I'm a Darby Smart Designer!

Months and months ago, I applied to be a designer for Darby Smart.  Darby Smart, if you haven't heard of them yet, are the newest thing in DIY.  They are a mail order kit company with a fantastic array of DIY kits for all of your crafting needs.  From jewelry to house wares, they have a kit to suit your crafty needs.  

Anyway, I applied to be a designer and they asked me to design a kit for them.  I put together a trio of beaded friendship bracelets in fun, summery colors.  I was seriously addicted to making them, and ended up creating a ton of them.  The kit is now available on Darby Smarts website.  

For only $19 (and free shipping!!!) you get all the materials pictured above.  It's enough beady goodness to create the three bracelets in the pictures, as well as some left over for other projects as well.  These bracelets are perfect to keep and wear in a stack or to give away to your favorite friends.  

Don't you just love the turquoise, neon orange and gold color combo?  It's bright and fun! I can totally imagine getting together with a bunch of girl friends and making matching brackets.  If I were getting married, I would plan a bracelet making party for all of my bridesmaids.  Wouldn't that be fun? 

So click on over to Darby Smart to check out my Beaded Friendship Bracelets and all of the other fabulous kits they have available! 


Waxed Linen Blog Hop

Welcome to Diana Ptaszynski's Waxed Linen Blog Hop!!! 

I've worked with waxed linen before, it's such a great medium to work with.  For this project, I wanted to tackle a rather ambitious necklace idea I have had in my head for a while.  I purchased an large amethyst druzy nugget when I made this bracelet on Loose Ends, the blog I write for Shipwreck Beads.  

I knew I wanted to make a funky, bohemian necklace in bright, bold summer colors.  It's unlike anything I have made before.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  It's so random and creating it was a lot of fun!  My general idea was that I wanted a long three strand necklace with a tassel hanging from the stone.  

I used vintage seed beads to give it a more organic tribal feel.  I paired the seed beads with bone and shell beads and a few gemstones spread throughout.  There are a few India glass beads, some coral and a few silver beads tossed in for good measure.  I finished it off by weaving my linen through some chain to make it long enough to fit over my head with out a clasp . 

This necklace ended up being a lesson in fixing your mistakes.  Whenever Goose is working on a project that doesn't go her way, I always explain to her that mistakes happen but that we can't get upset and sometimes we just have to roll with it.  So, when I was halfway though my strand of yellow beads, and I realized that I had knotted something wrong (strung two beads, with no knot it between) it was a great opportunity to teach her that sometimes I make mistakes too.  So while I really wanted to burst into tears and throw the necklace across the room, I took a few deep breaths and moved on. 

The area that was my mistake became the center of my necklace.  I knotted the druzy pendant between my un-knotted beads.  Unfortunately, this made the left side of the strand too short.  I connected it to a silver link to make it long enough to match the other side.  While the overall necklace is pretty random, I still like there to be a certain amount of symmetry and balance.  

The end result is exactly what  I wanted! A long tribal/bohemian/ necklace that I plan on wearing all summer long!  Now, hop along to the other talented artists in the links below to see the amazing jewelry they created! 

Kelsy Vincent - you are here! 


Like Mother, Like Daughter

If you follow me on Instagram or keep up with my other blog Loose Ends, you have probably already seen this picture.  I'm going to share it here anyway, I'm just that proud of her.

I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go.  I seldom actually write in it, other than for work, but I always have it on me.  You know, just in case.  Because when I do actually have an idea or want to jot down a thought or a quote, an old crumpled receipt just won't do the trick.  It also comes in handy when we are out at a restaurant and I need something to entertain Goose.

The other night we were out to dinner and she didn't want to draw on the kiddie menu that they gave her so I handed her my notebook.  When I got it back from her, she had made this great sketch for a pair of earrings.  She said it was supposed to be a dream catcher.  I adapted her crayon drawing and made my own sketch.  You can find the full tutorial for these earrings on Loose Ends Craft Blog.

I also taught her how to make earrings a couple of weeks ago. I sat her down before hand and told her that "people pay money for mom to show them how to do what I am teaching you" and that she would need to treat it just like I was her teacher at school.  She did alright turning loops, it's a hard technique for most beginning beaders to grasp as adults, let along an 8 year old.  I also let her try the One-Step Looper tool and she loved it.  It's so easy to use!

Goose loves all manner of crafty things, just like her mama.  She loved it when I showed her the post on Loose Ends and was excited that I credited her for the design.  I can't wait to create more jewelry from her designs and to share with her all of my beading knowledge!


Easy Birthday Invites

I whipped up some easy invitations the other night for Goose's 8th birthday party.  They are ridiculously easy to make.  I used DCWV "All About Girls" mat stack in both the patterned paper and the coordinating card stock.  I used my Cricut to cut out a bunch of number eights in several patterns and then simply glued them to the front of the note cards.  Cute, easy and we (yes, I made her help me!)  were able to whip up a dozen of them in less than an hour. I can't believe she turns EIGHT on Sunday. That is absolutely ridiculous to me. Eight!? EIGHT! My baby is so big these days!


Wonky Bead Blog Hop Reveal!

So, I was supposed to post this yesterday and failed.  I had everything set up on my computer at work and then was sick.  But oh well, I guess its better late than never, right?

I received a set of 6 "wonky beads" from Kristi as part of this blog hop.  I am a big fan of her polymer clay work and she will even be doing a guest post on the Loose Ends Blog soon!  The set I picked up was a magenta set and had the 5 beads shown as well as another disk bead that I used on a different project that will be featured on the other blog.  

I really love the colors and thought that a pop of yellow would be the perfect color to compliment them.  I strung them onto a piece of yellow leather cord using some simple knots to separate them.  I really love the organic look of the beads and stuck with other natural materials.  I used carved bone beads and made a couple of tassels out of hemp cord.  There is also a small piece of blue-dyed coral in there too.

I want to thank Kristi for hosting this awesome blog hop.  It's the first beading blog hop I have ever done and it was a lot of fun! These beads are different that what I would normally choose to work with and it was great to get outside of my box a little bit! Be sure to check out the linky below and see the other fabulous participants!


Never Grow Up

Every time I look at this picture, I get a smile on my face.  Last Friday night, we went out for ice cream.  We each got a cone and I finished mine first.  Goose and her dad are the world's slowest eaters and so we went for a walk so they could finish up.  It was a beautiful night and we were down town, so we decided to walk the board walk.  Hubs decided he was finished with his, but there were no garbage cans in sight.  Somehow, Goose ended up with them both.

This picture is happiness. It's hearing the word YES instead of NO.  It's a Friday night. It's getting pushed higher and higher on the swings.  It's the result of two 15 year old kids growing up together instead of apart, falling (and staying) in love.

Today is my anniversary.  14 years ago at a church dance, Hubs and I had our first date.  If you would have asked either of us, where we thought we would be as we approached our 30th birthdays, I can promise you it wouldn't be here.  But here we are. And there she is.  And we are all very, very happy.


Copycat - Vintage Beaded Bracelet

I discovered this great blog the other day while at work.  The author, Erin Siegel is a fantastic bead artist.  I fell in love with her beaded bracelet in this post and wanted to make one of my own.

Shipwreck Beads recently (like a year ago) bought out the inventory of a store in the mid-west that was all vintage glass beads.  12 semi trucks full.  And slowly I have been hoarding different mixes and colors.  This mix is vintage Venetian glass that is probably over 100 years old.

When I saw Erin's bracelet, I immediately knew that I wanted to use my own vintage seed beads to re-create it.

It's 6 strands, strung on Irish Waxed Linen (another item I bought ages ago and never did anything with) and a vintage button from my stash.  It was SO EASY to make, I think I may whip up a few more tonight.  I seem to buy a lot of seed beads, the colors are so intoxicating, but I never actually make anything with them.


The Social Media Intern

Have you seen this commercial? If you watch *any* TV, then I am sure you have.  And so have all of my co-workers.  They (and my husband) think its hilarious to tease me about my job.  But you see, my title is SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR. Its much more official than INTERN.  I actually get paid.

It probably doesn't help my case that since changing positions I can actually wear cute dresses again.  Working in the shipping department, packing beads and lugging boxes, didn't really work out well in a dress.  Believe me, I tried.  And it also doesn't help that, today anyway, I am wearing my hair in a top knot that is nearly identical to intern in the video.

At least I can laugh at myself. Oh, and I know how to make copies!



Me and my super cute grandma who was telling me all about her favorite Japanese boy band. 

My dad and Goose. She lovingly calls him "Goo-Goo."

My new coffee maker. The mug I got on our recent trip to Disneyland! 

We went to a wedding out of town this weekend and had to take my sisters along for the ride. Despite being cramped in my tiny car, there was only minimal bickering!

Goose and Emmy at the top of the pass. Look! Snow!

My three little ladies on the farm.

My brother-in-law, mother-in-law and Hubs.

My husband makes me laugh. And make weird faces.  See my necklace? Check out Loose Ends to find out how to make it!

Me, at the wedding, with the light just right.

And that about sums up my weekend!


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Moving On

Just today, as I was talking to Goose, she told me that every night she has nightmares about fires.  She has said things in the past, but I guess I never really put it together.  I still have nightmares about the fire.  It's been almost two years (May 24) and it suddenly hit me that we aren't even close to being "over it."

I know I said I was grateful.  After the fire I felt so profound and overwhelmed at the outcome of the events but the reality is that it completely crushed my family.  I feel like only very recently we are finally coming out of the fog (or smoke, if you will.)

While I was thankful and incredibly blessed to have come through things as we did, I was still completely lost.  We were all safe even though all our stuff was lost.  But it was more than our "stuff" that was lost.  I lost a sense of security, a sense of permanence.   Apparently, so did Goose.  Sure I was grateful, but then what?  There was and is so much rebuilding to do and I finally feel ready. 

The past two years have felt like a blur.  I have been living.  I have been getting by.  I have been existing.  But never moving forward.  And I don't know what it is but I finally feel ready to let go.  To let go of all of the things I lost.  The things we did manage to box up and move have just sat in boxes for the last 21 months.  Our house felt nothing like a home.  While I had things to hang on the wall, they sat covered in dust in the garage.  Our windows sat without curtains.  In the back of my head I thought, "Why bother? It will all burn to the ground?"

In the last few weeks though, both my husband and I have felt the change.  I can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but we are finally ready to let go and move on.  I bought a new lamp and some curtains.  The kitchen looks welcoming.  The living room looks more cozy everyday.  I finally feel like this is a place I can stay...

And yet, I forgot to think of how any of this has effected my daughter.  She was only 4 when the fire happened and I took for granted the fear in her heart.  I pushed her fears out of my mind, as there was no room for anyone's fears but my own.  However today she told me that every night... Every night she has bad dreams about the bad people burning our house down with a match.  It breaks my heart to think that while I was working so hard to deny my fears, here she was, living hers.  I wasn't ready to accept that the trauma from the fire was still impacting me today, how could I possibly see that it could mean to anyone else.  But...

I am finally ready to deal with it.  To move on.  To accept that it happened and we are coming out better for it.  I can imagine what you are all thinking, "How bad could it be?"  Not that bad, right?  I mean, we survived, as did most of our stuff. 

I wrote the top half of this post over a year ago.  Re-reading it today, I'm stunned.  So much has changed in the past year and yet still, not much progress has been made.  Most days, I feel like I am treading water.  But I suppose I am moving forward, ever so slowly, at a snails pace.

I have a new job. And its sort of my dream job in fact.  I am working at Shipwreck Beads and at the beginning of April, I moved from the shipping department to a brand new position that was created for me.  Thats right, I am now the Social Media Coordinator. I am writing our blog, Loose Ends.  I also manage our Facebook and Pinterest and other online accounts.  Every single day I am stunned that I am actually getting paid to do this.  I get to bead and put together tutorials.  Its almost unreal.

Blogging for the store makes me realize how much I miss blogging for myself.  I miss writing and sharing. Being introspective and sharing parts of myself I have completely neglected.  So here I am, moving forward. Progress will be made. I'm committed to being a better person. A better mother. A better blogger.  Pretty much just a better me.  It feels good to be back. Although, I suppose I never really left.


Kindergarten Valentines

Using this picture via Pinterest as inspiration, Goose and I created these Valentines for her Kindergarten class.  We traced her hand to make a template and cut them out.  She wrote all the names of her class mates by hand.  When we finished, we taped a sucker to the back.  I'm so happy with the way they turned out!

(Note: I'm not going to give a formal "HELLO! I'M BACK" post.  I really don't want to jinx my progress.  I'm just going to post when I feel like and see how it goes.)

(PPS: I'm on Pinterest. I'm on Pinterest a lot.)


Beautiful. (Yes. You are.)

I haven't posted in a while. It's been really hard for me.  I just don't know what to say.  Especially after this post, where I talk about body image and being comfortable with how I look.  But that was before I gained 30 pounds. 

I'd like to sit here and tell you all that I love my body.  That I'm proud of how I look but I can't.  I hate it.  I'm ashamed.  I absolutely hate how I look. 

I haven't taken any outfit pics lately.  Nothing I own fits.  And if it did, I wouldn't be able to see past my double chin.  Or my flabby arms.  Or the extra 10lbs that the camera adds.  But... I'm trying.  I'm learning. 

So here are some blogs I have been visiting lately.  And the funny thing is that I look at all these women and think about how beautiful they are.  I wish I could look at myself and feel the same way. 

Curve Appeal

Curvy & Wholesome

The Curvy Model

F*$k Yeah Curvy Fashion

Beautiful and Strong Women

PS- One plus of gaining weight = boobs!


Wordless Wednesday

Went to a wedding, hung out with these boys. 

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