The Summer That Passed Us By . . . Almost

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The summer has almost passed us by; here it is the middle of September and though it is warm outside, we have not done any summer activities. No day trips and no kayaking, though one day we did buy grinders and go down to the park by the water with our granddaughter. We have not done any yard work except my husband has mowed the lawn from time to time; so we are feeling like summer has passed us by.

Because in June, after an eight day trip to California to visit family we came home to a water leak that came from the piping going to our master bathroom shower; our bedroom and bath were soaked. A dryer company came in and tore up the flooring down to the particle board and ripped off walls, but not all of them, just the ones damaged from the water and then set up big drying machines.   That lasted about eight days and they packed up and left; leaving behind striped floors and walls, gone.  We got a good contractor who did the work, he rebuilt the missing walls and saved us money wherever he could; as a result, we were able to get new bedroom windows; something I had wanted for years. We did a few left over small repairs and my husband washed the walls down and got them ready to paint. We painted for two days and when we got down to the trim, my sister came and helped and we were able to get it all done.

We were then ready for the floors to be done, the carpet was laid and the bathroom floor was laid. The bathroom was a bit of a process; first he made a template, and then cut thin plywood as a sub floor and then the vinyl.

If you remember when I first wrote about this in June, I ended the post by saying “I believe that when it’s all done, that I will see it as a blessing and how can you stress about that?” It’s been hard work for both of us, but mostly for my husband. I was able to have new windows, new drapes, bedspread, etc. and when we have put everything back in their places and have reorganized and weeded out, (this was the hard part); it is a blessing and I am enjoying our new bedroom.

We went out in our kayaks today, finally! Summer (what’s left of it) here we come!

California, Trees, Beading and Wire

Recently I went to California for a family reunion; I got to spend time with all my siblings; four brothers and one sister. My sister, husband and I flew into the Fresno airport and rented a car and drove to Mariposa. Mariposa is a town with no traffic lights; well there is a flashing light just outside of town, but that’s it. My dad was born in Mariposa, so as a kid my family spent many weekends and vacations up there. I remember when the sidewalks were made of wood and you had to step up a few steps to get to the sidewalk. They are now made of cement, but basically, they are still the same. Mariposa is about 40 miles from Yosemite, Midpines (an even smaller town) is where the family home was located, off of a dirt road.  A couple of the pictures are from a day trip into Yosemite.

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In Mariposa, much to the surprise of my sister and I, is a new bead shop. My sister in-law who lives in the area told us about the shop and so, the three of us went to check it out. It was a wonderful bead shop; it seemed to have a little bit of everything and a lot of different things. This is what I liked about the shop; that it was different from what I was used to.   I was able to look with new eyes at familiar items and I liked the room where classes are held; it was spacious. I bought a couple of tools that I had never come across before and have since proved useful and the Howlite beads and cabochon. I bead embroidered the cabochon and linked the beads with wire; I made a necklace with matching earrings and a bracelet. These pieces of jewelry will bring back memories of what a wonderful time I had there with family.

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The pine trees in the Mariposa area are dying; due to the drought they have become weakened and unable to resist the beetle. Over the landscape you can see the brown trees that have died, it’s sad to think what it will look like a few years from now. The pine trees have a sound all their own when the wind blows through them, a sound that even as a child, I found enjoyable.

I also took a class this past Saturday on how to make a bangle bracelet. I made a silver bracelet and one out of copper wire. The piece of silver cost me $25 to buy a foot of it, but the copper is made from 8 gauge wire that was bought at the Home Depot for 52 cents! I found that absolutely amazing.

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The gray and white piece is the Howlite I bought at the Bead shop in Mariposa and the two bangles shown together are the ones I made at the class I took last Saturday.

I hope you enjoyed the slide shows. :)

It’s All An Adventure!

Once again my friend reminded me that it’s been a month since my last blog post. I have been busy, but I really don’t like it when I go so long in between posts.

There is a slide show at the end of this post. :)

My sister, my husband and I took a trip to California to visit family, I am the youngest of six kids and my oldest brother is about 16 and a half years older than me; he lives in Iowa. Two of my brothers live in the Bay Area, and up until the past year or so the brother we stayed with had lived in Alaska; he finally retired and moved into the house my parents built when they retired and my sister and I live on the east coast. My brother’s house is just outside of Mariposa in the foot hills of the Sierra’s and about 35 miles from Yosemite. This is where my dad was born and as kids we spent many weekends and vacations in the cabin my dad had built as a young man. It’s hot, dry, and dusty there; you have tree frogs, salamanders, rattle snakes, bears and mountain lions and the list goes on. But there is no place like it; the sound of the wind blowing through the pines, the smell and feel of the air and the silence and it was great. When my parents retired, they tore down the cabin and built a house which my brother and his lovely wife remodeled. Anyway, as it turned out, all four of my brothers were there for the weekend, an event that hadn’t happened in 30 years when we had gathered for my dad’s funeral. We had such a great time together; a memory I will cherish.

After a week of great family time, we flew home with delays at both the Denver and Dulles airports. Once home we discovered we had a water leak in the pipe to our shower in our master bathroom; soaking the bedroom carpet and bathroom flooring. That’s when we started a new adventure! We had dryer people come in and they tore down walls and ripped up carpet and flooring and placed several big drying machines in the two rooms. The doors were kept close but whenever we went into the rooms it was well over 100 degrees. It’s not over yet; the repairs still need to be done to floors and walls. I could have looked at this as a disaster or as how I chose to look at it; as an adventure. I believe that when it’s all done, that I will see it as a blessing and how can you stress about that?

On the creative side of things:

I was able to finish the blue necklace in Kumihimo while traveling; it gave me something to do on the plane. Once home, I made the bail and finished the ends of the necklace.

There was a new bead shop in Mariposa, which was a delight to me and my sister.

I also signed up for one bangle class in July and four back to back classes in August on wire wrapping, honing those wire skills at Thistle Beads.

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Old Projects and More

When I wrote the post below, I couldn’t get the pictures to line up right; so I scraped it and then forgot about it.

But an old friend of mine who happened to go on my blog, emailed me asking about different projects, if I had finished them and so on. She had noticed that I had not posted since April, so thanks Sandy for the reminder.

Here is the post:

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It has been a week of finishing up old projects; I had three projects that I wanted to get done so that I could wear them, but I wasn’t working on them. So last week (Thursday) I went to open bead night at Thistle Beads in Niantic, CT (my favorite bead shop), I brought along one of the Kumihimo necklaces that had about one inch of it done. This particular necklace had been done already, but I misestimated how many beads and since it was a progression of beads, I couldn’t add more to one end when I came up short. The necklace would have been lopsided, so I took it all out and started over. So, I was excited because by the time I went home, it was over half done and I realized that if I worked on it that I could wear it to a luncheon I was going to on Saturday. So, I completed it and yes, I did wear it! This gave me the incentive to work on another Kumihimo necklace that had been in the works even longer than the other one. I finished it and then made the earrings to go with it. The last unfinished project I had left was a superduo tube necklace; I just finished it minutes ago; I already made earrings for it.

With all of the pending projects completed, I am free to start something new. I have a lavender ravoli that needs bezeling and I think I will start with that. I have beads to make a necklace for it, but I haven’t decided what kind of necklace just yet.

Happy beading everyone!


I have been in a midst of changes since March, it started with the birth of our second grandchild; ten years after our first. I was happy with one grandchild but two makes me twice as happy! Both are loved dearly.

Just a few days after the birth of our lovely granddaughter, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary of 42 years. Two weeks later my mother died; she was 92 ½ and she was tired, she had a sharp mind up to the very last and made her own decisions; something both my sister and I were grateful for.

And now, we are at the end of April and my oldest granddaughter who has been a major part of our lives since her birth is moving, she is moving out of state about ten hours away by car.  We will miss her very much.

Place mat

Place mat

Like I said, I have been in the midst of changes since March. Some have been life changing and some not so much. We got new carpet; I also bought a very large painting that hangs over our couch which will be replaced with a new couch, to be delivered this Saturday. Our new couch is a sleeper, so when our granddaughter comes to visit, she will have a place to sleep; instead of the air mattress she now sleeps on when she comes over. I made new curtains for my kitchen and now in the process of making place mats to match with left over fabric. We also got a new kitchen table set and this summer we will get a new floor.

IMG_3465I have done very little beading in the past few months, I have beads waiting to make a new pattern I want to try, several unfinished Kumihimo necklaces projects waiting to be finished and I made a bracelet, with wire. A favorite piece is this bracelet. I get various emails often from different beading venues and one sent me a link to a video of how to make this bracelet; so I watched the video. Then I got another email that said “Oops!” I wasn’t supposed to get that link; but since I did they said that I could enjoy it for a short time. And so I did and I decided to give it a try and I found it so easy to make and it came together quickly.

Tomorrow, I will be learning how to make the ‘Tree of Life’ pendent. I like working with wire, it’s a nice change and gives me a bit of variety, I don’t have to just sew, or just bead, I have choices.

And back to the changes, change is good and I use to have a saying; “I don’t mind change, it’s the process of change that I am not crazy about”. But now, I see change as a doorway to something else, something new and possibly exciting, something in a new direction. And though the process isn’t easy, it isn’t hard either, it’s just change and I am embracing it.


When I turned 17, my dad gave me a 50 pound box of wax. Puzzled by it, I asked him; “what am I supposed to do with 50 pounds of wax”? His response was; “make candles”! So that’s what I did. I bought candle molds, wicks, scents, and colorings and made candles, lots and lots of candles. I played around with pouring the wax at different temperatures and how it affected the color of the wax until I found an effect that I liked. I found that putting chunks of colored leftover wax into the mold and then letting the wax cool a bit before pouring it, gave the candle a marbled affect. That year, I gave away candles continually it seemed. Our ‘console’ TV was covered with white candles of different heights that Christmas, all lit up at night was more interesting than what was on the TV. The following birthday, my dad did the same, he bought me more wax.

Looking back on that now, I realized that my dad was encouraging me to be creative. He saw the creativity in me and wanted it to grow. My dad passed over 30 years ago and that memory of him still fills me with gratitude and love.

Why am I telling you this story? Because my dad saw in me a creative side and wanted to nurture it and that was his way of doing it. Being an ‘artist’ back then wasn’t something people wanted you to strive for. My guidance counselor in high school, who was supposed to steer me in my ‘natural’ aptitudes, said that even though I scored highest in creativity, he didn’t have a clue what I should do with that; he gave me no direction. This was in the late 1960’s when radical change was taking place; just not in my high school! I had wanted to take wood shop and wasn’t allowed because I was a girl.

This story doesn’t really have a direction to it, other than to say; encourage one another, help each other to reach their full potential. Sometimes all it takes is to tell them; ‘good job’!

Reflections on a Snowy Day

Reflections on a Snowy Day – stay tuned; a short slide show at the end!

It’s snowing outside and I don’t have to be anywhere today.

The holiday season was busy and fun. It started with Thanksgiving, a holiday here in the states where we think about all that we are thankful for. I like this holiday because it causes me to stop and think about all that I am thankful for and the end result is always joy.

The next event was my birthday, not a milestone year, but just as important because I can celebrate the fact that I was born and that I have lived another year. I do enjoy birthdays and though gifts on your birthday are nice, it’s not high on the list as why I enjoy birthdays so much and it’s not just my birthdays I enjoy. I am a firm believer that everyone should celebrate their birthday, because like I said, the fact that they were born is cause for celebration.

Twelve days after my birthday was Christmas, I know this holiday isn’t celebrated the same by everyone and some even abhor the holiday; but I love it! First of all, the greatest gift of all was given to the world; Jesus. It’s also a time with family and though ours was a little bit different than our usual, it was very enjoyable. Every year, my husband and I cook a Christmas breakfast, the menu kept going back and forth from something easy to our usual which is; an egg bake casserole, hash brown casserole, bacon and sausage, orange juice, three different pastries, toast and coffee; I don’t think I left anything out. My older son and his wife came, my sister, my younger son and his girlfriend and my granddaughter were all here and we feasted and exchanged gifts. Afterwards, everyone left and went to other celebrations and my husband and I for the first time ever spent Christmas day just the two of us. We were tired from all the prep work and after we cleaned the dishes up, we had a relaxing day. Cooked ourselves a wonderful simple steak dinner, our steak was tender and we had baked potato and roasted asparagus and shared a bottle of wine. It was a great day.

My twin niece’s birthdays came next and quickly followed by my daughter in-law’s birthday; but we didn’t celebrate my daughter in-law’s birthday until after the New Year.

New Year’s Eve was just my husband and I and we spent it quietly, we watched TV and about 11:45 after I saw Taylor Swift perform on the New Year’s Eve count down special we were watching on TV, we decided to call it a night and I fell asleep before the year ended and the new one begun. I think I do this every year; it’s the only time I can say goodnight to my husband and add, ‘see you next year!’

And now, it’s a snowy day and I have no where that I have to be. I think I will bead after I make a glutton free cake for my mom.

And speaking of beading, I participated in a bead swap this past fall. Thistle Beads hosted the bead swap, we all turned in beads we wanted made into something to Thistle Beads and we gathered a couple of months later to get back what we had turned in. It was kept a secret as to who had whose beads and so nobody knew what to expect what they turned in would look like when they got the beads back made into something. We gathered about six days before Christmas and had a party and we gave back the finished piece;. I had been given two tubes of superduos and gave a white opal crystal ravoli. I made a bracelet with the superduos and Lynn loved it, she works with metals, not beads, so it was something she wouldn’t have done herself. I got back this wonderful necklace done up in a black and white, something I would never have done for myself or even think I would know how; it was made by a bead designer, Anita.

It’s a new year and new creative possibilities, set do-able goals and make plans; it’s all good!

Happy New Year! J

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