Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nicole's Bead Backing

I have recently received a new "must have" item in the mail from Nicole Campanella.  If you haven't been introduced to Nicole yet, she is an extremely talented bead artist and author.  In addition to many step by steps featured in quite a lot of publications, she has also written her own books.  You really must visit some of her websites to see more about her (I'll put her links in at the end of the post.)

But what I want to tell you about today is a great product called "Nicole's Bead Backing".  If you have been a follower of my blog over the past year plus, you may have heard me tout the virtues of interleaving.  Well let me tell you...this Bead Backing is a great product to have.  It totally eliminates the need for fabric and other backings for stabilization.  It is stiff but not hard, easy to bead through, and can be cut to any shape you want with no fraying of the stays exactly as you cut it.  And I double is also acid-free so it won't eat up your threads.  This is what her insert says:

"Use each piece as is or cut to size.  Superior texture and thickness for flat beadwork, applique, or gluing on cabochons, glass beads, stones, shell and other natural materials.  Bead Backing is also perfect for sewing or gluing on ribbon, lace, or floss to add to your beading designs.  Use beading supplies and any beading technique you desire."
Multi-color packs
Newest color added

And I couldn't say it better in my own words.  This product is great for bead embroidery!  It comes in 14 or 15 different colors...I think the original package came in 14 colors, but she now has a light camel color as well.  You can buy a sample kit of all the colors that come in sizes of approximately 4"x4", and some are a little bigger.  You can also buy half sheets of all the colors that are 9"x6".  And now you can also order the newest color in 12"x9" sheets.  I love the new color because it is so neutral and can go with so many colors and types of beads.

I would really recommend trying Nicole's Bead Backing.  I think you will really love working with it!  To see more about Nicole, her work and shops here are her links:

Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your Bead Backing with me!  I will definitely be using it, and I hope you all give it a try, too!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Free Gift Cards!

Did you hear about what is doing?  They are giving away 10,000...yes, I said 10,000 free $10 gift cards before Christmas!!!

All you have to do is send in the email address for 10 friends who you would like to have win one.  I know I'm going to enter in 10 friends to win.  So, make your list, check it twice and click here to send in their names.  Your lists must be in to them by December 22 so they can mail them out before Christmas.  Better get busy!!! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Joy in the Mail

Blogging is more than just writing down words and posting pictures.  It is also about making friends, connections that would not otherwise be if it were not for this wonderful blogging world.  If you have followed my blog at all over this past year plus, you will know that I am the biggest fan of Lynn at Beading Heart Art.  I am so thrilled that she and I have become friends, sharing life experiences with each other and passing love and hugs back and forth through our email.  Before we became friends, though, I just sat in awe at her work, waiting for each post she made with scrumptious new photos.  She does the most amazing bead work, and I am constantly in wonderment at the art she creates.  I have never seen such precision, such detail, as I see with her work.  She makes it look so effortless, but hers is the mark I strive for. 

So along comes the mail truck and I went outside to bring it in.  There was a box for my little Sara.  Her birthday is this week...she's going to be 9!!!!  And she got a package from Grandma and Grandpa.  She will be happy.  I think I'll hide it from her until her birthday comes.  And there was a package for me.  An unassuming video sized box with my name on it.  And the return name was Lynn's!!!

I tore into the box.  I am not one for neatness when it comes to packages, saving the wrapping for another day.  Nope.  I dive right in!  The first thing was that a flurry of irridescent flower-shaped sequins fell into my lap on the front patio.  lol.  I think I missed a few picking them up.  In my head, of course, I'm wondering what beading project these will next be seen in.  I have a love of interesting and pretty sequins.  I don't think Lynn knew that...but the sprinkle of flowers made me smile right away. 

I unwrapped the gift and in my hands was a post-it note holder.  Doesn't sound exciting?  Well, let me tell may have never seen one of Lynn's post-it note holders!  The outside cover is a luscious deep blue velvet...just perfect for my screen name, Indigo.  I loooove those deep blues.  On the cover was the most interesting beaded flower I've seen.  I have no idea how she made it with such a 3-dimensional look to it.  I think it might be the Tuscarora technique she used to write about, and then it looks like a second layer stitched on top, but I could be wrong.  I just know that it's stunning!  Take a look...
 And here it is from a side view so you can see the dimension...
The inside is a beautifully coordinated floral fabric, with a note just for me.  I am going to post the note where I can see it and give myself a smile each time I pass it.
Lynn spent time on the back, too.  If you look at her work, there is always something interesting to see from all the angles, and this note-holder was no exception.  Here is the zipper stitch she did around the back with a little detail in the corner.  Oh, and I forgot to say that the covers are sturdy, perfect for long-lasting use.
I looked around and around the edges in amazement.  She finished the edges in an unassuming picot stitch.  But what I marveled at was that every stitch was perfectly spaced and placed just so.  I so envy her abilities at precision.

There was also a little scroll in the box with a ribbon tied around it.  I opened that up last, and she sent me a beautiful hand-written note.  In this day and age of high speed internet, I think we sometimes forget how much more meaning a hand-written note carries with it.

This may be "just" a post-it note holder to some, but to me it is a work of art.  More than that, though, is that it was a gift from the heart from someone I consider to be a dear friend, and for that I will always treasure it.

If you haven't been to Lynn's blog, Beading Heart Art, you really should go there and click through all her postings and see all of the divine art work she has done.  You will surely be inspired.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bead Journal Project 2011 and a New AMC Show

I have made the big decision to join the Bead Journal Project for another year.  Last year I only finished I think 6 months of projects.  It started out very well, but I chose a very ambitious size of 5"x7".  My carpal tunnel got so bad it was to the point that I could no longer do bead embroidery, even for 5 or 10 minutes at a time.  At that rate it would take several months for me to finish just one project.  I was very frustrated because I was enjoying being a part of the group so much.  When the call came out for the new registration I thought to myself that there's just no way I can do it.  And I ignored all the posts on the blogs and Facebook to join.  I was sad.  I really wanted to join.  So then I thought, I can beat this!  I'm not going to give in to carpal tunnel!  I just have to get creative, right?  I mean, there's nothing in the rules that says it has to be bead embroidery does it?  I just have to think of some other format of beads that I can express myself with each month that won't be so taxing on my hands.  So tonight I made a leap of faith in myself that I can overcome and I joined the 2011 Bead Journal Project.

Here is my call to all of you.  Have you joined the 2011 BJP yet?  There is still time!  Registration doesn't close until December 8th.  For those of you out there who think that you can't or aren't good enough...this is not a competition!  This is self expression, and all the work is beautiful and done just the way it was supposed to be.  If you would like to learn how to do bead embroidery but don't know how, I have started a series on how to do bead embroidery with step by step instructions on different stitches on my Videojug pages.  There are videos along with text, and of course if you have any questions you can always ask me.  Do you have any friends who might want to learn how to do this?  Send them to my video links...they're very easy to follow.  Don't want to learn bead embroidery?  Well, I'm not doing it this year, so think of some other creative form of beading for personal expression.  After all, the rules say that they just need to have beads.

Some main characters: dad, Rick; mom, Lori; son, Carl.
And now, I am off to watch our family's favorite new drama series on the AMC channel, "The Walking Dead".  Haven't heard of it?  It's about zombies!!!  My son Matthew especially loves zombies.  The show is very well done, great special effects and the story line is suspenseful.  If you have not seen this show, you really should check it out.  I think they show repeats on Sundays to get people caught up, with a new episode also airing Sunday nights and repeats of the new show throughout the week.  The kids are not allowed to stay up late on school nights, so they get to watch the new show repeats on Friday nights.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sara's Dress & Ring

Hi, all.  Did you have a good Thanksgiving for those of you in the states?  We did.  As a matter of fact, I am cooking a turkey dinner right now.  We always go to relative's house for dinner, and I never have leftovers for turkey sammies.  I just didn't want that again this year, so we are having our own 2nd Thanksgiving dinner at home.  The kids are starving and the house is smelling pretty good, so tummies are grumbling.

Sara picked out a sparkly red dress that she just had to have for the holidays this year.  I was thinking something practical that she could also wear to school, but no.  She saw that dress and I could not get her to look at anything else!  So I caved in and bought her the impractical but pretty sparkly red dress.  And, of course, the shoes to go with it because white sneakers with hot pink laces just would not do.

She wore the dress the first time on Thursday, and will wear it again for Christmas.  Then, I got my order in the mail from Bello Modo.  Usually they put a free little goody in the package, and guess what I got? Three 4mm Swarovski bicones in green, white and red.  So guess what I did with it.  I made Sara a Christmas ring to go with her sparkly red dress for Christmas next month.  She really loves it.  Here are some pics...

Sara in her new red dress...
And here is her Christmas ring...
lol...she's been painting with watercolors all day...can you see the paint still in her fingers even though she washed them?

Anyhow, there's her ring.  I'm getting better at wrapping them and getting the sizing right.  Sara's turned out to be the exact size I was shooting for, and I was very happy about that.  What do you think of it?  It's much daintier than the other ones I did.  We both like it.  I'm thinking about making more with the 4mm bicones.  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pilgrim Hats

Ok, I did my mommy time with Sara tonight and made yummy pilgrim hats.  I got the idea off Facebook that my step-brother posted.  Of course, the professionals do it so much neater, but an 8 year old does it better!  That's what I say anyways.  The store did not have yellow frosting in a little tube for the hat buckles, so we substituted white.  So instead of brass or gold or whatever yellowish metal it was that they used...we'll just pretend they used silver instead.  Works for me!

What we did was melt some chocolate chips over a double boiler (but I don't have a double boiler so it was a pot and a metal bowl--works!).  While they're melting you put out Keebler Fudge Stripes cookies, bottom side up.  When the chocolate is all melted and stirred smooth you get a toothpick in each hand.  Put a large marshmallow in the chocolate and swirl it around to get it coated.  Poke the top of the marshmallow with one toothpick so you can pick it up and put it in the center of a cookie.  Use the other toothpick to hold the marshmallow down while you take out the first toothpick.  Then smooth out the chocolate on top.  When you're all done with the marshmallows, put the pan in the fridge to chill the chocolate back up.  Take them back out in a few minutes and then draw little icing squares on the fronts for the buckles.

Sara had a good time, as I'm sure any kid would have a good time playing with marshmallows and chocolate!  Cute, easy, fun idea.  Now we have something for all the kids to munch on tomorrow at our family's house.  lol  Not that there won't be enough...but this is KID stuff, after all.  May be too late for you to do it this year, but keep it in mind for next year.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!  May yours be filled with love and laughter...and good eats.

What a Sweepstakes!!!

I just got an email from  They have just launched a holiday giveaway called Stocking Stuffer Sweepstakes!  What's up for grabs is a stocking full of beads and a $100 gift card!  woohoo!  Who wouldn't want that?  I have already entered, and of course I really really really want to win, but in case it's not me...I hope it's one of my readers.

Click here to enter the contest.  Good luck!!!

Here it is the day before Thanksgiving, and I am going through my head all the things I need to do to prepare for our outing to visit family.  Gotta go shopping tonight for some goodies, gotta make the green bead casserole (as I do every year, because mine's the best :)  gotta get Sara's hair all curled up and a bit of little girl makeup on, gotta get myself ready.  In the meantime today I've got to clean the kitchen and cook a pork roast.  Oh, and I forgot that I also have to repair a necklace.  So many things to do!  But, I am taking a moment to slow down and smell the roses.  What is this holiday about anyways?  Thankfulness.  Not the rush rush rush.

What I am thankful for most in the entire world is my family.  I have the best husband in the world, and all four of my children are gems in their own unique ways.  I would be a lost soul if not for them.  They are everything to me.  Especially more so now than ever before.  A couple years ago my husband and I separated, and I was very ill so he was better equipped to take care of the kids.  It was a very dark and dreary period in my life.  So I am eternally thankful for my second chance.  And it has been pure bliss.

I am also thankful for you...those of you who take the time to come visit my blog in my little corner of the world.  And thank you to those of you who take precious moments from your own time to leave me comments of encouragement, critique, and just fun things to read.  I appreciate all of you and am glad to have the pleasure of calling you my friends.

With that said, I hope all of you have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend, full of love and laughter.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bling Bling I Made Some Rings

My order finally came in from I got my ring mandrel, which was the most important thing I was waiting for. And, I of course ordered some beads. But I have to tell you, I was soooo disappointed in my beads this time around. Not because of the way they look or the quality...Artbeads always puts out gorgeous products. The problem is, I am not good at picturing 10mm vs 20mm in my head. That dang metric system! lol The beads that I thought were going to be pretty substantial in size were actually so flippin' small. Not big enough for bling rings. Bummer! But, they are pretty and I'm sure I will use them in something someday. One day I'll need the perfect thing, and BOOM there it'll be. Love it when that happens. So they will wait for another project on another day.

Making wire wrapped rings looked so easy on the video I watched. It's actually very tricky to get the hang of. I've wasted so much of my wire on the mistake rings already! Frustrating. I should have ordered two spools of it. I'm having a hard time getting the sizing right. When you wrap, you wrap bigger than you actually want the ring to end up. So I'm finding out by trial and error how to get a size 7. So far they have been smaller. Too small for my chunky monkey fingers! I think a 7 is about average. What size do you all wear? Leave me a comment so I can take a poll and start getting some averages.

I took photos and am posting them for you to see my first attempts at wire wrapped rings. I had a lot of fun making them.

This blue bubble ring turned out to be pretty small, so I gave it to Sara. She really likes it.  I have more of these beads, so I think I will do a couple more like this.
I really liked the mix of colors in this one.

oops.  I should have cleaned my fingernails...don't look! lol

 I really like this one a lot.

(Man, I have been having nothing but troubles making this post tonight.  It wouldn't upload any of my pics, then it was going to something called Cloud Picker that I had to sign in for and then gave an error message.  Ended up having to clear out all my cookies.  Great.  Now I get to put in all my passwords for all my pages again.  Joy.)

Anyways.  On with the rings.  What do you all think of my first rings?  I really kind of like the look of the big, chunky rings.  I love the square Venetian Glass ones.  Got those from a previous Artbeads order that I thought I was going to use and didn't.  Thought they worked out perfect here.  Wish I had some gold colored wire, too.  Guess I will be making another order to Bello Modo.  Have you ever shopped at Bello Modo?  They have wonderful customer service, and their orders process quick.  Most of the time I get a free little goodie in my package, which is always fun.  Free shipping, too.  But, if you are looking for something particular on their website and don't see it, don't give up!  Email or call Pam and ask her if she has what you are looking for.  I found out that she usually does and it's just not on the website yet.  Prices are great, so the checking is worth your while.  The wire I just received from them was a great example.  I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for as far as wire goes, so I just shot over an email with a question, and she answered very quickly.  Got my order quickly, too.

So here are my poll questions again, in case you forgot.  What size do you wear or do you think is average?  Do you like the direction of the styles I am choosing...the chunkier blingier look?  Also, what colors are your favorites?  What colors do you see other people wearing a lot of these days?  I can get the wire in colors.  Would you wear colored wire to match the beads, or do you prefer the basic silver or gold colored wire?  Tell me your thoughts on rings in general.  I had fun making them, so I'm thinking that if I can get some good feedback I can make some and put them in my Etsy shop, and maybe actually sell something.  That would be something different!

Ok.  I think I'm done.  It took me forEVER to make this post because of the Blogger issues, and I'm about Bloggered out for tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Short week next week and the holidays officially start!  I love the holiday season.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Giveaway, a YouTube Debut and more!!!

Hello, all!  This is a miscellaneous catch-all post, so take a deep breath and here we go!

Andrew Thornton is having a great giveaway that you should really check out.  It is a $75 gift certificate to The Bead Chest!  How awesome is that?  All you have to do is leave Andrew a comment on his page to be entered to win this great prize.  I really really want to win, but if I don't I hope one of you do!  Also, he has recently undergone surgery for cancer, and the bead community has really rallied around him. 

To help alleviate his mounting medical bills for his treatment, many bead artists have been auctioning off some things with proceeds going to Andrew for his expenses.  Please take the time to read through the posts and see what is being offered.  He writes a fabulous blog anyways, so you might want to become a follower so you can stay tuned to read his great posts.  Visit him at The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton.

Next, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my order that shipped this past Saturday.  What is taking the mail sooooo long?  How come the bills come quick, but play things take so damned long?  Speaking of Artbeads, I have been authorized to give the readers of my blog an early bird Thanksgiving coupon code that won't be made available to everyone else until after Thanksgiving.  You can receive 20% off orders of $60 or more by typing the coupon code ZZ-THANKSGIVING-SALE at checkout.  If you have not shopped at Artbeads, I very highly recommend them.  They are simply awesome!!!  So, what are you waiting for?  Go shop!!!

Next, my son Matthew has made his YouTube debut.  Now you have to understand.  Our family just isn't right.  Or who knows?  Maybe we're "righter" than we know.  Maybe there's lots of families out there like us who don't tell anyone because they think they're the only ones.  Ok I'll say it.  Body functions are funny.  There.  Now the secret is out.  Matthew is 10, and not very big, but his burps have the BEST sound!  I laugh every time he does it.  So we set out on a project this past week, and we finally finished it tonight and put it live on YouTube.  Go check out Matthew.  And don't think less of us because we're for "Mega Burp Medly by Matthew".

Finally, I have a total of 10 bead embroidery instructional videos up so far.  If you haven't seen them yet, please check them out on my Videojug pages.  I can make money by visitors coming, so you might pick up a tip or two by visiting, and I'll get credit for you stopping by.  You don't even have to click any ads I found out.  Simply show up.  All you need to do when you get there is click on the tab that says Pages, and then click on a few pages to see what I've demonstrated and written about.  For those of you who have already visited, I really appreciate your time.  I hope you will be able to go back again sometime!  I am going to do about 20-25 videos on bead embroidery stitches and techniques (give or take).  Once I have that finished up I am going to do a small series on making a cuff bracelet.  Then probably one on how to do the square stitch and follow a pattern.  And probably a couple on what I know so far about working with wire.  It's been a lot of fun, and even though I haven't been beading too much, I have been very busy with this and enjoying it very much.

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll write again soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Please do me a favor...

Hello again, everyone.  Hope all is well out there for you.  Things have been busy for me.  I have been making videos and pages for my Bead Embroidery Series on videojug.  I might have a problem though.  I'm wondering if you all have any problems getting the videos to play.  Can you plllleeeeeaaaase go to the link for Lisa's Videojug Site and click the tab that says "Pages".  You can click those 4, but also I think there is a button or link that says "See All" where a couple more will pop up.  I had to take the video I did that you first saw down from YouTube and redo it so it was under 250mb and could be hosted directly on the Videojug site.  What I didn't know is that if my videos are hosted with YouTube, then THEY get the money my pages generate.  I only earn money if the videos are with Videojug.  So the videos are very short and sweet...under about 2 minutes or so, so it won't take up to much of your time to get check it out and give me a hand.  Please let me know if you could or could not view the videos.  Thanks so much for all your help!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A New Journey

Hello, everyone!  I just wanted to tell you about the project I am working on.  Just recently a representative from a website called Videojug contacted me.  She had seen my blog and really liked it (yea!).  Videojug is a website that is about all things hobbies and interests.  People contribute pages with instructions, videos, photos, etc. to help others interested in that hobby.  Jemma asked me to contribute pages for them!  Is that kinda cool???

So yesterday I had my daughter video tape me (or my short, little, stubby arms at least lol) giving a "getting started" demonstration into the world of bead embroidery.  I discussed needles, thread, fabric, backing and showed how to knot on and knot off the thread properly...a crucial task to learn well when doing bead embroidery.  I plan to do a whole little series teaching a variety of stitches from beginner to advanced.

The other fun thing is that Videojug is doing a contest this month...whoever submits the most and best quality videos will win $1000!!!  The prizes go down to $100, and they are giving away $3000 total.  I told Sami that if she videos for me and I happen to win, she gets 10%.  lol.  Whatever it takes to get the help, you know? 

The video is too dark if you ask me, and you can tell I was nervous doing my first video, but I'm satisfied with what I did.  The next ones will only get better.  I think I will need to do the videos in the daytime from now on with the natural light coming in the window to help brighten things up.  I also had to learn how to use YouTube, which isn't as easy as people make it out to be if you ask me.  My video was too big to upload directly to the site, so I had to link it in from YouTube.  I just have to make sure my videos are not longer than 10 minutes in the future.

But, I'd like to invite you to see my first page submitted to Videojug.  I hope I got the link can click here to view it.  Feel free to leave me comments, critiques and criticisms here or on my Videojug page itself.

Oh, and I forgot to mention.  I can make some extra $$ through this venture.  I get a 50/50 split on revenues generated from ad clicks.  So, you know, if you want to click an ad while you're there... ;)

And one more thing.  I'd like to thank all the veterans out there who have served to make this great nation what it is today.  If you, your hubbies, sons or daughters are veterans...thank you from me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oh, Brother!

Have I kept all of you up-to-date on my computer woes?  Well, I kept getting hit by deathly viruses.  My computer died a couple weeks ago (again) so we sent it to our computer repair guy (again).  He had it for a week and a half, which meant I was confined to my husband's computer, which of course doesn't have my programs, files, etc. on it.  It was pretty frustrating.  Ok.  So we get it back, pay the guy $140 for his time and services, thank you very much.

Turned on my computer, and boy did it run great!  For two whole days.  Then...BAM!  Another deadly virus.  $140 out the window.  Needless to say we were pretty pissed.  What it came down to is that we could try to completely wipe clean the hard drive and set it all back up again for about $240 (and lose all my programs that I no longer have the discs for), and there was no guarantee that the viruses weren't so deeply imbedded that they could all for sure be removed.  Or we could get a new computer.  Neither one was a very good option.  I don't want to waste any more money on "ifs" and "maybes", and our budget right now just would not allow us to buy another computer.  I was again confined to hubby's 'puter.  He doesn't like me to put anything on his can I function without photos and things like that?  Not very well, that's for sure.

Back up to last year.  My brother and I have just recently reconciled from a much-too-long feud over some things that shouldn't have been.  We didn't speak for many years, which is a very sad thing.  Life is too short, my friends.  I often thought about him, wondered how he was doing, and heard bits and pieces here and there through my mother.  It wasn't too long ago that I reached out to him through his email and apologized for whatever it was that we were fighting over, and we had an emotional reunion over the internet.  I was happy to have Brion back in my life.

My brother, Brion, is a wise-ass, always picked on me when we were growing up and still does.  He's got a wicked sense of humor, drinks too much for my liking (sorry Bri), but is always there for anyone who needs a hand.  He would probably give you the shirt off his back if you asked.  He grew up rough and tough and now is a softy at heart.  He works long, hard hours at a physically demanding job and lives very modestly. 

So then there was yesterday.  I was chatting with him on Facebook and he asked for my address.  I was a little wary of why he wanted it, but I gave it to him anyways.  He told me he was sending me a Christmas present.  hmmmm.  Christmas in October?  I wondered what the heck he had up his sleeve.  He's a prankster so I was, to say the least, a little nervous about what this "gift" could possibly be.

He told me to stay around the house today because it was supposed to come.  Do you know what that gift was???  I about had heart failure.  He sent me a brand new in the box Compaq Presario laptop computer!!!  wth???  I had a few tears of happiness and gratitude as I set it up.  The very first thing I put on my new 'puter was a pic of him to show you all who my brother is and to dedicate a post to him.  Here is my brother, Brion...

And why did he do such a thing for me?  He said because I needed it.  I have things to do.  I need to keep up on my blog and do my jewelry and beading things.  Oh, Brother!  What a competely thoughtful and generous thing to give, especially when I know he is not a person of means to just hand out computers. I'm not sure how I will repay him for this.  Thank you, bubby.  I love you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspired by Fall Colors (but not the ones you're thinking)

Hello, all!  I have to tell you that I am very excited to show you this piece of jewelry that I made. sent me a challenge to create something that is Fall inspired.  We could either use traditional fall colors or those from the Pantone Fall Color Report 2010.  I chose to go with those in the color report.  They are so pretty this year.  Take a look at the link, but I've given you a quick snapshot here...

I chose to work with colors representing Purple Orchid, Endive and Woodbine...with a hint of Chocoate Truffle.  I also added some copper.  I know.  It's not on the color report, but I liked the way it looked so it got added.  I had what I thought was a great idea on what i was going to do for my challenge project.  Guess what.  It was terrible!!!  I didn't even get half way done and I said to myself, "This is just not working!  Ick!"  I was originally going to do a brooch in bead embroidery, but man was it fugly!!!   Time for a different direction!!!  I dug into my bins of goodies and picked some other things and came up with a new idea.

I decided to try some more wire work.  I enjoyed my quick earrings, so I thought maybe I could try something a little more challenging.  I have been wanting to make a necklace for a long time, and that's what I chose to do.  I was so excited to get started. 

As I showed you in my last post, I got some really awesome things from Artbeads for this project.  But since I didn't do what I originally planned, I had to go into my stash and pick a few more things to make it work.  I used all the original beads I told you about, but I added a few more to go with it.  One of the things I added were these amazing Olive Jade Drops.  They are wonderful!!!!  I love them so much, I think I am going to have to buy more.  But I better get there before you do because they are on clearance.  At less than $3 a strand you better hurry! Just look at the variations of colors and patterns on the beauties!

I really wish I had some gold chain, but I only had silver on hand, and with my non-existant bead fund I couldn't buy something else.  Because then I would have had to also buy gold colored head pins.  Definitely no budget for that either.  (And, I really wish I had my own computer back with Photoshop in it, but I found a fun (and free) online photo editor that did a reasonably decent job.  Go check it out at Phixr.)

This necklace to me looked "Bountiful", a word we hear a lot during the Fall Season.  I thought of the growing season with a harvest to follow.  I know, it's not traditional pumpkin pie colors, but here in Arizona we don't have those kinds of colors in the trees and things, so I go with what I know.  Things are still green here.  I was really taken with the Porcelain Flat Oval Green Tree.  It made me think of a Tree of Life and all that it gives to us.  And then I thought the tree was set off nicely surrounded by the purple orchid colors in the Venetian Glass Luna Square and Round for the pendant drop.  (You have to check out the Lunas.  They are scrumptious.)

I used the headpins to string on Toho's in Raku Green Iris, Metallic Dark Copper and a few chocolate browns with some size 8/0's in copper.  I also put the Swarovski 4mm Faceted Roundelles and 3mm xilion Bicones on the strands.  They might be a little hard to see in the pics, but they are there.  I think you can enlarge the pics if you click on them.  There are also a few glass leaves in irridescent shades of purple on a few of the strands that I just loved.  I then bent some of the head pins in different directions to give it a little more movement.  I finished it off with a sterling silver 3 leaf toggle clasp.  I bought it not knowing what I was going to do with it, but it worked out so perfectly for this necklace of trees and leaves.

And this is what I came up with:

It looks so pretty on...I wish I had a model to show you or one of those fancy mannequin forms, but alas, you get it on a piece of paper on my back patio. lol  I was very pleased with the way it came out.  I hope you all like it too!  So that's "Bountiful" fall neckace.  I am happy.

Disclaimer: sent me products free of charge.  I was not compensated in any way for my true and honest opinions of these products.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Working With Wire

I had the idea that maybe my hands wouldn't hurt so much if I tried something different with beads.  My thoughts were wire work.  I went out and bought a set of tools, a crimper tool and I went back and also bought chain nose pliers.  I got those because I was watching some YouTube videos and they kept using those, so I thought I needed them.  Turns out I do!  They're perfect for what I'm doing. I also bought a variety of wire, head and eye pins, etc. I decided to start easy with simple loops.  But don't let the name "simple loops" fool you.  They're pretty tricky at first!  Here is my first attempt at jewelry with simple wire loops:

Yes, some of them are a little wonky, but I was so happy with what I did!  A cute little pair of earrings for my daughter.  And the best hands weren't hurting!!!  Granted, these only took about 10 minutes to put together, but with embroidery I would have had to stop within 5 minutes due to terrible pain.  So I was ecstatic.  And they turned out so cute (and I had 2 more skull beads), I made another pair:

My second pair was a little bit better.  Oh, and you know what was so cool to me?  Each pairs earrings are the same size!  lol  I was afraid of having lopsided earrings, but they turned out to be even.  Imagine that!

I am diligently working on my Blogging Partners project.  I'm hoping to have it done within a couple days.  But I tell you what...I can wait to get my own computer back!  Trying to size and crop photos in Paint in the Accessories folder is for the birds.  I need my Photoshop back!!!  But my computer had heart failure on Wednesday night and since then I have been borrowing my husband's computer.  This sucks!  lol  Funny the things we come to rely on.  I couldn't adjust the colors or anything.  It was terrible.  Oh well.  I'm hoping to have mine back sometime in the middle of this week....hoping!  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Is everyone having a nice Fall so far?  Enjoying the weather?  We're finally down to the 90's, so we're on the right track.  This week if Fall Break for the kids, and my house will be full round the clock.  Good side...I don't have to get up, make lunches and play taxi driver.  Bad house will be full round the clock.  I can't complain.  I have awesome kids.  Except when they're fighting.  And they say, "I'm hungry" every ten minutes.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Treasures!

I just love getting packages in the mail from  Have you ever ordered from them?  They wrap your beads up so nice and pretty like a package in purple tissue paper.  It's like getting a little gift in the mail instead of just an order.

I just have to show you the things I got...but I'm not going to tell you what I'm doing with them just yet.  A girl has to have some secrets, right?  Well, let me tell you...these beads are gorgeous!  My pics just don't do them justice.

First, I got seed beads.  The staple of any bead project, if you ask me.  These are Toho Matte Raku Green/Vine Iris and I just love the subtle changes in color in them.

And I got Toho Metallic Dark Copper...

3mm is very small.  Wow.  They are not much bigger than a size 11/0 seed bead.  I didn't realize just how small the were, but I'll make them work.  These are Swarovski Xilion Bicones in Purple Velvet.  Doesn't it just sound like a luscious color?

And then Swarovski 4mm Faceted Roundelles in Amethyst.  Sparkle, sparkle, shine, glitter.

This one was hard to photograph, but it is really pretty.  It's got gold foil on the front and back, so it gives it an added element of depth and dimension.  It is a Venetian Glass 20mm Luna Square.  It's very thick...a real substantial piece to work with.  You must click the link and check out the category of Luna...they are amazing!

This next one is sooo much prettier than even the pic on their website shows!  I was so excited when I saw it.  It is really beautiful.  This one is a Venetian Glass 14mm Luna Round in Amethyst.  (I put two pics so you could see the colors from different angles.)

And finally, the creme de la creme.  This one is an 18x36mm Porcelain Flat Oval Green Tree.  Something about it just spoke to me.  Maybe it's a little like fall...a tall, strong tree standing leafless in the fields.  Or maybe it's a Tree of Life, rejuvenating through the season.  Maybe it's both.  Yes, I think it is.  It's really gorgeous in person, and I haven't seen one like it before.  I highly recommend it.

lol  It started raining pretty good while I was taking pics.  See all the raindrops on my backdrop paper?  Since my hands have been hurting so much lately, I've decided not to go too terribly ambitious, but I still want to produce something beautiful for you all to see.  Hoping it doesn't take too long!  I'll keep you posted.  What do you think of my new treasures?

Disclaimer: has provided these beads free of charge.  I have not received any compensation for my true and honest opinion of these products.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Girl's Day

Yesterday was a very fun day!  Except that it was extremely hot.  It's still in the 100's here in the Valley of the Sun.  Ugh!!!  I really hate hot weather.  Why do I live in Phoenix???

In the morning Sara had her first soccer game of the season.  She's a great athlete.  Sara is one of the youngest on the team and one of only two girls, but she was right in there in the thick of it, keeping pace with those older boys.  I don't know where she gets her speed and agility from!  Certainly wasn't me or her dad.  Although she didn't kick any goals herself, she was responsible for getting the ball down the field on her own a couple times in order for someone else to kick the goals.  Her team won 5-1!  G K N I G H T S ! ! !  Here is a pic of her before her game.

After that we came home and rested for a bit (necessity for mommy).  Sara and I have been planning a "Girl's Day" for a couple of weeks, but since I don't have any a/c in my car, I was not going to go out in the heat of the day.  So we waited until about 4:00 to continue our day.  Friday night Sara got her eyes checked.  She has been complaining about not being able to see the board at school and stuff, so it was time to take her in.  Yep.  She needs glasses.  It was a painstaking process, but she picked out a pair of frames that she liked.  So we went and picked them up the finished pair.  She was soooo excited!  The ones she picked are kind of a wine color with wider ear pieces that have swirlie-whirlies on them.  Sara says they remind her of the sun and waves.  Here she is with her new specs...

She's very happy with them.  And the whole way home she was reading all the street signs that she couldn't see before.  lol  I remember when I got glasses how exciting it was...I could actually see the leaves on the trees instead of a big green blob!  So I know where her excitement was coming from.

Then we went to the Tempe Market Place.  It's a great big outdoor mall.  We found a little place called "As You Wish" and decided that's where Sara is going to have her birthday party.  It's a place where you can buy all kinds of pottery pieces in just about any size, style, shape...animals, trinket boxes, magnets, plates, tiles, mugs...and then you sit down and paint them.  When you paint them, the paint looks very light, dull and flat.  BUT then you leave them there and they fire them.  When you go back in a few days to pick them up, they are bright and shiny and beautiful!  Doesn't that sound like a lot of fun for some 9 year old girls?  Along with her birthday party she'll get a big birthday plate that she can paint and all the girls will sign that she will be able to keep.  It is pricey, but I think it will be a lot of fun for her!

After that we went to Claire's Boutique and she was in girly heaven.  She found lots of treasures, and I had to keep reminding her of our budget.  She kept putting one thing back and picking up something else.  She finally got it all figured out, though, and it was like a mini birthday.  lol 

Then we went to Michael's.  I've been thinking that since I've been having such a hard time with my hands because of the carpal tunnel with the bead embroidery and stitching, maybe I would try something new with beading.  I've been thinking about doing work with wire.  I'm pretty clueless when it comes to that.  I did watch a few YouTube videos on some different things, and I think I can do that!  Isn't YouTube great?  Love it.  Anyways, here's what I got:

A crimper tool.  The package says that it's designed to crimp #1 and #2 crimp beads and #2 crimp tubes.  I don't know what that means. 
This set comes with:  bent nose pliers, flat nose pliers, long nose pliers, round nose pliers, side cutter, and a micrometer, whatever that is.  Oh, something about measuring beads and stones.  hmm.  I know I need the round nose pliers and the cutter, but what about everything else?  The set was on sale for like $8, so I thought it looked like a good deal.
Then I got this cute tool bag for $5.  Seemed like something I should have.  Do any of you out there do much with wire work?  What do you think about the tools I got?  Did I get what I need to get started?  Do I need something that's not here?  I think I'm going to have to find a book at the library or something, because I don't know anything about wire gauges and all that kind of thing.  Maybe I can find some info on the 'net somewhere.

After Michael's we started having a terrible dust storm and Sara was getting nervous.  She thought it best that we head home.  Ok, I said, but not before we end the trip with a chocolate shake!  mmm yum  mama loves her chocolate.  And in the car she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, this was the best day ever!"  Who could ask for more than that?