Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Got my Buttons!!!

Oh wow! Just got the coolest buttons from my Button Swap partner, Krista at FrenchElegantJewelry.  This is a challenge created by Michelle Mach. You can read all about it here.
What I am learning through all of these wonderful bead challenges is simply priceless. With Marcie's Margie and Me challenges, I have been pushed way outside my normal range of color, to explore and mix colors in new and unusual ways.  With the Bead Soup party, I had to give up the control of choosing the beads, and work with items I wasn't used to thinking about. Now I get to work with buttons that have, again, been chosen by someone else.  The cool part? Krista sent me awesome buttons!!!
Check that brilliant pink flower!

There's and adorable little sparkly star in there, a couple of sweet pearl buttons, and don't you just love the glittery shine in the green one with the military goldtone ones?

Love the swirly smokey look of the big one, and the black one really sets off the colors in the purple/lavender button.

 This one is just fabulous. It will definitely be one of my first projects!

Here's the back side of it. Almost as pretty as the front!
 Well, I have lots of ideas "swirling" in my head, so I'm gonna go play!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Incredible Artist

I am so very excited to show these pictures to you. The lovely Raida Disbrow of Havana Beads is an incredible artist. She makes fantastic jewelry, and when I saw a pic of a dog bead on a key that she posted, I had to email her.  We adopted a very sweet mutt in December. Her mom was classified as a MaltiPoo, and they didn't know about the dad. With the size of her feet, I think he had some Bassett Hound in him.  I emailed Raida and asked her if there was any chance she could make a likeness of our dog.  The big problem? She's black. And I'm talking TOTALLY black. As you can see below, she has an adorable face that you can't find the eyes in!

There's an eye peeking out at you!

So, Raida had her work cut out for her! And guess what?? She totally rocked it!  Check out the awesome pup below!

Don't you know I'm gonna have a blast with this! Since I am a beadweaver, I've got to put my thinking cap on as to what kind of rope I want to make for it.  So, if you want to immortalize your pet in the best fashion way, go visit Raida! 
Blessings, Shirley

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gift from Pay It Forward

Do you know what Pay It Forward is all about? About giving, and receiving, and blessings, and gratitude, and thankfulness. You feel all those things when you are making something to Pay It Forward to someone, and when you receive your own gift. I was a lucky recipient of a Pay It Forward gift from Deci over at Gem Trails.  Look at the lovely earrings I received from her. My frustration was at high level trying to capture the sparkle in the crystals in the middle. They are truly lovely.  Thank you so much Deci!  If you need some of your own, you can find similar ones in her shop, here.

So I'm keeping this post short and sweet, since I need to get back to making the rest of my Pay It Forwards!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Silk Scarves are painted!

Ok, this is just an eye candy post. Seriously, this is so much fun. Totally addictive and very time friendly. This is not the end result, stay tuned for that, but for now, enjoy the pics!
Not sure if you can see it in the pic, but this lovely shade of brown was mixed with a metallic silver. Gives a gentle sparkle in the light.

 My bowl of flowers.....and it never needs water!

The top one has a vibrant green, shading to brown. Next is a deep midnight blue which fades to lavender. Following it is another two tone: sunny yellow shading to brown/metallic. The colors of spring come next in a smiling pink, soft blue-green, and  mottled green and yellow, with stunning metallic aqua drops. (My daughter made that one, and I might have to steal it from her. Shush!)

Can you tell spring is on my mind?

The colors are just luscious. What I love about the silk painting is that it's always a surprise. Even when you decide on your colors, it will still shade and saturate differently every time. 
Think Spring!!
Blessings, Shirley

Monday, March 14, 2011

I love the mailman!

Well, not really....but I do love looking for mail when I know I have things coming. I received this lovely card from Lori Anderson.

With this really cool inspirational page inside. I love the little tabs at the bottom.
This is so going in my bathroom! Or, maybe next to the coffee pot. It's a toss up as to where I go first!

The other cool item in the mail today was my silk scarves from Dharma Trading. My girlfriend and I are going to fly thru homeschooling Wed, and hit the porch overlooking the marsh for some silk painting.

The pictures really don't do the silk justice. It is such a shimmery fabric. My friend and I took a class last year, and she purchased some of the basic paint colors. She played with it quite a bit more than I did, and came up with a soft, shading technique that I'm anxious to try. I have a necklace idea for these. More on that later. Hopefully, I'll have some pics of finished products on Friday.
Blessings, Shirley

Friday, March 11, 2011

An out of town visitor

One of the cool things about living here is all the variety of wildlife we have seen. This guy showed up at our pond last year. I took some pics, and emailed DNR. They quickly replied back that he is an Anhinga. They originate from Brazil. Not sure if that's where mine is from, but he did come back this year. Definitely had our pond earmarked for easy meals!
So we wondered why he just sat there with 
his wings spread out, not flying off. Apparently, he is not waterproof! He gets his fish by diving underwater. His long neck means people can mistake him for a snake. After catching din-din, he has to dry his wings before flying off. That would be a serious bummer if there were an alligator in the area!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let's Pay It Forward!!

This is such a lovely way to show your appreciation of people, and to share kindness. I am participating in this thru Silverniknats blog.


The first 5 people who comment on this post will receive a handmade gift by me (it could be any thing)! In return you must write a blog post explaining Pay It Forward 2011 and send your first 5 commenters a gift handmade by you.  It's a great way to make new friends and spread some handmade love around in Blogland! No rush to send them out today or tomorrow.. but do make sure you send them out...sometime in 2011.
I promise you will be blessed beyond belief from this exercise!

Friday, March 4, 2011


What's your favorite tool? I have a few favorites, in each area of life I work in. In the kitchen, I am having a love affair with an awesome tool from Pampered Chef. It's a star shaped masher that works wonders when you are cooking ground meat. I also couldn't do without my Rada knives. My mom used to sell them for fundraisers with the AT&T Pioneers. They are just plain jane great tools.
In my beadwork, I couldn't live without my Ott lamp. I have read several blogs about other brands, and if I ever need another lamp, I'll certainly try a more economic brand. As my eyeballs age (not the rest of me, of course) I simply can't do the fine detail without that light.  My beading needle of preference is a Big Eye. In most cases, it will go through the beads just fine, and I love the ease of threading it!
In my homeschooling journey, I simply couldn't do my job without teacher manuals. Ya'll really thought I was that smart? Not a chance! And I don't have a bit of problem telling the kids I need to look it up in the teacher book.  My goal is not to fool my kids into thinking I'm the smartest person around, but in teaching them a love of learning. To be a lifetime student.
And, living in the U.S. anyway, my vehicle is a tool of necessity. At least, where I live. My current vehicle is a lifestyle choice, not a "I love that one" choice. So, with three kids, what is it? Yep, a van.
I've had lots of cool vehicles over the years. This is not one of them. But it does the basic job, which is to get me from point A to point B.
Last, but certainly not least, in my bread baking journey, my favorite new tool is my dough mixer. What is that, you ask? Let me find a pic for your viewing pleasure:
DLX Electrolux Mixer MATT Black and MATT White This bad boy can mix up to 5 loaves of whole wheat dough at a time. That's a whopping 20-25 cups of flour, plus the rest of the ingredients. I could just kiss it, couldn't you? No? That's just because you haven't tasted the product of its labors, my friend! 
My panel of experts kids, of course! Cause who else do you know that will tell you the flat out truth about how something tastes? Yeah, you know it. My oldest son's favorite is the cinnamon buns with Devonshire cream frosting.  My youngest boy just loves the garlic knots. And my daughter's is, naturally, the cheese bread!  See, ya'll thought it was just plain 'ole loaf bread, didn'tcha? Wanna see some?
Pumpkin Bread

Braided Cheese Bread

Garlic Knots

Science project: Make your own pizza!

Yummy Whole Wheat loaf
Ok, so now that I've made you hungry, tell me what your favorite tools are, and why!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pretty Shiny Things!!!

I really  hadn't planned on doing 2 posts in one day, but I just couldn't resist this giveaway. This was one of many favorites in the Bead Soup party, and I'd love to win it. You know you would too, so head on over to Pretty Shiny Things and enter!

Are you FULL yet???

The bead soup party still rages on! With 210 total participants, it's a serious journey. I've had so much fun checking out all the beautiful designs, great soups, and wonderful artists. The awesome Lori Anderson had a seriously GREAT idea with this one.  I think my brain has been expanded to its limits. I have some inspiration for new pieces, and a total appreciation for copper and brass like never before. I understand how much I don't know about photography now. Cause that really made some of the pieces stand out like crazy.  I also now realize how frustrating it is to not know how to navigate sites quickly and easily.  Signing the "verification" thingy at the bottom of the comments really got on my nerves. And, every so often, blogger would tell me I couldn't make a comment because I wasn't enabled. Grrr.
And now I'm really  nervous, cause I have new followers! Goofy, huh? Cause I sure don't want the people I added to my blog list to be nervous cause I signed up to follow them.
I definitely saw that beadweavers were in the minority in the bead soup party. Which is good for me, since it made my piece tend to stick in your head a little more, even if it's not as awesome as some of the others I saw.
If anyone wants to share bloggy tips, I would be seriously grateful. Like the thing about signature that Lisa Godfrey over at Bead Happy blogged about today.
I'm glad/sad I'm finished hopping. Now to let all that soup settle!