Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 100 Day Challenge

A fellow belly dancer, Gina, recently issued an interesting 100 day challenge.  Why wait until the New Year to start on the list of goals and resolutions lurking around in the shadows of your mind?  Why not do it now, during the last one hundred days of the year?  The challenge doesn't start until September 23rd so there is still plenty of time to get that list together and it doesn't have to be anything even remotely related to belly dance.  If you don't want to share your list on Gina's page, then post it on your own blog, FB page, on the refrigerator, or anywhere that works for you, just as long as you make yourself accountable for it.

Here's my list, in no particular order:
1.  Clean out closet and revitalize stale, boring wardrobe.
2.  Lose weight.
3.  Finish up a few crochet projects.
4.  Yoga.  Everyday.
     -I just bought Rodney Yee's "Yoga:  The Poetry of the Body" and downloaded "Yoga
       With Weights" on the e-reader to keep things fresh and interesting.
5.  Start a vegetable garden.
6.  Reduce the "To Read" pile of 20+ books down to zero.
     -This is mainly so that I can justify buying more books.
7.  Transplant rose bushes.
8.  Organize notes from Flamenco class.
     -Right now they're in 3 different places:  a notebook, on the sticky note app of my
       phone, and on the e-reader.     
9.  Take "Teaching Yoga to Kids" class.
10.  Write.  Everyday.
       -It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be done.
11.  Organize yarn stash into just one room. 
      -Only the bathrooms and kitchen are currently yarn free.
12.  Treat myself to a super awesome spa day.

I deliberately kept my list simple.  My summer hibernation is barely at an end and my calender is already overflowing with bead related deadlines, workshops, classes, recitals, rehearsals, and volunteering, along with the usual never ending Mommy-Do list.

Some really exciting things are happening in my life and I'll be blogging about a few of them over the next few days.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Love Lucy and Her Jewelry!

Lucille Ball is one of my favorite actresses.  I've always admired her for being strong, outspoken, gracious, and just down right drop-dead gorgeous.  When the male dominated industry of Hollywood moviedom didn't know what to do with this fabulously funny and intelligent woman she made her own way in the fledgling field of television.  And she wore fabulous jewelry along the way.

In this photo for a publicity still for the movie "Look Who's Laughing" she's wearing a uniquely beautiful necklace and bracelet set designed for her by Joseff.  I haven't seen this movie so I have no idea if she actually wore it in the film or not.

And here's my version of her Joseff necklace; a seed beaded herringbone rope adorned with Kashmiri beads, Chinese crystals, and Czech glass daggers. 

This second piece, a sparkling herringbone and crystal bracelet, was inspired by the wide diamond bracelets that were so popular in the 1930's.  Everyone from high ranking studio star to hopeful starlet was wearing them.

P.S.  This apple picture is a cryptic nod to a favorite movie of mine starring Barbara Stanwyck as a fortune hunting con artist who gets her man by conking him on the head with a half-eaten apple.  Any guesses as to what that movie might be?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Make My Own Crazy

Week 2 of The Artist's Way for Beaders (TAWFB) has been about recovering a sense of identity and one of the topics has been about identifying and dealing with "poisonous playmates" and "crazy makers."  The first 2 times I worked through TAW I successfully dealt with all those nasty Negative Nellies, or so I thought.  Now, here I am doing this a third time and I find that I am, as the saying goes, my own worst enemy.

I make myself crazy with all my self doubts and self defeating attitudes.  I thought I had laid all those horrible beasts to rest, but that's not the case.  Just like a bunch of zombies in a Z-grade horror movie they have crawled up from the depths, but instead of calling out for "Brains!  Brains!" they're sucking away at my self-esteem.

At this point I have no idea as to how to effectively deal with this.  How does one go about eliminating one's own army of Self Defeatist Zombies?  Baby steps of taking out one useless walking corpse of self doubt at a time, or just shred the whole bunch in one big explosion?  Is it ever possible to eliminate them all?

Either way, it's something I need to work on and I'm open for suggestions.

Two other tasks for this week were to make a list of 20 things I enjoy doing and a list of 10 things I would like to;  I'll give you 5 of each:

I enjoy:
1.  Word puzzles
2.  Jigsaw puzzles
3.  Hiking
4.  Biking
5.  Rock climbing

I would like to:
1.  Repaint my yoga/beading/dance room
2.  Collect antique tea cups
3.  Visit France
4.  Dye my hair purple and get a new hair cut
5.  Go on a retreat:  yoga, belly dancing, beading, writing;  any of these would do nicely

Friday, August 10, 2012

12 Weeks of "Artist's Way for Beaders"

Earlier this week Jennifer Chaslow VanBenschoten started a FaceBook group, "The Artist's Way For Beaders," based on Julie Cameron's book, "The Artist's Way."  It's a public group, all beaders are invited, so at least drop by the page, or Jennifer's blog, to see for yourself what it's all about.

I've already been doing the morning pages for over 10 years now, and for the most part I'm able to squeeze in a little bit of beading every day, so my 12 week challenge is going to be 30 minutes a day of play time, experimental, beading that may or may not lead to a finished piece.  If it does, great!  If not, it will find it's way into one of the many fancy photo boxes I keep handy for WIPs, false starts, and smeg-ups. 

My biggest challenge is going to be finding time for the artist's date;  one day per week that is set aside for just me to refuel and refresh my creativity.  First off, my daughter being in school for only a measly 3 hours a day gives me only about 2 hours of uninterrupted free time.  Secondly, my husband is a truck driver and is gone a lot.  Quite a lot.  Like for an entire week sometimes, so that leaves just about all the parenting to me.  And thirdly, there just isn't much in my neck of the woods that I would consider creatively refreshing.  The economy killed off the few small museums that were within a decent driving distance, and as the far west valley becomes overly populated all the cute little Mom & Pop style craft and book stores, yoga studios, etc. are slowly being pushed out of business by generic box stores.

I'm thinking my best bet will be a weekly yoga class.  A good yoga class always, always, always leaves me feeling freer, lighter, happier, refreshed, and refueled.  It's not the immersion into the artistic and creative world called for in the book, but if it's what works for me then it's all good.  And yes, this yoga class will have to be at the generic box store gym, because my favorite yoga studio closed its doors a few months ago, but at least the gym offers child care.     

I may also have to do some actual scheduling of my time to get myself through the next 12 weeks, if not the entire school year.  And I hate schedules.  I had crazy, control freaky "I own you." parents so anything that seems too regimented drives me absolutely raving, loony, bat shit, crazy.  I'll have to keep reminding myself that schedules are not a means of controlling or having power over someone, but are a way to keep my uber busy life running as smoothly as possible.   

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cats and Crystals

The theme for week 6 of Fusion Bead's Weekly Challenge was pet inspired jewelry or jewelry made for a beloved pet to wear.  I love my pets too much to dress them up human like, so the only option open to me was to make something for myself.  

I adore cats, love crystals, and lately I've been feeling the need for jewelry that leans more towards the casual, so I combined vintage and contemporary Swarovski crystal and sterling silver with some super cute vintage beads and a cat themed HomeStudio pendant to make this very red necklace.

Most people may not consider jewelry that's been made with crystals, especially of the vintage sort, to be casual, but when compared to something like this, it is.

I skipped making hair accessories for week 7 because I was just too busy doing other wonderful beady and crafty things.  But, I did take the time to organize my tools.

Yes, that's a tea cup in the background and yes, I do consider caffeine to be a very important and valuable design tool. 

I'll be skipping over weeks 9, 10, & 11 in order to make some spectacular film inspired jewelry that will probably take me back into the elaborate and a little too over the top for the grocery store category.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ugly Beadwork Is No Fun

Although there is a certain amount of grim satisfaction in it, deliberately creating ugly bead work, even if it is for a book, is just not much in the way of fun.

Anyway...I took a break from the latest bit of hideousness that I've been working on for Margie's book to make something quick, easy, and lovely for Week 5 of Fusion Beads Weekly Challenge.  I made these "Mere Mandalas" earrings a few weeks ago, before I was hit by a series of back to back migraines that had me completely drained of energy for a while.  Stupid migraines.

Hopefully I'll finish the necklace using a HomeStudio pendant, that I started for Week 6 over the weekend and will have pictures of it sometime next week.

In the meantime, happy beading and happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I've Been A Busy Beading Bee

Surprise!  I'm actually back to blogging.  Where have I been?  No where.  I've been here and beading like a crazy little bee.  But, what I've been working on are projects for Margie Deeb's latest book and sneak peeks are not allowed.

I can, however, show you these:  This first bracelet, "Miss Daisy" is what I made for Week 1 of Fusion Bead's Weekly Challenges. 

Next up we have Week 2:  Use a Crystal Mix in a Piece of Jewelry.  I paired their "Watermelon" mix with one of my favorite Swarovski crystal pearl shapes, the twisted petal, in peach to make this bracelet and earrings.  By the way, those earrings are a variation on a pair that I created for the Spring 2012 issue of Stringing magazine.  

Friday, March 16, 2012


As promised here's a picture of the vintage goodies that I recently received from A Grain of Sand's "Curiosities" bead hoarder club. 

This first box contained mostly plastic, chain, and brass stampings along with some copper clasps, seed beads, glass, a few crystals, and two bangles that my daughter made off with in less than sixty seconds.

Indigo and I had a blast sorting through all of this and making up little piles for her bead stash, my inventory, our craft box, plus a few things for the donation box.   

Look at these adorable Scottie dog stampings!  I managed to sneak them out of the pile before Indigo saw them.  I have no idea as to what I'll be doing with them; they're too big for me to wear as earrings, and I don't know anyone who owns Scotties, so I may find a way to drill a hole in one so that Indigo can make it into a necklace for herself.

 It's mid March and I'm already looking forward to my next club shipment.  I'm wondering if this first box was a random mix or given that it had so much plastic and metal,  if maybe this was a theme.  Either way, it can't come soon enough for me!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Bead Challenge Goes On

I'm still hard at work on some gallery pieces for Margie's Deeb upcoming design book but I still took some time out for the Fusion Bead 30 Day Bead Challenge

Day 5.  Incorporate Chain Into a Jewelry Design:   I did and the two designs I came up with were so good that I decided to keep them under wraps as future Stringing magazine submissions.  Wish me luck!

Day 6.  Create Your Own Palette:  This is something I do all the time.  Two of my favorites methods are coloring and playing with paint chip samples. 

Day 7.  Use a Different Metal in Your Jewelry:  I'm not a metal purist; if I like it I'll use it, so I skipped this one.

As for Days 8-11, they'll have to wait until next month.  

In other news, I joined A Grain of Sand's bead hoarder's club, the 12 month plan, and received the first box last week.  I'll post some thoughts and pictures later on in the week. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

30 Day Bead Challenge

To kick off National Craft Month in their own way Fusion Beads decided to have a 30 Day Bead Challenge and I decided to take part in it.  I'm right in the middle of 3 different projects for publication so my participation will be limited, but here's what I've done so far.

Day 1.  Make earrings.  And I did...two quick and easy pairs.  The triangle tops are made with Miyuki Delica blend #986, which is one of my all time favorites because it's made of varying shades of purples, greens, and golds.  I see a matching bracelet and necklace in the kind of near future for these.  I made my version of Fusion Beads "Poseidon" earrings, which calls for 8 mm Swarovski crystal bicones, in fuchsia and gold because that's pretty much all I had on hand at the time. 

Day 2.  Use Up Some Bead Leftovers:  This was a toughie.  I don't actually have bead leftovers.  Now, don't hate me because I'm organized, but I do really and truly but everything away after I'm finished with a project.  No leftover bead soup for me.  So I cheated and dived into my drawer of cane class beads and made myself this lovely bracelet.  

Day 3.  Learn a New Beading Technique:  Like I said, I do have some due dates to consider so this is going to have to wait until next month when I have more time.  I'd love to play with that new crystal clay I've been hearing so much about.

Day 4.  Organize Your Bead Area:  So I did.  And here are the before and after pictures to prove it.  Of course there's no guarantee that it will stay cleaned up for more than a day or two.

Day 5.  Incorporate Chain Into a Jewelry Design:  Maybe next month.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Read! Answer! Win!

If you haven't already read the latest, February 2012, issue of "Bead & Button" magazine then you need to do so, and quickly.

Margie Deeb is running a 6 part Design & Color Mastery series and to celebrate she and Lark Books are having a little contest.

Here's how to play:
1.  Read the article, "Capturing and Keeping Attention" on page 30.
2. E-mail Margie with the correct answers to these three questions:
    A.  List 3 elements you can use to create contrast in order to attract attention.
    B.  Where is the eye drawn first when you see a piece of jewelry?
    C.  Describe the concept of "whole over the parts" emphasis.

The first 4 people who respond correctly will win four Lark Studio Series books.  She can't promise you which four, but if there is one you really, really want just let her know when you e-mail her with your answers and she'll see what she can do.  You can read more about the books here.  Please be sure to include your physical mailing address along with your answers!  

*NOTE:  By responding, you are giving Margie permission to publish your name (but not your e-mail address) as a winner.

Contest ends January 23, 2012

Remember, don't respond with the answers here on my blog.  You must send the answers directly to Margie in order to be eligible.

Good luck!

Here's a sneak peek at one of the attention capturing necklaces featured in the article: