Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Introducing Archie

I have a new guy in my life... he's so fun, loving and smart.  He has the most gorgeous eyes and his hair is all cute and fluffy on top :) He's been taking up all my time these days I'm afraid.

Luckily, hubby is just as smitten with him.....

Meet Archie, the new addition to our family (which now has double the number of four-legged members that two!). He's a mini Australian Shepherd, and he's 12 weeks old today. We got him four weeks ago, on his 8 week birthday, and since then have been in a whirlwind of potty breaks, treats, snuggles and play time. Our smart little guy already knows how to sit, stay (most of the time lol!), lay down, come, shake and is working on speak. We're very proud puppy parents :) We can't wait to start taking him out on adventures and nice long walks, but we have to wait to finish the vaccinations so he's all protected- according to our vet, our county is the worst in the US for Parvo so we have to be extra careful.

I've not been doing much crafting for obvious fluffy and cute reasons, but really want to get my craft room organized again after the Christmas rush for my business Oak Valley Crafts & Gifts. My coasters did so well over the holiday season, I was so happily surprised, and rushed off my feet! Now things have quietened down a little I have been able to focus on building up my inventory at Gallery n Gifts, the local store where I sell my items, and now I'll be working on building up the inventory in my Etsy store too. I really want to find some time for card making too, and get back into entering challenges and maybe trying submitting to a couple of magazine calls. During one of the crafts shows I did at a local vineyard, I ran into Maile Belles! If you read Papercrafts, or Cards magazines you will have seen loads of her work published, and it turns out she lives just around the corner from me. We had a nice chat and she inspired me to get back into cardmaking again and enter the world of submitting :) So, next week hubby is moving to day shift and will be home in the evenings to watch the pup and I plan on getting some crafting time in a few times a week again :)

In other news, I'm now working part time at a local Credit Union, and loving it! After a year of taking time out to look after myself following all the surgeries and issues I had been dealing with regarding my Endometriosis, it feels so good to be back in a place where I am well enough to work and contribute financially to the household again, and get my brain working again! It's a small branch in a small town, so it has such a friendly atmosphere and I am loving getting to know the regular customers, and my co-workers are really lovely too! I was worried I wouldn't like working in an office environment, as I have worked retail since I was 16 years old, but I think I may have found the perfect fit for me. My favourite thing about retail was meeting people and helping them, and at the Credit Union I get to do that, all while sitting down most of the time- which really helps when I am having a rough day pain wise if my endo is playing up.

Speaking of the endo, I'm still doing well as I mentioned. I have started getting some pretty strong aches and pains again, but that's probably due to me being so busy right now with working and then looking after the puppy by myself when I get home until hubby gets home at midnight. When he starts on day shift next week it will mean I can take it easy if I am having a painful/exhausted day once I get home from work, and he can keep Archie entertained and get dinner etc. I'm so lucky to have such a great hubster :o) As soon as Archie is old enough to go to doggie daycare for a day, we'll be making an appointment down in L.A with my specialist to check in with him and talk about what comes next. It's been almost 18 months since my major surgery, which was the last time we saw him in person. He emailed me a while back with some ideas for my treatment plan going forward, so I'm excited and nervous to meet with him and start putting things in motion.

Oops, looks like Archie needs a potty break, so that's my cue to close!

Lynsey x

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grapefruit Goodness

Can you believe it's Wednesday again?! Since I started up my little business the days just seem to fly by- it's true what they say, you never work harder than when you are your own boss lol! I really want to work in some time in my week to relax and do some stamping though, so I've treated myself to signing up to the Holiday Card Boot Camp with Jennifer McGuire hoping it will force me to take some time out to relax and learn and get inky! It starts on November 7th, can't wait!!

For now though, it's time for another Watkins Wednesday :)

One of my little Watkins addictions has to be the Grapefruit flavored Cleaning products...

What I love most about them is that they don't smell like cleaning products- they just leave a nice clean grapefruity smell in your kitchen. Once again, I'm a sucker for that label too- those bottles look so pretty sitting out on my counter!

Importantly, they are all natural- so good for us, and for the environment. Why is it important to use natural home care products? Well, I'm glad you asked ;)....

To Protect Your Family -90% of our time is spent indoors.
-Triple pane windows and high efficiency insulation make it harder for indoor air to escape.
–The products you use are directly released into the air and stay on the surfaces of your home.
–Children breathe faster in proportion to their body weight than adults, making them more vulnerable to chemical exposure. (
EPA reports that air pollution in our homes is five times worse inside than outside and ranks indoor air quality among the top five risks to human health. ( ... Eww!

To Protect the Environment
What you use at home has a direct effect on the ecosystem around you! What you use goes down the drains, into the water ways, and releases into the soil and water supply. Certain chemicals in cleaning products act as a food source to algae. When they reproduce to this extent they do not allow oxygen into the water source and kill the fish, damaging the eco system. (Smith and Schindler, 2009) These chemicals also end up in the water supply which pollutes ground soil feeding your vegetables and fruits. These chemicals can end up in the water that you drink. (

What’s the difference between cleaners that are plant-based vs. petroleum based?
•Studies have shown that making household cleaners from plant-based materials uses less energy than making the same cleaners from petroleum.
•Using less energy helps reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.
If every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 24 oz. petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with our 24 oz. plant-based product, we could save 85,886 barrels of oil!
•That is enough to heat and cool 4,941 U.S. homes for a year!

That blurb was pulled from the Watkins website- but I find it really interesting, and had to share! Can you believe that if each of us replaced just one bottle of regular dishwashing liquid with one plant based one, it would save that much oil!! That's crazy! Plus, from experience I can tell you the Watkins plant based dishwashing liquid works just as good as any yucky petroleum based one, and it's much kinder on your hands.

I'm sad that my favorite thing in the whole catalog isn't available in Grapefruit yet- but I'm holding out hope it will be soon.

Isn't this Sink Set, containing natural hand soap and lotion, just gorgeous!! It's perfect for the guest bathroom, or by the kitchen sink. It's great to have lotion right there by the sink too- especially when it's getting cold and our hands are getting dry this time of year. Like I said, they don't do it in grapefruit yet, but it does come in Lemon, Lavender, and Aloe & Green Tea. Even better, this month it's on sale!!! Yep, buy one at regular price, and get one 50% off (just add one set to your cart, and you will be invited to add a second matching set for 50% off at checkout)!

Woo hoo!!!  That's two christmas gifts taken care of in one go, or one for you and one for them! Wouldn't it be nice to have this in the guest bathroom for when you start getting company for the holidays- you wouldn't believe how much sitting this set by the sink can spruce up even the plainest bathroom!

Well, that's all for now- I have two custom coaster orders to work on and another package to mail out by tomorrow too so I'd better get a move on! I'll hopefully be back on Friday to update you all a little more on what we've been getting up to, and I may even have a card to share- shocking, I know!!!

Lynsey x

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Introducing Watkins Wednesday!

It's 10.18pm exactly over here on the West Coast you know, so I'm not late posting this... technically it is still Wednesday ;)

I promised a new feature yesterday- and here it is! I mentioned a month or so ago that I had signed up to become an Independent Watkins Associate, and it fell kinda flat to be honest lol! I understand, most of my readers are here expecting to see cards and the last thing we want when taking our daily time with a cup of tea (or coffee for you non-Brits!) is to have people trying to sell us random stuff.

I get it, I really do...

But, the more products I try from this company, the more I just LOVE them! So, I have to share!!!

I mean, who couldn't love a company that started here- in a little red wagon back in the 1800's.. and is still around today!

Even more amazing to me, is that the very first product that J.R Watkins sold in 1868- from a little wagon just like the one above- is still one of Watkins number one sellers today! All they had to do to make it 96.5% natural was remove the artificial red food coloring it was previously formulated with. Isn't that amazing!

Not only does this Pain Relieving Liniment have a great history, it also works!! Boy, does it work! My husband suffers from lower back pain after a fall from the top of a plane (that was on the ground at the time at least :-P ) a few years back, and he has pain meds for it but they affect his sleep and just make him feel horrible. So when we read about this liniment we figured, why not give it a try! The science behind this stuff is that all-natural camphor and capsicum (that stuff that makes peppers hot!) stimulate nerve receptors that feel heat, masking the feeling of pain and relieving discomfort. The camphor works as a kind of anesthetic, stimulating some nerve endings and depressing others. The bottom line is, Jason says it feels gooood and really does work! I haven't had a need to try it yet, but I'm holding out hope that if those endometriosis pains return at some point that this will be my saviour!! It's priced well too, $12.99 for a 11floz bottle- and this stuff lasts forever as it's so strong you really don't need much (oh, and they advise you pat it on rather than rub it or it could get a little too hot- phew!).

 According to a testimonial on the Watkins site, a Minnesota Twins trainer recommended it to Johan Santana- and he was amazed by the immediate relief and now uses it for all of his aches and pains and suggests it to other athletes....

That might impress me a little more if I had any idea who Johan Santana is, and what sport the Minnesota twins even plays... but hey, if athletes uses the stuff it has to be good right?!

Ultimately though, I don't need any testimonial other than the one from my happy hubby, who as I said LOVES THIS STUFF! :)

If you would like to order some Pain Relieving Liniment you can do so at my Watkins site here! While you're there, why not take a look at all the other hundreds of natural products available too :) If you see a lot that you like, why not host a catalog party- I send you some catalogs for you to share with your family and friends, you collect the orders and money, send me the orders via email and money through paypal, and then I ship the products to you to distribute to your family and friends. If your catalog party totals more than $150.00 in sales you get 10% of the total sales in FREE product.... if your party total is more than $500, you get 30% FREE!!! If you're interested, you can find my email in my blogger profile to get more info :)

So, that's my very first Watkins Wednesday feature all wrapped up! I look forward to sharing more with you each week as we explore more of the products available, and add to our list of The Wronas' Recommendations!! Hehe, how cute is that, I just made it up as I typed :-)

And remember, even though you are more than likely reading this on Thursday morning- I wrote it on Wednesday night (now 10.51pm!) so I wasn't late with my first Watkins Wednesday post! Ok, glad we cleared that up :)

Lynsey x

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time for my monthly update...

Um, oops... there I went again neglecting my blog for almost a whole month!

I have one question- where did October go?!!!

I can tell you one thing for sure, it's been a reallllyyy busy month for me, and a fun one too!

It involved lots of meeting new people, making lots of crafty things, and researching lots of boring business stuff!

I launched my new Etsy Store, and little company Oak Valley Crafts & Gifts!

 I made some Halloween Themed Coasters- BOO!! ($8.00)

 Fall themed Candle Holders (Vintage Pumpkin ($12.00), and Coasters (Vintage Autumn Butterfly ($12.00)
(I found the vintage pumpkin and butterfly designs on a great blog called The Graphics Fairy, and I've linked them up to her weekly Brag Monday feature!)

Lots of coasters featuring our local covered bridge and community motto! These were super popular at the Octoberfest carnival here in town!

 And, I've been busily working on custom, personalized coaster orders too! ($20.00 for set of four)

I was excited to be invited to join the Tehachapi Valley Arts Association and start working at and selling my items at Gallery & Gifts!

I'm also signed up to sell my crafts at two more car shows (Lancaster 10-29, and California City 11-13) and at a big Holiday Bazaar next month (11-25, 11-26) at Bear Valley Springs. Last but not least, I'll also be at Souza Family Vineyards for their Holiday Boutique events (11-11, 12-9)!! Whew!!

As you can probably tell, I've been making quite a lot of coasters, candle holders, and cards lately. That wasn't enough for me though, so I'm adding magnets and tree ornaments to the selection... watch this space :)

I haven't had time to spend on much of anything else lately lol! But, we've been making decisions and making plans... I'll share more on that soon.

The new Watkins catalogs arrived yesterday too, wooo! I already have a list as long as my arm of more products I want to try, and an ever increasing list of my faves!! I'm introducing a new feature, Watkins Wednesday tomorrow- so again, watch this space! :)

Ok, time to get back to work- I have 20 sets of coasters to make today lol!!

Lynsey x

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here's what made me happy today....

This arrived in the mail today!!!!

Yeyyy!!! You wouldn't expect anything less right? For someone as addicted to Distress Inks as me lol! I saw the release post by Tim Holtz on my birthday and was super excited, but when I tried to buy them everyone was out of stock already :( But then, I think it was a couple of days later and I was doing my usual morning thing of checking Facebook and Twitter on my phone when I woke up, and I saw a tweet by Simon Says Stamp that they had a few left in stock!! Well, I've never actually purchased anything through my phone before- but you bet I clicked that link right away and bought me a set :) Hubby was very confused when he turned over next to me and I told him I just bought that seasonal Distress Ink set I wanted lol! As a bonus, when they arrived today, SSS has included a pack of pink rhinestones- could a little package in the mail be any more exciting to open!! I can't wait to get my stamps inky with these new colours!

I also picked up a great find in the Dollar Store today...
I've wanted to try my hand at making those painters tray wall decor thingys for a long time now, and when I spotted these for just $1 each, I couldn't pass them up! I almost took all of them- but I figured I had better actually try making one first, as even at a $1 it's silly to spend that if I won't use them. I have all kinds of ideas running around my head for some great gift ideas for Christmas, and I'm going to do a few holiday decor ones too!

Another thing that made me happy today?

 I ordered The Help through the local library system a couple of weeks ago, and I think I was something like 35th on the waiting list! I figured maybe I'd get to read it by the end of the year lol, but it came in this week!! I plan on taking a nice hot bath this evening and try out my new bath soak from the Watkins stuff I shared yesterday, and starting the book. Have you read it yet, or seen the movie?

You might have noticed I change my profile blurb yesterday- after all I had to update my age at least :( lol! I mentioned a new addiction I have developed over the past year..... couponing!! Yes, I am one of those annoying coupon ladies hehe!! Well, I'm no where near as extreme as those shown on Extreme Couponing- which by the way, is very exaggerated for TV- and I refuse to buy junk just because it's cheap, or even free! I don't get huge savings, and don't even buy the Sunday paper to get the coupons anymore (as it's mostly full of junk food coupons), but the savings really do add up, plus I enjoy researching and working out the deals. It's nice to get my brain working now and again lol! So, I decided I will share my couponing adventures here from now on, as well as everything else I have been over sharing lately lol! I had a disappointing trip to Rite Aid today as they didn't have what I wanted in stock. I'll go back on Friday when I'm next in town, so no biggie :) I did a little shop in Walgreens though while picking up a prescription.

This is by no means what I would call a big haul- I didn't have a coupon for the trash bags, and only 2 for the carmex- but still they are things we use and needed, and they were a lot cheaper than usual.... The trash bags were on sale for 5.99 and with an in store coupon I got $1 off that, so $4.99. They are usually around $8-9 I think. The Carmex is usually $1.79 each, and there was a coupon in the ad for 3 for $3. I had 2 printable coupons for $0.30 off one, so got all three for $2.40, or $0.80 each.  So, with tax I spent just over $8 and saved $7. Again, these weren't awesome stock up prices, but we had 3 trash bags left and hubby will only use Carmex, and only the squeeze tube as he gets coldsores a lot in the winter. This is stuff I would have to buy anyway, and I saved almost 50%! Do you coupon?

So those are the things that made me happy today! I'm also excited for the new Modern Family and The Middle tonight... and Grey's Anatomy tomorrow!! We had been talking about cancelling our satellite all summer, but now with all my shows starting back up I think it might just have to stay!

Hope you had a happy day too!

Lynsey x

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A fortnight in review.....

Wow! It's been a busy couple of weeks since I last posted! Here's a quick roundup....

Sept 10th- Woken at 5am by LOUD thunder right above our house- eeek!!! I love storms, as long as hubby is home with me, and the power is out... and a new condition that will be explained in a long as they are accompanied by lots of rain. We spent a little while watching the lightning out of the window and then as it passed over us, we headed back to bed. Just as we were falling asleep we both sat up with a jolt- 'I smell smoke!!' We headed back to the window and see flames, not too far away at all, and start to panic. We get up and dressed and after a few minutes standing outside watching, Jase heads out to take a look. Luckily, he reports back that lightning stuck the ground at one of the ranches nearby, but that the firefighters got to it quickly and had it almost out already, phew!!!

However, as the morning went on, we heard more and more news of fires that had been started in the area by the lightning. We tuned into the radio scanners and listened to the fire crews strategize who would go where and which fires were higher priority. We hear from a friend, on the edge of the community, that their house is being threatened and they are evacuating. Then we get notified that the whole area has been put on precautionary evacuation. This just meant we had to be ready to leave if needed, so off we went around the house, room by room, determining what was irreplaceable and had to come with us if needed. We got important papers, photo albums, my wedding dress... and veil... and shoes lol and little things like my first teddy, aww, and packed them all up ready to go. By the end of the day though things were still looking pretty good. There was a fire down the side of the mountain still, but the wind was blowing in our favor.

Sept 11th- After a looonnnggg day of stress and not much sleep the day before, we slept in late on Sunday and lazed in bed watching some of the 9/11 anniversary shows on tv. We decided not to turn on the radio scanners that day, as all it did was stress us out even more. The skies looked clear, and there was no sign of fire on the horizon so we figured everything was fine. After all, we'd get a call from the emergency system if needed, and I was following updates on Facebook. By the afternoon though, it hard turned from a nice clear day, to this...
The wind had changed direction, and was now pushing the fire up the mountain.. towards Stallion Springs! There was ash landing all around us and the smoke was giving me a headache and affecting Jase's breathing. Then came the phone call!! We were notified that we were now under a recommended evacuation, and that they might not have time to notify us again if it became mandatory. Eeek! This being our first fire experience up in the mountains, by now we were pretty freaked out! We talked to our next door neighbours and they said they were packed up ready, but wouldn't leave until they saw fire cresting the hill..... our 'behind' neighbour has lived here 20+ years and told us he wouldn't be leaving either, and was instead watering down the dry grass around his property just in case. But, then we spoke to the family across the street, who it turns out has a friend who is a firefighter, and they had asked him if they should leave and had been told it was better to be safe than sorry... We watched them leave, and another family across the street with young kids, and decided we would go too. It was unthinkable that the fire would reach our home- look at how many houses it would destroy to get to us- but, fire is an unpredictable beast, and with all the ash falling around us we didn't want to take any chances. We also knew it was going to be a battle to round the cats up- crawling under beds and into closets to get them- and fight to put them in their crates to leave. Plus, who's going to get any sleep when one of you has to be on fire watch all night!! So... we packed up our cannot live withouts, followed all the evacuation tips (ladder against the house, hoses hooked up and visible, doors and windows locked, automatic garage door opener disabled and left unlocked) and headed down the mountain to stay with friends for the night. It was still a restless night, with the cats being unsettled, and being in an unfamiliar bed, and worrying about what was happening. But at least we knew we were safe, just in case.

Sept 12th- Over the course of 2 days the fire had grown over 20,000 acres!! But we were relieved to read that it was now starting to be contained. We called our neighbours who said everything was fine and the smoke was a lot better than the day before. The evacuation order was still in place, but there was talk of it being lifted for our part of the community. So, we packed up our poor cats again and headed back up the mountain. It was a little scary, driving into town and seeing the hundreds of fire trucks and firemen every where, but it felt so good to be back home. Late that afternoon, the recommended evacuation was reduced back down to precautionary and we heaved a sigh of relief and went out to eat heaps of Chinese food :)

Phew! What a weekend.How ironic that after my last post about how much we love the mountains, we experienced the not so fun side of living here! Seriously though, it was good preparation for if/when it happens again and we are maybe more in danger- and in my true 'dancing in the rain' attitude... we got to know our neighbours better :-) Luckily no homes were destroyed in the fire, just someone's back deck and a lot of beautiful land. I saw a photo on a friend's Facebook page of her neighbours house and the fire had literally burned her property up to about 4 feet away from her home!! Those firemen did an amazing job. There was over 1100 personnel battling our fire alone that week, and there were 40 others burning in the area- they came from as far as San Diego and Laguna Beach. I heard that many of them, after being relieved from our fire were reassigned to fly to Texas to help with their awful fires also. These men and women truly are heroes.

Last week was a little less eventful, and more cheery!

I celebrated my birthday on Sept 14th (I turned 29, shhhh!), and spent a nice relaxing day with hubby shopping (with coupons lol- got some amazing deals!!!) eating Indian food, and visiting with friends. I was very spoiled with lots of lovely cards and gifts arriving from family and friends. Hubby had even secretly gone into my craft room and made me a handmade card, awww!

He decorated the envelope too, see!

The rest of the week felt like one long birthday celebration :)

On Thursday I got another package in the mail... my first Watkins delivery! Look at all these natural products and yummy packaging goodness...

I can't wait to try them all out!! There's cleaning products, foot care, facial care, bath soak, shower stuff, first aid thingys, and spices, extracts and BBQ sauce!!! And that's not even a 10th of the products they offer!

 I can tell you already, the Warming Balm (in the white tube with red stripes) is amazing and hubby says it has really helped with his bad back at night. It really does get warm and soothes aches and pains, a little bit goes a long way... and it's all natural :) Love it!!
As I get to try more of the products I will be sure to share those that I love with you on here. It's also my 1st blogiversary coming up next month, so I plan to do a fun give away incorporating some of my fave stamp sets and Watkins products :)

Last, but not least- the highlight of the past craaazzzyyy two weeks was on Saturday (when I forgot my camera so we had to make do with my phone!).

We ate lots of crab, while sporting very fashionable bibs, lol!

And sat 20 rows from the front at a Rascall Flatts concert- yey!!!!!!

So, that's us all caught up on my past couple of weeks!

Lynsey x

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Neigbours...

(side note... I can never decide if I should use UK or US spelling in my posts lol- oh the trials and tribulations of being an English girl in America :) )

We've been living here in Stallion Springs, just outside of Tehachapi, for six months now. Wow, time has flown by! We've had so much fun experiencing our first summer living in our very own little home in the mountains, and we're both eagerly awaiting our first fall, and winter and all the new experiences those seasons will bring. Time for this girl to learn how to put on snow chains- eek!

Best of all over the past few months though, has been getting to know our new neighbo(u!)rs. Friendly waves as you pass on the street are common place here, and as we start to recognize these faces we feel more and more at home. Recently I've been getting involved in some new projects in town, and am starting to make more new friends- and so feel even more at home and part of the community. We are truly blessed to have found our little corner of the world, and to have been able to buy our home and start setting down roots here.

Our most treasured new neighbours however, are those of the four legged, and winged variety! I never really thought about it when we were in the process of moving up here, but of course when you live out in a small community in the mountains, you share your neighbourhood with lots of other little residents. We've had all kinds of visitors to our back yard, and frequently see them when we're out on early morning, or evening walks. We've got quite a collection of photos from this past six months of our encounters with creatures great and small just outside our door. I thought I would take a moment to share them with you today :)

Now, remember, I never claimed to be a photographer- and these pics are taken on a point and shoot, often rushing to get the pic before the subject ran away lol! I'm trying to say they are not great quality lol, and that I want a good camera for Christmas.... please Santa!! hehe!

Aww, I know some people see them as pests in a garden- but I just love my little rabbits and squirrels that hang out daily in our yard.

 Can you see our next visitor up in the oak tree?
How about now?! lol!

A few nights later, our cats were making all kinds of fuss by the patio door and Jase went to take a look and see what was going on...

Ok.. now that's a little close for comfort Mr Raccoon!!

We also discovered the other night that we have a skunk living under our shed!! I'm sure you'll understand we didn't try to get close enough to photograph him!!

My favorite neighbors of all though, without doubt, are these guys...

I love living in the mountains :-)

Lynsey x