Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wrappiness --- Round Two

The nieces and I have been wrapping again.

When we gathered for the Fourth of July, we were down five nieces...so I caught up with four of them the next weekend to make patriotic wrap bracelets, round two.


They had the benefit of seeing the ones made by the first group...and they took to the technique like fish to water.

Poring over the choices for buttons and beads...


Measuring their wrists and deciding on the total number of wraps...


Learning to ladder beads between two pieces of leather cording...


And getting a little help when needed...


It's always fun to see how one basic technique can lead to such wonderfully unique results...


Katie charted and beaded this "USA" inspired section...


And a couple of the girls wrapped a few rhinestone cup chain sections in their bracelets...


The results were star-studded spectacular.  


And though we're a little late for Fourth of July, we're just in time for the Star Spangled Spectacular to be held in Baltimore in September, commemorating the 200th birthday of our national anthem.  

Now that the girls all know the technique, they've begun to branch out on their own and make lots of other versions...like this stunning example designed by Ellie...


I just love it and so does she.

I highly recommend this project for a crafty gathering; it takes about a full day.

And it's more fun if everyone can just relax and get wrapped up in the flow of the making.


[Note:  If you're interested in making wrap bracelets too, I highly recommend the projects, videos and supplies provided at Beadshop.com , click on subheading Cool Projects.]

Jim, Jack and I just got home from Jack's college orientation at Northeastern University in Boston, more on that next post. 

Miss you all but will have more time in another month or so when I'll be back online more regularly.  Until then, I'll bop in when I get a minute.  

Happy, wrappy day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wrapping up the Fourth of July

If any of you are still out there following this blog, you'll know that my family goes to the beach every year to celebrate Fourth of July.  For us, it's almost bigger than Christmas.

This year was a bit different in that six of us weren't there...and a tropical storm came through which re-configured the normal parade of Fourth fanfare and fireworks.


If you've been following this blog for a while you'll also know that we usually make some form of patriotic, over-the-top red, white and blue creation to wear.  Thanks to the tropical storm we had a day's worth of rain and bad weather gifting us plenty of time to sit and create...


[Assisted by that wonderful-husband-of-mine Jim who fed us throughout the day...see him all flagged-up in the kitchen?]

This year we made wrap bracelets...


Having gone through my bead and button stash to gather a supply of patriotic-ish baubles...


Most of the bracelets had a flair for the Fourth...


But not all.   In the true spirit of the Fourth and freedom of expression...


Not everyone wanted a patriotic bracelet.  Rather, there were a couple created that could be worn all year round...


And see that beautiful henna tattoo?  

My niece Allison has quite a talent for drawing and has set up shop as our resident henna tattoo artist...


Everyone was lining up to get a chance to wear her artistry...


Even Jack.


Luckily for Allie, her sister Grace also has talent and drew this lovely intra-scapular art doodle...



While the gals were busy beading and tattooing, the men were not to be outdone.

My BIL Jim is a master griller and made pit beef sandwiches hand-delivered to the beach as well as yummy fall-off-the-bone ribs for dinner...


With gourmet accompaniments fresh from the farmers' market provided by my sister Sheila, we are spoiled rotten at the beach and eat like royalty.

Noticing that BIL Jim was struggling to put his heavy ceramic "Green Egg" grill away over uneven ground, my brother Mark got busy pouring concrete and made him a surface slab for easy storage and removal...


All in all, we had another gathering where the the group was greater due to the sum of its parts...


If you're interested in making wrap bracelets too, I highly recommend the projects, videos and supplies provided at Beadshop.com , click on subheading Cool Projects.

I used their "Wicked Mood" bracelet as a prototype for my patriotic version...


And instead of using the beading boxes they use in the videos, we used empty cardboard bolt boards that JoAnn fabric stores gave to me for free.


Summer is always a busy time as I spend more time out of doors and traveling.  Though I'm still creating, I am not posting as much as I might like.  My posts are sporadic at best and I expect a much more regular blogging schedule when Jack goes to college in September.

Until then, I will still be here, posting when I can.  Here's wishing you beauty and joy where ever you are, whatever the season.

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You can see our past patriotic projects here:

2010:  T-Shirts
2009:  T-Shorts
2008:  Baseball Hats

I just realized I'm on my eighth blogging year.  Wow.  When I go back and look through past posts, it makes me love this blog all the more.  Thanks for joining my journey. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jack's High School Graduation

It was a beautiful Sunday morning.

The Korean dogwoods were blooming, it was seventy-five degrees and the green grounds and blue skies were the perfect backdrop for Jack's graduation.


The boys wore white tuxes and lined up in front of the school to proceed around to "The Hollow" where graduation would take place.

Thanks to the beautiful day, the graduation could be held outside.  You can just see the blue chairs off on the back, right side of this picture where the boys would sit facing the crowd.


And see that lady dead-center holding the camera?  Turns out that's my friend and our dental hygienist.  She lives right across from the school and, unbeknownst to me, she showed up to take pictures of Jack.

Thanks to her these two pics showed up in my inbox yesterday...


She says she has a better chance of getting the boys to smile since she's not their mother so they won't roll their eyes...


Truer words were never spoken.

Jim's mother traveled from Texas with Jim's brother/Jack's godfather to attend...


Here's a pic of Jack with both his godparents...my sister, Sheila and his Uncle George...


Uncle George is just to the right of Jack but refuses to have his picture taken so you'll have to use your imagination.  

It was a special moment for our family since both my father and brother had attended the same high school.  And my father...had graduated exactly sixty years ago in the very same Hollow.


See the ring on Jack's right hand?  That was my father's ring when he graduated in 1954.

And that ring wasn't just any old high school ring.  

It happened to be the first sign of a commitment between my Mom and Dad.  

She wore his ring and he wore hers.  

Most of the time she wore it on a chain around her neck but in the pic on the left below, she's wearing it on her left ring finger.

And my Dad wore my Mom's high school ring on his left pinky.  Their first date was the Easter Monday dance at Loyola High School and the rest is history.

When Dad gave Jack the ring, he hoped that someday Jack might share it with the girl he would marry.  Jack hasn't yet found that girl but I think I understand what my Dad meant.

To a couple that married young and had little money, there was no engagement ring.  In fact my Dad didn't buy my Mom an "engagement" ring until they had been married almost forty years.  For them...those high school rings were it.


And so we pause to take in the significance of the moment.  How life has a way of bringing us back and moving us forward.

And so Jack too had a chance to pause...


Before he passed over one of life's thresholds...


And I'm sure his thoughts were not on his distant future but more on getting out of the sun, getting something to eat, and heading to Senior Week at the beach with his friends.  But someday, he'll stumble upon this post and understand a bit more about the importance of the day for his parents and his family.

Hey, I don't want to downplay the significance.  I think this is the first family portrait we've taken of the three of us in over ten years...


And he sure looks handsome at seventeen and in that white tux...



He'll realize that too when he's my age...or his grandfather's age...



Lucky for him, we did move on to our house to have something to eat and to celebrate.

We catered the party from Chipotle (a fan favorite and highly recommended) and Jim made his famous garlic/barbecue shrimp (another fan favorite)...



And we played...



"Pin the Red Hat on Jack"...




Lately, Jack's red hat has taken a back seat to the black Orioles hat he's been wearing.  

Red Sox territory is looming large on the horizon and he wants to firmly establish his Baltimore loyalty...


Rest in peace, Red Hat.  You were with us for a long time.

Jack's cousins have been great in sharing the joy...



They took this picture last September so that it could be put onto his page in the yearbook...


And our friends across the street gave Jack 20 dozen plus 14 cookies to take on his trip to the beach with his eight friends...


Yes.  Twenty DOZEN plus FOURTEEN.  That's 254 cookies!   It must have taken all weekend to make that many.

And here's the motley crew who would be eating them...


And so a chapter closes.

Thank goodness for this handkerchief that showed up in the mail.  It was sent by Sheila, my blogging friend.  She's sent special gifts before (remember Mr. Miller's stickpin that became a butterfly?)


She remembered my bead journal with the nest and one egg.  And she considered that a girl just might need a hanky to tuck away.

It has a beautifully appliqued "G"...for Graduation...Good luck...Good Grief...Geewhilikers...Goodness Gracious...her list made me laugh.

How about Go, Jack, Go.  Get going.  Gut up, Mom.

Thank you Sheila.  I will use it and think of new "G" words to represent my feelings.  

I love this blog and the friends I've made through it.  

Thanks for sharing my milestones.

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[Outtakes]

Good friends...




Goofy girls... 


Galling...


Gaining ground!

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