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30 March 2010

Flex Your Creativity

"Imagination is the beginning of creation.You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
~George Bernard Shaw

Last summer I learned about the first ever Soft Flex "Flex Your Creativity" Contest. I met Sara Harding, Soft Flex Girl while I was at the Bead & Button Show. I purchased my first set of the Soft Flex Trios at that show in the Sophisticated color palette. Soft Flex Trios are three colored beading wires, and the contest required that you show them off.
Usually the wire I choose is so utilitarian because it is hidden inside the beads, but this would be a challenge. Lucky for me I stopped at the Jangles booth right away and found the adorable little pinwheel flower and two large ceramic links in perfect harmony with my Sophisticated trio palette of coral, bronze and black.
At about the same time that I came back from Bead & Button, I was hoping to participate in the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge and the painting was Kandinsky's. What intrigues me most about the Art Bead Scene challenges is that I really want to know more about the paintings and the artists. So I go into research mode. I didn't know a lot about Kandinsky but it was clear to me that the key to his paintings was an understanding of color. That's it! "The Key to Kandinsky (is Color)" was born!I took a skeleton key and used the grooves in the shank to anchor the wires. This would be the toggle bar to my large ceramic ring.
I found I had some mother of pearl donut beads and some glass seed beads with the turquoise and coral color palette. It all came together when I found that I had these turquoise striped stone beads in my stash from another piece leftover. And I threw in the vintage plastic faceted coral bead as a pop to balance the design out.
Weaving the wires over and around the beads allowed the great color to shine through. And it is so much more interesting than if I had just strung one utilitarian wire through the center of the beads, what do you think?
I was thrilled to find out that after the vote (3,800 in this first contest) I took 6th place. And I was even more excited when they said that they wanted to show off this design in a magazine ad. They were so sweet to send me a CD containing about 30 different shots of this piece (some of which you see here). This necklace has more pictures of itself than I do!

UPDATE: Thanks to Miss Jennifer of Jangles for making this PDF into a jpg for me!
That girl knows computers ;-)


I have been told that this ad will appear in the Summer Stringing issue. So even though I didn't manage to get anything accepted into that issue, I do have this great ad for my portfolio. (I wanted to put it out here for you, but I couldn't get Blogger to accept a PDF file. Bummer! You will just have to keep an eye out for it!)

And I will be the June designer of the month for Soft Flex on their website. I will share more of that as it happens.

The new Soft Flex "Flex Your Creativity" contest is underway...and the theme this time is STEAMPUNK! Get yourself a Trio in any color (my new fave color combination is "Egg Hunt"... appropriate for the season even!), and then create a drop dead gorgeous design. Top prize is $500...and that is worth flexing your creativity for!

What is your feeling about entering contests?
Do you have a favorite contest that you would like to share? What cool idea can you come up with for showing the wire instead of hiding it?
Is there something in your imagination that is dying to get out?
What is it about the steampunk craze that you enjoy the most?

What would you do with that kind of money?
Do tell!

Check It Out::Flex Your Creativity

Enjoy the day!

29 March 2010

Organizers R Us

"Early in my career I felt that organization would destroy my creativity. Whereas now, I feel the opposite. Discipline is the concrete that allows you to be creative." ~ Verna Gibson

"Hello, Disorganized Anonymous. My name is Erin. I have a clutter addiction, and I need help."

Step one is admitting that you have a problem. I admit that I am the most disorganized person I know.
View from the hallway looking in. Yes. Those are taped bits of paper, bags in boxes on top of more boxes, and my childhood desk chair for comfy internet-wrangling.

I know. You will tell me that your studio or your office looks much the same as mine. Let's start a 12 step program for beadaholics, shall we?

I used to tell my mother "Creative minds are rarely tidy" when told to clean my room. {You can imagine how well that went over.}

If that is true, then I must be brimming with creativity. ;-)

Except when the untidiness takes over, like now, there is little in the way of creative energy. You know you have the perfect bead, but you can't find it...sound familiar? It saps my energy and makes me cringe to be in my space.
The other side of the room. Random shelves that need some help, bakers rack with all my boxes (and my attempt to paint in the style of Van Gogh behind my muse 'Lola' from one of my favorite local artists Jeanne Weymouth...what you can't see are the stack of boxes in front of this towering shelf filled with who knows what!

I am working on building a studio from the ground up...and I know that I am incredibly lucky that I have a space that is dedicated to me and my late night insanity sessions {this is my 9p to midnight job...anyone else with me on this one?}. When we bought this new house there was a room in the basement, no door, but a big opening and we weren't sure what it was used for. Apparently there was some sort of treadmill in it {whatever that is.}

The other table...with 'room' for stamping, liver of sulphuring, a display from a local art show, a tower of tiny drawers that I have no idea what is in them (oh! I bought myself a Dymo label maker! Should be fun!). And all those envelopes...the reminder that I have purchased a sh*tload of art beads that are still in their original packaging...because I have no place to stash them!

I knew that this was the house for us when my husband immediately said that this would be a great studio space, and he could envision french doors and counter space. That is when I knew that this was the one if HE was envisioning the perfect space for me! So we ripped out the ugly stained carpeting in there and had a hard surface installed. That is as far as we got. {We still need to sell our previous house. I am ready to bury St Joseph upside down in the backyard to make it happen.} I had a friend who owns a local cabinet store come in to give me some ideas, all of which cost a small fortune that I don't have. So now I have three folding tables, a baker's rack and two bookcases.

This is the small space that I work on in this big room right now. I think I need to fire the maid ;-)

But the {dis}organization monster is killing me.

Lack of organization + Lack of motivation = Lack of jewelry to sell

I had this brilliant idea in my last studio to have my friend who manages a local heating/cooling place put sheet metal the length of one wall with magnetic tins to hold things like clasps and wire and to use it as an inspiration wall that is changeable. It worked well in the other studio, so I know it will work well here. I can't wait to put up my wall o' metal again {hubby pointed out that I should just put it in...it can always be moved up or down on the wall when the cabinets and countertops get installed...someday}.

Really the crux of my {dis}organization problem is what to do with all the beads. Shelves are nice for books and such but what I needed to have something to sort out my beads and components. Currently I have a boat load of Snapware containers, each with a different sort of bead, stacked in towers, containing baggies within baggies within baggies... the plastic is out of control! I have toyed with tackle boxes and tool drawer towers, but it just seemed to never be enough.

Then I remembered the post that the lovely Miss Lorelei gave on her studio redo and she had scored a printer's cabinet from an antique store. This is the kind with shallow drawers containing little partitions that was used to hold fonts of every style back in the turn of the century.

I hopped on eBay and did a quick search. I was excited to find that there was an auction about to end for the most perfectly preserved antique Hamilton printer's cabinet...and it was located right here in Wisconsin. And they wouldn't ship it because it is too big. The winner {or buyer, as my husband reminds me} would have to come and pick it up.
My new baby.... I call him 'Hamilton.' He is tall, dark and handsome... and a whiz at keeping things straight! He is a level headed and sturdy young-old man that allows me to keep my favorite books nearby (like Bead Trends March issue and Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert)...or maybe I will start preaching from this pulpit!

Now, I live smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin. Put your finger in the center and there I'll be. We always say that we live 2-3 hours from anywhere.

I showed my darling husband and he quickly told me to go for it.

That was all the arm twisting I needed.

I should have waited until the last hour of the bidding to start. If I had, I likely would have won with a few extra dollars in my pocket. But I couldn't stop myself.

I jumped in. I placed a bid. And then my heart started beating faster. My breathing became more shallow. I wanted this bad. I watched as someone tried to outbid me, but with 58 minutes and 46 seconds to go I was in the lead.

I watched the minutes tick down.

And then I got the notice that I won.

Woohoo!

I got in contact with the seller right away who told me that they had this cabinet for years, but could never figure out what to do with it. She is excited that I am excited by this awesome find. Now we are making the arrangements to get the cabinet back to the house. And today, almost three weeks since I paid for it, I drove 3 hours each way to pick up my cabinet in Emerald, WI. {The luck of the Irish must have been with me.}

I had to share with my Facebook friends immediately. Now I have never been the envy of anyone, but I felt it with this score! Someone asked how old this cabinet is. So that set me off on a quest for information. Here is what I found:
The Hamilton Manufacturing Company established in 1881 made quality cabinets and other wood products like pails in Two Rivers, WI. They say that Hamilton's case products are "known in every civilised nation of the world wherever the printing press has made material progress." Before this time, there apparently were no furniture makers catering to the printing world. Around 1905 Hamilton published a very complete catalog that I found on the internet in its entirety. They were the standard in printer's cabinets and could be found worldwide. They made everything, including the wood block letters that fit in the drawers. I found one cabinet that seems similar to mine called a Wisconsin Cabinet. With 21 drawers and a slanted top for working on (if you find one with a flat top, they made those as well, more for storage than actual work surface), they touted that these would take up less space, resulting in less rent, and increased work space for more men to set the type.

Some of the largest ones were back to back and probably the size of my entire studio. This one will be just right. I find it interesting that the Wisconsin Case that I am getting was sold in 1905 for about $18. I paid a lot more than that ;-) but I think that I made the right decision to not let this one go. I find it exciting that not only will I have a perfect organization tool, but I will be touching and preserving a piece of history. I am a bit embarrassed to have shown you the horrendous state of my studio, but this is reality. I am working to make it more functional and comfortable and a place where I can invite clients in one day. I will keep you apprised of my progress on creating the studio of my dreams. What is your best organizing tip? Do you alphabetize your spices? group like things together? buy in bulk and then transfer to smaller plastic containers? Do you have a certain type of organizing container that works well for you? Is there an disorganization monster in your life? If so, what is it and how do you plan to slay it? Do tell! Check It Out::Life Organizers P.S. Tomorrow is the last day to enter the March Inspired by...Dr Seuss challenge! The winner of the book charm from the lovely Esther in France will be announced on April 1st... no foolin'! Enjoy the day!

25 March 2010

RAW::Big Dreams Start Small


Found in a box of Valentine heart candies. 
Out spilled the usual 'U R Sweet' and 'My Love' along with the newer, hipper style of 'TXT ME' {seriously?}. 
I was so surprised by this one that I had to keep it {after fending off my hungry brood who just saw it for something sweet}.
It sits on my window sill reminding me that Random Acts of Wisdom are found where you least expect it.  
{And thanks to my friend H for her encouragement that big dreams start small. I will go for it.}

Enjoy the day!

23 March 2010

Loving Lily

"When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other" ~ Chinese Proverb

Thank you so much for all your kind and encouraging words for my "Lily at Twilight" necklace and earring set. It is hard to create in a vacuum for me. I really need to have feedback, or at the very least someone in mind when I create something. Otherwise I find it very hard to make anything at all.

Someone told me that this would be perfect for Bella Swan's prom dress with the brilliant blue and the mysterious crystals. Since I have never read the books {nor seen the movies} I was at a loss. {I know, I am so not with it. Have I been living in a cave? Well, sort of...my studio is in the basement...} So I went out and picked up the book this week. Not a bad little romp. {You should know that I was addicted to the Anne Rice vampire books back in the late 80s. Yes, I really am that old. And no, I hated the movie version, particularly Tom Cruise as Lestat. Kind of ruined my love affair with the books when I could no longer picture Lestat the way he should have been filmed...}. I gave in to the temptation to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe I will even work up to watching the movie. But that is where I will draw the line.

Last fall I did create polymer clay fang earrings for a client {odd request for the pregnant wife of a friend...}. I made pearly whites and pewter silver ones as well. Some had garnet blood drops, others were slightly blood stained with alcohol inks. I knew they were successful when the wife who received them thought her husband had given her teeth. But upon closer inspection she saw that they were indeed fangs. And I am sure there was some squealing involved from the sheer excitement of wearing fan earrings to the midnight premiere of the movie. {Not bad for my first attempt at polymer clay...I have some talented bead-making friends who gave me some good tips.}
 

I found a picture of Bella's dress. I think she would have looked stunning in my creation. {Perhaps I should change the name to Bella at Twilight?} 

But before I go any further, I should tell you the real reason for this post. 

I put all your names on paper and picked out of a hat, the good old fashioned un-techie way. Congratulations...

cjvierow!

You won a set of pearls and crystals from my Rings & Things stash and some of that stunning sapphire sari ribbon from DesignTalentedOne on Etsy.

But wait! There's more!

I have been blessed. And you have been so kind with all of your comments. I treasure them. I have found more friends through this blog than I could ever have imagined. And I like to share the beady love. So I decided there should be a second winner. Congratulations...

emandaj!

I have some goodies just for you!

Please both email me at enjoytheday{at}tesoritrovati{dot}com with your mailing addresses and I will send the beady goodness out to both of you...with one stipulation...that you share with all of us what you make with these lovelies!
----------------------------------------------
Don't forget about the March Inspired by...Dr. Seuss challenge going on right now! The deadline to enter your picture at the Flickr group is Wednesday, March 31st and the prize is something you won't want to miss! Read more about it here. There are only four entries so far......come on and get inspired!

Check It Out:: Twilight Dressup  {Go ahead and play...you know you want to!}

Enjoy the day! 

19 March 2010

Lily at Twilight


“When twilight drops her curtain down and pins it with a star, remember that you have a friend though she may wander far." ~Lucy Maud Montgomery

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I shared all the goodies that came to me from Rings & Things? They have really been outdoing themselves lately...seems that every time I turn around there is another surprise waiting for me. I am a slow creator I would guess. I have great ideas every time I get one of these goodie bags in the mail, but my time escapes me.

I got the two baggies filled with assorted shell pearls and dark, almost vintage-y looking crystals, and I have to tell you that I was smitten. The colors are rich, and bold. The crystals were a deep purple and a mysterious blue both with a rich AB coating. They mixed so well with the various sizes of the pearls in soft cashmere gray, graphite and purple.

The size on the pearls was quite opulent as well. And I knew that I wanted to challenge myself to use the biggest ones in the bunch.

I recently ordered some stunning silk sari ribbon from DesignTalentedOne on Etsy. I see so many people using these fantasy ribbons in their work, and I wanted to give it a try. So I bought all the colors she had {didn't I tell you I have no filters?}. The sapphire color went quite well with the pearl mix so that was my palette.

Recently, I ordered some things from Ornamentea including antique brass ribbon ends. So that set the metal tone for my piece. And I used a little Vintaj toggle and hook for a clasp. But you know that I like to mix metals, and I am not a materials snob, so I also added in a vintage rhinestone button, silver plated bead caps and also the frame for the ribbon.

I am not a sewer. I am a glue-gunner. Or a duct-taper. But sewing I have little patience for. You have to squint too hard to get the thread through that tiny hole and then the thread always gets tangled. However, I wanted to achieve one of those soft flower looks that I see everywhere. How to do it?

Then I spied a little silver plated link on my bead table. Basically it is a large jump ring with wire wrapping it like a cage {can't believe I actually bought that. Next time I will make my own}. I proceeded to poke the ribbon through the holes making loose loops. I took a bit of bronze wire and attached the button to my ribbon flower, making a shank on the bottom for stringing.

As I started stringing, I realized there was something missing. That is when I remembered that back in December I bought a boat-load of Humblebeads {really, can you have too many of Heather's fine beads? In fact, another shipment of them just arrived...and I have just begun to use December's splurges!}. I dug around and unearthed this gorgeous Twilight Lily focal bead...and the design came together in a flash!

I like these pearls from Rings and Things. They have a heft to them that feels very real. I think that the mixes they sent are full of possibilities {and I see from some of my other blog partner friends that there are other colors than the blue-purple mixes that I got}.

I love the color of the ribbon and how it softens the repetitive pattern.
An art bead always saves the day, and Humblebeads are some of my very favorite.

{Lily at Twilight}

So, what about you?
Is there a designing dilemma or nemesis that you are looking to rid yourself of?
{Hint: Mine is color.}

Do you always do the same thing?
Are you stuck in a rut?
Are you seeking some inspiration?

What would YOU do with these same materials?

Do tell!


{Secret giveaway alert! If you read this far ~ bravo! Now...tell me how you would use these materials. I will bundle up some of these same pearls, crystals and sari ribbon just for you and send them off...a random winner will be selected from all comments on this post through Monday, March 22nd}

Check It Out::Pearls of wisdom from a great blog It's All About Joy

Enjoy the day!

The pearl mixes used in the previous post, specifically referenced as from Rings and Things, were provided as promotional gifts by for review or design partnership purposes. All other materials referenced were purchased by the designer.

18 March 2010

30 Words::Cha-Cha-Cha

There is no telling where inspiration comes from.
Take, for instance,
a purse for a hip grandma intocolor
and
print

using great-grandma's
gold chain base.Safari Cha-Cha-Cha
is
born.
How cute will grandma look wearing her new bag and matching baubles? Thanks for the challenge Nyra!

Resin beads from Judy Tomsky at Natural Touch Beads
Glass lampworked zebra bead from Janie Stvan from How Fun Is That on Etsy
Gold chain from Great Grandma

Enjoy the cha-cha-cha day!

17 March 2010

RAW::NJOY NOW

Your Random Act of Wisdom today as seen on the back of a mini-van I followed to work today (no joke!):



LicensePlate Generator at MyGlitterz.net

Check out making your own name or phrase into a license plate at MyGlitterz.net!

And....NJOY the DAY!

13 March 2010

Like Alice

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Such nonsense from Lewis Carroll.

Or is it?

I just came home from watching Alice with my dear friend Rainy. Up until now I have never felt that poem made much sense {obviously}, but I can see it clearly now, thanks to Tim Burton. I am so glad that I saw the movie with my friend {really wish we could have seen it in 3D}. It seems that we both shared so much in common with young Alice {albeit for different reasons}. I wonder if you share things in common with Alice, too?

Tim Burton fills his world with color and wonder and deep dark demons {note: this is NOT a movie for children, like the 6 year old sitting next to me - good luck with bedtime tonight, dad}. The characters that populate his imagination are rich and filled with poetic reckoning, but also with a curiouser and curiouser stature. {I think that Mr Burton would be an interesting dinner date, don't you? My husband would disagree...he just thinks he is weird.}


As pure entertainment, it ranks right up there as a most visually stunning feast, or tea party, if you will. I found the sets, the costuming, the make-up and the fantasy world all winners. I enjoyed Johnny Depp's delightfully quirky performance as the Mad Hatter {seriously, who else could play that role?}, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen {she reads pathetically fearful at the same time}, Crispin Glover is perfect as the creepy Knave of Hearts {with a twisted penchant for big things}, and all the animated characters who truly came alive from what I had wished every other version had looked like.


However, I did not care one wit for Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, and I really like Anne Hathaway. I was distracted consistently with her huge black eyebrows, dark lips and nails and the strange way she posed with her hands. {It seemed as though she were unsure of who her character was supposed to be.}


I have read some reviews which labeled Mia Wasikowska ineffectual as Alice, because she was so naive and stiff at every turn. I happened to like her portrayal because she wasn't the sentimental wide-eyed child that we have come to know from any of the other Alice renditions {like the animated Disney classic, which is much too saccharine}. I think that it was important for her to be on the verge of becoming an adult, with her eyes wide open and her inability to see this 'Underland' as anything but a dream. Children naturally accept the Wonderland. This Alice has lost the ability to delve into her unconscious dreams, as she stared into the precipice of what her adult life would hold. I found that more believable, not less.

This quest that Alice embarked upon started with a day that should be something celebrated, but was rather dreaded. A day in which the culmination of a life of pleasing others came to an abrupt halt. When Alice took a moment to follow the White Rabbit, she took back her life.

After tumbling down the rabbit hole, Alice encounters a world at once strange and familiar. She is told that she is most certainly not the real Alice, although she swears she knows who she is. But who is she really? Or rather, what is she becoming?

Absalom, the blue huffing caterpillar {voiced masterfully by Alan Rickman}, mysteriously pronounces the grown-up girl as 'hardly Alice.' Indignantly, she insists that she is exactly who she says she is, but that she is not the Alice they want her to be. And thus ensues her quest to find the true Alice.

I think that I am quite like Alice. What about you?

Like Alice, I may be too often pulled in a direction that I don't want to go, as the Tweedles do to her.
Like Alice, I am told what I must do certain things and am expected to be happy with what I get, as her sister Margaret tells her.
Like Alice, I feel constricted by the ideals that society puts on me, as if wearing a codfish on my head would make any more sense.

And like Alice, there is a 'Wonderland' inside of me, waiting to be re-discovered.

There is also a Jabberwocky to slay in each of us. Has thou done battle with your Jabberwock?

My Jabberwocky may be different than yours...my Jabberwock rears it's ugly head in thoughts that I am not good enough that routinely throw me off track...self-sabotage that I heap on myself preventing me from fulfilling my potential...doubt of my worth that creeps in on Cheshire cat feet before vanishing in a pouf of regret at what I haven't done, what I have failed at.

As the White Queen says, it must be your choice to slay the Jabberwock and when you go you will go alone. Just knowing that you have the entire White army behind you and your own cast of wacky 'Wonderland' characters, including a Mad Hatter in your corner ready to take up a sword and fight beside you, should give you the courage you need.

"From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole, I've been told what I must do and who I must be. This is MY path. I'll decide where it goes from here."

At one point, Alice says that she charts her own path. That turning point sets her firmly toward her goals. And once her Vorpal sword slays her Jabberwock {we are told that the Vorpal sword knows what to do, as long as it is held steady}, she is given a choice: stay in 'Wonderland' or go back to the reality that awaits.

I am glad that Alice went back. She succeeded in challenging the dragons that were clearly ambushing her at the top of the rabbit hole because she knew that she would always have the 'Wonderland' inside of her. And that gave her the courage to dare to dream.

In the end, Absalom begins his own transformation, and proclaims that Alice has indeed found herself. She has become more complete now that she has vanquished her Jabberwock with a snicker-snack. She has regained her 'muchness' {muchness, n.
physical magnitude or largeness}. She is about to become all that she can be. She is spreading her wings to fly.

I will take a cue from Alice and fight the battles that need to be won, with resourcefulness and confidence on the way to celebrating my muchness and vanquishing the impossible.

"This is impossible," laments Alice.
"Only if you believe it," replies The Hatter.

Are you inspired by this rendition of Alice in Wonderland?
In what ways are you like Alice?
Do you recall a turning point where you lost the ability to see your Wonderland?
Have you come upon a turning point where you regained your Wonderland?
What is your inner Jabberwocky to slay?
Do you have an impossible dream?
Who is your Mad Hatter, who believes in you, sees your true self and spurs you on?
Do tell!

Check It Out::Alice in Wonderland featurette
Enjoy the day!

12 March 2010

My Many Colored Days

{My Many Colored Days bracelet
Jangles ceramic beads, colored magnesite, resin and spacers from Rings & Things}

Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days.


On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!

On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings.


Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down.


Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee!
I am a busy, buzzy bee.


Gray Day....Everything is gray.
I watch. But nothing moves today.

Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal!
On my Orange Days that's how I feel.

Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That's me.

On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan.
I drag my tail. I walk alone.

But when my days are Happy Pink
it's great to jump and just not think.


Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud.

I howl. I growl at every cloud.

Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM!
I don't know who or what I am!

But it all turns out all right, you see.
And I go back to being...me.


Wisdom from the Doctor...Seuss that is!

I love One Fish, Two Fish and those wacky Things in The Cat in the Hat. Fox in Socks was a tremendously fun read-aloud {especially that beetle battle}. And the Grinch is probably my favorite character. But My Many Colored Days is by far my favorite Seuss.

There is something so soothing about these words. I am not even bothered that the pictures are not Seussified at all {this was written before he died, but never finished until later.}I remember reciting this in the car to fussy kids. I recall learning it by heart and tucking my wee ones into bed with this rhyme running through their heads. I can still do all the inflection with this to make the words sing.

I saw a post that someone did about this book who felt that this was a slam against people of color. That referencing brown as a slow color and black as an angry hue and yellow as inherently more busy than the others was a slam against people of different races. Maybe I am naive in my thinking, but I really don't think that Dr. Seuss would have meant anything derogatory. Frankly, that floored me {and my apparently pollyanna world view}.

It is the message behind this book that gets me everytime. It is not about rainbows and horses and seals. It is not some crazy racist agenda. It is about feelings. It is about making feelings accessible and real to kids, and helping them to articulate it. It is about how color values influence and affect our moods, which is important to note for budding artists who would be reading, or having this read to them. How clever to associate colors with feelings for kids to better comprehend. I know it made discussions so much easier when my kids could say that they were having a brown sort of day or a yellow one. We don't talk that way that much anymore, but it certainly made for easier understanding in a highly visual way.

Dr. Seuss is a treasure. The words, the meanings, the colors, the playfulness... these are all things that I think we need a bit more of in our world. I, for one, am very happy that my days are Many Colored. It makes me look forward to the next color in the palette each day.

Today is a bit of a gray day outside...but inside I am longing to be blue and flap my wings.

What color are you today?

Just a reminder that the Inspired by...Dr Seuss challenge is still open. At stake is a charming little handmade book from Esther in France. One lucky random person will be the winner on April 1st (no fooling!). You have until 11:59 pm CST on March 31st to enter. Check out the information on this post for how to's. I am really looking forward to seeing how creative you can be!

Enjoy the day!

11 March 2010

30 Words::Thaw

{Photo credit: CursedThing}


Standing furtively at rivers' edge
shifting webbed feet
they
study the pocket of open water
apprehensively.
Then
one brave webbed toe
dips...
Proof that spring is back with
joyous
quack-splashing.






Enjoy the day!

09 March 2010

RAW::Count Your Blessings

{Get this print from PersimmonAndPink on Etsy}


"Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward with the life that God intended for you."

Og Mandino


I was cleaning out my glutted inbox at work today. {I tend to keep everything...it is like that with paper, and bits of odd stuff, and memorabilia as well as emails as my IT guy will attest...I am the Clutter Queen.} I get daily quotes from various places, and I came across this one.

It made me think of you.

You, dear reader, who pops in from time to time to check in and see what I am up to.
You who seeks to be inspired and to inspire with your incredibly thought-provoking comments.
You who shares the same passions and joys.

One of my words for this year is UP. This quote, this Random Act of Wisdom, speaks to me today of remembering UP. I have a tendency to look down. {Truth be told, that is where you find some interesting things...like the brass button on the stairway, the rusty metal shim on the street corner, the wayward downy feather...} But I sometimes have a tendency to look down on myself. This quote reminds me of all that I have and where I am going, traveling the road that God intended me to be on. There is a purpose to each step I take, and I need to remember to enjoy that journey.

And today, that blessing starts with you.

"There are glimpses of heaven to us in every act, or thought, or word, that raises us above ourselves."
~Arthur P. Stanley



What blessings has God given you? Think outside of the obvious...
When people look at you, what is it that they say that you have got going for you?
People usually use the phrase "add value" to describe corporate goals, but we are all in this world together...how do you add value to our world?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

04 March 2010

30 Words::Blessed Bucks

Next cup at convenience store.
Peeking from Kleenix cellophane top.
Under Ranch Dressing.
Tucked inside Strawberry Shortcake bandages.
Noodles to-go box.
Car wash tip.
Where are your
Blessed Bucks
soaring?

DO TELL!

And don't forget...comments made sharing where your Blessed Bucks are hiding (must be made on a post entitled Blessed Bucks from 2010) from now until Easter will be eligible to win a custom Seeds of Inspiration necklace for one lucky, blessed random winner! Don't know what Blessed Bucks are all about? Read all about it here.

02 March 2010

Coming Alive

"Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who did not hear the music." ~Angela Monet

Have you ever felt like this? Like the thing you were most passionate about was viewed as crazy by those not "hearing the music?"

I have.

My dad, whom I love dearly, will say things to me like 'how is that playing with beads going?' While he is supportive, he just doesn't get it. If he thinks that all I have been doing is playing with beads, then he hasn't been paying attention. What he doesn't see is that this is more than just a hobby, it is a passion that is quickly taking over my life.

{Fun and funky photography by Brenda Laird on Etsy}

pas·sion /PASH-uhn/ –noun
a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything


Passions are strong.
They imply a total giving in.
There is a dangerousness to passion.
Passion can be all-consuming and all-encompassing.
It could be flirting with disaster or temptation.
It is a strong emotion. There is nothing dainty about it.

Do I have that strong of an emotion for beads, though?

I have certainly been tempted by the shiny faceted stones and the worlds of beauty encased in glass. I have been trapped by my desire for artisan made ceramic or polymer clay beads with a force that my bank account cannot arrest. I have felt myself succumb to the beady goodness that I view each day as I fill my Etsy cart with treasures.

The upside of passion is that flush feeling you get. You know the one when the blood floods your cheeks as you rush to be the first to buy that bead or score that great sale. It feels good, this passion. {And it is easily hidden in small baggies and innocuous manila envelopes :-}

{from the quirky fun 'demotivators' at www.Despair.com ...okay...maybe only I find that funny!}

But passion can have a darkside. My passion has become a hoard, an insane stash of baggies that is quickly overtaking the basement studio space {even in my new house, where the space is twice as large}. Half the time I am not even sure what I have and don't have {perhaps 'organization' should be my next ABS Carnival Blogger topic!} I can't stop myself from buying new beads, but at the same time I am not using them fast enough. I have this underlying sense that there is never a good enough design, that I want to be the only one who wears that bead, or I just can't part with it.

When the passion borders on the insane, and a release needs to happen. I am at that point now. I realize that my passion is wonderful, if productive, but when I am not making jewelry with all the wonderful treasures, when they are not allowed to breathe and live and be touched to find life with a new owner, that they can slowly crumble and die {well, not literally.} In short, I am selfishly wasting that passion on myself.

I need a way to share my passion with the world. To ignite that spark in someone else.

Art Bead Scene was a revelation to me. Finding others who shared that same passion and didn't judge me for it. This community has made me come alive. Because of the incredible artists leading it. Because of the outstanding designers the world over who call that space home and create some of the most amazing works of art. Because I could easily become one of them, if I had the courage to let my passion come out to play. And now I am no longer stingy when it comes to indulging my passion. Where I once would have balked at spending $35 or more on a single bead, I realize now that I am holding a miniature masterpiece in my hands {now I just need the courage to let it go...}. I will ever be grateful that I have found this community who shares my passion and understands the secret thrill that is felt when that next manila envelope arrives in the mail.

I wish to share my passion for art beads with others. I am in the early stages of putting together my first exhibit at Gallery Q Artist's Cooperative where I am honored to be a member. In true "Inspired by..." fashion I am going to let the 2D artists at Q be my muse...for each painting that I select, I will create one or two ensembles that are inspired by that art. But I will also have a custom made art bead or component take center stage in each piece because I believe that those tiny stories need to be shared with the world as well. {At least my corner of the world.} I have been approaching some of the artists in the ABS Universe to help me with this project and in truly passionate fashion they are rising to the challenge. I am very excited about the possibilities {I promise to share updates with you} and the idea that I might ignite someone's passion for art.

For me it is more than just selling jewelry. I have put a goal out there for myself that I will share my passion and my inspiration with any who will come and seek it. I hope my web journal does that for those you. I hope you stay awhile. And I hope you might even come back and perhaps post a comment or two.

And thank you to each of you, whether we have connected personally or not, for helping my passion to flourish and for encouraging the real me to come alive.

I hope I will inspire you to pursue your passion, whatever that may be.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Attributed to Howard Thurman

What is it that makes you truly come alive?
What is holding you back from pursuing that passion? Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

Inspired by...Dr Seuss

First things first...the winner of the February Inspired by...The Solar System by random draw from all of the out-of-this-world entries is.....................

I will send out your prize, the necklace Nebulae right away! Congratulations! And here is a peek at one of Silver Parrots' luscious space inspired designs entitled Moonrise Over a Desert Planet.


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.” ~ Dr. Seuss

I am sick of winter. White snow, gray skies, such a b
landness everywhere.

I think it is time for some color. How about you?



I could think of nothing more colorful to be Inspired by... in March than Dr. Seuss books. And today, March 2nd, is Dr. Seuss' birthday. So what better inspiration than the beloved books of Dr. Seuss!

I loved them as a child. One Fish, Two Fish. The Cat in the Hat. Fox in Socks {particularly that part about the beetle battle in the bottle with paddles on a p
oodle}. Inspired lunacy, that's what they are. They were catchy little ditties that had me excited about reading. And then when I had my own children I made sure to read these treasures to them as well.

“And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!”

Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. He came from a loving family that was very pro-American during WWI. Before his mother married his father, she worked in a bakery and would chant the pies of the day to her customers. When Ted couldn't sleep she would chant those pies, a silly little comfort that gave young Ted his rhythm and
playfulness.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. "

Ted went to Dartmouth and eventually landed the editor position at the school's humor publication. But being a mischievous college student, he got kicked off that paper for participating in a party that was not approved by the school. That is when he started submitting under the pen name Seuss, which was his middle name and the maiden name of his mother.

After college, he worked in various advertising jobs, including drawing cartoons for The Saturday Evening Post, Life and Vanity Fair. During WWII G
eisel was too old to be drafted, so he requested a commision with Frank Capra's (It's a Wonderful Life) Signal Corps (US Army) and was part of some of the films made during that time, notably the Private Snafu cartoons that were a big hit with young recruits even if the top brass didn't care for them.

"If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good."

Ted was making a good living as an illustrator and had published one book And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street after having that manuscript rejected 27 times. There was a magazine article about why children were not excited to read which blamed primers as being bland and antiseptic. Ted was given the challenge of creating a fun and lively primer using 220 new-reader vocabulary words. The Cat in the Hat was an instant success with kids, parents, teachers and librarians. Over the many decades to come, and I would argue to this day, Dr. Seuss is revered the world over for encouraging playfulness, imagination and a love of language and words.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”

So now it is your turn...the March Inspired by...Dr. Seuss challenge is on...what kind of things can you think up? I am hoping there will be a whole lot of color, whimsy, and playfulness going on. I could use that right about now.

How it works:
  • Create a piece of jewelry (earrings, necklace or bracelet) using the inspiration of the Dr. Seuss {Pick your favorite book, the characters, the words, the colors, the playful attitude...whatever makes you think of Seuss.. Be creative!}

  • Post your picture to the Flickr account here.

  • If you are so inspired {and I hope you will be!}, feel free to create as many pieces as you like for challenge and post to the Flickr account, but your name will only be entered once. (For extra BONUS ENTRY opportunities, see below). You have until 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday, March 31st to post to the Flickr account.

In the description of your picture be sure to add the following:

  • Title of the piece
  • Short description of your inspiration {be sure to include what Seuss inspired you!}
  • Your Name
  • Your email address
  • Your blog or website

BONUS ENTRY OPPORTUNITIES:

  • If you use an art bead in your piece {art bead is defined as a bead or component created by yourself or another artisan}, be sure to point that out in your description {with a link to the appropriate artisan’s website, shop or blog} and you will have TWO extra entries.

  • If you blog, Facebook, Twitter, sky write or take out a billboard to publicize each week’s challenge, be sure to let me know {leave a comment on that week's challenge} and your name will be in for ONE extra entry.

  • That's a total of FIVE ENTRIES!
And now for the prize...
I purchased three of Esther Ramos' book charms in early February. After I got them and swooned for days while fondling... I mean, examining each of them, I knew that there would be no better prize than to gift one of these to the random winner. If you haven't checked out sweet Esther's jewelry please do. And here is the book charm that you could win.


Now...go and get inspired!

What was your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Was there a character that captivated you?
What about the whimsical drawings of imaginary creatures?
Or maybe it was the words that Seuss wove that are hard to get out of your head even now?
Do tell!


Check It Out::Seussville

Enjoy the day!

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