Labor Day Blues

I’m not going to lie.  I never cared much for Labor Day.  And it’s silly – it’s supposed to be a holiday to honor folks like me – people that work.  How nice that people who work hard everyday have a holiday to honor all that we do.
gal-foliage-15-jpg
Summer is by far my favorite season of the year.  It is everything water in the Northeast.  Everything that is associated with water in our area is closed after Labor Day.  It stinks.  It’s a marking that fall is right around the corner.  Which means that the season of death is very soon to follow.  Labor day has always marked the end of summer (or the start of school) for me, so I always found myself down this day.  Today was no exception.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been attempting to come up with ideas of things to do during these coming cold weeks, before old man winter hits us in full effect.  So this is what I have come up with:

  • There is a Ren Fest down in the city area that last until the end of September.  I intend to venture down there either the weekend of the 20th or the 27th.  Holler.
  • For unspoken reasons, I have been drawn immediately to Little Falls, NY.  My sweet guy and I are taking a day trip next week to go hit a local gem and jeweler.  After that we have reservations at Beardslee Castle.
  • Apple picking in Greene County.  While we are swinging through the many orchards down there, I intend to check in on my friend Titan the Tiger at my old stomping ground – Bailiwick Ranch and Zoo.
  • There are plenty of beautiful places around to take a hike while the leaves turn.  I always seem to miss it every year.
  • I have special plans in the beginning of December to hit up an Indoor Water Park.  I have not been to one this year (which is one of the reasons why I am so crabby today), but I will make up for it in a few months.  I want to go to the Log Jam for dinner afterwards.  Yes, this day is about ME.
  • The furry guy celebrates his 35th birthday this autumn ❤
  • A few odds and ends, such as working with a fellow craftsman/artist on a project…or checking out some consignment shops to unload some of my gear after all of my weight loss!  Hopefully I will keep it off this winter.

Now, this should give me so much to do that I will not have anytime to breathe, let alone get a drive-by wax at Fantastic Sam’s.  However, I always find time to make things from SCRATCH.  Sundays are my “planning” days as far as food preparation is concerned.  I love making a homemade apple sauce (if he will help me peel apples).  I make amazing soups that will warm your soul and keep you healthy the entire cold season!  And the crock pot?  Thanks to my baby sister hooking me up with a new high tech digital device for my birthday this year…it’s going to be on in my kitchen this cold season.

Stay tuned for some of my fall recipes from SCRATCH!  A recent visit to the Outer Banks have pointed me in certain fall vegetables that I would never consider.  And HAY!  I’ll try anything once 🙂

Holler at me and let me know what you plan on doing Fall 2015!  ::C

SCRATCH: Mini Crustless Quiches

Mini Quiches
This is a very healthy and quick breakfast/snack.  These little guys freeze well and thaw so wonderfully.  For a breakfast on the go, just grab a couple in a tupperware container and nuke them for 30-60 seconds and BAM!  You got a quick, hot and healthy breakfast that is packed full of protein.

Here’s all you need:

  • Big carton of egg beaters or egg whites (depending on how many you will make)
  • Variety of veggies (broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc)
  • Spices of your liking (optional)
  • Shredded cheese (optional)
  • Cooking Spray
  • Muffin pan (even a mini muffin pan will work!)

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees

In a skillet, use cooking spray to cook up the veggies.  Cook them up pretty thoroughly.  Set aside.

Spray the muffin pan.  Add a scoopful of the cooked veggies to each muffin chamber.  Be careful not to add to much, especially if you are using a mini pan.

Sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top of the veggies (optional).

Pour egg beaters/whites into each muffin chamber, not all the way to the top.  Leave some room as these mini quiches will grow.

Bake for 7-15 minutes, keeping an eye on the quiches to make sure that they don’t overcook.

Remove the mini quiches and enjoy.  Or save for later.  These mini quiches are also great served with a tossed salad for lunch.  Enjoy!

A Pictorial Tutorial!

Awesome idea for earrings! The possibilities are endless.

Fresh Baked Designs

(If you are looking for the Pearls, Pearls, Pearls Blog Hop, go HERE.)

I’ve been asked to get a tutorial up for these fun and colorful Boho-style earrings.

Simple and, hopefully, comprehensible !

So here goes…

With this advisory…be sure to count and recount the beads

on your wire to check your pattern BEFORE you finish

the  final wrapping!

A very painful lesson learned…

I like to mix matte colored seed beads with some shiny

or iridescent ones for visual contrast/interest.

The variations are endless!

Boho earrings

STEP ONE   Gather materials…

Step 1

Step 2

STEP TWO

step 4

STEP THREE

step 5

STEP FOUR

step 6

STEP FIVE

Step 7

Now grab your favorite summer maxi dress or jeans and a t-shirt

and go make yourself a pair…or two or three !

Or you can drop a comment on this post for a chance

to win a ready-made pair for yourself!

Giveaway closes on Tuesday, July 8th.

Winner’s choice of one of these pairs !

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Creative Preparation: Vehicle Edition

About 4 years ago, there was a terrible snow storm that closed down a section of a major highway in my state that left motorists stranded, cold and without food and water for more than 24 hours:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/03/new.york.snow/

That Christmas, I decided to make “vehicle emergency kits” for my mother, my sister and my grandmother.  These emergency kits were no joke.  I bought huge storage tubs and included the following:

  • A blanket
  • Lighters
  • Big bag of trail mix
  • Jerky
  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars
  • A Life Hammer
  • Fire starter kit
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Glow Sticks
  • Flashlight w/ extra batteries
  • Crank powered radio
  • Gloves and scarves
  • First Aid kit
  • A small shovel

There was more, but this is all I could remember that I included in this kit.  Each kit contained items totaling over $150 each.  My family will never be without aid if stranded in their vehicle.

Now, I did something a little more advanced for myself.  Keep my background in mind:  I’m a Red Cross Certified Professional Rescuer, a Fire Marshall at my day job and I am all about self-defense and preparing yourself.  This last note could be an entire blog entry on its own.

So what do I keep in my vehicle?  Well, not only is it important to know what you have in your vehicle, but where you keep it.  Here it goes:

There are the items that are all within reach in my mid-sized SUV, without me exiting my vehicle (front and back seats):

  • Fire starter kit
  • Mini and huge mag light w/ extra batteries
  • Life Hammer
  • Crank powered radio
  • Lighter & matches
  • Retractable baton
  • Disposable panties
  • Paper towels & plastic bags
  • Razor blade
  • Mini first aid kit
  • Whistle

There are the items that I keep in my trunk:

  •  Fire Extinguisher (not a little wimpy one)
  • 2 jackets and a hoodie
  • Scarf and a pull over ski mask
  • A machete
  • A hunting knife
  • Rope
  • Flares (I want to get a flare gun) and glow sticks
  • Car stuff – jumper cables, tire changing, AAA, washer fluid, etc.
  • Advanced First Aid Kit (more like a trauma kit)
  • Reflective vest
  • Hand warmers
  • Bottled Water
  • A pair of sneakers
  • Extra fitness equipment
  • Towels
  • An emergency blanket

I should keep a real blanket, my extra combat boots (and socks), non-perishable food, baby wipes and toilet paper in my truck.  It’s probably a good idea.  With the exception of an EMP, my vehicle is all set for a bug out if the need ever came up.  I even have plans on where to go.  Where to get gas and food first and then various locations.  Again, another blog entry.

What do you keep in your vehicle?  Do you ever think about what you would need in the event of an emergency?

A Good Find: Memory Wire

Finally. I found the medium that I’ve been looking for to create stacked wire beaded bracelets. Memory Wire. This stuff is great! It’s so tough that it won’t bend. Repeat: Will not bend. It took some serious elbow grease to actually bend a couple of closer hooks on the end. But not bad, I’ll tell ya, not bad at all.

I stumbled across this when I was waiting to get my name changed at the Federal Building in downtown Albany. I got all my paper work filled out, all my divorce documents, and all my ID. I was ready to go! Except there was a wait. I decided to take this waiting time and browse on my phone on jewelry making.

Exacly what kind of wire is that used to make these lovely stackable looking wire bracelets? All the other wire that I have bought can bend so easily. It didn’t matter how hard I got the wire, or how thick. They all could bend by hand. Well, that wouldn’t do. So, upon my research, I ran across a site that showed me where I could buy some.

And then an unusual event happened – I didn’t buy it online right there on the spot. I waited. I waited in that hot crowded room and waited to finish my business at Social Security. Then I took myself, my latte and my agenda to A.C. Moore. After all, not only did I have a couple of coupons and I knew they were having a sale…but I also already got the entire morning off from my day job. Away I go.

And there is was. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s much smaller than I thought. Oh well, I’ll give it a try. Hey, if I can drop some serious coin on other random wire that I now have no idea what I am going to do with…I can certainly buy this. Besides, I had a coupon.

I had to finish my entire day before I can play with my memory wire. This is how my day proceeded after my purchase (in this order):

  • Shopping
  • Weight Watchers
  • Report to duty at my office
  • Teaching water aerobics
  • Chinese food

I picked up some chunky larger seed-like glass beads a while ago. These beads are a very good quality. They were perfect with the memory wire. I decided to make a few cuff-like bracelets. I think they turned out lovely. I cannot wait to make more.

Adjustable Memory Wire Beaded Bracelets for Sale!

Memory Wire Beaded Bracelets
Memory Wire Beaded Bracelets on a Saucer!

Claudia’s Wire Works

I’ve been spending a lot of time making bracelets. Lots and lots of bracelets. The same, stretchy bracelets. I’ve got so many of them. At first, creating these kinds of bracelets was extremely challenging for me. But then, I really got the hang of it and then it became fun. Now, it’s just too easy to whip these guys out.

It reminds me of when I played the game SKYRIM. When I first started encountering dragons in the game, it was very difficult. I had limited resources, very little skill and I was apprehensive to try anything spunky. After a while, it got easier and easier. It then got to the point where I could kill a dragon with three strikes of my enchanted two-handed sword. I even started taking on two dragons at the same time. That’s when it wasn’t fun anymore. The challenge was no longer the there. And that’s when I decided to end the game.

The beading game is absolutely not done. There is so much more for me to do. I’ve tried doing threading work with beads. What a chore! I’m sure after with some practice that I will be very good at it, just like I am with creating elastic bracelets. So I decided to take on a new medium: Wire Working.

The past month I have been doing a lot of wire work. At first, it seemed really difficult. But with some practice, I’ve really have gotten it down. And it shows – I have created some really beautiful pieces. I’m not going to lie – Wire Working is very tedious and you have to put your “perfections” aside. Like making beaded stretchy bracelets, you need to learn how to correct your mistakes. You figure out how to fix what you break. There is trial and error, and you always take away something from each project.

Wire working is something that I really enjoy very much. It’s always rewarding to finish a beautiful piece of jewelry…something that I made from hand with tools and materials that I chosen myself. Wire pieces you can really open up. You can be very creative with designs that you make, with the way you place your beads…the possibilities are endless.

I’ve picked up some new virtues in wire working. Patience is key, as well as always looking out for the bigger picture. Of course, my analogy to SKYRIM really hits home. Practice and a little guts is key.

I’ve started to develop a new type of product in my wire working. Sort of a “new line” of jewelry that I am offering. I am offering necklaces that can be worn in different ways. They will include expanders and accessories, and you can add on other pieces if you wish to. Everyone loves to make the most of what they got, so why should jewelry be any exception?

Here is some fun that I have been having with my Wire Working:

Hand wiring up some beads for I have no idea what!
Beads on some glass…
Try out new things…one bead at a time…and one wire wrap at a time.
My work friend Moreen really loved the necklace I made for her! <3
My work friend Moreen really loved the necklace I made for her! ❤

And here are some of my listings that I am offering on ETSY:

Pearl Shell Necklace and Earrings
Two in One Amethyst Necklace. Matching earrings and bracelet are available.
Two in One Onyx Necklace.

Enjoy and Happy Beading! 🙂

Easy DIY Layered Chain Necklace

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a layered chain necklace (or bracelet) myself. Check out the fabulous instructions here to get started!

Beauty by Caitlin

DIY layered chain necklace1

Hello Lovelies! Today I have a super fun and easy DIY project for you! I made this cute layered chain necklace over the weekend and it only took me about 15 minutes. I want to apologize right off the bat though. When I went to Michael’s to get the chains I wasn’t thinking about taking pictures. I figured I would make a silver one because I already have a gunmetal and gold one. Unfortunately silver wouldn’t photograph well at all no matter what color background I was working on. I used the pictures from the black background, because you couldn’t see anything on the white background, but not all of them turned out usable. I’m going to be as detailed as humanly possible to try and make up for the missing pictures, but this is really really easy. This was my first attempt and I’m pretty happy with the way…

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Meet the Creative Author

:: This post was inspired by my new friend Grumpy Kitty. Be sure to stop by her blog, as she has some good stuff.

Hey People! My name is Claudia. I live in Upstate New York. I live my wonderful boyfriend who is amazing beyond words. We have a kitty cat name Carlos. I’ve been doing creative things as long as I can remember. I strongly focused on the arts when I was in high school and some college. I even had some of my work displayed in galleries. I remember participating in competitions and coming out on top. It was a great ride, but that came to a halt when I got a little older.

Although life has taken me on many different paths, I have always managed to keep creativity in my life. I always kept drawing, painting, writing, cooking, doing collages in all kinds of mediums…you get the idea.

I’m very fortunate to have two wonderful careers. My primary career is in Information Technology. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years (wow, I feel old). In this career I have done many things. Wed development and design, system and database administration, help desk and training are just the highlights. Currently, I serve in a role where I specialize in Information Security. In this role I am a software engineer and also perform system administration duties. It feels great to work really hard for something that helps people.

My second career is in fitness and aquatics at the YMCA. This is probably the longest time that I have held on to a part time job (almost 10 years). Working at the Y changed my life. I currently teach Aqua Fitness (boot camp style classes), and group cycling classes (think Spinning). I also sub other class when I can (kickboxing, step aerobics, body sculpting, etc). I really love working at the Y.

Aqua Boot Camp
Aqua Boot Camp
Pool Pals
Pool Pals
Group Cycling
Group Cycling
M&M Award
Mission and Membership Award

So, I guess that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, so I decided to start a new hobby: making jewelry. Now, I’m not going to say that I’m an expert by any means. However, my very strong creative background has really given me an edge. Bead smithing has given me something very positive to focus on and keep me occupied. I currently am only crafting bracelets (because I love them so much), but soon I will be moving to different peices such as necklaces and earrings. We’ll see what happens from there.

I have created so many bracelets, and everyone has been raving about them. So, I decided to start an ETSY shop to sell some of my work. If you would, please take a moment to check out my shop.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog! And don’t forget to check out my girl Grumpy Kitty as well. Grumpy Kitty…that makes me laugh.

Enjoy and Happy Beading! ::C

Beads on the Go

:: Big ups to my terrific boyfriend for giving me this catchy idea on this blog.  I love you, Peter.

A lot of people don’t have a “space” to do crafting work.  So considering going mobile.  Pick up a milk crate of some sort (you can get colored ones pretty cheaply), and use some of my clever ideas to store all your supplies.  You can move it to the kitchen, the dining room, or even in the living room with a tray table.  If you need more space, get another milk crate.  If it starts to get heavy, consider purchasing a compact folding cart to move your gear around.  Now that you are mobile, you can even take your stuff out of your home.  You can go to a friend’s, your grandmother’s, or even a non-crowded spot like a coffee shop or the library.

This is where Beads on the Go comes in.  There are a lot of options for “traveling” kits that you can pick up.  Not only are these kits compact, but they are also very handy and resourceful.  For example, this travel tool kit has really sturdy tools, and I only paid about 12 bucks for it.  It’s very lightweight and could fit in a nice coach bag comfortable with your other things:  wallet, coupon clutch, makeup bag, 9mm, phone, water bottle, etc.
tools

I also have this mini measuring kit that has a little basin in the middle.  This kit completely closes up, so you can throw some beads in there to work with, along with a small pair of scissors, some thread and a needle.  I use this kit when I want to hang out in the living room with my boyfriend while I am crafting my jewelry.  It’s nice and small, and you can take it anywhere (like the office).
beads_to_go

Of course, this article would not be complete without something “DIY” or “Upcycled”.  So I present the Empty Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge Container – Upcycled:
lc 

This is perfect because you can store a small amount of beads and minimal supplies.  You can use the round shape of the container as a measuring tool.  Of course, when you open this container up, you can divide up your beads and work very easily.  And don’t forget to never underestimate the power of the paper plate.

Beads on the Go!
beadsonthego

Happy Beading!  ::C