Tag Archives: jewelry

Have You Spit On Rocks Today?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Distracted easily, that’s me. Finally had a day of sun last Friday and I could hardly make up my mind what to do first. I avoided all the things I “should” do and bolted into the backyard to assess fairy house door construction.


Love this solar powered fairy door. When you open the door a staircase shows up, but alas, too tall.

The Douglas Fir stump in the middle of the Fairy Rock Garden is going to become a house. With this in mind I have already cut up one of the leftover cedar fence boards for a roof.

Assembly challenges exist on that since I can’t figure out how to nail the pieces together, even with a vice. Think glue first, then nails.

Have been able to de-cone several pine cones to get the shakes ready for the roof, but I digress. Last year I bought a variety of fairy house doors and now was the first opportunity to go outside without a scuba suit on for more than ten minutes and play.


Very cute Easter Bunny themed door, but would not allow for roof overhang. Don’t think I need to do gutters. We shall see.

Gathered the fairy house door booty and headed out. Tried several different doors and the size problem appeared. Too small or too big. The Goldilocks issue. When I finally figured out the little door with the Welcome sign on it would work the best, I noticed a shiny pretty rock in the special lake rocks.


Perfect! Even comes with flowers and a window frame. Now have to figure out the entire glue attach thing.

This is how it starts. For us born rock hounds, it was a simple pick up of one rock. That is never enough. Before I knew it I was matching rocks for earring sets. Like when am I going to get my butt in gear to do that?


A girl and her bucket of rocks. Life is good.

Never stopped me before, so on I gathered. Ended up using one of the large fairy house doors as a tray. When I had trouble finding exact matches I hauled out the kitty litter plastic bucket still  half-full of leftover rocks. There is another full container since I obviously didn’t know how many rocks I would need. Backup rocks.

While I sat in the sun hunched over the plastic bucket, happiness ensued. One challenge was the lake rocks had been out all winter and were completely rinsed off, not so the ones in the bucket. Dust on these, so this required some spitting to get the true color on some rock specimens.


Little rock couples, how cute.  Except for one at the top. And before I tripped. But I have the photo.


When I finally stopped since the tray was full, it worked well until I tripped on getting up and launched three of the rocks into oblivion, never to be recovered.  Sigh. When baby rocks fall into other rocks and on a cement walkway studded with rocks, forgetaboutit. I did a scan, nada.

Pretty proud of myself I only lost three of the rocks, though. Can use the others as pendants. You betcha.

If you’ve got a rock hound in your family, we’ve got Mother’s and Father’s Day coming up. Go to a local landscape rock place, find the “specialty” rocks and buy a couple pounds. Perfect!

Got rock stories?

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Got Closet Cleaning Chaos?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@    WarriorTales)

It seemed such a simple goal. Clean out my clothes closet. I’m deep in the fleece on this project. Started by choosing a small group to purge; cashmere sweaters. Made the commitment to try each one on. OMG. Body parts have moved and fashion has changed.


Closet clutter chaos. The refuse from the purge so far.  


Next on the list were workout clothes – tops and bottoms. Cut them in half by the time I figured out which ones were comfortable, besides the favorites I wear to death. Then onto the lounge pants and sweatshirts. Purged more for the garage sale.

Then last Friday I went for the gusto and spent six hours in my closet trying on every dress, dress pant, winter and summer sweater and blazer. I’m reorganizing and switching out hangers too, so it takes time. Is it possible to poop yourself out trying on clothes? Yes.


Spec Ops Cat helping with my bead sorting. Kinda.


Gave myself the weekend off to visit with friends and family. Then Monday instead of going back to the closet, I deviated to the office to sort beads. Somehow I just couldn’t make myself do it. Think I’m building up steam for the final push to try on and sort jeans and tops. So many zippers, so little fit.

Those two groups are really hard to purge except for the last category which I may never get to – shoes.  I want to live the life my shoes expect me to have, so I don’t want to disappoint any of them right now. Maybe later.


Spec Ops Cat still committed to help with my bead sorting. Sitting in the middle of my work area. Excuse me, HIS work area. Cat’s rule! Too bad he won’t clean the closet.  


Project creep crawled out of the bedroom since I need to replace hangers and purge the coat closet too. Sigh. Onward brave closet purgers! Ye olde garage sale date advances.

The master goal is to easily find the clothes I wear and love. What a concept. It’s day two of Spring, I better get moving.

Got Spring closet projects?



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Baubles And Bangles And Hope

by Kimberly A. Cook                   (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last Friday I set off on an adventure to my favorite Bead Show in Portland. Given all that had happened in the nation, I felt odd to be trekking off for a fun afternoon. Rode the MAX light rail line down to the Convention Center; not only is it fast, but the people watching is fabulous. The slogan “Keep Portland Weird” really does apply here.


You can totally see why I pounced on these beads. Magnifique!


Since I was born in Portland, that explains a lot about me too. A quick trip and suddenly I’m in gem heaven. The show comes twice a year and the last time I had sixty minutes tops to shop.

Friday I had time to wander at will. On my fourth booth, jackpot! Found beads I could not live without and snapped them up. The scavengers who had been there at the opening two hours earlier had depleted the pink bead stock, but I still scooped up my pretties.


Only the corner of one booth. Next time I need to take a Sherpa with me.


The show has increased to almost fifty percent rocks and minerals in addition to jewelry. Found some fabulous geode and amethyst specimens to drag home except for the prices, but I could take pictures. Purple really is my color.


Geodes for sale. Just like mine, except for the ones I broke and need to glue back together. 


So with my bag of bead booty, continued on my route to check out every single booth. Collected more must haves along the way to add to my collection. My name is Kim and I’m a bead hoarder. Figure it’s still cheaper than a bass boat!


This REALLY wanted to come home with me, but my bank account said no. Spoil sport.


After three hours of pure joy, it was time to jump back on MAX with the evening commuters and head back to my car. It’s so much fun whizzing by the stuck freeway traffic on MAX and not being the one stuck for a change.


Necklace pendants from Nepal. Maybe next time I need two Sherpas and an 18-wheeler to take home my treasures.


When I got home I checked out my take. Seed bead necklaces from Guatemala, necklace pendants from Nepal, beads from China, silver from Italy, almost amethyst from the fairy caves. I’d seen gemstones from Afghanistan, beads from South Africa, nesting dolls from Russia and the Larimar stones I love from the Caribbean.

It all made me smile. The vendors who attended from up and down the West Coast with their wares all came together to help people like me make pretty things. That once again proves we can do things together for a greater good. Even if we start with one bead.

Sitting on my computer is a business card I was given at Kohls in December 2013. It was part of an ad campaign by the store, but the clerk couldn’t know when she handed it to me how much it would mean. My father had passed away during the night. We were headed home after seeing him for the last time and I stopped to pay my bill. I was exhausted, grief stricken, numb and not too happy to wait in line.

That little card made me remember all the people who had been so kind to us throughout the ordeal. At one of the worst moments in my life I got a business card that said #SHOWKINDNESS.

Seems like a really good place to start to move forward in this country. So simple we can all do it. Some pretty beads might help too. The power of the good Force is strong. Hope lives.

Who’s been kind to you lately? Pass on kindness. You never know what a difference it might make in someone’s day.

P.S. Thank you to all my readers. You make my day.

P.P.S.S. For my fellow beadaholics, the http://www.gemfaire.com might come to your town. Don’t miss it!

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Can You Say Bead Bonanza?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Returned from a girl’s four day road trip to Las Vegas last Saturday. While my poor little creative brain is still on total sensory overload trying to process everything I saw and experienced, I wanted to share a few pictures of my view of Las Vegas.


Most folks go to Las Vegas to gamble and see shows, but I prefer seeing exhibits, lights and animals. We took in the Elvis Exhibit from Graceland, the M&M’s Store, and the white tigers at The Mirage.


One amazing thing which caught my eye was above my head in the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Having a bead addiction, I about lost it when I spotted this chandelier. These three pictures don’t do it justice, but I had a wonderful time getting closer to try and determine the crystal and bead patterns with my zoom lens.


With so many things to see, hear and experience in “Sin City,” you know I found the biggest piece of bling I could find on a ceiling. Now if I can just figure out how to make one of my own. I’m sure Spec Ops Cat would love to play with these beads!

I will share more of my fun Vegas finds with you next week, so stay tuned. Or in my case, what happens in Vegas ends up on WordPress!


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Beads, Bling, Coloring And Shell Casings?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Creativity is everywhere. Opening our eyes and senses is the first requirement to seeing it. Spent a quick visit Saturday at the Gem Faire, one of my favorite things to do. The show only comes twice a year so I can’t do too much damage to my wallet.

I hadn’t been for quite a while so the thrill of exploring energized me. Due to a competing appointment I had 70 minutes to power shop through the show. Did it! Got some pretties I couldn’t live without and saw some items which made my muse happy and curious.

Sounds like a Ginsu knife commercial - but wait there's more! Shell casing earrings and pendants!

Sounds like a Ginsu knife commercial – but wait there’s more! Shell casing earrings and pendants!

Take the shell casing pendants and earrings. Now, I have some leftover shell casings from my Dad’s workshop I’ve kept for a future project like a draft pick; not sure what they will become or accomplish but I’ve got the stuff. Had to take a picture and share with you this creative use of ammo.

Now, I might shine the casings with Brasso, although I thought I got enough of Brasso in the Army, but shiny is in my blood after basic training. Then I might add crystals, sparkly bling, a pink quartz rock and flashier earring findings and that is how I end up with tons of “project stuff.”

Recently a new Ace Hardware opened up in my area and I was beside myself exploring the aisles and all the fun new toys, er tools. They even had a “Hobby” aisle! Can you say more accessories for my Dremel? Yes, I bought the 80-piece accessory pack when I got my Dremel but I’m sure Ace must have more by now.

Then last Sunday the “Parade” magazine had a great article about coloring for adults. While I admit I buy Disney color books and have a fabulous supply of colored pens, Crayons and pencils to use, now there are big kid coloring books! They even have a couple of pages you can download free from the article.

Here is the link to get to the article and the free coloring pages.


Life is good! New beads, new bling, recycling shell casings and getting to color? It must be summer!


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What’s Sugar Free, Fabulous And Holds Bling?

by Kimberly A. Cook            (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

Couple years ago I got serious about losing weight because my fat jeans were strangling me. One of the things I did on “The Belly Fat Cure” by Jorge Cruise was to substitute Truvia natural sweetener for Splenda. Cruise advocates cutting excessive sugar grams and processed carbs in your diet and staying off chemical-based sweeteners.

Truvia container with label. Then naked containers with baubles inside. Like my jewelry tools mug holders?

Truvia container with label. Then naked containers with baubles inside. Like my jewelry tools mug holders? Who remembers the tv show “Northern Exposure?” My kind of crazy!

So 18-months later and 33 pounds lighter, I was accumulating a stockpile of said clear plastic Truvia containers. Since we have to up cycle everything around here, just like in “Portlandia” on tv, I thought they would make great storage holders for the odd-sized beads and things I use to make jewelry.

They work so well! First, I’m buying Truvia all the time anyway which makes the storage containers free to me. Score! They’re wide-mouthed and have a nice snapping lid, but I can also unscrew the top to wash it out and easily clean inside. They are fun to arrange, they stack well and are see-through!

Even spent bullet casings leftover from my Dad’s weapons collection fit inside one; I know I can turn those into jewelry some day. They’re great to take in the car for shell collecting on the beach and also putting screws and nails in for safe-keeping. In life as in recycling, it only takes a different perspective to change ourselves, our career or our sweetener containers into something different, fun and useful.

Perhaps that’s one reason I enjoy watching Flea Market Flip on HGTV so much. I like to see other folk’s visions about re-purposing items and know right away what works for me or not. Sometimes I cringe when I see a piece of furniture I think is perfect the way it is get all gussied up or turned wacko, but everybody’s got their own design style – mine is French country Victorian with lots of books. And beads. And teapots. And shoes.

What’s your design style? Got fun up cycled storage container ideas?

P.S. For those of you keeping track, I am back down under my 5-pound big no no limit after the Easter candy/ham/potatoes/gravy and leftovers week food fest. Lettuce is my friend. One must be ever vigilant!


Filed under Crafting

Life Gives Us Unexpected Pleasures When We Slow Down

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Spent the past week on an unexpected stay-cation at home and it was wonderful. Seems we run around so fast we never get time to just be. While visiting my favorite antique mall and café, I spied a marked down jar of jewels. Score!

Marked down from $25! Happy Dance!

Marked down from $25! Happy Dance!

I snapped it up and kept it until I had time to enjoy the sorting process. Got my favorite bead storage container, I keep a stash, and spent a pleasant hour discovering new treasures. It feels like bead therapy to me, bringing order out of chaos and finding surprises.

The process was interrupted by Spec Ops Cat wanting to help out. Whether it is checkbooks, knitting, composing on the computer or trying to read anything, he thinks a RECON is in order.

There were more pins and buttons than I expected in the jar, but it made me wonder about who wore the pins and why I had four from one convention. The little mysteries of life. I’ve read research which says women can start to lose their passions at age 10, so figure out what you did then and try it now. Reading, writing and jewelry making were big for me at 10 and still are among my favorite things to do.

Spec Ops Cat helping out. Kinda.

Spec Ops Cat helping out. Kinda.

Of course, in those days, I’d get these same jars filled with broken jewelry parts at Goodwill for a few dollars and have a field day sorting my finds. This $15 jar was a big bargain since everyone has caught on to recycling and making “steam punk” jewelry these days.

But I spent a wonderful time playing with my new jewels and dreaming up new creations I want to make.

When we’re not thinking about creating characters, building plots and editing, a childhood pleasure can give us a quick vacation without even leaving home. When did you last take a break and just play?



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