Thursday, April 30, 2009

This is so cool!

I'm so excited! I've just had someone show me the first earring they made from my Diamond Dreams tutorial; it's in the Bead and Button Forum, just scroll down until you see the photo of the blue and gold earring. It's beautiful!

It's one thing to write a tutorial, to think about other people using it, and try to explain things as best I can, and it's quite another to find out that it worked. It's very gratifying to actually see my design done by someone else, and to find out that the tutorial was easy to follow.

Wooo hoooooo!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weeding, weeding, weeding

Yup, that was me today; bent over double pulling out grass before it seeds. Or at least before it seeds too much.

It's a big yard. A very big yard. It's going to take years, I fear, to tame it; if indeed we ever do. But we're working on it. We have one raised bed filled with dirt and mulched; I've started planting it. I have two rows of bush beans in, and flowers planted around the perimeter. It's right outside our living room windows, so I wanted something pretty to look at as well as something good to eat in there! Tomorrow: more weeding, and planting lettuces and basil.

And maybe a little bit of beading. Didn't get to that today!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wake up call

Well, we had a very interesting wake up call this morning. Quite suddenly, all the dogs in the neighborhood started barking like mad, the kid behind us began yelling in great excitement (and did not stop!), and there was a very loud Whoooooooosh! Whoooooooooosh! Woooooosh! sound right on top of our house.

I looked out the window, and there were half a dozen hot air balloons going right over our house! Yup, our town is having a hot air balloon festival, and we are on the flight path. We opened the blinds and watched all the balloons drift by while laying in bed; they floated by, in groups of two or three, for about half an hour.. It was really cool. We'd toyed with the idea of going out there, but we abandoned the idea when we found out that we would have to get there by 6 in the morning to see the launch.

Little did we know that all we had to do was open the blinds.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Yup, I had to make another beading detour; I wanted to put up a tut in my Etsy for a filigree piece, and I had an idea for earrings that I think turned out rather well.

Check 'em out!

They're not too big, and they are very light weight. They also work up very quickly; and I'm already thinking of variations for them.

The other day, a friend of mine commented that I may have found my signature style with this filigree stitch . . . and she may be right. It does seem to have endless possibilities.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back to my Steampunk piece

Well, I had a lot of things that took me away from it this week, but today I got back to it. I added a couple more inches, and decided what to do for the back of the neck part. I'm funny about that; I don't like to finish elaborate collars off with just a chain or spiral; though I have seen some very lovely ones done that way, it just doesn't feel comfortable to me.

When a necklace has a bit of weight to it, I want a wide piece going around my neck. I think it's an internalized backpacker type of thing: my instinct is to spread the weight out. However, I don't like to make the back too wide, or too eye-catching, so some of my more elaborate design ideas just won't work.

So there it is: wide, but not too wide; interesting, but not too elaborate. And different. It absolutely had to be different. This piece is a journey into fantasy, and it is nothing if not fantastical.

Have I piqued your interest?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I did it!

Finally! Anyone have any idea how long I've been saying that I wanted to write tutorials and put them in my Etsy store? (Don't answer that. I really don't want to know how long it's been!)

Well, there is one in there now: Woodland Treasure.

It's for all levels of beaders; it's not difficult to make, but I think it's very pretty. It uses stick pearls, seed beads, and a cute little lampwork bead for a pendant.

I'm offering it at a very reasonable price, and, included in the price, is a license to make and sell as many copies as your hands can stand to make. I have come to the realization that I'm not the selling jewelry type, and I'm hoping that others will be able to make my designs and sell them in my place!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've removed most of the multi-tasking nonsense from my plate. Yup, today was a very productive day. I finished off the article for Bead and Button and emailed it to them; I finished off Mom's present; and I even wrote a tutorial for it. I need to photograph it, but once that's done, I'll put the tutorial up in my Etsy shop.

I even cleaned the bathroom.

Funny, I really didn't feel stressed or anything about juggling so many different projects, but today I just had the motivation to wipe the slate clean. We're all ready for the planting mix delivery tomorrow morning; the section of the driveway where they will dump it is clear, and the tractor and cart are in the backyard, ready to begin hauling dirt. All I have to do tomorrow morning is move the jeep.

I'm ready!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I've got too many balls in the air right now; I know I do, but there are so many things I want to do! Luckily, I don't have any tight deadlines right now, so I'll just keep juggling.

The garden is proceeding apace; we're having a load of planting mix delivered on Wednesday, and then my son and I will attack it with our shovels and get it into the new raised beds. The weeds are taking over the rest of the yard; but I expected that. A lot of them will die when it gets hot and dry; I'll deal with them later.

On the jewelry front, I'm still working on the set of instructions for Bead and Button magazine; I'm also working on a massively huge and intricate Steampunk piece; and, as if that wasn't enough, I've also started a piece for my mom for Mother's Day. Whew. I'm not usually much of a multi-tasker, but this feels right.

Writing instructions and drawing diagrams is rather tiring; it requires a lot of concentration, and I can't do it for long periods without feeling rather frazzled. The Steampunk piece is very involved, and I don't want to rush it, either. It's one of those pieces where I need to think before I move on to the next section. My first thought is often not my best thought. Mom's present is one of those lovely relaxing things to bead; the design repeats, and I can let my mind wander a little bit while I bead.

and as for housework . . . erm, best forget about that!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

It was a nice day today. Busy; but very nice. I was still on my "interior decorating" kick when I woke up this morning, so I hung a picture in our bedroom. It's one I had been meaning to hang in there, but hadn't gotten around to actually doing it. You'll be happy to know that I am much better with a hammer than with a screwdriver; the picture went up without incident.

The windows looked so nice with their new drapes and the pretty picture on the wall next to them, that I actually washed them. I don't know why I don't wash windows more often; it really only takes a minute, but it's something I just don't usually think to do. Or if I do think of it, I make a big production of it, and wash them all, inside and out. Maybe I'd do it more often if I just did a couple, like I did this morning.

Anyway, after that, I moved outside. While I was watering the trees, I pulled some weeds, and finally put the mulch down around them. I moved two more loads of dirt to the raised bed, watered my little flower garden, and called it quits.

I did a bit of beading, and then my order of little plastic flip-top boxes arrived, so I've spent the rest of the afternoon moving beads from zip lock baggies to boxes. I'm almost done. I really like these little boxes; they fit perfectly inside my bead drawers and make it very easy to see the beads. They also take up a lot less room than a pile of baggies.

Hmm, more room to store beads . . . guess I need more beads!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Take my screwdriver - please.

Okay, so I am NOT Bobette the Builder.


I decided to hang my drapes. How hard could it be? Screw the brackets into the wall. The rest is even easier.

Okay, go back to the screw the brackets into the wall part. Erm, who knew it was so easy to strip a screw? And so hard to get it out once I did? Did you know that it is possible to break a screw in half, stranding the larger part of it INSIDE the wall? I didn't! and yes, I did it.

But nevermind all that; the drapes are up. I have more stubbornness than is good for me. They look nice, actually.

Just don't look under them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brass bonanza

I've done it again: Fallen for a new item and bought way too much!

A local antique store has boxes and boxes and boxes of brass charms, filigree, and motifs. A few weeks ago, I went over there, carefully rummaged through the boxes, and bought forty of them; today I went back and bought 108. Let's be realistic, shall we? What are the chances of me actually using 148 brass bits? Erm, not good. Not good at all.

But they were so inexpensive, and so cool, and I couldn't bear to put any of them back. I knew I'd miss them if I did. Maybe I'll be able to use them all.

I have good genes; I might live that long.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One of my better ideas

I'm bringing dessert to the family Easter celebration, and I wanted to make something easy to serve, something light for those who are watching their desserts, and something yummy for those who aren't.

Yeah, I like tough challenges.

But I think I've pulled it off. I made two kinds of shortbread, with orange and lemon fillings, and cut them into small squares. The nibblers can have one and feel indulgent, and those who live for dessert can have several. I also made chocolate covered strawberries and kumquats (note to the health nuts: it's fruit!).

I'm sure we all know and love shortbread and chocolate covered strawberries. But it's the kumquats that are the best; and it's something I've never had or even seen before. But it's an amazing taste combo: the richness of the dark chocolate, the sweet burst of the kumquat skin, and the sourness of their centers add up to an amazing, and refreshing, dessert. I've got a few left, and yup, they're MINE!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tut time

Yup, that's been the focus of my day! I've drawn a bunch of diagrams, and written a couple of pages. It was a good day's work; I'm pleased with my progress so far. If I keep this pace up, I'll have it finished quite soon. When I write, I like to keep at it until I finish; I get my momentum going, and I like to keep it going. I've always been one to finish things well before their deadlines.

This one is a self-imposed deadline; the editors at Bead and Button told me to work at my own pace. Little do they know that my pace is a fast one; it's just the way I am. I was that annoying kid in elementary school who started researching my reports the day they were assigned, and had them ready to turn in several days before they were due.

I love to start things, and once I start, I like to keep going.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If I've been so busy . . .

. . . then why can't I think of anything to write about?

I should have oodles of things to say, but my brain is just not working. Monday, my son and I picked up a van load of horse manure for the raised garden bed, and we got it all in there and raked before the rain hit. We've now had two days of on and off rain, so it's all nice and wet. The bed is draining beautifully; not a puddle in sight. Once things dry out a little, I'll get it topped up with dirt, and then I can plant my seeds.

I've made a new bead filigree bracelet, Caribbean Sea, and the wonderful folks at Bead and Button want to use it in their magazine. So I'll be hard at work writing up the directions over the next few days. I kept detailed notes while I was making it, as I knew I wanted to write a tutorial for it (if the magazine didn't want it, I was going to put the tutorial in my Etsy!) so now it's just a matter of writing it up and drawing diagrams. I drew one diagram this morning after I got the email from Bead and Button saying that they wanted to use it; but I've spent the rest of the day running errands, so that's as far as I got on that.

Hmmm. Maybe I'll be more interesting tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Garden update

Well, it looks like two of our trees aren't going to make it. I was watering today (and building up the water wells around the trees with turned over turf; I just can't seem to let the shovel alone!) and two of them have still not shown any signs of buds or leaves. All the rest have leafed out nicely, so I'm beginning to think that those two are just not going to make it. Oh, well. We'll replace them next year.

Tomorrow morning my son and I are going to drive over to my parent's house and pick up a load of aged horse manure for the raised bed. I bribed him with the opportunity to drive over the hill; he hasn't been on that road yet, and it should be interesting. It's a good road, but rather steep in places, and very curvy. He'll be taking it slower than most, so if you're stuck behind a gold mini-van tomorrow, cut us a break, okay? He'll pull over and let you go by when it's safe to do so.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Little boxes

I ordered 50 little boxes so that I could get my beads that came in annoying zip lock baggies into the nice rectangular plastic boxes that make the beads easy to store and see. I'll bet you can guess what's coming!

Yup, I have more than 50 little baggies of beads stashed in my "needs to be sorted" drawer. But at least now I have 50 fewer baggies of beads!

I found some really cool beads that I'd forgotten about. That's one of the best things about sorting things out; finding stuff. I've already started using some of them. I'll order more little boxes and get the rest sorted soon.

Wonder what else I've got in there?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Drawing diagrams

Yup, my eyes are crossing. I have a real respect for people who draw bead weaving diagrams; they are not easy! But I've made a good start on my beaded bead tutorial; I've drawn the first ten diagrams. That's about it for one sitting; I need a break! So I'm aging some brass beads; that's a good no-brainer thing to do.

Erm, except for the part where I dumped an entire strand on the floor.

Oh, well.