Odd Ends

I know! Its been forever! We finally moved! It was my first official military move and it sure was … Fun. We picked up the keys to our new home on Monday but our household goods won’t arrive until around the 31st. We are staying with family over the holidays (lucky us) and I am DYING to move into my new home. It’s soooooo much bigger and I am just dying to set up and decorate and make it my own.
It hasn’t escaped me that many people embark on redecorating and organizing projects on the New Year and I’ll be joining them lol. I have been pinning all day. (My MIL has wireless but my parents do not so I have been making the most of it.) So, if I have the motivation, I am planning to blog my new home as I settle in, and that will be followed by my spring reopening over on my Etsy shop. Its going to be a banner year. :)

Running

I started C25k (again) the other day.

My legs hurt sooooo bad.

Intimidated by Chainmaille?

It has been suggested to me that people are intimidated by chainmaille, thinking it must be heavy and utilitarian, not a jewelry art. I would like to gently say ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Chainmaille (or chainmail, if you prefer) has grown far beyond the armor worn centuries ago. (Although some artisans make that kind of thing as well.) There are dozens of basic weave patterns, and hundreds of variations. Maille can be made with many materials, from gold and silver to copper and aluminum. Maille rings can be found in virtually any color you can imagine, and a skilled artist can combine colors and materials to produce unique items that will truly amaze.

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An example of the dense full Persian chain, done in pure copper. A dense chain like this is rather more masculine, although a woman can easily wear it as well.

Some women fear that maille will be too bulky or masculine, but this is simply not true. There are many maille weaves that produce a beautiful, delicate, intricate product that is just right for feminine wearers. Conversely, there are some weaves that provide a strong masculine feel, perfect for men who want to elevate their style. And there are plenty of weaves that are unisex, that is that they will complement any wearer.

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Parallel weave done with brass and green colored copper rings. Parallel weave is generally unisex.

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This tiny jens pins spiral weave in pink, with a crown charm, is obviously quite feminine.

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These half Persian bracelets are unisex as well, and their understated profile makes them perfect for the workplace.

Maille is, almost by definition, a very strong construct, and will stand up to anything you put it through. There are some delicate weaves that need special care, but even they are strong and unlikely to break.

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This variation of jens pind weave is an experiment gone right. It is chunky and fun, a bold statement piece.

I like chainmaille because it is always different. Each weave has a personality, and I am always discovering new ways to use these weaves for different effects. I love to combine colors and examine the interlocking rings as they form shapes.

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Another example of parallel weave, with a rainbow of connecting links. One of my favorite pieces ever; truly a joy to make.

Basically, whatever style or profile you are looking for, you can find it with chainmaille. Flat, round, thick, thin, delicate, or dense, your weave is out there. And available in any colors that you wish to use!

All items pictured above (along with many others) are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: merricontrari.etsy.com. Come browse and see what you have been missing.

(PS to all my loyal readers: I joined Instagram! My user name is merricontrari, of course. Come by and see what I’m up to!)

Hold the Cheese

My first experience with wine was disastrous. Shortly after I turned 21, a friend and I went to the store and tried to find one to try. The only name that looked familiar was Merlot.
We brought it to my house, popped it open with my brand new corkscrew, and poured it into some stemware.
IT WAS AWFUL.
I don’t know if it was our ignorant taste buds or a bad wine or what. It was sooooo bad. And then we got the idea of putting some sugar in it, to cut the bitterness.
I do not recommend doing this.

Fast forward some years. Wine is super trendy right now, and i usually resist trends. Jonathan was indifferent.
But a few weekends ago, we heard about a Wine and Food Festival nearby and decided to go.
We live in an area that produces a lot of wine. I can name 3 vineyards within a few miles of here. The festival was from all over the state, but focusing on locals.
We did some tasting. To both of our surprise, we liked it! I tended toward sweet reds, but not too sweet. Jonathan was digging the whites, sweet but tending a little toward semisweet (aka he liked them tart).
We bought 3 bottles that day. We also visited a local wine shop (the best one) to see if they carried the labels we liked (we had kept notes at the festival). They did. We will be spending some time in there. ;)

So now I guess we are wine snobs? We have an unspoken agreement that we only want locally produced wine, which is not a limitation here haha.

Workin like a dog

I’ve been working like crazy on my etsy shop. Learned several new weaves and made a bunch of stuff. Been working on posting them.
So far, a few looks but not much else. Feeling disheartened. Marketing is hard. Watch out, Pinterest, instagram, and twitter. Here I come…

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My favorite new item. Rainbow chainmaille in support of marriage equality. I had so much fun making these. Very satisfying.

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A special order.

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I made several of these adorable charm bracelets. And they are priced at what I consider to be “rock bottom.”

You know the drill: check it all out at my shop, merricontrari.etsy.com. SHELLS is my active coupon right now, for 15% off. :)

Strawberry Delicious Bread

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Omg just look at it.
This morning I was in a bakery mood so I decided to throw together a quick bread with lots of strawberries in it. I used the Buttermilk Quick Bread recipe on The Kitchn. I love that recipe and its infinite variations.

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With a topping of sweetened strawberries and their juice and a squirt of whipped cream, I think I can tear the shortcake recipe out of my cookbook because this is 500x better.

Etsy photoshoot

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Everything you need.
Creepy prop, pile of items, strawberries, cat, barely-funtioning laptop.

Be jealous

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We live like 5 minutes from a strawberry farm.

Soccer

My kiddo has had a lot of trouble learning how to team. But today’s practice was pretty great.

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This pic isn’t from today. Its just cute.

Updates

Yikes man its been absolutely crazy

We bought a car! Our car was paid off and I loved not having a car payment. However I realllllly love the new car. The payment made us sit down and organize our budget and we are actually in a better financial spot now than we were before.

We cleaned out the whole house and piled all the “junk” into a garage sale. We made a decent cash loaf and sold all but 2 of our big items. I think those will go on Craigslist. All the leftovers were packed immediately in the car. One box got sold at the pawn shop, and the rest donated to the mission. Suck it, rude pawn shop boy: my “box of crap” bought me a delicious pizza.

Charlotte is almost done with pre k. 2 more days. We have been having some problems and concerns… we are taking her to a psychologist. Don’t expect details… I just wanted to say something.

Pursuant to the budget stuff, we switched banks. Now we have an app. ;)

Man I don’t even know what else. I have been making new things. Lots of bracelets. I’m going to make myself try a Persian weave soon. I also REALLY need to update my etsy! Wish that was easier to do on the app.

I probably have more to say but I can’t think of it. I’ve been avoiding Facebook mostly so maybe that will make me drop in over here when I have things to say…

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