Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Super Giveaway from Videojug!

Here's a Link You Won't Want to Miss!!!!

If you've been with me for a little while, you know that I've made some beading tutorial videos for a website called Videojug.  If you haven't seen any of my videos, click here to take a peek.  I've almost completed a series on bead embroidery stitches.  I got an email from Videojug today that they are having an awesome promotional giveaway!  How would you like to win an HD video camera?  How would you like to win two of them?  Ok, that's not it either...Actually, how would you like to win THREE HD video cameras?!?!  If you go to their Facebook page and click "like", they will pick a random fan on March 1st to win one video camera for themselves and one for each of two friends who are also fans.  How amazing would that be???  To go to their Facebook page, click HERE.  And remember who sent ya. ;)

I hope you all are having a good week so far.  I am still waiting anxiously for the mailman to bring me itty bitty little presents.

On the personal front...

Today was a big day in our house.  Bright and early my girls had appointments at the same time to go to the orthodontist.   Samantha has had braces for a little over a year and a half, and today she got them off!!!  Her smile is bright, straight, and beautiful.
While she was getting her hardware off, Sara was getting hers on!  Done with one, and on to another.  Sara has a lot of work ahead of her because she sucked her thumb until she was almost 6.  We tried to get her to stop.  Really we did!  Sara first had a palate spreader put in.  This is an awful contraption that goes across the roof of her mouth.  We had to use a little wire to turn the "key" on her palate spreader, which did exactly that...spread her palate.  Today she got her top 4 teeth bracketed.  In a couple months she'll get the palate spreader out and a tongue crib in.  This is another contraption that will "retrain" her tongue movements, because her tongue goes into the gap between her top and lower teeth, which keeps them from growing in properly.  Then when her front 4 teeth are straight she'll get a retainer.  THEN when she's about 12 she'll get her full set of regular braces.  ugh!  Lots of work to be done here, but it will be so worth it in the end.  Here's a pic of Sara just getting started with her braces today...
There's my morning, and there's my girls and the story of their teeth.  lol.  Fascinating, no?

Beads, beads, oh glorious beads!!!!  :)  I have THREE orders on their way to me in the mail.  Waiting on pins and needles to get them in.  I've got some good stuff coming up!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show...2012

Have you been reading about people who are lucky enough to go the Gem Show in Tucson this year?  I've been envious of all the things they will get to see and all the classes they will get to take.  But (heavy sigh) it hasn't been in my cards.  So I got very excited when I was told about a new sweepstakes being offered by Artbeads.com.  They are giving away a trip for two with 3 days accommodations and classes and good stuff for next year's show!  I entered right away.  That would be sooo much fun.  So, I am sharing the info and link with you so you can enter, too.  Good luck!!! 
Click here to enter.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Made some quick and easies

I have some beautimous things coming up, but I'm not ready to post them just yet.  Stayed tuned for that!!!!!
Today I rediscovered Stretch Magic.  Have you used Stretch Magic before?  Very fun product.  But you have to know the trick.  The first time I bought this product years ago I didn't know "the trick".  Nope.  My knots would come undone immediately and whatever I strung on them would fall right apart.  I got so frustrated I gave up and didn't touch it again.  Until today.  It came about because my daughter, Samantha, has a bracelet that is stretchy with skull beads that was a gift to her from a friend in Finland.  So it is a special bracelet for her.  BUT a couple months ago it got twisted and tangled and could not be undone.  Of course she came to the bead lady who is conveniently mom and asked to have it fixed.

So it sat for a while.  And sat some more.  Until today.

What's "the trick" to Stretch Magic?  Glue!  You have to put a dab of glue on the knot!!!  'doh!  Why didn't I think of something so simple?  Isn't it so true how the simplest things can escape you?  The glue of choice from many out there is GS Hypo Cement.  It has a super-fine applicator and is supposed to be the bee's knees.  Unfortunately, I'm not patient enough to wait for something to be shipped from online right now, and my local craft stores don't carry it.  So I used Super Glue LocTite Control Gel.  I have to say that it has worked pretty good!  It has a good applicator, dries quickly and leaves no mess.

After I remade Sami's skull bracelet, which got me a big smile, a "thank you mommy" and a voluntary hug, I was ready to try some more!  I looked through my little stash and found a few things to work with.  First, I found some leftover beads from a past project and made little Sara a bracelet.  The bright blues and greens are so cheery and fun...just like her!  It's a touch big on her wrist, but I intended it that way because she's only 9 and still has lots of growing to do.  Here is Sara's bracelet...

After I did Sara's, I was still super-excited about this quick, easy and fun product, so I did some more.  Here's what was next:
I just looove this one!  I think it looks really great considering how simple it was to do.  And then finally I did this one:
The photos were taken inside, so the colors did not show up well.  The main color is amethyst.  A little bit of shades of pink.  The big beads are ceramic and the heart is a Swarovski to add a hint of sparkle.  The funny thing with this one was that I totally intended it to be symmetrical all the way around.  I got it done and it was too long.  Then I took some off and restrung.  I finished it, put on the glue, let it sit for a few seconds and pulled the knot.  Too soon!!!  It came undone and most of the beads came off.  I lined up the beads again and strung them on, finished it again.  Glued the knot once, let it dry.  Glued the knot again, let it dry.  I set it down to take a look and realized the patterns are totally off.  lol.  I guess this bracelet had a mind of its own and decided it was going to be an asymmetrical style.  That's ok.  It works, too.

On a personal note...I am very proud of my son, Tyler.  He has been on his new job for a few days now.  We worked VERY hard in a job search for him.  We went driving just about every day to any place we could think of to pick up applications, come home, fill them out, go out the next day and drop them off.  Days of picking up.  Days of dropping off.  Days of following up.  It lasted about 5 or 6 weeks of that.  And finally the perseverance paid off.  He now works for WalMart in the Tire Center.  Way to go Tyler!  Also, his girlfriend Michelle was told at her interview on Monday that she will most likely get the job and that they just have to check her references!  Woo Hoo!!!  It will be so nice for them to be getting paychecks and to start saving some money.  Then they won't be living in my family room forever!  lol 

Now we just have to wait for the Union to call Jeff and put him back to work.  I love my husband, but when he's home all the time I think we drive each other just a little bit crazy.  lol.  Nah...he's a good hubby.  I love having him around.  Actually, he's been oh so very helpful to me with the kids and stuff.  I've been so terribly exhausted lately and he has really come to my rescue.  I love my man!  But please do put out some positive energy for Jeff to get back to work as soon as possible. 

Ok.  That's it for now, but remember...I have some really pretty things coming up soon so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday update and a new BJP year!

 Happy New Year to all of you!  I hope that you all had a marvelous holiday season.  For me, it was exhausting, but it was really good nonetheless.  First, my oldest baby and his girlfriend, Michelle, moved in with us.  Now we have a family of 7 in a 3 bedroom house.  Tyler and Michelle have been assigned to the sectional sofa in the living room.  Unfortunately, there are no extra beds or rooms other than that.  At least they have a roof over their heads, are getting good meals and aren't freezing out there.  Here's a pic of Ty and Michelle:
Tyler and his girlfriend, Michelle.
They are both searching hard for work, but this is an awful time of year to be looking for a job.  Everyone is telling them "middle to end of January."  Please keep good thoughts, prayers, whatever it is that you do for these kids so they can get on their feet.

Getting ready for the holidays was hectic.  I was the designated cookie maker for the family get-togethers this year.  I had big plans of making several dozen of 4 different kinds of cookies.  But, *sigh* I only made 3 kinds.  Well, I only made two.  Michelle had been wanting to make cookies, too, so she and Sara teamed up to make the chocolate chips.  They turned out great!
Sara and Michelle baking cookies for Christmas
Then, during the week before Christmas, my best friend from high school (who I haven't seen in 22 years!!!) came to Phoenix and stayed with us for a few days!  It was so much fun to get to know her again, talk, get caught up, etc.  I felt bad because my house and lifestyle is not very exciting, so I didn't really know what to do to entertain.  One day we took a car trip in a big circle through the different areas around Scottsdale, and we had a great lunch at a place called Island's.  Oh my, do they have the best dang burgers on the planet!!!!  We had a very nice time together, and it better not be another 22 years until I see her again!!!  We had lost touch just up until a few months ago, and she tracked me down through Facebook.  The wonders of modern technology!  Now I know how to reach her, and I vow not to lose track of her again!!!
Of course, the kids all got just about everything they wanted for Christmas.  I know we spoil them.  But they are only kids for a short while.  Does anyone remember my computer that crashed and died on me a few months back?  Well, we had the hard drive wiped clean and had windows reloaded on it.  The kids got that for their room for Christmas, and they were sooooo excited!  We got a wireless adapter thingy and I got them hooked up to the internet, and they couldn't be happier.  They have very tight restrictions on where they can go and what they can do, but they haven't argued one bit about it.  Right now they are having a lot of fun on a website called "Club Penguin".  Keeps them busy!
Sara and Matthew
Unfortunately, I didn't have much opportunity to get photos of Sami during the week of Christmas.  One of her very good friends that moved away to Arkansas came in town to visit her dad, and Sami was invited over to their house for a few days.  She had a great time visiting with Lejend, and I'm happy that even though she has moved away that they have stayed in touch.  Unlike me and Angela when I moved away!

Oh!  And I nearly forgot!  The other morning there was a knock at the door.  I got up to go answer it, and I was a little irritated.  I was sure it was going to be yet another salesman wanting to fix my windshield.  We get LOTS of different types of door-to-door salesmen, but especially ones who want to fix my windshield.  So I opened the door with a scowl on my face...and I couldn't believe it!  Unannounced all the way to Scottsdale, AZ from Denver was my parents!!!!  They didn't tell us they were coming, so we were all shocked, and happy and surprised.  We had a nice few days visiting with them.  Pop took the little ones hiking up Camelback Mountain, and for the first time ever they made it to the top!!!  Me and mom looked at each other's bead work, oohed and ahhhed, and I showed her how to do a couple stitches.  Years ago I got her into some heavy duty scrapbooking, now I have gotten her into beading.  lol  Like mother, like daughter. (Notice, the wall behind them is also Sara's Art Wall. :)
Mom and Pop

Bead Journal Project 2011

OK!  Now on to the beads!!!  I did not finish last year's project.  I think I only got through June.  The reason is that my carpal tunnel has gotten so bad that I can no longer do bead embroidery.  My hands hurt up to my elbows within about 5 minutes, and it is just too painful and frustrating.  So this year I am going to do something different.  I know that 99% of the people in the BJP do bead embroidery, so I hope my ideas can still be appreciated even though they are not the norm.  My goal this year is to learn a new type of bead weaving stitch or method or idea every month for the next year to expand my knowledge of beads and to find as many ways of expressing myself through beads as I can...that doesn't hurt my hands.

Each month I will make a necklace and bracelet set.  This month I chose to do wire crochet.  I was surprised at how fast they worked up!  I chose 4 different types of beads.  There was a czech glass green square, a Czech glass maple leaf in cobalt luster, a pearlized glass garnet nugget and a copper-ish serpentine glass square.  I used 26g silver craft wire and a simple, plain silver toggle for the closures.

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  I call it "Joyful Chaos", which describes my last few months of 2010.  There were a lot of happy things going on, such as my son coming home and Angela coming to visit, but it was also very chaotic and stressful at the same time.  Here are some pics for you to see.

(Just a note...the silver chain at the top is not part of the necklace...that is Michelle's chain that she already had on.)

And a close-up...

Here's the bracelet, and I also made a matching wire-wrapped ring in 20g silver parawire.

I didn't post anything for New Year's.  I think because I convinced myself I had to come up with something profound to say.  But I had nothing.  I just want to say that I appreciate all of you.  So many of you have become personal friends in 2010, and I hope to become friends with many more of you in 2011.  May all of you have a blessed, happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!!!