Friday, October 29, 2010

Margie & Me challenge

I had some time challenges this round of the M&M challenge. But I still had fun with it! I love the antiquish whites and the blue in this picture:

Generally though, I have a hard time with whites in my beadwork. I find they look too wedding-y or babyish. I went through the delica colors listed in the book (of which I had all the delicas - in another post I will share how/why I have SO many delicas) and collected the colors in this palette. My first urge was to do a piece similar to the last M& M challenge - you know, bead up some beads with the delicas and make a necklace! That felt a little lazy to me though so I looked through some of my glass blown beads and was thrilled to find these great lentil shaped beads (albeit humongous lentils!) and a Venetian oblong bead.

They are heavier in pink than the palette shows, but I still found them to be a good fit. You can see a rejected start of a bezel set in the top left corner! Hah!

I tried a handful of ideas in my head:


I thought I was settled on this bead wrapped in a tubular herringbone twist:

But I couldn't decide on how I wanted to incorporate it into a piece of jewelry. So then I strung another bit of tubular twisted herringbone and came up with this:

Fun, fun, fun as usual! I had never attempted twisted tubular herringbone before this challenge. The method is way easier than I thought it would be - as is herringbone in general - I can't believe I've shied away from it for so many years!

Friends

It's Friday night! TGIF! I had a productive day (working my "real job") and now I've settled down with a glass of wine. My husband is at a happy hour with some of his former work buddies (something he rarely does, so I'm really glad he's catching up with them.) My son is watching his favorite Disney shows....and me...well, I'm kind of missing my girlfriends! Unfortunately some of my closest friends are not close in proximity!!

My bestest bestie in the world is someone I met 37 years ago. And it's a cute story: when I was 4 years old, our back yard shared a fence with the local elementary school yard (which was a huge black asphalt lot!). I would play out back and when the kids came out to recess, I would hang out and watch them. At some point, my very best friend, Barbara, a kindergartner at the time, came over to the fence and made friends with me!!! We talked every day at the fence during recess and have been best friends since. She stayed in Massachusetts though, and after college, I found myself in the D.C. area. We talk just about every day though! Here we are at my wedding (two years ago this month!):

(my beading friends - I made the bridesmaids' jewelry but I also made the beaded dragonfly seen in the bouquet Barb is holding! I put those cute little dragonflies in all thebouquets and table arrangements too - it was sooooo fun adding that beaded touch to the wedding!)

Another close friend of mine I met shortly after my son was born. I had my son in a daycare in the USDA Building along the National Mall. My dear friend Bridget had her daughter in there as well. They were born one week apart and we started daycare on the same day. She worked in genocide research at the Holocaust Museum which is next door, and I was working as the sales director for a handful of restaurants in downtown D.C. We would arrive to pick up our kids at almost exactly the same time each day, and we both were nursing our babies so the first thing we needed to do when we arrived is nurse them. And the funny thing was, the center banished us to a back room so no one would see us nursing our children (LOL!). And so Bridget and I spent evening after evening together in that back room for at least 6 months. Today I live near Annapolis, MD, and she is lives in Northern VA. On the map we are only about an hour away from each other, but with D.C. in between us, the traffic can be pretty unpredictable! Even so, we've tried to keep up a tradition we have each year of taking our kids to a pumpkin patch in the fall.

(I know the collage is Jackson-heavy, but Bridget's kids are in the pics in the blue shirts.)
The kids had a blast this year picking pumpkins, running through the evergreen maze, the hayride and they absolutely loved the "mobile mining experience". Bridget's daughter left me with some amethyst she mined to bead up some earrings for her.

I wrapped them up with some seed beads. They are a little big for earrings for a 9 year old, but I think a necklace is in order!

So I raise my wine glass to my dear friends who I wish could be joining me in a glass of wine tonight!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where We Create

I'm finally back home and catching up on things from being away to attend my stepmother's services. My dad just sent me this great picture...taken along Route 70/62 in Clinton MA along the Wachusett Reservoir:

What a sweet and lovely tribute and it really made me smile after an exhausting week.

It was a beautiful drive from Maryland to Massachusetts and then back. The colors in Pennsylvania were quite spectacular and a real inspiration for the Art with Heart Cycle 3 competition!

As I've been catching up on the blogs I follow I see there is a "where we create" theme going around so I thought I'd share my space:

We call it the "bead room", and it is also where our spare bed is for guests. I also keep other crafts up there. It is on the second floor and overlooks our back yard. And I am lucky to get lots of great birds perching on the tree branches that you can see just outside the windows. I feel so blessed to have that creative space to bead in, although I confess I have a bead project going in at least two other rooms in the house!!!
Like in my husbands den:

and the living room:

That is one of the (bazillion) great things about beads - they are just so amazingly portable!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Well....I had some grandiose plans last week. I had every intention of doing a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. I know some survivors...and some not so lucky victims of breast cancer. One of the survivors I know, has a walk coming up. I wanted to donate and I have no shortage of pink beads!!! So I went a little crazy making earrings:


My plan was to sell them on Etsy and donate all the profits to the wonderful teams I know walking for breast cancer. (Geesh - I had some pretty great incentive ideas for this plan!!!)

But then.... well....my stepmother died of cancer over the weekend. Lung cancer. It was an arduous battle for her an it as at least a comfort that she is finally comfortable.

My plans were slightly derailed. But I will tuck those earrings away for next year's round of walks since I will be out of town for the next week to be with my dad, who lost his beloved wife of nearly 25 years.

In the meanwhile, Beads-N-Blessing's Art with Heart competition definitely takes on new meaning for me because profits will go to Step Up for Cancer. And the autumn themed kit feels rather poignant to me as well. There are still 11 kits left so if you are a beader, you can still get in on the charitable fun! The kits ship out today!!! And the deadline for the competition isn't until November 30!


I am excited to be working on another Margie & Me color challenge as well. Lost of fun and meaningful beading times ahead!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happiness is....

...spending the weekend working on a color challenge!

What fun. I happened to have Margie Deeb's book that I borrowed from the library. After pouring over it for the last two weeks, I'm looking forward to adding it to my beading library. It's a keeper!

I pondered over the challenge for a few days and picked up a few on sale items at Michael's in preparation for the challenge. But then I was re-reading Marcie's post regarding the challenge and she mentioned that Margie gives the Delica colors in the book. So I checked that out and then checked out my stash...only to realize I had 5 of the 6 colors in the palette!

And I was happy to see I had a few corresponding colors in various seed beads.

So I fooled around with different techniques and possibilities:



And finally settled on the cylinder peyote stitched beads for my final piece:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Life is Butty (or alternately titled, My Muse)

There is a stink bug, in a Gladware container, sitting on my desk. I didn't purposely keep it in the house like this all day (and actually, there are probably about 50 more unconfined stinkbugs in this house as it is), however when I look at the bug, it makes me smile.

Last night, at about 9:30pm, this sweet fellow, my son, Jackson

came dashing down the stairs to tell me and my husband that while he was reading in bed, a "stinkbug flew right by" his head! I told him that once he turned off the light, the stinkbug would be attracted to the light in the bathroom, and to please honey, turn off the light and go to sleep.

A few minutes later I heard him come back down the stairs, but didn't see him. Then I heard some rummaging around in the kitchen. Then some dashing up the stairs. And finally about five minutes later he came dashing down again. This time with Gladware container in hand, a bit of a grimace on his face and an announcement: "Here! Here it is. It's the stinkbug that flew by my head. I'm in my underwear though so I can't bring it outside."

And so I present to you, my muse (and in this photo, a dear friend's lovely daughter - who could also qualify as a muse as well!):

muse 1. A guiding spirit. 2. A source of inspiration.

I love this little guy so much. And all day this stinkbug has found its way in the living room, the kitchen and then my desk. Because, it's just bringing a smile to my face, just like Jackson brings a smile to my face.

I have many muses for many things, and many muses for beading. But Jackson definitely is my muse in life.


He often humors me by looking at my bead work and feigning interest (although he cares much much more about Pokemon, Bey Blades and Bionicles)! He is sweet, charming, funny and smart! He possesses more grace than people 5 times his age. I am so proud that he is in the Talented and Gifted program at school. He scores off the charts in reading and math...but he is a terrible speller. Case in point: this was something he gave me last year for Christmas.....which not unlike the stinkbug puts a smile on my face:

When I opened this, he put a knowing smile on his face and put his arm around me and said, "Life IS beauty, Mom."

My husband and I often remind each other when things might get difficult, that "Life is Butty". And we just smile. Hope this puts a smile on your face today, too.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to let a stinkbug back out into the wild and finish working on my Margie & Me Challenge piece!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Great Find & A Preliminary Review

I've been walking a lot more recently since my son started school and because of that I have taken an interest in the Skechers Shape Up shoes. Like a good consumer, I figure, why not get a work out while I'm walking!!?!?! After reading the reviews I definitely decided I wanted a pair but was shocked to see they cost about $100!!! In spite of that though, I decided I was going to get them when I had a little extra cash.

Well today, I was buzzing through WalMart and happened to glance down one of the shoe aisles and saw some 'Rocker Bottom Toning" sneakers!!!! I picked up this pair:

They are the Danskin version of the shoe, a knock-off of the Skechers, which is apparently a knock-off of a type of MTB shoe (which at $200+ a pair was never in my league to even know about!). And here is the best part: they were only $25!

So now I present to you my preliminary review of the Danskin Now Athena Rocker Bottom Toning Shoes:
They feel very strange at first when you put them on, but I got used to them right away. I immediately noticed that they make you stand up straighter to keep your balance. Now when I say that, it's not like you are going to fall down if you don't stand up straight, it is simply more comfortable and less awkward feeling to do so. Also - because of the bottom of the shoe, you are forced to walk heel to toe on each step. You can definitely feel some of the muscles in the front of your pelvis getting 'worked' as well as some feeling in the gluts!

So far so good. But we're only talking about a couple hours in the shoes! Hee hee! In any case though, they seem like a good way to get a feel for shoes of this type without spending big bucks to do so!

While I'd like to promise that I will take my measurements and give a measured review in a few weeks, I will probably just let you know if my pants are fitting better!!!

For now though, I'm off to my bead room because I did some misbehaving at Michael's today. (I really went in for a replacement pair of needlenose pliers.....but...um...they were having a sale of 40% off on all of the "bead gallery" strung beads!!!)