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29 October 2009

30 Words::Going Pink

{Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt}


Going ‘pink’ to save lives
I stand connected arm in arm
With all those
touched by
cancer
Doing my part to raise

money, awareness, hope
Won’t you join me, too?


I am breaking my 30 Word pledge on Thursdays to tell you about some opportunities to make a difference for the Susan G Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer. I know that breast cancer is not the only one in the world, and it does get a lot of attention, particularly in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but this cause is near and dear to my heart.



My friend Lance at the Jungle of Life and his friend Joanna teamed up to bring together over 150 bloggers from around the world to contribute one amazing post each to a special e-book called Blog-4-Cause. The preparations are done, and the e-book and a special bonus e-book are now released. Any donation will be accepted. How wonderful to be inspired by writings penned from all corners of the Earth all in support of a great cause. Please read about how you can get your copy here. {I have a post in this e-book as well as some of my bloggy friends who I encouraged.}

Are you interested in a pretty piece of jewelry to help the cause as well? My friends Mellisa of Chinook Jewelry and Mary Jane of MarieDodd are auctioning off five gorgeous pieces of jewelry with the proceeds to go to support the cause. All you need to do is leave a comment on the post with which piece you are interested in and your bid. But hurry! Some of them will be auctioned off today!


What small part are you doing to help...whether that is to raise money, awareness or hope...? Do tell!
Whatever it might be, I thank you. I am inspired by the giving nature of so many. I hope you will be, too.
Enjoy the day!

28 October 2009

Read All About It!

"Take the obvious, add a cupful of brains, a generous pinch of imagination, a bucketful of courage and daring, stir well and bring to a boil." ~ Bernard Mannes Baruch

Interested in watching me create? Head on over to my recent post on the Watch Me Create blog to read about a special project I made this summer designed to preserve the memory of a beloved pet.
And if you would like to see a glimpse of my jewelry featured in the Bead Trends October 2009 issue, check out the Bead Trends blog {I know! I bet you didn't realize that they had a blog!}. Tatia Meyer, Editor, chose my necklace and earring set from the Recycled section as her Editor's Pick. The set is called "An Affair to Remember" and features upcycled links from a vintage belt. You can see a lovely display of it here. I am really honored by this unexpected surprise.

And I may have missed my opportunity, but I wanted to share with you some of my bloggy friends who have some giveaways and challenges.

Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio has some mad skills with a hammer {and I am not talking about nails and boards}. She makes the most incredible jewelry {that I am saving my pennies for...copper pennies!}. Words, mixed metals, beautiful gemstones...all are magic in Cindy's hands. She is on the cover of the new Easy Wire 2009 issue about to be released, and she is having a great giveaway {I apologize if you miss the giveaway later tonight!!! But go check out her wise words, and the cutest little boys this side of the Mississippi!}.

Last, but certainly not least, if you love a challenge you will be super excited about the gauntlet that my dear friend Heather Powers of Humblebeads has thrown down. She is challenging us to have fun with focals based on classic examples of greatness from the Best of Stringing {of which I happen to have two pieces featured as well!}. Heather is posting one challenge a day this week, and you have the opportunity to create your own versions of the focal of the day and post it with a link on her blog. She is giving away a $50 gift certificate to her store Humblebeads on Etsy and Interweave is throwing in a subscription to Stringing. Win-win! But hurry! Heather has already posted day one and day two! {Deadline for posting is November 6th}

What are you waiting for? Go check these links out!

Enjoy the day!

27 October 2009

Bring It On


{Photo credit: tropical.pete}


“The Universe is waiting on you, not the other way around, and it's going to keep waiting until you finally make up your mind. Waiting for clarity is like being a sculptor staring at a piece of marble, waiting for the statue within to cast off the unneeded pieces. Do not wait for clarity to spontaneously materialize -- grab a chisel and get busy!” ~ Steve Pavlina

Wisconsin Dells is the Waterpark Capitol of the World. It’s true. There are more waterparks in that tourist-y southern Wisconsin town than anyplace else. They are a lot of fun. I invite you to come and try it. {My favorite? The Great Wolf Lodge.}

If you have ever been to a waterpark, then you have probably seen one of those ginormous funnel slide rides. You hike to the tippy-top of the building up who knows how many flights of stairs lugging a wet and ever-increasingly heavy inflatable raft. Now that you are there, you might have a moment of hesitation seeing the dizzying heights you suddenly find yourself, but you either have to pass all the other riders lugging their rafts or you need to hop in and go down the drain. Taking that first leap is a doozy.

But you get in your raft and make sure your swimsuit is covering all the places it should before the skinny teenager working there unceremoniously shoves your raft with his size 12 foot.

No turning back now.

You careen out of control through dimly lit and oh-so-claustrophobic tunnels hurtling toward a certain watery death trap below all the while screaming from terror or exhilaration, you can’t quite be sure which. And then you are spewed out into a toilet bowl fit for a giant. This is the most exhilarating part of the ride, the anticipated outcome, the fun part.

The water swirls around in a calming circle which ultimately leading you to a one-way-out funnel where you will be deposited spitting and flailing in a pool of rushing rapids.

Sometimes life is like that. You hop in fully knowing that you will be taken for a ride, but looking forward to the journey. And then there are twists and turns that you didn’t see coming. But you hang on and hope you still have your dignity at the end. Sometimes the ride can be scary. Sometimes the ride can be fun. But it always depends on how you approach it. I say that you need to enjoy it at every turn.

When you get to that place where you are swirling and you feel like so much flotsam and jetsam in the big river of Life, that is when you know that the Universe is giving you all you need. You are circling the goal and all is pointing you in the direction that is obvious to take. That is when you need to take the plunge. Dive on in and know that you will arrive safely on the other side, flailing and gasping to be sure, but you will make it through.

“When a person really desires something, all the Universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” ~Paolo Coelho

Peggy Nolan writes a blog called Serendipity Smiles with the byline Serendipity is God’s Way of Acting Anonymously. Sometimes I pick the blogs I will follow because of the titles. {I know. I’m an English geek that way.} It occurred to me with her latest post, that I have seen this similar story before. Peggy even concurs that it seems to be the subject in the blogdom. Why is it that everywhere I turn the same message keeps popping up? From the fortune in my cookie I {Do that which your heart tells you} to this post by Peggy {called “What’s Your Excuse?”} …that must be the Serendipity Smiles moment of the Universe telling me what I need to hear. {Or I must be hard of hearing? And the Universe is shouting?}

Peggy is facing an opportunity in her life right now. And it seems as if the Universe is lining up in her favor. I appreciate the demons in her head that are naysaying {you’re not good enough, you can’t do this, how will you live?}. I have them myself. I am thrilled to know that others are in the same raft going in a similar direction that I am. And it gives me hope that I can come to terms with my own demons and steer my little boat toward the light the Universe is providing me.

The Universe delivers exactly what you need when you are ready for it and not a moment sooner. But you have to ask for it in order to receive it. I am just starting to phrase the question, which is a big step. But I also realize that I have to find inner strength to have the courage to face the answer that is coming to send me in the right direction.

“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the Universe to unfold. That is how important you are.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever been in a situation where everything is pointing in the same direction? Where every door you open seems to lead you right where you need to be? And the choices you are called to make are crystal clear? Do tell!

CHECK IT OUT:: Serendipity Smiles

Enjoy the day!

P.S. Sorry that I missed the 30 Words last week. {Maybe I should write 60 words this week?!} My art show went well as did our Open House. Nothing to report on the home front, but I will keep you posted! Thanks for all of your wonderful encouragement!

20 October 2009

Welcome....

...home!"A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as for the body." ~ Benjamin Franklin
Can I just take a minute to tell you all that you mean the world to me?

When I started this little experiment in November of 2008 {can it almost be a year already!? I feel a giveaway coming on!} I never thought that anyone would ever read my ramblings. But that little band of followers seems to grow every couple of days. I have made friends with many of my regulars from far and wide. It amazes me that I can be speaking to my friends in France and Germany and New Zealand and as close as my home state of Wisconsin all in a matter of minutes. How cool is that?

I have been going through a sea-change of late. Many, many things are weighing heavy on my heart and mind. In time I will share more with you, because you have been such tremendous supports for me, but for now please know that you mean the world to me. I love to read your comments... you make me think and you inspire me and you lift me up with your care and concern and really positive affirmations. Try as I might I am not always able to visit as much as I would like, but I really do try. And if you leave a comment, I will sure to find a way to connect with you as I can. {I just wish it were easier on Blogger to make that connection... I would much prefer to just email someone rather than have to go and always leave a comment on their blog just to let them know I really do care...}
But I digress...you really want to know what is up with the last post and that picture of the house, right?

For my 41st birthday this summer, my husband presented me with a drawing of a house in a frame with a message, "Let's find our dream home!" Now, we have been discussing this on and off for years, more seriously in the past four. The time just never seemed right. Well, now is the perfect time, I found out. The house picture I showed you is the one that we put a bid on last week Tuesday... at the same time that we listed our own 3 bedroom ranch. {I know... that is not how you are supposed to do it... but I am not one to sit and wait when this little gem had the price drop $20K in two weeks because the relocation company is left sitting with a vacant house over the cold Wisconsin winter!} It is not that we didn't like our house, we built it 17 years ago and moved into it the week before our wedding. It is just that the time had come. But this decision has created a whirlwind...

This new house is really everything that we want... the three car garage for my darling husband... the big backyard for my son Sport-o... the walk in closet and bigger bedroom for Tiny Dancer... and me? Well, I love it all, but mostly because it will make my family so very happy. There is gorgeous granite and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen... a spacious master suite and bathroom... a separate dining room... and most importantly, a wonderful space that will become my new studio. I was most touched by my husband's reaction when we saw this room in the basement... there is a large angled opening but no door {I think they used it as a work out room... work out room? Whatever would you want one of those?!?} He immediately saw the potential for me and said that we could rip out the carpet, put in loads of cabinets and storage space, add a utility sink and top it all off with some nice french doors. Ahhh... now that is what I am talking about!
Plus it was an incredibly good deal, and in a neighborhood that we love, about two blocks from my parents house. Could it get any better?

The good news is that they accepted our offer as of yesterday and we have to close on December 1st. The bad news is that we still have to sell our current home. But we have a way to make it work without breaking the bank, so I am not that worried about it. {But you can still keep your fingers crossed for me... we had our first showing on Saturday last week and was well received... and our first open house is this coming Saturday ~ on my 17th wedding anniversary of all days! Guess I know what I am getting for my anniversary... for the next 30 years!}

I am more concerned that I have had to completely clean out my current studio and now I am not sure where anything is! Ooh... I am so missing being creative!

On a related note, my one-and-only show is on Thursday. It is called A.R.T.S. Night (A Reason To Shop) and is a fundraiser for the Women's Fund of Portage County, WI. 25% of my proceeds will be donated to the Fund which supports women and childrens' issues in our area. It has just been a bit hard to create when I have had to switch gears and purge! I will make a valiant effort, but it might not be to my usual standard.

Have you made a decision that has changed your life for the better? Do tell!

Check It Out::Miniscule Love Story

15 October 2009

30 Words::On The Edge


Tightness grabs my chest
Pit of my stomach roiling
Biting nails to nubs
Commence negotiations
Let the waiting begin
Buying our new home has me
On the edge of a
Dream.Come.True


Enjoy the day!

10 October 2009

Blogging for a Cause


"Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others."

~Danny Thomas

I was approached recently by my friend Lance at The Jungle of Life to find out if I would be interested in Blogging for a Cause. Which cause? Why, none other than Breast Cancer Research and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Given the fact that there are so many people affected by this disease, and so many of the rest of us who feel we want to make a difference, I can think of no better way.

I've jumped right in to help. Would you like to help, too?

It really couldn't be easier. If you have a blog, all you need to do is pick your favorite post from the past (funny story, inspirational confidence booster, recipes, book reviews, etc, etc, etc.) and submit that to Lance.Ekum [at] gmail.com by Friday, October 16th. Then an e-book will be compiled with all the best and brightest writers in the blog-dom (and a nice little link to your blog) and the proceeds from the sale of the e-book will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. There is no obligation to purchase the book, but for a suggesed donation of just $5, why wouldn't you?

Please read more about this opportunity to help here.
What have you done lately to help another succeed?
What is one small thing that you can do every day to help another person?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

08 October 2009

30 Words::Three Bags Full

{Photo Credit: colemama}


Purging a lifetime of paper.
Shredding checks in different flavors...
dolphins,
pansies,
paintbrushes,
coffee cups,
Bucky Badger,
jewel-tone marble,
safety yellow...
How much is 17 years worth?
Three bags full.
Enjoy the day!

03 October 2009

I Love a Challenge!

"Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down."
~Charles F. Kettering

The word challenge usually conjurs up a negative connotation.

I see a challenge as an opportunity.

I love to seek out a challenge.

I think that it is really good for the soul to try things that are outside your comfort zone, that get you to stretch a little. Things that keep you growing and evolving and keep you moving.

I really enjoy the satisfaction seeking out challenges more because I get bored and find it hard to create in a vacuum. There is a sense of excitement when creating for contest where the participants each use their imagination to interpret the same theme. I entered two such challenges lately. Both involve a vote by a click of a button. Would you care to play along?

The first is the monthy challenge at Vintaj. I use their components all the time. I have yet to find a color palette or a style that cannot be enhanced by using the Vintaj components. And since I enjoy mixing metals as well, I find that this antiqued brass tone really adds another rich layer.

The other day I wrote about the piece I created called "Bright, Wild & Beautiful." That piece is up for a blind vote on the Vintaj blog from today until midnight October 9th. I encourage you to view all 19 entries and read their unique interpretations of the theme "Enchanted Path." The winner gets some product of course, but I think that all of the 19 entries are winners just for submitting. I would love it if you would vote for your favorite. {And if you like mine, vote for #19!}

The second challenge was to use a tri-colored set of stringing wire from Soft Flex as an integral part of a design.

What?!

It is usually out of the ordinary to let your wire showing...that is the foundation of any good design, not the star player! So this challenge was particularly fun. The rules were that you had to use all three colors in your Trio. The Trio that I used is called Sophisticated and features Antique Brass, Onyx and Coral colored wire.



The necklace I created was one that I was inspired to make for the Art Bead Scene June challenge of the famous painting of a study of squares by Kandinsky. The bold colors were perfect for the wire that I picked up from Sara at the Soft Flex booth at Bead & Button. I hit the jackpot when I found the ceramic components from Jangles.

My piece is called "The Key To Kandinsky (is Color)."

There are 38 entries for this contest and there is such a great variety of styles. I feel blessed to be included in such a talented pool of artists. Grand prize is $500...that would be sweet!

Again, I would be honored if you would check out the contest here. I would encourage you to vote for your favorite, but I would be most honored if you find mine to be your favorite.

Challenges for me are something to seek out, to look forward to. When I shift the meaning of a challenge in my mind from negative to positive I find that there can be great results!

What sorts of challenges do you seek out for yourself?
What successes have you had in the challenges you have participated in?
What have you learned from any challenges that didn't go your way?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

01 October 2009

Bright, Wild and Beautiful


"Bright and wild and beautiful
For the Autumn festival,
I will hang from tree to tree
Wreaths and ropes of Bryony,
To the glory and the praise
Of the Sweet September days."
~Cicely Mary Barker


Cicely Mary Barker wrote The Flower Fairies back in the 1920s. She is famous for creating personas for all the flowers and trees and herbs of the world with sweet little cherub faces and tiny butterfly-like wings. Ms. Barker was a frail child who was schooled in art at a special school as well as through correspondence. As a teen she was influenced heavily by the fascination with fairies in England, popularlized by JM Barrie's Peter Pan world. When her fairies were finally published, they were so well received by the public who was hungry for a bit of whimsy after the weariness of the first World War. Queen Mary also fueled the love of fairies by sending postcards depicting the childlike characters.

Ms. Barker used live models for her pictures. They were kindergartners from a classroom her sister ran in the back of the family home. She would ask the children to hold the flower or branch that she was depicting. The flowers were always accurate in detail and color and the children's faces and their outfits are so unique and perfectly matched to the flower. The pictures she created and corresponding poems that she created are classic and show a beautiful imaginative spirit.

I love the idea that there are flower fairies all around us bringing beauty that we often take for granted {particularly since I have a black thumb...it is good to know that there are fairies out there making beautiful things grow when I can't!}. My daughter has discovered a wonder-filled fairy world called Pixie Hollow. This is the place where Tinkerbell and all her fairy friends reside. At the website you can create your own fairies and play games and discover the tiny worlds. Once you create your fairy you get to participate in magical talent games. I like this site. I like that the fairies foster an appreciation of the natural world around us, as well as being open to the possibilities of whimsy. I like that my daughter gets to explore different talents, not just the ones that are expected, but branching out to areas where she might not have considered. She has fun collecting all sorts of little wonders on her way to earning a fairy badge. And I think it is sort of fun for me, too. A sort of grown up, modern-day version of the much loved Flower Fairies books and images.


{Bright, Wild & Beautiful}

I was inspired to create this piece for the Vintaj October challenge "Enchanted Path." {If you care to vote for your favorite in the Enchanted Path challenge, you can do so starting on Saturday, October 3rd at noon.} In August I received a wonderful grab bag of pendants and charms from Gaea (read more about her adventures in clay here). The focal pendant is a beautiful mossy green color. Gaea calls these Queens & Goddesses. I could not find out which Goddess this one was, but I bought this set because I loved this face. They all have a very serene look and a special totem above their heads, in the top chakra position, to guide their being. This Goddess has a flower. So she seemed perfectly suited to the "Enchanted Path" theme.


In keeping with the Vintaj challenge, I used Vintaj products, which are perfectly suited to fall and to this spectacular focal. I wrapped her in a Flourish Bead Cap. I used a Small Leaf Toggle, curb chain, etched jump rings, hook and wire. To continue the walk in the woods theme, I used wood saucers from an upcycled necklace with Foliage Bead Caps. Some tiny brass gears (from ObjectsandElements.com), pressed glass leaves and a small vintage brass flower button complete the look. But the rich colors of the fancy jasper rectangles (from ArtBeads.com) really make this piece come alive and give the feeling of walking an enchanted path in a forest of fairies.

Since the Black Bryony flower fairy is based on a real flower or herb, I discovered the following information about it:

Bryony: Herbaceous climbing plant that was allegedly used in many witches potions when mandrake was not available. Black bryony was identified with mandrake, while white bryony was dubbed ‘womandrake’. Among other properties useful to the practitioner of witchcraft the plant was reputed to be highly effective as a purgative, to promote fertility in humans and in horses, to act as an aphrodisiac, to ease various gynaecological problems and also to reduce bruising. French name for the plant, "herb of beaten wives."

Sounds like an interesting Autumn and Halloween plant to me!

If you could be a flower fairy, and paint the fields with your special fairy talents, which flower fairy would you like to be and why?

Check It Out::Flower Fairies (be sure to try their Find a Flower Fairy link!)

"Whenever a flower seed is planted a new flower fairy springs to life..."

Enjoy the day!

30 Words::Clean Enough

{Photo credit: Jemma Castle}

used tissues,
unsharpened pencils,
unread newspapers,
unseasonable flip-flops.
Depositing into trash,
within drawers,
near recycling,
under beds.
Blow dust-bunnies
to another locale.
Meeting realtor today.
Never clean enough.

Enjoy the day!

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