Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Crunch Time

My days have been filled with work preparations for our family's Christmas celebration. I have been decorating. I have been baking.  I have been celebrating the Christmas season with family and friends.  Here are a few pics of what we have been up to around here. 

Decorating stocking.. The kids decorate their own stockings each year, glitter, glue, wiggly eyes. I have a pile of stockings that are dated for each of the boys.

Decorating the piano and putting up the stockings.  Each of the kids stockings reflect their own 'unique' personalities.  

Decorating the tree - We decided to go with a live tree this year.  The decorating ended when the tree was so full that every new ornament made another ornament fall off the tree.

Decorating for the annual Christmas party
 In this quirky house, a traditional single wreath just won't work.  So our interpretation of a snowman wreath.

The Christmas party - a joyous occasion filled with family, friends, food and fun.  One of my most favorite days of the year.

The food 

The family and friends

The crafts 

The fun - The left / right game with kids that don't necessarily know their left hand from the right hand.. interesting to say the least.

It seemed that a fun time was had by everyone.  Now for Christmas ..... 

Much love,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some Easy Peasy Earrings

Brenda Sue Landsdowne of B'Sue Boutiques is hosting an Easy Peasy Earring Design Challenge on her B'Sue Boutique Creative Group on Flickr.  I was finally able to sit down with some components and create today.

The first pair includes raw brass eyepins that I bent into earwires (*see B'sue Youtube video to see how its done) , 2 different size brass ox jump rings, and some brass ox dove charms (all from B'sue Boutiques). I believe that the connector is also from B'sue but I didn't write it down :( Then I added some lovely blue ceramic beads from Seven Seas Beads.  

 This second pair also uses the raw brass eyepins, 10mm brass ox jumps and Tim Holtz Philosophy tags: the left one says Breathe and the right says Simplify from B'Sue Boutiques. The beads on the earwire are 8mm baroque cut Czech glass beads from Gypsy Spirit Studio, and the focal bead is a blue ceramic from Seven Seas Beads.

This third pair includes another set of 8mm baroque cut Czech glass from Gypsy Spirit Studio. Then brass ox connectors, brass ox jumps, and raw brass earwires (from B'sue Boutiques). Finally, the focal beads are another set purchased from Seven Seas Beads.

I have been hoarding the adorable diamond shaped owl charms from Menagerie Studio and decided that this is the perfect project.  In addition to the cute charms, I have used raw brass eyepins, and 9mm rose ox filagree balls from B'sue Boutiques. The chain is a copper chain that I received in my Lima Beads challenge set, but I cannot remember what it is called. :(

 This last pair is my favorite overall. Again, I used the raw brass eyepins to create the earwires, added 10mm brass ox jump rings, double posie heart charms, and kissing doves on a perch charms both from B'sue Boutiques.  I added rectangular etched copper charms from Orrtec and the chain in the back is rustic antiqued copper flat oval link chain from Antiqued

I hope that you enjoy my spurt of creativity.  I know that I had fun creating these sets.

Much Love, 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How time flies...

Oh how time flies for me this time of the year.  With a house full of boys, my job and my schoolwork, I have disappeared from the jewelry making world.  I haven't even looked at my jewelry table in about a month, and most obviously I haven't blogged since the beginning of November.  Life is hectic for just about everyone this 
time of the year with Thanksgiving, Christmas and all of the other holiday celebrations.  Even though the winter months seem to be the most hectic in my little world, they are my happiest times of the year.  

Thanksgiving was a wonderful celebration.  I was able to spend time making pies with my second mom, help my husband with Thanksgiving dinner, spend time with my best friend, and enjoy the company of my sister and her children.  A couple of extra days off from work always makes me smile smile smile.

All of my Christmas shopping for the kids is complete - I have no idea how that happened, but it did and I didn't even step one foot into a mall or Walmart or other store - it makes me want to jump jump jump for joy! We will be going off to the Christmas Tree farm this weekend so that the kids can pick out their very first 'real' Christmas Tree.  I have a feeling that I am probably more excited about it than they are.

Our annual Christmas party is in the planning stages.  The kids (*and I) are very excited about this annual tradition.  We are making lists of foods, games, crafts and fun to share with family and friends.  The wearing of pjs is highly recommended in order to enjoy the movie The Polar Express properly ** and of course hot chocolate is served.

Shortly after the Christmas party is the annual jaunt around town to take in the sites of the Christmas spirit.  Christmas lights, decorations and manger scenes are a delightful way to spend a night with the kids.

Then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with all the joy that the holiday brings.  The special light that shines in a child's eyes as they prepare for Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve - reindeer food is a necessity along with cookies and milk - and again on Christmas morning when they wake to see what is waiting under the tree.  I only have a few short years left of 'Santa Clause'.  Christmas dinner with family and friends finishes off the day. 

I hope to spend more time with my blog and jewelry as the new year dawns.

Much Love and Blessed Holiday Wishes

Friday, November 4, 2011

Andrew Thornton's October Bead Challenge

I must apologize to everyone who is stopping by to see my creations for Andrew's challenge.  I just received the beads in the post Wednesday.  That being said I don't have my challenge piece created yet. I hope that you will stop back by on Monday to see my creation(s).

Much Love

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Each day this month I am going to post about something or someone that I am thankful for to celebrate the month of Thanksgiving.  Some days it may be a story, some days just a photo.  I hope that you enjoy the peak into my world.

Today I am thankful for the most fantastic 14 years with my husband.  I know that it is cliche to say "He completes me", but he really does.  He balances me with his fun personality, kind heart, and light-hearted spirit.  

Much Love

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do Over Challenge - Blog Hop

Yay!! The reveal date is finally here... of course, I didn't start actually assembling my pieces until last night.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the challenge - Jeannie is hosting her second Do Over Challenge.  She sends you a piece of jewelry that she feels is tired and boring; and your challenge is to create a brand new piece using at least 50% of the original piece.

So without further ado - Here is what she sent me:

And here is what I created:

First a memory wire bracelet.  I added different shades of red Czech glass and Swarovski crystal beads and some brass bead caps.  I used the large pieces from the necklace as well as some of the smaller Czech pieces.  I am still working out a dangle for this.

The second is a retro-glam style bracelet.  I used the small black Czech glass from the necklace; added some Czech glass pearls and some Swarovski spacers.

Here are the links to all the other participants.. I cannot wait to go through and see what everyone created!

Jeannie & Donna


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Adventures

After some prodding by Brenda Sue I have taken on the task of playing around with polymer clay in order to familiarize myself with it and the different things that can be done with it.  

So I thought that I would share with you some of the beads that I have created over the past week with this new medium (at least for me).

To start out, I thought that I would playing with marbling and here is what I created:
I marbled together some white and red Sculpey III.  I really love the different shades that these beads have. I tried two different shapes for these beads - round and oval. I had a little difficulty piercing the holes in some - at least when speaking of middle of the bead hole. 

Then I decided to try some of the texture stamps that I purchased.  For these, I used Sculpey III in beige (I wanted to be able to see the designs clearly so I thought that this color would be best.) 
For the left piece, I added color by the way of Guilder's Paste to this with a fingertip after baking.  The color didn't come out as I had hoped, but I think that with a little more practice I can get a better effect.  
The middle piece was baked and colored with Guilder's Paste after baking.  The effect is much better with this one.  
The third is an example of what happens when I don't apply even pressure to the roller when adding a texture stamp.  The left-hand side has only a faint impression.

Then I tried my hand at a cane.  Unfortunately, the clay was soft and ended up melding together.  So rather than waste the clay, I decided to use it as a marble effect. Below are the results.
I created a few flat circular pieces and added texture to these.  The larger circles have a hole in the top, while the smaller circles have a whole in the center.
I also created a round bead and had better luck with a straighter hole this time. 
The final piece was a larger round bead that I decided to make into a teardrop.
Not bad for my first attempt although creating the hole through the bead misshaped the smaller end.

Using the same clay as above, I thought I would attempt a crude toggle clasp. 
I have baked this and thought that it would be nice to add the wire after baking this first time.  I think that next time I will try to bake it with the wire in place.  The round part of the toggle has some texture added with the piercing tool.  The hole (which isn't pictured is in one side.  The toggle part has a whole pierced through the center.  

And here they are all together.
All in all, I must say that I am a little bit proud of my creations.  

And most of all I am proud of this piece that Aidan (my 8 yr old created). 
I am not sure how many of you can guess what it is .. I will will just tell you. It is a turtle with a rainbow in its back.  He not only created this, using Pluffy Clay, but he also narrated the entire time as if he was making an instructional video.  I will have to pull out the video camera next time to capture his hidden talent. 

Thanks for stopping by to see what my son and I created.  Hope to see you again really soon.

Much Love,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sleep?? What's that?

So much has been going on in my life recently, that I really think that a weekend away with my BFF is in order really soon!!  Here's the rundown of what craziness is going on over here.

The reveal date for the Do Over Challenge hosted by Jeannie is October 26th!  I am so excited.  To get more info head over to her blog to see what the challenge is all about.

I have been playing with Polymer clay (and so have the kids and even my husband) after some prodding from Brenda Sue and the rest of the crew at B'Sue Boutiques Flickr group.  I will have some pics and a post this weekend to show what I have been doing.  It is definitely harder than it looks on the YouTube videos that I have been watching.  I will be off this weekend to find me some fantastic books and to buy a couple different kinds of the polymer clay to decide which I like working with the best.

School : Not just school for me - which is going fantastic so far - but also for my 12 yr old.  My husband and I decided to go ahead and make the switch to cyber school.  It is basically public school that our son completes online so that he can work at a pace that is best for him.  This week has been filled with tears - his and mine - and frustration - again his and mine - and wonderful accomplishments - definitely HIS.  Slowly but surely we are making our way through.

Hope to see you back this weekend for some more fabulous posts.  If anyone has any suggestions on books for polymer clay, or which brand works best for different designs - I am all ears!

Much love,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fun for me!!

The Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop hosted by B'Sue is over and I am a little sad.  The hop was fun and exciting.  It was so much fun to hop from blog to blog to see what the different participants created.  Each piece was unique and beautiful.  Most interesting of all is how many participants had never worked with Sari Ribbon before.  

Here is another shot of my piece 

To see photos of the different pieces that were created during the hop you can follow the links in my post here or go to Flickr to B'sue Boutiques Creative Group.  These photos as well as many others with pieces created with components from B'sue Boutiques can be found in the Flickr photos.  There are discussions going on about another upcoming hop, individuals looking for ideas or help, how different people started their jewelry making journey, and more.

Right now, I am most excited about the discussion going on around the theme for the next hop (maybe in January)!!  The theme is POLYMER CLAY!!  I have never used polymer clay before, but have always wanted a "reason" to buy supplies and get started playing with something new.  

Today I went out and bought some basic supplies because I just couldn't wait any longer to start playing.  So Aidan and I have been having fun tonight conditioning clay, learning that if the clay crumbles it is usually beyond repair, and playing with cutters, textures and colorizing.

I will be taking photos of my trial and error pieces as I learn this new medium and what it can offer.  I am already excited about what I can do with it.  I am watching different YouTube videos, reading tutorials and playing with the clay.  

Although down the road (at least around the curve), I am super excited about making my own canes to create signature looks for my own work.  How awesome is that!? Handmade by me with more handmade by me.  

The possibilities are endless when clay is involved.  I am only beginning to see what can be done with this wonderful medium.  I hope that you will join me in my exploration of polymer clay.

Much love, 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sari Ribbon Blog Hop

Today is the reveal day for the Sari Ribbon Blog Hop hosted by Brenda Sue at B'sue Boutiques.

Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop

And here is what I created for the hop

I braided Sari Ribbon and Gypsy Ribbon that I purchased from B'sue.  I incorporated some wonderful beads from Gaea .  Rather than wire wrap the beads and attach with jump rings.  I coiled the excess wire of the headpin and connected it by stringing it on the gypsy ribbon prior to braiding.  To finish it off, I added a Vintaj Natural Brass Swirl Clasp.

Below is a close up of the clasp area.  I need to work on the colors so I will probably rewrap the ends in Vintaj Natural Brass wire and remove the copper and well as update the jumps that I used to better match the clasp.  Also, Any suggestions on how to finish off the ribbon ends would be appreciated.

I hope that you enjoyed my creation.  Here are the links for the other participants in the hop.

Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop

Vickie Wills

Susan Kennedy

Michelle Mach

Michelle Lee Hardy

Ruth Crawford

Hilary Frye, FryeStyle

Diana P.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques

Elizabeth Owens-Dwy

Connie Rios-Relyea

Jennifer Justman

Deb Davis

Cathie Carroll

Rosemary Cowit

Georgene Lockwood

Cathy Buckley

Harry Wood

Sonya Stille

Mary Deis

Heather Goldsmith

Susan Rouleau

Terry Matusyk

Pam Chesbro

Mary Shannon Hicks

Janice Everett


Kristina Johansson, Maneki

Kris Binsfeld



Catherine Jeltes


Sharon Palac

Deb Beechy

Jean Yates

Patrice Pfeiffer

Dorcas Midkiff

Lynn Perry Bennett

Linzi Alford


Cynthia Wainscott
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp
Alice Craddick

And here you will be able to see all the participants photos.

B'sue Boutiques Creative Group

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lima Beads Challenge

Lorelei and Shannon teamed up with to create this stunning kit.

First let me begin by saying that the colors in this kit are outside of the colors that I normally use.  To challenge myself a little bit more, I decided that I was going to create at least two necklaces from the kit. Since I usually only work with bracelets, this was a stretch for me.  So for my reveal, I will be showing the two necklaces.

On the first one, I used a few of the Turquoise Zebra Jasper Tumbled Nuggets and one of the Lemon chrysoprase ovals.  I added some rustic antiqued copper chain from Antiqued and a Vintaj natural brass hook and eye clasp that I purchased through LimaBeads.  The focal pendant is ceramic from Seven Seas Beads

The second necklace was created using the Czech Glass Gladiola Flower Buttons, the Vintaj Brass Framed Scrollwork pendant, one of the Czech Glass Luster Transparent Amethyst Teardrop, and the MissFickleMedia Patinated Violet Oval Toggle Clasp from the kit.  From my stash I added ceramic beads from Gaea, very vintage filagree stampings from GypsySpiritStudio, and circular rings links antiqued brass chain from Antiqued.

Thanks for stopping by to see some of my creations with this wonderful kit.  I will post more pictures of more creations from this kit later this month.

Use the links below to view all the other participants in the challenge.

Much love,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Very Vintage Challenge

Today is the day to reveal the what I made with the Very Vintage fall challenge kit from Michelle Mach.

I was so excited to get started on my project that I didn't snap a photo of the kit when I received it, but here is a photo from Michelle's blog

And here is one of the items that I created, a bracelet

I incorporated the Vintaj branch and used a hole punch to create a hole in each end of the branch.  Then 24g copper wire was used to attach 2 leaves to the branch by wire wrapping.  The acorn bead cap that was included in the kit was added to a ceramic bead from Gaea.  Another ceramic bead from Gaea was transformed into a link with wire wrapped loops.  I added Gypsy Ribbon from B'Sue Boutiques, a small amount of antique brass chain from Antiqued and a toggle clasp from Miss Fickle Media.

I will have more photos of another creation later this week, I am having some technical difficulties with my camera and so am unable to upload to my computer.

Please take a moment to visit the other participants in the Very Vintage fall challenge


Michelle H.
Firefly Visions

Michelle M.
Beads & Books

Blog by Salla

Falling into the Sky

Shaiha's Ramblings

MiShel Designs

Beads and Bread

Pixybug Designs

Pearl and Pebbles

Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry

The Bead Junkie

Much Love, 

Friday, September 30, 2011

So Much Going On

Looking for my BSBP post click here ----->  BSBP Reveal
There has been so much going on I feel like I have been neglecting all of you.  For that I am so sorry.  So here are some updates.

1 -  Very Vintage Challenge hosted by Michelle Mach - the reveal is coming on Tuesday October 4th.  Make sure to come back to see what I create with the wonderful components that were in the kit.

2 - MBA - As most of you know I am pursuing my MBA in my spare time (not really sure what that is but I have a tiny bit of it).  I am about to finish my 3rd class and begin my 4th on Tuesday .. its a math class - please pray

3 - B'Sue Boutiques Creative Group - Brenda Sue Landsdowne has started a Flickr group that is meant to highlight the finished pieces that we all make from her wonderful components.  If you haven't heard about B'Sue Boutiques you need to check out her blog Jewelry Making Outside the Box, her FB Fan Page, or her website B'sue Boutiques.  She also has an Etsy shop and instructional videos on YouTube

4 - Work is picking up the pace as the end of the year grows near.  I will be increasing the number of hours at work, which means a decrease in the amount of time that I get to spend reading your blogs, looking at your creations, and designing my own.

5 - A well deserved mini vacation is on its way tomorrow.  I will be heading to Pigeon Forge, TN for some outlet shopping with the ladies in my church.  We will only be gone for the day, but oh I cannot wait for a little escape of nothing but fun.

6 - There are more design challenges coming up that I will be participating in with links to my original posts that will link you back to the challenge /  blog hop details.  I will post more about each of them as the reveal dates get closer.
       a - Lima Beads Challenge - hosted by Lorelei Eurto and Shannon Chomanczuk - reveal date 10/08
       b - Sari Ribbon Blog Hop - hosted by Brenda Sue Landsdowne - reveal date 10/14
       c - Do Over Challenge - hosted by Jeannie - reveal date 10/26

I hope to return to my regular blog schedule soon.  If you know of anyone who would like to be a featured artist, please let me know.

Much love,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Very Vintage Challenge

If you're here for soup, Bead Soup that is click ***** HERE ******

I am gearing up for the Very Vintage Challenge that Michelle Mach is hosting.  I love the items in the kits and have some ideas swirling around.

Here is a peak at the components that could be included in the kits 

I am keeping my goodies a secret until the reveal on October 4th.  Remember to come back and take a peak at what I create.

Hope to see you soon!  

Much Love

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party - Reveal!!!

The time has finally come to reveal my creation(s) with the items that I received from my BSBP partner Niki Meiners.  I can honestly say that this has been a challenge for me.  Here are the many incarnations of my BSBP piece(s) : 

I started with this one.  I used the blue on the left to highlight the blue in the beads.
However, I decided that this one just wasn't right.

So my second design was this one. I really liked the layout of this one. I was stumped with that to do with the chain because I felt it looked too plain and needed a little something extra.  *there are some extra pieces so you may see this one again*

This is my final creation and the one that I was the most satisfied with.  I love the mix of colors and textures. This piece includes the large focal piece and the clasp that Niki sent me.

But wait, I have another piece that has been with me throughout the whole process.  I love love love these earrings.  They are not heavy at all and look wonderful when worn.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look.  Click on the Bead Soup button on the left to see the list of all the other participants' blogs.  Take your time and enjoy the soup.

Much Love,