Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heart on Hiatus

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The Irondequoit Bay on my drive into the studio this morning.

Yes, I'm fine. Thank you for your emails of concern. My heart went on hiatus for a bit. And, I have to be true to myself. If I'm not feeling it, I'm not writing. I'm not sure it is ready to return yet either, but there are a few things going on that I want/need to share. Here it is... in my typical random style.

:: Last week I was a guest poster at Love My Art Jewelry. Hop over and check it out! And I invite you to take on the photo challenge I presented there... come on! I could use the doses of color.

:: I was paired with the awesome Barbara Bechtel for the 5th go around of the Bead Soup Blog Party. I'm excited about that. We have some things up our sleeves to make the exchange a bit more interesting. It'll be a challenge in more ways than one. You'll wanna stay tuned for that.

:: Speaking of the BSBP, SURPRISE!! I'm one of the contributors in Lori Anderson's book devoted to the exchange. I'm honored to be a part of it. Thank you , Lori! Click the link to see the cover art and a full list of contributors. It is a grand group of people. Look for it on newsstands Fall 2012.

:: I'm up to my eyeballs in preparations for the Bead Cruise! I have already made over 150 beads in the last 24 hours and that is just for ONE of the kits! I decided to make Light Steel Grey, Turquoise, Sunburst Coral, Transparent Ink, Clockwork Orange, and Ivory the color combination for the one of a kind, just for the cruisers, Bang Gals kit. I'll share pictures when the beads are done soaking and ready to make their debut.

:: When I get home from the Bead Cruise, I have something to share. I've kept it under wraps for a couple of months now. (NO, I am NOT preggers... don't you dare suggest such a thing!) I really really think you are going to like it.

Now, don't worry, I'm sure I will post loads more times between now and the Bead Cruise. I just thought I'd leave the last one there as a tease. If you are ever concerned again that I might have fallen off the face of the earth, I tweet... a lot (or rather at least a few times a day). So, you can follow me on Twitter (I'm @kabsconcepts) and see that I haven't been in a car accident, or that I haven't run away to Alaska in search of snow that lasts for more than 5 freaking minutes. Insert eyes rolling here... about the total lack of snow, not the Twitter thing.

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ps... Monday I was feeling sad and bought myself flowers to cheer up the studio.
Aren't they a lovely shade of fuchsia-ish pinky red?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Lion's Share of Brown

Back on Monday, when I was plotting out the week to come, I wrote "studio day" right under the number #19 in my agenda. When I woke up this morning, and started moving through the day, I quickly realized I had no idea what to do with myself once I got to the studio. And that is never a good sign about how the day will go. If my thoughts aren't organize and a plan not in place, I find myself frazzled and not at all productive.

I sent out a tweet this morning before heading out that said as much.

Quickly one friend replied saying "Maybe this could inspire you, my color loving friend: Day 19: More Than A Trillion Choices" How did I not know about 31 Days Of Adventure sooner? Today's prompt was right up my alley. Alas, in my quickly-turning-crankier-with-a-lack-of-focus mood, I couldn't settle on a favorite color to seek out today. That's when I decided to let the color gurus at Pantone do the picking for me. I quickly googled "Pantone Color Of The Day" and learned today's color is LION.

My eyes instantly started seeing beautiful, photo worthy, shades of brown every where. More than just the barren muddy brown of the landscape, I found it in my hair, in my home, in my yard, and in my studio. I was a hunter stalking Lion brown and, if I was an actual hunter, I would know a good phrase to say I slaughtered my prey to keep the hunting analogy going... but I think I best let the photos tell you.

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Would someone please remind me of this exercise the next time I'm lost and needing some creative focus? It is a delightful way to spend the day when you are color hunting.

(Side note: Once I got to the studio, I was right. My lack of planning made for a very unproductive day but I really didn't mind so much.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Snappy Wednesday

I woke up this morning and decided to give my Snaptastic eCourse a little face lift. When students worked through the course back in October and November, new posts were presented daily. Until today, students visiting the eClassroom would see the last post first. That's no good for new student. So, I have worked my magic and now, all the posts are there waiting to be read by new students in the proper order. Beginning to end.

What does that mean for you?

If you haven't taken my eCourse, and were maybe waiting until I offered it again, you don't have to wait any longer! The entire course is there, waiting and ready, for you to work through. You can work through at your own pace, visiting daily or plowing through in a day. Once you have registered for Snaptastic, you will be invited to the classroom and you'll have unlimited access to the site. I'll never close it. So, if life gets in the way and you can't stop by for a day, a week, or even a month, that's totally okay. Come back any time. That also means ther is no start date or end date for the class. You could start today or you could start next week. It's all up to you!

Plus, as an added bonus, I am leaving comments open! So, you can continue to ask questions along the way. And, something very interesting happened as we worked through Snaptastic in October, the Q&A posts morphed into extra content posts.  There is a ton of new information that doesn't appear in the eBook. Things like white balance settings, shooting in aperture priority mode, adjusting exposure, bouncing light, cool add on products for your dslr, and a video of my photo editing technique have been added.

Are you wondering what other students thought about Snaptastic?

Erin of Erin Siegel Jewelry left this comment on the last post of the eCourse:
Thank you so much! I enjoyed your course and I learned a ton. I'm improving every time I pick up my camera, now with the information you've shared here. Before, I was just stuck doing the same thing because I just didn't know what else to do. Before, I didn't know what I was doing. Now, I understand what is going on! Again, thank you so much! I mentioned your e-course again on my blog tonight. http://erinsiegeljewelry.blogspot.com/2011/11/secret-stuff-and-snaptastic-photo.html

And Alice of Alice Dreaming had this to say:
Wow, it went so quickly! While I wasn't able to participate as much as I had wished, I want you to know I have learned a lot from this e-course. I'm a slow learner when it comes to anything technical, and when I do learn something, it is quickly forgotten if I don't use it often. I'm thankful I purchased the PDF form so I can refer back when I need to. Oh, and by the way, I'm so thankful for your demonstration of your natural light setup with the foam board etc. I've been using it with great success, and it's so easy to put up and take down.

Where I was once intimidated by all the bells and whistles of my camera, I am now less timid when it comes to taking it off automatic. And for that I thank you!
Come on, you know you want to take better pictures of your jewelry!
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


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What a difference a few days makes. Friday you got a glimpse of the glee inducing snow fall that dropped a few fabulous inches on us and if you were here today, you would be soaked to the bone and knee deep in mud. It's near 50* and raining.

The other day I sat and watched Sense & Sensibility, all by my lonesome, while Ron took Lauren to gymnastics and the boys did their own things. There is one point in the movie where the youngest sister is told not to talk about certain things and if she can't think if something appropriate, she should discuss the weather. HA!

I don't know why I keep talking about weather these days.


I feel completely boring. I haven't anything to talk about. No exciting things to share with you. I've been in the studio experimenting but nothing worth showing yet. I'm all tra la la la la. If you asked me something, I'm sure I could carry on about it for ages. Left to my own devices though, I'm speechless.

So... for lack of a better topic... here is a bit of random...

:: Ron and I finished watching Season 5 of Dexter (on DVD from the library) and I'm wishing we had cable so I didn't have to wait a lifetime to see Season 6.
:: my new sweater has taken a turn (or I should say, pucker) for the worse and although I'll finish it, and wear it, I'm not knitting on it incessantly.
:: Andrew is pacing circles around me at the moment because we wants me to wash his swim stuff for school tomorrow.
:: I made blackberry cobbler on Sunday night, it was delightful.
:: OH! For those of you that have been waiting... I posted all my new RINGS! Go check them out!!
:: it took 3 wheelbarrows of wood to fill bin near the backdoor. It should last til Friday.
:: Lauren bought herself a locket at the craft store yesterday... she says she's always wanted one.
:: I'm getting back in the show saddle, but until it is for sure for sure, I'm not telling you which show, but I think you'll be excited.
:: I can't believe The Bead Cruise is right around the corner!!
:: I have no idea what we are going to have for dinner tonight.
:: I finally got my act together and I've taken advantage of wholesale discounts with Parawire. Kits will now have whole spools of wire in them!! I can't wait to see them kitted up.
:: I stink at the kids' math homework, I'm not gonna lie.
:: no, I haven't painted the ceiling yet, ugh.
:: I have my heart set on us installing wood countertops. I won't be able to survive without them, I'm sure of it.
:: I <3 Pinterest.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

{ and then it finally snowed }

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Oh my stars, I've been grinning all day! It snowed!! It finally snowed!!! It is magical stuff, those airy bits of frozenness. I swear, my coffee tasted better today, my fingers knit happilyer, and I feel completely wrapped in all things cozy. Gosh, I just love it.

I knew earlier in the week that I would be home today. I had a meeting scheduled (which was cancelled because of the white stuff) and planned on catching up on a few things I've been ignoring. I am, indeed, home but I am continuing to ignore what I was ignoring before and I went for a long walk in the snow instead. I rocked my hubby's 1980's moon boots and his giant parka of a coat, pulled on a few toasty hand knits and headed out. The roads were yet to be plowed and you couldn't see much more than about a 100ft ahead. The wind whipped hard on the return trek but I didn't care. I loved the feeling of the ice on my eyelashes and the pink burn I could feel in my cheeks. I smiled big and laughed. I am sure the very few cars that passed wondered why the heck that crazy person was laughing while walking along the side of the road.

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As for the rest of the day, I've refilled that spotted mug with some lovely chai tea, the knitting is still calling me, I've added another log to the fire, and I'm looking forward to the kids getting home and sledding. Tonight we'll feast on pot roast and potatoes. Lauren will be flipping and tumbling at gymnastics (if it isn't cancelled too). I think we aught to rent some movies and pop some corn.

Here is to the weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January Sun

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I'm about ready to settle into a day that looks quite the opposite of the one in the photo above. Yesterday was gloriously bright and, I dare say, balmy for January. Today, however, is dark and cold and rainy and perfect for a few hours at my torch in my studio. As I finish scrapping the last few bits of Key Lime yogurt from my cup, I'm thinking about what I'll make first when I get to my little sanctuary. It's been well over a month since I lit that hot little fire last. It feels like it's time. Some sanctuary is really needed right now.

We have had a rough couple of days here, or I should say evenings. The one I described having taken place on Monday was just the beginning. I haven't talked about it here but, Andrew, my middle child that suffers from bi-polar disorder, is going through what's called a med wash. We are trying to get a baseline of current symptoms off meds so we can best decide what to do next for him. Very slowly over the past two months, we have lowered he medications and by February he will be off all of them completely. All this has been happening under the care of his doctors, of course, but still, no one is here with us in the evenings when he is having a hyper manic episode, or when he swings the other way and struggles with something as simple as taking a shower.

Talking about Andrew and his condition is something *I* struggle with here. I used to talk about it more but as he grows, I want to respect his privacy. At the same time, want those of you that have become invested in him through the years to know how he is doing. He is very happy in his school environment these days, he wishes there was a local baseball team he could play on that wasn't competitive (OH how we lack something team related and active for kids between the ages of 12-18 that isn't competitive here), he is addicted to his new iPod... he loves the endless supply of new games at his fingertips, his hair grows faster than anyone I know and he hates to have it cut but thankfully we found an angel that will come to my studio and cut it for him, he would live in his flannel pjs if I let him, he eats us out of fruit daily, he is desperate for some snow to snowboard and sled, and he loves Rusty, our big ole deaf white cat, more than any other living creature, ever. He is truly the most simple, yet complicated, being.

Don't worry about leaving a comment today. I've closed them. There are times that I just feel compelled to share but honestly, don't want to go beyond the sharing. I'm sure you understand.

And, as always, tonight is another evening. It has every possibility of being better than the night before.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sweet Start, Not-So-Fabulous End

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Yesterday was one of those days that really flowed. Each thing I thought I'd do actually happened. I started with a quiet morning of knitting while the kids got ready for school. They are all really self sufficient in the mornings. They just need gentle nudges and reminders on what they need to be doing and what time it is. Okay, gentle might be the wrong word. There are a couple of kids in the house that don't like getting up. So, I have to flip on the lights in their dark and cozy rooms while saying about a dozen times "it's time to get up".

Once everyone was on their way I tidied up a bit and went for my run. I have felt awful, not just emotionally since Chicago, but physically as well. When I left for NYC in October, my 3-times a week runs just stopped. Then the prep for the show, where was the time to run? Then the show itself, and the aftermath. Oh and not to mention the Holidays that followed that and all.those.sweets. I know I am the only one that has the power to change how I feel. All the hard work I did this summer showed me I can do it. It isn't a resolution of any sort, mind you. It is a choice. And I am choosing to want to feel good in my body, and I'm working on it.

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I was into the studio just in time for some lunch. I set to finishing the last of the rearranging I started last week and then I did something I can't remember the last time I did. I wrote a letter to a friend. Like a real, honest to goodness, pen on paper letter.  And, I liked it.

The afternoon passed with a nice long, much catching up needed, phone call with another friend. I like actually talking on the phone so much... as much as writing letters. I've decided I despise email. Though, I know, I know, it is a necessary part of my business. I wish it wasn't so though. I wish if someone wanted to tell me something or ask me something, that they would call. I could hear their voice, I could ask them about how they are doing, nothing would be lost in translation, I could write myself a note of what they needed... sigh... I like telephones.

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My phone call ended as dinner prep began. We decided to have country style grilled pork ribs, roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, with some seasoned baked fries on the side. We eat good. We ate good. Homework was done, a card game of war was played, and a lacrosse practice was had. It was while the big kid was at lacrosse that the time turned not-so-fabulous. Ron had set Lauren up with a bubble bath in our master bathroom. Being 8, she likes her privacy. We don't stay in the room with her, but we were in the living room directly below her and we could hear her playing. I went up to check on her once she turned the water off. Then Ron and I sat watching a bit of TV. I'm not sure how much time had passed, 20, maybe 30, minutes when we started to hear a strange noise. Was the cat licking himself in a strange way, was is just the fire crackling? No, there was water dripping. My heart instantly jumped out of my chest. Something was wrong with Lauren...

I started screaming her name and tearing through the house and up the stairs to my room. As I ran I saw visions of her floating in the tub, lifeless. She didn't answer when I called her, over and over. I burst in the bathroom and she was completely fine... startled by my entrance, but fine... playing Barbies. I pulled her out of the tub, wrapped her up, got her safe, and we found the tub had cracked. Water was pouring into the living room ceiling. Ron had to put a hole in one area to drain the water and there will be repair work in our future. After those horrible visions, then finding Lauren okay, the relief that washed over me completely washed away any concern over the silly ceiling. I've never painted a ceiling before, but I'm game.

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Let's hope Tuesday is less eventful.

Monday, January 09, 2012

hello, friends...

Sporting some new specs

:: sigh, well that didn't work. If I want to reflect about my day in a blog post, it is just going to have to be the next morning. Evenings are way too full.
:: you might think things are busy busy here, what with the lack of posts and all, but nope, just the opposite. Things are simple and quiet and flowing, and I'm floating along for the ride.
:: Friday I picked up my new specs from the eye doc's office. I wear contacts and haven't bought glasses with my current script in over 10 years. I thought it time to give it a go. I'll still wear my contacts most of the time, but give my eyes a break more often.
:: I've been doodling color combinations for my surroundings for new beads. I hope to be torching before the week is out and have new beads to post next week. Any special shape requests?
:: current color combo love? grey, dark navy, and orange. oh so different than my usual turquoise and orange love.
:: I hate to be so cliche and talk about the weather, but dang. Friday I took a walk to the local yarn shop, to meet a friend, and it was so balmy all I wore was a light sweater. Ron even golfed on Saturday!
:: oh how grand it would be to get a good old snow storm.
:: I have a haircut planned for tomorrow and I can not wait. My ends are all frayed and splitty.
:: knitting on a new sweater from sock weight yarn is going by oh so much faster than I hoped. I separated the lower body for the front and back just this morning. I only started it 10 days ago.
:: my run this morning was absolutely marvelous. I've been watching Netflix on my iPod while on the treadmill and it makes time fly. Stopping a movie at the end of my run makes me look forward to the /runfun the following day to continue the film.
:: I finished watching James Stewart's Harvey (1950) today. Wonder what I'll watch tomorrow? I love old movies.
:: speaking of running, JCasa is challenging herself to walk, run, or jog 1000 miles in 2012. I'm seriously considering taking up the challenge too. I think it fits my want to aspire to a healthier me.
::  6.3 down 993.7 to go...
:: I think I'll make myself a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and head into the studio before the day gets any further away from me. Do you like grilled cheese and tomato? You should make one too! (I just pop in the toaster oven to warm it back up when I'm ready for lunch.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Carving Out A Lovely Corner

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I am finding that during this time of year, the light coming in the front window is the prettiest right around the time I leave for the studio. These magic moments happen much earlier in the summer. I can enjoy them longer. When they happen so late, my day is rolling and I can't savor it. Oh how it makes me not want to leave. It makes me want to make a bowl of oatmeal or cook a sunny side up egg or slice a grapefruit and sit in that sun. Maybe tomorrow. Today lingering wasn't possible with a half done disaster area studio I left the day before. It had weighed on my mind all night. I was still pushing the last pieces of furniture here or there in my mind as I dosed off, wondering if my choices were right and deciding where the last few pieces would move to.

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Once I opened the door to my studio, I recognized that this is going to take some getting used to. Apart from moving the sink and deco table, I have essentially mirror imaged the room. I'm Alice inside the looking glass... everything is backwards. I am in love the corner of loveliness I've situated in the light. All my honey toned cabinets together make me melt. Literally. I caught myself staring dreamily at them, all bunched together, several times.

I made quick work of organizing my dozens of spools of wire. Then promptly took to hunting Pinterest for new spool sorting inspiration. I have an idea I'm going to try to put into action tomorrow.

That building manager I mentioned yesterday stopped by with some news. His ears must have been ringing. He said that there was a space on the 4th floor for me to peek at. The fabulous Lucinda had asked for dibs on it but when she read I was longing to join that floor she acquiesced. I just couldn't see myself there, though, and she could, so I passed. The right one will come along, and it won't have full southern exposure.

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It feels good to have this to focus on right now, instead of walking in the door and trying to just start creating again. All the distractions are actually settling my thoughts in the way that mindless distractions do. I have ideas forming, and growing, and I know I'll get to them soon. They have more time to get stronger.

I had to chuckle to myself this afternoon, during the time I thought would be the reflection-on-my-day-time. I was reminded why I always write in the quiet morning hours... it is my time. In the afternoon, it is all Momma needed time. And now, here I am, having waited for everyone to go to bed to have some peace and reflect. I'm drained though. I still think the change is good, it'll just take some getting used to.

It is another way in which things are backwards! HA!

I'm sure the adjustment would be made greatly easier with a warm bath and snuggle under extra blankets.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Some of the Changes

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I went to bed last night thinking we might have one more vacation day ahead of us had we gotten the 12 inches of snow the local meteorologists called for. There was no snow though, just bitter bitter cold. So instead of curling up and relaxing a bit longer, a studio day happened. I wasn't really sure what my first official 2012 day in the studio would bring when I woke up this morning. As I sat at the computer, and sent important emails (what are those deadlines dates again), paid bills (like my studio rent!), and then packed for the day (broccoli soup, camera, and sketchbook... check), I knew exactly what would happen... a move.

I have been begging the building manager at The Hungerford, pretty pretty please with a cherry on top, to find me a new space in the building. One that doesn't face a brick wall, that gets some good/better natural light, and is a bit closer to the other artists I visit with in the building (my hallway is rather empty and lonely at times). Two months now of pleading and nothing has opened up. And for some strange reason, apparently, it is poor etiquette on their part to kick someone out of a space just because I want it. So, I got it in my head that if I can't have a new studio, I would treat mine like it is brand new.

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I set to work as soon as I unlocked my door. I let that OCD side of me take over and things started getting rearranged. I didn't have a plan, I just started unloading sleeves and clearing tables to push/drag them around. I really don't know why it never occurred to me before. My jewelry desk was in an area that had me using artificial light and my torch table was by the window in the natural light. Hmmm... doesn't it make a bit more sense to put the torch, which in bright natural light causes me to struggle to see the flame, in the area where you need artificial light? And further more, doesn't it make sense to put my jewelry desk by the window in the natural light? Yeah, sometimes I don't have a lot of common sense. Ahem.

As I slid and dragged each piece of furniture into its new place, I swept and scrubbed the floors... Cinderella Style... hands and knees and all... till the water turned black (again and again). And as I washed and organized, I was thinking a lot about the changes I have planned for myself and this blogging place.  These are by no means resolutions of any sort. These are changes I have been feeling brew for some time now. I'm not ready to tell you all of them yet, but one is happening right this minute. My post is happening... at the end of my day, not before it starts. I have been loving the way Heather (Beauty That Moves) has been sharing journal style posts that reflect on her day on her blog. I feel like I have been a little too guarded recently in what I write, though maybe you don't get that feeling. I want to share more about the things I think and do through my day... I think it's a good place to start.

And so far... it feels very right and very good.

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Monday, January 02, 2012


aspire 2012


My One Little Word for 2012... oh so very different than inspire. Inspire is what you do for others, or what others do for you. Aspire is something you do for yourself. More on my word, and my plans for this new year, soon.