Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tourtiere Pie - Secret Family Recipe - Shhhhh!

It's that time once again. Once a year my husband and I team up to make tourtiere pies; a family favorite tradition! We have now been doing this for almost 30 years. I think we only skipped one year. This recipe is one that my Grandmother Begin handed down to my mother, who handed it down to me. It most likely had been handed down to her previously, so it has been in the family for a long time.

There are many variations of tourtiere pie, but this is ours:

1 - 10 lb. bag of potatoes
1 piece of clear pork - approx. 4lbs
1 piece of clear beef - approx. 4lbs
1 medium size onion
salt & pepper
poultry seasoning
4 to 5 pre-made pie crusts or homemade if you desire


Put the meats, onion, salt and pepper in large deep kettle. Add water to cover and bring to boil. Let boil for 3 hours.

Remove meat to a plate for cooling. Save the water. Peel the bag of potatoes, rinse, and add to the water. Bring potatoes to a boil and boil until tender - when you can easily stick a fork in them.

Once the meat has cooled, run it through a meat grinder into a large roasting pan. Remove the potatoes from the water and place them in the roasting pan on top of the ground meat. Mash them with a potato masher until all lumps are gone. Add some of the water, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Keep adding a little bit of the water and poultry seasoning until it is more of a sticky consistency - not runny, but not dry either. You got that??? I usually have to use most of the water, a couple of hits of salt and pepper and maybe two to three good hits of the poultry seasoning, if that helps!

In the day, my grandmother and mother used to make their own pie crusts. I have let them down in this area. We use the "just roll out" pie crusts by Pillsbury. It is so much faster and still tastes good.

Roll out your crusts, place the bottom crust in your pie plate, add pie filling to the top and add the top crust. Make sure to put a little bit of fresh water around the rim of your bottom crust so that the top crust sticks really well to it. Make a fancy fluted edge and bake according to the crust directions.

It takes two people - one or both to get everything cooked and the pies made and one to be the 2nd taste tester!! I love this job!

We always try one pie the night we are making them - just to make sure that they are safe to eat - lol.

When cooled, wrap in foil and freeze until you are ready for Christmas. We usually defrost them the day before Christmas in the refrigerator, leaving the foil on, and then reheat at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours on Christmas morning.

We usually serve them with prime rib, some sort of coleslaw, cranberry sauce, olives, pickles, turnip, rolls, & stuffed celery. Of course that doesn't count the tradional cheese ball with crackers, the shrimp with cocktail sauce, the bacon wrapped scallops, the spinach dip, or the vegetable platter. Let's not even get going on dessert..... Of course, at peak, we are a group of almost 30 people. That number has dwindled over the years due to everyone's schedules and distances. This year we will be 15 for dinner.

I hope if you get to try this SECRET FAMILY RECIPE that you enjoy it as much as we do! Send me comments if you do try it!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE


Are you one of those ambitious types that gets your holiday shopping done way in advance of the Christmas season? Good for you!!! Unfortunately, I fall into the category of last minute shopper - but hopefully not this year!!!

This year I have found Etsy and all the wonderful crafters that make up the Etsy group. The possibilities are endless and the selection is amazing. I am sure you can find something even for that "hard to buy" for person on your list! There are things in every price range, even for these tough economic times and specials constantly. There are many gift guides to search through on the Etsy website but I thought I would feature a few of those amazing crafters on my blog.

I have put together this list of some of my favorite Etsy websites as well as other fantastic crafters that I have met in the Etsy forums. I designed this on-line craft fair like a craft fair that I put together in my own home several years ago that was alot of fun. Each of the sites is different from the other and they each offer beautiful items in all different price ranges.

Where this is on-line - you have to use your imagination for a wonderful craft fair experience!!

Imagine the scents of Balsam and hot mulled cider as you stroll leisurely around a room beautifully decorated with memorable Christmas decorations. Soft Celtic music relaxes you, putting you into the holiday spirit as you move slowly from table to table, totally enjoying the sights of the beautifully handcrafted items. Now that you are in a relaxed shopping mood....

All of the shops below have their visual displays listed down the left hand side of the blog. You can click into each website from there or click their name below and you will be brought into their website. Please check each of them out, including my site, Allstrungout1. Leave comments if you would like about any of the wonderful items you purchase, about your thoughts on the selections offered, or any ideas for future shopping guides!!

I am sure you will find items that will satisfy many of the people on your shopping list or simply treat yourself! No crowds to fight or parking places to hunt for - all in the comfort of your own home!! Then, having that behind you, you can kick back, relax, and actually enjoy the festivities of this wonderful holiday season!




1. Andrewsreclaimed - a growing variety of quality garden supplies and gifts, all made from recycled wood, and assembled with care.

2. Hotpinkchick - unique handmade jewelry.

3. Yellowhouseknits - beautiful hand knits for babies and children.

4. Jennyhoople - colorful and glamorous handmade jewelry.

5.
Aptrick - fine art photography by Patrick Andrew Adams.


6. Antiquebasketlady - handmade handbags, totes, diaper bags, children's bags.

7. Teaman - handblended gourmet teas for your enjoyment.


8. Whimsy & spice - specializing in sweets with a dash of spice.

9. Peacebypeacedesigns - custom bridal jewelry.

10. MixedMediaCocktail - handmade ribbon painted boxes and wearable art.

11. Stoopher & Boots - two sisters, creative ideas, onesie's, tees, & hoodies with cute pictures or sayings.

12. Deondesigns - jewelry with a vintage charm.

13. Boutiquestitches - bibs, blankets, changing pads, everything for that "unique" little rocker person.

14. LostRiverRags - luxurious Soaps, Lotions, Body Splashes, Soy Candles & More!

15. sarahkdesigns - bring the outside in...beautify the great indoors with the artwork of Sarah Knight.

16. The Shabby Pink Cottage - digital collage sheets perfect for scrapbooking or jewelry making.

17. NowthenDesign - beautifully quilted placemats, table runners, tissue box covers, & more!

18. Knitschmidt - adorable knitted baby and toddler hats and Chef's market bags!


Keep

scrolling

down

to

view

all

the

wonderful

Artists

and

Crafters

individual

websites!

You

will

be

amazed

by

all

the

amazing

talent!!

Nineteen

websites

in

all!!

Keep

going!!

Still

more!!

Amost

there!!

Keep

going

almost

until

you

get

to

the

article

about

Week 4 classes!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ladie's Night Out - Week 6 - The Final Chapter


We had our last classes for the semester. This last week I lovingly refer to as Ladies Choice!! The ladies love it because they get to finish up projects from the semester that they might not have finished in class or missed the class, bring something from home to work on, or make a selection from the extensive collection of handmade jewelry from my website! I always dread this week because I run around the room like a chicken with my head cut off answering questions and helping with various techniques!

This week was no different. I thought I would do my civic part and go vote before my Tuesday night class. Little did I know how long that process would take until I was still standing in line to vote with 15 minutes left to get to class. This must have been one of the biggest turnouts this year and the lines were huge. You actually had to get in a line to get a number and have your name checked off to qualify to get into the actual line to vote... I've never seen it quite so confusing.

So, of course, I arrived late to class and everyone was waiting for me. I brought everything but the kitchen sink because there were several projects that would be going on at the same time and I wanted to be prepared for anything. It took two trips to the car to get everything in. I started handing out kits and instructions to those who had ordered them and then immediately started jumping from person to person to see what they needed for instruction or assistance. I should actually bring roller skates because in the Tuesday night class, they are scattered around the room, but I was a wall hugger in my roller skating days, so it wouldn't do me much good...

The common project was that they received their fired silver clay pieces and began to brush off the clay residue with a wire brush and then started the oxidizing process using liver of sulphur. That was followed by more brushing and polishing with a special cloth. It was a stinky process but the results were great! The ladies seemed happy with the finished silver pendants and were each stating what they would have done different the next time.

The next 6 week semester doesn't start until February, but I actually got approved to hold 3 more classes before Christmas to make Christmas themed items. We won't have such a large group this time but we will have a good time as usual and I'll post pictures of our lovely Christmas items. Now to get the demo's made......

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ladie's Night Out - Week 5 - Wire Wrapped Pendants

>
Another fun evening with the ladies!! We actually had a man join our Wednesday night class. He had contacted me a few weeks ago inquiring about wire wrapping and taking a class. I mentioned to him that we were going to be doing wire wrapping this past week and if he was brave enough to attend the class with nine women, then he was welcome to join us. This is something that he said that he has always wanted to learn and would like to do it as a side business. He seemed to enjoy himself and caught on quite well.

The sea glass for the first pendant was supplied by Laura, who has been a regular for a little while. She collects it every summer on a private beach in Pemaquid. She had some beautiful pieces and the ladies selected their base pieces and then glued smaller sea glass in various colors along with shells to the base piece. The seaglass pendant pictured actually was a gift for my mother in law. She collects seaglass at Hampton Beach each summer and I had selected these pieces from her collection to make her the pendant awhile ago.

While the seaglass pendants were drying, they started wire wrapping cute little rocks that I had purchased from another supplier on Etsy. The rocks were from Idaho and were very unique. They were smooth, long, skinny rocks with various markings throughout them, in varying colors. They were perfect for wire wrapping and very lightweight. We tried two different techniques of wrapping and the pendants came out lovely.

Once the ladies were done with the rocks, they switched back to their seaglass and wrapped that pendant. The glue wasn't quite dry, but they worked around it and re-glued anything that had come apart when they were finished wrapping. They seemed quite pleased with their pieces and it was another successful week of classes.

This coming week is the last week of classes in this semester. I can't believe how fast it has gone by. This week is Ladies Choice. They always seem to like this week but it is usually a little crazier for me. They can bring something from home to work on, finish up something that they might not have finished during one of the previous classes, or choose to make something from my website items. It won't be boring, that's for sure, with everyone working on a different project!!

The silver clay pendants were being fired this weekend. I am anxious to see how they came out. Laura's mother in law makes porcelain dolls and has a couple of kiln's. She offered to fire them for us, which was so nice of her. We will just have to polish them up and then dip them in liver of sulphur to basically antique any grooves that we have in our designs. Rudy thinks the glue smells bad - won't she be surprised.... After the dipping and washing afterward, we will attach jump rings and they will be ready to place on a neckchain to wear!! I'll post some pictures in my next article to show how they came out.

We also found out last week that we got approval to hold three more classes before Christmas. We are going to make projects for the Christmas season. I need to get busy once more making the demo's!

It sure keeps me out of trouble.....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ladie's Night Out - Week 4 - Working With Silver Clay

>

This week was definitely a get focused and down to business class. We were trying to finish up the Kumihimo necklaces from the week before and then move right into working with PMC (Precious Metal Clay) silver clay.

My husband had once again come to my rescue. He repurposed a metal stake of some kind that was lying neglected in our junk draw at home into a hook that he inserted into his work drill that we could use to twist wire for our wire hook and eye clasps to finish off our Kumihimo necklaces! It worked like a charm! The ladies were all curious as to what we would be creating with that large drill – weren’t they pleasantly surprised. It saved us quite a bit of time and really made nice tight wraps on our wire.

After everyone had finished gluing their clasps to their necklaces, and were starting to get a little buzz from the glue…. we moved right in to working with the clay. I had brought them some regular fimo clay to practice with to get their designs down before moving into the expensive silver clay. I had also brought rubber stamps, clay molds, plastic design sheets, various leaves, twigs, pine needles & those little things from our maple tree that we used to call helicopters when we were kids because when they fell from the tree, they would spin to the ground.

I basically could start a small craft shop right in my own home from all the craft projects I have done over the years and all the craft supplies that I have…..

You could see the creative juices flowing as the ladies tried one design after another, trying to get it “JUST RIGHT”. Finally a brave soul opened her clay packet and began rolling out her silver clay. I had ordered the slow dry clay but the pressure was on when we figured out that even the slow dry had only about 15 minutes worth of creating time before it started to dry.

This week they are going to fill in any cracks, sand them smooth, and get them ready to kiln fire this weekend. That is when the much thought out designs will turn from plain white clay to silver masterpieces (at least we hope)!!

We are also making wire wrapped pendants this week with seaglass and shells and also some cute, unique, skinny rocks that I got from a supply place all the way out in Idaho.

Stay tuned!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ladies Night Out - Week 3 - Learning Kumihimo

Both nights this past week were pretty uneventful. The ladies were in full concentration mode so there was little in the way of joking and very little conversation, especially Wednesday night. Some of the ladies that are repeat class takers already had experience with the Kumihimo disk and the technique, so they just needed a few minutes of review. The other ladies, seeing this for the first time, were a little intimidated and very focused.

We had previously had our first Kumihimo class a few semesters ago using the basic weaving technique with various colors of satin cord. The ladies had loved this class and once they got into the groove with the technique were braiding like mad women. We had also had a previous class using wire with the Kumihimo disk and adding beads. This class - not so much. They are still reliving their horror stories about the uneven braiding, poking wires, and bloody fingers.

This time, they were braiding with beautiful royal blue satin cord for most of the ladies and a few chose two shades of green. Once they had braided for several inches, they had to start adding either blue or green seed beads for a few inches and then continue with the same braid as at the beginning. There were a few "start overs" but basically everyone got the hang of it fairly quickly and were crusing along.

Most of them got to the point of finishing with the seed beads and then were assigned to finish the rest as homework. I did hear from one of the ladies, who shall remain nameless, from the Tuesday night class (you know who you are...) that she didn't remember seeing homework in the syllabus. There is one in every crowd!!!

This week we are finishing the cord off and making our own wired hook and eye clasps and attaching them using Rudy's favorite glue to the ends. Pictures aren't available yet, but I will post them at a later date.

We will then begin working on our next project - PMC silver clay. I can't wait for this project. I haven't even done it myself yet because I have never before had access to a kiln. I do this year through one of my students and I can't wait to try it! We will be working with the clay using various tools, and then forming pendants and either stamping, pressing shapes into them, or whatever inspires them! The pendants will then be allowed to dry and then be fired and finished. We will also be using Liver of Sulphur; and Rudy thinks the glue smells bad... I definitely expect some whining! I can't wait to see the end results.

Stay tuned for the update!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ladies Night Out - Week 2 - Crystal Weaving Night


The color choices were lovely, the necklaces gorgeous, and I think the ladies enjoyed themselves once they got the technique down. This past week, we made right angle weave pendants on a necklace out of beautiful Swarovski crystal bicones in the ladies choice of colors.

I had taken this class a couple of years ago myself and had created a lovely necklace as a result. I thought this would be a great project to use to teach how to crimp (a very important part of jewelry making) as well as the right angle weave technique. And you can't go wrong using Swarovski crystals in their beautiful colors. They just sparkle in any light and look amazing.

I had the step by step directions, complete with pictures, and thought that it would help putting this necklace together. It took a few attempts in some cases and some re-doing of the stringing so that the pendant could be completed correctly, but the end results were worth it. I could see the light bulbs going off as the ladies realized how the technique worked and from that point, they were off.

Here is a sampling of some of the creations and as you can see from these pictures, they all got a little creative in their color choices and they all came out great! Ellen was the only brave soul to have her picture taken actually wearing her necklace to appear on the blog.

This coming week - Kumihimo braided necklaces with added seed beads!!! Stay tuned!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

LADIES NIGHT OUT - FALL 2009




Well, it's that time again! My adult ed jewelry classes have begun for another semester. We started last Tuesday night. There was such an overwhelming response this time in the registrations that I decided to hold the class for two nights each week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays and both nights were full!! I am so excited and they were so much fun!

Of course, I had ten ladies returning between the two classes, who have taken many classes in the past. It has become like a social event for us - catching up on how the summer was, what jewelry or craft items we have made over the summer, etc. I don't think the new students knew what to think the first night with all of our joking and teasing but by the end of the evening, they were joining in the mix.

One lady, a mother with four teenagers at home, said that she took the class to have a night out with other women. She has made some jewelry on her own before, so her children asked why she was taking the class. She responded that she was self taught and wanted to learn some new techniques plus get out of the house! Of course, they didn't understand, but we did - lol! The jewelry making part is just a perk!!

Our first project is pictured above. They had their choice of gemstones to use, so there was a variety of colors at the end of the session. Some of them also made the matching earrings. Some of them moaned (some of the returnees and some new students) over learning how to make a regular loop with wire and a wrapped loop but were soon getting the hang of it and all of their bracelets came out lovely.

They all left the class trying to decide if they had something in their closets that matched their new bracelet so that they could wear it the next day or did they need to stop at J.C. Penny on the way home to get something new. It was quite a dilemma.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

RELAXED HOLIDAY SHOPPING??


Are you one of those ambitious types that gets your holiday shopping done way in advance of the Christmas season? Good for you!!! Unfortunately, I fall into the category of last minute shopper - but hopefully not this year!!!

This year I have found Etsy and all the wonderful crafters that make up the Etsy group. The possibilities are endless and the selection is amazing. I am sure you can find something even for that "hard to buy" for person on your list! There are things in every price range, even for these tough economic times and specials constantly. There are many gift guides to search through on the Etsy website but I thought I would feature a few of those amazing crafters on my blog.

I have put together this list of some of my favorite Etsy websites as well as other fantastic crafters that I have met in the Etsy forums. I designed this on-line craft fair like a craft fair that I put together in my own home several years ago that was alot of fun. Each of the sites is different from the other and they each offer beautiful items in all different price ranges.

Where this is on-line - you have to use your imagination for a wonderful craft fair experience!!

Imagine the scents of Balsam and hot mulled cider as you stroll leisurely around a room beautifully decorated with memorable Christmas decorations. Soft Celtic music relaxes you, putting you into the holiday spirit as you move slowly from table to table, totally enjoying the sights of the beautifully handcrafted items. Now that you are in a relaxed shopping mood....

All of the shops below have their visual displays listed down the left hand side of the blog. You can click into each website from there or click their name below and you will be brought into their website. Please check each of them out, including my site, Allstrungout1. Leave comments if you would like about any of the wonderful items you purchase, about your thoughts on the selections offered, or any ideas for future shopping guides!!

I am sure you will find items that will satisfy many of the people on your shopping list or simply treat yourself! No crowds to fight or parking places to hunt for - all in the comfort of your own home!! Then, having that behind you, you can kick back, relax, and actually enjoy the festivities of this wonderful holiday season!




1. Andrewsreclaimed - a growing variety of quality garden supplies and gifts, all made from recycled wood, and assembled with care.

2. Hotpinkchick - unique handmade jewelry.

3. Yellowhouseknits - beautiful hand knits for babies and children.

4. Jennyhoople - colorful and glamorous handmade jewelry.

5.
Aptrick - fine art photography by Patrick Andrew Adams.


6. Antiquebasketlady - handmade handbags, totes, diaper bags, children's bags.

7. Teaman - handblended gourmet teas for your enjoyment.


8. Whimsy & spice - specializing in sweets with a dash of spice.

9. Peacebypeacedesigns - custom bridal jewelry.

10. MixedMediaCocktail - handmade ribbon painted boxes and wearable art.

11. Stoopher & Boots - two sisters, creative ideas, onesie's, tees, & hoodies with cute pictures or sayings.

12. Deondesigns - jewelry with a vintage charm.

13. Boutiquestitches - bibs, blankets, changing pads, everything for that "unique" little rocker person.

14. LostRiverRags - luxurious Soaps, Lotions, Body Splashes, Soy Candles & More!

15. sarahkdesigns - bring the outside in...beautify the great indoors with the artwork of Sarah Knight.

16. The Shabby Pink Cottage - digital collage sheets perfect for scrapbooking or jewelry making.

17. NowthenDesign - beautifully quilted placemats, table runners, tissue box covers, & more!

18. Knitschmidt - adorable knitted baby and toddler hats and Chef's market bags!


Keep

scrolling

down

to

view

all

the

wonderful

Artists

and

Crafters

individual

websites!

You

will

be

amazed

by

all

the

amazing

talent!!

Nineteen

websites

in

all!!

Keep

going!!

Still

more!!

Amost

there!!

Keep

going

almost

until

you

get

to

the

article

about

the

Elvis

sighting!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SCRUMDIDDLYUPTIOUS MEGA GIVEAWAY

Who doesn't like a chance to win something for free? A fellow Etsy crafter, Jewelry by Solange, came up with a brilliant master plan of offering this great GIVEAWAY!! All you have to do is log into her blog and follow the instructions that she has posted. You have 18 + ways to enter and there are 30 gifts to win!! She has enlisted 30 fellow crafters, Allstrungout1 being one of them, to each donate a prize from their website for her giveaway.

If you are interested in participating, log into her blog at http://jewelrybysolange.blogspot.com/ or simply click the link on my blog for Beadie and Things (her second website) and you will be taken to the instructions for entering this wonderful giveaway!!

What have you got to lose??

Good Luck!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

WILL WORK FOR CAPPUCCINO

I have been on vacation all this week and have truly relaxed and enjoyed it! I had a mental list prepared as to what I had hoped to get done while on this vacation and as usual haven't completed nearly enough on the list. Oh well... I think I needed the relaxation part.

Last weekend, my husband Mike and I experienced the "empty nest" scenario. My daughter Amanda left on Friday to spend the weekend with my brother Marc and his family in North Carolina. Amanda lives at home with us. We also have two sons, Adam, who is married and lives in Benton, Maine with his wife Amber and our grand-dog Ella, and Chris, who goes to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

We went with Amanda to Boston to get her to the airport because this was her first trip to North Carolina and only the 2nd airplane trip by herself. After getting her on the plane, we ventured into the tourist section of Boston to walk around Quincy Market and the other interesting shops in that section. We couldn't have asked for better weather and really enjoyed the day.

The next day, we decided to check out coastal Maine and went to the Pemaquid Fort area to see some crafters at a yearly fair that they have at the fort. Again, it was a gorgeous day and the drive along the coast was amazing. I would love to have a place by the ocean!

On Sunday, we got up early and headed over to the driving range owned by my in-laws - A&M Driving Range, right in Winslow. My father in law has been having some health issues and my husband has been helping him out at the range quite a bit this summer. Mike needed to get the weekly mowing done and I went along to drive the golf cart with ball picker upper so that the golfballs wouldn't get eaten up by the mower.

I hadn't driven the golf cart with the ball picker upper (I'm sure that there is a more professional name for it but this describes it better) since last summer, so I needed a short refresher. Mike backed it up for me and all I had to do was get in and take off. I was working on the first 75 yards so that Mike could mow, when my father in law showed up. He seemed surprised but pleased that we were there working so early on a Sunday morning. Mike stopped to talk to him but I kept making my circular swipes picking up golfballs so that Mike could get further along on the mowing before we had customers.

I was starting to feel a little like a Nascar driver behind the wheel of the golf cart and getting a little too cocky when I made a turn and misjudged the width on the ball picker upper and ended up running into the metal screened fencing that my father in law puts up on the outer edges of the range so that the balls won't go into the tall grass on either side. How embarassing!! Of course I had to do it just when the boss shows up....

I stopped the golf cart and then was fumbling around trying to remember how to put it in reverse. Of course, Mike had done that part for me at the beginning.. Just as my father in law was approaching on foot, I remembered that reverse was just under the seat near my calf and put the cart into reverse and away from the fence. My father in law was chuckling as he came up to me. I made some comment about finding it hard to get good help and started on my way again!

He walked around to the wetter sections of the range picking up the balls with a homemade picker upper and tossing them in my section so that I would get them on the next swipe. I've gotten the cart stuck in the wetter sectons in past years, so I've learned to stay away from them. He would look up and smile each time I made a pass thru and I couldn't help but think that my husband was as cute as his dad and he has the same joking nature!

After we started getting customers, we had to stop, but I had managed to get the first 125 yards picked up. The rest of the mowing had to wait until it quieted down again. You can pick up balls with the golf cart because of the screened in protection (it gives the golfers a target), but you can't mow.

My father in law treated us to coffee for Mike and a cappuccino for me and it was another great day! As much fun as it is to drive the golf cart and ball picker upper, I do think I'll stick to jewelry making!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mom's Favorite Dangle Bracelet

This bracelet always sparks special memories - crazy, happy and sad whenever I wear it. It was almost two years ago now that I put my first one together. You see, being a jewelry maker gives you certain perks - you get to keep all the demo's and "test drive" them. I put most of my jewelry through the test because I am always wearing something that I've made and many of my jewelry pieces match my clothing - another perk!!

I had seen something similar while on a routine treasure hunt to The Beadin Path in Freeport, one of my favorite places to spend an hour or two! One of the clerks had this cute bracelet with multi colored beads of various shapes and sizes on a chain link bracelet. I was just getting into my copper phase and thought - hmmm. I made a mental note for the next shopping trip because I had already reached my spending limit for the day.
The crazy memory - a couple of weeks later, we were planning a trip to Springfield, Massachusetts, to visit my son at college. We had to conveniently pass through Freeport enroute - I love it when that happens! I pursuaded my husband to stop briefly while I flew through the store buying the necessary components for the bracelet in my head. I had brought my jewelry making tools and a sectioned off paper plate (imagine that); well it's a long ride to Springfield from Winslow - 4 1/2 hours to be exact...

I kept to my promise of a brief stop and hopped back in the truck, eager to be on our way. I laid the tools out on the bench seat next to me and placed the paper plate on my lap. I dumped the contents of my little paper bag into the different sections of the plate and started making my bracelet. It consisted of assorted colored resin beads placed on head pins, some having copper spacers or swirls, and then wire wrapped onto the copper chain. I had to plan out the design as I went along but really liked it as it was taking shape. A toggle clasp finished it off. I had to stop from time to time when I started to feel a little nauseaous from the ride; I'm not one who can even read while driving, but sometimes you have to live on the edge!

Well before we arrived in Springfield, I was wearing the bracelet and matching earrings and just feeling slightly dizzy.

The happy & sad memory - my Mom, being my biggest fan, was the person that I took all new creations to for an honest opinion of each piece. Of course though, she liked them all and did have quite a collection of her own after awhile. I don't know if she would have said anything negative about a piece of jewelry or not.

She was always encouraging and had this infectious smile. She would get this twinkle in her eye while she said how much she liked it. That's what she did over this new creation. The twinkle was magnified this time and I asked her if she just liked it or did she mean that she would like to have one. She smiled and said that she would like to have one. Unfortunately at this point, she wasn't even able to put her own jewelry on without help from one of us or an aide, which we did whenever she asked. She was now a resident of a local nursing home due to several serious medical conditions over a period of seven years, and only 73 years old. I promised her that I would make her one for Christmas and she was thrilled.
This was in September of 2007. She passed away on October 4th, 2007 and I never got to make her the bracelet for Christmas. I think of her every time that I wear it. The memory of her smile brings a smile to my face while the loss of her is still very painful. She wasn't just my Mom, she was my best girlfriend!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Surf n' Sand Bracelet


This has been my biggest seller to date, but not through Etsy, yet!! This bracelet is currently featured in the catalog and on the website of a company called Femail Creations. It has been quite popular, if I go by the purchases made by them.


Femail Creations offers a variety of things from jewelry to signs, t-shirts, things with funny sayings, or gifts for encouragement or support. They offer gifts to celebrate and inspire!


Bring back cherished memories of a perfect day at the beach with these lovely linked Swarovski crystal channels in the colors of the surf and sand, complete with a silver starfish charm.










Sunday, July 26, 2009

Elvis Sighting In Greenville, Maine


My husband Mike is turning 50 this week!!! He is pretty tough to surprise and my son Adam and I thought we'd plan something special for this milestone in his life. After almost 29 years of marriage, it's hard to be sneaky...

When he had turned 30, we were living near a round barn and we decorated the roof of the barn with a huge sign announcing "Mike is turning the big 30". We also had the owner of one of his favorite restaurants - Big G's, put "Mike D. is turning 30 - wish him a Happy Birthday!", on his road sign on Benton Avenue in Winslow. A good friend of his was also turning 30 later that year and his wife and I decided to rent a limo in honor of their birthdays. We went out to dinner and then as we came out of the restaurant, they were greeted by a limo driver who opened up the limo door and said, "Your limo is waiting". They laughed, thinking that we had paid the driver to say this but were stunned when we said that we had truly rented it for the next three hours. We had a cooler with their favorite beverages inside and a rented movie. We only drove about 40 minutes away to Gardner, Maine and back but the ride was really fun. They were surprised with this gift but thrilled!

When Mike turned 40, I had a surprise party for him at another favorite restaurant, The Pointe Afta, also in Winslow. All of our friends and families showed up and surprised him for appetizers and drinks. They all brought joke gifts suitable for someone now "Over The Hill" - shirts and gadgets with Old Fart printed on them, Geritol, and even a pin cushion doll where you could select different aches & pains - age appropriate...

Now Mike is turning 50 and he had already mentioned way back in June, suspecting that I wouldn't let this special birthday go unnoticed, that he didn't want any kind of birthday party this time and actually didn't want me to do anything at all. Of course we couldn't let this special birthday go by without any kind of hoopla....

Knowing that he has always wanted to rent a camp in northern Maine, I mentioned it to Adam and he went on line to search for camps in the Greenville area and found one that was very reasonably priced for the weekend. It was an older camp and privately owned. Adam contacted the owner and made the reservation. I had to make up a story to get out of the house on Thursday to meet Adam and buy the groceries needed for the weekend getaway.

We didn't tell Mike anything about our plans, even when he started getting suspicious a couple of days ago, thinking that we were up to something. Even my daughter Amanda kept the secret. Adam borrowed his truck a few hours before we were planning on leaving to load coolers, wood, and the canoe. When he and his wife Amber showed up with our grand dog Ella, we hit the road. Only then did we tell him that we were going to Greenville for the weekend. He was pleasantly surprised and quite relieved.

It had been raining all week, as it has for most of the summer so far, and we were hoping for good weather. It rained on and off all the way to Greenville, but as soon as we got there, it stopped. The camp we rented was on a dirt road off a couple of main roads. It was past the point where the electricity ran and it was powered by propane gas. It was an older camp but quaint. Ella was immediately thrilled that it overlooked Wilson Pond and ran right down and jumped in.

The sun came out yesterday morning and after a short hide and seek game, stayed out for the rest of the day. Adam had bought Mike his hunting/fishing license for a gift and the two of them went out in the canoe in the afternoon to try their luck. No fish were caught - I'm told that they weren't big enough yet so they left them in the pond... It was so relaxing and Ella was thrilled to have all of us there with her. She kept jumping in and out of the pond and running through the woods all day long.

The funniest part of the weekend occurred yesterday while we were sitting on the deck having lunch. My daughter Amanda is the biggest Elvis fan that I know. She was seated across from Ella in the pictured Elvis camp chair that has a huge head of Elvis on the back and Love Me Tender printed on the seat. She had just gotten up from the chair when all of a sudden, Ella started to make a low growling sound.

We had heard a story from the owner about previous renters having a bear come into the screened in porch during the night and wondered if the bear had returned. Ella kept up the growling and started going in the direction of the chair. We figured that an animal was sitting just inside the woods behind, directly lined up with the chair. Ella made her way over to the chair and started sniffing and looking at one side of the chair and then the other, still growling. After a minute, she went back and laid down. It was then that we realized that Ella was actually growling at Elvis and trying to figure out if it was a person or not because of the huge head. We couldn't stop laughing. What do you know; someone who didn't know who Elvis Presley was!!!

We had a lot of laughs, the sun came out, and Mike had a great birthday weekend! What will we do for his 60th????

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My First Time Featured In Someone's Treasury!!

I just found out that my brand new Luscious Lilac earrings were selected by Ozzana's website from London, England to be in her "All Things Purple" treasury!! It is my first time being selected for a treasury and I am quite pleased and excited!! Thank you Ozzana!!

http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=70989

Friday, July 17, 2009

Luscious Lilac



I'm in a creative mood this morning! Of course I wait until my last day of vacation. I work better under pressure, but I drive myself crazy.... These lovely pieces are going on my website right after this blog post. I'll probably add a matching bracelet soon because I am all about the matching sets!! The necklace is a series of silver wire wrapped links in various shapes and sizes of lilac mother of pearl shell beads, cream colored resin round beads, and antique silver filigree round beads. It has a lovely ivy leaf pewter toggle clasp. I used the larger round and the square lilac mother of pearl shells along with the silver filigree to create the dainty earrings that compliment the necklace so beautifully.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Winner of the Treasure Hunt!!!

Congratulations go out to Jen Smith of Manassas, Virginia for searching high and low on my blog and website for the answers to the Treasure Hunt questions. Jen has won a lovely Sweet Pea necklace!!! Thank you all for participating and please stay tuned for the next giveaway from All Strung Out 1!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

TREASURE HUNT GIVEAWAY

Are you ready to pretend that you are Captain Hook and go on a Treasure Hunt? All Strung Out1 is offering a special giveaway and all you have to do is search my blog and website for the answers to the questions in the Treasure Hunt. Those of you who answer all the questions correctly in an email to me by July 15th, will have your name entered into a drawing on July 16th to win one of my favorite necklaces!!! If you find that you like the items on my website while on your treasure hunt, please leave me a heart - they are always appreciated :-) And if you decide that you like my blog - please "follow" me for future contests and surprises!!! Are you ready to begin???

Questions:
1. What was the item purchased in my first sale?

2. What is my most viewed item?


3. What is the name of the lady that I've done a collaboration with?
4. Which is the piece of jewelry that my husband helped with?
5. What is the largest item that I have listed?

6. Which item has something handsewn attached?

7. What color is the most viewed of the dichroic pieces?
8. What is the name of the Japanese braided items?

9. Who was always my biggest fan and supporter?

10. What is my most favorite material?


11. Who has the most items for sale out of my favorite sellers?
12. Who introduced me to crafting?


13. When did I join Etsy?



14. What is the name of my grand dog?


Bonus - What is your favorite item in all my listings?

Reminder - all answers can be found on either my website or
within my blog - Good Luck!!!

Send me an email with the question number and your answers.
Put "Treasure Hunt" in the subject line. Leave a comment once
you have emailed. You will be notified if
you are the winner and your name will be also listed on my blog
on July 16th!! I can't tell you what the prize is yet because it is
one of the answers (hint hint)!!

Website - http://www.allstrungout1.etsy.com
Blog - http://www.allstrungout1.blogspot.com
Email - craftaholic9@yahoo.com



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ella - The Bubble Machine


Now, my close friends and family know that I have never been a "dog" person. We had turtles, gold fish, a duckling, & two cats (for a brief time) growing up but never a dog. I also think something happened to me with a dog when I was much younger that made me eternally afraid of them, but I've suppressed that memory...

That all changed when my daughter in law, Amber, brought Ella into our lives three years ago. Ella is a yellow lab and was just a puppy when Amber got her and brought her home. Being a puppy, she was very lively and thought everyone just loved her and wanted to play with her. I thought she was adorable with those big eyes and loving nature but I was very nervous.

We went camping with my son Adam and Amber and Ella that first year and Ella, left in my charge for an hour, got the rope that she was tied up with all tangled up in the bushes and trees on the campsite. Every time I got close enough to try and untangle her, she would nip at me because she didn't like the situation. I was afraid to get too close, afraid of the sharp teeth, and unfortunately had to wait until they came back to untangle her - what a coward...

Over these last three years, I have gotten much calmer with her and have realized that she isn't trying to bite me, but it is part of her playful nature. I am no longer afraid to pet her and attempt to hug her; although she still thinks everything is a game and wants to play and lick.

I was really put to the test one Saturday morning last summer. Adam and Amber had gone away for the weekend and my other son Chris was left in charge of Ella and had spent the night at their house, taking care of her. He had to work at the driving range that morning and didn't dare bring Ella while he was mowing and picking up golf balls. She tends to chew on the golf balls and chase the mower and ball picker upper. He dropped her off with my daughter Amanda and I. Being Saturday morning, (oh who are we kidding - the weekend in general) we weren't dressed yet. I told Amanda that I would watch Ella while she showered and dressed and then we could switch places.

Amanda had no longer left the room and Ella disappeared; a matter of three seconds... I began calling for her, but couldn't hear her anywhere. I went upstairs to check and found the door to my bedroom open. As I walked in, Ella came out of my bathroom. She wasn't making a sound and I noticed a large bulge on either side of her mouth. I told her to come see Memere and asked her what she was up to. She was looking at me but couldn't make a sound. I realized that she had gotten into something in the bathroom but couldn't figure out what, at first, but that it was in her mouth. Awwwww, that meant that I had to open up her mouth to find out what the problem was, and it was full of sharp, pointy teeth..... All of these dog biting images came to mind but I knew something was wrong and didn't want anything to happen to her.

I gave her strict instructions not to bite Memere and opened up her mouth. A freshly opened, big bar of soap was stuck in all four corners of her teeth and wasn't going anywhere. She had gone into the shower in those few seconds and gobbled it off the shelf. I grabbed the soap, gave it a tug and pulled it out. Ella started licking herself to try and get the soap taste out of her mouth. I can imagine how nasty it tasted, but then again, she puts anything in her mouth - we won't go there.... I convinced her to come downstairs with me and she followed eagerly. I checked the label to see if there were any warnings of any kind but didn't find any. I gave her a large bowl of water to get rid of the soap, and because I wasn't really sure of what else to do and she took to it happily.

I watched her for quite awhile after to make sure that she was okay and to make sure that she didn't start "shooting soap bubbles"!!!

Ella attempted again and succeeded this time in eating a bar of soap that following week at Amber's, but at least it wasn't on my shift....

All in a day with Ella!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fourth of July Memories


In honor of the 4th of July holiday, this flag listed on my website is being offered at a sale of 15% off the regular price. Mention this blog posting on your order form to get this special price!

As another 4th of July quickly approaches, I'm reminded of days gone by. Our 4th of July celebrations have always started with the big parade held every year in Winslow (our hometown). We have participated in this parade over the years as well as being observers.

One year, my son Adam, agreed to let me create a huge banana split made out of various fabrics to place over a riding lawn mower to drive in the parade. We owned an ice cream shop at the time and felt it would be good advertising. Adam was a hit in the parade, doing 360's with the banana split to the delight of the crowd.

Another year, Kim, an employee of ours, agreed to let me create yet another ice cream product, this time for her to wear in the parade. I created an ice cream cone, again with fabric and a hula hoop to support the brown fabric ice cream on top of the cone. She wore a red baseball cap as the cherry on top. She handed out discount cards and was a great sport. It is a long parade and the day was one of our warmest. She walked the whole parade, waving to the crowd and really enjoying herself. Some people did think she looked like a cupcake though because she isn't very tall.

Another year, Adam & Chris (my other son), decorated a golf cart from my in-law's driving range next to the ice cream shop with signs advertising the range. In the back of the cart, they made a golfer out of two by fours, who was wearing a golf shirt, shorts, & cap, and holding a golf club - teeing off. Other employees carried water guns to cool off the crowd. Again, it got applause from the spectators, who were also welcoming the relief from the heat. They also through out candy to the young children, who were chasing all of the floats to see how much candy they could collect.

One of the most memorable July 4th's included a parade again, but not the parade in our hometown. This one was just as much fun but on a much smaller scale. My mom had suffered a severe stroke and had other serious health issues as a result afterward. She unfortunately was unable to live alone any longer and we all had to make the most difficult decision of having her move into an assisted living facility. It was a lovely place, but it is never like home...

In the two years that she lived there, I got to know quite a few of the residents quite well. They looked as forward to visits by my brothers and sisters and I as my mother did. Some of them did not get alot of company because their families did not live close by. I come from a family of six children; 4 of us who lived fairly close by and visited all the time.

Ironically enough, most of the residents were women. Mom and I decided to form a Red Hat group at the facility. She was the Queen and I was her right hand. I received a generous donation from the company that I work for and used it to pay for the membership as well as buy several red hats, some ribbon, & assorted red & purple flowers. I then decorated the hats with the flowers and ribbon to give to the members as they were signed up. We signed up quite a few ladies, although some were hesitant at first and didn't really know what the Red Hatters were all about. I'll talk more about our group - The Red Hot Mama's in a future blog posting.

This particular year, we decided to have our own parade right in the circular drive in front of the assisted living building as most of the ladies hadn't been to a parade in many years. We purchased flags for the ladies and some decorations. We decorated many wheelchairs, walkers, and canes in red, white, & blue streamers. I enlisted two of my brothers and their wives and small children to participate in our parade. They decorated the children's wagons and bikes and gave them balloons and flags to carry. Any of the Red Hatters that wanted or could participate did. Some were pushed in their wheelchairs and a couple of them walked with their walkers. They wore their red hats and carried the flags with pride. The other ladies lined up on the front porches to participate from the sidelines. My brother John had recorded marching band music, which we had playing from the porch.

The ladies were so thrilled with our homemade parade that we went around the circular drive twice in time to the lively music. We followed it up with an ice cream social in the dining hall for all the residents. It was the highpoint of the weekend for all of them as well as for us!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hydrangea's On The Lam




I have been known to do various craft projects in some unique places - crocheting an afghan or knitting a "to-be felted" purse on a plane flying somewhere over the Atlantic; making jewelry at a picnic table while camping in our favorite place - Cathedral Pines in Eustis, Maine; making bracelets after hours at a dining room table in a hotel in Dachau, Germany with a friend from Finland; a "Mom jewelry workshop" in between matches at a high school wrestling meet at an all-day competition & one other time hand-stitching tea stained snowmen, again at an all-day wrestling meet; and probably the funniest - at my day job during lunch - prepping for grapevine wreath making.

I know that lunchtime at work doesn't sound very funny, but you had to be there. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we were eating our lunch at the picnic table in front of our building! Another "addicted" crafter (like myself) and I were noticing that the hydrangea bush at work was really full with blooms this particular year. We decided that we were going to make up some grapevine wreaths with the lovely blooms but they needed to be dried at least a couple of weeks before using them.

We gathered up as many of the cream & pink flowers in various sizes as we could fit into our arms and headed for the file retention room on the ground floor of our office. After all, you need a dark, undisturbed place to dry the blooms before you can use them. This was the perfect room. Hardly anyone ever went down there, there were no windows, and we would have plenty of room & time for drying our treasures, or so we thought!!

We taped the stem of each flower to the front of the tall two-door cabinets that were all around the room. We must have had over 50 to 60 blooms and were anticipating making a few wreaths. We were chuckling as we taped them up to dry. We thought we were so clever... It just looked so pretty when we got done!! We still left plenty of flowers on the bush because we didn't want it to look stripped clean...

Wouldn't you know it, at the end of the 2nd week, just when the flowers were almost to the point that we could use them, we had one of those impromptu audits by our payroll auditors. They were planning to go over some of the files from the year before and the files that they needed were - (you guessed it) down in the file retention room...

I didn't even know that they had gone down to the file room until my supervisor came into my office later that day and asked if I knew what all those flowers were doing taped to the cabinets. Busted!!! I shared our master plan with him; he laughed, fortunately, and told me to get them out of there - it wasn't a craft room!

Needless to say, I finished drying them at home and the wreaths came out lovely!!!

We Have A Winner!!

Congratulations, jenuinejems for winning my Flag Day giveaway!! The drawing was held a few minutes ago and your name was drawn. I will be sending you the lovely Red, White, & Blue Kumihimo Bracelet to wear in time for the 4th of July. Thank you for following up on my post and checking into my website. I hope you visit often!!

Thank you!
Nancy

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's My Birthday - June 14th - Win A Bracelet!!


June 14th is also known as Flag Day in the USA

If you want to take a chance to win this bracelet, check out my website at http://www.allstrungout1.etsy.com and browse thru my jewelry selections.

Go into my blog http://www.allstrungout1.blogspot.com and tell me which piece is your favorite under the comment section of this posting and make sure to provide either your website or email address.

I will draw a name from all the entries on Monday, June 15th and the lucky winner will receive this lovely bracelet in plenty of time to wear on the 4th of July.

If you want to leave me a heart or follow my blog, that is welcome too!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bring Your Husband To Class Night





My husband is such a good sport. He has put up with my “need to create” for the last 29 years. He is very patient and easy going even though I know that sometimes he doesn’t understand my craving for crafting. He doesn’t say much even though a lot of the time my jewelry making tools and bead stash are sitting on the kitchen counter. I have a day job, so the only time that I can really create jewelry pieces are in the evening or on the weekend. I hate to put everything away and then have to “dig it out” again.

I have a craft room but do you think I use it? I can barely walk into that room. I NEED TO GET ORGANIZED! If I say it often enough, maybe the little craft elves will visit me and clean up my room. I just can’t bear to part with anything - you just never know when you might need it…. I have remnants from many of the craft projects from the past and “potentials” for the future. “It’s a good deal” or “they might run out of it”, is what I find myself saying as I slip the “must have item” into the shopping cart. And if I go into a bead store without a list, it’s all over. I need to have my list with me and I try to stick to the list for the absolutely needed items. And if you’ve been to a bead store recently, you know the feeling – almost hyperventilating, with all the ideas & creativity flowing around you. That’s how my “bead stash” was born!!

I’ve sidetracked from my Blog title…. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs, I teach jewelry making at our local high school, Adult Ed program. I really enjoy teaching. The hard part is trying to be creative within a time limit. I usually try to plan in advance which projects we will make in the six week session and have demo’s made up to show the ladies the first night. Things don’t always go as planned.

This last semester, I had all of the projects made up except for the one we were going to do for the first week. I had ordered all of the supplies but didn’t get to make the demo until the Sunday before the Tuesday class. It didn’t look difficult so I figured I’d be okay. We were going to be trying our hand at stamping & texturizing metal – a new technique for all of us!

I had seen a cute free project idea for the pea pod pendant on a copper chain. I drew out a leaf pattern as instructed and traced it on to the back of the copper sheet. I hadn’t purchased any special metal cutters because my husband is in construction and has tin snips, which we thought would work. Problem – you can’t make turns while cutting with tin snips – only straight lines. Here I am rushing to Wal-Mart in hopes that they have something strong enough to cut the copper sheet. Fortunately, they did and we proceeded, or should I say – he proceeded to cut out 16 leaf shapes. Then, he had to drill two holes at each end of the leaf as the instructions required.

The next steps were fun – stamping the words SWEET and PEA on the now trimmed up piece of copper and texturizing it with the special hammer. When I went to bend the leaf shape into a pod, I ran into another problem – I didn’t have the strength to bend the copper. My husband had to use one of his “carpenter tools” to bend the shape in half vertically. My flat nose pliers just weren’t able to do the job. After that, I was able to finish up the pendant on my own – (big deal, there were only a few small steps left). He actually had 3 hours into this project already.

The final problem came to me the night before the class. It dawned on me that if I couldn’t bend the leaf shape into a pod, most of the other ladies in class wouldn’t be able to either. I asked my husband if he would come to class just long enough to bend the copper shapes – now how many husbands would do that? So the next night, he gave me an hour to get everyone to the same point on their pendant and showed up at class for about 15 minutes to take part in MY project (yeah, who are we kidding….). I told the ladies that it was “Bring Your Husband To Class Night”! They got a kick out of his coming to their “Ladies Night Out” and thanked him for coming.

I bought him a Peanut Buster Parfait after class to thank him for all his help (it really didn’t compare but he does like ice cream)!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kumihimo Brings People Together




These beautifully Kumihimo braided necklaces have a tradition dating back over 1200 years. They were used originally by Samurai’s to tie scrolls and clothing. Today they are still used by the Japanese for the narrow belt of the wide obi sash that wraps around traditional kimonos and as jewelry, key rings, and embellishments on clothing and dolls.

I really have enjoyed making these braided necklaces and bracelets. The satin cord comes in so many beautiful colors. The technique is not difficult to learn. I really find them relaxing to make and the stresses of the day are forgotten once I get into the braiding of the cord. They really end up being quite a conversation piece.

The ladies that I teach in my jewelry class might disagree if you ask them about making bracelets using the same technique but using wire instead of the satin cord. In the first semester of the jewelry class that I teach at our local high school adult ed program, we made a satin necklace in the ladies' choice of colors. Some finished them off with a pewter pendant or a beautifully decorated silver tube from Thailand. It was their first introduction to the art of Kumihimo and after the initial trip around the special foam disk, they were feeling pretty comfortable with the braid. They left the class with a brand new piece of jewelry to wear the next day and show off to their friends and be able to say with pride that they had made it themselves!

The second semester, where many of the same ladies had returned for another six-week session, feeling more adventuresome, they had insisted that we make a Kumihimo braided bracelet that I has shown them during the first semester, made out of thin silver or gold filled wire. They started with the same enthusiasm as in the previous semester, but that was short lived.

They discovered that the wire was not as easy to work with as the satin cord had been and there was much sighing & complaining going on for the two hours that we were together. This project also required them to add a glass bead to a certain wire strand in each of the braided sections. This also caused them some grief. This project ended up being a "homework assignment" for most of them and probably won't be something that they run out and make another one of any time soon. I assured them that the next one would go that much faster, but I didn't get any takers.

They weren't totally discouraged, though, because most of them are returning in the fall and have already requested another Kumihimo project; this time another necklace with satin cord but adding beads in the center for a different look. They like the technique but don't want to deviate too much....

Kumihimo was also responsible for the meeting of another crafter from my hometown and the two of us collaborating together on seven necklaces that are on both my and her websites. Her name is Sharon Carpenter and she has a business called Kaleidoscope-Kreations. Her website is http://www.kaleidoscope-kreations.com/ She is the designer of beautiful dichroic glass pendants.

Laurie, a previous student of mine, as well as being a good friend, met up with Sharon one day and was admiring her pendants that she had brought to school to show the teachers and staff. Sharon happened to mention that she was struggling with what to put her pendants on to make up as complete necklaces. Laurie knew that I had just finished teaching the class on making Kumihimo cord necklaces and mentioned my name to Sharon, asking her if she knew me.

We had never met before but ironically enough, a week later, we both happened to have tables at the same craft fair. She came over to my table and introduced herself. She asked to see my Kumihimo necklaces and loved the cords and thought that they would be the right size for her pendants. I happened to have materials there to braid with while at the fair (imagine that) and made up a cord that day that we slipped perfectly into one of the bails on her pendant and our first collaborated necklace was created. After that she gave me six other pendants to make necklaces for and they now appear on each of our websites!

I also just finished making Kumihimo bracelets for my niece, who just graduated from high school. She is one of a group of five girls who have been very close friends during their time at high school. Three of them were graduating and going off to parts unknown. They had previously all been on a class trip to Canada for their French class earlier in the year and had really enjoyed themselves. They referred to themselves as "The Canadians".

My sister, Donna, thought it would be a nice idea to give each of them a matching bracelet in the school colors, with a silver Canadian maple leaf charm. On the bracelets of the three that graduated, I put an additional charm with a graduation cap and 2009. Donna gave them to each of the girls after the graduation ceremony; they were thrilled. Even though they will be separated and might go awhile without seeing each other, they just have to wear their bracelet and it will bring memories of their good times to mind.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Bio

I have been making many types of craft projects for most of my life. I have done tole-painting, sewing, knitting, basket making, dried and silk flower arranging, some wood working, and for the last seven years, jewelry making.

I was inspired by my grandmother at a young age because she could make anything. She made the best mittens, the prettiest braided rugs, could knit, sew, made the best Bread and Butter pickles and relish, was a great cook, and made wonderful jewelry pieces. She loved making gifts for her family and friends and was always working on a craft project of some sort. She instilled a love of crafting in me at a very young age and that passion has continued within me ever since!

I absolutely love making jewelry, because it is such a fun, rewarding, and creative outlet. I feel under-dressed if I leave home without some sort of jewelry on. I wear each piece I make with pride, and I want anyone who wears my jewelry to feel the same way too.


My biggest fan and supporter was always my mother, who passed away a little over a year ago. She was the one I went to for her opinion about each new piece and she was always encouraging. She was also the recipient of many "new jewelry items" and she wore them with pride.

I am also blessed to have a very supportive and understanding husband, whom I bug frequently for his input as well as his skills for display building, use of his carpentry tools, or to join me in trips to the jewelry supply store in Freeport. He has become a well recognized customer in that store and he always has a funny comment for them.

I am the mother of three grown children, who have put up with their Mom always doing some type of craft project over the years and have survived!

I started making jewelry about seven years ago and became totally addicted to it. I love the fact that you can make beautiful pieces to match any outfit that you have or, in some cases, buy an outfit to match the jewelry....

I began teaching at Winslow High School Adult Ed about five years ago so that I would have an outlet for all the new techniques that I keep wanting to try and to support my beading addiction... Many of the ladies in my classes are repeat students and have now become as crazy about jewelry making as I am!

I find it so fulfilling to create beautiful keepsakes for people to enjoy day after day at reasonable prices. I also love the challenge of making new pieces with a certain color or theme in mind from requests from new or old customers.

I recently started a joint crafting venture with Sharon Carpenter of Kaleidoscope-Kreations, the designer of beautiful Dichroic glass pendants. I have discovered the wonderful world of Kumihimo, a Japanese braiding technique, and have used it to make necklaces with beautiful satin cord, and paired some of them with certain pendants made by Sharon.

Over the last seven years, jewelry making has become my passion and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you!