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...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hello.

Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for all of your well wishes. It means a lot to me. I saw my doctor on Tuesday and she decided she wanted to see ultrasound results. I had that done yesterday. The ultrasound showed the cyst is a little bit larger than the CT scan showed. But, with the better image to look at, she feels it is an endometriod cyst, meaning it is caused by endometriosis. She also thinks it can be laparoscopic surgery . That's good news. The recovery time is about two weeks. I should find out when my surgery will be on Monday. I'll keep you posted.

This necklace is strung with labradorites. I picked up the pendant at a bead show. The center bead is tourmaline - one of my favorite stones.

I'll check in again and let you know when my surgery will be. The more positive thoughts I have behind me the better!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blog interrupted.

My mom gave me these earrings that she found while on vacation. I spruced them up a bit, adding a crystal to the top and replacing the earwires with sterling leverbacks.

My posting may be a bit sporadic in the near future. On Friday I went to the doctor with pain in my lower right abdomen. I felt like it was muscle strain, but my mom was worried, so I decided to go on Friday during my lunch hour. The doctor also thought it was muscle strain, but had me go get blood drawn just to be sure it wasn't appendicitis.

I went about my day and later picked up N. before heading to meet Mark for dinner. On our way to dinner the doctor called to say my white blood cell count was a moderately high, as was the test for inflammation. My doctor is a friend of Mark's family and suggested I go to the ER right away to get checked out. I had a CT scan (and let me tell you, the test for appendicitis was not fun!), which showed the appendix was fine, but showed a 14 cm cyst on my left ovary. That's pretty large, roughly the size of a grapefruit. I had a cyst once in college that ruptured. That was extremely painful. Anyway, I have a doctor appt. on Tuesday to see if I'll need surgery, etc. The ER doctor also said a CT scan is not the best way to find or look at a cyst, and that I'll probably have an ultrasound with my own doctor.

N. is telling everyone we know how cute I looked in the hospital gown in the ER. I'll have to keep my cuteness in mind if I have to go to the hospital for surgery! :)

Think some positive thoughts for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pink and brown ring basket.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin farm.

Last Wednesday I was a parent chaperon for N.'s class field trip. We went to a local farm. Originally, the farm was 360 acres. The farmer had five daughters and, when the time came, the land was split up amongst them. Of the five, only one kept the land running as a working farm. N. was very interested to find out that soy products come from soy beans. Until now he argued with me that his soy milk comes from soy cows. :) Now we notice many fields of soy beans when we are out driving around.

It was so cold. We went from weather near 90 last weekend to the very low 50s by Wednesday. The swiftness of the weather change just made it feel even colder!

After learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin and how to save the seeds to plant pumpkins of our own, we went on a hayride and through a corn maze. I love corn mazes. This one was a bit more of a trail through the corn than an actual maze, but that's good since there were so many children running around!

N.'s main concern for the entire trip was whether or not he'd be able to bring a pumpkin home. He was very thoughtful in picking out just the right one.

It was a fun day. I'm looking forward to going to another local farm to pick out our pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bridesmaid jewelry.

This morning the smoke detector in our master bedroom is chirping because it needs a new battery. We forgot to change them when we set the clocks ahead in the spring. There are about seven smoke detectors in this house. Out of all of those—of course!—it has to be the one on the vaulted ceiling that I cannot reach with a normal ladder that is chirping. Of course. We have Mark's parents' ladder (from when we were painting) that could reach it if I could carry the 1,000-pound thing upstairs. I've shut the door, but I can still hear it.

Chirp....chirp....chirp...

N. does not like smoke detectors and really freaks out if they make any sort of noise. So, while I was trying to figure out what to do, he was alternating between being nearly hysterical and asking me a million questions about what I was doing, why it was chirping, and how I was going to stop it.

Chirp....chirp....chirp...

So, what does any calm, rational married woman do in this situation? She calls her husband to yell at him for not changing the batteries when the time changed in the spring. That's right; start his day out just as nicely as hers. (Could she have done it herself in the spring? Sure, but then who could she call to be mad at about this situation?) Poor Mark. He was over halfway to work, but offered to come home and change the battery. No, I wasn't driven crazy enough to have him do that. I did profusely apologize for having a breakdown while on the phone with him. It's just...all that chirping is driving me crazy.

Chirp....chirp....chirp...

What was I planning to talk about in this post? Oh yes...bridesmaid jewelry. I was digging through my jewelry armoire last week and came across this set that I made several years ago. My sister-in-law Janene and I made these for all of her bridesmaids. Our dresses were chocolate brown. The stones in the set light and dark smokey quartz and also clear quartz. The rest are Swarovski Crystals in clear and Colorado Topaz with a few small freshwater pearls. The components are all sterling.

We had a lot of fun doing the bead shopping for this and the jewelry looked really great with the dresses. It's so much fun to get all dressed up and wear sparkling jewels.

Chirp....chirp....chirp.

Let's think about something else. This weekend we have friends coming over for game night. I'm cooking up some tacos and also some apple crisp. I'm thinking about making some chicken for the tacos in the crock pot. I love my crock pot. And I plan to get some coffee so I can use this.

I saw a similar one on my friend Jenn's blog and thought it was a great idea - no more need for the cardboard sleeves at the coffee shop. I got mine at Caffeinated Crafts.

I hope your weekend is nice. And, if your smoke alarm batteries haven't been changed in a while, perhaps this weekend would be a good time.

Chirp....chirp....chirp.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dragonflies.

I was fortunate to receive some spectacular birthday gifts from great friends this year. They all seemed to be on the same page - the one with a dragonfly on it!

The extremely talented and incredibly nice Jenn made me this embroidered fabric picture! I so love it. Click on the photo to view full size. Her details are wonderful. And she also sent along some stickers for me and for N. Many of N.'s have already been used. He grades the "homework" assignments he gives to Mark and I and we get a sticker if we do well. And that pig keychain? If you push the button it snorts and it's nose lights up with a blinding light! Of course, I had to look directly into the bright light the first time and then saw spots before my eyes for about 10 minutes. Very silly. N. has pretty much confiscated that gift.

My very wonderful friend Andrea sent me this handmade tile from Minnesota.

And my sweet friend Christina gave me this t-shirt from Lucy. (No, that's not me modeling it!)

I also have to show you what my mom gave me, but I couldn't get a good photo of it in the dim light today. Hopefully tomorrow, though I think we're supposed to have rain here tomorrow.

We'll see.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Crystal flower bracelet.

I made this in a class I took at Funky Hannah's several years ago.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Think pink.

We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Knowing so many women affected by this disease makes this cause an important one to me. I have a friend who battled it in her 20s, my friend Wendy who fought it more recently, and my friend Sharon is currently fighting the fight. And I have friends whose mothers or other family members are fighting it. Chances are, you know someone, too.

So I'm happy to see so many blogs and promotions out there to raise awareness and funds. Maybe you could win something in the process. Check out the contests to win a pink digital camera or a pink iPod.

Also, visit Aimee's Blog for giveaways all month long. If you'd like to do more, join her fund raising team, Aimee’s Pink Flamingos (just a $5 donation is all it takes and it's easy to do online) and help fund breast cancer research.

I was thrilled to open my e-mail this morning and find that I'd won the first prize giveaway on Aimee's Blog! The earrings are made by Jenny of Natural Historie. She has some wonderful jewelry you can check out on Mintd.

And, if you were following my marathon posts yesterday, Mark is doing well. He is walking a little stiffly and his feet still hurt, but he has the day off to relax and recover.

Enjoy your Monday!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

One last update.

Mark is home and he's hurting. Right now he's upstairs resting and drinking Gatorade. His feet are in bad shape from him being doused with water throughout the race in an effort to stay cool. All the water made his feet and shoes wet, which isn't optimal for long distance running. He's got blisters galore.

He did cross the finish line. He was at mile 23 when they canceled the race due to the heat and police offers were telling everyone to stop running and walk. He was already walking by that time. Over three hundred people were treated for heat ailments and one man has died from it. Read the story.

He's hoping he can heal quickly because he has another marathon coming up.

I'm just glad he's okay.

Update.

It is just too hot to run a marathon in Chicago today. The last time I looked at the weather it said it was 84, but feels like 88. Add running on asphalt in a city to that and I'm sure it feels much hotter.

Mark called me to tell me he had to stop running and walk for a while, but not to worry if I was watching his time online. Then his friend called because he was very worried. He had seen Mark at mile 13 and didn't think he looked well. At that point, he was on pace to finish in 3:45, which was too fast in this heat.

As it turns out, he is walking the remainder of the race. And, while we were on the phone the second time, an announcement was being made for all runners to stop running and walk the remaining length. That was at about mile 23. A marathon is 26.2 miles. In addition, Mark is cramping up, has a headache, and lost one of his contacts. Luckily, his friend Deirdre is walking with him and can watch over him and drive him home. I'm concerned and wish he would have listened to me when I asked him to sit this one out because of the heat.

I'll feel better when he's home.

Chicago Marathon.

Today Mark is running the Chicago Marathon. It's not ideal weather for it; it's hot in Chicago. I wasn't able to go cheer him on and take pictures this year, so I'll share a few from his very first marathon, which was—where else?!—in the Windy City in 2004.

Our theme for the day was to take photos of ourselves in different areas of the city giving the thumbs-up sign. Here's me leaving for the race.

My brother and sister-in-law helped me navigate around the city. First, we tried to see him running in Bucktown, but had no luck. We couldn't get anywhere near the runners and we missed him.

Next we took the 'L'. That was pretty scary. There were a lot of people trying to move around the city to see the runners at different points and most were using public transportation to do it. The escalators were moving up to the platform, which was packed and there wasn't room for the people coming up the escalators. We had to walk on them in place to avoid being crushed. A fight nearly broke out and we were more than a little nervous in the situation.

We made it to Chinatown unscathed.

The runners in Chinatown. We did see Mark here, but I don't have a good photo.

We met up with him in Grant Park. A very proud moment. He's carrying a large bag of ice.

Even the huge blister on his fourth toe got a thumbs-up on this day!

And a thumbs-up from the man himself. He ran that first marathon in 3:38. He's hoping to run today's in 3:35 if he doesn't have to slow down due to the heat.

Yesterday it was near 90 when we went apple picking at noon. It was horribly uncomfortable - and I wasn't even running! I don't know how he does it. He's amazing.

And a shout out to our friend Tanya who is running in the marathon also - and it's her very first one.

Go runners!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

And the winner is...

We just got home from dinner and I suddenly remembered that N. needed to pick the name of the birthday earring contest winner out of a hat...well, bowl actually. He was very excited and is now writing down names of his friends to put in a bowl for me to pick one! I don't know what he's planning to send to his friend.

And now, without further adieu, the winner is...Andrea! I'll send them out early next week. Congratulations!

I wish I could send a pair to everyone who entered.

I'm off to have some birthday pumpkin pie. N. asked for that instead of birthday cake, and that was fine with me. This has been a really nice birthday.

This Girl's birthday.

Yay! It's my birthday! I love birthdays. My mom always made them special, decorating the house with birthday signs, making birthday cake, etc. I've been thinking about my favorite birthday memories and I have a few.

One year I had a Barbie cake. It was my favorite cake ever. Her dress was the cake. I can still remember being in awe of that cake. I really didn't think anyone should cut into it.

Does anyone remember these ribbon barrettes that were really popular in the late 70s? I had the best mom ever. She made a gazillion pairs of them (I think I had a pair to go with every outfit in my closet!) and I had a sleepover birthday party where all my friends got a pair. I was the coolest girl ever for that day. We played all the creepy sleepover party games, like light as a feather, stiff as a board and Bloody Mary. And everyone wore their barrettes to school the next Monday. We were so stylish.

Or there was two weeks after my 21st birthday, when I met and started dating Mark. He gave me a belated birthday card that said if he'd known me on my birthday he wouldn't have been late with the card. Sweet. And he gave me a video of Vanilla Ice and one of Mötley Crüe. OK, so he didn't know me so well just then. He tried. That counts for something. And, in all fairness, I did tell him I liked a song or two from each. Now he usually asks for ideas, though he does surprise me now and then.

This is my gift from Mark and N. this year. It was made by Magdalena Borejko, as you might have guessed from looking at the photo. I thought her photo was so beautiful that I asked her if I could use it on my blog. You must look at her Etsy shop. She makes the most stunning jewelry. I bought one of her tutorials, but have yet to try it. Anyway, I had been eyeing this piece for a while and when Mark asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I knew this was it. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm really hoping today's the day! Read an interview with Magdalena on Katrin's blog.

The earring prize winner will be announced tonight. You have until 5 p.m. to enter!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jonquil bracelet.

Simply strung. Swarovski 4mm bicones in jonquil satin with round smokey quartz.

Remember to enter the birthday contest!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Broken.

When my friend Andrea lived in Palo Alto, during one of my visits we had a private bead class with Shiho Yamashita (who, I've just discovered, has an Etsy shop (!) though she doesn't have any items currently listed). Shiho makes the most beautiful things. Andrea and I both made earrings - well, I made one earring and have yet to make the other. I couldn't find the one I'd made, either. Someone really needs to clean out my beading space and do some organizing in there.

I also made this necklace, but sadly, it broke! Grrr! As I was driving along, I suddenly felt beads spilling down into the front of my shirt. Strange sensation.

I've driven around with it in my car for quite a very long time. I really should fix it. The problem is that the pendant is not separate from the chain, common in Japanese style beading, so the entire thing has to come apart and be redone.

Be sure to comment on my last post so you can be entered into Friday's drawing! Friends and family are welcome, too. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Birthday earrings and a gift for one lucky reader.

I played around with the lucite flowers a little bit on Saturday to make myself a pair of earrings for my upcoming birthday. This is what I came up with.

You can't quite see them, but there are 3mm crystals dangling off the top of the flower. These are made with the white lucite flowers, bronze freshwater pearls, tiny greyish pearls, green 4mm crystals (I think they might be vitrail), and olive satin 3mm pearls. All of the silver is sterling. And they don't look bluish, as they do in the photo.

They were so fun to make that I made two pairs! In honor of my birthday this Friday, I'm going to share a pair with one of you. Leave me a comment about one of your best birthday memories and I'll enter your name into a drawing. I'll let N. pick the lucky winner on my birthday. So, that gives you until Friday at 5 p.m. to enter.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your birthday memories!