Sunday, December 28, 2014



How could it possibly be MAY since I've been here....well, the post tells the tale unless someone has been deleting stuff on me....and no, I don't think they have. 

Suffice to say, it's been a very busy but fun year. Several things on my bucket list have been checked off in 2014, I'm happy to say. Good stuff and bad stuff. While it's still holiday weeks and I have a bit of time, I will try to expand on that in another post. 

At the moment, I'm prepping for CQJP 2015 (see blog badge), which I have signed up for and hope to be able to keep up with in 2015. That should be possible, as I have once again SEMI-retired. I've told my job that I would like my hours to be reduced to 3 days a week (from 5-6). It's time...after 51 years of retail, the extreme physical and mental stresses of the job are just not doable any more. Although my health is good and I keep active, lifting 50-60 lb on my own and pushing a dozen shopping carts is just not something I can do every day. So~keeping my fingers crossed I can do this without starving! 

Onward to CQJP 2015 and (some) time to play! *happydance*

Re is suggested that we do a theme for the monthly blocks we will be working on through 2015; mine are going to be truly a "journal" of my year. I plan to work on Dec 2014 in Jan 2015, Jan in Feb 2015 etc. So, my first block will be all about our very unusual December this's Dec 28th and we're still green! No snow on the ground....BUT it is currently snowing lightly, and that looks like it might change quickly. 

Here is my first base block for January...unfinished and unembellished, but I wanted to have a pic from the start. It'll be all about grey days, early long dark nights (the Winter Solstice), and a bit of Christmas. 
The colour in this picture is a bit deceptive...the patterned fabric at the upper right and the plain one directly below it are both silvery greys; on my screen, they look quite yellow. 

My blocks, as you can see, will be octagons~I chose that shape as I think it will give me lots of flexibility to put them together when the time comes. 

Today, I'm hoping to get that outer chalk line hand basted, the block trimmed, and then I will be ready to go for January. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's Tiiiiiiime!!

After a slight delay in the reveal date for our Bead Soup Blog Party this year, the date is finally here!

Here's a little reminder of what my partner Sarah at Pookledo sent me to work with:

Sarah's soup has arrived!

I absolutely fell in LOVE with the colour combination she sent me. Normally, I work with brights and cool colours in the bright spectrum, but the soft turquoise and soft pink that Sarah sent worked amazingly well with my *cough extensive cough* stash. I started pulling...and pulling...and pulling...

The first idea that came to me as I was dozing off one night was this....a collage necklace, not symmetrical, and including some of my beaded beads for a little piece of "me". 

Julie Powell definitely inspired my thinking this piece, I used one of the turquoise focals, and several of the rose quartz beads. 

Here's my Julie-and-Sarah-inspired collage necklace:

I also created my first-ever hand-hammered clasp for this necklace:

Once that was off the design board, I decided it really needed a bracelet to go with, as I hadn't used the beautiful clasp Sarah sent seemed a shame to waste it at the back of someone's neck, y'know? 

So this evolved...using the other turquoise focal, the turquoise beads, more of the rose quartz, and of course the beautiful clasp. 

And then, you know, I still had a bit of time (BEFORE the date changed), and I wanted to use some more of those sweet pink quartz roundelles, and the other cute little owl focal:

The chain is handmade chainmaille, with insertions of the quartz, and the lariat can also be worn as a triple-wrap bracelet. 

AND, I couldn't forget these, so I went very simple with a pair of earrings:

The chain supporting these little swingers is also handmade chainmaille. 

Sarah, thank you! I hope you had as much fun with your soup! I managed to use almost everything Sarah sent me~AND a few pieces I had been sent in prior soups as well. 

Please visit the rest of the participants in Bead Soup as well! It's such fun to make the can find their links HERE at Lori's blog

I will apologize in advance, as I am working a 4-day stretch starting Friday May 9th right through Monday May 12th (doesn't it just figure!), so my visiting will be delayed by a few days. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ooops! It's been a while!

Oh my, I just looked at the date of my last blog and realized how long it's been! Oops. After almost a month off work due to illness, I went back to work shortly after the prior blog, and it's been kicking my butt. 

I had several time-sensitive projects on the go during this same period. I'll do a little catch-up...

Here are the first two blocks I did my part for, in the Under the Sea CQI block exchange:

1. Chris from Australia's block: I added all the work you see on the block at this particular point. 

2. Donna from Montana's block: I added the jellyfish, featherstitch bush, critters in the sand, the anemone border behind the jellyfish, and the button border to the left. 

I have now sent these two blocks along to their next stitcher, and am awaiting the third one for me to work on. There are four in total. 

During this same period, I completed 12 chainmaille bracelets as giveaways for Dancing Like the Stars, which is a major fundraiser for the foundation I volunteer for. I'm delighted to say that we raised the most money this year, in the history of the program! You can read all about it and see some of the pictures: HERE:

And's almost Bead Soup Blog Party time! My pieces are all ready for publication. I had a lot of fun with the soup my partner, Sarah from Pookledo sent me...loved the colour combination!...and created four pieces, using almost all the beads she sent me and adding a multitude of things from my own stash. 

We've just had an announcement today to say that Bead Soup Blog Party reveal has been set back a week, while our fearless leader Lori Anderson recovers from a bout of illness. So...I hope you'll stop back on May 10th to see the reveal!

Here's a little teaser:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bead Soup is Here!

Yaay! My Bead Soup arrived yesterday from my partner Sarah of Pookledo. She did such a great job! 

Here we go...nothing better than getting a piece of Royal Mail! It makes you feel so...special, somehow!

Sarah's pretty little card so brightened my dreary, wintry day!

My soup! LOVE the colours! LOVE the beautiful, feminine clasp...and what are those fun little goodies? Moustaches? Fairy wings??

Soup unpacked....lovely, soft feminine colours, so different for me...a whole strand of lovely rose quartz, a little baggie of mixed seed beads and sequins in a brighter shade of rose, a stunning silver box clasp, turquoise accent beads, and a pair of gorgeous turquoise stunners. Awesome!
 AND....Sarah's and my laugh...prior to receiving a partner, I ordered a set of focal and beads from a shop I love and use frequently (see last post). I knew they would be perfect for my partner, whoever she may be....HAHA!! Sarah lives, literally, a few miles away from this artist....and packed up a focal for ME from the same artist, this cutie little owl. 
I love him! Great minds definitely think alike. 

Sarah has also received her goodies, and here is what I sent her:

Focal and coordinating beads from Grubbi, coppery agate beads to pick up some of the colour in the focal heart, copper, enamel and beaded beads handmade by me, with a copper clasp.  

I already have added a MOUNTAIN of things from my own stash to Sarah's soup, and I have an idea I'm excited about....see you in May for the reveal!! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sharing a Giveaway!

Just sharing a nice little giveaway from a wonderful vendor I've used several times..her pieces are gorgeous...I am CRAVING some of these new disk beads...

and one at least of these fabulous new connector roses:

Be sure to go see her shop and join the contest for a gift certificate! 

Her blog to enter is here! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Latest Project...and a new site of interest to crafters.

Well, this being housebound thing does have some advantages...I've finished up, started, and finished up again several pieces for the Gala this Fall. Here's my latest...this is Crystal Elf weave, from a video by Colin Mahler on Beaducation. I can HIGHLY recommend the video; Colin is thorough, detailed and has the perfect speaking voice for video instruction. 

Hers is done in sterling; on my budget, mine is done in 18g 7/32 bright aluminum (known as BA in chainmaille circles). 
Aluminum is long-wearing, tarnish free and hypoallergenic, so I use it in most of my jewelry. 

A week or so ago, I also discovered through a link on Facebook, a new-to-me photo editing app which might be of interest to some of you jewelry folks. I've used it a couple of times with great results. It is free, but you can donate to the site, and in the process, a favourite charity, to help support it: FotoFuze

Fotofuze will remove the background of your photo, for something you wish to have highlighted. Here's the first photo above, run through Fotofuze:

It's awesome for photos of jewelry!

Hope everyone is having a good week! 

I go to discuss with my employer, likely on Friday, my return to work...that should be interesting!

Monday, March 3, 2014

...AND, we're off!

Bead Soup Blog Party #8 is underway!

I am thrilled to be partnered with Sarah Goode of Pookledo. Sarah is in the UK, and I'm delighted to have a partner from the UK, as shipping there from Canada is almost easier than shipping into the US (which certainly is closer!). 
Here's Sarah's blog as well: Pookledo LOVE that name, by the way!

Sarah tells me that she enjoys working with recycled items and gems to make her pretty, colourful jewelry. We share a love of colour and "funky stuff" which will make us very good partners I suspect. 
I had to laugh, as Sarah lives quite close to an artist whose Etsy shop I mined for the "seed" of my Bead my "seeds" are returning home to the UK! 

I spent today tweaking my soup for Sarah and gathering up a few little Canadian things for her, and a couple of "funkies" I hope she'll have fun with, that are not really a part of the official soup. 

Here's your teaser, Sarah!

Hope you enjoy your soup! I will get it in the mail ASAP. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Just a quick one.... draw to anyone's attention that might be reading, this post from Mikki Ferrugiaro:

Bead Mavens needed

I consider this to be just an amazing opportunity for anyone who is a beadweaver, to take her up on some mentoring, and have an opportunity to get your tutorials out there to the world. It shouldn't take tons of time and there is a large audience involved. I know...I'm one of them!

Go for it!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014


...lollipops and roses......oh wait, I'm dating myself, aren't I??

After a week of horrendous weather, the sun is out and the wind is only blowing about 60 mph, so I'm off in a bit to run a few errands. We've had our first day of above/zero weather since November on Thursday the 20th, and the sidewalks are treacherous, but the roads are fine.

I imagine we're not out of the woods yet, but it looks as though there IS hope!

I've been working away on the charms for my CM bracelets for DLTS (see prior blog) with mixed results; the first batch I had in progress last time was a COMPLETE loss. I've never had that happen before; I think it was a problem with the paper, actually, which seemed to absorb everything, no matter what I sealed it with, and thus was marred with dark spots from seepage. 

Second try, though was successful pretty much 100%, using photo paper, sealed prior to adhering to the blank and then sealed again 4 times each side using Mod Podge, before pouring the resin. 

Here they are:

Tomorrow I have to sand them, clean up the backs, and adhere the bails...and then I can attach them to the finished bracelets. 

As I had measured extra resin, I thought I would try something while I was at it, and use a dome resin mold I acquired a while back and hadn't tried. I poured the excess resin into the molds about 1/4" deep and added the (sealed) logo on top of it. Mixed had a huge bubble under the was fine, but the resin couldn't degas with the logo on top of it, so we have this:

HOWEVER....I like the dome this creates a I had also poured just some extra resin into a few of the other spaces in the mold, and now I have some "domes" which I THINK could successfully be glued over top of a logo, on the blank. 

I have to see how that works out...

And, in the middle of the weather from H-E-double toothpicks the other night, I was at a class doing this, which I quite like. It will also be a donation to the National Inclusion Project for their Gala 2014 Silent Auction:

It's chainmaille, obviously, in a pattern called Clockwork Weave from Hyperlynks. 

Hope you are seeing a bit of Spring as well!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Working away....

This has, without a doubt, been the worst winter we've had in the 10 yrs or so I've lived here. 

As work has quieted a bit at this point, I'd love to be out and about...but each day seems to bring two choices's either 400 below, or it's snowing ALL. DAY. LONG. 
In the last month, we've had more than 20 days of -20 or colder weather, which is completely unHEARD of here. 

Here's a picture down the street, which I took to show a friend living in NC that yes, indeed, there ARE 10 ft snowbanks; they're quite dangerous, as you can't see what's coming down the street until you're actually out IN it....

We're running out of places to put the snow when the driveway is shoveled...

I've pretty much been huddling by the fire when I'm not at work...but I have a project for the Foundation that I must have completed by Mar. 15th latest, to be shipped, so I am plugging away at that. 

These bracelets are to be prizes for the competitors in Dancing Like the Stars, which is one of our major fundraisers. 

Bracelets (6 ladies, 5 mens, 1 unisex) are done:

I'm currently working on stamping the back of the charm which will hang from the bracelets....

....these will be slightly domed when they are done, then filled with resin into which the logo will be placed....

The logos have so far been printed, cut, and treated to four coats each side of sealer. 
This is quite a time-consuming process, actually...and temps have to be optimal for the resin to set properly, so I'm hoping the weather will warm up a bit!! 

The resin is a bit chancy, so I usually make at least twice as many as I need to ensure one casting can hopefully be done. 

Then they need to be allowed to set, and have bails attached, and have those set. 

So....this is worktable Sunday in process!

Hope you are having a great GroundHog day!

Football? What's that??

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On to Other Things....

I adore my beading and my chainmaille, but decided this year I would expand my scope a bit. For me, this is the time of year to do it, as it is quiet....later, I won't have time to do much of anything!

I probably should have made my WOTY "Diversify" instead of "Relax"....but both work! Diversification is relaxing for me. 

On that note, I have joined a Round Robin that the Crazy Quilt International group is doing, and yesterday I spend several hours putting together my base block (called a "naked block" in the community). 

The theme for this RR is "Under the Sea". As you can see, I love bright colours...and I also love wild, abandoned stitching, so my request of the others will be to go for it....hope they do! There are 5 other participants in the RR; each block will go to each person in turn, and each will have an opportunity to stitch on each block. At that time, they will be returned to the owner and we will have a "show and tell" at each round. We start March 1, 2014...wish me luck!