Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Oklahoma City National Memorial

This past week we traveled to San Antonio for my husband’s business conference. I tagged along and toured the city. I’ve got lots of photos to show you, but that will have to wait. On the way home we stopped at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

On the morning of April 19, 1995, at 9:02 a.m. the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was destroyed by explosives, killing 168 people. The memorial begins at the Gates of Time. The East Gate marks 9:01 a.m., representing the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate marks 9:03 a.m., the moment lives were changed forever.

Inside the gates is a beautiful reflecting pool which occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. The site where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building once stood is now replaced with 168 chairs representing the lives taken that day. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs are for the children who also lost their lives.

On the east end of the memorial stands the only remaining walls from the building. The names of more than 600 survivors are inscribed on salvaged granite from the Murrah Building lobby.

Across the street is a memorial where a church rectory once stood but had to be taken down because of the blast. In it is a statue of Jesus with his back to the violence. The statue stands amid pillars representing the 19 children and 3 unborn children whose lives were taken that day.

One can’t help but to be moved by the memorial. If you are ever close to Oklahoma City I hope you will find the time to visit the memorial and the museum.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow Days

The only snow we’ve seen here is a dusting a while back. Not that I’m wishing for snow (especially since the youngest daughter is now driving to school and back). And I certainly don’t miss the extra rugs, wet shoes/boots, socks, coats, and mittens by the back door. But it just doesn’t seem like winter here with the warm weather we’ve been having. Just one good snow and I would be happy.

For those of you feeling the same way, here’s a bit of snow eye candy for you.

From the Annual Budweiser Select International Snow Sculpture Chamionships at Breckenridge, Colorado.Visit the link to see more winners, and the photo gallery where you'll see how the sulptures progress.

Team Mexico: ‘Alebrije’ 2011

Team Canada, Ontario: ‘Memories From My Youth’ 2010

Team Canada Yukon: ‘Spirits of the Aurora’ 2011

Team USA Breckenridge ‘Underwater’ 2011

Team Canada, Yukon: ‘Swan Song’ 2008

Team Mexico: ‘The Altar of Quetzalcoatl’ 2010

Team USA,Vermont: ‘Teeter-Toddler’ 2008

The following photos were found at

Life Size Dinosaurs--unknown artist

R Todd King - wild horses

Japanese Sapporo Snow Festival

P.S. Don't EVEN ask why the post date shows the 23rd! Long story!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bead Soup Party

Bead Soup Blog Party

I’m so happy to have won the lottery for a spot in Lori Anderson’s Fifth Bead Soup Party! This will be my first time participating in this awesome event. My partner is Carol Dillman of Dillman’s Dallies. We’ve already exchanged emails and found that we are alike in so many ways. We share a few of the same hobbies, and both shy away from using seed beads.

I’m getting ready to send out my beads to Carol today, and I hope she likes what I’ve picked out. Here’s a sneak peek.



The blog hop is March 3rd. Mark your calendars so you can visit all the blogs and see what everyone makes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Secret Snowflake Challenge Reveal

Sunday is the reveal day for Michelle Mach’s Secret Snowflake Challenge. I'm doing my post early since I won't be home. Michelle put together a beautiful kit of Czech glass beads, button pearls, pewter daisy spacers, a silver plated ring, and porcelain pendants and charms from Chinook Jewelry. She also included a lovely embossed snowflake envelope as a gift to us.

I started late on this project, and ended up photographing my pieces in the last few moments of daylight the evening before the reveal date. I’m not thrilled with the pictures, but you’ll be able to get a good idea of each piece.

The first is a pair of earrings using the porcelain snowflake charms and Czech beads, hung on sterling ear wires.

'Let It Snow'

The second piece is a bracelet made with dangles using most of the glass beads in the kit plus a few Swarovski crystals and seed beads of my own. The chain is hammered silver links.

'Cold As Ice'

The necklace was a struggle for me. I wanted to wrap a short wire with dark blue sari silk then with beads, but it didn’t turn out like the vision in my head. So I used a luxury bead blend left over from one of Andrew Thornton’s recent challenges, along with Vintaj chain, a silver-studded blue lampwork bead, and the porcelain focal from Chinook Jewelry.

'In The Bleak Midwinter'

Each time I sat down to work on this challenge, the song ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ kept playing in my head. The song is one of my favorite Christian winter songs. It’s a hauntingly lovely tune, and I love it when we get to sing it in church.

I’ve posted the lyrics,as well as a video of the song. Be sure to visit the other participants to see what they made with the same kit. The list is below the video.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

Alice (Alice Dreaming) That's me!
Chris (
Christa (Adventures of One Beady Woman)
Crystal (Here Bead Dragons)
Cynthia (Cynth's Blog)

Dawn (Morning Glory Beading)
Donetta (Simply Gorgeous)
Erin A. See Michelle's Blog
Jennifer (JenniferJW)
Jennifer (Jewelry, Art and Life)

Kari W. See Michelle's Blog
Kate (We Can Make That at Home)
Kay (Palm Coast Art)
Linda (Lindy's Designs)
Lisa C. (A Bead a Day)

Lisa (Inspired Adornments)
Mary (MLH Designs)
Michelle (Beads & Books)
Michelle B.

Norma (Moonlit Fantasies)
Pam (The Crazier Sister)
Rebecca J.
Renetha (Lamplight Crafts)
Rosemarie (Gem Rose Designs)

Shannon (Falling into the Sky)
Susan (Bead Inspired)
Therese (Therese's Treasures)
Therese (Domestic Goddess Enterprises

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Bit of Randomness

From Design Seeds

This lovely photo has nothing to do with anything, except that I thought it was beautiful and that you'll most likely need a mental vacation after reading all the way to the bottom. And just a warning, this is a long post so grab your favorite beverage and snack and settle in (unless you don't want to, which is fine--no pressure).

On household appliances: Aren’t they supposed to make less work for us?

A while back our washing machine gave out, so we purchased an L.G. high efficiency front loading set which I really like. But it wasn’t long until I noticed a foul odor in the washer and on the clothes. I took a look online and there were many ways to combat this, most of which require a bit of work. The odor is caused by mold getting under the rubber door seal (which is caused by the low water levels and cool water temperatures) . Some suggest regular wiping of the drum, rubber seal, and glass door with bleach. Others recommend running one or two hot water/extra water loads a week in order to clean out the seal. Other suggestions were to buy a special cleaner just for this purpose, or to buy some sort of air filter thingy to keep the air flowing. Seems like a lot of cleaning for an appliance that is supposed to do the cleaning for you. Now I just leave the door open after each load and it seems to work fairly well.

We’ve always had Hoover vacuums. When our trusty vacuum bit the dust (no pun intended) we purchased a Hoover bagless wind tunnel. I have no complaint about the quality of the suction, but it’s the high maintenance that frustrates me. Each time I vacuum, one or both of the filters get clogged after just doing a couple rooms. So I have to take the filters out and clean them. One is a foam filter which must be cleaned with water, which means it has to dry before you can use it again. The other filter is a HEPA filter which must be vacuumed clean. Also, the filter in the canister itself gets clogged with very fine dust, and has to be completely torn apart to be cleaned. Honestly, why do we need filters to filter dirt that is just going into a canister in the first place? And why do we need a HEPA filter for dirt that is already in our home?

On Blog Stuff

Have you noticed that when you click on a blog photo it comes up in a ‘Lightbox’ format? I don’t particularly like it and found a way to get around this. If you’d like to disable Lightbox on your blog, log in to Blogger and select “No” next to Lightbox in the Settings Posts and Comments section (new interface) or the Settings Formatting section (old interface).

Also, I’ve become addicted to the blog Design Seeds after participating in Erin’s recent color challenge. Check out her blog for some amazing inspiration. And she’s made a book too! I apologize in advance if you get hooked….and you will.

On Making Goals

I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions, or choose a word for the year (don’t even remember what word I chose last year), but I did set some goals for myself. You know the ones; eat healthier, be more active, be kinder, get organized, yada yada yada. And I put myself on a diet—a bead diet. I will do my best to use up my huge stash of beads before buying more. I know it will be difficult because so many of you keep tempting me with pretty photos of your own beads. Already I’ve had to restrain myself from hitting the ‘add to cart’ button, and it’s only January 10th!

Here’s my own bit of eye candy for you; sweet floral polymer beads I received in the mail today from Too Aquarius. Aren’t they darling? And I was the lucky winner of the recent ABS Studio Saturday giveaway and recieved these beautiful ceramic pendants from Melanie at Earthenwood Studios. Also I won these gorgeous bracelets from Shanti at Sunshine Bliss Studio! Lucky me!

So if you've stuck with me this far, give yourself a pat on the back. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Love The Skin You're In

So Tuesday was a long frustrating day at work; payroll, end of the month, end of the year, budget planning, and more. When the day finally ended it was just me at home as everyone else had places to be. So I poured myself a bowl of Frosted Flakes, flopped down in the recliner and watched three episodes of What Not To Wear. Yep, that’s three solid hours of watching TV, but I deserved it (and those Reeces Peanut Butter Cups too).

I love the show but haven’t watched this for a long time. With each episode, I noticed a common thread; all of the women dressed the way they did because of something painful in their past.

One woman was cheated on so much that she thought the only way to find love was by wearing revealing clothes. Another woman, who had just turned 51 and had already been divorced twice, wore clothes from the junior section because she wanted to look young in order to meet someone new. A young emerging illustrator wore men’s clothes because she couldn’t fit in at her school of her youth, where fashion was highly valued.

To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections.”
~Sandra Bierig

These women used clothes to either hide behind or to make someone else happy. While it was sad to watch, I’m betting that all of us have done that at one time or other. Women are under so much pressure to please everyone else. And thanks to magazines, TV ads, and movie stars, women are under even more pressure to look like a million bucks all the time.

While clothes don’t (and shouldn’t) make the person, we all know that having the right outfit and makeup can do wonders at boosting self-confidence. If you’ve ever watched the show, you know that Stacy, Clinton and the team work their magical makeovers, and in the process, giving the participant a boost of confidence.

Sure, we’ve all looked in the mirror at some time and didn’t like what we saw. But the real lesson here is to love yourself. Love the skin you’re in. The Good Lord made you just the way you are, and you’re the only you on this earth. Your job is to dress to please yourself, and not anyone else. OK? Pinky Swear?

You are you and that is true, there's no one in the world who's you-er than you.”
~Dr. Seuss