31 May 2012

The Challenge of Literature

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

~ Dr. Seuss


Welcome to the Challenge of Literature!


In another lifetime I was an English and Literature teacher, so it should come as no surprise the impetus for this challenge. Obviously, the written word is important to me. I can't seem to  stop the flow of words from my fingertips most days. I used to love to write poetry, children's book authors and illustrators are super special to me, I believe that Shakespeare is the greatest writer of all time, and I am a collector of quotes and wise and witty sayings. I don't think that I have a novel in me (I will leave that to people like my friend Joann over at Laundry Hurts My Feelings who I KNOW will write that novel one day! I believe!) but I do love to craft a fine string of words. And although I don't have a lot of time on my hands, I do love to read.

So the Challenge is simple... select a piece of literature (literature is defined in this instance as anything you can read) and make an accessory of your choice from the inspiration. My hope is that after hopping around you might find some new authors to try and some new genres to experience.


At Gallery Q in Stevens Point we just hosted the opening party for the Verse & Vision II exhibit. This one of a kind exhibit has garnered a great deal of attention across our state and for good reason. We are celebrating art in all its forms within the state of Wisconsin, but in particular art inspired by poetry.

The idea behind Verse & Vision is this... make a piece of art inspired by a poem. But not just any poem. We solicit poems from Wisconsin writers, have an independent writer's panel jury them in and then we select. This year we had over 250 poems submitted that were juried down to 57. Back in November 2011, we had a poem picking party at one of our artist's homes. At the party we had all read the poems blind (without knowing who the poets were) and came ready to rally behind our favorites. We each voted for our favorite for the artists' choice award at the opening and then the fun began.

As they called off the poem titles we put our hands up. If only one person selected that poem, they got to choose it. What was really fun was seeing which poems got the most hands. At that point we had to roll these jumbo dice in the center of the room for the luck of the draw. It was really entertaining to see the artists vying for the poems they had their heart set on, and then negotiating and jockeying later for control. It was like watching the NFL draft, but with cocktails and snacks and big fuzzy dice. 

When all was said and done, I walked away with three poems this year. At that point I started sketching my ideas out. I know that thing will be successful when I have such a clear vision that I can sketch it. That is what happened with all three poems. 

I spent January contacting some art bead artists that I knew would be able to make the perfect components for me to use. I sent off the poem to them and described my vision and then waited for them to wow me with their wares. And wow they did! I had to have everything done by the end of February for their professional shots courtesy of our professional photographer John Hartman for the book chronicling all the art and the poetry.


Then on May 18th we had an opening event in conjunction with our local Arts Walk where downtown Stevens Point is taken over by art. There are strolling minstrels, belly dancers on the corners, all the store fronts host different local artists, the old Fox theater has haikus on the marquee, and there is what is known as a 'mass guitar incident' where dozens of amateur guitarists stop and play the same song, this year a Beatles tune on the Square. A big ol' art party! Our poetry reading brought in more than 200+ guests to the Gallery Q with fun and festivities into the evening. It was a marvelous night! 

I had the privilege of reading 6 poems for poets who couldn't be in attendance and I really enjoyed that. Here are the three poems that I was inspired by and the pictures of the pieces that I made. All the poems were reprinted with permission of the poets.


I had the pleasure of meeting Laura at the event. She is a sweet local high school student. She was just thrilled to be there and I loved her energy and her smile. I was delighted that she was one of my poets. 

I knew right away that I needed to have a heron and I knew that the detail that I wanted would be easily achieved by mother daughter duo Beth and Evie McCord of EBBeadandMetalworks. They made me a stunning hummingbird for the last bead soup I did. They never disappoint!

In the Heron's Wings
featuring a hand sawn enameled heron in flight from Beth & Evie McCord of EBBeadandMetalworks
dumertorite ovals
pyrite nuggets
gold vermeil chain and hook clasp


In the Heron's Wings

by Laura R. Wetzel

Stevens Point, Wisconsin

it is wonderful, the gold of this place

she thinks as she paddles

the gold of the sun glints on her hair

on the bronze of her arms, rippling with strength

bright and warm and alive

she counts her seventeen years in the heron's wings

someday, I will fly like that


it is wonderful to be young


it is wonderful, the peace of this place

she thinks as she rests in the bow

the peace of being still while her granddaughter paddles

watching the rippling water

and the dappled sunlight through the trees

she counts her seventy-eight years in the heron's wings

once, I flew like that


it's wonderful to be old




The second poem that I chose a lovely tale called "Old Love." The format reminded me of Shakespeare's sonnets. 

My friend Beth Hemilla of Hint Jewelry makes the most lovely charms. They have a beautiful story behind them and a wonderful craftsmanship. I can't get enough of them. One of her charms is the heart milagro. I just knew that would be the special bead in this piece. However, since this is a showpiece and meant to stand with large works of art, I had to enhance this tiny charm. so I made a bezel for it to trap it between two pieces of hammered copper and then secured with tube rivets. You can't see it but the back has a line from the poem stamped on it "come into the home of my wise heart." 

Old Love
Sterling silver heart milagro charm from Beth Hemilla of Hint Jewelry trapped in a copper bezel
drilled river stones from StonesStudioToo and Allybeans
keishi pearls, faceted hematite
mystic blue labradorite briolettes from norah62
swarovski crystals and resined bits of mulberry paper on steel wire


Old Love

by Joan Wiese Johannes

Port Edwards, Wisconsin


We called it love in lust during summer nights

when young, wild heartbeats mimicked feelings true.

We lit like sparklers, danced like flecks of light,

then flashed and burned as firecrackers do

In daylight we were blackened ash, cold wire,

and paper bits like shreds of Valentine.

The air was toxic, fueled by hot desire;

canaries died when lowered in our mine


But now, beside the river under trees

just saplings during that summer long ago,

we're sunset, crickets, loons, a gentle breeze;

and over the smooth stones fresh water flows.

So, come into the home of my wise heart

so grateful for long decades spent apart.




The final poem is really the first one that caught my eye. I had the most complete vision for this right down to who would make me the beads and the exact placement. 


Remember that I said that we chose the poems without knowing the poets? Last year after the first Verse & Vision I started corresponding with a poet named Cristina Norcross. We never met at the event and I hadn't chosen her poem the previous year, but somehow she found me and sought me out. We started sharing bits about ourselves, Cristina bought some custom simple truths jewelry for herself and best friend, and her family pays very good attention to her wish list because I sold a necklace she had her eye on to her family as a Christmas present (I kept that one hush!). I was really hoping that I would get a chance to meet Miss Cristina in person. But then I found out that she would not be able to attend. So a week before the event, I asked her if I could read her poem and what it was called. Imagine my surprise to find out that it was the very poem that I had been so attracted to! Such a synchronicity of connection! I think that Cristina is a marvelous writer and we obviously have a deep connection. I hope that we will be able to collaborate again in the future (maybe an art exhibit, Miss Cristina.... hmmm?). I was honored to read her poem at the event and to share it with you now.

Winter into Springceramic birdie from LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio
polymer clay speckled egg bead from Heather Powers of Humblebeads
green kyanite daggers, black lava rock beads, hematite peanut beads
quartz faceted nuggest and shards
pewter branch, steel wire cage bead and handmade clasp
fold formed and patina-ed leaves from Mary Jane Dodd of mairedodd


For Those Who Endure Midwest Winters

by Cristina M. R. Norcross

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 

Drink it in - 

sloping shadows of the sun

skim the placid surface of the lake,

like the long-legged, blue heron.

Embrace the warm blowing winds

that throw dust into somersaults

before the big storm arrives - 

humid air caressing skin with warmth.

Allow the scent of green

to wake you up to the day - 

freshly cut blades of dew-kissed grass

and that sharp, honest sting of earth.

Listen closely to the music of the trees.

Each branch offers a different, feathered soloist.

While filling your head with love - 

the air fills with waves of song.

After pulling off the cloak of winter,

you deserve this

Drink it in.



Thank you for joining me on this literary journey. Have I piqued your interest? Then please go and check out the following participants who have worked hard to bring their literary inspirations to life.

(Note: We had a few participants have to drop out for various reasons: Kristina Johansson, Kashmira Patel and Linda Landig. But they are all equally great and I hope you might visit them anyway. And we had one last minute addition, Miss Kristen Stevens!)

Happy hopping!

(Pardon the silly state of my blog... I can't get rid of all this space and the fonts are all wonky.
If you wish to leave a comment keep scrolling....
Maybe this is just doodle space... if only you could doodle on your screen! Argh!
I am too tired to figure out why Blogger is messing with me!!!)




29 May 2012

The Emotion of Art

The next two weeks are going to be a whirlwind for me.

Yesterday my son was supposed to try out for the traveling baseball teams but it got called on account of rain (actually a quick burst of a storm, the rest of the night was glorious and they could have gone into the evening with the fancy lights at the field). So that has been moved to Wednesday. He has a game tonight and Wednesday for this league team. And my daughter is playing softball in there someplace. The kicker is that the first tournament is THIS WEEKEND! FRIDAY NIGHT! And they don't have the teams picked. Nor the uniforms and hats ordered. And forget about practicing together. Rocket has been on a traveling team since he was nine. I have no doubt that he will make it, but the question is which one. He has been on the Nationals since he was 10, playing with much the same kids, but you never know. And my husband is the coach of whatever team he is on, so it would be nice to know this.

Thursday is Rocket's graduation from 8th grade. This is a pretty big deal around these parts. I have been working with another mother for several months now in gathering pictures through the years. I intended to make a slide show to share at the event. The other mother wants to make DVD/CDs for everyone. Well, making the slideshow is one thing. I first started with Smilebox. Paid for the year subscription. And several weeks later, it is not working. The playback quality on the file is horrendous. It works fine for email or on my computer. But I can't give these parents that sort of shoddy memory.

So I started over this weekend with a program called Windows Movie Maker that is conveniently installed on my new laptop. Seemed easy enough, and even more robust than Smilebox (I plan to cancel my subscription as soon as I can). I thought I had it all ready to go, showed the other mother the playback and it was looking good.

But after she left something went haywire. Now most of my pictures in one slideshow (there are two) are missing, and the captions I worked painstakingly to place on each picture were all messed up. The music went wonky too. ARGH! I was up until 1:38am this morning just trying to recreate the first slide show (completely deleted the second. I will try again later today). I was able to resave it at 6:45am and brought it to work with me. Because pressing even this one file to the DVD on my laptop took about 30 minutes. And I have 50 to make.

And all this fun kept me from completing some custom orders this weekend. Gah! I will have to work extra fast today in order to get them all done. More coffee anyone?

The Art Bead Scene blog hop is coming on Thursday (best get that started) and my own Challenge of Literature is coming on Thursday as well (can't wait to show you what I created!). Who needs sleep?

So. There you have it. Oh, did I forget to mention that I am getting my hair done up pretty on Friday? Tiny Dancer and I will be having a streak of some color (the kind that is crimped in) put in our hair as a hello to summer and goodbye to school treat. What color should I get? I am thinking a rich purple might be nice. Tiny Dancer is going with orange.

And then on Saturday, in the midst of this tournament we are not ready for, I will be traveling to Milwaukee to meet up with Barbara Lewis for dinner. So excited about that! I will be taking her all day class on Sunday to learn how to torch fire enamel things. I am thinking that anything not bolted down might be fair game (of course that means I will have to clear off the table in my studio in order to be less flammable).

The following week will be the final days of school and then I will be back in Milwaukee for the Bead & Button show. Looking forward to that! I think I will schedule a nap in my mid-June.

That was a much longer post than I planned. I thought I would leave you with this quote found on my calendar this weekend.

Can you make a piece of art without having any emotions? I would guess this to mean that just another pretty thing is not necessarily art, there has to be a story, a passion, an emotional connection either with the artist or the beholder to be truly art. In the same way... if you consider the jewelry (or ....fill in the blank...) that you create to be art, can it be art if it has no connection, no soul, no fire, no story, no emotion? I like this quote because I really do believe that what I make tells a story and it delights me when it elicits emotions in others. When I don't have that connection and can't find the story, it is then that the piece falls flat for me (and usually doesn't sell...). And lately I have been far too tired to bring any emotion to my art, so most creating has ceased. My stores of inspiration need to be built back up in order for me to bring any emotion to what I do. Interesting idea... What do you think?

26 May 2012

SueBeads Rondelle Challenge

"For every one of us that succeeds, it's because there's somebody there to show you the way out." ~Oprah

Sue Kennedy makes some really lovely beads. I know. I have a lot of them in my drawer that I apparently hoard obsessively (don't worry, her beads are not the only ones, so they are in good company!).

Sue's glass beads were some of the first ones that I bought. I especially love the ones she makes with the little silver spirals on the outside. And then Sue started enameling things. And oh my goodness! I was hooked!

Sue graciously offered some pairs of her lovely enameled rondelles to some random participants and I was lucky enough to be chosen. Sue sent me this pretty shade of navy blue filigree rondelles. I love that there are little holes around the bead. So I just started poking wire through the center hole only to find it poke through a side hole. So I thought why not turn the rondelle on its side. It is such a pretty bead, I want people to be able to really see it.

I am currently crushing on peanut beads. I love the texture of these little guys when they nestle together. I grabbed some galvanized steel wire and made a little loop and then passed that wire through the outer holes. But then I had a dilemma... what to do with the bottom?

I toyed around with a large loop underneath, then some rings, or even some fibers or leather. Then I spied these two little bronze leaf shapes lying in the aftermath of some other project. Their shape mimicked the peanut beads I had just strung in a similar earthy tone. These were tied to my last package from LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio, another of my favorite bead artists to hoard. I just love the attention to detail LeAnn brings to each package. I always feel so special when I get one.  I knew that as a pair they were destined for earrings so why not add them to Sue's pretty rondelles? If one art bead is great, two is supreme!

{sorry for my shoddy camera work. it was late. this was last minute. and i think i was yawning when the shutter was released ;-}

I call these "Show Me The Way" because as I was going I had to let the beads do the talking and lead me where they wanted to go. They are available on Etsy just in case you need some direction. I can't claim magical powers but maybe these pretty rondelles will show you the way as well!

Thanks Miss Sue for sharing these rondelles with me! I am excited to be taking a class in enameling from Barbara Lewis on June 3rd. But don't worry. I am sure that I will be back for more of yours because I believe in working with experts and I am sure that I will not master this new skill in one day!

Be sure to stop by the other participants in the Rondelle Challenge and show them some love!

Erin Prais-Hintz  (You are here! Go visit someone else! ;-)

25 May 2012

Long ago, in a farway place...

Long ago, in a faraway place, there was a land filled with wonder. In this fantastic place there was a little girl. She was very special, for she had a magic ... 
hat that allowed her to travel anywhere in the world while she slept. She had found the hat in the forest one day when she was out picking blackberries for a pie. The hat is a beautiful shade of emerald green felt with a red silk sash. She picked it up and placed it on her head and brought the hat home. She kept it hidden under her mattress. Each night she would put the hat on, and once she nodded off she was whisked away on an adventure. The only trouble was that she could not control where the hat took her. 

Once she woke up only to find she was plopped right in the middle of Wisconsin! What I am doing here, she wondered. And then she saw it. A castle in the middle of a cornfield! Odd place for a castle she thought...

{found via Pinterest. From ZsaZsaBellagio.}

She walked toward the castle and was surprised as the drawbridge swung down to allow her approach. She could see a figure in the doorway waiting for her. Could it be the one she was waiting for so long?

His hand reached for hers. She hesitated but the look in his eyes told her he would not bring her harm. 

He said, "Princess, you've arrived at last!" He led her into the castle and she was amazed at all there was to see.

And then something caught her attention....it was a magical key, bright and sparkling. As she looked closer, she saw her name engraved on the key...."Angelina"...

She reached out to grasp the key. It was tied to a long, beautiful silk ribbon. As her hand touched it, the figure in the doorway vanished.

Angelina grasped the key tightly and ran to find him. She began to investigate the castle, moving from room to room. She happened upon a large golden door, but it was locked. "I wonder if this key will fit that lock," thought Angelina. 

She took her key, unlocked the door only to find the most gorgeous quilt she'd ever seen. It was purples, pinks, greens, browns and more. It was done in the Log Cabin style. Angelina wondered if it had magical qualities. She took the quilt and wrapped it tightly around her and was immediately turned into a butterfly with the most amazing wings. The patterns were exactly like the quilt. "I feel so special," Angelina thought. What could this magical transformation mean?

Angelina continued to explore the room, using her new wings to get to the farthest corners of the large room. It was a room full of interesting treasures, dusty cabinets of curiosities, clusters of creations. She continued to explore the room, using her new wings to get to the farthest tops of the cabinets and on all the dusty shelves. While exploring all the nooks and crannies of the magical room, she came across a bottle that glowed. When she uncorked the bottle a purple smoke came out and in the smoke a man appeared! 

"I am a guardian of the castle," the mystery man explained. "Someone invaded the castle and imprisoned me  here. Please help me free the castle and its inhabitants. There is something that can help you. It is a magic horn."

Angelina flew to the top of the cabinet to see a shiny horn that looked like it had been there for years.

"Take the horn to the edge of the woods and face towards the sunset," continued the man."At the moment the sun reaches the horizon you must blow the horn. This will summon the white unicorn and the wise witch. Both of them will help you rescue me and the others, too. Seek the magical wise spell from the wise witch."

Then his expression turned sad. "Unfortunately, you will have to use the white unicorn horn as your wand when you cast the wise spell." At this, the man disappeared in a puff of smoke.

She removed the magical quilt and became human again. Angelina sat down on the quilt and was stumped. "Fiddlesticks!" she exclaimed. "How am I going to do that?" And suddenly it came to her, she would just have to ride that unicorn back to the edge of the woods where she would place the magic quilt over it. She hoped it might transform the unicorn into a magic wand the way it had transformed her into the magical butterfly. 

Inspired to save the mysterious man and the castle inhabitants from their fate, Angelina grabbed the quilt, the horn and the key and made her way to the woods. There she found a brilliant white unicorn in a grove of trees. Angelina approached the unicorn and stroked his silky mane, to assure it that she meant it no harm. She gently placed the quilt on the unicorn, hoping that he would be transformed. The unicorn shivered and then ab blinding light shone from every part of its body. But he instead turned into a jeweled box with a golden lock. 
{Found via Pinterest.}

Angelina took the key with her name engraved on it and opened the box. Inside she found a map explaining the simple truths of this mysterious castle, but part of the map was missing. Angelina looked at the map in her hand and noted a large X on the map that looked to be behind the castle. She ventured to the back of the castle and found a garden of sparking flowers. In the center was two rows of pink daisies criss-crossing into the shape of an X.

Looking closely at the daisies, she noticed a spot at the center of the X where she could place the jeweled box. Within moments, a burst of glittering light shown from the place she had set the jeweled box and from that light came a thousand tiny sparkling fairy wings. The fairies flew up around her and placed a sparkling wreath of flowers on her head. They then spoke to her, in soft high pitched voices, and told her to follow the map to the River of Wisdom to the Land of Simple Truths. There she would find a group of elves waiting to greet her.

Angelina did as the fairies instructed and followed the map to the River of Wisdom. The elves greeted her by singing in a blend of beautiful voices. They treated her like royalty and led her one a grand procession. They led her around a tree in the center of an opening in the woods. They covered her in flowers and sprinkled sparkly fairy dust all over her head. 

When she looked down Angelina found that the flowers had turned into a beautiful gown and the wreath on her head into a glittering crown. And there were shoes - Oh my - the wonderful shoes! 

"These shoes will surely carry me to the 'Land of Simple Truths'," she thought, "Where I will learn the secret of living happy...the truth everyone has been struggling to find since eons...and the secret that will set the man in the castle free."

Just then one of the little elves nudged her and disrupted her thoughts. He indicated that she needed to hurry off to the little cottage in the distance to seek shelter from the gray clouds now looming overhead. She grabbed her jewel box, and  her shoes whisked her across the field to the little door covered with lush velvety vines and delicate purple flowers. Her soft hand gently turned the ornate brass door handle encased with sparkly gemstones. As the door opened she found a treasure trove of jewels and brass waiting to be assembled. Ideas and imagination flowed as she began to make little trinkets to share with the world, the 'simple truths' that she had found. And while she was engrossed in trying different techniques, the fairies and elves whispered to her about the blissful moment when she would get to the "simple truths"...the messages to live a happy life.

She busily worked for about hours amongst the fairy sing-song whispers, when suddenly she heard a high pitched trilling noise, like the notes from a magical flute. This brought her out of her revery and she looked down at the map again. The missing links on the map were now visible, showing a partial route to her final destination, a city called Vintaj. "I wonder what magic Vintaj will hold for me," she thought. "But how do I get there?" For the path to Vintaj was not clear, as if the route had been erased.

Angelina happily returned to her work create a memento to remind her of all she had seen and heard and felt on her journey so far. On one of the shelves in the cottage she noticed a small bowl with some clay and began playing with it. Angelina liked the way the clay felt in her hands and she sang with delight when she saw all of the beautiful colors of inks and paints suddenly appearing before her as she touched the clay. Each new thing she touched brought another piece of the puzzle into view. 

She wasn't sure what she was doing at first but the creations were so perfect that she thought the fairies must be guiding her hands to form squares, circles, cylinders, all manner of shapes. She than began to play with color taking cues from the "garden of sparkling flowers" she had visited earlier in her journey, and began toying with words drawing inspiration from the joy in her everyday life. 

"Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day," thought Angelina. She believed this with all of her heart, it was her greatest truth. And yet, she knew that she must use her unique magical skills to discover the "simple truths" to share with the world, for a simple truth is meant to be given to others to bring light to their lives and to enrich the world with its power.

Angelina knew that she had to continue her journey along the River of Wisdom. And while she sat pondering over shapes,colors and words, she was surprised to see a hot air balloon lightly land at the door of the little cottage. Without a moments hesitation, Angelina slipped out of the little cottage and boarded the basket of the balloon with the wonderment of a little girl.
{Found via Pinterest. From ZsaZsaBellagio.}

The balloon immediately rose. She was lifted high above the magnificent landscape all around her. Little birds took flight next to the balloon and their wonderful songs filled the air with joy and harmony. The scenery was breathtaking. As the sun began to set she realized she was heading for the mountains in the distance.

"I wonder where the this journey will end?" she thought to herself. 

Just then, hovering in the air before her balloon appeared a griffin. He had a great wide wing span and his wings were of giant rustling feathers. He had a wise and knowing look about him. He wore a simple golden crown and he spoke in a voice, deep and clear, "We have been awaiting your arrival Princess Angelina."

Sensing that this griffin was there to guide her, she touched his shimmering feathers. With a swift swoop of his giant wings, he lifted her off the balloon, cradled her with his paws, and whispered in a low husky voice the first clue to finding the "simple truths."

Around his neck hung a chain with a half heart locket. The griffin placed the locket around her neck saying, "Inside this locket is the Compass of your Heart. Let this compass be your guide. When you are lost it will help you find your way." 

She clung to him wondering how she would return to her world to share the simple truths she had learned. As she glanced down at the compass she realized it was the sparrow's compass and it was inscribed with the words "Property of the Kingdom of Vintaj." 

"Ah! Vintaj," she thought. "Maybe in that special place I will find the answers I have been seeking!"

All of a sudden the skies opened up and a loud clap of thunder shook her to her core. "Whatever am I going to do now?" she thought as she clung to the neck of the griffin.

The griffin's wings carried her safely down to a silver pavilion in a beautiful clearing in the woods. There she found a woman, wonderful and wise, who told her that she had an loving heart. "This must be the wise witch," thought Angelina. 

The kindly old woman addressed her, "Dear Princess Angelina. My name is Lady Erina. You have traveled far and wide to find the 'simple truths' and I am here to help you unlock them. They are within you and all around you. The key is to slow down and see them to appreciate them. When you do, you will recognize their wisdom for your own life and be able to share them with others. That is your gift to the world. For sharing 'simple truths' with others is the sure way to unlock their gifts for your own life."

Lady Erina continued, "Focus on the stillness in your soul and learn to see with your heart and your mind together and magically the simple truths of life will become increasingly clear." The wise woman went on. "To achieve harmony between the mind and the heart, is to take a dip in the 'river of wisdom.' This river is all around you, flowing through you. It is in the air and the trees, in the wind and the rain. The key is to be still and know that it is there."

The kindly woman held her hand, and guided her through the woods amongst hedgehogs, squirrels, owls, dragonflies, exotic birds, and all the springtime flora fauna, until they arrived at an unusual willow tree. To the Angelina's astonishment the tree opened and inside appeared a land of many colors. She stepped inside to find a world distorted by fantastic dancing and swirling colored light. Voices whispered in her ears, each one quiet, but roaring in their numbers. Overwhelmed, Angelina jerked backward and felt herself falling and landing at once into what felt like the familiar warmth of her own bed. The chatter in her mind hushed, and she opened her eyes to see that she was alone in a forest glade, lying on the magic quilt, and right beside her there was a half-heart locket, that matched exactly the half-heart she was wearing given to her by the griffin.
{compass heart from Etsy}

Angelina matched the two halves and they snapped together like a puzzle. It was then that she noticed that a little slip of stained and age worn paper was peeking out from the other half of the locket. Angelina quickly grabbed the end, and as she tugged at it she realized there was more. She kept pulling the end with her tiny fingers, and more and more paper glided out - almost like a scroll. As much as she was excited, it was tiring her out, and she stopped to take a quick breath. Just when she stopped, an antiquated bluish ink came to life on the scroll.

Angelina closed her eyes for a minute, overwhelmed with what she saw unfolding. And then with the clarity of youth she opened them again and read. 

"You hold the power, you hold the key, to your own simple truths. You have always known, but you needed this journey to awaken your inner enlightenment." 

As she read these words, she felt a sudden surge of happiness and empowerment - happiness much deeper than the joys of a little girl, and empowerment far beyond her years. Just then the delicate fairies appeared and danced around her forming a halo around her head, and the elves followed with their sing-song voices returned rejoicing in her enlightenment. Angelina danced and frolicked with the sprightly creatures and celebrated finding the magic to release the spell.

Angelina rested under the sheltering limbs of a great oak tree. Caught up in her own daydreams, she lost track of time. Blades of grass rustled by her side, and she was awakened from her thoughts. The kindly woman was gone. The animals were strolling back to their homes, the flora fauna had wilted for the day, and she realized she had to find a shelter for night in the green glade. That night, wrapped in the magic quilt, Angelina fell fast asleep in the soft moss under the trees. She snuggled up under a large tree, her beautiful quilt around her. 

But little did Angelina know that her journey had not yet ended. Each night as she wrapped herself in the quilt she would be whisked away. She slipped in and out of dreams, drifted along the rim of real and make believe as she skimmed above magnificent realms. In the mornings when she awoke, she began to sketch and record all the things she had experienced. She grew and changed and found many friends far and wide who would inspire her. Over the years she would draw inspiration from these sketches with her "treasure trove of jewels and brass" and the half-worked clay trinkets to share her knowledge of the "simple truths" with the world.

One night she drifted off to sleep under the velvety blanket of the starry night, she wondered about the Guardian of the castle and all those held imprisoned there. Did the white unicorn and the wise witch help them escape, or were they still held prisoner in the castle? She didn't know that the prisoners had been freed by the white unicorn and the wise witch. They had been transformed into fairies and elves, her friends in the forest. They guided her, entertained her, inspired her.  

It was the same witch that had transformed into the kindly woman to walk with her. Now here she was all by herself, yet very much protected and loved. But something was missing. She was always guarded by these magical friends but she knew that there was something more that she had to search for. The sunflowers in the field on the edge of the forest swayed in the mild nocturnal breeze, and the sweet smelling pollen blessed little Angelina in her sleep. Amidst the calmness of the night she heard a strange cry whispered on the breeze. She perked up and listened closely, straining to hear. The cry was a call for help!

Woodsy and Motley her precious owl friends were wide awake and sitting by her side with frightened faces, instead of being calmly perched on a tree branch,and resting between hunts. There had been a great disturbance in the forest. The Great Dragons of the Mountains were on the move. Did someone disturb a dragon egg? or was it another forest fire? Or were they headed for the valley? Had something driven them from the mountain tops? What could have done this? Angelina knew she must find out right away.

She quickly gathered her bag full of the treasure trove and her creative clay trinkets, and looked around to see which direction she should head in. Just then, there was a squeaky sound from her bag. She looked inside, and to her amazement, the map was highlighting a new path heading towards towards the fabled city of Vintaj. Angelina knew that this is where her destiny was leading her, but she was fearless and accustomed to strange things taking place. But why was she being called to the land of Vintaj? Was she to help someone in need? Was she to find what was in her heart? No matter. The map was guiding her and so she would follow. 

To her amazement one of the great dragons swooped down and, with its great wings, placed her on his back. As they flew away the other dragons provided an escort. They flew across the Sea of Hopes and Wishes. Angelina found the dragons to be a cheerful lot, and not as scary as their size and talons would lead you to believe. They flung her in the air, turning somersaults, and passed her around from one to another, puffed out smoky bubbles, and performed tricks during the flight.

Angelina rolled with laughter and forgot about the task at hand until another uncanny reminder announced itself. The compass locket she wore began to glow and spin wildly. It was then that they heard a loud gushing sound and witnessed a river emerge below them. The sparkling blue waters were blinding the dragons and Angelina, and they slowed down in their flight preparing to land. While they skillfully descended towards the ground, the river looked large yet peaceful, as if it had been there for ages. And along the banks flora fauna came into life to complete a scenic landscape. Angelina felt a sudden surge of happiness and burst out in song! The notes carried across the land and it seemed as if time paused to listen. However while in the midst of singing something something caught her eye. There was motion behind the waterfall as if a great gate were slowly opening at the dulcet tones of her song.

There, emerging from a ledge behind the great waterfall, stood a woman wearing a regal flowing gown and a man with a large crown on his head. There behind them was an opening to a land of enchantment. Instantly, Angelina realized they were her mother and father, whom Angelina had not seen since she was but four years old. Just behind the waterfall was the opening to the grand city of Vintaj, the city that she had been told to seek.

With tears of joy, Angelina ran into the arms of her lost mother and father. They laughed and hugged each other while the dragons puffed out smoke bubbles and danced around them to express their happiness. Now it all made sense...

Angelina was just about to say to her parents how much she had missed them when the dragons froze and turned their heads to the sky. Drifting through the clouds a large hot air balloon was coming towards them and it looked like it was going to land right where they were standing. As the balloon descended closer to them, they noticed a festive banner hung to its side saying "Welcome to the Land of Vintaj" and there were pastel colored balloons bearing names of Angelina and her parents.

Angelina hugged her parents, all three of them laughed, and cried, and laughed some more. Suddenly, among the small crowd of people that gathered happily around them, she saw him. In his face she saw herself. He is my reflection she thought. Could he be my twin? She looked up at her parents in astonishment. They nodded and smiled. The boy smiled and waved. Her heart leapt and she ran towards him. 

"Are you...my long lost brother?" said Angelina. 

"I am," he replied. "I am Arick. We have been seeking you for many years. We are so glad you found us and that the Compass of your Heart has lead you to the Land of Vintaj. Come and live in peace and harmony with us."

Angelina knew that the Compass of her Heart had lead her to this place. She joined her brother, Prince Arick and her parents, the King and Queen of Vintaj, taking her rightful place in the kingdom. Princess Angelina never forgot the magic that brought her here, nor the strength and courage that was always in her heart. She grew to rule the Land of Vintaj with her brother by her side, sharing her 'simple truths' with all the people and encouraging them to find their own magic within.

And they lived happily ever after.


Whew! That was quite a story that you wrote! I am sorry that it took me so very long to put it all together into a form that made sense. You are all very creative and I was overwhelmed by how enthusiastic you were about this challenge!

I promised that I would gift a lucky random comment on this story thread with a three month subscription to the Simple Truths Sampler Club. For such a rousing and entertaining story, I think that this deserves TWO spots, don't you?

Pixiloo and Beaditi

Congratulations! You are each the winner of a three month subscription to the Simple Truths Sampler Club (June-August 2012). Please email your address to enjoytheday{at}tesoritrovati.com.

The Simple Truths Sampler Club will be hitting the milestone of a one year anniversary in June and there will be lots to celebrate, things to give away and blog hops to happen. Stay tuned in early June to find out more!

Just a reminder that the Challenge of Literature blog hop will be on Thursday, May 31st. I will reveal what I did for the Verse & Vision II exhibit and we will share our creations inspired by our favorite writings.

24 May 2012

Free Compliments

I can live for two months on a good compliment.  ~Mark Twain
I love the blog Kind Over Matter. Amanda is the proprietor and the self-proclaimed "curator of connection & provisioner of benevolent beauty." There is a gentle wisdom and a total peacefulness in this blog. I love to check in and see what has been going on and I always leave refreshed and emboldened, alive and renewed.

They post these wonderful words of wisdom not to mention these great free printables. One of the first ones I ever printed out was the "Take One" series. I gave this poster to a workmate going through chemo. She has them in her office and tears them off and gives them away when someone needs it. Like me. I am staring at the compliment "You have a beautiful soul" right now.

I always wanted to print a bunch of these and post them on public walls, like at the coffee shop or that kiosk downtown where there are flyers about the bands playing this weekend or a litter of kittens for sale. I just might do that this weekend as a random act of kindness to the world.

{Get yours here!}

If you would like to print off your own, please go to the Kind Over Matter blog post here to share the love.

You readers are all the light in my day, the cream in my coffee and the stars in my sky. So these compliments are for you.

23 May 2012

By the Numbers

Multitasking? I can’t do two things at once. I can’t even do one thing at once.  —Helena Bonham Carter

They say that there is no way to do two things at once. Hmmmm... if that is true, then I am in big trouble because my entire life depends on me doing just that.

Where the heck did I go? Did you think I fell off the face of the earth? I sort of felt like I did. But sometimes there is no other option than to unplug and refocus. I sort of feel like I did a whole lot of nothing, or that I did a whole lot of somethings that amounted to nothing, but that just can't be true. Well.... the last time I posted was on 05/16/2012 and since that time this is what I have been doing...

By the Numbers...

...5 baseball games (including a double header about an hour away that the 8th grade won 10-4 and 5-0!)
...3 softball games (all in the win column with my girl pitching)
...1 spring band and choir concert (the same night as both a baseball and softball game) where my son played for the last time on his saxophone exactly 3 songs (including Pirates of the Caribbean - yargh!)
...$14 for softball team pictures (my girl was surly that day so I am sure I paid for pictures that look like she is being forced to do the unthinkable)
...singing for one wedding (it was a lovely affair in gray and yellow)
...putting together 367 photos representing 47 8th graders for a special "then & now" slideshow to debut at the reception for the 8th grade graduation on May 31st for my son...as well as organizing 141 group shot photos into a rough chronological order for a 2nd slideshow focusing on friendships and good times
...purchasing 6 MP3s for both slideshows
...working at the Gallery Q for my last shift as an exhibiting member (I will still be represented there, just changing my membership)
...Arts Walk event in downtown Stevens Point including the opening of the Verse & Vision II poetry and art exhibit at the Gallery Q hosting over 200+ people for the poetry reading and the after party (of which I was in charge)
...preparing 4 poems to read at the poetry reading for Verse & Vision II... and then stepping up and winging it to read 2 more on the fly for poets that didn't show up (apparently I am good at winging it!)
...1 cocktail party attended by over 30 people at my parents house with about 150 meatballs, 300 cheese cubes, 100 jumbo (and I mean huge!) shrimp, 10 pounds of roast beef for sandwiches and about 60 dirty wine glasses (were they drinking double fisted?) and enough food left over to feed 30 more people!

But in the meantime, lest you think I have only been partying and cheering and singing and reading, I have been working on things related to Tesori Trovati including...

...wrangling the 109 comments on my Story Starter Challenge blog into a cohesive story to share with you (soon! I promise! you people are prolific and very creative!)
...completing 4 pieces for a new design team that I am very excited about
...prepping 40+ bezels with clay (while watching that double header - I am a multi-tasking momma!) to get busy making a few things to take to Bead & Button as well as the June Simple Truths Sampler Club, the winners from my Etsy Stalker Shadowbox for April and for some pending orders (please be patient with me!)
...sending off 36 pieces to the new Northwoods Memories Gallery (my 1st gallery outside of Stevens Point!)
...finishing up 3 custom orders including one more commemorative necklace for a 10 year dancer at DEC that was missed, one mother's necklace with 3 birthstones wired to a family tree, and one charm to celebrate the 2012 Family Tree performance

Just a reminder that the Challenge of Literature Blog Hop will start right here on Thursday, May 31st. I will reveal my three pieces created for the Verse & Vision II exhibit, including the poetry and the art beads that were created just for the pieces.

Oh, and if you would like the chance to win one of my Simple Truths Story Beads, I am giving away 2 this month. Just head over to my Etsy Stalker Shadowbox and leave a comment!

Whew! It is no wonder why I drink so much coffee and buy my undereye dark circle concealer in a vat! I won't lie... I don't go to bed before midnight and while I am driven to get things done, I am pooped just writing this. But it is good to get it all down because I was starting to wonder what I did with all my free time ;-) and it is good to know that yes, I can do more than one task at a time. In fact, I am spinning plates as we speak (just kidding ;-).

I will be back to share more soon. Next up is the Story Starter with the completed tale and the random winner!

Your turn...What one thing did you accomplish this past week that you feel really good about? 


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