Thursday, March 28, 2013

When everything keeps spinning....

Any of you who know me probably know that after my children, my husband is the center of my world. Throughout 10 years together I always knew I was beyond lucky to find my better half, someone to share every part of my life with. Someone that makes me want to be a better person every single day.

11 days after my last blog post (January 1st, 2012 approx 1 hour after midnight) I found my husband had been hiding an addiction to prescription pain medication for almost two years. I can honestly say I did not understand what this meant at all at the time, and after 15 months of a whirlwind fall to hell, I'm still not sure I fully understand.

Since the pills my husband was taking covered an undiagnosed mental illness, once he did get clean the situation turned from really bad to a complete nightmare. At this point in time I have no idea how is; he is not allowed to contact me or my children as ordered by the courts.

A while back I removed most of my online presence and deleted my social networking accounts in an effort to protect myself and my children from an out of control situation. I may choose to talk about that more in the future, but for now I'm not ready to comment. I completely forgot about this blog, and now I am grateful for that. I am no longer afraid. I am ready to stand up and speak after a trip down a road I never knew could exist in my life, a road I wouldn't send my worst enemy down.
It was on this road however I have found so many gifts. Gifts of who I am, what is truly important me, and what I am capable of. And I know I am still traveling this road as I am working harder everyday to stabilize things for myself and most of all for my amazing, beautiful, sweet children.

Due to the overwhelming stress and other factors, my memory (which was not all that great to begin with) has taken quite a hit. I am very grateful for the journals I have kept. It was only a couple of weeks ago I finally found the courage to turn back and read past entries. After reading until the sun came up the next morning, I was able to see so clearly not only how my life has changed significantly, but also how I have changed and grown as a person.

This blog was started with the intent of discussing rocks and etsy. Cutting rocks was a huge part of my life and my marriage, and something I love. I have tried many times to enjoy this hobby without my husband, but at this time it just hurts too much. So I suppose this blog may take a drastic change just as my life has.

To anyone out there facing addictions, violence, and/or mental illness in your family life, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It may seem as if you are alone, it may seem as if no one could possibly understand, and it may seem as if the only thing to do is to hide, but that is not true. There are many others that have been or still are where you are, and I personally refuse to hide anymore. I'm ready to sort the pieces left here and take anything I can from this life altering horror story. I still wake up each morning wanting to be a better person, but it's no longer because of my husband, now it is because of myself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!

I love Christmas, I love spending time with my family and the giving spirit. Being a mother of 4, I'm used to being the one giving, but this year I received a very special gift.

Community Service is very important to me, I like to help out whenever I can. I've donated blood regularly since I found out my blood was a rare type when I was 16. But then I became anemic and wasn't allowed to anymore. So when I saw the sign for the Bone Marrow Registry a few months back, I thought that could be a good replacement!

The Bone Marrow Registry is just that - a list of people to search through when someone needs a bone marrow transplant. To get on the registry, it's a simple Qtip swab in your cheek. It's painless and it takes less than 1 minute. Then if you're a match for someone, you'll be contacted.

So I grabbed my form, planning to go the next day and join the registry. Well I was disqualified on the first question. I was upset and my husband Karl was so good listening to my ranting. I didn't really expect he understood how I felt, it took years of me bugging him to just get him to be an organ donor (that's a no brainer I thought).

So now it's been a few months since my bone marrow was rejected. Yesterday, I went yo get the mail and there was a letter for the Registry. I opened it up to find....
KARL'S new membership card!

It turns out the day of the drive, Karl went down and signed up to be a donor to take my place. I couldn't believe it. I have never in my life received a meaningful, thoughtful, and just wonderful gift. I am so blessed to have my family, and I'm wishing all of you the same blessings this holiday!

If you're also interested in joining the Bone Marrow Registry, you can find all of the information right here:

"10,000 patients need a marrow transplant. Only half receive one. Half is not enough."

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Daughter the Photographer

My daughters dream is to be a photographer for National Geographic. She is 7 years old, and it seems everything she touches turns out amazing. This is no exception! After she finished the first 4 countries in her Wildlife Photographer learning book, we took her to the zoo on a special trip just for photos. These photos were taken by Molly, age 7 and cropped by me. They have not been edited at all except to crop them!

(here's a link to view her book: )

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to use your lightbox

Now that you have your lightbox, you need some lights! You do not have to buy $100 lamps!

First, check the Michaels clearance aisle, I bought my $100 lamp there for $12!

Also Hobby Lobby has theirs 50% off a lot.

If you're not that lucky, or they're still too expensive, just buy a natural bulb and use it in any lamp you already have. Natural light bulbs can be found at any hardware store for just a few dollars.

Now to use you light. You can set up 2 lamps, one on either side and shine them through your tissue paper holes.

Or you can do like I do. I taped a piece of typing paper over my light (to get soft light instead of hard shadows) and I point it directly back so the light bounces off the back wall.

All of this is great, but YOU MUST HAVE A TRIPOD!!! Nobody is steady enough to take a good picture without one. I didn't believe this, but it is true: a tripod is more important than a light box for a good photo. I ordered one of those flexible tripods of ebay. It was total garbage. So I disasembled it, then I disasembled my husband's telescope and stole the tripod part. It works!!

Now you have your lightbox, your lights and your tripod, there are 2 camera settings that are super important.

1.) Macro, the little flower. If you're photographing something small, use it!

2.) the exposure +/- button. This button controls how much light your camera sees. If you turn it up, your photos will be brighter. Start at 0.0 and turn it up by one each photo. I usually have mine set on +1.0 or +1.3.

And my last tip is for jewelry photos. I made this out of black cardstock:

If you slide it into one side of your lightbox, it will give your crystals an extra sparkle! I don't usually use this, but I have tried it and it works well!

For anyone that's interested, my camera is a Nikon L110. They run a little over $200. It is still a point and shoot, but it looks more like a SLR. EVERYTHING is automatic on this camera, so it's pretty hard to take a bad photo. I really like it a lot. Before this camera, I used a Sony Cybershot I purchased for $79. That was a great camera, too. Both are really great for the cost.

How to make a lightbox

Start with a big white posterboard - you can get one at Walmart for $.59.

Cut out 5 squares, 10-12" is a good size.

Tape three squares together, scotch tape is fine. The tape will work as hinges, so don't overlap the squares.

Tape the top square on.

Tape the bottom square on. Now you have a white cube!

Cut holes in each side. The light will come in from here, so you want them to be good sized.

Tape tissue paper over the holes, this will soften your light so you don't get big ugly shadows.

Here's my light box, you can tell it's well loved!!

And here is a photo taken with my lightbox:

See the next article for using your lightbox!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What Inspires Me??

This is my very first time participating in the Aspiring Metalsmiths blogroll,and the timing and subject turned out to be perfect. This morning I woke up and had my coffee at my rock table as I do every morning. My rock table is where I keep a large pile of slabs and small pieces to sift through during coffee time.

Usually the rocks themselves are my inspiration. They usually tell me how they want to be cut. But this morning it just wasn't happening.

Just about an hour after I had given up, my wonderful post lady arrived with my new Sonoran Dentridic! I took it to the saw immediately.

When I came upstairs, I had an email waiting for me. One of the incredibly talented artists I work with sent me photos of the new piece she made with my stones! This gorgeous necklace was made with a 3 piece set of porcelain jasper I had cut.

When I went back to look at my Sonoran Dentridic, the 3 piece set jumped right out at me! I can't wait to cab this set.

So even though my inspiration ussally comes from the rocks themselves, today I had a big bosst! To see more of Janna's work, visit her etsy shop at

Each month the Aspiring Metals team chooses a topic and each write about that topic on their blog. This month we want to know what inspires you, and where do you look for inspiration?

See what we have to say by visiting the blogs below:

Jessica @ Abella Blue -
Autumn Bradley -
Crow Steals Fire -
Contemporary Jewelry by Beatriz Fortes -
Stacy -
Cabbing Rough - Brightstar109 -
Silver Pearl Jewelry and Metalworks -
City Rustic Jewelry -
Becky Campion -
Julie - http:/

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Morrisonite is without a doubt the most beautiful and sought after jasper in the world. This gem grade jasper first began to make it’s way into the hands of rockhounds in the late 1940’s. It didn’t take long for the word to spread of this magnificent new material, and soon rockhounds from all over were traveling to Eastern Oregon in search of Morrisonite.

Morrisonite, also known as Morrison Ranch Jasper, was first discovered in the early 1930’s by James Morrison. Morrison lived in a one room stone house located in an Owyhee river canyon. He made a living off his land and had a passion for Native American artifacts.

It wasn’t until the late 1940’s when James invited friends over who shared his artifact collecting enthusiasm that he showed this new and unusual rock he had found on his property. It was not long after that the first claim was filed.
Over the course of 40 years miners came and went, and there are currently 5 claims. The most famous of these claims are the Amy Ellen, Christine Marie, and Jakes Place claim with the latter of these producing the most material that is on the market today. The Amy Ellen however is famous for having the most exotically colored jasper. The last major production of morrisonite was done by Eugene Miller of The Gem Shop in 1996.

Although referred to as a jasper now, when Morrisonite was first discovered nobody knew exactly what it was. Being called everything from a jasper to a jade, Morrisonite displays a wide variety of colors and patterns. It is unique in the fact that it is not found in other gem grade materials. It has also become very rare and hard to find, so you can imagine how thrilled we were to run across and entire box (22 pounds) of it at an auction! This material is also incredibly hard and takes an amazing hard polish. It has definitely become one of my favorite rocks!
You can see more Morrisonite cabs we have cut here.