January 31, 2011

Update on My New Year's Resolutions

So, about a month ago I listed my goals for 2011... now, it's time to look back and see whether I've made any progress toward my goals...

Here are the goals I set and my progress toward each:
  • Find a good job. After leaving school, I am not bringing in any money. I have to find a job, and I need to do it quickly. I've put in a lot of applications and I'm hopeful. Hopefully, this is a January resolution instead of a year long resolution.
    So far, I haven't found a job.  However, I've had two really good interviews.  Both are for good jobs that I would love to have!  I should find out whether or not I was selected for the first job sometime this week, and I have a second interview for the second job this week.  The waiting is killing me.  In some ways it is good because I can still hold out hope that I'll get one of the jobs... but in other ways, it's bad because I am so excited about the prospect of getting one of the jobs that I just want to be told that I have it.  I guess the good/bad ratio depends on whether I get either job.  If I get one, then I hate the wait.  If I don't get one, then I will want to go back to the waiting period where I still had hope.
  • Run a half marathon. I completed my first half marathon in 2010, but I didn't run the entire thing. I had to walk quite a bit. This year, I want to run all 13.1 miles.
    No half marathons yet.  In fact, I haven't worked very hard on my training for it... however, that all changes today.  I'm starting to eat right and train today.  It's time!  Hopefully, at the end of next month I'll be able to report that I've made progress toward my goal!
  • Run a marathon. My husband and I have decided to sign up for a full marathon after we complete our half marathon, and I want to run the entire thing.
    Same as the previous... nothing to report yet... but everything changes today!
  • Start selling my jewelry. I've decided to take another leap this year. I'm going to try to believe in myself and start up an etsy store and sell my jewelry. I'm also going to contact some local bridal stores and see if they will carry some of my jewelry. I'm hoping to start taking custom bridal/wedding party/ bridesmaid gift orders.
    I haven't started selling yet.  I still need to figure out some tax and other business type things.  However, I've been working on making jewelry and trying new techniques so that I have something to list when I open my store.  I think I will try to create a jewelry catalog this month so that I have something to show bridal stores when I talk to them!
  • Blog at least 4 times a week. In 2010, my blogging was spurradic. I had months where I blogged a lot, and other months where I hardly blogged at all. In 2011, I want to make sure I blog at least 4 times each week. I also want to improve the photos I take for the blog.
    Well, I think this is my 12th blog for January, so that is not quite four times a week... but a lot better than last year.  I'll try to increase to my goal next month and keep up the blogging all week long.  But, I'm happy with 12 blogs this month.  It's a pretty good improvement.  I just have to work to get even better!
  • Learn to make glass beads. My wonderful husband bought me a lampwork bead making kit for Christmas, and I can't wait to try it out. I have wanted to learn to make glass beads for awhile and want to jump in and do it this year.
    I haven't set up an area where I can work on making glass beads yet.  I also need to purchase the correct eye protection.  It's still going to happen this year... just not in January.
  • Get back in shape. The last few years have been difficult on me. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, and my father's suicide. I let my workout routine get away from me. I want to start working out regularly and get myself back. I think it will improve my confidence and make me feel better all around.
    This one is the one I'm the sorriest about not working on yet.  It's so easy to put it off for a day... every day.  Then, at the end of the month you haven't done anything.  Today that changes.  I've taken out my work out log/ food journal and I'm going to hold myself accountable.  February is going to be a great month!  I'm ready now.
So, as you can see, I haven't made much progress toward my resolutions.  But, I'm trying not to be too hard on myself.  I have the whole year to accomplish these things.  I'm re-evaluating and figuring out what I need to change to make them happen going forward!  Right now, the most important thing is finding a job, so I'm putting a lot of time ad energy into finding a job... but that doesn't mean I can't work on the other things at the same time.


January 23, 2011

Seed Beads and Lucite from The Beadin' Path

Some of you who follow my blog may know that my husband and I recently traveled to the snowy, cold north due to the death of his grandfather.  It was a very sad occassion, but it was also a celebration of a man who lived an amazing 90 years.  He was a hard working and smart husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend.  The world has lost a great man.

However, while in Maine, I was able to visit one of my favorite bead stores:  The Beadin' Path.  Boy, was it overwhelming.  I just kept looking and looking... and of course, I wanted one of everything.  However, after a couple of hours, I was able to narrow my selections down to a few strands of lucite beads, and some vials of seed beads.

For my lucite beads, I picked some clear aqua colored starfish beads that are drilled from the top to the bottom.  I also selected some GORGEOUS dark blue matte flower beads.  I can't wait to make some earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces with these beads.  I have about 1000 ideas floating through my head.  Hopefully I can bring all of them to life!

I also selected 5 vials of seed beads (is anyone surprised, with my love of seed beads?).  I picked 4 vials of size 11/0 beads and one vial of 15/0 beads.  I picked a gorgeous wintry pallet (maybe it's due to the snow that was all around me in Maine).  The beads are gorgeous and opaly looking.  I have a great idea for how I will use them, but I'm not going to give any hints for now except that it is inspired by my fall piece for the Artbeads.com bead blogger program (which is almost done.  I will post pics of this necklace soon).


January 22, 2011

My Very Own Charm Bracelet

After making the charm bracelet for my brother-in-law's girlfriend, I tried it on to make sure it was the right length and the beads fell correctly.  Well, it was the right size, and the beads did fall correctly... and I was hooked.  I wanted one of my own. 

Luckily, I'd ordered a bunch of dog themed charms (puppies are one of my favorite things in the world!) that I hadn't used yet.  I paired the charms with beads of my favorite color -- blue -- and a gorgeous clasp with blue swarovski crystals in it. 

I think it turned out great.  What do you think?


January 21, 2011

Metal Stamping the Cheap (OK, FREE!!!) Way

Have you always wanted to try metal stamping?  Are you a metal stamping pro who wants a new and whimsical font for your metal stamping?  Do you just really really like free stuff? 

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you should definitely check out the latest giveaway from Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  She is giving away an entire set of ImpressArt letter stamps, which includes the lowercase letters a - z and a question mark in the Ballroom Boogie font. 

I'm totally in love with the curly whimsical font, and can't wait to enter.  I've never tried stamping metal, but I'm excited to try... and I love the projects Lori shows that can be created using the stamps.  To enter the giveaway, click here and follow the instructions to enter the giveaway.


Rings & Things Bead Blogger Stash

Rings & Things recently changed the way they conduct their monthly bead blogger program.  They changed from a program where they had a specific list of bloggers with whom they worked to a new program where they select a group of bloggers from everyone who wants to participate.  Well, under the new program, I was picked... and I recently received a really cool selection of beads and findings!!!

Check out the awesome stash they sent:

The package included 2 jewelry blanks.  I haven't worked with resin before, but I plan to add some steampunk-style components to it.  Maybe some gears and springs or some different colors of wire.  I'm really excited to try my hand at a new medium.  One of the blanks is deeper and has a ruffled edge, and the other is shallower.  I think I will put an image in the shallower one, then use resin to enclose it!

The next piece is a GORGEOUS and SPARKLY Swarovski bead!!!  Who doesn't like a little sparkle... and, it's my favorite color!!!  I think it will make a great hanging charm next to a clasp on a simple bracelet or necklace.  It will add just the right "wow" factor.

They included this adorable Santa bead.  It's absolutely gorgeous and has a little weight to it (which is perfect for Santa, right!?!?!).  I can't wait to use it, but I think I will hold on to it until it is a little closer to the Holiday season.  I think he might make an appearance as an ornament.  He'd look great with some red, green, and white swarovski crystals!

Next up is this gorgeous strand of purple gemstone beads.  Just look at the texture and colors in these beads.  I don't know what I'll make with them (but, I'm definitely taking suggestions), but I can't wait to use them.  They will make an AMAZING piece of jewelry.  Anything they touch will be beautiful!

And, the beads keep on coming!!!  They also generously included this gorgeous butterfly focal.  I am absolutely in love with butterflies right now, so this was an amazing inclusion.  I picture this focal as the centerpiece of a multi-strand bracelet.  I think it deserves to be coupled with small wooden beads with some bright purple beads thrown in to brighten up the piece.  I'm not sure how I will incorporate the focal in the multiple strands, but I do know it will be amazing when it's done.  I can already picture it in my head.  I just have to figure out how to put the pieces all together.

And, I've saved the best for last (at least in my opinion).  I love these whimsical lampwork glass frog beads.  They are adorable and colorful, and just make me happy to look at.  I love the colors and spots on them.  They are the perfect size for just about anything.  I've already made the cutest pair of earrings with them.  These are going to be hard to part with because I'm just in love with them. 

I haven't had a lot of time to work with the beads and findings yet, but I can't wait to show you all the amazing pieces I can create with them.  If you have suggestions about how to use them, or what pieces of jewelry are deserving of these amazing pieces, please tell me.  I have some ideas, but I am totally open to being pushed in a new direction or encouraged to work outside of my comfort zone.


FTC Disclosure: The items in this post were provided to me free of charge from Rings & Things for review or design purposes as part of the Bead Blogger program. I am providing an honest review of the products for which I am receiving no compensation.

January 20, 2011

Who Wants to Attend The 2012 Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show... FOR FREE???

Custom_banner_1295074496Artbeads.com is offering an AMAZING giveaway!  The are offering a chance to win a trip for two to the 2010 Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show... including round trip airfare and 3 nights accommodations. 

According to the giveaway website:

Prize Details
Enter to win a trip for two to Tucson, Arizona to attend the 2012 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show! The prize package includes round-trip airfare to Tucson, Arizona and 3 nights accommodation. You will attend classes with well-known beading instructors and have access to the biggest shows! Spend 3 days in Tucson surrounded by gems, minerals, fossils, beads and other bead lovers just like you.
Prize Eligibility
Only persons residing in Canada and United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter.

Sweepstakes Starts
January 18, 2011 @ 12:00 am (PST)

Sweepstakes Ends
March 16, 2011 @ 11:59 pm (PDT)

Need more Details?

Read the Official Rules

You've got to enter this giveaway.  It is awesome!!!  Maybe it will give someone who wouldn't normally be able to attend a chance to attend the show. 


I am Humbled

Sometimes, the generosity of people renders me speechless and completely humbled.  In the news, we hear about all of the bad in people.  We hear about robberies, scams, murders, car accidents, etc...  Today, I want to share a story about kindness; about the good in people.

On December 18, Amy of Spyder Jewels hosted a beaded ornament giveaway.  I had been following her blog as she created more and more amazing ornaments, and was drooling with desire, so I entered (you should really check her blog out.  She does things with seed beads that I can only dream of doing!).  After never winning a giveaway, I actually won this one!  I waited excitedly for my ornament to arrive (I even got to pick the colors and what style I wanted).

Then, unfortunately, I had to leave town suddenly for a family emergency.  When I returned home, there was a HUGE box waiting for me!  When I opened it, the most gorgeous ornament in the world was inside

That was enough to make my day, my week, my month... you get the picture.  But, as I said, it was a HUGE box.  There was more inside.  She had included the book Enchanted Adornments and a HUGE lot of beads for me as well.  I almost cried because I was so touched by her generosity. 

Check out this bounty!  A new book, 2 vials and 3 hanks of seed beads, bugle beads, 2 packs of fringe beads, a cabachon, rivolis, flower and leaf beads, and 2 sets of special beads.  I don't even know how to express how greatful and thankful I am that someone who I have never met would be so generous to me!  Thank you Amy!  I wish I was more eloquent so I could show my appreciation!

January 6, 2011


Boy, getting myself together in the new year is more difficult than I expected.  I have so many great ideas, and I want to start them all... so I do.  Now, I have a bunch of started projects and no finished projects for the new year.  Every time I get involved in a project, I get bored and want to switch to something else. 

Is anyone else feeling as scattered as I am?  Is this new year difficult or is it just me?  Boy, I usually don't have a lot of focus, but I have more than this.

January 4, 2011

Do You Want to Join the Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads?!?!?!?!

Okay, if you've ever seen the sisterhood of the travelling pants, you know the premise is that 4 friends share a pair of pants that magically fit all of them... Well, this is about a bazillion times better.

The sisterhood of the travelling beads is a group of artists who are sharing a HUGE (let me say it one more time... HUGE) box of beads with one another.  The beads travel to one sister at a time.  While with the sister, she can take out any beads she wants as long as she replaces them with beads of equal value.  She is then responsible for holding a drawing to identify the next sister and send the box to her. 

Why is this better than the sisterhood of the travelling pants?  Well, first, it's BEADS!!!  And, I don't know about you, but I like beads way better than jeans.  Second, you get to keep some of what you find.  Third, you get to meet and network with some awesome artists who you may not yet know.  Fourth, the included beads are worth more than $400!?!?!?!? Can you imagine $400 worth of beads showing up at your door for you to oogle?

The current sister is the lovely and talented Cindy Gimbrome AKA the Lampwork Diva.  For more information about becoming the next sister, check out her blog.  As I said, she is lovely and talented, so you should also check out her website full of beautiful glass pieces.

If you like beads, you should definitely check out the sisterhood.  It's a great way to meet other creative minds, get some awesome new beads, and destash your own beads!

January 3, 2011

Christmas Gifts -- Revealed

Between the end of the semester and Christmas, I was busy creating jewelry for friends and family.  however, I haven't displayed the pieces here because not everyone had received their gifts (yeah... I finished the pieces in plenty of time, But somehow I just couldn't get myself to deal with the crowds at the post office pre-Christmas).  So, here is a peek at the handmade pieces I gifted for Christmas.  I hope you enjoy them!

This bracelet and earrings were for my brother-in-law's girlfriend.  I don't usually create things that are so "girly" because I'm a bit of a tom-boy, but she's a girlie-girl and I really wanted to make something she would like and wear.  I don't know if she likes pink and purple, but the piece seemed to suit her, and it just kind of came to me.  I bought the charms a while ago because I really liked them, but then I never found a way to use them.  Somehow everything fell together into this really cute charm bracelet.  The earrings were created using a chandelier finding and attaching Swarovski crystals to it.  I know she received the pieces the other day, and I hope she liked them!

I created this necklace for my friend Katy.  I wore a similar necklace (in red) to a concert we both attended and she really liked it.  I decided to create one of her own for her.  She really likes black, white, and grey so that is the color pallet I stuck with.  To give it a little "wow" factor, I added some smoky grey crystals and the lucite beads with a vintage pattern printed on them.  I haven't given it to her yet, but she saw pictures of it and I know she likes it!

January 1, 2011


This is a picture I took of the peacock that lives in my neighborhood.  I think he is beautiful and inspiring.  I hope you can all take inspiration from him as well!

Introducing Myself

As I was reading the blogs I follow today, I realized a few things...  The blogs I like the best and enjoy the most are ones that are not solely dedicated to beading.  I like to feel like I know the people who write the blogs.  I want to feel like a friend or confidante.  The other thing I realized is that although that is what I like, I rarely let people in.  I don't really let out many personal details.  I write a lot without ever really saying much of everything.  So, here is an attempt on my part to introduce myself... to become more of a person and friend and less of a automaton.
  1. Right now, I'm unemployed.  That's hard for me to admit.  I am a very type A personality.  I want to be perfect and admitting failure is difficult for me.  But, I failed... there it is.  I took a huge leap, and it backfired on me.  I applied to and was accepted to work on my PhD in Chemistry.  I left my stable job and went for it... but after 10 years away, I just didn't have it anymore.  I try to candy coat it, but plain and simple, I failed. 
  2. It's easy to hurt me.  I pretend to be tough, but my confidence is very fragile.  It doesn't take much to break it.  I believe in people and let them into my heart... and often they don't deserve it.  I pretend I don't care what they think, but opinions matter.
  3. I have created an AMAZING family for myself.  The family I was given hasn't been very good to me, but I have made my own family that is beyond belief.  I have a husband who I love more than the world itself.  His entire family has accepted me as if I was part of their family rather than an "in-law".  They often call me their sister/neice/daughter rather than -in law.  I also have great friends whom I consider family.  Although my PhD career was short lived, I met the most amazing group of friends.  It was like "love at first sight" except with friends instead of romance.  I immediately clicked with each of my friends and felt like I fit in.  I've never found a group that I truly belonged to... until this group.  I call us orphans because we are all far from our families.  Now we are our own family.
  4. I love animals more than just about anything in the world.  It hurts my heart to even think of an animal being harmed... to the point that it will bring me to tears.  I think of animals the same way I think of people... and if animals aren't cherished, I become very upset.  I hate seeing dogs chained up outside without food or water, I hate the way show animals are treated, I want to cry when I think of a dog being lost... I think animals are people.
  5. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  When you are 5, it's easy to believe you can be anything.  When you are 30, its a little harder.  I want to find something I'm really good at, but I'm really average at a lot of things... and that makes it hard to find your calling.  Despite not knowing where my future is, I'm still searching and trying things out.  I haven't given up hope.  30 isn't that old... I still have a lot of good years to find my passion and follow it.
  6. I love to travel.  I didn't really travel until I was 25, but I warmed up to it quickly.  In the last 5 or 6 years, I've been to Belize, Italy, Greece, Australia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji, Yap, Palau, Pohnpei, and Hong Kong.  So far, my favorite place is Sydney, Australia, but I can't wait to find a new favorite place.  My next trip will be to Africa.  I want to visit Cairo and see the pyramids... then, travel to the south and go on a safari!
Well, that's all for now.  I will try to include some anecdotes and personal information in all my future posts so I don't become one of those bloggers who only wants to promote her business.

Oh, yeah, in an attempt to open up a little more, here is a picture of the "real" me at the Great Wall.

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