Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Latest Obsession

Keys! And anything to do with keys! I must not be alone because the Fall issue of Stringing has a feature on them. I am hoarding and collecting with plans to make an entire necklace, and of course incorporate them in other pieces. Anne Choi has just offered up her small key bead again and I ordered promptly.
I ordered the Green Girl Studios "Love is Key" connector. And here is a perfect example of how my scrapbook embellishments can spill over into the jewelry making - I just ordered these pretties too:

Still feeling stressed. I was pleasantly surprised to get the Gaea "Day of the Dead" beads I ordered in the mail yesterday. I sooooo want to get a necklace done to wear before Halloween is over and made an attempt last night to start - after class and grocery shopping and overall exhaustion. Maybe I can get it done for tomorrow??? I thought with the colors I ordered, I could also use my Joan Miller skull bead. But it seems I will be making 2 entirely different necklaces but I think I can wear them together if I make one long and one short. The look of the beads - while both artists are equally beautiful - are too different to have in one necklace.

Also, in Etsy news.... So far having the shop has been great for co-workers, classmates, etc.. to see my work without having to drag it everywhere. I am making sales by deleting the pieces people are buying that I hand delivery. So, the shop is good in that respect, but I know I need to spruce it up, advertise better, take better pictures. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back in the Swing....

Wow... it has been really hard for me to get back into the swing of things after my 3 day trip to Wisconsin! I had such a peaceful and relaxing time, and now that I am back I feel instantly overwhelmed again! Here's why: quiz in class tonight, homework due for class tomorrow, getting prepared for a small Halloween gathering at our house on Friday night, dressing up at work today, volunteering at the Art Center on Saturday. I started to feel under the weather yesterday so I went home early from work to rest. I felt guilty laying around all night, but I knew if I didn't I was just going to get worse. I sometimes get in moods where I know there is a list of things to be done, but I just plain don't feel like doing any of it. I keep telling myself that getting stressed out over a casual Halloween party is silly - but I want to try and do all of the cool recipes and tricks I have seen over the years!

Anyway, the Madonna concert was great. Love her or hate her, she puts on a heck of a show for being 50. I don't care what her political views are or how nasty her divorce is - I just want to see her sing and dance. This was the 4th time I have seen her on tour. I remember getting her very first album (cassette tape back then) at the store with my Grandpa. He called my Mom to ask her if I could have it because he didn't think some of the lyrics were appropriate. Man, if we could have only predicted what kids are doing now - that seems tame! I also remember dressing up like her and my Mom coming home from work saying I could not go to the store with her looking like I did.

Other good news - I did win the item I was bidding on from eBay. The director at the Art Center collects dolls and at our Annual Meeting last week, she had the cutest little pumpkin man displayed on our refreshment table. She said she had gotten him at TJ Maxx several years ago so I knew there was no hope of me finding one there now. I am always amazed that I can usually always find what I am looking for on eBay. The picture from the auction does not do him justice. He has so much character! He has a delicate little face, hands and shoes. He had a lovely velvet outfit complete with acorn cuff links and a stop watch. His little bag holds a mouse. I think I'll be able to keep him up through Thanksgiving. Does anyone have any good name ideas for him?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Have a Great Weekend!

Well, I will be away from Blog Land for a few days. My parents have - wait, are you ready for it - dial up! Yuk! It's nice they live in a secluded area, but unfortunate that the cable company will not run lines there. And I guess the internet is not important enough to them to pay for other options. So I guess until I have a grandbaby and they need to get daily picture updates (hee, hee) we will have to deal. The only reason I might log in is to see if I won a delightful little halloween goodie off eBay. If I win it, I will share what it is.....

It has been another crazy week! I get stressed out as it is when I know I am going somewhere, trying to remember things that need to get done or things I need to take with me. Then I had a test in one of my classes I had to study for, but had to take it during my lunch hour yesterday because I could not attend class last night. I had to attend the Art Center's Annual Meeting where I was elected Treasurer. Lots of exciting things to look forward to there at the Art Center.... They are celebrating the Day of the Dead next week, and I am bummed Jon and I won't be able to attend. It's on Thursday night and we both have class.

Since I don't have any other exciting news, I will leave you with pics of Mocha in past Halloween costumes. I can't wait to share their costumes for this year next week. Biscuit has some catching up to do so I actually have 2 costumes for him! Now don't go calling the Humane Society on me yet if you think this is dog abuse - Mocha gets rewarded quite well with treats and it's amazing what a good poser she has become over the years! The look on her face is too funny - it's like, "Yeah lady, I know what to do. Just get it over with." She is such a good sport all for her Mom's love of Halloween! We have had a witch, pumpkin, mummy (yup, that's toilet paper - to go with the Egyptian theme), and of course a peacock!!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hard Candy

I am preparing to visit my family this weekend and go see Madonna (for the 4th time) in Chicago with my Mom on Sunday night. In honor of her latest album, titled "Hard Candy", I whipped up this necklace to wear to the show. I guess I should back up here a minute....

I got these beads at a bead store I visited last Friday on my way to that wonderful spa day I was talking about. They immediately reminded me of little candies and I liked the way they were strung - as is. Even though I contemplated different designs for days, sometimes the simplest ones are the best. I strung them on black leather, which I guess you could take for black licorice. I know I can always take them apart if I feel like making them into something different later. If you have any designs ideas, I'd love to hear about them!

It's another busy week but I am looking forward to my trip. The hubster and dogs are staying behind. I am looking forward to my Mom's roast beef and pumpkin bars. To shopping and lunching with her. To watching "Sex and the City" (again) with her. And to wearing this "Sticky and Sweet" necklace!

A few new items for sale too......

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Good Day

Today should turn out to be a great day. This afternoon I am going to an appreciation celebration for a woman's leadership team I have served on at work. We are going to a spa for lunch and pampering. I am getting a pedicure and head/neck/shoulder massage - because honestly, when do I have time to tend to my toes! There is jewelry to be made! Later tonight, Jon and I will go to an Art Walk and dinner. Our city has now made these Art Walks into annual events - one in the Spring and one in the Fall. You follow a map to several downtown businesses who are displaying art - to purchase if you would like. At each stop there is wine and goodies too! We always look forward to this date night.

We will probably get to a pumpkin patch this weekend too. All in the name of that Hallmark holiday called "Sweetest Day" - but hey it's always nice to have an excuse to go out and do something, right? This week was so much better than last week.... Instead of taking tests, I was finding out what my scores were and I was happy with the results. I was not as sore from working out as I usually am even though it was the toughest class on Tuesday so far. I had surprise paid time off yesterday so I could get some things done in my studio. And I was even able to relax one night and enjoy a couple of my Faerie Tale Theatre episodes. Ahhhhhhh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The gift of time.

Before I forget, visit Elizabeth Cranmer's blog to enter to win a beautiful quilt she made!

Well, we did finally get dismissed from work this morning at 10:30. I got a lot accomplished with the unexpected time I had at home. Unfortunately, I had to go to class in the evening so it's not like I could throw on my pj's. But, here is what I got done with pics to follow:

1. 3 new pieces and posted them to Etsy

2. shortened/reknotted a necklace for my co-Board member at the Art Center, Sara, and also made her the black and brown necklace she requested

3. made two necklace/bracelet combos a friend at work requested for Christmas gifts
Oh, and here's the necklace I made with the skull coin from GGS. I was inspired by Andrew's Trocadero design from the Summer 2008 issue of Stringing magazine. I framed the coin with 2 layered shell pendants. Then I collected a variety of pearls, shells, bone and wood beads to go immediately around it. The rest of the necklace is a brown cotton cord and I was able to work a toggle out of a shell slice. I love how it turned out and I feel like a pirate!


I am sitting here at work (naughty, I know) and most of our building does not have power due to a blown transformer or something. We can't get into many of our systems and I wish they would send us home soon! When I first heard about it this morning, I was so excited at the thought of an unexpected day to myself - my head immediately filled with visions of beads!

Well, until I can go home I will write about my latest obsession - skulls! I guess I have always loved them, since I have a thing for Halloween. And then when I met my husband, he was really into the Day of the Dead holiday and the way those skulls looked. This year especially I seem to be having such luck finding these cool designs.

First up, here is a picture of the sugar skulls we made at the Art Center's Day of the Dead celebration last year. They are still in tact this year and no, I don't have ants in my house! Mine is the pretty sequin one!
After kicking myself for not buying a Joan Miller skull at Bead and Button, I was able to order one with some birthday money. I got the orange one.Then I found Gaea's wonderful collection of Day of the Dead pieces and am awaiting my order of some to match the Joan Miller to make a cool necklace.
And here's my new Nick & Nora pajamas from Target. They are so comfy!Lastly, I do not have a picture of it yet but I was able to snag one of Green Girl Studios new bronze skull coins! I made a necklace last night so maybe I will post a picture of it once I complete my other skull necklace with the supplies listed above......

Monday, October 13, 2008

'nother one

I made another necklace tonight with the peacock pendant from Michaels. This time I used blue and green glazed ceramic beads that I have admired for some time, some brown crystals, and some silver spacers that mirror the rope like design around the pendant. This one has a much more earthy feel and I think I like it better than my first attempt. By the way, Michaels is having a pretty good sale this week - lots of "2 for" deals. My Art Center is gearing up for their annual Holly Mart holiday sale which starts in November so I have to decide what I am going to bring there and what I will post on Etsy. Sometimes I feel like I am stretched too thin - here I started this Etsy thing weeks ago and haven't posted anything new. But other times, I am glad to have several different avenues to sell through. I'm off to watch my favorite Monday night shows: "Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother".

Sunday, October 12, 2008


So, you've heard all about this damn peacock pendant from Michaels and the never ending saga I put myself through because of my own weird obsession. Are you ready to see what all the fuss was about? Here is the necklace I whipped together today with it. It's nothing too terribly artistic, but I was happy with the seed bead mix I wove through the pendant and the teal, olive and brown crystals I wired together. Now it's off to the closet to see what I will wear with it. I am usually not fond of a piece of jewelry that is all crystals (unless it's for the prom or a wedding), but I came to realize that because peacocks are such flashy birds themselves that the jewelry inspired by them does require a little extra bling. I happen to look over and see this other peacock necklace I made this summer out of vintage crystals, Swarovski cubes and a hand painted Russian onyx pendant.
I was so thrilled to see the current issue of Stringing magazine mention these awesome pendants and where you can find them. I bought several direct from the artist at Bead & Button and I can't wait to visit his booth again next year!

All in all, it was a great weekend. I didn't get into the studio as much as I wanted but I am glad I got to enjoy the wonderful weather. Jon and I grabbed a sandwich while we were running errands today and stopped at a park to enjoy it. Oh, and the movie we saw on Friday night was "Body of Lies" - WOW! It was a good movie and a scary reminder as to what is happening on the other side of the World.....

Friday, October 10, 2008


What an end to the week.... My company has what they call "summer hours", which means during the months of April - October if you work an extra hour each day, you can get out at noon on Fridays. It's pretty nice, but I usually end up running errands or making appointments with the extra time instead of having it for actually "me" time - like to take a nap, make jewelry, etc... My overly jealous husband will often take half days on Fridays and find some kind of yard work or something for us to do, again ruining my "me" time. I like to tease him about it and I can only imagine his jealousy if we were to ever go to 4 day work weeks (wouldn't that be great)!

Anyway, I do have a point here.... Biscuit had his yearly vet visit. He had to get 3 vaccines and blood drawn. He was brave and I was able to snap this picture when we got home before he torn his bandage off and ran around the yard as if nothing happened. Notice the faux oil painting in the background that looks exactly like him - what a lucky find at TJ Maxx!!!
Well, before his appointment I thought I would run to Michaels once again to look for the elusive new stuff they are supposed to get in. Remember when I was there on Wednesday at lunch and the girl told me it would be out that evening but I didn't get out of class on time? Well, I went there again at lunch on Thursday - figuring they so totally have to have it out by now - and it still wasn't! I'm sure I let out a very audible moan when I saw the empty end cap. The bar code/price tag things that hang behind the merchandise were all up and there, staring right at me was the tag that said peacock. So close people!!! So here I was again, today, my third straight day there with a limited time frame because I knew I had to get to the vet. As I walked in I saw the girl scanning in all the new items and hanging them up. I kept walking by, trying to catch glimpses of how far along she was. I felt like a stalker. I gathered a few other items I was going to purchase and all of a sudden, a page came over the loud speaker for more cashiers up front. The girl abandoned her handheld machine and the open box of pretties. I peeked inside it and could see the bag of peacock pendants - I COULD SEE THEM!!! Ugh! Time was running out, I had to leave. So unsuccessful again! Anyway, Jon and I are off to the movies in a minute here and I am making him take me back!

I had a small victory of another kind though.... I was at my local grocery store and found the new issue of Stringing magazine! I cannot believe that no craft or book stores have it, by my small family owned supermarket does! Go figure...

I am glad this week of tests and appointments is over. I think I did good on both my tests, but am so burnt out. I am looking forward to a beautiful fall weekend and playing with jewelry. I took my trays of stuff into a local store I sell at and she selected most all of my new pieces to sell there. I took some stuff back from her so now I have to organize and post some different things on Etsy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Well, my idea to do something Halloween everyday this week is not going as planned. I was tooooo tired to blog last night. Maybe I will just post random Halloween things throughout the month of October. As if my life weren't busy enough, Jon and I have started going to a workout class on Tuesday nights (starting last week). We did this same class last Spring and the results are worth it! However, it is still hard to get motivated to go every week. Working out is for the birds, but I rationalize it as it allows me to eat mostly whatever I want. This class is a killer - 45 minutes of strength and weight training.

Anyway, not much else is new except for a quick run at lunch time to be disappointed once again by my local stores. Nobody - not even Barnes & Noble - seems to have the latest Stinging magazine. I even asked at B & N but it looks like my location doesn't carry it anymore. So, I just subscribed today. I also stopped at Michael's and they are clearing out an end cap for the new beads/pendants I have been waiting for and the girl said they should be out tonight. But unfortunately, my class did not let out before they closed. We had a test tonight - it was brutal!

Sooooo, Lorelei tagged me and I am going to play along. Here we go:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


1. I have a terrible habit of picking and chewing my cuticles.

2. When I was in grade school, I was a fan of WWF Wrestling.

3. I have a weakness for designer purses.

4. I have been laughed at for calling an ATM a "time machine" (in Wisconsin, Tyme was the brand name of the machines).

5. My favorite kind of food is Italian.

6. My guilty pleasure is being caught up on celebrity gossip. I know, total waste of time. And I have no idea who all these new teen actors/singers are, nor do I care.

7. I just made out with my dog, Biscuit. He is sitting on my lap trying with all his might to lick my face!

People I am tagging (although I don't have 7 right now):

Kerri Fuhr

Kim Miles

Candie Cooper

Monday, October 6, 2008

Halloween Week - Day 1

Since I know I won't be getting back into the studio until the weekend, I thought it would be fun to do a post everyday this week about my favorite holiday - Halloween!!! First up: memories of costumes from previous years. Here we go.....

1. Huge Tim Burton fans, so here we are as the Corpse Bride & Groom. I rarely like the manufactured/licensed costumes so I often piece together my own. Jon's was quite easy with suit pieces he already had and a few finds from Goodwill. A wig and makeup and he was set. For mine, I bought a different type of corpse like dress at the costume store and then made my bouquet and wig. I got a good tip from someone to cut the brim off a baseball hat and then adhere whatever you want onto it - in this case, lots of straggly grey yarns. We went bar hopping this year (2005) and won contests at 2 different places!

2. Huge Tim Burton fans. Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack and Sally. Need I say more. Once again Jon got off easy with suit pieces and only needed the mask and hands (I made his tie). The licensed costumes, again, were crap, so I made my own patchwork dress and drew stitches on the white tights I wore on my arms and legs. Bought the red wig. This year (2006) we went to a house party and our friend Tony went as the Mayor from the movie! On a side note here, I couldn't help but notice how much $ handmade Sally costumes were going for on eBay so I decided to try my hand at it and made 2 extras. Hmmm, not really worth the extra time and effort.

3. Huge Egypt buffs. Would love to go there someday. So this was 2007. I got my vintage dress on eBay and went to the local costume store for my wig and jewelry. Jon rented all of his garb from the costume store too. And my luckiest find of all - a mummy Chihuahua to carry around! Won 2 contests again.

I've also been involved in events at work where I have dressed up. Departments have the option each year to decorate a conference room and then employee's children can come and Trick or Treat. In 2005 we did Wizard of Oz and I was Glinda the good witch and in 2006 we did Addams Family and I was Morticia. We get together after hours during the weeks leading up to it to design and create all of our decorations and props. I rented the costumes from this awesome local store we have. It's a must stop every year and it's one of those places that has anything and everything you are looking for. It's right across the street from my Art Center. I love supporting them rather than the corporate places that roll into town for only a few months every year.
Anyway, what am I going to be this year you ask? I think we are taking a break from dressing up this year. Since I get so into it, it does become time consuming and expensive. But I love sharing my passion and actually am loaning my Corpse Bride costume to a friend who has a wedding to go to (how cool to have a Halloween themed wedding)! I do have an annual luncheon/contest at work that I will probably dress up for. I will either wear something I already have or ??? The one thing we might do is hold a small cocktail party for a few friends. I would love to try some of the cool drink and finger food recipes that I have seen.

I do have a quick jewelry update - I sold 3 necklaces at work today! I think I am going to take the rest to a store that I sell at and let the owner choose which new pieces she would like, and collect any pieces back from her that aren't moving. Once I do that, I will decide what to list on Etsy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I was like a machine.

Well, I accomplished what I set out to do today - I made 9 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings, and 1 bracelet. It was a great day! I guess a few weeks of only enough time to jot down or sketch ideas paid off because I knew what I wanted to do and I had all the supplies gathered to do it. There are still a few ideas on the list, but that's what next weekend is for right? With a hair appointment, vet appointment and tests in both of my classes this week I know I won't get back in the studio until next weekend. Esh!

Unfortunately, since it had gotten dark out by the time I was done I could not get very good pictures of my progress. However, here is a shot of a few.....
Everything was very Fall themed with lots of leaves, metals, and earthy stones. I was recently inspired to try a new component after seeing Lorelei use a few in her designs. I have walked by these wired circles time and time again at my local store, never giving them a second thought. Now I am hooked on them and used many of them in different shapes and metal finishes. I even took the wire off one of them and had lots of ideas of re-wiring it with seed beads or something, someday.

I took breaks throughout the day to do a load of laundry or wash dishes. Jon was studying all day and he went to the corner store for nourishment for us. Not the most healthy (pizza, Combos, and a Little Debbie Brownie) but oh well. I later took a break to go to my Art Center's 60th Anniversary party. It coincided with the opening of the new exhibit and an outdoor art sale that had been postponed due to the heavy rains a few weeks ago. Please do check out the link, as it is a great place and I am so happy to be involved with it!

So, you must be wondering what I am going to do with all the new jewelry I made..... I think first I am going to take it into work tomorrow. One of my friends there asked for 4 necklaces for Christmas gifts so I am going to give her first pick. A few other ladies have voiced interest in seeing my things so I will show it to them as well. Wouldn't it be great if I can home empty handed! But then again, I would like to list more things on Etsy....... We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


First, I should say congrats to our friends Mark & Melissa who tied the knot yesterday. A Friday wedding is such a cool concept because it feels like a Saturday, but then you realize you have the whole rest of the weekend! I took the day off yesterday in high hopes of sleeping in after an exhausting week, and then leisurely getting ready. But alas, that was shot when my hubby announced he was taking the day off too and we had to do a last minute shopping trip for his attire. At any rate, here is a pic of the happy couple (I think they have frosting on their noses) and a shot of me and my man!

So then I looked ahead to sleeping in today, Saturday. I must be getting old because no matter how tired I may be, my body does not allow me to sleep in anymore. I remember the days of lazing in bed until 11:00 or so.... Now, if I can make it until 9:00 I am lucky! The dogs get us up early but I was always able to ease back into bed for a few more hours. I always though people who got up early when they didn't have to on the weekends were crazy. Hmmm, I guess it is nice though because you can get a lot more done and I think I've replaced sleeping in with mid-day naps, something I never used to do and don't really do often anyway because I feel guilty for not doing something creative while I have the spare time.

I ran out on a few errands this afternoon and was disappointed that I could not find the new Stringing magazine at Barnes & Noble, Michael's, or Hobby Lobby! Lorelei mentioned on her blog she already found a copy. I guess I could call Joann's tomorrow to see if they have it. I might as well subscribe to the darn thing, especially now that Michael's no longer allows you to use their coupons on books or magazines. Has anyone else noticed that yet? That reminds me to call their 800 # to voice my disappointment in that. My other disappointment came when I discovered they did not have the newest lines from Blue Moon Beads (Enchanted Planet and Global Nomad) yet. I got an email advertising the new collections and I know, I KNOW, from looking at the website that there is a peacock pendant! I want it! And some cool owl stuff. I am so anxious to see it all and create with it!

Other than that, Jon and I ran out to see the Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie. Because we have chihuahuas and are totally in love with them. It was very cute! I got some of my Halloween/Fall decor up today and plan to spend the entire day tomorrow working on jewelry. I must, for my own sanity! Stay in my pajamas, drink tea, and gaze out the window while I create! Oh wait, I think the Art Center has a event I need to go to...... And my Faerie Tale Theatre DVD's showed up today. How distracting..... MUST. FOCUS.

Peacock Fairy, quite contrary, how does your Anne Choi grow?

Wasn't that a nursery rhyme? Mary, Mary quite contrary....

Okay, anyway.... in a previous blog I talked about how my original necklace with my Anne Choi beads became one of those designs that made me lay awake at night wondering how to improve it. The original necklace was of a length meant to be worn on a bare neck with a neckline that allowed that. I wore the necklace like that a few weekends ago and because the owl beads are so substantial, they did not lay right. So, I decided to make it longer. I've been making a lot of long necklaces lately for my own personal collection. I guess I love how they can dress up a plain shirt so much and they are so easy to throw on. Usually, I am one who makes a necklace that I love and then I have to go out shopping for the right kind of top - color and neckline in mind. (see, with normal people they probably buy their clothes first and then accessories)

So, I added length to it with some linked chains (in the metal colors I was using) from a necklace I found at Target. I wove a few more of the beads (from the necklace from Kohl's I'd already used on the bottom) on one side and added the owl description tag from Jennifer Stumpf. So in total, I used necklaces from 3 different stores (Express, Target and Kohl's) to complete this necklace. Some artists might dislike the fact that I used pieces of premade jewelry, but with my tight time schedule lately it made this piece go together quickly and gave me a sense of accomplishment and instant gratification that I could wear my artist beads right away. Trust me, not everything I do is like this......