Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It's the first Christmas at my new house.

...It has been cozy and warm, full of presents and food and good company, and I am utterly content.

 Christmas morning!
Presents under the tree, warm Christmas lights, and the smell of coffee.
After our busy year, today has been low-key and perfect.

I'm about to trundle off and play with my Christmas haul (beads!)... May your day be full of love and peace, laughter and joy. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop - Reveal!

Hurray! It's time to reveal what I made for the 2nd Annual Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop, hosted by the one and only Lori Anderson!

I had high hopes of making lots of pieces for this blog hop, but because of other things going on (hurray new house! hurray moving!), I was only able to make one set. 

But! It's a lovely set... And, to make it, I used this pendant:

That? Is a fused glass piece made by the talented Marianne Baxter over at Simply Seablime Jewelry (the above picture was from the original listing). I acquired it shortly after participating in 7th Bead Soup Blog Party--because Marianne was my wonderful partner that year, and I wanted to buy more of her work.

So, why was I hoarding it?

Well, simply because I wanted to do it justice. It really is a lovely pendant, and I wanted to make it into a necklace that really highlighted the artistry that went into it. Of course, that desire led to trepidation, which led to me not touching the pendant at all until this challenge.

But, I was finally able to get over my hesitancy... And here is what I made:

It's a necklace and earring set, made with glass in shades of purple and green, paired with gold-plated metal. The construction is pretty straightforward--wire wrapped links--which I hoped would not take attention away from the loveliness that is the pendant.

...And now, for more glamour shots:

So, there you go! I really do love that pendant, and I'm glad that I signed up for this challenge--because it means that I finally made something with it! 

Thanks so much for stopping by... Please feel free to go here to see the list of all the wonderful participants in this blog hop (there are almost 100!), and be sure to stop by Lori's blog to see what she made!

Thanks again, and have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hello, December!

Wow, December has totally sneaked up on me.

As in, the other day I was thinking "I need to write my beginning-of-the-month blog post because it'll be December soon"... and now it's December 5th. Oi.

Time flies when you're busy moving everything you own to a new location! 

Still Life with Flowers and Diplodocus
The flowers were a housewarming present from my parents.
The diplodocus? Well, sometimes it's fun to decorate one's new kitchen with dinosaurs. :) 

Still, I am happy to report that things are going quite well... My husband and I have come to the realization that there is more to do than we have time or energy for, so we've gone ahead and hired professionals to help pack and move the rest of our things. Next Tuesday, all of our belongings get to come join us at the new house!

...So exciting!

I am excited about my new craft room. I am excited about having my own house to decorate for Christmas (heh, need to get on that). I am excited that we now have space so that we have people over and not feel cramped. 

But, more than that, I am excited about this next chapter in our lives. There's a lot more to be done--but it's exciting to see things coming together, and our hard work paying off.

Here is to an exciting--and exhausting--December! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

I've Signed Up for the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop!

Despite everything else currently going on (Moving! National Novel Writing Month! Holidays!), I've decided to sign up for another Blog Hop!

The second annual Bead Hoarders Blog Hop, to be precise.

The idea behind this hop is to encourage people to use some of those beads that they've been holding onto for whatever reason--whether they think the beads are too pricey, or too precious, or too special. I did this hop last year, and really enjoyed it. 

So, I thought... why not?

Come back on December 6th to see what I end up making!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - November Edition!

Well, it's time!

I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath to find out just what my November challenge is--and what in the world the below tree picture has to do with anything. 

Read on, and you will find out!

Well, guess what... that's the tree located right next to our new house.

That's right! After years of dreaming, and months of working, today my husband and I signed all of the papers (so many papers) and closed on our very first house. 

And I love it.

I love it, love it, love it.

I also figured that closing on a house--all the paperwork and appointments and walk-throughs and phone calls and inspections--definitely counts as enough of a challenge for this month!

We're still working on the whole moving in part (it's immediately occupiable; we're just going in stages as to not lose our minds), so the process isn't over yet. Is it worth it, though? Definitely!

But, enough of me blabbing. It's time for pictures!

It has a fireplace! A genuine wood-burning Rookwood Fireplace, to be precise.

Close-up of one of the knights on our fireplace... So incredibly fitting,
for anyone who knows me and my husband!

Close-up of the fancyschmancy window in the formal dining room.

Ceiling fan! ...Also in the formal dining room.
You can't quite tell in this picture, but the ceiling has beautiful touches of gold.

There's an upstairs!

It's an older house, and almost all of the interior doors have the original glass doorknobs.

'Tis the land of ceiling fans! This one is in the master bedroom.

As I said, it's an older house... But in wonderful condition. (The inspection report was admittedly a bit daunting, but the seller took care of most of it--what's left is simple fixes.) And, honestly, the whole house is just filled with charm and personality--and the location definitely fits our needs.

It even has space for a craft room, and a mancave, and a guest room--and there's a place for a garden!

Ahem. Did I mention that I love it?

So, yeah. This is the main reason that I've been so incredibly busy the last few months (well, that and the aforementioned family medical emergencies). It's also the reason that my challenge last month was to make a necklace that said "Dreams." Because dreams do come true--they just take a lot of work!

...And they are definitely, definitely worth it in the end!

Thank you so much for joining me for this announcement... And now, to keep working on the next step: moving. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - November Edition... Teaser!

I realize that I've been a bit late in announcing my Monthly Challenge for November.

...That's because it's going to be a good one!*

This is actually a hint... A very obscure, hard-to-guess, not-really-related hint.

This time next week, check back here... I'm going to be doing both the Challenge announcement and the reveal at the same time. Hurray!

Hope everyone is having a good Saturday!


* - Well, it's also due to life being ridiculously busy--namely, there have been three family medical emergencies within the last four weeks. Thankfully, everyone is doing all right... my mother-in-law who had a stroke is doing amazing well; my brother-in-law who had a horrible case of bacterial meningitis is now off antibiotics and hospital-free. Still, trips to the ER and to the hospital do not leave a lot of time for blogging!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hello, November!

November, I have one rule--don't be anything like October.

Seriously. Don't do it.

Something happy that happened this month--
I carved my first pumpkin!
That's a symbol from the game StarCraft 2. 

The pumpkin all lit up!

...Here is to hoping that this month is much, much less stressful.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - October Reveal

October has been a little... crazy... around here.

Seriously, it is welcome to calm down aaaaany minute now.

Ah well. Despite the craziness, I was able to finish my Jenny Monthly Challenge for this month--and now it's time to show pictures! As a refresher, this was the kit...

A Tim Holtz key, some lampwork beads by Juli Cannon, some Chinese crystals--
a beautiful mix, just waiting to make something wonderful!

...And this is what I made!


For this necklace, I included everything from the original kit except the thick silver chain, which I substituted out for something a little thinner. Otherwise, everything wouldn't have fit through the bail.

And now for some glamour shots! 

(Also known as me being thrilled that my computer seems to be working again... hurray for being able to upload pictures!!)

I absolutely love the purples in this necklace... Although they don't quite photograph true to shade, they are all beautiful hues of lavender.


So, that is the necklace that I made for my October Monthly Challenge--and, more importantly, that I made to commemorate all of the hard work my husband and I have been pouring into our dreams.

Now, I mentioned that October has been crazy. From this vantage point, November isn't going to lose any of that momentum. At this rate, I'm going to have two challenges set for November... We'll just have to see how they pan out!

Thank you for stopping by my blog to see my Monthly Challenge reveal... I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - October Edition

I know it's a bit late, but I'm finally--finally--getting a chance to reveal this month's challenge!

After a lot of internal debate, I decided to so something rather standard... I made myself another little "kit," and my challenge is to see what I will make from it.

About the materials: the key is from Tim Holtz, the ribbed purple beads are by the talented Juls of Julsbeads, and the super sparklies are Chinese crystals.

...And, why "dreams"? 

Because September and October have been super super busy with my husband and I actively pursuing one of our dreams (no, not having children--although that will come in due time), and it seemed appropriate to commemorate it somehow. 

Dreams take a lot of work... but they are definitely worth it!

Come back on the last Friday of the month--October 31st--to see what I make with this kit!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello, October!

Wow, it's October.

Taken on my morning walk today…
Those leaves weren't there yesterday. I think one of those trees was just
waiting for October.

I am increasingly amazed at how quickly the months go by. It's crazy to think that next month is November (NaNoWriMo!), and at the end of two months it will be Christmas.

But, right now, I'm not going to think about that. 

Instead, I'm going to enjoy the sound of leaves beneath my feet, the smell of Autumn and apples, the brilliant colors of the trees. Fall is a time of change, of shedding weight to make room for new growth, of harvest. 

...A time when I get inspired to write bad poetry, and actually do so--and don't care that it isn't Wordsworth or Shakespeare or Yeats.

Happy October, everyone. I hope that it is glorious.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Month of Purging and Technical Difficulties

My monthly challenge has been a huge, resounding success!

As of today, I have weeded out: at least three huge bags of clothing, a bag of shoes, a stack of books, a stack of records (vinyls?), a large box of yarn and fabric, and a slew of miscellaneous objects that just needed to be thrown away. I have straightened out cupboards, purchased and assembled furniture, and finished projects.

…And I haven't been able to show you any of it because of technical difficulties.

I also went to the Aquarium, but I haven't been able to share pictures of that, either.
This picture was taken by my friend, who went with me.

My main problem is that my computer is no longer connecting to the internet. Actually, forget that--my main problem is that my computer doesn't always start up, and when it does it doesn't connect to the internet. 


In any case, I apologize for being scarce. As you might imagine, it is difficult to maintain a steady blog when internet connectivity is lacking. Still, know that all is going very well… I will do my best to post on here when I can.

And, September isn't over yet… We'll see how much more I get rid of between now and the end of the month. I'm on a roll! :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - September Edition

It's time to announce my Monthly Challenge for September! Woo-hoo!

...And, well, this month is going to be a little different. You see, I bought some lovely treasures while on vacation. While integrating them into my home, I was once more faced with the undeniable fact that I own many things. Crafting supplies, clothes, books, esoteric movie memorabilia--you name it, and I probably have it.

So, my challenge this month? 

To get rid of at least one thing every day.

Not even the books are safe!

My purpose is twofold. First, I want to unload and not feel burdened by things. Second, I want to prune so that I have room for new growth. Creative growth--more room to spread out and make things and experiment with new techniques. I have been feeling stagnant recently, and I think that this will be just what I need.

So! At least one thing a day--that is my plan. 

On the chopping block!
...Although, to be fair, most of these are duplicates that I'm weeding out.
For some reason, I seem to have acquired many many copies of both
The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

...I realize that this isn't exactly a photogenic challenge (some of this stuff really is trash), so I don't expect to upload a lot of pictures of my purging endeavors. I am keeping a separate list of what I've gotten rid of, though, and I'll be sure to share anything particularly interesting. And I definitely think that I will feel lighter after this challenge!

So, there you go... here's to a productive, purging September!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello, September!

Yay, September!

I don't know why, but I really like this month. I always have. My sister was born in it. I was married in it.

...And now it is, yet again, time to welcome another September!

Spectacular September Sunset…
Photo taken last year.

Now, I realize that many people associate September--and Autumn--with things that are fading and dying… But, to me, it feels like a new beginning. Maybe it's still a holdover from when I was in school, when September marked the beginning of a new school year. Or maybe it's just that the cooler air makes me feel like I can actually think again, after a long slow torpid summer.

In any case, I'm happy to say hello to September! August was wonderful--I'm hoping that this upcoming month will be the same!

...Oh, and I have already started working on the Jenny Monthly Challenge, September edition. More on that in the next few days!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Technical Difficulties...

Vacation was wonderful!

…returning home and facing computer problems, not so wonderful.

As of right now, my desktop computer is out of commission, so my posts and store listings may be a bit scarce while we figure it out. 

Still--hurray that it's a desktop! That means that my husband can take it apart and tinker inside it and replace parts (hoping it's not a fried motherboard, but even that is manageable). It's not a lost cause! Just need to take time to figure out what's wrong.

So, hold tight everyone… I'll be sure to update when everything is up and running again.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience, and I hope everyone is having a lovely day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - August Edition (Sort Of)

For anyone following this blog, you're probably wondering why I haven't posted about August's Monthly Challenge yet.

Truth be told, I've been having a hard time deciding what it should be. 

And why's that, you might ask?

...Because, in a few days, I'm going on vacation.

...And every time I think about that, I immediately think about sitting still and listening to the wind singing through the trees, and not having to do anything.

So after much debate, I have decided that for August, this is my "challenge"...

To go on vacation, and have a wonderful time! :)

I hope everyone else has a wonderful couple weeks... I'll be back later this month!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Haberdashery Blog Hop - Reveal!


It's the reveal for the Haberdashery Blog Hop!

Hosted by the lovely Melissa Trudinger of BeadRecipes, the challenge behind this blog hop was to take items usually found in a haberdasher's shop (buttons, lace, etc.) and incorporate them in jewelry designs.

And that's just what I did!

Now, my original plan was actually to create one or two pieces incorporating everything, but I was just having so much fun playing around with the different materials that I kept hopping from one medium to the next. 

All in all, I made eight different pieces and tackled four different mediums: ribbon, button, trim, and lace. Granted, none of these designs are really that complicated, but hopefully they still count--because I had a blast!

And now, to show what I made! 


Technically, this is ribbon yarn--but hopefully it still counts.

After I signed up for this blog hop, I foraged through my craft area to see what I could use. Immediately, this ribbon/yarn jumped out at me. I made the earrings first--lengths of ribbon that I wire-wrapped and then accented with faceted black/silver beads. Once those were done, the necklace quickly followed.


After I plundered my ribbon and yarn stash, I turned my attention to my jar of buttons. I had purchased these black and white buttons over two years ago, in hopes of making something awesome with them… And, well, this seemed just as good a time as any!

I made two button sets, and this is the first… It pairs wire-wrapped buttons with beads, and has an adjustable ribbon tie. I even used some leftover buttons to make a pair of matching post earrings!

…And this is the second of the button necklaces. I used more of the same black and white buttons, except this time I knotted them on cotton crochet thread. Simple, fun, light-weight... Once I get my hands on more buttons, I can definitely see myself making more of these!

Oh, and again, I made matching earrings.


At this point, I had exhausted my stash, but still really wanted to make more haberdashery items… So, I went hunting online. (Oh no, an excuse to shop! Heehee.)

While online, I found this trim.

…And this trim is absolutely gorgeous.

Now, before people get too impressed, I should say that I did none of the beading on this trim... Originally a special occasion adornment, it literally came to me as is--I just cut it to length and added the closure. 

I originally had planned to elaborate on it, but frankly everything I did made it look worse. So, I decided to leave it as is--a beautiful and elegant choker.


While online, I also purchased this trim--and I love love love the exotic look of it. Recently, I have been looking at a lot of ethnic designs from all over the world (South America, the Middle East, India), and I wanted to incorporate a little of that feeling in this design.

First, I cut the trim to length and added the closure. Then I created the filigree drape, which I subsequently sewed onto the choker. 

...And, yes, there are matching earrings. :)

The only thing I would change about this design is adding a lining to the trim--the threads on the inside are surprisingly scratchy. Still, I am very pleased with this piece, and think the trim turned out quite nicely.



And, lastly, while online I bought some lace appliqués to play around with. (I have been wanting to for quite some time--this just gave me a reason!)

Ultimately, I made three lace necklaces... This is the first, simplest design: a lace appliqué attached to chain. I had actually debated about not including this one in this post, but I think it serves as a nice spring-board for the next design.


The second lace necklace! 

As you can tell, it's the same general concept as the first, but a little jazzed up. 

...And, last by certainly not least, this is the third lace necklace.

This piece was made using five lace appliqués, linked together using jumprings and accented with glass pearls. Of all the pieces I made, this one certainly took the longest--and I truly love how it looks.

So, there you go... Those are all of the items that I made for this Haberdashery Blog Hop!

I really did enjoy myself. I have a lot of ideas to keep going, so we'll see what else I end up making. Thanks so much to our lovely hostess, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this blog hop.

…And thank you for stopping by!


Want to see what everyone else made? Here is the list of participants:

Melissa Trudinger (host)                     

Ann Schroeder                                       

Tammy Adams                                      

Amanda Wacasey                                 

Dolores Raml                                          

Divya N                                                   

Michelle McCarthy                               

DiYana Brooks                                       

Robin Kae Reed                                     

Andrea Glick                                          

Karin Grosset Grange                           

Mitzie Crider                                          

Janine Lucas                                          

Rosantia Petkova                                 

Susan Kennedy                                      

Leithleach Alainn Seodra                    

Kathleen Breeding                                

Shiraz Biggie                                          

Chris Eisenberg                                     

Heather Richter                                    

Lennis Carrier                                        

Rebecca Anderson                               

Jenny Kyrlach (you are here!)          

Rita Toltec Jewels                                

Mischelle Fanucci                                 

Karen Mitchell                                       

Carol Briody                                           

Karla Morgan                                        

Carolyn Lawson                                    

Lori Anderson                                        

Jami Shipp                                              

Lili Krist                                                    

Evelyn Shelby                                         

Raissa de Guzman                                

Niky Sayers                                            

Keren Panthaki