Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Best Gift Ever...Our Dog Twila

Four years ago Brenton and I decided to get a dog. He grew up with dogs and felt that owning one would bring a lot of joy into our lives (and it has). We decided on adopting a dog, rather than purchasing one from a breeder. We were focusing on pit-bulls and boxers because Brenton’s sister adopted two pit mixes and they are the most wonderful dogs.

Adopting was a long process of several months. We went through multiple organizations, paid application fees, and even sat through a home inspection. We attended several adoption events to meet/try different dogs. At one event, while looking at another dog, Twila chose us.

She nuzzled her way into our laps, and soaked up our affection. Unfortunately, we were about to leave on a vacation, and had to postpone her adoption for three weeks. When we returned, we picked her up at an adoption event in a town just west of Richmond, Va.

Sadly, she was bleeding. That morning, or the day before, the "foster" owner claimed his dog beat her up. She had cuts on her legs, ears, and face that later became scars. None of this trauma jaded her affection toward other dogs or people though.

Over the years, we have given her a stable home, predictable routine, the mental stimulation she needs through training and more love than you could imagine! She's become a wonderful companion, and brings joy to us and others wherever she goes.

Recently, she's had some problems with her shoulder, causing her to limp. After it persisted for too long, we took her in to get x-rayed. They x-rayed the upper half of her body. We were horrified.

As the veterinarian posted the x-rays up onto the light box, my eyes filled with tears and my jaw dropped. Several air rifle pellets and a bb where shown to be embedded inside her. This could have only happened to her when she was just a puppy, having adopted her at just under a year old. It appears that someone must have used her as target practice. It sickens us to think of people who would do this. It breaks my heart to think of her past, but knowing that she will always be safe and loved puts my mind at ease.

Luckily, the pellets don’t appear to be causing her any problems. Her limp turns out to be a pulled shoulder from having too much fun while playing.

Those of you thinking of adding a pet to your life, please adopt. Consider all breeds. Clearly, these animals have been through more than you'll ever know, and need a loving home.

I titled this post “The Best Gift Ever” because that is truly how we feel about our dog Twila. Everyone says “she is so lucky to have you”, but the truth is we are the lucky ones. She has brought more joy to our lives than we ever imagined. Nothing brings a smile to my face like she does!

Christmas 2010. This is what our living room looks like after opening presents on Christmas morning.
No, we don't have four kids just one dog who LOVES to open presents!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ornament Swap Blog Hop

Today is the reveal day of the Ornament Swap Blog Hop hosted by Sally Russick of Wire Worked. The idea was to create an ornament, containing at least one art bead, and then mail it to the person you were paired up with. What a fun concept-count me in! I was paired up with the ultra talented Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads. She makes gorgeous lampworked beads. I did quite the happy dance when the partner list was revealed!

This is the beautiful ornament that Sue created for me...

This is the lampworked bead she created-isn't it gorgeous! 
Looks like a tiny poinsettia!

This is the ornament that I created for Sue...

The materials I used were a cherry red ceramic bead by Elaine Ray, Chinese crystals, 
a textured aluminum square that I created and a spiral head pin. 
I created the spiral hook from silver filled wire.

Now, it is time to finish decorating my Christmas tree!

Please visit the other participants:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Quiet Walk Through The Woods

The trees are bare and the temperature outside colder, but a walk in the woods never ceases to inspire me. Without the leaves, I begin to focus on the beauty of the branches. Their texture and angles are so unique. Just like a snowflake, no two are ever exactly alike!

It is quieter in the woods, this time of year. The birds have flown south and the owls have taken refuge elsewhere. The trees are sweet reminders that they will return again, but beauty and inspiration are still just have to listen in a different way.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Ornament Winner...

In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to give away one of the ornaments that I created for the Art Bead Scene Holiday Ornament Blog Hop! The name of each person who commented was printed on a piece of paper, folded and dropped into a bowl. I know, very old school.

The name that was randomly pulled from the bowl is...Diana P. of Suburban Girl Studio
She commented that this ornament was her favorite.

Thank you Heather Powers for hosting the ornament blog hop, the talented people who participated and the wonderful people who left comments on my post-each one is greatly appreciated!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Art Bead Scene Holiday Ornament Blog Hop...And Giveaway!

Today is the reveal day for the Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop, hosted by Heather Powers. The criteria for participants was to create a holiday ornament using handmade components or art beads. I had so much fun designing an ornament that I ended up creating two! I even have a few more ornaments on my bead table that I am working on for Christmas gifts.

Both of my ornaments have pottery components created by Cindy of Captured Moments. She makes really fantastic pottery beads and pendants and welcomes special orders. I selected the colors and textures for each bead and she created them for me!

The first ornament I created began with an oval pottery bead from Captured Moments. I attached clear and emerald green Chinese crystals to the bottom, finishing it with a spiral head pin. I made a fun spiral hook with 18 gauge silver wire and attached it with a jump ring that I added two silver seed beads to.

For this ornament, I cut and textured pieces of aluminum, connecting each one with jump rings and matte gold seed beads. The bottom bead is a pottery bead with a script design from Captured Moments. The ornament hook is made from 18 gauge silver wire.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I will be giving away one of my ornaments! For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post and tell me which ornament you would like to win. The winner will be selected on Friday December 9th.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Earrings

I will admit, in the past I mostly created necklaces. This is due to the fact that I always wear a necklace, but bracelets and earrings not as much. When I signed on last May to sell my jewelry at Body Wellness Spa, the owner requested that I include earrings in my collections. She explained that this was due to customers wanting to add a finishing touch to their new hair style or glowing skin after a facial. So at her request, I made sure that I always had a selection of earrings.

Upon the request to create more earrings for the spa, I realized how much fun designing earrings can be! Options are endless; ear wires in a variety of shapes and metals, posts, long, short, casual, funky, dressy, artsy...

So I thought I would share some of my new designs with you...

natural turquoise small nuggets
sterling silver wire
triangle pewter spacers

16 karat gold plated brass pine tree branches
smokey quartz faceted rondelles
gold filled ball posts

sterling silver coated ceramic 
sterling silver wire