31 March 2011

Art Bead Scene: March Challenge: Gaugin

"Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer."

If that is true, then I need a vacation. How about you?

The Art Bead Scene challenge for March is a symphony of rich color and pastoral subjects from the Master Artist Gaugin. His most famous paintings are known for their shimmering vibrancy, bold lines and primitive yet complex composition. It is a feast for the eyes and transports you to another world and time. Since I find myself short on funds and time, this is the sort of escape that I can handle.

I love being a part of the Art Bead Scene community. I love to be surrounded by other bead-freaks like me, but I also learn so much. For example, I learned that Gaugin was once making a living as a stockbroker to support his wife and five children, but was driven to paint and did so in his free time (although I cannot believe that he had much free time with five children!). I can understand that sort of determination and it gives me hope that there is life outside of a corporate world. It is said that he frequented museums and gathered work by other emerging artists. I love that idea! I am trying to do that myself and that is great motivation to keep pursuing that course. By making connections with other artists he explored a wide range of inspirations and that is what I have been doing without even realizing it. I also think that by being in community with other artists of any medium you raise the bar for yourself and learn so much.

Gaugin was a French post-impressionist painter who traveled to Tahiti and the South Pacific in the1890s and began to paint those native peoples that he encountered. His paintings are filled with life, but they are also very stylized and simple even with a complex color palette that is so inviting.

Our color palette for this challenge is filled with contrasts... cool blues and pastoral greens to vibrant reds and dancing oranges and shimmering pinks. I looked to my stash and found this lovely green flower focal from Jangles. Pairing this ceramic focal bead with resin, glass, czech and crystal, I tied it all together with the dark gunmetal galvanized steel wire to mimic the hard lines of the subjects in the painting. The lilies in the foreground are translated into the sweet czech bellflowers in a steely gray.

I call this "Island Dreams" because that is what I am dreaming of escaping to right about now!

There was an overwhelming response to this month's painting inspiration. To see some extraordinarily talented people weave their magic, head over to the blog hop happening here.

What is the most tropical vacation that you have experienced? What was most memorable about it? Have you gone on Spring Break this year yet? 
Are there tropical plans in your future? 
If you could travel to any tropical destination, where would you want to go?

I need a virtual escape so... Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

29 March 2011

BTW: American Pickers

"Doors of opportunity don't open, they unlock; it is up to you to turn the knob."

~ Lily Taylor

While I was in D.C. for the classes with Stephanie Lee, I had time to sit in my hotel room by myself and just flip the channels (something that I rarely have the chance to do at home). I stumbled on the History Channel and American Pickers. I had heard of this show before, but never really seen it.
Now I am hooked.

{Mike and Frank with a find from American Pickers, on the History Channel, Mondays at 9/8c}
I have never been one to go a-flea-ing (mostly because I don't have the opportunity and everyone I know would think I was weird), but I know that some of you have, and I am fascinated by it. I love the idea that you can find treasure anywhere and that things that others might take for granted or not see the value of are priceless to others. That is how I sort of how I got my start doing what I do: I see the potential in things that others might overlook and with a little spit and polish I can turn them into treasures that others are willing to pay top dollar for. Most of my earliest designs featured found objects like skeleton keys or hardware store treasures like hex nuts and washers, and I still come back to those tried and true treasures.

Antique Archeology (isn't that the coolest name?) is the brick and mortar storefront for Mike and his team of talented treasure hunters. The show American Pickers follows the exploits of Mike and his partner Frank as they drive the backroads of America scouring junkyards and attics alike in the search for anything they can 'pick' that might bring in money when they flip it around and sell it. They sell things to collectors and interior designers or anyone looking for the cool old stuff that they have found.
I have only watched a few episodes, but I can already tell that I am going to be adding this to my queue so that I can follow along in my studio late at night to see what Mike, Frank and their quirky assistant Danielle find buried in plain sight.

I love that they have this determination to find something, anything, that might be out of the ordinary. They have a tenacity that is thrilling to watch. They are not afraid to get dirty and they always shake hands in the most genuine way. They have a profound desire to not only recycle these treasures, but to preserve the history behind them. And to pass them along to people they know will treasure them.

So I compiled a little list of some lessons that I have learned from American Pickers:
  • Treasure can be found where you least expect it.
  • Persistence pays off.
  • Work together and play to your strengths.
  • Fair deals are the best deals.
  • Sometimes the best finds are right under the surface.
  • Love all the styles, don't get pigeon-holed into one thing.
  • Be optimistic and be yourself.
  • Pay attention to the amazing things around you.
  • Go with your gut.
  • Know when to be aggressive to get what you want and when to back off.
  • Above all remember to be kind, you never know when you might get the chance to come back this way again.
  • Always ask for a reference. Each person's connections can lead you to that one golden opportunity.
Speaking of seeking treasure... would you like to see what I am working on? I am currently createing four necklaces that are interpreting poems written by local poets. This is for a show we are putting on in May called "Verse and Vision," and I have to have them done by the middle of April so that they can be photographed for the book. (Yikes! I am not even started!)

Like the American Pickers, I have been on a hunt for something special: vintage flower pins and earrings. I thought that I would want to have brightly colored flowers. I bought a few from a local resale vendor but the only ones I could afford were that big white one and some sweet little daisy earrings. But then I realized that I was sitting on a whole pile of old costume jewelry that has been gifted to me over the years and I don't know what to do with, so I started picking in my own stash. I decided that the best flowers for this piece were not the gaily colored petals but the ones in white with a little hint of blue.

So that is what I am working on and have been thinking of recently. I hope you will join in the fun of Bead Table Wednesday, started by the lovely and talented Miss Heather Powers (who is cavorting in the Caribbean on the Bead Cruise!).

What is the best item you have ever found while thrifting?
Are you the sort who is always on the hunt for treasures, or do you only keep that which is absolutely necessary?
What are you working on this week?

25 March 2011

Words of Wisdom::Audrey Hepburn

I came across a quote from Audrey Hepburn and I liked it. So I sought out more of her wisdom. I found a treasure trove of quotes. I would like to hang them all around my space.

She is a natural born beauty. (And I have always felt that my mother looks a lot like her, especially in certain pictures from the 60s). But more than that she was a kind and compassionate soul who was here on this earth to make it a better place. Her humanitarian work is still enduring and important.

Here are some of my favorites. Good advice that I really need to take to heart from one of the classiest, strong and sexy women this world has ever known.

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"

"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."

"The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters."

"If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales and I like them best of all."

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other."

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."

"There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don't need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain."

"Paris is always a good idea."

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once."

"Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me."

"Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future."

"The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years."

"There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl's complexion."

"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others."

"I've been lucky. Opportunities don't often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them."

"Why change? Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it."

"I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it."

"I don’t take my life seriously, but I do take what I do – in my life – seriously -"

"If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness,...but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough."

Enjoy the day!

24 March 2011

30 Words::Frozen

Frothy peaks jut from waves,
captured mid-thrust

{The artist on Etsy says this reminds them of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. But it looks just like the peaks that are captured mid-tumble on the river outside my window. From KZShots on Etsy}
Round bellied robins flit about in a panic,
seeking refuge

{Those mommas don't know where to turn! There are dozens of them in the trees and flying willy-nilly into my glass window. And this painterly photograph from TheShutterbugEye on Etsy looks like it was taken outside today.)

Sleet stings like shards of glass

{This beautiful photo from HawkSongStudio on Etsy is being sold to benefit Japan Disaster Relief}

The March lion rears it's ugly head

Enjoy the day!

23 March 2011

BTW::Absent but Still Here

"Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent."
~Johan Wolfgang van Goethe
I know.

I have been acutely absent from this space. I have, however, been lurking in the corners of bloglandia but only to comment here or there and maybe surface for air.

Have I told you lately that I love you all for what you bring to this party? Well, I do. And I also love that you are still here, even when I am not.

Daytime is comprised of a solid nest of stress and I feel as if my limbs will be torn from me with every direction that I am being pulled. I am a Grand Master at multi-tasking (I am writing this blog, mailing packages and creating new designs as we speak!) but what I am being asked to do during the day at the place-I-park-my-butt-watching-the-daylight-pass-by-my-window is making my head swim. And my heart sink. And my body numb. So that at the end of the day, I want nothing more to do with a computer (yet here I am!). So I would apologize for the radio silence, except I have a strict 'no obligations' policy when it comes to blogging that I have kept since day one.

But part of what is keeping me away at night (besides my lack of interesting things to say) is working on a boatload of things... from the custom orders for the Dance Education Center, including 10 special orders from the director for those dancers who have been with her all 10 years (that I have yet to create, but have an idea, I just hope I can execute) that all must be done by the middle of next month... and the special one-of-a-kind over-the-top sort of showstopping necklace for the director of the school (I am hoping to start playing with fire and metal for that one) that she will wear on stage each night... and I am still hopping on the Bead Soup train (I promised I would get to hem all by Easter... what? I have a few weeks!)... and the four pieces that I have agreed to make for the Gallery Q art exhibit called 'Verse & Vision' by April 20th at the latest where we are interpreting local poets verses in our art (I am actually waiting for some materials that are just perfect from MissFickle but when I have them I won't have any other excuse but to start)... and creating for deadlines (and crossing my fingers that I hear a 'yes' instead of a 'no, thank you')... and the fact that my son is turning 13 today (how the hell did that happen?!??!! More on him later...)...

Oh, and just in case you were wondering... the Tooth Fairy did eventually pay a visit to our house. She also left a note that said that the time change messed her up but she knew that Tiny Dancer would be understanding about that. I am sure that the bubble is burst, but I see no reason to stop unless she tells me so. And she wants to believe. And I want her to believe. Because there is so much in our world that is threatening to dampen beliefs and I think that a little magic makes for a happier place.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Multi-tasking. ;-)

So here is a smattering of the latest 'simple truths' pendants that I have made... some that will be for sale, but a lot that have found other homes. A few weeks later than I had hoped. But better late than never! This is what has been on my beading table... and the coffee table... and in my car... and on my mind. Now I just need to find the time to start listing these on Etsy since the well is almost dry there. 

{Just look what Kristy made with my pendant! It is for sale here.}
And for those of you who have snatched one of these up (or plan to in the future) I have started a Flickr group to show off the pretties that you make using a 'simple truths' pendant. I was blessed to find that sweet Kristy Carroll Abner made another thing with one of my pendants called 'cherish every moment'. So awesome! (Thank you Kristy for giving me a thrill!)

Tell me... I am not the only one who has more projects than hours in a day? 
Tell me... that you have crafting ADD like me and cannot focus on one thing for more than 17 minutes at a time?
Tell me... what you do when you just need a break?
Tell me... something that made you smile this week?
Enjoy the day!

17 March 2011

The Tooth Fairy Schmucked Up

In this pocket you will find
A teensy, tiny tooth of mine.
So while I sleep where dreams are made,
Let's see if you can make a trade.

Tiny Dancer lost a tooth yesterday.
And this morning in the car, I hear this little voice in the back seat saying, "The Tooth Fairy didn't come last night."
Aw, crap.
The Tooth Fairy schmucked it up.

It has been quite a long time since her last one fell out. So the Tooth Fairy has been a bit rusty.
{These make great baby gifts, personalized with fabric, name embroidered and details of the fairy, like hair color}

When the Tooth Fairy started coming to our house, I anticipated this momentous occasion with a custom made tooth pillow. She used Pottery Barn fabrics to match the bedding. Clever.

And I found another seller who wrote diminutive first tooth notes {complete with glitter to sprinkle where the Fairy trod} from the Tooth Fairy in swirly purple ink about the little boy or girl baby who was waiting for that first tooth to appear and how this tooth would be whisked away and show up the next morning to cries of rejoicing from the parents ready to snap that first tooth picture. {Rocket's went to a little boy named Peter in Madison, home of the Badgers and Tiny Dancer's showed up in baby Charlotte in Orlando, home of all things princess}. These are memories that they still share as special, knowing that the loss of their tooth is living on with another child.
Mr. Tooth Fairy even mentioned last night that he was plum out of gold coins, so it is not as if it was a surprise that this was happening.
The Rocket, who will turn officially teenaged next week, lost his last one within the last year. And the same thing happened. The Tooth Fairy was up way too late in her studio and then crawled up into bed. In the morning, no gold coins {incidentally, Rocket was not that concerned, said he knew "The Truth," and didn't know what to do about these gold coins anyway! He didn't know they were actual dollars!}

You wouldn't even know that she was missing one. We have always called her our shark-tooth baby. Her next tooth has been waiting in the wings for weeks, peeking halfway out of the pink blanket of her gums, jutting into her mouth at weird angles like mountainous peaks. When the old one falls out the new one wastes no time filling that space, so that within an hour she has a full set of teeth again. This happened for nearly every tooth in her head. So we have rarely, if ever, had that jack-o-lantern grin in pictures with her.
But that small voice this morning broke my heart.
When this sort of thing happened when the Rocket was a wee one, the Tooth Fairy left a nice note in the pillow about having so many homes to visit and she knew that he would understand. I am not so sure that a note from the Tooth Fairy would work this time.
It is not so much that she lost a tooth and the Tooth Fairy missed it. It is more heartbreaking to know that this is the last shred of innocence that is now washed away. Even if the Tooth Fairy comes tonight bearing two gold coins and a heartfelt note about how sorry she is, there is an irreprable crack in the vessel of belief that this child carries.
So I am a bit sad today. My little girl is growing up {she is, after all, 10 years old - quite a long time for the belief to hold true} and my days as the bearer of all things magical and good is vanishing, too.
Do you remember the moment that you stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus? Or when your own kids found out?
How would you handle this... try to restore her faith with a note and a coin tonight? Or discuss what happened and dispel the myth?
Do tell! (Seriously, I am kicking myself and I could use the advice!)
Enjoy the day!

16 March 2011

BTW::Weary & Wise

"Rest when you`re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work." ~Ralph Marston

I'm pooped. Draggin'. Tuckered out. But I am also like a vessel that is filled to overflowing. I am trying my best to keep from tipping and spilling out the precious things that I have learned. It has been an incredible week.
{my bezels...and my chain}
  • I spent the past few days in Virginia soaking up as much information as I could from a gracious and kind soul who was quite possibly the best instructor in metalsmithing I have every had.Yes. She is that good.
  • I am delighted that I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie Lee. She makes you feel so comfortable, as if you are pulling up a chair at her kitchen table while you make unbelievably pretty things. It always makes me giddy to meet someone whose work I admire so very much. And I feel so much wiser than before.
{view from my seat... next to the very adorable Ryan with the chocolate chip eyes ;-}
  • I get tired of flying, and weary of transportation to and from the airport (especially when it is an hour later than promised which lead to the uncertainty of perhaps missing my flight home). But it was amazing to find a former 7th grade student (my favorite) sitting next to me on the plane. That made the 2 hour flight just fly by!
  • I am emotionally spent from the thrill of meeting so many people that I have only read about online... Lori Anderson, Cindy Wimmer, Jeanette Ryan... and meeting new friendly faces like Sandi Volpe, Melissa Meman, Cynthia of Cynful Creations (who flew in from Canada!), and Tracy Statler who wasn't taking the class, but decided to come over and meet us for dinner! Having that real live connection is so important and makes me long for the day when I can come back for another visit.
  • I am overwhelmed by the things happening at my job. I moved into a new office in the days before I left. And you know what it is like when you come back to find out what was done in your absence. I am still sorting that out... and trying to find a place for everything in my new office space. 
  • I am saddened by the events that are happening in my own state and in the world at large. It makes me think that maybe what I am doing is not really helping or making a difference... but then again, channeling your passion and giving your life purpose and making artful things is a way to plug the gaping holes that are threatening to widen in our cultural and emotional ozone layer. So I keep on plugging away!
  • I am over-extended a bit in the custom creating department. For my pendants that I love but have not had the time to complete the process... for the deadlines that I am trying my best to meet... for the new gallery exhibit that is consuming my best self... But there are people counting on me so I must keep going, even if it seems to be taking me forever.
  • I am amazed that I was allowed to play with fire. Me. The Klutz. And I, and my fellow classmates, lived to tell about it! But I am a bit concerned that I will be able to find my torch, and have the courage to use it, and be able to convince my family that I will be super careful and open all the kitchen windows when I do. But not late at night. 
{yes, i am able to torch a pipe and take photographs at the same time}
  • I am tapped out a bit creatively. Gathering all the new knowledge that I now have and allowing it to settle in my soul, to gel and morph into the cracks in my brain and trying to devise where this information will lead me is a bit draining. But I will get right back up on that horse. Soon. I promise.
I am oh-so-glad to be back at home. I have a renewed sense of purpose and direction. I am excited that I have found some new tools and supplies to acquire. I am grateful for the friendship and support I have been shown. ArtBliss truly recharged my spirit and refreshed my soul. Thank you Cindy and Jeanette for being the most wonderful hostesses and to Stephanie for sharing of yourself so willingly!

{my sweet little pipe bezels...stephanie challenged me to try to make a crown on the top and i did it!}

My Bead Table Wednesday is a few shots of what I was working on in the class with Stephanie Lee last weekend at ArtBliss. I will write more of the process when I can. Cross my heart. But for now I am off to bed.

What makes you weary? Are there things that make your soul tired? Have you ever been in a slump so bad that you felt your energy would not return and you would not be able to function? How did you get over that? Do tell!

10 March 2011

30 Words::Traveling

{Do you remember the Fisher Price Little People? I have fond memories of playing with these little wooden pieces. I think this is just adorable! From an Etsy seller named HappyTownUSA, coincidentally from Washington D.C. which is where I am headed!}

What to take to ArtBliss?
have packed and re-packed 
Never sure 
that I have enough.
Certain I forgot something.
(Jeanette will have me covered.)
Starting my vacation
I am off to D.C.! I am going to take the ArtBliss Workshops with artist Stephanie Lee!
I get to meet new people, including some treasured blogging friends!
See you next week!

What is the craziest thing that you have packed in your bags for a trip?
Do you think they will let me through security with a bag filled with assorted wire, a box full of beads and found objects and a kit full of pliers?
Have you ever been on a trip all by yourself? Where did you go? What did you do?

Enjoy the day!

07 March 2011

Not Good, but Great

"I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing." 
~Michel de Montaigne

I got stuck in the muck of not good enough. 

Quicksand warning sign Texel 2004
By Ralf Schulze from Koblenz, Germany, from Wikimedia Commons
I waded into a pit filled with quicksand that looked deceptively like my studio but held the promise of so much more because I could see the oasis that others were splashing around in and I wanted to be there, too. Have you ever felt that way?

There were tantalizing opportunities and exciting adventures just out of my grasp, swinging from vines above my head. I spent so much time looking up at their juicy goodness that I forgot to look down and see where I was standing in my own place and time. So I got stuck.

I couldn't move forward and I couldn't back out. I struggled.
Every time I wiggled a bit and twisted this way and that to reach for those experiences and test my focus I mired myself deeper. Wanting to go where others are leading rather than following my own path without regard for those distractions started to pull me down. I could see what others were doing and I wanted that.

Envy is a tantalizing mistress.Always just out of my reach and wouldn't you know it? She is no help in getting unstuck.
There is never enough time in a day to do it all. It is too easy to say yes, and dang hard to say no. It is my disregard for the necessary boundaries of saying no that caused me to put added weight on my own shoulders. These weights started to pull me down into the muck. I started to say mucky things like, "I'm not good enough" or  "I will never be able to catch up" or "I wish I could be more (fill in the blank)." But what was I trying to catch up to and why did I want to be something that I am not?

The muck brings out the yuck in you. I started to think about all those things that I am not good at. But then I thought, hey wait a minute! I am great at other things! So I started a list....

  • I am not good with math, but I am great with words.
  • I am not good at keeping my house clean, but I am great at laughing with my children.
  • I am not good at making Jell-O, but I am great at making Chocolate Chunk Banana Nut Crunch Bread.
  • I am not good at putting things away, but I am great at making a Jenga-esque mountain of dishes drying in the sink.
  • I am not good at filing paperwork, but I am great at writing thank you notes to my customers.
  • I am not good at putting a limit on my spending, but I am great at finding unbelievable bargains (like the Chico's jacket I picked up for... $2.38 the other day! Score!).
  • I am not good at folding the laundry (see the comment above about putting things away), but I am great at changing the sheets on the bed (even if it should happen more than it probably does!).
  • I am not good at playing basketball, but I am great at cheering.
  • I am not good at dancing (so says Tiny Dancer), but I am great at singing.
  • I am not good at making jewelry every day, but I am great at staying up until the wee hours doing creative things.
  • I am not good at washing my face every night, but I am great at moisturizing when I do.
  • I am not good at arriving early, but I am great at staying late.
  • I am not good at focusing sometimes, but I am great at listening.
  • I am not good at reading all the books that I buy, but I am great at loaning them out to people.
  • I am not good at estimating my time for a project, but I am great at getting the details right.
  • I am not good at sticking to a movement regime (the 'e' word makes me shudder), but I am great at making pledges to myself that I will be. 
  • I am not good at taking on more than I can handle, but I am great at finishing what I start (even if it takes me forever to do it!). 
  • I am not good at following directions, but I am great at figuring things out.

I want to get into the mindset of 'relishing in my uniqueness' as my friend Heather so wonderfully put it. I am not here to compete with others for anything... not the neighborhood I live in, or the virtual street corner I hang out on. I need to remind myself that I am content with who I am and what I am doing and although I would like to control the plan and where I am going, I need to stop and remember that I am unfolding exactly as I am meant to be.

I am not here to set the pace for anyone but myself, even if I have set that pace a bit too frantic for my own tastes lately, thank you very much. I need to take time for me, to relax, to reconnect, to revive (and I will this coming weekend!). I need to remember that it matters more if I look inward and set my internal compass to point me in the right direction than it does if I am following close behind a pace car that I am not driving. Because I know that I may not be good enough in some areas, but I am great in others. And that is exactly who I am meant to be.

So, what about you?
What are you not good at... but great at?
Do tell!

Oh, and before I forget! Lucky #7 comment is the redemption winner from the last post! (That's you, Deb, of Green Shoot Jewellry Designs in the UK!) You win one of my 'simple truths' pendants because you took the time to add your email address so we could continue the conversation!

Email me (enjoytheday{at}tesoritrovati{dot}com) your contact information and your choice of either one of the pendants for sale in my Etsy shop (retail value $12 or less) or what you would like to see on a custom one and I shall make it happen!

Enjoy the day!

05 March 2011

Winners, Plural

"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else."
~ Albert Einstein 

That's right. I said winners. Plural. I mean, what else could I do with 190 comments?

190 comments?! Wow! This was the best soup party yet! 

I have to apologize if I have not left a comment on your soup. Yet. I got bogged down in some major deadlines this week and I still have about 40+ more to go. I promise that I will get there to sample your soup! Keep a little bit of leftovers just for me!

I am a busy bee making more of my 'simple truths' pendants right now and since that is what I am giving away to not one... not two... but THREE lucky winners, this is a great time to choose! 

The rules were that you had to leave a comment, any comment on the post. AND you also had to have some way for me to get in touch with you directly. I found it a bit disheartening to find that there are scads of soup-ers out there how do not have their email visible in their profile, or didn't bother to leave their email in the comments. 

That makes me so very sad. 
You see, I love to respond to each and every comment that is made on my blog. {Okay, I don't always respond to EVERY comment. And I am still going back and re-reading certain comments from certain posts that were very personal for me. But I really do try.} I love it when I get a comment and it has the email turned on so that all I need to do is hit reply and we can keep the conversation going. It feels like maybe we are friends sharing a chat over our favorite beverage.
But if you don't have that turned on in your profile? Then you likely are not getting many comments back. 

So... if you left a comment on my Bead Soup post from last week, and you did NOT get a reply from me, it is likely that you don't have a way for me to find you. {And unfortunately, that means that you were out of the running of the swag...} 
{Never fear if you were in that group! Read on for a redemption!}

It is a simple thing, really. And I want you to know that I have never experienced spam because of it, so don't let that stop you. 
Just go to your dashboard, and next to your pretty picture select "Edit Profile." From there you need to check that box next to "Show My Email Address." Your email address on file will be below. You can even change your email address for replies if that is not the one that you log in with. Don't forget to click save! Easy-peasy and sweet as pie you will start getting comments. 
[NOTE: I found a tutorial on another blog that will show you step by step if you just can't picture it from my description because I lack the ability to take a good screen shot. Click here.]

I encourage you to give it a try. I have yet to meet a blogger that doesn't like to get comments. This little check box will make it easy for the party to continue!

Okay. I am stepping off my soap box. On to the winners!
{What will it be ladies? One from my Etsy shop? Or a custom one made just for you?}
1st Prize - A 'simple truths' pendant (either one from my Etsy store valued at $12 or less OR a custom pendant just for you!) and that scrumptious bar of marzipan chocolate all the way from Germany goes to..................................................... 
2nd Prize - A 'simple truths' pendant goes to ..................................................... 
3rd Prize - A 'simple truths' pendant goes to ..................................................... 
CYNTHIA of CynthsBlog!

Ladies... please email me your contact information and choice.

But wait! Time for a redemption! If you were one of the unfortunate few who was an unwitting No-Reply sort of blogger, I encourage you to turn that email on and then leave me a comment on this post letting me know that you did,  (to which I will reply, of course! ;-). I want to hear from you (yes, you... and you... and you!). I will select ONE MORE WINNER of a 'simple truths' pendant from all former Non-Repliers pulled at random on Monday, March 7th!
Enjoy the day!

04 March 2011

Lyrics to Love: Precious

I don't watch award shows but that doesn't mean I don't pay attention.

When I found out that the big upset of the Grammys was that the Beib-ster lost out on the Best New Artist to a relatively unheard of, yet oh-so-talented jazz singer, I sat up and took notice. And it sounds like pre-teen girls can get pretty intense about their new obsession not winning, so much so that I heard that the winner's Wiki page was hijacked by crazed fans of the Beiber. That made me more intrigued.

{Esperanza Spaulding - check out the chunky fun jewelry she wears! I want to make something just for her. I think she would dig my Bead Soup concoction ;-}
 Esperanza Spaulding is a striking woman whose silky voice is accompanied by her double-bass. That is a huge instrument! I don't think that there are many women out there making a living playing that one.

I saw a video of her singing on stage with just that bass. It was mesmerizing watching her. I ordered her self-titled debut album from 2008.

It is heavy on the jazz. The kind of wild, frenetic ride that is popular in jazz clubs all over Chicago. Some of it has a very cultural, tribal influence, and I am not even sure what language she might be singing in some of them (Spanish?). It takes my ears some getting used to listening to this sort of jazz, because I have to get past the dissonance and competition that the instruments engage in to really hear the music. I won't lie, it is an acquired taste.

But there are gems on this album.

I like the ones that are more melodic, where I can discern the words and feel the journey that she is taking us on with her music. I also especially love good harmonies (because I sing along with her at the top of my lungs in the car ;-).

What I love about her is that she just oozes pure talent and cool. She feels the music and is one with her instrument. I have always thought that those who can sing and play something at the same time are truly talented.

I am smitten with the sound and the lyrics of the song "Precious." See if you feel the same. (Scroll down to view a video of this song performed live.)

Love me or leave me
But please
Don't deceive me
And say you
Love me how I am
You love the way
I fit some ideal
Not the real woman
You've yet to understand
See love ain't all heaven
And I am no angel
But I do the best I can

You always wanted
Something more from my body
And said you needed
Something more from my loving
But all you got was me
And that's all that I can be
I'm sorry if it let you down

Now it's no nice excuse
But all the magic was used
Up on trying to uphold
Some kind of tame
Flattering persona
That soon enough
Was getting real old
It takes more than pressure
To change rock to diamond
Now all you have is sand
Slipping through your fingers

You always wanted
Something more from my body
And said you needed
Something more from my loving
But all you got was me
And that's all that I can be
I'm sorry if it let you down

But I'm not gonna sit around
And waste
My precious divine energy
Trying to explain
And being ashamed of things
You think are wrong with me
I'm not gonna sit around
And waste
My precious divine energy
Trying to explain
And being ashamed
Of what you think
Is wrong with me

Set you up
You say I set you up
Like I was different
Than what I am
Offering you now
And drug your heart around
Did you forget about
All of the love
And the acceptance
That you promised me too?

You always wanted
Something more from my body
And said you needed
Something more from my loving
But all you got was me
And that's all that I can be
I'm sorry if it let you down
You always wanted
Something more from my body
And said you needed
Something more from my loving
But all you got was me
And that's all that I can be
I'm sorry if it let you down

But I'm not gonna sit around
And waste
My precious divine energy
Trying to explain
And being ashamed of things
You think are wrong with me
Me, I'm not gonna sit around
And waste
My precious divine energy
Trying to explain
And being ashamed
Of what you think is wrong
With melt let you down

What do you think of Esperanza?
What artists are you listening to?
Is there a song that has gripped your soul and haunts you?
What is it that gets ahold of you... the lyrics? the melodies? the harmonies?
Do tell!

02 March 2011

BTW: Sneak Peek

Thanks to Heather Powers of Humblebeads, I have a new dread of Wednesdays.

Because I work such late nights, I forget what day it actually is. So it is not without much anxiety that on Wednesday mornings my blog roll greets me with the reminder that I am, in fact, a slacker. I cannot seem to remember that it is Bead Table Wednesday until oh, maybe Thursday! And Bead Table Thursday just doesn't have the same ring to it. I love this idea though, and want to play along.

I think the best part of seeing all the BTWs is that I don't feel so all alone piled under baggies of beads in my studio late at night, because that is what you all are doing as well! It is still, technically, Wednesday, so I guess this week I am not the biggest slacker.

So here is what I have been working on for the past two nights.

I can't tell you what it is for... yet. But I am pretty stoked about it! (I know. I am such a tease! ;-)

I am also still swimming in heaping bowls of Bead Soup! It is so yummy! I am determined to visit every single one and leave a comment. I will select the winner of my 'simple truths' pendant from all comments on this post through Friday, March 4th. I am working on getting some more of the 'simple truths' pendants made for a shop update and I am hoping to use as many of the suggestions I have been getting as possible! (And if you are waiting on me for a custom 'simple truths' it is coming! I promise!)

Tell me this...
I am always looking for the next big thing (to me), some beads or components or materials that are unlike any I have ever worked with before.

Where do you find the newest, hottest beads?
Are they right under your nose and packed in baggies in boxes you forgot you had? 
Or are they in a store that you are lucky enough to have in your town? 
Maybe you are an Etsy junkie like me? 
Perhaps you look to magazines and books? 
Or maybe direct links to the bead artists themselves or catalogs and websites of online retailers? 
What is your best source for the beads that you can't live without?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


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