Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happiness is...

Snoopy Pictures
When I was growing up Charlie Brown holiday specials were big.  I also remember reading the "Happiness is a Warm Puppy."
So today I thought I would do my own "Happiness Is" List, because it is WAY too easy to be grumpy and negative.
Happiness is:
  • Chris (my true love, college sweetheart)
  • Mina (a gift from heaven which I am thankful for each and every day)
  • Sunshine
  • New Beads
  • Time with Chris & Mina at supper.  Our time to come together during the day, listen to books on tape, and LAUGH.  We laugh A LOT at supper!
  • Books on Tape/CD (what a WONDERFUL invention)
  • The Hastings Library (they ROCK!)
  • Friends to share the good and the bad, and just having someone to vent too.
  • Jobs that I love (most days) going to, and I am thankful to have them
  • A creative outlet to express myself in my beading, and to have the extra connection to share with Chris.
  • Snoopy, love the happy dance song, in fact I put it on my iPod just the other day.
  • Calvin & Hobbes, man do I miss them!  Love the imagination Calvin had, and how naughty he was but he loved Hobbes unconditionally.
  • Our cats, they make me laugh and feel loved every day!
  • Clutter, though I cuss it often, I have the blessing of clutter, and a house to contain it (barely!)
So what are you thankful for today?  What makes you want to do the happy dance?  What is your "warm puppy"?  Whatever it is, I hope you have it in abundance!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Birthday Joy

Birthday Highlights:
  • More than 100 Happy wishes from friends and family on Facebook, cards in the mail, and from the t.v. news birthday club.
  • A visit from a Birthday Angel, delivering a mocha and 2 chocolate frosted donuts to me in the hospital waiting room while waiting on my Dad's shoulder surgery! (Chris arranged this with Shannon, whom he carpools to work with, she also helped him last year!)
  • Chris and Mina returning from the family Thanksgiving gathering near North Platte, with birthday cards and leftover carrot cake for me (also had ice cream~Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate from Blue Bunny)!
  • Lunch with my honey, and he bought me a video game for my birthday that we can enjoy together!
  • iTunes gift cards from my friend Laurie, which I promptly used up downloading the 38 Special "Strength in Numbers" album I nearly wore out in college, a bunch of my favorite ABBA songs, and the happy Snoopy song from Charlie Brown!
Though it was not a fancy birthday, my 43rd birthday was one of my happiest in a long time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Drive By Update!

Hi, just wanted you to know I am still here, just been a crazy week!  Now I know I am not alone in this crazy life we all seem to live, going one speed~FAST FORWARD!  Mina is playing Jr. High basketball until the middle of next month, she had Girl Scouts this week and we got our nut orders in, I worked my two jobs, went to the Graham Gallery to drop off new items for Christmas that we finished at the last minute (wine stoppers and wine glass charms), organized sack lunches for the Jr. High BB girls to have on their away games, watched Mina play ball last night and again tonight (about a 45 min drive one way), and Chris also did most of this along with going to Mina's Jr. High Quiz Bowl meet in Shelton yesterday.  No wonder the weeks pass in a blur!!!  This coming week might be a bit quiet too, I will be with my folks at the end of the week, getting my Dad through a torn rotator cuff surgery and caring for my Mom, who has a laundry list of medical conditions, including Parkinson's Disease.  If, dear readers, you could spare a prayer for them, I would be grateful.

I am so blessed to have you as readers, and please know I love each of you for visiting here!  Hope you have a terrific weekend!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mixed Media/Steampunk=New Inspiration

Mixed Media, I love it.  Whether I am mixing fabrics, ribbons, or buttons into my jewelry, beading on felted pieces to make jewelry, or my new fascination with all things Steampunk, it is always a great way to stir my creative juices to think outside the bead box.  I enjoy browsing scrapbooking items to find fun embellishment things to add to my jewelry designs.  This is some of what I received in my mailbox this morning!  The order came from Scrapbook.com, and what a wonderful, fun selection they have!  These items are all from Tim Holtz idea-ology line of scrapbooking embellishments.  Mine will be used to make some fun mixed media/Steampunk jewelry!  I really love the clock faces and the filmstrip ribbon (yes, it looks just like filmstrip!)

To learn more about Tim Holtz check out his blog!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Here's A Teaser

I have the great privilege of having found great Etsy artists to work with!  What a wonderful community to gather artists together.  I met Jamie from The Critter Company (and she now provides us with wonderful seasonal polymer clay beads at Julie's) and Jen Martin from Graphixoutpost who also works with polymer clay.  She makes art faces (and the domino beads I used the my raven necklace).  This is what she is working on for me, which is part of my next bead embroidery piece!
Raven head.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Celebrations - November's Art Bead Scene Blog Topic

As I thought about the topic of Celebrations, I thought about the upcoming holidays.  Thanksgiving and Easter are always spent with Chris's family at his Aunt Janet and Uncle Les's place near Wellfleet, Nebraska.  They run Dancing Leaf Lodge, a cultural learning and Native American education center.  Their business and home are located on an old Boy Scout camp, with lots of hills for hiking, tree swings for sailing through the trees, and more turkeys than you can count!  When we gather at Janet and Les's, we are in a group of family that ranges anywhere from five to fifty.  We come and go, eat too much, laugh and play games, and enjoy the reconnecting with family we haven't seen in six months.  Chris and I also have sold jewelry made with Chris's sculptural beads through Janet and Les's gift shop.  We have bunny earrings in Japan and turkey earrings in Brazil!  Visitors from all over the world visit the center, learn about Native American customs, hike, sleep in an Earth Lodge (accurately recreated), and enjoy Janet's amazing cooking (including buffalo stew and blue corn muffins).

I have also been thinking a great deal about the many, many blessings we have been granted this year.  I am prone to these thoughts at this time of year, due the the many years of watching my Mom do her Christmas cards each year, and me writing our annual Christmas letter.  We have enjoyed so many new opportunities with our beading and jewelry business.  New venues, writing opportunities, and classes have broadened our horizons and our client base.  We have enjoyed meeting so many new people and visiting with our friends at the art fairs, craft shows, and the farmer's market. 
When I started working tonight, I fought with my computer trying to put pictures together in a collage.  I found this software and it worked great. Below are photos of our family at the top, and a few of our designs, mine in the middle, Chris's on the bottom.  We have much to be thankful for and are anticipating sharing the joys and blessings we have had with our family.
Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Another digital collage by Smilebox

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Personalize a photo collage

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Create a picture collage

Friday, November 5, 2010

Artbeads "Colors of Fall" Design Partners Project

 Back in August I blogged about some of my favorite beads, including the bead sites I borrowed the pictures from.  I contacted the companies to let them know I had used them in my blog.  I received wonderful comments and emails back from all concerned thanking me for the publicity for their sites.  I was also invited to join the Artbeads Design Partner program.  My first round of products to review arrived toward the end of September, and I contemplated my ideas for them.  I had an necklace design idea when I picked out the products, and my project did come pretty close to that original idea.  We were asked to use the Pantone Fall Fashion Color Report to chose our color palate for our design. 

I love the changing of the seasons, and I am always inspired by nature.  Whether it is Czech leaves, Lucite Flowers, or pendants that join together nature and the beauty of beads, I love to make jewelry for all the seasons.  For this project I chose to use:
Toho seed beads in
Matte Wasabi (size 8), Frosted Transparent Teal (size 15), Opaque Red Brown (size 15), and Marbled Opaque Avocado/Pink (size 11)
Hand-Dyed Silk Ribbon in  Brown/Moss Green
Clay River Designs Round Tan Maple Leaf Pendant
Czech Glass Maple Leaf Beads in Wasabi/Picasso, and Olivine/Bronze
We were instructed that we could use all or some of the products chosen, and I used most of what I had received.  I have seed beads left and a few of the Czech glass leaves (I see earrings in their future).  One of the projects at Julie's Xpressions (where I work part time) in October was the Russian Spiral seed bead stitch.  I had never done this stitch before, and aside from fighting with the step up in the stitch, it worked well for my idea.  I originally started stitching the base tube around a skewer and then tried to feed the ribbon into the tube.  I was partially successful, until I hit a section suffering the step up syndrome, and that section decided to leave the project.  I restitched it around the ribbon, once I found a spot to start from.  I would say about two inches of the tube disintegrated before I found that spot!  Once I got going again, it worked well and the bail on the pendant was also stitched with Russian Spiral.  When the base tube was long enough (basically I had stopped and didn't know where to start from, so it was long enough), I added the Czech leaves with the size 15 seed beads in the Red Brown doing a small picot on the end of each leaf.  As I added the leaves, I followed the size 11 seed bead trail around the tube and added a leaf fringe at about the same point along the tube.  I couldn't decide on a clasp style, so at this point it is just a tie-on necklace.  I like it very much, hope you do too!  All of the products from Artbeads worked great, and I thank them for the opportunity!

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at Artbeads.com, I received the Japanese Toho seed beads, hand dyed silk ribbon, Czech glass leaves, and Clay River Designs pendant above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Artbeads.com for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Research and Learning

I have spent awhile today doing research.  No, I am not back in college, I have been researching the Steampunk Jewelry trend.  As you know, last spring I started working part-time at Julie's Xpressions in Hastings on Thursday (my day off from the full time bookkeeping job) and Saturday.  Julie has set up a trunk show with C-Koop beads that will be arriving any day now!  Very exciting and Sara's enameled components and beads are very fun and funky.  Julie and I decided we should try our hand at having a Steampunk class, incorporating some of the fun gears and things from the C-Koop product line.  However, though we are excited about this prospect, neither of us have ever made Steampunk jewelry!  I love mixed media jewelry and Julie and I both love the freedom to use whatever catches your fancy in the Steampunk style.  Would you like to know more?  Here are some fun and helpful links I found today.
C-Koop Beads
Jean Campbell
Tim Holtz idea-ology
How to Make Steampunk Jewelry

I need a new design path like I need another job!  But I am inspired, and away I go!

Frost on the Pumpkins, I think...

This morning was the first autumn day I have had frost on my car window.  I was told that it was 28 degrees this morning (weather is a very important topic of conversation here in Nebraska). I honestly didn't notice if there was frost on the pumpkins (or if the pumpkins made it through Halloween night to be frosted on!)  I suppose it is the time to expect more signs of autumn ebbing away into the shorter daylight hours of winter.  I suffer with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) so I really hate to see the days of low light, or no sunshine come round again.  Speaking of frost, Chris has been working on snowgals and I bought some lovely pink beads from by C Boutique to make a pretty soft pink bracelet with perhaps a lovely silver snowflake charm.  New pictures soon!

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