Friday, March 30, 2012

... and then she was 9.

lauren at 9 a

Oh my stars... that girl. MY girl! Today she is NINE.

Time rarely feels like it's flying by when I look back on her years since she was born into our family. When I stop to think about it, I can hardly remember a time when she wasn't around. I feel like it has been me and her, attached at the hips, always. And I feel like I am waiting (im)patiently for her to become the awesome woman I know she'll be so she can be my best friend.

That time will be here before I know it and when it comes, I know there are things that will have been lost in my memory along the way. So, for posterity...

:: that hair... we call it frazy-crazy. Favorite styles are "Aunt Bonnie Buns", "Side Down Poenies", "Wet Braids", and "High Up Pig Tails"
:: she can scream like a banshe and cuddle like the sweetest puppy
:: monkey love conitues to reign supreme over teddy beads
:: as one commenter mentioned... yep, she still starts conversations with a thoughtful "Momma", and we spell it that way because that's how my Mom always spelled it, and I like it that way
:: she is a pack rat saving every single thing as special... she can seriously find the "special" in anything... part of me thinks that it awesome! the other part thinks she'll be on Hoarders someday
:: she wanted to master a cartwheel last year and she did... she is working on her round offs now
:: current bff(s)... Abby, Katelyn, Maria, and Georgia... and pretty much any other person she mentions... she thinks of everyone as her best friend
:: Daddy is in the habit of cutting her nails too short these days, she hates it
:: She sneaks treats out of Daddy's candy stash to make up for the above offense
:: M & (freaking) M's.
:: she loves to sing and wants to be on a tv singing show... any of them.
:: c.r.a.f.t.s. she has a drawer in her room devoted to her supplies and when any gift giving thing comes up she is the first to think of something to make and give
:: curently crochetting chains, painting, doodling, and writing love letters are her best artistic skills
:: her sense of style makes me proud... that girl is bold and daring and doesn't care if someone has a problem with the way she works stripes and plaids
:: she is currently reading Harry Potter, by herself
:: her nightowl nature has me shouting TURN THE LIGHT OFF until 10pm every night.
:: still doesn't eat fruit... hates eating breakfast... and loves homemade chicken fingers (tonight's dinner)
:: birthday cake request this year... two layers, chocolate, purple frosting, and the retro Barbie logo in pink icing
:: did I mention that hair, and the snuggling?

Momma LOVES you!

lauren at 9 b
lauren at 9 c
lauren at 9 d

Do you remember the photos I shared when she was four, when she was five, or when she was six, how about when she was seven, and when she was eight and we rocked the house? She has been a part of this blog for 7 years... she's growing up before your eyes!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Renovations in my new studio were kicked into high gear this week! Lauren *was* feeling better (and was fever free) this morning so, as soon as she was on the bus, I high tailed it right into work to check out the progress. Sadly, right when I found my groove, school called saying Lauren was sick again and I had to go pick her up. UGH.

Before I left though, I snapped a few pictures. Here is a peek at the State of The NEW Studio... then and now.

progress 1
Feb 14th 2012 - this was back on the first day I laid eyes on the space. Look at the graffiti and hole in the wall on the right!!

progress 7
Today - Hole and graffiti gone!

progress 4
Last Friday (March 23rd 2012)  - I painted the door but little else had changed at the time. Drywall wasn't mudded and lots of trash. Remnants of the old drop ceiling were still visible.

progress 8
Today - walls are mudded and some of the junk has been tossed. The old drop ceiling tracks have been removed and walls repaired.
progress 2
Feb 14th 2012 - nasty sink and water heater, ugh.

progress 6
Today - new knee wall, water heater and yucky sink are gone.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cold Sun

cold sun 1
cold sun 2
cold sun 3

Lauren has been hit with a nasty stomach bug that arrived with the return of freezing temps. Despite the bright sun pouring in the windows, it was bitter cold outside. I went around the yard and picked every daffodil before the hard freeze. About a dozen or so were in bloom along our front walk. Why let them stay outside and wither away? I'm loving the bold yellow glow they give off.

Sigh, until the little girly here is fever free for a full 24 hours, we'll be bumming around home rotting our brains with rerun episodes of Glee on Netflix. It's times like these that I tell myself I really should have a second set of tools and supplies here at home to work with when I can't get to the studio. Darn it! I guess I'll knit instead.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Random Monday

One if my favorite things
Beach grass green

:: oh how I'm loving Instagrams these days... little vintage inspired snippets of moments from my days
:: the cold weather has returned and my toes feel frozen solid
:: it feels like ages since a book series really sucked my in... Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate has completely run away with every moment of my free time. I started book #3 yesterday.
:: The Hunger Games was the last series I was glued to... I saw the movie Friday night in a packed theater and LOVED it!
:: speaking of Friday... I picked a color called Beach Grass Green to paint the door of my new studio
:: the studio is *supposed* to be ready by April 1st for me to move in... I have a feeling it might not be ready
:: I'm still reeling from the excitement of sharing all that studio news last week... book edits turned in last Thursday, sweet
:: looking around my living room at the moment has be feeling like I need to do some major cleaning today
Swan walk at bazil's

:: I went out on a dinner date with my sons on Saturday night... must do that more often
:: Jacob is going to be going on Spring Break with his best friend's family this year... excited for him, but sad that his first trip to Disney won't be with us
:: I ordered some fun new tools from Rio Grande and I can't wait to have them at the studio to play with
:: wishing those tools would get here sooner rather than later... sometimes I think inspiration will slip away in the waiting and I'll be idealess when it comes time to work
:: I hope the apple trees survive the cold snap
:: dang my cold toes are really distracting... must get some socks on
:: Lauren said yesterday "Mom, I think adults are spoiled... do you think your spoiled?" I asked her, "What makes you think we're spoiled?" "You get to buy things all the time and do what ever you want." I stifled a laugh.
:: Hmmm... she might be right, but adults earn the right to be spoiled, yes?
:: Here is to an afternoon of reading and tea after cleaning... yes, just a wee bit spoiled.

Irondequoit Bay
Me & My Boys

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Vlogging

The video above was taped on Wednesday when it was a hot 80 degrees... and I must say, it's BLOOMING HOT. Look at the size of my Magnolia Tree flowers on Thursday (another 80degree day).

My magnolia tree blooms are as big as my face!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Random Memories

I've been caught in a bit of a whirlwind... so much happening all at once... family stuff, book proof deadlines, unseasonable warm weather. Time flies when you're having fun and when you are overwhelmed by what life is dishing out. So, my apologies for my total lack of keeping to my posting schedule. Oh well... I couldn't have done my Friday Film post even if I had the time because my iPhone acted up last Thursday and I lost all my data on it. So the wonderful videos I took, gone. So sad. But I still have my memories...

st maartens 1
st maartens 2

:: our first port of call was on the Dutch side of St Maartens
:: my Dad told my I'd see water as blue as the sky and this was the day that happened
:: I signed up for the Power Rafting shore excursion with Tracy Stanley and her daughter, Kelsey. We were joined by one of the students, Deb, too. Awesome group of ladies to share this adventure with.
:: high speeds on the high seas and huge smiles and belly laughs when hitting the waves
:: I said in my mind and out loud "this is not my life" so many times
:: I snorkeled and it was freaking stinking AWESOME! I popped up out of the water to say "this is so awesome" so many times
:: Pierre and Eric were our guides... Pierre was captain, St. Maartens born and raised... Eric, a Frenchman, on the island for the past 4 years
:: Rum Punch

st maartens 5
st maartens 6

:: we dropped anchor and swam up to the beach
:: we giggled like school girls... it was a nude beach
:: there were naked people and there were cows... not figurative people cows... real cows... one brown, one black & white
:: what was in the Rum Punch?
:: the very first shell I spotted and brought home was broken and heart shaped... perfect for my Mom
:: wondering down the beach farther, I found a conch shell... bigger than my fist and broken by the rocks to reveal the coil inside... I smuggled it home, customs might not have approved
:: back to the boat by 1pm and time for a nap
:: if I ever run away from home... look for me in St. Maartens.

For those of you hoping to get your hands on one or some of the kits from Bead Cruise 2012, they are posted on my website. Get 'em before they are gone!

st maartens 7
st maartens 8

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oh My Old San Juan

Alternative Post Titles...
A Color Lovers Paradise
The Art Of Architecture
Seeing Beauty In Decay
Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around

I could go on and on! Sitting in my messy living room this morning, nursing my cup of coffee, and prodding my children to get a move on, it's hard to imagine that on Thursday morning just a week ago, I was waking up in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The city was nothing short of amazing. I loved every moment spent wandering the streets. We were docked in the port for a short day. Where we could explore until 4-5pm in other stops, here we had until just 1pm. So rather than go on a preplanned shore excursion, I teamed up with fellow instructor Tracy Stanley and her daughter Kelsey for a self guided tour. I really don't think there could have been a better way to discover what a gem this place is.

This was one of those times where I went nuts with my camera. To make sure I'd be able to shoot abso-freaking-lutely everything I saw, I actually changed my camera settings to a lower resolution so the memory card could hold more. I think I took several HUNDRED photos! I spent hours yesterday and this morning picking through them all and editing my favorites. I was able to knock the 300+ down to 84. Don't worry, I haven't posted all 84 here. They are in a sweet set over on Flickr. If you love the architecture of an old city, I encourage you to click through the stream of photos. So many cool things to see! Flickr Set: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

I was so very happy that Tracy and Kelsey were just as happy as I was to explore in this relaxed way. There are two experiences that I know are going to say with my for years to come. First happened about mid-morning as we wandered around a cemetery on the water. One of the grave sites was clearly damaged and there was a hole in the large marble slab covering the coffin inside. The coffin itself appeared to be made of metal and was completely rusted away in the area where the marble was missing. You could see inside to the bones of the person entombed so so many years ago. It was the first time I had ever seen human remains and it definitely left an impression. I walked to the head stone to learn the name of the person or the year of their death and there was nothing written. So many of the graves had no names actually and I wonder why. The second experience that I'll be holding close to my heart is walking down a street and stepping into an open air restaurant and ordering the local tapas. Sitting at a table next to one of the sets of wide open doors that were every few feet around the perimeter of the room, while the breeze blew in, and I sipped sangria, made me feel like such a world traveler. Oh how I love to travel.

Now, enough of my babbling... sit back and enjoy the show. Here are a few of my favorites from Old Juan...


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

9286, A Room With A View

Ya know, I hadn't really thought about it much until the cruise, but I am not at all a sceneic photographer. I love life's little details. I tend to see something, zoom in on it, and try to catch the memory of it in a still frame. One of the things, though, that I was absolutely knocked off my feet by was the grandure and openness of the world viewed from my balcony on our cruise ship. Rarely do I find myself pulling back my lens so far and wishing I could capture more of the BIG pictures around me.

So... about half way through the voyage I decided I would create panoramics in each port we stopped in. I stood on my balcony and took frame after frame while turning from all the way left to all the way right. I thought it would be a clever way to get about 60 different photos into one post too!

Click on over to my Flickr Photostream to see the individual shots that make up each panoramic. I know they look super tiny here, but over on Flickr, you can click Actions > View All Sizes > Original and view them in their panoramic glory.

Our first port of call, St. Martaans...

st martaans blended panoramic

...then we stopped in St Kitts...

st kitts panoramic

...Thursday we found ourselves in San Juan, Puerto Rico...

old san juan panoramic
sj pan 2

(The view was as nice as we left San Juan as when we were docked.)

...with the last stop before heading home being Labadee, Haiti...

labadee panoramic 1

With views like these, there is no doubt as to why I walked straight to my sliding glass door and out on the balcony every.single.time I went in my stateroom. Paying the difference to upgrade from a standard room to this one was worth every cent. I can't image cruising in any other room from here on out. I've been spoiled rotten, I tell you... just rotten.

And since I'm sure you'll send me emails about it... I made these panoramics in Photoshop Elements 10. I edited the photos first then went to File>New>PhotomergePanoramic. Photoshop did the rest. I think the sunrise in San Juan and the day that followed was my *favorite* of the cruise. Though, snorkeling in St Martaans is viaing for the first place position as well. More on those thigns soon...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Conference Room Snippets

at sea 6
Bang A Rangers sporting their bangles!
Since I got home from The Bead Cruise, I have been trying to decide just how to unload all my cruising adventures on y'all in a way that 1)doesn't bore you, 2)gives you an idea of just what an amazing experience it was, 3)doesn't drag talking about the cruise into next month, and 4)shows you the most images possible without slowing your computer screen loading times to a complete crawl. Um, really now, I took about 1000 photos. Quite frankly, I don't have the time to edit them all and I know you don't have the time to view them all.

So, with my handy dandy note paper near by, I jotted down a few post titles in an attempt to get it all organized. I think it's going to work. Here is what you'll have to look forward to over the coming days.

Conference Room Snippets (today)
9286, A Room With A View (tomorrow)
Oh My Old San Juan (thurs)
Film Footage Friday (fri)
Random Monday Memories (next mon)
More of The Ports & Previews (next tues)

It's a good list, don't you think? Yes. Then, by next Wednesday, we can start to return to our regularly scheduled blogging with things like new kits, progress on the studio move, and other things me.

beads at sea 2
Heather's table full of beady treats at the evening Bead Bazaar
beads at sea 3
Students Barbara and Marie waiting to hear Tracy's presentation at Open Beading
beads at sea 4
My new teaching bff, Tracy Stanley
On The Bead Cruise, when it came to the groups' activity of choice (beading, d'uh) we really hit the ground running. On the first day at sea (Sunday) we had a full day of classes. Which was followed by our first formal night in the dinning room... Fillet Mignon anyone? I taught my group of 8 wire whippers my Bang A Rangs class and over the 6 hours together we made my Bang Gals, Remember To, and Mixed Up bangles. My students came in as Coiling Cadets and left as Commanders, I kid you not. I showed them all the tricks I had up my sleeves including my secrets to two-tone coiling.

The second day at sea, I taught my half day Frameworks class in the afternoon. It was a much smaller group which really worked out great. With more time for individualized attention, everyone was able to finish there bracelets in class. Which is something I know means a lot to students. They are always happiest when they leave a class with a finish project.

beads at sea 5
Heather announcing the nightly door prize winners.
beads at sea 6
Jill doing a presentation on the life cycle of designs and how to make projects into something unique to you.

Classes all took place on Deck 2 of the ship in the Conference Center. It was just like the fancy conference centers of major hotels... only it was on a boat... that was sailing in the Atlantic Ocean... coolness. Only down side, on the days we were having 9-10foot swells (aka waves) that 2nd floor was really rocking. Thankfully, I didn't suffer any sea sickness at all!! I think I have my vertigo to thank for that... I'm used to being dizzy and swaying.

But I digress.

Continuing with the beady goodness... on Monday night we had The Queen's Ball. And I give you permission to refer to me fence forth as the Baroness of Wire. That's what our amazing leader, Heather Powers, dubbed me and I'm keeping the name. I think it suits me. Sadly, I didn't bring my camera down to the Ixtapa lounge for the party that night, but so so many others did! I'm sure you'll see photos pop up from other photographers soon. It was such a BLAST to see everyone sporting their handmade fascinators!!

One of the fun things about the Bead Cruise is the Bead Bazaar, Presentations, and Open Beading. There are nearly 60 people in our group and naturally they can't all take every class. So the bazaar is an opportunity for students to meet all the instructors. Plus, they can get beads and kits from the classes they didn't take and learn from the instructors they didn't get to be in class with through the presentations. I spent a good half hour talking all about coiling for my presentation... which led to selling out of the coilers I brought and I stumbled upon and FANTASTIC new idea for seedbeaders to add wire to their work. The talented Jill Wiseman is going to get on that little diddy for me. Cuz I don't do seedbeads. No way, Jose.

The very last night of the cruise... after I ordered 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, AND 2 desserts at dinner, we had the big farewell party. Students had spent the whole week working on secret projects and it was finally time for the design contest. We had some seriously talented people in our midst. Prizes were awarded for Most Intense, Simply Sweet, and Show Favorite after votes were tallied. Then... the picture snapping commenced!! It was seriously like something off the red carpet with a sea of paparazzi flash bulbs going off for about 30 mins straight. I snapped Instagrams with each of the other teachers... Heather, Tracy, Jill, and my favorite lady, Beverly Herman (Heather's Mom). Beverly is an absolute sweetheart and OMG, an amazing instructional illustrator. Her project pattern graphics are nothing short of brilliant. If you have the chance, you must take a class with her!!

Okay, I think that's about enough for one afternoon.

teachers on beadcruise