So wearing jewelry when you have small children around is not always the best idea.

I decided last night to repair three of my necklaces that have been broken by the tugging of little hands. Now that my youngest is 2 and understands much more about the word NO, maybe we won't have any more mishaps, though I'm not counting on it. After I fixed my necklaces I decided to dig through my bead stash and see if I could find inspiration for creating something else. I often like to grab pretty jewelry making things off the clearance rack at the craft store and see what I can come up with later. So I made two pairs of earrings last night.

 I love these yellow and cream danglers already. I was trying to figure out what to put with the crystal flowers when I found the tear drop glass pearls. I think they have a glamorous vintage feel.

And then these stud based mini dangles were easy, they really didn't need extra adornment. Simple but eye catching.

I haven't made every piece of jewelry I own but it sure is nice to be able to quickly create a piece for an outfit when you can't find anything to buy that really works.
Maybe I'm getting excited too early here, but the beginning of this coming June, we are packing our bags and headed to a new place and a new phase of our life!

Tom and I have had our eyes on Texas for many years now, though it wasn't always that way. I remember both of us once talking about states we'd never live in. The list included Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota - pretty much any state that deals with long and awful winters. Oh and Texas.

At the time neither of us had been to Texas and when I pictured what it must be like there I envisioned flat ground, lots of dust and sparse vegetation. Yeah, there are some areas like that but were we ever surprised when we visited Houston for the first time. My aunt and her family had lived in Houston for a long time and as my grandparents got older they bought a house around the block from them. In September of 2008 they flew our little family out for a visit. They wanted to meet their first great granddaughter. Though short, it was a memorable trip in so many ways and Tom and I fell in love with Houston instantly.  It was almost as lush as Baltimore, where we were living at the time, and free of cold winters. We knew after that trip, with the weather and scenery and housing market looking so great we wanted to end up in Houston or somewhere similar within the state. So last summer when it was time for Tom to accept one or two of the law internships he had applied for we decided on a firm in Houston and a firm in Austin.

We had never been to Austin before but it was no less disappointing than Houston. Nice and green, a little less humid than Houston and very vibrant in general. The rolling green hills around lake Travis and in some areas of Austin reminded us of the gorgeous Maryland countryside. Both Austin and Houston looked like great places to settle down, but after getting offers from both firms, Tom could only accept one. He decided on the firm that would have more Biotech specific patent work. He has his doctorate in biology and really hoped to be able to use that in his work as an attorney. So now we are moving to Austin and so excited to be finally finished with school and to have an actual job. Yes it might get stressful as we start paying back school loans but he's been working toward this for so long. He commented to me the other night that this move will have us feeling like actual grownups. Haha! You would think 12 years of marriage and 4 kids would have made us feel grown up. But he's right in some ways. It will be a big step and one that we are so excited for, though we will certainly miss our families.

I've already started packing. Premature perhaps, but I like to take my time and organize things well instead of just dumping items in boxes in a rush. We are leasing a furnished place for two months while we take some time to house hunt. So hopefully we'll become first time homeowners right away too. So many exciting changes!
My husband and I went and played some pool last week, sometime near Valentine's Day. The pool tables were located inside a bowling alley and for a Wednesday night it was really bustling, especially with teenagers. I watch hordes of them filter in and out and as I observed I began to think of how I would have labeled them in High School. That dude over there with the tight T-shirt and big muscles he flexed unnecessarily before rolling his bowling ball, definitely a jock. Those two grubby looking guys with the super long hair and slouchy hats, the skaters. Then there were the popular girls with lots of makeup and gorgeous hair gabbing absentmindedly in a big group, while a group of quieter girls looked over at them with occasional annoyance, or maybe jealousy. There were a few teenage couples as well. One boy and girl sat alone at a table engaged in a lively conversation. Another teenage couple kissed and hugged every moment they got in between bowling.

It was certainly interesting seeing all these very different teens from an adult perspective, with their body language and dress and hair and other means they used to identify themselves to others. But all I could think as I watched them was, "I am so glad I'll never be a teenager again!" I've thought many times that I'm so glad that trying time is over. That crushes and heartbreak is over. Only, yesterday I realized it's not over. On Valentine's Day this year, my 11 year old son was given this big teddy bear by a girl in his class:

It was so unexpected for me, him bringing home this giant token of 'like' from a girl. He told me I needed to take him to get her something as well because he likes her too. So we went and bought a gift for her worthy of that teddy bear. I didn't think much more of it till yesterday when I was thinking about our upcoming move to Texas.

My 11 year old is not old enough that it will be absolutely devastating to move away, but once again we are uprooting our children and making them leave their friends behind. We first moved away from Baltimore when they were 8, 7 and 3 and my son still talks about the friends he misses there. Now he's older and leaving behind friends and a crush. So though my own personal days of young love and heartbreak are over, my heart is still going to get broken.

My children will have friends and likes and loves that will filter in and out of their lives, whether through moving or misunderstandings and pain or simply the way we all change as we grow. And every time they lose someone they care about, every time their hearts break, mine will break too.

I remember the night when my first boyfriend, my first real love was leaving to serve an LDS Mission. We said our good bye's out on the front lawn, knowing it would be at least 2 years before we saw each other again. We gave each other one final hug and then he drove away. I wanted him to serve this mission more than anything. I knew it would be good for him and for others but it was so hard to let him go. The moment his car disappeared from view I broke down. As I opened the front door I found my mom standing there and she immediately drew me into a tight embrace and held me as I sobbed. How her heart must have been breaking too.

I'm not looking forward to the heartaches my children will face, but I'm grateful I've been through some of my own so I'll be able to comfort and reassure them when they need it.

So having a sister and brother in law who breed exotic animals is really awesome. I get to go over every once in a while and take pictures of some animals in their massive collection. Today we shot everything from turtles to scorpions. And I held my first ever scorpion.

Yeah, it was big. Very big. But I wasn't afraid. My brother in law Joey told me this species is very chill and I trust him. It was honestly really cool feeling so many legs walking up my arm and over my hands. I think this scorpion is beautiful too. I've always had a love for animals of every variety so I guess it's easy for me to find the beauty in even so called scary creatures.

I just have to give a shout out, of my own accord, to them and their business, JMugleston's Exotics. Aside from letting me take pics and sell whatever shots I like in my etsy shop, they are such wonderful caretakers and have the ultimate collection. It's like they were both born for this. As a kid my sister was the main one bringing critters home - praying mantises, snakes, spiders (even a widow once!) frogs and more. She has always adored all things creepy crawly and she couldn't have met and fallen in love with anyone more understanding of that than Joey. They both have such a compassion for and understanding of the animals they take care of. They're crazy knowledgeble and like to educate others on proper care of the amazing creatures they raise. If you're looking for a pet that's anything but ordinary I highly recommend them. They're working on getting their website finished right now but they have a facebook page they update frequently.

Though this species isn't crazy aggressive you wouldn't want to make one mad. Just look at that stinger! I have quite a few pictures I'd like to share so hopefully I'll find some time to get them up soon and tell you more about them.

So I donate my hair every 2 1/2 to 3 years. I've been doing that for a long time and each time I donate, I try a new hair style. This round, it was time for a pixie. The picture below is not very good but it shows you how long my hair was:

And right after visiting Shep Studio, which if you're in Utah County I highly recommend:

I already LOVE this haircut! More than any I've had in a long time. I just might keep it a while.

I've been considering going pixie for some time but the extra weight I was packing on my face (ahem, double chin especially) discouraged me from it. But then, I lost 20 lbs. and my hair was plenty long enough to donate so it was time to go for it.

I'm already having fun styling it, and it is so easy to do too! No more hours spent blow drying and straightening my hair.  I feel more glam and pretty than I have in a while.

Before I begin this post I'll have you know that I am no crochet expert. I scoured the internet for a satisfactory post on how to join fine yarn motifs with pointy edges and didn't find anything that specific so I decided I would sit down, stare at two motifs with yarn in hand for a while and settle on whatever felt best to me. Here is how I joined my flower motifs.

First turn your motifs over so the back sides are facing you. Run a piece of yarn through each motif at the spot they will be joined together.

Tie an overhand knot and pull tight. I know that knot tying in crochet is supposedly a no no but the yarn I used was so fine that you can't even tell. You could even tie an overhand knot twice for extra security, just do NOT cut off the ends!

Now with your knot secured it's time to weave in the ends. You could weave in each side individually or you could hold the strands together and weave them in. I chose to do the latter, though I only used one strand for the demonstration pictures.

Zig zag the yarn up and down through the back stitches at the top of your petal as shown. Up:

Down through the next stitch.

Do this until you reach the base of the petal as shown below.

Now you're going to draw your yarn up through the back row of stitches on the same petal like so:

Once you've drawn it through the back of the petal, pull the yarn a little bit taut and cut it off right near where it comes out of the stitches. If the yarn is sticking out just pull on the petal a little until it disappears into the work. Below is the flower part of my bodice fully assembled and waiting for the next step.

From Summer Owens | Photography, Crochet, Food, Crafts and More