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?