Cleaning = Crafting

Cleaning = Crafting

Spent much of Monday (it was a public holiday) trying to clean up my messy house. I have beads and jewellery-making supplies all over the place. It is quite embarrassing. There is no hope for me. I actually start living around the mess which is terrible really. So, anyway, I attempted to tidy up, put things away and sort stuff out on Monday. But we all know (or at least can predict) what actually happened. That’s right, I crafted instead. Whilst tidying. It basically went like this:
1. Vacuum floor.

2. Get distracted by beads. Sit down and play with beads. Drop beads on newly hoovered floor.

3. Vacuum floor again.

4. Collect up newly purchased beads and try to put them in containers and bead boxes.

5. Ooh, aren’t they pretty? I wonder if these blue ones will look nice with these red ones…?

6. Make mess.

7. Get annoyed with self. Make cup of tea, and despair.

8. Get motivated and start sorting through beads and findings and get rid of (i.e. donate to op-shop) beads unwanted.

9. Have second thoughts and rescue beads from op-shop bag.

10. Start making bracelets and earrings. Ignore mess.

And so it went on. HOPELESS is not the word for it. I might as well show you what I made…

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I liked these blue glass beads with the simple silver embellishments…might keep them for myself…

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Little pearly wonders…

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Not sure about this one…the colours aren’t me but I guess someone might like the Autumn tones…

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Different coloured stone chips…getting lazy now, only using a few colours!

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And again!

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I do not know what my obsession is with these skull beads…but they make me smile. Lord knows who would wear them! We don’t celebrate Day of the Dead over here so I might find these ones do not sell…

So there you go. Not exactly anything awe-inspiring but at least I was creative and productive.
My house is still a mess though. I should probably vacuum the floor again too 🙂

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Bloom on and grow…

Bloom on and grow…

My little mint plant is flowering. You’re not really “supposed” to let them get to flowering stage, but look at how pretty it is! Maybe if we all did what we were born to do, instead of trying to do what we’re “supposed” to do, we’d all be a lot happier and not miss out on what makes us truly blossom.
Or something like that. I don’t know…

Now if I could just work out what I should be doing, I’d be blossoming all over the place. Which sounds slightly messy and unhygienic but I’m sure it would be worth it in the end. I was going to say something about rooting too (as in the way a mint plant takes root wherever it can) but that sounded rude and could be taken out of context.  If you’re Australian you will know what I am talking about.

Grow little mint plant, grow 

 (Yes, I am in a weird mood).

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A Portrait of Friendship

A Portrait of Friendship

I am very blessed to have a amazing group of friends.  In this funny, ever-changing world, it is wonderful to know you have people you can rely on to share the good times and the bad.  I have been very lucky that way.  I have the same friends now that I had in high school, with a few “drop-outs” along the way.  I’ve got friends from every workplace I’ve ever had and I feel so fortunate to have made a brand new group of friends at my new job, friends that I know I will keep in touch with even if I eventually change career.

I had morning tea with a dear friend of mine this morning.  We used to work together years ago and have always remained in touch.  We are both going through similar things at the moment – marriage break-up, new homes, new jobs and we are a comfort and support to one another.  She is amazingly centred and zen-like, in a way that I will never be, and helps to ground me and bring me back down to Earth a little bit, when the world seems scary and unmanageable.  I think, in turn, I help her, even if it is just to provide a listening ear and some understanding.  We “get’ each other, which is such a relief…not having to explain yourself or make apologies for who you are is a gift.  Today she said “If I could give you anything at all, it would be the ability to see yourself as I see you…how beautiful and strong you are…”  I wish I could say lovely things like that! 

It is my birthday in a couple of weeks and my other long-term friend GK (we’ve known each other for over 25 years now…which is scary!) gave me my gift early this week.  She sketched a beautiful portrait of me in pencil that I am going to frame and hang on my wall.  She doesn’t consider herself artistic but I beg to differ!  Look at the amazing eyes on this picture!  I can’t “do” eyes at all.  She got the shape and characteristics of mine just right.  A wonderful gift from a wonderful friend!  She even got my nose right, which is disappointing as I don’t like my nose ha ha!  I would have been happy with some poetic licence on that feature! 🙂

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I am so grateful for the friendships I have.  Without them I would be lost.  I have had the same best friend for over 32 years now and I couldn’t imagine life without her in it – even if we don’t get to catch up as often as we’d like.  We have seen each other through first loves and training bras, new jobs and career changes.  We’ve cried together, laughed together, shared secrets and confided in one another.  We’ve never had an argument in all those years and we think of each other as family, accepting one another’s faults and believing in each other no matter what.  I have been incredibly lucky to have someone like that in my life but, in all honesty, all my friends fit that bill too.  It’s like I am a magnet for awesome, loyal, courageous, accepting people.  I like to think that maybe, just maybe, I am a pretty good friend too but I’m less sure of that – it’s harder to see good qualities in yourself than it is in others.

Friendship is one of the things in life that help you weather any storm.  Friends are the family you choose for yourself.  Friends accept you for who you are, whether that is crazy, sarcastic, quiet, shy or loud.  They stop you from being too hard on yourself and won’t hesitate to give you a metaphorical slap in the face when you’re being pathetic and hysterical.  They console you through breakups and celebrate your new loves.  They help you change and grow but also believe in the person you are deep down.  Friends call you, out of the blue, when you need them most and leave you alone when you need to wallow by yourself.  They know when to speak up and when to sit in silence.  They embrace your questionable fashion choices and sympathise when you make a fool of yourself.  They never poke fun at your dance moves and will gladly waltz with you when you find yourself alone on the dance floor.  They cheer you on when you are near the finish line, exhausted and about to give up.  They accept your faults and, in fact, find them charming and delightful.  They always think you are ten pounds lighter than you actually are and won’t hesitate to tell you when an item of clothing makes you look ten pounds heavier.  Friends are the glue that hold you together when you feel as though you are falling apart.

Friendship is everything and I am so blessed to have an abundance of it.

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Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussies!  There are a few things going on in our country at the moment that make it somewhat hard to be enthusiastic about celebrating our nation (dodgy human rights “issues”, culling sharks, dreadful live export trade etc) so I won’t make a big deal about it except to say I love my country with all its faults.  I love the weather (despite it being blisteringly hot at the moment), the beaches, the wildlife, the laid-back attitude and the blue, blue skies.  No country is perfect – ours has its issues as much as any other nation – but all in all, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  Doesn’t mean I don’t shake my head in disbelief and shame at some of the decisions and policies made by the people in power, but I still love my country overall (even if I am a little embarrassed by it sometimes).

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That bit of patriotism over and done with, let us move on to topics far more interesting – crafting and op-shopping! Went op-shopping with my Mum yesterday morning and bought a few bracelets and necklaces full of lovely, lovely beads.  I hit the jackpot with a couple of large pieces that had LOADS of beads on them, enough to make quite a few things with, and in the colours I needed too (except for yellow – why oh why can I not get any yellow beads anywhere???):

Look at this amazing layered bracelet/cuff!  Only $2.00!  Such a bargain and the beautiful greens are such nice shades in a variety of styles and sizes…

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These wooden ones were also a great buy.  A nice earthy red colour – I will get plenty of use out of these little guys (not sure what I will do with the large “bits” but I will hang on to them anyway)…

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I am always on the lookout for turquoise of any description. These ones came from a big and bold chunky necklace.  They are resin I believe and not really a proper turquoise shade but still useable.  They look a bit like cartoonish volcanic rocks to me!…

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This purple/mauve necklace had lots of nice beads on it too, mostly glass – which I prefer – and with lovely detailing (love the little dimpled beads).  Purple is a popular colour and I can never have enough in my stash…

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I also picked up this strange item.  I think it might a charm from a handbag (?) but I couldn’t be sure.  The sales lady didn’t know either so she priced it as a bracelet ($2).  I thought I could get a lot of use out of the silver findings on it and even the black cord will be handy.  It didn’t look as though it had been “worn” or used at all.

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I also picked up a tiny bracelet made out of these cute little coral-coloured cube beads.

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So, what have I been making?  More jewellery…I am just not in the mood for anything else at the moment and kinda have to go where the money is (i.e. I am selling the jewellery and it is helping me financially quite a bit).  I sell a lot of cards too but they take such a long time to make and I am just too hot (and lazy) at the moment.  Apologies if you come here looking to see what new cards I’ve made…just isn’t happening at the moment!

Anyway, here are a few pieces that I made in the last couple of days – the first lot being very bright and colourful!  Love these colours together – very fiesta-inspired!

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These earrings are very Day-of-the-Dead inspired…

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These pretty glass earrings were made from a vintage necklace I bought a few weeks back in a 2nd hand store.

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This silver and turquoise pair will be popular with the ethnic/boho crowd…

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This ring is the finished product from the bracelet panels I featured in this post  It worked so well with the filagree ring blank I had..

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I made this silly little ring using a broken bead…it reminds me of a boiled sweet!

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I really like these earrings, mainly because of the gorgeous ceramic red beads – such a nice colour…

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This dainty pair is also nice – the silver and red works really well…

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I have lots of orders to complete and am currently procrastinating…it’s so hot and I’m tired (unfortunately my anaemia is kicking my butt at the moment and I have to have an iron infusion in the next week or so…).  Was supposed to be at a fireworks party tonight but have piked.  Anxiety playing up a bit currently and I am having to force myself to leave the house and socialise.  Just wasn’t up to a party tonight.  As a result, I am schlepping about at home in my PJs and am trying to get my house tidy (or, I would be if I wasn’t procrastinating about that too…).

I did actually go to a party yesterday – my nephew’s 5th birthday party.  He had a Superhero theme so lots of little Supermen, Spidermen, Ninja Turtles etc running around.  The kids were awesome – not a brat amongst them.  My sister-in-law did an AMAZING job of preparing food and making decorations in a superhero them.  Check out the “Kryptonite Krispies”:

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We also had an hilarious half hour when the kids were trying in vain to break the super-pinata – it was pretty strong.  It took older brother (Master 7) to give it the final bash which sent all the treats inside flying.  I actually helped make the piñata – I babysat my nephews and nieces last weekend and Miss 3 1/2 and Master 5 spent a good part of the afternoon putting the initial layers of paper macho onto a balloon – their concentration and dedication to the task at hand made me smile.  The final result (finished by their Super Mum) was pretty cool and very, very robust!

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Unfortunately, towards the late afternoon, my Mum became very ill and I had to take her home quickly.  Seems like she got over-heated.  I was pretty worried for a while there as she looked dreadful and was so sick.  But she is better today – just recovering and taking it easy.  It was so very hot and humid yesterday and easy for people to get heat stroke and dehydration, despite the fact she had been drinking plenty.  I sometimes forget that she is a “senior” now – I need to keep an eye on her more (even though she would laugh at that and tell me to get a life ha ha).

Well, this house will not clean itself and I should probably eat some lunch and bring in my laundry…or not.  I could just sit and play with beads.  That sounds much nicer 🙂

Baby, it’s HOT outside!

Baby, it’s HOT outside!

Phew!  It is hot.  I mean really hot.  So hot that even I am hot.  And I am never anything other than cold.  Right now I’m am sweating as I type this.  Sweating is gross and I am so not used to it.  Ew.  It’s still better than being cold, but it even so…ewwww…..

As a consequence of the heat wave that we are experiencing here in sunny Perth, I have been doing very little crafting.  Too hot.  Too sweaty.  All I want to do when I come home is sit on an air-conditioner and drink gallons of water.  And watch re-runs of 21 Jump Street (but that’s another story…I’m having a Peter De Luise thing at the moment).  My dining room table is covered in craft supplies (nothing new there) but I am not doing anything with them.  Not much anyway.  Every so often I fiddle about with a few beads but then get heat-cranky and can’t be bothered doing much more than that.

I have made one new bracelet this week (aside from a couple of orders I had to get done) and it is not very inspiring – I used all the same kind of bead for Heaven’s sake! :

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…it is light and cute for Summer I guess though.  The little wooden beads are very lightweight and sorta rustic looking (if you squint your eyes and imagine something rustic looking) and it was at least something.

Mostly I just shopped for things to make stuff with this week.  I went bead shopping.  Which is always dangerous.  I had to buy two huge bead boxes on the weekend because I was running out of storage.  I went to Galaxy Beads in Morley on Saturday.  I spent an hour in there and tried to choose carefully…but it is so hard because they have such lovely stuff and I get a bit bamboozled looking at it all.  I picked up some basic colours that I needed (red, orange and green ceramic and wooden beads) but still couldn’t find any yellow ceramic ones.  I am searching in vain for those it seems.  I got some lovely feature beads which I might keep to make things for myself…maybe.  I always say that and then sell or give away whatever I’ve made.  Until I get my ears pierced again it seems a waste to keep earrings for me and I don’t wear many bracelets except for my favourite silver bangle which I never take off.  But perhaps I will change that this year and become super colourful and blingy…

 

Anyway, check out some of the beads I got, starting with these gorgeous lavender, gold and silver ones – so pretty!Image

 

Next up, these oriental-looking ones – love the colours and the metallics and the tiny wee flower in blue:

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These little glass beads were so cute – I don’t know what I’m going to use them on but I had to get them…

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I LOVE these pale blue ones…they were pretty expensive but I just really liked them..

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These embellished lamp work beads were in a bargain bag but they’re really unusual colours…

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Licorice Allsorts! That’s what these ones remind me of.  They too were in a bargain bag which made them less than half price…

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So, it would be fair to say I left with a large dent in my purse…but not too large, I was careful and only bought what I thought I could use.  I was disappointed not to get the yellow beads I needed but I will keep looking.  I really, really need wooden animal beads but they are nowhere to be found.

I didn’t just buy beads – I was also given lots by other people this week.  My friend GK gave me these :

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They are panels from a bracelet, but I think they will make lovely rings.  I love the colours (especially the purple one) and I was really happy to be given these, as well as some bright wooden beads and some pretty glass ones.

While out shopping for card for my birthday invitations, I found these adhesive cabochon flowers in a stationery store:

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…they’re suppose to be for invitation decorations but who’d waste them on that?!  They would look much better on a nice ring…

…don’t you think?

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I also (whilst looking for 2nd hand jewellery) picked up this cute handbag in an op-shop.  $2.00!!! Crazy price.  It was a little bit grubby so I sponged it with some stain-removing laundry soaker and the marks came out.  Look at the lovely embroidery and beading on it!
(excuse my toes in the first shot…)

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So, a lot of shopping and not much crafting going on this week at all.  I will get back into it soon.  When the temperature drops below a bazillion degrees.  Until then, it’s just me in as little clothing as possible, lots of iced water, a fan and 80s cop shows.

Stay cool everybody 🙂

Everything I Know, I Learned from the Kids…

Everything I Know, I Learned from the Kids…

I have been babysitting a lot this weekend.  My brother and his partner have four BEAUTIFUL children under the age of 7 (the youngest just a few weeks old) and they are a delight.  Most of the time.  They are children after all and they do have their moments of not-so-delightfulness.  But, on the whole, they are developing into charming little people that I like as well as love.  They have empathy for others and a care for their siblings.  They’re just so nice to be around.

I learn a lot from them.  Mostly, I am just happy they love me and we have fun together.  I am constantly amazed by their wisdom and insight.  They are creative (thank goodness), funny and energetic. They make me laugh ( a lot – sometimes when I should be telling them off) and I wish I could wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them from the world forever.

Today we did painting (hey, a sun can be black, right?) and papier mache (I’m still hoping to get glue out of my denim skirt), did magic tricks (how many times can you “pull” something out of a kid’s ear before it gets boring? Apparently many, many times…), baked cookies and watched dvds involving trains and sing-alongs.  It was too hot to do anything outside for any length of time and I let them watch tv a little more than usual – just because it was so darn warm.

As much as we adults teach children about life, I think they show us a few things too.  They are wise and courageous in many ways and live the heck out of life every single moment of every single day.  We can learn so much from them if we just listen and watch:

Stuff I have Learned from Kids

1. It is never too cold, too hot, too sunny, too wet, too windy, too anything to go outside and play, even just for 5 minutes.  Embrace the great outdoors and be amongst nature.

2. Hugs.  One size fits all, always.

3. Build a bridge and get over it.  Literally.  There is nothing Lego can’t fix.  Or build.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  This includes mess, unmade beds, toys on the floor and cereal in your hair.  Worrying about these things only takes time away from more important stuff, like playing. And making more mess.

5. Baking cookies is an anytime kind of activity.  Licking the spoon is obligatory and non-fattening.

6. Colouring outside the lines is ok.  In fact, it is recommended.

7. Jokes are funnier when they don’t make any sense.

8. Sometimes you just need to cry.  For no reason.  Let it out.

9. Wearing pants should be optional.

10. Saying “Fart” is always hilarious.

11. Meals should be looked at as intermission between snacks.

12. Sometimes you just have to dance.

 

I hope you have some little people in your life.  They make the world a much nicer place to be in. 
Have a happy week everybody 🙂