Thursday, September 7, 2017

Color Palettes!

After this weekend's post, I realized I had made a bunch of color palettes last year, but never posted them! I had created them for Znet Shows' Creative Spark Magazine:

While reviewing my blog to see if I had posted any of these palettes, I came to find some of my favorite pieces were inspired by color palette challenges:

Perhaps it's time for a color palette challenge blog hop?  
Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Thread Colors, Juvenile Birds, and Farm Dinners

Since the beginning of my bead-weaving forays, I've always known the importance of thread color.  Mostly because it might show in between the beads.  In other words, if you are weaving a project in black beads, you don't want hot pink thread to show through.  Well....maybe you do, if that's the look you are going for but as a rule, one might select black thread with a primarily black bead project for a cohesive look.

So over the years, I faithfully purchased every color imaginable of Nymo thread.

I'd heard of folks using Fireline, but I simply couldn't understand why they would when there are so, so many color choices with Nymo!

Fast forward some years later, there was a weaving project I wanted to try that was very crystal heavy and the crystals simply sliced through the Nymo thread.  So for this project, I was finally inspired to try using Fireline.  I'd heard all the fanfare about this stringing material.  It rarely knots while using, it's super strong, etc....   It was all true and I have been hooked since.

You can find Fireline in the fishing section of any store selling fishing supplies, and of course plenty bead supply sources.  The only 'beef' I've ever had with the product is that it comes in only two colors, crystal or smoke.  Though I have seen others post about additional colors, just have never seen it for sale myself!

In spite of the lack of color choices, it is still my favorite bead stringing material. Recently I've been working on some peyote beaded shapes.  The main bead color is a color lined crystal Delica.  I was blown away at the difference in appearance when I used two different color threads.  I thought the color lining would be opaque enough to be hidden by thread color, but no!  Here below is two peyote components using the exact same bead colors but the top one is using smoke Fireline, and the bottom is using crystal Fireline!

In other news, birding is a touch on the quieter side lately, but still awesome.  I have been watching a small group of common yellowthroats over the past couple weeks and they are really coming into their colors.

Here is one of them from about a month ago:

Here is a juvenile from yesterday:

Eventually they will look like this:

Another juvenile bird gave me a treat yesterday as well.  On one of my regular hiking trails, there is a dead tree abutting a pond where I usually view nesting osprey.  The pond is situated in a rather deep valley.  So the dead tree top is practically eye level, and I always wish for one of the osprey to perch on that dead tree.  While that has never happened, I did see a juvenile red tailed hawk there yesterday!

Work is plugging along as usual: busy but inspiring. Each year we do a series of farm dinners on the actual farm where one of the restaurants is located. So far it has monsooned for every dinner, except the most recent dinner, and it was nothing short of magical!  Here were some of my favorite snaps from that day!

Can you see the little bumble bee buzzing between the flowers and the water!? So cute!

These candied cherry tomatoes were glistening in the setting sun.  I did not apply a filter or starburst effect to this photos - these were just sparkling like crazy!

And speaking of the setting sun...once it set, the crescent moon made an appearance in the colorful sky!

Here is a video roundup of the evening as well:
Farm dinner round up from Amy Severino on Vimeo.

And finally - here is a color palette from the same dinner!

Until next time!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Summer Time!

Well, it has been a while since my last post!

In spite of my radio silence, it's been a busy summer and I have been sneaking in plenty of beading:
One of the beading highlights, and well general highlights of the summer was visiting with some of my beading friends for a quick retreat in the Adirondacks!  Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers was kind enough to open up her family camp and host Christine (One Kiss Creations) and me! We had so much fun! There were lots of laughs, delicious food, beautiful views, and of course, lots of beading!  I am grateful to both Cynthia and Christine for their generosity and such a lovely couple of days!

Aside from beading and bead retreating, work has been busy and like every other year, there is no shortage of beautiful food and beverage to photograph!

Summer is fleeting for the kids out of school.  My teenager hit a milestone this summer, turning 16 and getting his learner's permit to drive!!  Our family has a trip planned for November so we didn't plan any big family vacations this summer.  We did have a super fun family visit in July, and we've been trying to get out and do field trips in the area when we have a chance! There has been lots of board games, a trip to Comic Con, the Worcester Art Museum, summer flavor Polar Seltzer sampling, and more!

Finally, birding this summer has been absolutely wonderful as well!  I have been regularly seeing some of my favorite birds, and was also able to cross out several birds on my "Life List".

Here's to hoping I get back onto a regular schedule of posting and reading blogs again! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Monday, May 1, 2017

UFO Blog Hop • Round 2

Before I get going, I need to give a huge shout out to Karen Williams for taking the time to organize and host this blog hop!!  It is exactly these type of activities that made me love the blogosphere to begin with and that used to and continue to motivate and inspire me with bead work and blogging!  

I'm not sure I'd even have had the impetus to blog today if I didn't sign up for and have this blogging 'commitment'!  

The weather had been glorious around here and the spring birding has been outstanding.  So needless to say, I've been giving birding a lot more attention lately.  There is a fantastic great horned owl nest, ridiculously close to my house that I've been visiting quite often.  Probably an inordinate amount of visits.  But gosh they are so cute and they grow so fast! 

And of course I've seen a few other birds along the way


When I first signed up for this blog hop, I pulled out a couple of peyote strips that I had worked on ages ago, but when other more exciting projects came up I popped them in the UFO drawer (referenced in my last UFO post.) 

Although these two items definitely spent a little more time on "The Other Tray".  You know that one, the tray that has items that you want to get back to right away, and you don't move that beadwork until it starts to get dusty.  And then you realize it actually needs to go in the UFO drawer, so it stops getting dusty?   And oh, also because there is yet ANOTHER bead project you'd like to get going?  Sound familiar? 

So I started with the blue and gold one. Simple but time consuming, I'm glad this one is finished and has made space for other UFO's to take it's place int he UFO drawer!

And what about the silver peyote strip? looks like this one is poised to be the project for the next UFO blog hop! 

Thanks again Karen!!!  Please take a moment to visit the rest of the group who participated in this inspiring hop! 

Karen Williams, Baublicious
Francie Broadie,  FAB
Christine Van Dyke Altmiller, One Kiss Creations
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Liz Hart, Treetop Life
Amy Severino, Amy Beads
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Christi Carter, Sweetpea Path
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Margo Lynn Hablutzel, My World and It's Full of Books

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bead Soup Blog Party!!!

Today is the day for the Bead Soup Blog Party, one of my all time favorite activities in the blogosphere!  The Bead Soup Blog Party (BSBP) is the genius idea of Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  A big thanks to Lori and her helpers to make this happen again.

Without further ado, let's party!

My partner for this year's BSBP is Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.  Sherri creates gorgeous, artisan pieces of jewelry and other objects using the craft of micro-macrame.  Her work is beautiful and she has lots of great tutorials.  Don't just take my word for it, go check her website to see it!

Sherri sent me a beautiful owl pendant (little did she know how much I love birds and owls!!) and some beautiful natural stone featuring shades of white, cream, black and gray.  They are a perfect match for the owl pendant.

While I was pondering how I wanted to use these pretties, I went ahead and downloaded Sherri's Owl Pendant micro macrame tutorial.  And instead of working on my BSBP piece, I tried my hand at micro macrame!

Sherri has a bunch of tutorials on her site and I used many of them to get to the beginning stages of this owl pendant.  It is beginning to take shape!   But as time wore on I realized I had to abandon this micro macrame owl pendant for now, and begin working on my other ceramic owl pendant!

As I sat down to begin, the cream cord I was using for the other owl project was sitting on my table and I saw how perfectly it matched my owl product.  I had a moment of inspiration and decided to use some of my newly learned macrame skills with my BSBP beads!  I used square knotting and a few larks head knots and this is my finished product!

Thank you Sherri for sending me these fun beads and for inspiring me to learn a new craft.  I can't wait to finish my micro macrame owl!

Please click here to visit Sherri's blog and see what she did with the beads I sent along to her.  

And please click HERE to visit more of the BSBP blogs and Pinterest boards for this awesome party!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

UFO (Un-finished Objects) Blog Hop

When Karen Williams posted the idea of doing a UFO blog hop, I knew I had to get in on it!  I have several drawers in my beading nook where I store unfinished objects!

Frankly I rarely open these unless i"m stuffing something in there! So this was the first time, in I don't know how long, I opened these drawers to actually finish something!

Decisions, decisions!

My first instinct was to work on this pendant which was my Bead Soup Blog Party creation from many years ago.  It fell apart about two years ago and it didn't even make it into the UFO drawer for a while b/c I love the pendant and loved wearing it.

I just was so stuck on using the other coordinating beads, that I never did anything to put it back together again.  So for this piece I added a chain!

A little bit of a cop-out for this challenge, so there is more!

I pulled out this piece, which I knew was super old b/c I rarely use the nymo thread any more since I switched to Fireline a few years ago.

  It appears I stopped with this one just before finishing the edge, which Ill admit here and now is my least favorite part of bead embroidery!

And given the nature of this blog hop, I thought that working on this "FOCUS" pendant was very apropos!

When I originally started this (and I remember it was back in Maryland when I had a whole room for my beading!), my intention was to create a small wall hanging to hang near my beading table.  So I stuck with that idea and finally finished this mini wall hanging, with the message that I sometimes need when I'm sitting at my bead table!

THANK YOU Karen for hosting this fun hop.  I dare say, I could use this catalyst more frequently!

Please check out our other UFO hoppers here:

Karen Williams, Baublicious
Christine Van Dyke Altmiller, One Kiss Creations
Amy Severino, Amy Beads
Therese, Therese's Treasures
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Liz E, Bead Contagion
Margo Lynn Hablutzel, My World and It's Full of Books
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Cathi Salzarulo Kent, The Cat's Meow
Liz Hart, Treetop Life

I can't wait to visit some of my friends on this list today!

And a quick P.S.... since I 'rebranded' my blog to be "Amybeads...and birds" (and because I'm still giddy about this particular sighting),  I do want to share this photo of an absolutely amazing owl I had the pleasure to view last night.  This bird is a extremely rare in New England since it typically lives in the Pacific northwest and Western Canada! It's the Great Grey Owl!  So without further ado, here is this magnificent creature:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Photography Lessons

I've been posting a LOT about cameras, photography, and birding lately, so I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to mention a free resource that I've been taking advantage of lately.

I'll start with a little background.  Almost four years ago, when I started my job with the restaurant group I currently work with, they supplied me with a DSLR camera.  I was taking photos with my camera, and mentioned in passing, that the company might be served better on the web and on social media if we had a camera that took nicer photos.  I was given a budget and researched a good camera.  The choice was narrowed down to a Canon Rebel T3i and a Nikon 6000.  I chose the Rebel, because I also saw that there was a Canon Rebel for Dummies book available.  And let me tell you, I was a dummy for sure regarding DSLR cameras.  

Fast forward four years, and guess what? Still a dummy.  I barely cracked the book.  I fiddled with the camera, found a few good settings that resulted in some great photos and I just never looked back.  I should also add though, the material I have to photograph at work is simply gorgeous.  It is not that hard to make it look good!!!

So basically, I managed quite well for nearly four years.  Well, I managed well, except not at night or in anything remotely dark.  At the restaurants I have a spot at each property that I can take a good photo after the sun goes down, but forget it, if I am anywhere else on the property and need to get a shot after the sun goes down.

BUT THEN, a few weeks ago, I had to take a picture that was going to be in the Boston Globe.  THE BOSTON FREAKING GLOBE!  

I experienced some pretty major anxiety as the days led up to the morning I planned to take the photo.  I gave the chef full warning: "dude, we need to do this in the morning when I know I can get decent light in the restaurant. Please, I'm not a professional and I"m freaking the *#$& out about this.  Please can we shoot this steak some time between 10am and noon??"  

He obliged; the photos came out well; and the photo was featured in a HALF PAGE of the printed Globe and online.  

Again, I got lucky with a great shot (but I had to work for it, I staged about 15 shots in 15 different areas of the restaurant before I found this decent location and then I practically started crying as the light began to change as I waited for this tasty Steak Frites to come out of the kitchen!!!) 

So yeah, I told myself it was definitely time to learn more about how to use the camera.  But a few weeks went by and I STILL DIDN'T!!

Then winter birding kicked into gear.  And i just didn't feel like I was getting close enough with my zoom lens.  So I started looking into a higher power lens.  I started eyeing some pretty fancy lenses....anywhere form $1000-$10000.  Most definitely not in my budget, but maybe the lower end lens would meet my needs.  When suddenly one day, on a Facebook birding group I follow, one of the members said they used a Canon Powershot sx50.  And his photos were amazing!  And a discussion ensued on the post about the difference between a point & shoot with high power optic zoom vs. a dslr equipped with a high power zoom. The consensus was that if you knew how to use your camera, it actually shouldn't make a huge difference (for a hobbyist) which type of camera you use.

And so, I bought the Canon PowerShot sx60 bundle, and started looking for lessons online.

In one of the product reviews, I saw someone link a tutorial specifically for the Canon Powershot sx50 s I decided to check it out, and it totally changed my photography life!!!!

This photographer, Marius West, gives THE BEST lessons.  They are easy to understand and they come in wonderfully bite size segments.   So there is never  a huge commitment to start watching.  I am up to the 8th lesson in Season 1 and it has made a HUGE difference for my photography abilities already and how I use the camera.  Check out this before and after:

BEFORE - bad lighting too bright!

AFTER - just right!
I saw that the first photo was lit up much too used the exposure compensation feature to make an adjustment and it came out great!  I can't even believe I'm using sentences like "I used the exposure compensation feature"!!!!!  

So I must extend a HUGE that you to Marius West of MWest Photography!!! Another great feature of his lessons is that he also references how to apply what you are learning about the Powershot, to a DSLR.  So even though I started taking the lessons to learn about my new camera, I am also applying this new knowledge to my work camera!!  Thank you Marius West!