Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Life is Like A Quilt Block!

Blocks featured are from PieceByNumber
   Lately, my mind has been consumed by crafts for our MOPS group next year. Getting centerpieces and name badges together and really and trying to find crafts that 80 different women would want to make... (that I am sure is a battle that is never won.) While preparing and thinking about it my mind is constantly reminded of the theme for next year ... A Beautiful Mess ... Embracing Your Story...

   I find myself wondering how much of myself am I really willing to commit to others? How honest and open am I being? Do others only see the crafts and not the woman? My mind was flooded with this for some reason this morning as I was just crafting up some quilted "mug rugs."
   When it comes to quilting lately I am ALL about paper piecing! (Some hate it, and some love it... I LOVE it!) But here is the most beautiful thing about it, and where life intersects with making a quilt block... Let's just assume you understand the basics... a piece of paper with a design is used as a foundation, then you add fabric in sections and sew...
   So here is a square I am ripping off. You see, once all the fabric is attached you then remove the paper and all that remains is the quilt block... so I am still not really getting to the point am I?

   I used Time/Life as the foundation. I could see with every piece of fabric added that each event in life was like one of those pieces. Each mistake and triumph still attached to the same life... each piece just as it should be...

   Sometimes we make mistakes and have to take out stitches and redo it... maybe that's a lost job or failed relationship. But we cut out the piece and start with a fresh piece and attach it again... until we get that piece just right.

   As life progresses our "block" gets larger, added family, maybe children and pets... but that foundation just keeps us all in place. It hides the mess of cut fabric and threads... it keeps our past in the past and helps us look forward to the future, a  
                                                                completed block!

   Now to the hardest, but most rewarding part... opening ourselves up. Opening up to making friends and creating true and complete relationships. The kind where you are ok allowing others to remove that foundation paper and see all your "mess" underneath.

   They will either laugh and show you their "beautiful mess" or they maybe aren't the right friend... but being open to the possibility that maybe it will be something great has to be the driving force. Knowing that as each piece of paper comes off you are that much closer to showing your true and genuine self.

   It's scary and sometimes little bits of paper get stuck. But what's the worst that could happen? You could just possibly find someone else just like you. Someone else who is scared that who they've been will be judged and not who they are now...

   When you turn that "mess" of a back over this is what you see, something beautiful! All the rest falls to the side because people, the people who matter are only seeing what you've become! The more of us that are willing to show who we are beyond the covering/foundation ... well we can join together to just make beautiful quilts, quilts made of all different colors and prints and patterns!

   So maybe I didn't show you something new today. Perhaps you're thinking, I thought this was a crafting blog... well it is, but sometimes crafts and life just come together in these great little reminders! Now unfortunately I need to go clean up the "beautiful mess" all the discarded schnibbles lefts behind!

   So maybe this coming summer and fall you will be more willing to shed that paper and show people who you really are! What's the worst that could happen? They might just take their covering off, show you their mess, and together you two could be the start of an amazing quilt... or mug rug! : )

Take joy in your "beautiful mess"!!! Show it proudly!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"A Beautiful Mess" Centerpiece Idea

This is the theme for next year in MOPS.... it stands for "Mothers of Preschoolers." It's a group that is a real lifesaver when you have little ones! I was so blessed by the end of my first year I wanted to participate again and also contribute! This upcoming year another gal and myself are heading up the Creative Arts coordinating which includes making small crafts throughout the year as well as the centerpieces for the tables.

We have been a little stumped on how to exactly convey the message of this years theme while creating pleasing centerpieces... so we got on Pinterest and did a ton of pinning and have been trying different things out... I pulled from a few different ideas and came up with the following idea... I don't know if it is one we will use, but I had a lot of fun in the process!

 Well, it doesn't need to be on a scrapbook square, but I thought it added for the photo. It is 3 different sized cans. I painted the insides just real quickly so there is no perfection to that, but it kind of gives a whitewashed style to it. Each can was then mode-podged on with a different scrapbook page. I glued the two smaller cans to the larger (which was actually a can of enchilada cause) and glued on the jute cording.

 I then glued clothes pins to the inside of the cans with plenty of hot glue and printed up and used distressed inks around the edging to make these little signs.... The top side is the actual "pin" direction... so the ladies can post Mom's Night Out and Playdate times or locations or even just ideas.... we like to get together with our friends outside of the group too... I thought this was a neat idea where they could put the info for the next time!
We all name our tables... so I made this little banner where they could write their chosen name... And I made the stick actually go into a straw I glued into the largest can... that way for storing and when they chose a name they can just remove the stick! This will also help them not break during the storing process!
You can put pens, prayer request cards, and anything else in the cans on the table.... I thought I got pretty creative and made a pretty paper flower with a tag with the logo for the front of the smaller can... This was super easy and you can use whatever paper! No two tables will be the same then! A great way to embrace the idea of the theme!

I don't know if we will use this idea or not, but you could make it for any occasion or group... just tweak it a little! I hope you enjoyed seeing into my process! This is truly a work still in progress trying to figure out the centerpieces! I'll have to post what we finally end up using!


Friday, May 10, 2013

My Family Tree is a Set of Conjoined Trees....A New Picture on Life

I imagine my life more like this picture now. Did you know that out in nature trees can conjoin and still grow, while growing together? It's an amazing world we live in! What's even more amazing is how my life is just like one of these types of trees.

In December, after knowing I was adopted my entire life, I took the biggest leap of faith and decided to find my birth mother. Due to the Internet, well Facebook to be exact I located her within 15 minutes of receiving my original birth certificate from the state of Illinois. I opened myself to a type of vulnerability I had never experienced. At that time I wasn't sure of what the outcome would really be and to be honest I still don't really know what will happen, but it has altered my life in ways I could never fully express. Now I would like to consider myself to be part Jewish, German, Italian, and Polish... I am made up of four families! My family tree looks more like one of these conjoined trees than an average one... If I signed up on I don't know if they really could build a family tree that would truly express all that I am!

This is my birth parents getting ready to go to my birth mom's Prom!

This is one side of my conjoined trees...

Here I am with my family. My other side of my trees.

I feel truly blessed over the average child. I've had 4 parents who have loved me... well maybe 4, but 3 for sure. Sadly my birth father passed away a few years back and I may never know how he truly felt, but it took 4 adults to raise me! No, I wasn't that bad! Ha, ha. But I had double the love that other children have. To now be 30 and feel like I might be starting to get my life together, I can't help but thank God for making my life the way He did. I don't think I could have said that 10 years ago.

I have moments where I thank God for giving me two moms. One had the heart to want better and the other the heart to raise me, good days and bad. I find that I am similar to both in different ways. Yvonne, my birth mom and I pin similar things and have the same exact sewing machine... that we got around the same time, before we met one another... And my mom, Marilou and I are almost one in the same, well except for the crafty bits! If it wasn't for my mom's loving kindness, I may never have had the courage to find Yvonne.

I am proud to say I have 2 strong mothers. That because of their love I am the mother I am today. I am so proud of both of them... With Mother's Day only a few days away I thank God for both of them! God knew what kind of person I would be and realized it would take two women with the same big heart to raise me. And I would have the joy of sharing my life with both of them now. I still don't know exactly what lies ahead of me in the journey, but now I am more open to the vulnerability of not knowing what lies ahead. Now I can just bask in the rays of His glory and enjoy the ride...

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day! I know I will!

Thank you for continuing to take this ride with me! Until next time...


Monday, March 4, 2013

Craftster Crush?! Who Me?! YES. . . ME!!!

Well what an amazing honor to have been chosen as the March, Craftster Crush!

I had just completed a couple swaps and have been focusing on my beadwork again lately and today a dear friend, Lesliehappyheart sent me a message congratulating me before I had even opened this month's newsletter!

I've always been crafty. I've always been more creative than anything else. I am the woman sitting in church doodling my next creation, because for some reason, when I sit there the ideas just start flowing!

I have ALWAYS worked hard at what I do and never really thought I was truly any good at it until this year! Within the last 12 months I have taken Honorable Mention at the San Diego County Fair for my beadwork, "Craftster Best Of" 2 years in a row, and my beaded necklace, "Midnight in the Garden" took FIRST PRIZE at the Annual Riverside County Date Festival!

This truly has been an AMAZING start to the year! I started off by saying I wasn't going to blog and post as much because I wanted to make sure I was putting my family first... and then it's like within 24 hours of posting that, things just changed! I have kept true to the not posting as much but only because the items I am now working on are taking much longer to finish than they used to!

I want to thank everyone out there who supports and enjoys my "craft"! Really if it wasn't for outlets like Facebook and Craftster and Blogger, I don't know if I would be making the quality items I am today! You all push me to try new things and to put more of myself into every piece of work I make! So thanks to all of you!!! Because without you wanting more I would not be here doing what I love today!

I did say I have some projects in the works and here is a sneak peek of just a "few" of them! I say few because in reality I always have about 3-4 in certain stages of completion and about 8-10 written out to be started!

This one to the left is a beaded necklace I am working on with free-form peyote stitch titled, "Waves of Grace." It's further along than this photo but I don't want to give it all away!! At least not until it's completed! I told my husband, "I don't think I will enter this into the fair this year." He asked why and my response was, "I just don't think it's impressive enough..." HA! What was I thinking?!

On the right is a 3-D beaded flower I just kind of "threw" together! It will be placed with more on a necklace that was an original design idea for the San Diego County Fair this year. I have more beaded flowers drawn out and waiting to be beaded, but I found that Madonna cameo above and well had to take a quick break from the garden!

This month I also have a wonderful custom order I will be working on for a friend! I will definitely be posting photos for that as well.

Please don't think I am putting my sewing machine away though! I have just bought fabrics to work on a Spring/Summer quilt for Abigail! And want to make custom pull-string pouches for each of these beaded creations!

THANK YOU!!!! (again!) Sometimes a little encouragement is all we need to be spurred on to greatness! I simply can't wait to share everything new with you soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

From ATC to Wall Art...

I recently participated in a craft swap on Craftster and along with the "theme" crafted item, I had to send along one crafted "extra" item... My partner was very much into making Artist Trading Cards, or ATC's as they are commonly referred as (think baseball card sized art cards). I noticed she had drawn up quite a few and thought it would be neat if I could take this little baseball sized artwork and make it more into a wall hanging!

The picture on the left is what I ended up created from the picture on the right as my guide.

I thought I would go ahead and show you all today how this was made! I think is appears to be much harder than what it was but I just kept adding more!


  • a picture like from an ATC with the background erased using a paint program and enlarged or shrunk down to the size of your liking
  • a simple painting canvas
  • scrapbook paper
  • beads
  • felt
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads 
  • Tracing Paper
  • Modge Podge or similar, and glue
  • Felt tip pens

 So first I used a 12x12" piece of textured scrapbook paper and stamped on the Distress Ink. It doesn't have to be perfect! Just put on as much or as little as you would like. It adds dimension to the paper.

Then I simply glued the paper to the canvas frame... Simple enough so far...

 I then used a second piece of handmade paper and distressed it as well with the Distress ink and tore the paper and then burned the edges with a lighter and then glued that on top of the covered canvas. As you can see here I really just wanted it to have a rustic look and appeal... which it did!

For the next few steps you can just set this canvas aside because the bulk of the work is now going to be done on another piece of handmade style thin scrapbook paper.

Ok! Now to the exciting part! I took her small ATC and used a photo or paint program to enlarge it as well as to erase as much of the background as I could.... I am not into wasting printer ink... that darn stuff can be pricey especially in color!

So I just used a felt tip fine point pen to trace this lovely Victorian Woman onto the "feathery" thin scrapbook paper.

I broke her into three pieces, which I may have later regretted... one probably would have been fine...

I used just simple felt tip markers that I bought at the Dollar Store(!!!) to color her in and then used an exacto knife to cut her out.... I left a little room because again I singed her edges with a lighter in places.

Also in the drawing her hair and dress was adorned with pearls so I used a home decor weight thread and beaded right onto the paper securing my knots on the back with super glue.

I modge podged (or similar) her head and shoulder portion on first. You have to do a couple layers as the glue dries or else the paper will just start to become limp and destroyed.

I then added her beaded dress in the same manor.

So her dress and head were glued and I sat down with some felt and cut little flowers and again used Home Decor weight thread and a needle to sew the little flowers in place gluing down all my knots.

Just a note: you have to be very careful when attaching the felt and beads because when you run a needle through paper its not like fabric... so you can't repair if the hole tears or is in the wrong location... but this didn't really have too much rhyme or reason!

Be careful when cutting out this last piece or any beaded piece that you don't cut too close to any of the threads or holes...

This final piece I didn't singe because there was just too much detail to the headpiece. But again I carefully modge podged it into place and made sure all the little curls were glued down.

Finally I went over it all over again with the Distress ink to just put that final layer of "vintage" to it!

She came out better than I imagined! And you could do this with any picture! Even by adding a simple black and white photo to an ornate distressed background...

Here is the finished product! She is similar to that original drawing but has a twist all my own to it. My partner was very excited with it! Now you too can go off and create some three dimensional wall art and there isn't much to it! I'd love to see if you make anything in the same style!


Monday, January 7, 2013

My Path to Finding My Birthmother, One Adopted Child's Story

My Husband (Adam), Daughter (Abigail, 2), and Myself

I know this blog is called “CraftyMamaBeads”, but today I actually don’t have anything crafty at all to post… Today I want to share a story. It’s my story and it’s actually more of a journey!

I have always known I was adopted. My parents never tried to hide anything from me. I grew up knowing only a small few bits of information that they had known and when I was little I can actually remember a time when I thought that all kids were adopted. Ha ha.

I never felt the need to try to locate my birth mother and in reality couldn’t admit to myself that maybe I was more afraid to find things out or be rejected than anything else. I always had the support from my parents that even if I wanted to know they were ok with that and were curious about her as well…

So now we turn to today… This year I turned the big 3-0… and now that I’m married with a daughter of my own the curiosity had returned. It seemed that lately I had been meeting people who were so amazed that I was adopted, but very freely said they couldn’t adopt someone else’s baby. Some just didn’t know how they could love a baby that wasn’t their own. I had never really heard that before. But maybe it was just because before I was young and na├»ve? I had always known it took a special person to give a baby to a deserving family, but now I was learning it took a special family to want another person’s baby.

This fall I was on a warpath promoting adoption and finally standing up for something I believed in with my whole heart. I wanted to educate a person on what to say and what not to say to someone who was adopted… That sometimes the way you say things to someone can make them feel like less than what they are, which by no small means is anything less than a MIRACLE!

Ok, so let me get off my soapbox and put it away… ha, ha! So back to how this becomes my story… In December I learned that there was a law in Illinois (where I was born) passed that would allow adopted children to request their original birth certificate. I prayed on it for a few days and then wrote a check for $15 to the state of Illinois and just this past Saturday it arrived in the mail.

I opened it very carefully, not really knowing what this would do to my life and how it could change two families. There typed from long ago was the name of my “angel.” I called my parents and both of us went straight to Google and typed in her name… in about 15 minutes I knew more than I ever had all thanks to Facebook!

Due to privacy settings I would have to “friend” her before I could send a message. I thought oh man I sure hope she will even if she has no clue who I am, maybe my picture will spark something in her… turns out she accept my request! She was online at the time I saw and thanks to my iPhone, I was shopping in Target when it all happened. I was shaking and my husband was saying we could just go home and finish the shopping later… I couldn’t move. The store was busy because it was a Saturday and I just stood in the middle of a busy aisle just in shock. When I came to I quickly sent her an instant message… I asked if she knew who I was. She replied rather quickly that I was just someone who asked to be her friend on Facebook. The next thing that I typed was going to change our lives… My response was

“I was born December 9, 1982 at Lutheran General Hospital and I have been waiting my entire life to thank you.”

That one sentence changed my life. Unless you’re adopted you never would think anything of that line above… But for those of us that are this is a powerful sentence. At some point in time we all dream about saying that. I wish I could have seen her face when it popped up on her screen!

I wish I could tell you or even myself how my life has changed since that moment. I never knew I needed that. I never knew what knowing would do to my life, but more importantly my heart. My heart feels as if it could explode. And the feeling hasn’t left since that moment. The moment it finally got completed. There are no missing pieces from my puzzle any longer.

I don’t know what the future will hold now. I don’t know what will happen over time. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. But the best part is I have my mom and dad to hold my hand every step of the way. They are such strong and caring people. They have always been there for me and were waiting to go through this step of life with me. We finally did it.

All of this happened in a matter of one weekend. And now Monday is here and it’s time to get back to normal life in our houses. I am cleaning the kitchen and my daughter is playing with the iPad, Adam (my hubby) is back at work after a weekend of laughing and crying together. But one thing has not changed and that is the feeling in my heart. I feel now my desire to speak out about being adopted is that much stronger. I did what I was so afraid to do… I risked the negatives and am so happy the positives out weighed my fears!

So no crafts today to show. No stories of quilting… just me being real today… So as always when I close a post…


Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New "Strength", New Prayer

This is a Prayer Flag. The concept was started through this site, The Prayer Flag Project. The idea is that you create this 5x8 inch flag that is then hung outdoors. As the flag slowly deteriorates it then releases your prayer into the world... Maybe not necessarily my cup of tea, but I do love the concept. You are creating it with a prayer included! I have created other flags, but as a friend said, "You can see the prayer in this flag..." (Big Thank You to Leslie!)

This flag in particular was made for a Craftster swap. My partner had the idea of the main word and the butterfly and the verses... 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17... I came up with how I displayed it and incorporated her desires into the flag. This time I wanted to try some new things and I truly wanted to incorporate a prayer into this flag. And this is the creation that came to me!

The writing was done with a permanent micron pen on just bits of scrap fabric. As I wrote them they were a great reminder to myself!
 The butterfly itself was a piece of thin handmade scrapbook paper I had found at Joann's... so maybe not actually handmade but that same look. If you look real close to the right you can see some of the fibers...

I actually just used felt tip markers I bought at the 99 Cent Store to color the butterfly! I used a charcoal instead of deep black and three shades of orange with a hint of deep yellow. The markers just bled so perfectly on the paper that my shading was almost professional! Ha, Ha. I will definitely be using this technique again!
 The word "Strength" was painted on a piece of vinyl and cut and sewn on very last! I used the same paper as the butterfly to create a sort of 3D cocoon for the butterfly and had already attached the "twig" so that there was really no way to display the word without hiding something... So a remnant purchase of vinyl from Joann's came in handy...

The fabric in front of the burlap was just scraps sewn together with no method... And then everything was sewn on top of that.
  The pom-pom fringe was an afterthought and luckily I didn't stitch the fabric at the edge so I could still sandwich the fringe between the burlap and the fabric.

The burlap was a craft all of its own! I bought almost an ivory/cream colored burlap and dyed it with coffee, tea, and distressed inks. It was then frayed and the edges burned with a lighter... just a note that I don't recommend doing that... Burlap is hard to blow out.... the embers can continue to burn. I did this over a sink with running water and barely singed the edges! But after it looks just perfect.

Of course my flag would not last too long outdoors with the paper and marker... but I put a prayer in every stitch! I hope my partner enjoys this flag.... and is blessed with the prayers that were placed into it!


Happy New Year!

I ended 2012 with a BANG! As you can see above I worked my little behind off trying to finish everything I "needed" to by Christmas Eve... Of course along the way I added in a few more projects, such as the Santa pillow and the Christmas Quilt... yes I made a quilt in about 48 hours and on Christmas Eve as we were driving to my parents house I finished the binding! 

That same day I loaded my sewing machine up into the car and dropped it off to be serviced (before they closed). 

I completed two more projects in that time as well. A baby quilt for a cousin's new child and a beaded necklace for my mom...

I looked back at everything that was completed... I realized it may have been the first year I didn't have anything left over to finish... well not technically...

As the New Year begins we sit and write down resolutions that never make it past the end of January and new projects begin... Life continues to change and I am praying that as life changes for us all we can hold on true to the things we believe in! This year I want to just love more! Love my "craft" more and maybe even take a step back for a little while from my machines and needles and just spend sometime with my family.
I find them like this a lot on the weekend when I walk in to check on them from being in my studio sewing... 
This year I may not post as many things as I would like to, or change the world of beading, sewing, quilting, or crocheting. But the little family in that picture might just love me more for doing less!

So my resolution isn't to post more, but maybe just enjoy them more! I don't know when exactly my next entry will come, but it will! I will just have to make sure my posts are that much better!

Happy New Year!