Wednesday, December 4, 2013


This time of year has me thinking about cats. Not that I don't think about cats at other times of the year, but just before the holidays I think about cats even more. We adopted our two cats, Ernie and Bert, three years ago at this time of year. I was the kitten scout. I was at the shelter nearly every day, petting cats and kittens. Once I'd chosen an orange kitten (after several interviews and cuddle sessions), I brought my husband to the shelter to meet him. Bob and the kitten took to each other right away, so while they were bonding I opened another kitten cage and took out a little black kitty. When we put both kitties on the floor, they started running around together and I think they might have fallen in love. Or maybe that was me. That's when Bob said "We could get two . . ." Um, ok! So we signed the papers and paid the adoption fee, but we weren't allowed to take the kitties home just yet. The orange kitten had an eye infection and that needed to clear up before they would release him. They put the two kitties together in the same cage and we went home and waited. And waited. I went to the shelter with our cat carrier, ready to take them home, but they still would not release them and I left with my empty cat carrier. I understood. But boy did I want to bring those kitties home! Finally, on Christmas Eve, the kittens were cleared to come home. We picked them up and put them in a wrapped box (you know, the kind they have on soap operas where the box top is wrapped separately so all you have to do is pull off the top) and presented the box to our kids. They were stunned. It was one of those awesome moments - we had kittens! Our kids had never had kittens before. The three cats we had had during their life were all grown, so they had never known the wonder of little kittens. It was so much fun! Ernie and Bert are now "cats," but we still call them "the kittens." They became best friends right away and they play and sleep together. They are wonderful. :)

So it's no wonder that I want to shop for cats this time of year. But we're at our limit now with these two fur balls, and that's ok. We love them. But in my cat-obsessed state I've been favoriting a lot of cat items on Etsy and I even made a holiday cat treasury. I can't seem to get cats off my mind. 

Then my glassy friend Lori of loribeads posted this glorious picture of the cat beads she's been making. Aren't they wonderful??? I love group shots of critter beads - and these kitties all get along so nicely, no hissing. :) I didn't see any cat beads in her shop yet, but that's what she's been up to, so hopefully they'll be sneaking in there soon. 

My glassy friend Nikki has a whole litter of kitty cats in her shop, nlcbeads. I own a couple of her cat beads and they are even better in person. Their itty bitty paw pads are my favorite little adorable detail. 

These little tipsy cats by Min of minfidler are a new obsession of mine. I just love the design and all the little details on each kitty cat. I own one of her upright cat beads that I just adore. She has both designs in her shop now, but I've noticed that the tipsy cats go fast! Find her cat beads here.

Another shop that's under the influence of cats is RCTees. Shop owner Toni just had her 8,000 sale! So you know there are happy customers all over the globe sporting her fabulous shirts. I'm one of them - I have two RC t-shirts and I love them. The fit is just right, and the graphics are outstanding. Not all the shirts and bags at RCTees are cat-related - there's something for everyone there. 

So if you're like me and are a little cat-obsessed at this time of year (or any time of year), check out  all the wonderful cat items from the shops I featured. Then head to your local shelter and pet some cats. Or if you can, try volunteering at a shelter. Two of my kids have been helping out as Junior Volunteers at Save-A-Pet. They were there last weekend and two kittens were adopted during their shift. So I'm guessing the new owner of those kittens might feel like me at this time of year in years to come - thinking about cats. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Critter Visit from NLC Beads

Looky what came in the mail yesterday! An adorable kitty cat (with beautiful scrollwork that's hard to see in the picture), a 3-eyed alien with murrini, AND a screaming alien, cyclops-style. They are all from Nikki at NLC Beads
It's ok to be jealous. It's a perfectly natural emotion to feel when you see someone else with a handful of Nikki's beads. I'm lucky enough to own several of Nikki's awesome critters. My other screaming alien serves as the best fan-pull ever, right over our kitchen table, screaming his little head off. This new screaming alien has been a little, shall we say, nervous, since he's hopped out of the mailing envelope.  And it doesn't help that his travel companions aren't very compassionate to his anxiety. After all, he screamed the entire way here from Ohio.

The critters were checking out their new surroundings and they talked the screaming alien into trying out the playpen. He didn't like it.

Then they put him in the baby buggy. He was not amused.

They had to pry him away from the mirror. He kept scaring himself.

He finally relaxed a little when they sang Happy Birthday to him. And it's not even his birthday.

Some of my other NLC critters agreed to a group picture with the the newbie beads. I think they're all going to get along very well. :)

Thank you, Nikki!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day, a day devoted to the education and prevention of diabetes. My daughter has Type 1 Diabetes (also called Juvenile Diabetes). There is no "preventing" Type 1 Diabetes. It strikes randomly (although it does run in families) and occurs after the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. So rather than talking about preventing diabetes, I'll focus on the education part - with help from my Dinobeadies for Diabetes. :) 

Diabetics test their blood sugar about 8 to 10 times a day. They poke their fingers, get a tiny blood sample, and put it on a test strip that's inserted in their meter. 

This dino is demonstrating how he tests his blood glucose (but normally the test strip is inserted in the meter when the blood sample is taken).

Within seconds, the meter displays a number - the blood glucose reading is 88, a good number! 70  to about 130 is considered normal blood sugar. If the reading is around 70 or below, the diabetic will want to take some fast-acting sugar to bring it back up to the normal range. Glucose tablets and juice are good for raising the blood sugar. 

Lately we've been using Smarties to treat my daughter's lows. They're just as fast as glucose tabs, and they're a lot less expensive. We have Smarties everywhere - in my car, my purse, my coat pockets, my daughter's lunchbox, her backpack and in her test kit. Don't be a Dum Dum, be a Smartie and always carry fast-acting sugar with you!

When it's time to eat, a diabetic will check her blood sugar first. Then she'll figure out how many carbohydrates are in her meal. Then she has to give herself some insulin. My daughter used to use an insulin pen for her injections, but now she has an insulin pump. She puts the amount of carbohydrates into her pump and the pump helps her figure out how many units of insulin she should have with her meal. Every Type 1 diabetic has their own insulin-to carb ratio, depending on what their body needs. 

I don't have a picture of my daughter's pump because she's wearing it at school. :) So here is a dino showing some of the things needed to make the pump work. These little packages contain the infusion set and the reservoir. The infusion set is inserted into the stomach, upper hip, upper rear or leg. My daughter prefers the sites on her stomach and backside. The site needs to be changed every three days, and the locations need to be rotated so the favored areas can take a break.

Here's the reason I make my mini Dinobeadies for Diabetes. Annie was diagnosed almost two years ago. Since prevention is out of the question, we're focusing on a CURE for diabetes. Proceeds from the sale of my mini dinos will be donated to the Diabetes Research Institute, a leader in cure-based research. 

Find Dinobeadies for Diabetes HERE, and let's make diabetes as extinct as the dinosaurs.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Dad as a Bead

My dad's birthday is today! On Halloween! So when I was a kid, we had lots to celebrate on this day. We ate candy AND cake. My dad's birthday cake was usually a Halloween scene, but one year my mom ordered a cake of his head. He has a very recognizable look, one that translated well to a cake. As kids, my sisters and I were also experts at drawing my dad's face.

My dad also is an ophthalmologist. When I was little, I imagined that he had a box of spare eyeballs. You know, like a shoebox filled with them. I figured that if someone hurt their eye so badly that it no longer was useful, my dad could pop out the bad eye and let his patient pick a new one from the shoebox. This turned out not to be true (bummer, right?). But being an eye doctor and having a Halloween birthday works out very well for gift-giving. We love to find him eyeball-themed birthday presents and there are lots of them out there this time of year. One year I got him eyeball soaps, and this year I found some eyeball post-it notes. But I also was delighted to find some gory eyeball murrini (made by Lori and Kim). I used some of the eyeball murrini on various animal beads, but I saved one for a bead for my dad. I thought and thought about what to make with it. I couldn't come up with anything quite right. Then a couple nights ago I thought, "I should make a bead of my dad!" How could I not? I had drawn his face so many times, why not make it in glass? So here is what I made:

This is my dad as a bead. He's wearing his light blue lab coat with yellow index cards in the pocket (he always has those there for taking notes and making lists). He's also holding a gory eyeball (probably freshly removed from someone's face). His face is pretty spot on, if I do say so myself (and if you can't tell, he's smiling under the beard). The only thing that's not quite accurate is his hair color - it's not exactly black anymore. But this is how I picture my dad. :)

Here is my real dad with his bead. 


Monday, October 14, 2013

Murrini Monday

 This awesome BOO murrini was just asking to be melted onto a black cat. I think the cat is more scared than scary.

These big-hole turtles love to show off murrini on the tops of their shells. I put a layer of clear over it and it gives it a magnified effect. The eyeball is sure to scare the pretty beads on someone's rope chain.

 Heart murrini is still one of my all-time favorites. It can be used just about anywhere, and I love giving it to little owls. This big slice almost didn't fit on this little yellow owl, but we made it work.

Pinky the owl is always impressed when an owl suitor looks her in the eyes, and not the chest. But his hooter wouldn't blame her new friend for sneaking a peek at her pretty pink and yellow murrini heart.

Murrini from this week's episode of Murrini Monday is from Lori and Kim!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Murrini Monday ~ It's Spooktacular!

It's been too long since my last Murrini Monday post, but that doesn't mean I haven't been having fun with murrini. Quite the opposite, in fact! A few weeks ago I received the Monster Mash blend from Lori and Kim and I can't keep the critters away from my stash!

Dragons like to steal murrini in broad daylight. They are that bold. This trio found a Frankenstein head, a zombie head and a candy corn, and they're not letting them go.

These two big hole dragons got ahold of a jack-o-lantern and a bat. They act like they had nothing to do with taking them - they won't make eye contact with me.

This army green dragon picked out one of my largest skulls and then asked me to paint her toenails orange to match the murrini.

This time of year, black cats feel quite deserving of something special like Halloween Murrini. Two of these cats picked out murrini from my stash, but one slinked off with a candy corn in his mouth. 

The gory eyeball murrini is one of my very favorites from this blend. This elephant an pug obviously agreed with me. 

The Monster Mash murrini blend is already sold out, but you can still purchase smaller packs of two varieties, like the Creature Feature blend of black bats and spooky spiders. Funny, none of my critters has swiped a spider murrini yet . . . or maybe I haven't come up with a critter brave enough to stick one to - any ideas? What kind of critter would be able to handle a spider murrini?

Now I'd better start doling out more Halloween murrini to all my critters, because guess what? Lori and Kim have already stocked holiday murrini! Find these wonderful little pieces in the Holiday Shop!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Destination ME - week 2

Last week I announced that I was going to start taking care of ME. I was inspired by Hallie, who writes The Princess and the Pump blog (check out Hallie's latest Destination ME post HERE). My goal last week was to start getting more sleep. I wish I could say that I achieved that goal, but . . . Zzzzzzz. Where was I? Oh yeah, more sleep. I do believe I was asleep before 11pm on two nights, but that's not enough of an improvement. Getting enough sleep is something I've struggled with for a long time. When I used to wait tables, I'd come home at 11pm or midnight (wreaking of pizza, sometimes waking up my husband just because he could smell the sausage and garlic). But I wouldn't go right to sleep - noooo, that was "my time." I'd stay up and watch whatever show I'd recorded and usually nod off around 1am or so. When I left my waitressing job, I could not break that habit of staying up late. I obviously still can't break it. So I'm going to put it on the back burner and try some easier, mini goals this week.

First, I'm going to get outside for a walk every day. And I don't mean taking bead packages down the driveway to the mailbox. I'm talking a walk around the block at the very least. I had my follow-up appointment with the Infectious Disease doctor (lots of hand sanitizer in that office) last week, and he gave me to go ahead to start exercising. Hooray! He also warned me that I'd be winded easily. Boo! But I guess that's to be expected after nearly two months of pneumonia. 

It's been super hot outside, but soon it will be cold and rainy and snowy, so I'm going to take advantage of the nice weather and breath some fresh air. I've already started doing this and let me tell you, it's a mood lifter for sure. I've walked twice with my neighbor/bff, and not only are we getting exercise, we get to catch up with each other and vent - the cheapest therapy.

I walked once by myself, and even ran for a bit (the doctor was right, but winded would be an understatement). When I go by myself, I take my iPod and listen to music. That's my second goal - more music! I tend to listen to talk radio (nothing political or controversial, just good, fun talk) when I'm making dinner or driving. But I'm making an effort to play more tunes in the house or keep my iPod on while I do laundry, etc. It really does keep me moving, sometimes a little faster than usual. :)

For my third mini goal, I'm going to make sure I have breakfast every day. I know all the good things about eating breakfast, yet I tend to get caught up in my day and don't eat until around lunchtime when I'm too hungry to make smart choices. So I've been making green smoothies (they taste much better than they look, trust me!). Today I'm having half a banana, a handful of frozen mixed fruit, a bunch of kale, chia seeds (ch ch ch chia!), a few walnuts, a couple spoonfuls of Vanana yogurt from Trader Joe's, water and ice. Cheers!

Good luck on all the goals you have set for the coming week!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Destination ME

This post has been a long time coming.

First off, some background - I stole the title and the first sentence of this post from one of my favorite new (to me) blogs, The Princess and the Pump: A Type 1 Diabetes Blog. I can't remember exactly when or how I found the P and the P blog, but I'm almost sure it was late at night while I was trolling the 'net for information on Type 1 diabetes. The author, Hallie, is a wife, teacher and mother to a darling T1D girl. In her blog, Hallie chronicles the challenges they endure and triumphs they achieve with their T1D child. It is a wonderful resource for parents of diabetic children. 

Hallie's daughter is elementary-school age and was diagnosed at age 3. My T1D daughter is a freshman in high school and was diagnosed at age 12. The circumstances that Hallie and I deal with are probably very different, but still very much the same. Her daughter, being so young, is still dependent on her parents for her diabetic care. My daughter is fairly independent with her diabetes care, but that doesn't mean I'm not there questioning when she last tested her blood sugar and did she do a correction for a high number, etc. With all that goes on with having a T1D child, it's easy to lose yourself in it. Hallie's most recent blog post, Destination ME, is about how she is going to find her way back to herself. She will have a weekly post about her current goal, and she invited her followers to join her. When I saw that, I thought, "Count me in!" It was just what I needed. It was just what I'd been thinking. It is so easy to get caught up in our children and lose sight of ourselves. And having a child with diabetes - or any other challenging illness or circumstance - compounds that. 

Hallie's goal this week is to get more sleep. As much as I'd like to be original, I'm going to make that my goal, too. Sleep is where it all starts. 

I don't check my daughter's blood sugar in the middle of the night like we did when she was first diagnosed, so I shouldn't be as sleep deprived as I am. My sleep deprivation is mostly self inflicted. I find I can't go to sleep until after I know all of my kids are sleeping. If my T1D daughter has had a high or a low right before bed, of course I'm up with her until we get her numbers in check. But even when everything is going well, I tend to stay up until I know everyone is asleep. With two teenagers, this can be pretty late. 

Sleep is also important for me right now as I'm getting over this awful bout of pneumonia. I've been struggling with it since the end of July, and I'm finally feeling pretty good. So at the moment, exercise is out of the question. Getting more sleep would be the best thing I could do for myself. 

As I embark on this Destination ME journey, I know it's not just for me. If I can get to where I feel like myself again, my family will benefit, too. And my T1D daughter, a teenager, needs good examples healthy living. She doesn't need a grouchy mom with dark circles under her eyes. 

This goal won't be easy. It's years of a bad habit I need to break, but now is the time.

I'm going to say I'd like to be asleep every night by 11pm. That didn't happen last night, even after reading Hallie's post. But tonight I will stick to it. 

** I know I've been absent from my blog for months. I will definitely be back here more often, starting with Murrini Mondays (I have some awesome Halloween murrini to show off!). Then I'll post my new Destination ME goals on Wednesdays. I like the idea of putting a new weekly goal right in the middle of the week - it will change things up for sure. I probably won't post every day because that's when I get overwhelmed and just stop completely. But I'll take baby steps with my blog as I will with my new goals, so please check back!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Looky What I Got!

Don't you just love getting packages in the mail? I know I do! I just got these wonderful feather earrings from Cali at the The Bead Muse. The pictures don't do them justice - they're beautiful and delicate and so so soft. That's because they're made with feathers that Cali hand selects from her own flock of birds. I chose the red and black rooster feathers (on the left) for my chicken-obsessed daughter. She will LOVE them! And she'll flip when she finds out they came from an actual rooster. The other pair is made with pheasant feathers that are a stunning dark green and have wonderful polka-dotted markings on them. They are so unique and I'm so happy I got them. Check out more feather earrings in The Bead Muse's Feather Jewelry section.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Turtle Tuesday

It's been so long since I've blogged regularly, and I do miss it. I think of things to blog about all the time, and then I just don't follow through. So here I go again, trying to start being consistent. :)

Since today is Tuesday, I thought I'd bring back Turtle Tuesday - woohoo! I haven't made a whole lot of turtles lately, but when I do I always wonder why. I love making turtles! Unlike dogs, they're all the same breed - at least when I make them they are. So I don't have to worry about whether to put on a nubby tail or a long skinny one, cropped ears or floppy ones - I just make a turtle. And I can decorate them however I want!

I recently got some awesome murrini from Lori and Kim called Electric Jellyfish, and it was perfect for turtle shell decorating.

Turtles in my shop aren't just a pretty shell. Nope. This one has chosen to decorate his shell in a rainbow of colored spots, as well as wear a symbol for Marriage Equality on his backside. I like to give turtles a nice backside because when they're moseying away, it can take a while. So you might as well have something appealing to look at back there. I even have an album on Facebook featuring my favorite Turtle Butts

Right now the Turtle section in my Etsy shop has seven turtles in it - that's pretty sparse. I do hope to add more soon! But if you purchase a turtle bead today,  put "tiny turtle" in the notes to seller and your turtle will travel with a leetle friend. 

Happy Turtle Tuesday!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pair of Hooters Giveaway!

Yes, you read that right - this giveaway is for not just one - but two - hooters! They are not a matching pair (whose really are anyway?) - one is a lampwork owl bead that I made, and the other is a handcrafted brass and aluminum owl pendant made by Serina of Pooch Tags on Etsy. We're teaming up to bring you this giveaway. 

Here are the rules: 

"Like" both Facebook pages: Pooch Tags and Maybeads.

Leave a comment under the Giveaway post on the Pooch Tags page HERE.

**The winner will be chosen by random number generator on Saturday, April 20, so be sure to enter before then!

There are nine (9!) pages of wonderful pet tags, key chains, earrings and necklaces at Pooch Tags!  Serina handcrafts each one, using copper, brass, bronze, aluminum and nickel. You are sure to find something you love there - here's a little sample:

Thanks for stopping by ~ good luck in the giveaway!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Murrini Monday ~ 3-Peats

In today's edition of Murrini Monday, we're celebrating 3-Peats. What are 3-Peats, you ask? They are murrini blends of three different, but coordinating, murrini from Lori and Kim. And get this - when a blend of 3-Peats is sold out in their shop, Lori and Kim will make more! That's good thing for lampworkers who make a bead set using certain murrini, and then are asked to make that set or a similar one again. It's nice to know these blends will always be replenished.
I love the colors in this Airstream murrini blend. I had to have them. :)

Here is the Airstream murrini on a turtle. Turtles love murrini. 

This blend is called Electric Jellyfish. I had to buy it - for the awesome colors and for the cool name!

This turtle loves her Electric Jellyfish murrini. So stylish.

Happy Murrini Monday!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Annie Goes to Washington

These last few days have been a little nerve-wracking. My daughter Annie went on her class trip to Washington, DC, over the weekend. This was her first time away from home for several days (aside from diabetes camp) since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. As her parents, we want her to experience everything the other kids her age are doing when it comes to education and activities, so we weren't about to turn this opportunity down because of her diabetes. But we also knew we had to research how to pack for a diabetic so that she would be prepared for anything. I did a lot of research online, and then I talked to my sister-in-law, whose daughter also is type 1. I'm happy to say that Annie had a super fun trip, and her diabetes didn't give her any major issues. She said she went low once in her hotel room, and once at a museum. She didn't have any sugar with her at the museum (she took with her spare meter that didn't have glucose tabs in the side pocket - must fix that!), but she was able to buy something to get her sugars back up in the normal range. Annie had only flown once before, and that was before diabetes. So she made sure to test her blood sugar on the plane to see if it dipped. It was just above normal. 

In terms of packing for a flight, here is my advice:

Pack extra of everything. Annie now wears a pump, so although she had changed her site right before she left and wouldn't have to until she returned, we still packed extra sites and reservoirs. 

Pack any medication - insulin, glucagon - in its original box with the prescription on the outside. 

Pack extra pump batteries, extra medical ID tags, extra glucose tabs or other fast acting sugar (and be sure to keep it with you at museums!).

Pack an extra way to administer insulin. We sent with Annie's insulin pen and a new cartridge and several pen needles, just in case there was a problem with her pump. 

Pack an extra meter. 

Get a letter from your child's doctor that explains that she's diabetic and will be carrying with her all of her supplies.

Put it all in a big ziploc bag and label it. Then keep it in your carry-on bag.

Annie's pump and meters were not supposed to go through the x-ray machine or body scanners (ok to go through metal detectors), so she was pulled aside for a pat-down. One of the teacher chaperones was there with her, and I can't say enough good things about this teacher for all she did to make Annie's trip so easy (I'll write her a note once I'm done with this post). 

Annie kept in touch with occasional texts, so I knew how she was doing and could send reminders to her to test her blood sugar. I think she did a great job! And I'm so happy she got to experience this trip and everything it had to offer. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Murrini Monday

It's Murrini Monday! Let's look at some murrini!

I've been having a lot of fun making "patchwork" owls. I make them when I just feel like using lots and lots of murrini. I use murrini from my friend Mallory at rosebud101. I have such a fun variety of Mallory's murrini, and I like to pick out about 12 pieces of different sizes and colors for each owl. I usually can't use every piece, but I sure try! I love the effect of them melting into each other to form the owl's colorful patchwork chest.

A while back I bought a pack of snowflake murrini from Lori and Kim. At the time, we weren't getting any snow, so I guess I wasn't inspired to start using it (why jinx our Chicago record for most winter days without snow?). But we did finally get our snowfall, so my elephants were out catching snowflakes with their trunks.

Speaking of Lori and Kim, they are having a President's Day murrini sale! Through February 20, all their COE 104 murrini is 15% OFF! I'm eyeing the 3-Peat Airstream murrini in the above picture - I see lots of owl eyes. 

I think I'll join the President's Day celebration and also offer 15% OFF in my Etsy shop. My sale will end tonight, so act fast! Use coupon code PRESIDENT at checkout to get 15% OFF your entire order.