Friday, 25 January 2013

Focusing on life–week 4–create art!

I thought I had this one in the bag right off the bat.  When Sally Russick’s prompt arrived last Saturday I had to smile at the picture she used since it was so close, in theme, to ones I had been taking just hours before.  What serendipidy!  Immediately I had a plan.  You see the prompt was to go and create some art – any art.   That morning I had tried to capture some pictures of Averleigh painting, which is a new medium for her.  I like this one where she is swapping the brush from her left to right hand.  I don’t think she has decided yet (see paint on both sides) but there seems to be a left preference.

create art
I thought, great  I’ll grab the white crayon that I usually hide since it “doesn’t work” and frustrates the hell out of her.  I’ll show her how you can use it as a resist.  I tried the next three days running to sit with her and paint and she was not interested in sharing her space with me in this way.  No way, no how.

artist at work

I can respect that.  I let the artist have her space.  So far every painting has started in the same shade of blue, girl after my own heart she is.  I could have created my own watercolour but I didn’t want to use her paints without her as surely she would know.

Thankfully, mid week I was inspired to try some polymer headpin making again.  Not what I had in mind to share for this project today, but I did get in the groove and move to making these not-sure-what-to-call-them-yet beads.  Do you feel that shift creating?  That switch in the tracks, moving from left-brained planning to just right-brained making, do you know the one I mean?  I can’t always feel it switch over but sometimes I’ll look up and realize I’m far from where I began and I’m not sure quite how I got there.  [side effect – I never write down a colour recipe or steps of a made-up technique]

focus on life week 4

Join me in heading over to Sally’s blog to see the art that everyone has been creating.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

It’s time for polymer headpins

I always love the inspiration, information and all around good stuff shared on Art Jewelry Elements.  Today’s post in particular, such a nice tutorial for making earrings with gorgeous glass headpins, all from Jen Cameron.   Something made me think of the polymer headpins I had made once, just playing with the idea one afternoon – uh, at least three years ago! 

So often I went to poke around the studio to see if I could find them.  They weren’t in various boxes of experiments and as I stood in the middle of the room just being still and scanning.  I caught sight of them - there in souvenir shot glass under a layer of dust, were my organic shaped head pins.

Polymer headpins

Not a single pair in the lot!  I was just experimenting with shape.  Clearly these colours would be better off with copper too but I think there are some ideas here to work from.  I will be making time to play with this this week.  I’m here telling you to make sure I get it done and come back and share!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Cooking or creating?

Some can cook with such skill and artistry that they really are creating a meal. That’s not me though.

True story – tonight I texted a picture of the meat I was about to cook to my husband to make sure it was good.  It was fine.    I really have so little experience, I was worried.  “This is scary” I sent as I started to cook it with what I felt was not much instruction.  Me and this cooking thing – we are still sizing each other up.  Tasted good enough and we are both still alive so all is good.

Yes, I would much rather be creating.  I haven’t been up to much of that lately.  I’m loving the gorgeous e-course Aspire to Wire that is filling my head full of good ideas.  I am patiently awaiting more supplies and tools to really get traction and try some things.  One thing is for certain I sure am going to miss my daily dose of Kerry as a teacher when it ends. 

Speaking of cooking and creating, prepare yourself for the all you can eat buffet of food puns coming your way!  Lori Anderson, top chef extraordinaire, invites us to reserve our table and sign up, this weekend for the next instalment of the Bead Soup Blog Party, woohoo!

Allow me to whet your appetite (yeah, I said it) with what I sent my partner Lois Moon de Padilla for the last BSBP.  I actually have more peacock feathers on my worktable at this very moment just waiting for me to play some more. 


It was so much fun to see what Lois came up with  - go see! Of course I also got my own awesomely curated bundle of beads that I loved working with.  I loved seeing everyone sharing their soup as it arrived.   I would always be mentally designing away and end up quite surprised at reveal day.  I took my time to make it through all the blogs and it was such a treat, eye candy overload.  I really couldn’t pick a favourite part, it’s all so much fun.  I’m so happy that Lori keeps on inviting us back for more helpings… hope to see you around the table.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Focusing on life–week 3–a dash of pink

Hey, look at that it’s Saturday again! Where did this week go?  I didn’t make it around to all of last weeks photos so I will be playing catch up.  This week you will find links to everyone’s little stolen time for themselves on Sally Russick’s blog.  Yes, Sally told us all to take a moment, take several and have it all to yourself and do NOT feel guilty about it.


As soon as I read that I felt I’ve been really selfish with my time staying up late working away on creating.  Creating ideas, objects, connections – a business.   This isn’t a bad thing per se, but there are other household things that are falling behind and probably becoming quite irksome for my long suffering husband.  There needs to be a better balance and I suppose that will come over time, with a proper effort.

This week I spent a copious and really insane amount of time comparison shopping and researching various tools.  There are so many variables when you are Canadian and many retailers are in the US and each has their own convoluted shipping vs buying it in Canada and paying more tax.  Seriously the savings I get is probably minimal because of the time I take to get it.  But I can’t leave it alone!  Then if I see a space for entering a coupon code I will spend at least 10 minutes trying to find one and apply it.  I’d say overall, I’m usually successful. 

For various reasons it’s been a pretty futile and frustrating week.  Boring stuff really, so I’ll spare ya the rest of my whine.

This evening, once my little one was in bed and good and asleep I decided to do as I was told and take a moment.  Hmm, what to do.  I’m going to have a good old Gin & Tonic – it’s been so long.

ingredients for a moment

Gin – check.  Two bottles actually.  I’ve always been a Gin drinker, so it’s a sure-fire gift from those who know me. [and I debated hard, do I have the Bombay Sapphire which is open, or go ahead and open the Tanqueray which I really love – in the spirit of the challenge – Tanqueray it was]
Tonic – check. One can Canada Dry must be in my fridge at ALL times. Other tonics will simply not do.
Lime – damn!
Bitters – check. You haven’t lived until you’ve had it with bitters.
Ice – groan.  Why is there no ice?  I never use ice and the one time I want ice there are barely cubes at all!  Why fill the tray only part of the way?  Why is this tray totally empty?  Why does this one have just one cube? How much longer can I bitch about my drink before it gets warm and these shavings melt and then I have warm gin….

Instead I fixed one for my hubby who apparently stopped keeping up with the ice when I got him the perfect water bottle for Christmas that really keeps it cold.  So you see it’s my own fault.

pink g&t

Then we enjoyed the moment, together.  I totally cheated but in the best way.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

If you are looking for my Focusing on Life picture this week find it here
Welcome to my contribution to the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop.  If you have been hopping along then you are likely familiar with the impetus for this hop.  I was quite touched (and in case you aren’t familiar) I will let our host Lori Anderson tell you the story in her own words.  I am looking forward to the wonderful stories that everyone will be sharing and the jewelry that will be full of intention.
My focus: a thank you. 
The backstory.  I have a 2 and a half year old daughter named Averleigh.  Like all children she is special and awesome.  Part of her little life story so far is that she decided to arrive a few months early, in emergency fashion, weighing a mere 1 pound 10oz, and almost 2 inches longer than Barbie if you can imagine.  Preemies in a nut shell, can have issues in all parts of their body since hey, the deal is supposed to be 9 full months, with zero gravity, practical darkness, and muffled sound.  That does not describe a NICU.  Delicate brain capillaries can burst and bleed, digestive systems can’t handle the workload and lungs well, they are the last major system to develop so they really aren’t ready and just aren’t very efficient.  All things considered, Averleigh pretty much skated very close to the line on major issues but kept going forward. 
then and now
Edit- to add Averleigh pictures: then (about a week old) and now
It is quite common for preemies to have speech delay so it was on my radar from the start. When she wasn’t hitting milestones according to her adjusted age (ie calling her 3 months old according to her due date -  not according to the fact she had a birth certificate issued 6 months ago) I took her for a more involved assessment.   Several other evaluations followed and eventually a course of action was decided upon.
The creative inspiration.  With a starting point of red and cardinals and all the imagery of eggs and nests to go along with it I set about making some beads.  I started with the imagery inspiration since at that time, I did not have a particular person in mind.  Ideas grew and I decided that someone important had really helped my little bird sing.  I am referring to the speech pathologist most involved in our speech therapy journey.  I say “our” as the particular course was mostly directed at me and my intensive learning in a classroom with other parents.
I’m looking forward to watching Averleigh wow them all with her progress at her next follow up in February. Which will be the perfect time to offer this very valuable person in our lives a little gift.
egg in nest
I thought these earrings loosely symbolised my little bird taking flight and singing in ways that were hard to imagine not so long ago.
But WAIT.  How could I have missed something so obvious?  The corner stone of the method I was taught is an acronym O.W.L.  Observe, Wait, Listen.  I can’t give her a pair of eggs she needs an OWL!  At this point it is well beyond the 11th hour to share with you all but I do have until some time in February to share what will be her real Thank you.  Here is a little glimpse at the star of the show…to be continued!
Thank you so much to Lori for sharing this wonderful intention, to Marianna whom I would have surely been honoured to have known and to Lena for letting us all know her momma.
Hostess, Lori Anderson Pretty Things
Adlinah Kamsir Dream Struck Designs
Aimee Biondolillo Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
Alicia Marinache All the Pretty Things
Andra Marasteanu Handmade by Indra Marasteanu
Andrea Trank Heaven Lane Creations
April Grinaway Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem Vivi Magoo Presents
Becky Pancake Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Beth Emery Stories by Indigo Heart
Bonnie Coursolle Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka Clay Space
Christina Hickman Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Stonefield Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson It's My Sea of Dreams
Crystal Thain Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin Beading Arts
Debbie Rasmussen A little of this, a little of that
Denielle Hagerman Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey diane hawkey
Dita Basu ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd A Polymer Penchant <--you are here, thank you for that!
Erin Kenny beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz Treasures Found
Gina Hockett Freestyle Elements
Gloria Allen Innovative Dreams Jewelry
Heather Marston CSW Designs
Inge von Roos Inge's Blog
Jacqueline Marchant Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp Celebrating Life!
Jean Yates Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Do!
Jennifer Reno Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne josjewels1
Jodie Marshall Jodie Marshall Lampwork Beads Wearable Art
Johanna Rhodes Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell Over the Moon Designs
Karin King The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson The Traveling SideShow
Kim Ballor Vitamin C ... A Daily Does of Creativity
Kim Dworak CianciBlue
Kim Houston The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus First Impression Design
Lena Adams (Mari's daughter) -- TBA - *update* Lena's Beady Blog
Liddy McLaughlin Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Florian Lily's of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Linda Inhelder Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud Artfully Ornamental
Lori Poppe Adventures in Creativity with Lorillijean
LouAnn Elwell Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo Ornamento
Marti Conrad Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars MLH Jewelry Designs
Mary Lindell Mary Lindell Artisan Jewelry
Maureen Connolly Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody Who Does She Bead She Is?
Nan Emmett Spirit Rattles -- Spirited Earth
Nancy Pedersen Something Heartfelt by Nancy
Natalie Davidson NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister The Crazy Creative Corner
Priya Krish Hellopalz
Rebecca Anderson Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson a creative chelle
Sabine Dittrich perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode Pookledo
Sarah Singer String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G. Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter Tapping Flamingo
Terry Matuszyk Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
Toltec Jewels Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zia Parks Anzi~Panzi's Work Shoppe
Zoe Marcin Beads, Tea and Sweets

Focusing on life – week 2–one little word

If you are looking for the Memories and Thanks post it is here
Welcome to week 2 of Sally Russick’s focusing on life series, all the details are on her blog the Studio Sublime.  This week’s focus is the one word for 2013.  I was excited to receive this prompt and to capture the word I had already chosen: MANIFEST.  I’m defining that as the verb: to make stuff happen - to be the action that fills the gap from idea to fruition.
Here is one of my older pasta machines.  Actually it was my very first.  It still runs nicely although it has some pitting in the barrels.  It is standing in at the moment since my regular machine is a bit out of whack and needs some tweaking.  Taking apart, cleaning and in particular reassembling a pasta machine makes you want to be an octopus for just a few minutes.  I’ve been avoiding the task but it needs to get done.  I’ve lined up some new (but look at the rust!) stamps that are for a project I’m going to try to complete tonight (Friday) we shall see.  In the background is a large format journal.  It’s divided with plain, grid and lined sheet section of heavy weight paper and I have plans to use it thoroughly this year.   I think I may create a plate for the front, in polymer, perhaps MANIFEST-O.
I’ll leave you with this little article sounds like good advice to help achieve some goals, or as they put it, “manifest anything”!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A little late Christmas gift

I almost forgot to take a photo, but my dad got his Christmas gift today.  This photo kind of flattens them out, I should have taken one from the side on.  I just didn’t want to hold on to them any longer! They are wine stoppers if that doesn’t come across on its own.

wine stoppers

Now my brain can start to think on the next things on the agenda.

I’ve got birds, eggs, nests, branches and the like on my mind in preparation for the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop coming this weekend.
I have an idea who I would like to thank, but haven’t decided on the whole concept yet.  I don’t often do much in the way of sketching but there are a few too many ideas rattling around up there I think I need to try getting them on some paper and seeing if they will behave.

I’m loving the Aspire to Wire e-course that has just kicked off (you have until Monday to join then that’s it!).  I may try and adapt yesterday’s project to suit part of my plan discussed above.  Or not. I have been rushing to the mail box each day to see if my new tools have come but sadly not just yet.  Just like a watched pot at the moment. 

The prompt this week for the Focusing on Life project is perfectly timed, by design I’m sure, so I’m excited to get that underway and share on Saturday too.  Perhaps I may find a way to roll this all into one piece.  Or not.


Here is my first (and second) attempt at the first project from Aspire to Wire.  It’s too bad that the peacock blue wire is flaking and appears to just be a bad one since the other wires are the same brand and aren’t the slightest bit flaky.  It turns out hubby’s office is just a few entrances down from a bead store that stocks it.  I emailed to check what they may have on hand and it sounds like they have the full range so I think someone will be visiting with a very detailed list.  These are NOT fully completed or of a quality I'd let leave my home, just by the way.  I want to document my progress though so cringe a bit showing you these.

Tomorrow is Thursday already, hope your week is clicking right along too!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Focus on Life: week one the self-portrait

Today I saw many a beautiful woman online and wondered on the coincidence.  Sure enough, once Averleigh was in bed and I was reading words the whole way through I saw that the sudden rush to self-portrait was prompted by Sally Russick of the Studio Sublime.  The concept is simple.  Once a week Sally sends out a photo prompt and you have that week to focus in and capture, then share.  I admit when it finally dawned on me what was going down I thought, “ah well, too late”.   But her kind invitation to jump in at any time had me emailing right away.

Now I just got my camera and have really no idea how to use it and this was a great excuse to just tuck right in.  Hubby had just gone to bed so no chance for vanity.  I just sat myself down in the space I just cleared the Christmas tree from (the rest of the room is covered in toys) – and I got to snapping.

self portrait - focusing on life

It was a tough task.  I deleted so many right off the bat.  Then I stopped myself and decided they should all at least reach the computer to be seen properly.  I took a breathe and picked what I liked the most as opposed to just avoiding all the ones I didn’t.  No edit, no crop, no need to focus on the negative.  I picked this one for that swoop of shadow over my left eye, almost as if those are lashes.  Now that would be a treat!

I’m glad I took the jump.  I look forward to sharing my photography progress here each week.  I know I will be equally excited to see what everyone else has to share.  Be sure to catch all the participants each week from Sally’s post.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

A wire, a word and a window

a wire.  Well, a lot of wire is in my future.  Supplies and tools have started to arrive and I’m very excited to join a bunch of excited ladies for the Aspire to Wire e-course starting next week.
a word.  Ok blogosphere I hear you.  A single word to hang the upcoming year upon.  Oh the pressure.  The mere mention of  “SMART” goals kinda makes me wrinkle up my nose and shift my weight in the chair.  Writing goals down?  Hmm, maybe it’s time to give it a try.  Deep breath.
1 – It’s really fun to write a blog knowing that there are folks reading it.  Followers I can and can’t see (directly) are a wonderful thing.  Thank you so so much for coming here and chatting with me!  Ready for it? GOAL – 300 followers by end of year.  Measureable and I hope achievable.
2 – I would also love to see my etsy shop full of a variety of shapes, colours and loveliness.  I know that when I land in a shop I love to have at least a handful of pages to browse through and get a taste.  GOAL – a shop full of 150 listings by end of year.  That sounds a little safe, perhaps a stretch of 200 (eek).
Baby steps.  So how do I reach those goals?  Let’s make that the job of the word for 2013.  Ready? (said more to me than you).  MANIFEST.  The verb, that is.  I’m going to sum that up as I’m gonna make stuff happen.

a window.  The part you would see is 58mm across.  Really though, it’s so much bigger than that.  Today I decided that I was going to have enough confidence in what I have to share to show it to you with the most powerful tool I could wrap my hands around.  Ta-da!

photo (11)

My new DSLR, lenses and cute sling bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag at all  (no sense in attracting thieves).  Thank goodness for Frank, the thoughtful salesman at the camera store who listened intently to my pointed questions comparing several models...for two hours.  Notice there is no goal above about better photographs.  Just giving myself the time and space to learn.  I think it’s going to be a fun ride!