29 July 2011

My Winding Journey to Joy

"The gathering of gifted and kindred souls in the name of creativity has unforeseeable wonders ready to unravel in each twist and turn of our winding journey to joy."

~ Jill Badonsky

The older I get the more that I agree with this statement. It is no longer a luxury for me. It is a necessity.

My birthday is next month (stay tuned for more fun to come!). I share a birthday with someone who has become one of my very best friends. Heather Powers.

I first spotted her (beads) on the pages of a magazine.

I contacted her through her blog.

We grew a friendship through email.

We connected over art beads.

We met in real life and it just keeps getting better.

I feel very blessed that our paths crossed.

When we first met in person, Heather trusted me enough to share a secret. She was writing a book. Or at the time, a book proposal. And driving around (okay, getting lost in) Milwaukee (with me just pretending we were seeing the pretty sights) I was completely enamored of the idea that someone I might know would write a book. Because that is a hope of mine one day.

It has taken a few years, but that little seed of an idea that Heather shared with me has grown into the most marvelous of books. I know. I have seen the proof copy with my own eyes. I have held it in my hand and oohed and ahhed. It is something you will want on your bookshelf or coffee table. Trust me.

To spread the seed of creativity to others, Heather came up with a brilliant idea: the Inspired By Nature retreat. What would be better than spending a nice long weekend on the shores of the beautiful Lake Michigan, soaking up the creative juices from a respected and prolific artist? To be in a serene and lovely setting with other like-minded individuals creating and sharing and inspiring each other. That, my friends is heaven.

As a birthday present to me, I signed up for the Inspired by Nature retreat. Last time I checked there were only 3 spaces left, so if you are interested, you should rush right over and find out if you can join in the fun.

Earlier this year I had went to ArtBliss in Washington, D.C. put on by the ever lovely Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix Ryan. The class was with Stephanie Lee of Semi-Precious Salvage fame, and it was one of those defining moments for me. It was a great time. I met new people. Connected with friends (like Tracy and Lori) I only knew online. Created things that I never thought would be possible for me. It was marvelous.

I really value the time that I spent in these creative communities. If you haven't gone to a creative retreat yourself, I highly recommend it. It will nurture your creative soul to be surrounded by those who 'get' you. You will come away with a renewed sense of purpose and a completely enhanced skill set. You will make friendships that will continue even across the miles.

I think that from now on I will be making creative retreats a permanent part of my year. I will be seeking a new one out to either go to solo or to attend with a friend. And maybe I will even seek out retreats that that aren't jewelry related, because pursuing other artistic endeavors allows me to expand my own creative horizons.

Here are some other art retreats that I have considered in the past (and will consider for the future - anyone interested?):

Valley Ridge Art Studio - This retreat is held right here in my home state of Wisconsin. This southern Wisconsin art collective is nestled among the rolling hills in a most bucolic setting. They attract big players like Thomas Mann, Susan Lenart Kazmer and Keith Lo Bue. But they fill up fast. Taking something there is going to be a goal of mine for 2012.

Art & Soul - I think that these might be the granddaddy of them all. How cool would it be to wing my way to Portland (a city I would love to visit!) and soak up the indie community there while immersing myself in art.
Here are the upcoming dates:
Portland 2011 ept 26/Oct 2, 2011
Virginia 2012 March 1-6, 2012
Las Vegas 2012 June 14-18, 2012
Portland 2012 Sept 30/Oct 6, 2012
Maybe one of these years!

Art Unraveled - Sounds like a lot of fun! The next one is starting on August 1st with a theme of Coloring Outside the Lines. And along with that, they also put on Adorn Me that will be in February 2012. The amount of variety in the classes is just staggering. And the talent! I would want to take classes from Diane Cook, Jen Cushman, Lora Hart, Janice Berkebile, Mary Hettmansperger, Thomas Mann, Jane & Richard Salley, Tracy Stanley, Kim St Jean, and Deryn Mentock (to name but a few). This one is a must do one of these years! Who's with me?

Getting away to a cabin in the woods to create? That sounds like the best sort of vacation to me! I have always had my eye on the Squam Art Workshops for that purpose.

And last, but certainly not least, the ArtBliss workshop that is coming up this fall is shaping up to be one dynamite event. If I hadn't blown my class-taking wad on the mini-ArtBliss this spring, I would be signing myself up for this one scheduled for September 23-25 in D.C. Classes with Kerry Bogert, Robert Dancik, and Christine Damm? I would have a hard time choosing!

But even if you can't get to a retreat, why not find a friend locally and get together for a little creativity session of your own. My friend Sharon and I have our eye on doing just that in the coming months! Or try a virtual creative meet up with people all around the world with the upcoming Bead Soup party... sign-ups are August 1-3!

Your turn...

Have you ever been to one of these creative retreats or another? Do tell so that we can live vicariously through you!
What would you like to do at a creative retreat... learn new skills? connect with others of the same mind? relax and be free? try a new art form? eat, drink and be merry? would you go alone or with a friend? would you travel across the country - or world - for one, or only if it were close by?
Do tell!

27 July 2011

BTW:: Spillage

Perhaps this should be called Bead FLOOR Wednesday.

Don't you just hate it when this happens?

This is what happens when you are moving so fast and so unsure of yourself in your own studio because you haven't been in there in a month that you knock the entire contents of your clasp container to the floor, it tumbles over, cracks the corner, and spills the contents all across your dark floor making it almost impossible to pick them all back up.

The good news is that I have resorted them into a better color and shape system.

The bad news is that I still don't know how many I have (inventory? That is a dirty word, isn't it?). But it looks like I won't need to buy any more lobster claw clasps for a good long time.

What is on your bead table today?

26 July 2011

Lucky Cowgirl

"The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights and makes no excuses." ~ Dale Evans

I am the least cowgirl girl that ever lived.

I am not rough and tumble. I have never ridden a horse. I am not remotely interested in chaps or flannel shirts. I am not a fan of getting my hands dirty. Or calloused.

I do think that I could rock a cowboy hat and boots, though.

But fashion aside, I am the least likeliest person to be found at a rodeo. And I once almost moved to Colorado. If I had I might be a different person today.

While my appearance would be the least cowgirl thing about me, I do believe in that quote above, in facing life head on, living by my own lights and making no excuses. So maybe I am not so opposite from a cowgirl after all.

So when I had the good fortune to meet up with Miss Melanie of Earthenwood Studios at the June Bead and Button show, I was tickled that I got the chance to pick out the piece that I wanted to design with for the Earthenwood Design team. She had either a feather or a horseshoe. I love the feather, but thought that would be too easy. I have designed a lot of things with birds. I decided to challenge myself so I chose the latter.
{With the word 'lucky' stamped on the back!}

"Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent."  
~Langston Coleman

It is not that I am a big fan of luck. Or even horseshoes. I believe that luck is what happens when you work hard. But I had come across a booth at Bead & Button that was so fresh and lovely that I just knew that this is the direction I wanted to go in. And that might have been lucky. Or just preparation intersecting with opportunity.

The booth was for The Lipstick Ranch. The lovely owner, Kara Docheff was working there and she is as open as the clear blue sky, fresh as a field of wildflowers and so down home sweet-as-pie that I loved soaking up her story and her fun wares. I even brought back all sorts of people to the booth, including Miss Melanie.

Kara and her family farm rust on their big ol' ranch in Colorado (plus some other traditional ranch farmin' stuff). Leaving big sheets of iron exposed to the elements will impart the most lovely and rich of natural patinas. They then plasma cut them into fun shapes, like pine cones and crosses and letters and stars and moose and butterflies. They seal them and sell these original pieces through their website or at shows like Bead and Button.
{Look at how cute that boot is with Miss Melanie's pendant.. I know? Right!}
I had already picked up a few already (just 10 for $30!), like a star and a skeleton key (squee!), but when I got this pendant with the most lovely sage green glaze on it from Miss Melanie I knew just what I needed to go back and buy: a cowboy boot. 

So here is a little sneak peek of what I created for the Earthenwood Design team

I call it "Lucky Cowgirl." Sorry to be so coy...I am not showing you the whole thing because I am hoping that it might get picked up and published someplace, I like it so much. 

I used an old rusty skeleton key from my prodigious stash, some of the last of my wire mesh green glass beads and wicked cool meshy chain vintage links from AD Adornments (I have a serious big crush on whatever think that Cathy unearths and a tiny bag that cost me quite a bit from the Bead and Button to prove it!), and leather cord. Lots and lots of leather cord. And I just noticed that you cannot even see the kick ass iron cowboy boot charm from the Lipstick Ranch. 

Maybe I am cowgirl lucky after all!

Do be sure to stop by Miss Melanie's blog and send some good vibes her way, she needs them. And check out what the rest of the team is up to

So, now it is your turn...
Do you believe in luck?
What is the luckiest thing that has every happened to you?
Do you feel more like the cowgirl or the rodeo clown? (I bet you can guess which one I feel like most days!)

Do tell!

25 July 2011

Play with me

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
~ George Bernard Shaw

Jennifer Cameron invited me to come along and "play." How could I refuse?

Jennifer is a gifted glass artist, and I had watched a similar charm swap that she held last fall. I loved the results of what the participants contributed and vowed to be on the list for the next one.

Today is reveal day for the charm exchange and the guidelines were simple. Create a charm based on the theme of "play" and make enough charms for everyone plus one extra to auction off. The proceeds from the auction benefit Beads of Courage.

Spring 2011 Participants:
2. Sandi Lee James: Do Be Do Bead Do
3. Mallory Hoffman: For the Love of Beads
4. Sue Kennedy: Sue Beads
5. Sally Russick: Wireworked
6. Erin Prais-Hintz: Treasures Found

I decided that I should make some jewelry out of these lovely charms because that is what I do! (And truthfully, if I didn't do it RIGHT NOW these lovely beady charms would languish in their bubble wrapped hell until I unearthed them some day!). I loved the bright colors and the variety of materials from metal to enamel to glass to wood to polymer clay. I originally set out to make one piece of jewelry with all six charms, but as happens so often in my studio, the beads had other plans. I ended up with two pieces.

I started out with one of  my most popular bracelet designs (and since I rarely make bracelets, that is saying something!). I don't make the same thing twice but I do make different editions of some things. I have made a similar bracelet like this now three times. Each time it is a little different because of the materials or colors used, but the effect is the same. This is a fun bracelet that goes with everything. The original is called "My Many Colored Days", and the second one was "Many Colors II," so this one would be "Many Colors III."

I will put this up for sale on my Etsy shop and when it sells, I will donate the proceeds to the Beads of Courage foundation.

{Buy this bracelet in my Etsy shop and I will donate the proceeds to Beads of Courage!}

I started with the painted wood polymer clay bead (I thought it was wood because it looked like a nice wood grain. It amazes me what you can create from polymer!) from Sandi Lee James because it was the perfect size and shape for the button loop clasp. And being wood polymer, I would not worry about the durability of it. Then I just strung colorful striped seed beads interspersed with dyed wood rondelles.

But wait! I forgot that I had a whole kit and caboodle of fun bits and bobs from Yvonne at MYElements. So I backtracked a bit to add in some plastic daisies.

Next I used Mallory Hoffman's too cute fishy. She works magic with glass! In the center I knew I needed a counterbalance, so I kept the pretty murrini glass bead from our hostess Jennifer Cameron as the dangle and put that to the middle.

I ended with a dottie glass bead from another one of my favorite lampwork artists, Miss Kerry Bogert. (I don't know if that is true, but it seems like it. My glass beads appear to have a party in the drawer when I am not looking and like to co-habitat with the other glass bead artists. I am so glad they get along!).

The second piece really stumped me because now the challenge was on to incorporate the remaining pieces. I was trying to do some sort of dangle thing with each, but it just seemed all off balance and they were competing. And while competition is sometimes a part of the games we play, I am more about cooperation. And that is when I looked down to see them all in a row. Aha! So that is what they were trying to tell me!

I actually took apart the piece from Sally Russick that was shaped like a top with two enameled domed disks and separated them. I wanted more of a chain reaction sense, they all connect in some way to one another. I started with my own polymer clay charm that says "have fun" and added it to the stamped disk from Jennifer. There are two little loops on the back of mine and I noticed that the stamped disk had a large squarish hole. So I squeezed one of the loops a bit to flatten it and made it sort of like a staple on the back to secure it.

I added a hole in the stamped disk, careful not to mar the words, and attached a beaded link comprised of an amethyst round, a blue enameled disk, an orange daisy spacer and the really cool beach ball bead from Sue Kennedy (another of my very favorite glass artists!).

For the remaining star stamped disk and enameled disk I created a sort of trapeze with wire and some more of the MYElements bits. When I stepped back and looked at it I realized that I had some colors repeating but I needed to balance out the colors so that there would be at least two of each: orange, blue, green, purple, yellow. I threw in a few more of the MYElements and realized that I had that little blue star from Sandi's piece. Perfect!

I call this "Have Fun and Play" for the stamped words.

Thank you to Miss Jennifer and all the lovely ladies for participating in this challenge. When is the next one?


Here are the links to the two sets of charms that are up for auction. Proceeds are going to Beads of Courage so bid early and often!
Lot 2: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140582764202&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT

And here is the link to the bracelet in my Etsy shop with the proceeds going to Beads of Courage as well. Thank you for your support!

Your turn...

What is your favorite game to play? to watch? 
Would you rather be a spectator or a player?
Do tell!

22 July 2011

Blurb All About It, Part I

"Software suppliers are trying to make their software packages more ‘user-friendly’… Their best approach so far has been to take all the old brochures and stamp the words ‘user-friendly’ on the cover.” ~ Bill Gates
So you might have wondered where I have been all week. I have wondered that myself.
The short answer is that I am tired. And I haven't stepped foot in my studio except to sit at my computer for hours on end.
It's no wonder that I am tired.
After recovering from the intense heat exhaustion of last weekend's ball games (In case you were wondering, we ended up losing the championship game to a team that without the extreme weather conditions would likely not have been a match for us, but being down one of our best pitchers/hitters and then having our top pitcher and one catcher have to get pulled for extreme heat exhaustion did not help our case. The good news is that we have broken the streak and still have a winning record, 21-1, and hopefully can focus on winning again for our last, home tournament.), I have wanted to do nothing but sleep. Sometimes you have to pay attention to that.
And this week we had what would be classified as the closest thing to a tornado without really being classified as a tornado whip through the center of Stevens Point. I never lost power or even knew that more than a wicked thunderstorm rolled through. But hundreds of the tallest, fattest trees throughout the city have been toppled over as if they were dominoes one on top of the other. In a cemetary I pass every day no less than 12 of these massive trees are felled. Power was out (re: no internet Tuesday or Wednesday) and two underpasses were so flooded that there were two cars floating in one from the flash flood. We are all fine, but that has delayed things as well.
When I did get into the studio on Thursday I only sat at the computer (my Muse, she seems to have left the building). I took something like eleventy-bazillion pictures over the course of the tournaments played so far, and I needed to get them off the card and stored someplace. (I wonder if I am running out of storage space yet...must get another external hard drive, stat.)
And then there was the great idea I have to put together a Blurb book for the team (have you figured out that I am the sort of person who bites off more than she can chew, underestimates the time needed to complete something and apparently has delusions of grandeur? So yeah, whipping up a book to cap off the entire season in less than a week would be right up my alley).

There are three different options for making a Blurb: Bookify online (no downloading, simple layouts, for photobooks only, re: too limited for me); BookSmart download (*Free* software, customizable layouts, large or small projects, use your own fonts (did you know that I love fonts?)); PDF to book (for 'creative professionals', integrated with InDesign, completely out of my league). I figured I would be in the mid-range and *Free* sounded good. So I set about downloading the *Free* software.

{Screenshot of BookSmart. When I can access my computer again, I will try to get a screenshot of the pages I am working on!}

Maybe I should be skeptical of things that come with the pricetag of *Free* and especially of the moniker *User-friendly*.

Now that I have started in the *Free* and *User-friendly* software, I am wondering if I should have stuck with the online, limited version, with just a bunch of big pictures on each page. But I sort of think of myself as a creative amateur professional and have no concept of time, so of course I went for it.
It looks simple enough. You upload your photos (although why I am uploading them when they are on my computer is beyond me), choose the layout you want for each page (you can even edit the layout to suit the individual page or create some custom layouts that you save for future use), and then drag and drop the photos (resizing them as needed) adding text wherever you like. It even saves automatically (saves to where, I am not sure, but when you read on you will know why this is the best feature).
{Time-sucking good time since 07-18-2011}
I spent a lot of time the past few nights just deciding what that layout will be (which is actually a smart way to go about it since there are like dozens of possible configurations). I decided on giving each kid 6 full pages in the book, starting with a page with their name and number and a great tight shot of them hitting. There will be candids and tons of action shots, and since each kid excels at a different type of action (one is a pitcher, the other is great at sliding, etc), their collage pages will reflect that. I plan to take more pictures next weekend, including a family shot of each kid and have left spaces to drop that in there. And the last page in their 6 will be one great parting shot of them with a funny, inspirational or encouraging quote from baseball's greatest stars. I even found a post that I wrote two years ago about things that I hoped the boys learned through baseball and tweaked that to fill the first two introductory pages.
After late (late, LATE) last night I have all the templates set up, have started on at least half the kids and finished about 4 of them. I am up to 80 pages currently, with the potential for more when I add in some group shots, a page for the little sisters and brothers (and older ones, too), and the coaches. 
Sounds like I have a great plan, right? 
I should have known something was up when I went to download the *Free* and *User-friendly* software and was told there was not enough room on my hard drive to accommodate it. Uh-oh. So I removed somethings that were just taking up space, and had the computer do something that compressed things.
Everything worked fine...until I went to upload the photos. Seems I crashed the first book that I set up. Looks like you can't upload all eleventy-bazillion pictures at once. Okay, good to know. That was when I shifted gears and went with the layouts first, pictures second approach.
That seemed to work okay. But then it would get hung up on one picture or one upload and I would walk away for 20 minutes. And if I tried to use the internet and Word at the same time, the whole system would shut down. (And I was ordering shoes like these  and two dresses like those for my upcoming 25th class reunion...important stuff people!)

(Yes, I bought two pairs of shoes and two dresses for one night. But the red one - that I really want - is backordered so it might be saved for another day. :-(
And don't get me started on the nightmare that is Norton with their automatic updates that kick in at midnight on my computer and ask me to install some Dell Resource CD every time (not supposed to happen but can't process unless I click cancel 16 times and then Norton's interface pops up as if I want to watch it tick through the process and as if I understand all the gobbledy-gook that it says I need to have 'repaired', and for the record I have gone through their customer "service", which by the way is completely outsourced and their solution was to give me even more days to this hell - needless to say I will NOT be renewing, but that won't come up until sometime in 2013).
So I sat with my eyes blurring over at about 12:30. And ultimately I had to force quit becuase the Norton running interfered with the BookSmart running and locked up the internet.
How I managed to get as far as I did is a mystery. And I can't wait to get back to *Free* and *User-friendly* project tonight!
But hey, I do like the results that I am getting. I am not ready to give up (I don't give up that easilty) and I am determined to beat this thing into submission (I am also tenacious if not stubborn). And hopefully next time I will have a link to a Blurb BookShow to share the entire book with you online!
So now it is your turn...
What has frustrated you the most lately?
How do you deal with frustration? Does it make you give up? Or does it make you dig your heels in deeper and spur you to beat it?

15 July 2011

Play Ball!

This past week (okay, really this past four months) have been a blur of baseball, softball and tournaments. And that also means that I have cooked only a handful of times. If it is not driving through someplace we can usually be found eating at ballpark food. Thankfully, we have an awesome concession stand at the parks we play at and we can all find something we like.

I never used to like baseball. I thought it was slow and boring. But now that I have children that play it, and a family culture immersed in it, I love it. It is my favorite game to watch. And the people that we have come to know through this fine organization are like our 'summer family' the ones that I look forward to seeing all year long.

My son, Rocket, has been playing baseball since one very cold and icy day in April when the temperature outside hovered around the freezing mark with a windchill of whattheheck. This weekend for the tournament in Fond du Lac the weather will be in the mid-90s and likely sweltering. (There goes the super cute hairstyle that I just got tonight.)

Rocket's school ball team was undefeated, 8-0. 

Rocket's favorite position and one that he plays nearly every inning this year.

Then as soon as the school ball is done the rec ball is right on its heels. On Wednesday night Rocket and the Angels played for the consolation game and pulled it out in two extra innings to a win over the Athletics with a score of 12-6. Another medal for the trophy case.

This is what determination looks like.

Tiny Dancer even played ball again this summer. She didn't want to. She kicked and screamed (okay, more like she crabbed and pouted), but she did it. She ended up playing shortstop and third base and pitcher. She even did a little catching, just like her brother. And despite what she might say, she loved it. 
Getting that release down just right for the fastpitch takes a lot of concentration!
She forgets each year that there are some really cool girls that play softball. And on Tuesday night Tiny Dancer and the Cubs took it all the way and won the league championship. Now a smiling #4 has one particularly badass trophy.

Just like her big brother and could be just as good!
 But wait! There's more!

Tiny Dancer was voted by her peers to play in the All Star game. On Thursday her team the West was beat by the East by a rousing score of 5-6. It was a good game and capped off a great year. Plus she got another trophy and a t-shirt with her name on it.

Put it in play!
And this weekend we gear up for the 5th of 6 traveling ball tournaments that Rocket will play in. The traveling teams each year have been selected from the eligible players who make it to the All Star game for the boys league. Rocket has been playing with most of these same boys since he was nine.
But this year the boys are in what is called the Pony League (don't ask me why). And they have to try out. His team is the Nationals and they are the top 12 players who tried out. So pretty much those same kids are back at it again. And they are good. Okay. I am a mom of #8 and I think he is pretty special, but they really do have a pretty awesome thing going.

You see through four straight tournaments this year these boys have not lost one single game. Their record: 18-0. Last year their record was 16-4 and they have already bested themselves. Of course the hope is that they can keep that streak alive through this tournament in Fond du Lac and cap it off with a win in our home tournament at the end of the month. This might very well be the best season ever for one of the Plover tournaments. Certainly something that doesn't happen too often and that has a certain magic about it.

But even if they don't win all their games, they are a significantly talented, and fine bunch of young men that I have had the privilege of witnessing their transformation through the years.

Probably since my husband is the head coach (of not only the traveling team, but the rec league for Rocket and for Tiny Dancer, the 9-10 girls coordinator and the school ball coach) I have the honor of spending time in the dugout. I take a TON of pictures... my favorites are always of the close plays, the dirt flying, the spectacular catch and running down the line from base to base. Each year I do something with all these pictures for the families. I think that they have come to rely on it.  In fact, some don't even bring their cameras out anymore.

I have done slide shows with Smilebox (which is cool that you can send them to anyone and even download all pictures to print yourself) and last year I did photo collages for all the boys to frame.

Rocket's photo collage from the 2010 season
 But this year, with the special record and even more remarkable young men, I am thinking of doing something different. I think that I will try my hand at a writing a book.

I know. You thought that my first book would be all about jewelry. (Don't worry. I am working my way into that). I think that this will be pretty special, because I can do it all myself (control freak that I can be) with a little help from Blurb.

Never heard of Blurb? I read about them about 4 years ago and it was pretty cutting edge back then. I even downloaded the software and started a book back then but never finished it. I have since seen a book done by my friend Rainy and the process and quality is outstanding. Self-publishing has never been easier and you don't have to have a minimum run to do it. You can take your wedding photos, your child's drawings with their own story, or your favorite vacation photos. So, I plan to make a book about these boys of summer. 

The cool thing about a Blurb book, is that you do it all yourself, they provide the templates and software. You pick your size and different options and then when you publish it you can make it available to anyone who might like to buy it and you can even make a little profit on it. I think that Blurb (and I know that there are other such services out there now) is pretty fantastic. The possibilities are endless! I have always thought that would make a nice way to showcase a years worth of jewelry, like a 'look book' I think they call them, of my best work. And I should surely add a section to 2010 about my Gallery Q exhibit pieces. What a great way to recall the pieces I love most and have a portable portfolio of my work to share, as well as watch the evolution of design. I am going to give that some thought.

As I discover more about the Blurb process I will share them with you. But I am really excited about this and think that it will be a great memory for this special team in case this team is not the same next year or the year after. So that no matter where these boys take us we will always remember this one season that could be the most special yet.

Now is the time to make those memories stick. And hopefully next week, in our one and only bye week, I will have a chance to get the Blurb book started and get back into the Tesori Trovati of it all. (But I am not holding my breath on that last one. ;-)

Play ball!

Your turn...
Have you ever made one of the Blurb books? Share your experience!
What is your favorite team sport to watch? Is there anyone you know personally playing on a rec, school or professional level?
Do you love to eat ballpark food? If so, what is your favorite?

12 July 2011

Simple Truths: Make A Wish

"Beware what you set your heart upon. For it shall surely be yours."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don't know about you, but I like dandelions.

Their cheery yellow heads are popping up in lawns and roadsides and cracks in sidewalks all over the place at this time of year. They may be weeds, but I love them just the same. We saw an entire crop of them in an empty lot this past weekend on the way to our baseball tournament in Kimberly, WI that looked like it had been cultivated in row upon row. It made me smile. And while I wouldn't wish for them to invade my own lawn (because that would make my husband crazy!), I do appreciate their tenacity, and I was remind that soon their yellow petals will give way to fuzzy puffs with all the promise of a million and one wishes.

Wishes are funny things.

They are our deepest hopes and desires for what will make us deliriously happy.

But what if you get all that you wish for? Are you prepared for that?

Wishes aren't real until you say them aloud, preferably to someone else. Because in doing that you make that desire known, you give it life, you send it off spiralling into the cosmos like so many dandelion fluffs so that it has the higher likelihood of coming true. If the Universe doesn't know what you want and you don't know what is possible, how can the circumstances collide? For I believe that a wish that you harbor only in your heart will never be made real. Maybe that is why when we were kids and we made our silent wish and then sent the puffs spiraling into space those never came true because we kept them only in our hearts.

A crucial component to wishes is that you have to have the vision to see when the Universe comes calling with opportunities that will bring that wish to fruition, and the courage to act on them. Too often people make wishes that are not rooted in reality. Or the they fail to see the open door in front of them. Or worse, they see that their wish could come true but sabotage the chance by turning away for fear or lack of foresight.

To wish for immortality is ridiculous. But to wish for a long and healthy life is a wish that is reality based and therefore achieveable with a myriad of opportunities that will present themselves for you to choose from to make it happen.

For my own part I would love to wish for the ability to just quit my job and sit around creating all day. That is not part of my reality. I have to work, if not for me, for my family. Rather it would be better to wish for an opportunity to do meaningful work for a company that would allow me to do what I do best... which is to write and design and inspire others to live up to their potential to be the creative people that I believe we all are called to be. I am not sure that such a position exists, but in confessing my wish to all of you, I have opened myself to the possibility and encouraged the Universe to align my desires with opportunities.

Puffing on that dandelion and wishing in my heart is not enough. There are a thousand little seeds that get planted from those dandelion puffs and any one of them could take hold and blossom into exactly that dream come true for me. I have to remember not to overlook those opportunities that could be disguised as weeds when I am looking for the roses to bloom.

These 'simple truths' pictured above are the limited edition pendants for July that were just mailed out to the 'simple truths sampler club.' I am trying a new finishing technique on them that I am quite delighted in, and as soon as all this baseball settles down, I will get back to making more. It is my hope that in creating a piece of jewelry with this piece that the designers are making a living mantra to remind the wearer that wishes aren't just a childish game we play with dandelion puffs on the breeze, but that we all have the power to make our deepest hopes and desires come true if we believe in them and we make manifest our wish.

Your turn...
What is your wish?

Enjoy the day!

07 July 2011

Words of Wisdom: Just B.E.

A poem in pendants, 'simple truths' style!

we are a lot alike, aren't we?


for the best

and cling to the notion that

The truth is that we
need to have

in the beauty of our convictions

and trust that we will

if we but allow ourselves to

But you have to


in order for it to come true.

Now is your time to

and by nurturing your soul, you will

and that will allow you to

in the things that mean the most to you.

Remember that you have a light,
so step away from the beacons you are following and

But no matter what,


Some of these are new creations in my 'simple truths' line. Watch for some of these (sorry, some of these have already found homes) to pop into the shop by tomorrow. I will stay up all night if I have to. (As if that has never happened before ;-)

I have been absent a bit because I have been enjoying time with family, watching baseball games and eating way too many Boomer burgers, and coming up with new designs and new directions. I hope you have been enjoying your summertime, too. Stay tuned for more on these... but in the meantime...

What message is the Universe telling you today?

Enjoy the day!


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