Feb 28, 2014

Patina Blog Hop



I was one of the lucky ten selected to play with patina for this hop by Kathy of BayMoonDesign and first off, I really want to thank her.  I have had some patinas sitting in a drawer but this hop encouraged me to dig them out and play.  I did have a couple issues in the design process such as almost constant headaches (I have new glasses on the way) and managing to break one of the little tongs so I had to switch from the idea of a bracelet to one of a necklace. 

I really think that those glitches contributed towards this design that I am very happy with.  Once I had patinaed the focal it really reminded me of something found under the sea so I went with that using silk that has the blue & turquoise colors of the sea and glass pearls from ZNet.  The silk continues around to the clasp which makes this necklace a delight to wear.

Now that you have seen my humble offering, be sure to check out what everyone else has done with their patinaed piece. 

Hostess:  Kathy Lindemer,  BayMoonDesign 

Jennifer LaVite, Dry Gulch Beads and Jewelry

Karia Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams


Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

Jessica Murray, Whimsical Monkey
 
Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
Kay Thomerson, KayzKreationz Blog

Claire Fabian, Saraccino

Christie Searle Murrow Charis Designs
Feb 26, 2014

Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge

The Rose Garden, 1920 
by Paul Klee
Oil on cardboard
19 1/4 x 16 3/4 in. (49 x 42.5 cm)

When I saw the picture that was to be our monthly inspiration, I immediately knew the bead that I wanted to use as a focal and had everything all worked out in my mind.  Now just to find the time to do it in between headaches.  That design would have featured one of the houses from Humblebeads and red pink silk to bring out the colors.   Unfortunately once I had it done, I just wasn't satisfied with it.



So back to the drawing board.  I was still able to include this wonderful house bead from HumbleBeads so that made me very happy. What I added was some lampwork beads from Art By Lisi and wirewrapped it all together.  It managed to bring out both the house shaped that jumped out at me along with the green and pinks from the picture.  Much better design all the way around.



If you are interested in participating, Art Bead Scene posts a new challenge and inspiration picture every month.  Just click here for more info.
Feb 24, 2014

Book Review: Shadow Allegiance



A vampire hunter-turned-vampire seeks to destroy her enemies. Until she falls for one of them.

A Chaser born to kill vampires, sixteen-year-old Rachel Campton has grown up in her older brother's shadow. Until she wakes up a vampire, her own mortal foe. She's stronger, faster than her human self, but haunted by bloodlust and the loss of her beloved younger sister. Friendless and lost in enemy territory, Rachel must rely on Alex Wellington, a former nemesis and centuries old vampire who looks like a college football player.

As Rachel goes deep into vamp territory, she learns there is more to the vampire life than killing humans. She also discovers another side to Alex. He is more than a murderer, he is someone that she starts to fall for. Rachel faces the ultimate choice--her new life and unexpected love or the family she left behind, the family that may now want her dead.


* * * * *

First off since I tend to rant about books in a series not standing alone, I wanted to give kudos to Ms. Yager.  I knew when I choose this book that it was the second in a series but I had totally forgotten all about it when I went to read this book.  I wasn't reminded until I finished the book and there was a little blurb in the back of my e-book about the first one.  Well done!  SHADOW ALLEGIANCE does a wonderful job of standing all on it's own.

This book is mainly about Rachel and Alex but it does also touch base with a few other characters.  Since each chapter is being told from different person's perspective, I did really appreciate the fact that along with chapter numbers there is also the character's name.  Otherwise I know that I would have been lost.  As it was, I got to know intimately a few different characters, all with different strengths, backgrounds and voices.

I found that the plot moved along at quite a clip and was easily able to keep my interest.  I would have appreciated just a tad more background on the villain but I can't really complain since the main encounter with him occurred in the first book (yeah the one I didn't realize I had missed).  There was a lot of violence but what does one expect from a book contain vampires and the ones that kill them.  I will admit that it slightly bothered me to watch a vampire that has over two centuries falling in love with a sixteen year old girl but I can see it as each was willing to accept the other as they and their past regardless of how long it was.


Since I plan on going back and reading the first book along with watching out for further releases, I am sure that it comes as no surprise that I do recommend this book to my readers.  I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy the paranormal and vampires.  It has romance, danger, friendship and love so what else could a person want?

****** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
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Feb 21, 2014

Year of Jewelry Project & Fashionista News



I am really pleased with this design.  The theme was lockets and boxes.  Well I didn't have anything that work as described.  But then I got to thinking and remembered this perfume container that I had waiting for just the perfect design.

The perfume holder was made in Nepal and is inlaid with turquoise and coral.  I then wire-wrapped some segments with silver filled wire featuring Hubei Turquoise and Tibetian Bone Beads inlaid with more turquoise and coral.

Now I mentioned Fashionista.  Well the Spring Fashionista which is the largest fashion blog hop on the internet and it starts on March 6th!  This necklace will be what I will be offering up for a prize so be sure to stop by to enter.
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Feb 18, 2014

Book Review: Deceptive Innocence: Part 2





Part 2 of Deceptive Innocence—the first book in the sensual, thrilling Pure Sin trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Kyra Davis (Just One Night). A beautiful young woman is out for revenge—only to find the man she’s targeting has secrets as dangerous as her own, and a passion she cannot resist.

Ever since her mother died while serving time for a murder she didn’t commit, Bell has been focused on one thing: revenge. She knows her mother was set up by the head of the powerful Gable family, international bankers who will crush anyone for profit, or amusement. Now she’s determined to take the Gables down—from the inside.

Seducing her way into the life—and bed—of the family's rebellious youngest son, Lander, she figures it should be easy to uncover the secrets she needs to destroy the Gables. But Lander turns out to be much more complicated than Bell ever could have imagined. He’s enticing, intelligent, mysterious—and their sexual chemistry is off the charts. Lander is still the target, but when he touches her, he starts seeming much less like an enemy…

Which is why her anger is so necessary: memories of her mother must help fuel her quest for justice to the very end.



* * * * *

Let me start this review out by saying that this book is not part two of a series, it is part two of a serial so it is necessary to read the part one first.  Well I guess that you could read this part as a stand alone but you would have so many unanswered questions that I don't recommend it.

While I did enjoy this part of the serial, I found that the plot wore a bit thin in places.  I did enjoy getting to know more about Bell though her choices and the excuses that she tells herself.  I don't really want to say much more as I don't want to give away any of the plot itself.

If you enjoyed Deceptive Innocence: Part 1 then this book is a must read especially after that cliffhanger ending.  If you haven't read the first part then I recommend doing that first and just click on the title to read that review.  I do want to give a warning that there is a rather hot sex scene in this book so not probably not appropriate for the younger crowd.

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

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Feb 16, 2014

Book Review: Unpredictable Webs



About to turn sixteen, Marnie Taylor is rebellious--fighting often with her mother, Ashleigh--and jealous of her more even-tempered and popular twin sister, Callie. Lonely, Marnie finds a compassionate listener in Brad, whom she meets online. Spinning a web of lies to throw her parents off, Marnie arranges an in-person meet-up with Brad. But she realizes too late that she has been targeted in a sinister scheme for ransom.

Quinn's vivid cast of characters returns in this high-tension, stand-alone sequel. Though their actions are plausible, none of them behaves as others might predict in this tale that discloses the darker behaviors people are capable of. Cougar Viviana De Mornay takes Chicago's fashion world and ''Italian Stallion'' Gino Cabello by storm. Tony Wainwright, who has paid his dues for a past crime and appears to have turned his life around, is catapulted to the top of the list of suspects. PI Ross Pocino is on the scene with his surprising insights into criminal behavior, and Paige Toddman's mother, Helen, seems to grow younger every day. While some mothers can unintentionally do unspeakable harm to their children, Ashleigh's steel-magnolia efforts to wrest her daughter from her captor redeem the sacredness of that role.


* * * * *

I picked up this book knowing that it was part of a series however the description did say that it could stand alone.  I didn't find that to be so at all.  Every time the perspective would change to that of another character's I would feel lost until I managed to determine just how this character would fit into the picture.  So needless to say, I didn't find this to be an enjoyable read.

The book is very well written and can easily see how readers who have followed this series would absolutely love this book.  However as far as standing alone on its own merits, this book fails miserably in my eyes.

I do recommend this book to my readers who have been keeping up on this series.  Otherwise I would either give it a pass or wait until you read the previous books.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
 
Feb 15, 2014

Blah Butter Giveaway



I guess that it all depends on where you live. Here in Washington, this time is of year is known for being rainy and gray skies.   I am thankful for the fact that we haven't been hit hard this winter but is it too much to ask to have some blue skies?

Anyways, I wanted to pass on a contest where the winner will score some beautiful beads that will brighten up any winter.  I mean just look at them...sigh...

To find out further info, just click here.
Feb 14, 2014

Year of Jewelry: Be My Valentine



Boy am I glad that I decided to work a bit ahead on these projects when I was able.  What with my fall down the stairs, I haven't been able work with my wire.  Heck even typing for work is causing a lot of stress for my shoulder though I might have to push it to finish my design for next week.  I have it all laid out and once I have it completed I can start work on some designs for a couple of hops I have coming up.

Anyways the theme is Be My Valentine.   To most people I am sure that means the color red and/or pink and hearts.  Well I can do the hearts but I wanted a necklace that can be worn anytime.  So my entry has a black steampunk heart.

Focal by JKD Studio
Crystals from ZNet Shows
Beads are Blackstone.
Wire is Silver-filled.
Price: $ 62.99
Feb 13, 2014

Book Review: Touch & Go





This is my family:  Vanished without a trace…

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

This is what I know:  Pain has a flavor…

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

This is what I fear:  The worst is yet to come…

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect fa├žades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices.  Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

This is the truth:  Love, safety, family …it is all touch and go.


* * * * *

First off, let me tell you that I didn't actually read this book.  Instead I listened to it in audio format which happens to be one of my secrets for when I am either in my studio (or my body is rebelling). I do find however listening rather then reading a book does make for a different experience because the narrator is also part of the mix.  Oh and this is a book that I purchased myself through Audible.com.
I both enjoyed and was frustrated by this book.  Ms. Gardener is very good at subtle hints but I find it rather frustrating how she then feels the need to point out the obvious later.  I also felt that the pacing was slightly off.  I always felt removed from the action so I didn't feel any real tension as I was listening to it.  

I did say that I enjoyed the book and I did.  I love how deep Ms. Gardner plumbs into her characters, or at least the ones she chooses to focus on.  I really feel that I know Tessa and Libby.  Both women who are strong in some ways and weak in others.  I loved watching Tessa's quiet competence as she works so save the Libby's family.  And I could relate to both which tends to draw me into a book.

Would I pick up other books by this author?  In a heartbeat.  A good portion of whether I will enjoy a book has to do with the characters.  I plan on looking for more books featuring Tessa. 
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Feb 10, 2014

This & That


  • It snowed here Satirday night.  Now I know that for a lot of you this isn't a big deal but I live in Puget Sound region where it doesn't snow much.  It was super pretty but there was no way I was going to put on shoes and bundle up to go get a pic.
  • I didn't manage to get any jewelry made this weekend.  I took a fall down some stairs on Thursday and somehow I managed to mess up my left shoulder.  Heck even sitting here typing stresses it.  Anyways, I am giving it time to heal.
  • I have the most gorgeous necklace all laid out so not being able to sit down and wrap it all together is driving me nuts.
  • I had to drive up to Redmond to pick up some chicken saturday afternoon.  Very pretty drive and it was great on the way there.  
  • I would like to know just who decides to close down three lanes of a four lane highway.  To go 2.2 miles it took me almost an hour.
  • Hey if anyone lives in an area that Zaycon Foods delivers to, I highly recommend them.  I just picked up forty pounds of boneless chicken breasts.  And fine looking breasts they were and all I can say is that they came off some well endowed chickens.  Actually all of the meat products I have gotten from them were well above the quality that you find in the grocery stores and they cost less.
  • Went out and got my nails done.  In kinda keeping  with the new color of the year, Orchid, I picked up some dark purple nail polish.  Kinda lavender meets Goth.  I tried to get a pic but they look black in all the ones that I took.
  • When I was out and about I ran into a couple snowmen.  Now the snow had pretty much melted by Sunday afternoon but we still have snowpeoples to remind us.
  • I have my paychecks deposited onto a paycard and guess what.  There was fraud on my card on Thursday so Friday that card was cancelled.  I can't even access my paycheck until Thursday at the earliest.  I am so glad that I don't have any bills that are due before that.  And that I had some cash on me ( I usually don't have any so someone or something was looking out for me)
  • It has been a mixed bag these last three days but overall, it's been good.  I managed to finish an audiobook Touch and Go which I enjoyed for the most part. 
  • Best of all, I spent some time with my hubby.  When I am working heavily in the studio, we don't tend to see much of each other.

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Feb 7, 2014

Year of Jewelry Project: Medals & Coins



I have really been on an earring kick as far as the weekly themes.  And since I don't tend to make a lot of earrings, I am going with the flow.  These I am rather proud of since they feature some charms that I aged myself.  I am in a hop on February 28th that features a medallion that I have to patina in some manner so I am practicing.  The beads themselves are howlite that has been dyed a turquoise color.

I wore them yesterday to jury duty and got a couple compliments on them.  I am always surprised when that happens with earrings because my hair is so thick and mostly covers up any that I wear. 

Speaking of jury duty, I haven't been selected for a case which kinda bums me out.  I enjoyed it when I served last time and was looking for a similar experience.  I don't regret the time I have spent so far but I do wish that they had a more reliable internet connection and more comfortable chairs. 

Now let's talk about something near and dear to my heart. Blog hops or more specifically, jewelry blog hops. One of my goals this year is to share more of my jewelry here on my blog and participating in the hops as well as The Year Of Jewelry Project really help to schedule me and make me accountable

The Patina Blog Hop will be on the 28th and then I have the Challenge of Music on March 1st.  And we can't forget the big one.  Signups for the Bead Soup Blog Party are this tomorrow!  This is the one hop I refuse to miss and I am so thankful that Lori Anderson decided hold it again this year. 
Feb 5, 2014

Book Review: Heart of Stone




Ella Harrow is trying to carve out a normal life for herself. Well, as normal as an art geek with psychic abilities can hope for. As museum docent and gift-shop manager, Ella is able to keep her distance from people—and her powers in check—while surrounding herself with the artifacts she loves. But how on earth is she supposed to act normal when a thousand-year-old statue on the museum's terrace suddenly comes to life?

Heart of Stone

Not your ordinary gargoyle, Kees has been asleep for eons, waiting for a portent of evil to wake him from his slumber. Kees isn't a vision; he's a bat-winged guardian created to protect the world from the seven demons of the Dark. Somehow, Ella triggered his reawakening. Maybe the demons have been unleashed? Maybe his heart is finally ready to be chiseled open? The fate of the world isn't carved in stone…yet...


* * * * *

I enjoyed reading HEART OF STONE even though it is a plot line that has been done before.  After all, paranormal romances are popular and there are only so many races out there for the author to choose from.  At least having a romance between a gargoyle and a human isn't as common as say a vampire and a human.  So it isn't the story itself that sets this book apart from the rest of the pack.

It's the characters themselves.  Ms. Warren has a gift that causes her readers to truly care about them.  Ella is all too human with her screwed up past and her determination to do her best regardless of it and her fears.  Kees is determined that Guardians aren't allowed to feel emotion so what he feels for Ella confuses him.  Yet they manage to overcome obstacles to be able to work as a team.  And what a team.

Of course, the fact that the sex is hot doesn't hurt at all.  And there are some scenes that will have you fanning yourself despite the cold winter days or nights.  Ms. Warren hits just the right notes here also between description and letting our imaginations run wild.  And goodness knows just where your thoughts will take you.

I think that this is a great start to a series and I am looking forward to reading the next one which will feature Emma's friend Fil.  Fil is a lot more open then Emma and I look forward to seeing just how she deals with her gargoyle.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
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Feb 3, 2014

Porn of the Beady Type



I tend to be an impulse shopper.  I am subscribed to several different discount mailing  lists and I do score some awesome deals online.  It's a good thing that I do because where I end up spending money seems to be on beads.  It's not that I need more beads but when I come across the unique ones,  I hear this little voice screaming at me that if I don't get them now then I will never have a chance again.  And then I justify it by saying "Well I will recoup the money when I sell the piece of jewelry that I make it up into".  The only problem is that I am great at selling other people's products.  Just not my own.

Anyways I wanted to share some of my latest additions to my collection and hopefully I will be sending them off to a new home in a gorgeous piece of jewelry.



These beads are such a rich blue with a wonderful depth of color.  They were made by CC Design.



I am really drawn to this shape even though I am not quite sure how to use these beads.  I am sure that it will come to me though.  Perhaps a pair of earrings.  These are from Modern Trails and when I purchased them last month, this shop was open on Etsy but when I try to grab the link to it, it appears that they are closed.  Now I am really glad that I grabbed them when I did.



One of my favorite bead artists is Juls of StudioJuls so what porn collection would be complete without some beads I had picked up from her recently.  I am not quite sure how I am going to use this focal but I thought that it was beautiful and unique so I added it to my collection of beads.


Another shop that I tend to pick up beads and focals from regularly is Tree Wings Studio.  This shop specializes in polymer  and has some of the more unique designs.  Rebekah, the shop owner, is just a dream to work with.

I have more beauties to share, of course.  But I think that I will stop here as those pics do take a while to load if you don't have a faster internet connection.  But before I go, do you have any favorite shops that you would like to share?
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