Dec 31, 2012

Words

I have never been good with specific goals.  Believe me, I have tried but I have always found them to be too confining.  And then towards the end of last year I discovered the answer in reading blogs and chatting with other jewelry designers.  Instead of goals, a lot of them choose a word for the year.  And that word, or perhaps a phrase, is something to concentrate on.

My word for 2012 has been focus.   I choose it because I was one of the opening crew for a new department at work so I needed to focus on learning.  I also wanted to work on my photography skills and equipment.  I also wanted to focus more on my blog and everyone that stops by to visit.  And to focus more on the friendships that I have made in online world.

I feel that I have succeeded.  At work, I am still in the department and most of the kinks have been worked out.  I have had a lot of fun with this project.  My online friendships... I have gotten to know several people through my blog and on Facebook where I belong to couple wonderful groups, The Bead Soup Cafe, and Creative Bead Chat.  If you enjoying making jewelry, beads or components, these groups are the place to be.  Everyone is so friendly and willingly shares knowledge and eye candy.

As far as the photography, well I have an new Panasonic camera that I love.  Not a DSL which I didn't want as I don't want to mess with lens but one small step below.  I also have a light tent but I need to relocate it so that it functions better.  As far as whether my skills have increased, well I will let you judge.



This picture was taken back in 2011 with my old camera.  I only had a 4x zoom  :(



This picture was taken a couple weeks after I got my new camera.  I will admit that my jewelry pictures still need a lot of work but they are getting better all the time.  Wow this is turning into a long post.

My word for 2013 is Commitment.  I really want to get my jewelry business, Shaiha Designs, going and I keep hearing that a hundred is the magic number of how many items I should have for sale.  This means that I have to quit giving away so many pieces and start producing more.  So spending more time in my studio.  To get me in the habit I have joined a group on Facebook, The Year of Jewelry Project and have committed to making and posting a pic of at least one piece a week.  I have also signed up for a wire class being given by Kerry Bogert so I have committed to learning new skills.  And I have committed to doing my first show at the Witch's Ball in October.

I am sure that I will end up committing to more things throughout the year but I have made a good start.  Do you set up goals or perhaps words for next year?

Dec 30, 2012

Beautiful Things



This is my last one of the year and I can't believe that 2012 is over already.  Just where did it go so quickly?  Perhaps it is me but time sure seems to fly by as I am getting older.  Must all be a matter of perspective.

This next year is gearing up to be one where I will really be focusing more on my jewelry.  In fact, cross your fingers for me as I just applied for a position on a blog all about jewelry.

Since it is a cold and dreary day today I decided to post a picture that I took last July from the Olympic National Forest.  It reminds me of warmer days. 

  • A friend is bringing over a sectional today that he was replaced with new furniture.  It is so much nicer then the mismatched furniture that I currently have so I am rather excited.
  • I am now getting back into the rhythm of work.  My sales for Friday were fantastic.  This takes a lot of weight off my mind.
  • Went out to dinner on Friday with Saje and Trish to the Old Spaghetti Factory.  I was rather impressed when they didn't charge me for my meal as my salad wasn't edible and the waitress never came back to check on us.  I am always happy when a company stands behind their products.
Dec 23, 2012

Beautiful Things



Well I was able to go back to work on a reduced schedule of four hours a day  so that is a good thing.  It really confuses my dogs however that we are only in the office for that short amount of time.  Boo keeps trying to run down to go back to work.  It occured me to that I show of pics of my animals and my jewelry but not of my husband so I decided to change that.  The pic is of my husband before we headed out for the 80s Rocker holiday party.  He's wearing a 'Dark Side of the Moon' t-shirt.

  • I won some beads made by Marti Conrad in a very generous giveaway by Sheryl of Sheryl's Jewelry & Reflections.  I can hardly wait to see just what they are.
  • I talked to my mother a couple times this week.  Normally we chat three or four times a year for short times.  This time around we actually chatted for a good long times.
  • I managed to get my short term disability semi squared away, at least up to January 1st.  After that I have to have another conversation as they seem to think that 24 hours is 75% of 40 hours.  And people wonder just why math is such an important subject to learn.  
  • My work computer has been swapped out so I am back to working in my home office.  Yay!
  • My muse is still working overtime.  I have a lot of new designs in my sketchbook.  Yes I am even sketching them down so that I can remember them though my drawings won't take home any awards.
If I don't put up another post before Christmas I want to wish everyone a safe and happy one.
Dec 22, 2012

Beady Addictions

It's strange tracing the path I have followed with my jewelry supplies.  I started out at Fire Mountain Gem and well basically picked up a bunch of pretty junk.  Now mind you they do have some good stuff but I had NO idea what I was looking at.  I then went into semi -precious gemmies such as rose quartz, amethyst, and my jaspers ( I freely admit that I love jasper for it's earthy color combos).  Then I went to precious gemstones like sapphire and rubies and a lot of gem quality semi-precious.

And then I discovered handmade focals, spacers... It doesn't matter if they are lampwork or ceramic.  I just love the unique quality of all.  I do find however that I am reaching for my glass beads to blend with treasures.  Yeah I know I mentioned my latest addiction and I am getting there.  Well here it is....


Such colors and shapes.  Yeah you guessed it.  Czech glass. Oh and cruising about on Etsy just eying all the candy.  Oh and if you fall in love with any of these beauties just click on the pic to arrive at your destination.



Now this one... well let's just say that I love green and purple together.  I can just see these coming together in a bracelet.



Ooops.  I guess that I already did some Czech Glass I love their buttons.



Looking for something with a feline theme?



Now these colors are just delicious.

What was your path of bead addictions and what is your current one?  Be sure to share as we might all find another love.
Dec 20, 2012

Book Review: Bloodweight



As a young independent vampire, Ellen Banks takes the ring, and all eyes are on her. The lithe rebel has worked hard to get to this one moment in her less-than-stellar life. No one will stand in her way of that championship belt, especially not the powerful and impossibly salacious Nash Stanford. If only her traitorous body’s reaction would shut the hell up.

Nash Stanford, Vampire Sire of the East Coast, has been biding his time. He is a shrewd businessman and knows a good investment when he sees one. But when he looks at the incredibly sexy Ellen Banks, there is more than just money on his mind. Will she agree to work for him? More importantly, will she finally give into the hunger building between them?


* * * * *

I tend to steer clear of novellas for the most part because I find that they can be lacking in character development.  Not so with BLOODWEIGHT.  This novella has it all; great characters, witty dialogue, hot sex and an enjoyable plot.  

I absolutely love the character of Ellen who is so determined to do everything on her own.  She is feisty, independent and can fight her own battles both physical and emotional.  I enjoyed seeing her learn that she doesn't have to do it all alone.  Nash comes off as cold in the beginning but he warms up as he starts to lose the tight control that he has on his emotions because of her.

Because this is a PG blog I won't go much into the sex scenes except to say that they are very hot and don't attempt to take over to the exclusion of the plot or anything else.  I mean I enjoy hot sex scenes but I really hate it when that is all a story has going for it.  Not to worry about that in this novella.

I do recommend BLOODWEIGHT to readers of the paranormal who also enjoy erotica.  This novella is part of a series, Underdogs of the Arena, and I can hardly wait for the next to come out.  I rate this novella a 4.

***I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
Dec 17, 2012

ABS December Challenge


Sleeping Beauty by Erté, 1983
26 1/2" x 33" Serigraph
When I saw the artwork that was chosen for the month of December I just couldn't resist getting involved.  I just had to be careful with my choices because to even look at a pair of pliers still causes pain.  

What hit me first about this serigraph was the random black splotches on the dress and I had just gotten in some ceramic beads that unfortunately aren't art beads.  The next thing to hit me was the sensuousness of the woman and her dress.  All those gorgeous curves and swirls.  And I did have the perfect focal from Marsha Neal Studios.  Because of all the snow this picture also brings a feeling of cold with it that I symbolized  with crystal quartz.  And finally because I wanted to bring in the blue, I knotted it all up with a dark blue thread.  

I want to thank Erin Seigel for the idea about using a string bail for the focal.  If you haven't checked out her free tutorial it is well worth it.  

Oh and I know that it  isn't completely finished yet.  It's that plier issue I mentioned earlier.
Dec 16, 2012

Beautiful Things



Hopefully this was my last week off work because even though I have short term disability it is still going to be a climb to get back up to par due to the lag in commissions.  Not only that but I have to go fight with Group Health tomorrow because the person that is supposed to talk to my short term disability provider isn't doing a very good job of it.  That being said there are always things that cause me to smile.  Oh the pic is of me dressed up as an 80s rocker chick.

  • I won a really neat prize of a beading magazine that I have heard about but never subscribed too.  So now I have a two year subscription plus access to all the back issues.
  • I did a cookie exchange for last night's pagan potluck.  It was just the woman that showed up and it was a blast connecting with everyone.
  • My IT person is the best!  I have to send my laptop in as the USB ports are giving out (thank goodness I purchased the extended warranty because it only had a 90 manufacturer's warranty) so she showed up with another laptop for me to use until I get my new one.  If you are local to me and need computer work drop me a line and I will connect you with her.
Dec 14, 2012

Book Review: Uncle John's Fully Loaded 25th Bathroom Reader



"Fully Loaded” is putting it mildly. This behemoth of a book is overflowing with the incredible stories, surprising facts, weird news, little-known origins, forgotten history, fun wordplay, and everything else that millions of loyal fans have come to expect from world’s best-selling bathroom reading series. As always, it’s divided by length: quickies for the reader on the go, medium-sized articles for those with a few minutes to spare, and extra-long pieces for those truly leg-numbing experiences. 

* * * * * 

I have caught bits and pieces of older versions of the Bathroom Reader so I knew that I was in for a treat with this edition.  I just love the wide varieties of stories and facts.  Oh and dividing them by length is a pure stroke of genius.  Regardless of the name, I have caught myself reading when I am stuck in a slow moving line or waiting in a doctor's office.  

I think that this book is well worth picking up for anyone but especially if you are addicted to the written word.  I myself have even been known to read cereal boxes when bored.  I rate this book a 4.3.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Dec 13, 2012

Christmas Bar Cookies

For my cookie exchange on Saturday I am going to be limited to making bar like cookies simply because my arm isn't going to handle doing the rolling or dropping that other types would require.  Not to dispair though as some of my favorite cookies are the bar type.

These sound incredible.  So many decadent ingredients it can't help but be hedonistic experience.




And for something different.  I just love lemon bars.




My husband just love caramel and butterscotch so these should be a hit.  As for me, I just love blondies.




I am still searching for a good gingerbread recipe but I think that I am well on my way.  Hopefully my new tradition will be a hit.  In doing up this post I found some really great tips for next year such as a decorating party.
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Dec 11, 2012

Christmas Cookies for Diabetics

I am trying to start a new tradition with my friends for the Yule season.  Not exactly the most original idea but I have always wanted to start up an annual cookie exchange and well since we have already made the pagan potlucks a tradition I kidnapped that night.

Now I haven't made cookies in like forever.  We are talking years so  I am going to be hunting up some recipes & purchasing supplies. Also a new member of our group is diabetic so I need to find some recipes that she can take home.

A suggestion was made that they have mixes at Walmart but seriously.  I am not above using a mix but I won't shop at that store until they start to take care of their workers.  Okay off the soapbox.

Onto some recipes...

Anyone care for chocolate chip cookies.  These look yummy.


Source: bhg.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest


Or how about some nut cookies.  I bet some chopped cranberries would already be great in these.




Or how about some peanut butter cookies.  Hmmm I wonder how they would taste with cashew butter.




I really wasn't aware jyst how easy it is to make up cookies without the sugar.  I am going to have to give it a try & who knows, depending on how they taste they might become a regular around here.  Anytime I can cut sugar without cutting the taste is a good thing.
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Dec 9, 2012

Beautifu Things



All in all it hasn't been a bad week.  I am getting a lot more use out of my right arm though I still really have to be careful about overdoing it.  And I do have to say that not really going out and limiting time on the computer has allowed Yule to sneak up on me.  I have to get things in the mail so that they will get there in time.  I have Boo's Secret Santa gift to mail out as well as presents for Saje's kids and my mother. Just where does the time go?

  • I just happened to glance at my Christmas Cactus which was given to me as a house warming present and  I have a bud on the end of stem!  I wasn't even giving it any special treatment.  I just lives in west window and gets watered twice a week.  I will have to get a good pic once it has bloomed out.  
  • Went to the company's holiday party last night at the EMP.  The party was so so but some of the exhibits were great.  I really enjoyed the one all about the history of the leather jacket.  The pic above is of Elvis's first Harley and one of his leather jackets.
  • I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful vendor on Etsy, Michelle at Firefly Design Studio.  One of the focals that I purchased through her was broken.  I let her know about it and was going to send a pic of the bead.  Michelle let me know right away that the pic isn't needed and she was sending me out another focal.  Because of her customer service, I will be shopping there again.
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Dec 7, 2012

Eye Candy

Okay it is official.  I am starting to go stir crazy and just to amuse myself I found myself window shopping on Etsy.  Since I am planning on making the rest of my Yule gifts as soon as my body decides to cooperate I was actually browsing for things that I would love to find under my tree...hint...hint...






I just love handmade pottery and I am swapping out the mugs I have with ones like this.  I just love the colors on this mug and it is such a generous size.





Of course one mug is never enough....


The way those colors blend is to die for.  It is supposed to be a chip tray but I doubt if I would be able to hide it away between uses.



I can just imagine putting my ideas to paper with such a cool journal.  It's the perfect size to fit into my purse.  Hey speaking of purses.



I am not a purse slut by any means.  I usually only have one or two hanging around at a time.



But I can't decide which one I love the most.  This one is leather from Novica, handmade by a gentleman in Guanajuato.



I have been wanting an alpaca cloak for years.  I was given one as a gift but there was a pretty bad flaw in it and it unraveled.  But I still remember how soft it was.

I hope that you enjoyed joining me on my little excursion.  Now if only I win the lottery...

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Dec 4, 2012

Book Review: Aris Returns, A Vampire Love Story



Psychologist Sarah Hagan thought she had her life under control. She pulled herself together after a painful (and unexpected) divorce. She’s currently dating a successful but neglectful attorney—a relationship that is adequate, if not totally satisfying. She has a few good friends, lives in a beautiful condo in the heart of Chicago, and loves her work as a therapist. From the outside, it looks like her life is almost perfect. it only takes one patient -- a handsome younger man named Carlos who is on parole for car theft -- to put her well-ordered life into a tailspin. 

As she regresses him with hypnotherapy, she discovers an unusual presence. Is this some elaborate alter ego that Carlos has created or is something much stranger going on? In Sarah’s attempt to help Carlos deal with his issues of anger and a troubled past, she is captivated by the persona she uncovers through hypnosis Aris. Aris reveals that he is a vampire whose story begins in the time of Alexander the Great. His retelling of his lives, involvement and apparent demise in the court of Henry VIII keep her spellbound and hungry for more. 

On top of grappling with a phantom vampire, Sarah begins to have the most disturbing (and sensual) dreams. They awake the emotion, passion and vulnerability that she thought she had buried for good. The dreams both terrify and excite her as she struggles to make sense out of her world turned upside down. Sarah genuinely cares about Carlos as a patient and wants to help him find his way to a better life, but he has brought chaos, confusion and danger into her neatly buttoned-up reality. And if that’s not enough to deal with, she is inexplicably drawn to Aris in a way she can’t begin to rationalize. Can Sarah possibly love this vampire ghost or will he destroy everything she treasures?

* * * * *  

I love paranormal romance and have always been attracted to vampires as not only do they tend to be rather attractive but they are the ultimate predator.  I do have to admit though that lately they have started to run together in my mind.  There are only so many variations on a plot line before they start to sound the same or so I thought.  

Ms. Morgan has come up with one of the most unique love stories I have ran across.  I really enjoyed meeting both Carlos and Aris.  They are both such different men from different time periods and to tell you the truth I couldn't tell you who I liked more.  What I can tell you is that both drew me deeper and deeper into a story that I loved.  It has been a while that I have ran across a book that totally engrossed me.

There were a few glitches that threw me out of the story occasionally.  Ms. Morgan likes to head hop at times within a scene and few times I was confused about who was thinking what.  If it wasn't for that this book would rate a solid 5.  As it is I rate it a 4.5 and recommend it for lover of the paranormal/vampire romance.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Dec 2, 2012

Beautiful Things

Old Time Radio - Revisited
Old Time Radio - Revisited (Photo credit: K.G.Photos)
It is really interesting trying to type with my left hand only but I thought that you all deserved a post from me.  So here are some good things that have happened.

  • I am healing.  I am finally able to wash my hair without my husband's help.  It's funny how something that I would take for granted normally feels like a true luxury now.
  • I have been listening to a lot of podcast lately.  I really enjoy old time radio shows and I stumbled across RelicRadio who just happens to have a lot of them sorted out by genre.  These shows have definitely helped me keep my sanity.
  • My husband has been wonderful!  Since my surgery he has taken really good care of me.  He has at times helped me dress, become a hairdresser, ran errands for me and lately been my driver as I drive a stick shift which really requires two hands.
  • I have some wonderful friends that don't think twice about helping out when asked.  It doesn't matter if it involves rescuing me from a dead battery or climbing the roof, they are there for me.  Having friends like this makes me feel all warm and squishy inside.
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