Monday, June 15, 2015

Graduation, Vacation and What is Coming Up!

We have been way too quiet here on the blog!  Life has been pretty full the past couple months!  Mina graduated from Blue Hill High School on May 16.  She was so beautiful in her cap & gown!

When graduation was over, we left for VACATION!  It was our first real vacation since 2008, and we had such a wonderful time!  Mina wanted to see the ocean for her graduation gift, so we took a trip to Washington!  It was the first time she had flown, the first time to ride a ferry, the first time to see the ocean and the first time to ride a monorail!  We visited the Hoh National Rainforest, the Olympic Peninsula, the Rialto Beach, and Forks (Mina & I were both big Twilight fans!).  It was just fun to drive around and be gypsies for a few days!  We planned what we wanted to see,  but left the schedule wide open to "go with the flow" and allow for things we didn't expect.  Here are some photos.

Steph by Marymere Falls.  I was thrilled to see a waterfall in its natural habitat!

Lake Crescent, water so clear you could see the bottom of the lake!

Viewpoint from a drive up a mountain

The 3 of us at Marymere Falls

Chris & I practicing selfies at Lake Crescent

 We also got to do some very fun art stuff too!  I met up with my longtime online friend, Lisa Suver at Shipwreck Beads for a bit of beady retail therapy and then some wonderful Mexican food for lunch!
Kind of blurry but this is Lisa & I

 Chris also got to do so hand picking his own glass order at Frantz Art Glass!  He bought and we shipped it home!
This picture is a bit blurry because he was on the move!
We also got to visit the Chihuly Garden & Glass exhibit at the base of the Space Needle, and it was probably one of our favorite things about the trip!
We also got to visit the Pikes Place Market and had a snack (energy refuel) at Cupcake Royale before our first monorail ride to the Glass Garden & Space Needle.
Chris & Mina in front of the Market

Amazing fresh flower vendors at the Market

A view of the Ferris wheel on the pier (we wanted to ride it but didn't get there).
Wonderful Strawberry & coffee ice creams & a Lemon Drop cupcake
The snack was delicious!  The cake was almost the texture of a pound cake and very tart and delicious!  We had no snafus on the trip until the final step, when our luggage decided to spend a few extra days on vacation!  We arrived home on Tuesday and the luggage got home on Friday!

What is next?  Sandhills Ranch Expo in Bassett this week Wednesday & Thursday, June 17 & 18 where you can look for these!
Ponies, alien, and dragon pendants, chicken sculpture, and new cabochon.

Tiny blown glass vases
Posies and Fairy Garden Fancies (mushroom, penguin, & kitty sculptures in the background)

Sea Urchin (polymer clay focal by Summer Wind Studios) (heart charm by Earthenwood Studios)

Gypsy Charm bracelet with brass bell


If you can't make it to Bassett, we will be at the Flatwater Music Festival next week, June 26-27 in Hastings!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Back In Time Blog Hop...Cave Girl Chic

My life has been a total crazy mess lately.  Too many commitments, too many responsibilities, WAY too much stress, and far too little time to deal with all of it.  But you are not here to hear about all of that!  This is a challenge continuing throughout the year, and it is hosted by Lindsay Starr and Sherry Stokey.

When I was working on my concept, I really wasn't sure which direction to go.  Our theme for this round was "Early Human".  Thank goodness, the Omaha Bead Affair hit at just the perfect time for purchasing the ingredients for this design.  A great amount of my details came from Darcy Horn, The Jade Dog. 
Handmade Polymer from Darcy Horn, The Jade Dog
Darcy is one of my favorite vendors and artists, as her funky style speaks to my artistic tastes!  So I purchased a bunch of these amazing spikes from Darcy (made by her!), some tiny sea urchin spines, and some very pretty Picasso finished size 8 seed beads.  To this mix I added spikes of tumbled picture jasper, Czech glass thorn beads, and some cool snakeskin finish Chinese crystals.  I wanted to make this huge complicated piece, but I just didn't have time and went with the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) design philosophy.  Here is what I came up with and I just LOVE it!  I made a matching pair of funky earrings with natural wood beads and of course every Cave Girl's favorite, Swarovski crystals!  No matter what era we live in, we all need to SPARKLE!

Me wearing my creation, bringing out my Inner Cave Girl

The set

the earrings

Here are the rest of the participants!  Hope you enjoy the Hop!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Omaha Bead Affair This Weekend

The NEW Omaha Bead Affair is this weekend!  We are so excited to be vendors at the new location, the LaVista Community Center, 8116 Park View Blvd, LaVista, NE 68128.  The NEW show is a 2 day event, Saturday, April 11 & April 12 10-5 each day.

There are lots of returning vendors and NEW vendors (do you see a pattern here?)!  Also NEW this year are CLASSES!  Still plenty of openings to sign up!  

Would you like more information?
Here is the NEW website for the Omaha Bead Affair!  Check it out and there is a discount coupon as well!!!

Want a sneak peek at what Chris has been working on for the NEW show?

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Big News, Slightly Late!

Goodness, time does get away!  I meant to post this when I received it a couple weeks ago and completely forgot!  I HAVE MY DESIGN IN BEAD & BUTTON MAGAZINE!!!!

This piece was a magic creation from beginning to end.  I picked up the MAKU Studios heart one day while I was working at Julie's Xpressions.  I started on it, and everything came together wonderfully and even the cord design was my own!  The piece contains screw-in spikes, double hole pyramids, vintage Swarovski crystals in bicone and margarita flower shapes, hand dyed flowers, a vintage button, scrapbook embellishments, and teardrop seed beads.  The necklace is half Tilas, peanut beads, and O beads.  The piece is backed with metallic leather and is embellished on the back as well!  I am thrilled with the responses I have received, and feel blessed to have a piece published!  I even finished it in time to wear it for our family pictures and to have an artist shot taken!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My First Tutorial is in the Newest Issue of Creative Spark EMagazine!

Last month the Creative Spark designer group (for ZnetShows, wholesale bead company) was contacted by Hope Smitherman, (our group leader and editor of Creative Spark) to create designs for the new issue and a few simple earring tutorials would also be needed.  I decided to try my hand at the tutorial since Chris and Mina had done some last year for Soda Lime Times.  These are the earrings I created.

I used small rolo chain with the globe beads and crystal cupchain to create the porcelain butterfly earrings.  You can find my tutorials in the newest copy of Creative Spark!

Creative Spark Winter 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop, Part 2: Meet Lori Alainn Blanchard

I too am participating in the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop!  My lovely partner, Lori Alainn Blanchard, lives in Ohio.  Lori & I are paired up in the Seed Bead category of the Hop.  Here are a few of Lori's beadiful, beautiful creations! 
Sugar Skull bracelet, design by FunPatternDesigns, beaded by Lori
I thought this was an appropriate design to share since it is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras Time!  Lori used the pattern and added some of her own touches when she beaded it.

Alainn Jewelry on Facebook
I was very taken with these Pop Culture bracelets designed and beaded by Lori.  Aren't they fabulous?! (You can also find Lori on Etsy: My Alainn Jewelry ).

Lori and I had quite the conversation about our "fur kids".  She has dogs and cats (with one troublemaker in the group).  Here are the photos she shared with me.
Not sure which one is the culprit, but they look like they would be fun to live with!  Lori also shared with me that she is the baby of her family, she is 29 (gosh I felt so OLD!), and has been with her husband for 7 years.  We share a love and passion for seeds and all the new shaped seed beads.  We also enjoy beading objects and bead embroidery is a favorite. 

I have quite the stash of goodies pulled for Lori, and can NOT wait to see what she has for me!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop partner Introduction, part 1

Hi there dear readers!  Part time blogger Chris here, getting ready to introduce to you my partner for the 1st Annual Bead Peeps Swap N Hop!  This is my second hop that I have been involved in.  I  participated in Lori Anderson's final Bead Soup Blog Hop last year.

That was then, this is now.  This year my partner is Stephanie Stamper, from down in the Sunshine State.  She has an orange tree at her house!  Living in Nebraska, growing citrus is a rather strange idea!
 She has been making jewelry for about 10 years now. 

The last few of years or so have been a bit crazed and/or blessed for her as she is a full-time mommy of three little boys, age 4 and younger.  Being the middle one of five boys myself, I can only imagine life from the other side. She does not have as much time to play with her beads as she would like, but it has not stopped her from adding to her stash.  Stephanie and I have been chatting back and forth, learning about each other and exchanging ideas. 

As I type this, part of Stephanie's goodies are sitting in an old peanut butter jar at my elbow, while the rest are cooling in the kiln.  Gee, the deadline for shipping her stash is over three weeks away and I nearly have everything ready, except for the packaging.  How in the world did that happen?

I have been looking forward to this Swap.  I expect to learn some new things while I learn a new technique or two.  Bring it on. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Back In Time Blog Hop - Episode 1

Hi!  Long time no blog posts!  We have been busy with college visits, taxes, scholarships, and prom  dress shopping.  Time goes by way too quickly and there are always way to many things to accomplish! 

Speaking of time, I (and Chris helped too) am participating in the Back in Time Blog Hop through a group I was honored to be invited to join.  The group is headed up by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations, and Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.  They are amazing artists and this was a fun challenge to participate in.

The theme: Back in Time, Pre-Human.  Hopefully, my piece fits that theme!  I started with a piece of this:
Chris and I purchased a couple of the very smooth stones last summer in Lincoln at the Haymarket Farmers Market from the Lincoln Rock Shop.  I loved the shape and texture and the bits of fossil in the texture.  I thought I would use it in bead embroidery, but this was the PERFECT challenge for the piece.  I was originally going to wire wrap it, but while the front side looked great, the back was a mess from trying to anchor it on the smooth texture of the stone.  So I channeled one of my favorite artists, Darcy Horn (The Jade Dog), who does amazing things with free form peyote.

Here is my creation:

When I started, Mina suggested I use greens, which I hadn't considered but which worked very well against the smooth gray.  I varied, matte forest green, opaque olive, opaque seafoam lined topaz, matte seafoam ab, and matte metallic gray.  Because we all liked the designs on both sides of the stone, I made the piece reversible.  Side one shows off the fossil design quite nicely near the circle and the back side has interesting designs with the bead work.  I finished the piece with a gorgeous hand dyed cord using kumihimo, and finishing bead cones and a clasp in gunmetal black.

Want to see all the other amazing designs?  Here is the list!

Co-hostess: Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations
Co-hostess: Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame
Kelly Rodgers of Beadin' Black & Blue
Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio in-time.html
Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads
Melissa Trudinger of Boho Bird Jewellery
Sue Kennedy of SueBeads
Stephanie and Chris Haussler of Pixybug Designs You Are Here
Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions
Jean Wells of Jean A. Wells Artisan Jewelry

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas, Family, & Inspiration

Last night I quickly edited photos to create our Christmas cards before and after Mina's final High School Christmas concert (sob!).  We had not had our family photos taken for some time, so when we had Mina's Senior pictures taken this summer, we also had our family photos and some artist shots for Chris & I taken.  Here is what I came up with for our family card.

Amy Bryan took the photos and did such a marvelous job!  We had fun watching our amazing daughter show off her natural beauty, and Amy had some fun ideas.  These were taken during the studio time and we were kind of goofing around.  I love that there are goofy and good pics with Mina in them.  I had fun putting this together and ordered some collage prints of them to hand out and hang on the wall.

I also created our business Christmas cards, which brought me round to thinking about our year.  We accomplished much this year.  Chris and Mina created his first tutorial on his dragon beads and it was published in Soda Lime Times.  He also had his creations in several other issues of Soda Lime Times.  I received word recently that I will be published in an upcoming issue of a beading magazine also, which I can't say more about at this point!  So very exciting!  We had another exhausting year of shows, FOURTEEN!!  Besides which, we showed at three different art galleries (two of which were new for us), sold at the Highland Park Farmers Market ten Saturday's in June, July, August, and September, and participated as vendors at our first two week (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday each week) show.   Goodness, that is exhausting just to read!  We were featured artists in July at Smiling Turtle Art Spot in Omaha (THANKS DORI!) where Chris also demonstrated during our reception.

With all that work, in addition to our normal full-time and part-time jobs (yes we both have each), we have struggled to balance work, Pixybug, our family time, chores around the house, and our relationship as a couple.  I would like to paint the picture that everything is always rosy and never a problem arises.  However, that would be lying and not really make anything easier.  I have been working on my boundaries in difficult relationships, Chris and I are trying to work on spending quality time with each other, and we are all working on the goal of getting Mina ready for COLLEGE.  (Good grief, how did time go by that fast!  Wasn't she just a baby yesterday?)  Our house is a total disaster (it might be easier to move than declutter and clean our current one) and our TO DO list is pretty long.  Keeping this in mind, I was thankful this morning when I read the Art Jewelry Elements post.  Jen Cameron shared these poems from Neil Gaiman (I love his books) and I knew I was meant to read them to ease my burdens a bit.

"Life is sometimes hard. 
Things go wrong, in life and in love 
and business and in friendship
and in health and in all the other ways
that life can go wrong.
And when things get tough,
this is what you should do. 
Make Good Art.
Husband runs off with a politician?
Make Good Art
Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor?
Make Good Art
IRS on your trail?
Make Good Art
Cat exploded?
Make Good Art
Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before?
Make Good Art..."
                -Neil Gaiman
This is precisely why I can't get my bead table organized!  It is so easy to get distracted by the beads I touch, that I never get anywhere with the cleaning!  This quote was also in Jen's post this morning and it sums up the challenges of being overwhelmed by the big goal, rather than looking at the tiny steps it takes to get there.

"Something that worked for me 
was imagining where I wanted to be-
(an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, 
making good comics, and supporting myself though  my words)
-was a mountain
A distant mountain.
My goal. 
And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain, I would be alright. 
And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain...."
    -Neil Gaiman
Thanks to Jen, for the uplifting quotes!  Thanks to Neil, I can now see that a day in which my cat doesn't explode or my leg hasn't been eaten by a mutated boa, it can be conquered by a few steps toward the tough goals!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Give Thanks!

Thank you to all our wonderful customers!  Thank you to all the amazing artists we have met, worked with, and been fortunate enough to become acquainted with through the internet.  YOU can't know how much we appreciate you.  May your day be filled with all the foods that make you happy, the people you love the most, and the peace and happiness of a day spent together with both!  Enjoy, indulge, be thankful, and say a prayer for all that are not so blessed!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seward Show Saturday

You can find us this Saturday at the Seward Young Women's Holiday Craft Fair!  Get a great start on your holiday shopping with loads of handmade items, enough for 2 buildings!  You can find more info on their website, Seward Holiday Craft Fair or their Facebook  page.

On other fronts, look at these beautiful creations from Deb Brooks, (From the Heart Creations), using Chris's glass cabochons!

This piece was sold before Deb even finished it!  She was putting it together and the gal saw it and bought it to wear with this sweater!  Wow, that is the way to sell jewelry!

Here are the pendants after Deb created them from PMC and set the cabochons in the bezel settings.

Here is the other piece after a bit of bead stringing magic!  This one is my favorite of the two!  I love the designs Deb creates around whatever she is creating.  Her nature designs are so beautiful!

I was up until 2am designing for the show tomorrow, so no photos yet!  However, I hope to take them after we get the tables set up.  This is our last "away" show for the season, we have a couple events at the Historic Hastings Old Middle School in the 2nd Floor Studio and we are selling at the Prairie Winds Art Center in Grand Island during the Holiday Showcase. 

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