Monday, November 30, 2009

Inspired By... Give Away!

true of heart
(text reads: "O' NEVER say that I was false of heart,")

Who is up for a challenge? And who would LOVE to win this original mixed media painting? YOU?

Erin Prais-Hintz, of Tesori Trovati Jewelry, has started a challenge series on her blog, Treasures Found. The first challenge is to find inspiration at your local hardware store. How fun is that?!? Erin asked if I might be willing to donate one of my mixed media pieces as a prize for the challenge. I was oh-so-happy to oblige. So, I created this 5x5 piece titled "True of Heart" as an incentive for you to get out to your local hardware store and get inspired to create something!

I can't wait to see what y'all come up with.

Random Acts Of Kindness Update

Hey all! I will have a proper post later today, but at the moment I am working on my "to-do" list. Remember way back when I had sign ups for Random Acts Of Kindness? Well, I have a bunch of lovely packages here all ready to mail out to my RAK recipients Christine, Ann, Snickers, and Becky, but alas, I have no addresses.

PLEASE email me your addresses to kabs_concepts(at)yahoo(dot)com ASAP so I can get you your gifts!!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let The Holidays Begin...

In case you hadn't noticed, I am busy busy over here prepping for a holiday at my house. I just wanted to take a second to pop in and say THANK YOU!! I am so thankful for each and everyone of you that comes to visit me each day. I love having friends to share my life with and I wouldn't trade you all for the world. You make everything I do possible with your love and support.

So... thank you.

Now go eat some turkey... I'll see y'all on Monday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Girly Get Together

lorelei and kerry
Do you recognize this lovely lady? It's LORELEI EURTO!! Yesterday, I made the 2 hour 30 min trek across the state to visit with my beady pal. You might remember that we got to visit back in the spring when Lorelei came to the Rochester area to buy a wicked cool printers cabinet for beads that I found at a local antique shop. Now it was my turn to go out her way. I was so excited to get to visit. So so excited. I don't a lot of chances to hang out with bead friends as so many of you are out of state. I am so thankful to have gotten the chance to go.

But enough gushing... on to what we got to do. First, I got to check out her super cute house. I loved it! Even better then in the photos she has shared on her blog and OH her beading room... makes a lampworking girl want to start collecting all sorts of beads again. I got to peek at some behind the scene things she has been working on and we played with a few beads. Her work is just so wearable and relaxed. It's wonderful.

We grabbed some lunch at her and her husband's favorite Mexican restaurant and then went antiquing! Can anyone think of a funner day? Hello... hitting an antique mall you have never been to before is that BEST thing to do. THE BEST. We have a similar style one here with lots of little stalls from different dealers. This one was inside what looked to be an old barn. I got lots of photos and goodies too.

hello everyone
toilet pins tin
bottles of buttons
coffee table
antique mall nook
leaded glass window
antique mall from second floor

I seriously, seriously, considered buying that red trunk as a coffee table for my living room. But ended up with a couple of neat tin boxes, a jar of buttons, and a pair of painted sewing table drawers (that I will use to hold art supplies). I could wander in a place like that for HOURS and bring about half the stuff home. LOL... almost everything... I'll leave the giant straw rooster there and the weird glassware. LOL. Lorelei found a bunch of goodies too which I am sure she will be sharing on her blog. Oh and does anyone know what toilet pins are? LOL.

button bounty

After the antique mall we had just a bit more time before I had to head back home. We dumped out our button jars and made lots of trades. Can you believe Lorelei likes green better then blue? She is crazy... what is she thinking?

We are planning to try to get together more often. At the very least, a couple times a year. I know if we lived closer it would be all the time!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Back To Business

I decided it was time to return back to reality a bit today. I can't sit and knit forever. There is some business round here that needs handling. I thought I would let you know that I posted three of my original mixed media art pieces available for sale on my website.

Here are the three that I have:

You Alone Are You
you are you

Gracious & Kind
gracious and kind 1

Ink Well
ink well 1

I am glad I posted that little survey last week. I appreciated the feedback. And I did have it on my list of goals this year to create a calendar, I just never got to it. I will move it up on my priority list for next year and, for the time being, I am going to pass on offering prints. So, these originals will be the only way to get my mixed media work for a while. If you like one, grab it. Oh, and so you know, there is no additional charge for shipping apart from the usual $3.50. I will cover the balance.

I am going to attempt to post some jewelry this afternoon, but I have a lot of running around to do first, plus the kidos have a half day. So, don't hold me to it, but I am going to try.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pure Comfort

love the rain
feel the yarn
hear the crackling
smell the chili
Okay... this embracing of a slower pace maybe easier than I thought. I can hear the rain on the windows and the crackling of the fire while I can feel the warmth of the yarn in my hands and smell the goodness in the kitchen. It feels so so amazing.

Have I died and gone to heaven?

I swear I will come back to reality next week... I mean it... pinky promise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Changing Pace

sorrows end close up
Things have been rather eventful 'round these parts recently, haven't they? We had the big countdown to that recent art show, we had the release of Totally Twisted for pre-order, we had the big flooring project, I am working on new designs as a contributor on another new book from Interweave, and the announcement about my first big foray into teaching on a national scale. It is a wild and full time.

In these past 31 years, I have gotten to know myself pretty well, and I am the kind of person that thrives on being busy. I like having big things to do and work on, though in some of the moments, I pull back and avoid, but whatever. LOL. One of the things I am trying to learn and change about myself is being okay with quiet too and accepting that I need down time now and then.

It is okay if I don't want to wash the bathroom floor and knit instead.
It is okay if I don't make my bed and listen to a pod cast instead.
It is okay if I turn the computer off and watch a movie with the family instead.
It is okay if the dishes don't get done this morning... or if the gardens aren't weeded... or if the mail is still in the mailbox... or if homework isn't finished... and I take care of *me* instead.

In recent weeks, while working with our in home therapist, I was asked what I would do if I just let the mornings go? Told the kids it is time to get up and then... just let go. Let the kids get up, they already know what is expected of them, trust that they can do it without a million prompts and reminders. What could I do with my morning? What would I want to do? You know what? Mind was completely blank. She also asked me to create a list of things I could be doing to better "connect" and get outta my house once in a while. What could I be doing that would make me feel better? I have horrible feelings of guilt sometimes that I don't do *enough* and that I should be thinking of how I could do more. But this question was trying to get to the opposite of that. What could I do, just for me, that would help me feel better? I had a few ideas, but really... for the most part, I was blank. For someone who thinks she knows herself, I sure do feel like there is so much of me that I don't understand sometimes.

I *really* want to make a conscious effort to explore a quieter side of me. That is what I am feeling right now. In this moment, while writing this post. While I am completely babbling and am totally pointless, lol. I want to be better about letting go, though I truly doubt I could ever let go enough to trust the kids would be standing at the bus stop on time. But hey, if I don't get to listing things on my website for a while, that is okay. I want to find a way to give back more, I have so much that makes me so very grateful, I want to pass it on (one idea I have is going to the NICU and rocking babies). I am just feeling so un-centered and out of balance. It is time to change the pace of things, and like the seasons (how corny am I sounding?), I need to slow down a bit.


Okay, babbling over. Anyone else wishing for a slower pace and finding a way to embrace it?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Attention Class!!

It's here, did you see?!? Interweave Press has posted the class catalog for Bead Fest WIRE 2010 in King Of Prussia PA April 9-11. And yours truly is going to be teaching!!

This is such an exciting new direction to be taking. I to teach, and I am going to be getting to teach projects straight out of the pages of Totally Twisted! I thought you might like to hear a little more about the projects that are going to be offered.

Delightful Class
First up on Saturday April 10 from 9-4 (with an hour break for lunch) we'll be making Delightful: Cost $225. This is a full day class and I think rightly so. I will be teaching you how to make FIVE different handmade wireworked chains. Each student kit will have a one-of-a-kind set of beads to make the final necklace, plus some extra beads for practicing with. We'll play with colored copper wires and mix them up with sterling silver too. I'll show you tricks for keeping your coated wire from getting scared by your tools. OH, and coiling too!! This class is definitely the best bang for the buck.

Timeless Class
Saturday evening from 5-8pm we are going to make a truly Timeless design: Cost $165. I am really excited about this class too. I have some fun up my sleeves for this one! Not only will be making this bracelet, but first, to practice the techniques, we are going to make it in copper and brass with stamped and textured washers as the focal. How cool is that?!? And again, each student will get a one-of-a-kind bead for their faux-watch bangle.

Framed Class
On Sunday April 11th from 9am-12pm we will create a Framed bracelet: Cost $175. This is a fantastic technique that every wireworker/jewelry maker should have in their bag of tricks. I developed this "alternative" technique for framing beads a few years back and YES just how to do it is going to be in Totally Twisted!! I will be making each student a set of my uber cool plaid style beads in colors that really compliment oxidized sterling silver. Yep, we'll be oxidizing and stinking up out convention center room!!

Bang Gals Class
I am finishing up the weekend teaching one of my favorite projects, ever, on Sunday afternoon from 1-4pm making Bang Gals!: Cost $175. Oh yeah. I love these bangles. I love the big coiled swirl of wire and I love all the color poppin' out of it. I just screams "Kerry Made Me" doesn't it? Yep, this one is another one from Totally Twisted and yep, I will be making each student all the beads they need to create the project. We'll be chit chatting the afternoon away in this class taking about color in design and using whatcha got to create cool jewelry without special tools. (ex: I used a pint glass I "borrowed" from a pub in London to get that bangle nice and round! HA!)

What a whirl wind of a weekend it will be. I am so looking forward to getting to meet up with some of my online girly friends. I'll be rooming with the fabulous Cassie Donlen. And I will be getting a little assistance one night from the lovely Cindy Wimmer. Plus, Lori Anderson says she'll be making the trip to PA too. Please send me an email if you are headed to the show. I would love to say HI!!

Now, go download the pdf of the class catalog at Interweave's Bead Fest website. Get your highlighter in hand and circle all the classes you want to take. Then be sure to log on this Thursday when registration opens up and grab your class seat!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home Improvement Junkies

I swear that, if I ever give up jewelry making, I am going to become a handygirl. Goodness I love home improvement projects!! I could watch This Old House on PBS for hours on end and never get board. I am completely in tv-love with Norm, Rich, and Tom, seriously.

So you guessed it... we installed new hardwood floors in our big living room this weekend (and I finished knitting a pair of legwarmers for my sister that I started last Christmas, but whatever). In case you haven't noticed, we are "project people". We always have something we are working on to make our home more homie to us. There was the big kitchen remodel last year, the gardens this spring, the bathroom gutting this summer, and now the living room floors. And those are just the house projects, we have side projects too, ex: the medicine cabinet stripping project I am working on.

Doing something special to the floors in this room has been on our list since we first walked through the house in March of 2008. For those of you who have house hunted, you'll know what I mean. It is the "we could" list. You walk through a house for the first time and say "we could do this..." or "we could do that...". I didn't really think this was one that we would actually follow through on, but I am so glad we did.

Here is how the project went down... Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were "prep days". Ron came home early from work on Monday and we busted out the tile near the back door and then on Tuesday and Wednesday I pulled out the carpet and padding and the rest of the tile.


On Thursday evening, we set out some tar paper and started with the hard part... getting the pieces just right to go around the back door. My hubby is might handy with a saw... watch out!


Friday was the big day. Ron took off work and we tried to get the floor layed before the kids got home from school. I think this was a stroke of genius on my part. Why try to lay floor on the weekend while the kids are home and in our hair? Oh, and more about the flooring itself. It is a 3/4in pre-finished solid oak hardwood from Lowes. We bought 20 boxes of the flooring and ended up using about 18 1/2 of those. The room is 25ft x 17ft and we accounted for about 10% waste. It worked.

Here was how the day went...


We had to do a lot of furniture moving. We keep pushing stuff out of the way until we couldn't push it any further and then moved it to the finished side of the room. We were exhausted by 5pm on Friday and only about 75% done. So, we threw the kids in the car, went and got a cheesburger, refreshed our energy, and worked a little longer. We went to bed with the room about 80% done. And ended up having to pay to keep the stapler we rented for an extra day.

Saturday morning I woke up with a head cold. Which, considering the sickness that ran threw this house a few weeks ago, I figured was coming. At least it didn't hit me on Friday! We worked on the floor lazily through out the day on Saturday and was bale to finish it up by lunch time. Then came the fun part, trying to arrange furniture. I am still not happy with the layout yet, so I don't have any really good shots of the room, but once the baseboards are back up, I will be sure to share something.


Now onto Sunday, I hope you aren't too bored yet. I told you I love this stuff... feel free to click onto a different blog if you are starting to dooze off. Sunday, sunday, sunday... we went to Lowes. We needed to figure out what to do about the two stairs coming into the room from the hallway and the kitchen. They didn't have what we needed so we had to get creative with moulding. And that is what we will be working on later today (Monday). What we did finish up was covering up some badly damaged flooring in the old side of the house. Back when we did the bathroom, I went all psycho and ripped out carpeting in the hallway. Only to discover a place where we think there used to be a doorway and a "repair" job done with spackle. Not good. Rather than making the effort to get all that out, we decided to cover it up, and it looks fantastic now.


Okay... a side project update. I think I mentioned that we were doing something with out woodburning stove. Didn't I? Our old stove was very very pretty, but not big enough for the house. Our home is about 2400sq ft and the stove was only rated to heat about 1200sq ft. We found a new-to-us replacement stove on Craigs List that is much larger and is rated to heat closer to 2000sq ft. It is still a Vermont Castings stove, like the old one, and it is enameled, like the old one... and it has really cool dragons. We love it. The old hearth was n.a.s.t.y. It was about 8in off the ground and had 1/4in tile glued to it. Anytime you dropped a log, by accident, the tile broke into a million pieces. So after our first winter, there were at least a dozen tiles missing. We pulled that all out when we replaced the stove and dropped the hearth down to floor level. We bought some beautiful pieces of blue field stone that is 2inches thick and so much more durible. We. LOVE. It.


Okay, so the nitty gritty... the cost. Total for the flooring, the staple rental, the moulding... everything... we paid about $1500. Not too bad if you ask us, considering that is about how much we would have had to pay for carpet (if not more) and that only lasts a few years, this should last about 100 years.

Now I get to go thrifting for cool area rugs and won't have to move furniture again to put the Christmas tree up in a few weeks, HA! What fun!! Now, I need to go finish freshing up the paint on those baseboards so they can be put back on this afternoon, and we need to install those stair treads.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of the project! LOTS more detailed photos with more descriptions on FLICKR!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh Boy!

Wait till you see what we've been doing...

floor project preview

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Its Debatable

I've been having an internal debate these last few weeks. Well, months really. And I have decided to place the out come of the debate in your hands. Here is the question...

If I print it will you buy it?

Since starting to work at my mixed media pieces, I have wondered if I should sell prints along with the originals. The very very insecure, critical, artist inside me is quite convinced that it would be a total waste to purchase a high grade art quality printer, scanner, and archival papers to sell prints. Then, there is the more business savvy, confident, optimistic, dreamer in me that thinks my pieces are unique and that it would totally be worth the investment.

I am sick of arguing with my selves. Please, take a moment to click yes or no on the poll to the right! It is totally anonymous so feel free to really click what you feel.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Daunting Knitting

sister's sylvi 1

I have a HUGE list of things I want to knit as gifts for the holidays this year. I don't know that my fingers and wrists will be able to handle it without needing surgery by the end, lol. But I am excited about it. Really, really. There are baby sweaters, kid sweaters, mittens, and oh my stars... my most daunting project to date, a coat. I highly doubt I will get it all done, but if I can finish half of my to-do list, I will be over the moon.

I love my sister. I love her a lot. She is probably the best friend I have, and there isn't much I wouldn't do for her. How do I show her how much I love her? I make her things. She is always the first person I think of when I see a new knitting project. I wonder, "would Bonnie like that?" Yes, she is a blog reader too, and probably won't like me talking about her like this, but oh well sister, deal with it. It's my blog and I'll type if I want to.

Sister's gift this year is a coat. She knows this. I first showed her "Sylvi" in the spring. I knew the minute I saw it I would make it for her. I found some great yarn and started it the other day.

OH MY STARS, what an even bigger undertaking then I thought!! Y'all that are familiar with knitting know about "charts", right? (see my laptop screen in the image below) Each block represents a stitch and you read it back and forth following the chart "key" at different points to create the twist and cables of the design on the back. I have never done a project with a chart and I picked a hell of a chart to start with. It is two pages long with more then 157 rows. It is crazy and it is taking every single neuron in my brain to tackle it. HA! When I am looking at it and trying to figure something out it reminds me of something I read about stimulating an infant's brain and growing synapses, literally growing their brains. Yeah, I think I am growing my brain right now. Told you there isn't anything I wouldn't do for my sister.

sister's sylvi 2

Here is hoping I get it done!

And for those that have been asking... YES I will be posting jewelry from this past weekend's show on my website!! YOO HOOO!! I will start listing it tomorrow or Friday so stay tuned.