Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oh blog, I'm sorry I've neglected you

It seems that blogging crosses my mind quite often these days, but I never actually get around to doing it. The life of a mother of three is a whole lot more work than I realized it would be (duh!). I felt like I was completely submersed in toddlers and babies for a long time and now I can kind of see the light of day. I'm not saying it's been a bad few months, just filled to the brim with little room for anything extra. Lots of beautiful moments with my babies. Here are some updates:

My oldest, handsome boy, Liam, turned 4 years old this summer. He's a mini Bill (my husband) in the making. This boy is starting to look like Dad, act like Dad, talk like Dad, think like Dad and on and on it goes. His mind amazes me. Oh, and he now thinks that we are soooo old! Last week at school (yes, he started pre-school this year), he learned about fire safety. He came home and told me, "Mom, if you are on fire, you stop, drop, and roll!" I said, "I know. I learned that in pre-school too." To which he replied, "But Mom, that was ages and ages and hundreds of years ago!" Really Liam, I'm 28 years old! And that about sums up Liam.

Henry, aka the sweetest boy in the whole world, is into more mischief than one could dream possible. This boy can open every door in the house, including the sliding glass door leading him to the great outdoors (usually in just a diaper nonetheless) and the closet that houses all the snacks and treats. If anything is out of reach in any room of the house, he carries a chair into the room and figures out how to get what he "needs" - he's very resourceful! But, I did mention his sweetness, Lord have mercy, that boy knows how to tame his mother's heart. When in trouble, Henry quickly strokes my face and calmly says, "Hi, Momma." And that's it, I'm totally melted.

That would bring me to my little beauty, Norah. This girl has the most beautiful deep, brown eyes complete with lashes that go on forever! She is one blessed little girl. More importantly, she is doing very well - healthy as can be and keeping up with all of the typical milestones. Her adoption was finalized in September!!!!!! Our entire family let out a huge sigh of relief and a Hallelujah when the judge struck his gavel. We are so thankful to have our girl.

Through all of this, I've continued working on my jewelry. I did a whopping 1 show all year. That's OK with me. I now create only pieces I love and would wear myself - I have no time for anything else. I've been working mostly with tagua. My metalsmithing days are on hold for a while, like maybe 3-4 years. Tagua is such a great, natural material to work with and the colors are so rich. Combinations and styles are endless. My mind goes wild with ideas. Unfortunately, I also have to photograph all those ideas and list them so I can sell them! I prefer doing shows over selling online, but that's just not an option these days so to etsy I go. I listed a bunch of tagua necklaces today. Check out my shop:

To stay up to date with what's going on follow me on Instagram: BeckerAshleigh or like me on Facebook
See you around!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Where in the world have I been?!

Well, what a great question! I have been off adopting a baby girl of course. Isn't that what you would expect from me? In all seriousness, it happened very quickly and we didn't tell many people until she was born and we were spending as much time as possible in the NICU with her. Our beautiful little girl, Norah Grace, is home and thriving. I plan to tell her story at some point but today is not the day. 

In the midst of all the madness that comes along with having 3 children under the age of 4 I've had a weird obsession with making wrap bracelets. I've done some Chan Luu inspired ones (ok, a lot of those) and some macramé. Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures of them and yes, this is the majority of what I've made in the past 3-4 months (the rest was custom orders for weddings and a few pairs of earrings that I'll share later). Here they are:

Friday, February 15, 2013

As of late...

I've been working on all kinds of different projects - custom jewelry orders, rearranging our entire house (all done, but not totally decorated), baking, doing projects with Liam, and even a little crocheting (I seem to take up knitting and crocheting every winter but it never lasts long). Oh yes, I've also been making some facial toner and tried out some new facial products, which have turned out to be good and bad.

First up is the jewelry since this is supposed to be a jewelry maker's blog. I just made a custom bracelet for a cool guy who works with my sister-in-law. I must say his girlfriend is one lucky girl! He had great ideas for what he wanted stamped on the charms of this custom bracelet. Kuddos to him for being so thoughtful and detail oriented!

I also made a tagua necklace for him, which is maybe not as exciting but I thought it was great that he knew just what colors he wanted. Here it is:

And now for my latest venture - making facial toner. I follow a blog call Delighted Momma. Lindsey, the author, was an esthetician before she quit her job to be a stay at home mom. She shares all kinds of skincare tips and diy projects. Anyway, she gave instructions for making your own cleansing facial toner here way back in August. I finally tried it in December with hopes of making extra to give to family members for Christmas (that didn't happen). I really like it, but you do have to get over the strong smell of the apple cider vinegar. If I don't have makeup on after I use it, which is 90% of the time, I randomly smell apple cider vinegar throughout the day. I guess it's not the worst thing I smell all day! It's an all natural product that is very inexpensive to make - I'd highly recommend it.

I'll save some of my other projects for another day & time. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lucite and Clay Blog Hop

Hello All - welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by for the great Lucite & Clay Blog Hop. Let's get down to business!

When given the choice between working with clay or vintage lucite it was a no-brainer for me - I immediately chose the vintage lucite. My beads arrived in the mail months ago. I had to set them aside until after Christmas and all of our traveling was done. The whole time I was thinking - what am I going to do with those beads?! The fucshia color is not one I typically would chose so I was thrown off a bit.

This week I figured I better get to it and make something! I desperately needed some inspiration so I went to Pinterest and searched for photos of vintage lucite jewelry. I stumbled upon a style I really liked (sorry, the link to the original picture was bad so I can't post it). I wanted to make something that fit the era of the beads. And this is what I came up with...

I started with the necklace. I was really going for a 1950's glamour look. Although this is not my typical style or something I would probably wear I really like the way it turned out.

Onto the earrings... I decided I wanted to try to use all of the beads I had been given and to keep the earrings simple. I whipped up these little ditties in no time.

There were still more beads! And that could only mean one thing - I needed to make a bracelet. I happened to have some heavy gauge brass wire laying there and that gave me an idea. I wrapped the beads around slightly curved wires and ran a chain through the middle. I made a focal piece for the top and bottom of the bracelet. This piece took quite a while to make but in the end I think it was worth it.

And here's the whole set, so happy together!

Thanks again for stopping by today! My regular readers are probably a little surprised as this style is pretty far from my usual tribal/boho pieces, but it's good to add a little something different every now and again! Check out these other blogs who are also participating in this hop:

Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jennifer Reno, Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Ashleigh Becker, YOU ARE HERE
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Annia Failde, AnniamAe

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter weekends & more...

Winter weekends are usually full of projects - things I want to get done around the house. We've been making some serious progress! Our bedroom is completely re-done & I'm currently typing this in my new closet office. My husband, Bill, isn't a big fan of the closet office & he's pretty sure I'll hate it soon, but so far it's not too bad. I can't put my knees under the desk because there is no desk (my laptop is sitting on top of the file cabinet) so he thinks I'll be very uncomfortable if I sit here for a long period. I guess I'll just have to work as little as possible. :)

We also have the boys totally moved into their new room. It still needs some shelves put up and a little decorating, but there stuff is all there including a new (new to us anyway) set of bunk beds. Liam is 3 1/2 and absolutely thrilled that he will soon be "sleeping on the ceiling" - makes me a little nervous. We have yet to get mattresses for the bunk beds so that's next on the list.

My new jewelry workspace is far from being done. There's currently not enough space in the basement to set-up my table due to all of the other "stuff" aka junk that's down there. We need to finish sorting everything and make room so I can get back to creating in a more efficient manner. I don't plan to work on jewelry nearly as much as I did last year but I do want to have a place to create when I have time. I also have some custom orders to work on so I'm hoping we get it done quickly.

At this point you may be thinking, isn't this blog supposed to be about jewelry? Well, that was mostly my original intent. Sometimes life changes and we end up going in a direction we hadn't planned. I'm not saying I'm not going to be blogging about jewelry making anymore because I will be, but I'm also going to be blogging about life as mom of little children, diy projects, recipes, new things I'm trying, money saving tips and whatever else comes my way. I hope you don't mind. I'm looking forward to a new chapter and new adventures this year.

PS - I just started making some of my own skin care products. I'll let you know about them soon & whether or not they actually work! Yikes, I sure hope so!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Home Makeover

Well, it seems to be the time of year when I start to get fidgety and want to change something's in the house. We are going all out this year and moving my office/jewelry room to the basement where my work bench is, moving the boys to my old office and redecorating our bedroom. So far all of my jewelry stuff (mess) is moved, but the office part is still there and our bedroom is almost done!

I'm a no nonsense kind of girl. I picked gray for our bedroom on Thursday and Friday night we went and bought the paint. On Saturday, we taped, primed and painted! My husband also worked on cleaning out his boxes in the basement. On Sunday, we ripped off all the tape (not fun), moved our furniture back and then crashed. We were pretty exhausted but thankful we got so much done! The boys were awesome through it all. Liam was thrilled that we now had a gray room.

Next in line is cleaning out the office and moving the boys. Here are some before and after pictures of our room. They aren't that great because I took them with my iPhone but you get the idea and I still have to decorate so more pictures to come...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Where has the time gone?!

Oh life, how you get away from me! I've meant to blog about it along the way but it just didn't happen. Let me tell you about it anyway...
In December I was swamped with orders, taking part in our annual live nativity and getting ready to go to the east coast for 12 days! The orders all managed to get out the door in prefect time and the live nativity went off without a hitch - my husband played Joseph and also had the only speaking role, which was a brand new thing this year, and he did an awesome job!
Our trip to the east coast began earlier than planned due to a huge winter snow storm. We left early to miss it rather than sit home for 2 days and wait for it to pass. We did miss the snow part but drove 1,000 in rain. We arrived safely at our first destination - New Jersey.
We enjoyed 4 days jam packed full of fun. We visited Storybook Land, an amusement park full of giant storybook tales such as the woman in the shoe, the three bears, etc. We also got to go to a great children's museum and see a light show in Philadelphia. The kids did great and were showered with awesome Christmas gifts at the end.
Liam & Uncle Andy made a gingerbread train
Next we made our way to Long Island, where my husband is from. We continued our Christmas celebration with his mom and sisters. It was great to see everyone and just have time to hang out. We also got to spend a day in NYC, so far my favorite big city on earth. I love to just roam around, see what we see and enjoy being in the city. Our kids were so amazing the entire day! We are blessed!

Bill & I at Rockefeller Center

Chrysler Building

Next we all traveled to Pennsylvania for a birthday party. We had a great time with more extended family just hanging out, playing ping-pong, sipping lattes and chatting. It was really nice and our gracious hosts, Bill's aunt and uncle, had such a beautiful home!

We made it home in one day! It was a long day, but we were happy to arrive home to find my parents cooking us a nice nutritious dinner. We are so thankful for them!

We thought we'd have a couple days to unpack, settle in and get a couple projects done around the house, but that didn't happen. I got a call on New Years Eve that my grandpa was dying and another call that my brothers wide was in labor with their first son. So, all in one day we lost our grandpa and gained a nephew - bittersweet. We know grandpa is in a better place and he wanted nothing more than for my brother to have a baby. Emotions ran high but we pulled together and got through it.

Max & I
Now, life is getting back into some kind of routine, however, it's not the same routine. I'm pausing somewhat on making jewelry and taking some time to prepare for some changes coming in our family. I'm still fulfilling orders when they come and working on some pieces for a friend's wedding. I'm also moving my jewelry space to the basement by my workbench. It's a ton of work especially since the basement is also a mess! Not really looking forward to this project but it has to be done.
And that's what my life has been for the past 6 weeks. How was your Christmas? Anything new and exciting in the new year for you? It's the time of year when people make resolutions and new promises. My only resolution is to try harder to find balance between all the work, spending time with my family and finding a few minutes to just breathe. It's a struggle for me to relax - I always feel like I should be working. So, what are you working on in this fresh, new year?