On Monday, several tornados touched down in Virginia, one of them in nearby Suffolk (you can read the latest news here).

I didn't even know there was a tornado watch until I went to run errands that evening and heard something about it on the radio. Tuesday night Nick, Heather, their sons, and I drove to the high school serving as a shelter to drop off some kids' craft supplies we had left over from various church activities. Nick had stopped by earlier in the day to see what kind of help we (individually and as a church) can provide.

From what Nick relayed, it seems that there is actually quite a large outpouring of support following a natural disaster like this. Its later on, after the first week or so, that supports dwindles. Hopefully, we can find a way to continue to help in the weeks to come.

I'd never seen the devastation from a tornado before (and actually didn't really go see the areas hardest hit). Its odd, though - there would be a stand of trees bent or absolutely flattened, and right next to it a section that were left alone.

The weirdest thing, though - on the way there, we were stopped in traffic for a little while. And laying in the median beside Nick's car was a random piece of a house.

more jewelry.

I finally got around to taking pictures of several other necklaces and bracelets I've created recently. These photos still aren't the best quality - my friend Billy gave me some ideas on how to set up a display for them (though I did that after taking the photos below), and will come over sometime to help me figure out the best lighting and camera settings.

These first several were created by special request - Tricia liked this one, and asked for one in blue, green, pink, and grey and black.

My mom requested this - its an eyeglass chain. She said the one she has right now is too short, so she asked for this to be a specific length. She was also concerned about how heavy it would be.

The rest of these are pieces I just built from the supplies I have. I find myself noticing all kinds of jewelry I didn't before, especially when watching TV. In particular, the lead character on Bones wears a lot of fabulous necklaces, so I've been studying those..

(Pendant says Inspire)

(Pendant says Hope)

Last night I created a necklace for an 11-year-old girl, by request, as well as 15 fairly simple bracelets for an event at church. I'll take pictures and post those in the next few days.

before and after: gutters and moldings.

On Saturday, a couple friends came over to help tear down my gutters and replace the moldings beneath it that had been damaged by water. The gutters were warped in many places, and didn't look like they had been installed properly to begin with. This is what the ones in front of the house looked like before:

This next picture is a close-up of that same area, and you can see where the molding had separated from the wall. This is actually the second time this happened - the area just to the right had separated as well, and I think this is how I ended up with birds (and maybe some other animal) in my house.

This is what it looks like now:

The molding has been replaced, and it makes a big difference - in fact, I'm still surprised at just how different it looks. Now there will be gutters only above the doors (which means less worry about pine needles clogging them, which means I won't have to pay Robbie to come clean them out, which is a good thing). The molding has been replaced and resealed as necessary, and soon the fascia board below it will be scraped and painted. I'd also like to find a way to clean the brick below it, but am hesitant to use a pressure washer, since its only a brick veneer.

my new love.

Okay, its not really love. But its a lot of like.

Its somewhat surprising, given the amount of craft and home stuff I do, that I've never actually used spray paint, but yesterday I did for the first time. Now I'm hooked. I can't believe how much faster the process is, especially with things with a lot of detail. And I think I'm hooked.

Its probably kind of hard to see without enlarging the photo, but on the left are the pieces to the front door's mail slot. The last time he was here, Dad helped me replace the locks with a silver knobs, and it was bugging me that the brass mail slot didn't match. Since a new one can cost over $35 at Home Depot, I decided to paint it myself.

The thing (I have no idea what to call it) on the right is for a current project - I'll explain and post pictures when its done.

Oh, and this guy is coming to visit me on Thursday (with my sister and my dad).

I can hardly wait.

ordinary miracles.

I'm not sure what this post has to do with ordinary miracles, except that's the song I'm listening to as I'm writing this.

As a rule, I don't usually say that spring is my favorite time of year. I'm not crazy about rain, and I've suffered through pretty nasty seasonal allergies for as long as I can remember. But I do love days like these - when the sun is shining, and its just warm enough to open your windows or drive with the window down, but its not so hot its stifling. And when my allergies are under control (which they are now, thank goodness).

I have lots of thoughts on my mind to share, but for now I'll just tell you that I've been busy with lots of little projects over the last several days. Work is very slow right now, leaving me with lots of free time, and I'm having fun filling it with the things I want to do. Tomorrow several friends are coming over to pull off my existing warped gutters (it doesn't look like they were installed properly to begin with) and replace the outside moulding where its been damaged by water. I need to go outside and take before photos.

I'm still creating jewelry, I just haven't taken any photos of the newer pieces. My friend Billy is a photographer, and is going to help me learn how to set these up for photos. Once I have a certain number of pieces completed, I'm going to set up a etsy shop to sell them.

One more thing - I volunteered to foster dogs with Animal Rescue of Tidewater. I've thought about doing this before, and now that I'm working from home, I just decided to go ahead and do it. They're coming to do a home study next week, and we'll see what happens from there - it sounds like they're willing to work with me on the type of dog I would foster, which makes me happy.

being outside and a new project.

The weather has been beautiful the last two days, which is such a welcome change after the dreariness of the last week. The dogs didn't like being cooped up, and I was sick to death of wiping their feet everytime they came back inside. But yesterday was gorgeous, and actually felt like the good part of spring.

I'm not a big fan of rain. I understand the necessity of it, but just really don't enjoy it.

I completed another project last night. This one took a while, and is a belated birthday gift for my friend Trish. My general rule of thumb is that I only give birthday gifts to family members (or kids, if I've been invited to their birthday parties) - but your 30th birthday is something special.

So, this is Trish's birthday gift - I just love it and want to run out and buy more beads so I can make more like it, but with different colors. Maybe I need to spend some time at a thrift store looking for jewelry with good pieces that I can take apart and craft into something else.

The charm on this is kind of hard to read - it says Friends.

first projects.

I bought my first supplies for making jewelry a couple days ago, and have already finished three projects (but there are only two pictures - I'm still keeping Mom's gift a secret). I'm still trying to figure out the best way to take pictures of them.

The steps, at least for these projects, are pretty simple, but it takes a while to get used to figuring out the length. The nugget bracelet (at the top) is actually a bit shorter now - I didn't really take into account the length of the clasp when I strung it the first time, so I redid it.

I'm having a blast (but this is going to take all my willpower not to kill my budget).


You should follow this link and watch the video. Its incredibly powerful.

making jewelry.

I love jewelry. Seriously love it, and the chunkier, the better. I keep it all organized in this big display over my dresser, and have told myself that I'm not allowed to buy any more than what will fit here. If I get something new, I have to give something up.

But here's the thing - I've wanted to learn to make jewelry for a while, and a new friend from church who does just that, is showing me how. She gave me a couple basic lessons a couple days ago, and will go shopping with me in a few days to buy some of the basic stuff I need. I can't wait to get started and want to run out to Michaels and buy everything right now. So, to hold myself back, I've been looking for project ideas on the web. These are the two I'm going to start with (plus an additional one as a Mother's Day gift for my mom, but that one's a secret).

Nugget Necklace & Bracelet Set - I just want to make the bracelet. I don't have a ton of those, because if they aren't the stretchy kind, they don't tend to fit well.

Blue Glass Bead Chain Necklace - Again, I just want to make this as a bracelet. I have some blue beads from a broken bracelet that I want to use.