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 airport...so 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!!! Again...my 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 (leather...hardware...pink 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 scheduling...you 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 birthday...it 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!!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rug redo! (Crochet circle rug)


Here is the finished – or almost finished – rug. I’ve been using it at the kitchen sink for a couple of weeks so it has flattened out quite a bit. It is really nice to stand on and holds a ton of dirt! It didn’t start out as a circle though…


It started out like this. I’ve been researching patterns all over the internet trying to find one that made sense to me. The one I referred to for this one said “increase when you think you need to” – what! A newbie like me doesn’t have the know-how to “increase when needed”. I needed a PATTERN…but not too hard cause I can barely read a pattern. Here is a tutorial that made sense to me. So I ripped this all out and started over. The “yarn” is a vintage sheet that I ripped into about 1-1.5” strips. I haven’t decided if it’s finished yet. To keep it from unraveling I put a pin in the last crochet hole and tucked the end under the rug. I’m liking the size but I can make it bigger later on if I want. I goofed up a few times but this is a perfect practice project…cost = next to nothing. I had the sheet in my stash and had the crochet hook in my stash. smile. Gotta keep using up that stash!

In other news I’m now on Instagram. I just haven’t been taking pictures of the kids or our life like I should. Mostly it’s because the camera is never with me…but my phone is! That is what that new little camera icon is at the top right hand side of the screen is. That will take you to me…you may have to set up an Instagram account to view – I don’t know – but that is easy! You’ll mostly see craft projects (of course) but I also want to post some vacation photos next week…we’ll see. My husband recently found a picture of us taken last year in Las Vegas and I gasped…the photo is awful! I can see that getting some Photoshop skills is going on my list ASAP! Another reason I picked Instagram is because I’ve seen many cute photo books made with the photos…you just pick out your favorite photos and upload them to your company of choice and poof – you’ve just ordered a hardcover photo album! I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to scrapbooking with real paper and glue like I used to…it’s so expensive…and the digital options are so reasonable…

Happy Crafting!!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

This winter is going to do me in…


Above: Card I made using eCraft and some cloud and heart files I made…mailed to Ona :)

In other news: this winter is going to do me in. I’ve had it. I actually love winter but come March I’m starting to go off my rails. A week ago or so I visited the dark side and made it back to tell the story…barely. I have no energy…tons of ideas but can’t seem to get started with anything. I’m working on a quilling picture for someone else and I’m finding it terrifying trying to keep the paper clean. lol. And, for some reason I decided to start patching walls and picking out paint colors for the living room and kitchen – what!!! I have to shake my head at my brain sometimes. The good news is I’ve gone through 4 tubes of caulk and half a gallon of drywall compound…the bad news is that I’m sick and tired of the whole project and have lost the enthusiasm. Good news my butt and thighs are pleasantly sore from going up and down a ladder for three days…bad news is that I’m scared of falling off the ladder so close to our cruise…I can make a million excuses to not finish but we are living in a house with all the furniture pushed to the middle of the room and that’s not cool. Well, it was cool for the first couple of days but now it’s just annoying. So I better get off my computer chair and up the ladder and sand the drywall compound I put up this morning. Maybe I’ll get the living room ceiling painted tomorrow. No…I WILL GET THE LIVING ROOM CEILING PAINTED TOMORROW!!!!

Happy Crafting!!