27 December 2011

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Done with Christmas Leftovers

Chandler: Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
Phoebe: Stick a fork what?
Chandler: You know, like when you're cooking a steak.
Phoebe: Oh, I don't eat meat.
Chandler: Well how do you tell when vegetables are done?
Phoebe: Well you just, you know, you eat them and you can tell.
Chandler: Okay, then eat me, I'm done.
~ Friends
Are you as stuffed as I am? It was three solid days of eating and drinking and piles of wrapping paper and whining (and wining) and more eating and piles of dirty dishes. But it was so very fun.

Yesterday evening we relaxed on the couch and watched the last two Harry Potter movies. Makes me think that maybe I didn't read that last book. So much of it was new to me. But it was such a good movie series.

Today I brought in the leftovers to work. Enough for a fourth day of feasting! Luckily, Tuesdays are my half day so I won't be here to eat any more of it.

And speaking of leftovers, the winner of the Christmas Leftovers bracelet is.....

Here is what cryssT said...

"What a nice blog about Christmas and making it have meaning. Those are beautiful bracelets that you have crafted. The red one has such deep wonderful color that I find I really like it best of the two. Anyway, hope your Christmas with family was great. ~cryssT"

cryssT, please email me your address at enjoytheday(at)tesoritrovati(dot)com and I will mail out the red LOVE bracelet.

But wait! I decided that in the true spirit of the season, I wanted to spread more JOY, so I am gifting the JOY bracelet to....

Cindi, please email me your address at enjoytheday(at)tesoritrovati(dot)com and I will mail out the greem JOY bracelet.


Is there a present in your family that brings a tear to the eye each year? One year when I was in high school it was surprise tickets to Florida leaving on December 26th through New Years. Another time it was ring settings containing the diamonds from my grandmother's wedding ring, my grandma we called Bousha who died just before Christmas 1986. There were loads of tears that year.

This year it was my present to my daughter, Tiny Dancer.

Obviously, she is a dancer. She is good at it too. She often tells me that she wants to be a senior up on that stage. She also says that she wants to open a dance studio. I have told her that will take a lot of commitment and she will be giving up a lot in order to continue taking dance as much as she does now. For now she is all about that. But there could come a day when other interests take hold. So for now, if this is what she loves to do, I am all for encouraging it.

In the box with the sweatshirt from her dance studio, I added an envelope. Inside the envelope was the gift of dance performances. We have already attended an amazing performance this fall from the Azure Barton & Artists (Ms. Barton choreographed and danced with Mikhail Baryshnikov). We also saw the Afterimages performances by student choreographers at our very talented UW-Stevens Point dance and theater department. But I wanted to gift her more.

I wanted to expose her to different kinds of dance. So I bought her three performances in the coming year.

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia's production of Swan Lake to experience ballet. We will go with her favorite Aunt Mary and a friend of her choosing for dinner and the theater about an hour away (this will double as her birthday party). Ballet is not her favorite type of dance, but it is the foundation of all the dances she does. This will show a classic story told through dance with beautiful costumes and thrilling music.

The Lily Cai Chinese dance theater production to experience a world culture and unique contemporary dance. This will just be the two of us. The contemporary with a Chinese twist will be a fun way to travel the world through dance. Their use of props is fascinating and will show a different type of movement.

CATS at the Overture Center in Madison, WI (a truly remarkable place to see any performance) to experience the longest running Broadway show in history. This will be during our spring break for the entire family. (I am terribly allergic to cats, so this will be the only way to view them without sneezing for me!) Broadway theater is some of the most fun and this will be a great way to see what goes into making a contemporary musical theater performance.

Three performances with memories in the making.

There were much tears from my Tiny Dancer. I didn't expect that. She was so moved by the chance and that makes me feel even more gratified that this present hit the mark and will be appreciated (and especially since these tickets were not an inexpensive gift!). But I am glad that I hit the nail on the head with this present that will keep on giving through the first part of the year.

Your turn...
Were there any unexpected gifts that you received this year?
If you could be gifted with an experience, what would it be?
Do tell!

22 December 2011

Christmas Leftovers - Giveaway!

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
~Burton Hillis

Hop on over to Art Bead Scene today where I have a post up about what to do with Christmas Leftovers... of the beading kind!

I need a bit of a blog break to take care of making the holidays merry and bright around here.

We have my  husband's family on Christmas Eve, complete with a "red & green" theme this year (I was lobbying for dressing as the "12 Pains of Christmas" but I didn't win - next year I am pushing harder for that - "rigging up these lights!" Ahhahahaha!), Aunt Mary's chicken noodle soup that is all noodles and no soup and the famous White Elephant gift exchange. I think I will use the Left-Right-Center game to kick that off and get the presents moving.

I have just started wrapping gifts last night (special thanks to my husband who stayed up hours past his bedtime to wrap only the ones that with square corners!). A few have gone MIA and I hope to find them in time to give. Or they will be tucked away for a birthday or a random Tuesday. I also decided on Tuesday night that I needed to create something for the book lovers in the family so I came up with a clever design for a book mark and everyone is getting one personalized with one of those cute little intials pendants you see above. Maybe they will make the debut in the New Year on Etsy.

I will be hosting my family on Christmas Day after church. I am the 'Christmas Angel.' Every year with all the masses that are celebrated at our parish that are well attended (like the 6pm children's mass and the main 9pm one on Christmas Eve), there is not a cantor available who can take Christmas day. But since my husband's revelries last into the night, that is the only time we can go. So I end up being the Christmas Angel each year. I have a new pair of earrings I bought from Brandi Hussey before she closed down her shop that I am wearing on Christmas Day. I always love this celebration with the trees and the poinsettias and the creche. I even love the "Chreasters"... those that only come to church on Christmas or Easter (where I am the 'Easter Angel' as well). The carols are ones we will be familiar with but my favorite song I will sing is "Wood of the Cradle" (this is not me singing it, but a sweet girl named Emily with the voice of an angel.)

This afternoon and tomorrow (in between having all the carpets and tile cleaned in the house) I need to start baking and cooking. I made some of these Santa hat brownies a few weeks back and they were gobbled up. And I plan to jazz up my banana bread with this. Other goodies will be box mixed or those really cute and tasty corn flake wreaths, but I will make them shine by "dukesing" them up as my Bousha always said. We ordered a fancy deli meat and cheese tray from Ski's Meat Market and fresh baked bread from the Main Grain bakery. I will make my refreshing white wine sangria. My dad is bringing is famous Wild Rice Soup. It is laden with butter and cream with meaty hunks of ham bobbing up and down. It is a feast. And it is only brought out once a year (and believe me, that once a year is plenty!). There will be much oohing and ahhing all night long as we take the time to open one gift at a time. Slays the kids but exaggerates the fun for the rest of us!

It never really feels like Christmas to me until we attend the Christmas concert. My daughter's concert on Tuesday was so lovely. She had a solo in the performance and I am just blown away by her singing. (If I have time later i will see if I can post the song.) She wore the prettiest red dress, had her hair all curled up and sparkly and I made her a pair of dangly earrings to match. She is growing up so beautiful. Someday she will likely eclipse me as the Christmas Angel at mass. ;-)

I want to make someone's New Year bright. I would like to give away one of the bracelets above that I write about in the Art Bead Scene Post today. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and be sure to have a way for me to contact you (either turn your email on in your preferences or leave your email in the comments). You can comment about anything... but if you need some prompting...

What is the one gift that you are giving this Christmas that is the most special?

Winner will receive either the JOY or LOVE bracelet shown above. Winner will be chosen by random from all comments received through December 26th. I will announce the winner on December 27th.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. My husband just sent this to me: 11 Christmas Songs We Hope to Never Hear Again. I could have written this. EXACTLY what I have been harping on for YEARS! # 7 really gets my goat. And my kids think that my reaction to the line "Tonight, thank God it's them, instead of yooooouuuuu!" is hilarious. But seriously, people. It is horrendous.
But I think they missed out on adding in "The Christmas Shoes" song. Blech. Make it merry and bright!

19 December 2011

A Charming Gift

There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament.
~Henry Van Dyke

My cousin Jane visited with me at Easter this year. We had a delightful lunch at Christian's Bistro and she brought along a bag stuffed with jewelry that she inherited from her Nana and her mother, my Aunt Elsie.

I remember Jane's Nana. She was one classy lady, always dressed to the nines.

Nana was famous for wearing her 24kt gold charm bracelet. It was laden with charms from all her travels around the world, a sombrero from Mexico, the Statue of Liberty, the Capitol building, a working German bier stein. You can imagine how jangly this bauble was. And how heavy. Being that Nana was a slight woman, at some point all the charms were transferred to a necklace so that she would wear it layered with her pearls. Jane being the only daughter of 5 children inherited this and wanted to share it with the rest of the family. Her idea was that I would create some necklaces for the women in the family, each containing one of the charms.

We decided to start with four of the great-granddaughters of Nana, Jane's nieces: Jackie, Anna, Elizabeth and Barbara.

I am most lucky that Jane trusts me to tell their story through these charm necklaces.

I had a great budget to work with and that allowed me to pick out some beautiful pieces from Nina Designs. I recently had the opportunity to play with some of their new bronze pieces through their Blog Partner program. I thought it would be hard to match all the new gold charms to the old ones, so I opted to go with a variety of brushed gold plated sterling silver, the more rustic gold plated bronze and sterling silver as well as their birthstones, and mixed metals are so hot right now. I did all my shopping at Nina Designs (aside from what I already had in my stash) because I knew that the quality and the variety of what they offered would allow me to write each charm necklace story to be as unique as each girl.

{More Than You Know}

Jackie is the youngest child of Jane's brother Mark. I have to tell this story.

I once babysat Jackie and her brothers when she was just about 3 years old and her brothers were about 5 and 6. I haven't seen her in many years but I am still chuckling over the time. I was folding some laundry in the house while the kids were outside. Jackie's brother Eddie came into the kitchen and asked me where the towels were. I directed him to the drawer in the kitchen. That aroused my curiosity. I opened the door into the garage and was sprayed with the garden hose. They were in there playing "car wash". Jackie was standing there hopping up and down in the middle of the stream of water drenched from head to toe as the cars were being doused with water. And the windows were open so it was an interior wash as well. I lost my cool at that moment and I will never forget the moment that Jackie saw me lose it and went from absolute joy to tears. It is a funny moment to look back on.

For Jackie, Jane chose the palm trees from Hawaii. To round out the rest of the charms, I selected a wave charm holder in sterling silver. I selected an initial for each girl in a 24kt gold plated over sterling silver with a pretty bright brushed finish. A bronze owl charm (they are quite silky and give the look of gold without the price!) paired with a sterling silver feather charm and a freshwater pearl for Jackie's June birthday.
I call this "More Than You Know" for Jackie, because I am sure that she is a bright and successful young woman now, but sometimes we need a reminder of how very special we are.

{Dreams Come True}

Anna is the youngest of the nieces in this group. She is a lovely young lady just younger than my son Rocket, the youngest of my cousin Paul's children whom they adopted from Russia when she was very small. I call Anna's necklace "Dreams Come True".

The sterling silver cloud reminds me that there is always a silver lining. The charm from Nana is a gold treble clef. I wanted to remind Anna that she is a star on the rise so I found a sterling silver shooting star charm and a crescent moon with star to go with her gold plated initial. To celebrate her birthday in February, three pale amethyst faceted rondelles and sterling rope spacers.

I am wishing for Anna that she follow her dreams whatever they may be and remembers to see the positive in any situation.

{Bee Yourself}

Elizabeth, the second oldest of my cousin Paul's children is a young woman making her way in the world. I found the sterling silver leafy vine charm holder for her. The cool thing about this one is that the charms are removeable if she likes. A bronze bee is seen hovering over a Bali sterling silver flower. Bees are very industrious and hard working and this opening flower reminds me that there is so much to be revealed in her life like the petals of a rose unfolding. Elizabeth goes by the name of Libby, but we decided that the "E" was more appropriate for her initial. A smooth aquamarine teardrop for her March birthday was added to two special charms. The Inuit symbol  from Alaska is from Nana's necklace to remind Libby of all the mysteries that await her in the world, and the pale blue enameled Mary medallion from her grandmother Elsie to remind her to stay true to what is important.

Libby may go around the world and experience many things, but the most important lesson is to "Bee Yourself."

{New Beginnings}

The eldest of Paul's children, Barbara just got engaged. This is such a happy time for their family as they welcome this new member into their ranks and celebrate the life journey that Barbara is starting. Symbols of new life and happy beginnings abound in this necklace.

Hanging from sterling silver branch are a gold plated inital charm, a sterling silver leaf, a gold plated bronze nest and a tiny sterling silver acorn. Barbara's birthstone for February is a faceted deep amethyst round. And this sweet little cuckoo clock charm from Nana's necklace from Germany reminded me of a bird house, and the start of her new life.

May this necklace be worn by Barbara as she embarks on these exciting "New Beginnings"!

All of the necklaces were hung on a delicate 14kt gold filled Saturn chain.

I sent all these out to Jane in Ohio last week and hope that they have been received and are winging their way to stockings, coincidenatlly, back here in Wisconsin (I could have hand delivered them for her!). Thank you, Jane for trusting me with telling the story of these lovely young ladies! I look forward to working with you this coming year to complete the rest of the necklaces!

Your turn...

If you were going to have your life told in charms, what charms would you select?

17 December 2011

Ornament Blog Hop: The Nutcracker

"According to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to your family and protect your home. The legend says that a nutcracker represents power and strength and serves like a trusty watch dog guarding your family from evil spirits and danger. A fierce protector, the nutcracker bares its teeth to the evil spirits and serves as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill."

The Nutcracker is a beloved Christmas tradition the world over but most certainly in the United States where the ballet is performed yearly around the country. 

The Nutcracker ballet was based on a story called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King written by Alexander Dumas in the late 1800s. Tchikovsky composed the music with strict guidelines from the choreographer Marius Petipa, which included exactly the number of bars in a set and the tempo. Understandably, Tchaikovsky was not fond of working under such tight constraints and the music almost did not get written. I, for one, am so glad that it did because that music is some of the most recognizable and enduring of all time.

I can still hear the crackle and pop from the stereo as the 33 LP record played. My father would put those records on through the Christmas Eve night. I loved getting lost in the story that was told through the music. 

My favorite of all scenes are the ones with the dances from the different countries called the Character Dances in the second act. The way the music captures the cultural identity of these countries has always entranced me. The music that I long most to hear are the somber tones of the Arabian/Coffee Dance. I would lose myself in a sort of trance during that music only to be reawakened by the lively notes of the Chinese/Tea dance. The Russian/Trepak Dance is stirring and the Waltz of the Flowers is so very ethereal.

But the pas de deux (literally 'steps of two') by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier is so amazing. To see it performed live on stage is quite a sight. I didn't get the chance this year to see it, but I would really like to make that part of my holiday tradition. Maybe I can still find a televised version of it.

In deciding on an ornament to offer my dear partner Alice Peterson for this hop, I decided that the Nutcracker would be perfect so I made one in my 'simple truths' style. It is an easily recognizable symbol of the holiday and often evokes very happy memories through the ballet or the story or the music. It is a very traditional decoration that I hope will bring protection and strength to Alice's family and envelope them in a mantle of peace and goodwill for the coming year and every year they hang it on their tree. I added a pretty red ribbon for hanging and embellished it with a little beaded cluster of holly leaves and berries. If she wants she can even remove the ribbon and put it on a chain to wear it for Christmas.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Please go and check out the rest of the participants of the Ornament Blog Hop on Sally Russick's WireWorked blog.

14 December 2011

Snowflakes Stick Together

"A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!"
  ~Author Unknown

Living in Wisconsin, it is hard to escape a winter landscape. But it is not as bleak as you might think.

The colors of spring and summer are long gone and the explosion on hues from the fall have blown away like so many leaves swirling in eddies at my feet as I walk. But there is color to the frozen tundra. 

The way the sky melts just so at that in-between time right before it rapidly descends to dark is my favorite time of day. The last rays of the sun dance along the blanket of white showing nuances of blue and gray in the shadows. But the real star is the sky at the horizon. If there are wispy clouds they will be tinged with soft cashmere hues of pink and orange and red. Throw a little lavender and just a hint of blue and you have a sight to see. 

I am often found on my front porch just oohing at the sky. Until my toes start to freeze and my nose grows icicles. If it weren't for the cold I would stand out there all day long. 

That is what I have tried to capture with these slight washes of color. These snowflakes, with a custom made message, have been proving to be popular in my shop, at the Gallery Q and with my friends and family. 

And each one is one of a kind, as it should be.


Thank you all kindly for your very insightful thoughts on my post from Tuesday. I really wasn't trolling for compliments and it always takes me aback when people are surprised that I have feelings of inadequacy and 'what ifs'. I am so much more like all of you than you realize. I figure that if I have these struggles it is best to share them because the insights that I get from all of you are golden. I tend to get very inward-focused at this time of year, and it seems from the comments that I am not alone. Your thoughtful comments have made me pause, and I am savoring each one of them. And I will comment back if you have allowed a way to receive that so we can carry on the conversation. If I have sparked your own inner dialogue, I am grateful.


I just found out in the last few days that I had an epic failure. I was alerted from one of my 'simple truths' sampler club members that she received my nice festive note....with no charm inside. Uh-oh. So I quickly emailed all the sampler members and found that several more had received the card, with the glue unstuck, but did receive the charm. That will teach me to use a very old set of cards that I had been hoarding for years. And it will teach me to make sure that everything is taped shut! 

Only a few went missing, but I have yet to hear back from everyone. So if you are reading this, and you received your card from me sans charm, do let me know! I am sending out replacements this week (with my tail between my legs... this has never happened and I will not allow it to happen again!)

This is a week of continuing gratitude as I thank the steadfast members of the 'simple truths' sampler club. You know who you are. And I hope you know how much I appreciate you!
Your turn...
What would your snowflake message be?
A name and a date?
A message of hope?
A snippet of poetry?

Do tell!

13 December 2011

Random Acts of Wisdom: Regrets

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."
~ Arthur Miller
{"Regret" mini art feeling from Art Mind on Etsy}

When I hit my 40th birthday, I made a statement that my living would serve two purposes: to live a creative life and to live without regret. I think that I have worked hard to fulfill my first quest, but there is still a lot more that I could do, and I am not talking about making more necklaces or writing more magazine articles. Sometimes it is as simple as finally picking a color to cover the drab taupe walls that came with the house, or to put the pictures of my kids in frames and actually hang them on the wall. I am working on that.

But that second one, boy is that the tough one.

Perhaps it was naive of me to think that I could live a life without regrets. All life is filled with choices every day, and each choice implies a corresponding regret. I chose not to buy that double chocolate chip peanut butter scone this morning and now my stomach is letting me know that regret. Sometimes we agonize more over the small choices we are faced with every day, rather than grapple with the big ones that will have a mightier impact on our regret level. It is far easier to deal with that hunger pain.

When I made that declaration, it was with the intent that I was going to turn my hobby into my job. Little did I know how challenging living up to that statement would be. I am working at that every single day, I think I have what it takes, but yet here I am, 3 1/2 years later sitting in the same chair and going nowhere. I know that there are those who argue that I should not do that, that trying to make something that you love to do into your life's work spells disaster for continuing that love.

I beg to differ.

I think that you need to be loving what you do to feel fulfilled. I speak from experience in that my daily life is so uninspired, so unfulfilling. My most fundamental needs are not being met, and that crushes me just a little bit each day.

I have a fundamental need to do things that are creative.

I have a fundamental need to tell stories.

I have a fundamental need to connect to other people, to encourage, inspire and educate.

I am trying fiercely to align my fundamental needs with the choices that I make. But I won't lie. It has been very hard.

"Some choices hold you down.
Some chances set you free."
~Christine Kane

Every year at this time it seems that I come back to this same theme. It makes me feel just a bit helpless and sad that I have this recurring theme, that I can't get my own record unstuck from the groove that it is sticking in, when it is infinitely easy for me to nudge others.

There are a thousand choices that we are faced with every day. Each choice represents a path that we can follow setting up a whole new set of choices. A sort of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' for real life. And if you are like me, you see every chance as an opportunity and want to leap at it. It might be an open door that could lead you to a whole new set of options, perhaps the one that will set you free.

But maybe I am making the wrong choice by waiting for that pefect chance. Perhaps I need to create my own chances if I really want to be set free.

Is it possible to end up with the 'right regrets'? What would that look like for you?

For me, the right regret would be having less money in my pocket, but more time in my studio doing something creatively fulfilling, what I feel called to do. The right regret would be giving up a daily commute, but having time to volunteer in my children's schools, make actual dinners and maybe even clean my house. The right regret would be to sacrifice a steady and necessary income, but loving what I do every day and not having to wait until 10pm to get started each night. (Oh, daylight hours! How I long to see you!)

But my biggest regret is that I lack the courage to make these 'right regrets' a reality, even though I am chipping away at it every day.

Your turn...
What would the 'right regrets' look like for you?
What choices are holding you down?
What steps could you take to create your own chance to be set free?

12 December 2011

Thank You Seems Too Weak

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

Just a quick post today to say Thank You to all who stopped by the blogs on the Artists Helping Artists auction this past weekend. Truly inspiring to see everyone come together. The comments were just as uplifting as the bids. Thank you seems too mild a sentiment. The generosity of so many will surely change the lives of those for whom this auction is intended. I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful {cyber}friends!

The winning bidder on the pretty "Frosted Berries" bracelet offered by Regina Santerre is....


the winner of the necklace "New Growth, New Directions" offered by Erin Prais-Hintz is

Barabara Bechtel will be in touch to arrange for the payment.

Thank you so much!

10 December 2011

Artists Helping Artists, Part II

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not. 
~Dr. Seuss

The outpouring of love and generosity this week has been amazing. I saw that someone likened this auction to being "Friend-bombed." What a great concept! 

I have discovered a few new auctions going on that I want to call attention to that weren't in the original list. 

Miss Regina of SundanceGems has offered up her lovely 'Frosted Berries' bracelet and asked that I post it on my blog. This bracelet was her entry in the Challenge of Color blog hop on November 30. Regina's color palette was red with touches of gray and cream. She designed a perfectly wintery bauble that really looks just like the picture I sent her! 

"Frosted Berries" bracelet offered by Regina

You can still bid on my necklace on this previous post

Same rules apply to this auction item.  

Leave a comment here to get the bidding started on the 'Frosted Berries' bracelet. 

I will personally start the bidding at $20.

Also, be sure to check out these newer additions to the Artists Helping Artists silent auction.

All auctions end at midnight on December 11th!

08 December 2011

Artists Helping Artists Auction

There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe...
At every crossing of the threads there is an individual.
And every individual is a crystal bead.
And every crystal bead reflects
Not only the light from every other crystal in the net
But also every other reflection
Throughout the entire universe.

~ an adaptation of The Net of Jewels, or Indra's Net,
one of the oldest written creations of humanity

Several artists in the blog community have decided to band together to help a fellow artist in need.

When I heard about this late last night I dropped everything and created this necklace.
I call it "New Growth, New Directions."

Eggs are a symbol of new life and are a very hopeful image. This necklace features a polymer clay "grow" egg bead from Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf, one of my faux enameled brass leaves in a shimmery green, taupe pearls, Czech pressed glass, hematite, amazonite and copper accents.

What happens to a tree when a branch breaks off?
Sometimes the weakest limb is shed in a brisk wind, but that doesn't mean the tree won't continue to thrive. The landscape may be altered, but the tree remains steadfast in the buffeting winds and strong enough to stand up to anything.The branches grow in a new direction, seeking out the light. The shape may change, but in time the leaves will return to fill in the spaces.  The roots are deep and will keep the tree strong and healthy. This tree is just like our community which keeps us strong with the connection, the grounding to the earth, the celebration of home, the love of family, and the kindness of friends.

New Growth - New Directions

Would you like to be the winning bidder?

Please leave a comment along with your bid.
If you are the winning bidder, you will receive an invoice after the close of the auction.
There must be a way to contact you.
If you have email preferences turned off in your profile, please leave your email.
Many wonderfully talented people are auctioning items to help out! These would make great gifts for those you love and show support. Please visit these the other artists below and place your bid!

Bids will be taken through Sunday, December 11th at midnight EST.

Bidding will start at $40
International bidders welcome. I will pay all shipping costs.

List of participants:

Marie Cramp & Lori Anderson http://skyejewels.blogspot.com/
Barbara Bechtel http://secondsurf.com/
Erin Fickert-Rowland http://elysianstudiosart.com/
Amanda Cargill Austin http://www.seashoreglassgirl.com/
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com/  - YOU ARE HERE
Kerry Bogert http://kabsconcepts.blogspot.com

We are like those crystals in the net, reflecting our powerful light to shine on someone we care about, to surround each other with good will and love, to make the world a better place by being there for each other. I am humbled to call these people friends and I am so proud of what they are doing.

Please help us make a difference.

Feel free to return and bid again!

Happy bidding!

05 December 2011

Color Hangover....and 9 Lucky Winners!

"If one says 'red' - the name of color - and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds.
And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different."
~ Josef Albers

I am still recovering from the party. I think I drank a little too much of the color Kool-Aid (was yours spiked with vodka?). Like I have a color hangover or something. The lampshades are askew, there is a mystery stain on the carpet, my head is playing the marimba, and my mind is a blur. But it was all good. When can we do it again? ;-)

That is all that I can say.

You very talented people - all 54 of you - totally blew me away with your participation in the 2nd Annual Challenge of Color.

I know that I set the bar for myself pretty high, so don't judge me on that. I am a consummate overachiever and it was my party after all, it wouldn't do for the hostess to show up in faded overalls with one pendant on a chain. And also I might have bit off more than I could chew as evidenced by the series of migraines I suffered last week. But you know how it is after a party, when the guests have gone home and you have a chance to actually sit still even in the midst of the sparkly chaos? Well, I did a little bit of that the past week. I spent time trying to actually put things away, and organize some paperwork and catch up on some custom orders.

It is really nice to hear the accolades that you showered on me, but that isn't why I do these challenges. I do them because I need a swift kick in the pants sometime. I need a jolt of color during these darker days. But it wouldn't be half as fun to me if I didn't have so many talented people with which to play.

For playing along with me, I thank you.

One of the comments that I read frequently on your blogs was that you all had a color idea in your head. When you said "red" you thought one thing and then I challenged you with a different hue. That is all part of the fun! I think that was a great exercise in how our clients must perceive color and I know it helped me see the beauty in all the colors. And I am glad that you didn't let my color palette choice phase you. Not one person asked to change, which was so nice! ;-)

You brought me many smiles and much joy in hopping around this colorful world. I am super inspired to put more color in my designs, to try new techniques, to use up my art bead stash. And I hope you are, too.

It sounds like there are a lot of people who would have loved to participate in the Challenge. A few years ago I set out to do a specific "Inspired by..." challenge each month. That was fun, but proved hard to do. And then last year I started the Challenge of... blog hop and it was most successful. I have told a few of you this, but now I will make it official.

I plan to throw down a challenge each quarter of the year: February, May, August and November.

Since this challenge worked so well, I will keep the Challenge of Color in November.

But the other three months will be different challenges. Because let's face it, there are more challenges that we as jewelry artisans and designers face that are not necessarily color based. I haven't decided what they will be, but if you wish to send me some suggestions, I am open to them. Feel free to email me.

I will announce more about the next "Challenge of..." blog hop around the end of January.

Same format (one month to create with a blog hop).
Limited participation (60 is a good number, don't you think?).
Prizes and giveaways (if you want to sponsor a prize, let me know!).

I think that this will be tons of fun! (And I don't know about you, but I have to have a party every so often just to clean my house, so maybe this will motivate me to clean my studio! ;-)

I promised winners and I have nine of them! All winners below were selected at random and should contact me by email to claim the prize.

First, one commenter (who was not a blog hop participant) who wins her choice of my Pink palette earrings is..........

Now onto the prizes for those who braved the Challenge! 

I decided that since this is the season of giving, that I would give away two gift certificates of $12 each to sample the colorful goodness that my friend Brandi Hussey is serving up at Freshly Hued. And the winners are....

My friend Marcie Abney of La Bella Joya creates some stunning designs. She proves that seed beads are more than just filler (as in my beady world) by wrangling them into the most stylish of shapes and designs. Marcie couldn't play in the hop, but she wanted to contribute as a sponsor and is giving away one tutorial in her shop to the lucky.....

I am completely smitten by the lovely Miss Jessica Colaluca and her Design Seeds palettes, aren't you? I know a few of you have mentioned that you will come back to doing this challenge on your own with her palettes when you need a little fresh start in terms of color. Miss Jessica was most impressed by how we were inspired to use her palettes. She also let me know that soon there will be a big unveiling of a new website to make it even more interesting to use her palettes. She has some of her best palettes all packaged up into beautiful Blurb books (I intend to buy a few for myself) and now offers those same printed books as eBooks suitable for either an iPad or iPhone. I don't have either device, and realized that you might not either. So... I will offer this to both winners... you may choose the Design Seeds eBook of your choice from her bookstore OR 50% off one item in my Etsy shop. Two random winners...

My humble little 'simple truth' is going to live with...

And last, but certainly not least, I have two winners of the stash (equitably doled out, I assure you!).

In this stash of beady goodness are polymer clay beads donated by the lovely Jeannie Dukic, enameled ceramic beads from the talented Sally Russick, and a whole bunch of art beads from my considerable hoard including Marsha Neal, EB Bead & Metal Works, Julsbeads, Round Rabbit, Birgitta Lejonklou and an assortment of beady goodness as well, including things not pictured. I tried to hit something from each of the twelve palettes. Congratulations to.....

All winners should email me to arrange for their prize.

Thank you to all who joined in the challenge, whether you were on the hop or you just left comments.
I look forward to the next "Challenge of..." blog hop in February! ;-)


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