Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2014 Art Charm Swap

I have been so thrilled with my experiences 
with the Art Charm swap the past two years.
It's really getting to me not knowing if 
I can participate this year.

Yep still no word on when our stuff will arrive from Oki.
Though all the stuff they stored for us for 4 years arrives tomorrow.
I know my neighbors will be thrilled because the lawn mower is in that shipment.

Please join in if you have the time. 
Beads of Courage is a wonderful cause, and this event is so much fun.
Plus last year's auction allowed for a $1500 donation. That's just plain AWESOME!

This year's theme is "Soar."

I mean come on I have at least 6 ideas already.

Sign ups close Sept. 10th and charms must be received by Oct.20th. 

Here's where to sign up:  

Here's one batch I sent last year.

Here's what I sent the year before.

Looking at it now I think I'll have to make sure to steer aware from multicolored flowers. I really didn't know they were that similar till I stuck these pictures up here. Anyway. Click the buttons on the sides here for Art Charm 2012 and Art Charm 2013 for my previous reveal posts. I introduced my connection to the charity in the 2012 post. Jennifer let me use one her photos to make the 2013 button image.  I know it's trivial, but I was so glad to help her out. She puts in a ton of work to make this annual charity auction and swap a success as well as a smashing good time.

I really feel like I'm missing the annual family Thanksgiving dinner or something. 
How to make 11 art charms with all jewelry supplies not here?  
Shout um out 'cause I really don't want to miss this year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Charming and Chuffed

So we are in a new home in the US, and it's HUGE!

Been hearing a good bit from our British neighbor in Oki,
 and the word "chuffed" popped in to my head.

Just like the first 5 times she said "knackered" to me, 
I looked it up to realize it did not mean what I had guessed.
I really did think I'd be better at this with all the British TV I watch, but it's just not the case.

A quick lesson in British slang...
Chuffed-really happy/very pleased
Knackered-tired/exhausted/worn out

While I am both actually, I'm working hard to stay positive. My son is in 
a great school that the community holds in high regard. Mom and Dad turned on their super powers to make sure he started with everyone else on the first day which was Aug. 7th. Yep a mere 10 days after we stepped off Oki soil. My husband is already comfortable enough with his commute that when he was not told until he made it to work that work would start 1 1/2 hours later than normal he drove all the way back to walk our son to the bus. 
Have I mentioned enough how great a man he is? No. I haven't. He's way too good for me.

We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary last week by the way. He decided to buy me gift cards from the local chain craft stores I've been trying so hard to stay out of. He went in in uniform which he said got him many odd looks about. (It's not a military town we live in here).

So I sit here on the air mattress my mother loaned us, so happy for all the blessings I've been given which includes this mattress, but still a little bummed. I am ready to unpack! It's been over a month. Rationally, I get it. My home furnishing are literally on the slow boat making their way half way around the planet. Creatively the last time I made jewelry was for the BSBP and I don't want to wait any more. My sweet, wonderful husband has given me the GIANT dinning room for my work space and I'm ready to fill it up!!!!

Since I seem to forget my camera every time I leave the house here are some tiny things I have snapped photos of since my return to the States.
Here are a few beauties from my mom's butterfly bushes in SC.
(click any image to enlarge)

Here's a dragonfly and box turtle from my new yard in LA (Louisiana).
 Finally the closest thing I have to jewelry making is playing with my Nomades bracelets. 
You know I can't be like everyone else so I bought some Swarovski spacers. 
Yep, the pearls are Swarovski too.
Oh wait, since I don't have a garden yet I managed to take this image in a hanging basket I bought to hang outside my kitchen window. I think it's a great start. Apparently I have a bit of a reputation for taking jewelry pictures in my garden. Hey why not combine your favorite things.
Disclaimer:  These items were not made by me. 
I'm supporting a military spouse run sterling silver business 
specializing in military duty station charms.
I was really proud that Nomades shared it on the company's facebook page.

Okay, hubby's headed home and I'm off to play sous chef. For any of you thinking why don't I cook for my wonderful husband the answer is simple. I don't want him to be hungry. 
To those who really know me...stop laughing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Boxed Up & Nowhere to Go

Every 3 to 4 years I'm homeless for a month or two.
For some of you this is a shocking and possibly frightening idea.
For me it's routine.

Let me clarify by first telling you I've never spent the night on the the street. 
Oh wait. I did once in high school. What the heck was the point of that? Who knows, but there must have been one because there was a group of us.

I also have never slept in a cardboard box, but since the movers finished a full day ahead of schedule this time I have now slept on one. I must tell you would could have stayed in a hotel, but I am Scrooge McDuck sometimes.

 Guess it's past time for me to tell you my husband is in the military. That means that every time he's restationed (I might have made that word up) the family goes through a PCS or Permanent Change of Station. For my family that means they come box everything up, and move it to the next place where it waits for us to tell them our new address. This time as we are moving from Japan to the US we'll arrive long before our furniture.
They let us send a little bit ahead so we'll have something other than what's in our suitcases. Plus I still have 1,000s of pounds of stuff I haven't seen since before we left for Japan waiting for me stateside. My family is playing a guessing game as to what we'll find in our LTS, long term storage. All of that is just a distraction right now. What's weighing on my mind is the fact that we fly off this island, possibly forever, in 6 days and we still have to sell both our island cars. Forgive the scattered ramblings of woman driven stir crazy by this tiny hotel room and the weight of all we have to accomplish is a really short amount of time.

Oh did I forget to tell you schools in our new area start in 15 days! Yep, no home, not even in the same country at the moment, and my most heartfelt desire is for my son to start school with everyone else. It's tough being the new kid not that I would know, but it's easier being the new kid on the first day. 

Gotta give a big public THANKS to:
my lil sis who has purchased my son's school supplies and has them waiting for us. 
my wonderful mother who's kept my car ready to go for all the years we've been overseas.
and to which ever one of them is willing to let us stay before we head off to our new area while we have my husband's car inspected (It's been in LTS too.)
Oh and all the wonderful military spouses who've shared so much knowledge with me over the years.
I really don't know how I'd do all this without them.

For now, I'll continue to work hard, do my very best and just keep breathing.
I'd rather be creating though.

Monday, July 14, 2014

To my future daughter-in-Law...

I found this beautiful post today and just wanted to preserve it here for my son's future. He's a decade further into his story than the child this woman write about though.

"I will do my best by you to raise a man among men. A leader among leaders. And to help him be strong, resilient, brave, loving, and humble. A good man in a storm."

Read the entire post here:

 "You are a piece in the puzzle. A very important piece."

"...my dear girl, you hold his future."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kraft Band Coming to America!

While I literally race to finish my Okinawa bucket list 
and shed all the excess weight from my household goods shipment 
(so I can make one more run to the 100 yen store)  ;)
I am taking this little breather to show you my latest creations.

Giant Baskets!
just kidding...sort of
You can see my first big basket above at my last craft sale.
When I got home from that event I finished this one which is like a Moses basket for a toddler.
They get bigger and bigger.
Here's a look at them all nestled.
and my collection of kraft band (or eco-band) to work with when I get settled in the US.
Can't forget the "tires" (hubby's term) of natural. Oh and the stripes!
Maybe I'll cut some strips and make more coasters on the plane.
Both these sets and 2 others have sold already plus 2 dozen individual coasters.
This one is the only one I have left. Probably because I just finished it.
(UPDATE:  It's now spoken for too.)
It was fun to come up with 2 new weaving patterns.

If you are in Okinawa next (school) year look up the Eco Weavers. 
They were such a great group of women.
Clearly they taught me a lot.
Thanks Ladies.
You are all awesome!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pricing Question

Since I have so many talented people's attention here I have a question for you.

How do you determine prices?

I'm having a moral dilemma about charging a friend for a piece.

Here's my prototype. Yep, it's something I'd never done before.
It's roughly 27cm x 35cm at it's base which makes it 
10cm too short for my friend's purposes.

It took 9 full hours of my time and a full 50g bottle of glue.
(I'm hung up on the glue b/c I've never used a bottle in a day. It's like a real crafting achievement.)

Now the materials I buy in bulk so that's shy of $20 US for even the basket size we need.

But what do I charge?

She is my friend, but I've had so many people say I under value my work.

At the shop where my items sell anything over $20 rarely sells so it's given me a skewed view.

Help me do what's best here.

I value your opnion.

Here's an inside look at the basket.


Sorry fb friends for the cross post. I'm really struggling with this one.


Hope you are enjoying your summer
or winter for those of you in the southern hemisphere.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Okinawa Memory Quilt

If you are looking for the BSBP8 post click here.

So today I'm talking about sewing yet again. This time quilting specifically.
I am the queen of quilt tops. 
Before joining the Pacific Patchwork Guild I would make quilt blocks, but never put them together. Now I make tops, but never quilt them. Hey at least it's progress.

Anyway, back in 2010 when I first moved to Okinawa I read an article in the newspaper about Okinawa Memory Quilt groups. Then I set out to find one. Sure enough a group of ladies from the PTO started one with their friends. Well, we all joined, bought the stuff, our leader sent out great motivational emails, but when it came time for the due date people started jumping ship. So instead of making 30 cherry blossom patches I only had to make 22. (Which honestly I was okay with because I was behind schedule.) When I turned mine in I received one completed patch from each of the other members of the group. They all show things that make Okinawa memorable. Here it is 2014 and I found them prepping for my move. So I thought I'd share the blocks I received in case they are ruined during shipping and to inspire the fabulous woman of the PPG who I wish I had met sooner.
Here we go: 
(click any picture to enlarge)
Cherry Blossom
This was what I made so many of. The text says "cherry flower" or sakura or 
at least that's what the florist on my street told me. 
I even had him show me the order of the strokes and I sewed them the same way. 
There are beads in the center of the cherry blossom too. 
You know I had to get seed beads in there somehow.
Butterfly and Dragonfly
Fruit Bat
Carp Flags
American Village
Kokeshi Doll
Oki car (unfinished)
Okinawa Map
Ryukyu Dancer
This one is my favorite. 
Can you imagine having to do all this hand stitching 22 times?
Roller Slide
My scanner isn't big enough to accommodate these blocks. :(
Can you see all the beads at the end of the guitar?
Taiko Drum
Torii (unfinished)
Tug of War Rope
There is a whole heck of a lot of stitches that give this one great detail.
 Wow...just WOW!
US and Japanese Flags
Considering a whole bunch of these ladies had never sewn even a button I think the work is fantastic. 
We were given an idea and we turned it into little reminders of a great part of our lives.
I wonder if I could get a group to do this at every duty station?