Thursday, June 13, 2013

Challenge of a Challenge!

I am a Member of BAM - Business Among Moms.  It is a wonderful resource for moms who have businesses to try to promote, share ideas and grow our businesses.  Then there are sub-groups for a more local reach.  The leader of my local group, BAM-Chicago, decided to challenge us all to post in our blogs for 7 days straight.  Here is to my challenge!
I am going to blog for 7 days!  This is day one!  I hope to get a little further ahead with my "Fusion Beads - Weekly Bead Challenge"...    and let everyone know what I have been up to lately!
Is there anything you want me to blog about?  Anything you don't want me to blog about?  (PL:EASE COMMENT!!!!)   I know the sub-title to this blog is Beading, Babies and Hubby....  but my babies are now little boys and the hubby is still putting up with me!  I may also blog a little about my "other life" as a embalmer married to a funeral director.... but, I feel a bit private about that.

Now, Just an update on what I have been up too....
My beading business has had the BEST YEAR EVER so far!!!  I can thank my wonderful online Mom-friends for asking custom orders!  Because of these wonderful women,

I have made Pea Pods....

Custom Coin Jewelry from coins given by a grandfather to his granddaughter....

And custom Father's Day Key Chains...

These women have challenged me and made me push my boundaries.  I am so blessed to have these crazy women in my life!  Thank You, Ladies...  sometimes, "Ladies" is a term not appropriate for the group  -- ahem... Marilou... but there is plenty of drama, suspense, advice and hilarity. 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Challenge 3: Use Tila Beads

Tila Beads are these square beads with two holes running through them.  When I saw the challenge, my first thought was to skip it.  I know, not very challenging!  Then, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.  I ordered these wonderful Transparent Sea Foam Luster Tila beads and a Size 6 Silver Lined Opal Pastel Yellow Round Seed Bead for an accent.  I ordered smaller yellow beads, but they were too "gold" for the Sea Foam Luster Tila's!

I have never actually "bead weaved" before.  I always try to use wire or something firm and substantial.  With Tila's, they are thin and fragile.  The wire just was not working the way I wanted it to and I was breaking many of the beads.  I had a design in mind.  I have never actually "bead weaved" before, but decided to give it a try.  

It worked, but there is a lot of movement between the beads.  In one way, I like the organic nature the beads hang.  But then, the anal-retentive part of me thinks they should lay perfect at all times.

What do you think?  I love the color the combo!

So, I used a product I have never used before and a technique I have never used before!
How wonderful is that?!?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Cooked Something!

I cooked something AND it was easy AND it tasted great!

I am not a Suzie Home-Maker by any means.  When I have a day off from work, Hubby will come home and thank me for NOT cooking!  My last day off, I wanted to cook.  I looked in the cabinets and found a can of cannelloni beans.  Performed a simple Google search and found this awesome recipe!!! 


1 deep skillet, a handful of ingredients!  YUMMO!  Did I mention that I hate beans.  I even ate the beans. Simple, flavorful, filling and healthy!

We are also in the process of purging our basement of useless things we have collected down there.  One item was a bread-maker.  I got that baby out and even made homemade bread!  That is also pictured above!  I had everything on hand except for the Escarole.  I made a quick trip to our local fruit and vegetable peddler, Peter Rubi and got that all important healthy ingredient!

Go me!  Maybe I can become a Domestic Goddess!  Here is what my Hubby Posted on FaceBook about my cooking feat:  

I don't believe it. I came home and had this. I'm calling the Vatican tomorrow because I believe my wife has been possessed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly Challenge 2: Use a product you have never used before

I have been grappling with a custom order for a month now.  A mom-friend sent me 11 coins and wanted them made into a necklace.  The first idea she had was a no go.  She had found a pin on Pinterest and wanted me to come up with a bib style necklace.  The original pin had the crafter using felt for the backdrop.  The weight of the coins made it impossible for this to work.  I experimented with some crafting type coins and felt.  Yes, dear friends, for any type of wear ability -- this is NOT GOING TO WORK!!!

I was having issues with the design.  The coins were too heavy just to stack on top of one another in a design or just to have the edges glued together.  I needed something with bit of femininity  but still use the coins in a pretty way.  I kept envisioning those coin belt buckles of the 1970's-80's.   Yeah, not really digging that either. 

Then, boom!  Filigree!  (Mmmmm... my three past jewelry posts have been about filigree...)  and a scary thing called E-6000 epoxy adhesive.  I had never used E-6000, but had added it my arsenal of jewelry making supplies.  I decided to incorporate the 6 pennies and the 3 quarter sized silver toned coins.  All the larger coins had an image of Queen Elizabeth II (I think...) on them.  

This has been a fun project.  E-6000 is an really user friendly epoxy.  If you have ever used epoxy or resin, these products can have minds of their own.  The best clean up to use with it is baby wipes.  The hardest part of using E-6000 is you have work slowly and in layers.  I did glue the coins to the filigree and to each other in one day.  12 - 24 hours after that, I glued the backing filigrees on.  12-24 hours after that, I glued one side together.  The final day, I glued the other side together.

With this project, I have learned and awesome new technique and fell in love with E-6000.  My design options are endless.  I am only limited by my own fear.  Why I fear anything with creativity  is beyond me.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mixed Metal Challenge

Fusion Bead Weekly Challenge for Jan 7 - 13 (Yes, I am a few weeks behind.)
Use Mixed Metal

This is my first challenge entry.  I have been creativity barren since late September.  I decided to try this challenge to get me back into the creativity realm, use up some of my supplies and get something of real interest on this blog!  Here goes!

I have a lot of supplies.  I knew I did not have to go out and buy anything special for this challenge.  I just needed to take items I already had and make something out their randomness.

I had a copper necklace that I had made for another project that did not sell.  I had these cool Tim Holtz metal scrapbook quotes that just seemed to stump me.  And two different tones of filigree.

I do not like extra holes on my pendants.  The Tim Holtz quotes had these grommet things on both sides.  I used one of the sides to attach it to the filigree.  The other side, I snapped off and sanded down for a more finished appearance. 

 At first, I attached these two pieces to the chain and thought I was done; however, I did not feel that I really showed a mixed metal project.  So, back down to my studio, where I found a matching filigree piece to the one I used, but with a different metal finish.

I thought about this challenge for a weekend on and off.  The time it actually took me to make the necklace was about 15 minutes.  It takes me longer to photograph the piece!

I hope you enjoyed my first challenge piece.  I think this would make a great graduation gift! Available at for $15.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Exhausting New Year.

Ok, so I had 5 goals last year.  
Goal 1 was to keep a list of 5 running goals.  Ok, I kept the list.
Goal 2 was to get my office/ studio in order.  I would do ok at cleaning it up, then a cabinet would throw up or beading gnomes would have a party with the sock gnomes in the middle of the night and ruin all my hard work.  (Yes, I am blaming my mess of a studio on imaginary creatures.)
Goal 3 was to get my belly/ body back in shape.  I am down 5 pounds, but not toned at all.  I did join a gym THIS YEAR.  At a joining fee of $99/ $10 a month.  I have gone once so far.  But I love trying to do my Couch-2-5K on the treadmill there.
Goal 4 was to keep the household better.  I have made huge strides in that area, but that has been in the past 6 weeks and not really "last year".  But it was more than just cleaning.  It was laundry, bill paying and just plain keeping up.  
Goal 5 was to work on my 2 homebased businesses.  I let go Votre Vu.  I did not have the time or money to keep it going.  My beading business had a great year.  I was not able to participate in any shows, but through Etsy and Facebook friends, I did sell!

These goals were in my head all year.  Even though I did not do much with them, they were there taunting me into be being better.  I will admit, because I did not get much accomplished last year, I am kicking butt THIS YEAR with those 5 goals.

Here is to 2013 and my 5 goals for this year!

Goal 1:  Get my office and studio cleaned up & and out!  Get my laptop down there.  Now that I have an Ipad, I do not think I need my laptop on the kitchen counter (along with all my bill-paying stuff) to create clutter that annoys my hubby.

Goal 2:  Spend 30 minutes with my boys a day.  Try not to have it include a TV or computer or them playing at the park while I sit there.

Goal 3:  For the month of February, go to the gym at least once a week.  March go at least twice a week.  April go three times a week.

Goal 4:  Eat more fruits and veggies.

Goal 5:  In an effort to hit many areas of my beading life at once, I am going to do the Fusion Beads Weekly Challenge that they started last year.  I will create or do whatever the challenge may be and then blog about it here.  I will try to use only what I have on hand.  Some of the challenges have the artist using a specific bead or product.  If that is the case, I will skip over that challenge and come back to it when I have over $25 worth of product to buy.  $25 is their free shipping limit.  I have loved Fusion Beads from the beginning of my beading journey.  They sucked me in with their "any size order has free shipping."  They just recently started having a minimum order free shipping policy.  They also have wonderful how-to's and an awesome inspiration gallery.  After I have completed the challenge, I will take photos of the piece of jewelry or task, blog about it here, and then post the jewelry piece on Etsy.

Let's see where this year takes me!  So far, it is just taking me to my day job.  The days have been long and exhausting.