Oct 31, 2012

Have a Blessed Samhain

This is going to be short and sweet as I am done with another migraine.  Regardless I wanted to wish everyone a Blessed Samhain especially as this is my favorite holiday.
Oct 30, 2012

Book Review: Contrition

In a tiny community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Brother Placidus finds little Amanda LeFleur sacrificed below a crucifix, in the attic of The Brothers of the Holy Cross. It is not the first body he's found there. Assigned to the investigation is detective Peter Toche whose last case was that of a murdered child, a child that has been haunting his dreams, forcing him to face his worst fears and the evil that has targeted his town. As additional victims are discovered, Tristan St. Germain, a mysterious man who was rescued by a parish priest from the waters near his home, may hold the key to the safety of all mankind. Little Amanda was only the beginning..

* * * * *

 I did find CONTRITION to be an enjoyable if slow read.  Mr. Hirsch does a great job on developing his characters and they do carry the show when the pacing slows down.  I really enjoyed Detective Toche and sympathized with his fears of madness. 

CONTRITION is an interesting book with a great premise and promise however it does need going over by an editor with a fresh set of eyes as the author is prone to wordiness.  It is also a bit too religious for my tastes as it leans heavily upon the catholic mythos however I did expect that going into this book.  I also want to give my readers a warning as there is graphic violence portrayed in this book starting with the murder of a child.

I am only rating this book a 2.8 due to the lack of proper editing as it kept pulling me out of the story.  I feel that the premise deserved more but not with the glitches included.

I was given this book at no charge by Library Thing in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Oct 28, 2012

October Fest!!

It's my favorite month of the year and that is because my favorite holiday Samhain is a part of October.  Another part of October that I love is our annual Witch's Ball which is a huge costume party with food, dancing and companionship of other pagans. 

I always make up some jewelry to be part of the raffles we hold throughout the evening so when Rita of Tolec Jewels mentioned a blog hop based upon the season I was all for it.  Not all of my jewelry is related to the season but they are all being given away during this delightful changeable month.

This necklace is totally fitting for this season.  The spider is a clay pendant made by Jenny Davies-Reazor.  The beads are Botswana Agate and are knotted together using waxed linen.

The colors on this one aren't exactly fallish though I guess that it depends on the person.  I tend to wear a lot of teal & gold during this season.  The beads in this piece are some ceramic ones that I picked up years ago from York Beads.  I again used waxed linen to bring it all together.

This pendant is again in teal and the bird could be a raven.  It was made by Barbara of Second Surf Studio and was actually one that I picked up a few years even though I wasn't sure what I would use it in.  I am now very happy that I did.  I also used suede lacing and a silver chain.

This is a necklace that I made for the Kalmbach Bead Soup that I will also be donating to the raffle basket.  The beads were donated by Beauty in the Bead and I also used a lot of waxed linen of various sizes.

Now that you have seen my humble offerings be sure to check out what everyone else has done.  It could be jewelry, decorations or perhaps a recipe.

Host Toltec Jewels          http://www.JewelSchoolFriends.com
Heather Otto                   http://www.thecrafthopper.com
Mischelle Fanucchi         http://www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Marlene Cupo                  http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com
Shaiha Williams              http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com   You are here.
Shelly Graham Turner      http://shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com/ 
Shelly Joyce                   http://www.aujourlejour-shelly.blogspot.com/
Charlie Jacka                  http://clay-space.com/blog/
Pam Sears                     http://crazycreativecorner.blogspot.com/
Margareta Saari              http://magsinhelmet.blogspot.com/
Marita Suominen             http://momentofjewelry.blogspot.fi/
Lisa Posthumus              https://www.facebook.com/lisa.posthumusharper
Jeannie Dukic                 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jewelry-by-Jeannie/242288933007
Cheri Reed                     http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com/
Arlene Dean                   http://aglassbash.blogspot.com/
Duffy Blevins                  http://bubbasjewels1.blogspot.com/
Susan Kennedy             http://suebeads.blogspot.com/
Dita Basu                      http://www.alankarshilpa.blogspot.com/
Sonya Ann Stille            http://dreaminofbeads.blogspot.com/
Audrey Allen                  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wrapped-Up-In-Magic/145456948869148
Kashmira Patel               http://sadafulee.blogspot.com/
Kathy Lindemer              http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Kris Mattingly                 https://www.facebook.com/kris.h.mattingly   
 Lennis Carrier                 http://www.windbent.net/
Shannon Hicks               http://uptwnsh-fallingintothesky.blogspot.com/
Paula Hisel                    http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Karin Slaton                   http://backstorybeads.blogspot.com/
Shirley Moore                 http://www.beadsandbread.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache             http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Valeria G. Rome             http://fancysphynxdesigns.blogspot.com/
Lo                                  http://thecreativeklutz.blogspot.com/
Zoe Marcin                     http://beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com/
Carolyn Lawson              http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Kimberly Booth               http://thepinkmartiniboutique.blogspot.com/
Sherri Stokey                  http://www.knotjustmacrame.com
Tanya McGuire                http://www.tanyamcguire.blogspot.com/ 
Debbie Rasmussen          http://kepirasmussen.blogspot.com/
Christine Stonefield          http://sweetgirldesign.blogspot.com/
Sandra McGriff                 http://skyescreativechaos.blogspot.com/
Renetha Stanziano           http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Evelyn Shelby                  http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/

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Oct 25, 2012

Kalmbach Bead Soup

I am sure that everyone remembers my excitement when I received one of those coveted yellow envelopes with the neon green label that proclaimed the contents to be a bead soup.  Just to remind everyone of what came in that delightful envelope.

When I saw the peace signs and the glass beads in various colors I just knew that I wanted to go BoHo especially now as I seem to be drawn more and more towards textiles.

This was actually an easy piece for me to envision though it took me a few tries to get all the kinks worked out.  For a change my husband actually gave me a real critique that was useful.  Usually all I hear is:  "That's great" or "But it's not symmetrical". Yes he is almost anal about both sides being the same.  It is any wonder that I don't do a lot of necklaces or earring sets that aren't matchy matchy.  This time however he pinpointed an issue that was bugging me but refused to come to the fore.

The turquoise base is actually some rather thick waxed cotton that I found at my LBS.  I had no idea what I would use it for but I just had to pick it up.  You know how that goes.  Now I am glad that I did.  The peace sign hits about two inches below the notch of the neck.  It goes perfect with one of my flowing silk tunics.  Almost makes me want to wear a funky head band and go listen to CCR.

And since Beauty in the Bead Shop in Bellingham, Washington was so generous with the glass beads I just had to make a wrap bracelet to go with the necklace.  It just occurred to me that it would also make for a funky headband.

I want to thank Kalmbach Publishing for jewelry books and Beauty in the Bead Shop for this wonderful soup which stretched my muse in new directions and for the opportunity to work with beads that I wouldn't have picked up for myself.  I also want to thank Lori Anderson who is the driving force behind the Bead Soup Blog Party and the author of  Bead Soup which inspired this blog hop.
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Oct 24, 2012

Let's Ramble

I really hate having to get up earlier on a day off then on a day that I work.  It just really goes against the grain.  And it especially doesn't help when it is also grey and cold outside.  Oh I how I wish that I could convince the hubby to move to the desert.  I would prefer Arizona as my mother is there but truth be told, I would be happy with any place that I could soak up heat more and hurt less.

My friend up there?  I took his picture this last summer on a gorgeous July day and besides the picture makes me smile.  He looked so serious there in his habitat until the corn on the cob came out.  And well then he reminded me of some relatives.

Oh and the reason I got so godawful dang early was that I had to go see the surgeon about my elbow.  It is really starting to effect the things I can do.  I enjoy simple wire work but if I indulge myself now then I know that I will be paying the price for a few days.  Heck even the typing that I do every day at work is more then a enough to aggravate it. 

Dr. Wheeler who is going to be my orthopedic surgeon is a really nice guy with very good bedside manner.  He really does remind me of an old country doctor.  He was seeing me just for my elbow but while I was there he also checked out my shoulder which has been bothering me for a month or so.  I had just written it off to misuse since that is the same side as the elbow.  Anyways he showed me some stretching exercises to help the shoulder.

Then he looked at my elbow and gave what to me was good news.  Surgery is called for.  What he wants to do is to get into the elbow and cut off the damaged parts of the tendon (as long as it isn't too much).  Apparently once everything heals back up the pain should be gone.  The healing takes less time then I was expecting.

I should only be off work for a couple weeks but it will be two to three months before I can start playing with wire again.  Personally I would have preferred those to be reversed especially as I get a good short term disability at work.  I am kinda curious though just how I am going to work as he also mentioned having my elbow in a splint for four to six weeks.  How am I going to work/type with my right elbow in a splint?  We shall see.
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Oct 21, 2012

Outwest Beauties oh and a Contest

I haven't shared very many bead contests lately and for that I am sorry.  If I ever start to get caught up with my blogs then I will be sure to post more of them.

I found out about this contest at the last minute.  But look at those beads from Outwest or as they are more properly called, Indian Creek Art Glass.  I have become addicted to art beads and their beads are just yummy.  I am in love with the Rainbow Lavender Discs.

Or how about these beauties.  So unique and perfect for an industrial or steampunk style.

To find out more about this great contest click here but hurry!

Beautiful Things

It's really strange how the weather can change from summer to fall all in one day.  Last Sunday it was still rather warm and this Sunday I am running the heat to keep it warm inside.  Definitely moving into the dark side of the year.  Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing though as it gives us a time to rest and reflect.  For me as soon as I find out about this surgery, it will give me time to work on more jewelry.

  • I was able to attend a birthday party/potluck over a friend's home last Sunday.  Had a really great time especially as I was able to connect up with folks that I haven't had a chance to see in forever.
  • I have a flat top stove and Chloe managed to walk across a hot burner last night right after I had taken off a pot of pasta.  I immediately put some ice on her paw and gave her a pain reliever.   Luckily the burn wasn't bad enough to blister up.  I feel sorry for her but I really hope that this teaches her not to walk on the stove anymore.
  • I won a beautiful necklace from Alicia at All the Pretty Things!  She has a great blog that I enjoy reading and I just love the look of the necklace.  I will be sure to take a pic when it arrives so that I can share it with everyone.
Oct 20, 2012

Book Review: Guardian

Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

* * * * *

As my readers well know, the young adult genre happens to be one of my favorite.  And when you add in a touch of the paranormal I am almost guaranteed to like the book.   Almost being the key word here.  I had some issues with GUARDIAN that interfered with my enjoyment of the story.

First of all, GUARDIAN is the second book of the Halfling series and I didn't feel that it stood very well on its own.  I spent the first quarter of the book confused because the author tends to refer to happenings in the first book without giving the reader enough backstory.

The second issue was minor in that I didn't care for how strongly it resided in the Christian mythos.  I have read several books that have angels that I very much enjoyed.  In this case I really felt that it was too preachy for my tastes.

That being said,  I did find that the book was very well written with the pacing being spot on.  There were points that I was holding my breath, other where I was sighing over Mace and Nikki, and yet other where I was laughing.  Because of this I would have rated this book much higher if it had been able to stand on its own.

I rate this book a 3.2.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Oct 18, 2012

Podcasts: 19 Nocturne Boulevard

Time for another look at one of my favorite podcasts, 19 Nocturne Boulevard.  I actually found this podcast when I met Julie Hoverson, the owner, at NorwestCon a couple years ago.  This podcast is all about audio drama and I really wish that I could find more like this one.  Rather then reading the listener a story,  you are transported into the tale with all the great sound effects. 

She has a few different series that she runs.  One of my favorites is the namesake of this particular podcast.  In 19 Nocturne Boulevard one never knows whether they will be stepping into the story of a serial killer, a detective that deals with demons or the future.  Every episode is guaranteed to transport the listener away.

Another one that I really enjoy is a newer series called Fatal Girl.  This one has been done in the Japanese Anime style and it has a continuing storyline. And then there was DeadEye Kid which was a western complete with a ghost dandy.

Ms. Hoverson hasn't updated her website lately with the new series but trust me, this podcast is going on strong.  I get mine through Itunes though I am sure that there are other ways that I haven't explored.
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Oct 16, 2012

Mismatched Earring Swap

When Diana of Suburban Girl Studio mentioned that she was going to host a blog hop where partners exchange mismatched earrings made with art beads I just couldn't resist.  As my hair has gotten longer I have fallen back in love with earrings but just not any earrings.  No only artisan ones made with art beads.  I was matched up with Iveth Caruso of Creative Atelier and she sent me the most gorgeous earrings.  Yes earrings!  The requirement was for only one pair and she sent me two.

I just love both pairs as they are long enough and bold enough to see even with my hair down.  I have worn the blue & copper ones often and am always complimented on them.  The black pair actually went to a friend who is wearing bold earrings since she lost her hair due to chemo.

Now that you have seen my exquisite pretties be sure to check out what everyone else received.

Iveth Caruso  http://www.creativeatelier.net/blog.html
Charlene Jacka  http://www.clay-space.com

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Oct 14, 2012

Beautiful Things

Where oh where has this week gone?  It sure passed by rather quickly starting out as summer and now being firmly into fall.  The picture above was taken last Saturday and starting yesterday the rain and the gray has arrived.

  • My charms arrived safely for the Charm Swap which is going to be posted later this month.  I was a tad worried about them as I have never made charms before but they passed muster.
  • I got a chance this week to connect with my friend that has breast cancer.  She looks really good and is rather determined to beat it.  And she is the type of woman that succeeds in anything that she puts her mind too.
  • Spent some quality time in my studio and finished up my Bead Soup necklace as well as a few others.  Pictures are to come but most of them were done for a blog hops.
Oct 12, 2012

Book Review: River of Eden

With his sun-bronzed skin, a week’s worth of beard, and a shaman’s crystal around his neck, Will Sanchez Travers looked more like a man mothers warned their daughters about than a Harvard-trained ethnobotanist. And even if only half the rumors about him were true, Dr. Annie Parrish figured she was in trouble. Still, she needed the rogue scientist to ferry her upriver in search of a prize so extraordinary, it would make her reputation–if it didn’t get her killed first.

When he’d reluctantly agreed to take the legendary Amazon Annie deep into the Brazilian rain forest, Will expected a woman warrior, not a blond ragamuffin renegade whose secrets ran darker than he could have imagined. But once the journey begins, there will be no turning back as they enter territory–of the wilderness and the heart–as dangerous as it is beautiful, desperate to stop a twisted destroyer of worlds before his nightmarish fantasy becomes horribly real. Amid sorcery, violence, and mystical visions, which will be the victor–the yearning for vengeance, or a power as potent and seductive as the heart of a singular, magical orchid?

* * * * *

I haven't had as many book reviews coming through lately as I just haven't been in the mood to sit down and read.  When I picked up RIVER OF EDEN, I had a feeling that I would enjoy the book but wasn't really sure just how long it would take to finish it.  I am happy to report that this book was the perfect antidote to my lack of interest in reading.  I finished it in one day and am ready to read another.

RIVER OF EDEN reminds me in a lot of ways of ROMANCING THE STONE.  There is a lot of action in a place that definitely can't be considered all that civilized yet is very beautiful.  Will and Annie seem to collect people that are out to kill them or actually it is Annie doing the collecting.  Will wasn't aware of what he was getting himself into when he agreed to give her passage on his boat.

The pacing is just perfect with just enough breaks from the tension to give the reader a chance to take a breath.  The dialogue between the characters especially Will and Annie is fresh and snappy.  There were no editing errors to be found which allowed me to loose myself in the story.

I recommend this book to lovers of romantic suspense especially ones set in remote locations.  I give this book 4.1 stars.

***I picked this book up through Amazon.com.
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Oct 10, 2012

Review: The Paternity Test

Having a baby to save a marriage—it’s the oldest of clich├ęs. But what if the marriage at risk is a gay one, and having a baby involves a surrogate mother?

Pat Faunce is a faltering romantic, a former poetry major who now writes textbooks. A decade into his relationship with Stu, an airline pilot from a fraught Jewish family, he fears he’s losing Stu to other men—and losing himself in their “no rules” arrangement. Yearning for a baby and a deeper commitment, he pressures Stu to move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, to the cottage where Pat spent boyhood summers.

As they struggle to adjust to their new life, they enlist a surrogate: Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, married to Danny, an American carpenter. Gradually, Pat and Debora bond, drawn together by the logistics of getting pregnant and away from their spouses. Pat gets caught between loyalties—to Stu and his family, to Debora, to his own potent desires—and wonders: is he fit to be a father?

* * * * *

THE PATERNITY TEST is a no holds barred look at a long term gay relationship who is attempting to add a child by using a surrogate mother.  Told from Pat's point of view we learn about the stress and tensions that both he and Stu undergo as they are waiting to hear that they are about to be a father.

I really enjoyed the book as it gave me an inside view of a different type of loving committed relationship.  While a lot of the dynamics are the same a lot are not.  And I am not just talking about them being gay, the reader is also shown the pressure that is applied within Jewish families to carry on the line to both the male and female children.  

I do recommend THE PATERNITY TEST as it really takes the reader through the ups and downs of relationships when trying to have a baby.  I rate this a 4.3.

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

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