Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pocket MOnsters give away

October is tomorrow & I just can't wait. My favorite month of the year because I love the Fall weather, I love pumpkins, and I love Halloween! When I was growing up in Los Angeles, we'd spend weeks trying to figure out what we were going to wear to go trick or treating. Now this was back in the days when kids went out and night (yes! when it was DARK!) without parental supervision with pillow cases crawling the neighborhoods begging for candy. In LA, begger's night was always on Halloween the 31st. It was shocking when we moved to Ohio & found out it was Oct. 30th & you could only be out for 4 hours. How could you get enough candy to last until Christmas? I remember one year so vividly as Halloween was on a Sunday, so our town let kids go out BOTH the 30th & the 31st! We made out like bandits. My Mom let us cross the 4 lane road separating our neighborhood with the other & there was virgin candy beggin' ground. I think we had candy until Easter that year. And I'm not talking about tiny little pieces of hard candy...I'm talking about bars of chocolate and bags of popcorn balls! We were so bloated. I remember coming home with our loot (what we didn't eat on the run) & pouring it all out on sheets my Mom had in the front room. There's she's sort through it all taking her cut (Heath bars, and Pay Days) as she did help us with out costumes. So I do have fun memories of Halloween. What's yours?

To celebrate the day before October, I'm showing you a new treat I've been working on. My bead Muse has been in a slump lately, but I've been practicing sewing away. I call these Pocket Monsters. It all started when I ripped the pocket off a shirt & looked at it & decided it would be perfect for something. Then a glance at my scrap bag & and ideas! Delivery of Pocket MOnsters! I've got a big basket of a dozen so far. They are so fun to make that I can't help myself. Would you like one???? Leave me a comment with your e-mail by October 15th. & I'll pick out one lucky follower to get one of these scary scary monsters by Halloween.

Chris is busy working on our vacation pictures still. He is almost done. Here's another picture of the coast of Kauaii. I want to go back! I can see that my tan is slowly going away. Boy don't I miss the Sun.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

give aways & vacation

I just got this message from Ray over that Lark Crafts. Two fabulous give away items. One is a free download of the Helixa Necklace project from Sarah McConnell's One Big Beautiful Bead (I must download this now!) and then a chance to win one of the fabulous books that Lark makes (the non-Jewelry Lark Jewelry & Beading 500 series books, including the beaded objects, metal vessels, knives, glass beads, Judaica, enameled objects, and polymer clay entries in the 500 series). I love the Lark books. They are so well put together & the perfect books to go through when you are having a slump like me & need to jump kick the Muse. Which ones do I want? Well, of course the 500 beaded objects (can you believe I don't have that?) and I thought that metal vessel books look intriguing. The book giveaways are only for US residents & will be open until this coming Monday Oct. 4th. So hurry over to Lark Craft for a chance to get one of these books.

And Chris has been working on his thousands of pictures from Kauai vacation this month. This one is from the end of the road looking out North at the Napali Coast. And if you think real hard, yes you have seen this place before. Remember Jurassic Park??? Well that was filmed in Kauai & this is the place where the helicopters flew for the first glimpse of the island. Isn't it a beautiful place? While Chris was taking photos, I just sat & watched the clouds come up over the peaks and roll down into the valley. Then my attention was grabbed by the ferns and other plants growing around. This is truly a magical place. I'll post more once he sends them over to my computer. He is also working on taking these photos and making them into a book as a memento of our vacation. Costco will do this for a pretty reasonable price.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Excuse me-I have to rant!

I rarely use my blog to rant about something, but yesterday my dander just got all into a ruff. About what you might ask? My answer is about fast food or in particular-McDonald's. Yesterday on the way home from Costco during rush hour, we decided to just pop into the drive through & grab a quick bite to take home as we were both too tired to even think about cooking. I was surprised at how fast the line was moving as it was whip/whip/whip...done! I think it was only about two minutes from placing the order to driving away with a bag. BUT! as soon as we got out into traffic, Chris decided to open the bag & take a small bite of a few french fries...they were stone cold ! COLD! I'd say it was only 30 seconds after we pulled away from the drive through. The traffic was too backed up to let me go back & complain (which I have numerous times) so we decided to just head home which was only 5 minute drive. Chris only ate about 4 or 5 cold fries during that time. We get home, open the bag & funny but the medium order which was mine was almost full, but his large order was only 1/2 full...and we didn't eat that many! So needless to say, the medium order of fries had more french fries than the large. Another complaint I've had before! Then the sandwiches themselves which were also cold as ice, were soggy and tasteless. That's it! I'm through with fast food as my rant includes other fast food establishments like Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, and especially Kentucky Fried Chicken. They are all banned from now on...forever. I've had enough of bad cold food which is advertised on television as hot & fresh, or fun and tasty, or value and nutritious!

I know fast food it bad for me, but I use to love it so much. I remember my Dad driving all the way to San Bernadino from El Monte for us to get McDonalds burgers and fries. And I would make a trip to Burger King once a week in college to treat myself. Wendy's was a special place we'd go to get a hot fresh burger, but all that is long long long gone. Now fast food establishments as so concerned about time that they've forgotten about taste! And from my above rant you can see they don't even serve food hot anymore. Wendy's talk about hot & fresh, but their french fries are always limp and cold & I do say that hamburger has shrunk every year. Burger King puts more salt on any of the foods just to disguise the taste of inferior meat. And KFC is just bad! It taste like the grease is weeks old & you have to scrap the grease off the inside of your mouth with each bite. Taco Bell...well, though tolerable, it too is now on my banned list because of tastelessness!

Time, time, timing. That is all this is about. Fast to the maximum! Feed the masses fast! Time, time, time! I don't care if I can get in & out of the drive through in less than 2 minutes...I care if the $10 I spent isn't wasted & all the food gets fed to the dogs because it is cold. Has this world got so time oriented that everyone has forgotten that to take a few extra minutes and serve something that is hot or even warm is more important. I guess not as I've noticed this trend for the last couple of years in all fast food. And don't let me even start on service if you walk in! I told Chris that from now on instead of FAST food, we'll go to someplace like Steak & Shake which for a couple extra dollars you get hot food & service above and beyond. Or just go ahead and go to someplace like Applebees which will treat you like a human being once there instead of a "timed" number. Or if I'm really in a hurry...I'll bring my own snacks & wait until I get home.

Okay, I've ranted...and I mean it when I say Fast food is now banned for me. I'm done throwing away my money on poor prepared, tasteless, and cold FAST food. Enough!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Kauai moment

Isn't this a lovely shot? It is a morning Sunrise in Kauai. We'd wake up every single morning before dawn (probably because we were still on East Coast Time). I'd make some Kona coffee & we'd both sit outside on the lanai & watch as the skies would turn pink & mauve. Chris got a brand new Sony camera that takes panorama pictures. On this morning, while I was getting ready for a early morning excursion, he walked down to the beach on the resort property and got this beautiful morning picture. Every morning was a surprise in explosive colors and got our blood humming and wanting us to get out and explore.

Along with the colorful Sunrise each morning, we were also awaken by the crowing of the many roosters all over the island. They were every where! Chickens on the beach, chickens along the side of the road, chickens at the top of the mountains. When we took a boat ride up the Napoli coast, Captain Bernard asked if we'd all take at least 10 home with us. So we were wondering what was it with the chickens. Was it some Hawaiian thing we didn't understand? Nope, here is the answer. Hurricane Iniki hit the south of the island on September 11th, 1992:

Hurricane Iniki made landfall on the south-central portion of Kauaʻi island, bringing its dangerous inner core to the entire island.[1] Upon making landfall the hurricane produced storm tides of 4.5–6 feet (1.4–1.8 m), with some portions of the coastlines having high water marks of up to 18 feet (5.5 m). In addition, strong waves of up to 35 feet (10.5 m) in height crashed along the southern coastline for several hours, causing a debris line of more than 800 feet (250 m) inland. Because it moved quickly through the island, there were no reports of significant rainfall.[3]

Hurricane Iniki making landfall on Kauaʻi

Hurricane Iniki's making landfall during daylight hours, combined with the popularity of camcorders, led many Kauaʻi residents to record much of the damage as it was occurring. The footage was later used to create an hour-long video documentary.[5]

Wind damage to trees from Iniki

Hurricane Iniki's high winds caused extensive damage in Kauaʻi. 1,421 houses were completely destroyed, and 63 were lost from the storm surge and wave action. 5,152 homes were severely damaged, while 7,178 received minor damage.[1] On the south coast, hotels and condominiums received severe damage as well. A few were restored quickly, though some took several years to be rebuilt. One hotel—the Coco Palms Resort famous for Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii—never reopened after the hurricane.[6] Destroyed housing across the island left more than 7,000 people homeless after the storm's passage.[7]

Sidewalk and tree damage from Iniki

Iniki's Category 4 winds also downed 26.5% of the island's transmission poles, 37% of its distribution poles, and 35% of its 800 mile (1300 km) distribution wire system. The entire island lacked electricity and television service for an extended period of time.[7] Electric companies restored only 20% of the island's power service within four weeks of Iniki, while other areas were without power for up to three months. Also affected by the storm was the agricultural sector.[1] Though much of the sugar cane was already harvested,[7] what was left was severely damaged. The winds destroyed tender tropical plants like bananas and papayas and uprooted or damaged fruit and nut trees.[1]


Because of Iniki, chicken coops all over the island were knocked down & the chickens had not been recaptured. Therefore, they went out and populated the whole island with wild chickens. So chickens abound every where & you could hear the roaster all the time screaming out. We'd read about people complaining that they couldn't sleep because of these roosters, but didn't bother us as we were up before they were. I guess this once it was helpful to still be on Ohio time. But they were interesting to watch as I'd never see wild chickens before. Some were very aggressive if you even walked near them. They did know how to keep out of the way of cars! Or maybe drivers were just afraid of them!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back from Kauai

YES! I was on vacation for a whole week & still have a few more days before I have to go back to work. I didn't post much about it as I'm leery with all this broadcasting of our lives on the Internet & people finding out you are not home & robbing your house. Paranoid thoughts, but they are happening all the time. Let me tell you that it was so hard not to tell everyone every single day of our upcoming trip, but I was good. I didn't blab. We've been planning this trip for over 4 months. Where did we go???? Hawaii! We decided to go to the Garden Island of Kauai which is one of the more northern island of the chain. I wanted to spend time someplace on the beach & quiet. After spending hours looking at each island, I decided that Kauai was just perfect for us. Then we both spent days trying to find good flights, good hotels, and good sight seeing places. I wound up going through Orbitz and got a great package deal. We flew to Chicago the day after Labor Day, then a nine hour flight on United to Honolulu. Were we ever tired as I couldn't sleep the night before & woke Chris up at 2am when our flight wasn't until 8am. We had a nice lunch in Honolulu airport meeting two folks from Arkansas that had been on our Chicago flight. Hi Kara & Mark! Then to Lihue on a flight that was just as exciting as a ride at the county fair. The Hawaiian Airline plane took off fast & furious sweeping over the island giving us a good view of Wikki & Diamond Head, then out to the Pacific & on to Lihue which was another joy ride to the ground. At Hertz, they asked if I wanted a big car...sure I said not realizing that all the parking lot spaces were made for small I got a "big boat" of a Mercury Marquis and off to the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beach Boy. Chris called & got us an ocean view room the week before. What a beautiful condo! We sat out on our lanai even though we were totally exhausted and watched the surf crash onto the rocks out on the beach. Leaving both patio doors opened, we feel asleep to the sound of the surf. Talk about lulling a person to sleep.

Then awake & days of fun & adventure! More later as we get the hundreds of pictures Chris took while we were there all organized & ready to post. Here is one picture of me & Benjamin Bunny meeting a new friend at the Kauai Coffee Estate.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another box

I was quit these past months, busy doing this & that. Trying to get things done at work, at home, in my studio. All the time Fiona's health was constantly in the back of my mind nagging me. So to ease my constant brain triggering, I let my heart & hands take over at times and work on this box. Yes, it is a box. Someone gave it to me last year, and I've liked the eight sided shape of it, but didn't like the funny girlie pattern on it. So right after I finished the hedgehog jar, I started on the elephant box. Chris cut the plastic elephant for me & took his dremel to flatten the back & smooth out the rough edges. I used wool felt for the base, epoxied the plastic toy elephant in

the center & just started to bead. As usual, I never have any premade plans on how it is going to look so even I'm surprised at the outcome. I like this box. It is very sparkling with earthy tones to it. The edge of the box is a square stitch chain that is 22 (yes, that's right twenty two) inches long! It was hypnotic to just sit watching Lawrence of Arabia when it was on Turner Classic Movie as my fingers wove the bugles and seed beads into this chain. Then I painted the whole box with black gesso. Linda Apple turned me on to black gesso last year, and I think it really makes a wonderful starting point to a project. When that was dry, I painted the box with two coats of a glitter paint that I bought from Joanns on a whim. I love it! I need to go back & see if they have it in other colors. I'm letting it all dry very well & when it is completed all the way, then I'm going to take some favorite pictures and Mod Podge them into the lid of the box & glue a layer of felt on the bottom. What will go in it? I haven't a clue, but I'm sure some treasure will finds its way in there.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bead Journal Project-June

When I started this year's Bead Journal Project using the theme of Secret Treasures, I thought it would be a breeze. And so it did in the beginning. I could usually do the beading and construction of the actual recycled jar in only a few days, but choosing the piece to go into the jar and then actually telling the story of the piece is what has taken time and "challenged" my Muse. For June, I was stuck. I had the jar completed and I had the piece to put into my Treasure jar, but the story just wasn't fit to tell anyone.

My Summer started out in a bad tone. I was so excited in going to Lexington to take the Tambour Beading class, but it was an act in frustration for me. I should never have taken the class as it was for advanced people, and I didn't have a clue. In the past, if anything comes along where I use my hands, then I have no problem figuring it out even if my fingers and eyes twisting and turning until I've mastered the technique. But not this time. I struggled so hard to even figure out the first thing causing me to get more and more frustrated as the weekend went along. And when I get frustrated with something, that is it! I do the "sour grapes" thing trying to talk myself into hating what it is that I can't do. But I paid for this class, so I went even though I'd only spend 3-4 hours a day because I was determined NOT to let this foil my supposedly fun filled weekend. I'm usually a very cheery fun student wanting to talk & chat & socialize with my fellow students, but not this time either. I don't know if it was that I felt so out of place, or my frustration just put a big aura of "don't talk to her" sign around me. I was isolated in my inability to figure this all out. I finally did, but by then it was too late. My mood was ruined, and that was that. So began my Summer.

I enjoyed going out to Tacoma for the Puget Sound Bead Festival meeting new people & learning new techniques (which didn't frustrate me this time around) and visiting with my best buddy. But under all this was calls from Ohio telling me Fiona was getting more & more ill. I enjoyed my week, but I knew there was going to be pay back. And brother was there and still is. So all along there has been this dark undertone to everything this Summer. As too it has with the story that I wanted to tell about my June BJP.

For June, I wanted to put my class ring from Portsmouth High into a green jar, but I was so black with mood swings about everything that all I could think of were dark sad thoughts. I love my baby brother, Victor, so much. He & I can talk for hours about everything, but he is such a busy man with his 4 growing children, but I called him to talk to him about Portsmouth and this rage I carried in me. He grew up in Portsmouth. He was born in Portsmouth. He loves Portsmouth. Me? My parents moved back to Portsmouth Ohio in 1967 when I was in 8th grade from Los Angeles. It was a nightmare for me being pulled out of school and friends I'd known since 3rd grade and put into a strange situation that was beyond coping. I still have so many bad memories of going to school and living there. I wanted to write about this ring, but how to do that & NOT get caught up in hate. The ring itself is my version of difference. Everyone else bought their class rings from the vendor that came into the High School so all their rings could look alike except for small differences. I didn't want that. I was different and was treated different, so I wanted something I could wear on my finger to show that I was what they all saw me as...strange, different, odd. I talked to Victor about this, and told him I truly wanted to get all this away from me. I thought blogging about all these past experiences of those 5 years would help me get this out of me. To be sixteen years younger than I is something when he with his soothing voice told me, I needed to put that ring in the jar along with all my dark black thoughts and seal it up and never open it again. Let all that wither in that jar and then instead write about good thoughts about Portsmouth. So I am going to do that. I put the ring in the jar last night when I finished the pictures...the past is in there with it.

Things I remember about Portsmouth:

Walking along the foggy streets dashing from one pool of light pouring down from the street lamps.
Rolling down the blazing leave colored hills around Portsmouth in the Fall when Daddy hunted for berries in the brambles.
Eating hamburgers on a snow day with money we'd made shoveling snow with Jerry and Cheryl.
The day Victor was born.
Meeting Chris for the very first time at Shawnee State's library and knowing this was HIM.
Sitting on the front porch of our 11th street house swinging and singing with Jerry & Cheryl while Jerry attempted to let the whole state of Ohio hear his off key voice.
Sitting on the Flood wall watching the barges slowly crawl up and down the Ohio River.
Riding my bicycle up the hill with the frosty hair pulling hairs from out of my cap.
Sitting with Grandma on her huge porch in August listening to the insects sing.
Cheryl & I laying on our beds listening to Bread over and over again on our turn table.
Playing in the sprinklers with Jeannette and Teresa.
Noel Family gatherings where my uncle who had a blue grass band would let me play my Accordian with them and not grimcing.
Buying my first car and being so proud of its paisley top and interior.
Picking the peas out of Teresa's Vegetable soup.
Watching Star Trek IN COLOR with Grandpa who'd then drive me back home because everyone else was watching Bewitched.
Sundays with everyone crowded around the television watching Bonanza.
The Christmas season downtown where all the stores where decorated and everyone was truly happy.
The candy stand at Kresages where the lady would let you have 25 cents worth of chocolate covered anything!
My first real adult job as a Pharmacy Technician at Scioto Memorial Hospital
Spending the nights with Mom Gray rocking in chairs and listening to radio plays.
Eating homemade noodles at my Aunt Rosie's house.
Telling jokes to my Uncle's Doc & Charles and they laughed!
Christmas I gave Victor the 1000 piece Martian landscape kit and seeing my Dad roll his eyes.
Driving my Plymouth Satellite out into Shawnee Forrest on a dirt road, rolling out a blanket and just sitting quiet listening to the breeze.
Taking Victor to school on his first day. And the teacher thinking I was his Mom.
Victor calling me Mom and laughing as he ran way.
Cheryl & I walking down to Shaeffers to get a bottle of Pepsi.
Icy cold sips of water at Kenny Springs.
Tangerine ice cream.
Getting a fog pass at the Johnda Lou drive in in Wheelersburg while trying to watch Marthon Man.
Driving around Shawnee Forrest with Chris at night.
Our first apartment in Portsmouth with plastic curtains.
Cheryl and Jerry's wedding.
Dad being so proud of his Meat Processing shop.
Grandma Gifford walking us downtown and buying me a lavender blanket because she knew my "blood was thinned out" from living in LA.
My graduation party.
Getting accepted at Ohio State.
Daddy holding my hand the night before I left.
Mom packing all my things into a trunk.
Looking at pictures of long passed people with Mom and Grandma.
Going through Grandma's house looking at all her stuff while she tells us stories about each piece.
Our dog Buck. Our cat Terry.
Toby jumping into bed with me after Jeannette had gone to school.
Teaching Victor to read.
Rocking Victor in the chair late at night while he was teething.
Taking Jeannette & Teresa to Mound Park drugs to get their school supplies
Spending hours at the Portsmouth Library.
The dark hall ways at PHS and that one staircase by the auditorium.
Paula and I in the high school play "Pennys from Heaven" where we didn't stretch out the balloons for the performance and made everyone laugh when we adlibed the scene.
Walking back and forth at Richard's News trying to find the perfect paper back.
Crispy Creme donuts and hot chocolate.
The juke box at Pizza Pub.
Family. Friends. Chris.
Now to live my life with all these good thoughts embraced within my soul.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beaded Jars

What a Summer! All I can say is thank goodness it is September 1st. Since I got back from Seattle, we've been back & forth to the Vet so many times with Fiona. There were days in the beginning when I thought she was not going to live. Her Diabetes diagnosis was a real shock to Chris & I. We had no idea, then on top of that she got Septicemia from a Bladder infection. She lost 7 pounds, was so lethargic, and would not eat. Slowly we've increased her insulin, changed her diet so many times, and finally...FINALLY have her semi regulated. She is blind from the Diabetes and is slowly adapting to getting around without her vision. She had so many bad days last month, that we cried so many times seeing her exhausted and drained of energy. Then one day, she perked up and demanded to go outside for a walk. A WALK! We both cried with happiness. Every day she gets better and better. She had energy, she demands to eat, she waits after eating so I can give her her shot, and she has learned to go in and out the back and front and yesterday she jumped up onto the couch without help. So, I've been a worry wart.

Work has had its ups and downs. It has been so busy with the hospital full many days and the ER just overcrowded and very busy. It has to be the heat. Oh yes...the heat! This is the 5th hottest Summer in Ohio. My electric bill can attest to that. Sometimes I'm just happy to be at work to stay cooled. We have air conditioning in the house, but it is getting old and do I really want to pay that much money? So we keep it a little warmer than normal. Most of the time it does not bother me...because I'm in the basement creating!

Byzantium shut its doors in August. I cannot divulge how much I spent in those last weeks. Let's just say I won't have to buy beads for years & I have some lovely new pieces of jewelry to wear. I bought two of the seed bead racks from the store. I wanted something to remember Byzantium by. Chris hung it up and I spent three days sorting through beads & hanging them all up. I've got to get a picture of that to share as it is something quite amazing. I also got invited to teach at 1 Stop Bead Shop here in Columbus. We are working together on getting at least one class for the Fall. I'm also working on finishing an on line class with A is for Artistry. Boy that is hard. I also had a week there when the stress from Fiona's illness was so much that I got Hal my sewing machine out and sewed up a dozen monsters.

And I've been working on my recycling theme too. I gave a challenge to the gals over at A Bead Story to use plastic toys/animals into making a piece of ART! Here is one of the pieces I came up with. Cynthia & I were at a gift shop in Ocean Shores Washington, when we saw these adorable animals. We each picked out a couple and decided they'd be perfect for the challenge. I decided to use the trio of Hedgehogs to begin. I also got into my box of junk & found an old Avon plastic jar that had some type of body cream. So out came the beads and sequins, and I completed this beaded jar in a week. I wanted to keep the basic jar clear so that pretty vintage buttons could be kept inside. Funny, but when I took this over to 1 Stop for everyone to see, they could still smell the body lotion when I opened the jar. This was a fun project & I have a feeling you'll be seeing more of these from me in the future. I also completed a box with the plastic elephant, but you'll have to wait on that one.

So here I am wanting to complete some things for September. I also need to play catch up on my Bead Journal Project. I had a real collapse of inspiration in telling the stores behind the the Treasure jars, but I think I'm on the road to recovery. I also have a vacation coming up soon. We are going to Hawaii for a 2nd honeymoon. Chris has a brand new camera so I'm sure there will be lots of great pictures.