Dec 30, 2015

Ramblings



  • I survived horribly early morning on Christmas eve and enjoyed having the three days off..  It was a time for relaxing and working on my jewelry.  I did discover that knotting pearls with bandaids on doesn't work very well.
  • I received a Christmas card from a congress-critter in Delaware on Monday.  Not sure why because I live in Washington and wouldn't be voting for him as he is far outside of my area.  Kinda a waste of money.
  • I have found a new addiction. Coloring on my IPad. I have a few adult coloring books but I am never satisfied with the pictures once I am done. I have also found that coloring digitally is easier on my hands. I am using an iOS app called Pigment & they have a lot of free pages. 
Dec 26, 2015

Book Review: Hold Me Close




Apart, they are broken, but together, they are whole.

Effie and Heath are famous. Not for anything they did, but for what happened to them as teenagers. Abducted and abused by the same man, they turned to each other for comfort until they were finally able to make their escape.

Now adults, their relationship is fraught with guilt and despair. Whether fighting or making love, their passion is strong enough to destroy them both — and Effie's not about to let that happen. She knows it's time for her to have a 'normal' relationship, and Heath is nothing but a constant reminder of the dark past they share. Heath, on the other hand, knows Effie is the only woman he can ever love. She may want to forget what happened, but he's convinced that they must face their past together in order to move forward. So while Effie continues to bring new men into her life, Heath becomes obsessed with proving he's the one she needs.

Then a new crisis arises and Effie begins to lose every scrap of self-control she ever had. As she struggles against her desire to return to the one man who understands her, she discovers that sometimes the only safety you find is with the person who is the most dangerous for you.


* * * * *

Incredible character development!  Effie was broken by events in her past where she was kidnapped and held for three years by a maniac who forced her to call him 'Daddy'.  Heath was also a captive and they grew to depend on each other for their sanity and lives.

Effie is all appearances seems to have recovered from her ordeal,  She owns her own home, has a daughter and a thriving career as an artist.  She's not able to have a 'normal' relationship however and refuses to have one with Heath even though she loves him.  So she is trying dating services in hopes to meet a nice guy that isn't too boring.

I had a lot of trouble finishing this book.  There are several very graphic and violent sex scenes which didn't phase me.  What I had issues was how the timeline would jump back and forth between the present and the past with no warning.  I would be reading a scene thinking it was in the present to suddenly have it refer to something that happened back when she was a captive.  Trying to constantly figure out just what year the story was in really kept me from relaxing and enjoying the tale.

Now every reader's experiences will be different so if this book sounds interesting, give it a try and be sure to let me know your opinion.

*** 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 23, 2015

Ramblings



  • My ex-roommate that I had been having problems has finally gotten all of her stuff out of the house and cleaned up her room.  Now thoughts of how I want to use that room are rambling through my mind.  I would like to be able to rent it out but with all of our fur kids, I am not sure if I could find someone.  I have also been thinking about setting it up as a guest room and one where I could set up to take pics.  It gets hot in there in the summer but the light would be so much better then in my basement.
  • I am so dreading Thursday.  We are closing early for Christmas Eve so I have to be at work three hours early.  I am so not awake at 7 am.  I am just glad that I don't have to drive into the office that day.
  • We are changing our Christmas tradition this year.  Myself and my husband normally go out to a movie on Christmas but there really isn't anything that I want to see.  I know that everyone is hot about Star Wars but I ditched that series after it started going wanky.
  • It amazes me how up in arms people get about the term "Merry Christmas".  I don't celebrate Christmas myself but I am not offended when people wish me a merry one.  It is just a sign of good will.  So why get offended when offense isn't meant?  It amazes how people will search out reasons to get mad.
  • I know that I haven't been posting a lot of book reviews the last couple weeks.  I have instead been diving into some library books where I can just relax and read.  I finished up book of short stories based around Valdemer and the Heralds a couple days ago and am working on a fantasy called Updraft.
  • I am also avidly listening to the Harry Potter series in audio.  I had only read the first four but am finding that I am enjoying them even more having them read to me.  After all, they started out as a story she was telling her children.
  • I can't believe that 2015 is almost over and I still haven't figured out a word for 2016.  I have been pondering it for the last couple weeks too.
  • Today is the 36th anniversary of when I lost my virginity.  Strange date to remember but hey my mind works in strange ways.  I still remember the look on my mom's face when she went into my closet to get a shirt for one of her friends and found my boyfriend.
Dec 18, 2015

Art Bead Scene December Challenge


Paris
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, 1951
Oil on canvas, 12 7/8 x 18 (33 x 45.5)
Inscribed on stretcher 'A Rex avec toute l'amitié de Vieira' and 'à Vieira'


The inspiration this month was down right sneaky.  A lot of times when I see a piece of art, I immediately start working out a design in my mind.  The painting above didn't generate any strong feelings.  In fact, all I really thought about was how blah it was considering that it was supposed to represent one of the most vibrant cities that I have ever been too.  I then put it out of my mind.  Or so I thought.

I had picked up a polymer link from Staci Louise Smith that was larger and I thought that it would make a great focal.  It's gorgeous with pinks and oranges all playing together so nicely.  Somewhere I had picked up some light pink beads and I had set them and the focal in my handy muffin tin to use later.

Well their time had come since I was sitting at my design table with no real ideas in mind so I grabbed the tin and pulled out the focal.  Still not really sure what I was going to do but I started digging in my stash.  I came up with a leather tassel that would be perfect.  I kept saying that I wanted to use more tassels as I love the look.  No reason to put it off any more.



Now that I had the focal in mind, I needed to decide what to do with the body of necklace.  At first I was going to knot the pink beads with waxed linen but I had been doing a lot of that lately and needed a change.  How about a beaded chain?  That just didn't ring my bells either so I started digging through my chains and came up with a diamond chain that I could take apart for links.



Bingo!  With that one decision, the finished necklace came together in my mind.  At that time, I realized that I had actually been inspired by the colors and the geometric designs in the painting along with the feeling that I experienced in Paris.  Like I said, it was sneaky and I had to go around the long way to come up with this design.




Dec 16, 2015

Ramblings




  • One of the highlights of my year is the annual Red Hatters tea party.  It is always held during the Christmas season to give us all a chance to take a breath and visit.  I always really enjoy it even though purple is not my favorite color.

  • I still can wear and look good in a pair of high heels but I sure regret wearing them the next day.  One of my regrets for getting older.  I remember when heels were all I would wear.  Heck they still are all I would wear though I tend to wear them a lot less since I rarely leave the house.  One of the parts of my job that I really enjoy is being able to work barefoot and in yoga pants.
Dec 15, 2015

Santa Claus




For the most part, I don't regret not having children.  One of the things that I miss however is seeing the holidays through their eyes.  The sense of wonder at all the lights and decorations, the anticipation of finding out just what Santa brought this year.  Those closest I ever came to it was setting up an Easter basket for a girlfriend so she could spend the evening before at her boyfriend's house.

I do think back to my childhood and my experiences with Santa.  I remember waking up early (which was quite the feat as I always was a night person) to see what this jolly old man had left for me.  I was always pestering my Mom trying to find out how he would get inside since we never had a chimney.

I figured out when I was about 6 or 7 that there wasn't really a Santa but I was a greedy kid.  I decided that as long as I didn't let my mother know that there wasn't really a Santa then I would keep getting double the gifts.  Since I had a little sister, it worked out pretty well until I was about 10 (or 11...it was a long time ago).

Now that I am an adult, I know that my mom knew that I was scamming her but I really thought that I was putting something over on her.  At what age did you admit that you didn't think that Santa was real?
Dec 12, 2015

Blueberry Cove Beads Review



I do like subscription services.  I am on one for tea and since making jewelry is definitely one of my passion, I have been looking into such services for beads.  One that I have made a recent acquaintance with is Bluebarry Cove Beads.  They are based in Canada and source a lot of their beads from Europe.



I was lucky enough to get their November kit.  It was filled with some crystal, charms, wooden buttons, dyed howlite Christmas trees, silver and copper charms, crochet beads, a beautiful golden reindeer focal and some wooden trees as well as wood blanks to do cross stitch on.  All of the goodies were packaged up beautifully in a black satin bag that I can reuse.  The theme was Norwegian Christmas.

Some of the howlite trees were scratched on one side but overall, I was very pleased with beads and charms that were in the kit.  One of the benefits of having someone else pick out my beads is the fact that since I didn't choose them, using them pushes my muse.  Some of them such as the wooden buttons I didn't find a way to use yet but I will.  It was well worth the $22 + shipping that each kit costs.

Along with the kit, Isobel run a challenge each month to design a piece of jewelry with the prize being a free kit.  The challenge this month was to create a bracelet using the snowflake charms.  I decided that I wanted a rich charm bracelet that would work for all winter instead of aiming for Christmas jewelry.  I used the fun snowflakes as well as the minty green crystals from the kit.  I added in some clear crystal to give it that icy, wintery feeling.  I also made a pair of earrings to go with this rich bracelet.  Perfect for any party this season.



I kept finding myself going back to those howlite Christmas trees and made up a necklace using the blue one along with the cute crochet beads and the white crystals that came with the kit.  I added in some Czech druk beads, some pewter star spacers and the clasp.  I am rather happy with how this necklace came out.  I think that I am going to have to do a search and find some more of the crochet beads.  Thank you Blueberry Cove Beads for introducing me to them.


Here's another view of the crochet beads.  Yep.  I am a convert to them.



My final design was a quick pair of Christmas earrings using the wooden tree beads as well as some of the reddish and the white crystal beads.  I still have one of the trees left and am planning on doing up a necklace to go along with them.



I really enjoyed working with these beads and Blueberry Cove Beads subscription service is a wonderful way to stretch your creativity in new directions.  The European spin that Isobel puts on her kits is simply wonderful for us American beaders. 
Dec 9, 2015

Ramblings



  • Chloe came home.  I am not sure what happened to her but she was healthy and didn't look like she was starving while she was gone.  She has gone from a cat that would get destructive if we didn't let her out to one that is very happy to stay inside.  Pretty nice change while it lasts.
  • Very irritating.  My favorite pair of jeans decided to rip out.  I hate how they just get really comfortable and then they die.  I don't understand the fad of buying pre-ripped jeans.  That would just cause them to commit suicide earlier.
  • I have decided that a self-service dog washing place is the way to go.  I had to give Jing a bath which I always dread as she doesn't like them and weighs a lot.  Lifting her into a tub is the perfect recipe for a backache.  I took her to Shampooch in Tacoma.  I still had to lift her into the tub as she wasn't about to try the stairs but she actually enjoyed the bath.  It surprised me but she even liked the blowdryer.  Jing doesn't need a bath often but that is where I will take her especially since I didn't even have to clean up the mess.
  • We finally have that extra room cleaned up.  I am not sure if I want to rent it out again or use it as an extra bedroom.  I might pick up a daybed for it and look into fostering.  If so then we would like to get a GBT teen who has been kicked out for their sexuality.  
  • I have had sooooo many issues getting a package out for the holiday swap between migraines and waiting for deliveries.  I finally got it all ready and headed to the post office thinking that I would slip it into one of their priority boxes.  I had forgotten that the larger boxes need tape.  Arg...
  • It took forever and a day (or so it seemed) but I finally was able to get the funds in my health care account released so that I can pay for meds and whatever.  It's extremely frustrating considering that I put the money on the card to have to fight to get access to it.


  • I picked up a couple vintage brass tassels. Trying to decide just how I plan on using them.  Think that one will be on a gemstone beaded chain.  Any ideas on what stone I should use?

History Blog Hop


Now history isn't my strong suit but I am up for a blog hop any time so of course I had to join in when Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny asked if people were interested.  I am also hoping that this hop will kick me in the butt when it comes to reading blogs because while I have gotten back in the habit of posting, I am so far behind on reading my blogs that I am ashamed. 

This hop features work depicting the Paleolithic era in history.  Leah provided us with some info on this time period and some links to check out for further info.  Unfortunately between work and migraines I didn't get a chance to do any further research.  Thank goodness that I had a focal that I feel works from Bead Lovelies




This lovely polymer focal reminds me of the heads on Easter Island or a cave painting.  When I saw it a couple years ago I just knew that I had to have it even though I had NO idea what I would use it for.  I am so glad now that I followed my impulse.




I also used some rich bronzite rounds to pick up the rich gold/brown colors in the focal and some brass beads.  I finished it off with some bronze chain.

Now be sure to 'hop' around to the other blogs to see what other designers came up with for this period in our history.

Dec 7, 2015

Book Review: She Can Kill




Reformed assassin Cristan Rojas just wants to raise his daughter in peace. But after twelve years on the run, he learns that even the quiet little town of Westbury, Pennsylvania, has many hidden dangers. Although he can’t shake the feeling he’s under surveillance, Cristan’s attraction to Sarah Mitchell continues to grow, as do his concerns that his secret past could jeopardize anyone who gets too close to him.

Sarah is ready to start her life over with her children, a new job, and a budding romance. Her newfound happiness is threatened when her ex-husband becomes increasingly violent—and she soon learns her ex isn’t the only person stalking her.

Cristan fears someone from his past has arrived in town, someone far worse than a jealous ex. Someone who may be responsible for a brutal—and unsolved—murder a dozen years ago. To protect Sarah and his daughter, he must shine a light into the darkest recesses of his nightmarish past.


* * * * *

When I see the words 'reformed assassin', I immediately start to wonder just what reformed them and if the reformation will stick.  I didn't have any cause to wonder with Cristan as what changed him was the love of his daughter and wanting her to grow up away from the life he had known.  I found him to be an interesting and intriguing man that would only resort to violence to protect those he loves or women and children.  He is the kind of man that a woman wouldn't mind meeting in a dark alley.

Sarah is struggling to learn to live as a single mother and her violent ex-husband isn't helping matters as he plans to get her back under his control.  I enjoyed watching her learn that allowing other people to help her out isn't admitting weakness.  And I felt that she really deserved a chance with a decent man like Cristan.  Now if only their pasts would leave them alone.

I really enjoyed SHE CAN KILL.  The main characters, Cristan and Sarah, were people that I would enjoy calling friends and the secondary characters were well fleshed out and helped keep the story on pace.  Speaking of pace, it was brisk and the tension built up nicely throughout.  The villain from Cristan's past kept you guessing as to just who she was while Sarah's ex Troy was ever present.

I would recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense.  It is part of a series and I am going to find the rest of the series so that I can get more of the secondary character's stories.

*** 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 5, 2015

Charmed I'm Sure Blog Hop




I love blog hops!  There is no way around that and while I have been doing a lot of jewelry challenges this year, I haven't ran across as many hops to join as I would have liked.  A long drawn out way to say that I was jumping for joy when Lisa of Pine Ridge Treasures decided to host a hop.  (And I am crossing my fingers that she goes back to hops rather then the Facebook Challenges.)

This hop was all about charms as I am sure that you have guessed by the name.  Lisa sent us out some beautiful beads, some charms and a silver bracelet to attach it all too.  All very pretty but as I sat looking at all the beadiness it occurred to me that while I enjoy charms, I don't tend to use them on bracelets.  That thought was like a bolt of lightening (or like I gave myself permission to think outside the box) and the ideas started coming.



I made several pairs of earrings which is my favorite way to use charms.




With these, I was able to show off the beautiful beads that I received.



And all the wonderful charms which has a wonderful spring feeling with the all the flowers and birds. 



All of the earrings will be donated to Ears To You.  I have a bunch that I need to get all bagged up and off to them by the end of the year. 



I think what originally stumped me about the charms was this wonderful focal bar that I couldn't figure out how to put into a bracelet.  It sure makes a delightful necklace though. 

Now as this is a hop, there are several designers to jump around too.  Grab a mug of tea and prepare for the eye candy.  It's a great way to start off your weekend.

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Karin Grosset Grange (France), Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Dec 2, 2015

Ramblings

.




  • I really think that I prefer Thanksgiving to be a day of relaxing.  Everyone else can be working on their dinners while I just keep back and do whatever.
  • Not a good week so far.  Chloe disappeared on Friday.  I have checked the shelter and posted a lot of fliers but I hadn't seen a hair of her :(  I keep hoping that she has just convinced someone that she's a stray and they have taken her in.  In that case, she will come home when she manages to escape.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.
  • I have NO bloody idea why a company can be so incompetent and still keep their contract!  I have a medical savings plan where a set amount is taken out pretax and I can use that for co-pays as well as prescriptions.  There are times when they ask for receipts to prove that you are using it correctly and they will block the debit card until you send them in.  I had that happen to me so I sent in the receipt they are wanting.  Seven times!  It is still waiting to be processed from November 16th and it is only supposed to take 2 business days.  I have to use this money by the end of the year but I can't access it.  If your company uses WageWorks think twice about taking advantage of the medical savings account.


  • One the bright side, I have been having a lot of fun playing with the beads I got from Blueberry Cove Beads.
Dec 1, 2015

Book Review: The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls #1)




Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.


After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.


* * * * *

Wow!  It's not often that a book so completely entrances me that a cat jumping up into my lap almost gives me a heart attack.  This book has such an eerie yet realistic feel that I was tensing all at the little sounds an older home makes in the dead of the night.  I want to give Ms. Arden kudos for writing the best book that I have had the pleasure of reading in 2015.

I just loved Adele.  In a lot of ways, she is your typical sixteen-year-old.  After being uprooted from her home in New Orleans, all she wants to do is get back to her home and her father.  She is shocked by the changes brought on by the Storm to her home and her city.  Nothing is going exactly like she expected from being attacked by a crow in her kitchen to discovering that since her school has been destroyed that she will be attending a catholic school where all the rich kids go.

Not only was the character of Adele amazing in the way that she grows and changes throughout the book but I really enjoyed ;meeting' all the secondary characters.  None of them turn out to be what I expected from my first impression.

I am really happy that THE CASQUETTE GIRLS is just the first book in the series as I can't wait to dive back into Ms.Arden's world.  I highly recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy young adult paranormal.  I am sure that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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