Friday, August 31, 2007


I'm almost finished with a random book I picked up from the free pile at Zack's preschool, and I have been pleasantly surprised and interested by it! "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon is about a women in 1945 who, while on a vacation in the Scottish highlands with her husband, walks between two cairn stones (think, mini-Stonehenge) and disappears, coming out in 1743. I'm not much of a romance novel person, and this really isn't a traditional romance at ALL, but a historical fiction novel with some REALLY good, very well-written love scenes in it. Seriously, it's a fascinating read, and I recommend it. Oh, and I just realized it's a series, so YAY. More books!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My designs are up on Fire Mountain Gems

If you're interested, I have four simple designs on Fire Mountain Gems (click to get there). The top two were finalists in the most recent contest, and the two with the pottery shard pendants were from the year before that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I love stat counters

I just got a new statistic counter and it's amazing the things I'm finding. There are all these anonymizers out there, like, that are supposed to cloak your IP address -- they don't always! Very interesting stuff. I even got my friend Jen (friend-from-grade-school-Jen, as opposed to the four other Jens I'm friends with) hooked on checking stats. Lots of ways to improve search engine hits and things like that.

Eye Candy

Thought I'd show you some of the things that sold at the show last weekend, things that never made it to the web site. I hope that you can make it to a show sometime, because I have SO many more things than are on the web site. I just don't have time to upload them all. For instance, I usually have between 200 and 300 pairs of earrings alone!

Anyway, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A few things I love

Sometimes there are simple things in life that just give you inordinate amounts of pleasure. Here are a couple that are recent finds of mine:

Glaceau Vitamin Water, specifically the "b-relaxed" jackfruit-guava water. I have been a long-time fan of Vitamin Water ever since I found it at Whole Foods what seems like ages ago. They've come out with some new flavors that are big favs, like the jackfruit-guava, and the blueberry-pomegranate. Yum. I've been trying to get off of soda (specifically, Diet Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper, which might as well be crack for as addictive as it's been to me) and these waters have been awesome. Cheaper and fewer calories than Starbucks, too!

Birkenstocks on QVC. I can't believe I've actually bought something off QVC - at least it was the web site and not from my watching hours of it on TV! But last year I admired a friend's sandals and she said she got them on QVC, so I went looking, and discovered the COOLEST prints that apparently Birks does just for QVC. The pair I bought last year have gotten a zillion comments, and I just ordered the ones pictured here. FUN. And heaven on my feet, which have just been ruined from too many years of dancing in high heels and way to much step aerobics.
So what are some of your simple pleasures? Click the comments section, I'd love to hear!

Monday, August 27, 2007


OK, I've been reading, so time for reviews!

I love Janet Evanovich, so was thrilled to read "Lean Mean Thirteen". Funny stuff! I love Stephanie Plum, Ranger sounds divine (I'm on the Ranger team, sorry, Morelli), and I laughed so hard at the exploding taxidermy that I was afraid I'd wake up my sleeping husband. A must-read for fun!

On the other side of the spectrum, I read a non-fiction book called "Jewels: A Secret History" by Victoria Finlay. My friend Allegra recommended this book, and I'm glad I read it. Each chapter is dedicated to one gemstone -- jet, pearl, opal, peridot, emerald, sapphire, ruby, amber, and diamond. She travels extensively to discover more about the origins of the stones, how they are mined, the fears that many have about synthetic gemstones, and lots of interesting trivia. I learned a ton of things -- there are river pearls in England; how the De Beers campaign keeps changing to keep people buying diamonds (which aren't at all rare); how amber was created; it's a fascinating read, with lots of photos and drawings.

The other day, when I dropped Zack off at preschool, I saw a sign that said "Free Books in the Lounge" so of course I had to go look. I came out with a healthy stack of books, and Lisa Gardner's "The Killing Hour". I love murder mysteries with serial killers (must be why I wanted to do something in forensic science with a medical degree) and this was a quick read because I couldn't put it down. It's about a killer who always abducts people in twos -- one acts as a map containing all the clues for where to find the second one. A real page-turner!

I've been tagged!

My friend Jen tagged me -- here are the rules as they've been explained to me:

The rules:

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name.

3. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

4. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

SO! My middle name is very short, ANN. My mom's middle name is Annette, so I don't know if she made mine Ann because of that.

A -- artistic, something I strive to be (not sure I always hit the mark, but I try)
N -- night, which is when I do most of my work
N -- normal, which is what my life has become -- nice and wonderfully normal

Now who to tag?

Amber, because she makes some of the coolest things
Kerry, who I don't know personally but whose blog is cool and whose beads and jewelry I admire
And Bob, who was my instructor at Goodfellow when I was in the Air Force and who saw potential when I didn't

Back from Pennsylvania

We spent the weekend in Pennsylvania, where once again I exhibited at the Shippensburg Corn Festival. This is a one-day show in a rural town, and I always have done well there. We started setting up at 5am, and by 7am, the streets were full of people who said they came early (the show "officially" starts at 8am) to beat the heat. By noon, I'd made almost all my sales, because the heat got in the upper 90's (if not more so on the asphalt) and people just were wilted. I spent the entire show soaking a hand towel in ice water and wearing it around my neck, and on a couple of occasions, I just gave up and stuck my feet in the ice, but whatever it takes to stay cool! The show ended at 5pm and I was never so happy to get a cold shower -- and cold it was, not even a HINT of hot water.

It was well worth dealing with heat, because sales rocked. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Zack's Swim Lessons

Unfortunately, this is the only photo that turned out so far – the lessons are indoor at the “warm pool” so it’s hot and steamy in there and I guess my lens fogged up.

Zack has his head back because Mr. Don was trying to teach them how to float on their backs, and told them to tilt their heads back. That day, he thought as long as his head was tipped back, he was swimming on his back – but what he was actually doing was treading water/swimming (he’s still “swimming” more upright than flat) with his head back the whole time. It was really funny and I didn’t have the heart to tell him how to do it the “right” way – he was having too much fun. Today, however, he did even better, got his legs up and now has NO problem dunking underwater.

Check out these COOL Halloween beads!

I just love Melanie's work, have bought quite a bit of it (just WAIT until you see the Santa Frog this Christmas -- I bought it last year and have been hoarding it -- but I digress.....). Here's the link to her current buyables:

If you have any beads that you just love, I'll be happy to work with you to design a cool piece of jewelry for you!

You can see my work at

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I've got an office jewelry party tomorrow and then an art/craft show on Saturday, so I'm not updating the web site for a bit, but here are some things I just took photos of -- if you are interested in something, email me and let me know!

Zack and Rick -- Game on!

Playing Ants in Your Pants – he has the flash light in his hand because they were supposed to take them to school today (to tell stories around the “campfire”) and he discovered how much fun it was to play with Max with it, by shining the light all over the floor. You’ll also notice one of my little tins that he took off with – I had to make sure I emptied it of jump rings, because he came to me all concerned and “interested” the other day with two tins full of rings, wanting to mix them. Yikes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Adventure Day

Today was overcast and off-and-on rainy, so Zack and I decided he could skip school today and we'd go on an Adventure. Our adventure wasn't all that exciting, I guess, but it involved a stop at Toys R Us, so it rocked!

First stop was Toys R Us for a new game. Zack and I have been playing the heck out of Go Fish, and we (read, I) decided we needed a new game. Zack chose "Ants in Your Pants" -- the Sponge Bob Edition. Since when did it get so HARD to find a regular toy that didn't have the price jacked up because it featured a licensed character? I can't even tell you how many Sponge Bob, Dora, and Simpsons editions of things there were on the shelves. Once we got home and started playing the game, we BOTH found out how hard it is to actually get those buggers into the pants, but it was fun flicking them at each other.

After Toys R Us, we went to a huge outlet mall, Arundel Mills, another 20 miles away. I say "outlet" in the loosest sense of the word. There are outlet editions of stores there, but there are more than a few regular stores, too. Nevermind, it has a Starbucks (first stop) and Bass Pro Shop (for seeing the huge fish tank) and one lap around the mall is exactly one mile, so we got some exercise. Zack happily acquired some new school clothes -- he honestly loves getting clothes and has serious opinions about what he likes.

Got home in time for a game of A in the P and then off to swim lessons, where he managed to completely submerge himself without getting a snoot-full.

Updated the web site a bit -- here are some things that haven't made it up there yet:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nice day out!

Yesterday I went to Intergem to shop for beads -- all I can say is, does the Dulles Expo Center NOT believe in air conditioning? Everyone was positively wilting. Beyond wilting. Melting. I got some tools and some nice things but thank goodness I didn't need much, because it was hideous in there.

Yesterday was also a good day for Zack -- he ate watermelon for the first time and had a great time at his class picnic/party. The summer day care/preschool has been SO good for him.

Today Rick, Zack, and I went for a drive. First stop was Tilghman Island, about 30 miles from here, looking for a place to put in kayaks (for a later date). We discovered that the area is very boat friendly, but not such a great place for kayaks. Next, we stopped in St. Michaels to buy Rick's favorite peppermint soap (which Zack has since stolen for his own). Then, we decided to drive to Oxford to look at houses we're interested in.

Along the way, we saw the sign for the Oxford/Bellvue Ferry, so we went that way, thinking we'd end up in Oxford. We didn't, we ended up in Bellevue, and lucky us, we got there five minutes before the ferry was leaving, and we were the last car on the boat. I've always wanted to ride the ferry, kept intending to take Zack on it, so we yay!

The ferry is said to be the oldest privately owned ferry in the nation. Zack was enthralled and thought it was the coolest thing in a long time. The trip didn't take long at all but was well worth it.

We then drove into Oxford, a tiny town that is just amazing, although the (very small) downtown is situated on a little spit of land that could be in a heap of trouble if hit by a hurricane -- you can see water on either side of the road. We've been looking at the houses in Cooke's Hope for future plans, but the prices are rapidly going up and up as they continue to build on the land (it used to be a huge farm). Lot prices in the new area are going for $200K, and that's just the LAND. It's a LOT of land but still. The one established neighborhood we went through, we just love, and we're keeping our eyes on it -- but then, there are a LOT of places we'd be happy in. We're happy where we are just because we're together, you know?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm going to be in a book!

I am so excited! I just got notified today that the tutorial I had in the March 2007 Beadstyle magazine was selected to appear in the book "Easy Beading Volume 4", published by Kalmbach Books. TOTALLY tickled pink about that! The book is due out in the spring.

Heading to a bead show tomorrow -- I don't really NEED anything other than some pearls, but I'm sure I'll come home with some treasures.

In the meantime, here is some jewelry I've made recently:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back from New Jersey!

This past weekend was the Collingswood Art and Craft Show, and it was a great experience. It was hot as hell on Sunday, but Saturday was a really nice day with a ton of traffic.

I have to give a big shout-out and thank you to Mikey at Groove Ground -- once again, they took terrific care of me, keeping me hydrated and fed, and bringing out dinosaur toys for Zack when we were setting up. If you're in the area, go in and have a terrific breakfast, cup of coffee, or sandwich -- they're amazing! And they're even franchising, so if you're interested in a great business opportunity, give Mikey a call.

I'm playing catch-up and preparing for an office show AND a weekend craft show next week, so it's hopping here at the house. I have so many pieces that I would love to get on the web site but TIME, where does it GO?

Zack -- what's he been up to? Well, he started another round of swim lessons today, this time at the YMCA indoor pool. He looks adorable in his goggles and I'll have to take the camera in next time. Poor little guy got completely exhausted today, though.

Friday I'm heading to Chantilly to buy beads at Intergem with a friend of mine who I've gotten hooked on chain maille. I'm telling you, making jewelry is addicting! I'm so lucky to be doing something I love.

Thanks to everyone who came out this weekend and made the show a smashing success!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hollywood Animal

The latest book I'm reading is "Hollywood Animal: A Memoir" by Joe Eszterhas. It's Joe's account of what it was like being a screenwriter in Hollywood, and let me just say, I'm glad I never was the least bit interested in that scene -- it will eat you alive. It's an interesting autobiography -- sometimes scathing, sometimes self-deprecating, but always very interesting.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More jewelry to look at!

I've been fighting an awful migraine today, possibly from the hellish HEAT we're having, partly from not eating dinner last night, who knows... but I just got out of bed a few hours ago.

I have a show in Collingswood, NJ this weekend and am keeping my fingers crossed about the weather. Anyway, here are some things you'll see there, if you go:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Children's books make great reading!

Well, I FINALLY finished Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It was a good book, but a very serious, very LONG book, so I decided to let my mind take a break by reading these fun books yesterday. And I discovered that some of them just read TOTALLY different when you're an adult:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl -- I didn't realize I'd never read the Great Glass Elevator! Very fun, with outerspace creatures and get-young-quick vitamins.

Stuart Little by E.B. White -- another book I don't think I'd ever read before, or maybe it was just so long ago that I'd totally forgotten it. Mildly disturbing that the mom gave birth to a mouse (I know, we're not supposed to think about that, suspension of belief, etc) and Stuart was a brat about the canoe, but there you go. I read it.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll -- somewhere I vaguely remember reading the Carroll was high when he wrote this? If he wasn't, I'm impressed. The book I have is old, was actually published in the 40's.

I'm almost done with Peter Pan, the original one, by James Barrie. Again, a little disturbing at first -- the parents have conversations about whether or not they can afford to keep their kids when they're born! I wonder if that provoked any sort of interesting conversations with Mother and Father in 1911.

A book I need to track down is Miss Hickory by Carolyn Bailey -- I remember liking this one as a kid, too, but I don't own it. All the ones above, I started collecting way before Zack was even thought of.

I'm curious if there are any of you out there who still pick up and read a kid's book now and then?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Some jewelry I got photographed today:

If you're interested in anything, send me an email! Or visit my jewelry web site,

New Ring Setting

I am sooooo happy with my new rings! Rick got me an amazing solitaire diamond engagement ring set in platinum back in 2000. We just got it reset by Berj Kouyoumjian, who exhibits at the International Gem and Jewelry shows all over the nation. If you can visit one of those shows, look him up -- his work is amazing. He reset the diamond and created a matching band.
I won't give up my original platinum wedding band, so I wear them together. I love the side view of the ring -- I love how from the top, it looks traditional, but from the side, it looks architectural.

One thing is for certain, Rick really knows his jewelry.

Friday, August 03, 2007


With the tragic collapse of the bridge in Minnesota, there's been a lot of talk locally about OUR big bridge, the Bay Bridge.

The west-bound span has three lanes, and the east-bound span has two. The one that has three lanes switches to two-way traffic during rush hour, which after the hellacious wreck they had this year when a trailer detached from a car, I no longer will drive.

You can read more about it by clicking here.

I've been more concerned about the huge barges hitting it more so than it just randomly falling, but now I'm just not liking it at ALL. Rick drives over it and back every day for work. I regularly drive over it as well. It's nearly 5 miles long, and it took me a long time after we moved here to not just have a panic attack going over it.

We won't even TALK about tunnels.