Bead Table Wednesday: Creative Relaxation

I've been editing photos and writing descriptions like a madwoman for days now. Since I'm feeling a bit on edge, I know it's time for me to plant myself in the craft room and get creative for a little while. It's therapy!

Here's just some of the options on my craft desk today.
Strands of beads bought on our last two trips out of town (left) and a pair of earrings in process (right)
MOP pendant and freshwater pearls that I might use to play along for the Bead Soup Blog Party. If so I desperately need to get busy on that soon!
Enameled beads and glass headpins I won from Gardanne's blog. Aren't they PRETTY!? Here's Gardanne's shop as well.

I've got a short day today since a local bead store's having a 40% off everything sale (that I MUST check out) and I'm heading over to help with the nieces after while. Sooooo, I better get to work! Head over to the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group for more beady goodness!

Lastly, before I head out there's two new items and another re-list in the shop.
Fancy Free Necklace (NEW)
Bright Daisy Necklace (NEW)
Glitter and Glow Earrings (Re-list)

What have you got going on?

Fish and a Meal Plan

If you're here for one of the reveals, click the links below

Yesterday we got a wild hair and set about getting our fifty-five gallon fish tank in order. And, we even got some fish!
Meet Louie (top) and Pablo (bottom), our two tiger oscars. They seem to be best buds as they really stick together more than I've ever seen oscars do before. As well, Dyson and Hoover (algae eaters) are new to the tank, but they're too busy at work for anything as mundane as a photo shoot. 

There's something so soothing about the sound of an aquarium running and I'm a happy girl to have some new pets. I think the cats like them too.

Anyway,  it's Monday and I actually have my menu all planned out so let me get to that.

Breakfasts: Cereal/oatmeal, muffins, cinnamon sugar croissants, whole wheat waffles, eggs w/bacon & toast

Lunches: Soup & grilled cheese, bean burritos, turkey sandwiches, cheese quesidillas, stir fry (from leftovers), tuna noodles, leftovers

Quick Red Curry with tuna and peas (from Quick & Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott) w/ jasmine rice
Soup (from freezer)
Ground turkey tacos w/corn

Snacks: blue corn tortilla chips & salsa, crackers & cheese, yogurt pretzels, nuts, granola bars, fruit, raw veggies (carrots), yogurt almonds

There's a new necklace and a re-listed necklace now in the shop
Fill Life JUNK Necklace
Brighten the Nest Necklace

Lori at Pretty Things is giving away two sets of beads in her 7000 Bracelets of Hope reveal. But she's doing it SOON! So hop on over there to get your chance to win!

That's it. I'm done. I promise! I'm going to get back to watching my fish! ;)

Chinook Designs Blog Partner Reveal

Remember a couple weeks back when I threw a bunch of bullet points your way about my mail and giveaways  and general beady. . .stuff?

No? Well, let me remind you.
I mentioned in that long list that I had been selected by Mellisa of Chinook Designs to be a Blog Partner for the month and get to use one of her fabulous ceramic pieces to make a design.
Now, when I say fabulous, I really do mean fabulous!
If you've been around here any length of time, you KNOW I adore the color blue and you should be familiar with my obsession with buttons. So this little gem really made my day! (Thanks Mellisa)

Of course, since I liked it so much I couldn't imagine how to 'better' it with a design. So, I pondered it for a while. As I played around with the ceramic button, it felt so light and delicate and fragile, but it held up to my handling of it (and that's impressive for Miss Clutzy right here. I'd use my two thumbs to point at myself, but I'd probably just poke my boob.)

ANYWAY, back to the design. 
It was obvious that the button was a FOCAL piece, but it needed just a little sumpin, sumpin.
At last, I decided to try something new. (click on image for larger pic)
I added fiber. Basically, it's just bits of ribbon, lace, and fuzzy yarns; but I don't usually work with those materials in my designs.

With heavy gauge black annealed steel wire (coated and sealed with Renaissance Wax); I made a large loop, wrapped it, weaved it through the button's holes, and then wire wrapped the top. The fibers are simply tied onto the loop. (I will probably add a little fabric glue to make sure the knots are secure.)

For the chain of the necklace, a small gauge black annealed wire (also sealed) was used to wire wrap coordinating beads in violet, pink, black, cream, and light blue. The wire was wrapped so it formed a bit of a bead cap on either end of the beads.

A hook and figure eight eye clasp was made with some super heavy duty annealed wire and attached to the chain.

I really had a lot of fun creating with this pendant. It definitely allowed me stretch to my imagination (and you gotta love that!) I want to thank Mellisa for selecting me to be a blog partner this month and I only hope that I did her beautiful pendant the justice it deserves.

Check out Mellisa's blog, her Etsy shop, and how to become a blog partner!

As well, check out the other Blog Partners for the Month
Linda: Linda's Bead Blog and Meanderings
Patty: My Life Under the Bus

Macro Sunday: Disc Golf Course

Pat and I talked all morning yesterday about getting out of the house and doing something in the fresh air. When we finally decided on disc golf I knew that hiking through the course would be the perfect opportunity to snap some shots for I Heart Macro Sunday!
Stupid azaleas already think it's Spring
This pine root has been rubbed smooth from being trod on.
A gnarly knot of thorny vines was a little scary.
These tiny mushrooms climbing up a sapling caught my eye.
The disc golf course rungs along the local baseball fields. There are always lost balls along the trail. I love the frayed stitches of this one.
The peeling bark of what I think is a cypress tree is just so cool.

So those were my favorites from our exercise yesterday. Join up some of your own shots over at Studio Waterstone for I Heart Macro Sunday.

I'll be revealing the piece I made for the Chinook Blog Partners Design Team tomorrow (the post is already scheduled) so make sure to come by and check it out!!

7000 Bracelets for Hope 2012

It's time for the reveal of our creations for the 7000 Bracelets for Hope Blog Hop.

Erin of Elysian Studios and Christine of One Kiss Creations decided to co-host this year's blog hop to benefit the Global Gene's Project. It is their mission to collect 7000 denim-blue inspired bracelets for families living with rare disease.
I participated in this same campaign last year when Lori of Pretty Things hosted the Hop. If you are interested in what I made last year, just click here to see my reveal.

I started by picking my beads. Weirdly enough. I decided to use the same beads as last year since they seem to be the perfect denim blue shade. In fact, I realized that I had already made a bracelet that would be perfect for the hop. However, but it was made with copper wire and I wanted something that was a bit more neutral. So, I started with a silver-tone wire for this bracelet.
Using a heavy gauge wire, I connected the large, blue glass beads to each other with simple loops.
While the beads simply lined up were pretty, the bracelet just didn't have any fun, movement, or joy that I wanted to add to the life of the family who receives the bracelet. So, I added some dangles that were created with white sequins as well as blue, white, and silver beads wire wrapped onto head pins.
I wanted to make sure that the bracelet would fit a variety of wrists so an extender chain was added.
I'll be sending it out the first of next week and sincerely hope that this little offering brings some hope and blessings to the family who receives it. I know it made me feel good to know it was going to a worthy cause.

Anyway, that's enough of my rambling.
Here's the list of the other Blog Hop participants, starting with our lovely hosts!

Crafty Hope <----------**You are HERE**

Thank you so much for hopping by to see what I made. I can't wait to get hopping myself (I do love a good blog hop; a chance to discover like-minded artists) and see what everyone else created! 
Here's hoping your weekend is full of all kinds of happiness and FUN!

Hey there. . .

Just popping in you remind you that the 7000 Bracelets for Hope Blog Hop (hosted by Erin of Elysian Studios and Christine of One Kiss Creations) is tomorrow. I've already got my blog post scheduled (look at me being proactive!!) It'll be up at just after midnight (Central Standard Time) if you're in a rush to see it and are a night owl like me.

Anyway, while I've got you here let me share some pretty pictures!
This spring-like necklace was just re-listed
Garden Blooms Necklace

And another something NEW!! Woohoo!!
Owl Be Cute Bracelet

Alrighty. . .it's Friday and almost time for some Margaritas. Do you mind if I give another woohoo??!!
I didn't think so.

Giveaways and Shop News

Adventures Abound Earrings
as the title suggests, I just want to share a few giveaways and some news about my shop real quick. First, the giveaways:
As far as the shop, the earrings above and the necklace below have been relisted.
Garden Enchantment Necklace

In addition, there's FINALLY something new in the shop; this bracelet!
Pink Lemonade Bracelet

Finally, a group of items was placed ON SALE. Including these:
Laughter Falls Necklace
Steampunk Circus Earrings
Bubbles Ascending Necklace

I've now GOT TO finish my Chinook design for the reveal on Monday as well as get pictures ready to go of my bracelet for the 7000 bracelets of Hope blog hop that's on Saturday. Busy, busy!!

Bead Table Wednesday

Today's February Photo a day Challenge was perfect for Bead Table Wednesday.

The prompt was "where you work"

After the long weekend, I finally unpacked my bead bags right onto my craft desk. It's a mess, but at least it's unpacked!

For more Bead Table Wednesday, head over to the Flickr Group.

Fat Tuesday Re-Cap

For some reason I woke VERY early yesterday and rambled around for a bit before starting a blog post that sounded like this: 

"It's Mardi Gras day around here and I've shrugged off all plans to partake in Fat Tuesday. In fact, this is the first year I can remember not going to ANY parades all season long. Somehow it just worked out that way. Between the weather, my mom in the hospital, and Valentine's plans (both on the day and this past weekend at the beach), I just couldn't figure out a way to go. I feel a bit like an old fuddy duddy. I guess I could change my mind now and head out with my mom and nieces, but. . ."
And I couldn't finish it. I couldn't think of a really great viable reason to not go down there. I knew the house was a mess, unpacking needed to be done, bead challenges to need to be finished, and a whole variety of other EXCUSES not to go. However, none of them really felt solid. So, I threw on some clothes, called my mom and headed to Mobile. It was a long day, but so very nice.

Here's just a sample of the sights (and sounds) from yesterday.
Maskers during the first parade
The nieces decorated the barricade with serpentine while waiting
Nieces waiting patiently
Back of some motor trikes (loved the one with the bug back end)
Just SOME of the mess post parades!

I even captured a video to share with y'all. It's a little shaky, but it was the best I could do in the crowd.

In the end, I'm glad I went to share the day with my mom and nieces. Now I'm playing catch up. Of course, it is the first day of Lent, so I'm supposed to be good anyway!

I've got pictures from the beach and some other bits I'd love to share (including Bead Table Wednesday) but we'll see how my day progresses with all the chores I've got to get done first.

Did you do any celebrating of President's Day, Valentine's, or Mardi Gras this past weekend? How did you do it?

Spread the Love

Free Valentine Graphics from The Vintage Bag Lady

Just dropping in to spread a little love this Valentine's day.
Last night I began to panic because I STILL hadn't made Pat anything for today. So, I grabbed a paper doily and and some cardstock I had laying around and crafted him an old-fashioned heart valentine card.
Just a peek at the card I made

On the inside, I wrote a little poem greeting and then wrapped up some healthy(er) snacks. I'm also making a bigger effort with the meals today than I usually do for weekday breakfasts and lunches. It's a little sad, but we have big plans for the weekend to make up for it.

~~Before I forget again, (GIVEAWAY ALERT) Gardanne has a simple question for you. Answer it and you'll be entered to win one of three prizes. But hurry and do it TODAY! She's drawing for the winner tomorrow!~~

I've finally gotten all the pictures I've taken edited. Now I start working on descriptions. Hopefully I'll have some NEW items in the shop before long (at last). Until then, two more pieces have been put on sale!
Live what you Love Necklace
Assured Bracelet

Here's hoping your Valentine Day is full of happiness and love. I'm definitely sending some out to you! {HUGS}

Valentine Ideas and a Meal Plan

I'm usually so better prepared for Valentine's day than I am right now. Is it REALLY tomorrow? That cannot be! I haven't decided on what to make Pat for this occasion (as I almost always MAKE his gift.) I've compiled a few crafty and cute ideas on my Valentine Love Pintrest Board, but still haven't decided just exactly what I like the most. Here are a few of the cuties on that board (the captions are links that will take you to the original posts.)

Gnome Terrarium from Jac o' lyn Murphy
I love you collage from DebSchwedhelm
Jar of Love from Family Chic
Printable Card and Blank Coupons from Love vs. Design
You + Me Printable from Junk in their Trunk

And lastly for a giggle. . ..
Printable Mustache Valentines from Life on Brixton Lane

So that's just some of them. There are a few more on that Pintrest Board of mine if you're interested and waiting until the last minute like me!

In addition to being lackadaisical about Valentine's Day, my meal plan this Monday is quite non-intensive. See, we've got big Valentine plans this weekend and I'm more concerned with that than anything else right now. Yet, I did make the menu so we will still eat. . .Hurrah!

Breakfasts: Cereal/oatmeal, eggs w/toast & bacon, bagels w/fruit, omelets

Lunches: Sandwiches (PB&J or turkey), leftovers, Spicy Thai Noodles, grilled cheese w/soup, chicken salad pitas

Chicken Fajitas w/corn
Grilled shrimp, sweet potatoes, fresh green beads (Valentine's Dinner)
Soup (from freezer)

~~There's more Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.~~

I'm off to make some other decisions about how the week needs to progress and what I needs to be doing to get ready for the weekend!!

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day? AND, did you make a gift? What is it? I need some IDEAS people, and FAST!!

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...