Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wherein The Waldo Bead is Located and A Studio Begins To Move

The other night, when I was working at the bead table much later than I should have, I dropped a bead that was crucial to finishing the second earring in a half-completed pair onto the Oriental carpet in my studio.

It was too late, too dark, and too tiny a bead for me to worry about at that moment (although you will note that I took time to document my klutziness here).  I nicknamed the wayward bead "Waldo" because it was impossible to spot, and went to bed.

However, the sun rose, I arose, and Waldo Bead was located.  The earrings were completed, and as promised, here they are:

Can't get the photo to rotate the right way.  Imagine this 90 degrees to the left....

Coincidentally, as part of our plans to get our house ready to put on the market (time to downsize), I'm moving my studio to another room in the house.  Because our daughter is now nearly done with graduate school and only comes home for visits, I've appropriated half of her room.  Great light, and look at that carpet -- SO much easier to spot the wayward escaping beads!

The move is nowhere near complete, but it's getting there!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Why I'll Be Going to Joann's Fabrics Soon

Have you visited the fabulousness that is Sarah Sequin's Sequintastic September blog hop?  It's a terrific collection of jewelry, fiber, and mixed media artists who have come together to create something with sequins.

I did not participate, being on a self-imposed challenge hiatus so that my head wouldn't explode by adding one more obligation to an already-stuffed autumn/winter.

But I've been so inspired by what everyone made, I am going to have to head over to Joann's Fabrics as soon as possible to buy them out make a modest purchase of sequins.  I already have ideas of what to do with where's that 40% off coupon?!?

What are you still doing here?  Go check out the hop!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Playing "Where's Waldo" With Beads

If you're looking for the Blog 5 (Plus1) post, go here!

My current bead room has an oriental run covering most of the floor.

Beautiful, right?  Not when you drop beads on it.

There is a 4mm emerald faceted firepolished bead somewhere on this carpet.

What, can't you see the bead? Yeah, me neither.
The escapee's companions.  They may know where the other one fell,
but they're not talking.

Normally, I would let this go and figure it's just more fodder for the vacuum cleaner.  But I'm in the middle of making the second earring in a woven set, and now I'm ONE FLIPPING GREEN BEAD SHORT.  So now I'm going to have to play "Where's Waldo" with the bead, or find a customer who likes to wear only one earring.

Yes, that will be me, on my hands and knees, peering like a CSI investigator at the rug, muttering vaguely vulgar words under my breath...If I find the bead, I'll post a photo of the completed earrings!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blog 5 (Plus 1) Hop

Y'all, I need to go buy a lottery ticket -- I have had such good fortune the past couple of days, there must be a lucky star hanging over my head...

The latest?  I was honored to be recognized by two of the bloggers involved in the Blog 5 Hop.  And I'm gobsmacked.

Here's the deal:  the lovely Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers and six other bloggers have identified bloggers that they each feel best represent the categories above, and I was one of the lucky ones Cynthia chose.  Along the way, the equally lovely Christine of One Kiss Creations decided that my madness humor didn't quite fit in any established category, so she created a Humor category, complete with a naughty gnome (the badge here is the original gnome's more innocent brother).

So here are my choices for these categories.  I've tried to take this opportunity to highlight some blogs that I haven't had a chance to mention here or here...

There are two blogs that I can consistently rely on for both beautiful jewelry and great learning opportunities. The first, Eva Maria Keiser Designs, is a wonderful compilation of Eva Maria's original designs (check out the awesome beadwoven chess pieces in her banner), palettes drawn from her own and others' work, and videos of tutorials, fashion shows, and other things that will inspire you.  Her blog's tagline is "look, learn, share, inspire."  Yep, she gets all of that done, every time.

The other blogger who's generous with instruction and inspiration is Brandi of Brandi Girl Blog.  She also regularly has beautiful palettes inspired by gorgeous photos, but also provides great tutorials and other hints on how to make your photos and yourself look your best online and in various social media forums.

I think one of  the hardest categories to narrow down is the "Artistic" category, because there is jaw-dropping talent out there in BlogLand.  But here are a couple whose artistry consistently makes me catch my breath in awe and admiration.  First up is Gwen Beads.  Self-described as "artist, mathematician, teacher, and learner," Gwen always makes me wish I had retained more from my high school geometry classes.  Don't let works with titles like "Infinity Cube" and "Three Intersecting Rectangles for the Math Nerd In You" throw you off -- these are some seriously beautiful creations .  She makes beads behave in ways you can hardly believe.  

And I always get a smile of anticipation when I see that there's a new post from Joan Babcock on My Life in Knots.  A master of micro macrame, color combinations, and elegantly combining fiber, beads, and metal, Joan 's work is unique and beautiful.  She could singlehandedly make you forget any unfortunate macrame plant hanger incidents you may have in your past.  This ain't your grandma's knotting.

Journalistic bloggers are, to me, those who interweave pieces of their non-beady lives in their blogs. Without a doubt, I have to salute Lori Anderson, whose stories of her own bead and life journey, adventures with the adorable and brilliant Zack, and personality that has made her bead swaps a global phenomenon, brings you into her world with warmth, humor, and a big ol' piece of pie.  It was her bead swaps that made me want to blog, so I could play along.

A relatively new find for me is Skylar at Brising Beads.  Her beadwork is bold and beautiful, but her "other life" as a professor of Women's Studies informs her perspective on life and creativity.  Her posts are always thought provoking and insightful.

Want to discover someone new to blogging (less than a year), but who deserves to have lots and lots of people paying attention to them?  Check out Kepi's work on A Little of This, A Little of That.  I first found her blog during the Summer Lovin' blog hop, and I always enjoy seeing what beauties she's created with each new post.

And now for the 5+1, the Humor Award, which has a special place in my heart.  Among beady bloggers, my unquestioned top choice would be Julia Cannon of JulsBeads.  The woman's post titles will make you laugh out loud.  Her writing makes me happy.  Her beads make me happy.  Her blog makes me happy.

Another blog that makes me giggle on a daily basis (no beads involved) is Cake Wrecks.  Seriously silly fun.  It will make you want to haunt your local bakeries with camera in hand.  You'll never look at a sheet cake the same way again...

So there you have it.  Hope you've enjoyed it!  I sure have!

And here are the "rules" for this hop, pulled directly from Antiquity Travelers: THE BLOG HOP RULES: there are no rules, but we do have some suggestions. These awards were designed to point out some of the great blogs out there. And you can choose to pass on your award to as few, or as many as you like. So if you've been tapped on the shoulder and given one of these awards, we would love to see you display it proudly on your blog. Join the blog hop and show off that lovely blog of yours. We would, of course, love to hear why you like to blog, and why you chose a fellow blogger for an award. So let's get hopping!
  This is a Blog Hop!

1. Antiquity Trave

2. OneKissCreation

3. AllPrettyThings

4. Sadafulee

5. Bikbik & Roro

6. NewEndStudio

7. Thereses Treas

8. Beadsong

You are next... Click here to enter
This list will close in 100 days, 4 hrs, 45 min (12/31/2012 11:59 PM North America - Eastern Standard Time)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heed the Cookie

This was in my fortune cookie at lunch today.

I feel like I haven't been paying enough attention to the "create" part recently.  Gotta get on that.

How about you?

Monday, September 17, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award!


You know, there really are some charming and delightful people in the world, and I've had the pleasure of "meeting" many of them online.  Sometimes, if you're really lucky, you get to meet your online friends in person.  Sometimes, if you're really, really lucky, they say nice things even after they've met you in real life.

So it is with the wonderful Karin of Backstory Beads, who recently nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.

In return, I'm asked to:
  1. Thank the nominee and link back to them in the post.
  2. Share 7 random facts about myself.
  3. Nominate 15 (or so) bloggers I admire.
  4. Contact them to let them know they have been nominated.
(Full disclosure here-- a few months ago, I was incredibly fortunate to be recognized with a Kreativ Blogger award, which had several of the same requirements.  Not because I think I'm fascinating enough that you'll want to read a few more random facts about me, but because you really should treat yourself to the other blogs I cited there, here's the link to that post)

Okay, so now to get even more random about myself:

  1. I adore beadweaving, but I would rather smack myself in the face with a flounder than hem a pair of pants.  Just goes to show that not all activities involving a needle and thread are created equal.
  2. I enjoy those reality television shows that involve creativity and/or performance of some sort.  So you'll see me raptly watching Project Runway and even The Voice, but I'd rather hem a pair of pants than watch Real Housewives, regardless of where they live.
  3. Monty Python?  Yes, please.  John Cleese can make me laugh just by being on camera (see also: Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda).  I also love Craig Ferguson.  Apparently I am a sucker for a man with a wicked sense of humor and an accent.
  4. Currently I'm deep into the third book of the Game of Thrones series. I blame my son for addicting me to them.
  5. My children are in their 20's, yet I'm not sure I've figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
  6. I was a member of my college's modern dance club for exactly one day.  The coach (bless her heart) invited me to join, I went to the two-hour rehearsal, and literally crawled back across campus afterward, desperately grateful that it was too dark for anyone to see me.  My brief, not terribly glorious dance career was thus ended.
  7. I have an evil sweet tooth.  While it's usually under control, do not let me near your chocolate. Or your caramel.  And don't even try to get between me and a Snickers bar.  I'll even hem a pair of pants if I get paid in Snicker's bars.

And whose blog do I want to share with you?  Besides the previously mentioned Backstory Beads and those I recognized in this post, here are some that deserve your attention (yes, I know some of them have also been named One Lovely Blog, but trust me when I say that you should visit them if you haven't already)  They're listed alphabetically, and all images shown are from the blog.


ArtAnnyR - Bead weaving? Check.  Soutache?  Check.  Fabulous color combinations?  Check.  Truly wonderful eye candy that makes me wish my grandparents had taught me Polish when I was little.

Aurus - another blog in Polish, but with soutache jewelry this luscious, understanding the language is not necessary.  Seriously -- go, look, be amazed.

Beads for Brains 365 - A fascinating journey where Mandy takes us along on her quest to master a new bead stitch, technique, or pattern each day for a year.  Along the way, she's discovered some really fabulous sources for patterns and tutorials, and demonstrated how unlimited one's creativity can be. 

The Cerebral Dilettante - I discovered this blog during the most recent Bead Soup hops.  Currently, Keirsten is challenging herself to use only what she has in her bead stash, and she is creating some fabulous pieces.  It's an inspiration to dig into the dark, forgotten corners of your bead storage and make something with the treasures you've been hoading.

Designs by Dawn Marie - A beadweaver with an awesome eye for color and a bold approach to combining elements.  Her pieces are grand, beautiful, and elegant.

KJ's Beadacious Beads - KJ sets design challenges for herself, and then takes us along for the ride as she completes them, sharing with us the frustrations and discoveries along the way.  And she creates some darned beautiful pieces, too!

Jewelry, Art and Life - You probably know Jen from all of her bead-related work online, but her blog is a special glimpse into her creative mind.  She shares her inspirations, her frustrations, her family adventures, and her heart in this blog.   It's a great combination of beading and real life.

One Kiss Creations - Christine is one of the master minds behind the Time To Stitch challenges.  Add that to the fact that she's a sweetheart who makes some lovely jewelry, and you've got a blog that's a pleasure to visit regularly.

Therese's Treasures - Therese is one of the friendliest and most generous bloggers out there.  In addition to creating some jaw-droppingly beautiful beadwork, she never fails to leave a comment (always encouraging, always positive) when she visits your blog.  Not only that, but we discovered early on that I knew her brother when I used to live in Alabama.  Small world, eh?

Again, thank you to Karin for selecting me for this award, and I hope you get as much inspiration from these other bloggers as I have!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Grommet That Saved the Day

This photo explains why yesterday was fine instead of a horrible, expensive disaster.

I'd gone to Indianapolis on Friday to set up for a one-day show on Saturday.  Weather forecast was for thunderstorms, some severe, later on Friday night.  Most artists had chosen to set up their tents on Friday instead of getting to the park at 5:15 on Saturday morning for setup (because, really, 5:15 a.m.?!? I am self-aware enough to know this was not a functional possibility).  

So I put up my new tent, complete with the screens that display my earrings, set up the tables and table covers, put the sides on, anchored the tent, and crossed my fingers.

Sometime around 9 that night, the storms began.  I sat in my hotel room, across town from the show site (cheaper hotel rates), and anxiously watched the weather radar.  Until the television signal was knocked out.

When I got to the show at 6:30 the next morning, this is what I found.

The side wall didn't fall in -- I took the picture after I'd gone
into the tent to assess the damage.
Horrifying?  Yes.  Disaster?  No.

My new tent has grommets in the middle of each side that anchors the roof to the frame.  If you look at the photo, you'll see that while they didn't keep all four corners from giving in to the 60mph+ winds that accompanied the 2+" of rainfall (it was kind of biblical, this rainstorm), they all held on and minimized what might have happened.  The velcro corners apparently only gave in after the storm, because the wet inside the tent was minimal. 

I was really, really fortunate.  I probably should have run right out and bought a lottery ticket.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Theme and Variations

What do I do with a three-day weekend?  Well, this weekend, I....

Rearranged the front hall coat closet so that it holds all of my display setup (including tent!), and I never again have to haul everything up and down the stairs before and after a show.  My aching back and arms rejoice in anticipation! (Plus, I feel that all those hours playing Tetris have been justified, as fitting all that crap in a tiny space was a feat of creative placement, so double win!)

Prepped and inventoried a bunch o' stuff for this weekend's show.  Not great fun, but satisfying.

Drove to Cincinnati for a quick visit with the son.  Fun and satisfying, and since it involved dinner, delicious.

Finally finished hopping through the third reveal of the 6th Bead Soup Blog Hop.  Fun, satisfying, delicious, and inspirational.

Cheered like a wild woman for the Crimson Tide.  A football season obsession inevitability...

And spent several hours exploring a single pattern with different bead combinations. Played with lots of different daggers, leaf shapes and drops, trying not to repeat any combinations that I may have used in the past.

So here are some of the variations on the theme (please excuse the fact that they do not yet have their ear wires -- the delicate and easily offended may be put off by the soon-to-be-complete earrings' relative nakedness...)

So what did you do with your long weekend?