Monday, January 30, 2012

It's My Blogday, and I Have Gifts for You!

This is the 100th post this blog!  You have no idea how grateful, gobsmacked, and downright tickled I am by the friendships, fun, and support everyone who has come by has added to my life.  When this started, I could not have guessed what a kick this would be!

And to celebrate, I have goodies to share from the loot I  liberated from bought at a bead show in Cincinnati this weekend.  

The show was a great trifecta -- it gave me a chance to shop for beads (my credit card only smoked from overuse a little bit), an opportunity to pick out some goodies to give away to some of the wonderful people who are patient enough to read these wacky rambles (bless your hearts!), and a chance to see my son, who goes to college in Cincinnati.  He indulged me and let me buy him lunch and groceries.

Oh, yeah, I said gifts, right?  Here are closeups of the four tidy little bundles (I apologize for the quality of the photos of the owl beads -- they have a beautiful luster glaze that was completely beyond my photographic abilities):

Cute little earring pair by Susan Barnes of Fire Goddess
Cool lampwork swirl discs from Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan
of Thornburg Bead Studio
A cute little daytime owl (who apparently didn't want his photo to be upright),
a handpainted ceramic from Forever Young Creations
A night owl, also a handpainted ceramic from Forever Young Creations
Would you like one of them?  Join the fun (you probably know the routine) -- leave a comment and get your name in the drawing once.  If you already follow this blog, or if you join as a new follower, let me know and your name is entered again.  Finally, if you share the news about this giveaway and tell me about it, that's another time your name goes into the hat.

If you have a preference of which package you might win, let me know -- I'll do my best to match the winners with their wish.  You guys ROCK!

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm Turning 100...

...100 posts on this blog, that is!

It's hard to believe!  Not that I could come up with enough to talk about for 100 posts (my family would definitely agree that I am rarely at a loss for words, though they might argue that the words always make sense!)

But it's hard to believe that this little blog has become such a source of joy and fun in my life.  Who knew?  Especially if you look back at some of the earlier entries, where it's painfully obvious I wasn't entirely comfortable with this new "blog thing".

So to thank everyone who has joined me in the journey, my next post, #100, will have an extra special surprise to celebrate.

Originally, I thought the sprinkles looked kinda like beads. 
Okay, not so much. 
But it's CAKE, so it can't be all wrong!

(A hint -- I'm going to a bead show this weekend.  Some goodies for bloggy friends may just find their way into my bag...)

Stay tuned, y'all -- I'm just getting started!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Introducing Leonard

A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Karen Williams' great book Freeform Peyote Beading.  Not only did Karen send me a copy of the book, but she sent a treasure box of beads selected to echo the design in the book that had most caught my eye.

Looking through the pages of her book online, a bracelet stood out to me -- not just because it was lovely, but because I misread Karen's title (Leopard Jasper Bracelet).  "How funny!" I thought, "She called the bracelet Leonard Jasper."

(Okay, originally, the plan was to sit down and bead myself silly over Thanksgiving weekend.  Yep.  So let's just jump in the WayBack Machine and pretend it's late November, and that I'm not actually two months behind schedule on this...)

And so, in honor of Karen and her wonderful generosity and talent, allow me to introduce Leonard, the Jasper Bracelet.

I've done a good bit of freeform work, but Karen's book was full of great ideas and tips that were new to me.  My favorite tip for this project was to consider the first strand of beads you string as the centerline of the final piece and build on both sides simultaneously, at least at first.  This great tip helped me avoid my typical wonky "aw, crap, it's lopsided" moment in freeform bracelet creation.

Thanks, Karen, for helping to bring Leonard into my life!  And y'all, go take a look at her book on Amazon -- yummy...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Visit to the Spa

Sadly, not for me, but for my laptop, which decided last night to cascade a series of ominous warning screens before going to the dreaded Black Screen of Death.

So the computer's headed over to the spa (aka the tech repair place) for a few days of recuperation.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that they can salvage some of the data on the hard drive, or it's going to be very hard for me to keep up my veneer of Southern propriety.

I may rip straight into my "Bless her heart, she curses like a sailor!" persona.  It ain't pretty, folks.  Cover your ears and shield the young 'uns...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fresh From the Bead Table

Don't be alarmed - these beads are really not the size of a Volkswagon - I was just loving my macro lens...
 How are you getting back into the swing of things after the holidays?  It can be a real challenge to get the creative juices flowing in the post-New Year's slump.

The other day I decided to kick start a necklace centered around a Juls bead, combined with some turquoise rounds that had been hiding in my bead stash.  Here's what happened.

With the gray, gloomy days we're having around here recently, it's nice to have something that's the blue of a bright sunny sky!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

If Wilma Went Glam

Remember Wilma Flintstone?

Wilma is the property of Hanna-Barbera Productions
but her heart belongs to Fred

If anyone ever rocked (pardon the pun) a chunky necklace, it was Mrs. F.

So imagine, if you will, what Wilma might choose if she were to go shopping at a modern bead show, looking for something to wear for a fancy evening out (or to spice up the daily chore of walking Dino).

I think, perhaps, that she would fall in love with these purple dyed agate chunks.  I did!  And as a change from working with seed beads, this was big fun (again with the pun -- sorry!)

Paired with hollow filigree pewters, this necklace is much lighter to wear than you might imagine.

Yabba dabba doooo!  (Yes, yes, I did say it.  You had to know I would.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If You Love Glass Art...

If lampwork beads make your heart go pitty pat...if you admire the way artisans can create galaxies of beauty from a simple rod of glass and a flame...if, like me, you're astonished that people can create things from glass without incinerating themselves and everything around them, then have I got a place to tell you about.

My family spent a couple of days in Chicago over the holidays, and I spent an afternoon at the Art Institute.  Heaven.  I could have spent a week.

But time was limited, so I had to choose carefully what to see.  After spending a couple of hours visiting with Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and their buddies, I headed down to a very special little jewel box of a gallery - the Arthur Rublof Paperweight Collection.  See the cases in the photo above?  All of the little shapes inside are gorgeous, fabulous paperweights.

Okay, y'all.  People tell me they don't know how I can work with seed beads.  They say they're so fiddly and teeny.  But seriously, LOOK at the detail and intricacy of these pieces. (While you can click on these photos and see them a little larger, if you want to see one of them in a size that'll give you a better view of the details, let me know -- I'll email you the original photo).

And while most of the paperweights in the collection are the size you'd expect (what, 3" or so in diameter, maybe?) there was a giant honking paperweight, called a super magnum, there as well.

look at the size of this baby next to its normal-sized neighbors - wowzer!

Tomorrow I'll get back to some jewelry, I promise.  But this eye candy was so delicious, I just had to share it with you today!