Friday, December 28, 2007

Smitten with mittens.

Lucky for me, I'm not the only one in my family who enjoys beading. At Christmas there is usually one gift made of beads. This year my aunt and cousin made each family a beaded mitten ornament.

I'm going to take a short blog break and will see you in the new year.

May your 2008 be filled with joy, loved ones, health, prosperity... and beads.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More stockings.

Here's the last of the stockings.

In my recovery news, the PICC line did come out yesterday. I worried and worried about what it would be like for it to come out and it was no big deal. The nurse asked me to look away, take in a deep breath, let it out forcefully, and when I finished she was holding the PICC line in her hand - I didn't feel a thing! I think the worst thing about it was the tape holding it in place. The tape pulled on my skin and gave me a blister, it itched, and was generally uncomfortable all the time. But, it's worth it to get rid of the infection.

Being back at work yesterday was exhausting. I was sleeping by about 7 p.m.! Maybe my stamina will have improved for today.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Everyone brought their stockings yesterday so I could take some photos. These are the stockings my mom has made so far for my brothers' families.

This is the only stocking that she done (or has been able to find) in crewel.

Here's a detailed photo of the crewel work.

I have a few more to show you tomorrow.

As for me, today the PICC line is coming out! Yippee! On Monday I finally had a positive doctor's appointment where everything looks like it's healing. That was the best Christmas present I could have received.

Today is my first day back at work, so I'd better get to it!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy holidays.

This wreath was made for me by my friend Lisa. The red berries are beads.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gingerbread houses and snowflakes and a train.

Look at this gingerbread house N. made in his 1st grade class! I love the little pathway. He was very proud that he was the only one to think to put in a sidewalk made of Smarties. If you look behind the snowman on the right you will see a few marshmallows lying down - that's actually a "melted down snowman." He puts a lot of thought into his projects. Actually, I was surprised there was any frosting on the gingerbread house, considering the amount that was on his shirt when he came home from school.

After about thirty pictures of this ornament, I finally have one I share. And even this photo's not great. It was a tough one. Anyway, my mom, aunt, and I got together one year to make beaded ornaments and decided to make this one, which was published in an issue of Bead & Button. Sadly, their site seems be having some trouble and I'm too lazy to go look for the exact issue it was in. It's made with Swarovski crystal, seed beads, and bugle beads.

This is a snowflake ornament my cousin Amy made. I believe the pattern for this was in either Bead & Button or Beadwork.

And, for our final ornament of the day, we have a train my mom made for N. last year. It's a Mill Hill kit.

We're going to go brave Target now. It's scary to go there the weekend before Christmas.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vintage Filigree Bracelet.

Taking a small break from Christmas ornaments and stockings to show you something I finished while recuperating.

This bracelet is from a Cynthia Rutledge workshop called Vintage Filigree Bracelet.

This is actually my third one. The first one I made did not fit, so my mom has it. Cynthia was gracious enough to sell me another kit so I could make one for me. I made the main bracelet part with different thread than what came in the kit. Big mistake. Big. When I got to the part where I could start working on the clasps (the fringed looking ends), beads started breaking all over the place because the thread was too thick for several passes.

So frustrating! Grr! I had to cut the entire thing apart and start over. So, I've essentially made this bracelet three times, but only have two bracelets to show for it.

Recovery update: My doctor has decided I should have at least 14 days on the antibiotic rather than seven. I always knew seven was a long shot. A girl can dream. Now this girl is dreaming that the PICC line can come out on December 26. I'm feeling really good these days. No pain at all when I'm up and about, much more energy, and generally feeling back to normal. It is still uncomfortable when Mark packs the wound left from the infection, but that's to be expected.

Here's to healing and feeling great in 2008!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Beaded mitten.

Another Mill Hill ornament. I made this one while I was pregnant with N.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

And the stockings were hung...

My mom has made nearly all of our immediate family members Christmas stockings. She usually makes one or two each year. Some are in needlepoint, some in crewel, and some in counted cross stitch. I know some of her friends have asked her to make them one, but she can't even keep up with her expanding family!

Here are our stockings. Mark's is made in counted cross stitch.

Mine is done in needlepoint.

N's is also done in needlepoint.

This one she made for me when I was younger. It's counted cross stitch and embroidery.

We are so lucky to have these keepsakes. Each one has either "Love Mom" or "Love Mimah" (for the grand kids) along with the year she made it. I will try to get pictures of the ones she's made for my brothers' families and my aunt's family.

It's snowing pretty hard here right now, but I think we are only supposed to have three inches when all is said and done.

It's a good day to stay indoors and wrap presents...

...while enjoying a Pixie alongside a cup of hot chocolate in my latest favorite cup, given to me by my friend Jenn.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy birthday, N.

Today my baby is 7 years old.

I'm still struck by the same sense of wonder I felt when I first saw him. We are so blessed to have him in our lives.

I think we're going out to dinner tonight to celebrate. N. has requested we go to a restaurant where they will sing to him. The small pleasures are the best.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snow and ice.

We have ice and snow coming down here. It's a good day to post a beaded snowflake. This pattern was published by Sage Zering in Bead & Button magazine. The pattern is also available for purchase online.

In the ongoing saga of my recovery, they found that the type of infection I have does not respond to the type of antibiotic I was taking. For this type of infection, only IV antibiotics will work. So, I had to go to the hospital yesterday to have a PICC line put in. Twice a day I have to inject a syringe of antibiotic into the PICC. Right now I have a 7-day supply of antibiotic. Let's hope that's all I need. This needs to work so I can be finished with the infection and get the wound healed!


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Painted ornaments.

These ornaments are a fun a simple project that I did a few years ago. I bought some clear glass ball ornaments, poured in some acrylic paint, swirled it around, turned them upside down to dry for several days, and... voila! Pretty ornaments!

Today is N.'s birthday party day. This year he said to me, "Mommy, I really like having family birthday parties, but this year could I please have one with kids?" My boy is growing up! Today is a kid party day at a place with lots of room to run around and jump on things. He should be good and tired by tonight!

As far as my recovery goes, I'm doing pretty well. I've had some more problems with the infection, but it's being treated and I'm feeling better each day.

Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Still snowing.

We received about 7" of snow here between last night and this morning! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Another Mill Hill Santa face kit.

I thought I'd be getting a lot more beading done while recuperating than I actually am. But, I'm working on something complex. I'll try to take a few pictures...maybe tomorrow...

Today I just feel like napping all day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Let it snow.

In honor of our first snowfall in Chicagoland, I thought I'd share this beaded snowflake ornament. This is from a Martha Stewart craft kit that I bought many years ago. It sat in my closet until last year when my cousin said she was looking for a project. I handed her the kit and off she went.

This makes me want a mug of hot chocolate. I'm off to the kitchen!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Looks like December here in the Chicagoland area will start out with snow. We have some winter storm warnings in effect. I'm hoping the weather isn't too bad because we have people coming over tonight.

Mark and N. put up the tree last weekend, so I have some beaded ornaments to share with you this month. The first is this Santa ornament, made of cross stitch and beads. It's a Mill Hill kit that I did several years ago.

I'm feeling pretty good today. Still some tenderness, but so far I haven't needed to take any of my prescribed pain medication; just a little Advil. Yesterday was our 11-year wedding anniversary. I felt up to going out to lunch with Mark to celebrate. I had to take a nap when we got home, but still, I made it out into the world! It won't be long now...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I am so thankful for modern medicine. I recently had a small detour on my road to recovery. I was in a lot of pain on Thanksgiving and the following weekend. The pain was mostly around my belly button, which has an incision that sort of spirals around inside it. I thought I had just done too much the day before Thanksgiving. On Monday night, I found out I had an abscess near my belly button. How did I find out? It broke open. I won't gross you out with the details of that.

I called my doctor, who told me to go to the ER so they could clean it and pack it. Whoa, that was painful. The ER doctor pushed and pushed on my stomach to get as much as possible of the infection to drain. He prescribed an antibiotic and more pain medication.

I've been having my mom and Mark pack the wound because it was so painful I couldn't pack it well myself. It looks like an open hole on the left side of my belly button. Basically, the incision opened up to release the abscess. This morning I'm feeling much less pain. I think my feet are now firmly planted on the road to recovery.

And now on to something more fun... I bought this pin in a local shop. I like the art deco look it has, not to mention the sparkle! I don't wear a lot of pins, so I might make this into some sort of necklace. I'm still pondering what to do with it.

I've been doing some bead work while lounging in the recliner. I finished a bracelet yesterday as well as a gift for a friend.

Once again, thank you so much for all your positive thoughts and well wishes. It really means a lot to me. Let's hope I can get back to posting about bead work now!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Just a quick pop-in to let you know I'm on the road to recovery after having surgery to remove a chocolate cyst from my ovary. The cyst was not the size of a grapefruit; rather, it was larger than a football! The surgery was more complicated as well and the incision is much larger than anticipated. Recovery time is six weeks rather than two.

The good news is that the cyst was just a cyst and I should feel great once I'm completely recovered! Thanks so much to all of you for your well wishes.

Here's to a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones. Hopefully I'll see you back here next week.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It only took three years to finish.

I took this Jeanette Shanigan workshop at Bead & Button about three years ago. It took me a long time to finish. Why? I don't really know. I had the flower embroidery part of it finished during the class, so maybe it was just the tedium of stitching the two pieces together.

I even put it in the center of my studio table to force me to finish it, but all I did was push it aside and work on other things. You can see an example of this in this photo, which I originally posted on my blog in May. See? There's even a strand of beads for another project lying on top of it!

I took the class with my mom. Don't tell her I told you this, but hers still isn't finished.

The pattern called for some spiral rope type of embellishing around the edges, but that was a little much for me. I like things a little more simple.

There's an article about Jeanette in the latest issue of Bead & Button. She has coordinated a Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer project that is really amazing. Bead artists submit their small beaded squares of a particular theme (this year's theme is roses) and Jeannette sews them together into bead quilts that are then auctioned off to raise money for breast cancer research. View some samples of the quilts on her site.

The surgery to remove the cyst on my ovary is tomorrow. I cannot have any solid food today. I thought I should post now in case I get cranky from hunger later! :) The recovery time is two weeks, so I'll see you back here as soon as I can.

Monday, November 5, 2007


This is a bracelet-earrings-pendant set I made for my mom with apatite she purchased.

We had a low-key weekend. Very nice. We went to lunch at Red Robin and took N. to see Bee Movie, which was very cute. Good message about bees, too. I had no idea honeybees are disappearing.

Yesterday I made chicken noodle soup in the crock pot. I also made some carrot cupcakes that were delicious. I had seen them on Healthy Appetite on the Food Network on Saturday and wanted to try them. Very good. I think there are only two left! Mark ate two before I could even put the cream cheese frosting on them.

And now, it's on to the work week. Happy Monday!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The purse.

I mentioned a while ago that my mom made me a spectacular birthday present. I was finally able to get a decent photo of it.

The flower design is needle felted onto the wool. If you don't know what needle felting is, Betz White has a nice tutorial on her site.

My mom said she finished needle felting the design and then thought that it needed a little something else. That's when she decided to add some bead embroidery to the center of the flower and the leaves.

I'm often stopped by people wanting to know where I got it. It's fun to say, "My mom made it! Can you believe it?!"

Thanks again, Mom! :)

In other news, the surgery has finally been scheduled for next Friday, November 9. I'm glad to have it scheduled so I can get it over with. Thanks again for all your well wishes - you guys are the best!

This weekend I think we are going to take N. to see Bee Movie. I'll probably be making some soups and things to have on hand for when I'm recovering from the surgery. A nice, low-key weekend.

Hope yours is enjoyable as well! See you next week.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November 1.

I really cannot believe it's November. Where has this year gone?

Here's N. in his skeleton costume with his skeleton bag. It was pretty chilly here, so he needed a hat and gloves.

When we came back home to warm up, he decided to make a sign so all the other kids would know that we were open for trick-or-treating - and what we had to offer.

I'm going to be a little bit sad when his spelling is better. I love seeing how he spells things by sounding them out. He was a little upset to see he'd spelled the candies wrong. He made the sign first and then had the idea to tape the candy to it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

One of N.'s latest paintings. Have a spooky day filled with lots of tricks and treats!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

'tis done.

The finished tornado bead bracelet. It definitely has some weight to it. N. said, "It's kinda crazy looking, but in a good way." Thanks, kiddo.

A closer photo of the round portion of the toggle clasp. I'm glad I made the extra effort to make it for this bracelet.

If you have some time, you should peruse Lisa Niven Kelly's gallery and workshops. She makes some amazing jewelry out of wire. I love her Big Ass Bangle bracelet and am hoping she decides to make it into a workshop one day.

This kit was fun and I think it would be a project most skill levels could finish. I actually have another one with pearls. I think if I feel up to working on a project while I'm recoving from surgery, that would be a good one to do. Still waiting to hear when the surgery will take place.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Busy, busy.

Our weekend started out sweetly, with some peanut butter blossom cookies. N. calls them witches' hats. They are so good when the chocolate is still melty. Yum.

I haven't really been working on any projects, so I decided to pull out my Tornado Beads kit by Lisa Niven Kelly. My thumbs really hurt after coiling several feet of wire down to this small tube.

The coil was then cut into beads.

Making the tornado beads was a lot of fun. Very free form. Each one is different from the next. Of course, since it's a kit, I cannot tell you how I made them. But, you can find the kits on the Beaducation site.

I strung it only to find it was too big, so I had restring it.

My thumbs were really, really sore by this time! I seriously considered taking the easy way out and using the clasp enclosed with the kit, but then decided to forge ahead and make the tornado toggle clasp.

Photos of the finished piece coming soon...