May 31, 2015

Book Review: The Witch Hunter




Your greatest enemy isn't what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth's witch hunting past--if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she's thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.


* * * * *

Elizabeth Grey appears to be a young, innocent girl but she is death to those that practice magic.  That is until she is caught up in a web not of her making and accused of being a witch.  When she is rescued by those that she thinks are her enemies, Elizabeth is forced to open her eyes and reconsider just who her real enemies might be.

I really enjoyed THE WITCH HUNTER.  There was a lot of growth in Elizabeth's character as she is forced to examine the 'truths' that she had based her life around.  She learns what true friends really are and how others will toss her aside in the name of ambition.  

Most of the book galloped along at a good pace which kept me glued to the pages (or screen as the case may be) as I couldn't wait to see just what would happen next.  All of the secondary characters were really well developed and helped the story along.  This is a great young adult book as the characters were forced to face moral dilemmas and the reader isn't exposed to sex scenes.

Now I am sure that you have gotten the idea that I really enjoyed this book and I did until the ending.  The ending felt forced, almost like the author ran up against her word count and forced to cut everything short while tying up loose ends.  Since this book looks to be the first book in a series, I would have preferred to have those loose ends hanging until the next book.
May 29, 2015

Ramblings



  • Had a great weekend!  My legs had been bothering me so I just took it easy and spent time in my studio. 
  • One of the things I made was a pair of earrings for myself.  The rings are from Marsha Neal Studio.  She has the best ceramics and silks/
  • I applied to be a designer in a shop where you donate a percentage of each sale to the charity of your choice. Keeping my fingers crossed. 
  • Even if I don't get in, I am making up a collection where I will be donating to the Wildlife Conservation Society.  They do great work in protecting so many species that man seems determined to destroy. 
  • Went out Sunday evening to make a quick run to store and my car wouldn't start. Called AAA and had someone come out to test the battery. Young guy. He asked if I was a stick and if I was using the clutch. I replied back "of course. I have been driving a stick for thirty years". Talk about egg on my face. Apparently my clutch sensor is getting picky and it wasn't registering. This is actually good news. I was thinking I had a short somewhere and on a twelve year old car, it wouldn't have been worth trying to track it down.   If it ends up being all it is than I won't have to look into getting a new car
  • Crossing my fingers. Of course, that means I need to get the breaks fixed and new tires. 
  • Found a lump on Kharma's leg.  Took him to the vet and thank goodness it isn't cancerous.  I still need to talk to the vet tomorrow.  Apparently he has what is called a 'chronic inflammatory cyst'.  Have to find out what is involved with it.

  • I got into the design site!  I am working on a collection called 'From the Sea'.
May 26, 2015

Art Bead Scene May Monthly Challenge

Untitled, 1926-1954
By Augustin Lesage
Oil on Canvas



This month's inspiration was a toughey.  There were just too many colors and shapes for my brain to narrow down on.  And it really does remind me of the some of the coloring book pages I have been having fun with lately. 

It really is thanks to Erin's Simple Truth Club that I finally managed to come up with a design.  And to tell you the truth,  I didn't as much come up with a design as make sure I had a good frame for her wonderful bead. 

And speaking of the Simple Truth Sampler Club, there are spots open!  Erin designs up one bead a month based around the ABS Inspirational picture and sends it out to the participants.  It's a wonderful way to get utterly unique and gasp worthy beads.  If interested, just click here for more info.  If you decide to sign up, let her know that I sent you and we will both get an extra month on our subscription.



I actually ended up making both earrings and necklace based on this inspiration that can be worn together or separately.  These earrings feature tiles from JKD Studio and sodalite beads.  The tiles were just perfect for the muted tans and browns in this painting and the shape mirrored Erin's art bead.



And finally the necklace.  Along with the Simple Truths bead, I added sodalite to bring out the rich blues in the pendant along with brass chain and wire.  This necklace has a rich, almost Egyptian feel to it when worn. 

I will be selling both the necklace and the earrings together as a set.  Just drop me a line if you are interested.
May 24, 2015

Sweet Honey Challenge




One of the things that I truly enjoy about Andrew's challenges is how they push me to work with colors I normally tend to avoid.  This time around, it's the color yellow that I usually run screaming from.  But just look at all those great beads and I can't resist a challenge.



I was expecting a challenge and I certainly got one.  I ended up taking this necklace apart a few times before I was satisfied with it.  Thank goodness this hop kept getting pushed back.  I am still not a 100% pleased but I can't tell if much of that is color itself though.



I did just love the mystery component that Andrew sent out and I wanted to make sure that it was front and center.  I did succeed there.  Now I am really looking forward to see what all the rest of the very talented designers did with this kit that was such a trial for me.  And no I am not complaining.  I knew that this would be a stretch for me.


May 22, 2015

Ramblings




  • I have always been one to clean up after every project so that I can start afresh.  That trend has been changing lately as I push bead aside that I might want to use later.  I have also started working on a themes where I grab everything I might use and toss it on the table.  In the pic above I was working on the Splendid Procession challenge.  The reveal for this isn't until June but I like to work ahead.

  • Almost overnight the rose bush that I have been trying to kill came into bloom.  It has beautiful red, country roses but they have no fragrance.  Now I love roses but I want to be able to sit on my porch and enjoy the scent also.


  • Just wanted to share a couple designs I made up for one of the Pine Ridge Treasures Challenges.  I normally try to write up a post to share them but this challenge occurred on the same day as the Art of Awareness so I had just shared these on the Facebook Group.  The themes was Twilight.
  • Yep picture heavy this time.
  • Speaking of pictures, I have an account on Instagram that I am going to 'try' to start sharing pictures through.  I say try because reaching to take a pic isn't a reflex for me.  I spent years avoiding cameras to I am trying to retrain myself.  Anyways, if you would like to follow me I am Shais3D.
  • I have seven hours left of A Storm of Swords and one day left to do so.  So I get to disappear into my studio and play.  I love audiobooks but I hate time crunches.  

  • I finished my book but now I get to wait for the next one.  Since that will be the last one out, then and only then will I watch HBOs Game of Thrones.
  • My tomatoes are flowering.  Hopefully we will get a better crop then last year but I still haven't found any zucchini.
  • I am worried about Kharma.  He was supposed to go in and get his teeth cleaned but when I got up to take him to the vet, he could hardly move.  We think that he rolled off the couch last night. He seems to be getting better and is staying hydrated so just gave him some pain meds and hope that he gets better.  He is the only dog that I don't have on pet insurance.

  • So instead Miss Boo went in and got her teeth cleaned.  Not a happy MinPin right now because she ended up having to have four teeth pulled.  I am so glad that my vet sent some pain meds home with her.  She's not being a happy camper.
May 19, 2015

Book Review: The Last Clinic



Outside the local women’s health clinic, the Reverend Jimmy Aldridge waving his protest sign is a familiar sight. But that changes early one morning when someone shoots the beloved Reverend Jimmy dead. Sheriff Shelby Mitchell knows the preacher’s murder will shock the good people of Jackson—and the pressure to find the killer is immediate and intense, which is why Shelby calls in detective Darla Cavannah.

When police detective Darla moved from Philadelphia to Jackson with her husband—hometown football hero Hugh “the Glue” Cavannah—she never imagined the culture shock that awaited. Then after Hugh dies in a car crash, Darla enters a self-imposed exile in her Mississippi home, taking a leave of absence from the sheriff’s department. Now she’s called back to duty—or coerced, more like it, with Shelby slathering on his good-ole-boy charm nice and thick, like on a helping of barbecue.

Reluctantly partnered with a mulish Elvis impersonator, Darla keeps a cool head even as the community demands an arrest. The court of public opinion has already convicted the clinic’s doctor, Stephen Nicoletti, but Darla is just as sure he’s not guilty—even as she fights her growing attraction to him. From the genteel suburbs to a raunchy strip club, Darla follows a trail of dirty money and nasty secrets—until the day of judgment comes, and she faces down an ungodly assassin.


* * * * *

First off, I wanted to give this author kudos for delving into such a touchy issue without coming off biased or preachy. One was able to pick up the character's point of view but like a good detective, Darla pushed it aside. Well done.

THE LAST CLINIC started off really slow and would have been an almost impossible read if it had continued at that pace. I do have to say that the slow pace worked though. It gave me a chance to really get to know the characters and become invested in Darla’s success.

I found this an interesting look into the Old South and the ‘good ole boy’ network. There are places however where it is overdone and apt to offend some people. As long as one takes it with a grain of salt, I found it amusing.

Darla as an outsider brings a fresh insight and clear eyes that are needed even if her partner doesn't appreciate it.  She has a couple strikes against her from the beginning as she is both a woman and a Northerner.  Good thing her late husband's fame as a local boy made big works in her favor.

I am looking forward to reading more of this series and seeing just where and what Darla is up to next. It is worth pushing through the slow beginning to a breathtaking ending.
 
May 18, 2015

New Earring Monday Weeks 21 & 22




This first pair is from goodies that I received from one of my partners in Swap N Hop blog party.  Sue of Sue's Beads made everything with the exception of the earwires and the headpins which I hand forged myself.  I love how they are slightly mismatched and am really considering keeping them for myself.



This next pair features some polymer charms from JKD Studio.  I picked up quite a bit of her artbeads as Jeannie is having a clearance sale over at her shop where all the proceeds are benefitting Doctors Without Borders.  I do recommend stopping by and seeing what's available as the selection changes.

Now these New Earrings Monday is actually the brainchild of  SaraJo of SJ Designs and there are several different designers who join in on the fun.  So be sure to click on the link to see what everyone else has made in the last couple weeks.
May 17, 2015

Swap-N-Hop Winner



If you recall, I was holding a contest during the Swap-N-Hop blog party for the necklace above.  Will I drew a winner (or actually Random.com did).  I am so proud of myself.  I finally figured out how to get a pic of the drawing that I can share with my readers.



I would like to congratulate Lee!  Definitely a case for setting some you love free as she had mentioned how much she loved that bead.  Who can blame her?

I have sent Lee a message on Facebook. 

Stay tuned though as I will be having more contests this year.
May 15, 2015

Art of Awareness Blog Hop




When one of my favorite people announces that she is going to be having a blog hop, I am all for it.  Especially since Lori Anderson of Pretty Things has had to cut back on the hops because of some health challenges.

This hop took a little, no let's make it a lot, more thought than most of the ones that I participate in.  Figuring out what disease or condition that I wanted to shine a light one was easy since both myself and my husband have fibromyalgia.  The color for this condition is purple.



The next step was figuring out just what I wanted to have added to my little word bean.  Yeah you heard me.  Since Heather of Swoondimples was making each of the 'beans' individually, we got to personalize them.  It took a couple weeks but what causes me to push past the pain is being able to provide a home for my husband and our various furry members of our family.



I really stepped out of my wheelhouse designing this necklace as I went totally asymmetrical with the 'bean' off to one side.  Also (are you ready for this) it doesn't have any of my beloved 'gemmies' in it.  Instead I used a combo of Czech glass and sea glass as well as a pewter clasp.  It is all knotted up on Irish Waxed Linen.

I am really happy with this necklace and have worn it a few times already. It is the first time I have really worn any awareness jewelry but that is going to change.

Now to hop about and see what everyone else has chosen for their cause and what words are important to them. ( I do want to apologize for not having the list of designers posted on my blog but while I got the post done early, I had planned on adding the link list.  A migraine waylaid me.)  Just click here to get to all the designer links.


May 11, 2015

Book Review: All Fired Up




Her sweetest mistake . . .

Cool as a Chicago winter, private events planner Cara DeLuca is a model of self-control . . . until she meets the one temptation she can't resist: Shane Doyle. The sexy, Irish pastry chef is too hot, too sure, too young, and after a crazy night in Vegas-her new husband. While at first Cara wants nothing more than a way out of her sham marriage to Shane, she soon finds that beneath his farm boy demeanor lies a man who can match her drive, both in and out of the bedroom. How can the wrong guy feel so deliciously right?

. . . tastes so, so good.

Shane has carefully structured his career and life around one goal: connecting with the family that doesn't know he exists. Marrying a woman with more issues than a magazine stand wasn't part of the plan, but melting Cara's icy exterior is so worth the detour. Now as the annulment date nears and long-buried secrets are revealed, Shane will have to fight for the one thing guaranteeing the perfect life he craves . . . the current Mrs. Shane Doyle.


* * * * *

While I would never survive on a steady diet of Chick Lit, a small taste never hurts.  And what a delightful taste.  I was expecting a spunky heroine and a hot hero with witty dialogue but I got so much more.  Ms. Meader delves into the touchy subjects of eating disorders and child abuse.  

I found ALL FIRED UP to be wonderful and enjoyable way to learn more about subjects that are usually relegated to whispers and dark rooms.  If more authors would bring knowledge to their readers in such an easily digestible fashion perhaps the sufferers would find it easier to ask for help or to even recognize that there is an issue at all.  

I do recommend ALL FIRED UP and I will definitely be on the lookout for more of Ms. Meader's books.  Both fun and educational is always a hit on my list. 
May 8, 2015

Ramblings





  • We had an absolutely beautiful weekend and went out to pick up some more plants for our container garden.  We picked up some tomato plants as well as some summer squash and herbs.  I was looking for some zucchini and cilantro but wasn't able to find any.  Come to think of it, I haven't been able to find any zucchini in the stores lately either.  Is there a shortage that I just haven't heard of?  Not a lot of sun on my garden yet but I took the pic on my way out to work.

  • I had a visitor in my studio on Wednesday that I didn't even know was there until he moved and his collar jingled.   He found the highest point downstairs and the cat bed I had stashed down there.
  • I hate it when the weather changes from nice and sunny to cold and wet especially when I haven't had a massage for a few weeks.  I manage to keep my fibro sorta in bounds with these massages and highly recommend them.
  • Had to deal with calling the Social Security Administration on Wednesday.  The rep I talked with was great but I was on hold for almost thirty minutes to get to her.  After I was done, I did a survey and it asked if I took advantage of the ability to have an agent call me back or did I wait on hold.  I wasn't even given that option and of course,  the survey didn't leave any way for me to indicate that.  If you want to have a real survey, then give people a chance to leave a message at the end.
  • Picked up propane so really looking forward to my hubby's BBQ chicken breasts as well as everything else he grills.  Now if only he remembers to turn off the propane rather then draining the tank.

May 5, 2015

Book Review: All The Rage




I really don't know what I think about this book.  When I choose a book,  I go by the blurb since you can't really go into a book store anymore and page though a book prior to picking one out.  According to the blurb, one would expect to see Kellan make an appearance in this book but he never does.  Instead the story is about the aftermath.

And it is a gritty story about how one girl deals with the aftermath of a rape where no one believes her because the 'golden boy' would never be involved in anything as horrible as a rape.  It is a story about how Romy fears to let anyone get close to her again and whether she should risk herself and her sanity when a girl that used to be her friend disappears.  

ALL THE RAGE is well written but it never did really grab me.  I could pity Romy because of what happened to her but I couldn't really relate to her.  Perhaps it would have been different if I had known what to expect when I picked up this book.  So much hangs on that blurb.  I can recommend this book as long as one knows just what they are getting into when choosing to read it.
May 4, 2015

New Earrings Monday: Weeks 19 & 20


I really fell behind and didn't get any new earrings posted last month.  It's not that I didn't make any but they were made up for challenges so I couldn't put them up here.



These earrings came about because I was playing with the various polymer and lampwork headpins I have been collecting and these from JKD Studio just demanded that I use them.  I just added some Tiaria crystal and magnesite beads, and they were ready to go.



These actually started out as a joke.  When I was corresponding with one of my partners from Saturday's hop, I told her I don't do yellow.  So as a joke, she tossed in some yellow beads.  I actually made this for the hop but somehow I managed to misplace them until the day after.  So anyways I thought they deserved their time in the sun.  They will be donated to Ears To You.

Now these New Earrings Monday is actually the brainchild of  SaraJo of SJ Designs and there are several different designers who join in on the fun.  So be sure to click on the link to see what everyone else has made in the last couple weeks.
May 1, 2015

Swap N Hop Reveal




I try to participate in at least one big jewelry blog hop each year because they are so much fun.  This year it is the Swap N Hop where we are partnered up with another designer, we send them some beads with at least one item being artisan and then we get to show off what we made.  Today is that reveal and I was actually lucky enough to have two partners so I have a bit to show off.



My first partner is Sue Kennedy of Sue Beads.  The picture above is a reminder of all the beady glory that Sue sent my way.  Just love all the varied colors and those clasps.  Sue just happened to be out of clasps so she hurriedly whipped some up.  Dang.  Wish I had that ability.



I immediately fell in love with the heart focal that Sue made that was my first project.  I knotted it together with some vintage lucite beads, copper spacers,a copper charm to echo the flower imprinted on the heart and one of those lovely clasps.



Next up was that ceramic ring which happened to be the only artisan goodie I received not made my Sue herself.  I used those gorgeous lampwork spacers as well as the blue crystals what went so well with the beautiful blues.  I wired wrapped into together with a silver rolo chain and used some Wooley Wire to make up a bail.





And now for my second partner who is Lee Koopman of Strega Jewelry who I am so glad I got to meet through this blog hop.  Lee has so much in common with me it's scary.  I was so spoiled by both of my partners.  Just check out all the beadiness sent to me by Lee. I am especially in love with the bracelet bar she made for me. I didn't use it yet as I am waiting for the supporting cast to appear.



I got a real kick out the fact that Lee says she can't do up pretty packages so she tied everything up with pretty ribbons.  That is so like me.  I always love getting a surprise in the mail all decorated up but I can't do that to save my life.  Besides I really liked all the ribbons.  I ended up using one of those ribbons along with the handmade clasp to make this bracelet.  I also make up a beading chain of faceted pyrite.



Since we both share similar spiritual beliefs, I wanted to make up a necklace to celebrate that fact.   I used the rustic threefold ceramic focal along with the serpentine beads that Lee sent me.  I added in some brass chain, a charm and some Wooley Wire.




The last piece that I made was rather simple but this focal was so gorgeous, I really wanted to let it have its place in the sun.  This is a longer necklace that you can just slip over your head and go.

The rules said that I needed to use up all the artisan pieces that we received and I failed in completing that part of the challenge but I was so blessed by my partners that I just flat ran out of time. Things have been hectic around here since we are in the process of purchasing our home.  Actually we just purchased it since everything went through on Thursday.  Anyways you will see the rest making an appearance later.

Now I did say that I was running a contest now didn't I?  Just be sure to leave a comment and I will be drawing a winner on May 19th for that last necklace.  

Now since this is a hop, be sure to jump around and see all the wonderful eye candy that the other designers have come up with.  Just click here to go to the list off all the designers.

Ramblings




  • It's been a big week. The house is officially ours as if the 30th complete with the overgrown rose bush.  I have been trying to kill it for a couple years because I want to put a lilac bush in there.  These are stubborn roses though and keep coming back to life as well as popping up in different areas.

  • I have discovered that I really like to color.  I found some pencils for a reasonable price but the lead keeps breaking.  I just don't want to have to spend $50 to get some nice ones.  Perhaps if this is a hobby that I keep going on for a while it will be worth it.
  • My roommate is having some issues with a new med causing her additional anxiety as well panic attacks. She calls her medications manager and the receptionist wants to know who is abusing her and my name  Roomie didn't give her any info but boy did she push.  Since when does medication issues equal abuse?
  • Tomorrow is when I get to show off all my pretties for the Swap N Hop.  I can't wait to see what everyone else made also.