Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Snail's Pace

     That pretty much describes how unpacking is going. Today marks 2 months in the new house. I will never forget it because it was Super Bowl  weekend... I won't claim to be a Seahawk's fan, because I don't really do sports. But it was memorable for sure.  We have new neighbors moving into today. The new "hood" is filling up nicely. We have officially cleared out our storage unit and truth be told if our garage was organized we'd still be able to get one car in. I think that is a win in the clutter/junk department.  We finally decided on a new couch, just in time too because several of  the springs in the old one is about read to completely rip through the back.  The new stuff is being delivered Tuesday, now I just need to figure out how to hermetically seal the couch from cat and dog hair. ** maniacal laugh**.   I also have something to put on the windows. So...um... yeah... 2 months in post move...SCORE!

      I have my Bead Soup project to look forward to working on this month. My poor art den is all in disarray after the last few swaps. I think I am going to shove all boxes into the back of the Harry Potter closet and call it a day.  Start organizing and go from there.   ha ha ha ha  *maniacal laugh*

     But I did take a walk in the woods today between insane downpour sideways rain... Here' s what I found.

Yep- a snail shell and tree fungus...  But it looked so pretty.  Who knew weird liquid could look so pretty on the underside of a blob of fungus? Meh... maybe it's only me.  I wish I could properly capture the way the mossy beards hang off the trees.  Here is all my little point and shoot is capable of... It rather washed out how saturated the green is.


So that was my day...  in a snail shell.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

3rd Times a Charm

      It's Spring time and swaps are turning and churning. I just mailed out a few swaps the other day. A "Down the Rabbit Hole" swap I found on a blog in my search for fairy gardens. The other two being over at the Yahoo Art Charms Group. One was the monthly color palette swap. The other was a Gift Card Charm swap. Truly a swap that pushed my limits.

     I had it all lined up and my gift cards collected, die cut them on my Big Shot (steel rule dies only- not the wafers)  I had die cut them and was letting the inspiration strike me. Well I went to file and drill and found my poor die cuts of less than desirable state. The anatomy of a gift card has evolved over the last few years and some of these were from a few years ago or more.  From my years at the printshop I learned a few things about giftcards, room keys, loyalty cards, etc. They are constructed in few ways- basically whatever/however it's printed and and an additional layer of something laminated, anymore I think they are printed right on the plastic! Some are thin, some are thick and quality can and will vary in any and all of these factors.  Well needless to say I ended up ditching my first and second attempts. They were older cards and just not jiving with what I had in mind. My favorite though- I had one that was a Starbuck's card and loved how it die cut so I sought out some additional ones and this is what I came up with.  Just a reminder my camera battery charger is still MIA so this are phone photos taken in a window... lol (although the hubby seems to think it's in a box in the garage)



     My tips for die cutting gift cards, it needs to be a steel rule die- meaning the thicker dies- not the wafer thin dies like QuickKuts/Lifestyle dies, or Sizzlets, but steel rule. Then put the gift card face down (or whatever you want to be the front) on your die- it will allow the front to look neater and any puckering or slight creasing of the plastic will be limited to the backside. For the most part. I still took my files (I have the Basic Grey set from the scrapbooking section) and cleaned up any burrs and lessened any pointy parts that might poke someone. Filing just finishes the charms off. Makes it look better and eliminates any potential injury from sharp pointy edges.  I did not use adhesive on these- the wire held the layers together just fine. I then used some copper wire to wire wrap and make a loop. Making the thick wrapping was awkward as I am used to a nice and tidy eye loop and wrap. I then added a pretty bead and Ta-Da!  I also added a jumpring per the requirements of the swap, I just didn't locate them until after the photo. I can't wait to get these back and see what others have made. 
   So there you have it. Gift Card art charms.  Fun and pretty. 

Pinterest and the Ghost of the Toxic Green Hag

  **** Crazy Woman Ramble***

     This is a reminder to NEVER get attached to social media sites.  Funny thing is after my account was hacked a few weeks ago and I deactivated it and actually did really well.  I wouldn't say I'm an addict. I don't spend all day pinning, I never have.. really. It is a relaxing thing to do.  I use it mainly for jewelry making and recipes. I should have learned- always print out that recipe- don't just save it to your Pinterest Board. Why? Because at some point you will be hacked. As some point someone will flag something on your board whether be intentional or accidental or maybe there was an unintentional spammy link... who the heck knows anymore.  But to that person (the spammer) - they can suck it.

Honestly the only thing I will miss the most are my art/creative boards (anything related to jewelry/beading/charms) and of course my recipes. OH and my inspirational words of wisdom board.  **sigh**

**UpDATE*** It was hacked again. :(

Double Update 3/28/14: My pleas to Pinterest have been answered. YAY!!! Interestingly enough I am unable to locate any spam boards (like the last time) and they left my settings alone, didn't even change my location. So me thinks it was flagged, not hacked. No sign of beauty product spams either as I was told my profile had been promoting. I deleted a few boards after I  examined them closer, but nothing spammy. If it had been hacked by a spammer- I believe the odd activity triggers it to go into safe mode (which happened last time) and if it's flagged- they just flat out suspend your account.  Oh well...


 ***************
So yeah- from here on- this post goes a bit overboard.  Just so you know.  Yes- there are mean people out there, Yes, if everyone would develop a thick skin and move on- the world would be a better place. Whatever.

So if that one person decided to flag me just because  (not because it was actual spam), good for you!  I have a few of those hags out there,  don't we all?  I call them green hags because I have worse things I could call them. But green is obvious and hag, well you know the implications.  Basically little ol' me has a few haters. ME! It's almost laughable. A poor girl from the midwest. It's kinda funny.  If you knew me personally you'd know I sometimes struggle daily and in general think very little of myself, while the days I feel like a lump of crap are fewer and far between. I still struggle everyday with self purpose. I know I'm on the right path because I still look forward to the next day.  Between my FIL and a few other self serving people who crossed my path, my self- esteem is in low reserve.  My creativity has been my salvation, my outlet, that and my husband of course.
     But one thing I know, I am 100% genuine, some have even had the balls to call me naive and stupid, whatever. Some people can't stand that because well- deep down their intentions were anything but genuine, so it makes them feel bad for a minuscule second. Unfortunately, this is usually when they lash out the most or again.   I have some what of a good people meter, but some people hide their crazy so well, it throws it off and they inch into your life and before you know it- they've trampled your heart and soul good and hard.  You question yourself. You start to second guess your choices. These people learn how to entwine themselves in your life.  There is a word for them... TOXIC... They think they're martyrs, or queens, but toxic is more accurate description.  These are the people that take self help workshops and then suddenly think they are experts and try to analyze you and ask you stupid questions and jump to insane conclusions because you will not participate in their insanity. It's even more sad after you realize it's because they are projecting their own sad life experiences.  These are the people who will go out of their way to treat you like crap and then do their best to make you feel even worse because you actually gained enough courage to call them on their crap. See how that is a toxic cycle? Yes-  you know how the saying goes- you shouldn't burn that bridge? Well- Sometimes you have to burn that bridge to keep the crazy people from following you.
     Sometimes you have to put on your big girl panties and realize that you are worthy of being treated better than that.

Ooh I had a revelation... I'm still detoxing from the last toxic "friend". Sometimes, it can take longer than getting a traffic infraction off your license. lol So yeah- I don't think the world is out to get me, but have you ever had a bad experience and you've moved on, but something triggered all those emotions?

   So yeah- when Pinterest shuts down my pin board of inspiration- it kinda catches me off guard.  Kinda like the last toxic green hag that tried to shut me down and the emotional exhaustion that was involved to deal with her dried up all my creative juices. Yes- two different things, but when my creativity is messed with... I get all serious.

But I will move on and go forth to create again!!! MWAH HA HA HA!!!

 Some have mistaken my polite silence, quiet and soft spoken demeanor for stupid and weak. To those I say- OH well- I sleep at night, well... when I have fresh earplugs so I'm not kept awake by the husband or dog snoring.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Rambling

     It was a beautiful weekend here in the PNW. The air had a slight chill to it but the sun was out, the skies were blue, the clouds were puffy. Apparently there are weather gods and they did listen to my plea for less rain, more blue skies and puffy clouds.
    My den is no where near salvageable yet. I have been readying several swaps to send out this week and in a fit of   "where the hell is THAT?", more boxes inched back in and were opened in a disorderly manner.  tsk tsk tsk   The cats are not happy with me, as I have shut the door to my den since they always find my box of fabric and lay in it. They can no longer get to the window and sit in the sill. Poor kitties. So tortured.

    A couple of exciting things happened this weekend.  I was able to buy lawn ornaments/statuary for our yard for the first time without having to worry about it being stolen or damaged. That was a weird feeling. We also had a  neighbor kid knock on the door for fundraising. That was another exciting thing. I didn't have to worry about unlocking my door. I didn't have to talk to him through a locked security screen door in fear of getting strong armed or scammed for money. I haven't had to put a "No Soliciting" sign on my door yet. At my old house we had them nearly everyday and some I had to threaten to call the police as I had no idea there were solicitors that would keep coming back and try to bully you into letting them mow your yard and yard work. I was told this was called "malicious soliciting" and it is a report-able offence.   Geesh- reading all that makes me think about how bad our old neighborhood really was.
     The only oddly positive thing is that when our huge fancy self-propelling lawn mower was stolen (we used to have a really large yard with a hill for most of the backyard) it meant we didn't have to store it for the time we rented the basement dungeon and honestly it was too big of a lawn mower for our new yard.   So you know- I hope the thief got good money out of it.  The new mower is electric/battery powered.  3-4 passes and the lawn will be mowed. ;) MOStly kidding, but sorta not, it might take a baker's dozen of passes. ;) But that's okay.  I've come to terms with the smallness of the yard, and just having a garage is a plus. We lost our goal of having it cleaned out to park in by St. Paddy's Day.  We are giving up the storage unit next weekend. So the garage is gonna get worse before it gets better. But once everything is here- we can start with storage zones and start putting stuff away where it belongs.
         
    OH and we had our first Deer sighting... yes- long, dark rural road and a deer is not my favorite combo. But it was fast, I was going slow enough to stop for it and wait for other possible comrades. Neighbors have seen Elk at the treeline across the road. No Thank you- Those are HUGE beasts- I've passed them on the road in my car on the side of the road, having to drive past them slowly, and seen them in herds in other areas.yeah.  Seeing them from afar is good enough for me. Beautiful majestic animals but the sheer size is enough to get my adrenaline going,10 feet away is too darn close.
     Now that the sod has firmed up and rooted properly in the yard we have been letting the dog out, which has been fun. To see him roam free in his own space again has been a huge mood lifter. He still  mostly requires his daily walk but the fact he's down to 1 from 3 and 4 a day, shows his age. He will be 7 next month. Usually one good walk/sniff session will conk him out for the day. Poor little guy. I miss my jack rabbit Puggle dog. He used to be the fastest dog at the dog park- running over the hills (used to be a golf course) with a pack of dogs chasing him (just as he liked it). For a medium size dog- he was scrappy and sturdy and could rough house with the big dogs.  Now he's content to snore on the couch for majority of the day. I think he knows this is home and as I am more relaxed and feel safe, so is he.
     As for Junior, well he's always been a trilling, purring, love bug of a lap cat. I put a step stool up to the window sill in the living room so he can get to that one in his advanced age, he can't jump like he used to.  Dora (small but mighty) will probably never lose the grudge for bringing home the dog. But she is proof  as well that animals feel what you feel. I am her human, even though my husband had both cats before we even met. She claimed me. She's always been the typical cat. But her sweetness has multiplied and her confidence with the dog has too. She now demands attention, audibly and with cute little bum/tail swishes to alert you she is within arm's reach, which you know... is HER gift to YOU, so pet her already.  She is also at peace here at the new house. I think she knows too. This is home. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wassoup?!

    Yeah- I know I'm stretching the whole "wassup?" thing. Meh- my humor. So yesterday I went to retrieve my hostage soup from the local P.O.

Note to Self:  do not EVER go to the P.O. after 2pm in the afternoon, especially on a Monday. Everyone and their monkey's uncle is there to retrieve their mail and do their business.

Ooooh but it was worth it just this one time.  Oh yes.... YESSSSS!!!  Is my emphasis apparent enough?

 My soup from Diana over at Jasmine Tea Designs was nothing short of breathtaking and much to my husband's chagrin, quite squeal-worthy. From presentation to actual contents, it was nothing short of the most elegant soup ever.  Quite frankly, it's the only reason my corned beef was allowed to rest after removing from the crock pot. ha ha ha  Seriously...

    I was hoping for a good dose of sunshine today so I could take some at least decent photos. However, that's a stretch, I can only forecast that the sun will stream through the window of my den after I've not only taken the photos but posted this blog. I'm not pessimistic, it's called living in the Pacific Northwest. lol
     
     So without much further ado... my soup from Diana.


     Seriously- the richness of the colors are delicious.  I call the cording rainbow udon, since Diana said it was the "noodles".  
  
     Please note- if it wasn't for PicMonkey.com , this post would have a bazillion photos- I am so glad there is a collage feature. This soup was so much fun to photograph.  Each "ingredient" is just breathtaking.

     I am hoping I didn't leave anything out. Unfortunately, my poor little camera is getting low on juice and the battery charger is MIA since the move. *DOH* I could have taken photos all day.




     This experience has been amazing. As my partner, Diana alluded to, there are some like minded thinking going on, copper elements,  palettes, etc. Gorgeous colors and components, items I have never worked with and have NO idea how to design with but I am still so excited to design with.  It was interesting because these were all elements I have been drawn to in the shops, but never purchased because I had no idea how to incorporate them, or felt they were beyond my novice scope of skill and thought. Well, I believe my creative limits are about to pushed.  

 So thank you  Diana- so very much!  I look forward to designing with my soup. 




Monday, March 17, 2014

Have you heard? The Bird's the Word


    This afternoon I was chomping at the bit to get to the Post Office to retrieve my soup (where it's being held hostage) that my partner sent me...  I thought I would ready my post for what I sent Diana Shiraishi over at Jasmine Tea Designs.

So first a teaser...
   


Okay- now for the real deal..

It was the bird- that Peacock blue/green that tantalized me. It's something I was drawn to, and kinda out of my norm, but it's so beautiful in person. I had bought the bird and the swirl beads from Shaterra Clay Studio on Etsy. She specializes in ceramics, wire and leather.  Her pieces are wonderful and like I said- the bird. It just drew me in. 


     As for the clasp- I purchased it from Fusion Beads in Seattle. They have a website, but for locals, HOLY GORGONZOLA CHEESE BATMAN!!! It is a gorgeous, delicious store that I could have spent hours in. Seriously, if you are ever in the Seattle area- it's a MUST see! They have parking!!! whooohoo! I did not have to parallel park. Ok- I cheated and made the hubby drive, but still didn't have to parallel park and he probably kept me from buying the whole store. lol It's probably a good thing I don't like driving in and about Seattle itself- I would be at that store waaaay too often. 

    The rest of the supporting cast are from other local stores, forgive me if I don't know exactly what the beads are, I generally buy because it's pretty and/or it goes. lol I am blessed to be near several I have frequented since I started this beaded journey a little over a year ago. The Bead Factory and Bead Boppers are the closest ones to me. Lovely lovely stores. These both always have beautiful samples and a current classes available. These two are both strictly brick and mortar stores, the Bead Factory has an online presence, but I think it's set up to order their classes online which are held in the store. 

     A little background on the toggle clasp. I had something specific in mind, which is a good lesson to learn as sometimes things turn out different.  I had hoped for a larger chunkier artisan crafted patina finish copper toggle. But the one I had thought would work was waaaaaay too small. Hence my first visit to Fusion Beads. It was more the shape and simple look I wanted, but the finish was true copper. However, when I placed it next to the bird, I didn't not like it.  ;) I LOVE the shape of it and think the copper works with the peacock coloring in the bird and the sand colors.  So while I am adding making toggles and learning to patina them to my list of things I wish to master,  this would work for this. For my first beads soup, I think I did okay.  I hope

   The funny thing is that the photos don't show the chain and beads I found while still unpacking my craft den and threw in at the last minute. Yeah- the bird matched and I didn't even have those beads at the front of my mind. The chain is more the color I had hoped for the toggle.  OH well...

     It's a little on the smallish side of soups, I'm sure.   I have a tendency to over think things and I did NOT want this soup to become a stress. I pulled together things from my meager stash and supplemented and went with my first gut feeling on them. Maybe I struck out, who knows. Isn't beading really subjective anyway? I mean you see the soups (big and small) and think- WOW! What I could do with that! But, in my minimal experience in this medium, the proper creative spark and anything will work. I've been participating on a Yahoo Art Charms group the last year and that definitely sparks the less is more creativity,  (unless you are talking about quantity of charms themselves) but that's a different post!  LOL!
The rules of Bead Soup- while using focal and clasp are necessary, have fluidity to them. Which is what drew me to this whole soup thing. The train of thought you must transfer to, to be open to new things.
       Drum Roll please...

                Which is why I am here in the first place.

Stay Tuned!  Tomorrow I post about what I received- when plenty of daylight is present and hopefully the sunshine flows through the windows so I can take photos. :D OH is it a very beautiful soup. Seriously breathtakingly beautiful.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Just About Time...

... to yell  "SOUP!!!"
 
     It's a good day, the sun has been shining for 3 days now. I packaged up my bead soup for my partner, Diana Shiraishi over at Jasmine Tea Designs and shipped it off.  OOooh and I finally figured out how to add the Bead Soup Blog Party badge to my blog. WHOOOhOOoooo!
   
 My soup is headed out to California!   Here's a teaser for my partner...


All packaged up and you can't see a thing.  *wink *wink  I am so excited to see what you come up with!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

If I had a hammer...

     I would probably take some 2 x 4 lumber and board up my windows. Seriously.  Sure- a pretty new house is all fine and dandy until you have to get window coverings for the windows. For your privacy, courtesy to the neighbors, and well it's just necessary in suburbia (oh wait, I think the website for my community is called "refined rural").  *** insert snicker***
    I am going out of my $%#$!!! mind.  I even submitted it on one of my favorite design bloggers and she featured it on her Q&A design post.  I enjoy Kristi at  Addicted 2 Decorating very much . She's an amazing DIY'er AND a phenomenal designer.  Anyhow- I have been trying to follow through with her suggestions (read about that  here) but keep hitting a few snags. What she suggested is pretty much what I knew I wanted to achieve but didn't know how to go about it.  I actually found the hardware I needed- including a flexible corner piece to allow the layout she suggested. I still need brackets, but that's the easy part.
        Since then- I have ordered curtains, they arrived and the #$%! pattern is too busy. Yes- I looked at them in person, I fell in love with the colors and pattern. Gorgeous neutral background with a blue floral and green accents, geez that does sound gawdy, but it's not.  Anyhow, I had to special order the length for my stupid arse 9ft ceilings. OH how it makes the room feel bigger...UNTIL you try to dress the windows and  Geez do I feel like a blithering idiot. 
       So now I have to deal with returning all these @#$%@%# curtain panels. I'm almost back to square one- I won't say I'm all the way back there as I do have the hardware. Oh and dare I say I found a rug for under my dining room table that was inspired by said curtains? I still love the rug. I'm thinking now it was too matchy matchy and I should keep the rug and well, the curtains are already going back, but use the rug and go from there.
Seriously- this is what is gives me anxiety when there are seriously more pressing matters in the world today- random airplanes missing, hostile cats taking people hostage in their own home, KMarts are closing and the latest? Radio Shack is in the pooper! Where will my mother get a battery for her police scanner? But more excitingly? McDonald's is thinking of making their breakfast menu all day (no comment on that last one). Makes me feel like a real medal winner in humanity.  My rational muse is screaming (wait is that an oxymoron?)  "You're complaining about  WHAT?!"  Yes indeed, but I am just that ridiculous. 

Oh and no way in Hades will I ever consider making/sewing drapes of this proportion. My sewing skills are mediocre at best and that would send me over the edge. I do not wish to wrangle THAT much fabric.

Then I tell myself I should get a hobby...  which is usually followed by a fit of maniacal laughter.  

Yeah, those 2x4's are looking pretty darn snazzy right about now. Now if only I could find something more than a rubber mallet. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monthly Palette Swap

     I was finally able to get creative over the weekend. Craft den is still not put back together but apparently pulling all the towering boxes out helped. I can at least go in there and sit down at my desk (not empty anymore) and doodle around.  
     I am a member of a great Yahoo group called Art Charms and one of the things that drew me in was the monthly color palette swaps. It was a way to experiment and learn some finishing techniques when I was just starting out in the jewelry journey I am on about a year ago.  Here is the palette for this month:


Here is what I came up with:
That really is the peachy orange in that diamond shaped bead... the elusive sunlight washed it out a bit. :D

Hopefully I am back on the creative wagon. I didn't however touch even one of those boxes I pulled out of my den. oh well.

 Tomorrow is another day..  :D


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Out Yonder

  I'm going to start this post with a photo...
This is apparently where my brain cells have gone and curled up in a fetal position waiting like a brine shrimp- aka Sea Monkey to be hydrated backto life with creative juice. 

      I would say "Yonder" was nice and quiet today, but there was 2 really large Canadian Geese (dang they were GINORMOUS!) honking around out "Yonder".   I'm hoping to get to "Ponder" tomorrow, but it's a bit further.  ;)
That is all, that and my den is EMPTY except for my desk and my shelving units. I pulled all the boxes out. Seriously.