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DIY Mother’s Day Earring Card & Flowers

Mother's Day Collage Earrings FlowersI meant to have this posted yesterday, however, the workshop and website grand re-opening have consumed my editing time table. lol.

I created a special cardmaking project that stretched me a little bit outside of my regular jewelry making and instruction comfort zone. The end result taught me several new artistic techniques, gave me some wonderful ideas for future holiday workshops and allowed me to use several of my scrapbooking supplies that had been previously unused and just languishing in my closet.

I was asked to teach a Mother’s Day themed workshop at one of the local community centers here in El Paso at Galatzan Park. Although there was not a lot of advertising time to really get the word out, there were about 20 responses which will hopefully pave the way to future fun classes at that location. I’m excited for the upcoming Father’s Day Workshops at the Don Haskins and Galatzan Centers.

Galatzan collage

This project involves various regular and glitter cardstocks, floral and bright scrapbook paper stacks, Crayola markers, Daisy punch by Fiskars, Mason Jar  and Retro Flower punches by EK Success, embossing powder, Versamark clear ink, sheer ribbon, glue, foam dots, water, paint brushes, Bead Landing earring punch, and earring jewelry making components in a rose theme.

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For video tutorials on how to assemble this fun floral card vase and rose earrings, please visit my YouTube channel to watch, comment, like and SUBSCRIBE! Click here to purchase the rose dangle earrings at Etsy.

I hope everyone had a sparkle-riffic Mother’s Day!

 

Sweepstakes Link to Fire Mountain Gems Jewelry Supplies Giveaway

Sweepstakes: Win $500 of Jewelry-Making Supplies from
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads!

Enter to Win!

Enter 1 time every day* until March 30, 2016  for your chance at beads, Accu-Flex® beading wire, Swarovski® crystal, pearls, tools, Zebra Wire™ and So. Much. More!

If any of my fellow beading friends are interested, I just got the message above that Fire Mountain Gems is having a free beading supplies giveaway. Please just click my affiliate referral link here or above so I get credit. I’d sure appreciate it. You can enter every day at least 1ce. Good luck and have a sparkle-riffic day!

URGENT: Update your Kindle eReader!

Kindle Update collage

My sweet cousin, having read my previous blog post on how much I love my Kindle, warned me the other day about an URGENT Amazon announcement for my reader. Thankfully when I clicked for more info, my Fire HDX 8.9 particular model was not on the list for those needing the IMMEDIATE UPDATE before the March 22, 2016 date.

If you purchased a Kindle eReader in 2012 or earlier, please visit Amazon’s announcement page to see model specs and instructions. If you don’t perform the update via Wi-Fi by March 22nd, you are going to have more inconvenient hoops to jump through to update your device. A snapshot from that page is below. So, just go do it NOW and don’t miss out reading whatever exciting books you’ve got loaded.

Device and Year Software Version Your Device Needs Update via Wireless (2G/3G) or Wi-Fi
Kindle 1st Generation (2007) 1.2.1 Use Wireless
Kindle 2nd Generation (2009) * 2.5.8 Use Wireless
Kindle DX 2nd Generation (2009) * 2.5.8 Use Wireless
Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation (2010) ** 3.4.2 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 4th Generation (2011) 4.1.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 5th Generation (2012) 4.1.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Touch 4th Generation (2011) ** 5.3.7.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation (2012) ** 5.6.1.1 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite 6th Generation (2013) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle 7th Generation (2014) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle Voyage 7th Generation (2014) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle Paperwhite 7th Generation (2015) No Update Needed No Update Needed

 

Now, although my device is not on this list for the MANDATORY March update, I did notice a new update for me on my Fire HDX 8.9 device’s page while logged in at Amazon:

We have a new, free software update available for your Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (3rd Generation). This update automatically downloads and installs on your Fire tablet when connected wirelessly; however, you can also manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via USB cable.

I’ll probably go ahead and sync mine before the mandatory date even though it’s not required for my Fire HDX 8.9 device- just to be sure I’m all set.

On a similar note, I’ve been asked to do 2 more book reviews. One is along the fantasy realm and the other is an SEO strategy. I’ll be sure to update you when I write those. So, I’ve got to get busy reading instead of all this website launch and tax preparation. lol.

stories sparkles smiles kindle

Get over to Amazon and update your Kindle device NOW!

Have a sparkle-riffic day, everyone!!

Take a Chance on Doing What you Love!

Sweet sarsaparilla! I love this old speech! Jim Carrey expresses the key reason why I’m still holding out to spread more of my handmade sparkles online even though the bead store dream I previously envisioned had too many risky overhead pitfalls.

do what you love orange

The Struggle is Real

I’ve always been a responsible person, working multiple jobs at one time for many years while simultaneously earning my business degrees. Many of my jobs have been in the administrative and accounting fields where using my creativity would do nothing but get me into trouble. lol.

I have FINALLY been able to focus on my new jewelry website launch and re-branding. Transitioning from a hobby to a business is scary with lots of steps involved! I sometimes let my guilt get the better of me at taking this time off from working a full time job, but then I remind myself of exactly what Jim says here.

For those people who do not know me, I was raised by my grandparents after both parents left my little sis and I for their drug addictions. We were saved by our grandparents. The reality was that we were a very real burden for them to contend with, which made anything we asked for seem selfish in our situation when compared to the basic necessities and a safe environment. A fact that is lost on most kids, especially those today that think they all need iPads by the age of 4! (To be fair though, in my day “it” was a radio that could play cassette tapes and I was about 11 then. I’m old). I do not share this background for pity; I say this to explain why I have previously chosen “fear disguised as practicality” the way that Jim describes it.

It has taken almost 43 years for me to be brave enough and to have achieved a small measure of security to pursue this creative opportunity. My husband has also been an extremely hard worker and has pursued his career goals to help bring us to where we are today. While I’m usually comfortable in the background of my own life, it is thankfully my opportunity to shine.

The timing has never been right before. We have always struggled financially, especially after moving cross country, huge remodeling costs and experiencing the housing crash with the economy. Employment is difficult to find. With our recent change of state and my graduation, the timing has finally aligned with my ever growing bead collection.

Sparkling Ahead

So, for the first time EVER in my adult life, I am allowing myself the chance to do something unexpected, something that I LOVE and fills my heart with happiness. I want to CREATE themed handmade jewelry designs that are uniquely reflective of people and helps them to recognize their sparkle! The world can be so frustrating, full of misery and uncaring. I can relate to the need for some elation and tranquility. Bringing out your inner sparkle thrills my soul! Win win for us both! lol

home made bead jewellery making as a hobby

 

Things may not work out, but at least I can FINALLY say that I am pursuing a creative path that I am passionate about after ignoring the dreams of my youth! This sparkly jewelry venture may seem small to most people, but it is HUGE to me!

Buy Handmade and Spread the Sparkle!

I am thankful for your support in my handmade business, as it is helping to feed my cats right now and elevating my confidence! Eventually I hope it grows enough to feed the hubby and I, but the cats do eat a lot already! lol.

Pursue your passion, everyone! Whatever it is, as long as it’s not life threatening and brings you joy! Life is too short to always feel left out of the fun! (A sparkle-tastic lesson learned from my Twilight party planning days). And if a creative path is not for you, please help support your friends and family in their passions. Buy handmade and shop locally. Each time you support a person in their entrepreneurial venture, you are helping someone achieve their dreams while taking some of the loot away from big box stores.

support artists

Now back to work on my website launch coming soon May 10th! Have a sparkle-riffic day!

Help Me Choose and Score Some Sparkle!

UPDATE: Sadly, I didn’t have much participation in this contest. The few entries received did not use both hashtags for the contest. So….maybe next time? Sniffles. Gotta get more sparkly peeps engaged in my giveaways. I’ll try another one soon. Thanks to the two gals who tried. I appreciated your response in the survey, too! 

survey collage 2

I’ve been working my sparkly fingers to the bone updating my old website to get ready for a grand opening, complete with eCommerce directly on my new site. In the course of sparks flying off my keyboard and beading mat, I’ve decided to offer a giveaway in return for some much needed feedback for what to name my new collections.

Please take about 3-5 minutes to answer these two questions which will help me choose the names of my handmade jewelry collections. This will also offer valuable insight into trends and potential avenues for me to expand my brand.

Simply take the survey between now and noon Mountain time on Tuesday February 9, 2016; like/ follow me and then share the survey link via Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #scoresparkle and #SparkleByMonica. (If you are already a fan or follower of my social media above, you are halfway there and can just use the hashtags mentioned). This will allow me to see who has entered so I may contact the winner.

I will be giving away a sparkle-riffic Valentine themed piece of handmade jewelry (either a bracelet, earrings or necklace) to a randomly selected survey respondent.

Valentine Jewelry Collage- cropped

The winner will be announced Wednesday afternoon February 10, 2016 by 5:00 p.m. Mountain time. Have a sparkle-riffic day and good luck!

Christians and Coffee Cups

devout or disposable

My favorite part of this whole article is: “Because, seriously, do you think Jesus would rather we remember his birthday by putting it on a coffee cup that’s going in the trash? Or would he rather we remember it by no longer treating one another as disposable?”.

I can understand the frustration of Christians feeling like we can’t express our faith in schools, at work, events, etc. while our nation still prints In God We Trust on our currency. I do understand other faiths that claim by allowing Christian holidays and prayers to infiltrate their workplace and classrooms they feel we are ostracizing their right to freedom of religion. I see both sides of the argument. I, however, wish…as you suggest here…that we all STOP ARGUING! Especially over something as trivial as a cup which will definitely be in the trash because you know people are not going to revere it simply because it has the word Christmas on it. Sad, but true.

Do I enjoy festive colors and graphics during the holidays? YES! Would it mean I am any less mindful of the real reason for the season if Christ’s name or likeness isn’t on my Frappuccino? NO!

No matter what faith we practice, the message is ultimately the same. Love & RESPECT one another. There is already so much anger, hatred and evil in the world…why add to it? I think Dickens sums it up best in one of my favorite stories, which I truly believe transcends Christmas, but is simply for respecting diversity: “Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine”.

As a Christian, I will not allow another person to remove my faith from my heart. Nor do I believe in belittling anyone because of their faith. I don’t impose my beliefs on others, but I do expect the same courtesy of expressing my joyfulness during holidays as non-believers expect not to be imposed upon. I was taught to love thy neighbor, not to covet a red Christmas coffee cup. Great article and perspective!

Emily C. Heath

It’s early November and already this year’s installment of the so-called “War on Christmas” has begun. All over social media I’m seeing rants from angry Christians who are trying to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. And the first volley of shots has already been launched against an unlikely target: Starbucks.

Apparently people are mad that the seasonal cups at Starbucks this year are just plain red. No mention of Christmas or Jesus at all. And, clearly that means that Christians are being persecuted. I mean, my faith is just destroyed if I don’t get my venti blonde roast with room for milk in a cup that features the name of my Lord and Savior.

So, obviously I think this is a little ridiculous. Because, Christians, I promise you that Starbucks red cups are not going to destroy the Christian faith. Seriously, the Roman Empire couldn’t do it, and they could kill…

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New Resident Nightmare: Moving to Texas- Vehicle Registration Rules, Inefficiency and Outsourcing- Driver License by Mail

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FINALLY went to try and get our Texas driver license. For anyone not familiar with TX…it is NOT a common sense state, contrary to popular belief. Before we could even go to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DMV doesn’t do licensing), I had to get our insurance changed over to Texas, get an inspection on the Toyota (for a fee which must be done yearly), then go to a separate privately owned car title company or tax assessors office to have the tags transferred from AZ to TX (for another and larger fee where we didn’t get refunded the month still pending of AZ tags). Then we are deemed worthy of going to try to get a driver license.

A note about these required car inspections in Texas: It makes no sense to mandate these inspections yearly because the people performing the inspections no longer issue stickers and after a certain age car (24 years old) , the inspection doesn’t test their emission level but just the safety (lights and wipers work, airbags installed, nothing falling off, etc.). If the purpose is for TX to ensure that new residents have vehicles with a low carbon footprint and are safe on the roads, then fine- the first inspection is justifiable. Why make a new TX resident car that passed the 1st time continue to get re-inspected every year when you allow border crossing vehicles here daily that still use leaded gasoline? And why allowold vehicles that can’t pass your emissions requirements to be waived and only tested for safety? I’m all for clean air, don’t get me wrong. With the sub-standard border vehicles, older US vehicles waivers, and sporadic counties in TX requiring inspections…it just seems like another layer of stupidity.

Image result for Texas DMV inefficient

Now, thinking we had all our ducks in a row, the hubby took off to go with me since he had to go to the title company and sign our car title for the registration part. At the DPS( for yet another fee), we were told we needed our social security card (or passport) AND our birth certificates along with my needing my marriage license (I guess they don’t trust my updated name on my social security card) AND our AZ driver license. This all in addition to the new proof of insurance in TX, car inspection report and new title tag registration.

It is ridiculous to have to go to 3 different places to get a new license and tag where the other 2 states we’ve lived in do it all in one place. Not to mention, Texas expects new residents to jump through all these hoops within 30 days of moving here. Uh right. You’ll be lucky to unpack your boxes in 30 days, much less have all this junk done!

Oh, and the final straw on top of an eye exam and digitally scanning both index fingers…they don’t even give you your license there at the at the DPS! They MAIL IT TO YOU in 2-3 weeks or 30-60 days (depending on who you listen to…your receipt or the clerk) and you are given a temp piece of paper. What? At this point, we almost contemplated becoming reverse illegals and crossing into Mexico. hahahaha.

I would expect this kind of junk from California, but not Texas. We were frustrated with Arizona’s high property tax chaos and fees ($393 in TN to $1900 in AZ) when we moved from Tennessee, but at least they did everything car related at one building and you got your license that day. (Which, might I add, AZ doesn’t expire licenses until you are 65. Yes, you read correctly- for me it was 30 YEARS away from the date I was issued back then). By the way, here in El Paso Texas…our property taxes are giving us sticker shock again as they are even higher than Yuma, AZ at about $6,000! Yet another thing to take care of, turn in a Residential Homestead Exemption form to get a mild tax break keeping us around that $6k mark which is INSANELY high.

We asked about our little 1996 Nash pull along camper today, thinking we could get it registered while doing our Toyota transfer. NOT! Even though the weight amount is noted on the title we brought with us (824 pounds), we have to get it weighed for $5 or get an inspection for $20 because TX says titles alter weight amounts on campers…even the small little pull alongs like ours. Newsflash: The real alteration is going to be us having to pull our camper to a weigh station which will not only give the camper weight, but pick up our truck’s weight! This then throws the camper over 4,000 pounds and causes us to be classed for a higher fee. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a money making racket here, it seems.

New El Paso Texas resident checklist:

  1. Transfer your vehicle and camper insurance (within 30 days moving to Texas)
  2. Get a vehicle inspection  (within 30 days moving to Texas, maintain annually)
  3. Transfer your vehicle tag registration  (within 30 days moving to Texas, done separate from license)
  4. Get driver license (within 90 days after entry into Texas, take a suitcase of identification documentation and possibly your family tree)
  5. Drink a Diet Coke and eat a piece of Chocolate cake

Tennessee friends, be extra glad that you still live in a land of low property taxes, sweet tea, and no border bureaucracy! Arizona friends, be thankful you have a one stop shop for your driver license, no yearly inspections and some muy bueno guacamole. Texas friends, I feel more secure in the knowledge that we are all here legally, driving non-polluting and safe cars.(Um, yeah right).

To end my rant of the day, I will say that over half of this frustration was made better by an awesome insurance agent who forewarned us of most of these inconvenient steps before the ability to even get new licenses. If it weren’t forAnnette Haverly with Statefarm telling us about the inspection, registration being separate from DPS and insurance transfers, we would have probably wound up on the news here tonight as crazy people throwing tantrums in local registration facilities. Seriously. And one more silver lining to try to end on a semi-positive non-lunatic note, our tag cost for the Toyota is about $220 cheaper here in Texas than it was in Arizona. I’m guessing that might be because that extra money went to the AZ MVD facility being able to process everything in one location instead of outsourcing the way Texas DPS does. Ok, that was just sarcasm. Another positive to the outsourced tasks is that they are a very small office and the wait time was less than 30 minutes. After we made 2 trips home to get additional documentation, make that about an hour, but that is still less than the 4 hours at AZ.

So, now we wait for our photo driver licenses to get mailed to us and hope we don’t experience identity theft as a result of them being issued by mail.