Aug 29, 2014

Ramblings



  • My bistro set finally arrived!  It's the perfect size to sit on our front porch and the chairs are surprisingly comfortable.  I have enjoyed sitting out there in the evenings.
  • We got really good news!   My husband's disability hearing is finally set for November. 18th.  Now he has been unable to work since December of 2012 so it has been rather tight around here especially since our roommate moved out.  I am just so glad that I have a job that is able to cover all the necessities.

  • I finally finished a design that I am happy with for the Blu Mudd challenge.  There will be some voting for the most popular design in September so I will be sure to let everyone know.  The focal is from Blu Mudd and the stones are a mix of carnelian and red adventurine.


  • It has been so long since we have had a puppy around that I had forgotten how destructive they can be especially if they are small and agile.  Spook, my foster dog, managed to get one the table and pulled out one of those flyers from a magazine to chew on.  Sigh.
  • iPhone pedometers don't actually work unless you carry your phone with you everywhere.  I found this out when it told that I had only walked 50 steps.  Yeah that is up and down the stairs once.  Could it be because my phone sits next to my computer all day.
  • Could someone please explain me why the state government should be able to put a lien against my house which is in my name only for my husband's child support which according to the law is not my responsibility in the least..  This just doesn't make any sense to me in the least.  If it isn't my responsibility then don't try to put a lien against my property.


Aug 26, 2014

Book Review: The Best Kind of Trouble




She has complete control… and he's determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton's world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock and roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more… even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there's a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets.


* * * * *

As I believe I have mentioned before when I am looking for contemporary, sexy romance, Lauren Dane is one of my favorite authors.  Not only does she tend to base her books here in the Pacific Northwest but she really brings her characters to life.  So I am sure that it doesn't surprise anyone that I jumped on the chance to review the first book in a new series set in Hood River Oregon.  

What I loved the most about THE BEST KIND OF TROUBLE is the characters.  Natalie is a woman that I could really relate too, especially her need for control.  This is a trait that one finds common among children that were raised by substance abusers be it alcohol or drugs.  I never became a librarian though I did think about it.  And Paddy is just the kind of man I fell for when I was younger though the ones I found never had the heart of gold under it all.  

The plot is moves along nicely with the help of some secondary characters that make me very happy that THE BEST KIND OF TROUBLE is only the first book in the series.  I want to know what happens with Ezra and Tuesday as well as the rest of the brothers.  

Oh and I did mention sexy.  Well let's put it this way, the tension between Natalie and Paddy is off the scale and I am very happy that everything wasn't left of the imagination.  This book would have melted a block of ice.  

I do recommend this book to any of my adult readers that enjoy a hot, contemporary romance.  Scenes do get explicit but don't involve any whips, chains or Great Danes.

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

Aug 24, 2014

Slacking



I have been really slacking off on my blog lately and I have to apologize.  I think of great topics to write about, jot them down and then never get around to writing them.  I could say that part of it has been the fun I have been having in the studio but that isn't entirely true since I haven't been spending enough time there.

It really has been more about stress and how it effects my fibro.  Oh and apparently my blood pressure since for the first time in my life, it seems to be hovering around 134/70.  (That might not seem high but since mine has always been on the rather low side, I was in shock when I saw those results.)  My fibro apparently hate stress and I have been averaging about twelve good hours a day and when eleven of those are taken up with work. Well you get the picture.

Now I am sure you are wondering why all the stress lately.  Well it is this house.  Now mind you, I love this house.  It has enabled me to get my dream job which is working from home and I have my own space to play with my jewelry.  We have a fenced yard for the furry part of our family which is shaded in the afternoons so wonderful to kick back in.  The house is big enough that we are able to host a monthly potluck where we can have up to fourteen friends joining us.

So where is the stress coming from?  It is going through the purchase process and it has been a process since I had lousy credit when we first moved in.  My credit has improved and now I am jumping through all the hoops requested and that means stress.  I swear if it wasn't for the fact that this is such a perfect house for us, I would throw up my hands and run away screaming.

It will get better.  I know this and I am really looking forward to the day that I will be able to announce that the house is ours.  Until then, I might be sporadic on my blogging except for my ramblings posts and my blog hops.  I hope that you will be patient and stick with me.

I know that I do mention fibromyalgia a lot.  For folks that are curious just what it is, just click here for a great infographic that does a great job of explaining it.  For myself, I don't suffer from depression but am really sensitive to sound which means I am not able to listen to music anymore.  I think that is why I have become addicted to audio books and podcasts.



Aug 22, 2014

Random Ramblings

  • Why is it that all my best ideas for designs occur at night when my body won't cooperate with me rushing down to my studio to put them into play?

  • One of my favorite places to pick up pendants and beads changed their name and location.  As part of the grand opening of the new store, Metapolies, Sheryl had a contest for some bead sets and I found out that I won one of them.  Aren't those pumpkins just perfect?  I already have a design in mind to use them for a blog hop in October.
  • Why is it I feel so much lighter and younger when I cut and color my hair?
  • We got in a new foster on Monday.  Not really sure what happened to this little guy but he is scared of everything. We have started calling him Spooky.
  •  
  • Love the new Mango Iced Tea from Taco Bell!  It's good stuff especially if you pick it up during their Happy Hour.

Aug 18, 2014

Saved by eSalon!



I have to admit that I have been letting my hair go this summer.  It has gotten long enough that I was just pulling it up in back and forgetting about it.



As you can see, I badly needed a cut and color.  The problem was that I wasn't satisfied with the colors that I could find in the local drugstore and I just couldn't afford the $70+ that I had been spending to get it colored at the salon.  Not being able to do both, I did nothing.  Doesn't make a lot of sense does it.



And then I got the opportunity through BzzAgent to try out eSalon for free.  Of course, I jumped on the chance and logged into their website.  Once there, I filled out a personalized questionnaire and uploaded a picture so they could see just what I was dealing with.



I recieved an email immediately letting me know that they had my questionnaire and my stylist would be working on my order.  A couple days later, another email arrived letting me know that they had gotten a lot of orders and were running behind.  Because of this, I have a coupon for $5 off my next order.




All told, it took about ten days for my shipment to arrive.  I was expecting a simple hair dye along with the extras that I had ordered to maintain my color but apparently they thought that I really needed help.  I actually recieved two different blends, one for my roots and another for the rest of my hair to ensure it was glossy.  Yep two kits in one for the same low price of $19.99.




I didn't take pics of the actual process because I didn't want to get dye all over my phone and my hubby was taking a nap.  I will tell you that I was pleased.  I didn't enjoy it as much as going into a salon but who doesn't like having their hair messed with.  The fact that I still have the $70 in my account makes eSalon the winner.



Another thing that makes them a real winner is the little touches.  Even after getting a few inches cut off, I have a lot of hair and have had to purchase two packages of the drugstore hair dyes.  With eSalon, I didn't have any worries about running out of product.  And let's not forget the gloves.  First of all, they included two pairs since I was putting on the hair color, waiting some time and then applying the gloss.  And they were good quality.  That might not seem important but I have long nails and am always splitting the gloves that come with the drugstore brands.



Now I suppose the real question is whether I would continue to use this product.  And the answer is a resounding YES!  I love the fact that I can get the color customized to what I have pictured in my mind.  I have the option of ordering a kit when I need to or I can get set up with a subscription service where eSalon will send me out product on a schedule that I select.  Personally I am considering the subscription for a few reasons:  I will be needing more hair dye if I want to keep ahead of the gray, I don't have to remember to order more, I will save 20% by signing up for a subscription.  Seems like a no brainer to me.

Now comes the bonus to my readers.  If you are interested in trying out eSalon for yourself, just click here for 50% off a reoccurring order.  If you try it out be sure to let me know what you think.
Aug 15, 2014

Random Ramblings

  • This week started out with a bang with a message for me online from a very nice lady who was interested in purchasing one of my bracelets.  What amazes me is that she found this bracelet in another Facebook group that I post too instead of my business page.  

  • We were blessed with thunder and lightening on Monday night.  I just love watching lightening but I am not blessed with the skill of taking pics of it. You will just have to take my word for the fact that it was beautiful with a warm summer rain.
  • It utterly baffles me why someone would enter a contest and then never reply to the email letting you know that your name was drawn.  My first winner never got back to me even though I did give her more then the 48 hours posted in the rules.
  • I think that fate had a hand in the drawing however because the second name drawn was actually one of my past partners in the Bead Soup Cafe.  Maria choose a bracelet done up in blacks & greys.  I think that I have the perfect focal in mind.
  • Our potluck theme this month is ethnic which means each person will be bringing a dish that their ancestors would have enjoyed.  Both my mine and my husband are Celts and a lot of their foods were either bland or not something I would eat.  Why couldn't one of us been Brazilian or perhaps from Jamaica?
  • Looking back at my posts around this time last year, I had hoards of book reviews.  Much lighter on those this time around and it's not like I am not reading.  Well maybe I'm not.  I am listening to a lot of audio books but not as much time to sit down and actually read.
  • I want to install an early warning system in my back.  Apparently I did something to it on Sunday but I don't find out until Monday when I go to move.  So yeah, an early warning beeper would be divine.
  • I was honored by having my bracelet that I made for the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge be picked for the Perfect Pairings.
  • I don't have any new jewelry to show off this week as I have been working on designs for challenges.  I am sure that I will have some to show off next week though.
Aug 10, 2014

Art Bead Scene August Challenge

The Indian Rug (or Red Slippers), 1942 
by Anne Redpath


I fell in love with the art work chosen as an inspiration this month at first glance.  I knew immediately just which art bead I was going to use and just how I was going to use it.  Of course, that is when it all came apart.  My original plan was to concentrate on the red and teals in this painting but it just didn't have the vibe I wanted.

I was really looking for a wild, bohemian look that would fit with the feeling of the painting.  Of the feeling of that wonderful rug.  So much for having a lot of teal, white or cream was obviously called for.  In came some bone beads that I picked up recently along with some red, blue and cream Czech glass.



Do you think that I captured the feeling I was aiming for?  That gorgeous focal is from StudioJuls (I have to admit to having an addiction for her beads) and those diamond beads are actually a deep red that play homage to the slippers.

This bracelet will be looking for a new home.  If interested, click here.
Aug 8, 2014

Random Ramblings

  • I am always on the lookout for puzzle pieces that can be made into jewelry because I have a good friend whose daughter is autistic.   When I won a GC to Creative Impressions, I felt like I hit a gold mine.  Tari has some beautiful buttons that are puzzle pieces and since she makes them herself, you are able to order the hole where you want them.  I ordered some with the holes on top.
  • Okay I am officially a brand snob.  One of my treats is kettle korn and I have been getting Orville Redenbacher.  Well the prices more then tripled in the last year so I decided to try another brand.  I picked up Safeway's brand since I have loved their other snacks but it just doesn't taste right.  Guess that I am going to have to bite the bullet and pay more.  Oh and cut back so I don't have a bag a night.
  • Why oh why is my muse being so contradictory?   She is flat out insisting that I use a bracelet bar for a necklace.
  • Well we put down the Earnest money on the house.  Wish us luck.  Both me and Saje are too beat up to even consider moving and finding a place as perfect as this one would be difficult.
  • I haven't a lot to show of in the way of new jewelry. Between designing for a challenge and getting sick on Wednesday, I only made one necklace.  The focal is from Ashbury Ave and it is hand-knotted up with Cherry Quartz.  You can find it here if you are interested in purchasing this feminine beauty.           
Aug 6, 2014

Contest Winner!


Just a quick post to let everyone know that I drew (Or actually rafflecopter did) the winner in my 1,000 post contest.  The lucky lady is Sheila Prose!  I have sent her off an email and hopefully she will get back to me quickly so that I can get started on her creation this weekend.
Aug 5, 2014

Book Review: Cop Town



Atlanta, 1974: As a brutal murder and a furious manhunt rock the city’s police department, Kate Murphy wonders if her first day on the job will also be her last. She’s determined to defy her privileged background by making her own way—wearing a badge and carrying a gun. But for a beautiful young woman, life will be anything but easy in the macho world of the Atlanta PD, where even the female cops have little mercy for rookies. It’s also the worst day possible to start given that a beloved cop has been gunned down, his brothers in blue are out for blood, and the city is on the edge of war.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who’s feeling the heat. Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes. When she and Kate, her new partner, are pushed out of the citywide search for a cop killer, their fury, pain, and pride finally reach the boiling point. With a killer poised to strike again, they will pursue their own line of investigation, risking everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart.


* * * * *

If you have ever wondered what it was like to be a female cop back in the 70s then I suggest reading COP TOWN.  It's set  back in the days of the old guard when women and blacks were not accepted.  Back in the days when being a cop was to engender respect and the ability to take the law into your own hands.  It's dark, gritty and after reading COP TOWN, I have nothing but respect for the women that blazed the way.

The book jumps between the two women, Maggie and Kate.  Maggie has been a cop for over four years though she gets nothing but insults from her family for her choice of a profession.  Kate, who is from money and recovering from her husband's death, is a total rookie and is assigned to be Maggie's partner.  I enjoyed watching the by-play between the two women and some of it was rather humorous.

I have really enjoyed Ms. Slaughter's books in the past but I do have to say that COP TOWN is not one of my favorites. She did a fantastic job with the atmosphere, and the pacing was spot on.  My issue was that I didn't relate to either of the main characters, didn't really care what happened to them  and  I really need to be rooting for a character for any sense of suspense to develop.  I felt as though there was a glass wall between myself, and both Kate and Maggie.

Still all and all, I found  reading COP TOWN to be an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.   If you get a chance to pick up a copy, please do and let me know what you think about Kate and Maggie.

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

Aug 3, 2014

Choosy Chics Choose Chicklets Blog Hop




I about swooned when one of friends, Rita of Jewel School Friends, announced that she was going to host a blog hop featuring Chicklet Beads from Sue Beads.  If you recall, I had the pleasure of working with these wonderful beads when I participated in a blog hop hosted by Art Jewelry Elements back in May.  Just click here to check out the fun necklace I made then.

Anyways, I signed up just as soon as I saw the call for this blog hop because I wanted to get some more of these delightful beads and make a bracelet this time around.  So I asked Sue to make me some up and let her choose the colors.  And that is just what I did.



But what came first was this necklace.  I playing around with some patina and ended up with triangle with a deep sapphire/aqua color to it that I adored but it needed something more to really make it a stand out focal.  And wouldn't you know, that I had a Chicklet of just the color ordered.  It's almost like Sue had a crystal ball. 



I added in some crystal, brass and gorgeous apatite which I think is one of my new favorite stones.  I knotted it all up on some Irish waxed linen.  I have gotten a lot of nice compliments on this necklace and Rita is so right.  Choosy chics do choose chicklets.



Let's not forget the bracelet however.  After all, that is why I joined this hop.  This time around, I made the focal using one of Sue's chicklets and a couple of polymer beads made by Andrew Thorton.  Don't they look like they were made for each other?



I also added some Czech beads, crystal, ceramic and seed beads to the mix and knotted it all up on Irish waxed linen.  The clasp is a fun one of aged brass.  The colors are perfect for this coming autumn.  I have worn this bracelet for a day and can attest to how comfortable it really is.  If interested in purchasing just click here.

I still have a few chicklets left so I am sure that you will be seeing them make an appearance here and there.  I do want to thank both Rita and Sue for giving me a reason to pick up more of these delightful beads.  (And yes, Sue has some left and does take special orders.)  This has to be one of the funniest hops that I have joined in a while.  You know...great beads and great company...

Now speaking of great company... be sure to check out what everyone else has made with their chicklets.

Guest of Honor & Featured Artist:  Susan Kennedy

Sue Kennedy's blogs:                               SueBeads...A Beady Girl's blog
                                                               Art Jewelry Elements
Sue Kennedy's website                            SueBeads
SueBeads Art Beads                                SueBeads

Hostess:

Toltec Jewels                                           http://www.JewelSchoolFriends.com

Artists:

Linda Anderson                                       http://fromthebeadboard.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Reno                                           http://jenrenjewelry.blogspot.com/

Shirley Moore                                          http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com/

Kristen Stevens                                        http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com


Marybeth Rich                                         http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com

Jael Thorp                                                http://jaelsjewels.blogspot.com/

Melissa Trudinger                                     http://Beadrecipes.wordpress.com

Andrea Glick                                            http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Nan Smith                                                http://wirednan.blogspot.com

Blanca Medina                                         www.peru-medesigns.com

Shai Williams                                            http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com

Carolyn Lawson                                       http://Carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com

Rana Wilson                                             http://Ranaleadesigns.blogspot.com

Robin Reed                                              http://willowdragon.blogspot.com

Robin Showstack                                     http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/

Sheila Prosterman                                     http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Karla Morgan                                          http://Texaspepperjams.blogspot.com

Kari Asbury                                             http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com

Kelly Rodgers                                          https://www.facebook.com/BeadinBlackBlue

Jayne Capps                                            https://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com/

Mischelle Andrade Fanucchi                    https://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/

Heather Richter                                       http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

Chris Eisenberg                                       www.wanderware.blogspot.com

Kathleen Breeding                                   http://www.zibbet.com/99BottlesofBeadsontheWall

Linda Landig                                           http://lindalandig.wordpress.com

Crystal Thain                                           http://beaddragons.blogspot.com/

Cheri Reed                                              http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com

Heather d-Entremont                               http://frugalmadougall.wordpress.com/

Dini Bruinsma                                          http://angazabychanges.blogspot.com/

Lori Schneider                                         http://www.beadaddicted.blogspot.com/

Tammy Adams                                        http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog.html

Melinda Orr                                            http://bandanagirl.indiemade.com/blog

Lennis Carrier                                         http://windbent.wordpress.com/

Cynthia Machata                                     http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Hodges                                    http://thewhisperingseas.blogspot.com

Debbie Rasmussen                                  http://kepirasmussen.blogspot.com/

Tanya McGuire                                       http://tanyamcguire.blogspot.com/

Charlie Jacka                                          http://clay-space.com/blog/

Ev Shelby                                               http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson                        http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com/

Jasvanti Patel                                        http://jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com
Aug 2, 2014

Summer Carnival Blog Hop



I do have to say that I just love the blog hops that are put on by Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures.  Lisa always sends out a dragon's (or cat's) hoard worth of goodies.



I recieved some cultured sea glass in different colors of blues and some Chinese crystal all from ZNetShows.  I will admit that this wasn't the best picture to show off my hoard but I forgot to get one before I started to play.  And this way, you get to admire my studio gargoyle.

I made up two different necklace that I can see myself wearing while wandering through a summer carnival.  Bright enough to catch one's attention and sturdy enough to survive the rides.  And those rides were an important part of the equation.  I remember losing a favorite necklace when it was broken at a fair. 




This first necklace is plenty sturdy but is light and airy when worn.  Multiple strands of Irish Waxed Linen were knotted together along with sea glass and chinese crystal.  The focal is pewter and is removable.



This next necklace is a bit of a quandary.  I really wanted to use the pale yellow 'teeth' but looking at the picture, I am just not happy with the color.  It doesn't play nicely with the darker yellow.  What do you think?  Should this one go into the reknot pile or am I just being too critical?


Now comes the best part.  Grab yourself a mug of tea, make yourself comfortable and check out all the eye candy ahead.

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine's Musings
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
 Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Dolores Raml, CraftyD's Creations 
Marianne Hurley, Reads and Beads
Marci Allen Koziolek, Krafty Max Originals

Aug 1, 2014

Random Ramblings


  • I can see that this week is going to be a roller coaster.  I get up this morning and putter around getting ready for a Monday morning.  While drinking my tea, I check my bank account to find that they credited my deposit twice and then removed it twice.  What does that mean?  That I have an overdrawn account.  Panicked call to the bank.  They are aware of the issue and will be fixing it this evening.  I better not have any OD check fees.
  • Next up is my work computer.  Apparently an update didn't reach me.  So now I am waiting for it to update.  What a great Monday.  It can only get better from here.
  • Yay!  It took some fiddling and troubleshooting but I now have a printer that works.  I didn't realize just how much I used it until it started printing so squirelly that you couldn't read it.
  • I have a couple blog hops coming up back to back this weekend. .  Buckle your seatbelts and be prepared to enjoy some wonderful eye candy.
  • Don't forget to enter my contest for a chance to win a custom made bracelet.  Just click.



  • And what is a post without eye candy?  I showed the layout of this necklace last week and I had time this past weekend to finish it up.  Not what I had in mind when I purchased the focal but very happy with the necklace.  First time I have used a button as a clasp but far from the last.
  • Oh my goodness!  I purchased an enamel focal from destash that is incredible!  Has a pretty sapphire/aqua color on the front and an even more incredible coppery brown on the back.  One for me for sure.  I love focals that are pretty both ways.
  •  Don't you just hate it when you have to get up earlier on a day off then when you have to work?
  • Getting old sucks.  Took Saje up to Seattle for a doctor's appointment and that drive wiped me out.  I did get a couple of nice pics though that I will share late.
  • Amish Vampires in Space?? Seriously?  I am afraid that the title alone would be enough to keep me from picking up the book and I enjoy reading paranormal. 
  • Lorelei is giving away a dragon's hoard of art beads today but it's for today only so be sure to click here to enter.