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?