Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Year in Review

Greetings!  I've been a terrible blogger lately, but I don't want to be!  It's funny how living with another family has changed the way I structure my time.  Also - weekends leading up to Christmas were filled creating, and not leaving much time for blogging!

Above is a Word Cloud from this very blog. I get such a kick out of these things and I made them on a couple of sites.

 I was thrilled to see the word "bead" and "beaded" come up so big and bold on them! 

2012 was a bit of a chaotic year.  As I've mentioned (ad nauseum), we moved....twice.  While the year hasn't been without stress, it has also been fun and exciting.  

  • 101  number of posts in 2012
  • 3 the number of blogger friends I met this year:  Maryanne back in March, Therese in July, and Kristen in October.  How awesome is that?!  And I've got a few on my list to meet coming this 2013!
  • 2  times in a magazine!  Seriously - that was a huge thrill for me.
  • 2  number of times I've changed addresses this year.
  • 26  number of posts in one month for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  That was hard, but satisfying.  I plan to do it again in 2013.
  • 6348  the number of visits to my page because I mentioned Kumihimo.  Whaaaaa??!?!  That is so weird to me.  But it inspired me to buy a Kumihimo disk back in July.  And finally buy some cord yesterday so I can eventually give it a try!  
  • 2  the number of challenges I hosted this year.
  • 9  the number of challenges I participated in this year
  • 26  the number of beaded snowflakes I made in November & December
  • 13  the number of patterns posted on the Free Patterns page of this blog - 11 of which are flowers for the Bead It Forward Quilt Project.  Check it out - they are free to use and you will be helping a great cause!
  • 13  number of times I mention the day Friday in the title of my blog posts, 9 of those time, I thank God for the day.

 So what does 2013 have in store?! 

I have partnered with my most recent Bead Soup Blog Party partner to do another kit challenge.  I look forward to sharing the beautiful focal that Alenka has created!

If all goes as planned, I will be moving into our new home in two weeks.  What a process this has been - I can't stand the uncertainty and how the circumstances change from day to day.

I signed up to take part in the Bead Journal Project.  The idea is to create one piece per month for a year, same size and shape each month, with beads on the piece.  

I have a handful of other goals and plans for 2013, including: blogging more, beading more, participating in the Bead Soup Blog Party, completing at least five squares for the Bead It Forward quilt, creating color palettes, and there's more but that is just to name a few.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The post in which you roll your eyes....

....and say "enough with the snowflakes already!"  (I made about 30 - here are a few - sorry for the low-quality iphone pictures -  I need to recharge my camera battery!!)

I was on a snowflake making BINGE over the last week or so! Seriously - if you haven't had a look at Sandra Halpenny's snowflake patterns - you are missing out!  I only attempted three of the patterns, but I'm looking forward to doing more for next year!

It's a crazy time of year - I'm beading like crazy - but I don't want to put anything online because I don't want to ruin any holiday gift surprises!  But I played with a new craft that I'll share after tha holiday.
sneak peek!

It's also been a very emotional time.  While I am so unbelievably grateful to receive the generosity of my friend and her family for hosting us during this transition, I very much want to get into our own space! Last week's horrific tragedy hasn't helped my cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat state of being, yet at the same time it has reminded me to count my long, long list of blessings!  Emotional roller coaster!!!! 

We had a winter storm over the last few days - the snow was so pretty on Sunday and then it turned to ice...which was a bit hazardous, but just as pretty as the snow! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It's the holiday season...which means there is lots of extra stuff to do for all my clients (holiday giveaways, holiday card designs etc...).  But it also means, lots of beaded holiday gifts too!

Every year I swear to myself, I'm going to start doing my beaded Christmas presents when summer hits....this however, never, ever happens! So now I"m scrambling each night to finish pieces for all those on my list for beaded gifts.

What's hampering me this year, is my addiction to these charming snowflakes! 
I did a few last week and loved how they turned out. 

So I did a couple more.  Then I thought, how cute would these be if I used 15/0's and 2mm or 3mm crystals and made them into earrings.

Another hit!  Someone asked me where I got the pattern.  I remembered downloading this sweet little snowflake pattern off Bead and Button earlier in the year (see, I was thinking about starting some holiday crafts before December!!!).  But when I searched the name of the pattern author, Sandra Halpenny, what I ended up finding was a TREASURE TROVE of gorgeous, easy to follow, lacy snowflake patterns! I promptly downloaded and printed up several of her patterns. 
Now I can't stop making them!!!  I want everyone on my list to have one (or actually I was thinking a set of three, hung from silver metallic thread, with simple bow at the top!?)!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy, Busy

Well, I've been here in Massachusetts for three weeks now!  I can't believe that I've only blogged twice since I've been in the area. 

The truth is, I'm used to life with only a few people in the house (my husband and son), but since we're staying with friends we have four other people to interact with!  I'm not complaining - just saying!

ANyway - I also haven't done as much beading as I'd like.  But I've been taking lots of pictures over the last couple weeks!
Here are some beaded snow flakes, from a pattern on B&B

We found a house! Looks like we'll close mid-January!

Had a great day in Boston with my nieces!

Met some Boston Ballet company dancers!

Still homeschooling - and it's actually going great! Molly loves cuddling with Jackson when he is doing some of his studying!

This day was so fun!  One of the best Thanksgivings I've had in recent memory!

Yes....those are turkey hats!

An old friend visited from Maryland!

Did a holiday craft with the kids (saw this craft on JoJo's blog and it was fun and easy and all three kids asked if we could do it again next week!)

Met my nephew for the first time and got to see him take some of his first steps!

Went to the historic North Bridge and took about 200 pictures of the kids jumping off this was so fun! I'm not sure who was having more fun - the children or us moms! 

And what's a trip to the Minuteman National Park, without a little Gangnam Style?!
So that's what we've been up to!!  How about you!?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Therese's Birthday Surprise Challenge

About a month ago I had the pleasure of meeting Kristen Stevens of My Bead Journey.  Soon into our coffee date she said, "Have you noticed that the bead community is incredibly generous?"  Why, yes, yes I have noticed!  And recently I was lucky enough to be the recipient of Therese Frank's generosity.  Therese sent out packages to several of her beady friends.  In my package was a stunning Golem cab and some equally gorgeous coordinating beads!

I was stunned and ecstatic to get my package.  I mean - look at these absolutely gorgeous stoneware clay!  Truly, I am so lucky to be part of this group!

In our packages were instructions the create something (if we so desired), and reveal it on Therese's birthday (today!)  Happy Birthday Therese! 

My cab was just so gorgeous, I had a ton of fun making coordinating beaded beads to go with it!

  I had a toggle that I ended up not using for this piece, and had an extra beaded bead so I made a set of earrings to match!'s off to the store, to get myself a top to go with this new necklace!!


Here  are the names & blogs of the other participants:

Christine Altmiller

Kristen Stevens

Lola Surwillo 

Marla Gibson

Therese Frank

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Free Pattern

Still settling in here in Massachusetts!  So all I have today is a pattern for use in the Bead It Forward Quilt!

Regular Peyote Sunflower:

2-Drop Peyote Sunflower:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

History Repeats Itself!

As I wait for my husband to join me in Massachusetts, I'm staying with some close friends who have a couple kids.  My vote was cast by absentee ballot a few weeks ago, so after working a few hours, I decided to take the kids on a hike at a park close by to find a geocache.  (I haven't written about geocaching yet - but it's my new obsession!)

And so we headed out with the pup, and found our cache after some careful searching.

But as I was wandering with the kids, I realized, that for the last election I also took three kids on a hike.  That time it was my son, stepdaughter and her boyfriend!  Here we are at the Billy Goat Trail in Maryland, one of my all time favorite hiking spots.

Perhaps I'll find myself on another trail in 2016!
I am a lucky recipient of one of the kits for  Therese's Birthday Challenge!  And here is a sneak peek....

Check back on November 16 for the reveal! 

Friday, November 2, 2012


It's been a busy time - and tomorrow I"m moving to New England for our final temporary situation until my husband joins us up north in a couple of months!!!

I haven't been doing a lot of beading as the boys (my hubs and son) have been wanting to play board games every night this week.  And I'm not complaining - I LOVE board games and we've been having so many laughs and just enjoying our family time together.

Also - my Slovenian friend, and Bead Soup Blog Party partner, Alenka, is doing a giveaway on her blog!  You should check it out!!  She makes awesome polymer clay products:

Here is the free pattern for Friday, for use for the Bead-It-Forward quilt! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Evacuation and free pattern

Well, I had to move a little further ahead of planned!  I usually do a free pattern on Friday, but instead I was packing our town in Cape May County in NJ was/is under mandatory evacuation! 

Just learning now that many of the streets in the towns near by are already flooded, and some of the bridges to the barrier islands are covered in water too!  Yikes.  Glad I got out of there okay and with hardly any traffic.  I'm a little nervous for the house since we're only about 1/2 a mile from the bay:

I was lucky to snag a bunch of candles this morning, here in Maryland. So if we lose power I'll still be able to bead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a free pattern for my missed Friday!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Time To Stitch 2

I'm excited to take part in the Time To Stitch 2 Challenge hosted by Therese (Therese's Treasures) and Christine (One Kiss Creations).  This round's challenge was to create a piece in right-angle-weave (RAW), and/or St. Petersburg stitch.  I decided to do both!

Bead-weaving has been a love of mine for many years now, and I had a heck of a time "getting" RAW.  Which now strikes me as funny, because I think it's one of the easiest stitches out there.  It is incredibly versatile and I love using it. 

I went with a blue color for this bracelet because I wanted to donate another bracelet to the 7000 Braclets for Hope project. (Fellow beaders: Global Genes just put out a call for an urgent need for 40 bracelets, if you can spare a blue bracelet)  This is a cubic raw rope stitched with size 8 beads, and embellished with smaller beads.

For the St. Petersburg stitch, I went with an old standby. Some years back there was a bracelet featuring St. Pete's and drops in one of the bead magazines.  I learned it then, and was amazed at A.) how fast the stitch worked up, and B.) how gorgeously the finished chain drapes when worn.  Back then I seriously made about 100 of them.  That holiday season I gave one to just about everyone I know.  Fast forward two years later, I had a basket of them at a holiday craft show and I was practically giving them away.....oh wait, actually, at the end of the show, I DID give most of them away! LOL! Here is just a small sample of some of those bracelets from back then. 

And here is what I created for this challenge. 
It was great to be reminded of how much I enjoyed making these bracelets and what a great little stitch St' Petersburg is!

Thanks to Therese & Christine for hosting this fun hop!  Check out the our hosts' creations and the other participants!

Therese Frank and Christine Altmiller

Nikki Byers

Kristen Stevens

Shirley Moore
Karen Williams

Friday, October 19, 2012


Every once and a while, I see a pattern that catches my eye and I drop everything I'm doing to try it out.  That was the case when I saw the "Picket Fence" pattern come up on B&B's free patterns for subscribers. 
by Samantha Mitchell

I have been hot & cold about Tilas, but I thought this pattern was adorable!

I started it last night and it worked up really quickly. I used size 13/0's instead of 15/0's (as noted in the materials list), so some of the links are a bit cramped, but I like it anyway!

Today is FREE PATTERN Friday! I was tickled to see fellow beader and blogger, Abbey Wilkins, used some of my patterns and posted her results on Operations Tackle That Bead Stash's FB page!  Check it out!  I hope I see lots more out there - it's such an amazing project that is a beautiful and meaningful collaboration of beaders around the world!

Here is another pattern for the quilt! It's a very simple pattern of Lily of the Valley.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prima Bead

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of receiving a "Jewelry Class in a Box" kit from Prima Beads.

The kit contains truly all you need to make several pieces of jewelry: the supplies, tools, an instruction book and even a bead mat!

I started by making one of the pairs of earrings in the kit, pretty close to how the instructions directed.

Of course, being a "seed beader" I immediatley felt like I wanted to somehow add some seed beads to these earrings.  And while I didn't revisit the earrings, I pretty much departed from the instructions book after that...

First up was a bracelet using the blue chains and the blue pearls.  I am planning on sending this one to the Global Genes Project 7000 Bracelets for Hope.

I love this blue chain.  The color is rich and the chain is very light-weight.

Then I played around with the heart pendant and the adorable keys.  And added some bead weaving components to the mix.

This kit is a great kit for someone just learning to bead. It truly has all you need to get started, and will give the new beader an intro to using pliers with jump rings, head pins, and wire and crimps.  The metal in this kit is not precious, and I was a little disappointed when I put some of the gold components together and they didn't match very well. And while I loved the heart pendant, some of the metal overlay was scratching off.

The three-in-one tool is so clever!  I found it a little difficult to cut the chain accurately with the three-in-one tool.  But again, it's a great starting point for a new beader.  I would still recommend a beader splurge for the three tools that would otherwise make up the three-in-one (needle-nose pliers, round nose pliers and a good set of wire cutters).

The variety in this kit is good and it definitely can get your creative juices flowing. I haven't used all the components yet, but I'm excited to start playing with the filigree flowers and the square flower pendants!

Prima Bead is a relatively new bead company and I look forward to getting further acquainted with what they have to offer.  They have a great website with lots of projects and you can request a catalog for those days that you want to lounge on the couch and enjoy some eye candy!  Stay tuned for more pieces created from this kit!

Disclaimer:  Prima Beads sent me this kit to review.  I was not compensated to write this post, these opinions are my own. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


This was a fun Friday!  We had a handful of errands to run so that, we did!

We stopped by the bird sanctuary...we didn't see any birds, but I rather enjoyed this tree/shrub or whatever it was.  Those little berries reminded me of miniature apples and I just loved the colors!

I've been beading a lot lately, which has been great.  Although many of my items are for later 'reveals'.  However I did finish a square for the Bead-It-Forward quilt.  This is from the rose pattern, posted back on August 24.  It worked up so fast since it is two-drop peyote.  I actually had two different reds in the bead palette that I was working with, however, they blended in too much, so I threw in a little color in the middle at the last minute!

I like the way it turned out and am definitely going to try it in some other colors.

Here is another pattern for Free Pattern Friday!

Happy Weekend to all!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party - Reveal!

I was SO lucky to receive a bead soup kit, in celebration of Lori Anderson's new book, Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap Their Stash

My kit was from Thistle Beads in CT, and consisted of a bunch of really cool paper rolled beads, and miscellaneous natural stones, glass, and metals.  

I am still planning to do one more piece with the long pink beads (combined with the pink glass beads and the metals), but here is what I finished this past weekend!

First a bracelet:

I worked a flat herringbone strip and attached the purple paper beads, and the purple glass disks in a zig-zag pattern.  Originally I wasn't too sure about the glass toggle, but the effect while you are wearing it, is interesting because it is see-through!

Next up was a necklace with the creamy colored paper beads.

I was so pleased to find some creamy colored delicas in my stash to make some small beaded beads to go with these gorgeous beads from my soup!!

Thank you so much to Kalmbach and to Thistle Beads for this fun opportunity to participate in the Bead Soup book celebration!   And of course thanks to Lori for dreaming up this idea in the first place a few years ago!  I've had so much fun participating in the Bead Soup Blog Parties, and have made a few new friends along the way.