Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is Facebook really charging you for the 'Promote' link?

All Pretty Things
For the past couple of weeks, with the IPO of Facebook there seem to be a frenzy of 'FB is charging for this!' or 'If you want to still see my page's posts on your wall, Click the "Show..." link' and so on.

The first message I saw like that - seemed decently OK... but the frenzy that followed made me very suspicious. I did a little bit of my own investigation and the result is quite simple: Facebook didn't change anything... at lest not yet :)

The 'promote' button you see on your pages is a somewhat recent feature - and costs no money. It will simply display the post you choose to promote at the top of your own page wall for a week. That's all - is more like displaying a sign in your own store.

The 'Click on the... link otherwise you won't see my posts anymore' is - show should I put it? Your fans don't need to click on any links - once they Like your page, the 'Show in the newsfeed' box is automatically checked for them. In fact, making them go and check it again will have the opposite effect and it will also confuse the life out of them!

That's in a nutshell - for more details you can read this great article on the subjects of Facebook 'changes', including a short and eloquent description of the algorithm Facebook is using to display the billion of messages one is subscribed to these days.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Faberge's Doodle

I couldn't resist! Today Google's Doodle honoured Peter Carl Faberge's brithday. The son of a great Russian jeweler, he made the name Faberge well known when he executez the Tzar's commission of a jeweled egg... The rest, as they say, it's history.

Sand Art

This is such a beautiful moment to share - I am sure you saw her work before, however every time I watch her work I am amazed. It takes a special soul to create such ephemeral art!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Swirls and Twirls

As I was saying yesterday - when I stumbled upon AJE's 'Inspired by... ' challenge I knew I had to enter it. The orchid picture was gorgeous, the colour is probably the only pink shade I can tolerate (fuchsia) and I had beads in that shade. For those who know me - to have pink beads is out of my range of normality. But I guess there is a beginning for every thing.

I have never owned anything pink. Except for a pique dress (which was actually my mom's) - a gorgeous shade of very light pink, and a cut that still makes me sigh so many years after (I don't even know if mom still has the pink dress, but I know for sure I won't be able to wear it anymore). And a T-shirt my dear hubby bought me many moons ago... pink? he said I would look good in it - yeah, I have the skin and eyes and hair colours that go well with pretty much anything... but... pink?

So what possessed me to buy these gorgeous dyed agate? I couldn't tell you - however it must have been something, 'cause I first got a faceted strand (along with the equally gorgeous blue ones from last week) and then I found some perfectly round one - and bought a second strand. And a pendant (tear shaped). Pink - all of them... fuchsia, bright lovely pink.

Seeing the orchid picture in the AJE blog post I knew I have to use them - and I have to use them 'now' :) So use them now I did.

I started by creating 3-4 wire-wrapped 'dangles'. I thought I will connect them together, make more and make a necklace. But they didn't feel right. Now I have 4 dangles and no piece. Great. Put it aside, I finished another pink necklace (we'll call it my 'pink' phase) - waiting for inspiration to hit. Had this piece of curved metal on my desk for a long time, really should have threw it in the garbage long time ago [a prize for the person who will guess what was the original usage of that piece of wire!]... and I kept coming back to it... until inspiration finally hit me! A bit (make that half a spool!) of wire here, a bit there - a dangle here, another one there, some hammering here, some twisting there...

When I finished I had this piece in my hand - and as my own 'babies' go this one just took the Oscar home. I like all my wire pieces a lot (the ones I made in the past 2 months or so), really do - but this one - is in a category by itself :)

Fuchsia and Sterling Silver (wire wrapping) :: All Pretty Things

Fuchsia and Sterling Silver necklace (wire wrapping) :: All Pretty Things

I just love how it ended up, the silver swirly dangles flowing gracefully between the beaded dangles!

Fuchsia and Sterling Silver earrings (wire wrapping) :: All Pretty Things

Of course I had to make a pair of earrings - although they cannot be wear together, the necklace must be alone. Now I need a bracelet for the earrings - next project :)

And all together:

Fuchsia and Sterling Silver (wire wrapping) :: All Pretty Things

As luck would have it - my hubby bought me a bunch of T-shirts (he stumbled upon a nice deal) - and between orange, blue, and white he got a fuchsia, a pink, and a purple one. Fuchsia... fuchsia... guess what I will wear today??

Monday, May 28, 2012

New challenges

Eye candy: pastel dyed jade strands :: All Pretty Things
Yes, the way I am jumping into these challenges you'd think I am crazy. And maybe I am - but so far I am having the best time when working with a goal - being it the rules, or simply a deadline. Self-imposed goals just don't work as well for this gal.

I finally cleaned the work area enough to find some beads I forgot I bought (only 3 weeks ago!) - and to gather all I needed for Lori's Pantene Bead Swap. Being in a forgetful month, I promptly forgot to take pictures of the little packages before I wrapped them and over-wrapped them and taped them inside the envelope securely... I put the addresses on the envelope... then it occurred to me: and how are you going to take pictures?! Some sort of X-Rays maybe... oh, well, apparently Dee from Cherry Obsidia (my partner in the Pantene swap) did the exact same thing, so we're all good (she seems to be younger than me, so that's my excuse :))

Just Wednesday, I think, I found out about Art Jewelry Elements' "Inspired by..." challenge... and this time is an Orchid. A splendid pink orchid. I love orchids, and the pink ones? I simply adore (not small feat for one who has hardly any pink in her wardrobe, and who wears mostly blue / green / white).

Add to this that I got not one, but 2 strands of a beautiful pink dyed agate: one faceted, like the blue from the tutorial, one just round. The exact same shade as the orchid in the picture. How could I pass?!

But this story is for tomorrow :)

Today's story is about the amazing Echo Creative Club, hosted by Jeannie Dukic.  Her club is for more experienced artists and I resigned myself for having to wait at least another year and a bit (since my blog is just a baby :)), hoping to be published somewhere in the meantime (really should get going on that). However, she opened the Club for a guest - and she was kind enough to include me too!!

Boy, was I ever excited?! I will participate in the Echo Creative Club in November!

And since it's a long time 'till November (not really, do you realize we are almost into June?!) - to keep myself occupied I am participating in Sandra's Creative Chaos Design Challenge (you knew about that) and I am contemplating her newest challenge, the Father's Day one. I have the perfect idea, not sure if I have the means to implement it until the due date! I'll try :)

If you know of other challenges - please let me know, I'm on a roll! One with malachite or rose quartz - I have some gorgeous beads I got myself recently and I am looking for an idea :)

What are you doing these days?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The 4 peaches

Tulip Festival :: All Pretty Things
Returning one day late from the market, a peasant brought home a basket full of beautiful peaches and he thought to try his 4 sons. He called them the next morning, and gave each one peach. When the sun set, he called them all 4 back and started to ask them:

- Well, what did you do with your peach, he asked the oldest son

- Oh, I ate it immediately, thank you, father, it was delicious! And I thought: how about I will plant the pit in our garden and maybe it will grow a peach tree! And that's exactly what I did!

- Good job, my son, you'll become a good peasant. And you, what did you do with your peach? he asked his second son

- Well... I ate it... it was so tasty, and delicate, and had a wonderful perfume...

- You ate it and... that's it?

- Well, after I threw the pit and licked my fingers I asked mom for another one, it was way too yummy!

- My son, be careful, you might become greedy... And you, did you like your peach? he asked his third son

- I don't know, the son answered, somewhat uncomfortable

- How come you don't know? What did you do with it?

- Well... I sold it! I went to the market and I took good money for it, since it's not an usual peach in our area.

- My son, you'll become a good business man. One word of advise, though: in life not everything is for sell, especially what you receive from your parents or loved ones.

Lastly, he turned to his youngest and asked him:

- Did you like your peach?

- I don't know either, father.

- Oh, no, you didn't sell it too!
- No, father, I didn't sell it. I went to visit my friend, across the street, and he was very sick - so I gave it to him, to make him feel better, and I thought it might help him recover a bit.

All teary eyed, the man hugged his son and told him:

- I don't know what you will become, but you'll be a good Christian, and that's the most important thing!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Happy Anniversary!
Tomorrow there will be 16 years since I married my sweetheart.

I can't post pictures of that day... because I don't have pictures... we are the only couple I personally know who eloped! The circumstances were such that we couldn't even think about having one of those weddings that (almost) every girls dreams about.

Did I dream of one? To be honest - not really :) I always knew I want to get married and make a family, but I could never picture myself as a bride :) which is probably why I agreed to our eloping.

Do I regret not having a 'proper' wedding? Not really either. A few years back hubby and I had a Video production company and we filmed and edited quite a number of weddings... sometimes I would romantically sigh, however - I would have liked one for myself on one condition: someone else would be in charge of anything, I would just had to come, get dressed, get to the church, say 'I do' (well, not really again - it's a long sermon, but I don't recall the bride & groom having to say 'I do' in our church... interesting) and go somewhere for the honeymoon. Since my 'dream' wedding is utopia, we left it at our original eloping :)

Happy Anniversary!
I think what I'm trying to say is: it doesn't matter how you get married, what's important is how you stay married :) The very first few years weren't all too pretty, but somewhere between year 4 and 5 (I believe) - we finally both smoothed up our corners and became a couple of one mind. So much so that to this day there is no need for words to know what the other wants to say, to the extent of when words are spoken, they are identical. I mean: identical - down to the intonation. Our beautiful son considers this both creepy and gross :)

So tomorrow is our 16th Anniversary! Happy anniversary, dear Florin! To many more to come!

May your grass always be green
May your skies forever blue
May your heart always be young
And may God bless you!

P.S. I need to specify I wanted to make something in the 16th anniversary stone (peridot). To my complete dismay peridot is not a gemstone readily available, not in this area at least. Our nice store didn't have it stock and Michaels had some minuscule chips I simply didn't know what to make with :) I'll have to wait for an anniversary with an easier stone, probably :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

An inspiring post

May you never lose your sparkle! [All Pretty Things :: Fresias]
In our modern days - we rarely hear "it's ok to quit"... the opposite is usually true: we push ourselves and everyone around us to do more, to be more, to... always more.

The article below is a graceful one: praising the value of knowing when to quit, or when to just stop what you're doing and take a break. This is true both in the creative world, but also in our normal, day-to-day life.

May you never lose your sparkle.
And if you do - may you have the wisdom to find out what do you need to take a break from to get your sparkle back!


In praise of calling it quits

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How-to: Wire-wrapped necklace [technique]

I rarely manage to take pictures of work in progress, but for this necklace I promised myself I will take the step-by-step pictures and post some sort of a tutorial.

Bear with me - it's my first (or second, if you count the crochet-wire necklace how-to from the past).

This is what we are trying to accomplish:

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) :: All Pretty Things

What we need?
  • beads - in my case - gorgeous blue faceted agate, 10 mm diameter (10 for a 23" necklace + 1 extra for the hook)
  • wire: both 20 ga and 22 ga (11 pieces 3 1/4" long of the 22 ga, 11 pieces 3 1/2 " long of the 20 ga, plus 4" 20 ga for the hook, and ~ 2" of the 22 ga for the hook)
  • jump rings (21 4mm or larger, as you fancy)
  • 2 chain nose pliers 
  • 1 round nose pliers
  • 1 flush cutter
  • wire jig for the wire connectors
  • hammer and pad for hardening the wire (connectors)
Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial): what you need :: All Pretty Things

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial): what you need :: All Pretty Things

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial): what you need :: All Pretty Things

First we make the 10 bead connectors: take one 3 1/4" 22 ga piece of wire and with the chain nose pliers make a 90 degree bend at 3/4" from one end. With the round nose pliers, make a loop

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 1: bead connectors :: All Pretty Things

Wrap the wire 2-3 times, and press the end in. Place the bead, and make repeat the wire wrapping at the other end: another 90 degree bend, loop, and 2-3 wraps. 

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 1: bead connectors :: All Pretty Things

Flush-cut the wire snugly against the bead, letting the bead to move a little bit:

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 1: bead connectors :: All Pretty Things

Finish all 10 connectors and set aside:

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 1: bead connectors :: All Pretty Things

Place 2 small and 2 medium pegs in the wire jig and create the wire connectors. You can work with pre-cut lengths of wire, or directly from the spool (I prefer to work from the spool on the wire jig). Adjust the wire connector by hand, to make the sides equal and nice.

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 2: wire connectors :: All Pretty Things

Make all 11 connectors, then lightly hammer them to harden the pieces.

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 2: wire connectors :: All Pretty Things

Using the last 20 ga piece of wire - make a beaded hook: at one end of the wire make one half of the wire-wrapped bead connector, at the other end create a hook. Keep the bead in place by lightly wrapping a 22 ga piece of wire around it. Hammer the hook ends for hardening.

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (tutorial) - step 3: the hook :: All Pretty Things

Using the jump rings connect each bead connector to a wire connector, alternating.

The resulting necklace is light and beautiful - and you can combine other metals: think turquoise and copper, gold / brass and pearls, the sky is the limit! I intend to add a bracelet and a pair of earrings - the earrings will be one wire connector and one bead connector.

Wire-wrapped agate necklace (sterling silver, agate) :: All Pretty Things


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creative Chaos Design Challenge

Creative Chaos Design Challenge :: All Pretty Things
A few weeks back I entered a challenge - and I promptly forgot about it (no offense to Sandra, I just have a chaotic life right now, trying to get some order in it :))... until a few days later when I received an email from Sandra at Skye's Creative Chaos... letting us know we have won a spot in the challenge. Wow!

Well, the first wow was quite nothing compared to the second wow - what did you think it came in the mailbox yesterday?! A package - I looked at it... wasn't expecting anything... I thought... until I saw her name in the left corner and I couldn't find something to open the envelope faster :)

I am not sure if I should put a picture of what I was gifted with - suffice to say the packages inside are a treasure. And quite interesting, although almost everything is way out of my comfort zone - I got an idea immediately... must be the colours :) Now I have to finish the few projects lying around and to start on this beauty - it will be a beauty, I promise!

You'll have to come back at the end of next month, June 30th - until then - like a poster I recently saw on FB:

Don't worry, bead happy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The deck

If you wonder where have I disappeared last week... the answer is: in the backyard. Our deck has been due to re-build for a few good years, but springs and falls have been quite cold and rainy... and the summers - well, as some of you know, we are competitive trapshooters, so during the summers our weekends and sometimes weeks at end will find us in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ontario, New York, and Michigan, at various competitions. No proper time for a deck (who would stay at home to build their deck when they can go camping in beautiful Elysburg?!)

Long story short - with the long weekend approaching we thought we'll have enough time to finish it. Funny thing is - we finish it before the long weekend, as on Mother's Day my hubby didn't have to go to work (he works weekends only, lucky him)...

This is our Odyssey in lumber and stain:

The deck on the day when we took it apart (rotten and in really bad shape)

Hubby measuring something (or maybe just pulling the nails off?!) :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

The old frame - we decided to pull off only the exterior area, the part next to the stairs goes right under an extension of the house... no need to shake anything that might get us into expensive troubles :)

The old frame :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

Although it has been a beautiful addition, the tree-top table had to go, the roots of the old tree were all rotten and the table didn't go on its side because of extra growth, but because the stump started to fall off).

The tree table :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

Our mini-techniqus child, using measuring tools - something he enjoys a lot!

William making sure the frame is properly inclined :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

Our beautiful son helped like an adult: he carried, he measured, he kept lumber in place, he even cut a few pieces, he screwed them down: you name it, he wanted to be a part of it.

Father and son, working together :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

Father and son, working together :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

Tadaaaa! We have a new deck!

The new deck - completed (no stain yet) :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things) The new deck - completed (no stain yet) :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things) The new deck - completed (no stain yet) :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

And stained!
Stained and beautiful :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

Stained and beautiful :: The Deck Odyssey (All Pretty Things)

This was our adventure of about a week (well, really one full day and couple of hours every day for the rest of the week). We love it; I had requests of sleeping on the deck :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Art Jewelry Elements: Handling Criticism with Grace: Pricing

An excellent article every business owner and everyone handling customers should read.... and then read it again :)

Art Jewelry Elements: Handling Criticism with Grace: Pricing: This blog post got very lengthy, so I am dividing it into at least 2 parts. Part 2 will be next week.  Let's just get it out there. Critic...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Richard St. John's 8 secrets of success [TED]

Richard St. John's 8 secrets of success [TED Talks]
Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success .

Probbaly the funniest definition of success - Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

And the winner is...

The winner of the heart set is... drum rolls... more drum rolls... some drama a la Tom Bergerac (DWTS)...

OK, ok - the lucky owner of a heart pendant and earrings is Jaqueline:

April 2012 - All Pretty Things Giveaway winner

Congratulations, Jacqueline - I will contact you soon!

Thank you all for participating, and please come back, we'll have another giveaway at the end of June :)

My heart to you (sterling silver, Swarovski, wire worked) :: All Pretty Things

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

My beautiful son came on Friday very excited from school and after a couple of hours he asked 'Mommy, is it still a celebration if you give someone their gifts ahead of the day?'

What could a mom say? :)

And this is what he presented me:

A card (which I forgot to photo, I will later) with a poem about Mother:



The best

Hard worker



And a note:

Caring Amazing
Cooks Bikes Walks
She is special, caring and Awesome

A chocolate custom-wrapped:

Mother's Day - chocolate custom wrapper

A huge card:

Mother's Day card

And, the piece du resistence, an amazing Van Gogh - alike, painted (well, oil chalk-drew) by himself (everything else was made by him too, of course)

Van Gogh's Sunflowers in William's view - Mother's Day

I am so grateful for his heartfelt gifts and for the love he's sharing every moment!

Happy Mother's Day! [and happy Son's Day to my beautiful son :) ]

Friday, May 11, 2012

Timeless lessons

William watching the ocean in Maine :: Keep your dreams!
Words of wisdom for a beautiful Friday:

Marc and Angel :: 101 timeless lessons

#17: Age wrinkles the body. Quitting on your dreams wrinkles the soul.

Keep your dreams so you keep young forever!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The power of words

The power of words :: All Pretty Things
We are usually striving to put more content than form into our messages - we teach our kids it's what 'inside' that counts. However, the form has a unique power, and we should not go over it that easy, yes, we should have content, but also the proper form.

This video has been circulating a lot lately (one of those viral messages) - for a good reason: it shows how powerful words can be. The message is the same - but the way it is formed is hugely different! And so are the results!

May you enjoy the little things we take for granted every moment - because those are what makes our lives so wonderful!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Robin nest
The nest on top of deck TV
A few years back, while we took our very crazy vacation for the first time, when we came back home a nice surprise was waiting for us. A pair of morning doves has made their nest on top of the TV that's just under the roof on the deck, in the backyard (I am married to a 100% male specimen: TVs are the next most important things in our house after beer and red meat - when one does the BBQ, one needs to be able to watch CNN, otherwise the world might take the wrong turn!).

We watched mesmerized the appearance of the little baby - just one. And not a whole week after - we saw them fly away, but they stayed in the cedars that create our live fence in the backyard. Not a whole month after - the doves (parents) were back! I didn't know they grow more than one generation a year! In fact, that year, because it was very warm all the way to October - we had 3 baby doves.

Robin nest
The nest in the evergreen in front of my window
The next year - I wasn't sure what to expect, I had no clue if they'll come back or not - and they did! Year after year. A few years later were accompanied by a pair of Robins, who decided to nest in the evergreen bush in front of the window at our dinner table (aka 'my office') so I could watch the babies coming out and grow minute by minute. Our son was simply mesmerized (as I was too) by the sheer speed these little beings grow: now they are still inside the egg, now they are out, all wet and quite ugly, 3 minutes later they are the most fluffy and cute little things (with a huge voice), and in just a few days they were ready to fly away. Sigh!

Robin nest - with one small baby in!
The nest in the evergreen in front of my window
Year after year we were home to our doves - every spring they will come, sing to each other, then diligently bring straw by straw and create their little home. Until 2010, when a robin came first and took 'posession' of their nest... they made theirs inside... and when the dove came there was a short fight, but the doves didn't win. I wasn't sure what to do - I remember being torn at the idea of letting the nature take its course vs helping my little pearly friends, the doves. I decided to let nature be... but it broke my heart, for a few days the doves came and sang and stood on the fence watching the robins build the nest that was the dove's first...

Robin nest - the babies
The nest in the evergreen in front of my window
To make it even harder - shortly after the robin laid her eggs - a craw flew in, apparently the robin's nest was smaller than the dove's and the craw had enough space to just dive in, steal the eggs and fly out in a blink. The robins left (probably heart-broken too!) and I had a 'in hind-sight' moment - would I have known how would all end up, I would have just helped the doves.

The next year - no sign of the doves (we're still waiting for them, or other pair, to come back), and no robins either. Now my sadness knew no limits - and I still had sorrows for not helping the doves (yeah, I am crazy enough I can loose sleep over such a thing!)

Child with baby robins - a unique opportunity
The nest in the evergreen in front of my window
But this year - no, the doves aren't back - the robins decided to try another place, right under the roof... and right next to the security camera! We have our own Animal Planet live in our living room :) And we learn something new about the robin's life every day!

It is such a pleasure to have at least one of them back (of course I have no clue if it's the same robin or not, of the doves - I was sure it's the exact same one) and I can only hope a pair of dove will find their way to our house too!

Child with baby robins - a unique opportunity
The nest in the evergreen in front of my window

Monday, May 7, 2012

More wire-work

In my wire-work adventures a few weeks back I made many 'quiet' sets - in pastel colours. A few of them, though, I decided to be very bold and chose red.... and one of them - if you are Romanian (very few of you are, I know) you'll remember a pop-folk music band back in the 80's, named 'Red & Black'.

This set is named after them :) and it is my first time using black - I have never used black before (long story). It is an asymmetrical bracelet with a big bold and gorgeous black agate - warmed up by a series of bright red coral nuggets. Creates a few wire-wrapped links - and voila! One of the more energetic piece I've ever made - it really moves your blood :) I made just a pair of earrings for it - because it was for a black evening dress with a round embroider of black crystals around the princess neckline, no necklace would have worked. However, for a day-to-day attire, it can sure have a similarly asymmetric necklace and it will - as soon as I get back to our store to buy another focal :)

Without much more talking - I present you 'Red & Black': a bright bold statement for any occasion:

Red & Black (sterling silver, black agate, red bamboo corral, wire wrapping) set: bracelet & earrings :: All Pretty Things
Red & Black: sterling silver, black agate, red bamboo corral

Red & Black (sterling silver, black agate, red bamboo corral, wire wrapping) set: bracelet & earrings :: All Pretty Things
Red & Black bracelet: sterling silver, black agate, red bamboo corral

Red & Black (sterling silver, black agate, red bamboo corral, wire wrapping) set: bracelet & earrings :: All Pretty Things
Red & Black earrings : sterling silver, black agate, red bamboo corral
What do you think of my Red & Black set?

P.S. A quick reminder for this month giveaway: enter to win a heart set right here!