Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bird of Paradise

Way back my brother-in-law went to Hawaii and brought back some Bird of Paradise seeds. We each received one and we have had plant(s) ever since. It is now as old as our oldest daughter (I’m not giving out the year to protect the innocent - which includes me)

Anyhow, we have had very good luck with blossoms and this one came into bloom just before we left for Christmas vacation. There are two others too but this is the best picture.

We could divide the plant into several smaller plants. This one resides in large "garbage" can with wheels on it. However, the wheels really don't help when it comes to moving it. They all reside outside during the summer and it is always a big production when we move the "forest' inside or outside. My husband has a "ramp" to go up the two steps (one at a time) from the front side walk into the front hall. Then around the corner to the place of honor in the living room front windows. Several other plants are there also.

My jewelry table and shelves are next to the "forest" and it makes a cozy place to do my designing and construction of my pieces.

This picture gives a little more perspective on the space involved. (Our ceilings are 10 feet tall and the windows are to the left - the Christmas tree is in the door way to the hall) It is nice to have some beautiful flowers in the winter time.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goals and new things for 2009

While we were still on vacation in MD, my husband, all my kids and grandchildren took off to see the Air and Space Museum in VA. (It was raining and I opted not to go since I was still getting over my head cold.) So I was surfing for new things to learn and learn about.

It has been pointed out to me by several websites, newsletters etc that it is a "must" to have video on your web sites and blogs (unless you want to be behind) Of course, I don't want to be behind, so I've been looking into how to make a video for my web site and/or blog.

My mind is spinning! When it comes to communicating in the modern age, I do have a cell phone. But I never turn it on unless I want to call someone when I'm away from home. (Ask my daughter) So, iPods, Blackberries and the like are beyond me. But I've been working on it.

I now know about Audacity, and something called Lame MP3 and you must have iTunes on your computer to put it all together. (Even though I have a PC) I think I will need at least a microphone to do the audio file which is how I thought I'd start. My camera does short videos which does include the audio. Need to get organized but one step at a time.

I progressed during the afternoon while all by myself, to down load Audacity and iTunes. Now, I must explain that I had also, at the same time, completed about 6 inches of a fiber Kumihimo necklace I've been working on. You know the status lines that show the progress of your download? Cracks me up: 33 minutes left, 39 minutes, 20 minutes, 70 % Oh, yes, that was just for the first step. Now status is 25 minutes, 33 minutes. and so on and so forth!

Thus Kumihimo accomplished!!

And soon they came home! More later.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to you all!

(I'm taking a week off from blogging to visit family and celebrate Christmas and the New Year)

Best Wishes for the New Year and see you all soon.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Chain Maille teacher gifts

My daughter is a former preschool teacher and has definite ideas of appreciated Christmas gifts for teachers. So, when it comes to giving teacher gifts for her own kids she is particular. No chocolate, no mugs etc.

I wasn't surprised when she asked if I had any of her favorite Chain Maille earrings. She likes the simple three ring mobius earrings I make. Well, it turned out that I did not have any already made.

I told her that if I had the correct ring size in stock, I could make them for her. It turned out that I usually use 18 gauge, 7 mm but I only had 6 mm. That would be OK, she told me.

So, with in an hour, we had some nice teacher gifts. It is nice to be able to do that.

I hope the teachers will like them.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CA observations by a North Easterner

Just thought I'd post some observations of California, from my point of view, as someone from the northeast.

We saw some nice looking wind farms on the way from Pleasanton to Modesto. (See MA, they don't look bad. In fact they were nice to look at while we were driving along the highway. Maybe MA should try them)

My son cut the grass on Saturday (We, in MA, haven't cut the grass since late October)

There are red roses blooming outside, plus pansies and snap dragons and all sorts of "spring" flowers.

The weather man said there was a cold spell coming this weekend. The high is going to maybe reach 50. Actually they predicted snow above 1,000 feet in elevation. (Note it was 52 in Boston, MA)

There are palm trees in northern CA. I thought they were just in southern CA. Not so, I guess.

Many "regular" trees still have their leaves. (They have to rake well into January, I guess)

Unless you ski, you don't have boots or really warm coats either.

Last night my grandson said "It is going to hail tomorrow" We all wondered how he came to that conclusion. But when we looked out side this afternoon we saw:

The hail stones do not show very well but they were there!

Well, we should be on our way home by now. I'll post more later when I have adjusted to the "jet lag"


Monday, December 15, 2008

Third Kumihimo Bracelet

This bracelet is a bit plain compared to some of my other Kumihimo bracelets but it is one of those go with most everything colors.

The color on the package named it "Iris" and in fact the seed beads do look like all colors of Iris that I've ever seen (well, in blues anyhow) It is hard to get a good picture of the color variations plus the iridescence of the color.

It is finished with a small heart lobster claw toggle.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Second Kumihimo Bracelet

I really like this one. The long focal in the middle has blues and greens swirled around the length of the bead.

I found a nice mixture of beads that range from light blue to a darker blue with pinks and peridot colors that seem to compliment the focal bead.

I used a secure lobster claw clasp to finish the bracelet.

I have one more to share with you soon.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flight from Boston to San Francisco

Our flight to CA was uneventful and from Boston to Iowa (I know because the pilot told us so) we were above a thick layer of clouds. This is the view from my seat.

A word of caution when picking seats on an airline. Do NOT choose the row behind the exit row. They get extra room for the exit but YOU loose it. I've squeezed in smaller spaces in misaligned church pews!

I did take my Kumihimo ready to make a bracelet (though I found out later they let someone on with knitting needles.)

Because our ride to Logan Express had to be early we had several hours to kill at the airport. So, I pulled out my Kumihimo project. Drew lots of attention. "What is that?", "My that looks complicated" etc. Very interesting. I finished about 1/4 of the bracelet during that time period which was good since I had NO room to do any on the plane. If I had dropped any beads they would have been goners. The lady in the third seat with us took off her shoe and had to have the flight attendant help her to retrieve it.

Anyhow, the trip was good. I discovered that you get a l-o-n-g sunset going west. The plane really tries to catch up with the sun but doesn't quite make it.

I took several pictures of the sunset but the plane was not oriented just the way I would have liked it for a picture but for going to SFO - just right.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Violet and Black Kumihimo Bracelet

This is one of the Kumihimo bracelets I made while on vacation at Thanksgiving time. I showed a picture of it unfinished in a previous post.

I found a nice sterling silver square toggle with some cute flowers as decoration to use for the clasp.

It gives it a nice finish I think.

I still have a bit of problem with the color though it doesn't look blue anyhow as my first pictures did. The colors are black and light violet. Actually, it is a pretty good color, at least on my monitor.

I have two more bracelets to show soon.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Up, up and Away!

We are off.... to California!

My son's birthday, a grandson's and granddaughter's birthdays are all in December. (Makes for interesting Holiday planning) Anyhow, we were invited to help celebrate this year and of course we said OK!

So, today we are on a flight to SFO. San Francisco. Only with a my raincoat - no boot, winter coat, scarf and gloves. Makes airplane traveling easier with out all those trappings. When you go in a car, you can always just throw those things in the back seat.

However, since it is a 6 hour flight, I'm disappointed not to be able to take some of my jewelery supplies with me. I've been told they frown on such things as wire cutters and pliers. Almost impossible to make something with out those items.

So, I'll be taking my Kumihimo disk, loaded with beads and bobbins. They are all plastic and the bobbins should keep the beads secure. My other, very real fear, is having little seed beads all over aisle. How embarrassing would that be?

So, I may be not posting for awhile as we enjoy our trip and family.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Blog side bar

I'm sure you all look up and down the right side bar of my blog. I just added a widget that allows you to send email wishes for the Holidays to soldiers in the service. It has been around last year, I believe but it certainly bears repeating. You can choose from several different designs and send to one or more soldiers. You do not get a choice of who the email will be sent to but it really doesn't matter.

I also have a link to my second selling web site, 1000 Markets. It is just getting off the ground (both 1000 Markets and my store too) so check back at other times too. (My guess, for me, after the first of the year when, I hope, I'll have more time.)

I also have a list of some other blogs that I frequent, in case you might like them too. I haven't checked out the Closet Cooking blog lately but if you are looking for something different (but not exotic or hard to make) you'll find it there.

Also, The Beading Gems Journal where you can pick up some of the most interesting information on jewelry and lots of other things.

I've added our Co-Pastor's blog "More than Sunday" also. Pastor Johnny's blog has some great posts you'll be sure to enjoy.

I found a widget that allows you to do a search of the blog. I even use that when I'm looking for a post to reference.

Take some time, when you have ready the current post, to see what else is on my blog.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Chia Pets and being remembered.

Every once in awhile I get really silly. I've had this cold that has been hanging on for about 3 weeks. And I'm blaming the silliness on the cold. I was going to get my hair cut this morning and heard the Chia Pet commercial. Now for the silly part. When else do you hear about Chia Pets except at the Holiday time? The ads seem to come out in full force. (Much like the recent politial ads)

You know they must sell or they would not keep on with the yearly sales pitch. They have expanded. You can find almost anything in a Chia Pet. See Shrek above?

Here is the original commercial (Thanks to YouTube)

Now wouldn't it be great to have been the person to discover Chia Pets? (I told you I am feeling silly) Aside from the profit, would you like to be remembered for making Chia Pets? Well, that much money would be hard to set aside but would you?

What would you want to be remembered for?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lexie's request

I subscribe to Lexie's Caring Bridge web site updates. I received an update this morning with a simple request from Lexie. (She does not ask for much!)

Here is her request written by her Mom, Alice Williams:

"We are doing well, and Lexie is getting very excited about the upcoming Holiday, as you can see by her choice of backgrounds here- !!! She has a request, if you have a minute- Lexie would like to get a message from someone in every state between now and Christmas Day !!! Could anyone who lives anywhere write her, and ask your friends who live in obscure states to leave her a message ??? I know this a challenge, but she rarely asks for much, so this must feel important to her !!!
Thanks everyone-

You can read the whole post at

You can go to the site and leave a message for her. She has quite a few already but one from every state - not sure.

Thanks to you all. Remember how lucky we are to be healthy.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Science with a Mission

It has been awhile since I posted about Science with a Mission. SMI, for short, is a non-profit organization founded by Alynne MacLean.

In developing countries, many people never see the inside of a hospital or clinic. As a result, people often die from preventable diseases due to not being diagnosed. Currently, the majority of tests to diagnosis diseases require expensive equipment, electricity, trained technicians, etc. all of which are often unavailable in many parts of developing countries. SMI's tests do not require electricity or expensive equipment so they can be used in remote areas. They can also be used in mass screenings.

Alynne is one of many Christians who live out their faith. She has a Doctorate in Chemistry and in the year 2000 quit her job as a chemist at Biogen, Inc. to start Science with a Mission. The local lore (which I believe) has Alynne living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until she was able to take a small salary to cover her expenses. I could go on about her many accomplishments but you can read some at her web site at

And my personal favorite entitled "Be A Pencil". You can read it here

Anyhow, as a means of helping Alynne and Science with a Mission, I have designed a bracelet that I sell for a $25 donation. (50% goes to SMI) See picture above

You can purchase the bracelet on my web site

Suggestion: they make great Christmas gifts. (Win - Win)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Romanov Chain Maille

Awhile ago I mentioned that one of the reasons I liked the Byzantine pattern of Chain Maille was that it was so versatile and you could make many different patterns from the basic Byzantine segment.

Well, here is another example. (The one I showed was Olivia - on Nov 7) By just joining the segments in a different way you can come up with the one shown here. It is usually called the Romanov pattern.

To make it a little more fancy, I added Hematite beads in the center.

Many other variations exist. I have one with cobalt beads and one made with different size rings and on it goes.

Which do you prefer the Olivia or Romanov?


Monday, December 1, 2008

Vacation Kumihimo bracelet

We got back from a week on Cape Cod on Saturday. We had a great time with many relatives joining us for Thanksgiving. Five from NH, two from NJ, four from MA, two from VT and one from MD. The usual gathering - rounds of Pinochle, jig saw puzzles with my youngest grandson. (The one who doesn't take "no" for an answer) The older grandson was more interested in the adult card games and is slowly learning how to play Pinochle. He'll be a "Carlson" yet. We also had several games of "Oh, Hell"and interesting round of Balderdash late Friday night. Plus lots of food!

My husband and I arrived on Saturday and had several days before the others came. So, I had some time to make some jewelry. Not having much in the way of Internet access, it took me until Wednesday to find out I had an order for 7 Lexie Bracelets. Yay! Fortunately, that is one of the things I was working on, until I ran out of daisy spacers. (They are on order) So I started some Kumihimo bracelets. It is impossible to bring everything you need to make jewelry, so, they are not finished but I thought I'd share what is finished. The "mixture" of seed beads in the first bracelet seems to pick up the colors in the focal bead.

The second one is black and violet. Now (my excuse and I'm sticking to it) is that I didn't have much other than my camera with me to take pictures. That is the coffee table in our little house in the background. The worst picture is the only one that shows the color as violet. All the others came out black and blue. Got to work on that when it is finally finished with a clasp and all.

Sorry for the poor pictures but that's the way it is right now. I hope the daisys come tomorrow so I can get busy on the Lexie bracelets and the last show of this season on Saturday. (Homepsun Treasures in North Easton, MA)

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving too.