Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Monday Again

vanilla beans 3

:: and i finally moved my metalsmithing stuff to the studio...
:: i am convinced i can make more things happen with metal if i try try try...
:: once, i didn't know how to knit...
:: now, i do...
:: one of my favorite things is seeing someone in another vehicle driving with a huge grin... makes me wonder what is making them so happy...
:: there is a snitty snot snoot turning eight this week... more details to follow...
:: i have recently become addicted to cheezits, that's weird...

vanilla beans 5

:: also addicted to watching episodes of dexter on netflix, season 2 episode 7 will be viewed this evening...
:: bitter freaking cold today, the windchill was 12 degrees this morning...
:: the biggest child has a head cold and it makes me wonder if his girlfriend has one too... heehee
:: it is lacrosse season and i am reminded how much a despise driving back and forth to school i don't know how moms that drive do it!
:: lola boomer jane is sleeping sitting up... she is teetering and looks like she might fall over...
:: i am thinking i could do the same right now.

nutkin finished

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stripes + Explosion = Striplosion Beads!

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I can not begin to tell you how much fun I had working on this new collection of beads. It started last week. I was messing around with trying to design a headpin with a swirly pattern. Instantly, I was hooked. One headpin led to another and that led to, of all things, stripes. These are so so incredibly fun. They kinda remind me of the infamous "Kissmyassite" we coined at Bead Fest last summer, but in the best possible ways. I make no assuptions about these beads being naturally occuring... they are very much handmade, by yours truly.

I hope you like the beads. I know I do!! There are nine items in total. Lots of headpins, hollows, sprees, nuggets, rounds, and even a KABOCHON. Oh yeah! You are going to see some new designs from me with similar beads in the coming weeks. I can't wait to share them with you. Until then, happy Bead Box browsing!

striplosion group 1
striplosion group 3
striplosion headpin group 1
striplosion hollows 2
striplosion rounds 2
swirly cab 1
striplosion sprees 1
striplosion headpins 2

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today, my studio was flooded...

WITH SUN!! Back in January, when moving into my new space, I pondered with a friend if my little santuary would ever see the light of day. Being tucked into a north corner behind another building, I was skeptical. We thought, maybe the angle would be right in midsummer perhaps. (and don't feel bad for me beign behind another building, I wanted that! I like the cave like feel. Makes for better torching.) I couldn't be more thrilled about being wrong!!

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flooded studio 3

(note to self: turn your auto-focus on when shooting in bright sun, oops)

Many a bead has been made at that desk this week and I am so very pleased to say that I am planning an update TOMORROW. I am thinking of doing an evening update. We haven't had one of those in a while. I am hoping it will mix things up a bit and give more people a chance to snag some beads. I will be back with some sneak peak photos for you too and let you know an exact time. Yee Haw!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If he weren't so cute, I would ring his neck...

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There are a few things down in the old studio that still need packing up and moving. It is stuff that I don't really *need* at the new place, but, I don't have the heart to toss it either. I also don't really have the *time* to deal with it. (I have been trying to put together a bead update for you!) So, I had it all situated in this one little corner of the old studio. Rusty, my deaf white cat that is bigger than a small dog, is set on destroying it. We keep hearing horrific, loud crashes that make us fear an intruder has smashed a basement window and will be running up the back hall steps any moment to murder us. Then, we hear Rusty's unique deaf-cat meow and we know he is just wrecking things. I cleaned it up, He.Did.It.Again. So yeah, if he weren't so cute, I would ring his neck.

(ps, anyone interested in a dust pan of broken beads and Swarovski crystals? Grrrr....)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Give Away Winner!

A BIG Congratulations to ERIN!
Who said ~ Hot damn! But you are one BEAUTIFUL girl! I love that picture of you in the header. And your painted hands. And that bangle. And the way you twirl. And you, my dear, are my shero! I am hopeful that one day I will come up with an idea for a book that will be uniquely me, celebrate all the loveliness that I have no choice but to adore, and promote a spirit of collaboration and connectivity! And then of course, I would hope that it would be half as successful as your book has been! That and I am hopeful that by the end of the year I can be at half time at work. But that would take a major miracle to happen. It would be more likely that the first thing would occur! ;-)
Enjoy your twirly fantastic day!
Thank you so much for the lovely compliments, Erin! And to everyone that left a comment. It truly kept my spirits lifted this week as I read all your hopes. Who ever said "focus on the positive" was a really, really, smart person. I truly *hope* those hopes of yours come true.

Spring Fever

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:: oh me oh my, what a wonderful springy weekend we just had.
:: it was a three day weekend and it started with a late-winter trip to the beach.
:: nothing more than sweater and blue jeans were needed.
:: under bright blue skies we listened to the waves and found heart shaped shells.
:: we ran back and forth and felt the icy water.
:: from friday to saturday to sunday the warmer temps stayed.
:: scooters, sidewalk chalk, garden tending, and yard thatching.

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winter beach 18
winter beach 10

:: rosy sunkissed cheeks, chocolate cake, merlot, and a supermoon.
:: we could feel the promise of the things to come.
:: robins tweeted in the bare branches of the apple trees.
:: the fire inside was left to dwindle.
:: the urge to run to the farm market for new plants was tempered by the warning of snow still to come.
:: spring fever makes it easy to forget.
:: i started and finished knitting a sock and wonder if i can finish the second as fast.
:: welcome spring, it is nice to see you again.

winter beach 11
winter beach 22

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Because of YOU!! (Give Away)

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There was some major tutu twirling happening at the studio today! Why? Because of each and everyone of YOU. Yesterday, I got a twitter text from @InterweaveNews that my book, Totally Twisted: Innovative Wire Work + Art Glass Jewelry, was voted The BEST Beading Book by readers in 2011 Reader's Choice Awards.  I can hardly believe it. I don't know what business my book had doing in the company of such awesome beading books (it isn't a traditional beading book by any means), but you all spoke up and made that happen. YOU made that happen!! I am seriously honored and just so in awe of the response you all have graced me with. I can't say THANK YOU enough for your support.

thank you 1
thank you 2


Know what else? My book is now a YEAR old! One whole year!! (actually, its 1 yr and 1 month old!) I really should have thrown a party to celebrate. I saw a sales report last week that made my mouth hang open in shock. You all have bought up nearly 10,000 copies of my book in this first year. Nine thousand nine hundred forty one, if you are curious about the exact figure. I kinda convinced myself it would take years to sell all the copies in the first printing but if things keep going at the rate they are, it'll sell out by this summer! (fingers crossed that I didn't just jinx it) When I stopped to think about just how blessed I am, to twirl a bit, to crank up the music, and to blow some kisses, it is absolutely impossible for a bad mood to survive. So, I owe you thanks for lifting my spirit too.

And really, what thank you wouldn't be complete without a special give away? When the vertigo of twirling wore off, I made this bangle. It is a new one I am calling Buttoned Up. The lampwork glass headpins I created dipped in raku frit are sweet button shapes. Flat backs and very bumped out tops made for a delightful cluster of beads on a two tone wrapped band. I wish you could see just how beautiful the rainbow raku effect is on the surface. Well, one of you will see it... because this is for YOU! YEAH!! One of you!!

Just leave a comment telling something you are feeling HOPEFUL about and I will draw a winner on Monday morning.

buttoned up bangle 1
buttoned up bangle 2

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mood Altering Items

mood altering items 1

I mentioned yesterday that I went out on a bit of an adventure. Adventure may be a slight over statement. More like a hopeful errand. I got it in my head that I needed an at-home set of art supplies. Friday, I moved all my art supplies to the studio. Paint, paper, markers, pencils... everything is up there. I also decided that I needed some inspiration and a little pick-me-up. Naturally, I set off to my local bookstore and Starbucks. The inspiration came in the form of Art At The Speed Of Life by Pam Carriker and the latest issue of Art Journaling. (confession: there is a very slight chance that I already own a copy of this issue of this magazine... oops) The pick-me-up came in the form of a Cocoa Cappuccino. Toss in that red clown nosed man in the mix and my spirits were completely on the rise!!

After I browsed the very sadly, ever dwindling, down-to-a-single-shelf, jewelry book section at Barnes & Noble, I thought I might swing by the sketchbook section. Heck, I was on a roll right? Hot coffee, wonderful visual candy, clown nose induced smiles... why not grab a new sketchbook too? You really can't have too many sketchbooks. Oh what a treat I was in for! It would seem B&N now has just a handful of art supplies. I found a set of pastels (a medium I haven't worked with since high school) for just $7 and super cool set of colored pencils that fit perfectly into the jewel case for cds for only $5. Perfectly, perfect, perfectness.

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mood altering items 3

Melancholy can be a powerful thing though. So, although my spirits were good, honestly, they grew gray again pretty quickly. As I sat in my living room, fire toasty behind me, the latest Script cd playing, blank page in front of me, I completely froze. What is it about the blank first page of a new journal or sketchbook that completely paralyzes me? I know I am not the only one this happens too. In fact, I was tweeting about it and Barbara Bechtel sent me this quote:

"It can be terrifying to confront a blank canvas- is it fear of destroying it? You are about to create a world in this pure and empty space, a world in which complex goals have been set. In one way, you have become God; in another way, you know you are not."
- Audrey Flack

Completely spot on. I put some seriously high goals in my mind for that blank page... that blank BOOK. How in the world could I fill it and do it justice? I swear I started and stopped and ripped out the first page at least 5 times. Then finally, with a heavy exhale, I just started writing. Actually, I started wishing. I wished I knew where to begin, I wished I knew what the possibilities are, I wished I knew how to pull things out of my heart and I wish I knew where to put them. On and on the wishes poured out. There isn't a spot of pastel or colored pencil on the page, but it is a start. And but the end of the writing, I felt a bit more at ease in my heart. Those wishes needed to get out and we'll save coloring the wishes for another day.

mood altering items 4

Monday, March 14, 2011

Off Setting Some Somber

week 2 - finding a little rhythm

:: i woke up saturday with a sorry case of the sombers...
:: i think i am still suffering from it today...
:: life ebbs and flows and i am trying to remember to take it as it comes...
:: i have my family,
:: i am healthy and so are my loved ones,
:: my home is warm and full of energy,
:: i have my art and a creative life,
:: i have possibilities everywhere i look,
:: daffodils are peaking through the snow and magnolia blossoms are fattening up,
:: it is okay say i am tired today, and...
:: i know in my heart that gratitude always wins out over melancholy if you give it some time.

lola loves knitting

(edited to add)
after this post, i decided a can't wait for my spirits to lift, i have to lift them myself. i hoped in my car for an mini adventure i'll share tomorrow. but i had to tell you... as i pulled into a parking lot, i noticed i was driving behind a man wearing a bright red clown nose. no one else in his car... just a smile on his face and a ball on his nose. it totally brought a smile to my heart! thank you clown-nose-man.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mini Tutorial - Vintaj Style

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HOORAY!! Lauren found the earrings she lost!!

Jess over at Vintaj really loved the earrings I made for the recent Bead Soup Blog Party and wanted to share the project on the Vintaj blog. I was honored to share and wrote up a quick tutorial on how to make the earrings. Head on over to read how it is done!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Pause To Daydream

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For the past week or so, I keep catching myself daydreaming. The daydreams are happening in a such a way and with an intensity that I am startled out of them with a moment of confusion. I can't remember where I am or what I was doing. Then, the daydream slips away and I am left with a sense that something is missing or not quite right. Things are a bit fragmented and much like a close up photograph. You can see with clarity the tiniest of details, but the world around the detail is hard to grasp.

Lately, in thoughts, I've...

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:: sat in a rocking chair on a porch holding my husband's hand on a summer evening in old age...
:: leap from a cliff and felt the air rushing over me as I dove into water feet first...
:: rubbed sandpaper on a spackled seam and walked in a pantry in my home that isn't there...
:: seen the fabric of what feels like a favorite shirt on my arm out of the corner of my eye, yet I don't have that shirt in my closet...
:: bent wire in the same pattern over and over and over, but I don't know what I am making...
:: drawn birds and flowers...
:: cut off all my hair, again...
:: sat on cathedral steps with sun in my eyes and warmth on my face...
:: held babies that aren't mine and felt amazing amounts of love...
:: had my hands on the giant steering wheel of an old pick up truck on a curving road...

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... and I have forgotten so many more. Where have your daydreams been taking you recently?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Finding Frivolous Furniture Friday

new cabinet 1

With all deadlines met and the next few weeks open to doing-what-ever-i-want in the studio, I had a little FUN yesterday! I hit my first estate sale in weeks, nah, months. Granted, estate pickins are slim this time of year anyway, but you can usually find 3-4 on a Thursday or Friday 'round here. There is a website that lists the sales and most sales have photos of what will be available at that sale once it opens. It had been so long since I had been to a sale that I had really gotten out of the habit of checking to see what was coming up. If it weren't for my hubby, I would have missed out on some really good finds yesterday. He spotted this cabinet in an over exposed, flash washed, photo and sent me hunting. Isn't it wonderful?!

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There is an antique store owner in The Hungerford Building where my studio is. Ray seems to think this cabinet might be from The Stickley Brothers Quaint line. He is gonna drop by and check it out. I can't wait to hear what he thinks. I really want this for myself in the studio, but Ron is begging me to bring it home. We'll see. It is hard to move something already full of my materials ya know. He'll have to make it worth the effort.

SO, then... in the garage of this same sale, I found this.

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Oh yes, an antique card catalog!! I have no idea in the world I am going to do with it. The things weights over 100lbs and it's hard for two grown people to move it. (oh yes, solid oak through and through) It is so amazingly quirky. Oddly enough, it isn't nailed together and we don't think it is supposed to be. It isn't like there is a nail missing in one corner making it wiggle or any glue marks, nothing. It literally doesn't have a single nail in it. There is a rather interesting lock system to it too. We are still trying to figure it out. You can't really close all the drawers all the way because of the locks or the locks block them from shutting, but if you leave a drawer out, reach your hand in, trip the lock, all the drawers shut perfectly. It is amazing. Would you believe, I nearly walked away from this. I called Ron at work, told him about it. Told him the price was $110 and I was feeling like that was way to much to spend. I ened the call with him and not two seconds later we called me back and said "get it". So, I did. Now what am I gonna do with it? I do love it and it looks wonderful on this table in my living room. Such a cool piece of history too. We were all talking last night and Andrew's school is the only one that still has a card catalog in the library.

Isn't finding really frivolous, unnecessary, furniture on random Friday afternoons the best pass time? I wonder what next week's sales will hold!