Thursday, May 31, 2012

Challenge of Literature Blog Hop

(I had two challenge reveals today - click here for the Tiny Tin Challenge)
I love to read....I am part of an informal book club on FB...a member of I love book discussions.  I got a kindle for my birthday last year and I think it is awesome!

I don't know that I have a particular genre that I like to read.  I like memoirs, I like popular fiction novels, I like some of the classics, I like reading fantasy and science fiction, and I even have a long list of recently read young adult books.  The only young adult series I haven't read that everyone else seems to have read is the Twilight series and the Harry Potter series!

Some of my recent favorites have been The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, and The White Mary by Kira Salak (I almost picked this book as my inspiration...).  I am currently reading The second book in the Game of Thrones series.

When I saw Erin's challenge of a Challenge of Literature, an idea popped into my head immediately. As I mentioned earlier I like young adult books!  I loved the City of Ember Series by Jean DuPrau, also loved Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It (The Last Survivors) series.  And last year, I was engrossed with The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins!   It is an exciting, adventurous series.  A page-turner with a terrific heroine.  It's full of wonderful themes about class and society; power; love; sacrifice; family and more!

So this is what I thought of when I read Challenge of Literature:

  For my Challenge of Literature reveal, I present my version of the mockingjay pin!

The arrow needs some work -  but I didn't have a chance to get the gold wire I wanted in time, so I improvised with what I had! 

I really enjoyed reading all three books of The Hunger Games. I missed Ms. Katniss when I completed the series!  When I look at my list of favorite books I do see a trend of what I like!!!

Check out the list of other participants here:
Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Rose Binoya
Lori Bowring Michaud
Shannon Chomanszuk
Marlene Cupo
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Therese Frank
Amy Freeland
K Hutchinson
Jennifer Justman
Susan Kennedy
Linda Landig
Lisa Lodge
Lisa Lowe
Kirsi Luostarinen
Beth McCord
Melissa Meman
Sharon Misuraco
Tracey Nanstad
Melinda Orr
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Sally Russick
Niky Sayers
Pam Sears
Amy Severino
Tracy Stillman
Emma Todd
Melissa Trudinger
Lesley Watt
Shai Williams

Tiny Tin Challenge!

(I had two challenge reveals today - click here for the Challenge of Literature reveal)
I just loved Michelle Mach's idea for this challenge.  I adore small containers and seem to collect them without even realizing it!!

This challenge was to take a tin for this kit (or both....or even another.....) and decorate it.

Here is how the tins looked to begin with:

For my first tin, I used a green enamel paint, and some of the pretty paper included in my tin kit.  I lined the inside with some pink satin:

I couldn't stop at just I did both....this one was painted with some of my hubs' flat camo paint (which was originally used to paint his truck), I embellished with a discarded bead woven piece, and the accent color on the tin is actually nail polish! (cream felt on the inside)

....and then I realized I had another tin just sitting around on my desk (I had broken up a set of these charms for my nieces and kept the tin....)... I decorated that one too!  Just a circle of pretty paper and some orange felt on the inside!

This was a fun challenge and I really enjoyed it.  I love any challenge like this where I am encouraged to think outside the bead box!

I've already had a chance to see some of the other participants' creations and I'm already blown away by the creativity displayed from this challenge.  You should check it out!  Here is a list of the other participants!
  1. Michelle - Beads & Books - Hostess
  2. Amy - Amybeads
  3. Brenda - B'Sue Boutiques
  4. Dawn - Morning Glory Beading
  5. Debbie
  6. Jeannie - Jeannie's Blog
  7. Kay - Palm Coast Art
  8. Kim - CianciBlue
  9. Mary - MLH Jewelry Designs
  10. Mary Shannon - Falling into the Sky
  11. Michelle - Firefly Visions
  12. Molly - Beautifully Broken Me
  13. Pamela - The Crazy Creative Corner
  14. Patricia G. - My Life Under the Bus
  15. Patricia L.
  16. Robyn - A Ponderance of Things
  17. Shelley - Fabric of My Life
  18. Terry - Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
  19. Therese - Domestic Goddess Enterprises
  20. Therese - Therese's Treasures

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Challenges and what not!

Geesh - have I really gone from posting once a day (back in April for the A-Z Challenge) once a week?!

I have LOTS AND LOTS going on...but more on that another post.

I am excited to be doing reveals for TWO challenges tomorrow.  First will be the Tiny Tin Challenge hosted by Michelle Mach...and second will be the Challenge of Literature hop hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz.

Also - in the meanwhile - there are only 3 kits left in my Summer Lovin' Kit Challenge.  I'm closing sales tomorrow (June is going to be insane for me) so if you haven't already - please grab one! Reveal date for this is August 1.

Here is a list of participants so far:
 Renetha of Lamplight Crafts
Kepi of A little of this, a little of that
Shannon of Falling Into the Sky
Maryanne of Zingala's Workshop
Shirley of Beads and Bread
Dawn of Designs by Dawn Marie
Therese of Therese's Tresures
Vimala of The Bead Diaries
Ginger of Lil Mummy Likes...
Linda of Lindy's Designs
Kristen of My Bead Journey
Lois of ¿QueOnda Q'Town?
Lori B (blog to follow!)

See you tomorrow for the challenge reveals!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pop up Pearls Bracelet

I am addicted!  I haven't felt this way since the Sparkly Wheels rage!!!!  If you are a bead weaver, you will love the pattern Pop up Pearls original pattern by Kristen Stevens, Beadwork by KAS.  

The pattern requires a basic understanding of peyote stitch.  And once you get going you won't want to stop. I worked through the first component real slow, to make sure I understood the instructions properly. Kristen's directions and photos are very clear.  Once I got the first one right, the second one whipped up quickly, and then I felt like I was on fire! 

Connecting the components was very easy, I love the design on these connections. Be careful with your connections though - I got a little bit ahead of my self once I started connecting and didn't read through the entire instructions (where Kristen warns about this....).  If you notice, there is an uneven amount of picots on the component, so as you start connecting them all you will see that have three picots on the top and four picots on the bottom, your piece will start to gently curve in one direction (great for a necklace!!!!).  I noticed the gentle curve about four three or four pieces in and didn't mind at all - I just started going in another direction (so that I had four picots on top and three on the bottome) and I loved the result!

 I finished my bracelet in one sitting and truly enjoyed making those sweet components!  And of course I didn't want to stop there, so I started rummaging through my stash to see what kind of  8mm round beads were there! A pair of earrings was in order on day two!
I was impressed by how few beads are actually needed to create this...the bracelet only requires nine 8mm beads, 1g seed, 1g seed, 16 size 8 seed, and eight 4mm of Czech FP rounds. It's definitely a great earring project for "leftover" beads! 
This pattern is a great bracelet, and it works beautifully into a necklace.  But I am already addicted to making these into a quick and sophisticated pair of earrings!

The final product is delicate yet substantial (an oxymoron - but TRUE), sophisticated, and elegant, yet easily paired with all the casual outfits I've been wearing the past few days!  And did I mention I've received tons of compliments on the earrings and the bracelet?? 

Disclaimer (not that it's needed...):  I was not asked to review this pattern, but wanted to because I think this pattern is awesome, and when I think something is awesome I just have to share!!! Great job Kristen!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Lovin' Kit Challenge!

"Summer lovin' had me a blast....

Summer lovin' happened so faaaaaast" (insert music notes along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John singing the song of their summertime romance here....)

 All the packages are ready to be shipped for participants in the Summer Lovin' Kit Challenge.  Will you be one??? 

This challenge kit features a polymer focal from PennysLane.  I discovered her shop when I was doing my "P" post during the A-Z challenge in April. 

I've always loved Tree of Life images and it felt fitting for the summer too.

I went with very neutral colors this time around, and I was feeling really sunshine-y with the gold, even though there is an equal amount of grayish silver!

So here's the plan.  I am going to sell this kit through the end of May (or until they run out).  The blog reveal will be in a little over two months on August 1.

The Kits are on sale for $4 (plus $2 shipping), and are available in my Etsy shop.  Just click here to purchase one!

Thanks so much for your interest in doing the challenge kits!  I had SO much fun doing it last time and I was blown away with everyone's creations.

Also - please come back tomorrow, I will be reviewing Beadwork by KAS' (aka the lovely Kristen Stevens!) new tutorial "Pop up Pearl Bracelet."  The pattern is awesome and I love it!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

My world lately

Jeesh....I've been quiet for a while.  I haven't been blog-silent like this in a long, long time! And frankly it feels weird to be so silent after being so vocal in May! LOL!

Truth is, I've been incredibly busy....on top of the list of what has been making me so busy is a new farm market project, that just isn't quite on it's feet yet, and it's been causing me to work a 6th day each week, for the last three weeks. The market is in a 'food desert' in DC where some of the most poverty-stricken residents live.  I really beleive in this project, so I don't mind the extra work, but it's not without it's challenges! Doesn't this greens table make you feel healthier just looking at it!!!????

 I also helped out a friend who owns a dog walking business last week who was shorthanded....
then there was a dedication event for a civil war battlefield marker....and mother's day...and my mother's birthday...oh, and just my normal every day work!  I am not complaining - I'm grateful to have so much work! I am only complaining that I haven't had time to blog!!!!

But it doesn't mean I haven't had time to BEAD! I completed two cuffs for the Beading Babes Four Leaf Clover pattern - - here is a sneak peek, but the reveal will be on June 24!

I also have been working on my Challenge of Literature piece...another sneak peek, and the reveal will be on May 31. 

Another reveal for May 31 is the Tiny Tin Challenge - which I haven't started yet, but have a plan.  Hopefully I will be able to give it some attention hopefully in the next week or so!


Last week at my son's Boy Scout meeting I was mesmerized by the spectacular sunset.  

And here's a little color palette to go with it!


And FINALLY, I have all my summer challenge bead kits packed up and ready to go.  I will send out a sneak peek to newsletter subscribers in the next 24 hours for pre-purchase and then announce the kit early next week!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just Plain Fun!

What's so fun, you ask?!  For starters, Erin over at Treasures Found::Inspiration is everywhere, is doing story challenge with comments - she began a story and every comment is a continuation of the story.  It's so fun, and it's fun to see where the story goes after you add a line!  And to top it off, she's doing a giveaway of her Simple Truth's Sampler....the story will be open til tomorrow, so check it out!

Another activity I'm filing under fun, is the wonderful treat I gave myself yesterday!  As I've mentioned (probably ad nauseum), I work full time.  But I am quite blessed to have found work that I do from home, so the truth is, my schedule is very flexible, as long as I'm getting my work done!

A few weeks ago I put it on my calendar, to spend some time at Bead Soup (in Savage, MD), during their Wednesday beading circle.  So, yesterday, I packed up my Beading Babes' Four Leaf Clover project and headed out to Bead Soup!  All the ladies that I've met over there are just lovely (and they do beautiful beadwork!).  While it is a treat to spend time with ALL the wonderful Maryland beaders, Maryanne of Zingala's Workshop also planned to do some beading there yesterday!  She is so nice and so fun to hang out with!  Doesn't it look like we're having a good time?!?! 

We all laughed a lot yesterday afternoon and as I returned home, I promised myself to carve out more time to spend with these gals!  If you are ever in Maryland - you must stop by Kathy's store, Bead Soup, in Savage Mill. There is a great energy at the store, very welcoming, encouraging and interesting....and she's got a great selection of beads at her store.  I treated myself to a handful of 3mm pearl strands, for my second Four Leaf Clover cuff!  That pattern works up really quickly and looks great!

In other Beading Babes news, my Artbeads order came in which has my tilas and 14mm coin beads for the Nefertiti pattern.  Now I just need to decide if I want to do my second cuff or my Nefertiti pattern next!

Also in this order are some of the crystals and chatons I need to start working on the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ornament.  I am DETERMINED to get ahead of myself with my holiday beadwork this year!!! 

Here's another pattern that works up quickly - the oval shaped peyote links (Diane Fitzgerald's book).  I made these earrings for my stepdaughter's birthday (also yesterday!)  I'm finding these shaped peyote pieces are a great go-to pattern for a quick gift item.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflections on Blogging from A-Z

Today is the day that all the A-Z participants are designated to reflect on their Blogging from A-Z experience.

Compared to last year, I really enjoyed it.  Last year, I learned about it and decided to do it, one day before the challenge began!  This year, I planned to do it much further in advance. After I signed up, I realized I'd be traveling for the first few days of the challenge, so I decided to plan out and pre-write the posts for those days.   While I was doing that, it occurred to me that I should plan out the whole month!

It helped very much to have a theme.  It keeps you focused.  So with a theme and a plan, I plotted out the 26 posts (well....most of them....about 4 of the letters were thought up on the day before - or day of!)

Having the plan, didn't make the blogging so difficult.  The toughest part was gathering up and editing photos for the posts.  That always takes up more time than I realize it will!

Other than the photos, the another difficult part of the challenge for me, were the days I couldn't really come up with much for a good bead topic for the given letter (j,v,y,x). 

The most popular post (based on comments) was the R post, when I had the Reveal for the challenge kit I created. That was a big thrill for me, since I had participants and lots of people checking it out!  (next kit will be available at the end of May/early June with an end of summer reveal date!)

My biggest regret for this challenge was that I just didn't have enough time to visit as many other challenge participants as I would have liked.    But, with that being said, I was able to get acquainted with some new blogs/bloggers this time around which is one of my goals while doing this challenge!

But what I loved most about the challenge, was the connection I felt to so many other beaders.  It was so great to write about subjects that clearly stuck a chord with other beaders and that was just amazing. 

I will definitely do the challenge again, but I feel like I exhausted beading as a theme....luckily I have 11 months to start thinking about what I'll do in 2013!!!

Thanks to the hosts of the challenge, and to everyone that stopped by!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

One Crayon Color Challenge

I guess there is a reason these challenges are called challenges!

I loved the idea of monochromatic work.  I have done it before but not all that frequently.  I picked orange as my challenge color, because I love orange.

It's the color of my iPad cover....

My Kindle cover....

And I have a lot...did I say A LOT?...of orange beads!

I've done a lot of pieces with featuring the color orange, and when I started looking around my craft/bead room, I saw that I showcase some of my orange-y pieces right there in my creative space! 
(That poor hummingbird didn't quite make it to the Bead-It-Forward quilt in time for the deadline!)

So I picked orange for my challenge color and saw right away that I've done some earrings in all orange.

But for this challenge, I decided I wanted to work on one of the beaded beads, featured in Beadwork.  After taking a quick inventory I selected the following beads to create Gwen Fisher's beaded bead. 

Now all these selected beads had some type of orange word in the name...."pumpkin", burnt orange", "tangerine", "peach", etc...  And as you can see - they are ALL varying shades of orange.  Some with stronger tones of yellow, some with more red, some just a very pure orange....

However - once they were put together - it just didn't feel monochromatic at ALL!

It seemed to me the burnt orange looked brown, the tangerine looked yellow and the pearlized peach looked gold!

In a fit of disappointment, I started working on another beaded bead, but the one pictured below is simply humongous.  It wasn't sitting right and at this unfinished state, it was already as wide as a half dollar!!

They say 'hind sight is 20/20", and if I could do this over again, I would probably focus on a peyote piece, using my range of orange delicas. 

I very much enjoyed this challenge, even though I found it somewhat challenging.  It was interesting to see the different oranges play against each other and it was definitely a learning experience! 

There is a rainbow of colors waiting to be seen today!  Please check out the other participants:

Hosted by:


Bobbie Rafferty


Rebekah Payne



Rebecca Anderson
Alicia Marinache
Charissa Sloper
Sandi Volpe


Jenny Davies Reazor
Elizabeth Auld


Jennifer Judd Velasquez


Diana Ptaszynski


Birgitta Lejonklou
beaded bead

Friday, May 4, 2012


TGIF, well, except I have to work tomorrow! Somehow, though, it still feels good that it is Friday.

This week I had an event to attend and had an orange shirt picked out to wear....just as I sat down to make something to go with it - I spied my Beading Babes Paisley Drop earrings and realized, the orange in the earrings matched my shirt.  So I whipped up a shaped peyote piece in an oval shape, embellished with some 15/0's and was all set! 

My mom's birthday is this weekend so I am just putting some finishing touches on this "At the Wheel" pendant featured in this month's Beadwork.

The pattern states that it works up quickly - and that is the truth.  It is a very well written pattern and I did all this in about 45 minutes.

Here is the back side.  

I didn't have the 30mm piece that is listed in the supply list for this piece, but the pearl mosaic bead featured here, is about 25mm so I made the bezel with 6 sides instead of 7, and it fit perfectly!

This is a great and fast project if you have a bunch of bugles laying around!

Tomorrow is the reveal for One Crayon Color Challenge!  This one definitely proved to be a challenge!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Challenges Galore!

Well hello there!   It's only been a couple of days since the A-Z blogging challenge ended, but after blogging nearly every day - taking a short break seemed like a really long time!

I announced when I did the sneak peek of my upcoming challenge kit, that I would have kits available this week, however, I'm going to hold off for a little while because there are a lot of other challenges going stay tuned for a June announcement of the kit and I think we'll just take the summer to work on the kits with an end of summer reveal date!  Some time this month though, I've got another quicky challenge/call to artists up my's for a good cause, and I hope I get lots of takers!!

Are you working on a lot of challenges?  Karyn just announced the Project 5 projects for Beading Babes, featuring two of Helena Tang-Lin's patterns.  Until yesterday, I never familiarized myself with Helena's patterns - but boy, I'm sure glad I did!  I just picked up the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star tutorial - and I am very very excited to have a holiday present in mind for so many people already!  How GORGEOUS are these?!?!?

Heck - if I get started on these this month- I'll be in great shape by December! :) Both of the Beading Babes projects look awesome and I'm so excited to do them both!

This Saturday I will be taking part in the One Crayon Color challenge, hosted by Sally Russick.

My color is orange - I am looking forward to all the monochromatic reveals this weekend!

Erin Prais-Hintz is hosting a Challenge of Literature blog hop.  I love to read and a few books immediately came to mind when I signed up for this one!

Michelle Mach is at it again with her non-beady creative challenge ideas, this time it is a Tiny Tin Challenge.  My tins came last week and I've got lots of beady and non-beady ideas floating around for this one!!!

I've seen lots of familiar names on the participants lists for these!  Looks like we'll all be very busy this month!