Tuesday, December 22, 2015

when a bead is more than a bead

When i launched the ReWearables line in 2012 my main motivation was to have a creative outlet that rescued broken and discarded beads, gave them new life.
It wasn't a business yet; it was actually just an item on a ToDo list.
A lot (i mean A LOT) has changed in the past 3.75 years, but i continue to relish saving pretty things from being discarded.
However, yesterday i had an experience that brought into focus for me that the work i do to pay the bills can also be the work i do in an effort to positively impact the world around me.
Whenever someone gives me jewelry or items to use in my studio i offer to make a custom piece -or they can choose something from my stock- as payment.
Viva the barter system!
Kalisha offered me a basket full of  jewelry and she asked me to make a pair of bracelets for her mom's best friends.
Her mom, Stella, passed away last year; in fact, her one year angelversary is rapidly approaching and Kalisha wanted to share something special with these two women.
She supplied one of her mom's favorite necklaces and some pieces for me to use.
If you are looking at that badly lit picture and thinking,
Wow. That is a motley mish-mash of things,
then you are right where i was last Friday. They are nice pieces, but i could not get any sort of vision of how i was going to get them to work together in not one, but two bracelets.
Saturday i cut everything apart and sorted the beads and bobs so that i could get a fresh perspective. In doing so, i noticed that the focal necklace i was using had several pairs of beads, not singles, not groups, but pairs. Just like i was making a pair of bracelets.
A-HA! (that makes me think of the music group; here is one of my favorite a-ha songs)
The two bracelets would feature the same three beads in the center, one bead for each of the friends.

The round lavender beads were the only ones that color on the whole necklace, so they were Stella.
Similar in size and importance, but different in shape and color a pair of puple beads and a pair of pink ones became her two friends.

After a quick consult with Kalsiha i decided to make the bracelets matching, but different: one would be a sleek linear design and the other a chain of dangles. Some matching beads were included on both, but there were also different beads on each because i figured the three friends would have shared experiences, but the details of the each of the ladies' relationship with Stella would be unique.

The only thing i added (besides the hardware of course) was a tiny pair of angel wings as the matching dangle detail on both bracelets to symbolize that one of the friends had moved on, but was still a beautiful part of the remaining whole.

If you are wondering why the pictures are sub-par, it is because both pieces were completed to my satisfaction less than 2 hours before i was schedule to give them to Kalisha so i had to shoot them at my desk as it was rainy and grey yesterday.
She seemed to like them and i told her that i was going put their pictures on the NikCo FB page as an example of my custom work, but that i would wait a few days so that she would have a chance to present them to her mom's friends.
That was at 3:45pm.
At 5:20pm i received this text
If you'd like (to) share as early as tomorrow I was in here crying like a baby so we met up shortly after you left. Both ladies loved there (sic) gifts and said they felt my moms spirit with them "Stella is looking down on us" is what Liz said!
You just know that brought a tear to my eye.
Some days, especially lately as i meander through my own grief, i feel like how i spend my time has no real meaning, no impact on anyone around me (i am sure we all feel like that sometimes) so it was a welcome surprise to realize that i can use my creations to help people and touch their hearts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday 2015


Time for online deals, people.

Everything in the NikCo Etsy store is 20% off when you use the code:
But it is only good until midnight tonight.

Quirkees were updated, card sets were shuffled and new ReWearables were added.
Go. Enjoy. Spend.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Straight out of Camera

Do you ever see a picture and just know that it has to have been edited because there is NO WAY reality could look that amazing?
Happens all of the time.
Sometimes i feel like we are all so used to the hyper-reality offered to us digitally that it is easy to be jaded about everything we see:
Is that really real? 
That is so photoshopped?
What app/filter/setting did you use to get that effect?
But do you ever see something in reality that is so striking that you don't believe it is real, even though you are looking at it in real time with your own eyes?
This was the sky one day last week around 6:30am.
My jaw dropped when i walked outside.
Mostly still asleep (6:30 is a terrible time; i can't believe that i left for work then every day - BLECH) I thought i might be dreaming, but no, i wasn't.
It only lasted for five minutes, but WOW, what a breathtaking five minutes that was.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

the most Baltimore wedding card ever

I was asked to create a wedding card for two local sports fans:
Yes, it IS an oriole marrying a raven, wearing matching silver glitter accessories.

note: more pictures on the NikCo FB page 

image credits: oriole-Terry Sohl; raven-unknown; sentiments-Stampin' Up!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

i know i'm short, but THIS is ridiculous

Gleaming gold. Shiny Chrome.
First time seeing nephew's rig.
Goodness, that is tall.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Proof of Life

       Squeaky Monkey has been retired as the co-pilot of my car.
Though not elderly per se, he has reached the point in an inflatable's life where constant exposure to the sun and temperature changes has not only begun to change his color, but make him a bit more brittle. It would be terrible if one day i got in my car and found him all deflated and pathetic in his seat belt from popping, so inside he went.
He was not amused by the term retired and had declared himself Sargent at Arms for the living room. No, i have no idea what that even means, but he seems satisfied with that so who am i to question it.

      After driving alone for a while, a new co-pilot happened along.

His name is Cyrano.
Margaret H gave him to me.
He is very quiet, 
rides in the console,
 and loves snickerdoodles.

      Those specific snickerdoodles were bought at a cookie and brownie stand that two girls had set up on the corner in Suzanne's neighborhood and we all know that i can not resist enterprising children. The cookie were overpriced, but were some of the BEST snickerdoodles i have ever had, They must have been made in muffin pans instead of on a cookie sheet because the bottoms were rounded up and crunchy.

There is only one more weekend of pet-sitting and then the busy season is officially over.
Then starts festival season.
I have been getting a lot of new jewelry made and hope to have an Etsy update (or 2) in the next month.

      Another new crockpot recipe has been marked off of the list. Last Friday i adapted a traditional slowcooker  roast  recipe to make beefstew to celebrate the official beginning of autumn. Cassie and Mike joined me for dinner and we all agreed that it turned out really tasty, though the quinoa never fully cooked up.

The previous Friday Lydia and I went on mayhaps the greatest Friday Adventure ever.
 It involved glassblowing.
Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

what is HE doing HERE?

You see it, right?
I'm not crazy, right?

Monday, August 31, 2015


With this crazy, swirly summer i have taken a few days to visit my mom in Ohio, which reminds me that i never posted a fun post that i teased months ago.
So let's re-tease this picture:

Hopefully i will actually get to that post before something else crazy happens.

Yesterday i had brunch with my mom and sister.
It was relaxed and wonderful
There are no pictures because there were mimosas instead.

I have seen my sister and brother both in the last two months and they both made me sausage and biscuits.
Their recipes were very different, but both were incredible.
I don't remember really having that for breakfast growing up so i find it funny that all three of  us love it.

Speaking of my brother, here is a picture of me at the shooting range we went to when i was visiting:
Why not.

I have updated the 101 List and added a day counter to the sidebar. 
We are 8 months into the 43 and i am mostly pleased with myself. 
There has been progress on 31 of the goals. Considering that i took the last few months off from, well, everything that is pretty good.
I think there is only one goal that i might not be able to make up in the remaining time: #64, give blood 16 times. 
The Red Cross has really strict rules about how often you can donate and my original goal was really ambitious.
To see the list you can click on the page below my header or click here.

Miss Miriam came over for dinner and i tried a new crockpot recipe, which helped 2 goals at once.
I made crockpot eggplant lasagna, adapted from here.
Next time i will add about 30 more minutes to the cooking time, but overall i would call dish a success. Plus it went really well with the watermelon daiquiris. 

This is the most cheerful pair of foo dogs i have ever seen.
I am not sure i would trust them to protect much.

Pikachu, i choose you! made of Peeps:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Disaster. Decisions. Delicious.

When Amy and i got to our sushi place on Monday we were distraught to find it closed.
I mean, closed closed.  Like closed forever, no-furniture-inside closed.
For a moment we both stood with our foreheads resting on the window, filled with melancholy and woe when she suddenly stood up straight and said, Well, there's always Honey Pig.

{blink-blink} {blank stare}

Haven't you ever been to Honey Pig? she continued upon seeing my dazed expression.
It's by Enchanted Forest. I'll drive.
      Just a few miles later we arrived at a wonderful Korean BBQ with K-Pop videos on multiple screens and a fire in the middle of the table where they cooked our yummy lunch.  I had pork belly and spicy buckwheat noodles which were fantastic -and spicy; when they say spicy, they  mean spicy- and immensely enjoyed having everything cooked right in front of us.
     It was lovely to have such a fun and different lunching experience after the shock of the no-more sushi buffet. There are 5 Honey Pig locations in Maryland and Virginia, plus one in Taiwan.
I will admit that overall fantastic, the location in Ellicott City, MD that i visited did have one small idiosyncrasy:
i am a rule-follower, but i really
wanted to open this door just to see what happened.
i mean it's not like there is such a thing as a load-bearing door.

Monday, August 10, 2015


*****picture added 8/12/15*****

         Over at Epbot, Jen posts cool art she comes across and last month one of the artists was Piper Thibodeau, a young Canadian who posts a speed painting every day on her blog, Cryptid-Creations.
She is only a week away from having posted 1000 days in a row, which inspires me to get back here. I have looked through all 992 paintings and i might be a little in love:

where can i get a hamsterlope????
lightning is cloud farts...teehee

For the last week i have been enjoying the daily check for each new painting so i am going to add her to my blogroll in the sidebar in case you would like to be greeted by this each day:

Now if you will excuse me, i need to go get ready for a sushi date with Miss Amy.

   Per Diane B.'s request in the comments, here is the caterpillar:

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Who needs lanky arms?
With some pluck and grabby claws,
the world can be ours!
thanks for both the t-shirt and inspiration for tyranny. Suzanne

Thursday, August 6, 2015

slowly but surely i am adjusting to my new reality

update 5 minutes after publishing:  ...but still not quite with it enough to not mix up my contraction "it's" with my possessive "its"

Baby steps, people

Monday, June 22, 2015

just a tiny thought

I was just bidding on some NikCo supplies on EBay and had an epiphany.
I like to sort by "ending soonest" and take my chances placing my maximum bid when there is less that 1 minute until it ends. There is that 2-3 seconds where your brain is like Am I going to be the highest bidder? Will the message come up green or red?
It is the same feeling that you get when you pull the handle on a slot machine.
EBay is just like going to a casino except that I end up with stuff I actually need and here in the library no one brings me Long Island Iced Teas.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Do you have purpose?

The last few weeks have been doozies.
I think it is time to change my quote.
Take it away Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson:
The purpose of life is not to be happy.
 It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Oh my gosh, how much i have missed being here.
The last week has been all about NikCo: a card set update on Etsy, first show of the season, May/June class list.
Busy with work is ALWAYS good, but it doesn't leave much time for hanging out at the library to share completely random things,

like this tortoise yard art 
that for a moment, 
from a distance,
 i thought was real. 
Until i remembered i wasn't in the Galapagos. 

BTW, since i mentioned it, be sure to have a gander at the new card sets on Etsy here; they are an eclectic mish-mosh of useful, but interesting, much like me.
Happy May to you all! 
It is indeed my birthday month so every day is a reason to celebrate here in the Nikiverse.
Yesterday was Star Wars Day, today is Cinqo de Mayo and tomorrow is International No Diet Day. [no, i did not make that up] 
Enjoy every day of May, people.

And now for a random beauty break:
April tulips, with Great Gma Weber looking on

One wee bad thing about May is that it marks the end of National Grilled Cheese Month.
We all know that i love grilled cheese.
And that i love the Grilled Cheese & Co.
At the end of last year i was able to introduce my friend Suzanne to the wonders of the GCC:
capturing her first bite; can i tell you how PLEASED Suzanne is that this is her first photo in The Nikiverse?
Her first experience was my go-to fave, the Blue Ox, while i tried the holiday special, The Gobbler:

mmmmmmmm... roasted turkey, gouda, apple butter, potato pancakes, and arugula on pumpernickle...
Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich, except hold the arugula because yuck.

Speaking of specials, the most recent special at GCC was the Mac Daddy.
I will give you a moment to just behold its majesty.
Yes friends, that is a grilled cheese filled with mac-n-cheese and pot roast.
Words can not capture even a portion of its awesomeness.
Unfortunately, the Mac Daddy's time has passed, but we are at least back to one of my favorites, the Santorini.

Last week i walked into the living room to the sight of my salt shaker on the floor, balanced perfectly on its top.
When did it fall?
How did it land exactly on its top?
What is it even doing in the living room?
Most importantly, how am i gonna pick it up without salt pouring out all over the floor?
Not only is it bad luck to knock over salt, it is impossible to sweep up.
After much strategizing, i went with flipping it over as fast as possible with the hope that centrifugal force [yes, i know it isn't really a force so much as an effect of inertia, but force is the common word used, so...] would push the salt against the walls of the shaker.
Nope, it sure didn't work that way. 
Yes, salt went flying everywhere in a lovely arc.
So much for strategy.

Finally, a popNikiquiz:
What is Niki's favorite string instrument?
Go ahead and call it out!

Did someone just say dobro?
Wow,  that is a wild-a** guess; though points for originality.
Most of you, of course, said the cello.
Enjoy some cello.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

bowing to the inevitable march of time

Well i finally had to give in and buy some magnifying readers.
Yes, i realize that i am over forty.
And yes, i realize they are only 1.25Xs.
And yes, i realize that i paid less than $5 for them.
But still... glasses.
I don't need them all the time, but print that i can read at 11 am is crazy fuzzy at 11 pm so they are necessary.
I was at least able to get blingy ones.
Once i surrendered to the idea of not having perfect vision it was easy to also get 4Xs to use as magnifiers when i am doing really small bead or wire work. My dad had an old pair with bright red stems that make me feel like a judgy librarian since i have to wear them on the end of my nose or i get nauseous when i move my head.
Are those books overdue, young man?

Friday, April 10, 2015

even more random than normal

The first official class in NikCo Studio - Collage Creations - happened two weeks ago and was a success. I have posted a few pictures on the NikCo Facefook page, but here is a collage of some of the fun that was had:

Suzanne and I met for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day back on March 21st at Coldstone Creamery.
She had Coffee Lovers and i created my own mix of Oreo filling ice cream with caramel, Reese's cups and rainbow sprinkles. Yes, i did say my ice cream tasted just like Oreo cream.
It was ridiculously good.

On the same day we celebrated Dash's fifth birthday with a minion themed family party.
It was a really good time. though you might not know it by looking at the cake picture:

That kid hated having the birthday song sung to him.
I am not sure if it was the actual song, the attention or the off-key singing, but he held his ears through the whole song and while he blew out the candle.
These are the sorts of tales and pictures i am collecting for the rehearsal dinner at his wedding.

A few days ago i received some REALLY GOOD news and some REALLY BAD news a few hours apart.
Have you ever been so happy and so sad at the same time that it short-circuited your brain?
I retired to my heated bed, but couldn't fall asleep to nap.
Couldn't nap? 
That is serious because i am a champion napper.
 All i could do was lay curled under my fuzzy blanket, stare into space and wonder, What is the difference between a faun and a satyr?
 Mr Tumnus from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was half-goat/ half-man and called a faun; whereas, Grover from the Percy Jackson series is half-goat/ half-man and called a satyr.
What the what, people?
[And we won't even get into how faun and fawn are homophones so when i was little i kept expecting baby deers to show up and couldn't understood why they never did,]
All afternoon i racked my brain, trying to ferret out any little piece of forgotten mythology that would answer the question, to no avail. So today i looked it up.
MENTAL MORSEL: The interwebs cannot agree, but after reading waaaaaayyyyyy too many articles about both this is what i have gleaned:

  •  fauns are originally from Greek mythology, followers of Pan, forest-dwellers, have attributes of both goat and man and are generally depicted as fun-loving, joyful, music-playing scamps
  •  satyrs appear in both Greek and Roman mythology, followers of Dionysus or Bacchaus (Greek/Roman), have attributes of both goat and man as well as horse and are depicted as lustful, hard-partying hooligans 
  •  as has happened with all Greek and Roman mythology over the years, fauns and satyrs have been confused, combined and used interchangeably so that now many consider faun to be the Greek name and satyr to be the Roman name for the same creature

Phew...hope that cleared up the confusion.

Finally, i have finally updated my 101 List to reflect what i have done over the last month.

Monday, April 6, 2015

i would like my reward now, please

This may be the truest thing i have ever seen on the Internet.
found at theberry.com; no idea where it originated
I love lip balm.
Every kind of lip balm.
In my possession right now i have (and this is off of the top of my head): Carmex regular, squeezy Carmex, squeezy Blistex, Chapstick, Burt's Bees with tint, Nivea, Mellaluca, Mary Kay, Walgreen's brand and some generic thing from my car dealer.
They are in my room, the living room, the kitchen, my travel bag, my purse, my glove compartment and my pocket. Honestly, you should just never be too far from lip balm of some sort.
Plus, as the picture says - they just disappear.
I use lip balm every day and don't remember even once using an entire tube.
Duh duh duhhhhhhh:
Yes my friends, that is a completely used-up tube of lip balm.
I realize how crazy this is, but i was insanely proud of myself for actually using a full tube without losing it.

Side note:
Years ago, when i first started at my old job, i was partnered with Brian; that is, on the road with him every single day.
And every day when i put on lip balm i would ask him, Want some lip balm?
Why would i want to blow up my lips? he would reply, every day.
After five years, i still laughed ever single time.
In fact, i might have giggled just typing that.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

late-century anthropomorphized dehydrated fruit

There are some things from your childhood that just make you smile.
Passing a house recently, i was stopped dead in my tracks:
Are those hand-cut wood California Raisins?!?
Why yes, yes they are.
How have i not noticed them before; i have been past that house before.
Maybe there are new owners who just put them out?
Why would they have just put them out?
Have they been around since 1986? Cause if so, they are in good condition (except the guy all the way on the end who is missing his face).
Anytime i see a California Raisin, A Claymation Christmas Celebration comes to mind.
I remember watching it with my parents.
It was certainly different from the other Christmas offerings at the time; i think it might have even won an Emmy.
It had the best version of We Three Kings ever.
There were jazzy singing camels.
In sneakers.
How can that not make you smile?

You know, i think i might have a VHS of that special taped off the tv in 1987 in my closet.
Gotta go look...

woohoooooo, i heard it through the grapevine...

Monday, March 30, 2015

enormous disco snowman

How did they even build him that big without a skid-steer?
At night you could really see his branch arms busting the disco moves (especially if you jiggle the camera accidentally) .
Yes, he was so massive they put a floodlight on him

Mental Morsel: thanks to Rea for teaching me the word skid-steer yesterday. I had no idea that the wee Bobcats and Caterpillars you see at constructions sites had a name besides those little bulldozers.
I have always wanted to own one. You know, for all of those pesky digging and moving things chores around the house.

Friday, March 27, 2015

why doesn't this post have a title?

This morning i briefly woke up between dreams, barely opened my eyes and saw a sweet black kitty curled up just a few inches from my head sleeping that really deep sleep that only cats, ferrets and teen-aged boys seem to know.
Flooded with affection i rubbed my forehead on the top of its head and drifted back to sleep.
Except that it occurred to me that i don't own a cat.
Opened my eyes: sleeping black cat.
Closed my eyes really confused, Did i get a cat? Am i dreaming?
Opened my eyes and turned my head to a different angle: crumpley pillow in a dark flannel pillowcase.

Speaking of being in my bed, i love my bed.
I mean, i really love my bed: the cool iron headboard, the perfect mattress, my heated mattress pad, my pillow that i've slept with for 40 years, my fuzzy warm blankets.
Ahhhhhh... my bed.
Sometimes when it is time for my afternoon nap i don't even sleep. I just lie in my bed reveling in its awesomeness.
How much do i love my bed?
Rea sent me this video because in her words, As soon as i saw it, i thought of you and your bed.
[though i would like to point out that i generally don't go to bed with my cheek pouches full]
Bikke the Chip morning stretch

If you are wondering how i can possibly have the time to lollygag about in my bed, it is because i am self-employed. I am more creative at night so it makes sense for me to nap in the afternoon so that i can stay up.
Self- motivating is not my greatest strength so my BFF -who is also self-employed- and I talk once, twice, three times a lady... i mean once or twice a day to help each other map out goals, check progress, celebrate accomplishments and goad each other on.
A few mornings ago i was sitting at the dining  room table talking to her and realized that i was drinking yummy Earl Grey tea directly from the pot. The spout kept everything neat like a straw and i didn't have to wait to go get a cup.
I wonder if i have a caffeine problem...

 Spring means spring festivals for NikCo.
May 2nd and May 9th are already booked and i am deciding which Strawberry Festival i want to do.
Since a lot of festivals are harvest themed i have been looking for fruity beads for Quirkees and finally decided on these polymer ones:
Excited to sort them and start making earrings and bracelets, I got right to it after taking this picture and realized quickly that my idea of fruit and the maker's idea of fruit are a bit different.
There were the obvious ones, thank goodness.

Apple, pear, watermelon, strawberry and kiwi.
Orange, lemon, lime.
I am even okay with the pink apples and strawberries; even though they are not 100% realistic, it is obvious what they are and who doesn't love some pink?

Then there were these dotted ones that i had to stare at for a while before i decided that the top ones were longitudinal cross-sections of apple, and pear and the bottom ones are pomegranates, maybe.

And then there these random babies:
Obviously they are supposed to be citrus sections, but pink peel/pink flesh, lime peel/teal flesh, yellow peel/bright green flesh and dark bluey-green peel and flesh?
Where does this bead artist go shopping?
Finally there are the three beads that i cannot figure out for the life of me.
These are fruits, in theory.
Anybody got a guess?