what i've been working on...

two words, or maybe one if you choose to hyphenate it - take your pick: GOLD DIPPED. i've been hard at work this morning and early afternoon working on a little idea i've had in my head for a while now. i wasn't exactly sure about the execution, or even materials, but i've been daydreaming of gold dipped goodness...

i've got a few more ideas in the works for gold dipping, and i'm also going to make some of the hoops in sterling silver since i know not everyone is as big a fan of gold. and while i'm listing these gold dipped howlite and quartz pieces to my shop (later this evening), i've got some more waiting on me; i thought the way they were hung, with a little tweaking, could make a neat mobile...

so that's what i've got for now. what have you been working on lately? if you have a shop, have you been busy making things for the holiday shopping rush?

i ruin clothes: a totally thrifted outfit post

chris and i suffer from what we like to call "the poor kid syndrome." it's a pitiful state of mind in which one experiences severe heartache and distress upon ruining any possession. early in our marriage, chris and i were poor kids, and that can be attributed to my college education. then we saved like champs, were on top of the world, and only occasionally experienced symptoms stemming from the poor kid syndrome. last year, chris's asshole former employer decided to stop paying him and skip town. yipee! so now we're back to full on syndrome symptoms. what does this have to do with my outfit? a lot.

cardigan: vintage/thrifted, dress: vintage/thrifted, belt: vintage/thrifted, boots: vintage/thrifted (but unworn when i got them!!!)

in the last post i did about my thrifting finds, i showed you this dress that i instantly fell in love with and knew i had to have; i mean, everything about it is perfect! unfortunately, there is no fabric content tag in the dress, and unfortunately i'm an idiot when it comes to laundering clothes. i meant to hand wash and air dry the dress, but i guess i was in a hurry (like i usually am - the night before work i realize i have no clean clothes or underwear) and just sort of threw everything in the washer without really thinking. the dress isn't too small by any means, but it did shrink up a good two inches in length. it's not that i mind wearing shorter dresses, but for the love of everything holy i can't manage to keep my skirts down when even the slightest breeze comes, so obviously, the shorter the length, the more chance i have of showing my ass. i only paid $3 for the dress, so it wasn't like it put me in the hole, but still, had i taken the time to actually think about what i was doing i'd still have those extra two inches. so i did some sulking, and even let out a few gentle sobs that night. i kid, i didn't cry...but i wanted to, thanks to the poor kid syndrome.

on a more positive note, here are two things i love: 1. having dresses that work well as skirts or dresses, so you basically have two pieces of clothing in one, and 2. the clothing in this outfit cost me less than $10. BAM!

did someone say free?!

i don't know about you, but i love a good freebie! i had originally planned to do an outfit post today, but because i've got a stack of work that really needs to be finished today, i thought i'd just do a quick post to let you know about a fun holiday deal i've got on my website!

from now until christmas, all orders of $75 or more will receive a FREE pair of hammered brass quartz hoops! i figured this would accomplish two important things at once - 1. encourage people to get out of the mall and support local and handmade businesses this holiday season, and 2. thank all of the wonderful customers who buy from dinosaur toes!

i wish i could stay and chat longer, but adulthood, jobs, and responsibilities are calling, so i better get back to work. i hope you have a good monday!

16 miles

dear beca, i am still alive, so please blog stalk me. sometimes when life gets busy, i don't realize i've been away from my blog as long as i have, but thanks to friends like beca who remind me they're awaiting my return, i get excited about posting again! so how was your holiday american friends? and how was your non-holiday international friends? mine was great! well, thanksgiving was nice, but the real fun was friday...

the weather was absolutely gorgeous and warm, so pop, aunt debbie, her new husband steve, and i all went riding on the blackwater creek trails on friday. i have to say, that's got to be one of my absolute favorite things to do in lynchburg, and it's something pop and i really enjoy doing together. for the most part the trails go through a natural area and follow the blackwater creek, and then the james river, but part of the time you go through historic downtown lynchburg which i love! we rode 16 miles exactly, and when i was about 1/8 or a mile or less from my aunt debbie's house (she lives near one of the trail entrances, so we just rode from her house), i couldn't pedal up the hill any further, my bike leaned to the left, and i fell into a fence. i kind of felt like an idiot, and i'm hoping no one saw me!

oh, also, i'm pretty much the riding with no hands champion, even around curves, so i had to show them my skills and dare them to try and beat me. i remain the champion.

i also ate too much. then i ate too much again. and then chris and i bought ice cream. sooo, it looks like i'm going to need to go riding again in the next couple of days!

badonkadonk & print mixing: an outfit post

i'm glad i finally realized that print mixing is a good thing, because it opens up a whole new world of opportunity as far as outfits go! our weather has been pretty schizophrenic lately, so one day i'm wearing short sleeves and using the AC, and the next i'm wearing a faux fur wrap and blasting the heat to combat purple fingers and toes. lately we've been enjoying weather that's better suited for mid-april, but i'll take it as long as i can get it...and then i want several feet of snow!

cardigan: the limited (i think) via rugged wearhouse, dress: target, belt: it came with a dress, wedges: payless, badonkadonk: thanks a lot, genetics.

can you believe it, and outfit where i'm not wearing my black riding boots! crazy, i know. i'm still in the infant stages of mixing patterns and prints, but i'm coming to realize that, to me, leopard is the easiest print to pair with others; i don't know if it's the color or the fact that it's almost as basic as black, but i find that it seems to go with pretty much everything. my butt, on the other hand, doesn't go with much. as long as i'm not getting into kim kardashian territory i think i'm safe but i wish i knew a flattening method!

are you guys all ready for thanksgiving? i'm ready to eat enough for three adults and one young child, but the way i look at it is, i can eat until i bust my pants wide open because the day after pop and i and maybe some other family will go bike riding at the black water trails, so basically thanksgiving will just be building up my strength for a day of riding! you can pretty much find ways to rationalize everything, especially when the subject is food.

oh, and if you haven't yet checked it out, the lovely toni and i are doing a charity auction to benefit the rachael horton compassionate fund, so take a look to see if you're interested, or pass it along to anyone you think will be!

Dinosaur Toes and Lost Cabin Vintage for RHCCF

I'm so excited the time has finally come for Toni and I to unveil the collaboration we've been working on for the last couple weeks! Toni and I have each created a handmade item exclusively for this auction, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Rachael Horton Compassionate Care Fund.

On April 8th, 2010, Rachael Horton, along with her husband Aaron, was killed in a devastating apartment fire; on that day, animals and pets lost a dear and devoted friend. Before her passing, Rachael would use money from her own paycheck to provide treatments to animals when their owners weren't able to afford it. The Rachael Horton Compassionate Care Fund was set up in Rachael's memory to honor her dream of having no pet turned away from life-saving treatments, or face euthanasia, due to an owner's inability to pay the vet's bill. Through generous donations and local events, animals that may have been euthanized have instead been treated, just as Rachael would have wanted!

Toni, from Lost Cabin Vintage, has created the "Apple Isle," a beautiful and unique hand-dyed vintage slipdress, especially for this auction. Fits sizes Small, Medium and Large.

The Dinosaur Toes necklace I've made for this auction is a hammered brass horseshoe with a chalcedony stone spike. The pendant is attached to a section of polished brass chain and is 28" long.

To place a bid on this fun handmade combination as a gift to yourself, or for someone else this holiday season, just fill in your name and email address in the form below, and your bid amount in the messages box. Names and email addresses will be kept confidential, and you can keep track of the current bid amount here, as well as Toni's blog! Also, to help spread the word, we'd be so grateful if you'd blog, tweet, or facebook about this auction! Bidding for this auction will end on December 10, and your package will be shipped via Priority Mail no matter where you are in the world, that way you can get in time to give for Christmas!


tie dye and lace: an outfit post

you know, i'm almost embarrassed to post this (almost embarrassed meaning i questioned posting a few times, but not quite embarrassed enough to not post it) because the pictures, well, they're crap. pure crap. i can't be entirely to blame though; in the words of milli vanilli, or the person who was really singing, "blame it on the rain, yeah yeaaahhh." the sun is finally back out today, but yesterday and the day before pretty much looked like dusk all day long. so dark and dreary i couldn't have taken a clear, non-grainy picture if i'd wanted to! but graininess aside, i wanted to show you something...

scarf: i don't remember, jacket: american eagle via tj maxx, dress: tj maxx, hand-dyed slipdress: lost cabin vintage, patterned tights: target, riding boots: vintage, arm party: vintage and flytiers jewelbox

the thing i was so excited about showing you is my dyed slipdress courtesy of the always-charming toni from lost cabin vintage! toni is awesome, and i've loved getting to know her through her blog and our daily emails. isn't that slipdress amazing though?! i really wish my pictures would have turned out better, and i even though about changing back into that outfit when i get home today to redo my pictures since it's sunny, but i know i won't have time before i leave to go see breaking dawn, and i've just been about to die to share! i can't wait until i can wear it so that you see more of it, but when the high is only in the 40's and it's windy, well, layers are essential! so, there you have it, one of my favorite new pieces in my closet!

i hope you guys have a great weekend, and PUH-LEASE come back on monday because there's going to be something very, very special waiting for you!

hey kona, what are you doing today?

i took these pictures of kona over the course of a few hours one day, and to be honest, i could have taken them over the course of 72 hours and they wouldn't look any different! my poor boy, he must get so worn out from all that dreaming, sleeping, and yawning...

snore. snooooore. snore. dream whimper. snore. snore.

"what are you doing? i'm too tired to open both eyes and figure it out for myself. i was in the middle of a really good dream, too."

hey, are you awake? kona? hey, did you fall asleep again already? hey. alright fine, i guess you're sleeping again.

kona, wake up! i just want to play with you. who wants a goodie?! "a goodie?! i'm awake! both my eyes are open now!" yeah, i thought that might get your attention.

"okay, i'm getting kind of tired. would you mind going and doing something quietly so i can relax for a little while? i'm drained"

what i've been working on...

lately i've been working my hands to the bone. okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's almost true; i got some metal splinters that i still can't pick out, so that's close enough, right? *edit* after i posted this i went to work hammering out a bracelet, and also hammered my finger. i wasn't sure for a little while whether or not it was broken, but i think it's still in one piece, just a nasty shade of purple! in addition to making some new pieces for my shop, i've also been working diligently to finish up a large batch of jewelry for the bridge's holiday shop, and last but not least, a few pieces for tumbleweeds' store in san diego!

and while we're on the subject of jewels, i just wanted to say (for anyone who might be in the market for jewelry for themselves or as a christmas gift, etc.) for a few more days i'll be donating 15% of sales from my shop to the rachael horton compassionate care fund, so get some new bling and help an animal at the same time!

have you been working on anything lately? if you have a shop, are you prepared for a christmas shopping rush?

if you can't buy it, make it: an outfit post

you know how sometimes you feel such a sense of accomplishment, and it just puts a smile on your face that almost nothing can take off? well, since i'm no seamstress, when i wear something that i've made of significantly altered, i also wear that smile. last friday i told you that i was wearing a skirt i made, so of course i wanted to do an outfit post showing it!

jacket: thrifted, shirt: forever 21, necklace: dinosaur toes, skirt: made by me!, boots: vintage

i never really had any intention of making my own lace skirt until... THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENED. let me start from the beginning. it was a rainy day, that april 16th, circa 2pm. i can remember because it was my birthday, also known as the only day i can get chris to come shopping with me for clothes. we went to forever 21 where i tried on a small mountain of clothes, but had to narrow down my choices seeing as how i'd left a stack of birthday cash at home;i figured i could come back for the rest of it - the rest of it including one beautiful lace skirt. i went back not quite one week later and just inside the door was yellow tape blocking any entry into the store, and beyond the yellow tape, the only things left in the store were two or three racks of clothes and a few boxes. i tried to stay calm and tell myself that they were remodeling the store, but i won't lie, i was terrified. so four or five days later i went back to get the skirt i so highly coveted, only to find and empty store and a sign on the door telling me THEY LEFT! i think the angels cried right along with me that day. so, i didn't buy the skirt, and i figured i'd try my hand at making one (i still want that forever 21 skirt thought).

now that i've told you the good part about making something, it's time to get to the honest part. i used a pattern twice before on clothing i've made (a wrap skirt, and a pair of leggings), and to be honest, i just didn't like it. i know that there may not be as much error involved in working from a pattern, but personally i just feel like there's not as much room for creativity when i use a pattern. so, in true danielle style, i laid on top of the fabric, put little marks to know how wide i was and went from there! it generally works fine, but one thing i didn't take into account quite as much as i should have: this fabric doesn't have any stretch. the skirt fits fine, but the only thing is, it's just barely big enough to pull the smaller waist over my butt without ripping seams! so, the good news is, if i keep this skirt out in plain sight, it might keep me from eating donuts for a meal for example, because hey, if i do, i won't be able to wear the skirt!

have you ever made any clothes? what did you make?

P.S. don't forget to enter THE GIVEAWAY that ends later this week!

my pop's ghosts

yesterday was a really nice day. although i'd told myself on friday that i would board up my windows and doors, unplug the phones and disconnect from society altogether so that i could get some jewelry finished for a gallery's holiday shop, i did no such thing. instead i saw two aunts, two cousins, and then finished the evening off with dinner at my pop's house. so, although i may not have made any jewelry, at least i had quality family time, right? after dinner we started a conversation that i want to share, but just to put you on edge and give you a little scary visual stimulation, check out a ghoulish awkward family photo...

monster teeth suckers courtesy of auntie amy! okay, now begins the story. when i used to live with pop and tricia, it wasn't unusual to find lights turned on, or turned off, to hear the stereo turn itself on, to hear footsteps when no one else was home, etc. it got to be that we were used to getting up in the night, knowing we'd turned a lamp off, only to find it, and maybe a radio, turned on at 3am. all of us at some point went looking for the person creating the loud walking noises, only to find that no one else was home. that went on for years, and pop would always tell me that he knew, as we all did, that there was some sort of spirit, ghost, whatever you'd like to call it, in the house. i told him several times that i wanted to come over with a recorder and try to record some white noise, but of course i was always too scared. lately though, it's gone from things turning on and off, and hearing "people" walking, to these spirits making themselves known even more.

several times now my dad has seen these smoky silhouettes; once standing in the doorway when he was watching TV, another time when he got out of the shower, and the only time it really scared him - when he was outside in his shed. he's also had them say things to him. when tricia was telling him one evening that she wakes up at night with her arms numb, a woman's voice said in his ear, "oh my!" he's been greeted with a "hey!" when he's gotten home from work, and he's heard distant voices going up the steps. i asked him if he was scared at all, and he said it wasn't fear he felt, but more of an anxiety. the one time though he was scared was when he saw the figure outside twice within a few minutes. about that one he said, "it scared the hell out me!" when i asked him why that one scared him but not the others, he said he figured it was because he was used to it in the house, but he wasn't prepared for it outside!

in conversation at work one day, one of my stepmom's co-workers mentioned this lady she knew that was a psychic or medium (i'm not sure what term she uses). dad and tricia met her one evening, and when she shook my dad's hand, she said she could tell that it was him they were connected to, because he was a free spirit with an open mind, and that he wasn't scared. she also said they were most likely just trying to make some sort of contact and that she would really like to visit their house one day to see what she can find out.

i don't know if you believe in this sort of thing, but i can tell you that I DO. i've always believed that spirits, or ghosts, are right here with us, and some of us (not me, because i'm too scared) are perceptive enough to be able to communicate with or see them. i also believe in these things because i lived in that house long enough to know that there were other people there besides my dad, stepmom and siblings! so let me ask you, have you ever had a paranormal experience? if so, i'm curious, tell me about it!

i'm just happy today!

i really am just so happy today! and i was so happy yesterday, and these cramps aren't even ruining my mood which says a lot for how jubilant i must be feeling! why am i so happy i could jump and squeal and forgive someone cutting me off in traffic? because...

because of this great new dress! it's an urban outfitters dress that i got for $9. so i'm happy about having the dress AND i'm happy that my bargain hunting and cheapskate ways continue to pay off!

i'm also happy because today i'm wearing a skirt that i made. MADE, people! i'm not a huge fan of sewing (which sometimes shows in my sidewinder-type stitches), and i'm sadly one of those people who measures once, cuts twice - opposite of the saying - BUT, i'm going to be wearing a smile knowing that my skirt wasn't bought in any store, but made with my own two hands!

and the biggest thing i'm so happy about is a pretty amazing collaboration between the sweet toni of lost cabin vintage and i. she masterminded something pretty incredible, and i want to spill the beans SO bad, but i know i have to wait! trust me though, this is something pretty great, and i can't wait to share!

one last thing, ashley is giving away one of her necklaces here on my blog, so be sure to enter to win it for yourself, or for someone else!

a giveaway from the shine project!

i'm very excited for this giveaway, and hope you enjoy it! i recently learned about the shine project through a few other blogs, and i was so honored when ashley contacted me about hosting a giveaway for one of her beautiful necklaces; not only are they pretty, but they're for a good cause! i'll let ashley tell you more...

Heyyy new friends! I'm Ashley, and I blog over at The Shine Project. I created The Shine Project at the beginning of this year to motivate others to go after their goals, and spread their light to others. I believe that service is the best way to feel happiness and love in our lives, and I created SHINE necklaces to help remind us of our daily purpose. Money from each necklace sold goes into a scholarship fund to help inner city high school students go to college. You can read more about that here and here. The Shine Project is in the process of becoming a Non-Profit organization so that thousands more students can have a positive future.

I believe that no act of kindness is too small or insignificant to perform. I believe that it's when we feel the most inadequate that we're able to grow and rise above ourselves. I believe in miracles. Not because they happen out of nowhere, but because hard work brings blessings that would otherwise not come. I believe in reaching goals. Pushing yourself when you feel like you've reached your outermost limits is how you obtain what you want. I believe in learning who you are through serving other people. You can see your potential and abilities when you're using them to lift and teach others. I believe that nothing is impossible.

Today, one of you will win a SHINE necklace. ALL of you will receive 10% off of your total order! Go here to see more shine necklaces and order information. There are even options to personalize your necklace with dates and initials...and are affordable holiday gifts! In your email order, write Dino10 for your code.

Here's how to enter (Leave a comment for each):
1. Leave a comment with who you'd give shine necklaces to.

For extra entries:
Follow The Shine Project blog
Like The Shine Project on Facebook

the trouble with watering plants.

i've always liked to think of myself as having a green thumb, and that may have come from my parents' love of landscaping and manicuring their lawns, or maybe it started a little later when i worked part time at a greenhouse during high school. either way, i love plants, and i love the added color they can bring to a room. i have plants in most every room of my house, and one day each week they can expect a good, healthy drink of water... unless flojo helps. the trouble with watering plants is that, to a parrot, all time is play time.

when she first sees that i have the pitcher of water she'll squeak and talk and walk down my arm to check it out. then she'll stand on the rim of the pitcher, stick her head inside, and squeak and talk some more, looking out occasionally at me (whether it's to tell me about the water, or to see if it's okay to go in, i don't know). after she's thoroughly discussed the water and pitcher with me, she'll go ahead and start flapping her wings in the water, fanning her tail feathers, and making a wet mess. once she's played in the water that i've been trying to pour on the plants and the pitcher is empty, she'll hang down in the pitcher and talk a little to be sure there isn't any water left. and then instead of watering plants, i start working on cleaning up her bath puddle.

watering plants probably isn't quite as much work to someone who doesn't live with a bird, but to a curious parrot, everything is an adventure!

a flowerchild DIY

to me, the time of year doesn't matter - i always love seeing and wearing flowers! i think one of the easiest ways to incorporate something fun into your look without it being too big or bold (and that could be the wallflower, no pun intended, in me speaking) is to do it in the form of a hair accessory. i've been wanting a pretty, romantic flower headband that wasn't too costume-y, but since i couldn't find quite what i wanted, i figured i'd just try making it myself! a little warning (which isn't a bad thing if you're a picker like me) - your fingers will be covered in glue!

i really had my heart set on those pretty little paper roses that come in different colors in a little bundle of maybe ten or so, but unfortunately, it seems they're not as easy to find as they used to be (when i was younger, i spent most of the money i had on either candy or craft supplies, and although i never remember actually using those paper roses for anything, for some reason i sure did buy a lot of them). so i settled for these little calla lilies with paper leaves, which i still think work just fine.

for this project you will need: a headband (i chose one that would blend well with the color of my hair so as not to take any attention away from the flowers), some flowers with stems, some sort of glue, and some wire clippers.

STEP 1: first start by clipping the flowers and leaves from the bundle. i decided to leave about one inch/25cm of stem attached so that i could wrap it around the headband.

STEP 2: put a line of glue (enough for several flowers and leaves) on a section of the headband. wrap the stems around the headband, over the glue, and press the flowers down against the headband so they're on a spot of glue.

STEP 3: continue adding lines of glue and wrapping the flowers and stems around the headband. once you feel you've added enough flowers, wrap the stem of the last flower back toward the others, that way you've got a nice neat end with no stems poking out. then start picking the glue from your fingers.

and there you go, now you've got yourself a dainty little headband! i did learn one thing while i was making this, though, and that is: be sure your camera is on the correct white balance setting before taking the pictures, that way the colors aren't all over the place!

also, this has absolutely nothing to do with the headband, but i feel the need to share nonetheless. have you ever watched the show COPS? well, if not, you're missing out on some first rate rednecks, prostitutes, and hybrids of the two. anyway, my brother, derek, and i used to watch COPS some afternoons for a good laugh, and there was one particular episode where this older man was explaining to the officer why he threw a rock at someone's car. just a brief description of the older man: he was wearing a button-up shirt that was only buttoned up to about his sternum, his necklaces were showing, his hair was slicked back elvis-style, and he pulled a black plastic comb from his back pocket to fix his hair while he was on camera. he said to the cop, "i threw a rock beh-cawz (because) he gave me the fangur (finger)." now, i can never say or think finger without doing it the redneck way (fangur), and above where i said about picking glue from your fingers, i was really thinking, "...picking the glue from your fangurs."

baby steps and outtakes: an outfit post

first things first: baby steps. i know i've told you before that i'm so hesitant to try new things clothing-wise, that by the time i start to entertain the idea, the trend is a decade old. having said that, print mixing is nothing new, but it's a BIG step for me! i don't believe there's a science to print mixing, but i've had a hard time figuring out some sort of do-able equation; that's why i started small - baby steps with stripes and leopard.

outtakes: my husband is a menace to my pictures. sometimes he's a good and helpful photographer who gives me pictures i can actually use, and other times he gives me pictures that make me think 1. i should have just used the timer, and 2. threats of physical violence must be made in the future to ensure i don't have a repeat of these...

rather than being a human tripod, which is ultimately what i'm looking for, chris, my skinny husband, decided to play strong man with no shirt and practiced his body builder moves while he was taking my picture, thus guaranteeing awkward, trying-not-to-laugh faces, and blur, blur, blur.

sunglasses: tumbleweeds, scarf: it's old so i don't remember, necklace: dinosaur toes, jacket: proenza schouler for target, blouse: thrifted, jeans: target, shoes: here.

about my outfit: i was so happy when i found that blouse because i have a love affair with grey, and because i love loose blouses that don't button down the front. the jacket is my favorite and i pretty much wear it everyday when the weather gets cooler. i never keep up with the designers that do lines for target, and i was so upset that i'd missed all of the pretty proenza schouler pieces... or, kind of. i was lucky enough to find this jacket sort of crammed away (and i still wonder if someone hadn't tried to hide it) and hidden between other things with a clearance price of $8.98. WHAT?! naturally i had to have it. onto the bottom half. i don't wear jeans that often, thanks to my inherited round butt and thick thighs genes, but every now and then i just don't feel like wearing a dress. so, now that you've seen jeans, it may be a while before i wear them again! and my shoes! WOOOOO! i got a pair of leopard print ballet flats about 5 years ago, and sadly, i've wore them so much that they have holes around the soles and take in water on rainy days like a sinking ship. i knew it was time to say my final goodbyes to my favorite shoes, but i couldn't bring myself to do it until i found leopard replacements; being that i have such small feet, it's always a challenge finding shoes. luckily, i found a pair that i LOVE, and i didn't have to beg, borrow or steal to afford them!