Friday, May 28, 2010

GREAT BLOG GIVEAWAY...

Tracie of My Life in Stages is having her first giveaway and a lovely giveaway it is !  The prize is an adorable set of 4 chic and retro cups and saucers.  Please check it out and tell her "A Beader's Blog" sent you.  : )

Photo above...Borrowed from Tracie's blog, aren't they the most precious things?  I've entered and I have my fingers crossed that I'll win.  But please hurry the giveaway ends on June 1st. Good Luck Everyone!
That's Tracie's blog at:   http://mylifeinstages.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Bristling Dilemma

Toothbrushes! Ever thought about them ?
As I brushed my teeth I began to think (for me that can be a dangerous thing) about toothbrushes. Mine was in need of replacement and I began to wonder how long ago it had been since it was brand new and squeaky clean. They recommend we change our toothbrushes every 2 to 3 months which would be 4 to 6 times a year.

Wow ! If everybody is tossing their used toothbrushes...how many toothbrushes are laying about in landfills all across the world ?
Well they're small right ? But what if you took every toothbrush that's in everyone's bathroom right now and piled them all up ? Bet it would make for one really impressive pile ! Think about it. All the people in your neighborhood, your city, your state and country...everyone on this planet who has access to the convenience of this marvelous dental hygiene product...day after day these worn brushes are being tossed, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Is there a place to recycle toothbrushes ? Sure I always save a couple of old ones to help me clean and scour those hard to get at places around the house but even then I only need a couple of old brushes and they seem to last for years and years. So what about all those extra toothbrushes that reach their expiration after 2 or 3 months ? I can't find any recycling symbol on my toothbrush, does yours have one ? Hmm, this sounds like a job for my friend at GreenLeafReviewer ! Anyone have any suggestions ?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Homeland Security in a Cow Pasture

Photo above...Who you lookin' at? You lookin' at me?

Last spring the cattle pasture close to home held a nice herd of cows and a healthy crop of frisky calves. It was enjoyable to watch the young ones as they cavorted around the pasture and tried to emulate their moms. It was amusing to watch them as they tussled one another, engaged in mock battles. Then they grew up, as all creatures must do and the rancher sold them off, as was his purpose for having bred them.


This year the old herd seems smaller and only one calf graces their pasture. I did notice that all the older cattle kept a watchful eye on the little one.

Photo below...For a brief moment the calf was left alone, the adult cattle were just far enough away that I could capture a shot of the little calf all by its self, well other than the egret in the background...but....

Photo below...Right after I took the above shot, this "guardian" decided to get into the picture. One can't be too careful now-a-days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

RESURRECTION

A year ago John, my darling hubby, gave me a lovely Easter lily simply to say Happy Easter. While it bloomed we both enjoyed it's sweet fragrance and stunning white trumpet shaped flowers. Once the flowers wilted, I sat it outdoors, watered it sporadically and eventually its leaves turned yellow and the plant died back. I dumped the soil from the pot thinking I would find a bulb of some type but nothing was apparent and I surmised that perhaps the bulb had shriveled and died also.

Early this spring, while pulling weeds from the front flower bed, I noticed a strange plant. It was oddly familiar and something told me it was not a weed so I let it be. I soon discovered it was 2 plants growing side-by-side.
Later, as the plants grew larger, I filled a pot with good potting soil and transplanted these "weeds-not-weeds" into the pot...as my curiosity needed to know exactly what they were. At the back of my mind I hoped they would be Easter lilies as they were growing in the same spot where I had dumped the soil from the old Easter lily pot. With time the plants produced nice fat, flower buds and low and behold...resurrection !!!


Monday, May 17, 2010

A Princess Bracelet or a Bracelet fit for a Princess ?

My latest creation was inspired by my 9 year old granddaughter who asked me to make a "Princess Bracelet". I thought all my bracelets were fit for a princess, so I asked her what she thought a princess bracelet should be. Her response; "Lots of pearls and gold !". Simple answer.
So I went through my personal supplies and found a hank of creamy white pearl seed beads (glass of course and made in the Czech Republic but the closest things to tiny real seed pearls that I had on hand). In my seed bead collection I found a tube of gold Charlotte beads #14, teeny little things, and with their silver lining they really sparkle. To this I added Czech glass 3 mm round beads in a white Opal finish, and some luscious Czech firepolished glass beads in a deep ruby or garnet red just for a splash of elegant color...but not too much color, must let the pearls and the gold stand proud. A search through my button collection found a package of gold tone buttons that I purchased years ago but never used. True the button isn't real gold, it isn't even metal, it's plastic but it has a lovely design to it and was made in Italy...that could explain why I liked them so much.

Photos above and below...I can't seem to get the color calibrated on my camera. The top photo was taken with the camera set on Auto, while the bottom photo was shot set on the portrait setting. The background color of both should have been a lovely pale sky blue. But as you can see the top photo looks like a blue gray and the bottoms leans toward turquoise blue. (Oh and the very 1st photo was on a mossy green background, just in case you're wondering.)

So what do you think...is this a Princess Bracelet or not ? And yes it is in my Etsy shop for the astronomical price of $12...oh am I going to get rich or what? LOL

Friday, May 14, 2010

♪♫ LOVE IS IN THE AIR ♪♫

It is Spring and with Spring it is said that a young man's fancy turns to love. Here in the deep south it is more than just a young man's fancy...it is Love Bugs ! May always heralds the first hatching of love bugs and sometimes their swarms can be so thick one dares not open their mouth while out doors. Come September there will be another hatching of these harmless, though annoying little bugs.

photo above...Our East Palatka Holly is in bloom and apparently it is favored by love bugs. Here you can see a number of these bugs with their dark black bodies and bright red heads...all in search of one thing...a mate.


Photo below...Under a leaf and enjoying the shade, a pair of Love Bugs get...ah...well, get to know one another better. The female is the larger of the species and the smaller hapless male usually winds up going where she wishes to go...talk about being hen-pecked.In the above photo I couldn't help but notice that some of the tiny white holly flowers are starting to form teeny, wee little berries. For a size comparison (bug to leaf) the Palatka holly leaf is about 2" from stem to tip.



As I mentioned, Love Bugs are harmless, they neither bite nor sting and they don't devour one's garden, however they do make a big mess out of cars and trucks that travel our southern roads. It is also very rare to see a lone love bug ; they are usually found in pairs joined at the hip, so to speak, looking much like an odd two headed critter.

I don't know about you but I have a feeling that I'll be humming "Love is in the air" for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LEAPIN' LIZARDS...It's Hot !

Leapin' Lizards ! It's May 11th and it's hot. We live just south of Tampa and even though Florida is known for its heat and humidity, it's still HOT ! The temperature on our front porch, in the shade, registers over 90 degrees. On the back patio, in the shade, the thermometer now reads 103 !!!

Even this little lizard, clinging to our patio screen, seems to be trying to stretch himself out to cool off. I think he looks a bit like a dancer in these positions.

And a one-two, cha-cha-cha. Turn, point, cha-cha-cha.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Springing into Summer...

Summer seems to be officially here with temps well into the 80's and the humidity making the air feel thick and muggy. People are planning their vacations, getting ready to host summertime visitors or just enjoying the warmth and sunshine...and blogs sometimes get put on hold. : )

Photo above...Duck paddling lazily across our neighbor's pond. It was so hot on this day that a large Hawk had actually landed in the water at the pond's edge and, up to his belly in water, proceeded to take a cooling bath. Afterwards he flew to the post top where he sat, looking quite like a drowned rat, and preened his soaking wet feathers. I ran to fetch my camera but as soon as I returned he spotted me and flew off...wet feathers and vanity in check. All that was left to photograph was this little duck, quite content to have the pond all to herself.

The past couple of days John and I have been replacing some of the shrubs that were too fragile to survive this past winter's freezing weather. We'll be continuing to yank out the dead twigs that were once lush green, albeit tropical, plants and placing in their stead weather hardy Ilex (aka, Holly). John laughs and says that we will be known as the "Holly House". Right now we have Florida native hollies, called East Palatka Holly, along our fence line and at the front of our house we've planted both Ilex Schelling and Ilex Burford. Ilex is the botanical name for the holly family, the three that we've planted are all hardy shrubs that will take both Florida's summer heat and the occasional winter frost.

Photo above..."True Blue Heart" bracelet sold quickly (of course I listed it for only $12.00 plus $2.25 S&H Not much for about 9 or 10 hours of work).

Also, as of late, I've found myself drawn back into creating jewelry, even though I realize that every house in the whole USA must be home to at least one jewelry maker ! LOL After completing the "True Blue" bracelet which I posted on my blog, I decided to list it in my Etsy shop and was surprised when it sold in less than 3 days...to a repeat customer of mine, which makes the sale all the more special.

Photo above...Rootbeer Rainbow bracelet...after it's makeover.

Then I basically remade a bracelet that had been in my inventory for a while. When I made it I was not being honest with myself or with my sense of color combinations; I had an abundance of bright yellow seed beads and was trying to find some way to use them. As I wove the original bracelet together I kept telling myself; "Well it will look better as it gets further along". But even after it was completed I never liked the color of the bold, brilliant silver-lined yellow beads with the rainbow rootbeer beads. Eventually I knew I'd have to take it apart (completely apart) and remake it and that day finally came. I replaced the garish yellow seed beads with a lovely Rainbow Peridot seed bead and found myself loving the combination. Once the bracelet was done, it was perfect and on a whim I went and listed it in my Etsy shop. Again in a very short time it sold...to another repeat customer. : )

Photo above...close up of the center section of bracelet notice my hand beaded beads in this section?
Photo below...another view of Rootbeer Rainbow bracelet.

Perhaps these sales were just a quirk of luck but it gave me enough confidence to take another bracelet apart and remake it (this time it was not because of the color combination, it was because I had used beads that were too big making the center section of the bracelet too stiff.

photo below...Blues Bracelet, after its makeover.


Photo above and below...notice the Swarovski clear crystal cubes and aquamarine bicone beads in the center section ? I also used 6mm round Celestial crystal beads in an aqua color . There are also a lot of other beads in this section.


Photo above...Draped over my wrist and photograped one handed to show the bracelet's center and its fabric like, fluid drape.
With my confidence up I also went ahead and created a new bracelet that I call "Fashion Capitals", because the one-of-a-kind metal button is embossed with the names of Europe's fashion Capital cities, Londres, Roma, Paris (London, Rome, Paris). At the moment I have begun working on yet another bracelet which is about three-quarters of the way complete. If you think these were worth posting on my blog then I might post this next one once it is done.
Photos above and below...Fashion Capitals bracelet with my converted button clasp. I had to use another button to cap the goldtone medal , 2 hole button with. Then I used seed beads and small 3 mm Czech glass round beads to decorate the top of the button and also to create a button shank with.

Photos above and below...notice the tiny gold ,#15 seed beads ? They are glass beads that have been gold plated with 24 kt. gold...a tiny, little-bity package of them costs me over $5.00 about 6 years ago...can't imagine what they cost at today's precious metals market prices.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Friend "Flicker"....

For the past few days I have purposely kept from adding a fresh blog post as I did not wish to distract focus from my article on Vanessa's need for sponsors for her NYC Aids Walk. She is still below her goal of $1,000 and needs another $350 to reach the mark that she set for herself. If you're interested you can access her sponsor page through the above highlighted link. She would be happy for ANY amount you wish to contribute.

Several days ago I was standing on the wooden bridge at the back of our property and could not help but notice a scuffle going on between 2 birds. They were both woodpeckers though not of the same species and they were definitely at odds over something. The larger bird I recognized as a "Flicker" due to its large size and a brilliant tuft of flaming red feathers at the crest of its head. The other bird was much smaller and more reserved in coloration but was obviously some type of woodpecker. Though I managed to capture a few photos of the larger Flicker the smaller bird was more elusive.
Photo below...Captured this shot just as the flicker's red crest caught a patch of sunlight. Oh how I would have loved to have a camera with better zoom capabilities.
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