Great tool find of the week!(sort of…)

Posted on August 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

If you’re like me, you like to carry a bag of projects, reference books and supplies, and a notebook/sketchpad to stave off the boredom no matter where you go.  I don’t know; I guess maybe it’s a security blanket for me; I spend most of my time alone and don’t have much contact with the outside world other than when it’s visiting time or  when I play my role as taxi service.  I like be able to act on a whim for creativity’s sake.  So this summer when we started going more places (teenagers will do that to you) I figured why not keep myself occupied.  The chauffer is not any source of amusement in most of those social situations so while a lot of moms who work have to drop their darlings off and scoot, I just become part of the scenery for the kiddies. Leaving my bench is a traumatic thing as I’ve found what I’m good at and I love to do.  Bringing my toys keeps me happy- ‘kay?! *Ahem….

SERIOUSLY- this is a cute bag!!!!!

SERIOUSLY- this is a cute bag!!!!!

Now I have other toolboxes I’ve bought over the last few years that are currently sitting in my “Don’t want pile.”  Some because they don’t function well enough and most because let’s face it- they’re just plain FUGLY!  I know. Who cares?  Who doesn’t… jeez…? Toolboxes aren’t supposed to be pretty, just functional, right? Maybe.  But, I’m a girl and as such, I LIKE my things to be both.  If I want to schlep my stuff around I don’t feel I have to drag a clunky boy’s toolbox to get from point A to B.  I’m the kind of chick who matches my shoes to my handbag…a dinosaur in the world of eclectic style.   

But I found me a nice looking AND functional toolbox; one I discovered quite by accident. 

I’ve been out and about school clothes shopping (as if others aren’t doing the same song and dance.  I blogged about this before…boring……lol) I stopped in to Ocean State Job Lot to find hoodies.  You know…the NEW kind of hoodie?  The one that has to be 12 times their size, drags the ground that turns you from urban to urbane??  (Where you been, homey?)  I was flitting from aisle to aisle (I do that when I wanna) and spied an end cap with piles and piles of organizing shi…uh…stuff.  Discount venues tend to keep their merch a bit disorganized…I noticed a red bag and looked it over.  Hmm…..

The pockets and pouches aren't even FULL!

The pockets and pouches aren't even FULL!

I picked this red baby up and I was floored at all the room in it. Cost me all of 9.99.  Oh and it isn’t a toolbox…it’s a Cosmetic organizer by Caboodles.  Hmm…this looks promising…

I brought it home and thought “Ok.  Let’s see how much I can stuff into it.”  Wow…I usually have to carry two bags to get all of this out the door and I got it all into one bag?!  I’m impressed!

This was all the stuff I packed into my bag...and I can get to everything!

This was all the stuff I packed into my bag...and I can get to everything!

 To those of you who participated in Dungeons and Dragons, you know the term “bag of holding.”  For those who don’t, it was a magical sack that you can put ANYTHING into and carry it…no matter the size, number or weight.  Well, folks, this is the IRL version.  I was stunned at the staggering amount of tools, supplies and personal things I could get into it and still close the zippers! The pockets, the strappy holder thingies, the pouches…it’s amazing!!! (BTW, I forgot to put my 6×9 sketchpad and notebook in the pics…yes, they do fit! I am working on a commissioned set, so they were not here at the time.)

The handles are sturdy, the bag is stylish and I can get to EVERYTHING I need without having to dump the bag out or organize an expedition.  So now, whether I’m out and about, visiting friends or ‘camped’ at the lake, where I’ve spent most of my summer this year, I can carry my mini bench and continue the flow of creativity anxiety-free!. 

What a great find!

What a great find!

If you’re looking to work, play or just fiddle around with out the stares (and you people know who you are…) check out the thrift stores, discount shops and tag sales (hey, you never know…) for this Caboodles bag.  I’m SO glad I did!

 Happy hunting!

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The parenting life with new teenagers

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Good Morning Campers! I hope everyone is well and happy!

This week is one of preparation for me. Though they don’t start until the end of this month, my summer has been spent gathering school clothing and supplies for my three ankle biters and dreaming of the days when I can NAP after 7:30 AM (that’s when all current residents leave for school or work) if I want. LOL! Though I was weeping by June I look forward to finding peace with the walls of my home and not the shrill sounds of Halo3, Ironman and “I’m bored…,” echoing until a phone call and out the door we go. Seriously, this has been a busy summer for me and my crew between birthday parties (all gifts created and crafted by yours truly), as well as movies, pool parties and other teenage social events. I also have a tweener that feels she is entitles to as much “air time” as the others and did her best to coax me into fulfilling that oh-so-obvious-to-her obligation.  I am exhausted running the crew to their various destinations and I know it isn’t going to be any less hectic once school starts…but it will be different. I’d LIKE it to be less hectic, but parents often find they actually do not run their households as they so brazenly proclaim at the Hindenmeir cookout and other adult social gatherings. They just think they do.

How did I get myself into this predicament?  Other than the obvious conversation a man and a woman have (mostly late night…and talking WASN’T on our minds) after they were born, I foolishly allowed my kids to socialize.  I should have kept them locked in that tower I envisioned in my head when they were two and not allowed them friends. Things would have been so much simpler, less expensive and easier to hide.  *Sigh…now that that cat’s out of the bag…I have to live with it. Oh well.

The backpacks, jeans and protractors.  The calculators, filler paper (college ruled for one so she can write more on one page), the unmentionables, and socks and….oy!  Ya need to be a Philadelphia lawyer to decipher the SCARY menus (have you seen what they serve burgeoning minds?  I wouldn’t feed that to a pesky horde of radioactive lawn rodents I wanted to kill) and cryptic supply lists.  But all in all, the faces that painfully squinched up or the eyes that rolled conspiratorially when you even mentioned school in May are now shining; dreaming of hangin’ with their homey’s in study hall and plotting playful revenge on a certain favorite teacher with a favorite stuffed animal character secretly named George. (Sorry Mr. Hendricks, but they are…)   It tugs wistfully on my own fond memories of new books and paper, and the smell of new plastic; new shoes and a chance to have new adventures within the walls of school. 

 How goes YOUR week?

Warmest Regards, Heather

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Book Review- Bead and Wire Jewelry- Exposed

Posted on July 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |


by Margot Potter, Fernando DaSilva and Katie Hacker





At first glance, you might think this book is “just another How-To book,” in a sea of instructionals; but what you would miss by passing this one over is a myriad of fun, flirty and inventive designs.  Designs by three innovative and well-respected designers in the industry who have succeeded in putting an interesting spin on creating with wire and crystals.  Projects that are balanced not gaudy and in color schemes and arrangements that will appeal to anyone’s inner designer or inner diva.  In other words, you don’t have to know much ‘bout nothin’ to appreciate these projects!  This book is just plain eye candy! I had a hard time picking only a few favorites as there are so many yummy ways they represent wire and crystals; I could go on for hours.  No really, I could.


Margot Potter is one of my favorite designers and has been for over 4 years.  My discovery of her “Impatient Beader” series made me a believer in that funky styles work for everyone-no matter what your particular personal style, budget or interest level. That and her quirky turn of phrases just appeals to my sense of adventure.  Fernando DeSilva is a force to be reckoned with in the designing arena.  His creations are gloriously rich and imaginative, and have the intensity to make you feel empowered without feeling overdone; an artist with an eye for drama but without the queen.  Katie Hacker has a flair for tasteful, romantic details but her designs will by no means fade into the background; they radiate delight. Altogether, this collection of designs is creatively diverse with lines that are crisp and catchy on the whole- a tempting treat you can’t resist.  I know I sound like I’m describing an assortment of gourmet confections, but reading through this book was a big treat for me.  I could use analogies of chocolates and feeling good about yourself but I won’t sidetrack the reason I’m here.


Now wire and crystals in general seem to have a restricted range of emotion to the untrained eye.  Personally, I am a firm subscriber to the “jeans and chandelier earrings” way of thinking, but hey, I do not believe I am in the “majority” category.  In my humble opinion of the majority- wire is wire and crystals are, well, crystals.  Wire as being the backbone of a piece is run of the mill.  In Bead and Wire Jewelry- Exposed, wire is bringing color and architecture and not just supporting the materials; a wire’s use is kicked up a notch and made to pull its weight, forgiving the pun, and add to a project’s beauty. Also in conventional thinking, crystals are just for displaying opulence and garnering attention.  Now before you decry my seemingly unfeeling statements, let me say that I have been a fan of Swarovski crystals (now referred to as Crystallized Swarovski Elements) for many years.  But on the whole, CSE’s connotation is an almost unattainable glory reserved for proms and weddings.  Not a negative per se, but that can be limiting to some people.  In B&WJE, the mystique is pulled aside to reveal a gathering of great designs.  Some are understated, some are bolder but all are self-assured and USABLE designs that can be worn in a host of applications from casual to formal. Truth to tell, this book has positively altered my impression of “boring” memory wire forever! 


To the beginner level crafter, B&WJE’s instructions are clear and have great photographs. This doesn’t mean it will not appeal to a more experienced aficionado of jewelry design.   I know I can see myself taking the architectural aspects of some of these wonderful designs and use that to gain a different wisdom with what I create.  This book gives terrific examples of color, structure and movement again appealing to the beginner as well as the more advanced. Moreover, I see a beginner using this book to create a “better than ordinary” project for themselves as well as gaining confidence enough to gift a loved one.  By using findings such as crimps and clasps, beads and simple tools, the beginner can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their projects.  Plus, the near absence of creating loops, a fear I’ve heard mentioned many times, is a positive point.  By working in stiffer stinging wire, finished components and the use of jumprings, could give beginners more confidence in their abilities at completing a quality project.  Confidence that could propel them to experiment more with materials they didn’t think was possible for them.


My genuine favorites are Concentricity, Fireworks and Myth and Legend…and I have more, but I’ll only reveal my best favorite from each designer.  Half the reason for the delay in writing this review is my simply not being able to put the book down; there are SO many wonderful creations to ogle and drool over! 


I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in trying their hand in making jewelry for themselves or as gifts- easily.  I would also recommend this book to the intermediate designers as there are some lessons to be learned for you as well.  ON the whole, Beads & Wire Jewelry- Exposed just screams how much FUN making jewelry can really be!

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Naming your creations

Posted on May 15, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

The following is a paraphrase…sort of…from a question posed in the Create Your Style Community site ( and the answer I had offered to this subscriber…for those of you who do not use “Crystallized Swarovski Element” don’t let the word “crystal” the put you off…use the answer in context to help with your own situation…whether you are into jewelry, fiber, painting …any medium! It’s a sentiment I feel transcends whatever artistic form you decide to use; one worth repeating here. 

"With Tears in Her Eyes"

"With Tears in Her Eyes"

Hi Penny

 As previously posted [on the Create Your Style Community site]…the individual decides what the most important factor in naming their designs.  Some like using the color- others will use a girl’s name.   Some throw caution to the wind and say the first thing that pops into their head- or a combination of all these.  Some use theme by studying a picture first or a phrase and create around it (most Beading Challenges work this way).  Some don’t feel that a name is even necessary and give it a number or nothing at all (I disagree as emotion has everything to do with creating whether you create for pleasure or profit-but that’s MY preference). The most important thing, I think, is that while you are working on your creation, let your mind wander and FEEL what you are creating- are you happy, angry, hopeful, frustrated- use that…it may just hit you and you have an AHA moment.  Or not…and you have to ponder on it awhile.  I for one don’t have names come easy all the time…sometimes I have to rattle around several ideas until the AHA pops into my mind…or my designs sits on my desk until the feeling I want to convey molds my brain and my AHA comes later.

 One who is becoming a crystal enthusiast (I could say jewelry or designing…but I don’t wanna…we talk crystals here, people-LOL!)  in their formative stages with naming their pieces might just experiment.   Go through your “blue” stage e.g. “Blue Danube”, “Blue Lagoon”, “Blue Pill”, etc…or your angry stage, e.g., “The Ex-Boyfriend”, “Psycho Garbage” or “Traffic Jam”…or totally unrelated things like “Notebook Dog,” Raging Feathers” and “Existential Soup.”

Whatever method you use is not the point…if you’re happy with what you’ve come up with IS.

If a method isn’t working…who says you can’t change your mind and try something else? 

 There is no right or wrong…if you believe in what you’re doing….I’m sure I’ve created more questions than answered them…but making each other think is a part of why we are here in this community.

Warmest Regards,


For those who do not know, I am a Moderator on the Create- Your-Style website…toodles!



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