Friday, February 25, 2011

The Cat vs. The Canary

Thank you, Elena, for these videos. You made my morning!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pantone Color Forcasts: Fall, 2011

And then there's Beading Daily's interpretation of Pantone's Spring 2011 Forecast  (for some reason, the link here is not showing on my published blog, but click on the last phrase to see what they had to say) with beads made of different materials suggested to interpret it with.  How I love that the entire fashion and wearable art communities are so free with this information so that we can use it - if we choose - to enhance our sales.

We all should know what colors we should preparing our wearable arts and crafts in to maximize sales.  Whether we choose to use these colors in our creations or not  is a personal choice and more power to each and every one of us for following our heart.  But we should have this information available in case we want to take advantage of it.

The best thing about the artistic community is the spirit of sharing.  Real artists are not afraid to share their work, their thoughts, their inspirations.  They know that no matter what they're doing, their work is their own and no matter what other artists take way from it, they will put their own spin on the concept.

I love not being afraid.  I love truly being able to call myself an artist and believing it.  And I love the people who believed in me before I believed in myself.  Thank you.

Stylish Blog Award

It took a while for me to post this, but I've been awarded the Stylish Blog Award!

Many Thanks to
Made for Me by Oaklie
Handmade Fashion Scarves and More

This is very exciting and will give you an insight to some blogs you may never read.

Here's how it works:

Step 1 - Make a link back to the person who nominated you - thanks for Made for Me by Oaklie. Link done!

Step 2 - Share 7 random things about yourself.

Step 3 - Award 15 recently discovered bloggers to this award.

Step 4 - Contact these bloggers and tell them about it.

Here are my 7 random things:

1)  I was a Richard Simmons Success Story (over 200 pounds lost) but am currently struggling with a 30 pound weight gain.  I guess that still makes me a success although I don't feel like one right now.

2)  I recently signed up for Animoto  and am LOVING IT!  Who knew I'd be infected by the age of technology?  Making these videos is really fun!  (If you look at the link, put me in as a referral and we'll both get an extra month on our subscription.)

3)  Speaking of the age of technology, Eric got me a Verizon I Phone last weekend.  O.  M.  G!  Am I having fun?  This may be the best toy ever and I can make phone calls on it too!

4)  I am having a Spin-In at my home on February 27.  If you're arts-and-crafts inclined, contact me privately for details!  You don't have to spin yarns (of either kind) to come... bring what you like to work on and you'll be welcome.

5)  I hate shopping.  Ironic since I love selling my work - lol!

6)  I finally rented my old condo.  There's no turning back now.

7)  I may have married into the Splaver clan,but I'm a "Splaver" in name only.  To be a full fledged Splaver, you need to have an internal thermostat of about 110 degrees.  They're always warm, no matter what the temperature.  I'm always cold, no matter what the temperature!  :D

So there you have it, that's a little about me. Now here are the 15 blogs I recommend you check out:

1.  The Beebonnet Report by Janel Laidman
2.  Tanglewood Fibers by Trish Anderson
3.  The Panopticon by Franklin Habit
4.  Claudia's Yoga by Claudia Regan
5.  Modeknit / Knitting Heretic by Annie Modisett
6.  Beadlust by Robin Atkins
7.  Affirming Creativity by Vicki Schroeder
8.  Art Bead Scene...  Various Contributors
9.  Getting Stitched on the Farm by Kristen Nicholas
10. Woven Thoughts by Sara Lamb
11.Creature Comforts by Ez
12.Fey Handmade by Christine Lindstrom
13. California Crafters of Etsy (CCCOE)... Various Contributors
14. Buzz Blog by Jen Wallace
15. The Yarn Harlot by Stephanie McFee

Sadly, not all of these blogs were "recently" discovered, but they're all superb and I'd rather give you links that you will enjoy and I know are consistent than those that may be here today, gone tomorrow.  Now, I have to go.  I have some e-mailing to surprised authors to do.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Edi's Little Treasures

This weeks Featued Artisan is Edi's Little Treasures. True Treasures indeed.. Edi has wonderful creations! A Must have for every Jewelry Box!! You can find Edi at:







Good Night MIles!

Miles is often difficult to get into bed.  At age 9, he's watched is big brothers and sister get to stay up later than him, and his oldest brother "G-man" as his "real mother" would call him, would disrupt the entire family by sleeping all day and staying up all night. Belligerent and noisy, "G" would set a not-very-good example for Miles, who emulated him in many ways.

Fortunately, Miles has become much easier to handle in the weeks since "G" left for boarding school, but there still is the issue of getting him into bed and asleep.

First, he must strike just the right pose for starting out in the bed.
Hmmmm... where did he pick this pose up from?  I suppose it's from "listening" to VH1 again.  "Listening" to VH1 is how Miles picks up all of his best dance moves!  I know.  I've caught him "listening" late into the evening when he thinks I'm not going to notice that his TV is on well past his bedtime.

Then,  it's necessary to borrow my camera and record an image of a poster of his favorite video game, "Halo Reach."  Never mind that Halo Reach is a thing of the past in this home.  These days, any time I have had it with a particular materialistic item the kids are playing with or want, is inappropriate, and/or it needs to be put away or gotten rid of, I threaten to "Halo Reach" it.  It doesn't matter, though.  Miles is still obsessed by the whole concept and especially the game.  (We no longer allow any "M" rated video games into the home where children for which it is age-inappropriate can have access and amazingly, Miles has reverted to playing those that ARE appropriate for his age group.)

Then, there's the first laying down in the bed and being tucked in.
Ok, shut up now.  It was a cold night and we needed "layers" to keep warm!  There was the requisite sheets and blanket.  Three regular pillows on top of his head.  His decorative black throw pillow.  His teddy bear.  And I thought the Sombrero was a nice touch to finish the scene off.  Miles was giggling like crazy under this pile of this-and-that - lol!  :D  :D  :D

Of course, he's an active 9-year-old and despite me warning him not to move until his father arrived to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight (a daily ritual and a sweet one at that, he could not stay still.

After quite a bit of coaxing (and a little bit of gentle threatening - lol!), the child is now ready to be tucked in by Eric.  Christiane (a long-time tremendously good friend and recently his sitter on the days/evenings when Eric & I are both out of the house... we're so incredibly lucky that she found time in her busy schedule to help us!) watches over him, warning him not to move again and again (and also ensure that he is safe and able to breathe) as I quickly gather Eric up before the scene is spoiled.

As Eric &; I  approach, Christiane turns the lights out.  This new bedtime routine is a surprise for Eric.  And Eric plays along perfectly, entering the room and taking it from there like a pro:

As Eric leaves the room after this scene is completed, Miles springs out of bed, begging Daddy to "do it one more time!"  We promise Miles that if he is good, gets back into bed now and goes right to sleep, Daddy will beat him into submission and sleep again the following night.  Miles instantly behaves, and is asleep within 15 minutes.

This routine has become a regular ritual in our home....Miles being pummeled with pillows to sleep.

Miles loves it.  So do I and so does Eric.  It's wonderful to see a Father-Son relationship growing and building as we move more and more towards a normal family structure rather than Eric struggling just to keep afloat.

Despite all the transitional issues that any 54 year old woman who has been single and childless for her whole life would have when suddenly trust into the type of crazy situation I have been thrown into, there's no question that I love my family and I love my new life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shhhh! It's a secret!

Friends have posted on their blogs about secret projects... things that they cannot talk about publicly. I find myself currently in the same position.

I can't tell you what I'm working on, but it's starting out with these beads:
Of course there will be lots more colors when this is complete...  updates to follow.  

* * * * *
I took two classes from Mary Hettmansperger on Friday and Saturday.  I will find and post  Friday's results when I can, but Friday wasn't such a fun day for me.  It's hard when I try to learn skills that just don't come intuitively to me, and Friday was just one of those days.

Saturday was a different, though, as we learned all sorts of wire wrapping techniques.  I will find my other samples - that I didn't complete - later too, but here's the finished item that I wrapped.  I started out with a plain wooden elongated "donut" pendant and wrapped it.  This is what I got:

Mary is delightful, by the way; and I thank my friends at Creative Castle in Newbury Park for bringing her and other artists of her calibur to their store so that we can learn from world class artists.

* * * * *
Sometimes when I complete a piece, it's done.  Other times, it needs more work.  This is one such item:



It just needed that extra punch of gold stripe in the middle to make it pop!  I'm taking this piece out of my Etsy store for the time being, though.  Notice the lighter beads?   I'd like to say that they're just a reflection of the sun glinting off of the bracelet, but they're not.  In truth, they're beads that appear to have lost their color.  Usually that happens only with cheap seed beads... often of Chinese origin because they dyed the surface of the beads rather than infused the beads with color the whole way through.  

I'm confused by this happening with the beads in this bracelet, though, as they're supposedly Japanese - they make the highest quality and most technically engineered seed beads - and come from a VERY reputable source.  I'm going to wear this bracelet myself for a while and see what happens, and bring the whole issue to the people who sold the beads to me in a couple of weeks.  I know that they would never knowingly put out inferior product on their shelvs (I only deal with reputable sources) but sometimes stores can be victims too.

Meanwhile, back to my secret project.    

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reconnecting with Old Friends

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to reconnect with old friends. It happened in small bits and pieces in January, but finally, I was lucky enough to participate at Carol's home in the first Spin In I've attended in well over a year.

Oh, but I've missed my friends!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Share the Love: Bloggers Unite

This Week's Featured Artisan isKim - Va Beach Quilter.. darling creations for you by a very talented lady!

Everything from A-Z! You can find Va Beach Quilter on:






Kim also has a Destash Shop and a Guild on Artfire for Shops with less than 15 sales.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Day, Sunshine!

Yesterday, I was pleased to have finished up Maria's order for her bracelet. She had seen what I didn't; that another bracelet that I had made looked like sunshine because of the colors chosen, and she wanted one that actually said Sunshine! It was fun and an honor to be able to fill her request.

It was an interesting process. One of the things that I did not tell her when presenting pics of her finished bracelet to her was that I had never made a Kumihimo bracelet before. I knew I could do it... it was easy in my mind and none of the skills were anything that I had not done on other items, but I needed to reconstruct the proportions in order to do her work properly.  In fact, the braiding in her bracelet that actually will be sent  was the 2nd attempt. The first time around, I made the braids too long, and as I was completing the bracelet, I knew for a fact that it would be too big for her.

I was a knitter (and a hand spinner and a weaver) before becoming a professional beader. Knitters have a saying when they make a mistake in their projects and don't realize it for a while, then have to take the project apart to correct the issue. The call taking the project out "Frogging It." That's because you have to rip all of your work apart, reclaiming the yarn. You "Rip it! Rip it! Rip it!"

Nobody likes frogging, but the only knitters who never make mistakes are the ones who either are not knitting or never take on a challenging project. I've frogged my share of clothing, and currently have a sweater made out of gorgeous yarn that I completed years ago, but I had done something wrong while following the pattern and it didn't just not fit, but it was impossible to wear. Some day soon, I'm going to frog that sweater and remake it. But back to task.

I needed to frog that initial bracelet for Maria, but in beading,unlike knitting, you can't always reclaim the parts. I was lucky. I WAS able to reuse everything, but rather than take the braids apart and use the beads again, I just left the braids in place and remade them in a shorter length. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them... ultimately I made an interesting pair of earrings, but what I did know was that if I didn't send Maria something that was up to my own personal standard... something that I was sure she would enjoy, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. In the end, I'm so glad I took the time.

I posted this Animoto (I'm really going to have to blog about Animoto because it's so damned cool) in facebook last night about her bracelet:

It was late when I did so; I was flabbergasted and completely flattered when I almost immediately got this response from her:

Pinky-Grapefruit Maria Thank you so much for letting me be part of this creative process, the gorgeous bracelet and the very kind words!! The bracelet is beautiful as are all your pieces I have purchased. I think I will love this one the best of all because we did it together. WOW I had no idea how much work went into these. Awesome!! You are sooooo talented. Luvvies you ♥

Maria, I love you too!

I also got a lot of other compliments including this one from Claudia:

Another fabulous piece! Your talent is amazing! :)

I can't tell you how much these comments mean to me... thank you one and all!  I know that I finally found my medium, my true passion and work, and that I'm getting better and better at it all the time, and I am not only practicing and getting better that way, but I'm picking up more and more skills through constant education.  But the most important thing said was said by Maria:

"WOW I had no idea how much work went into these. "

Now I know why I bought that Animoto program.  It gives me a chance to make all of my special order clients a chance to see their work in progress, but they also convey the amount of both love and hard work that goes into their orders.  What I do is very labor intensive, takes a long time (even when I don't have to do it twice - lol!), and often my clients don't understand why I charge so much for it.  It makes me feel good that they can see the process, clearly can see that the finished item is much higher quality than what they can buy off of a store shelf (mass merchandise bead jewelry is usually CRAP!), and why I charge what I do.

That's the thing.  I have a set formula for how I charge for my work... I got it out of a "Selling Your Jewelry" book so I know that it's reasonable and fair, and I don't deviate unless I am offering a special promotion or reducing items permanently to clear inventory because my style or body of work has changed enough that the old doesn't represent what I do anymore.  So I feel good about my pricing, but I wonder if my clients do too.  With the Animoto, they can see what goes into their jewelry and I think it makes them feel better about my charges.

But back to task again.  I have a number of other special orders still awaiting completion, especially for Sue who has been uber patient for over a year when she is my first and most important client.  I have a bracelet and a pair of earrings to finish up (they're almost done), and then I am going to go back to work on a necklace in progress for her and just keep working straight through until it's done.  Damned the teeny tiniest small heirloom beads I am making it out of... full speed ahead and if I continue to have trouble seeing them, well I'm going to have to break down and buy myself some kind of magnfication system.

In the meanwhile, I'm also starting to work on my web site and made real and noticeable progress on the jewelry page last night. I'd love it if any of my readers - who I appreciate more than you could know, especially when I am so irregular about posting - combed over it, looked for errors, and got back to me with any comments, positive or negative.  Yes, I know that I need to update the header pictures and I'll get to that presently, but the body of the page is where I'd really appreciate your feedback. 

Now, I have to scan my food sheets for Richard as today is the day I am turning them in (yet another story, but I'm trying to get my weight back to where it belongs), get dressed, and Eric & I will be going on a round of theraputic appointments this morning to try and come up with a plan in order to deal with the unique issues his ex wife and mother of his children present.  Again, another post for another day if I ever post about it at all.  

But for now, go out and have a day full of sunshine.  If you're in an area of the country where the winter is at it's worst, you can still carry sunshine in your heart.  I hope you do.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What is a Calorie?

What is a calorie?

Calories are the little bastards that get into your wardrobe at night and
sew your clothes tighter.


Thank you, "Sheep Thrills" yahoo group!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Share the Love: Bloggers Unite

This Week's Featured Artisan is The Beas Knees.. darling creations for you by a very talented lady!

Beth has lot of creations for you to see! You can find The Bea's Knees on:




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