30 June 2014

What's up?

"God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things.
Right now I am so far behind that I will never die."
~ Bill Watterson 

I hear ya, Bill!
I know that I have been a bit MIA of late. This year has really beat me down.But I am determined to rise above it and keep on keeping on! 

I know that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. God must really be trusting me with a lot this year. There have been a lot of family focus from March to June in particular. So much that I feel like I am still stuck in February. But that is no fun. Because the weather right now is gorgeous!

Right now I am in the middle of our ball season. This is the best season of the year! My daughter still plays softball league but is also on a travel team. That team is headed to the National tournament in late July in St Louis. This past weekend was our home tournament. We took 3rd place, only losing one game to the team that won the entire tournament. I sold my Pop-a-Dot Magnetic Jewelry for a fundraiser for the team and it was a home run! I sold over $900 of the Dots and will be giving them a check for $375 this week. It was a great weekend!

My son plays for both the Junior and Senior Legion teams for our city. He has been playing almost non-stop since his high school ball ended earlier this month. Unfortunately, that means that I can't be in two places at once and so I have missed some of his games. But this weekend is our annual Firecracker tournament at home so I will be around to watch those games! Go Sixers!

Today I will be going down to the Gallery Q to put the finishing touches on the exhibit that is opening tomorrow called Brought to you by the Letter Q to celebrate our five years of local art. Today I have to work on the scavenger hunt to lead people to the artwork and get them to interact with it on an intimate level. We are giving away $500 in art bucks for the gallery to five lucky winners! If you would like to see a sneak peek at what I created for the show, please hop on over to the Art Bead Scene to read my post from last Friday for Inside the Studio. I am also giving away one of the necklaces I made for the show, so hurry over there and leave a comment! If you happen to be in the Stevens Point area, stop by for our opening birthday bash party on July 11th for a cake that will be made by a local bakery artist to look just like this poster!

Can I let you in on a little secret? 

I am flying to Ohio on Wednesday to film some segments of the television series
Beads, Baubles & Jewels with host Katie Hacker!

I am so excited about this opportunity! I am also so nervous! 

I still have to get my wardrobe set, get a manicure (what? They say right in there that you need to do that, so it is a legit expense! And if I am getting a manicure I should get a pedicure, too, right?), confirm the travel plans, contact my sister to make sure that she knows I am sleeping over before my flight out ;-), pack clothes and such, pack all the tools and materials to make on-camera step outs, write instructions, and oh yeah.... finish all the jewelry pieces I am bringing! 

Sneak peek alert! You will have to wait to see the whole thing until the segment is released!
Bracelets are my jewelry-making Kryptonite! I can't make them the right size ever, so I was really delighted to come up with this concept that is very wearable, reproducible and can work for all different styles, colors and tastes. I have been wearing my prototype for a week and I can tell you that it is a winner! People cannot stop asking me about it and when I take it off to show it to them they are even more wowed. I think I already have several orders pending for this new style! Of course, the show will not be airing until sometime in the fall, and we don't even get this program on our PBS station, but according to the website, segments are now available online. So I will keep you posted when I can share that! 

I bought myself a brand new iPhone 5S last week. So far it is great, but it makes me feel old. I feel like I am traveling in a different country where the people are very friendly and there is lots to do and see, but I cannot read the signs so I get lost a lot on the way! It is just enough different from my Galaxy S2 Android phone that it makes me frustrated. For example, all this weekend I was never getting any calls, but tons of messages. Apparently there is a little button on the side that got toggled that prevented my phone from making a peep! Luckily, someone pointed that out or I was headed back to the store to demand a refund (and how silly would that have seemed!). 

Okay! That should bring you up to date on some of what has been swirling around in my world. Since I will be on the road, I will have to focus on orders that are pending when I return (special bonuses for waiting so patiently!), I will try my best to get a 30 Words up while I am on the fly (literally!), and I will try to have a little fun in between all of this. 

Tell me, what do you have going on that you would like to share? Shout it out in the comments!


26 June 2014

30 Words :: We are the Champions

Working hard
every pitch
every inning
every play.
Doing your best
pays off in the end.
Even champions
a little
now and then.
On to the next tournament!

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing what others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.

Get the InLinkz code for your blog!

20 June 2014

We're All Ears :: June Reveal

 Just a few things that I have made recently....

I write a few monthly posts for the Earrings Everyday blog with a really outstanding group of artists. I started an inspiration challenge for our readers to join in on. On the 1st Friday of the month I post an inspiration picture and encourage our readers to use that as the basis of their earring creations. This month it is the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Then on the 3rd Friday we have the reveal with a blog hop. You can go and see all the intriguing earrings inspired by this soaring architectural marvel at Earrings Everyday.

You can check back on July 4th for the next inspiration. But it is not too late to enter your earrings...the InLinkz on the Earrings Everyday post will be live for the next week!

They are going to the Gallery Q today for sale.


19 June 2014

30 Words :: Something from Nothing

Nothing is more gratifying
starting from scratch,
getting dirty,
trying new things.
Creating something from nothing makes my soul sing.
So... why am I not doing it every day?

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing what others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.


get the InLinkz code

Get the InLinkz code for your blog!

12 June 2014

30 Words :: Morning Buffet


I find you everyday
Hanging by your toenails
Munching away

Glad I spent the
extra money
on the 
squirrel-proof feeder.

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing what others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.


04 June 2014

Because I'm Happy

Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do

Pharrell Williams wrote the lyrics to this popular hit after asking himself what it means to be in a good mood. So I thought about it and wondered what it means to me to be in a good mood. I think a good mood is something that fluctuates with the wind (and truthfully, I find that I am not always in a good mood), but being happy is an entirely different state of mind.

So, since my mood is not entirely sunny all the time (but I am more of a glass-is-half-full sort of girl... I know, I am a conundrum!) what is it that makes me HAPPY RIGHT NOW?

My son's varsity baseball team had an amazing game last night. They won the first Regional match-up 6-4 over a very good team from Auburndale. He made another clutch play at the plate, went 2 for 3 hits and scored both times. Tomorrow is another BIG game in another place, one more step to closer to State. Watching my son play baseball makes me HAPPY.

My daughter's softball team is off to a great start with a 1st place finish in the Waupaca tournament last weekend, 10-5, 12-2, 16-0. Being a part of a team and getting to know all the parents is a lot of fun. This year her team will have the chance to travel to St. Louis to compete in the National Softball tournament for 12U. We are all pulling together to raise funds (for my part I am hosting a Thirty-One party in case anyone out there is interested - click on the Plover Nat'l party and be sure to uncheck 'Ship to Hostess' to have it sent directly to you and you can help no matter where you are while getting some awesome bags!) to help the girls have a great experience on this trip. Being connected to our travel team families (past and present) makes me HAPPY.

We are finally - FINALLY! - starting the process of getting a new-to-me car. My poor Bessie the Venture Van is leaving parts of herself all over the county. I have been wanting to do this for 2 years, and finally last winter my husband agreed. I have been searching online for months and recently walked into a dealer or two to get up close and personal with a few vehicles. I am narrowing down the choices - I truly thought I would be in a new car by now - but still undecided. I have been saving all of my freelance paychecks toward this purchase since October, which means I have been in a spending freeze ever since and for the foreseeable future (luckily I have more beads than I know what to do with!). But having a new vehicle on the immediate horizon makes me deliriously  HAPPY. And since I am paying for a big chunk o' these new wheels with my jewelry efforts, I think I might have to get a vanity plate that says BEADMOBL, what do you think? ;-)

My husband makes me very HAPPY just by being him and loving me for me. Enough said.

After the spring that I am having (no, seriously, where did March, April and May go?), I can't tell you how good it feels to finally get back to work on the big gallery exhibit that I am hosting this summer. It is our 5th anniversary at Gallery Q and opens on July 1st. I wanted to get started on this in January, but here it is the first week of June and I am finally finding my Mojo. I have been getting down and dirty with a lot of dark annealed steel wire, nuts and bolts, my Now That's A Jig tool, and even a little gold leaf. I am really smitten with this new design and will take this in a few different directions. I have to have at least one piece ready for professional photography on Thursday. And it looks like this is finally coming together and that makes me really HAPPY.

I just found out that my online friend and an artist whom I completely admire, Miss Staci Louise Smith just won both first and second place in the Beads Dreams competition. What a terrific honor! I can't wait to see these in person at the Bead & Button Show. Seeing my friends (even if they are just virtual!) reaching for a star and landing on the moon makes me HAPPY.

I will be leaving for the Bead & Button Show on Thursday afternoon. I look forward to this week all year long. This will be the first year since 2008 that I have not taken even one class. And I am not sure exactly what I might be looking for to purchase (but I do know that I need to really reign  myself in as I still have oodles of beads and components from all the years that I have been there, unused. Tragic, right? And of course, there is that new car).  But just being there with all the bead freaks in the world like me will be enough. And getting to see my friends and making new ones is almost as good as o.d.'ing on beads. And that makes me VERY HAPPY.

A few months ago, Sara Oehler from Soft Flex Company contacted me to ask if I would be willing to participate in a special challenge. Never one to back down from a challenge, I wholeheartedly said yes. Glass beads were made by artists inspired by a drawing submitted by a child in the Beads of Courage program. These ten beads were then sent to ten specially selected designers, of which I am one. We are each to make a special piece of jewelry featuring that bead. These pieces will be highlighted in a special display at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee this weekend. They will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Beads of Courage organization. That sort of honor makes me do a HAPPY DANCE.

The bead I received had a card that read 'Peace' by artist Heather Sellers of Dragonfly Lampworks. But I really felt that this funny little face was more about HAPPY than peace. Of course, that song by Pharrell Williams was playing when I was sketching the design. So HAPPY it is!

I wanted this necklace design to be fun and a bit funky to match the undeniably HAPPY bead I received to work with. Because we are doing this in collaboration with Soft Flex, we needed to use their wire as part of the design. I didn't just want to string it and forget it, I wanted it to be integral to the piece. So I coiled and coiled and coiled and coiled colored wire in powder blue, red, gold, black and silver until my fingers were numb!

I made a lot of jump rings from those coils and created coiled love knots, something I do all the time with plain jump rings. I love the texture that this provides as well as the cushion for the glass bead. I also made some twisty free-form beads with coiled cores that were all strung on a solid wire core for stability. The result is a truly off-beat statement piece that makes me HAPPY to look at! Seriously, you could not be un-HAPPY if you were wearing it. You would look foolish with a frown on your face and this on your neck!

I can't wait to see this at the Bead & Button show along with the reveal of the rest of the designs. And it would make me so HAPPY if someone bid a lot of money on this in the auction to benefit the Beads of Courage organization!

I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Miss Kerry Bogert. Her books have been very influential to me. She is someone I greatly admire, as an artist, writer, editor, momma and all-around great person. I selected a single component from both of her books -  Totally Twisted and Rustic Wrappings - to set the mood and define the shape of the necklace. But I tried to make those components my own by blending them in this way. I hope that Miss Kerry would approve. I understand that she is coming to Bead & Button. I have always wanted to meet her. That would make me so HAPPY!

If you are going to be at the Bead & Button Show Thursday through Sunday, I hope you will come over and say hi. Let's get HAPPY together! I will be with my best friend Heather Powers of Humblebeads in booth 1212. If I am not there (seriously, they cannot keep me from wandering!), I will likely be drooling over the Bead Dreams winners, fondling beads that I may or may not have any intention of buying, or fixating on the boards showing classes with openings and pining to be learning something new. I hope to meet you there.

That would make me very HAPPY indeed!


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