Monday, August 24, 2009

So many beads - so little time

Bead Fest, sponsored by Interweave, was in King of Prussia this past weekend. These fantastic bead shows, so close to our house, are something we tend to take for granted. (Michael pointed that out to me. I hadn't thought about it. I guess I was taking it for granted.)

Watching so many people take their baggage upstairs to their hotel room made me realize that while there are tons of people who come from out of town and have to stay for the weekend (like that's a hardship??), Michael and I can just zip up the road - and in 40 minutes... we're there. Very cool!

We DO have our favorite vendors - for silver - for Swarovski crystals - and some for gemstones, although that's a little tougher. It's so hard to know when you're getting the truth. Like when you pick up some beads that are hot HOT pink and the vendor tells you that the beads are natural stone. Yeah... right!

We are finding that sometimes we have to pay a little more in order to know that we're buying from someone reputable. In case, you're looking for reputable vendors, our all time favorite is Atlantic Gems with Rahul and his family.

We went on Sunday and we had a GREAT day! As you can see, we got a few goodies! We are finding that if we're looking for something specific - it's not there. It never fails! I'm looking for some really pretty tourmaline chips and some pretty turquoise nuggets. Those should NOT be hard to find, but... they must be hiding from us. Anyone have any idea where I can find them?????

The new crystals from China are GORGEOUS - such pretty colors and shapes. We found some pretty gemstones, but not as many as I would have liked. I'd love to find a good source (or two) for gemstones. Suggestions, anyone?

I think we have another bead show coming to Philadelphia in October. We'll have to take our camera next time and get permission from some vendors to take pictures. It's amazing!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

5 Websites to make you smile

Okay... something new. I think I'm going to do away with the links on the side in the sidebar and make a post from time to time (weekly, maybe?) with links that I've found that I enjoy. Then if anyone is interested in past links, they can sort by the label "Links" and... ta da... there they will be!

::::applause applause::::

Sooooo today? Cartoon and comic related websites...
  1. Dilbert (of course) ~ Who doesn't love Dilbert?
  2. ~ 12 Sites to create cartoon characters of yourself. Need an avatar? Check this one out.
  3. Out There cartoons ~ Do you suffer from Monday-itis? New cartoons every Monday and Friday.
  4. ~ Find all your favorite comics here.
  5. The New York Times Cartoon Caption Contest ~ My cousin, Tom, sent this to me and I'm hooked. We never win, but we do make ourselves laugh.

So for today... th... th... th... that's all folks!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Storage - Part 2 - A Work in Progress

Okay... I'm not sure how I got started on this. I think it started with a blog about crystals and the joy of storing them. (she said sarcastically)

At the end of that post, I asked (begged is more like it) for storage suggestions and "the creative ones" came up with several great ideas! The next day I posted some of the suggestions that people gave me and some things I dug up at an Etsy forum, one of which was about these great plastic tubes! (Isn't EVERYTHING in an Etsy forum???)

SO anyway... We got the tubes and posted a sample of what we got and how we were going to use them.

Okay... so now we're a little farther down the road, but still not "there" yet! We are a work in progress! (and progress can be painful - very very painful)

Cleaning off my work area was a nightmare. I'm one of those people who grabs some of this and some of that and off I go and before I know it... "this and that" has taken over my work space. Then I have to take a day and clear it all out because it's driving me nuts! Not so, Michael. Michael is a tidy worker. His workspace is always orderly - neat - with just what he wants to use and nothing more. I'm not sure how he does that. I have NO idea what I'm going to use until I'm into it.

ANYWAY... I didn't have time for the usual all-day cleanup. Michael was in motion so I just dumped everything from my work area into a bowl (or 2... or 3). (This picture shows my bowl status after an hour or so of "cleaning out the bowl" and putting things "away".)

That left my work table pretty clean
(hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah clean... riiiiiight!)
Please remember that "clean" is relative.

Michael started putting up the pegboard to hold the tubes. He found great little plastic hooks that only take up the width of one hole. He ordered them one day and they arrived the next. Pretty sweet!

Next, he put up some of the tubes with gemstone and glass beads - and a section for pearls. It looks great but we already see what we'd like to change. We treated each board separately - from top to bottom. Wrong-o!

I think what I'd like to do is just start from the left corner and go across - and then down to the next row when we run out of room. I'd like to see all the reds side by side - all the blues - all the greens, etc.

I think we'll probably still keep all the pearls in one area.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

How about silver? I'm still not sure how to store all of the silver.

And lighting? How do I light this so that there isn't a huge glare????

Part 3 will be coming soon, hopefully! Stay tuned and thanks for your help!

(for all of the posts about storage, click on the "storage" label in the list of labels - or follow this link:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

Did you read the book? The movie is SOOOO close to the book! I was expecting to be disappointed (strange point of view for an optimist, I know), but the movie was F*A*N*T*A*S*T*I*C ! Definitely 5 Go's!

Chelsea and Michael and I went last night. Chelsea and I both read the book - Michael did not - and I think we all enjoyed it equally. There were things in the book that didn't make it to the movie that Chelsea and I would like to have seen in the movie.

We thought some things could have been more clear - like the age differences in Henry were pretty subtle, for the most part. We would have liked more library stuff in the beginning - that kind of thing, but I know they did have a time limit. (If the movie had been 2 1/2 hours long, I'd be complaining about THAT!) Anyway.. I don't want to say too much and ruin it for anyone. Just go.

In the end, we laughed - we cried, just like we were supposed to. I mean, isn't that the eventual movie litmus test? So good! Sooooo good!

Rachel McAdams (Chelsea's favorite actress) and Eric Bana were beyond terrific. (I'd love to be just half as nice as Claire was) It was easy to just... be there - to forget we were watching a movie.

If you haven't seen it... go see it! (And don't forget your tissues!)

If you have seen it... what did YOU think????

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Kids are Alright

I was seventeen in 1969, which of course means that every guy I knew played guitar. Seriously, they all did. The girls didn't and I don't know why. But among my close friends, the guitar players were, Marty, Dony, Stan, Jack, Rick, and Brian. Oh, and my brother Chuck and my Uncle Richard.

So, to see my daughters friends all gathered in our living room with guitars in hand (and a ukulele and keyboards and even a rhythm egg) is a real pleasure. She wanted to learn to play, so I got her a Fender acoustic guitar for Christmas two years ago. I think she must like it. Since then she has taken up the harmonica, the ukulele and just recently picked up a keyboard and is teaching herself keyboards. (I am some help there but very little. Jane knows more than I do, but neither of us really plays.)

Even though she picked up the keyboard (which is in the living room) she seems to prefer Jane's piano. Her music is spread all over it.

So the other day they were all here, and Jane suggested that I get a couple of pictures to record the event. I thought that was a great idea and here are a couple.

In the picture above is (from left to right) Joanna, my daughter Chelsea, Kelly, and Barak. Joanna is playing Jane's vintage 1976 Gibson MK72. Chelsea is playing her Fender (a really nice guitar for the money). Kelly is playing my Ovation Balladeer, and Barrack got stuck with the least favorite, the small nylon string classical. (the ukulele was resting) The pic above shows the smiles, but we can't see Barak, so here is one where you can.

Jane and I listened to them of course and it was wonderful to have music in the house. They play a lot, but since Joanna is majoring in music at college, she makes them play the "whole" song, which was nice.

The picture above is Kelly looking very studious.

Jane and I were talking about the music they played and even though I don't think we knew any of the songs, and they were all current (perhaps even one of Joanna's originals) they sound just like what we played 40 years ago.

We are not sure they would agree, or like that, but that's the way it sounds to us.

Truly, the kids are alright.

- posted by Michael

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What's Your Favorite Blog?

Please let me know! If it's your own, be shamelessly self-promoting! I'll come visit! I promise!

I have a couple of favorite blogs, but my favorite today is Bright, Bold and Beautiful by Laura Trevey (as if THAT'S not a familiar name by now!)

I love Laura's blogs ANY day, but today she has featured TheEarringLady on her Bright Bold and Beautiful Blog! Not only is Ms. Trevey an amazing artist, she's obviously a wise woman with incredibly great taste! I mean... really! Only the best for Laura Trevey, and what could POSSIBLY be better than TheEarringLady???


Shades of Gray

Topaz yellow and blue

NOTHING! Unless, of course, you're looking for something "jewelry" other than earrings! Then... ThunderMoonCreations is the best!

If we (TheEarringLady or ThunderMoonCreations) don't have it - or can't make it - you probably don't need it. There's a pretty good chance that if we don't have it, we can make it for you (and we'd love to).

Friday, August 14, 2009

How To Rate A Movie (MY way)

Let's begin with the premise that I really have NO discernment when it comes to movies. I like them all - some more than others, but it's rare that I don't find some redeeming quality in even the worst movie.

Sooooo for me to rate a movie, it's just a matter of degrees of "GO!"

  1. 5 Go's is the best! Get there! Quick! No excuses!
  2. A 4 Go movie is really good! You can wait 'til next week, but no longer!
  3. 3 Go's means that I really liked it - probably more than you will.
  4. 2 Go's will give you a pleasant escapist afternoon. Beyond that - no promises.
  5. 1 Go means that there were probably 2 of us in the theater, and the other person was sleeping. This movie can wait until it comes out on TV or DVD. (unless you're bored today - then go)
  6. The dreaded Pfffffft! You won't see these very often. A Pfffffft! movie takes time and money that you'll never get back. Buy a book and sit in book store and read if you want to get "away". Don't waste your time on this one.

Clear? All righty, then! Now we're on the same page!

P.S. At some point I'll try to go back and rate the movies I've already reviewed here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Very First "Featured Etsy Artist"!

I've never done a "Featured Artist" post before, but I couldn't help myself! I've fallen truly, madly, deeply (okay... not original, but soooo accurate) in love with the watercolors of Laura Trevey!

I intend to have a Laura Trevey watercolor (at LEAST one) in every room of my house. The colors lift me and speak of hope and possibilites. Overly dramatic? Nope... I don't think so. I think the effect of color on our lives is huge!

I put feet to my intentions this morning by buying my first 4 prints from Laura's Etsy shop. I live in Delaware, so summer here always includes mouthwatering Blue Crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, steamed in Old Bay seasoning (or garlic maybe?) and served with hot melted butter. (If you've never eaten Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs, then a trip to the East Coast is in order!)

Sooooo... I had to buy the print of the blue crab...

The beach chairs bring back warm, childhood memories of summers at the shore. And besides... the Blue Crab needed a beachy buddy! So... I had to get the chairs too, right???

I have JUST the spot for these beautiful blue beach prints. I can hardly wait for them to come. I can see them on my walls already!

What color does a Blue Crab turn when you cook it??? (Did I hear you say "red"??)

Another crab - another room. This time red RED RED!

And then... I just couldn't pass this one up - Autumn - so pretty...

Laura is having a Shopping Spree Giveaway!

Count me in! I would LOVE to own anything painted by Laura! I know exactly how I'd like to spend my $50!!!

Thanks, Laura!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

What's A Premio Meme Award???

Beth of "1 Logo a Day" has generously bestowed the Premio Meme Award on us here at Thunder-Moon. It's now our job to post 7 facts about ourselves and then find 7 other people to grace with the beloved Premio Meme. (Why is it beloved??? It's beloved because I SAY it's beloved).

Ok.. so here we go! BUT since you get 2 of us for the price of 1 (you'll always find good prices at Thunder-Moon <-- shameless promotion), you're going to have to suffer through 7 facts about Michael and then 7 more about me.

7 facts about Michael:
  1. 1. Michael has lonnnnnnnng grey-brown hair (I'm being kind - it's grey - trust me) that is usually hanging down his back in a ponytail (a hold-over hippie if I ever saw one)
  2. Michael is a terrific guitar player and loves all things "guitar"
  3. Michael makes the best spaghetti sauce you ever ate
  4. Michael has 2 kids - Chelsea (19 - living with us in Delaware when she's not in school or off on a mission trip) and Calen (21 - living in Indiana)
  5. Michael takes beautiful, beautiful photographs
  6. Michael is happiest in moccasins and a pair of jeans, but no t-shirt, not Michael. Usually, you'll find him in a sport shirt - the brighter the color, the better - or on "hanging around the house" days - a knit shirt with a collar.
  7. On that same 'fashion' note, Michael hates khaki's. Hates them, I tell you. He was forced to wear them on his last two jobs and truly, I think it destroyed a little piece of his soul.

7 facts about me
  1. I have 3 sons, 3 daughter-in-laws and 5 grandchildren (4 boys and 1 girl) AND a quasi step-daughter - Chelsea, Michael's daughter (who I love as if she were my own and try NOT to smother)
  2. I try to live my life in a state of gratitude
  3. I can't imagine a day without music in my life (Michael says that the more strings there are [guitars, fiddles, mandolins, ukulele's, banjo's, etc.] the happier I am. True. True.)
  4. I had hoped to grow up to be another Glinda, the good witch of the north OR a cowgirl, but it didn’t work out
  5. I love to read (and write) - always looking for something good to read
  6. I have absolutely no discernment when it comes to movies. Generally, if it's on the big screen, I'm in - and I'll love it, so if you're looking for recommendations, consider mine to be a permanent thumbs-up.
  7. Driving is my escape - anywhere - for any length of time - music blasting - freedom!!!

NOW! It is my honor-bound duty to pass on this presigious (*cough cough*) award to 7 fellow blogsters (okay... I did 8. Bad me. Put me in "time out") who are as follows...

:::: drum roll :::::

  1. Watercolors by Laura E. Trevey ~
  2. Kizz... Day to Day ~
  3. Wilde Designs - (Sorry Beth... back atcha!)
  4. Diary of a Madd Weekly Painter ~
  5. Mona's Handcrafted Gifts & Quilts ~

Now, fellow bloggers, go forth and tell us 7 things about yourself and bestow this award on 7 of YOUR favorite blogs/artists.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Words and Music by Tracy Chapman

If you knew that you would die today
Saw the face of God and love
Would you change
Would you change
~Tracy Chapman

So! Guess who WE saw last night????

We bought the tickets a lonnnnnnnng time ago. When we saw that they were available, we HAD to buy them! I mean... well... it IS Tracy Chapman. She had never been to the Keswick before (that I know of) so we decided that we should go. One of our better decisions!!!!

What a great show! It was sold out (of course) and the crowd was amazing - appreciative - enthusiastic - all the things you would want an audience to be. And as you can see by the pictures, we had GREAT seats!

Like guitars? You would have been happy at this show! Ms. Chapman played 8 (count 'em... 8) guitars during the show -
3 Martins
2 Paul Reed Smiths
1 Fender Telecaster
1 vintage Vega guitar that Michael said he thought was from the 50's
AND 1 guitar that we definitely recognized as "her" sound, but that we couldn't identify. Any ideas anyone?

She also played a wooden box and a scrub board, and although it seems she DOES collect guitars, I doubt if she has a wooden box and scrub board collection. You never know, though. She might! Add to that list, a harmonica and a set of bongo-type drums.

At one point in her life, Ms. Chapman studied African rhythms - and we were the benefactors of that last night.

Tracy Chapman possesses a grace that is palpable - not something we've seen very often. It's the same kind of grace and humility that we found when we saw Richie Havens. Quite a presence!

It was a wonderful night! I'm a fan for life!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


There was a time when I wondered why anyone in their right mind would want to make earwires, I understand it now.

Before I go any further, please understand that I am not talking about earwires made from base metal, surgical steel or silver plated brass. I am speaking of sterling silver earwires. For most of the earrings that Jane makes, she uses sterling silver earwires. Sometimes copper, but usually sterling silver.

I now understand that there are at least three reasons why making your own earwires makes good sense.

Sterling silver earwires are not cheap. It doesn't matter what kind of deals you find, they are still not cheap. No matter how good a price you find, it still adds up when you buy 100, 200 or even 300 pairs of earwires.

You need about two inches of silver wire to make an earwire. If you use 20 gauge round silver wire, you can get approximately 57 pairs of earwires from an ounce of silver. 21 gauge will yield about 70 pairs. Even if you have to pay $21 an ounce for 21 gauge wire, your cost for the pair of earwires is still only 30 cents.

When you make it yourself, the quality is not in question. You "know" that they are sterling and that it won't infect someone's ears. You can tumble the earwires to give them a great shine and to harden them.

Earring designs are becoming more creative all the time. The standard fishhook earwires are give way to french style earwires and other designs. In short you can make a pair of earwires that are as unique as the earrings that you make.

With all that being said, I had to try my hand at making some earwires.

The picture below is copper and silver french earwires. The silver wire is 20 gauge. Seems to work very well, but I think that 21 gauge would work well also. The copper earwires are 22 gauge. I would have used 20, but 22 was all that we had. Both have been tumbled for shine and hardness. The 22 gauge copper makes delicate earwires, but the tumbling hardened them enough to make them quite useable.

The earwires below are the standard fishhook design with the addition of Swarovski crystals. I made these while we were at the Italian Farm Market Saturday morning. In between talking with customers and other vendors I made 24 pairs of these in groups of three.

I am sure that there are more to follow. Let us know what you think about making your own earwires.
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