Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bead Angst

Bead angst. I am having bead angst, which is leading to bead procrastination. Not a good thing considering that I am under a dead line. Since my hubbie is at work and my toddler is asleep I'm going to "talk" this out here.

I'm almost finished with one of my projects for the Spring 2010 color report and I am starting to doubt myself. It's not the project itself or the execution of it that has me feeling insecure. It's the palette I'm using; Pink Champagne is the main color, with Fusion Coral, Eucalyptus, Dried Herb, and Tuscany as the accents. With the exception of Fusion Coral, these are all subtle neutrals. They are lovely and work well together. I just don't know if this is a brilliant use of color or not.

Is this palette ordinary? Is it bland? Is it boring? Is it just plain stupid? What if Margie doesn't like it?

The other colors that I have chosen to work with are Violet and Turquoise. I think I'll take a break from my current angst ridden project and start pulling the Violet palette together.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Belly Dance 10

And just what is "The Belly Dance 10?" you may be wondering. Well, some fitness and yoga gurus believe that 10 minutes of exercise or yoga a day is better than nothing at all.

Now that the busy holiday season is upon us it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to exercise, practice yoga, or belly dance so I decided to apply the concept of 10 minutes of exercise or yoga to belly dance just to be sure that I get in a little bit of dance time each day.

One example of a Belly Dance 10 schedule would be:
4 minutes of a specific shimmy: weeble-wobbles, knee, hip, Egyptian
3 minutes practicing a move that you're not good at or don't particularly like
2 minutes practicing a favorite move or one that you are good at doing
1 minute stretching such as a standing forward bend or down dog

There! 10 minutes of belly dance practice. If you can fit one session a day in that's great; 2 or more is even better.

Mix it up! Match it up! Make it work for you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Random Fact About Me-Part Deux

1. I taught myself to crochet. I'm still a beginner, but I'm pretty damn proud of
2. I think dolls and store mannequins are extremely creepy.
3. I'm obsessed with color.
4. I have a nail polish fetish.
5. I'm sorry to say I throw like a girl, which is probably why I never could learn to juggle. But
what the hell, it gives the dogs a good laugh.
6. I don't like to cook, but I do like to occasionally watch cooking show, especially "Good Eats."
7. I don't own a camera phone and I don't want to.
8. I'm very rapidly becoming addicted to yarn. See random facts #1 & 3. (But I still love
9. If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in Port Townsend, WA.
10. If I could meet & have tea with one famous person it would be a toss up between Queen
Elizabeth I or Queen Victoria.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving

Aside from accidentally trimming my bangs too short I had a wonderful Turkey Day. We spent the morning over at my Grandmother's house. Indigo Lynne was an angel. She cuddled and kissed her Great-Grandma about a dozen times, didn't utter one single high pitched squeal, and didn't break anything.

Later on in the day Kevin took her over to his Aunt Judy & Uncle Bill's house to visit with all her cousins while I stayed home and spent 3, yes 3, deliciously peaceful hours on the couch reading a book, sipping tea, and noshing on Dulce de Leche gelato.

Kev and Indigo Lynne came home tired and full of turkey, pumpkin pie, and family gossip. Indigo Lynne was cranky and hyped up on sugar so she had a hard time settling down for a short nap, but other than that a good holiday was had by all.

I hope everyone else had as terrific a day as we did!

Happy Black Friday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Zombie Pumpkin Eating Merkats

Wow! Two posts in one day. That's a record for me. I just had to share this pic from Cute Overload of "Zombie Pumpkin Eating Merkats."

October, Where Are You?

What in the bleepity-bleep happened to October? It was September, I blinked, and then it was November. And this month is going to be so crazy busy.

This coming weekend end the belly dance troupe is going to be learning not one, but two different choreographies; one tribal by Heidi of Plaza De Anaya, and one hip-hop by Lisa Zahiya.

My experience with Tribal Style belly dancing is minimal. I took a beginner class a few years ago and was throughly bored with it. Doing 'Hip, hip, hip, 1/4 turn." over and over again just didn't work for me. But, since this is a dance routine and not a class I imagine that it will be a little more complex and interesting.

Hip-Hop belly dance fusion. Ha! Modern, Lyrical, Broadway, Fosse, Luigi style problem. Hip-Hop, Techno, Funk style jazz....big, big problem. I'm just not a Hip-Hoppy sort of gal. Oh yes, and we'll be learning the entire routing in 2 or 3 hours.

This weekend is going to be intense and challenging.

Then, the following weekend is the Faerie Festival followed by learning the 2nd half of the Tribal routine.

After that the focus will be on getting the house in order before Turkey Day.

During the week I'll be practicing yoga & belly dance on a daily basis, working on my Spring & Summer 2010 color report projects, finishing a few Christmas presents, and an afghan for my daughter.

As much as I hate to work by a schedule I think that's what I'm going to have to do just to get through this month.

If I'm not insane now, I will be shortly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Out Of This Funk

Ever since my Grandmother went into the hospital I've been in a funk. Almost every night I have dreams about urgently trying to get "somewhere" because "someone" needs me, but can't because I'm trying to run with only one leg, or ride a rickety 2 story high bicycle that has no brakes.

What was originally thought to be a stroke is something scarier. She is having seizures because of a mysterious mass in her brain. Her pacemaker prevents her from having an MRI, so the best that the doctors can do is dyes & X-rays, along with blood tests, all of which are inconclusive. The mass could be cancer. The mass could not be cancer. All that can be done is to wait and see.

There are times when I don't want to be brave. I don't want to be philosophical and accepting. I want to pulverize something. I watched my Dad & Grandfather die of brain cancer. I don't want to watch someone else die that way. But, even as I say I don't want to, I will, if that is the way it's suppose to be.

With all this flu stuff floating around the hospital won't allow Indigo Lynne into the building to see her Great-Grandma so we've been doing all sorts of fancy schedule juggling just to be able to take Grandma outside for a few minutes during the day so that the two of them can spend sometime together.

It's the highlight of Grandma's day. Even though she doesn't need to check out with the nurses she insists that I take her by the nursing station so that she can tell everyone she is going downstairs to visit her Great Granddaughter.

Hopefully she'll be able to leave the hospital on the 31st. To where I don't know. She wants to go home, but I'm not sure that that is going to be a viable option. It's possible that she will have to go into an assisted living center.

Grandma has gracefully accepted her uncertain fate. She's 91 and is living every day as a blessing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

41 Days & Counting

My 30 day yoga challenge has been extended to 61 days and I'm on day 41. For the first 38 days I did a physical yoga practice; brief meditation, asanas, and Savasana. On the 39th day, Oct. 9th, I got a call. My 91 year old Grandmother had had a stroke. She was found on her bathroom floor.

What has that got to do with yoga? Everything! I didn't do a physical practice that day, but I did do yoga. Breathe, focus, and quiet the mind. Breathing slowly and deeply helped to focus on getting my daughter fed and dressed. I had to keep my mind focused on driving, just driving, so that we could get to the hospital safely. Then, to keep myself from imagining the worst I had to work really, really hard on quieting my mind.

Breathe, focus, quiet.

Grandma's stroke was a mild one. She'll be spending a few weeks in physical therapy and rehab, then we'll have to decide from there what her living arrangements will be.

I started my physical yoga practice the following day being grateful that I can. I also want to explore yoga more deeply. But, given my limited time schedule I'm not sure how to go about it.

In the meantime,


Monday, October 5, 2009

30 Day Yoga Challenge Completed!!

WooHoo! On Sept. 30th I completed my personal goal of practicing yoga for 30 days in a row! The biggest part of the challenge was finding the time to practice, but I did it.

My favorite time of day to practice yoga was, and still is, in the early evenings. But, for the past month I practiced whenever I got the chance; first thing in the morning, in the afternoon while my daughter was napping, or in the late evening before bed.

You all know the saying about how everything changes when you have a baby. And boy, does it ever! It even changed the way that I practiced yoga.

Before Indigo Lynne was born my practice was much more ritualized.
It probably took me 10-15 minutes just to prepare my space. I would start by selecting just the right music, light some candles and incense, unroll my yoga mat, lay out Tia Sushi's yoga mat (a bath mat and towel I bought just for her), and make sure that my lavender eye pillow and blanket for Savasana were close at hand.

Now I simply turn on the music, which may or may not have been changed for several days, roll out the mats, and away I go.

All that "prep time" was such an essential part of my practice and there were times in the past month when I have missed it. As I continue with my yoga journey I'm going to look for some quick, toddler safe "preps." Maybe a single candle, or some flowers.......

Of course, nothing can ever replace Tia Sushi.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall-Winter 2009 Color Report

The Fall-Winter 2009 Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers by Margie Deeb is now available on-line. Yipee!!!

It actually came out last week, but this is the first chance that I've had to tell you about it.

Twice a year Margie releases reports based on the 10 colors predicted by global color authority Pantone to be popular in fashion and home decor for the Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter seasons.

She brings these colors into the bead world by matching each Pantone color with a corresponding Delica, Swarovski crystal, and gemstone bead, then inviting several guest artist to create jewelry based on combinations of these colors.

The combinations and proportions that she suggests for each of the ten colors are inspirational and challenging. She even "double-dog" dares you to try some of her palettes!

Warm Olive, described as "adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to fall." is the color that I chose to work with. I paired it with hints of Rapture Rose and American Beauty. You can read more about the necklace, "Pandora", that I created just for this report in my August 29th blog post.

This season's contributing artists are: Chrissie Day, Jamie Cloud Eakin, Candace Cloud McLean, Derralynn McMaster, Maureen Buckley McRorie, and Kristy Nijenkamp,

I am pleased and honored to have been a part of these color reports from the beginning and I'm already working on my projects for the Spring-Summer 2010 season. My colors have been selected and the palettes have been put together; a little bit of bead hunting and I'll be ready!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hello Autumn!

And hello cooler weather! Even though the day time temperatures are still in the 90's during the day, the nights are soft and cool. Over the next few weeks the harsh brassy blue sky will soften to a pale cornflower blue and the gray green grass will become a crisp emerald green. Sounds more like spring, doesn't it? But, that's the way of it in the Arizona desert.

As the weather cools off I come out of my summer hibernation feeling alive, awake, and refreshed. I'm ready to exercise my green thumb. There are house plants to be repotted, the rose bushes that have been so sadly neglected over the past 3 years need tending, I must have some flowers to hang on the front porch, and Cousin It, the Brazilian Pepper tree in the front yard is in desperate need of a hair cut.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

For My Next Trick.....

.....I'll be finishing the beaded bag that I started about 3 years ago.

This was originally intended to be an entry in Beadwork magazine's 2007 "Beaded Bag" competition. Unfortunately, about that time I became ill with Grave's Disease, so I had to put this aside with the idea that I would get back to it someday.

Someday was Tuesday. I have an embarrassingly large number of unfinished projects squirreled away in my bead closet, something I'm sure that most of you beaders out there can relate to. Selecting from more than a dozen projects, all clamoring to be paid a little attention to can be overwhelming, so I used the highly scientific method of "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo" to choose what I would work on.

Rarely do I ever plan a project out from beginning to end. My starting point is usually something that has inspired me, such as an intriguing color palette, cabochon, or focal bead, or in this case, a theme. From there it's all improvisation, which means that I have no idea of where I was going with this bag in terms of surface embellishments, fringe, or handles.

I spent a few hours on-line looking at some incredible vintage beaded bags in the hopes of finding some good ideas of fringe. Big mistake! Now I have too many ideas buzzing around in my head. But, once I've finished the purse strap I should be able to narrow the fringe and surface embellishing choices down.

The photo makes the beads look like a soft sage gray, but there are really more of a vibrant tourmaline color.

I'll keep you posted as to my progress.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga-15 days & Counting

Yes!!! I am now 15 days into my 30 day yoga challenge and am feeling better than good.

I started this challenge with no specific goal in mind other than to practice every day and quietly observe the changes within myself. The most significant change has been that I can direct my breath into and release an area of muscles that feels tense, which is something I've been able to carry over and use when practicing belly dance techniques and drills.

The improved mind-body connection also means that I am feeling more fluid and light as I move through the asanas, (and through the rest of my day), as well as more relaxed and energized.

The big bonus is that I am sleeping better and have returned to being aware of and able to control my dreams, which is something that I have always enjoyed.

On a purely physical level I have recovered my ability to set in a straddle position and bend forward all the way to the floor with ease and have nearly recovered both splits.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Updated My FB Album

Updated my FB album with a few new photos of my bead work.

The bracelet is called Autumn River and is one of the first embroidered cuffs I ever made.

This was probably one of the quickest palette of beads I ever put together. It literally took me only about 10 of 15 minutes to select all these beads.

I started with the warm bordeaux colored fresh water pearls, then almost immediately pulled from my stash size 6'0 & 8'0 seed beads, vintage 9'0 tri-cuts, 10'0 & 11'0 seed beads, 12'0 & 13'0 Charlottes, & 15'0 seed beads.

The design is embroidered on Lacy's Stiff Stuff, that was then glued to a brass cuff blank, and backed with a piece of muted peach ultra-suede.

Animals With Light Sabers

I found this little gem at Cute Overload.

If this really, really, really floats your boat you can find more at Animals With Light Sabers.

New Swarovski Colors & Styles

Calling all Swarovski Bead Fans! Here's a link to a blog that has a preview of the new styles & colors that will be available next month.

I'm just loving this new Cyclamen Opal color.

October suddenly seems a looooong way off. ;-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pantone Color Report-Fall 2009

It's almost here! The Pantone Color Report-Fall 2009 will be available on-line from Margie Deeb on Sept. 15th.

I have 3 projects in this report. My 4th, a goddess necklace with lots & lots of sparkly Swarovski crystal beads old & new, is being held in reserve for a future publication.

In the meantime, check out these 3 videos of Margie and some of her wonderful tips on using color in your bead work, or whatever medium you work in.

Complementary Color Schemes
Bead Fest Pennysylvania
Beads, Baubles, & Jewels

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vintage Belly Dance circa 1904

This is one of my all time favorite belly dance clips of one "Princess Rajah" (c. 1904) dancing with a most unusual prop.

Monday, September 7, 2009

30 Day Yoga Challenge

Yeah me! I'm on day 7 of a 30 day yoga challenge.

I usually practice yoga once or twice a week, but having heard and read so many stories lately about the transforming power of a dedicated practice I decided to experience it first hand for myself.

Three of these first 7 days were a bit rough because I was having back to back migraines. What can make it difficult is that along with the pain, I can sometimes experience nausea if I move around too much. But I stuck with it, even if I did only 20 minutes of a gentle practice consisting of mostly seated forward bends, child's pose, and breathing exercises.

I started this challenge with no specific goal in mind other than to practice yoga for 30 days in a row and observe how I feel.

Migraines & migraine hang-overs are all gone, so right now I'm feel pretty darn good.

The photo is of my cat, the late Tia Sushi, aka Yoga Poodie, hanging out in one of her favorite spots, the cupboard where I keep all my yoga gear. She wasn't too happy with me for disturbing her nap simply because I wanted my mat. But she never had knickers in a knot for very long. She was nicknamed "Yoga Poodie" because she would always snuggle with me during Savasana. I miss that. She was an amazing cat. Almost 2 years ago she saved my life and the life of my then unborn daughter.

But that's another story for another time.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Whitby Earring

These earring are my version of Marcia DeCoster's "Whitby" earring from her new book Beaded Opulence and they are also for Margie's upcoming Fall 2009 Color Report.

Fortunately the book came in the mail while I was still casting about for one last project. After I snuggled my daughter into bed for the night, I settled myself down with a cup of lavender chamomile tea and looked through the book.

It was easy enough to choose a project, the criteria being that it had to be quick and not require a copious amount of crystals. Not that I object to all that wonderful Swarovski sparkly goodness. Those of you who know me well know of my obsession with Swarovski. It was my decision that rose pink be the dominant color that put a limit on what I could make.

The choices were quickly narrowed down to either the "Whitby" earrings or the "Quetzal" ring. I decided in favor of the earring because I didn't have enough of the 2mm crystals that are needed for the ring, and most of the pink and/or rose pink seed beads that I have are dyed, so it wouldn't have been a good idea to use them in a ring.

Again, I apologize for the poor quality of the photo. I will replace it with a better one once Margie has photographed it, as well as the other 2 projects for the report.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Color Report Project-Pandora

I am pleased to present to you Pandora. She is one of four projects that I created for Margie Deeb's Color Report.

I found the lovely chartreuse green & rose pink polymer clay face cabachon, made by Jen Martin, on Etsy and was the only thing I actually purchased for this particular color report.

For Margie's color reports I challenge myself in two ways. The first is to work with some unusual color combinations, and the second is to use only the materials that I have on hand.

I used variations of peyote stitch for the bezel around the face cab & for the necklace bail, which is embellished with 4mm aqua brandy Swarovski bicones. Her pendant is made of components from the La Boquita necklace kit that I bought from Marcia DeCoster.

Beading and embellishing the face cab was easy. Using olive, chartreuse, rose pink, and deep rich red together makes a dramatic color statement so I deliberately kept the pendant simple to keep the whole piece from becoming garish.

It was the neck strap that gave me fits. My first thought was to use tubular right angle weave with 11'0 triangles, but upon checking my inventory I saw that I didn't have enough of the colors that I had decided to work with, so I scrapped that idea. Next I tried tubular herringbone which looked too industrial, a thin strip of flat right angle weave looked too insignificant, and tubular right angle weave with only seed beads looked too bland.

As a last resort I decided to try a spiral rope and the success was immediate! Normally I dismiss spiral ropes, even if they are heavily embellished with crystals, as being too simple. But simple elegance is exactly what was needed.

So, in my quest to produce more complicated and intricate bead art I've learned a valuable lesson in that simple can sometimes be better. And in some cases "simple" can be more difficult to produce.

Moving on......

Why the name Pandora?

My first choice was Endora in honor of the hilariously meddling mother-in-law from "Bewitched" that was originally created by the superb character actress Agnes Moorehead, who named her character after the biblical Witch of Endor. But, then I found out that Endora means "fountain". A witch as a fountain of knowledge certainly makes sense but I see a different palette of colors for "fountain".

After Endora on the list of name definitions that I was looking at I saw Pandora, which means "all gifted" or "talented one". Being aware of the myth of Pandora and her infamous box I chose the name anyway because along with all the nastiness that she unleashed so found the strength to nurture hope.

I apologize for the lousy image. After Margie photographs this and send me a better pic I will post it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Floofy cuteness

I took a break from my color report projects to get my daily dose of floofy cuteness and here's what I found at Cute Overload; Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrels.

They're so cute I want to fill my whole house with them. My daughter would love that & so would my dogs, but for two very different reasons.

I wonder what the second one from the left is smiling about? And what's the little guy in the background up to? Is he plotting a well timed pounce? Has he been raiding someone's cache of nuts?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Still Here-Just Busy

"I like deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (I have no clue as to who said this.)

Going silent for a while. I have a date with a deadline. Early mornings & late nights here I come.

It's a bead deadline. It's colorful & it's pretty darn freakin' cool. Think olivine, siam, rose.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dance For Those Who Can't

Let's dance for those who can't and be grateful that we can do so without the fear that someone will try to stop us, forcing us to pay the ultimate price for that privilege.

Click here to read about Shabana. She paid that price.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Someting's Gotta Give-Internal Musings

Earlier this week I received an invitation to submit some more projects for next year's issue of "Creative Jewelry" magazine. I was so excited and mentally began to plan my projects with the idea of spending some time this weekend putting together an order for whatever materials I would need.

Along with the project planning I also spent a few days thinking about when I could start working on these projects, which led me the realization that I need to seriously scale back on the amount of things that I have going on in my life.

My 17 month old daughter is obviously my A1 priority. And after that I have:

-writing & journaling
-3 unfinished cross-stitch projects
-2 unfinished afghans
-an embarrassing number of unfinished bead projects, including the '08 Bead Journal Project
-my color journey with Margie
-Abby Cadabby decorations for my daughters room
-flash cards for my daughter
-at least 3 belly dance costumes that need to be finished or tailored to fit
-massive closet cleaning & re-organizing
-Halloween is just around the corner & I need to get ready for that
-added rehearsals, etc. that go along with being in a dance troupe
-weekly duties as personal assistant to Margie
-the day to day running of a household that includes an energetic and curious toddler
-Sparkly Wheels for Nikias book

All of these things are staring me in the face and they are not happy about being ignored. I feel so overwhelmed that I don't know what to do first so I'm doing nothing but doing a lot of thinking.

I stayed awake most of the night mulling over how much time is need on a daily or weekly basis for the ongoing things like writing or rehearsals, how close is each project to being finished, and how much time do I think I may need for each one. And, of course, the big question; is it really feasible for me to be starting anything new right now? Obvious answer: No. Why?

"Jack of all trades, master of none." I've always thought of this saying as a warning against mediocrity. That's what I'm afraid of; that as
I'm dashing about frantically trying to complete each project the quality of what I'm working on will be severely diminished.

So in looking at my list I see that there are a few things that I need to let go of, as in, not all of those beading UFO's really need to finished, and then I'm going to give myself one full year to complete the rest of the listed projects before starting anything new.

Then I'll be back to submitting beadwork for publication with a bang!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Troy Necklace-Finished!

Actually, I finished this last Friday night to wear to Cirque Du Soliel on Saturday.

I wore it with a grape colored silk sheath dress and kept the rest of the jewelry fairly simple; a few gold bangles with gold, amethyst, & moldavite stud earrings.

This is one of the projects from "The Beader's Color Palette", by Margie Deeb.

Margie's Troy collar, done with topaz AZ Czech glass and pale gold metallic fire polish, is based on a gilt silver collar dating from about 2300 B.C.E. that was discovered in Troy.

I wonder who wore it. And where & why? Was it a gift?

Crazy me, I'm thinking of making another one, this time using Swarovski crystals in place of the fire polish. Since purples, violets, & pinks are my top-of-the-list favorites those are the colors I'm thinking of using.

I also need to find a box or something that is big enough to store this. I can't casually toss this in the jewelry armoire.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Facebook Photos

I finally had a bit of time to upload some photos of my beadwork over on Facebook. Click here to see them.

My non beading friends & family aren't very likely to visit me on Bead Space or Beaders' Showcase so I ultimately decided to play on Facebook & my blog.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Too Damned Hot!!!

I'm a Zonie. I'm a native. And by that I mean a true native, not some one who has been here for 10+ years. I was born here. My Mother was born here. My Grandfather was born here. His mother was born here and her people have been here since the dawn of time.

Oops! The heat caused me to veer off the subject.

You'd think I'd be used to the heat.

Well, I'm not.

It's too damned hot!!! I'm ready for cooler temps. NOW!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Random Facts About Me

I've got to do this quick before my little tadpole wakes up. Here's a few random little known facts about me.

1. I have a weakness for Little Debbie Cakes.
2. I'm afraid of clowns & alligators, clowns dressed as alligators, & alligators dressed as clowns.
3. I like spiders because they eat all the nasty bugs I don't like.
4. I am a proficient toad wrangler.
5. I can drive a back hoe.
6. I don't like scorpions. It freakin' hurts when one stings you.
7. I am not so good with math & science eludes me.
8. I like the way Shakira sings, but not the way she dances.
9. I spent a whole year trying to learn to juggle and failed miserably.
10. I watched approximately 10 minutes of a soap opera once in my life and that was more than enough. And I have never seen any of those night time soaps like Dallas or Dynasty.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Follow The Bouncing Butt

"Follow the bouncing butt!" That's just one of the cute quips I heard Willow Chang say this weekend while she was here in the Valley to teach 3 belly dance workshops past weekend. There were more; they were coming at us like tennis balls, but that's the one that stuck in my mind.

Not only is Willow full of vivacious, chatty, goofy, energy, she's full of belly dance knowledge. I personally would like to see all that wonderful knowledge in a book, or a documentary, or something! Belly dance history, past & present, who's who and what's what needs to be preserved for posterity.

Oops! I'm digressing.

The workshops, each of which were 2 hours long, were a delightful combination of dancing, lecture, trivia, & history. During the lunch break some of us hung out in the lobby and snacked on fruit & Snickerdoodles while we talked about the belly dance scene in Arizona, the various types of belly dance, the healing power of yoga, Reiki..... We covered oh so many topics!

One of the things that Willow talked about was the importance of growth as a dancer by taking workshops, studying performance & instructional DVDs, going to as many live performances or haflas as possible, and mining the belly dance gold in your own communities. Coming from Hawaii, which was at one time a veritable belly dance wasteland she appreciates the amount of talent that is available here in Arizona. Amen, sister! To name just a few we have Helena Vlahos, Ava Fleming, Carrie Konyha, Kathryn Ferguson, Danah Stedman, Jazmine, Mahin, Dahlena, Melissa, Myryka, Amanda Rose, Yasmina, Katayna, Neena Nour, & Cari of Plaza De Anaya. I've been lucky enough to either take classes or workshops from the first 9 ladies and hope to be able to study from the final 6.

Going back to what she said about studying performance and instructional DVD's; she advised watching dancers, troupes, or styles that aren't necessarily your favorites. Spend a bit of time asking yourself what it is that you don't like. The costume? The music or how it is interpreted? The quality of the dance (ie. technique or facial expressions)? But, she stressed, don't watch what you don't like too much, lest it worm it's way into your brain and subconsciously & negatively influence the way you dance.

So....tonight is class with Ava. We are done with "Sultry Sharqi" and are moving on to "Traveling Combos With Arms and Zils." That means I need to get my bouncing little butt in gear and fix the loose elastic on one of my zils.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Troy Collar....almost finished

Just 3 strands to go and I'll be finished with the fantabulous Troy necklace I'll be wearing to Cirque Du Soleil tomorrow.

Hopefully I'll have time to take a picture of it tomorrow morning.

The yucky dark photo above doesn't really show too well what colors I'm using. The Czech glass is olivine and the fire polish is two-tone olivine-tanzantine. I also used gold washed forest greens seed beads and vermeil findings. Purples, greens, & golds (or yellows), is one of my all time favorite color combinations.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm in Gryffindor

I'm not feeling very bloggy today. So I give you this fun little quiz Harry Potteresque quiz: What Harry Potter Hogwarts House Should You Be In? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find this quiz.

I'm in Gryffindor. Go, go Gryffindor!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Belly Dance Goodies

I'm having issues with my camera, as in, it's broken, so I can't take a picture of the belly dance goodies that came in the mail today. But I can tell you what I ordered:

-Sagittarius belly dancer t-shirt.
-Sagittarius belly dancer journal: I like to write class notes & combos in purple notebooks.
-Pisces belly dancer tea mug: My daughter is a Pisces.

All featuring artwork by Lacy Chenault. Grab a cool drink and undulate on over to her website for a look-see.

Back to house work. Blecch! And no, I did not clean the toilets with a banana.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Belly Dance Monday-Belly Dance & Bead Envy

For today's "Belly Dance Monday" post I was going to review a DVD, but I decided to postpone that after reading what Marcia DeCoster's wrote in her blog over the weekend. Here is an excerpt: (To read the entire post click here.)

I also get anxious when I see a colleagues work and I feel that feeling that Rachel has coined so well as project envy (Speaking of whom, have you seen You and Eye? Awesomely beautiful). It happens, you're in awe of what someone else did with the beads and begin to question your own work and then I step back and realize that is what they are meant to be doing and I am doing what I am meant to be doing. Don't get me wrong, I celebrate what my colleagues are doing, there is so much incredible beadwork being done, so much pushing the limits and exploration and creativity. And I celebrate being a part of that world.

The timing of Marcia's post is absolutely perfect. Over the weekend I watched a DVD (not the one I was going to review) that left me with belly dance envy and I can relate to what she is saying.

I find this to be refreshingly honest because Marcia is an incredibly talented bead & fiber artist. I've run into a few artists, be they dancers, beaders, or otherwise, who wouldn't ever dare to admit to having moments of self-doubt. That's much too human and, or course, true talent never doubts itself.

Hogwash, balderdash, and just plain ol' bullshit!

I think true talent does question itself. If you don't occasionally question yourself then how can you possibly grow as an artist? No growth=stagnation. I find stagnation to be appalling.

I'll climb off my soap box now before I stray too far off the subject......

Like Marcia, I sometimes find myself so in awe of another person's work, or in this case dancing, that I start to question & compare myself.

"Why can't I move like Ava or dance like Helena?"

Being one of the heavier dancers in class there are times when I wish I was thinner. Or was taller so that I would be able to carry my weight better. Sometimes I wish my breasts were smaller & my hips were bigger. Yeah, I know. Most women are the opposite and wish for smaller hips & larger breasts. Go figure.

So.... in class tonight if that niggling little voice of mine begins to lead me down the road to self-doubt I will silently, gently, & lovingly chant either one of these two mantras that was taught to me a few years ago by a fellow belly dancer & yoga instructor.

"In this moment I am at my most perfect."

"Beautiful, bountiful, blissful am I."

Or perhaps my own mantra, which is:

"Find tadasana."

Tadasana is Mountain Pose and for those of you who aren't practitioners of yoga, what I mean by that is to find your own place of balance and strength. It's not as poetic as the first two mantras, but it works for me.

I celebrate the fact that I am in both the belly dance and the bead worlds.

And yes, I do occasionally experience bead envy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm Green & I'm Busy

SaraBeth completed the quiz "Which color best suits your personality?" with the result You are Green! .
You are Green! You are a cool yet energized person. You probably tend to be a little more introverted than extroverted - while you love being with your friends, you still need your "you" time. You are probably a rather laid back, zen sort of person, unless you get a good kick of energy; then you can be crazy fun! You are probably insightful and smart; logic comes easily to you. You tend to be a balance between red and yellow. Reds are passionate and intense, and tend to walk over people. Yellows tend to be the walked on, because they like to keep the peace. You, however, are a balance of both. You know when to lie down and let someone take the lead, but if you feel strongly about something, you're not afraid to stand up for it! You are probably compassionate as well, and like animals and plants. You may be a little off-beat, and feel like not many people really see the depth in your personality. You would probably rather keep things on a superficial level that other people can understand than show the deeper side of yourself. You, in a nutshell: Cool, energized, balanced, strong, funky, zen, deep, intelligent, logical, compassionate. GREEN! .

And it ain't easy, being green. Busy, busy, busy today, no time for a real post so this will have to do. More thoughts on these types of quizzes later.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Too freakin' funny!

This is from LOLCats! I keep it on my desk top for whenever I need a good laugh.

That is one tiny baby and one very very patient cat.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wiilow Weekend Workshops....

....and chocolate cake!

Calling all Arizona belly dancers!!

The weekend of August 1st & 2nd Ava Fleming will be hosting three belly dance workshops featuring Willow Chang at Al Moro Dance Studio.

Sat., Aug. 1st is "New Moves, Different Groves" followed by an open dance night (not sure of the start time) and Ava's famous chocolate cake

Sun., Aug. 2nd is "The Willow Way" & "Comboville"

I have tickets for Cirque Du Soleil on Saturday, but I will definitely be there for the Sunday workshops.

Somebody please, please save me a piece of cake.

Also check out IAMED's buy "4 DVDs get the 5th one free" sale.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Looking To Improve This Blog

I'm looking to improve the look of this blog. Any suggestions? I'm so very tech-not savvy & I don't know what to do to make this look more like *me*.

Some of the things I would like to do is change the color, add a belly dancing avatar, add my own banner.

Of course all of this will have to wait because I'm off to see a new endocrinologist later today. I'll post about the Thyroid Saga some other time, when I start to feel better.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Toe Withdrawal

*sigh* That's what I've been dealing with for the past few weeks. Baby Toe Withdrawal. Indigo Lynne has been walking for quite some time and that has lead to fewer and fewer opportunities for baby toe noshing.

I can still get a really good nibble of those delectable little raspberry gum drop toes right after she's had her bath, but sadly, I think the baby toe nibbling days are coming to an end.

*sigh* I'm going to miss those adorable little sweet meat feet. A tasty little treat that just can't be beat.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Save The Barn!!!!

The Dairy Barn, that is. This came to my attention by way of Rebecca Starry.

For all my readers who are beaders I am sorry to say that the Dairy Barn will no longer be having it's bi-annual Bead International juried exhibit.

Here is a partial quote:

Attention Bead & Basket artists.
The Dairy Barn Arts Center will not be offering a juried exhibit for 2010. This decision was made due to lower artist entry in 2008, lack of attendance in 2008, lack of interest in the Bead International & Beyond Basketry '08 tour and catalog, and lack of sponsorships and/or funding.

I find this to be heartbreaking. There just aren't too many venues out there for contemporary bead artists to showcase their work and now we'll be losing one.

I'm blaming the economy. Damn you, stupid economy!!

But I also say let's do something about this. If 2010 is out, what about 2012? By contacting the Dairy Barn and letting them know that we still want this maybe we can convince them to reinstate the exhibit for

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sultry Sharqi-Belly Dance Monday

Tonight is another session of Sultry Sharqi with Ava. Yippee!!!!

I am just soooo loving this session. Sultry Sharqi is my kind of belly dancing. I also like Ava's new teaching format. Each month the focus is on a different technique. Obviously, this month the focus has been on slow, sultry, sensuous, snaky, sinuous movements.

You might think that practicing just 1 or 2 moves for an entire class would get boring, but it really doesn't. It allows you to see where your mistakes are. For me, when I'm doing Maya's & Serena's I have a tendency to twist my hips a bit. Working slowly has allowed me to correct that.

Last month the focus was on hip shimmies. And well, let's just say I'm still working on them. I know why I'm having trouble, but.... I'm still struggling. My problem is that I have natural "turn out" compounded by all those years of ballet which has further developed my hip & leg muscles to help maintain that turned out position that is so necessary for ballet. I have to work so hard at holding my legs parallel that it makes it difficult for me to keep my legs & hips relaxed enough to execute a good shimmy. If it let my leg turn out just a little bit then my shimmies improve dramatically, but I look sort of like a duck when I start to move across the floor. I am determined to master them with parallel legs. It just might take the rest of my life.

So Ava, if you're reading this I'm putting in my request to keep the monthly focus format with the possibility of revisiting hip shimmies.

But, enough about me.

For all you Phoenix & Tucson area belly dancers looking to escape the heat this weekend why not head up north to Sedona for these wonderful workshops sponsored by Levant Al Sonora.

Carrie Konyha: Graceful hands & arms
Terri Walden of Troupe Salamat: Tribal combos
Mahin: Zill techniques
Jazmine: Sword & props

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Name That Crystal

What started out as a search for 15'0 Charlottes (aka True Cuts) lead to Suzanne Cooper naming a Swarovski crystal after me:

SaraBeth Summer Super Sparkle Shine Shimmer Surprise

I see this as violet with Titan as the custom over coating.

BTW, Crystal Titan is my new favorite Swarovski crystal color. A few weeks ago I bought some from Fusion Beads and I love it, love it, love it! I also bought some Purple Haze bicones, but was a bit disappointed in the color.

But, I digress. Back to naming new crystal colors. My name for Suzanne's crystal is:

Suzanne's Sultry Succulent Seductive Shimmer Glimmer

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Jeanette Cook is selling patterns! I did not know that until today. It's been a while since I've been to her site or had a newsletter from her so really, I had no idea

So first I have to decide....should or shouldn't I? I already have 2 large binders full of instructions and a box of approximately 30 kits (2 of which I just recently purchased from Marcia DeCoster) all waiting for that ubiquitous yet ever elusive "someday".

And then I have to decide which ones I would like to have? Crystal Pagoda? Jewels of the Empress? Should hold out for Geode Goddess?

I'll meditate over it as I'm working on my version of the Troy necklace from Margie's color palette book.

We have tickets for Cique du Soleil next month and I need something spectacular to wear.

Friday, July 17, 2009

IAMED's Belly Dance Essay Contest 2009

Dombek rolll please!!!!

The winners of the 2009 IAMED Belly Dance Essay Contest are:

Emily Andrews-1st Place
Robin "Shalimar" Kelsey-2nd Place
Adriane-3rd Place

With "Honorable Mention" going to:
Rachel Allen
Pam Emerson
Kristina Moseley
Mia Serra

To read these wonderful essay as well as the winners from 2008 click here.

I laughed, I cried, and in some cases I laughed & cried at the same time. A few of the essays are a bit rough, but they are all entertaining.

My personal favorite was written by Kristina Moseley. I can so totally relate to what she said about the brain understanding what the body does not. That sums of my relationship with hip shimmies.

Congratulations ladies! *zaghareet*

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shimmy: In The Spirit of Belly Dance....

...that's the name of a new belly dance magazine recently launched out of Sedona, Az by publisher and belly dancer Holly Luky. Sometimes premier issues can be a bit rough around the edges, but this particular magazine is delightfully well polished.

The first thing I read was an excerpt from The Belly Dancer, a new novel from writer DeAnna Cameron. A second excerpt will be in the next issue. To say "I can't wait!" wouldn't be true because I'm going to go out and buy the book for myself before then.

This first issue has 13 well written, witty, informative, and useful articles.

I put Tip #3 from "Top 10 Tips For Living The Good Life" to use right away. This particular tip has to do with a 10 minute fitness routine of your own making that can be especially refreshing after a long stint at a computer.

Just to tease you I'll give you the titles of 3 more articles.

"Cairo-Mother of the World" by Robert G. Bauval
"Belly Dancing For Pregnancy And Birth" by Carinne L. Casazza
"Tribal Style 101", by Hilary Gioval

Some of the regular features of the magazine are "Transformational Astrology" and "Wise Woman Corner."

I like playful, intimate, informal format of the "Question & Answer" interview with belly dancer extraordinaire and cover girl Ava Fleming. I'll leave with with another teaser in the form of two of her answers.

"Desert. (I'll take desert over dinner any day.)"
"Muuhahahahahaa! If I told you that I wouldn't be mysterious, now would I?"

Now, in the spirit of belly dance, shimmy on over to the magazine's website to learn more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Too Darn Funny For Words

Real honest-to-goodness consumer products with some unfortunate names. Just too darn funny! Click here to see for yourself!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creative Jewelry Magazine-I'm In It!!!

The latest edition of Creative Jewelry magazine is on newsstands, in bookstores, and is available from Interweave Press and I'm in it! Well not *me*, but I do have three pieces of jewelry in there.

I do love seeing my bead work published.

In addition to all the fabulous jewelry, there is a 6 page article about Studios & Storage that I especially liked. If I ever have a room that I can devote to just being a beading studio and not just a belly dance-yoga-computer-bead room I would like it to look somewhat like Chrysti Hydeck's studio. It looks light, airy, & spacious. My dream studio would be painted pale violet, mint, & creamy yellow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Belly Dance Monday

It's belly dance Monday.

Tonight is Sultry Sharqi class with Ava. Last week the focus was on doing Figure 8's & Mayas very, very sloooooowly. And by that I mean taking as much as four full 8-counts to complete just one Figure 8 or Maya. Intense! A few days later the sides of my waist and glutes were soooo sore. But a good, "Damn, I worked hard!" kind of sore.

What will Drill Sargent Ava have in store for us tonight?

Local tribal belly dancer, Yasmina, has an amazing website chock full of all sorts of belly dance information; a dancer/troupe spotlight (Myryka of Phoenix is the featured dancer), an events schedule, and teacher directory, just to name a new.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Updated myself

I added a few updates to my profile. I admit I cheated by coping, pasting, & editing my profile from

But so far, no pictures. But, if you'd like to see some of my bead work click here to see my gallery over at bead-space.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spot Light On Color Article

Color guru and incredibly talented artist (including bead artist!) Margie Deeb has partnered with Soft Flex to write "Spotlight on Color" articles. If you have a few minutes check out the article I wrote about Margie for the July Designer spot light.

July '09 Designer Spotlight

Also drop by Margie's website and be inspired and delighted by "The Muse."

Hello & Welcome

Hello and Welcome to my Belly Dancing Bead Blog!

I'm new here so basically this is a test post.


I'm a belly dancer and bead artist living in the Phoenix area. For more about me view my profile. It needs a bit of work and as time goes on I'll be adding more tidbits to it. And photos! I'll be adding photos, too. Maybe even a picture of myself or some of my bead work as my avatar. For right now the pic of my cat, Tia Sushi will have to do.

As time goes on I'll be posting about belly dancing events around the Phoenix area as well as photos, etc. of my current bead projects, and any other miscellaneous dance and bead related musings I might have. I'll try to keep to the subjects at hand and not ramble or rant too much.

I promise I won't tell you all the little details of my life , such as "Today I went to the grocery store and bought some bananas, then came home and cleaned my toilet." Unless, of course, I cleaned my toilet with the bananas. That might be blog worthy.

Thanks for stopping by.

Namaste, Happy Beading, & Happy Dancing!