Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Celebrating Cynthia's Blogoversary - Time To Reveal The Goodies!

Probably like you, I follow a fair number of blogs, but there are a few that stand out because the spirit and personality of their author truly shine through.  These bloggers show us more than their jewelry, they share their thoughts, their inspirations, their sense of humor, and their lives with their readers in a very special way.

Cynthia Machata of Antiquity Travelers is one of those.  She shares her exotic travel tales and explains how they inspire her jewelry making.  It's like taking a wonderful mini-vacation to read her posts. Wen she invited me to help celebrate her blogoversary with her, I was thrilled to say yes.

Five of us received a custom-made component from Jana at Happy Fish in the Czech Republic (see? One exotic location involved).  Along with that we got some complimentary beads and some sari silk from Darn Good Yarn, a company that employs and economically empowers women in Nepal and India. Another pair of exotic locales.

My beautiful soft denim blue component arrived, and for some reason it made me think of both something from the African continent, and of a figure in a Marc Chagall painting.  I tried mightily to find beads to echo the Chagall idea, but couldn't find anything right.  But what I did find in my stash was some antique Ghanaian brass beads that were a perfect expression of the African inspiration. Here's what came of the pairing:

The focal bail is a simple beadwoven strip made from the seed beads Cynthia included.  I added blue-dyed sponge coral, copper gear shaped discs, some rutilated honey quartz, a chunk of white turquoise, the Ghanaian brass, lovely moonstone rounds that Cynthia also provided, and some beaded beads that also include the seed beads from Cynthia.

Here's a closeup of the non-pendant section:

The only thing I couldn't use was the sari silk, but it will be showing up in another challenge reveal in a few days, so stay tuned!

Thank you, Cynthia, for letting me share in the celebration of the joy you bring to us with your blog! The other participants are below.  Now I'm going to go find a slice of blogoversary cake to eat in honor of Cynthia!

Janet Bocciardi          Honey from the Bee
Christine Altmiller      One Kiss Creations
Bobbie Rafferty          Beadsong (you are here!)
Therese Frank           Therese's Treasures
Alicia Marinache        All the Pretty Things
Cynthia Machata        Antiquity Travelers

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Old Friends, Monkeys On Unicycles, and Eating My Way Through Town

This past weekend was the second of my three shows this month, and it gave me the chance to go back to Tuscaloosa, AL, where my family lived for over a decade. I was thrilled to be part of the Kentuck Festival, which is a fantastic show, and I was excited to be able to go "home" for a while.

And to start things off right, look who showed up at my booth almost as soon as the show opened --

It's Therese from Therese's Treasures! What fun to see online friends, and what a kick to see her again!  She is, truly, every bit as sweet and encouraging and fun as you'd expect from reading her blog.  If you don't read her blog, get on over there and start following her!  She was a bright spot in an early morning that had started with some passing rain.

Around 11, the showers stopped and the sun started peeking out.  Pay no attention to the water bottle I forgot to hide before taking the booth photo.  Duh.

 Each night I was in town, I ate at one of the restaurants my family used to enjoy when we lived there.  I may or may not have gained five pounds. Do the calories you eat when you're having lots of fun count?

I got to see lots of old friends and neighbors, which was great, and very nostalgic. Even after eight years, it's like the blink of an eye.

"But wait," you're probably thinking, "you said something about a monkey on a unicycle?"  Why yes, I did.  And it was in the booth next to mine, the work of a truly awesome artist who handformed whimsical and weird creatures from steel wire and found objects.  This monkey stopped people dead in their tracks, inspiring laughs, gasps of wonder, and lots of photo ops. The artists were terrific neighbors, and they won a well-deserved merit award.

Seriously, click on the photo to see it in more detail.  Awesome.
No peeing dogs this weekend.  A few mildly hungover patrons on Sunday after Saturday's Alabama football game in town, but they managed to control themselves.  Great sales, great fun, great food, great football, and great friends.  Now I have a couple of days to recuperate and make new stuff to get ready for this weekend's show!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Life In The Forest, Or The 3-Show Month

Things have been a little quiet on the ol' blog recently.  But they haven't been quiet around the workroom!

Over the four weekends of October, I have three shows -- two of them out of town. The first weekend of the month (the only non-show one), I traveled to the Carolinas to visit my folks and hear a recital my sweet husband was playing.  So I'm not particularly well acquainted with my own bed this month, much less with my computer!

Anyway, last weekend was the Kentucky Artisans' Guild of Artists and Craftsmen fall show in Berea.  The weather was glorious, the setting was in a gorgeous forest on the side of a mountain, and the show itself was good.  The picture above was the view out of the back of my booth.  Not a bad way to spend a couple of days!

Of course, no matter how glorious the weather, any outdoor show has its own risks, which I've documented several times on this blog.  Rain?  Wardrobe malfunctions? Bad hair days?  Yep, yep, and yep.

This show was no different, although they were mostly things that make you say "hmmm" instead of things that make you say "yikes!"

Spending a couple of days in the great outdoors means spending a couple of day with the critters whose territory you have invaded.  I spent much time relocating daddy long legs spiders that decided my necklace displays were their favorite new climbing toys.  My tent, being on the side of the mountain, was on a slight slope, which meant that things leaned a little off-center the whole time.  Oddly enough, I'm inherently off-kilter enough that I didn't realize the issue until partway through the first day.

No matter what I may have encountered, the painter across from me had an experience that absolutely takes the award for story of the show.  He had leaned many of his canvases against the poles of his tent for his display.  A dog that apparently lived near the show site was strolling by, and decided to express his admiration of the artist's work by peeing on one of the paintings.  Yes.  Believe me, I kept an eye out for that dog the rest of the weekend!

So now, back to prep for this weekend's show, the wonderful Kentuck Festival.  If you're in Alabama this weekend, come see me!