Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Recycling THE Shoes and a New Way to Spend $

This week was the end of the year banquet for Women of the Word. We went girlie. Recycling the pink glitter shoes for the centerpieces was fun. We added purses, pink lemonade, a really great speaker, and all of our WOW friends. Since purses were the theme, we did games around purses and we visited this website. http://www.bagborroworsteal.com/

Anyone with an issue of spending too much money should go here and feel frugal. It is a site where women go to rent designer purses,, sunglasses, and jewelry. You can rent by the week or by the month.
For instance, you could rent this lovely Chanel bag for only $441 a month. Mind the late fees now.
You can rent this classic Hermes bracelet for $354 a month. And if for one second you are considering it, instead, please go here: http://www.divinedesignbirdhouse.blogspot.com/ and buy everything on the page, knowing your money will go to a really great cause.

You can rent this vintage Hermes bag for $2510. a month. I did not make a mistake, that is the price. This is beyond my scope of understanding. If someone can explain it to me, I would be grateful. I think renting this bag is not a good idea for someone who ends up with stuff spilled inside the bag or one handle ripped off from carrying too much heavy stuff.

All of that makes this sleek Louis Vuitton at $191 a month seem pitifully cheap, doesn't it?

The idea behind renting a purse, is that for women who already own a pile of purses, it relieves the guilt of buying one more.

Here's what I think. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Normal Girl

Chowing Down

Feeding wild kingdom, one tulip at a time.

School is Cool

I feel a gentle breeze. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The angels are playing harps. The woodchucks are lined up doing a chorus line. The flowers are smiling. I am doing the happy dance!

Don't you just love getting good news? I had a project in my last class that took umpteen hours and weeks to do that was worth a pile of points toward my grade. Here is what they prof sent me today:

Impressive. You exceeded my expectations on this project. Thank you. 200/200

Wahoo, that is the first time I have gotten a perfect score and I like it!

Normal (Type A) Girl

Human Pin Ball, Guest Post #2

Note from Normal Girl. Please keep in mind that HPB is about 5' tall and a whopping 100 pounds, while you are reading this.

Human Pinball, here - still in Hong Kong, well really I have been to China a few times since my last post - but am back in Hong Kong for one more night before going to China for a week.....but that doesn't matter...does it? Back to the story -

So - when I am in Hong Kong, here is how I feel........FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT.
These people are pocket size - thousands upon thousands of little cutie pie's in babydoll dresses with leggings and converse tennis shoes - and an adorable shag hair cuts. One smaller than the next, one cuter than the next.

It is the only place in the world I am NOT SHORT. I stand out like a blinking NEON sign - because I have "yellow" hair and am considerably larger than any of them. My biggest fear anytime I travel to Asia is that my luggage will be lost and I will have to go to the old lady store that sells shirts with big flower and bird appliques on the front and have a 2" stretch waist band attached. Please don't even get me started about underwear -i would have to wear the bra I arrived in for 3 weeks straight, or have my husband FedEx me one. But that is all off the subject...back to the story....

When in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China or any other Asian Country I feel like the Michelin Man and it is my own fault. I could eat Soy Sauce on chocolate cake. Japanese food is my absolute favorite food in the world- so I eat it and eat it and eat it - all drenched in soy sauce - and then my fingers swell up like little pork sausages. Last night about 3am - I woke up in pain because my rings were tourniquets on my fingers- I yanked them off in my sleep, sat them on the night table and proceeded to dream over and over that I lost my wedding rings. So I decided I would drink diet tea when I am here- and went to the drug store ( just like USA, there is one on every corner) and bought myself some diet tea. The box had NO ENGLISH ON IT but the shelf tag said Slimming Tea. So I figured, why not.

Brought it back to the room and made myself a cup, not too bad of a taste -
didn't loose 10 pounds immediately or wake up with a Scarlet OHara waist line but it didn't kill me. Still yet, I had a plan. My Hong Kong friend was meeting me at a trade show so I would take the instructions to her and ask her to read them to me....and I did...but guess what, I bought Japanese Slimming Tea and the instructions were not in Chinese, they were in Japanese. She said she didn't think it would kill me to drink the stuff - we opened one up, it had flowers and green tea in a little bag- didn't see anything that looked too strange. She thought it would be good to get the oil out of my body.

Yes, I said OIL - they are obsessed with oil in one's body, particularly intestines. The TV has numerous commercials about loosing weight and removing the oil from your body - they show a cartoon like diagram with these pink intestines and little bubbles going through them. I have watched these commercials during numerous business meals because often times the restaurant has private rooms with televisions in them. Everytime I am chewing on a hunk of pork or slurping down a bowl of fried noodles or rice and one of these commercials comes on, I nearly crack up. Then I realized that almost every commercial for medicine or cleaning products has one of these cartoon like images in it always showing some kind of action - bubbles cleaning up mean faced germs and then the floor smiling - happy carton vitamins dancing through a child's cartoon body making their muscles instantly grow.... it makes cleaning products and medicine seem fun. So I thought, I wonder why they don't use these cartoon like images in USA commercials. Then I remembered that most medicine commercials in the USA are for advertising.........enough said - I think I answered my own question.

And how I got from slimming Japanese tea to this topic, is the reason I am called the human pinball....

Human PinBall, What's the Worst that Can Happen?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Praise in Motion Praising

The girls danced yesterday. They are gaining in confidence and skills. It is amazing to see how far God has brought them in this practical lesson on praising Him with all they have. I am putting the video here in case you want to see a few minutes of it. Or, in case you want to see baptists clapping in church. Ya gotta love it!

Normal Girl

Everyone Needs a Tag Line

OK, while Normal Girl is not around, I am posting.

I found this link someplace, I can't remember where. Hey, I am old. And it made me think that we all should have taglines behind our names and missions and organizations. A tagline or slogan explains us a little bit right off the bat. So, here is what the slogan generator came up with when I used it:

Do you have Imaginina inside?
(which is perfect, because everyone Should have a little Imaginina inside of her)

Normal Girl - Handbuilt by Robots
(stupid, but it sure made me laugh!)

Smile! You are in Here's What I Think!
(how does it do this? That is a perfect tagline)

Try it for yourself and leave me a comment so I will know how to address you from now on. Go here:http://www.blogthings.com/theslogangenerator/


Sunday, April 27, 2008

If You are One of My WOW Teachers, Don't Look...

This semester in my Women of the Word Bible study, we studied Colossians. I have made bracelets as thank yous for my teachers. This is something I do alot for myself to help me remember a verse or a study. This bracelet can apply to any study:
Let the word (bible) of Christ (cross) richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (music staff), singing with thankfulness in your hearts (heart) to God (crown). Colossians 3: 16.
Hope they like it!
Thanks to all of you who have helped me by buying bird jewelry (www.divinedesignbirdhouse.blogspot.com) this weekend. What a great response I have had. It is going to be a huge help toward the things we need for the mission trip.
Normal (and grateful) Girl

Friday, April 25, 2008

What Do You Think?

I tell you what I think, or think about everyday. But, today, I need your help. I have three weeks off between semesters and I would really like to read a book that has nothing to do with school. If I don't have a book to read, I stay on the computer all night long, and then I get a neck ache, and then I can't sleep, and then I am crabby. So, you see, a book to read is an essential. What should I read? Have any good book ideas I should try? Tell me what you have read lately and loved and why, please. Don't tell me about any romance novels, secular or Christian, I can't go there.

And, nobody has anything to swap for this poor bracelet? http://hwithink.blogspot.com/2008/04/whatcha-got.html

Normal Girl

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Do These Two Things Have in Common?

What do these two things have in common? A mission trip. My summer mission trip. I am leading a group of women in June to Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac, Michigan. We will work inside this house, called the Birdhouse, redecorating rooms for the men that live there. Those men are graduates of the program at this rescue mission and are working on getting their lives back together. I will be just like Ty Pennington, without the piles of money, big sponsors, and the bullhorn.

Each team member going on the trip must raise support money to pay for the paint and furniture and stuff we will want to put in the house to make it homey and comfy. I am raising my funds by selling bird jewelry.

You watched as I made the birds and branches and leaves and word charms. Now the jewelry is all together and the sale has begun. All the money I make from the sale will go to the mission trip. You can see all of the jewelry at http://www.divinedesignbirdhouse.blogspot.com/.

Please take a look, read the story, see the jewelry.

Thank you!
Normal Girl

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guest Post by the Human Pin Ball

My most excellent friend and world traveller, the Human Pin Ball is in Hong Kong right now and she has some travel advice for us. Take it away, HPB!

When you are flying 26 hours - don't wear a white shirt and and black sweater. If you take off the sweater, you look like you have been rolling around in a cat bed. BECAUSE not ONE of the stores in the Atlanta airport have a sticky lint roller remover thing...... they have Bare Essentials make up in every style.....suitcases........$10 scarves......a lifetime supply of books, candy, 2 Tylenols in a package for $3.99 and so much more - but no lint roller. So what is a girl to do? Raid the airplane bathroom....and find this....
Desperate times call for desperate measures. That back was STICKY - it did take 2 to get the job done - and guess what it worked great - Martha Stewart has nothing on me............

Human Pin Ball
from Hong Kong

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What'cha Got?

Here's What I Think! Let's have a swap!

I am offering the bracelet. Remember it is a piece of Normal Girl history. So, what do you have to offer in swap for it? Tell me your offer in your comment below. I will choose the winning offer on Friday. Winner gets the bracelet. In the last swap, I traded a pair of pink glitter shoes for a book. I was happy! The most expensive trade is not always the most attractive.

Can't wait to hear your offers!
Normal Girl

The Artist

Once in awhile I think I have attained sufficient skill to make something that looks pretty good. Then I see God's work.

I'm just saying.
Normal Girl

Monday, April 21, 2008

Use By This Date:

Inspiration and how it works has been on my mind today. It seems to me that inspiration (for me, anyway) has a shelf life. It is best used when fresh. I already told you that I don't consider myself an artist, really. I am going to show you why. I tend to dive into a project or technique with both feet and go crazy overboard with it. But, it runs its course, and then I am on to the next thing that catches my eye. I am the dream consumer for the craft industry. I have been like this all of my life. I can remember in high school sitting with a pile of buttons, taking the shanks off with a huge metal file and glueing earring findings to the back.

Another craft I did in my youth (this is a young person's craft because the older you get, the harder it is to see what you are doing) was cross stitch. I always had a Counted cross stitch project with me. Being from a family with several project oriented, creative people, nobody thought I was weird. In fact, sometimes, they participated. This little cross stitch project I am showing you? My Dad and I went down the street and ripped grapevines off the fence of the cemetary and made these frames. Even today, my Dad can be counted on to pitch in on whatever project I am working on, if asked. I don't have any cross stitch projects left,except this little piece, but my poor Mother does. She is really great at displaying the junk I made throughout mlife. You really can throw some of that stuff away Mom, I won't cry.

Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, I decided that I should shrink down stuff and make jewely out of it. I made earrings and pins out of seed packages, tea bags, famous paintings, fabric swatches, and here you see a paint bottle. I still have a box of this stuff in my garage someplace.

One of my Grandmas taught me the basics of knitting when I was small. I didn't do much with it until I was an adult. Then, I decided to become a great and prolific knitter. I took a class and went to town. Not satisfied with scarves only, I made a goal to knit a sweater. Yeah, I made a couple sweaters actually. One was gorgeous and I could not get my head through the neck. One was very cool and the sleeves nearly touched the floor. You can tell how long ago I was knitting because the size of this unfinished sweater is teeny. The only person I know that could possibly wear this sweater today is Niece 2 who wears size -3. Knitting has died hard in me and sometimes yet rears its ugly head. Not long ago, I did some knitting for felting. I always feel like knitting in the fall.
I have been making some kind of jewelry steadily since high school. In 2000, I had the idea to make my own beads in an effort to make beading less expensive and to get what I want for my jewelry pieces. Here is one of the first bracelets I made. I tried selling my jewelry about this time and found that I did alot better selling just the beads and letting other crazy beaders make their own jewelry. I hope my lampworking skills have improved and we can consider this bracelet is a piece of history.

And then multi media collage on cigar boxes. I did piles of these cigar box purses. I bought stinky cigar boxes in stinky shops from Michigan to Texas and on Ebay. It was fun. How many cigar box purses can one person have?
I didn't even talk about trying to be a painter.
I am sure this is perfectly normal behavior. I have friends who do the very same thing. Well, one. You know I am talking to you Queenie. And hence my reason for classifying myself as just liking to make stuff. I think an artist is dedicated to learning, growing, experimenting and improving the art she feels is within her. I have all kinds of junk trying to get out of me. Scary.
Normal Girl

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Watch the Birdie!

Here is a preview of the bird jewelry I am working on. Deep purple birds.....

Yellow orange canaries.....

Happy brown sparrows.....

And shiny red birds sitting on leaves.
More soon,
Normal Girl

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bead Show and Tell

Branches and leaves to go with the birds. That is it, I am ready to start making jewelry......right after a nap...

Normal Girl

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Springtime Story

Look what happened to my apple tree today while I was slaving over a hot computer.

It reminds me of a story:

Once upon a time in a land far away, four girls were released from the juvenile home where they were never allowed to see the light of day. They heard the story of the brand new Walt Disney World far away in Florida and knew they had to go there. They walked all the way from Michigan to Florida in a snowstorm, uphill all the way. When they arrived, they struggled to think of a way to raise enough money to get into Disney World and buy Mickey Mouse ears with their names embroidered.

While hanging out at a roadside rest area, they heard a man describing a rare and valuable orange tree. This orange tree never has leaves, but it bears oranges in the crooks of the branches, wrapped in masking tape. Only one of these rare trees had ever been spotted in central Florida, but because the treasure found in the oranges is so valuable, orange tree hunters continue to search every inch of the land for one.

Dreaming of finding one of these rare trees, the girls got up from the picnic table and readied themselves to continue walking. Looking up, they noticed a tree without leaves. Could it be? Oranges in the crooks of the branches, held on with masking tape! They picked the oranges, opened them, found tickets to Disney World, and the rest is history.

I don't know any of those girls, it's just a story,

Normal Girl

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lacquer Charms

Still gathering pieces for the bird jewelry. When I started to see these cool resin filled pendants last year, I just knew I could make my own version. And so I did. And so can you.

Start with one of these. The ones that look like shallow bowls are called domed discs. I got mine at Metalliferous. They are aluminum. The ones with straight sides are called bezel cups. You can get those at any place with jewelry making supplies. Both kinds come on different sizes and shapes....and metals.

Use the screw down punch (see yesterday's post) to make a hole, so you can hang it on your bracelet or necklace. Cut a piece of paper to fit inside the dome. I just trace around the dome and cut out the paper. Use any design you like. It would be cool to use someone's photo. Just make a photocopy of the photo.

To glue the paper to the dome, I use Dimensional Magic. You can get it at any craft store. Other brands are called crystal lacquer and scrapbookers use them.

Squeeze a little lacquer into the dome. Spread it around so it covers evenly. Press the paper circle into the dome, so the paper is tight to the surface. One thing I learned doing this is wash your hands before you do it. Whatever you have on your fingers will be magically transferred to the paper in a big smudge. Repunch the hole through the paper.

Squeeze out a thin coating of lacquer to cover the paper. Let it dry, it won't take too long. Squeeze on another coat, a little thicker. Let it dry. Do this until the dome is full. It might take 3 or four coats.

Oh, and ah, here's one more thing I learned. You can't rush this process. Don't put these in the oven to speed dry. It was bad. The EPA could come arrest you for the noxious fumes. And, don't put it under a lightbulb either. See the bubbles? Just let each coat dry on its own time.

Another one I made. This one dried slowly.

I have made alot of stuff this week. You can tell when I have alot going on. I use creative projects to bribe myself. This week was finals week. I bribed myself with fun projects as soon as I got my homework done at night.

Almost ready to start constructing the jewelry,
Normal Girl

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Tonight, I made some word charms. They are going in to the jewelry with the birdie beads. I made them a couple days ago and they are just waiting for some other goodies to go with them into the jewelry.

They are fun (because they require hammering) and easy to make. You will want to try it. Here's what you do:

Start with a blank piece of metal. I use sterling silver discs. You can get these little pieces in all sizes and shapes. Go to Beaducation, you can get everything you want here. I can't go there, because I want everything. (hint...for the next time we have a swap) Lisa Niven Kelly is the Queen of hammering. I took a class from her, it was fab.

This is called the Screw Down Punch. It is one of the greatest tools I own, and I own a million tools. It is for making holes in the discs. It makes two sizes of holes and is worth every penny I paid Lisa for it.

Put the disc under the screw and turn the screw down until it punches the hole for you. It takes no strength. It is amazing.

This is sometimes called a bench block. Your Dad would call it an anvil. Put your disc on it. The disc has to be on something really hard for the hammering part to work. A soft or flexible surface will absorb the hammer's impact and you will hammer all day and not make a good letter impression.

These are metal letter stamps. They come in many sizes. I bought these at the Harbor Freight store. They were inexpensive. If you want the nice ones that make really clean impressions and last forever, get some from Lisa.

Get out the letter you want to print, hold it steady on the disc, and pound it with the hammer. Use a heavy hammer, those pink handled things someone put in your Christmas stocking will not be heavy enough to make a decent impression. Spell out whatever name or workd you want on your charm.

Tweet. That will be great with the birdie beads. I also made some chirp. And splat. Not really on the splat although Imaginina said that was her favorite.

If you like to see the words better, you can color them. There are fancy jewelry maker kinds of applications, but I just use a Sharpie marker. I like black best, but you know I could not find one anyplace in the house today, so here I used purple. Sometimes I do use colors just for extra fun if the piece calls for it. Color in the letters and let it sit a minute or two. Sing a song. Do ten sit ups.

This is a Sunshine cloth. It is for polishing. Rub it over the surface of your charm and it will polish away the marker on the surface, leaving the color in the indentions.

Wowza. I did a really lousy job of polishing. I should have had my glasses on or something. You do a better job than that or I won't pass you. You get the idea, right? Even though mine is embarrassing? Don't show this to anyone.

Where is Imaginina when I need her?

Normal Girl

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Time Out for Scholastics

I can hear the angels sing and smell the roses and feel the sun on my face....this is the last week of the semester. I worked five hours tonight on my final project for Advertising and PR. It seems like I have been doing this stuff all my professional life and did not even realize it. Who knew? At least the class has been fairly easy....except for the thing that the prof thinks we LOVE piles of homework. I have written more this semester than in the last three combined. It will be good next week to be able to focus on something else besides writing papers. I will write to you instead!

Normal Girl

Monday, April 14, 2008

All the Breaks

Some people catch all the breaks. Remember the big birthday trip to NYC? Celebrating 50? The bracelet? Yeah, I was not invited on that trip, and did not get a NYC trinket, not even a lousy t-shirt. I was here working.

So, not only did Normal Girl get the fancy birthday trip, I opened Bead Unique Magazine today and there they were. Normal Girl, The Human Pinball, and The Diplomat in NYC. They went to see Wicked. They ate at great restaurants. They saw store after store filled with beads. Does that make a story? Apparently so.

Want to read the article? Go buy a magazine.

Moral of this story? When you go on vacation, take a writer with you.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fresh from the Kiln

I made some little birdies last night. When they are off the mandrels (sticks), they will be beads. I have jewelry plans for these little birds, stay tuned, I will tell you about it another day.
Normal Girl

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Message to Lurkers

Dear Lurkers,

I know you are there, you know who you are. Here is what I think. One of the points of a blog is to create community. That can't happen if you only lurk. Come out of hiding. Leave comments. Please? I would like to get to know the people reading my posts. Looking forward to seeing you here!

Normal Girl

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bracelet Story #3

What story does this tell you?


Bracelet Story #2

Art and the Muses
I made this bracelet a couple years ago. I belonged to a small group of artists who challenged each other and created for fun. We lived all over the country. We started our group because of Art. Art, the man in the picture, not art, the pursuit of visual sensibilities.
People who like to make stuff love to go to classes and workshops, learn new ways to make stuff, and mingle with other people who like to make stuff. We are all the same that way, but that is where the similarities end. Lots of these people consider themselves artists. And they take it seriously. I have been in class with people that encouraged me to chant, "I am an artist!" It cracked me up, I could not do it. I also once took a fun week-long fabric art class with 19 other women. They considered themselves artists and talked about their inspirations and their muses and all that serious stuff. On the first day, I received pity when I said I am not really an artist, I just like to make stuff. One day we went around the room to show and tell our work and discuss. It sounded like this.
"This is my representation of the little man being repressed by the government"
(It was her paint rag, I kid you not, she admitted it. She showed us her paint rag as her piece of created art.)
"This is my vision of a factory in Korea and the poor factory workers"
(It was a piece of fabric with some color smeared on it. No lie.)
"I was inspired by the juxtaposition of colors and design elements and repeated it inverted throughout"
"I like blue"
They felt so sorry for me. On the last day, the teacher pulled me off to the side and told me not to listen to any of the stuff my classmates were saying...since I was the only person in the room actually making money from stuff I like to make. And, I don't have to pay any muse.
So, Art (the guy in the picture) was our tongue in cheek way of laughing at all the seriousness of people who consider themselves artists. Everything we made, had a picture of Art in it someplace. Love that guy, isn't he cute?
Art and the girls are decoupaged into bottle caps, with some seed bead sprinkled on top. The bottle caps and the beads were turned into charms and wired to the charm bracelet. I made the beads too!
Normal (I am an artist) Girl