Monday, August 19, 2013

Bead Show Treasures...

This coming weekend is Bead Fest. Every year since 2008, I have traveled to eastern Pennsylvania for this amazing bead show. But not this year. At 34 weeks pregnant, I realized I would not be able to endure the travel along with three days of shopping for beads, beads and more beads!

So I decided instead to go to the International Gem and Jewelry Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. It is only about twenty minutes from my house and I had a free admission pass! While it is nowhere near the magnitude of Bead Fest, it has a great selection of vendors. Jessica Stoops of Joyful Gems joined me for a bead shopping adventure! 

These are some of the treasures that I returned home with...

From top:

faceted smoky quartz
lemon jade
gold and silver plated copper pendants
silver and gunmetal plated toggles
Aztec inspired gunmetal beads
silver plated circles and fish
silver plated butterflies
large gunmetal plated spacers

I also picked up some essentials that include pretty sterling silver chain, closed 6mm sterling silver jump rings, sterling silver leverback earrings and gold filled 4mm jump rings.

I will miss Bead Fest this year. Not just the amazing selection of artisan beads, gemstones and findings but mostly for the amazing people (beady peeps) that I have gotten to know over the years. They are what make this annual trip so special! I look forward to seeing all of you next year!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Creating A Handmade Baby Shower

A few weeks ago, my mother in law hosted a baby shower for Brenton and I at her home in Avon , New York. She has a lovely backyard overlooking a horse pasture on her daughter's farm, Dutch Hollow Acres. Being a person who loves to create, I offered to take care of the decorations and favors. We have decided to wait until the birth of our baby to find out whether it is a boy or a girl, so we selected neutral colors for the theme. I tapped my inner Martha Stewart while incorporating the colors that will be in our baby's room; yellow, gray, green and white.

Favors for our guests.

I packaged the favors in kraft boxes, made from recycled paper, then wrapped polka dot paper around it. 
I used ribbon in coordinating colors to tie around each one and completed the look with a 
printed tag that Brenton and I created.

These are the favors that each female guest received; compact mirrors. 

The tables.

 I purchased square plates in yellow and set each one with the favors.

I wrapped polka dot paper and ribbon around cylinder glass vases that my mother purchased for me. 
Hydrangeas in white and lime green were cut from my mother in law's yard-they were the perfect finish!

Still working with the polka dot paper, I punched circles out in various sizes to sprinkle onto the tables.

The invitation.

The Party.

Brenton and I opened our gifts with our moms beside us.

Some of the wonderful gifts we received to help prepare for baby's arrival!

Brenton and I share a sweet moment.

The ceremonial cake cutting. I even made the cake too! It was a white cake with lemon filling. 

This favor was for Brenton's mother, who does bird research for Cornell University. 
Babci means grandmother in Polish.

I also created the thank you cards using polka dot card stock and a thank you stamp.

Brenton and I are overjoyed about the arrival of our baby that is due the beginning of October!
We are also overjoyed to have such wonderful family and friends celebrate us and the 
first grandchild in both families. What an amazing adventure it will be!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Adirondack Adventure 2013...

A few weeks ago, Brenton and I (and our glorious dog Twila) headed to the Adirondack Mountains for our annual summer vacation. This was a unique year as I was seven months pregnant! It definitely changed the dynamics somewhat; hiking up (and back down) mountains was out and going long stretches without a bathroom nearby was unpleasant, but we still had a very relaxing week! Here are some of the highlights...

The week started off with a dinner cruise along Raquette Lake aboard the W.W. Durant

Raquette Lake.

We set out on a hike that was supposed to lead to a waterfalls. 
The waterfalls ended up being a trickle of water down some very large boulders!

Each year a duck and her babies stops by to say hello.

Brenton and I cooling off in Seventh Lake. 
Brenton purchased an inflatable chair for me so that baby and I could enjoy the lake! 

We drove up to Tupper Lake to spend a day at The Wild Center.

Trout swimming along in a large tank made to replicate a river.

Northern spotted owl that was rescued after it had been found beside the road in the Adirondack Mountains.
It is being rehabilitated at The Wild Center.

Lily pads and cattails in the pond outside The Wild Center. 

A path through the woods surrounding The Wild Center.

Brenton thought it would be fun to crawl through a hollowed out tree in a kids park along the path. There were a few trees that were hollowed out, meant for children to crawl through. Adults that are 6'2", a whole different story!

The Starving Artist Gallery, my favorite artisan shop in the Adirondacks, is now selling my jewelry and photography!! Always travel with your art as you never know what opportunities may arise! It is located on Main Street in
Old Forge. If you are ever driving through the area, this is a can't miss stop in a wonderful town! 

Two of my necklaces included with some fantastic pottery.

My photography note cards with scenes from the Adirondacks.

The last adventure of the week was the annual Arts in the Park craft show held at Arrowhead Park in the town of Inlet. We stop by this artisan/craft show every year. For the past several years, I have been purchasing beads from Cindy Ritchie of Simply Cindy. Cindy is a talented glass artist from Rochester, New York.

I also purchased this fantastic handbag created by Kathryn Fisher of Trendy Totes by Mimi. Ironically, she and her husband are friends with my former boss, Monty Calvert, photo editor from The Post Star in Glens Falls, New York. Small world!

Another year, another week of wonderful memories.
Next year we will be bringing our first child along, where he/she will begin their annual Adirondack adventure!
We can't wait to share everything that is special to us about this magnificent place!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Focus On Life 52 Photos: Hues of Blue

I thought I would jump in this week to participate in Studio Sublime's Focus On Life 52 Photos. I recently created this bracelet and earring set and thought of it as soon as I saw her prompt: Hues of Blues. The color blue evokes many ideas and meanings. It reminds me of both a sunny summer day near the ocean and a cool winter afternoon during a snowfall. Both are serene in their own way. 

This bracelet and earring set was inspired by the Greek Isles and the
vibrant hues of the blue and teal ocean that surrounds them.

bracelet: rhodium plated brass square link chain; Ever Luxe, Greek ceramic discs; Rings & Things, white brass heishi spacers; Fire Mountain Gems, Tierra cast toggle; Lima Beads.
earrings: sterling silver wire; Rio Grande, Greek ceramic discs, white brass faceted beads; Hands of the Hills