31 December 2010

RAW::As Easy As 1-2-3

This Random Act of Wisdom is brought to you by TUT: Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe. Sign up to get yours!

Soon the new year starts, so now's a great time to:

1. Wipe the slate clean.
2. Focus upon what you really want.
3. Chart your course.


Well... only if you want to risk having to repeat these steps for the same wishes next year! Maybe this is splitting hairs, but here's an adventurous alternative:

1. Give thanks that life is... just as it is (and that it's been... just as it's been). Because of it, you're now "READY."

2. Define what you want in terms of the end result. Don't worry about the hows, or even the course. KNOW that what you want is ALREADY yours in spirit, by divine LAW, just focus on the certainty of this ownership, understand it, claim it, and "it will be on earth, as it is in heaven (spirit)."

3. LET THE UNIVERSE show you the way via your impulses and instincts that appear as you take inspired action. Don't worry that your first steps seem silly or futile. And if you don't know what to do, do anything! Go! Get busy! Do not insist on intermediary successes, only upon the end result. 2011 is going to be your year (it already is),

The Universe

{giclee print from Nicole and Jimmy Chung, LoveSugar on Etsy
...such a cute shop! Check them out!}
Your turn...

What thanks are you giving at the close of this year and the start of the new?

What is the end result that you are defining for yourself? Write it down. Post it on the fridge or your bathroom mirror. Seeing it every day will help you achieve it.

Are you open to letting the Universe show you the way? Don't forget that you can be shown the way, but you still have to do the work to get there. It will be hard. There will be failures (when you fail, FAIL BIG!). But there will also be spectacular successes.

I have hopes that 2011 is going to be my year. (11 is my lucky number). What hopes do you have?

Do tell!
Enjoy the day!

30 December 2010

Bead Star is Out of This World!

"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage."

~Mark Russell

{me and Tiny Dancer, a.k.a. my inspiration}
 Back in January 2010, my daughter, Tiny Dancer had the third grade solar system project come home. There was a sheet suggesting that stryofoam balls can be painted to the exact likenesses of their heavenly counterparts. But my children have learned that when the project comes home with a suggested material, they cannot use that for their project. They need to do more.

When my son came home with his solar system project three years earlier, he groaned and pouted but ultimately came up with using polymer clay to make swirling replicas of the planet. His entire Universe is housed in a shoe box and is one that we will keep forever {or until we need some extra cash and can auction it off on eBay to the highest bidder ;-}.

Tiny Dancer remembered the fun of the polymer clay solar system project and thought that she would get to use that same material to make hers. Nope. You guessed it. Not only could she not use styrofoam balls but she could not use polymer clay either. {I know. I am the meanest mom on the block.} I sent her away to think about it and about 20 minutes later she came bounding back in the room announcing, "I know what we are going to do for my solar system project... we are going to make jewelry!"

That's my girl! ;-)

So we each sat down to sketch out our designs, keeping in mind all the impressive things that we had learned about each of the 8 planets and the sun in our time researching. From the colors to the size to the number of moons and the rings, there were so many fascinating things about the planets to explore. Then we brought those sketches together and chose the best parts of each to come up with some final designs. We went shopping at Michaels. {It is quite incredible that so many of the beads we found closely resembled the planets}. Then we set about to make an entire solar system into necklaces that we displayed on black busts in a circle surrounding the sun.

If you want to see the entire solar system project, you can go to this post to see the pictures of all nine necklaces we made for the display.

As we were arranging the circles in the most pleasing pattern and opening jump ring after jump ring for the Saturn themed necklace, I knew that this necklace was special. So I asked Tiny Dancer if we could enter it into the Bead Star contest. She said yes.

{Isn't this cover piece AWESOME? Made by my friend Erin Strother
and totally worthy of the grad prize win!

And by the way...so many great friends are in this issue
...with so many exceptional designs
...and so many new friends yet to be made!}

I challenged myself to enter all nine categories this year {more for the personal triumph than anything else}. I was inspired by my dear friend Denise Yezbak Moore and her quest to enter all nine categories. That made me want to see if I could do that myself. I was fortunate to have three of my entries selected among the top 20 in those categories (pearls, stones, under $25). But the one that I am most proud of is the one that took 1st Place in the Under $25 category:

Icy Rings

If you voted this year in the contest {whether you voted for me or not}, I thank you. The fact that this entry was one of 1,000 to catch the editor's eye and garnered the most votes out of over 80,000 cast is quite an honor to me. But just showing up to play is the best thing about entering contests like this.

I believe that this piece may have won because it looks so much more stunning than the under $25 price tag. It is a statement piece, one that gets noticed when you wear it. I think the key to entering something in that category is to make something look richer than it is. And no, we are not selling this one, nor any of the solar system. They are too precious.

On Tuesday the magazine finally arrived. We have been sitting on this for about 6 months. So hard to keep that secret. I think that Tiny Dancer may have forgotten all about it! So I waited to open this with her. Her smile lights up a room and the wattage on this one was particularly bright. She is so proud of this accomplishment. Although for legal reasons they couldn't list her as the creator (since she is under 18), the inspiration for this piece was all hers and I have to give big props to Melanie Stafford and the whole Interweave crew for acknowledging Tiny Dancer {a.k.a. Olivia} in the small write up. I cannot take full credit for this necklace. I simply was the conduit to make it happen.

Needless to say, Olivia aced the solar system project.

{We did modify this slightly... we removed one little brown swirly bead that was inside one of the rings representing Saturn because we didn't think that people would understand that in the contest.
Sorry for the cockeyed scanning. Best I could do.}
And she's pretty stoked to share the Bead Star winnings with me.

How about you?
Any plans to stretch your creative wings and enter the Bead Star contest for 2011?
Or what other ways can you challenge yourself to try new things in 2011?
Are you considering new materials, new techniques, new directions?
Do tell!
Enjoy the day!

28 December 2010

My One Word::FOCUS

I have never been much for resolutions. Those sort of things never work out for me. They are too far-reaching with not enough roots to take hold. And who doesn't make pie-in-the-sky declarations for their year? They are just rarely attainable. And failure is no fun.

So when I read on Christine Kane's inspirational blog about how people were choosing words for the year to frame them and give them direction, I thought that sounded like something I could do.

I jumped right in and declared that my word for 2010 would be INSPIRE. And then I started reading about how people really spent time coming up with just the perfect word. I felt that I had jumped the gun. I mean, it is not any surprise that I seek to be inspired every day and I want to be an inspiration to others. And to recap my year, I think that I did just that:

  • Initiated a monthly "Inspired by..." challenge from December 2009-May 2009
  • Proposed my first ever gallery exhibit "Inspired by..." with the inspiration coming from the local artists at Gallery Q
  • Opening of the "Inspired by..." exhibit August-September 2010
  • Attended the Bead & Button show and took classes with Sherri Haab
  • Tried new techniques, like etching and metal work and polymer clay, to help me grow my skills
  • Sought out bead artisans to inspire me
  • Started the groundwork for my first line of jewelry that will be unveiled in early 2011
  • Wrote 158 blog posts and replied to hundreds of comments
  • Doubled my followers to nearly 500
But I wanted more than that. So I thought about a new word and unveiled my second word for the year: UP.

This was a tad harder to achieve. But being that I am more of a glass is half full kind of person, it was within my grasp, but not altogether easy.

UP could be many things...
…looking up

…laugh it up
…stand up
…listen up
…step up
…step it up
…up and at ‘em
…make up
…make it up
…get up
…wake up
…rise up
…chin up
…stock up
…keep up
…keep it up
…grow up
…give it up
…live it up
…giddy up

I tried to live my life in a way that had me looking up rather than feeling down. Sometimes that was hard. There was discouragement and disappointment along the way. Not every piece I sent in to a magazine got published, but many of them did and that had me rising up. I didn't always find the situations I was involved in pleasant but that didn't stop me from laughing it up. There were times when I wasn't sure that I should keep doing this, but I kept it up and now I have a plan to hopefully propel me into the next phase, so giddy up might be very appropriate right now. This horse can't get me there fast enough.

In thinking about what I wanted to do this year, I have been re-reading all the great posts that people who read Christine Kane's blog have written. And along the way I found some tools that I thought would help me in choosing my word for 2011.

Christine Kane has a worksheet that you might want to download to guide you in selecting a word that works for you. We all know that writing things down is a sure way to get them done, so this worksheet might not be a bad idea. Click here to have Christine Kane's Word of the Year Discovery Tool sent to your email.

And I have also discovered a website called My One Word that can not only help you select a word, but lend you support throughout the year. I am not sure if they will continue this for 2011, but I found a lot of great support here and will go back and read some of the blog posts. The premise for My One Word is that resolutions don't work. They set you up as destined to fail because you focus on becoming a person you want to be rather than being open to the person that God wants you to be.

If you are interested in scrapbooking you might be persuaded to join Ali Edwards in her class One Little Word. I am considering it even though I am no scrapbooker (just a wannabe).

When you choose that one word, things start aligning right then and there. You will find that you have something guiding you. I have heard people who pick a word like FORGIVENESS and then find themselves faced with all manner of situations that warrant a true test to that word. It may seem like magic, but I am a believer that when you open yourself up to the Universe and ask for what you want, things start happening to bring that to you. However, you have to be open to the challenges you will receive with that, and it is not always going to be smooth sailing. It will be a test, but if you come prepared for that test and you persevere, you will succeed.

For me, my 2011 is all about breaking out of where I have been, but in order to do that I really need my one word: FOCUS.

I read somewhere that FOCUS = Follow One Course Until Successful. I really like that. I really need that. I don't know if I have expressed it here before, but I have a bad case of creative ADD. I cannot concentrate on one method, one material, one style. I feel like I am all over the map. I am not sure that I even have a style with my jewelry, or my clothes, or my horribly sparse lack of interior decorating. I have grandiose ideas and then get them half started or buy all the supplies and equipment to do them and then move on to the next thing.

This FOCUS will be a big challenge for me. Because this year I have cut back my daytime working hours to 4 days a week, so that I can FOCUS on growing my business in order to keep pulling back those daytime hours. But what I have found in this past month that was a dry run, is that I am not able to FOCUS and commit to those hours as sacred. I am hoping that if I can FOCUS, I will be able to bring my idea for my jewelry into clearer vision, pinpoint and agressively go after getting into several respected art shows and grow my online presence through a more directed action plan and enhanced emphasis on selling jewelry that people want online. I do already have a custom order pending for the dance studio for the spring and plans for a new streamlined booth display (hopefully the banners I ordered as the main draw will be in by Thursday which will give me one day to set them up and take a picture before the deadline for the first show I am attempting to get into). I am also trying to hone my skills and FOCUS on learning to draw with Jeannie's class starting soon (come on and join me!).

So that I can stay FOCUSed on this word, I decided that I would turn that word into art. I plan to make my word of the year into something that I can put up on my wall of my studio to inspire me to stay on track. In fact, I plan to add the words from 2010 up there as well. There could be ceramics or polymer clay or painting. Maybe paper mache or photography or mixed media collage. Wouldn't it be cool to look up on your wall and see a whole flock of words there to keep you motivated and to remind you of your past years' success? I think that will be a perfect inspiration for me.

Now let's just hope that I can FOCUS on one art medium so that I don't waste the whole year trying to find the 'perfect' one.

What is your word for the year ahead?
What one word is calling out to you, challenging you with a seed of truth that your life is lacking? 
Can you see that one word shimmering before you right now?
Will you invite that word into your heart to ripen fully inside of you this year?
Will  you be open to the ups and downs and ins and outs of where that word will lead you?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

23 December 2010

21 December 2010

30 Words::Small Price

{Letterpress card by enormouschampion on Etsy}
Dad’s surgery today.
Torn meniscus.
Playing the waiting game
stale magazines 
lukewarm coffee
1,000 piece puzzles
Prognosis good.
Crutches for Christmas 
- a small price to pay.

Here's wishing those in hospitals a very Merry Christmas,
as well as the people who serve them and make them well.

Enjoy the day!

20 December 2010

RAW::Masterpiece of Art

{artwork by Valentina Ramos on Etsy}

You are an artist of the spirit.
Find yourself and express yourself in your own
particular way.
Express your love openly.
Life is nothing but a dream,
and if you
create your life with love,
your dream becomes a masterpiece of art.

{artwork by Valentina Ramos on Etsy}

This Random Act of Wisdom is brought to you by Don Miguel Ruiz and the Daily Ruiz Inspiration. Sign up to get your inspiration delivered to your inbox. Artwork by Valentina Ramos on Etsy.

How is this wisdom speaking to you?
What big dreams do you have for 2011?
What is holding you back from believing that you can?

Enjoy the day!

17 December 2010

Learning to Draw

"Life is
the art of drawing
without an eraser."
~John W. Gardner

I have never been a great artist. Okay. I have artistic tendencies. I see the world through the lens of an artist. But I am not a Master by any means. I have dabbled in all sorts of creative endeavors, but none of them have ever stuck with me. While I did take some art in high school {like photography when we actually developed our own film and calligraphy which I still do today} I don't recall a lot of formal training beyond grade school projects that all looked the same. I think that is why I have always had such a hard time when someone has called me an 'artist.' Since I didn't earn that moniker through intense study and practice, but merely live a creative life, that one has always been a hard pill for me to swallow.

I admire all types of art. I have tried oil painting and wheel thrown pottery. I love mixed media and poetry. I have sung on stage {and more regularly at church...where I am the 'Christmas Angel' next week ;-} and acted in community theater plays. But the one thing that I have never had any training in is learning to draw.

I see so much value in learning how to draw. It would help me with designing jewelry if I could sketch out ideas as they pop in my head. I could make a flip book of sketches for my designs. I would be able to capture the beautiful things that I see each day instead of filing them in my faulty memory. I would find a passtime that I can do anywhere with any materials for a lifetime.

So on my secret wishlist of skills I would like to hone is the ability to draw.

The Universe has a funny way of bringing to you exactly what you need. And that is when Jeannie Dukic contacted me recently. She asked for my opinion and help in formulating her thoughts on putting together a drawing lab that would run for the entire year of 2011. {Seriously, Jeannie...how did you know to ask me?}.

Now I am all about the quick fix. Duct tape and glue guns are my best friends. But I am not sure I could learn to draw successfully in a one day workshop {tried that} or by picking up a book and reading about it {I need real humans interacting with me and I am horrendous at following directions!}. Having the support of someone who has been there and is successfully evolving and learning more about technique as your cheerleader is huge.

I just signed up to take a 52 week Drawing Lab offered by Jeannie Dukic. I like the idea that there will be some silliness to the process and yet will give me a sensible direction. There will be weekly assignments sent via email and a Flickr group to share our progress. There will be the opportunity to win random drawings {if I do my assignments}, and the chance to participate in an Art Show Blog Hop quarterly {you know how I love blog hops!}. I love that I can put into it as much time as I can each week {since we all know that life has a funny way of making other plans}, and that I don't have to start with fancy equipment. Just a number 2 pencil, a pad of paper and the willingness to learn.

Similarly priced drawing labs cost well over $200 for a whole years' worth of activities. This cost is less than the price of a book on how to draw. Right now the introductory rate is just $30 (until December 26 - and increases to $35 after that - still a deal!). For 52 weeks!? Even if I can't participate in all the weeks that is still way less than $1 a week! I don't know anywhere that gives you that sort of value.

If drawing is something that you can see would have value in your life and would be fun to do, I would encourage you to join me on this journey. I will be sharing my experience with you here in 2011 and would love to have you sign up and join me. We could support each other in our quest to make time for art!

Join me in learning to draw with the Drawing Lab 2011!
What do you remember most from your art classes when you were young?
Have you ever wanted to draw, paint, sculpt, etc?
What is stopping you from trying?
What other art goals do you have for yourself for 2011?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

15 December 2010

Celebrating Freedom & Rights

“No date in the long history of freedom means more to liberty-loving men in all liberty-loving countries than the 15th day of December, 1791. On that day 150 years ago, a new nation, through an elected Congress, adopted a declaration of human rights which has influenced the thinking of all mankind from one end of the world to the other.”
~Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during the first ever Bill of Rights Federal Holiday, December 15, 1941

We take for granted what we have in the United States.

We have rights and freedoms that some nations in the world can only dream about. It is amazing that our Founding Fathers had the foresight to create a document that has guided this Nation for 219 years. And pretty much most of it is as relevant today as it was in 1791. That is some awesome writing, my friends, when your message stands the test of time.

The Bill of Rights is so basic to our way of life in this country, and when things are so elemental it is easy to forget about them and to not put any weight in their meaning. We celebrate the Constitution more often. You hear about it a lot. But the Constitution wouldn't exist or have as strong a meaning without the Bill of Rights. So why don't we celebrate it more?

We take days off to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr, have special deals on everything from mattresses to motorcycles on President's Day, we participate in the beauty of our nation on Arbor Day and Earth Day, and we do a pretty bang up job of letting freedom ring on the 4th of July. We honor our veterans and workers everywhere and even pay tribute to Columbus for making the trek over here.

Has anyone every wished you a "Happy Bill of Rights" day? Why don't we honor the Bill of Rights? December 15 is actually the day that FDR set aside in 1941 to do just that. How come this is the first I have heard about it? {Or am I living in a hole and not up on the current events?}

I saw an ad like this in the local newspaper that got me thinking.

And then I found the website and read this really insightful blog post from the President and Founder of the 1 For All movement, Ken Paulsen. I encourage you to click here to read it.

Here are the Bill of Rights as a refresher:
  • Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  • Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. 
  • Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  • Amendment VI: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
  • Amendment VII: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
  •  Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  • Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

How would your life be different if we got rid of one of these?
Which one would you eliminate? 

I can still recite the Preamble to the Constitution (but only if I hum the Schoolhouse Rock tune in my head!).

Can you sing it along with me?

Enjoy the day!

14 December 2010

Jingle Bell Rock... and a Holiday Sale!

"Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock,
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring,
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun,
Now the jingle hop has begun..."

We attended the Rocket's Christmas concert tonight Monday night. This is a middle school where a good majority of the students are involved in the band and show choirs. Rocket plays the alto sax in the 7th & 8th grade band. He also plays the tenor sax in the jazz band. Now Rocket has rarely brought home the instrument to practice, but he did voluntarily join jazz band which means that he gets in an hour before school on Wednesdays and Fridays to practice. I was completely blown away by these 12-13 year old's talent. Thought I would share a snippet of the jazz band pieces. (Or skip it and head straight to the sale below!)

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To celebrate the festive feeling I am having from all this good cheer, I thought I would host a Christmas sale in my Etsy shop. (With my video troubles I am a bit behind... so I have extended the deadline...and increased the discount! Read on!) From December 13-December 24 December 14-December 31, 2010 enjoy a 12% discount 15% discount off anything in my shop with the code HOHOHO at checkout. Shipping is FREE until the end of the year for US and Canada. I am not sure that I can guarantee that you will receive it before Christmas, but I sure can try. Thank you so much for your support!

Do you remember any Christmas concerts from your past?
Have your kids been impressing you with their talents?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

13 December 2010

(More than) 30 Words::Doors

Today, we are
closing the door on a lengthy chapter of our life
17 years
in the home we built
filled with love and dreams
All the firsts of our life happened there
first anniversary
first pet
first child
first steps
first day of school
we can fully move on
to building a life
filled with love and dreams
in the space that we have
lived in limbo
for the past 12 months
hoping to celebrate
all new firsts
When one door closes, another opens
filled with promise.

What doors are opening for you?
What doors are closing for you?

Enjoy the day!

10 December 2010

Working Artist Initiative: Destined to Fly

This is an exerpt of a blog post by Makoto Fujimura. He is a painter who paints in a Japanese style called Nihonga. In 1992 he was the youngest artist to ever have had a piece acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. He is also the founder of the International Arts Movement, of which my Working Artist Initiative group is a part. If you are interested in seeing his work, check out his web site at http://www.makotofujimura.com. The words below are from this week's reading assignment for my Working Artist Intitative group. 
{Print of an original from Makoto Fujimura. I just happen to be partial to the letter "E" ;-}

Fujimura's words are in italics. My thoughts are in red.

Have you ever felt awkward, and felt the “lumps”? If you are an artist, perhaps you began your journey realizing that you are different from others. We have gotten used to having these “lumps” and accepted the fact that to the world the “lumps” looks strange and unnatural. Your teachers and your friends may not fully understand your intuition to try to fly with your winged “lumps.” What started out, at first, as trying to be yourself, may have become an effort to shield and protect your true identity from the world. Perhaps rebellion became the only path you could journey on. Your “lumps” became a defense mechanism, or even a weapon.

I have totally felt the 'lumps.' But what I am very happy about is that through the miracle of this blog I have created my 'tribe' and by so doing I have not felt so all alone. You mean there are others out there just like me? Brilliant! And I no longer have to shield my 'lumps' from the rest of the world. I don't know that I ever used my 'lumps' like a weapon. I am not into using weapons of any sort, even if they are paintbrushes and chasing hammers and pliers. Just to know that there are others with 'lumps' like mine is so edifying!

What if C.S. Lewis is right, and you are destined to “fly”? What if our awkwardness, and our uniqueness points to the potential of the person we are meant to become? In order to learn to fly, you need to be patient, and ready to experience many failures; we need an environment where we can fail often, but you also need opportunities to peer into the wonders and mysteries of the vista of the world to come.

Destined to fly! What a concept! I can totally identify with the idea that you have to be patient. But that is hard. When I see the success of someone I admire, my first instinct is to be a bit jealous of the spot that they are in. But I also know that I have to channel that jealousy, that envy into a plan of action to grow through failures. Those who find success are ones that work at it and build upon every failure. I also like the idea that we need an environment to fail in. And fail often. For it is from those failures that you learn best. From trying something and not being an instant success it fortifies what it is that you really want to do and sets you on your unique path.

Even if you are not cognizant of a grace reality, you can still create in the possibility of future grace. That takes faith to do, but if you can do that, you will be joining so many artists of the past who wrestled deeply with faith, doubt, poverty, rejection, longing and yet chose to create. Know that the author of creativity longs for you to barge in, break open the gift you have been saving; He will not only receive you, He can bring you purpose behind the battle, and rebuke those who reject you.

"The possibility of future grace"...this concept rocks my world. I may not have the reality of full grace at this moment, but the possibility is enormous. If I can only trust in myself enough to feel worthy of the gift that I have been given, if I can but stop my hands from trembling a bit to untie the ribbons of that gift and with grace be open to the possibility that there is a greater future in store for me. God wants me to be creative. And when I open myself to that notion with a leap of faith, the Universe will open up with all the tools that I need to succeed.

So endeavor to create generatively. Don’t be a critic when you create. You can look at your work later and discern what is good. Your growth as an artist is not in being able to impress others, or even God.

I am my own worst critic. And my inner critic is incompetent :-) If I can create from a place of love and authenticity, then I will create good works. And that is the hand of the Divine working through me.
 Growth comes by understanding how limited you are. Learning to use your wings means learning the discipline as a means to grace. Give yourself boundaries and goals; start with small things, like having a small table dedicated to your poems. Emily Dickinson wrote her poems on a small 18 inch by 18 inch desk in her room in Amherst. Do not put anything other than your poems, though, on that area. Guard against the world invading your boundaries. Learning to paint, play the piano, or dance has much to do with keeping your self-set boundaries, otherwise you will not own your craft. We are each given unique wings with unique particulars of how to use our wings; no one else can fly for you. You have to jump off the edge, and spread your wings.

Wow. This paragraph really grabs me. When I think of growth I think of how expansive the world is. But to focus instead on how limited I am is really the crux. In this moment, I am limited but the potential is huge! The whole world awaits in possibility. When I understand that my present self is limited in knowledge and that I don't know it all yet, then I can really begin to grow. Because by recognizing that I am unfinished is to invite the blessings that will change me and help me to grow realizing that there are no limits. I like the idea of having that sacred space to create. I have that, but I admit that I let other things intrude in on it. Not the least of which is the computer that really sucks my creative time and zaps my creative energy. I need to set up some boundaries in that space if I am to succeed. My wings are as unique as my fingerprints and my soaring and my heights are only known to me.

I am ready to trust that when I jump I will fly.

And on ScoutieGirl today there is a very insightful post by writer Elizabeth Howard about how to be a better (fill in the blank). Works for writer or artists or knitters or what have you. And I think that it really ties in well with these snippets from my Working Artist Initiative group. I found so much joy in reading this article that I wanted to share it with you. So much value. I encourage you to go over right now and have a read. Here is the comment that I left on that post:
When I am being my most authentic that is when the Universe opens up to me and what I am becoming as an artist expands exponentially! I am working in those slivers of time and space as well and mapping out my grand adventure. But the path that I take is completely mine alone and if I want companions on the journey I will ask for their help and seek out their wisdom.
So what do you think?
  • Do we have all we need to be a successful creative wrapped up inside us like a seed waiting for the right conditions? 
  • Are some people better at jumping off that ledge and trusting their wings will carry them than others? Or is it part of an environment of trust and understanding that allows you to have the strength to fly? How can you find the right conditions for your success?
  • Have you ever noticed the difference in your creative endeavors when you are being authentic and truly listening to your soul speaking versus just creating for the sake of creating?
  • How are these readings speaking to you today?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

08 December 2010

Half Court Hail Mary

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Why, yes.
That is me screaming like a banshee.

I haven't heard from ESPN...yet.

And yes. 
I did embarrass my son.

Way to go, Rocket!
Proud of you buddy!


I get a nice little newsletter weekly from singer Christine Kane. Not only is she a gifted musician but she is also a motivational guru with her Uplevel Academy. She always has something to say that I think she wrote just for me! How could she know? Today I got this little gem, and since she invites people to reprint her article, I thought that this would be a perfect Random Act of Wisdom.

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com/.

What's Easy. What's Not.

by Christine Kane

It's easy to be right.
It's not easy to be kind.

It's easy to hope.
It's not easy to know.

It's easy to be a damsel.
It's not easy to be a heroine.

It's easy to complain.
It's not easy to make requests.

It's easy to have the perfect retort.
It's not easy to listen.

It's easy to be busy.
It's not easy to be productive.

It's easy to criticize.
It's not easy to create.

It's easy to say you don't feel like it.
It's not easy to do it anyway.

It's easy to obsess.
It's not easy to meditate.

It's easy to sing your heart out when the audience loves you.
It's not easy to sing your heart out when no one is paying attention.

It's easy to wait for rescue.
It's not easy to rescue yourself.

It's easy to resent people who take up your time.
It's not easy to say no in the first place.

It's easy to make excuses.
It's not easy to take responsibility.

It's easy to worry.
It's not easy to make a plan.

It's easy to come up with reasons why someone pissed you off.
It's not easy to ask yourself how you participated.

It's easy to dabble.
It's not easy to commit.

It's easy to rail on the idiot driver behind you.
It's not easy to just move out of his way.

It's easy to read books about writing.
It's not easy to sit down and write.

It's easy to say no to bad things because you want good things.
It's not easy to say no to good things because you want great things.

It's easy to fire off an angry email or blog comment.
It's not easy to pause and breathe and clarify your feelings.

It's easy to react to an angry email or blog comment by firing one back.
It's not easy to pause and breathe and clarify your meaning.

It's easy to start your idea.
It's not easy to finish it.

It's easy to buy something cheap because it's cheap.
It's not easy to buy something expensive because you love it.

It's easy to say you don't know what you want.
It's not easy to admit what you do want.

It's easy to let a kid watch TV.
It's not easy to find ways to play with a kid.

It's easy to do urgent things.
It's not easy to do important things.

It's easy to say it's too hard.
It's worth it to do what's not easy.

Here is mine...

It's easy to have friends.
It's not always easy to be a friend.

to my dear friend kari!

{"Sincerely, You" print from an original
by San Francisco artist Aimee Sicuro
as weathergirlshop on Etsy}

Now it is your turn...
what is easy and not so easy for you today? Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

07 December 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It feels like Christmas to me when....

moves the
 furniture around
in the living room...
...and dusts and vacuums...
...the first snow falls softly outside...
...we put the tree up in the very same corner...
...the lighted angel with the star goes on the very top...
...the Santa collection goes up on the mantel...
...or sometimes the snowman collection goes there...
...I unearth the rustic felt stockings that I made for my family...
...they wait for me to put the silver beaded garland on the tree...
...watching the kids put each ornament on the tree...
...each ornament and decoration tells a story...
...even the handmade lightbulb Rudolph that is missing one eye...
...or our dog Madison's collar...
...and the blown glass deer and doe missing one leg...
...or the 'stained glass' ornament I made from a kit
when I was about 8 years old with the little bits of plastic
you put in the frame and then bake in the oven...
...St Nick leaves little presents in their shoes by the door...
...playing "I Spy" with ornaments on the tree every night...
...there is a fire in the fireplace every day...
...our little forest of trees with twinkling white lights outside...
...we take nighttime drives around the city
to ooh and aah at the ligthed decorations...
...we listen to the all-Christmas music station
(that has been playing since November 1st, I might add)
and sing along to our favorites...
..."The Twelve Pains of Christmas" is our favorite goofy song...
..."The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole...best.song.ever...
...does anyone else think "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
is the most incredibly asinine song of the century...
...even Bob Geldorf says he regrets writing it...
...and the line "tonight thank God it's them instead of you"
really trips my trigger...
...sorry about that...
...back to the list...
...I want to suck on a 
peppermint candy cane all day long...
...Starburst fruit ones not so much...
...I want to drink hot cocoa every day...
...the wrapping paper comes out...
...and only real ribbon for bows...
...candles on the Advent wreath...
...looking inward and slowing down...
...trying to stay away from the
shallowness that bombards us...
...focusing on the true gift of this season...

What about you?
No matter what holiday you celebrate...
there are markers for the season.
What are some of the things that put you in the spirit?
What traditions do you have with your family?
I would love to hear how your family celebrates
Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Diwali or Winter Solstice or even Festivus ;-).
Do tell!

Enjoy the day! Merry Christmas!

P.S. The Art Bead Scene is holding an Ornament Blog Hop tomorrow! Can't wait to see what everyone creates! I am not an official member but I might try making an ornament tonight...

06 December 2010

Good Fortune Smiles on those who Hop!

"Always accept good fortune with grace and humility."
~ Mark L. Mika

It was my good fortune to host the Challenge of Color Blog Hop last Friday. I can't thank those who participated enough. It would have been mighty lonely {like crickets chirping kind of lonely} had I just challenged myself and made a bunch of things and then posted it expecting oohs and aahs. Sure, I would have had some pretty things done and been inspired by something so commonplace as a foray into the paint store, but it wouldn't have had the same effect as gathering a bunch of friends, old and new, to party along with me in a riotous celebration of color!

There was such an abundance of talent displayed in this hop. I am so glad that those four without blogs could hop, too! I really wanted to make sure that there were no restrictions on participating. I was really delighted to get such wonderful comments and lovely personal emails {and even one phone call!} thanking me for the creation of this hop. But truthfully, I was only the facilitator. The success of participating in any blog hop or challenge depends on the people participating and the effort that you are willing to put into it. YOU are the real stars. YOU rose to the challenge {even when I pushed some of you so far out of your comfort zone you may have gone kicking and screaming...but thanking me later ;-}. YOU each learned something about your style and your process through this. And if you think I am cracked, go back and really read what everyone said in their posts AND in the comments. It is true.

I promised that I would have four things to giveaway. Three Inspiration Boxes {two to the US players; one to the non-US crowd} and one pair of earrings for the price of a comment. 

I made it super challenging for myself to calculate the up to 7 points that I promised you could garner if you participated {next time it will be much easier!}. And I did keep a spreadsheet. And I went back through everyone's blogs twice to be sure I wasn't missing anything. Then I cut out little slips with your names on it and had my assistant {read: Tiny Dancer} pull the names. Here are the names she drew:

Karyn... I will need you to send my your mailing address.... ;-)

For the earrings, I figured it was safer to go with the Random.org generator.{Sorry. I just cannot figure out how to take nice little shot of that random number generator. You will have to believe me that I did it this way ;-} There were 55 comments... but 8 is great! Congrats to Boot~C! Your comment was #8 in the queue. You win the 'Lucky Lanterns' earrings as a treat for yourself or a ready made gift for someone special. Boot~C - please send me your mailing address to enjoytheday{at}tesoritrovati{dot}com and I will get this right out to you!

One more thank you to both Jeannie Dukic and Faith Davis Ferris for their generous contributions to the prize packages above. Much appreciated!

I read every comment, and hopefully was able to respond to you personally. There was a lot of interest in future blog hops. I am all about joining challenges myself and would be delighted to coordinate some in the future, but there is a fair amount of work involved, so it won't be a monthly thing, and I am not sure if it will be just about color or perhaps some other theme. But if you are pining away for some blog hop love {it really is fun to connect and share with a community, isn't it?} then I would recommend that you look into the following that are coming up:

Michaels Challenge #2 - The first was fun. we were give a list of materials to buy at Michaels and challenged to create with them. The reveal day is Friday, December 17th. You can read about it here.

Art Bead Scene - There will be a holiday ornament blog hop happening on Tuesday, December 7th. The sneak peeks look so pretty! I need some great ideas for gifting! And to shake things up a bit, there will be an ABS Blog Hop on December 31st with posts from all those interested in making something for one of two artworks that have a fantastical fairy theme in them. Hmmm... I wonder what art beads I have in my stash that will work for this one...

Bead Soup Blog Hop - It's baaaacccckkk! I had such a blast participating in the first two last year and I am delighted that they are returning. It is so much fun to match up with someone to swap beads and see where that takes you. You can read about the Bead Soup Blog Hop happening in January-February 2011. Join in the fun!

There are so many other hops out there... like Blogmania in April and October, and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in June.... just do a search and you will find a ton.... and I encourage you to find a variety of hops to participate in to widen the circle of your blogworld. And bring more people to connect with you because that is the whole point of jumping in a blog hop, isn't it?

Do you know of any cool blog hops out there? Share a link!
Would you participate in a blog hop that has more than just jewelry as the theme?
Have you considered how blog hops help you grow?

Enjoy the day!

03 December 2010

Challenge of Color Blog Hop TODAY!

Welcome to the Challenge of Color Blog Hop! This is a first ever for me, so I hope you enjoy it. It has been so much fun connecting with designers from all across the globe! I have made new friends and found some really awesome color palettes (I might have to go back and revisit some of these again!). This really goes to prove that inspiration is everywhere! Grab a cup of your favorite beverage (I know it is 5 o'clock somewhere!) and enjoy the ride around the world in living color. (Warning! This is a longer than normal post even for me!)

Here were the challenge rules in a nutshell:
  • Select a color palette to be inspired by. This could be something you were comfortable in, something that was a challenge or a complete surprise. 
  • I then sent a paint chip color palette to each participant (my apologies if you did get a duplicate - but I am sure that even if we all had the same palette our pieces would all be very different).
  • Create a piece of jewelry that uses the color from the paint chip palette. Try to use all the colors! Feel free to add or subtract a color. The goal is to use color and have fun!
  • Use of art beads is encouraged!
  • Name the piece of jewelry from something on the paint chip palette.
  • Have fun! Be inspired!
We have participants from across the globe and around the United States. Each participant will be entered into a drawing to win some awesome art beads from Jeannie Dukic, Faith Davis-Ferris or some from my personal stash including Juliana Cannon, Heather Powers, Christine Damm, Melanie Brooks, Pam Wynn (mother of the fabulous Heather Wynn of Swoondimples fame), and Jennifer Heynen.

I would conservatively put the value on each of these prize packages at $55. Winners will be chosen at random from all the participants in the list at the end of this post, two winners from the US and one winner from all the entries around the world.

There are a few people who didn't have blogs, so I will start with them first and then I will share my creations. {Click on any images to see them larger.}
Herbal Gleam - by Rita Parra
{Herbal Gleam - by Rita Parra}

Per Rita:
The colors I received were "copper gleam, herbal dash, imperfect pearl, hen house, and local flavor."  Or copper, avocado, off-white, breen and olive.  I didn't like them at first, but then I remembered a print on an Etsy treasury I liked and they were the same colors.  Then that combination began appearing everywhere. 

The name of the necklace is "Herbal Gleam."  The theme is leafing branches.  You can see that in the pearl leaf pattern, the blossoms of the pendant and the branch toggle.  The fun part was to make the green fully alive in what, without the white, was a somber group.  And to make variations of texture, color, size and translucency within repeating shapes.  The artist beads are from Elaine Ray, Sue Beads and Beatle Baby Glassworks.  Artist beads presented the challenge of showing their individuality while still being comprehensible as a group.  And a color group without a given theme made color become part of the theme.  It was a good challenge because it presented me with problems I wouldn't have posed to myself.

Lagoon - by Cory Tompkins
{Lagoon - by Cory Tompkins}
Per Cory:
I spotted the Challenge of Color and since I love a challenge I just had to join in. I sent Erin an email asking for green because I am drawn to green lately and I didn't want to make this a challenge I didn't want to complete. When I got my card in the mail I was so excited to find just the right color beads to design with.  The teardrops I used had such a perfect range of colors that I grabbed them up.  I already had the round faceted firepolished beads in my stash.  I actually used some that had more blue in them at first but I decided the greener ones went better with the focals and with the paint colors. I call these earrings "Lagoon."

This was really fun, I can't wait to see everyone else's designs.  I will definitely keep an eye out for your next challenge...thanks for inspiring me and letting me join in!

Grizzly Bear Sky - by Judy Campbell
{Grizzly Bear Sky - by Judy Campbell}
Per Judy:
Thanks for the chance to really try something new. Sorry I did not use any art beads but those that I ordered have not arrived and I was forced to use what I had with a couple of additions from the local bead shop. I really tend to work with monochromatic colours so this time I tried to use all 4 colours in the chip. Since the names of the colours and the actual colours on the image did not match I went with the image {Grizzly Brown, Desert Parched, Highlight White, Niabell Blue}. Hope it is close to the actual chip. I found chain that matched the chip and built from there.  I have used wood, semiprecious stones, glass, ceramic, mother of pearl as well as some metal beads. I am fairly pleased with the necklace but am concerned with the weight. I may have to convert it to a bracelet. Again, thanks for the push, I am really trying to understand colour and how to use it effectively. 

I call this "Grizzly Bear Sky." When I was in university I lived in the mountains during the summer. I had to be careful coming home at night to make sure there were no bears in the yard - one evening there was - A large grizzly against the blue sky as the sun was setting was "waiting" for me on my steps. Needless to say I waited for awhile before going inside. I have not thought about this for years --- thanks for helping me to retrieve the memory. 

Victoria Falls - by Alice Peterson
{Victoria Falls - by Alice Peterson}
Per Alice: 
My color palette is (from left to right) Victoria Falls, Linen Slipcover, Slouch Hat, and Silver Set. I have managed to use all colors if you count the sterling silver. This chunky piece includes Aquamarine stones, an abundance of lampwork beads, and sterling silver. I chose the name "Victoria Falls" because of the watery Aquamarine nuggets, and the lampwork beads remind me of pebbles one would find in a stream at the bottom of a waterfall. The lampwork beads are from TwinstarBeads on Etsy.

I wish I had the time to make a more elaborate piece, but really enjoyed the process of working with the colors you sent.  Thanks for hosting the challenge—I hope you do it again in the future!  

Your Hostess - Erin Prais-Hintz
I will admit. I used this challenge as a personal call to me to create new things. It is just a bonus that you all came along for the ride! Let's face it. Sometimes you need a swift kick in the pants to create something new, even if that foot is your own! Do not doubt that I can be an overachiever! I am just as surprised that I achieved my goal as anyone. The amount I made may seem daunting, but I had at least a month to work on this and mostly only this. I wanted to use 6 of the palettes that I hadn't assigned to anyone. Then as I was working I found one more so that made seven. And I wanted to do it entirely with what I had on hand. It was actually easy once I had the colors mapped out for myself and started pulling together little boxes of the beads that I had. It forced me to use what I have and to approach my beads with new eyes. And even if I didn't finish, I would have some ready-made inspiration for another time. I encourage you to keep little boxes of color palettes on hand for when your creative well is dry.

So here are my challenge pieces {most available today in my Etsy shop!}:

[Beautiful Knowledge - by Erin Prais-Hintz}
"The peacock's feather in all ages has been considered as a sign of beauty and knowledge; beauty because it is beautiful, knowledge because it is in the form of an eye. It is by keen observation that man acquires knowledge. Knowledge without love is lifeless. So, with the flute, the crown of peacock's feathers makes the symbol complete."

I know that this name isn't the colors on the card {Barely Brown, The Alamo, Black Coal} but those names just didn't speak to me. So, I cheated. ;-)

This ceramic pendant is from my friend Lisa of LisaPetersArt.Etsy.com You just cannot go wrong with any of her one-of-a-kind pendants and beads. Raku rounds are from MaryAnn Carroll - MACarroll.Etsy.com Finished with brass and antique copper chain, czech glass bicones, resin carved beads, Swarovski crystals, and Vintaj brass.
{Green Oasis - by Erin Prais-Hintz}
I started with this awesome pendant that I got from Mellisa of Chinook Jewelry. I have always loved her ceramics because they are so thin and look so delicate yet they are very strong. Her glazes are amazing and a perfect match for the colors Green Oasis and Just Olive from the card. To bring in the color Summer's Breath I went with white and green rice pearls wire wrapped links and some vintage czech cathedral glass beads - some of the last ones I have - from a trip to Yone Beads in San Francisco. And Vintaj brass pairs so well with these earthy tones, don't you think?

{Lavender Luck - by Erin Prais-Hintz}

It must have been pure luck for me to find that I had the PERFECT match of a bead in my stash... this custom made egg from KelleysBeads on Etsy. Over the summer I commissioned her to make me a baker's dozen of random eggs in colors that she hadn't done before.Don't you just love those speckles? I created a little wire nest for it next to a pewter flower and leaf toggle (I so wish I knew where I got that so long ago, this was my last one). For the Royal Liqueur color I found these wonderfully deep AB merlot colored glass beads picked up at Bead & Button, navy blue glass pearls and sterling silver rope spacers. A pretty sign that spring will come again. 

{Leatherbound Bloom - by Erin Prais-Hintz}
This was the first one that I worked on. I think that I fell in love with this color combo first. That and the fact that I was so excited to finally have in my possession a ceramic flower pendant from Marsha Neal Studios. I have had my eye on this particular pendant forever. I just picked this up during the deals she had for the Beads of Clay open house in October. My colors for this palette were Seaworthy (blue), Leatherbound (brown) and Reynard(red). I selected beautiful banded agate rounds and knotted that on brown leather cord with wood rondelles as spacers. I added a length of brass chain and wire wrapped navy blue glass pearls inside the larger jump rings to bring the blue into the piece. And I finished with a pearl and agate dangle by the pendant. This is one of the most infinitely wearable ones that I made. 

Have you ever heard of My Mom Pattie? That is a fundraiser that Marsha created in honor of her mother Pattie who died from leukemia in 2009. I am donating this to the My Mom Pattie Shop

{Rustic Old Story - by Erin Prais-Hintz}
Rustic Old Story
There is something so romantic and nostalgic about everything that Lynn Davis creates. She creates what she calls "invented faux-tiques" - replicas of things that look as if they have a history. I am a consummate hoarder of everything I get from Lynn. I rarely part with them. This piece I bought over a year ago and is one of her resin pendants. It is time that it found a good home.

This pendant looks like snippets from an old newspaper preserved under resin with the words "old story". The colors are right up my alley, earthy with a touch of rich red pearls, creamy white jasper, and mysterious oval stones of an origin I have long forgotten. The colors on this palette are Sequoia Fog, Split Rock, Rustic and Creamy Coffee. 

Everyone has a story to tell. What is yours?

{Tidal Mist - by Erin Prais-Hintz}
Tidal Mist
Okay, this one started out life as a jumble of beads on my table. Those beaded rings were the muse by my friend Julianna Cannon of Julsbeads on Etsy. Not only is she one of the most gifted lampwork artists this side of the Mississippi, but she wrangles seed beads into submission in her spare time. I could find no end and no beginning to these charming rings she sent me. I think that magic might be involved. 

I worked at engineering this piece for two full nights. I wore it on Tuesday and got a lot of complements. There are creamy white pearls evoking color Florida Sand, the soft blues recall both colors of Tidal Mist and Happy Cloud. I decided to add in the peridot swarovski crystals and the peridot satin (a personal favorite) crystals. I built this on wire. I should know better. When I got home on Tuesday "Tidal Mist" promptly fell apart. Proof that I really don't know what I am doing ;-) I will fix it and learn from my mistakes and somehow make it even better.

{Lake Mist - by Erin Prais-Hintz}
Last but not least, is "Lake Mist." This one came about as I was fooling around with some silk cord wrapped around some rings. I noticed that the colors perfectly matched the three on this paint chip palette - Blue Egg, Lake Mist and Beach Water.

This design features a stunning turquoise lampwork bead from Julsbeads on Etsy sandwiched between two ornate copper bead caps. I tied the silk cord from Marsha Neal Studio around a Vintaj ring and a copper leaf ring.Hanging from the bottom is a Vintaj brass leaf, swarovski crystals and an incredibly rich cold press clay leaf from Rafya on Etsy who is from Israel. I would highly recommend checking out Rafya for her unusual designs and awesome colors. The same goes for Juls. No wonder I found it easy to pair them together. And Juls' blog is at the top of my 'must read' list! If this one doesn't sell by Christmas, it will be mine, all mine!

Lucky Lanterns
ceramic melon beads from Earthenwood Studio, glass,
Swarovski crystals, sterling silver
$40 value - yours FREE for the price of a comment!
To thank you for reaching the end of this crazy long post.... how about a giveaway of this lovely pair of earrings to one random commenter? Just be sure that I have a way to get in touch with you (turn on your email address on your profile to get personal responses from me!). Anyone who leaves a comment is eligible to win this prize. Winner will be chosen at random from all comments and announced on Monday, December 6th.

A blog hop wouldn't be complete without some hopping!
Be sure to stop and hop over to the other participants on the list below. 

Don't forget to leave a comment here to be eligible to win those earrings! 
Would you be interested in future Challenge of Color blog hops? Any particular theme?

Take your time and enjoy the hop! 
Enjoy the day!


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