torture/maim me.  

But I found some may apples.   

And some pretty purple flowers. 
And some pretty yellow flowers. 
And this completely unnecessary sign, because there's no way any type of motorized vehicle could make it through this trail.  

And, finally, after what seemed like days we reached Valhalla,  Nirvana, Shangri la, THE FALLS!  

I know. 

I know. 

I know.  

Trust me.  I know.  

I endangered my life.  Several times.  I got lost. I peed in an outhouse. I braved Madison County.  I relived the "squeal like a pig" scene from Deliverance over and over in my head.  I fell on my ass.  I got sore feet.  I PERSPIRED! 

For something less than stellar.  I'm sure now that the trees have some leaves, it's a much prettier place.  But there's no way in hell I'm going back to check for myself.  

So after trying to take photos that would make this craphole look less crapholish, I had to walk all the way back to the car.  On pointy rocks. In flip flops.  

Somehow the way back was 4 times as long as the way in.  Eric kept lying to me and saying he could see the car.  I kept showing him the beauty of my middle finger and telling him I was going to trip him should Chainsaw start chasing us.  

By the time I made it back to the car, I could only manage a very blurry shot of my red, grumpy face.  But look how sharply focused the trash in the background is.  Isn't it lovely?  I think it adds a bit of class to the joint.    


I can say that if it hadn't been for this guy going with me, I would have never braved walking down that very forlorn trail by myself. 

There's no one that I'd rather have as my sidekick on an adventure.  

Just so you know, I informed my editor that the next time he sent me to take pictures, I was going to punch him in the wiener before I went.  Just in case.  

Be happy, 
Rachel

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Can't Believe I Fell For It - Part Dos

So, we'd finally made it to the falls...at least that's what the sign had on it.  At first glance I couldn't see any falls.  I saw this...
Anti-climactic would be a good word to use.  I'd risked having my bladder burst for this?  How would I ever make this look good enough for the paper?  I can do pretty well with Photoshop, but I can't perform miracles with it.

Then Eric noticed a little trail beside the river and thought we should take it. I wasn't too keen on taking the trail because I was wearing flip-flops.  I know I should have known better than to wear flip-flops, but I looked at pictures of the falls and to me it looked  like a park.  One where you could pull right up to the falls, take a few shots and leave.  Plus, I usually have a pair of scrubby close-toed shoes that I keep in the car for such situations.  For some reason, the shoe box was in the car, but no shoes.

After driving for hours trying to find this place, I knew I had to get my pics that day because there was no in all fine hells I was ever going back there.  So, I decided to walk the trail in flip-flops.  So not a good idea.  I was worried that snakes might come out and find my toes to be tasty.  Fortunately, the only snake we saw was this little fella and not only was he completely harmless, he was also completely lethargic.



But you see all those little sharp rocks sticking up? They were liberally scattered over the trail, and I think I managed to step on every single one.

You know what I was scared of more than snakes biting my toes, though?  Being attacked by some inbred named Chainsaw who would torture me for three days before bludgeoning me to death with the jawbone of a feral boar.

I have an active imagination.  

However, if you've ever roamed the wilds of Madison County, Arkansas, you'll know that my imagined bludgeoning wasn't so far-fetched.  And Chainsaw would have the perfect place to dump my body.  
After walking for what seemed like miles, we found this.   


I was even more underwhelmed than I was before.  

We walked some more.  We crossed a bridge.  An ugly, brown bridge made out of expanded metal that bounced when you walked on it.  


It led us to some falls.  Well, they were rapids that wanted to be falls when they grew up.  

The good news was that they were bigger than the last set of rapids.  The bad news was that a picture of them wouldn't make anyone want to actually go visit this craphole lovely river.  

I even got all artsy and blurred the falls.  
Amazingly enough, it just looked exactly like a blurry craphole.  

At this point, my feet were starting to hurt, the outside temperature was steadily climbing and Eric had pointed to a pile of poop and said, "Oh look.  Bear poop."  And even though I knew he doesn't know the difference between bear poop and walrus poop, I now had to not only worry about snakes and Chainsaw, but I also had to worry about getting mauled by a bear.  

I may or may not have had thoughts about punching my editor right in the wiener.  

Tomorrow I'll fill you in on how I ended up with a wet butt and what my final photos were.  

Be happy, 
Rachel

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Can't Believe I Fell For It - Part I

Part 1 of a 5 part series.  Or maybe just a 4 part series.  Possibly 3.  

I'm not sure how many of you know it, but I have a part-time gig as a freelance writer for The Free Weekly, which is an alternative paper out of Fayetteville. I write a restaurant review (Eat It), organize the calendars and basically do whatever my editor asks - as long as I really want to do it.  

Last week he wanted to know if I wanted to take a mini road trip and take some shots of King's River Falls.  Of course, I said yes.  Partly, because I wanted to take a mini road trip, but mostly because I'll unashamedly whore myself out for almost any kind of work these days. 

So, Eric and I loaded up the car with some drinks and sandwiches and a lot of naive optimism and headed out on our merry way.  

King's River Falls is only about an hour from the house.  I think.  I'm really not sure.  You see, we got lost on the way there.  But it wasn't our fault.  The falls are way out in the middle of Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, Why the Hell Would Anyone Want To Live Out Here?  I know that seems a tad wordy for a location, but they didn't put me in charge of naming things. We'll just do as the locals do and call it Out Yonder. It seems that the powers that be in Out Yonder decided to change all of the county road numbers so they didn't match the road numbers on my GPS.  

Getting lost in Out Yonder is bad, but I can't settle for just bad.  I have to have REALLY bad or I'm just not a happy girl.  So, while we were driving on miles and miles of extremely bumpy dirty roads, my bladder decided that now would be a super fun time to be emptied.  Okay, that sounds like I peed myself, which I didn't.  But I had to pee.  Horribly bad. Like bad enough that I was starting to think about people who died from their bladder bursting. There are no gas stations out in Out Yonder.  NONE. 

There was also no shrubbery to squat behind.  And I'd gotten to the point where I would have squatted behind anything that would have shielded me from unsuspecting eyes.  The only thing that was green was blackberry brambles and I didn't think that getting poked there by blackberry thorns would be much fun.  


All of the roads looked just like this.  Lots of brown dirt.  
After driving for what seemed like days, we finally managed to get heading back in the right direction.  In the meantime, I was sure I was going to die from a bladder explosion, which really isn't a very dignified way to die.  We came to a church that we'd seen at least once before and Eric said that maybe there was a place for me to pee there.  I was willing to try anything.  I may have told him that if there wasn't any place to pee I was going to mangle certain parts of his body.  

Oddly enough, there were two outhouses behind the church.  I don't know why there were outhouses - maybe it was a miracle.  I didn't get any photos of the outhouses, because while they were potentially miraculous, they still weren't very picturesque.  But I did get a shot of the bell tower.  I'm not sure why because it wasn't picturesque, either.  Maybe having to pee for 3 days out in the middle of nowhere did something to my brain.  Maybe I was suffering from urine poisoning.  

  I also took a picture of the well.  Once again, no idea why.  



After driving down a couple of more dirt roads, we finally made it to the falls.



Tomorrow I'll tell you about the snake and axe murderers named Chainsaw.  


Be happy and pee before you leave, 
Rachel

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Do You Do It?

Today I was up at 7:30.  I was out of the house at 9:30 to run errands.  I went to the post office to mail some packages, dropped the overdue books off at the library and then stopped by one of the local churches to pick up some burlap coffee bean bags.  I really don't know why the church has burlap coffee bean bags, but they do and they were free so I got some.  I think I'll make throw pillow out of them.  I'll post about them later.  

Then I went to 4 thrift stores and then grocery shopping at two stores.  

I got home at around 2:30, put away the groceries and then sat down and sent some email.  I still have to take pictures to post new items on my Etsy shops then actually post the items, sort the things I bought today, make dinner, do laundry, clean a little bit of the house, get ready for a yard sale, make new art for two shows I'll be in next month, plant the flowers and herbs I got today, put in a veggie garden, furnish and decorate the back porch, get ready for Eric's daughter who will be here next weekend for 4 months, package sold items to ship, put some things on eBay, make a treasury for each of my shops, read and comment on blogs, write my own blog, tweet, FB and a million other projects I have on my to-do list and somehow find time to relax for a minute or two - not to mention actually paying attention to Eric.  

I don't know how you women with little ones do it.  I know I did it once, but my kids are grown now and I am so glad they are.  I don't have the energy to keep up with kids anymore.  

So, as I sit here and look at my huge to do list, I wonder if I'm missing some key ingredient on how to do it all without going nuts.  I'm actually not so far from being nuts anyway, so it's going to be a pretty short trip.  

HOW DO YOU DO IT? 

Be happy, 
Rachel 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rice Pudding

I've been a busy girl lately.  I'll be back soon to regale you with tales of getting lost, why you shouldn't hike in flip flops, the art of falling on your behind, peeing in an outhouse, upcoming art shows and new adventures.

Until then, here's my favorite recipe for rice pudding.  I usually make shrimp fried rice a few times a month and every time I make it, I cook enough rice for rice pudding.  I only use jasmine rice.  I'm not generally crazy about rice, but jasmine rice is divine. It's the Leonard Cohen of rice...smooth, classy and delicious.  

Creamy Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup golden raisins (I would never ever sully my rice pudding with the addition of raisins, but to each his own)
1 tablespoon butter (please use real butter) 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (please use real vanilla)

Combine rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick and creamy, 15 - 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins should you actually want the nasty little things in your pudding.  Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.  Serve warm. 

This is super easy and super tasty.  It's actually much better warmed the next day.  If you want a richer pudding you can substitute a portion of the milk for half and half or cream.  You can also sprinkle the top with cinnamon or nutmeg if you have to be all fancy about your rice pudding.  You can even sprinkle the top with garlic, but I don't think it's going to taste very good.  

So, there you have it.  The best darn rice pudding I've ever had.  

Be happy, 
Rachel

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hi everyone! I'm busy getting ready for First Thursday tomorrow.  Yikes! How did tomorrow get so close?

So, here's a great song from a great duo.

I wish I had half of this dude's energy.





Be happy,
Rachel

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bob the Wonder Cat

When I moved in with Eric, I inherited two cats.  Bob and Lucy.  I'm going to introduce you to Bob today.  We'll save Lucy for another time.  

Bob may have a boy's name, but she is, indeed, a girl cat.  She was saddled with the name Bob, because she can't meow.  So, she's named after Silent Bob.  She squeaks once in awhile in an attempt to meow, but most of the time she just opens her mouth and mimes a meow.  I've thought about making her mime downtown for loose change, but I don't think she'll go for it.  Besides, it'd be hard to get that black and white mime makeup to stick to her fur.  

Bob loves to drink out of the bathtub faucet.  Every time I go anywhere near the bathroom, she makes a mad dash to the tub for a drink.  I've forgotten what it's like to pee in private.  There's always a cat watching me.  I had a picture of her drinking out of the tub, but now I can't find it. Just imagine a cat drinking out of the bathtub faucet.  

Bob also loves bags - especially plastic ones that make crinkly sounds.  If I set a bag down, before I'm finished putting away whatever was in it, Bob has taken up residence in the bag.  


I'm not sure how a cat who's so lazy that she has to lay down to drink out of her water dish, can move so fast when it comes to bathtub water or plastic bags.

Occasionally, the bags get the better of her.  

She wasn't very happy that I was taking pictures of her rather than extricating her from her bag necklace.  If she could talk, I'd imagine that she would have been using some not so very ladylike words to voice her disgust with me. 

Bob's not what most people would call "intelligent" or "bright".  In fact, some might choose to give her a description that begins with "clinically".  But, I can't help but love her.  She is so completely sweet, and is one of the most affectionate cats I've ever known.  



Just look at that adorable face! 

Be happy, 
Rachel

Friday, April 1, 2011

That Lucky Ol' Sun

I just looked outside and almost got blinded. There is a huge ball of fire in the sky.


THE SUN IS OUT!
THE SUN IS OUT!
THE SUN IS OUT!


That is all.  


We now resume regularly scheduled programming.  


Be happy and go bask in the sunshine, 
Rachel