Thursday, May 31, 2012

Surprise packages and Great Friends

Everyone has those hours, days, weeks, where nothing seems to go right. You're stressed, you're on everyone's bad side, etc. Well, the last few weeks have been like that for me. Broke, pissing everyone off, and despite my best efforts, nothing has gone right for me. Then, today, I got something wonderful in the mail.

A package covered in Lisa Frank stickers, from a very wonderful friend named Heather. I don't know her as well as I would like, and I've only met her in person once, but she was so very kind, warm, and welcoming to me, and everyone who met her. She's a gem to be sure. <3 So I opened the package, and found this.

Six little presents wrapped with care, with bows on top. If that wasn't enough to make my day better, imagine my glee when I unwrapped each present, and hoards of CD's were found. Heather had taken the time to lovingly Rip and Burn a compilation of Disney and Sailor Moon CD's for me. Not only that, but she printed out the song list for each and every one, and wrote the titles on the CD's themselves. She even made me a few mixed CD's of some her favorite Disney Songs.

Sitting here, listening to the songs of my childhood, I couldn't be happier in this moment. The world really is a better place for having friends like Heather in it. 

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

June fun!

So, with Father's Day coming up, I've decided to show some major love and implement a fun new system for June. With every purchase you make in June, I'm giving away a gift certificate worth 20% of your purchase price, or a discount worth 35% off your next purchase!

That includes everything from my shop at Shades of Grey Emporium, all my blog design work, custom designs and graphic work, and beyond!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

JFK: Animal Lover

John F. Kennedy was a president, husband, father and man. Today, we are celebrating JFK the animal lover! He owned and loved many animals: Tom Kitten the cat, Zsa Zsa the rabbit, parakeets named Bluebell and Marybelle, hamsters named Debbie and Billie, a horse named Sardar, ponies named Macaroni, Tex and Leprechan, and dogs named Shannon, Wolf, Clipper, Charlie and Pushinka.

He loved his pets so much, President Kennedy was the first to request that his dogs meet the Presidential helicopter when it arrived at the White House.

Pushinka was a gift of peace from the Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev. Pushinka was already famous for being a descendant of Strelka, one of the first dogs sent to space, now she was living it up at the White House. Pushinka was very good friends with Welsh terrier, Charlie.

Soon, they had four pups named Butterfly, White Tip, Blackie and Streaker.

Here are The Kennedy’s at Hyannis Port with Irish spaniel Shannon, Welsh terrier Charlie, German shephard Clipper and the pups of Pushinka and Charlie.

A regular at the White House was a pony, and they called him Macaroni.

We salute you, JFK, for your animal-adoring ways!

Love and Lightning Bugs,


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Rainbow Bridge

Sometime, over the course of this blog, I will undoubtedly use the phrase "Rainbow Bridge". This is a phrase I only use in reverence, sadness, and saying good-bye. As an animal lover, and avid animal rescuer, there will always be those very sad moments when your pet passes on, and leaves this world. When this happens, we believe that your pet waits for you, along with all the pets you've ever had, at the entrance to heaven, called the Rainbow Bridge.

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill, 
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still. 
Where the friends of man and woman do run, 
When their time on earth is over and done.  

For here, between this world and the next, 
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest. 
On this golden land, they wait and they play, 
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.  

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness. 
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed, 
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.  

They romp through the grass, without even a care, 
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back, 
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.  

For just at that instant, their eyes have met; 
Together again, both person and pet. 
So they run to each other, these friends from long past, 
The time of their parting is over at last.  

The sadness they felt while they were apart, 
Has turned into joy once more in each heart. 
They embrace with a love that will last forever, 
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

This poem has been used to help many pet parents get over the loss a beloved pet, and I hope perhaps it can help some of you dear followers if you're going through a hard time.

Love and lightning Bugs,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Freebie: May Flowers Post Divider

Well, this time I have not one, but 4 free dividers! well, to be honest, it's the same divider, but now available in 4 different sizes, so there is sure to be one to fit your needs!

May Flowers

410 px

500 px

610 px

690 px

I hope you can find a use for one of these. :)

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Birds of Fancy

Oh, I know it's been a while since I last did a Shutterbug Saturday, but now that Finals are over and College is out for the Summer, I'll be sure to do them again!

Today I wanted to talk about some of the amazing bird sculptures Bastian's Great Uncle makes in his spare time.


He makes these fantastic sculptures out of random parts and items he find in his 'junkyard' of sorts. The amount of creativity and time that goes into these is amazing, and what's more amazing is he only does this fun! He never tries to make money, and usually gives away his creations to people he wants to have them. He's made everything from functioning carnival games to simple garage door ornaments. This particular bird is one out of five that sit on his front fence, welcoming people in.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recipe: Berry and Pineapple Fluff

I know several people right now trying to lose weight, and the biggest complaint I hear is the lack of dessert. Now while I'm all for eating healthier, we need to also remember that dessert is an important part in the maintaining of the  "I'm not gonna kill you because I just had some yummy sweets and I'm over your attitude" portion of our brains. So, in an effort to help all you wonderful followers, I thought I would share this easy, delicious, low fat, and super healthy dessert you can make in less than 5 minutes!

The ingredients are super simple:
1 package of Whipped Topping
1 cup of Assorted Berries
1/2 cup of Crushed Pineapple (drained)
1/2 cup of Broken or Chopped Nuts

Seriously, that's it. Stir it all together, and voila!

For mine, I used chopped strawberries and raspberries, but any berry will do! Just chop the bigger ones into smaller pieces or slices. Since I don't diet, I went all out and used the fattening sugar soaked whipped topping, but fat free, sugar free, and other varieties work just as well. For the nuts, it's up to you! I love walnuts and pecans in mine, but my grandma uses almonds or black walnuts in hers'. It's all up to your personal taste.

I hope this helps bring the dessert back into diet! 

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fan Appreciation Giveaway 2.0!

Well, it's time for another giveaway! I feel like I have some of the best followers in the world, and I wanted to share my huge appreciation for you all! So I'm offering a lovely brand new watch. Now, this may not be the watch for everyone, but I know everyone knows someone who will love it.

Sanrio is the maker of this piece, the detail is wonderful, and this could be such a fun addition to any outfit, or a great way to teach your younger girls to tell and better abide by time. And if you're like me, and huge Hello Kitty fan, well, this is just a great gift for yourself! The band is a cherry red, made in faux alligator skin, with a pretty silver buckle to fasten. The face is easy to read, and easy to wind as well. 

Please enter below in the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Feeling Defeated

I'm not normally one to blog about things bothering me, but lately I've been feeling like an absolute failure.

By now, you should all know I design jewelry, hair ornaments, blog wear, and work with graphic design. Well, I've tried for the past year to get my business, Shades of Grey Emporium, off the ground...but to no avail. I never thought my prices were awful, and I thought I was doing quality work, but I'm STILL waiting on my first order.

Sure, I've had a few people ask for work done, so I start and finish the project. But when the time for payment comes, I never receive it, not but once. Couple that with the seeming lack of interest, and I'm just starting to feel like giving up. What's the point in having a business when you have no customers?

Just something I needed to get off my chest I guess.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Animal Fun Fact: Silver Fox

Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

Weight: 2.7 – 6.8 kg, European fox being larger than those in North America.

Description: The silver fox is the same species as the red fox, it is merely a color mutation.  The red fox is most commonly a rusty red, with white underbelly, black ear tips and legs, and a bushy tail with a distinctive white tip.  The "red" tone can very from crimson to golden and in fact can be brindled or agouti with bands of red, brown, black and white on each individutal hair when seen close up.  In North America, the red fox's pelt has long, soft hair, whereas the fur of European red foxes is flatter and less silky.

In the wild, two other color phases are also seen.  The first is silver or black, comprising 10% of the wild population and most of the farmed.  Silver foxes in particular tend to occur more often in the western and northern ranges of this species.  Approximately 30% of wild indviduals have additional black patterning, which usually manifests as a stripe across the shoulders and down the center of the back.  This pattern forms a "cross" over the shoulders, hence the term "cross fox".  "Domesticated" or farmed stock may be almost any color, including spotted, or marbled varieties.  It  should also be mentioned that several colors of fox may be born in the same litter.

The fox's eyes are gold to yellow and have distinctive vertically slit pupils, similar to those of the Felidae.  Their eyesight is also as sharp as that of a feline, and combined with their extreme agility for a canid, the red fox has been referred to as "the cat-like canid".  Its long bushy tail with distinctive white tip provides balance for large jumps and complex movement.  Its strong legs allow it to reach speeds of 45 miles per hour, a great benefit to catching prey or avoiding predators.

During the autumn and winter, the red fox will grow more fur.  This winter fur keeps the animal warm in the colder environment.  The fox sheds this fur at the onset of spring, reverting back to the short fur for the duration of the summer.  Red foxes are hunted by man, one of their few enemies, for sport and fur.  They are known to be difficult to trap, as they are very cautious and intelligent.  Fox pelts especially those of silver foxes, are commonly produced commercially of fox farms.  Red fox pelts are used for trimming and for full fur garments.  Farmed silver fox has long glossy, lightweight fur with natural colors in black and white, giving a feel of silver.  Darker skins have more black and paler skins more white.  Silver fox is traditionally used for collars and cuffs, wraps and stoles.

Foxes are considered to be nuisance animals in many states.  Like other wild animals, foxes are considered are considered to vectors of disease, including rabies.  The red fox helps farmers by preying on animals that damage crops but is considered to be a pest by farmers involved in poultry farming.  Red foxes also are noted for carrying small carcasses back to their dens to feed their young, which may account for some poultry, lambs and kids (goat babies, not humansJ ) that disappear and are never found.

Silver Fox Experiment:  Tame Silver Foxes are the results of nearly 50 years of experiments in a breeding project in Russia set up by the Russian scientist Dmitri Belyawv to domestic the silver fox.  Starting with foxes raised on a fur farm, later generations became more tame and dog-like, were more friendly with humans, put their ears down like dogs, wagged their tails when happy, became to vocalize and bark like domestic dogs and lost their distinctive musky fox smell.

Food Source:  Red foxes are omnivorous, this dietary adaptablility being one of the main factores in the species wide distribution.  The majority of their diet consists of invertebrates, such as insects, mollusks, earthworms and crayfish.  Common vertebrate prey includes rodents such as mice and voles, rabbits, birds, eggs, amphibians, small reptiles and fish.  In urban areas, they will scavenge on human refuse, and even eat out of pet food bowls left outside.  They typically eat 0.5-1 kg (1-2 lbs) of food a day.  Foxes have a habit of creating food cashes to provide for themselves in times of scarcity.

Geographic Distribution:  The largest species within the Genus Vulpes, the Red Fox has a native range spanning most of the North American continent and Eurasia, with several populations in North Africa. A subspecies the, Japanese Red Fox, migrated from India to China to and eventually to Japan. The Red Fox has been introduced to Australia, where it poses a serious conservation problem.

Breeding Season:  The Red Fox breeding period varies widely due to its broad distribution; southern populations breed from December to January, central populations from January to February and northern populations from February to April.  Females have an annual estrus period of 1-6 days.  Although a female may mate with several males she will settle with one and he will hunt to supply food to the den for her and her kits.

Gestation: 51 days

Litter Size: Average is 5 kits, but can have as many as 13.

Life span: 3 years in the wild, 12-14 years in captivity

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Footer Designs for Your Blog

We all have that boring, empty, space at the bottom of our blogs. Our sidebars and headers are fabulous and well designed, but our footers seem to be more bland, if there's anything there at all. I decided to change all that.

I made a fun and pretty blog footer to put into the bottom of your blog, and to either thank people for coming, or remind them to come back often! I'll be designing and selling these for only $5.00 each, and I can make it tie into your current design, make it stand out, or just make it as fun and funky as you can imagine.

You nab this free one, that I made for my blog, by following the instructions below!

<a href= target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>

It's really very easy, just copy and paste the code into a new gadget in your blog's footer section, then voila!

Love and Lightning Bugs,


Friday, May 4, 2012

Flat Iron Curls

I have very fine and thin hair, so I'm always looking at ways to make it look fuller and thicker. I saw a tutorial the other day on how to make curls with a flat iron, so I thought I would try my hand at it. To start out, you will need one flat iron (of any size), some hairspray, and your fingers!

I took a photo before, so you could see the difference between the before and after. 

You need to take sections of hair, the amount depends on your personal taste, and twist it one direction all the way up to the root of the section. For looser curls, use bigger sections, for tighter curls, use smaller sections.

Once you have it twisted, wrap it around your fingers, and slide it off gently to create a sort of bundle.

Here comes the flat iron part! Put the bundle of twisted hair into the flat iron, and hold it there for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat until your entire head is done! Run your fingers through your hair to loosen the curls, then set with a mist of hairspray.

Since I did very tightly wrapped larger sections, I ended up with some kinky and curly waves, which was a fun change from my normal! Next time I do this, I think I'll make the sections smaller, to make the curls more defined. 

But most likely, this isn't going to be something that will work for girls with thin and fine hair. If this one try came out this bad, imagine how much worse it could get!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bunny Language: Binkies

As a bunny momma, sometimes my bunnies exhibit strange behaviors in public, and people always seem to think something is wrong with them. Well that's just not true! They're just speaking to them like any rabbit would, and most people just don't speak rabbit. So I wanted to start bringing little bits of bunny body language to you, so we can decode and better understand our rabbit friends.

After adopting your first (or adding another!)  rabbit to your family, you have to (re)learn all of the differing body language ques that they may give. And not each bunny is the same, just like no two children are the same. For instance, Maylene digs in the yard or her cage out of happiness, while Claudia digs out of frustration and anger. It just takes a bit of time and patience to understand what your bun is trying to get across to you.

I figure we'd start this first installment with the most basic, and the most strange looking, bunny behavior: The Binky. 

No, we're not talking about a pacifier for your rabbit, but rather a random assortment of running, flipping, hopping, and jumping that takes place when a bunny is happy. Watch the video below to better understand what I mean.

There were quite a few behaviors we'll be covering in the next few weeks in this video, so I may refer back to it from time to time. 

As you could see, the Binky is impossible to mistake for anything else, and the first time you see one you will probably wonder if the poor thing is having a convulsion. When a rabbit binkies, it jumps into the air and twists its head and body in opposite directions (sometimes twice) before falling back to the ground. This can be done while standing in one place, or while running, which is really weird looking, and is sometimes called the "happy bunny dance." A rabbit can even turn 360 degrees in midair. It can also bewhn your rabbit goes into a dead run from a stand still, a quick little hop, a flip, a dive off something high followed by an all out run, a zooming through one room after the next, or around you at breakneck speed, etc. All this is a rabbit's way of telling you straight out that it is happy and overall pleased with you and its life. Some rabbits binky a lot and some hardly at all, even if they are being treated well. Everyone has their own temperament, like I said before.

A common variation is the half-binky, also called a head flick or ear flick. Instead of twisting the whole body, just the head is quickly turned sideways and back. This is still a pretty impressive sight in a creature with ears longer than its head! A head flick can be performed while running, or when sitting in place. A head flick is similar in meaning to a shudder, but is a little more playful and silly. 

Now, rabbits are very 'proud' animals, meaning they take offence easily and with withdraw if not spoken back to. That means in every language they know, including theirs. That means if they binky for you, you'd better binky back! Sounds silly, but trust me, it's not that bad, and your relationship with your rabbit will be so much better for it.

If you want to go for the full binky, your rabbit will understand if you jump up a little in one place while doing a head flick. I recommend you don't try to twist your body in mid-air like a rabbit will, especially if there is any furniture around, you have a history of back problems, or are over 45 years old. Trust me on this one.

You can do a head flick too, by quickly dropping your head sideways and then back up, with a bit of a twist. If you have long hair that gets flung, your rabbit is even more sure to get the message. Some happy rabbits will head flick back at you to show that they share your happiness. It's always nice to answer a head flick in kind.

My bunnies binky often, and alot. Claudia is more of a jumper and twister, and Maylene is more of a breakneck speed runner, with the occasional kickflip thrown in. If you're bunny begins to run circles around you as fast as it can, or zooms all through the house with glee, this is affectionately called the "Bunny 500" by most rabbit owners.

If you're up for it, it's always fun to try to photograph your bunny mid-binky. It  may be difficult as first, but you'll learn to see when your bunny is about to binky, and get ready for it! Here are some wonderful binky photos for you to enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed this first behavior we covered, and if you'd like to know more about how to better communicate with your rabbits, please comment below so I can start on the next installment!

Love and Lightning Bugs,


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Freebie: Dotted Ribbon Post Divider

Time for another blog freebie! This time I'm bringing you a post divider, which is 690 px wide. If it's too wide, just resize it to fit, upload to Photobucket, and install on your blog!

To get this great divider, just click to enlarge it, and click 'save as'. I hope you like this!

Love and Lightning Bugs,