Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whose Really In The Details

I've heard it said that God is in the details.  I've also heard it said that it's the devil.  Who knows?  Not me, that's for sure.  What I do know is that changing the width of one or two rows of bead work can take that piece from so-so to fabulous.  A minor detail with major impact.

Look at this first sample.  It's okay, but it looks a bit weak.  

Now this is so much better!

Like I said, a minor detail like matching the width of peyote stitched rows of green and orange with those done ine right angle weave has made a major difference in how this looks.

The Spring/Summer 2012 Color Report for Bead and Jewelry Designers will be out early next year so you'll have to wait until then to see just exactly what this is.

Next up will be something fun with Sodalite Blue. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Enjoying Sweet Lilacs, Margaritas, and The Tangerine Tango

The somewhat mysterious and yet to be revealed Driftwood, Sweet Lilac, and Cabaret necklace is done.  It is so gorgeous and so elegant that it is now my new favorite necklace.  

Now I'm moving on to Sweet Lilac with hints of Margarita andTangerineTango in what is about to be my new favorite bracelet.  Up above is a paint chip sample palette of the colors and below is a picture of the beads in action.
I really like the way the orange and green are popping away from the lilac, giving it an almost 3D effect.  

This is the first time I've used Fireline for simple seed bead weaving.  I don't like its crispy, crunchy texture so I only use it occasionally when I'm weaving with lots of crystals.  But, I decided to creep out on the limb a little bit and use it along with something else I'm not a big fan of;  four bead right angle weave.  And guess what?  I'm really loving the results.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And then there's Cockatoo

Here are the three main colors I'll be working with for the Spring/Summer 2012 Color Report.  From left to right we have Driftwood, Sweet Lilac, and Sodalite Blue.  

A visit from the Snot Monster at the beginning of the month followed by a 10 day migraine cluster have left me woefully behind on my projects so I haven't had time to photograph the project I'm working on.  I'm using Driftwood, with Sweet Lilac as the secondary color, and accents of Cabaret, a deep rich fuchsia.  I'm making a slightly modified version of Beki Haley's "Twinkle, Twinkle" necklace.  If you click on the link it will take you to Beki's kit page and that will give you an idea of what I'm making.  

This link will take you to the Pantone website where you can see all the Spring/Summer 2012 colors and take a brief color survey.

I've always said that I like and can work with all colors.  Not true.  I don't think I'll ever be able to work with Cockatoo.  I absolutely hate this color.  Hate it!  In my mind this is the color of sickness and fear.

When I was 4-6 years old my Mom was in and out of hospitals having all sorts of scary, hush-hush, and mysterious surgeries.  My brother and I would come home from school and she would just be gone.  One of my Grandmother's widowed sisters would be there to take care of us; my Dad would come home late from work every night after visiting hours were over and then spend most of the weekends at the hospital, but we would never allowed to visit her.  Even after she came home we weren't allowed to see her, the bedroom door was always closed.  And every time she came home from the hospital she would have all these plastic bedside accessories;  a small water pitcher, soap box, toothbrush holder, etc. and they were this exact color.  

I find my own reaction completely astonishing; four decades later and I still can't look at this color without getting upset.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On A Journey

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that I finally split this blog into two;  one devoted mostly to beading, and the other to my journey as a belly dancer.  Please give it a look see:  SaraBeth's Belly Dance Journey.

I was in a hurry to get the new blog up and running so I'll be tweaking it every now and then, whenever I find the time to play.  I've also decided to keep the same name for this, my beading blog, since there will be some cross posting and mainly because I like it.

I've started my next round of color report project for Spring/Summer 2012 and will be talking more about that later in the week after I've got myself caught up on a few things here and there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What's In A Name

A rose by any other would name would smell as sweet, right?  Of course it would.  But this isn't about roses, this is about splitting my belly dancing bead blog into two separate blogs in preparation for the changes that are to come in both my beading and belly dance life.  

I'm going to keep the name "SaraBeth's Belly Dancing Bead Blog" for the beady part of my life simply because I like it, but I do need a few suggestions for the belly dance blog.  So don't be shy!  Speak up and throw a few ideas at me!
I'm still going strong with my 365 Days of Dance practice and I have something new and exciting planned for my 365 Days of ??? in 2012.  There will also be some interesting and fun things happening in my belly dance life very soon.  

I recently came to the conclusion that having my life speeding along at Mach 1 was no longer acceptable, so I've decided to rev things up a bit by remodeling the house.  I'll be temporarily giving up my bead closet for a bigger and better one, storing my stash in different parts of the house, and doing most of my beading for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 color report in the kitchen.  That, in turn, means we'll be eating lots of take-out and delivery on TV trays in the living room.

It's possible that I may be completely, totally, and utterly insane by December.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Margie Is Doing A BOGO

Beautiful lampwork brooch by Kristy Nijenkamp

My bad!  I forgot to mention in my Sept. 7th post that Margie is doing a BOGO with the most recent color report.  

When you buy a copy of the Fall/Winter 2011 report she'll send you a link to a free copy of the very first ever color report, Fall/Winter 2008.  But hurry because this is for a limited time only.

Click here for the link to her website.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeing The World Through Indigo Eyes

A few weeks ago Jennifer VanBenschoten asked the artist panel for her "Beading Daily Blog" the following question;  "What are your favorite colors to work with?  What are you least favorite colors to work with?"  You can read my answer, as well as what other bead artists had to say by clicking on the link above. 

Any combination of purples, violets, greens, yellows, and golds have always been, and will probably always be my all time favorite, and I've always found palettes that are sophisticated, bold, elegant, or sensual to be the most exciting for me to work with;  something magical, like this:

Have you ever heard the expression that motherhood changes everything?  Trust me on this, it does, and in ways that you can't imagine if you don't have children.  Color preference was something I definitely never considered, but after my daughter was born the range of color combinations that I liked started to include subdued, romantic, delicate hues, like this:

Same colors, different moods.  

I love that having a daughter named Indigo has helped me to see everything, not just color, in an entirely new way.    

I'm seeing the world through Indigo eyes.

And before I close this post I must tell you that the "Fall/Winter 2011 Color Report" by Margie Deeb is now available for purchase on her website.  Take a look at the necklace I made for Deep Teal on page 11.  I'm really pleased with the way that it turned out since blues and browns is one of my favorite color combinations.  After you're done admiring my necklace take a look at Jamie Hogsett's interpretation of Deep Teal on page 18.  She created an amazing 2-strand asymmetrical beaded bead necklace in Deep Teal, Ember Glow, and Quarry.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August Went Whoosh!

Does anybody know what happened to August?  I seem to have missed most of it, which is highly unusual for me because this month has always appeared to be one boring, sweltering hot day after another.  

Thank goodness we've had all sorts of doctor's appointments to liven things up.

My daughter developed a nasty, scary infection in the blocked tear duct of her right eye which resulted in my having to put drops in her eye and convince her to drink some horrible "bubblegum" flavored liquid antibiotic three times a day.  The drops were easy enough, I put those into her eye while she was sleeping.  The neon pink obnoxious smelling antibiotic was a different story.  I tasted the stuff and it was truly disgusting so I can't blame her for not wanting to drink it.  

And, the doctor wanted to keep a close watch on the infection to make sure it didn't spread into the eye itself which meant taking her for quick trips to his office every 2 days in the 110+ heat.

And I'm getting ready for corrective eye surgery, internal contact lenses, next month and that has involved my own round of eye related appointments.  

So, all this means that there were several afternoons when I simply didn't want to do anything, let alone 30 minutes of dancing.  I almost convinced myself that I was absolutely raving, batty, crazy for even thinking about it.  Crazy I may be, but I'm also persistent.  It was a listless, dull practice with a heavy dose of "I couldn't care less.", but at least I did it.  

I'm still devoting the rest of this month to getting caught up on some neglected crochet projects and I have yet to buy a new camera.  I'm just not in the mood to deal with pushy sales people right now.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Sneak Peek

My color report projects are done, done done!  Yipee!!!  I love doing these bi-annual reports but I was getting a bit tired of being in my self imposed bead cave.  

So here is a sneak peek at one of the pieces I made using "Deep Teal."  I apologize for the quality of the picture, my camera has gone kaput on me so I had to make do with the document scanner.  This bracelet is gorgeous, if I do say so myself.  All of those 6mm indicolite crystals and green Swarovski pearls sparkle and glow so much prettier in person.  This is my "Dancing Light Crystal Cuff" from the Dec. '05/Jan. '06 issue of Beadwork magazine.

Now that this bead frenzy is over I plan on devoting much of August to finishing up the 4 or 5 crochet projects that I've been neglecting and a bit of fun beading for myself.  

When I used to work for Beyond Beadery I would make large, elaborate, super sparkly jewelry to wear with the fabulous beaded velvet burnout shawls that Betcey got me hooked on and skirts made from vintage saris.  So now that I'm a work at home Mom I feel like my jewelry wardrobe could use some simpler, more every day types of things to wear.  I'll also be on the look out for a new camera. 


P.S.  Betcey isn't responsible for my addiction to clothing made from vintage sari skirts.  I did that all by myself.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Costume Idea Sneak Peek

Well, here it is, folks.  Here's my costume;  a pink silk shirt.  It is a puzzlement, isn't it?  This doesn't look very belly dancer-ish.  But, I'm hoping it can be because this is a very special shirt

This blouse is one of only two presents my Grandpa ever bought for me.  Shopping for gifts just wasn't his thing.  Christmas and birthday presents were always bought by my Grandma and labeled "From Grandma & Grandpa."  When we got older Gramps started giving all of us grand kids an envelope with money in it.  Let's face it, to a bunch or adolescents a crisp $50 bill is a damned good present!  

Anyway, shortly after he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer he and Grandma took one last trip together up and down the West Coast.  In a little jewelry store in San Fransisco he bought a gray pearl necklace for me, and a boutique in the Pearl District of Oregon is where he found this blouse.

So why would I want to turn it into a belly dance costume and not just continue to wear it?  Because, the last time it came back from the dry cleaners it had yellow stains around the bottom and a small reddish, watery, looking stain on the back.  You can't see them in the picture, but trust me, they are there.  At first the dry cleaner told me that my shirt seemed to be lost and offered to reimburse me for it, provided I had a receipt.  The idea that it was a gift never really registered with the manager or the owners. Then, about a week later they called and said it had been found.  To this day I still think an employee or someone associated with that place took it and wore it.  They didn't tell me about the stains, either.  I had to discover those for myself.  My shirt was ruined.  I have never been able to get the blotches out and over the years I have repeatedly tried.

I've come to terms with the fact that it's unwearable, but I still can't part with it.  So, I have two, possibly three, ideas.  The first you already know about, a belly dance costume.  I'll have to consult with a local costume fairy to find out if this is a good fabric to use as the base of a bra and belt or if there will be enough after the stains are cut away.  The second idea is to turn it into a beaded art doll and the third is to have it made into a purse.  Either way I'll still be able to my Grandpa's gift.

And in closing I'd like to say that I have reached Day 200 of my belly dance practice and will be celebrating with pizza and gelato!   

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Almost Finished!

I'm fast approaching the wire with this necklace!  It just needs a bit more embellishing and a clasp.  

I'm debating between making some sort of beaded clasp or using one of the leaf toggles that you see in the picture above.  And if I use the leaf toggle, should it be antique brass or copper.  I'm leaning towards the copper because it goes so well with the orange beads and crystals.

I know which projects from Marcia DeCoster's book I'll be using.  But, will it be made with Deep Teal or Orchid Hush?  I can't tell you because I don't know.  I'll have to do a bit of seed bead hunting before I decide.  Sadly, hunting for seed beads is not all that easy in my area.  There are lots and lots of bead stores in the Greater Phoenix area, but very few of them have much in the way of a good seed bead selection.  Working and traveling for Beyond Beadery for so many years and being friends with Beki and Shawn from Out On A Whim has spoiled me when it comes to the idea of what a good selection of seed beads really is. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Approaching 200

No.  That's not my age or my weight.  I'm just 7 days away from practicing belly dance for 200 days, or 9,295 minutes.  When I hit Day 200 I'll reveal my idea for the costume that I plan on rewarding myself.  For now all I'm going to tell you is that it involves the color pink.   

And guess what?  Yesterday almost saw the end of my dancing streak.

It's a long, stupid story that starts with my hair stylist running 20 minutes behind schedule and ends with me having a low blood sugar crash which left me having some serious thoughts about not practicing at all.  But after a bit of ruminating I realized that I haven't let colds, migraines, pulled muscles, insane bead publishing related deadlines, or a broken foot stop me from finding some way to practice each day so I decided I wasn't going to let a silly little thing like low blood sugar stand in my way.

Most of this week's practice has been dedicated to getting caught up with the new content at GypsyNet, Ansuya Rathor's on-line belly dance classes, so I decided to revisit one of the zils classes taught by her mother, Jenaeni.  The first half of each 30-40 minute zil lesson is taught sitting on the floor practicing a single rhythm before standing up and combining it with some simple moves which don't require too much in the way of energy.  

Even if it was the most lackluster dance session I've ever done I felt the need to reward myself with something chocolatey or purpleish.  Or maybe something involving purple and chocolate...  Like maybe some lavender hot chocolate...  Curious?  Click here for the recipe.  

And now you know why I have a picture of lavender at the top of this post!

*lavender image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Isn't It Romantic?

N'est-il pas romantique?  Aren't all those random threads just lovely?  Here's some bits and pieces of the necklace that I've been working on in the orange, green, and brown colors that I blogged about earlier.

I'm combining 3 different components from Lisa Kan's book, Bead Romantique, into this one necklace.  I'm actually much further along that what you see in the picture.  Think crystals.  Oh so many sparkly crystals!  And one sweet little herringbone flower.  

A bit of fringe?  Perhaps.  Or not.  Even though I'm working within in the confines of a specific palette and project I'm still not completely planning this piece from beginning to end.  I very rarely ever plan out what I'm going to make.  I usually start with a "somewhat idea" in mind and go from there.  The second color that I'll be working with is "Deep Teal" and I have somewhat of an idea that I'll be using some components from Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence.  Or not.  

I'm genuinely surprised by how much I like this necklace.  Like I said before, this is usually not one of my favorite color combinations because it's too classically Autumn. 


Monday, June 20, 2011

10 Is A Magical Number

Remember that 10 day practice theory that I talked about in my post about the Rachel Brice workshops?  Well, it really, really works! 

Rather than waiting until all my bead work related deadlines were met and I had enough time to create my own 10 day practice I decided to jump right in with one of Rachel Brice's DVDs.  For my experiment I used the 45 minute practice session from her "Tribal Fusion Belly Dance:  Yoga, Isolations, and Drills:  A Practice Companion with Rachel Brice."  If you're not into Tribal or Fusion styles of belly dancing please don't let that title fool you.  The isolations and drills are universal and can be applied to any style.  

I think I know what is on you mind right about now.  You're thinking that if you do the same practice for 10 straight days, especially if it's from a DVD, that you will get very bored very quickly.  Trust me, you won't, not if you know how to practice.

I spent the first 2 days getting familiar with the practice then picked something different like arm paths, zils, or layering to make each day a little different and challenging.  One day, when I was feeling overly tired and had a nasty, nagging, backache, I did the entire practice sitting or laying on the floor. 

What results did I see?  Exactly what I was hoping for; more flexibility and range of motion when doing upper body isolations.  My upper body undulations have always been smooth, but somewhat small because my upper back, shoulders, chest area are too tight.  But now I'm gaining the ability to create a larger, more dynamic undulation.  

While I'm working towards completing my next bead related deadline I'm going to keep on doing the 10 day practice with different DVDs from my ever growing collection.  The question is, which one?  I have about 50 or so to choose from.      

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Three in One

I am pleased to announce that three deadlines were successfully meeted and greeted this past weekend and I am now able to leave my bead cave for a few hours here and there, mostly for belly dance classes and troupe rehearsal.  I sent off a few submissions to Stringing magazine to be considered for the Winter 2011 issue, as well as a few submissions to Margie Deeb to be photographed for a call for entry for Lark Books' upcoming 500 Beaded Jewelry.  Wish me luck on that last one.  It's an international call and I know my pieces are going to be up against some tough competition.  One of those pieces is the black matte, bright green, and red necklace I was about on Facebook.  Black matte seed beads, black thread, and a highly reflective green cabochon.  Oh, my aching eyes!  Even if it doesn't make it in the book, I'm especially proud of that necklace.  Trust me, it's amazing and eventually, one way or another, you'll be able to see a picture of it.  The third deadline was some behind the scenes help that Margie asked if I could do for her for the upcoming Fall 2011 Pantone Color Report.  

And speaking of which; my 4th deadline is just that, the color report.  One of my chosen colors is "Ember Glow," a bright, juicy orange, which I will be pairing with "Cedar" and "Coffee Liquer." 

After my color report projects are finished I'm looking forward to having a little bit of time to bead just for me and to finishing up a few crochet projects that have been calling to me.  I need to have something fabulous to wear, clothing and jewelry wise, to a few uber terrific belly dance events coming up in the Fall.

So, for now I'll leave you with a picture of my color choices and some of the raw materials I'll be using.  I'll be posting some progress pictures in a few days.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Rachel Brice Weekend

"Fantababricealicous" is how Heidi Alexander described Rachel Brice, and I have to add that Rachel's business partner, Sol, was "supersolireffic."  Both of them are warm, friendly, funny, borderline goofy people, which made for a delightful atmosphere.  Rachel effortlessly used her warmth and humor to create a safe, positive, and inviting environment for all levels of dancers.  To say "inviting" may sound strange, but I've taken workshops and classes from instructors who intimidate people with a "don't question just do" attitude and glare daggers at anyone who dares to sit down for a few minutes to take notes, get a drink of water or, rest.  

Each day the workshops began with yoga, and you know that anything involving yoga is a good thing in my book.  Next came strength building exercises, isolation drills, and combos that gradually sped up so that we also had ourselves a great cardio workout.  After 2 hours we were treated to a chocolate break.  Yes, you read that right chocolate!  I think they may have been some other snacks, too.  

At the end of the day we cooled down with some more yoga, followed by Rachel leading us in a chant to honor all of her belly dancer teachers and their instructors, and finally ending with a zaghareet to honor all dancers everywhere.  That last part always had me a little bit teary-eyed.  

One of the topics Rachel touched on was how to create a home practice.  One of her tips, taught to her by her yoga teacher, Gary Kraftsow, was to formulate a practice, do it for 10 days, then change it.  I really like that idea and I'll be giving it a trial run in the next week or so and incorporating some of her other ideas, like "scales" and "stacking."  

And then there's the show Saturday night!  Yowsa wowsa!  Rachel performed twice, along with Elissa & Melissa, Ellisha, Ava Fleming, Heidi Alexander, Eric Salazar, Bastet, Yasmina, Anaya Tribal, and Helena Vlahos.  After the show Rachel and a few of the other dancers had a little meet & greet for photos and autographs.

I have now been dancing for 176 days, 8,453 minutes.  

I'm also a busy l'il beadin' bee right now with 4 deadlines to meet in between now and mid-July.  Some of it I can share with you and some things I can't.   


Monday, June 6, 2011

A Quick Quickie

Wow!  10+ hours of belly dancing with Rachel Brice, plus a show featuring her, some amazing local dancers, and 2 guest dancers from New Mexico.  What a weekend!

I came home yesterday afternoon to a snack of milk and homemade chocolate cookies, then my husband, daughter, and I went out for a nice relaxing dinner.  

Today I am catching up on e-mails, phone calls, and laundry (yuck), as well as trying to rest up a bit before I head off to 3 hours of some serious belly dancing butt kicking by Sgt. Ava Fleming.  I'll have a more detailed workshop & show post in a day or two.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Date With Insomnia And Rachel Brice

I don't know how I did it, but by golly, I did.  With only a whopping 3 hours of sleep from Thursday into Friday I managed to make it through an intense 2 1/2 hour workshop last night with the fabulous, slinky, and smoky Rachel Brice.

Last night started and ended with some yoga.  That is always a good thing in my book.  And sandwhiched in between we worked on some fun combos, technique, and belly dancer "scales."  I'll clarify that later.  

I wonder what she has in store for us today?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back By Popular Demand!

Two of my most popular beaded bead designs, Dolphino and Anemone, are back and available here, at Margie Deeb's website. 

I took a few years away from publishing and designing to concentrate solely on Mommyhood, but now I'm so thrilled to be back.  First there was that happy accident in April when I found out that 6 of my previously published designs were featured in "The Best of Creative Jewelry."  You can read more about that in this earlier post.  And it just keeps getting better!  Back in February I created some bracelet designs to be considered for the gallery of the Fall 2011 issue of Stringing.  I'm happy to report that one of those designs was selected.

So here I am, slowly making my way back into Beadlandia, belly dancing and practicing yoga along the way.  Yup!  I'm still keeping up with my 365 Days of Dance and my recent re-commitment to a daily yoga practice.  

As an aside, I thought about calling this post "Snot Monsters & Bead Patterns," but decided that might be a bit too gross.  But it does give you an idea of how my week started.  The Snot Monster decided to pay us a visit on Sunday and hopefully he'll be leaving soon.  I'm exhausted, but exhilarated.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

And For My Next Trick.....!!!  In addition to my 365 Days of Dance I decided to try Gaiam's 21 Day Yoga Challenge just to see where it would lead me.  I'm happy to say that it has been leading me to a good place.  

Fourteen days into the challenge and I'm already seeing and feeling some phenomenal changes in my mind and body.  Mentally I'm enjoying a quieter mind, better sleep, and more energy during the day, which has led to a brighter outlook in general.  Yoga goodness!  Physically I'm starting to create more stability in my body by creating more balance in my flexibility.  I have a good deal of stretchiness in my legs, hips, and back, but my arms, shoulders, and chest are tight.  But less so after the best 2 weeks, and that has led to some remarkable changes in my dancing.  More yoga goodness!!

It's only May, but I've been wondering how I was going to follow up this dance challenge and now I'm toying with the idea of making 2012 My Year of Yoga.  Wonder what I'll do in 2013?  Just kidding!  Some days, I have a hard enough time knowing what I'll be doing from one minute to the next so planning my life that far in advance just ain't going to happen.  For right now, let's see how far I beyond 21 days of yoga I can go.  


Belly Dance Stats:  152 days of dance for 7,114 minutes.  Pretty cool, eh?

*Woman doing yoga image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Accident, Happy Me

What's the accident?  What's making me so happy?  Five, count' em, five of my designs are featured in "The Best of Creative Jewelry" magazine!  (Well, actually 6.  Number 29 in the earring gallery is my design, but is accidentally credited to another designer.)  What is accidental about it?  I had no idea some of my designs were going to be republished.   

Whenever I drop by Barnes & Noble to restock the "To Read" pile on my nightstand I usually take a look-see at what's new in the magazine racks before I book shop and that is how I stumbled upon this.  

My first impulse was to run home right then and there to show my husband, but I somehow managed to make myself finish my intended book shopping and all those other mundane errands I had to do.  You shopping...trip to the unimportant when you suddenly find yourself published in a magazine.

There are so many of other fabulous designer featured in here as well;  Jean Campbell, Dustin Wedekind, Michelle Mach, Jamie Hogsett, Leslie Rogalski, Lorelei Eurto, Kerry Bogert, Andrew Thorton.....the list just goes on and on.  

In no particular order, some of my favorite designs are; necklaces "Crimson Magic," by Stephanie Glickman, and "Caribbean Blue," by Bonnie Clewans; bracelets, "Axis," by Nina Cooper and Leah Rivers, and "Bali Silver & Iolite," by Nancy Chase.  Earrings #1, 6, 20, and 30 also grabbed my attention

I have to be honest, my beady ego has been feeling a bit deflated lately which makes this one helluva much needed boost.

Anyway, here's a sneak peek at one of my bracelet designs.

And for those of you who are following my belly dance practice commitment, I am at 128 continuous days of dancing for a total of 6,138 minutes.  Pretty good, eh?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crystal AB Teaser

Here's a picture of one of the bracelets that I'll be wearing in Mujeres Tres, an annual belly dance/flamenco show, on Saturday, April 9th.

This bracelet was given to me by my 93 year old Grandma.  Her memory is a bit spotty, but she thinks she bought it somewhere back in the 1950's.  Unfortunately there are no hallmarks on the clasp so I have no idea of who made it, but the lack of a hallmark also makes me feel safe in restringing it.  It's lasted this long, but I'd really rather not take a chance on it suddenly breaking, especially on a dance stage.  

I originally wanted to make a 3-strand necklace to accompany this, but I just don't have enough of all of those yummy vintage Swarovski crystal AB beads.  So much for Plan A.  Plan B had me taking a shopping trip through my bead stash where I found this! 

It's actually a chandelier earring finding.  Yikes!!!  At roughly 1 1/4" long & wide, it's much too large for me to even want to wear it as an earring, but it does make a great pendant.  I do have some of the beads that are in the bracelet in my stash so I'll be able to whip up a little something in no time. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Just Don't Know What To Say

 Recently I came across a blog post about belly dancing with the title "Belly Dance Aficionados" and a secondary title of "The Underbelly of Belly Dance."  I've read this through three times now and I'm still dumbfounded.  This is probably the most vicious attack on Belly Dance that I've ever encountered.  

This isn't the usual "Belly Dance is stripping" tirade.  I'm actually used to that and for the most part I just calmly walk away from that sort of encounter.  No, this blog post written a few months ago by Kidist Paulos Asrat, considers belly dance a "limited art form" in which "The hype (sequins) is much bigger than the content."  

Miz Asrat studied belly dance for two years as first an exercise and then "as a way perfect a dance form" before quitting because she "realized the limited art in the field."

She refers to belly dancing movements as being overtly erotic, likening them to feats of contortionist, especially where the abdominal region is concernedThis leaves me thinking that she quit because she was frustrated by her own limits within the art form.  But that is just my opinion, you'll have to read her post for yourself and make your own decision.

Her final sentence is what confuses me the most.  I thought about quoting it here in it's entirety, but I don't want to spoil the surprise.

P.S.  I deliberately chose the picture for this post because I love the arrogant and slightly amused look on her face.  I like to think that she doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks.  Sort of like me.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Get While The Getting's Good

For a limited time, April 15th to be exact, Margie Deeb is giving away free instructions for my Dolphino Beaded Beads when you purchase a copy of the Spring/Summer 2011 color report.  Those are the little beauties you see in the picture above.

She's also continuing to give away her bead weaving patterns until their all free.  This month it's "Freida's Callas" in both loom and square stitch as well as brick or peyote stitch.

That's all the beady news for now! My package of crystals arrived today so I'll be working up something fabulous for myself to wear in Mujeres Tres, a belly dance/flamenco show I'll be performing in on April 9th at the Tempe Arts Center.

I'll post pictures sometime next week, but in the meantime I'll leave you with a hint.  Crystal AB, a little bit modern, a little bit vintage.
Also, keep a look out for 2 belly dance related posts that I have brewing in my head. Hopefully I'll be able to get to those next week as well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's A Helluva Time To Have A Fever!

Spring fever, that is.  Flowers are blooming, roses are blooming, the air smells like orange blossoms, and the grass is turning green.  This is what I half-jokingly call "Hammock Weather."  And I love it. seems to be creating a bit of havoc with my practice.  Lately my shimmies have gone from leftrightleftrightleftrightleftright to leffffft.......riiiiiight.......leffffft......riiiiiight and my clean, sharp pops & locks have turned to mush. 

My brain says "Get busy, busy, busy!  Summer hibernation is just around the corner!" but my body just isn't responding.  I think I'm twitterpated.  But, sleepy spring laziness aside I have faithfully managed to keep up my belly dance practice every day since Dec. 14th for a total of 4,422 minutes or 73 hours and 42 minutes.

Is anybody else experiencing Spring Fever?  What are you doing about it?  Fighting it?  Going with the flow?

BTW, I forgot to mention in my post about color that my Grandma will be turning 93 in July. 93!!!! And she still lives in her own house and is mostly able to take care of herself. 93!!! She would scold me something fierce if she knew I was revealing her age, but I think it's something to be proud of.
*Purple Tulip image provided by Tom Curtis of FreeDigitalPhotos

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Color, Color, Color!!

 I've been writing so much about my belly dance practice lately that I'm feeling a bit guilty about neglecting the beady side of my blog.  So here it is, at long last, a bead related post about color. 

I love color!  Ever since I was a little girl I've been obsessed with color and the desire to "collect" it and I have my Grandmother to thank for my color fixation.  She used to crochet, embroider, tat, sew, and quilt so she always had bags of scrap fabrics, odd bits of yarn and embroidery threads, etc. for me to play with.

Her own love of color was reflected in the way she decorated her house.  After living with one particular color scheme for a few years she would redecorate every single room.  And I'm talking drastic changes!  She went from green, yellow, and tan to cream, peach, and turquoise; followed by a cream, gold, and pink phase that was patiently tolerated by my Grandfather; to somber and moody burgundy, navy, ivory, bronze, and dark brown after he died.  When her house burned down she rebuilt with a painted desert color scheme and recently she has moved on to red, black, gray, and white.  If people could be inanimate objects in another life I strongly suspect that she was a kaleidoscope.

I don't have my Grandmother's flair for interior design so I satisfy my color craving with beads, yarn, embroidery floss, nail polish, and my latest obsession......paper.  I  recently started an art journal and My!  Oh, my!  There's a whole new world of color available to me in the form on fancy journal papers, stickers, stamps, inks, markers, pencils, and about a bazillion other things I have yet to discover.

And what does this have to do with beads?  Art journaling with beads!!!  Just think of the possibilities!!!  

*watercolor image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Enough Already!!!

For some people the hurdle in their 365 Days of Dance could be something like boredom or lack of time.  But for me, my personal hurdle seems to be injuries.

At the beginning of February I pulled some muscles in my back and before the month was through I had done some funky, weird, painful thing to my left foot when I tripped while cleaning the house.  February is the shortest month of the year.  Just think of the damage I can do to myself in a longer month!  And if I am going to hurt myself it could at least be some sort of dance related injury instead of silly, little everyday mishaps.  That way I can feel satisfied in knowing that I am suffering for my art.

On Monday my belly dance troupe filmed some audition DVDs and I made it through that okay.  But now I plan on trying to stay off my feet as much as possible for the rest of this week and possibly the next. 

That means I'm going to have to modify my practice again. While I'm letting my foot heel I'll be adding some seated yoga postures and some floor-barre to upper body isolations and arm work.

I'm also seriously thinking about getting a few Zena Rommett DVD's, and maybe her book, so I have so a few more injury recuperation options.  Zena created a unique program of ballet exercises that allows dancers with injuries to safely and effectively work their technique while lying on the floor.  I still have a copy of the first VHS she ever released of her method.  I'm hanging onto it thinking that it maybe a collectors item, but it's sort of useless since I don't have a tape player. 

Lucky for me this is National Crochet Month so this will give me plenty of time to finish up some WIP's (works-in-progress.) 

Injuries aside I've been dancing now for 78 days and 3,790 minutes. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Take A Deep Breath And Hit "Send"

 I've been a regular contributor to a variety of bead publications for the past 11 years, but I found myself to be a little bit nervous and a lot bit excited today when I sent off the electronic portion of my submissions for the Fall 2011 issue of Stringing magazine.  

I submitted 4 bracelets to be considered for the gallery portion of the magazine.  I had plans for making a few necklaces and some earrings, but those ideas fell by the wayside while I did battle with the Snot Monster.  

Motherhood has been the main focus over the past three years so my nervousness comes from feeling somewhat out of touch with the beading community.  On the one hand, I've never been much of a trend follower, but on the other hand, I do believe I need to at least be aware of what the current fashions are all the rage in Beadlandia. 

Wish me luck!  

In the meantime, you can see some of my recent work in the Spring 2011 issue of Margie Deeb's Color Report for Bead and Jewelry Designers.  And just for this color report, with each purchase, Margie is including a free PDF of instructions for my lovely, lovely Dolphino beaded beads, as seen in the picture above.

Now for a bit of belly dance news:

Three days of rehearsal while doing battle with the aforementioned Snot Monster has left me exhausted, but I've still been able to keep up with my 365 Days of Belly Dance challenge.  I'm currently at 89 days and 3,520 minutes of dancing.  

Sadly, with all these extra rehearsals I had to give up my tribal class, at least for now.  I may be able to return to class in mid-April after the Mujeres 3 show on April 9th.  Happily, I did sign up for 6 months of on-line classes with Ansuya and I'll be doing those at least once and possibly twice a week.   

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, My Aching Back!

See that picture?  I just wanted to show you what I have not been doing lately.  I stupidly pulled the same muscles in my back twice within a few days of each other which means that I've had to seriously modify my practice this week.  

Hurting my back forced me to miss rehearsal on Sunday.  I was not happy.  A sick husband and child had me missing class as well rehearsal on Monday.  I was not happy in the extreme.  This week did not start out well, but I'm determined that it will have a better ending.

I love, love, love yoga!!  It always seem to be good for whatever is ailing a person.  Almost 10 years ago a yoga instructor and a physical therapist worked with me to create a program to heal and strengthen my lower back after I herniated 2 disks.  Yoga has also helped me to control the almost daily migraines I have suffered with for most of my adult life.

Since Sunday my practice has consisted of the back pain yoga sequence from the book Yoga As Medicine and the 30 minute isolations and drills from Rachel Brice's Tribal Fusion Belly Dance DVD; which meant that by yesterday I was able to attend a tribal belly dance class.  Yipee!!

My back is still a bit sore and I'm very aware of those pulled muscles when I move just right, but the debilitating spasms are gone and that makes me happy.  And now that my hubby and kidlet are also on the mend I am extremely happy.  

I love happy endings, don't you?    

*belly dance clip art provided by: Me'ira's Clip Art for Oriental Dancers

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

To Thine Own Self Bead True

To thine own self bead true.....that's the lesson I learned while working on the Spring/Summer 2011 Pantone color report.  Back in December I wrote a post about the color scheme  you see below for one of my projects with the idea of using it in a bead embroidered heart pendant.
 But as you can see from this picture, the results were less than stellar.
In a word....yuck!  I don't know what I was thinking.  Well, actually I do.  I was thinking I was going to make this absolutely stunning, complex, over the top bead embroidered pendant that would have people sighing "Oooh!" and "Aaah!"  And that's just not me.  I definitely want my bead work to be considered stunning, but I also want it to be classy & elegant.  So I scrapped this whole idea and decided to go back to what I do best, good ol' classy & elegant.  Here's what I came up with.

Now this is more like it!  This is me!  Only three colors; lavender, green, & gold with some fabulous beaded beads designed by yours truly, faceted amethyst nuggets, and of course, Swarovski crystal. 

Of course I can't end this post without letting you all know that I'm still dancing strong at 50 days and 2,274 hours. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Zombie Mommy Improves Her Shimmy In Less Than 60 Seconds

I apologize for not posting in a while.  My daughter sometimes has night terrors, which turns me into a one brain celled Zombie Mommy and her into a Cranky Face.  It's hard to string words into coherent sentences when you're suffering from sleep deprivation.  It also makes for a lackluster belly dance practice, but I'm still going strong at 46 days and 1,793 hours.  Which leads me to my promised post about how to improve your shimmy in less than 60 seconds.

Two weeks ago I was making my way through rush hour traffic to a make-up Tribal belly dance class and listening to a traffic report when I became aware of something unusual going on with the traffic ahead of me.  Unusual in the sense that there was a rusty orange little sporty type car HEADED STRAIGHT FOR ME!!  Lucky for me that the left turn lane that I frantically swerved into was empty of other cars and the #$%^!!& sporty car driver flew on by, and fortunately all the other cars behind me were able to get out of his, or her, way as well.  

Fuming, furious, and shaking like a leaf I made it safely to class a few minutes later and shimmied my way into the class room.  I shimmied through the warm-up, the drills, the learning of a few new moves and cues, the improve leading portion of the class, and through the cool down.  

So now I know that the secret to a good shimmy is having the pants scared off of me.  But my advise to you would be to keep up with the practicing.  It's safer and you'll have fewer gray hairs for it.  

P.S.  Later that night I checked the local news reports and didn't see anything about an accident caused by a deranged driver in a rusty orange car, so I'm hoping the idiot either removed himself from the road or the police did. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Am I Doing?

I'm doing just great!  I've been dancing for 35 days and 1192 hours.  I like seeing those hours add up, and hopefully, so do you.  I mean, you all know I've committed myself to 365 days of dancing so I thought I'd show the hours I've danced, too.  

So far I've been dividing my time between class & troupe "homework," videos, on-line video drills, and occasionally breaking my practice into 3 10 minute sessions.

When I'm facing a publishing deadline, or am having a day like today when I have the attention span of a goldfish, those little bites of belly dance come in super handy.

Getting back to those dancing hours;  plan on seeing them increase dramatically over the next few months.  The fearless leader of my troupe, The Black Opals, has called for extra rehearsals on Sundays and Wednesdays to teach us some Persian dances that we'll be performing in March and April.  I'll keep you posted as to some of those dates. 

I'm excited, and a bit scared, when it comes to learning these new dances.  As a classically trained dancer with decades of experience under my belt, I'm not worried about the technical end of learning something new.  I know I can learn and execute the moves without any problems.  It's the cultural aspects that have me a bit scared since some of the dates we have scheduled are for primarily Iranian audiences.  I'm really, really scared that I'll make some sort of cultural faux pas on the stage.  

And, from what I understand, the authentic Persian costumes we are going to be borrowing are very, very expensive.  *gulp*  

Oh!  And check back in with me in a day or two and I'll tell you how to dramatically improve your shimmy in less than 60 seconds.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

By golly, I did it!

Today has most definitely been on of "those" days.  I was too wired last night after belly dance class and troupe to settle down to sleep until a little after 1:00 AM.  Round about 3:00, my darling daughter woke up crying, wanting Mommy, and wanting her NOW!!

Most of the time I can sleep just fine with her in bed with me, but this was not one of those times.  She was restless, rolling all over the bed, and taking the blankets with her, so "Goodbye!" to sleep for me.  I won't go into the sad details of how the rest of the early morning hours went, but believe me when I say it wasn't good.  

The end result is that it is now 4:30 in the afternoon Arizona time and I've had roughly 2 to 3 hours of sleep.  

30 minutes of belly dance?  That's just freakin' stupid crazy.  I don't want to do anything!  What's wrong with me?  Why did I sign myself up for this? Someone please hit me with The Stupid Stick!!

But I did it anyway.  I reviewed the hip slide and twist drills from last night's class.  My tantrum is over and I'm a good girl and I deserve a lollipop.  

Take that, sleep deprivation!  Consider yourself bopped on the nose with a zil. 

So that officially makes me 29 days and 932 hours into my challenge.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Moves You To Move?

So just what exactly is your motivation behind your commitment to the "365 Days of Belly Dance?"  

Today Lisa Zahiya wrote a blog post about her snow driving adventure and asked "What motivates you?  Does accountability help?"

I say, "Hell, yes!"  Accountability does help.

I've been blogging and posting on FB about my commitment, so just knowing that you all know keeps me motivated.  My troupe mates are also routing for me and I don't want to let them down. 

I don't want to let me down either.

Some other things that are urging me on are the desire to be a better dancer, lose the last of the baby weight I gained about 3 years ago, tone and tighten some of the jiggly bits, and put it bluntly, bragging rights.

But the biggest motivating force in my life is my daughter.  My own mother didn't provide much for me in the way of a role model which makes it over-the-top important for me to be a good role model for her.

So now I'm asking what motivates you?  Does accountability help?



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just Keep Dancing, Dancing, Dancing!

I am officially 22 days and 656 hours into my 365 Days of Dancing!  WooHOOO!!

And tonight, if luck be with me and my hubby makes it home in time, I'll be making another foray into the world of Tribal style belly dancing.  I've tried Tribal style twice in the past few years and both times came away intensely disappointed.  One studio switched from a superior to an inferior teacher about mid way through the session and the second class was canceled after a few weeks due to lack of participation.  I've heard that the third time is a charm.  We'll see about that.

If you're not interested in a belly dance or a dance related challenge, how about some other these other challenge/commitments?

Jennifer VanBenschoten, beadwork guide for  has committed herself to making one pair of earrings a day for the month of January. 

If earrings aren't your thing what about making one drawing a day like Ken over at Mildly Creative is doing.  Click here to see his set of rules that aren't really rules. 

Into photography?  How about joining the "365 Project" and take one picture a day for a year. 

And finally, if you are of literary bent you can join Script Frenzy and write an entire screen play in April, or set aside the entire month of November for National Novel Writing Month.

Best of wishes in what ever you do!