Saturday, November 11, 2017

Copycat

Happy Fall!

So why did I title this post "Copycat"? Simply because I've been doing a lot of copying! First was a set of earrings.  I saw my friend Therese do it first.  Then my friend Christine.  And I loved what they did so much I had to give it a try!  So I popped on over to Kelly from Off the Beaded Path's tutorial for "Orb Earrings".  Her instructions are really easy and this pattern works up really quickly!



Another project I copied was inspired from my old friends at the Bead Soup store in Savage, Maryland.  If you ever have the opportunity and are in that area of Maryland, I highly recommend you stop by.  Kathy has a great selection of beads and there is always some fun project going on there.  Her line up of designer classes is spectacular too!  Anyway - at ht beginning of October I saw them working on an embroidered sugar skull project.  I have never been a big fan of this type of decor, but these pieces got me hooked.  Check out their Facebook page for a round up of what all her customers did (and a whole lot of other cool stuff to look at!).  And in the meanwhile, here is mine:


Last month I also set up an additional beading station in my house so it has really upped my production.  I am gearing up for a couple of holiday craft shows.  I am making all sorts of Christmas trees with beads.  This year I came across a pattern by "Simple Bead Patterns" and I am loving the way these are coming out too!


I recently purchased the Diamond Duo beads.  I only bought them to add to the sugar skull pictured earlier.  So I decided to see what else I could do with the vial of these pretty beads.  These "Arabella" earrings were found on Linda's Crafty Inspirations blog.  I am only bummed I haven't found this blog earlier in my life!  I've been a card carrying dissenter of the double holed beads for the last few years...but look at me now.  Guess it proves you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

In addition to my personal beading, I've been working on the Bead it forward project as well.  AND my friends Christine and Cynthia have been kind enough to help out with some assembly as well.  Thanks you two!! Stay tuned for a link to purchase these and the quilts! All proceeds go directly to The Healing Garden in Harvard, MA.


Fall has been gorgeous around these here parts.  Colors have been pretty and there have been plenty of fall-themed things to do, like leaf peep, apple pick, corn mazes, etc... 

The birding hasn't been too shabby either.  There was about a week or two of quiet, but then some of the 'winter' birds started showing up.  And now it's a nice mix of those along with some pretties that stick around all year.  


So when it's been too dark, or too cloudy, or wet, I absolutely love to work on my family tree on Ancestry.com.  I love finding records and documents and putting together little narratives in my mind of the stories of their lives.  It is so fascinating to see little tidbits of information on censuses, death certificates, and directories.  Earlier this year I also took a DNA test, which is helping me with a 'brick wall' in my ancestry.  A place where there are not any records that I can find, but yet I see that I am related to people that have the same ancestors as me.  The DNA test also revealed a secret relative (a not so distant cousin!)!  So it's been really fascinating.  My love of genealogy has encouraged many of my family to start bequeathing me with old family photos.  Here are a few I have absolutely loved getting my hands on!
My great great grandmother and her sisters (early 1900's)

My great grandfather and his two sisters and brother (early 1900's)

My maternal grandparents (late 1940's)

My mom (early 1950's)
And of course, the bulk of my time is consumed with work.  I am so lucky to have a job that I enjoy and to work at a company that has so much eye candy.  And that it's my job to photograph and distribute that eye candy!   Here are some of my faves from the past month.

Well, that's all for now!  More soon! 






Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bead Bop NH

As soon as I learn the dates for  NH Bead Bop, I start stashing my loose change and squirreling away five-notes whenever I have the chance.  Then the day before my Bead Bop tour, I march myself to the nearest CoinStar and turn in my bucket of coins for shekels to take on my favorite kind of shopping spree: BEAD SHOPPING!

NH Bead Bop is a collaboration of bead stores in New Hampshire (this year also included a store in Maine, but it was a touch too far out of the way for me to make it!).  To participate in Bead Bop, you must buy a "passport kit" which includes a Bead Bop passport, a tote bag, and a enamel pin for the current year.  After you've purchased your initial kit, you only need purchase a passport and pin each year to participate.



Since I had participated in Bead Bop in 2015, I grabbed my bag and headed out to Manchester, NH, for my first Bop stop, The Bead Patch.  There I picked up my 2017 pass port and pin and the fun began.


One of the best features of the passports: each page has a coupon for each store! Discount amounts varied at each store and sometimes the more you bought the more was discounted.  My loose change went a LONG way!

Here was what I grabbed at The Bead Patch:


They also included a free gift to participants which included some candy (who doesn't need a little sustenance while bead shopping/bopping!?) and some free beads and findings!

Next stop was Deerfield, NH to BeadBush Studio.  The 'Bush' in BeadBush is named after the owner,  Judy Bush.   Judy makes bags out of scrap fabric.  So cute!


After BeadBush, it was time to visit Need for Beads in Boscawen, NH.  This one was the furthest from my house, but the drive is so beautiful between Deerfield and Boscawen, there were no complaints on my end.  But of course, where there are beads at either end of your trip, how do you go wrong!?  

I think Need for Beads has literally every type of Preciosa bead available!  I picked up a couple unique style beads here.

The capital city was next on the agenda, and in Concord, NH it was time for a visit to Bead It!   Upon arrival we were quickly greeted by the store owner who sings a variation of the Tutti Frutti lyrics as such: "A-Bead-Bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!"  So fun and so sweet!

As you can see....my haul is dwindling as the day progresses..... I try very hard to only spend what I've squirreled away for this fun Bop an not take out my debit or credit cards! I always feel a little bad for the stores at the end of my Bopping!

The next visit was a little closer to home, in Nashua, NH at the new location of a store called Beadles.  I had visited them many years past when they had a store in Rockport, MA and wasn't thrilled with the seed bead selection.  While there were a lot to choose from, their selection only included those seed beads that are all misshapen and different sizes. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise when I stopped here!!  They now have a HUGE selection of all the beads I love.  And come to find out, they have another store just two towns over from me.  I don't know if I should be happy or scared that the two Beadles stores are so close and carry all my favorite beads!!!

Beadles also had a section with mystery grab bags for $5.  So for the fun of it, I purchased one of those.


While there are definitely beads in here I would never have purchased, there were definitely some that I would! And four toggle clasps! So I will file this away as a mystery bag win.

The folks at Beadles also included a free gift with purchase.

The final stop was Bead with Style in Salem, NH.  My message to Bead with Style is this: I'm sorry I pretty much ran out of my Bead Bop cash stash by the time I got to your store:

So.  As if I wasn't already super psyched to get all these fabulous beads at a huge discount.  There was another feature of Bead Bop: with each purchase at a store, your passport also entitled you to a raffle ticket for that store to enter a raffle for a basket.  So fast forward to a week after Bead Bop ended, I WAS BEYOND excited to get a call from John at The Bead Patch informing me,  I was the winner of The Bead Patch's raffle! In addition to being excited I feel very lucky and grateful!

Here is a collage of some of what was in the basket, which was very kumihimo themed:


Huge thanks to Bead Patch for this awesome basket.  I have tried kumihimo a few times, but never with beads, so this is now on my list of things to try!

If you are ever near the New England area during this event you should give it a whirl.  It's a great way to stock up on beads at a discount and support brick and mortar bead stores.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Paperless Post

*This is a sponsored post, all opinions in this post, however, are mine.

While I am the first person to enjoy giving and receiving a paper card, the act of going out and buying one, and signing it, finding the person's address to write on the envelope, finding a stamp and then getting it in the mailbox, has fallen into the 'too-much-effort' file over the past few years.

Enter Paperless Post!

They have a HUGE selection of cards for so many occasions.  I recently used the service for some birthday cards and for a thank you card.

It is a lot of fun to peruse the Paperless Post selections.  As you can see on the left, there are many options to filter your selection.  Here I filtered 'free' cards and cards with "orange" in them (since that is my recipient's favorite color!)


These cards are customizable, editing and formatting text are free.  There are also a lot of fun upgrades that will cost you a couple 'coins'. You can buy coins in bulk starting at $6.00 for 20 coins and the deals get better from there.

I love some of these small details that you can customize.  The backdrop is a fun customization available for 1 coin.

There is a fantastic selection of fonts for all you typography lovers.

Customizing the envelope and liner is another small and appreciated detail.

One of my favorite upgrades is selecting a stamp!  How fun is this!?  This is such a sweet little touch and I absolutely love coming to this point in the card creating experience and having the option to select a stamp that matches the design and mood of the card.


Finally add your recipient.  Another great feature is the ability to schedule your delivery.  I love this option, so I can prepare a bunch of cards at the beginning of the month for all my birthday recipients, schedule them to deliver on the morning of their birthday, and then forget about it!

The Paperless Post user experience is an absolute joy.  It is user intuitive, and every page is pleasing to the eye.  There are fantastic free, customizable options, and the paid options will allow you to send something highly customized for well under one dollar.  Paperless Post is convenient, easy, and environmentally friendly! Also - it's just plain fun!

Using Paperless Post has, without a doubt, upped my thoughtfulness game.

In addition to using this service for individuals, there is a robust system for sending out invitations, tracking RSVP's, and sending messages to your guest list.

That's all for today, but the rainy weekend weather forecast tells me I'll be back soon to talk about beads, Bead-it-Forward, and my recent experience participating in the NH Bead Bop!


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Color Palettes!


After this weekend's post, I realized I had made a bunch of color palettes last year, but never posted them! I had created them for Znet Shows' Creative Spark Magazine:





While reviewing my blog to see if I had posted any of these palettes, I came to find some of my favorite pieces were inspired by color palette challenges:





Perhaps it's time for a color palette challenge blog hop?  
Interested?  
Let me know in the comments!








Sunday, September 3, 2017

Thread Colors, Juvenile Birds, and Farm Dinners

Since the beginning of my bead-weaving forays, I've always known the importance of thread color.  Mostly because it might show in between the beads.  In other words, if you are weaving a project in black beads, you don't want hot pink thread to show through.  Well....maybe you do, if that's the look you are going for but as a rule, one might select black thread with a primarily black bead project for a cohesive look.

So over the years, I faithfully purchased every color imaginable of Nymo thread.


I'd heard of folks using Fireline, but I simply couldn't understand why they would when there are so, so many color choices with Nymo!

Fast forward some years later, there was a weaving project I wanted to try that was very crystal heavy and the crystals simply sliced through the Nymo thread.  So for this project, I was finally inspired to try using Fireline.  I'd heard all the fanfare about this stringing material.  It rarely knots while using, it's super strong, etc....   It was all true and I have been hooked since.

You can find Fireline in the fishing section of any store selling fishing supplies, and of course plenty bead supply sources.  The only 'beef' I've ever had with the product is that it comes in only two colors, crystal or smoke.  Though I have seen others post about additional colors, just have never seen it for sale myself!

In spite of the lack of color choices, it is still my favorite bead stringing material. Recently I've been working on some peyote beaded shapes.  The main bead color is a color lined crystal Delica.  I was blown away at the difference in appearance when I used two different color threads.  I thought the color lining would be opaque enough to be hidden by thread color, but no!  Here below is two peyote components using the exact same bead colors but the top one is using smoke Fireline, and the bottom is using crystal Fireline!


In other news, birding is a touch on the quieter side lately, but still awesome.  I have been watching a small group of common yellowthroats over the past couple weeks and they are really coming into their colors.

Here is one of them from about a month ago:

Here is a juvenile from yesterday:

Eventually they will look like this:


Another juvenile bird gave me a treat yesterday as well.  On one of my regular hiking trails, there is a dead tree abutting a pond where I usually view nesting osprey.  The pond is situated in a rather deep valley.  So the dead tree top is practically eye level, and I always wish for one of the osprey to perch on that dead tree.  While that has never happened, I did see a juvenile red tailed hawk there yesterday!

Work is plugging along as usual: busy but inspiring. Each year we do a series of farm dinners on the actual farm where one of the restaurants is located. So far it has monsooned for every dinner, except the most recent dinner, and it was nothing short of magical!  Here were some of my favorite snaps from that day!

Can you see the little bumble bee buzzing between the flowers and the water!? So cute!

These candied cherry tomatoes were glistening in the setting sun.  I did not apply a filter or starburst effect to this photos - these were just sparkling like crazy!


And speaking of the setting sun...once it set, the crescent moon made an appearance in the colorful sky!

Here is a video roundup of the evening as well:
Farm dinner round up from Amy Severino on Vimeo.


And finally - here is a color palette from the same dinner!

Until next time!