Humblebeads studio tour and giveaway

Do you know Heather from Humblebeads? She is a really talented artist. This week she is inviting to a tour through her studio and she is having a great giveaway on her blog. Check it out and take a chance to win here - or just purchase something from here etsy store here.

The world's largest flower bouquet

This is the world's largest flower bouquet. Tuesday was my last working day before my maternity leave. On Monday we had a full meeting day with a dinner event - the whole management team was there about 40 people, since our CEO and some of the Corporate officers were in from Milwaukee. I was not sure if I should go, but decided in the end to show up and maybe leave early. It was only right before desert that I figured out the whole thing was actually a going away party for me. Oh my. Our finance VP and our CEO gave speeches for me (we have that habit). I was really caught by surprise. And then I needed to make a speech. People always tell me I am good at it, but I don't think so and also I really hate it. And especially when I am surprised and can't prepare. So I started babbling about the baby and that I will be back in January and how much I enjoyed working with all of them. My colleague said it was ok, but I felt really like hit by a truck. All in all it was a nice surprise though. And did I mention I love flowers?

What do you think about cord blood?

This came in the mail the other day. It is a package we have to take to the hospital when I will give birth to my baby. It contains all the stuff to collect our cord blood. It will be frozen and saved for 30 years or so. In case the baby will get a disease, we can probably use the stem cells from it to help her. I discussed this with a lot of people, especially the pregnant ones around me. I am really surprised about how few people consider doing something like this. It is true that doctors are at the beginning of a long research path with it, and people are not sure for what it can be used. And if you want to keep it for yourself, it is not cheap either. For us it was not a question though - it is like a kind of insurance you take. You never know if you will need it, but if you don't have it and need it, you will regret. We took a combined option of saving and donating it. Means we pay for it and will keep it for ourselves. At the same time the data are put into a donation database and if somebody needs it, we can decide to give it to the person and will get all our money back. And if you don't want to do it, you can still donate it, otherwise the cord / blood is thrown away after the birth. And they say that there will be no impact on mom and baby, only that the cord is cut a bit earlier. But we will be fine with that if we can save somebody's life. Do you have any experience with it? Would you do it?

Major bead surgery

I was very creative today. No painting walls but finally finally got back to my beads after one of these major blocks. I had the idea for this bracelet when I was at the bead store the other day and found those cool red-green-blue two holed plastic beads. The picture doesn't do the color justice - or in other words I need to work on my photo skills. I used light green seed beads to space them and dark green and a resin bead for the ends. To figure out the end correctly took me a few hours and nervs. I feel I want to write a book titled "things you should know before you start beading", including all the things that can go wrong. I won't go into detail here, since most of it is really stupid, but I could have saved a lot of time if I had read such a book at the beginning of my "bead career".

This one was an UFO project that has been sitting on my living room table without clasp and chain for a few weeks now, since I could not find the right chain in my collection. Surprisingly this one came to me by just playing around, something I never do since I tend to overthink everything. Because all my beads are so precious. Even if they are worth nothing.

I made another one, but I did not take a picture yet. I really think that one is pretty classy, but the pictures are so bad you can't really see how nice it is. I used a shell pendant that was another gift from Andrew, a cream colored resin bead and svarowski sand opals from my local bead store, and silver spacer beads, freshwater pearls, a lobster clasp and chain from Michaels. It is pretty shiny and elegant, but I actually think it is cool. Just need occasions to wear this now, since I am not back to work this week most likely anymore. It was the plan that I would go back Monday and Tuesday, but on Friday they notified us about a case of swine flu, and since I will have my baby soon and can't take and medication, I think it is not worth it for the last two days.

Four new books

I got 4 new books I ordered from the Interweave summer hurt book sale: All wired up by Mark Lareau, Custom Cool Jewelry by Melinda Barta, Making Polymer Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn and Beading for the Soul by Deborah Cannarella. I just started to look through them briefly, so I will let you know what I think when I got a little more into them.

Is this cozy?

I don't think I could sleep like this. Here is Caspi taking a break. My little black girl loves to be cuddled. And eat. And sleep. All of those for hours.
In the meantime Knoedel is having another snack. She does not like to be pet, but loves to crawl under our blankets and dig and play tunnel system.

Speaking of rabbits - please check out Nancy Schindler's blog - The rabbit muse. I love Nancy's work, not only because she has one of the nicest giveaways I have seen in a long time. And her bunnies are so cute.

The carpet puzzle

Here is what I have been busy with (and by the way, still will be busy with for the next few weeks). The carpet puzzle and everything related to it. This is just an example - wodden stairs that I need to paint around - so I had to cut pieces of felt to cover them, which took litterally a couple of hours. I put one layer of paint on yesterday, but could not motivate me to do the second one today. It's sunday and I need a break.

I have a flavor for tomato salad

These are growing in our garden. But I guess I have to go back to the traditional source (supermarket edition) for now, unless I want to make a green tomato salad. They will be very good though. I can't wait. I am working today - my 5th last day before my maternity leave. I have a been a bit away from from my blog - I'll show pictures later why. I can't stop writing without mentioning this - please check out Andrew Thornton's new work on his blog - really amazing, Andrew.

Pretty (humble-)beads

The postman was so kind to bring me a present today. Ok, it's not really a present, but a few beads I ordered from Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I have looked at them for such a long time, but never ordered them - it takes so much time for them to ship from the US. So that was a nice surprise. I got an assortment of random beads, two owls, a hedgehog, a bird, a starfish pendant and a squirrel. Maybe I can use one of them for a project that I have been thinking about for this month's Artbead Scene challenge. I really like the colors of the Lascaux cave paintings.

I went bead shopping

Look at what I've got. New beads. I bought them at one of the only bead stores in Cologne, Le marche aux perles. It's a girl from Luxemburg, Paula Matos, that runs the store, hence the French sounding name, she has her main store over there. Her and her husband go to India pretty often, so they have a nice selection of metal beads - you can see that I am going crazy with those every time I go there (which I try not to do too often). It looks like my color scheme was brownish / dark yesterday - I always find it strange how I come up with one main color getting back from the store. Ok, I spent another small fortune in those. But can you see the pretty ones that will be created from here? What will it be? Wire wrapped? Macramee? Simply strung necklaces and bracelets? Check here on my blog later...

Animals of Greece (insects) - Part 5

I have a couple more pictures from Greece and the animals we saw there. Here are just a few. This one is a dragonfly that sat down on our beach chair for about a half hour at least - he pretty much enjoyed sunbathing too.

This is a cicada we spotted one night. Don't get me wrong - I am pretty scared of all those guys that fly around in an "uncontrolled" way (that's how I call it when it is impossible to predict where they will sit next). But I really admire the strange beauty of those little ones.

My magical forest

This is my submission for the magical forest challenge from the current Stringing magazine contest . I was not sure if I was allowed to show it here before voting is closed, but I got confirmation from them yesterday that it is ok. I wanted to create something simple and not too flowery. I used matt finished jade rondelles, wood beads from Matiere Premiere (a french bead store located in the center of Paris), transparent and green glass beads, emerald svarowski rounds and a clover pendant that I got as a gift from my talented friend Andrew Thornton. I called it hidden rainforest treasure. Compared with the other entries I almost find it too simple, but I know this is something I will definetely wear a lot.

My new best friend

Here is my new best friend - a nursing pillow I just bought. Although the nursing part is still two months away from now, this thing is releaving my backpain a lot. I would even recommend it if you are not pregnant. Tonight we will attend the second time of our birth prep class - where I will see my future best friends again - the other mum's to be that know nobody and nothing of this "new-baby-world" and that are as eager as me to find some new people to hang out with during the day - as work is no longer number 1 on our lists.

More of the messy garden

Our garden is a real mess right now. First we had about two weeks in the 90's, and since sunday it is pouring non-stop, and really cooled off. I also did not take care of my plants as I should have in those last weeks - but we still have some left overs growing. This is - believe it or not - the small head of a broccoli. I guess I was thinking from now on it will just grow in size, so eventually one day we can eat it, but here is what happened.

It actually started flowering. Weird but pretty - I guess we were missing some fertilizer or so. I am really proud of those though. I never had my own broccoli in my garden. Even if it is only for the pretty flowers.

Desire for fruit?

We have these wild strawberries in our garden and there were really a lot of them this year. They are sweeter than any others I ever tasted. Unfortunately they are almost gone - some of the garden animals like them pretty much as well.

No energy

How come I can get up at 6 in the morning and work 15 hour days and if I sleep in a bit, I feel my legs are too heavy to walk upstairs? I have been away from my blog for a bit for no special reason - we went to Noah's baptism on saturday, sunday was a real sleepy day and yesterday I visited a friend of mine who just got her baby. Although the girl is still the size she was at her birthday, she seems really tall to me - because I cannot imagine one of this size sitting in my own belly. Hopefully not heavier - hers was about 6 pounds and Nick was 9 when he was born...
I finished this flower necklace which looks pretty simple on the picture but it actually looks quite nice on my neck. I attached the purple plastic flowers and phoenix stones with little wire swirls - I actually don't remember when I last used purchased headpins - those here are too easy to make.

New pair of earrings

I made this new pair of earrings two days ago, but could not upload it earlier since I temporarily lost my USB cable for my camera. I have never made some like those, and although they are a bit long for me, I think they look really cool on me. I got two days off - I need to start using up my remaining vacation before my maternity leave officially starts - and I have got a full schedule - need to shop for a number of gifts, food and will probably meet up with a friend of mine later that just moved back here from living in Paris for a couple of years. And maybe squeeze in some time for a new necklace.

The house owners

When I woke up this morning and opened my eyes, here is what I first saw. The two ladies that own the house. The black one is Caspi and the grey one is called Knoedel which means dumpling in german. They live here since a year and are the biggest friends. Inseparable - which is very unusual for two female rabbits. We'll see how they will get a long with the new lady - little baby girl, when she arrives in September.

Necklace for my sis

On saturday my sister came by our house and we had a barbecue. It started pouring down as soon as we had the BBQ lit, but it worked out since our garden is more similar to a tangly forest than anything else - I guess we need to cut the trees and bushes - but on saturday it helped protect from the rain. My sister found the necklace a bit too fancy for her to wear - so she asked me to make a more simple one. Good for me, since I really like it and don't need to make another one for me to keep.