Aug 28, 2014

Playing with Pearls!

I managed to squeeze in some design time over the last couple of weekends and I created several simple, yet fun necklaces and a few pairs of earrings as well. 

Of course there's pearls in just about every design, but I did manage to sneak in some gemstones as well.   

These are all available over in my 

 I hope everyone here in the U.S. has a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend

Catch you all next week!! 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Creative Fun! 

Aug 23, 2014

Every One's Online These Days,....

It's week 34 and the prompt this week for the August theme of "Outside" for the Focus on Life weekly photography challenge is:

"About The Ground"

Sally prompted us to "draw your focus about the ground; you may be surprised at what you find!"

I found this little guy sitting on the ground over in our neighbor's yard, just pecking away at his computer.

Can you believe it?!  

Seems like every one's online these days,....

I wonder what all the other participants found while looking about the ground this week?

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Looking About The Ground!

Aug 22, 2014

Being a Little Knotty!

Last week I mentioned how Pattye over at Patricia Saab Designs on Etsy was nice enough to send me some Beader's Secret Thread to try out and I managed to sneak in a little "Knotty-Time" this weekend and wanted to give you all an update.

Click here to read the post from last week where I showed you the samples she sent and the photo of all the beautiful colors of Beader's Secret thread she offers in her shop. 

Pattye sent along a couple of large eye needles for me too, since this nylon cord works best for knotting pearls when it's doubled over. 

With the exception of the three larger pearls in the front of the necklace, I went with a rather 'random' pattern here because,...well, basically because they were mostly mismatched pearls from various strands I've used through the years. Orphans, if you will. LOL!! And, the 'Shell' color of the Beader's Secret cord matched up perfectly, so I just went with it.

When I work with thread that's doubled over, I like to condition it with a product like Thread Heaven because it makes it a bit more manageable for me.

I decided to do a simple, 17 inch hand knotted necklace using my tweezers. Half way through the process I converted to knotting with out tweezers. Or tool-less. I didn't get any photos of that process, but here's a great video from 'Pearlmaven' over on You Tube that shows you exactly how I knotted the remaining strand. I actually do it 'mirrored' to the way she does it. So, holding the pearls with my right hand and letting my left hand do the other 'stuff'. You'll see what I mean when you watch the video. 

The Beader's Secret thread was easy to 'stretch' prior to stringing my pearls on the cord to be knotted and it didn't seem to kink up or twist as much as other nylon cords (SuperLon or C-Lon) I use. 

I really liked the way the Beader's Secret thread knotted, too. It was soft and very supple, just like silk, and made neat, little knots. 

I can see myself suggesting this as an alternative to silk for my clients who wish me to restring their vintage or family heirloom pearls.  

 So, overall, I'd have to say that for traditional knotting, it's a winner!

Thanks again Pattye for introducing me to Beader's Secret, I like it!

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and New Knotty Fun!

*And no, Pattye didn't pay me to write this review or anything like that. If you read the post I where I mentioned all this last week, you'll know that I convo'd her over on Etsy with about a dozen questions and she just said, "Here Shelly, let me send you a sample and you can see for yourself!" 
What a sweetie!
Great customer service, wouldn't you say?!! 

Aug 19, 2014

Look What I Got!

Can you see what I'm sportin' in this photo?

It's back on my finger and oh, so beautiful!!

Yep!  It's my 20th Anniversary Ring!  

 I'm wearing it a bit early, as our 20th anniversary isn't until Mid-September, but I just couldn't resist! 

So, here it is. 

All shiny and beautiful with a super awesome 
black diamond!! 

I couldn't be happier!

In the post where I mentioned getting my ring and how I sent it back because the diamond was brown (a very beautiful brown, too!!) instead of black, I told you how wonderful the folks over at Todd Reed in Boulder, CO were and how their customer service was just top notch

Well, that's so true.

You can read that post - HERE - and also see the photos they sent me of my ring being created. It was super sweet of them to send the photos and what a cool memento for me to keep with my certificate of authenticity!

Oh, and speaking of their exceptional customer service, check out the fabulous ceramic bird they included in the package with my ring.  Isn't she beautiful?

It's from a local Boulder artist named Caroline Douglas.

Her work is just lovely!!

They told me they send each of their customers a piece of art from a local artist. 

How cool is that?!!

Yep - the folks over at Todd Reed really know how to impress. 

I told you I would share the little drawing I sent them showing how I wanted my custom ring created.

Yep. They did an amazing job!

From that scary little sketch of mine to this fabulous ring. 

Now that's what I call 'vision'.

I love my ring. 

It goes with everything, is probably the most comfortable ring I've ever had, fits perfectly and is so pretty I can't stop staring at it! 

As you can see, it's perfectly 'me'.  

Except, several of my friends were shocked that I didn't get a ring with a pearl in it. 

So, let me explain. Since this is a ring I will be wearing all the time and rarely, if ever, take off, then I couldn't have a pearl because I shouldn't be showering, doing dishes, cleaning my house, playing in the pool or ocean and all that kind of stuff with a pearl ring on.  I don't have the discipline to take it off for all those things, nor the memory to put it back on each time and all that water and those possible chemicals are not good for a pearl's delicate and oh so beautiful nacre. 

It would dull the luster, and we can't have any of that!

So I guess that means I'll just have to get a Todd Reed pearl creation next, know something to wear only on special occasions, like lounging around the house while watching zombie movies, decked out in my comfy clothes. With my hands nowhere near water or chemicals. 

Unless of course, a glass of wine would count as a chemical! LOL!!

I want to give a special "Thank You" to all the folks over at Todd Reed for their exceptional customer service and their awesome design and fabrication skills - you guys ROCK!!  

Until Next Time, 
Peace, Love and Raw Happiness!

Oh, and Michael, you did good honey!
It's exactly what I wanted for our 20th!! 

Aug 16, 2014

The View Above

For week 33 of the Focus on Life:2014 Weekly Photography Challenge, Sally prompted us with "The View of Above" during our August theme of "Outside". 

"Change your photo taking perspective, look up!  Looking up is one of the simple exercises in focusing on your surroundings.  This day in age with all the wonderful modern technology we tend to miss things going on around us because we are simply not looking up.   This week take a glance up at the world around and see what you may have been missing."

Here was my view one morning this week. 

It really did look like pink cotton candy. 

Let's go see what everyone else captured in their "View Above" this week.

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Above The Clouds!

Aug 14, 2014

Fun Cords!

Hey all, I ran across a couple of great products recently and wanted to do a little shout out today.

I'm always on the search for different types of pearl stringing materials, and although I can't remember exactly how I came upon her shop, Patricia over at Patricia Saab Designs on Etsy had what's called Beader's Secret Thread that's said to be more durable than silk (it's polyester), comes in an array of colors and is perfect for knotting pearls.

Well I just had to try this out, so I messaged Patricia - who happens to be a fellow GIA Pearl Girl!! - and asked some questions in regards to the size of the thread compared to the Griffin silk sizes and she messaged me back quickly. 

I can be rather long winded at times (ya think?!) but she was super sweet at answering all my questions as best she could and even offered to send me a sample of some Beader's Secret Thread along with a color chart showing the variety that she carries in her shop. (how's that for customer service, right?!!)

So, in a flash, there it was in my mail box this week.  
What a sweetie! 

It's a very thin, dainty thread, comparable to a size 1 in Griffin Silk and to the micro-fine size of both C-Lon and SuperLon cords and just a smidge larger than size '0' silk cord by the Bead Smith. It's soft and very supple, just like silk, which is exciting. And, since it's a synthetic, it shouldn't fade or stretch as much as 100% silk either. (that's a plus!)

Patricia even sent me two large-hole beading needles, because she tells me you should knot with it doubled over.

Now, I haven't gotten the chance to get my pearls out and do any knotting yet, hopefully that will happen this weekend, but I'll let you know when I do and how I like it.

I suggest you hop on over to Etsy and check out Patricia's store. You should see the lovely jewelry designs she has - stunning!!  And the pearls she has for sale - WOW!  I'm in love with these,....

Patricia Saab Designs

And wait until you see all the lovely colors of Beader's Secret Thread she has available - it'll make you smile!


I'm sure you've all heard me mention how I love the waxed jewelry cord that Sandra over at The Knotty-Do-It-All carries (it's great for knotting gemstones and some of my large hole pearls!) and how I love both my large and smaller Knotty-Do-It-All boards, so when I saw that Sandra was carrying some 'Tassel Cord', well, of course I had to order some and try it out. 

I failed to get a photo of the tassel (duh!) that I completed, but the cord feels great and it works up into tassels that have that 'swing' you want a tassel to have. (yes!)

Tassel Cord from The Knotty-Do-It-All

I got quite a few colors, but I might have to go back for more - they're all so yummy!! 

So, if you're making tassel necklaces (like, who isn't these days?!) and stocking up on things you'll need for the 'holiday times' then you're gonna want to grab up some of these spools so you'll have them. 

Oh, here's my little 'disclaimer'.  
"No one paid me to do these reviews or asked me to do them or anything. I did these reviews of my own free will and spoke completely freely about my feelings regarding the products I mentioned here today, okay?"

Okay folks, that's it for today. 
Everyone have a great weekend. 

Come back over on Saturday and see what everyone who participates in Sally Russick's Focus on Life Weekly Photography Challenge has snapped if you can. 

 There's always awesome shots taken by the people who participate each week!

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love and Creating with Soft, Colorful Cords!


Aug 8, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air!

Our topic for August for the Focus On Life: 2014 Weekly Photography Challenge is
and for week 32 Sally prompted us with
 'Fresh Air'
and told us to "Spend a little time taking a deep breath of fresh air, feeling the sun or the rain on your face!"

Here's the 'rain on my face' while sitting up at the very top of the tree house the day before we left the cabin.

You can't see the drops coming down through the trees, but it was heaven for sure!! 

The View From The Top of the Tree House!

Now, let's see what 'Fresh Air' everyone else captured!

Until Next Time,
 Peace, Love and Breathing Fresh Air!

Aug 2, 2014

Outside the Box

It's August!  (Already!?!)  

Our topic for the month of August for the
Weekly Photography Challenge is "Outside".

This is week 31 and our prompt is 
"Outside The Box".

Sally didn't technically give us any rules for this one and it could be a play on words or it could be literally "Outside the box",  so today I'm going to share a photo I took back on Mother's Day while down at my sis's house.  

We usually take a photo of all the cousins when we get together, but this Mother's Day only Logan and Chad were actually there and so we tried to skype with all the other kiddos who live out of state or who couldn't make it that day.

My nephew had moved to Florida earlier this year and as the boys were standing around the t.v. chatting with Preston, I said, "Boys, squat down in front of the t.v. so I can get a photo of all three of you together."

"Seriously?", was what I think both of them said at the same time.

"Yes, Seriously. How else am I gonna get a photo of all three of you today?"

And if you look really closely, you can see my bro-in-law's face in the little square to the bottom left of the t.v. as he was on the computer skyping with them! LOL!!

So, Preston's actually 'in' the box,...not out of it. 

I'm pretty sure no one else with find this as odd funny as we all did, but I think it's pretty much an 'out of the box' way to take a photo.

What do you think?! 

Catch all the "Out of the Box" pics everyone else has captured and posted today, won't you?

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Snappin' "Out of the Box" !!

Aug 1, 2014

Now THAT'S Customer Service!

After my last post, here, I had people telling me how they couldn't wait for me to reveal my 20th Anniversary Ring custom made by the wonderful folks over at Todd Reed.

Oh the excitement of waiting for this to arrive!!

I had a nice blog post all worked out where I would tell you how the whole thing got started - here - and how the conversations back and forth with Miranda W. over at the Todd Reed Studio in Boulder, Colorado have been fantastic and I would show you the photos of the 'work in progress' they sent me and then I would reveal 'said beauty'.

Well, it all happened just as mentioned,...with one tiny little blip. 

I say tiny because my ring isn't the most extravagant, nor the most expensive.  It's rather small in comparison to the amazing and super luxurious pieces put out by the team over at Todd Reed.

But the coolest thing is, that doesn't seem to matter.  At least that's how they are making me feel, because the level of customer service I've received from them has been absolutely wonderful!

Definitely Top Notch!

So, here's the scoop!

I had selected what looked like a black diamond for the main stone of my ring (even Miranda and Jennifer over at the TR studio thought it looked black in the photos).

See, that middle one does look black, doesn't it?

But, when I opened the fed ex package and saw the certificate with the description of my ring, it said, 'brown diamond'.  And I immediately thought, "Oh, I hope it's so dark that it looks black" (I'm not really a 'chocolate-colored diamond' kind of girl).

I opened the lovely box (Their packaging is really amazing!!) and, was a brown diamond. A very beautiful, brown diamond too, I might add. Simply beautiful. But brown.

Okay - So here's a little sneak peak!

My heart sank just a smidge because I had wanted black. 

Like a dark, super shiny, black.

So, I picked up the phone, called the team over at TR, and a very nice person by the name of Jennifer answered. 

Her response when I told her what had happened put my heart right back where it belonged!  She said, "Not a problem at all Michelle. I will email you a fed ex label for you to send it back to us and we'll replace the brown diamond with a black one. We want you to be completely happy with your ring."

With the exception; once I tried the ring on I did not want to take it off!  It was like sliding butter on my finger - so smooth and perfect in every way.  It felt amazing!

But, the diamond wasn't going to just insert itself into my ring, so back in the lovely box it went.

The other day my ring arrived via Fed Ex in Boulder and the wonderful folks over at Todd Reed will be adding a black diamond for me very soon.  

See what I mean?

 Excellent customer service!

(I know a few companies who could take cue from these folks!!) 

In the meantime, here's a little sneak peak of the pics they sent me of my ring being created.

It does kinda look brown in the top right corner; but black in the bottom right one.

I understand that a young man by the name of Chapin is the one in the photo working on my ring.  (Thank you!)

They sent the photos to me in a printed out sheet instead of in digital format, which is very nice because I can keep it with my certificate of authenticity - pretty cool, eh?! 
And yes, I will reveal the actual ring, complete with some close up pics that I will take, once it arrives back here to me. 

Plus, I'll share the sketch I sent them of how I wanted my stones placed/arranged and the super cool little 'gift' they enclose with their packages, too. 

It's funny, because I'm sure most people don't get this excited over their wedding anniversary bands or for that matter even their actual engagement or wedding rings, but I'm a bit of a drama queen when it comes to jewelry that I love, you'll just have to bear with me! 

Thanks in advance! :-) 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Waiting to Really Gush!!

Jul 26, 2014

Focus on Life 2014 - Weeks 29 and 30

I missed last week, which was week 29 of the Focus on Life:2014 Weekly Photography Challenge and this is now week 30, so I'm going to play a little catch up here today.

Our Focus for July is "Celebrate" and for week 29 our prompt was to 'Celebrate Sweetness'. 

I had a photo of my son who, after falling asleep on the floor one afternoon (gotta love summer afternoons!), looked so sweet. I'm sure you've all heard me mention at least a million times how much he dislikes having his photo taken (or posted); even while he sleeps, apparently. 

So, I decided to play nicely with him and instead post this pic of Kiki totally photo bombing Coco in his moment of 'showing off' for the camera!  These two can really be the epitome of 'sweetness' when they want to be!

For week 30, our last week of July, Sally over at The Studio Sublime, prompted us with "Celebrate YOU!" And we are to celebrate ourselves by capturing a moment in our lives. 

We've all said many times over how these prompts Sally gives us ever so strangely, yet sweetly, coincide with what's going on in our lives at the moment. 

This week's prompt was no exception.

Thursday I received this:

It's from the wonderful folks over at the Todd Reed Jewelry Studio in Boulder, Colorado. 

Yep, this box holds the fabulous custom ring my hubby is gifting me for our 20th Wedding Anniversary coming up here in September. (He and our good friend, Steve, are designing his anniversary band.)

The anticipation of waiting for this to arrive on Thursday afternoon, was just 'over-the-top'! 

Having a Todd Reed piece is something I've dreamed about since I saw my first photo of one of his rings in a Modern Jeweler Magazine back in 2006. 

Todd Reed Ring -

No, that one isn't mine! ;-)

I never dreamed that I would actually get to help design the piece of Todd Reed jewelry that I would one day own.  But I did - and what an experience it has been. 

And now, here it is, my hands!

I am so very ready to Celebrate this amazing, much anticipated and dreamed of moment, in my life!

Join me back here in a few days as I take you on a little journey of this ring in the making (complete with photos from inside the TR studio in Boulder!) and show you what's inside the box!

Until then, please hop on over to all the participant's blogs below and see how they captured a moment in time, celebrating their lives! 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Life's Celebrations!