Thursday, December 31, 2009

Therapy Thursday

Don't worry, I'll stop talking about our new kittens - as soon as they stop being so flippin' cute, that's when I'll stop. Ernie and Bert are adjusting really well to life in our house. We love them, and they love each other - so much so that when one wanders into a room without the other one, he'll mew until someone finds him. And yes, they always sleep like they are in the picture. Two kitties from different litters have definitely become brothers.

And now - the latest Simon the Cat Video - love these!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wahoo! I Won!

Thank you to everyone who voted for my Holiday Turtle Taxi Bead in the Fire Divas Holiday Challenge ~ it won! I've never won anything that has to do with my beads before, and I still can't believe it! The talent on the Fire Divas team is so amazing, and I'm totally honored that people voted for my silly bead. Thank you!

In second place was this stunning necklace (below) by Lara of Lutrick. Now do you see what I mean about the level of talent on the Fire Divas?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Murrini Monday

Last week I received my latest package of Murrini from loriandkim and it looks wonderful! I haven't had a chance to play with any of it yet, but I did get to use one of the sweet little blue eye balls I received in a previous package. What do you think? A nice way to express your love with symbols?

And meet Turbo the turquoise dog - he picked out his very own murrini dog tag. He has an eye for color, don't you think?

And my friend Eileen from DorsetHillBeads just listed this murrini-filled focal called Amber and Murrini. I see some sparkle in this murrini, and I love the twistie stems. What a cool bead - it would look amazing as a pendant. Ahhh - wearable murrini. :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Therapy Thursday ~ I know, it's Friday

I know I'm a day late with this, and if you came here yesterday looking for some therapy, I apologize. Somehow I think everyone had other things going on. I know we sure did. We got the green light from the shelter to take home the two kittens we had picked out a couple weeks ago. One was being treated for a cold, so they both had to stay until they were healthy enough. So yesterday we surprised the kiddos with Ernie and Bert, who are about 10 weeks old and from different litters. But they've been playing together like brothers. Ernie is the orange one (just like Ernie) and he is a purr box. Bert is black with a little bit of gray, and he's like a mini-me for our older cat, Buzz, who really hasn't paid much attention to the kitties. But our dog, Chunky, is having a blast with them. So are the kids, who have never had kittens before. To me, pets are therapy. And visiting the shelter has been therapeutic as well. I'm going to keep going back to pet the kitties there - there are so many that need homes. Each time I went (and it was a lot), there was someone there adopting a cat. Very nice to see. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Ernie and Chunky getting to know each other

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fire Divas Holiday Challenge

To celebrate the holiday season, the Fire Divas are hosting a Holiday Challenge! We have lots of wonderful beads to choose from; see them below, then pick your favorite to vote for on the right on the Fire Divas Blog. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Murrini Monday

Merry Murrini Monday! I somehow forgot about Murrini Monday last week, so without further ado, let's see some murrini in action!

Murrini Christmas Tree

Penguin in a Cowl, with a murrini button. Happily, this penguin has found a home in nearby Chicago. He's glad he'll be making good use of his fashionable, yet warm, cowl.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Therapy Thursday

Today my therapy was all about giving. Doesn't it just feel good to give? So today I sent the beads pictured above to Beads of Courage, which provides beads to kids in the hospital. The kids get to pick beads to string when they finish different treatments. I figured that some of my smaller-sized critters might be a fun addition.

I also brought a bunch of cell phone charms and stretchy necklaces to my dentist. Why? Because he worked all summer and into the fall to try to save one of my teeth. It turned out to have a fracture and needed to be pulled. Then I went through dry socket, something I hope never to experience again. My dentist met me at his office on his day off and fit me in whenever I needed treatment (which was a lot). When it was all finished, he charged me only for the tooth extraction, though he put in much more time than that (which took 45 minutes - what a stubborn tooth!). I've known my dentist since I was a kid. We lived down the street from him and his 5 kids and had block parties with them. So I knew he had lots of grandkids. I figured I could thank him by giving him something homemade that he could give to his grand-daughters. He has 16 grand kids and 9 are girls. So I headed to his office today with some girlie cell phone charms for the older girls and a couple stretchies for the younger ones. It felt really good to go there and not have to sit in the chair. :)

After all that giving, I treated myself to some more murrini from loriandkim. Can you say ADDICTION? I couldn't help myself. Look at it! Now that is what I call therapeutic.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gifts for Boys - a conundrum to say the least

Our son is 13, and I find it's really tough to find small-ticket-item gifts for a boy that age. He's done with action figures and Legos. And unlike girls, he doesn't require accessories. He does like to read, so books are still a good gift for him. But aside from that, he's hoping for some video games, which can be pricey, so those will be limited. I still like to get him a couple non-clothing gifts that he doesn't expect. And every once in a while I come across something on Etsy (it's rare) that would work for him.

The button above is one of those items. It's as if it were made for our son. We could be having a perfectly nice, civilized dinner, and all of the sudden he'll point his elbow at whoever is talking and go "pew pew pew!" His elbow laser is often met with retaliatory lasers from his sisters' and dad's elbows, and suddenly dinner is chaos. At beanforest, where I made my purchase, there are pages of hilarious buttons. I got my son the magnet version for 50 cents more, for a total of $1.50 plus shipping. Such a deal for something that seems custom-made for our kid. I can't wait 'til he opens it.

In the last year or so, our son has grown a very faint mustache. Very faint. A shadow. But still, it's noticeable. So my husband decided to get him an electric razor - as a gift. I know this gift will not thrill the boy. He may appreciate it, but for something to plug in and not at least make laser noises, I'm not so sure. So, in keeping with the mustache theme, I got him one of these on Etsy:

Surely you've seen them. They're pint glasses with a mustache etched on the side of them, and they're made by breadandbadger. Our boy opened his last night and enjoyed a nice cold glass of milk in it.

So, has anyone else had luck with buying gifts on Etsy, or anywhere else, for boys in their early teens?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Recommendation

This book, How to Talk to a Widower, and every other book I've read so far by Jonathan Tropper, is a must-read. It is witty and engaging, and at times laugh-out-loud funny despite its main premise: it centers around 29-year-old Doug Parker, who loses his wife in a plane crash. Doug is left to cope and becomes responsible for his troubled teen-aged stepson. There's a whole slew of whacky characters in this book, and Tropper's writing, from a man's point of view, is spot on insightful and touching, and mixes in just the right amount of humor for the subject manner. It's out in paperback and would make an excellent gift.

Need a bookmark to go with that gift? I've got a nice selection in my Etsy shop.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This SALE is for the Birds

The birds haven't exactly been flying out of my shop. So to help push them out of the nest, I've put them all on sale. Every bird, including chickens, is now $10 - now that's something to tweet about! I think I'll go tweet about it right now! To see more of my "cheap" birdies, visit HERE.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Therapy Thursday

Day brighteners can come in all forms. But the unexpected ones are the best. Today I received a shop banner from my friend Kelly, of KellySchwarkDesigns on Etsy. She has done this before, and I'm still so surprised by it. She goes into my shop and picks out beads, arranges them and adds hilarious captions. Her sense of humor is right up my alley. For a better look at my current banner, go ahead and click on the image above.

Kelly and I met on Etsy - I think in the forums in a "positive thread," which is only fitting. She has two shops on Etsy. One is her graphic design shop, KellySchwarkDesigns, and the other is where she sells her artwork, KellySchwark. She's just now up and running in both shops after taking some time off. If you're looking for a fresh look to your shop and need a new banner, I highly recommend Kelly's work. It speaks for itself.

Below is the banner Kelly sent me last year before Easter. The poor turtle is being stalked by the marshmallow bunny and Peep.

And up until today I had this banner up in my shop:

And here's a painting from Kelly's art shop, KellySchwark:
Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Cat Newman

Newman in all his fluffy goodness, a favorite lounging position of his.

My cat died yesterday. His name was Newman. He was old and very sick, and it was time. But that doesn't make it any easier. He was my baby before I had babies.

We got Newman when I was newly pregnant with our first child. We already had two cats - Fonz and Buzz. Fonz, who was a girl despite the name I gave her, was my cat from college. She had extra digits on her paws, which made it look like she had thumbs. So I called her The Fonz or Fonzie. After college I moved into a one-bedroom townhouse with Fonzie. Stupidly, my then-boyfriend (now my husband, Bob) and I decided she needed another cat to keep her company while I was at work. She had lived with other cats in college and didn't particularly enjoy it, but we went ahead and got Buzz, a boy kitty. Buzz chased Fonz and tormented her, and she took to living outside for part of the day. So Bob and I decided what we needed was a third cat in our one-bedroom, one-floor little home home. You know, to take the pressure off of Fonz.

For fun back in those days, we would visit a local pet store. One day there was a litter of fluffy gray kitties. We asked to hold one and fell in love on the spot. But one more kitty in that small home? What were we thinking? Plus, I was newly pregnant and we didn't have maternity insurance. Oh, and we had to buy me a car because mine had conked out. It was not the ideal time to get a cat. And I was all about getting a cat from a shelter, like we did with Buzz, or a litter from someone's house, like I had done with Fonz. So we left the little gray kitty at the pet store.

But we couldn't get him off our minds. He was just so sweet and absolutely adorable. Our other two cats had short hair, and now we could have one of those luscious fluffy cats. Plus, we already had a name picked out - Newman. Yes, we were Seinfeld fans. So every day Bob would mention little Newman from the pet store, until I (happily) gave in. We went to pick him up, and he was less money than I had expected. Apparently my husband had already put a deposit down on him, just in case.

We brought our ball of fluff home and he was the cutest, sweetest thing ever. He and Buzz became best buds almost instantly. They'd cuddle and they'd play. Newman took to grooming Buzz. When Buzz wanted the top of his head licked, he'd hold it just so under Newman and Newman would take care of him. Fonz was relieved, unless they both decided to target her. Our plan had worked.

A few months later I had our first child, a boy. Once he was walking, he'd toddle over to the dresser where Newman would be sitting, and Newman would whap him on the head. Sometimes pretty hard. We told our son he was trying to give him a high five, and he believed us. Once our son was taller than the dresser, Newman softened and became his pal. But he never was too fond of the toddler stage. Newman gave lots of high fives over the years that ended in tears. Both our daughters got whapped until they grew taller than the dresser.

Newman's kitten stage was was a lot of fun, and unfortunately our kids never knew him as a kitten. Or else they would have seen him get his little head stuck in a ball jar trying to get the last bits of milk. Bob called for me to get a hammer and I showed up with a rubber mallet (shows what I know). Once I located the hammer, my husband broke the jar and saved Newman. And Once, when Bob took Newman to the vet, he let him ride on the top of the headrest in his little car. He's riding along with this little ball of gray fluff on his shoulder, and a guy pulls up next to him in a big truck with two big dogs in the back. The guy looks down at Bob and his little friend and busts out laughing.

None of our kids are really old enough to get why we named our cat Newman. They'll find out after they watch some reruns, and they'll think it's a funny coincidence that the annoying letter carrier on Seinfeld has the same name as their cat. His name came in handy - when Newman did something bad, like knock over one of the kid's milk cups and we'd walk in the kitchen and see milk dripping over the side of the table, we could do a good Jerry Seinfeld imitation and say, through clenched teeth, "Newman!"

Newman was the kind of cat who would bombard you with affection. He'd rub his head on you forcefully, whether you were trying to sleep or reading a book. When he wanted love, he made sure he got it. His purr was loud and sweet, and he purred up until the very end.

We miss you, Newman.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Murrini Monday

This week's edition of Murrini Monday features other artists' use of murrini. As you can see, they are much more subtle with their murrini usage than I am, giving their beads a more artistic quality (as opposed to the cartoonish quality of mine).

This show-stopper of a bead is called Nightmare Insomnia Mystical Garden Trellis, and you can find it at GlassAddictions, where there just so happens to be a sale going on.

One lonely murrini graces this lovely green tube bead, but it's the star of the show. One Murrini is from DorsetHillBeads.

Southwest Pathway features the artist's own handmade starburst murrini ~ this one is by flamecrazy.

Rainbow Twist by Lutrick incorporates murrini on both sides of the bead, which is made from gorgeous Chalcedony glass.

Appropriately named Murrini Fields, this luscious tube-shaped bead by teasebeads is highlighted by a pretty orange and yellow burst of murrini.

The beads above are by the Fire Divas. Many of them (including me!) use murrini from loriandkim.

And here is a color explosion called Allegro, by Lori, of loriandkim fame, using her very own handmade murrini. Her fabulous beads can be found at Loribeads.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Frogs on Beads

One bead I haven't quite been able to pull off is the "frog-on-a-bead" bead. There are some really sweet ones on Etsy, so I rounded up some of my faves.

Meet Arancio the Orange Glass Tree Frog Bead from guymelamed - don't you just love the toes?

And here's Sweat Pea from redhillbeads - total cuteness!

The frogs in aardvarkartglass's shop cling to all sorts of things. This one is holding on for dear life to a succulent ham - can you blame him?

And here's my little frog. The other day she taunted me and my lack of frog-on-a-bead making skills by bouncing up and down on our exercise ball and saying, "Look Mom! I'm a frog on a bead!"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Knock Knock Joke

Here's one we've been doing a lot in our family. To tell it successfully to someone, follow the italicized words.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Interrupting Cow.

Interrupting -- MOO!

Know any good knock knock jokes? Leave 'em in comments, please!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Therapy Thursday ~ can't we all just get along?

This is our cat, Buzz, and our dog, Chunky. Every morning after my husband and dog go to work (yes, Chunky goes to work 5 days a week), Buzz follows me downstairs to the computer and curls up on Chunky's dog bed. But that nice little routine goes haywire on the weekends when Chunk is home in the morning. Buzz still heads to the dog bed, but now he has to deal with Chunky, who tries desperately to carve out a little spot for himself. Somehow they make it work.

And looky where I found Buzz today - sharing a chair and waiting for a waffle.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Calling All Jewelry Designers - Introductory Jewelry Challenge

Obviously my creativity is geared toward melting glass and decorating the occasional piece of fruit. But if I were a jewelry designer, I'd for sure enter the Fire Divas Introductory Jewelry Challenge.

The Fire Divas are hosting an Introductory Jewelry Challenge! This challenge will be for jewelry designers who use artisan lampwork in their pieces. The winner of the Challenge will receive a beautiful group of Fire Divas' work. This is a wonderful chance for jewelry designers to show off their talents and get exposure!

Now for the details:
This first challenge will allow lampwork from any artisan. We require information about the artisan who made the beads used in the submitted piece, so if you submit something, please be ready to provide that information.

The challenges to follow will only allow Fire Divas' lampwork.

We will allow one submission per person per contest, and a maximum of two photos per submission. Entries may be submitted here ( for approval, no later than January 1, 2010. Please include, in the comments section, the following:
Information about the beads:
Description of the piece:
Inspiration for the piece:

Fire Divas reserve the right to approve or reject any submissions.

Fire Divas reserve the right to modify or cancel the challenge at any time.

Ok, the boring stuff is over - go have fun creating!