Monday, July 8, 2013

Copper cold-forged flower bracelet

copper cold-forged flower bracelet

It must be summer cause we are crazy-busy. There is not much crafting going on around here! I did manage to get this bracelet done though. I had a lot of fun hammering the flower into shape. I just wish I could get down to the basement more often to make more!!! I’ve been busy doing other things. Really really fun things…like spending three (three!) hours cleaning under a counter. And reorganizing my filing cabinet…again! And getting ready for the 4th of July. And getting kids ready to go to camp. And a million other things that crop up to wipe out my day. Then there is the “down time” – I don’t know about you but when it is so busy, and there is a spare minute (or hour), I sleep. Usually. So if I wanted to cut out some sleep time I suppose I’d have time to cut more metal…but I usually just can’t help myself. This week kid three is at the first camp of the summer and I have PLANS! MAJOR PLANS! You take just one kid out of the equation and we have an entirely different household. It doesn’t matter which kid…it just seems calmer and more manageable. I’m going to finish organizing the filing cabinet, make soap, decorate a tin Steampunk Style, and my brain tells me I have to cut some wood with my scroll saw. Wish me luck! Hope your summer is going well!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Refinished cutting board and trying to keep up…

You know, “back in the day” I could get so much more accomplished…I’d run around here and complete this or that task in mere minutes. Now I drag my sorry self around and push myself through the tasks and it seems as if I never get anything accomplished! Maybe that’s why I love crafting so much. You can see your results – you can show other people your results! It’s not like yesterday – I worked in the yard for hours – and it still looks pretty much the same! Here is one craft I did this week -


My mother-in-law and I went to a garage sale this past Saturday and I brought home this cutting board. It was in pretty rough shape but I wanted to see if I could make it better. I think it was around fifty cents or a buck. I got out my hand sander and started sanding. I started with a 60 grit paper and it got all gunked up right away. There was either a funky finish on this board or years of grease build-up. (ewwww!) Then I went to a 100 grit and finished with a 150 grit. I did all of this at the kitchen table because A – we had 40 days and 40 nights of rain and it was still raining & B – the kitchen already needed a good cleaning. I had to wipe down every surface anyways. Then I rubbed on some wood butter and here it is!


and the other side -


If I had been sanding outside I would have sanded longer. Even though the kitchen needed to be cleaned this made a BIG MESS lol! I sanded for a half an hour and called it “good enough”. I can sand longer when it needs to be refinished some other day.

Did you notice that odd assortment of things in the first picture? Well, that is part of a project that is on my kitchen table right now. Almost done. Just waiting for the paint to dry. I’m trying really really hard to tackle each new project I bring into the house RIGHT AWAY. My “someday I’ll fix this up” pile got a little out of control lol.

I also worked on a needle felting project in the evenings this week.


I’m starting a little woodland play-set.


There is still a lot to do but it’s always fun!


And here is the lazy woman’s way to clean a fleece. Let the rain pound some of the vegetable matter out of it! This is a meat sheep fleece and pretty dirty. I cleaned some of it a few months ago and it took around 5 bathtub refills…and the water was still dirty. Bummer. But it felts up really fast and works well for your foundation felting. Sooo…I’m going to experiment a bit. I got the fleece for free from a lady I met at last year’s Bazaar. She is a teacher and invited me to her classroom to teach her students how to wash the wool. They did a great job! Way better than I’ve done lol!

In other news I think I accidentally deleted all my old blog posts pictures. Oops! I just went back to try to link up wood butter and the picture is gone…all the pictures are gone! I had gone into my Google account and Windows Live Writer account checked out some settings…it seemed as if I was opening all  my pictures in Windows Live Writer and they were public! All my pictures…so I freaked out a little and started deleting things. Maybe I should have thought about it a little longer…cause I remember clicking a button that said “this delete option is permanent”. Aaaannnndddd – I’ve been cleaning out the photos in my computer and have been deleting all the craft photos…figuring they were on my blog anyways…so…a huge chunk of my life is deleted. And a huge chunk of this blog is without pictures. sigh. That’s just the way it goes. You’d think I’d be more upset about this…

Happy Crafting!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013


A few months ago Ann from All Things Paper contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to do a quilling commission – I have to admit…I was scared! But I said yes. The client and I “talked” a bit via email and I sent her some ideas and this is what I came up with!


She wanted the word “love” and she wanted it in purples, pinks, and blues…hydrangea colors. I’d have to say the scariest part of this project was keeping it clean lol! I was terrified I’d touch it with smudged fingers or get a glop of glue in the wrong place…I like how it turned out! She framed it and sent me a picture -


Doesn’t it look pretty in the frame? It tickles me to no end to know a piece of artwork I created is hanging and loved by someone on the other side of the country!

Speaking of artwork – I attended a benefit a couple weeks ago and bid on a painting in a silent auction…and won!

This watercolor was created by an 85 year old woman – who has obviously honed her craft! I am so happy to know you can be 85 and still crafting!!!!


Hmmmm…in other news I finally tried a little digital scrapbooking. I don’t have many “supplies” but I came up with this -

Copy of 2013MomandDogs

There is a lot to learn…this was a ten minute try and all elements were free. :) I love free! Shoot! I bet I should link to the free elements but honestly…I have no idea whom they belong to…I kinda went nuts on National Scrapbook Day downloading all the freebies out there…I’ll try to do better next time… This is going to be so cool! Someday I’ll have everything scrapbooked and then I can upload/download them to Walmart or whatever and have a book printed out for each kid! They could even have the same pages!!!! I have around a hundred scrapbooked pages in VERY HEAVY and BULKY albums and if a kid even breathes on them wrong I have a fit. The digital versions are replaceable…

Happy Crafting!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Copper and Brass jewelery


So I recently ordered a jewelers saw so I could try my hand at some metal jewelry. I find cutting out the shapes are a fairly easy task – but soldering…that is going to take some practice! You can see in the bottom right (inside of the frame) there is a little solder peeking out. I don’t want that. This is actually the second piece I made just like this. On the first piece I really had solder leakage. (BTW – hate that word…leakage…ewwwww) So I scrubbed at it with some wire brushes and ended up copper-plating my brass! Oh – and the black part is patina’d copper and the gold part is brass. So…I now have two almost good enough pendants…one I’ll wear and this one I’ll keep scrubbing at and then dontate to the Cuyuna Range Whitetails banquet next year. (My hubbie is the VP and I’m the Secretary – lot’s of meetings…but FUN!) I have a couple more designs planned  but haven’t gotten to them yet. This may seem like a total random craft for me to try but it isn’t. I actually bought a coping saw about ten years ago to give this a whirl and it didn’t work very well – lol. Now I was gifted with some large pieces of copper and brass and decided it was time to tackle it again. I had an old work bench in the shed and I begged and bugged my 16 year old to get some friends together and get it to the basement – they did – yay! It’s ugly as all get-out but STURDY and it has a VICE and DRAWERS! And I can leave my mess down there – and start and stop whenever I want.



Here’s another one I did finish. I made the heart out of polymer clay – I have to take pictures of the backs of these don’t I. After I cut out the wings I realized they were very pointy and dangerous. I mean, if I fell wrong while wearing it I could puncture my jugular! But – they made a perfect way to hang it. I used thin copper wire to attach them to the chain. The copper should patina as time goes on. Next step in these projects is to etch the copper. I have all the supplies but now need the time…

I went to a garage sale yesterday and picked up a couple things. Just a couple. I got a pizza pizzazz for $5.00 and a couple skeins of yarn. I crocheted up the yarn last night into a scarf -


It’s a rather short scarf so I’ll have to figure out some kind of closure/toggle/thingy – I think. I’ll probably just wear it as it is for now. (Well, next winter…unless we get more snow!) The scarf is the background for the necklace pictures if you want to relook and see close-ups. I can’t donate this project cause I totally forgot how to single crochet and my edges are all wonky – I figured it out in the end – but this yarn does NOT unravel. It’ll break before it will come undone. So darn…I have to keep a wonky soffffttttt alpaca and mohair and acrylic scarf for myself. lol. (I’m so proud of myself – the yarn didn’t get put into the “someday” pile!)

And guess what – I won a give-a-way! That is RARE! I won this awesome tote from Nestle and Soar.

It’s a great tote – I used it yesterday :) Thank you!!!

In other news I’ve reorganized the back entry and still have to repaint. Grrrr. I took down all the old mismatched racks and added one longer rack. It took me about THREE HOURS to hang it! I don’t know why. It just did. It was a pain. It took two trips to the hardware store to get the correct wall anchors. The back entry is full of clean hanging laundry right now because it was supposed to rain yesterday – so everything had to be dried inside. Maybe…maybe I’ll paint today. I moved down and started cleaning the basement yesterday instead. Why and HOW does it get to be such a mess! Well, I know one way it gets so messy…KIDS! They had arranged all my totes into a pen for a puppy last summer…after I’d just sorted them out…and I lost heart for the project after that. This time there will be blood-shed and tears if anyone so much as moves a tote an inch! (Probably my blood and tears – cause I’ll probably throw myself onto the concrete floor and have a world-class tantrum!) And yes, my crafts are messy. But it’s a moving mess…it’s changing all the time – that’s gotta count for something right?

Happy Crafting!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Polymer clay covered Altoid’s tin

tin 004

Been having a bit of fun with polymer clay again. I decided to try some sculpting. After I finished this I decided it just isn’t quite right – now that I’m looking at it in the photograph I can see what I’d like to change. Note to self – take a picture of a project that isn’t exactly what you’d like it to be and then critique. You get an entirely different perspective. (I don’t know how I’m going to finish it yet – should the bottom be more polymer clay or paper?)

tin 005

Each of those “feathers” were created individually. I kept track of my time and it took me about two hours to make this. (I painted all day and made this from 8-10 PM one evening.)

I’m still painting in my house. Grrr. This week I focused on the front entry and painted the ceiling and walls. Two coats on the walls. Wow – does it look brighter and cleaner in there! We need to replace the closet doors and the flooring. We’ll have to wait for some summer paychecks before we do that though. What I can do is to sand down the woodwork and reseal it – maybe next week…although next week I plan to focus on the back entry (but that is such a mess) four walls and four doors, yet it’s a biggish space. It seems like such a waste of space. I’ve also started a new craft lol. I’m hopeless. There is always something new to try! I’ll show you next week. I’ve completed one piece and would like to made another one trying to do some things better. The first piece was a learning piece…

When I left my job in St. Cloud to move up here I got asked all the time what was I going to do now? Well, the plan was to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) Then I’d get asked what else I was going to do – as if that wasn’t enough! I’d reply that I really liked crafting. One very elegant lady gave me the advice to “do one thing and do it exquisitely”. I think she cursed me. It was very good advice…but advice I just can’t seem to apply to my crafts. I want to do it all! All crafts I tell you! One thing I’ve done right with my latest adventure is to set up a “station” in my basement. I love that I can leave the mess out and access it whenever the mood strikes. The bad news is that it’s in the basement…I feel as if I’m cut off from the world. There is about one day a month where that would be perfect lol – but not every day.

Happy Crafting!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Leather Bag Makeover – Steampunk?

Remember this bag?


Remember I didn’t like the color or the front flap, or the strap. Now it looks like this -


Much MUCH BETTER! I dyed the bag with some antique colored leather dye I had laying around. I added the strap onto the front using rivets and punched in eyelets to hold whatever accessory I want to use.


After I got this all wired on my kids and hubbie told me it looks like a Sherriff badge…and they’re right…it does! It’s kinda  western Steampunk.The perforated metal piece is something I got from a clearance bin at JoAnn’s – it’s supposed to be a necklace part. I guess people would embroider a design on it or something.

The darker leather piece under the main strap is held on with heavy-duty snaps. I can change it out whenever I want and put something else there…like maybe needle felted flowers on felt or something like that. We’ll see. It took me years to get it to this point so I think it’ll stay this way for awhile.



I added this vintage key to use as a zipper pull on the back pocket – and a larger one for the main inside pocket. I also cut the straps off and used a long heavy duty belt as a handle.


The plan is to use snaps but I ran out so I sewed it in place this time…will add snaps later…this works fine for now. I really love how this turned out – I like the mix of different colored leathers and metals. It’s definitely better than it was! So now I’m on the hunt for another ugly old leather purse to redo for the bazaar – keep your eyes open for me!

Today I’m repainting my living room. I let the boys pick the color. It turns out what was supposed to be a putty color is actually a mauve/purple color. I hate it. I’m going to consider it priming the walls and get something else. Darn it!

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And here is another polymer clay pendant I made using a big stone cabochon as the base. It’s heavy and I love how it turned out – think it looks like petrified wood?


And lastly, one more polymer clay pendant. Julie likes this one – I think I do too. It isn’t what I had in my head when I started out so I’m not sure how much I like it…


Happy Crafting!!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Painting tips … and crafts


(Picture taken by my husband…sorry for the blur)

I think this has to be my favorite polymer clay piece I’ve made so far! I love how the leaf turned out and the color of the pendent. I tried to recreate that color the next day (the brown)…and spent at least two hours blending clay until I got it close enough! I have to take notes when blending clay from now on. I’ve actually started taking a picture of the clay with my phone camera and emailing it to myself with the list of colors used. Sheesh! I hope that saves some serious time in the future!!


(Picture taken by my youngest son…)

Do you have a favorite pair of socks? I have a few and this is one of them! I’d worn them so much there was small holes and the sock was getting very thin…so I darned them. I think I’ve talked about darning before…I’m acquiring quite a collection of darning yarn from thrift shops and my granny! I darned this pair as we were driving “home” for Easter. It took the entire trip there and most of the trip home to finish them…about 3 hours total. I wouldn’t do this for a regular pair of cotton socks, but if it is a pair of socks that fit nice and don’t sag and bag around my ankles I’ll give it a try. Someday I’ll buy a pair of beautiful knitted socks…someday…(I can’t knit!)


(Picture taken by me – look at all that stitching!)

Since I’m out of certain polymer clay supplies, and don’t have plans to get them this week, I’ve decided to tackle a problem…this is the problem -


(Handle is stretched around the chair)


(Purse is hanging properly but picture is too dark…color in the first picture is the true color)

The problem is I like the inside of this bag but have never liked the outside of this bag. The main problems are the color of the bag and the flap. Hate that flap. I’ve had this bag for a few years now and used it for a few months. My neighbor gave it to me…when you’re a hoarder crafter people give you stuff. Some stuff works out and some stuff has to be modified, and some stuff has to just go into the recycle/donate bin. I’ve had different ideas over the years about how to fix this bag but never “got around to it”. Well, the day has come. The bag is currently on my kitchen table getting a make-over. It already looks better and if I can’t find the supplies to do anything else it’s better than it was. If it doesn’t turn out it will get recycled into something else. It wasn’t doing anyone any good to be sitting on my shelf for the past few years. You’ll have to wait for the big reveal until next week.

Oh – and here’s your #1 painting tip! When you are going to paint a room DON’T clean it first! As a matter of fact, wait until it’s plenty dirty and dusty! That way the paint spatter sits on the fuzz and cleans up easily. I was telling my mom this and it blew her mind. I thought everyone painted this way lol! I finished the living room ceiling this week and will be off to the paint store soon to get the wall paint. I let my family pick out the color because I couldn’t stop dithering…green? no gray!…no YELLOW!…no sage!…no GRAY! I drove myself nuts.

Oh – and here’s a note…I sometimes get asked why I don’t do many tutorials. Well, it’s because a lot of what I make goes to the Bazaar at our church and I don’t want anyone else in the area making and selling the same things. We do good things with the money we raise (heat share, buy chickens for a community in Africa, help the soup kitchen…just to name a few). So, if you live outside of my area and want to know how I did something just contact me via email and I’ll tell you. I don’t mind sharing!

Happy Crafting!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Playing with Polymer Clay


I’ve been having a grand ol’time playing with polymer clay.


Then “painting” them with pigment powders.


I’m not 100% sure about the beads here, but the leaf is awesome… It’s ridiculously hard to photograph the metallic sheen these pieces have! I can see I have some work to do with my edges…they are kind of raggedy, maybe time to change out the blade in my craft knife…you wouldn’t think you’d need a sharp one for soft polymer clay but you do!

In other news I’ve finished painting my kitchen ceiling – woot woot!!! And am heading “to town” today, if we can get out, for more ceiling paint for the living room. One. Room. At. A. Time. I’ve found it’s best for me not to just go buy all the paint at one time. I’d rather get it one gallon at a time. Smaller reachable goals. We are still dithering about what color to paint the living room. It shouldn’t be so hard to pick a color! But it is…with a North facing room any color too dark will make it even more cave-like and my husband doesn’t like yellow, or light blue…we are looking at taupe right now. Kind of a putty color. Kind of BORING…but hopefully soothing. And we need soothing…this -



THIS DAMN WEATHER is putting us all in a bad mood!!! Julie and I went for a walk yesterday and it wasn’t snowing when we left, just cold and windy. A mile and a half into our walk the storm broke loose and it was “game-on/every-woman/dog-for-themselves" to get home! Got some cardio in trying to hustle home without slipping on the ice. BTW, Edith and newly renamed Peanut are getting along great! Phew! We just love our new dog, she’s very sweet and calm. Ahhhh….

Thank Goodness it’s Friday…

Happy Crafting!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Welcome Pea Brain…


“Pea Brain”

Meet “Pea Brain” the newest member of our household. We are all debating on new names for her, so far the leading names are Phoebe, PB, and Peanut. Now we just have to see which one sticks. We needed something that sounds at least a bit like “Pea Brain” lol! She is the half sister of our other dog Edith.

gabe&haylee 060


We brought her home on Easter Sunday…she’s fitting in pretty well. Edith is an alpha dog and packs a lot of attitude into her small size. Luckily Pea Brain is very submissive and while they aren’t best friends (yet) Edith tolerates her, smells her a lot, and has to know what she’s doing all the time, lol! I think it’s going to work out! They are both mutts with Chihuahua, King Charles Spaniel, and Jack Russell in common. They are also very FAST!!! I found out Pea Brain is very fast today when Julie and I took them for a walk. The leash holding Pea Brain got fumbled and she took off like a bat out of hell. There was no way I was going to catch her but I tried anyways, luckily she stuck to the sidewalk and was headed for home. Julie managed to get in front of her while I distracted her by basically almost crying… on the ground…on the sidewalk. PHEW! I got my cardio in for the day…didn’t know I was in such poor physical shape…and I don’t want run/jog to change that thank you very much. Running sucks! Note to self: train Pea Brain to come when called by bribing her with hot dogs until she does it instinctively!

Today I started painting the kitchen ceiling. It makes such a difference!!!! One coat on in one part and I’ve just started the, I don’t know what you’d call it…coffered ceiling part? I decided to paint the edge of the wood – have a look -


You can see in this picture where I’ve caulked and need to re-caulk. Caulking is why I’m painting the wood. I couldn’t get the seams caulked without getting caulk on the wood. And the seams were/are big! I think when it’s all done it will be a much cleaner look. I know I should have re-caulked and then started painting but since I had all the stuff out and full of wet paint from the first part of the kitchen I decided to give it a first coat, then caulk, then a second coat, then see if it needs a third (please NO!). My neck is getting sore from being cranked up all day lol!

Happy Crafting!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Some changes are good!


(snip of my Google Reader page – I’m still going to subscribe to those blogs shown :) )

Bye bye Google Reader…you have been much loved…I’ve imported 356 blogs into you to be read by me. I used to panic if Google Reader said I had 50 unread posts…then I got over it and I probably have 5,000 unread posts…dead digital weight as far as I’m concerned. I’ve reading about other RSS readers and decided on The Old Reader. There are lots of options out there and I started signing up somewhere else but they have been inundated with new subscribers and no longer offer free subscriptions. The Old Reader is perfect that way…I can use it for a while and donate if and when I love it. It is set up like the old Google Reader, thus the name lol. There is an option to just import all my original subscriptions and I tried to do that … but then I stopped … and thought this is a perfect opportunity to clean up some of my digital clutter! I decided to only import my very favorite blogs. It has been surprising! I’m only subscribing to about 1 in 10 blogs that I used to subscribe to! It is so much easier to just not subscribe rather than “unsubscribe”. I could never make myself “unsubscribe” because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. lol. It feels good to be cleaning it up!

I’ve also started to click the “unsubscribe” button on various emails I’ve been getting. Why did I sign up for so many newsletters? Probably to get something free. However, if it is just annoying to continue to get those newsletters then it’s time to unsubscribe. Get rid of more clutter!

You have until July 1st before Google Reader shuts down…perfect time to clean up your feeds!

While we are on the subject of cleaning up and making your life easier I have to tell you that I love this product!!!

Windex® Touch-Up Cleaner

I’m always a sucker for cleaning products…but let me tell you a little story. Once, long ago, a neighbor stopped by my house and I was mortified by how messy it was. One of the worst areas was my messy splattered counter. When I saw her looking at it I looked at it and told her the truth - “I wait to wipe down my counter when I do my dishes and the sink is full of hot soapy water.” (Remember, cheapo me doesn’t like to run the water too much…) As soon as those words left my mouth I realized how stupid that sounded!!! Since then I’ve tried different things from Clorox wipes, to homemade Clorox wipes to sprays…this is a better fit! It is compact and cute enough to sit on the counter and I can refill it with whatever I want down the road. I got a second one for the bathroom. They cost about three dollars each and I consider it money well spent. The only thing that would really bug me about these is if the pump stopped pumping. (Hey Windex – if you want to sponsor me I’m up for the task!)

Here’s a not-so-good change…I’ve been getting tons of spam comments and I had to turn on the feature that will make you type in random numbers and letters (to prove you’re not a robot) to leave a comment. Bummer, I hate those too. Otherwise I’ve tried making it as easy as possible but I still get emails and calls saying leaving a comment isn’t working. I don’t know what to tell you…keep trying? Because it is so much fun to read your comments!!!!

In crafting news I’m working on a project for the library and it’s taking a lot longer than I expected. Have to wait for lots of glue and paint to dry…


I did have fun changing out the pillowcases on the couch to these “summerier” ones I made a month ago or so! I used yarn to crochet the edges this time…I like them both ways…yarn or thread…

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Monster's of Rock Cruise 2013

Oh - boy! My brain is crammed full of cruise info and I don't know where to start. Well, I guess I'll start at the beginning. But first let me say this is going to be a looooonnnngggg post so get comfortable!
Day 1 - We left our house at midnight Thursday night, or Friday morning, whatever you’d consider Midnight to be. We drove to Brainerd and caught a shuttle to take us to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. Our shuttle driver had been on cruises himself and we talked the entire way to the much for sleeping! But he gave us a lot of great info that proved to be helpful! We tried to sleep at the airport and on the plane...not so easy...Grant had been up 24 hours by this point. (There’s a picture of him on Instagram trying to sleep at the airport…on the floor) We got to our hotel, the Hilton, Beach Resort, around 11:30 AM Eastern time. It is a beautiful hotel! We agreed it is the nicest one either of us had stayed in. We got in a nap and a shower and went to the pre-launch party being held at Exit 66 (a bar). Finally!!!! Our cruise was starting!!!!!! They started with Enuff Znuff and they were awesome. Got my feet moving and my head bopping. We each got a tall mixed drink and found our way to the upper deck level and boogied away. Well, I boogied...Grant doesn't boogie much...neither does anyone else...which I think is WEIRD! How anyone can stay still when rock and roll is playing LIVE is beyond me! Then JSRJ (Vixen) played. We had seen Vixen play at a concert here in Minnesota a couple years ago and they were "ok" - at the pre-party and on the cruise they ROCKED! More dancing for me. lol
Day 2 - We woke up feeling excited cause we were finally getting on the ship. You think about a cruise like this for so long and finally get there it all seemed a bit surreal to me. We made it through some long lines and waited with a thousand other people and finally got to our cabin. Our cabin was ok. We went to different parts of the ship to get our drink tickets and check in as VIP's and then they had a VIP "party". (Snacks and drinks with other VIP's) We met a nice couple (Hi Frank and Mrs Frank! I have no clue how to spell your name! Alky??? Elchi???? lol) I was at the bar at one point getting a drink and struck up a conversation with a cool guy...the drummer from Enuff Znuff!!! I dragged him back to our table to meet Grant and he stayed to chat with us for awhile. Too COOL!!! I gave him a copper/leather bracelet I had made and when we saw him the next evening he was wearing it!!!! What a great "regular" guy. Could have talked for a lot longer but a person doesn't want to monopolize the band members or make them uncomfortable... Tesla rocked the ship as we pulled out of port. Geez I love that band...It was so - sorry to use this word again - SURREAL to be on a cruise rocking to our favorite band LIVE! And you know how you'd go to a concert back when you were a "kid" and you'd get the nose-bleed seats and feel all awesome cause you were seeing your favorite band...well multiply that by a thousand... After Tesla we went to see KIX and again...awesome!!! feet didn't stop moving!
They also had a safety drill we had to participate in – standard procedure. I wondered what they would do if you didn’t participate and the next day I found out…cause the people who didn’t do it when they were supposed to had to do a “walk of shame” and have the drill in front of all of us, lol! Glad I did it when I was supposed to!
OK - now things get a little foggy for me. I'd have a hard time telling you who I saw what day. I can tell you I had blisters on my feet. I ignored them on Sunday. I ignored them on Monday. I switched to sneakers on Tuesday and Wednesday lol! Aside from the bands we went to a private island called Coco Cay that is owned by the cruise line.
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(Our first view of the island)
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We took a ferry from the ship to the island and wandered around. The beaches were beautiful and I found some great rocks and shells to bring back. We ate lunch next to Loudness. Again - Nice people!
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We lounged in a hammock for awhile (which I fell out of at one point - didn't get hurt thank goodness!) People watching is a good pastime when you're lounging around - I saw big tough looking guys with full sleeve tattoos mincing across the sand in there bare feet. ha ha! Big gals in tiny bikini's and little gals in tiny bikini's.
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(On the ferry looking ahead to our ship)
The next day we went to Nassau in the Bahamas. I can't say I have a burning desire to go there again. It was raining when we got there and that turned out to be a good thing because it wasn't so crowded. Once the rain stopped people were pouring out of the ships and the town got crowded VERY fast. We picked up some souvenirs...shot glasses and key chains. We stopped in one nice store - a linen store where you could buy $300.00 table cloths. However, in that store I got this!
(It’s made out of metal)
Perfect souvenir for me!!!! Personally I just wanted one nice thing to bring back - not a lot - too much clutter around here is making me crazy! We could each bring back two bottles of liquor and Grant picked two of what he wanted. Then got a bottle of rum for me. The woman running the store was a riot, she said the rum could "bring the dead back to life or cure any ailment you might have mon". I asked her what her other favorite was and bought a bottle of that too. Can't wait to try them. (Edit: I tried them last night and they are VERY GOOD!!! – Will get the brands on here later)
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(From our balcony on the ship looking out at Nassau)
I loved this cruise for many reasons - you were with a bunch of other people who loved the same music. Loved it enough to shell out some serious cash and go on a cruise to listen to it! The fellow cruisers came in all shapes and sizes. Some were in full-on rock-gear ( hair) and others were dressed "normally".  Most were just a bunch of mom and dad's like us. I also loved how accessible most of the bands were. Grant and I went to prom and while riding in the elevator a couple guys chatted with us...after they got off Grant said "don't you know who that was" and a light bulb went off in my brain - NELSON! This happened a lot! As you're eating or walking around or going to concerts other band members were doing the same! I have zero facial recognition skills so I couldn't tell who was a band member and who was a fellow cruiser but Grant would tell me - lol. We met people from all over the world. One couple came from Germany, went on the cruise, then were going to Las Vegas to get married! I met several people from England, one guy from Australia, and another from Holland. People came from all over the world to go on this cruise!!!
We were running from one end of that ship to the other day and night. It was exhausting and really a pain getting lost over and over again. But it was wonderful to start in one bar - listen to that band - go down the hall to the next bar - listen to that band - go to the theater - listen to that band. Go to bed - sleep deeply for a couple hours and start all over again the next day.
The food...I loved the food. Grant...not so much. I even heard other cruisers say they were losing weight on this cruise instead of gaining. I think what I loved the most about this food is that it was plentiful and I didn't have to cook it or think about "what am I going to make for dinner". I ate a lot of grilled tomatoes and pasta. Loooove grilled tomatoes and pasta!
The service...I'd say it was hit and miss. Most times wonderful. Our cabin boy didn't stock our mini-fridge very well and when you've been dancing all day something cold at night is essential! The towels were replaced daily though. Also the ship was very clean. I came across people polishing the baseboards and handrails all the time. I mean ALL THE TIME - and the bathrooms were cleaner than I expected...that was nice.
The schedule...I found it confusing!!! Bands playing times would overlap all the time so it was hard to stay for an entire concert. We didn't get the schedules until the wee hours each night. Hard to make a game plan. I haven't decided if I'd rather have seen fewer bands on the ship or better scheduling. Probably better can never have too many bands! I'm sure I drove Grant nuts asking so what's next and what time? Over and over again...just couldn't get it to sink into my brain...grrrr.
VIP status. I can't say I felt very special. Not VIP special. I bet they change that for future cruises because I heard other VIP's saying the same thing. We paid quite a bit of money to be VIP and aside from getting in line first for a meet-and-greet with 200 other VIP's I don't know where the advantage was to pay so much more. We got to get on the ship faster I guess? We got a t-shirt, a sticker, a glass and a plaque...? Maybe less VIP's would have been better, it seemed as if half the ship was VIP even though they told us it was limited to two hundred cabins.
Rock Bingo...we attended and didn't win anything. (no big deal :)) However, right after that was an auction to raise money in Ronnie Dio's name for cancer research. They told us 100% of  the money raised went to cancer research. No overhead. I bid on, and won, a stack of blue ray/DVD's (about ten) featuring bands and a couple movies. Grant bid on, and won, a vintage t-shirt that was owned by Ronnie Dio. I bought a "coffee table"  book about Ronnie Dio and had it signed by the photographer and Wendy Dio (Ronnie's wife). I gave that to Grant for his was his birthday on Sunday :). We spoke with Wendy Dio a couple days later and she said the auction did very well. Nice!
The bands we saw -
Enuff Z'nuff - Awesome! See above.
JSRG - Awesome! See above.
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(Pic of Grant and I with Troy Lucketta – drummer from Tesla!)
Tesla - Awesome! See above. (The video I’m linking to is actual footage from the cruise…almost like I was there again…but the audio was waaaayyyy better on the ship lol!
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(Grant with Loudness – first day! – And Frank is on the far right)
Loudness - Awesome! Some of the best guitar work we've ever seen. Engaging with the crowd. (again, cruise footage, you should listen to their album for true sound!)
Queensryche - Lead singer didn't disappoint! He was spot-on.
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(Pic of Grant with Russ Dwarf!)
Russ Dwarf - Totally engaging, played an acoustic set we bought his new CD and can't wait to hear more. We met his guitarist the second morning (didn't know who he was) and Grant asked him where he got his shirt, he said he was the guitarist for Russ Dwarf and didn't know...maybe at the shop? lol!
L.A. Guns - They sounded really good, and were minus one band member because of passport problems and STILL sounded really good. I was sad I never heard my favorite song from them "Never Enough"...I'm sure they played it and I just missed it...darn scheduling problems again!
London Quireboys - Had never heard them before...until we heard them. We recognized a couple songs and really liked them! We will definitely be checking out their music!!!
Stryper - Great show! (They are a Christian heavy metal band). They always drew and still draw big crowds. Funny story - I was at the bar getting drinks (yes again) and a Brit was going on and on how the guy next to him was Stryper's drummer. So I hustle over to get Grant, told him to come over RIGHT NOW and introduced him to "Stryper's drummer".  Grant said "That's not Stryper's drummer!" turns out it was Chip Z'nuff, I still feel silly about that. Ah well, that's what rum will do to a person lol!!
Great White - They played at the private island...sounded good.
Lita Ford - Didn't see her...scheduling conflicts.
Dio's Disciples - Awesome! They had two lead singers who would trade off singing. Their guitarist was ah-maz-ing! His fingers flew.
Kix - Awesome! See above - also the lead singer is FUNNY and very engaging with the crowd!
Faster Pussycat - Saw for about ten minutes...scheduling...again! I'm not kidding when I said we ran from one end of that ship to the other all the time.
Cinderella - Sounded good. I never saw them but I heard them. Grant saw them as I got to talking with another lady who was reading the book I need to read for book club next week and told her about the book I was reading...Three Junes. She said she'd give me her book, The Storyteller, when she was done and one morning I opened our cabin door and there it was! I read it on the way home. GREAT PEOPLE on the cruise! (I also gave her my book when I was done :))
Dangerous Toys - went to bed listening to them. If we left our balcony door open we could hear the bands playing on the pool deck very well. NICE! Cause I just couldn't stay up as long as I wanted to.
Helix - didn't see.
XYZ - didn't see.
Y&T - went to sleep to them one night :)
Bang Tango - didn't see
Rhino Bucket - didn't see
Ron Keel -didn't see more than 5 minutes as we were hustling from one bar to another.
Alkatraz - didn't see
Black N Blue - didn't see
John Corabi - I thought he was great. His show was acoustic and relaxing.
Frank Hannon - Was kind of an all-star jam session. Grant loved it! (me too)
Femme Fatal - didn't see
Ted Poley - Caught just a bit of his show (lead singer for Danger Danger) and then we had to scoot.
Tony Harnell - didn't see him until meet-and-greet.
Heavy Mellow - didn't see and that bums Grant out as they were on our list! Scheduling!!
Atomic Punks - didn't see
AJ's Bravehearts - didn't see
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(Pic of Grant with Eddie Trunk as he signed Grant’s Dio book…Eddie is a spokesperson for the organization.)
Eddie Trunk - He looked kinda bored, but he had to be exhausted because he was EVERYWHERE on that ship!
We would have loved to have had the time to see all of the bands but it was not to be. Sometimes we were just too tired to move but it was mostly because there was just no way to see everyone. Yeah, if we didn't eat or sleep it MIGHT have been possible...but probably not.
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Here’s what I looked like for most of the cruise…make up sweated off and everything! I have a few more photos at my Instagram account but didn’t take as many as I would have liked. It’s just such a pain to get the camera out and we were always MOVING lol. However, if you want more details and pictures of what the ship looked like go to their website, they have it covered. Also, we should be getting a link from Monster’s of Rock to the pictures they took on the ship with us in them…like at the meet and greets. I’ll add them as I get them, and edit when we think of something new. I’ll put the new info in a different color. I’m tired of getting links from youtube so you can just search the bands for yourself lol – I’d rather get this posted… I’m just starting to come back down to earth and getting everything put away. We missed the kids and they missed us! When Abby heard Linda talking to me I could hear her in the background yelling MOMMA!!!! Gabe gave me a big hug and said “I’m glad you’re home…you’re so much nicer than Devon!” lmao! And, Devon actually gave me a HUG when he saw me – awwwww – it was worth it right there!!!
We had the time of our lives!!!!
Happy Crafting! (Can’t wait to get back to crafting!!)