23 August 2008

Grandchildren, Storms and Beadwork

"Ma, we make a cake?"

What grandma can say no to a 3 year old with a request like that? Of course...what he wanted most was to make the decorations on the cake...he wanted blue and green and red and orange and yellow...and stars...

My youngest grandson loves the book I wrote for him and my other three grandchildren, "The Adventures of Shorty". His mom says he reads it all the time. So when discussing what we were going to put on the cake, Shorty naturally came up. At first, Shorty was going to be an astronaut (a recently drawn pic for the new Shorty book)...then he decided on tennis...then the astronaut on a skateboard...finally we decided that just Shorty on a skateboard would be best.

Whenever I bake cake, I bake it in two square pans. One goes home with the grandson's...the other (or what is left of the other after we've all had a piece) stays here. This works out well since my husband and I, though we love cake, don't eat much of it.

So the first cake (above) was decorated with Shorty on a skateboard...artistic direction by my two grandsons...the eldest helped with the icing...then they both helped with putting the candy stars on it.
The second cake? I let the oldest decide. A tennis player...he decided on a tennis racquet and tennis balls...that's the one we ate after the kitchen was clean.

Then it was time for a rousing game of "Simon Says", and a little bit of "Hokey Pokey", both of which the youngest is learning in pre-school. He is doing pretty well with the "Hokey Pokey", but he hasn't quite gotten the gist of "Simon Says"...it's fun none-the-less. We even got grandpa up to do the hokey pokey!

School will begin (again) on Monday, and all of them will be busy with that. The oldest is in middle school and trying out for the basketball team; the youngest going to pre-school a couple of days a week; and mom, who is a teaching assistant, going back to work. Dad...keeps us all safe working as an officer at the police department.

Now...the reason I say school will begin AGAIN on Monday...is the fact that they started last Monday...and then Tropical Storm Fay came through...and stayed...and stayed...and stayed. We had three and a half days of nothing but wind and rain...and they didn't go back to school all week.

Fay...never making it to hurricane force...dumped over 30" of rain in some places. There was a lot of flooding and a few tornados. It was nothing like Jeanne from a few years ago in strength, thankfully, but was still devastating for some. In the state of Florida TS Fay was responsible for about a dozen deaths and thousands without power and flooded out of their homes. We are thankful that our only damage was the porch getting about half way flooded and the loss of our air conditioner from Wednesday evening til this morning when it got fixed...thank goodness. It was hot those three days...but nothing like the heat we're going to get now that there will be sunshine...at least til the next one!

On the first day of the storm we looked out our back door and saw a Great Blue Heron just standing in the wind and rain. (Video above) We weren't sure at first if he was hurt or just disoriented. We finally decided he just "landed" and was afraid to spread his wings to take off for fear he wouldn't be able to control his flight and land in OZ somewhere. After over three hours of standing in the wind and rain out the backdoor...he was gone. Hopefully it was on purpose...if not...I'm sure the Wizard will have a lovely pond for him to fish in!

During the nearly 4 days of being sequestered in the house due to the storm, beadwork was most certainly a way I entertained myself. (That and the Olympics...great combination!) One of the first things I did was finish a "challenge" from one of the online beading groups I'm in. The challenge was to make a bracelet using the 'peyote' stitch. I had just recently learned it, so I thought it would be a good challenge for me. The tough part...at least for me...was that it was to be "freeform". As much as I try, being anything but symmetrical is difficult. I've managed to do it on a few of my turtles, but usually they are very symmetrical. Now symmetry and "freeform" are not necessarily opposite...but they are not synonomous either. Some of the bracelets the ladies in the challenge produced were exquisite...and not a bit symmetrical. None-the-less...I perservered. Though quite symmetrical...I am assured by the ladies that it is indeed considered "freeform". Which is good...because it's about as freeform as I can get...at least until I learn a bit more about the 'peyote' stitch.

I don't know if you can make them out...but the two circles are actually little polyclay faces. The beadwork around the bracelet is not "exactly" the same...but very similar from side to side.

The second part of the challenge...to make a ring to match. I didn't use the little cab faces...but used some of the other little beads I used around the bracelet to jazz up the ring.

I'm pleased with how they came out. I'll probably put them up for sale on my etsy site ( http://www.atawhisper.etsy.com/ ) . Being a Licensed Massage Therapist, I don't wear much jewelry, (certainly not rings) and in this case, I don't have anything to match these wonderfully bright colors. But I sure had fun making them!

Then it was on to the "Pink Ribbon Turtle" Project. Dubbed "Turtles of Hope" by Beadwork Magazine last April, the "Pink Ribbon Turtles" project took on a new level. Originally the turtles were made only by me in memory of my mother, who passed away with Breast Cancer in 2000. After the "blurb" in Beadwork Magazine, another style of PRT was created. With the help of my new friend, Gretchen, we decided that in addition to the turtle(s) I make each year, that we would have a 4 Quadrant Turtle. The turtle was divided into four quadrants and four different artists completed a quadrant. We were thrilled when a second group decided to help with a second 4 Quadrant Turtle. For more information, stay tuned...on October 1st all three turtles will be professionally framed and available in a drawing, ALL proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research.

So anyway...when I finished my freeform bracelet and ring challenge, I spent some time putting the quadrants together. (Ralonda, in Texas is in charge of the second turtle). I will give you a little peek here -> of the right side of group 1's turtle...these turtles will be fabulous I know!

For more information about "Turtles of Hope" - the "Pink Ribbon Turtle" Project, you can go to (http://www.atawhisper.com/prt.htm). You will find pictures of turtles from previous years, and a bit of the history behind the project.

Later on, when the ticket "sales" begin, I will make sure the information for you to get some is right here, along with pictures of all three of the 2008 "Pink Ribbon Turtles".

During the hottest part of the Tropical Storm that kept us all indoors for a week...when we didn't have air conditioning...I did as little as possible. Everytime I moved I would break into a sweat. So I sat myself in the coolest room in the house and sorted my beads. My husband was amazed...he thinks I have more beads than the bead store. And he only saw the ones in the drawers! I have more in the closet! But anyone who beads...knows that you can't have too many beads!

The air conditioner has been fixed, the grandson's have visited, I've just eaten my supper, and I think...I'll go do a little beadwork.

God Bless!


  1. hi, Jena. I see that you live in Cocoa Beach. We lived in Melbourne Beach for 7 years and left in 1991. We had some bad storms but never a hurricane or flooding. I'm sure the area we lived in got hit bad this time, though. We lived right between the Indian River and the ocean...

    Welcome to the BJP Project!


  2. hi,this cake look delicous..