27 September 2009

The Poetry of Creating

These pieces I created this weekend in preparation for ARTS Night in October, all inspired by poetry of the season.

{Midnight in the Garden}
Dark peacock freshwater pearls, Bead Trust
Grey opal Swarovski bicones
Golden silver seed beads, Fire Mountain Gems
Sterling silver spacers, AM Silver
Amethyst box clasp, A Grain of Sand
Branch wafer bead focal, Humblebeads
A black cat among roses,
Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon,
The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.
The garden is very still,
It is dazed with moonlight,
Contented with perfume,
Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies.
~Amy Lowell, The Garden by Moonlight

{The Only Bird in Town}
Handmade galvanized steel wire nest with lilac pearls
Brass branch, Vintaj
Matte lilac seed beads
Olivine Swarovski bicones, FusionBeads
Brass leaf charms
Copper curb chain and toggle clasp
Aquamarine tumbled nuggets
Purple branch 6 hole spacer, Humblebeads
Lampworked glass bead, Pretty Babies Glass
Birds are flyin' south for winter.
Here's the Weird-Bird headin' north,
Wings a-flappin', beak a-chatterin',
Cold head bobbin' back 'n' forth.
He says, "It's not that I like ice
Or freezin' winds and snowy ground.
It's just sometimes it's kind of nice
To be the only bird in town.
~Shel Silverstein

{Autumn Bonfires}
Copper enameled focal pendant, Michael's
Copper lined faceted rounds
Mookaite chips, Michael's
Copper chain, Michael's
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
the grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall!
~Robert Louis Stevenson
{Autumnal Sun}
Copper chain
Copper ring
Dream ring, Vintaj
Wooden wafers
24 gauge wire, Vintaj
Textured copper discs
I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter's moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief.
~Henry David Thoreau
Enjoy the day!

24 September 2009

30 Words::Hush

{Photo credit: Just Us 3}

A hush fills the air.

Summer slinks to Autumn on tabby-cat feet. Firecracker leaves explode in the woods against midnight branches and gray flannel skies.

My favorite time of year.

Enjoy the day!

20 September 2009

Build a Strong Foundation

"There aren't enough days in the weekend."
~Rob Schmidt
Ain't that the truth!

My days are so packed during the week, the last thing I want to do is rush about on the weekends. But that is, unfortunately, what happens for me. So when it should seem that life takes a breather, it is actually more accelerated, and I can see no difference between the weekdays and the weekends, except that I get to linger in my bed a bit longer.

Two weekends ago it was actually more hectic than usual. Our annual Pacelli Panacea fundraiser was that weekend. This is like a county fair, on the grounds of our Catholic high school complete with a midway with overpriced games {like pick a duck}, the chance to win a fish {for no less than $5, and I could have purchase three for that price at Petco, and that will promptly die of bliss once it has escaped the confines of it's plastic bubble o' solitary confinement}, yummy treats {I think I ate my yearly quota of cheese curds, cotton candy and funnel cakes}, and raffles galore {I really wanted that laptop...iPod touch...or the bright cherry red Chevy Camaro...I got none of it....but I made a great donation to the school system!}. My husband and I worked the beer tent on Friday night.

Lest you think that was all we did, my son, Sport-O, played his first football game of the season {he is a quarterback...and we won!} and my daughter, Tiny Dancer, had her first Saturday morning "Power Hour" at dance. And I had to sing at church that night. And the next day I had to work the Silent Auction {that I had set up on both Thursday and Friday that week}.

So, yeah...we had one busy weekend. {Can anyone else relate to that?}

And to top it all off, we were procrastinators as well. We had to make a brick for Sport-O's school Social Studies project.

Yes. A brick.

We could only use materials that primitive peoples would use. And a lot of manual labor. Since we of course waited until the last minute {due Tuesday} we had to accelerate the usually 2 week sun-curing time. That is where the grill comes in.........

{I wrote about our experience for Watch Me Create. I invite you to read all about it here.}

This weekend was not much different. But I actually had time to create. {In between trying to tidy up my work space and suck up deceased buzzers with the vacuum...thank you Bee Whisperer!}

I am working on a bunch of pendant necklaces for my one show a year coming up in October {I don't think that I can pull this off in one month, but maybe I will surprise myself!}

I received a package of goodies from Rings & Things this week for my Blog Partner program. This month they gave us a gift certificate to purchase what we would like {Thanks, Dave!}. I bought components that are essential for building a strong foundation in any jewelry design.

I have spools of chain from Rings & Things that I purchased over a year ago. {It is about time that I start using them! I am an e-tailer's ideal customer because I always buy things and then it takes me some time to use them...} I bought 6 spools in different finishes like gunmetal and antique copper and bright copper. Now that I am making my "Seeds of Inspiration" pendants, I have the perfect use for these chains.

I bought gunmetal trigger clasps and a full gross of these really great hook & eye clasps {my new favorite}, assorted sizes of gunmetal jump rings, headpins and eyepins, assorted Beadalon crimp tubes in silver, gold, copper and gunmetal {can you see a color trend here?}. I also bought a strand of yellow jade faceted rondelles and hematite faceted rondelles. I plan to use them in my bee-yootiful bee-themed jewelry piece. {Still catching the bees, but they are slowing down....}

I love the look of mixtures of metal. I particularly love the patina on Vintaj components. But I am also partial to antique copper, and gunmetal really makes things pop. I love the contrast and the grungy nature of mixed metals and I am not afraid to pair copper with silver and gunmetal and all sorts of patinas. I like things that look old and worn out {I just don't like to look old and worn out...finally rescheduled my hair appointment that was supposed to be on August 25! Those "witch hairs" have got to go!}

Here is an example of a mixed media pendant that I created. I am making bunches of these to be sold at that one event {A.R.T.S. Night... A Reason To Shop... a fundraiser for the Women's Fund of Portage County}. What do you think?

{Vintaj stamping blank and eyepins, dapped in a bowl shape, stamped with Staz-on ink in black, embossed with hematite powder, Swarovski crystals (in olivine, copper and watermelon) from FusionBeads, gunmetal curb chain and trigger clasp from Rings & Things}

What does your ideal weekend look like....and what does your actual weekend look like? Do tell!

Check It Out::Watch Me Create

Enjoy the day!

17 September 2009

30 Words

"Brevity is the soul of wit."
~William Shakespeare

I am drawn to those who are so present in the moment.
I am usually much more wordy and find it hard to edit myself.
I am interested in trying something new {and very hard} for me.
I want to focus my writing and especially get more into the poetry of my prose.

Therefore, I resolve to pen 30 Word Thursdays.

This experiment is inspired by writer Clare Grant from the UK who writes two blogs that I follow: Three Beautiful Things where she writes about three things that brought her joy each day; and Once Around The Park where she writes a focused observation about her daily walk around Tunbridge Wells park. She is brilliant!

I like the idea of focusing on one particular thing. I find that my mind is usually racing with all that I {need}{want}{try} to do. I have to think about what that one thing might be. I thought about observing the Wisconsin River that flows past my office window. Each day it is so very different. But I might just spice it up with other facets of my life {variety is my favorite thing}.

Okay. Too many words already.

Next week I will just begin {no, really!}, but for today I thought some explanation was in order {lest you think I have gone mad and forgotten how to write!}. It is sort of like a haiku, but for the brevity-challenged. But it is still hard. And if you like this, I invite you to play along on your own blog, or even in the comments. Here is my first attempt:

Calm, glassy water shows nary a ripple.
Mist like downy fur rises over the surface making me want to burrow deep in the softness.
Sunlight burns away the fluffy coat.

Enjoy the day!

14 September 2009

And the winner is....

"You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith." ~Mary Manin Morrissey

I can't believe that I let my September 11th date go by for choosing the winner of the Treasures Found September Giveaway! I think with all my bee-scapades of late {they are not gone yet!}and all the craziness of this past weekend with a big school fundraiser {spent a LOT of money...worked many hours} and having to make an adobe brick for Sport-O {on the grill...stay tuned at Watch Me Create for an update!} I simply forgot my head. Thanks for your patience!

Congratulations mariedodd! You are the winner of a custom pair of earrings from the LuLuBelle Collection created by the Tiny Dancer herself...and something extra special from her mother as well! I will be in touch...

I have to say that I have the most fascinating and insightful comments from each of my wonderful followers when I post. That is what keeps me going.

In the giveaway post I asked you to tell me what your GGA (God Given Ability) was or what is holding you back from living your dream...such wonderful answers all...

Here is what mariedodd wrote...

i think fear is a common denominator among so many of us - fear of not being good enough, of 'failing',etc... so, as eleanor roosevelt once said to do something you fear every day, i will go look into that challenge...i think my gga is an ability to deeply identify and empathize with others...
Fear is a limiting factor in living your dreams. I suffer from that constantly. I am finding it hard to jump off the edge and trust that I have what it takes to fly. I am told all the time that I am creative, and clever, and inventive, and destined for some undetermined greatness. What I lack is the ability to see that in myself at most times and I hide behind the feat that I won't be good enough, or will lack the determintation to see it through. But I also recognize that if I don't face my fears that I will never acheive more than I have right now. I am safe. I need to have courage to live dangerously (for me).

I need to find allow my faith to grow bigger than my fear if I want to realize my dreams.

I also love that mariedodd has a deep sense of empathy for others. It is evident in her writings and in her own wearable works of art. I love to go and read what she is up to next. I invite you to go and check her blog out.

Check It Out::MarieDodd

Enjoy the day!

12 September 2009

Dare to...Count Your Blessings

"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." ~Henry Miller

(Photo credit: ecstaticist on Flickr)

The next stop on the Meiji Stewart's ABC writings, is the letter C...and you are invited to count your blessings along with me.

There really is no way to completely count all the blessings that life affords us each and every day. How can you quantify it? I have seen what it is like when someone forgets to pay attention to the blessings that are present all the time. That is where the woe-is-me creeps in, the sense that there is nothing worth doing or seeing or experiencing. That is just plain sad.

So instead of counting my blessings, I choose to be mindful of them.

A few years ago, I was fed up one day. I had had enough. Every single thing that could go wrong seemingly did. I wanted to throw in the towel, drive home and crawl back in bed. And that fed-uppedness spilled over into the whole of my day. Has that ever happened to you? Of course, it has. Your car won't start. You spill your coffee on your new outfit. You drop your daughter off at school and before you leave she realizes that she forgot to bring her pajamas for pajama day and stares at you with that quivering lip {actually happened}.

That one bad event seems to start a chain reaction...or does it?

What I have come to realize is that when I let that first unfortunate event push me over the edge my life has a tendency to spiral out of control. Instead of just laughing about it and chalking it up to just another day in paradise, your day takes a turn for the worst and no amount of resuscitation can salvage it.

Does anyone remember the racetrack ride at Disneyworld? The one with the metal track under the car? I remember when I was a kid that this was one ride I couldn't wait to get on. Perhaps it was becuase I felt so grown up that I would be allowed to drive a car at the tender age of seven even though I couldn't quite reach all the pedals. It felt as if I were going so fast I would crash for sure with the other cars. I thought it was hilarious to weave back and forth and slam into the bar only to be jerked back in the opposite direction. That is what it feels like when I greet the day with negativity and an ain't-no-reason-to-be-happy attitude. My life feels jerked all over the place and while I won't actually crash and burn, I certainly don't feel like I am following the path that I ought.

At the end of every blog post, blog comment, email and the like you may have noticed that I add to my signature, "Enjoy the day." It has become a sort of signature phrase of mine. In fact I find it hard to just write my name...it sort of naturally flows from my fingers. It is in reference to one of my very favorite quotes...

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day."

On that day with the car trouble and the coffee stain and the race to the nearest Target to pick up a clearance pair of pajamas for my crying first grader so she wouldn't be left out of a day of pajama wearing fun {actually happened}, I was greeted by a perky sales clerk who was all too chipper for that early in the morning, and didn't she know that I was having the worst kind of day? As she handed me my change she chimed, "Have a great day!" Now, there was no way that she could have known my predicament, but this actually made me mad. How could I possibly have a great day with all that I had to deal with? So how did I react...that was just one more in a line of small papercut sized issues that now felt like a big ol' open sore.

When I stumbled upon the quote, it really hit home with me. Not every day is a great day, and not every day is a bad day. But there is something good in every day and I can enjoy it despite the worst of times. And that resonated with me.

I actively seek a "something good" each day, but what I have found is that I don't really have to search too hard. These "something goods" just seem to find me. Or maybe I am just open to the possiblity that they exist. And lest you think me Pollyanna-ish and my life is all a bed of roses, let me assure you it is not. It is just that I choose to count my blessings.

While I don't actively "count" my blessings {as there are certainly more than I can count}, I do believe in being open to the possibility that there is "something good" in every day.

What is a "something good" that has come into your life in the last week? Don't forget to recall the little things that you may overlook...and count your blessings. Do tell!

Check It Out::The Jungle of Life

Please go and read the link above. My friend Lance has a very inspirational blog called the Jungle of Life. A few weeks ago he gave me my "something good" for the day when he asked me if my quote about opportunity would be his Sunday Thought of the Day. I am excited that he has chosen to honor me in this manner. Lance is a great friend whom I met solely through his blog and I treasure his insights. I have been so moved by the things that he has written and the authors and artists and other inspirational people that he has opened my eyes to. I encourage you to find a "something good" in the The Jungle of Life.

Enjoy the day!

09 September 2009

The Bee Whisperer

"Bees to whom days are but duties
And what matters
Only honey furnished interior,
Hive they in a peaceful tree
~ from a poem entitled "Bees" by Yoonoos Peerbocus

Just a quick update on what has come to be known as the Great Bee Situation of 2009...

My husband is now officially known as, "The Bee Whisperer." {Can you tell that we have been watching a lot of Cesar Millan marathons?}

After I found the the hole and dragged my fearless hubby to the site, he calmly went about clogging the hole around the meter pipe with a healthy dose of caulk all while fending off the little buzzers with a can of hornet spray. And I? Stood about 12 feet away. I am still not sure what sort of bees these were, but the "sweat bee" might not be far off the mark as he said that they were completely harmless and not confrontational. Still, they are bees. And in my house. Of course, their little friends were locked outside and kept coming the entrance to be denied. I kind of felt sorry for them and could feel their confusion.

But now I had that ceiling full of bees. And I {fearlessly?} worked that entire night with the bees just a buzzin' in the ceiling and making a dull tap-tap-tap sound on the ceiling tiles occasionally finding a crack to crawl out of and plop down unceremoniously on my work table. My music could drown it out, but not the bee that made a swooping dash for freedom around midnight.

You would think that now that I know the situation, I would come into my studio armed with a swatter and a baggy jump suit with a screened hood, but the closest thing I had handy is a vintage book of French poetry that seems to work reasonably well with swatting and then smooshing. The up side is that I have picked up quite a collection of pretty bee specimens to study. The Bee Whisperer simply looks at me like I have finally inhaled too many fumes in there or maybe hit my head with a texturing hammer. I might be mildly disturbed {okay, calmly terrified?} by bees in my ceiling, but I do appreciate their beauty in nature {where they belong}. I have to admit that they make the cutest little jewelry motifs. {Come to think of it, I have quite a few bee-inspired items in my studio, so maybe I was attracting them! Maybe bees will become my thing.....like Heather has her birds and Lorelei has her owls....}

So I begged him to do something so that I didn't feel so creepy-crawly and bless his soul, he did. When we came home he entered the bee den and came out about an hour later to inform me that my bee-friends are {mostly} gone and also that I have an inordinate amount of dust {how did he overlooked the clutter?} on my shelves. Is it any different from any other place in the house? I asked. Hmmm...that seemed to stop that line of questioning since we are all at fault in the rest of the house.

So now...I am mostly bee-free. Yippee! {Doing a little bee-dance!} Oh, there are a few stragglers, but I can deal with that. And my husband wins the "Best Attempt to Rescue a Damsel in Distress" award.

{Monterey, California, September 2008}

Introducing...My hero. The Bee Whisperer.

Hey! You know that design that I made that is my current header? Well, I entered it in the September Challenge at the Vintaj Blog for their "Orchard's Palette" theme. There are so many wonderful artists who submit their designs there and it energizes me to partipate in these fun exchanges here and elsewhere. I encourage you to go and check out the amazing work at Vintaj Blog "Orchard's Palette"and vote for your favorite (but hurry...voting is only open until Sunday, September 13th!). And if you like mine...... it is #16. Thanks!

Check It Out::BeeOtch {Okay... this? Just made me laugh out loud! I totally had to buy this for myself!}

Enjoy the day!

07 September 2009

Bee Season

"A bee is never as busy as it seems;
it's just that it can't buzz any slower."

~Kim Hubbard

{Image Copyright, Natalie Dee, 1995}

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are quickly coming to an end. And the passing of one season into the next is not far behind. But in the meantime we have bee season. The time when these buzzing bees seem to appear out of thin air and multiply at will. But it is also the season where I need to be as busy as...

One day I found a dead bee on the floor of my studio. And then another...and another...and another. On a different day I was sitting at my studio counter that is a moss green color and filled with a veritable forest floor of camoflage, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one of my beads seemed to be walking towards me...but no, it was not a bead, but a BEE! That freaked me out, but yet we could not find out where they were coming from.

Today I walked into my studio to find two dead on the floor, one dead on top of some pile of something on my counter, and two or three live and just sitting there, waiting for me to step on them. As I moved in for a closer look at one on the pile, another dropped right out of the air and just missed my head. This one was very much alive.

Just so you know, I don't want to kill bees, but I also don't want a hive in my house. I have had some slight moments of panic as I work in my studio all alone late at night and I have irrational fears that I will be swarmed by these bees. Lest you think that I am just a wanton bee-killer {did I ever tell you how my childhood friend and I used to run over the bees in his yard on my tricycle? Maybe they are coming back to exact their vengeance...but it was more him than me. Really.}, I am very much in favor of the honeybees and all that they do to help pollinate the plants to bring us a wonderful array of blooming plants. Did you know that honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate and 1/3 of the worlds' food relies on their pollination efforts?

You may know Haagen-Dazs as the purveyor of some yummy ice cream {Chocolate Chocolate Chip is my very favorite}, they have mounted a campaign to save the honeybees from extinction. {Sounds like the plot of an animated movie starring Jerry Seinfeld...but perhaps that was art imitating life...}

You should know that my husband was a bit skeptical that there were bees at all, despite the pile that I was saving of those frozen in time ones to show him. I would walk in, find a few bees, collect them and then leave for a few minutes. He would go in to check and not find any. And then when I would return a few minutes later, there they would be, as if they had some bee-transporter to materialize at will. I was starting to think that they were just messing with me, these bees. I begged him to do something about it, but of course I would be finding these unwanted visitors late at night, when it would be difficult to find their entry point. He would tell me that they could be coming in from anywhere. But they weren't everywhere in my house, only concentrated to this one room. This afternoon, I had had enough. I went seeking a place where my swarm was congregating. And it didn't take me long to find that they were sneaking en masse through a hole around the pipe for the electric meter.


Now what?

So I woke my husband up from his last-day-of-the-three-day-weekend-celebratory nap and told him that I found the spot. So now he had to believe me and he got out the caulk and the wasp spray to save the day.

Now? I have a studio ceiling filled with pissed, trapped and likely dying bees.

And a whole host of projects that have to be finished by Tuesday. {Have you ever tried to concentrate when you hear buzzing?}

Can you tell I am a bit concerned about going back into my studio until they have buzzed their last? I am afraid of the nightmares that will come from having an angry horde in my walls. But even more so I am pissed myself that I cannot work when I actually have a day - and daylight hours - to do it! My husband insists that they are "sweat bees"... {have you ever heard of such lunacy? Actually, I looked it up and it's true! Who knew?} that they will come to you when you are sweating, but they don't really want to sting you. {Oh, so those stingers they have are just like body piercings...totally useless and just for show...}

Do you think the charities that are waiting for their promised donations (that are both late already) will understand the excuse that the swarm kept me from it? Maybe. But I hate excuses.

Some of the bees I found that were dead of natural causes {or simply killed by the sight of the clutter in my studio} yet had their wings fully extended and are beautiful specimens. Makes me long for that summer of 1984 when I was expected to come back to school in the fall with a complete bug collection on those little pushpins...I failed that project miserably {probably since I waited until the week before school started to try to catch 50 different species of insects in my backyard...} I placed these buzzers gingerly in a small plastic container so that I could study them from all the angles. But I want to honor their beauty as much as they scare me silly. I have a crazy notion to encase a few in ICE Resin...is that crazy-good?...or just plain crazy?
And I found this chart from the USDA on "How to Identify the Bumblebees of Northern Idaho" {so that is what the USDA does? Make honeybee identification charts, including a pocket sized one that I can carry in my wallet?!?}. These look so much like a strand of beads, I think that I may have found an inspiration......watch for a continuation of the bee season inspiration soon.

This has been a bizarre bit of inspiration, but in true Treasures Found style, inspiration can be found anywhere!

What is the most bizarre inspiration you have found? Do tell!

Check It Out::Help The Honeybees {bee sure to click on the link to Bee TV and watch the hysterical dance videos!}

Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Thanks so much to Andrew Thornton. He had a giveaway for a one of a kind necklace as a way to help his friend. I was the lucky winner and couldn't be happier.

Thanks so much to Lorelei Eurto for sponsoring a regular giveaway of themed charms from Green Girl Studios in honor of the new book Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia Thornton coming out in November. I won the Fairy themed charms and Lorelie is now holding the next themed giveaway. Be sure to go and post a comment. I just pre-ordered my copy of the book. Do you have yours yet?

And don't forget to enter your comment on this post for the Treasures Found September Giveaway! You have until Friday, September 11.

Enjoy the day!

03 September 2009

Use your GGA* today!...and a Giveaway!

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you were meant to be."'~George Sheehan

The other day I talked to a woman who liked my work but considered herself a casual beader {read: she won't actually buy anything of mine, but that is okay, because she is in need of guidance I give that out for free!}. She asked me where I get my jewelry components from. Now I am more than happy to help, and if you know me at all or you have emailed me {and sometimes even if you don't contact me I might contact you with my suggestions completely unsolicited...but you love that about me, don't you?}, you will no doubt learn that I just want to help everyone be successful, so I rarely hesitate to share. {Okay, maybe I share too much sometimes.} While there is no easy answer for this, since my inspiration can come from anyplace...a catalog, Etsy, even the hardware store... I do have my favorites and I would never limit myself to just one supplier {because variety is the spice of life}.
One of my favorite places to shop for everything under the sun is Rings & Things. And they just announced their "Your Designs Rock" annual contest. {Why, yes! My designs do rock...if I do say so myself!} And since there is so much bead-y goodness out there and I have been so fortunate to become bead-y friends with so many of you...I encourage each and every one of you to consider entering this contest!

Per the Rings & Things Blog: "The Grand Prize in the 2010 Your Designs Rock contest will be a $750 Rings & Things credit." {$750?!? That is insane! And I am totally on board for that kind of prize!}

"First prizes will be awarded in each of five categories, each bringing a $250 Rings & Things credit. Honorable mentions carrying $75 credits will be bestowed on additional entries singled out by the judges. In addition, winning entries (with credit to the designer) could be featured in Rings & Things’ catalog and promotions, providing exposure to an estimated million people per year worldwide." {Fame, fortune and exposure to a million people worldwide...count me in! Are you in?}

Truthfully, I have seen this competition before but honestly didn't feel that I had it in me to try. I felt the same way when I started submitting my work for publications. {Not that I wasn't talented, just that I wasn't talented enough.} Today is a different story. I think that I now have the tools in my lifeskill toolbox to prepare me to be successful for something like this. And even if I didn't win, it would be fun to try. While I am fundamentally NOT competitive by nature, I do enjoy a challenge. {And if someone isn't up to the task of challenging me, well then, I find a way to challenge myself!}

I can still recall sitting around with two of the first beading books I ever purchased {and in my estimation, still some of the best}, Stringing Style and Stringing Style 2. {And I still want to make my own versions of both cover designs.} I remember looking through each design in detail, first just for the eye candy, second for the instructions and third for the components and the suppliers. I find myself going back to those books for inspiration all the time...like how to put a clasp on a particular bracelet just so...or unexpected color palettes...or what unique combinations of materials that I can find. Although I never, ever use a book or magazine or blog or whatever verbatim when I design, I am certainly inspired by all that I see and strive to make my own jazz riffs of the things I see. {Imitation may be some form of flattery...but copying is just plain wrong.}

I remember wondering who exactly those people were...and even recognizing some of their names as regular contributors. {And hoping that someday that would be me.} Where did they come from? How did they get this gig? What is their background? Now I know. And while I have had limited experience at this it has been very positive which makes me want it more. So maybe those designers and I do have something in common...we each have a GGA* {*God Given Ability} and we are not afraid to use it. {Do you have a *GGA? Of course you do!}

I am learning what it takes to believe in my worth as an artist enough to forego my internal second guessing and naysaying and downplaying. It is a lot of work to put your heart and soul into a design and then take the pictures and bundle it off to a publisher while you cross all your digits that they will find you worthy and send you back that happy-day email that says that you are loved and cherished and accepted {okay, they don't really tell you that, but having your work accepted for publication really does make you feel that way!}.

And it is just as true for the rejections that inevitably come...that doubt starts to creep in and your self-worth takes a tumble. But you pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Give yourself a deep internal bear hug and tell yourself that it is alright. And maybe that wasn't the opportunity for you anyway. But then you need to open yourself back up to the Universe and be ready to accept whatever blessings may come. {For they will...I am sure of it!}

It's time for a September Giveaway! {Can I get a woot! woot!}

Since my daughter, Tiny Dancer, is now published, I checked with her this morning to ask if she would agree to make a pair of earrings just for the winner of the Treasures Found September Giveaway {I wouldn't want to force her to make earrings...it is not like I run a sweat shop with child labor in my basement...although her "company" is a "wholly owned subsidiary" of Tesori Trovati!} She said yes! And here is a picture of a recent creation of hers using Vintaj findings, Swarovski crystals and glass {please forgive the crap-tastic photos...it was late and I was tired. And Photoshop is not really my friend.}

{Yes, she does have her own cards, but her web page isn't ready yet because her mother is a slacker!
And she asks me daily when she will get a web page of her own...when you sell something, darling! Soon! Very soon!}

So.......if you would like to win a pair of earrings {not these, but something just as fun!} made by an up-and-coming young designer {who reminded me today that she was published a whole 31 years before I was! Cheeky monkey!}...and a something surprise from her bead-addled mother ;-D ...then you need to leave a comment on this blog post (with your email address and favorite color) answering one or more of the following probing questions:

What is holding you back from living your dream? or
What is the secret to your success? or
Who is the person you are meant to be? or

What is your GGA* and how are you not afraid to use it?

Winner will be drawn at random on Friday, September 11th and notified by email.

Check It Out::Your Designs Rock!
And you rock for reading to the end of this! *wink*

Enjoy the day!


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