Monday, December 26, 2011

Surgery Tomorrow

Warning: I've got a couple of male readers- this post may make you uncomfortable. I'm sorry... You probably already noticed I'm female, but tonight I'm gonna focus on the consequences of me being female. The sum up for you is that I'm having a major surgery tomorrow, I'm not really happy about it, but I'm sure I'm making the right choice.

I have severe endometriosis, which is a nasty immune system disease. Endo basically means that the internal parts that make me a woman (uterus and ovaries), are messed up and flow backwards. Which means endometrial tissue ends up outside of the uterus and ovaries, where it forms cysts which bleed and hurt. I've had numerous cysts, three surgeries to remove them, plus ridiculous pain. I have ulcers from taking pain medication because of the endo. I am pretty much always anemic because I have severely heavy periods. My periods are normally heavy and close together, but for the last four or five months I've had a period every other week. I'm so very tired all the time...

After working with my gynecologist, I've made the decision to have a full hysterectomy- removing everything- uterus, ovaries. Obviously, we expect this to stop the overwhelming periods. But we are also hoping this alleviates the crazy pain I experience regularly.

I wasn't ready to stop having kids. I know I'm 40, but I wanted another baby and we have been trying for a while to get pregnant. Not happening...
It's very hard to lose the hope for another child. It is unlikely I could get pregnant again, since I was originally told I would probably never have children. Our girls are amazing miracles. However, a hysterectomy means no way, no how are we having another baby. And I'm very sad right now.... I'm really struggling with the consequences of this choice...

I am making the right decision, but it isn't the decision I wanted. I originally had wanted 6 kids. Crazy, huh? Growing up my favorite home to visit was my Aunt Cary's. She had 6 kids, and there was always somebody to do something with- we got into so much fun with them. That's what I wanted when I made my own family- 6 kids, sheer chaos. And then I was diagnosed with Endometriosis...

And told I wouldn't have kids at all. The fact that God gave me two should be enough, right? I had two miracles. And I want more. I want to be satisfied with what I have, and not be fighting so hard against this loss. I want to know this is right and be content with what needs to happen.

I know this will alleviate my symptoms- extreme pain, bleeding, cystic growth, anemia. I know my life will be a lot easier in many ways.

God, please help me accept and be content with this surgery. Help me recover quickly. Thank you that I am never alone, that you are always with me.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May the light and love of Jesus shine down upon you,
and may the joy of this season follow you throughout the coming year.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

HUGE Bazaar

Truth time:
We are freaking out. Beth & I are signed up to do the really big Carlson Holiday bazaar this weekend. It lasts 3 days- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And we are in way over our heads.
This bazaar costs more than the other three combined for us to get in, and we are really hoping we not only "make table" (our language for recouping the amount we spent to have a table), but increase our fan base, and sell lots of pretty things.
I sold all but one of my pearl necklaces (go me!) at Monroe, so I've been working like crazy to make more. Which means no blogging, and very little sleeping.
Hoping it all works out, and thankful that God blesses the work of his children's hands.
OH, yes. And by the way, if you're in Fairbanks this weekend, November 11, 12, or 13 we'd love to see you over at the Holiday Marketplace at the Carlson Center!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Fun Day- Golden Flowers

My big reveal! Here's what I've been working on lately... Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, Carnelians and Moss agate grace this necklace

of autumn golds.

In particular, I'm happy with the filigree flowers and burnt copper vintage look.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Smiles

On Saturday I post two or three things that make me smile:

1.) The Monroe Bazaar
Tomorrow (or later today, depending on how you view it), Beth & I will be selling our jewelry at the Monroe Holiday Bazaar. First off, I honestly enjoying selling our stuff, so that makes me smile. But secondly, our first bazaar was Monroe so we have really positive feelings about that one. We'd love to see you if you can make it.

2.) Costumes!
I love getting dressed up as someone else. It must be the actor in me, or else the part of me that loves costumes & dressing up is what drew me to acting... Hmmmm.... Never thought about it, but yes. Most of my favorite child-hood memories involve play-acting and pretending to be someone else. And we would create the best costumes!

3.) Chocolate
Yup. Nothing makes me smile like chocolate. :) I like dark chocolate, milk chocolate, minty chocolate, orange chocolate. You name it. The only kind I don't like is the stuff with coffee beans or espresso in it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anchorage Trip

We drove to Anchorage last week for medical purposes- a lung doctor for my mom and an eye doctor for my daughter. We had an excellent adventure.

Drove over some crazy metal thing on the way down, which popped both our passenger side tires, plus it dented the wheels... So thankful we went down in two vehicles!

We visited the Earthquake memorial in Anchorage, the Anchorage museum, a couple of bead stores, had dinner with friends, stayed in a nice hotel, and generally had fun.

Enjoyed the VASTNESS of Alaska- We hit a crazy snow storm on the way back up to Fairbanks, and a drive that should have taken us 7-8 hours ended up taking 10-11 hours.

Though the drives were beautiful & eventful both ways, they were not fun! Glad to be home!

Friday, October 14, 2011

All Things Work for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

We know…There are so many things we do not know. We do not know if the economy will dip or if our team will win. We do not know what our spouse is thinking or how our kids will turn out. We don’t even know “what we ought to pray” (Rom. 8:26). But according to Paul, we can be absolutely certain about four things. We know…

1. God works. He is busy behind the scenes, above the fray, within the fury. He hasn’t checked out or moved on. He is ceaseless and tireless. He never stops working.

2. God works for the good. Not for our comfort or pleasure or entertainment, but for our ultimate good. Since he is the ultimate good, would we expect anything less?

3. God works for the good of those who love him. Behold the benefit of loving God! Make his story your story, and your story takes on a happy ending. Guaranteed. Being the author of our salvation, he writes a salvation theme into our biography.

4. God works in all things. Panta, in Greek. Like “panoramic” or “panacea” or “pandemic.”All-inclusive. God works, not through a few things or through the good things, best things, or easy things. But in “all things” God works.

Puppet in the hands of fortune or fate? Not you. You are in the hands of a living, loving God. Random collection of disconnected short stories? Far from it. Your life is a crafted narrative written by a good God, who is working toward your supreme good.

From God’s Story, Your Story Copyright (Zondervan, 2011)
by Max Lucado

1,000 Posts!

I reached 1,000 posts! WOW! Pretty cool.

I write! I photograph! I create jewelry!
I'm not the most consistent blogger, but I am pleased to have made it this far.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Each Saturday I share about several things that make me smile.

1.) "I'm on the Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga

I admit- I like this song. It's catchy, it gets stuck in my head, it makes me smile... My girls love So You Think You Can Dance, and Lady Gaga performed "I'm on the Edge" for the show this last season. They flipped over the song. Kept singing it over & over...
I know it's about sex. Trust me, I know. They don't. And it doesn't really matter right now. They think it's about singing and performing and dancing. So the song makes me think of my girls dancing and singing and it makes me happy. (Unless they start singing it in the morning while we're all trying to get ready for school. 'Cuz then it's stuck in my head ALL day.)
I had almost no opinion about Lady Gaga until watching her on SYTYCD. She came across as intelligent, positive, and able to give a good critique. I'm not a huge fan, but I definitely like that song. I like her sense of style, and her commitment to the character. It's obvious she is as much an actor/performance artist as she is a singer. Also, I love the fact that she writes her own stuff.

2.) Chicken Teriyaki with rice
But it has to have pineapple, or forget it...

3.) Sharpie Pens

The perfect rainbow of colors! The new colors every year! The permanence! The brilliance! The long-lasting ink! I love Sharpie pens!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Fun Day- Collage Necklaces

I love building these collage necklaces. I love selecting each bead and piece and carefully balancing them just so with the other elements.
I enjoy wearing them, and imagining the person who might prefer the all copper one, or the all silver one.

I love choosing surprising elements- a bit of shell, a hand-made wire bead, 3 wood beads together...

In fact, they are as fun to make as they are to wear. A bit of elegance mixed with a big of whimsy and tied together with carefully twisted and worked wire.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday Smiles

On Saturdays I share 3 to 5 things that make me smile, and make my heart happy.

1.) My favorite pants
I've got two pair I just love: My green Carhartts (yes, that makes me Alaskan to the core, but I DON'T care) and my comfy beat-up pair of cropped hang out pants. The Carhartts take me out of the house looking good, and the cropped pants keep me happy at home.

2.) My husband's adventure photography
Jake & the girls finally got to go on an adventure over the weekend, and he took some great shots of the girls at an adventure spot in the Gilmore Valley out near Fox. They climbed and hiked, explored and snacked to their heart's content.


Around the Bend

3.) The coming Christmas Bazaar Season
I know I'm wacky, but I look forward to the bazaars Beth & I attend during the three months leading up to Christmas. They are incredibly hard work with long hours, and the 'on-call' nature of selling my own work reminds me of an art performance or strange play that lasts 7 to 8 hours with the actors then having to tear down the set...
Also, you would be shocked at some of the strange/wonky/rude things people will say... (Best not to repeat the most rude, but here's a rather funny one. A customer walks up and carefully looks at all our jewelry. She chooses one particular piece of mine, and says to her friend, "Now this one.... This one looks professional." I guess the rest didn't come up to her high standards? or they looked like my 5 year old made it?)
We don't do many Christmas bazaars (we're only signed up for 4 this year so far); but they are fun. We see some friends we don't see any other time, customers we don't get to visit with except at Christmas, and I enjoy the routine... I enjoy helping someone find the perfect gift for that special someone.
I enjoy getting ready, and setting up, and making our jewelry look beautiful. During Farmer's Market we mostly focus on just getting it out there, but during the Christmas bazaars we focus on making each piece look beautiful. As we have gotten deeper and deeper into crafting each component of our jewelry from the findings to the pendants, I think we find a deeper satisfaction in displaying our pieces.
Even with all the work involved, I still thoroughly enjoy participating in the Christmas bazaars here in Fairbanks, and the thought that they are coming soon makes me smile!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Me!!! on Jewelry Making Daily

My necklace was included in Tammy Jones' Jewelry Making Daily POST about the Bead Soup Blog Party! WOW.
I feel pretty special. =)
Thank you, Tammy! I'm amazed at some of the other lovely pieces in your post. I can't quite believe my name was on the same page with people like Sally Russick, and Lorelei Eurto!

My Sister and Me

My sister is a big part of my life. We make jewelry together, and we sell jewelry together. Right now, we are living together. Which mostly works, and sometimes doesn't. =)

We also share a blog HERE.

We take VERY poor care of our blog during the summer. Farmer's Market and all our other responsibilities tend to get in the way of posting regularly. However, we have committed to keeping better care of our blog! Our intention is to take turns posting each week. I kicked it off with a bit about the summer, and Beth took her turn this week. She shared about creating a piece from Andrew Thornton's monthly reader's challenge kit.

Take a moment and check out what she has to say about creating her Magic necklace HERE.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saturday Smiles

For the Bead Soup Blog Party post, please go HERE.

I finally get to start regularly posting Saturday Smiles! Farmer's Market is over and the cold weather is coming, so my life reverts to more indoor activities. Or at least more child directed activities.
Both of my girls are involved in dance this year, and Deborah gets to be a mouse in the local production of The Nutcracker! She is thrilled and I'm a little over-whelmed.

On Saturdays, I try to share 3 to 5 items, people or memories that have made me smile during the previous week. The order is unimportant and sometimes my items are a little silly.

1.) Shamrocks
I grew up with shamrocks in the house. My mom has this incredible green thumb and anywhere we lived we had plants all through our home. The first plant I remember caring for was a shamrock.
Beth found a lovely variegated shamrock at Farmer's Market on the last day, took it home and gave it to our mom. We have all been enjoying it's presence in the dining area.

2.) Abigail likes school this year!!

Abigail HATED kindergarten. With a passionate and unembarrassed hatred. She would cry for at least 20 minutes every school morning before we left the house, and I would end up dragging her through the halls to her class and pushing her into the room. I felt bad, but after talking it over with her & her teacher, and visiting the class (Remember, I work in the school) I felt compelled to leave her in that class.

Her biggest expressed reason for hating kindergarten was, "I hate being told what to do!" While I understand her problem (I don't really like being told what to do either), I'm afraid there really isn't anybody who doesn't get told what to do sometimes. And if we'd chosen to turn it into a teacher issue and moved her into a different class-room, I think Abigail would have gotten the idea that she could cry her way out of anything... Plus, though I don't think her kindergarten teacher was the absolute best fit, I just don't think that was the bigger issue. I think the bigger issue was that she really didn't like having someone else tell her what to do, and that I probably should have held her back another year.

I don't know if that's true, but I do know that Abigail struggles to be still, has a stubborn streak a mile-wide just like her mama and that her Kindergarten teacher would address it head on. Her first grade teacher this year has a daughter who is very similar to Abigail, and instead of butting heads with Abigail she generally chooses to go around her, and give her the opportunity to choose to cooperate.

All I know for sure is that this year is working. Whether she's just old enough now, or more mature, or has a teacher that fits her learning style better, Abigail LOVES first grade. She doesn't have an assigned space, she doesn't have to stay at one desk or one table, and she gets to move a lot.

Sometimes Abigail says "I don't want to go to school" in the morning just like last year, but it's more like she feels that she SHOULD say it. She delights in choosing her clothes, and getting herself dressed, and getting her hair done. She hugs me at the school doors in the morning, and runs off to her class.

And it makes me smile.

3) Deborah is soaring, as usual.

I don't know how this girl got so smart... Some of it from me, and some of it from her daddy. But some of it is just an amazing gift. She's a talented author and illustrator with a delightful imagination, she has an amazing ear for music, she loves to dance and move, she does well in reading, in math, and in science.

Her struggle (just like me and her daddy) is with the social stuff. She struggles to share her feelings, find friends, and express what happened during the day. For the most part, we are able to help her translate those feelings into words. Except for her anger.

Her temper comes straight from her daddy. I tend to internalize anger and stew over it. It blasts out of Deborah, and often ends up hurting her as much as the object of her anger. I want to help her! But I feel so helpless. I know she gets scared at how out of control she feels. Her daddy still struggles with his anger and has a very hard time dealing with his lighting-quick temper.

But oh! Her singing and artistry. Her delight in doing school work well. Those things make me smile. I love watching her grasp and understand the concepts she is working with in her homework. I love reading her stories!

She makes me smile.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

For the Bead Soup Blog Party post, please go HERE.

I cleaned off my bead tray! I spent over an hour on Monday and put all my left-overs away from the bead soup blog party. I love a clean tray. Honestly, I think better when I have an empty space to start laying out beads and ideas.
I decided to create a collage-style necklace in golds, browns and greens. So I pulled out a bunch of my larger beads and started playing. I hope to have it done pretty soon. But life keeps interfering. I haven't been able to touch it today. We'll see...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall leaves

For the Bead Soup Blog Party post, please go HERE.

The leaves were so lovely on Saturday, that I took time from from speaking to customers at Farmer's Market to take some photos. Very fun.
I love our patchwork hills right now. We get patches of different colored leaves, with different trees and evergreens. The hills are far enough from the center of town to be kind of foggy, but they are still pretty.

I enjoy fall so much, but still feel the pressure of imminent winter... Winter here in central Alaska is so cold and dark. I can feel the autumnal Equinox coming- as the days get darker and chillier, I start feeling more and more trepidatious & pessimistic. The clinging darkness of January & February make me want to gather as much sun as I can during this time.

The piles of fallen leaves remind me of the soon and coming drifts of snow, the icy roads, and the shrinking hours of sun-light.

Ah, well. I need to enjoy the days I am experiencing right now rather than fret myself into worrying over what isn't even here yet.

This is the parking at the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market on Saturday. We were so busy! Our last weekend of the season, and many people grabbed this chance to pick up veggies, berries, and early Christmas presents. Beth & I didn't sell as much as we wanted, but we had many customers confirming our bazaar season dates. So far, we're only signed up for four Christmas bazaars, but we could pick up a few more on the way. We have one in late October, two in November, and one in early December. I'll post about them as we get closer to those dates.

Enjoy the fading leaves of fall where-ever you are!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party- My Big Reveal!

The fabulous Lori Anderson has arranged yet another Bead Soup Blog Party.

I am delighted to be part of this exciting event!

A Bead Soup Blog Party goes like this:
First, Lori carefully pairs up everyone who signs up (There were 362 of us!). Then we select a focal bead, a toggle and some coordinating beads and send them to our partner. After we receive the goodies our partner has sent us, each participating beader must use the toggle and the focal to create a completely new piece of jewelry.

My partner was the lovely Pamela Petry of Seeing is Believing. Look at the pendants she sent me! I liked them all, but in particular fell in love with the little birdie.

I love my bead soup, too! Look at all the different turquoise beads and the wood shapes. I was all excited to get started and nervous that I might not make something 'good'. I didn't want to disappoint Pamela or Lori. And I didn't want 300 people coming to my blog and hating what I did! Too much negative pressure!!
I'm glad Lori sent us a letter to remind us that we won't please everybody. There's no way you can please that many people. So, I decided to please myself. Since I LOVED the pieces I had to work with, I thought I might like the end result, too...

I was right! I do like my finished 'Birdie Necklace'.

I like the shapes and textures. I like the sparkly turquoise crystals and the pink glass rounds. I like the unique wood shapes. My favorite metal is copper, so I was able to throw myself wholeheartedly in to finding copper bits to match the clasp. I tried to add a couple other beads, but nothing matched the simple woodsy elegance of the pendant, beads and clasp. The only pieces I added from my stash were the two copper chains- the heavy chain around the back of the necklace and the lighter chain I used to make a bail.

There were several new pieces/ideas I hadn't worked with before:

1) The color pink= I admit it. I avoid pink. I rarely like it, and it has very negative connotations for me. Girlieness and popularity and school stuff. Blech. But I really liked the shape of those pink glass rounds.

2) The glass rounds= I've never worked with glass rings. I've used some large metal rings, but never glass ones. And I was excited to see what I could do with them. I've seen that beading-wire braid before, and thought it was perfect to try with this necklace.

3) The ceramic focal= I love ceramic pieces, but I've never found anything quite like Pamela's pendants. They are light yet earthy. Rich in color and texture, but decorated with light & airy colors. I loved the whimsy of this birdie.

My birdie necklace doesn't look as beautiful in this next picture, but the whole thing is laid out and visible from top to bottom.

Thank you for visiting My Place! I hope you enjoyed the beads and the big reveal. =)
Return HERE, for Lori's partner list to continue on your blog hop journey.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leaf Bracelet in Red

I love working on my leaf bracelets. I love creating the leaf component. I love choosing, stringing and braiding the beads & chain. I love watching customers try them on.

My red bracelet was the last one from the summer.

However, I have one more leaf component to put together into a bracelet, and then they'll be gone until the spring when I can get back into the metal-smithing shop.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


For about the last week I've been a little moody and I kept thinking about the 'Good Old Days'... My family down in Oregon, our church-family in Seattle, my college friends from UAF, my Company-family (the drama team I traveled with for 5 years). I was thinking how much I miss all those people, and how much I want to go back to those times and do things better ('cuz I hope I'm a little more grown up, and can make better choices!)

I even ended up in a silly argument with my husband on Saturday. About money and financial decisions and blah-blah-blah... And yes, I started the argument, and it got a little heated. But we got it worked out, we apologized, made up and we're okay now...

It wasn't until I was watching one of the 9/11 reports Sunday night that I finally figured out what was going on. I was focusing on my relationships, all the loss (and my life has had enough leaving to create a lot of loss) I'm thankful for all the amazing experiences I've had, but sometimes it's shocking to look at how much my life has changed over the years.

And I've been feeling sad that I can't go back in time to those precious moments and enjoy them again. That I can't go back to travelling and performing. That I don't even have the time to perform in local productions. That I don't teach drama anymore. That I don't have the freedom I had in Seattle and Fort Worth. I've been wallowing in my 'might-have beens' and my 'wish-I-coulds'...

I believe there are very few things that are eternal- God and our souls (the part of us that holds our personality & inviduality, memories & experiences). That's it. Everything else will pass- our stuff, our accomplishments, our money. In the end all we will have will be the eternal things.

I want to focus on what matters- my relationships with those around me, and my relationship with Jesus. I want to spend my limited resource (ME- my time and energy) on what is precious and valuable. Not on what will go away...

song- Blessed Be Your Name

I just learned that the song Blessed Be Your Name, written by Matt Redman and his wife Beth was born out of the times after 9/11.

"'Blessed Be Your Name' stems from the story of our lives," Matt explains. "Both Beth and I had tough upbringings—a lot of different issues to do with fathers—and over the years we've come to realize that worshiping God is a choice, and the best choice we'll ever make."

Matt and Beth were on sabbatical in the U.S. during the September 11 terrorist attacks. They wrote "Blessed Be Your Name" while in the shadow of those tragic events.

"It struck me how little a vocabulary we have in church worship music to respond appropriately in dark times of life," Matt says. "We all face seasons of pain and unease. And in those times we need to find our voice before God. The church, and indeed the world, needs songs of lamentation."
(I found this quote HERE.)

I loved the song before, but understand it in a new and fresh way now that I know it's history...

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Bead Soup Blog Party

Look at this map!

I'm so excited to be part of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My Bead Soup!

My bead soup is here!!! And I love it!

Just look at these fabulous pendants from my amazingly talented partner:
Pamela Petry of Seeing is Believing
Look at that birdie (top right)! I like the other two, but I'm in love with the bird.

And look at my bead soup!!!
I'm so looking forward to diving into these beads and creating something lovely.
I love all the turquoise- the flowers, the crystals, and the glass rectangles.

And the wood! Look at all those fun shapes.

Come back September 17 and see what I create!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party Partners

For the list of Bead Soup Blog Party September 2011 participants and blogs, please go HERE.

Okay, I tried to do this really cool post with all the partners listed, but I could NOT get my computer or Blogger to cooperate. Instead of a neat & attractive list, I got this huge scrawly lengthy mess. And I tried to edit it, and for whatever reason could not achieve success.
I'm sorry. I wanted to have all the partners right here, easy to find, and then when somebody got to my site, they could just go down the list to the next partners... But I absolutely could not make my computer choose to participate.

Pioneer Park

Today was our final day for working at Pioneer Park!

Much as I love the quiet time of going in to the little cabin on Monday to sell stuff and perhaps to bead or read, I am delighted to have the day back. Now I will be home for my husband's days off and we can spend some time together.

The only bad thing about our summer jobs is that we both do retail/tourist stuff. Which means we rarely get days off, and if we do they are never the same day.

So all summer he has had Monday off, and I have worked on that day. Not that moms really get a 'day off', but I wish I had a day with Jake. A whole day with little to nothing planned... or to go for a long drive just Jake and me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Smiles Return

I haven't been able to do my smiles in a while because of SUMMER.

During summer I:
go to Farmer's Market twice a week (Wednesday & Saturday),
go to Pioneer Park once a week (Monday),
madly string and twist jewelry to keep up with the demand,
take my girls to swimming lessons,
take care of my mom,
take my youngest to her twice a week therapy sessions (Occupational therapy, an entirely different story, and a getting better all the time situation)
and try to keep food in the house.

It's a busy life. I like it, but that doesn't mean I keep up with everything.
During the summer, I don't keep a particularly clean house, I don't make hot dinners every night, and I don't get to read much. And my blog suffers...

However, school started Thursday of this week! Which means summer is just about over here in the far north. And I can blog regularly again! =)

Three things that make me smile:

1.) New school supplies
sharpened pencils, clean erasers, new crayons, fresh paper

2.) Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books
I love this urban fantasy series- gritty mysteries with werewolves, vampires and fairies. A new one just came out and I haven't been able to read it yet because of SUMMER! But I'll have it read very soon.

3.) Fairy tales
I prefer the old country fairy tales, Grimm's Fairy Tales, the Andrew Lang's colored fairy tale books - Donkeyskin, Puss in Boots, The Golden Ball, Rose Red... They fired my imagination and fueled my dreams. As much as I enjoy the Disney cartoon versions, his re-telling of the old stories were much sweeter, lighter and more pious than the originals. The originals were gritty, cunning and blood-thirsty enough to satisfy any vampire addict.


That's how many people are participating in the Bead Soup Blog Party!
That's crazy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

I'm so excited to be in another Bead Soup Blog Party!!!!

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things absolutely rocks, and she arranges for a lovely bead soup party regularly. I got to participate in the second one, and here I am again for the fourth one!

The way it works is pretty straight-forward. You sign up, and through Lori's magic you are paired up with another jewelry artist. Each person chooses the ingredients for a bead soup: a focal bead, some coordinating beads and a clasp. You put your ingredients in a package and mail it to your partner, and wait eagerly for their package to arrive! Then you take the ingredients they sent you and turn it into something fabulous.

The only requirements are that you must use the focal and the clasp. Of course, you are encouraged to use some of the beads, but that's not the point. The point is that you have the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and work with new ingredients, and new styles. The creative exercise of working with new materials may be challenging, but it is always fun.

Thank you, Lori! I am in awe of your willingness to participate in something magical.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun Day- Pearl Leaf Bracelet

I love making my leaf bracelets. I thoroughly enjoy making the leaf components. And even though it can be tedious, I am so pleased with the bead braiding when I am done that the whole creating/stringing process is fun, too.

The first step is selecting the metal for the leaf component- I prefer pulling discarded copper from the bin at school. I love the pieces with character, the ones that have been worked and heated, beat up and abandoned.

After choosing the perfect metal, I heat it and put it through the rolling mill with leaves. Then I cut out the sections I like best, shape them and file them down smooth. To use them in my bracelets, I need to drill holes on either end.

After completing the component, I take them home and string the perfect beads and chain into very short strands. Then I braid them and attach them to the central component.