Monday, March 30, 2009

Give it away, give it away, give it away now.

Now that the Glass book is out, it feels like a great time for another giveaway, don't you think?! Along with a signed copy of Create Jewelry: Glass, the lucky winner will receive a package of Soft Flex Company's Trios wire in Vitality - hooray!

To enter to win, simply leave a comment on any and/or all of my blog posts between now and April 14th. Each comment counts as one entry and you can comment once a day. For every comment you leave, I'll place your name in "the hat." On April 15th, I'll choose one name and announce the winner.

Good luck and please have fun and be creative with your comments!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Communique

Really, Mother Nature? A blizzard?!

I mean, I know I've had some crazy-awful spring fever, but is this really necessary? More than a foot of snow in less than twelve hours?

Luckily, I have these bright colors of wire to use in a new project design. They scream spring!

Ahh, that's better. The snow AND the beautiful blue sky - my favorite combination.

Now, can we just do something about the fact that it's twenty-eight degrees (F) outside? Fifty degrees tomorrow, you say? Excellent!!

While I wait for it to warm up, check out what some of my crew are up to (it's almost seventy degrees where they live - lucky ladies):

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) thanks Jean Yates for reviewing the new
Soft Flex Extreme Wire.

Kristen Fagan WILL bring your vision to life and create a
custom wedding invitation package you are sure to treasure!

Have a lovely weekend. xoxo

PS - Come back for Monday's post, where I'll announce a new giveaway!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I heart New Belgium!

One of the many things I love about living here is Fort Fun is home to New Belgium Brewery, home of Fat Tire, Sunshine Wheat (my personal favorite), and many other yummy brews. Last night I had the great opportunity to attend the New Belgium Beer Dinner at Austin's. Oh, it was delicous!

The four course meal was comprised of five dishes made and served with different New Belgium brews. The appetizer was Blue Paddle Ceviche. It may have been the first time I've tried ceviche and this totally made me want to try it again. I love me some avocados, so pretty much anything with avocado is game with me.

The starter course was Fat Tire Beer Cheese Soup. You know I love cheese, so of course I loved this soup. For the entree course, we had a choice between 1554 Braised Buffalo Pot Roast and Stuffed Salmon with a Sunshine Dill Cream Sauce. My new friend Joel had the brilliant idea to share each get one and share so that we could try both options and I'm so glad we did. Both were wonderful and I have leftovers for tonight - my tummy is growling just thinking about it.

Finally, for the dessert course, we had Abbey Glazed Bananas Foster. YUMMY! This was my first taste of Abbey. It has a slight banana flavor anyway, but having a sip of it after a bite of the dessert was complete banana goodness. Wow.

To top off all the fabulous food, they gave us party favors. We go a patch kit for bicycle tires (which I passed along to a bike owner), a bottle opener, some tasty orange peel lip balm, and our beer glass - fun!

The hot guy representing New Belgium explained to us that the New Belgium logo is laser etched into the bottom of the glass to allow for better effervescence. Or something like that. Did I mention he was hot?!

All in all, a delightful way to spend a Wednesday evening. Thank you Christine, Brian, Katie, and Joel! Nice work all.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Communique

Happy Friday, Happy Spring! Spring is a fabulous season and is always well-received. Really, who isn't ready for sunnier weather and new signs of life? I've been seeing crocuses and daffodils popping up in lots of random places and I love it! Obviously, I'm a fan of flowers though.

I made this necklace a few months back, as part of my current position as Designer of the Year for Beadwork Magazine. It's one of my very favorite pieces to date, and I'm proud to say that I'm not the only one who liked it. It was voted by Beadwork's Reader Advisory Panel (RAP) to be the cover piece for the April/May 2009 issue! Not only that, the RAP gave it twice as many votes as the runner-up (which I know to be an incredible piece). Thank you RAP members - I'd hug each and every one of you if I could. Here's my "Cover Girl" moment:

Oh, what's that next to my cover, you ask? Why, it's my brand new book! It's the fourth and final book in the Create Jewelry series by Marlene Blessing and myself and it's available now too. Awesome.

So, yaay for my new book. Yaay that I'm a cover girl. Yaay for new daffodils. Yaay for Spring. Even yaay for Ginger, who just brought me down from my cover-girl high by puking a few feet away. And, finally, yaay that Sephora is opening today.

While I'm shopping for new colors of eye-liner, please check out what some of my crew are up to:

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) thanks Jean Yates for reviewing the new
Soft Flex Extreme Wire.

Kristen Fagan celebrated St. Patrick's Day by baking her great-grandmother's delicious Irish Soda Bread.

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Playing with Wire: Mastering the African Helix Stitch

There's a bracelet that we display on the demo table a shows that gets fondled A LOT. It's a purple cuff that Sara made a long time ago, using the African Helix Stitch to weave together seed beads and bugle beads. Because the bracelet is so popular at shows, we decided to put instructions up on the website. See Sara's bracelet and the free instructions here.

It was my task to write up the instructions, which is something I do a lot of. If the project is made by stringing or wireworking, I can often write up the instructions with my eyes closed, but for seed bead work, it's a little trickier. So, in order to make sure the instructions for Sara's bracelet were correct, I was able to make a bangle of my very own. I used only beads that I had on hand and came up with this combination of teal and brown which works perfectly with a lot of my wardrobe.

This was my first time using Soft Touch wire for a bead weaving project instead of thread and I loved it! Because the bracelet was made with wire, it holds it shape exceptionally well. I also feel more comfortable sliding the bracelet over my hand because I know the wire won't break as thread could. There will be many seed bead projects that I'll make where I won't be able to use Soft Touch, but now, there are definitely many projects where I will. Excellent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I heart Santa Fe!

Last Wednesday Bead Boy and I hit the road for Santa Fe to attend Bead Fest. It was a great time! The Soft Flex booth was swamped throughout the show and I talked to so many people at the demo table I feared my voice would give out. The shoppers in Santa Fe were a lovely bunch.

Santa Fe is one of my favorite places in the world and I loved being there. I got to catch up with a lot of my beady friends and made lots of new ones. I ate at a few of my favorite restaurants and popped into a couple of shops that I love. The weather was perfect on the road and Bead Boy and I sang at the top of our lungs all the way there and back. I must say, the Mama Mia soundtrack makes for excellent road tripping music!

Monday, March 9, 2009

birthday sweets

I'm still on a sugar high from all of the delicious goodies I was treated to for my birthday! I met my mom, grandparents, aunts, and uncle for lunch at one of my favorite Japanese restaurants and the owners surprised me with this cute little critter for dessert. They cut the banana up and tempura fried the pieces, then put them back into the peel and covered it with whipped cream. It was yummy!

The weekend was filled with cakes and desserts from all the different gatherings and celebrations: specially made cupcakes from my cousin Judy, carrot cake cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, chocolate cake and flan at The Boulder Dinner Theater (we saw The Producers), and, my favorite, a fresh fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust made especially for me by my lovely mom!

It was a fun-filled weekend, full of indulgence. What with all the sugar and the time change to daylight savings, it was a little difficult to get up and moving this morning. Oh, but it was so worth it. No matter how old I get, I'm always going to be like a little kid on my birthday! It's really much more fun that way.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Playing with Wire

Last fall, Sara made some super cool bracelets with the knitting spool and the new Trios wire sets. Her technique on the knitting spool is different than the one I used last week and the resulting look is twisted and fun. Aren't they cool?!

Feeling the need to try Sara's technique, I used Purple Amethyst Soft Flex Wire and Champagne Extreme Flex Wire together. I still need to work on my tension, as what I did came out pretty loose, but I like the two colors together.

I worked a wrist length on the knitting spool using Sara's technique, then switched to the technique from last week and knitted a second wrist length. I folded the knitted piece in half and attached the folded end to the ring half of a toggle clasp. I placed all four wires from the other end and strung them through a cone, then attached the bar half of the clasp. Next, I connected the two different knits using 15mm jump rings and covered the jump rings with a violet filigree and a couple of bird connectors. It's like a big, funky wrist corsage and the birds and flower are perfect for the coming spring.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

record-setting highs

The first signs of spring are appearing in Colorado. Yesterday and today were in the mid-70s temperature wise. This makes me quite happy. And my sweet mom treated me to the first daffodils of the season. They're my favorite flower. They make me happy too. The week is off to a fabulous start around here. Hope it's treating you well too! Now, back to beading...