Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Beads of Courage Auction & Art Charm Reveal!

Today is reveal day for the art charm exchange I'm taking part in! In addition to the fun of seeing all the charms, I want to first remind everyone that the purpose of this exchange of art charms is to raise money for a wonderful charity, called Beads of Courage. This charity uses art beads as a way to help children celebrate milestones as they travel their individual medical route. This fundraiser is the brainchild of Jen Cameron, a lampwork artist. The money is raised through an auction of the art charms made for this exchange. 

The theme for this year was Soar. Birds and feathers came to mind immediately. As I worked with the polymer clay, the turquoise and brown made me think of Native Americans. I have always admired the spiritual aspects of their culture, and that seemed fitting for this particular fundraiser.

I embellished the clay feathers with a little paint, to bring out the texture.

I painted a feather on the backs of the charms.
And finally I dressed them up with a couple of small beads that matched in color and feel.

Participating in this charm exchange includes sending eleven hand-made art charms to Jen, who then sorts and sorts and sorts, and finally sends you back a package with ten charms (1 of your own, 9 made by other participating artists). She keeps one of your charms to auction off, which is how the funds are raised to donate to Beads of Courage.  It's a lot of work for Jen, but for us --receiving that package from Jen, with 9 art charms made by wonderful jewelry artists, is like an early Christmas present :-)

So here is a collage of the art charms I received --you'll find links below to each participant's blog, so you can get a close-up look at these charms and what went into their creative process.

I'd like to encourage you to check out the auction, and bid away! Remember that all the funds raised will be donated to Beads of Courage! Last year we raised over $1000 :-)

And below are links to the blogs of all the participating artists.

2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants

Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/  <--You are here 
Jenny Davies-Reazor: http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I am feeling really sorry for my sister these days. After partially recovering from surgery for a hammer toe, she was back at work a week ago. She had to attend a day of meetings at a hotel near the local airport (she's a senior underwriter, whatever they do). After finishing up, she was walking back out to her car, in three new inches of snow, and stepped onto a metal plate in the cement. She couldn't tell it was metal instead of cement, and therefore much more slippery, and so of course she slipped. Which wouldn't have been a big deal except her heel got caught on the plate, so she went down but her leg didn't.

This happened on a Thursday, and after being evaluated at a nearby clinic, her leg was splinted until she could see a surgeon. Tuesday she finally saw the surgeon, who re-splinted the leg and scheduled her for ankle surgery this Monday. Apparently they have to rebuild her ankle, and it's a lot more complex than getting a hip replacement. There is also a fracture up near her knee, which they can't do anything about except keep the leg immobile. She'll be in a heavy cast for three weeks, and a lighter cast for six more after that. She can not leave her house for nine weeks! She can't even work from home until early December! 

All from a simple slip.

And she's single, so there isn't anyone living with her to help out. My brother (who lives in the same city) is helping, and she's got friends helping, but it's not really the same as having a spouse or room mate, who's there most of the time. I wish we didn't live so far away. Rob and I are paying to have someone come clean her house for her once a week, but that doesn't do much to help for the day-to-day.

Be careful out there!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wandering Away

Emma took her high school placement exams this morning. 

She had a weird week, what with Mon and Tues off school (teacher planning day and then Veterans Day) and then she was home Weds and Thurs because she came down with a head cold. Rob and I were at work, but I think she played a lot of guitar, and I think she watched the movie "Across the Universe" several times (because last night she made me load almost the whole Beatles catalog on my iTunes, since she has a Macbook Air and can't load music from CDs, so I have to put it on my computer, then transfer it to a flash drive (we use Sylvester: 
which I got for Rob's stocking last Christmas because he loves Looney Toons), then she can copy it to her computer and some of it to her phone --hmm, I seem to have lost track of both this sentence and my parenthesis, so I'll just put a period and closing one here.)

Anyway, she was anxious. Her school doesn't really do a lot of testing, so taking what seemed to her to be a high-stakes test made her anxious last night and this morning. And I kept thinking the test was at 8 am, when it was really at 8:30 am, so we were up a little earlier than we needed to be, which just meant more time to wait through. We listened to Revolution on the way, and I tried to get her to eat a piece of chocolate, because that's supposed to help your concentration. But she said it would be better if she wasn't throwing chocolate up at the test, and I had to agree. 

But we she got through it! After the tests, I took her to school for her first and last day this week.

Tomorrow she turns 14. And I guess next year she'll actually be in high school. Weird.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boots On The Ground

I took Emma boot-shopping a week ago. This is the first time in her life I've done this before we actually needed the boots.

Over the last several years, her choices have always been boots that went to just below her knees, with a nice rounded toe (this is important to her --she hates Uggs and their look-alikes because she says they make people's feet look big and clumsy). Each year she's worn her boots out. One year she was still having to sit on the floor at school periodically, and the suede she'd chosen got rubbed through at the toe. The next year the sole of the boot cracked, letting water in for the last month of winter. Last year the sole separated from the upper at the toe, again letting water in. You can't really find boots for sale in March, and she wasn't willing to wear other shoes, so she lived with wet feet sometimes. (Isn't it amazing that I'm allowed to be a mother?!)

This year, she had seen a pair of shorter boots on a friend, and thought she might go for that. I was hoping for something constructed well enough that it might last the whole winter.

This was my first choice as we she tried on boots:
I'm good with the combat boot look. Strong sole, solid leather upper. She did condescend to try them on.

Here was her first choice:
Yuck! Suede, so of course it wouldn't last. Weird extra piece of material around the ankle, and basically a negative heel and no tread.

We compromised.

Actual leather rather than suede, a better sole and tread, and a slightly stronger construction. I think I can count that as a win, right?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Apparently, It's Christmas

Today in Facebook land, I came across this post:


Also, this:
This is my Christmas Cactus. I got so tired of it this spring that I stuck it out on the back patio and completely ignored it. I was actually going to ditch it, but then it did this. Apparently ignoring them is the way to go.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hands Up!

This morning Emma and I stopped by the donut shop on the way to school, to celebrate the end of Daylight Savings Time (which is also known as getting up when it's light out again). We do this every once in a while, because I'm an awesome mom like that. It usually takes about 30 seconds for her to purchase a donut and come back out.

This morning the parking lot was almost empty. She went in. And she didn't come out. And she didn't come out. And she still didn't come out. 

Literally minutes later, I started wondering if maybe there was a donut-shop robbery going down, and she was trapped in there. Then I had to try to figure out whether it would be better for me to go in, or call 911. Finally, I had the bright idea to text her. I figured if she was able to read and answer the text, she was likely okay, and not lying on the floor with her hands over her head, waiting to be shot because her phone pinged with a text notification.

She texted me back "I'll tell u when I come out".

Phew. It was a close call.

By the way, here is the donut she always gets, since I'm sure you guys are dying (<--haha) to know.
Triple Chocolate Donut --beloved only by the young. The rest of us gag a bit.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Around Here

I was in line at Panera the other day when out of the blue a man (a stranger, a bit older than me) asked me who I thought was going to win the election for Governor. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I think that's a dangerous opening gambit for a conversation with a stranger.

On Friday I went swimming, and it was very different from normal Friday afternoons at the Y. Quite crowded. This would not have been a problem except that I offered to share my lane with another middle-aged woman, and she splashed just like a toddler learning to swim. It was like a tsunami each time we passed each other.

On the other hand, in the third lane, a boy (7 years old, maybe?) was having a swimming lesson. At one point he was practicing diving. The first time, he was all lined up and then just jumped in at the last minute. The next time he did it though, with that let-your-body-follow-your-head falling motion which is scary before it becomes natural. He was so psyched when he surfaced, and I shared a smile with his teacher. What a cutie.

I can now walk without a limp or cane. I get to use both hands when I do things. It's so refreshing --kind of like suddenly being ten years younger.

I cleaned the kitchen windows. Don't cringe too much, but the outside of the windows in our double-bay hadn't been cleaned since we built the addition, in 2005. I used a bunch of old hand towels, and the view is much improved. I've been on kind of a cleaning-jag. To make up for the last five years of neglect.

We're having an absolutely wonderful October. Lots of mild sunny days, and the foliage has been gorgeous. This afternoon I felt the need to hesitate as I drove up the driveway to get this photo:
And I wandered around and took a few pictures of the gardens, as they get ready to head into winter.

Aging hostas.
Some weird fruit weed.
Begonias that have made it through our frosts.

I don't want this October to end.