Monday, March 31, 2008

Needle case.

About two years ago, my mom and I took a class from Janna Bedinghaus and we both loved the wooden magnetic needle case she was using. She had all sorts of threads and bobbins in it, as well as needles and other items. She said she'd had hers for years and had no idea where to find them. After class, I spent some time on the Internet trying to find one, to no avail. I called around to local cross stitching stores and was in luck; I found a store that was able to order them.

Then I encountered a problem. It came with a little pattern to cross stitch the pin cushion on the top of the case. I put the case in a drawer until I felt the desire to make the pin cushion. And there it sat for two years! I came across it again this weekend and decided I could just make it out of fabric rather than cross stitching it. Why hadn't I thought of that before?! The next step? Visiting my mom to get some fabric. (Thanks, Mom!)

That was my small project last night. It took me a little longer than I'd planned.

I'm pleased with how it turned out. I hot glued it on, knowing I can pull it off if I ever want to change it.

Here's an inside view. I like that it can hold my scissors. And it's tough enough to throw in my bag 'o bead supplies.

It doesn't replace my favorite Jenn Maruska Design needle books, but I'm glad to have finally finished something that was on my to do list for two years.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A birthday gift and an Etsy fave.

We had a house full of boys this weekend. It was a lot of fun. I'm ready for bed now, at 5:20 p.m., but it was fun.

Mark took all three of them downtown on the train yesterday. The plan was to go to the Sears Tower, but it was a fairly clear day, so the line was endless. Once the boys got restless, Mark changed his plans and took them to Navy Pier. They all had a great time. My nephews, who live in a more rural area, thought the taxi ride was the best part of the entire day.

While they were in Chicago, I met my friend Christina for lunch at Benihana to celebrate her birthday. Afterwards we went shopping at the mall, which was crazy busy.

Here are the citrine/peridot/sterling earrings I made for her.

I also found this necklace for her on Etsy at Deciduous Soul.

I also gave my friend Andrea a necklace from that Etsy shop for her birthdy last September.

And I gave myself one, too.

A few current favorites from Deciduous Soul...

The rest of the weekend was filled with watching movies, playing, and making projects. I was a little sad to return my nephews to my brother this afternoon.

But, the quiet that's come over the house is quite nice. I'm going to make dinner and work on a small project. Hopefully I can stay awake long enough to finish it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Smokey quartz bracelet.

I made this ages ago and recently rediscovered it in my jewelry stash. I think I made matching earrings. I wonder where they are?

I'm off tomorrow so N. and I can hang out on his last official day of spring break. Tomorrow night two of my nephews are staying over through Sunday. N. is super excited! He's coming up with all sorts of ideas to keep them entertained.

I think I should rest up before they arrive!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Green Amethyst ring.

A recent Etsy purchase from Dreams and Jewelry.

N. and I have been into smoothies lately. We make them with soy milk, frozen blueberries, and frozen raspberries.

He was impressed that this smoothie was indigo-colored.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The first day of spring.

We've waited so long for spring to arrive. We may have been more patient had we known it would bring 12-18" of snow with it.

This is only the first round of shoveling.

There will be more shoveling tonight as the snow continues to accumulate. At one point I heard we are to receive two inches an hour. And thundersnow is a good possibility.

N. is happy to have one more good snowstorm. It would be more helpful if he was shoveling the driveway instead of the front lawn. At least we can find him by looking for the orange construction cone he brings with him everywhere he shovels.

After all their hard work, they'll come inside and have a nice hot dinner waiting for them. This is Chicken with Artichokes & Olives.

The plow just went by and dumped a whole load of snow at the end of the driveway (reminds me of this diary of a snow shoveler).

I think I can take my time getting dinner on the table.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A conversation with N.

N. and I were just sitting at the table enjoying some blueberries. Our conversation went like this:

N.: I used to not like blueberries, but now I do.

Me: Sometimes our tastes change as we get older. There are things I like now that I didn't like when I was a kid.

N.: Like what? Pears? Apples?

Me: Um...I don't know... I can't think of anything right now.

N., very serious: Because it was so long ago that you were a kid.

Right. Thanks for making me feel ancient.

Have I showed you this before? It's the first stamped silver bracelet I made while in Lisa Niven Kelly's class at Bead & Button. The saying is, "A book is like a garden carried in your pocket."

I'm going to go try to remember what it was like to be a kid so very long, long ago.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Button flowers.

I needed to show you something bright and colorful today to offset the cold, drab weather. My mom made me this button flower bouquet out of button that were on my clothes as a kid, and some that were on her clothing back then as well. So not only is it fun and bright, but it holds special memories as well.

I remember loving that bicycle button. I like the flower she made in the foreground of this photo with the red button and silver-ish center. And also the multi-colored long stem of button flowers.

I hope your week is bright and cheerful!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sock and Glove animals.

I recently bought this charming book filled with ideas and patterns for making animals out of socks and gloves. One night this week N. and I decided to have craft night and work on one of the animals. We chose to make the dog that's on the cover. I like that I can sew the animals by hand and do not need a sewing machine. N. did a good job stuffing the body of the dog.

We only made it to step #3 during our craft night. Hopefully this weekend we can get a bit further along.

N. is making plans for us to work on these in the future.

Craft night was a lot of fun. We are considering setting aside one night during the week for craft night until the weather gets warmer. This week seemed to be about themes, as we also had a movie night (we watched Night at the Museum) and a reading night, where we read a lot of information about dinosaurs.

Speaking of dinosaurs, last night was Dinosaur Night at N.'s school. His class had a dinosaur museum, where they showed off their dioramas, fossils they made, books they wrote, and various other things. After the museum, the parents were treated to dinosaur songs followed by an ice cream social. It was a lot of fun. N. is a little sad that the dinosaur unit is over. Thanks for your very nice comments about his diorama; he was happy to hear that everyone liked the pictures of his happy dinosaurs!

This weekend I am meeting up with my friend Rachel for a day of lunch and shopping. And I need to work on N.'s glove dog. Maybe I'll feel like beading, too. Lately I've been in a bit of a beading funk.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dinosaur diorama.

N.'s first grade class is studying dinosaurs and they all have to make a dinosaur diorama. That was our Sunday afternoon project. We worked very hard at letting N. dictate what he wanted the diorama to be and to not step in and "fix" any of his work.

Mark laid down some clay land while N. worked on making a river.

After he made these dinosaurs, N. worried that they were from two different periods. I love that he thought to use toothpicks for the spikes on the dinosaur.

You probably cannot tell from the pictures, but these are very nice dinosaurs. They are both smiling. No need to be afraid.

N. finished it off by making some fossils and rocks for the landscape. He was so proud of his work. When we brought it to school this morning he wouldn't even let me carry it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm an aunt again.

My nephew Mason was born last night. That makes six nephews - five on my side and one on Mark's. Wow. This is my brother's fourth little boy.

Welcome to the world, Mason. I hope you have a beautiful life.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The power of chocolate.

N. and I were off to a bit of a rough start yesterday. I was exasperated with my beading projects and he was having trouble with his two loose teeth. Poor kid; every time he tried to eat something he ended up crying because his teeth were moving around, hurting, and bleeding.

He was ecstatic when one fell out. The tooth fairy paid us a visit and left some money in this owl pillow by Chasing Bluebirds. N. loves this tooth fairy pillow and plays with it along with his other stuffed animals. He just lost the other tooth this morning, so the owl has more work to do tonight.

We decided to make chocolate chip cookies and felt much better after having a cookie snack. I wasn't the only one feeling the chocolate love; look at the huge chocolate bar that Jenn was snacking on!

A happier me = a successfully bezeled rivoli. The trick was starting with 42 delicas and adding a whole lot of tension.

I have several left to make before the next step in my project. At least I'll have cookies to munch on while I work.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lots of work, but nothing to show for it.

Yesterday I decided to set my other project aside for the moment. I think the reason I'm not motivated to finish it is because I suspect some of the beads are going to break when it's time to attach the petals to the center of the flower. Beads broke when I used nymo thread, and some broke with 6 lb. crystal Fireline. If I use 4 lb., I think the petals will be too flimsy to stand up. I did notice something interesting today, though, when I was looking at the project. It seems to me my spool of 6 lb. crystal Fireline is actually thicker than my spool of the 6 lb. grey (smoke?) Fireline. Hmm.

But, it was just not my day. After changing the color palette on my new project and finally deciding upon and ordering some more beads, I got to work.

The first time I bezeled the rivoli, I didn't have the right charlottes for the last row and the beads stood up. Not a good look for bezeling.

The second time, I again used 42 beads for this 16 mm rivoli, with the right charlottes (the tiny gold ones toward the center) and it was too loose. You can't tell from the front...

...but if you look closely at the back you can see the beads are not hugging the rivoli as closely as they should be. The bezeling should be tight.

So then I tried it with 40 beads and that was way too small. I have never had so much trouble bezeling a rivoli!

My hand is sore, my arm is sore, and my shoulder is sore from pulling so tightly on the Fireline!

Maybe I'll have better luck today. I'm going to try 42 beads again with more tension.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Skeleton key necklace.

I made this necklace just the other evening. Found the skeleton key at a local antique shop. The crystal is from an old chandelier, and the bird I bought last year at Bead & Button from Green Girl Studios. The ball chain has been antiqued with liver of sulphur.

N. and I are on the mend after our illnesses. I think we both had more going on than just strep throat. We're still coughing and stuffy, but definitely feeling better than we did.

This is a boat that N. made while he was home sick from school one day.

He amazes me with the things he can make from paper and tape.

On the agenda this weekend: rest and relaxation! And movie watching. And chili eating (I have a pot on the stove right now!). And maybe making one of these.

And hopefully watching some of the snow around here melt.