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30 November 2010

Getting the Sale

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” ~Zig Ziglar
 
Check out today's post on Art Bead Scene where I recount my very first Etsy sales. Especially the part where I thought that PayPal was just messin' with me.


November has been a good month.

Enjoy the day!

P.S. The 20% off sale ends tonight at 11:59 PM (CT) in my Etsy shop. Be sure to enter the code GIVINGTHANKS2010 to get the discount.

29 November 2010

Lyrics to Love::Uncharted

I like to sing.

In my car.

At the top of my lungs.

And I think I am pretty good at it. ;-)

Much to the chagrine of my children, I tend to play the same CD over and over and over again. Of course, I don't have a fancy multi-disk CD changer so that is likely why. When I get a new CD I like to give a quick listen and then start learning the songs by heart. And so it is with the newest CD I purchased some weeks ago, "Kaleidescope Heart" by Sara Bareilles.

Sara has been like a personal musical muse for me. I fell in love with her over "Love Song." I have listened to her first album "Little Voice" ad nauseum, but she has been there for me like a melodious cheerleader encouraging me to find my way with the song "Vegas" and there to haunt me with melodies like "Gravity" with words that really pierce the soul. I have created jewelry that is inspired by her songs and words. She is like a friend in the studio.

So when the new CD came out I had to have it even though I rarely buy new music {the radio is good enough for me}. I am so glad I did.


{If you click this picture you will be taken to Amazon MP3 which is currently featuring the download of this CD for just $1.99! That is a STEAL! If I didn't already have it I would go buy it!}

"Kaleidescope Heart" delivers with haunting melodies, smart and poetic lyrics and the pure liquid beauty of her voice. I have a thing for singer-songwriters because there is a depth and magic to what they create. And words are my thing.

The song that is on my repeat right now is called "Uncharted." There are a myriad of lines in here that speak directly to me. I wonder if any of them speak to you.

Uncharted ~ by Sara Bareilles
No words, My tears won't make any room for more,
And it don't hurt, like anything I've ever felt before,
this is

No broken heart,
No familiar scars,
This territory goes uncharted...
 
Just me, in a room sunk down in a house in a town,
and I

Don't breathe, no I never meant to let it get
away from me
Now, too much to hold, everybody wants to
get their hands on gold,
And I want uncharted.

Stuck under this ceiling I made,
I can't help but feeling...

 
I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, of foolproof ideas,
so don't ask me how
To get started, it's all uncharted...
La la la-a-a-a.
Oh-h-h.

Each day, countin' up the minutes,
till I get alone, 'cause I can't stay
In the middle of it all, it's nobody's fault, but I'm
So alone, Never knew how much I didn't know,
Oh, everything is uncharted.

I know I'm getting nowhere,
when I only sit and stare like...

I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, of foolproof ideas, so don't ask me how
To get started, it's all uncharted.

Jump start my kaleidoscope heart,
Love to watch the colors fade,
They may not make sense,
But they sure as hell made me.
I won't go as a passenger, no
Waiting for the road to be laid
Though I may be going down,
I'm taking flame over burning out

Compare,
where you are to where you want to be,
and you'll get
nowhere

I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, foolproof ideas, so don't ask me how
To get started,
Oh-h
I'm going down,
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around,
Like you'll show me where to go,
I'm already out, foolproof ideas, so don't ask me how
To get started, it's all uncharted...
La la la-a-a-a.

If you can get to someplace that lets you hear a snippet of this song, I would do it. I love this tune. And the lyrics are truly speaking to me right now. I wish there was a video of this song {Sara's videos are just as intriguing as the music that inspires them. Particularly the video for "Gravity"}. Maybe if Sara sees this she will make one ;-)

The meaning in this song will, of course, be different for everyone.

For me it is a powerful mantra. For all of us our paths are uncharted. What this song says to me is that you might want to follow where I am going, but is that really the wisest choice? Even I don't know where I am going. I wouldn't want you to get stuck traveling down some dead end that I find myself faced with because you are following my lead. There are no foolproof ideas and if I get lucky and stumble on a great one that doesn't mean it will work the same for someone else. And it goes both ways. Your foolproof idea is not something that will work for me no matter how shiny and enticing it is.

The fact that our journeys are uncharted might seem unsettling to some. I find it empowering.

Uncharted means that I can make my own path. Or at least find the one less traveled. I might get beat up and scratched along the way, but there is a freedom in charting your course even if you don't know the destination.

And that ceiling? That tippy-top of the height of your personal success? Well, you make your own ceiling, so you have the power to bust on through.

But the one line that grabs me every.single.time {and it is not just because it is at a point in the song that really makes you sit up and take notice} is this...

Compare,
where you are to where you want to be,
and you'll get
nowhere


I am sure I am not alone in the fact that I compare where I am now to where I want to be. I feel envy for my future self that will have it all together and have great success and is super organized and doing all that she dreamed of doing. But I am not there yet. So comparing myself to some ideal that I am trying to acheive will get me nowhere. That doesn't mean that I have to be complacent about where I am now and not take charge of my destiny, but that I need to be happy where I am. Happy doesn't have to mean comfortable. I am pleased with where I am and what I am doing, but at the same time I am itching for more. So I am taking out that map and plotting the next course of my action.

This uncharted adventure is what makes it all worthwhile.

So...what do you think?
Do you like the music of Sara Bareilles? What is your favorite Sara B tune?
Do any of these lyrics speak to you? Which one? What is is saying to you?
Would you like to see more Lyrics to Love posts?
Do tell!

P.S. I am still having my Giving Thanks sale in my Etsy shop through November 30th. Enter the coupon code GIVINGTHANKS2010 to receive 20% off your purchase. And shipping is FREE in the US!

Enjoy the day!



 


24 November 2010

Gifts of Character::Helpfulness & Giving Thanks - SALE

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Christmas is approaching and at the Prais house it was always an occasion marked by excess. There was no end to the piles of presents and the outpouring of love, not to mention the mountains of food and copious amounts to drink. We were very blessed indeed.

But a few years ago, we decided that we had enough. It was starting to be too contrived. There was no love in the buying of things or in making a list that would always include the same Bath & Body Works products {anything in the Japanese Cherry Blossom. Buy me any other flavor and it will go right back} or socks {black, for him with the reinforced toe}.

I love to give gifts. Thoughtful gifts that make me think fully about the person that I am gifting. But I would rather do it on a random Tuesday than to follow a prescribed gifting schedule that this time of the year demands. And I would rather not be bombarded by this demand as early as the middle of October {thank you very much Fleet Farm Toy Catalog.}

Helpfulness is doing useful things for others - things that make a difference to them, no matter how small.

So a few years back the adults {there are 6 of us} decided that the day after Thanksgiving we would do a little giving of our own. We took the money that we would  have spent on each other {usually $100 per family} and purchased SCRIP {fundraising program through our local Catholic Schools where you buy a gift certificate for local or national companies and the schools keep a percentage. Doesn't cost any more and I help the schools buying what I would normally} for a local grocery store. Then we gather the kids and three shopping carts. We have the recommended shopping list for the local food pantry called Operation Bootstrap. And we shop. we make it a competition to see which family can get the closest to the $100 without going over. We almost always have to go back and get more even when it seems our cart can't hold another can of pork and beans, another box of crackers or one more jar of peanut butter.

It is taking the time to be thoughtful, reflecting on what people truly need and assisting them respectfully.

I like that we started this tradition. It takes the guess work out of shopping for each other, encourages our children to recognize their plenty and celebrates the true meaning of the holiday season for me. The chance to help those who need it most. And today the need is more great than ever.

I have all I need. But if I can to do this small thing to affect the lives of another family then I am all for being helpful in this way.

We help others by doing things they cannot do for themselves.

We also support the coat drive that our local community holds. I always have a few pairs of Lands' End boots, a snuggly warm {if decidedly grimy} coat {that the local cleaners launders for free}, and the odd assortment of hats, gloves and snow pants. We give those away, too. Or the drive at Rocket's school for the Pajama Project where they get donations of new with tags pajamas and books that are then donated to kids in homeless shelters {we did that for Tiny Dancer's 8th birthday in lieu of presents}. Or this year when I donated my entire proceeds from the month of January to the Haitian earthquake relief, and Tiny Dancer asked for craft supplies for the group Haiti by Hand {we donated a huge shipping box filled with yarn, embroidery floss, fabric, and eyeglasses}. When the Children's Museum needed assistance putting up walls and cleaning up their newly renovated space, Rocket was there to help...he hung drywall and hauled materials for an afternoon. A great way to give back to a place where we used to spend some quality time when he was younger.

But it doesn't always have to be a grandiose gesture. What are some little things that you can do to help those in need?

It takes courage to ask for help when we need it.

Recently, we have been voting online in several contests that will garner much needed funds for our schools. It only takes a minute and the payoff can be huge. Would you like to help? My local alma mater, Pacelli High School, is one of four area high schools that is in the running for a $30,000 technology grant courtesy of Cellcom's Project Innovate. It doesn't matter where you are or even if you are connected to my high school, but if you are interested in helping with the vote, I would appreciate it. If you are willing to help, you can do so by clicking on this link and navigating to the lower right hand corner, clicking on "Project Innovate" and then voting for PACELLI HIGH SCHOOL. {Currently, we are in 2nd place so your vote will really help... hurry...it ends on November 30th!} And thank you very much if you do!

There is always plenty of help when we are willing to ask.

Over the summer I was voting every day for the Beads of Courage on the Pepsi Refresh project. And I click on the Breast Cancer Site's link every weekday to help fund mammograms for those who need it {and while you are there, don't forget to click for hunger, literacy, rainforest, child health and animal rescue}. recently, Tiny Dancer and I discovered Free Rice where you can play some educational games {like knowing famous works of art, or your times tables} and earn rice for those who are starving. Such a simple thing to do, but so helpful.

When we work selflessly to benefit the lives of others, we always bless our own.

There are a million ways to help. Don't get overwhelmed and think that you have to do it all. Remember that you can't do everything but you can do something. Select the something that you can do and do it with great love and you will get incredible results.

The Practice of Helpfulness

I look for little ways to make life easier for others.
I do a service without being asked.
I offer my support in respectful ways.
I give people what they need, not always what they want.
I allow others to be helpful to me.
I strive to be a blessing to others.
© Virtues Project International
To order your own set of Virtues Cards, visit Virtues Village LLC.
 

  • What ways do you help others? Do you organize a food drive? Ring the Salvation Army bell? Put a roof on a Habitat for Humanity home? Or just open a door for someone carrying a heavy load? Let someone with only two items cut in front of you in line at the check out? Or pay for the coffee of the next person in line?
  • What are some simple and instant ways that you know of to help others?
  • Do you allow others to be helpful to you?
  • How has your life been blessed by helping those in need?
Do tell!

To share my thanks with all of you, for being faithful readers and commenters, for your support and encouragement, for celebrating all that I have, I am offering a special discount in my newly stocked Etsy shop {more coming!}. Use the code GIVINGTHANKS2010 when you check out to enjoy 20% off anything in my Etsy shop, expires 11/30/10.

I give thanks for you!

Enjoy the day!

22 November 2010

Coming to my Senses::Crowded

I see...row after row of cars (we got the last spot furthest from the door), throngs of people trudging along, gaily colored windows, fake snow on everything.

I smell...the cinnamony sweet Snickerdoodles at the cookie vendor, the warm toasty coffee wafting out of Gloria Jeans, the pervasive scent of Abercrombie-angst assailing my nose and lingering in my hair and clothes long after I have passed by. Blech.

I hear....the rhythmic bell ringers and my change dropping into the red bucket, the non-stop Christmas music on the radio station (been playing non-stop since November 1st...), the excited hum of the people around me.

I taste...the salty-sweet bourbon sauce from my oriental chicken platter for lunch, the frothy mint chocolate goodness from my Sleigh Ride chiller, the special Moonstruck chocolate snowman truffle as an afternoon treat.

I touch....the shoe box in my shopping bag each time it hits me at just the right spot on my ankle as I walk, tired toes restless from too many hours walking in uncomfortable shoes, my daughter's hand clasped in mine as we walk through the crowded mall.

I feel... glad that I will never feel a need to get up and shop on 'Black Friday', happy to be spending the day with Tiny Dancer and her Aunt Mary developing new Deer Hunting Widow/Orphan traditions, hopeful to see so many shoppers gearing up for the holiday shopping.

What is coming to your senses today?

Enjoy the day!

19 November 2010

Getting ready to HOP!

..............................Drum roll please..........................

Winner of the pendant necklace from my blog-o-versary post is....



Michelle from Beadalotta!

Congratulations, Michelle! Email me and let me know if you would like this pendant necklace or one with YOUR special mantra on it! {Maybe I can even deliver it in person!}

The Challenge of Color blog hop is officially under way! Just two weeks from today we will be revealing our creations based off the specially selected color palette that I sent each participant.

Here is the gist of the blog hop:
  • Each participant gave me a color choice that would be either a true challenge or something that they would feel comfortable with. Some opted to have me surprise them! 
  • Palettes were selected with a minimum of 3 colors from area paint stores. Cards were then mailed to all participants, or emailed to our overseas friends.
  • All participants are listed over in the right side bar. Grab this list of live links to blogs for the blog hop. Please be sure to let me know if your name or the link is not correct. Or if I missed you somehow.
  • We will be creating jewelry using the paint chip palette. All the colors are encouraged but dropping or adding colors is fine. (And don't forget to take a picture of the palette... with only a few exceptions, each participant has a unique palette.)
  • Use of art beads is strongly encouraged.
  • Naming the piece with one of the paint chip colors is encouraged.
  • The blog hop will happen on Friday, December 3rd. Be sure to come back and hop around and make new friends! We have people from all across the US and around the globe. So.Much.Fun!

There will be prizes awarded in a random drawing after the blog hop for all those who participated. I have a growing stash of materials that need a good home and we also have one sponsor (thanks Jeannie of JKDJewelry!) and the potential of another bead artist who was watching from afar and liked the idea so much she is considering creating something special just for me to give away... how cool is that?

In the meantime I thought that you should see what I am working on. I decided that I should challenge myself as well. So I picked out some paint chip palettes and combed through my stash to see what I had that would work. Here are the palettes and the beads that I will work with...
Featuring art beads clockwise from top left:
Chinook Jewelry, Marsha Neal, Lisa Peters Art and MACarroll, Kelleys Beads, Lynn Davis, Julsbeads




I can't say that I will be able to finish all of these by the December 3rd blog hop date, but I will sure try! And if nothing else, I have some ready made inspiration kits for when I can't get my mojo going!

It was fun to go through things that I had, things that I recently purchased and things that I forgot that I bought to find the base materials for some jewelry. Now to sit down and pull it all together! If nothing else, I will have these things to sell in my new Etsy shop {find a link over on the sidebar} for the holidays!

If you are participating in the blog hop, do you like your color palette? Is it a challenge or just a welcome change?
If you are not participating, will you come back to see what unfolds? Is there something that I can do to entice you to hop around with us?
Would you be interested in seeing more of these color challenges/blog hops in the future? Any suggestions?


Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

17 November 2010

The Gifts of Character::Orderliness & the Clutter Queen

"What a gift of grace to be able to take the chaos from within and from it create some semblance of order."
~Katherine Paterson

 I am not a tidy person. Not that I am dirty or living with filth (mostly). I am just not very good at putting things away. I have this beautiful new living room and every day we come home and make a new pile. The children are just as bad as I am {I fear that they are learning what they live...}.

Orderliness is living in a way that creates harmony around us and within us.

I have often wished to live in a Pottery Barn catalog home where the couch is rumpled on purpose and the books teeter ever so artfully on the edge of the coffee table. The office is neatly arranged and color coded, but it looks as if there is actual work getting done there. Of course, I would have a family that enjoyed that look as much as I do and wouldn't leave balled up socks lurking around every corner, candy wrappers stashed behind the couch and wouldn't tuck the wrappers from the band-aid back into the container {true dat... found that just this week in the linen closet}.

I want that harmony that is in the Pottery Barn world {complete with all the stuff that makes it look like that} but I know that it is out of my grasp. I am part way there, but not quite. 

We have a place for the things we use, and keep them where they belong.

To this day I wonder why my life is so cluttered and my sister's is so very orderly. Her house is generally spotless, this despite having two kids younger than mine. There is a place for everything and everything in its place. Her husband and son are constantly complaining that she hides things on them. No, she insists, she isn't hiding things. She just finds a more obvious spot for that thing. She will be the first to tell you that she is slightly OCD about organization. {I keep trying to get her to organize me... to know avail.}

Order and beauty in our homes and work spaces brings a sense of peace and freedom. Our thoughts and ideas flow more freely.

When I was a young whippersnapper my mother was always exasperated about me never cleaning my room.

"Creative minds are rarely tidy," I declared one day.

You can imagine how well that went over. ;-)

This is how my studio usually looks.
{This was actually taken some months ago before I moved furniture around. It is still a mess but arranged differently.}
This is how I envision my studio looking.


I sometimes get so fed up that I go through and clean sweep it all {sometimes that means clean sweeping it all into a big box and shutting the top ;-}. I wonder if I get more done in a space that is clear and clutter free or less. Sometimes I need that chaos around me so that I can be inspired and find exactly what I need. If I put it all away then I sometimes forget where I put it. Like the entire box of sterling silver beads and clasps that I could not find but stumbled on the other day. I tricked myself by putting it there, and have been without sterling for some weeks. 

We do not hold onto clutter. We clear the way for genuine abundance.
 

Paper is my biggest nemesis. I never know if I should get rid of it or not. I find a spot that seems obvious at the time to put that coupon or invite or letter... only to find it later on a frantic clean sweep when I have lost something and with it my mind. I have stacks of paper, and don't even get me started on my business records. I know, I know. I can't run a business if I don't keep better track of things. I always start out the year with grandiose plans as to how I will whip my paperwork into shape. And here it is November and I didn't use the binder and envelope system I devised in December last year. *sigh*

But reading that last line makes me pause.... if I were to keep a better handle on these things when they come up rather than waiting until the end of the year to make my organization would that lead to more abundance? Hmmm.... interesting concept.

Orderliness is being focused and purposeful, planning tasks step by step instead of going in circles. As we trust Divine order unfolding in our lives, we find a still point of order in our souls.

© Virtues Project International
To order your own set of Virtues Cards, visit Virtues Village LLC.


Do you live in a space that is orderly? Or is it a bit chaotic?
How do you feel in that space? Harmonious and peaceful or scattered and anxious?
Do you always put things away when you use them? What is your best organizational tip?
Are you are planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er?


Do tell!

15 November 2010

Can Procrastination be an ingredient?

"I do my work at the same time each day
                    - the last minute."  
~Author Unknown

There is nothing like a little fire under your ass to get you to fly into high gear. I swear to you... Procrastination must be my middle name. If it isn't than it is high on my list of ingredients for the latest and greatest Bead Soup Swap.

Bead Soup Blog Hops are the brainchild of Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  The idea is simple... send a coordinated set of beads and a clasp to the partner you are paired up with and create something new. Except this time we were asked to do a swap with our partner. Not any old swap... but a swap of any old thing. We were asked to send each other a piece of jewelry that didn't sell, wasn't quite right or has not kept pace with our evolving styles. I have an entire drawer filled with such neglected treasures awaiting reincarnation, so this was perfect!

I was lucky to be paired with the delightful Jen Judd-Velasquez. I admire the spirit of playfulness and fun that Jen brings to all that she does. I knew that this would be so much fun!

Jen sent me this necklace...tons of raw material to work with...



There are unpolished sunstone cubes, rainforest jasper coins, a big ol' chunk of green garnet, melon beads and glass disks from Heather Boardman of HMB Studios {have been secretly coveting Heather's glass for years! So glad that I have some now!}

I started with those melon shaped beads. Not sure what they are made out of but I love the shape. They remind me of fall and acorn squash. My mom always made acorn squash with butter and cinnamon and some other spices like nutmeg and clove. Bake it in the oven for a few hours {okay, you got me. I have no idea how long to bake it. Until it's done!}. It is such a beautiful topaz color glistening and moist. Tastes a bit like candy, but it's a vegetable!

{Baked Squash}

For this bracelet I used the melon beads and some glass that I picked up at the Bead & Button show on some ridiculous clearance. Three colors of crystals - mocca, peridot satin and topaz - connected with two leaf connectors from Nunn Designs and finished off with some copper chain and a simple clasp. I call this one "Baked Squash."

This is the last one that I just whipped up at, oh, 1:00am. {Yea. I told you that Procrastination was an ingredient.} I used the rainforest jasper coins connected with Vintaj brass etched jump rings {one of my 'can't live without 'em' staples} and some love knot connectors from AD Adornments. I call this one "Love in a Forest."

{Love in a Forest}

What I loved most was the colors of the lampwork. So I decided that they needed a showstopper all their own. I have been having so much fun with Kerry Bogert's Totally Twisted book. I love the Bang Gals bracelets and have translated that into a necklace form. Twisted coils of orange wrapped in bronze wire pull out the colors of the Heather Boardman beads. From my own stash I added a felt sushi roll bead from TaraTaraTara on Etsy, green labradorite, carved bone, a clear encased lampwork bead from Julsbead {who coincidentally is having the mother of all giveaways. Go and post a comment now!}, a vintage brass mesh encased olive green glass bead, and a tiny bottlecap bead from Glass Garden Beads.

{Hunter's Moon}

The glowing orange color of the lampwork and the Swiss cheese holes in the bone made me think of that peculiar time in the fall when the moon seems bigger, brighter and more mysterious than at other times. This blaze orange orb is known as either a harvest moon or a hunter's moon. Since my boys will be traipsing through the woods come Saturday at the ass-crack of dawn, I have named this one "Hunter's Moon" to honor the impending hunt. {I think I will wear it on Monday...like in a few hours. You know, just to be sure that it isn't pokey or anything. ;-}

There are even beads left over that I didn't get a chance to play with {I kind of need to get to sleep. It's 1:45am right now....}

Thank you to Lori Anderson for coordinating this fun hop, to my partner Jen Judd-Velasquez for providing me with some amazing raw materials {did I put enough orange in there for you, girlfriend?}, and to all the ladies participating in the Bead Soup Revamped Blog Hop. Do be sure to check out all of the transformations.
P.S. Be sure to stay tuned to my blog for the first Challenge of Color blog hop happening on Friday, December 3rd. Click the link on the right for more information.
Enjoy the day!

11 November 2010

30 Words::Remember

more than a bank holiday or appliance sale
today remember
...the dedication of service members and families...
...the ultimate sacrifices paid...
...anything worthwhile is
worth fighting for...

{Photo from Bevery & Pack on Flickr}

...freedom isn’t free...

Enjoy the day.

10 November 2010

Gifts of Character::Celebrating Enthusiasm

"Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation and a pinch of creativity." ~Bo Bennett 

Two years ago today I embarked upon a wild ride. Two years ago today I decided to start my blog.

And today's virtue card I pulled is Enthusiasm.

And today is the day for me to write about Celebrations for the Art Bead Scene Carnival Bloggers.

So what better way to celebrate than to do so with enthusiasm... and a giveaway!

I had been reading blogs for some time, and discovered a magazine called Artful Blogging by the fine folks at Stampington. I was blown away by what I saw in those pages {someday I hope it might be me in there}. The colors, the feelings, the vivid memories played out in elegant and whimsical prose. The jaw-dropping loveliness of the photographs, images from every day life and every celebration in between. I was hooked and I wanted more. 

I have always been told that I am good writer. That I have the creative gene that others claim they lack. That I am brimming with inspiration and can translate that into excitement for any project. I suppose that may be so. Perhaps that is why you choose to follow me.

But I like to think that it is my enthusiasm that brings you here and keeps you coming back for more.

Enthusiasm is being filled with spirit. It means 'God within.'

The spirit of enthusiasm is evident first in that I am of the "half full" tribe. I want others to cherish the fullness in their own lives and so I can't help but pass that on. Like a virus... but the kind you won't mind getting ;-)

I have come to realize through the past two years that what I really relish is writing. You have helped me see that. Writing and creating and telling a story that only you have to tell. Connecting others to their deeper truths. Coaxing them out of their comfort zone by questioning and nudging and encouraging. All of that is part of my enthusiasm and I hope you catch it! And whatever has you enthused, I hope you will share with me and we can be excited together!

When we live with enthusiasm, we are excited about life and are open to the wonders each day holds. We do things wholeheartedly, with zeal and eagerness, holding nothing back. We allow the excitement of the moment to fill us.

My life is far from perfect. I deal with my own share of heartache and sorrow, depression and defeat. But that doesn't dim my zest for life. I think key to that is really taking the time to appreciate all that is around us. 
{From Polarity on Etsy, one of my favorite haunts}
My spider web was missing today :-(
so I thought that you might like to see a pretty one instead!
I really need to treat myself to one of Cat's pieces!
She also writes one of my favorite blogs Olive Bites.


Looking outside my window on Monday, I noticed something incredible bobbing in the wind. A huge brown spider had concocted a shimmering web so lovely that it took my breath away. It appeared that this arachnid neighbor was suspended in space, but for the delicate strength of that complex weaving pattern tethering her to the top of the building down to my window. Not my favorite creature, but really quite extraordinary. 

It would have been very easy for me to go about my day and not pay that any mind. But to stop and marvel at something so incredible is to let that moment in time fill me up. I give thanks that I could witness that glory today.

We enjoy good humor. We live in the moment and appreciate what we have, finding joy in simple pleasures. We are cheerful and optimistic about what is to come. 

Over the years I have learned to let go of what I thought were the greatest pleasures of life and instead focus on those things that bring me little joys. For little joys piled on high become big joys.

This blog is filled with little joys. Each and every one of you. Every comment that is made (over 3000 since 2008) on every post (243 and counting!) is a little joy and that has grown into a heap of big joy for me. And it is my pleasure to send you a comment back (so please turn on your email so that I can carry on the conversation with you!) and spread a little joy your way. 

Writing this blog has been cathartic to me. I have learned so much and made so many of my most treasured friends in the past two years. At first I was a bit wary of friendships that I was sowing online. But really, there is no greater pleasure than to be welcomed into a community of like-minded people. You, dear ones, are the community that I have to be with every single day. I would often spend my time with you than in the reality that persists around me! Is that so wrong? I have come full circle on this. Remember those pen pals you had when you were young. You dreamed of visiting their country or state and connecting on a face-to-face level? I feel that this blog is my giant penpal community. You are all the ones that I would love to meet. And one day, I am certain that we will, and that makes me optimistic about my future.

Enthusiasm helps us to imagine what is possible. We follow our dreams with true joy.

I am sitting here stunned a bit by these words. Because I am about to walk toward what is possible, what I have imagined. And I am am scared to death. Will my enthusiasm be enough? I realized that I was clenching myself up in knots because of the pressure of succeeding. What I need to do is recognize that which brings me true joy, celebrate it, embrace it, make it mine. Then I will know what it means to succeed. 

The Practice of Enthusiasm

I am excited about my life.
I do things wholeheartedly.
I am inspired by simple things.
I put love and joy into what I do.
I smile, laugh and have a good sense of humor.
I have a positive spirit.

This blog has made my life simply wonder-filled. To celebrate, I would like to have a giveaway. 

For my Working Artist Initiative group I have been developing my own line of jewelry. I had a goal of working with three different materials as prototypes...I am still trying to decide which direction to go.  I will offer one lucky, random commenter the choice of either this prototype necklace in antique copper featuring a resin filled bezel, or the chance to have a similarly styled custom necklace created with a phrase all your own.


{Appreciate What You Have}


To enter to win one of your very own, answer the following:

Each one has a four word positive phrase on it. What motivating mantra would you like to see on a necklace just for you?

Do tell!

I will draw a random winner from all comments on THIS post on Thursday, November 18th.

© Virtues Project International
To order your own set of Virtues Cards, visit Virtues Village LLC.


Enjoy the day! 

09 November 2010

Can you haiku?

I interrupt this blog post for a special note:
There are a few people who have left comments that seem to indicate that they are excited to participate in The Challenge of Color blog hop...but if you haven't received a personal reply from me, and especially if you don't see your name in the list here, it is because I do not have your email and you don't have an email in your Blogger profile for me to reply to your comment! Please try emailing again to enjoytheday@tesoritrovati.com or leave your information in a comment. It is not too late to join in! Thank you!
Now...back to the regularly scheduled blog post... 

_____________________

weakly purple sore
pheasants resonate meekly
rippling, quibbling pigs

Utter hilarity at the Haiku generator on everypoet.com!

We were cleaning out the garage last week. Really we are trying to find places to shove all the things that we moved from our last house to this new one almost a year ago, and have been left cluttering up the garage all this time. We have already filled up one entire trailer of stuff for Goodwill, the back of my van for donations to three schools, and we haven't gone through it all. I still have about a half dozen boxes filled with all manner of things that were in my previous studio {that was about half the size of my new one, so I am not sure where all this excess came from}.

In one of the boxes I came across a project that I saved from 7th grade. My son is now in 7th grade {coincidentally in the same homeroom that I actually taught in!} and this was an English project {which is what I used to teach to 7th graders}.

Keep in mind that this was completed by me around 1980... before scrapbook stores and internet and Cricut machines to help with projects. Just me, some typing and construction paper, magazines and catalogs, and Elmer's glue {I am not even sure that we had glue sticks back in the day!}. And I am pretty sure that this was written in my neatest handwriting using a PaperMate erasable pen because that was the coolest thing ever when I was 12!

I saved it because I loved doing it. And it is so cheesy and funny that I just had to share. It shows me that even back then I really enjoyed putting words together in an elegant {albeit unsophisticated} manner. And I am so glad that my teacher was encouraging to me. Maybe this is why I enjoy poetry so much today and perhaps what contributed to me being a 7th grade English teacher at one time {a long time ago}. A good turn of a phrase has magic and power to me. But I am most happy to see that my evolution as an artist has expanded and developed over the years ;-) Enjoy!


Notice the freehand drawn letters, cut with safety scissors no doubt. I always thought it was so cool to make your 'a' like that. And I am sure that the centers are not cut out because I couldn't figure out how to do that! Oh, and it was joined together with white yarn, the last of which disintegrated when I pulled it out of the box.

The idea was to write 10 haiku poems (strict 5-7-5 in three lines according to Mrs. Davenport) and to find pictures to complement your wordsmithing. Would you believe that I was the teacher's pet? And you can see that even back then I did 'swell work'!

Such a vivid imagination I had!

This arrangement of pictures is so artful. I had so many I had to do a nifty collage effect. I love that I just broke words in half when it suited me. And just who is this Joy character anyway?

I recall that we would get a lot of catalogs around Christmas time from companies like Figi's (that sold cheese packs and nut tins and various tchotchkes). I am positive that is where these cheesy (get it?) pictures came from!

Not quite sure why Mrs. Davenport felt compelled to knock my swell work by pointing out that haiku is only 3 lines. I overran several others and it didn't bother her. And there are 7 syllables in the middle. I mean, c'mon! It is swell work, right?

Ooh! Good color and picture coordination on this one! I remember this one vividly. I think this may have been my fave when I made it.

Or else this one was my fave. I mean what 12 year old girl doesn't love a profusion of rainbows. Apparently the Figi's cheese catalog didn't have any unicorns...

I think that I was really reaching for subject matter by this point and cutting out the pictures in the catalogs and then writing something to match. But it was 'pleasent' enough!

So tell me... do you remember a project from when you were in grade school that made an impact on you? A diorama of the Civil War created entirely out of Legos? Or a school play where you got to dress up in costume?

Tell me about in the form of a haiku (3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables)!

Enjoy the day!

08 November 2010

The Challenge of Color

"The craving for colour is a natural necessity just as for water and fire. Colour is a raw material indispensable to life. At every era of his existence and his history, the human being has associated colour with his joys, his actions and his pleasures."

~ Frenand Leger, "On Monumentality and Color", 1943

Welcome to the first ever Challenge of Color blog hop! I am delighted that so many people want to play along. By now I have selected a color palette for my participants and either emailed it to them {if you live outside the US} or I have mailed it to the following participants:

Judy Campbell
Alice Peterson
Catherine Pruitt
Cory Tompkins

Please check the link to make sure it is correct {oh, I suppose it would have been nice of me to put this in alpha order...oops! This is in the order that I received your notice!}. And if your name is not highlighted it is because you don't have a blog {that's okay! I will post your pictures in mine...but you have to send them to me by 11/30!} or I may not have found one for you. Email me or leave a comment to let me know if there are any changes. If you wrote a comment on the original post but your name is not here, it is because I need you to email me your color choice and address - do it quick if you still want to participate! I am trying to keep this all straight in a spreadsheet {which, if you knew me well would be a hilarious proposition!}.

Isn't this palette pretty? No, you can't change your mind, this one is taken. You're welcome, Marie! ;-)

I did my best in matching up colors that you selected so that at least one of the colors you asked for was on the card. And if you asked for more than one I did my best to honor as much as I could. The unknown is part of the fun {that's why it is called a challenge}. In most cases, the paint chip palette that you received was selected for you alone, and is not repeated.{I think there might be a few out there inadvertently with the same palette and I apologize for that.} I should have added a column in my spreadsheet to put the colors in...doh! If you want to add or subtract any colors, that is fine. This is completely flexible.

Basically, the biggest rule of this blog hop is to challenge yourself and have fun. I hope you make new friends along the way and get inspired. Up to now I didn't know half of you and I am just tickled that we will be able to spend some fun time together. And we have participants from all across the US (ME, PA, CT, MD, NY, TX, CA, KS, OH, MT, MN, FL, AZ, IN, OR, VA) and from across the globe (Canada, Australia, England, Germany, Korea). That is the coolest thing.

I was asked if it is okay to blog about it already. Of course! While it is fun to hop around and make new friends, it is equally cool to bring our respective followers along for the ride. Just save your big reveal for Friday, December 3rd.

I am delighted to announce that we have a bead artist among us who has offered a very generous prize to sweeten the pot. Remember that I said that after the blog hop I will select a random winner of the participants for some colorful beads from my stash {I am still selecting them...maybe that will be part of the surprise!}, well Jeannie Dukic of Jewelry By Jeannie http://www.jkdjewelry.com/ makes some incredible clay components. She has generously donated the following pieces...


Aren't these just the awesome-ist?
If you know someone who may still want to participate, have them hop on over to this post to read the background. I can still send out color palettes, but the paint departments in town might be starting to look at me funny! ;-)

Are you excited or nervous about the paint chip palettes I have sent you?
Are you be willing to be open to the challenge and see where it takes you?
What do you hope to gain from participating in this color challenge?

Do tell!

P.S. For a fun little color personality quiz, check it out on Dutch Boy paints! {Thanks, Karyn, for the suggestion of visiting the paint company website!}

Enjoy the day!

06 November 2010

I heart Vintaj!

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
~John E. Southard

Those fine folks at Vintaj honored me with their Friday Featured Designer yesterday. They are really too kind. I totally thought it would just be a few pictures showing their products, but they actually wrote the sweetest things. I was completely tickled to be asked because I recall very vividly the first time I found Vinaj products from the book Easy Beaded Jewelry. I was instantly smitten. I wanted to find these products and use all of them! I love the color of the metal and the versatility. I wanted to be one of those designers that used their products in the book or on their website.

The people at Vintaj are some of the nicest I have ever met. They are incredibly talented, especially Jess Italia-Lincoln. She is such a bright shining light in the Universe and I thank my lucky stars that I have been able to meet her. We had a little creative party together in July 2009 when I traveled to Galena, IL. I highly recommend the city, the people, the food, the shopping. So lovely.

Coming Home
Featuring a house pendant from Lynn Davis
When they asked me if I would be willing to play along, I jumped at the chance, but I told them that I wanted to challenge myself to make some new pieces, specifically using art beads. I ended up making five new things, and three of the new ones are in the highlight {two have been submitted for publication...keeping fingers and toes crossed!}. The other two are things that I made in the past year or so.

Vintaj has helped me a lot. Their products have expanded my horizons to what is possible. They help me think outside the box when it comes to design and how to use materials in inventive ways.Their people have encouraged and supported me. And if I were any closer to Galena I would be begging Jess for a chance to work for those fine folks {even if it just meant that I would push a broom and clean up the glitter after all the crazy creative sessions that she holds!}.

Thank you Vintaj for this most awesome opportunity. And Jess, you can bet I will find a suitable way to 'get even' with you! ;-)

Enjoy the day!

05 November 2010

Four Questions

{Isn't that the cutest ding-dang thing?
A 'thinking cap' for newborns because we wonder what they are thinking!
Found at OurLadyOfTheSnows on Etsy}


My friend Lori Anderson of Pretty Things passed along a little meme that she got from our friend Keirsten and that is to ask four questions of four blogger-buddies.

Here are Lori's questions and my answers:

1::If you could have been best friends with someone in history, who would it be and why?

I don't have a lot of best friends. I am pretty selective with those that I will truly call my best friends and they know who they are. I would do anything for them. I think that I would have like to be a best friend to my grandmother when she was young. And also my mom. We are not close, never have been, but if I could go back in time to a period in history and be friends with her when she was young, maybe I would understand her better now and we could actually be friends. We do love each other, but I don't think that we like each other much and that is sad.

2::If you could have dinner with a famous person in current times, who would it be and why?

I suppose I should say something deep like the President or something. But really I think that I have always thought that Tom Hanks would be a wonderful person to spend time with. Not only do I enjoy his movies and his talent, but his charm and wit and sense of humor captivate me. I think that he would be a gentleman and genuinely care about getting to know you. At least that is what I think he would be like. I also think that sitting a spell with Maya Angelou would really be wonderful. Her life experiences and her poetic nature would draw me in and fascinate me. {How is that for complete polar opposites!}

3::What is your favorite book/books and why?

Hmmmm... that is a tough one. I like the most books I read. Although I was a 7th grade English teacher, I have never had the chance to read that much. I do love the Harry Potter series and think that JK Rowling should be credited with bringing back a love of storytelling to our children. I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love {haven't seen the movie yet, should I?}. As a kid I geeked on the Star Wars novel and I re-read A Wrinkle in Time series for years on end. I loved Ray Bradbury short stories and the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes haunts my dreams. Shakespeare is my favorite, especially Sonnet 130. Earlier this year I read Jewels: A Secret History and found it to be very engaging. I have a soft spot for children's literature and illustrators, particularly since my dad used to be the VP of Sales for a book manufacturing plant and we had access to all the books before anyone else.

4::What is your favorite smell and why?

The smell of my children's heads after they take a shower or bath. I love that smell. My son who is in 7th grade is fully immersed in the Axe culture. I find it hard to buy him certain scents, so I have to find the most sport-o of them. I also love the scent of an orange when you peel it, and anything with vanilla or cinnamon. And coffee...

Here are the four questions I pose to the four bloggers to whom I am passing the question baton:

1::If one color were suddenly eliminated from the world, which one would you sacrifice and why?

2::What one moment in your life would you go back in time to have a 'do-over' and why?

3::What would the name of your superhero alter ego be and what super power would you possess?

4::What job would you absolutely hate to have to do every single day and why?

  • Jen of Life With Books - one hilarious mom surrounded by books!
  • Kelly of Silver Parrot - someone I look forward to reading every day. Especially Fridays ;-)
  • Brandi of Brandi Girl::A Life Inspired by Color - just looking at her blog and sharing her inspirations makes me want to be better, do better and in just one conversation with her I believe that I can!
  • Lance of The Jungle of Life - where I can always find deeper truths and amazing correlations that really make my heart sing.


What would your answer be to any of these questions?

Enjoy the day!

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