Friday Friends: DesignedByMeg

Happy Friday, Friends! On Friday, I like to feature artists and entrepreneurs. It is my way of giving back to the community. I hope you enjoy meeting these lovely people and their wonderful creations, as I do! Today I am delighted to introduce you to my sweet cousin, the talented Meg Norris of Designed By Meg. She is a delightful woman, and her craftsmanship is impeccable. Her work and materials are truly top quality! Welcome, Meg!

1. So can you tell us a bit about your business?

Designed by Meg is handmade business specializing in Wood Enamel Jewelry.

2. Do you have a favorite creation?

The Pine Trees are my favorite! The enameling takes a good amount of finesse and the pine trees were my effort to take it to the next level. I had to “build” it in my head first and then lay it out with the powdered glass. When I pulled them out of the kiln the immense relieve and pride I felt was awesome!

3. How did you get started?

Wood: My parents build custom furniture, so I was raised around wood. When we got the laser engraver, I decided to design and cut out pieces with it.

Enamel: I took a workshop/class at the Tacoma Metal Arts Center. It was supposed to be just a fun day. When I got home that evening I told my husband “Buckle up, Love. This needs to happen in my life!” He gave my first kiln for Christmas that year… and the rest is history.


4. What do you like to do for fun?

All kinds of things:

Hiking

Archery

Movies

Road Trips

Being with my family

5. What is one unusual thing about you?

I was born and raised in Hawaii and have a Hawaiian middle name.

6. What music inspires you?

This is going to be a lame answer, but it really depends on the day.

Right now the album Live From The Woods by NEEDTOBREATHE is my go-to.7. What tv shows/movies are you watching these days?

I really love Baking Challenge shows

Comedy Sit-Coms like Brooklyn 99 and Superstore

As far as movies… I don’t really like anything new that has come out.

So I am revisiting old favorites: Princess Bride, EdTV and Soapdish.

8. Do you have a theme song?

Desert Song, by Hillsong

It’s a song for every season of life… and a good reminder.

9. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

It’s not as bad as it seems.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

I feel extremely lucky to get to do what I do.

Check out Meg’s creations at http://www.designedbymeg.com/

And on Instagram @designedbymeg

Friday Friends: Mo Quintana & tomiandcleo

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays I like to feature creatives and entrepreneurs. Allow me to introduce you to a very special friend: Mo Quintana from tomiandcleo ❤️ I met Mo in the eighth grade, can you believe it? She had the best book recommendations. I’m so excited to follow her successes and adventures. Read on to meet Mo~ and at the end you will find a link to her Etsy shop as well as a special discount code for my readers. Thanks, Mo!

  1. So, what have you created and produced? 
I am a designer of things. I was trained as a graphic designer, and in college (and after) got into designing for live theater, specifically lighting, costumes and sets. And a little more than a year ago, left a corporate job to design and make art jewelry.
Currently I make jewelry in small batches from polymer clay and sterling silver.
2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
I feel strongly about animal welfare. Art and music education are essential to a well rounded human as well. Not to mention continuing education and practice keeping that human sane and engaged.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
My creative process follows two paths. If I’m designing for either a client or a theatre production, it’s mainly about problem solving. For instance, designing a set for a production of “Cabaret” is very collaborative. If designing and building costumes for the same, then there is much collaboration with not only director and producer but also actors, prop designers, musical directors and choreographers. Theatre design begins with research, drawings, mood boards, production meetings, then build and making changes. It’s pretty satisfying to see a production I’ve worked on. It’s also pretty fleeting. Live theatre productions (amateur) only last for maybe 2 months. I will usually work a show making repairs if I did costumes, but otherwise, what is created doesn’t live long.
The second path is creating something by myself. This is interesting for me, since I’ve worked collaboratively for most of my working life. This path usually starts with research. I decide what I’d like to create, make sketches and do research, then plan out the pieces, get supplies, make the pieces, fix the pieces or scrap them if they aren’t turning out well and finish them. Then I either wear, give them away, or sell them.
I found when doing the graphic design for my own jewelry brand that I badly missed having the feedback of other designers. The worst part of design school and indeed working as a designer was the critique. When others tell you that what you’re doing isn’t working, that becomes stressful and causes anxiety. However, to be a good designer, you can’t work without it. So I found some colleagues to give me feedback. Talk about growing up.
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I like to crochet, read fantasy books, and watch special features in my favorite movies, over and over and over. I like to sing and play Sims 4.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I’m very organized. Since I’m an artist, most people will think I’m the messy creative type, but everything in my world is alphabetized, color coded, and sorted by size and use. It’s helpful when one has a bajillion beads and too many art supplies. I spent a lot of time in my previous job figuring out how to produce many things in the most efficient way possible, and that has permeated every part of my life. From baking to painting to making lots of post earrings, there’s always a workflow exercise involved.
6. What music inspires you?
Normally I play chill vibe music on Pandora when actually making things. I prefer ambient music without lyrics for creating. If i’m producing things and doing repetitive work, I’ll listen to big band, pop music, funk and R&B, and usually sing along.
7. How many books did you read last year?
Probably, counting audio books, 30+.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Ranch for most things, blue cheese for buffalo wings.
9. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new type of earring set design which is gender neutral. I’m learning how to make post earrings so that they won’t break when adhering sterling silver to polymer clay.
Next up is making some larger statement pieces, necklaces/pendants, and bracelets
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?
As for TV, I normally wait for whole seasons to come out. I also rewatch shows multiple times. 
Some of those are:
The Great British Baking Show, Battlestar Galactica, Scandal, Sanctuary, Eureka, Person of Interest, Travelers, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and anything about science and history. And castle building. 
I’m looking forward to the Episode 9 of Star Wars, and to Mortal Engines.
11. Do you have a theme song?
Great question! I probably have several. Looking at my favorite playlist, what jumps out are:
Harder Better Faster Stronger, Daft Punk
Happy, Pharrell Williams
Make Me Feel, Janelle Monae
I Like it Like That, Pete Rodriguez
Jump In The Line, Harry Belafonte
Amado Mio, Pink Martini
Sing, Pentatonix
Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars
Everybody Needs A Kiss, Benny Benassi and Sofi Tukker
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Definitely that critique and feedback are painful but necessary.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
I think that having a creative outlet is more important than ever. It helps keep you sane and hopeful. It matters not one bit if a person thinks they need to know how to draw or whatever. It’s never too late to start creating things.

Find Mo’s creations at tomiandcleo on Etsy

Click here to go to tomiandcleo on Etsy

Here is the special coupon code for my readers: DEEREADERS25

Friday Friends: Jenny Burke

Happy Friday, Friends!  It is my honor to host authors, readers, and book lovers on Fridays. Today I am delighted to introduce you to author Jenny Burke! Jenny writes fascinating fiction AND creates beautiful jewelry.  I am ordering some earrings and I can’t wait to read her books!

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Welcome, Jenny!
1.So, what have you written?

First, thank you for inviting me to be on your marvelous blog!

I’ve written two stand-alone books in the Dragon Dreamer series. There are two books in the Crystal Science educational series (used in school systems). I’ve nearly completed an adult coloring book with the fantasy snowflakes that my dragons grow in the winter clouds.

The Dragon Dreamer books have clean science fantasy adventure. They’re layered for readers age 9 to 99. This series of stand-alone books can be read on many levels. One reviewer wrote that the Dragon Dreamer story has a “profound human message.” Another mentions a 2-yr-old obsessed with the octopus heroine Scree. He’s made a Healer bag like Scree’s and wants to be an octopus for Halloween. Several reviews recommend these books for all ages.

 

2.What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

I love art, science, math, writing, music, history. I work to protect the environment and I support “being” rights. We’re “human beings”, an octopus is an “ocean being”, dogs and cats are “furry beings”. All beings deserve to be treated with consideration.

3.Are you a Pantser or a Planner?

I do some planning, but I’m more of a pantster. My characters tell me their stories and I write them.

4.Tell us about your love of marine biology.

The sea is vast, beautiful, exotic, and much remains unexplored. I decided when I was eight years old to become a marine biologist, so I studied science and math. When my science funding fell through, I supported myself as an artist to get my degrees.

I love marine biology! I’ve conducted research onboard ships and while diving; my research papers are published in science journals. This career is a good fit for anyone with many interests!

The Dragon Dreamer books share my love of the sea and allow me to be more creative. Arak, a misfit golden dragon, loves “the smell and taste of sea spray, the rhythmic sound of the waves, and the remarkable colors. Sunrise waves were purple and rose. Sometimes the sea sparkled like a field strewn with cut diamonds.”

5.What is one unusual thing about you?

Art is my first love. I drew illustrations for my research papers and cartoons for my Crystal education books. I painted the covers for my Dragon Dreamer books and drew a fantasy flake or illustration for each chapter. I’ve made a line of jewelry based on the Dragon Dreamer books. So, I must like Art as much as Science. Both are based on patterns.

6.What music inspires you?

I love Pachelbel’s Canon played on the harp! This is tied to many memories.

7.How many books did you read last year?

I read about 20 books; not as many as I’d like to read! I also read perhaps 100 articles to learn more.

9.What are you working on right now?

I’m drawing more fantasy snowflakes for my coloring book and writing Book III of the Dragon Dreamer series. It’s fun to see the world through the eyes of a dragon or an octopus!

10.What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?

I watch “Dr. Who” and re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory.” I like things a bit off-beat and with humor, when possible.

11.Do you have a theme song?

Perhaps “Octopus’ Garden” by the Beatles. J

12.What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Start writing sooner!

13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Thank you Denise and everyone who stops by and reads this!

BIO:
J. S. Burke is an author, artist, chemist, teacher, and marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. Her stories blend imagination with real science and author experiences. She lives in Georgia with her family and rescue companions.

The Dragon Dreamer series grew from her years at sea, a fascination with the alien, intelligent octopuses, and a love of dragons. This science fantasy series has flying dragons, an undersea world, and unexpected friendships.

Crystal Geometry has hands-on activities that use the angles of beautiful crystals to explore chemistry and geometry. Crystal Colors has math and science activities with shells, crystals, and a huge fossil shark’s tooth. The sea finds a way to enter.

 

 

MEDIA LINKS:

Author Website: http://www.jennysburke.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8283255.J_S_Burke
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-S.-Burke/e/B00NVRVHWE/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jenny-S-Burke-721518861218158/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheDragonDreamr
Google+: https://plus.google.com/109374949212770892369

BOOK LINKS FOR THE DRAGON DREAMER:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Dreamer-J-S-Burke-ebook/dp/B00K9DHTU2/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Dreamer-J-S-Burke/dp/0996042504/
Amazon CAN: https://www.amazon.ca/Dragon-Dreamer-J-S-Burke-ebook/dp/B00K9DHTU2/
Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/ebook/Dragon-Dreamer-J-S-Burke/B00K9DHTU2/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22886684-the-dragon-dreamer
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-dreamer-j-s-burke/1120629824
ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-dragon-dreamer/id933034842
KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-dragon-dreamer

BOOK LINKS FOR DRAGON LIGHTNING:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MA1ZOJ6/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Dragon-Lightning-Dreamer-Book/0996042563/
Amazon CAN: https://www.amazon.ca/Dragon-Lightning-Dreamer-Book-ebook/dp/B01MA1ZOJ6/
Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/Dragon-Lightning-Dreamer-Book-ebook/dp/B01MA1ZOJ6/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32598789-dragon-lightning
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-lightning-j-s-burke/1124857029
ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1166420789
KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/dragon-lightning

 

My Alaskan Cruise: Day 4

Good Morning, and Happy Fourth of July!

Today my daughter and I are heading out to port early, as she has selected a shore excursion for just the two of us.  The rest of the family will head into town later for the Fourth of July Parade and then they are all taking an excursion together in the afternoon.

My daughter and I dress quickly and quietly and head out to the buffet.  Today there are strange mascots about- we pose with a couple of them, but it will cost $19.99 for that photo, later.  We search for Fruit Loops, alas, we search in vain.  It is a Frosted Flakes kind of day. I am delighted to have this special time with just me and my daughter.  She is such a joy, in all of her eight year old wisdom and playfulness. IMG_3304We are running slightly late, so we opt for the golf cart ride from our end of the pier, past the other two ships, and to the port. She says, I hope no one in our family gets jealous of us riding this golf cart today!

Fortunately, the excursion meeting points are literally just off the pier. Someone asks us if we are here for zip-lining.  Not today! I zip-lined last year on Guam.  My daughter is so excited as they give us our wrist bands, tokens for gold panning, and drive us through town. We learn that a gallon of milk costs about $7.00  in Skagway.  Wow.

We are on the Gold-Panning, Dog Musher, 40-Below excursion, which is a visit to Klondike Gold Fields park. IMG_3917[1]

Our first activity is the Dog Mushing.  We watch a video and visit with an actual Dog Musher who participated in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.  This is a neat opportunity to learn about what they do.  My uncle participated in the Iditarod race in 1987, finishing 34th. What an accomplishment!  From here we meat another established musher, and he shows us to a training run round the loop, and we get to meet and hold the puppies!  Ohmigosh they are so cute!  And this dog musher is not bad, either, amIright?IMG_3918[1].JPG

From here we visit a 40-Below Chamber.  We don borrowed parkas and basically step into a freezer.  There is also a simulation of the Northern Lights.  It sure is cold.  Brr!

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Finally, we get our turn with the “pay dirt.”  My daughter has been so looking forward to this part.  She even cleared a wide space on her special shelf in her bedroom before we left, saying, “This is for my gold.”  We each get a little, but she is delighted.  After we put our specks into the little film canisters, it’s time to visit the assayer.  I tell my daughter that my grandfather, her great-grandfather, was the Chief Assayer at the San Francisco Mint.  It’s pretty cool to have a family connection to these professions we are meeting today.  She beams over her $7.77 worth of gold, and I purchase the special display case for her.  I must say, $7.77 is pretty lucky!

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As we bus back into town, the rest of the family is also returning to the boat from the parade.  We get to dine together and share our stories, before heading out to town again.

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They will visit a proper Dog Musher training facility, and we will explore town. We have been given a map with coupons from the ship or maybe the pier staff, I forget which.  My daughter uses it like a treasure map, and we collect a poncho, a totem pole charm, and a train charm for her.  I pick up a tanzanite necklace (free), tanzanite studs, and an icicle stretch ring for like $15.  It’s so cute how they call Mystic Topaz “Northern Lights” up here. The town is alive with the Fourth of July festivities, and we observe a tug of war in the street.  We enjoy some old-timey music outside the Red Dog Saloon, and pick up some super-cool sun-activated color souvenirs at Del Sol, before heading back to the ship.

We bring our paints and art supplies back up to the Windjammer.  We set up shop near a panoramic window, and enjoy watercoloring.  We honor my friend Noel who watercolored on her travels, before she passed away. I highly encourage painting along your travels.

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Here are some pics from the family at their dog mushing excursion.  More puppies!

We all dine together in the Sapphire Dining Room. The girls have a system where they trade vegetables.  After dinner, we enjoy Shirley Temples and watch the magician show in the Theater.

 

And finally, we happen to pass by Karaoke singalong as they are playing “We Are Family,” so me and my daughter step up to the mic.  I know this is what you have all been waiting for, right?  Here’s our lil video!  So much fun!

I get the kids in bed and then step out for a late night dessert with my husband.  Someone recognizes me in the elevator from Karaoke.  That’s always fun. 🙂 We are enjoying these cheesecake lolly-pop’s in Café Promenade. And we are happy with this day.  Tomorrow there will be glaciers!  I can’t wait to show you the amazing pics of the glacier just off our balcony!.