Saturday, April 26, 2014

CC7A April Reveal

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Welcome to reveal day for the April edition of the Creative Continuum of Seven Artists, brought to you this month by the lovely Therese Frank of Therese's Treasures. Therese sent moonstone beads, sky blue agate and sparkly clear AB glass, along with a gorgeous one-of-a-kind dichroic glass cabochon she handcrafted. All of which I neglected to photograph, despite the fact that they sat smiling on my worktable for the better part of a month!

Therese's inspiration was the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, from this album: 

This Beatles' song, filled with musical and recording innovation, has inspired lots of covers since it debuted in 1967, and even more controversy. Was it about tripping on LSD? Inspired by a child's drawing? A modern nod to Alice in Wonderland? A bit of each? Certainly it has consistently garnered attention and remained on playlists for almost 50 years. So cheers to you, John! You have kept everyone arguing even from the grave... you are having the last laugh :)

Here are the lyrics... decide for yourself what John Lennon was describing:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she's gone.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Ah... Ah...

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain,
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you're gone.

Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Here is the bracelet (which started life as a necklace) I designed using Therese's awesome and trippy components (sweet enameled birdie clasp by Kristen Varian):

Be patient while I share some extra photography I experimented with (links to the other designers in the group at the bottom, if you prefer to skip):

Dark background:

I created a polymer clay bezel for Therese's glass cabochon, stamped
with our group acronym. There are four narrow tunnels for
cording between the glass and the bezel.

And while wearing the bracelet (I always forget to take these):

As always, I want to thank Alicia for inviting me into the CC7A, and Therese for providing this month's beautiful components and fabulous inspiration :) And Therese, I DID make several earring pairs with leftover goodies... if I could only find them :( I am literally floating in earrings this month, so I'm hoping I put these special pairs in a "safe place" LOL.

I invite everyone to hop over to the rest of the members and see their creations:

Alicia... All the Pretty Things
*Alicia will be posting later in the week*
Christine... One Kiss Creations 
Cynthia... Antiquity Travelers 
Emma... A Polymer Penchant 
Sally... The Studio Sublime 
Therese... Therese's Treasures

See y'all next month for another round!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What I Won and Upcoming Events

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I've been enjoying a little holiday the past two weeks! So today just a quick word on current and upcoming stuff:

1/ I won this beautiful handmade soap from Kathy Weisz of Kathy in Ozarks. Kathy asked what kind of soap I wanted and I said, "Surprise me!" Yesterday I received this gorgeous golden butterfly :) How did she know? Kathy even included a pretty hand-knit face scrubbie from fellow Missourian Etsy maker Rita Hagenhoff of Sticks n Stones Gifts. My own mini-spa :) Thanks, Kathy!

Kathy has two shops on Etsy: one for beautiful hand-dyed fibers, and the second where she sells her custom soaps in all kinds of cute shapes (even some for men and kids):

2/ Also in my mailbox yesterday was the envelope of Ears to You earring cards I have been awaiting. Now I have started to get those 100 pair sorted and bagged, and ready to send out to this very worthwhile organization. Thanks, Amy, for the inspiration to get on board with your 100 Pairs 100 Days challenge!

3/ This Saturday, April 26th, is the fourth reveal in our Creative Continuum of Seven Artists (CC7A) monthly challenge. This time it is Therese Frank of Therese's Treasures who inspires us to get in touch with our inner Beatles, for a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds blog hop. I have only a pic of part of the awesome cab she provided, but there were also moonstone beads, sky blue agate and sparkly clear AB glass. It is sure to be a great trip... so join us on Saturday :)

Freaky dichroic glass handmade by Therese

4/ I am working away at my beautiful Bead Soup sent by the wonderful Cheryl Brown. How to do justice to Cheryl's amazing gifts? Ai yi yi... The 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party is set to go NEXT Saturday, May 3rd, with almost 500 bloggers participating. Hope you can drop by for this crazy party, too :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

ABS Challenge April 2014

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I will keep this post short and sweet (for me, that is LOL) as I have already posted today for Tanya Goodwin's Shibori Ribbon Challenge. This necklace is my entry for the Art Bead Scene Challenge April 2014, which is this painting:

Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green), 1877-79 by Edgar Degas
Pastel and Gouache on Paper 26" x 14" (66 x 36 cm)
**with selected palette by colour guru Brandi Hussey of Brandi Girl Blog**

The painting has bold colours well illuminated in Brandi's palette. As always, I learned a lot about an influential painter. As a tribute to the many contrasting aspects of Degas' style, I included both romantic motifs and rather more modern components.  Hope you like it :)

The little design in the Nancy Schindler pendant has always been a "dancing fairy" to my mind. Below is a grouping of little apricot flower bead caps which look like miniature dancers' skirts. The cord part of the necklace features bold lampwork discs by the inimitable Julie Burgard, Aztec Picasso Czech beads in a variety of blue-greens, and chunky dyed and hand-carved Indonesian bone beads. Strung on charcoal waxed linen with a commercial flowery button for closure (just because it was the one I really liked in this design).

Thanks for visiting, and be sure to check the ABS flickr page for lots more designs inspired by Swaying Dancer.

Shibori Ribbon Challenge

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Early in March, Tanya Goodwin of A Work in Progress felt inspired to create a challenge around a special type of ribbon called Shibori. This type of ribbon is made with intricate folding and dyeing techniques, which produces a variety of beautifully patterned and shaded designs. Tanya generously sent several of us a length of gorgeous Shibori she had on hand and encouraged us to use it to get creative:

Tanya also shared some links to some beautiful bead embroidered items. As you know, I am not really much of a "beader", so I chose to create a little ribbon sculpture instead. If you saw my design for the Color of Dreams, you noticed I had "adopted" a certain creature as a sort of totem for growth and change. So I once again used it as inspiration for my ribbon design:

I enjoyed working with my Shibori ribbon. This butterfly only used about 1/2 of the piece Tanya sent me. I haven't decided if I will make a different sculpture, or use the remaining ribbon to make a tutorial for the butterfly :) I didn't find other Shibori butterflies out there, but if anyone has seen one, I would love to have the link.

My necklace was finished with uniquely hand-dyed tubular viscose ribbon by Lorraine Stobie, Colour Complementsthreaded through heavy decorative antiqued copper chain. I thought this was the perfect "complement" to the Shibori :)

Thank you for including me in your challenge, Tanya!

Here are the other challenge participants:

 Our Hostess:
Tanya   A Work in Progress 

 Maryanne   Zingala's Workshop 

 Alenka   Pepita Handmade 

 Yep**Monique   A Half-Baked Notion**that's me 

 Carolyn   Carolyn's Creations

 Catherine   Catherine's Musings

 Therese   Therese's Treasures 

If any of you are awake during the night, here in North America there is a total eclipse of the Moon tonight, April 14th-15th. Check the link for times.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shibori Challenge and Rita's GLOSSI

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Join us tomorrow, Monday April 14th, for a blog hop featuring Shibori ribbon, a product which is new to me, but apparently very popular with bead embroiderers. Don't panic, everyone, I have NOT taken up bead embroidery just in time for this hop LOL. But I HAVE created something special and meaningful for me. 

So do drop by and see what has been created by TanyaMaryanneAlenkaCarolynMaryCatherineChristineSharylTherese and I.


Also, I just had to share what Rita of Jewel School Friends made with our Color of Dreams blog hop designs. Check out the beautiful Glossi magazine she created. I love this, Rita :) - The Color of Dreams Blog Hop

Thanks again for this wonderful and memorable celebration of our dreams, Rita!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

DAY 100 of the 100 Days 100 Pairs Challenge

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O.K., actually this is April 9th, or Day 99, but I'm posting a day early because I wanted to pass on this message in a timely way:

Ears to You  is having a special fundraising event starting today: 

"Join in our 3-day event Wednesday, April 9th to Friday, April 11th to raise funds and awareness of Ears To You!  If you live in Northeast Ohio, we have ETY earrings and new baseball hats, along with brochures and donation boxes that will be set-up in area businesses to encourage donations!  You can choose to donate any amount into the box, AND/OR donate a minimum amount to “wear your support” by choosing a pair of earrings ($10 min.) or a baseball hat ($18 min).  Take one, donate one!  If you live out of the area, please consider a donation here on our website. We rely solely on the generosity of individuals and your donation helps us continue to bring these moments of joy to cancer patients!  We are also looking for direct sponsorships from business owners and community leaders!" More on this link.

So, unbelievably, this is my final installment of ten earring pairs, numbers 91-100. Amy started this challenge back in January, and at the time I figured, "Well, I'll do what I can, but I doubt I'll be able to donate that many earrings!" I  am very happy to have been proven wrong :)

Without further ado, I present my last set, featuring a mix of my own polymer clay beads, lampwork by glass artisans Mona Sullivan, Amy Hall, and Lacy Spencer, as well as a set of Indonesian hand-carved bone components from a previous challenge. My theme this time was "White Plus", a series with bi-colour palettes, all on silver-filled earwires by Soul of Somanya:

**More details on components on the 100 Pairs 100 Days Pinterest board**

Right now I am waiting for some special earring cards being sent from the Ears to You organization, so I can get all 100 pairs packaged and mailed.

Thanks, everyone, for joining me, and for your encouragement during the 100 days of this great project :)

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Color of Dreams Blog Hop

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Welcome to the Color of Dreams blog hop! Each participant was gifted a beautiful and colourful handmade polymer clay bead made by Patricia Handschuh of The Color of DreamsHere is a description of our design challenge, as voiced by our hostess and giver of gifts, Rita of Jewel School Friends: 

"Feel free to create in any way you wish, using your bead as inspiration for your colorway, theme, technique. You are welcome to use additional Color of Dreams beads in your design, as well as artisan beads and gems and anything you like. You are not limited to jewelry.

You may share a dream that has come true, one you are working on now, or one you hope for in the future. The one goal of the hop: we'll focus on our dreams as entirely possible, with the idea, "If we can dream it, we can achieve it." So, try creating "from the end" -- as if your dream has already come true -- using your jewelry design to do so."

Thank you, Rita, for creating this lovely blog hop for all the dreamers!

Like many folks of a certain "vintage", I am often tempted to think that my dreams are a thing of the past. As a child, I wanted to visit the stars, to explore this planet and to experience the big events of our world. Then as I matured, my hopes became more "realistic": to find a career where I could thrive (failed); to stay home to raise my children (mostly succeeded); to keep music in my life (success!). I had more-or-less relegated dreaming to the past.

Yet, in my fifties, I have rediscovered the joy of learning new skills, the pleasure of creating a little beauty and the satisfaction of sharing it with new like-minded friends. I have also found a great community that supports and cheers other members as a matter of course. I "found" the internet and I haven't looked back! I am NOT a person who seeks change or growth, but they have found me, and the process of reinventing myself has been profound, humbling and exhilarating. 

You may have guessed that I have chosen a motif? What is a more appropriate expression of change and growth than the miracle of metamorphosis? I selected some simple butterfly-shaped howlite beads, which I love, to complement the lovely colours of Patricia's bead, and fashioned some simple barrel-shaped extruder beads to match them:

The star of the show... a beautiful bead handmade by Patricia Handschuh. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with the world, Patricia. The bead I received is as pretty on either side:

I am now wearing this simple and comfortable bracelet as a reminder to keep dreaming. Will there be more to come when I enter my seventh decade? Change and growth seem inevitable and less frightening to me now. They are a precious gift carried on the wings of our dreams.

Now here is a list of the artists willing to share what they have dreamed:

Honorary Artist: Patricia Handschuh
Patricia's blog   The Color of Dreams
Patricias Etsy   The Color of Dreams
Hostess: TJ   Jewel School Friends
Kay Thomerson    KayzKreationz
Audrey Belanger    Toki No Hourousha
Alicia Marinache    All the Pretty Things
Terry Carter    TappingFlamingo
Jayne Capps    Mama's Got To Doodle
Lori Schneider    Bead Addict
Jenny Kyrlach    Wonder and Whimsy
Asri Wahyuingsih    Asri's Beadwork
Dini Bruinsma    Angaza by Changes
Karla Morgan    Texas Pepper Jams
Debbie Rasmussen    A Little of This, A Little of That
Veralynne Malone    Designed by Vera                     
Kathy Stemke    Vintage Memories Jewelry Design
Mowse Doyle    Mowse Made This
Heather Richter    Desert Jewelry Designs
Lori Poppe    Adventures in Creativity with LorilliJean
Andrea Glick    Zenith Jade Creations
Kathleen Breeding     99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Becky Pancake    Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Karen Martinez    Fairies Market
Penny Houghton    Smelly Nelly
Miranda Ackerley    Mirandack  
Carolyn Lawson     Carolyn's Creations
Chris Eisenberg    Wanderware
Christie Murrow     Charis Designs Jewelry
***ME***Monique Urquhart    A Half-Baked Notion***ME***
Eve Shelby     Raindrop Creations Jewelry by Evelyn
Cryss Thain    Here Bead Dragons
Jasvanti Patel    Jewelry By Jasvanti
Nan Smith    NanMade Handmade Jewelry
Sue Kennedy    SueBeads
Jean Yates    Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Debbie Rogers    Debbies Treasures
Marybeth  Rich    A Few Words From Within the Pines
Shirley Moore    Beads and Bread
Shaiha Williams    Shaiha's Ramblings
Kathy Lindemer    Bay Moon Design
Linda Anderson    From the Bead Board
Judy Turner    Silver Rains
Gloria Allen    Gloria Allen Designs
Regina Wood    Ginas-Design
Robin Reed     Artistry HCBD
*Mary Goovars     MLH Jewelry Designs    (please visit after Wednesday, April 9)*
Marlene Cupo     Amazing Designs
CJ Bauschka     4 His Glory Creations

Robin Showstack   The Crazy Bead Hoarder
Cynthia O'Tool  
Sparkles and Sweets
Jael Thorp    Jael's Art Jewels
Renetha Stanziano  Lamplight Crafts

*Direct links to the pertinent post will be added as I visit each blog*

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Color of Dreams Tomorrow and FB Extruder Challenge On Right Now!

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I seldom contribute to any Facebook groups. I just enjoy the blogosphere so much more, and life is too full to do everything online... or maybe I'm just not as organized as many of you clever folks out there :)

In any case, here is one challenge in which I have participated, on the Polymer Clay Collective Facebook group. You can submit anything made using polymer clay extruder techniques, with a randomly drawn prize being awarded. Enter TODAY ONLY and at THIS LINK ONLY. Check it out!


Also, a reminder that tomorrow, April 6, is the Color of Dreams blog hop. Over 50 bloggers have signed up to create something inspired by the beautiful art beads of Florida artist Patricia Handschuh. We each received, from bead-lover Rita of Jewel School Friends, one of these treasures:

Please join us tomorrow when the dreaming begins :)

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cardboard Cat Castles Contest

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O.K., it's time for another random posting for my fellow cat parents. The CARDBOARD CASTLES Contest invites you to submit photos of your cardboard creations for cool prizes. (This would be fun to do with kids and grandkids!

More details at the stylish Hauspanther or the humorous Catster websites. They will accept entries from April 2 until April 14, 2014. *Contest is open only to U.S. residents with shipping addresses within the United States. Bummer for me, but I'm going to check out the entries anyway... should be a hoot :)*

Catster's Cardboard Cat Castles Contest... Catster's Cardboard Cat Castles Contest... try saying that fast ten times... after a glass of wine :)

Here's a little something for those lacking architectural inspiration:

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Liebster Award from Tammie

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Last week, I was excited and honoured to learn that Tammie Everly of TTE Designs had nominated me for a "LIEBSTER AWARD". Now, full disclosure, I have previously received invitations to similar awards, but it was back when I was just getting my "sea-legs" as a blogger, and I was too lame and inexperienced to take part. So, with a nod and apologies to you ladies who kindly nominated me, I have endeavored to meet this challenge head-on this time.

I love reading Tammie's well-written blog and her frequent contributions as a member of the Creative Bead Chat and Polymer Clay Collective Facebook groups. She is always looking for new and better ways to improve her business, and share her art. She started her blog just a few months before I did, but is way ahead of me as an artist and blogger. Thank you very much for nominating me, Tammie!

Tammie has been published again!

Here are the rules for participating in this award process:

►Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and answer the questions they presented.

►Link back to the blogger who awarded you.

►Copy & paste the pink Liebster Award logo to your blog.

►Nominate 5 blogs to receive the award who have less than 3,000 followers. Create a new list of 11 questions for them.

►Inform them of their nomination.

Here are the questions that Tammie asked:

1. The most beautiful place you've ever visited. Actually, a local waterfall gets the nod. I'd include a photo, but it's rather frozen and unspectacular right now :)

2. If you could invite a historical figure to dinner who would it be and why? Though I love history, this is one that stumps me for now. Whoever they are, they would get the same home-cookin' (see below):

3. What would you serve them for dinner? My prizewinning (just kidding, just for friends and family) Black and Red Chili.

4. If you had a superpower what would it be? The ability to instantly detect bulls**t... I suck at that.

5. Favorite childhood memory? Riding a horse for the first time.

6. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Enjoying retirement with Hubby in Nova Scotia (hopefully much sooner than 10 years *TeeHee*)

7. Favorite movie? For the perfect storm of stunning visuals, art direction, musical score, inspiring (though controversial) story and acting chops... I nominate "The Mission" (1986). This movie has another favorite waterfall :)

8. Favorite book? A difficult one, as I rarely read fiction anymore. Most recently read and enjoyed: "Ireland" by Frank Delaney.

9. If you couldn't live in your home country, where would you choose to live? Scotland (Hubby's ancestral home) or France (mine).

10. What did you want to be when you grew up [and are you doing it]? An archaeologist or an astronaut... couldn't figure out if I belonged in the past or the future LOL. I didn't get to do either one :(

11.  Three words to describe yourself.  Spiritual. Introverted. Frugal ('cause how else can I afford BEADS).

Now I need to choose ONLY five blogs to continue the "chain". I follow a LOT of blogs and a wide range of blogs, so I have had to take a few days to distill... and I could have easily picked 50 blogs... but that's against the rules :)

So here are some blogs that entertain, inspire, amuse and otherwise make my brain happy. I chose bloggers with a variety of blogging experience and blog focus, and with various international ties (in honour of my being born in Europe), but who all blog in English:

All the Pretty Things- Romanian-born Alicia Marinache, a fellow Canadian bead-lover, designer, music aficionado, storyteller and traveler on life's journey, has been an early and steadfast supporter on my blogging journey.

On My Side of the World- Since moving from Russia to the U.S., Lena S. has been making her life beautiful with frugality and gratitude. You are a touchstone, Lena :)

Saraccino- Designer Claire Fabian of Germany wants to add a little odd in my life. Yes, please! Her polymer clay work is especially bold and unpretentious.

Sewing After SevenSheryl Selves, from the U.K. and now living in Spain, tempts me to take up needlework and sewing again, with wonderful and whimsical projects she shares on her blog.

Traveling Cats- Belgian author Vanessa Morgan combines two of my interests in one blog. Wish I could visit all these awesome spots with MY kitties. 

Here are my questions to you:

1. If you had a time machine, what period of history would you visit?

2. Do you play a musical instrument (if not, which would you want to learn)?

3. Who was your first best friend as a child?

4. How or why did you decide to start blogging?

5. Where would you visit if cost were no object?

6. Favorite guilty pleasure?

7. Are you a big breakfast eater or strictly coffee and toast?

8. What is the one thing you "can't live without"?

9. You think ___________ should be illegal...

10. What is your favorite room in the house?

11. If the story of your life were made into a movie, would it be a drama? comedy? suspense? horror? documentary?

So, for my nominees, I hope you will take part in the spirit this was meant, in your own good time. I wanted to publish this yesterday (April 1st), but I was afraid someone might think it an April's Fool joke :)

*Bonus ('cause I don't think it's a blog, but I want to "pass it on", as their simple header states): Upworthy. Check it out!*

Thank you again, Tammie, and thanks to everyone for taking time to visit :)

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