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  • Mixing Up My Media

    October 16th, 2013 Susan | Posted in Crafts, Events, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

     

    Remember as a kid the fun and excitement of going to a friend’s house and playing with all their cool toys that you don’t have? That was my weekend.

    The friend: Fine artist, writer and photographer Christine Goldbeck

    The house: PA Guild of Craftsmen Center for American Craft

    The toys: paint, canvas, rubbing alcohol, Liquitex sealer, stamps, putty knives, basting brushes, sand paper, paper towels, tissue paper….the list goes on.

    Truth be told, I didn’t know Christine until this weekend. My friend Jessica and I took the Experimental Media Painting class in Lancaster and Christine introduced us to color theory, painting techniques, aspects of focal points all in a few short hours.

    I am not a painter. Nor do I intend to be. I signed up for the class hoping to jump start my creativity by experiencing a type of art with which I am unfamiliar. We painted. We scraped and sanded. We Mod Podged, we spritzed with rubbing alcohol and sprayed with water. We colored with oil pastels and chalk pastels. We painted some more. We cut and glued paper and stuck anything and everything to our canvases. I added horse hair (of course) and deer antler pieces. There were angst-y moments of worrying we’d “ruin” our work and also the realization we can always paint over it and start anew.

    As you can see, my masterpieces can still use a lot of work but I have every intention of finishing them. Christine insisted. November is my month to do that. In fact, I’m hoping to make November a month creation and hope to create something, anything each and every day. This is payback for the year my husband did NaNoWriMo :)

    Happy crafting!

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    Holiday Jewelry Orders

    November 11th, 2012 Susan | Posted in About, Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

    The top bracelet is a Garden Gala Style bracelet with rectangular sterling silver clasp and pink/red bead mix ($83). The bottom bracelet is the Rapitorial style bracelet, which features an engraved nameplate and sterling silver lobster clasp ($95).

    Well, we survived Hurricane Sandy! That was the worst storm I’ve seen in my many years here in Pennsylvania. Unbelievable, there are still homes in the East without power and many people have lost their homes, cars and other possessions. If you’d like to help these folks donate, contact the American Red Cross.

    A week of kids home from school, no power and bailing out the basement, and I lost complete track of time. Did you know it’s November already?

    That means it’s time to secretly harvest some hair from your friends’ horses and send it me so you can wow them this holiday season with some custom horse hair jewelry. It’s really a showstopping gift that’s perfect for any horse lover.

    Since each item is handmade by me, I need time clean it, braid it, finish it and get a fine piece of jewelry back in your hands for gift giving. So keep these deadlines in mind:

    • Regular deadline for horse hair to be to me is December 1, 2012. It needs to be in my hands with an order form on December 1 so I can start on your order.
    • Orders received December 2 – December 11 that are needed by December 25 will include  a $30 per item rush fee.
    • All horse hair must be in my mailbox by December 11 for Christmas delivery.

    Don’t forget to include the order form! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me.

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    Artifest

    June 11th, 2011 Susan | Posted in Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

    Today I saw:
    A fire breather.

    A Renaissance band.

    A cooper.

    Irish dancers.

    Belly dancers. Fencers. Sword swallowers. Lakota dancers. Ukrainian beaders. A flute maker…. the list goes on.

    I ate samosa chaat and a kuhs lassi while me mom had a Native American Indian Taco.

    And I got to give my favorite flintknapper and fly-rod-maker his new horse hair bracelet.

    A medic ID bracelet with horse hair band.

    It was all at Artifest, a cultural festival sponsored by the Museum of Indian Culture. You can experience it all again tomorrow (6/12)  at the festival, located at 2825 Fish Hatchery Road in Allentown.

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    Girls Weekend Tutorial

    October 12th, 2010 Susan | Posted in About, Events, Kids | Tags: , , | No Comments »

    Some very relaxed mommies.

    A formula for a relaxing weekend:

    Five moms – kids + a cabin near an artsy small town + spas + plenty of shopping + lots of good food we didn’t have to cook – husbands = Girls Weekend.

    My friends and I gathered recently for our semi-annual girls weekend. It was the usual mix of good, uninterrupted conversation, many rounds of yoga, undisturbed shopping, relaxing, uninterrupted meals,  and lots of laughs.

    Did I mention that we did uninterrupted activities? No one demanding, “I’m hungry” or announcing “I just spilled all the juice.” More like, “Of course I’ll have another glass of wine” and “You should definitely buy that coat. You deserve it.”

    The weekend went way too fast…as usual.

    Last year I made journal covers for all the moms at Girls Weekend.

    Girls Weekend began soon after I had kids when my friend and I decided we needed to get away like we used to when we went on long backpacking trips together. These days, we’re looking more for pampering than high intensity physical accomplishment, so we opt for the spa-like Girls Weekend. Recently we’ve upped the ante and now have Girls Weekend 2 or 3 times a year, often at one of our houses.

    Some of my friends claim, “You’re so lucky your husband lets you go away for the weekend.”

    There are just so many things wrong with that sentence.

    Having girls weekend is not about luck, it involves training, low expectations, compromise, planning, and hard work.

    Training

    Ideally training your spouse for weekends away should start as soon as you’re married. If you missed that window, you need to do it as soon as you have kids. Leave the kids early and often with your spouse (just an hour or two at a time) so taking care of the children for a weekend isn’t quite so traumatic to the spouse or dangerous to the children.

    Expectations

    Low expectations is key: I consider it a successful weekend if everyone is still alive and there is minimal bloodshed when I return. In all honesty, my husband does just fine without me and is great when I’m away.

    In order for you to enjoy your weekend, you have to let go of all your expectations of how you household should be run, and this honestly may be the toughest part. You have to let go of the worry that something will go wrong while you’re away and the idea that the house and the kids will look the same when you return.

    So what if they have peanut butter in their hair, nothing matches and they ate Popsicles for 4 out of 5 meals. They’re alive, right? And likely fairly happy because everything was completely different from when you were there. Different doesn’t mean better, just exciting because it’s new.

    Planning

    Once you break it to the spouse that you’re leaving him with all the kids for several days, it’s best to do as much planning as possible to make it easier for him. I stock the fridge with his easiest, most favorite meals: chicken tenders, waffle fries and cheese. Yes, this could be renamed heart attack weekend, but one weekend of this isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    Making it easier for the spouse ensures he’ll want you to go away next time. That’s right, when you walk into the house relaxed and calm, he may plan the next Girls Weekend for you. (Note: the calm usually last about 20 minutes until the kids break sometime or the dog yacks on your new beautiful shoes you spent way too much on.)

    When I’m felling particularly nice, I arrange a weekend away at a relative’s house for one of the kids. Never for both…I can’t make it too easy for him.

    Fun finds from an antique store we shopped during Girls Weekend, a place we never could have gone with our kids!

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    Tassel Mania

    September 23rd, 2010 Susan | Posted in Crafts, Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry, Kids | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    30 horse lovers + beads + cones = lots of horse hair tassels.

    Tuesday night I introduced the Timbertalk Trotters to the art of horse hair tassels. This Montgomery County 4-H horse club has members from 8 to 19 years old and all of them had a blast making tassles. Even the moms joined in.

    Some people brought their own horse hair and a few donated mane hair, which makes soft, fluffy tassels. I set them loose on a box of beads and the kids turned ordinary tassels into one-of-a-kind pieces of personal art.

    Three of the members of this 4-H group are proud owners of Red-Tail Designs Horse Hair Jewelry. One just received her horse hair bracelet with name plate in June as a high school graduation gift from her mom.

    My budding horse lover came along to help me teach and to get a glimpse of 4-H. She begged me the whole way home to join. I see 4-H meetings in my future.

    If your 4-H club, Girl Scout troop, Boy Scout troop or other group would like to learn horse hair tassel making, contact me.

    Even the moms were in on the action of making tassels.

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    Barn Party

    December 12th, 2009 Susan | Posted in Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

    Sue made a gorgreous double strand, adjustable horse hair bracelet.

    Hi ho Silver. Large silver beads set off this adjustable, two strand bracelet.

    My first ever Barn Beadin’ Party early this week yielded a lot of laughs and even a few Christmas gifts for equestrians in the Lehigh Valley. I met up with the horse folk from Durham Creek Farm at My Father’s Beads, where I taught them how to turn their horses’ tails into jewelry. We had a blast.

    These horse hair tassels are pretty enough to put on a Christmas Tree.

    These horse hair tassels are pretty enough to put on a Christmas Tree.

    Some took to the bracelet-making and aced the four-strand braid. Others found their groove making tassles with their horses’ tails. I love these classes at My Father’s Beads. Imaginations run wild in the bead store, and everyone comes up with a completely different project utilizing the same basic ingredients.

    Trish, a beader and equestrian, whipped up this bracelet in no time.

    Trish, a beader and equestrian, whipped up this bracelet in no time.

    If your barn in interested in having a barn party at your barn or at a local bead store, contact me and we’ll set something up.

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    Horse Hair Jewely Class

    November 7th, 2009 Susan | Posted in Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry, News | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

    A pair of horse hair earrings made by a participant in last week's Horse Hair Jewelry Class at My Father's Beads.

    A pair of horse hair earrings made by a participant in last week's Horse Hair Jewelry Class at My Father's Beads. See what she's been up to since the class at www.whosgotyourgoat.blogspot.com

    If you missed the Horse Hair Jewelry Class last Sunday, you have another chance!

    Swine flu claimed some of class, so I rescheduled another class for Thursday, November 19 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The class  will be at My Father’s Beads in Coopersburg, PA. You can register online or call the store at 610-282-6939. Time to make start making  gifts for Christmas!

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    Horse Hair Jewelry Class Aug 2

    July 24th, 2009 Susan | Posted in Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

    Learn how to make a 4 strand braid, then finish off the bracelet with a variety of beads at the upcoming horse hair jewelry class.

    Learn how to make a 4 strand braid, then finish off the bracelet with a variety of beads at the upcoming horse hair jewelry class.

    Don’t miss the upcoming horse hair bracelet class!

    I will be teaching a horse hair bracelet class on Sunday, August 2, 2009, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Come join me as you learn how to create “pulls” of horse tail by spinning the individual hairs together. Then we’ll use 4 pulls to create a 4-strand braid.

    Each braid will be transformed into a unique ornament as you pick from a variety of beads to create your own adjustable horse hair bracelet.

    Pre-registration is required so sign up now. More information and a registration form are available as a PDF here.

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    Enjoying Summer

    July 15th, 2009 Susan | Posted in Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry, Recipes, Seasons | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

    Horse hair bracelet with glass seed beads braided into the strands. I can add beads to most horse hair designs.

    Horse hair bracelet with glass seed beads picked by the customer.

    Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? Wow!

    A lot has happened since then! School ended and we’ve been attacking summer vacation with gusto. The week we spent on an island on Lake Champlain felt like a month. It was wonderful! How lucky we are to have friends willing to share their experiences with us as we help them build a home away from home in such a beautiful location!

    Between the playdates and swimming and generally reveling in the summer-ness, I haven’t gotten much work done. But finally the kids were off with the grandparents and I cranked out some new jewelry yesterday.

    First, a lovely custom horse hair bracelet with multicolor beads. She picked out her daughter’s favorite colors of the moment to be braided into the bracelet. most of the horse hair bracelets I offer can be embellished with beads.

    Learn how to make a 4 strand braid, then finish off the bracelet with a variety of beads at the upcoming horse hair jewelry class.

    Learn how to make a 4-strand braid, then finish off the bracelet with a variety of beads at the upcoming horse hair jewelry class.

    Next on the list were two adjustable bracelets. These are samples for an upcoming Horse Hair Jewelry Class on August 2, 2009 at the Museum of Indian Culture. Sign up soon if you want to join the class!

    The quietness yesterday allowed new thoughts (oh my!) to float about in my head. At least 10 new ideas are making their way into my idea book. I’d love to sit by myself and create for a week, but the reality is, I have more summer to enjoy with my husband and two kids.

    So instead, kick back with an adult smoothie, the recipe I promised you last blog post. Put the fruit you strained from the fruit cordials into a blender with some sparkling water or white wine or both. Puree. Peach makes a very sweet adult smoothie; blueberry makes a very alcohol-laden smoothie. I know I’ll be enjoying one later!

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    Horse Hair Bracelet Class Coming Soon

    June 10th, 2009 Susan | Posted in Events, Horse Hair, Jewelry, Nature, Porcupine Quillwork | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

    prize5

    Next class: 4-strand round horse hair bracelet

    Sunday’s Porcupine Quillwork Classes went off without a hitch. We had a small class, which let everyone ask lots of questions and really get a feel for quillwork.

    We even had visitors. A box turtle moseyed by before class started. During class a pair of red-tailed hawks screamed overhead. We have the class outside in the pavilion where we can enjoy some fresh air, see the equestrians and runners out for some exercise on the path and log some nature time.

    boxturtle

    Surprise guest: A female box turtle, ready to lay her eggs, wandered through class.

    The participants had such a great time that they asked for a horse hair bracelet class next!

    Details are still sketchy, but right now, I’m looking at July 26, August 2 or August 30 for the class. I know some of you out there are interested in this class, so please e-mail me with the date(s) that works best for you.

    All supplies for classes are provided, but if you have a horse, you are welcome to bring your own horse hair. I’ll give you instructions for cleaning it in advance of the class.

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