Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oatmeal Sabatoge

Have I ever mentioned before how much my husband loves his bicycle? I think I have. He is a bike addict. He rides every chance he gets. And right now, at 8 am on Saturday, he is over an hour away doing a road race. Outside. It's about 25 degrees outside. That's either devotion or plain craziness. But that's not the topic of this post.

The night before my husband has a race or a bike class, he packs up his car with his bike and helmet. He also packs a gym bag with a change of clothes, extra clothes for layering and water bottles. Some of the water bottles are filled with protein potions that will restore his body back to its normal state after her burns 1,000+ calories riding his bike. Also, the night before he has an early ride, he prepares his oatmeal for breakfast. He'll pour his dry oats into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Then he makes a little mixture of goodies to go on top. This bag of oatmeal topping consists of brown sugar, walnuts and dried cranberries, as far as I know. I don't really inspect it. So in the morning, all he has to do is add water to the oatmeal, heat it in the microwave and sprinkle his concoction of flavors on top and enjoy.

When I see that oatmeal all nicely prepared (with a banana) the night before, I just can't help myself. I start looking through the cabinets for something to hide in that baggie of brown sugar and walnuts. One week I put a couple chocolate chips in there. The next week I was a little more obvious - baby Swedish fish. Just a couple. But I'm careful to fully immerse them in the brown sugar, so hopefully they're a surprise. I don't think he noticed when I put white chocolate chips in the bag - they probably melted and blended in.

See that yellow spot in the middle of the bag? I wonder if he liked his oatmeal and Gummy Bears this morning. I'll find out in a few hours.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Murrini Monday

I skipped Murrini Monday last week because I had my giveaway going, so now it's baaaack!

Here we have a pug in a cozy spring sweatshirt, complete with a smiley face murrini. I'm so happy Lori and Kim made these! I have a few left and can't wait to dress other beadimals in happy face shirts.

Next up is a spring snake with a flower murrini tail, and and a white bunny with an decorated Easter egg murrini. The poor purple snake didn't get a murrini, and he looks pretty upset about it.

This purple bunny snagged a sweet Easter egg murrini, and she is not letting go.

Finally, here is a penguin with a fun sunburst murrini on his belly. I think even he is ready for spring. :)

All of the murrini in this post is from Lori and Kim. They try to post their new murrini on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so be sure to mark your calendars so you can get in on the new designs before they are gone! Ok, before I buy them all.

Happy Murrini Monday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Major Markdown

Tabby Cat Sheriff is retiring at the end of the month (ok, he's due to expire, but let's not tell him that), so I've marked him down again. I'd love for him to find a place in a nice law enforcement/kitty cat retirement center. Then I can bring in my new sheriff. Penguins make good sheriffs, but I think I might deputize a pug. Any other suggestions?

Tabby Cat Sheriff in action - see how he keeps the naughty turtles in line?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beads for Sale at Beads of Couarage

I recently sent about a dozen beads to Beads of Courage, an organization I've written about here before. Beads of Courage provides beads to children who are suffering from illnesses. The children receive beads to string for each treatment they have, each time they stay in the hospital, each time they have blood drawn . . . As you can imagine, these kids have very long strands of beads. I send beads to the Beads of Courage program as often as I can, and they are distributed to the different hospitals that are participating in the program. There are a lot of artists that donate beads - it's a really wonderful program.

Recently, Beads of Courage put the word out to artists that it would be accepting beads to sell on the BOC website. These sales would benefit the program. It took me a little while, but I finally got a small group of beads ready and sent them (with my last bead donation) to BOC. I just found out that my beads are now up for sale in the Artist Gallery. There are some really amazing beads and jewelry available on the site, all by different glass and polymer clay artists, and I'm so honored to see my little critters among the beautiful beads.

So take a minute to check out the Artist Gallery at Beads of Courage. You won't be disappointed. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giveaway WINNER!

I picked the winner the old fashioned way - I wrote down all the entry names and had this random lady (pictured below) pick one.

Wow, she has man hands. Who knew?

Anyway, the winner is nomadcraftsetc! Nomad Crafts Etc is actually a lampwork business run by a husband and wife. I already follow them on Facebook, and you can too at Nomad Crafts Etc. They do a really wide variety of lampwork - from pipes to big hole beads to marbles (check them out!). I will be contacting you soon for your info, Nomad Crafts! Thanks so much to everyone who commented!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


It's been too long since I've done one of these. I have the best customers, blog followers and Facebook likers, and I want all of you to know how much I appreciate you. So I'm giving away this penguin-bunny bead.

I came up with the idea for a penguin-bunny because my 2nd grader just had a unit on penguins. She learned that male Emperor penguins have to keep the newly hatched eggs warm and protected by balancing them on their feet so they don't touch the frozen ground. The eggs are kept warm by a thick fold of skin that lays over the egg. They do this, without eating, for about nine weeks, while the female penguin is off at sea having a feeding frenzy. If the egg touches the ground during the incubation period, it will freeze or crack and the chick is lost.

My daughter's teacher gave each kid in the class a plastic egg and had them try balancing it on their feet as they waddled around the classroom. When the eggs eventually hit the ground, they'd pop open and their were a couple Starburst candies inside. My daughter came home from school that day with her little Starburst penguin chicks (she had drawn little bird faces on them) and refused to eat them because they were her chicks. I put them in her lunch and they came back, uneaten. She held out for a few more days, but she eventually ate them. But she saved the wrappers with the faces on them.

So, after that long explanation, I decided that my penguin should at least have a pretty egg to protect. So I placed a piece Egghunt murrini (from Lori and Kim) on this penguin's feet. Then I had to add bunny ears and a cotton tail, so his mate would be able to find him easily when she returns from sea.

For this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment after this post. I'll pick a winner on Tuesday night (March 15). I'd love it if you followed my blog as well, or liked me on Facebook.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Skunks have been on my list of beads to try for a while, but I just never got around to it. Then just recently I had a customer request one (apparently she has a friend with a pet skunk), so I gave it a try:

I was happy with how it turned out, and so was my customer, who also ordered a couple cat beads. The skunk and this kitty seem to be getting along well:

Oh no - I spoke too soon - run, kitty, run!

Too late. :(

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hippity Hoppity

Bunnies, to me, have always fallen into the same category as monkeys. I'm talking glass monkeys. There is just an unspoken truth that monkeys are not a critter I can make. I even proved it to myself once by trying. Ug. I leave the monkeys up to my friend Louise, who gives them personality, style and the best expressions over at Fireseed Glass - they are amazing! If you haven't seen her glass monkeys, you are missing out (so go look!). But I digress . . . bunnies are a close second to monkeys when it comes to making them out of glass. I've tried them at different times in the past, and they just turn out ok. They wind up looking too much like cats with long ears. So I went with something simpler, like this pink Peep-inspired bunny:

It's simple and cute, and reminds me of delicious marshmallow treats, but it's lacking personality. I guess it would be hard to eat a marshmallow bunny if it was filled with personality, so that's likely why Peeps have such simple features. So now with Easter on the horizon, I've been wanting to try bunnies again. Real (ok, my version of real) bunnies. So the other night I made this guy:

I showed it to my husband and he looked at it for longer than I thought it would take to figure out it's a bunny. He turned it over and looked at it from different angles, then said something like, "Bunny? Or cat with long ears?" Really? I got a much better reaction from my girls, who are suckers for large puppy-dog eyes. So I was a little encouraged, and decided to make a bunny sitting up:

I was pretty pleased with how Marshmallow turned out, so I decided to add more detail with my next bunny. I had some murrini (now that's an understatement!) that had always reminded me of Easter eggs, so I found it and gave it to this blue bunny:

He's got a pretty tight grip on it, so I had to find more for my other bunnies:

Wait a second, you're not a bunny! Too late, the Pug bunny is not letting go of that murrini egg.

Now that's just great, first the Pug bunny, and now ninja bunny has crept into my murrini stash and grabbed one of my last egg-shapped murrini.

I figured that would be the end of my "bunnies holding Easter eggs" series, but how wrong I was! I popped on over to Lori and Kim yesterday and lo and behold . . . an entire blend of decorated egg murrini!

Egg Hunt was just what I was hunting for. Now all my bunnies, and bunny impostors, will get an egg.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Murrini Monday ~ Guest Edition

I've been having a lot of fun using murrini on mini turtles. This set features all rainbow-colored murrini, and I think each one is from a different blend from Lori and Kim. So as you can see, I seek out those brightly colored blends.

I don't have any more new murrini beads to show, so I'm trolling Etsy for some murrini goodies today.
Nikki's fat cat caught my eye right away at nlcbeads. He's sporting some Triton and white murrini from rosebud101, and the rainbow effect is so cool! I think I might have some of that murrini in my stash, and I'm going to have to play with it today.

Muppet Murrini! I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street - via theglasszone. Aren't these fantastic? The detail is amazing and the likeness to my favorite monsters is spot on. So darn cute! And the creativity doesn't stop at muppets - this shop has everything from tropical fish murrini to Frankenstein heads murrini, plus lots of your favorite tv and video game-inspired characters.

Check out this beauty I found in my friend Ema's new Etsy shop, EmaKDesigns. Kalypso Pearls Under the Sea has so many gorgeous elements, and right there in the center is a lovely slice of murrini. Ahhh . . . love it. Ema isn't new to Etsy, she just started a new shop called EmaKDesigns. You'll find her signature focals there, including her beautiful tree beads, and several decorated with murrini.

Happy Murrini Monday!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Making of an Irish Pug

There are days when I'm at my torch making beads, and I'm on fire. Not literally, of course. But every little critter bead I make turns out how I want - the expression, the shape, the size, the personality - it all goes so smoothly. This isn't every day. Most days I come up with a few keepers and a few practice beads or wonky beads. And some days I shouldn't even light my torch at all. The day I made the little Irish Pug was probably one of those days. But I pushed on, and on, and on. Normally a pug, or even a pug in a shirt, would be an easier bead for me to make. I make pugs all the time and I get a kick out of dressing them up. I'd had this idea for an Irish Pug, featuring a wonderful little clover murrini from Lori and Kim, for a long time. I liked the play on words with Irish Pug and Irish Pub. Plus, pugs look good in green. So, without another thought, I lit my torch and started to make the bead.

I wound the green glass around the mandrel. Then I added ivory. I made the head and added the eyes and mouth. Then I realized I should have added the murrini to the green shirt before I put the head on. No worries, I thought confidently. I can still add it now. I flashed the murrini in the flame to warm it up, then heated the spot on the shirt where it would go. I placed the murrini in the hot spot on my bead and gave it a little push to make it stick. Only it didn't stick. It popped right off and dove into my messy glass piles on my table. Normally I'd have a back-up murrini at the ready, but this was my very last clover murrini. So I started moving around the rods of glass on my table, all the while trying to keep the bead in the flame so it wouldn't cool and crack. With my left hand I twirled the bead, and with my right hand I searched for that tiny piece of murrini. And then I found it. Oh happy day! The future of this bead was looking good again. I put the murrini off to the side and put my attention back on the bead. I had to reheat the pug's shirt in the spot where the murrini would go, so I turned the bead over in the flame and - pop! Half of it cracked right off. Apparently I hadn't kept the bead as warm as I'd thought. Into the water bowl it went.

RIP, Little Pug

But I was determined to make this bead at this torch session, so I grabbed another mandrel and started again. I put on the green, then the ivory. I even got the murrini centered nicely on the pug's shirt, so I was feeling good. Now on to the face. I grabbed a rod of black glass for the eyes and put down two big dots. Funny, it didn't look black on the bead. That's because it was dark transparent purple. In my frenzy to find the murrini, I'd moved all my glass around and mistook a rod of dark transparent purple for black. The murrini was already on the bead and it was my last clover, so I had to make the most of it. I heated up the face and pulled it off (don't worry, this is not painful to the pug). I re-did the head with more ivory, found my black glass and started adding the facial features once again. I did the eyes - black, then white, then dark topaz. When I was ready to put the eyeballs on, I picked up my black glass and heated it up. Just as my hand was moving the hot black glass to the tiny surface of the eye, my dog comes up behind me and makes this gross hacking sound, scaring the you-know-what out me. I made the eyeball . . . and then some. Ahhhhh! Pulling off one eye is nearly impossible to do without affecting the rest of the face. Somehow I pulled the extra black glass off (you can still see a tiny bit above the pug's right eye) and re-did the eye. I can't even remember how - I must have blocked it out. I added the the legs and tail and added ears and voila! An Irish Pug was born. Easy as pie.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy 10.75 Birthday!

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. Well, sort-of. He and his twin sister were born on Leap Year, so he doesn't really have a birthday this year, or most years. He's had 10 real birthdays, and two of our kids have passed him up in birthday age. Next year he'll have his day, but this year he's 10 3/4 (which turns out was a tricky number to write in frosting on the cake).

This is my husband (we'll call him Bob) doing what he loves. Yes, that's snow he's riding on. That's how much he loves riding his bike.

So here's what I got him for his birthday (that's not my husband in the above pic). It's a sweet cycling t-shirt from One Gear Clothing on Etsy. It was hard to choose because there are a lot of great shirts in this shop, but with my husband's bike chain coming off during one of his Fall Cyclocross races, I thought this was a good choice. And he loved it!

Our son was just as excited as his dad about the gift he gave - a jumbo-sized container of cocoa almonds. These were on my regular shopping list yesterday and they are delicious, but they're even more fun when they're wrapped up like a present.

Our middle daughter wrapped up a pack of gum. I think that's two years in a row she's done that. It's always fun to guess the flavor through the wrapping paper. Good times.

Any guesses what our youngest gave him? Here's a clue - see that hole in her mouth? She pulled her tooth out at school yesterday (strategically waiting until school started so she'd be sent to the nurse to collect the coveted tooth treasure box), brought it home and wrapped it up. Just what every dad wants.

And there was one more gift. This one was from our dog, Chunky. He's very thoughtful. But he waited until the last minute to buy his gift. Lucky for him, the folks at CountryWorkshop have super-fast shipping, and his gift arrived with a day to spare.

I think we'll hang the new sign by our sliding glass door. No explanation necessary. And this gift was hit, too. CountryWorkshop on Etsy is one of those fun shops you can spend a long time in, browsing and reading. There are cute signs for just about everything there. Chunky chose well.