Monday, December 12, 2011

How about a giveaway?!?

I'm making up for my bloggy absence with TWO posts today!!

On Wednesday, my precious baby is turning 5. FIVE! I can hardly believe it!! I am so lucky to be his mom, because he is such a great kid. And he's just so handsome, too, isn't he? :-)

So, in honor of this momentous occasion, I've decided to celebrate! I'm going to give away TWO $5 gift certificates to my shop. All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me a birthday memory from when you were a kid, or about your own kids. Simple, right? That's all you have to do! And on Wednesday morning, I'll put all of your names in a bowl and let the birthday boy pick two out. All I ask is that you leave your email address in your post.

Ornaments EVERYWHERE!!!!!

I've been very busy cranking out custom Christmas ornaments this season! And there are a few that I didn't manage to get pictures of before I sent them out the door.

(Yes, I know this last one says 2010 - the customer said that they forgot to get one last year!)

And if you can believe it, I still have 2 more to finish up before I close up shop for the holidays next weekend. But stay tuned for all of the neat things I have planned for 2011!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Psssssst!!! Want a coupon code?

In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, I'm offering a coupon code for 20% off your purchase through Monday, November 28 - just enter "turkey2011" at checkout for your discount! This unfortunately does not include custom ornaments like the one below...

But it DOES include everything else, like these earrings!!!

Also, I'm extending the ordering deadline for family ornaments by 1 week, so please get your orders in by December 7 to ensure timely delivery!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I confess... I'm a DIYer

We're on a tight budget over here right now, with the holidays coming up, but I REALLY wanted a new wreath for the front door this year! I had a nice one that I'd gotten at a craft store a few years ago, but it's kind of bulky, and we really have to push the front door to get it to close fully, since we put the wreath between the wood door, and the storm door.

I kept seeing these really sweet, yarn-wrapped wreaths all over the Internet, so rather than BUY one I thought I'd give making one a try! And the best part is that the materials I used only cost me around $6! I started with a LARGE skein of dark red yarn, and wrapped it all around a Styrofoam wreath form. My son is modeling that part of the project - he thought it looked nice as a necklace.

Then, I made some little felt rosettes out of white felt. I didn't take any pictures of that process, but you can find very easy tutorials all over the Internet for this. You basically cut a circle, and then cut a spiral in the circle, and roll from the outside end. I glued the rosettes on to the wreath. I'd also painted a letter H white, since that's the first letter of our last name, and I attached that too. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my glue gun?

But I wasn't DONE! It really needed some sparkle, so I took some silver and gold "shatter-proof" ornaments, and attached those around the rosettes. If you do this, make sure to remove the tops of the ornaments before you glue them - they adhere better!

And there you have it! My brand new, easy-peasy Christmas wreath! I haven't yet decided how I want to hang it, if I want to use ribbon and a small hook, or hang it from our wreath hanger, but I'll be sure to take a good picture once I have it up on the door. I'm not "allowed" to decorate until Friday, but you can be sure I've been crafting many fun little things!

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully, with a few pictures of some new things in the shop. I have several custom orders that I'm working on right now, so I'm pretty busy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Filling the shop for the holidays!

I've been really busy lately, trying to stock the stop with new stuff for the holidays! I really love these two wrap bracelets because of the buttons I made, LOL! I added some macropearl powder to both buttons for some extra shimmer, and in the second bracelet, it mimics the hematite wonderfully!!

I love this little owl... this is a really fun little necklace!

This is one of my favorite things that I've made lately. It was hard to get the proportions right, with all of the large components - each of those nuggets is about an inch long! They are agate, by the way, and are just GORGEOUS! Anyways, this bracelet came about because of that clasp. I was wandering around my local bead store a couple of weeks ago with my mom, and came across this pewter toggle, so I got two of them. The owner of this bead store is really smart - a lot of her displays are stationary, but she takes a lot of products and moves them around the store pretty frequently, so even if a customer walks in, "knowing" where they need to go to find what they think they are looking for, they end up having to look around, and find something new and interesting! And that's how I came across those clasps, LOL!

All of these new things are listed on Etsy. Now that I've gotten all of those projects finished and listed, it's time to start on a personal project. I'm making my 5 year old son a new advent calendar, with bigger pockets for die cast cars. Wish me luck - I'm going to need it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hanging my head in shame

I'm so BAD! I could give you all of the excuses about how I was sick for most of last month, and then my parents were here... but, I still didn't blog, and I really meant to! So, to make it up to you, I'm going to offer food. Because food makes EVERYTHING better!

A couple of months ago, I came across a cheese soup recipe in a recipe group on Facebook. I really liked the recipe, but it just seemed like a cholesterol and fat bomb, which just doesn't fly in this house. It also included sausage balls as part of the soup, which sounded delicious, until I saw that the recipe called for the balls to be held together with cream cheese AND cheddar. That's a no-go. So I tweaked the recipe, and now I'll share it with you. Please remember that when cooking this, you can really make whatever adjustments you want, as long as it takes good to YOU. It won't hurt my feelings I promise!

This recipe made enough for one dinner, one leftover dinner, and 2 freezer dinners. I used it last night as a base for broccoli cheese soup, so you can pretty much add whatever you like to it!

Cheese Soup

1 small bag carrots
1 medium white onion
4 stalks celery
half head cauliflower (all of these veggies, chopped, made up about 8 cups of veggies)

Saute chopped veggies with about 1 stick of butter (or margarine) until tender.

Add approximately 6 T corn starch, and then blend your veggies.
Add 1.5 C chicken stock and continue to blend veggies until smooth.

Return soup base to pot, and add 4-5 C chicken stock, and 2 C skim milk. Cook over low heat until well blended.

Now, it's time for the cheese! I used 2C shredded sharp cheddar, and between 1 and 2 C Colby Jack cheese. I didn't measure the Co-Jack, because I was just adding until I liked the taste. I recommend you do the same, as you may like your soup more or less cheesy than we do. Cook until nice and melty, and then enjoy!

Also, this soup makes EXCELLENT leftovers. The leftovers are actually better than the first night, LOL!

Oh, and here are some pretty things I've put in the shop recently. I have a lot of different ideas swirling around in my head right now, and just not enough time to do it all. But I'm going to try!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pretty Things

I make a lot of pretty things to share on Etsy, but I have a very non-pretty secret. My house is cluttered and messy. Between a busy 4 year old, and 2 adults who admit to be packrats, we had a major problem on our hands. I started dealing with this over the summer, with the addition of my work desk, and then I cleaned out our downstairs storage closet. This week, I started on our family room, dining room, and kitchen. Yesterday was dedicated to the prevention of paper piles.

I saw this idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago (are you on Pinterest? I LOVE that website!!), and decided it was just what we needed. So for a couple of dollars, I got some thick cardstock, and covered a cereal box. I glued a bunch of magnets on the back, and this is where the mail will go. Every Day.

Ahhh, see my nice clean fridge? I took everything off of it, except for magnets that actually work, and important information that we want to keep at our fingertips. After the mail comes out of that box, it goes in a place either for bills to be paid, in to the shredder, in to a file, or in to the trash. No MORE PILES!!

I also cleaned and sorted things in our family room, and I'm starting work on the desk in the kitchen as well. I plan to do one level of the house each week, so I should be done in a few weeks. I feel a lot better about life in general after having even a small part of the house organized.

After all of that, I thought I'd show you something else I made (and please ignore the cords. They aren't pretty, but they are functional for our surround sound, LOL!).

You may recognize that little spider from my Etsy shop. He has yet to be adopted, so he's keeping my candy corn company. I got the instructions for the candy corn here. I had thought they might be a fun fine motor activity for my son, but he lost interest after about 3 wraps. Oh well.

I do have several new pieces made for my Etsy shop, and I'll do a separate post with those later so you can see them. I'm pretty excited about all of them!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In to the Woods

Woodland items are really trendy right now, and they are fun, too! That in mind, I made these beads last week! This photo was taken before I did some paint texturing on them... owls, squirrels, acorns, and birds.

So I took some of those beads and made this bracelet!
I paired the beads with 2 huge agate nuggets, silvery cathedral beads, peacock pearls, and sterling silver discs. In spite of my best attempt to make an asymmetrical bracelet, I do still see a little bit of a pattern in this... *sigh* Oh well! I'll keep working on that, I guess!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A great find!

My son had the day off of school today (something about a professional day), and we decided to trek over to one of the large chain craft stores this afternoon. He likes going to this particular one, because there is SOOOO much to look at! I was on the hunt for some bird-themed stamps for my clay, and I decided to pass through the jewelry section as well, to see if there was anything interesting...

This is what I found!

Vintaj Natural Brass products and jewelry findings. I've been wanting to try some brass stuff out for a while, but I never wanted to order enough to make it worth my while. I had no idea it could be found in retail stores! And judging by the display, this is a new development, and it looks like they will be getting more stuff! Everything in the photo is earmarked for a couple of specific projects so far... A crafty friend mentioned rings with brass wire, so I think that will be my first project, because the other one I have in mind is a little more involved, and I have a few other things that need to be finished first.

Happy Crafting, everyone!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A little house cleaning

I've had some clay work that has been needing to be done, but every time I opened up one of my clay boxes, I kept seeing this, and it was so frustrating to me, and I never wanted to dig in to find what I needed.

So I decided a little clean up was in order, and this is what I ended up with! I feel so much better.

And yes, that IS my Mango Margarita that I was drinking while I worked. I'm sure it helped, somehow.

And now, I feel like I can really get something accomplished! In fact today (I did this last night), I made a Striped Gecko for my Aunt, 2 charms in copper bezels, and a pink sparkle pendant. And now I'm going to get back to it! I have a snowman ornament to work on, and I think I see a Santa head ornament in the near future as well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New necklace

I'd been working on this pendant for a few days, off and on, and when it was done, I was stumped as to how I should use it. I had a pretty sterling silver pinch bail all picked out for it, but it just wasn't... right. So I was doing a little flickr browsing, which I do sometimes when I get stuck with a design, and was inspired to use my Irish Waxed Linen cord for hanging the pendant. I think adding in the swarovski crystals gave it a little extra texture, too!

I created the pendant using the Sutton Slice technique, where you fill in the grooves of a texture sheet or stamp with clay, and then carefully transfer it on to a flat sheet. It looks smooth because I also used large amounts of resin (I'm still learning, and it takes multiple applications for me to not "miss" any spots sometimes), but I think that makes it even more interesting! It also gives the necklace some weight, so it hangs nicely.

This is currently listed in my Etsy shop, and would make a unique addition to anyone's jewelry collection!

I plan on doing another pendant using this technique soon, so I'll take some photos during the process to show you all. It's a really interesting technique!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wrap it up!

If you've walked through any department store lately, or paged through a weekly ad, you've most likely seen any number of styles of "wrap bracelets." In my own personal style, I don't tend to keep up with the trends very well, but I do happen to have a few wrap bracelets in the shop. You can find them here.

This was the first one I made, actually, and as my first attempt, it took so long that I almost didn't make another in this style. I eventually ended up making 2 more with different stones.
This is my newest style of wrap bracelet - it's a little more delicate than the first, but just as easy to wear. And orange is HOT this season!!

I know I said that I don't generally follow the trends in my own personal style, but I really LIKE these wrap bracelets, so I have 3 that I made for myself! I think they look pretty cute layered, but I think the 3 in this picture might be a bit much. Two is probably better...

These represent all 3 styles of wrap bracelets that I currently have listed in my Etsy shop. The top is Braided Irish Waxed Linen with Moukaite beads. The second is crystal chain wrapped on to leather, and the bottom one is Fancy Jasper on Leather.

So, there you have it - my nod to trends. If you really love the wrap bracelets, please check out my shop! If you don't see something you like, let me know and I'll try to make one just for you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My new direction

Part of my new direction is to go in a more casual direction with a lot of my newer items. This seems to be the way jewelry is trending lately - casual, shabby chic, or BIG statement pieces. I have a few of these crystal wrap bracelets in the shop. They are super sparkly, but the wrapping and leather allow it to be casual still. I have one I wear pretty frequently myself!

This turquoise one is finished with a handmade polymer clay button. It's a double-wrap style.

This bracelet was strung on waxed linen cord, instead of my standard beading wire. I really like the color combination, and the knots between the beads add a little extra texture.

These are just a few of the things I've been making lately. I will continue to make more classically styled jewelry, much like I have been, but I'm enjoying branching out and challenging myself.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And the winner is....

Cathy!!!! Congratulations!

I'm sorry I don't have any fun pictures or screen shots (I actually don't know how to even TAKE a screen shot...) of my process. I used a random integer generator, and numbered the comments from earliest to latest, and that was the comment I came up with. I'd planned on writing down everyones' names on a slip of paper for each comment or mention from facebook, and having my little guy draw the name, but the excitement of pre-k is wearing him out, and at 7:25 pm, is already asleep!

Thank you everyone for participating, and giving me some good ideas for my new jewelry line. In case anyone was wondering, I am inspired by the great Gandhi, who reminds us to "be the change we want to see in the world."

I'm working on something new tonight, so I'll blog about it tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Giveaway!

Finally! And here is what one lucky person will be winning:

This necklace is the FIRST item in a new line I'm working on called Inspiration. Eventually, there will be necklaces, earrings, and charm bracelets, but this is the very first piece, and it could be yours!

All you have to do, is leave a comment here on the ole' bloggy blog with a word or phrase that you find inspirational. It could even be a quote! You can earn more entries by blogging, facebooking, or tweeting about the giveaway, as long as you come back here and leave a link to that in a separate comment.

I will choose a winner Next MONDAY - so that is August 22, 2011. You will have until 5pm Central to get your comments in, and GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A challenge to myself

One of my challenges to myself was to step out of the box in terms of symmetry and "matching" in my jewelry. I knew I had these agate disc beads, and began to look around my gemstone boxes (yes, boxes - I have 3 boxes full of stones, not including my boxes of glass, wood, crystal, etc.) to see what would work with them! I had ONE green aventurine bead left from another project, and it think it all worked well with the moss agate nuggets, and purple web jasper for an extra pop!

I feel pretty good about how I rose to my personal challenge with this one. I'll have better (as in not taken on the dirty windowsill) pictures soon, and will list on Etsy ASAP!

As far as my other challenge areas, I have some supplies ordered, and they should be here soon, so I can get to work. I'm taking a break from clay work (*sob*) while my back heals from minor surgery. It just hurts too much to have to use my pasta machine to work the clay still. Hopefully I'll be up to it in a few days, but in the meantime, beading doesn't seem to bother me so far.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some new stuff

Something I had been wanting to try this summer was making carved Polymer Clay nuggets. They were actually a little easier than I thought they were going to be, once I got the right blade for carving. I had started out trying to use some wood-carving tools I had, but they weren't quite sharp enough, so I switched over to a much sharper blade, and that made the process move more quickly.

When I envisioned this project in my head, I had always been planning on making some sort of rainbow bead project, so I came up with this bracelet and necklace!

The bracelet beads had somewhat bigger holes so I was able to easily string them on leather, and finished with a button closure. This is almost EXACTLY what I had in mind when I was designing this bracelet in my head!!

And the necklace... *sigh.* I apparently have a weakness for this style, with the ribbon, but I think it is just such a great contrast between the rustic clay beads and the finished silk ribbon. I couldn't decide how to finish it off, so I'm leaving that up to the customer! You can just tie it at whatever length you choose!!

I'm layed up right now after having a fatty cyst removed from my left shoulder yesterday. It makes it hard to use my left arm much right now, but I can tell this is going to help a lot with my overall should pain I've been having. Already, I haven't been experiencing some of the "pins and needles" that I had been having frequently, so I'm really hopeful that this will be a good thing. In the meantime, I've been getting a LOT of inspiration, and making a lot of plans for new projects. (I also ordered some new supplies from Etsy last night - I'm really excited!!).

If you are a Facebook fan (and if you aren't, why not?!?), you have seen that I'm going to have a 200 fan giveaway. My plan was to have the piece (it's a necklace) done tomorrow, so I can announce the giveaway, but my recovery is a little more painful than the doctors had anticipated, due to the amount of muscle involved. Hopefully I'll be able to work on it tomorrow or this weekend, so I'll try to announce the giveaway by Monday!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

We went out of town again

But alas, there was no time (and no place!) for any bead shopping. So, I spent a lot of time perusing the interwebz (after my son was asleep at night, of course!), and finding new, fun supply shops and design inspirations.

I love making jewelry, but lately, I'd been feeling a little bit restless, and frankly, a little bored with my designs. I've decided that it's time to branch out and try some new things with my designs. I haven't had a chance to work on much yet, as far as new designs go, though, but hopefully soon I'll have time.

I'm going to be incorporating more clay in to my designs, and I'm going for a more rustic look to my pieces, as opposed to the symmetrical and clean designs I've been creating lately. This may or may not involve taking apart some of my jewelry that I've already made, and re-purposing the components.

I'm also planning on utilizing different metals - sterling silver is just so stinking expensive, so pewter, brass, copper, and aluminum may be making appearances in my jewelry. I'm even thinking about trying my hand at some toggle clasps made from polymer clay. That would be fun!

I think the last part of my new business path will include some sort of re-branding. So if you know anyone who is handy with creating web graphics, can you send them my way, LOL?

I know this post was completely lacking in photo goodness, but I do have some things I've been working on, so I hope to have something to show you all soon!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why I make things...

That's my little dude. When he was about 1, we decided that I would stay home with him, and MAN, has it been a lot of work! No time for make-up, or doing my hair most days. Jewelry is quick to put on, and make me feel feminine, no matter what I am wearing, and that's something that I hope to share with others! And really, it's my little bit of "me" time, which I really need. There's no real story to go along with this... I just enjoy it!

On another note, here are how the owls turned out! They are listed in the shop - go check it out!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


In defense of my non-blogging, I've been really busy! We went to AZ to see my family for a couple of weeks. While I was there, I did a home jewelry show, and then bought all of these BEADS!!

I've been making stuff with my new beads here, at my NEW DESK!! Since opening my Etsy shop 2.5 years ago, I've been working at the dining room table, or coffee table, so it was nice to finally be able to get a dedicated work area. I set up my work area in the family room, so I can work when Stephen is playing downstairs and still keep an eye on him. I've made many things here so far, all of which are now listed on Etsy.

Today I began work on a new clay project - owls! These are baked, but I need to clean up some of the texture, and then I plan on antiquing them a little bit. I have a lot of new ideas that I want to try out with my clay, so stay tuned!

(Oh, and these little guys are less than 1" long, and will become earrings)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What else I've been making...

My creativity has returned in the last couple of weeks, so I've been making a lot of new stuff! These earrings were made from an Extruder cane. Remember my wonderful clay extruder I got myself for my birthday? Well, I stacked a few different colors together, and with the extrusions, made the cane that I used to cover these earrings. Cool, huh?

I also made this little snowlady as a gift for my husband's great-aunt, who we will be seeing in AZ in a couple of weeks. I hope she likes it!

I bought some really pretty czech glass beads with the intention of making a copper cuff, however, the holes were not quite big enough for the wire. So I guess I'll have to make a more conventional bracelet, or see if the silver wire will fit.

Speaking of wire... I've really enjoyed working with the Sterling Silver Filled wire. It works just like sterling silver, and looks like it too. I've been able to inspect where I've cut the wire, and I can just barely make out the copper core, so I feel confident that the silver will not wear all the way down, even with repeated wear. In fact, I used up the wire I had, and just received another order this week!

Grab Bags and other things

I got this fun Grab Bag from Auntie's Beads a few months (yes, I wrote months...) ago. I just sat on it, because at the time, I had NO inspiration when it came to copper. I have a little more now, but it just seems to be one of those colors I struggle with. I'm hopeful that I'll be more inspired in the fall, when copper is more prevalent in nature. Anyways, the picture shows 2 half-strands of chinese crystal rondelles, and 2 half-strands of what appear to be acrylic bicones, as well as 2 stone (?) focal beads, copper beading thread, and a beautiful glass leaf. The bag also came with a BEAUTIFUL strand of dainty white rice pearls, and a copper dragonfly link, as well as copper crimp beads (YAY!!), and crimp covers.

I think this leaf would look lovely with some hand-dyed silk ribbon that I have. I just have to put it together.

The pearls and dragonfly were not pictured, because I used them!

I happened to actually have this beautiful S-clasp in copper, and these teeny-tiny spacer beads in copper as well, and what came out of it was a delicate necklace, that seems to be perfect for summer wear!

I'm sure I'll come up with something for the rest of the beads that came with the grab bag. I think that's what I like about the grab bags from Auntie's Beads - there is always something to challenge me creatively!