Thursday, December 23, 2010

A little bit of Christmas Mayhem

Hello friends!

Are you staying sane in the last little bits of Christmas mayhem? We went out today to a few grocery stores for the last little bits of food needed to make some tasty hors dourves (or horsey doovers as my family calls them :D). We are making a yummy Reuben dip w/ rye chips, some dip with packet of organic dill packet w/Greek yogurt Terra sweets and beets, and some plain kettle chips, some pre-made hummus by Sabre, with lots of fresh cut veggies, and a large can of salted mixed nuts :D

Here is the dip recipe if you are interested! 

REUBEN DIP
8oz corned beef or pastrami chopped
1C sour kraut, rinsed, drained, chopped
1-8oz pkg cream cheese
2C shredded Swiss
1/2 C thousand island dressing

Mix together and serve warm with rye chips or other crackers or bread.

We are using Bolthouse thousand island dressing since it's gluten free so Ricky can partake in the dip. He can't eat the rye chips so we got him some yummy gf crackers :D

I can't believe tomorrow is actually Christmas Eve! Our family always celebrates then and Ricky's parents usually celebrate Christmas day. Ricky's dad is the head pastor at the Vineyard of the Rockies in Fort Collins, CO so on Christmas Eve after a day of services the family all goes to Macaroni grill. His parents sent us a gift card to out since we all won't be able to go together. 

We also got lots of awesome stuff from them in the mail. They always think of awesome gifts and presentation. I didn't photograph everything, but we did get this awesome MONEY TREE and tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I was excited to be a part of the Secret Santa exchange put on by Lillyella!  My secret santa was Macy J's and she had a special necklace put together for me by Junebell :)

My gift came wrapped in this lovely shimmery bag.
  
Here's my necklace! Isn't it lovely?! :) Thanks to Macy J's and Junebell!
It has been COLD, COLD, and COLD here in Kansas City! I have been such a slug lately. I has been hard to stay warm. I have been spending lots of time under my blanket on the couch with the dogs and my newest knit scarf :D
Knitting is like one of the BEST things ever since it your supplies are generally 1 pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn. This is SUPER convenient for travel or for having a product of sitting on your couch. I productive persons dream, a project completed while sitting around doing "nothing" :D
Ricky and I also started another puzzle! I forgot that Amanda had given me this Alice in Wonderland puzzle awhile back. Winter is the perfect time to work on puzzles :D
Here is what the puzzle will look like when it's finished.
 Here is how far we have gotten so far ;) Still a ways to go. This baby is 1,000 pieces! That damn chair takes up like the WHOLE puzzle too! Ack!

Well that pretty much sums up what has been going on around here for the time being. It's been nice to have a little breather before the holidays :)

I hope you all have a Blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

See you soon!

Much love,


Genea

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Cheer- Puzzlemaking, cookie baking, snowflake crafting, soaptastic, holiday get-together GOOD TIMES!

Hello friends!

I have so many pictures to share with you :)  I attended many events recently and have just now gotten to edit them. 
So the night before Thanksgiving we pulled out our Christmas boxes to see what we had in the way of decorations. As I said usually we are gone over the holidays traveling with Ricky's family so it was nice to be at home this year. We don't have a ton of decorations, but we enjoyed stringing a few strands of lights on the front of the house. I love the glow of old skool Christmas lights. The new led ones are way too bright to give that cozy glow.

One of the first holiday events we did this year was based on a gift from Ricky's parents. This was such an amazing idea. I had wanted to blog about our progress, but it only took us like 2 days. So here is what our gift was. Each of us(his parents, his sister and her hubby and us) got the same puzzle on which to work. We received it just before Thanksgiving. Our mission was to work on our puzzle and take pictures of the progress and share them on Facebook since we aren't all in the same city to enjoy the holidays together.
 Here is what the puzzle looked like. It is by "Tooniverse" and it was called "All dogs must be on a leash". This zany cartoon puzzle had dogs running amok in the city.
Here you can see Ricky hard at work using his strategy of building the outside of the puzzle first. I always tease him because when he is totally into something he gets that crinkle on his face while he is concentrating :D
 
Can you sense the intensity? lol he was pretty into this puzzle :D He was being a puzzle hog at first and it was hard to work together.
Here is the outer edge of the puzzle and a few more pieces. After a little while we worked together. I separated the puzzle pieces into similar pictures for easy construction after sorting and he would describe to me the things that were on a piece he needed. This worked out pretty well.
 
Ok so they were right. It was pretty addictive....
Getting closer... Just a few more pieces.
 Finito! Ok so it was pretty fun. I was kinda ready to do another one after we finished this one. My mom always does puzzles in the winter too. It was really fun to do one in our home this year.

Now this next event is a MUST no matter if you are watching calories or not over the holiday season. Who doesn't participate in cookie baking?!

This year we tried a new recipe my sister found on Betty Crocker. These were called "Coconut-Butterscotch-Fudge cookies". You start by taking a base of sugar cookie mix and rolling the balls in coconut.
 

Next you bake until golden brown.
 Once they are a little bit cooled off from the oven you put on butterscotch drizzle and then top them with fudge. These are both ice cream topping thingies. They were pretty f*ing delicious! They pretty much tasted like an Almond Joy Twix. Yeah, I know! Mmmmmm!
 Next we got the Hershey's kisses ready for Peanut Butter Blossoms. These have been one of my favorite cookies to make over the years next to frosted sugar cookies :D
Mom and dad's dog, Lucy was eager to get her nose into the food while we were baking. Can you hear her thoughts? "Drop it, drop it, DROP IT!"
 Peanut butter containers are always a pain to clean out so we gave the jar to Lucy to get it clean. As you know dogs are CUCKOO for peanut butter!
I love putting the kisses in the cookies when the come out from the oven. Too bad mom and Nina were faster than me! While I was busy documenting they pressed all of the chocolate into the tops of the cookies.
 What is Christmas without making Mexican Wedding Cakes? I dunno, but we have made them every year for forever and so have most of the people we know :) Ok so this wasn't the exact recipe we made, but it's the first one that came up in Google :) 
 Mom said I should take a picture of her and Nina so here it is. The bakers in the family :)

What is this season without some simple decor, right? Why not make some paper snowflakes? My friend Ronnie and I had both posted this so we thought it would be fun to get together and make handmade paper crafts :D

Now whilst in the holiday spirit, you know one can't go to a snowy craft making session without some snowy jewelry, right? :D
 I wore my snowflake necklace Melissa made me last year. She was inspired to make a snowflake designed pendant with one of my etched glass lentils. I am not sure if she is teaching this class at the store this year or not?
She also made me this prettiful bracelet design that she created including one of her lampwork starflake beads :D
I also thought to bring over my peppermint candy cane from Hammond's that I purchased at our local grocery store. It reminds me of candy canes I used to get back in the day when I was a child. At my dad's work's Christmast party they would order candy canes from a local shop in my home town of Racine Wisconsin. They were pretty sweet because both ends were angle cut. 
 While living in Colorado I had this debate with Ricky's dad the candy cane connoisseur. He told me that these style candy canes didn't exist! I knew he was wrong so I made it my mission to find them. When I had asked mom about them she had told me that it was from our local town. The shop had long since closed down because the man that had owned the shop had died and his kids didn't want to continue the family business(wtf?! Why do people always do this with the good stuff?!!)

Shortly after I found these candy canes in our local grocery store and HAD to prove myself right to Ricky's dad! :D

So before getting started on our snowflake making, Ronnie and I separated his snowflakes from Christmas' past. 
I loved them all, but I was impressed by Martin's snowflake on the right. He isn't really an artistic person by nature so I was impressed with his design :)
Aren't they GORGEOUS? Ronnie is one of the most artistically talented people I know, so I was honored to share this fun pastime of snowflake making with him :)
 
Look he even made teeny snowflakes with the left over skinny rectangle of paper scrap from making the larger ones.

While we were creating snowflakes, Bronx, their newest addition snuggled in his blanket while we were busily cutting and listening to Christmas music :D
Yeah, he's SOOOO cute, isn't he?!
 
He was pretty cold so he got into this cute little ball :D
Here was Ronnie's first snowflake. Pretty huh?
 Here was mine. Ok so I'm not the expert, but I was happy with it :) After you cut them out you put them inbetween 2 pieces of wax paper and iron them. This keeps them flat and makes them a bit sturdy.


"Ronnie, show me your pretty snowflake."See!  I told you he was really creative! Look how pretty his snowflakes are. He even made pretty edges. Mine kind of all ended up round.
We continued until we had a pretty good stack of snowflakes. Ronnie let me keep his since he had a lot from the other years he had been making them :D 
Here you can see them in action  on my front door :D

Our next event was actually at Indigo Wild for their friends and family invite only night, but I didn't get a chance to click some pictures :( I saw someone there clicking photos so I bet at some point they will end up on their facebook page so if you are interested keep checking back there.  There were lots of amazing people, awesome food and of course my very FAVORITE all natural, local products including their Zum Bars!

So now I can finally show you what Santa(me  :D) made for them for Christmas! Before I show you what they got, let me catch you up on how I came to know them.
My romance for their amazing products took place after purchasing a Zum Bar from our local grocery store. I do believe that Zum Bars are the "gateway product" ;)

I was inspired by the artistic nature of their soaps. On one rainy afternoon I had the incredible idea to translate their products into glass! My very first design I made was for their owner, Emily Voth.

Here you can see their swirly soaps made into glass along with some Hilltribe silver. Their company is one of the best I have ever encountered! Their products are top notch, their people are incredible, and they run an amazing business! Did I mention they were also eco and awesomely silly? I mean who else can get away with saying things like "Did you make Santa's "A list" or "A-hole list?", stop production to sit down to lunch together, and bring their dogs to work?!  LOL I just LOVE everything about them! This must be why they inspire me ALL of the time!

Ok so onto their gifts....

 Here were the gifts I made for Co-Owner, Betsy Medina. She is such an incredible person for so many reasons! She survived breast cancer so to honor her journey and raise awareness they created the Besty Bar, which is lavender and lemon scented. Proceeds from each purchase are donated to their favorite organization, Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing.
Here is the front side of the necklace. It includes  upcycled paper from their catalog made into a soldered charm, a glass Betsy Bar, some Swarovski crystal, a silver swirl and a pink breast cancer ribbon.
 Here is the back side of the pendant. The new catalogs have these amazing black and white drawings in them. One one of their catalog pages it says "Boobs,Bitches, and Babes". I cut the "OO" out of the "boobs" part to go along with the "breast" theme :D

 Here is one of the Zum Bar keychains I made for Emily. It is their Sandalwood Citrus bar with a shrinky dink dangle.
 Here are the Zum Bar wine charms I made featuring their popular scents: Lemongrass, Patchouli, Lavender- Mint, and my very favorite, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Our last event for the week was Ronnie and Martin's holiday get-together at Martin's house. Martin has a gorgeous older home in downtown Kansas City. It is ALWAYS immaculate and fancily decorated!
The front of the house was all decorated in pretty white lights.
 In the dining room a palm was decorated with silver glass ornaments and a red up-light. The glow was really pretty. My non-flash picture didn't turn out so here you can see it with the flash on.
Here was the dining room table next to the palm.
 In the front room a large Christmas Tree was decorated.


and the stockings were hung with care :)

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season as much as we are.

Happiest Holidays to all!

Much love,

Genea



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Genea Beads.com is up and running!

Hello friends!

I am so excited to announce that my webpage is finally up and running. As you may have noticed for a long while the address just re-directed you to my etsy shop.  Unfortunately when I signed up for godaddy.com I thought I was getting the domain plus hosting, but alas it was just the name. Today I purchased hosting from Fat Cow. I am super excited because they are all eco and run on wind energy, which is good for my green little planet :D

So where did all this come from? Well I was having a conversation with my friend Andy and found out he is a wiz at programming and all of that other technical computer stuff that makes me want to shrivel up and die! So today I asked him if he would help me set up my page. I think it looks AMAZING! Mind you this was only done in a few hours and it's temporary. You can expect lots more in the weeks to come. We just wanted to get the site up and running for higher rankings on Google.  So I hope you will stop on by and check out the new page. I hope you are as excited about it as I am! It has literally been YEARS since I have had a functioning web page :D:D:D

Well I am off to enjoy a movie with the hubby!

See you soon!

Much love,

Genea

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Genea Beads- Artbeads.com "Colors of Fall" Bead Review

 Hello friends!

I am excited to have completed my "Colors of Fall" blog for Artbeads!
I must admit I got in a little over my head this time around! We got to choose items by color instead of by category. I am a pretty thrifty shopper so I got LOTS of items for our blog budget! You all know how much I LOVE color so I tried to use almost ALL of the fall colors in Pantone's palette.
Well all the bright ones anyways ;)
So here you can see my doodles with my ideas for design and my chicken scratch handwriting. Yes, it really IS that bad :( Thank God blogs are typed, right?! ;D

Now because I am a horrible tease you will have to wait to see "the best for last". Now that doesn't mean the other designs aren't amazing, it's just how I roll. I always like to show the designs up to the most intricate and complex design :)

So not surprisingly I have TONS of ideas for earrings. I don't know why, but I always have ideas for funky long dangly ones :D I even incorporated some of my lampwork glass headpins!
Here were the first pair I put together. I just LOVED these resin rings!  I love to use negative space in my designs for interest. I used Pumpkin resin rings  along with my lampwork glass headpins, spotty spacer and some Swarovski crystals. This was the very first design I used these really nifty aluminum rings as well. They are really awesome because they are light weight, very strong, stay "silver" colored, and are very inexpensive!
Next I used the Salmon resin rings for this super loopy tear drop dangle pair of earrings. I love everything about this design! The earrings are so light it hardly feels like they are in your ears.  Instead of using the rings at the top of the design I put them at the bottom for some interest :) I used Ruby and Burgundy Swarovski crystals  for some sparkle along with some colored leather, electroplated chain, my lampwork spacers and my very favorite sterling silver ball earwires :)
Originally I had ordered the resin rings to go along with my design, but I had so many ideas for earrings. I ordered 3 of each color since I didn't have  plan for them. Since I had 1 of each color left I decided to turn them into these funky asymmetrical earrings. I paired the rings with some rubber o's(My ELEMENTS) , aluminum rings, waxed linen and my wing ding style beads.
Since I wasn't sure what I was going to need for my sketch book drawing I got many different components in different colors so I had lots to choose from. I decided to use the Blue Zircon and Light Emerald Swarovski cyrstals for this funky eye bead lampwork keychain.

As you can see I was having a bit of a hard time dreaming my design into life so meanwhile more ideas came for different pieces of jewelry!
I had this soldered pendant with the daisy from awhile back when I first learned to make soldered charms. I had since learned to solder much better so I pulled the charm out and touched things up. The olive leather I chose was just PERFECT with the color scheme and it inspired me to make up this mixed-media necklace design. I used my soldered charm, lampwork beads, lampwork glass headpin, rubber o's, pixies,  colored leather, swarovski crystals, silk and suede cording, with a Hilltribe silver toggle.
I also used it for this bracelet design that turns into a necklace by using the cord included!

Pretty sweet, eh?!
Ok so are you ready for the finale?

 In this piece I used a bulk of my items ordered. I used Red, Orange and Yellow felted cones, lime green large fancy satin silk string, Indian Red Swarovski crystals, TOHO Earth Tone bead mix, basket, and cocoa glazed porcelain roundels. I added some other beads from my collection including: Czech glass leaves, and lucite flowers.
 Here you can see a close up design of the cones with their dangles. They don't look like it, but it took 30 minutes each to assemble each cone. Inside there is a wire wrapped coil squiggle with my lampwork glass raku dotted horn headpin, and knotted c-lon cording with Swarovski crystals.  I sewed the cones and all of the beads to the thick silk cording.




 Here is a little bit more detailed shot of the sewn on beads. See why it took me so long to complete this design? I had to think about how I was going to make my design work out with my materials and beading techniques.

Like I said I got SO many great beads! Here were some that didn't end up working into a design.
 
As you know inspiration is a crazy thing. When dreaming up my design I wasn't sure how many materials I would need and just exactly what I would need to create my design. As you can see above I didn't get a chance to use: Dark Lavender, Light Turquoise, Dark Pink felted cones, Poppy leather, Spanish Moss porcelain roundeles or the matte Lemon/Lime flat squares.

 I did realize this very interesting thing about the cones though. I flipped them in on themselves to open up the bottom a little more so I could sew my dangles inside for the necklace. While flipping them like this I realized that they would probably look pretty sweet sewn to something like this with some embellished seed beads on the pointy part sticking out of the center!

 Well I hope you had fun designing this year for fall and I hope my designs inspire you do create some master pieces of your own! Hop on over to Artbeads and  make something pretty for all of the "good" girls and boys on your list this holiday season!

Happy Creating!

Much love,

Genea

**Disclaimer** Genea Beads has received these products free of charge from artbeads.com. Our review of these items is our honest opinion. We have not been paid an  endorsement as it pertains to the products received.**