Ten on Tuesday — the viral edition

  1. I am woefully behind in my scrapbooking ventures.
  2. On Friday morning, I was slammed by sinus pain and congestion that arrived on the heels of a night marked by little sleep. My husband is still recovering from his own bout with what appears to be a virus, yet he managed to share his germs with me, inconsiderate of my plans to go away for the weekend. He strongly suggested that I stay home instead.
  3. On Friday afternoon, the friends who had driven down from Canada to meet me halfway between their homes and mine at our mutual destination discovered my plight and offered to drive further to pick me up if I was unable to drive. At such generosity I could only think that If they were foolish enough to care not for their own health, why should I be miserable at home when I could be surrounded by friends and sleep in the Canuck Party Trailer?
  4. So I packed my supplies — cold medicine and Kleenex included — and drove north to the scrapbooking retreat, minus my actual scrapbooking materials. This was not an oversight.
  5. Scrapbooking retreats are not just for scrapbooking. While my friends cropped, I finished up 2 fleece blankets and made earrings (I don’t know how many — I stopped counting.)  Some of the earrings were set aside for the upcoming farmer’s market season, some were given as gifts, and some were sold then and there.
  6. Made-to-order earrings created on-site is a good way to save on time, packaging and shipping.
  7. I managed 8 hours of sleep each night of the retreat — a first among all such ventures.
  8. Taking “shots” of Guaifenesin every 4 hours helps chase down the Sudafed and Tylenol but did not entirely solve all ills. My hoarse voice did not gain relief from such common assistance. Prophylactic Fireball may have helped save the weekend thusly.
  9. This is an ingenious invention:
  10. Composing a blog post while watching the Laurence Olivier version of “Hamlet” can be credited for the strange writing here.

Early September Friday Five

  1. DSCN4518 First Day of High School, resized for webIt’s a new school year and a new way of life here in my world at Spokalulu. SnakeMaster is a freshman in high school and Humorous-Juniorous is about to leave for his freshman year of college; Encyclopedia Blue is back at college for year 4 of 5 (or more… it’s hard to tell), and MusicMan and Rapunzel are enjoying a new phase of married life without the burden of college courses. It is hard to believe that in just a few weeks, H-J will be off to college and we’ll be at a 2:1 ratio of parents to kids for the first time in 22 years.
  2. Just for fun, SuperDad and I looked at some vehicles with towing capacity before poking our heads in some glampers on Labor Day. Nothing moves very quickly here so there’s no need for excitement, but in our slow-as-molasses style, we are beginning the path toward a gentler-on-the-aging-body kind of camping. Give us a few years (like maybe when the child over on the right there graduates) but I will be the proud owner of a smallish camping trailer before I am too old to enjoy it!
  3. Working in a church office continues to be a good fit for me. I grew up hanging around church offices (my dad is a retired pastor) and was familiar with much of the goings-on before I took it on as a job. I enjoy making the weekly bulletin (which doubles as a newsletter) and the little bit of worship service planning that I get to do with other volunteers. There is much I need to learn before being proficient in planning a service (what is really a Call to Worship, etc.) and dealing with money/Quickbooks, etc., still makes me anxious (I do not want to mess that up!) but it is both challenging and fulfilling — and really, isn’t that what makes a job worth going to each day?
  4. There are several older people in our congregation whom I have come to love. I see them aging, slowing down — and in the case of one, visibly becoming frailer each week/month — and it makes me sad. It brings brings them closer to heaven but it brings me closer to grief. I tear up just thinking about losing them. When they die, part of my job will be assisting with the planning and carrying out of the memorial services. It is going to be difficult. Last month was the memorial service for a friend’s husband. He had a long-term disease that slowly took his independence away but the ending was a little unexpected. It was actually an honor to find the right picture to go on the cover of the bulletin for the memorial service and make it all look as nice as possible. I hope I can feel the same way when the sweet older man who tells me “anecdotes” passes from this life to the next. His dear wife died 17 months ago and I think he is slowly dying from heartbreak, which in turn breaks my heart.
    *****Okay, time for a tissue break…

    Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

    Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

  5.  I continue to stay busy with work, family, household responsibilities, and the weekly farmer’s market on Fridays. Lately I have been averaging about $40 in sales each week, which isn’t stellar by any stretch of the imagination but it isn’t bad, either. I am selling my photo notecards (cropped photos on cardstock, blank inside, stamped and signed on the back) and beaded items such as earrings, eyeglass leashes, lanyards, and suncatchers. Since I enjoy making all of these, it is a pretty decent way to spend 5 hours each Friday. (The market actually runs from 3-7pm but I have to factor in the set-up and take-down time.)
Currently for sale

Currently for sale

I confess that my time spent on facebook probably needs an intervention. It is much too easy to park myself on the sofa in the evenings and get nothing of substance accomplished. Instead of doing many useful things that I would actually like to do (read a book, organize my crafting workspace, clean up my clutter that is strewn about the house in various places, decorate for fall, etc., etc.), I find myself engaging in the online equivalent of small-talk. Yes, it keeps me connected with people from all different parts of my life — and many of you that I know from blogging — but at the same time it has taken the place of reading blogs (which help me to form much deeper relationships). There are times when I have to agree with my husband that facebook is evil. (Not really.) (Yes, really.)  It’s true that sometimes after work I am too tired to do anything more than having to produce a “like” but I suspect it is both a cop-out (facebook rarely requires one to THINK) and addiction to easy social media. I feel guilty when I miss wishing people a happy birthday or special events in their lives; however, it is quite likely time for me to take a little facebook “vacation” in order to get back to meaningful blogging.

DSCN4468 Offering

That’s what I have to share today. What is happening in your world? 

Creative Blog Hop

Cassi is one of those blog friends who has also become an e-mail and facebook friend, and hopefully I will someday get to meet her in person.  (There’s a decent chance for this since she lives only a couple of hours from my brother’s house.)  She was kind enough to ask me if I might be willing to join in a Creative Blog Hop. I was honored to be asked and and she tagged me in her post, so here are my answers to the questions.

What am I working on?

Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

I’ve been working on several projects for my booth at our local farmer’s market where I try to set up and sell a couple of times each month.  My notecards are made from my own photographs mounted on cardstock and stamped on the back with a small emblem and signed with my first name. The stamp is often a rosebud that I color-coordinate with some colored pencils and ink stamping pens.

Farmer's Market

I started out making beaded lanyards (I wear mine daily at work) and eyeglass leashes (ditto) which I continue to make available for sale, but I enjoy branching out and stretching myself with new projects.  A fun project I picked up in the past few weeks: barefoot sandals! They are surprisingly comfortable (I have unusually sensitive feet) and the first 2 models have turned out really cute.

Barefoot sandal in cerulean blue with foil bead

Barefoot sandal in cerulean blue with foil bead

Barefoot sandal in opal with coral hibiscus bead

Barefoot sandal in opal with coral hibiscus bead














However, I’ve been sidelined by making suncatchers:


This is a good time to mention that Pinterest has been both a blessing and a curse. There are more projects on my wish-list than I have time to devote to them.

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Along with photography and beads, I also dabble in quilt-making (I’m a total newbie who flies by the seat of her pants) and simple scrapbooking — no Cricut machine or fancy sewing machine at my house. If it is fancy and takes an entire crate of supplies, I probably don’t do it, but I do manage to fill quite a few plastic bins and I am in possession of more stamping supplies, cardstock, and scrapbooking paper than I should confess to owning.

white cliffs of Dover, London

I’ve attempted knitting and nearly paid myself to quit. (It really was that bad.) My daughter-in-law and other friends tell me that I should try crocheting but I’m not sure they know what kind of monster that would unleash.  Many years ago, I tried a bit of counted cross-stitch and if my eyesight doesn’t give out first, I might someday pick up that 10th anniversary gift for my husband and finish it… in time for our 50th wedding anniversary.
Clearly, my creative desires and imagination reach beyond my time constraints and even my motivation! Family does take up a fair amount of my day and night — I’ve been married for 27 years and we have four sons, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old.  I was very happily contented SAHM for 22 years while the kids were growing up and my husband was active duty military. Now he is retired, I worked myself out of the SAHM gig and into a part-time job as a church administrator, and the youngest is heading off to high school in September.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Up until recently, the only seed beads I purchased were Vintage Venetian Seed Beads. These are approximately one hundred years old and previously unused, having been in storage for many years. They originated from Murano, Italy, where there was a consortium of glass makers. (These are the seed beads you see in the photographs above and below.)  I purchased quite a few grams of these seed beads already,and while I still have a fair amount in my possession, the main source of supply is beginning to “dry up.”  Color me grateful for the occasionally foray into being a spendthrift!

While I do have a shop on Etsy, I know there are many people out there who are much, much more talented than I am. I enjoy making things for my own use, gifts for friends and family members, and being able to sell my creations on occasion is a surprise bonus.

etsy listings collage

How does your creating process work?

I am definitely an amateur in everything I do. Sometimes I will be inspired by something I saw on Pinterest or in a catalog, and at other times I simply have an idea or “picture” in my head of what I’d like to create with the camera or my hands; sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  I seem to do a lot of creative dance steps: one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back… in quilting, this is called “unsewing” and I’ve decided to use the word “unbeading” when I am designing a new lanyard (or anything, really).
There are times when I am on a walk or a drive, or perhaps simply looking out my living room window, and I am overcome with the need to spill prose onto paper. If I put it off, the words fade from my brain and I lose them forever — so I’ve learned to stop and write if I am able to do so — but it is difficult to be driving across the state and write things down.
I can also go for days or even weeks without a creative urge. These dry times are disappointing but eventually they do end. 

Petrified Wood  (photo would have been lost in my laptop but thankfully rescued from flickr)

Petrified Wood (photo would have been lost in my laptop but thankfully rescued from flickr)

My creative friends:

I am tagging two creative friends. One I met first in person and then later read her blog, the other I met online and later proved to each other that neither was an ax murderer.

My friend Joanne is someone I met at scrapbooking retreats and with whom I recently enjoyed camping. She is the one who came up with the idea of painting rocks with the kids, crochets amazing slippers, and blogs at Trying to be Creative.

Gary is a blogger I met online soon after I began blogging in 2008 and my family enjoyed meeting him in person a few years later.  (Click here for Gary’s blog post that experience.)  Gary is a potter extraordinaire and an animal lover.

Beading like a mad fool

Last Friday I drove north toward the border and met up with some crazy Canadians for a crafting weekend (including this blogger). The other gals scrapbooked but I worked with beads until my fingers cramped… and then I switched over to card-making… and then I switched back to beading.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Weekend creations

Nearly everything in this collage of 5 photos was sold as fast as I could make it — and there were others, too.  Not everything has been photographed but I did try to take pictures of the things I sold. I have some awesome Canadian friends. ♥

Jen will be pleased to know that I experienced glamping over the weekend. I have seen the light. Glamping is awesome: you can sit around in your pajamas, giggle yourselves silly, and crawl into bed (if you can figure out how to climb into the bunk without falling down) — all without stepping a foot outside in the cold night. No long walks to the bathroom!

In the meantime, life goes on:  more work than I can get done in 2 days each week, a church women’s retreat this weekend, a work meeting to prepare for on Monday night, the constant laundry and housework here at home (It was hard enough to get it all done when I was a professional housewife!) …and this is where I should probably point out that the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are nipping at our heels…   You’re welcome.

So while I’ve been busily getting a supply of product built up for a craft fair in early December, and working, and heading out on 3 retreats in 4 weeks (I know. It’s awesome) there are a few things that get pushed to the back burner… including reading blogs. Honestly, I was completely caught up a few weeks ago. It felt so good! But  book group, downtime spent with my husband, and kids’ activities take precedence over blogging.

And that is why there was no Thankful Thursday post this week. It will return next week, I promise!

What has been capturing your attention lately?

Bead Hoarders’ Blog Hop

7.20 048

I’ve had this cross pendant for a long time, possibly a dozen years. It also has a pin backing, which is the only way I have worn it, but it seemed to me that it ought to be a pendant. I have plenty of blue beads to choose from and yet none of them seemed to work. The finish on the light colored portion is more iridescent than silver, but these tiny (11/0) silver-lined Vintage Venetian seed beads seemed to do the trick. I added a few accent beads in blue and clear/silver foil as well.



Confession time:  I did not get this necklace finished. What you see above is how far I’ve actually gotten — minus the beading and un-beading that I’ve done in trying to get a combination with which I’m satisfied.  Plenty of other people have perfectly lovely completed projects to see — go here to find the links to each of them.

This is a necklace and earrings set that I made 7 months ago. I had purchased the pendant with my SIL in mind and then hung onto it for more than a few years while I considered how to use it. I finally made a decision, made this set and gave it to her for Christmas last year.

This is a necklace and earrings set that I made 7 months ago. I had purchased the pendant with my SIL in mind and then hung onto it for more than a few years while I considered how to use it. I finally made a decision, created this set and gave it to her for Christmas last year.

When I signed up for the blog hop I wasn’t planning on a such a busy couple of weeks. We had 2 memorial services this week, which meant (work-wise) 2 more services needing bulletins besides the usual Sunday service — plus I attended both of those memorial services.  Today I came home from the church, gathered up the rest of the family, and headed out to the Garland Street Fair. We had benefit tickets to see “Oz, the Great and Powerful” (hello, James Franco!) and then we strolled down the yellow brick road before the shops closed up.

Also, I’ve been making these earrings which will soon be [edited] are now in my Etsy shop:

Inspired by a frog named Kermit: the rainbow connection

The Rainbow Connection

Inspired by a frog named Kermit (above and below)

It's not easy being green

It’s not easy being green

Red-dy for Peace and Love

Red-dy for Peace and Love

7.20 059-001

I’m going to publish this and hope to get around to visit each of you before the end of the weekend.

Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

E is for…

Okay, I JUST realized that this isn't the same flower as the above pic... but the sizing *is* correct, so let's pretend that it's the same. Okay?

One of a pair of earrings made by Cassi

Count your blessings, name them one by one…

Welcome to week!

I’m using Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’m challenging myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I paused to recognized that I am  blessed to have a plethora of earrings from which to choose. I decided on this lovely one, made by Cassi, since it picked up both the turquoise and green of the blouse I was wearing.

Earrings. I like to make them, I like to receive them, I like to buy them when I find the perfect pair. As you can see from the photo of the holder which my husband made for me, I have quite a few pair.

My new earring holder, in a tight spot between 2 doors

My earring holder, in a tight spot between 2 doors…   Not every pair of earrings was on this board when I took the photo a few months ago.

I was given some beads for Christmas that were not of my choosing, so it has been a good artistic challenge for me to create with them.

Beaded Lanyard: black with golden amber and tomato-red hues accents. Floral motif shell beads, 8mm black Jasper round beads, black seed beads (some Vintage Venetian) along with black accent beads

click to embiggen

This lanyard is an example of that challenge.  –>
I made it with some painted shell beads that my husband had helped the boys choose for me, adding various black beads in and playing with the pattern until I came up with something I thought was pretty.  The lesson I learned with this particular lanyard is that not everyone shares my tastes, because this design was a big hit! In fact, I had to go out in search of more of these shell beads painted with sunflowers. (Trudie, I haven’t forgotten your special request!)

I also received some colorful peace sign beads (painted/dyed bone) that I’ve spent quite a bit of time staring at and playing with, trying to come up with a way to use them.  Some of the peace signs came in twos — with these pairs I have been creating earrings.

New Earrings made by me: "Peace of Purple" and "Peace, Love, Coffee"

New Earrings made by me: “Peace of Purple” and “Peace, Love, Coffee”

Not everything I make is something that I would wear:  tomato red is very much not my color, and dangles like these earrings would catch in my untamed hair.  But I do know that I like the things I make.
I had a lot of fun with the coffee-and-cream colors. They helped me fall a little bit more in love with browns. 

Currently, I have a pair of turquoise-colored peace sign earrings which I have been working on: I have done quite a bit of beading and un-beading, trying to find the right mix of color, since my turquoise-colored Vintage Venetian seed beads are not the same color tone as the peace signs.  As with everything I bead, if I don’t like it, I re-do it until I am happy with the result. Sometimes that makes for a long process until completion.

In the case of Earrings, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t quickly make too many pair! 😉

Five Friday Factoids

Since I lost use of the laptop, I’ve had limited time to blog — both writing and reading. I know it sounds like a convenient excuse, but there’s more to it than sharing a family computer. A few things have changed around my house in the past month:

  1. EB moved home from college at the beginning of May and started job hunting. Unlike last year, he actually bothered applying and following up at a few places, but the result was the same — no job to be had. This year, however, SuperDad had a plan in place that did not involve having him chop our winter supply of firewood (not that it was a bad use of free labor last year); instead, an advertisement was placed on Craigslist for other people to pay EB to do those sorts of things — and he actually picked up some work! It was a relief for both the parents and the 20yo. Unfortunately, jobs like roto-tilling a garden can only be done once per customer and replies that panned out into jobs were scarce, despite updating the listing nearly every day. (No, he was not going to ride his bike 20 miles to mow a lawn when the inquirer didn’t even have a lawnmower!)  Lest this become an essay of epic boredom, we’ll skip the remaining details and simply state that tomorrow EB is headed to the Boy Scout camp for staff training. The pay isn’t great (although it does include room and board in a pleasant natural setting) but it is a steady job for the remainder of the summer.
  2. H-J took six AP exams and then discovered that the school year wasn’t really over; he had hoped that those classes would be all fun and games for the remaining 4 weeks of mandatory education. Still, the pressure is off now that he’s got those exams — along with last Saturday’s SAT — in the rear-view mirror.  H-J claims he is going to apply for jobs after school ends next week… and after drum major/band leadership camp…
    We’ll wait and see what happens.
  3. While we are discussing jobs… guess who officially starts work next week? No, not SuperDad… me!  Years of volunteering in church offices has borne fruit — this particular fruit being the interim position left by our beloved church administrator.  She has some exciting life changes that are taking her away from us, so I am happy for her/sad for all of us (and me, because she is a friend whom I will miss greatly), but also happy for me… and more than a little bit apprehensive over the proverbial big shoes she has left in the office. I’ve been training over the past 4 work days (which is really 2 weeks) and just found out yesterday that there is even more to the job than I knew. Good Grief! This is going to be a steeper learning curve than I had expected. However…
  4. Two days a week in the office will still leave me plenty of time to do other things that bring pleasure and help to pay for them, too.
    Cobalt blue leash for glasses with Millefiori beads.

    Vintage Venetian blue beads make a truly Cobalt blue leash for glasses — with Millefiori beads.

    Vintage Venetian seed beads in Pearl make a simply, classy leash for your glasses.

    Vintage Venetian seed beads in Pearl make a simply, classy leash for your glasses.

    Click on any pic to embiggen…

    White Cliffs of Dover and the Tower of London, June 1996

    White Cliffs of Dover and the Tower of London, June 1996

    London, June 1996

    London, June 1996

    A day to play on the beach in Calais (one of the few things our older boys remember from the trip to London in June of 1996)

    A day to play on the beach in Calais (one of the few things our older boys remember from the trip to London in June of 1996)

  5. The timing is good, since I have recently purchased more beads (and other supplies) and I spent last weekend at a scrapbooking retreat. Reality has already set in, though: we need to begin setting aside funds for outfitting H-J when he heads off to college in a year.

Bonus Fact:  This is our last weekend before school lets out next week! Hooray!

A Beautiful Mess

DSCN9787 beautiful mess


I purchased more Vintage Venetian seed beads recently. They are tiny.

Vintage Venetian seed beads, silver-lined, 11/0

Vintage Venetian seed beads, silver-lined, 11/0

Really, really tiny…


So tiny that when dropped on the light-colored carpet, it is extremely difficult to see these little gems… and yet I search and search* to make sure I haven’t missed one.

So tiny that I am having difficulty stringing them onto the jewelry wire… wire that measures 0.46mm (0.018 inches) in diameter. It might be easier if they weren’t silver-lined, which is creating havoc with my ability to poke the wire through their supposedly hollow tubes (sometimes they jump when poked… hence the searching on the carpet). These beads are one hundred years old but they are lovely beads and it will be worth it in the end, even if I am growling over the process right now.

DSCN9792And then there is the red/white/clear lanyard (see bottom of the picture to the right of this paragraph) that I’ve been working on recently. I’ve beaded and unbeaded it over the past 2 weeks, playing with the design to get the most pleasing patterns of color. Finally, I was satisfied with it on Thursday night and crimped the ends.  Saturday afternoon, I was picking it up to move it and photograph it and I noticed:


I should never finish anything off right before bedtime.

I’d messed up the pattern on one end during the last inch of beading. It’s a small mistake, but it can’t stay.

Beading is a bit like life in that way. Little things count and they can make a big difference.

And people? People are often a beautiful mess.


Sunday things on my mind:

“Jesus loves the little children — all the children of the world!
Red and yellow, black and white — they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

*Luke 15: 8-10 (parable of the lost coin)

I’m tremendously grateful for the Love that will not let me go. 

Friday Five: Present, Past, Future

My mailman has been a busy guy lately, delivering these goodies:

Earrings by Cassi

Earrings by Cassi

Have you been to Cassi’s Etsy shop or her beading blog? She has a regular blog, too.

I’ve been reading Teepe’s weblog for about 5 years now. What a surprise to get a package in the mail from her this week!

A surprise from Trudie in Sweden: birch root woven pin and a reindeer hide bracelet with woven pewter thread and a button made from an antler!

A surprise from Sweden: birch root woven pin and a reindeer hide bracelet with woven pewter thread and a button made from an antler!

Blogging friends are wonderful. ♥
I really hope to meet both of these fabulous friends in person someday.

Lanyard with pink foil-lined heart, pink Swarovski crystals, clear Vintage Venetian glass seed beads, pink glass Czech beads and  pink fiber optic beads.

Lanyard with pink foil-lined heart, pink Swarovski crystals, clear Vintage Venetian glass seed beads, pink glass Czech beads and pink fiber optic beads.

I made a couple more lanyards this week as well. I am really thrilled with how well the pink heart lanyard turned out!

Turquoise-coloured Lanyard made with Vintage Venetian seed beads, Millefiori beads, and "fire-polished" Czech beads

Turquoise-coloured Lanyard made with Vintage Venetian seed beads, Millefiori beads, and “fire-polished” Czech beads

I love choosing beads to purchase and then making something beautiful out of my stash. 

After the kids’ spring break, I’m planning on getting an Etsy shop up and running. No idea how to actually do this, but it seems like the proper plan to execute.  It will make my husband happier when I go to buy more beads, and it will help keep my mailman in a job. Right?

And then there’s this…

Hot Dog Budget vs. Ivy League Brains

Hot Dog Budget vs. Ivy League Brains

The 17yo high school junior has been getting letters from colleges for nearly 3 years. (He has a habit of scoring in the 99th percentile on the PSAT.)  The envelope above contained a letter from the admissions office, inviting H-J to apply to their university. Yes, he is scary-smart!