Saturday, April 30, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge - Z

Zeal and zen....a couple of words I try to live by!

This blogging challenge has been challenging and fun! The truth is though, I have barely been home at all today to put together much more of a post!

I will put together some reflections on the A-Z Blogging experience very zoon! ;)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yoga | A-Z Blog Challenge | Y (and a little contest)

Y is for Yoga.

I had a wonderfully fun morning watching the Royal Wedding. I baked some cranberry-orange scones for the occasion!

They were YUMMY!

Yesterday, I picked up a an exercise ball with the intention of using it as my office chair (I'm sitting here way too many hours during the day and want something a little more ergonomic). Not sure which was the best size for me, I picked up the "universal" size ball that came with a yoga CD, an exercise strap and some yoga gloves! Perfect I thought, I've been wanting to get back into doing yoga - and this kit could serve both purposes!

Well, I got the ball home and it's not big enough for a chair - perhaps if I had looked more carefully at the picture of the man fitting the ball under his knee, I would have figured this out before I blew up the ball! But instead of returning it - I promised myself I would USE the kit! And thus - I did the yoga workout from the CD in the box, and used the handy dandy exercise ball...and the gloves. I had forgotten how much I love yoga!!! I don't know if you have ever tried it...but after I've done yoga:
  • I feel like I can breathe deeper
  • I sit taller
  • I have more energy
  • I think more clearly
  • I find myself opting for tea in my (which I take with no milk or sugar), as opposed to a cup of coffee (which I take with a generous portion of half & half)
  • And generally just feel like treating my body better!

Yoga is awesome and there are countless other benefits to doing yoga, like stress relief, immune strengthening, and more! Today I am enjoying these deep breaths, and these healthy food choices I made! (Which was good to counter the scones with butter and jam I had this morning!)

I hope I will stick with it!

In other news, my Artbeads Design Partner order came in this week! Oh my goodness - I AM LOVING this package.

The theme is: ‘What’s Old is New Again!’ and the requirement is incorporating old, vintage or antique items into your designs and combine them with modern elements. The 'old' element I am using is very old. It is from a piece of jewelry that used to belong to my great-great-Aunt Winifred (she was my grandmother's aunt). The something "old" is in this picture.

Can you guess which is the "old"? For fun, if you guess correctly, I will put your name in a hat and randomly draw a winner. The winner will get a pair of earrings in this style and your choice of color:

(contest will close on May 2!)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Xanthic

Today's A-Z Blog Challenge is brought to you by the letter X!

xan·thic (zan-thik)
adj.
1. Having a yellow or yellowish color
.

The sky took a xanthic look quite a bit over the last 24 hours with the various tornado watches and warnings. We were blessed to only endure some severe thunder storms - compared to what other parts of the country experienced.

When I dropped my son off at school today the sky was looking rather xanthic. And when I returned home shortly thereafter, the tornado watch turned into a tornado warning. I couldn't help but wonder what was happening at the school. But less than an hour later, the storms and warning faded away and so did my concern.

When I picked my son up today here's what he told me:
Jackson: Hey Mom, you know those drills we do to make sure we know what to do in an emergency?
Me: Yah
Jackson: Well we did one today.....except it was real.
Me: Oh my goodness - for the tornado warning!?
Jackson: Yes, that's exactly why. It was real.
Me: Where did you go?
Jackson: To the first floor.
Me: Where on the first floor?
Jackson: In the kindergarten hallway.
Me: The whole second floor?
Jackson: Yep.
Me: What did you do?
Jackson: Well, to tell you the truth Mom....I just prayed.

♥♥♥

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W - Weddings

I logged 22 years in the restaurant industry with the last twelve of them, doing events, I have worked on and planned nearly every type of event you can imagine: political fundraisers, movie premiers, book signings, charity events, product debuts, bar/bat mitzvahs and more! But weddings! Weddings are my true love! I enjoy the couples, the families, the emotions, the dramatic brides, the low-key brides, the somewhere in between brides, the walk down the aisle, the entrance into the ballroom, the first dance....you get the idea!

When I quit the restaurant industry - I started a small business as a wedding planner. It wasn't a smashing success, but it wasn't a failure either...here is a sampling of some of the weddings I worked on over the past couple of years:


And you can imagine that I am rather excited to watch the wedding of these two:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

T, U, V...the A-Z Blog challenge

T is for tired. The tournament was terrific - we couldn't have asked for a better day from Mother Nature. But I left the house at 6:30am - and didn't return until 11:0opm! So I am pooped!

(haha - this is the only picture I took all day! Good thing we had a volunteer photographer!)

U is for umpteen....which is the number of blogs in my reader I need to catch up on!!!



V is for Vote! I received a note from another Beading Daily member asking for a vote for Bead Star 2011, and recalled that I also submitted to this contest, and it turns out my Margie & Me challenge piece was selected for the seed bead category. If you are a Beading Daily member - I would LOVE your VOTE! Thanks!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sabbatical! A-Z Blog Challenge - S

A three day sabbatical is what I'll be taking from my blog while I prepare for the 6th Annual ComPassion Golf Tournament. T & U will return with V on Tuesday! This weekend I will be scrambling while I attend to last minute preparations for our event which takes place on Monday.

(props to one of my co-committee members shown here: Jeff, David, Scott & Ryan!)

We have been blessed with a stunning weather forecast - 78 & sunny, a sold out tournament and really amazing silent auction & raffle items.

Can't wait to write that huge check the The Children's Inn at NIH!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reading

Reading. It really IS fundamental. Have you ever heard of or tried Swap.com? I use it and I love it. Also love to get recommendations on Goodreads.com! I am also lucky to have the most amazing library less than a mile from my house. Aside from not having a cafe, it's practically as nice as Borders or B&N! I firmly believe you can learn just about anything if you can read.

I hope that my son continues to enjoy books as much as I do:

(And BTW - what the heck is he reading here at age 2!?)

So pensive:


So interested:


And so almost 10 years old!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quality Quagmire

Q words are great. Question, quest, quandary, quaff, quell, queasy...and so on! One of my favorite Q words is quagmire....which by definition is: a situation from which extrication is very difficult. Which was how I was feeling recently when I started a new beading project. I started out with a right angle weave with bugles and tiny Czech fire polish beads. And as I found myself going around and around, I wasn't really sure what I would do next. I had a nice base, and I had a plan to build upon it like I've done with the layered peyote bracelets. Only, I didn't have a plan. So I thought I would just toss this idea aside and it would end up like numerous other projects I started and didn't finish....or started and tore apart (like this little number from early last year):

But since I've been beating my self up lately about not completing projects, I found myself in a beading quagmire. I'd gotten myself into this situation, and invested a bit of time, but I was finding extricating myself out of the situation (finishing) a bit difficult.

But no one could quell my quest to finish. I played around with this for days. And happily ended up with this:

And that's what I call a quality quagmire.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peyote and Patience

Today's A-Z Blog Challenge is the letter P.

Patience is something I've been told I have a lot of...yet I often feel I could use more. Particularly as I get older!

Peyote is an off loom beading technique that has been used by cultures all over the world. Once mastered it is incredibly versatile!

However, mastering peyote, requires some patience. You can't really do this stitch faster than one bead at a time. And you have to take special care that the thread doesn't twist and tangle. But the effect is worth the time it take to make.

When I first started out learning peyote I thought making a vessel would be a great idea.


That was about 12 years ago or so, and at that time I didn't have the patience to plan or follow a design chart so I was just winging this. Apparently I didn't have the patience to FINISH this!

And it would be some years before I mastered circular peyote! I believe I was just winging it on the bottom of this as well:

But as the years passed and I accepted the fact that this wonderful stitch would just take time, I started enjoying it and doing much better with it!

I really love, love, love the effects of tubular peyote with graduated sizes of beads. This is known as a Cellini spiral:

Many years ago I would get so frustrated that pieces took so long. Now I love the process and have so much fun with all the different shapes and methods involving peyote!

Monday, April 18, 2011

ORANGE!

The A-Z Blog Challenge is brought to you by the letter O today and I selected Orange as my theme.

Orange is one of my favorite colors. Pink is my favorite, but orange ranks very closely behind.


Did you know, surveys show orange to be one of the least favorite colors in the world? (Only to be outdone by pink!LOL)


However other studies and opinions show:
"As a warm color orange is a stimulant – stimulating the emotions and even the appetite."

"If you want to get noticed without screaming, consider the color orange, it demands attention. The softer oranges such as peach are friendlier, more soothing."

"Orange really pops with a medium blue. Red, yellow, and orange can be a fiery hot combination or, in tamer shades, a fresh, fruity experience. Make it tropical by pairing it with green."


"Orange is often synonymous with autumn yet the brighter oranges are a summer color."

"Orange is mentally stimulating as well as sociable. Use it to get people thinking or to get them talking."

"Orange is seen as the warmest of all colors, and as a result is often associated with fun times, energy and warmth."

"There is nothing even remotely calm about this color. It can be used sparingly as a highlight color, but is not a good choice for conveying a serious message."

It took me years to own my love of orange. But I'm glad I did.
"Orange is the combination of the happiness of yellow and the energy and strength of red."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

7000 Bracelets for Hope Blog Hop

The A-Z Blog Challenge letter "N" has been pre-empted by this awesome blog hop! (Although for all intents and purposes, we could call this "Nice".)


The 7000 Bracelets for Hope is a project by the Global Genes Project to gather 7000 blue bracelets to give away to families living with a rare disease. What is the goal of the Global Genes Project (GGP)?
  • Increase greater public awareness about the prevalence of rare disease.
  • Educate the community and general public about genes and the impact genes play in rare disease.
  • Build a unified support initiative that benefits the rare disease community as a whole.
  • Create a creative platform that becomes a catalyst for individual rare disease foundation fundraising efforts.

I learned of this great project through the lovely & talented Lori Anderson. When she learned about it she decided to host a blog hop. And you know what? Over 100 folks signed up!

Here is my contribution. It is a terribly cloudy morning here. (Note to self: build a light box!) So I played around with my blue bracelet to distract you from noticing the poor quality of the photo!

Here is one of the better cloudy morning shots (Note to self: plan your photography better! I finished this bracelet on Monday and had several sunny days since then!)


Here is the list of other blog hop participants!

1. Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Jayne Capps, Mama's Got To Doodle
3. Kym Hunter, Creatively Kym
4. Mandy Duffy, Beads for Brains: 365
5. Charlene Sevier, The Bead Dreamer
6. Lisa Boucher, Lisa's Clay Happenings
7. Mary Harding, Mary Harding Jewelry
8. Barbara Lewis, Painting With Fire
9. Amy Severino, Amy's Beads
10. Jennifer Pride, Jewelry by Jennifer Pride

11. Jenny Cameron, Glass Addictions
12. Susan Ferguson, Windrock Studio
13. Mortira vanPelt, Inspirational Beading
14. Brandi Hussey, Brandi Girl
15. Jenny Vidberg, Shyme Design
16. Angela Barribou, Re: Angela Rae
17. Stefanie Teufel, Stefanie's Sammelsurium
18. Sue Hodgkinson, Hello Gorgeous
19. Jean Yates, Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading To Be Done!
20. Nicki Keller, Nicki's Reef

21. JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
22. Stacey Curry, Star Hitched Wagon
23. Carrie Tahquechi, Carrie T
24. Deci Worland, Gem Trails
25. Debbie Goering, Prairie Emporium
26. Staci Smith, Staci Louise Originals
27. Francy Inman, 8 Second Studio
28. Linda Landig, Linda's Bead Blog and Meanderings
29. Cherin Poovey, Lanyard Lady
30. Deb Price, Green Shoot Jewellery Designs


31. Suzette Bentley, Ellies Bijoux
32. Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads
33. Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
34. Kate Gardenghi, The Tropical Blonde
35. Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
36. Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
37. Linda Djokic, Lutka and Co.
38. Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie
39. CJ Baushka, 4 His Glory Creations
40. Tracy Bell, Copper, Glass, and Recycled Trash

41. Sandra Richardson, Sandy's Coloring Box
42. Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe Designs
43. Kim Roberts, Bahama Dawn
44. Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
45. Emanda Johnson, Artemisia's Studio
46. Lisa Kavanaugh, Beading Bliss
47. Sue Kennedy, Sue Beads
48. Raquel Amaral, Raquel Amaral
49. Robyn Hawk, Daily Jewel
50. Linda Inhelder, Must-Haves Jewelry


52. Krista French, French Elegant Jewelry
53. Andrea Robinson, Madame Magpie's Shiny Things
54. John Rasmussen, Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry
55. Breana Fry, Vault 31
56. Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
57. Cyndi Lavin, Beading Arts
58. Dot Lewallen, Speedie Beadie
59. Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
60. Heather Pyle, Aquariart

61. Adrienne Campbell, Adrienne Designs
62. Dee Gordon, Runako Designs
63. Judy Glende, Judith B. Designs
64. Susie Hibdon, Vintage Susie & Wings
65. Tania Spivey, Moobie Grace Designs
66. Norma Agron, Norma's Clay
67. Ana Novak, Cat's Pajamas, Dog's Tuxedos
68. Johanna Rhodes, Fire Phoenix Creations
69. Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
70. Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman


71. Holly Westfall, Silver Rose Designs
72. Catherine Pruitt, Boo Beads
73. Deana Hager, Just Deez' Art & Life
74. Lupe Meter, Gem's PC Corner
75. Valerie Norton, Hot Fused Glass
76. Janet Bocciardi, Honey From the Bee
77. Kitty Durmaj, Perles and Life
78. Rose Noble, Lady Noble Design
79. Sally Russick, WireWorked
80. Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter


81. KJ, KJ's Beadacious Beads
82. Lana Kinney, Something Unique by Lana
83. Melissa Meman, Melissa Meman ... Art, Life, Love
84. Karen Bien, Everyday Gypsy
85. Rebecca Anderson, Songbeads
86. Cyn Gagen, Creative Edventures
87. Niky Sayer, Silver Nik Nats
88. Deb Beechy, Beetique
89. Marian Hertzog, M's Place
90. Kerry Bogert, Kab's Creative Concepts


91. Judy Riley, Three Red Beads
92. Charlene Gray, Gray Girl Studio
93. Erin Fickert-Rowland, Elysian Fields
94. Sharon Palac, Sharon's Jewelry Garden
95. Maryse Thillens, Glass Bead Art
96. Christine Altmiller, One Kiss Creations
97. Eileen Bergen, The Artful Crafter
98. Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
99. Rebekah Payne, Tree Wings Studio
100. Mari Aparicio, Mis Amores

101. Tracy Statler, Make Bracelets
102. Marcy Lamberson, Studio Marcy
103. Kim Stevens, Picking Poppies
104. Karyn White, Releases by Rufydoof
105. Elisabeth Auld, Beads for Busy Gals
106. Lisa Hamilton, Simply Irresistible Jewelry
107. Serena Trent, All Things Made Jewelry
108. Sharon Driscoll, Right Turn Artwerks
109. Debbie La Rue, For the Love of Beading
110. Maggie Towne, Maggie's Bead Towne


111. Cassandra Watsham, Designs by Cassandra
112. Mary Ellen Parker, BeeTree by m.e.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mouthwatering

Malbec, Meritage, Merlot
Ahhh...it's Friday night and time for a delicious mouthwatering Malbec.

Which is sitting in this picture, next to a great old necklace that I'm using for the Artbeads Design Partner theme, "What's Old is New Again". This broken beaded necklace used to belong to my grandmother's aunt! I believe that makes her my great-great-aunt?

I will probably only use the gold beads for this challenge. And I am glad that I have been given the impetus to finally use these beauties!

For today's letter...I also had to share this..."Men with Molly the Malti-chon". I never seem to tire of the men in this house (or the neighbors for that matter), loving up this merry little malti-chon named Molly.

And dear....um....I thought you said your office was the "no dog zone"???!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

LIMERICKS

I once was a girl with a cast
But that is a thing of the past
I've now got this brace
That ties up with a lace
And now I am mobile at last!


** I totally and completely borrowed the idea of a limerick from The Princess of Procrastination, which is one of the funniest blogs I've ever come across! **

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Drawing a blank!!

Yikes! I'm drawing a blank for a topic to write about for the letter K!
I thought about kids, koalas, kangaroos, kings, Kate (Middleton - because I am a shameless Royals fanatic), kismet, karma, kindness....but none of them are inspiring a post!!! I've even been searching my brain for the picture that was associated with all the letters hung up around my Kindergarten class. I actually remember many of them! But K is escaping me.

Hopefully I'll do better with L tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge - J

This was an easy one because I have two very special "J"'s in my life!
Almost 10 years ago this "J", Jackson entered my world and rocked it in a way I never knew possible!

Then about five years later this "J", John made his first appearance and has stuck around since:

And I never could have imagined that these two "J"s would be such a great match!

Or that our life would have turned out like this!


A-Z Blog Challenge - J - Jackson and John!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Inspiration...and other things that start with "i"

Inspiration comes in many forms. For beading it seems to come easy since I always seem to be beading a piece inspired by something!

Sometimes it is as simple as walking into a bead store and seeing all the colors and shapes and finishes. Then something just screams "make something with me!" Other times it's seeing something in nature and knowing in your soul that you need to make something that evokes that feeling or scene. Other times it's a color challenge...with colors you love, or colors that make you step outside your comfort zone.

Then there are the times when your inspiration comes from your heart. That is when you bead something for someone you love. Where your driving force is the happiness you feel hoping that your recipient will feel the love you put into each bead that was strung. A piece you made especially for them!

I just finished this piece for my best friend's daughter. For her prom. Unfortunately they live in Massachusetts, so I've had to rely on pictures in an attempt get the color right.

I'm not feeling 100% on the color match here...but I think I'm close..so I'll send it up north with a few other options s well!
----------------
In staying with the letter theme, I have had "i" on the brain a LOT lately. I've been pining for an iPad. Because of my full time work, I am the 'admin' on seven different Facebook business pages ...and I manage all the Twitter accounts that correspond. I write content for three blogs. So in a social media world, I feel like this can only increase my productivity! (Or I just really want this cool gadget!!)

(And the orange cover.)
Oh....and I can't tell a lie....I've already been shopping for a crossbody bag that is a good size to hold my new iPad that I don't have yet.

So....does anyone out there have one? Or an opinion on the iPad?!?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H: Herringbone

Today's A-Z Blog Challenge is brought to you by the letter H.

Herringbone stitch used to scare me silly! I'd see patterns in bead magazines and just keep turning the page because I always thought it looked too difficult to learn. Then last year I saw a project with a tubular herringbone that I really loved...so I gave it a shot. It was really so much easier than I anticipated!!

I love the look and feel of this stitch and I need to start using it more!


Here's another one I started in the fall and need to complete!!! I had grandiose plans of having this green cord to be the base of a Spring-themed creation...but other projects kept cutting in line! I'm loving the creamy pale green and the tiny row of deep metallic green (this is a 'twisted' herringbone stitch).


Next on my must-try list is flat herringbone!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Giveaways

I'd been searching for a G theme in the last 12 hours or so...except, wait a second...I was also sleeping during 8 of those! Hee hee! Anyway, as I surfed through my blog reader this morning I came across a GIVEAWAY here on the Where Women Create blog! They are featuring jewelry/metal artist Amy Peters, and she creates absolutely beautiful pendants and bracelets.

Giveaways are just another fun dynamic in the blogosphere. While I have a full understanding of their marketing purpose, I definitely get caught up in the fun of it! Who doesn't like to win something!? I have been the incredibly lucky recipient of a couple of giveaways including a box of Whole Foods goodies from Amanda at Eats, Love and Happiness and bag of cabochons from Lori at Out of the Flames. I am planning to work on using the pinkish gold cabs in my next bead embroidery project!


I am slowly but surely approaching 100 posts on my blog and I think I will have to do a giveaway when I get there!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fortunate

This was an easy one for the A-Z Blog Challenge brought to you by the letter "F".

FORTUNATE. I could list hundreds of ways that I feel incredibly fortunate, blessed and lucky. One of them is the fact that I am in a community of awesome beaders and bloggers and I am in awe of what everyone does for those who are perhaps less than fortunate.

This month I will be taking part in the 7000 Bracelets for Hope project.

I learned about it from Lori, the author behind Pretty Things, who let us beaders know "The bracelets will be sent to The Global Genes Project, an advocacy group who launched "7000 Bracelets for Hope", a children's rare disease campaign. The bracelets are given to one of 7000 families having children with rare diseases to show them love and support." Lori will also be hosting a blog hop on April 16 to show the bracelets we are making for this thoughtful cause.

We are fortunate in my family, to be in excellent health and not be living with any rare diseases. The 7000 Bracelets for Hope did remind me however, of the great work being done by The Children's Inn at NIH. The Inn is the beneficiary of my annual charity golf tournament, ComPassion Golf Tournament. The Inn provides a place for children and their families to stay while receiving treatment at NIH for their rare and often untreatable diseases. If you have 2 minutes and 14 seconds, you should give this powerful video a gander: