31 January 2012

Bead Soup & a Teaser

"There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet." ~ William Frederick Halsey, Jr.

I wanted to post a quick shout out to my friend Lori Anderson who has just revealed the cover of her upcoming book called "Bead Soup: 34 Projects Show What Happens When 24 Beaders Swap Their Stash":

I am delighted to share that I have a spot in the book! I was so excited to be paired with my partner, Miss Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. I only know what I have done with my soup ingredients so this new title will be such a surprise to me when I see it! But I can't share any more with you, so you will have to wait for the reveal just like me!

I am so honored to be in a book with the following people:

Lori's next Bead Soup challenge is coming up on March 3rd. I am not playing this time around due to some other commitments that I have, but I am looking forward to seeing what beaders from around the world do with their swaps!

Are you ready for The Challenge?

Back in November I hosted the 2nd Annual Challenge of Color blog hop. This hop has been so well received I pledged that I would do one hop each quarter of the year. Well, tomorrow is the start of the next quarter!

I have been thinking about this for months, and I think that this new challenge will be one that will allow you to really show us your personality and style with your choices. I hope you will come back and join me.

I have been banging my head for days trying to create a blog button for it, and hopefully I will be able to do just that...soon...if I don't drop kick my computer to the curb first. Why do these techno things have to be so hard?

Stay tuned for the big announcement tomorrow...with or without a blog button!

29 January 2012

Earring Cards for Less

Hop on over to Earrings Everyday to read about my post Earring Cards for Less and see the results of my new branding materials!

27 January 2012

Something Good

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

Hello, bloggees. I have missed you. I have been lurking here or there, coming up for air. But there have been some things that have been happening lately that seem to be swallowing me up whole. So I have had to retreat a bit. But never fear! I am still here!

If you have known me at all, or received an email from me, you may recognize that quote above as my catch phrase. I adopted that one day many years ago when I was having a rock bottom moment where the whole world seemed to be conspiring to get me. I remember that the cheerful girl at the check out seemed to demand that I have a great day. She could not have known that I was having a rotten time and her sugary sweet outlook just fanned my flames. I recall biting her head off. My reaction to her surprised me (and probably her). That day I stumbled upon this quote. And it hit me like a bolt of lightning.

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

I realized that that poor girl had no idea what I was going through. I couldn't possibly have a great day. But that didn't mean it wasn't filled with good. So I started looking for the 'something goods' to show up. And truthfully, it was painful at first because there weren't any. That's not true. I just didn't see them. Actually, my mood had become a defensive fortress that was not only keeping out those 'something goods' from reaching me and shielded my heart from seeing them. And yes, I do believe that you can see with your heart. That day was like a crack that allowed in the light. I just had to keep chipping away in order for the light to flood on in.

At first I had to look. And look hard. But as time went on, I started to notice that these 'something good' moments seemed to find me. It isn't that those things weren't happening before, I was just too blind to recognize them. And I also believe that my heart was more open to receiving them so that the Universe started sending them my way in abundance. Now not a day goes by that I don't have the 'something good' moment. But lately I had built up those walls again.

I am not a cheerful, smack-you-in-the-face-with-my-bubbly attitude type. I can be downright surly. And while I am definitely a glass half full kind of girl, that doesn't mean that I am always happy. So seeking out the 'something good' moments truly helps me to stay on an even keel.
I have a page-a-day calendar on my desk at work each year. This year it is Mary Engelbreit. There is something about the sweetness in her illustrations and the attention to detail from the tiniest button on the dress of the little girl that looks just like her to the patterns in the background. Today, here is the page.

Late last night I found myself walling up that fortress again. I needed a dose of happy. Since my happy is usually found in retail therapy (even if it is virtual), I found myself at Etsy, which I do find myself every.single.day. (Right now I am buying some really cool things to create three necklaces inspired by poetyr for the upcoming Verse & Vision art exhibit.) I stumbled across a piece of word art. Oh, how I love word art! I love positive messages and affirmations. I love that they can live on my walls, printed on stationery, etched into stone or hung around my neck. I love to read the wisdom of famous or not-so-famous quotes. So I put together a quick little treasury called "Something Good in Every Day". Because with one month down in 2012 I need to stop the spinning and point my toes in the right direction so that I can propel myself forward. So I thought I would share with all of you, just to brighten your day a bit.

'Something Good in Every Day' by TesoriTrovati

There is something good in every day. Go and find your 'something good' today. Enjoy the day! Erin

Dream Greeting Card

Bright Side A4 Print Un...

star - beginning today ...

the glass is half full

Hand Embroidery in 5 in...

Your Possibilities are ...

BE THANKFUL Thanksgivin...

think positive - motiva...

Love Yourself, First. ...

Inspirational quote nec...

You CAN do it

the ultimate confidence...

Hand Painted Comic Drin...

Typography print - Quot...

Authenticity Necklace -...

2012 Wall Calendar - Ta...

I have felt stripped bare by this month. Thank you for landing that punch Miss January.Yes, January is traditionally my fallow time, but this is something more. There have been some personal and family issues that have threatened to block out the sun for me. You know those 5 stages of grief? Denial ~ Anger ~ Bargaining ~ Depression ~ Acceptance. I have attained every level and back again. Sometimes in the same day.
I am not at liberty at this time to explain more about the swirling eddies of murkiness that seem to be engulfing me right now (please know that they are not life threatening, maybe just a little life altering), but I can say that I am finally able to see the clear path even through the muck.

My dear friend Beth Hemmila makes the most lovely jewelry componets from her company Hint Jewelry. Her art is full of good intentions and powerful messages. Beth recently published a book called "Lemonade Mantras." She sent me a little sneak peek of it and there are a few free downloads to try out on her website. Lemonade Mantras is a book and a companion journal with exercises. In her words, "I truly believe that when your heart and mind work together to transform bitter moments into sweet possibilities, you create more happiness in your life and more peace in the world." Amen, sistah!

Her book is just like I would expect from her. So wise and knowing, but with a giving spirit. It would be an honor to meet her one day and spend time soaking up her goodness and light. But since we live in different parts of the country, having her Lemonade Mantras nearby is the next best thing, and after trying out these free exercises, I realize that I need this more than ever. I don't know how she does this, but her words always reach me when and where I need them.

One of the worksheets that I printed from Beth's book is called "Guerilla Peacemaker." There are some issues going on in my life right now that seem to be out of control. When I read through this exercise, it hit me squarely between the eyes.

"Sometimes a trigger event stimulates such an intense physical or emotional response in your body that a quick and easy strategy is necessary to immediately change your negative thinking so as to remain present and focused. Like a guerrilla force you need to make yourself small and adaptable to move through the experience without being big and reactive where you may cause harm to yourself or others."

There are destructive behaviors and there are punitive behaviors that we engage in when faced with situations - trigger events, as Beth calls them - that threaten to spin us out of control. I sort of link this to a 'fight or flight' syndrome. When faced with conflict, I want to tear it down and run away. But that isn't helpful to me and certainly doesn't make the situation any better.

I cannot change the situations that I have been faced with this month. But I can change my reaction to them. That is the only thing that I have control over. I like that the worksheet leads me to recognize the trigger event, name the destructive or punitive behaviors that I feel, and then asks the questions, "What can I build in this moment? How do I appreciate this experience?"

I will tell you that my first instinct is definitely not to build on these things and I doubted if I could even appreciate them. They are lemons of course, and they suck! But that is what building lemonade is all about. Pushing through the sour taste and adding your own brand of sweetener to come out with something delicious and satisfying on the other end. I told Beth that instead of lemonade, I might add raspberries and a buttery little crust and make those raspberry lemonade bars that I saw on Pinterest instead.

Ohh! I have a 'something good'... I finally, FINALLY was able to purchase a bag from Lori Plyler of Studio Waterstone. I love her work. I have coveted each new bag she has made. I have dragged my feet and let all the great ones slip away. No more. She had a sale and I snagged this pretty little number.


It makes me so happy to feel the soft fabric and know that someone I admire created it. Rest up, Miss Lori! Make more bags this spring because I know I will need another one!

This month I have had to really work hard to live up to my own mantra, that quote above. But I think that after writing this, Erin has got her groove back.

And that is a 'something good' to celebrate!

P.S. Next week I plan to share with you the next "Challenge of..." blog hop theme. I am still tweaking the idea, but I think it will be a good one. Sign ups will begin on the blog on February 1st-4th with a limit of 100 participants (last time we had about 60). And hey! It's a leap year and we should have a party on it! The blog hop will be scheduled for February 29th. Stay tuned...

Your turn...
Tell me a 'something good' that has happened to you this month.

18 January 2012


"I have no fear of the future. Let us go forward into its mysteries, let us tear aside the veils which hide it from our eyes and let us move onward with confidence and courage." 
~ Winston S. Churchill 

I know. You must have thought I had fallen and I couldn't get up. Something like that.

When I said that I would explore I thought that would mean more active things. I have been doing a whole lot with not much to show. I have been here, but I have been absent. I have been present but my mind has been a million miles away.


This month for the 'simple truth' sampler club I chose a custom carved stamp that I had made with the Chinese character for 'FEARLESS' on it. I think that FEARLESS is a great way to start out the year, and it goes very well with EXPLORE. After all, the explorers would not have gotten very far if they were stopped by their fears.

Then I found that quote above from Winston Churchill. 'No Fear of the Future' - to me that means that I need to open my arms and welcome whatever comes my way.

I posed the question on Facebook about what FEARLESS means. I got some interesting answers:

My dear wise college friend Kari said, "FEARLESS means being able to accept the truth, whatever that may be. FEARLESS meands being able to accept any outcome and deal with it honestly."

My high school friend Anne said, "FEARLESS means staying true to yourself, despite possible outcomes."

Sweet Miss Courtney said, "FEARLESS is moving forward without concern."

My friend Miss Cherrie said, "FEARLESS could mean if you never try you will never know."

The oh so talented, funny and lovely Miss Rose said, "FEARLESS is doing what others only dream of."

And my cousin Jane said, "No regrets, whatever the outcome."

These were all answers that I had not really thought of when it came to the word FEARLESS, but I think that they are all things that I am striving for. To boldly go in the direction of my dreams, to dealing with truth and honesty no matter what the outcome...being true to myself and to live a life without regrets... to giving it a shot because I won't know if I don't try. Thank you so much to all of those FEARLESS women for their honest responses! 

So, I guess that I have been doing something to make my January FEARLESS. I have been experimenting with materials and forms. You might think that a bracelet is not a really earth-shattering form, but for me it is. It takes a lot of effort for me to make a bracelet. They are always either too long or too short. So I rarely make them, even though others will think that it is the simplest form.

In addition to the form, I wanted to use materials I am not comfortable with. I was playing with leather the other day. I wanted to see if I could paint on it. So far the results are encouraging. I have quite a lot of bins of stuff to play with, and I have a whole one dedicated to leather. Old belts that have fallen apart, suede cord, flower cut outs. I am still experimenting with what can be done with it. 

Back in September when I went to visit Vintaj for the 2 day workshop we experimented with all sorts of things. In one of them we did an image transfer and sealed it with a resin. I added riveted details and did a filigree wrap. And that is as far as I got. I have bins and baskets and boxes and bowls full of stuff like that, particularly when I attend a class. 

So I got to painting the light leather with inks and sealing it. There were these holes in the leather which were perfect for embellishing. So I whipped out some wire and attached the flower filigree wrap to the leather, added snaps, et voila! Instant bracelet! I know that I will make more like this, particularly since I have a pile of leather to play with and an idea now of what to do.

{Brass Blossom Cuff available on Etsy}

In other FEARLESS news, I managed to sign up for two classes that will put this new FEARLESS mantra into practice: Barbara Lewis' Painting With Fire method at Bead & Button in June and Richard Salley's Alchemy & Relics class at Valley Ridge Art Studio in July. I am over the moon excited about taking these two classes. 

I have Barbara's kit, but I have a healthy fear of fire, even though almost every single class I have taken since 2007 has been using a torch. I have done things with fire. I just need to set up that station in my studio and start. I might break out the creme brulee torch first just to get used to the flame before I launch into Mapp gas. But I am going to torch fire something real soon!

I have always, always wanted to meet Richard Salley. Taking a class and learning from him will be the cherry on top. He is someone I have long admired. He has been very encouraging to me and I know that this class will be an awesome adventure. I just wish that it was July already!

So those are some things that I am doing to keep this year about FEARLESSLY EXPLORING.

{January 2012 Simple Truth Sampler}

What does FEARLESS mean to you? How are you FEARLESSLY EXPLORING?

10 January 2012

My One Word 2012

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes."
~Marcel Proust

I am like a seafarer setting sail for distant shores.

I am not sure exactly where this adventure will take me, but I am confident that I will find the journey exciting.

I have the most sailworthy vessel set to embark on a journey that will take me around the world and back. The foundation of this vessel is strong. It is outfitted with the right equipment. And I have surrounded myself with the most supportive crew.

I will encounter many detours on my journey, each one opening up new possibilities. I will also experience set backs and uncertainty, when the horizon will be shrouded in fog and I will lose my bearings. But I will use that as an opportunity to discover new lands and all they have to offer.

I will become familiar with monsters lurking just below the surface ready to drag me down, but I will also be grateful for the playfulness of the dolphins as they buoy me up and remind me of the spirit of this adventure.

I have a vision for where I am headed, but I am certain that once I arrive there I will be surprised by how much more beautiful the vista is than what I imagined it would be.

{Antique Map of the World by Nekarius on DeviantArt}

I am heading into uncharted territory, forging my own path, drawing my own map.

This may not be the map for others to follow, but rather it will plot where I have been and show me that I had the capability to succeed at this adventure within me all the time.

 For the past few years I have selected a word to frame my year.
The first time in 2010 the word came easily to me. I chose INSPIRE a few days before the end of 2009. But that was so very obvious for me. It was not a stretch, not something that would challenge me, since that is my modus operandi. I realized that I pounced too quickly on that word so in early 2010 I added UP. I am a glass is half full sort of person but I am not always that cheery. Such is the dichotomy of me. UP was a challenge for me. And it worked together with INSPIRE to create an atmosphere that fostered encouragement and enlightenment in this space.
In 2011 I spent a bit more time on looking back at what was lacking in my life and chose a word that embodied what I needed to do: FOCUS. Not that I never accomplished anything, but just that my accomplishments were so scattered and not very impressive when rounded up. I don't mean impressive in the sense that they made me a lot of money, or got me a lot of attention. I mean impressive in that they built upon one another and added to each so that they were all connected and amounted to so much more.
Those of you who select a word each year will attest that not only is it something that will challenge you, if something can go against it to drag you in the opposite direction, it most certainly will.
With FOCUS as my word, I really had to work hard at putting together a plan each month and sticking to it. That is incredibly hard for me to do. I wasn't completely successful last year with some of my biggest goals, but that will change for 2012.
I did FOCUS on much in 2011.
I launched my own line of components that I started researching and planning for back in September 2010. I took several solo vacations to art retreats in DC (ArtBliss), MI (Inspired by Nature) and IL (Vintaj Intensive 2-day workshop). I was surprised to find my 'simple truths' in the Beads 2011 Buyer's Guide and two of my necklaces on the cover of Stringing and Creative Jewelry. I started the 'simple truths' sampler and have been blessed with participants who choose to stay on and many who return. I was honored to have my pieces selected in the top 10 for design contests at Soft Flex and Jewelry Television. And I had a much better plan to handle the participation in the 2nd annual Challenge of Color blog hop.
But there were things that tested my FOCUS last year.
I only did 10 of the 12 Art Bead Scene challenges (still a great accomplishment, but I still might go back and do the ones I missed). I didn't spend as much time with my children as I would have liked becuase I was in the studio so much. I let a major self-imposed deadline pass time and time again, with all manner of excuses. I had the worst time with any paper that came into my studio, and I am still struggling with that (especially with tax season upon me). I seemed pulled in so many directions that it was hard to see what I needed to do when I needed to do it (so I felt more scatterbrained than ever, even despite my focus). And this singular FOCUS has led me to some unhealthy choices that need to change.
But that is the magic of the word that you choose. It will be a rewarding challenge to look back and see with clearer vision all that you did to fulfill it, but you will also see glaring lapses.
This year I am hoping to be a bit gentler with myself. I want to get back to doing what I love to do: creating and writing. I want to see what the possibilities are and chart a path for myself that feels authentic to me. I want to challenge myself to learning some new things, and taking all the knowledge that I have gained over the years, rolling it all together and seeing what comes of it.
My one word for 2012: EXPLORE.
I looked back over the past few years and I realized that every single class I have taken since 2007 has been concentrated on metal. However, I don't really do much with that knowledge. I have learned about sawing and hammering, annealing and etching. I have bought tools and materials to tumble, patina, texture and affix metal. But what I have never done is put it all together. Once I take a class, the knowledge has been stored away, and it does come out an play every so often, but it has not resurfaced until the next time that I take a class. I want to change all of that.
Today, hopefully, I will be signing up for some classes to attend at the Bead and Button show this summer. Last year I didn't make it in because I waited too long for the classes I wanted. I discovered the joy of attending art retreats so I know there are other retreats and gatherings across the country that I would be thrilled to attend, like this or this or this. Maybe I will meet some of you there.

I want to EXPLORE the limits of what is possible for me. It will take a big leap of faith for me, but I think that I am ready.
It is not that I don't think that I can do it. Whenever I am in a class, I surprise myself with my ability to pick it up quite handily. It is putting it into practice that always stops me.

"All you need is the plan, the road map,
and the courage to press on to your destination."
~Earl Nightingale
  • I want to EXPLORE more projects with metal which means that I have to get my studio in top shape so that I have someplace safe to do it.
  • I want to EXPLORE developing my 'simple truths' and seeing where their modern wisdom will lead me and those who love them.
  • I want to EXPLORE mounting another show that is a collaboration with other artists.
  • I want to EXPLORE the process of getting my work accepted in other galleries and exhibits beyond my narrow field of influence, within my state and maybe even beyond. 
  • I want to EXPLORE my ability to connect with others and inspire their creative lights to shine.
  • I want to EXPLORE my dream of writing a book of my own.
To set off examining this new territory, I need to look at myself as an explorer. I need to see that the whole world is spread out in front of me to enjoy and experience. Explorers need to have the tools to navigate and the knowledge to take where they have been and plot a course for where they are going. They need to surround themselves with crew that will lift their spirits, cheer their successes, point out when they are off course and rally when they are far from land. Explorers need a map to guide them, the stars to chart their course, the winds to fill their sails.
I look at this blog as a place for me to share, but I have to tell you that you have all become that wind in my sails. You encourage me to keep moving forward, to challenge you by the example of challenging myself. You are a valuable part of my success.

I am ready to set sail.
Have you selected a word? What is it?
What is on your map for 2012?


06 January 2012

Get Inspired to Make a Change

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. 
~Mark Twain
I want to live in the Pottery Barn catalog.

I want to wake up in that four poster mahogany bed with the billowy curtains blowing in the effortless breeze. I want to shut off my vintage alarm clock next to a glass bowl filled with white roses, a cream colored candle and a rattan beehive basket.

I want to get ready in that bathroom. You know the one with the classic turned leg consoles and the marble tops. Cushy towels are rolled like burritos in a French market basket and I would stand on the His and Hers bath mats and brush my teeth admiring my visage in the beveled glass mirror.

I want to step lightly into that living room with the antique looking propeller on the wall and the humongous mirror leaning just so. I would glide by the effortlessly elegant beige twill slip covered sofa and stop to plump up the white orchid applique pillow, leaving the book open on the trestle coffee table to the page that I will come back to later whilst sipping lemonade in tall glasses.

I want to fix a glorious meal in that kitchen with the multi-tasking island with the clever glass canning jar chandelier and sink into a classic brown leather nailhead studded Parson's chair at my substantial carved wood table with bottles of wine, layers of casually mis-matched dishware and oversized canning jars brimming with faux dogwood blossom stems for $59.50 a piece.


But since that is not likely, I will but dream of the rooms that could be.....and indulge in a little virtual home staging.

I got my new Pottery Barn catalogs today (those PB Teens have the coolest and tidiest rooms around! My almost teens don't know how to make their beds so it looks more like a herd of monkeys live in my house ;-). I always paw through them, dog-earring the pages and circling the things I like the most. I won't likely get them, but it is okay to dream.

However, I was struck by the title on the catalog.

Home Resolutions: Get Inspired to Make a Change

I am not very big on resolutions. They don't work for me and not for many other people. Usually they are too lofty or not specific enough and that makes them hard to keep longer than a week.I look at resolutions as merely....suggestions. Sort of like when you come to a crossroads and you see all those signs pointing in different directions. Except that these signs point me where I should be headed.

So I was struck by the title and had to read more (yes, I treat the hallowed PB catalogs like the finest novels. I can't afford magazine subscriptions and they are just so entertaining, enlightening and filled with fantasy!). And I decided that this is as good a plan as any for the new year. So I thought I would see if these suggestions could actually apply to me.

Resolution No. 1 ~ Get More Sleep

I am horrendous at upholding this one. I am a night owl for sure. I do all my best work at night. Or so I think. I have never really had daylight hours to create anything. And I am starting to think that when I do get those precious few rays of sunshine, I just can't seem to make them work to my advantage. Still. The bags under my eyes are starting to take on a life of their own. I am resolved this year to go to bed before midnight. At least a few nights a week.

Resolution No. 2 ~ Have More Family Meals

"The simple act of sharing a meal together each day keeps families connected."

This would be a good one, too, if by family meals you mean take out from Chef Chu's or Chili's To Go. Because most nights with the schedules that we keep around here, that is about as close to a meal as it gets. I may have forgotten how to cook from scratch. But I did get a brand-spankin'-new microwave for Christmas since my son came downstairs holding the handle that broke clean off in his hands as he popped some corn ("I wasn't hanging on it. Honest!"). The new one is so spiffy I am almost afraid to use it with it's highly polished interior (I keep thinking that the lights are on it it but it is just a reflection) and the carousel that not only turns but gently rolls back and forth (not sure if it cooks things more evenly, I am mostly concerned that it will just be one more thing to break). So maybe the whole family meals thing could work. As long as they are all microwaveable. ;-) Reheating take-out is a family meal if you are all sitting down to it together, yes?

Resolution No. 3 ~ Eat Healthier

Or course. I would guess that is connected to Resolution No. 2 above. I will have to find a way to sneak more vegetables and fruits into the mix. They are onto me with the baby food carrots trick (what? Don't all moms of teenagers buy #2 baby food carrot puree to put into all the red pasta sauces that they serve? Well, I sure do!). But I have already started for myself. No more pastries, muffins, scones and the like from my coffee shop. A bowl of oatmeal awaits me each day and I am fine with that. Along with that is the need for me to get more active. I am thinking that I need to take my daughter up on Just Dance 3 more often. That game is a work out!

Resolution No. 4 ~ Stock Up on Basics

This is one that I truly try to accomplish, and this year I will redouble my efforts. I rarely wear trendy clothes, preferring solid colors and classic styles to whatever silhouette is hot. I don't have a trendy home, unless you consider that custom made sectional couch from Dayton's in the 1980s that we 'inherited' trendy (it actually is probably back in style in a retro sort of way). But this year I do resolve to do a massive use-what-I-have, in life and in jewelry design. I have dozens of picture frames in need of some art or photos, cans of paint that I have purchased in the hopes of painting a room and massive amounts of bedding stemming from the fact that my parents sold their little used Florida home in 2009 and we inherited whole rooms. In terms of jewelry design, I would really like to use up what I have as I am sick of looking at it. Or maybe I need to start giving it away so that someone else will see it as exciting. Sort of a purging. Of course, that will be right after I finish my shopping spree to buy the beads and components I need for the next Gallery Q exhibit that I am working on right now. ;-)

Resolution No. 5 ~ Change Your Style

Well, I don't see that I will be running out for a whole new wardrobe or buying out the Pottery Barn catalog (didn't they just tell me to stock up on basics? Now they want me to change my style?). Still. We did rip out the innards of a closet over break, but have yet to construct the closet cubby of my dreams (and I am really getting tired of tripping over the coats and boots in the living room because my husband now says that the 'plan' that I came up with seems too challenging... simply a box and some hooks and a shelf. (Pass me the phone book. I need the name of a handyman). 

{Have you checked out AnaWhite.com? Cool stuff there. I wouldn't even need the fancy dividers. I only have a small 42" closet so I just want the ledge on the bottom divided in two with room for shoes and boots, coat hooks and a shelf on top. It doesn't even have to be yellow, although that would be pretty cool. Is that too much to ask?}
I would like to try on some new styles of jewelry for a change. I have a desire to make more minimalistic pieces. I want to explore using new materials, focusing on metals and trying new techniques like enameling. So maybe that is how I can resolve to change my style.

Resolution No. 6 ~ Make Every Detail Count

This is an easy one. I always try to make every detail count in all my designs. I always try to think about adding details that will make the wearer feel special and give them something to look forward to each time they wear it. So I guess that this is really a call to making my home details count. Like getting rid of that ugly royal blue in the bonus room rather than trying to decorate around it. Or putting up shelves and pictures on the walls. That is something do-able especially since we can no longer say that we just moved into this house... in 2009.

Resolution No. 7 ~ Refresh Your Bed

I think that means that I need to dryclean my bedding. Or perhaps buy new bedding. And new pillows. The old ones are killing me. That is a can-do resolution!

Resolution No. 8 ~ Update Your Bathroom

Funny. I was just thinking that would be a good one.

We have a powder room that we swapped out the ugly gold plastic light for a really beautiful scroll-y metal one. But you can still see the outline of where they painted around said ugly fixture. And it isn't like this bathroom never gets used. It is likely the most often used room in the house. So I think about this all.the.time.

The kids bathroom is a jack-and-jill style. I thought that would be all the rage having lived through the Brady Bunch era, but it really is not ideal. My 13- and 10- year olds are constantly bickering about the bathroom, especially how the doors work or if they ever get closed at all.  If I could rip it out and start over there would be an entrance from the hall. But since my husband is not that keen on building projects (see Resolution No. 5) I will settle for painting it. My son's room is charcoal gray with white and red accents. My daughter's room is green and blue (but she would kill to have an orange room!). The key is to blending these two. I have some gray and green and blue paint, and maybe even a little orange (since the previous owners had painted the dining room blaze orange but was thankfully changed to beige before we got here), and I had always planned to do wide stripes up the walls. I think that this is the year to do it.

And then there is my master bath. The only thing that could stay is the huge whirlpool tub simply because it is so large and unwieldy. The rest could go. At the very least I want to redo the double sink with the tower in the middle. Do you know how inconvenient a tall tower is in between the sinks? It feels so cramped because of this and it is really a good size room. Here is a good PB option:

Right down to the greyhound statue and the smart looking baskets (is there enough room for all my toiletries?). Not sure why I need to store my sugar canister in the bathroom, but I can roll with it.

Resolution No. 9 ~ Get Beautifully Organized

"Life is so much better when everything is in its place. Great storage does more than just organize a room; it adds an element of invention."

Now these last two were not resolutions per se, but rather titles on the pages. But they sounded like perfect resolutions to me. And ten is such a nice number.

I have this great studio space. It is large. My husband who is not into building things, is pretty good at hanging things, and he put up some shelves that I had sitting around (see use-what-you-have above). My hope is that I can get all the boxes, bags and bins off the floor and put away in the next month. I would also like to hang artwork in here and decorate a bit so that it feels more artsy and less hodge-podge to me. I have this fantastic printer's cabinet that houses most of my beads but I actually have three drawers that are completely unused. And all that could populate it are in various states of stack-age in danger of toppling. And it makes it very hard to know what I have and what I don't.

When my office downsized last year, there was an opportunity to obtain a huge L-shaped desk and table. As a gift. As in for free. It was my Mother's Day gift to transport it home. And today I asked about a few extra office chairs (we are an office of 9 people and there are at least 18 rolling office chairs. I offered to buy them, but I was told to just take them. Woot! So instead of the folding chair I am currently sitting on, I will be getting two new-to-me and very nice matching office chairs for my space. My back will be thanking me ;-)

I would like to have everything in its place so that I feel good about showing all of you. And inviting you over. I have in the past hired a professional organizer, but one or two hours with her is just not enough. Maybe I can bribe my sister to come up and help me out. It would be a great gift to me. Her bubbling-just-under-the-surface OCD with order could really come in handy. ;-)

Resolution No. 10 ~ Declutter Your Desk

Ah. This is something that is a true necessity. Especially with taxes looming (but most everything is in folders this year so the sorting should be a bit less). When I brought in that new desk and the corresponding table, that table sat in my living room from Mother's Day 2011 until just before Christmas! My sweet husband brought the table down and set up the computer on it, but moved the folding table and all it's junky contents into the center of the studio. I talked myself into it being a perfect place to stage my shipments and orders for the holidays. And it was. But that time is gone and I need to open the space back up. Or clear off the table so that I can set up an enameling station on it (if I can convince myself to open the enameling kit and buy the Mapp gas and hope that I don't burn the house down in the process! I am so scared to do it but so ready to start!). I have been trying to put things away after I use them rather then leaving them out. But I still think I need professional help. ;-)

So, there you have it. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of spaces. The Pottery Barn catalog may inspire me to indeed make a change or two this year. Even if I can't live the Pottery Barn dream I can be inspired by the lifestyle these fantasy rooms espouse.

What about you? Do you make a list of resolutions for yourself? How successful are you at keeping them? Which of these ten resolutions might work for you? 

I pick a word to frame my year. But since this I obviously had a lot to say with this post, I will save that for another day. Stay tuned for more information on what my word is... soon!

05 January 2012

The Angel's Game, Wonderstruck and Peculiar Children

I bet you thought that I fell off the face of the earth.

Hell, I think that I may well have.

I am not sure exactly what my problem is, but I do know that I am in a slump. If you live in a snowy climate you know what doing a donut means. You get in the middle of a deserted parking lot filled with ice and then you race your car around in a circle really fast. You go nowhere and you may get a bit woozy, sort of losing your bearings. That is where I feel I am, doing donuts in the parking lot. I seem to be spinning my wheels a lot lately. I am not sure what direction I am headed and I feel like even if I got pointed the right way I wouldn't know how to drive anymore. Have you ever felt like that?

Over break I spent a lot of time just sitting in a chair with the fireplace going reading books. In fact, in December alone I completely read three books (of course one I had started months earlier, but still. Record!) Three! I know! I can barely read three in one year let alone in one month, and the last two were read in one week!

I like books that transport me to another time and place. That is what I got with the first one that I had been reading a long while. I read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind a few year ago. He is an enchanting storyteller. This book, The Angel's Game takes place in Barcelona in the 1920s. Every chapter was a new twist that kept me hungry for more. This is a tale of obsession both in literature and in love as we follow the main character David Martin into a spiraling chain of events. In Zafon's books there is a connection to the Cemetery of Lost Books. That part is always fascinating to me, and I wish that he would spend more time on that. I hear that there is another book that is set to come out this summer that goes back to the same bookstore, different characters. The Angel's Game is a haunting book with whole passages that I will go back and read again someday, particularly the funeral of his friend Sempere the bookseller. If you are looking for intrigue and the mysterious world of a writer, this is a great read.

I was excited to read the book that my daughter got for Christmas ~ Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. Selznick is the author The Invention of Hugo Cabret (in theaters as Hugo ~ which I saw and would HIGHLY recommend! And in 3D!). This novel is only similar to Hugo in that it is graphic, the pictures tell half the story. But this one is even better than Hugo. I do hope that they make it into a movie. The cool part is that this is truly two stories that seem to be unrelated 50 years apart and merge in the end and intertwine. I was most impressed that Selznick is an artist and a writer and a storyteller and a researcher. All the things I love. He really delves into making sure that the the events in the book are true-to-life. And it is incredible how one little thing can spark the imagination of someone like Selznick. If you are so inclined, please check out this video of the author explaining this new book.

The last book I read is a bit more bizarre - or peculiar as the case may be. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The haunting cover with a strange woman-child hovering in mid air was what sucked me in. I bought this last summer when we went school shopping. Took me this long to get around to reading it. This is also a book that has a mysterious twist and pictures that tell part of the story. The story is fantastical, involving time travel and monsters, a mysterious island and a strange cast of characters. Watch this YouTube video and see for yourself. I have read that Tim Burton is set to direct the movie. That would be fantastic!

What about you? Have you read any good books lately? Since I finished all of those I am on the hunt for something new for 2012!
Do tell!


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