Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'Tis the Season. . .

I am so grateful to finally be making this post! I had wanted to get this post up sooner than this, but it just didn't happen for various reasons. Since I didn't get to wish you a happy holiday...I hope that you and yours had a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

To begin my post, I wanted you to know that Artbeads recently wrote me a letter that included a Share the Savings Card. They told me I was free to share the following 10% Off with blog readers, friends and family. It is good until the end of the year and does not require any minimum purchase. You should check it out!!!

I have been working on all sorts of projects! I was flip-flopping between working on a few gifts for friends, which I can't share until they are done and received, and the last of my Bead Journal Pages. Then a few weeks ago, it really sank in that the holidays are truly right around the corner and I started some small gifts for my family. I was doing great until I realized that I don't have anything that I can really share. So, I told myself to get on with it and finish my bead journal pages...once and for all. I was beginning to wonder if I ever would get it done.

I definitely had a few issues with two of my pages and then the surprise of my photos not turning out great. *SIGH* The realization is here again that it's back to taking photos inside due to our gray and rainy days here in Oregon. So it's back to playing with the camera and light and trying capture a decent picture.

The theme for my journal pages was fragments of my life and what lies within my heart each month and every year that passes...

May Journal Page...He Holds the Key to My Heart

May is such a special month to me. I was born in May, married my husband on my birthday and it sometimes falls on Mother's Day too. I love that the sun is beginning to shine, that the flowers are beginning to bloom, that the trees and grasses have turned green and that the birds are singing. We have been married for 32 years and the below picture was taken on our 25th anniversary. We thought we were going out for a special dinner downtown with my sister and husband and walked into a surprise party given by family and friends. It was a very special evening. Mark and I have shared a wonderful marriage, not that we haven't faced our share of ups and downs, we have, but they have made us stronger and wiser. I will be forever grateful for my best friend and the love of my life. He will always hold the key to my heart!

June's Journal Page...Papa's Love

This is my grandfather, Fred, whom my sister and I lovingly called Papa. We always called my mother's parents Nana and Papa. This is a favorite photo of him taken on the beach in Seaside, Oregon. He was born in 1908, and I bet this photo was taken in 1909. He was the father figure that my sister and I never had and was a huge part of our life growing up. Papa owned Lincoln & Allen Bookbinding Company, in Portland, that was started by his father. He was a smart businessman and loved the fine things in life: his wife and family, his home, his Cadillac, traveling, clothes, dancing and eating (food was always a celebration). He was a big man and rather gruff on the outside, but he was a big teddy bear on the inside! He sadly had a stroke not long after he retired and often complained that these were supposed to be "the golden years." He and Nana were married for 50 years. Nana passed three days after their golden anniversary and I think she held on for that very reason. Papa was a big love and I miss his joyous spirit.

July's Journal Page...Eternal Love

Every July, my thoughts are with my mom, Jean Louise. She was born on July 4th, 1936. I can only remember one year in our life that we weren't together celebrating her birthday and the 4th. As a single mother raising two daughters, she faced many obstacles. But she always had a unrelentless perserverance and ability to forge ahead regardless of what life dealt her. Her devotion to us (my sister and I) was her priority and she always put our needs ahead of her own. She was a strong lady and sacrificed a lot to raise her girls.

She was a wonderful mom and gave us gifts to last forever, the kind you can't put a price tag on. She gave us love and support, the courage to stand up for what we believe in, truth and honesty, a warm heart, a sense of humor, the ability to keep growing and learning as life brings changes, and the confidence and inspiration to follow our dreams wherever they may take us. She was a beautiful lady with an infectious smile.

Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was 49 yrs old. She did well for years, but knew when she had to take it easy or lay low. When her boss was going to retire, she decided to retire also and stopped working when she was 57. She started walking everyday, cooking, baking, gardening, having lunch with friends and doing many things she never had the time to do. When she turned 59, life changed when the MS came on strong. She lost her courageous and long battle on January 18, 2001. We all lost someone so special that day. Mom's strength and inner beauty radiated with such a glow that she left a mark on everyone she encountered. Her love and memories live on in my heart...they always will...but I miss her so.....

August...My Soul Mate

August is a special month, the month my husband was born. We've spent almost every year celebrating his day while on vacation. The picture I chose is a photo of Mark, Leslie (Sissy) and I, that was taken at Leslie's husbands' 40th birthday party, nine years ago in August. It's funny, in looking through photos for my BJP, we don't have very many (hardly any!) photos of us. We have tons of photos of everything else in life, but no photos of us!?! Something, I now realize, we have to try and work on occasionally.

I have so many things to be thankful for, but one of the biggest things is my husband. He is my best friend, a wonderful Dad and an incredible person. His love is unconditional, he's compassionate, understanding, loyal, gentle, considerate, kind hearted, caring, unselfish, patient, smart, strong and sensitive. He is a sweetheart and I am so grateful that he came into this world and that our paths crossed 37 years ago. He's my rock, my world and the love of my life that I share my journey soul mate.

As a reminder, we don't have much longer to sign up for the 2010 Bead Journal Project. If you haven't signed up and are interested in joining this great and inspiring project, now is the time. Registration is open through December 14th! If you are interested, you can read the rules here or sign up for registration here.

I've been busy working on all sorts of things, but I really can only share some sneak peaks of things with you. I am going to have to make a few things here and there that I can share with you until the gifts I've made have been received and the holidays are behind us. This is the flat cuff that I started on and that got pushed aside for a few other projects that are more important. When I get back to it, I will be interested to see how I like the flat cuff versus the cuff I stitched over the brass blank.

This is another sneak peek of some stitching that I am working on...

And, another sneak peak....

And, another...

On another note, I have been sharing some discussion of knitting with friends. After seeing and hearing others that have been knitting and crocheting, I couldn't stand it. I haven't knitted in four years, but I thought it would be a great thing for me to do when it is late at night and my eyes are tired. So I got some yarn and pulled out my knitting needles. I have made both my boys beanies and they have always asked me to make them another. I thought it would be a great thing for me to knit them for Christmas. The last beanies I made had stripes, so I decided to knit the boys beanies that are solid charcoal gray. I am using Cascade 220, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool. My boys do peek in on my blog, especially my youngest, and I'm praying they are busy living right now and are not tuned in.

It didn't take long to get going again. Beanies don't take very long to make and the boys will be surprised and thrilled to have a new one. Blake came over yesterday with his old striped one tucked into his back pocket and that made me smile! I have one more row to go and I am ready to start decreasing and shaping the crown...

Here is a scarf that I am working on using Trendsetter Dune Yarn. Wish you could see the coloring better. It is an emerald green, burgundy and's really pretty.

This is a nubby wash cloth that is good for an invigorating shower or bath, made with 100% cotton yarn, in the Trinity Stitch. I'm thinking this cloth will have to be for Sissy, with a nice bar of soap, since she is so good and incessantly works out at the gym...unlike her big sister!!! ;-)

Realizing I haven't shared any nature photos with you...thought I'd share a few...

This is one of three maple trees in our yard...October Glory. It has been an odd fall this year. The leaves turned color way later than usual and they are still falling. Not too many more to go, but usually we are totally done raking and blowing leaves before Thanksgiving. Mark usually has mowed for the last time before Thanksgiving too, but this year the last mow will definitely be in December.

A carpet of Ginko leaves... I love these trees and leaves.

Here's the apple tree across the yard...the leaves haven't even turned yellow yet (very odd)...I took this picture a few weeks ago. You can see part of the new fence Mark put in this summer...

Beautiful wet maple and ginko leaves taken on a *rainy* day in Oregon...

I found a little color and the last flowers blooming in the yard on my walk...two different Salvia's and a fuschia. I feed my hummingbirds every week, all year long, but they must love having some natural blossoms still too...

The Canadian geese are flying by the house every morning and flying back by every evening. A few weeks ago they were making it back before dark. But lately they fly by about half an hour past sunset. It's interesting because it's always at the same time...between 5:00-5:15 pm. They must know exactly when it's time to head home! It is dark by then but, man oh man, can you hear them and if you get outside quick enough you can make them out in the dark...

There have been more squirrels running around our yard lately eating everything in sight and burying nuts everywhere! But I just snapped the cutest photo...see the new baby?!! ~smiling~ We are pretty sure that there are three little ones!

I've been counting my blessings this week and you are all apart of them!! See you soon! ~Lisa

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I am so excited to finally share this post today! On September 23rd, I received a package of pure joy and love from my dear friend, Dot, of Dot's Life and Art. We decided to do a swap months ago, but I made her promise that she wouldn't send a thing to me until she received my package. Dot received her gift from me in July, and I knew that one day I would receive a package from her. That very special day came and I can hardly express the joy and gratitude I felt when I opened the package that she created for me. The love that she stitched and created from her heart, literally brought tears to my eyes!!! What an incredible labor of love, thoughtfulness and generosity that awaited me. Opening this gift was like being wrapped in the biggest and warmest hug ever. I want to share with you the precious gifts she created.

I think Dot is best known for the Dotee dolls she created and that have been stitched with love for friends all around the world. I first fell in love with Dot's colorful and warm blog when she began making Dotee dolls. That was a time ago, and she and her art have come a long way!!! I have stitched quite a few Dotee dolls myself, but never have made one for me or even received one from a friend. I began to open a gift that was wrapped in a gorgeous turquoise/teal silk and tied with a piece of Kaffe's fabric and inside was this BEAUTIFUL Dotee doll! She just melted my heart. I absolutely adore the colors, the sari silk, her serene/sweet face and flowered cheeks, the heart with *JOY*, the Swarovski crystals, the beads, the birds, the dragonfly and leaf...all stitched from the heart exquisitely! She is the first Dotee doll I've ever received and being made from *THE* Dot...couldn't be anymore special to me. I absolutely adore her!

Here she is outside having her photo shoot on a sunny autumn day! I took a lot of photos trying to catch the crystals sparkling in the sunshine and I wasn't happy with any of them. The best pictures were these in the shade because her coloring and the beads are more true. You can click and enlarge my photos to see the beautiful colors, attention to detail and all those stitches made with love!

Here is a close up...isn't she precious?!! And, of course, Dot included a bird and dragonfly knowing how much I adore them! I have the biggest smile on my face and feel so fortunate that she'd create one just for me.

My heart is already full and then I pulled out a cellophane wrapped gift that was one of her most special birds!!! It is gorgeous!!! It is encrusted with such heart and pure beauty. To hold one in your hand is such a treat. I always thought they were so beautiful when I'd see them on her blog, but to really see and hold one is something else. The colors are so pretty and I adore all the different beads, buttons, Swarvoski crystals, sequins, and bugle beads. I just love how Dot mixes up all that color and it turns out spectacular. Isn't the vintage Czech glass button on her wing perfect?! Almost looks like little wings on the button itself. I adore the pom pom yarn to hang her with and I love how she hangs with a slight curve. Dot stitches beautifully and I admire that so much. You can see and feel when something is stitched from the heart...and her work is just that. Full of heart and love. She is GORGEOUS and my most cherished bird...I just adore her!

I am absolutely if what she'd sent weren't love enough. But there is a beautiful floral fabric wrapped gift with buttons and beads strung on embroidery thread in my hand. I slowly unwrapped it and got the bigguest lump in my throat and my eyes filled with tears! Dot made me one of her BEAUTIFUL fabric books and I couldn't believe that she would stitch something so precious for me! What a treasure this book of love is. Again, it feels so special to hold in your hands. Every page and each square inch is something to behold! I love the jewel tone colors and how the sari silk, wool and cotton fabrics all go together perfectly. There are thousands of stitches, beads, buttons, Swarvoski crystals, charms, vintage nailheads, gorgeous lace, and even a bell stitched on this book. It is full of texture and a feast for the eyes. I've admired the books she has made and shared on her blog, but I couldn't imagine holding or having one of my own! I will always treasure it...I LOVE it!

This is the cover. I adore the owl in the tree, the leaves and flowers, the beads scattered about, the vintage nailheads, the tiny flowered buttons and, again, the bead *JOY*! Isn't he the cutest owl!

The second page is lovely using a portion of silk as the focal point and not one bit less embellished. The square green mosaic buttons are gorgeous!

This is a gorgeous page stitched in beautiful pinks and purples. I love the bird sitting on a jeweled egg with the branch of charms around it and the tree charm too. The stitching and embellishments are unbelievable. Don't you love the serious bling around the birds neck!

Wish my camera had picked up on these colors better! Just think DEEP jewel tones...each page is stunning. This page Dot added a Carla Sonheim printed transfer for the center of this page. Isn't the girl cute with the bird on her head! Notice this bird is wearing a stunning necklace too!

This page is gorgeous and embellished to the hilt. Notice this cute bird is sporting jewels too! These pages just sparkle more than I can convey with my pictures!

This is a stunning page and Dot used lovely goodies that she received from friends. I love that! She used a beautiful olive green felt bird from her friend Julie, and a piece of gorgeous lace from her dear friend, Jacky. She even stitched around the bird with some size 15/0 seed beads that I recently shared with her. What a special page!

My camera did not capture the color on this page at all. It is a stunning deep burgundy color with a deep bottle green silk lace rose, with gold beads and embellishments and even more Swarovski crystals! It is lovely!!!

This is the back and is embellished, once again, with buttons, flower beads, seed beads, sequins and Swarovski crystals. I don't think anyone embellishes or encrusts like Dot does...her work is stunning!

Here is a shot of the spine that is stitched with a beautiful mix of buttons and beads! What a book, what a's more beautiful than I can convey!

I'm on overload now...there are still two more things in the package!!! I begin to untape a carefully wrapped gift in bubble wrap and cardboard. I opened it to find the most beautiful stitched and beaded fabric collage stitched to a piece of Nuno felt that Dot made. I am just in awe!!! It is a BEAUTIFUL piece of art. She added some gorgeous sari silk, felt, birds, sequins, seed beads and even more Swarovski crystals. It just sparkles!!! This piece is mounted on a 8 x 10" posterboard to give you an idea of the size. It is so pretty and I think it would be lovely framed!

Last, but certainly not least, I opened a stack of the most beautiful fabrics wrapped in a silk yarn. Dot shared some of her fabric pieces that included cotton fabrics with owls, birds, flowers, and birdhouses to beautiful pieces of sari silk. No wonder she loves these. The jewel tone colors, texture and embellishments on these pieces are gorgeous. Then wrapped were packets of buttons, beads, charms, clay bird beads, bells, flowers and more that she shared with me. I will treasure these and enjoy them so much!

I was speechless! Everything Dot created and shared with me is full of LOVE, truly BEAUTIFUL and simply GORGEOUS! She is so talented and creative. Thank you, Dot, for the thousands of stitches, love and *JOY* that you've shared with me. I feel so honored. I cherish everything you've made and will treasure them always. More importantly, I treasure you and our friendship. You are a very special person and have a heart of gold!!!

I also wanted to share who won the earrings from my last post! I wrote the names down and they were put into Mark's baseball hat. I held the hat high and Mark pulled these two names...

Number 1)...Jacky...She will receive the Swarovski Jet Crystal Rivoli Earrings, 3mm Jet Faceted Bicone Crystals, 15/0 sterling silver-plated charlottes with sterling earwires.

Number 2)...Carol...She will receive the Swarovski Vitrail Medium Rivoli Crystal Earrings, 3mm Vitrail Medium Faceted Bicone Crystals, 15/0 24K gold lined crystal seed beads with gold filled lever backs.

Thank you everyone for your sweet and thoughtful comments on my last post! You are all such good friends to me!

A friend is like a flower,
a rose to be exact,
Or maybe like a brand new gate
that never comes unlatched.
A friend is like an owl,
both beautiful and wise.
Or perhaps a friend is like a ghost,
whose spirit never dies.
A friend is like a heart that goes
strong until the end.
Where would we be in this world
if we didn't have friends. ~Emma Guest~

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Things Come In Small Packages!

A while ago, I received an email from Artbeads asking if I'd be interested in sampling and reviewing some of their products in exchange for blogging about them. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate! When I was asked, it was Swarovski month. I was able to choose some CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements that I wanted to include in my beading. Who among us can resist the sparkle and beauty of Swarovski crystals? Not me, I love using them!

I knew I would choose some beads that I normally use with bead embroidery, however, I chose some different sizes that I haven't used before. I chose some 2.5mm and 3mm Swarovski Bicones and some 3mm Swarovski Pearls. I was most excited to try some 14mm Swarovski Rivoli Crystals. I have always been inspired by beautiful beaded-bezel cabochon work and know how to peyote stitch using backing material. However, I have wanted to learn open-back bezeling for point-back and irregular-back rivoli crystals or stones. So when I received my package on Labor Day weekend, I pulled out some of my books and magazines for inspiration and taught myself how. You can see how I used these Swarovski Elements in my pieces below.

The first technique I wanted to learn was to make some earrings I admired in the August/September 2009, Beadwork Magazine, by May Brisebois. She used double-needle right-angle weave to encase the rivoli. So I began my journey learning this technique first. I made two pairs of earrings with the 14mm Jet Rivoli Crystals, 3mm Jet Faceted Bicone Crystals, 15/0 sterling silver-plated charlottes with sterling earwires. This technique was fun to learn and the earrings turned out really pretty. They sparkle!

The next pair of earrings I made using the same technique. This time I used 14mm Vitrail Medium Rivoli Crystals, 3mm Vitrail Medium Faceted Bicone Crystals, 15/0 24K gold lined crystal seed beads with gold-filled lever backs. The vitrail medium rivoli is stunning! Depending on how they catch the light, they flash in colors of green, blue, gold, fushia and purple. You really have to admire this crystal in person because it is really hard to capture all the flashes of color in a photo. Including the earwire, these earrings are 1-1/2".

Then I began learning how to encase another vitrail medium rivioli with seed beads. I have really wanted to learn this technique and am thrilled that it is easier than I imagined. Pardon my threads, but I haven't finished these yet. I just wanted to share that I'm on my way bezeling rivolis! I used 11/0 and 15/0 24K gold plated Delica seed beads with 15/0 purple iris charlottes. I will embellish the bezel further with bead picots or more crystals. This is so fun to do and I am so excited that I took the time to learn how. There are so many possibilities...earrings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches and even stitched to fabric. Here is the front...

and this is the back...

I kept moving forward to use some of the Swarovski faceted bicone crystals that I received. The first piece was an unfinished brooch/pendant that was set aside because of other projects. It is a bone carved sun and moon face that we picked up on a memorable trip to the coast. I used one of my most favorite vintage nailheads and beads that are a golden bronze iris color. I completed it with Toho 8/0 black seed beads, 2mm Jet Faceted Round Crystals and 2.5mm Amethyst Faceted Bicone Crystals. I have used many round 2mm crystals, but I love these beautiful and delicate 2.5 mm bicones! They added a nice sparkle of amethyst around the edge. It measures 2-1/2". This is one brooch/pendant that will be staying with me, as it holds fond memories and Mark really likes this one. I'm glad that it is now complete and can go on my black wall of fame bulletin board where I keep and admire small works of art by friends.

I chose a topaz Czech glass dragonfly button for my next brooch/pendant. I used 12/0 and 15/0 3-cut seed beads in gold bronze, 11/0 and 6/0 olive gold luster seed beads and 3mm Copper Faceted Bicone Crystals. I love these and the size. It measures 2-1/2". This brooch is going to the Harvest of Hope's Silent Auction, which is a benefit for Candlelighters For Children With Cancer.

I then chose a beautiful red Czech glass heart button for this brooch/pendant. I used 11/0 seed beads, 13/0 24K gold-plated charlottes, 15/0 seed beads and 9/0 3-cut seed beads in ruby. I used 4mm Siam Round Crystals with 2.5mm Light Siam Faceted Bicone Crystals. It is very rich and really sparkles!

I have wanted to stitch a cuff for awhile now. It must be a natural progression in learning bead embroidery. Did I learn anything? Absolutely! One, again, we do not *whip things up*...*sigh*...I thought I had already learned this lesson! Two, there is a slight radius on the top of a brass cuff blank. After bezeling a large button, I layed it on top of the blank to see how it would look and realized it wasn't going to lay smooth on the cuff. That was okay, I just set it aside for making a flat embroidered cuff later. I didn't get the chance to use the Swarovski Pearls like I hoped, but I will use them in the flat cuff. It will actually be good to make a cuff both ways and see which I like best.

So I changed direction and picked a smaller focal point and cut another piece of Easy Felt. I chose a vintage glass black and bronze cabochon. I used four vintage Swarovski jet flatback rhinestones, vintage bronze faceted seed beads, vintage Czech diamond cut seed beads and bronze bugle beads. I then embellished the cabochon with 2mm Jet Round Crystals with 4mm Jet Faceted Bicone Crystals. Adding the crystals really added texture and brought the cabochon to life and it shines! I edged the cuff in brick stitch with 11/0 Toho black seed beads and it measures 1-1/4" wide.

I thought it would be fun to share both sets of earrings above. Say hi and leave a comment and I'll put your name in a hat. The first name will win the jet rivoli earrings and the second name will win the vitrail medium rivoli earrings. I'll share who won on my next post, Thursday, October 8th.

Thank you Artbeads for your gift and including me! If you haven't signed up for Artbeads newsletter, you really should! Sign up here at the top right of their website. You'll receive special offers, new product information and exclusive coupons. They have the *BEST* sales!!! I love shopping at Artbeads, and I honestly couldn't say enough great things about their company. And, if you didn't know, brand new styles and colors from Swarovski should be arriving any day!

Now to catch up with missed, but not forgotten friends!! See you on Thursday! ~Lisa

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Saying Hi...

I'm back to sharing a post and saying hi. August was a busy month and we've also been facing some changes in our life that didn't leave much time for sharing or creating. When faced with bumps in the road, it sure makes you slow down and remember all that is truly important and what you are grateful for.

August was a busy time spent with our boys, 26 and 21. They bought a house for an investment that closed on 8/5, and they received the keys on 8/7. It was fun and exciting for us to help them move and get settled into their home. They have two other friends living with them (4 bdrm) to help pay the mortgage for now. We don't know how long they will own this house (probably until one or the other finds his soul mate), but they are both good friends...good brothers...and are happy to own a home versus paying rent. It's definitely a bachelor pad with four guys living together...but a nice one! ;-)

During this time, I wasn't stitching like I normally do. I did squeeze in a few things, but not much. I began stitching again this past weekend...which is a good thing! Although I am finishing up my BJP's, I also have started a few new pieces that I am excited about and will share soon. I definitely will be contributing one or two of them to the Harvest of Hope. It is a charity fundraising dinner/auction benefiting Candlelighters For Children With Cancer, a non-profit organization that provides support, education, advocacy and hope to the families whose lives have been affected by childhood cancer. If you are interested in contributing a piece for the silent auction, which is October 24th, please visit their web site for the details.

We've been enjoying plenty from our garden this summer and are still eating lots of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. The change in season is definitely upon us...the evening and morning air is cool and the maples are beginning to turn color. The hottest days are behind us, thank goodness, but I'm sure not ready for the sunshine to go. My camera is always near and dear to me and I thought I'd share a few pictures of what's been blooming.

I planted lots of different sunflowers this year. The Mammoth sunflowers are huge and are about 12 feet tall. We have cut some flower heads down and are drying them to later share with the birds and squirrels.

These sunflowers are Velvet Queen and Lemon Queen. They are about 6 feet tall and have provided many big and cheerful bouquets through the summer. I just love them!

I made two more sunflower brooch/pendants for friends and here is a picture of one. These are a bit different from my last post because I made them both bigger and bolder. I was lucky to buy four of these buttons and thought that now is the perfect time to share them. I used the same amber/topaz AB vintage beads and 2 mm Swarvoski copper cystals, but I used Japanese 11/0's and 15/0 true cuts this time to peyote stitch around the Czech glass button.

I planted purple morning glory and it did really well this year. I love the glow of light that shines from the inside of these flowers and their heart shaped leaves!

Up close and personal is a bumble bee enjoying the Liatris (gayfeather).

Oriental Lilies...they are beautiful and very fragrant.

We've enjoyed many twilight skies from our deck...

and a few sunrises too. Always the reminder that it's a new day!

Hope you are doing well and I'll see you soon! Keep smiling...~Lisa