Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy Summer!

To my friends,

I'm sorry to be away so long. I didn't mean to fall off the face of the earth, but I'm coming around again. I've needed time to deal with stressful changes that have been ongoing in our life this past year. Gratefully, this past week, we are making adjustments in our schedules with new employment. But I do want to thank my friends who have left comments and emails...each one meant more to me than you realize...XO! So, onward and upward. . .

As you know, I've been working on many projects (next post), but here are a few things I recently completed utilizing some pieces I received from Artbeads. This time the focus was to create a design with a "Summertime" theme. I was trying to go another route than Hill Tribe Silver this time, but my muse was telling me different.

I chose these gorgeous 5 x 4mm Deep Ocean Mix Picasso Roundelle Strands, and a Hill Tribe Silver Snail Shell Pendant, Bumble Bee Pendant and Sand Dollar Pendant.

I absolutely love Hill Tribe Silver, but I was totally amazed at the beauty of the Deep Ocean Mix Picasso Roundelle Beads. I've never used them before and they are so pretty! I took a close up so that you could see them better (pictures are clickable). I chose this shade because they are the colors of our ocean in the Pacific Northwest. If you haven't seen these beads either, do yourself a favor and order some!
The first piece I made reminds me of my flowers, the bees and the garden in summer. Despite their painful sting, bees are held in high regard for being wonderful pollinators and producers of honey. Did you know that it is estimated that one third of our food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees. They also remind me to *Just Be*!
I created this necklace using 5-7mm Brown Chinese Turquoise Rounds (also available from Artbeads), Hill Tribe Silver Stamped Roundelle Beads in two sizes, the Hill Tribe Silver Bumble Bee Pendant and two 18 x 18 mm Flower Pendants. The Bumble Bee/Flower Necklace is 18".

The following pieces I made because the beach is my most favorite place to go, especially in the summer. I love the sand, the surf, the fresh air, the smell, the wildlife and all of Mother Nature's gifts!

I can't help but mention how horrified, frustrated and heartbroken I feel for the devastation happening in the the Gulf of Mexico right now...what a tragedy!!! I'll be polite and stop there.
You can see that the Picasso beads have the same gorgeous colors as our ocean!

The first beach piece is a Sterling Silver Charm Bracelet with "Gifts from the Sea". I started with SS 140 Cable Chain (available at Artbeads), the Hill Tribe Snail Shell Pendant, the Sand Dollar Pendant, a Starfish Pendant, a Stamped Shell Pendant and a Puff Shell Pendant. I also added four, pale sea foam colored genuine sea glass that was found on the beach in the Olympic Peninsula Coast, in Washington. Mark drilled holes in them for me to use. I finished it with a SS Balloon Clasp.

The "Starfish" necklace was created with a gorgeous 48 x 48mm Hill Tribe Sterling Starfish, four strands of the beautiful Deep Ocean Mix Picasso Roundelle Beads, 3.5mm SS Hill Tribe Beads and finished with a 19 mm Hill Tribe Sterling Starfish Toggle and measures 18".

Thank you Artbeads! These summertime pieces have been fun to create! I hope you will consider creating something fun with the theme of summer too!

I have been busy with other beading projects, planting seeds and our garden. Although...all our plants are looking a little sad are in desperate need of some sunshine. We are all wishing the sun would get here and just stick around. Our rain stats and cool weather this Spring have gone down in the record books. We are all very tired of hearing "record" and "rainfall" on the news...it is June 22nd!

It is gloriously green in Oregon/Washington, but the gray days and rain have been unbelievable this spring. Since it is officially summer, I am hoping it begins to feel that way soon! We all could use some blue sky and sunshine.

Happy summertime to you...enjoy every minute of it! ~Lisa

Disclosure Statement: I have received the above items free of charge from Artbeads, and I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Beauty of Spring. . .

Hi! It has been far too long since I've posted, but I'm still here and breathing. Life just has been front and center lately. I have been busy with different projects and on a creative note many of you know that I have been working on a gift for awhile. This project has kept growing and you will soon see why. I'm truly not beading Taj Mahal, (Diana would...;-), it's just all in the little details. I knew one area needed something and I kept debating where I was going to go with it. I made a final decision about it and was very excited. I got started and was well on my way and realized it was not going to work out properly the way I was going about it. So I ripped it out and began again with a different approach and I am so much happier with the results now and am to the point of filling in and finishing. I tend get an idea in my head and sometimes I'm not sure exactly how to go about it, but I am determined to figure it out and persevere! I've been hard on myself that it isn't done, but I finally accepted that it is what it is and, at the moment, it's the best I can do. It won't be long until I'm to the fine details of a photo shoot and packaging it up for a trip home. I am looking forward to sharing it!

Artbeads recently contacted me to create something that was my interpretation of spring..."The Beauty of Spring". I was thrilled and knew exactly where I was going with this piece. Artbeads shared a foot of beautiful 16 gauge Sterling Silver Cable Chain (which has a nice weight to it), a Hill Tribe Sterling Silver Round Flower Bell Charm, a Hill Tribe Sterling Silver Lady Bug Bell Charm and five 18 gauge, 6.1 mm Open Jump Rings. I have been collecting Hill Tribe Silver Charms for quite awhile and now was the time to use some. However, to me, nothing is prettier and more classic than turquoise and silver together. It reminds me of the turquoise rings and bracelets I wore when I was young. Turquoise is also Pantone's top spring color pick this year. To put this together, I ordered more jump rings and the most beautiful strand of irregular, pear-shaped, Chinese turquoise drop pendants and they are gorgeous!!! Green definitely sings spring to me.

To me, spring is renewal and new life. It's a breath of fresh air, joyous energy and seeing more smiles. It is . . .

*Sunshine and warmth*
*Blue skies and trees budding*

*Clouds, rain and rainbows*
*Unfurling ferns*
*Plants bursting through the dirt*
*Songbirds singing*
*Birds courting and building nests*
*Flowers and sunflowers*

and soon...lots and lots of colorful flowers!

In creating my interpretation of spring, it had to include lots of flowers and buds, leaves, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, lady bugs, feathers and a heart that is stamped with flowers which represents my love of all these things! So I made myself a beautiful charm bracelet and I absolutely love it!!! It is fun, bold, full of texture, very organic and I adore the movement and soft sound it makes.

*Spring Beauty*

We have had some beautiful and sunny days in between the rain. We've been working in the yard and sprucing things up, pressure washing, pulling weeds, trimming, spreading heaps of garden gold (compost) and preparing for our garden. It has done a world of good for me to get outside, feel some sunshine, breathe fresh air and get some exercise.

We recently helped build four greenhouses and help plant over 300 flats of vegetables, fruits and herbs for the American Center for Sustainability. It is a garden plant distribution program that donates edible plant starts to help battle hunger across Oregon and are distributed to more than 50 Oregon nonprofit groups. It was really fun to help, meet new friends and be a part of this small group of thoughtful people.

I share this for a couple of reasons. Meeting some of these people and others have opened some new doors and thoughts for a possible new venture, i.e., growing plants. We have been looking into and researching some possibilities. Ken Burrow started ACS four years ago and it is growing bigger every year. He has a big meeting next week in hopes of getting permanent acreage to use in Portland. The other reason I am sharing this is because this year it is all happening at my boys house! Ken rents the downstairs from my boys and is utilizing the yard and neighbors yard also to get these plants started. There is a big greenhouse in the backyard and the biggest one is at the neighbors house. I (mom) about had heart failure when I found out they were putting two greenhouses in the front yard too!!! ;-) When I heard the news, I told Blake...could you not spare the neighbors seeing two 10 x 10' greenhouses in the *front* yard?!! I was informed that their neighbors don't mind, it's for a good cause and it's urban living, mom! And, they will only be up until May (when the plants are distributed) and then they are going to take them down and plant flowers and a garden in the front yard instead of having grass. They are grown men, 28 and 22, and it is their house, but I was happy to hear that they were only temporary. ;-) That is the new hip thing many people in Portland are doing...getting rid of their grass and planting a garden.

Anyway, it was very cool, the Oregonian showed up and took pictures and they made the front cover of Edible Portland too. That is Ken in the top picture and my youngest son, Spencer (flag headband), in the bottom picture and his sweet girlfriend (blond), Morgan.

Here is a picture where the planting was going on in front of the garage in the back. There were about thirty volunteers planting that Saturday. Voodoo Doughnut supplied 7 dozen donuts that day. All my boys are in this picture...Blake in the foreground (gray sweatshirt), DH...Mark behind him and Spencer (flag bandanna) and Morgan.

Here is a shot of the front of the house and Mark helping build two of the greenhouses in the front. The bookmobile bus is used for delivering plants. We will be heading back to help transplant the plants into pots in late April or early May. As a couple, and parents, it was really fun and we couldn't be more proud that the boys are being a part of this awesome project.

Speaking of which, are you getting as anxious as I am to taste fresh tomatoes and peppers soon?!! I can hardly wait! I have been dreaming about sliced tomatoes and salsa lately. It's still too early to plant here, but May will be here soon.

As I went through my pictures, I realized that I never posted about the turtle squares I sent to Jeanette in February, for Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer, so I thought I would include them. The title of this years project was "Remember the turtle; persistence, not speed, counts; (boy, if that doesn't have my name written all over it...lol...sorry, I couldn't resist ;-)) a cure for breast cancer will be found." These are tiny squares, 1-1/2" beaded, and are fun to stitch. As soon as I hear what the theme will be for next year, I will share it here. I felt bad that I didn't make a post about it or a reminder this year.

Okay, since it's been *forever* and I've only shown one minuscule sneak peek of what I have been working on...I'll share a few more minuscule peeks until it's debut!

I hope you are happy and well. I am off to do some *way...way* overdue catching up with you and I'll see you there! ~Lisa

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~Marcel Proust

Disclosure Statement: I have received the above items free of charge from Artbeads, and I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stitching from the heart. . .

Monica recently made a post that Cat, of Baumcat, was asking for help to give *Hope* to some children in Haiti. I thought it was a wonderful idea and I wanted to help, but I wrote Monica and told her there was no way I could do it in a couple days and have it shipped by the 31st of January. She shot me a note and let me know she thought a few extra days would be okay. So I swung by Cat's and let her know I would love to join in and asked if it would be alright if they were shipped out on Monday, February 1st. Cat said they would actually be shipping them when they had a shipping pod full. So don't worry about the date...have fun and ship them out as soon as you can. I also liked that these bags were going to a specific rescue center and orphanage in Haiti. It is called Real Hope For Haiti.

My sister and I were spending time together that weekend and I knew that she would want to help also. Although I do sew, we were on a time crunch, so we took the easy route. Monica mentioned that if you don't sew, remember that the Dollar Store tote bags hold just as much. In each Hope Ditty Bag you were to put inside:

1 toothbrush
1 travel size toothpaste
3 granola bars
1 small toy

Then mail to: Debbie Woodward (She is a part of RHFH and is collecting donated items)
1500 Jackson Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

So that Saturday, Sissy and I were off to shop. We gathered our coupons and first headed to JoAnn's. We chose pre-made canvas totes in different colors, iron-on appliques and an assortment of buttons and embroidery floss. Then we were off for the essentials that needed to go into the bag. We chose stuffed animal puppets for the toy. I wished I had taken a picture of them. They were all different animals...a dog, a cat, a monkey, a elephant, etc. Leslie and I both wished we could include other things, but it wouldn't be fair to the children to do that. They also had a list of other things they were gathering, so Leslie and I included in the box:

6 boxes of gauze
6 tubes of triple anitibiotic ointment
6 bottles of antibacterial hand soap
6 bags of Tootsie Roll suckers
2 large boxes of Crayola Crayons
2 reams of paper
1 childrens book...*Goodnight Moon*

We had wanted to buy a few books, but then we both wondered how many people speak English in Haiti. When we got back home we checked and they speak Creole and French. We were glad we only bought one book. We hope that the story can be translated by someone though.

When we got back to Leslie's we started to work ironing the appliques and stitching buttons. I don't totally trust iron-ons so we tacked stitched them and sewed many buttons. Then when they were done we had fun filling each of them. When Sissy's husband heard what we were doing, he offered to ship our package through his company and it was so awesome of him to do that! We had so much fun doing this and it warmed our heart to help. Can you imagine the smile that one bag may bring to a child!

If anyone is still interested in making bags, there is still a little time left. I just read an update at Cat's blog and it looks like they will be shipped out on March 1st.

This is my sister, Leslie, ironing the creases from the bags and our two helpers, Maverick and Bailey! ;-) We had so much fun together that weekend!

Here are the bags done. We tried to make some for boys, girls and different ages.

Artbeads contacted me recently to share for Valentine's Day. I chose two beautiful pieces and I was so excited when they arrived and I saw them. I debated if I was going to make a necklace with one, but I ultimately decided to make them each into brooches.

The first piece I chose was this beautiful blue and red flowered heart shaped Stoneware Porcelain Pendant. Have you seen these? They are all so colorful and fun, it's hard to choose just one! They are made with stoneware clay and are glazed very well. They state they are durable and they look and feel very durable in the hand. This heart measures 24 x 24mm.

I stitched it on red EZ felt and it is backed with navy Ultrasuede. I thought I had enough Light Siam Swarvoski crystals in my stash and found out I didn't have enough. So I ordered some red and while looking I saw the dark indigo color and thought that may look even better, so I ordered both. I actually liked the dark indigo and added just a bit of the red. I peyote stitched the pendant with 11/0 transparent Czech navy blue seed beads with 13/0 transparent red charlottes. I then edged the peyote with 4mm Swarovski Dark Indigo bicones and a row of 3mm Swarovski Light Siam bicone beads with 15/0 round 24K lined crystal seed beads. It is picot edged with 8/0 transparent Dark Colbalt Japanese seed beads with the 11/0 Czech navy blue seed beads. I forgot to mention that I used a 2.5 mm Swarovski Light Siam bicone bead to fill the pendant hole. Finished it measures 1-3/4 x 1-3/4".

I love the heart symbol and, of course, it speaks Valentine's Day, but it speaks Mother's Day and any day to me too! ;-)

Here is the front and I took another picture so you could see the depth too.

The second piece I chose was this gorgeous 30 x 21mm, oval, orange/red, hand-painted Russian Mother of Pearl Pendant/Bead. It is so beautiful! These Russian pendants are amazing works of art. Each is hand-painted with the finest brushes for the most intricate detail. There are multiple layers of paint and lacquer applied to each one. I fell in love with it the minute I held it in my hand.

I stitched it on tan/golden Ultrasuede backed with Pellon, and it was backed in the same color of Ultrasuede. This bead/pendant has a bead whole running through the length of it, so I stitched it down well. I then peyote stitched the edge with 11/0 transparent orange Czech seed beads with 15/0 round 24K lined crystal seed beads. Since it was stitched down through the bead, I just barely edged it with peyote because I didn't want to cover the artist's signature or the design. I then edged the peyote with two rounds of 4mm Swarovski Hyacinth bicones with a row of 3mm Swarovski Sun bicone beads with 15/0 round 24K lined crystal seed beads. It is picot edged with 8/0 and 11/0 transparent orange Czech seed beads. Finished it measures 2" x 1-3/4".

Here is the front and I took another picture so you could see the depth too. I couldn't capture how sparkly this pin is, but it is shining! It makes me smile and reminds me of sunshine.

I have been working hard on a gift for a friend and I'm getting closer. It is going to be so fun to share this when it's complete and received. I also have been working on a couple of turtle squares for Jeanette's beaded quilt project. The squares are donated for Breast Cancer and auctioned at the Bead and Button Show. I'm sorry, I should have thought to post this as a reminder. They are due in Alaska, March 1st. They are 2" squares of Pellon and you bead a 1-1/2" square. If you have time and think you can get a square or two off to her, it would be great! You can find out the specifics and rules here.

Now, I'm off to catch up with you and back to stitching! I hope you have a nice day with your Valentine too! ~Lisa

Disclosure Statement: I have received the above items free of charge from Artbeads, and I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.