Monday, May 21, 2012

Again, my leave of absence takes a toll on my blog!  I can't even say I was busy, but I've had an overwhelming feeling of tiredness, since I returned from our trip from Spain on 5/7.

It was my first time out of the US, and I have to say, it was enlightening.  I've been to many places in the US, but never have I come home with such a sad feeling. Barcelona was a wonderful city, and the convention hosts were fantastic.  Many new friends were made,  new foods were tried, and overall, I really hope we get to go back to Barcelona (or another city in Spain for that matter).  I'd say more about my trip, since I haven't made a post about it here, but the majority of my post would be about food, since we didn't have a lot of time after the convention, to do much else! Though, I will happily go to any city, and only get to experience the food!  I do need to mention, that I was thoroughly disappointed coming back to the US and having to go back to having to constantly question "where" and "how" my food ended up at the grocery store (even though we shop for produce at a local organic/health food shop--I still question all that doesn't come from my garden).   Other than the food, coffee has been forever ruined for me! There is nothing quite like spanish coffee :)

When I returned home, I also found that the majority of my vegetable seedlings had wilted or about died on me.  I am happy to report, that my small banana plant is growing strong! I know it will take up to two years for a dwarf banana to start bearing fruit, but they're such neat looking plants, I had to have one. 

I'm really hoping that my 20 tomato plants that were growing strong before we left, come back. Some are regaining their green, and sprouting new leaves, so I'm hoping--especially since I transplanted them-- that it was just a case of crazy shock.  I can't lose my entire tomato crop AGAIN this year (last year I had plants, but the mice that lived next to my garden attacked them all).

Wrapped Labradorite on sterling silver chain $30

Other exciting news, is that it's been ONE YEAR since I opened J Magnolia Designs. In honor of it, I bought myself  a new wig jig (the beadalon centaur), so that I can make more uniform findings for my earrings/necklaces/etc. I've needed one for a while, as it's hard to make decorative wire pieces uniform for things like earrings, without one. They come out almost perfect, but I would prefer an easier way to do it.  I broke my metal punch  the first day of using it, which I was rather annoyed about, but what can you do?  I bought a cheap one, and that was my own fault.   I may decide to do a giveaway in the near future, but right now, I can't afford to give anything away!

Otherwise, things have been fairly stressful, as I'm running low on saved funds, and I'm starting to get really worried that things are not going to turn out the way I hoped. I've been doing a lot of odd jobs in an attempt to at least earn a p/t income, so I have that, but it's been tough. My anxiety level is definitely at a high!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Enter to Win a $30 BK GC!

Give Mom the night off with this Burger King Gift Card Giveaway! Giveaway ends on 4/29 and is open worldwide*. Good luck! 

*Winner can opt for a cash prize instead of a BK Gift Card.
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Book Review: "Blaze of Glory" by M.Garzon

Blaze of Glory by M Garzon $14.95 (paperback)
Let me start out by saying this: I am in no way a fan of the romance/life drama genre of books. Actually, I'm more of the classic literature type of booknerd, and I've spent more time reading works by authors such as James Joyce, and William Faulkner, and Oscar Wilde, than anything else.  It's rare I'd ever consider doing a book review on book that falls into a genre, I find to be a general disgrace to the world of literature.

That being said, I in no way agreed to do this book, without KNOWING full well that there was going to be a lot of clichĂ© "romance themes", and "life drama". However,  when doing a book review, regardless of one's prior experience with a genre, one must learn to go into it with an open mind, and that is precisely what I did.


Blaze of Glory by M Garzon, focuses on the life of Tea, a 17 year old girl with a rebellious attitude, her brother Seth, and the stepfather, Dec(lan) who adopted them when their mother died, and his famous pro-polo player and "golden child" nephew, Jaden.

Tea has the kind of attitude most 17 year old's have, as she seems to actively search out things that will inevitably make her stepfather angry.  Tea has a horse named Blaze, whom she is training as a jumper, and has already received a lot of buzz about her abilities. 

The story starts out with Tea and Seth's cousin Jaden, coming to town, after being away for five years. Their stepfather Dec, is thrilled as Jaden is his "favourite nephew". Tea takes an immediate disliking of the fact that her family fawns over Jaden and his life as a high profile, world traveling polo player, whom is now attending law school.  A goody-two shoes, who she believes has lead an ultra privileged life, and doesn't understand the trials of living like her and her brother Seth-- balancing high school and a social life, with all the hard work of maintaining the stables and boarded horses at their stepfather's farm.

Tea spends a lot of her time in this story coaching lessons, and training her horse Blaze, on jumping courses. She manages to send Dec into fits of anger, with her forgetfulness of jumping without wearing a helmet, among other moments of forgetfulness of riding safety. We find out the kind of anger problems Dec has, when Tea and her friend Teri decide to take up "secret" jobs at the racetrack, as exercisers, to help pay for her entry fee in the biggest competition, The Royal. The track is forbidden territory,  and Tea makes sure that the week her and Teri are working, that Dec is out on business.  The first few days go off without a hitch.  Then, as she's taking a horse back to the stables, she sees, to her horror, her cousin Jaden. After a heated argument about how Dec would be VERY displeased  with her being there, Jaden tells Tea that as long as she ceases working the rest of the week at the track, he'll keep the whole thing from Dec. She gives a false promise and continues work, and is again, found out by Jaden, whom this time, doesn't take the situation lightly and basically hoists her over his shoulder in the most embarrassing manner possible and carries her out of the track, with her "kicking and screaming", the whole way.   Because of the break of trust, Jaden tells Dec what Tea was up to while he was away, and Dec's truly dark side emerges.  Tea basically blacklists Jaden for his betrayal, deeming him a nuisance that's going to ruin her life if he has the ability to do so.  She challenges him at every possible opportunity, making it a pretty strained relationship early on.

There was plenty of horse-related storyline here, to please anyone with an interest in horses, but don't buy this book thinking that it's the focus of the story.  I'll admit, there was enough horse-speak that I had to look a few things up, to figure out what in the world the characters were talking about, but other than that, horses seem to be an after-thought compared to the somewhat, "forbidden love" romance aspect of the story. 

The cast of characters each add their own significant importance in the story, and none seem too under developed.   Tea, the main focus of the story, is a witty, highly intelligent 17 year old, whose antics are somewhat humorous, if you are an adult reading this story, as you've probably done comparably silly things.  If you're reading this as a teenager, I'd assume that some of her misadventures,  will be highly relate-able.

The mid-story tragedy that Tea experiences is the turning point of the book, and from that point on is where the story starts taking a rather, well, peculiar turn, as Tea  is faced with some strong emotions, that if let known, her family will likely chastise and possibly disown her over.  The rest of the story we venture down the road of depression and the darker aspects of Tea's life, as she tries her hardest to get back to the "norm"--something that is seemingly unattainable. Her cousin,  Jaden-- whom she finds out is anything but the poster child for "good behaviour"--  becomes an important aspect of her life, as he becomes her "shoulder to cry on",  and acts as a diffuser between her and Dec, when things get rough.  Things become increasingly difficult between Tea and Dec, as she continues to toe the lie of acceptable behavior and down right rebellious/stupid teen shenanigans.

Overall, M Garzon wrote a fine piece of romantic-fiction. It has all the basic romance genre elements (the tragedy, and the trials of forbidden love).  The big "plot twist",  was expected, as the entire beginning of the story was eluding to it. You'll see it coming a mile away, but it doesn't make the idea any less "scandalous".  The author does a good job of mixing some real-life teenage situations, into her work of fiction; no being afraid to spotlight some of the "darker" sides of teenage rebellion, there are significant amounts of the book highlighting misadventures of alcohol and drug use, sex, and the effects of depression and peer pressure.

If your cup of tea centers around the world of the harlequin romance novel, and you happen to also have a love of the world of horses, I highly suggest picking up a copy of this book.  You'll be sucked into the scandalous love affair that this book revolves around, the tragedies that life throws us all,  along with all the crazy adventures and trials of the highly likeable characters, you'll be glued to this book.   (If you're like me, and the mere idea of "romance novel" turns your stomach, I'd steer clear of this one! )

The book is apparently scheduled to be a major tv series, so if you're interested in buying this book, grab a copy on amazon!  You know, so you can say you read the book "before it was a hit tv series" ;)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a>. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flash Giveaway! Enter to win a $30 Papa Murphy's GC~

Give Mom the night off with this Papa Murphy’s Gift Card Giveaway! Giveaway ends on 4/26 and is open worldwide*. Good luck! 

*Winner can opt for a cash prize instead of a Paper Murphy’s Gift Card.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Some New Items, and Upon Other things!

Well, the last time I posted it was about getting a new camera, and well, I received it about a week
and a half ago! I've already had a couple sales since changing all my photos, so *fingers crossed* that this is REALLY what my shop needed!

Now I also posted about using pre-made chains.  It's saved me a lot of time when I'm doing wire wrapped pendants, that's for sure. I can now focus more on those sorts of things, instead of feeling overwhelmed by doing all the wrapping work, and then realising I still have to make the
Wire Wrapped Labradorite Pendant $30
chain! The photo on the right, displays the "process" that chains are made.  Starting out as wire (usually 18-22g, depending on how fine I want the chain), I coil a whooooole bunch of it, then cut each individual ring--all I have is one pair of small flush cutters, and when you're dealing with 2mm jump rings, you can't do much more than cut one at a time. After I have a pile of them, I start linking each ring, one by one. The whole process would take me  2+ hours, depending on how long I needed the chain. Now, when I make pieces that are basically ALL chain, such as what's pictured on the left (and has sold, so unfortunately it is not available any longer), I certainly won't be using pre-made chains, because that would just make me look lazy. There's nothing special about attaching pre-made chains together. So for any jewelry that is MOSTLY just chain, I will still create the chain myself. 

On to new items! Since I'm able to work a bit more freely now with wire wrapping, I've made two new pendants (both on sterling silver chains). The first is a wire wrapped piece of labradorite adorned with a tiny hematite star. The pendant measures about 1.5".  I also wrapped a piece of kiwi jasper, in a very "simple" fashion, because I just liked the color of the gemstone so much I didn't want to take over too much with a lot of wire (not that I didn't adore the labradorite, it just begged to be wrapped in more).  
Wire Wrapped Kiwi Jasper $30

Wire Wrapped Crystal Earrings

Hammered-Half Hoop Earrings $18.00
I also created some SUPER light weight hammered aluminum earrings, with swarovski crystals, and really shiny copper beads. I realized how good of a "close up" my camera does, when I realised I could see it's reflection in the copper beads! 

I also created some very primitive looking half hoops, that adorned with greenish, blue gemstones (which I believe are chrysocolla).

As you can see, my new camera certainly captures my jewelry A LOT better than my iPhone!  Needless to say, it definitely inspires me to work more! It was tough when your camera just wasn't capturing things the way it should. Now, I can get  up-close, detailed shots, that compliment my work. Before it was just a basic "over view" and any enlargement of the photo would just give you a grainy close up.

That's all I have for today! Be on the look out in the next couple of days, for  two gift card giveaways!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

$20 Paypal Giveaway!

You read that right, enter to win $20 paypal cash!
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oh. eBates, why didn't I start using you sooner?

I know I'm the last person in the WORLD to start using,  but I really am kicking myself for it! Almost every place I shop online is on there. I could have been saving a lot of money had I believed the TV ads!   Since all those "flower giving" holidays are coming up (easter, mother's day, etc.), I suggest hopping on the eBates band wagon. because places like 1-800 flowers, FTD, and Telaflora give about 12-16% cash back.

Gemstone and Glass Bead Cluster Bracelet $30

If you haven't yet, I hope you'll stop on by my J Magnolia Designs to see all the great jewelry I have available! Mother's day is JUSSSTT around the corner, why not get your lovely Mom a gift of hand-made jewelry? Want something other than what's already available? Send me a message! I LOVE custom orders!  I have everything from gemstone jewelry, to swarovski crystal, to funky wire/chain jewelry! I'm sure there's something you, or someone you know would love! If not, I'll make it!

Speaking of my jewelry shop, I'm happy to announce I FINALLY purchased a new camera! Which means BETTER photos of my jewelry, for your buying/browsing pleasure.  I will no longer have to rely on my iPhone for product photos, AND I can start taking photos again in general. I've really missed it. The iPhone is great when you're out with friends,  but the quality is not print quality and you can only do so much with iPhone images. 

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I bet you're wondering, "How did you pay for that? She has been complaining for months she needs to sell more jewelry to buy a camera!". Well,  thanks to the marvelous, wonderful, spectacular SWAGBUCKS I was able to only pay about $20 out of pocket for it. It took a lot, but I did surveys and searched, and watched loads of swagbucks tv, and my $120 purchase (the camera was marked down from $179.99--it was a Panasonic Lumix 16mpx, and I got it for $101, and I also bought a 16gb sd card with it) ended in me only spending $20.  Sure, it's only a point and shoot, but that's all I need right now to improve my business and take some nice photos (as my fiancĂ© always says, it's not the tools it's the artist).  I can't wait until I get it in the mail, and can start retaking all my shop photos!

I'm hoping with all the success I've had with SWAGBUCKS, so far,  I'll be able to take a big chunk out of Christmas shopping this year. I figure, I've only been on Swagbucks since November/December 2011, so with a bit of work I can earn a lot of Amazon gift cards from now until then. Maybe I'll even give some away every so often ;) 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Want a Chance to Win an iPad 3?

 Head on over to for a chance to win an 16 GB iPad 3! The giveaway runs until April 20th, so don't miss out! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Win $500 from Contest Chest! is giving away $500! Enter for your chance to win, using the rafflecopter entry form below!:)

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Sign Up for NoMoreRack!

Have you signed up at No More Rack, yet? If you haven't, why not?! This site boasts 8 deals a day (they've added a new section, so there are more than 8 deals a day), and even a "friend rack" where you can earn free items from referrals!  They even have randomly showcased "INSANITY Deals" where they put an item like an Apple iPad up for as little as $43.20!   I've SEEN loads of these deals, but my computer is old and too slow to catch any of them before they sell out :( If you're speedy and have a bit of luck, there have been people who have gotten some of these items (on blogs that I follow).

So head on over and join No More Rack, and start getting great deals! Get your friends to join and earn free stuff!