And so it begins. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I had 2020 jam-packed with tons of stuff to do. Three trips to Europe (two river cruises, one trip for work), lots of scrapbook events including one in Canada, my nephew’s First Holy Communion, concerts, theater, hockey…you name it.
All down the crapper. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
January was pretty chill and there wasn’t much going on, as is typical for the start of the year. But I did have lots of dinners with friends to catch up, some scrapbooking dates including a day spent with friends in Greeley, and even lunch with a coworker who was temporarily living in Denver for a while.
It was also an unusual start to the year because I had an interesting issue rise up. In late December, I began having abdominal pain, and in January it got so bad that it hurt to even walk across the house to go to the bathroom. It felt like a muscle strain or tear low near the start of the leg, and nothing was helping it.
Until our friend Nana / my fantastic masseuse came over and immediately told me the pain was due to tense outer thigh muscles. She gave me some stretches to do to loosen everything up and presto—pain was gone in days.
But that didn’t happen until later in the month, so I spent a good portion of January feeling miserable and frustrated because I couldn’t exercise at a time when I had lots of availability to do so with few weeknight events. Like I said, strange times.
February saw an uptick in activities, including a new-found hobby: jewelry making. Through Boulder Valley Lifelong Learning, I stumbled upon jewelry-making classes and thought, why not? I was on a kick to learn about different crafts besides papercrafting. The first class was on chainmaille and JC and Mikey came along with me.
It is SO fun! The instructor was a funny young woman who specializes in metalsmithing and jewelry making. This is her passion and she knows a lot of different ways to make jewelry. To make chainmaille, you use pliers to open, connect and close jump rings in a variety of sizes and colors to make rings, necklaces, bracelets and more.
The task in class was to make two bracelets: one was a simple joining of rings just to get the hang of the technique, and the second was a simple 5-in-1 chainmaille weave. I even had enough time in class to make a cute rose gold ring.
So of course, I got hooked and took all of the other jewelry-making classes that she had. (Good thing I did because that hobby came in handy later on in the year.)
The second class was on making beaded earrings and bracelets and again, she started out with the simple jump ring bracelet but then we moved on to attaching beads to smaller rings and connecting them all into a cascading cluster that you can make as long or as short as you want. That was fun and I made a matching pair of earrings and bracelet in gold rings with teal beads. Super quick and easy to do.
The third class was on metal stamping, which involves needing a slab of aluminum, flat metal charms, some dies of letters, numbers and shapes and a mallet. You put the metal charm on the slab, line up the die above it and SMACK it to imprint the shape onto the metal. Again, really easy to do, it’s just a matter of lining up and properly spacing what you want to have on the metal charm. I managed to make a bracelet and two necklaces since by then I was a pro at the jump ring technique.
The last class I managed to take in March before everything shut down was on bead wrapping, which was a different technique involving thin metal wire. You use special cone-shaped pliers to wrap the wire around and then twist it to create a loop. Then you thread as many beads as you want onto the wire and make the loop on the opposite side. Subsequent little sections like that need to have the previous section connected in while you’re making the loop, so the hardest part is remembering to do that. 😛 So in that class, I managed to make a gold and yellow bracelet and earring set and a ring.
The fifth and final class she offered was bead wiring, but it didn’t happen so I have no idea what that meant! I believe it was stringing beads into strands to make jewelry similar to Native American designs.
Anyhoo, that of course got me into doing this hobby off and on. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t cost nearly as much as scrapbooking does, and takes up 1/100,000th of the space. Too bad I didn’t find this hobby first, hah!!
At each class, the instructor allowed us to take a couple of pods of beads and rings, so I had amassed a decent enough collection that I just needed pliers and I was good to go.
More creations will be featured later!
Lastly, in February I went down south to the Springs to spend a wonderful weekend with friend Cathy scrapbooking at a retreat. It was held in a hotel that provided happy hour/dinner Friday and Saturday nights along with breakfast in the mornings, so we basically hunkered down in this hotel for the weekend and had a blast catching up and scrapping.
But first, of course, was a trip to the local scrapbook store during their anniversary celebration.
My first big task for this weekend was to lay out my Japan album. I had photos already printed, a massive pile of ephemera from the trip and a hoard of Japan-themed papers and embellishments, so I organized everything chronologically, pulled papers that would match the place/activity, arranged the photos and ephemera on the pages, took pictures of the layouts I came up with and then stuffed everything into a page protector of the album and moved on. In no time flat I had the entire album figured out to scrap another time. That’s the second time I’ve laid out an album (the first time was years ago for the 2017 river cruise JC and I took through Eastern Europe) and I find it very helpful and efficient for a big project like that. It makes the actual scrapping of the pages much faster because I do what the photos show!
Then I moved on to making cards, while Cathy spent the weekend working on an album of a trip. All in all we had lots of fun and made good progress on our projects.
And lastly, here’s a token photo of my friend Mary and I with Bernie, the Colorado Avalanche mascot. Because, well, she and I went to a couple of games together in February and we try to get a photo with Bernie every season. Sigh.
Looking back, it’s impressive how much I did in just two months!!
There was one more thing we managed to squeeze in before life ended, but let’s have something to look forward to next month, yes?