Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hug the people you love

My sister knows how much I love cats so she got me a darling calendar with the pages you tear off each day. Here was yesterday's page.

That quote really hit home as we have had to say our final farewell to a favorite uncle and some very good friends in the past couple months. My Uncle Jim was a character for as long as I knew him. I featured this picture of Jim (on the left) with my Dad, his older brother - by 16 months - in an earlier blog post.

Uncle Jim on left and my Dad
I understand he babysat for me when I was a young girl and we were living in Baltimore. How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to witness a few of those babysitting sessions. He loved hats and was rarely seen without one, and had an eclectic fashion sense that usually paired plaids with stripes. 

At a Pittsburgh Pirates game with Uncle Jim and Aunt Barbara
He and his siblings had a tough life but he never focused on that. His father passed away at the age of 41 when Uncle Jim was 13 and my Dad was 14. As the two eldest in a family that included six children, it fell to them to help their mother maintain equilibrium. He remained a bachelor into his 40's and I remember visits to see him in his pre-marriage days. He would be sequestered away, tapping on his typewriter. He kept this love of the written word all his life despite spending much of his professional life with numbers. Many years later, he wrote a biography about my father which I cherish as a reminder of details I never asked.

Uncle Jim had an intense curiosity that gave him an endless fascination with just about anything and made him one of the best conversationalists I have ever met. I will miss his jaunty walk, sly sense of humor and commentary on the world-at-large.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Loving beaded bead caps

I first wrote about these clever beaded bead caps last year when I was looking for caps to complement this bead crochet bangle.

Blog post about this bangle

I stumbled across this tutorial online and, while written in Russian (I think), the design is quite easy to follow. I especially like that it uses super duos since it's nice to have findings that carry on the same bead types from the main design.

This necklace is one of my favorite designs for an all-purpose but very pretty rope. The designer is Kristen Stevens and her tutorial was published on the Art Jewelry Elements blog in July 2015. I have made this rope so many times I have lost count! Here it is with a finish using a bead to end the rope and connect to the clasp.

Rope design by Kristen Stevens on Art Jewelry Elements

I wanted the ending to carry on the super duos used in the rope so in my next version, I made these bead caps. All you need is a handful of super duos and some 11/0 seed beads.

Here's a close up of the bead cap once it's connected to the rope.

And here's the design all put together.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017, here we come!

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 books and holiday reading

I must have a thing for "B's" because two of my very favorite things start with that letter: beads and books. And when it comes to books, I really enjoy the Goodreads web site. It allows me to see what my friends are reading and more importantly, allows me to record books I have read so I don't buy them all over again. Yes, I have done that! And one of the best things is seeing my year in review which Goodreads publishes each year.

And to close out the year, I made a trip to the library yesterday to pick up some holiday reading. As I was checking out, our librarian told me about a book she had just finished and said it was one of the best books she read this year. "Would you like me to get it for you?" And that's how "The Secret Keeper" came to be in this stack. My motto is never turn down a recommendation by a librarian!

Actually the bottom book is mine as you can tell by its well-worn appearance. The cover was lost years ago and I chuckle at the sub-title, "Living the High-Carbohydrate Way." This was actually a considered a good thing back when the book was published in 1980. I should probably buy a book cover for it so I don't lose any more pages.

Carbs aside, this cookbook contains one of my all-time favorite recipes for turkey chowder and I plan to make some for our household as well as for friends who have been spending time at the hospital. I don't think Jane will mind if I offer you a glimpse of that terrific recipe.

My favorite Turkey Chowder Recipe from Jane Brody's "Good Food Book"

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