Thursday, December 31, 2009


This week, at my store, I put together the huge theme table that is supposed to be giving people exactly what they're looking for this time of year. Over Christmas, it was half humor and half FOOD books. And it was a hit. Now? ALL DIET BOOKS.

I know that with the new year coming, more and more people decide that now is the time to start a new diet. And I have to admit that I am falling prey to the "Man, I need to lose weight" train of thought. I could stand to lose a few pounds. Maybe more than a few pounds. It would not only help my health but probably my wallet as "big girl" clothes are WAY more expensive than "tiny girl" clothes. Which, personally, I think sucks but eh.

I've always been fuller than most girls. I've never been "thin." But I haven't always thought of myself as "fat." And it doesn't help that my parents call me fat, too (cultural thing, I'm told... to call people fat and call them out on their flaws like if they forgot to tweeze or don't have the money or time to wax their upper lip). Or that I live in the land of the beautiful: OC, CA.

Overall, I'm happy with my life. I have a wonderful boyfriend. I get to create things in my free time. I have loving siblings and a nephew who is just a bag of giggles. And I have a job...

But... I do compare myself too often to other girls and wish I weren't so big. Maybe when Monday rolls around (they say not to start a diet/exercise routine at the end of a week- new years is on Friday), maybe I'll try to think more positively about myself and about life. Oh, I'll try to be a bit healthier as well and maybe start a work-out routine, but I think more importantly, I should change the way I think... and my attitude about things.

Hmm... I have tiny hands. Take that, tiny girls.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quick Rings

At 630am, I threw started a load of laundry and started putting away one I'd done... Monday? I think it was Monday. Hey, I'm 22 and just putting them away is a miracle in itself.

ANYHOO, work is at 1pm-10pm today and before going back to bed for a nap, I thought I'd make some rings I saw in a book I was flipping through at work. I can't remember the name of it now, but when I find it again, I will post it.

The other day, I went to Michaels and saw these dyed lavender (they call it lavender...) shell disks in the sale bin. I picked them up and thought they'd be fun to use for the rings I saw and finally had time to make today!

Using beading wire, the seed beads I love, and crimping beads, I made three rings that maybe took an hour because I'm still fresh when it comes to crimping... that and getting the 11ยบ seeds onto the wire took a while.

I love the fresh look of the icy blue. I'm not sure how the shell works with the set but it does make me smile and I think that's the important thing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Red and Silver

After work yesterday (Sunday), I decided that instead of a nap, I would try to do something with the beads my boyfriend bought me for Christmas. Such pretty reds. But it really wasn't enough to make a full set but I had some dark red beads I bought a while back when I planned on making my own prayer beads when I was reading up on Buddhism. The dark red looks black in low light but has a deep and rich color in good lighting.

I'm not sure what the beads are exactly. I know I purchased them from the Tall Mouse and they were marked down (see the blue on the tag?). The tag says "Garnet Red Bds." But does that mean they're garnet stones??? Or just red garnet colored glass beads. The beads themselves are pretty heavy for their size. I want to say they're stones but I just don't know! On the inset picture, you can see they're a bit cracked... which also makes me believe they're just glass... regardless, they're very pretty.

Here's the bracelet and earrings I made from the beads. On the earrings are two coral beads that came with the one's Rod bought for me. And the garnet beads that I had lying around. I also have silver filigree spacer beads and I know, I know that red looks fantastic with gold, but I don't think gold is my color... hence the silver. There were also five smaller coral beads and one is the focal on the bracelet I made. More filigree and garnet beads. The bead caps are also mine. The small red glass beads are from the strand from my Christmas present. They have a light gold finish on them that is BARELY noticeable but I see it... I think it adds some interest to the bracelet.

The necklace I made for myself is pretty, I think. But I don't think I'm very good at designing necklaces. I'm not sure what else to say about the piece except... the next time I get paid, I want to look at better clasps because the box clasp I've been using for the bracelets I've made isn't very comfortable on my neck. It might be the filigree design catching on the little hairs on my neck (yes, I'm a mammal and have hairs on my body :P).

SIDE NOTE: I want to make more jewelry for others but I'm still new and am still testing things out. Vanessa's bracelet broke again. I'm going to try and just buy a thicker gauge wire and make the links myself instead of using sterling eye pins. I don't want to change the design too much but I might have to just put the beads on beading wire which I've had more success with. But I think it looks sooo pretty here!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Sale!

I almost NEVER get to go to post holiday sales. But my bead store, the Bead Station in Lake Forest, was having an EPIC "50% off of EVERYTHING in the store" sale for the day after Christmas. It started at 6am and ended at 6pm, but I worked today at 7am to 4pm! I knew most of the things I wanted would be gone but I went anyway.

I really wanted these pretty dragonfly pendants I saw on my last trip to the bead store on Dec 23 to pick up an anvil (yes, an ANVIL... random, but I knew he'd like it) for my secret Santa... and the bowl of these pretty things was OVERFLOWING when I was there and thought for sure they'd still be there. Well, as soon as I got of work and sped on over to the Bead Station, there were only TWO left!!! I snatched those up before the lady looking at the shells could take them!

I bought some seed beads (I love working seed beads into my designs for little pops of complimentary colors or as spacers) and some little treasures. And yes, I picked up an anvil for myself. I'm going to try my hand at making my own ear wires soon. I was going to pick up a ring mandrel but I think I want one that shows the size of the ring on it which I believe they were out of.

I spent $35 today. The money was Christmas money my cousins gave me. I guess I'm still young enough to get Christmas money... yay for that! Thank you Ate Joy and Ate Carol! Soooooo happy... :)

Post Christmas Update

What a crazy WEEK!!! I haven't felt a tired like this in my whole life... I'm so glad the "holiday season" has ended (at least, that's what they're saying at work). Ok. Time for the update...

I made presents! Not everyone got presents... I made some bracelets and earrings for friends and family. I also taught myself how to crimp and use a wire guard! Ok, so maybe making bracelets was an excuse to test this out... but hey, look how pretty all the things I made came out! I didn't take pictures of everything. I had to give some presents early because I knew some people wouldn't be around on Christmas eve... I'll have to remake the earrings I didn't get to take pictures of :P

And on Christmas, I got a wonderful jewelry box from my boyfriend! And inside were these BEAUTIFUL red beads! My favorite color is red (along with purple...) and there were some glass beads and pretty red coral beads. He asked me what I wanted a while back and when I said beads, he asked, "Will you make something for yourself?" I want him to know that yes, I will make something for myself :)

I was sick most of the day yesterday. I had a fever and just wanted to lie around and do nothing. But I had a wonderful day with my fun and loving family and spent the evening with my wonderful boyfriend. What a happy Christmas it turned out to be.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I find myself doing more reading and dreaming about beading and making jewelry than actually doing it. Same with painting and sketching. How can I make more time for myself?

Five hours from now, I have to get up and get to work. My shift today is 2pm to 11pm; same as yesterday. And working retail this time of year pretty much sucks all the energy out of me. Not to mention being a supervisor to an understaffed store with customers who, at this time of year, are cranky and just want to get the things on their list and go home... trust me, I understand. But, at the end of the day, my energy is all gone and all I want to do is see the smiling face of my loving boyfriend and go to bed... which after a snack, reading, and maybe sketching for a little while (and some much needed venting about work), happens at around 1 or 2am.
And just a side note, it really helps to have a supportive boyfriend who encourages me and is patient when I'm as cranky as a hungry silver back gorilla.

I have a day off tomorrow. But we've been planning on going to Sea World for a while now and finally have a day off together so that's taken up. Next Tuesday is my next day off but I'm celebrating Christmas with my parents that day so it will be full of driving and (hopefully) merriment. And then my day off after that is... you guessed it, Christmas. A week!? A week without my beads??? Without visiting my local bead store? Without walking down the few beading aisles of Michaels and Jo-Ann's for HOURS wondering what I could possibly make with that strand of clearance beads??

I have to make time, right? I mean, there are still a few people on my list who need presents... who should be getting earrings and bracelets and maybe a necklace or two. I need to make the time. I need to find the energy. Because if all I do for the next week is Christmas shop, work, and sleep, I'm going to find myself going crazy the day after Christmas.

Time to go back to sleep before work. My tummy woke me up, demanding food.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Bracelet for Vanessa

A few weeks ago, I made a bracelet for my friend, Vanessa. It was kind of a "Hey, cheer up. Here's something shiny," gift. I haven't known her for too long but she is probably one of the nicest people I've met and luckily for me, is turning out to be a really awesome friend. Also, she turned me on to barbacoa burritos from Chipotle (with guacamole, thank you very much). That in itself means we'll be friends forever.

Vanessa's favorite colors are red and black (what a great choice; those were my fave colors in high school) and I chose to make a bracelet with red Swarovski crystals and black glass beads. I used a silver plated wire for the links for her bracelet. Well, that silver plated wire tarnished quicker than you could say "monkey pants."

I also didn't think of how much Vanessa uses her hands and the original dangle I made for the end of the clasp's chain broke. Originally, it was three beads on a single head pin that was looped onto the end of the chain. Well, that head pin broke and the crystals were lost to the carpets at Borders... so I went ahead and replaced them and made three separate links hoping that the "wiggle room" of the links will make it last longer.

I ended up re-doing the bracelet with sterling silver wire. Hopefully the wire wont tarnish like the plated wire. I'm told that all metal tarnishes over time. I can't always afford sterling silver but I made this for my friend and I want it to last. Besides, the silver was on sale that week... it was like a sign. :P

Also, you can see I used clear silver lined seed beads on each link. That was to help add length and a little more shine and texture to the bracelet.

Now, because I'm a curious lass, I took the tarnished wire from the old links and wanted to see if I could just clean them up. I have a polishing cloth that says it gets rid of tarnish... and in the before and after pictures (before being on the left and after being on the right) you definitely can see a difference. I didn't get rid of all the tarnish... it was, after all, 3AM when I decided I needed to work on the bracelet RIGHT NOW. But, there was a difference. However, the silver has turned yellow. I'm assuming the metal under the silver plating is brass. Actually, I'm not even sure that the packaging said "silver plated." Maybe it just said "silver color." I should read the package closer.

I haven't a problem with tarnishing with the earrings I've made for myself (using the same metal as the original bracelet). Maybe its because it hangs off of the ear and doesn't touch skin. Hmm...

UPDATE & CORRECTION: Jenny's Earrings

Here are some better pictures of the earrings I made for my cousin's daughter, Jenny.

I posted in my previous blog that "miracle beads" were made from glass. I was wrong. Quoted from "Miracle beads, also known as Magic Beads, are super-intriguing because they seem to glow in natural light. They also have the optical illusion of having a bead within a bead. Hence the name for these beads.

These magic beads are a form of plastic beads. They are normally very bright and made from some form of fiberglass material. The bead is sprayed repeatedly with a reflective material and finished with an outer clear coating. It is these layers that create the tantalizing illusion of a bead within a bead. It is also what makes the beads seem to glow in natural light." In the picture I posted, you can definitely see the "glow" in the flash picture on the right.

I also took better pictures of the teal earrings I made. I'm noticing that I enjoy hanging beads on jump rings. I've done this a few times before on other earrings I've made for myself and friends. I'm not sure I like that I'm repeating stuff a lot. But someone said that maybe it could be like "my thing." *shrug* meh. I think I want a different "my thing."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jenny's Earrings

I think its appropriate that the first post for this blog be of earrings I was asked to make. Well... maybe not really asked but told "I would like some earrings... my favorite color is teal."

I started beading maybe a month and a half ago. So when my cousin's daughter said she'd like some earrings, I just about burst with excitement and ran out and bought "teal" beads the first chance I got. Well... when I got home, I thought, "Hm. What exactly is teal? Are these really teal?"

Sitting there, looking at these beads... I couldn't really tell. The big ones were probably teal... the little ones, I bought really because they were kinda blue but I was drawn to what they were called ("Miracle Bead"). So I was faced with the horrifying thought that maybe Jenny won't like what I made her! How crushing would it be if the first earrings I was asked to make weren't what they wanted.

Wikipedia to the rescue. After Wiki-ing "teal," this is what popped up, "Teal is a medium blue-green color, although it is more blue than green. It is named after the common teal, a member of the duck family, whose eyes are surrounded by the color." There's the teal ducky... huh. Is that teal? *I* personally think that's green.

Btw. I'm very glad that Wikipedia decided that they should add a swatch of what people think the color looks like. That color is less green than the teal-ducky color. And more blue.

The miracle beads are nothing close to teal, but the big beads match pretty good... sooo YAY!

Here are the completed earrings. I need to get my SLR out and take better pictures, but I think this is ok for now. The earrings on the bottle are the miracle beads. As you can see, the light bounces off of whatever material that is inside and basically glows. Very pretty.

The earrings hanging off the sheet are also made of glass (miracle beads are glass, I believe... did I mention that already?). They're a bit more bold and not as delicate as the little earrings, BUT, they're TEAL! Huzzah.

... PSST... Jenny... if you're reading this... you owe me a bracelet :P

OH yeah. Both pairs are on sterling silver earring wires. I'm not sure if Jenny is allergic to metal. Thought it best to play it safe.