Peek at My Weeks (Sep 13-26)

It's been a wild few weeks, and I keep putting off this review of it for one reason or another. But, it must be done. So let's get to it. 

On Sunday the 13th, I took care of some storm prep since it looked like Hurricane Sally was headed in our general direction - more toward New Orleans, but we wanted to be safe. I also worked on and off in the craft room, finishing up my Soul Food journal that was made as part of an online class from Tiffany of Southern Gals Designs

Much of the following day was spent on more hurricane prep.

While we thought we would be on the outer edge of the storm, we knew it was wise to be cautious and somewhat prepared. We weren't ready at all.

Though the storm didn't hit until early Wednesday the 16th, we stayed home all of Tuesday and watched the weather. We were awakened on Wednesday to the tremendous sounds of a hurricane over our house. You can read more about that experience and the days following it on my Hurricane Sally in Silverlox post.  

We've been spending a portion of every day since the storm on some sort of clean-up or recovery. The first few days were really rough and had my spirits down. But, I reminded myself to try to find the beauty, even in the smallest things. As we cleaned a portion of the yard on Sunday, the 20th, I spotted this fungus-covered branch under a massive pile of other debris. It spoke to me. 
That evening, our power was restored.

With electricity back on so I could see, I spent much of Monday morning cleaning the house. Then, I helped Pat in the yard in the afternoon. As I mourned over the downing of my massive magnolia tree, this cluster of beauty berries caught my eye.
I just love that hue!

Wednesday brought more chores and yard work and an expensive estimate for tree removal. But, this ladybug brightened my day.
I made my first trip to restock groceries on Wednesday. I also worked on some jewelry and art in the afternoon. That absolutely helped soothe my soul. I'm not exactly sure where Thursday went. I accomplished most of the small tasks on my to-do list, so it was productive I suppose. 

Friday was the first of several rough days of moving out of Pat's recording studio. But, our new tractor was delivered. And, that should help with some of the yard work moving forward. 
As a cherry-on-top to the day, the new season of the Great British Bake Off (or Baking Show) began on Netflix. (WOOHOO!) 

After moving more items from Pat's studio on Saturday, I took a little time to just PLAY in my art journal.
It was nice to have a creative release. 

And, there was Alabama Football on the TV in the evening!!

So, yeah...that's been my last two weeks - all kinds of crazy with snippets of joy scattered about. 

Check out some inspiration I've found over the past two weeks. 

And, that's been my last two weeks. There's still so much cleanup to be done on the property, but I think we've finally moved everything into storage that needs to be moved, and that's a relief! What are you thankful for this week?

Etsy Shop and SALE

I try not to be too pushy here about what I'm selling in the CraftyHope Etsy shop, and instead just give you a peek once a month at some of the items you'll find there. And, if you make it to the bottom of this quick post, you'll get the details on the sale I'm having too. 

New Again Necklace

Textured Tin Earrings

Plum Ombre Tassel Earrings

Honey Bracelet

Flower Love Necklace

Hollow Earrings

Tin Cone Necklace

And, that's just a sample of what you'll find in the CraftyHope Etsy Shop! Now, I did mention a SALE didn't I? Use coupon code SALLY at checkout for 20% anything/everything in the shop. This code will only be active until October 1st. You've got a full week to look around the shop. Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Hurricane Sally in SIlverlox

The mere fact that I'm even able to write this post means that things are slowing beginning to feel normal again. They won't be completely "normal" for a while, but that's okay - we're okay. 

If you don't know, my husband and I live on five acres in Southern Alabama - about 30 minutes from the coast - on the Eastern side of Mobile Bay. We call our property as Silverlox because of its proximity to Silverhill and Loxley - though we live in a magical area that opens up to several other cities also. In any case, we were right in the path of Hurricane Sally. 

Obviously, that blue dot is us. This was the last picture I took of the radar on Monday afternoon, back when we thought Sally was headed for New Orleans. I had spent the day doing some hurricane prep and stressing a little. But, I didn't do near enough. On Tuesday, the rain really began, and we spent the day inside as the wind began gusting. We lost power in the afternoon for about an hour then it went out for good at about 9pm. As we went to bed shortly thereafter, the storm was a Category 1 and still projected to hit West of us. We were unprepared for what happened next.

With no power, no cell service, and no radio; we were wholly in the dark for HOURS as the rain poured down, the wind howled, and the sky rumbled. Pat and I both woke around 4am and sat in our room listening to the terror raging outside our house, praying that it wasn't as bad as it sounded, and that we would make it through. As the sun rose and we could see outside, we were shaken over what we saw from our windows. (That mostly-down tree was being held up by the power line running down the street in front of the house.)
It was a few hours before either of us ventured out. When the winds died down some, Pat ran out to his truck to listen to the radio to see if the storm had passed or if we were just in the eye. Alas, all the news was vague and solely mentioned our neighboring city of Pensacola, FL. We repeated the process of checking the radio for several hours until I was finally able to hear a caller on talk radio plead to know the answer as well. 

Running out there was a little worrying because all our cars were parked in the "Back 40" of the property where we figured they'd be more safe because it's a large clearing. (You can kinda see my car on the left side of this picture.)
That leaning tree was the first thing I saw out the windows that made me gasp. It's still there too - caught by another tree. It's leaning right over our small shed.

Somehow the door of the shed flew open in the storm, but everything in it looks to be safe (for now, until the tree(s) comes down.) On the right side, you can see another pine tree parallel-ish to the ground.

That tree is laying on our pole barn, where we have all of Pat's tools (CNC machine, Drill Press, Table saw, Band saw, and everything else!) We had to quickly fish out some of them (the chainsaw, rakes, yard clippers, gloves, etc.) so we could start working on clearing the mess. 

Some large limbs fell on the fence close to where my car would have been parked.
And the Cedar tree next to the driveway is now leaning over the driveway. 

The collection of pines next to the driveway lost of few of their party.
And, it looks like we'll have to have a few of the others taken out eventually (see the roots showing here at the bottom?)

Looking at the direction that everything fell and/or is leaning, you can definitely tell which way the wind was blowing.
Hours upon hours of it blowing in the same direction at over 100 MPH will do that!
We did get a little water in the house. There was a small leak in the sunroom, but the roof looks fine. And, out little storage garage that's attached to the house got some water that bled into the living room. Fortunately, there were some throw-blankets there that soaked up much of the water. But, several boxes of my books were there too and a few paperbacks didn't make it. All in all, we were very lucky!

As I didn't do a great job of preparing (since the storm was projected to be mild), we ate peanut butter sandwiches for several days. And, without power or cell service, we played 20 Questions for HOURS for a couple of nights. We found that cold showers were perfect for cooling off when there's no air conditioning. At least we still had water! We tried to stay positive. 

On Thursday, we finally left home and drove into town. There were trees down on every property we passed. We were able to get cell service for phone calls and texts, but no social media. My mom and step-dad bought and delivered to us a generator, gas, ice, water, batteries, cold drinks, and Fla-vor-pops! 
Big thanks to them and my niece Taryn!! I was able to brew coffee on Friday!

We've spent DAYS talking to and checking on friends and family, cleaning up the mess Sally made, and celebrating the little things we're thankful for: a taco truck open, lower temps on Saturday, and trees that stayed where they were. 

By Sunday, we started to really put in the effort to get our act together and start clearing debris.

While we unloaded truckload number eight, we spotted a welcome sight.
Those heroes in the bucket trucks were ON OUR STREET! We tried not to get too excited. But, within several hours, our power was restored! We couldn't wait to get hot showers, but waited for the water to warm first. It was glorious.

With the power restored, I spent all of Monday morning getting the house picked up, cleaned up, and put back together. It's so hard to do much of that with no light, no hot water, and extension cords running in every direction. In the afternoon, we worked on the yard a little more and even ventured into the woods a little.
It wasn't great. From one spot, I could see about five LARGE pine trees knocked completely down. But, Pat pointed out that there were plenty still standing. And, after this ordeal, I'm glad we're still standing too. 

There's still LOADS more to be done. We've gotten an estimate on removing the three trees that worry us the most, and it's crazy expensive. But, it has to be done. And, we're waiting for the insurance adjuster to get here and let us know what's what. Pat's decided to purchase a tractor to make removing some of the downed trees and debris easier. It'll come in handy for some of the other tasks on the property also. We're just trying to take it one day at a time. 

And, we'll likely not stay home for the next hurricane. 

Here's hoping you're doing well too!!

Bead Box 9 - Stocked

 I've now been filling up this plastic craft organizer for almost three years!

I suppose I should explain what my Bead Box is...It's a simple plastic craft organizer with seventeen sections. I fill each compartment with beads and findings for a design. When I leave the house (before all the crazy started) for extended periods or just need to make something that's already designed, I dip into the box and create! I've actually had this version stocked for several weeks now. In fact, a few of the designs have already been made, listed on Etsy, and sold! But, before anything else happens, let me share how I stocked it this time around.

First, here's a better look at the whole box.
As you can see, I put most of the supplies in little baggies because previous boxes have taught me that sometimes the supplies migrate and confuse me if I don't. Also, I keep my wire (for the most part) separately. And, some materials like clasps, ear wires, and chains are simply added to the designs later. 

So here's what's in each compartment!
I bought a bunch of those key blanks several years ago at a flea-market-type event and have struggled with how best to use them. This is my newest attempt that's going to include a matching set of vintage glass buttons and lengths of rhinestones from an old necklace.

This bracelet was started and stopped before I decided to go ahead and add it to the box. The bar was altered with Iced Enamels. I picked out copper and glass beads in matching colors to go with it.

I got so excited about this necklace that I started on it before I remembered that it was supposed to go in the bead box. The focal element is a heavy brass piece (possibly a handle of some sort) that will be accented with salvaged pearls and a brass chain to complete it. 

In my last soldering session, I remembered that I have a bag of broken china and pottery shards that were found on Mobile Bay. This pretty red one was transformed into a pendant. Faceted red glass beads, mother-of-pearl beads, and gunmetal chain will finish the necklace.

I had the idea to make a pair of simple tassel earrings that hang from small chandelier crystals. This will be the first attempt at this style.

This small shadowbox pendant was created a little while ago, but I set it off to the side to let the design marinate. I love it so much, I wanted to make sure it was accented beautifully. And, I think the simplicity of this mix of yellowed and pale brown beads might be just the thing.

I love working with Vintaj Patinas to create ombre effects. And, even better when they're in my favorite colors! Though, I struggled with how to best create a chain for this Tim Holtz element-turned-bracelet bar. I finally settled on using the colors in the bar to create strands of chain.

This little bloom charm worked out better than I had anticipated. I've had it made for a few months now, but, like the shadow box, held off on creating with it for one reason or another. I've taken the word within it literally and picked out glass flowers to accent it while tiny crystal beads will make up its chain.

Again with being literal...This pendant that features the image of a dog from a vintage dictionary is paired with dalmatian jasper beads. Yes. I went there. Faceted black glass beads will help break up the stone beads on the chain.

The classic blue on this found pottery piece led me to pick out glass beads in the same shade. I also selected a couple of floral beads that have a similar feel to them. Silver-colored e-beads will complete the piece.

Those little tin discs have been lingering in my stash for far too long. But, I wasn't sure what to do with them. It took me a little while to ponder this design, but I finally decided that I would create a few connectors with the green seed beads to fill out a bracelet design. 

If I remember correctly, this little metal bracelet piece had been an experiment. However, it turned out so well that I kept it. I ended up picking out some of the beads from the bracelet I didn't make in the last bead box and adding gold elements instead of the silver ones.

Several of the designs in this bead box took me longer to gather because I HAD to make custom pieces for them. This design is one of those. I thought that the elongated amethyst charm needed something else to go with it to complete it as a pendant. So, I made a little distressed tin piece to pair up with it. Small amethyst briolettes (teardrops), gunmetal beads, and matte black seed beads will also go into this necklace design.

I think the beauty and simplicity of this soldered mother-of-pearl button really speak for itself. So, I chose glass pearls and gunmetal-colored e-beads to make a basic chain for it.

This little dream charm needed something else. I created a cloud of stars for it with tin and Vintaj Patinas. From there, shell and crystal beads were selected for its chain. 

An old key was paired with part of a vintage earring for this pendant. It will be accented simply with pale jade beads and crystals on the chain. A metal chain will be added later to complete it. 

This bead box is seriously lacking in earring designs (though the Etsy shop is flush with them!) As such, I finished out the box with this pair of tin snippings that will have small pink freshwater pearls added to them. 

And, that's the box this time around. I'm actually almost halfway through it so hopefully, you won't have to wait too long for the reveal. If you're interested in checking out some of my previous boxes, here's a list of them.

I'm a little excited about all of these designs, but I'd love to know which of them you are looking forward to seeing completed. Let me know!

Peek at My Week (Sep 6-12)

At the end of each week, I like to do these little reviews to share some of the creativity and beauty I find in my days as well as some of the struggles I face. This is to help remind you and me that it's not always sunshine and rainbows, you have to ride out the storms too. Take a peek.
I was up extra early on Sunday and actually caught the sunrise.

Just as impressive was the light that hit the trees as the sun rose.

Pat and I spent much of the day prepping the pool and food to have a couple of friends over for some outdoor fun. 

Monday was a holiday, but I still got up and made myself take a morning walk. 
I discovered that the ditch in one of my favorite areas had been mowed so that I could get to the fence line easier to take pictures. 

The morning was spent knocking out a few chores that could be handled at home, then we enjoyed the holiday in the pool.

Once we were good and waterlogged, I made Red Beans and Rice with our favorite local sausage, Conecuh

On Tuesday, I focused on getting several NEED-TO-DO tasks tackled.
I priced some jewelry for the Bargain Bin at my booth at Southern Antiques and Accents before taking it up there in preparation for Saturday's Super event. 

In the afternoon, I took product pictures for Etsy.
This time of the year, it's so hard to get outside to get the pictures in the heat. Of course, it's no fun in the dead of winter either. But, I suffered through and knocked it out. Yay me!

On Wednesday's morning walk, I spied more flower vines on that same fence.
I was able to squeeze a little creative play into the day before I did a little thrift shopping in the afternoon (while I was out for a needed supply.)

After my walk on Thursday, I sat out on the deck for my planning and reflection time.
This has been a habit of mine since about the beginning of the year. And, it's really become my favorite time of the day. I try not to rush through it. It's lovely. The rest of the day went off without a hitch.

I have to admit that I was super irritable on Friday and didn't want to focus on household chores. Once I knocked out the direst of them, I needed to turn my attention to something more desirable.
I'd been itching to make a journal for a few days. And, after watching the tutorial for this Eco Printed Link Stitch Book, I decided to try the technique. Before binding it, I took care to make it just like I wanted it. And, that included some stitches on the sewing machine to create pockets. 

The book came together beautifully - even though I had to trash two of the signatures because the vintage book paper they were made out of was too fragile for this technique.
Now I just need to add a few treasures in the pockets!

I also did some more hand-stitching on my haphazard embroidered mandala in the evening while we watched TV. That helped ease my frayed nerves. 

On Saturday, I skipped my walk since I knew I was likely to get some exercise working in the yard later in the day. After coffee on the deck and chatting with one of my brothers, I braved the heat and humidity of the day to trim some limbs and sweep the porch.
Of course, I found myself stopping to admire the foliage as well. 

I spent the early part of the afternoon prepping videos for upload before Pat and I ran up to his studio so he could take care of something while I uploaded a couple of videos.
Back at the house, we lazed on the couch while college football aired in the background on the TV.  Alabama won't be playing games for another couple of weeks, but it was nice to have a little normalcy for a "Saturday in the Fall." 

Here's some of the inspiration I found over the week. I hope it inspires you too!
We're currently preparing for a possible hurricane here this week, but hoping that it won't be too bad. And, I definitely want to knock out a few creative projects as well. Here's hoping you find the good in your week ahead as well. Enjoy it. 

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...