Jul 27, 2014

Book Review: Windwalker

From the award-winning author of Season of the Witch, comes a highly original story of murder, redemption, eternal love and destiny. WINDWALKER will keep you on the edge of your seat. And break your heart.

When photographer, Justine Callaway, walks into the deserted English mansion, Paradine Park, she doesn’t suspect that she is opening the door to the greatest mystery–and magic–of her life.

Justine becomes obsessed by the family who used to live in the house, especially the oldest son, Adam Buchanan. But why is she so drawn to a man who had killed his brother nine years before? And why, as she photographs the house, does she discover ghostly images she knows she did not record?

Even more unsettling, she senses someone is stalking her, watching her...

* * * * *

It has been a while since I have written up a review and I am sorry.  My reading seems to have slowed down lately due to headaches and other health issues.  That and the fact that when I am laying down it is so much easier to listen to a book then read it.  And then I stumble upon a book like WINDWALKER.

This is a book that I am both glad that I took the time to sit down and read, and one that I am very sorry that it is over.  It's not often that I book will bring me to tears but this one succeeded.  So be warned, have those tissues at ready when you are getting near the end.

Like all of the books I have read by Ms. Mostert, WINDWALKER has a very eerie overtone to it.  It delves into the world of the supernatural with soul mates and spirit or ghost photography.  It also bring up reincarnation with one lover searching for the other throughout all of their lives.

The characterization was first class.  I felt that I really grew to know Justine who was wounded and not able to recognize her own strengths.  The Watcher was enough to send chills down my spine.  And Adam, another wounded warrior and a fit mate for Justine. 

This is a book that I recommend to any of my readers who enjoy that touch of the 'other'.  To any who are looking for a love story that spans time and space.  I am just sorry that it took so long for me to dive into.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Jul 25, 2014

Random Ramblings

  • Had one of my guests for our monthly potluck come over with the flu.  Why in the world would you go to a house for dinner if you are sick?  I ended up coming down with it on Tuesday.  Thank goodness it only stuck around for 24 hours.

  • I am taking part in a design challenge sponsored by Blu Mudd.  I recieved my kit today.  As you can see, the colors are amber and orange.  It's beautiful but now I need to figure what to add to the mix along with whether I am going to make a bracelet or necklace.

  • I have had some fun with patina.  This started out as a washer.  I have learned not to pick up the steel washer as they are so hard, I wasn't able to to add any impressions first no matter how hard I hammered.  I do like the color though.  It is going to be part of a focal for a blog hop I am participating in.  

  • On Wednesday, I was having fun in the studio despite my back being fussy for some reason.  I had just had a massage earlier in the day too.  Sometimes I swear my back has a mind of its own same as the beads.  I had put this focal away for a Samhain blog hop but it was demanding that I use wooden blue beads and yellow sea glass.  Not very spooky.  Aw well.
  • Why is it that Washington drivers always manage to forget how to drive in the rain?  I mean seriously, we get more rainy days here then we get sunshine. 
  • I have been listening to Outlander again in audio.  I love the longer books and this one was over thirty hours.  And I am really looking forward to Outlander the series on Starz but I am curious why Jaimie has brown hair in the trailers.  Jaimie was a red head.  In fact, he was the first sexy redheaded male out there.  So why didn't the actor dye his hair?
Jul 23, 2014

1000th Post Contest

It seems that the only one person had an opinion on what I should give away and that was a bracelet.  So here we go.  I will be giving away a bracelet in the winner's choice of colors.  Here are a couple that I have made up to give you an idea.

The next step is to fill out the form below to get entered.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jul 21, 2014

Collector's Gene

I am sure that everyone had heard about the gene that causes us to collect things.  Usually they are things that we will never use but we proudly display.  When I was younger, I collected unicorns.  Oh yes, I had unicorn everything before it became popular.  That was part of the thrill because I would have search out these unicorn and this was way before the days of the internet.

Now that I am older and I hope more practical, I collect things that I use.  One of my proud collections is of hand made tea mugs.  Today I thought that I would share with you some that I would love to add to my collection.  If they strike that collector's gene in you then just click on the pic which will take you to the shop where you can pick them up.

I just love these but then I have an attraction to dragonflies.

I confess to having a weakness for the larger mugs.  That way I don't have to stop what I am doing to go get a refill.  You get the big teal one.  The dark blue one is just for comparasion purposes.

I just love the beautiful watercolor design on this one.

This one is just a bit small for me and my tea but I love the wash of colors.  Perhaps to hold tools in the studio?

This one is just so cute.  I love the little feet on it.  The handle is rather unique also.  Has anyone tried out a tea mug with a handle similar to this one?  How comfortable was it?

So here is a little insight to a couple of my addictions, both tea and collecting.  What do you like to collect or do forgo it all?
Jul 18, 2014

Gemstone and Metal 2014 Blog Hop

I can be the world's worst procrastinator.  Not in making the jewelry but in doing up my post.  I remembered about twenty minutes before I needed to get this up that I hadn't written it yet.  Hmmmm. Perhaps I can blame it on my memory.

So anyways, I am not going to be as wordy as usual but I did want to thank Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures for hosting this hop.  This hop caused me to remember just how much I enjoyed working with Jasper.  It is such a calming stone and for both necklaces, I just went into a zone where I was playing with the cool stone as I was knotting it up on waxed linen. 

This was the first necklace and all I added to it was the waxed linen and a jasper focal that I have had forever.  The delightful brass clasp and beads along with the beautiful, earthy Picture Jasper is all from the treasure trove that Lisa sent out.

This second necklace was when I was in my own little world and decided to get adventurous.  Since I didn't have a ready made focal (or at least one I was happy with), I decided to make one using a brass disc and a smaller ceramic focal.  I tied it all together with the Irish waxed linen I was using for knotting.  I wanted to pick up the blues that were in some ceramic beads I had added to the mix.

See not wordy at all for me.  And since you were able to breeze through this post so quickly, you have plenty of time to check out what everyone else has made.  I know that I can't wait though tonight is our potluck so I might be a bit delayed.

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot 
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog
Margaret Pelech, Big Margaret
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware (May be delayed a few days)
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design

Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Cassi Renee Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill
Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things (May be delayed a few days)
Marde Lowe, FanciMarDesigns
Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board
Leithleach Alainn Seodra, Alainn Jewelry
Lisa E. Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs

We're All Ears July Hop

I always mark this blog hop to remind myself to participate and then proceed to forget.  This month though I actually remembered especially as I had just made the earrings to fit this theme and then I saw the theme.  I bet that makes a lot of sense, doesn't it.  Let me try to explain. 

When my mother took me out for my birthday, there was a sailboat race happening outside of the window.  I love sailboats and it inspired me to come home and make up some earrings based on the shape of those sails.  The picture above is actually one that I took while we were out to dinner.  Now you can see where my original inspiration came from. 

And now for the earrings.  All of these will be donated to Ears to You which is a fantastic charity that gives earrings to girls and women who are undergoing chemotherapy. 

o check out what everyone else came up with, just click here.
Jul 17, 2014

Good Earth Challenge Hop

It looks like this was postponed by a week and I didn't get the notice.  So if you see this post twice, that is what happened.

One of the shining stars and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet is Andrew Thorton.  He owns a bead store/gallery up there in the cold north and loves to encourage people.  One of the ways Andrew does so is with his challenges.

Now I just love Andrew's challenges because we all start off with the same components and then the only limitation is our imagination.  Those are the yummy beads and findings above.  Now per the norm, I forgot to take a picture of the beads before so I borrowed this pic from Andrew's blog, The Writing and Art of Andrew Thorton.  Of course,we did receive a couple mystery items.

Now my imagination went almost directly to a bracelet.  Nope.  Not over that kick.  Especially as I have started to wear one a lot.  This style is comfortable, I pretty much put it on and then forget that I am wearing it.  Most of the beads I used in this came from the goodies I got from Andrew.   The orange polymer focal bead I used was the first of those mysteries.  I added on the brass ring and clasp as well as the two wooden beads that seems to be custom made for this mix.

Next up was the second part of the mystery items, this wonderful leaf focal.  I really wanted to highlight that focal so I went simple with copper, leather and a lampwork bead from Sue Beads.  This was the first time I have tried to hammer copper with a glass bead attached so it did involve holding my breath.

Here is a close of up of the focal.  This is a perfect necklace to toss on when it is hot though the colors would easily carry it through the fall.  The length is also adjustable so it gives you a lot of options on necklines.

I haven't used all the beads yet and you will be the orange polymer making an appearance during another blog hop.  Now this is a blog hop and there were several designers that all started out with the same kit.  I am sure that you are as curious as I am to find out what their imaginations came up with so be sure to check out what everyone else has come up with,

Andrew Thornton, Alison Herrington, Laurel Ross, Kim Griggs, Deb Floros http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/

Looking for tutorials?

((If you are looking for the Good Earth Challenge, click here.  It was postponed by a week and I was behind on my email and didn't find out in time.))

I admit it.  I am a Pinterest junkie.  I love to lay in bed before I go to sleep and look at all the pretty pictures.  I do have a goal (or is that how I explain away my addiction) though.  I want to build up one of the best collections of jewelry tutorials.  Right now I have almost a thousand pinned to my board, Beading: Tutorials

Or if you are looking for some inspiration for necklaces or bracelets, just click here to find out what makes my muse sit up and take notice.  And since earrings always stump me, here is a board just for inspiring earring designs.
Jul 16, 2014

Michael's Beading Challenge Blog Hop

This was one hop that I really thought that I was going to have to skip.  This hop is the brainchild of Heather of HumbleBeads and Lorelei of  Lorelei's Blog.  The idea was that all the participants would go to Micheal's and pick up some preselected beads.  Then we would share what we made with them today.  Well since money has been tight around here, I wasn't going to be able to play.

That all changed last Thursday when a friend of mine, Rita of Jewel School Friends, sent me some of what she had picked up to play with.  It was a total surprise and I was walking around with a smile on my face for the rest of the day. 

I went simple with a necklace for this hop for a couple reasons.  For one, I wanted one for myself in honor of the kind gift.  I also wanted it to be adjustable since I tend to layer my necklaces.  The second reason is that I have been having issues with my stomach due to the pain pills I was on after breaking my toe.  So I wasn't able to spend a lot of time in the studio playing with it.

I also want to apologize for the pictures.  As I was waiting for that perfect time to get pictures, we had a storm blowing in.  So I snapped a couple rather quickly outside while I was fighting with the wind.  It really does look much better in person.

The picture above is one I took on Monday when I wore this necklace into the office.  It's lightweight and really comfortable to wear.

I also made a pair of earring with the last of the wooden beads and a couple of the white beads that Rita sent to me.  This pair will be donated to Ears To You. 

Now there are several folks taking part in this hop so be sure to click here to check out what everyone else has done.  I am quite sure that you will see some real eye candy that will blow your socks off.
Jul 15, 2014

Art Bead Scene July Challenge

The Little Mermaid, 1911 by Edmund Dulac 
Pencil, pen, black ink and watercolour with scratching out on paper
12¼ x 9 7/8 in. (30.8 x 25.2 cm.)

I just love the picture chosen as an inspiration this month.  It has been rather hot and humid here and just thinking about this picture is almost as good as a dip in the ocean.  It also has some of my favorite colors in it.  It actually inspired me to design up two necklaces, so far.  Don't be surprised if a few more don't show up here this month.

This necklace was inspired by both the beauty of blue seas and the grotesque of the octopus's tendrils and the skull.  The lampwork tendrils are from Mandrel Beads.  These were knotted up with blue textile beads and bone beads.  It was all finished off with a simple sterling silver clasp.

I can't say for sure that this next necklace was inspired by the painting as I have had it in the back of my mind for a while but it certainly brought it for and pushed me to complete it.  This wonderful focal is from TinasBeadMind and it has a depth to the glaze that I couldn't capture in pictures no matter how hard I tried.

This is a simple necklace that is perfect to wear in the summer.  I knotted up the delightful focal with waxed linen and cultured sea glass from Znet Shows.  I made the length adjustable so that it would work with a variety of outfits.

Now like I said, don't be surprised if I have more sea related jewelry up this month.  I have already made myself a bracelet.  Just click here to see it.  And if you are baffled about this challenge, well click on the picture below and you will be taken to a page that will explain it all.
Jul 11, 2014

Random Ramblings

  • As I wandering about the ZNet Shows blog hop, I noticed that in a lot of my comments I mentioned the fact that it looks comfortable to wear.  That might seem a strange comment but with my fibro, I tend to be picky about how things feel against my skin.  So a comment that something looks comfortable is pretty high praise.
  • This is 1,001st post and I am planning a contest.  Just not sure what the prize will be yet but I will have one up within the next couple weeks.   In fact, since you are reading this, you can help me decide.  Should I give away a book, some beads or a custom made bracelet?

  • Speaking of bracelets, here's one that I made up for myself.  And yes it is comfortable.  I have also found that this style doesn't interfere with my typing when I am at work like my beloved bangles do.
  • It is definitely a relief to finish going through my email.  I was only looking at it sporadically when I was off last week and I always feel as though I am missing something.
  • I really need to take the time to get some good pics.  I need to get items up in my ArtFire store especially as I am getting brave enough to send in pics for online mags. 
  • Why is it that people don't seem to understand that on a scale of one to five that a three is an average rating and getting a four in a review is a good thing?
  • Had problems walking across the floor again and I ended up breaking my middle toe.  It has turned all kinds of pretty colors.   Looks like I am going to be off my feet for a while.  Oh well, gives me more of an excuse to design some more jewelry.
  • I have the best friends in the world.  Heather of Humblebeads Blog is holding a blog hop next Wednesday that sounded like loads of fun but I wasn't able to afford to get the beads to join in this time around.  Well I got a surprise package in the mail from Rita of Jewel School Friends with the beads for the hop.  What a great surprise!  I have been running around with a smile on my face all day.
Jul 7, 2014

Book Review: A Shiver of Light

I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. Legal name Meredith Gentry, because “Princess” looks so pretentious on a driver’s license. I was the first faerie princess born on American soil, but I wouldn't be the only one for much longer...

Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.

Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.

To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.

* * * * *

I was rather excited when I found out that Ms. Hamilton was going back to the world of Merry Gentry. I loved that series and have always been in lust with Doyle/Darkness. I wasn't as pleased with the execution. There were a few places where I was pulled out of the story to try to figure out just what was meant by a sentence. While I know that it wouldn't bother most people as we do tend to skip over punctuation when we read, it drives me nuts if I have to rewrite a sentence because of it.

She also went way overboard with describing the characters. I would appreciate a brief description since it has been years since she wrote the last book in this series but to get a complete one every time she sees one of her men. She could have furthered the plot rather then making the end so abrupt if she hadn't wasted the word count.

And the sex scenes. This is Merry and it has always been a rather sensual/sexual series but this time, it really felt forced. She has just given birth and her men haven't had sex for quite a while and we have to get in those sex scenes. I know... let's all do oral.

As you have probably gathered, I wasn't happy with the ending. Perhaps it had been an epilogue rather then the ending chapter, I would have been more satisfied (back to the editing). As it was, we skipped ahead to some unknown length of time to snip or tie off several threads. It was almost like "oops we forgot about that or this or that. Better let the reader know how it turned out.

This is one book that I am very glad that I got through the library as while I don't begrudge the time I spent reading it, I wouldn't have wanted to pay for the pleasure. I know that I am not usually this scathing but there was a lot of disappointment. 
Jul 5, 2014

ZnetShows Summer Challenge Blog Hop

Creative Spark Summer 2014

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to join ZnetShow's design team.  For those folks that have never heard about ZnetShows, they are an online source for gemstones, sea glass, long lasting glass pearls and findings that sells to both the individual and business.  Their quality is first rate and they are a true joy to work with.  In addition to their website, Znet Shows offers a quarterly e-mag Creative Spark, maintains a blog, and you can also find their boards on Pinterest.

Earlier this year, ZnetShows sent me the above batch of sea glass and I was asked to create jewelry to wear both on the hot summer days and the hotter summer nights.  I felt like I had recieved a dragon's hoard when it arrived and I was able to paw through my goodies.

I tend to be a night owl so I started out working on my set to wear on a summer evening.  I wanted this set to be one that I would wear on a night out with my husband and when it is warmer, I tend to not wear as many necklaces.  So a bracelet and earring set it was.

This set was designed using peridot Cultured Sea Glass and Tiaria Chinese Crystal Beads.  Now if you have never had the opportunity to check out ZNetShow's Tiaria crystals be sure that you take the time to do so.  I tend to prefer it over any other brand due to the wonderful coatings and colors they offer.  This set was done with Sahara Green which has both a green and purple color to it depending on the angle.

Next up is for the daytime and I wanted to turn the notion that pearls are only for evening wear on its head.  Pearls are for anytime especially if you are using Glass Pearls and Cultured Sea Glass.  This fun necklace is perfect to toss on with a t-shirt and capris.

Now this is a blog hop so be sure to check out what everyone else did with their hoard.  I am sure that you will find some great ideas on how to use cultured Sea Glass.