Saturday, February 27, 2010

Still Here, Still Kicking

I just wanted to update my blog, and update all of you who actually read this thing as to why I've been absent!

Those of you who know me fairly well know that I've been fighting a long battle over the last two years. For anyone who's just getting to know me....the short story is that about two years ago my asthma attacks (which have been severe for years) grew drastically worse. The doctors have tried all sorts of medication and treatment, but they haven't been able to get it under control.

As a part of trying to treat my asthma, I've been on steroids for the last two years. They have kept me alive, kept me out of the hospital, but being on steroids is NOT the ideal situation! Since we are finally getting my asthma under control (that's a long story too), we are working to at the least reduce my steroid levels, and at best get me completely off them!

The only problem with getting me off the steroids is that I get to go through withdrawals, just like a druggy, as we go through the process. The good news is that I'm not having any super serious asthma attacks, the bad news is that I'm exhausted and dealing with about 5 different side effects.

Combine that with having a busy week, and I just didn't have the energy (mental or physical) to blog this week! I haven't really gotten much done crafty wise either. I do have lots of ideas on the table though, and I'm hoping to get to spend some time beading and catching up on watching things tonight :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Simple Question

And that question is this....

If you could have one piece of jewelry, any piece of jewelry, in one of my shops, what would it be and why?

My shop addresses are and :)

And as an extra incentive - I'll give you an extra entry into my top commentators contest!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coins Around the World

I've always thought it's cool when artists do a series all based around one theme. Since I've begun bead weaving I've done one complete series (my Elements Necklaces), I've done a few pieces that I classify as Geekery, and now I'm starting on a new and exciting series! It's called "Coins Around the World."

My fascination with coins started when I was young. Dad taught me to look for wheat head pennies and buffalo nickels. Other than those two specific examples I never really got into the whole "collecting for value" thing with coins, but I have always kept a container with any "odd" coins I've found. Some of those came from random coins that turned up in tills while I worked retail, others were collected as members of my family (or friends) traveled the world.

When my brother came home from Nepal recently I decided it would be fun to use some of the coins he had left over for jewelry...and then it hit me. "I have this collection of coins from around the world, I can do a whole series out of this!" So I went pawing through boxes to find where my collection had gotten stashed in all my moves these last few years and was amazed at how many I found!

I eventually sorted them all out into different bags by country, and it's quite the list!

I have:
Hong Kong
Sri Lanka
And a small bag of one's I haven't identified yet!

Some of the bags only have one coin in them (like Botswana) and some of them have a whole bunch! I have ideas for necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and earrings! There will definitely be some out of this collection I make for myself. In fact, I think the next one I make will be for me :)

I chose to have my first piece in the collection to a Mexican Peso. I was originally planning on doing a necklace with one of the Nepali coins, but I think I'm going to have to buy some beads to do what I want to with that one, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this Peso!

I used the colors of the Mexican flag (plus black) for this necklace. It's completely reversible, and the pendant comes off! It's in my Artfire shop if your interested :)

I look forward to sharing more of these with you over the next year! I have lots of other projects I want to do as well so I'll probably work one of these in ever couple of projects or so :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Kitchen with some Coffee

The current Blogfire blog carnival theme is to either show off your work space - or talk about items in the kitchen! Now I was planning on showing off my workspace, but I've been having migraines all week and so getting it presentable enough to show off just wasn't going to happen. So I went looking for some fun kitchen items! In a coffee theme of course, because I love coffee! I used to be a total caffeine addict...but that's an entirely different story.

The Country Workshop has this plaque for sale - isn't it darling?
I'd certainly put it up in my kitchen! (Much to my hubby's chagrin)

I have to confess that I already have a towel and oven mitt set that's coffee themed.
AND, to my shame, it was bought in a big retail store.
BUT someday it will need replacing,

What would the kitchen be without some good soap?
DECA candle and bath has some COFFEE soap - does it get any better?

Now I must stop dream shopping...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crafty ADD #27

It's been just over two weeks since I posted a crafty ADD update - and with good reason. I lost my Granny last week, for any of you that didn't know, and that put the rest of life on hold. I did get a wee bit of crafting done on the trip up for the funeral (hey come on, this is how I cope!), and of course I got stuff done before, and even a little after! So here's my loooong ADD update :)


Have I ever mentioned that I hate rolling the yarn up into balls? Oh wait, I'm sure I have... Ok, so maybe hate is the wrong word, but after spending an HOUR rolling this up (there were some massive tangles to unravel) that was all I was doing that particular night.

This picture doesn't show adequately the progress I've made, so I'll just tell ya :P On the first strip I've done the first edging row around all the squares and tied in all the ends. I need Mom's help to do the next edging row so I started in on the next strip. I need to step up the pace on this project >_>

Cross Stitch

I started another book mark! This one's going to be a present :D I'm having fun with it - don't think it will take me too long either - which is good :)


I'm in love with making rings! I know I haven't gotten any up on my site yet (hey, I have a GOOD excuse this time!), but I'm still having fun making them :) And they don't take that much time! fact...I may make another one when I'm done with this post :P

This pretty bracelet is going to my consignment shop - but if anyone falls in love with the colors I will gladly make it for you!

Remember seeing this one in one of my previous ADD posts? I bought a clasp and finished it :)

I have a couple more pieces to show off - but I'm saving those for a specific post :P

Monday, February 15, 2010

One World One Heart - The Winners!

The One World One Heart Giveaway (hosted by Lisa Swifka) is over today! Which's time for me to announce my winners :D

Looking at my blog it says there were 223 entries, but there were a couple of deletions, so there are actually only 219 entries, but that's still a lot! At least for me. There were a total of 1,088 blogs participating this year, from 40 different countries! I'm guessing I got to around 200 of them. I would have liked to do a lot more, but life was just too busy/difficult. Ironically I got more comments last year (259) but I'm guessing a part of that was I had more time to visit other blogs!

Since there were over 200 entries, I'm giving away two pairs of earrings! I went to the to get these numbers - see the pictures?

#13 is jasmoon-butterfly. You can find her blog here.

#153 is Amanda31 Gifts. Check her blog out here.

Congrats to both the winners! I had a lot of fun this year and I'm sure I'll probably participate next year again :D

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bead Soup - Revealed!

I'm very excited to share with you that the time is finally here to reveal what I did with my bead soup! In case your new to my's the back story :)

The Bead Soup Party has been hosted by Lori Anderson, and she's done a tremendous job! How does it work? Well we had 85 jewelry artists sign up (incredible!) and Lori organized us so we each had a partner. She took on more than one since we had some late entries. We then sent out partner some "Bead Soup." What was in that bead soup? A focal, some beads to compliment it, and a clasp. Then we each have sat down with our soup and created something lovely!

My partner was Suzann - and I love the beads she sent me!

Creating this necklace was a challenge. I had so many fun elements to work with, and I wanted it to have a some of "me" in the necklace too! I don't usually get to work with components like this because, well, I just don't have the bank for it :P

The beads sat on my design table for at least a week. I knew I wanted to combine the components using hand crafted wire links (which goes back to my beginnings as a jewelry artist) but I was still trying to decide the best way to combine everything.

Then I hit on the idea of using some beaded beads to add the finall "me" touch to the piece! I've been wanting to learn how to make beaded beads and I knew one of the simplest ways is to make a tiny peyote tube. So that's what I did! They were fairly challenging for me because it was a lot of SMALL work. I'm used to a piece growing bigger as I work on it!

I like how everything worked out. I like how the bumps on the lampwork beads are complimented by the "bumpiness" of my little beaded tubes. I'm actually toying with changing the design slightly now that I've seen it complete and with photos...but there was no time before the deadline today! LOL

Edit (2/11/10) The current pictures reflect the minor change I made. I changed the way the focal was attached so that it hangs more smoothly now. It originally hung from it's own "link" that had several beads on either side of the hook. But the hook wouldn't stay in place and tended to move around, so I removed that link and instead attached the two side links directly to the hook. That probably doesn't make sense to anyone other than my fellow jewelry makers :P But I'm happy with the change!

Edit: (2/11/10)
This piece is now for sale in my Artfire shop!

Like I said - there area lot of other incredible designers involved in this bead soup party,
click on their blogs below!

1. Lori, Pretty Things
9. Adrienne, Adrienne Designs
11. Laurel, Rue's Daftique
14. Cassie, The Glass Beadle
17. Lisa, Lo and Behold
19. Judith, Judith B.
20. Debbie, Prairie Emporium
24. Marianna, Pretty Shiny Things
25. Lisa, Joolz by Lisa
26. Cristi, 2 If By Sea
30. Leslie, Bei Mondi
31. Loretta, Designs by Loretta
33. Kathie, The Bead Cult
34. Patty, Plays With Fire
35. Nicki, Nicki's Reef
36. Anne Marie, Heart's Desire
39. Emanda, Artemesia's Studio
40. Whitney, Whitney Lassini
41. Marcie, La Bella Joya
42. Suzann, Beadphoria
45. Janiece, J Birds Garden
47. Laurie, The Mermaid Tale
49. Sue, Sue Beads
50. Janeen, Janeen 365
51. Nancy, The Rabbit Muse
52. Kristie, Artisan Clay
53. Regina, Regina's Writings
55. Lyn, Lyn Foley
57. Cathryn, Chile Cats
60. Juli, Jul's Beads
61. Julie, RockerJewlz
70. Lynette, Rock Hill Designs
74. Ruthie, Rose Works Jewelry
75. Elizabeth, Turquoise Sky
76. Maire, Maire Dodd
77. Janet, Singing Woods
78. Eileen, Dorset Hill Beads
80. Joann, Jo's Jewels

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Come Vote for YOUR Favorite Ocean Themed Piece!

I've talked about it several times now as I worked on this piece - and now the time is finally here! The voting has started for this month's Etsy Bead Weavers Challenge and there are a LOT of impressive entries to choose from. Normally I show the challenge mosaic when I announce the voting, but there seems to be a glitch with it right now. So I'm showing off my piece again :) Make sure you head over to the blog to vote! You can click on all the individual links to see the different pieces :)

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who gave suggestions for the piece pictured below. The top two suggestions I got were "Shades of Nepal" and "Jacob's Ladder." I really like both of them, but I decided to go for "Shades of Nepal" on this piece, and I'll save Jacob's Ladder for a piece, not yet created, not yet even imagined, some where in the future :) I've fallen in love with this stitch, so I'm sure it'll come in handy at some point!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's Play - Name that Bracelet!

First - I just want to say thank you to everyone who sent prayers and hugs and loves this last weekend as I've been dealing with the loss of my Granny. We knew it was coming, so that helped us prepare for it, but there's only so much you can do ya know? Grieving is still a natural part of the process.

Over this last weekend I've rather hidden away from the world. I spent most of the weekend just reading. I'm still kinda shaky, and I suspect I will be at least until after the funeral, but I'm back to slowly doing some of my normal things. I've been working on a necklace off and on all day long for instance (pictures to come later!). I doubt I'll be back to my "normal" routine of plurkiness and forum chattiness until after funeral (although I may end up chatty at some point). Just bear with me!

Now...I have a bracelet I don't know what to name! I hadn't named it yet and I was getting ready to post it when we got the news about my Granny. I ended up getting it posted anyway because it's for one of those "Artists Exposed" treasuries that Vicki Diane does, but I didn't come up with a very good name.'s a picture of me in "my natural environment."

Now here's the bracelet:

It's made from a weave I recently learned called "Chevron weave" and the beads (other than the seed beads) are from Nepal. That's all I know about them, they didn't have any sort of markings to tell me what they are made of. And if the markings had been in Nepali I might have been stuck anyway huh?

So does anyone have any ideas?

Friday, February 5, 2010


We lost my Granny this morning. We'll miss her, but at least she's no longer in pain.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentines Day - Artfire Style!

Now I must admit that Valentines day has, historically, not been one of my favorite holidays. In fact, I used to absolutely hate it! Why? Well, as a long time single girl/woman it was a slap in the face reminder that I WAS single. Some years I faced it defiantly, others I drowned it in chocolate. Now that I'm married (I know, it blew me away too) I actually like the holiday!

This week's BlogFire Carnival is all about either Valentines Day, or items in Red/Pink. Since I finally like the holiday I decided to show off one of my pieces, and some great gift ideas from three of my friends! Now ladies, if you've read this far and hate Valentines Day, you could always buy this as a gift for yourself! Why? Because your special. I said so!

*Hugs and Kisses*

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Laughing At Myself....

Why am I laughing? Because this latest collection on my latest promoted items CLEARLY shows the difference between items I've recently renewed - and items I've taken new photos with my light box! Ah well.

So here's my plan. I have a lot of inventory (a lot) between my two shops. For Etsy I'm going to slowly replace the photos by rephotographing items whenever they come up for relisting. For Artfire, since items don't expire, I'm going to alternate between one new listed item, and retaking the photos for two old items. It'll probably take me a few months, but hey, at least this way I won't get stressed out! That's really important with the way my lungs have been misbehaving lately.

Anyway, you know the drill, tell me which piece(s) are your favorite(s) and why and I'll give you an extra entry into my Top Commentators Contest!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Congrats to January's Winners!

Welcome to February and it's time to announce last month's winners! This time there were 4 winners, because there was a tie for second place! Woohoo!

Oh yes, and sorry I'm a wee bit late at getting this out. I forgot yesterday. Not good excuse, just absentminded :P

Just a reminder of how this works: I track every comment that I receive on my blog. Then, at the end of the month, the top three (this month 4) commentators win prizes! Whoever wins one month is not eligible the next month to win, so sometimes it's not actually the top commentator who wins that month, because I want to give everyone a chance!

Whenever I put up a collection of my latest works promoted I give people a chance to earn extra entry's towards my commentators contest. Those extra entries are in parenthesis. And now for our winners!

1. Splended Little Stars 9 (1)
2. Nico Designs 5
2. Story Beader 5
3. Patch First Shop 4

Here's some items from their wonderful shops :)

Congrats everyone!

Now for the fun numbers :)

Top Commentator: This Month - 15 Last Month - 19
Total Commentators: This Month 142 - Last Month - 37
Total Comments: This Month - 201- Last Month - 88

This month's numbers are inflated because I'm involved in the One World One Heart giveaway. I'm betting February's numbers will inflated too! Actually looking at the number of new comments in my inbox that came in while I was asleep, yah, I can guarantee it! I'm having fun though, and make sure you come by and enter my giveaway if you haven't already!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Crafty ADD Update #26

Another week - and more crafty stuff! I have officially created a new category in these updates - the miscellaneous category :P Why? Well I have some random things that I do (like paper stuff or whatever) that I don't do frequently enough for them to really have their own category. This way I no longer have to worry about that. You'll love my Misc. item this week :) Oh - and a note about crocheting - it didn't happen this week. Oopsie. I got very caught up in beading, which you'll see!


I made myself a light box! That picture makes my living room look a lot darker than it is...but I have a light box! *bounces* The box is a little cockamamie which is why you see a pill bottle peaking out from one corner. I need to figure out a better solution to that... I also want to get a third lamp that can do overhead light because I'm still get some shadows just having the two lights. So my project isn't finished...but it's a big improvement over where I was at!


I made the rope to go with my Peso Pendant that I made last week! I'm really please with how this turned out and I'm looking forward to taking more pictures so that I can list it :D

Rings! I've made my first rings! Woohoo! Plan on listing these this week as well :) And making more!

I actually *gasp* made things for myself this week too! The spirals I made earlier today to go with the shirt I'm wearing, and I did the bead woven earrings earlier this week. The seed beads are kind of an iridescent peacock color. I bought them last week and knew right away that I wanted to weave some earrings with them. By the time I was half way through the first one I knew I was keeping it for myself! Which really is a good idea since I don't have any of my own bead woven earrings. Bracelets - yes, ring - yes, necklaces -yes, but I had no earrings! i had other styles, but it was high time I had a pair of my own bead woven earrings.

This lovely bracelet is made using a chevron weaving technique that I learned from this month's issue of Bead and Button. I love how delicate it turned out! All it needs to finish it is a good clasp, I want to go buy a really cute one for it :)

Oh yes, and I finished my paw prints bracelet, and forgot to take a picture of it completed before I gave it to my friend! Ooops! Don't worry though, I do plan on making one for my shop, eventually....