I'm back from my weekend trip to Raleigh, and can tell you- it was a blast! Seeing my cousin Carey, for the first time in over 10 years, was such a treat. We are only 3 years apart in age, and always have gotten along swimmingly. It was sad to leave Raleigh, I was comfortable there. 
Unfortunately, on the way home I developed quite the sore throat. Carey was diagnosed with Strep but I seem to be improving which is very good.  Work has been crazy this weekend, getting ready for the holiday season. I just couldn't get myself motivated to blog yesterday, I apologize!

Carey and Fairlie

So, some of the fun things that I did in Raleigh- We went and checked out the super awesome bead shop Ornamentea. I have been buying beads from their online store for a few years now. It was a real treat to be able to see the store in person, especially since I had heard so many good things about it. I will say, the excitement was so intense there, that I forgot to take a single picture. (shaking head in shame) I know, I know.  I didn't even get a picture of me and Cynthia together which I am kicking myself over!
The store was so cool, so many great things to look at.  Here's what I brought home:

That night we went to dinner at Busy Bee, in downtown Raleigh. An eclectic restaurant with great food, and fabulous atmosphere. Carey and I met up with Cynthia Deis, Elaine Ray, and Stacy Hartis- and had a wonderful time chatting, enjoyed a glass of wine, and a tasty meal. Even got to ride the city bus, which was an experience all of itself. ;)

Saturday morning we enjoyed the Christmas Parade, the Artisan Market, Lunch at a great mexican restaurant, and finally did my shopping at Ornamentea. I was excited to get some beads from Elaine Ray that aren't available on the website. I also picked up some super Czech glass strands, and some neat seed beads. Cynthia invited me down in the Spring to attend one of Elaine's Trunk shows at the store, and also wanted to know if I would teach a class. I figure, hey why not!? I'll try anything once. ;) I suppose I better start thinking of what type of class I want to teach- Could be as simple as free-form beading, or it could be something that works hand in hand with our book that's coming out.

Saturday night, Carey, Ron and I enjoyed a great meal at NoFo- another artsy restaurant in Raleigh with a delightful menu. I had Smoked Chicken Ravioli, and for dessert- the best dessert on the planet-Sticky Toffee Pudding. The restaurant is housed in an original Piggly Wiggly grocery store- and featured many cool vintage piggly wiggly themed paintings, photographs, and even canned goods. Upstairs was a contemporary gift shop with lots of local artisans, where we found a metals jewelry designer's work, SSD Jewelry. We both fell in love, and I have since signed up for the facebook, and favorited the etsy shop. Carey had seen Melissa Lowery's work before, and fell in love- so she was giddy to have found it again. I ended up buying this bracelet, one for Carey and one for me. Had to have it! Here are some of my other favorites from her shop.

Aren't they fabulous!? Love Melissa's choices for sayings on each, love the vintage feel to some, and the layering and riveting, and the etching too!! You can see more of Melissa's work at her Etsy shop.

I am definitely looking forward to my next visit to Raleigh. 

Got back into the studio last night, but forced myself- it was a tough night, but I did end up creating a few custom pieces, and a few necklaces for my shop. Come on back later this morning to see the newbies here.