Sunday, January 31, 2010

Better than roses

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I made a ring!

I always get excited when I learn something new. Thanks to my friend Amy Katz, I learned tubular peyote and made an adorable ring!

Amy, Sherry Serafini, and Paulette Baron have teamed up to work on a very exciting book project that I'll be editing. To say I'm inspired by their work is the understatement of the year. I am so lucky to work with artists like them! I'll be blogging more about their book a little later. It's still in the early stages.
So at Christmas, I was delighted (and a little overwhelmed) to open a package from these three inspiring ladies and discover that they each had sent me a project kit from their collection.
Amy's directions were so easy to follow, and everything in the kit was labeled. She even included needles! Here's the first stage of the ring, when it was just peyote...
And here's the finished ring after embellishing:

Next up is Sherry's earring project, and then I think I'll be skilled enough to try Paulette's bracelet. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spending time on the couch

I'm really not a big TV fan, but lately our DVR has been whirring constantly. It's the heart of winter here in Wisconsin, and even though we're experiencing a January thaw, single-digit temperatures will be back in full force before we know it. The girls and I have our favorites: Modern Family is a hoot, Greys Anatomy and Private Practice are heating up, Brothers & Sisters is like watching a train wreck but addictive all the same, we had the Golden Globes last week, we were going to pass on Idol this season, but "pants on the ground" reeled us back in, and OMG, Project Runway and the delightfully gossipy Models of the Runway are back already! Even football has been quite dramatic, and we're just a few weeks away from the Winter Olympics.

So in my "everything must be rationalized to be ok" state of mind, I've made a long list of lapwork to do in front of the TV. So here's my list, and we'll see how much of it I get done before the end of the Winter Olympics:

* Jewelry deconstruction/reconstruction: I have many pieces that I'm just not wearing and I can use the beads for something else. I have some pieces that I've been wearing but need adjustments, like length. And I have some pieces that really need matching earrings. So, as I watch TV, I can sort through my existing jewelry and make these easy modifications that I never seem to get around to otherwise.

* Christmas ornaments. Don't laugh. I had a blast making needle felted beads in December, and bought all the findings necessary to turn them into ornaments. Problem was, December always gets a little busy (wonder why) and I never finished. These will be easy to do now, and I just need to pack them away in the right spot so I find them next year!

* Christmas-card gift boxes. I saw this on another blog, and it will be so easy to do. I still have my Christmas cards out. I'll pick the prettiest and fold them into little boxes for next year.

* Knit some fingerless gloves. It's been a while since I've knit. I like small knitting projects -- instant gratification and all. I found a great skein of yarn as I was rooting through my stash. It was something I just had to buy but then never used.

* Learn bead stitching. I was the lucky recipient of three beautiful gifts this Christmas: project kits from my bead stitching authors at work. As I've said before, kits are an excellent way to learn a new technique. Everything is at your fingertips, you have no decisions to make, and the directions are straightforward. I've already started on a tubular peyote ring.

Do you think this will carry me through until Spring? I surely hope so. Check back, and I'll post my progress. What are you working on?

Friday, January 22, 2010


What do you call it when you take one of your own crafts and change it up into something new? I'm calling it mecycling. Remember when I made my own version of Mark Montano's Urban Corsage project? These were so fun to make -- the perfect combination of sewing and crafting. I got a little carried away and made five of them. Well, fun to make, but not really my style to wear.

I've been doing a lot of blog surfing lately, and I loved what Lisa made for teacher gifts this year. Check out her bog -- she makes beautiful polymer clay buttons and much more.

It got me thinking that if I shifted the velcro just a bit, I'd have something similar.

Hers are much cuter and more functional without the extra embellishments, but my version works for me. Now I've got to stash one in the car so I can use it next time I hit Stone Creek.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can we talk?

So given it's the new year and all, it's been a time of reflection and looking to the future. I've had a great time with this blog for nearly two years! I'm excited to know that I have readers in nearly every state, as well as several countries. But, you're a very quiet bunch. I know, I'm the same way. I have about 15 blogs that I visit regularly -- some I really look forward to seeing each day. But, I rarely comment. I don't know why, I just feel like I don't have anything unique to contribute. I hate the term lurker ... I'm just a silent observer and admirer.

Anywho... I really would like to know what you think about my content, as I look forward to more blogging in 2010. I've added a poll to the blog, so feel free to let me know what you'd like to see more of. Is it jewelry making? Fiber and fabric arts? Good old arts and crafts? Cooking and recipes? Gardening? Inspiration? Let me know by taking my poll. I'll keep it up for the rest of January. You can choose more than one thing, if you'd like. And you can always feel free to leave me a comment :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Karin and Mollie and Pam?

Well, it won't be my version of Julie & Julia, but I have a plan for meals for the next few months. This is always a tricky time of year for us. Haley is growing, growing, growing and playing basketball, so she needs to eat twice as much, it seems. Meredith is in her 6th month of vegetarianism, but her go-to meal is usually pasta and cheese, so she needs a better plan. Steve & I are growing in other ways ... January is always a good month to shed the old food habits and hopefully a few pounds along with them. I'm still holding on to the tradition of a family dinner every night, but I don't want to short-order cook for everyone's preferences. And, realistically, with job and sport schedules, I need a meal that can be served early for some, and held later for others.

So, I decided to consult with Mollie and Pam:
I selected 20 weeknight dinners for the month. Weekends can be more spontaneous. Meredith has agreed to eat some seafood, so there are one or two meals with shrimp or clams. The rest are either vegetarian, or can be prepared with the meat added at the last minute, so I can serve hers plain and double-up for Haley.

I made my calendar and a shopping list for each week. So far, so good. We've had a few unusual things and we've liked everything so far. The best part is having a plan, knowing what I'm going to make, and having the ingredients at-the-ready. What are you making this month?