Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart 2011

One World One Heart! A post to participate in one of the biggest blog hops around! This post will tell you a little bit about me, and at the end there is a giveaway!

Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Amy and I live in a town outside of Annapolis, Maryland which is also situated somewhat between Washington D.C. and Baltimore. I am a mom to a 9 year old boy. My husband and I were married 2 years ago, after meeting on eHarmony a few years before (yes - it really works!). With my marriage, I also gained two stepdaughters (18 and 21). My blog is primarily about my passion, which is bead work but I've found over the last year that many other subjects of my life find a way of slipping in!! I've been beading for over 16 years. I really do love all beads, but seed beads and beadweaving are definitely my favorite.

I aim someday to make my beaded jewelry business my career, but for now, any sales I make sustain the hobby. I also participate in lots of competitions and challenges. I've also been experimenting with resin in the last few months and am looking forward to exploring this craft further and continuing to incorporate it into my beadwork.

I am also a huge lover of other crafts. I own the entire Martha Stewart glitter collection and feel that glitter is a fine addition to many things. I love working with pretty papers and wood, together or separately. Last year I took a class in magazine paper collage. This has been one of my favorite mediums (other than beads) :

Since I am still fine-tuning a way to make a living with my craft, I work full time doing freelance work for festivals, special events and weddings. Most of my work in this field is event planning and management, social media management and consulting, and various other project management. I also am a part-time dog walker! :)
(these dogs should be arrested for being criminally cute!)


I love to hike, camp, kayak and just be outside and close to nature. My son's cub scout camping outings have turned out to rank high in my list of favorite past times.


I have a thing for birds (which was evident when I reviewed my honeymoon pictures and it looked something like this)

(there was over 70% more pics of birds than anything else!)


As part of the hopping around for One World One Heart, I am offering this necklace as a giveaway. I made it last week for a color challenge.


All you have to do is leave a comment, and on February 17th I will draw a winner!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for hopping around to all the other One World One Heart participants!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Margie & Marcie & Me Color Challenge

Don't you think!? We really should start calling it the Margie & Marcie & Me Challenge. Especially with the gorgeous color palette Marcie cranked out! M&M&M! (it's fun to say too!)

Well...it is safe to say, I really enjoyed these two color palettes equally. I started by making these beaded discs and then strung them:


Then a funny thing happened. It was time for me to put my bead soup together for my bead soup partner and I kept putting together bead soups that matched this palette! So I took a break from the bead soup and made another necklace for this palette:

Those gorgeous long green beads, and the sweet tan beads with white dots were a birthday gift from my dear friend Lynn last year! They have been staring at me for months now and I think they are a perfect fit for this challenge!

And then I moved on to the next challenge. I really loved these colors together. They are just so pretty and that splash of pink just sings to me! So I started out this part of the challenge with plans to make a beaded flower with these pink beads

and put it on an aqua necklace done with right angle weave links. Buuuut......I didn't have enough aqua beads! And if you will recall, I'm on a bead buying hiatus this year. The 2010 Amy would have, upon her vision, just logged right on to Artbeads.com and ordered enough (and more) of the needed aqua beads. The 2011 Amy realized she needed to change her plan!

So I made the flower anyway.

And had a few links so I made this cute ring


and then I did what probably most beaders do with small stashes of color...I made earrings!




I am bummed I haven't caught the best light for some of my pictures. :( But I never seem to be able to get it together when the sun is out. Time to learn more about light boxes and indoor photography I think!

This weekend my dad is visiting :) for my son's Pinewood Derby which is today! Wish him luck!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Got my beads for the Party!

I got my beads from my swap partner, the Lanyard Lady, for the Bead Soup Blog Party! This is just TOO FUN! Lori from Pretty Things had hundreds, yes, hundreds of beaders sign up for this party and I can't wait to see all the amazing creations! By the way, did you know she's also doing a book about Bead Soup Blog Parties? How cool is THAT!?

(there hasn't been much natural light around here lately...lots of cloud cover...so I hope to do these pics some justice!)

There were a great variety of really neat beads in this package.

Here is the focal, a painted metal disc of the sun:


And here are the coordinating beads!

Assorted yellow & green lampwork beads:


A splash of colors in assorted material...(I love those pale green leaves):


Some gorgeous Swarovski crystal:


Some caps & beads and a really pretty silver heart shaped clasp (just in time for Valentines day!)(and what a really cute "Mom" charm):


Some black & white beads:


Put it together and what have you got?!
BEAD SOUP!


I'm glad we have a couple of weeks before the party since my schedule is swamped for the next two weeks. I love trying new (to me) colors and the color assortment in this soup will certainly stretch my creativity!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sneak peek

It is sneak peek day for the Margie & Me challenge on La Bella Joya. I've really enjoyed these two color palettes. I completed this piece earlier this month:

And then shortly after that I began working on my swap beads for the Bead Soup Blog Party. But as I was putting it together I saw the colors went quite well with the same palette I had worked on for the piece above....so I put together a different bag of beads for the swap, and made another piece for the same color palette:

I'm currently working on a piece for the second palette and hoping I'll finish by next Saturday!!


In the meanwhile, the festival I'm working on is in three short weeks. And instead of blogging this morning I should really be finishing the show guide layout, and sending volunteers their assignments....but there is always the afternoon! And it's cold here in Maryland today so I plan to spend most of the day inside. Do you watch Top Chef? We've got two of the current contestants doing demos at the festival. After all my years in the restaurant industry I am not usually crazy about watching food/chef shows, but it's fun to tune in and root for the demonstrating chefs at my show!

Also - the fabulous Lori Anderson of Pretty Things, is giving away this really, awesome metal stamping kit. I am drooling over this kit.

You may wonder why, as I am more a seed bead beader than a metal or clay beader....however I have had a fantasy for years of stamping little metal tags to add to the clasps of my pieces. And it's on my bucket list to learn how to use PMC!!!

Wishing everyone a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Comfort Zone

I saw this graphic on Lori Anderson's blog the other day and just had to share it (even though anyone reading this probably reads her blog too and quite probably has already seen it!)

It totally reminded me of this great two minute clip of an interview with Tony Robbins:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38434790#38434790


And speaking of Lori Anderson's blog....I'm excited to reveal my Bead Soup Party partner! It's none other than the Lanyard Lady!


Cherin makes absolutely gorgeous lanyards in all sorts of styles and colors. There really is something for everyone on her site. And I love her sheet music photo props! So cool!

I had a lot of fun putting together her bead soup!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another little project of mine....

About three years ago I left my post as the director of sales for a popular restaurant group in Washington DC. After 22 years in the restaurant industry my spirit had had enough! But...three years before I left the owners of the restaurants and I began a charity golf tournament called the ComPassion Golf Tournament. When I left the company, I stayed on as a volunteer planner/coordinator for this tournament and it's kind of a been a little baby of mine.

For the first five years, our beneficiary was the Children's National Medical Center in D.C. Or as most people call it, Children's Hospital. In five years, we donated over $160,000.00 to the hospital.

(forgive me, our blog isn't up to date with 2010 stuff -it's on my to-do list! - but our Facebook page has all our 2010 pics: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/ComPassion-Golf-Tournament/308406967298)

This year, our sixth, we are changing things up a bit! Our beneficiary this year is The Children's Inn at NIH.



We researched many local charities, and this one really jumped out at us. Their mission statement reads like this:
"The Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health is a residential "place like home" for sick children and their families. Children come from across the country and around the world to stay together with their families in The Inn's healing environment while receiving groundbreaking medical treatments at the NIH, the world's leading biomedical research center. While the NIH takes care of the child's medical needs, The Inn tends to the child's heart, soul and spirit."
That last line makes me weep just about every time! Because really, when you are that sick, your heart, soul and spirit really do need healing! Families receiving treatment at NIH stay at The Inn free of charge. I can hardly bear to think of how I would feel and cope being in the shoes of the families who stay at The Inn. The Inn does amazing work in caring for the child and the families who are going through a tremendously difficult time.

In addition to changing our beneficiary this year, we are also adding a spa component to the day! Red Door is partnering with us to offer "mini-services". Then after a day of golf and/or an afternoon at our mini-spa...our golfers and our spa goers, will meet up at our awards reception for great food, drink and amazing silent auction and raffle items!

Our thinking was this....we've only raised between $30,000-$40,000 each year...but we want to do better than that!!! We attract a lot of guys to our golf tournament, but we realize that it's us ladies, who really get interested in the silent auction items and the raffles! So we added the spa element to diversify our crowd, increase attendance and raise more money for our intended charity!!!

So now I've been trying to come up with some fun and catchy names for the tournament. It was previously "ComPassion Golf Tournament", which is a play on the restaurant group's name, Passion Food Hospitality. And I was thinking:
"ComPassion Golf or Get Gorgeous"
"Compassion Golf Tournament and PassionFish Pampering" (the mini spa services will be offered at the group's restaurant PassionFish.)

Any ideas or thoughts from any of you?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bead Giveaway!

I'm afraid I will be shamelessly posting giveaways all year to increase my entries into giveaways!!! Seeing is how I'm on a bead buying hiatus this year! :)
This giveaway would be a great win for any seed bead lover (like myself!)

Just click on the picture to visit Julsbeads' site to enter!

I am excited to be taking part in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party (see the sidebar)...and am brewing some swap ideas of my own. Stay tuned.

For now though I am getting my boy ready for his Cub Scout Klondike Derby taking place tomorrow. Am feeling happy that weather reports are saying we may get up to 40 degrees for this all-day outdoor event. I'm guessing that it won't be quite so warm at 7am tomorrow though! brrrrrrrrrrr..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1/11/11

This past week has been incredibly busy. I am the project manager for a wine & food festival in Washington DC that takes place in February...so we are in high gear right now with the planning and preparation! I also have a part time job walking dogs and just got two new regulars....I am thinking about starting a feature called "confessions of a dog walker". There always seems to be some funny tale to tell by the end of the week. Hopefully it won't be a feature overly filled with the various dogs' bathroom habits! It isn't the most glamorous job, but, gosh, some of these pups really FEED.MY.SOUL:


I am also taking an on-line workshop that I hope will invigorate many areas of my life.

I was pretty excited to see the new Margie & Me challenge posted on La Bella Joya! Those color palettes have been feeding my creative soul! I love both palettes. Currently my bead table is covered in beads for the palette inspired by this picture:

Which very much reminded me of a fun day from last summer when I was camping with my son's cub scout pack and we went kayaking down a lazy river in Delaware:

And had to negotiate fallen trees

and had an all around good time!


Happy 1/11/11....a day made for making wishes...so I hear!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A nice day

I've had a good day. Work was super duper busy for me today and I didn't even make it into my bead room yet(however I'm heading up there after this post!). :( But...work is paying the bills, so I can't really complain. My festival is coming up soon, so I am certain I will have a lot more days like today.

However...it was a day full of happy moments.

For the past couple weeks, my car has been screeching. (this is my car - I love this vehicle....I have only two material possessions that are quite dear to me and this is one of them. I've owned this car since 2005 and hope to keep if for a long time!)

And I mean screeching. I turn the ignition and YOWZA! it was loud. It was like my car was ANGRY! But, once it was warmed up a bit and driven around, the screeching would stop. So this week it was on my list to get it checked out. On Monday, though, while picking up my son from school, one of the other parents said, oh my goodness - was that your car? it's the water pump! get it checked out right away, you don't want it to seize up! It will ruin your engine! So of course I ran home and looked it up on line....and everything I read said, if you go to the dealer it will cost you $800, if you go to an independent it will cost you about $300-$400. I looked at my calendar and realized Friday would be the only time I would have available to get the car checked out. So from Monday to this morning I prayed. I prayed that the car would manage til Friday because I didn't want it to seize up! I also prayed that please, please, please let it not be more than $300. And so this morning, I arrived at MidAtlantic Auto Care. I told them I think I need a water pump, my car is screeching like crazy! BUT they came into the waiting room and told me, ma'am, your belts just need to be adjusted, it will cost a little under $50...do you want us to go ahead with that?! Um....yeah. so that was a huge blessing this morning.

And while I was on my way to that trip to the auto mechanic I got a beautiful message from my best friend. This week, I finally mailed my holiday package to her with Christmas gifts for her and her daughters. I have been sitting on this collage for so long now and have been dying to send it to her. Her reaction to it, was far more moving than I ever expected, and it just made me smile and reminded me about how great giving a gift can be. I worked on this late October / early November.

She is an Irish lass and really embraces her heritage. So it was so awesome to have a new medium to play with in her honor! You may notice that there is sheet music in the background. As if the shamrock didn't just do the trick, I noticed words in the music that really resonated with me and really spoke to me about Barb, and our friendship:
Peace
Nest
Breath
Guide
Light
Clear
Kindred
Faith
Triumph
First Star
Voice
Bright
Home
Life
Sunshine
Joyful
Forever

All these words stayed in the collage. Barb emailed me also with a simple message "Mad Love"...and included this picture of where she'd already hung my gift to her:

It felt pretty amazing. And on top of that she and her daughters (also featured above the mantle) loved the jewelry I'd also sent!!!

So that was another huge happy moment today.

I also made a dinner that my hubby went mad for (shrimp, spinach, tomatoes, white wine, garlic, olive oil, basil, crushed red pepper, s&p over black rice...very simple and delish):


And also speaking of gifts people enjoyed...my husband loved this gift I gave him at Christmas. Which is nice, because I can't really whip him up a necklace.

He'd seen some of my collage pieces and liked them and said "make me something!" I said "what do you want?" He said...."how about a sailboat?"


TGIF.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

First I'd like to thank all those who commented, and those who contacted me directly, for all the support in my 2011 challenge! These days I am surely feeling caught up in the excitement and all the possibilities for a new year.

On New Year's Day, I started out with a wicked cold, but after a bit of sleep, the weekend turned out okay and was able to organize some of my seed beads with this fun little jewelry organizer:

I also worked on this bracelet for a swap:

Also, I've been meaning to share but haven't yet, some new packaging I made. It was a few days before Christmas. I went to box up some jewelry for my mom and stepdaughters when I discovered I'd run out of boxes! I had already made a personal declaration to myself that I was NOT going to go into any more stores until after Christmas. I had some very large boxes, but I wasn't happy with that....so I reached for some card stock, rubber stamps, embossing powder and glitter....and made these fun little folders (and have made several more since!):

The glittered ones were fairly labor intensive, but the simpler, embossed dragonfly, could be new signature packaging for me!

And finally I will leave you with this picture that makes me smile every time I see it (proudly hailing from Massachusetts). The caption on this picture was "You know you're in Mass when you see a sign like this":