Saturday, February 25, 2012

7000 Bracelets of Hope Blog Hop

Hi everyone! I've joined in again to create a bracelet for the Global Genes Project.  This hop is hosted by Erin Fickert-Rowland of and Christine Altmiller of

If you've never heard of the Global Genes Project, I copied this straight from their website. I think they can say it so much better than I can.

  • GGP is a global rare disease awareness and education campaign that has been developed by the rare disease community for the rare disease community.

  • GGP is also a platform that provides tools and resources that aid rare disease foundations in new unique ways to fundraise.

  • We have been given the opportunity to help put a little cheer in the lives of the families, by making a bracelet to show our care and concern for their struggles.  Here is the bracelet I chose to make for the project.

    A Little Twist of Fate
    It is a straight Ndebele, with a little twist in the middle. I chose that to signify that twist of fate that changes our lives. And also to show that, just like the bracelet, our lives do go on. Maybe not in the same colors, but we do persevere.

    Since they ask us to make it an adjustable bracelet, I chose to create a clasp with chain and a jumpring.  This way, it can be worn by a variety of sizes.

    Initially, I added the jean to the ends, to signify the name of the project, but I decided it just didn't work for me.

    I had a great time making this, just as I did last time. If I get a chance, I have one more idea that I'm working on for the project. Stay tuned for updates!

    Here is the list of participants. Please go see all the cool bracelets created for this wonderful cause.

    Update: For some reason the links were not working on my page. Please go here for the list of participants.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Suburban Girl Design Team

    Ok, I don't know why I didn't read all the rules the first time around, but I totally missed the fact that I could get another chance to be a part of the Design Team if I blogged about it. About what? Well, here it is, straight from her blog:
    I've decided it's finally time to put together a Suburban Girl Design Team.  I currently have three members and am seeking three more!  Design Team members will participate in 4 challenges (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) throughout the year.  I'll send you beads and you will create a piece of jewelry/accessory incorporating them and beads from your own stash.  All members will reveal their work on their blogs on a set date.  

    You can head over to the Suburban Girl Blog for all the details. Me, I'm just sitting here crossing my fingers!!!!!

    Blessings, Shirley

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Michelle Mach's Card Challenge

    Hi Everyone! Today is the reveal day for a challenge I entered about a month ago.

     Michelle Mach sent each participant an embossed card to play with. I was so thrilled, since I have recently started playing in the world of Mixed Media, and this was a great way to "get my feet wet". I told her to chose the design for me. (They were all beautiful.) Mine is a Hearts design.  I thought a long time about the types of medium I would use to transform it. Not having any experience in it, I wanted to try at least two different types.  I chose colored pencils first. I was thinking of a tonal look, but got too excited using the pencils, so it has a bright, happy summer feel to it. I tried stamp pads next, just brushing them randomly in several areas.  I love buttons, so I sewed one onto the middle of a motif using embroidery thread.

    I also used  flatback rhinestones, and a glittery fabric flower.
    I think I will go back later and try coloring in the base of the embossing, it looks rather light in this pic. I am definitely a beginner in this style, but I really had a lot of fun!
     Blessings, Shirley

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    My first official pattern review

    And, boy, am I excited!  This pattern is by the extremely talented Callie Mitchell, also known as Peregrine Beader.  You can check out her lovely Etsy site for more fabulous patterns and jewelry. She also has some free tutorials on her blog, as well as great information and insights.
    The pattern is for her Elizabeth I Cuff Bracelet. This is the pic from her Etsy store.

    Aren't her colors gorgeous? I think I was sub-consciously loving them when I picked my color choices.
    This beautiful bracelet is made with Swarovski chatons, crystals, and pearls. Oh, luscious! I impatiently waited for my order from Fire Mountain Gems to get started on the pattern.
    I ordered the quantity appropriate to make the bracelet exactly. However, once I started, I decided, (and my family agreed), that it looked better on my arm with just one row of bezeled chatons.  So, yippee, I have more chatons to play with! Definitely thinking earrings!
    Ok, sorry, I had a beady moment there.  I have never worked with chatons before, so that was a new learning curve for me. And what a non-issue it was, using Callie's instructions! They are so clear, and easy to understand, it was just a joy to make the bracelet. Since I was unfamiliar with chatons, and with bezeling really; the first one took me about 45 minutes to make. Yes, I did misread the instructions a couple of times, totally normal for me.  By the 4th component, it was taking about 5-10 minutes to make each one.
    I did truly regret the fact that the pearls are not as prevalent in my single row version. My pearls are called Night Blue. Such a lovely color. My bicones are called Sunflower. I was a bit scared when I opened them, because it was a very bright yellow. But the placement of them in the pattern made the color choice perfect. (To me, anyway.)

    So, I had another decision to make when I got the the toggle. It was made to fit dimensionally with the double row.  I chose to use the instructions as written.  When you lay the bracelet out, it does appear that the ring is just a bit bigger than the components, but I felt, for my bracelet, it did not detract from the overall design.  You could certainly use a smaller toggle/ring pattern.

    I love how adaptable this pattern is, and the pure lushness of the materials.
    My overall color choice are a blue/purple and yellow/golden hues. The chatons are Iris Blue, and the 15s are Metallic Navy/purple Iris and Dark Cobalt Frosted.  The delicas are Transparent Rainbow Light Topaz, and the 11 seed beads are Med. brown amber.
    I really wish my photos accurately showed you the stunning sparkle of this piece.  Callie is truly a wonderful designer, and even more importantly for me, a great writer of the process.  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to follow a pattern with confusing directions.  You won't have that worry with this tutorial. 
    Now, go. Run. Head over to her etsy store and get one for yourself. You will be well pleased!
    Blessings, Shirley

    I have received this pattern from the designer to offer an honest review and have not received any payment for that opinion.

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Communing with Bread

    Or....Communion Bread, to be totally correct.  It's been a while since I've done a bread post. Some people may have thought I've stopped making bread. Not true. However, I have had to make some major changes.  I've had some health situations that have resulted in my not being able to eat wheat or yeast at the moment. So, I've been terribly thrown out of gear by this, since my family can still have bread, so I'm still making it for them, and sadly watching them enjoy it. :(  I purchased some alternate flours, but there is a lot more specialty ingredients to making gluten free bread than I realized, so I still haven't made a loaf yet.  However, my hubby volunteered me to make communion bread for today's service. When did he do that, you say? Why, yesterday! So I was consumed yesterday with making batches of communion wafers.  I made three batches before we decided it was the right taste.  Here's some pics for you.
    This was the first batch, made exactly as the recipe directed.

    This was the second, with a decrease in oil.

    This was the final batch, with the oil cut in half.
    The recipe instructions said to use olive oil, and to "heavily" grease the cookie sheet. So I sprayed the cookie sheet with about twice what I normally would.  They were good, but rather greasy, and with a strong olive oil flavor.  
    There's nothing wrong with either of those things, but it wasn't what we were looking for with communion bread.  The second batch, I still followed the recipe, but didn't spray the pan at all, and changed the oil to coconut. Not as greasy, but still not right.
    We all decided that this would make a great "thin crust" pizza base.  And all the gluten free folks at church were thrilled that they could participate in communion!
    Blessings everyone! Shirley