Monday, September 14, 2009

Cool New Pendants

I've been fooling around for a while with collage & paper. I LOVE paper! Wondering how I could use it in my jewelry. Think I perfected these little collage pendants this weekend. They are made on wooden scrabble tiles and covered with resin. The resin gives the tile a really nice clear hard finish with a pretty domed shape. If you're interested in resins, I suggest you check out Beadwork's special issue "handcrafted jewelry". Handcrafted Jewelry - Interweave

They have a great article on resins which saved me a lot of time and expense. I've ordered glue on bails & hope to have these strung in time for my show on the 23rd. They are fun, fun, fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Beads, beads, beads

My 2 oldest children went back to school last week. I love them dearly, but it was so nice to have more time to focus - and breathe! My little guy is still here with me, but one is nothing to handle compared to 3. So last week was a very good week.

One of the projects I had some time for was finishing my new office/studio. I had already moved the supplies I use the most to the new space. But many little jars & containers still lingered in the cabinets above my old desk. I didn't realize how many beads I have!! They're in all different kind of containers & in no particular order at all. Makes it very difficult to find anything.

I found a very nice 60 drawer storage cabinet at ACE over the weekend. It's meant for screws and bolts & such, but is perfect for beads. Of course when I got it home it didn't fit on the shelves, so they had to be adjusted. Then I decided that I had the wrong style. The first one I bought had 30 small drawers and 12 large ones. Got home and figured out that I didn't need the large drawers. So it was back to ACE for an exchange. Thank goodness they open early. The new cabinet was perfect - but still not enough drawers for all the beads. So one more trip for little plastic dividers to go inside the drawers and one more smaller cabinet.

After a late night of sorting many, many beads, I finally have them all in place. I added a lamp behind the cabinet to make if easier to see inside. Turned out pretty good!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where to put the school stuff

I tackled a project last week that I've been putting off for a long time. A really long time. My oldest is going into 5th grade & since she started school I've been trying to find a good way to store her school papers & mementos. If you have kids, you know that they bring home LOTS of stuff from school. You can't keep it all, or even keep most of it, but even with thinning out, there's still a lot to store & organize. I have 3 kids = equals lots of school stuff to save.

I've finally settled on a system that I think is going to work really well. I found underbed storage boxes that are big enough to hold everything, but compact enough to be manageable. Then I ordered a bunch of them from Amazon. Here's the link if you'd like to see or order them yourself. Sterilite 16558010 28 Quart Clear Storage Box See-through with White Lid 10-Pack Ordered as a 10 pack, the boxes were $7.50 each and shipping was free. Not a bad deal & much more convenient then having to haul everyone to the store and schlep them back home.

I made a simple label on the computer and put one on the side and end of each box. (That way you can see the contents no matter which direction you store them.) Luckily, most of the school memorabilia was somewhat separated already. I did need my oldest daughter to help identify some papers. 3rd or 4th grade? All & all, not nearly as horrible a process as I thought it would be.

So now all of the kids school memories are organized by grade. I made empty boxes for the new school year & put them where I can get to them easily. So far, so good. I'll let you know if the system makes it through the school year successfully.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Fly Away Home. . .

I can't believe summer is almost over. One of our late summer rituals is to buy ladybugs at the garden center and let the kids set them free in the yard. I think ladybugs are supposed to be good for your plants - but I really do it because the kids think it's so much fun. We got a good batch this time. There must have been 100s in there! As is often the case at our house on the weekends, several neighbor kids were around too. They all laughed and squealed as ladybugs crawled and flew everywhere. We checked their shady corner by the trumpet vine throughout the afternoon to see who would stick around. Eventually, all but a few had gone on their way. One more happy summer memory.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009



In my last post, I talked about getting back on track. I think, at least for me, that staying focused is a continual challenge. I've developed a few tricks over the years that really help. Perhaps the thing that helped me the most was the idea that there is no one "magic bullet" that's going to last forever. Depending on the situation & circumstances, different motivators work or don't. That said, there are several constants in my arsenal. The first is "the list". I keep a running to-do list at all times. When I'm busy, it gets updated daily. Right now, since it's summer and all 3 kids are home, I try to have less on my plate work-wise. I probably update it 2-3 times a week.

A lot of self help authors recommend a daily task list. The one whose system I like the most is Brook Noel's. Around New Year's I read her book: The Change Your Life Challenge: Step-by-Step Solutions for Finding Balance, Creating Contentment, Getting Organized, and Building the Life You Want. I've tried many systems, both electronic and paper. Her CAN (catch all notebook) and 3 step action list are excellent and easy to follow. The book if geared toward busy people who want to stay focused and enjoy more peace and satisfaction in life. I highly recommend it. I'll most likely reread the book in August as my busy season starts.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Getting Back on Track

My surgery has been a lot harder to recover from. As usual, I underestimated how hard it would be and how well I would handle it. Sometimes this over confidence (ignorance?) is a good thing. This time, not so much. So I am complete off track now & need to get my life back in order. It's frustrating, because I had worked so hard to get where I was. Now I'm back to zero. Thought you'd enjoy the process. Maybe we can help each other out.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hard Days

Well, I just had major surgery Friday and I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. Amazing how often I just want to lay on the couch and watch TV and then how fast I get sick of it when I can!! A few more days and I should be much better. Each day gets a little easier. Funny, I had 2 lumpectomies last years and hardly took anything stronger than advil. Not this time sister! I'm fully doped up and thankful for it!

The good news is that business is pretty steady and I am itching to find ways to do and create more. The stamping remains my bread and butter but there is SO much more out there that I want to try. Don't even get me started on Kellie Rae Roberts book Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings!!! Amazing, inspiring creative stuff.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Teacher Gifts

It's that time of year again. I've been burning the midnight oil making teacher & graduation gifts. Here are some that have been keeping me up at night! I particularly like the two sided flower/keep calm necklace. Wear it either way, depending on your mood.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lakeside Night

These pictures are from a historic amusement park outside of Denver. My kids' school district has a Lakeside Night every year. It is such a cool place I couldn't resist taking some pictures. Sort of the land that time forgot. Here's a link to some of it's history:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Garage Sales

In our part of Colorado, Friday & Saturday mornings in late spring are prime garage sale days. I don't do as much garage sale-ing as I used to. I'm kind of anti-stuff these days. Also, very short on free time. But every once in a while I see a deal I just can't pass up. When I dropped my oldest off at school this morning, I spotted a Little Tykes playhouse at a sale right across the street. My neighbor has been looking for one of these, so I HAD to ask. $40!! A real deal. (You just can't kill Little Tykes stuff. I always say that when the world ends, all that will be left is cockroaches & Little Tykes furniture!)So I bought the house for her and started looking around for myself. Here's what I got:

Desk chair: $10
Kids cash register (perfect condition w/ all the parts!): $5
Dora castle: .50
Diego house: .50
2 storage bins that I'll use for kids art supplies: .50

Not bad for $16.50! I know the cash register will get lots of use this summer. Small price to pay for entertained kids.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Early today I was listening to the Morning Coach on my Ipod. I try to listen to this podcast almost everyday. It's really motivational & a great way to start the day. Anyway, this episode (pod-sode?) was about the relativity of time. He talked about the importance of living each day 100%. It got me thinking to how quickly time passes, especially when you're a parent.

I usually start the day with big goals. I have a to-do list. It has priorities & stars & sometimes even color coding. I'm ready to go! Then, one of my kids wakes up with the stomach flu, & the laundry calls my name, & someone needs a ride to swim practice. Then it's time to make dinner, help with homework, & get 3 kids to bed. Before I know it the day is over, the list is untouched & I just want to lay down & watch Gossip Girl on Tivo. That's OK for a day or two - but sometimes it goes on like this for weeks, dare I admit?, months even.

In my former life, I was a full time marketing manager. I lived & died by calendars & schedules. Deadlines were everything. When I left full-time corporate work to take care of my first child, one of the hardest adjustments was the lack of control of your time. Being home with small children is a lot liking being in a foreign country. You have to adapt to a new way of living - even a new flow of time.

I recently had the revelation that everyone in my house is a lot happier when their priorites are my priorites. Not maliciously, of course, but their lives are just easier when I'm taking care of them. It can feel selfish to put my goals ahead of their immediate demands. I struggle with this everyday. I think most women do. We demand a lot of ourselves & want to appear to have it all under control - even when we don't. Do I have an answer? Not today. I'll keep you posted if I figure out the secret.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I made 3 new necklaces yesterday that are really cool! Lots of bendy twirly wire. I'll try to get a quick shot of them today and post them later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guess Who?

Guess who's going to be an jewelry instructor at the community center??? Me that's who!

I'm really excited today because I just came back from a meeting at my local community center. They've asked me to teach a monthly class May - August. So cool!! It's been a tough few weeks & I really need this boost to stay motivated. I stayed up until 1:00 last night getting ready for my presentation, but it was worth it. The class listing should be online in a few weeks. As soon as I have a link I'll post it.

On a less exciting note - now that my computer is fixed I have to stop putting off learning how to use QuickBooks. One of my goals this year is to get my business finances in order - we'll see how that goes.

I'd like to pass on a link today to Sally Evan's website. Sally is a teacher, artist and creativity coach local to my area. I've been following her work for a while & working with her for several months. She's just fabulous!! I highly recommend getting on her newsletter list and checking out her website

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

This & That

Well I wish I had some interesting jewelry news to write about - but no such luck! I finally got my laptop back & it's working pretty well now. Unfortunately, the "ghost files" they put on my system have totally used up my disc space. So I can't load any new photos until I get that fixed. In order to get it cleared up I need to back up all my data. I'm waiting for a new external hard drive to arrive that has enough space to do this. Supposedly this thing is fast as lighting and is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I have my little boy home sick today, poor guy. So I'm waiting for him to finish lunch & watching "word world" so I can put him down to nap. Then I'll have an hour to myself to work before I have to go pick up the big kids.

What else is going on? Well I went to see Twilight last Saturday. It was really good - very true to the book. I have such a sweet husband to sit through that movie with me!! I still have to finish the 3rd book in the series. The movie has got me very motivated to do just that!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Still Out of Order

Well the saga or my laptop lingers on. I ended up taking it to Best Buy for repair. The HP help desk lady just freaked me out too much. Thought a face-to-face experience would be better. Unfortunately, not sure if that's the case. Without rehashing it all, the kid I was working with was kind of a jerk & was very inexperienced. When I got my computer back last Thursday night I discovered that it still wasn't working correctly. There were several files & applications missing, but the scariest was that all my Outlook data was gone. Archived emails, calendar, contacts everything. In fact, I couldn't get Outlook to open at all! I took it back on Friday & it's still there. Fortunately, I'm working with a tech who is MUCH better than the first guy. They still can't find my Outlook data, but at least they seem to understand the problem & be working on it.

What have I learned from this experience?? Back up your data! I have an external hard drive for backups, I'm just not good about using it. This will change when (if?) I get my computer back. I've also discovered this weekend that you can sync your Outlook data with Yahoo calendars pretty easily. Could kick myself for not doing that!!!

All the time spent on this computer issue has slowed down my jewelry work. Also, I can't post any pics to share with you without my laptop. I made a really cool necklace this week that I'd love to share! Hopefully I'll have better news next week.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hi I'm A PC

So I feel like that guy in the Mac PC commercial this morning. Unfortunately, I'm not the cool Mac guy. I'm the geeky PC guy whose system has crashed & I don't know what to do. So I wish you could see me sitting here in my orange slippers. My husband's laptop on one side of me - which is what I'm typing this on - my laptop on the other side. I have given control of my laptop to a very nice woman who I beleive is in India. While she's very polite, I'm not fully convinced that she knows what she's doing at all. Her original suggestion was to reinstall my operating system & lose all my data. I talked her out of that - so now she's copying all my files to another folder - not sure why. I'm questioning that too & getting more & more nervous as each second passes. I just don't think she understands the problem. I have a feeling that this is a user setting issue that should be a quick fix. She may be doing more harm than good. AHHHH!