Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have totally and completely screwed up my neck and shoulders and I don't even know how I did it (although I suspect it's got something to do with the orientation of my desk at work). It's been an on-again/off-again issue since February, but it's gotten particularly bad in the last few weeks.

Last night I was in so much pain that I was almost in tears and I had to take an extra dose of Advil to get it under control so I could sleep.

This is NOT a good thing.

I'm sure that stress is playing a big part as well. I desperately need to loll on a tropical beach somewhere with a frou frou drink for about 2 weeks and not do ANYTHING.

But, since that doesn't look likely to happen any time soon, maybe I'll just buy stock in the company that makes Advil.

In the meantime, here's some beady goodness to cheer us all up:

My dear friend, Julie, went to Portland Bead Fest last weekend and brought me back this gorgeous pair of Kathy Perras lampwork beads. Insanely beautiful colors! Can't wait to make something great with them.

She also brought me this wonderful porcelain pendant from Raven's Journey International. My poor photgraphy skills don't really capture it, but there's some amazing iridescent pink, lavender and green coloring around the tips of the dragonfly's wings. This is truly beautiful!

If you can't get to a bead show in person, it's really awesome to have a great friend who will go for you AND who has excellent taste in all things beady!

Just a random pair of earrings that I made at lunch yesterday, but I had fun playing around with different photo backgrounds. This is a glass vase.

I'm really liking this wood background with the almost-eye-level angle. It's not quite so great for showing the dangliness of the earrings, though.

Then I remembered I had this rolled-up sheet of cork from my old rubber-stamping days and I thought it might make an interesting background, too. It really shows off the color in the beads very well.

Unfortunately, after I took all the pictures, I realized that one of the earring hooks was a mutant and didn't have the right number of coils around it so I had to switch it out, but that was no biggie and took only a minute to do. But still - how come I couldn't have noticed it BEFORE I took all the pictures? No, that would've been too easy.

Oh, and I'm happy to report that I visited the grocery store last night and even GASP! went to the dreaded deli counter without spontaneously combusting. Of course, I did have to wait 20 minutes to get my order which, despite my having repeated it 3 times, was wrong and had to be re-done. However, by the time I waited through all of that, I was so tired and in so much pain that we left without getting half the stuff I needed.

Then again, knowing that store, they were probably out of it or had moved it somewhere where I couldn't find it anyway.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

But wait! I made MORE stuff!

Yes, indeedy, I did. Playdates are wonderful things. Sent the kid to the neighbors' house for the afternoon on Sunday and I made beady goodness and watched football.

Ahhhh the good old (pre-kid) days. I almost got to remember what it was like when that was how I spent entire weekends.

I'm thinking that the peaceful environment was good for the Muse, too. At least I'm not embarrassed by these pieces. Most of them are at least okay.

Nothing too exciting here - just the earrings to match the Nevada Lapis necklace I made a couple of weeks ago.

I'm trying to play around with my photgraphy lack-of-skills to see if I can get better - or at least more interesting - pictures. I still can't quite get the colors in these stones to show up well. They're so gorgeous in real life and the lavender is much brighter.

I made these earrings with some wonderful beads from Sue Beads. Then I saw a picture on her blog of a bracelet that another artist did with a similar bead and I wished I'd been more creative with them.

But, I knew I had these cute little silver sand dollar charms and they just seemed like they wanted to be together.

I think maybe the one thing I ought to change is the crystal at the top. I considered doing something in red or coral to pick up the murrini accent on the beads, but it seemed too strong. I have some glass rondelles that are more of the "sand" color in the lampwork beads those may work instead.

I loved this set of lampwork beads. The colors are just delicious.

I added in some Bali silver beads and spacers to try to mimic the "dot" pattern on the teal beads.

Originally, I had planned to put more crystals on this, but as I started working on it, the silver Bali beads just wanted to be feature more in the design and once I did that, it seemed like too much to add more crystals.

So, I put one at the back next to the clasp.

More photography fiddling. I wouldn't use this as a main picture, but I kind of like the perspective of looking out over the necklace.

And a really nice closeup of the beads. Isn't that dark teal color just yummy?

I wish I had more to post about, but yesterday was pretty boring. An insane amount of work at the day job and came home with intense pain in my right neck and shoulder (been an ongoing thing for a few months). I got the photos done and edited and the pizza ordered (thank goodness for Dominoe's!) and the kid and I munched and watched some football together. Did the laundry and the dishes. Got the kid to bed and then I cuddled up with a few Advil tablets and a heating pad on my shoulder.

Waaaayyy overslept this morning - after a REALLY bad (and really WEIRD) dream. It was so bad and weird that I am definitely not blogging about it except to say that it was about 10 minutes after I woke up that I realized it hadn't been real. I hate that lingering feeling where your waking brain has to figure out that it was, in fact, just a dream. Yeesh!

Also, there's something about oversleeping and then having to race through your morning routine at triple speed that just sets the wrong tone for the day. You just know it's not going to go well at all.

On that happy note...hope everyone ELSE has a good day!


Monday, September 28, 2009

I Made Stuff!

Yes, it's true! I don't JUST buy beads. I actually make something...occasionally!

Here's the bracelet I was talking about all last week but could never get time to photograph:

Lampwork disks and etched dot beads are from Bead Intrigue on Etsy.

The clasp is a sterling silver lobster claw. I also left a bit of chain on as an extender and decorated it with a few extra beads.

Accent beads are Swarovski pearls and crystals in a couple of different colors, black onyx rounds, and lots of silver.

Then, despite the fact that it was hella hot out this weekend, I decided to get my autumn on:

Lampwork beads from Blue Seraphim on Etsy.

I really like the organic "nugget" shape on these and the mis-matched colors and patterns. Even the color scheme is outside my normal "comfort zone." I wire-wrapped everythign together using bronze Vintaj wire and attached a Vintaj chain and clasp to the back.

Originally, this was going to be a bracelet and there were going to be lots of dangles in between each lampwork bead, but as I started working, that idea just didn't seem right. I do wish there was a touch more "sparkle" to this piece, but I couldn't figure out where to add it without going overboard so I decided to leave it as is.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


P.S. Still no sign of Webhead. I don't know what happened to her :-(

Friday, September 25, 2009


Okay, that was like the least creative blog post title EVER, but on Friday, I don't feel like workin' for it. I feel like looking at bead porn and I know you do, too, or you wouldn't be here.

So, here's this week's round up:

Cute porcelain butterflies from Nancy Schindler at Round Rabbit.

And more butterflies - the glaze on these is really amazing. It has purple sparklinesses in the middle fading out to an aqua shade at the edges. Tres cool and really comes to life in the sunshine.

I decided recently that I was concentrating too much on art beads (I know - it's kind of hard not to) and not really getting anything to work with as far as secondary and accent beads. So, the next few items are an attempt to remedy that.

Jade rondelles - dyed an amazing shade of peacock blue.

Delicious red jade briolettes.

Snakeskin jasper rondelles. This is fast becomine one of my very favorite stones. Evern since I bought a strand of gumball-sized rounds from Rings 'N Things a couple of years ago and made a necklace with it, I've been hooked.

In addition to accent beads, I needed some Vintaj brass chain and wire to work in some designs I have planned using other Vintaj components - because I like to make with the matchy-matchiness whenever possible.

Brass rollo chain.

Brass curb chain.

And 22 gauge wire.

But I couldn't possible give up on the art beads altogether, ya know. Hence this amazing set of boro glass cube beads from Daniel Echeverry of Danielsbeads on Etsy.

A few other minor tidbits of interest:

Webhead has disappeared. We don't know what happened to her, but she was gone this morning. The egg sac disappeared a few days ago. Not sure if she just moved on, passed away, got eaten? If she comes back, I will let you know.

I spent last night eating dinner at Souplantation with my mom and my son. No pearls were thrown in the trash on this particular occasion.

Tonight the kid and I will be attending a belt ceremony at his Tae Kwon Do studio where he'll be awarded his yellow belt! Would you believe he actually broke a piece of wood with his flying sidekick at his test last week? (And yeah, it was balsa wood, but he doesn't know that LOL!)

Tomorrow I am going to tack a stab at putting away some of the clutter caused by the flood and the resulting emergency evacuation of two closets. I think 6 months is long enough to have waited to put the stuff back, don't you?

I would have gotten to it sooner, but I was too busy spontaneously combusting at grocery stores.

Speaking of which it is supposed to be unreasonably hot here this weekend. Again. Enough with the heat already. I want to wear sweaters!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

There was supposed to be a picture of a bracelet here, but since I didn’t get home until after 7 PM last night and still had to make (order) dinner and get the kid showered and to bed and the laundry done (boo! hiss!) I didn’t exactly have a lot of time left for photography. Plus, it wasn’t quite light enough outside to get good pictures, anyway.

I should’ve known the whole night was a loss when I had to work late and then got on the freeway to find it at a dead stop due to an accident. Now, this being So Cal, a freeway turned into a parking lot by an accident is actually the normal state of affairs. But this is a special freeway. This is a toll road. A toll road which I pay an exorbitant amount of money, (one might almost call it highway robbery…sorry, couldn’t resist) which I would much rather spend on beads, to drive on because there’s not supposed to be any traffic OR accidents to get in my way.

Apparently, somebody didn’t get the memo: There are to be NO accidents on MY freeway that I PAY to drive on!

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on with our little story, shall we?

So, as a result of the working late and the being stuck on the freeway, I didn’t make it to pick up the kid until he was the last kid there and they were closing up the place. I only missed having to pay a late fee by about 30 seconds.

And then the kid hit me with “Mommy, I thought you forgot about me.”


I lay all this out for you as a prologue so you will understand that by the time we got to the car and I realized we still had to go to the grocery store (the household being lacking in all things toilet paper), I was not in the best of moods.

Oh, and did I remember to mention that it was eleventy-billion degrees out, too? Okay, maybe not eleventy-billion, but it was 90 degrees…at 6 PM at night…in almost-October.

That’s just WRONG.

I want an early frost and crisp air and apples and sweaters. Instead, I’m contemplating an air conditioning bill that makes the national deficit pale in comparison.

Woops…okay…thought train de-railed again. Back to the story.

Upon entering the parking lot, I discover that yesterday had apparently been designated as National “Ignore the Parking Lot Stall Lines” Day. Nobody told me, though. I’m bummed because I would’ve gotten some balloons or a printed t-shirt or something.

Seriously, though, was I the only one in Driver’s Ed class on the day they explained how your car is supposed to fit BETWEEN the white lines? Not on them or diagonally across them. BETWEEN them. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp?

Oh, and a Hummer? NOT A COMPACT CAR. Don’t park one in the stalls marked “compact.” And definitely don’t take a bright yellow one and park it diagonally across TWO compact stalls.

And no, I am NOT making this up. I’m so proud this genius lives somewhere in my town.

But none of that matters, really, because I can’t get far enough down the aisle to get to any of these parking spots anyway because of the vacant-eyed, drooling teenage couple who are meandering down the center of the aisle, holding hands and each talking separately into their own phones. Hell, they were probably talking to each other on the phones for all I know, but I was too busy trying to restrain myself from running them over to figure it out.

Finally get the car parked and get up to the grocery store entrance where I am accosted by the “cause du jour” people. These are the people who have a table set up outside every grocery store, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. in my town and want you to stop on your way into the store to “buy cookies/ buy popcorn/sign a petition/register to vote/adopt a pet/save the homeless/save the rainforest/save geniuses who park their Hummers in compact car spots.” Now, I’m sure all these are worthy causes (well, except maybe that last one), but not only am I in a hurry, I’m just tired of not being able to go ANYWHERE without someone haranguing me about something every single time.

I’ve developed an entire arsenal of tactics to avoid having to deal with these people, but that’s probably a blog entry all on its own. Let’s just assume I avoided their snare yesterday and proceeded to try to enter the grocery store.

I know, I know…you’re thinking how long this entry has been and I’m not even in the store yet. That’s because I want you to feel the pain of how incredibly annoying this whole experience is.

I can’t actually get in the door because a woman has stopped with her cart halfway in. She’s getting hand sanitizer from the dispenser near the entrance – which is a good idea. She just needed to either leave her cart outside or take it inside, but don’t STOP IN THE DOORWAY! Her two kids are standing to the side of the cart so they are blocking a guy IN the store who is trying to exit. Their mom is completely oblivious.

Meanwhile I’m standing behind this whole mess thinking that the traffic moved more quickly on the freeway earlier this afternoon.

Finally, the woman wakes up and realizes she’s doing the equivalent of changing her tire in the middle of traffic and gets out of the way.

The kid and I proceed inside only to discover that there are no small hand baskets to be had anywhere so we have to go back outside to get a cart. I pull a cart out of the line, turn around and start to exit the cart storage area when around the corner comes a huge line of carts right at me. One of the highly intelligent (cough! cough!) store workers has rounded up the stray carts from the parking lot, formed them into a massive snaking line and is pushing the line into the storage area. Except that the line is really long and he’s at the far end of it which is almost around the corner so he can’t see that my son and I and our cart are trapped in there and in danger of being run over.

Run over by grocery carts is NOT the way I want to go.

He finally comes around the corner and sees us standing there and I will give you one guess as to whether he backs off and lets us out or not.

Yeah, you know he didn’t, right? I mean that was too easy. No, he just kept on shoving that line of carts in and we stood there trapped until he was finished.

Notice that I have STILL not made it inside the store.

Finally, though, we’re in. And I think we can all say a small prayer of thanks that for once I did not have to visit the deli counter. Because I’m not sure the store or I would have survived that encounter at this point.

Once inside the store, I realize that they are ONCE AGAIN reorganizing the place. I mean heck, it was only a couple of weeks ago that they moved the Slimfast to the condom aisle. Obviously the place was ripe for another re-decorating.

Half the aisles are blocked with dollies and wire cages full of stuff that they are in the process of re-locating. This makes finding items and maneuvering down the aisles extra entertaining. It’s like a scavenger hunt and an obstacle course all in one.


Oh, and moving the bottled water to the Asian Foods aisle? Genius! Absolutely the perfect place and right where anyone would naturally expect it to be. Not quite up to the Slimfast/condom aisle combination, but close.

I swear there’s some evil little gnome of a guy in a cubby somewhere watching all of the customers run around like crazy looking for stuff and giggling some insane giggle to himself because he just gets off on screwing with us.

Let’s see – what else?

Are there any carrots or bananas to be had in the produce aisle? Nope. Totally out. Makes sense – I’m sure I heard on CNN that there is a worldwide carrot and banana shortage.

Oh look! A watermelon has fallen onto the floor, cracked open and is spilling a huge puddle of juice across the entire aisle. I don’t suppose anyone wants to clean that up?


Okay, never mind.

Can I get any milk that has an expiration date more than 2 days from now?


Means I get to come back here in 2 days. Goody!

I’m not even going to go into detail about the checkout line except to mention that the cashier took one look at my face and told me to “Smile!”

I’m sad to report that due to a small thermonuclear explosion, the store no longer exists.

Nice crater, though.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

That Was Fun


The interruption in my blog posting was brought to you by 48 hours of some kind of random plague that I suffered from. 104 degree fever, aches, chills, terrible headache, dizziness and, um, how can I put this so it's not too gross? Intestinal...uh...issues.

Soooo not good.

I'm better today except for the stupid headache which isn't as bad but won't go completely away, either. Just feels like it's kind of hovering there in the background waiting.

So, no jewelry-making accomplished. Which is a bummer because I have a bracelet that was oh-so-close to being done before I got sick and I thought I'd have it finished and posted by now. Maybe I'll get a chance to finish it at lunch today.

Spider Maternity Ward Update:

I heard back from What's That Bug about Webhead's egg sac. We can expect about 200-500 spiderlings to emerge in the spring, throw up lines of web and get carried away by the breeze. In colder climates, the mommy spider doesn't survive the winter, but since we're in So Cal, she might live through it.

However, yesterday we discovered that the egg sac was no longer in the web, but was down on the leaves of the impatiens below the web. We're not sure if it fell or if she deliberately moved it down there - although that would be odd since she worked so hard to drag it up into the web and attach it in the first place. Then, this morning, the egg sac was gone completely. Don't know if she moved it to a safer place or if a bird or lizard might've eaten it or maybe it just fell to the ground below the impatiens?

Either way, it's kind of sad to think how hard she worked on the whole project and now the egg sac is missing.

Hmmm...maybe I need more excitement in my life so I don't have to focus so intently on the reproductive habits of garden spiders?

Could be.

Oh, and to make up for the lack of a post yesterday, here's some eye candy:

Lovely focal bead by Blue Seraphim on Etsy. I'm trying to expand outside my blue/green/purple color rut.
Have a great day!
P.S. Kid quote for the day: "Mommy, last night I slept so hard. I slept like a log on a rock." Yeah, I didn't get it, either, but I thought it was worth recording for history.

Monday, September 21, 2009


*Spiders of unusual size. (this is a joke for those who have read "The Princess Bride.:)

If you've been following the blog this summer, you know that my son (aka future bug scientist) has been dragging me to look at all kinds of icky creepy crawlies which I then have to take pictures of.

Most recently, we've been following the adventures of "Webhead" (hey, the kid named her) in my back yard. Webhead is a Golden Orb Weaver spider (also known as a Yellow and Black Garden Spider) who has been hanging over my impatiens bed most of the summer and has done a fantabulous job cutting down on the local fly population.

Go, Webhead!

All of a sudden, yesterday, she was gone. This is the first time she's been out of her web since she showed up a few months ago. We thought maybe it had gotten too hot for her or that our gardener had scared her away.

This morning we discovered where she'd been and what she'd been up to.

Apparently, Webhead has been a bit free and easy with her virtue when it comes to male spiders with the result that she is going to be a Baby Momma any time now.

She was back in her web this morning along with this ginormous egg sac.

Looks like I will be hip-deep in baby spiderlings pretty soon. Normally, I'd be out getting a court order to force the dad to pay his child support, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Webhead already ate him.

Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of "you play, you pay" doesn't it?


Friday, September 18, 2009

New Beads

The unknown Etsy "thief" didn't manage to empty my cart entirely so here's some beady eye candy for you:

Lampwork spacer beads in a nice fresh lime green.

And as long as I'm getting spacers, I may as well get lots of colors, right? Right.

Especially turquoise. All turquoise-colored beads must be MINE.

And green. Must have green, too.

And yeah, I know, it's fall and I should be buying browns, golds and oranges in shapes like leaves and pumpkins and stuff. But that is not how I roll. I go against the grain. I buck the trends. I buy pink and lavender seashells in September.

Deal with it.

This shell? Is REALLY pretty in real life, but, um...rather...well, HUGE! HUMONGOUS! EXTRA LARGE! Seriously, it's really big. Another example of my inability to judge sizes in on-line photos. It's also really heavy. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I will continue to admire how pretty it is.

I loved these unique flower bead caps. There's actually 4 in the set.

Bronze rings with great texture. I got them to, hopefully, go with some of the bronze pendants I picked up from Green Girl studios at the Pasadena show.

Same plan for this bronze toggle - although I may end up using this as a focal in addition to being a clasp because it is just so cool.

More seasonally inappropriate beads, but I got them to go with this set:

The colors just make me happy. I defy you to look at the colors in this picture and be sad. You can't do it. They are too cheerful.

Let's see, what else happened this week? There weren't any more floods. I didn't discover any more gigantic trash piles. Gosh, I hardly know what to do with myself when there isn't some kind of crisis.

Oh, I know. I finally picked up the new lenses for my sunglasses that have been at the optometrist's office since MARCH! I am nothing if not right on top of all my errands and "to do's" and stuff. Yeesh!

The kidlet earned his Bobcat Badge in Cub Scouts. This is his very first badge and it was the first time I got to see him all dressed up in his new uniform (that cost me the equivalent of a couple weeks' worth of bead shopping!) And last night he qualified to take his first Tae Kwon Do test - which is happening today at 4 PM. We'll see if he can earn his yellow belt.

He's already hitting me up to buy him a new toy if he succeeds. I tried to explain that the belt itself is the prize because it's an honor to move up to a new belt color. His response? "Yeah, but it's just a piece of can't DO anything with it."


And today's random thought came to me this morning when I happened to glance into the trash can in my bathroom and saw the pile of little empty square foil packages that are from the new oil control astringent pads that I've been using on my face each day. I realized that they look EXACTLY like empty condom packages. A LOT of empty condom packages.

And then I realized that my housekeeper was due to show up in about 15 minutes. My MALE housekeeper (yep, that's right, I have a cute 25-year-old Slovakian guy who cleans my house) and I wondered what he'd think when he saw that pile.

So then I took out the trash myself.

Because I am such a dork.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rings & Things September Playtime

Thanks to the wonderful people at Rings & Things and their awesome blog partner program, I gots me some freebie stuff to play with this month:

A great selection of prong bails and briolette caps in various finishes (silver, gunmetal, etc.)

Which, of course, meant that I needed a selection of crystals to go with them. Swarovski De-Art pendants in two different sizes and 3 colors: crystal AB, silver shade and Montana blue.

And one really whopping silver shade De-Art crystal pendant. It may be a bit bigger in real life than I thought it was - I seem to have a size perception problem when I order beads on-line. It doesn't matter if I have a chart handy and the sizes are listed, I'm continually surprised by bead being either larger or smaller in real life than I had imagined from their photos. It's something wonky with my brain-eye connection, I'm sure.

So, why did I pick these items to order when I could've gotten anything in the catalog? I kinda sorta have an idea based on a vague memory of an illustration from a Hans Christian Andersen book I had as a child.

That's all the hint you get - we'll see if I can make this come to life.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Precious

Dear Person Who Keeps Stealing Things Out of My Etsy Cart,


Look, in the last few years I’ve lost a marriage, a baby, the ability to have any more children, a favorite pet, a job I’d had for 8 years, a parent and a really PRECIOUS gold ring.

I now live in a dark hole under a mountain that some little goblin keeps using as a trash heap.

Beads are one of the few highlights of my life. But I can’t get them if you KEEP TAKING THEM.

So STOP IT! You wouldn’t want me to have to come sneaking out of my hole in search of you, now would you?

I thought not.

Sincerely yours,


P.S. If you find that ring, please give it back. I have it on good authority that some really bad dude named Sauron is looking for it and he’s hired a goon squad of 9 guys on horses to look for it. You don’t want to mess with them. Really, it’s best to return it to me ALONG WITH THE BEADS YOU STOLE FROM MY ETSY CART so I can keep it safe here under the mountain.

MY Beads! Mine! Mine! /\

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In an octopus's garden...

I had a really rotten weekend thanks to discovering that my son has been using the space behind the entertainment center in the living room as his personal trash can. There was a waist high pile of empty juice boxes and other stuff back there. I only discovered it because I had taken the TV out of its regular niche to do some re-organizing of the entire cabinet.

Here I'd planned to spend a nice relaxing Sunday watching some football and working on jewelry while the kid was at a play date.


Instead, I got to spend three hours cleaning up the toxic waste dump behind my entertainment center. Of course, I made the kid clean up what he could, but due to the location, there was a lot of stuff that he couldn't reach. Heck, there was stuff even I couldn't reach. Not even with the vacuum cleaner extension. Some of it is going to have to stay there until I can get someone to move the entire entertainment center.

If I can ever get the new flooring picked out, that might happen sometime this century. Can you imagine, though, if I hadn't discovered the problem...and the carpet guys went to move the furniture and six months' worth of trash fell out onto the floor?

Obviously, I'd get the mother of the year award for that one.

Needless to say, the kid did NOT get his playdate. Instead, he got grounded. Which means I got grounded, too. I've got to come up with a punishment that doesn't punish me as well as the kid...and also doesn't involve putting him up for sale on eBay.

I did make something at lunch yesterday, but I'm not sure I like it:

I wanted to do something similar to my "Memoire Collection" pieces only using an undersea theme instead of just flowers.

I found the shells at The Beadin' Path.

Then I needed something to fill in around the shells and I started thinking how so many coral reef animals look like flowers anyway - tube worms, anemones, etc. So, I used some flowers, too.

I added in some crystals and some triangular seed beads to act as fillers.

Then I added this cute little pewter fish charm from Michael's.

The clasp and chain also came from Michael's. Because I like to get my cheap on, yo!

And voila! My little undersea garden was born. What do you think? Does is look like a slice of life on a coral reef? Or does it just look like I've lost my mind (which, after the trashtastic weekend, is entirely possible)?