Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just in the (St.) Nick of Time

After making the small oothecal bede designed by Rachel Nelson-Smith, I was determined to tackle the large version.

I thought it might be a possible Christmas ornament, depending on how big it turned out to be. WhooHoo! Add a bit of embellishment to the one end, insert a knotted ribbon into the other and voila-it makes a perfect ornament!




I finished it just in time to be gifted it to my co-worker (and friend) Shannon. She smiled :)
I just wanted to take a moment here to wish everyone and your loved ones the merriest of holidays.
Hug more, eat too many cookies, sing your carols for everyone to hear (my daughters especially love this one -- not), and reflect upon all the good in the past year.
I'm very blessed with love and health in my life and I wish the same for all of you--priceless gifts indeed.
Cheers!











Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bling Bling Bling

I am very happy to be a part of the beading bloggers program with Artbeads.com. Not only are they super friendly and nice to deal with, they encourage me to try new products I would probably would not have otherwise.

So with that said, I was given the choice of a vast array of cubic zirconia beads. Hmm, Nice. There were so many shapes, sizes, colors, all beautiful. I randomly picked some lavender and black shapes with a vague idea of a necklace and earrings set. I'm not much of a stringer-type beader and earrings always leave me stumped. Definitely a personal challenge to come up with something decent.

So I drifted through some blogs and came back once again to Marcia DeCoster. I couldn't believe she had made a pair of earrings using the exact beads I had just ordered! Fate. I quickly ordered up her latest book Beaded Opulence, and then since I was in the book buying frame of mind, tossed in another one I've been wanting for a while; Rachel Nelson-Smith's Seed Bead Fusion (both of which I would highly recommend).

Anyhooo, this is what I came up with. I so wish the pictures were better. These CZ beads are so incredibly beautiful - full of facets and a nice heavy feel.

The pendant is crowned with Rachel's small version of her oothecal bede. So much fun to watch it develop.Can you believe the facets in this pendant?? LOVE ITThis is Marcia's medici drop earring design. Quick and easy and elegant - could you ask for anything more? Believe me when I tell you these drops are just as faceted as the big pendant (it's just my lame photo skills that make them look a bit blah)
But the best part was seeing Meghan wear it to the winter formal ! (The earrings were a bit too long for her taste--go figure)

P.S. I understand Artbeads.com is giving away a $100 gift certificate on Facebook. Enter here

And then go make your wish list! Artbeads.com

FTC Fine print: I received the aforementioned cubic zirconia beads free of charge from Artbeads.com in exchange for my honest opinion on the product. I did not receive any additional compensation other than the product.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Old Dog - New trick?

Oh brother! I've spent the last 45 minutes attempting to customize my blog so it is wider. Well, limited success--I was able to expand the main part but not the header! Any suggestions???!

Maybe everyone can just ignore that annoying cream colored shadow running down the length of the blog........

Monday, November 30, 2009

Peacock Pin


Artbeads.com sent me a lovely gift as a thank you for being part of their blogging partners program - a $20 gift card and a beautiful wall calendar. I was thrilled! I knew top on my list would be putting that gift card toward another Russian Art Bead. Lucky for me, one was on sale!! Yippee! So I was able to not only get the bead, but also some Swarovski crystals! Double Yippee!!
The Peacock bead is exquisite - and definitely hand painted. Each one must be unique--my bird looks entirely different than the one shown on the ArtBeads site. Neat.
I made the pin to wear on my black wool winter coat, so I used a pretty hefty safety pin that I peyote tube stitched to the ultrasuede. Measured at the widest point, the pin is just about 4 inches - which would be a bit loud on a sweater, but perfect for my coat!

Here's some links to the products used:

Swarovski Side Aquiline

Swarovski flat back

Russian Art Bead

Thanks ArtBeads!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

She likes it!

My sister Lisa's birthday was last week and I had just gotten a kit called "Sticks & Stones" from School of Beadwork designed by Carol Wilcox Wells that I thought she might like (after it was made that is-- she's not a beader).
As I worked my way through the project, I had second thoughts, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it and if I didn't like it, would she? Cloudy didn't have an opinion, he was just hoping to get away with perching on my shoulders for as long as I would allow it.
But after the whole bracelet was completed, my fears were unfounded. I loved it! And I knew she would too. It has this awesome feel to it and those sweet little tiny chains just give it some sass that you wouldn't expect.

It was perfect timing that she just happened to be wearing black on the day I gave it to her!
With the weight of that project (and the cat) off my shoulders, it was back to the Pentagram Box. I couldn't be happier with this little cutie.
Here's the under side of the lid. It's very heavy.


I embroidered my initials and the year on the liner before sewing it into the box.


Now, I'm off blog-hopping to check out what everyone else is up to these days! Cheers!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Selfish Splurge

While drooling through the latest issue of Bead & Button magazine, I happened upon an advertisement for this super-cute box offered by Ann Benson of Beads East. It was love at first sight, a definite "must have."
Once I got my kit and saw the components I knew it was going to be more fab than I expected. And it included an instructional DVD, which, along with the ultra-detailed instruction booklet, was like having Ann in the room with me (yeah, don't I wish).
Just by coincidence the stones for the lid match the stone of my pincushion I had made a bit ago. Doesn't it resemble a turtle shell? Love it!!
With the lid complete, it was now time to work up the base - soft blue leather. Scrumptious. Just a wee bit more to complete.
Now, if I can just get Cloudy to leave me alone, I might be able to bead a little faster. He's soooo needy. Drives me nuts until I pick him up. I've had cats my whole life, and none of them have ever behaved like this guy. Don't get me wrong, I love it.
I had ordered a kit once before from Beads East called Papillion, so I was certain this kit would be well worth the time, money, and effort. And I wasn't wrong.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A little bit of this and that

Hello Friends! Gosh it has been way too long. With 3 daughters all needing computer time for school work, its becoming apparent we may need to get a second one. Crazy.

Anyhooo, I gave up on the Central Terminal credit card holder. I got this far. . . .


. . . .and then lost interest. Don't know why.

I switched gears and made myself a long necklace to wear with a few sweaters I have; black and grey.


Although my loop making still leaves much to be desired, it looks great on (and from a distance, while walking very quickly.....)

And then I've made another little treasure box as a gift.



And my little Rainy kitten is growing by leaps and bounds. But he still insists on being on my beading table. Silly boy.

Hugs!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finding Inspiration

A few weeks ago I went on an architectural tour of a very neglected train station in Buffalo (NY) called the Central Terminal. And although the structure has been stripped of nearly every ornament that unscrupulous prior owners could get their hands on, it is still a building worthy of saving and protecting. Thankfully a group of dedicated people are doing just that. The art deco work is breathtaking and I would love to be transported in time to see it in all its former glory.

I took a ton of pictures with the goal of creating various beaded pieces using the art deco ornamentation as inspiration. Here is just one of many elements I found to be 'bead worthy':


I decided to use this piece as inspiration for my business card/credit card holder I'm making. Here's what I've got so far.

I've never worked from a picture before, and its a lot of fun. Although it will not be an exact replica of the original marble carving, I think it will reflect the basic elements of it. And doesn't this floor pattern just scream "cuff bracelet"?!!

Oh, and check this out http://beads-perles.blogspot.com/2009/10/beading-heart-art.html - I'm so flattered! Thanks Beads Perles!!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Big Hugs to all of you for listening to my recent tale of woe. It is funny now that I look back at it. Its such a nice feeling knowing my blogfriends care. It means so much to me!! XOXO

Luckily things seem to be looking up.




After a week of bad luck and bad weather, Saturday morning was beautiful--just in time for our twice annual canoe trek. (I have to admit the thought of me ending up in the water did cross my mind). It was heaven. Ironically huge storms blew through our area that very same afternoon. It was hard to believe that just a few hours before the sky was blue and wind the warm. How's that for timing?

. . . . . . .And my lidded box is finished! I love it. I can't wait to make another. I'm thinking of doing a winter themed one. Maybe with pinecones on it. Or a green velvet one with candy canes and peppermint swirls. Or a silver one with snowflakes......oh the possibilities!




I'm on a mission to make a credit card/business card holder. I've started it, but not real sure how the whole thing is going to come together. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 2, 2009

NOT the best week ever

Oh boy, what a week. Nothing horrible horrible, just little petty annoying things that wear me down.


First my oldest daughter is a completely innocent party in a car accident. She was just sitting at the traffic light (red on her side) and two vehicles both ran the light on the other street which caused one vehicle to hit the other, spin it through the intersection and collide with Claire.

Thankfully no one was injured--just 3 damaged cars. I didn't think our car was all that bad and since Claire (and everyone else) was fine, I thought oh, well. BUT - since both other drivers were issued citations, the insurance companies are haggling over who is at fault and the collision shop we were told to go to for an estimate has decided our car is a total loss. WHAT?! It has damage to the front only! Hardly a total loss. I won't even go there - no one wants to listen to me rant about society's throw-away mentality and how twisted the whole insurance business is. Look at my car - doesn't it look worth fixing to you?


So now we are stuck juggling schedules (luckily I can walk to work) while the insurance companies take their time. Lovely.

Ok, so yesterday I am baking cookies while working on my lidded box. I put the last batch in the oven and go back to beading. A few minutes later....sniff sniff... smells like something is burning. I glance up at the clock, see there is at least 10 minutes left to bake and think it must just be the baking parchment getting a little singed.

Ok another minute or two ... sniff sniff.... what the ? Get up, go into the kitchen, look at the oven--see, still 4 more minutes to bake. It can't be the cookies I'm smelling. I start to go back to my studio, but look again at the oven and realize the electric element is red - really red! Like, waaayyyy too red. Something is definitely wrong. I shut the oven off (or so I thought), open the door and *poof* the room instantly fills with smoke, setting off the smoke alarm. I run the smoking cookies outside, rush back in, look at the oven--it's still on! What the?? I can't turn it off and it is so unbelievably hot.

I call my husband to find out how to shut the main power off to the house (ok, so in the heat of the moment the fuse box didn't come to mind!). I go to the basement to knock all the fuses (or so I thought) to off and, duh, the whole basement goes pitch dark and the phone goes dead. So I rush back upstairs and the oven is still on! And even worse -- it now is beeping like crazy and the word FIRE is running across the digital display. YIKES!

Time to call 911. So I pick up the phone - uh, which isn't working because the power is off (Must be the smoke affecting my brain) - so now I'm on a mission to find that elusive cell phone of mine. Finally find it after dumping my entire purse onto the kitchen table, only to realize its on the desk. Good grief!

I put the cats in the car to keep them safe, put the dog into the yard just as the police come roaring down my street. The officer goes to the oven, pushes the 'off' button and says, "you're all set." Hmm, don't think so! Did he honestly think I was that stupid I didn't try that!?! Oh boy.

I asked to use his flashlight and I go back into the dark basement and see that I did indeed miss 2 fuses. Clicked them over - and voila - I hear the officer shout out - "all set". Thank God. I get back upstairs to literally 8 - 10 fully outfitted firemen streaming into my house. Wow they pack on a lot of gear! They graciously pulled out my oven and unplugged it for me. Disaster averted!

Cookie anyone?

So the only bright spot of the day was getting tickets to the Lady GaGa concert before they actually went on sale to the general public. Awesome seats-so excited...... Oh wait, not so fast - they cancelled the concert later that night!! UGH.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homework complete (well, almost)

I've got three out of the four sides completed on my lidded box class. I'm really happy with the colors. The last side is a small bird, which I will tackle in class today. And I mean 'tackle' -- I don't know what it is about bird shapes, but I always struggle with them. I'm hoping Anita, our instructor, will have a few pointers for me.
Time to pack my beads and hit the road!