Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Current Best Friend

to do list love 2

By my side, pretty much every.minute.of.the.day, right now is my "to-do list".

It would seem that everything suddenly wants to happen at the same time. I can handle that... at least, most of the time. Last week, I had a bit of a panic attack and was completely overwhelmed by just how much needs to get done though. I need to finish the second book, the deck needed finishing staining , Ron decided the shed should be re-roofed, Jacob ended lacrosse season and  chorus concerts and award ceremonies, Lauren is eager for an end of year lunch date at school, Ron bought a new truck, we are figuring out Andrew's summer plans, and... and... and... oh, we started painting the house too. Crikey!

In my mind, the most important thing that my attention needs to be focused on (from Mon-Fri) is finishing Rustic Wrappings.  So, to calm that panic taking my breath away last week, I created a to-do list that outlines everything I need to accomplished each day to get my commitment met. So far, so good! I am up early everyday, I organize my thoughts via my list, and I set to ticking things off one by one. Sounds a little silly, but it is oh so very satisfying. With so many things happening at once, and those things taking so much control out of my hands (like um... how the heck am I supposed to keep up on laundry and bathroom cleaning while painting a house and writing a book? seriously?), it is so gratifying to cross each little task off each day and know that it is all going to work out.

Looking at the big picture of all that is happening right now still easily overwhelms me. But, I am getting in the habit of blocking that out and focusing on right now. Deep breaths, and take it one day at a time.

*sigh* I love my to-do list... and yes, I kissed it.

ps... adding to today's list after seeing these photos... take a shower. must. not. forget. that. one!
pps... using the strike-through font thingy is nearly as satisfying as crossing things off in real life... who knew?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

...and then, we had raspberry colored couches.

living rm 1
living rm 2

If you have followed my blog for a while, you might remember a rant of a post from a few years ago called "Couch Shopping Sucks". I just reread that post this morning and oh yea, it was spot on. I have spent nearly 3 years with the brown couch we settled on. In that time, with a heavy sigh, I accepted it, dealt with it, and made a pretty room around it. But then...

Last week, I was browsing the estate sale listing (they post photos of what will be at the sale) and I noticed some interesting looking couches in a somewhat blurry photo at an upcoming sale. I showed them to Ron and he replied with a shrug. I decided to send an email and ask about the cost. I didn't really think I would get a reply. Dealers aren't known for giving out info before the sale is actually on, but this one did. Turned out that the couches in the photos were Laz-y-Boy... and leather... and in good condition... and a wonderful shade of raspberry... and kinda more than I wanted to spend. I had thought they might be for sale separately and maybe one could come with me to the studio. *sigh* But, I recognize that there are more important things going on at the moment (hello painting the house soon) and I settled on letting them go though. In fact, I didn't even plan on going to the sale at all... but Ron did.

Yep, Ron went to the first day of the sale. Most estate sales in NY run two days. The first day you have to arrive at the butt crack of dawn stand in line to get a temporary number, then wait for the temporary numbers to be exchanged for real number, and then wait for the sale to actually open. Mom does that all.the.time. That don't fly with me though! I like to wait until an hour or so after the sale starts, when the masses have ebbed a bit, and if what I want it there, so be it. Ron likes to go to the sales during his lunch break. And that is just what he did last Wednesday. While there, he confirmed that the everything at the sale was over priced, but yeah the couches were nice, but not for that cost. Maybe if they were still around the second day.

The second day of estate sales here are awesome because most sellers go to half price on everything that is left. I was convinced the cool raspberry couches would have been snatched up bright and early. So, I set about to going on with my day. I get a call from Ron in the early afternoon and it would seem he couldn't get those couches off his mind either. He persuaded me to run over to the sale and check them out... and I did... and they were still there... and they were half price... and then we had raspberry colored couches. Not for the studio though... for our living room!

If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook, you probably already know that I spent the entire day on Friday rearranging furniture. You can check out photos of the arranging process in my Flickr photostream. There was the before shot with everything still in the room, and then the mid-room rearrange shot where the old couch was there but I was finally getting settled on the placement of things. I finally settled on the furniture placement you see in the photos here. We are blessed with a large family/living room but it can be a challenge arrangement wise. I am happy with how things are settling in. The kids love the couches and were so excited to sleep out in the living room on Friday night. Jacob said he had the best Saturday ever spending the entire afternoon lounging in leathery comfort watching The Office on Netflix all afternoon.

The old brown couch ended up finding a new home in my studio. Yesterday, I took a break from torching to sit on said old brown couch to read and eat my lunch. Lemme tell ya, it wasn't a bad break. Now, if I can ever finish all the writing I need to do, I plan to make boat loads of wonderfully colorful throw pillows for all the couches, living room and studio ones. To get to that point though... I gotta get my butt in writing gear.

Are any of your living rooms sporting colorful couches? I would LOVE to hear about them!!

living rm 3
living rm 4

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Heart Message

heart message

These words have been floating in my mind recently and just won't quit. I found them deep down when I was doing some soul searching. I decided that I couldn't keep the message from my heart locked up inside my head anymore. So, I took a few quick moments in the studio today to put them on a canvas. I am so very glad I did.

Monday, May 23, 2011

basking in a random monday

sleeping sprouts
amazing saturday

:: what a wonderfully fantastic weekend we had
:: my camera was always at the ready, but i found myself too busy enjoying the days to snap away
:: loads of rain sure makes our little world a rather lush and green place
:: peanut butter sandwiches are just as good fire side as marshmellows, um sorta
:: i woke up feelings a strong creative pull inside me, but i am still not sure what is pulling me or where to
:: raspberry colored leather sofas rock, more on that another day
:: oh, bead cruise early bird registration opens today for those that have attended in the past
:: must research renewing my passport
:: so much writing needs to happen this week, so so much
:: been thinking a lot about the feelings that come up on days like that one, and wondering how i can change things
:: why is it so hard to feel think you are as awesome outside as you feel on the inside, hmmm...
:: and why am i able to get so much more done when i procrastinate on doing a single task then when i am not trying to not do something, weird
:: my heart goes out to all those in crisis after more devastating storms this weekend
:: and then i was out of things i wanted to say...

saturday evening
fire side saturday evening 2

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Necklaces are listed!!

Ring Toss 2
Departing Arrival 2
Coloring An Opera
Cosmic Trinkets
Cute As A Button
nabbing a nimbus

Original pieces from Wire Style 2 are now listed!! You can find them in the Knock Out Necklaces category on my website. I hope you love them!

Wire Style 2 Originals Coming Soon!

shooting jewelry

I just got the box full of my Wire Style 2 designs back and I am working on getting the pieces photographed to list on my website!! Come by again soon to treat yourself to an original piece!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rewind Wednesday

dogwood days

I am getting completely swept up in the feeling that time is flying. It might be the fall-ish weather we have been experiencing. We had one beautiful week of summer-esque temps and now, it has been five straight days of doom and gloom. This sense of being in fast-forward mode happened last year too. Around June, I started to think... it will be Christmas before I know it. Then snap, it was. My days feel so full right now, I can't help but feel it will be next year in a heart beat... again.

I find myself pausing amongst the full minutes of any given day to take a deep breath and just appreciate. My life is so very good. I know it, and I want to feel it through and through. Granted, not every moment is good... the kids bicker like cats and dogs when they can't get out side. But it is things like squabbles that balance the euphoria and help time slow down a bit, ya know. Day after day is happening before my eyes and I try to hit the pause button here and there so that I can have moments to savor. Like taking a second to snap an image of a dogwood bloom in the wee morning hours as I run outside to grab my camera out of the car while it rained. Slow down. Take it in.

Do you ever wake up on Monday morning,  think what will we do today, then suddenly it is Friday night, and you can't imagine where the week went? How do you pause to appreciate? What thoughts do you find yourself rewinding to?

deco sweater 1

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cruisin' & Teachin'

I can hardly believe I am announcing what I am about to announce. It is really surreal to me. This weekend was a bit of whirlwind. The weather has been miserable, which made the house and the inhabitants miserable too. But then... I got an email that put my mood through the roof and brought sunshiny smiles to my face! I have been on pins and needles since Saturday wanting to tell you!! I just needed to wait until it was official. Now it is!

You ready for it?


What is Bead Cruise you ask? Well, it is just what it sounds like... a bead retreat on a cruise ship. You can find out lots of details on the Bead Cruise website or on the Memory Cruisin' website. Talk about heaven on earth! Can you just imagine it? It is March, the snow is hip high, the temps are so low the thermometer broke, and what are you doing? You are heading to Florida for an 8 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise with your gal pals to take beading classes on the open seas and have amazing adventures at each port of call. And lucky me... I am going to be there with you! (Oh yes, I know I am one spoiled rotten girl that has the BEST career in the world!)

This Bead Cruise event happens thanks to the work of master beading mind Heather Powers. This will be the 7th cruise that she has coordinated for jewelry makers. And I will be teaching along with Heather, Beverly Herman (Heather's mom), Tracy Stanley, and Jill Wiseman. What a fantastic line up instructors! Each so unique with so much to share.

While out on the water, I will be teaching 3 classes and here are the details:

bang a rang 2012 class image

Bang A Rang (6-hour)

Wire working is one of the hottest techniques around in jewelry making today. At the heart of every bangle design is strong wire core and in this class, we'll explore the art of bangle creation! Students will have the opportunity to create 3 unique wire bangles, first with copper wire and then with sterling silver. We'll talk about designing wearable pieces that combine bold color and a fun sense of playability. Who better to learn from than the author of Totally Twisted: Innovative Wire Work + Art Glass Jewelry, Kerry Bogert. Each student will have a one-of-a-kind set of lampwork glass beads to use in their finished bangle designs, including a limited edition color combination for your class kit design specifically for Bead Cruise students. This class is going to be a BLAST!

Prerequisites: Making simple loops and wrapped loops
Kit ($75) includes:
Sterling silver wire in assorted gauges
Colored copper wire
One-of-a-kind set of more than 12 lampwork glass beads created by Kerry

(Image coming soon for class two!! THIS IS A NEW CLASS!!)
Frameworks (3-hour)

The art of creating intricately wrapped coil wire frames for beads is so much easier than it looks and you'll learn just how easy it is in this choose-your-own-adventure class. Students can create a pair a unique boldly colored earrings or a fantastic bracelet. This truly is a cross over technique that complements many jewelry mediums. Once you have added this technique to your repertory of skills, you'll be wanting to add frameworks to all your jewelry projects.

Prerequisites: Making simple loops and wrapped loops
Kit ($60) includes:
Sterling silver wire in assorted gauges
Colored copper wire
One-of-a-kind set of lampwork glass beads created by Kerry

snaptastic 1

Snaptastic (3-hour optional)

In this fast paced digital age and highly competitive market, beautiful photos are a must if you are looking to sell your jewelry. If you have been struggling with your digital camera, and just can't seem to achieve the images you are hoping for, then this is the class for you. Jewelry designing, bead making, book writing, photo-taking blogger, Kerry Bogert will share her knowledge of jewelry photography in a way that is fun and informative. She'll share with you how to set up an inexpensive photo booth in your home studio, give tips and tricks on taking unique shots that grab attention, talk about props and product styling, walk you through the various settings on your camera for getting the types of images you are looking for, and the class will finish with instruction on photo editing in both free and professional grade programs. It is time to stop taking photos on your kitchen counter! This is truly a must-take class for jewelers looking to take their digital presence to the next level.

Prerequisites: None
Kit fee: ZERO!
Supplies needed:
Any style digital camera (helpful if it includes the flower icon)
Your own jewelry

I really don't think words can describe just how excited I am about this trip. If you can swing it, I would love to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with you!! From what I hear, it is quite the memory maker and everyone should do it (at least once). I will be sure to share more details when I have them (like info on the Bead Bazaar and evening activities)... but for now... YOO HOOOOOO!!! I'm going on BEAD CRUISE!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Side Effects :: Critical Eye

snowdrops from the woods

*sigh* I am feeling miserable this morning and need to talk about it.

After yesterday's post, I excitedly put on my rain boots, borrowed Andrew's swim goggles, and headed out to finish pressure washing the last bit of deck railing that needed cleaning. Ron informed me that his coworkers said I need to wait at least a few days before applying the stain to the freshly cleaned deck. So once my little 20min clean up was finished, I was at a total loss as to what I could do next. And when I have a million things on my mind, that (a lack of direction) is a very bad thing. I found myself quickly spiraling into a tailspin of moodiness. Quite literally on the verge of tears at any given moment all day.

You see, when I start to build a list of projects and things I want to work on, I get in this state of mind where I become hypercritical. Which can be a good thing when it comes to getting a job done well from start to finish, but is becomes a very bad thing when I don't have a place to focus that critical eye on. Without the blinders of a set project on, suddenly everything comes under scrutiny. The house feels like it is a mess, the projects I am working on at the studio feel inadequate, and then the worst part of all... I start to look at myself and I think *I am a mess, I am inadequate*.  It leads to a horrible case of the FFUs (my technical term for the frumpy-fat-and-ugly feelings).

Most days, I know, inside and out, that isn't the case. That it is just a moment's (or day's) warped perception and it will pass. The rational part of me tries to talk down the irrational side, but on days like yesterday (and even still this morning) it doesn't always work. Sometimes the crazy thoughts and critical views are too much for self-loving part of me take. I am sure it something everyone feels from time to time. Right?

I know I am the only one that can change my mood. So this morning, I decided some self-care is what is needed. A nice morning walk/run, a crisp hot shower, taking the time to put a curl in my hair and wear a dress that makes me feel good, and time in my favorite place (the studio) without expectations... just creating what my heart feels is right. And then... maybe then, my critical eye will be lulled shut and I can find my stride.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Deck

alternate post titles:
How We Spent Our Anniversary
Carrie Finds Her Calling
Get The Gunk Gone
The Stupid Things Previous Homeowners Did
The Day My Blog Turned From Beads To Home Improvement Central

deck before 4
deck before 5

Thank you for the lovely "Happy Anniversary" messages yesterday. I know most couples enjoy a night on the town to celebrate their marriage. Dinner and dancing... greeting cards and flowers... maybe a something special and sparkling. Ron and I have been known to do such things on this annual occasion. But not this year. This is officially The Year Of The Exterior round these parts.

When I say that I was super excited when Ron said we should pressure wash the deck yesterday, I say it without a drop of sarcasm. We are project people and we love working on the house! (granted, we don't always agree how a job should be done, and we often fight like cats and dogs about it... but we love each other none the less... and this wasn't a brawling type of project) This year, we have a laundry list of projects for the house. When I think about it all, I start to get anxious and antsy. I want to get started... NOW!

Here is the list as it currently stands...

* Pressure wash (check) and seal the deck
* Replace metal front porch railings with pillars
* Scrap/repair/prime windows
* Rebuild the breezeway with new windows/doors/floors
* New roof for the shed and fresh coat of paint on it
* Paint/Side the house ( THE BIG ONE!)
* Possibly have the garage torn down and replaced with a 2-car garage (this one is a dreamer)

Why do we have such a long list of to-dos? The previous owners where nincompoops. This house has had 3-4 owners in the last 12 years. In 2000, the owner at the time had a ginormous 800sq ft addition put on the house that we estimate cost at the very least about $80,000. You would think, WOW! That's awesome!. But they completely neglected other, important, things that should have been taken care of first, or at the time. Like the breezeway that is crooked and has 50 year old privacy windows that the glass panes fall out of. Or the 70 year old one car garage that isn't much bigger than a shed. Or the rickety front porch railings. Or... or... or... I could go on and on.

But, I digress. Yesterday was about the deck.

Let me tell you, Carrie was in OCD hog-heaven as soon as she saw the first line of grim blasted off the floor boards of the deck. You see, when the deck was built in 2000, it was never sealed (plus they put the floor boards so close together the water pools, grrrr). And it sets under a mighty maple tree. It has built up 11 years of sludge and slime and gunk. It was getting down right slippery to walk on after the rain. Naturally, Carrie would get excited at the sight of beautifully bare wood boards brought back to life. Oh me, oh my... row after row... line after line... cleaned in a wonderfully meticulous way... the water blasted and busted away the gunk. *sigh* The things that make me giddy! Ron and I only bickered a little bit... over whose turn it was to blast a few boards.

deck cleaning 1
deck cleaning 2
deck cleaning 3

All in all, we ended up washing for about four hours. Though, it took from about 9am to 8pm. Sprinkled among the spraying was Andrew' meeting (it went really well!), a trip to Lowes to fix the master bath plumbing problem, a trip to Home Depot (for sealer! where a 19year old literature major tried to tell me opaque means semi-transparent when he mixed the sealer wrong... yeah, I pulled out my smart phone and showed him the definition is "not transparent or translucent." grrrr.), a lacrosse game, lunch and dinner. That's how our DIY projects roll. I still have a bit more of the railing to blast this morning, then once the sun is on the deck, and the wood is dry, I'll be painting on the sealer. (And painting on a thick layer on sun screen on me too.)

So yes, with this many projects in the works, I give you fair warning. This may turn into a home improvement blog from time to time. I'll do my best to treat you with beady goodness interspersed. Are you with me?

Monday, May 09, 2011

More Monday Morning...

garden 17
riding side saddle 1
flowering tree 4

:: i am so thankful for yesterday
:: the veggies are planted, the grass is cut, the quince is trimmed
:: the camera is in manual mode more and more
:: my family loves to gift my chocolate, they know me too well
:: um, yeah, maybe too much chocolate, especially with a new found love for key lime pie
:: maybe i should be a chocolate gift giver rather than plastering it to my hips
:: "mom, something is wrong with the bath tub"
:: plumbing problems are frustrated... the faucet came off in hubby's hand
:: today is day 3 with no water in the master bath, oh well
:: so much happening today...
:: andrew's special cse review meeting today
:: finally going to see jacob play lacrosse today
:: it is our 13 year wedding anniversary too
:: love you ron-boy

mother's day 2

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day...

mother's day

A very special HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to my Mom and to all of you too.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Breaking News... ArtBliss Switch!

This just in... I am switching the times on the classes I will be teaching at ArtBliss 2011. So... strike that, reverse it. Snaptastic will now be a FULL DAY photography class. It is the only way we will be able to fit it all in and still have a high quality class. Defindings will now be an EVENING class. Which, will be a great way to cap off the day. You'll learn some great ideas is a fun relaxed way.

Hope to see you there!! And remember, registration opens tomorrow, May 7th 2011, at 9am!

For Mom

I am betting my Mom isn't going to visit my blog today and thus I feel safe risking her seeing her Mother's Day gift early. She asked for something special this year, and I was very happy to oblige. Mom asked me to make a photo/frame collage with images of parts of the kids. Sounds strange at first, but she has held and loved them since birth and swears to know every inch of them by heart. She wanted something to capture the growth and their being right now.

Here are a few of the images I took and how the collage came out...

kids' feet
andrew's eyes
lauren's hands
jacob's belly
mom's gift

I think she'll like it! This really didn't take much time at all to make so there is still time to make one for your Mom. I bought the frame at Target and was able to use their Kodak kiosk to print the images. Makes for a wonderful keepsake, don't cha think?


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Announcing ArtBliss 2011 Classes!

defindings 1

Defindings: Detailing Your Designs
Cost: $140 Kit fee: ZERO!
Time: Saturday Sept 24 9am-4pm

Working with wire is hotter than ever and in this full-day class with author Kerry Bogert, you'll learn the fundamentals to adding fantastic wire details to your jewelry designs. Head pins, ear wires, jump rings, and clasps are just a few of the pieces you could be making with your own two hands to give your necklaces, bracelets, and earrings unique touches. Throughout the day, you'll experiment creating and forging several styles of these components- Kerry will show you how. Be sure to bring a collection of your favorite beads and we'll design some creative pieces with your new skills.

snaptastic 1

Cost: $65 Kit Fee: ZERO! (and OMG, for that price *I* want to take my class!)
Time: Saturday Sept 24 6-9pm

In this fast paced digital age and highly competitive market, beautiful photos are a must if you are looking to sell your jewelry. If you have been struggling with your digital camera, and just can't seem to achieve the images you are hoping for, then this is the class for you. Jewelry designing, bead making, book writing, photo-taking blogger, Kerry Bogert will share her knowledge of jewelry photography in a way that is fun and informative. She'll share with you how to set up an inexpensive photo booth in your home studio, give tips and tricks on taking unique shots that grab attention, talk about props and product styling, walk you through the various settings on your camera for getting the types of images you are looking for, and the class will finish with instruction on photo editing in both free and professional grade programs. It is time to stop taking photos on your kitchen counter! This is truly a must-take class for jewelers looking to take their digital presence to the next level.

I really can't tell you how excited I am to be teaching at ArtBliss again this year. It truly is an out of this world event and I hope you'll join us!! If you have any questions about my classes and if they are right for you, don't hesitate sending me an email. Visit http://www.artblissworkshops.com/ for any info needed on the other classes, instructors, registration, the venue infor, etc.  

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

More Blooms

bloom 1
bloom 2
bloom 3
bloom 4
bloom 5
bloom 7
bloom 8

Forgive me as I visually dote upon my tree some more. It is the most wonderful kind of dreary day here and I find myself in a rather listless state. Sure, I have actual lists of things to do and they need doing. But today, I don't care to pay attention to them. I want to revel in the somber rain and let the sound of the steady droplets lull me to sleep. I'll dream of the light as it dances through these petals while wrapped in the warmth of a place where edges are softly blurred, feeling is magnified, and the wet doesn't matter.

Tomorrow is when these moments will fade like dreams do and I'll be awake to possibility. For now, I am so very content right.where.I.am.