Monday, June 30, 2008

Saturday was a great mail day! The postman arrived with a package of goodies I ordered from Lisa Peters, and I could hardly wait to open it to see everything in person. I've been drooling over Lisa's work on flickr for awhile now, and I was soooo disappointed that I wasn't able to visit her at the Bead and Button Show this year in Milwaukee. It figures that she was there the ONE year I wasn't able to attend. Drat!

Lisa listed a few of her beads in her Etsy shop, but I figured she'd have lots more of them; so I shot off an email and then proceeded to hunt through her photos to choose beads and buttons. Do you know how hard it is to choose when everything you see is beautiful!?!? Somehow I managed, though, and Lisa was nice enough to add some new pictures of pieces she had on hand. She also answered a bazillion questions along the way. My friend and fellow beadweaver Carol Dean (SandFibers), who's been creating beautiful things with Lisa's beads and buttons for awhile, told me I'd love everything and she was absolutely right. I just couldn't stop staring at all those goodies, and I have TONS of ideas floating around in my head now. If only there were more hours in the day...

I'll take photos of some of the goodies in that box later (when the sun comes out). In the meantime, I'm busy taking notes and sketching ideas for how to use them. Want to see some of Lisa's work combined with beadweaving? Check this out! This is Carol Dean's work that she's showing off on flickr, but you can also find some pieces in her Etsy shop.

Yesterday I had just enough good weather (between rainstorms and helping my husband move our canoe around several times as he was trying to paint it and avoid the rain) to photograph my newest beadwoven bracelet design, Little Vine. It's so much fun creating these designs and then creating the bracelets. After I chose the colors for the first version of this design, I thought of a whole bunch of different combinations. I think for the next one I'll use a light background and do the vine and leaves in a dark color.

And a nice surprise this morning! Smadar (SmadarsTreasure) included Little Vine in this beautiful treasury!!
The treasury is brand new, so you can click the picture to go visit it and see everything up close. There are some beautiful pieces in there by some of my fellow Etsy BeadWeavers. Smadar herself is VERY talented, and I'm always oogling the pieces she creates. I really love this 3D Gold Trapezes necklace, but then I love pretty much everything in her shop.

Marilyn (aka GrandmaMarilyns) also featured one of my newest pieces in her patriotic treasury.
We're a patriotic bunch, aren't we!? Marilyn's Caribbean Blue bracelet would fit in there nicely, too.

Now it's time to go do something productive! And no, that doesn't mean dishes, laundry, cleaning, or anything of that nature. Those things can wait while I play with my beads!! :-)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Barack Obama is all about change, so when Emily contacted me to ask if I could make some changes to the Obama cuff I was happy to oblige. She wanted it a bit longer and also wanted stripes added to the "band" portion. A few thousand beads later, and here it is! She's already bought and paid for it, and it's in the mail so she'll have it in plenty of time for the Fourth of July parades. I've been thinking about doing another variation, maybe with a black "band" instead of the gray.

This was the week for custom orders, and I also just finished this spiral design for my sister in law. She wants to give it as a gift to someone, and she sat and looked through my Delica collection for quite awhile before settling on the colors. I think she chose quite nicely, with the color-lined purple and gold.

This was also a great couple of days for Etsy treasuries! The Etsy BeadWeavers Team has been keeping track of treasuries that feature members, so it's nice to be able to hop over to the forums they're posted in and see them. I try to visit and comment/click on all of them, and it's soooo much easier to keep track of them this way. I still go through and look for that little gold star to see if I'm featured in one, but many times I find that it's already been posted to the forum before I even find the star.

The newest one is one of my all-time favorites. Carol Dean (SandFibers) put together this Inspired Simplicity collection and chose all black and white, including my Black and Bright cuff. I love love love black and white together! There's still time to visit this treasury, too, if you want to get a better view. Just click the picture!
Carol Dean's Houndstooth cuff would have fit into that treasury nicely, don't you think?

Carol Dean (using her alias) also included my Bright Right Triangles bracelet in this treasury that shows off her latest obsession -- Triangulation! Click the picture to go to the treasury so you can check it out in person.

Want proof of Carol Dean's obsession with triangles? Click here! (I just went to do that search and found her newest listing, this drop-dead gorgeous Monochrome Triangle Pendant -- WOW!)

These others have already expired, but I'm still honored to have had my pieces featured in them. One of the newest members of the Etsy BeadWeavers team, miamiamia, included the Desert Diva cuff in her Beaded Treasures collection.
And... she included the Foxxy Cleopatra cuff in this treasury, called Did Somebody Mention Colour?
When you look at miamiamia's Etsy shop, it's pretty obvious she likes color. Isn't this colorful bracelet beautiful?

Last, but not least, is this fun treasury that was assembled by Kalos. It's not beadweaving, but it's another of my favorite things... snails. I just love some of these little guys!! Sylvia Snail was in great company here, wasn't she?
I visited Kalos' Etsy shop and found all sorts of beautiful jewelry, including this Toasted Marshmallows necklace which is ON SALE!!! In fact, she has a great sale going to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, so check it out.

Now it's time for another dose of cappuccino... that's a good way to start the day, don't you think? :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do you remember the songs your mother sang to you when you were a child? My Mother, who was the most important influence in my life in more ways than I can count, had a beautiful alto singing voice (among many other talents) and often sang to me and when she was working around the house. She also whistled beautifully, but it's the songs I remember most. Oh, not for the reasons you're probably thinking. It wasn't that they were sentimental or particularly beautiful or anything like that. The ones I remember the best were absolutely hilarious. I can remember pleading with her to sing them to me, and she usually obliged.

I've had little snippets of some of the songs going through my head for years, but I never knew the origins of them. Obviously, there was no Google way back then, and since I never saw her reading from any book I thought she made them up.

So anyway... On a recent trip to Long Island, my husband and I were being silly one day while we were riding around with the friends we had gone to visit. Our friends are pretty goofy, too, so there was lots of laughter in the vehicle. We were singing songs like "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" and a few others I can't remember; and I threw in one of my favorites from my Mother. I couldn't quite remember all the words, although I managed most of them (no mean feat, since I hadn't heard this song for more than 30 years). After I returned home, I decided to Google some of the words, and I FOUND THE SONGS!!!

You just can't believe how excited I was when I not only found the song lyrics but found someone singing them. It's not my Mom, obviously, but the fact that I can now sing these songs in their entirety makes me feel a bit closer to her.

You see, my Mom died 20 years ago when she was the age I am now. She was too young to die, and I miss her every single day. Everything I do, everything I create, is credited to her because of the things she taught me when I was young and the way she lived her life. I couldn't have asked for a better Mother. She was smart, pretty, and funny; and she loved me unconditionally. I think I knew that from the minute I was born. I'm thankful for the time I had with her.

So these songs... I told you she was funny. You'll see what I mean if you watch these videos. These are the two songs I remember her singing to me. They still crack me up.

The first... The Hunting Song

Is it any wonder I thought my Mom was funny? Here's the second song... I Hold Your Hand in Mine

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Barack Obama and beadweaving? How do those things go together?

Quite well, actually. I'm not political. I rarely even watch the news. But somehow the fact that a senator from Illinois (where I live!) is running for President of the United States in the 2008 election has sunk in, and somewhere along the way I realized that the Obama logo is a neat bit of artwork.

That was enough to inspire me to create a beadweaving pattern featuring the logo. I just listed the Obama Cuff in my Etsy shop, so we'll see if there are any Obama supporters on the site. Judging by what I've been seeing, I think there are. Who knows, maybe Barack will visit Etsy and decide this is the perfect accessory for his wife to wear on the campaign trail!

In other news, I'm honored to report that I've received the Arte de Pico award from two different people, Lizzy T and Smadar. Smadar gave me the award at the end of May, but I didn't ever get around to passing it on to some of my favorite bloggers (one of the requirements for the award); and Lizzy just awarded it to me today!

I guess I'm going to be "that person" who breaks the chain. I really intended to pass the award along, but when I went in search of the blogs I like to read I found that almost every one of them had already received it at least once. I hope no one's too upset by my decision, but I'd really rather continue to follow the blogs I love to read without requiring that they choose five recipients of the award. Sorry. It really is a nice gesture, but to me it's a bit too much like a chain letter. I'm also "that person" who deletes chain letters. What can I say?

So, thanks to Smadar and Lizzy. I really am happy you chose to present me with the award.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Etsy Treasury Day! I was pretty excited when I snagged this one, called Turquoiselicious. A lot of the time I don't plan them ahead of time, but for this one I used the Etsy Poster Sketch Tool and had it all set to go. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a couple of the featured items from this one get sold, because the alternates I've chosen are fabulous! I may have to switch them out just because I love them. Since I'm the curator, you can get a sneak preview of my alternates in this picture.

It's active until Wednesday, also, so go visit!

While I was busy creating that one, Carol Dean (SandFibers) was creating one of her own; and she included my Forever in Blue Jeans beadwoven pendant in it. Click the picture to go visit this one, also active until Wednesday.

And while you're clicking away, check out Carol Dean's Etsy shop. You'll find all sorts of beadwoven goodies in there, including this beautiful blue triangle pendant. I have it from a reliable source that she's become somewhat obsessed with making these triangles of late... I can see why! :-)

Another Etsy Beadweaver, Marlaine, was also busy creating a treasury with my favorite color combination - black, white, and red. Check this out!
Marlaine has a cuff (with the hilarious title of 'Gimme the Garnets... and no one gets hurt') that would fit nicely into her treasury. Don't you think?

Valerie (mistflowerstudio) is gearing up to start listing in her Etsy shop, so keep your eyes peeled. She's been under the weather for a couple of weeks and included my 'Frog in My Throat' ACEO in her Weekly Review treasury.
There are some gorgeous items in that treasury! My silly little drawing is among great company.

Here's a really fun treasury, curated by Rhonda (thecozyloft), and filled with a an eclectic collection of dolls. Some of these are downright scary! Rhonda included my little scalloped silhouette tags, A Little Girl and Her Doll, in this fun collection.
I went to check out Rhonda's shop to see what goodies she has, and I found this adorable painting, perfect to brighten up your kitchen. I can't believe this is only $5!!

Go check out all the treasuries!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hello, Sweden! Or I should say God dag, Sverige! Said with a horrible American accent, by the way. I tried, really I did, to learn to speak some Swedish when I visited my friend there. She laughed at me a LOT.

Laughter or not, I decided to create this Swedish Checkerboard bracelet after I chatted with my Swedish friend (hej, Maria, my Swedish dotter!) a few days ago. It's in honor of the Swedish flag. I've been thinking of my friend a lot lately because she broke the news to me that she'll be having a baby at the end of the year. She's soooooo excited, and I am also. I'm going to start looking for airfares so I can plan a visit there in the spring. It's an absolutely beautiful country, and I love visiting there; but I've been there in the winter. It's cold, and three hours of daylight just isn't enough for me. I want to go when the weather's just a bit warmer. :-) She'll understand.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What do you wear when you want to look good in the desert? Why, this Desert Diva cuff, of course!

Once again, Carol Dean Sharpe (aka SandFibers) deserves some credit for this creation. After she saw my Camo Cuff she said that I needed to create a camouflage design that would work in the desert, in honor of the troops who are (sadly) still serving in Iraq. She even sent me a link to Wikipedia to help me out with the design! How nice is that?!?!?

Once I saw the design of the 6-color chocolate chip camouflage, I knew I'd have to create something like that. It's so very different than the "woodsy" camouflage design I used for my other cuffs (oh yeah, I also created a cuff called Hiding in the Hydrangeas, for people who just don't want to wear traditional camo). This pattern actually uses five colors -- cream, mocha, chocolate brown, black, and white; and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

It's what all the desert divas are wearing this season... :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm frazzled! And that's saying a lot, because I don't often admit to being frazzled. There are just so many things going on right now that I feel like one of those guys in the circus with all the spinning plates... and what I hear is the sound of breaking glass. I like to think that I can do absolutely everything (don't we all?), but every once in awhile I find that even the most talented of multi-taskers (that would be me) struggles with all the tasks at hand.

The frazzledness is being caused by our impending move. We have no deadline. We're not really in a hurry, except that we'd really like to be gone before the winter. But there's a lot to do.

This is part of the list:
1. Pack things that will be moved with us. This involves deciding what we're going to keep, as we've decided to eliminate a LOT of our belongings. We just don't need it all! And because I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to packing, everything being packed is being recorded in a spreadsheet. Honestly, that makes it easier for me. I know. I'm weird.
2. Sell "stuff" on eBay. This involves doing some research first (I'm not going to take the time to photograph and describe something that'll sell for a quarter). If the research indicates that it's worth selling, I have to take photos and write up the listings. Then I have to figure out where to put the "stuff" until it sells.
3. Sell bigger "stuff" on craigslist. So far, so good with this one. Our Adirondack style lawn chairs are all gone. So's the chain link fencing that was around our dog pen. I ran into a snag with this today, though. Lots of big stuff was dragged out into the yard for photographing, and I was happily listing away. And then craigslist wouldn't let me list any more. I haven't used it very much, and I wasn't aware that there are limits to the number of things you can list in any 48-hour period. Pooey. There's LOTS of big stuff, though... a full living room set, entertainment center, bedroom set, lots of bookshelves, sofa and loveseat, electronic drum set, ping pong table, dining room set, chest of drawers, darkroom equipment... Whew!
4. Donate to charities. We've donated a LOT already, but we're continuing to gather things for the Cancer Federation, Vietnam Vets, and Purple Hearts. Once again, this means gathering all the stuff together into one place until it's picked up.
5. Yardwork. The lawn needs work. The weeds are growing up through the mulch that was spread last year, so there's weed pulling to be done. Overgrown shrubs have been cut down and the stumps dug up, and now there's cleanup to be done where they were. Flowers need to be transplanted to other locations. Several trees need to have the grass cleared from around them so mulch can be put there (it's just too hard to mow around the trees). We're waiting for three truckloads of mulch to be spread next to the fence and in a few areas around the house. It's been really rainy, so it's been tough to get the yardwork done.
6. Get house ready to sell. We can't tackle much of this until some of the stuff has been cleared out. Oddly enough, getting the house ready to sell will probably be the easiest part of this whole thing! We need to regrout the kitchen floor, paint some of the rooms, have the carpets cleaned, and do just a few minor fixes. We both like building and construction, though, so fixing the stuff in the house will be the most fun.

I know a list of six things doesn't seem overwhelming, and it certainly doesn't merit being frazzled; but each of those six things really involves many many steps. In between all those things I'm trying to make sure we have clean clothes, food to eat (although I'll admit to asking that we go out to eat several times a week), keep up with my Etsy shop, AND have a little fun along the way.

Because... when all's said and done, I really believe we should be able to spend a significant portion of our lives enjoying ourselves. For me, enjoyment is creating, so it's important to me to be able to spend time every day creating something. Beadweaving. Art. Stationery. Knitting. Crocheting. SOMETHING! Enjoyment is also reading, so there's time set aside every day for some reading.

So although I'm a bit frazzled right now, it'll pass. No one's putting pressure on me except myself, so I just have to tell myself to relax. It'll all get done. Eventually. And if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world.


I have just talked myself out of being frazzled.

Life's too short to do that to myself. I'm going to do some beadweaving and watch a movie!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I really liked the way the Camo Cuff turned out, so I decided to make another one using some different colors. Now I know I could have gone with another "traditional" set of colors, but where's the fun in that?!?! I chose instead to create some camouflage for those people looking to hide out in their shrubbery. So here's my newest creation, Hiding in the Hydrangeas.

I think I've been inspired to do more beadweaving lately because I've sold quite a few pieces (YAY!) and because I've been lucky enough to be featured in a number of treasuries in these past few days. These are all wonderful collections of goodies, and I'm thrilled to have my pieces featured in them.

This first one was created by a fellow beadweaver, Susan (ClinkscalesArts), and includes my Foxxy Cleopatra Cuff. Her title says she was unprepared, but I don't believe it for a minute. Don't you think Susan's Mocha Eggplant earrings would have fit nicely into that collection?

Ann (myfairladyvt4) put together this wonderful treasury filled with bracelets and included Fruit Cocktail in it. I honestly try to keep up with what my fellow Etsy BeadWeavers are creating, but there were some in here I'd never seen before. Ann creates these little beaded doilies that are phenomenal. Don't you just love this Citrus Doily Bracelet?

Marilyn (GrandmaMarilyns) must have been tickled pink when she created this treasury with the same name. She also included Foxxy Cleopatra amongst this treasury made up entirely of beadweaving.

Marilyn's Cats Eye Hugs and Kisses Earrings and Pendant would have been right at home in that collection!

And... Carol Dean (SandFibers) included Fruit Cocktail in this delicious-looking collection of Tutti Fruiti.

I know it's not citrus (which Carol Dean featured prominently in that collection), but I think blueberries and limes would qualify as tutti fruiti, don't you? This Green and Blue Split Personality pendant looks positively yummy.

Ileana (enchantedbeads) has been doing a great job of snagging treasuries lately, and she just assembled Days and Nights today and included my Champagne Fire bracelet in it.

Ileana is best known for her beadwoven brooches and pendants, but I just love this little Jewelry Box. It's the perfect place to store tiny treasures. :-)

Wanna see more treasuries that feature beadweaving? Check out this Etsy forum thread! You won't believe what beautiful creations are produced by the members of this talented team. If you're thinking of assembling a treasury, search for EBW TEAM in titles/tags and you'll find an endless supply of beauty to include.


Friday, June 13, 2008

I've become obsessed with taking one beadweaving design and executing it in different colors just to see what will happen. This newest cuff, aptly named Fruit Cocktail, is a case in point. I took my original design, the one used in The Foxxy Cleopatra Cuff that I entered into the Etsy BeadWeavers 'Anything Goes' challenge (BTW, go vote!) and created a slightly narrower cuff using some delicious fruity colors: tangerine, lemonade, cherry, and aqua. Seriously, those are the names of the bead colors! I can't decide whether I like this one better or the original one in the pinks, brown, and black.

And while I was beadweaving away (well, okay, I do other stuff sometimes too), Ileana (enchantedbeads) featured my Passion for Purple beadwoven necklace/pendant in this treasury filled to the brim with pinks and purples, with just a touch of blue.
Ileana makes wonderful beadwoven brooches, but she also has other fabulous things in her Etsy shop. Check out this necklace!
And Carol Dean (Sandfibers) included my Foxxy Cleopatra Cuff in this treasury she created with some of the entries into this month's Etsy BeadWeavers challenge.

Carol Dean is a beadweaver extraordinaire, with an entire portfolio of original designs (she's regularly published in Step-by-Step Beads). It just seems like she has an endless capacity for design. One of her newest creations is this beautiful Mixed Metals triangle pendant. Don't you just love the subtle blending of colors?!

By the way, Carol Dean is offering up one of her original beadwoven bracelets in a drawing this month... Check out her blog. You can be eligible to win a beautiful purple bracelet just by voting in the Etsy BeadWeavers challenge and then leaving Carol Dean a comment on her blog! (Of course, I've already entered my comment, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the random number generator comes up with lucky number 11.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beads and camoflage aren't typically combined in the same thought. Unless, of course, you have a mind like mine. I told you inspiration can come from anywhere. I've had this idea to create a camoflage pattern for a beadwoven cuff for awhile, and my recent purchase from Fire Mountain Gems meant that I had enough of the right color beads to execute this funky design. I need some excuse to use all those Delicas, right?!

So here's my newest original pattern... the Camo Cuff:

I just know hunters everywhere are going to want to add these to their wardrobes.