Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter in the Smoky Mountains

It's an adventure. It wasn't supposed to be an adventure. We came here partly because of the mountains, partly because of the cost of living, and partly because of the climate. This area is supposed to receive something like 12" of snow annually, with an average winter temperature of 32 degrees.

The entire 12" annual snowfall, and then some, arrived on December 18. We watched as the trees that surround our house bowed under the weight of all that heavy, wet snow; and we continued to watch as big branches cracked and fell all around us. Some of the fallen branches were as large as 5" in diameter and 20-30' long, so we were holding our breath hoping that none of them would land on our vehicles or on the house and poke a hole in the roof or break a window. Thankfully, none of that happened, but at about 4:30 in the afternoon our power went out. And stayed out.

We were somewhat prepared for the emergency, having recently bought a kerosene heater and five gallons of kerosene. We have loads of candles and flashlights around, and we had plenty of batteries. We didn't however, have nearly enough water for what turned out to be a three-day outage. And as temperatures plummeted to the teens, the kerosene heater struggled to keep the house warm. On the third day we woke up to an inside temperature of 46. We did have enough drinking water to last us three days, and we had a gallon of milk, but since we have a well we didn't have enough water to flush the toilets. Yuck. We resorted to carrying big tubs of snow in to the bathtub so it could melt and be poured into the toilet tank. We also melted a bit of snow in a big pot on top of the kerosene heater (since the stove is electric, we had to do all our cooking on top of the kerosene heater, too -- thank goodness for oatmeal and soup).

With all the snow on the ground, and with a twisting 45-degree-incline driveway, we opted to stay at home instead of trying out the roads. The mountains are gorgeous, but there's not a lot of plowing or salting during the winter. No sense getting out and getting stranded somewhere, right?

Push finally came to shove on the third day of the power outage when we ran out of drinking water and milk. We had been in contact with our future neighbors (who were staying warm with their wood-burning stove and were using a generator to be able to have water), so they were keeping us somewhat apprised of road conditions. The local power company was doing a great job of posting updates on their phone, so we knew we weren't the only ones in the county suffering through this mess.

So off we went on Monday, after doing a quick (VERY quick) wash of my hair with melted snow. Pat managed to navigate successfully down the driveway, which he had cleared of all the broken branches. Thank goodness for four-wheel drive. The roads weren't really too bad, although there was some black ice along the way. It was soooooooooo nice to be able to get out of the house and walk around, even if our walking was done in Lowes, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Ace Hardware. It's a good thing we had bought our kerosene heater and kerosene when we did -- everyone was cleaned out of ANYTHING emergency related! We snagged the last Coleman camp stove at Wal-Mart, so if this happens again (according to the locals that's unlikely) we'll be able to cook. And we went out to eat. That was nice. I was really tired of having oatmeal and soup.

We weren't looking forward to going back to the cold, dark house, but we knew we needed to head home kind of early so the kerosene heater would have a chance of warming up the house a bit before we turned in for the night. One last phone call to the power company told us that we were going home to a house that was still powerless, even though our neighbors had had their power restored (we're on the tail-end of the line, apparently).

Well, joy of all joys... As we turned the corner onto the road that leads to our house, there was a LIGHT!!! Hip hip hooray!!!!! Power restored, after 74 hours of outage. Whew. We've been warm and toasty ever since, and after that shopping trip last Monday we feel a bit more prepared for the next emergency, if it does happen. We have some 24-gallon tubs with water for toilets, kerosene for the heater, a camp stove and the propane it needs to run, and extra lights for the headlamp I used to do all my reading and beading while we were here.

One thing I'll say -- the local power company did a stupendous job of restoring power for the six or seven counties they service. There were downed power lines, downed poles, and roads that were nearly impassable; but they worked 24 hours a day the whole time and called in workers from other power companies to get everyone back online as quickly as they possibly could.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Goodies in the Mail

Don't you love getting packages? Even when it's something you've purchased online, it's fun to open the box and to get to hold your new goodies in your hand. Even if it's just a stack of books (I have LOTS of books!), it's nice to hold them in your hands and anticipate the joy of reading them later. (BTW, I thought of books because I just recently received a package of eight books by some of my favorite authors -- Stephen King, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter...)

Well, I'm practically stalking the mailman now that I know I'm going to be getting a couple of packages from some of my favorite bead artists. I entered Lisa Peters' Black Friday Blog giveaway, and I won $100 worth of her goodies!!! I don't know what they are, but I'm VERY familiar with Lisa's work and know I'm going to love everything. Since I don't know what's going to be in the package, I can't show you exactly what I won; but you can check out Lisa's Etsy shop to see some of her goodies. Be forewarned... Lisa has stalkers, and whenever she starts listing new things in her Etsy shop, they seem to disappear just about as quickly as they're added.

I'm also stalking the mailman in anticipation of receiving this INCREDIBLE set of polymer clay beads from Dee Wilder (aka Malodora). I also have a good-sized collection of Dee's creations, but that doesn't stop me from wanting more. I love everything about Dee's beads. They're varied in style and color, but there's always something unmistakeably Dee about them. The last batch I received were lathe-turned beads, and even my husband was amazed at the look of them - even more so when I told him they were turned on a lathe. When I saw these sitting in her Etsy shop, I knew they had to be mine.

One of my favorite things about these is their size. They're HUGE. In addition to these lavender and orange beauties (aren't those colors great together?!), Dee's been making and saving beads in my favorite color combination: black and white. Some Natasha beads and some more lathe-turned beads. I can hardly wait. (Where's that mailman?!!?)

I've been pondering whether to treat myself to some beads by another of my favorite artists on Etsy -- Kristie Roeder (aka ArtisanClay). I'm especially tempted now that she's selling $25 gift certificates for only $20!!! If you look back through some of my recent posts, you'll see that I had quite a lot of fun using Kristie's beads and cabs for several projects; but since I received my last batch, she's created even more goodies like this sagger fired square bead. Yep, I might just have to grab that one before it's gone. Kristie's also doing a giveaway on her blog, for one of her $25 gift certificates. I could spend that in a heartbeat.

Okay, enough drooling over all these beautiful beads... I have to get a couple of bracelets made for the giveaways I've done this week (one on this blog and one to my Facebook Fans). Speaking of which, are you a fan of my Facebook page? If you're not, I'd love to have you become a fan. I'm going to do more giveaways just for fans, so you could even win something.

Time to do some beadweaving now!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

da de-de DA! The winner of the giveaway...

The winner has been chosen! There were 32 comments left (thanks for the blog posts, Facebook updates, Twitter tweets), and the trusty Random Number Generator chose #30.

That means Janiece McWilliams, author of the JBird's Garden blog and the proprietress of jbirdsgarden on Etsy, wins her own Marcella bracelet! I'll be sending a note to Janiece to let her know she's won and to find out her wrist size so I can make her bracelet. Janiece is a talented jewelry maker herself. Just look at this beautiful Champagne Pearls bracelet I found in her Etsy shop!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

I'm going to be posting another giveaway later today, so stay tuned (and please come back to enter!).

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Blog Giveaways

Everyone loves a giveaway, right? :-)

In addition to mine (click HERE
to enter), I posted a message in the Etsy forums and found a few more for you:

From Irish Rose Creations, for a beautiful heirloom quality crocheted afghan (deadline for entry is December 31).

From SewArtsy, for a cup cozy and matching tissue cozy by Maggie Sue Designs (deadline for entry is December 12).

From The Lone Beader, TWO giveaways! Click here to enter for a $25 gift certificate (deadline is today, December 9, so hurry!). And click here to enter for a chance to win a copy of Lark Books 'Creative Native American Beading' (deadline is December 12).

From acrudele, a set of crocheted cacti (these are so cute, and I don't think even I could kill them!). Click here to enter (deadline is December 31).

From Lemon Drop Studio, you can enter HERE to win a set of five (5) ponytail holders made by WendiWinn. Deadline to enter is December 15.

From SatinDollCo, you can enter on her BLOG to win a really cute red flowered cell phone charm. Deadline to enter is December 12.

And from Christie Cottage, you can enter HERE to win a beautiful set of silver hoop earrings made by ElunaJewelry. Deadline to enter is December 15.

Obviously this is just a small sampling of all the giveaways going on this monthea. I posted one thread in the Etsy forums and had all these responses, so go check them out!

If you know of any more giveaways, feel free to post them in the comments here. And don't forget to enter MY GIVEAWAY!!! :-)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A New Peyote Pattern, Some New Necklaces, and a Giveaway

I've finished a new pattern! Actually, I finished and published it yesterday, so it's available in my Etsy shop. This pattern is for my Op Art design. I've only made two versions of it myself (black and silver, and chartreuse and purple), but I think I might make a new one soon. That's if my gnat-like attention span doesn't take me off in another direction, which it's been known to do. :-)

I've also been working on some new, simple pieces to list. Truth be told, I wear very little jewelry; and when I do wear something, it's usually very simple and tends toward being either black and white or metallic. These first two pieces both feature metallic delicas. The second one even includes a little bit of steampunk look (because I have a big collection of watch movements that I bought for a different idea).

Give It a Little Steam

Those peyote tubes are really fun, and since I already had a mixture of ten different colors of opaque delicas (from another project), I thought it would be fun to make a looooong skinny tube from some of them.

And the last of these newer, simpler pieces actually began life with a whole different idea. I wanted to make a twisted ndebele rope using silver delicas and crystal size 15s. I made the rope using three of the size 11 delicas and one of the size 15 crystal beads for each row, and it just didn't twist the way I wanted. Of course, I wasn't able to tell that it didn't twist the way I wanted until I had about 10" of it finished, and by then I just didn't want to disassemble it. It was still really pretty - just not what I intended. As I was holding it and playing around with it, I got the idea to just tangle it into a knot and see what happened. And I liked it! It's an irregular knot, but that's part of the fun. It can be manipulated to change its look, but it will always be a knot because I joined the ends together. I decided to suspend it from a simple sterling silver chain, which goes perfectly with the silver delicas. Isn't this better than disassembling? :-)

Silver Tangle

So that's what's new. At least what's new and what's been photographed and listed. I have a brand new set of photo lights to try out, but I haven't set them up yet.

And now...


It's been awhile since I've done a giveaway, so I'm planning to do a couple more before the end of the year. This one is for one of my Oglala bracelets, one I've never listed in my Etsy shop. I named this one Marcella because the one you see pictured here was created as a gift for a friend of mine (and that's her name). The one you'll receive won't be this exact one, but it'll use the same beads: matte copper toned beads for the ruffles and faux pearls in various sizes for the focals. They're really lovely together, don't you think?

And now for the entry requirements...

Leave a comment here telling me which item in my Etsy shop you'd like to give or receive for Christmas.

and for more chances... receive one additional entry for each of these (so you can have a total of six chances to win). If you do any of the ones in the following list, be sure to leave a separate comment about each one:

  1. Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to the blog post in a separate comment here.
  2. Follow me on Twitter (tell me who you are on Twitter, so I'll be able to find you and follow back!). If you're already a follower (thanks!), tell me who you are.
  3. Tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to include #time2cre8oglala in your tweet.
  4. Become a fan of my time2cre8 page on Facebook. If you're already a fan (thanks!), tell me who you are.
  5. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook.
So if you take advantage of all those entry methods, you'll leave six comments here and have SIX chances to win! Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you (email, Etsy shop address, etc.) in your comment.

All entries are due by midnight (ET) on December 12.
I'll use a random number generator on December 13 to choose the winner. (The winner will be contacted via the contact info left in the comment, but I'll also post it here.)

Stay tuned... I plan to do more giveaways this week!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

New Peyote Cuff Patterns and More

I'm not listing my peyote cuff patterns nearly as quickly as I'd like, but I do have two more of them available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Jigsaw Puzzle, which is great for puzzle enthusiasts as well as supporters of Autism Awareness.

and Windowleaf, a tropical design that will make you feel like taking a vacation in the Caribbean.

I've also listed a couple of new beadwoven bracelets, just two of the several pieces I've created over the past month or so. It takes me so long to get around to taking the photographs!

It had been a long time since I created a odd count peyote design. The symmetry possible with odd count peyote is great, and sometimes single peyote is required just to get the right amount of detail. I'm quite pleased with this one, particularly with the colors. The frosty finish on the silver lined blue and gold beads is beautiful, and they look even better against the pearly white opaque beads I used as the background. I'm not sure if I'll publish the pattern for this or not... maybe after I make another version or two. (Unless, of course, I receive a special request - then it'll move up in my list.) I named this piece Royal Flourish.

My newest listing is called Water. As I was working on this, I kept being reminded of the foamy froth in a clear blue ocean. The pale aqua-lined beads I used for the ruffles are beautiful, complemented wonderfully by frosty and clear glass focals. Water is created using the Oglala technique, one of my favorites. It's amazing just how much variety one can achieve with this simple technique.

Also new to my Etsy shop is Autumn Bloom, a necklace I created using one of Lisa Peters' gorgeous stoneware buttons. If you've never checked out Lisa's Etsy shop, be sure to visit. She creates one-of-a-kind beads, buttons, and cabochons using porcelain and clay; and I think I'm in love with every one of them. I've amassed quite a collection of them on my own, and just last week I was lucky enough to win $100 worth of Lisa's goodies in her blog giveaway!!! I can hardly wait for the mail to arrive. :-)

You can see just how gorgeous her work is in this flower (click here to go to the listing for a closeup):

I decided to make Autumn Bloom my Bead Art Originals Item of the Week for this week (December 4-10), so if you purchase it before midnight on the 10th and leave "BAO" in the Notes to Seller when you check out, you'll receive a 10% refund! Visit the BAO Blog to see the details on the other members' Items of the Week - aren't they beautiful!!?!!

Back to my beads!