Monday, December 19, 2011

Murrini Monday

These are cookies I made yesterday - they are not murrini. But they kind of look like murrini, don't they? Pretty pink cookies with cherry slices, rolled in sugar - mmmm. The sugar could be the sparkly dichro, the cherries could be, well, cherries. I've eaten way to many of these.

Here's the recipe for Christmas Criss Cross Cookies (or as I call them: Pink Cookies):

1 cup butter
5 T. sugar, plus more for coating
2 cups flour
1 t. vanilla
candied cherries cut in half or pecan halves
red food color - a few drops

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour. Add a few drops of red food color until the dough turns pretty pink. Roll into balls the size of small marbles. Dip a fork in flour and press the cookie in both directions (hence the name Criss Cross - but I don't bother with that part). Place a pecan half or cherry half in the center of each cookie. Bake at 350 about 10 minutes. Let cool until you're able to handle them (they are fragile). Then coat in sugar while still warm.

These are so festive and simple, and they are buttery and sugary and delicious! My mom made them when I was a kid, and now my kids love them, too.

It wouldn't be Murrini Monday without some actual murrini, so here's a pair of mismatched mini murrini owl earrings - super cute and awesome murrini from Lori and Kim!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coconut Cranberry Bars

Here's a festive recipe to add to your holiday baking - Coconut Cranberry Bars. A brown sugar crust and orange in the filling are a yummy combo in these bars. I have a picture of them cooling in the pan, but I forgot to take pics after I had cut them into bars.

Coconut Cranberry Bars

1/4 pound butter
1/2 pound brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I didn't use them because I didn't have any)

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup faked coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (again, I didn't have pecans so our bars were nutless)

In medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and salt. Mix well. Add flour. Blend well. Stir in nuts. Press mixture into bottom of 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 15 to 20 minutes.

While crust bakes, combine sugar, flour and baking powder in medium bowl. Mix well. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and orange rind. Blend well. Fold in cranberries, coconut and pecans. Spread mixture over hot baked crust. Return to 350-degree oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Cut into bars.

This recipe is from the Noteworthy Two cookbook (a new recipe collection from the Ravinia Festival)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And the Winner is . . .

I chose the winner of my owl bead giveaway tonight - a day later than I had planned. I did it the old-fashioned way, with names in a hat. Then I had my son draw a name from the bunch. He picked out rosebud101, who I also know as Mallory, a talented lampworker friend. She also makes murrini! Check out her shop at rosebud101!

Thanks again to everyone who entered and spread the word on Facebook. I really appreciate everyone's support and enthusiasm for my beads. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

1000 Facebook Fans Celebration ~ Giveaway!

A few days ago I hit 1,000 fans (or "likers") on my Maybeads Facebook page. I couldn't be happier to have this many people following my work. Thank you! And what better way to celebrate than to give away a bead! Here it is, fresh from the kiln:

It's an owl wearing the latest in feather fashion - layers. I've been experimenting a lot with this style of chest feathers, and I was quite pleased with this color combination of blue, green and orange.

So here are the rules:
You have to be a Maybeads fan on Facebook to enter. After that, just leave a comment below about anything (beads, glass color combos, the weather, the holidays, your pets, etc.). Also, be sure to leave an email address or a way to reach you.
For an extra entry, share the post I put on my Facebook page about the giveaway. Then leave me another comment telling me you did so.

I'll pick the winner Wednesday night (12/7/11).

That's it! Thank you so much for your support!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Orange Tuesday at Beads of Courage

Black Friday was so last week. And Cyber Monday? Over. So what's left? Orange Tuesday! That's right, I said it. Orange Tuesday. Orange is the color for childhood cancer awareness. So it's only fitting that Beads of Courage, an organization devoted to children with serious illnesses such as cancer, would be the first to implement Orange Tuesday. Through midnight Arizona time (Nov. 29), all orders of $20 or more at the Beads of Courage Artists Gallery receive FREE shipping in the US. Enter coupon code ORANGE at checkout.

A bunch of my critter beads are off at Beads of Courage headquarters in Arizona, soaking up the sun, doing photo shoots and rubbing elbows (wings and paws) with pretty beads. But despite all the fun they're having, they'd much rather be purchased and turned into something pretty.

When you purchase beads at the Beads of Courage Artist Gallery, you can even have those beads wire-wrapped into wearable pendants - so no work for you!

Proceeds from the sales of beads in the Artist Gallery benefit Beads of Courage.

And don't worry, there are more than beads with goofy grins to choose from ~ LOTS of gorgeous beads by top lampwork artists are available.

Dora Schubert's exquisitely detailed beads are for sale at Beads of Courage.

Talk about gorgeous - Brent Graber's famous pendants are sure to please (I own two, and believe me, they are beautiful!).

Looking to fill your rope chain bracelet with stunning beads? Check out the beauties Astrid Boyce is offering.

So take advantage of Orange Tuesday and send some beads of enCOURAGEment to someone you love! Your purchase will benefit Beads of Courage. And don't forget your coupon code at checkout - ORANGE - for free shipping in the US. Happy Orange Tuesday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Murrini Monday

Quick post today - I wanted to show off this sparkly murrini I used for this owl's eyes. It's from Lori and Kim, and boy is it fun! These were fairly large slices of murrini, and I placed them on the owl and melted them in. The little black spots on the inside made me want to plunge them, so I heated each one individually, then gave them a nice poke with my pokey tool. Next I topped them with clear glass and voila! Bubble eyes. Add that sparkly dichro on the edges of the murrini and this owl's gaze is just dreamy.

A side view:

Happy Murrini Monday!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

In case you didn't know, today is Small Business Saturday. It's a day devoted to supporting small businesses, which of course includes artists. So I've made it my business to make some purchases from some small businesses that I love.

I had been wanting to order a custom dog tag from Island Top Designs for a looong time. My lampworker friend Paula has turned her artistic talents to metal stamping, and she's been off and running with her custom dog tag business ever since. I'm a fan of her Island Top Custom Tags page on Facebook, and her happy customers are all there showing off their new bling. Each time I'd see one of these cute pooches or kitty cats sporting one of Paula's custom made tags in gorgeous mixed metals, I'd want to buy one for our dog, Chunky. I especially love the one pictured above, with the dog in the boat. But it just wasn't right for Chunky. I also love the Cowboy Boot, but Chunk is a midwestern dog without any cowboy swagger. So after much thought I asked Paula if she thought she could make a tennis ball tag - the perfect tag for our tennis ball-obsessed dog. And guess what? She could!

Paula also sells her tags in her Island Top Custom Tags shop on Etsy. And as Paula says: Every pet deserves a little bling. And Chunky agrees.

Another small business where you can't go wrong is Sunbasilgarden. I'll soon be restocked with my favorite body butter lotions - sugar cookie is so yummy! I cleared out the stock on that one, but I'm sure Lauren, master soapstress at Sunbasilgarden, will have more listed sometime soon. In the meantime, she has other delicious sounding scents like Milk & Honey (pictured above) and Pomegranate. Her lotions are all natural and non-greasy (perfect for winter!), and I bought enough to keep one for myself and give the rest as gifts for the holidays.

Sunbasilgarden is known around Etsy for much more than lotions ~ it's really all about the soap. Each bar is a work of art in itself. One of my favorites is the Eggs and Bacon soap, but there's also Cookies and Milk and Cupcake soap. I highly recommend "liking" Sunbasilgarden on Facebook for updates on new listings and sales.

Enjoy your Small Business Saturday, and be sure to support your favorite small businesses!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turtle Tuesday

That's right, it's Turtle Tuesday. This is a brand new weekly holiday I invented. After all, what else could follow Murrini Monday? So every Tuesday I will have a turtle special in my shop. This week I'm marking down Joseph the Turtle and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Shell:

He is now priced at $10! Weeeee!

So be sure to check my SALE section for the weekly Turtle Tuesday deal - some turtles from past weeks are still available at the lower prices.

Happy Turtle Tuesday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Murrini Monday

It's been a loooong time since I've done a Murrini Monday, let alone blogged at all. So here's to getting back on track ~ enjoy some murrini on this cold Monday!

A tiny slice of orange and pink murrini is just what this little hootie needed.

Murrini as owl eyes is always a good idea. This one is sporting two perfect slices with pretty pink centers.

If you let your cat outside, make sure he's wearing a collar and tag. This little fella is sporting a red, black and white murrini tag, so if he gets lost and someone finds him, they'll know exactly where he belongs (back home with the murrini hoarder!).

Murrini for this edition of Murrini Monday is brought to you by Lori and Kim.

Happy Murrini Monday!

pssst - tomorrow is Turtle Tuesday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Can You Smell It? It's Almost Friday

Everyone looks forward to Fridays, right? It's ingrained in our brains. When you're a kid, Friday means the weekend is starting and there's no school for a couple days. When you're all grown up, it usually means the same, but with a couple days off of work. After college, I spent a few years as a stringer for a local newspaper. I worked weekdays and Saturdays, covering school and local events. To supplement my meager earnings, I waited tables at night. For a waitress, weekend nights are the money-making shifts. So I worked every weekend evening - my days off from the restaurant were Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So my whole view of Fridays and the subsequent weekend was turned upside down. While I was waiting on people on Friday nights as they were unwinding from their busy weeks and looking forward to the weekend, I was looking forward to Tuesday. But now that I'm older and have kids in school and a husband who works during the week, I find myself looking forward to Fridays again when we can all be together and live in harmony. Who am I kidding? I love weekdays! Just me and the cats and my torch. And the laundry and making dinner, but that's ok. I can deal with that.

For all of you who are looking forward to Friday, I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop. Just use Coupon Code ALMOSTFRIDAY during checkout, and you'll receive 15% OFF your entire order. Happy Thursday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beads Go To College

My twin nieces are freshmen at Illinois State University, so I decided to make them ISU mascot beads. The school's mascot is Reggie the Redbird (they couldn't have gone to a school with a turtle mascot?), and Reggie is a little angry looking. The expression was a challenge for me, but I think I figured it out.

I wire-wrapped the birds and off to college they flew.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I used to avoid making earrings or earring pair beads. I was so hung up on them being exactly the same that I just stopped trying. But lately I've been inspired to try them again. And you know what? They don't have to be exactly the same, especially when they're critter bead earrings. As another lampworker once told me: there will be a head in between the earrings, so some slight differences won't matter.

I currently have two pairs of earrings in my Etsy shop - some blue dangly dinos:

And some happy turtles:

This mismatched pair of hooters sold a couple weeks ago, so now I know that not everyone is looking for a perfect set.

I definitely plan on making more earrings - mismatched and alike. Any ideas?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Murrini Monday ~ I Can See It In Your Eyes

When I find two slices of murrini that are nearly identical, I think owl eyes! And I immediately set those pieces aside while I figure out what colors to make my next owl. I especially like the Lori and Kim murrini with a round middle and little lines that spread out from the middle to the perimeter. These are my favorite murrini for owl eyes.

I LOVE the eyes on this owl! The murrini came in a "thank you" pack in one of my many Lori and Kim orders. I think maybe Lori put two of them in there on purpose? Unfortunately, there's a small fracture in the owl's body (boohoo!), so now he's busy guarding the underside of my computer and I get to look into his eyes every time I log on.

This owl's eyes are nice and dramatic, just the way I like them. I think they're putting me into a trance.
I have to find slightly smaller murrini for pandora-style owl eyes, and these deep red ones definitely do the trick.

I already have my next pair of owl eyes picked out. They are orange, and I'm thinking about a Halloween hootie.

Happy Murrini Monday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Beads

I may have written about this before, so forgive me if I have. For the longest time I wanted my beads to be happy. Not just on the inside, but to show it physically, you know, with a smile. I had been using a butter knife to make the straight-across open mouths on my turtles ever since I started making them. If I put the mouth too high on the turtle's face, then the poor turtle got a "Jay Leno" chin. If I put it too low, he'd suffer from severe over-bite and tend to look kind of dumbfounded.

So over a year or so ago I set out to find a smile-making tool. After some trial and error, I wound up making one from the handle of a teaspoon I found in my kitchen drawer. Back then I made a couple beads with smiles (a goofy looking smiling dog and a turtle, I believe), but they sat in my shop for a while. Maybe customers aren't looking for happy beads? Maybe they want beads that look like they've been through a lot to get where they are, less carefree and more angst perhaps. Or at least a nice blank look on their googly-eyed faces. So I stopped with the happy beads.

Then about a week ago I decided to try it again. I felt like I had much more control of my handmade tool and I was really happy with the results. So far I've just made smiling turtles, but maybe I'll add some cheer to some other critters - any ideas?

Here's a picture of the teaspoon handle that I manipulated into a smile tool. I took my pliers and pulled the edges up to form the makings of a grin. Or, if used upside down, a frown. :) Frownie beads - now there's an idea . . .

Monday, August 8, 2011

Murrini Monday

Why are these turtles smiling?

They've been murrini-ed!
Each of these pandora-style turtles is showing off three slices of Lori and Kim murrini.

If owls could smile, I'm sure each one in this mini quartet would be grinning ear to ear. Each one has its very own murrini.
All the beads here are available in my Etsy shop.

Happy Murrini Monday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Mooch a Bead - In Eight Easy Steps

This method has been proven to work time and time again. You won't find these techniques anywhere else - I am only sharing this top secret information here. Now pay attention.

1. Upon noticing the bead you want, make a gasping sound like you're sucking in your breath in surprise.
2. Then exhale and say, "Ohmygosh! Ohmygosh! It's soooooo cute!"
3. Next, with eyes wide, ask "Is it sold?"
Upon hearing that it is not, in fact, even listed to be sold, continue to step 4.
4. Say with much enthusiasm "I will buy it! I will pay you for it!"
5. Give it a few more "oooohs and awwwws" for good measure. Try using the voice you use when talking to your cat.
6. Promise to wear it.
7. Then go right to sleep when I tell you.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll have a new choker to wear the next day.

8. Forget all about your offer to pay good money for it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Murrini Monday ~ Hooter Style

When Lori, of Lori and Kim, sent me this excellent duo of yellow, black and white murrini, she put a note on the baggie that said "for owl eyes." She knows me too well. And yes, the perfect slices of murrini became fantastic, mesmerizing owl eyes:

As you probably are aware, another name for owl is hooter. What's better than one hooter? A pair of hooters!

This pug is a bathing beauty in her murrini bikini - same two slices of murrini I used for the owl eyes, only I didn't flatten them (the pug needed all the enhancement she could get).

And here's a shot of the hooters for a side-by-side comparison.

I highly recommend heading to Lori and Kim to check out their latest batch of murrini blends. You're sure to get a jumpstart on Halloween planning (that's right, I said Halloween!).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Random Friday

I'm a rule breaker. I admit it. When I'm trying to think of names for my beads, I often hop on over to The Comprehensive Bunny Name List. I can't remember how I found this site, but I love the suggested bunny names. However, the site explicitly states that Use of this list to obtain names for kitties, puppies, gerbils, hamsters, or other fuzzy pets is an abuse of this service and will not be tolerated. Oops. At least it doesn't mention turtles.

I Skyped for the first time a couple weeks ago. My parents were in Vietnam, and we caught them early in the morning on the computer. It was about 8pm here, so it was about 8am there. It was really fun! My dad aimed his camera outside and showed us the crazy traffic and little scooters everyone drives around on, as well as a couple places off in the distance he remembered staying at during the war. Very cool.

I've been on the email list for our local pet shelter volunteers for a while now. I got on the list for my son, who has wanted to be involved. Well today he'll be working in the food area of CATMANIA at Orphans of the Storm in Riverwoods. The event runs all weekend, and there are lots of kittens and cats waiting to be adopted.

We did our annual trip into cheese country to go strawberry picking a couple weeks ago. We love going to Thompson's Strawberry Farm in Bristol, Wisconsin. We picked A LOT of strawberries. Of course, the kiddos wanted to stop by the Jelly Belly factory afterward, so we did that, too. Check out the gross Jelly Belly flavors that our neighbor's son tried - ick!

Both my girls start camp next week. My older daughter will go away for about 12 days - her first time at overnight camp. My younger daughter will be at the same camp, but for the day camp program. I'm able to send them to camp with money I earned selling beads - so thank you everyone who as purchased from me! Now I have to figure out what to do during the time they are gone - clean out their closet or make beads?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Murrini Monday

I gave in to my murrini addiction last week and scored more murrini (one little baggie can't hurt, could it?) from my dealers, Lori and Kim. Fortunately, I had enough murrini to get me by until my new blend arrived.

Dolly is looking good in her orange murrini bikini. It might look like she's had work done, but believe me - they're real and they're fabulous.

This blue baby dragon frog started out as a mouse. But sometimes the glass just tells you what it wants to be, and the turquoise glass I was using kept saying "baby dragon frog." Really. Whatever he is, he's holding tight to his pink and green murrini flower.

This mouse bead actually made it to fruition. Gracie the gray mouse is so happy to be a mouse, as opposed to a baby dragon frog, that she's ready to share her love and happiness with a pink and green murrini heart.

Bogart the black owl is sporting some striking murrini. I love the colors I was able to get out of this murrini. I'm still experimenting with striking murrini, and I've had a few misses along the way, but I think this one is a hit.

Here's my new blend, perfectly called Calorie Free Love ~ my very favorite murrini colors (retro candy colors) combined with the hippy designs of peace and love and happiness and checkerboards and . . . yin yangs! I just might have to hold auditions for which beads will get to sport those pink and black yin yangs - love those!

Murrini for today's edition of Murrini Monday is brought to you by Lori and Kim. Find their online shop at Lori and Kim, and their Etsy shop at Lori and Kim on Etsy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Murrini Monday ~ I ♥ Murrini!

This delicious focal called Pull Here was made by Lori of loribeads. Lori is the other half of Lori and Kim, my murrini dealers. Do you see what she's done? She used two pieces of murrini and dragged them down to form a heart shape. Why didn't I think of that? It's beautiful and unique, like everything Lori does. Be sure to check out her shop - she's got a bunch more murrini focal beads and a coupon code posted at the top.

Lara of Lutrick shows her love of murrini in almost the same way as Lori. She took single slices of rainbow murrini and dragged them into hearts. This takes patience and skills, but check out the beautiful results! A Rainbow Heart Retro bead set. Happy Happy!

I guess I took the easy way out and used a piece of murrini with a perfect little heart in it to adorn Othello the Owl. No reworking the murrini here - just heating and placing it on Othello's chest, opposite where his heart would actually be.

Happy Murrini Monday!