Friday, June 12, 2015

A River Runs Through It....

"A River Runs Through It..."....and what is "It"?  "It" is my town.  A large portion of the Nashua River runs right through the middle of my town.  It is a lovely waterway, that lazily meanders north meeting the Merrimack River in Nashua.  The town is also bordered by another river, the Squanacook.   In addition, there are lots and lots of ponds and lakes, all within a 10-15 ride from my home.  For years and years, especially as I've hiked along the paths of these waterways, I have been chattering to my family about how much I wanted a kayak.  Finally a few weeks ago, after many weeks of scouring Craigslist, I finally obtained a kayak!
(insert a shriek of delight here!)
It's 10 feet and only 40 pounds, so I can throw it in the back of my small suv any time I have some time to kill and I've been using it a lot!!

There is a boat launch on the river only 3 miles down the road from my house, and it launches right into a watershed/oxbow area that is positively divine!

The area is protected and the wildlife are flourishing there.  As an amateur birdwatcher, I'm especially excited to get on the water and see all the wonderful waterfowl!!!
Is there anything cuter than baby animals!?!?!?!?!?!?



The only thing I worry about with my new hobby is finding time for my old hobbies!  Hah! That's a joke of course, because I'll always find time for beading!

I recently received some fun cultured sea glass beads from ZNetShows to create something for their upcoming summer Creative Spark issue.  The theme I will be working with is a little outside the box, but I'm looking forward to seeing if I can pull off my idea.  Stay tuned for July to see the reveal.



I recently showed a rivoli I had been working on, and I put together a pair of earrings to match.  I made this set specifically to go with this new shirt:


But imagine my delight, when I saw it matched this one just as well, if not better!

And finally, the weekend before last I started tackling the Bead-It-Forwad squares!

It is so fun to play around with these squares and turn them into quilts and crafted object! I love it! Coming up soon, I will be setting up an online bidding auction for some of the Bead-It-Forward products!




Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Time To Stitch #7 - Embroidery

Today is the reveal day for A Time To Stitch (ATTS), hosted by Therese and Christine for a whopping seventh time!


The theme/challenge this time around is bead embroidery.  I dabble in embroidery periodically but it's something I always feel I can use more practice in, so I was excited for this ATTS!

During sign-ups Therese gave away some of her stones which she personally cuts and polishes into stunning cabochons.  I was the lucky and happy recipient of this gorgeous petrified wood with wormholes!


I absolutely adore this cab! I love all the creamy colors and the shots of pinkish orange.  Seriously - these are 'my colors'!!! Which was just good luck, because Therese pre-packaged these, and sent these out randomly.

I just knew I had to hug this cab with some creamy colors.  My first selection were these pearl colored size 8 charlottes.


After starting one embroidered row around the cab, I decided to step up and start a short peyote to frame the cab even more.  This cab is so pretty on it's own I didn't want to go too crazy with too much embellishment.

One of my struggles with embroidery, I realized with this challenge, I sometimes try to rush the process by adding too many beads per stitch.  Another challenge, is trying to keep each stitch nice and tight, when I really should be giving each stitch a millimeter or less of wiggle room so the beads can stand nice and pretty on their own without puckering!   I took my time on this challenge and only added two beads per stitch (which was great when I decided at the last minute to add that peyote bezel, I knew straight away that I had an even count!).



Finishing an embroidered piece can sometimes be a challenge as well.  When finishing, I kept my mantra, 'not too tight' and everything went swimmingly.



A simple beaded bail to attach the chain.

I was psyched there was a piece of gray ultrasuede in my stash that matched the cab so perfectly.  Some grey Nymo thread added to the cohesiveness!


This piece is simple, but it was a fantastic study in embroidery for me.  The cabochon Therese created was so gorgeous I really wanted to make sure it shined with some good beadwork around the outside and that really forced me to take my time, pull stitches out when necessary, and make sure nothing came out too wonky.



Thank you, as always, to our hosts Christine and Therese.  This challenge is such a great idea, and a fun way for beaders to practice and hone in on their skills!  I can't wait to see what ATTS #8 brings!

Please click on the links below to take a look at other ATTS participants' creations!
1.       Therese (Host)
2.       Christine  (Host)
3.       Amy
4.       Lola
5.       Lori F
6.       Kim
7.       Becky Pancake
8.       Karin G.
9.       Debbie (Kepi)
10.   LizE
11.   Maryanne
12.   Paula
 
14.   Wendy
15.   Janet
16.   Jasvanti
17.   Ginger
18.   Alicia
19.   Bobbie
20.   Shirley
21.   Sarah
22.   Cynthia
 
24.   Lizzie

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Beading & Birding

Well jeesh - where did the last four weeks go!!??

I can't believe that I haven't blogged in so long.  There is a challenge coming up this weekend - the ATTS (A Time To Stitch) hosted by my friends Therese and Christine!  This ATTS theme is embroidery - which I can always use practice doing!

In the meanwhile - I've been working at my job, working on Bead-It-Forward, beading, and birding!

Now that spring is here and the eight feet of snow is gone from that crazy winter, I spend a lot of my free time hiking, with my camera of course!   I got a hot tip on some bald eagles nesting near the Wachusett Reservoir, and I wasn't disappointed when I arrived at the destination!
Yes, that's a little eaglet to the left of the eagle!  There are two in the nest!



 These eagles were barely visible with the naked eye, and these photos were taken with a point & shoot with a great zoom!  A little fuzzy - but I"m still happy with them!

Here were some turkeys displaying for a hen at the farm (at work).




And a cute little killdeer


----
I've been playing around with the rivolis I procured earlier this spring....

These are a modification of By All Beads Blue Poppy Earrings tutorial.  They use 8mm chatons and I think they are adorbs!!!  The instructions are great and they whip up pretty quickly!  There are instructions in this tutorial to attach a post as well, and embellish with more crystal.  What you see below are basically the first few steps!


This is just a seemingly standard peyote bezel for a 14mm rivoli, I found online a few places!


This is a bezel from Diane Fitzgerald's book, Shaped Beadwork and Beyond.  I love her!!! Her books have been such an influence in my bead world.  I love this bezel and the way it hugs the rivoli so perfectly.  I kind of did some free form weaving around the perimeter when I finished the bezel.




Finally - this is a version of Let It Shine by Ellad2:


I also did a few pieces over the last couple months from Sabine Lipert's Beaded Fantasies (why did it take me so long to get this book!!!?)  But more on that another day!

See you Saturday for the ATTS challenge reveal!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reflections on Blogging from A-Z


I did it!  This was my fifth year participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  This year was by far the easiest.  The trick?  A good theme and some good planning.

In the past, if my theme was too vague or to broad, I found this challenge, incredibly challenging! And really not as fun as it should be!  This year I chose to blog about Bead-It-Forward, and frankly there was so much material from all the amazing squares that were sent in, some days I had to pare down my post!

In the background, when I wasn't blogging from a-z, I was actually very busy! I was beading a lot!!

I traveled to the mid-atlantic for the annual charity golf tournament I work on.  In my travels, I had the pleasure of finally getting to meet one of my virtual friends, Christine, and her beautiful family!!  My only regret from that day is we forgot to take a selfie!!!!

For the letter "T" last month, I announced that Bead-It-Forward was selecting a theme.  There were tons of great ideas!!!  But the following ideas were in the top four.  If you click here or on the photo, you can help select your favorite!  The survey will be open until tomorrow.  And I plan to announce the winning theme on Sunday.  


Thanks to everyone who followed along while I was blogging from A-Z!



Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blogging from A-Z • Z

Z is for ZEBRA!

I imagine this isn't a big surprise for anyone who was following this blog for A-Z this month and knowing that I featuring some of the squares for Bead-It-Forward.

There were a lot of great zebras contributed to the project this year! And the zebra print was a very popular animal print pattern contributed as well!  

Look! There's even a zebra's butt!!! haha!

THANK YOU to everyone who followed along this month.  Thank you again to all the beaders who contributed squares, and supplies, and patterns.  If you are in Philadelphia this August (21-23) please stop by Bead Fest and see these squares on the quilts, shadow boxes, and other crafted objects!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Blogging from A-Z • Y

Y is for yak!

A big thank you to Pauline from NM and Vicki from ID for sending in these buffalo that, today, I am calling yaks.....


Close enough...

Stop by tomorrow for the FINAL Blogging from A-Z post, the letter "Z".  If you'd like to explore more A-Z blogs, click here!



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blogging from A-Z • X


X is for xerus.

Waaaaaaahoooooooooo!!  I am pretty darn happy I came up with a good, legitimate topic for "X"!  Seriously - I'm super excited.  

Xerus: African ground squirrels form a taxon of squirrels under the subfamily Xerinae.
Look it up...it's true!

I'm not sure if these are specifically African ground squirrels....but they sure are for today's purpose! 

If you'd like explore more A-Z blogs, click here!