Sunday, September 30, 2007

Navy Pier.

Yesterday we spent the day at Navy Pier in Chicago. Navy Pier has a lot of restaurants, some rides and entertainment, a beautiful stained glass exhibit, a large Ferris wheel, a great view of Lake Michigan, and lots more. It's a fun place to spend the day.

We took the train to Chicago and then hopped aboard a water taxi to take us to Navy Pier.

I took a few photos along the way.

The Ferris wheel. This one is so big it makes my knees weak when we're at the top. I'm not a huge fan of heights.

These photos were taken near the top of the Ferris wheel ride.

After our train ride home we stopped at Home Depot for another gallon of red paint for the office. Hopefully I can show you a picture soon. We also decided to throw caution to the wind and have Cold Stone for dinner. Everyone needs to have ice cream for dinner sometimes!

Friday, September 28, 2007

More paint.

Ta da. The painted kitchen. Mark put in the flooring when we first moved into the house. He is a very handy guy.

Yesterday Mark painted the upstairs hallway and stairwell in the same taupe color as our living room/dining room. He's also painted our guestroom the same color as the kitchen and family room because we had a gallon of that paint color left over. The laundry room is also that color - Mark overestimated a little bit on how much of that color he'd need for the family room and kitchen. N. said he is tired of seeing the yellow color. I said he'd need to close his eyes while he's in the house then. :) He pointed out that he could also go to his room because that room is grey and not yellow. Good idea, Mr. Smartypants!

This weekend we're (read: Mark) going to paint the office in a shade of red. N. is happy that the office won't be yellow. I think a trip to Chicago might also be order.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mum's the word.

I love autumn. It's my favorite time of the year. The changing colors, pumpkins, the holidays still to come; it's the best.

Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts about my friend Sharon. She starts radiation treatments on Monday and will do them every day for four weeks before assessing what the next step will be, which may involve chemo.

I find that when I am upset about something, planting always helps. Something about digging in the dirt is therapeutic. N. and I tore out the petunias that were in front of the house and I replaced them with mums.

I decided to leave the gnome where he is for now. I bought him in Cedarburg, WI. I don't know why I had to have this gnome, since I didn't particularly like them at the time. Maybe because he was reading. Now it seems gnomes have grown on me and I kinda want one that's painted. Is that crazy?

Enjoy your Thursday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The livingroom has been painted a sort of mushroom-y tan.

I remember reading somewhere that your mirrors should always reflect something pretty. Hmm.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rivoli necklace.

Swarovski crystal rivoli in the center, size 15 charlottes in peyote stitch around the rivoli, and crystal bicones around the outside. Stung with charlottes, crystals, and pearls.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Vintage bracelet.

I bought this vintage bangle bracelet of carved flowers on Etsy. I haven't worn it yet, but I'm planning to this weekend. Mark and I have a date planned for Saturday night. If I have a chance, I might try to make a new necklace to wear with my new bracelet.

Our other weekend plans include painting, painting, and more painting. I am taking a break on Sunday morning to meet my friend Christina for brunch. N. is spending most of his weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. Mark is taking next week off to continue painting and has a schedule for what he's doing each day. He's so organized.

This has been a sad week. My friend Sharon at work has battled breast cancer twice and found out it is back for a third time. Sharon is like everyone's mother or favorite aunt. This morning she found out it is inoperable. Treatable through radiation, but not curable. She did everything right: had mammograms, found a lump early, went through treatment, found it early the next time, had treatment, had body scans done on time, etc. It's terrifying and frustrating and saddening and horrible.

Please take a moment to send some positive thoughts to Sharon and her family.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I spent way more at Beadniks than I did at Renegade. The bad thing about being obsessed with beads is that when I get home I have a tiny little big that doesn't seem to be filled with much, yet cost a small fortune!

So, let's see...what do we have here...some lucite flowers, a strand of small silver beads that I love (you can't see the detail that great in the photo, but they remind me of little flowers or pods), and a few Green Girl Studios beads.

Usually, I buy GGS beads at bead shows, which is hard because their booth is always mobbed (understandable because they have great stuff). It was nice to sift through some things without getting shoved out of the way by other shoppers.

N. and I just got back from having dinner with Mark and shopping at an enormous mall. I bought a pair of Dansko shoes online, which are great, but a little too big. I can fit my finger into the back of the shoe. I wanted to try the next size down on in a store, but the next size down didn't fit. Bummer. But, N. was happy, because on a whim I let him get a stuffed animal at Build-A-Bear Workshop. He chose a turtle that he dressed in a Cubs uniform. The turtle's name? Turtee.

Monday, September 17, 2007


We spent our entire Saturday in Chicago. First, we went to the Renegade Craft Fair and Do-Division Street Fest combo. That was fun. Do-Division had an area for kids, so Mark took N. there while I perused the crafty items. The weather was absolutely perfect for strolling around a craft fair. (Andrea, I wish you could have been here!)

Here's what I found. Some t-shirts from Sheriff Peanut, including this skull and crossbones one for N. He's very much into skeletons right now. And, in fact, he's all set for Halloween with this costume. And yes, friends and family, this is the same costume he wore last year only it didn't fit anymore, so I had to buy the next size up. I wish I had the desire to make a costume, but I just don't.

And back to Renegade...I also bought a necklace similar to this one that I've been wanting for ages from Figs & Ginger (this photo is from their site). They had such neat stuff that I had a hard time deciding and am now wishing I'd gotten something else, too.

And a resin pendant similar to the one on the left from Fernworks.

As I was strolling down Division, I noticed Beadniks, a bead store that I'd never been to before! Woo-hoo! I had to go in and do some shopping. I'll show you what I bought there next time.

I also checked out the new Renegade Handmade store, which was very cute.

After Renegade, we went to a block party by Mark's friend Jeremy's house. N. had a blast jumping in one of the blow-up jumping things (what are those things called?). He also got a really great balloon alien by one of the best balloon artists I've ever seen. If you look closely, you can see the alien's head is a balloon within a balloon - so the alien has a helmet! I know one little boy who is going to be very upset when this balloon friend is gone.

As if that weren't enough, we also went to my brother's for dinner. We had fun visiting with them and playing with our little nephew.

Yesterday I finally bought N. some school clothes now that the weather is getting cooler (or not - tomorrow is supposed to be 87 in Chicago!).

And now it's Monday again. The weekend is over.


Friday, September 14, 2007


Today, a peak at one of my unfinished projects...

A long time ago...years mom and I took a class to make a beaded mandala at NanC Meinhardt's studio. The class was good, but so freeform that it made me nervous. The instructor was also very free-spirited, without a lot of hard guidance, which I have a hard time with. Her name escapes me now and I couldn't find it anywhere on the handouts. She was quite talented.

Anyway, I like patterns. I like things to fit together. I'm not the sort who enjoys just beading along and seeing a pattern emerge. I like to draw my pattern out first. Unfortunately, just as I was starting to see a pattern emerge in my freeform mandala, I stopped working on it.

This is done in size 15 seed beads (quite small!) with decreasing peyote stitch.

The instructor's pieces were so beautiful my mom decided to buy one of hers (no, my mom's mandala isn't finished, either!). This is the piece she bought. I wish I could remember the artist's name to give her credit. This mandala is even larger than the one I was working on.

I love the flower design on the back. How did she do that freeform and have it all turn out so perfectly? I would have to sketch that out on a chart first. The hardest thing is trying to create the pattern to fill in evenly while not knowing exactly which rows you will have to decrease in.

This weekend we are heading to Chicago for the Renegade Craft Fair and Do-Division Street Fest. I'll be shopping the craft fair while Mark and N. check out the fest. Then I'll meet up with them and we'll all enjoy the nice weather and whatever fun the fest has to offer.

As my grandma used to say, toodle-loo!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Poppies and Faeries and Polymer Clay.

I love poppies. Last summer, after purchasing the Faery Tapestry print from Angel Burton, I really wanted a poppy necklace that invoked the same sort of feeling. I turned to Karen Lorraine, one of my favorite polymer clay artists. I have several of her works, both wall art and jewelry. I told her about the print and said I wanted a poppy pendant that felt ethereal or like it had come from the land of faery.

This is what she came up with.

It was spot-on for what I was thinking. I liked the stamped butterflies on the back, too!

Karen sketches directly on polymer clay. I also have this pendant by her, entitled "Faery Page." When I wear it, I usually get stopped by people I don't know to ask me about it and often I'm asked if it's a picture of someone I know. I don't personally know any faeries! I like how this has a sketchbook quality about it.

"Faery Fern" was a gift for my mom.

And "Sea Breeze" went to my friend Andrea.

"Fleur" is a wallhanging. I purchased it after reading "Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglwood," a book about a girl who had flowers for hair.

I had it framed and it's hanging in my house. I love how unusual it is. And the flowers stamped into the polymer clay add another interesting dimension.

This piece is done in pastels on paper, I believe. I also had it framed.

In other news, I took a big tumble yesterday right outside N.'s classroom. Both of my knees have - for lack of a better term - concrete burn. Similar to a rug burn, only obtained by skinning your knees through your jeans on concrete. My knees hurt so much today! I had to put a huge bandage on each knee so my pants wouldn't rub on it. I'm not sure what happened; one minute I was upright, the next I had concrete burn on my knees. Ouch.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I haven't done any beading in the last two weeks or so. While Mark was working on his homework for a class he's taking, I sat outside with him yesterday and read bead magazines to try to get inspired. It must have worked because I pulled out my next project: a Vintage Filigree Bracelet kit by Cynthia Rutledge. I took this class with her and made the bracelet once, only to have it not fight properly. Luckily, it fit my mom.

If only my tray stayed so nice and neat while I was working.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The weekend.

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments about my headache. It finally seems to have gone away, thank goodness!

It's been a nice weekend. Yesterday I met my friend Rachel in Waukesha, WI for the art fest in Cutler Park. It's a small show, but the weather was beautiful and it was fun to hang out with Rachel for the day.

I bought a few things from the art show (mostly Christmas gifts) and got this great steel flower sculpture to put in a bare area in front of our house. I bought a different sculpture from this person last year and I didn't want it to rust, so it's inside my house. This one will get all rusty, which will probably help it to stand out from the grey house and greyish cedar mulch.

After the art fair, we walked around town and ate lunch. I found this wonderful original oil painting at Almont Gallery. Artist Angel Burton is local to Waukesha. I really love how delicate her work is.

I also have a print of her Faery Tapestry painting. It's the poppy painting on this page. The tree painting above was originally in a gold frame and I asked if it could be swapped with a silver frame on another painting. The gallery called Angel and she was nice enough to come to the gallery to swap it out for me! When she saw from my check that I am from Illinois, she told me this tree is actually located in Illinois. She grew up near Bloomington-Normal and the tree is in that area.

We also went to an antique shop where I found these lovelies. I had the small plate in the photo (I found it at Goodwill while thrifting some time ago) and I was delighted to find these pieces. I wanted a sugar bowl with a lid. I couldn't pass up the dish with the lid. Fun finds.

The weather today has been in the 70s and sunny - perfect! N. and I went to the park this afternoon. While we were there I looked down and saw a big black spider on my leg (EEEK!!!) that had been on my pants long enough to start spinning a web on one leg. N. thought all my hopping around was pretty hilarious. I beg to differ.

I hope the weather where you are has been wonderful, too.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Now that she's received it, I can show you the cherry pendant I made for my friend Andrea for her birthday. It was fun to pull out the ole jeweler's saw and sheet sterling. The pendant has been hammered, antiqued, and also spent some time in the rock tumbler.

We're going to take a break from painting for the next two weekends. This weekend I'm meeting up with my friend Rachel to go to an art fair. Mark and N. are going to take the train downtown and hang out in Chicago. I'm hoping on Sunday we can just relax. I've had a very bad headache for the past several days and I'm ready to sit back and do nothing. I have a feeling the reality will be trying to sneak in some relaxing time between doing laundry and cleaning the house!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


On Tuesday as N. and I were eating lunch together, I remembered one of my local bead stores is temporarily going out of business. She lost her lease and has to find a new location. So, she was having a half off sale. I had to go buy some silver at the very least!

While I was there I found this bracelet, with great chunks on citrine. Had to have it. She also has an Etsy shop with beads supplies and some of her jewelry designs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Yesterday we painted our family room. I'm always amazed at the names for paint colors. I'd like to be the person who creates the names. This one is called Raffia Twine.

We painted our powder room on Saturday. I wanted a periwinkle color, but this is decidedly more purple (yet not quite as purple as in this photo). The name? Approaching Night.

N.'s room was originally what we chose for the family room. I was thinking of doing a grey in there, but all the greys I picked looked either blue or lavender. Not what I was going for at all. The name of this one is Pewter Tray.

I painted this table some time ago (Oh jeez, I just noticed the dust on the chair; please pretend you don't see that.) to go with the construction theme in N.'s room in our old house. That stencil took hours to paint in his room, even with my friend Andrea helping. This stencil had four layers. Four. That means four times around the room with this stencil. Four times.

There will be no stenciling in his current room. Instead, I bought a train wall decal which I have yet to find. I put it somewhere safe. Good thing, too. It's still pretty darn safe wherever it is.

I think our next room to paint will be the kitchen, which is connected to the family room. It will also be Raffia Twine.

With all this painting, there's been no time for beading. And today N. started first grade. That was harder on me than kindergarten. I felt like crying when I dropped him off. He looked so little and lost. And so sweet with his little backpack and new red Crocs.

He had a half day, so I picked him up after school I took him out to lunch. During lunch he told me, "First grade is the best grade ever. Way better than kindergarten." (Note to self: stop worrying!)

Afterwards we went to a bead shop. I'll show you what I bought in my next post.

Monday, September 3, 2007

3-day weekend = time to paint.

The painted foyer.

N.'s room has also been painted. I'll post a photo when it's all put back together. Right now, Mark is painting the family room and I'm taking a break to do laundry (and blogging, but sshhh...he doesn't know that!).

There has been some time for silliness, though. I came across all kinds of things while cleaning out spaces to get ready for painting.

Like my Chicken Little sunglasses?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Crystal Necklace.

Last summer Mark's grandparents moved into an active adult community. On the day we were moving them in, there was a craft show in the community center. When some of the grandkids needed a break, I took them over to the craft show.

In a corner tucked away from the rest of the group was a woman who had all sorts of antique jewelry. I bought the necklace below from her because I really loved the little spacer crystals between each cystal bead. The necklace was in sad shape and it had obviously been restrung at least once before with some sort of waxy twine. I took it apart, cleaned the crystals, and restrung it, while adding my own little touches: a heart clasp and a silver chain extender with a crystal dangle.

I absolutely love how it turned out.

I'm off to Home Depot to buy paint. Enjoy your holiday weekend!