Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Hidden Gem in Northern Colorado

Poudre Canyon - Nice Drive Any Time of the Year

Tucked away in northern Colorado just north and west of Fort Collins, Colorado is the Poudre Canyon.  I am so lucky to live about 45 minutes from this gorgeous area.  Bill and I enjoy driving through the canyon several times a year.  We were able to do that on Friday, December 27.  It was a bright sunny day, and the temperature in the sunshine was just over 50 degrees.

As we started on our trek to the west, the first place we stopped was Picnic Rock.  This is a beautiful area on the Poudre River that is very popular for picnics.  In the summer, people swim and frolic in the water here.  Snow is on the ground now but it is great looking at the peaceful river here.

After walking around there for awhile and talking to a man and his daughter who were also visiting this day, we got back in the van and started back up the road.  The further up the road you go, the more rapids you see in the river.  The road runs along side the river.

We had brought a picnic lunch, and since we started our journey late morning, we searched out a good picnic spot.  It took awhile to find one in the sun.  Most of the picnic benches located along the Poudre River are in the shade.  That makes lots of sense for when you are there in the summer.  However, it was dramatically colder in the shade than it was in the sun when we were there last Friday .  We did find a wonderful sunny picnic location and set out our sandwiches to eat.  The river was beautiful there with small rapids.  It was running fairly quickly with light and shadows on the river.

Much to my surprise there were two stellar jays flitting among the pine trees by our picnic spot.  These birds are incredibly beautiful, and being a native of Missouri, I was not familiar with them.  They are a teal green/blue with a comb on the head similar to a blue jay.  One of these jays was very accommodating of me and sat still in a tree for quite some time while I snapped lots of shots.

After our lunch and visit with the birds, we continued up through the canyon.  The rock canyon walls keep the river in constant shade in many areas, and the ice was thick on the river.  Yet there were always areas where the water bubbled up.  This was quite impressive as the ice was several feet thick, and the water was gushing through holes in the ice.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Boot Scootin' Jewelry

Boot jewelry - my newest jewelry creating passion

I first became aware of boot jewelry when I was coming home from visiting my son in San Jose. At the San Jose airport I kept passing by a young lady in the security line who was wearing boots and a bracelet/anklet on one of them. At one point when we were stopped, I asked her about it. It was beautiful, made with stones and a bit of bling. She told me she had purchased it at a shop, and that it is a boot bracelet made for wearing over boots.

I was intrigued and when I got home started a search on Etsy and the world wide web for boot bracelets. There are lots of different ones. My favorite are those made with a double strand of beads and a charm dangle. I now have made a number of these.

Green and Tan Stone Boot Bracelet

The picture at the right is one I made for a gift. The charm is a cute silver boot.  Then I used some silver beads, pearls and green twist beads to complement the larger stone round disc beads.
The side sports a large flower clasp and ring.  I added an extender chain after I took the photo. Since I already gave the gift, I don't have a pic with the extender chain.

Turquoise, Silver and Pearl Boot Bracelet

This is another gift I made.  You can see the extender chain on this one.  Again I have incorporated a boot charm, pearls and silver.  Turquoise is the stone.  It looks so southwest!

Turquoise Blue Boot Bracelet

The boot bracelet to the right is one I made for my daughter.  I think it has a bit more of a delicate feel to it.  She is a petite lady, so I chose turquoise blue elongated beads, pearls, small round turquoise blue coin beads, elongated decorative antiqued silver beads, and a leaf charm.  Very feminine!

I am selling these in my Plum Beadacious shop.  Although I have a limited stock right now, I always enjoy custom orders.  I am also making more, so check back often for different ones.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Eyeglass Leashes are a Solution for your Reading Glasses

Where are my glasses?

If you wear eyeglasses, you want to be able to lay your hands on them at any time. It is not fun to squint at a book to read it, to wrinkle up your nose with the needle and thread mere inches from your eyes trying to thread the needle, or to use a magnifying glass to see the important fine print on a medicine bottle. For those of you who have reading glasses that you take on and off all day, consider using an eyeglass leash to keep them with you at all times.

I wear my Walgreen’s reading glasses quite often when I work on my beading projects. Wires and beads can be tiny. It is quite frustrating to try to place a wire through a seed bead just to miss the hole. No matter if you have drug store reading glasses or fine spectacles from the eye center, they deserve a place of honor to hang on an eyeglass leash.

How Eyeglass Leashes are Put Together

Eyeglass leashes are a simple design consisting of a piece of beading wire, an assortment of beads, eyeglass holders, and crimps.  Eyeglass holders are not very glamorous, but they come in a variety of styles.  Some are a rubberized loop with metal around the middle.  One end of the loop is attached to the eyeglass leash, and the other attaches to the glasses frame at the temples.
Another style of eyeglass holders is a round corrugated metal ball with a tiny metal loop and a small cord loop at the opposite end.  The metal loop attaches to the eyeglass leash, and the small cord loop attaches to the glasses frame at the temples.

Here are some photos of eyeglass leashes I made.

If you would like a custom eyeglass lease, please contact me.  I would be happy to design something for you.
If you have made an eyeglass leash, send me a photo of it.  I will post it on my blog.
Hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tomatoes - from Garden to Marinara Sauce

We grew lots of tomatoes this summer.  One of the plants we grew were Roma tomatoes.  These are the long tomatoes used for Italian sauces.  We kept harvesting them until I had enough for a pot of marinara sauce.   I had 4 1/2 lbs of these tomatoes to make the sauce.

Earlier this year I purchased a Juicemate at a garage sale.  This is a juicer type of machine that is hand operated (no motor).  It looked like fun, and it actually worked very well.  Bill and I worked together to create the tomato puree which was the base for the marinara sauce.
I sliced the tomatoes, and Bill turned the handle to crush the tomatoes into a puree.  We used the pumpkin sieve to do this because we did not want tomato juice.  We wanted a puree.  Using the pumpkin sieve allowed the seeds to go into the puree.   It was fun to see the skin come out one side of the machine, and the puree come out the other.  When we were done we had about 2 quarts of tomato sauce/puree.  It was thinner than tomato paste and thicker than tomato juice.

 I then sauteed two chopped onions and chopped garlic, added the tomato puree, added one cup of chopped basil and cooked over a medium heat with no lid for 45 minutes.  At that point I added some sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  Mmm! Good!

This, a salad, and some garlic bread made a yummy dinner last night.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Magnetic Badge Reel - Plain

Sometimes I look way past the obvious.  I have over 40 badge reels posted for sale in my shop.  But today a man contacted me about making a plain black magnetic badge reel.  He works at a gym and likes the idea of a magnetic badge reel, but doesn't want a fancy cabochon on it.

It was easy-peasy for me to provide him with a plain black magnetic retractable badge reel.  I will start carrying these in my Plum Beadacious shop on a regular basis.  This is a great gift for a man or woman, and is smart for wearing to the gym on an outdoor hike or other activity where you want a magnetic retractable badge reel, but don't want anything fussy.

 Plain black magnetic badge reel

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stones, Pearls, Gold plated Beads and Birds on a Wire

I really enjoyed putting this combo together to make this beautiful lanyard.  The birds on a wire in a hoop are so sweet, and the small square beads that are a mottled purple and tan are intriguing.  I bought those at a bead show in Denver and did not keep track of what type of stone they are.  I think they may be dyed turquoise or dyed agate, but not sure.  Overall this is a beauty!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Handmade Girl's Hair Bows by Irish Bowtique

I just need to let everyone know about a wonderful boutique called Irish Bowtique.  Kyrie McGill designs and constructs beautiful bows for little girls.

I bought two of her creations for my 3 year old granddaughter.  Here are pictures of them.   Go visit Kyrie's shop, Irish Bowtique,  to find fun bows for the little girl in your life.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Backyard Adventure – Hot Air Balloon

Looks like the balloon is going to land on a house. It is really over the field behind the homes.

We had a bit of excitement here at home this morning.  My husband and I were enjoying our morning coffee and working on our computers when we heard a “whoosh” sound. 

It did not stop, so naturally, we got up to investigate the source of the noise.  Imagine our surprise when we looked out the window and saw a hot air balloon coming down behind the homes in our subdivision.  There is a field behind the subdivision, but from our perspective, it appeared to be coming down over some homes behind us.
It was a great photo opportunity, so I grabbed my trusty camera and ran out onto the deck to snap some shots.  I think the balloon must have been having trouble because it went up and down.  Finally it took off and floated away.  It was my backyard adventure of the day.

Balloon headed back up to the sky.
Do you ever have any backyard adventures?  Share them with us.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Garage Sale Finds for the Bedroom

Garage sale finds make my heart beat a little faster.  Like so many of you I head out into the community every week to see what treasures I can find. Most of the time, I don’t have any specific items for which I am searching.  I do enjoy finding something to decorate my home. 

I am also always on the prowl for items to make and display jewelry.  I would love to find a mannequin or mannequin head in good condition in a flesh color.
Recently I located some excellent bargains for my bedroom.  I have wanted to change out my bedding to a celery green and soft blue theme.  I had already purchased a set of green and blue decorative boxes last year at a garage sale.  I wanted to place them in the window seat in the bedroom, but they simply did not coordinate with the room.  I could not justify to myself purchasing a new bedspread and pillow shams just to coordinate with the boxes.

Last week I scored!  I located a beautiful green Pottery Barn brand new bedspread and pillow sham set.  It is the exact shade of celery green that I wanted.  It is a full/queen size and works very well on my full size bed.  I believe it is an older version of the pick stitch quilts now sold by Pottery Barn.  It is so soft and light weight for summer.  I also found a cute small pillow in a slightly different shade of green at another sale.  That works as a throw pillow.

As I went from sale to sale I found one more item to use with the ensemble, a lovely off white feminine lampshade to place on my bedside lamp.  This bedroom is feminine and kind of cottage chic.  The white wicker headboard and the pictures above the headboard were also garage sale finds within the past few years.  My most expensive purchase here was the Pottery Barn quilt set for a sum of $30.00, brand new.  Each pillow sham was originally marked with a $39.99 tag.  What a deal!

What treasures have you found at garage sales or flea markets?

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