Thursday, January 31, 2013

I've got Jewelry in Tucson

You may be interested in which (if any) piece(s) ZnetShows requested that I send to them in Tucson. So, I thought I'd share that with you very quickly today.

. . . .DRUMROLL PLEASE. . .

It should come as no surprise (at least it wasn't to me) that my twisted wire necklace was packed up.

As well, the chandelier-like necklace got packaged and shipped off to Arizona.

Lastly, the single pair of earrings I made won an Honorable Mention!! Exciting right!?

I'm pretty stoked. If you're interested in what other pieces made the list of winning entries hop on over to the ZnetShows blog. There were so many outstanding pieces, I have no idea how they even decided what they wanted designers to send to them. Congrats to the winners!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine Challenge: Passion and Love

The other day, I saw on Artisan Whimsy that there is a "Bead Lover's Valentine Challenge". The theme is PASSION and LOVE. I knew immediately that my Passion Bracelet was perfect for an entry into this challenge.
I made this bracelet sometime last year, and am still pretty smitten with it.

The passion charm is made from a Tim Holtz fragment and a vintage dictionary entry. The heart is a lightweight wood piece. Both the charm's back and the entirety of the heart were painted red and coated with Antique Linen Distress Stickles.

The chain of the bracelet consists of a rosary chain of red glass beads, a rosary chain of off-white plastic pearls, and a decorative brass chain.
The wire used is Vintaj Brass-colored wire. The bracelet closes with a simple lobster clasp.

I think this bracelet just screams Valentine's Day. Don't you?

You can check out the other entries for the challenge at Artisan Whimsy and please join the community if you're not already a member!

Oh, and this Passion bracelet is already in my Etsy shop if you're interested in some Valentine bling. 

What are you waiting for? Go check out the other entries! Everyone needs a little passion and love in their life.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

My weekend was ROUGH!! As you can see, that's not just with a capital R, but with ALL the letters capitalized. I was even looking forward to getting back into my Monday routine today, knowing that meant the weekend was over and it was back to the grind. However, I wasn't so lucky. I won't get into the details, but I do want to say that before it all hit the fan I was able to pull a menu for this week together. I can't guarantee we'll be sticking to it, but we'll try. Regardless, I want to share it as proof that I did accomplish something today.

Breakfasts: Leftover casserole, Juice, Cereal w/fruit, omelets w/fruit, Greek yogurt pancakes w/blueberries

Lunches: PB&J w/salad, Tuna noodles w/carrot sticks, Juice, Black bean & corn quesidillas, Soup & grilled cheese

Dinners
Seven layer tortilla pie
Chicken marsala w/roasted veggies

It sounds delish doesn't it? There's more Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Heart Macro: All the Trimmings

After altering my calendar this week, I was taken with the little pile of ribbon clippings I was about to sweep into the trash. Before I could toss it out, I had to snap a shot of them.
Pretty right!? Maybe it's just me. . .


There's more I Heart Macro at Studio Waterstone.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Focusing on Life Week 4: Create Art

Once again, I am writing this post on Friday and scheduling it for Saturday as I've got another busy weekend ahead of me. I've checked my calendar and next weekend doesn't look near as crazy thank goodness. I need some down time!!

Sally at The Studio Sublime challenged us once again with another photography prompt. This week's prompt was Create Art.
While I am a jewelry ARTist (am too, it says so on my business cards), I wanted to break out of my shell and make something other than jewelry for this challenge. This also helps with my goals for the year. [I added "craft something other than jewelry" to my list for 2013.] Let me start by saying that for the first time in a while, I decided to get a paper calendar for the year to help me keep track of everything. However, I'm very particular about the layout of the calendars I use. I want a calendar that has the whole month-at-a-glance, but then the following pages are sectioned off by week. It took a little looking, but I finally found one to suit my needs. The Amy Knapp's Family Organizer has plenty of room for all my jottings and reminders.
Yet, there aren't any tabs or markings to indicate the months for easy flipping.
I decided to remedy that as well as to jazz it up at the same time.

All it took was paperclips and bits of ribbon.
I simply tied the ribbon onto the paperclip (single knot).
After that, I trimmed the frayed ends and slid the paperclip to the spot I wanted it in my calendar.
Instant fru-fru and easy access!!

I repeated this process for every month with a different color ribbon or lace (for fun and color).
 Now my calendar's not so boring anymore!

I also added a JUMBO paperclip with several layers of ribbon to mark the current month/week.
 Now, this may not seem like "art" to you, but I think that anytime we work to either make something beautiful or to beautify something; it's art.

I apologize for the picture heavy post, but I wanted to include all the steps I used to Create my Art in case you needed a little extra fru-fru on your calendar too.

Next up? Altering the front cover of the calendar!

Check out how others interpreted this prompt by visiting the list of participants on Sally's blog, The Studio Sublime.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Heads Up and Year of Jewelry Week 4 Reveal

Oh, there's so much going on today I don't even know where to start. I guess let's just jump right in.

First, if you go back to my ZnetShows Design Team reveal post, I've added a list of links to the other design team members' reveal posts. I need to get through them all myself. I've seen a bunch of the reveals on the Facebook Page, but I definitely need to head to each of the blog posts. I'm in awe over some of the innovative, inspired, and downright beautiful design these other designers came up with.

Secondly, today starts the sign-ups for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party. You only have until Sunday evening to sign up for one of the three reveals. Remember, there will only be ONE Bead Soup Blog Party this year, so this is IT! You can find the link for the sign-up form over at hostess Lori Anderson's blog, Pretty Things.

The main thing I wanted to share with you today was my completed piece for The Year of Jewelry Project. This week's topic was "Not from the Mall." This sure got my wheels turning. I immediately thought of buttons since that's not something you see very commercially available in jewelry. I envisioned a bright array of buttons wired on a frame. My attempts at that idea just were not coming into fruition. I knew my lacking skills with wire frames were to blame. You can see a bit of what I was attempting in my Bead Table Wednesday post. Since I was running short on time, I decided to simplify and make a pair of earrings. Here's what resulted.
Using some soldered copper rings and vintage mother of pearl buttons, these earrings just fell together for me. While on a flat surface like this it looks as though the buttons are framed in the rings.
However, when hanging, the buttons turn sideways in the rings to give them a neat look from all angles.
I don't think you'd find anything like these at the mall. I could be mistaken though, I don't go to the mall very often.

You can check out the other designs for this topic in the Year of Jewelry Project Week 4 Gallery on Facebook. There are some pretty amazing artists in this group!

I think that's just about everything I needed to tell y'all today. At least I hope it is. If not. . .I'll be back!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wordy

I get stuck on words ALL the time. It's probably something no one else notices but me. Sometimes it's a simple, nothing word. I think I'm finishing up my bout with the word 'just.' I see it in my blog posts and in the comments I write on others' blogs. Sometimes I hear myself saying these words repetitively, but it's usually in writing that it bothers me the most.

As I try to catch up on my blog reading and commenting (at long last. . .of course, it won't be long before I'm behind again), I'm finding myself over use the word 'love'. It bothers me immensely. This has been a favorite word for the past few weeks and it's getting worse. I see a piece of jewelry on someones blog or facebook or read them utter a statement with which I identify and my first response is to say, "I LOVE IT!!!"

What the hay? I think it might be physically impossible to love all of that. And I question what my real feelings are over what I'm seeing in front of me. Do I really just like the item/statement/emotion/expression a whole lot? Can I not find any other words in my whole vocabulary to express what I'm feeling? I think this the problem, my internal thesaurus has become condensed. [Side note: As a kid I had an exceptional vocabulary. . .or so I'm told. What I remember about my vocabulary was me TRYING to use big words and instead getting the words 'manure' and 'maneuver' mixed up as well as confusing the words 'tentacle' and 'testicle'. Yeah, you say that at the age of five to your mid-twenties aged parents and they laugh their asses off at you. It's kinda humiliating.]

I'm putting this out there because thinking about reducing my use of the word 'love' has me pondering WHY it feels like my vocabulary has become so restricted. I came to one resounding conclusion; because I just don't write as much as I used to. As a kid, there were essays for school and diary entries. As a teenager and into college, I wrote lengthy papers and in my 'journal' (I had far outgrown a diary). I also fancied myself a poet for most of my formative years. That stopped after I graduated college. Now as the years have weathered on, I find that I hardly write anything of substance anymore. There are my to-do lists and grocery lists and jewelry descriptions. And, of course, I write blog posts. These blog posts are the closest thing I've had to real writing in years. Yet, all the blog writing experts profess that we bloggers should simplify our writing to appeal to a variety of readers. Sigh.


I'm exasperated with my limited, dumbed-down, repetitive vocabulary. I'm ready to break out of this word tomb I feel encased in.

The solution? Write MORE. I've heard for years that the more you create, the more creative you become. I've been working on that for quite a while in my jewelry-making, but I really need to apply it to writing too. I'm hoping to comment on blogs more often, possibly have a few more of these rambling posts (I apologize in advance), and dust off my long neglected journal. Who knows, I might even knock out a poem or two.

Don't say you haven't been warned.

Oh, and speaking of 'love'. . .I was featured in this treasury titled "I Love Adventure"

Are you ready to go on this adventure with me? I think this is the starting point, but I have no idea how long it will be or where I'll end up. Dang, I kinda feel like a Hobbit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bead Table Wednesday

Since the sea glass bits were cleared from my craft desk, it was time to start a new project. After sticking with a mainly blue palette, I thought I'd go for a bit of vividness and pulled out a rainbow array of buttons and some silver wire.
OH, ICK!! It wasn't working for me the way I had envisioned at all and soon was swept off the desk also. I replaced the colorful hues with something more subdued. Though, I did stick with the button and wire scheme.

You'll have to come back in a few days to see what the above supplies turned out to be.

Oh, and see the green bucket on the right? That's also in residence on my craft desk at the moment.
It's my completed-projects-that-have-photos-but-no-descriptions bucket. I may have mentioned my organization methods before, but in essence it involves an array of bins, buckets, and baskets. I have all my completed jewelry sorted depending on what has been or needs to be done with that piece of jewelry. This might actually a perfect topic for another post. Hmmm. I'll have to work on that.

Anyway, that's what has been on my bead table today. What's on yours?
Join in the fun in the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group.

Before I head out, here's a reminder that sign-ups for the Bead Soup Blog Party are THIS WEEKEND and this weekend only!
Be there or be square! You don't want to miss out on all the fun do you? Check out the official Bead Soup Blog Party Blog for all the information and details.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ZnetShows Design Team Reveal

Last week, I teased you with a picture of a baggie of goodies I received from ZnetShows. Today I want to reveal what was in that baggie and what I did with those goodies.

First let me say how this all started. I was contacted by Bill at ZnetShows asking if I would be interested in being part of their design team for the Tuscon show. Basically, that meant that I would accept some of their Cultured Sea Glass Bead samples, make a few designs, and receive a gift card to their shop in return. It sounded like a win-win situation to me so I accepted readily.

Here are the glass beads I received.

They also sent along a few cute metal findings in antiqued copper. (I ended up playing with the glass the whole time and forgot to use any of them. . .oops)

Here's another shot of the beads and findings as I grouped them.
That's a whole lotta loot!

So, what did I make?
The flat freeform sea glass beads called out to me first. I guess with it being sea glass I was longing to create a beach inspired piece. With just some brown waxed linen cord, some off-white e-beads, ceramic discs, holed shells, and the sea glass this long-ish necklace came into being.

After that, I went into some kind of creative frenzy and am not sure what came into being next.
I had just received those copper-colored wood beads in a giveaway and thought they complimented the tuquoisey blue of the sea glass well. With some of the faceted glass beads, they fit into the center of the oval rings perfectly.

I was working on another design for a bracelet, when this one just fell together. The other one never did come into fruition.
I love that the textured silver rings fit on the sea glass rings perfectly. This bracelet just SHINES to me.

I started playing with some of the free form pendants and they sort of just arranged themselves in a pattern.
I think they knew what they were doing.

My favorite design was created somewhere in the jumble of all the others. I know we're not supposed to have favorites when it comes to our 'babies' but I just can't help it with this one.
She's a beauty isn't she? I made the focal with the single rectangular pendant in my mix and a scrapbooking rub-on. To ensure it stays where it's supposed to be, some matte mod podge was applied to it. Of course, that's all the backside of it. From there, seed beads and sea glass sticks were wrapped and wired onto Vintaj arte metal wire. Some black silk ribbon finishes up the back of the necklace while another sea glass stick, glass head pin, and wire-formed toggle close the necklace.

Now I wait to see if any of my pieces have been chosen to go to Tuscon. If they have, I'll be sending my baby(-ies) away for a little while.

I really enjoyed working with the sea glass. There were so many shapes and sizes from which to choose and the color selection of these cultured sea glass beads is pretty awesome.

I've already seen some of the designs the other members of the team have come up with on the ZnetShows Facebook page and am blown away by them. Here's a list of the other artists chosen for the design team and their reveals. As well, you can click over to ZnetShows' blog for some sample shots.

Bobbie - Beadsong Jewelry
 Charlie - Clay Space
Cherrie - En La Lumière
 
Christina - Wings N Scales
 Christine - Sweet Girl Design
 Cindy - Live to Design
Donetta - Simply Gorgeous 
 Gretchen - Gretchen Nation Collection

Heather -  The Crafthopper
 Heidi - Heidi Kingman Jewelry
Hope - CraftyHope
Kelly - Traveling SideShow 

Klaudette -  Only Road

Suzette - Ellie's Bijoux

Thanks to Bill and whoever else is involved over at ZnetShows for selecting me to participate in this design team. It's been a lot of fun.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Plan and a Blown Diet

Even though the craziness of this past weekend is over, I still feel a little pressed for time. I'm hoping that my mind will slow down soon and I can focus on the things I need and want to accomplish this week.

First and foremost on my mind is my diet. I really went overboard on the comfort foods and sweets this weekend and the scale was groaning in protest about it this morning. I've got to learn to make better food choices when I go out to eat, but sometimes it's so very hard not to get the cheesiest, carb-iest, fatty-est food on the menu. I've already messed up today with lunch even, but I'm hoping we can stick fairly close to the rest of this week's menu.

Breakfasts: Juice; Smoothies w/peanut butter bagels; Cereal (hot or cold) w/fruit; Bacon, potato, and egg casserole w/fruit

Lunches: Cheese bagel and mushroom pizzas w/fruit, Juice, PB&J w/fruit & string cheese, Tuna noodles w/carrot sticks, Black bean and corn quesidillas

Dinners:
Mushroom stroganoff w/steamed green beans
Peanut crusted tofu triangles w/seasoned rice and broccoli parmesan fritters
Easy vegetable beef soup (substitute soy crumbles for the beef)


I'm still using My Fitness Pal to track both my calories and exercise and should have known better this weekend when I was avoiding entering some of the foods I consumed. I think I got them all in there, but it's embarrassing to look at how much I went over. I MUST do better.

Now, I'm wondering how YOU decide to make the right, healthy choice when dining out or at a party? I'd love to know if you have any tips or tricks to make yourself eat more consciously. Oh, and if you're using My Fitness Pal too, friend me. I'm CraftyHope (of course). Help me be accountable!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Focusing on Life Week 3: Take Time

I haven't had MUCH time to myself all week what with getting ready for my Mardi Gras Ball for Saturday night. So, I'm writing this on Friday and simply showing you what I would be doing if I had the chance to "Take Time", our prompt for this third week of the Focusing on Life photography challenge from Sally at The Studio Sublime.
I'd be diving in to my backlog of blogs to read.

Most of the time, I get to quickly scan the many, many blogs to which I subscribe and sometimes even get to comment. There are times when reading them is too much and I just scroll through the pictures. Ah, to have the time and leisure to sit back and enjoy all those posts. It would be heavenly.
I hope to get to visit some of the other blogs who will be joining in on this challenge at some point. Of course, I'm not sure I ever made it through all the ones on the first week. Sigh. If you're interested in seeing how others are taking their time, head over to Sally's blog for the complete list. I'm hoping to get this post added there at some point, but we'll see how the day goes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 18, 2013

YOJ Week 3 (Music) and Link-a-palooza

I'm trying to cram as much into today as possible but I know what my priorities are. Unfortunately, that means that I may already be skipping out on Sally's Focusing on Life challenge for tomorrow darnit. Who knows though, there might be a miracle and I get it done.

What I did accomplish this week was my Year of Jewelry Project (YOJ) for this week. Week 3's prompt was Music.

I thought it was going to be a lost week for this prompt until I had just a little extra time yesterday and a simple pendant design struck me.

I combined it with one of the etched pieces I made last week, some beads, and a few vintage mother of pearl buttons to make this really heavenly piece.

I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.


While I've got you here, let me go ahead and share some links I've found interesting lately.
Let me go ahead and drive a little more traffic to my shop by sharing that this perfect-for-Valentine's-Day bracelet was just re-listed.
Passion Bracelet

As well, this necklace was marked down by 30% this morning.
Marooned Necklace

I'm off to wrangle the rest of my to do list before any more of the day gets away from me. I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!