Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Living in Turnaround: Always and Forever: Ten Years with Clay Aiken

Had to take this opportunity to share a wonderful blog from a friend that speaks to the last 10 years of MY life as well....congratulations, Clay! And THANKS! for the memories.....

Living in Turnaround: Always and Forever: Ten Years with Clay Aiken: Ten years have passed, but I remember it well. I was just a few seconds away from changing the channel. I love music, appreciate good si...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Focus on Life Wk 4~Create Art!

"Art"....hmmmm.....I don't draw...really, you don't want to see me draw. Although, I did think about adding to my zentangle experience of 1 so far:

...and then looked at the 1 and said...."nah". Just wasn't speaking to me. 

I have in the past done a bunch of quilting; I think most of us have worked in multiple "disciplines" through the years. But I didn't think you 'd want to wait the 1-2 years it would take me to get an art quilt put together for this post. AND I'd have to clean off the beading table, to put the sewing machine on it instead! Nope. 

So....one of the days I had off from work, where I had the luxury to lay in bed for a few minutes before getting up....(I LOVE that!)...I thought about a post I had seen on Freeform Peyote, along with an wonderful audio podcast. Hmmmmm.....THAT I might have time to do! And I thought it might just qualify as "art". That very day I painted a wooden base bead with a beautiful rich purple which spoke to me:

Gathered up a few *cough* beads which fit my colour plan:

Created some bead soups in different colours from the plan:

...and started beading, just letting it flow...please excuse the (lack of) manicure. My real life is not conducive to manicures. 

I am enjoying the work. I adore working with colour, and actually had a few moments when using that paint, whcn I considered just splashing some on a canvas...but I didn't. Maybe next time. With some crumpled tissue...and some gesso...and some stamps. And some rub-on glittery stuff.  Hmmm.....

Oh!! Almost forgot to mention...in picking through things laying on the beading table while I chose colours for my beaded bead, I discovered this, picked up at random from the lake (Lake Huron) the last time I was there in September or so. Until then, I hadn't noticed.....this....

Do you see the fossil at the upper right of the rock? Cool!!

But, back to the freeform beaded bead....here she is! I'm fairly pleased :-) and while I was working with her, I definitely felt like I was doing "art", if that counts! 

From a few different angles:

There will definitely be more of these; it's a really fun way to play with color and beads. It's about 1 1/4" in diameter, to give some perspective. 

ETA: Alicia reminded me of something I had not thought of in years...and it fits this week's theme so perfectly, I just had to come back and add it to my post:

Yes, it's me....one or two years ago. :-)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Focus on Life~Week 3

Week 3's Focus on Life Photography Challenge is "Take Time"...and I used Sally's "permission" to do just that!

A little background....several things are at play here....

1. I love books and bookstores.....

2. I HATE to cook....when I was about 4 my mother was hospitalized for almost 10 years; it was just my Dad and I at home for the most part, and as of course he had to make a living...I was cooking for the family from the time I was about 5. And now...I'm SO done with it. Anything someone else will cook for me....ANYTHING....is super-duper great!! 

So my "taking time for myself" hour or so (so, OK, I stretched that 15 minutes a little.....) became a 2-parter here:

It's OK by the way....don't worry....I went WITHOUT the credit card and spent a wonderful hour browsing...

and then, here:

That's the BEST cheeseburger soup ever (it was a cold day), the best jalapeno roll ever, and the best chocolate/pecan/caramel cookie ever that you see there....and oh! The best glass of lemonade ever! 
And I didn't even have to wash the dishes *g*

Thanks, Sally, for the "permission"; I had a wonderful afternoon! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Focusing on Life Challenge Wk 2

Week 2's theme is to consider a "word of the year" rather than creating a New Year's resolution...a word that represents how you want to change your life going forward on this new page, if you will....

After much thought, my word is.....

I want to take the time to explore color, new places, new relationships, new challenges at work, new techniques for my beading....new books, new music, new ways to help my charity...new roads, new restaurants, new ways to do the same old things.

I can't wait!

Focusing on Life Challenge Wk 1

I'm a little late getting started, but I am excited to join the Focusing on Life Challenge at The Studio Sublime. Last year I participated in a monthly challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed, but unfortunately it petered out last summer :-(.

This challenge is a single-focus weekly theme presented to us by Sally; the first week was a self-portrait...as I had just taken some pictures at Christmastime, here is mine:

My family is important to me, and this is us...........

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beading Babes Project 7

The reveal for Beading Babes Project 7 was Dec 9th, 2012...right in the middle of the mayhem for me...and I did get my projects mostly completed, but did not get all of them posted in time for the reveal.

As I just finished the third one today, I thought I would post my pictures and comments, perhaps better late than never. :-) Project 8 is coming up fast.

1. Scalloped Pearls Bracelet from Bead & Button October 2012. (Angelle Procopio design)

I thoroughly enjoyed creating this bracelet. The instructions were easy to follow, even though I had to make some substitutions from the original bead sizing as I was determined to use "stash" to create these projects. The pattern is a great opportunity to do some colour work, which I really enjoy, and I will certainly do this one again, probably in multiple colourways to see how that affects the "look". I want to try it, for example, with all the bugle beads in the same colour, so the wave is highlighted rather than the fans. 
Most of my projects are created for the benefit of my charity, but this one became a Christmas present for my granddaughter after she admired it on Facebook. 

2. Enchanted Rivoli Earrings from Beadwork August 2012. (Csilla Cermaz design)

These were a bit tougher to create; after searching heaven and earth for the size 9 seed beads used in her original design without success (WHY do bead magazines do this??), I substituted size 10 czech seeds. The size differential is crucial to the design of the herringbone rope which encircles the rivoli, which needs to smoothly transition from the 6's to the 8's to the (9's) 10's. What I did worked, but I think would have worked better if the 9's had been available. Which they are not. *sigh*
My bezelling technique definitely needs work. I did manage to get those suckers in there, but I have added at least one row of peyote to the front and back to make them more secure. I'm still not sure I shouldn't have resorted to the crazy glue. 
But they are really pretty. As they remind me of peacock feathers even in this colorway, I think I'm going to have to try a colour which would make them even more evocative of the feathers. A good friend has been dropping hints, so I'll probably do a pair for her as well in the purple; she has an evening gown which would be amazing with these, but I don't want to gift them to her as I'm just not confident in the rivoli...possibly after pair #3 I'll be more confident. Hopefully. 

3. Roller Beads from Bead and Button, also October 2012 (Cathy Lampole design)

I just finished these today; as you can see, I had a bit more time to play with pictures for these. These are a fairly typical Cathy Lampole design, with her signature RAW base and criss/cross crystal embellishment. I had to do a fair amount of frogging on the first (cream) one to get the base to work properly but after that they were a breeze. They use a LOT of crystals and Swarovski pearls, so I'll probably try them in Fire polish and glass pearls to see how they look, as a less expensive to produce alternative. As shown, we're looking at a COST of $15.60 per bead to produce them, so at least $35.00 per bead retail. 
I was not fond of the accompanying herringbone rope, so I didn't do it. I like the idea of just slipping them on a looped chain like I have done, with a stopper pendant of some kind; it makes them more versatile as well. They are very firm and self supporting, so there are lots of options. I did try one on a Regaliz leather band, but it is slightly too small to work. 

Looking forward to Project 8 with this group! 

First visit to Washington, DC

Sorry to have left you for a couple of months, folks! October/November/December are the busiest months of my year...I've been swamped and am just now coming up for air...

I thought I would catch up a bit by telling you a bit about my first trip to Washington, DC. I volunteer for a charitable organization which is head-quartered in the US. Normally our Fall fund-raising Gala is held in Raleigh, NC, which is "home base" but this year we branched out a bit and the Gala was held in Washington.

We were fortunate to have the beautiful JW Marriott right on Pennsylvania Ave as our host hotel.

We arrived the Thursday prior to the Saturday event, and got right to the sightseeing!

The beautiful National Theatre, which you can see in the background of the picture above, was the site of the Gala...so convenient!

We had purchased tickets prior to our visit for the Night Lights Tour; we had been told it was pretty to see the monuments at night, and as the timing of the tour was good for us, we went for it. I would definitely recommend the tour. Our guide was knowledgeable, and it was great to get to all the monuments easily, and know what we wanted to get back to see again. My only quibble is that we have one friend who has a disability which means he is unable to walk long distances....the tour was difficult for him, and this was not mentioned in the description. If you are considering going, the tour requires having the ability to walk at least a mile at a fairly quick pace. Not for seniors. 

Here's my favorites: Martin Luther King Memorial...as a teenager in the '60's, really affecting and imposing. The picture doesn't begin to show you the scope of the monument, which is really well done. 

The Korean War Memorial: really, really eery in the dark...and that engraved wall is just amazing. It is pictures of many of the participants in the war....doctors, infantry, nurses, etc. The "field" is set up to look as though the troupe is working through a battlefield dressed just as they would have been for battle...and you feel as though you are right in the middle of it:

Here we are at the White House! Mr and Mrs Obama did NOT come out to say Hi....

but at another time, there WAS this: *

We were able also to get out to Mount Vernon, George Washington's birthplace, and thoroughly enjoyed that tour of Mount Vernon, Old Town Alexandria, and Arlington Nat Cemetery. Again, though~not for someone who is not able to walk considerable distances. 

Mount Vernon, from the entrance: 

Slave burial ground:

Old Towne Alexandria: (each is 8 ft wide)

Robert E. Lee's home:

Christ Church in Alexandria; gravesite in the churchyard damaged by Union soldiers bullets:

Plaque in the church:

Kennedy graves and eternal flame at Arlington National Cemetery:

And then, of course....the Gala, which was wonderful!

Our Gala VIP group photo....you may recognize my boss on the far right....:-)

Sure hope to have an opportunity to visit again and see some of what we missed! Washington was beautiful.....

*Yes, of course it's photoshopped :-)...but what fun...I've gotten a lot of mileage out of that fun little souvenir.