Friday, May 25, 2012

Going Way Back to My Start in Jewelry Making

****I started this post yesterday (Thursday) but left for my brother's graduation. If we're friends of Facebook/Twitter, you probably saw that there were complications. I still wanted to get this post up, since it's just about finished. I may go into the other story at another time.***

I really knocked out some chores on Wednesday. . .and by that I mean that you can once again see the counter top to my bathroom vanity. It does exist!

While wading through piles of lotion samples, bits of clothing tags, and lots of dust I took the opportunity to weed out some of my personal jewelry stash. I found a bunch of jewelry that I made when I was first starting out some ten-odd years ago. I thought it might be nice to share some of these before I dismantle them. . .well, some of them anyway. I'm going to show you what's going away and what's staying in the stash. First, the ones leaving. Let's have a moment of silence for the following:
This HAD to be one of my very first pieces. It's just some seed beads, cat's eye beads ( I had a thing for those), and some larger clear beads on beading wire.
Ooooh, THREE strands of seed beads on beading wire!
A neat little double strand bracelet (those beads are more cobalt than purple) with tons of tarnished silver beads.
I went through a massive phase with this simple bead weaving necklace design. It was tutorial in an issue of Bead and Button Magazine. I made them in ALL SHADES. I think I'm actually keeping one necklace in this design, just not this one.

Now, for those getting to stay with me (I believe they are chronological)
Another simple seed-bead-with-a-few-larger-beads necklace, but this one has actually been worn a few times, even recently.
Apparently, I was a one trick pony when I first started playing with beads. I sill really like this long-er, simple necklace with it's interesting cubed turquoise beads.
I remember being inspired by a photo in Vogue Magazine to make these two necklaces. The clasps are actually connected to each other as I only ever wear this combination together. There was another necklace that went with them for a pretty layered effect, but I'm not sure where it's disappeared to after all these years.
This was another magazine tutorial that I went crazy with. It's possible it was also in Bead and Button because back then there weren't too many other bead magazine choices (in my area at least). I've got several friends who also own similar necklaces as I was making jewelry for myself or for gift-giving back then. I handed out a few in this design. This was one of my first attempts at using wire. You can even see the first hook clasp I ever made back there. Hey, it still works!
I know this one's hard to see for some reason, but it's just freshwater pearls and crystals. This is my wedding necklace. There's no way I'd part with this one.
This is simply a shell bead and yarn necklace made with a crocheted chain stitch. It's SUPER long and can be doubled and maybe even tripled. 

So how bad are they? Remember, it was the late 90's early 2000's when I started this journey. What did your first attempts look like?

I think I've gotten a bit better since then!
Anyway, here's some shop news.
Red Balance Bracelet - NEW
Major Drama Necklace - ON SALE

My to do list today is nothing like I expected it to be, so it's best I get started on it soon! Have a fabulous weekend y'all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BTW - Staying Motivated

My motivation from Monday has kept up with me so far this week. I even actually woke up just after my alarm went off (instead of just turning it off in my sleep) this morning! Hopefully this trend keeps up. I even got pictures of my craft desk taken and edited, and it's not even 10 AM yet. What's up with that?

Here's my Bead Table Wednesday contributions for your viewing pleasure.
My actual craft desk as I found it this morning.
The fruit of the messy desk
What's next to be on my desk (polymer clay pendant and beads)
The Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group is sure to have more eye candy!
Bead Table Wednesday

In addition to getting some tasks completed around the house and in the craft room, I've been busy in my shop as well.
NEW - On a Wing Earrings
SALE - Around the Globe Necklace
RE-LISTED - Life's Path Necklace
I'm grateful for the motivation this week, I just wish it would transfer into some motivation to exercise. Here's hoping!
How do you keep yourself motivated? 
Do you reward yourself or is the completion of the task reward enough for you?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Motivation and a Menu

I feel like I completely slacked on my homemaker responsibilities while fretting over jury duty the last two weeks. Now that I'm released from it and it's the start of the new week, I'm obsessing over getting my schedule back. Of course, that didn't stop me from enjoying the weekend first!
Hubs and a friend enjoying "Wasabi Cove" on Fish River
One of my main tasks to start out the week is organizing our meals. I'm trying to both empty out the freezer as well as fill it back up with staples. As such, our dinner meats are kinda dull, but I've tried to compensate with some new side dishes. Here's what I've got planned.

Breakfasts: Cereal/oatmeal, waffles, peanut butter toast, bagels, eggs w/bacon & toast

Lunches: Ham & cheddar paninis, bean burritos, PB&J, chicken salad, ham sandwiches, soup w/grilled cheese, bagel pizzas

Dinners
Cheese stuffed shells (from freezer) in marinara w/ salad & broccoli sauteed with crisp garlic (recipe below)
Soup (from freezer) w/ focaccia bread

Let me say that many of these recipes feed way more than the two of us, so I will be halving them in most cases (I do this OFTEN). Now, here's the broccoli recipe. Unfortunately, this is just one I have saved with no link back so my source is unknown. I apologize for that.

Broccoli Sautéed with Crisp Garlic (serves 4)
**Ingredients
1 head broccoli (cut into florets)
2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Salt and pepper
**Directions
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and get a large bowl of ice water ready. Once water is boiling, dump in the broccoli and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain the broccoli and transfer to the ice water. When cool, dry the broccoli in a towel.
  • Pour the oil into a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic slivers and saute until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  • Toss the onions into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the broccoli and cook until hot, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, pour in the oyster sauce, and sprinkle the garlic slivers atop. Season with salt and serve.
Check out more Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Lastly, here's a new bracelet in the shop for those Beachy Girls like me out there!
Surf Bracelet
I'm off to tackle this messy house and unfinished projects. How's your Monday shaping up?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Link. . .needs a name. . .day

I've really sucked at posting here the past two weeks or so. Now that I'm sure Jury Duty is over, I can resume a routine again I hope.

A few weeks back I mentioned starting to do a link dump about every week. I got a few suggestions from y'all as to what to call it other than link DUMP, but I haven't pinned down just the right name yet. For now, let's just say I'm sharing some links again.

Part 1
Since I really like doing collage, I'm always on the lookout for free printable images to use. Here are a few sites that I've found that offer free images.
  • Graphics Fairy: I actually subscribe to this site in my feed reader as she puts up an image or two everyday. With it in my reader, I can make sure I don't miss any new images.
  • Vintage Holiday Crafts: These are neat vintage images that are holiday themed/related.
  • Magic Moonlight Studio: This one offers up a variety of cool images/photographs every few days or so.
  • Dover Publications: You may have seen Dover's great books of images for sale before. You can actually sign up on their site (clicking my link will take to to that page) to get an e-mail from them each Wednesday. In the e-mail is a link to their free images for the week. It's called the Dover Wednesday Sampler.
Please note that with these "free images" there are often some restrictions on how they can be used. I know that Dover doesn't like you to use their images more than a certain number of times. As well, some sites prefer that you don't use their images in items you plan on selling. Just make sure you check out their terms of use.

Part 2
I'm just going to share one more link with you today. As I said two weeks ago, I've been saving some of these links for a good long time. This one is from October of 2010. . .so far behind, GAH!! Back then Kristen Robinson shared a video about adding texture to resin. I've FINALLY gone back and watched it. She shares a a pretty neat trick so I figured you might want to see it as well in case you  missed it.


Of course, I've got a few new items in the shop if you're still itching to click on some links!!
Sweet Flower Necklace
Fabric Bead Earrings

So that's it for today! Here's hoping you have a magical Friday and a wondrous weekend!! And if you've got any more suggestions for what to name this link dump/share thing, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boring Bead Table Wednesday

It's Bead Table Wednesday and mine's sooooo not interesting at ALL today. But, please stay and read my post. . .it gets better.
Friend's necklace and bracelet that need some repairs
See what I mean about boring.

I did just (finally) finish a custom bracelet order for a local twitter friend. Last week I showed you it in progress.
Completed teal and purple charm bracelet

I apologize for the crappy picture. I took and edited it on my phone and I promise you it looks better there. My friend LOVES the bracelet and says you can't have it! Sorry.

Anyway, that's what was/is on my craft desk. Check out more in the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! I finally finished my Button Swap Blog Hopping and found another giveaway in the bunch. Birgitta at Create with Spirit is giving away several of her own handmade buttons. All you have to do is leave a comment letting her know you're interested in winning the giveaway. Easy Peasy!!

Lastly, I relisted this pretty number.
Bubbles Ascending Necklace

Now to finish at least one of the repairs so I can be that much closer to getting creative! Happy Hump Day y'all!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mothers, Menu, and More

A huge thank you to those of you who have already stopped by for the Button Swap reveal. (If that's what you're looking for, just click the link!) Your kind words really do mean so very much to me. THANK YOU!!

Now, I slacked a little on my blog hopping yesterday as it was Mother's Day and I needed the time to finish up my gifts and visit both of our families. I WILL be catching up! For now, take a gander at the homemade portion of what we gifted our mothers and my grandmother.
I etched the brass and then wire wrapped crystals that are the birthstones of each's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (as applies). I'm pretty sure they were well-received as each of the ladies put on their necklaces immediately!

This week looks as if it's going to be a little crazy in the evenings, so the dinner plans are weak. In any case, here's my meal plan.

Breakfasts: cereal/oatmeal, waffles, peanut butter toast, eggs w/bacon & toast, muffins

Lunches: Leftovers, pizza quesidillas, soup w/grilled cheese, bean burritos, tuna noodles. chicken salad, turkey sandwiches

Dinners:
Grilled steaks w/sweet potatoes & green beans



Giveaway Alert!! In my Button Swap Hopping, I've already come across one giveaway. Mary Harding is giving away one of her ceramic buttons AND a copper button. You just have to leave a comment on her button blog post to be entered.


I've finally gotten something new in the shop!
Unearthed Necklace
I'm off to do some more blog hopping. Here's hoping you have an exceptional day!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Button Swap Blog Hop - The Reveal

Welcome to the Button Swap Reveal. This challenge is hosted by the awesome Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio.

As much as I love buttons, you would think that a challenge involving a button swap would be a breeze for me. This wasn't entirely the case this time around. Let me start by reminding you of the buttons I received from my partner Brenda Salzano.

I was smitten with each and every one of the buttons she sent.Here's a link to the buttons I sent her.

I started with the handmade wood button from Brenda. The earthiness of it really spoke to my hippie-self which wanted something super simple.
It quickly became a basic knotted bracelet with some leather cord. The wood button is both the focal and closure of the bracelet.
It's lightweight and really lovely.


Next, I turned to the large clear-ish button. It plainly said that it wanted to be a ring. With only slight difficulty, I snipped off and filed down the shank loop on the back. With E6000 glue and a brass ring blank, that button quickly got its wish.


The vintage enameled button was so sweet and feminine, I knew she (yes...she's a she!) just needed a few touches. With some coordinating beads and antiqued brass chain, she was quickly transformed into the focal of this pretty little necklace.


One button remained, and I hit a brick wall. I saved my FAVORITE button of the bunch for last, but absolutely struggled to come up with something that was suitable for its awesomeness. I have several ideas and some beads gathered, but just can't decide on the best way to proceed. The challenge was to make at least one item from one of the buttons our partner sent us, so I accomplished that at least. When I finally make up my mind on what will work best with this amazing button, you better bet you'll see it here on the blog.
I do apologize to Brenda for not making anything yet with this beautiful button. However, I want to make sure that whatever I design with this little piece of art really compliments it and isn't just thrown together. I simply ran out of time.

Now, a big THANK YOU to Cindy for organizing this Button Swap. I really had a lot of fun working with buttons that were new to me. Please make sure to visit Brenda (my partner) as well as Cindy to see what they created! Here's the list of the rest of the participants as well.


 Brenda Salzano and Hope Smitherman (YOU ARE HERE)
 Kim Roberts and Partner unable to participate at this time.
Pam Ferarri and Stefanie Teufel (will share their reveal on a later date)
Stefanie Teufel and Pam Ferarri (will share their reveal on a later date)


THANKS so very much for hopping by!!