Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • Z

Z is for Zentangle! 

I'm a little late to the party today...but hey - better late than never!!!

Today's topic is Zentangle....I haven't tried it yet, but I'm dying to!  If only I could find a way to bead zentangle!!?? (embroidery maybe??)

Well, as with every year, I'm not super thrilled with my finish of the A-Z Challenge!!! I probably won't post a separate reflections post, but I can again say it held up to it's name of challenge.  Will I do it again next year?  Probably!  I had another year with a loose theme, and I think that makes this challenge a bit more difficult.  If I do it next year, I'll definitely pick a them for the month and stick to it!  Thanks to everyone who followed along this month!!

BEAD SOUP BLOG PARTY-GOERS - just got the notice that the party is postponed one week.  Wishing Lori some positive progress on the health front.  And actually sighing a little relief here, I could use the extra time on my piece!

Blogging from A-Z • Y

Y is for YouTube!!!

YouTube is awesome! A great way to save and share videos!! 
Here is a small collection of videos I've posted over the years!

Jackson circa 2008

The dogs back when Bingo was a puppy, circa 2010

Jackson doing the weather at school, circa 2010

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • V - W - X

Oops!! Another epic fail on the Blogging from A-Z front!!  To my defense (and this happens EVERY YEAR so I don't know why I keep using this excuse!), I am traveling and working on a charity golf tournament today (April 28!) in the D.C. area!!  Every year I sign up for this challenge, I look at V, W, X, and Y and tell myself i'll get all those posts done ahead of time and have them pre-scheduled! But I never do it!!!

So...we'lll see how I do with Y and Z...but here were my topics for V, W, and X.....

V was for vessels.... little vessels that is. What is it about these darling little beaded boxes? I've brought them with me to demos and classes that I've done, and they are irresistible!  People can't help but touch them, pick them up, and open and close the top!

W was for company caters and hosts a LOT of weddings....hundreds per year in fact!  So part of my job is promoting that fact, and so I get to see a lot of weddings and wedding albums.  It's so fun.  I'm such a sucker for the romance, I swear I get choked up every time when I'm present for one of the weddings (and I don't even know them B&G!!), and sometimes, if the photography is good, I get choked up reviewing the online albums!!!

X is for xylocarp...wha????

xylocarp (ˈzaɪləˌkɑːp)

1. (Botany) botany a fruit, such as a coconut, having a hard woody pericarp
ˌxyloˈcarpous adj

Why did I pick xylocarp? Well, when I was reviewing a list of words I saw that xylocarp has to do with coconuts....and I am a nut for coconuts and coconut oil!!   If you have time, look up the benefits of coconut oil.  I use it as my face cream, skin cream, for oil pulling, for cooking, whipping into my coffee occasionally, and more!   It has become a staple in my house!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • U

U is for Uganda...

Every now and again, something pops into your inbox that you aren't expecting.  Often those emails are spam or scams.  Sometimes though, something genuine shows up in your inbox....

A couple weeks ago, a woman reached out to me and simply asked, can you help.  To be more specific, she told me she was a social worker in Uganda, working with women and girls who make beads to earn money. She said, "I see you work with beads, and I'm wondering if you will help me spread the word."  Sure! Why not?   

CHILD, her non-profit organization, "was born out of the desire to address the socio-economic challenges faced by women and girls in Nakaseke District."

They are making lovely beads in Uganda of wonderful colors, shapes, and sizes!  
If you are interested in supporting the community that CHILD serves, you can order beads on their website.  I am ordering a half kilo this week!!  I can't wait to see what comes in my package!  There's a lot of beads in a half kilo so I see a challenge/blog hop in the future with these beads.... 

Click HERE for more information about CHILD!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • T

T is for Tutorial! 

This has been a frequent topic for me when it's the letter T in this challenge.  T is also for TIME, of which I'm short on this week so I'll make this one quick! 

Here is a link to a couple free tutorials I have offered on my blog! 
First is for a pair of earrings:

And this is link is to a Google doc that is a free tutorial for a very simple ring:

I have taught the ring tutorial to people with ZERO beading experience, so if you are interested in trying out your hand in off loom bead weaving - this is the tute for you! If you are an experienced beader, this ring whips up in minutes!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • S


Have you heard of SKILLSHARE?  It's a very cool website that offers classes in "real life skills" taught by industry leaders.   There are a ton of computer software classed.  I've been taking one class to learn more about the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator etc...) which will help me with my work.  And for fun, I am taking a hand-lettering class!

 I love them both.  They're 'at your own pace' classes so I pop on whenever I have a little time.  And the price is right!! Only $19 for each of the classes.  I've already learned so much and I'm barely a quarter through my classes! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • R

R is for REVEAL

1. make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others. 

1. (in a movie or television show) a final revelation of information that has previously been kept from the characters or viewers. "the big reveal at the end of the movie answers all questions" 

OR in the bead blogging community:

2. (on a blog) a showing (previously unknown or secret information) of a beaded creation, specific to a particular challenge 

Taking part in challenges, and posting a REVEAL is one of my favorite parts of being in the bead blogging community!  I have several 'reveals' coming up.  Right around the corner is the Bead Soup Blog Party.

 I think I finally have my groove back and was beading away like crazy on Saturday and Sunday for my Beads Soup Blog Party piece!!  Next up after that will be the A Time to Stitch reveal.

And right around the same time, will be a ZNet Shows design partner reveal.  The ZNet Shows challenge this time around is "Summer Days & Nights".... 

I'm looking forward to lots of fun reveals in the coming weeks and months!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Two posts: A-Z and Focus on Life

Focus on Life:
This week's topic was a moment captured in black and white. 
Over the last week I've been working like crazy on my Bead Soup Blog Party piece.  Having a lot of ups and downs, some epic fails, and it's feeling every bit a challenge.  My soup is AMAZING though, I really, really, really love it!! So really it's just my muse seems to have disappeared....  Anyway - here it sits on my bead table....taunting me to keep going....


Today's Blogging from A-Z letter is Q
A difficult letter, but I'm going to use the same topic that I've used in the past for Q, which is Quilts.  And like other years, I'm referring to the Bead-It-Forward quilt project!

But this year, there is a twist to my topic, because as of last week, I will be the new keeper of the project!!!  Here is a link to the About page, if you are unfamiliar with the project.  The 2015 theme is Animals: Wild about finding a cure.
  • If you are a beader, I hope you will create a square or two! 
  • If you aren't a beader, and want to contribute, you can help by helping procure quilting supplies, craft supplies and more! 
  • If you are in the New England area and would like to help assemble quilts next year, please get in touch! 

Below you will find more participants for Focus on Life photo challenge!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • N-O-P

Um....I fell off the A-Z radar for a few days....but I'm back and have subjects ready to roll for the rest of the challenge!

So.... N, O, P, is for Not On Par

not on par: adj. unstatisfactory
synonyms: lame, unacceptable, mediocre....

You get the idea!  But to my defense I had two big work things surprise me this week. A new menu roll out at one of the restaurants that I didn't know about:

And a pop-up meeting at the new restaurant's construction site:

Click here to see what other A-Z bloggers are blogging about!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • M


Last year we started Geocaching:
noun: geocaching
  1. 1.
    the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website.
We only have found a few over the last year, but my son and I decided this year to find at least 30.  It's a fun activity and gives some purpose to what would otherwise be just a walk (not that there's anything wrong with 'just a walk'!)  Geocaching takes you to new places, but the fun is sometimes in the search, and/or what you find, when you find your cache!!!

A cache in an old cemetery in New Hampshire

A small cache in a stone wall in our town

Where Jackson retrieved a coin that he thought was "amazing" (it was a Krone from Denmark)

Flipping the coin (see it in front of his face!)

Already we are making fun memories from a few Geocaching trips!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • L

L is for LOVE!

Truth is I had a heck of time coming up with a subject for this letter.  I kept thinking of the word love, and every time I thought of the word, the image from the recent Honey Maid commercial came up.... 

It was wildly all over social media last week, but in case you haven't seen it, here it is!

It chokes me up every time!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • K

K is for KNACK or KNOW-HOW.....
This is also a Focus on Life post - and this week's prompt is "A Moment of Focus".

So my company is opening a new restaurant in a few weeks.  With that comes so many components it'll make your head spin...even the most seasoned restaurant professionals will agree!  A couple weeks ago we were talking about the kind of pictures we wanted on the web site and it was finally decided that we were going to go with 'cool shots that had an interesting focus with a blurry background'.  Then the big question came..."Amy, can you do that?"   Um....."I don't know...I'm not a professional photographer, but I"ll try!"

Of course, sitting there with all these web professionals who are like, "oh we know some great photographers we can put on the project", so I totally lost my confidence!! Do I have a KNACK for this!? Do I have the KNOW-HOW!!???

But I rummaged through my albums and found a couple of fun ones.

And then I was up at the farm and saw that all the raspberry bushes were starting to bud!

I don't know if I'll be the one responsible for getting the money shots for the new restaurant's website, but it is fun exploring what this camera can do!   And all these are great pics for this week's "A Moment of Focus" prompt!!

Click here to see what other A-Z bloggers are writing about for the letter K.... and see below to see other Focus on Life participants have selected for their Moment of Focus!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • J

J is for Jane Lock....

Jane Lock is the author of this wonderful book, The Art of Beadwork:

And here comes my shameless plug....a pair of earrings I made are on page 116!  This pair!!!

It still gives me goosebumps when I open to this page!  But what's even more exciting is how great this book is! Here is my review on Amazon:
Great reference book for beaders of ALL levels. This book is very current. Jane's writing is very conversational and I was delighted by all the anecdotal tips sprinkled in the book that show Jane has really 'been there' when she's talking about her beading experiences and sharing her wisdom! This book covers all aspects of beading from supplies to techniques, and has a great selection of projects.

I highly recommend this book and feel that it should be in every beader's library!

And speaking of books, KJ over at Silver Parrot is doing a huge book and beads giveaway that you can check out by clicking here.

Also - if you haven't seen it yet, Therese and Christine are hosting another A Time To Stitch (ATTS) challenge.  This is a fun one, and should be a great study on design, color, shape, finish etc...!  Check it out here!

See what other bloggers are blogging about for the letter J! Click here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • I

Here's something you probably didn't know about me....I'm inked!

I is for Inked!

I have only two tattoos but I would love to get another one (or more!)!  Why are they so addictive!!??

This one is on my back...I love it, but my only regret is that I can't see it!! In fact, sometimes I forget it's there and it startles me when I catch a glimpse in a mirror!

This one is on my is from ages ago, it's the astrological glyph for leo!

Click here to see what others are writing for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge for the letter I!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • H

H is for HANKS....those lovely bunches of seed beads that I just adore! (okay - to be fair, I have yet to meet a seed bead that I didn't adore!)

Hanks of seed beads are typically of the Czech variety - and unlike their Japanese counterpart, are not all uniform. One might think that is a bad thing, but it's not!  There is a place in the world for every size seed bead! And sometimes, it's beneficial to have the same color seed bead in varying widths and sizes...especially in bead embroidery and certain off loom weaving projects!

See what other A-Z Bloggers are writing about for the letter H, click here

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • G

G is for GROW

Exactly six weeks ago, this is what my deck looked like...

...if I tried to step anywhere that wasn't shoveled, the snow was just about mid-thigh.  

I sure was happy to see these bulbs make their appearance this weekend!

There is still a bit of snow on the ground in some places...but things are finally starting to GROW!

Things are growing at work too!! One of our restaurants has an on site produce farm.  It's awesome.
I can't wait for May to see all this fresh produce on the menu!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • F

F.....F is for Facebook....followers, fans, feelings, food, fish, farm.....

Although this is a blog primarily about beading, I have a 'real job' as a marketing director for a restaurant group...and a couple other accounts on the side, almost all relating to food (several restaurants, event venues, farm, farm market, seafood distributor, beads).
So I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook (among other social media platforms!)!  I manage 14 accounts (including my Amybeads Facebook account which, in spite of the fact that I market businesses for a living, I seem to do a terrible job or am just shy about marketing myself!).

My days are spent producing content, distributing and hoping all the fans and followers will feel happy when they see our posts!

It's not the worst job in the world (read that: I LOOOOOOOVE MY JOB!)....I'm lucky because all of the businesses I market, are fantastic places that I really believe in, and all of them have lots of interesting things going on to share.   There is a certain gratification that comes along with it too because I can measure very quickly how people feel about the content I am posting.  I can analyze the heck out of insights and see what people love....and what people just don't care about!

Another fun aspect is learning about 'observance days'...April isn't just for Earth Day and Easter....did you know that April 7, 1933 sales of beer in the U.S would become legal...and that April 12 is also National Grilled Cheese Day??

Check out other folks who are Blogging from A-Z by clicking here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blogging from A-Z ---- Focus on Life

Today is a combination of two challenges - the Focus on Life photo challenge and the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, letter E....

The Focus on Life prompt this week was "morning moments" I will pick "early" as my A-Z Challenge topic!  E is for EARLY.

I am one of those "early to bed, early to rise" folks...and I love being up early in the morning.  It's quiet, my husband and son are both usually asleep for at least the first hour that I am awake. After I let the dogs out, they go right back to sleep and I'm usually alone for about an hour or two, depending on just how early I woke!

I savor a delicious cup of coffee and catch up on things and get myself focused and ready for the day.

To see more Focus on Life photos, click on one of the photo links see what other A-Z bloggers are writing about for the letter "E" click here

Friday, April 4, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • D

Silver Lined Veriegated Taupe....Lemon Grass Satin....Silver Lined Pale Cream Opal...Silver Lined Moss Opal....DB 671...DB 1815...DB1451...DB1454...

D is for Delica....the wonderful, cylindrical, mostly uniform seed bead. 

I was lucky to get this batch of lovely Delicas from my partner for the Bead Soup Blog Party

Aren't they gorgeous!?!?! I am starting to work on my pieces for the BSBP and I can't wait to play with these delightful Delicas!  She sent some gorgeous pink Delicas too, but they are currently in use so I wasn't able to photograph them! :)

Check out what other A-Z bloggers are writing about for the letter D, click here!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • C

C is for Chefs!

When I decided to put together a little collage of all the chefs I worked with and currently work with...I was astonished as the list began to grow.  I've had the pleasure of working with some pretty talented chefs over the last 25+ years in the restaurant industry.  This is just a very small sample of them!

Food photos to follow! :)

See what others are Blogging from A-Z about by clicking here!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • B


It's no secret on my blog, that I have been obsessed with snowy owls when I learned of the irruption that brought so many, so close!

I know they'll be migrating back to the arctic soon so I recently took (yet another) trip over to Plum Island and Salisbury State Park to see if I could catch a few...I was not disappointed!!

This guy was far away, but wow - pure white - must be a male....

This was on a lamp post in a parking lot near a salt march.  This one sat there forever!

What a funny face!! And look at that talon! 

....I mean really...look at those talons....this is the same bird as in the above pic.  I swear he was showing off, flying back and forth along the bridge I found him on.

Same owl!!

I was also treated to this wonderful great blue heron...

And this super colorful turkey!
Check out other A-Z challenge participants here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blogging from A-Z • A


Welcome to the Blogging from A-Z Challenge! A challenge where bloggers challenge themselves to blog every day in April, except for Sundays, and each day of the month is assigned a letter in alphabetical order.

This is year number four (or is it five?) for me!  I usually blog about beads for this challenge, but after all these years, I am running out of subjects for each letter so I may veer off to other things that have a strong influence in my life.  I've been in the restaurant industry in one way or another for almost 30 years now, so you may see some food this month...I love to bead and craft so you'll see that too...and who knows what other interests may pop up!!

So A is for Amybeads, the name of my blog...named after me, and one of the things I'm most passionate about: beads.  Believe it or not, this was my AOL address back in 1994 when I first got an email address and it just kind of stuck!

There are over 2000 bloggers participating in this challenge!  Check a few of them out here:
You never know when you'll stumble across a new blog to follow!