Sunday, May 12, 2013

I've moved...

I have moved to WordPress for blogging now. I posted my blogger url over at my new WordPress site so people could see my older posts, but forgot to post the WP location here... ooops!

You can see my newer posts HERE.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Buddha says...

The trouble is, you think you have enough time. ~The Buddha

Time enough to visit later.
Time enough to go back to school later.
Time enough to exercise later.
Time enough to eat better later.
Time enough to clean up later.
Time enough to write that letter later.
Time enough to save money later.
Time enough to say a prayer later.

Sure, perhaps you do. But if you keep saying that to yourself, time will fail you, for you'll run out of it. Then will you have done any of those things you always thought you had time for? Time is a tricky bugger. One moment you're 20-something, the next you're 40-something and where did time go?

Even if you just do one thing. Do it. Do something.One thing leads to another thing, and after a while you'll have done many things. Then a whole lot of things. You'll accomplish. You'll feel better and you'll have done better. Don't let fear or complacency eat away at your life. Take time now. Because,

The trouble is, you think you have enough time.....

Monday, January 21, 2013

There's never enough time

Mom and me, October 2012
There never seems to be enough time. Last Tuesday, Heaven received another angel. And I'm jealous. I can't help it, but I am. Time has run out.

Aunt Jean. Mom. Savior. That last word may seem a bit over the top to some of you, but let me tell you a story. When our last surviving parent died in 1982, my sister Cathy and I were orphans of the State of NY for a brief time. Aunt Jean came to our rescue. Luckily my parents had made legal arrangements to provide care for us. That meant a move down to Florida to live with my mom’s oldest sister Jean’s family. The ironic thing was that we were about to move to Florida that summer anyway, but the cancer had finally caught up with my dad. He had outlived his diagnosis by about 15 years, and back in that day he was living on borrowed time.

As my sister and I were adjusting to our new lives while still grieving in our own ways for our father, I can’t imagine what Aunt Jean was going through. I really didn’t know what to call her and I was old enough that mom didn’t feel quite right. Yet, anyway. And the boys. Her sons.  It was like we were invading their house and their lives. All I could think of was that I had to share a bedroom with my messy kid sister, when I had my own room and privacy in my old house. I think at one point I resorted to putting a strip of tape down the middle of the floor with a very dire warning if any of her toys inched its way over that line. (But who was I kidding? She was only 4.) We came from a small town whose graduating class had maybe 70 graduates. And the school was a small K-12 building. My new school had a huge building that was like three times larger than my old school in NY and I didn’t know a soul here. While I was dealing with school and fire ants (just in case you didn’t know, they are nothing like their black cousins up North who are fun to play with and don’t bite) and mosquitoes that could carry you away, mom was dealing with adjusting work schedules, two extra mouths to feed and fit around the table, her own grief, and who knows what else? I never had a clue that anything extraordinary was going on. But it was. Our lives quickly became normal. I can’t imagine how hard she worked at it to make it that way. Her compassion knew no bounds. She was always there to talk to and answer questions, and she was so gentle and compassionate.

I really want to thank Billy, John and Mike for sharing their mom with us. It may not have seemed fair to you to have to do so and I know not every moment was fun and games, but that was a gift of life us. It was a gift of a new life and a second chance for us. It was like she saved us. You all did.

So, my story is not so much about me and what happened when I was 12, but about the woman who took over as ‘mom’ for my sister and me, and the extraordinary person she was. Everyone who knew her knows how fun-loving she was. She worked hard and long hours as an emergency room nurse, often working doubles to save up for a trip she wanted to take. She seemed to have endless energy, almost… she’d work an 11-7 night shift, come home and pack up the kids and go to the beach, but then fall asleep during that movie she wanted to see sooo much. That was one of her trademarks, falling asleep during a movie. I know Aunt Sheri has a funny story about the movies I’d like to share. Mom had once again run a marathon shift and had taken the kids to the movies, in which she promptly fell asleep after a few minutes. There was this lady sitting in the seat in front of her that had sunglasses perched on her head and when she leaned back her sunglasses slid off into mom’s popcorn. Mom started awake and shrieked “RAT!” and flung the popcorn all over, making everyone around her shriek too. …. Oh yes, good times. 

She loved to travel, and many years ago she travelled to Ireland with her sister Sheri and they had a grand time. Ever since then, she loved all things Irish. A good potato soup would warm you right up and stick to your ribs. But she also loved Irish humor and especially Irish blessings. I’d like to leave you with an Irish poem I think that if she could tell us one last thing it would be this. It's titled
Remembered Joy
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all...
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss...
Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.
My life's been full, I've savoured much:
Good times, good friends, a loved-one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief—
Don't shorten yours with undue grief.
Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,
Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

And that is what mom was all about…. Family, friends, good times. A Good Life.
She truly is free now, as the first line says. She’s no longer tired, and she has no worries. She is whole and healthy once again. She has earned a well deserved rest.

Mom, we will all love and miss you forever more.

Your Daughter Jeanne

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas musings

Santa Squirrel says
Merry Christmas!
Well another Christmas has passed. I'm still enjoying the 'high' of Christmas but also glad for the break. A lot of hustle and bustle (read: really darn busy-ness!) go on during this time. My hubby and I opted for a joint effort gifting of a Christmas cookie platter this year, and the star of the plate were these snowflake cookies based on these pretties from The Bearfoot Baker. Now, she is a master cookie decorator so ours were a bit more basic. But they tasted yummy all the same and we had many compliments on them. I even used Alton Brown's Royal Icing recipe! This inspired us to do it up a bit more elaborate next year and we get to practice all year! :)

Did you have any special projects this year that (maybe made you pull your hair out, but) was worth it in the end?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all having/had a wonderful Thanksgiving, for those who celebrate.

I am grateful for so many things in my life...a wonderful husband, family, friends, a good job, our sweet pets. Mostly I am grateful for my health and freedom. Those two things allow so much else into our lives.

I'd like to share a favorite recipe with you all. Burgandy Mushrooms (the old Steak & Ale recipe). Since they went out of business 4 years ago, and we're not trying to sell it, I don't see a problem. Beside we've made this over and over already and no one's come to take us away. :)

Now, I'm going to give you the "big batch" recipe. This will be good for 8-10 easily. As long as they take a decent portion and not a whole bowlful of it, which can happen since these are so delicious. 

Let's begin:

You'll need a large the kind you'd have for lobster or crab night. 
A smaller sauce pan, 2 quarts at least (4 qts will give you alot more breathing room)
a slotted spoon
a strainer
a gravy serving spoon

4 lbs of button mushrooms, or regular sized mushrooms cut so that most all mushrooms are a uniform size
2 sticks butter
3 medium onions
1 jar of Better than Bullion beef stock (not using the whole jar, though)
2-4 tblsp garlic powder
2-4 cups Burgandy wine (the more the better we say)

NOTE: While  you are doing the Burgandy sauce part, deal with the mushrooms. You'll want this all to come together pretty much at the same time.

Cut the ends off the onions and peel them. Cut the onions into large chunks, like 2 vertical and 2 horizontal cuts. Think of it as very largely diced. 

Fill the large stock pot 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. Bring to boil, can leave on Med High heat. While water is heating, rinse the mushrooms to get the debris off. Be quick and don't let it soak up too much of the water. You may cut the mushrooms in large halves or quarters if they are large mushrooms, otherwise you can leave them whole. When water is boiling, add the mushrooms and blanch them. Stir frequently and watch for them to turn a gray color. They should start out white and reduce in size a bit and turn gray. Gray is the magic color. When they are all pretty much gray all over, drain them. Put them back in the boiler.

Our mushrooms are not button sized this time,
so we cut them up.
Put the cut up onions in a 2 quart saucepan. Add the 2 sticks of butter. Put on high heat and boil this down, stirring frequently. You don't need the onions translucent, but getting soft and reduced somewhat. You will have a butter onion soup at this point. 

Add 1 1/2 - 2 large dollops of the Better than Bullion beef stock. We use large soup spoons for our dollops. It's a generous amount. Stir into the butter onion mix well. 

Add the garlic powder. It's really to taste. We personally think there is no such thing as too much garlic, so do  what you like.

Add the Burgandy wine. If you are using a 2 quart saucepan, your saucepan should be almost to the top by now. Stir well and frequently and it won't boil over. Boil this mix for about 10 minutes. The alcohol needs to boil out, just leaving the flavor behind. Otherwise you'll have a bitter taste from the alcohol.
The Burgandy sauce boiling. It's very fragrant.

REMINDER! While  you are doing the Burgandy sauce part, deal with the mushrooms. You'll want this all to come together pretty much at the same time. 

After the alcohol is boiled out of the sauce, pour the whole mixture into the boiler on top of the drained mushrooms. Stir to mix together well. Let sit for a good 1/2 hour for the mixture to blend well and the mushroom to soak up the sauce. Stir occasionally if you want. If you cannot wait that long, it's ok. It's just that the longer it steeps the better it tastes! Can also be refrigerated and reheated later in the microwave.

Enjoy and please do tell me how yours came out! 

Do you have any favorite dishes you like to prepare? Or that are in high demand and you can't arrive to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without it? :)

Ta dah! "Steeping" the mushrooms to soak up the
burgandy sauce.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July Blog Carnival - Movement

Each month, the JAC has a blog carnival where members post about the same topic and link to one another so you can hop from blog to blog to get everyone's take on the subject. This month is about movement. Aptly assigned, as the 2012 Summer Olympics just started and that's ALL about moving the body! (I don't think there are any stationary sports, are there?)

So I've been in this BOHO Bliss class run by Deryn Mentock and I have been making earrings that have plenty of movement in them! My favorite so far are these great dangle hoops. (Design by Deryn Mentock, replicated with permission for class learning purposes.)

The thing about this is that it's not just the end result of the earrings being all dangly and fluid, but I had to move the metal to get the earrings to look this way. The hoop frames and the little paddles that the beads are hanging off of were hammered. They started out just a straight piece of round wire. Hammering transforms metal. It can do anything from simply hardening the piece you're working with (moving all of those atoms around), and it can flatten and fold the metal. That's definitely moving metal!

On another subject about movement, I just discovered this artist's amazing kinetic works of art. I love my earrings, but this is WAY cooler. :) Go check out his blog, you can see videos of ALL of his creations, and they are amazing. Definitely worth a few minutes of your time. David C. Roy.

Thanks for stopping by and please visit my fellow JAC bloggers to see their take on MOVEMENT:

Island Girl's Insights
Bead Sophisticate
Cat's Wire
Violetmoon's Corner
N Valentine Studio

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade Bench Block Pillow

As you know if you've read my last couple of posts, I recently won a spot in Deryn Mentock's BoHo Bliss Hoops class this summer, and I've been having an awesome time making some really cool ear wires and hoops.

One of your must-haves in metalworking is your bench block pillow. I did not have one at the start of class, and I didn't want to spend $20+ on it, so I looked up tutorials. There's a turtorial for everything, right? Well, wouldn't you know that I found one right off the bat from Jenni's Beads, a lady who was in one of Deryn's classes back in Oct '11. Serendipity!! Since I don't have a  sewing machine (and also the reason why I never finished that cute little sundress from the sewing class I took when I was 14), I quickly emailed the tut to my sewing-sister so she could get a look-see. Come to find out she never read it, but I should have known better, she's a master seamstress. She took one look at the pic and just 'knew' what to do.

In the meantime, I knew it would take a bit before we could hook up and get 'er done, so I searched for something in-the-meantime.... and found this at the dollah store:

It's the padded vinyl shelf liner stuff.
At $1 + tax for a 10 ft roll, that's a steal!

Here it is with some copper dust on it.... after being test driven
and waiting until I can hook up with my sister to make the "real" one.

It took probably 20 minutes to make this little guy, including scooping up the sugar sand in the back yard - SO convenient living in Florida. I got to help, even... I held the bag open while my sister scooped up the sand and put it in the bag (I had brought a sandwich bag with me with zip lock top), and I cut the material, and held the bag up so it would slide through easily while the stitches went in (can you tell I don't sew? Who knows what kind of sewing jargon I'm supposed to be using here). She did the rest. :) And silly me, I forgot to take pics of the "during!!!" Ack. So I quickly regrouped and took pics of the aftermath. 

Scraps of the black leather we used; leftovers from a custom dress she made someone...
who knew bench block pillows could be so glamorous!

Her mondo sewing machine that can do everything but wash the dishes....

Whalla! Finished and ready for action.
 Double seamed, all safe in its zip-locked bag, there'll be no leakage here!

So here she is! Isn't she beautiful? Maybe I should add a beaded fringe to pay homage to its original purpose...? Price: $1.07 and a hug. (Is it wrong to admit that the $1.00 roll of padded vinyl liner deadens the sound better than the pillow? Nah, forgetaboutit.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June Blog Carnival and BoHo Bliss

June's Blog Carnival revolves around what is inspiring you now? Recently I won a spot in the coveted BoHo Bliss class, conducted by Deryn Mentock. It was basically a godsend because I've been wanting to learn more about metal smithing and using the torch really bad for time now - in a somewhat controlled environment. YouTube vids only go so far. I had the opportunity to take a class a few months ago to make these very cool 'spiculum earrings' and it left me wanting more! Sadly the classes kept getting cancelled, so I just said what the heck I'll try out for this one of two free spots Deryn's giving away. The worst that could happen is I just don't win it, but I did. Holy Cow! 

So this has been my inspiration for months now and I can finally get my torch on! Here is what I've been doing for the last week or so. There's more to come, so keep tuning in.

Starting with the basics... earwires! I've done lots
of them, just never hammered them. Gives them
a whole different look. I'm loving it!

Some more earwires and the "Ellipse" earring.
The Ellipse earring has an elegant profile in the ear.
Now we're getting in to the meat of things. The first hoop Deryn walks us through is simple
yet very elegant. Can't wait to get to the dangle hoops next!

Thank you for stopping by and looking. If you want to see more eye candy, please take a look at my fellow Jewelry Artisan Group friends' blogs:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I won again!

Wow, this has been the winning-est 7 months of my life! I won 3 giveaways - a great set of beads from Magpie Gemstones back in December, a year's worth of access at Doctorate Level to Jewelry Making Professor to help me with my bead weaving and other techniques back in February, and my latest amazing win is a spot in Deryn Mentock's BOHO Bliss class that just started yesterday.

That string of beads I won from Magpie definitely are being called to duty now! Stay tuned for more posts from my BOHO Bliss class creations.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


(Note: Don't mind the scratched up table, it's 40 yrs old and will be refinished soonly...)



Moral of the story, never leave chewable goodies in the same room as the chomp monster.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March Blog Carnival: Spring Plans

Each month, members from Jewelry Artisans Community (JAC) all write on the same subject. After a lengthy hiatus, I have joined this blogging activity again. This month we are discussing our plans for Spring. 

My plans revolve around learning a new technique: metalsmithing. I have taken one class already, and created these super fun "spiculum earrings." Spiculum refers to something sharp and pointed, like a shard such as crystal or ice. 

In this class I cut out the pattern from a sheet of 24 gauge copper metal, filed the edges smooth and hammered them around forms to get them to curl like you see them. Then heat via a jeweler's butane torch is applied to anneal the metal to make it pliable again. This process of hammering and heating is repeated until they are the shape I wanted. Then the last step was to apply heat again one last time to get the metal to display the beautiful colors you see. Copper starts out that bright shiny coppery color all over. I much prefer these beautiful colors! At least for this project. Then the hole is punched out at the tops, I hand-fabricated the earwires and the spirals, attached them, and voila! A cool new pair of earrings.

Next up, pretty enamel flower earrings with some more metalsmithing involved, and then a fold formed cuff bracelet! I am very excited about learning these techniques. This opens a whole new world in jewelry for me and I can't wait to learn more!

Thanks for stopping by. Please check out these posts by other JAC members:

Islandgirl's Insights     Bead Sophisticate     Cat's Wire     Jewelry Art by Dawn

Bead up a Storm

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I won, I won!

Two things, was some fabulous items from Magpie Gemstones' Free Beads for Blog Buddies promotion. I've never won anything like this before, so it was a complete thrill. Here are my goodies:

Silver and turquoise focal. This guy is humongous at 2.5" x 3.75".

16" strand of yummy multicolored 3mm x 5mm rondelles

Some sturdy 10mm split rings
Now I'm a bit embarrassed to say I won these back in December, and haven't blogged about them yet because they haven't spoken to me yet about what they want to be, but it's certainly high time to introduce them to everyone. :)  They are whispering now, so I hope to play with them a bit and see what comes forth.  I'll be sure to post what I come up with!

And I even have a second win to announce. I have won a One Year Doctorate Membership at the Jewelry Making Professor's website. This is where I learned how to do the puffy heart, which hooked me onto videos for learning techniques. I very much look forward to utilizing that free subscription! Thank you JMP!

Puffy heart done in rose opal and fuchsia Swarovski crystals
using the video tutorial from Jewelry Making Professor.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's a New Year!!

Hi everyone, remember me? I'm still here, just been busy busy the last few months and haven't made time to blog. Ok I've got a lot of catching up to do. My poor blog has been ignored, and it's time for an end of the year/beginning of new year evaluation.

Last January I made some resolutions, and was about 1/2 successful. I did get my business established, and I did post in my blog more, but then I petered out... So a fresh new year is here and I'm just going to continue on. More posting in my blog is in order - probably 2 more to come pretty quickly after this one - and my goal is to post twice a month. In theory that should be super easy.

Also I have a small bit of cash to play with ad I've been wanting to branch out into playing with fire. Ooooohhh, ahhhhh....  Yes I have a butane torch that has been sitting in the bag for months, because I haven't been able to get any acoutrements to go with it, in order to start burning stuff up. Today I picked up a simple vise at Lowe's.

A friend of mine posted in her blog how she was starting to do fold forming, and it really sparked my interest. She even sent me one of her prototypes! So fun. Makes me want to try, naturally. And to top it off, she has featured me in her blog! Woot! You can read all about it in Jewelry Art by Dawn's blog on ArtFire. Thanks Dawn!!!

Pics of things next time... :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

August Blog Carnival: Would I take jewelry stuff with me on vacation?

Nope I sure wouldn't. It's vacation. A break from everything. Well, I *might* take a sketch pad. But that's it. Really.

Maybe some colored pencils too. But seriously, that's it. I start packing jewelry stuff and we'd need another vehicle to carry it all, because I'd want to bring everything so I didn't forget anything, and that's simply not practical. Then there'd be set up in a new spot, a huge space taken up by all the containers, etc. that it took to carry it all, and pack back up whtn we're done. Ugh! I don't want anything other than my clothes and toiletries to remind me of anything back home when I'm on vacation.

As much as I love making jewelry, how could I want to be bending over tiny seed beads or wrapping wire while on vacation when I have this to enjoy? Nope, just pass me the margarita, please.

Want to know what others at SJA do? Follow these links to the other folks at SJA that posted about this...

Dianne Karg Baron


Galadryl Designs

Bead Sophisticate

Jewelry Art by Dawn

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mid-year check-in: New Year Resolutions

Well, a little over half the year is gone so it's high time to check in with progress on my New Year's Resolutions. In short, here are my three "resolute" action items for the year 2011:

1) Eat better and excercise - everyone's standard resolution, I know, but I do need to do these things
2) Blog on a regular basis - goal is 1x week
3) Establish my jewelry business - read: get that license!
So the report goes like this...
#3, DONE!! I got my tax ID on March 18th, and the other day I filed my 2nd quarterly tax return. Woohoo! The name J3Jewelry is also registered in Florida. If I ever decide to go national with it, this will help me since I've established the business name here first. Time is our friend in these cases.
#2 Blogging is occuring more often than prior to the New Year, but I have not achieved 1x/week yet. Some months were close, but last month...well, just one post! So I still need to work on that.
#1 Exercise and eating better.  Abysmal. Fail. No progress. It's as if I forgot what those two things mean. I am a lazy turd, I know. I really need to get going with this. Send me threatening messages, maybe that will help. :)
On another note, the hubby and I got something done during my (1.5 days left) vacation (he had to go back to work on Tuesday) that I wasn't sure would ever get done. We tore out the hallway carpet and replaced it with tile! And it looks like wood planks, so it is SO cool. Oh and we also painted the hall, the baseboards and the door frames so it looks all shiny and new. Low VOCs are wonderful, you just need to use 2 coats. But if you have a strong color you are covering up, definitely prime it first (we used No Odor Killz). Then still, 2 coats! But it's great stuff. I love it - the hubby, not so much. He would have preferred a 1-coat paint. Such as life, he got over it. :)  AND, we did not have a house full of fumes.
So here's how it went:
Old icky carpet, the baseboards already removed from the wall.

The icky linoleum that we found under the old icky carpet. We had to scrape that mess up.
And under that mess was some very sticky stuff, and it was black. Ugh.

Progress! Hubby lays the tiles, no it's not real wood, and inserts 1/8" spacers.

Our smaller kitty, Serenity, felt the need to add her special touch to the project.
You can see her paw print in the bottom middle of the pic. LOL

And finally, all done! Whew. Now on to the next room!!!
Now of course, we're just dying to get more flooring ripped out and replaced because this turned out so well. We will have at least one more done before the end of the year. That's a new goal.
Thanks for visiting!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June Blog Carnival: Other People's Work in My Designs

Well this was a no-brainer for me... Randee M. Ketzel of RMKDesign in Texas is a very talented polymer clay (PC) artist. I was looking for a focal for a viking weave concept I had many months ago, when I came across some of these in her etsy shop. Immediately I thought, gee that would look really cool in bronze with some metallic highlights. So I contacted her, which ultimately led to this:

I have also made a 2nd viking weave bangle with her focal as a gift for her daughter for graduation:

I have many other pieces of hers that I have plans for. Now I just have to find the time to get 'er done!!!

Then I got to thinking, and realized, I've used several people's artwork in my own creations. My very first custom request piece was from glass artist Theresa at Bead Regalia (nly10) and was this adorably cute heart shaped vessel which I used to create a Twilight-inspired necklace for my niece for her birthday a couple years back:

I love this heart shaped vessel. My favorite aspect is the tiny blood-red
drop hanging down inside of it.

I also purchased this pretty teacup by Michael McDowell to take pictures with. I just love it!!

Thanks for stopping by. Won't you please visit these other blogs to see how they've used other artists creations in their own work?

Lynne from Island Girl

Caron from BeadSire

Sylvia from Galadryl Designs

Dawn from Jewelry Art by Dawn

Angela from AMDesignsbyAngela

Bonnie from The FamiLee Jewels

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How I relax and recharge

This is certainly different for everyone, and there are so many things that work for us all. And more than one method or activity does it. Recently I had a very fun day at work, full of lots of laughter. I forgot how recharging and energizing lots of laughter can be. Usually I just get in a couple/few LOLs in a day, but this was belly guffaws, long and sustained... wonderful stuff. It's been a couple days and I still feel the effects. Makes me want to run out and rent a bunch of comedy movies to keep it up!

Laughter is good, and if you have enough of it everyday, you'll be in a great mood most of the time, I guarantee it. I also love awesome music in a quiet setting- I'm not one for a lot of hubub or tenseness surrounding me, makes me jumpy after a bit. The music can be loud, but the surroundings need to be otherwise quiet, so I can enjoy said music. OHhhhh but the list is long... here is but some of my favorite artists/music (in no particular order):  Sting, Enya, Damien Rice, Vivaldi, Debussy, Mozart, Bach, acoustic Spanish guitar, Manheim Steamroller, choral music, Ray LaMontagne, Jeff Buckley, George Winston, and on and on, but that gives you a bit of an idea...

And then there's my beloved yoga which I have been absent from for so long... sickness and work got me away from it, but I'm returning very soon. It works all your muscles, gets the blood moving through your veins, increases your lung capacity (it's all that heavy breathing from trying to hold the poses! lol), and you just feel completely relaxed when it's over. At least, it does with MY yogi (see my Frister blog post). Not surprising, I haven't been sleeping as well and I've been a bit more tense lately since I've been away from it...

To really recharge, I like a good vacation. I don't think I'd take my jewelry stuff with me... maybe a sketchbook and also take inspiring pictures, but something completely different than every day life is necessary. Being a Floridian, I love a good beach getaway vacation. Haven't had nearly enough of them in my opinion, but the sound of the surf, the breeze flowing through the grasses, screeching of gulls, the fresh scent of the sea... dolphins in the morning and early evening, summer rain and sunsets....all of it is so freshing. The sea is alive and renews itself. Swimming in the sea is renewing as well and can relax you immensely. Back in the day, my mom would rent a beach house each summer and the whole family would go and we'd have such a great time. We never wanted it to end!

The beach house "Wave's Edge" that we spent probably a good decade
of summer vacations at. It's RIGHT on the beach in Anna Maria Island.

Thanks for visiting! Won't you leave a comment and tell me how you relax and recharge?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Tribute

Thank a veteran today. Reflect on your freedoms. We take them for granted and we grumble when they are imposed upon. Think of the brave soldiers that fought and died, or fought and were maimed, forever scarred, for our freedoms. Freedom is not free, although the vast majority of us will not have to pay the price for them. The least we can do is give thanks to those who fought for those freedoms, and still do today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Pliers are my staple. I have several pair that do many things, but there are a couple of them that I really love. There's nothing like a good pair of bail maker pliers to help make ear wires and ear cuffs, and then I have these nifty Magic Crimping Pliers that turn a 2x2mm crimp tube into a perfect little 2mm ball, which is a crimp! How cool is that? I think it's way cool, and much more elegant than putting a crimp cover over a squished crimp. Hey we all have to start somehwere and I certainly did use crimp covers for the first couple years I did jewelry simply because I had not heard of the "magic" crimp pliers yet. Besides, I think they are a relatively new type of tool.  Here's a demo of the Magic Crimping Pliers, and a pic of my own Magic Crimping pliers.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let me introduce....

My "Frister" Michelle. I'm borrowing that term for a moment from a lady on my jewelry forum. I saw her shop name and her explanation and I really love the term. Friend + Sister = Frister. I am blessed to have 2 sisters in my life: my younger blood sister and my older (I like to tease her that way because she's less than a year older than me lol) "chosen" sister. Well, she chose me, really. In 10th grade, when I was the new kid in class and I needed to join a lab group, she pointed at me and said, "you're with us." So there I had 2 new best friends and I didn't even know it yet. Jill and Michelle.

My new-found lab partners, Michelle and Jill,
 back in high school days, circa 1985/6.
Over the years we spent the summers together, went on trips together, took as many classes together as possible, went to college together, got in trouble together, laughed, cried, supported each other through countless boyfriend crises... you name it... joined at the hip might be underestimating it a bit. Boyfriends? Expendable, honey. My frister was with me first, and will always be there. I can always find another boyfriend, but fristers are hard to come by, and ones like Michelle and Jill are once in a lifetime.

But Michelle is the topic, today. There's so much to say, but I'll start with 'her mama raised her right.' This is a woman who doesn't see color, only human beings. Kind and generous to a fault and beautiful to boot. And this girl got skillz, too! She's an amazing seamstress, a belly dancer, and a certified yoga instructor with a thriving and growing business. She tirelessly takes care of her family and her 86 year old grandmother too. I really don't know where she gets the energy, or the patience. Must be that Libra influence in her that's balancing the scales (although, she is a "Virtuous Virgo").

She's the happiest yoga instructor in the world. Here's an example... Just imagine you're doing ab work, sitting upright, with your legs extended in front of you with your knees bent 90 degrees and your're twisting your torso to the left. Hold it for 20 seconds as she counts to 20 with a smile in her voice. Next, without dropping your legs, twist to the right and hold for 20 more seconds, again she counts with a smile in her voice. Lastly, turn your torso forward and raise the legs so you look like a V now, and hold for 20 more seconds. Again that smile in her voice while she counts to 20, and do I hear laughter in her voice this time?!? While the rest of us are moaning and groaning, huffing and puffing and passing out from the strain of weak abdominal muscles, she gracefully lowers her legs and adjusts into 1/2 lotus position, not even breathing hard, beams the brightest smile out over her devotees, then mercifully lets us relax our backs into a forward bend. People think yoga is such a gentle practice... and it is in so many ways, namely it is not rough on your body such as running is, but it is definitely a workout, make no mistake. When you're done, and she's wrung every last effort out of you - but never overstressing the body - and you think you just can't take any more, you get to relax in shavasana pose to end the night's practice. Then you sleep like a baby that night, and you're hooked, just like that.

Just in case you didn't quite visualize the last
position I described's the
tortuous ab work position. Ugh.

Yoga retreat in Vail Colorado - Michelle in scorpion pose
Yoga retreat in Vail Colorado - not sure of this pose,
but it looks really tricky.

And she sews... Here's a few examples:

Michelle, on the end, sewed all of the Bride's Matrons' dresses
for my wedding (and 4 other outfits as well). In less than 3 months,
while still living her regular high-paced life. 
She made a World of Warcraft costume for a friend of hers
who wanted to wear it to a costume contest. In here you can't
see the LED lights that were added into the shoulder pads, making
them glow, just like an Elf costume would.
Just this past Christmas, she made me an awesome purse with
a sci-fi chicks theme. I love it!
She makes customized yoga mat bags too!
And here she made a customized tote bag/purse for her
bellydance troupe leader, Samira.

In tribal gear, doing a split during her sword dance

Boy that yoga really helps with the bellydance moves!
All kidding aside, I really love this picture.

Devoted mom and wife...
With son Taylor, taken a couple years ago, but I love this one.
With hubby Scott during a winter trip to Michigan to vist Jill.
Remember Jill in the 1st picture?
Well there's just so much does one portray a 25 year old friendship in a few words or pictures? Not the easiest thing to do, but I hope you get the idea what a talented, cool and special person she is. She's my BFrister for Life. :)

The 3 Musketeers in Colorado December 2009