Saturday, December 27, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 52

It's the final week of "Focus on Life" the weekly photography challenge put on by Sally Russick!!  I kind of fell off these last few months with this challenge and blogging in general!  But with today being the last day I wanted to be sure to post!!

This week's prompt is "Gather".
Week 52:   Gather
 Gather your thoughts.  Gather up all your ideas.  Gather around the fire. Gather the words that have been missing.  Gather up courage to try something new in the coming year.  Gather together. Gather up love!

We had a wonderful gathering this week with my family and I didn't take any good pics of the group together.  But we had good food, played lots of games and had lots of laughs.  Here's a pic I snapped early in the morning while I was prepping food:

I can't believe this year is nearly over!!  Recently I have had little opportunity to blog, I've either been working, or beading up some holiday gifts.  Here's a sample of beadwork from the holiday season that was sent out as gifts!

I enjoyed participating in the Focus on Life photo challenge this year - even though I missed a few weeks along the way.  It was a fun and challenging challenge and it was great to meet other bloggers out there!!

Click on the links below to see the subject of other Focus on Life participants!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I'm In Love....

...with Tulip beading needles and 8mm chatons.....among other things!

So it's been two weeks since my last blog entry, and a lot has happened.   I picked up this book by Sabine Lippert...

Excuse my French....but this book is bead weaving porn.   All the finished pieces look so yummy!  Just the right amount of sparkle, lots of gorgeous components, so much beautiful, original work!  The only bad part was that I didn't have the proper supplies to start any of the projects... So I promptly jumped on Fusion Beads to order a few chatons. rivolis, and coordinating bicones....and ahem...I got a little carried away.  I blame it on the book.

Since I was already getting a bunch of stuff...I finally took the plunge and ordered Tulip beading needles.  And, wow, am glad I did!!!   Holy sturdy beading needle - these little lovelies were everything I ever heard about them!  Slim in size, super strong.  Three projects later and my #12 needle is as straight as I started it with!

So while I waited for my crystals to arrive, I stumbled upon some patterns from Bead Origami's chemistry series of molecules!!!  Yowza!  When I saw the Serotonin and Dopamine Molecule pattern I knew I had to have it.  My stepdaughter is currently pursuing her PhD in neuroscience and I think this beaded serotonin molecule will be a great fit.

Cindy's instructions are positively amazing. Between the perfect illustrations and the well written, easy to understand text instruction, this pattern is so easy to follow.  It is labeled as intermediate, but I think any level beader would find this pattern a pleasure to work on. I can't wait to treat myself to more of Bead Origami's patterns!

When I finished my stepdaughter's necklace I launched right into another for my mom, who is a cell biologist!  So glad to have found this chemistry series for the science-y people on my gift list!
Still deciding if I want to add a chain to this or attach some dopamine molecules!!!!  These are too fun and I love that the only beads required are seed beads! 
In other beady news I am excited to announce that Bead-It-Forward will be at Bead Fest Philadelphia next year!!!  Bead Fest has graciously decided to partner with Bead-It-Forward so we can auction off the 2015 finished products!!

And speaking of Bead-It-Forward - I am running the animal pattern contest through December 15. For more information click here.  Check out the prize list too - it's growing and I am so grateful to everyone who has been so kind to donate:
Nancy Dale - NED Beads - pattern/tutorial
Kristen Stevens - KAS Beadwork - pattern/tutorial
Sandra Halpenny - book (Beading and Designing Bracelets)
Artbeads - prize package of beads, wire and more

I am also donating a pattern and including some beads and backing from my own stash! 

Looking forward to posting more soon with lots of new pieces made with 8mm chatons!

Monday, November 24, 2014

BookWinner and Bead-It-Forward Patterns

Yikes!  I meant to pull a winner on Friday for the book giveaway (from my blog's 400th post celebration!) and totally forgot. 
But better late than never:

Liz E is the winner!  Liz, I sent you an email for your contact information so I can send you your book!
As I mentioned in my last post, Bead-It-Forward is holding a contest for submitted patterns.  In addition to the list that I already had, Artbeads recently contributed a prize package to add to the kitty!
Thank you Artbeads!  Click here to read about submitting a pattern and learning more about the prize drawing if you submit a pattern!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beading and Giveaways!

This brisk weather has definitely been enhancing my beading time!!  I started a 'Beauteous Bangle' over the weekend.

I think it's funny how wonky these things start out but end up nice and structured (like the blue and brown one in the background!)!  I hope to finish tonight.

I celebrated 400 posts last week!  I still can't believe it.  To commemorate the milestone, I'm giving away a copy of Jane Lock's The Art of Beadweaving.  Just head over to that post and leave a comment and your name will be entered for a chance to win.  I'm going to draw the name on Friday of this week.

And speaking of giveaways, over on the Bead-It-Forward site, I'm holding a contest for animal themed pattern submissions.  The winner will receive at least two tutorials (one from me, of the above Beauteous Bangle tutorial, and one from NEDbeads), some seed beads, a sheet of Lacy's Stiff Stuff, a package of needles, and animal charm and more!  

If you are so inclined, please check it out and send in an animal pattern!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 46

(Click here to read about  and enter my book give-away!)

This week's prompt for Focus on Life is Faithful....

The toughest thing to do sometimes is have faith.  Faith in yourself, your path in this big crazy world.  We get so down on ourselves and its tough to climb out of the hole.  This week we will focus on being full of faith and  happy with our everyday lives.  

For posts like these I tend to go straight to the camera roll on my phone, which is always brimming with 'everyday life' photos.  I pulled down five photos that I thought were fitting, but narrowed it down to this one.

Those moments where if my son has a few minutes before the bus comes, he sits with the dogs, and gives, and gets a little love:

See what others Focus on Life participants are posting for today's prompt!  

Friday, November 14, 2014

TGIF and Four Hundred Posts

Today is a legitimate TGIF because I'm not working this weekend (well, I probably will a little, but only because I really do love my work)! And another special thing about this post is it is my 400th post!! Whaaaaaa??!?!?

Whoa!! 400 posts ago, back in the year 2006, I had no idea what this blog would mean to me, and all the fabulous people I would meet, the growth it would inspire, and the opportunities it would bring!!   But to say this blog has been a blessing to me, would be an understatement.  I am so grateful.

It is because of this blog, that I entered a challenge and created these earrings:

...which then ended up in this fantastic book by Jane Lock (page 116!!!)!  What a huge honor!

I have an extra copy and want to give it away.  So just leave a comment and in one week (November 21), I'll draw a name from all the comments!!

I am currently working on a cubic right-angle-weave bracelet from this book:

I realized that I have so many black/gray/white shirts and sweaters that I really need to step up the amount of black jewelry production!

So that's all for now! Thank you to everyone who has walked on this beading and blogging journey with me so far!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tension Issues

"Try it," they said..."you'll love them," they said...."you'll grow as a beader," they encouraged....."you CAN teach an old dog new tricks," they assured....
But this is how I feel after an afternoon of fiddling with two hole beads....I've got some tension issues for sure!

My first mistake was using regular ol' two hole beads.  Things weren't fitting together like they should and after comparing to the photos on the project I realized they were much more rounded on the edges than a traditional Super Duo

Thankfully I had some authentic Super Duo beads in my stash and I tried again.

Better this time, but still it's not looking like it should!!!!

In hindsight, I'm not sure why I didn't realize the first set of beads were so different from what the project called for!  Seems so obvious with the nifty tapering ends that they would fit together better.  Clearly I still need to work on my tension with this, but to be honest, while working on both of these attempts I just coudln't stand the way the two hole bead flips about and such when you only have one hole strung!!! Ugh - I must sound so curmudgeonly as I speak of these beads.  I guess what I need to remember is I once felt the same way about peyote, and right angle weave and many other methods and techniques!!
Also - have you seen the latest issue of Creative Spark?

Creative Spark Fall 2014 Fall 2014
It came out a couple weeks ago but it's still current to share since the theme is fall inspired designs!!  Check it out. Hope (of Crafty Hope) does an amazing job putting this eMag together and I'm proud to be a contributor!

Stay tuned for my next will be a milestone post and I've got a giveaway up my sleeve! :)

Friday, November 7, 2014


Happy Friday!  Now that I am fully entrenched back into the restaurant industry, this phrase (TGIF) just doesn't really apply to me anymore....but sometimes Fridays still feel good anyway (even though I'm working on Sunday! LOL)

Now that there is a chill in the air....literally it's flipping freezing in New England tonight...I'm sure I'll be beading and blogging more often. 

Did you get your most recent issues of Bead&Button and Beadwork magazines?  Do you turn the corner of the page down when you see a project you would ike to try?  Yesterday I turned down about 8 corners of the Beadwork and 3 of Bead&Button.  Then that dreaded moment came when I started going through the supply list.....I've been avoiding the two-hole beads, but realized after all the inspiration I felt, it was time to pick up a few tubes....

...which turned into picking up a handful of other beads I 'needed'....(to be fair I haven't gone bead shopping in many many months!) I am so happy I have nothing to do all day tomorrow!!! I realized I needed more black/gray/silver jewelry....but of course I picked up a few containers of my favorite pale pink colored beads, too! 

In other beady news, I signed up for Therese & Christine's A Time To Stitch (ATTS) challenge!

I am super excited and grateful to them for including some references to Bead-It-Forward in the sign-ups' posts!  I will be revealing some Bead-It-Forward squares for the reveal, but I also plan to work on another charted item too!  The reveal is January 10!

I have already completed a couple squares for Bead-It-Forward for next year.  I had a heck of a time with this embroidery though and it's puckering on three sides..

The only other beading I have been doing has been to take apart some items that needed new life.  Over two years ago, I made this bracelet which I loooooooooved!

But - what I didn't realize until the first day I wanted to wear it, was that the enclosure holes for the pearls were too small!  So it sat in one of my "things to work on" drawers for the last two year until earlier this week, when I finally redid them and got it functioning finally!

Time to go buy a blue or brown or cream or white top I think!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 41

The Focus on Life them for October is color, for this week the topic is "A punchy shot of color close up".

I thought this ornamental cabbage fit the bill perfectly!!
Check out other Focus-on-Lifers here:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 40

This week's topic: Capture your most colorful moments to date!  This week its all about color photography!

I've got this one covered.  Lately, I fear I will get into a car accident as I drive around gaping at all the gorgeous autumn foliage here in New England.  It's a bit ridiculous!  Ridiculously wonderful!

Here's a little nugget of color that was outside my house yesterday:

See what colorful posts the other Focus on Life participants are posting:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ms. Daisy Cuff

Wow!!!  I can't believe I've finished not just one, but two pieces of jewelry over the weekend!!

I made this Ms. Daisy cuff for a co-worker. 

I am so glad I asked her to tell me her favorite colors a few weeks ago (after she told me she like the Ms. Daisy cuff I was wearing).  I didn't realize my muse had been wandering a bit. Doing a project for someone was just the right medicine to get me motivated to do more bead work.  Now I'm on fire to do more!  And for those who had been wondering (because I mentioned in a previous post that I wasn't sure if I had enough dark blue beads,) I had plenty of beads to finish this piece!

I also worked on some items for the upcoming ZnetShows Creative Spark magazine!  I love working with Hope and contributing to this magazine!
In Bead-It-Forward news...I just received a package from the ladies at Operation Tackle That Bead Stash.  There are so many great ocean themed squares, I can't wait to share them! It's been raining the past two days, but I plan to get some better photos this weekend.  Here is a small sampling of what they sent (and there is a ton more!):

How cool is this bezeled cab!!??

 Well, that's all for now!! My next big bead/blog goal is to catch up on blogs I love to read!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 39

This week's topic for the theme "Simplicity" is HANDS.
As Sally said in her topic post:
Sometimes it just takes a hand 
to help
to heal
to hold.

Working in the restaurant industry there is so much going on with the hands all the time.  Since I manage all my company's social media, I'm constantly walking around with my camera taking pictures of what's happening either at the restaurants or an event our company is catering.  When I saw this topic, I knew I'd have lots of choose from this week.  One of our restaurants has an onsite produce farm.  Ever since July we've had an abundance of raspberries and blackberries in all sorts of varieties.  Our farm manager often puts a call out for help to get these harvested.  (We get paid in berries!!)

So this week I pulled pictures from a fairly recent 'picking party' where we helped harvest the raspberries and black raspberries.

Check below to see what kinds of hands other Focus-on-Life-ers are posting:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Beads and Books

Come to think of it, we've had hardly any rain at all in the last few months!  I don't mind a good rain, but I think a product of the good weather, is that I've been spending a lot of time outdoors when I have some spare time.  And if truth be told...the more I learn about my camera, and my recent birthday gift of a zoom lens.... the more obsessed I am with taking pictures of the local wildlife and such!!

But these past two weekends, have each had a day that was a little damp and I've finally had a chance to get to some beading!  Last weekend I had time to finish a project I've been working on for months, just haven't had time to blog about it!  This is made with some beaded beads and a stash of ZNetShows beads! Think I may add more fringe to this...just need a thinner needle!

And yesterday I got started on another  "Ms. Daisy" bracelet.  The pattern can be found on Fusion Beads' website here.  I have one that I made a few years ago and I love to wear it.  The drape is fantastic and I get tons of compliments on it!  One of my co-workers was cooing at it the other day so I said, I'd make her one if she told me her favorite colors.  Black and blue was the order and I'm loving how it's coming out.  Although I'm getting to that special moment (I know you beaders have 'been there') where I'm not 100% sure that I'll have enough of the darker color to complete this!! 

In other bead-y news, the first round of Bead-It-Forward squares came in for the 2014/2015 cycle!  Aren't they great!?

I'm super excited.  There are lots of patterns on the Bead-It-Forward website and Facebook page if you'd like to join in!
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of being a beta reader for a recently published book.   As the mom of a voracious reader, I am always thrilled to come across a great author for tweens and young teens.  I have definitely found that in Keith Robinson.  If you have a middle-schooler who likes to read, and likes to read fast paced, fun adventures, I highly recommend his Island of Fog series (I'm just about to start book 7 out of the nine, so more on this series soon) and his newest book, Sleep Writer!

<a href="">Sleep Writer (Unearthly Tales #1)</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />
 Sleep Writer was just published last week and here's what I wrote about it on Amazon: As a fan of the Island of Fog series, I was excited to start a new adventure written by Keith Robinson! I was not disappointed. This book is a fantastic read, with an original plot and enough action to keep you wanting for more. Robinson's writing is so descriptive, you'll feel like you are right along side these characters as they journey through all their escapades!  My middle-school-age son and I can't wait to see what's in store for Liam, Madison and Ant!

Have you read any good books lately?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 38

This week's prompt was "Capture a photograph with only one subject or one piece or a small part of a subject."

I was just on a hike about a week ago and snapped a bunch of one subject photos from the trip! Here is a sampling!  Sorry I couldn't pick just one this week!
I love that there is a spider right by his head!

 Check out the links below to see what other Focus on Life participants photographed!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 36

Week 36!?? This year is flying by.  The Focus on Life theme this month is "Simplicity".  While I always yearn for the routine that comes with 'back-to-school', it seems to always come with some chaos in the first few weeks so I think this month's theme is perfect.  This week's topic is "A Door",

So here is the door to my house.  I love this door.  I didn't choose it, it was here when I got here, but I love it all the same.  I love the bright contrast to the house paint.  But more than anything I love the message that it tells me - YOU'RE HOME.

Click on the links below to see what other Focus-on-Lifers are posting this week:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Finally Something Bead-y!

I haven't received my copy yet, but apparently my entry for Beadwork's The Challenge was published!! Woot woot!!  (Thank you Christine for the heads up!!)

After spending the last hour looking through my archived photos, I'm shocked to see I didn't take any pictures of the package of beads when they were delivered back in March.   But suffice it to say, I was delighted with the beads and the colors.  The package came from A Grain of Sand Beads and had some of my favorite shades of pink, a fantastic vintage looking cab, some matte pearls, and more!!  I also realized that I didn't take many photos of the finished product either.  Here are a couple:

In other beady news, I started playing around with some new patterns for the Bead-It-Forward project!  I may have, ahem, gotten carried away playing with different color palettes, but once I got started it was hard to stop.  These are done in a two-drop peyote stitch.  I can't wait to bead a few up and see how they look!   (It should be noted that I didn't even include ALL the patterns I made!!hahah!!) I hope they inspire some of you to give it a try!  I'm planning to do a video tutorial on this in the coming weeks.